Antinuclear

Australian news, and some related international items

Queensland’s nuclear cowboy MPs join One Nation’s Marlk Latham to push for nuclear power

Nationals MPs urge rethink on nuclear, THE AUSTRALIAN GRAHAM LLOYD, ENVIRONMENT EDITOR, 24 JUNE 19,   Scott Morrison is being asked to support a full investigation of nuclear energy in Australia.

Queensland Coalition MPs Keith Pitt and James McGrath have drafted a letter to the Prime Minister together with proposed terms of reference for an inquiry, which will be delivered this week.

The letter will call for a review of advances in nuclear energy including small nuclear reactors and thorium technology, both of which could produce less radioactive waste than existing nuclear plants.

Commercial investigation of nuclear energy will require that a ban on considering the technology be removed from the Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act.

Mr Pitt said that the nuclear issue was “a debate we are ready to have”.

“In our view the technology has moved on and small modular reactors and thorium need to be investigated,” Mr Pitt said.

…….. Critics of nuclear energy claim it would be unable to compete economically with renewable energy and storage.

……. The Morrison government has been reluctant to consider changes to the EPBC Act on nuclear power. But the act in its entirety is up for statutory review this year.

……. The Nationals MPs expect a public review to take from 18 months to two years.

The call for a national inquiry coincides with a review into the potential of nuclear power in NSW, to include former federal Labor Party leader and newly elected One Nation MP Mark Latham.

Mr Latham has introduced a bill in the upper house of the NSW parliament to repeal the uranium mining and nuclear ban in the state.

A parliamentary inquiry will be held by the eight-member, multi-party Standing Committee on State Development of the upper house. Mr Latham will be a member of the committee.

An issues paper is being prepared by the NSW Parliamentary Research Service for public release. The committee will call for submissions and is likely to conduct public hearings as early as September. https://www.theaustralian.com.au/nation/nationals-mps-urge-rethink-on-nuclear/news-story/4c5c90a4b49f890dba49a10444f1294d

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June 24, 2019 Posted by | New South Wales, politics, Queensland | Leave a comment

Environmental groups are now considering a legal challenge To Queensland’s approval of Adani mine

Queensland approval of Adani plan ‘unlawful’, say environment groups Activists consider legal challenge, saying rules related to source aquifer have been compromised, Guardian, Ben Smee @BenSmee 23 Jun 2019 

The Queensland environment department may have acted “unlawfully” when it approved of Adani’s groundwater plan, in the process backing down on a longstanding requirement that the miner provide definitive proof about the source of an ancient desert spring.

Environmental groups are now considering a legal challenge to the approval, partly because the state’s Department of Environment and Science (DES) appeared to negotiate a last-minute compromise with Adani rather than applying strict conditions.

The DES insisted on Friday that it had not changed its position when granting approval for Adani’s groundwater dependent ecosystems management plan – the final hurdle that will allow the company to begin construction of the Carmichael coalmine.

But documents obtained by Guardian Australia, and an email sent by a DES spokesman on 9 April, indicate that the department softened its interpretation of a key requirement in the politically charged weeks before clearing the proposal.

The email of 9 April says the department believed the CSIRO and Geoscience Australia had highlighted “uncertainties” about whether Adani had identified the source aquifer of the Doongmabulla Springs complex.

“Based on the CSIRO and Geoscience Australia report, it would appear that a number of uncertainties remain, including whether the (groundwater plan) definitively identifies the source aquifers of the Doongmabulla Springs Complex, which has always been a requirement for state approval,” the email says.

Four days after the federal election, the Queensland premier, Annastacia Palaszczuk, insisted on a timeframe for DES to make a decision about the groundwater plan. When the clock ran out on 13 June, Adani’s plan was approved, and DES had subtly changed its language.

It said Adani had “sufficiently” identified the “main source aquifer”. The miner’s conditions require it to identify the “source aquifer(s)”……. https://www.theguardian.com/business/2019/jun/23/queensland-approval-of-adani-plan-unlawful-say-environment-groups

June 24, 2019 Posted by | climate change - global warming, Queensland | Leave a comment

Queensland can expect catastrophic heat waves (but then coal is more important than climate, isn’t it?)

June 17, 2019 Posted by | climate change - global warming, Queensland | Leave a comment

Adani’s flawed protections for groundwater: its Carmichael mine may dry up ancient desert springs

Scientists warn ancient desert springs may dry up under Adani plan, Brisbane Times, Nicole Hasham, June 9, 2019 A group of Australia’s pre-eminent water scientists say a rare desert oasis may dry up under Adani’s “flawed” protections for groundwater near its proposed Carmichael mine, in a scathing assessment days out from a crucial ruling on the plan.

Queensland’s Department of Environment and Science is this week due to decide on Adani’s groundwater management plan – one of the last remaining barriers to construction of the coal project.

Former federal environment minister Melissa Price granted approval for the highly contentious groundwater plan days out from the federal election campaign. This came despite CSIRO and Geoscience Australia raising concerns over the energy company’s modelling and proposed management……..

Mining activity such as drilling through aquifers can cause groundwater levels to fall, or “draw down”, and reduce water vital to the survival of connected ecosystems.

Seven leading experts from four Australian universities examined the latest groundwater plans and conducted on-site analysis at Doongmabulla Springs.

The team was led by Flinders University hydrogeology professor Adrian Werner, a former adviser to the Queensland government.

Their report concluded that the Carmichael project may cause the springs to stop flowing permanently, pushing the wetland to extinction.

It found Adani is likely to have underestimated future impacts on the springs – partly because the aquifer feeding the wetland had not been identified and Adani’s estimates did not consider possible water leakage between underground formations.

The void left behind at the end of the mine’s life would draw down water for many years, meaning the worst groundwater impacts would occur after the company left the site, they said.

The scientists rejected Adani’s so-called ‘adaptive management’ plan to mitigate risks to the wetland. The method – essentially a learning-by-doing approach – was unsuitable partly because of lag times between mining activity and the effect on the springs, they said.

Possible cumulative impacts to the wetland from other proposed coal projects have also not been properly considered, the report added.

Professor Werner said the research showed Adani’s water plan was “severely flawed” and risked the extinction of both the springs complex and the flora and fauna that depend on it.

“If we allow Adani to drain billions of litres of water with this groundwater plan then we are effectively playing Russian roulette with the very existence of a million-year-old ecosystem,” he said.

The report was presented to officials at the Department of Environment and Science on Wednesday. A department spokesman said it was awaiting advice from CSIRO on Adani’s groundwater plan before considering if any changes were required. The department’s decision is due on Thursday, June 13. …… https://www.brisbanetimes.com.au/politics/federal/scientists-warn-ancient-desert-springs-may-dry-up-under-adani-plan-20190608-p51vqn.html

June 10, 2019 Posted by | climate change - global warming, environment, Queensland | Leave a comment

Clive Palmer’s plan for new coal-fired power station in Galilee Basin

June 3, 2019 Posted by | climate change - global warming, Queensland | Leave a comment

“Grey Power” Queensland activists protesting against Adani coal mine, demanding action against climate change

Grey power protesters stage Adani sit in.   https://www.sbs.com.au/news/grey-power-protesters-stage-adani-sit-in 12 Apr 19, Older voters opposed to Adani’s Queensland coal mine have vowed to continue a protest in Brisbane until they’re arrested. Queensland grandmother Rae Sheridan has been arrested three times at protests demanding action on climate change.

If she has her way, it’ll be four by the end of the day.

The 74-year-old is among a band of “grey power” activists who are staging a small but determined protest against Adani’s proposed coal mine in outback Queensland. (I’d) probably rather die in jail than in a nursing home,” Ms Sheridan told AAP on Thursday.

“This issue is of such importance, because stopping Adani is a line in the sand for our relationship with coal. It has to stay in the ground … New Zealand has done it, Australia can do it too.”

Fellow protester Greg McLachlan says he was moved to take action after watching thousands of school students take to the streets across the globe, calling on governments to protect their futures.

“We should have done more, and we should be doing more,” he told AAP, welling up with sadness.

“The future is their’s, not ours, and we are letting them down.”

Adani’s Carmichael mine project is an issue because Queensland is one of the key states needed to win federal government.

It is popular in the state’s central and northern regions, but could cost support among voters in inner-city seats who want more action on global warming. Labor’s environment spokesman Tony Burke says the prime minister called the election on Thursday to avoid Senate estimates hearings that would have seen the CSIRO grilled about the recent groundwater approval handed to Adani.

The hearings were promptly cancelled after Scott Morrison called the poll for May 18.

Adani’s plan manage groundwater now needs state government approval so that it can start digging.

But Labor Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk’s government says it won’t be rushed into a decision to approve that plan, and another to manage the tiny and endangered black-throated finch.

April 13, 2019 Posted by | climate change - global warming, Queensland | Leave a comment

Abbot Point Nine fines reduced on appeal

Source Documentmailchi.mp/frontlineaction.org/anti-adani-activist-fines-reduced  8 March 2019 

Nine anti-Adani activists, each originally fined $8,000 for disciplined non-violent direct action, which blocked coal exports from Adani’s Abbot point coal terminal for a total of 14 hours in January 2018, have expressed great relief that their fines have been substantially reduced on appeal to Bowen District Court.

The activists’ fines were reduced to between $2,000 to $3,000 each.

“Our actions were aimed to highlight the massive threat posed to a liveable planet for future generations by Adani’s railway and mine. Burning the Galilee Basin’s coal will make limiting global temperature rise to 1.5 to 2 degrees above pre-industrial levels, as agreed at Paris, an impossibility.” said Liisa Rusanen, one of the nine activists.

“In confronting the climate emergency, of course we need to phase out coal and other fossil fuels. We also need to stop billion-dollar corporations from dictating government policy. The destruction of the environment has deep roots in the current political system and our future depends on facing this.” Added Nic Avery, another of the nine activists.

Another of the nine, Ella Skerret, pointed out “our original fines totalled $72,000 compared to Adani’s $12,000 fine for exceeding their licensed release of polluted water into the Caley Valley Wetlands during cyclone Debbie.  A second pollution incident occurred in the recent major rainfall event and is being investigated. Will they be handed another meagre fine?”

The nine activists thanked Caxton Legal Centre, in addition to Barristers Andrew Boe and Sian McGee for their dedicated hard work in achieving this appeal court outcome.

March 9, 2019 Posted by | aboriginal issues, climate change - global warming, Queensland | Leave a comment

Adani’s ruthless aggression exposed in leaked “attack dog” plan

Wangan and Jagalingou Traditional Owners say an explosive ABC report this morning has revealed the corruption of process and the intimidation being engaged in by Adani’s new legal team. They say Adani are trying to silence its opponents and build political pressure to push its Carmichael project through. (ABC News story here). 

The Traditional Owners say they are clearly targeted in Adani’s “attack dog plan” and that Adani’s new law firm, AJ&Co, is running a malicious strategy to take down Adani’s critics, including the W&J Council’s senior spokesperson Adrian Burragubba. … “

February 21, 2019 Posted by | aboriginal issues, AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming, Queensland | Leave a comment

Law firm AJ and Co to wage war for Adani coal company – as an “attack dog”

Adani’s new law firm put forward ‘trained attack dog’ strategy for waging legal ‘war’   https://mobile.abc.net.au/news/2019-02-19/adani-law-firm-put-forward-trained-attack-dog-strategy/10821470?pfmredir=sm&fbclid=IwAR0vOmyhhAWM3VjluLNby1RdjRC2WzreUxr465GFLLyT2oO8Qy-5kRB7od8    BY JOSH ROBERTSON  Lawyers for mining firm Adani proposed waging “war” on opponents of its controversial Queensland mine by using the legal system to pressure government, silence critics and financially cripple activists, according to documents obtained by the ABC.

Key points:

  • Law firm AJ & Co promised to be Adani’s “trained attack dog”
  • The firm launched bankruptcy proceedings against an Indigenous mine opponent
  • Head of commercial litigation Alex Moriarty quit after a falling out over strategy

The draft copy of Adani’s new law firm’s aggressive strategy to bring the Carmichael mine to life is labelled “Taking the Gloves Off” and outlines a commercial proposal by AJ & Co to win a multi-million-dollar legal contract with the Indian mining giant.

In the document, the Brisbane firm promised to be Adani’s “trained attack dog”.

The strategy recommended bankrupting individuals who unsuccessfully challenge Adani in court, using lawsuits to pressure the Queensland Government and social media “bias” as a tool to discredit decisionmakers.

In a section called “Play the Man”, it recommended “where activists and commentators spread untruths, use the legal system to silence them”.

It also urged Adani to hire private investigators to target activists and work “with police and a criminal lawyer to ensure appropriate police action is taken against protesters”.

“Like a well-trained police dog, our litigations know when to sit and shake, and when it is time to bite,” the law firm promised. “To achieve its commercial goal, Adani needs to accept it is involved in a war.”

The AJ & Co plan pledged to “assess each battle as part of the overall war” and to “know when to negotiate and known when all out attack is required”.

An Adani spokeswoman said “we won’t apologise for pursuing our legal rights”.

“Like many organisations, we have a panel of law firms that service our business on a wide range of matters to ensure we are complying with Australia’s legal and regulatory frameworks,” the Adani spokeswoman said.

“We will not comment in detail on the legal firms we use, their marketing material and any matters where they may represent us or advice we may receive.”

Lawyer quit firm over strategy

The ABC can reveal AJ & Co’s former head of commercial litigation, Alex Moriarty, quit after an internal falling out over strategy in the wake of the proposal.

Mr Moriarty — who did not leak the planning document and now runs his own legal firm — also alleged he was assaulted by a colleague who confronted him over dealings with Adani, a complaint that Queensland police were investigating.

The ABC understands the alleged incident did not involve physical contact.

Mr Moriarty said he disavowed the “aggressive commentary” at the heart of the proposal, and that he believed it “tends to bring the legal profession into disrepute”.

“Such comments tend to damage the professional independence and integrity of the legal profession as a whole.”

The AJ & Co proposal suggested Adani “not settle for government departments dragging out decisions — use the legal system to pressure decisionmakers”.

It also argued that “social media is a tool to use against activists and decisionmakers”.

“Look for evidence of bias and use it to show the court system is being used for political activism,” the law firm wrote.

Since it was engaged by Adani, AJ & Co has pushed to bankrupt a cash-strapped Indigenous opponent of the mine, threatened legal action against a community legal service and an environmental group, and applied to access an ABC journalist’s expenses and documents.

Queensland Deputy Premier Jackie Trad told the ABC she believed it was “clear that their strategy has been activated … and we should be concerned”.

“We’ve seen the attacks on government — they clearly don’t like the role that the independent regulator [the Department of Environment and Science] is performing in terms of using science to make recommendations around final approval,” she said.

“I mean, seriously, what’s Adani going to do next? Are they going to start pressuring the CSIRO around the ground water management plan?

“And quite frankly, I am quite alarmed by some of the language used in the report like pursuing individuals so that they become bankrupt.

“I, like most Australians, don’t want to see us go down an Americanisation path of heavy litigation and corporate attack.”

Murrawah Johnson from the anti-Adani faction of the mine site’s traditional owners, the Wangan and Jagalingou (W&J), told the ABC that in recent months “Adani’s strategy has definitely changed — it’s become more aggressive”.

On Adani’s behalf in December, AJ & Co launched bankruptcy proceedings against vocal W&J opponent Adrian Burragubba over unpaid legal costs.

“My uncle Adrian has been public enemy number one for Adani,” Ms Johnson said.

“Going after him, I think, has been their plan all along — to essentially stamp out our resistance to the coal mine going ahead on our country.”

A day after the ABC revealed Adani was under investigation for alleged unlawful site works, AJ & Co wrote to Queensland’s Environmental Defenders Office (EDO).

EDO chief executive Jo Bragg, who commented in the ABC story, said the letter was “clearly designed to intimidate us”, although she declined to elaborate.

“It appears Adani has built an entire, well-funded strategy around hiring lawyers to bully community groups into silence,” she said.

AJ & Co later applied under federal Freedom of Information laws to access ABC journalist Mark Willacy’s expenses, and documents relating to the story.

In November, AJ & Co demanded environmental campaigners Market Forces abandon a trip to South Korea with W&J opponents to lobby banks not to invest in Adani.

Market Forces executive director Julien Vincent said the law firm accused the campaigners of injurious falsehood, unlawful conspiracy to cause economic loss to Adani and threatened legal action.

“It was pretty aggressive,” Mr Vincent said.

“It came across with a tone that had little substance to back up the allegations it made, and was quite threatening in the steps that would be taken if we didn’t comply with everything they wanted.”

A barrister for Market Forces told AJ & Co its allegations were “doomed to fail” and no more was heard from the firm.

Mr Vincent said Adani’s mine was “a massive public issue … and it is entirely reasonable for people to speak up and voice their concerns”.

An AJ & Co spokesman said “we don’t discuss matters which may relate to clients”.

February 19, 2019 Posted by | aboriginal issues, climate change - global warming, legal, politics, Queensland | Leave a comment

Queensland government rebukes Adani over endangered finch 

Guardian, Ben Smee, @BenSmee, 15 Feb 2019  Indian miner playing politics instead of participating in scientific process, says deputy premier Jackie Trad  The Adani mining group has chosen to “run a political campaign” rather than engage with the Queensland government about its plans to protect the endangered black-throated finch, the state’s deputy premier has said.

On Friday, Adani launched a pre-emptive attack on the findings of an independent review of its conservation plans to protect the finch at the Carmichael mine site…….

Speaking in Townsville on Friday afternoon, the Queensland deputy premier and treasurer, Jackie Trad, said Adani should raise any concerns it had about the draft report with the Department of Environment and Scienc e……….

The Australian Conservation Foundation said the government must “stay the course” and not cave in to corporate bullying.

“The black-throated finch is now found in only 12% of its historical range and Adani’s mine would devastate its best remaining habitat,” campaigner Christian Slattery said.

“Adani’s tantrum at the Queensland government is a clear demonstration of the company’s contempt for science and our native wildlife. If Adani’s management plans for the black-throated finch aren’t scientifically robust, they should not get approved. It’s that simple.” https://www.theguardian.com/business/2019/feb/15/queensland-government-rebukes-adani-over-endangered-finch

February 16, 2019 Posted by | environment, Queensland | Leave a comment

Queensland government investigating Adani again, about coal terminal water release

Adani facing government probe into latest coal terminal water release into wetlands, ABC News 

Key points:

  • Adani has not applied for an emergency water release permit for Abbot Point
  • Water flowed into Caley Valley wetlands this month after monsoonal rain
  • The Queensland Government is prosecuting Adani over a 2017 wetland water release

It comes as Adani revealed it did not apply for an emergency permit to dump more polluted water into the sensitive Caley Valley wetlands during the north Queensland floods last week.

The company told the ABC that Abbot Point operators were confident they could manage floodwaters with new infrastructure, but were then overwhelmed by flows from neighbouring properties.

Adani’s own testing showed water released into the wetlands on February 7 had almost double the authorised concentration of “suspended solids”, which included coal sediment……….

‘2017 release eight times over limit’Adani is fighting a prosecution by the department over its 2017 release of coal-laden water from the port during Cyclone Debbie.

The department alleges Adani breached a temporary emissions licence (TEL) by dumping water with more than 800mg/L — eight times the authorised concentration of suspended solids……….

Conservationists called on the Queensland Government to launch a second prosecution of Adani over Abbot Point.

Australian Marine Conservation Society campaigner Lissa Schindler said the company had “shown that it cannot be trusted with our precious reef”.

She criticised Adani’s advertising campaign designed to pressure the government into granting final approvals of its Carmichael coal project.

Ms Schindler said Adani instead “should have been ensuring its port was able to cope with Queensland’s extreme weather events”.

Mackay Conservation Group campaigner Peter McCallum said: “If you own and operate a port in Queensland on our precious Great Barrier Reef Marine Park, you must make sure it can withstand big storms.” https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-02-13/adani-facing-government-probe-abbot-point-wetland-release/10805206

February 14, 2019 Posted by | climate change - global warming, Queensland | Leave a comment

Heated exchange at Adani media event  

https://www.sbs.com.au/news/heated-exchange-at-adani-media-event  A press conference to showcase the support of indigenous traditional owners for Adani’s Carmichael coal mine has served to show divided opinions on the project.

A fiery war of words has broken out at a press conference designed to highlight the support of Indigenous traditional owners for Adani’s controversial Carmichael coal mine.

Spokesman for the Wangan and Jagalingou people of central Queensland, Patrick Malone, spoke up about the benefits of the project, including a boost to local employment alongside Resources Minister Matt Canavan at Parliament House in Canberra on Tuesday.

He stressed that traditional owners voted 294-to-1 in favour of establishing a land use agreement with Adani in 2016.

They did that because there are long-term benefits for Wangan and Jagalingou people,” Mr Malone told reporters.

But he was soon interrupted by fellow Wangan and Jagalingou representative Murrawah Johnson.

“Not appropriate,” Ms Johnson declared upon arriving at the scene.

Ms Johnson accused Mr Malone of having no right to represent her people, because of a native title claim still in dispute.

But Mr Malone rejected the view, lamenting that “loud mouth people” were overshadowing the majority view of traditional owners.

“Look after country,” Ms Johnson urged Mr Malone.

I know all about that,” he replied.

With the exchange showing no signs of cooling down, Senator Canavan swiftly wrapped up the conference, with security arriving to usher away the interrupters. They did that because there are long-term benefits for Wangan and Jagalingou people,” Mr Malone told reporters.

But he was soon interrupted by fellow Wangan and Jagalingou representative Murrawah Johnson.

“Not appropriate,” Ms Johnson declared upon arriving at the scene.

Ms Johnson accused Mr Malone of having no right to represent her people, because of a native title claim still in dispute.

But Mr Malone rejected the view, lamenting that “loud mouth people” were overshadowing the majority view of traditional owners.

“Look after country,” Ms Johnson urged Mr Malone.

“I know all about that,” he replied.

With the exchange showing no signs of cooling down, Senator Canavan swiftly wrapped up the conference, with security arriving to usher away the interrupters.

February 14, 2019 Posted by | aboriginal issues, climate change - global warming, Queensland | Leave a comment

There is still no deal on royalties for Adani coal mine with Queensland government

Adani yet to sign royalties deal with Queensland government, Fin Rev, By Mark Ludlow, Feb 7, 2019 

Indian energy giant Adani has yet to sign a royalties agreement with the Queensland government for its controversial $2 billion Carmichael mine.

In a further setback for the mine and rail project – which has become a lightning rod for environmental activists across the country – it can be revealed that while there was an in-principle agreement about a royalty framework for the project, it has yet to be finalised between the company and the Palaszczuk Labor government….. (subscribers only) https://www.afr.com/news/politics/adani-yet-to-sign-royalties-deal-with-queensland-government-20190207-h1ayhi

February 8, 2019 Posted by | climate change - global warming, Queensland | Leave a comment

Adani doesn’t want a “Mega-Mine” any more

Adani chief rues original plans for ‘mega-mine’  Brisbane Times, By Nick Bonyhady, February 7, 2019     The chief executive of major coal miner Adani says he rues the way the company’s controversial Carmichael coal mine was originally announced as a 60 million tonne mega-mine in 2010 before being scaled down to a 10 million tonne project last year……..

The project is awaiting state and federal sign-off on two environmental management plans but it now looks more certain after shadow treasurer Chris Bowen said Labor would not block the mine if it wins office at the federal election due by May.
Mr Dow also said Adani had received support from the country’s largest construction union. …….

A CFMEU spokeswoman said their official had spoke about central Queensland and that the quote was not a reference to Adani specifically, but that the union supported resource jobs in the state. The Labor Party was contacted for comment.

Mr Dow named the Queensland seats of Flynn, Capricornia, Dawson and Herbert as federal electorates where the mine’s fate would be particularly influential in the election. But Mr Dow also lauded the Coalition for its support of the project, which he said was very nearly underway after being delayed for eight years.

A Queensland government investigation into whether the company breached bore water extraction requirements is ongoing, as is a Federal Court challenge to the validity of a meeting at which indigenous owners approved the company’s indigenous land use agreement.

Adani had sought hundreds of millions of dollars in government loans for the project but its applications were rejected after political pressure from environmental groups……. https://www.brisbanetimes.com.au/business/companies/adani-chief-rues-original-plans-for-mega-mine-20190207-p50wbh.html

February 8, 2019 Posted by | climate change - global warming, Queensland | Leave a comment

We’ve always had floods and bushfires, but climate change is making them worse

Queensland floods: Townsville reels under record water levels as more rain arrives, There are several more days to go in this flood event, Bureau of Meteorology warns, Guardian, 2 Feb 2019

Queensland authorities have said the state’s north was entering “unprecedented territory” as monsoon rains battered the city of Townsville, setting record flood levels and destroying homes.

……..The worst of the conditions were expected over the next two days, and authorities described the next 48 hours as “crucial”. On Friday, Palaszczuk had described the incoming monsoon as a “once in a 100-year” event and Townsville was declared a disaster zone.
……..Schools and businesses in Townsville were to remain shut and thousands of residents had been evacuated to higher ground, AAP reported.

Homes and businesses have been destroyed as flash floods washed through streets, sweeping away cars, equipment and livestock……..https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2019/feb/02/queensland-floods-townsville-reels-under-record-water-levels-as-more-rain-arrives

Bushfires threaten homes across Victoria , The Age, By Nicole Precel, 3 February 2019,Out-of-control bushfires threatened homes and lives on Sunday as more than 1000 firefighters battled major blazes across Victoria.Firefighters were stretched to the limit, fighting several large fires throughout the state.

A fire in Hepburn, in central Victoria was the major focus for the day with residents warned at daybreak to evacuate the town.

Two firefighters who were fighting the Hepburn fires were treated for heat exhaustion and over-exertion and were taken to hospital as a precaution.

Elsewhere, as almost 50 new fires sparked, emergency warnings were issued at various times for fires including days-old blazes in Timbarra in Gippsland and Grantville on the Bass Coast……..

As of Sunday afternoon, there were 69 aircraft working “very, very hard” and “effectively”.

The fires were fanned by soaring temperatures, hitting 43.3 degrees in the Mallee, 43.1 degrees in Hopetoun, 42.2 in Mildura, 41.1 at Melbourne Airport and 38.2 in Melbourne’s CBD.

The Bureau of Meteorology’s Richard Russell said high winds and thunderstorms were expected throughout the night……….. https://www.theage.com.au/national/victoria/bushfires-threaten-homes-across-victoria-20190203-p50vf8.html

Tasmania’s fire disaster revealed in satellite images showing the extent of the damage

It’s easy to get warning fatigue, and, with only a handful or properties impacted so far, dismiss the fires as all bark and no bite.

But satellite images reveal the scale of the destruction so far.

The Gell River blaze, in the state’s south-west, was the first to start, ignited by a dry lightning strike in late December.

“It seems really like ancient history,” professor of pyrogeography and fire service at the University of Tasmania David Bowman said.

“It started at the end of last year and escalated in early January, so we’re looking at a fire situation that’s now gone for a full calendar month.”

Images taken by the European Space Agency’s Sentinel-2 satellite on January 3 show what seems, relative to the lakes around it, like a small blackened patch of wilderness……..

“There are multiple major fire events occurring simultaneously, which is extremely challenging for firefighters and fire managers because of the requirement to spread resources and make very difficult prioritising decisions.” …….

“This is definitely a historic event, it’s unprecedented,” Professor Bowman said.

“The area burnt is very substantial, I can barely keep up with the numbers.”

This week the fire service did put a number on it — 187,000 hectares.

At the same time as the Central Plateau fire ramped up, the Tahune fire was also burning out of control.

Of all the fires burning across Tasmania, this one has caused the most displacement, forcing hundreds of people to evacuate from communities in the Huon Valley south of Hobart.

Since last week, firefighters have issued almost daily warnings to residents, cautioning that only those prepared to defend their properties should stay behind.

A satellite image taken on January 30 shows how the fire, having burnt through more than 56,000 hectares, was still sending smoke over towns to its east. …..https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-02-02/tasmanian-bushfires-from-the-air-satellite-images/10771528

February 3, 2019 Posted by | climate change - global warming, Queensland, Tasmania, Victoria | Leave a comment