Antinuclear

Australian news, and some related international items

Government study found Kimba and Flinders Range areas to be unsuitable for nuclear waste dump

Fight To Stop Nuclear Waste Dump In Flinders Ranges https://www.facebook.com/groups/941313402573199/ 11 Oct 19

A 2005 feasibility study by URS Australia for the SA government found both Flinders Ranges and Kimba unsuitable for Radioactive Nuclear Waste Dump. Anyone told Canavan and Marshall?

 

October 12, 2019 Posted by | Federal nuclear waste dump, South Australia | Leave a comment

Kimba ballot on nuclear waste dump- a good idea, but very badly done

Flinders Local Action Group, Dave Sweeney,Australian Conservation Foundation12 Oct 19

WASTE   The federal government ballot to measure community sentiment over plans for a radioactive waste facility near Kimba is a good idea that has been very badly done.

Clearly, affected local communities should have a say in decisions with direct impacts, and hosting radioactive waste that lasts 10,000 years would certainly impact.

But to make an informed decision a community needs access to detailed and accurate information. This is missing at Kimba. There is little or no detail on waste acceptance criteria, transport and handling procedures, or future plans for the most contaminating waste.

The community is effectively being asked to give a blanket approval to a concept, not measured consideration of a specific proposal.

The federal government wants to set up a purpose built facility: national in
scope, long term in duration and intended to host Australia’s most problematic
radioactive waste.

This problem was not created by the people of Kimba, nor is it their sole responsibility to solve.

The federal approach has been to shrink the space for a discussion around this waste and to seek to turn a needed national debate into a local infrastructure opportunity and bidding war.

This approach has been divisive, failed to consider other options and has not

provided people in the wider Eyre Peninsula or South Australia with a voice.

Securely managing radioactive waste is a complex and costly challenge and giving Canberra a blank cheque for a bad plan is not a good idea.

 

October 12, 2019 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, Federal nuclear waste dump | Leave a comment

The role of climate change in Australia’s early bushfire season

Climate change partly to blame for early bushfire season, New analysis confirms the relationship between climate drivers such as El Niño, climate change and the Australian bushfire season,  Guardian,  Chris Lucas and Sarah Harris for The Conversation, 11 Oct 19

Summer might be more than six weeks away but out-of-control bushfires have already torn across parts of eastern Australia in recent days, killing two people, destroying homes and threatening more lives.

By Wednesday afternoon up to 30 homes were feared lost or badly damaged by bushfires burning in northern New South Wales. About 40 fires burned across the state.

This did not surprise meteorologists and fire agencies. Record-breaking heat and windy conditions were forecast for parts of NSW and Queensland this week, prompting severe fire danger ratings.

We’re often told the Australian bushfire season is starting earlier. This year it began in September on the eastern seaboard. Last year and in 2013 significant spring fires hit NSW and in 2015 they affected much of the nation’s southeast.

But what lies behind this phenomenon? We examined seasonal fire weather history for 44 years at 39 weather stations to find the answer.

This analysis is the most comprehensive ever conducted in Australia. It confirms the strength of the relationship between climate drivers such as El Niño, climate change and the Australian bushfire season. It also demonstrates that a few milder bushfire seasons do not mean climate change isn’t happening.

Hot, dry, windy conditions spell fire trouble

The prerequisites for a severe bushfire season are high temperatures, low humidity, and strong winds that coincide with long periods of low rainfall.

These weather ingredients are used to calculate an area’s fire danger rating, using the forest fire danger index. The index produces a score reflecting the severity of fire weather on a given day, where zero represents minimal anger, 50 represents conditions where a fire ban may be issued, and 100 is potentially catastrophic………

Climate change is a culprit too

Long-term climate change in Australia is an undeniable reality. The State of the Climate 2018 report for Australia notes strong land surface temperature increases and a 10%-20% decline in cool season rainfall across southern Australia since the 1970s. These changes are closely associated with increasing human greenhouse gas emissions, as well as natural variability.

The changed conditions have led to an average increase in severe seasonal bushfire weather across Australia, especially in southern parts of the continent. The increased severity affects all seasons but in particular spring, which means that, on average, the bushfire season is starting earlier.

Pulling it all together

Our research has made clear that climate modes bring large and rapid swings to the fire weather, while human-induced climate change gradually increases background fire weather conditions. The trend generally means an earlier start to the bushfire seasons than in the past.

Climate change is definitely playing a role in producing the earlier start to bushfire seasons and overall more extreme seasons, particularly in southeastern Australia. However, the natural variations in climate modes continue to play a key role, meaning we should not expect every bushfire season to be worse than the last as a result of climate change.

Similarly, a few milder bushfire seasons among a string of record high seasons do not mean that climate change should be dismissed.

October 12, 2019 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming | Leave a comment

Google invests in climate-denying think tanks

Google and other companies were engaged in a “functional greenwashing” given the contradiction in their public pronouncements and private donations.

Revealed: Google made large contributions to climate change deniers https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2019/oct/11/google-contributions-climate-change-deniers

Firm’s public calls for climate action contrast with backing for conservative thinktanks.  The obscure law that explains why Google backs climate deniers,   Stephanie Kirchgaessner in Washington @skirchy  Email      11 Oct 2019

Google has made “substantial” contributions to some of the most notorious climate deniers in Washington despite its insistence that it supports political action on the climate crisis.

Among hundreds of groups the company has listed on its website as beneficiaries of its political giving are more than a dozen organisations that have campaigned against climate legislation, questioned the need for action, or actively sought to roll back Obama-era environmental protections.

The list includes the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI), a conservative policy group that was instrumental in convincing the Trump administration to abandon the Paris agreement and has criticised the White House for not dismantling more environmental rules.

Google said it was disappointed by the US decision to abandon the global climate deal, but has continued to support CEI.

Google is also listed as a sponsor for an upcoming annual meeting of the State Policy Network (SPN), an umbrella organisation that supports conservative groups including the Heartland Institute, a radical anti-science group that has chided the teenage activist Greta Thunberg for “climate delusion hysterics”.

SPN members recently created a “climate pledge” website that falsely states “our natural environment is getting better” and “there is no climate crisis”.Google has defended its contributions, saying that its “collaboration” with organisations such as CEI “does not mean we endorse the organisations’ entire agenda”

It donates to such groups, people close to the company say, to try to influence conservative lawmakers, and – most importantly – to help finance the deregulatory agenda the groups espouse.A spokesperson for Google said it sponsored organisations from across the political spectrum that advocate for “strong technology policies”.“We’re hardly alone among companies that contribute to organisations while strongly disagreeing with them on climate policy,” the spokesperson said.

Amazon has, like Google, also sponsored a CEI gala, according to a programme for the event reported in the New York Times.CEI has opposed regulation of the internet and enforcement of antitrust rules, and has defended Google against some Republicans’ claims that the search engine has an anti-conservative bias.

But environmental activists and other critics say that, for a company that purports to support global action on climate change, such tradeoffs are not acceptable.“You don’t get a pass on it. It ought to be disqualifying to support what is primarily a phoney climate denying front group. It ought to be unacceptable given how wicked they have been,” said Sheldon Whitehouse, a Democratic senator from Rhode Island who is one of the most vocal proponents of climate action in Congress.“What all of corporate America should be doing is saying if you are a trade organisation or lobby group and you are interfering on climate, we are out. Period,” he added.On its website, Google says it is committed to ensuring its political engagement is “open, transparent and clear to our users, shareholders, and the public”.

Bill McKibben, a prominent environmentalist who has been on the frontline of the climate crisis for decades, said Google and other companies were engaged in a “functional greenwashing” given the contradiction in their public pronouncements and private donations. He said Google and other technology companies had also not used their own lobbyists to advocate for change on climate.

“Sometimes I’ll talk to companies and they will be going on and on about their renewable server farm or natural gas delivery, and I say thank you, but what we really need is for your lobbying shop in Washington to put serious muscle behind it. And they never do,” McKibben said. “They want some tax break or some regulations switch and they never devote the slightest muscle behind the most important issue of our time or any time.”A spokesperson for Google said: “We’ve been extremely clear that Google’s sponsorship doesn’t mean that we endorse that organisation’s entire agenda – we may disagree strongly on some issues.“Our position on climate change is similarly clear. Since 2007, we have operated as a carbon neutral company and for the second year in a row, we reached 100% renewable energy for our global operations.”The company said it called for “strong action” at the climate conference in Paris in 2015 and helped to sponsor the Global Climate Action summit in San Francisco last year.But that position is at odds with the support it gives to CEI.The group’s director of energy and environment policy, Myron Ebell, helped found the Cooler Heads Coalition 20 years ago, a group of libertarian and rightwing organisations that have sowed the seeds of climate denial with funding from the fossil fuel industry.

When Donald Trump was elected to the White House in 2016, Ebell joined the transition team and advised the new president on environmental issues, successfully lobbying Trump to adhere to a campaign promise and abandon the Paris agreement.

Kert Davies, the founder of the Climate Investigations Center, a research group that examines corporate campaigning, said Ebell had led the anti-climate-action crusade for decades.

“They’re extremists,” he said, referring to the Cooler Heads Coalition. “They are never finished,” he said. “Myron has taken a lot of credit for Trump’s actions and is quite proud of his access.”

Recently, however, Ebell – who declined a request for an interview – has criticised the White House for not rolling back environmental protections aggressively enough, even though the Trump administration has gutted every major environmental act established under Obama.

His wishlist now includes reversing a 2009 finding by the Environmental Protection Agency that CO2 and other greenhouse gases endanger the health and welfare of Americans.

CEI said it “respects the privacy of its donors” and declined to answer questions about Google. A CEI spokesperson told the Guardian: “On energy policy, CEI advances the humanitarian view that abundant and affordable energy makes people safer and economies more resilient. Making energy accessible, especially for the most vulnerable, is a core value.”

One source who is familiar with Google’s decision-making defended the company’s funding of CEI.

“When it comes to regulation of technology, Google has to find friends wherever they can and I think it is wise that the company does not apply litmus tests to who they support,” the source said.

 

October 12, 2019 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

International Monetary Fund says the world needs a massive carbon tax

The world needs a massive carbon tax in just 10 years to limit climate change, IMF says  The international organization suggests a cost of $75 per ton by 2030, WP,  By Chris Mooney and Andrew Freedman, October 10A global agreement to make fossil fuel burning more expensive is urgent and the most efficient way of fighting climate change, an International Monetary Fund study found on Thursday.

The group found that a global tax of $75 per ton by the year 2030 could limit the planet’s warming to 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit), or roughly double what it is now. That would greatly increase the price of fossil-fuel-based energy — especially from the burning of coal — but the economic disruption could be offset by routing the money raised straight back to citizens.

The group found that a global tax of $75 per ton by the year 2030 could limit the planet’s warming to 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit), or roughly double what it is now. That would greatly increase the price of fossil-fuel-based energy — especially from the burning of coal — but the economic disruption could be offset by routing the money raised straight back to citizens.

“If you compare the average level of the carbon tax today, which is $2 [a ton], to where we need to be, it’s a quantum leap,” said Paolo Mauro, deputy director of the fiscal affairs department at the IMF.

In the United States, a $75 tax would cut emissions by nearly 30 percent but would cause on average a 53 percent increase in electricity costs and a 20 percent rise for gasoline at projected 2030 prices, the analysis in the IMF’s Fiscal Monitor found.

But it would also generate revenue equivalent to 1 percent of gross domestic product, an enormous amount of money that could be redistributed and, if spread equally, would end up being a fiscally progressive policy, rather than one disproportionately targeting the poor.

The impact of a $75-per-ton tax would also hit countries differently depending on burning or exporting coal, which produces the most carbon emissions per unit of energy generated when it is burned.

In developing nations such as China, India and South Africa, a $75 carbon tax reduces emissions even more — by as much as 45 percent — and generates proportionately more revenue, as high as 3.5 percent of GDP in South Africa’s case, the IMF found………

the latest science suggests the world will sustain massive damage, such as the loss of nearly all coral reefs, even if it holds warming to, or just under, 2 degrees Celsius. To keep warming to just 1.5 degrees Celsius, the carbon tax would have to be even higher, the IMF’s Mauro noted, though he said he is not sure how high because the group did not do that analysis.

“The climate crisis is so dire, and public/popular determination to attack it is suddenly so strong and unquenchable, that even $75/ton by 2030 seems far too moderate a target,” wrote Charles Komanoff, director of the Carbon Tax Center, in an emailed response to the IMF study……..   https://www.washingtonpost.com/climate-environment/2019/10/10/world-needs-massive-carbon-tax-just-years-limit-climate-change-imf-says/

October 12, 2019 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

The woman who was first to scientifically show, in 1856, how atmospheric C02 caused global warming

Climate-science sexism reheated, Canberra Times, Ian Warden  11 Oct 19
  The climate crusading Greta Thunberg, a famous contemporary target of sexist criticism and misogyny, may be interested to learn of the struggles of Eunice Foote who in 1856 published the first scientific paper to link CO2 and global warming.

One of my favourite obscure journals, The Public Domain Review, in touch with our climate-debating times, has just dusted off Eunice Foote’s paper Circumstances Affecting the Heat of the Sun’s Rays. It was published in the November 1856 American Journal of Art and Science.

The Review explains that In a series of experiments conducted in 1856, Eunice Newton Foote – a scientist and women’s rights campaigner from Seneca Falls, New York – became the first person to discover that altering the proportion of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere would change its temperature.

“Foote’s seminal experiment was ingeniously homemade. Using four thermometers, two glass cylinders, and an air pump, she isolated the component gases that make up the atmosphere and exposed them to the sun’s rays … Measuring the change in their temperatures, she discovered that carbon dioxide and water vapour absorbed enough heat that this absorption could affect climate.”

“[Foote’s] discovery of the relationship between carbon dioxide and the Earth’s climate has since become one of the key principles of modern meteorology, the greenhouse effect, and climate science. However, no one acknowledged Foote was the first to make this discovery for more than a century, in large part because she was a woman.

Entirely because she was a woman, Foote was barred from reading the paper describing her findings at the 1856 meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science held in Albany, New York. Instead, Professor Joseph Henry of the Smithsonian had the honour of introducing her, announcing that science was ‘of no country and of no sex. The sphere of woman embraces not only the beautiful and the useful, but the true.’ Perhaps this was Henry’s attempt to shield Foote and her findings from sexist criticism .”

It would not surprise if, just as Greta Thunberg is so often accused of only reading speeches written for her by some grown-up Green Svengali (for she is surely too much of a girly flibbertigibbet to really be as knowledgeable and articulate as she pretends) Eunice Foote was suspected of having lots of (unacknowledged by her) cerebral male help with her paper.

Likell thinking Australian atheists/agnostics I am both appalled and fascinated by our prime minister’s extreme religiosity……https://www.canberratimes.com.au/story/6430152/climate-science-sexism-reheated/?cs=14246

October 12, 2019 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

New research: regional nuclear war will cause catastrophic global consequences — limitless life

New research: regional nuclear war will cause catastrophic global consequences Dear everyone, Two scientific studies modelling the effects of nuclear war released in the past few weeks have revealed some terrifying figures: 91.5 million deaths in a matter of hours, if nuclear conflict breaks out between the United States and Russia, 125 million deaths in case […]

via New research: regional nuclear war will cause catastrophic global consequences — limitless life

October 12, 2019 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

October 11 Energy News — geoharvey

Science and Technology: ¶ “Carlsberg Is Working On Beer Bottles Made Of Paper” • Carlsberg, the Danish beer company, is getting closer to its goal of selling beer in paper bottles. Fiber bottles are better for the environment than aluminum or glass because they are sourced in a sustainable way, and because paper has a […]

via October 11 Energy News — geoharvey

October 12, 2019 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Victoria, Nissan trial CSIRO smart solar EV charging technology — RenewEconomy

Victoria government backed project will trial CSIRO EV charging technology that maximises the use of rooftop solar generation, and minimises demand from the grid. The post Victoria, Nissan trial CSIRO smart solar EV charging technology appeared first on RenewEconomy.

via Victoria, Nissan trial CSIRO smart solar EV charging technology — RenewEconomy

October 12, 2019 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Lord Howe Island to get solar and battery microgrid, no wind turbines — RenewEconomy

A microgrid comprising 1.2MW solar, 3.2MWh battery storage to go ahead soon on Lord Howe Island, two years after a controversial wind turbine ban brought the project to a halt. The post Lord Howe Island to get solar and battery microgrid, no wind turbines appeared first on RenewEconomy.

via Lord Howe Island to get solar and battery microgrid, no wind turbines — RenewEconomy

October 12, 2019 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Recharging the Australian long weekend with an electric Kona — RenewEconomy

Was Scott Morrison right to suggest that EVs would ruin the long weekend? We decided to find out with our electric Kona. The post Recharging the Australian long weekend with an electric Kona appeared first on RenewEconomy.

via Recharging the Australian long weekend with an electric Kona — RenewEconomy

October 12, 2019 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment