Australian news, and some related international items

Australia’s first Nobel peace laureate- but no congratulations from Prime Minister who supports nuclear weapons


If only Australia could get a Nobel prize for sport – wouldn’t Turnbull be thrilled with THAT?

Malcolm Turnbull won’t congratulate Australia’s first Nobel peace laureate, because he supports nukes, Sue Wareham , 11 Oct 17, 

Sometimes, the most obvious words can be the most difficult for leaders to utter when a situation demands they utter something. So it was with former prime minister John Howard and that word “sorry”, which he refused to offer to Aboriginal people who were forcibly and shamefully removed from their families.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull is having trouble with the word “congratulations”. On Friday, the Norwegian Nobel Committee announced that the 2017 Nobel peace prize will be awarded to the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons. The campaign originated in Australia as an initiative of the Medical Association for Prevention of War. It was launched in 2007 in Melbourne by, among others, former Liberal prime minister Malcolm Fraser. It grew rapidly to became a strong, international campaign in more than 100 countries.

This is the first Nobel peace prize to have its roots in Australia. A first in other fields, such as sport, would almost certainly elicit at least a “congratulations” from our leader, if not something more effusive, but not on this occasion. It seems peace is something different. Turnbull acknowledged the campaign’s commitment but reiterated his government’s view that the United States’ nuclear weapons help keep us safe. Continue reading


October 11, 2017 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics | Leave a comment

Climate change is a “crap” theory – and climate change is also “doing good” – says Tony Abbott

Tony Abbott says climate change is ‘probably doing good’
Former Australian PM delivers speech in London comparing global warming action to ‘killing goats to appease volcano gods’,
Guardian, Karl Mathiesen 10 Oct 17  Former Australian prime minister Tony Abbott has suggested climate change is “probably doing good” in a speech in London in which he likened policies to combat it to “primitive people once killing goats to appease the volcano gods” .

Abbott delivered the annual lecture to the London-based Global Warming Policy Foundation (GWPF), a climate sceptic thinktank on Monday evening. The Guardian and several other media outlets were blocked from attending the event but a copy of the speech was later circulated.

Abbott told the group the ostracisation of those who did not accept climate science was “the spirit of the Inquisition, the thought-police down the ages”. He also reprised his 2009 assertion that the “so-called settled science of climate change” was “absolute crap”.

Measures to deal with climate change, which Abbott said would damage the economy, were likened to “primitive people once killing goats to appease the volcano gods”.

“At least so far,” he said, “it’s climate change policy that’s doing harm. Climate change itself is probably doing good; or at least, more good than harm.”

 “There’s the evidence that higher concentrations of carbon dioxide – which is a plant food after all – are actually greening the planet and helping to lift agricultural yields. In most countries, far more people die in cold snaps than in heatwaves, so a gradual lift in global temperatures, especially if it’s accompanied by more prosperity and more capacity to adapt to change, might even be beneficial.”

When he was prime minister, Abbott said he took the issue of climate change “very seriously”. But since he was deposed as prime minister by his Liberal party colleague and bête noire Malcolm Turnbull in 2015, Abbott has returned to many hardline views he had tempered as leader……..

The GWPF is chaired by Nigel Lawson, who served as Margaret Thatcher’s treasurer. Lawson has been an outspoken critic of climate science and recently incorrectly told the BBC the global temperature had slightly declined in the past decade. The BBC was heavily criticised for leaving his assertions unchallenged.

John Hewson, who led the Liberal party from 1990 to 1994, said Abbott’s speech to Lawson’s group “sees him in like-minded, if disturbingly deluded, company”.

“Tony Abbott has had a long history of playing short-term politics, for his own political benefit, with the existential threat posed by a rapidly changing climate,” Hewson said.

“Abbott was effective in opposition – a man of nope rather than hope. His basic thrust is that if you can’t understand it, don’t believe it, or accept it. When it comes to climate, and the magnitude and urgency of the challenge, Abbott is prepared to deny the undeniable, and to ignore the risks and costs if left to future generations. History will undoubtedly judge Abbott and Howard and their small band of deniers harshly. When they could have acted on climate and emissions they failed as leaders, miserably.”Abbott’s speech – titled Daring to Doubt – contained echoes of his mentor and prime ministerial predecessor John Howard, who gave the same annual lecture to the GWPF four years ago. In 2013 Howard said climate “zealots” had turned the issue into a “substitute religion”.

Abbott, who trained to be a Catholic priest, called climate change a “post-Christian theology” and said the decline of religion in society had left a hole in which other forms of “dogma” could take root.

A Lancet study in 2015 supports Abbott’s claim that more people die from cold weather than hot. But the World Health Organisation has found that by 2050, climate change will cause 250,000 extra people to die each year from malnutrition, malaria, diarrhoea and heat stress.

Abbott went on to deny many of the central findings of the UN’s climate science body and claimed, without providing evidence, that climate records had been “adjusted” and data sets “slanted”…….

The Guardian asked repeatedly for an invitation to attend the event. Abbott’s spokesperson said the speech was “not considered a media event”. The Guardian understands the Times of London was invited to attend and excerpts of the speech were distributed to News Corp newspapers in Australia.

This article was originally published on Climate Home

October 11, 2017 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming, politics | Leave a comment

Republican Senator warns on Donald Trump starting World War 3

President Donald Trump Could Bring About World War III, Senator Bob Corker Charges | TODAY 

‘Reckless’ Trump threatens World War III, says US Senator The New Daily, 10 Oct 17Donald Trump is treating the US presidency like “a reality show” and making reckless threats that could put the world “on the path to World War III”, according to the chairman of the US foreign relations committee.

In an extraordinary condemnation of Mr Trump, Republican Senator Bob Corker said the President acts “like he’s doing The Apprentice or something.”

“He concerns me … he would have to concern anyone who cares about our nation,” Mr Corker told The New York Times in a 25-minute phone interview following a day-long Twitter spat between the two former friends.

At the height of that spat, Mr Corker said Mr Trump had turned the White House into “an adult day care centre”.

But he went much further in the Times interview, alleging senior White House officials spend most of their days trying to rein in Mr Trump’s worst instincts.

“I know for a fact that every single day at the White House, it’s a situation of trying to contain him,” the Times quoted the Senator as saying.

He accused the president of undercutting Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson, and his attempts at finding a diplomatic solution to the North Korea crisis.

“A lot of people think that there is some kind of ‘good cop, bad cop’ act underway, but that’s just not true,” Mr Corker said of the relationship between the president and Mr Tillerson.

The president had undermined diplomatic efforts with his heavy-handed use of Twitter too.

“I know he has hurt, in several instances, he’s hurt us as it relates to negotiations that were underway by tweeting things out,” Mr Corker said.

The Times reported that while Mr Corker wouldn’t directly answer when asked whether he thought Mr. Trump was fit for the presidency, he did say the commander in chief was not fully aware of the power of his office.

“I don’t think he appreciates that when the president of the United States speaks and says the things that he does, the impact that it has around the world, especially in the region that he’s addressing,” he said. “And so, yeah, it’s concerning to me.”

The White House refused to comment on Senator Corker’s attack. Mr Trump had made no direct response on Twitter by Monday morning, but did reiterate an earlier position on North Korea…..

October 11, 2017 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Ben Heard misinforms the Saudi Arabians on radiation from spent nuclear fuels

Nuclear energy is green, it’s safe, Heard asserts, Saudi Gazette

This guy should know better than this – “There is a hazard, particularly freshly used fuel is hazardous for the first 5 years and then it comes down very fast and is not so dangerous any more, but we manage it very effectively. ”

Compare this with what Hedin says “Approximately one year after the fuel has been discharged from the reactor, the dose rate is around 1,000,000 mSv/h. This means that a lethal dose, about 5,000 mSv, is received in about 20 seconds. The dose is dominated completely by the contribution from gamma rays. The radiation declines with time, but the dose rate after 40 years, when the spent fuel is to be emplaced in the deep repository, is still as high as 65,000 mSv/h.” From Allan Hedin 1997, “Spent Nuclear Fuel – How Dangerous is it”

October 11, 2017 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, spinbuster | Leave a comment

Australian Prime Minister fails to congratulate the winners of the Nobel Peace Prize

“Nobel prize but PM has no time for peaceniks”Dimity Hawkins and Tilman Ruff. The Australian, October 9, 2017, Sean Parnell Melbourne doctor Tilman Ruff might have helped initiate a ­global movement awarded the Nobel Peace Prize but that doesn’t mean he will be congratulated by the Australian Prime Minister.

Indeed, last night, about 48 hours after the announcement, Professor Ruff had still not received a call from Malcolm Turnbull nor anyone acting on his behalf.

“I’m a little disappointed that this is the first time that an organisation founded in Australia has been recognised with the highest global award in the world for peace and I would have hoped that would warrant some acknowledgments or congratulations,” Professor Ruff said.

“I haven’t had the phone calls, but I guess that’s the nature of the beast.”

The beast, on this occasion, is the nuclear bomb. Professor Ruff was one of the founders of the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons, awarded the Nobel prize as North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and US President Donald Trump all but threaten nuclear war. Continue reading

October 11, 2017 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics | Leave a comment

Tony Abbott’s climate outburst was intended to wreck Turnbull’s attempt at energy policy

Tony Abbott’s climate frolic is strange and sad – and all about politics  Katharine Murphy
The pitch behind the London speech was that a climate ruckus aids the Coalition. He should have been laughed out of the room I
t would be tempting to laugh at Tony Abbott’s feelings about how carbon dioxide is secretly good for humanity, and his insights into the goat sacrificing habits of primitives subduing volcano gods – except it isn’t that funny.

The London outing is more strange and sad, and the strangeness and the sadness manifests itself on multiple fronts.

Let’s start with strange.

The bloke who hobnobbed with the climate sceptics at Global Warming Policy Foundation is the same bloke who took a decision as prime minister to sign Australia up to the Paris international climate agreement.

He’s also the same bloke who produced a set of initiatives in government which was badged as a policy to incentivise emissions reductions.

 That policy still exists and it’s called Direct Action.

He’s also the same bloke who kept Australia’s renewable energy target, while abolishing the mechanism designed to give the market certainty to make future investments in baseload power generation.

Abbott has a whole lot of feelings, and some loyal media megaphones to help him spread his singular insights, but these are basic facts he can’t escape.

Abbott’s record in government points to him being a “warmist” (as Andrew Bolt is fond of characterising the modest band of weirdos who don’t think they know better than the world’s most eminent climate scientists).

London’s hardcore climate sceptics, frankly, should have laughed him out of the room.

Now let’s get to sad. Abbott’s climate frolic isn’t about a substantive issue. It’s about politics, because Australians haven’t had quite enough of politics, right?

Abbott wants to cause a ruckus. He wants to make enough ruckus to constrain Malcolm Turnbull from producing a sensible energy policy.

The lightbulb moment he’s trying to manufacture for colleagues is simple: the Abbott rationale is we can win the next election like I won the election in 2013 – by belting Labor on climate and energy policy.

The country, the national interest, actually needs the major parties to come to terms and settle the climate wars which have generated the current problems we are all experiencing in the energy market, and settle them in sensible fashion.

But politicians behind in the polls like to win elections.

Put simply, Abbott’s pitch is an appeal to baser instincts – a pitch that prolonged polarisation serves the Coalition’s immediate interests.

The former prime minister has also positioned himself in the public domain as a critical player in Turnbull’s ultimate settlement of energy policy, when the truth is all the heavy lifting on the new policy is happening completely outside Abbott’s orbit.

The actual decision makers in the government are heads down bums up on the new investment framework, swerving around the many obstacles, trying to land something vaguely credible, which doesn’t blow up the Coalition.

That’s the objective. Whether the government can produce something credible, given one of the core objectives has to be not blowing up the Coalition, is at this point seriously moot.

Meanwhile, Abbott’s persistent wrecking tactics allow Labor to claim with a veneer of truth and credibility that the former prime minister is driving the government’s energy policy rather than Turnbull – elevating his status from fringe agitprop activist to centre-stage.

In politics that sort of caper is called frontrunning, but I struggle for a word to adequately characterise that behaviour.

Perhaps we can just keep it nice, and say cynical?

October 11, 2017 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics | Leave a comment

Fukushima residents win c lass action against Japanese government

Fukushima residents win 500m yen payout over nuclear disaster
Court rules that Japanese government could have done more to prevent meltdown at plant caused by tsunami, Guardian, 
Justin McCurry A court in Japan has ordered the government and the operator of the wrecked Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant to pay 500m yen (£3.37m) in damages to residents affected by the March 2011 triple meltdown.

The ruling by the Fukushima district court follows an earlier decision that also found the government accountable for the disaster, in which large quantities of radiation was released and tens of thousands of people were forced to flee their homes.

The class action lawsuit, involving 3,800 plaintiffs, is the largest of about 30 similar cases filed by 12,000 Fukushima residents who say their lives were adversely affected by the triple meltdown and its aftermath.

In March, a court ruled for the first time that negligence by the state contributed to the events at Fukushima Daiichi, the world’s worst nuclear accident since Chernobyl 25 years earlier.

Tokyo Electric Power (Tepco), which ran the plant when it was struck by a powerful earthquake and tsunami on 11 March 2011, has been ordered to pay damages in all three court rulings to date.

 The plaintiffs, who included Fukushima residents who were not told to evacuate, will each receive up to 360,000 yen, according to the verdict. The court rejected a demand for monthly compensation of 55,000 yen until radiation at the plaintiffs’ homes has fallen to pre-disaster levels………

Almost seven years after the disaster, more than 50,000 evacuees are still living in limbo. Many say they will never be able to return home, although some have moved back to communities where the government has lifted evacuation orders

October 11, 2017 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Julie Bishop stops North Korean youth football team from coming to Australia

Australia blocks North Korean youth football team over nuclear program, A youth football qualifying fixture is likely to be moved offshore after the government moved to stop the North Korean team from entering Australia. The federal government has prevented a North Korean youth football team from coming to Australia to play in a tournament, saying allowing them would be contrary to its opposition to the rogue nation’s nuclear program.

The North Korean U19 team was due to play in the Asian Football Confederation championship qualifiers in November, amongst a group consisting of Australia, Hong Kong, and the Northern Mariana Islands.

The North Korean team was due to play Australia on November 8 in Shepparton, Victoria. A Victorian Government spokesman said the fixture will now be moved to a “neutral venue”.

Foreign Minister Julie Bishop confirmed she stopped the group from arriving.

“The government has decided to not allow the North Korean U19 soccer team to enter Australia for the Asian Football Confederation U19 Championship Qualifiers,” Ms Bishop told SBS World News in a statement.

“Hosting the team would be contrary to the Government’s strong opposition to North Korea’s illegal nuclear and missile development programs.

“It would also be inconsistent with our efforts to increase diplomatic and economic pressure on Pyongyang to comply with UN Security Council resolutions.”

Football Federation Australia said it was disappointed that the qualifying fixtures would now be played elsewhere.

“Football Federation Australia is disappointed that qualifying fixtures for the Asian Football Confederation U-19 Championship … are now likely to be relocated outside Australia due to the Federal Government’s decision not to grant visas to the team from DPR Korea,” a spokesman told SBS World News.

“FFA respects the Australian Government’s responsibility to make decisions on visa applications.”

It’s understood the potential financial losses from the hosting rights would be minimal but the decision would cost the Australian youth team competitive advantage.

Earlier this year, Malaysia’s qualifying match against North Korea for the 2019 Asian Cup was postponed after the two countries were involved in a tiff over the assassination of the estranged half-brother of Pyongyang ruler Kim Jong-un.

October 11, 2017 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics, politics international | 1 Comment

North Korea crisis: Julie Bishop warns nuclear weapons could spread throughout the region

 SMH , James Massola, 10 Oct 17 Nuclear weapons could proliferate throughout the region if the world fails to stop North Korea’s nuclear ambitions, Foreign Minister Julie Bishop has warned.

But Ms Bishop believes Pyongyang could be prevented from threatening its neighbours “if we make it clear that any attack against the US or its allies will be met with an overwhelming response”, and has not given up on deterrence through diplomatic means……

October 11, 2017 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Australia’s climate policy just like Trump’s , while Chief Scientist Alan Finkel makes last plea for Clean Energy Target

Chief Scientist Alan Finkel makes last ditch plea for clean energy target, SMH, James Massola, Cole Latimer, 9 Oct 17  Australia’s Chief Scientist Alan Finkel has made a last-ditch plea to save the proposed clean energy target, even as the Turnbull government signalled it will reject the proposal by the end of the year.

South Australian premier Jay Weatherill responded on Monday to the apparent standstill, saying the states should “bypass the federal government and provide investment certainty for the electricity sector” by adopting their own target.

The Turnbull government asked Dr Finkel to review Australia’s electricity market to set a policy path that would ensure reliability in the electricity system while also providing clear policy settings to drive investment in generation – something the business community has been demanding.

But in the face of strong opposition from sections of the Coalition backbench to the clean energy target, the Turnbull government delayed any decision on the target while adopting the other 49 recommendations in the Finkel review.

Now, it appears all but certain the target is dead in the water. The expectation is that by the end of the year, an alternative policy proposal that will focus on energy affordability and reliability – and removes incentives for renewable energy – will be brought by Energy and Environment Minister Josh Frydenberg to the cabinet and party room for approval.

 That proposal could be put forward as soon as next week, when Parliament returns, though government insiders said that was unlikely at this stage.

Speaking at the Australian Financial Review‘s energy summit on Monday, Dr Finkel said his proposal offered a mechanism to solve the energy crisis and was still needed, while arguing that going back to coal was not the answer as Australia was making the transition away from fossil fuel energy………

The Australian Conservation Foundation’s chief executive, Kelly O’Shanassy, said: “Australia’s climate policy is now looking more and more like Donald Trump’s.”

October 11, 2017 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming, energy, politics | Leave a comment

Tony Abbott’s “daring speech” on climate change sounds more confused than brave

Abbott went for the whole canon of tired climate science denial talking points – carbon dioxide is just food for plants, the climate has always changed, it’s the sun –

Abbott’s speech was also chock-full of internal contradictions. He suggested a conspiracy to tamper with temperature readings, but admitted the globe was warming. He described carbon dioxide as a “trace gas” and dismissed its role in warming, but elsewhere thought warming (which might not be happening) would be good. And the “trace gas” is insignificant, but not when it comes to its ability to “green the planet” and help plants grow.

Tony Abbott dares us to reject evidence on climate, but reveals a coward Graham Readfearn
The former Australian prime minister’s misleading speech to a London thinktank was full of climate denial mythology  

Go on, I dare you.

Throughout his speech, the former Australian prime minister urged listeners to think that dismissing decades of research backed by the world’s leading scientific institutions required bravery and fortitude, rather than other less celebrated human attributes.

But what would constitute bravery for a conservative politician like Abbott? Changing your mind when the evidence tells you you’re dead wrong, or saying what you’ve always said, using the logical fallacies that you’ve always used? One step is brave, the other is cowardly.

Abbott was giving the Global Warming Policy Foundation’s annual lecture – an “honour” previously bestowed on his spiritual and political mentors John Howard and Cardinal George Pell.

 Nobody should be surprised that what we got was an absolute crap speech from a man who confessed he still thinks climate science is “absolute crap”. Continue reading

October 11, 2017 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming, politics | Leave a comment

11 October REneweconomy News

  • SolarEdge presenting large-capacity commercial inverters at Australia’s All Energy
    SolarEdge is presenting its new large-capacity commercial inverters at All Energy.
  • 600MW pumped hydro project proposed for northern NSW
    A 600MW pumped hydro facility with six hours storage – a $1 billion project – proposed to tap into renewable energy hub in northern NSW.
  • Netherlands to close all coal-fired generation by 2030
    Netherlands decision to close coal plants include those only completed in 2015 – the phase-out combines with rise of renewables and the impact of improved efficiency that put old models at risk.
  • Adani signs PPA for Rugby Run solar plant, but won’t say with who
    Adani Australia says it has a contract with Rugby Run solar farm in Queensland, but does not reveal who.
  • Liddell extension could be more expensive than solar plus storage
    RepuTex says extending life of ageing Liddell coal generator would result in higher costs than new large scale solar project with battery storage.
  • Get smart: AEMO unveils 200MW “virtual power plant”
    AEMO and ARENA unveil a 200MW “virtual power plant” from demand response initiatives featuring incentives for commercial and household users, battery storage, and a range of Australian monitoring, smart meters and voltage control devices,

October 11, 2017 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, energy | Leave a comment