Antinuclear

Australian news, and some related international items

Australian Parliament should urgently review the potentially dangerous AUKUS deal

Australian Federal Parliament Should Urgently Review the Potentially Dangerous AUKUS Deal   https://worldbeyondwar.org/australian-federal-parliament-should-urgently-review-the-potentially-dangerous-aukus-deal/

By Australians for War Powers Reform, November 17, 2021

On September 15 2021, with no public consultation, Australia entered into a trilateral security arrangement with Britain and the United States, known as the AUKUS Partnership. This is expected to become a Treaty in 2022.

At short notice, Australia cancelled its contract with France to purchase and build 12 submarines on 16 September 2021 and replaced it with an arrangement to buy eight nuclear submarines from either Britain or the United States or both. The first of these submarines is unlikely to be available until 2040 at the earliest, with major uncertainties in relation to cost, delivery schedule and the ability of Australia to support such a capability.

Australians for War Powers Reform sees the public announcement of AUKUS as a smokescreen for other undertakings between Australia and the United States, the details of which are vague but which have major implications for Australia’s security and Independence.

Australia said the United States had requested increased use of Australian defence facilities. The US would like to base more bomber and escort aircraft in the north of Australia, presumably at Tindale. The US wants to increase the number of marines deployed in Darwin, which would see numbers rise to around 6,000. The US wants greater home porting of its vessels in Darwin and Fremantle, including nuclear-powered and armed submarines.

Pine Gap is in the process of significantly expanding its listening and war directing capabilities.

Acquiescing to these requests or demands considerably undermines Australian sovereignty.

The US is likely to want oversight, amounting to control, of northern air space and shipping lanes.

If the US deploys Cold War tactics against China, for that is what this military build-up is all about, it is likely to conduct aggressive flight missions up to the edge of Chinese air space with nuclear armed bombers, just as it did against the USSR. The US will patrol shipping lanes with greater frequency and intensity, knowing it has secure home bases only a short distance away, protected by surface-to-surface and surface-to-air missiles which are soon to be installed.

Any one of these flights or naval patrols could trigger a warlike response directed against Australian and US defence facilities and other assets of strategic value, such as oil, fresh water and infrastructure, or a cyber-attack on Australian communications and infrastructure.

Australia could be at war before most Australian politicians are aware of what is happening. In such an event, Parliament will have no say on going to war nor on the conduct of hostilities. Australia will be on a war footing as soon as these arrangements are in place.

AUKUS will be detrimental to national security. The ADF will lose its capacity to act independently.

Australians for War Power Reform believes these arrangements should not come into force, and that AUKUS should not become a Treaty.

We deplore the lack of consultation with neighbours, friends and allies, particularly relating to the storage and home porting of nuclear weapons and other US arms, ammunition and materiel.

We deplore the hostile profile adopted against our recent friend and major trading partner China.

We deplore the activities of the Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI), funded by foreign arms manufacturers and the US State Department, in blind-siding the Australian people with its advocacy for such a deleterious outcome.

November 17, 2021 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics international, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Morrison’s tactless belligerence towards China, while USA moves to mend relationship to China

Morrison didn’t mention China – he didn’t have to,  https://www.afr.com/policy/foreign-affairs/morrison-didn-t-mention-china-he-didn-t-have-to-20211117-p599t4

Scott Morrison is selling the broader and immediate technology benefits of the AUKUS deal as he campaigns on national security.Jennifer HewettColumnist   he Morrison government’s blueprint for critical technologies is supposed to demonstrate the immediate benefits of much broader research and technology exchange as a result of the AUKUS deal on nuclear submarines.

After all, it’s not just France’s Emmanuel Macron expressing savage criticism about the “fantasy” of the decades-long timetable for Australia’s new submarine strategy to be realised.

So the Prime Minister wants to sell the national security significance of advanced technology co-operation with allies in protecting Australia from urgent, increasing threats in the Indo-Pacific region, including cyber attack.

A first step is $70 million for a quantum commercialisation hub to co-ordinate industry and research in quantum computing and partner with equivalent bodies in “like-minded countries”, starting with a joint co-operation agreement with the US.

“Our trilateral efforts in AUKUS will enhance our joint capabilities and interoperability with an initial focus on cyber capabilities, artificial intelligence, quantum technologies and additional undersea capabilities,” Morrison told the inaugural Sydney Dialogue.

Even though he didn’t specifically name China, Morrison’s primary target might as well have had blinking red lights around it. It wasn’t just that the government partnered for the dialogue with the Australian Strategic Policy Institute, regularly condemned by Beijing for overt antagonism towards China.

Morrison’s repeated references to the importance of trust, shared values and like-minded countries are all supposed to buttress the image of an Australian government in lockstep with other leading democracies against aggression and interference from governments that don’t “see technology the same way”.

“To state the obvious, AUKUS is about much more than nuclear submarines,” he said.

“The simple fact is that nations at the leading edge of technology have greater economic, political and military power. And, in turn, greater capacity to influence the norms and values that will shape technological development in the years to come.”

But the timing of Morrison’s address, right after US President Joe Biden held his virtual summit with China’s Xi Jinping, is an awkward reminder of Australia’s uniquely isolated status in China’s diplomatic deep freeze.

Even the government’s relatively modest $111 million “down payment” on quantum computing as one of nine priority critical technologies demonstrates the limits of Australia’s attempts to harness revolutionary global trends in technology as well as in geopolitics.

China’s leadership is clearly willing to punish Australia’s supposed transgressions with punitive trade measures and a refusal to engage indefinitely. Beijing’s blanket attitude will not soften and may yet harden, especially given the propensity of various government ministers to emphasise Australia’s determination to confront China.

US-China relationship reset

Beijing certainly paid furious attention to recent comments by Defence Minister Peter Dutton, for example, that it would be “inconceivable” for Australia not to support the US in defending Taiwan if the US chose to take that action. So much for the attempt at maintaining deliberate diplomatic nuance with a long-term policy of “strategic ambiguity” on this sensitive topic.

It will become yet another marker making it hard for Australia to retreat on its rhetoric and easy for China to berate with its own. While it is certainly China under Xi that has changed most – and made no friends in the region by doing so – Australia’s challenges to China’s approach can never add up to an argument between economic and power equals.

That’s why most other governments are more cautious in their wording unless their borders or direct interests are threatened.

And now the Biden administration is also keen to at least partially reset its relationship with China after the open hostility of the past few years.

That is despite continuing US ire over China’s behaviour translating into rare bipartisanship in Congress about the need to aggressively counter China as a military and economic threat.

Despite his confidence in the West’s steady decline and China’s inevitable ascendance, Xi also wants to improve the connection with the US.

Unlike its rejection of Australia, China can’t afford to ignore the potential moves and countermoves of another great power. With the erratic Donald Trump no longer in office and Xi seemingly in office for as long as he wants, talks have become more feasible.

The US President declared it to be the responsibility of both leaders to “ensure that the competition between our two countries does not veer into conflict, whether intended or unintended”.

The most obvious flashpoint is Taiwan with the virtual summit not producing any breakthroughs or much evidence of the “commonsense guardrails” that Biden had suggested could help manage tensions.

But beneath the litany of grievances reiterated by both leaders on a range of issues, the three-and-a-half-hour meeting demonstrated a desire to keep lines of communication open and encourage potential co-operation in discreet areas of mutual interest.

That was evident in their agreement on climate change – however vaguely worded – that was unexpectedly announced in Glasgow. After the summit, the two sides have also tentatively agreed to explore the possibility of arms control talks – spurred by China’s rapid acceleration of its nuclear weapons capability.

In contrast to the treatment of Australian journalists, there is also an apparent easing of current restrictions on journalists following China’s expulsion of some US reporters during the Trump Administration.

How much all this will alter the substance as well as the tone of the strategic rivalry and disputes between two great powers asserting themselves in the Indo-Pacific is even less clear.

But for all the talk of trusted partners, the importance of alliances of democracies and the US not “leaving Australia on the field” in terms of China’s economic coercion, the Biden administration will be heavily focused on its own national interest in dealing with China.

Caveat emptor.

”.

November 17, 2021 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics international | Leave a comment

Taylor concedes key government policy was never intended to cut emissions — RenewEconomy

Taylor rules out strengthening the Safeguard Mechanism, raising fresh questions around how the Morrison government intends to get to zero net emissions. The post Taylor concedes key government policy was never intended to cut emissions appeared first on RenewEconomy.

Taylor concedes key government policy was never intended to cut emissions — RenewEconomy

November 17, 2021 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Queensland’s biggest coal export terminal goes 100 pct renewable, with certificates — RenewEconomy

Dalrymple Bay Coal Terminal inks deal with CleanCo to offset 100% of its electricity consumption with the purchase of renewable energy certificates. The post Queensland’s biggest coal export terminal goes 100 pct renewable, with certificates appeared first on RenewEconomy.

Queensland’s biggest coal export terminal goes 100 pct renewable, with certificates — RenewEconomy

November 17, 2021 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Queensland outlines plans for 3GW of new renewables, but it’s not nearly enough — RenewEconomy

Early feedback on framework for proposed 3.3GW first-stage build-out of Queensland’s renewable energy zones is that it is too little, and too slow. The post Queensland outlines plans for 3GW of new renewables, but it’s not nearly enough appeared first on RenewEconomy.

Queensland outlines plans for 3GW of new renewables, but it’s not nearly enough — RenewEconomy

November 17, 2021 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Telstra to tap 1GW of batteries and “abundant, dirt cheap clean energy” in big new play — RenewEconomy

Telstra looks to huge battery reserve and machine learning as it outlines plans to steal the march on energy incumbents in a rapidly changing market. The post Telstra to tap 1GW of batteries and “abundant, dirt cheap clean energy” in big new play appeared first on RenewEconomy.

Telstra to tap 1GW of batteries and “abundant, dirt cheap clean energy” in big new play — RenewEconomy

November 17, 2021 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Rooftop solar crunches minimum demand to new lows, despite aircon use in warm weather — RenewEconomy

Rooftop solar and industrial load outages send minimum demand to a new record low in WA’s main grid, despite warm weather and air-con use. The post Rooftop solar crunches minimum demand to new lows, despite aircon use in warm weather appeared first on RenewEconomy.

Rooftop solar crunches minimum demand to new lows, despite aircon use in warm weather — RenewEconomy

November 17, 2021 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Germany’s Chancellor Merkel maintains stand against nuclear power being classified as sustainable

Merkel defends nuclear power exit despite climate challenges,  Euro News,  By Andreas Rinke, 17 Nov 21,

BERLIN -Chancellor Angela Merkel has defended her decision to phase out nuclear energy, even though it has made it harder for Germany to wean its economy off fossil fuels.

In an interview with Reuters, the outgoing chancellor also said she was opposed to any plans by the European Union to label nuclear power as “sustainable”.

“It’s true, of course, that we now face the very ambitious and challenging task of completing the energy transition while phasing out coal and nuclear power,” said Merkel, who will step down once a new government is sworn in following an election in September.

“But it’s also true that this will be worth it for our country if we do it right.”

Merkel, who has led her country for 16 years, pushed for Germany to abandon nuclear power after the Fukushima disaster in Japan a decade ago, a decision that most Germans agree with……..

RENEWABLES

The share of renewables in the energy mix of Europe’s largest economy has been growing steadily since the Fukushima disaster, though energy economists say it has not risen fast enough to help Germany meet its ambitious emissions targets.

Renewables accounted for 45% of Germany’s energy last year, up from 17% in 2010, data compiled by the Agora Energiewende think-tank showed. The share of electricity generated from coal fell to 23% from 42% a decade ago. Nuclear power was halved to 11%.

The EU executive, the European Commission, is drawing up a sustainable finance “taxonomy” setting out which activities meet the environmental criteria to qualify for funding under an EU sustainable investment programme.

A document viewed by Reuters in March indicated experts were preparing to label nuclear power as sustainable because it has none of the carbon dioxide emissions produced by fossil fuels.

Merkel said Germany would continue to oppose the plan but acknowledged that it would be hard to rally 19 other members behind its position to block it.

“It’s difficult to stall the procedure as such once the European Commission has presented an act,” said Merkel.

“We in Germany believe – across party lines – that nuclear energy should not be classified as being as clean as wind and solar energy.”……… https://www.euronews.com/next/2021/11/17/germany-merkel-nuclear-exclusive

November 17, 2021 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

November 17 Energy News — geoharvey

Opinion:  ¶ “Nuclear Power Won’t Save the World. It Won’t Even Help” • Putting money into nuclear power goes beyond being a huge waste. It detracts from the vital issue of dealing with climate change now by making money unavailable for dealing with the problem using less expensive, more flexible energy that can be built […]

November 17 Energy News — geoharvey

November 17, 2021 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment