Australian news, and some related international items

As Australia’s greenhouse emissions soar, Pacific islanders despair of its backward climate policies

Stuck in the dark ages’: Pacific island leader vents after Australia’s emissions hit record high, The Age, 30 sept 17  Desperate Pacific islands at risk of sinking beneath the sea say Australia is “stuck in the Dark Ages” by relying on fossil fuels, in response to alarming data showing this nation’s energy emissions have hit record highs.

The outcry from Australia’s smallest neighbours comes just weeks after Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull visited Samoa and reportedly promised Pacific leaders that he understood “very clearly” the threat of sea level rise to low-lying islands.

As Fairfax Media reported on Friday, a national audit prepared for The Australia Institute by energy analyst Hugh Saddler shows Australia’s emissions from energy combustion reached a record high in the year to June, driven largely by petroleum, and specifically diesel, consumption.

The audit showed the increase in Australia’s annual retail diesel emissions in the year to June on its own exceeded the total annual emissions of any Pacific nation.

Tuvalu Prime Minister Enele Sopoaga, whose tiny nine-island nation has become the poster child for the threat of sea-level rise, on Friday vented his frustration at the audit findings.

“While the rest of the world is moving ahead to renewable energy, Australia is stuck in the Dark Ages with its reliance on dirty fossil fuels. This is bad news for the Pacific”, he said, adding that Australia’s continued mining of coal was “extremely disappointing”.

Genevieve Jiva, spokeswoman for the Pacific Islands Climate Action Network, said the findings would prompt Pacific leaders to exert further pressure on Australia at international climate talks in Bonn, Germany, in November. Fiji will chair the talks.

“This is happening right now and needs action right now. Not in 20 years’ time, not after the next Australian election, but right now.”……..


September 29, 2017 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming, politics international | Leave a comment

Donald Trump’s North Korea threats – of genocide, crimes against humanity

The UN Charter Requires Peaceful Dispute Resolution.

The UN Charter Prohibits Threats and Preemptive Use of Force.

The Crime of Genocide

Crimes Against Humanity

The War Crime of Collective Punishment

Destroying North Korea Would Violate Distinction and Proportionality.

First-Strike Use of Nuclear Weapons Violates International Law.

Trump Threatens Genocide, Crimes Against Humanity in North Korea, September 29, 2017By Marjorie Cohn, Truthout | News Analysis Donald Trump threatened to “totally destroy North Korea” in his address to the United Nations General Assembly on September 19. That threat violates the UN Charter, and indicates an intent to commit genocide, crimes against humanity, the war crime of collective punishment and international humanitarian law. Moreover, a first-strike use of nuclear weapons would violate international law.

By threatening to attack North Korea, Trump is endangering the lives of countless people. In the past, he has indicated his willingness to use nuclear weapons and Kim Jong-un has threatened to retaliate. The rapidly escalating rhetoric and provocative maneuvers on both sides has taken us to the brink of war. Continue reading

September 29, 2017 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

National Party President Larry Anthony runs a firm that lobbies for coal industry !

Nationals Interest: Larry Anthony, the party president who runs a lobbying firm, The Age, Patrick Begley, Mario Christodoulou, 30 Sept 17, 

A lobbying firm run by National Party president Larry Anthony is pushing the interests of energy firms as the Coalition grapples with looming gas shortfalls and bitter infighting over renewable energy policy.

Santos and Delta Electricity this year joined the client list of SAS Consulting Group, the government relations firm founded and co-owned by its executive director, Mr Anthony.

“Through our extensive networks we create powerful, purposeful connections for businesses and organisations,” the SAS Group website says.

The first line of Mr Anthony’s SAS Group biography refers to his presidency of the Nationals, “one half of the ruling Coalition government”.

A leading expert on lobbying said the party president’s absence from the public register of lobbyists “so undermines the intent of the lobbyist code of conduct as to make it nearly useless”………

After a federal conference debate moderated by Mr Joyce and Mr Anthony this month, the Nationals passed a motion urging the government to freeze and then phase out renewable energy subsidies…….

When he became party president in 2015, Mr Anthony was criticised for lobbying for the Shenhua Watermark mining project. At the time, he said he had removed himself from lobbyist registers and had no conflict of interest.

“We do a lot of things aside from government relations – media, communications, stakeholder relations, et cetera,” he said. “But executive director? Yes, I might have to come off that.”

Two years later, he remains an executive director.

The SAS Group website has promoted the fact Mr Anthony attended the Liberal National Party’s Queensland convention in July. Asked whether his party presidency helped to attract clients, Mr Anthony said: “I don’t know about that, but my name is synonymous with the National Party.”

His father, Doug, served as party leader from 1971 to 1984 and his grandfather, Larry snr, was a Country Party minister…….

The  lobbyist code of conduct prohibits lobbyists from being a member of a party executive. It also requires anyone who lobbies or employs lobbyists to register on a public database.

University of Melbourne politics lecturer George Rennie said even if Mr Anthony had not technically breached the code, his failure to appear as a registered lobbyist “so undermines the intent of the code, as to make it nearly useless”.

“Being a part-owner and director of a lobbying firm, while concurrently serving as president of the National Party, creates a clear conflict of interest,” Mr Rennie said……..

The Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet, which administers the lobbyist register, did not respond to specific questions about Mr Anthony but said in general it would investigate evidence or allegations of code breaches.

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September 29, 2017 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, energy, politics, secrets and lies | Leave a comment

U.S. Energy Secretary proposes law to force Americans to buy coal, nuclear, power, not renewables

Perry is trying “to essentially end competition in U.S. power markets in order to force customers to pay billions of dollars for uneconomic coal and nuclear plants they don’t want or need,” Mark Kresowick, an expert on FERC rules, told ThinkProgress. Kersowick called the move “unprecedented.”
Perry wants to stop cheaper, cleaner renewables like solar and wind from shutting down more dirtier and more expensive plants like coal (and nuclear).
Significantly, Germany has one of the most reliable electric grids in the world, with 10 times fewer minutes of grid outages a year than the United States. In the morning of May 8, 2016, a whopping 95 percent of Germany’s electricity was provided by renewables.
Rick Perry proposes law to force Americans to buy dirtier, costlier power
Energy Secretary ignores his own grid study to make good on his threats to punish renewables

September 29, 2017 Posted by | General News | 1 Comment

30 September REneweconomy news

  • Queensland council saves $1.9m in grid costs from single Tesla Powerpack
    A Queensland local government council has installed what is believed to be Australia’s first off-grid solar and battery storage system to use a Tesla Powerpack, to maintain local drinking water quality around the clock.
  • UK solar fund buys up 110MW PV project that will power Melbourne trams
    UK solar fund buys major stake in 110MW Bannerton solar farm as part of plan to grow investments in “attractive” geographies.
  • Renewables experts advise on the project financing of the Lilyvale Solar Farm
    Herbert Smith Freehills’ full service project finance team has advised on the project financing of the Lilyvale Solar Farm, located 50km north east of Emerald in the Central Highlands region of Queensland.
  • Barnaby and Kelly’s constituents want a Clean Energy Target, not more coal
    Polling of over 1,000 voters in the Deputy Prime Minister’s electorate of New England shows strong support for renewable energy investment over coal.
  • Tesla big battery will be on time, but households need to wait
    Tesla’s big battery will be delivered on time, or even ahead of schedule, but overwhelming demand and diversions to hurricane-affected areas mean households will have to wait for their battery storage.
  • Time for old coal to hang up the boots
    At this time of year, football matters, but in the case of Australia’s energy system, the stakes are much higher and it affects us all.
  • Regulator cracks down on double dipping for replacing “dodgy” rooftop solar
    Clean Energy Regulator says new rule will make replacement rooftop solar panels ineligible for the government rebate, in an effort to boost the standard of installs.
  • South Australia leads again as saltwater pumped hydro storage takes shape
    South Australia is ready to lead again, this time with saltwater pumped hydro storage. Here’s an inside look at what is planned.
  • Graph of the Day: Australia’s surging fossil fuel emissions
    Australia’s fossil fuel emissions have hit record levels, and there is no federal policy in place to address them.
  • The Pears Report: Summertime, and the living ain’t easy
    With summer approaching, there’s a flurry of activity to ensure reliable energy generation under peak loads.

September 29, 2017 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, energy | Leave a comment

South Australia’s Tesla big battery switched on

Tesla signs connection agreement for world’s biggest lithium battery” in South Australia, triggering 100-day countdown. But much of it is already in place and was providing the power for a night-time launch party at the Hornsdale wind farm.

via Musk gets connection deal for Tesla big battery, and then switches it on — RenewEconomy

September 29, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

NO to Deputy Premier and Nationals Leader, John Barilaro: New South Wales does NOT need nuclear power

Opposition fires up over nuclear power station chatter, Labor is challenging the Berejiklian-Barilaro Government to detail any plans for nuclear power on the North Coast.

This follows musing by Deputy Premier and Nationals Leader, John Barilaro, that nuclear reactors could be operating in NSW within 10 years. Mr Barilaro said on social media: “We could have them (small nuclear reactors) operating here in a decade – which is not long for the energy industry…”

Opposition Energy spokesman Adam Searle said it was the second time this year Mr Barilaro had raised the possibility of nuclear energy for the State.

In May, Mr Barilaro said he was “prepared to talk about nuclear as an option”. One pro-nuclear power group, Nuclear for Climate Australia, has identified 12 regions of NSW as possible sites for nuclear reactors – including on the North Coast.

“A pro-nuclear power group is on the record suggesting reactors should be on the North Coast – does Mr Barilaro agree?” Mr Searle said.

“He should be clear with the public on where he thinks the nuclear reactors should be.

“Our farmers’ clean and green reputation is known throughout the world but a nuclear industry in these areas would end all that.”

September 29, 2017 Posted by | New South Wales, politics, technology | Leave a comment

Hydrogen bomb tests in Kiribati not well known, no compensation given

Author challenges British denial over Pacific nuclear legacy author of a new book on Pacific nuclear weapons testing says he hopes it will shed more light on Britain’s tests in the region. US and French nuclear tests at Bikini atoll in the Marshall Islands and Murorua and Fangataufa atolls in Tahiti feature regularly in discussions about the environmental and social legacy of Pacific nuclear testing.

But the author Nic McLellan says the fallout of Britain’s hydrogen bomb tests at Kiritimati island in Kiribati isn’t as well documented.

Mr McLellan says unlike the US and France, Britain refuses to accept any responsibility for the negative impacts of its tests on the health of local men, women and children as well as its own soldiers and those from Fiji and New Zealand who observed the tests.

“The British of course tested in my own country Australia with atomic weapons and yet the hydrogen bomb tests in Kiribati are not very well known. And so the book is compiling a lot of information gathered and presents portraits of people who are opposed to the tests. It is really important to recognise that in the 1950s there was widespread opposition to these tests going ahead.”

September 29, 2017 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Unlocking the truth about Lockheed Martin- weapons maker

 Lockout Lockheed‘s event.   Lockout Lockheed Martin forum
 Important event in Melbourne, Sunday October 8, 11am to 2pm.Arts Hall Parkville, Victoria, Australia 3052

Not only do we have US military bases that are an integral part of the global military industrial complex, but weapons manufacturing companies like Lockheed Martin are entrenching themselves more and more in our society. Australia is playing a large and growing role in global warfare, and universities are increasingly offering our best minds to this voracious industry.

Unlocking the truth about Lockheed Martin
Public,    Hosted by UMSU Environment Collective and Lockout Lockheed

September 29, 2017 Posted by | ACTION | Leave a comment

South Australia’s Chief Scientist Leanna Read publicly advocating for illegal nuclear waste imports

Nuclear Free Adelaide – No Nukes Here,  September 18, 2015 · 

11 hrs · 
Chief Scientist L Read  is publicly advocating for illegal nuclear waste imports –  Premier Jay please sack
“Why would South Australians want to become further involved in this industry when there are much safer alternatives available for people, the environment, country, culture and the economy?”

Kaurna ask the Scarn (South Auustralia Nuclear Fuel Chain Royal Commission) to justify the illegal immoral plotting which is being paid for by our tax dollars at the rate of a million dollars per month … a simple question which exposes the wasteful stupidity of the Scarn and the evil of radioactive poisons.…/2016/03/Kaurna-Yerta-04-09-201…

September 29, 2017 Posted by | politics, South Australia | Leave a comment

Australia’s rooftop solar boom now taking to business buildings

Above: Broadway shopping centre in Perth

The solar boom started in our suburbs, but now it’s moved out of home, ABC News, By Kathryn Diss, 28 Sept 17, Australian households have led the world in installing rooftop solar panels and now businesses are following suit as energy prices start to bite.

Nearly a quarter of the nation’s households have installed rooftop solar panels in recent years as consumers have looked for ways to offset their ever-increasing power bills.

But new research by consultancy firm SunWiz has found business solar installations have jumped 60 per cent during the past 18 months to 40,736 systems.

“It’s accelerated significantly in recent years and continues to be a popular investment for businesses wanting to take care of their electricity prices,” the company’s managing director Warwick Johnston said…….

Business backs renewables as politicians bicker

The research comes as federal politicians argue over what fuel source should be used to guarantee the nation’s future energy supply, with the east coast facing looming gas shortages……..

September 29, 2017 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, solar | Leave a comment

Nuclear catastrophe in Russian villages – 60 years on, the secret tragedy

‘Left To Die As Guinea Pigs’: Tatar Village Struggles On, 60 Years After Nuclear Catastrophe, September 28, 2017  An explosion at a Soviet nuclear plant 1,400 kilometers east of Moscow remains the world’s third-largest nuclear disaster, after Chernobyl and Fukushima. At the time, in 1957, it was the worst ever. Sixty years on, nearby Tatar villagers are still struggling for official recognition of their plight. (RFE/RL’s Tatar-Bashkir Service) TEXTS BELOW DESCRIBE EACH OF THE EXCELLENT PICTURES ON THE ORIGINAL

The sign says “Danger Zone.” An explosion on September 29, 1957, contaminated an area of 23,000 square kilometers and exposed more than 270,000 people to significant levels of radiation.

The village of Karabolka is 30 kilometers from the Mayak nuclear plant, where the explosion occurred. For decades afterwards, it did not appear on maps, only reappearing 20 years ago. But life there continued.

Gulshara Ismagilova has lived in Karabolka all her life. She is campaigning for official recognition for the suffering of the villagers. Rates of cancer and genetic abnormalities here are significantly higher than the national average. “We are all handicapped here,” she says.

These are Ismagilova’s relatives who have died over the last 60 years. It includes an aunt, her mother, and her brother, who all died of cancer. Ismagilova herself has liver cancer.

In 1957, the village had about 4,000 residents; in 2010, just 423. The village had two distinct parts: a mostly Tatar part, which was not evacuated, and a mostly Russian part, which was. Some locals say they were used in an experiment on the effects of radiation.

The village has eight cemeteries. Seven of them are a resting place for residents who died of cancer. Children here are often born with cancer and die before reaching adulthood.

Only Muslims are buried here. Following their beliefs, some relatives prevent autopsies being performed. This can prevent some deaths being classified as cancer-related.

A pile of coffins at the ready. Families usually bury their dead by noon of the day following their death. “People don’t know what to eat and how to survive,” Ismagilova says. “They have been left here to die as guinea pigs.”

This house has a pile of firewood outside. In the 1990s, local people were warned that wood stored radiation and should not be used for burning. But the village was not connected to a gas supply until 2016.

A water pump outside a house. “The authorities prohibited drinking water from local wells but couldn’t arrange supplies of clean water. A couple of months later, they took samples and said the local water was good enough to drink,” says Ismagilova.

A Greenpeace report 10 years ago said the Mayak site was “one of the most radioactive places on Earth.” It added that thousands of people in surrounding towns and villages still lived on contaminated land

September 29, 2017 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Some good news: rate of global carbon emissions did not increase in 2016

Global carbon emissions stood still in 2016, offering climate hope
The new data is a welcome sign of progress in the battle against global warming but many challenges remain, including methane from cattle, Guardian, 
Damian Carrington, 28 Sept 17, Global emissions of climate-warming carbon dioxide remained static in 2016, a welcome sign that the world is making at least some progress in the battle against global warming by halting the long-term rising trend.

All of the world’s biggest emitting nations, except India, saw falling or static carbon emissions due to less coal burning and increasing renewable energy, according to data published on Thursday by the Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency (NEAA). However other mainly developing nations, including Indonesia, still have rising rates of CO2 emissions.

Stalled global emissions still means huge amounts of CO2 are being added to the atmosphere every year – more than 35bn tonnes in 2016 – driving up global temperatures and increasing the risk of damaging, extreme weather. Furthermore, other heat-trapping greenhouse gases, mainly methane from cattle and leaks from oil and gas exploration, are still rising and went up by 1% in 2016.

“These results are a welcome indication that we are nearing the peak in global annual emissions of greenhouse gases,” said climate economist Prof Lord Nicholas Stern at the London School of Economics and president of the British Academy.

“To realise the goals of the Paris agreement and hold the increase in global average temperature to well below 2C, we must reach peak emissions as soon as possible and then achieve a rapid decline soon afterwards,” Stern said. “These results from the Dutch government show that there is a real opportunity to get on track.”………

Stern said many of the big emitting nations had achieved significant reductions in 2016: “However, all countries have to accelerate their emissions reductions if the Paris goals are to be met.” He said this could also drive development in poorer nations: “We can now see clearly that the transition to a low-carbon economy is at the heart of the story of poverty reduction and of the achievement of the UN Sustainable Development Goals.”

The new Dutch report shows CO2 emissions from China, the world’s biggest emitter, fell 0.3% in 2016. US CO2 emissions fell 2.0% and Russia’s by 2.1%, with the EU flat, although UK emissions tumbled by 6.4%, as coal burning plunged.

Of the top five emitters, only India’s CO2 emissions rose, by 4.7%. Significant increases were also seen in Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Turkey and Ukraine.

September 29, 2017 Posted by | General News | 1 Comment

South Australia’s network of charging stations for electric cars

Tesla charging stations to link Adelaide with world’s largest battery By Andrew Spence on 28 September 2017, The Lead

A network of car charging stations is being developed in South Australia to allow Tesla drivers to visit the world’s biggest lithium-ion battery being built by Elon Musk in the state’s north.

Eight fast charging stations: four generic chargers for a range of electric vehicles, and four Tesla Superchargers, opened today in the capital city of Adelaide, completing an Australian Tesla charging network that stretches to Brisbane.

The fastest electric car charging units available in Australia, the Tesla Superchargers can charge Tesla Model S and X vehicles in 30 minutes, allowing a range of 270km.A Tesla charging station also opened today at the Clare Country Club to complement two existing chargers in the wine region about 140km north of Adelaide. From there, it is only about 90km further to the site of the world’s largest battery being installed by Tesla at Neoen’s Hornsdale Wind Farm north of Jamestown.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk flew into Adelaide, the South Australian capital, in July to announce his company would build the 100MW/129MWh lithium-ion battery in the state’s Mid-North.

The tech billionaire told reporters the Tesla Powerpack would be three times as powerful as the next largest lithium ion battery.

“I was made aware there was this opportunity to make this significant statement about renewable energy to the world,” Musk said in July.

“Coal does not have a long-term future.”

Musk will be back in Adelaide on Friday to update the International Astronautical Congress on plans by his company SpaceX to send humans to Mars in its Big Falcon Rocket.

It is not known if he will use the opportunity to make the trip north to Jamestown to check on the progress of the battery.

South Australian Energy Minister Tom Koutsantonis said construction at the site was well underway and the batteries were on track to be operational by December 1, the start of the Australian summer.

Last month, Fluid Solar took its four-storey, renewable energy powered headquarters about 30km north of Adelaide off the main electricity grid.

Surplus electricity generated at the site will be used as part of Tesla’s car-charging network, with 11 electric vehicle bays that will be supplied completely by solar power harvested from a 98 kWp array of 378 PV solar panels on the building’s roof.

Eleven more electric vehicle charging points will be installed in the Adelaide Central Market car park in the centre of the city by the end of November and another 25 will be built around the city by mid next year.

South Australia leads the nation in the uptake of wind energy and roof-top solar with renewable sources accounting for almost 50 per cent of the electricity generated in the state.

However, the closure of two coal-fired power stations in recent years has increased South Australia’s reliance on energy supplies from the eastern Australian states, particularly in times of peak demand.

September 29, 2017 Posted by | South Australia, storage | Leave a comment

Yes, Mr Prime Minister: there IS an answer to all your energy problems – it’s wind and solar

One year on from the state-wide blackout in South Australia that sparked the Coalition’s extraordinary jihad against wind and solar, it is clear that the answer to the trumped up energy crisis is exactly what the Coalition doesn’t want it to be: yet more wind and solar.

The message coming from the market operator, from the networks, from the CSIRO, from industry, and from the energy sector itself is that the best way to address the anticipated shortage of electricity, the soaring cost of gas, surging retail prices and cutting emissions is the same: more wind and solar.

More wind and solar – the answer to all Turnbull’s energy problems  By Giles Parkinson on 28 September 2017 AGL on Wednesday unveiled what it proposes as a substitute for the ageing, clapped out Liddell coal generator it plans to close in 2022: it suggests mostly a mix of wind and solar, topped with its own big battery, demand management and some gas power to help meet demand peaks.

The response of deputy prime minister Barnaby Joyce? He decided to compare Liddell and Bayswater with old cars and embraced the idea that Liddell was just like an old FJ Holden. Continue reading

September 29, 2017 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, energy, politics | 1 Comment