Australian news, and some related international items

With heatwaves like this, what sort of future do we have in store?, By Louise Freckelton
4 January 2019 I don’t really want to spoil your New Year with this article, but the changing of the year is a time to reflect on the past and to make plans for the year to come. So what are your plans for our future? What action will you take?Christmas Day in my part of the world – near Gundagai – was hot. It was the start of an intense heatwave where every day for 12 days in a row was 35 degrees or more. And our nights have been in the mid 20s making sleep fitful and uneasy.

It’s this kind of weather that also makes farming very difficult. After this kind of solar radiation onslaught, we won’t have any pasture left, we won’t be able to feed our sheep. Careful management with grazing rotations, maintenance of native grass pastures and planning to hold water in the landscape can only do so much. Our dams are nearly dry.

Now we spend much of the day keeping our pasture roaming hens cool (that is, preventing their death by overheating). There are frozen bricks in their water, we make ice pecking treats for them and hose down their pen. Your pasture-raised eggs will be hard to find this summer, and more expensive too.

Before you kindly offer bales of hay and make suggestions for sprinkling systems, before you placate me by saying how much we value our farmers and their work, how lovely our pictures on Instagram are, before you metaphorically pat me on the shoulder and say, “the rain will come, don’t worry”, I want you to know I don’t want bales or advice, or praise or cheering up.

When we have fewer eggs and no lamb, I want you to get angry. I want you to be angry with me at the lack of action on global warming.

I’m angry because being anything other than angry feels like being complicit. I want us all to be so noisy and so outraged that we get heard. I want our governments to take real action on climate change.

I’m not religious but I am deeply interested in symbols and in the underlying meaning of the stories we tell ourselves. Ultimately, Christmas is a story of hope – innocent hope that comes with the birth of a new baby; the hope that the baby will have a fruitful, happy life.

But what kind of life will a baby born today have? One without the Great Barrier Reef, magnificent forests, without koalas or polar bears? A future where bird diversity means sparrows, pigeons and starlings. A future of water scarcity, longer, hotter heatwaves and firestorms.

Our children, with their global friends are marching. But Prime Minister Scott Morrison told them to go back to school – that they needed “more learning in schools and less activism”. Well, soon they’ll be voting.

We are doing all the hard work: we’re reducing, reusing, recycling, renewing, repurposing, installing solar, minimising water use, changing farming practices, eliminating plastics, thinking about food miles, buying from ethical sources. We’re riding bikes, walking, taking public transport, eating locally, composting, sewing, fixing. Meanwhile, our politicians are obfuscating.

In 2019 we will have an election. It will be our opportunity to interrogate our politicians about action on climate change. To my despair it feels none of the available parties have policies strong enough for effective action. But let’s push them. What meaningful action will they take?

Make sure they know you are angry and that you will change your vote depending on that issue. Don’t let them distract you with fears about free-trade or immigration or terrorism – there is nothing more terrifying than an increasingly hostile climate.

So as we start the new year, hold your children tight and vote with their future in mind. Be an accountable adult.

In the meantime, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going out to put more ice bricks in the chickens’ water tank.

Louise Freckelton is a grazier at Highfield Farm and Woodland, Adelong NSW, and a member of Farmers for Climate Action.

January 5, 2019 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Facebook commentators not impressed with nuclear toady Australia’s Department of Industry Innovation and Science (DIIS)

Steve Dale Woomera is “an “incompatible land use”? Farming/tourism/fishing are incompatible land uses as well. This whole thing stinks of corruption and Machiavellian planning.
Robert Webb Yea well they can say what they want but the pressure needs to be put on them, there is a massive land space thee they control and this is the obvious position they would start with

January 5, 2019 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Dept of Industry (DIIS) “rules out” Woomera as nuclear waste storage site, despite much waste already there

Woomera not in contention for nuclear storage facility, The Transcontinental, Marco Balsamo, 3 Jan 19

January 5, 2019 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, Federal nuclear waste dump, politics | Leave a comment

Australia’s wide swathe of mid-40 degree heat breaks records, and there’s more to come

National records melt in ‘prolonged spell of heat’ with more to come, Brisbane Times  Peter Hannam, 4 January 2019 A huge swathe of Australia baked in mid-40 degree heat on Friday, with more records likely to be broken at the tail-end of a heatwave that set a slew of national highs last month.

The mercury was tipped to reach at least 45 degrees over a region stretching from northern Western Australia into Victoria and the NSW Riverina.

Melbourne exceeded its predicted top of 42 degrees, reaching 42.6 degrees. Avalon, to the city’s west, reached 45.8 degrees before a cool change knocked that down to under 25 degrees in less than an hour.

Walpeup in the state’s north touched 46.6 degrees – not far shy of Victoria’s January record of 47.2 degrees set in 1939 – while across the border in South Australia, Marree got to 47.2 degrees…….

Mean temperatures for 2018 were the third-warmest on record, with the bureau due to release its year-end report in coming days.

All but one of the country’s top 10 hottest years have occurred since 2005, a result “in line with long-term trends resulting from anthropogenic climate change”, the bureau said in a preliminary summary on 2018’s national weather

January 5, 2019 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming | Leave a comment

The nuclear industry now controls safety regulation in Russia’s Arctic shipping!

It’s a law – Russian Arctic shipping to be regulated by Rosatom

President Putin signs the bill that makes the country’s state nuclear power company top regulator of the Northern Sea Route.By Atle Staalesen, January 02, 2019

Rosatom has officially been granted the leading role in the development of the vast Russian Arctic. The company that employs more than 250,000 people and engages in a multitude of activities related to nuclear power development and production is now formally Russia’s management authority for the Northern Sea Route.

The law was adopted by the State Duma on the 11th December and on the 28th signed by Vladimir Putin.

The new legislation comes as Russian Arctic shipping is on rapid increase. In 2018, about 18 million tons of goods was transported on the sea route, an increase of almost 70 percent from 2017. And more is to come. According to Vladimir Putin so-called May Decrees, the top national priorities, shipping on the Northern Sea Route is to reach 80 million tons already by year 2024.

Rosatom’s new powers in the Arctic include development and operational responsibilities for shipping, as well as infrastructure and sea ports along the northern Russian coast.

The responsibilities of the Northern Sea Route Administration, that until now has operated under the Ministry of Transport, will now be transferred to Rosatom.

It was Putin himself who in early 2017 made clear that a coordinating government agency for the Northern Sea Route was needed. A battle between Rosatom and the Ministry of Transport followed. In December 2017, it became clear that the nuclear power company had won that fight.

A central person in the new structure will be Vyacheslav Ruksha, the former leader of nuclear icebreaker base Atomflot.

The nuclear power company has since 2008 operated the fleet of nuclear-power icebreakers. Currently, five icebreakers are based in Atomflot, Murmansk, and several more ships are under construction, including four powerful LK-60 vessels.

Rosatom is also in the planning process of the «Lider», the 120 MW capacity super-powerful ship that can break through two meter thick ice at an unprecedented 10-12 knot speed.

January 5, 2019 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Nuclear diplomacy: Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un back to Square 1

Kim and Trump Back at Square 1: If U.S. Keeps Sanctions, North Will Keep Nuclear Program, NYT, By David E. Sanger, Jan. 1, 2019

Nearly two years into his presidency and more than six months after his historic summit meeting with Kim Jong-un of North Korea, President Trump finds himself essentially back where he was at the beginning in achieving the ambitious goal of getting Mr. Kim to relinquish his nuclear arsenal.

That was the essential message of Mr. Kim’s annual New Year’s televised speech, where he reiterated that international sanctions must be lifted before North Korea will give up a single weapon, dismantle a single missile site or stop producing nuclear material.

The list of recent North Korean demands was a clear indicator of how the summit meeting in Singapore last June altered the optics of the relationship more than the reality. Those demands were very familiar from past confrontations: that all joint military training between the United States and South Korea be stopped, that American nuclear and military capability within easy reach of the North be withdrawn, and that a peace treaty ending the Korean War be completed.

“It’s fair to say that not much has changed, although we now have more clarity regarding North Korea’s bottom line,’’ Evans J.R. Revere, a veteran American diplomat and former president of the Korea Society, wrote in an email.

“Pyongyang refused to accept the United States’ definition of ‘denuclearization’ in Singapore,’’ he wrote. To the United States, that means the North gives up its entire nuclear arsenal; in the North’s view, it includes a reciprocal pullback of any American ability to threaten it with nuclear weapons. “The two competing visions of denuclearization have not changed since then.”

o                  Mr. Trump and Mike Pompeo, the secretary of state, who is supposed to turn Mr. Trump’s enthusiasms into diplomatic achievements, dispute such conclusions. They note that the tone of one of the world’s fiercest armed standoffs has improved. It has, and both leaders say they want to meet again.

……….By some measures there has been modest progress. It has been 13 months since the North tested a nuclear weapon or a long-range missile, a change that Mr. Trump and Mr. Pompeo cite as the first fruits of what some officials now concede will be a long diplomatic push.

Relations between the two Koreas are warming, though there is considerable evidence that Mr. Kim sees his outreach to President Moon Jae-in of South Korea as a way to split the United States from its longtime ally.

But Mr. Trump’s strategic goal, from the moment he vowed to “solve” the North Korea problem rather than repeat the mistakes of past presidents, has been to end the North Korean nuclear and missile threat, not suspend it in place.

Mr. Trump dispatched his first secretary of state, Rex W. Tillerson, to Seoul in March 2017 to declare that a mere nuclear freeze would not be enough. Back then, Mr. Tillerson declared there would be no negotiations, and certainly no lifting of sanctions, until the North’s dismantling had begun. A nuclear freeze would essentially enshrine “a comprehensive set of capabilities,” he argued.

The decision Mr. Trump must make now is whether to backtrack on the objective of zero North Korean nuclear weapons even if that means accepting the North as a nuclear-armed state, as the United States has done with Pakistan, India and Israel.

January 5, 2019 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

New Zealand’s 2018 – hottest year on record

2018 NZ’s hottest year on record – climate scientist 3 Jan, 2019 A veteran climate scientist has called 2018 our hottest year on record.

Niwa isn’t due to release its official summary for the year until early next week, but Professor Jim Salinger has already picked it the warmest on records stretching back to 1867.

His calculations put 2018’s mean annual land surface temperatures at 13.5C – or 0.85C above the 1981-2010 average.

His figure also surpassed the scorching years of 1998 and 2016, which were 0.80C and 0.84C above normal respectively.

Niwa meteorologist Chris Brandolino said people would have to wait until next week to see the climate agency’s final numbers – but added Niwa’s preliminary figures showed 2018 tracking extremely close to 2016’s record.

Last year got off to an unusually warm start with the hottest summer – and the hottest recorded month ever, January – on the books.

“January, March, July and December were all at least 1C above normal, with January being massive 3.2C above average – the hottest month ever,” Salinger said.

The record warmth of 2018 was accompanied by warm seas around the country.

“For all months of the year sea surface temperatures around New Zealand were well above average, with preliminary estimates for 2018 being 0.8C above average.”

Even as 2018 began, it was in the grip of a marine heatwave caused by a freak combination of factors and which turned the Tasman Sea into a warm bath, fired the record summer, and lured swarms of jellyfish to our shores.

“The heat of 2018 was also demonstrated by the record loss of ice on the Southern Alps,” he said.

“We measured a nine per cent drop in just one year. That says it all. We’ve never had anything like that in the glacier record.”

Globally, 2018 was likely to be the fourth-warmest year ever recorded, with an average temperature sitting 0.6C above the 1970-2000 baseline, and only behind the years 2015, 2016 and 2017.

“And more heating is predicted for 2019, by the UK Met Office,” Salinger said.

“Their 2019 forecast indicates that the year 2019 will be close to a record due to global heating and the added effect of the El Niño in the tropical Pacific.”

Salinger said that with six of our warmest years falling in the last two decades, the hand of climate change was unequivocal.

New Zealand’s average temperature had grown 1.3C warmer over 151 years of records.

“It’s roaring away,” he said.   He highlighted the UN’s recent report warning that the world had little over a decade to limit global warming to 1.5C above pre-industrial levels – and only around two decades to hold the Paris Agreement’s symbolic 2C line.

“We have to get going now and make significant inroads in the next years – there’s now a global movement of youth calling for that.”

Niwa’s latest seasonal outlook, covering summer, predicted temperatures were equally likely to be near or above average until the end of February, with near-normal rainfall likely for most regions.

January 5, 2019 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Adani’s attack on Aboriginal leader morally reprehensible

Traditional Owners support leader, Adrian Burragubba

Adani’s bankruptcy petition is corporate bullying, abuse of process

W&J call on Qld Government to investigate Adani’s sham dealings

Adani are out to punish the Traditional Owner leading the fight against their Carmichael Mine and the opening up of the Galilee Basin. In a show of abject moral failure and corporate bullying, Adani has instituted bankruptcy proceedings against W&J leader and spokesperson Adrian Burragubba, simply for retribution, said W&J Traditional Owners Family Council chairperson Linda Bobongie.

“Our people will stand with Mr Burragubba at this trying time. He is a courageous leader who has put our people, country and cultural heritage before his own and his families personal needs. He speaks for many of the rightful Traditional Owners of Wangan and Jagalingou Country and we will not be frightened by Adani’s latest abuse of power.

We have enormous support for our Federal Court appeal against Adani’s rent-a-crowd ILUA. Over 128,000 people have signed our petition and millions of Australians who oppose the Carmichael Mine continue to back our campaign because they also care about Aboriginal rights in this country.

We will prosecute Adani to the limit and make sure they wear their illegitimate claims as a burden upon their brief corporate history in Australia.  But we cannot rely on the legal system alone for justice.

We call on the Queensland Government to urgently inquire into the corruption of process that led to the disputed land deal. We demand that the Queensland Government refrain from any action to support Adani and from extinguishing our native title while investigating this grave injustice.

Queensland Labor has said they recognise that the registration of the Adani ILUA is contested and they acknowledge and respect our right to have our complaints considered and determined by a court. They should underwrite this process to ensure that Adani cannot bankrupt any of the appellants before the matter is heard, and they make proper inquiries of their own.

Adani are trying to prevent justice and hide behind a veil of supposed charity. Nothing could be more sickening than to have this corporate bully lecture us about our own people. They never have the courage to front up. It’s always done through anonymous media spokespeople or high priced lawyers.

We demand to know the Adani bosses who initiated this action. Was it Lucas Dow, the new CEO of Adani Mining, or was it Jeyakumar Janakaraj, CEO & Country Head Australia, or was it Gautam Adani himself who authorised this shameless attack on our people?

We are seeking the assistance of the UN Special Rapporteurs for Indigenous Peoples Rights and for Human Rights Defenders. The heads of corporations like Adani have a responsibility to respect human rights that are protected under international law. These responsibilities exist independently of a country’s abilities or willingness to fulfil its own obligations with respect to the rights of Indigenous peoples. We expect Adani’s bosses to answer for their actions.

Adani has no moral claim over us, and no legitimate claim for money. Their deceit is practiced. From the hollow protest about a vote of 294 – 1, as though this is believable, and Traditional Owners property rights and human rights can be wiped out forever by a one-off stacked meeting; to employing or contracting with people who oversaw the collapse of our $1m trust fund, such as Ms Irene Simpson and Mr Patrick Malone, directors of Cato Galilee, which entered into an unauthorised Memorandum of Understanding with Adani; to the PR exercises on jobs and partnership with ‘fake W&J people’. (Tony Johnson who appears in this Adani video is from the Gooreng Gooreng Nation on the Port Curtis Coast).

Adani claims to have a valid ILUA with the W&J people yet have failed to engage the authorised native title party at any time in more than two years, and have not paid $1.3m they are obligated to under the terms of their own contract.

Adani would bankrupt our people, prop up those who would breach our trust, and withhold what they owe just to score a cheap political point.

Our people will continue to seek justice in the face of this profound inequity. We will call on all First Nations people, and members of the Australian and international communities for support. And we will challenge the decision of Justice Reeves because we know the Adani ILUA is a gross distortion of the will of the W&J People”, Ms Bobongie concluded.

Source Document:

January 5, 2019 Posted by | aboriginal issues, AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL | Leave a comment

Bill Gates’ “Travelling Wave” nuclear reactor project with Chinese shuts down

Bill Gates’s Experimental Nuclear Power Plant Halts Construction in China, Gates cites the Trump Administration’s aggressive stance for having to pull out. Popular Mechanics , By David Grossman, Jan 3, 2019  “……..Gates invested  in TerraPower in 2011 with the hope of helping to prove the company’s core concept: a so-called traveling-wave reactor (TWR) which would run on depleted uranium, as opposed to the enriched uranium commonly used in nuclear plants……… In 2015, the company signed a deal with the Chinese government to be a small demonstration plant to be constructed by 2022. Since then, it has remained relatively low-profile. ……

 In October 2018, U.S. Secretary of Energy Rick Perry said that the United States “cannot ignore the national security implications of China’s efforts to obtain nuclear technology outside of established processes of U.S.–China civil nuclear cooperation.”

The Department of Energy then announced it would deny any new licenses from U.S. companies wishing to work with the Chinese government, and current licenses would not be given extensions. The department cited the indictment of the Chinese state-owned nuclear corporation in 2017 alongside Taiwanese-American Allen Ho, who was eventually jailed for assisting the Chinese state on nuclear issues.

In his year-end letter for 2018, Gates notes that “we had hoped to build a pilot project in China, but recent policy changes here in the U.S. have made that unlikely.”
Pulling out of the project leaves TerraPower’s future uncertain. According to company CEO Chris Levesque, speaking to the Wall Street Journal, the price of a demonstration reactor is around $1 billion. Having to cancel a project worth such an extraordinary amount would likely be the death knell for most new players in any field. Most new players, however, aren’t funded by Bill Gates—still valued by Forbes to have a fortune north of $93 billion………..

January 5, 2019 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

January 4 Energy News — geoharvey

Opinion: ¶ “Can Trump’s New Science Adviser Convince Him that Climate Change Is Real?” • As one of its last acts of the term, the Senate confirmed meteorologist Kelvin Droegemeier, to be director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy, “science adviser” to the president. Trump, however, has a history of ignoring his own […]

via January 4 Energy News — geoharvey

January 5, 2019 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Police officer stays on duty in empty town near Fukushima plant — Fukushima 311 Watchdogs

Satoru Saeki, a resident police officer at the Okuma police substation, goes on patrol in the difficult-to-return zone in Okuma, Fukushima Prefecture. January 1, 2019 OKUMA, Fukushima Prefecture–On his rather lonely rounds, Satoru Saeki looks for anything out of place in an empty town center marred by broken windows, uncollected litter and […]

via Police officer stays on duty in empty town near Fukushima plant — Fukushima 311 Watchdogs

January 5, 2019 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

2020 Olympic torches to be made of recycled aluminum from Fukushima temporary housing — Fukushima 311 Watchdogs

This file photo shows the Tokyo Summer Olympics torch relay held in September 1964. Olympics: 2020 torches to be made of recycled aluminum from Fukushima Jan 1, 2019 TOKYO (Kyodo) — Recycled aluminum from temporary housing in Fukushima Prefecture, which was devastated by the 2011 earthquake, tsunami and nuclear disaster, is planned to be […]

via 2020 Olympic torches to be made of recycled aluminum from Fukushima temporary housing — Fukushima 311 Watchdogs

January 5, 2019 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment