Australian news, and some related international items

Nuclear and climate news to 14 September

Every year there’s a  ”Year of” something. I’m thinking that 2020 should be called the Year Of Obfuscation”, (another wonderful word that I’ve learned. )  The world needs to cut through this mixture of lies and omissions.

For a start, there’s the wealth of propaganda concerning the coronavirus pandemic. For various reasons, it’s THE topic right now for disinformation. Some world  leaders minimise or deny the seriousness of the pandemic. Meanwhile, the WHO reports record increase in daily virus cases.  Second wave of coronavirus continues to sweep across Europe.

Climate change denialism thrives, ( -you can add  “extinction denial”too.)  A climate change denialist is given top role at a major U.S. science agency. But – It’s Climate Change, Stupid.  The Berkeley Earth Project–  shows that it’s gotten warmer pretty much everywhere and that there really is no factor that can explain this warming other than anthropogenic emissions.

As for nuclear news,  tap “nuclear”into Google news, and you will get a stream of articles touting small nuclear reactors as the big future for curing climate change. A rare find in such a stream – Nuclear power is not climate-effective, even if only because of comparative costs and delays.

Some bits of good news –   Some positive COVID-19 trends emerged in August in parts of the US, and elsewhere. – New York Turned the World’s Largest Garbage Dump into a Green Oasis of Native Grasses That Also Powers Homes


Australia’s environmental scientists are being gagged.  Australia’s environmental law: the danger in moving powers to the States.

Lithium for renewable energy – a Covid recovery way forward for Australia.

NUCLEAR.  Dissent and anger: Senate divided over nuke dump push . Deep disagreement on federal radioactive waste plan.   Farmers, Traditional Owners fight radioactive waste dump.   The nuclear stigma – some Kimba residents selling their assets before the nuclear dump sets sail? Does Australia really need nuclear submarines, and the whole nuclear shebang?

NSW push for uranium driven by ideologues happy with fossil fuels.

CLIMATEAustralia’s nearly 2 $trillion costs by 2050 – if we continue climate change inaction.    Scott Morrison will be praying for a Trump win: they see eye-to-eye on doing nothing about climate change.  Joe Biden if president will push allies like Australia to do more on climate, adviser says.  A legal win for Adani, against climate activist Ben Pennings.

Labor leader Anthony Albanese says: Australia can be a ‘renewable energy superpower’.

RENEWABLE ENERGY. A shift to 90 per cent renewables in the West would create 5,000 jobs a year. South Australia solar power reaches 94 pct of state demand on Sunday. From cottage industry to $7bn powerhouse: How Australian solar grew 100-fold in a decade.


“Event attribution science” assesses the big role of climate change in weather extremes. Endless summers, endless wildfiresEarth may temporarily pass dangerous 1.5℃ warming limit by 2024, major new report says .

United in Science report: Climate Change has not stopped for COVID19– Why climate change has the potential to cause more pandemics.

Importance of the ocean’s biological carbon pump.  Climate engineering: Modelling projections oversimplify risks

Compelling new documentary ‘I am Greta Thunberg’.

INJUSTICE at work? The extradition trial of Julian AssangeJulian Assange’s extradition hearing in London. What can we expect? Professor Paul Rogers – a witness explaining how Julian Assange is to be extradited for POLITICAL REASONS.

Treaty for the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW) is getting close to the 50 ratifications needed to bring it into legal force.

Investigative journalism -Big Oil is cheating the public on “recycling” of plastic.

Global population slowdown – good news for the planet’s ecology.

September 14, 2020 Posted by | Christina reviews | Leave a comment

Dissent and anger: Senate divided over nuke dump push

 14 Sept 20  Four separate reports released today by the Senate committee investigating the Federal Government Bill to create a nuclear waste facility at Kimba shows deep divisions over whether the waste dump should proceed on agricultural land in South Australia’s Eyre Peninsula.

“Not one, but three, separate dissenting reports shows a very divided Senate Committee,” said Craig Wilkins, Chief Executive of Conservation SA.

“This is on top of a contested community ballot, and fierce opposition from the Barngarla Traditional Owners.

“The community is split, and so is the Senate.

“This is completely at odds with Federal Government rhetoric of only proceeding with facility if there is clear majority community support.

The Inquiry into the National Radioactive Waste Management Amendment (Site Specification, Community Fund and Other Measures) Bill 2020 has spawned four reports:  the Government majority report which predictably backs the facility and three dissenting reports which all strongly oppose – Senators Jenny McAllister (Labor), Sarah Hanson-Young (Greens) and Rex Patrick (Independent).

“The Federal Government process has been flawed from day one.

“There is clear and continuing opposition from Barngarla Traditional Owners, which the majority report acknowledges. Yet, they still recommend the naming of Kimba as the waste facility site despite this opposition.

“There is also clear evidence from the Senate Inquiry that this Bill was created for the express purpose of wiping out the right of community members to legally challenge the process of locating the facility at Kimba.

“If the Federal Government is confident they have the decision right, they don’t need this Bill to start building the dump.

“But clearly they fear that a court will find their process has been shoddy, so they need this Bill to override that right.

“That’s appalling, and it’s good that it’s been called out by three of the four Senate reports.

“This Senate Inquiry does not provide certainty for the project – it remains unproven, unwelcome and this unfinished business will continue to be opposed until a more respectful and credible process is advanced,” he said.

For further comment: Craig Wilkins 0417 879 439

September 14, 2020 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, Federal nuclear waste dump, politics | Leave a comment

Australian politics: Deep disagreement on federal radioactive waste plan

The growing uncertainty and contest over Federal Government plans to advance a national radioactive waste facility at Kimba on South Australia’s Eyre Peninsula has been highlighted today in a new Senate report.

The Senate report reflects growing divisions about how to manage radioactive waste in Australia, with government members supporting the plan while Labor, Green and independent Senators raised serious concerns and reservations or actively opposed the plan.

The report was set up to examine controversial changes to national radioactive waste laws in order to the secure the Kimba site and then remove this decision from judicial review.

“This is a deeply deficient plan based on a flawed and constrained process,” said Australian Conservation Foundation campaigner Dave Sweeney. “That one Committee inquiry has generated four separate responses from Senators shows there is no consensus on the plan”.

“The government dominated majority report predictably supports the waste plan, while the three other responses are critical of the approach”.

“The government’s plan would lead to sub-optimal radioactive waste management outcomes and is actively contested by many in the wider region, including the Barngarla Traditional Owners who have been consistently excluded from the consultation process.”

The federal waste plan has drawn criticism and opposition from a range of civil society and community groups and South Australia’s Labor opposition. Federal Labor voted against the plan in the House of Representatives in June. Key concerns with the plan include:

  • There is no pressing need for a centralised national waste storage site. The federal nuclear regulator ARPANSA says there is no urgency to move the most problematic waste from where it is stored at the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisations (ANSTO) reactor site at Lucas Heights.
  • The unnecessary double-handling and transport of intermediate level waste from an above-ground extended interim storage facility at ANSTO to an above-ground extended interim storage facility in a less resourced regional area is inconsistent with best practice.
  • The bill would disproportionately and adversely affect Barngarla Traditional Owners.
  • There has been no consultation outside the immediate region. Communities on the wider Eyre Peninsula and along the extensive transport corridors have not been consulted.

“This is not a credible plan,” said Dave Sweeney, “it is a politicised and fragile promise.”

“Australians deserve better than an approach which lacks credibility, is inconsistent with international standards and shirks hard question about what to do with the worst waste.”

For context or comment contact Dave Sweeney on 0408 317 812

Read ACF’s 3-page background brief on the federal radioactive waste plans

September 14, 2020 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, Federal nuclear waste dump, politics | Leave a comment

Australia’s environmental law: the danger in moving powers to the States

‘We are relying on a pinky promise’: The problem with the Government moving its environmental powers to states, ABC , By national science, technology and environment reporter Michael Slezak,   13 Sept, 20

As the NSW Government descends into chaos over koala protections, the Federal Government is in a scramble trying to hand over its environmental powers to the states.

Just over a month ago — perhaps an eternity in the political news cycle — Environment Minister Sussan Ley welcomed a landmark review into our national environment laws by reaching across the aisle…….

After years of partisanship on what to do with the laws, Professor Graeme Samuel’s recommendations laid out a middle path. It delivered the deregulation sought by the Morrison Government, while protecting the environment with fundamental safeguards.

With that middle path laid out, Labor also came to the table, dropping their long-held opposition to deregulation.

Fast-forward just five weeks and the Government introduced amendments which, to a large degree, rehashed Abbott-era deregulation amendments, without yet introducing the fundamental protections recommended by Professor Samuel.

And partisanship is back at full throttle.

The Government rushed the amendment through the upper house, quashing debate. The crossbench and Labor called foul, and now conservationists have written to the United Nations calling for it to “express alarm” about the changes. And now the crossbenchers in the Senate appear set to block the bill.

How did we get here and where is all this going? And what could all this mean for the environment?

An old policy by a new name

For years, the Coalition has had one overriding reform planned for Australia’s environmental laws: devolving federal assessment and approval powers to the states.

When a proposed project — think a mine, farm or building — has the potential to damage matters of national environmental significance, it requires environmental approval from both state and federal governments.

Under Abbott, the devolution of federal approval powers to states was called a “one stop shop”. It’s been relabelled “single touch approval” under Morrison but it’s the same thing.

Graeme Samuel’s review recommended that devolution of powers to states proceed with some key safeguards to ensure the environment is protected.

Samuel called for an “independent cop on the beat” — a regulator that would function at arm’s length from the minister. That was immediately rejected.

But crucially, Samuel said the deregulation must be built on what he called “national standards” that would ensure state processes protected the environment. He described these as the “foundation for effective regulation”.

Minister Ley immediately accepted that recommendation.

But last week she introduced a bill to Parliament that devolved approval powers to states, without any reference to national standards.

Rather than allow a parliamentary debate of the matter, the Government rushed it through the House of Representatives, blocking debate, stopping crossbenchers from moving amendments to the bill and sent it straight to the Senate — although too late for it to be considered there this month.

Labor, the Greens and crossbenchers were furious, claiming that democracy was under threat. That anger seemed to jump to the Senate, with crossbenchers now looking to vote the bill down.

The missing national standards

The Minister still insists there will be national standards; that they will be legally enforceable; and they will be “Commonwealth led”. So why weren’t they in that bill?

In an interview with the ABC last week, Minister Ley said the Government already had a bill “ready” that would set up the framework for national standards and would introduce it soon………….

Does it matter?

Dr Megan Evans, an environmental policy expert from UNSW, says the law passed by the lower house gives the minister too much latitude to set the standards.

“It provides the Commonwealth with total discretion over the terms if entering into a bilateral agreement,” Dr Evans said. “This means we are relying on a pinky promise from the Government.”

Dr Peter Burnett from the ANU College of Law said “the mode of setting the Standards does make a difference”. According to him, it’s a matter of who will be able to enforce those standards.

“If they form part of a bilateral agreement between two governments, then it is likely that only the Commonwealth could take action against a state that did not comply with the standards, as only the parties to an agreement can enforce it,” Dr Burnett said.

If the standards were in federal legislation, then it is likely that third parties — like environmental groups — could challenge non-compliance by states in court.

And who’s enforcing the laws could make all the difference.

Of all the threatened species habitat cleared since the laws were first put in place, only seven per cent of it was even assessed under the act.

And according to the Auditor General, among projects that were assessed and approved by the Federal Government, 80 per cent were non-compliant or contained errors.

But how the Government will get these standards agreed to by states — without money on the table to help apply them — is still up in the air.

And this week in NSW, we saw just how fraught state environmental laws can be.

September 14, 2020 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, environment, politics | Leave a comment

Compelling new documentary ‘I am Greta Thunberg’

Greta Thunberg warns of fallouts from climate change in powerful documentary trailer that gives goosebumps

Sweden’s teen climate change activist, Greta Thunberg’s documentary trailer grabs over 1.3 million views, makes hair stand on the ends with climate emergency warnings ahead of cinematic release worldwide starting October 16

Sep 13, 2020, Zarafshan Shiraz, Hindustan Times, Delhi  An unprecedented global climate emergency is no secret but many choose to ignore it amid the COVID-19 pandemic and Sweden’s teen activist Greta Thunberg will be shining a light on the same in her upcoming documentary ‘I am Greta Thunberg’. Featuring how the 17-year-old from Stockholm became a global figurehead for climate action, the documentary is set for a cinematic release worldwide starting October 16 but its recent trailer was enough to give viewers goosebumps.

Taking to her Instagram handle, Greta shared the powerful trailer that warned of fallouts from climate change and grabbed over 1.3 million views while still going strong. The compelling, never-before-seen footage in the intimate documentary, from Swedish director Nathan Grossman, follows Greta from her one-person school strike for climate action outside the Swedish Parliament to her extraordinary wind-powered voyage across the Atlantic Ocean to speak at the UN Climate Action Summit in New York City.

Grossman also tracks Greta as a shy student with Asperger’s Syndrome, her rise to prominence, meeting some of the most powerful politicians in the world and her galvanizing global impact as she sparks school strikes around the world. The trailer is sure to leave one not only emotional but also fired-up with hair standing on the end.

It premiered at the Venice Film Festival and debunks some of the criticisms on her by showing her writing her own speeches and other facts that establish her to be the sole driving force in the campaign and not her parents or other environmental interests. Grossman also documents the real the pressures that accumulated on her as the campaign grew.

September 14, 2020 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Climate change causing major changes in Arctic insect communities

Climate change recasts the insect communities of the Arctic, EurekAlert, UNIVERSITY OF HELSINKI Research News  12 Sept 20,  Through a unique research collaboration, researchers at the University of Helsinki have exposed major changes taking place in the insect communities of the Arctic. Their study reveals how climate change is affecting small but important predators of other insects, i.e. parasitoids.”Predators at the top of the food web give us a clue to what is happening to their prey species, too. These results increase our understanding of how global warming is changing nature. At the same time, they suggest new inroads for finding answers to big questions in the field of ecology,” says Professor Tomas Roslin from the University of Helsinki and the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU).

The researchers’ main discovery was that clear traces of climate change can already be seen in arctic insect communities.

“In areas where summers are rapidly warming, we find a higher proportion of cold-sensitive predators than we might expect based on the previous climate,” Roslin notes.

The study joined research teams working in Greenland, Canada, Russia, Norway, Finland and Iceland, which together compared regions where the climate has changed at different rates and in different ways in recent decades.

Parasitoids are fierce predators but sensitive to changes in climatic conditions

“The climate of the Arctic is currently changing about twice as fast as the global average. Therefore, the Arctic region provides an important laboratory when we try to understand the effects of climate change on nature,” says Tuomas Kankaanpää, lead author of the study and active at the Faculty of Agriculture and Forestry, University of Helsinki.

“To distinguish the key consequences of climate change, we have focused on some of the most important predators in the Arctic, parasitoid wasps and flies. These parasitoids are predators whose larvae develop on or within a single host individual and usually kill it in the process. And now we have found that climate change is dramatically affecting the relative dominance of different types of parasitoids.”………..

September 14, 2020 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Does Australia really need nuclear submarines, and the whole nuclear shebang

September 14, 2020 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, weapons and war | Leave a comment

A shift to 90 per cent renewables in the West would create 5,000 jobs a year — RenewEconomy

New report finds transitioning Western Australia to 90% renewables by 2030 would create an average of 5,000 jobs a year – even during an economic slump. The post A shift to 90 per cent renewables in the West would create 5,000 jobs a year appeared first on RenewEconomy.

A shift to 90 per cent renewables in the West would create 5,000 jobs a year — RenewEconomy

September 14, 2020 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Nuclear reactors make climate change worse — Beyond Nuclear International

Renewables, efficiency save the most carbon at the least cost in the shortest time

Nuclear reactors make climate change worse — Beyond Nuclear International

September 14, 2020 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Will we ever be nuclear-free? — Beyond Nuclear International

Six people who think it’s worth fighting for

Will we ever be nuclear-free? — Beyond Nuclear International

September 14, 2020 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Radioactive soil plan casts shadow over Fukushima village — Fukushima 311 Watchdogs

Keiko Shigihara used to make pickles out of flower petals from a cherry tree at her former home in Fukushima Prefecture. Sep 11, 2020 Keiko Shigihara, 58, soaks up the summer sun as she looks over her property in the village of Iitate in Fukushima Prefecture, from where she evacuated after the meltdowns at the […]

Radioactive soil plan casts shadow over Fukushima village — Fukushima 311 Watchdogs

September 14, 2020 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

South Australia solar power reaches 94 pct of state demand on Sunday — RenewEconomy

Solar power contributes 94 per cent of South Australia’s state demand at midday on Sunday, as state government looks to use electric vehicles as a “solar sponge”. The post South Australia solar power reaches 94 pct of state demand on Sunday appeared first on RenewEconomy.

South Australia solar power reaches 94 pct of state demand on Sunday — RenewEconomy

September 14, 2020 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

September 13 Energy News — geoharvey

Opinion: ¶ “Five Key Reasons To Stop The Mountain Valley Pipeline” • It’s time to stop the Mountain Valley Pipeline and its dangerous attempts to transport dirty fracked gas across Appalachia. This massive dirty energy project would  jeopardize sensitive rivers and streams, drinking water sources, the climate, and people in local communities. [CleanTechnica] ¶ “Is […]

September 13 Energy News — geoharvey

September 14, 2020 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment