Australian news, and some related international items

Nuclear power and space exploration – theme for November 2017

Coinciding with the severe downturn in the nuclear industry, is the rush of enthusiasm for space exploration – and the goal of “putting  a man on Mars”.  The nuclear industry must be pleased, as the fuel for space rockets is their own product – PLUTONIUM!  (Space travel might save their industry?)

Plutonium is the most toxic of all the radioactive products of nuclear fission, as well as being the fuel for nuclear weapons. There have already been accidents with space rockets. The effects of a space craft crash on an Earth city are almost unimaginable, and certainly never properly considered by the space technocrats and nuclear enthusiasts. To them, this is an “acceptable risk”.

Then there’s the doom-laden future for astronauts to Mars. Quite simply, cosmic radiation would kill them. Even now, astronauts suffer extraordinary health ill effects, as related by Scott Kelly, in his new book “Endurance” .  Not all these effects are caused by radiation – and this issue merges into the troubling ethical problems of sending people to Mars, or even, into space.

We are constantly being told of the benefits to come, in space travel. What benefits? Are they greater than the huge environmental and personal risks? And the financial costs – paid for by the tax-payer? That money could go to meet real human needs. There’s something wrong with our priorities when we mindlessly accept enthusiasm for technology, innovation etc – as better than healing the health of this planet, and its populations.


November 11, 2017 Posted by | Christina themes | Leave a comment

The week that was in nuclear/ climate news Australia

Sometimes the news in one country is pivotal to the fortunes of the global nuclear industry. Right now, this country is arguably South Africa. Nuclear corruption has been entrenched in South Africa for a long time. It’s becoming urgently important now, as President Zuma nears the end of his term.  The global nuclear lobby must be watching, with some trepidation, to see whether a whole African nation can be bought,  despite the obstacles. In South Africa, the obstacles are: legal, financial, political, and technical. And that’s before one even talks about public opinion, and health and environmental impacts.

With one eye on South Africa, the nuclear lobby’s other eye is, of course, on the COP23 climate talks in Bonn, Germany, where the nuclear lobby is working hard on the sidelines, to persuade the UN that their industry is “clean” – and therefore deserving of financial support.

Investigative reporting lives!! – Informal Labour, Local Citizens and the Tokyo Electric Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Crisis: Responses to Neoliberal Disaster Management


NUCLEAR.- Australian navy joins USA and South Korea in drills to stop and search North Korean weapons ships.

Australian uranium company Paladin to leave costly environmental mess in Malawi.  Dean Johnson, Kimba mayor, ecstatic about Kimba getting Federal govt bribe for radioactive trash dump search .  Fairfax media uncritically regurgitates China-Bill Gates pro nuclear propaganda.  Nuclear propagandist Michael Shellenberger hated ABC interview, loved shock jock Alan Jones.

CLIMATE – Australia set to sabotage UN climate talks? AGAIN!   Pacific Island leaders will pressure Australia at UN climate meeting.   Australia can expect ‘increased bushfire and storm danger‘ due to climate change. Australia the global climate laggard. Western Australia to experience extreme weather.

Queensland’s election nears (Nov 25). A bit of fear and trembling going on in federal, as well as state, politics – that the very right-wing Pauline Hanson’s One Nation might do well, or even that the Greens might have a show. The Liberal/Nationals have put One Nation ahead of Greens on their How-to-vote cards. The Greens seem to have influenced politics on the Adani coal mine issue.

Australian government  might not be able to bypass Queensland and give funds to Adani for coal mine rail line. Federal Minister For Coal, Matt Canavan, says that Adani Coal megamine project is now in jeopardy.

ENERGY.  Australian Institute of Company Directors finds that corporate leaders want renewable energy growth.   Record low electricity demand in South Australia, due to rooftop solar.  The world is watching South Australia’s record consumer-powered electricity grid.

SA energy minister Tom Koutsantonis slammed the federal government’s proposed National Energy Guarantee as an attack on renewables. More at

November 11, 2017 Posted by | Christina reviews | Leave a comment

Australian Greens now influencing broad policy , for example on Adani coal project

The Greens believe they have put a difficult year behind them, and are seeing their ‘Cassandra’ foresight picked up by other parties. Saturday Paper,
How the Greens drive policy,
Saturday Paper  Mike Seccombe  , 11 Nov 17, Even in Richard Di Natale’s office they refer to the middle months of 2017 as the “winter of discontent”. It was as bleak a season as the federal Greens party has known.
But there is more than a whiff of spring in the air now, and if a few things go right over the next few weeks, maybe glorious summer. So Di Natale hopes.

……..One example is the giant coalmine proposed by the Indian conglomerate Adani in Queensland. Most Australians don’t want it. A Morgan poll last month showed that among those who had a view – and almost a quarter didn’t – opinion ran against the mine’s development by more than three to one.Says Bob Brown: “That poll showed that supporters of every political party from [Pauline] Hanson and the Nationals, across to the Greens, has a majority opposed to the mine. But the popular mood is not echoed in the big party rooms.

“It’s a classic example of how a small powerful lobby can work wonders with the big parties. It takes a very restive public to change their minds.”

And right now we are seeing that change happen. The Queensland public is very restive on the Adani project and only now, two weeks out from a state election, has the penny dropped within the Labor government of Annastacia Palaszczuk.

Until last Friday, her government supported a proposal for the Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility to loan Adani $1 billion to help build rail infrastructure for the project, on the basis that it would help generate jobs – and harvest votes – in north Queensland.

Then came the announcement that state Labor would no longer support the loan. Palaszczuk offered a convoluted and un-credible rationalisation, based on the claim her political opponents were planning a smear campaign about a conflict of interest involving her partner, Shaun Drabsch, who works for PwC, which is involved with the project.

The near universal view is that the decision was really based on simple electoral calculus: Labor stood to lose more votes than it would hold if it continued to defy public opinion. The Greens, the only party to have consistently opposed Adani, have hopes of picking up several seats in Brisbane.

We’ll soon see how much damage Labor has done to itself, and, more importantly for Di Natale, whether it translates into significant gains for the Greens.

Di Natale sees the Queensland election as one of a couple of “defining moments” in the near future, which will indicate whether the party really has put the winter of discontent behind it.

Another such moment will come even sooner, at next Saturday’s byelection for the inner Melbourne state seat of Northcote. The demographics of the seat favour the Greens, and Daniel Andrews’ Labor government is going all out to hold on. On the policy front, that has entailed a raft of changes, by which Labor has aligned itself with Greens positions……

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

What’s happening at the Bonn COP23 climate talks?

The latest news from COP23  What has been going on in the second half of the first week of COP23 climate change negotiations?, Will Yeates, 10 Nov17, 

Emerging nations have told rich countries to do more to cut emissions quicker. A group of campaigners have called for the US to be kicked out of the talks. But the main story seem to be around rich countries reluctance to commit to past promises around climate finance. NGOs may even sue.

With lighter news of how kale is climate-friendly and some art from Venice, here are the biggest COP23 stories from the second half of this week.

1. Emerging nations urge rich to kick-start climatepact before 2020

Emerging nations pressed developed countries on Wednesday to step up cuts in greenhouse gas emissions by 2020 to kick-start the Paris climate agreement, saying the rich were wrongly focused on 2030 goals.

“We came here needing to hit the accelerator, not the brakes,” Brazil’s chief negotiator Antonio Marcondes told Reuters
Read more on Thomson Reuters Foundation

2. African campaigners call for the US to be kicked out of major UN climate talks because of Donald Trump

The Pan African Climate Justice Alliance (PACJA) has organised a petition in favour of the US delegation being barred from the UN negotiations in response to Mr Trump’s decision to pull his country out of the Paris Agreement on Climate Change. The group claims the US has no right to be involved in discussions on how the agreement should be implemented given that it has chosen to opt-out of the deal.Read more on The Independent

3. Climate-hit nations ask: Who will pay the rising costs of disasters?

The question of who might pay the mounting costs of disasters is a controversial one at the talks. Developed countries — as the biggest emitters of greenhouse gas emissions — have been reluctant to discuss the costs, fearing they could be held liable.
Read more on Thomson Reuters Foundation

4. Carbon price among policy wishlist issued by businesses at COP23

Members of the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD), including the chief executives of more than 200 international businesses, have called for governments to collaborate with the private sector to set meaningful carbon prices and improve climate resilience.Read more on Edie

5. Kale on the agenda at COP23

Ten years ago, Nordic chefs drafted a manifesto to shape a new food culture, grounded in gastronomy, but their overall ambition was to create a new, sustainable food identity. What came out of was a boost in Nordic gastronomy based on locally sourced vegetables, creating thousands of new jobs and inspiring others across the food sector to follow suit.Read more on Huff Post

6. Climate change art illustrates sea level rise in Venice during COP 23

Andreco Studio has unveiled its latest art installation, Climate 04-Sea Level Rise in Venice, to raise awareness of the climate change conference COP 23 currently underway in Bonn, Germany. Introduced as a project promoting dialogue between the arts and sciences, the climate change-inspired installation calls attention to the effects of potential sea level rise in Venice.Read more on Inhabitat

7. COP23: NGOs may take nations to court over climate loss and damage

Developed countries have not lived up to their promises around climate financing. NGOs at the UN climate talks in Bonn are now pushing for action through legal means.Read more on Eco Business

7. COP23: NGOs may take nations to court over climate loss and damage

Developed countries have not lived up to their promises around climate financing. NGOs at the UN climate talks in Bonn are now pushing for action through legal means.Read more on Eco Business

9. Climate summit deadlocked over immediate action

A closed-door meeting over the inclusion of immediate climate action in the agenda at this year’s conference in Bonn, Germany, has failed to break the deadlock between developing and developed countries.

From the start of the UN summit on Monday, developing countries led by India, China and Iran have been asking for the inclusion of immediate climate action in the agenda.

Developed countries have been opposing this because it puts their actions under the spotlight. The Paris Agreement comes into force in 2020 so prior efforts to limit climate change are largely the responsibility of industrialised countries under the second phase of the Kyoto Protocol. But many industrialised countries have not even ratified the second phase in their legislatures.Read more on China Dialogue

10. One nation, two tribes: opposing visions of US climate role on show in Bonn

Donald Trump has pulled the US out of the Paris accord – but other Americans are standing with the world to help fight the ‘existential crisis’ of global warming. Deep schisms in the US over climate change are on show at the UN climate talks in Bonn – where two sharply different visions of America’s role in addressing dangerous global warming have been put forward to the world.Read more on Guardian

11. Rich countries not talking climate finance seriously, say African officials

Developed countries promised to deliver $100bn a year by 2020 in public and private fund to help struggling countries cope with climate change. Current flows are estimated at between $17bn and $61bn. However, at UN climate talks in Bonn, Seyni Nafo, who leads the group of African states, said the rich were refusing to advance even on procedural discussions around finance.Read more on Climate Home

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

Liberal National Coalition puts One Nation ahead of Labor on Queensland how-to-vote cards

LNP puts Greens last, One Nation ahead of Labor on how-to-vote cards, SMH
Rachel Clun, 10 Nov 17  The LNP will put the Greens last on its how-to-vote cards for the state election and also preference One Nation over Labor in a majority of seats where all three parties have candidates.

“The only way for Queenslanders to get the positive change they want is to vote for their local Liberal National Party candidate. And the only way for you and your family to get ahead is to vote for your local Liberal National Party candidate,” Opposition Leader Tim Nicholls said in a statement issued on Friday night…… The Greens have already announced they will put One Nation last, and the LNP second last, on their how-to-vote cards……

November 11, 2017 Posted by | politics, Queensland | Leave a comment