Australian news, and some related international items

Australia: Climate change (to which nuclear power is irrelevant) – theme for August 2017

Of course the Great Barrier Reef is important, to Australia, and globally. It is a World Heritage site, and a unique and wonderful ecosystem.  It’s just that I get a bit sick of everyone talking about its economic value –  as though business is the only thing that matters to Australians.

Even more, I question the emphasis on the GBR, in context where nobody seems to be talking about the appalling impacts of climate change that are already happening, and will increase,  in African and Asian nations.

Climate change is a global tragedy, for humans and other species. We are now in an era, (the Anthropocene) in which global action is imperative – quite the wrong time to put up the barriers, and say “our nation first”

Even if we do think “Australia first” – we’d better realise that WE might need some international help, as Australia is predicted to be hit particularly hard by climate change.  Some of these impacts: increasing heat waves, some regions drier, bushfires, changed and damaged ecosystems, sea level rise, increased severity of floods. All this has effects on agriculture, infrastructure, human health, and society, with the most disadvantaged communities suffering the most.

The effects of climate change elsewhere will impact Australia – sea level rise, especially affecting Pacific islands, environmental refugees, food shortages, environmental disasters, social instability, and increasing need for humanitarian aid.  Australia is an island, yes, but can no longer function as though the rest of the world doesn’t matter.

Climate change is THE ISSUE right now, although the nuclear issue remains critical tooespecially this month, when we remember Hiroshima and Nagasaki.  The nuclear industry’s claims to fix climate change are farcical, and deserve to be ignored; the only relevance nuclear has is that its proponents are holding back REAL answers to global warming.



July 17, 2017 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, Christina themes, climate change - global warming | 1 Comment

Queensland Liberal National Party refuses to pull out of Paris Climate Accord

LNP members vote down call to pull out of Paris Climate Accord at Queensland convention, ABC News By Chris O’Brien, 16 July, Queensland Liberal National Party members have steered away from a potentially divisive move against Australia’s global climate position, while the party leader also vowed not to be distracted by federal squabbles in the lead up to the next election.

The party’s annual convention voted down a motion calling on the Commonwealth to pull out of the Paris Climate Accord, after two former presidents warned against undermining the Prime Minister.

“This motion is really about just putting the knife into the Federal Government,” immediate past president Bruce McIver said.

“They’ve agreed on it on our behalf, and I think if we don’t believe we should vote this down today, we are doing them an injustice.”………

July 17, 2017 Posted by | climate change - global warming, politics, Queensland | Leave a comment

Paul Beckwith says we are already in a climate emergency (I hope he’ wrong)

Abrupt Climate Mayhem Now, in Spite of Main-Stream-Climatologist Posturing  July 14, 2017  Quite frankly, I am sick and tired of people, especially main-stream-talking-head-scientists, downplaying the huge unprecedented threats that are accumulating daily and will soon take down our civilizations. Our world is one that is full of specialists, with no ability to join-the-dots and recognize that humanities existence, and that of our entire ecosystems of plants and animals is degrading rapidly. Even exponentially.

From my chair, I categorically state that anybody who downplays the significance and importance of our planets peril is part of the problem, and needs to get with the program or step aside so that the rest of us can do what is needed. The public needs the truth, no matter how bad it is to have any hope of changing course. And the truth is truly awful, at present.

Main-Stream-Scientists Screw Up Communicating Abrupt Climate Change I continue on my last video’s chat about the widely viewed New York Magazine article by David Wallace-Well’s on The Uninhabitable Earth, Famine, economic collapse, a sun that cooks us: What climate change could wreak — sooner than you think.

Everyone agrees that this article hit a nerve with Main-Stream-(Media: MSM; Scientists: MSS) and the public.

We all hear over and over, from Main-Stream-Scientists), that climate change is occurring “faster than expected“. Think about what this means. It means that what is expected is completely wrong.  What will, and is happening is way worse that what MSS are saying, and what MSM is reporting. The public needs the truth, and not some sugarcoated MSM/MSS bullshit.

