Australian news, and some related international items

Traditional owners and Western Australia’s Conservation Council continue legal action, to uphold environmental law  

Battle against Yeelirrie uranium mine continues for traditional owners and Conservation Council 5 March 2019  Traditional owners and the Conservation Council of WA are continuing their fight against a proposed uranium mine, fearing unique subterranean fauna in the project area will be made extinct if it proceeds.
Former State environment minister Albert Jacob gave the green light to Cameco’s Yeelirrie mine proposal in January 2017, just 16 days before the pre-election caretaker mode began. Yeelirrie is 70km southwest of Wiluna in the Mid West region.Together with members of the Tjiwarl native title group, CCWA challenged the approval in the Supreme Court but lost, and have now taken their   battle to the Court of Appeal.  CCWA director Piers Verstegen said the previous government was desperate to lock-in a uranium project before it lost power, going against the advice of the Environmental Protection Authority, which was concerned about the impact of mining on subterranean fauna.

“Stygofauna might be a relatively obscure species. In fact, these particular species of stygofauna were not known to science until the proponent started exploring for uranium in that area,” Mr Verstegen said on Tuesday.

“But the legal precedent here has much broader implications.

“We’re certainly very keen to be upholding environmental laws … which were never intended to be used by a minister or a government to approve the extinction of species.”

The matter was heard on Tuesday and a decision will be handed down at a later date.

March 7, 2019 Posted by | aboriginal issues, environment, legal, opposition to nuclear, uranium, Western Australia | Leave a comment

Conservation Council of Western Australia (CCWA) and three Tjiwarl Traditional Owners in court battle against uranium mining


The Conservation Council of Western Australia (CCWA) and three Tjiwarl Traditional Owners have continued their landmark legal bid to prevent the extinction of multiple species and protect Aboriginal lands from uranium mining at Yeelirrie, with a hearing in the WA Court of Appeal today.

The Yeelirrie mine proposal by uranium miner Cameco in the Northern Goldfields on Tjiwarl Native Title land was approved by the Minister for the Environment in the final days of the Barnett Government, against the advice of the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA), and against the outcome of an appeals process.

The EPA found that the proposal would cause the extinction of multiple species of subterranean fauna.

Bret Walker SC, Dr Hannes Schoombee, and the Environmental Defenders Office WA (EDOWA) represented Traditional Owners and CCWA in the legal challenge to the environmental approval for the Yeelirrie uranium mine.

CCWA Director Piers Verstegen said, “This important case is seeking to prevent the extinction of multiple species at Yeelirrie, and uphold the rights of Traditional Owners to protect sacred country from uranium mining.

“Mr Walker is one of Australia’s most eminent legal minds and his involvement with this case is an indication of its national legal significance.

“The approval of extinction at Yeelirrie at the stroke of a Minister’s pen cannot go unchallenged because it sets a dangerous precedent for all wildlife across Western Australia.

“We are proud to stand with three members of the Tjiwarl Native Title Group, Shirley and Elizabeth Wonyabong and Vicky Abdullah, who have been fighting to protect their country from uranium mining for many years.

“As well as the threat of extinction, Cameco’s uranium project would have a major impact on the landscape and ecosystems at Yeelirrie. It would involve a 9km open mine pit and processing plant, clearing 2421 hectares of native vegetation, and generating 36 million tonnes of radioactive mine waste to be stored in open pits.”

EDOWA Principal Solicitor Declan Doherty said, “This is a landmark case to test how Western Australia’s primary environmental law should be applied.

We argued that in approving the Yeelirrie uranium mine, Minister Albert Jacob failed to correctly follow the process set out in the relevant legislation.

“It will be an important test for how the legislation should be applied, which could have significant implications for future decisions of this kind.”

March 7, 2019 Posted by | legal, opposition to nuclear, uranium, Western Australia | Leave a comment

In USA, a political move that would prevent Federal govt from imposing a nuclear waste dump on any State

Act would give states voice on nuclear waste dumps, Las Vegas Sun,  March 5, 2019  The Nuclear Waste Informed Consent Act would require approval of the governor and impacted local governments and tribes before any money could be spent on a nuclear waste repository from the federal Nuclear Waste Fund. The act would be applicable to all states.

The act was introduced by most of the Nevada delegation, including U.S. Sens. Catherine Cortez Masto and Jacky Rosen and U.S. Reps. Dina Titus, Susie Lee and Steven Horsford, all Democrats.

Members of Nevada’s congressional delegation are attempting to ensure states have a voice in the construction of nuclear waste repositories.

Nevada is home to the dormant Yucca Mountain nuclear waste depository.

Titus, who has introduced a similar bill multiple times in the past, said the federal government should not force a waste site on any community.

“The Trump Administration’s attempt to treat our state as the dumping ground for the nation’s nuclear waste is based on dirty politics, not sound science. No state or community should have a nuclear waste dump forced upon them. I’m reintroducing this legislation as part of our strategy to put an end to the Yucca Mountain project once and for all,” she said in a statement…….

Lee, Horsford and Titus characterized Yucca Mountain as a push to turn Nevada into the nation’s dumping ground.

“I refuse to sit by and watch my community be used as a dumping ground for the nation’s nuclear waste,” Horsford said in a statement. “Yucca Mountain is an ongoing threat to the safety of Nevada families and to the Silver State’s $40 billion tourism industry.”

March 7, 2019 Posted by | General News | 1 Comment

World increase in mosquito-borne diseases is predicted, due to global warming

Climate Change Will Expose Half of World’s Population to Disease-Spreading Mosquitoes By 2050  MARCH 5, 2019 Scientists and public health officials have documented an increasing number of outbreaks of mosquito-borne illnesses across the globe in recent years, including yellow fever, dengue, chikungunya, and Zika. Now, an international team of researchers has found that by 2050, two key disease-spreading mosquitoes — Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus — will significantly expand their range, posing a threat to 49 percent of the world’s population.

“If no action is taken to reduce the current rate at which the climate is warming, pockets of habitat will open up across many urban areas with vast amounts of individuals susceptible to infection,” said Moritz Kraemer, an infectious disease scientist at Boston Children’s Hospital and the University of Oxford and a co-author of the new research, published in the journal Nature Microbiology,.

The researchers analyzed historical distribution data from more than 3,000 locations in Europe and the United States, dating back to the 1970s. They then modelled future distribution using projections for climate change, urbanization, and human migration and travel. Kraemer and his colleagues found that in the last five years, Aedes aegypti has spread northward in the U.S. at about 150 miles per year. In Europe, Aedes albopictus has spread at a rate of 93 miles per year.

The scientists also found that within the next 5 to 15 years, human travel and migration will be the largest factors driving the spread of mosquitoes. After that, however, climate change and accelerating urbanization will create new mosquito habitats. Aedes aegypti could reach as far north as Chicago and Shanghai by 2050. However, the species will likely decline in parts of the southern U.S. and Eastern Europe, which are expected to become more arid as global temperatures rise. Aedes albopictus, on the other hand, is forecast to spread widely throughout Europe over the next 30 years, as well as establish small populations in parts of the northern U.S. and the highland regions of South America and East Africa.

March 7, 2019 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Extreme weather is severely damaging Australia’s native creatures

Out of sight, out of luck: the hidden victims of Australia’s deadly heatwaves, Guardian, Graham Readfearn @readfearn 4 Mar 2019 

Extreme weather events are causing severe damage to native flora and fauna, but the casualties are slipping under the radar……..

 for ecosystems up and down the country – languishing far from the cities and the social media glare – there was no escape.

Australia’s Bureau of Meteorology confirmed 2018 was the hottest December since records began in 1910, while January was the hottest month ever recorded……

ere have also been less headline-grabbing climate change-related tragedies. Based on studies of past extreme heat events, the affect of this summer’s heatwaves on Australia’s flora and fauna would have been severe, fundamental and, in some cases, deadly.

“I think in a lot of places it would have been carnage,” says James Cook University ecologist Prof Bill Laurance of the January heatwave. “We have just had records after records being broken. We only tend to notice when things start dropping out of the trees. We know that basically, lots of things are dying.”……….

March 7, 2019 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming | Leave a comment

Poltical unrest; Obama warns on the consequences of the climate crisis

Obama warns climate change will make global politics more toxic President Obama on Tuesday dismissed climate change skeptics and warned that the world’s inability to effectively tackle the issue will toxify global politics. 

“It is indisputable that although we can’t ascribe any particular kind of weather event to rising temperatures, that at the current pace that we are on, the scale of tragedy that will consume humanity is something we have not seen in perhaps recorded history if we don’t do something about it,” Obama said during a trip to Canada, according to CTV News.

“Imagine when you have not a few hundred thousand migrants who are escaping poverty or violence or disease, but you now have millions. Imagine if you start seeing monsoon patterns in the Indian subcontinent changing so that half a billion people can’t grow food and are displaced,” he added. “Think about what that does to the politics of the world — not just the economics of it, not just the environment.”

Obama was an outspoken proponent of combating climate change while in the White House. Under his leadership, the U.S. was one of the signatories of the historic Paris climate accord, in which world powers agreed to take measurable steps to reduce their man-made footprint on the environment. President Trump announced in 2017 that the U.S. would withdraw from the agreement.

The former Democratic president on Tuesday told a packed crowd in Calgary, Alberta, home to many struggling oil and gas companies, that nobody can escape the impacts of climate change.

“All of us are going to have to recognize that there are trade-offs involved with how we live, how our economy is structured, and the world that we’re going to be passing on to our kids and grandkids. Nobody is exempt from that conversation,” Obama said.

He also noted that rising oceans risk coastal populations and environmental changes have boosted the frequency of insect-borne diseases.

“Moose right now [have] to deal with tick-borne diseases that they didn’t have to do 10, 15 years ago. I really like moose. I assume, Canadians, you do too,” Obama said. “These are just facts.”

March 7, 2019 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Julian Burnside, Greens candidate will take on Treasurer Josh Frydenberg on climate change

Burnside says Greens would not block Labor’s climate change policies, Guardian, Paul Karp, @Paul_Karp,5 Mar 2019

As Greens candidate for Kooyong, Julian Burnside sets up a four-way contest with Josh Frydenberg, Liberal-turned-independent Oliver Yates and Labor The human rights lawyer and refugee advocate Julian Burnside will run as the Greens candidate for Kooyong at the next election.

At a media conference on Tuesday the prominent barrister said he would take on the treasurer, Josh Frydenberg, in the blue-ribbon Liberal seat because he believes the “political system is broken”, with major parties listening to their donors not their constituents.

In an interview with Guardian Australia, Burnside suggested the Greens would “not treat the perfect as the enemy of the good” by threatening to block Labor’s climate change policies.

The comment suggests the candidate is keen to avoid a repeat of the Greens blocking Kevin Rudd’s emission trading scheme in favour of an interim carbon price that was later repealed by the Abbott government………

March 7, 2019 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming, politics | Leave a comment

Mining company Glencore behind global campaign to undermine climate change information

Revealed: Glencore bankrolled covert campaign to prop up coal , Guardian, Christopher Knaus @knausc, 7 Mar 2019

The mining company engaged Sir Lynton Crosby’s firm to push anti-renewables message and counter anti-coal activists The multinational mining giant Glencore spent millions bankrolling a secret, globally coordinated campaign to prop up coal demand by undermining environmental activists, influencing politicians and spreading sophisticated pro-coal messaging on social media.

An investigation by Guardian Australia can reveal the covert campaign, dubbed “Project Caesar”, was orchestrated by world-renowned political operatives at the C|T Group, the firm founded by Sir Lynton Crosby and Mark Textor.

The C|T Group used teams in Sydney and London to further Glencore’s interests across the globe, including in Australia, according to multiple sources with knowledge of the project and documents seen by Guardian Australia. ……

March 7, 2019 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming | Leave a comment

March 6 Energy News — geoharvey

Science and Technology: ¶ “Heat Waves As Deadly As Forest Fires Sweep Through World’s Oceans” • It is well known that the oceans are warming, but a study published in the journal Nature Climate Change is the first to examine ocean heat waves that last five days or more. The ocean heat waves are compared […]

via March 6 Energy News — geoharvey

March 7, 2019 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Energy Insiders Podcast: Coalition’s fake news on climate and energy. — RenewEconomy

Climate Council’s Greg Bourne on why scientists and researchers are so outraged by Coalition givernment’s fake claims on emissions. The post Energy Insiders Podcast: Coalition’s fake news on climate and energy. appeared first on RenewEconomy.

via Energy Insiders Podcast: Coalition’s fake news on climate and energy. — RenewEconomy

March 7, 2019 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Victoria leads again as rooftop solar installations set another monthly record — RenewEconomy

Victoria has retained its spot as the biggest market for rooftop solar in February, as the country-wide installation of rooftop solar set another monthly record in February. Data compiled by industry statistician Sunwiz shows that 164MW was installed in February, a record for the month and the third best month ever. The installation rate for……

via Victoria leads again as rooftop solar installations set another monthly record — RenewEconomy

March 7, 2019 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Time to clean up our climate act – KonMari style — RenewEconomy

Does it spark joy? Japanese Queen of Clean Marie Kondo could teach the federal government a thing or two about building an effective – and vote-winning – climate policy. The post Time to clean up our climate act – KonMari style appeared first on RenewEconomy.

via Time to clean up our climate act – KonMari style — RenewEconomy

March 7, 2019 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment