In uranium market glut, Western Australia govt still approves Yeelirrie mine, against environmental and Aboriginal interests
“The Western Australian government has approved plans for a uranium mine at Yeelirrie on Aboriginal land 630 kilometres north-east of the state capital, Perth.
Aborigines have fought the plans as best they could, backed by non-indigenous and foreign activists.
Environmentalists warn the mine would wipe out species unique to the region.
Yeelirrie sits on one of the world’s most significant uranium deposits.
Approval of the mine, to be operated by Canadian mining giant Cameco, came despite a ruling by the government’s own Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) that a mine on the site posed a significant risk of extinction to species not known to exist anywhere else. …
“Anti-nuclear activist Mia Pepper writes that the government argued jobs and economics for its decision.
“Now we know that the project would employ a little over 200 fly-in, fly-out (FIFO) workers, but we also know that the uranium market is flooded and there is no economic justification for this mine to go ahead. … “
Project heralds ’energy capital of Australia’
ONE of Australia’s largest solar farms, with the potential to create 400 local construction jobs, has been approved by a regional Queensland council……. (subscribers only)
Nuclear differences between Liberal hopeful Sean Edwards and state party noted, but not an issue ABC News 16 Jan 17 Nuclear power advocate and former Liberal senator Sean Edwards’ possible move into South Australian politics has not created a rift, the state party’s leader Steven Marshall has said. Mr Edwards lost his seat at last year’s federal election after being moved down the Liberal Party’s Senate ticket.
He signalled last week he would meet with party officials about possibly nominating for preselection for the next state election in March 2018 in the regional seat of Frome.
Mr Marshall told ABC Adelaide Mr Edwards was a “good friend” and had made a “great contribution to the people of South Australia in the Federal Parliament”.
“In recent years of course, he has been a strong advocate for nuclear energy here in Australia, more particularly here in South Australia,” Mr Marshall said.
“[His opinion] it differs from the parliamentary party. He’s mainly an advocate for nuclear energy. He sees it as clean and affordable.”
Mr Marshall also said the party had considered the Government’s proposal for a nuclear waste dump and decided it was too great of a risk.
“We believe the economic risk was too to high, we have a much greater ambitions for South Australia than becoming a nuclear waste dump.”
Mr Marshall said there was “no rift” between him and Mr Edwards and the difference of opinion was encouraged in partyroom debate…….. http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-01-16/nuclear-differences-between-edwards-and-marshall/8184546
However, with the changeover in the US Presidency to President-elect Donald Trump occurring on 20th January and the United Nations Conferences on the banning of nuclear weapons beginning in March, it seems important to let our Australian leaders know exactly where we stand on this critical issue.
In last year’s vote at the UN, 123 countries voted for a ban, but our Australian representatives voted against. Why? Who gave them this right? If the Government had conducted a survey, it would have found, once again, that a significant majority of thinking Australians clearly want an end to nuclear weapons with a binding and enforceable treaty, like the UN already has for other terrible weapons. But the Government should not need to conduct a survey.
The majority of Australians are well aware that if used, nuclear weapons can destroy all life on the planet. They have indicated many times previously, that they want an end to nuclear armaments. There is no indication that there has been any change. Those in my networks were amazed and disgusted that the Australian representatives at the UN Conference last year voted against a ban on these weapons.
Perhaps it is time for every one of us who can, to urgently write a letter or send an email to our current Government, or our political representatives, stating that we want a ban and that those who represent us at the coming United Nations Conference should work for a ban, not the reverse.
Some argue that these weapons are needed because other nations have them, will always want them and work to get them. But if these weapons are used, no matter where they are used, millions will lose their lives; and life as we know it in that area of the planet, if not the whole planet will be impossible for centuries. With global warming increasing and with it a significant reduction in arable land for food production, nations cannot afford to keep nuclear weapons. If we consider the continuing problems at and around the Fukushima power station and other places where nuclear ‘accidents’ have occurred, we cannot support the use of nuclear weapons, let alone the upkeep of these weapons which cost billions of dollars which should be available for use in more constructive ways.
Having nuclear weapons does not make any country stronger. That such power should be available to a few men is ridiculous. The sooner the weapons are all got rid of the better.
What would happen if leaflets were dropped over those nations making or storing nuclear weapons towards educating the population on their dangers so that they would demand an end to this stupidity Linley Grant is state president of the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom.
Renewable investment hampered by policy void (subscribers only)
Death of the Great Barrier Reef: One scientist’s planetary tipping point, Independent Australia 12 January 2017 Nearly a quarter of the Great Barrier Reef is dead and there has been no discernible political response, writes Dr Geoff Davies.
THERE WAS no big revelation, just a train of thought. Nearly a quarter of the Great Barrier Reef is dead and there has been no discernible political response. Global temperature is rising off the chart, only glancingly noted in the torrent of chatter. The decades-long trend of ever-more perverse and destructive politics continues. Societies are fragmenting.
For perhaps two decades I have held to the thought that while ever there was a chance of avoiding a planetary tipping point I would continue explaining how we can avoid the worst. Through that time, the path to a healthy, stable world has become clearer and more obvious, demonstrated in a thousand practical, small-scale ways. All that time, the window of opportunity was closing. It is, in my judgement, barely open any more.
Few seem to understand that even if we ceased greenhouse gas emissions tomorrow the world would still warm for two or three decades more. That is about the time marine scientists give for the rest of the Great Barrier Reef to be killed off on present trends. I can’t see how the Reef can survive. Its loss, along with vast stretches of mangroves in our north, kelp forests in the west and rich continental shelf life across the south, will be see major collapses of ocean ecosystems, with unknown consequences for life on this Earth…….https://independentaustralia.net/environment/environment-display/death-of-the-great-barrier-reef-one-scientists-planetary-tipping-point,9917
Paul Waldon, Fight To Stop Nuclear Waste Dump In Flinders Ranges SA, 10 Jan 17 There are over 20 companies trying to produce the best solar paint, they say the product is a reality. I received a email asking if I would like to invest, but poverty stops me.
But I have to ask has anybody ever received requests if they would like to invest in a nuclear waste machine that has a byproduct called electricity.
Nuclear can NOT get investors, it relies on government handouts and other support. Wall Street won’t invest in the game, the Chemical Bank of New York went belly up investing in nuclear, and if you remove the liability cap from nuclear power generation the utilities that operate the reactors won’t want to have anything to do with the businesses, if there was a accident in a NPP IN America the utility will only have to pay about $75 million which is about 1% of what the government will spend.
‘Nuclear is death and it’s a dying industry that can’t be buried and from past history of any offers of compensation by the government is usually gone after the recipients have passed.https://www.facebook.com/groups/344452605899556/
Interview: U.S., Australia left behind as China, India leads clean energy advancement http://www.china.org.cn/world/Off_the_Wire/2017-01/06/content_40053872.htm, January 6, 2017 While the U.S.-centric world questions renewable energy, China is leading the world in clean-power investment, driving the fledgling industry further and leverage future growth as the sane world looks to transition away from fossil fuels.
China’s domestic investment in renewable energy lifted to 103 billion U.S. dollars in 2015, outbound investment surged 60 percent year-on-year to 32 billion U.S. dollars in 2016, an Institute for Economics and Financial Analysis report showed Friday.
“This is a massive pivot by the Chinese to capitalise on technology control, industry leadership and to take their position global,” the report’s author, IEEFA’s Australasia director of energy finance studies, Tim Buckley told Xinhua.
China wants to “dominate” these industries in a positive way, Buckley said, deploying technology which is now considered the “best in the world” after years of investment.
“Chinese wind turbines are the best in the world, China produces 50-60 percent of the world’s solar modules, they are producing or installing probably half of the world’s dams as we speak,” Buckley said, adding Chinese hydroelectricity engineers are also world leaders.
China’s neighbor India has also showed ambitions on clear energy development.
Its latest national energy plan shows there will be no new coal fired power plants — other than those already under construction — over the next decade, which puts up red flags for Australia’s coal industry and Adani’s recently approved project in Australia’s Galilee Basin.
“When China is moving very very aggressively as a world leader, India is looking to replicate that and accelerate that trend as well and become the low cost manufacturer of this industry transformation, America and Australia risk getting left behind,” Buckley said.
As agreed at the COP21 Paris climate talks in 2015, the countries involved promised to ensure global warming is limited to a two degree Celsius rise through their respective emissions reductions targets. So, investment in new, clean energy technologies is critical.
Western governments such as Australia and the incoming regime of U.S. President-elect Donald Trump however are still championing fossil fuels.
Trump has named former ExxonMobil Corp. chief Rex Tillerson as his nominee for U.S. Secretary of State, while Australia’s ruling lawmakers have backed a 100 billion Australian dollar investment target to expand the local coal industry.
Buckley issued a wake-up-call to the U.S. (and Australia), stating following a mandate to move back to fossil fuels might have some short term opportunity, but it will come at significant cost to jobs, technology and investment in the future.
Buckley says Asia will pivot to renewable energy within the next decade for economic reasons, taking the lowest cost energy source going forward, which is solar.
“It’s technology driven, its policy driven, it’s unstoppable.”
Australia’s state governments are now filling the void from the lack of guidance from federal authorities to meet their self-imposed targets, the reduction in the cost of renewable energy is also making it commercially viable.
“The cost of renewables are dropping in double digit declines in cost per megawatt every year,” Buckley said.
“The cost of solar is now down to 80 or 90 Australian dollars per megawatt hour, the cost of wind is similar, only a year ago it was 30 percent higher.”
Green energy critics however contend the intermittent nature of renewables heightens energy security concerns. Australia’s government blamed the intermittent nature of renewable energy for the state-wide blackout in South Australia on Sept. 28 2016 following a violent storm.
Buckley — like previous statements by former State Grid Corp. chairman Liu Zhenya — said grid stability is not an issue, there is no technical barrier to the use of renewable energy, it just needs investment to prepare for future energy needs. Endit
This is not a revelation for those who are on the frontline of dealing with disaster. The state’s second Natural Disaster Risk Assessment released in September listed bushfires and flooding as the greatest risks to the state. Not far down the list were heatwave and coastal inundation. The available evidence strongly suggests that the likelihood, frequency and severity of these events will increase as climate change becomes more pronounced.
Tasmania is no stranger to the impact of natural disaster. If the ferocity of the bushfires of 1967 are too distant a memory, we need only to think back to the devastation wrought on the Tasman Peninsula in 2013 or the fires which ravaged the state’s wilderness areas at the beginning of last year. Fresh in our memories too are last year’s floods and the terrible toll they took in terms of human life, property damage and economic disruption……..
Just across the Tasman, New Zealand’s superb civil defence preparedness for earthquakes and tsunamis might provide a useful template to improve our own.
Alongside the need to harden our infrastructure (burying critical power, phone and data wires might help for bushfire-price areas for example) getting better at dealing with disasters should become part of our DNA. We need to better integrate charities into the official response. We need to ensure our agencies are sufficiently equipped and trained and we need to make sure residents have the resources they need to be able to cope with disruption to power, water and road infrastructure. And we need to improve responses disasters over the long term — it is not good enough that the effect of last year’s floods are still being keenly felt by some on the land.
The findings of the current inquiry must be heeded. Tasmania simply cannot afford to continue to learn the same lessons time and time again.http://www.themercury.com.au/news/opinion/editorial-learn-fast-or-pay-the-cost/news-story/c88138b52b0dd6087da5066186d87621
THE Top End sweated through the warmest year on record, according to the Bureau of Meteorology’s Annual Climate Summary for NT… (subscribers only)
Anthropogenic climate change is accelerating, according to the Bureau of Meteorology’s latest annual climate report….. (subscribers only) http://www.theaustralian.com.au/national-affairs/climate/climate-change-on-the-march-as-scientists-tip-2016-as-hottest-year/news-story/8bb55d2bf8f24601f5a4691074d31bd9
- the Great Barrier Reef
- and our planet http://www.socialism.com/drupal-6.8/organiser-articles/three-reasons-stop-adani-sovereignty-great-barrier-reef-and-our-planet
Alison Thorne | The Organiser: The Australian Voice of Revolutionary Feminism January 2017:
“One of the most inspiring speakers I’ve heard recently is Murrawah Maroochy Johnson,
a 20-year-old from the Wangan and Jagalingou people (WJP) of central Queensland.
She spoke passionately about the battle to stop the Carmichael mine on her ancestral lands.
Adani, an India-based multinational, plans to build one of the world’s biggest coal mines in the Galilee Basin, causing environmental devastation and reaping billions of dollars in profit. …
“The groundswell of opposition to the project is growing, and the issues at stake —the sovereign rights of the Traditional Owners, – the health of the Great Barrier Reef – and the future of our only planet
—are just too great. …
“We need to stop the Carmichael mine, leave the Galilee Basin coal in the ground and create a sustainable energy future based on planning. This means challenging the underpinning logic of the capitalist system. People and environment need to triumph over profit and corruption.”
Dennis Matthews, 1 Jan 17 The latest electricity debacle (The Advertiser 29/12/16) should be a red alert for business leaders in SA.
It is now glaringly obvious that the electricity industry in SA is not up to the task of delivering a safe, secure, affordable and reliable service.
The ridiculously trivial compensation doled out for failure to provide an essential service does nothing to ensure that the failure will not be repeated.
It is time for business leaders to put out-dated ideas behind them, to take off the shackles of 20th century economics and to work with the community in providing energy services that can withstand conditions such as those experienced in the last four months.
Such action is decades overdue.
“The Queensland Greens say it beggars belief that the Federal Coalition and Queensland Labor governments would gamble a billion dollars of taxpayer’s money on Adani, a multinational company
implicated in corruption, tax evasion and ripping off consumers.
Spokesperson and candidate for Mount Coot-tha, Michael Berkman, said:
“”A responsible government would not gamble a billion dollars of taxpayer money on a company
implicated in tax evasion, fraud, corruption and consumer rip-offs.
Adani wants to rip off Queenslanders too, threatening to destroy the Reef and the 70,000 jobs that depend on its health. … “
Solar now costs less than $30/MWh in many major economies, wind energy is about the same. As Bloomberg recently pointed out, this makes them cheaper than any new generation, and cheaper than much existing generation.
Battery storage costs have fallen 50 per cent in 12 months, and energy experts are freely talking about new energy systems with concepts such as localised and shared energy, zero marginal costs, and even “free energy.” Electric vehicles, inspired by Tesla, are also on the rise with major car makers investing billions in new electric models.
The other major force is political – funded, aided and abetted by the very fossil fuel interests threatened by renewables, storage and EVs. They’ve hit the jack-pot in Washington, and when Donald Trump moves into the White House on January 20, he will be accompanied by a cabinet notable for its collection of climate change deniers, fossil fuel lobbyists and billionaires. And with the Exxon Mobil CEO and chairman as secretary of state.
It is unthinkable, and it is potentially dangerous, but there it is. Clean energy technology will never have faced greater politics headwinds than Trump’s America……
This will have an impact on Australia too. Australia finds itself at the cutting edge of this energy transition, with a huge natural and technological advantage, and even greater motivation (enormous electricity costs and a dirty inefficient grid).
But it also boasts a powerful fossil fuel incumbency. The Trump administration will encourage the climate deniers and vested interests within the ruling Coalition, and there are many.
The only hope will be that the review by chief scientist Alan Finkel will provide some clarity, and may actually be read by the government. Just how long will it take to sink in?……….
Solar and wind costs will continue to fall. In Australia, that could be significant as the backlog in large-scale renewables projects finally breaks: expect to see numerous large-scale solar projects, many of them displacing second tier wind developments.
“Merchant” models will be the vogue for a while, before the big retailers wake up and lock in more projects on contract, particularly as consumers rail against the soaring cost of the “green energy” component of their bill, caused only by the retailers’ own failure to invest.
But it’s not the technology that is the major concern, it is the politics, and the potential for powerful interests to bamboozle politicians and encourage them to make dumb decisions about energy choices – or in the case of the Australian federal government, no decision at all.
The Finkel review will be critical to cut through the myth-making of technology deniers and myth-makers. But it will likely take time to sink in, presuming that anyone in the Coalition actually reads it.
The mainstream media could play a constructive role, but there is not much hope there. They seem completely enthralled by incumbents and completely uninterested in the potential of new technologies.
It is disconcerting enough that most energy market and pricing regulators seem to think that their primary role is to protect the incumbent over the consumer – see the way they protect network revenue, how they demonise renewable incentives as a “transfer of wealth from the generators to the consumers…….. http://reneweconomy.com.au/will-2017-be-last-stand-of-clean-energy-technology-deniers-87502/