Australian news, and some related international items

Nuclear Engineering company Frazer Nash increasing its pro nuclear lobbying in Australia

Steve Dale, Nuclear Fuel Cycle Watch South Australia, 11 Feb 19 
First we had UCL here lobbying for nuclear. Now we have an increased presence of “Frazer-Nash Consultancy”. Is this just another way of influencing a government from within? Is the ultimate art of lobbying when you get the target of the lobbying to pay you as a consultant? The page below is a bit of a concern – it mentions Ben Heard several times as “latest news”; it also involves the Premier and talks about the Federal “low level” nuclear dump –

“Since opening its first Australian office in 2010 Frazer-Nash has supported high-profile South Australian projects including ……. the Federal Government’s initiative to develop a low level radioactive waste disposal facility, …..”…/south-australia-premier-o…

February 10, 2019 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, spinbuster | Leave a comment

Extreme weather in Australia – the economic effects : why we need to prepare for this

Storm-o-nomics: Why Australia should be more prepared for extreme weather, The Conversation, By Matt Wade
February 9, 2019  Another Australian summer has been marked by disasters triggered by extreme weather. Some came out of the blue, like the Townsville floods. Others unfolded gradually, like the droughtafflicting much of eastern Australia.

But there’s one characteristic our natural disasters have in common: their high price tag when compared with the rest of the world.

The World Disasters Report 2018, prepared by the Red Cross, found Australia was ranked 10th in the world for the cost of damage caused by disasters between 2008 and 2017. It estimated our disaster damage bill over that decade to be a hefty $US27 billion ($38 billion).

A separate study by London-based charity Christian Aid rated Australia’s lingering drought as the world’s seventh most costly weather-related disaster of 2018 (between US$5.8 and $9 billion).

We’re also located in world’s most disaster-prone region. The Asia Pacific was hit by two out of every five of the 335 disasters recorded worldwide in 2017 and suffered 58 per cent of disaster-related deaths, according to the Red Cross.

The headlines typically focus on the insurance losses caused by property damage following a calamity like the Townsville floods.

recent report by consultancy SGS Economics and Planning for insurance company IAG tallied the insurance losses in Australia due to natural perils between 1970 and 2013.

During those decades storms caused the greatest losses (27 per cent of the total) followed by hail damage (21 per cent), floods (18 per cent), tropical cyclones (18 per cent) and bushfires (10 per cent).

But there’s a difference between insurance losses due to extreme weather and the broader economic cost. Insurance losses following natural disasters only capture the losses accruing to insured assets such as homes, motor vehicles and business premises. That’s only part of the story.

The disruption caused by disasters changes the way businesses and consumers behave, sometimes for an extended period, causing losses to production that never show up in insurance claims. ……….

Professor Frank Jotzo, director of the Centre for Climate Economics and Policy at the Australian National University, says climate science shows Australians should expect more frequent, and more intense, extreme weather events due to climate change. He warns the effects of climate change will drag on the economy in two ways.

First, the destruction caused by more frequent extreme weather events, especially to public infrastructure, will require capital and labour to be diverted to rebuilding things we already have rather than creating new productive assets.

“It means we have to invest resources in things that don’t give us an additional economic output,” says Professor Jotzo.

Second, climate change will take a toll on productivity. One obvious example is the impact higher average temperatures and shifting rainfall patterns will have on agricultural production.

The health of employees, especially in cities, will be affected by more frequent and long-lasting heatwaves and that means more work days lost to illness.

“Heatwaves mean people are under greater stress and more prone to ill-health,” says Jotzo. “That’s a direct hit on the economy.”………..

So what can be done?

Rawnsley’s analysis shows governments have focused too much on post-disaster reconstruction while investing too little in mitigation.

“Out of ever $100 spent on disasters about $97 is spent post the disaster,” he says.

The upshot? A disaster-prone nation like Australia should be doing more to mitigate the effects of extreme weather. 

February 10, 2019 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, business, climate change - global warming | 1 Comment

The Green New Deal goes to Washington — Beyond Nuclear International

But can its largely youthful supporters hold the nuclear lobby at bay?

via The Green New Deal goes to Washington — Beyond Nuclear International

February 10, 2019 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

A return to Greenham Common? — Beyond Nuclear International

US withdrawal from INF could make Europe a nuclear battleground again

via A return to Greenham Common? — Beyond Nuclear International

February 10, 2019 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Psychological aspects of the fact that climate change has arrived in Australia

The climate crisis has arrived – so stop feeling guilty and start imagining your future  The Conversation, The Conversation Matthew Adams, Principal Lecturer in Psychology, University of Brighton February 7, 2019 

Evidence of the devastating impacts of anthropogenic climate change are stacking up, and it is becoming horrifyingly real. There can be no doubt that the climate crisis has arrived. Yet another “shocking new study” led The Guardian and various other news media this week. One-third of Himalayan ice cap, they report, is doomed.

Meanwhile in Australia, record summer temperatures have wrought unprecedented devastation of biblical proportions – mass deaths of horses, bats and fish are reported across the country, while the island state of Tasmania burns. In some places this version of summer is a terrifying new normal.

The climate disaster future is increasingly becoming the present – and, as the evidence piles up, it is tempting to ask questions about its likely public reception. Numerous psychological perspectives suggest that if we have already invested energy in denying the reality of a situation we experience as profoundly troubling, the closer it gets, the more effort we put into denying it.

While originally considered as a psychological response, denial and other defence mechanisms we engage in to keep this reality at bay and maintain some sense of “normality” can also be thought of as interpersonal, social and cultural. Because our relationships, groups and wider cultures are where we find support in not thinking, talking and feeling about that crisis. There are countless strategies for maintaining this state of knowing and not-knowing – we are very inventive.
The key point is that it prevents us from responding meaningfully. We “succeed” in holding the problem of what to do about the climate crisis at a “safe” distance. As the crisis becomes harder to ignore – just consider the current batch of shocking reports – individually and culturally we will dig deeper to find ways to strategically direct our inattention…………

When it comes to the climate crisis, the personal is political. I am talking about a politics that grows from opposition and critique of our current systems. This is evident in young people organising school strikes and protesters willing to get arrested for their direct action. But we also need to pay more attention to what is lost, to who and what we care for, to other possible ways of being.

Some conservation scientists, at least, see recent cultural change as a hopeful sign of a growing sense of care and responsibility. So stop feeling guilty, it’s not your fault. Be attentive to what’s going on, so that you might notice what you care about and why. What are you capable of, and what might we be capable of together, when we aren’t caught between knowing and not knowing, denial and distress?

See what obligations emerge. There are no guarantees. But what else do we do?

February 10, 2019 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming | 1 Comment

Pentagon’s Secret Underground Nuclear City In The Arctic

Secret Underground Nuclear City In The Arctic | A Potential Threat
WW3 FEARS: Pentagon’s secret underground tunnels of MOBILE NUCLEAR bases REVEALED THE US government built a fully-functioning mobile nuclear base below the ice of Greenland in preparation for war, it was revealed during a documentary. more   By CALLUM HOARE, Feb 10, 2019 In 1960, the United States ran a highly publicised project known as Camp Century on the island to study the feasibility of working below the ice. However, declassified files show it was actually a cover-up for a top-secret Cold War programme. Project Iceworm was the code name for the United States Army’s mission to build a network of mobile nuclear missile launch sites.

The ultimate objective was to place medium-range missiles under the ice — close enough to strike targets within the Soviet Union.

YouTube series “The Real Secrets of Antarctica” revealed how the project came to light in January 1995.

The 2017 documentary detailed: “Some very interesting disclosures were declassified about US military installations in Greenland which took place in the 1960s.

“They fed the American people a highly publicised story about advances in research and building an underground city below Greenland called Camp Century.

Only later did the truth about Project Iceworm surface.

“The Pentagon was attempting to put in place mobile nuclear launching sites to utilise thousands of miles of tunnels.”

Project Iceworm was to be a system of tunnels 2,500 miles in length, used to deploy up to 600 nuclear missiles, that would be able to reach the Soviet Union in case of nuclear war.

The missile locations would be under the cover of Greenland’s ice sheet and were supposed to be periodically changed.

A total of 21 trenches were cut and covered with arched roofs within which prefabricated buildings were erected.

These tunnels also contained a hospital, a shop, a theatre, and a church and the total number of inhabitants was around 200.

From 1960 until 1963 the electricity supply was provided by means of the world’s first mobile nuclear reactor, named PM-2A.

Water was supplied by melting glaciers and tested to determine whether germs were present, including tests for the plague virus.

However, just three years after it was built, ice core samples taken by geologists demonstrated that the glacier was moving much faster than anticipated and would destroy the tunnels and planned launch stations in about two years.

The facility was evacuated in 1965, and the nuclear generator removed.

Project Iceworm was canceled, and Camp Century closed in 1966.

February 10, 2019 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

New South Wales Labor announces plan for 500,000 households to get rooftop solar

Labor announces plan for 500,000 households to get rooftop solar,, By Laura Chung,February 9, 2019 NSW Labor has announced it will support a program to help 500,000 households to install rooftop solar, reducing electricity bills in the next 10 years.

Under Labor’s Solar Homes policy, owner-occupied households in NSW with a combined income of $180,000 or less would be eligible for a rebate, to be capped at $2200 per household.

Shadow Minister for Energy and Climate Change, Adam Searle, said the policy could add solar to an additional million homes over the next decade, and could save the average household anywhere between $600 and $1000 a year on electricity bills.

“This is a bold program to push NSW to the front of the energy revolution,” he said. “This will significantly cut electricity bills and carbon emissions.”

“We will have much more to say about energy and tackling climate change.”

The program would be phased in during the 2019-2020 financial year. The policy announcement comes ahead of the launch of Labor’s campaign bus, which will travel around the state from Sunday.

The Smart Energy Council said Labor’s policy addressed two of NSW residents’ main concerns: the cost of living and climate change.

It shows “a strong commitment towards climate change” and is a “sign of confidence in renewable energy, a critical part of NSW’s future,” a spokesman said.

The council said it would like to see a stronger commitment from both the NSW Government and the Opposition to supporting families’ purchases of household solar batteries, which would provide people “with a greater sense of control of power and how they use power.”

In a statement, deputy leader of NSW Liberals Dominic Perrottet said Labor “cannot be trusted” to deliver more affordable, reliable and clean energy, “with a history of energy cost blowouts and blunders”.

The NSW Coalition government “is getting on with the job of taking pressure off electricity prices, while maintaining energy security,” Mr Perrottet said.

February 10, 2019 Posted by | New South Wales, politics, solar | Leave a comment

February 10 Energy News — geoharvey

Opinion: ¶ “Lessons About The Contemporary State Of Fossil Fuels – Venezuela-Style” • Let’s look at Venezuela, which is in trouble despite vast oil resources, and try to understand why it’s suddenly unable to extract them. The lesson from one country may be instructive to other oil-producing countries around the world – like the US. […]

via February 10 Energy News — geoharvey

February 10, 2019 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment