Australian news, and some related international items

Federal radioactive waste in South Australia : three sites, two years, one message

  This week marks two years since the federal government announced its six shortlisted sites across Australia for the development of a National nuclear waste dump. Three of those sites were in South Australia and today both the Flinders Ranges and the Kimba agricultural region remain under threat.

The planned National Radioactive Waste Management Facility (NRWMF) project has been met with contest and concern from community members and state and national environment groups.

The waste issue is also set to be highlighted in the March state election with all SA politicians and hopefuls facing calls to explicitly back existing state legislation that makes any such dump illegal. Conservation SA was pleased to see an article in yesterday’s Australian newspaper disclosing Premier Jay Weatherill’s support for the Flinders Ranges community in their campaign against a radioactive waste dump in a letter to Prime Minister Turnbull urging him to respect Aboriginal opposition to the planned dump.

Regina McKenzie, Adnyamathanha Traditional Owner who lives next door to the Barndioota site and is a member of the Flinders Local Action Group (FLAG) said “The Liberal government’s plan is impacting the mental health and well being of the people in the Flinders Ranges and Kimba communities. We are happy that Premier Weatherill has opened his ears to us and is urging Malcolm Turnbull to do the same. For two years we have said no and we continue to say no.”

Kimba farmer Peter Woolford, chair of No Radioactive Waste on Agricultural Land In Kimba or SA, a group that formed around the issue, said “Two years on and the Commonwealth government continues to apply pressure to our small vulnerable community. The uncertainty, stress and toll this has taken on people within Kimba is immeasurable.

“Ministers and the Department of Industry, Innovation & Science state broad community support is critical for the facility, yet Kimba has continually been contested with strong opposition being maintained. The recent poll was clear that nearly half the community are opposed to siting a nuclear waste dump on farming land even with “disruption” money offered to communities to stay in the process.

“Current legislation in South Australia needs to be upheld and the Commonwealth should not ‘impose’ a national waste facility onto any unwilling community”, he said.

Radioactive waste dumps for non-SA wastes are illegal in SA. In response to earlier federal moves to dump waste in SA, state Parliament passed a law to say No: The Nuclear Waste Facility (Prohibition) Act 2000. This Act is “to protect the health, safety and welfare of the people of South Australia and to protect the environment in which they live by prohibiting the establishment of certain nuclear waste storage facilities in this state.”

The majority of Australia’s radioactive waste is currently securely stored at the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation’s (ANSTO) site at Lucas Heights, in southern Sydney. ANSTO says it “is capable of handling and storing waste for long periods of time.” ANSTO produced the waste and they are best placed to manage it until a proper disposal approach is agreed. The current substandard plan does not meet world’s best practice and there is no need for short term approaches to this long term issue.

Mara Bonacci, Nuclear Waste Campaigner at Conservation SA said “The current process is flawed and divisive and targets vulnerable remote communities. In the two years since the six shortlisted sites were announced, the government has got no closer to securing a site. In fact, the site nomination process is still open.  The government has only succeeded in causing stress and division in the areas it has targeted. It is time to stop the clock and adopt an evidence based approach to waste management.

“The waste can and should remain secured and monitored at Lucas Heights until a dedicated public review of the full range of options for radioactive waste management is carried out. The focus needs to shift from targeting SA to establishing a fair, open and responsible process for the management of Australia’s most hazardous waste”, she concluded.


November 15, 2017 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, Federal nuclear waste dump | Leave a comment

Strong protest at Bonn Climate Summit against push for nuclear power

Special Report: Revolt at Trump’s Pro-Coal, Pro-Nuclear & Pro-Gas Panel Rocks U.N. Climate Summit NOVEMBER 14, 2017, Democracy Now! was there when activists and Democratic lawmakers at the U.N. climate summit in Bonn, Germany, staged a full-fledged revolt Monday when the Trump administration made its official debut at this year’s conference with a forum pushing coal, gas and nuclear power. The presentation was entitled “The Role of Cleaner and More Efficient Fossil Fuels and Nuclear Power in Climate Mitigation.” The panel was the only official appearance by the U.S. delegation during this year’s U.N. climate summit. Of the four corporate representatives pushing nuclear, gas and coal, Lenka Kollar of NuScale Power and Amos Hochstein of Tellurian told Amy Goodman that they disagreed with Trump’s decision to pull the U.S. out of the climate agreement.

Transcript    This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.

AMY GOODMAN: This is Democracy Now!democracynow.orgThe War and Peace Report. We’re broadcasting live from the U.N. climate summit here in Bonn, Germany. Close to 200 countries are gathered. The U.S. says that it is pulling out of the climate accord. Well, on Monday night, activists and Democratic lawmakers staged a full-fledged revolt as the Trump administration made its official debut at this year’s COP at a forum pushing coal, gas and nuclear power. The presentation was entitled “The Role of Cleaner and More Efficient Fossil Fuels and Nuclear Power in Climate Mitigation.” It included speakers from coal company Peabody Energy, the nuclear engineering firm NuScale Power and a gas exporter. The panel was the only official appearance by the U.S. delegation during this year’s U.N. climate summit.

Well, Democracy Now! was there Monday night as the U.S. delegation made its official debut. It didn’t go too well. At least, it didn’t begin well, with a White House consultant telling Democracy Now! we could not film him……..

November 15, 2017 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Pacific Islanders call on Australia and other nations, as climate change submerges islands

Pacific Island nations urge world leaders to act as islands expected to sink

AUSTRALIA’S tropical island neighbours may exist today, but their leaders have urged us to help them from sinking., Matt Young@MattYoung  14 Nov 17 
A LARGE swath of Pacific Island nations are slowly being eaten away until residents will be forced to evacuate and the islands eventually sink into the sea — and it’s coming sooner than we think.

This modern-day Atlantis is thanks to sea levels across small island nations that have seen a dramatic rise over the past few decades, a rate of up to 3-4 times larger than the global average. Tuvalu, in the western Pacific Ocean, will reportedly be uninhabitable by 2050, while its island neighbour Kiribati, is expected to be fully submerged by 2100.

The Maldives, which has the lowest elevation in the world and a population of 427,000, may also have sunk by the end of the century.

It has led experts — including Professor Tim Flannery, climate change expert and Professor at La Trobe University — to believe we are “on a trajectory that will see those nations compromised”.

Five reef islands in the Solomon Islands have already been lost forever while a further six have been completely eroded. Last year, the island of Nuatambu had already lost half of its habitable area.

Professor Flannery told The Maldives, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Tokelau and Tuvalu were most at risk.

“It’s very much on their minds, they’re trying to work out how to deal with it,” Mr Flannery told

Scientists are convinced more and more of these tiny islands at risk of sinking into the sea in the next 30 years and Pacific Island leaders have gathered to urge its neighbours, including Australia, to take action to save their dwindling nations……

November 15, 2017 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming, politics international | Leave a comment

To understand growth of nuclear weapons industry – FOLLOW THE MONEY

Who’s Really Driving Nuclear-Weapons Production? Follow the money. The Nation  By William D. Hartung [This piece has been updated and adapted from William D. Hartung’s “Nuclear Politics” inSleepwalking to Armageddon: The Threat of Nuclear Annihilation, edited by Helen Caldicott and just published by the New Press.] 14 Nov 17

“………..The techniques that the arms lobby and its allies in government used more than half a century ago to promote sky-high nuclear weapons spending continue to be wielded to this day. The twenty-first-century arms complex employs tools of influence that Kennedy and his compatriots would have found familiar indeed—including millions of dollars in campaign contributions that flow to members of Congress and the continual employmentof 700 to 1,000 lobbyists to influence them. At certain moments, in other words, there have been nearly two arms lobbyists for every member of Congress. Much of this sort of activity remains focused on ensuring that nuclear weapons of all types are amply financed and that the funding for the new generations of the bombers, submarines, and missiles that will deliver them stays on track.

When traditional lobbying methods don’t get the job done, the industry’s argument of last resort is jobs—in particular, jobs in the states and districts of key members of Congress. This process is aided by the fact that nuclear weapons facilities are spread remarkably widely across the country. There are nuclear weapons labs in California and New Mexico; a nuclear weapons testing and research site in Nevada; a nuclear warhead assembly and disassembly plant in Texas; a factory in Kansas City, Missouri, that builds nonnuclear parts for such weapons; and a plant in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, that enriches uranium for those same weapons. There are factories or bases for ICBMs, bombers, and ballistic missile submarines in Connecticut, Georgia, Washington State, California, Ohio, Massachusetts, Louisiana, North Dakota, and Wyoming. Such a nuclear geography ensures that a striking number of congressional representatives will automatically favor more spending on nuclear weapons.

In reality, the jobs argument is deeply flawed. As the experts know, virtually any other activity into which such funding flowed would create significantly more jobs than Pentagon spending. A study by economists at the University of Massachusetts, for example, found infrastructure investment would create one and one-half times as many jobs as Pentagon funding and education spending twice as many.

In most cases it hasn’t seemed to matter that the jobs claims for weapons spending are grotesquely exaggerated and better alternatives litter the landscape. The argument remains remarkably potent in states and communities that are particularly dependent on the Pentagon. Perhaps unsurprisingly, members of Congress from such areas are disproportionately represented on the committees that decide how much will be spent on nuclear and conventional weaponry………

November 15, 2017 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Australian Aboriginal concerns will now be addressed in Scotland discussions on destination of reprocessed nuclear wastes

Herald 13th Nov 2017, ABORIGINES challenging proposals to dump nuclear waste from northern Scotland to a sacred Australian site have won a breakthrough meeting with
government officials about their concerns.

Wallerberdina, 280 miles north of Adelaide, has been identified as a potential location for Australia’s
first nuclear waste dump as part of a deal that returns spent fuel processed at the nuclear facility currently being decommissioned in Dounreay, Caithness, to its country of origin.

This is despite claims that it is a priceless heritage site rich in archaeological treasures including
burial mounds, fossilised bones and stone tools. Some have claimed the
impact would be similar to “building a waste dump at the heart of the

Campaigners who have appealed to the Scottish Government to halt
the plans to ship nuclear waste processed at Dounreay in Caithness to
Australia, have now been told that their concerns should be addressed
before any final decision is taken.

The Dounreay Waste Substitution Policy, agreed in 2012, sees waste from Australia, Belgium, Germany and Italy processed at the Scottish facility to make it safe for storage after being
returned to its country of origin. Campaigners have complained that the
intended South Australian destination forms part of an Aboriginal heritage
site rich in burial mounds, fossilised bones and stone tools.

November 15, 2017 Posted by | Federal nuclear waste dump, South Australia | Leave a comment

New film ‘Atomic Homefront’ reveals dangerous radioactive waste problem at St Louis, USA

‘Atomic Homefront’: St. Louis Residents Fire Back at EPA Over Local Nuclear Waste The film, which premieres at the Doc NYC festival, follows a group of moms-turned-activists as they confront government agencies and corporations over the illegal dumping of radioactive waste in their neighborhood.

A group of concerned St. Louis residents confront representatives from the Army Corps and EPA over the safety of their neighborhood, in light of nuclear waste being dumped in a nearby landfill, in an exclusive clip from the HBO documentary Atomic Homefront.

The film, which is set to premiere at the Doc NYC festival on Wednesday (Nov. 15) before opening in New York on Friday (Nov. 17) and airing on HBO early next year, follows a group of moms-turned-activists in the St. Louis area as they take on the government and corporations over the illegal dumping of nuclear waste in their community in a desperate bid to protect their families from the toxic effects of radioactive waste.

In the clip, the residents of Bridgeton, Missouri, gather at a meeting with representatives from the Army Corps of Engineers and EPA and the residents, many of whom are moms, grow frustrated at the officials’ inability to explain the risk facing their community and suggestion that their neighborhood is a safe living area. The residents are afraid that radioactive particles could become airborne once an uncontrolled, subsurface fire reaches the nuclear waste.

November 15, 2017 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Australian World Heritage sites at special climate change risk- International Union for Conservation of Nature(IUCN)

From the Everglades to Kilimanjaro, climate change is destroying world wonders
Number of natural world heritage sites at serious risk from global warming has doubled in three years, says the IUCN, including the Great Barrier Reef and spectacular karst caves in Europe,
Guardian, Damian Carrington 14 Nov 17, From the Everglades in the US to the Great Barrier Reef in Australia, climate change is destroying the many of the greatest wonders of the natural world.

A new report on Monday from the International Union for Conservation of Nature(IUCN) reveals that the number of natural world heritage sites being damaged and at risk from global warming has almost doubled to 62 in the past three years.

Those at high risk include iconic places from the Galapagos Islands to the central Amazon and less well known but equally vibrant and unique sites such as the karst caves of Hungary and Slovakia and the monarch butterfly reserves in Mexico.

Coral reefs are particularly badly affected by rising ocean temperatures, from the Seychelles to Belize, where the northern hemisphere’s biggest reef is situated. Global heating is also causing mountain glaciers to rapidly shrink, from Kilimanjaro in Tanzania to the Rocky Mountains in Canada and the Swiss Alps Jungfrau-Aletsch – home to the largest Alpine glacier.

Other ecosystems being damaged are wetlands, such as the Everglades, where sea level is rising as the ocean warms and salt water is intruding. In the Sundarbans mangrove forest on the delta of the Ganges, Brahmaputra and Meghna rivers on the Bay of Bengal, two islands have already been submerged and a dozen more are threatened. Fiercer storms are also increasing the risk of devastation.

 Rising numbers of wildfires are damaging the beautiful Fynbos flowerscapes in the Cape region of South Africa and the Monarch butterfly site in Mexico. Elsewhere, warming is melting the permafrost in the newly declared Qinghai Hoh Xil heritage site, which is at 4,500m altitude in the Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau.

Australia is especially exposed as it has 10 natural heritage sites where climate change damage is rated as high or very high risk, from its Gondwana rainforests to Shark Bay in western Australia and islands such as Fraser and Macquarie.

The new IUCN report was launched at the UN climate summit being held in Bonn, Germany, where the world’s nations are working to put the 2015 landmark Paris agreement into operation.

“Protection of world heritage sites is an international responsibility of the same governments that have signed up to the Paris agreement,” said Inger Andersen, IUCN director general. “This report sends them a clear message: climate change acts fast and is not sparing the finest treasures of our planet. This underlines the need for urgent and ambitious national commitments and actions to implement the Paris agreement.”

Climate change is one of a range of factors that mean about a third of the world’s 241 natural heritage sites are being damaged, with invasive alien species being the top threat. Then, after global warming, comes unsustainable tourism, followed by other problems like poaching and construction……

November 15, 2017 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming | Leave a comment


DATE                     Thursday 16th November

TIME                      9.30am

LOCATION           Supreme Court of WA

David Malcolm Justice Centre
28 Barrack StreetPERTH WA 6000

 The Supreme Court of WA will commence proceedings to review the environmental approval for the Yeelirrie Uranium mine proposal, brought by the Conservation Council of Western Australia and Traditional Owners.


November 15, 2017 Posted by | legal, Western Australia | Leave a comment

How climate change could lead to more wars in the 21st century

How climate change could lead to more wars in the 21st century, Vox,  A new book offers a dark picture of humanity’s future.    by “My belief is that we will see a renaissance of violent conflict in the 21st century, and that many of these conflicts will spring from climate change.”

That’s what Harald Welzer, author of Climate Wars: Why People Will Be Killed in the 21st Century, told me in a recent interview. A professor at the University of Flensburg in Germany, Welzer studies the cultural and political implications of climate change. His book, first published in 2012, was rereleased in paperback in October.

After a new report by the Environmental Justice Foundation warning that climate change is likely to cause the largest refugee crisis in human history, I reached out to Welzer to discuss his book, which is a foreboding look at humanity’s future in a world shaped, increasingly, by climate change.

Twentieth-century wars were fought over land, religion, and economics. But Welzer argues that the wars of the 21st century will be fought over something quite different: climate change, and the shortages of water and food that will come from it.

“Ideology will always be a surface-level justification for conflict,” he told me. “But if you look deeply at the source of future conflicts, I think you’ll see a basic resource conflict at the bottom of it all.”

Our full conversation, lightly edited for clarity, follows…….

November 15, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Climate Change and Water Woes Drove ISIS Recruiting in Iraq

Climate Change and Water Woes Drove ISIS Recruiting in Iraq Battered by shifting resources, desperate farmers were driven into terror recruiters’ clutches. Can it happen again?,  National Geographic, It was a few weeks after the rains failed in the winter of 2009 that residents of Shirqat first noticed the strange bearded men.

Circling like vultures among the stalls of the town’s fertilizer market in Iraq’s northern Salahaddin governorate, they’d arrow in on the most shabbily dressed farmers, and tempt them with promises of easy riches. “Join us, and you’ll never have to worry about feeding your family,” Saleh Mohammed Al-Jabouri, a local tribal sheikh, remembers one recruiter saying.

With every flood or bout of extreme heat or cold, the jihadists would reappear, often supplementing their sales pitches with gifts. When a particularly vicious drought struck in 2010, the fifth in seven years, they doled out food baskets. When fierce winds eviscerated hundreds of eggplant fields near Kirkuk in the spring of 2012, they distributed cash. As farming communities limped from one debilitating crisis to another, the recruiters—all members of what soon became the Islamic State—began to see a return on their investment.

Two agricultural laborers in Azwai, a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it farming community just south of Shirqat, ran off to join the jihadists in December 2013. Seven more from outlying villages followed a month later. By the time the Islamic State (also known as ISIS) seized this swath of Iraq—along with most of the country’s west and north—in a brutal summer-long blitzkrieg in 2014, few locals were surprised to see dozens of former fertilizer market regulars among its ranks.

“We said just wait until the next harvest, life will get better, life will become easier,” Jabouri said. “But things just weren’t getting better. There was always another disaster.”

Across rural Iraq and Syria, farmers, officials, and village elders tell similar stories of desperate farmhands swapping backhoes for assault rifles. Already battered by decades of shoddy environmental policies, which had hobbled agriculture and impoverished its dependents, these men were in no state to navigate the extra challenges of climate change. And so when ISIS came along, propelled in large part by sectarian grievances and religious fanaticism, many of the most environmentally damaged Sunni Arab villages quickly emerged as some of the deep-pocketed jihadists’ foremost recruiting grounds.

Around Tikrit, Saddam Hussein’s northern Iraqi hometown, ISIS appears to have attracted much more support from water-deprived communities than from their better-resourced peers. In Tharthar subdistrict, a semi-arid expanse west of the Tigris, farmers with fields closest to the encroaching sands joined the jihadists in greater numbers than their counterparts near the river valley. Throughout 100 plus interviews conducted over three years, farmers and agricultural officials alike sometimes wondered aloud: if only we’d received a little more assistance, might this entire blood-soaked mess have been averted?

“This beast [ISIS] has many causes, but in the countryside these new problems just pushed people over the edge,” said Omar, a former agriculture ministry administrator from Mosul, who fled as the jihadists seized his city three years ago and who wished to withhold his surname for security reasons………


By 2011, much of the Iraqi countryside was in desperate financial straits. Some 39 percent of people in rural areas were living in poverty, according to the World Bank. That’s two and a half times the country’s urban rate. Almost half lacked safe drinking water. The problems were so devastating in 2012-13 that tens of thousands of villagers ditched their fields altogether, preferring to try their luck in the slum districts of nearby cities instead………

Soaring temperatures also began playing into these [jihadists’] groups’ hands. Amid unprecedented heatwaves, farmers pumped more water in order to keep their crops alive, but in so doing merely added to the burden on the aquifers, many of which were already struggling to keep pace with demand that had previously been met by the rains and rivers. After several years of energetic groundwater extraction near the oil refining town of Baiji, Samir Saed’s two wells ran dry in early 2014, forcing him to lay off the two young men he employed as farm laborers. Jobless and angry, he suspects they soon joined ISIS.

“There are many stories like this; they were frustrated and just saw it as another type of work,” he says.

Summer temperatures in the Middle East are set to soar twice as fast as the global average, possibly threatening the inhabitability of the region by the end of the century, researchers say………


For the moment at least, ISIS is mostly defeated in Iraq. From a high of 40 percent of Iraq’s territory in late 2014, it now only controls a few isolated villages, and small chunks of largely featureless desert. But the conditions that contributed to its success in the countryside are, if anything, more pronounced than ever.

The jihadists adopted scorched earth tactics as they were beaten back, laying waste to hundreds of thousands of acres of prime farmland. And so for returning farmers, climate change and shoddy governance are now among the least of their worries. ISIS fighters ripped up buried irrigation pipes to mold makeshift mortars. They poisoned wells, blew up water canals, and carted off everything that was of any value, notably generators, tractors, and water pump parts…….

November 15, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

USA Senate considers danger of unstable President having ability to launch nuclear strike

‘The president is so unstable’: Senator questions Trump’s capability to launch nuclear strike  For the first time since 1976, US Congress is questioning the US president’s authority to launch a nuclear strike. By Riley Morgan, 15 Nov 17 

Senator Chris Murphy made a damning assessment of US President Donald Trump on Tuesday as Congress discussed if the country’s leader should have the authority to launch a nuclear attack.

Mr Trump has recently been taunting North Korea and vowed to unleash “fire and fury like the world has never seen” on the rogue nation if its nuclear armament program was not pulled back.

While the hearing was not about Mr Trump specifically, Connecticut Democrat Chris Murphy appeared to refer to the 45th president as “unstable” and “volatile” when discussing concerns over his ability to launch a missile attack.

“We are concerned that the president is so unstable, is so volatile, has a decision-making process that is so quixotic that he might order a nuclear weapons strike that is wildly out of step with US national-security interests,” Mr Murphy said in Congress.

“Let’s just recognise the exceptional nature of this moment.”

Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Corker said the examination was about the structure that allows presidents to make critical decisions.

“Making the decision to go to war of any sort is a heavy responsibility for our nation’s elected leaders,” Senator Corker said.

“And the decision to use nuclear weapons is the most consequential of all.”

The topic on the US president’s authority to launch a nuclear missile has not been discussed in nearly four decades since a four-day hearing.

Mr Corker has broken publicly with Trump, warning last month that the president was setting the nation “on the path to World War III” with his statements about North Korea and verbal jousting with Kim.

Robert Kehler, who headed US Strategic Command from 2011 to 2013, referred to a basic military precept: “The military is obligated to follow legal orders, but is not obligated to follow illegal orders.”

So, what constitutes a legal order? Kehler, a retired US Air Force general, said the military principles of “necessity” and “proportionality” also apply to decisions about nuclear weapons.

But when asked what he would do if he determined that a presidential nuclear order was illegal, Kehler hesitated about such a hypothetical.

“I don’t know exactly,” he responded. “The human factor kicks in.”

In such a situation, said Bryan McKeon, a former undersecretary of defense under Barack Obama, the president could replace the commander in question, or even the secretary of defense.

“But you’d have a real constitutional crisis on your hands,” McKeon said.

The discomfort among some Republican senators was visible.

November 15, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Australia business leaders Michael Myer and Geoff Manchester oppose Adani’s coal mine project

THEY know how to make a million and these two successful Australian businessman say claims about Adani’s coal mine are delusional. 14 Nov 17

OPPOSITION to Adani’s coal mine continues to build as two prominent Australian business leaders come out against the project.

Entrepreneur and philanthropist Michael Myer of the prominent Myer retailing family, and Intrepid Travel founder and chief executive officer Geoff Manchester, have both decided to speak out against the $16.5 billion project in Queensland’s Galilee Basin.

The two men share similar concerns but were not aware of the other’s views before going public.

“The mine itself is an outrage,” Mr Myer told

“It’s a stranded asset … and the proponent (Gautam) Adani is basically doing a very good job at conning our politicians at all levels of government.”

But he said the fact that governments were subsidising the project was also concerning. Federal, state and local governments have all agreed to, or are considering, providing the project with financial assistance.

Mr Myer said the economics of the project did not stack up and the leading supporters of the project were politicians, not those in the business world.

“The whole line that this is good for Queensland jobs is farcical and delusional,” Mr Myer said.

“It doesn’t stack up economically and as time goes on the economics get even worse.”

While the governments have continued to spruik the “10,000 jobs” that will be created, Adani’s own expert has admitted the figure will be closer to 1400 once jobs lost in other areas are taken into consideration.

Mr Myer believes the 10,000 number is “mythical” and the real number will likely be even less than 1400 as many operations can now be automated.

These jobs could also come at the expense of others.

At risk is Australia’s lucrative tourism industry with many concerned about the impacts of climate change on the Great Barrier Reef.

“Tourism operators are very concerned about this because we’ve already seen some negative impact on the Great Barrier Reef from bleaching in the last couple of years,” Intrepid CEO Geoff Manchester said.

“We’ve already had seen some local tourism operators impacted.”

Intrepid runs tours around the world so Mr Manchester is not too worried about his own business but he said the reef was of huge importance to Australia.

“We are coming into an era of potential growth in Australia, Asian countries are becoming more wealthy and travelling in larger numbers,” he said.

Mr Manchester said Asian tourists, especially those who lived in polluted cities, wanted to experience nature and animals they would not necessarily see in their home countries. This provided Australia with a significant opportunity to boost its economy.

“People are less interested in owning things and are becoming more interested in experiences,” he said.

“They see travel as part of life rather than a luxury that you only do when you can afford it.”

As leaders in their industries, both men said they wanted to voice their opposition publicly to the mine and a potential $1 billion concessional loan that the Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility is considering.

“There are lots of tourism businesses in Australia and it’s hard for them to get together and speak with one voice, we hope to speak up for them,” Mr Manchester said.

“We are a private, significantly sized company and I feel we have a duty to speak out against it.

“Hopefully this will make other companies feel more comfortable about speaking out as well.”

Mr Manchester said tourism was the biggest employer in Australia.

“It seems wrong to be threatening the (tourism) industry, and wrong to be subsidising the (coal) industry.”

Their remarks come as another entrepreneur warned Australia’s economy had serious problems.

In analysis published in today Matt Barrie and Craig Tindale point out that coal consumption in China had dropped three years in a row, and in January 2017, 100 coal fired power plants were cancelled.

“China has announced that it is spending a whopping $360 billion on renewables through 2020, and this year is implementing the world’s biggest cap-and-trade carbon market to curb emissions,” the authors noted.

“Blind to the reality of this situation, Australia is ramping up coal production while China commits to ending coal imports in the very near future in what can only be described as a last-ditch “dig it up now, or never” situation.”

According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, in 2015-16 the entire Australian mining industry which includes coal, oil and gas, iron ore, the mining of metallic and nonmetallic minerals and exploration and support services made $179 billion in revenue.

But it had $171 billion in costs, which meant it delivered an operating profit before tax of $7 billion — representing a wafer thin 3.9 per cent margin on an operating basis.

“Collectively, the entire Australian mining industry (ex-services) would be loss making in 2016-17 if revenue continued to drop and costs stayed the same,” the authors said.

Mr Myer said companies like BHP were now getting out of coal assets because they could see the writing on the wall.

“China and India both have to, and are, decarbonising their economies,” he said.

“So the notion that Adani is going to build this mine and produce 60 million tonnes a year (of coal), it’s delusional.”

Instead of giving Adani a $1 billion taxpayer-funded loan, Mr Myer said putting the money towards something like a Tesla Gigafactory to produce lithium-ion batteries, would create far more long term jobs than a coal mine.

“It could piggyback an electric vehicle factory,” he said. “That’s the future and that’s where the state should be investing.”

The Australian Government’s Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility will be making a decision soon on whether to grant a $1 billion loan to Adani to build a 388km rail link to Abbot Point.

The Queensland Government has already agreed to a royalty deal that may allow Adani to defer the royalties it pays to the government.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has said the royalties will be paid in full but has left option the possibility of royalties being deferred for the first few years.

Meanwhile local councils have been falling over themselves trying to accommodate the mine, with Townsville and Rockhampton councils both putting in at least $15 million each to fund an airstrip at the Carmichael mine.

November 15, 2017 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, business, climate change - global warming | Leave a comment

Financial peril for Adani’s Carmichael mine company

Profits of Adani’s Carmichael mine company tumble, leaving it in financial peril

Owner of Carmichael project can’t walk away from mine without descending further into distress, says energy expert, Guardian, Michael Slezak, 14 Nov 17, Profits of Adani Enterprises – the company in Adani Group’s complex structure that owns the proposed Carmichael coalmine – have collapsed almost 50% year-on-year, according to a half-yearly report released this week which does not mention the mine.

The results further show the company is in financial distress, according to Tim Buckley from the Institute of Energy Economics and Financial Analysis, who says they also reveal the company can’t walk away from the unviable Carmichael project without descending further into financial distress.

The Carmichael coalmine, which would be the largest ever built in Australia, has struggled to find financing for either the mine itself or the associated infrastructure such as the rail line that would transport coal to an export terminal on the Great Barrier Reef.

Every major Australian bank has said it will not be involved in the project, and the company has been seeking subsidised government finance from the Australian government and possibly also from China.

“If they tried to exit the project now, they would either have to write it off or find someone willing to buy it,” said Buckley.

If the project was written off or sold for significantly less than its current book value of US$1.15bn, the company would find it increasingly hard to finance its many other projects around the region, said Buckley.

Currently, the Adani Enterprises Limited – which is the only publicly listed company in the Adani Group – has a book value of just under US$2.3bn. Meanwhile, its latest report shows its debt has risen by almost US$400m to US$3.83bn………

November 15, 2017 Posted by | business, climate change - global warming | Leave a comment

15 November REneweconomy news

  • WA wind, solar industry in turmoil as green fund cements govt monopoly
    Synergy’s new “green fund” will cement its near monopoly powers, and put up to $1bn of wind and solar developments at risk, industry warns.
  • Rooftop solar changes unsettle industry, raising fears worse to come
    Confusion over RET regulation changes has revealed large cracks in the faith of the renewable energy industry, which – still recovering from the Abbott years – is spooked by the National Energy Guarantee, and possible future policy changes, just as the market is hitting its stride.
  • Elon Musk: Tesla semi truck event will “blow your mind”
    Elon Musk tweets that the Tesla Semi Truck unveiling will “blow your mind clear out of your skull and into an alternate dimension.” Let’s see.
  • Carnegie jacks up CETO capacity in bid to take wave power mainstream
    Carnegie boosts nominal capacity of CETO unit from 1MW to 1.5MW, in bid to make wave power cost competitive with mainstream renewables.
  • RCR preferred contractor for the Clermont and Woman solar farm projects
    RCR is pleased to announce that it has been selected as the Preferred EPC Contractor for two major contracts, totalling approximately $260 million.
  • Hear from Leading Solar Researchers in Melbourne in December 2017
    The rate of change of progress is rapid and to stay current with the latest in technology developments and deployment, each year, Australia’s leading solar researchers get together in an annual conference, with international and regional colleagues.
  • Lincoln Gap may treble battery size, as wind and solar lead new era
    Lincoln Gap wind farm may treble amount of battery storage, as it seeks new formula to escape dominance of big energy retailers.
  • Even IEA says coal boom is dead, hails the solar age
    Even the conservative IEA is calling the end of the coal era, and hailing new age of renewables as the world addresses climate, energy poverty and health.
  • Sungrow’s ESS system – PowCube4.8 Launch
    Sungrow presents its residential energy storage system (ESS) – the PowCube4.8.

November 15, 2017 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, energy | Leave a comment