Antinuclear

Australian news, and some related international items

To November 3, nuclear, climate, coronavirus news – Australia

Pandemic As that election day arrives, US coronavirus cases break global daily record with just under 100,000 new infections.  Protecting nature is vital to escape ‘era of pandemics’ – report.   Urgency to protect nature, or up to 850,000 animal viruses could be caught by humans.

Climate. In all the hooha about the American election, and all the very important coverage of the coronavirus pandemic, –  global heating moves on inexorably, with relatively little media coverage of its effects. But the effects are there –  in the melting Poles, in continuing wildfires, droughts, extreme weather.  Effects are worsein  developing countries that have not themselves been the emitters of greenhouse gases. Droughts and floods force populations to leave their homelands.

Nuclear. Not a lot of media coverage on nuclear issues, though some still about the Treaty on Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. But here’s one important one:

Investigative journalism -The tangled web – well-being of communities has become dependent on the nuclear weapons industry.

Meanwhile, media coverage of nuclear issues continues to be mainly propaganda for the industry.

Some bits of good news Chameleon last seen a century ago rediscovered in Madagascar.    14-Year-Old Girl Wins $25,000 For a Scientific Breakthrough That Could Lead to COVID-19 Cure.   Couple Turns Barren English Estate into Conservation Eden, Rewilding to Attract Rare Species of Astonishing Biodiversity.

AUSTRALIA

NUCLEAR. International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN)- from a tiny group to an International TreatySuperannuation funds are leaving investments on nuclear weapons.  Australia should stop selling uranium to nuclear weapon states and not sell uranium into unstable regions.

South Australian Upper House reaffirms the State’s law opposing nuclear waste dump. Australian Labor Party aims to amend the Nuclear Waste Bill, remove the stipulation of Napandee as the dump site.  Time to rethink Australian government’s flawed plan on nuclear waste dumping.  Problems re the planned nuclear waste dump: Some tough questions for the Kimba Council.

CLIMATE.

A Joe Biden victory could push Scott Morrison – and the world – on climate change.  International team tracks record-setting smoke cloud from Australian wildfires.    Bushfire royal commission’s final report issues warning to Australia over climate change. Australia is on the frontline, in the new age of fire.  New report on Australians’ attitude towards climate change and energy .

British Prime Minister urges Scott Morrison on climate action: Morrison twists the message.  $3 trillion and 880,000 jobs to be lost, if Australia continues inaction on climate change.   Long-term research shows ocean acidification ramping up on the  Great Barrier Reef.  Adani hires spying on activist’s daughter on way to school.

The Greens had a remarkable win in Australian Capital Territory elections.  In the Australian Capital Territory, (ACT),  Labor to share power with The Greens.

Malcolm Turnbull signs Kevin Rudd’s petition challenging News Corpse media dominance.

RENEWABLE ENERGY

Businesses and State governments lead the transition to renewable energy.  South Australia’s global milestone -100 per cent of energy demand met by solar panels alone.    The pandemic and the prospect of zero interest present a massive opportunity for clean energy development..

INTERNATIONAL

The new Nuclear Weapons Ban Treaty supports existing agreements, and in no way conflicts with them.  Archbishop Tomasi has led the Vatican’s fight against nuclear weapons.

Documentary history from the perspective of radiation victims.

Plutonium: How Nuclear Power’s Dream Fuel Became a Nightmare.

Despite propaganda from nuclear front group ”Third Way”, research shows that nuclear power as carbon reducer is counter-productive.

The world’s banks must start to value nature and stop paying for its destruction.

Space exploration – to lead to dangerous nuclear-armed totalitarian societies?

Super power: Here’s how to get to 100pct wind, solar and storage by 2030Renewables, not nuclear, are the solution, for a cleaner world..

The very real risks of radiation accidents on Earth, from nuclear reactors in space.

November 2, 2020 Posted by | Christina reviews | Leave a comment

Superannuation funds are leaving investments on nuclear weapons

November 2, 2020 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, business, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Problems re the planned nuclear waste dump: Some tough questions for the Kimba Council

1. Based on overseas experience every place where some nuclear facility for waste storage and disposal has been established has seen a dramatic reduction in property values

2.  Has the Kimba District Council considered this probable and economically debilitating situation

3.  Is so how and what precautions have been taken by the Council to prevent it and what notification has it given to the community in that regard

4.  If it has not been considered by the Council please explain why having regard to the duty of care that the Council owes to its community to ensure that they do not incur any financial loss

5.  Has it ever been raised by the Council with the government and the responsible ministers and if so what responses has it received

6.  Having now been given notice of this probable economic reversal what does the Council propose to do to prevent or at ameliorate the potential losses in property values for the Kimba community

7. Has or will the Council seek any financial assistance from the government towards the losses incurred by the community on their properties?

8.  Has the Council sought any financial and legal advice with regard to this impending and major financial problem particularly as any economic advantages promoted by the government wold be only a pittance of the losses?

 

November 2, 2020 Posted by | Federal nuclear waste dump, South Australia | Leave a comment

Atomic racism decimated Kiribati and the Marshall Islands; now climate change is sinking them

Losing paradise,  Atomic racism decimated Kiribati and the Marshall Islands; now climate change is sinking them  https://wordpress.com/read/feeds/72759838/posts/29981415891 Nov 20, This is an extract from the Don’t Bank on the Bomb Scotland report “Nuclear Weapons, the Climate and Our Environment”.

Kiribati.  In 1954, the government of Winston Churchill decided that the UK needed to develop a hydrogen bomb (a more sophisticated and destructive type of nuclear weapon). The US and Russia had already developed an H-bomb and Churchill argued that the UK “could not expect to maintain our influence as a world power unless we possessed the most up-to-date nuclear weapons”.

The governments of Australia and New Zealand refused to allow a hydrogen bomb test to be conducted on their territories so the British government searched for an alternative site. Kiritimati Island and Malden Island in the British Gilbert and Ellice Islands Colony in the central Pacific Ocean (now the Republic of Kiribati) were chosen. Nine nuclear weapons tests – including the first hydrogen bomb tests – were carried out there as part of “Operation Grapple” between 1957 and 1958.

Military personnel from the UK, New Zealand and Fiji (then a British colony) and Gilbertese labourers were brought in to work on the operation. Many of the service personnel were ordered to witness the tests in the open, on beaches or on the decks of ships, and were simply told to turn their backs and shut their eyes when the bombs were detonated. There is evidence that Fijian forces were given more dangerous tasks than their British counterparts, putting them at greater risk from radiation exposure. The local Gilbertese were relocated and evacuated to British naval vessels during some of the tests but many were exposed to fallout, along with naval personnel and soldiers.

After Grapple X, the UK’s first megaton hydrogen bomb test in November 1957, dead fish washed ashore and “birds were observed to have their feathers burnt off, to the extent that they could not fly”. The larger Grapple Y test in 1958 spread fallout over Kiritimati Island and destroyed large areas of vegetation.

Despite evidence that military personnel and local people suffered serious health problems as a result of the tests, including blindness, cancers, leukaemia and reproductive difficulties, the British government has consistently denied that they were exposed to dangerous levels of radiation and has resisted claims for compensation.

Like the Marshall Islands, the low-lying Republic of Kiribati is now bearing the brunt of the effects of climate change. Salt water washed in on king tides has contaminated the islands’ scarce freshwater resources. Pits that are used to grow taro plants have been ruined and the healthy subsistence lifestyle of local people is under threat.

It is predicted that rising sea levels will further impact freshwater resources and reduce the amount of agricultural land, while storm damage and erosion will increase. Much of the land will ultimately be submerged. In anticipation of the need to relocate its entire population, the government of Kiribati bought 20km2 of land on Fiji in 2014.

The UK is set to spend £3.4 billion a year on Trident nuclear weapons system between 2019 and 2070. If Trident were scrapped, a portion of the savings could be provide to the Republic of Kiribati in the form of climate finance (see section 1.2.1). Scrapping Trident would also allow money and skills to be redirected towards measures aimed at drastically cutting the UK’s carbon emissions (see section 1.2.2) – action that Pacific island nations are urgently demanding.

The Marshall Islands.  The most devasting incident of radioactive contamination took place 8,000 km from the US mainland during the Castle Bravo test in 1954. The US detonated the largest nuclear weapon in its history at Bikini Atoll in the Marshall Islands, causing fallout to spread over an area of more than 11,000km. Residents of nearby atolls, Rongelap and Utirik, were exposed to high levels of radiation, suffering burns, radiation sickness, skin lesions and hair loss as a result.

Castle Bravo was just one of 67 nuclear weapons tests conducted by the US in the Marshall Islands between 1946 and 1958. Forty years after the tests, the cervical cancer mortality rate for women of the Marshall Islands was found to be 60 times greater than the rate for women in the US mainland, while breast and lung cancer rates were five and three times greater respectively. High rates of infant mortality have also been found in the Marshall Islands and a legacy of birth defects and infertility has been documented. Many Marshallese were relocated by the US to make way for the testing.

Some were moved to Rongelap Atoll and relocated yet again after the fallout from Castle Bravo left the area uninhabitable.

Rongelap Atoll was resettled in 1957 after the US government declared that the area was safe. However, many of those who returned developed serious health conditions and the entire population was evacuated by Greenpeace in 1984. An attempt to resettle Bikini Atoll was similarly abandoned in 1978 after it became clear that the area was still unsafe for human habitation.

A 2019 peer-reviewed study found levels of the radioactive isotope caesium-137 in fruits taken from some parts of Bikini and Rongelap to be significantly higher than levels recorded at the sites of the world’s worst nuclear accidents, Chernobyl and Fukushima.

Compounding the injustice of nuclear weapons testing, the Republic of the Marshall Islands is now on the frontline of the climate emergency. The government declared a national climate crisis in 2019, citing the nation’s extreme vulnerability to rising sea levels and the “implications for the security, human rights and wellbeing of the Marshallese people”.

At Runit Island, one of 40 islands in the Enewetak Atoll, rising sea levels are threatening to release radioactive materials into an already contaminated lagoon. In the late 1970s, the US army dumped 90,000 cubic metres of radioactive waste, including plutonium, into a nuclear blast crater and covered it with a concrete cap. Radioactive materials are leaking out of the crater and cracks have appeared on the concrete cap. Encroaching salt water caused by rising sea levels could collapse the structure altogether. The Marshallese government has asked the US for help to prevent an environmental catastrophe but the US maintains that the dome is the Marshall Islands’ responsibility. Hilda Heine, then President of the Republic of the Marshall Islands, said of the dome in 2019: “We don’t want it. We didn’t build it. The garbage inside is not ours. It’s theirs.”

The Runit Island dome offers a stark illustration of the ways in which the injustices of nuclear weapons testing and climate change overlap. Marshall Islanders were left with the toxic legacy of nuclear weapons testing conducted on their territory by another state. The country is now being forced to deal with the effects of a climate crisis that they did not create, including the erosion of the Runit dome.

The nations that contributed most to the crisis are failing to cut their emissions quickly enough to limit further global heating, leaving the Marshallese at the mercy of droughts, cyclones and rising seas. A recent study found that if current rates of greenhouse gas emissions are maintained, the Marshall Islands will be flooded with sea water annually from 2050. The resulting damage to infrastructure and contamination of freshwater supplies will render the islands uninhabitable.

If the US scrapped its nuclear weapons programme, it could give a portion of the billions of dollars that would be saved to the Republic of the Marshall Islands to help the country mitigate and adapt to climate disruption (see section 1.2.1 on international climate finance). The US could also use the freed-up funds to invest in its own Just Transition away from a fossil-fuel powered economy.   Read the full report.

November 2, 2020 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN)- from a tiny group to an International Treaty

Nuclear weapons treaty backed by 50 nations to become international law  https://independentaustralia.net/politics/politics-display/nuclear-weapons-treaty-backed-by-50-nations-to-become-international-law,14455

By Dave Sweeney | 1 November 2020,   A treaty designed to ban nuclear weapons has become a major step in the elimination of global nuclear arms, writes Dave Sweeney.

2020 HAS BEEN a very tough year with fires, pestilence and massive economic and human disruption but amid the difficulties, an Australian-born initiative is steadily growing global support and offers our shared planet its best way to get rid of its worst weapons.

In October 2017, the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN), an initiative born in Melbourne and adopted, adapted and applied around the world, was awarded the 2017 Nobel Peace Prize.

This was in recognition of its:

“…work to draw attention to the catastrophic humanitarian consequences of any use of nuclear weapons and for its ground-breaking efforts to achieve a treaty-based prohibition of such weapons.”

Fast forward to October 2020 and the Treaty on the Prohibition on Nuclear Weapons has just cleared a big hurdle. Despite strong pressure from the nuclear weapons states, especially the U.S., 50 nations have now ratified the ban treaty. It will enter into force and become part of international humanitarian law on 22 January 2021.

At a time when the threat of nuclear war is more explicit than it has been in decades, the ICAN story is timely and shows the power of both the individual and the idea. When ICAN started in 2007, its founders could have fitted in a minibus. Ten years later, there are over 500 ICAN groups and formal partners in more than 100 nations. And a treaty. Continue reading

November 2, 2020 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics international, weapons and war | Leave a comment

International team tracks record-setting smoke cloud from Australian wildfires

November 2, 2020 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming | Leave a comment

Australia is on the frontline, in the new age of fire

”Covid-19 is more than an illness. It is a symptom of the ailing health of our planet.”.

November 2, 2020 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming | Leave a comment

$3 trillion and 880,000 jobs to be lost, if Australia continues inaction on climate change

November 2, 2020 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming, employment, politics | Leave a comment

Bushfire royal commission’s final report issues warning to Australia over climate change,

November 2, 2020 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming, politics | Leave a comment

Protecting nature is vital to escape ‘era of pandemics’ – report

Halting destruction of wild places could slow frequency of deadly outbreaks, say scientists,  https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2020/oct/29/protecting-nature-vital-pandemics-report-outbreaks-wild   Damian Carrington Environment editor @dpcarrington

The world is in an “era of pandemics” and unless the destruction of the natural world is halted they will emerge more often, spread more rapidly, kill more people and affect the global economy with more devastating impact than ever before, according to a report from some of the world’s leading scientists.

The emergence of diseases such as Covid-19, bird flu and HIV from animals was entirely driven by the razing of wild places for farming and the trade in wild species, which brought people into contact with the dangerous microbes, the experts said.

“The risk of pandemics is increasing rapidly, with more than five new diseases emerging in people every year, any one of which has the potential to become pandemic,” the report says.

It estimates there are more than 500,000 unknown viruses in mammals and birds that could infect humans.

The current approach to disease outbreaks is trying to contain them and develop treatments or vaccines, which the scientists say is a “slow and uncertain path”. Instead the root causes must be tackled, including stopping the demolition of forests to produce meat, palm oil, metals and other commodities for richer countries.

The costs of such a transformative change would be “trivial”, the experts found, compared with the trillions of dollars of damage caused by the coronavirus pandemic alone. Their proposed solutions include a global surveillance network, taxing damaging meat production and ending taxpayer subsidies that ravage the natural world.

“There is no great mystery about the cause of the Covid-19 pandemic, or of any modern pandemic,” said Peter Daszak, the chair of the group convened by the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services, (Ipbes) to produce the report. “The same human activities that drive climate change and biodiversity loss also drive pandemic risk through their impacts on our environment.”

“We’re seeing pandemics every 20-30 years,” said Daszak, who is also the president of EcoHealth Alliance, and they were getting more frequent and damaging. “We can escape the era of pandemics, but this requires a much greater focus on prevention, in addition to reaction.”

Since the coronavirus pandemic began, the UN, World Health Organization and others have warned that the world must tackle the cause of these outbreaks and not just the health and economic symptoms. In June, leading experts called the pandemic an “SOS signal for the human enterprise”, but little government action has been taken.

The report was produced by 22 experts in fields including zoology, public health, economics and law, and representing every continent. It cites more than 600 studies, a third of which were published since 2019. “It’s really state of the art in terms of its scientific basis,” said Anne Larigauderie, the executive secretary of Ipbes.

The report says the rise in emerging diseases is driven by “the recent exponential rise in consumption and trade, driven by demand in developed countries and emerging economies, as well as by [rising population] pressure”.

Daszak added: “Clearly, in the face of Covid-19, with more than one million human deaths, and huge economic impacts, [the current] reactive approach is inadequate. There is enough science that shows a way forward and would involve transformative change that rethinks our relationship with nature.”

The scientists call for a high-level intergovernmental council on pandemic prevention to provide decision-makers with the best evidence, predict high-risk areas and coordinate the design of a global disease surveillance system.

High-risk species, such as bats, rodents, primates and water birds should be removed from the $100bn a year legal wildlife trade, they said, and there must be a crackdown on the illegal wildlife trade.

They also said emerging disease risk must be factored into decisions on large developments and called for meat production to be taxed. “Meat consumption is rising so dramatically, and it’s so clearly associated with pandemics,” Daszak said.

“Many of these policies may seem costly and difficult to execute,” the report says. “However, economic analysis suggests their costs [of about $50bn a year] will be trivial in comparison to the trillions of dollars of impact due to Covid-19, let alone the rising tide of future diseases.”

Daszak said: “For each of the policies there are pilot studies that show they work – they just need to be scaled up and taken seriously. This is classic public health – an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”

The report was widely welcomed by other experts. Guy Poppy, an ecology professor at Southampton University, said the report’s comprehensive analysis of solutions was valuable. “The link between planetary health and human health was already becoming increasingly recognised, but Covid-19 has brought it to the front of everyone’s minds,” he said.

Prof John Spicer, a marine zoologist at the University of Plymouth, said: “The Covid-19 crisis is not just another crisis alongside the biodiversity crisis and the climate change crisis. Make no mistake, this is one big crisis – the greatest that humans have ever faced.”

But he said that by offering solutions the report “is a document of hope, not despair … the question is not can we [act], but will we?”

November 2, 2020 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

South Australia signs supply deal for Playford big battery and Cultana solar farm — RenewEconomy

South Australia signs new electricity supply deal with Garnaut’s Zen Energy, and for the Cultana solar farm and Playford big battery. The post South Australia signs supply deal for Playford big battery and Cultana solar farm appeared first on RenewEconomy.

South Australia signs supply deal for Playford big battery and Cultana solar farm — RenewEconomy

November 2, 2020 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Labor has to do more to reach Queensland renewables target, all eyes on new minister — RenewEconomy

Queensland Labor secures a third term of government, with clean energy set to benefit from a promised investment boost. The post Labor has to do more to reach Queensland renewables target, all eyes on new minister appeared first on RenewEconomy.

Labor has to do more to reach Queensland renewables target, all eyes on new minister — RenewEconomy

November 2, 2020 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Renewables supply more than 30 per cent of NEM electricity for second month in a row — RenewEconomy

Renewables contribute more than 30 per cent of Australia’s National Electricity Market for second month in a row. The post Renewables supply more than 30 per cent of NEM electricity for second month in a row appeared first on RenewEconomy.

Renewables supply more than 30 per cent of NEM electricity for second month in a row — RenewEconomy

November 2, 2020 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Renewables overtake coal and gas for first time in Western Australia — RenewEconomy

Renewables output in month of October beats both coal and gas for the first time in Western Australia as three major new projects come on line. The post Renewables overtake coal and gas for first time in Western Australia appeared first on RenewEconomy.

Renewables overtake coal and gas for first time in Western Australia — RenewEconomy

November 2, 2020 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

South Australia signs supply deal for Playford big battery and Cultana solar farm — RenewEconomy

South Australia signs new electricity supply deal with Garnaut’s Zen Energy, and for the Cultana solar farm and Playford big battery. The post South Australia signs supply deal for Playford big battery and Cultana solar farm appeared first on RenewEconomy.

South Australia signs supply deal for Playford big battery and Cultana solar farm — RenewEconomy

November 2, 2020 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment