Australian news, and some related international items

Proposed nuclear waste dump in Flinders Ranges – an urgent issue for South Australians, and all Australians

Susan Craig Fight To Stop Nuclear Waste Dump In Flinders Ranges SA, 14 Jan 19 
Extract from my recent conversation with Kim Carr’s office. Federal Labor Party.

“We do not have a position on the sites in South Australia for a NATIONAL NUCLEAR WASTE facility. However, we do have a position on LUCAS HEIGHTS, (NSW). We need to get the nuclear waste out of there because it’s TOO DANGEROUS to keep the nuclear waste in densely populated metropolitan Sydney.”

Extract from “Economic Priorities Document”. South Australian Government. 
“South Australian food, wine and beverages are world class and our unique regions, products and the CLEAN, GREEN ENVIRONMENT that they come from provides the COMPETITIVE EDGE required to secure and maintain PREMIUM status in our markets of choice.”

I have endeavoured to engage our State politicians on both sides for over a year now, to publicly speak to the people of South Australia on this issue, yet their silence is confounding and shameful. The nuclear waste proposed for South Australia is for both low level and intermediate level. Exposure to intermediate level nuclear waste, is 100% fatal with life expectancy of 4 -6 weeks. It will remain radioactive for 10,000 years. The Federal Government are targeting KIMBA in our farming land and The Flinders Ranges in the heart of tourism. The Flinders Ranges site will be just 10kms from Wilpena Pound! The waste will be stored for up to 100 years, above ground in a tin shed in one of the most seismic areas in Australia and prone to regular severe flooding. The floods waters in 1989 entered Spencer Gulf.

All South Australian’s need to be involved and told the truth about the Federal Government’s proposal for our state, as it will go beyond tarnishing our reputation that so many South Australian’s have worked hard for, but more so this proposal is both immediately and transcendingly dangerous for all Australians.
This decision is so catastrophically wrong it demands to be challenged by all of us, including our politicians.

January 14, 2019 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, Federal nuclear waste dump | Leave a comment

Every State and Territory in Australia to be hit with record heat (nothing to do with climate change?)

Record-breaking heatwave to hit every state and territory,  Every state and territory in Australia will experience heatwave conditions on Monday, forecasters say.  A cyclone is brewing off Western Australia’s Kimberley coast while much of the country is set to swelter in heatwave conditions.

Every state and territory will cop the heat on Monday when temperatures soar with some regions to experience severe and extreme hot weather.

The Bureau of Meteorology forecasts low intensity heatwave conditions in parts of central WA to southern parts of the Northern Territory, southwestern Queensland and across NSW, Victoria, Tasmania and South Australia.

It will be worst in South Australia where multiple days of temperatures above 40C, an unusual event even for summer, meteorologist Dean Narramore said on Sunday.

Particularly northern South Australia, they’re looking at maybe five days in a row above 45 and normally they might only get five or 10 a year,” he said.

Melbourne can expect to see a few days in the mid to high 30s, while temperatures in Sydney’s west will peak above 40C for four or five days.

January 14, 2019 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming | Leave a comment

ALERT: Adani Contractor Locked Up and Blockaded   

New Adani contractor Eastern Tree Services found themselves locked out of five premises in three states this morning, with citizens blocking work trucks at another two premises.
Additional locks and chains, as well as signs calling for ETS to ‘get out of bed with Adani’, meant staff needed angle grinders to get into work. Trucks wanting to leave industrial sites in Brisbane & Townsville were blocked by concerned citizens.

ETS, a large privately-owned company, operates tree clearing services from 20 sites across the country. They start tree clearing work at Abbott Point Coal Terminal this week and sources confirm ETS have accepted a contract to clear the rail corridor from Adani’s controversial Carmichael Coal Mine to link in with the existing railway travelling to Abbott Point. Jai, a spokesperson for Frontline Action on Coal said:

“ETS must listen to the majority of Australians who do not want Adani’s coal mine to go ahead and completely rule out destroying precious bushland for the proposed Adani rail corridor.”

This is not the first Adani contractor to be the target of long-running protests, with prior campaigns leading to banks, insurers and contractors ruling out supporting the mine. Emma from the Brisbane blockade protest said:

“Big businesses need to understand that if they work with Adani they will be held accountable for the damage to the reef, land, culture and climate that will ensue if Adani’s dirty coal mine goes ahead. Adani contractors like ETS will find themselves targets of ongoing protests until they rule out working with Adani.”

“Adani fail to get approvals and keep their promised work deadlines time and time again. They cannot be trusted and should not be allowed to build a climate wrecking coal mine that Australia doesn’t want, and the world doesn’t need.”  SourceDoc Frontline Action on Coal:

January 14, 2019 Posted by | climate change - global warming, Queensland | Leave a comment

The problem of hazardous waste from discarded old solar panels

I have long been worried that environmentalists are seen to be enthusiastic about renewable energy, seeing it as the panacea for the world’s climate woes.  Solar power is a great technology for replacing polluting fossil fuel power, but it’s only a part of what needs to be done – in the urgently needed transition from our wasteful CONSUMER SOCIETY to a CONSERVER SOCIETY.  It must not become a contributor to the waste disaster. 
Waste crisis looms as thousands of solar panels reach end of life, By Nicole Hasham, 13 Jan 19,Thousands of ageing rooftop solar panels represent a toxic time-bomb and major economic waste unless Australia acts swiftly to keep them out of landfill, conservationists and recyclers say.

Australia’s enthusiastic embrace of rooftop solar has brought clear environmental and economic benefits, but critics say governments have dragged their feet in addressing the looming waste crisis.

As of December more than 2 million Australian households had rooftop solar installed. The uptake continues to grow due to the technology’s falling cost and rising electricity bills.

Photovoltaic panels last about 30 years, and those installed at the turn of the millennium are nearing the end of their lives. Many have already been retired due to faults or damage during transport and installation.

The nation’s environment ministers in April last year agreed to fast-track the development of new product stewardship schemes for photovoltaic solar panels and associated batteries. Such schemes make producers and retailers take responsibility for an item across its life cycle.

However, Total Environment Centre director Jeff Angel, a former federal government adviser on product stewardship, said action was long overdue and the delay reveals a “fundamental weakness” in Australia’s waste policies.

“We’ve had a solar panel industry for years which is an important environmental initiative, and it should have been incumbent on government to act in concert with the growth of the industry so we have an environmentally responsible end-of-life strategy,” he said.

Mr Angel said photovoltaic panels contain hazardous substances and “when we are sending hundreds of thousands of e-waste items to landfill we are also creating a pollution problem”.

“It’s a systemic problem that [applies to] a whole range of products”, he said, saying schemes were badly needed for paint, batteries, floor coverings, commercial furniture and many types of electronic waste.

Photovoltaic panels are predominantly made from glass, polymer and aluminium, but may also contain potentially hazardous materials such as lead, copper and zinc.

Australian Council of Recycling chief executive Peter Schmigel attributed delays in product stewardship schemes to both “bureaucratic malaise” and unfounded concern about cost.

The national television and computer recycling scheme, which since 2011 has required manufacturers and importers to participate in industry-funded collection and recycling, showed that regulatory measures can work, he said.

“Recovery rates have been out of sight since the beginning of the scheme, nobody has said anything at all about there being an inbuilt recycling cost. It generates jobs, it generates environmental outcomes and yet for some reason we have policymakers who are hesitant about [establishing similar schemes] for solar PVs and batteries,” he said.

Victoria will ban electronic waste in landfill from July 2019, including all parts of a photovoltaic system, mirroring schemes imposed in Europe.

Sustainability Victoria is also leading a project examining end-of-life management options for photovoltaic systems, which may progress to a national program. The issue is particularly pertinent in Victoria where a new $1.3 billion program is expected to install solar power on 700,000 homes.

Sustainability Victoria resource recovery director Matt Genever said there was strong support from industry, government and consumers for a national approach to photovoltaic product stewardship. Final options are due to be presented to environment ministers in mid-2019.

He rejected suggestions that plans were progressing too slowly.

“The analysis we’ve done in Victoria … shows that it’s in 2025 that we see a real ramp up in the waste being generated out of photovoltaic panels. I certainly don’t think we’ve missed the boat,” he said.

A report by the International Energy Agency and the International Renewable Energy Agency in 2016 found that recoverable materials from photovoltaic panel waste had a potential value of nearly $US15 billion by 2050.

Reclaim PV director Clive Fleming, whose business is believed to be the only dedicated photovoltaic recycler in Australia, said it recycles 90 per cent of materials in a panel. The company has been lobbying for state bans on solar panels entering landfill.

The NSW Environment Protection Authority said it has commissioned research to better understand how e-waste, including solar panels, was managed. The panels can be dumped in NSW landfill, however given their life span they were “not a common item in the waste stream”, it said.

The Queensland government is developing an end-of-life scheme for batteries used in solar systems and other appliances.

A federal review of the Product Stewardship Act was expected to be completed last year, but the Department of the Environment and Energy is yet to present a report to the government.

Mr Genever hoped the review would result in a broader range of products being subject to stewardship programs and take steps to ensure voluntary schemes were effective.

Both the Smart Energy Council and the Clean Energy Council, which represent solar industry operators, said a well-designed product stewardship scheme was important and should be developed through cooperation between industry, governments and recyclers.

January 14, 2019 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, solar | Leave a comment

Doubt about what happens to spent nuclear fuel rods within casks

Derek Abbott Nuclear Fuel Cycle Watch South Australia, 13 Jan 19,    Something that is never discussed about dry cask storage (before it is transferred into a repository canister) is that the fuel rods have been emitting alpha particles for 40 years in the dry cask. 

The nuke enthusiasts who don’t understand physics naively think those alpha particles are impotent. They say “a piece of paper can block an alpha particle.” True but misleading.
What actually happens is that alpha particles do indeed get blocked and don’t go far within a fuel rod, but they get converted to back to helium. [Remember an alpha particle is a helium nucleus anyway].So you get helium bubbles building up inside the fuel rod. Over 40 years this can fracture the fuel rod into pieces. So transferring the rods into a repository canister may not be possible. Because no one has actually opened up a bunch of old dry casks to get the rods into a repository yet, there isn’t much experience on exactly how much alpha particle damage affects the rods. I’m not sure there has even been a proper study of this. I am searching and will post it here if I find a study.

January 14, 2019 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, Federal nuclear waste dump | Leave a comment

Australia’s environment – a winner at National Labor Party Conference

Labor will strengthen the law to protect Australia’s Environment and Heritage – TONY BURKE

Environmental wins at the National Labor Conference, Independent Australia By Stephen Williams | 13 January 2019 Stephen Williams questions national co-convenor Felicity Wade of the Labor Environment Action Network (LEAN) about new Labor policy.

“………Our goal was to ensure climate action was no longer an issue to be used tactically, becoming instead an article of faith. We believe a deep-rooted response to the environmental challenges of the 21st Century is essential to the long-term survival of a modern social-democratic party.

At the 2015 Labor National Conference, LEAN won the commitments to 50% renewable energy and 45% emission reductions by 2030. But it was just a few days ago, at the 2018 National Conference, that our real goal was won. Watching the debate on the floor, there was confidence and enthusiasm. Labor not only believes climate change is real, but that it is core business.

Party heavyweights lined up to affirm their commitment to turning around the “climate emergency”, as one of the motions described it. The continued challenge of the proposed Adani coal mine in Queensland is still outstanding. LEAN believes that while Labor will continue to support existing coal operations for some time, allowing a new, huge coal basin to be opened up is both risky and undermines perceptions of our commitment to climate change.

LEAN’s next task is to rebuild commitment to the natural environment in the same way. On issues of the natural environment, it is more about remembering something lost, rather than embracing something new. Visionary environmental policy has a Labor history and this week’s commitment to a new environment Act and an independent Environment Protection Authority are the first steps in reclaiming this.

The current environmental legislation, the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (Cth) (EPBC), is from the Howard era. It is primarily a tool to facilitate development, not to protect the environment. What’s more, it annoys business, and costs money by creating delays and confusion, little of which translates into good environmental outcomes. The only proactive aspects of the Act create lists of environmental threats with no power to protect anything or make a difference to real-world outcomes.

Since the EPBC Act was legislated in 1999, the number of threatened species and ecosystems has increased by 30%, with three animals going extinct. About 7.4 million hectares of threatened-species habitat (more than the size of Tasmania) has been cleared. Only 0.3% (21 of 6,100 developments assessed by the Act) have been rejected for unacceptable risks to the environment.

Australia has the highest rate of mammal extinctions in the world and is the only developed nation in the world’s top ten land-clearers. About 3,000 Australians die each year due to air pollution, plastics clog our waterways, while the community’s efforts to recycle are not matched by government-led national responses to ensure the waste is re-used.

We need more power at the federal level to stem these losses.  ……..

When asked by our campaigners how they felt about climate change policy, the message they sent back to the party was unequivocal: 370 local ALP branches endorsed our call for 50% renewables by 2030 and credible emission-reduction targets.

Having achieved the policy outcome at the 2015 National Conference, we applied the same methodology to our call for a complete overhaul of Australia’s environmental laws and institutions. And thanks to Bill Shorten, who personally advocated for the reforms, Labor committed to these outcomes at the 2018 National Conference………,12270

January 14, 2019 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, environment, politics | Leave a comment

Bushfire in Adelaide Hills is still a threat

 Cigarette butt fire in Adelaide Hills ‘contained’, but still a threat Gabriel Polychronis, The Advertiser, 14 Jan 19, A scrub fire started by a cigarette butt in the Adelaide Hills has been contained, but it could kick up again this week with hot and dry conditions forecast.

Just after 4pm on Sunday, the Country Fire Service issued an alert to residents around the Mt Lofty Ranges after a fire started on Montacute Rd, Montacute.

The fire, started from a discarded cigarette butt, was burning steep terrain, making it difficult for crews to access. The spread of the fire has been contained, however the hot and dry conditions forecast this week mean it could pick up again, the CFS say……….A severe fire danger warning, as well as a total fire ban, has been issued today for the Mt Lofty Ranges due to very hot and dry conditions.

January 14, 2019 Posted by | climate change - global warming, South Australia | Leave a comment

Air conditioners make a massive contribution to global warming (Why not promote SOLAR air-conditioning?)


Why does this article not mention that solar-powered air conditioners are the most successful way to overcome this problem ?

Treaty on HFCs aims to curb global warming from greenhouse gases in air conditioning, refrigeration, ABC Weather By Ben Deacon In many parts of Australia, air conditioners have gone from being a luxury to what many consider a necessity.

It’s a trend that’s being echoed around the world as billions of people in hot counties lift themselves out of poverty.

But the explosion in demand for the energy-intensive appliance is alarming climate change experts, who say we’re heating the world up by cooling it down.

Victoria MacLean, who runs the Bureau of Meteorology’s weather station in Alice Springs, said the start of 2019 was unbearable, even by local standards.

“We had 11 days in a row recently of 40-degree-plus days. We had a 45.6 day. In fact we had another one like this as well and that did break the record for the Alice Springs airport,” said the meteorologist.

During the heatwave, Alice Springs had more days over 45 degrees Celsius in a single week than the town has recorded in the past 76 years.

Like most people in the desert community, Ms MacLean coped by running her air conditioner flat out.

“We closed off the downstairs side of the house and we actually stayed down there, we slept down there a few times, just to stay cool.

“We’ve got two dogs; we had to keep them inside because they just couldn’t handle it.”

But she does worry about the environmental impact of air conditioning.

“It’s kind of ironic that you’d been using the air conditioning, and we’ve got climate change going on, so we’re trying to conserve energy, but then you have to use more of it.”

Air conditioners’ environmental impact

Air conditioners are a double whammy in terms of climate change.

They’re the most energy-hungry appliance in the average home, which in Australia is mostly powered by fossil fuels, and the refrigerants inside air conditioners are potent greenhouse gases

Experts say demand for air conditioning is increasing so fast internationally that it will have a real impact on the earth’s climate. Continue reading

January 14, 2019 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming | 1 Comment

Washington State opposes Trump administration’s plan to reclassify large amount of Hanford nuclear waste as ‘low level’

Trump administration wants to reclassify leaking nuclear waste to avoid cleaning it up, say officials

‘This is unacceptable, and we will not stand by while this administration plans to abandon its responsibility to clean up their mess’, Independent UK Josh GabbatissScience Correspondent @josh_gabbatiss   ( AP ) 13 Jan 19, 

Donald Trump‘s administration has been accused of trying to downplay the danger of nuclear waste so it can “abandon its responsibility to clean up their mess”.

A federal government plan to reclassify this waste as less dangerous has been fiercely criticised by officials in Washington state, who said the move would allow it to walk away from its responsibility to clean up millions of gallons of toxic, radioactive material.

The state is home to the Hanford nuclear site which houses the nation’s largest collection of nuclear waste, left over from atomic bomb production. There are the 177 ageing underground tanks stored at the site containing the most dangerous material – some of which are leaking.

Amid fears much of the waste will be left in the ground, earlier this week, Washington state filed its objections to the US Department of Energy. These were accompanied by a letter from the state’s Governor Jay Inslee and Attorney General Bob Ferguson.

The US Department of Energy is seeking to reclassify a large percentage of the waste as lower-level waste. That would allow treatment and disposal options that would not guarantee long-term protections.

At present the government is obliged to keep the waste safely in a “deep geological repository”, but if it was reclassified there would be no such obligation. Critics are concerned this could mean that the was allowed to reside in areas in which it posed a threat.

“This dangerous idea will only serve to silence the voices of tribal leaders, Hanford workers, public safety officials, and surrounding communities in these important conversations,” said Mr Inslee, a Democrat who is considering a presidential run in 2020. “This is unacceptable, and we will not stand by while this administration plans to abandon its responsibility to clean up their mess.” ……..

The proposed measure would also cover other waste disposal facilities in places like South Carolina and Idaho, and could be implemented without the approval of Congress.

January 14, 2019 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

UK’s plans for a nuclear powered future are collapsing

U.K’s Nuclear Future Fades as Hitachi Exit Follows Toshiba, Bloomberg, By Lars Paulsson and Mathew Carr January 11, 2019, 

EDF’s atomic plants need to be replaced by new generation

Offshore wind could be the winner from withdrawal, RBC says

…….Japanese conglomerate Hitachi Ltd. will halt work on the Wylfa project and take a one-time charge as negotiations with the British government over funding stalled, the Nikkei newspaper reported. After Toshiba Corp.’s withdrawal from its Moorside plant in November, it leaves the nation with just Electricite de France SA’s Hinkley Point project underway and that’s been mired in controversy because of delays and the cost to the U.K. consumer.

……..The Nikkei report said the company’s board will make a decision next week and cited an unidentified executive saying the project isn’t being abandoned entirely and could be restarted in the future.

Toshiba said in November it planned to liquidate NuGeneration Ltd., its U.K. nuclear power developer, after failing to find a partner or a buyer for the Moorside project. In September, China General Nuclear said it may give upthe chance to operate a nuclear plant at Bradwell amid political sensitivities over Chinese investments, the Financial Times reported.

As the U.K. is running out of nuclear options, other technologies stand to benefit.

“We see offshore wind as increasingly viable,” said John Musk, utilities analyst at RBC Europe Ltd. Natural gas power will probably provide a significant amount of the baseload power not met by renewables……..

January 14, 2019 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Australian Julian Assange in new danger as Ecuador caves in to USA pressure (and Australian govt does nothing)

More troubles for Julian Assange as ecuador bows to pressure to extradite him following this letter,  We have been monitoring Julian asange’s asylum in Ecuadorian embassy in britain to outline the dangers the computer proggrammer and  wikileaks founder face in coming future and it seems alot have been happening lately than the mainstream media’s  are reporting.

Ecuador has begun a “Special Examination” of Julian Assange’s asylum and citizenship as it looks to the IMF for a bailout, the whistleblowing site reports, with conditions including handing over the WikiLeaks founder.

Former Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa tweeted an image of the letter he received from the State Comptroller General on December 19, which outlines the upcoming examination by the Direction National de Auditoria.

The audit will “determine whether the procedures for granting  asylum and naturalization to Julian Assange were carried out in accordance with national and international law,” and will cover the period between January 1, 2012 and September 20, 2018.

Assange has been in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London since he sought asylum there in 2012. He was granted Ecuadorian citizenship last December in a bid to protect him from being extradited to the US where he fears he faces secret charges for publishing US government cables and documents.

WikiLeaks tweeted the news on Wednesday, joining the dots between the audit and Ecuador’s consideration of an International Monetary Fund bailout. The country owes China more than $6.5 billion in debt and falling oil prices have affected its repayment abilities.

According to WikiLeaks, Ecuador is considering a $10 billion bailout which would allegedly come with conditions such as “the US government demanded handing over Assange and dropping environmental claims against Chevron,” for its role in polluting the Amazon rainforest.

Assange’s position has increasingly been under threat under Correa’s successor, President Lenin Moreno, with Ecuadorian authorities restricting his internet access and visitors.“I believe they are going to turn over Assange to the US government,

January 14, 2019 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, civil liberties, politics international | Leave a comment

Broad support in USA for a Green New Deal

Green New Deal Has Broad Bipartisan Support (Though Most Voters Haven’t Heard of It), DESMOG, By Justin Mikulka • Wednesday, January 9, 2019  A version of the Green New Deal (GND) — an FDR-style plan to address climate change by shifting America to a just and renewably powered 21st century economy — is widely popular with American voters of both parties, according to a recent survey.Perhaps unsurprisingly, this proposal has stronger support among Democrats but still polls well with Republicans. The survey found that 81 percent of registered voters said they either “strongly support” or “somewhat support” a rapid transition to 100 percent renewable electricity and other green technology initiatives.

However, the poll, conducted by the Yale Program on Climate Change Communication (YCCC), also found that very few voters were aware of the Green New Deal: 82 percent said they “knew nothing” of the proposal. Notably, the poll’s language focused on renewable electricity and job creation, but made no mention of the full decarbonization and social overhaul of the American economy that also are central tenets of the full Green New Deal.

In reporting the results, the YCCC noted the likelihood that once Republican voters became aware that the Green New Deal is being championed by Democrats, their support for the idea will decrease. This survey asked respondents about support for some of the basic concepts of the Green New Deal without associating it with either major political party.

Even though polls have shown that the majority of Republicans believe in climate change, research shows that if a proposal is made by the Democrats, Republican voters are less likely to support it. The same was true of Democratic voters and proposals made by Republicans.

Naturally, climate deniers and right-wing media like Fox News and The New York Post already are attacking the concept and its most visible champion, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), foreshadowing the GND‘s slide into the partisan.

What Exactly Is the Green New Deal?

Many in the climate and energy media sphere already have attempted to pin down what exactly the Green New Deal is and how it came to be, with David Roberts at Vox going deep and long, and Tim Dickinson at Rolling Stone diving in this week because “The Green New Deal is suddenly on everyone’s lips.”

In the Yale survey, however, respondents were told that members of Congress say the Green New Deal “will produce jobs and strengthen America’s economy by accelerating the transition from fossil fuels to clean, renewable energy.”

Survey respondents were given some specifics for how this would be accomplished, which included generating 100 percent of America’s electricity from renewable sources within 10 years, upgrading the nation’s energy grid, focusing on energy efficiency, and training for jobs in the new green economy.

While this is a good general description of the GND, there is much more detail in a draft bill from Rep. Ocasio-Cortez, which even has an FAQ section…………

January 14, 2019 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Climate denial’s successful tactic – demanding “balance” in media coverage

By demanding “balance,” the industry transformed climate change into a partisan issue. We know that was a deliberate strategy because various internal documents from ExxonMobil, Shell, the American Petroleum Institute and a handful of now-defunct fossil fuel industry groups reveal not only the industry’s strategy to target media with this message and these experts,  but also its own preemptive debunking of the very theories it went on to support.

many took the industry’s bait, routinely inserting denialist claims into stories about climate science in the interest of providing balance:

How the fossil fuel industry got the media to think climate change was debatable, WP, By Amy WesterveltAmy Westervelt is an audio and print reporter who covers climate and gender, and sometimes the intersection of the two. Her podcast Drilled is about the creation and spread of climate denial and her first book “Forget ‘Having It All'” was published by Seal Press in November 2018., January 10 2019 

Late last year, the Trump administration released the latest national climate assessment on Black Friday in what many assumed was an attempt to bury the document. If that was the plan, it backfired, and the assessment wound up earning more coverage than it probably would have otherwise. But much of that coverage perpetuated a decades-old practice, one that has been weaponized by the fossil fuel industry: false equivalence.

Although various business interests began pushing back against environmental action in general in the early 1970s as part of the conservative “war of ideas” launched in response to the social movements of the 1960s, when global warming first broke into the public sphere, it was a bipartisan issue and remained so for years. On the campaign trail in 1988, George H.W. Bush identified as an environmentalist and called for action on global warming, framing it as a technological challenge that American innovation could address. But fossil fuel interests were shifting as the industry and its allies began to push back against empirical evidence of climate change, taking many conservatives along with them.

Documents uncovered by journalists and activists over the past decade lay out a clear strategy: First, target media outlets to get them to report more on the “uncertainties” in climate science, and position industry-backed contrarian scientists as expert sources for media. Second, target conservatives with the message that climate change is a liberal hoax, and paint anyone who takes the issue seriously as “out of touch with reality.” In the 1990s, oil companies, fossil fuel industry trade groups and their respective PR firms began positioning contrarian scientists such as Willie SoonWilliam Happer and David Legates as experts whose opinions on climate change should be considered equal and opposite to that of climate scientists. The Heartland Institute, which hosts an annual International Conference on Climate Change known as the leading climate skeptics conference, for example, routinely calls out media outlets (including The Washington Post) for showing “bias” in covering climate change when they either decline to quote a skeptic or question a skeptic’s credibility. Continue reading

January 14, 2019 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

From uranium mining to nature conservation – Kakadu National Park to get $216 million boost,

Kakadu National Park to get $216 million boost, SBS News, 13 Jan 19,     The federal government will invest $216 million in the Northern Territory’s Kakadu National Park to improve road access and tourist facilities. The World Heritage-listed Kakadu National Park will receive at least $216 million in funding to improve to improve roads and tourist facilities no matter who wins this year’s federal election.

Labor has pledged $220 million for Kakadu if it wins government.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison on Sunday announced the coalition’s $216 million package for the Northern Territory site during a visit to the town of Jabiru in Kakadu……

January 14, 2019 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, environment | Leave a comment

Decentralising the energy supply system – renewables are creating a new world order

Rise of renewables creating a ‘new world’: report,  A new report by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) is predicting a new world order as a consequence of the renewables boom. SBS News 13 Jan 19The rapid growth of renewable energy sources and the demise of fossil fuels are causing major changes in global politics, a special commission has said in a report.

The shift “will alter the global distribution of power, relations between states, the risk of conflict, and the social, economic and environmental drivers of geopolitical instability,” said the commission set up by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA).

Solar, wind and other renewables, which currently make up around a fifth of global energy production, are growing faster than any other source, the report said.

Commission chairman and former president of Iceland, Olafur Ragnar, said the shift will likely cause China to eclipse the United States, place oil-dependent Gulf states at risk and help impoverished African nations achieve energy independence.

“It is difficult to predict when, but this change is happening comprehensively and fast,” Ragnar told AFP.

The report, entitled “A New World”, was launched at IRENA’s ninth general assembly in Abu Dhabi…….

Renewables will be a powerful vehicle of democratisation because they make it possible to decentralise the energy supply.

January 14, 2019 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment