Antinuclear

Australian news, and some related international items

Outside of the exclusion zone, Shirakawa city, Fukushima: 1-3 µSv/h

Fukushima 311 Watchdogs

17-aug-2017-shirakawa-city

Aug 17th, 017. From Mrs. Hiroko Tsuzuki:

“Shirakawa City. Fukushima Prefecture. All over my hometown, former residence, public school, High School, Bus Stops. 1-3 µSv/h.”

97.1 km from Fukushima Daiichi. Way outside of the “evacuation zone” so they have no recourse.

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August 25, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

As climate change intensifies, Australia’s farmers will be hard hit

Climate change will hit our farmers harder and hotter https://www.qt.com.au/news/climate-change-will-hit-our-farmers-harder-and-hot/3216205/ Geoff Egan | 25th Aug 2017 A LEADING commodity trader has warned increasingly common extreme and volatile weather conditions will cause havoc for Queensland’s agricultural producers.

August 25, 2017 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming | Leave a comment

Why climate change’s 2 degrees Celsius of warming limit is important

Why is climate change’s 2 degrees Celsius of warming limit so important? The Conversation, David Titley, Professor of Practice in Meteorology, Professor of International Affairs & Director Center for Solutions to Weather and Climate Risk, Pennsylvania State University, August 23, 2017 

If you read or listen to almost any article about climate change, it’s likely the story refers in some way to the “2 degrees Celsius limit.” The story often mentions greatly increased risks if the climate exceeds 2°C and even “catastrophic” impacts to our world if we warm more than the target.

Recently a series of scientific papers have come out and stated that we have a 5 percent chance of limiting warming to 2°C, and only one chance in a hundred of keeping man-made global warming to 1.5°C, the aspirational goal of the 2015 Paris United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change conference. Additionally, recent research shows that we may have already locked in 1.5°C of warming even if we magically reduced our carbon footprint to zero today………

This short history makes it clear that the goal evolved from the qualitative but reasonable desire to keep changes to the climate within certain bounds: namely, within what the world had experienced in the relatively recent geological past to avoid catastrophically disrupting both human civilization and natural ecosystems.

Climate scientists subsequently began supporting the idea of a limit of 1°C or 2°C starting over three decades ago. They showed the likely risks increase with temperatures over 1°C, and those risks grow substantially with additional warming.

And if we miss the target?

Perhaps the most powerful aspect about the 2°C threshold is not its scientific veracity, but its simplicity as an organizing principle.

The climate system is vast and has more dynamics, parameters and variations in space and time than is possible to quickly and simply convey. What the 2°C threshold lacks in nuance and depth, it more than makes up as a goal that is understandable, measurable and may still be achievable, although our actions will need to change quickly. Goals and goal-setting are very powerful instruments in effecting change.

While the 2°C threshold is a blunt instrument that has many faults, similar to attempting to judge a quarterback’s value to his team solely by his rating, its ability to rally 195 countries to sign an agreement should not be discounted

Ultimately, what should we do if we cannot make the 1.5°C or 2°C limit? The most current IPCC report shows the risks, parsed by continent, of a 2°C world, and how they are part of a continuum of risk extending from today’s climate to a 4°C.

Most of these risks are assessed by the IPCC to increase in steady fashion. That is, for most aspects of climate impacts we do not “fall off a cliff” at 2°C, although considerable damage to coral reefs and even agriculture may increase significantly around this threshold.

Like any goal, the 2°C limit should be ambitious but achievable. However, if it is not met, we should do everything we can to meet a 2¼°C or 2.5°C goal.

These goals can be compared to the speed limits for trucks we see on a mountain descent. The speed limit (say 30 mph) will allow trucks of any type to descend with a safety margin to spare. We know that coming down the hill at 70 mph likely results in a crash at the bottom.

In between those two numbers? The risk increases – and that’s where we are with climate change. If we can’t come down the hill at 30 mph, let’s try for 35 or 40 mph. Because we know that at 70 mph – or business as usual – we will have a very bad outcome, and nobody wants that. https://theconversation.com/why-is-climate-changes-2-degrees-celsius-of-warming-limit-so-important-82058

August 25, 2017 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Western Australia Shire of Leonora keen to make money by hosting radioactive trash

Leonora lobbies for nuclear waste dump in its backyard     ABC Goldfields  By Jarrod Lucas  18 Aug 17 Leonora in WA’s northern Goldfields is putting together a bid for an outback repository to store radioactive waste.

The Federal Government’s decade-long search for a national radioactive waste management facility appears far from over.

This has provided a window of opportunity for the Shire of Leonora to press its case again to host a national repository for waste arising from medical, industrial and scientific use.

Leonora looked to have missed its chance in November 2015 when it was left off a short-list of six sites, five of which have since been ruled out by the government.

On that occasion, the Shire put together a last-minute bid, nominating about 81 hectares of freehold land owned by Councillor Glenn Baker.

An application for an exploration license for a new site, north-west of Leonora, is currently being assessed by multiple State Government departments.

Shire of Leonora president Peter Craig conceded there were no guarantees the new site would receive state approval.

But he said the Council believed the waste dump was an opportunity worth pursuing.

“It’s a long-term prospect – we’re certainly putting ourselves out there there’s no doubt about that,” Mr Craig said.  “We feel going forward there’s a lot of opportunities, money to be made.”

….He said the repository would be built underground and the Goldfields mining industry is perfectly placed to build it.

“We’re probably going to have some opposition from the State Government I would imagine, but at the end of the day, the Federal government would more than likely overrule it if the land is in a location which is suitable.”……   http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-08-18/remote-wa-town-wants-radioactive-waste-dump-in-its-backyard/8821240

August 25, 2017 Posted by | Federal nuclear waste dump, Western Australia | Leave a comment

Top-secret base Pine Gap might involve Australians in drone strikes on innocent civilians

Fear Pine Gap role could lead to Australian war crime prosecutions, 9 News, By Richard Wood Aug 21, 2017 Australians directing US-led drone strikes from the top-secret base Pine Gap base, near Alice Springs, could face war crime prosecution if innocent civilians are killed.

Leaked documents from the US National Security Agency provide a rare insight into the crucial role Pine Gap plays in collecting data from satellites which help guide drone strikes and special forces operations against terrorist targets, The Intercept and the ABC report.

Their findings were based on documents from within the NSA, leaked by former analyst Edward Snowden.

 Emily Howie, the director of advocacy and research at the Human Rights Law Centre, told The Intercept the Australian government should provide greater accountability on its role in US drone operations.

“The legal problem that’s created by drone strikes is that there may very well be violations of the laws of armed conflict … and that Australia may be involved in those potential war crimes through the facility at Pine Gap,” Howie told The Intercept and the ABC.

The first thing that we need from the Australian government is for it to come clean about exactly what Australians are doing inside the Pine Gap facility in terms of coordinating with the United States on the targeting using drones.”

The leaked NSA documents reveal the crucial role Pine Gap plays today in the US war on terror.

One document, titled ‘NSA Intelligence Relationship with Australia’, says: “Joint Defence Facility at Pine Gap (RAINFALL) [is] a site which plays a significant role in supporting both intelligence activities and military operations.”

But the harvesting of satellite information for drone strikes and other military operations has sparked concern about Australia’s involvement.

US-led drone strikes have jumped in recent years but there has also seen a spike in civilian deaths caused by them…..Since US President Donald Trump came to power in January, the number of drone strikes and special forces raids have increased, while officials have striven to scrap rules aimed at preventing civilian death in such attacks…….http://www.9news.com.au/national/2017/08/21/12/23/concern-pine-gap-role-could-lead-to-australians-being-prosecuted

August 25, 2017 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Climate change and infectious diseases

The pathogen with the highest sensitivity to climate factors was Vibrio cholera, the microbe that causes the serious, and often deadly, diarrheal disease, cholera. Cholera had nine climate drivers, indicating high volatility in the face of climate change.

These Infections Are Likely to Get Worse as the Climate ChangesInvisiverse, BY CYNTHIA WALLENTINE, 08/23/2017

When the climate changes, so do all the things that rely on the climate, including people, plants, and pathogens. A European study recently took a broad look at what kind of microorganisms are most likely to be affected as climate change heats, cools, dries, and wets the world around us.

In a study published in the journal Scientific Reports, a research team from the University of Liverpool performed a broad assessment of how factors of climate change impact pathogens that make humans and animals sick. By understanding which microorganisms are more sensitive to environmental change, we have a better idea of how infection rates might change as the environment grows progressively less stable.

What Are Climate Drivers?

Continue reading

August 25, 2017 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Exxon Mobil Corp deliberately misled public on climate change

Exxon accused by Harvard researchers of misleading public on climate change, ABC News 24 Aug 17 Two Harvard University researchers say they have collected data proving Exxon Mobil Corp made “explicit factual misrepresentations” in newspaper ads it purchased to convey its views on the oil industry and climate science.

In an article in the journal Environmental Research Letters, researchers Geoffrey Supran and Naomi Oreskes said they examined 187 documents, including internal memos, peer-reviewed papers by Exxon scientists and “advertorials” that ran in The New York Times — paid advertisements in the style of opinion pieces.

The researchers said they used a social science analysis method to turn statements in the documents into data points that could be counted and compared to each other.

Exxon ‘consistently asserted doubt’ on climate change

Mr Supran and Ms Oreskes said as early as 1979, Exxon scientists acknowledged burning fossil fuels was adding more carbon dioxide to the atmosphere and causing global temperatures to rise, but they said the company’s position in newspaper ads remained significantly different by consistently asserting doubt about climate science.

The study was funded by the Rockefeller family philanthropies, which previously supported a campaign to prove Exxon knew more than it publicly admitted about climate change.

That campaign used the slogan #ExxonKnew…..

Ms Oreskes said the Rockefeller family funding did not affect the study’s outcome.

She said the impetus for the study came from Exxon’s responses to reports in InsideClimate News and The Los Angeles Times in September 2015 and October 2015, respectively, that Exxon’s scientists had long known of the dangers fossil fuels posed to the earth’s climate…..http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-08-24/exxon-climate-change-misled-public-harvard-researchers-say/8837894

August 25, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Climate change really IS serious – it’s affecting the supply of WINE!

Climate change is real. Maybe once it comes for our vino, more people will get on board with trying to slow it.

Climate change is about to mess with your wine supply, so yes, things are very serious http://hellogiggles.com/climate-change-is-about-to-mess-with-your-wine-supply/Karen Fratti August 24, 2017 Most of us know that climate change is an ongoing problem, but it can be hard to see the direct effects of it in our daily lives. Unless you study the populations of animals that are suffering due to it or are a farmer, the change is definitely incremental enough to ignore. But climate change is already affecting wine production, so maybe more people will notice what is going on a little sooner than expected. Because whether you can experience the effects of climate change or not, it’s happening.

European wine crops are suffering under climate change. Continue reading

August 25, 2017 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

A reality check on the situation of North Korea

North Korea also has the collective memory of the horror wrought by the US in the three year conflict on a country then with a population of just 9.6 million souls. US General Curtis Lemay in the aftermath stated: “After destroying North Korea’s seventy eight cities and thousands of her villages, and killing countless numbers of her civilians … Over a period of three years or so we killed off – what – twenty percent of the population.”

North Korea, An Aggressor? A Reality Check http://www.globalresearch.ca/north-korea-an-aggressor-a-reality-check/5605534, By Felicity Arbuthnot, Global Research, August 24, 2017

“ … war in our time is always indiscriminate, a war against innocents, a war against children.”(Howard Zinn, 1922-2010.)

“All war represents a failure of diplomacy.” (Tony Benn, MP. 1925-2014.)

“No country too poor, too small, too far away, not to be threat, a threat to the American way of life.” (William Blum, “Rogue State.”)   

   The mention of one tiny country appears to strike at the rationality and sanity of those who should know far better. On Sunday, 6th August, for example, The Guardian headed an editorial: “The Guardian view on sanctions: an essential tool.” Clearly the average of five thousands souls a month, the majority children, dying of “embargo related causes” in Iraq, year after grinding year – genocide in the name of the UN – for over a decade has long been forgotten by the broadsheet of the left.

This time of course, the target is North Korea upon whom the United Nations Security Council has voted unanimously to freeze, strangulate and deny essentials, normality, humanity. Diplomacy as ever, not even a consideration. The Guardian, however, incredibly, declared the decimating sanctions: “A rare triumph of diplomacy …” (Guardian 6th August 2017.)

As US Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson, the US’ top “diplomat” and his North Korean counterpart Ri Yong-ho headed for the annual Ministerial meeting of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) in Manila on 5th August, a State Department spokesperson said of Tillerson:

“The Secretary has no plans to meet the North Korean Foreign Minister in Manila, and I don’t expect to see that happen”

Pathetic. In April, approaching his hundredth day in office, Trump said of North Korea:

“We’d love to solve things diplomatically but it’s very difficult.”

No it is not. Talk, walk in the other’s psychological shoes. Then, there they were at the same venue but the Trump Administration clearly does not alone live in a land of missed opportunities, but of opportunities deliberately buried in landfill miles deep. This in spite of his having said in the same statement:

“There is a chance that we could end up having a major, major conflict with North Korea. Absolutely.”

A bit of perspective: 27th July 2017 marked sixty four years since the armistice agreement that ended the devastating three year Korean war, however there has never been a peace treaty, thus technically the Korean war has never ended. Given that and American’s penchant for wiping out countries with small populations which pose them no threat (think most recently, Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya) no wonder North Korea wishes to look as if it has some heavy protective gear behind the front door, so to speak. Continue reading

August 25, 2017 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Australia’s religious leaders unite to oppose Adani coal mine expansion

The Adani coalmine will hasten a climate catastrophe. As faith leaders, we must act
A Buddhist leader has told environment minister Josh Frydenberg he would stand in front of machinery if digging started. All people of faith should join him,
Guardian,   Jonathan Keren-Black and Tejopala Rawls, 23 Aug 17 
  Earlier in August, six faith leaders met Australia’s environment and energy minister, Josh Frydenberg. Our group included Bishop Philip Huggins, the president of the National Council of Churches, a Uniting Church reverend, a rabbi, a Catholic nun and an ordained Buddhist. This is not the start of a joke, but a polite and serious exchange.

It might seem that religion has little to do with the environment or energy. Yet each of us at the meeting wanted to raise a matter that, when we consider the deepest values of our respective traditions, is of grave moral concern: the proposed Adani coalmine. We were there to ask the minister to revoke its environmental licence.

The delegation reminded the minister that a number of faith leaders from across Australia wrote him an open letter about it on 5 May, to which he had not yet replied.

Around the world a great many people of faith are deeply concerned about the climate crisis. Continue reading

August 25, 2017 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming, religion and ethics | Leave a comment

Little hope for humanity with Trump at the wheel in USA

What hope is there for humanity? The answer must be: none, Canberra Times, Julian Cribb, 25 Aug 17,  The day foreseen by US journalist HL Mencken when the White House is ‘adorned by a downright moron’ seems, on the face of the accumulating evidence, to have dawned. Regrettably this person has his finger on a certain button.

Why Americans are not more alarmed about this can only be attributed to the very poor level of scientific literacy in what is, to all intents and purposes, the world’s foremost scientific society. How Americans can be so great at science yet, in aggregate, understand so little about it, is a question for the Ages. Unfortunately, the Ages will probably not have the leisure to debate it.

The missing bit of information is that a nuclear war, even a small one, could eliminate most of civilisation, Americans (even those with well-stocked fallout shelters) included.

It is still an obscure historical detail that all-out nuclear Armageddon between the USSR and USA was avoided, in the 1980s, by some rather brave scientists sticking out their necks to warn Reagan and Gorbachev that their calculations had revealed that “a nuclear war cannot be won and should never be fought”, as Reagan summarised it in his Address to the Nation (1984).

These scientists had worked out that – regardless of fireball, blast and radiation – the amount of dust and smoke thrown into the atmosphere by the unleashing of multiple nuclear warheads would chill the planet by several degrees for several years, causing massive crop-killing frosts which would destroy the food supply for just about everyone worldwide.

 Fast forward a few decades and climate modelling has become immensely more precise and sophisticated.  In more recent times Alan Robock and Brian Toon used it to calculate that the amount of dust and ash from even a ‘limited nuclear war’ would wreck food supplies globally for years. Fifty to 100 small (Hiroshima-sized) nukes would cause 1-2 billion people to starve and possibly end civilization, they calculated. Eight countries presently have this power in their nuclear arsenals.

But, to be brutally frank, how many of the countries are run by someone who is completely sane, and doesn’t suffer from some wild, obsessional hatred for some other branch of humanity?

Thus, the real problem emerges. There are, and will be, innumerable idiots with their finger on a button potent enough to destroy all or most of the 7.5 billion human inhabitants of Earth. The conjunction between nuclear firepower and mental incapacity is unavoidable.

Trump alone, we are told, commands the potential first-strike launch of 900 nuclear weapons – 9-18 times enough to eliminate civilisation. Then he has another 6000 nukes in varying states of readiness to support his initial misjudgement. So the Donald, if he has a bad night’s viewing, can – in theory at least – take out human civilisation 50 times over…

The New York Times recently published a mocking article contrasting Trump with the mad Roman Emperor Caligula, unfavourably to Trump. But Caligula, whatever his bloodlust, never wielded the power to eliminate civilisation, not even his own. Americans, in their naivety, have awarded that power to their present chief…..

like Americans, a third of the world’s countries simply do not grasp the remorseless scientific logic of human extinction. Their education, imagination or simple common sense, does not encompass it. They have no intuition of what global famine, societal disintegration, mass cannibalism and infanticide might look like. So, they block out the issue.

This, alack, does not abolish it.

Only wisdom can do that.

Ban all nukes, their materials and technology. Ban them now. Ban them everywhere. Ban them forever.

Julian Cribb is an Australian science writer and author of Surviving the 21st Century (Springer 2017)  http://www.canberratimes.com.au/comment/what-hope-is-there-for-humanity-the-answer-must-be-none-20170822-gy1b1i.html

August 25, 2017 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Economists find the Finkel Clean Energy Target plan ‘better than nothing’

Finkel’s Clean Energy Target plan ‘better than nothing’: economists poll The Conversation, Bruce Mountain Director, Carbon and Energy Markets., Victoria University, August 25, 2017 Few topics have attracted as much political attention in Australia over the past decade as emissions reduction policy.

Amid mounting concern over electricity price increases across Australia and coinciding with blackouts in South Australia and near-misses in New South Wales, the Australian government asked Chief Scientist Alan Finkel to provide a blueprint for reform of the electricity industry, in a context in which emissions reduction policy was an underlying drumbeat.

In a new poll of the ESA Monash Forum of leading economists, a majority said that Finkel’s suggested Clean Energy Target was not necessarily a better option than previously suggested policies such as an emissions trading scheme. But many added that doing nothing would be worse still.


Read more: The Finkel Review: finally, a sensible and solid footing for the electricity sector.


The Finkel Review’s terms of reference explicitly precluded it from advising on economy-wide emissions reduction policy, and implicitly required it also to reject emission reduction policies such as an emissions tax or cap and trade scheme.

One of the Finkel Review’s major recommendations was a Clean Energy Target (CET). This is effectively an extension of the existing Renewable Energy Target to cover power generation which has a greenhouse gas emissions intensity below a defined hurdle. Such generation can sell certificates which electricity retailers (and directly connected large customers) will be required to buy.

The ESA Monash Forum panel was asked to consider whether this approach was “preferable” to an emission tax or cap and trade scheme. As usual, responses could range from strong disagreement to strong agreement with an option to neither agree nor disagree. Twenty-five members of the 53-member panel voted, and most added commentary to their response – you can see a summary of their verdicts below [on original], and their detailed comments at the end of this article.

headline result from the survey is that a large majority of the panel does not think the CET is preferable to a tax or cap and trade scheme. None strongly agreed that the CET was preferable, whereas 16 either disagreed or strongly disagreed, and four agreed……..https://theconversation.com/finkels-clean-energy-target-plan-better-than-nothing-economists-poll-82066

August 25, 2017 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, energy | Leave a comment

The “Trump” States, Southeastern USA will be hit with the highest climate change costs

New study finds that climate change costs will hit Trump country hardest
In the USA, the southeastern states are most vulnerable to the costly impacts from human-caused climate change,
Guardian, John Abraham 24 Aug 17 “….. The costs are not uniformly distributed. Some regions will suffer more and other regions will suffer less. In fact, some regions will actually benefit in a warming climate. We understand that the world is interconnected and costs will inevitably be shared to some extent. But it is clear we won’t all suffer the same.

It is also clear that the natural biosystems won’t suffer the same. Some areas are more susceptible to climate change, others less so. Coastal areas and tropical areas are great examples. We know that sea level rise and ocean acidification will impact coastal regions much more than where I live (Minnesota, USA). But tropical zones that experience a very small climate variation throughout the year (there is no winter, for instance, in the tropics) have biosystems that have evolved to survive in very tight climate ranges. The plants and animals just are not used to systematic changes to the climate.

In my opinion, the most interesting research deals with answering just these questions.

Fortunately, a really important paper just came out in Science titled Estimating Economic Damage from Climate Change in the United States. Granted, this paper focused on the United States, but the analysis method and lessons can be applied elsewhere.

So what did they find? First, even in a single country like the United States, the losses will be very uneven. In general, the more southern states will suffer most.  In the figure below, counties are colored by economic consequences from climate change under a business as usual scenario. The time period associated with the image is 2080–2099. Yellow, orange and red colors correspond to climate costs. Green colors are areas where climate change benefits will be seen…..

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/climate-consensus-97-per-cent/2017/aug/24/new-study-finds-that-climate-change-costs-will-hit-trump-country-hardest

August 25, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Coal in decline: an industry on life support. Where does this leave Adani project?

Australia now exports about 200m tonnes. Adani project is, by any measure, a massive expansion that could push the world measurably closer to breaching the goals of the Paris climate agreement……

“The [Adani Carmichael coal] project is not on the radar, not expected to happen, immaterial for India’s energy plans given the progressive move away from imported thermal coal and just unbankable for Indian banks given excessive Adani group debt.”

Coal in decline: Adani in question and Australia out of step  Special report: India and China are shifting away from coal imports and coal-fired power while a mega-mine is planned for Queensland. Where does this leave coal in Australia?

Coal in decline: an industry on life support, Guardian, by Adam Morton , 24 Aug 17,   The Paris-based International Energy Agency ……suggested investment in new coal power across the globe has peaked and is on the verge of a steep decline. In a coinciding media briefing, the IEA chief economist, Laszlo Varro, declared the “century of coal” that started in 2000 – evident in the extraordinary wave of investment by emerging Asian nations – may already be over.

It is becoming clear that Chinese coal demand has peaked,” he went on. “The outlook for imports [to] India and other countries is uncertain.”

What does this mean for Australia, producer of about 30% of the world’s coal, as it plans a vast expansion in production in outback Queensland?……

Market analysts at Citi Research last month warned investors that the outlook for coal stocks was pessimistic: major banks were financing fewer projects; Donald Trump’s much-vaunted pro-coal and anti-climate change stance was having little impact in the US…..

In a report for the Australian Conservation Foundation, consultants ACIL Allenagreed. “At present, there is considerable pessimism regarding the long-term outlook for prices of thermal coal in international markets,” it said. “This is reflected in forecasts by credible Australian and international agencies.” Continue reading

August 25, 2017 Posted by | business, climate change - global warming, Queensland | Leave a comment

Energy Minister Frydenberg stalling on decision about $110m Port Augusta solar thermal funds?

Frydenberg calls for advice on $110m Port Augusta solar thermal funds, REneweconomy

August 25, 2017 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics, solar, South Australia | Leave a comment