Main-Stream-Media Awakens to Perils of Abrupt Climate Change?  A lot can happen in a day. Things can turn on a dime. Has this just happened? David Wallace-Wells wrote a great article in recently on “The Uninhabitable Earth”. Media around the world carried parts of it, and a number of scientists chimed in. Many people said the article is too apocalyptic. I say that the article is spot on. Civilization, more correctly humanity is going down big time, on our current path. Abrupt climate change all but guarantees that. Unless we collectively change course by:

1) Declare a global climate emergency.

2) Deploy technologies to remove carbon from the atmosphere &/or oceans.

3) Deploy technologies to cool the Arctic.

July 17, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Climate denialism rules the Liberal Party – and is bringing about a split within it

The most senior Liberal expressing doubt is former prime minister John Howard, who remains an influential figure in conservative circles.
Some of Mr Turnbull’s conservative critics cite his belief in global warming as evidence he is too left-wing for the Liberal Party.
The split within the Liberal Party is illustrated by its own think tank, the Menzies Research Centre.
More than half of federal Liberal MPs ‘don’t trust’ climate science: think tank The majority of federal Liberal MPs are not convinced the science behind climate change is settled and support reductions in emissions of greenhouse gases for political reasons, according to an prominent conservative think tank.John Roskam, the executive director of the Melbourne-based Institute of Public Affairs, said he hadn’t conducted a formal count but found most Liberal politicians shared his doubts about what many experts say is the greatest global threat to mankind.

“More than 50 per cent are solid sceptics and more than 50 per cent feel they need to be seen to do something,” he said in an interview. “The science is not settled.”

The overwhelming majority of climate change scientists accept the atmosphere is warming and humans are responsible. The burning of fossil fuels contributed to an increase in atmospheric carbon dioxide from 280 parts per million before 1800 to 396 parts per million in 2013, according to the Australian Academy of Science. Continue reading

July 17, 2017 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming, politics | Leave a comment

Australian States and Federal Govt approve 49 Finkel recommendations, but split on Clean Energy Target

COAG splits over clean energy target, but 49 Finkel ideas approved By Giles Parkinson on 14 July 2017 

Four Labor states and governments have formalised their push to purse their own clean energy target mechanism, officially breaking away from the federal government after the Coalition refused to endorse the Finkel Review’s recommendation on the issue.

The COAG energy council meeting in Brisbane endorsed 49 of the 50 recommendations from the Finkel Review, and endorsed the decision to get rid of the “limited merits review” that affects network spending. However, the federal government said it could not commit to a clean energy target.

South Australia, Victoria and Queensland, along with the ACT, said they would ask the Australian Energy market Commission to study how a CET might be implemented by the states saying “they can’t wait any longer”.

It is not clear how long this will take, and how quickly legislation can be introduced, or if it can survive state-based partisan politics given that both the South Australia and Queensland Labor governments are facing elections in the next 12 months.

 The role of the ACT is also unclear, given that it will reach its target of 100 per cent renewable energy by 2020.

These same states this week all committed to zero net emissions by 2050, in a ceremony marking the visit of former vice-president and climate campaigner Al Gore.

“It is incredibly frustrating that despite the overwhelming community support for a market mechanism, the Federal Government is still resisting committing to all 50 Finkel recommendations,” South Australia energy minister Tom Koutsantonis said in a statement.

“Opposition from the coal lobby and the right wing of his party is preventing the Prime Minister from acting in the interests of all Australians.”

The federal Coalition has been riven by divisions over the proposed CET, with conservative commentators unanimously condemning the idea, and the rump of Far Right Coalition MPs also voicing their opposition.

Federal energy minister Josh Frydenberg said COAG had agreed a “significant set of reforms ….  to ensure a more affordable and reliable energy system.”

The recommendations include the creation of an Energy Security Board. Each jurisdiction will send through a name; and the next few weeks the states will agree on a chair and deputy chair. The other members will be the heads of the three main energy industry regulators, rule-makers and operators.

July 17, 2017 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, energy, politics | Leave a comment

The birth of the new Nuclear Prohibition Treaty

While the new NPT is far from perfect and weak in some aspects, it is likely to enter into force in due course. Although some sceptics have dismissed its implementation as difficult if not impossible, the new NPT can do no worse than the old one.

Irrespective of its future prospects, the passing of the new NPT has already challenged the very basis of nuclear deterrence and the nuclear order based on the old NPT.

The birth of the new Nuclear Prohibition Treaty

The myths perpetrated by the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty are being challenged by the Nuclear Prohibition TreatyW.P.S. Sidhu, 16 July 17, The 1968 Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) is based on three myths: first, that nuclear weapons are an entitlement bestowed upon only a handful of countries that had tested a nuclear weapon before the treaty entered into force in 1970. Second, that the security of most of the world’s nations—indeed world order itself—is based on the possession of or protection by nuclear weapons. Third, that nuclear weapons cannot be banned and nuclear disarmament was only possible as part of a process of “general and complete disarmament”, implying that nuclear weapons might be the last to be disarmed.

These myths have been effectively challenged by the treaty on the prohibition of nuclear weapons or the Nuclear Prohibition Treaty (NPT), as it is being popularly called, which was voted into existence at the UN on 7 July. Of the 125-odd non-nuclear weapon states that participated in the negotiations, 122 voted in favour of the new NPT and only one state, the Netherlands—the sole North Atlantic Treaty Organization (Nato) representative which lives under a nuclear umbrella—voted against. Indeed, had the Netherlands not called for a vote, the treaty would have been approved by consensus. This move was a comic case of Dutch courage—a valiant but vacuous gesture.

The new NPT challenges the old NPT’s myth of entitlement by holding states that after 7 July “owned, possessed or controlled nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices” responsible for “verifying the irreversible elimination of its nuclear-weapon programme” if they become parties to the treaty. In doing so, nuclear weapons have been devalued and are reduced to a liability rather than being treated as an asset. Continue reading

July 17, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Republican dominated Congress Calls Climate Change ‘Direct Threat’ to Security

In Landmark Move, GOP Congress Calls Climate Change ‘Direct Threat’ to Security
Extreme weather and rising seas threaten bases from Virginia to Guam. For the first time, a Republican House has voted to recognize that.

July 17, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

The disgraceful state of Australia’s politics and media on clean energy

It is an absurd situation we find ourselves in. The public support for these new technologies is overwhelming, as it is in business (apart from those seeking to protect stranded assets), and among most politicians – even many in the Liberal Party, as NSW energy minister Don Harwin revealed late last month.

Yet here we are: Short-term policies; a patchwork of rules on energy efficiency; the worst building stock in the world; the most inefficient and polluting cars; and the world’s most expensive and dirty grid, soaring emissions, and rising temperatures.

And two years after obtaining power, prime minister Malcolm Turnbull is still defending policies he once describes as “bullshit,” too afraid to call out the nonsense spread by those keeping him in power.  

How did Australia get this stupid about clean energy?, By Giles Parkinson on 14 July 2017, Just when you thought that the public debate around clean energy in Australia could not possibly get any worse, any dumber, or any further divorced from reality, it did.

Conservatives have been railing against renewables and carbon pricing for at least a decade. So ingrained has it become in our national psyche that it is like a State of Origin contest between energy sources and their fans. “Queenslander”, shout the league fans. “Fossil fuels” screech the incumbents.

But it plumbed further depths this week. And it got really stupid and really nasty. Conservatives in the government and the media rebooted their attacks on wind and solar energy, and extended it to battery storage and vehicle emission standards, with the Murdoch media dubbing the latter as a “carbon tax on cars.”

Craig Kelly, the chair of Coalition’s energy policy committee, said renewable energy “would kill people”, a claim happily repeated by columnist Andrew Bolt.

 Resources Minister Matt Canavan urged the Queensland government to “forget about climate change”, while the LNP in Queensland will this weekend consider a motion urging Australia to quit the Paris climate deal.

Worse, the conservatives started attacking individuals. The verbal assault on chief scientist Alan Finkel was launched way back in February when it was clear he would not toe the fossil fuel line. And even after delivering what many consider a “soft option”, the conservatives rekindled their attack. Continue reading

July 17, 2017 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, media, politics | 2 Comments

Earth “ungovernable” if sea levels keep rising

Earth could become ‘practically ungovernable’ if sea levels keep rising, says former Nasa climate chief Johnston Environment Correspondent, 15 July 17  @montaukian The Earth could become “practically ungovernable” because of sea level rise, Nasa’s former head of climate research, Professor James Hansen, has warned.Professor Hansen, who was among the first scientists to alert politicians and the public to the risks posed by climate change, told New York Magazine that he doubted the atmosphere would warm by four or five degrees Celsius by the end of this century – the upper end of current projections, which would likely end human civilisation as we know it.However he said the biggest problem would be sea level rise. Professor Hanson was an author of a scientific paper published last year which warned that continued high fossil fuel emissions could increase sea levels by “several meters over a timescale of 50 to 150 years”.

This is significantly higher than the latest expert report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which forecast a range from about 30cm to just under a metre, depending on emissions.Asked to consider what the world would be like if the “scarier” projections of climate change for the end of the century became reality, Professor Hansen, former director of the Nasa Goddard Institute for Space Studies, said: “I don’t think we’re going to get four or five degrees this century, because we get a cooling effect from the melting ice. But the biggest effect will be that melting ice.“In my opinion that’s the big thing – sea-level rise – because we have such a large fraction of people on coastlines, more than half of the large cities in the world are on coastlines.

“The economic implications of that, and the migrations and the social effects of migrations … the planet could become practically ungovernable, it seems to me.

“Once sea levels go up significantly, you won’t have stable shorelines. Just parts of the city will go under water, but then it doesn’t make sense to continue to build there … By the time you get to even one-meter rise, you’re going to be losing more land.”The growing human population was a “problem”, he said.“That’s why you want to have energy that’s needed for people to eliminate poverty, because countries that have become wealthy have the population under control. But if you do begin to lose major cities [then] the planet becomes ungovernable,” Professor Hansen said.But if the world did reach four or five degrees, the scientist said this would mean “the tropics and the subtropics are going to be practically uninhabitable”.

“It’s already becoming uncomfortable in the summers, in the subtropics, you can’t work outdoors. And agriculture, more than half of the jobs are outdoors,” he said. He also reiterated the argument in favour of a carbon tax in which the proceeds were given back to the public – creating a windfall for more than two-thirds of the population.

“If you made the price of fossil fuels honest by including a gradually rising carbon fee, then it actually spurs the economy and increases the GNP as you shift toward clean energies and energy efficiency. It creates potentially millions of jobs,” Professor Hansen said.

“The way to spur the economy – to modernise the economy and modernise the energy structure – would be to give the money back to the public because a carbon fee is a progressive tax, in the sense that rich people have bigger carbon footprints.

“So if you do give 100 per cent of the money to the public, 70 per cent of the public comes out ahead.”



July 17, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Renewable energy news 17 July

This government needs to get its head around renewables
Peter FitzSimons

Bonanza tipped from clean power plan
Mark Bailey
QUEENSLAND has seen a clean energy boom, with unprecedented levels of renewable energy investment. And it’s about to pay off.

Western Australia
Energy-saving hobbit house in WA’s South West
A man from the small West Australian town of Quindalup lives in a home covered by almost 1,000 tonnes of dirt and is proud to refer to himself as a modern-day hobbit.

July 17, 2017 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, efficiency, energy | Leave a comment