Australian news, and some related international items

Global bank HSBC warns that Australia is especially vulnerable to climate change

Australia one of the countries most exposed to climate change, bank warns By Cole Latimer, 

A new report by the bank, titled Fragile Planet, has ranked 67 countries for their exposure to climate change risks. Australia scored poorly, with the largest percentage rise in deaths attributable to climate change in the developed world.

Combining data from the World Bank and EM-DAT, the International Disaster Database which calculates economic damage estimates, HSBC said fatalities attributable to climate change-linked events such as stronger storms, floods, or heat-related incidents surged from 0.36 per cent of the population between 1997 and 2006 to 3.41 per cent between 2007 and 2016.

At the same time, the number of people impacted by climate change events surged from 3.25 to 15.25 per 1000 of the population.

Israel and the US were the only developed countries with a bigger share of the population impacted by climate change-related events such as floods, storms, hurricanes, and wildfires.

Globally, the World Health Organisation forecasts that around 250,000 additional deaths annually will be attributable to climate change.

HSBC developed the report as a tool for investors to provide in-depth information on countries’ climate change risk profiles, on their energy issues, risks to business operations, supply and demand and logistics as well as their long-term sustainable development issues.

Australia was ranked as highly sensitive to the physical risks of climate change, with predictions of more storms, floods, rain and bushfires. New Zealand ranked as one the nations least exposed to those risks.

Hurting the economy

Late last year, Deutsche Bank also developed a tool to forecast where its investments across the globe may be impacted by natural disasters brought on by climate change.

The German bank’s economic modelling estimated that if carbon emissions aren’t reduced throughout this century, per capita GDP will be 23 per cent lower than it otherwise would be.

Principal Advisor at The Australia Institute, Mark Ogge, said Australia’s industries and infrastructure, such as coastal based business, roads and rail, and both commercial residential assets, are at significant risk from climate change-related events.

“There’s up to $236 billion of infrastructure at risk from a one-metre sea level rise alone,” Mr Ogge said. Temperature increases also put Australia’s tourism industry at risk, with a rising number of days above 35 degrees celsius in holiday destinations such as Far North Queensland, he added.

Australia is the only developed market that ranked within the top ten in HSBC’s report for energy transition issues due to its high levels of fossil fuel exports – particularly coal – and is one of the few countries that has seen these exports growing as a percentage of their gross domestic product.

HSBC sees risks to the nation’s economy as Australia attempts to shift its energy and economic system, currently underpinned by fossil fuels, to one with a greater mix of renewables.

“Many countries and other actors are at risk of seeing parts of their old energy economy becoming effectively ‘stranded assets’ – or economically non-viable – given the relative economics of alternatives and new breakthrough technologies,” the HSBC report stated.

“Managing the transition to a lower carbon economy is key to mitigating downside risks,” the bank said. “We think achieving diversification is key.”

he good news

However, it is not all bad news. Australia was ranked amongst the top three nations – along with New Zealand and Norway – with the greatest potential to respond to climate change and financially prepare the country for a changing environment.

Despite Australia’s frequent drought conditions, it was seen as a market with adequate water resources availability, while Singapore was the developed market most at risk over water availability.


March 23, 2018 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming | Leave a comment

Floating solar array included in South Australia Water’s big move into solar power

SA Water set to add another 5MW solar, including floating PV array  By Sophie Vorrath on 22 March 2018   One Step Off The Grid   

South Australia’s largest water and sewerage services supplier, SA Water, is set to install another 5MW of solar PV, including a floating solar plant, after local outfit Enerven was awarded the tender for the job.

Enerven said on Wednesday that it had won a Stage 1 contract to design and construct ground-based solar installations at facilities in Hope Valley, Christies Beach and Glenelg, and to develop a floating solar PV array.

SA Water, which has targeted zero net energy by 2020, began its shift to solar last year, with a tender to install 100kW solar and 50kWh battery storage at its Crystal Brook Workshop site.

The utility, which manages more than 27,000km of water mains, including 9,266 km in the Adelaide metropolitan area, said it was installing the solar and storage system to manage periods of high electricity prices, and to ensure safe and sustainable delivery of water to customers.

Ultimately, the company aims to get its on-site renewable energy generation to the point where it is equal to the total annual amount of energy used by SA Water’s buildings and desalination operations.

And it is not alone in its quest. As we have reported on One Step Off The Grid, a number of Australian water utilities are turning to solar and/or wind energy to lower costs and help guarantee supply.

In Queensland, Logan City Council has installed an off-grid solar and battery storage system as part of a micro-grid powered “electro-chlorinator” that will help maintain local drinking water quality 24 hours a day.

The solution – delivered by the Logan Water Infrastructure Alliance and solar installer CSR Bradford – combined a 95kWh Tesla Powerpack with 323 PV panels at the site of the relatively new 20 Megalitre Round Mountain Reservoir, which provides drinking water for residents in Flagstone, Yarrabilba, North Maclean, Spring Mountain and Woodhill.

In the regional Victorian city of Portland, Wannon Water has installed a 100kW solar system on a water tank at its treatment plant at Hamilton that was expected to cut the plant’s grid electricity consumption by 25 per cent.

In NSW, a community-funded 100kW floating solar array has been installed at the East Lismore Sewage Treatment Plant in NSW.

And Queensland’s City of Gold Coast is proposing to install a series of floating solar PV arrays on its network of wastewater ponds – both to help power the city’s wastewater treatment plants and to cut evaporation from the ponds.

Enerven says design of the SA Water solar project has commenced, and is due for completion in September 2018.

This article was originally published on RenewEconomy’s sister site, One Step Off The Grid, which focuses on customer experience with distributed generation. To sign up to One Step’s free weekly newsletter, please click here.

March 22, 2018 Posted by | solar, South Australia | Leave a comment

Solar energy poised to take off in a big way in New South Wales

NSW, the sleeping giant of rooftop solar, is about to awake   By Giles Parkinson on 22 March 2018 

March 22, 2018 Posted by | New South Wales, solar | Leave a comment

Proposed storage of spent nuclear fuel sparks resistance in Aomori Pref. City

Fukushima 311 Watchdogs

Recyclable Fuel Storage Co interim storage facility mutsu, Aomori Prefecture.jpg
The Recyclable-Fuel Storage Co. interim storage facility is seen fenced off in Mutsu, Aomori Prefecture, on March 6, 2018
March 22, 2018
The selection of a site to house an interim storage facility for spent fuel from nuclear power plants operated by Kansai Electric Power Co. (KEPCO) has run into rough waters. In January, the Aomori Prefecture city of Mutsu surfaced as a candidate, but resistance quickly emerged from locals.
With KEPCO’s nuclear power plants being concentrated in Fukui Prefecture, the prefectural government has set a basic premise of storing spent nuclear fuel outside the prefecture. The utility aims to announce a candidate site this year, but there remains fierce opposition to accepting nuclear fuel from other prefectures, and because of this, its prospects of settling on a site are unclear.
After a 20-minute drive along a national route from central Mutsu during a visit by the Mainichi Shimbun in…

View original post 510 more words

March 22, 2018 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Fukushima Accident is Becoming More Severe, Residents Continue to Struggle: Ruiko Muto on 7 Years of the Nuclear Disaster

Fukushima 311 Watchdogs

March 16, 2018
Ruiko Muto is a well-known community activist in Fukushima, associated with ‘Fukushima Women Against Nukes’ and several other citizens’ platforms. She has played a pivotal role in the arduous legal battle to ensure compensation and justice for the Fukushima residents. It is 7 years of the ongoing accident in Fukushima and the disaster has slipped out of the international media. How serious is the situation now?
Ruiko Muto: The media in Japan is the same with reduced coverage nationwide. Even within Fukushima Prefecture, most of the news coverage focuses on recovery efforts and there are hardly any important articles on the accident or the damage and sometimes nothing at all. However, the reality is that this accident is very far from over and the damage it has caused, while taking on different shapes and forms, is only becoming more severe.
Within the Fukushima…

View original post 1,418 more words

March 22, 2018 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

SEVEN YEARS AFTER: Only trickle of former residents returning home to Fukushima

Fukushima 311 Watchdogs

evacuees return 22 march 2018.jpg
March 22, 2018
Close to a year after evacuation orders were lifted in four municipalities near the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant, only 6.1 percent of evacuees have returned to live in their former communities.
According to a survey of displaced residents, the top reasons cited for not returning were the condition of their homes, concerns about radiation and the lack of hospitals and stores.
The Asahi Shimbun has conducted annual surveys of evacuees since June 2011 with Akira Imai, a senior researcher at the Japan Research Institute for Local Government.
In the latest survey, questionnaires were sent in mid-January to 329 individuals who participated in past surveys. Valid responses were received from 161 individuals now residing in 19 prefectures around Japan aged between 28 and 91.
Of the respondents, 114 were still living as evacuees.
Close to 70 percent of the respondents said the…

View original post 302 more words

March 22, 2018 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Earth Hour 24 March

Scotsman 21st March 2018, WWF’s Earth Hour is the biggest global­ ­campaign for the
environment. Its unique display of darkness has become a phenomenon over
the past decade, with last year proving to be the biggest and best yet.

March 22, 2018 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Reckless nuclear weapons testing cost many many civilian lives

US nuclear tests killed far more civilians than we knew   Tim Fernholz    December 21, 2017

When the US entered the nuclear age, it did so recklessly. New research suggests that the hidden cost of developing nuclear weapons were far larger than previous estimates, with radioactive fallout responsible for 340,000 to 690,000 American deaths from 1951 to 1973.

The study, performed by University of Arizona economist Keith Meyersuses a novel method (pdf) to trace the deadly effects of this radiation, which was often consumed by Americans drinking milk far from the site of atomic tests.

From 1951 to 1963, the US tested nuclear weapons above ground in Nevada. Weapons researchers, not understanding the risks—or simply ignoring them—exposed thousands of workers to radioactive fallout. The emissions from nuclear reactions are deadly to humans in high doses, and can cause cancer even in low doses. At one point, researchers had volunteers stand underneath an airburst nuclear weapon to prove how safe it was:

The emissions, however, did not just stay at the test site, and drifted in the atmosphere. Cancer rates spiked in nearby communities, and the US government could no longer pretend that fallout was anything but a silent killer.

The cost in dollars and lives Continue reading

March 22, 2018 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Pro nuclear enthusiasm in Ben Heard’s submission to the Senate

Yes, Ben Heard is on the job, with this slick submission, in which he:

  • enthuses over the Kimba region nuclear waste dump plan, while touting his own supposed environmental credentials  as executive director of Bright New World, his membership of as a member of the Independent Assessment Panel  – but all the same he stresses that he’s  “an everyday Australian”. (not a mention that he works as a consultant  for nuclear company Terrestrial Energy, and trips around the globe promoting nuclear power.)
  • contends that nuclear waste is nothing special, really no different in safety needs from other kinds of industrial wastes.
  • dismisses the idea that a nuclear waste dump in this agricultural reason would have any negative effects on the agricultural economics or reputation of the region.
  • puts a long and unwieldy case for confining broad community support to just the immediate local community.
  • reminds firmly  that no stakeholder group has power of veto and  goes on to waffle worthy statements about Aboriginal heritage etc.
  • says that The District Council of Kimba is an appropriate definition of community in relation to these site nominations, and that citizens in wider areas do not need to be informed.
  • State and National citizens do not need to take part in these decisions, which are best left to Parliament.
  • minimises the importance of radioactive trash dumping- not much more important than household garbage collection.
  • Glosses over the more toxic radioactive waste that will be included. Ignores the fact that with  the planned “temporary” dump there is no prospect of a permanent dump being in place. Ignores the effect on the communities through which the radioactive trash will be transported

Extracts from Heard’s submission  Continue reading

March 21, 2018 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, Federal nuclear waste dump | Leave a comment

Leave Lucas Heights nuclear waste AT Lucas Heights – Mark Parnell

 Fight To Stop Nuclear Waste Dump In Flinders Ranges SA 20 Mar 18,  “The real game here is Lucas Height’s nuclear waste. …. It’s been at Lucas Heights for decades, it can stay there. We don’t need to move it to South Australia” At least one of our politicians “gets it”. Marc Parnell on ABC radio yesterday. I know many people here don’t like the Greens. For those people, listen to the video below (last 2 minutes), write down his words and then send them to your favourite Labor/Liberal politician until they “get it”  too.

Steve Dale Here ya go, I transcribed what he said – 

“Rather than looking for a site, we need to go back to first principles and say “what waste are we talking about?”, “where is it currently stored?”, “and is there a pressing reason to move it somewhere else?”. Now people talk about medical waste and hospital waste most of that ends up in landfill because it is very short lived radioactive isotopes.

The real game here is Lucas Height’s nuclear waste – and the Green’s position here is that it’s been at Lucas Heights for decades, it can stay there. We don’t need to move it to South Australia”  ABC Adelaide was live.

March 21, 2018 Posted by | Federal nuclear waste dump, politics, South Australia | Leave a comment

Minerals Council of Australia wants nuclear technology to be government funded as “clean and green”

Miners want govt funds for nuclear, coal,, 20 Mar 18, -Australia’s mining sector wants the commonwealth’s green bank to help pay for nuclear and new-technology coal power along with other low-emissions power sources.

The Minerals Council of Australia says the Turnbull government’s new energy policy will only achieve its objectives of delivering reliable, affordable power with low emissions and without subsidies or taxes if it takes a truly technology-neutral approach.

Its submission on the national energy guarantee says current wholesale electricity prices are unsustainable for the mining sectors.

 “Further increases would force mining companies to look elsewhere to invest and create jobs, and hurt families already struggling to pay their bills,” the council’s interim chief executive David Byers warned when making the submission public on Tuesday.

The council wants the Clean Energy Finance Corporation to be allowed to address gaps in financing for all new low emissions generation.

But Labor senator Doug Cameron, who worked as a maintenance fitter at Liddell Power Station for seven years, said there was no such thing as clean coal. “It’s a nonsense being put forward by the apologists who don’t support renewable energy,” Senator Cameron told reporters in Canberra.

“Renewable energy is how this country will grow in the future and create more jobs.”

At the moment the CEFC is explicitly banned from investing in nuclear or carbon capture and storage technology, although the government is trying to persuade parliament to lift the latter restriction.

Crossbench senator David Leyonhjelm said anyone who believed carbon emissions were too high had to take nuclear power seriously.

But he was no fan of using the CEFC to do so.

The MCA’s submission also raises its concerns about how the proposed reliability and emissions guarantees in the new energy policy will work in practice.

“Of particular concern is whether this contractually-based system will lead to a greater concentration of market power within the power sector, putting at risk the expected outcomes of the guarantee,” it says.

March 21, 2018 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics | Leave a comment

A powerful statement of warning against a nuclear waste dump for Kimba, south Australia

Heather Pepper ABC North and West 21 Mar 18  Don’t listen to them ! Nuclear waste stored in farm land areas or underground water areas will not be safe. The radiation will leak and enter the food chain.

They intend to store this waste in metal barrels above ground until scientists can come up with a feasible way to store it underground.

Remember South Australia had a huge conference and committee over this very issue and at the end it was a resounding No!

This information is all available on the government website unless the liberals have removed it. It was very interesting and extremely frightening reading. Just remember also that this waste will be shipped across Australia from all the other states who point blank refuse to have it stored in their states either by rail, trucks and ships!

Our roads are already a disgrace and a death trap with many of these routes that they will take going through little farming towns , can you imagine the fallout if there was an accident? The aim of the federal government has always been for South Australia to take not only Australia’s waste but also the worlds waste but couldn’t push this through under a labor government but now no matter what we the people say about this matter it’s going to happen and Turnbull and co are laughing all the way to retirement!

This mess will be with South Australians for thousands of years as that’s how long it will take o naturalise the waste to a harmless waste. Boy if you thought SA was the joke of the country before wait till this becomes a reality.

March 21, 2018 Posted by | Federal nuclear waste dump, South Australia | Leave a comment

Busting the pro nuclear spin to regional South Australia, by the visitors from Lucas Heights

Roni Skipworth ABC North and West  21 Mar 18The very first meeting re Waste Dump in farmland of Kimba thru Rowan Ramsay’s idea to put on his land or in Buckleboo area a small railway siding, the old RAH came into the conversation. They told the audience the Hospital will be demolished since there are high Nuclear Wastage within from Nuclear Medicine eg masks aprons gloves clothing. The bricks n other building materials will be crushed n loaded in drums.

Since that idea collapsed as it would’ve been Conflict of Interest on Rowan’s side. Then these 2 new sites have come up on the table, my suspicion is these people who own the properties are friends of Rowan Ramsay. I live 79kms away from Kimba, 30kms from one property who has put their land up to be destroyed as it is closer to the Wudinna Shire boundary than Kimba itself.

These visitors from Lucas Heights are bullshitting us South Aussies as their lease is drawing to a close and need to move because of surrounding land being turned into residential and it’s been outgrown.

Now that Liberals are everywhere the fight to not have it in the sites earmarked is going to be harder with Rowan rubbing his hands together n pushing either sites in Kimba because in the end people only see the $$$$ signs instead of the destruction of Mother Earth, some of the best farmland in the Kimba Shire and the people who live and travel through Kimba.

I wonder what will happen when there is a leakage n contaminated areas as Kimba is situated in the middle of Aust between Sydney and Perth. What happens the area gets contaminated?  Vehicles travelling on Eyre Hwy (a few years ago I did a Tourism Course and found out over 24 hour timeframe 1400 vehicles travel on Eyre Hwy)   won’t be able to travel thru this area.

I would like to know where r the other sites around Australia where they have put there hands up to have a Waste Dump Site. Also it isn’t just up to the Community of Kimba or Hawker it is up to the residents of South Australia.

Typical Gov of State Federal and Local Council trying to isolate the decision.  It is up to all of US

March 21, 2018 Posted by | Federal nuclear waste dump, South Australia | Leave a comment

Nuclear propaganda tour across regional South Australia – AUSTRALIAN RADIATION PROTECTION AND NUCLEAR SAFETY AGENCY


Do you believe regional SA should be home to a nuclear waste management facility?

Federal Government agency ARPANSA visited Kimba last night, and will visit Hawker in the Flinders Ranges later in the week.

The Kimba community is divided on the issue, with local Audrey Lienert saying she’s concerned about what the facility will do to farming land.

But ARPANSA’s Chief of Radiation Services, Gillian Hirth says locals have nothing to fear, and the organisations primary aim is to protect the community and environment from the harmful effects of radiation.

March 21, 2018 Posted by | South Australia | Leave a comment

South Australian Premier Stephen Marshall carrying out the Liberal agenda – Cuts Access To Solar Batteries For Low Income Households.

SA’s New Premier Cuts Access To Solar Batteries For Low Income Households. Gizmodo, Hayley Williams Mar 19, 2018 

Incoming South Australian Premier Steven Marshall has today revealed that the Liberal government will not continue with Jay Weatherill’s plan to install batteries in thousands of low-income households. The new government’s plan will instead focus on means-tested subsidies for battery systems, and on the grid scale a focus on interconnectivity with NSW.

In a radio interview with ABC RN Breakfast this morning, Marshall talked briefly about his focus for South Australia in the upcoming years, including the direction he was planning to take with Jay Weatherill’s many renewable initiatives. Marshall confirmed that the party would be continuing with a $100 million home battery subsidy outlined mid campaign, rather than following through on the Labor campaign that would have installed Tesla batteries in South Australia’s Housing Trust homes at no cost to their occupants.

While on the surface Marshall’s plan sounds similar, promising batteries in 40,000 homes where Labor had aimed for batteries and rooftop solar on 50,000 houses, the Liberal plan cuts low income earners out of the equation. “[Jay Weatherill] was doing it for Housing Trust homes in South Australia. That’s not part of our agenda,” Marshall clarified. “Our agenda is the 40,000 homes and we’re going to do 10,000 a year.”

While the grants – around $2,500 per home – will be means tested, they are intended for houses with existing rooftop solar, and still require an upfront payment that low income earners will not be able to afford. The cheapest battery available in Australia is the Ampetus Super Lithium at $2,300 for 2.7kWh of usable storage, but this doesn’t include the cost of installation, a separate inverter and the solar panels to go with it.

Disappointingly, Marshall has said he will not be upholding Weatherill’s promise of a 75 per cent renewable target for South Australia. “We don’t believe in state-based renewable energy targets,” he explained. “We do support a national approach.” Yet experts have said that the federal government’s National Energy Guarantee sets too soft a target for the electricity industry to pull its weight on meeting Australia’s emission targets under the Paris Agreement, making it all the more disappointing that South Australia will now be doing even less to help……..

March 21, 2018 Posted by | politics, solar, South Australia | Leave a comment