Antinuclear

Australian news, and some related international items

No place for nuclear energy in Australia: Labor’s Josh Wilson spells it out

There is still no place for nuclear energy in Australia
Josh Wilson MP ‒ federal shadow assistant minister for the environment.
February 21, 2020

I find it astonishing that while our communities and ecosystems alike suffer through Australia’s first national climate change disaster there are politicians who seek to distract from the key challenges before us by jumping on the old nuclear hobbyhorse.

More than 10 years on from the Switkowski review, all the relevant considerations have tipped further away from nuclear power. It continues to be expensive, slow, inflexible, uninsurable, toxic, and dangerous at a time when renewable energy generation and storage is becoming faster, cheaper, and more efficient. And in the meantime we’ve experienced Fukushima, which has displaced 40,000 people, still leaks radiation into the sea, and will cost Japan more than $200 billion.

The clearest point made in evidence to the recent nuclear inquiry was that settling a national energy policy is our highest priority. Without this framework, Australia’s progress towards a decarbonised energy system with better co-ordination and lower prices remains stymied. Despite that call being made by Ziggy Switkowski, Ian MacFarlane, our energy regulators and various economic and energy experts, government members of the committee couldn’t bear to see this sensible recommendation in print. Why? Because they knew it reflected poorly on the government.

The hard conservative core of the Coalition doesn’t believe in climate change and sees renewable energy as a similarly “green-left” plot. This wild disconnection from science, economics, and public consensus is hurting Australia. Even the mild courage required to deliver their own National Energy Guarantee cannot be found within the current circus.

Instead, we get the rising hum of nuclear fairy tales and the wishful myths that go with them. Top of that list is the furphy that nuclear energy, while risky and poisonous and productive of waste that no one knows how to safely store, is somehow comparatively cheap. That’s just rubbish. The definitive analysis of energy costs in the Australian context is the recently updated AEMO/CSIRO GenCost report. It confirms under various scenarios that nuclear power simply cannot compete on cost with firmed renewables.

The latest darling of the ever-faithful nuclear fan club is the small modular reactor. SMRs, we are told, will be magically cheaper and safer. Such claims have been made by the nuclear industry about each new generation of technology right up to the point at which they turn out to be spectacularly untrue. At the moment SMRs simply don’t exist.

Myth number two asserts that as a matter of fact it is impossible to reach 100 per cent zero-emission energy without nuclear. Also wrong. Those making the claim are the same people who said that a 20 per cent renewable energy target for 2020 was reckless, and that a 50 per cent target for 2030 would be “economy wrecking”. Experts at the ANU gave evidence pointing to Australia’s potential as a renewable energy superpower with both generation and storage meeting our electricity needs and allowing us to export emission-free hydrogen.

The third myth is that Australia is missing out on the popular uptake of nuclear technology. In reality nuclear energy worldwide is in serious decline. The latest issue of the World Nuclear Industry Status Report shows that the nuclear share of electricity generation has dropped from its 1996 high of 17  per cent in 1996 to 10 per cent in 2018.

Countries that have relied on nuclear energy in the past are winding down their reliance. France has a target to reduce nuclear energy by a third. South Korea has decided it will no longer build nuclear. The UK is grappling with the costly implications of a new reactor that is years behind schedule and billions over budget, propped up by a 35-year power purchase agreement at double the current cost of electricity.

The most absurd myth of all is that we are being prevented from having a conversation about nuclear because of the current moratorium. Really? The claim is made in the report of yet another Parliamentary committee inquiry, which, in addition to receiving thousands of submissions, also involved public hearings in Brisbane, Melbourne, Sydney, Perth, Canberra, and Adelaide. Our inquiry followed the Switkowski review, the South Australian Royal Commission, and sits alongside a Victorian upper house inquiry.

There is nothing wrong with keeping an open mind on any topic but it shouldn’t be a blank mind. All the evidence shows there is no place for nuclear energy in Australia. Our policy paralysis is holding back our potential to be a renewable energy superpower. Those who agitate for an ongoing conversation on nuclear are spruiking a dangerous distraction.

February 22, 2020 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics | Leave a comment

No, Mr Baldock, our children do not deserve this dirty, long-lasting, nuclear trash dump

Paul Waldon  Fight To Stop A Nuclear Waste Dump In South Australia, 21 Feb 20, People leaving, property values dropping, large tracts of land hitting the market, children’s heritage being sold and/or eroded, a once strong community now divided, people happier to shop outside their community, these are the trademarks of a dying town with poor opportunities.

An aggressive social cancer fueled by a desperate and ignorant nuclear embracing dichotomy trying to grasp the doctrines of the indentured servitude bound nuclear coterie with a vested interest spouting factoids will surely fail to attract new business and people to the region.

Meanwhile Andrew Baldock, nuclear profiteer, social axe man has continued to state “We are doing this for the children!”

Well Baldock my children, my children’s children’s children don’t deserve this.   https://www.facebook.com/groups/941313402573199/

February 22, 2020 Posted by | Federal nuclear waste dump, South Australia, spinbuster | Leave a comment

Correcting the propaganda: Australia’s nuclear medicine DOES NOT NEED a national radioactive waste dump

February 22, 2020 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, Federal nuclear waste dump, spinbuster | Leave a comment

Leaked report for world’s major fossil fuel financier says Earth is on unsustainable trajectory

February 22, 2020 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

What was #ScottyFromMarketing planning, with U.S. military, at PineGap?

PRIME MINISTER’S PINE GAP VISIT RAISES EYEBROWS  NT NEWS, 21 Feb 20, 

The Prime Minister has made a visit to the secretive Pine Gap military intelligence base raising eyebrows about the potential involvement of the facility in ongoing tensions between the United States and Iran….. (subscribers only)

February 22, 2020 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics international, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Every country on Earth failing to provide world fit for children, landmark report warns, Australia among the worst

February 22, 2020 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Heavens to Betsy! Murdoch media suddenly discovers that wind and solar power are great for Australia!

How we’re riding a wind and solar wave to energy future,  PAUL GARVEY, THE AUSTRALIAN, FEBRUARY 21, 2020 A nationwide wave of wind and solar projects has Australi­a on track to become one of the world’s biggest users of renewa­ble energy, defying predictions a Canberra policy vacuu­m would make Australia a global climate laggard.

Such is the frenzy of new projects that parts of the electricity grid are struggling to accommodate the power now being generated, with a growing backlog of proposed developments waiting for grid infrastructure and battery technology to catch up…. (subscribers only)  https://www.theaustralian.com.au/nation/politics/how-were-riding-a-wind-and-solar-wave-to-energy-future/news-story/18e3d0e0f69c81a14d3655a26e8914c3

February 22, 2020 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, energy | Leave a comment

Conflict in the COALition over climate change and emissions reduction

Coalition ministers at odds over emissions target after Labor commits to net zero by 2050

Mathias Cormann says Coalition will ‘finalise longer-term target in time for Cop26’ but Angus Taylor commits only to ‘long-term strategy’,  Guardian,  Paul Karp @Paul_Karp   – 21 Feb 20 Senior Morrison government ministers are publicly at odds about whether Australia will take a long-term emissions reduction target to global climate talks in November after Labor unveiled a target of net zero emissions by 2050.On Friday the finance minister Mathias Cormann confirmed the government “will be finalising a longer-term target in time for Cop26” but the emissions reduction minister would commit only to “a long-term strategy” despite repeatedly being asked about a new target.

As revealed by Guardian Australia, Anthony Albanese used a speech to a progressive thinktank on Friday to commit the ALP to adopting a net zero target by 2050 if it wins the next federal election, without the use of carryover credits from the Kyoto period.Senior Morrison government ministers are publicly at odds about whether Australia will take a long-term emissions reduction target to global climate talks in November after Labor unveiled a target of net zero emissions by 2050.

On Friday the finance minister Mathias Cormann confirmed the government “will be finalising a longer-term target in time for Cop26” but the emissions reduction minister would commit only to “a long-term strategy” despite repeatedly being asked about a new target.

As revealed by Guardian Australia, Anthony Albanese used a speech to a progressive thinktank on Friday to commit the ALP to adopting a net zero target by 2050 if it wins the next federal election, without the use of carryover credits from the Kyoto period.

Scott Morrison is holding off from making a commitment to carbon neutrality by 2050, partly because of an internal brawl within the Coalition and partly because the prime minister says Australia should not sign up to targets in the absence of costings.

Some in the government have noted publicly in recent weeks that Australia implicitly accepted the net zero pathway when the Coalition signed and ratified the Paris agreement, and Liberal moderates are now pushing to make net zero an explicit target beyond the 26-28% emissions reduction promised by 2030…..

Despite the Coalition criticism, business rode to Labor’s defence. Australian Industry Group chief executive Innes Willox said the net zero target “is increasingly widely supported by Australian businesses, industry advocates such as Ai Group, the wider community and governments of all complexions”.

“That growing consensus is important to guide and discipline the development of efficient, trade neutral and fair policies to get there,” he said.

“We shouldn’t underestimate the challenge of net zero, which goes well beyond generating cleaner electricity……

Every state and territory has expressed at least an aspirational objective of achieving net zero emissions by 2050, and Australia has been urged by the UK and its Pacific neighbours to sign up to that target.

Albanese noted on Friday that the Business Council of Australia is calling for it as well as major corporates including AGL, Santos, BHP, Amcor, BP, Wesfarmers and Telstra.

“Seventy-three countries, including the UK, Canada, France and Germany, many with conservative governments, have already adopted it as their goal,” he said. “Australia should too

Earlier, Labor’s climate change spokesman, Mark Butler, told Radio National the opposition would set out a detailed policy about how to achieve targets and its cost “well before” the next election.

Butler argued that the cost of reducing emissions should not be divorced from the cost of inaction and noted Melbourne University research had found actions to reduce emissions have a benefit cost ratio of 20 to one.  https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2020/feb/21/coalition-ministers-at-odds-over-emissions-target-after-labor-commits-to-net-zero-by-2050

February 22, 2020 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming, politics | Leave a comment

A war correspondent turns to today’s war on climate change, as he studies Antarctica

THE ONE WAR THAT THE HUMAN SPECIES CAN’T LOSE  The New Yorker, By Robin Wright, 20 Feb 2020  “……… For almost a half century, I’ve covered wars, revolutions and uprisings on four continents, many for years on end. I’ve always been an outside observer watching as others killed each other. I lamented the loss of human life—and the warring parties’ self-destructive practices—from an emotional distance. In Antarctica, I saw war through a different prism. And I was the enemy. “  “Humans will be but a blip in the span of Earth’s history,” Wayne Ranney, a naturalist and geologist on the expedition, told me. “The only question is how long the blip will be.”

Last week, the temperature in Antarctica hit almost seventy degrees—the hottest in recorded history. It wasn’t a one-day fluke. Famed for its snowscapes, the Earth’s coldest, wildest, windiest, highest, and most mysterious continent has been experiencing a heat wave. A few days earlier, an Antarctic weather station recorded temperatures in the mid-sixties. It was colder in Washington, D.C., where I live.  Images of northern Antarctica captured vast swaths of barren brown terrain devoid of ice and with only small puddle-like patches of snow.

The problem is not whether a new record was set, “it’s the longer-term trend that makes those records more likely to happen more often,” John Nielsen-Gammon, the director of the Texas Center for Climate Studies at Texas A. & M. University, told me this week……

The iceberg that I watched break off from Antarctica was part of a process called calving. It’s normal and a necessary step in nature’s cycle, except that it’s now happening a lot faster and in larger chunks—with existential stakes. The ice in Antarctica is now melting six times faster than it did forty years ago, Eric Rignot, an Earth scientist at the University of California, Irvine, and a co-author of a major study of the continent’s ice health, told me.

This month, an iceberg measuring more than a hundred square miles—the size of the Mediterranean island of Malta, or twice the size of Washington, D.C.—broke off the Pine Island Glacier (lovingly known as pig, for short) in West Antarctica. It then broke up into smaller “pig-lets,” according to the European Space Agency, which tracked them by satellite. The largest piglet was almost forty square miles.

The frozen continent is divided into West Antarctica and East Antarctica. (The South Pole is in East Antarctica.) Most of the melting and much of the big calving has happened in the West and along its eight hundred-mile peninsula. But, in September, an iceberg measuring more than six hundred square miles—or twenty-seven times the size of Manhattan—calved off the Amery Ice Shelf, in East Antarctica. Calving has accelerated in startling style. Two other huge soon-to-be bergs are being tracked as their crevices and cracks become visible from space. One is from pig in the West, the other is forming off the Brunt Ice Shelf in the East……….

“By 2035, the point of no return could be crossed,” Matthew Burrows, a former director at the National Intelligence Council, wrote in a report last year about global risks over the next fifteen years. That’s the point after which stopping the Earth’s temperature from rising by two degrees Celsius—or 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit—will be extremely difficult, if not impossible, in turn triggering “a dangerous medley of global disasters.”

And that, in turn, goes back to ice and its role in fostering human civilization. “What’s coming—or is happening—is the end of the earth’s stability,” Glendon told me. “In human terms, that means a return to migration, but in a population of not just a few million, but several billion.”

Before I went to Antarctica, I checked in with Donald Perovich, a geophysicist at Dartmouth who tracks sea ice. We got to talking about wars. “You can argue that in all wars, there are winners and losers. Afterward, societies go on. There’s an opportunity to recover and move forward. If you approach climate change as a war, there are some really severe consequences across the board,” he told me. “This,” he added, “is the one war we can’t lose.” https://www.newyorker.com/news/dispatch/antarcticas-ice-the-one-war-that-the-human-species-cant-lose?source=EDT_NYR_EDIT_NEWSLETTER_0_imagenewsletter_Daily_ZZ&utm_campaign=aud-dev&utm_source=nl&utm_brand=tny&utm_mailing=TNY_Daily_022020&utm_medium=email&bxid=5bea00ac3f92a404693b7a69&cndid=46508601&esrc=&mbid=&utm_term=TNY_Daily

 

February 22, 2020 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Australia the ‘poster child’ for climate change inaction

Paris Agreement architect Christiana Figueres says Australia the ‘poster child’ for climate inaction

The bushfire crisis made Australia the “poster child” for climate change inaction – but the fires should force the world to act, the architect of the Paris Agreement says. https://www.adelaidenow.com.au/technology/paris-agreement-architect-christiana-figueres-says-australia-the-poster-child-for-climate-inaction/news-story/e1798a8339a817804c2330731f11775f, Tory Shepherd, State Editor, The Advertiser,  21 Feb 20 

Devastating bushfires have made Australia the “poster child” for climate change inaction and the world is weeping for us, the architect of the Paris Agreement says.

Christiana Figueres was the executive secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change when it brought almost 200 nations together to commit to the historic agreement in 2015.

The global goal is to reach net zero emissions by 2050 in order to cap temperature rises, and Ms Figueres’ comments come as federal Labor commits to that goal.

“Any time the word Australia is uttered outside of Australia we all have to contain our tears,” she told The Advertiser.

“This has been so painful, so deeply painful to witness in the news every day the destructive power of bushfires that have gone completely out of control despite the heroic efforts of the firefighters.”

Ms Figueres is coming to Womadelaide in two weeks to talk about her new book The Future We Choose: Surviving the climate crisis.

The lives lost – including a billion animals – and the destruction of the environment and property are just “completely irreplaceable”, she said.

“This is not normal. This is so tragic that Australia is now the poster child, the example of irresponsible management and of undue care on climate change measures.

“I think history will be (divided into) before the Australian fires and after the Australian fires.”

Despite those words, Ms Figueres is optimistic the world can meet the Paris targets, although she is still concerned it won’t happen fast enough.She welcomed Labor leader Anthony Albanese’s commitment to the 2050 target. In a major policy speech today, the Opposition Leader said Australia had always prided itself on pulling its weight.

“We have seen climate change be a factor in our devastating bushfires. We could see it, smell it, even touch it,” he said.

”Our amazing continent is particularly vulnerable, so we have a lot to lose. But the good news is we also have a lot to gain. Action on climate change will mean more jobs, lower emissions and lower energy prices.”

Ms Figueres said it had been “rather odd” that Australia had seemed to be stepping away from the agreement, as the Federal Government battles a split on the issue.

Energy Minister Angus Taylor says the government is not going to “commit to a target without costings and without a clear plan”.

She said Mr Albanese’s commitment was “the only responsible target”.

“It’s the target stipulated in the Paris agreement. The Paris agreement is science based,” she said.

The Federal Government is setting up a Royal Commission on the summer’s devastating bushfires.

February 22, 2020 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming, politics international | Leave a comment

#ScottyFromMarketing ‘s hypocritical ploy to do nothing effective against climate change

February 22, 2020 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming, politics, spinbuster | Leave a comment

February 21 Energy News — geoharvey

Opinion: ¶ “Renewable Energy Could Power The World By 2050” • By mid-century, virtually all the world’s demand for electricity could be met by renewable energy. This is the consensus of 47 peer-reviewed research papers from 13 independent groups with a total of 91 authors that have been brought together by Stanford University in California. […]

via February 21 Energy News — geoharvey

February 22, 2020 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Albanese delivers half a climate policy with “no cheating” – but no interim targets, either — RenewEconomy

Anthony Albanese confirms Labor will adopt net zero-emissions by 2050 target for Australia, with no “absurd nonsense” carryover credits, but still no mention of vital interim targets. The post Albanese delivers half a climate policy with “no cheating” – but no interim targets, either appeared first on RenewEconomy.

via Albanese delivers half a climate policy with “no cheating” – but no interim targets, either — RenewEconomy

February 22, 2020 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Western Australia “uniquely” placed to be microgrid superpower, says report — RenewEconomy

W.A. parliamentary inquiry finds state uniquely placed to become global leader in renewable microgrid development and export, but only with the right policy and regulatory settings. The post Western Australia “uniquely” placed to be microgrid superpower, says report appeared first on RenewEconomy.

via Western Australia “uniquely” placed to be microgrid superpower, says report — RenewEconomy

February 22, 2020 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

“We have the technologies now”- Cannon-Brookes busts open Coalition myth — RenewEconomy

Cannon-Brookes says it is clear that Australia has the technologies to reach net zero emissions. So do other experts, but not the federal government. The post “We have the technologies now”- Cannon-Brookes busts open Coalition myth appeared first on RenewEconomy.

via “We have the technologies now”- Cannon-Brookes busts open Coalition myth — RenewEconomy

February 22, 2020 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment