Australian news, and some related international items

Coalition’s last minute energy policy continues to unravel before its eyes — RenewEconomy

The latest blow? Legal opinion suggesting federal government would need to get funding for new fossil fuel generation through parliament for it to have any legal force. The post Coalition’s last minute energy policy continues to unravel before its eyes appeared first on RenewEconomy.

via Coalition’s last minute energy policy continues to unravel before its eyes — RenewEconomy


February 19, 2019 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Australia’s top companies’ failure to manage climate risk highlights investor and regulator weakness — RenewEconomy

A new study released today by environmental finance group Market Forces reveals many of Australia’s largest ‘climate risk-exposed’ companies continue to defy regulators and investors by failing to effectively manage risk. The post Australia’s top companies’ failure to manage climate risk highlights investor and regulator weakness appeared first on RenewEconomy.

via Australia’s top companies’ failure to manage climate risk highlights investor and regulator weakness — RenewEconomy

February 19, 2019 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Put down the big sticks and face facts on renewables, says CEC — RenewEconomy

Clean Energy Council calls for policy reset on energy, starting with acknowledgement that Australia’s power should be 50% renewable from solar, wind and hydro by 2030. The post Put down the big sticks and face facts on renewables, says CEC appeared first on RenewEconomy.

via Put down the big sticks and face facts on renewables, says CEC — RenewEconomy

February 19, 2019 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Attacks on scientists by News Corp – bias in supporting Adani coal mine

News Corp attacks scientists assessing Adani coalmine – and ignores science, Guardian, Sarah Bekessy Hugh Possingham, James Watson, Georgia Garrard and Alex Kusmanoff, 16 Feb 19  Damaging the credibility of scientists when we need their fearless advice more than ever is socially irresponsible and morally reprehensible.

Scientists unite against Adani attack on report into endangered finch  The relentless, sustained, needlessly personal attacks on the scientists analysing the impacts of the Adani coalmine undermines the role of science – and scientists – in important decisions that affect our future.Mediawatch last week called out the Courier Mail’s bias in reporting on the proposed Adani coalmine in northern Queensland, including blatantly false statements. One example is a claim that the “endangered black-throated finch faces extinction if the Adani coal mine does not go ahead”, when mining is the very thing threatening the future of the species.
What Mediawatch did not report is the pointed attacks on the scientists engaged to critically assess the likely impact of the mine. The following sentence in the Courier Mail on 27 January is just one example: “If you were in the bunny hugging business and were hiring you’d look at Prof Wintle’s resume and say “impeccable”.In the past month, there have been numerous News Corp articles published about the review under way regarding the impacts of the Adani coalmine on the critically endangered southern black-throated finch. Most have attacked the scientists behind the review or quoted statements undermining the scientist’s integrity. We could find none that have critically discussed the science, apart from one article that cites an anonymous ecologist who claims that the mine is the only way to conserve the species. No evidence is provided to support this claim.
The attacks have consisted of unsubstantiated efforts to smear people instead of addressing the substantive issues. Wintle’s comical tweet of school children protesting (“I’ll stop farting if you stop burning coal”) is the only evidence provided that he is indeed a “self-proclaimed anti-coal activist”, as claimed in the Queensland Times on 21 January and again on Friday mentioned in the Australian. Yet, apparently“questions still loom as to whether Professor Wintle, an open anti-coal activist, would be able to carry out the review with impartiality”.In addition to seeking to degrade political debate and balanced decision making on important topics, this kind of journalism also seeks to damage the credibility of science and scientists in the eyes of the general public. This is arguably socially irresponsible and morally reprehensible, but importantly may also discourage scientists from engaging in policy and planning processes where their expertise is essential………

February 17, 2019 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming, media | 1 Comment

The future of humanity hangs in the balance’: Why the world could not handle a nuclear attack

What would you choose? Live or die?

The future of humanity hangs in the balance’: Why the world could not handle a nuclear attack . The Journal I.e.  Órla Ryan @orlaryan,, 17 Feb 19

An expert explains how we could be “headed for a nuclear arms race”. NUCLEAR WEAPONS ARE probably talked about more nowadays that at any stage since the Cold War.

There are about 14,500 such weapons in the world, with nine countries owning them. The vast majority of the weapons are owned by the US (about 6,500) and Russia (about 6,800).

Tense relations between these two countries, as well as North Korea trying to increase its nuclear capability, has increased fears about a potential nuclear race.

During the week, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) launched a campaign calling for a global ban on nuclear weapons……….

What would a nuclear war look like? And how would anyone be able to help?

February 17, 2019 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Legal advice: Government cannot fund new coal plants without parliamentary approval

Government cannot fund new coal plants without parliamentary approval, advice says
New legal advice sought by the Australia Institute contradicts what government has been telling stakeholders,
Guardian, Katharine Murphy Political editor @murpharoo, 17 Feb 19 
A new legal opinion suggests the Morrison government will not have the ability to roll out taxpayer support to its controversial plan to underwrite new coal plants unless it enacts supporting legislation or amends existing legislation.The advice, sought by the progressive thinktank the Australia Institute, argues assistance for new generation projects will require “some form of supporting legislation”, either new or existing, to operate and fund the program, otherwise the arrangements would be open to a high court challenge.

Federal parliament resumes on Monday for one of the last sitting periods before the May election, and the Morrison government has already pulled its much-vaunted “big stick” energy legislation because of concerns it would have to cop an amendment from the Greens and Labor, preventing the government from funding new coal projects…….

February 17, 2019 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming, politics | Leave a comment

Australia’s Minister for Coal, Melissa Price, – but supposed to be Minister for Environment

The invisible minister’: Melissa Price accused of going missing on the environment, Guardian, Lisa Cox, 16 Feb 2019

The criticism comes during a summer of disasters, including the mass fish kill, Townsville floods and fires in Tasmania

She is being called the “invisible minister”, the cabinet member responsible for the environment who is accused of “disinterest” during Australia’s summer of natural disasters and record-breaking heatwaves.

Melissa Price has been criticised by three of the country’s biggest environment groups who say they have been unable to meet with her since her appointment last year. A fourth is accusing her office of being in breach of its responsibilities on threatened species.

The criticism comes during a summer that has brought numerous environmental catastrophes, including the mass fish kill in Menindee in far-west New South Wales, fires in Tasmania’s world heritage area, a record-breaking January heatwave, and floods in Townsville that Queensland’s premier Annastacia Palaszczuk described as unprecedented.

While the prime minister Scott Morrison and other senior members of the government including Michael McCormack and David Littleproud have made public appearances in towns affected by the disasters, Price has been absent…….

The government’s key independent committee for the assessment of threatened species, the threatened species scientific committee, also currently has five vacancies including its chair. ……

February 17, 2019 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, environment, politics | Leave a comment

The uranium map in our bodies — Beyond Nuclear International

Uranium and decay products litter the landscape — and our bodies

via The uranium map in our bodies — Beyond Nuclear International

February 17, 2019 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Radioactive sea spray is dosing communities — Beyond Nuclear International

Governments want to cover it up

via Radioactive sea spray is dosing communities — Beyond Nuclear International

February 17, 2019 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

February 17 Energy News — geoharvey

Opinion: ¶ “In Alberta, Solar Energy Is At A Tipping Point” • In 2017, the paradigm for wind energy in Alberta shifted when the Alberta Electric System Operator contracted for wind energy for about C3.7¢/kWh (2.8¢/kWh), which is less than any residential fixed price retail electricity contract available in the province. Now it has shifted […]

via February 17 Energy News — geoharvey

February 17, 2019 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

US Constitutional Experts Express Concerns After Trump Declares State Of Emergency — Mining Awareness +

“The important point is that the generals are going to have to decide immediately: Are they going to follow the law of the United States or are they going to follow the commander in chief?” (Bruce Ackerman, Sterling professor of law and political science at Yale University) From Cronkite News/Arizona PBS: “Constitutional experts express concerns […]

via US Constitutional Experts Express Concerns After Trump Declares State Of Emergency — Mining Awareness +

February 17, 2019 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Education on nuclear matters? Don’t let the nuclear industry be in charge of this! – theme for February 19

Would you go to British Tobacco for education on how to have healthy lungs?

Would you trust the Sugar Industry for education on healthy teeth?

So why on earth are we letting the nuclear industry run the education on the most important aspects of nuclear power – the ones that affect humans, all species, and the environment?

The nuclear experts are big on their technical stuff, how to build a new reactor etc, (but very quiet on how to get rid of its radioactive trash)

But don’t let them be the education authorities on ionising radiation – a cause of cancer, birth defects, genetic effects, environmental effects.

Don’t let them be the education authorities on dealing with climate change.

Don’t let them be the education authorities on prevention of war.

Don’t let them be the education authorities on the supposed economic benefits of nuclear power.

Above all, don’t let the nuclear industry control education about HISTORY –  about the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, atomic testing, about Urals disaster 1957, Mayak, Three Mile Island, Church Rock, Chernobyl, Fukushima…….

And don’t let them get at our kids with their propaganda.

February 17, 2019 Posted by | Christina themes | Leave a comment

What the planet needs from men 

Brisbane Times, by Elizabeth Farrelly, 15 Feb 19…………women aren’t the only victims. Nature too bears the brunt. The world is being shoved off a cliff not by masculinity’s strength but by its terrifying fragility.Fragile masculinity is fear pressurised into rage; fear of losing control – of liberated femininity, of mysterious nature, of a world bucking its traces, of chaos. The anger is a desperate attempt to reinstate that control, illusory as it may always have been.

We’ve just endured a series of 40-plus days across much of the country, last month was the hottest on record. We joke. Thirty-six is the new normal, haha. I gaze with cold-envy at Antarctica, minus 29. But see this for what it is. This is the will-to-dominance: fragile masculinity in action.

Tasmania incineratesRiver systems shrink to nothingFish die in their millions. In Queensland up to half a million head of cattle lie rotting in the mud. In the Northern Territory, the soil itself has begun to ignite and thermometers melt in bare ground. On Tuesday, ploughing-induced dust storms obscured Parliament House. Globally, we’re witnessing catastrophic insect extinction, the start of the sixth mass extinction in the planet’s history. The evidence is insurmountable.

Yet we continue to beat nature into submission, as if striving to make the world hotter and weather events more extreme. Other countries reduce emissions. Germany pledges to close its remaining coal-fired power plants in 30 years. Australia could match that. Both UNSW and the CSIRO with Energy Networks Australia argue that renewables could easily supply most or all of our future energy needs. Instead, we become the developed world’s only deforestation hotspot, expected to clear-fell a further 3 million hectares in 15 years.

The Darling Basin Royal Commission finds “gross maladministration” and “negligence” in our governments’ wilful ignorance of climate change. Even the courts, bless them, have started to disallow coal mines for their climate impact. Yet the government response is, well, nothing, actually. Minister Littleproud mentions “learnings” from the Darling but still our noble leaders favour irrigators, build motorways, approve new mines, deny climate science and ease the path to public subsidies for one the biggest coal mines on earth as though it’s all fine.

It’s not fine. This is domestic violence. This planet is our home and they thrash around in it yelling, intimidating, wrecking the joint. Like violent husbands they get all remorseful and beg forgiveness only to do it all again. Why? Because we’ve always thrashed nature, and nature has always coped. As a bloke once said to me: “You don’t want me to shout and get possessive? But I’ve always treated women like this.”

Stoically, the planet has housed and nourished us, tolerated us. But it can’t last. A dominance relationship is never sustainable, human-to-human or human-to-nature. Winning? To win this battle is to lose. The era of collaboration is here………….

It’s when people “stitch their self-worth to being all-powerful” that things go bad. An equal-status relationship – with a partner or with nature – requires listening, empathy, the antidote to shame.

We talk as though “traditional masculinity” were the enemy, as though we want men to evolve into something more like women. But that’s wrong.

What we need is not faux-women but nobler, more confident men. The man-heroes of the future, if we’re to have one, won’t be the brutes and sociopaths. They won’t be the cruel and the thoughtless, the boat-stoppers and coal-brandishers. They’ll be those who hold power but refuse to exploit it, renowned as much for their kindness as their exploits. Literally, gentlemen.

Male anger is leading us over a cliff. If men can find the strength to be truly vulnerable, they deserve to lead. If not, if they persist in this fragile rage, it’ll be up to Rosie the Riveter to save the day. Why? Because there is no spare room to sleep in.

February 16, 2019 Posted by | art and culture, AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming, women | Leave a comment

In this time of critical drought, water shortage, South Australia’s govt lets BHP expand its water-guzzling Olympic Dam uranium mine


Why does BHP get this water for free?


SA boost for Olympic Dam expansion  15 Feb 19, The South Australian government has granted the expansion of the Olympic Dam project major development status.  BHP’s plans for a $3 billion expansion of its Olympic Dam project in South Australia’s north have been granted major development status by the state government.

The government’s move, gazetted on Thursday, clears the way for the company to increase annual copper production from 200,000 to 350,000 tonnes.

It also allows it to boost gold, silver and uranium production and to lift water extraction from the Great Artesian Basin to a maximum of 50 megalitres a day.

Declaring BHP’s proposed expansion of Olympic Dam a major development is a key milestone in this important project,” Mining Minister Dan van Holst Pellekaan said.

“Olympic Dam is already the state’s largest mining operation, providing jobs, investment and royalties for South Australia.

“(This is) a very important project that, if it goes ahead, would contribute 1800 additional jobs in South Australia during construction, and another permanent 600 jobs on site at Olympic Dam.”

But the minister said the project was still subject to thorough assessment, particularly the plan to extract more water.

“All potential environmental impacts, potential social impacts, potential economic impacts will be considered incredibly thoroughly,” Mr van Holst Pellekaan said.

Local communities will also be consulted on the company’s plans.

Mr van Holst Pellekaan said it would be several years before an expanded mine could begin operation.

The state government’s declaration also covers BHP’s development plans outside the mining lease, including proposals for extra accommodation. The proposed expansion of Olympic Dam has had a chequered history after first being mooted by the previous owners, Western Mining, back in 2002.

BHP initially proposed a $30 billion expansion, including development of one of the world’s largest open cut mines, but put the plans on hold in 2012.

The company has since been looking at lower-cost, smaller scale, alternatives to its original proposals.

February 16, 2019 Posted by | climate change - global warming, South Australia, uranium | Leave a comment

Northern Territory passes law on nuclear wastes, reiterates opposition to NT nuclear waste dump

NT moves to clarify offshore oil, gas industry’s nuclear waste obligations

15th February 2019 BY: ESMARIE IANNUCCI  CREAMER MEDIA SENIOR DEPUTY EDITOR: AUSTRALASIA PERTH  – The Northern Territory has passed the Nuclear Waste Transport Storage and Disposal (Prohibition) Amendment Bill, providing the offshore oil and gas industry with a blueprint of their obligations around the management of nuclear waste.

The nuclear waste covered by the Bill included naturally occurring radioactive materials (NORMs) that could be incidentally generated from offshore oil and gas activities and subsequently brought into the Northern Territory, Environment and Natural Resources Minister Eva Lawler said.

“The Bill demonstrates the Northern Territory government’s commitment to protecting the Territory’s environment, while listening to and responding to concerns raised by the offshore oil and gas industry about the ambiguities in the regulatory environment.

“The Amendment Bill addresses ambiguities in exemptions for nuclear waste, including NORMs that may be created as a by-product of industry activities.”

NORMs are widespread in sands, clay, soils and rocks and many ores and minerals, commodities, products and by-products.

Lawler said that the amendments to this Bill became necessary after uncertainties were raised by industry about whether NORMs were exempt from the Act. The Amendment Bill reframes the exemptions while maintaining the Parliament’s original intention when passing the original Act.

She noted that the Northern Territory maintains a strong environmental stance against nuclear waste being dumped in the Territory, and from becoming a nuclear waste dump for the rest of Australia.

“Jobs are the number one priority for the Territory Labor government and we believe that good environmental policy makes good economic sense,” Lawler added.

February 16, 2019 Posted by | legal, Northern Territory, politics | Leave a comment