Australian news, and some related international items

Students’ climate action strike: 150,000 people at 60 locations across Australia

Students strike to demand climate action | ABC News

Climate strikes attract 150,000 supporters,, 16 Mar 19,   About 150,000 people took part in climate strikes across the country on Friday, with students planning more rallies if their demands for more action aren’t met. About 150,000 students, parents and activists have taken to the streets to protest over the federal government’s inaction on climate change.

Strikes were held across the country on Friday at 60 locations, as part of a global effort to shine a light on climate change.

The protests were estimated to be 10 times the size of those held in November. The students have three demands: stop the Adani coal mine in central Queensland, no new coal or gas, and 100 per cent renewables by 2030.

More strikes will be planned if the students don’t see the action they want from the government.

“If the politicians are just going to throw our futures away there’s nothing we can do but be out here and say: we’re not going to let you do that,” 15-year-old Olivia Boddington told AAP at a climate strike in Canberra.

“We’re not going to just go away.”

Huge crowds gathered across the country on Friday, including at Sydney’s Town Hall Square, outside Melbourne’s Old Treasury Building and in Brisbane’s CBD.

The movement was inspired by Swedish teen Greta Thunberg, who has been striking for climate action since last August.

The 16-year-old’s activism has earned her a Nobel Peace Prize nomination.

Senior cabinet minister Christopher Pyne criticised the students for striking, saying the move will damage their education.

However, Labor national president Wayne Swan defended student activism.

March 16, 2019 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming, politics | Leave a comment

Animal Justice Party – pro nuclear advocate in sheeps’ clothing?


Well, I gave this party my preferences at the most recent election.  But not any more. Rumour has it that there’s a strong pro nuclear presence in the Animal Justice Party.

This rumour is now confirmed by Michael Dello, Animal Justice Party candidate for Heffron, New South Wales.

I n response to a request about this, Michael Dello writes:

  • Nuclear is one of the safest forms of energy per unit energy produced, safer than even wind and solar (in terms of lives lost per unit energy). Some highly publicised events make this seem untrue, but the st statistics support this. I admit that this isn’t simple, as nuclear causes more property damage per unit energy, but it seems far from clear that nuclear is more dangerous than wind and solar.
  • Nuclear has saved  millions of lives to date by pushing out coal. Granted, renewables have done this too to an extent.
  • The production of renewable energy and batteries  also has waste, in particular the process of mining nickel and lead which are used for batteries produce far more toxic waste (e.g. sulfur dioxide) per unit energy produced than nuclear.
  • I don’t believe we can achieve the emissions reduction targets we need with renewable energy alone. I believe that nuclear power and a reform of our agriculture system (animal agriculture being the leading cause of climate change yet the most ignored in Australia by far) are important and neglected parts of this process.
  • I don’t believe it is possible with current or even near future technology to have sufficient battery storage with renewables alone.
  • Nuclear has a significantly smaller land use requirement than renewable energy. The environmental cost of clearing land to make room for renewable energy is non-trivial (less of an issue in SA than the east coast).


March 16, 2019 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics | Leave a comment

Hypocrisy in Scotland. For political reasons, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon refused to meet Aboriginal nuclear waste protestor

Gaffe reveals why Sturgeon refused to meet nuclear waste protestor  James McEnaney on March 14, 2019 The Scottish Government has mistakenly revealed that Nicola Sturgeon refused to meet an Aboriginal nuclear waste protestor in an attempt to avoid political damage – not because she was too busy, as her officials said. 

Internal emails uncovered by The Ferret reveal that the First Minister was advised to turn down a request for a meeting in 2018 so as not to become a “focus for criticism”. But officials said the public reason given for her refusal would be “on the standard basis of diary pressures”.

Campaigners reacted with sadness, saying that the Scottish Government’s “ears are closed”. The government stressed that it had “very limited scope” to address the issues raised.

Nuclear fuel was sent from an Australian research reactor to Dounreay on the north coast of Scotland for reprocessing in the 1990s. The resulting radioactive waste, amounting to 51 cemented drums, was originally due to be returned to Australia for disposal.

