Australian news, and some related international items

Stop Adani Alliance launching by former Greens leader Bob Brown

Former Greens leader Bob Brown to launch alliance to oppose Adani coalmine The Stop Adani Alliance says north Queensland coalmine would ‘fuel catastrophic climate change’, Guardian, , 22 Mar 17, The former Greens leader Bob Brown will launch a new alliance of 13 environmental groups opposed to Adani’s Carmichael coalmine on Wednesday in Canberra.

The Stop Adani Alliance will lobby against the coalmine in northern Queensland, citing new polling that shows three-quarters of Australians oppose subsidies for the mine when told the government plans to loan its owners $1bn.

The alliance’s declaration argues the mine will “fuel catastrophic climate change” because burning 2.3bn tonnes of coal from the mine over 60 years of operation would create 4.6bn tonnes of carbon dioxide. It states the project would “trash Indigenous rights”, citing the fact Adani does not have the consent of the Wangan and Jagalingou people.

The alliance’s members include the Bob Brown Foundation, the Australian Conservation Foundation,, Get Up, the Australian Youth Climate Coalition, the Seed Indigenous Youth Climate Network and the Australian Marine Conservation Society.

The alliance will call for:

 Urgent and serious action to cut carbon pollution;
  • A complete withdrawal of the Adani Carmichael mine, rail and port project;
  • A ban on new coalmines and expansions in Australia; and
  • An end to public subsidies for polluting projects.

Brown said the groups were “drawing a line in the sand with Adani, just as previous generations did with the Franklin River dam”, a campaign of which he was a leader.

“Adani’s coalmine will be the most dangerous in our history, ramping up global carbon pollution precisely when emissions need to be drastically cut,” he said.

Brown will be joined at the launch in Canberra by alliance spokesman and president of the Australian Conservation Foundation, Geoff Cousins, and Seed Indigenous Youth Climate Network codirector Amelia Telford.

According to a new ReachTel poll taken on 14 March, 74.8% of voters agree that “Adani should fund its own project” rather than rely on a proposed $1bn loan from the federal government.

The poll replicates results in January that showed three-quarters of respondents were opposed to loaning $1bn for a train line to the Adani coalmine.

The government’s Northern Australia Infrastructure Fund granted Adani “conditional approval” for a $1bn loan in December 2016.

March 24, 2017 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming, Queensland | Leave a comment

Open Letter to Adani

 We ask you to abandon proposal to dig coal mine in Qld’s Galilee Basin  16 March 2017:

“Dear Mr Adani
“We are writing to respectfully ask you to abandon the Adani Group’s proposal to dig the Carmichael coal mine in Queensland’s Galilee Basin.
“We would like to put to you three reasons why this mine should never go ahead.

One, the Carmichael mine would be the biggest coal mine ever dug in Australia.
Once its coal is burnt, it will contribute more climate-changing pollution to the atmosphere
than the entire country of New Zealand does every year. …

Two, coal is a killer.
Coal is the biggest single cause of air pollution in Australia. …
Last month The Lancet, one of the world’s leading medical journals, published a report that described your company’s Carmichael mine proposal as a
“public health disaster”. …

Three, this mine proposal does not have wide public support in Australia
and does not have the support of the Traditional Owners of the land where the mine would be dug.
There are concerns about the impact the mine will have on groundwater resources and on nearby farmers who rely on this water for their livelihoods. …

We the undersigned – and we believe all Australians – would support and welcome moves by your company to invest further in renewable energy in Australia. … “

March 18, 2017 Posted by | aboriginal issues, climate change - global warming, Queensland | Leave a comment

Stop Adani: Australian delegation release new poll,  attend Adani HQ mtg

‘Three quarters of Australians polled want Qld Premier and Mayors, on their trade mission to India,  to pursue Adani investment in solar not coal’
~ Australian Marine Conservation Society | AMCS
17 March 2017:

”   New poll shows three quarters of people believe Qld Premier & Regional Mayors, in India today, should pursue solar not coal.
Meeting between Adani HQ Senior Management and community delegation of Geoff Cousins AO, Qld farmer, tourism operator and reef campaigner.
With the hotly contested Third Test between India and Australia underway, former Cricket Captain Ian Chappell says renewable energy is the future. … ”

Ian and Greg Chappell call on Adani  to abandon Carmichael mine project
‘Former Australian test captains say opposition to mine in Australia could affect sporting ties with India, in letter directly appealing to Adani boss’

~ Joshua Robertson @jrojourno 16 March 2017:  ” … The Chappells, well-known through their sporting exploits in India where the Australian team is currently playing, joined 90 prominent Australians in the letter, which will be delivered to Adani’s head office on Thursday. … ”


March 18, 2017 Posted by | climate change - global warming, Queensland | Leave a comment

As Queensland Premier about to decide on Adani coal mine, Indian fishermen warn Australia against it

Adani: Indian fishermen warn Australia against environmental impact ahead of coal mine talks ABC AM By South Asia correspondent James Bennett , 17 Mar 17 Fishermen in India say a local Adani project is harming them and killing off sea life, warning Australia to be wary as Queensland’s Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk prepares to decide whether to proceed with the Carmichael coal mine.

Key points:

  • Noor Mohammad said the Adani project’s coal dust, stream discharge harmed the community
  • Adani has been heavily criticised for a series of environmental breaches during construction of Gujarat project
  • Comment was sought from Adani on measures it had taken to address the ash problem, but the ABC received no response

Ms Palaszczuk and eight regional mayors are preparing to sit down with the chairman of Adani Enterprises, Gautam Adani, ahead of the company deciding whether to proceed with the proposed mine.

The Queenslanders will be shown the Adani’s Gujarat port and power station, which itself has a chequered environmental record, of which the local fishermen said Australia should be wary……

March 18, 2017 Posted by | climate change - global warming, politics, Queensland | Leave a comment

Clean Energy Finance Corporation funding 3 big solar energy projects

CEFC tips another $70m into big solar, as market confidence soars, REneweconomy, 

The three projects, which are being developed by Edify Energy alongside international renewable energy investor Wirsol, include the Whitsunday and Hamilton Solar Farms in Queensland, both 57.5MW, and the Gannawarra Solar Farm in Victoria, at 50MW.

The “benchmark” financing deal – announced on Monday – commits the CEFC, the Commonwealth Bank and Germany’s NORD/LB to a syndicated senior debt facility to support the three projects, with Edify and Wirsol are providing equity. Continue reading

March 15, 2017 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, Queensland, solar, Victoria | Leave a comment

Murdoch media’s unfounded criticism of Queensland’s renewable energy plan

Queensland govt slaps down LNP, Murdoch over renewable scares By  on 8 March 2017

The Queensland government has attacked the LNP opposition and the Murdoch media for unfounded, baseless and “lazy” criticism of its plans to source 50 per cent of its electricity needs from renewable energy by 2030.

The conservative LNP has been getting a big run in the Murdoch press with a new anti-renewables campaign, which has wound up significantly since the start of the year with a host of new solar projects that will add 1GW of solar power to the state’s grid.

But Bailey wondered why the LNP hadn’t even bothered to make a submission to the government’s renewable energy review that it attacks so much. In total, 2,300 submissions were received, but none from the LNP or any of its MPs.

“Once again, all we’re hearing is anti-renewables doom and gloom, but of the 2023 submissions received by the Independent Panel following their public forums across the state, not one of them was from the LNP,” he said.

“On the leash of their Canberra mates, they run around the state, scaremongering and threatening to scrap Queensland’s RET if elected, but they were too lazy to do the work – to make a submission where it actually counts.

The LNP, in recent days, have been trying to make much of a report in The Australian which breathlessly announced in an “exclusive” story on its front page on Monday that it had acquired a “leaked” copy of an Australian Energy Market Operator submission into the Queensland government plans.

And while AEMO had warned that coal generators in Queensland may close earlier than expected, a line that the Murdoch media was keen to play up (it even wrote a follow-up story and an editorial the following day), Bailey pointed out that these generators were young, and most importantly, mostly government-owned.

That means that the Queensland government will not be in the same position as South Australia, which has had to watch with growing frustration as the private owners of the biggest gas plants in the state decide not to switch on during high demand periods, claiming they can find no economic incentive to help keep the lights on for their customers.

On the subject of South Australia, premier Jay Weatherill said the state had no intention of rowing back on its 2025 target of 50 per cent renewables, saying to do so it would have to effectively “physically prevent” developments in their tracks.

That much is true, because the build-out of the Hornsdale wind farm and the Tailem Bend solar project will take the state to 50 per cent wind and solar by the end of this year.

Weatherill says the biggest threat to power prices in South Australia is the lack of competition among generators, something that can addressed by having more renewable energy and other technologies such as battery storage.

Weatherill says the state will “soon” release” its planned intervention to ensure that no more rolling stoppages occur – as they did last month – while some gas generators sit idle. From that point of view, he must envy Queensland’s ownership of power generators.

Back in Queensland, Bailey also said Queensland has a high amount of (mostly government-owned) flexible gas-fired generation, which enables the system to ramp up quickly.

He said the government had confidence in the modelling, and in its conclusions that it would be broadly cost neutral to electricity consumers, and would not affect reliability.

Bailey also said the Palaszczuk Government is committed to transitioning to a clean energy future gradually and sustainably, while keeping affordability and network reliability front and centre.

“We’ve kick-started a renewable energy boom with more than 1GW of privately funded renewable energy projects currently in the works delivering more than $2 billion of new investment to Queensland and more than 1900 direct jobs, mostly in our regions,” he said.

“Energy is undergoing a transformational change in the way it is generated, transported and used – the former LNP government did nothing to prepare for this.

“Importantly, the benefits of the RET to the Queensland economy, particularly in regional areas will be largely driven by the additional $6 billion investment in renewable energy, and a projected increase of around 6,400-6,700 jobs per year on average between 2020 and 2030.

“The anti-renewables LNP have no credibility on energy policy. They oversaw the loss of 1300 renewable industry jobs while in government and inflicted 43 per cent electricity price hikes on consumers.”

March 11, 2017 Posted by | media, politics, Queensland | Leave a comment

Queensland coal town “rebranding” as a solar town

solar-_photovoltaic_cells-tallCoal mining town Collinsville vies to become Australia’s solar capital, ABC By Ben Millington, 5 Mar 17, While many of Australia’s mining regions have been hit hard by the resources sector downturn, solar is providing rays of hope for the small town of Collinsville in north Queensland.

Three hours south of Townsville, Collinsville has a proud, long history of coal mining, boasting it had the last working pit ponies in Australia — up until 1990.

But this coal-fired town is poised for a rebrand. Solar companies are vying to take advantage of the region’s 300 days a year of perfect sunshine.

In August, the Australian Renewable Energy Agency announced it would provide $9.5 million to both Edify Energy’s 70MW Whitsunday Solar Farm and RATCH Australia Corporation’s 43MW Collinsville Solar Project.

Edify Energy director John Cole said, given the potential size and scale of projects in the region, Collinsville could be the solar capital of Australia.

“It’s a very good place for solar because of the radiation levels in north Queensland,” he said. “For example, our site in Collinsville will produce double the amount of power than a project in the UK, and about 5 to 10 per cent more than in New South Wales or Victoria.”

Plan to pump energy into Queensland grid Another advantage in Collinsville is a decommissioned power station that sits on its outskirts.  Both projects plan to utilise the infrastructure to pump energy straight into the Queensland grid.

Edify Energy plans to start the construction of phase one this year.A nine-month build time is expected and 200 jobs will be offered to a town in desperate need of them.Local councillor Peter Ramage said the last four years had been devastating for the community…….

March 6, 2017 Posted by | Queensland, solar | Leave a comment

Australia’s tourism c ompanies complicit in ignoring climate change

coral bleachingSilence is Complicity in Reef’s Destructuon #auspol , John Pratt, 1 M ar 17 Big tourism must demand action to save the reef – its business depends on it
According to a blog post on the home page of the tourism giant Mantra Group, a “family holiday in Queensland would be incomplete without a visit to the beautiful Great Barrier Reef, the largest coral reef system in the world”.
Which raises the question, why isn’t the Mantra Group – one of Australia’s largest hotel and resort operators, with more than $8bn in asset management including a string of resorts in north Queensland – vociferous in demanding action to save the reef?
The question could not be more pertinent given the return of the threat of coral bleaching.
Mantra and other huge hospitality companies with interests on the reef, including Marriott and Accor, were conspicuously muted during the great bleaching of 2015-16.

Nor have any of these companies spoken out strongly against the Carmichael coalmine proposal – despite the mortal threat that fossil-fuel expansion poses to the reef their businesses depend on.
As the Queensland Tourism Industry Council boss, Daniel Gschwind, told the Monthly:

“It’s hard to see how the further development or expansion of the coal industry can support or in any way contribute positively to the future of the reef … There is no denying that the further extraction and burning of fossil fuels is a negative for the reef.”
Port Douglas sits at the hinge of the central and northern sectors of the Great Barrier Reef.

Presumably a large number of those who choose to stay in resorts like the Mantra Aqueous – or the Accor-owned Sea Temple or the Marriott-owned Sheraton Mirage, both also in Port Douglas – have been drawn there by the promise of the reef.

And while the vast majority of the reef experienced some damage, it is the northern sector that experienced the worst.

Last November a team of experts from James Cook University led by Prof Terry Hughes estimated that two-thirds of the corals in the reef’s northern part had died.
I snorkelled some of the impacted areas. I’d seen plenty of images and vision but nothing really prepares you for the scale of the carnage when the algae-covered remains spread out beneath you, all around, in every direction, as far as your goggled eyes can see.
Gschwind believes that most tour operators are not just on the reef “to make a buck” but rather “have a deep, almost spiritual, connection to the places they visit and take their visitors to” so “their interest is very much also in conservation”. The 170 tourism operators who wrote an open letter to the prime minister last year opposing the Carmichael coalmine are no doubt in this category.
But in the fight for the reef’s future, the big end of the tourism street has gone missing. The likes of Mantra, Accor and Marriott profit from the astonishing beauty of the fish and the coral – but where is the much-vaunted corporate leadership when the Great Barrier Reef needs defenders?…….

March 3, 2017 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming, Queensland | Leave a comment

More Bleaching on Great Barrier Reef #auspol  

coral bleaching  John Pratt 2 Mar 17 Just when you thought the situation couldn’t get much worse for the Great Barrier Reef comes news that devastating coral bleaching will almost certainly increase significantly — again — in the coming months.
Record bleaching hit the 1,400-mile-long reef system in 2016, for the third year in a row, killing more than 65 percent of the coral of the northern reef. Climate change has impacted the ecosystem, as the colorful zooxanthellae are expelled from the coral during times of stress, according to numerous studies and the Australian Government’s Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority.

Coral can rebound in good times — though it takes as long as a decade — but scientists say that’s not likely to happen soon, if ever. The reef is already warmer than it was at this time last year and there’s a strong strong possibility that March and April will set new temperature highs ― and a new record for coral bleaching. Marine park authority workers are already seeing significant bleaching this season.

Press link for more: Huffington Post

March 3, 2017 Posted by | climate change - global warming, Queensland | Leave a comment

Conflict of interest: Queensland govt appoints Adani director to oversee coal port!

Adani director appointed to body overseeing mining giant’s coal port despite conflict of interest warning Exclusive by the National Reporting Team’s Mark Willacy and Alexandra Blucher    27 February 2017:

“The Queensland Government appointed an Adani company director to chair the authority overseeing the Abbot Point coal port, despite being warned of “potential conflicts of interest”.

Key points:

“It’s undoubtedly a conflict of interest,” said law professor on Mr Fish’s appointment
Treasurer’s office confirms it knew of Mr Fish’s directorship and that he “disclosed potential conflicts of interest prior to his appointment”
But Mr Fish’s link to Adani was not disclosed publicly by the Treasurer when he was appointed … “

March 1, 2017 Posted by | politics, Queensland, secrets and lies | Leave a comment

Medical profession warns on Adani coal mine as a public health catastrophe

coal CarmichaelMine2Adani coal mine is a public health catastrophe  26 Feb 2017,The international medical community is watching Australia with alarm. This month The Lancet, one of the world’s leading medical journals, published a report about the giant Adani mine, titled: Australia’s new coal mine plan: a “public health disaster”. 

Coal mines are a health risk for miners, workers and local communities: they cause higher rates of childhood asthma, heart and lung disease, and some cancers. Frighteningly, there has been a recent resurgence in black lung disease – a potentially fatal disease caused by breathing in coal dust. More widely, the overwhelming majority of scientists say there can be no more coal mines if we’re to have any chance of a safe climate. Medical organisations are increasingly recognising the health risks, with the British Medical Journal describing climate change as, “a health emergency”.

The global health risks include increased severity and frequency of extreme weather, adverse changes in air pollution, the spread of disease vectors such as mosquitoes, food insecurity and under-nutrition, displacement and mental ill health.

In the UK, an alliance of 15 health bodies including seven royal medical colleges and the British Medical Association are calling for a rapid phase-out of coal to protect health and reduce costs. In Australia, the Royal Australasian College of Physicians recently described climate change as a “public health emergency”. The RACP board determined fossil fuel projects are inconsistent with its core business and, along with many other organisations around the world, has divested from fossil fuels.

Just as health professionals advocated against the tobacco industry, so we have a responsibility to speak up against fossil fuel projects such as the Adani mine, which present such unacceptably high risks.

February 27, 2017 Posted by | health, Queensland | Leave a comment

Global battery storage industry to fight Australia home bans

 REneweconomy By  on 24 February 2017  The world’s biggest battery manufacturing brands and clean energy lobby groups have signalled they will fight proposed new guidelines and recommendations that could effectively ban battery storage units from inside homes and garages, saying the restrictions are over the top and don’t conform to international standards.

Standards Australia is believed to be preparing the release of new standards that would effectively force most battery storage units to be put in a free-standing and fireproof enclosure, possibly adding thousands of dollars to the cost of installation and making it uneconomic.

As a precursor to that move, Queensland workplace regulators unveiled new recommendations last week that suggested no battery storage units be installed inside homes and garage or adjoining sheds, and instead be put in separate enclosures.

The restriction appears to apply to all battery storage units, and not just lithium chemistries

Some in the industry have branded the suggestions as ridiculous…….

February 25, 2017 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, Queensland, storage | 1 Comment

Australian Conservation Foundation summarises the background of Adani’s Carmichael coal mine and rail project

coal CarmichaelMine2The Adani Brief: our summary!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.

“Key findings

“Environmental destruction:
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!topic/wgar-news/QkXUYq11cmQ

February 20, 2017 Posted by | business, environment, politics, Queensland, secrets and lies | Leave a comment

Fossil fuel generators, not renewables, are to blame for high electricity prices

The number of high-priced events in Queensland so far this year are 40 (yes, forty) times more common than in renewables-strong South Australia. Did we hear a peep of protest from the Coalition about this? No.

There is no doubt that more renewables, and more competition, will reduce that pricing power. That is a given.

But the Coalition and many in the mainstream media simply don’t want to know. They have barely reported on the high-priced events in Queensland and NSW, or on the real cause of those events in South Australia.

They don’t want to know: politics and ideology are at play.

Parkinson-Report-High energy prices? Blame fossil fuel generators, not renewables, REneweconomy, By  on 8 February 2017 It seems that you can ask the Coalition government a question about pretty much anything – plunging polls, Donald Trump, Cory Bernardi or even the weather – and the answer will always be the same: “We’re focused on electricity prices.”

Great. But what exactly is the Coalition doing about it? On the evidence to date, not a whole lot, apart from blaming renewables for soaring wholesale electricity costs and promoting something called “clean coal,” despite all the evidence pointing to the fact that coal generation it is not very clean, and not cheap.

They are chasing the wrong target.  Australia has experienced some extraordinary high wholesale electricity prices this summer, and most of these price surges have come in states with little large-scale wind or solar.

It is the activities of the fossil fuel generators that are to blame. This is about competition, or the lack of it, and the fossil fuel generators have been going to extraordinary lengths to get rid of competition.

The Australian Energy Regulator has been investigating more than half a dozen “high priced” events, as it is required to do when prices jump above $5,000/MWh. Some of the reports it has already completed make astonishing reading. Continue reading

February 10, 2017 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, energy, Queensland | 1 Comment

Taxpayers would put up 21 times subsidy for Carmichael coal mine, than they would for renewables

Carmichael mine jobs need ’21 times the subsidies’ of renewables, says lobby group
Federal funding for Adani project amounts to $683,060 a job, compared with $32,191 a worker in Queensland’s clean energy sector, says,
Guardian, , 8 Feb 17, Clean energy projects in Queensland are already on track to create more employment than Australia’s largest proposed coalmine, which if funded federally would cost taxpayers 21 times more per job, according to new study.

coal CarmichaelMine2

Federal government agencies are investing $71.4m in seven solar farms and a windfarm in Queensland, which are set to deliver a total of 2,218 jobs, according to analysis by climate advocacy group

Adani’s proposed Carmichael coal project in central Queensland, which has obtained conditional approval for a $1bn federal infrastructure loan, is predicted to deliver 1,464 jobs.

The level of federal subsidy for Adani would amount to $683,060 a job, compared with $32,191 a worker in Queensland’s clean energy sector.

The Queensland government has accused the federal government of misrepresenting key data while talking up coal in an ideological attack on renewable energy. Continue reading

February 10, 2017 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, energy, politics, Queensland | Leave a comment