Australian news, and some related international items

We remain dedicated to a nuclear-free Australia


Has this website given up on the anti-nuclear struggle? Now dedicated to climate action?

Absolutely not.  But right now, the world is at a precipice – act now, or condemn this home planet to an unimaginable climate disaster.

SO – let’s join the global effort to prevent that.

Meanwhile – we keep our finger on the pulse of Australia’s anti-nuclear battle.

David Noonan   Fight To Stop Nuclear Waste Dump In Flinders Ranges SA, 11 Dec 18,   the WA State Liberal gov. Legislated to prohibit International nuclear waste in 1999 and SA State Liberal gov Legislated to prohibit the import, transport, storage and disposal of both ANSTO & International nuclear fuel waste in 2000. 


December 13, 2018 Posted by | Christina reviews | Leave a comment

Promoting coal at UN Climate Summit, did Patrick Suckling speak officially for Australia?

Climate Mobilisation Australia, 11 Dec 18, The Australian Ambassador for the Environment, Patrick Suckling, appeared on a panel for a US government side-event pushing clean coal technologies as climate solutions. The session on Monday 10 December was called: “U.S. Innovative Technologies Spur Economic Dynamism – Promoting innovative approaches”.

One must ask was Ambassador Suckling’s presence sanctioned at Ministerial level? His attendance on the panel is hardly good diplomacy for Australia, even given the Liberal Government support for coal and weak climate targets and climate policy.

After about 9 minutes the first speaker was disrupted and youth and civil society delegates unfurled a banner and made their own testimonies on the disruptive and dangerous nature of coal for health and climate.

They chanted “Keep it in the ground” and “Shame on you”, before leaving the session. After they left, there were very few people to listen to the myths being spouted of clean coal.

Watch the Facebook Livestream video of young delegates taking over the side event about 9 minutes in and making their own testimony on the fossil fuel industry.

The Australia Institute Director of Climate & Energy Program Richie Merzian was there to document the session in the tweets below.

“How could this be good for Australia? The Ambassador finding himself in the middle of the largest cultural battle at #COP24” remarks Richie Merzian……

December 13, 2018 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming, politics | Leave a comment

Anger, protests as Australia supports US fossil fuels event at UN climate talks

December 13, 2018 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming | Leave a comment

Climate change talks result in renewed pledge to cut emissions

EU, Canada, New Zealand and developing countries to keep global warming below 1.5C  Guardian, Fiona HarveyBen Doherty and Jonathan Watts in Katowice,  13 Dec 2018 

The promise, which follows increasingly dire scientific warnings, was the most positive message yet to come from the ongoing talks in Poland.

The announcement came at the end of a day in which the UN secretary general made an impassioned intervention to rescue the talks, which have been distracted by US, Russian and Saudi moves to downgrade scientific advice.

“We’re running out of time,” António Guterres told the plenary. “To waste this opportunity would compromise our last best chance to stop runaway climate change. It would not only be immoral, it would be suicidal.”

The talks have centred on devising a rulebook for implementing the 2015 Paris agreement and raising countries’ level of ambition to counter climate change, but progress has been slow on several key issues and divisions have emerged between four fossil fuel powers – the US, Russia, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait – and the rest of the world.

The UN believes China could play a stronger role in the absence of leadership from the US. Sources said Guterres would make a telephone call to Xi to ask for his help in nudging talks forward.

The EU also wants China, which is a key member of the block of 77 developing countries, to step up to ensure that countries all follow the same rules in being transparent over their greenhouse gas emissions.

Campaigners praised the decision by the High Ambition Coalition group of countries, made up of the EU and four other developed countries, including Canada and New Zealand, as well as the large grouping of least developed countries and several other developing nations, to scale up their emissions-cutting efforts in line with a 1.5C temperature rise limit.

Wendel Trio, director of the Climate Action Network Europe, said: “The spirit of Paris is back. The statement will boost greater ambition at the crunch time of these so far underwhelming talks. For the EU this must mean a commitment to significantly increase its 2030 target by 2020, even beyond the 55% reduction some member states and the European parliament are calling for. We call upon the countries that have not signed the statement so far to stop ignoring the science.”

Guterres, in a pointed criticism aimed at the four countries that have been refusing to “welcome” the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s special report on 1.5-degree warming, said rejecting climate science was indefensible.

He added: “The IPCC special report is a stark acknowledgment of what the consequences of global warming beyond 1.5 degrees will mean for billions of people around the world, especially those who call small island states home. This is not good news, but we cannot afford to ignore it.”

Frank Bainimarama, the prime minister of Fiji and the outgoing chair of COP23, amplified Guterres’ message. He told delegates they risked going down in history as “the generation that blew it – that sacrificed the health of our world and ultimately betrayed humanity because we didn’t have the courage and foresight to go beyond our short-term individual concerns: craven, irresponsible and selfish”.

The former US vice-president Al Gore told delegates they faced “the single most important moral choice in history of humanity”.

Behind the scenes, delegates said there had been strong progress on finance thanks to a doubling of commitments by Germany and Norway to help poorer nations adapt to climate change and build institutions capable of monitoring emissions. Nicholas Stern, the author of a landmark review on the economics of climate change, praised “the level of ideas and cooperation”.

But others said there were still many disputed brackets in the negotiating text on transparency and other elements of the rulebook……..

“The window for action is closing fast. We need to do more and we need to do it now,” said the document, which would form part of the official statement from this conference.


December 13, 2018 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

High alert as bushfire risk reaches Black Saturday levels

  12 Dec 18, The bushfire risk is back to Black Saturday levels in Victoria’s most dangerous and populous zone, stretching from Kilmore to Morwell and covering 59 per cent of the state’s population… . (subscribers only)

December 13, 2018 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Maine watchdogs keep close eye on Trump’s bid to change nuclear waste storage rules

December 13, 2018 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment


December 13, 2018 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Australia silent, as New Zealand rules out using ‘Kyoto credits’ for Paris

New Zealand rules out using ‘Kyoto credits’ for Paris, Australia shtum, (shtum means silent, non-communicative), Brisbane Times ,By Peter Hannam, 11 December 2018 New Zealand’s Climate Change Minister James Shaw has ruled out his nation using carryover credits to count against its Paris climate target, saying such a move would make it challenging for the world to meet the important goal of reducing emissions.Australia silent

Mr Shaw made the comments to Australasian journalists in a conference call on Tuesday after meeting his Australian counterpart Melissa Price during the climate talks in Katowice, Poland.

As the Herald has reported, Ms Price and her environment department have refused to exclude use of any surplus credit generated during the soon-to-be concluded Kyoto Protocol against Australia’s Paris emissions pledges.

Federal Labor also said it won’t rule out the use of Kyoto credits until it has received advice………

Low ranking

Mr Shaw’s comments come as Australia was named 55th out of 60 nations on a Climate Change Performance Index compiled by Germanwatch, a non-government agency. Saudi Arabia and the US occupied the bottom rankings, while Sweden and Morocco topped the list.

Australia scored particularly poorly for its national climate policy and per capita greenhouse gas emissions – at more than 16 tonnes of CO2 a year – both ranked second-worst.

The Paris target – in which the Abbott government set at reducing 2005 levels of carbon pollution to 26 per cent by 2030 – was rated 12th among the 60 nations.

Tim Baxter, a researcher at Australian-German Climate and Energy College and Melbourne Law School, said it was likely Australia would try to get international backing to use Kyoto credits – and it might succeed………

December 13, 2018 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming, politics international | Leave a comment

Pacific island countries accuse USA of obstructing talks at UN climate change summit

US accused of obstructing talks at UN climate change summit
Vanuatu’s foreign minister says worst offenders on global warming are blocking progress,
Guardian, Ben Doherty in Katowice @bendohertycorro, Wed 12 Dec 2018 
 The United States and other high carbon dioxide-emitting developed countries are deliberately frustrating the UN climate summit in Katowice, Poland, Vanuatu’s foreign minister has said. His warning came as Pacific and Indian ocean states warned they faced annihilation if a global climate “rule book” could not brokered.In a bruising speech before ministers and heads of state, Vanuatu’s foreign minister, Ralph Regenvanu, singled out the US as he excoriated major CO2-emitting developed countries for deliberately hindering negotiations.

“It pains me deeply to have watched the people of the United States and other developed countries across the globe suffering the devastating impacts of climate-induced tragedies, while their professional negotiators are here at COP24 putting red lines through any mention of loss and damage in the Paris guidelines and square brackets around any possibility for truthfully and accurately reporting progress against humanity’s most existential threat,” he said.

Regenvanu said the countries most responsible for climate change were now frustrating efforts to counter it.

The UN’s climate change talks in Poland have been distracted by a semantic debate over whether the conference should “welcome” or “note” the IPCC’s special report warning of dire consequences if global warming rises more than 1.5C above pre-industrial levels, with a bloc of four oil-producing countries – the US, Saudi Arabia, Russia, and Kuwait – insisting the report be only “noted”.

Documents from the conference presidency, seen by the Guardian, indicate the issue of how to acknowledge the report will be returned to later in the week and is likely to further slow progress on negotiating a final outcome. Negotiators said they are growing increasingly pessimistic that talks can be concluded by their deadline on Friday…….

As 193 countries at the climate talks seek to establish a “rule book” on how to implement the commitments made in the Paris agreement three years ago, Regenvanu condemned a two-tier system that exempted high-emissions countries from reductions obligations, saying the world needed “one common rule book, in which rules apply to all”.

The US state department declined to comment on his remarks……

December 13, 2018 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Bushfire threat to vital koala habitat

Salamander Bay bushfire threatens homes, vital koala habitat in Port Stephens, ABC 11 Dec 18  An entire koala population in Port Stephens could be wiped out after a fire devastated their habitat near Port Stephens, an animal rescue group fears.

An estimated 16 hectares of the Mambo Wetlands, north of Newcastle, was scorched on Monday night, according to Port Stephens Koalas.

The reserve is about 40 per cent of the vital koala habitat.

The blaze broke out near the Salamander Bay shopping centre about 6:30pm and dozens of firefighters spent the night backburning to protect homes.

It burnt away more than 80 hectares of swampy scrub, which made access difficult for fire crews.

The fire flared up to a watch and act level at 3:00am, but weather conditions eased in the early hours and the blaze was brought under control.

Carers from the rescue group today surveyed the damage and fielded calls about stranded and injured wildlife.

Simone Aurino, senior carer at Port Stephens Koalas, said the reserve was one of the most important areas in the Tomaree Peninsula.

“It has a viable breeding population and its central to all the other habitats,” she said.

“It’s a really, really essential habitat.”

Ms Aurino said the blaze would lead to significant flow-on effects which may not be known for some time.

“It has the potential to wipe out the population in this area, it’s really quite devastating,” she said.

“The habitat’s been changed, so the animals are going to move…….

December 13, 2018 Posted by | climate change - global warming, environment, Victoria | Leave a comment

Australia’s Liberal Coalition govt cosying up to coal megaminer Adani

Adani met with environment department 40 times in six months
Coalition ‘holding Adani’s hand’ through mine approvals, Greens senator says,
Guardian, Lisa Cox and Ben Smee, Tue 11 Dec 2018 
 The federal environment department had 40 meetings in six months with Adani representatives to discuss the Carmichael coalmine project, according to responses to a Senate estimates committee.The department met Adani executives in person at the company’s Brisbane offices, as well as conducting teleconferences, on matters including Adani’s groundwater management plans, the mine’s progress and proposals for the management of the threatened black-throated finch.

The environment minister, Melissa Price, and energy minister, Angus Taylor, met the company once each in Canberra. The meetings occurred between 7 May and 7 November this year and were tabled by the department in response to questions on notice from the Greens senator Larissa Waters.

Waters had asked at an estimates hearing in October if the department, minister or assistant minister had “met with Adani representatives or lobbyists in the past six months”.

She said on Tuesday the number of meetings suggested the department was “holding Adani’s hand through the approvals process”.

The number of meetings was evidence of the “cosy relationship” Adani had with the federal government, Waters said.

“The environment department is supposed to be a regulator and protector of our environment yet it’s holding Adani’s hand through the approvals process to get this mega coalmine off the ground.

“It shouldn’t be facilitating the development of a new dirty coalmine, it should be standing up for the best interests of our people and planet.”

The company announced late last month it would self-finance its controversial coalmine but it still requires approvals from state and federal governments for its groundwater-dependent ecosystem management plan and its management plan for the black-throated finch before significant work can start at the site.

The Queensland government is also under renewed pressure to rule out two potential subsidies to Adani.

The Mackay Conservation group released polling of marginal central Queensland electorates on Tuesday that showed 60% of people oppose any form of government subsidy. Only 22% supported subsidies, and 18% were unsure.

An Australia Institute report has found a potential royalties deferment deal would effectively be a low-interest loan to Adani, worth up to $385m.

The report also looked at $100m in road upgrades being considered by the Queensland government. It analysed approval plans for the Carmichael mine and found Adani’s vehicles “would be nearly all of the traffic on the road”.

Researcher Tom Swann, the author of the report, said: “The Queensland government has said repeatedly that it will not provide taxpayer funds to Adani, but Queenslanders are on the hook for hundreds of millions of dollars because of these deals.”

The state government’s public statements on Adani have been sceptical in recent weeks since the announcement it would self-fund a slimmed down version of Carmichael.

The premier, Annastacia Palaszczuk, said last month, “We will believe it when we see it”.

The royalties deal, which has not yet been signed, was premised as support for the “first mover” in a coal basin……….

December 13, 2018 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming, politics | Leave a comment

Coalition designs underwriting tender so it can choose what it wants, including coal — RenewEconomy

Coalition underwriting documents allow government to pick and choose its favoured projects and adjust the criteria to suit. Even emissions intensity may not be a factor. The post Coalition designs underwriting tender so it can choose what it wants, including coal appeared first on RenewEconomy.

via Coalition designs underwriting tender so it can choose what it wants, including coal — RenewEconomy

December 13, 2018 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

December 12 Energy News — geoharvey

Opinion: ¶ “Trump’s Losing, Lonely Fight to Save Coal” • President Trump has stood by coal whenever he could. He appointed a former coal lobbyist to the Federal Energy Management Commission. His administration promoted coal at COP 24. And yet the industry has not yet benefited from having an energetic booster in the Oval Office. […]

via December 12 Energy News — geoharvey

December 13, 2018 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

1414 Degrees’ molten silicon biogas energy storage system set for trial in S.A. — RenewEconomy

A world-leading, Adelaide-made 10MWh molten silicon energy storage system is on its way to Glenelg, where it will be tested at an SA Water treatment plant. The post 1414 Degrees’ molten silicon biogas energy storage system set for trial in S.A. appeared first on RenewEconomy.

via 1414 Degrees’ molten silicon biogas energy storage system set for trial in S.A. — RenewEconomy

December 13, 2018 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Know your NEM: Wind and solar is boosting competition — RenewEconomy

The wind and solar boom is clearly adding to competition, but 5GW of battery storage in coming years will really focus the minds of incumbent utilities. The post Know your NEM: Wind and solar is boosting competition appeared first on RenewEconomy.

via Know your NEM: Wind and solar is boosting competition — RenewEconomy

December 13, 2018 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment