We have now reached a time where an overwhelming majority of the world’s nations are ready to outlaw nuclear weapons, just as the world outlawed chemical and biological weapons and land mines.
There is no reason why we should not be providing leadership in the effort to ban nuclear weapons.
Australia must play our part. Malcolm Turnbull should commit to attending the 2017 negotiating conference. If Australia fails to participate, this will tarnish our international reputation as a disarmament supporter and, in doing so, fail to act to promote safety in our world.
AUSTRALIA MUST PLAY ITS PART IN ABOLISHING NUCLEAR WEAPONS , ANTHONY ALBANESE MP, SPEECH TO THE TOM UREN MEMORIAL FOUNDATION FOR THE INTERNATIONAL CAMPAIGN TO ABOLISH NUCLEAR WEAPONS , 12 Feb 17
In 1961 John F Kennedy told the United Nations:
Today, every inhabitant of this planet must contemplate the day when this planet may no longer be habitable. Every man, woman and child lives under a nuclear sword of Damocles, hanging by the slenderest of threads, capable of being cut at any moment by accident or miscalculation or by madness. The weapons of war must be abolished before they abolish us.
It is incredible to think that almost six decades on, this threat still exists. We must continue to dedicate ourselves to eliminating this threat. Every nation has a responsibility to work for a world free of nuclear weapons.
Australia is no exception.
That is why the work of ICAN in Australia and around the world, in helping to progress the disarmament agenda, is so important.
I come to this debate with the benefit of the testimony of a man who saw the horror of nuclear weapons first hand. Tom Uren was imprisoned in a POW camp on the island of Omuta on 9 August 1945. Just after 11am, the US detonated an atomic bomb over the city of Nagasaki about 80km away. Estimates of the death toll ranged between 40,000 and 80,000. That’s men, women and children. Nuclear weapons don’t discriminate.
Tim Wright, the Asia-Pacific director of the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons, said Australia was turning its back on the UN at a time when multilateral cooperation was more important than ever. He accused Australia of “taking orders from the Trump administration”.
“Every country in south-east Asia and nearly all countries in the Pacific have declared their strong support for the upcoming UN negotiations. Australia will be sitting in self-imposed exile from one of the biggest and most important international treaty-making initiatives in recent history.
“This will be the first time that Australia has ever boycotted disarmament negotiations.
Australia to boycott global summit on treaty to ban nuclear weapons https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/feb/17/australia-to-boycott-global-summit-on-treaty-to-ban-nuclear-weapons
Anti-nuclear campaigners accuse Australia of turning its back on the UN and ‘taking orders from the Trump administration’, Ben Doherty, Australia will boycott global negotiations on a treaty to ban nuclear weapons at the United Nations next month.
The global summit, to be held in New York on 27 March, will go ahead with Australia out of the room. Continue reading
Melted Nuclear Fuel Search Proceeds One Dead Robot at a Time,Bloomberg, by Stephen Stapczynski and Emi Urabe February 17, 2017,
The Murky Future of Nuclear Power in the United States, FEB. 18, 2017 This was supposed to be America’s nuclear century.
Their letter prompted another, from Dr Allen Frances, professor emeritus of psychiatry and behavioural sciences at Duke University Medical College, who happens to be the expert psychiatrist who defined narcissistic personality disorder.
He rebuked the authors, arguing that to claim that Trump is mentally ill is an insult to those who truly are. But he also had this to say – Trump may be a “world-class narcissist”.
But the debate has taken off. Another psychologist weighed in last month, telling US News and World Report that Trump displays a malignant narcissism, characterised by grandiosity, sadism and anti-social behaviour.
Americans take an anxious journey to the centre of Donald Trump’s mind, The Age,Paul McGeough, 20 Feb 17 Washington: Flip references by reporters – mine included – to Donald Trump not taking his meds have been criticised as offensive to the mentally ill. But Trump’s unhinged behaviour, as in his erratic press conference on Thursday, ensures that the President’s mental state is the stuff of debate.
Rick Wilson, a Republican Party strategist and Trump critic, saw the Thursday press conference as a turning point – instead of a divide between left and right, the split he sees in America is between those who saw the spectacle as a “success” and those who are “terrified” for the future of the country.
“[His press conference] could have been evidence in a mental competency hearing,” he told The Washington Post. “It was really pretty disturbing and terrifying to watch this guy and think: ‘What happens when the stakes are higher?'”
On Saturday, The New York Times‘ conservative columnist David Brooks wrote in similar language about the press conference: “President Trump’s mental state is like a train that long ago left freewheeling and iconoclastic, has raced through indulgent, chaotic and unnerving, and is now careening past unhinged, unmoored and unglued.”
It’s not just the commentariat in the “fake press”, on which Trump has upped the ante, denouncing them as “the enemy of the American people”. Mental health professionals are weighing in. Continue reading
Tim Bickmore , Fight to stop Nuclear Waste Dump in South Australia There is also another elephant in the room which is yet to rate a mention. At Lucas heights there are 2 reactors – OPAL & HIFAR. OPAL is the working reactor, whilst HIFAR is the old one now undergoing de-commissioning – which includes dealing with more radioactive waste. Is the HIFAR waste (= old reactor parts) also destined for the dump? Considering the decommission schedule, this seems highly probable & where else would it go……
“HIFAR is currently being decommissioned and will be totally decommissioned by 2018.” HTTPS://WWW.FACEBOOK.COM/GROUPS/344452605899556/
Josh Frydenberg flags changes to allow CEFC to invest in carbon capture and storage, ABC News, AM By Eliza Borrello, 20 Feb 17, Federal Energy Minister Josh Frydenberg has revealed the Government is considering lifting a ban on allowing the Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC) to invest in carbon capture and storage……At the moment the CEFC, the Government’s green bank, is not allowed to invest in it.
But amid the Coalition’s renewed support for coal-fired power, Mr Frydenberg said that could change…..
Shadow Energy Minister Mark Butler said it would require the kind of legislation Labor would strongly oppose. “This would be an outrageous act of vandalism against a successful financing mechanism for renewable energy, for energy efficiency projects and for genuine low-carbon technology,” he said.”It’s no real surprise, I guess, because the Liberal Party has never really supported the CEFC. “It tried to abolish it for three years and now seems committed to making it a finance mechanism for the coal industry, which is unable to attract finance from the private sector.”
Government interested in low-emission coal-fired plants Mr Frydenberg said he was also interested in investment in high-efficiency, low-emission coal-fired plants.
Currently they are not green enough for the CEFC to invest in, but Mr Frydenberg has flagged changing the rules. “The Government could issue a new mandate to the CEFC which would then inform its guidelines and would make possible an investment in a high-efficiency low-emission power plant,” he said……
But Mr Butler said the market was not interested in the kind of plants Mr Frydenberg was suggesting.
“It doesn’t reflect the reality in the electricity industry. No-one in the industry is talking about the reality of building new coal-fired power stations,” he said. http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-02-20/government-interested-in-carbon-capture-tech-frydenberg-says/8284682
Panhandle nuclear weapons assembly plant a hazardous workplace
Workers used to joke that they made soap at the facility
More than 1,300 workers and families have been awarded compensation since 2000
Meltdown of Toshiba’s Nuclear Business Dooms New Construction in the U.S. .MIT Technology Review-16 Feb. 2017 The collapse of the Tokyo company’s nuclear development arm puts a likely end to new U.S. plants. February 17, 2017 Toshiba’s dramatic exit from the business of building nuclear power plants lands another blow to a beleaguered sector, undermining new development and research on advanced reactor designs.
After acquiring a majority stake in Pittsburgh-based Westinghouse Electric in 2006 for $5.4 billion, the Tokyo technology conglomerate had high hopes for rolling out a new generation of safer, smaller, cheaper power plants, as well as a series of streamlined full-scale reactors. Four of the latter are under construction in the United States, representing the only new reactors currently being built in the country. But the company was bedeviled by cost overruns, technical problems, conflicts with contractors, and regulatory challenges that set those projects back by years.
On Tuesday, Toshiba projected a $6.3 billion write-down for its nuclear unit and said it was looking to unload its stake. “It looked like a big deal at the time, but it’s turned into a mess,” says Michael Golay, a professor of nuclear science and engineering at MIT. “And it’s likely to have a very chilling effect.”
Toshiba’s four massive nuclear plants now under construction in the southern United States are AP1000 pressurized-water reactors, which use a simplified design that was supposed to accelerate construction. But the Vogtle project in Georgia and the V.C. Summer project in South Carolina are both around three years behind schedule and, together, billions of dollars over budget.
The company said those projects will continue, but many energy experts believe Toshiba’s decision to cease building new reactors spells the end of any nuclear construction in the United States for the foreseeable future. Analysts doubt Toshiba will find a buyer for its Westinghouse stake, or any willing construction partners to move ahead with dozens of additional plants it had once planned.
Toshiba’s struggles reflect the slow demise of nuclear power in much of the world (see “Giant Holes in the Ground”). The industry has been plagued by the rising cost of construction, the low price of natural gas, the Fukushima disaster in 2011, and the stricter regulations and souring public perceptions that followed. Germany is scaling down its nuclear program, engineering powerhouses like GE and Siemens have pulled back from the market, and France recently engineered the takeover of the nuclear giant Areva to rescue it after a series of stumbles…..
Climate change could threaten entire financial system, APRA warns, ABC News, 17 Feb 17, By Stephen Long Climate change could threaten the stability of the entire financial system, the prudential regulator has warned, as it prepares to apply climate change “stress tests” to the nation’s financial institutions.
In its first major speech on climate change, the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority chastised companies for a lack of action on the risks it poses.
“While climate risks have been broadly recognised, they have often been seen as a future problem or a non-financial problem,” APRA executive board member Geoff Summerhayes told an Insurance Council conference in Sydney.
“Many of these risks are foreseeable, material and actionable now.
The speech comes as the Government and the Opposition bicker about renewable energy targets amid dismay among industry leaders about a lack of certainty on climate change policy.
The Climate Institute’s CEO John Connor described the speech as a “huge” development.
“APRA has never gone out there like this before,” he said.
“It’s an antidote to the hyper partisan political culture war on climate policy; our regulator’s moved to the front foot in managing climate risks.”
The Climate Institute and the Investor Group on Climate Change wrote jointly to the Council of Financial Regulators two years calling for regulatory action on the financial risks from climate change.
Lack of policy ‘could greatly increase financial risks’
APRA warned in the speech that lack of policy and regulatory action could make the financial risks posed by climate change “greater and more abrupt”.
“There could be either sharper, more significant policy changes and market adjustments down the track, or the physical impacts of climate change could become more severe, more likely and more unpredictable,” Mr Summerhayes said.
“Like all risks, it is better they are explicitly considered and managed as appropriate, rather than simply ignored or neglected.
“So what can you expect to see from us? A greater emphasis on stress testing for organisational and systemic resilience in the face of adverse shocks.
“Just as we would expect to see more sophisticated scenario-based analysis of climate risks at the firm level, we look at these risks as part of our system-wide stress testing.”
APRA’s intervention follows a similar though more pointed warning two years ago by the head of the Bank of England about the threats climate change posed to financial stability…….http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-02-17/climate-change-could-threaten-entire-financial-system-apra/8281436?pfmredir=sm
most of the Mineral Council’s biggest members are multinationals, listed on Australian and overseas stock exchanges. Could their membership fees or fighting fund donations be used for the MCA’s political campaigns if foreign donations were banned? Should their individual contributions be revealed?
Deep-pocketed miners don’t like it when those with different views wield clout, Guardian, Lenore Taylor @lenoretaylor 18 February 2017 In 2010 the mining industry’s $22m campaign against Kevin Rudd’s resources tax helped bring down a prime minister. For years it has spent huge sums on donations and advertising and lobbying to exert enormous political influence. But the deep-pocketed miners really don’t like it when those with different views find the cash and the smarts to wield some clout.
About Seed http://www.seedmob.org.au/about_seed
“Seed is Australia’s first Indigenous youth climate network.
We are building a movement of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people for climate justice with the Australian Youth Climate Coalition.
“Our vision is for a just and sustainable future with strong cultures and communities, powered by renewable energy.
“Climate change is one of the greatest threats facing humanity, but we also know it is an opportunity to create a more just and sustainable world.”
PETITION GOAL: 6,000 signatures
“Right now, George Brandis and his mates in parliament are pushing hard to weaken the Native Title Act, we need your help to slow them down.
“The introduction of these amendments is a shameful attempt by the Turnbull Government to change the rules to suit their mates at Adani, and the mining lobby, at the expense of Aboriginal rights.
“There has been no consultation with our mob, and now the government is trying to ram through these changes as an ill-considered, knee jerk reaction to the Queensland Resource Council’s panic.
“Attorney General George Brandis has had the Australian Law Reform Commissions’s report recommending 30 changes to the Native Title Act on his desk for two years and done absolutely nothing to progress reform.
“We call on George Brandis and the Federal Government to put the brakes on amendments to the Native Title Act, consult properly with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander mob, and stop pandering to the scare campaign of the Mineral Council.”
The Adani Brief: our summary https://www.acf.org.au/adani_brief_summary
https://groups.google.com/forum/#!topic/wgar-news/QkXUYq11cmQ 15 February 2017:
The brief is the result of months of international investigation by Environmental Justice Australia and
USA-based environmental law non-profit EarthJustice into the global legal compliance record of the Adani Group.
It puts governments and private stakeholders on notice that backing Adani’s Carmichael
coal mine and rail project in Queensland’s Galilee Basin
may expose them to financial and reputational risks.
Adani Group companies have a record of environmental destruction and non-compliance with environmental regulations.
Some examples are: …
“‘Black money’: …
“Bribery and illegal exports: …
“Confusing and opaque corporate structures: …
“This is a company the government is entrusting: … ”
The Adani Brief:
What governments and financiers need to know
about the Adani Group’s record overseas
Artists paint the truth of SA nuclear la la land https://www.eurekastreet.com.au/article.aspx?aeid=50616#.WKpGiNJ97Gg Michele Madigan | 12 February 2017
‘It will be your artists: the poets, painters, actors, dancers, musicians, orators — they will be the ones to lead the changes.’ It was one of the many international invited guests, a Maori woman speaker, who made this prediction to the huge 40,000 strong crowd; to the 30,000 First Nations people from across the nation and 10,000 of us non-Aboriginal supporters who had joined them enroute to Hyde Park, Sydney, on 26 January 1988.
In South Australia almost 30 years later, this prophecy continues to unfold in the ongoing high-stakes battle for country that surrounds the proposed nuclear waste dump.
The orators have been long leading the way. ‘We can’t sell that country — we can’t sell it. Just like selling your own kid, own grandmother, own grandfather,’ said Arabunna Elder Kevin Buzzacott at the 1998 Global Survival and Indigenous Rights Conference in Melbourne 1998.
Tjunmutja Myra Watson told the Olympic Games international media, Botany Bay, 2000: ‘We already lost everything at Maralinga’ — the site of the 1950s and 1960s British nuclear tests.
‘We thought that Maralinga would be the last one … We love our land … We got the Dreaming, we got the songs and we got the culture. We’re going to fight to keep it. Let’s keep it, let’s keep the country, not this man coming in and digging up our spirit and our land and all our songs. They’re spoiling it when they put the poison in. They’re taking everything and they did it before.’
They are joined in the struggle by other artists: painters Eileen Wani Wingfield and Eileen Unkari Crombie; dancers Eileen Kampakuta Brown, Edie Nyimpula King and other Kupa Piti Kungka Tjuta, dancing for protection of country in the bush; singers like Ivy Makinti Stewart, whose astonishing voice filled the Adelaide Town Hall with the lament of the Seven Sisters: Irati Wanti — the poison — leave it! Continue reading