Australian news, and some related international items

Wangan & Jagalingou Aboriginal people expected to lose their rights for economically unviable Adani Carmichael coal mine?

The Numbers Don’t Stack Up: W&J’s Rights on the Chopping Block for Adani’s ‘Non Viable’ Project, New Matilda By John Quiggin on In the fourth in a five part series on the proposed Adani Carmichael coal mine, John Quiggin looks at the numbers for the project, and like virtually all other parts of the planned project, they don’t survive closer examination. John Quiggin explains.

In what was lauded as a landmark moment for the Adani Group, in June 2017, its chairman Gautam Adani announced his board had given final investment approval for the $5.3 billion first stage of its Carmichael mine project in the Galilee Basin, as well as approval for the associated rail line project, to be constructed from the Basin to the Abbot Point coal terminal.

At the same time, however, Adani asserted its project’s future would remain contingent on finance. Given the projects’ outstanding financial issues, exposed in detail here, alongside Adani’s sustained failure to reach agreement with Traditional Owners, which undercuts the legal basis and legitimacy for this mine to proceed on W&J Country, its future remains uncertain.

Seven years since Adani Mining Pty Ltd. – Adani’s Australian arm – moved into Australia when it secured coal tenements, it has neither financial nor legal close for its proposed Carmichael mine.

These are the shaky grounds on which W&J are expected to forego their rights, assume the destruction of their country, and be grateful for a tiny sliver of the pie.

Yet the rhetoric of 10,000 jobs and great social advancement that would flow from the supposed benefits of the project to Traditional Owners along its corridor, and especially the W&J on whose country the mega mine will operate, is a far cry from that which Adani has actually put on the table.

preliminary analysis commissioned by the W&J Traditional Owners and presented to the claim group meeting on 2 December shows what a miserable proposition Adani’s proposed deal is for Traditional Owners.

Adani is offering Traditional Owners just 0.2 percent of its total revenue; far below industry benchmarks that indigenous groups should get 0.35 – 0.75 percent.

To put this in perspective, even if Adani doubled what was on offer, it would still only be equivalent to some of the lowest Indigenous Land Use Agreement (ILUA) deals in Australia.

The deal on offer is also out of balance in terms of the kinds of economic opportunities it will afford Indigenous communities; with primary focus on highly speculative job opportunities. Seventy-five per cent of Adani’s benefits package is wrapped up in jobs; and yet if the jobs don’t come, the purported benefits will simply not be realised.

While the economics of the mine represent a very poor deal for Traditional Owners, they are at the same time expected to cop the brunt of the costs – including destruction of country – for the mines go ahead………

Even with financial breaks from government, the evidence – drawing from the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis (IEEFA) and other recent figures – demonstrates the Adani mine-rail project is highly unlikely to be economically viable. On this basis, any public money lent to the project, whether through the NAIF, or through a deferral of royalties, is unlikely to be recovered……

Adani has proposed a package to support Traditional Owners – a kind of quasi compensation for destruction of Country – including a $250 million Indigenous Participation Plan for the Traditional Owner groups along it’s project corridor, and the wider Aboriginal community of Central Queensland.

The details of this, however, have been described by W&J as a parlous deal. Demonstrating this, W&J draw attention to the very limited job creation. And on the basis of figures provided by Adani, Traditional Owners employed by the mine would be paid just $35,000.00 per year, a figure that barely meets Australia’s minimum wage.

This plan on offer is no exchange for the losses of land and waters, cultural and self-determination that W&J would incur; which is why they remain resolute in their opposition to the proposed mine. They alone are expected to give up their ancient legacy and birth rights so that others can benefit.

W&J has every right to object to the mine and refuse consent………..

December 29, 2017 Posted by | aboriginal issues, AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL | Leave a comment

2017: The year that climate change hit

The devastating effects of climate change are becoming apparent — and the world has begun taking action. But the frequency of extreme weather events has shown we are starting to run out of time.

“Crazy” weather has been a hot topic for elevator conversations this year — and yes, extremes are starting to become the new normal.

No continent was spared in 2017 when it came to extreme weather. From droughts to hurricanes, from smog to forest fires, these events killed thousands of people — and have been directly linked to climate change.

Read more: Extreme weather on the rise in Europe

Southern Europe, Canada and the United States were among the areas worst hit by devastating wildfires. Both in California and Portugal, 2017 has been the deadliest year on record for wildfires. Even icy Greenland wasn’t spared. Climate change, along with the dangerous combination of a lack of sustainable forest management and careless — or malicious — human activity, has been to blame.

Read more: Climate change sets the world on fire

Hurricanes and high water

Major storms were also responsible for the year’s most catastrophic events. Hurricane Harvey in the US, Irma and Maria in the Caribbean and Katia in the Gulf of Mexico left destruction in their wake. While hurricanes aren’t unusual in tropical regions, the frequency and intensity of these most recent storms — fueled by warming oceans — were out of the ordinary. But they may be a sign of things to come, if the world doesn’t take action to limit climate change.

At the same time, global sea levels reached a new high in 2017, with the polar ice caps melting at an accelerating pace. Warmer ocean temperatures contributed to the breakaway of a 1 trillion ton iceberg from the Larsen C ice shelf in Antarctica in July, at 5,800 square kilometers (2,200 square miles) one of the largest icebergs ever recorded.

Flooding caused the death of hundreds of people in the Philippines, Greece, Germany and Vietnam, to name just a few countries. Meanwhile, drought is increasing the pressure on regions of Africa and Asia, such as Somalia, South Sudan and Pakistan, where armed conflicts are already making daily life a struggle for survival.

Often forgotten, the struggles of the world’s oceans also increased this year. Despite several initiatives protecting the Great Barrier Reef, coral bleaching has continued at an alarming rate. Ocean acidification, meanwhile, is on track to make the seas uninhabitable for many aquatic creatures, endangering entire ocean ecosystems.

Read more

— Great Barrier Reef coral bleaching even worse than expected

— Ocean acidification: climate change’s evil twin

Governments across the globe are taking action to address current and upcoming climate threats, and leaders like French President Emmanuel Macron, who took office in May and pledged to fund climate research, have been a source of hope for many.

Read more: Emmanuel Macron, Europe’s climate hero?

But 2017 will also, unfortunately, be remembered for the US withdrawal from the 2015 Paris climate accord, along with President Donald Trump’s other moves away from the fight against climate change.

Read more: Answering unresolved questions from Trump’s climate announcement

As despairing as all of this may sound, it’s actually another call to take action. Weather has always been out of our control — and will remain so. But we can still work to avoid making extremes the new normal.

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

“Environmental Progress” pushes Fake Scientists and Radiation Quackery

Exposing the misinformation of Michael Shellenberger and ‘Environmental Progress’ Jim Green, Nuclear Monitor Issue: #853 4689 30/10/2017

“………….Fake scientists and radiation quackery

EP’s UK director John Lindberg is described as an “expert on radiation” on the EP website.38 In fact, he has no scientific qualifications whatsoever let alone specialist qualifications regarding the health effects of ionizing radiation. Likewise, a South Korean article39 reposted on the EP website (without correction) falsely claims that Shellenberger is a scientist; in fact, he has a degree in cultural anthropology.

Lindberg is an ‘Associate Member’ of Scientists for Accurate Radiation Information (SARI)40, a group comprised mostly of quacks, cranks, non-scientists and conspiracy theorists whose views are directly at odds with those of scientific associations such as UNSCEAR.

SARI is at war with the linear, no-threshold (LNT) model ‒ the group’s short ‘Charter & Mission’ insists three times that LNT is “misinformation”.41 Yet LNT enjoys heavy-hitting scientific support. For example the 2006 report of the US National Academy of Sciences’ Committee on the Biological Effects of Ionizing Radiation states that “the risk of cancer proceeds in a linear fashion at lower doses without a threshold and … the smallest dose has the potential to cause a small increase in risk to humans.”34 Likewise, a report in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences states: “Given that it is supported by experimentally grounded, quantifiable, biophysical arguments, a linear extrapolation of cancer risks from intermediate to very low doses currently appears to be the most appropriate methodology.”42

A 2010 UNSCEAR report isn’t sold on the linear part of LNT but it is at odds with SARI (and EP) on the question of a threshold. The UNSCEAR report states that “the current balance of available evidence tends to favour a non-threshold response for the mutational component of radiation-associated cancer induction at low doses and low dose rates.”43By contrast, SARI promotes hormesis ‒ the discredited view that low-dose radiation exposure is beneficial to human health.44

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

Fukushima Nuclear Waste Crisis Is Getting Bigger With Every Passing Day

Fukushima 311 Watchdogs

Nuclear waste storages in Namie, Minamisoma and Iitate, Fukushima prefecture in Japan. Adopting a return to normal policy, the Japanese government undertook an unprecedented decontamination program for areas of Fukushima contaminated by the triple reactor meltdown in March 2011. Fukushima prefecture is 70 percent mountainous forest which has not and cannot be decontaminated, with decontamination efforts focussed along roads and in towns, farmland and in narrow areas around peoples houses. The result has been that the Japanese authorities have produced a nuclear waste crisis, with over 7 million tons of waste located in 147,000 locations (as of August 2017). The Japanese government is determined to force people back to their homes despite the on-going radiation risks and the vast volumes of nuclear waste.

View original post

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

TEPCO president gave order not to call 2011 crisis a ‘meltdown’

Fukushima 311 Watchdogs

Tepco former president Masataka Shimizu 27 dec 2017.jpg
NIIGATA–An investigation committee is leveling the blame for the failure to use the word “meltdown” following the Fukushima nuclear accident in March 2011 at Tokyo Electric Power Co. President Masataka Shimizu.
Shimizu instructed TEPCO employees not to use the term on his own and was not following orders from the prime minister’s office, the committee’s report said on Dec. 26.
TEPCO did not publicly confirm that a meltdown had occurred until May 2011.
“There were no instructions (to TEPCO) from the prime minister’s office on whether to use the word ‘meltdown’ or not,” the panel said as to why the announcement was delayed for two months.
The committee was jointly set up by the Niigata prefectural government and TEPCO to investigate the cause of the accident at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant due to the Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami of March 11, 2011.
The investigation is…

View original post 284 more words

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

Adani coal megamine is not viable: why do they persist with it?

The Numbers Don’t Stack Up: W&J’s Rights on the Chopping Block for Adani’s ‘Non Viable’ Project, New Matilda,  By John Quiggin on Adani Changes its Plans

In the context of shifting policy settings and coal markets, Adani has changed its plans. The original Adani proposal involved production of 60 million tonnes of coal from W&J Country in the Galilee Basin, and with an expected life of 90 years.

This was at first downgraded to 40 million tonnes of coal by 2022, with an expected life of 60 years, and then further reduced to 25 million tonnes of coal.

This revised so-called ‘Stage 1’ project would defer expansion of the Abbot Point terminal, alongside establishment of an initial, smaller mine.

Given the very unlikely possibility that coal will actually be in demand for electricity generation beyond 2050, the difference in duration is immaterial. However, these reductions in scale do have important implications for the viability of the rail line.

Capital investment for the life of the original mine project was expected to total US $21.5 billion. This total figure continues to be regularly cited, despite the significant downsizing that has since occurred.

Adani has, to date, invested approximately US $3.5 billion in this project, of which approximately US $2.1 billion financed the purchase of the Abbot Point T1 coal terminal. The remainder was associated with the acquisition of the Carmichael mine site.

A large portion of Adani’s total investment is what economists like to call ‘sunk’: that is, it is investment that would be written off if the Carmichael mine project failed to proceed. The only terms in which Adani could recoup these funds was if it could find a buyer for its assets. Adani’s unwillingness to write off such a large investment is likely one reason it has persisted with the project.

But the Numbers Don’t Stack Up

With its new scaled down project proposal, alongside global coal price fluctuations and the very real market access challenges in India, and elsewhere, just how do Adani’s numbers stack up?

Let’s start with estimates on the sale price for Carmichael coal.

As of October 2017, the price of Australian thermal coal was approximately $US97/tonne. Futures markets predict a decline in this price over coming years. Reflecting this trend, the futures price for delivery in February 2020, a possible start date for shipments from the project, is $US81/tonne.

However, Tim Buckley of IEEFA has estimated that the lower quality of the Carmichael mine’s coal output will result in a 30 per cent discount in revenue per tonne.

On this basis, the price of coal from the Carmichael mine – assuming exports begin in 2020 – will deliver just $A74 tonne.

But what will it cost to produce?

In its original analysis, Adani – based on advice from McCullough Robertson in January 2015 – estimated costs of US $38.70/tonne, although other analyses suggest the cost may be higher. Significantly, this figure does not include the costs of rail transport and ship loading. And of course, such figures fail to capture the environmental costs of Adani’s proposed mega mine nor do they measure the irreplaceable loss of Country for Traditional Owners if this mine were to proceed.

Putting these ‘externalities’ aside, this suggests a cost of A $50/tonne in 2015, or $A55, updating for inflation at an annual rate of 2 per cent.

Based on these figures, the price for Carmichael coal – net of all operational costs – would be approximately $10/tonne. If royalties were paid at the standard rate, the net return would be just $3/tonne. That’s a very small return for the destruction of Country and walk over of Traditional Owners rights………..


If It’s Not Viable, Why Would the Project Proceed?

The analysis above shows that, even under highly favourable assumptions, the Adani Carmichael project will be unable to generate sufficient returns to cover interest at commercial rates, or to repay capital to lenders and investors.

This analysis therefore raises the question; why does Adani Enterprises choose to proceed with such a project?

Three possible answers present themselves.

The first is that Adani does not in fact intend to proceed with the project in the near future. Rather, the project is being kept alive with relatively modest expenditure to avoid writing off the large amounts already invested, and to maintain an option in the hope that ‘something will turn up’, such as an unexpected and sustained increase in the price Adani can realize for coal.

A second hypothesis is that the complexity of the Adani corporate structure is such that Adani could construct the proposed rail line almost entirely with public funds provided on concessional terms, then hope that other coal mines in the Basin would render it profitable.

The apparent transfer of ownership of the rail project to an Adani-controlled company in the Cayman Islands supports this idea.

A third possibility, is that by making continuous new demands on governments for concessions of various kinds, Adani will eventually be able to blame government policy for the project’s failure, and on this basis extract compensation. If this is the strategy, it has so far been foiled by the abject compliance of governments at all levels.

The Adani mine-rail-port project is not commercially viable, even under the most optimistic assumptions. That Adani has failed to achieve final close reflects the dubious economics on which this project is based

While much remains obscure, it is clear that any public funds advanced to the project – a project that does not have the consent of the Traditional Owners – will be at high risk of loss.

There is no future for exploitative developmentalism. The economy of the future will depend on sustainable management of resources, a task in which Indigenous communities must play a central role.

This follows the general (though not universal) recognition of the principle, following the Mabo decision, that Indigenous people have the right to play a role in determining the appropriate use of their land.

But this is not simply a nice ideal that will come about through sensible public policy development. This is a brutal contest for land and resources that started with colonisation.

W&J claimants fighting the State Government, Adani and their backers, are at the leading edge of this contest and the latest in the long historical land grab in Australia.

December 29, 2017 Posted by | climate change - global warming, Queensland | Leave a comment

Shocked to learn that Queensland Government was ready to extinguish Native Title rights 

Another blow for our First Australians , Lynette Dickinson, Pottsville. 27 Dec 17 
‘I was shocked to hear that the Queensland Government was ready to extinguish Native Title rights
of the Wangan and Jagalingou traditional owners of the land on which  the Adani Carmichael coal mine is set to be built,  even though on four occasions since 2012 the W&J traditional owners had voted unanimously  at an authorisation meeting to reject an Indigenous Land Use Agreement with Adani,
underlining their sustained opposition to the mine.

‘However, the government had refused to wait until their Federal Court case  to challenge extinguishment of their Native Title rights is heard next March.

‘Subsequent to thousands of emails and phone calls of objection being sent..,  this week the W&J traditional owners have been granted an interim injunction  against the Queensland Government and Adani.   This gives them respite… ‘

Read more of Lynette’s comprehensive and informative letter here:

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

5 more minors in Fukushima Pref. at time of nuclear accident diagnosed with thyroid cancer

Fukushima 311 Watchdogs

FUKUSHIMA — Five more people in Fukushima Prefecture who were 18 and under at the time of the 2011 nuclear accident were diagnosed with thyroid cancer as of the end of September this year, a prefectural investigative commission announced at a Dec. 25 meeting.
Fukushima Prefecture established the commission to examine the health of residents after the March 2011 triple meltdown at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant. A total of 159 Fukushima prefectural residents who were aged 18 and under when the meltdowns occurred have now been diagnosed with thyroid cancer.
The commission stated on Dec. 25 that “it is difficult to think the cases are related to radiation exposure” from the disaster.

View original post

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

2 residents file request for temporary injunction against Oi nuke plant restart

Fukushima 311 Watchdogs

3 & 4 reactors Oi NPP.jpg
OSAKA — Two people from Fukui and Kyoto prefectures filed a request with the Osaka District Court on Dec. 25 for a temporary injunction against the restart of reactors at the Oi nuclear power plant.
Operator Kansai Electric Power Co. is aiming to turn the No. 3 and 4 reactors at the plant in Oi, Fukui Prefecture, back on in spring 2018.
The restart is already being challenged in four other court cases filed by residents; three in district courts and one that has reached a high court branch. All four are lawsuits, not requests for provisional injunctions. Therefore, even if the plaintiffs win their cases, the Oi plant restart cannot be stopped until the verdict has been finalized through the appeals process.
With the reactors’ projected restart just months away, the pair from Kyoto and Fukui prefectures decided to file for the temporary injunction, which would take effect immediately…

View original post 21 more words

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

Press Freedom Groups Warn That Trump’s “Fake News” Mantra Is Being Used To Limit Global Press Freedom; Trump Doesn’t Think His Long-time Friend Murdoch Makes Fake News; 40% Of Americans Consider Murdoch’s Fox Fake News — Mining Awareness +

Notice that Trump doesn’t consider Fox, owned by Trump’s long-time friend Murdoch, fake news. Beware that the Wall Street Journal (WSJ), and the New York Post are also Murdoch owned. Trump and Murdoch have known each other for decades and both were apparently close to Roy Cohn who acted as both mentor and lawyer. %5B…%5D

via Press Freedom Groups Warn That Trump’s “Fake News” Mantra Is Being Used To Limit Global Press Freedom; Trump Doesn’t Think His Long-time Friend Murdoch Makes Fake News; 40% Of Americans Consider Murdoch’s Fox Fake News — Mining Awareness +

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

Jim Green exposes Michael Shellenberger’s dishonest attacks on environmental groups

Exposing the misinformation of Michael Shellenberger and ‘Environmental Progress’ Jim Green, Nuclear Monitor Issue: #853 4689 30/10/2017

“………..Attacking environment groups

Shellenberger reduces the complexities of environmental opposition to nuclear power to the claim that in the 1960s, an “influential group of conservationists within Sierra Club feared that cheap, abundant electricity from nuclear would result in overpopulation and resource depletion” and therefore decided to campaign against nuclear power.4

If such views had any currency in the 1960s, they certainly don’t now. Yet EP asserts that Greenpeace and FOE “oppose cheap and abundant energy”3 and Shellenberger asserts that “the FOE-Greenpeace agenda has never been to protect humankind but rather to punish us for our supposed transgressions.”4 And Shellenberger suggests that such views are still current by asserting that the anti-nuclear movement has a “long history of Malthusian anti-humanism aimed at preventing “overpopulation” and “overconsumption” by keeping poor countries poor.”8 Again we see Shellenberger’s M.O. of relentless repetition of falsehoods in the hope that mud will stick.

In an ‘investigative piece’ ‒ titled ‘Enemies of the Earth: Unmasking the Dirty War Against Clean Energy in South Korea by Friends of the Earth (FOE) and Greenpeace’ ‒ Shellenberger lists three groups which he claims have accepted donations “from fossil fuel and renewable energy investors, as well as others who stand to benefit from killing nuclear plants”.4 FOE and Greenpeace don’t feature among the three groups even though the ‘investigative piece’ is aimed squarely at them.

Undeterred by his failure to present any evidence of FOE and Greenpeace accepting fossil fuel funding (they don’t), Shellenberger asserts that the donors and board members of FOE and Greenpeace “are the ones who win the government contracts to build solar and wind farms, burn dirty “renewable” biomass, and import natural gas from the United States and Russia.”4 Really? Where’s the evidence? There’s none in Shellenberger’s ‘investigative piece’.

In an article for a South Korean newspaper, Shellenberger states: “Should we be surprised that natural gas companies fund many of the anti-nuclear groups that spread misinformation about nuclear? The anti-nuclear group Friends of the Earth ‒ which has representatives in South Korea ‒ received its initial funding from a wealthy oil man …”45He fails to note that the donation was in 1969! And he fails to substantiate his false insinuation that FOE accepts funding from natural gas companies, or his false claim that natural gas companies fund “many of the anti-nuclear groups”.

Shellenberger’s ‘investigative piece’ falsely claims4 that FOE keeps its donors secret, and in support of that falsehood he cites an article8 (written by Shellenberger) that doesn’t even mention FOE. EP falsely claims that FOE has hundreds of millions of dollars in its bank and stock accounts.3

EP has an annual budget of US$1.5 million, Shellenberger claims, and he asks how EP “can possibly succeed against the anti-nuclear Goliath with 500 times the resources.”8

An anti-nuclear Goliath with 500 times EP’s budget of US$1.5 million, or US$750 million in annual expenditure on anti-nuclear campaigns? Shellenberger claims that Greenpeace has annual income of US$400 million to finance its work in 55 nations8 ‒ but he doesn’t note that only a small fraction of that funding is directed to anti-nuclear campaigns. FOE’s worldwide budget is US$12 million according to EP3 ‒ but only a small fraction is directed to anti-nuclear campaigns.


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

Let’s make Australia Day one we can all share

By Tammy Solonec, Amnesty International Australia’s Indigenous Rights Manager, 21 December 2017

‘Over the past couple of years,  Amnesty has supported #ChangetheDate by giving people a platform
to speak on why they choose not to celebrate on 26 January.

‘Now we are taking a step further, and asking you stand with us in solidarity  with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples across this country.’

‘Australia Day should be for all Australians, but for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people
who mark the day as one of invasion, survival and mourning,
26 January is not a day for celebrations.  ‘We need to move to a date that is inclusive of all Australians.

‘Although Australia Day has only been officially nationally celebrated since 1984,
protesting on 26 January is not new for Aboriginal people.

‘Protests about the celebration of Australia Day on 26 January date all the way back to the 1800s.

‘In 2018, Amnesty will be calling on our leaders to acknowledge this plight
and start a consultation process to change the date of Australia Day
so it can be celebrated by all Australians.

‘Over recent years, momentum to change the date has grown.

‘Some local councils in Western Australia, Tasmania and Victoria have amended their celebrations,
and there has been extensive debate in the media..

‘This year on 26 January there were large public protests across the country. … ‘
Read more of Tammy Solonec’s informative, action-oriented & comprehensive article:

December 29, 2017 Posted by | aboriginal issues, AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL | Leave a comment

In 1987 NSW Australia Rejected Trump Casino Bid Due To Trump Mafia Connections-Doubts About Financial Viability

Mining Awareness +

Over 30 years ago, NSW Australia rejected Trump’s bid to build a casino due to his mafia connections and doubts about financial viability: “Atlantic City would be a dubious model for Sydney and in our judgment, the Trump mafia connections should exclude the Kern/Trump consortium ….
CIBC expresses doubts about the financial viability of HKMS and Kern/Trump
.” Notice their apparent certainty in the matter.

(Emphasis our own) CC-BY

View original post

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