Australian news, and some related international items

The Week’s Climate and Nuclear News- Australia

The marathon climate talks in Madrid had a rather disappointing outcome  While the USA was excluded from the conference, other fossil-fuel addicted nations, Australia, Saudi Arabia, and Brazil did their best to sabotage the cause for climate action. Meanwhile the valuable perspective from women was largely ignored. From the top down in climate discussions, to regional and local talks in developing countries, women’s voices are generally excluded.

The nuclear lobby is working quietly away to get nuclear power accepted as “green”, thus getting not only ‘respectability’, but also hefty financial  advantages. They’re having minor success in Europe. The European Union’s sustainable finance debate was bogged down in the question of including nuclear power. It ended up with a weak inclusion of nuclear power as a “sustainable activity’, but it still has to be agreed by the European Parliament, which has insisted on its “no” to nuclear.  

Some good news – The Global Deal for Nature.


CLIMATE Prime Minister Scott Morrison is on holidays overseas, as fires burn across Australia. Australians are reminded of the tourism slogan that Morrison created – #wherethebloodyhellareyou?

New South Wales’ bushfire conditions are getting worse.   In blistering heat, Perth’s bushfire will keep burning for days.    Ominous forecast for Australia’s bushfire dangers. Bushfire near power plant (just as well it’s not a NUCLEAR power plant) Australia’s rainforests used to be too wet to burn. Not now.  250m tonnes of CO2 emitted from Australia’s bushfires.

Swedish youth climate activist Greta Thunberg hits out at Australia’s quest for climate loopholes talks. No legal or moral basis for Australia’s Kyoto accounting fudge, new analysis shows.

NUCLEAR. Liberal-Party-dominated committee recommends removing Australia’s ban on nuclear power. Albanese attacks Coalition’s nuclear ‘fantasy’ as Greens say report should ‘alarm all Australians’. Energy and Emissions Reduction Minister Angus Taylor rejects call for partial lift of nuclear power.

In fealty to the global nuclear industry, the Liberals line up the nuclear dump site, amendments to law, deepwater port.

In the rush to get a nuclear waste dump site, the Dept of Industry, Innovation and Science has ignored the transport dangers. Residents vote against nuclear waste dump near Hawker in South Australia. Strong opposition to nuclear waste dump plan for Flinders Ranges.  Kimba now the likely site for nuclear waste dump.

ENVIRONMENT. While ignorant tunnel-visioned politicians kowtow to irrigators, the Murray River system faces death. A foreign corporation gets 89 BILLION litres of Australia’s water, as drought worsens. Scott Morrison trashes the Environment Department.

RENEWABLE ENERGY. A lot of progress, – much information at


United States and Russia are on the verge of a new arms race, Nuclear War Simulator shows the devastation that nukes could cause.

The toxic gender norms in the nuclear weapons establishment.

Ethics of burdening developing countries with nuclear debts and nuclear wastes.

Devastating array of craters on the ocean floor, from nuclear tests.

  Investigative journalism –  Hazards of Russia’s nuclear colonialism– example South Africa. Docking problems for Russia’s nuclear ships.

December 17, 2019 Posted by | Christina reviews | Leave a comment

Ominous forecast for Australia’s bushfire dangers

Bushfire outlook update makes for more grim reading for summer ahead  ABC WEATHER KATE DOYLE  We’re already dealing with a fire season for the record books — crews exhausted, millions of hectares burnt, scores of houses destroyed — but an update of the danger ahead paints an even more ominous picture.Key points:

  • The bushfire outlook from August warned of above-normal bushfire conditions for most of the east coast this summer, as well as parts of all states and the ACT
  • Monday’s update expands the above-normal region further north in Queensland, across to northern Victoria and further along the Tasmanian coast
  • Experts say the only thing that would change this outlook would be widespread rainfall, which is not likely this summer

The outlook was already bad, with above-normal fire potential for most of the east coast.We’re already dealing with a fire season for the record books — crews exhausted, millions of hectares burnt, scores of houses destroyed — but an update of the danger ahead paints an even more ominous picture.

Where is above normal?

Above-normal fire danger is expected for most of the east coast, eastern Tasmania, northern Victoria, Kangaroo Island and the Eyre Peninsula in South Australia, parts of south-west Western Australia and a patch up north.

But that doesn’t mean everywhere else is in the clear — for many areas of southern Australia, dangerous fires in summer are normal…..

Keep up to date with warnings from your local fire authority, ABC Radio and ABC Emergency on Facebook.

Australia, you have been warned.

December 17, 2019 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming | Leave a comment

In the interests of the coal lobby, Australia sabotaged the UN climate talks

Australia took a match to UN climate talks while back home the country burned     Julie-Anne Richards  The gleeful coal lobby stalked the Madrid COP25 meeting halls as the Morrison government threw out compassion and international citizenship. I’ve been at the climate summit in Madrid for the past two weeks. The question I was constantly asked was: “What will it take for Australia to treat the climate crisis seriously?” International friends, colleagues and strangers looked on in horror at the effects of the bushfires and outright amazement at the Morrison government’s denial of the link between the fires and Australia’s coal industry, and seeming lack of concern at this extreme impact of climate change.

Morning after morning I woke to check the news and the “fires near me” app. Seeking updates from friends. Was the Katoomba fire close enough to force evacuation of one? Had another been able to return to their house yet? How was the air pollution in Sydney? Was my partner, who is an asthmatic, coping?
This is not normal. This is life lived under a climate emergency. And yet the Australian government acted like business as usual in Madrid. Focused on watering down Australia’s ambition. Pushing for dodgy accounting tricks that would halve Australia’s (already completely inadequate) climate effort, with flow-on effects to weaken ambition of other countries. Analysis released during the summit showed that if Australia, China and Brazil used their hollow Kyoto units to meet Paris agreement targets, global ambition would decrease by 25%, delaying the transition to new energy systems and resulting in more global heating. Despite a coalition of countries coming out to oppose this weakening, the issue remains unresolved, with talks being carried into next year.
This approach is entirely aligned with the interests of the coal lobby, who were stalking the meeting halls of COP25. They were no doubt very pleased with the Australian government strategy. This strategy works directly against the interests of the rest of us living the climate emergency: the farmers facing worsening drought conditions, the firefighters battling more ferocious bushfires, the towns at risk of evacuation as they run out of water, and those struggling to breathe from air pollution.
Championing the Australian coal industry sells out not just Australians, but also sells out our Pacific Island neighbours who did little to cause the climate crisis and have few resources to cope with the impacts. They face not only the creeping threat of sea level rise but also stronger and more devastating cyclones. When Cyclone Pam hit Vanuatu in 2015 with wind speeds never before experienced there, it caused loss and damage worth US$600m – 64% of Vanuatu’s GDP. In just one storm.
Solidarity for vulnerable countries dealing with extreme climate impacts was one of the key outcomes expected of the Madrid meeting. In the example of Cyclone Pam, Vanuatu received international support of 10% of the costs. The rest was left for the Vanuatu government and subsistence farmers and fisherpeople to deal with. This is typical of extreme climate disasters around the world. It is not only deeply unfair (after all, these countries did not cause the climate crisis), it will also likely eventually result in a series of failed states.
Vulnerable countries desperately need more funds to help them cope. Yet the Australian government stymied and blocked, joining the United States in ensuring that any progress was the smallest possible, tiny and incremental. Nothing like what vulnerable people need.
This lack of responsibility for the climate crisis filled me with despair. The Australian government scored a zero for climate policy in a global ranking of countries released at the Madrid summit. They should also rate a zero for compassion and a zero for international citizenship. The climate crisis will get worse – past emissions have baked heating into the system; and unless we radically transform our economy to clean energy it will get inconceivably worse. Unless we act together as a community we face polarisation and extremism. A situation which works for no one, not even the coal billionaires.
This is the first annual climate summit where the general mood was panic and climate grief. It’s the first COP where I’ve seen tears in meetings and the corridors at the terrible impotence of not knowing how to grasp the power back from the big polluters.

The ray of hope is the youth, demanding their future back. The rest of us have a responsibility to join them, to back their calls however we can. Force our government to show compassion. Demand genuine climate action. We can do this. Other governments are – New Zealand is showing us up. It is our government that is failing us, failing our neighbours, failing our youth. We’ve got no choice but to demand they act, and refuse to give up until they do. See you at a youth-led climate rally soon.

• Julie-Anne Richards is executive director of Climate Action Network Australia

December 17, 2019 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming, politics international | Leave a comment

Liberal-Party-dominated committee recommends removing Australia’s ban on nuclear power

 The Energy Minister says there are no plans to lift the moratorium, and any lifting has to be bipartisan. Labor wrote a dissenting report so there seems to be no chance of bipartisanship.

December 17, 2019 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics | Leave a comment

Pro nuclear nonsense from Geoff Russell – “we’re all toast without nuclear power”

Once again, New Matilda gave nuclear lobbyist Geoff Russell a forum for an attack on a critic of the nuclear industry.  (Steggall’s Chicken On Nuclear Family, While Party Politics Buggers Inquiry, 16 Dec 19.) On this occasion, New Matilda was trashing a very mild nuclear critic, Zali Steggall.

So we’re “all toast” without nuclear power? This is nonsense. Even Geoff Russell knows that to get up and running the thousands of nuclear power plants that would be needed to stall global heating – would take decades. That means that, with the speed of global heating, nuclear power would be too late to make any difference. (And that’s if nuclear power really were effective against climate change – which it isn’t, when you consider the whole carbon emitting nuclear fuel cycle from uranium mining to deep disposal of wastes) Meanwhile, energy efficiency, wind and solar power, are quickly set up, quickly effective, and provide energy fuel that is genuinely zero carbon.

December 17, 2019 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, media, spinbuster | 1 Comment

The world needs the insights of women at male-dominated climate conferences

December 17, 2019 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Bushfire near power plant (just as well it’s not a NUCLEAR power plant)

Blaze burns near power plant as another fire destroys homes, SMH 17 Dec 19
A fire that has burnt almost 400,000 hectares in the Hawkesbury is burning in the vicinity of a power station responsible for 10 per cent of NSW’s electricity. The area, north-west of Lithgow, is home to the Mount Piper Power Station, the fourth-largest in the state, and the Springvale coal mine.

An emergency warning was issued for the Gospers Mountain fire about 4pm on Monday as it headed towards Wallerawang, Lidsdale and Blackmans Flat, in the state’s Central Tablelands.

This area, north-west of Lithgow, is home to the Mount Piper Power Station and the Springvale coal mine.

Mount Piper is the fourth-largest power station in the state and has large stockpiles of coal……

NSW RFS Inspector Ben Shepherd said crews were aware that the fire was burning just six kilometres east of the station, but believed there was “no current threat”. ….

December 17, 2019 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming | Leave a comment

Nuclear colonialism – a cautionary tale about Russia’s drive to export nuclear power to South Africa

costly projects such as the one pushed by Zuma typically make little economic sense for the purchasing country
heavily subsidized projects pursued mainly for geopolitical reasons risk saddling Russia’s nuclear power monopoly Rosatom with burdens it can ill afford.
Nuclear Enrichment: Russia’s Ill-Fated Influence Campaign in South Africa, Russia squandered close ties with the South African government by overplaying its hand and getting caught up in a corrupt nuclear energy pact. Carnegie Endowment For International Peace  (thoroughly researched and referenced) 16 Dec 19,


Amid the widespread attention the Kremlin’s recent inroads in Africa have attracted, there has been surprisingly little discussion of South Africa, a country which, for nearly a decade, unquestionably represented Russia’s biggest foreign policy success story on the continent. As relations soared during the ill-starred presidency of Jacob Zuma (2009–2018), the Kremlin sought to wrest a geopolitically significant state out of the West’s orbit and to create a partnership that could serve as a springboard for expanded influence elsewhere in Africa. Continue reading

December 17, 2019 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Nuclear power toxifies EU sustainable finance debate


Nuclear power toxifies EU sustainable finance debate EU28 ambassadors meet on Monday morning to see if they can come up with a compromise that can keep all sides happy   Mehreen Khan 16 Dec 19,

Agreeing on international climate deals is harder than it looks. Despite rising public pressure for policymakers to grapple with the challenge, marathon talks at the UN’s COP25 summit ended this weekend in failure.  In what was the world’s longest ever climate negotiation (14 consecutive days), international delegates in Madrid failed to agree rules for how rich and poorer countries should construct a new global carbon trading market. The FT’s Leslie Hook dissects how the summit came to an inconclusive end and why the EU and environmental NGOs are lamenting the outcome.
The EU, which was part of the negotiations in Madrid, will be discouraged by the rancour over carbon trading permits — especially as Brussels is drawing up contentious plans to force third countries to pay a price for carbon it exports to the bloc.
Away from the UN talks, EU governments will have to face down their own green divisions on Monday when they meet to discuss much-anticipated market rules on sustainable finance products. Despite hopes for a deal before the end of the year, France and eastern European capitals last week demanded the rules make explicit to investors that nuclear energy is part of the EU’s journey towards carbon neutrality.
EU28 ambassadors meet on Monday morning to see if they can come up with a compromise that can keep all sides happy. Austria and Luxembourg have led the charge against giving a green-stamp to nuclear, with Germany also resisting over concerns about the environmental impact of nuclear waste.  
While the EU has championed itself as a global leader in climate policy, Brussels has yet to prove whether it can “walk the talk” on green policy. The debate over the classification system (known as the “taxonomy”) is the new European Commission’s first real test.
 Energy policy is a fiercely protected part of governments’ national powers. Divisions were laid bare in a tense leaders’ summit last week where member states ultimately failed to convince Poland to sign up to the bloc’s 2050 net zero carbon target. But in a triumph for France and its eastern allies, the summit conclusions gave an explicit nod to nuclear as “part of the energy mix” in some countries.
Diplomats think the summit agreement on nuclear should pave the way for pro-nuclear countries to win the argument over the taxonomy. Even if they do, another battle with MEPs lies ahead. Should ambassadors get a compromise on Monday, it still has to be agreed by the European Parliament, which has insisted on its “no” to nuclear.  
Pascal Canfin, head of the EP’s environment committee and member of Emmanuel Macron’s En Marche, also held firm on the issue. He told the Brussels Briefing that EU governments should not “modify the balanced political compromise” agreed with MEPs earlier this month.  “All parties know that it is the only deal that could have been reached. That’s why I’m confident we will get a formal endorsement this week,” said Mr Canfin.

December 17, 2019 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Australia has enough environmental degradation, without degrading SA with nuclear waastes

December 17, 2019 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

December 16 Energy News — geoharvey

Opinion: ¶ “Why Madrid Climate Summit Fell Short Of Global Expectations” • COP25 climate negotiations, the longest in 25 such gatherings, ended with major polluters resisting calls to ramp up efforts to keep global warming at bay. Here is a look at the main issues resolved, and the sticking points for future negotiations. [Christian Science […]

via December 16 Energy News — geoharvey

December 17, 2019 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment