Antinuclear

Australian news, and some related international items

Australia’s public health already being hit by climate change, professionals say — RenewEconomy

Vast majority of Australian health professionals say climate change is a serious problem, and better information needed on links between climate and health. The post Australia’s public health already being hit by climate change, professionals say appeared first on RenewEconomy.

Australia’s public health already being hit by climate change, professionals say — RenewEconomy

September 6, 2021 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Does technology really matter more than the natural landscape?

After we published an article on Beyond Nuclear International about the habitat and ecosystem destruction that would be wrought by the construction of new nuclear power plants on the British coastline, a more serious challenges such as sea-level rise and radioactive contamination.

I understand his sense of urgency. Yet, these don’t seem like either-ors to me. 

 And I do think that “liking landscapes” is desperately important and their enjoyment a growing deprivation. If we have
never been outside, walked an ancient wood, felt awed by the delicate silvery curl of lichen on a branch, heard the eerie, commanding call of a hawk or the whispered rustlings of a small mammal scurrying through undergrowth to safe cover, why would we strive to save any of it? Who will be left to care, to “like landscapes” and all that fills them? So he
may be right that it sounds like a trivial obsession. But it ought to matter.

….

Surely the importance of landscapes and all who live in them must be at least in part why we fight to end the use of nuclear power plants? And also because they will contaminate our world forever; because sea-level rise will subsume them at a terrible price for all of us. And because building, operating and decommissioning them involves making and leaving a pervasive and persistent mess the like of which we have not equalled anywhere else.

At the same time, even if we abandon the energy vices of nuclear power and fossil fuels — an urgent necessity — we recognize that we have not solved our destructive ways. Even renewable energy comes with extractive impacts and environmental justice violations. While we struggle to remediate these, we are all too aware that we have left it far too late. We were Once-lers from the beginning, our greed trumping conservation and efficient use of energy. We didn’t listen to the Lorax or hear the Peregrine’s warning call. Instead, we are in a race against time and our own folly. We are in the time of “UNLESS”.

Beyond Nuclear 5th Sept 2021

September 6, 2021 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

September 6 Energy News — geoharvey

Opinion: ¶ “New York City Was Never Built To Withstand A Deluge Like The One Ida Delivered – It Showed” • When the remnants of Hurricane Ida dumped more than 7 inches of rain on parts of New York City, officials and meteorologists seemed stunned by the devastating flooding that ensued. But Scientists have been […]

September 6 Energy News — geoharvey

September 6, 2021 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Radioactive waste dump plan puts the Eyre Peninsula’s reputation at risk, lacks genuine community consent

Stock Journal, Terry Schmucker, Cootra 2nd September 2021 The radioactive waste site at Napandee does not have genuine community support. Farmers and farmland within as little as 20 kilometres from the radioactive waste dump at Napandee were not included in the official community vote.

Voting was centred on the Kimba local government area, which splits the community near the waste dump by the local council boundary. The vote also excluded Native Title holders because their traditional land extends beyond the council area and they live outside the district.Temporarily storing intermediate level waste at the headwaters of the Eyre Peninsula will seriously impact on the reputation of our prime food production from our agriculture and fisheries.  https://www.facebook.com/groups/344452605899556

September 6, 2021 Posted by | Federal nuclear waste dump, South Australia | Leave a comment

Agricultural land deserves protection from radioactive pollution

Barry Wakelin, Kimba. Stock Journal 2nd September 2021. The decision to place intermediate level waste at Kimba for a temporary period of a few decades makes it sound like the national green movement versus 54 per cent of the total Kimba community who said yes to a huge amount of taxpayer funding per vote.

There is just one farmer beneficiary for material that the Department of Defence says is too dangerous for its Woomera prohibited area and which 70pc of South Australians say no to .

A 400-strong group with a focus on respect for and representation of agriculture to achieve no nuclear waste on SA agricultural land has fought a six-year campaign against Australia’s most powerful political machine, known as the Australian federal government, who are yet to explain why they are in defiance of their own National Health & Medical Research Council guidelines of placing nuclear waste on agricultural land, which is 4.5pc of SA

.

Why, never on their own federal government-controlled land? The federal parliament now has two “temporary sites” for Intermediate Level Nuclear Waste (ILW) , one at the government-owned nuclear reactor site until 2037 and one at Kimba, while never seeking a permanent disposal site for ILW, even though a promise was made to find that permanent site, prior to commissioning the OPAL nuclear reactor almost 15 years ago at Lucas Heights in Sydney. https://www.facebook.com/groups/344452605899556

September 6, 2021 Posted by | Federal nuclear waste dump | Leave a comment

Murdoch’s News Corpse hasn’t seen the light on climate – they’re just updating their tactics —

Is News Corp really seeing the light on climate? More likely it’s pivoting to a modern style of greenwashing and delay, just like Morrison. .

What might reasonably seem like a surprising change of heart in News Corp’s stance on climate is actually a long-term tactical shift that has been occurring for at least a few years. Whatever policies they failed to destroy through their earlier campaigns, they will try and reframe through racist, nationalistic, technocratic and pro-business frames.

Whatever policies they can delay or destroy, they’ll simply keep running scare campaigns about, insisting that ‘the balance isn’t right’, and that the threat of climate action is greater than climate change, as they always have (in Australia, News Corp’s partnerships with Google and Facebook mean these campaigns to destabilise climate action are growing more powerful and more harmful every day). When the next federal election comes around, the “COSTS OF NET ZERO” scare campaigns will ramp up in Australia as they are in the UK, and News Corp will be at the forefront, pleading that acting too fast will cause catastrophe. Absolutely mark my damn words: this is what will happen.

Net zero by 2050 isn’t enough. We’ll know that the denialism has truly ended when organisations like News Corp treat the IPCC’s latest report like it’s real.

News Corp hasn’t seen the light on climate – they’re just updating their tactics, https://reneweconomy.com.au/news-corp-hasnt-seen-the-light-on-climate-theyre-just-updating-their-tactics/, 5 Sept 21, Have you heard the good news? One of the key institutions holding back climate action in Australia – Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation – is suddenly on Team Climate Action! Today, the Sydney Morning Herald revealed that the company’s Australian outlets are set to launch a campaign urging “the world’s leading economies” to embrace a target of net zero emissions by 2050; to be fronted by columnist Joe Hildebrand. The details aren’t out yet, but I contend that we can comfortably predict what it will look like.

It will be a centrist, pro-business approach to climate action. It will make a show of dismissing the “hysterics” of climate activists, while urging governments, including Australia’s, to set distant, meaningless and non-binding climate targets. It won’t allow any room for emissions reductions in line with the 1.5C goals or the Paris agreement; no short-term meaningful targets or actions such as those highlighted in the IEA’s recent ‘net zero’ report. It won’t argue for a coal phase-out by 2030, or the end of all new coal, gas and oil mines in Australia, or a ban on combustion engine sales by 2030-2035; all vital actions if Australia is to align with any net zero target.

It’ll champion controversial technologies like CCS and fossil hydrogen. It’ll highlight personal responsibility: tree planting, recycling and electric vehicle purchases. It will not propose or argue in favour of any new policies; at least none that might reduce the burning of fossil fuels.

How can we know all this before we’ve seen the actual campaign? It’s easy – let me explain.

Done with denial

Here’s a remarkable statistic for you. In the month of August this year, global media coverage of climate saw its highest volume since the December 2009 Copenhagen climate meetings. That’s partly down to the release of the IPCC’s AR6 Working Group one report into climate change, six years in the making.

That report reiterated something extremely important: every single tonne of carbon dioxide does damage. Actions must be immediate and aggressive to align with the most ambitious pathways. Delay is deadly.

No media coverage records for Australia: coverage of climate change has dropped almost entirely off the radar relative to the high volumes of late 2019 and early 2020 (partly driven by the Black Summer bushfires).

During the Black summer bushfires of 2019-20, I did a few interviews about Australia with baffled and perplexed international reporters. “What is going on over there? Why did the people elect such a climate laggard?”. A key part of my response was to pin blame on Australia’s media industry. Mostly on News Corp, which dominates the country’s uniquely concentrated media landscape, and which is notorious for its heavily politicised climate views. In fact, a recent study quantified this in historical terms, analysing media coverage within Canada, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, the United States and Australia for its climate science accuracy.

By a comfortable margin, News Corp’s Daily Telegraph and the Courier Mail scored the second and fourth worst among every media outlet analysed between 2005 and 2019 (The Australian wasn’t included in the analysis). Australia has, in general, seen the least accurate climate science coverage from 2013 onwards, despite a general rising trend in scientific accuracy over the past decade. For a decade and a half, News Corp lied about climate science with the blatant aim of protecting the revenue streams of the fossil fuel industry, and protecting its political allies.

This is important as a historical study, but today, it’s increasingly irrelevant. As the study points out, the accuracy of climate science has essentially plateaued in media coverage, with outright denial consigned to the dustbin.

The authors highlights that “the terrain of climate debates has shifted in recent years away from strict denial of the scientific consensus on human causes of climate change toward ‘discourses of delay’ that focus on undermining support for specific policies meant to address climate change”. The fundamental goal is the same – staving off action – but the way it manifests is very different.

Delay is the main game

There are many substantial recent examples of this. A good one was the severe blackouts that spread across Texas in February this year, which were immediately blamed on wind power failures, alongside easily debunked claims that snows and ice were blocking solar panels and freezing up wind turbines in Texas and around the world.

This isn’t climate change denial: it’s “mitigation denial“. That is, a move away from denying the problem exists and towards decrying its solutions as utterly unacceptable. An important part of this performance is pretending to have a moment of having seen the light, but then continuing to commit the same acts of delay as before.

Murdoch’s The Sun, in the UK, did precisely this. In October 2020, The Sun launched a ‘Green Team‘ campaign that focused on ‘individual responsibility’ in the lead-up to COP26, to be held in Glasgow at the end of this year. It wasn’t long until they were celebrating their own victory in freezing fossil fuel taxes.


how it started how it’s going pic.twitter.com/p1ZVOnOKmX

— Zach Boren (@zdboren) March 3, 2021

The UK’s Daily Express, another hyper-conservative outlet that ‘saw the light’, continues to publish articles attacking climate activism and, more significantly, framing climate action in an explicitly “eco nationalist” way, as UK writer Sam Knights highlights in this article in Novara media. He says,

“Make no mistake: these newspapers are not your friends. They are not your allies. Their politics are not in any way ecological. They are deeply racist, reactionary, right-wing publications. Their sudden interest in climate change is not to be celebrated – it is a terrifying indication of things to come:”

Last week, @GreenpeaceUK@WWF@nationaltrust, and @friends_earth signed up to the “green crusade” of the Daily Express. Just ten days later, the rightwing newspaper has already run two articles attacking Greta Thunberg… Surely these charities will now withdraw their support? pic.twitter.com/Xz5NcjLu8N

— Sam Knights (@samjknights) February 18, 2021

It’s notable that these examples seem to manifest in the UK, and less so in similar anglophone countries like Canada or the US or New Zealand. Those are led by centre-left parties and politicians, but the UK’s conservative embrace of climate action is surely a model that Australia’s PM Scott Morrison pines to replicate. Sure, the UK certainly is miles ahead of Australia in terms of climate action – but there remains a very significant gap between Boris Johnson’s climate policies and where the country actually needs to be to align with the carbon budget that its independent climate advisor body has laid out.

A technocratic, rich white country with a government more concerned with optics than doing what needs to be done to protect people from being hurt by fossil fuels. Morrison’s obviously inspired by the UK, but Australia’s conservative media outlets are increasingly inspired, too.

Net zero by sometime after I retire, please

This is all coming to a head at COP26. George Brandis, Australia’s attorney general, who once declared that “coal is very good for humanity indeed”, is now High Commissioner for Australia to the UK, and has significantly ramped up the broader greenwashing exercise that the government has been enacting over the latter half of last year and most of this one. As I wrote in RenewEconomy, that means creative accounting, dodgy charts and deceptive framing, all designed to paper over Australia’s significant failure to reign in emissions.

Morrison will almost certainly set a net zero by 2050 target before COP26, but it’ll be packaged with a collection of loop holes that allow for rising emissions in the short term. It is dawning on the government just as it is dawning on News Corp: the best way to protect the fossil fuel industry today is not to deny the science, but to pretend to accept it. This is not the end of climate denial. It’s evolution from a common ancestor.

That this effort will be lead by Joe Hildebrand is telling enough. His previous work on climate change does exactly what a centre-right campaign like this would be best at – decrying both sides as ‘hysterical’ while failing to propose anything meaningful or substantial.

This @Joe_Hildebrand piece is a near-perfect example of what I mean when I say that this is more about reassurance and excuses than it is about persuasion.

This is about figuring how to be internally okay with their own antagonism towards climate action.https://t.co/TLiiIVY2ih pic.twitter.com/k1HIoxUFIR

— Ketan Joshi (@KetanJ0) October 6, 2019

We can also see hints of what a conservative climate message looks like in a previous editorial from the more progressive News Corp outlet, NT News, which – of course – continues to host syndicated climate denial from the Sky News Australia channel. Ditto for News dot com.

This is News Corp’s northern territory outlet.

Note the ‘affordable’ – a reference to the conservative meme that decarbonisation is bad because it’s too expensive.

Even in accepting the need for action, they need to throw in messaging from previous fossil fuel advocacy. https://t.co/HifYmyX2R3

— Ketan Joshi (@KetanJ0) January 15, 2020

What might reasonably seem like a surprising change of heart in News Corp’s stance on climate is actually a long-term tactical shift that has been occurring for at least a few years. Whatever policies they failed to destroy through their earlier campaigns, they will try and reframe through racist, nationalistic, technocratic and pro-business frames.

Whatever policies they can delay or destroy, they’ll simply keep running scare campaigns about, insisting that ‘the balance isn’t right’, and that the threat of climate action is greater than the threat of climate change, as they always have (in Australia, News Corp’s partnerships with Google and Facebook mean these campaigns to destabilise climate action are growing more powerful and more harmful every day). When the next federal election comes around, the “COSTS OF NET ZERO” scare campaigns will ramp up in Australia as they are in the UK, and News Corp will be at the forefront, pleading that acting too fast will cause catastrophe. Absolutely mark my damn words: this is what will happen.

Net zero by 2050 isn’t enough. We’ll know that the denialism has truly ended when organisations like News Corp treat the IPCC’s latest report like it’s real. That is, when they acknowledge that every additional unit of greenhouse gases causes harm to life on Earth, and that actions to stop their release must be as fast as possible. That climate change is an emergency that requires rapid action to wind down the fossil fuel industry in a just and equitable way, and that its replacement must be grown to full size with just as much passion and urgency.

This campaign won’t look anything like that. We know what it will look like – and it won’t be anything surprising at all.

September 6, 2021 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming, media | Leave a comment

New Australian law allows security agencies to spy on, and manipulate your data – mainstream media ignores this.

Human rights violations now enshrined in legislation – in Australia,   https://www.michaelwest.com.au/human-rights-violations-now-enshrined-in-legislation-in-australia/, By Greg Barns, September 5, 2021  Last week, the Morrison government, supported by the ALP, passed a law that allows for security agencies, on the most flimsy of pretexts, to access and manipulate the electronic data of any citizen. It continues the slide into authoritarianism that started with the Tampa affair 20 years ago.

The “Identity and Disrupt Bill 2021” shows the dangerous capture of the body politic by Australian Federal Police (AFP) and Australian Crime Commission (ACC) and other agencies is today. It shows little or no regard for the right to privacy and the rule of law more broadly. And it adds to the already wide suite of powers security agencies have acquired in recent years to surveil and track us.

Here is how this law works. An AFP or ACC officer “may apply to a judge or a member of the Administrative Appeals Tribunal” for what is called a “data disruption warrant”. This means the officer can add, copy, delete or alter data held in the computer.

The threshold for getting such a warrant is low. All the officer needs to show is that he or she “suspects on reasonable grounds that” an offence is being, or is “likely to be” committed or has been committed, and that disruption of data held in the computer “is likely to substantially assist in frustrating the commission of offences involving that computer”.

If that is not troubling enough, there is power for the officer to seek the immediate issue of the warrant, if it is “impracticable” for them to prepare an affidavit setting out the basis for seeking the warrant. The affidavit does not have to be filed until 3 days later. And they can get the warrant by “telephone, fax, email or any other means of communication.”

But this warrant is not the only new surveillance tool in the legislation. There is a “network activity warrant” which lets law enforcement access, for example, the dark web.

And perhaps most troubling of all, is the ability, again with a low threshold set, for law enforcement officials to take over a person’s online accounts. The so called “account takeover warrant” can be sought from magistrate if the AFP or ACC officer has the same reasonable grounds belief as for a data disruption warrant, and they are of the view that:

But don’t worry, because the law has a 5 year sunset clause. It will be overseen by the Inspector General of Intelligence and Security, and the Independent National Security Legislation Monitor will review the bill in 2024. Of course the minister responsible, Peter Dutton, will ensure the powers are not abused by the AFP and ACC.


The self-serving rhetoric and justification for this latest assault on the rule of law and human rights in Australia from the AFP and ACC is that they need to be able to fight online criminal activity with all available tools. When have you ever heard a security or law enforcement agency say anything different?

This legislation reflects another failure on the part of the legislature to scrutinise and check the power of executive government. But this is now de rigueur when it comes to legislation involving an increase of intrusive powers which governments of all persuasions introduce these days.

The capacity of the AFP and ACC to invade an individual’s online accounts could lead to the destruction of exculpatory data, the manipulation of data, and the unlawful sweeping up of “evidence” that is unrelated to the warrant; or even remove what may be used as proof of innocence.

There will also be the enhanced capacity to entrap individuals. This is a practice rightly outlawed in the US and most European democracies, but sadly condoned here by the High Court in a series of cases.

Australia does not have a national human rights charter or law. Such instruments are a bulwark against authoritarianism and help to ensure abuses of power by law enforcement and security agencies are kept in check. A proper human rights charter would render such sweeping powers as we see in the Identity and Disrupt Bill illegal.

The fourth estate is also not doing its job. Other than some coverage in the tech media, there has been very little by way of comment from the mainstream media. While the frenzied criticising of the Government’s use of Covid powers continues unabated, legislation that violates our rights to privacy and threatens our human rights hardly cause a stir.   

September 6, 2021 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, civil liberties, politics | Leave a comment

Wollemi Mine? Experts label Barilaro’s plan for new coal “corrupt”, unviable

Wollemi Mine? Experts label Barilaro’s plan for new coal “corrupt”, unviable Michael West Media, By Callum Foote|September 3, 2021  

The NSW government is pushing through new coal exploration areas in the state’s mid-west, which have been labelled unviable and “corrupt” by independent experts even as the G7 call a halt on all new coal mining reports Callum Foote.

It’s better known for its rare Wollemi Pine but in the grotesque tradition of aggressive fossil fuel development, even as the world pulls out of coal mining, it may now be known for its Wollemi Mine.

Rylstone, a small town in the Central Tablelands of NSW, 25 km from Mudgee, is under threat from a suite of proposed coal exploration areas that the NSW government has been trying to auction off since mid-last year.

Despite the NSW government’s attempts to cultivate a green brand, John Barilaro’s 2020 Strategic Statement on Coal Exploration and Mining in NSW has opened up productive farmland, adjacent to the world-heritage listed Wollemi national park to brand new coal exploration.

Together, the proposed new coal release areas will encompass over 10 thousand hectares of land in Hawkins and Rumker areas surrounding Rylstone. This comes after the federal and Northern Territory governments together opened a landmass totalling 110,000km sq to gas exploration in 2021 alone.

Expert analysis

The NSW Government’s support of new coal infrastructure makes little sense to Rod Campbell, Research Director at The Australia Institute, “as an economist, it seems inconceivable that a new thermal mine in Rylstone, that couldn’t begin operations till 2030 could be economically viable.” According to Campbell, the proposed exploration areas “only makes sense that it is either a political deal or corruption.”

The NSW Government might have a difficult time finding buyers for their coal exploration licences as coal miners rush to disinvest from the industry. BPH, the worlds largest miner, is currently trying to pay anyone US$275 million to take Mt Authur, the biggest thermal coal mine in Australia, off their hands. In a report to investors this year, BHP wrote down a further $2.2 billion on their thermal coal assets as they attempt to transition to “future-facing” commodities.

Campbell believes that “it seems incredibly unlikely any serious mining company would be interested in developing a mine in the region.” Any proposed development would not be operational till “at least the second half of this decade and would face intense opposition and be very hard to finance,” said Campbell. ……………. https://www.michaelwest.com.au/wollemi-mine-experts-label-barilaros-plan-for-new-coal-corrupt-and-unviable/

September 6, 2021 Posted by | climate change - global warming, New South Wales, politics | Leave a comment

COP26 – the need to scrutinise hidden climate agendas

there may be a need to recognize the short comings of some of the technical fixes being promoted, for example, by some ‘net zero’ enthusiasts. The NGOs can perhaps help here.  For example, Oxfam has produced a useful report, ‘Tightening the Net’, which claims that using land-based techniques alone to remove CO2 from the air and help the world reach net zero by 2050 would require at least 1.6 billion hectares of new forests. That is equivalent to 5 times the size of India, or more than all the farmland on the planet.

The charity’s report, says governments and companies are hiding behind a smokescreen of ‘unreliable, unproven & unrealistic carbon removal’ schemes, so as to ‘continue dirty business-as-usual activities’. 

COP26 Agendas  https://renewextraweekly.blogspot.com/2021/09/with-intergovernmental-panel-on-climate.html?showComment=1630897750625#c4129514770472857573  September 04, 2021 With the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) having produced a new very grim report on climate issues, all eyes are now focused on COP 26, the 26th meeting of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention of Climate Change to be held in Glasgow in November. COP 26 has the obvious formal agenda of continuing with the negotiation process over climate policy, developing on the outline COP21 Paris agreement in terms of national and global emission targets and aid funding. There is a lot to do, with many key countries still dragging their feet and the main focus will be trying to improve on that. 

However, there are also underlying policy agendas reflecting different views as to how best to cut carbon, and they may shape what goes on and what is seen as important.  Most are backed by specific groups or interests. Most familiar, there are the vested fossil fuel interests- global/local oil, coal & gas companies. Some in the past backed climate change denial, but most are now in defensive mode, seeking to limit damage to their profits/portfolios. Carbon Capture & Storage (CCS) is their fall back option as part of a ‘net zero’ carbon offset concession, with 2050 targets presumably being seen as far enough off to be survivable.

At the other end of the spectrum there are the various green NGO’s, all keen on maximum carbon cuts as soon as possible. Most back renewables as the main plank, along with energy saving and a commitment to reduced energy demand- and even perhaps reduced economic growth. Most greens oppose fossil CCS, but some do back biomass CCS as a negative carbon option. Very few however like nuclear, which, as ever, is trying to get in the act despite its generally poor showing compared with renewables. But you’ll find nuclear lobbyist hard at it, always, for good or ill, keeping the nuclear debate alive – even if nuclear PR displays were apparently blocked from access to the Green Zone at COP26!

Hydrogen has meantime become a new area offering angles for all sides. The fossil lobby looks to allegedly low-carbon blue hydrogen (from fossil gas SMR with CCS), an option that seems increasing challenged.  The greens look to zero carbon green hydrogen via electrolysis (using power from renewables), and costs do seem to be falling, while the nuclear lobby (both fission and later fusion) hopes it can also get in on the hydrogen act. That seems a long shot. Especially since there is also a strong showing from the electricity lobby, which wants to see heat pumps used, not hydrogen gas – and certainly not fossil gas!

Some underlying issues

Lobby groups certainly do keep it all alive.  Although the fossil and nuclear industry lobby groups are familiar enough, there is less of an obvious renewables industry lobby, apart from some trade associations. The International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) doesn’t get involved much direct campaigning. So it’s often left to political pressure groups and NGOs, and their interests transcend energy policy and spread across the whole of field of eco-sustainability. 

 The renewables v nuclear/ CCS issue has already been noted, and the role of hydrogen. However, there are also issues relating to scale and distribution. Most greens would prefer energy to be generated and used locally at the smaller scale. That can be aided by PV solar, but, even with storage, there may still be a need for top-ups and balancing from outside.  That means grids, and some actually see grids as a key thing, with low-loss supergrids allowing for power trading long-distance. ……………

Transport is also obviously a key area. The standard green argument is that flying is very bad, but actually, it is only making a small contribution to CO2 at present- about 2% globally. Cars are vastly worse (they use 45% of global energy) and many more people drive than fly. But, longer-term, flying demand will build up vastly, unless blocked. ………….

What can we expect from COP26? 

It will be interesting to see how the various technical fixes & social fixes issues are dealt with in Glasgow. It’s only a week, and that may mostly be taken up with haggling on targets and dodging invoices for aid!  But some of the wider issues and social fix options may get an airing. The world is changing, and though issues like meat eating are still on the fringe, wider issue are emerging, with Scotland often being a pioneer.   More immediately, Scotland is now getting almost all its power from from renewables, so that technical fix may be an inspiration to many people. . Though perhaps a bit peevishly, Greta Thunberg was not that impressed with Scotland’s progress. However, there may be a need to recognize the short comings of some of the technical fixes being promoted, for example, by some ‘net zero’ enthusiasts. The NGOs can perhaps help here.  For example, Oxfam has produced a useful report, ‘Tightening the Net’, which claims that using land-based techniques alone to remove CO2 from the air and help the world reach net zero by 2050 would require at least 1.6 billion hectares of new forests. That is equivalent to 5 times the size of India, or more than all the farmland on the planet. The charity’s report, says governments and companies are hiding behind a smokescreen of ‘unreliable, unproven & unrealistic carbon removal’ schemes, so as to ‘continue dirty business-as-usual activities’. 

Well, CCS and the like may not be the main reason, but it certainly is worrying that growth in renewable capacity had slowed in the UK. The latest DUKES statistics indicate a year-by-year fall in new capacity added since 2015, with just a 1GW expansion last year, half of that being for offshore wind. The slow down is arguably mainly due the demise of the Feed in Tariff and the block to CfD access for onshore wind and large PV. That may be reversed in the next CfD round, due to be opened up for bids in December. Let’s hope so, otherwise we could have the odd spectacle of the UK promoting renewables hard at COP26 while its own efforts have been diminishing. 

September 6, 2021 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

How much energy do we need to achieve a decent life for all?

 the amount of energy needed for decent living worldwide is less than half of the total final energy demand projected under most future pathways that keep temperature rise below 1.5° C. This indicates that achieving DLS for all does not have to interfere with climate goals. While this ratio changes in different climate mitigation scenarios and by region, the energy needs for DLS always remain well below the projected energy demands on the level of larger global regions.

How much energy do we need to achieve a decent life for all?,  https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2021/09/210902125025.htm

September 2, 2021 Source: International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis Summary:

For many, an increase in living standards would require an increase in energy provision. At the same time, meeting current climate goals under the Paris Agreement would benefit from lower energy use. Researchers have assessed how much energy is needed to provide the global poor with a decent life and have found that this can be reconciled with efforts to meet climate targets.

For many, an increase in living standards would require an increase in energy provision. At the same time, meeting current climate goals under the Paris Agreement would benefit from lower energy use. IIASA researchers have assessed how much energy is needed to provide the global poor with a decent life and have found that this can be reconciled with efforts to meet climate targets.

In the fight to eradicate poverty around the world and achieve decent living standards (DLS), having sufficient energy is a key requirement. Despite international commitments such as the UN Sustainable Development Goals, in many areas progress on achieving DLS worldwide has been slow. There are also fears that improving energy access could lead to higher carbon dioxide emissions, which would interfere with goals to alleviate climate change.

In a new study published in the journal Environmental Research Letters, IIASA researchers used a multidimensional approach to poverty to conduct a comprehensive global study on DLS. The researchers identified gaps in DLS by region and estimated how much energy is needed to fill them. They also assessed whether providing everyone with a decent life is compatible with climate goals.

Studies on poverty often use an income-based definition for defining poverty thresholds ($1.90/day or $5.50/day), which obscures that there are other factors contributing to human wellbeing more directly. In contrast, DLS represent a set of material prerequisites to provide the services needed for wellbeing, such as having adequate shelter, nutrition, clean water, sanitation, cooking stoves and refrigeration, and being able to connect physically and socially via transportation and communication technologies. Crucially, this allows for calculation of the resources needed to provide these basic services.

The largest gaps in DLS were found in sub-Saharan Africa, where more than 60% of the population are lacking in at least half of the DLS indicators. The researchers also identified high DLS deprivation in indicators such as sanitation and water access, access to clean cooking, and thermal comfort in South and Pacific Asia, and more moderate gaps in other regions. One of the most striking findings of the study was that the number of people deprived of basic needs according to DLS generally far exceeds the number of people in extreme poverty, meaning that current poverty thresholds are often inconsistent with a decent life.

When looking at which components of DLS require the most investment in energy, the researchers identified shelter and transport as having the largest share.

“The majority of the global population does not currently have decent levels of motorized transport. An important policy lesson for national governments is the large impact of investing in public transit to reduce the use of passenger vehicles, which generally have much higher energy use per person,” says Jarmo Kikstra, lead author of the study and a researcher in the IIASA Energy, Climate, and Environment Program.

The upfront energy required globally to build new houses, roads, and other materials to enable DLS provision for all from 2015 to 2040 is about 12 exajoules per year. This is only a fraction of current total final energy use, which exceeds 400 exajoules per year. The increase in annual energy for operating this increase in services, including maintenance costs, is more substantial, eventually increasing by about 68 exajoules. For some countries, reaching this goal would require robust changes in development, which will be challenging, especially in the Global South.

“For most countries, especially many poor countries in Africa, unprecedented growth in energy use as well as more equitably distributed growth are essential to achieving DLS before mid-century,” Kikstra adds. “Therefore, the biggest challenge for policymakers will be to achieve an equitable distribution of energy access worldwide, which is currently still out of reach.”

According to the study, the amount of energy needed for decent living worldwide is less than half of the total final energy demand projected under most future pathways that keep temperature rise below 1.5° C. This indicates that achieving DLS for all does not have to interfere with climate goals. While this ratio changes in different climate mitigation scenarios and by region, the energy needs for DLS always remain well below the projected energy demands on the level of larger global regions.

“To achieve decent living conditions worldwide, it seems that we do not have to limit energy access to basic services as there is a surplus of total energy. What is perhaps unexpected is that even under very ambitious poverty eradication and climate mitigation scenarios, there is quite a lot of energy still available for affluence,” says study author Alessio Mastrucci.

“Our results support the view that on a global scale, energy for eradicating poverty does not pose a threat for mitigating climate change. However, to provide everyone with a decent life, energy redistribution across the world and unprecedented final energy growth in many poor countries is required,” concludes study author, Jihoon Min.

September 6, 2021 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Global Cooperation, Not Endless War Should Be Future of US Foreign Policy

Biden was right to pull out of Afghanistan, yet wrong on the larger picture.

America’s mortal enemies are not China, Iran, and Russia. Our real enemies are the common scourges facing humanity today. Global problems cannot be solved by individual nations alone.

It is uncertain whether America will change its relentless aggressive foreign policy for our own good, and the world’s. Our nation has been at war for centuries. Our repeated failures have led the political right to double down, calling with increasing fervor for more weapons, and further escalation with China, Iran, Russia, and other alleged foes. Yes, we have pulled out of Afghanistan—42 years too late—and that is good. But will the United States adopt a new foreign policy based on peace and problem-solving? That’s the real question.

Global Cooperation, Not Endless War Should Be Future of US Foreign Policy
Ours have been wars of hatred, not logic, and doomed to fail—at a mind-boggling human and financial cost. https://www.commondreams.org/views/2021/09/03/global-cooperation-not-endless-war-should-be-future-us-foreign-policyJEFFREY D. SACHS  September 3, 2021 by the Boston GlobeDuring the past 60 years, the United States has suffered a series of failed wars in Indochina, Central America, the Middle East, and Afghanistan. Each of these wars produced mayhem and suffering, followed by an American retreat. While the American right wing has always argued that success needed just one more surge or bombing spree, the truth has been simpler and sadder. Ours have been wars of hatred, not logic, and doomed to fail—at a mind-boggling human and financial cost.

America has never cared to help those we have pretended to “save” by these wars. For that reason alone, America has never had the broad support of local populations that would have been essential for any kind of success in these misguided wars.

Americans didn’t want to save the Vietnamese, Cambodians, and Laotians, who were despised in US popular culture; America wanted to stop communism and the supposed “falling dominoes” across Southeast Asia. America didn’t want to save Salvadorans, Nicaraguans, and others in poverty-stricken Central America; it wanted to stop leftist radicals who threatened American investments in the region. America didn’t want to save the Iraqis, Libyans, and Syrians; it wanted to topple regimes and replace them with US-backed regimes.

And America cared not a whit about Afghanistan, a point confirmed repeatedly by President Biden in recent days. Biden has noted, approvingly, that the United States went to Afghanistan for one reason and one reason only: to get Osama bin Laden and Al Qaeda after 9/11, not to help the people of Afghanistan.

Tellingly, Biden has not been truthful about the real origin of US intervention in Afghanistan, following a pattern set by his predecessors. America’s intervention in Afghanistan goes back to 1979, more than 20 years before 9/11, when the CIA secretly trained, armed, and funded Islamic jihadists in Afghanistan to fight the Soviet Union. The US-created fighting force morphed into Al Qaeda and the Taliban, but no president, including Biden, has honestly explained the basic facts to the American people.

America’s right-wing culture has often been hostile toward the non-European world—the “shithole countries” in Donald Trump’s disgusting yet telling phrase. For the past 60 years, the United States has waged war after war for America’s narrow interests alone, and has created havoc, destruction, and death in its wake.

I have worked for decades in countries that all too many Americans find contemptible due to their poverty, religion, skin color, desire to migrate from hunger and violence, and insolence for trying to claim control over their own oil, uranium, and other minerals that America craves. Begrudging development assistance to these countries is a congressional pastime. People in those countries know all too well about American power, and its destructive potential. They try their best to stay out of harm’s way.

In pulling the United States out of Afghanistan, Biden showed scant sympathy for the Afghan people. He mocked the idea of “nation-building,” an American phrase of scorn that seems to mean being naïve enough to try to help another country. Is it any surprise that the regime in Afghanistan propped up by American power crumbled so rapidly just as America departed?

Lest any American mistakenly think that much of the roughly $1 trillion the US spent in Afghanistan for war and reconstruction went towards nation-building, it did not. Perhaps 2 percent of the total US spending went for purposes such as health, education, and civilian infrastructure. Almost all the money went for military and security purposes—troops, armaments, Afghan security forces, and the like. After 20 years, we left behind a country where 38 percent of the children are stunted due to chronic undernutrition.

In explaining America’s exit, Biden played the typical American foreign policy tune, that the world is very dangerous place filled with foes of America. The job of the president, Biden emphasized, is to protect America from those enemies, just no longer in Afghanistan. Here is how Biden summarized the global scene:

“This is a new world. The terror threat has metastasized across the world, well beyond Afghanistan. We face threats from Al Shabab in Somalia; Al Qaeda affiliates in Syria in and the Arabian Peninsula; and ISIS attempting to create a caliphate in Syria and Iraq, and establishing affiliates across Africa and Asia … And here’s a critical thing to understand: The world is changing. We’re engaged in a serious competition with China. We’re dealing with the challenges on multiple fronts with Russia. We’re confronted with cyberattacks and nuclear proliferation. We have to shore up America’s competitive[ness] to meet these new challenges in the competition for the 21st century.”

Here is what he should have said instead: All countries—including the United States, members of the European Union, Russia, China, Iran, and, yes, Afghanistan—are destabilized by the COVID-19 pandemic; the effects of the climate crisis (floods, droughts, hurricanes, forest fires, heatwaves); widening income inequality further dividing the haves and have nots; the upheavals of digital technologies; and the dangerous political influence of plutocrats. All of these are shared problems across the globe, and all require intensive global cooperation rather than confrontation.

Biden was right to pull out of Afghanistan, yet wrong on the larger picture.

America’s mortal enemies are not China, Iran, and Russia. Our real enemies are the common scourges facing humanity today. Global problems cannot be solved by individual nations alone.

It is uncertain whether America will change its relentless aggressive foreign policy for our own good, and the world’s. Our nation has been at war for centuries. Our repeated failures have led the political right to double down, calling with increasing fervor for more weapons, and further escalation with China, Iran, Russia, and other alleged foes. Yes, we have pulled out of Afghanistan—42 years too late—and that is good. But will the United States adopt a new foreign policy based on peace and problem-solving? That’s the real question.

September 6, 2021 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

We mustn’t kick the radioactive nuclear waste can down the road any longer. It’s time to tackle the problem head-on.  

The current reality, as stated by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, is that a repository might never materialize, saddling nuclear plants with storing spent fuel onsite indefinitely.

Creating more U.S. nuclear plants and deadly waste is insane when we can’t guarantee the safety of either existing aging plants or the 80,000-pluss metric tons of spent fuel already generated. The argument that nuclear is needed to address global warming reflects the same foolhardy mindset — ignoring adverse long-term impacts for short-term gains — that created the climate crisis in the first place.

We mustn’t kick the radioactive nuclear waste can down the road any longer. It’s time to tackle the problem head-on.  

Opinion: Investing in More Nuclear Power Can’t Be Our Solution to Climate Change  https://timesofsandiego.com/opinion/2021/09/03/investing-in-more-nuclear-power-cant-be-a-solution-to-the-climate-crisis/ by Sarah Mosko, Two days agoIf you live in Orange or San Diego County, hopefully you’re aware that San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station has been turned into a nuclear waste dump for the foreseeable future. If you live on planet earth, you’re wise to be tracking domestic and foreign moves to increase reliance on nuclear energy.

The United States ushered in the atomic age in 1945 by dropping a uranium bomb on Hiroshima and a plutonium bomb on Nagasaki. We now have 3.6 million pounds of these and other lethal radioactive elements sitting on the beach at San Onofre in temporary canisters, scheduled to remain there indefinitely.

No one has figured out how to safely dispose of deadly nuclear waste. Yet, to combat the climate crisis, the United States and the world propose to create more of it by extending the life of existing nuclear power plants and building new ones. Has the world learned nothing from the catastrophes of Three Mile Island, Chernobyl, and Fukushima?

Since San Onofre closed down in 2013, controversy has swirled around the dry waste storage systems selected by the plant’s operator, Southern California Edison.

As is true of all U.S.’s nuclear plants, San Onofre wasn’t designed for nuclear waste storage after decommissioning. The Nuclear Waste Act of 1982 mandated construction of a deep geological repository to store the nation’s spent fuel for the hundreds of thousands of years it remains deadly. However, as hopes for a repository at Nevada’s Yucca Mountain collapsed out of concern about groundwater contamination, talk turned to creating “interim” storage sites in Texas and New Mexico, though those states are balking at the prospect too.

The current reality, as stated by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, is that a repository might never materialize, saddling nuclear plants with storing spent fuel onsite indefinitely.

As of last August, all of San Onofre’s spent fuel was transferred into 123 dry storage canisters, each with the potential to release as much highly radioactive Cesium-137 as was released during the 1986 Chernobyl disaster.

San Onofre’s canisters are thin-walled (5/8 inch) stainless steel and susceptible to “stress corrosion cracking” in a marine environment. They weren’t designed for safe maintenance, inspection, storage or transport.

The potential consequences of cracks are far worse than small radiation releases into the atmosphere: Canisters are filled with helium expressly to limit corrosion and prevent explosions triggered by air or water getting inside.

Contrast this with thick-walled (10-19 inches) casks used in most countries which aren’t susceptible to stress corrosion cracking and are designed for maintenance, inspection, storage and transport.

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September 6, 2021 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

In China, wind and solar energy are the clear winners over nuclear.

A Decade Of Wind, Solar, & Nuclear In China Shows Clear Scalability Winners
China’s natural experiment in deploying low-carbon energy generation shows that wind and solar are the clear winners.   https://cleantechnica.com/2021/09/05/a-decade-of-wind-solar-nuclear-in-china-shows-clear-scalability-winners/ By Michael Barnard, 6 Sept 21,

Generation in TWh added each year by wind, solar and nuclear in China 2010-2020

My 2014 thesis continues to be supported by the natural experiment being played out in China. In my recent published assessment of small modular nuclear reactors (tl’dr: bad idea, not going to work), it became clear to me that China has fallen into one of the many failure conditions of rapid deployment of nuclear, which is to say an expanding set of technologies instead of a standardized single technology, something that is one of the many reasons why SMRs won’t be deployed in any great numbers.

Wind and solar are going to be the primary providers of low-carbon energy for the coming century, and as we electrify everything, the electrons will be coming mostly from the wind and sun, in an efficient, effective and low-cost energy model that doesn’t pollute or cause global warming. Good news indeed that these technologies are so clearly delivering on their promise to help us deal with the climate crisis. 

In 2014, I made the strong assertion that China’s track record on wind and nuclear generation deployments showed clearly that wind energy was more scalable. In 2019, I returned to the subject, and assessed wind, solar and nuclear total TWh of generation, asserting that wind and solar were outperforming nuclear substantially in total annual generation, and projected that the two renewable forms of generation would be producing 4 times the total TWh of nuclear by 2030 each year between them. Mea culpa: in the 2019 assessment, I overstated the experienced capacity factor for wind generation in China, which still lags US experiences, but has improved substantially in the past few years.


My thesis on scalability of deployment has remained unchanged: the massive numerical economies of scale for manufacturing and distributing wind and solar components, combined with the massive parallelization of construction that is possible with those technologies, will always make them faster and easier to scale in capacity and generation than the megaprojects of GW-scale nuclear plants. This was obvious in 2014, it was obviously true in 2019, and it remains clearly demonstrable today. Further, my point was that China was the perfect natural experiment for this assessment, as it was treating both deployments as national strategies (an absolute condition of success for nuclear) and had the ability and will to override local regulations and any NIMBYism. No other country could be used to easily assess which technologies could be deployed more quickly.

In March of this year I was giving the WWEA USA+Canada wind energy update as part of WWEA’s regular round-the-world presentation by industry analysts in the different geographies. My report was unsurprising. In 2020’s update, the focus had been on what the impact of COVID-19 would be on wind deployments around the world. My update focused on the much greater focus on the force majeure portions of wind construction contracts, and I expected that Canada and the USA would miss expectations substantially. The story was much the same in other geographies. And that was true for Canada, the USA and most of the rest of the geographies.

But China surprised the world in 2020, deploying not only 72 GW of wind energy, vastly more than expected, but also 48 GW of solar capacity. The wind deployment was a Chinese and global record for a single country, and the solar deployment was over 50% more than the previous year. Meanwhile, exactly zero nuclear reactors were commissioned in 2020.

And so, I return to my analysis of Chinese low-carbon energy deployment, looking at installed capacity and annual added extra generation.

Grid-connections of nameplate capacity of wind, solar and nuclear in China 2010-2020 chart by author
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September 6, 2021 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

NSW is about to overtake the Sunshine State on large scale solar production — RenewEconomy

Queensland is about to lose its mantle as the state with the most large scale solar farm production, as new projects come on line in NSW. The post NSW is about to overtake the Sunshine State on large scale solar production appeared first on RenewEconomy.

NSW is about to overtake the Sunshine State on large scale solar production — RenewEconomy

September 6, 2021 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Another record tumbles as renewables share reaches 57.3 per cent — RenewEconomy

Record for share of renewable energy in Australia’s main grid tumbles again on Sunday morning. The post Another record tumbles as renewables share reaches 57.3 per cent appeared first on RenewEconomy.

Another record tumbles as renewables share reaches 57.3 per cent — RenewEconomy

September 6, 2021 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment