Australian news, and some related international items

Queensland Premier will not support Australian government funding for Adani coal megamine rail line

Adani: Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk withdraws Government involvement in mine funding Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has announced her Government will have “no role in the future” of an assessment of a $1 billion loan to Adani for its Carmichael coal mine. ABC News 3 Nov 17

The Northern Australia Infrastructure Fund (NAIF) is considering an application by the Indian company for concessional Commonwealth funds for a rail link.

Ms Palaszczuk late on Friday revealed her partner, Shaun Drabsch, worked on the application to the NAIF with his employer, PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), which acted for Adani.

She denied there was a conflict of interest and said her decision to exercise her government’s “veto” to not support the loan came as the Liberal National Party (LNP) in Canberra was poised to launch a smear campaign against her in the run-down to the November 25 state election.

“This afternoon I announce that my Government has had no role to date in the Federal Government’s assessment process for Adani — now we will have no role in the future,” she said.

“To action my decision, I propose to write to the Prime Minister to notify him that my Government will exercise its ‘veto’ to not support the NAIF loan — and to remove doubt about any perception of conflict.”…….

November 3, 2017 Posted by | climate change - global warming, politics, Queensland | 1 Comment

Australia’s sorry history of hypocrisy at the international climate conferences

The Abbott government was accused of attempting to set the Paris talks up for failure by insisting on legally binding emissions targets – something it knew the United States in particular wouldn’t swallow.
 No Australian minister went to COP 19 in Warsaw in 2013, with new environment minister Greg Hunt saying he was too busy trying to axe the carbon tax.
at COP 22 in Marrakech, Australia’s lead delegate defended fossil fuel companies

At the Bonn talks, Australia will cop (sorry) some flak for its lack of reductions ambition, and action.

It will win its usual disproportionate share of those “fossil fool” awards so beloved of activists.

Bonn voyage: climate diplomats head into another round of talks, The Conversation, Marc Hudson 

COP this   This year’s “Conference of the Parties” (COP) is happening in Bonn, Germany, (where the UN’s less-publicised “in between” climate meetings happen). But it is chaired by Fiji, which is not holding the meeting on its own (threatened) shores because of the logistical difficulty of hosting the tens of thousands of delegates.

Earlier this year Australia threw in A$6 million to help the Fijians with organisational costs.

But anyone who follows climate diplomacy knows that Australia has a chequered record at COP meetings, and hasn’t always been so generous when it comes to the negotiations themselves. So how has Australia fared at previous summits, and what’s on the table this time? Continue reading

November 3, 2017 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming, politics | Leave a comment

United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) rejects nuclear industry sponsorship

Forbes 30th Oct 2017, The UN Environmental Program (UNEP) has rejected the World Nuclear Association’s (WNA) offer to provide financial support to the 8th Annual Sustainable Innovation Forum (SIF).

Described by its chairman as the “largest business-focused side event during the annual Conference Of
Parties” the event is scheduled to take place alongside COP23 in Bonn, Germany. Originally accepted as a gold sponsor and ready to pay the £40,000 ($68,338) fee, the World Nuclear Association  was recently notified that its sponsorship had been rescinded upon intervention by the UN Environment Program (UNEP).

November 3, 2017 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

THE ADANI COAL MESS: Australia to provide big subsidies to Indian Billionaire and Chinese government?

If the deal does go ahead with backing from Chinese state-owned enterprises, it could see Australia providing big direct and indirect subsidies to a company effectively owned by an Indian billionaire and the Chinese Government.

Adani: Chinese state-owned company could help bankroll Carmichael coal mine, ABC News, 2 Nov 17 By business reporter Stephen Long For years it has been a mystery where Adani would get the money to build its giant Carmichael coal mine in North Queensland.

Key points:

  • Chinese state-owned enterprise CMEC in negotiations with Adani
  • Deal would involve CMEC given manufacturing contract in return for procuring finance
  • Some close to the negotiations sceptical about deal being finalised

Now we may have the answer.

The ABC has learned that a Chinese state-owned enterprise, China Machinery Engineering Corporation (CMEC), is in negotiations with Adani and its principal engineering and procurement contractor, Downer EDI.

If the deal goes ahead, it would see CMEC awarded contracts to build key mining plant and equipment in return for China’s financial backing of the Carmichael mine.

CMEC is listed on the Hong Kong stock exchange, but is 78 per cent owned by the giant Chinese state-owned enterprise China National Machinery Industry Corporation Ltd, or Sinomach. Continue reading

November 3, 2017 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics international | Leave a comment

Fukushima monkeys significantly harmed by nuclear radiation

Forbes 30th Oct 2017,Fukushima City is 50 miles northeast of the Fukushima-Daiichi Power Plant, so the radiation levels have been lower there than in the restricted areas, now reopening, that are closer to the plant. Hayama was unable to test monkeys in the most-contaminated areas, but even 50 miles from the plant,he has documented effects in monkeys that are associated with radiation.

He compared his findings to monkeys in the same area before 2011 and to a control population of monkeys in Shimokita Peninsula, 500 miles to the north. Hayama’s findings have been published in the peer-reviewed journal Scientific Reports, published by Nature.

Among his findings: Smaller Bodies — Japanese monkeys born in the path of fallout from the Fukushima meltdown weigh less for their height than monkeys born in the same area before the March, 2011 disaster, Hayama said. “We can see that the monkeys born from mothers who were exposed are showing low body weight in relation to their height, so they are smaller,” he said.

Smaller Heads And Brains — The exposed monkeys have smaller bodies overall, and their heads and
brains are smaller still. “We know from the example of Hiroshima and Nagasaki that embryos and fetuses exposed in utero resulted in low birth weight and also in microcephaly, where the brain failed to develop adequately and head size was small, so we are trying to confirm whether this also is happening with the monkeys in Fukushima,” Hayama said.

— The monkeys show a reduction in all blood components: red blood cells,
white blood cells, hemoglobin, and the cells in bone marrow that produce
blood components.

November 3, 2017 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

New information gives hope for meeting the Paris climate targets

New data gives hope for meeting the Paris climate targets 30 October 2017 by dana1981

Over the past half-century, growth in the global economy and carbon pollution have been tied together. When the global economy has been strong, we’ve consumed more energy, which has translated into burning more fossil fuels and releasing more carbon pollution. But over the past four years, economic growth and carbon dioxide emissions have been decoupled. The global economy has continued to grow, while data from the EU Joint Research Centre shows carbon pollution has held fairly steady

China is becoming a global climate leader

China’s shift away from coal to clean energy has been largely responsible for this decoupling. Due to its large population (1.4 billion) – more than four times that of the USA (323 million) and nearly triple the EU (510 million) – and rapid growth in its economy and coal power supply, China has become the world’s largest net carbon polluter (though still less than half America’s per-person carbon emissions, and on par with those of Europeans). But as with the global total, China’s carbon pollution has flattened out since 2013.

That’s especially remarkable because it puts China about 15 years ahead of schedule. In an agreement with President Obama ahead of the Paris international climate negotiations, Chinese President Xi Jingping pledged that China’s carbon emissions would peak by 2030. Republican Party leaders grossly distorted this agreement at the time, with Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell claiming:

As I read the agreement it requires the Chinese to do nothing at all for 16 years while these carbon emissions regulations are creating havoc in my state and around the country

As the chart above [on original] shows, Chinese carbon emissions tripled between 1999 and 2013. To slow that rate of growth to zero as the Chinese economy continues to grow would require a dramatic shift in the country’s energy supply. But that’s exactly what’s happened, with the Chinese government cancelling over 100 planned new coal power plants earlier this year. Chinese coal consumption has in fact fallen since 2013. And China and the EU have pledged to strengthen their efforts to cut carbon pollution.

America isn’t a lost cause

In 2016, American carbon pollution fell to below 1993 levels. The emissions decline began around 2008, which is also when natural gas, solar, and wind energy began rapidly replacing coal in the power grid.

The Trump administration has done everything in its power to reverse that trend. It began the withdrawal from the Paris climate agreement and the process to repeal the Clean Power Plan, has begun censoring EPA climate scientists and deleting climate change information from government websites, and proposed to prop up the dirty, failing coal industry with taxpayer-funded subsidies.

And yet, while these steps can slow the decline in American carbon pollution, the transition from coal to clean energy will nevertheless persist. Coal simply can no longer compete with cheaper, cleaner sources of energy, and the next American president can quickly reverse many of the Trump administration’s anti-climate orders.

Click here to read the rest

November 3, 2017 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Australia’s Aboriginal Sovereign Union needs a genuine pathway, not just an inadequate Treaty

 To  Sovereign Union of First Nations and Peoples in Australia When resetting the agenda:  Don’t cede your sovereignty or acquiesce, in your enthusiasm for Treaty-talks

 Ghillar, Michael Anderson,, Convenor of the Sovereign Union, last surviving member of the founding four of the Aboriginal Embassy and Head of State of the Euahlayi Peoples Republic  provides further insight into a viable pathway going forward. 4 Nov 17 

I propose a refocusing of our political agenda, after our successful and clear ending of the constitutional recognition campaign, because Sovereignty-educated grassroots First Nations people refused to accept mere symbolic inclusion in the colonial Constitution. This spelt the death knell for the bipartisan coercion to lure our Peoples into their racist colonial constitution, in order to put an end to the power of the Sovereignty Movement.

At least it is now clear that Aboriginal people have never been in the Australian Constitution and have never had citizenship, but instead are classified as ‘aliens’ by the constitution. The constitution clearly stipulates that children who are born of a foreign group who have been in hostilities with British colonisers at the time of their birth, which includes 100% of our people all over this country, are deemed to be and classified as ‘aliens’. This is confirmed by Quick and Garran’s interpretation of the constitution on the matter of aliens. This, in my view, confirms, that we, the descendents, continue to be classified as  ‘aliens’ and non-citizens. This raises serious questions about the continued presence of all Aboriginal people in the Federal parliament, given they cannot produce any naturalisation nor citizenship papers. Continue reading

November 3, 2017 Posted by | aboriginal issues, AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL | Leave a comment

4 November REneweconomy news

  •    ABB microgrid technology to power Robben Island
  • Microgrid and wireless technologies will integrate renewable solar energy and reduce the use of fossil fuels to power World Heritage Site in South Africa.
  • Ausgrid turns to rooftop solar to save on network costs
    Ausgrid offers big incentives for rooftop solar in Sydney, so it can save on network costs. It’s a welcome change from the usual narrative about how rooftop solar is a burden to networks and consumers. Are battery storage and micro-grids next?
  • Australia among the world’s worst on biodiversity conservation
    Australia is among the top seven countries worldwide responsible for 60% of the world’s biodiversity loss between 1996 and 2008, according to a study published last week in the journal Nature.
  • Rooftop solar installer caught out for fraudulent STC creation
    Clean energy regulator takes action against solar company found to have installed rooftop PV systems without compliant Certificates of Electrical Safety.
  • Oil Search’s Alaskan oil play ignores climate reality
    Just days out from the start of the latest climate talks, PNG-based Oil Search has delivered a slap in the face to its Pacific neighbours.
  • Is your company disclosing its climate risk?
    Investors and activists have new ammunition to encourage public company disclosures on climate change risks and opportunities. They should use them.
  • Swan Hill solar farm secures debt funding to go “merchant”
    Impact Investment Group secures $16.5m from specialist outfit Infradebt for 19MW merchant solar farm in northern Victoria.

November 3, 2017 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, energy | Leave a comment

How an Entire U.S. Town Became Battery-Operated

Freeing Energy

Minster Main Street

What if I told you the U.S. city blazing the local energy trail has a population of 2,800 and relies on sheep to cut the grass around its solar panels? It‘s time to turn our heads from the energy trailblazers in New York and California to the industrious and economically savvy Village of Minster, Ohio.

Water TowerIn 2015, this village (Ohio calls any town with a population below 5,000 a village) became the first community of its size in the nation to successfully operate its own solar and battery system.

Don Harrod is Minster’s village administrator, a big job that oversees every one of Minster’s far-reaching operations. “We are a full-service village. We supply water, wastewater, parks, streets, recreation, police, fire,” says Harrod. “We’re also a municipal-owned electric system.” Minster is one of 88 municipalities in Ohio that runs its own small electric utility – it’s what the industry calls a…

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November 3, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment


1st November 2017, Nuclear Fuel Cycle Watch   The Greens Bill to finally end wasteful government spending on the proposed South Australian international nuclear waste dump passed through the upper house late tonight. As the Bill had support from the Government, we expect it to also pass the lower house in coming weeks.

“I’m delighted that this sorry saga of wasted public funds is now over”, said Mark Parnell MLC, Greens SA Parliamentary Leader. “Now that the dump has been comprehensively dumped, it is important to draw a line under any further public spending on this ill-conceived project. We don’t have final figures on what was spent on this folly but at least $14 million is a conservative estimate.

“The Greens’ Bill strengthens existing laws against using public money to “encourage or finance nuclear waste storage facilities” by removing the reference to spending money on further public consultation and debate over the dump. Of course, if a future government wants to spruik the merits of turning SA into the world’s nuclear dumping ground, they can always come to Parliament for approval. In a democracy, that’s the right approach.

Importantly, the Greens’ Bill does not prevent the Government managing or sharing the information that has been gathered over the last 2 years or engaging with the Federal Government over plans for a separate national nuclear waste dump in South Australia.

“The Greens will continue to oppose plans to send Lucas Heights’ intermediate-level nuclear waste to the Flinders Ranges or Kimba pending a proper review of Australia’s stores of domestic nuclear waste and how to deal with them. The State Labor Government in the past has fought tooth and nail to stop the Federal Government dumping domestic nuclear waste in our State. Spending public money to deal with other State and Territory governments in relation to nuclear waste will still be allowed.

The Greens now urge all political parties to focus on supporting industries and opportunities that will enhance our State, rather than those which risk South Australia’s economy, environment and reputation”, concluded Mr Parnell

November 3, 2017 Posted by | politics, South Australia, wastes | Leave a comment

President Trump’s team at UN climate conference will promote nuclear power and fossil fuels

Trump Team to Promote Fossil Fuels and Nuclear Power at Bonn Climate Talks  WASHINGTON — The Trump administration will promote coal, natural gas and nuclear energy as an answer to climate change at a presentation during a United Nations global warming conference this month, the White House confirmed Thursday.

November 3, 2017 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

North Korea slams ‘false’ nuclear test site deaths report  NORTH Korea has slammed reports that hundreds of people were crushed to death when tunnels collapsed at a nuclear test site. NORTH Korea slammed a Japanese TV station’s report on Thursday that claimed hundreds of people were crushed to death when tunnels collapsed at its unstable nuclear test site.

The statement comes as a South Korean spy agency renewed fears that the Hermit Kingdom is planning a missile tests, reports Fox News.

North Korea’s state-run Korean Central News Agency said in a statement that the Tuesday report by Japanese broadcaster Asahi TV was “false” and merely “misinformation,” Reuters reported.

It accused the Japanese station of trying to “slander” the rogue regime’s nuclear weapons program.

The Japanese TV station reported on Tuesday that 200 are feared dead after an underground tunnel collapsed at the Punggye-ri test site on October 10.

The workers were in the tunnel during the initial cave-in, the station reported, citing a North Korean source. Another 100 people were crushed when the tunnels gave way on top of rescuers. Continue reading

November 3, 2017 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Ill-advised Adani coal megamine project casts a shadow over Queensland’s election

Of course, the big number that swayed the government was the promise of 10,000 jobs, regularly discredited and just as regularly repeated. Adani’s own expert admitted that the modelling behind the claim was spurious and the true figure was closer to 1,500, but that hasn’t stopped the spruikers.

More importantly, these claims ignore the fact that the public money needed to get Adani started could be used to create more, and more socially productive jobs than those generated by a fly-in-fly-out (Fifo) mine and a largely automated railway. As I showed in work for Farmers for Climate Action, the agricultural sector alone could generate more jobs than the Adani project.

Palaszczuk faces an election campaign where she will be dogged by anti-Adani protesters on the one hand and doubts about her enthusiasm for the project on the other. The LNP faces no such problems. But should they win, their difficulties will start when the project falls over, as it almost certainly will.

The Adani problem will haunt Palaszczuk’s election campaign, John Quiggin

Queensland Labor sits in the uncomfortable position of pleasing neither the pro- nor anti-Adani camps he Adani Group’s proposed mine-rail-port development linking a massive new coalmine at the Carmichael site in the Galilee basin to an expanded port at Abbot Point near Bowen was always going to be an electoral negative for the Palaszczuk Labor government.

One the one hand, Labor’s Liberal National party and One Nation opponents are enthusiastic backers of the Adani project, and will use this fact to campaign in marginal seats in Townsville and Rockhampton. On the other hand, the Greens, backed by the majority of the Australian public, are strongly opposed. The Adani issue could well cost Labor the inner-city seat of deputy premier Jackie Trad, and possibly others.

Lined up behind the Greens is all the environmental and economic evidence that the project should be abandoned. The mine, if it went ahead, would represent a disastrous increase in the global supply of coal. And, since it can only proceed with massive financial support from Australian governments, it will be an economic disaster as well. Continue reading

November 3, 2017 Posted by | politics, Queensland | Leave a comment

At last: someone is really taking on the “new nuclear” shills

Stanford professor sues critics of his 100% renewables article, Washington Post, By Chris Mooney November 1  2017Mark Z. Jacobson, a Stanford University professor who has prominently contended that the United States can fully power itself with wind, water and solar energy, is suing the National Academy of Sciences and the lead author [Clack] of a study published in its flagship journal that criticized Jacobson’s views — pushing an already bitter academic dispute into a courtroom setting……

The dispute turns on Jacobson’s idea, itself published in the PNAS and other journals, that it is feasible to construct a grid for the entire country that would be powered entirely by wind, solar and water energy (hydropower), with additional help from forms of energy storage. “No natural gas, biofuels, nuclear power, or stationary batteries are needed,” Jacobson and his colleagues wrote in 2015.

This idea of “100 percent clean energy” has been embraced by many environmental and climate change advocates, including actor Mark Ruffalo and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.). And no wonder, for it presents a highly ambitious and optimistic outlook on how the current transition toward clean energy — which would be central to stopping climate change — could continue to develop……

Jacobson charges that after seeing that [Clack] study prior to publication, he sent a list of its purported errors to the NAS. These were not corrected in the final published version, his lawsuit says. …..

One of his greatest objections is over the claim that his work contained “modeling errors,” which turns on a technical dispute over how much U.S. electricity could be provided by hydropower and how much the current system of dams can be altered to increase their electricity-generating capacity.

This claim is “particularly harmful and damaging to Dr. Jacobson’s reputation because his primary expertise is in computer modeling,” the suit asserts……

According to court documents, the academy has until Nov. 27 to respond to the lawsuit.

November 3, 2017 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Holtec casks for wastes (as intended by Nuclear Royal Commission for South Australia) now found to have faults

Dry Cask Risks Not Known When Design Approved by NRC, 2 Nov 2017Former Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) Administrative Judge Dr. Peter Lam discloses that the vulnerabilities of Diablo’s Holtec dry cask nuclear waste storage system to stress corrosion cracking – recently documented by Donna Gilmore – was not known to decision-makers 20 years ago, when the NRC approved the design.

Dr. Lam’s disclosure seems to throw into serious question the validity of the design basis of all planned and existing nuclear waste storage systems in California and elsewhere.

This is number four of four excerpts, posted as a public service by EON, from the video coverage of the Oct. 19, 2017 meeting of the Diablo Canyon Independent Safety Committee.

For more info:

November 3, 2017 Posted by | South Australia, wastes | Leave a comment