Antinuclear

Australian news, and some related international items

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

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

Australian government’s own data shows that its greenhouse gas emissions policy is failing

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

‘Stop-Adani’ protest to go global: Brown

‘Stop-Adani’ protest to go global: Brown,   https://www.sbs.com.au/news/stop-adani-protest-to-go-global-brown  SOURCE AAP,  16 June 19, Despite the Carmichael mine being given its final approvals, anti-Adani protesters are continuing to highlight their concerns with the coal project.

Protesters will gather outside the Indian high commission in Canberra on Saturday as the campaign to stop Adani’s Carmichael mine continues.

Queensland’s environment department on Thursday signed off on the company’s plan to manage groundwater on and around its Galilee Basin mine site – the final approval the company needs to begin construction.

Former Australian Greens leader Bob Brown is expected to join the peaceful demonstration to “highlight the Adani company’s appalling record of environmental destruction and corruption overseas”. A vigil is also expected to be held outside India’s consulate general in Sydney.

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

Adani mining project: Court asks Australian govt to look into public concerns

Adani mining project: Court asks Australian govt to look into public concerns  https://www.nationalheraldindia.com/international/adani-mining-project-court-asks-australian-govt-to-look-into-public-concerns  14 June 19

A local court in Australia has asked Federal Govt to listen to public grievances on Adani’s North Galilee Water Scheme. It spells fresh trouble for Adanis and their billion dollar coal mining project

In what is being interpreted as fresh trouble for the Adanis in Australia, who are on way to set up USD 16 billion dollar coal mining project in the Queensland state, a local court has asked the Federal Government to listen to public grievances on Adani’s North Galilee Water Scheme.
The Australian Conservation Foundation (ACF), which had filed a case the Federal Government has said that the latter has conceded public grievances on the Adani’s water scheme were ignored.
ACF said, “This is a massive outcome for the broader community, who raised grave concerns about the effect this project would have on Australia’s precious water resources”, adding, “In conceding the case, the Federal Environment Minister has admitted the Federal Government failed to consider all of the thousands of valid public submissions about if and how Adani’s project should be assessed, in direct breach of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999.”

According to ACF, “Those people were denied their right to a voice in this process. This win will ensure their voice is heard. Now the Government will need to go back to the drawing board and open up assessment of the project for public comment again. It’s a big moment in the Adani story, and it couldn’t have happened without the bold vision of ACF in launching the case, backed by the hard work and expertise of the legal team.”

It continued, “This win is a humiliating outcome for the Federal Government over its assessment of Adani’s North Galilee Water Scheme – the plan to pump up to 12.5 billion litres of water a year from the Suttor River to the company’s Carmichael mine site. Thousands of Australians made valid public comments on Adani’s North Galilee Water Scheme referral, many concerned about the project’s impact on our precious water resources during a time of extreme drought.”

According to ACF, “The Federal Environment Minister has now admitted her delegate did not consider these comments, as required by law. In fact, she has admitted that her Department lost an unknown number of public comments made over the controversial project. This botched process points to a worrying lack of oversight in core assessment procedures designed to protect Australia’s precious water resources.”

It insisted in a statement, “The Federal Environment Minister did not concede our client’s initial argument in the case, which was that the ‘water trigger’ should have applied to the Scheme. The ‘water trigger’ is a measure that ensures any action which has a significant impact on water resources and involves a large coal mining development requires a more rigorous assessment under the EPBC Act.”

It added, “The community is still no closer to having an answer on why the ‘water trigger’ should not have applied to the North Galilee Water Scheme – a project which will take billions of litres of water a year from Central Queensland to service a coal mine. The Australian people have a right to know the impact big projects like this have on their precious water resources.”

June 15, 2019 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming, legal | Leave a comment

Pick out the anti-environment statements in Sussan Ley’s spiel!

Sussan Ley: I’ll be an environmentalist as minister, Guardian    14 June 19,
Sussan Ley MP says she’s prepared to fight for her portfolio – and a priority will be cutting ‘green tape’ for big projects
The new environment minister, Sussan Ley, has declared herself an “environmentalist”, saying she is prepared to fight for the environment around the cabinet table even when colleagues disagree with her.

Ley, who welcomed the Queensland government’s decision on Thursday to give the green light to the Adani coalmine, told Guardian Australia she wanted to see more action on recycling, threatened species and biodiversity protection, and a greater focus on individual action to achieve a better environment.

But in the lead-up to a 10-yearly review of the country’s Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act, Ley has also flagged that she wants approval times for major projects cut, has left the door open to lifting the country’s ban on nuclear power, and has questioned whether land clearing is responsible for species loss.

The former health minister, who was returned to cabinet by Scott Morrison after she quit over an expenses scandal in 2017, said she saw the role as an advocacy position……

Ley welcomed the review of the EPBC Act, due in the second half of this year, saying the country’s current environmental laws were “unnecessarily arduous, complex and not productive”.

….. Along with the approvals process, a clutch of Coalition MPs have indicated they will use the EPBC Act review to have Australia’s nuclear ban removed, a push that is being backed by the Minerals Council of Australia and industry groups.

Ley said the question of nuclear power in Australia was one “where you have to listen to all of the voices” but said she was open to the review considering a removal of the ban.

“To be honest, I am not strongly for or against nuclear power. I think there are good arguments for it, and there are good arguments against it.

From the perspective of the environment it is important that it is considered, so I am not going to lead that discussion at any point of the review process. Plenty of other people will.”

Ley also made clear her views on the threat to biodiversity after a UN report warned that a million species across the world faced extinction. The minister said she was “concerned” about the problem, but questioned whether land clearing was to blame.

The Australian Conservation Foundation has estimated that there has been a loss of more than 7.4m hectares of threatened species habitat since the EPBC Act was introduced in 1999, with Australia singled out for its high rates of deforestation.

“Biodiversity and … our level of loss of species is of great concern to me,” she said.

“I really believe that the biggest threat to our threatened species is probably feral cats. Loss of habitat isn’t just land clearing, if it is land clearing at all, loss of habitat is often the wrong type of vegetation and that is often introduced weeds……

I do want my approach to the portfolio to be about what you can do, whether it be reducing plastic waste, whether it be about joining a local volunteer group, whether it be about agitating for better weeds and pest management in national parks that are near you, where you live – these are practical things that people can do and they do make a difference.”

On climate change, Ley said she was “interested” in the emissions reduction task of government which is included with the energy portfolio, under Angus Taylor, rather than environment, and said she believed the Coalition’s climate solutions fund is “where we need to be”.

“I am not going to discuss the emissions policy, that is Angus Taylor’s to discuss,”……..

Having argued during the campaign for the compliance and operational parts of the Murray-Darling Basin Authority to be split, Ley also said she would use her new role to push for changes being demanded by irrigators……..perhaps we need to work harder on that balance between environmental water and agriculture.”  https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2019/jun/14/sussan-ley-ill-be-an-environmentalist-as-minister

June 15, 2019 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming, environment, politics | Leave a comment

Nearly a billion people facing high exposure to climate change effects, Global Peace Index finds

June 13, 2019 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming | Leave a comment

Time’s up for Australia’s ignorant ‘old school’ climate denialists

June 13, 2019 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming | Leave a comment

Ditch the jobs v environment slogan and get on with doing both

 Brisbane Times, By Jeff Angel, June 11, 2019 — ……… In a little publicised study released this year, the NSW Innovation and Productivity Council assessed the environmental goods and services sector. The activities involved include delivering waste, water and energy management; and biodiversity, landscape and climate services. It found the number of jobs generated as 152,000 larger than the total number of jobs in agriculture and mining combined. Importantly a significant number were in regional areas and the vast majority of businesses, small to medium size. With a 6 per cent growth rate, the environmental goods and services sector was already contributing $43.9 billion a year across the economy.

Notably the study did not include tourism jobs, many of which are based on our magnificent natural assets found in national parks. There are more than 50 million visits a year, with Destination NSW finding more than $20 billion is spent on nature based tourism generating tens of thousands of jobs.
So, protecting the environment is not a job destroyer. It’s the opposite. But what has caused this positive situation?
To the chagrin of some on the “let the market run free” side of the political debate – a major influence has been government regulation stimulating investment and innovation. Mandatory renewable energy targets are one example.

Another is the NSW Energy Savings Scheme, where electricity retailers are required to meet escalating targets helping business, industry and households save energy (and have lower bills). The Council notes the government law created a competitive market to deliver energy savings at least cost, resulting in NSW now leading the world in the wide-scale adoption of efficient lighting.

A more recent development has been “return and earn” providing refunds on drink bottles and cans. Originally decried by major beverage companies as a tax on consumers that would cost jobs – the evidence is that more than 500 new jobs have been created. None have been reported lost. The state’s Pricing Regulator has also found minimal cost impact; and when you return your drink container for the 10 cent refund, you are saving on the purchase price.

This does not mean that these jobs are replacing employment in the extractive industries, but rather at a macro level there is a social and economic benefit. The issue confronting policy makers is transition as one industry declines and another grows. Some skills are transferable but more deliberate assistance programs are needed. …..

It’s not a choice between jobs and the environment, but how to transition in a way that manages inevitable dislocation and also prevents ongoing, damaging and serious environmental impacts on present and future generations. This is the challenge for the new federal and NSW ministers for the environment and industry.

We know there are many jobs in the green economy – NSW has shown this. Income and job creating services that protect the climate will grow if government allows it. Establishing a local reprocessing industry for our recycling is also essential. Asia has rejected our kerbside recyclate and we can’t just dump or incinerate it here. On the optimistic side, we have a new federal Minister for Waste Reduction in the environment portfolio, the first in Australia’s history; and state ministers are grappling with how to embrace the circular economy where resources are not wasted.  Let’s dispense with the slogan of jobs v the environment and get on with doing both.

Jeff Angel is the director of the Total Environment Centre.  https://www.brisbanetimes.com.au/national/ditch-the-jobs-v-environment-slogan-and-get-on-with-doing-both-20190610-p51w8n.html

June 11, 2019 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming, employment | Leave a comment

Australia’s reputation in the Pacific now trashed due to its failure to help, in climate crisis

June 10, 2019 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming, politics international | 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

Energy and Emissions Reduction Minister Angus Taylor delayed releasing data that shows greenhouse gas levels continue to rise

Delayed government data shows greenhouse gas levels continue to rise,  Australia’s latest greenhouse gas data shows emissions are continuing to rise, with Labor saying it’s a “fantasy” that the nation will meet reduction targets. SBS,  7 June 19, Labor says it’s a government “fantasy” that Australia is on track to meet its emissions reduction targets, after delayed data showed greenhouse gas levels continue to rise.After missing a parliamentary deadline to report on greenhouse gas levels for the December quarter by last Friday, Energy and Emissions Reduction Minister Angus Taylor released the data on Thursday.

The December quarter figures show a 0.8 per cent increase compared to the previous quarter and a 0.7 per cent rise from the same time last year.

Despite the increase, Mr Taylor maintains Australia is on track to meet its Paris Agreement targets to reduce emissions by 26-28 per cent on 2005 levels by 2030.

“Our plan is laid out to the last tonne,” Mr Taylor told ABC radio on Friday. ……..

Mr Taylor took over responsibility for emissions reduction from former environment minister Melissa Price after the election.

He says Australia is now almost 12 per cent below its 2005 levels and emissions have decreased by 9.5 per cent in 30 years. However, government projections show more than half that target can be achieved through carryover credits from achieving goals of the Kyoto protocol.

Although Australia met its target in the first Kyoto agreement, it allowed for an increase of emissions.

Labor’s energy spokesman Mark Butler says it’s a government “fantasy” that Australia is on track to reach the Paris targets.

Mr Taylor’s announcement focused on the data per capita, while talking up the benefits of LNG.

“Today’s release shows once again that the Liberals will try every trick in the book to avoid scrutiny of their record on tackling climate change,” Mr Butler said.

Calls for a rethink on climate policy

Greens MP Adam Bandt has vowed to chase the government and department for answers over why the release of the data was delayed, and why it was given to select media before being made public.

Mr Taylor insists the government’s climate solutions plan will achieve the Paris target, primarily through paying companies and communities for projects to reduce pollution……..

Vivien Thomson from the Australian Firefighters Climate Alliance has warned that rising emissions are exposing communities to higher risks from more intense bushfires and other extreme weather events.

Ms Thomson says the climate-fuelled disasters stretch the mental and physical limits of firefighters, and cost billions in clean up and recovery costs.

The Climate Council says the government needs to rethink its approach to reducing emissions, as levels have increased over the past four years.

“The prime minister and his new cabinet have an opportunity for a fresh start. We cannot waste another three years,” Climate Council CEO Amanda McKenzie said. https://www.sbs.com.au/news/delayed-government-data-shows-greenhouse-gas-levels-continue-to-rise

June 8, 2019 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming, politics | Leave a comment

Al Gore – Australia is at climate crossroads, – could lead on renewable energy

Australia is at a crossroads on climate change, according to Al Gore, SBS, 7 June 19,   Former US Vice President turned climate change crusader Al Gore says Australia is at a crossroads on climate, while stopping himself from taking swing at Adani.

Former US Vice President turned climate change crusader Al Gore says Australia is at a crossroads with renewable energy, and risks missing out on the opportunity to capitalise on it by doggedly pursuing fossil fuels.

At a climate conference in Brisbane on Friday, Mr Gore said the country was at the forefront of a renewable energy revolution and well poised to take advantage of it.

“You have the most sun-blessed nation of any other nation in the world,” Mr Gore said in reference to renewable solar energy. “Australia is number one on the list.”

Mr Gore, an outspoken critic of Adani’s proposed mine, said on Wednesday he doubted the proposed Galilee Basin mine was financially viable. ………

He said the country had to make a decision on whether to pursue renewable energy, which he said the Palaszczuk had taken steps toward.

“The history of this period will record that the change (to renewable energy) became unstoppable and that Queensland led the way,” he said.

Ms Palaszczuk vowed to keep investing in renewable energy, insisting it creates jobs while slowing climate change impacts that hammer the state. She reminded regional Queenslanders who voted against Labor in the federal poll that renewable energy had produced 4000 jobs in four years.

She said farmers deal with climate change on a daily basis when they experience floods, droughts and cyclones.

“We understand the need to act on climate change,” Ms Palaszczuk said. https://www.sbs.com.au/news/australia-is-at-a-crossroads-on-climate-change-according-to-al-gore

June 8, 2019 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming | Leave a comment

New climate report – prediction of the collapse of civilisation

New Report Suggests ‘High Likelihood of Human Civilization Coming to an End’ in 2050 https://www.vice.com/en_us/article/597kpd/new-report-suggests-high-likelihood-of-human-civilization-coming-to-an-end-in-2050  3 June 19

The climate change analysis was written by a former fossil fuel executive and backed by the former chief of Australia’s military. A harrowing scenario analysis of how human civilization might collapse in coming decades due to climate change has been endorsed by a former Australian defense chief and senior royal navy commander.

The analysis, published by the Breakthrough National Centre for Climate Restoration, a think-tank in Melbourne, Australia, describes climate change as “a near- to mid-term existential threat to human civilization” and sets out a plausible scenario of where business-as-usual could lead over the next 30 years.

The paper argues that the potentially “extremely serious outcomes” of climate-related security threats are often far more probable than conventionally assumed, but almost impossible to quantify because they “fall outside the human experience of the last thousand years.”

On our current trajectory, the report warns, “planetary and human systems [are] reaching a ‘point of no return’ by mid-century, in which the prospect of a largely uninhabitable Earth leads to the breakdown of nations and the international order.”

The only way to avoid the risks of this scenario is what the report describes as “akin in scale to the World War II emergency mobilization”—but this time focused on rapidly building out a zero-emissions industrial system to set in train the restoration of a safe climate.

The scenario warns that our current trajectory will likely lock in at least 3 degrees Celsius (C) of global heating, which in turn could trigger further amplifying feedbacks unleashing further warming. This would drive the accelerating collapse of key ecosystems “including coral reef systems, the Amazon rainforest and in the Arctic.”

The results would be devastating. Some one billion people would be forced to attempt to relocate from unlivable conditions, and two billion would face scarcity of water supplies. Agriculture would collapse in the sub-tropics, and food production would suffer dramatically worldwide. The internal cohesion of nation-states like the US and China would unravel.

Even for 2°C of warming, more than a billion people may need to be relocated and in high-end scenarios, the scale of destruction is beyond our capacity to model with a high likelihood of human civilization coming to an end,” the report notes.

The new policy briefing is written by David Spratt, Breakthrough’s research director and Ian Dunlop, a former senior executive of Royal Dutch Shell who previously chaired the Australian Coal Association.

In the briefing’s foreword, retired Admiral Chris Barrie—Chief of the Australian Defence Force from 1998 to 2002 and former Deputy Chief of the Australian Navy—commends the paper for laying “bare the unvarnished truth about the desperate situation humans, and our planet, are in, painting a disturbing picture of the real possibility that human life on Earth may be on the way to extinction, in the most horrible way.”

Barrie now works for the Climate Change Institute at Australian National University, Canberra.

Spratt told Motherboard that a key reason the risks are not understood is that “much knowledge produced for policymakers is too conservative. Because the risks are now existential, a new approach to climate and security risk assessment is required using scenario analysis.”

Last October, Motherboard reported on scientific evidence that the UN’s summary report for government policymakers on climate change—whose findings were widely recognized as “devastating”—were in fact too optimistic.

While the Breakthrough scenario sets out some of the more ‘high end’ risk possibilities, it is often not possible to meaningfully quantify their probabilities. As a result, the authors emphasize that conventional risk approaches tend to downplay worst-case scenarios despite their plausibility.

Spratt and Dunlop’s 2050 scenario illustrates how easy it could be to end up in an accelerating runaway climate scenario which would lead to a largely uninhabitable planet within just a few decades.

“A high-end 2050 scenario finds a world in social breakdown and outright chaos,” said Spratt. “But a short window of opportunity exists for an emergency, global mobilization of resources, in which the logistical and planning experiences of the national security sector could play a valuable role.”

June 4, 2019 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming | 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

Adani coal project has a doubtful financial future

the most fundamental problem may lie within the Adani group itself. The A$2 billion required from the project will ultimately come, in large measure, from chairman Gautam Adani’s own pocket.Adani Group founder Gautam Adani. Wikimedia,

With an estimated wealth of A$7 billion, he can certainly afford to pay if he chooses to. But it would represent a huge bet on the long-term future of coal-fired electricity, at very bad odds.

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