Australian news, and some related international items

Australia entangled in the military-industrial-intelligence-security complex 

August 27, 2020 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics, politics international, weapons and war | Leave a comment

‘Nuclear will never happen in the Latrobe Valley’

Nuclear discussion is a hot topic in the Latrobe Valley, Latrobe Valley Express, Michelle Slater, 26 Aug 20,  “……..

‘Nuclear will never happen in the Latrobe Valley’

The call to lift the state’s prohibition on nuclear is not being backed by all unions, as some community groups come out swinging against any nuclear proposal in the Latrobe Valley.

Many concerns surrounded the region’s geographical instability, the use of water, dangerous waste and the need to forge ahead with large-scale renewables.

The Victorian branch of the Electrical Trades Union doubled down on its opposition in its submission into the Inquiry into Nuclear Prohibition.

It instead called for large scale renewables such as the Star of the South offshore wind farm off the Gippsland coast to provide a just transition for workers and communities.

“Renewable energy is affordable, low risk, clean, and popular. Nuclear is simply not,” the ETU submission said.

“Our shared energy future is renewable, not radioactive and our government must plan for and support a fair and just transition for energy workers, their communities and the Australian people.”

Voices of the Valley convenor Wendy Farmer backed the ETU stance, rejecting claims from the CFMMEU that nuclear would provide a “just transition” for the Valley.

Ms Farmer also rigorously argued that there was no social licence from within the local community to go ahead with nuclear.

She said any nuclear plant in the Valley, particularly if it was built on the former Hazelwood site, would be too close to homes in a seismically unstable location.

“Nuclear will never happen in the

Latrobe Valley, it’s too expensive and will take too long to build. Do we just care about jobs and not a healthy community? This would impact all of Gippsland,” Ms Farmer said.

“Yes, we need a proper transition and secure energy, but nuclear is not the way to go when we need the federal government’s will to build more renewables.”

Community over Mining spokesperson Tracey Anton has voiced her concerns about using water to rehabilitate the Latrobe Valley’s coal mines.

The community advocate said nuclear was unsuitable for the region due to the volume of water it would require, creating a burden on downstream agriculture and environmental needs.

“We’ve already over-allocated our ground and surface water, how do you fit in another industry that needs more water when we don’t have enough as it is,” Ms Anton said.

“The (state) government can’t even figure out how to rehabilitate the existing coal pits, or even how to transport asbestos safely, never mind nuclear.”

Friends of the Earth’s Yes2Renewables campaigner Patrick Simons has been working with the local proponents for the proposed Delburn wind farm, helping campaign for renewables in Gippsland.

Mr Simons said the conversations around nuclear were a “distraction” from discussing rolling out renewables in a decentralised grid.

“There is surplus grid capacity in Gippsland,” he said.

“Renewable energy built in the region will complement wind power operating in western Victoria, where the grid is constrained, making the energy system overall more resilient.”……..

nuclear power remains unlawful in Australia under federal legislation.

The Victorian government has no plans for a nuclear power industry, which has been banned since 1983 and is instead focusing on “cheaper, safer and more sustainable alternatives in the form of renewable energy and storage”.

A state government spokeswoman pointed to Victoria’s ambitious 50 per cent renewables targets by 2030, creating more than 24,000 jobs, “particularly in regional areas”……..

August 27, 2020 Posted by | opposition to nuclear, Victoria | Leave a comment

Two U.S.cities cut their losses, pullout of dodgy NuScam “small” nuclear reactor project

August 27, 2020 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Not all scientists are objective, especially nuclear scientists

The claim that nuclear power is among “low-carbon sources” is also the current major nuclear industry PR claim. In fact, the “nuclear fuel cycle”—especially mining, milling, “enrichment” to produce nuclear plant fuel—is carbon-intensive. And nuclear plants themselves emit carbon—radioactive Carbon-14.
Dwight Eisenhower warned of the rise of a “military-industrial complex” in the U.S. In fact, according to Douglas Brinkley, formerly director of the Eisenhower Center for American Studies at the University of New Orleans, the original draft of the speech warned not only of a “military-industrial complex” but of a “military-industrial-scientific complex.”
“in holding scientific research and discovery in respect, as we should, we must also be alert to the equal and opposing danger that public policy could itself become the captive of a scientific technological elite.”
Science is objective—but are all scientists objective?  Science might be objective—but that doesn’t mean all scientists are  Nation of Change, By Karl Grossman-August 25, 2020
    There is science—and then there is scientific vested interests.

With a denier of science in The White House—whether it has to do with the climate crisis or Covid-19 and so on—there is a major push, including by Democratic officials, for making science the basis for governmental decision-making.

That’s completely understandable.

But what about the push by some scientists to politically further areas of science and technology which they favor? Science might be objective—but that doesn’t mean all scientists are.

Take Congressman Bill Foster.

An atomic physicist from Illinois, for 23 years he worked at Fermilab in Illinois, established in the 1960s and run by the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission. With the AEC disbanded in the 1970s, it fell under the U.S. Department of Energy, which still runs it. Continue reading

August 27, 2020 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Major holes in ozone hole treaty must be addressed to avert stronger climate change

Experts reveal major holes in international ozone treaty  
– 26-AUG-2020
Major holes in ozone hole treaty must be addressed to avert stronger climate change and serious risks to human health, experts warn

A new paper, co-authored by a University of Sussex scientist, has revealed major holes in an international treaty designed to help repair the ozone layer, putting human health at risk and increasing the speed of climate change.

Evidence amassed by scientists in the 1970s and 1980s showed that the depletion of the ozone layer in the stratosphere was one of the first truly global threats to humanity.

Chemicals produced through economic activity were slowly drifting to the upper atmosphere where they were destroying the ozone layer, which plays an indispensable role in protecting humanity and ecosystems by absorbing harmful ultraviolet radiation from the sun.

In 1987, countries signed up to a treaty to take reparative action, known as the ‘Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer, which was eventually ratified by all 197 UN member states.’

But in a paper published today in Nature Communications, experts have flagged major gaps in the treaty which must be addressed if the ozone layer is to be repaired and avert the risks posed to human health and the climate.

Professor Joseph Alcamo, Director of the Sussex Sustainability Research Programme and former Chief Scientist at UNEP, said: “The Montreal Protocol and its amendments have no doubt been an effective worldwide effort to control the toughest substances depleting the ozone. But our paper shows that the treaty has developed too many gaps to fully repair the ozone layer. It’s time to plug the holes in the ozone hole treaty.”

Professor Alcamo, along with lead author Professor Susan Solomon of Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and co-author Professor A. R. Ravishankara of Colorado State University, have identified several ‘gaps’ which consist of ozone depleting substances not covered in the treaty.

These include:


  • Unaccounted for new sources of CFC and HFC emissions recently detected in the atmosphere. 
  • Leakages of ozone depleting substances from old air conditioners, refrigerators and insulating foams. 
  • Inadvertent releases of ozone-depleting gases from some manufacturing processes. 
  • Emissions of the ozone-depleting gas, nitrous oxide, stemming mostly from agricultural activities.


The authors have called for a range of solutions to plug the gaps including:


  • A toughening of compliance with the treaty by using provisions that are already part of the Montreal Protocol. 
  • Boosting the effectiveness of the treaty by adding in regular environmental monitoring of ozone-depleting substances. 
  • Controlling the emissions of substances that have slipped through the treaty up to now, including nitrous oxide emissions from agriculture, and ozone-depleting substances leaking from old refrigerators and other equipment. 
  • In addition, because ozone-depleting substances and their substitutes contribute significantly to global warming, the authors urge a faster phasing out of all of these substances as a way of combatting climate change.


The ozone layer absorbs harmful ultraviolet radiation from the sun but this protective layer is slowly destroyed by industrial gases that slowly drift up from the earth’s surface including CFCs (chlorofluorocarbons) contained in refrigerants, foaming agents and, earlier, propellants in aerosol sprays.

Discovery of the ‘ozone hole’ above high latitudes in the 1980s provided final evidence of the importance of ozone depletion.

By 1985, countries had signed the Vienna Convention, which pledged to reduce CFCs and other ozone-depleting substances. Two years later, they signed the Montreal Protocol that laid out a plan of action.

During his time as the first Chief Scientist of UNEP, which hosts the Secretariat of the Montreal Protocol, Professor Alcamo coordinated groups of scientists in producing policy-oriented reports that addressed emerging ozone depletion issues.

UNEP reports that 98% of the chemicals targeted for removal in the Montreal Protocol had been phased out by 2009, avoiding hundreds of millions of cases of skin cancer and tens of millions of cases of cataracts. However, this new paper shows that some important sources were not targeted by the Protocol – and urgently need to be now.

Professor Alcamo said: “Since most ozone-depleting gases and their current substitutes are also potent greenhouse gases, it’s time to use the Montreal Protocol to draw down these gases even faster to help avoid dangerous global warming.

“We won’t be able to reach the global Sustainable Development Goals by 2030 without closing the gaps in the ozone treaty. It’s hard to imagine, for example, how the global health and climate goals could be reached without drastically drawing down all ozone-depleting gases and their substitutes. If we fail, humanity will have to face a higher risk of skin cancers and more rapid climate change.”

August 27, 2020 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Journalists have been let down by ABC management

There has been a great deal of public debate recently about funding for the ABC — the cuts to its budget and the redundancies that have resulted from those. But what of the organisation’s willingness to push back not only against funding cuts, but against political interference?

The recent departure of journalist Emma Alberici from the ABC has typified the management weaknesses that have seen the organisation too beholden to government mood and not willing enough to back its journalists, writes Denis Muller. He says Australian governments have a long history of trying to influence the way the ABC does its work, particularly when the Coalition has been in power, beginning under John Howard and going right up until the unvarnished hostility of the Abbott-Turnbull-Morrison years.

In the meantime, he says journalists have been let down. Management has one task: to provide support for its journalists to do independent work, regardless of corporate, economic or political influence. But there is no sign the ABC journalists have had that protection, least of all from the board. Instead, writes Muller, “they are at the mercy of a vindictive government, urged on by its mates in News Corporation, which has a vested interest in weakening the ABC and shamelessly campaigns for exactly that”.

August 27, 2020 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, media | Leave a comment

ABC sacking of journalist Emma Alberici – part of years of ABC management kowtowing to the Australian government

August 27, 2020 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, media | Leave a comment

Gas is not a transition fuel to a safe climate. That ship has sailed

Gas is not a transition fuel to a safe climate. That ship has sailed,, Penny Sackett, 27 Aug 20

Australia’s chief scientist from 2008 to 2011   If gas-fired electricity emissions can be lower than that from coal-fired plants, should Australia expand its fossil gas industry as a means of combating climate change? The answer is a clear no if we want to avoid the worst climate change outcomes.

Science has repeatedly demonstrated that the most important action to limit global warming to well below 2 degrees is to begin to reduce all fossil fuel consumption – coal, yes, but oil and gas too – in this decade.

The primary difficulty is the large mismatch between what is required to meet that stated climate goal of the Paris Agreement and what nations have actually pledged to do. Worse still, the current policies of many countries, Australia included, would increase their national production of fossil fuels, increasing emissions above their own weak pledges.

This so-called “production gap” is the subject of a recent multi-institutional, multi-national report led by the Swedish Environment Institute. Its analysis shows that governments are planning to produce about 50 per cent more fossil fuels by 2030 than would be consistent with a 2-degree pathway and 120 per cent more than would be consistent with a 1.5-degree pathway. This means that plans for fossil fuel development or extension that are already on the table must be shelved to hold warming to the Paris target range.

Consistent with other research, the report demonstrates that to have a 66 per cent chance of holding warming to well below 2 degrees, coal, oil and gas production must all decline significantly in the next decade. That is why increasing gas development to displace coal is no longer a viable approach to maintaining a reasonably safe climate.

Over the past 30 years, coal-to-gas “fuel-switching” has played a role in reducing emissions in the United States and Britain. However, the latest information from the US Energy Information Administration shows that the US energy grid has decreased its emissions from a shift to non-fossil fuel sources by almost as much as a shift to gas. Despite the shale boom, non-carbon energy sources have now overtaken any other single source of fossil fuel in supplying energy to the US grid.

In Britain, renewables played a large role in reducing emissions in the electricity grid. Between 2006 and 2016, the renewables share of electricity production rose from 2 per cent to 25 per cent, even excluding large hydro. While the 1990’s “dash for gas” was responsible for the largest cumulative amount of avoided greenhouse emissions in Britain since 1990, the situation is different now. In 2017, the transition to renewable energy was the largest driver in its electricity sector’s emission reductions. In second place was lower electricity demand (think what we could do with energy efficiency in Australia), while coal-to-gas switching came in third.

The world we live in has already changed dramatically with global average temperatures now 1.1 degrees above pre-industrial levels. Cyclones and storm surges are more intense. Droughts are more damaging. Fire seasons are longer and bushfires more fierce. Billions of animals died in last year’s Australian bushfires alone. Entire species are becoming extinct at rates far above normal. The point of no return may have already passed for Arctic sea ice – in 15 years, globes in schoolrooms may show white ice at only one pole.

At 2 degrees of warming, heatwaves would be even more severe and more deadly to humans, animals and agriculture. Sydney and Melbourne would need to brace for 50-degree days. The fire weather that produced Australia’s Black Summer would become at least four times more likely, the amount of water available to feed dams and rivers in NSW would be reduced by 30 per cent from what was typical mid last century, and coral reefs around the world would almost certainly be eliminated.

We have all the tools to avoid that future of 2 degrees of warming. What has been lacking is coherent, science-based action that does not add yet more fuel to the climate fire. Today, when the enormous human, economic and ecological costs of even 1.1 degrees of warming are so clear, when prices of renewable energy have plummeted, and several non-fossil energy storage options are available, gas is not a transition fuel to a safe climate. That ship has sailed.

Planned and rapid coal-to-renewables switching is now the responsible path. Gas will have a role in the near term, certainly, but the science is clear. The role of gas needs to be a significantly declining one, not a growing one, if we are to avoid the worst of climate change so that Australia’s future is safe, sustainable and competitively modern.

Penny Sackett was Australia’s chief scientist between 2008 and 2011. She is an honorary professor at the Climate Change Institute, Australian National University.

August 27, 2020 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming | Leave a comment

Where does gas fit in our low carbon future? In an ever shrinking corner — RenewEconomy

We won’t completely shift from gas soon, but the amount of gas we need will decline. And the smarter, more innovative and more productive we are, the faster demand for gas will decline. The post Where does gas fit in our low carbon future? In an ever shrinking corner appeared first on RenewEconomy.

Where does gas fit in our low carbon future? In an ever shrinking corner — RenewEconomy

August 27, 2020 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Grid Reliability Fund finally makes it to parliament, to push CEFC into gas — RenewEconomy

Angus Taylor finally tables amendments needed to establish $1B Grid Reliability Fund – in deal that will allow CEFC to invest in gas generation. The post Grid Reliability Fund finally makes it to parliament, to push CEFC into gas appeared first on RenewEconomy.

Grid Reliability Fund finally makes it to parliament, to push CEFC into gas — RenewEconomy

August 27, 2020 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

New wind and solar improving grid reliability and lowering costs, AEMO says — RenewEconomy

AEMO says all states expected to be within new reliability standard this summer thanks to new wind and solar capacity, but catastrophic events still a risk. The post New wind and solar improving grid reliability and lowering costs, AEMO says appeared first on RenewEconomy.

New wind and solar improving grid reliability and lowering costs, AEMO says — RenewEconomy

August 27, 2020 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

August 26 Energy News — geoharvey

Opinion: ¶ “Electric Trucks Are Coming. Where Should They Go?” • Electric trucks made national headlines earlier this month when a study from Woods Mackenzie projected that 54,000 electric trucks would be on US roads by 2025 – approximately 27 times current stock. We know that electric trucks are coming. But where should they go? […]

August 26 Energy News — geoharvey

August 27, 2020 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Aldi Australia says it will be 100 per cent renewable by end of 2021 — RenewEconomy

Aldi pledges to source 100% renewable electricity for its Australian operations by as early as 2021, after rolling out almost 32MW of solar and signing two wind offtake deals. The post Aldi Australia says it will be 100 per cent renewable by end of 2021 appeared first on RenewEconomy.

Aldi Australia says it will be 100 per cent renewable by end of 2021 — RenewEconomy

August 27, 2020 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

CEC warns against solar industry review becoming Abbott-style witch hunt — RenewEconomy

CEC warns against repeat of a Tony Abbott-style renewable energy witch hunt as federal Coalition announces a review of Australia’s rooftop solar industry. The post CEC warns against solar industry review becoming Abbott-style witch hunt appeared first on RenewEconomy.

CEC warns against solar industry review becoming Abbott-style witch hunt — RenewEconomy

August 27, 2020 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment