Antinuclear

Australian news, and some related international items

Australia’s conservative government renews its attacks on renewable energy

Turnbull destroys renewablesCoalition launches rubbish attack on wind and solar after SA blackout, Independent Australia Giles Parkinson 30 September 2016 Coalition claptrap back on agenda: coal-fired power causes global warming which causes extreme weather. When record storm destroys transmission towers causing a blackout, BLAME RENEWABLES! 

THE COALITION GOVERNMENT launched a ferocious attack against wind and solar energy after the major South Australian blackout, even though energy minister Josh Frydenberg and the grid operators admit that the source of energy had nothing to do with catastrophic outage.

Frydenberg, however, lined up with Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce, One Nation’s Malcolm Roberts, Independent Senator Nick Xenophon and a host of conservative commentators, including Andrew Bolt, Alan Moran, the ABC’s Chris Ullmann, and Fairfax’s Brian Robins to exploit the blackout to question the use of renewable energy.

Frydenberg used the blackout to continue his persistent campaign against the renewable energy targets of state Labor governments in South Australia, Victoria and Queensland, saying that the blackout was proof that these targets were “unrealistic.”

He made clear that he wanted the states – South Australia and Queensland which are pushing for 50% renewable energy, and Victoria 40% – to abandon their schemes and conform to the Federal target, which has target of about 23.5% renewables.

The Federal scheme effectively ends in 2020, while the state based schemes provide longer term investment signals by providing a 2025 and 2030 timeframes…….

Electranet – which runs the grid in South Australia – and other grid authorities, have made clear that the blackout – which is unprecedented in Australia and led to its first ever “black start” – would have happened whatever the fuel source at the time.

Power lost after 3 of the 4 transmission lines were brought down by the storm

Bruce Mountain goes into detail about what was happening in this analysis here. But it is now clear that at least 23 high voltage power poles were lost in five different locations, bringing down three of the big four transmission lines that carry electricity to and from the north of the state, sparking a State-wide outage and its isolation from Victoria…….

His views were echoed by the likes of Roberts, Xenophon, the fossil fuel lobby, the South Australian Opposition, and even ABC commentator Chris Uhlmann, who agreed with Joyce that the wind farms were not working because the wind was blowing too hard…..https://independentaustralia.net/politics/politics-display/coalition-launches-rubbish-attack-on-wind-and-solar-after-sa-blackout,9532

October 1, 2016 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, energy, politics | Leave a comment

Australia’s $36 billion splurge on submarines, intended for nuclear later on

New submarines could ultimately be nuclear, say experts AFR,  by Mark Abernethy, 30 Sep 16   As far as government spending goes, it could be the largest capital project ever undertaken in Australia. The Future Submarines Program (FSP) aims to build 12 submarines at a cost of what could be more than $36 billion, taking the Australian Strategic Policy Institute’s estimate of each sub costing up to $3.04 billion (some public estimates have been higher).

submarine-barracuda

The prime contractor for the 12 submarines – intended to replace the Collins-class subs after 2025 – is French shipbuilder, DCNS, whose winning design is a diesel-electric variant on its Barracuda nuclear sub, now labelled the Shortfin Barracuda for the Australian project.

The requirement of the process was to deliver a regionally superior submarine, meaning the subs should be state-of-the-art, with a modern hull and a combat system from the United States.

However concerns about the new sub’s ability to convert from nuclear to diesel-electric may be ill-founded. In fact, the nuclear-centric design of the Barracuda class may be the point of the exercise, not the problem.  “I wouldn’t be surprised if the later builds are nuclear,” says Peter Jennings, executive director of the Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI).

He says the broadening range of Australia’s defence outlook could also be a driver of a switch to the ultra-long range of nuclear submarines. The acceptance of the “Indo-Pacific” as Australia’s strategic theatre increasingly means simultaneous long-range deployments, in different oceans, with different intensities.

“It’s probably a good bet to say that the reason we’ve gone with the Barracuda is that some of the 12 builds can be nuclear, giving the ADF more options in how these submarines are used, ” says Jennings……..

Dr Euan Graham, director of the international security program at the Lowy Institute, says the Japanese submarine in the tender was smaller than the Barracuda, and the Japanese contractor didn’t commit to building in Australia. However, the Japanese bid had the crucial advantage that its submarine is proven operationally…….http://www.afr.com/news/special-reports/defence-and-national-security/new-submarines-could-ultimately-be-nuclear-say-experts-20160926-grohze.

October 1, 2016 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Brett Stokes calls out South Australian govt on its illegal promotion of nuclear waste importation

Brett Burnard Stokes shared Your Say Nuclear‘s photo

We have laws, good laws, that are being subverted.

These laws are the embodiment of the will of the people.

I have asked many times why this propaganda exercise is omitting the facts about South Australian law and the prohibition of nuclear waste importation into South Australia.

I have pointed out the deception involved in pretending to be objective while omitting the facts about current law and the penalties per offence of ten years jail and huge fines.

I ask again for an end to this waste of time and money.

I call again for investigation and prosecution of the perpetrators.

(copy of my comment at Your Say Nuclear facebook page run by Dept Premier and Cabinet)

October 1, 2016 Posted by | legal, South Australia | Leave a comment

Australia’s farmers feeling the effects of climate change

climate-changeBetting the Farm: Farmers confront climate change http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-09-30/farmers-confront-extreme-reality-of-climate-change/7887720 Climate change is here, and Australian agriculture is acutely feeling the effects. Three farmers explain how it’s impacting their lives and livelihoods.

By Jo Chandler for Background Briefing Real-world observations of temperature spikes, pasture growth and grape harvests across southern Australia reveal that the landscape is heating up at rates experts did not expect to see until 2030.

In some instances the rates of warming are tracking at 2050 scenarios.

Scientists concerned that climate change is biting harder and faster than models anticipated are campaigning for more research investment to protect Australia’s $58 billion agriculture industry from extreme weather.

Background Briefing has learned that their concerns about the capability of Australian research to address climate change will be validated in an independent review by the prestigious Australian Academy of Science.

The review, due for release in the next few weeks, has identified a substantial shortfall in the nation’s climate research firepower.

It’s understood that the review will recommend that the number of scientists working for CSIRO and its partners on climate science needs to increase by about 90. That is almost double the current number of full time positions.

Meanwhile, the reality is already confronting farmers on the front line, many of them battered by this last year of wild conditions.

Climate change makes farming more of a gamble than it ever was. It should be a complete concern to everyone who eats on this planet, because the whole world is going to be gambling on food production.

George Mills, Tasmania
We are seeing grapes ripening faster and ripening within a much shorter timeframe than they once did.

Brett McClen, Victoria
Climate change is here, there is no doubt about it … The hip pocket is when it makes you decide it is here or not, and it hurt our hip pockets, so we know.

Mark McDougall, Tasmania
Hear Jo Chandler’s full investigation into the impact of climate change on Australian agriculture on ABC RN’s Background Briefing at 8:05am on Sunday, or subscribe to the podcast on iTunesABC Radio or your favourite podcasting app.

October 1, 2016 Posted by | Audiovisual, AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming | Leave a comment

politicians blame renewable energy for blackout – though none can say HOW!

wind-farm-evil-1Politicians blame wind power for taking out electrical grid in South Australia, Mashable, BY ANDREW FREEDMAN , 30 Sep 16 In the wake of an unprecedented blackout that cut off an entire Australian state from electricity on Wednesday into Thursday, some politicians are vilifying renewable power sources, particularly wind turbines.

 Had the state of South Australia, which includes Adelaide, a city of 1.2 million, not put so much emphasis on cutting greenhouse gas emissions by adding renewable energy facilities, these leaders say, the blackout during a rare, extreme storm would not have occurred.

Considering the rapid rise in renewables around the world, including the U.S., the political fight that has broken out in Australia is not an issue limited to one nation. In fact, it could foreshadow future fights if blackouts occur in the U.S. or Europe, two areas where renewable energy use has increased recently……..

However, ElectraNet, which owns transmission lines in South Australia, said the severe storm — which included powerful winds and tens of thousands of cloud-to-ground lightning strikes, damaged three out of the four transmission lines that connect Adelaide with northern parts of South Australia.

In addition, ElectraNet said on its website that 23 transmission towers across the state were damaged, triggering the blackout.

None of the politicians have proposed an explaination for how wind turbines could’ve caused such a widespread outage, a first in Australia’s history, whereas ElectraNet has done so.…….

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull told reporters that the state’s aggressive push into renewables may have contributed to the unprecedented statewide blackout.

 However, the wind energy industry is pushing back at such criticism, saying the politicians are simply wrong. “Wind was going strong when the network went off and was among the first back on when the network recovered,” said Andrew Bray of the Australian Wind Alliance, according to The Australian. The wind power industry says turbines did not cause the blackout.
 “The failure of the network was a weather event, pure and simple. Extreme weather knocked out 23 transmission pylons. Storms of this magnitude will knock out the power network no matter what the source of power is,” Bray told the newspaper.

A federal inquiry is likely to be launched into the cause of the more than 24-hour blackout, which may settle some of the debate going on now. Officials in states with a high reliance on wind power, such as Texas, will be closely watching the developments Down Under. http://mashable.com/2016/09/29/south-australia-blackout-wind-power/#KFHs2CKfmiqG

October 1, 2016 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, energy, politics, South Australia | Leave a comment

For Tasmania, Renewables rapidly proving a cheaper option

map-tasmania-wind.1 Renewables rapidly proving a cheaper option JACK GILDING, Mercury

Bloomberg New Energy Finance says renewables are already cheaper than new fossil fuel plants in Australia. The conservative predictions of the Australian Government’s Bureau of Resources and Energy Economics say they will be within a decade.

Of particular interest for Tasmania is the relative costs of electricity from wind and solar. Solar is getting cheaper faster than wind. Again, opinions vary on when the crossover will be. Recent statements by major Australian players suggest it will not be long……

Tasmania rightly prides itself on its potential for renewable energy development, but the unfortunate reality is that no large projects have commenced since the opening of the Musselroe Wind Farm in 2014.

Tasmania may only have a limited time to garner its rightful share of the $280 billion being invested globally in renewable energy each year.

Right now windy Tasmania has an advantage, but as the cost of solar drops, investors will look to sunnier locations. Continue reading

October 1, 2016 Posted by | energy, Tasmania | Leave a comment

Autralia’s PM Malcolm Turnbull peddling “ignorant rubbish” over renewable energy

Turnbull in hot pan‘Ignorant rubbish’: PM under fire over renewables lecturing Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews has lashed out at the prime minister, accusing him of peddling “ignorant rubbish” over renewable energy. SBS World News,
Source:
AAP 
Malcolm Turnbull has taken another swipe at the renewable energy policies of some state governments as he and Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews exchanged angry words over the issue.

Mr Andrews lashed out at the prime minister, accusing him of peddling “ignorant rubbish” over renewable energy after South Australia was blacked out in ferocious storms this week……..

Mr Andrews told ABC radio on Friday Mr Turnbull was “peddling ignorant rubbish, lecturing people about things he knows nothing about and conflating an extreme weather event”.

“It seems like Tony Abbott is back.”

The prime minister had no credibility when he talked about establishing a national renewable energy scheme.

“We are the only jurisdiction in the developed world that had a price on carbon and got rid of it and had a renewable energy target and wound it back,” Mr Andrews said.

The only way Australia could reach the Commonwealth’s renewable energy target of 23.5 per cent by 2020 was through the ambitions of state schemes.

Queensland and South Australia are aiming for 50 per cent and Victoria for 40 per cent, although over longer time frames.

Queensland’s acting energy minister Leeanne Enoch said her state was sticking to its target.

“You never know which Malcolm Turnbull you’re going to get – are we going to get the renewable champion one day and then we’re going to get an almost climate denier the next day,” she said.

“It’s bizarre.”…….http://www.sbs.com.au/news/article/2016/09/30/ignorant-rubbish-pm-under-fire-over-renewables-lecturing

October 1, 2016 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, energy, politics | Leave a comment

South Australia’s nuclear dump plan – fool’s gold? – senior Liberal MP

scrutiny-on-wastes-sa-bankruptSA nuclear dump dreams just fool’s gold: senior Lib, The Australian, September 29, 2016, byMichael Owen  http://www.theaustralian.com.au/national-affairs/state-politics/sa-nuclear-dump-dreams-just-fools-gold-senior-lib/news-story/a595649777c14703159a462c5d9cb34f

A senior Liberal has broken ranks in what had been a bipart­isan approach to inquire into the potential for South Australia to host a repository for the world’s high-level nuclear waste, warning that taxpayers risked wasting money “on fool’s gold”.

Rob Lucas, a former state treasurer and the opposition’s Treasury spokesman, told ­parliament that intense political pressures would make it near ­impossible for there to be the ­required bipartisan support at both federal and state level for the necessary legislative changes to allow such a facility.

Mr Lucas, a member of parliament’s joint committee on the findings of the Nuclear Fuel Cycle Royal Commission, also cast doubt on the potential eco­nomic benefits, warning it was not possible to verify “some of the financial ­estimates in terms of what the state might earn from this facility”.

The Scarce royal commission’s final report, delivered in May, found that building a nuc­lear waste dump in South Australia could bring in an extra $100 billion over 120 years.

South Australian Premier Jay Weatherill — who faces resistance from federal Labor and his own Left faction — has said cabin­et would make a decis­ion in November as to whether to progress the propo­s­al, after ­extensive commun­ity con­­sult­ation. Latest opinion polls show South Australians almost equally divided on the issue.

Last night, Mr Weatherill, who returned this week from touring the world’s first permanent nuclear waste storage facility in Finland, told The Aust­ralian he understood the com­plex­ities. “I do agree that this issue poses challenges, not the least for my party, but I feel duty bound to act in South Australia’s and the national interest in progressing this debate,” he said.

Mr Lucas said it would be a “courageous Liberal candidate or member in a federal campaign who would be out there campaigning hard to support Premier Weatherill on a nuclear waste dump or facility’’ in his state.

“At an upcoming federal elect­ion … (there will be) federal Labor candidates campaigning in South Australia against a ­nuclear waste facility in South Australia and potentially candid­ates from the Greens and the Nick Xenophon Team campaigning against a nuclear waste dump or facility (there). If there is not going to be the support of the federal Labor Party, then we, the taxpayers of South Australia, will be spending tens and maybe hundreds of ­millions of dollars on fool’s gold — fool’s uranium, fool’s nuclear waste dumps.”

September 30, 2016 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, business, politics, South Australia, wastes | 1 Comment

South Australia’s electricity blackout was caused by extreme weather, not by renewables – energy experts

Map-South-Australia-windSA weather: No link between blackout and renewable energy, experts say, ABC News, 29 Sep 16 By political reporter Matthew Doran  Linking the statewide blackout in South Australia with the state’s heavy reliance on renewable energy is unfounded, energy industry experts say.

Key points:

  • South Australia has the highest rate of renewable energy in Australia
  • The ‘one in a 50 year’ weather event ‘couldn’t have been prevented or foreseen’
  • SA to be an example for other states and territories when planning for significant weather events

severe storm caused the entire state to go dark yesterday afternoon, following serious damage to more than 20 transmission lines.

That infrastructure failure put extra strain on the interconnector system that links the South Australian electricity grid with the east coast — and tripped safeguards which shut down the power supply to the state………

Mr Frydenberg highlighted the underlying cause of the blackout was the weather.

South Australia has the highest rate of renewable energy in the country, with a fraction over 40 per cent of the state’s power supply generated from sources such as wind and solar farms.

Earlier this week, the Grattan Institute released a report detailing the pressure high uptake in renewables had put on the state’s wholesale power prices, and how it was being viewed as a test case for the rest of the nation.  But the report’s author, Tony Wood, said the blackout was as a result of a particularly violent storm and it was usual for a system to shut down to protect itself from further damage.  “My understanding, at least at the moment, is there’s no evidence to suggest these two issues are related,” Mr Wood said.

“There’s no evidence to suggest this was caused by too much wind power, or the dependence on wind power, or anything else, or would’ve been any different if any of the power stations that had been shut down earlier this year had still been operating.

“If you’ve got a wind farm or a coal-fired power station at the end of a transmission line, and that system either is taken out by a storm or is forced to shut down to protect itself from a storm, it doesn’t matter what the energy source is.”

There are two interconnector power lines between South Australia and the eastern states, but Mr Wood said there was no indication having more links would have prevented the issue.

“When this event has occurred, it’s created a fault in the system which has caused the generation to trip offline,” the Clean Energy Council’s Tom Butler said.

“It’s separate to the interconnector entirely.

“This is a one-in-a-50 year, almost-unprecedented event for the state that couldn’t have been prevented or foreseen.”

Mr Butler said the Snowtown wind farm, north of Adelaide, was actually helping to prop up the state’s power supply ahead of gas power stations as the network was gradually brought back online.

Labor’s assistant spokesman for climate change, Pat Conroy, told AM it was premature to link the blackout to renewables.

“The South Australian Government has made the point that even if the coal-fired power station that was recently closed down was still operating, it would not have been able to supply power to the state,” he said.This was a failure of the transmission network, and it didn’t matter what sort of fuel was feeding into the grid, power was not able to flow……..http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-09-29/sa-weather:-no-link-between-blackout-and-renewables-expert-says/7887052

September 30, 2016 Posted by | climate change - global warming, energy, South Australia, wind | 1 Comment

Should Australia invest in importing nuclear waste, with nuclear industry in decline?

poster renewables not nuclearIn summary, the branding of nuclear as ‘green’ is fallacious

To invest in an industry that is in global decline, does not appear to be as rational as investing in a growth area such as renewable energy. Renewable energy is a business space where Australia has a multitude of trained engineers, existing infrastructure, and an abundance of sunshine. Building intentional renewable overcapacity in Australia will potentially be a wise investment, as that surplus can then be used to generate hydrogen or other fuels that can be liquefied and traded on overseas markets.

Nuclear power – Game overDerek Abbott, October 2016, “……..Renewables vs. nuclear While nuclear power plants experience economic decline, renewables are rapidly growing and penetrating the market on an exponential curve. The global annual increase in renewable generation for 2015 alone was 50 GW for solar panels, 63 GW for wind power, and 28 GW for hydropower.26

Nuclear power is large and centralised, with enormous entry and exit costs. By contrast, renewables are made up of small modular units that yield a faster return on investment. The revolution we are witnessing is akin to the extinction of big powerful dinosaurs versus resilient swarms of small ants working in cooperation.

Nuclear power is sinking under the weight of its complexity, costs, and the headache of its waste issue. On the other hand solar power is brought to us via free sunshine exposing the promises of nuclear as mere moonshine………

What really matters is rate of carbon footprint reduction Continue reading

September 30, 2016 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, Nuclear Royal Commission, South Australia, wastes | Leave a comment

Long delay for money in for South Australia’s Temporary Nuclear Waste Storage facility

David Salomon, Nuclear Fuel Cycle Watch South Australia, 30 Sept 16 

Did you know: This calls for $2.4b up front investment for infrastructure, ie port and temporary storage facilities, electricity supply etc. Yes, the plan includes temporary storage facility with first receipts after 8 years on the “aggressive” time line, 11 years on the baseline scenario. A long time and a lot can happen.

At any election during this time approval for the project could be overturned by either state or federal governments as happened with the Yucca Mountain Repository in the USA after being approved in 2002 and funding withdrawn in 2011. Were there to be another Chernobyl or Fukushima that leads to shut down of existing nuclear power stations the demand for the waste facility would be restricted to existing not projected waste. The business plan fall apart.

scrutiny-on-wastes-sa-bankrupt

The fact that the only new reactors are planned by non market economy countries. Business seems not to be interested in building new power plants without massive public subsidy. In the UK this means guaranteeing double the market price for the power supplied. You need very deep pockets to be engaged in the nuclear industry. Could it be that South Australia is in danger of exhausting itself financially and politically on going for the one big prise on the horizon that is actually a mirage when you get closer. We do have a history of doing that in the past. Would it not make better business sense to invest in renewables and ride that wave for the next 25 years or so, or is it that we can see what is right in front of us. We are already at 40% renewables, a manufacturing workforce itching for something to do and in need of greater independence in power supply.

I know that there are people who think about renewables like Bill Gates did in the early days of the internet when he said, “the internet was a novelty that would give way to something better”, though I do believe this sentiment does apply to the waste dump proposal. (BTW I don’t know if Bill likes renewables or what his attitude to Nuclear fuel is, just that people of high status can say some dumb things.)

Check out the outgoings references in this report: https://antinuclear.net/2016/05/06/major-financial-risks-for-south-australia-are-ignored-by-nuclear-fuel-cycle-royal-commission/

I think you’ll find the financial analysis in the Royal Commission somewhat lacking. https://www.facebook.com/groups/1021186047913052/

September 30, 2016 Posted by | business, Nuclear Royal Commission, South Australia, wastes | Leave a comment

World first wave/solar power grid for Western Australia

WA firm’s world first wave/solar power grid https://au.news.yahoo.com/thewest/wa/a/32755148/wa-power-firm-to-integrate-solar-wave-and-batteries/#page1 –  on September 29, 2016, 

The new features will be integrated with Carnegie’s CETO 6 wave technology which uses wave action to drive turbines and create electricity.

The Australian Renewable Energy Agency will kick in $2.5 million and construction will start by the end of the year.

wave-energy-carnegie-ceto-system

The company is aiming to start commissioning in the first half of next year. “The Garden Island Microgrid Project will be the first time anywhere in the world that wave energy will be combined with solar and batteries in a microgrid configuration,” Carnegie’s managing director and chief executive Michael Ottaviano said.

“The demonstration of this microgrid project will help drive the commercialisation of CETO and will be a model we will roll out to island nations around the world.

“Island nations are desperate for an energy innovation to replace their current reliance on electricity generated using imported fossil fuels, which is extremely expensive and has a large environmental footprint.

“Now Carnegie presents an effective green alternative, with the GIMG project acting as a template for remote island and grid communities globally.”

Carnegie’s CETO technology is different from other wave energy devices as it operates under water.

September 30, 2016 Posted by | energy, Western Australia | Leave a comment

No modelling done to show how Australia is supposed to meet Paris climate pledge

Turnbull climate 2 facedOfficials admit no modelling shows how Australia will meet Paris climate pledge, Guardian, , 29Sept 16  Environment officials tell parliamentary inquiry there is no modelling on how current policies will affect emissions beyond 2020, or when emissions will peak Government officials have acknowledged that Australia’s 2030 greenhouse gas emissions reductions pledged at Paris in 2015 were made without any modelling to show whether existing policies could achieve those targets.They also admitted the government did not have any modelling revealing when Australia’s emissions would peak.

The admissions, made in a parliamentary committee under questioning from Labor Senator for New South Wales Jenny McAllister, fly in the face of advice from the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, telling the government it had “existing legislation, policies and measures to enable it to achieve” the the reductions.

They also follow a string of independent modelling exercises showing current policies will not achieve the emissions reductions committed to in Paris. Last week energy advisory firm RepuTex released modelling showing Australia’s emissions wouldn’t fall much at all between now and 2030, under current policies……….

McAllister told Guardian Australia the Turnbull government needed to “own up and admit that their climate policies just aren’t credible”.

“These officials have confirmed Australia’s worst kept secret – that the Turnbull government has no idea how it will meet our 2030 emission reduction targets,” she said.

“They can’t say when Australia’s emissions will peak and begin to decline, and they wouldn’t confirm that the government’s current policy settings will see us meet the target without adjustment.” https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/sep/29/officials-admit-no-modelling-shows-how-australia-will-meet-paris-climate-pledge

September 30, 2016 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming | Leave a comment

Climate change shifting rain from Australia towards Antarctica,

climate-AustClimate change stealing rain from Australia by shifting winds towards Antarctica, Canberra Times, Clare Sibthorpe, 29 Sept 16  When much of southeast Australia faced abnormally hot and dry weather last summer, forecasters put it down to a high-pressure system blocking clouds from forming.

But rising greenhouse gases were also to blame, researchers have found.

A new study by the ANU and 16 other institutions revealed human-caused climate change is already harming parts of Australia by robbing vital rain and pushing south westerly winds towards Antarctica.

The ANU’s lead researcher associate professor Nerilie Abram said the hijacking of rain combined with 2015 being Australia’s fifth-warmest year on record and 2016 on track to be the hottest was an ominous mix.

“The findings confirm that climate change is already having an impact on parts of Australia.”……..

Professor Abram said the study, published in Nature Climate Change, showed southwest Australia was hurting the most from the change, where it had lost one fifth of its rainfall since the 1970s.

A 2015 study between CSIRO and Bureau of Meteorology found climate change would hit Australia harder than other countries, predicting a rise in temperature of more than five degrees within 80 years.

They forecast reduced rain in southern Australia over the next few decades as well as harsher fire seasons for southern and eastern parts of the country.

This August, Germany-based researchers Climate Analytics found the difference between 1.5 and 2 degrees of warming – the two goals included in the Paris climate deal – would be much greater in terms of extreme events and disasters than previously believed.

It found that within just 10 – 20 years, southern Australia would face heatwaves on average 13 days longer at 1.5 degrees and 20 days longer at 2 degrees, while dry spells would be 3.5 days longer at 1.5 degrees and six days at 2 degrees. http://www.canberratimes.com.au/act-news/climate-change-stealing-rain-from-australia-by-shifting-winds-towards-antarctica-20160927-grpyq3.html

September 30, 2016 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming | Leave a comment

Australia’s super funds are backing exploration for fossil fuels

fossil-fuel-industryDigging Deeper: How energy company executives are remunerated to expand fossil fuel reserves, and how Australia’s major super funds support them, http://apo.org.au/resource/digging-deeper-how-energy-company-executives-are-remunerated-expand-fossil-fuel-reserves Market Forces 29 September 2016 Australian-listed fossil fuel companies are continuing to search for more unburnable carbon, with $12.69 billion spent on fossil fuel exploration by just fifteen companies since July 2012. Another $14.62 billion has been spent by just ten foreign companies on fossil fuel exploration in Australia between 2013-2015.

In many cases, exploration is encouraged through executive remuneration packages. Seven companies in the S&P ASX300 explicitly refer to reserve replacement or exploration targets in their executives’ bonus structures, as do six international companies with major Australian fossil fuel operations.

Senior executives at the seven Australian companies stand to make a combined $2.02 million in additional bonuses each year if their reserve targets are met.

Australia’s super funds are failing to effectively challenge this business model, despite their stated belief in engagement as a strategy for changing the behaviour of companies. In the last year, only three Australian energy companies incurred a significant vote against their remuneration packages, none of which were an explicit protest against reserves-based incentives.

Only eighteen of Australia’s 50 largest super funds disclose their complete proxy voting record, making it difficult to determine which funds are genuine ‘active owners.’ Our analysis of twelve funds’ voting records shows only three voted against any Australian-listed energy company’s remuneration package in the last year. Major funds including AustralianSuper, First State Super, MLC and ANZ OnePath supported the remuneration packages of every Australian energy company they held shares in.

Australia’s super funds must have effective engagement policies and practices, and demonstrate how these are being implemented to ensure companies they invest in are  compatible with a low carbon future. An obvious step to demonstrate alignment with the goals agreed to in Paris is for funds to reject fossil fuel exploration incentives.

September 30, 2016 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, business, climate change - global warming | Leave a comment