Australian news, and some related international items

Australia signed up to keep nuclear waste as close as possible to the point of production

Paul Waldon  Fight To Stop Nuclear Waste Dump In Flinders Ranges 26 Feb 18, SA We the people of South Australia, and the people of ANSTO, ARPANSA, and the DIIS, all have one common denominator, and that is “We don’t want nuclear waste in our backyards.”

Australia agreed to keep the waste as close as possible to the point of production, the day the Basel Convention was signed. However the DIIS are trying to sell this waste to all South Australians using our tax money, but can the SA taxpayer entice the residents of Barden Ridge to keep the waste by offering a few extra dollars. Yes, this is the deadly radioactive waste that they declared they were more than happy to reside alongside of when they purchased, built, moved into, or worked near Lucas heights.  more

February 26, 2018 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, Federal nuclear waste dump | Leave a comment

Senator Cory Bernardi promises $445 billion for South Australia, if it hosts international nuclear waste dump

Cory Bernardi says a nuclear power dump could make us the ‘Saudi Arabia of the south’ 26 Feb 18  CORY Bernardi is pushing to reignite a controversial development in South Australia, saying it could make the state the “Saudi Arabia of the south”.

LEADER of the Australian Conservatives party Cori Bernardi is pushing for a nuclear waste dump in South Australia, which he says will transform the state into the economic “Saudi Arabia of the south”.

Speaking at the party’s election launch in South Australia on Sunday, founder and federal Senator Cory Bernardi said he wanted to reopen the debate on an outback nuclear dump.

He called for changes to the law to allow for “all forms of energy production”, including nuclear power, urging authorities to “complete a full rigorous analysis” of the idea.

According to The Advertiser, he claimed the dump would generate up to $6.7 billion in gross state product, allow for $3 billion in annual taxes to be scrapped, and see the state reaping in $445 billion over the next century.

“Imagine that legacy for our children … to draw on in developing this state,” he said. “We would be an economic powerhouse. We would be the strongest state in the Commonwealth.”

Upper House candidate Robert Brokenshire said the party is “committed to looking at all types of energy production including nuclear energy to find the cheapest and most reliable form of energy”.

Labor Premier Jay Weatherill was quick to rule out the suggestion.

“That’s dead,” he said on Sunday. “Labor Party policy has been opposed to a nuclear waste facility in the past and there’s no prospect of changing that in the future.”

Mr Weatherill did not rule out pursuing a High Court case against the Turnbull government if a national nuclear waste dump was to be approved in South Australia, The Australian reported last month.

……..Earlier this month, the Australian Conservatives announced it will field 33 Lower House and two Upper House candidates at the state election on March 17.

February 26, 2018 Posted by | politics, South Australia, wastes | Leave a comment

South Australia: Senator Cory Bernardi ridicules Elon Musk, as he launches Australian Conservatives pro nuclear election Campaign

SA election: Australian Conservatives launch nuclear dump idea and ridicule Elon Musk, By Daniel Keane , ABC News 25 Feb 18 

February 26, 2018 Posted by | politics, South Australia | Leave a comment

Study shows climate value of earth’s intact forests

 Conservation efforts and the fight against climate change risk failure unless intact forests are preserved, WILDLIFE CONSERVATION SOCIETY EurekAlert, 26 Feb 18, NEW YORK  – New research published today in Nature Ecology & Evolution demonstrates the extraordinary value of Earth’s remaining intact forests for addressing climate change and protecting wildlife, critical watersheds, indigenous cultures, and human health. Yet the global policy and science communities do not differentiate among the relative values of different types of forest landscapes–which range from highly intact ones to those which are heavilylogged, fragmented, burnt, drained and/or over-hunted–due in part to the lack of a uniform way of measuring their quality.

With over 80 percent of forests already degraded by human and industrial activities, today’s findings underscore the immediate need for international policies to secure remaining intact forests–including establishing new protected areas, securing the land rights of indigenous peoples, regulating industry and hunting, and targeting restoration efforts and public finance. Absent specific strategies like these, current global targets addressing climate change, poverty, and biodiversity may fall short, including the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals to sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, halt and reverse land degradation and halt biodiversity loss.

“As vital carbon sinks and habitats for millions of people and imperilled wildlife, it is well known that forest protection is essential for any environmental solution–yet not all forests are equal,” said Professor James Watson of WCS and the University of Queensland. “Forest conservation must be prioritized based on their relative values–and Earth’s remaining intact forests are the crown jewels, ones that global climate and biodiversity policies must now emphasize.”

According to the study, the encroachment of human and industrial activity can have catastrophic effects. Once opened up, formerly intact forests become increasingly susceptible to natural pressures such as disease, fires, and erosion; they become less resilient to man-made climate change, and they become more accessible to human use, driving a spiral of decline.

Some key benefits of intact forests include:

  • Climate change: Intact forests currently absorb around 25 percent of carbon emissions from all human sources – damaging them will leave far more carbon dioxide in the air to warm the climate.
  • Water availability: Intact tropical forests ensure the stability of local and regional weather, generating more rain than cleared forests and thereby reducing the risk of drought.
  • Biodiversity: Intact forests have higher numbers of forest dependent species and have higher functional and genetic diversity.
  • Indigenous culture: Intact forests enable many indigenous groups to sustain their traditional cultures and livelihoods. In turn these peoples are often staunch defenders of their ancestral lands.
  • Human health: Forest degradation and loss compromise the supply of medically-beneficial species that millions of people rely on; additionally, forest degradation drives the spread of many infectious diseases by bringing humans and disease vectors into close contact………..

February 26, 2018 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Time for Renewed Push to Rid the World of Nuclear Weapons – UN Chief

U.N. Chief Calls for New Push to Rid the World of Nuclear Weapons, U.S. News Feb. 26, 2018, BY TOM MILES GENEVA (Reuters) – U.N. Secretary General Antonio Guterres called on Monday for a new global effort to get rid of nuclear weapons, drawing a cautious response from envoys of atomic-armed powers at odds for decades over nuclear disarmament.

Speaking to the Conference on Disarmament at the U.N. complex in Geneva, Guterres said many states still wrongly thought that nuclear weapons made the world safer.

“There is great and justified anxiety around the world about the threat of nuclear war,” he said.

“Countries persist in clinging to the fallacious idea that nuclear arms make the world safer … At the global level, we must work towards forging a new momentum on eliminating nuclear weapons.”

The Conference on Disarmament is the world’s main forum for nuclear disarmament, but since 1996 it has been deadlocked by disagreements and distrust between rival nuclear powers.

Ambassadors from the United States, China and France said they shared his concerns about the current security environment but their comments suggested it would be an uphill struggle to end two decades of stalemate in nuclear negotiations………..

DANGEROUS DIRECTION Guterres said talks should target not only nuclear, chemical and conventional arms but also autonomous and unmanned weapons, artificial intelligence, biotechnology and space-based systems.

There are currently around 150,000 nuclear weapons worldwide and the arms trade is flourishing more than at any time since the Cold war, with $1.5 trillion of spending annually, he said.

Taboos on nuclear tests and chemical weapons usage were under threat, he added, while talk of tactical nuclear weapons was leading in an extremely dangerous direction.

……..Last week diplomats and disarmament experts discussed Guterres’s initiative with U.N. officials during a retreat near New York, and he is expected to launch his plans around April or May with “practical and implementable actions”.

“The challenges are enormous, but history shows that it has been possible to reach agreement on disarmament and arms control even at the most difficult moments,” Guterres said.

(Reporting by Tom Miles; editing by Stephanie Nebehay/Mark Heinrich, William Maclean

February 26, 2018 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Temperature extremes – North Pole exceptionally warm

It will be warmer at the North Pole next week than much of Europe, as sea ice melts, Mashable, BY ANDREW FREEDMAN   In what seems to be becoming an annual occurrence, temperatures at the North Pole are about to reach or possibly exceed the freezing point this week as the North Atlantic and the North Pacific Oceans inject unusually mild air into the Arctic.

 Not coincidentally, Arctic sea ice is at record low levels, with a freak disappearance of ice off the western coast of Alaska, between Alaska and Russia. This vanishing of sea ice in the Bering Sea is exposing coastal communities in Alaska to storm surge flooding from typically fierce winter storms, particularly Little Diomede Island. ……..

In Europe, winds known as “The Beast from the East” will transport frigid temperatures from Russia and Scandinavia to the west, into Germany, France, and the UK, along with potential snowfall.

 In part, this is because of a split in the polar vortex — that much hyped circulation of air at upper levels of the atmosphere that keeps the coldest air penned in across the Far North. One “sister vortex” has set up across Canada and the Western U.S., with another established in Eurasia. Many of these areas are colder than the Arctic is right now.

Consider some of these startling statistics. Arctic sea ice is at its lowest observed level since the satellite era began in 1979. The magnitude and pace of the sea ice decline observed during the 21st century, along with the warming of the ocean surface throughout the region, has been shown to be unprecedented in the last 1,500 years.

 In the Bering Sea in particular, sea ice has been at record low levels for much of the fall and winter. As if spooked by a ghost, much of the ice that had been covering the region vanished during February, a time when it would normally be at its peak extent and thickness.

Temperatures in parts of the Arctic — including the North Pole — could rise to 45 degrees Fahrenheit above average this week. Already, the northernmost land-based weather station in Greenland, known as Cape Morris Jesup, rose above the freezing mark of 32 degrees Fahrenheit, or 0 degrees Celsius, five times since Feb. 16. That weather station is just about 400 miles from the North Pole.

 Previously, temperatures had only exceeded the freezing point at this weather station for brief periods during February in 2011 and 2017. So far this February, temperatures exceeded 32 degrees Fahrenheit on Feb. 16, 17, 18, 20 and 21, a warm streak that is incredibly rare.

At the same time as the Arctic heats up (relatively speaking), temperatures will plunge to about 35 degrees Fahrenheit below average across nearly all of Europe, from Moscow to London. ………

study published in Nature about a 2015 sudden polar warming event found that these events are growing more intense, meaning that the temperature extremes are getting more extreme, especially when compared to the overall rate of Arctic warming.

 Scientists studying the Arctic climate have sounded the loudest alarms about how quickly humans are altering the climate. This winter, coupled with some of the extreme warming events during the past few winter seasons, is driving that point home even further.


February 26, 2018 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Los Angeles Board of Public Utilities sceptical about viability of Small Modular Nuclear reactors (SMRs)

BPU has doubts about nuclear power project, By Tris DeRoma, February 26, 2018 

February 26, 2018 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Labor wavers back and forth on the Adani coal mine question.

Labor’s fence-sitting on Adani has become a double backflip, Guardian, 24 Feb 18 

The backflip is standard operating procedure in professional politics, we all know that, but the double backflip is a somewhat rarer event.

Yet under the cover of yet another seismic convulsion inside the Turnbull government, Bill Shorten looks to be lining up for the dubious double on the controversial Adani coal mine. After signalling quite clearly in late January that Labor would toughen its position on the project, the Labor leader has cooled off noticeably on that notion over the past week or so.

Just before David Feeney announced he would resign from parliament because he couldn’t prove he was eligible to sit in the lower house, triggering a byelection in his lower house seat of Batman, Shorten used an appearance at the National Press Club to telegraph a shift on the mine.

Climate groups had been active with Shorten over the summer break, trying to persuade him to adopt a legal option of stopping the mine. The Labor leader changed the working formulation on the project in late January, and backed in the putative shift in the weeks immediately following, suddenly revving up the negative environmental impacts of the project.

 With the pivot in full flight, Shorten jumped on a story by my Guardian Australia colleagues, Amy Remeikis and Michael Slezak, suggesting that Adani had submitted an altered laboratory report while appealing a fine for contaminating wetlands near the Great Barrier Reef. “If Adani is relying on false information, that mine doesn’t deserve to go ahead,” the Labor leader thundered………..

a few things will matter to Labor at the next federal election. One will be having a climate policy that appeals to progressive as well as traditional voters. Another will be having a leader who isn’t perceived by voters as a flip-flopper, or a climate warrior of convenience.

While Labor can’t and shouldn’t forget blue collar workers and succumb entirely to the post materialist sensibilities of its inner urban constituency, toughening its line on Adani represented an opportunity for Labor to try to unify the progressive left, which has engaged in poisonous recriminations as a consequence of the toxic climate wars which have divided Australian politics for more than a decade……..


February 26, 2018 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics | Leave a comment

Japan immorality in pushing the export of its contaminated foods to other countries — Fukushima 311 Watchdogs

From The Yomiuri Shimbun, a propaganda mouthpiece close to the Japanese government. Give new impetus to countries to lift import bans on Japanese seafood An unfair import ban imposed in reaction to the nuclear accident in Fukushima Prefecture is unacceptable. Japan must make use of this clear judgment for countries to accelerate lifting such […]

via Japan immorality in pushing the export of its contaminated foods to other countries — Fukushima 311 Watchdogs

February 26, 2018 Posted by | Uncategorized | 3 Comments

Gold-plating energy markets? Even incumbents not comfortable with NEG — RenewEconomy

Industry warns NEG too complex, likely to boost prices, cut competition. If it won’t reduce emissions either, what exactly is the point?

via Gold-plating energy markets? Even incumbents not comfortable with NEG — RenewEconomy

February 26, 2018 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

South32’s shift away from thermal coal puts BHP to shame — RenewEconomy

Where South32 has moved to divest from thermal coal, BHP is increasing its exposure – and undermining its climate credentials.

via South32’s shift away from thermal coal puts BHP to shame — RenewEconomy

February 26, 2018 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment