Australian news, and some related international items

Australia kicked off the Global Womens’ March To Ban The Bomb

In Melbourne today the march was not huge, but for Melbourne, quite substantial, enthusiastic and made up of people (men and children included) from all area, and from a variety of different organisations.  There was a great band – “The Riff Raff” I think is their name, and speakers representing indigenous women, Pacific Island people, ICAN, and one brave Australian Senator, Janet Rice, of The Greens.

June 19, 2017 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, opposition to nuclear | Leave a comment

United Nations Debating First Ever Worldwide Nuclear Weapons Ban Treaty



June 19, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

“Today’s enemies are tomorrow’s friends” – the message of a hibakusha

Hibakusha remind us of the power of love in unstable nuclear climate June 17, 2017 (Mainichi Japan) J“I have so many children and grandchildren that I could be put in the ‘Guinness Book of World Records!'” — That was the favorite joke of A-bomb survivor, or “hibakusha,” Kazue “Kaz” Suyeishi, who passed away on June 12 at the age of 90.

Photo above is not  of Kazue Suyeishi, but of an unknown Hibakusha The Hiroshima-native moved to the United States, married and then became the president of the American Society of Hiroshima-Nagasaki A-bomb Survivors. She became known as “Kaz Mama” because of her unique style of talking about her experiences as a survivor. Not being one for lecture-style speaking, she spoke as though she was telling her story to her children or grandchildren.

When Suyeishi came to the U.S., health insurance wouldn’t cover hibakusha living there who suffered from conditions relating to the bombing. Some members of Congress even claimed that states shouldn’t give money to support “the enemy.” On top of all of that, Suyeishi’s husband had experienced the internment of Japanese Americans during the war. However, Kaz herself never once held any ill will toward the country that had become her home.

“They say that today’s enemies are tomorrow’s friends. If people all over the world could all feel love for one another, there would be no more war,” Suyeishi would say. “That’s what I keep telling the children. Even if they think it’s ridiculous, that is my life’s work.”

When I came across the news of her death, indescribable bitter feelings rose up inside of me. The feelings weren’t merely the pain of her loss, but also of being confronted by the reality that the hope for “a world without nuclear weapons” was dying out as well.

Then-U.S. President Barack Obama’s abstract but moving speech and attitude of reaching out to the hibakusha on a calm evening in Hiroshima in May last year will forever be burned into my memory. Not much more than a year has passed, and the world has changed drastically. While the U.S. administration under President Donald Trump has vowed to expand its arsenal of nuclear weaponry, North Korea conducts continuous missile tests, leading the world on a path toward the outbreak of nuclear war.

However, when I think about all of that, I feel this was inevitable. While President Obama looked at the Hiroshima A-Bomb Dome from a distance, he did not approach it and hastily made his exit. While the president moved the hearts of the Japanese people by presenting flowers and wreaths of folded paper cranes to the hibakusha, he moved forward with plans to modernize his country’s nuclear weapons at great expense. The cold truth remains unchanged.

It was Suyeishi who said, “Obama’s pleas will largely go unheard, and even the reach of my words are probably limited by time and place, but the only thing we can do is hold onto love and continue conveying our message.” Still, it makes me wonder just how sincere Obama really was about the elimination of nuclear weapons.

Some say it is Japan that has changed. Although it appeared the U.N. would adopt the Convention on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, Japan stated that it would be “difficult to participate” in it, perhaps because of its ties to the U.S., and has opposed the negotiation of the treaty.

That’s why I sometimes can’t think of that evening in Hiroshima as anything other than some kind of Japan-America collaboration movie. Or was it a beautiful dream seen for a fleeting moment by a world heading for oblivion? To save this world in crisis, we need new efforts and, of course, what Suyeishi always taught — love. (By Hiroshi Fuse, Editorial Writer and Expert Senior Writer)

June 19, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Climate change a big factor in Portugal’s horror fires

What impact did climate change have on Portugal’s deadly fires?, Chris Harris, 19 June 17 Global warming was a factor in a deadly wildfire that hit central Portugal and left more than 60 people dead, it’s been claimed. Thomas Curt, a researcher at the National Research Institute of Science and Technology for Environment and Agriculture, said climate change had extended the wildfire season from two to up to five months.

Curt, asked what role global warming plays in wildfires such as the ones seen in central Portugal, said: “It is a certainty, we are witnessing a rise in temperatures, but a warmer air is synonymous with drier, more flammable vegetation.

“These meteorological conditions increase the risk of fire but also their intensity. We can now see fires, like that of Portugal, which firefighters can hardly extinguish.

“Moreover, during the last fifty years, the fire season, before reduced to July and August, is extended from June to October.”

Curt said on top of climate change Portugal had an ‘enormous amount of combustible vegetation’ such as pine forests and eucalyptus trees.“In addition, the entire Iberian peninsula, including Portugal, is currently facing a particular meteorological situation. It is much hotter and much drier than usual in June.

“However, each time you gain degrees, you increase the risks and intensity of fires.

“As a further aggravating factor, the Iberian Peninsula is experiencing global warming more severely than other regions.Curt also said there was a growing trend of large, covering 100 hectares, and ‘mega’ wildfires, affecting more than 1,000 hectares. “It is really a growing problem all over the world and especially in Mediterranean Europe,” he added.

“They are still rare, accounting for only 2-3 percent of the fires, but are responsible for three-quarters of the burned areas.The different analyses of climate change show that these great fires will become more and more probable.”

June 19, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

72 years late – an apology to the hibakusha

Radiation research foundation to apologize for studying but not treating hibakusha 17, 2017 (Mainichi Japan)HIROSHIMA — The chairman of a joint Japan-U.S. research organization studying the long-term effects of radiation exposure on humans is expected to apologize to hibakusha — survivors of the 1945 U.S. atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki — who were studied but generally not treated by the organization’s American predecessor, it has been learned. Continue reading

June 19, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Hiroshima and Nagasaki survivors submit petition for nuclear ban

A-bomb survivors submit petition for nuclear ban Representatives of Japanese atomic bomb survivors have compiled a petition of nearly 3 million signatures calling for a nuclear weapons ban treaty. The group handed the document to the chair of the ongoing UN meeting on the convention.

The second round of negotiations aimed at concluding the world’s first-ever nuclear weapons ban treaty started on Thursday at UN headquarters in New York.

On the second day of talks on Friday, representatives of atomic bomb survivors in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Toshiyuki Mimaki and Masako Wada presented the petition to the chair of the meeting, Costa Rica’s envoy Elayne Whyte. They say their groups collected 2.96 million signatures over just more than a year since last April.

Wada handed the petition over along with a paper crane, a symbol of peace. She said the signatures represent the voices of atomic bomb survivors and citizens, and thanked the chair for her leadership.

Whyte responded that the main purpose of the treaty is to eliminate the suffering caused by nuclear weapons. The representatives applauded her when she said the signatures are very important for the negotiators.

After the handover, Wada observed that the draft treaty incorporates the Japanese word “hibakusha,” meaning atomic bombing survivor. She said she believes this shows the delegates have recognized the group’s long years of anti-nuclear activities.

Also in New York, atomic bomb survivor Masao Tomonaga from Nagasaki met Japan’s UN Ambassador Koro Bessho to relay a message from the Nagasaki mayor, Tomihisa Taue.

The message described a feeling of disappointment that is spreading among Nagasaki citizens over Japan’s absence from the negotiations.

Tomonaga said Bessho told him he understands their feeling, but Japan cannot decide on its own to leave the nuclear umbrella, and has had to make a difficult choice regarding the ongoing talks.

June 19, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Crikey names and shames the Liberal Neanderthals opposing Clean Energy Target

Who are the Liberal MPs worried about Turnbull’s Clean Energy Target?,, 16 June 17 Crikey intern Will Ziebell looks back over past public comments to work out which MPs could end up dissenting. Various media outlets reported this week that at least 22 Coalition MPs spent Tuesday’s joint party room meeting voicing their concern about the proposed Clean Energy Target.

With the numbers supposedly evenly divided between the Liberals and the Nationals, it’s worth taking note of exactly who among the Liberals is on the record as being BFFs with coal. So here are the defenders of coal, in their own words:

Tony Abbott   The former PM is still ardently attached to the rock he’s described as good for humanity…….Kevin Andrews……Ian Macdonald…….Craig Kelly……Andrew Hastie……Chris Back…..Rowan Ramsey…….Russell Broadbent……Angus Taylor……Tony Pasin……

June 19, 2017 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming, politics | Leave a comment

Future jobs in Far North Queensland threatened by Adani coal mine

Claims that Adani Coal Mine will threaten future tourism jobs in Far North, Tom Volling, The Cairns Post, June 19, 2017 A GROUP of scientists, doctors and reef conservationists claim a controversial coal mine destined for Central Queensland will negatively impact the Cairns economy.

June 19, 2017 Posted by | employment, Queensland | Leave a comment

The facts on wind farms and bird deaths

Wind farms are hardly the bird slayers they’re made out to be. Here’s why, The Conversation, Simon Chapman Emeritus Professor in Public Health, University of Sydney, June 16, 2017, People who oppose wind farms often claim wind turbine blades kill large numbers of birds, often referring to them as “bird choppers”. And claims of dangers to iconic or rare birds, especially raptors, have attracted a lot of attention.

Wind turbine blades do indeed kill birds and bats, but their contribution to total bird deaths is extremely low, as these three studies show.

A 2009 study using US and European data on bird deaths estimated the number of birds killed per unit of power generated by wind, fossil fuel and nuclear power systems.

It concluded:

wind farms and nuclear power stations are responsible each for between 0.3 and 0.4 fatalities per gigawatt-hour (GWh) of electricity while fossil-fuelled power stations are responsible for about 5.2 fatalities per GWh.

That’s nearly 15 times more. From this, the author estimated:

wind farms killed approximately seven thousand birds in the United States in 2006 but nuclear plants killed about 327,000 and fossil-fuelled power plants 14.5 million.

In other words, for every one bird killed by a wind turbine, nuclear and fossil fuel powered plants killed 2,118 birds……

And in Australia?

In Australia in 2006 a proposal for a 52-turbine wind farm plan on Victoria’s south-east coast at Bald Hills (now completed) was overruled by the then federal environment minister Ian Campbell.

He cited concerns about the future of the endangered orange-bellied parrot (Neophema chrysogaster), a migratory bird said to be at risk of extinction within 50 years. The Tarwin Valley Coastal Guardians, an anti wind farm group that had been opposing the proposed development…….

Perhaps the final word on this topic should go to the British Royal Society for the Protection of Birds. It built a wind turbine at its Bedfordshire headquarters to reduce its carbon emissions (and in doing so, aims to minimise species loss due to climate change). It recognised that wind power is far more beneficial to birds than it is harmful.

Simon Chapman and Fiona Crichton’s book, Wind Turbine Syndrome: a communicated disease, will be published by Sydney University Press later this year.

June 19, 2017 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, reference, wind | Leave a comment

Media’s very one-sided coverage of the Ukrainian crisis

It also remains a question why the U.S. mainstream media feels that it must protect the American people from alternative views even as the risks of nuclear confrontation escalate.

Why Don’t the U.S. Mainstream Media Report Vladimir Putin’s Take on the Ukraine Crisis? By Robert Parry / ConsortiumnewsA prime example of how today’s mainstream media paradigm works in the U.S. is the case of Ukraine, where Americans have been shielded from evidence that the 2014 ouster of democratically elected President Viktor Yanukovych was a U.S.-supported coup d’etat spearheaded by violent neo-Nazi extremists.

As The New York Times has instructed us, there was no coup in Ukraine; there was no U.S. interference; and there weren’t even that many neo-Nazis. And, the ensuing civil conflict wasn’t a resistance among Yanukovych’s supporters to his illegal ouster; no, it was “Russian aggression” or a “Russian invasion.”

If you deviate from this groupthink – if you point out how U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland talked about the U.S. spending $5 billion on Ukraine; if you mention her pre-coup intercepted phone call with U.S. Ambassador Geoffrey Pyatt discussing who the new leaders would be and how “to glue” or how “to “midwife this thing”; if you note how Nuland and Sen. John McCain urged on the violent anti-Yanukovych protesters; if you recognize that snipers firing from far-right-controlled buildings killed both police and protesters to provoke the climactic ouster of Yanukovych; and if you think all that indeed looks like a coup – you obviously are the victim of “Russian propaganda and disinformation.”

But most Americans probably haven’t heard any of that evidence revealing a coup, thanks to the mainstream U.S. media, which has essentially banned those deviant facts from the public discourse. If they are mentioned at all, they are lumped together with “fake news” amid the reassuring hope that soon there will be algorithms to purge such troublesome information from the Internet.

So, if Americans tune in to Part Three of Oliver Stone’s “The Putin Interviews” on “Showtime” and hear Russian President Vladimir Putin explain his perspective on the Ukraine crisis, they may become alarmed that Putin, leader of a nuclear-armed country, is delusional.

A Nuanced Perspective

In reality, Putin’s account of the Ukraine crisis is fairly nuanced. Continue reading

June 19, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Countries making polluters pay. Sweden passes legally binding emissions act

Climate Change
40 countries are making polluters pay for carbon pollution. Guess who’s not.
Most people who have given climate change policy any thought agree that it is important to put a price on greenhouse gas emissions. They are a form of harmful waste; those producing the waste should pay for the harms

Sweden passes ambitious climate law to be carbon neutral by 2045.
Sweden passed a new Climate Act on Thursday, legally binding the country to reach net-zero emissions by the year 2045. The act, which passed in parliament by a vote of 254 to 41, is even more ambitious than what the Scandinavian country pledged under the Paris Agreement: Under the new act, Sweden will reach carbon neutrality five years earlier.

June 19, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Dennis Matthews reviews Energy Market Operator (AEMO)’s report on ENERGY SUPPLY OUTLOOK

Dennis Matthews June 2017, Comments on “ENERGY SUPPLY OUTLOOK Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO), June 2017”  This 30 page report has more acronyms than you can shake a stick at. The average full page of text contains some 20 acronyms. For example, on the first page of CHAPTER 1 we have

“New information since the November 2016 updates to the ESOO and EAAP, and the March 2017 GSOO, which has been included in the ESO modelling, includes:”

In the majority of cases, the acronym is defined only when first used. There is no list of acronyms.

Needless to say, this makes for very difficult reading except for those working in the energy industry and bureaucracy. The typical energy consumer would be continually frustrated trying to find out what many of the acronyms mean.

Referring to thermal electricity power stations as coal-powered, or as gas-powered, generators (CPG or GPG) suggests a degree of technical confusion. The coal or gas is in fact an energy source (fuel) rather than a power source.

To avoid ambiguity and confusion, the acronym NEM (National Electricity Market) should be reserved for the actual market and not used for the region covered by the market.

A relatively new term (and acronym), ‘unserved energy’ (USE) seems bound to confuse. USE is defined as:

“the amount of energy that cannot be supplied to consumers, resulting in involuntary load shedding (loss of customer supply), because there is insufficient generation capacity, demand side participation, or network capability, to meet demand.”

In other words, it is a demand that is not filled (met, served). A more correct term would seem to be ‘unfilled energy demand’ (UFED).

In considering climate conditions that could lead to peak demand, the report concentrates on temperature, especially high temperature in summer. What is driving peak demand is an ever increasing desire for comfort, throughout the whole year. Ever increasing affluence has led to ever increasing ability to pay for more and more comfort and convenience.

The major determinants of comfort would appear to be temperature and moisture. In summer, high moisture makes hot days less comfortable, whilst in winter, high moisture makes cold days less comfortable. For a given ambient summer temperature, the higher the humidity, the greater the demand for cooling. Whilst for a given ambient winter temperature, the higher the rainfall, the greater the demand for heating.

Exacerbating the trend for more and more comfort and convenience is a trend to houses with larger open spaces, fewer occupants and worse insulation. Nowhere in the report is there any consideration of managing energy demand through better building design and construction. Demand management has come to mean paying consumers to turn off energy guzzling equipment during periods of peak demand (demand side participation, DSP).

The statement that “Extreme weather conditions typically occur on summer weekdays, between 4.00 pm and 8.00 pm” is obviously nonsensical. Presumably, it is meant to refer to energy demand.

In considering risks to ‘electricity supply adequacy’ due to extreme weather conditions, the report does not seem to have included bushfires and floods.


June 19, 2017 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, energy | Leave a comment

Alan Finkel on nuclear issues – he is (cautiously) pro nuclear

Finkel, in his Submission to the South Australian Nuclear Fuel Chain Royal Commission, gives qualified support to that (now dead) nuclear waste import plan, and vague support to nuclear power.

Importantly,   Finkel is opposed to Australia being the test place for the first Generation IV reactors.

June 19, 2017 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics | Leave a comment

Dennis Matthews Scrutinises the Finkel Energy Report

“The report recommends a Clean Energy Target as the mechanism for the electricity sector.”

The trouble with recommending ‘clean’ as distinct from ‘renewable’ is that ’clean’ means ‘low greenhouse gas emissions’, and hence opens up the electricity sector to nuclear power, which is definitely not environmentally clean in the more general sense and nuclear advocates will attempt to argue that, from an Australian viewpoint, nuclear power is ‘low emission’.

Dennis Matthews June 2017  Comments on“Independent Review into the Future Energy Security of the National Electricity Market Blueprint for the Future Alan Finkel June 2017”


The Finkel report recommendations involve greater regulation of an already highly regulated electricity market. These regulations are due to serious market failure, especially in those states that have privatised the electricity industry, yet nowhere is the possibility of de-privatisation (re-nationalisation) considered. The report’s answer to market failure is more, and more complicated, regulation and government funding. For example:

  • the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) “should develop a list of potential priority projects, in each region, that governments could support if the market is unable to deliver the investment required”.
  • For the priority projects, the Australian Energy Market Commission (AEMC) should give guidance for governments on the circumstances “that would warrant government intervention to facilitate specific transmission investments.”
  • “The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission should make recommendations on improving the transparency and clarity of electricity retail prices”.

The Finkel report, and its recommendations, contain many references to frequency control and fast frequency response but there are only two brief mentions in the report of direct current (DC) electricity, for which frequency control and fast frequency response are irrelevant.

The way in which the report refers to the financial year is ambiguous, for example: Continue reading

June 19, 2017 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, energy | Leave a comment

Drop in peak energy demand, as Western Australia goes for rooftop PV solar

Boom in rooftop PV shifting peaks, and taking market operator by surprise, [good graphs] By Giles Parkinson on 16 June 2017 The growth of rooftop solar PV in Western Australia has taken the market operator by surprise, but has resulted in a dramatic reduction in both the scale and the timing of peak demand in the state.

According to the latest statement of energy market opportunities for WA, the Australian Energy Market Operator says that rooftop solar PV – now on one in four homes and businesses in the state – reduced peak demand by 265MW, or 7.2 per cent in the last summer.

It says the uptake of rooftop solar in WA, which has been double expectations over the last two years – driven by falling costs of rooftop solar PV and the rise in grid prices – is “accelerating a paradigm shift” for the energy industry.

The biggest impact is on peak demand. The biggest peak in the state occurred on March 1, reaching 3,670MW in the 1700-1730 trading interval – the lowest since 2009.

 This was helped by the contribution of rooftop solar (265MW in that peak interval), and from demand response (124MW), a technology that AEMO wants to deploy more in the eastern states for the same reason.

“The rapid adoption of rooftop solar is not only slowing annual operational consumption growth but also eroding the mid-day grid demand and shifting peak demand to later in the day,” said AEMO’s Executive General Manager – Western Australia, Cameron Parrotte.

“With the strong growth in rooftop solar installations anticipated, AEMO expects demand in the middle of the day to shrink further, resulting in a rapid increase in demand in the lead up to the evening peak once the sun sets.” Continue reading

June 19, 2017 Posted by | storage, Western Australia | Leave a comment