But under the terms of a waste substitution deal in 2014, Scottish and UK governments agreed that the drums should stay at Dounreay. Instead, the plan is to send four containers of “radiologically equivalent” waste to Australia from the Sellafield nuclear complex in Cumbria.

Two sites have been identified for a planned store for the waste in south Australia – Wallerberdina Station, near Hawker, and Kimber – both of which face opposition from indigenous communities. The Ferret reported in February that Scottish ministers had been advised that they had powers to prevent the waste being exported to protect human rights.

March 16, 2019 Posted by | aboriginal issues, AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, Federal nuclear waste dump, politics international | Leave a comment

Matt Canavan, Australia’ s Minister For Nuclear and Coal, skirts around the truth about radioactive waste dump plan

Matt Canavan radio interview March 14th 2019 Fight To Stop Nuclear Waste In The Flinders Ranges

KAZZI JAI·FRIDAY, MARCH 15, 2019   This interview was transcribed as carefully as possible, but is still not exactly accurate word for word. The transcriber believes that is a faithful account of this interview.

Noel Wauchope Matt Canavan says: “the problem is that we are running out of space there for 40 years and we have been looking for a new site.” This is simply not true. I cannot right now, find the actual dimensions of the Lucas Heights nuclear site, but it’s huge. Plenty of room for more waste canisters.
Here’s what Anna Taylor says, in her excellent submission to the Senate: “the process of site selection should be based on finding a permanent solution that is best suited to the safe management of this most Hazardous waste, with minimal transportation.Without expansion Lucas Heights has the knowledge and expertise to manage this waste for decades to come until a permanent (not a temporary storage facility) solution is found. Operations at the Lucas Heights site are licensed for a further three decades, which has the highest concentration of people with nuclear expertise and radiation response capacity in Australia. ANSTO and ARPANSA have publicly identified storage at ANSTO as a credible and feasible option”…/anna-taylor-lucas-heights-is…/
Some more of Canavan’s pearls of wisdom :
“when they process it in glass there’s not a lot of radioactivity in there. We have radioactivity around the world all the time……….  it has a half life of thousands of years” (If the radioactivity is not serious, why all the precautions?)
We’ve obviously spent a lot of money and got the design right and told people exactly what type of waste will be there, how it will be managed, how many jobs, employment will be in the community, all those things. That’s all been done.” (Obviously? In fact they did not divulge all the types of waste, but pretended, vaguely, that it will all be ‘medical’ waste.)
Canavan attacks Rex Patrick:
” Rex is not letting the community have their say. ” “Rex is running a political campaign – imposing his view about what should happen to Kimba and Hawker when he doesn’t live there. He’s playing with politics” (Not like Matt Canavan, who also doesn’t live there, and also has political motives?)
Most importantly, Canavan skirts around the fact that the Minister does have the final say on locating the planned federal nuclear waste dump.

March 16, 2019 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, Federal nuclear waste dump, politics | Leave a comment

More drought, more heat, if a large El Nino event occurs in 2019


‘Monster’ El Nino a chance later this year, pointing to extended dry times , Brisbane Times, By Peter Hannam, March 15, 2019  Relief for Australia’s drought-hit regions could be a long way off, with climate influences in the Pacific and Indian oceans tilting towards drier conditions and a large El Nino event a possibility by year’s end.

Climate scientists said the conditions in the Pacific were particularly concerning given an unusual build-up of equatorial heat below the surface that could provide the fuel for a significant El Nino.

If such an event transpires, the Great Barrier Reef would face another bout of mass coral bleaching while the drought gripping southern and eastern Australia could intensify.

Agus Santoso, a senior scientist at the ARC Centre of Excellence for Climate Extremes, said there were two likely outcomes from the developments in the Pacific.  “We could have an El Nino fully formed by the end of May and then it could dissipate,” Dr Santoso said.

“The other is that by May it’s already formed and it still keeps building up… and by the end of the year we could have a monster El Nino.”

During El Ninos, the normal easterly winds blowing along the equator slow and even reverse. Rainfall patterns tend to shift eastwards away from south-east Asia and Australia, setting up conditions favourable for below-average rainfall and bushfires………..

Climate change and big events

Dr Santoso’s research, including a paper published late last year, has found the frequency of big El Ninos will increase with climate change.

That result is “quite concerning”, particularly for ecosystems sensitive to heat spikes such as coral reefs that suffered mass bleaching during the 2015-16 big El Nino.

“If we get one or two bleaching events, [the Great Barrier Reef] can recover, but if we keep having these events coming up then maybe the corals are not going to be able to adapt,” Dr Santoso said.

During El Ninos, the Pacific Ocean takes less heat from the atmosphere and even gives some up, giving global surface temperatures a bump up.

The trialling years of big El Ninos, especially 1998 and 2016 – the current holder of the world’s hottest year on record – are particularly warm.

An event later this year would likely see temperatures next year “spike up, and that’s not very helpful for global warming”, Dr Santoso said.


March 16, 2019 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming | Leave a comment

Good to see former Australian Chief Scientist Penny Sackett with the kids in Canberra climate march

‘More effective than UN’: Student climate strike draws thousands  16 Mar 19Students have skipped school and marched through Canberra in their thousands to demand federal government action on climate change.

“We’ll stop acting like adults if you stop acting like children,” students told crowds gathered in Garema Place for the “School Strike 4 Climate” rally on Friday.

We’re skipping school today to do some teaching, we’re teaching politicians about science. We’re teaching them that coal causes climate change. We’re teaching them what happens if they continue to do nothing.”

Organisers estimate 150,000 Australian students flocked to 50 rallies across Australia on Friday, part of a global movement spanning more than 100 countries that began in Sweden last year with teen activist Greta Thunberg.

Roads were closed off in parts of Civic as crowds marched to Glebe Park, holding high home-made signs declaring “Don’t burn our future” and “I can’t go to school today, I’m saving the planet”.

While the first school climate strike in November last year drew attention, this time around students wanted action. They came prepared with a list of demands (which they chanted down the line of Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s personal phone in Canberra) – an end to new fossil fuel projects, including the controversial Adani coal mine, and a shift to 100 per cent renewable energy in Australia by 2030.

George, 10, explained why he chose to skip school as he waited for a squadron of classmates cycling over from North Ainslie Primary.

“The earth is warming up and if adults aren’t going to do something about it, we sure are,” he said.

“We can’t vote so this is our vote.”

Parents, grandparents, activists and academics also joined the march, including Australia’s former chief scientist Penny Sackett.  The reality is that the approach taken by adults so far isn’t working,” Professor Sackett said.

“School children striking around the world may be the beginning of a social movement more effective than 25 years of UN climate summits.”

Fourteen-year-old Maanha Manzur was one of about a dozen student organisers behind the event, coordinating security, land permits and public liability insurance in between classes.

She said the ACT turnout had greatly outstripped the first strike, which saw about 500 students brave the rain outside Parliament House. More than 3500 people poured into the city for Friday’s rally, she said, and at least 2000 of them were students.

Some said they had defied their schools by attending but many said they had been supported to head along, with parental permission. Most scoffed at criticism from federal ministers, including the prime minister’s calls for students to focus on learning not activism.

“Maybe they should actually do their job if they don’t want us striking,” one student said.

“We’re here because we’re almost out of time.”

Also among the crowd were federal candidates Tim Hollo from The Greens and Labor’s Alicia Payne, as well as ACT Minister for Climate Change Shane Rattenbury. Mr Rattenbury said he was inspired by the strikers and suggested those still denying the science of global warming should go back to school themselves.

Education Minister Yvette Berry also backed the protest as “learning in itself” and said students would not be penalised for attending.

But shadow education spokeswoman Elizabeth Lee questioned who was really behind the strike and suggested skipping school was not the best way for students to get their point across.

“I would hate for them to have been used as a political pawn in a matter as serious as climate change,” she said.

On Friday afternoon, students shrugged off the suggestion, collapsing gratefully in the shade of Glebe Park after months of hard work.

“We do have our own minds,” one laughed.

“But it’s motivating to see so many people behind us, even my grandma’s here.”

March 16, 2019 Posted by | ACT, climate change - global warming | Leave a comment

Australia’s Previous Chief Scientist spells it out on global warming

Repeating this item. What a pity that the excellent full article has been removed from the Australian government website!

Why we must act now to reduce greenhouse gas emissions

Australian Government 8 Dec 09 Despite world attention, humans emit more greenhouse gases every year than they did the year before. It’s a situation that Australia needs to help turn around if we don’t want to bear the brunt of climate change, says Chief Scientist Professor Penny Sackett……

..The Greenhouse Effect
The sun continuously bathes the Earth with energy in the form of sunlight. Much of this energy is absorbed by the Earth, and then emitted as infrared radiation, or heat. Greenhouse gases prevent the Earth from discarding as much of this heat as it otherwise would back into space.

Without naturally occurring greenhouse gases, the Earth would be a much colder place, inhospitable to modern human existence. But by the same token, the additional greenhouse gases added to this store by humans is slowly increasing the average temperature of the Earth system.

Due to the quantity in which it is emitted by humans, its longevity in the atmosphere, and its effects in trapping heat, carbon dioxide is the most important of the greenhouse gases currently causing changes in the Earth’s climate……

In Australia, extreme fire danger days are already becoming more numerous in many parts of the country, and floods and cyclones more intense.

Research by the CSIRO indicates that the frequency of days with very high and extreme Forest Fire Danger Index ratings is likely to increase by 15 to 70 per cent by 2050 in southeast Australia…..

Why we must act now to reduce greenhouse gas emissions | Chief Scientist of Australia

March 16, 2019 Posted by | 1, AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming, energy | , , | 1 Comment

Climate striker Greta Thunberg nominated for Nobel peace prize 

Teenage Climate Activist Greta Thunberg Has Been Nominated for Nobel Peace Prize Adam Vaughan

Greta Thunberg, the 16-year-old from Sweden who started a global movement of schoolchildren striking to demand climate change action, has been nominated for the Nobel peace prize.

The nomination comes a day before thousands of pupils worldwide are expected to walk out of school in more than 1,600 towns and cities across more than 100 countries.

If she won, Thunberg would be the youngest person to become a Nobel peace prize laureate, a title Malala Yousafzai took as a 17-year-old in 2014 for her work on the right to education.

Climate winner

It would also be only the second time an individual had won for work on climate change. The first was former US vice-president Al Gore, who was awarded the prize in 2007 alongside the UN climate science group, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

Thunberg tweeted that she was: “Honoured and very grateful for this nomination.”

The nomination was made by Freddy André Øvstegård, a member of the Norwegian parliament, and two colleagues in the Socialist Left Party.

March 16, 2019 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

When Saudi Arabia Gets the Bomb – by Charles Pierson (CounterPunch) 20 Feb 2019 — xenagoguevicene

On Tuesday, the House Oversight and Reform Committee revealed that, based on the testimony of “multiple” whistleblowers, the Trump Administration has been attempting to rush through a transfer of “highly sensitive U.S. nuclear technology” to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia without Congressional approval in violation of federal law. Before the Committee’s revelation on Tuesday, […]

via When Saudi Arabia Gets the Bomb – by Charles Pierson (CounterPunch) 20 Feb 2019 — xenagoguevicene

March 16, 2019 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Youth climate strikes held in 100 countries

‘Fridays for future’ marches for climate change going global | DW News

It’s our time to rise up’: youth climate strikes held in 100 countries Sandra LavilleMatthew Taylorand Daniel Hurst, Sat 16 Mar 2019 

School and university students continue Friday protests to call for political action on crisis  From Australia to America, children put down their books on Friday to march for change in the first global climate strike.

The event was embraced in the developing nations of India and Uganda and in the Philippines and Nepal – countries acutely impacted by climate change – as tens of thousands of schoolchildren and students in more than 100 countries went on “strike”, demanding the political elite urgently address what they say is a climate emergency. Continue reading

March 16, 2019 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Three Mile Island and thyroid cancer: they now have a “marker” for radiation-caused cancer

thyroid cancer caused by low-level radiation has a different “mutational signal” than most thyroid cancer, Goldenberg said. He and his colleagues used molecular research that had been pioneered after the Chernobyl nuclear disaster to find that genetic marker.  

Three Mile Island and thyroid cancer: Debates continue over health issues after nuclear plant accident

On March 28, 1979, Chris Achenbach-Kimmel was a 14-year-old freshman at Cedar Cliff High School in Camp Hill, Cumberland County. Fourteen miles away, on the Susquehanna River, staff at Three Mile Island Nuclear Generating Station were trying to contain the damage from an accident at one of its reactors.

“I just remember being in class, and just getting the news, and wondering, what does this mean?”……

Her mother kept her and her siblings inside as much as possible. TV news reports echoed through the house as her mother waited for an “all clear” from authorities. ……

For Achenbach-Kimmel, the accident became merely one more high school memory. She graduated in 1982 and went on to a career in occupational therapy.

It wasn’t until her thyroid cancer diagnosis in 2010 that she thought again about Three Mile Island. Continue reading

March 16, 2019 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Nuclear station in Nebraska prepares for potential flooding, in powerful winter storm

Nebraska preps nuclear plant for possible flooding, no public danger, March 15, 2019 

(Reuters) – Nebraska Public Power District (NPPD) on Friday declared an “unusual event” at its Cooper nuclear power station in Nebraska due to the possibility of flooding along the Missouri River following a powerful winter storm this week.

The plant continues to operate safely and “there is no threat to plant employees or to the public,” the utility said in a release.

The late winter storm, dubbed a “bomb cyclone” by meteorologists, left blizzards, floods and tornados in its wake after hitting the U.S. Mountain and Plains states this week, before pushing east into the Midwest and the Great Lakes Region early Friday.

NPPD said its workers have filled sandbags along the river levee and procured other materials and supplies for flood protection.

The biggest danger to a nuclear plant from flooding is the loss of power, which can make it difficult to cool the uranium fuel in the reactor core and the fuel stored in the spent fuel pool.

That is what caused the fuel in some reactor cores at the Fukushima Daiichi plant in Japan to partially melt down in 2011 after a giant earthquake and tsunami cut power to the plant.

Since Fukushima, all U.S. reactors have been upgraded with additional safety equipment, including portable pumps and generators to keep cooling water circulating through the reactor in case the plant loses offsite power.

NPPD said its procedures require it to declare an unusual event to the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission when the Missouri River tops 899 feet above sea level. It reached 899.05 feet Friday morning, the company said.

Should the river rise to 900 feet above sea level, NPPD said plant workers will “barricade internal doorways as another layer of protection for facility equipment.”

If the river reaches 901.5 feet above sea level, NPPD said it would take the station offline as a protective measure.

The plant was built at 903 feet above sea level, which is 13 feet above natural grade, NPPD said.

The Cooper station is three miles (4.8 km) southeast of Brownville, Nebraska, near the Missouri River.

(Reporting by Scott DiSavino; Editing by David Gregorio and Richard Chang)

March 16, 2019 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

March 15 Energy News — geoharvey

Opinion: ¶ “Fighting Climate Change And Embracing Renewables” • Fighting climate change is no longer an expensive hobby for the rich. Rather, embracing renewables will make everybody richer, says the Danish Minister for Energy, Utilities, and Climate, Lars Christian Lilleholt. Denmark has reduced its emissions a lot as its economy grew. [Open Access Government] Science […]

via March 15 Energy News — geoharvey

March 16, 2019 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Landmark High Court decision guides how compensation for native title losses will be determined

March 14, 2019 1.43pm AEDT William Isdale  Jonathan Fulcher
‘The High Court has decided, for the first time, the approach that should be taken to resolving native title compensation claims. In a previous article, we said it would be “the most significant case concerning Indigenous land rights since the Mabo and Wik decisions”. The High Court’s decision yesterday certainly stands up to that description, and provides a degree of certainty for native title holders and governments. … ‘

March 16, 2019 Posted by | aboriginal issues, AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, legal | Leave a comment

NT councils offered grants to install solar, batteries, EV chargers — RenewEconomy

Northern Territory Labor government opens $2m grant scheme to help make councils more energy efficient and reduce costs to consumers and taxpayers. The post NT councils offered grants to install solar, batteries, EV chargers appeared first on RenewEconomy.

via NT councils offered grants to install solar, batteries, EV chargers — RenewEconomy

March 16, 2019 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment