Australian news, and some related international items

To September 2nd – nuclear and climate news – Australia

Climate change remains the greatest global threat – because it is getting close to irreversible. But the nuclear threat is pretty big too. This month, nations can ratify the UN  treaty on the prohibition of nuclear . It is not too late for more countries to join the treaty. It will be open for signatures from any UN member state on 20 September during the annual general assembly.

The North Korean nuclear crisis doesn’t go away.  North Korea’s missile development continues, as USA intensifies its war games on North Korea’s doorstep. One small slip-up could bring nuclear catastrophe.

Floods continue, affecting at least 41 million people in India, Bangladesh and Nepal.  In America, the Houston flood introduces the age of climate chaos for the “developed”world.

Australian government cracking down on environmental activists.

Malcolm Turnbull tries to look climate change good, with Snowy Hydro funding.

NUCLEAR. Australia should join Nuclear Weapons Ban Treaty.

Australian media mindlessly regurgitates nuclear lobby spin about medical wastes. Time for Australia to have an inquiry into nuclear waste production and storage.  Deep divisions caused in rural community of Kimba, over Federal govt’s radioactive trash dump plan.  Royal Adelaide Hospital waste to be shipped back overseas when it closes .

Aboriginal women’s long walk to stop uranium mining in Western Australia.

Minerals Council wants “clean” “affordable” nuclear power for Australia.

A truly good news story – the cuttlefish are back in Spencer Gulf.

CLIMATE. We can no longer tolerate climate change denial.   Australian government watering down the climate recommendations of the Finkel energy report. The Finkel clean energy target will not meet Australia’s goals in Paris climate agreement, anyway. Australian govt –‘no plans’ to build or fund coal power, says PM Malcolm Turnbull.

ENERGY Enough renewable energy to power 70% of Australian homes.Without Clean Energy Target, Australia’s booming renewable energy will flounder: Frydenberg prevaricates. Lots of renewable energy news at  REneweconomy.


September 2, 2017 Posted by | Christina reviews | Leave a comment

Nuclear depression: brother, can you spare US$25.7 billion?

Nuclear power is affordable, says the Minerals Council. But the market (and power companies) beg to differ. Crikey 2 Sept 17 Bernard Keane, Politics Editor

Fans of nuclear power might have got excited this morning when they read that the Minerals Council of Australia had produced an “analysis” on how it was time to end the prohibition on nuclear power plants in Australia…. (subscribers only)

September 2, 2017 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Minerals Council to lobby Malcolm Turnbull in favour of nuclear power

Turnbull faces new push for nuclear power, , SEPTEMBER 1, 2017 Paul Osborne, AAP Senior Political WriterAustralian Associated Press Malcolm Turnbull faces calls to remove legal hurdles for nuclear power in a report giving the government advice on ensuring enough baseload power for future electricity needs.

September 2, 2017 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics | Leave a comment

In Texas and Louisiana the question is raised – should communities move from flood prone areas?

This is a long article , but very good, and well worth reading in its entirety


‘It’s Not Going To Be All Right’  In flood-prone coastal Louisiana, towns have started to ask a question Texans may face soon: When should we all just leave?  Politico By ANNIE SNIDER, September 01, 2017 HOUMA, La. — If Houston gets serious about preventing massive damage the next time it floods, it may need to learn a lesson from its neighbors in this oil and gas town, just 15 miles up the road from Louisiana’s historic bayou communities.

This town’s residents—roughnecks, shrimpers, shipbuilders and small-business owners—aren’t typically the joining type. And yet dozens have recently begun showing up for an unusual discussion group underwritten by the state and federal government, and dedicated to a question very difficult to grapple with: What happens when the next hurricane hits, sending bayous rising and inundating the most flood-prone homes, and people start moving here?

Permanently relocating people is the third rail of disaster planning, the aspect no one—especially politicians—wants to talk about. Local zoning and development decisions have encouraged millions of people to move into floodplains, and federal insurance policies and disaster aid have bailed them out time and again. But as these storms become increasingly costly, and climate change promises to make them more so, it becomes harder to avoid the bigger topic: There are places where people simply shouldn’t live anymore.

Relocation is politically toxic; handled centrally, it is disruptive and interventionist, the kind of move that foments revolutions. But as the state of Louisiana mounts a massive battle against the rising tide, planning and funding ambitious efforts to restore buffering wetlands and build levees and floodgates, it is also beginning to acknowledge to residents that even their best efforts will not be enough—and is asking them to think about what comes next.

With the help of $92.6 million in federal grant money, Louisiana’s Office of Community Development has launched a first-of-its-kind effort to help communities across the state prepare for the tumult to come. Rising waters and escalating flood insurance rates will drive thousands of families farther inland, the state predicts, leaving behind homes they’ve known for generations and places that have fundamentally shaped their identities. But those refugees aren’t the only ones who will experience change. Communities like Houma will experience their own jarring transition as they receive an influx of waterlogged neighbors. Houma sits high enough that it’s less likely to drown in a hurricane, and thanks to its industrial base, could more easily win additional levees and flood protection.

Top: The old Boudreaux Canal School, which has closed since the population of Chauvin has steadily dropped. Bottom: The cemetery at St Joseph Catholic Church, north of Chauvin along Bayou Petit Caillou. | William Widmer for Politico Magazine

“This is the first time that I can remember that a group came in and said it’s not going to be all right,” said Jonathan Foret………

The goal of the new planning effort, dubbed Louisiana’s Strategic Adaptations for Future Environments, or LA Safe, is to head off the worst-case scenario in which people move out of flood-prone areas only once they’ve lost everything, and arrive en masse in communities that aren’t ready to absorb them. It’s a scenario with precedent: After Hurricane Katrina, entire neighborhoods from south and east of New Orleans relocated to the affluent bedroom communities of Covington and Mandeville, north of Lake Pontchartrain, straining schools, clogging roads and leading to resentment among some longtime residents. As far away as Houston, residents complained about “Katrina refugees” sapping local resources……..

September 2, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Minerals council just so wrong on the costs and the dangers of nuclear power

Solar, not nuclear, will keep us on the sunny side, Brisbane Times, Bruce Hulbert , 1 Sept 17 Of course the Mineral Council wants to remove legal roadblocks to the establishment of nuclear power plants in Australia (“Mineral body goes green in nuclear push”, September 1). These are, after all, the people who stand to make billions selling uranium for them. Solar power is cheaper, with lower maintenance and materials costs and dramatically less hazardous.

It’s also worth remembering that Australia will always be able to produce much more sunlight than uranium and much more cheaply … unless, of course, a nuclear accident changes that situation.


Peter Nash,We would have to be insane to follow the advice of the Minerals Council. Even since Chernobyl, the worst nuclear disaster in history, using the US definition of an accident (either loss of human life or more than $50,000 damage), there have been more than 50 accidents.

Even ignoring the astronomical cost of building and decommissioning nuclear plants and the still unsolved issue of what to do with the waste, it would seem crazy for Australia to go down the nuclear path when we already have the expertise and superb conditions to exploit renewable energy at a fraction of the cost.


September 2, 2017 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Danger in long transport of irradiated nuclear fuel rods in USA (in Australia, too)

ARIZONA REFUSES SPENT FUEL FROM SAN ONOFRE; DOCTOR’S GROUP CRITICIZES NUCLEAR WASTE SETTLEMENT PLAN, East County Magazine August 31, 2017 (San Diego) – Finding a safe place to store spent nuclear fuel from the shuttered San Onofre Nuclear Generating Stations is a daunting task. Yesterday, East County Magazine reported on a settlement reached between Citizens Oversight and Southern California Edison that aspires to move the radioactive waste away from the beach at San Onofre over the next couple of decades.

One of the proposed sites   is in Arizona. But now officials at Arizona Public Services Company, which operates the Palo Verde Nuclear Generating Station west of Phoenix,  say they won’t take California’s nuclear wastes.

Such a move would require approval from the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, APS says, but APS won’t be asking for that approval to store fuel from a reactor that’s not their own, AZ Central reports.…..

The settlement’s goal is to reduce the risk of a nuclear catastrophe in densely populated California by eliminating nuclear waste storage  just 100 feet or so from  corrosive sea water in an area at high risk of earthquake and in a tsunami risk zone as well.

But late yesterday,  Physicians  for Social Responsibility-Los Angeles warned that the settlement deal  “may dramatically increase health and security risks for communities in Southern California and the SouthWestern United States.”

The physicians group concludes that moving the radioactive fuel to a temporary and then permanent storage facility increases risks of a catastrophe through an accident or terrorist attack which could be “devastating,” said Denise Duffield, associate director of the organization. Continue reading

September 2, 2017 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Climate change and the link to Australia’s record-breaking winter warmth

Australia’s record-breaking winter warmth linked to climate change Andrew King,  Climate Extremes Research Fellow, University of Melbourne, September 1, 2017 On the first day of spring, it’s time to take stock of the winter that was. It may have felt cold, but Australia’s winter had the highest average daytime temperatures on record. It was also the driest in 15 years.

Back at the start of winter the Bureau of Meteorology forecast a warm, dry season. That proved accurate, as winter has turned out both warmer and drier than average.

While we haven’t seen anything close to the weather extremes experienced in other parts of the world, including devastating rainfalls in Nigerthe southern US and the Indian subcontinent all in the past week, we have seen a few interesting weather extremes over the past few months across Australia.

Drier weather than normal has led to warmer days and cooler nights, resulting in some extreme temperatures. These include night-time lows falling below -10℃ in the Victorian Alps and -8℃ in Canberra (the coldest nights for those locations since 1974 and 1971, respectively), alongside daytime highs of above 32℃ in Coffs Harbour and 30℃ on the Sunshine Coast.

During the early part of the winter the southern part of the country remained dry as record high pressure over the continent kept cold fronts at bay. Since then we’ve seen more wet weather for our southern capitals and some impressive snow totals for the ski fields, even if the snow was late to arrive.

This warm, dry winter is laying the groundwork for dangerous fire conditions in spring and summer. We have already had early-season fireson the east coast and there are likely to be more to come.

Climate change and record warmth Continue reading

September 2, 2017 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming | Leave a comment

America needs to prepare for the next hurricane

Preparing for the next Hurricane Harvey,Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, Dan Drollette Jr , Sept 17,  Alice C. Hill is in the business of finding better ways to cope with the catastrophic risks posed by climate change—risks so bad, she says, that “most of us avoid talking about them at the dinner table.” A short list includes ocean acidification, out of control wildfires, long-lasting droughts, record-breaking heat waves that kill crops and humans, the spread of tropical diseases to temperate countries such as the United States, and massive, global-warming assisted hurricanes that cause extensive flooding—which she terms “rain bombs.”

In the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey, her skills have been in great demand.

A former member of the National Security Council and a former Special Assistant to the President, she led the development of a national policy to deal with the effects of climate change on national security—effects that institutions such as the Department of Defense call a “threat multiplier.” Since leaving the White House, Hill has been a research fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University.

In this interview, Hill describes the impacts of Hurricane Harvey, its connections to climate change, and how coastal cities could make themselves more resilient to the increased-intensity storms that climate change is likely to produce. Continue reading

September 2, 2017 Posted by | General News | 2 Comments

Tony Abbott to join Britain’s Nigel Lawson in climate denial lecturing in Britain

Tony Abbott to lecture leading climate-change sceptic think tank,, GRAHAM LLOYD, 1 Sept 17Former prime minister Tony ­Abbott will give the annual lecture to one of the world’s leading climate change sceptic think tanks, the Global Warming Policy Foundation in London.

The title of Mr Abbott’s ­address will be “Daring to doubt”.

The invitation-only lecture will be held at the Institution of Mechanical Engineers in Birdcage Walk, London, on October 9. Mr Abbott will follow John Howard who addressed the foundation’s lecture in 2013 with a speech “One religion is enough”.

The foundation is chaired by former Thatcher government treasurer Lord Nigel Lawson.

The foundation is one of the world’s most active groups promoting debate about the state of climate change science.

It republishes articles and mat­erial both supportive and against the mainstream science view and commissions research on climate change-related issues.

The foundation is funded by private donations and does not accept gifts from energy companies or anyone with a significant interest in an energy company.

Mr Abbott’s spokeswoman said the trip would be privately funded by the foundation

September 2, 2017 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming, politics | Leave a comment

Tony Abbott’s huge tax-payer funded travelmania

Tony Abbott’s ego as big as Phar Lap’s heart, The Age , Anne Summers, 2 Sept 17 “……Tony Abbott’s ego is the size of Uluru.

It means he doesn’t give a damn, which is why he has become so morbidly fascinating. It’s hard to believe that he’s still there, brazen and bald-faced, badgering us with his weird ideas, occupying too much political space.

His ego is like kryptonite. It protects him from all harm. It means he can disregard all criticism. He can overlook his own contradictions. And have no qualms about touching up taxpayers for his latest exercise in self-gratification…….  in an exemplary display of massive ego-enhancement, he is totally unrepentant about taking the taxpayer for a ride.

Last week it was reported that in 2016 Abbott clocked up huge travel and expenses costs jetting round Australia.  Rather than be embarrassed about this, he attacked the Liberal Party colleagues who had leaked the information.

My calculations, based on the figures published by the Department of Finance for 2016, show that Mr Abbott spent $79,236.13 on “domestic scheduled fares” and received $37,471 in travel allowances, a total of $116,707.13.

The other five former prime ministers – Julia Gillard, Bob Hawke, John Howard, Paul Keating and Kevin Rudd – between them in 2016 spent a total $73,152.21 on “domestic scheduled fares”.

(For the record, Abbott’s predecessors claimed for domestic travel as follows: Gillard – $22,631.24; Hawke – $13,971.31; Howard – $30,837.91; Keating – $2,149.86; Rudd – $3,662.49.)…..

Mr Abbott’s acquittal for most of those 65 nights away states their purpose as “former prime minister – official business”. This is a new category of employment……..

Exactly what those “official duties” are is not disclosed publicly and it is only when Abbott attends an event that receives media attention that we know what he’s up to.

We don’t know, for instance, what “official duties” required him to be in Melbourne for 11 Monday nights in 2016, including six in a row in May and June…….

September 2, 2017 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

2 September REneweconomy news

  • Australia’s energy future on grid edge – can AEMO give it a push?
    AEMO again stresses vital role that demand management solutions – and not more baseload coal – will play in the safe, stable and economic running of Australia’s electricity grid, as it transitions away from centralised fossil fuel generation and towards distributed renewables.
  • Worsening climate change melts winter heat records
    Australia has experienced its hottest winter on record as a result of intensifying climate change.
  • Fossil fuel marketing terms swamp the ABC and mainstream media
    The term “low emissions coal” has been used 100s of times in Australia’s mainstream media – which is a lot for something that doesn’t exist.
  • Queensland removes feed-in tariff cap on regional solar systems
    Solar PV systems of up to 30kW in size will now have access to 11c/kWh feed-in tariffs in regional Queensland.
  •   Big energy players back major power shift, as GreenSync unveils deX
  • GreenSync’s game-changing distributed energy trading platform officially unveiled with backing of AEMO and major energy market players.

September 2, 2017 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, energy | Leave a comment

Trumps selects billionaire war profiteers as advisors on war planning

White House Hires Billionaire War Profiteers To Aid In War Planning, Mint Press NewsBlackwater founder Erik Prince and billionaire Stephen Feinberg reportedly “recruited” for war planning. by Jake Johnson July 11th, 2017 [good tweets included on original]  Two of President Donald Trump’s closest aides have reportedly solicited advice from two wealthy private military contractors — Erik Prince, founder of Blackwater, and Stephen Feinberg, the billionaire owner of DynCorp International—on how to proceed with the sixteen-year-long war in Afghanistan.

September 2, 2017 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment