Australian news, and some related international items

to December 12 – Climate and Nuclear News

William Perry,  formerly of the Pentagon, and former U.S. Secretary for Defense, is renowned for his work aimed at limiting nuclear weapons, and warning the world of the great threat of nuclear war.

But now, even Perry is recognising that, in some ways, climate change is an even greater existential threat to the world. He points out that nuclear catastrophe can happen quickly, but that it’s possible to prevent it. But climate change is happening slowly, inexorably, and could be irreversible.

He’s convinced me, and I had always thought that nuclear disaster was the most important danger.

With that new realisation in mind, I’m seeing the events in Poland this week – the COP24 UN Conference on Climate Change, with a more acute interest.  This international meeting comes right after the latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report.


CLIMATE CHANGE. Australia’s ambassador for environment, Patrick Suckling, ridiculed as he joins USA pro coal panel in Poland.

No Australian policy on climate change as Melissa Price, Minister For Coal, heads off to U.N. climate talks. Australia quietly sabotages UN climate change message, in Poland.  Dirty tricks in Poland: getting away with no reduction in greenhouse emissions. Labor backs Greens plan to block Coalition from underwriting coal power . Schoolchildren at UN climate summit, including Toby Thorpe from TasmaniaStudents left hanging during Canberra trip to confront Morrison on climate change.

Students lead anti-Adani protests, vow to remove Liberal Party from power. Nationwide protests against Adani coal mineLegal challenge against Adani coal mine plan, over water use.

Northern Territory – legal case over climate change. Queensland Supreme Court hearing Big Coal’s case aimed to shut down climate activism.

Climate change now brings bushfires to Australia’s Northern rainforests. Increased risk of bushfires in Tasmania. Evacuation orders in place as Little River grass fire burns out of control.

Health risks due to high salt content in water, in a drought town.


Lynas’s problem of radioactive wastes – might send them to Australia? Malaysia tells Lynas to remove rare earths radioactive waste.

RENEWABLE ENERGY  Why South Australia energy transition is seen as model of success around the world.  Australia in midst of $20 billion wind and solar investment boom . The technology, and new thinking, needed for 100 per cent renewable grid . Electric cars, and the hazards of rare earths used in them. The electric-car revolution is here, but is that a good thing for the environment?

Fabricated media attacks on Julian Assange. The article that a Fairfax journalist didn’t want to write, about Julian Assange. Rallies will demand that Australia insists on Julian Assange’s safe departure from UK.


Do corporations have a legal right to destroy the planet’s ecosystem?

The worst performing countries for climate action- USA and Saudi Arabia.  Saudi Arabia, the US, Kuwait and Russia tried to erase meaning of UN’s report on the impacts of 1.5C warming. Coal lobby is prominent at COP24 U.N climate change conference.  Climate denialist group held fringe meeting in Poland, banning access by environmental reporter.

New nuclear power plants, prolong existing ones – to solve global warming?

A wave of change is coming to our planet’s water resources.

Energy efficiency the starting point for effective climate policies.

Assessing the effects of planetary electromagnetic pollution.


December 11, 2018 Posted by | Christina reviews | Leave a comment

Australia’s ambassador for environment, Patrick Suckling ridiculed as he joins USA pro coal panel in Poland

The only non-American was Patrick Suckling, the ambassador for the environment in Australia’s coal-enthusiast government.
Protesters disrupt US panel’s fossil fuels pitch at climate talks, Official event praising coal, oil and gas met with laughter and chants of ‘shame on you’  Guardian,  Jonathan Watts in Katowice, Tue 11 Dec 2018

  Trump administration presentation extolling the virtues of fossil fuels at the UN climate talks in Poland has been met with guffaws of laughter and chants of “Shame on you”.Monday’s protest came during a panel discussion by the official US delegation, which used its only public appearance to promote the “unapologetic utilisation” of coal, oil and gas. Although these industries are the main source of the carbon emissions that are causing global warming, the speakers boasted the US would expand production for the sake of global energy security and planned a new fleet of coal plants with technology it hoped to export to other countries.

The event featured prominent cheerleaders for fossil fuels and nuclear power, Continue reading

December 11, 2018 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming, politics international | Leave a comment

USA and Saudi Arabia the worst at curbing climate change (Australia’s pretty bad, too)

Other nations at the bottom of the list included Iran, South Korea, Australia, Canada, Russia, Turkey and Japan.

December 11, 2018 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Mark Jacobson evaluates nuclear power as a solution to climate change

 Evaluation of Nuclear Power as a Proposed Solution to Global Warming, Air Pollution, and Energy Security In 100% Clean, Renewable Energy and Storage for Everything. Textbook in Preparation Mark Z. Jacobson December 10, 2018 Contact:; Twitter @mzjacobson
 Summary In evaluating solutions to global warming, air pollution, and energy security, two important questions arise are (1) should new nuclear plants be built to help solve these problems, and (2) should existing, aged nuclear plants be kept open as long as possible to help solve these problems? To answer these questions, the main risks associated with nuclear power are examined.
The risks associated with nuclear power can be broken down into two categories: (1) risks affecting its ability to reduce global warming and air pollution and (2) risks affecting its ability to provide energy and environmental (aside from climate and air pollution) security. Risks in the former category include delays between planning and operation, emissions contributing to global warming and outdoor air pollution, and costs. Risks in the latter category include weapons proliferation risk, reactor meltdown risk, radioactive waste risk, and mining cancer and land despoilment risks. These risks are discussed, in this section.
Here are additional specific findings:
New nuclear power plants cost over 3.5 times those per kWh of onshore wind or utility solar PV, take 7-14 years longer between planning and operation, and produce 9 to 37 times the emissions per unit electricity generated.
As such, a fix amount of money spent on a new nuclear plant means much less power generation, a much longer wait for power, and much greater emission rate than the same money spent on WWS technologies.
There is no such thing as a zero- or close-to-zero emission nuclear power plant. Even existing plants emit due to the continuous mining and refining of uranium needed for the plant. However, all plants also emit 4.4 g-CO2e/kWh from the water vapor and heat of reaction they release. This contrasts with solar panels and wind turbines, which reduce heat or water vapor fluxes to the air by ~2.2 gCO2e/kWh for a net difference from this factor alone of 6.6 g-CO2e/kWh.
On top of that, because all nuclear reactors take 10-19 years or more between planning and operation vs. 2-5 year for a utility solar or wind plant, nuclear emits 64-102 g-CO2/kWh more over 100 years just due emissions from the background grid waiting for it to come online or be refurbished vs. a wind or solar farm.
 Overall, emissions from new nuclear are 78-178 g-CO2/kWh, not close to 0   [detailed chart on original, compares emissions from various technologies]…….

Continue reading

December 11, 2018 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

France: government report finds new nuclear power plants uneconomical

Building new nuclear plants in France uneconomical -environment agency De Clercq, DECEMBER 11, 2018 

State environment agency contradicts Macron on new nuclear

* New nuclear reactors would be structurally loss-making

* Renewables could account for 85 pct of power mix by 2050.

Building new nuclear reactors in France would not be economical, state environment agency ADEME said in a study on Monday, contradicting the government’s long-term energy strategy as well as state-owned utility EDF’s investment plans.

In a speech last month, President Emmanuel Macron said nuclear energy would remain a promising technology for producing low-cost, low-carbon energy and that EDF’s EPR reactor model should be part of future energy options.

Macron has also asked EDF to draw up a plan for building new reactors with a view to making a decision about nuclear in 2021

Two EPR reactors under construction in France and Finland are years behind schedule and billions of euros over budget.

“The development of an EPR-based nuclear industry would not be competitive,” ADEME said, adding that new nuclear plants would be structurally loss-making.

Building a single EPR in 2030 would require 4 to 6 billion euros of subsidies, while building a fleet of 15 with a total capacity of 24 gigawatt-hour by 2060 would cost the state 39 billion euros, despite economies of scale that could bring down the EPR costs to 70 euros per megawatt-hour (MWh), ADEME said.

Renewables costs could fall to between 32 and 80 euros/MWh, depending on the technology, by 2060.

But extending the existing fleet too long, while also building new EPRs, would lead to overcapacity, compromising returns on all generation assets, including renewables.

EDF – which generates about 75 percent of French electricity with 58 nuclear reactors – declined to comment.

The ADEME report, which studied energy mix scenarios for 2020-2060, said renewables could account for 85 percent of power generation by 2050 and more than 95 percent by 2060, except if the government pushes through the EPR option anyway.

The gradual increase of renewables capacity could reduce the pre-tax electricity cost for consumers – including generation, grids and storage – to about 90 euros per MWh, compared to nearly 100 euros today, ADEME said.

ADEME director Arnaud Leroy, appointed in February, helped write the energy chapter of Macron’s election programme and was a spokesman for his campaign, but the agency is independent and earlier studies have also contradicted government energy policy.

In 2015, a ADEME study suggesting that France could switch to 100 percent renewable energy by 2050 at a cost similar to sticking with nuclear was barred from publication for months by the government. (Reporting by Geert De Clercq; editing by David Evans)

December 11, 2018 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Australia quietly sabotages UN climate change message, in Poland

Australia’s silence during climate change debate shocks COP24 delegates, Guardian, Ben Doherty in Katowice, Poland @bendohertycorro, Mon 10 Dec 2018 

Country accused of tacitly supporting oil allies’ rejection of the latest science As four of the world’s largest oil and gas producers blocked UN climate talks from “welcoming” a key scientific report on global warming, Australia’s silence during a key debate is being viewed as tacit support for the four oil allies: the US, Saudi Arabia, Russia and Kuwait.

The end of the first week of the UN climate talks – known as COP24 – in Katowice, Poland, has been mired by protracted debate over whether the conference should “welcome” or “note” a key report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

Negotiators spent two and a half hours trying to hammer out a compromise without success.

The apparently minor semantic debate has significant consequences, and the deadlock ensures the debate will spill into the second critical week of negotiations, with key government ministers set to arrive in Katowice.

Most of the world’s countries spoke out in fierce opposition to the oil allies’ position. The push to adopt the wording “welcome” was led by the Maldives, leader of the alliance of small island states, of which Australia’s Pacific island neighbours are members.

They were backed by a broad swathe of support, including from the EU, the bloc of 47 least developed countries, the Independent Association of Latin America and the Caribbean, African, American and European nations, and Pacific countries such as the Marshall Islands and Tuvalu.

Australia did not speak during the at-times heated debate, a silence noted by many countries on the floor of the conference, Dr Bill Hare, the managing director of Climate Analytics and a lead author on previous IPCC reports, told Guardian Australia.

“Australia’s silence in the face of this attack yesterday shocked many countries and is widely seen as de facto support for the US, Saudi Arabia, Russia and Kuwait’s refusal to welcome the IPCC report,” Hare said.

Richie Merzian, climate and energy program director at the Australia Institute, said widespread goodwill across the Katowice talks was being undermined by “a handful of countries” trying to disconnect the science and urgency from the implementation of the Paris agreement.

“It is disappointing but not surprising that Australia kept its head down during the debate … by remaining silent and not putting a position forward, Australia has tacitly supported the US, Russia and Saudi Arabia’s rejection of the latest science on climate change.”

Merzian said Australia’s regional neighbours, including New Zealand and Pacific islands, had voiced strong support for the IPCC’s report, which was a key outcome of the Paris agreement.

“A number of delegates privately shared their frustration that countries like Australia stood on the sidelines while Trump’s, Putin’s and King Salman’s representatives laid waste to the fundamental climate science.”

Hare said the interests of the fossil fuel industry were seeking to thwart the conference’s drive towards larger emissions cuts.

“The fossil fuel interest – coal, oil and gas – campaign against the IPCC 1.5 report and science continues to play out in the climate talks, but even those countries [opposing welcoming the report] are being hit by the impacts of only one degree of warming.

“The big challenge now is for the Polish presidency to set aside its obsession with coal, get out of the way and allow full acknowledgement of the IPCC 1.5C report, and its implications for increasing the ambition of all countries, in the conclusion of COP24 later this week.”

Australia’s environment minister, Melissa Price, arrived in Katowice on Sunday, with negotiations set to resume Monday morning……..

Australia’s emissions, seasonally adjusted, increased 1.3% over the past quarter. Excluding emissions from land use, land use change and forestry (for which the calculations are controversial), they are at a record high.

December 11, 2018 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming, politics international | Leave a comment

Australia’s dirty tricks in Poland: getting away with no reduction in greenhouse emissions

December 11, 2018 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming, politics, politics international | 1 Comment

Germany: low on sunshine, high on cheap electricity from solar power

December 11, 2018 Posted by | General News | 2 Comments

Scotland’s record electricity production in November, from wind energy

WIND output in Scotland has broken through the 100% threshold for the first
time with 109% of total electricity demand being met from renewables, according to new data. Figures from Weather Energy, part of a wider European project, show electricity generated by wind in November was enough to power nearly 6 million homes – a new record for Scotland.

In another milestone, wind production outstripped total electricity demand on 20 out of 30 days. Gina Hanrahan, head of policy at environmental group WWF Scotland, welcomed the contribution made by wind: “Wind power breaking through the magic 100% threshold is truly momentous. For months output has flirted around the 97% mark, so it’s fantastic to reach this milestone. “It’s also worth noting that 20 out of 30 days wind production outstripped demand.

December 11, 2018 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Health risks due to high salt content in water, in a drought town

December 11, 2018 Posted by | climate change - global warming, New South Wales | Leave a comment

A wave of change is coming to our planet’s water resources

Thanks to climate change, Earth’s freshwater supplies will never be the same again, Science News for Students, BETH GEIGER, DEC 6, 2018 This is the fourth in a 10-part series about the ongoing global impacts of climate change. These stories will look at the current effects of a changing planet, what the emerging science suggests is behind those changes and what we all can do to adapt to them.

It’s January 2018 in Cape Town, South Africa. After three years of record low rainfall, reservoirs that supply this city’s water are dangerously low. The city is running out of water, and fast………..
Water world   Our cool blue planet is covered in water. Just 2.5 percent of that water, however, is fresh. Of that, only about one third is liquid. The rest is locked up as ice.

That isn’t much freshwater. Yet we depend on it for everything. In the United States, each person uses an average of 340 liters (90 gallons) per day at home. And that doesn’t include the water needed to grow our food or manufacture everything from clothes to cars to cell phones. It takes 3,400 liters (900 gallons) just to make one pair of jeans.

As climate changes, though, so does how much water is available. Water, climate and weather are connected in a never-ending loop called the water cycle. And like any natural system, change one part of it — whether it’s temperature, soil moisture or even how many trees are in a region — and everything else changes, too. Continue reading

December 11, 2018 Posted by | General News | 1 Comment

Australia in midst of $20 billion wind and solar investment boom — RenewEconomy

There are $20 billion of wind, solar and storage projects currently underway in Australia, although the future looks less rosy. The post Australia in midst of $20 billion wind and solar investment boom appeared first on RenewEconomy.

via Australia in midst of $20 billion wind and solar investment boom — RenewEconomy

December 11, 2018 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

The technology, and new thinking, needed for 100 per cent renewable grid — RenewEconomy

We already much have the technology we need for 100 per cent renewable energy. We just need to think differently about how we produce and consume electricity. The post The technology, and new thinking, needed for 100 per cent renewable grid appeared first on RenewEconomy.

via The technology, and new thinking, needed for 100 per cent renewable grid — RenewEconomy

December 11, 2018 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Gupta doubles down on green industrial plans for Whyalla, powered by cheap renewables — RenewEconomy

Steel magnate unveils more sensational details of Whyalla’s renewable powered industrial revolution, including plans for an additional steel plant – “one of world’s biggest.” The post Gupta doubles down on green industrial plans for Whyalla, powered by cheap renewables appeared first on RenewEconomy.

via Gupta doubles down on green industrial plans for Whyalla, powered by cheap renewables — RenewEconomy

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Rooftop solar could supply 15% of Australian demand by 2023 — RenewEconomy

Study shows contribution to grid from Australia’s rooftop solar systems up 33% over 2018. At this rate, it could supply 14% of NEM demand within 5 years. The post Rooftop solar could supply 15% of Australian demand by 2023 appeared first on RenewEconomy.

via Rooftop solar could supply 15% of Australian demand by 2023 — RenewEconomy

December 11, 2018 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment