Antinuclear

Australian news, and some related international items

Accelerating rate of heat increasing in oceans, especially around Australia

‘Concerning’: Marine heatwaves increasing, especially near Australia, https://www.smh.com.au/environment/climate-change/marine-heatwaves-australia-tasman-sea-climate-20180410-p4z8qq.html, By Peter Hannam, 

Marine heatwaves are increasing in their frequency and duration at an accelerating rate in many parts of the world, especially around Australia, a team of international scientists has found.

The number of oceanic heatwave days a year has increased by 54 per cent in the past century globally, the researchers determined, using data of sea-surface temperatures from long-established sites and satellites.

“We have seen an increasing trend in the frequency and duration [of marine heatwaves], and that trend has accelerated in the past 30 years or so,” said Lisa Alexander, associate professor at University of NSW’s Climate Change Research Centre, and an author of the paper published in Nature Communications on Wednesday.

Rather than a precursor, the number of heatwave days may even be an underestimate of what is to come as the planet warms, Professor Alexander said. “We could see it accelerated even more, given what we’ve seen recently,” she said.

Episodes of extreme heat over land have been studied more closely than those beneath the waves. Oceans, though, not only absorb about 93 per cent of the additional heat being trapped by rising greenhouse gas levels, they are also the main driver of the Earth’s climate.

Thank goodness we have the oceans as this massive sink [for both heat and carbon dioxide] but they are also changing too, and we tend to forget that,” said Sarah Perkins-Kirkpatrick, an author of the paper and also a researcher at the UNSW CCRC.

Dr Perkins-Kirkpatrick likened the oceans to the tropics, where temperatures typically move within a narrow band. Even moderate increases can have big impacts on humans and ecosystems alike.

The paper, which defined heatwaves as at least five consecutive days with sea-surface temperatures in the top 10 per cent of warmth over a 30-year period, found such events were on the increase in most parts of the world.

Global hot spots

Australia was home, along with the north Pacific and north Atlantic, of some of the global ocean hot spots.

While coral bleaching from extended heat over the Great Barrier Reef and elsewhere in recent years had drawn international attention, many other regions had seen “substantial ecological and economic impacts”, as fishing and tourism industries they support were hit, the paper said.

For instance, an extreme event off the Western Australia coast in 2011 led to large-scale effects in the Ningaloo region. Kelp forests south of Ningaloo were hammered and are yet to recover.

“You only need to have that one event to have this complete shift in the ecological environments,” Dr Perkins-Kirkpatrick said, noting such changes have tended to be less dramatic on land.

“Will it ever change back? Have we reached the point of no return for certain marine environments?” she said. “There are a lot of unknowns there, but it’s quite concerning.”

Coral bleaching events have garnered much of the attention but many other marine species, including kelp forests off Tasmania, can be vulnerable to changing conditions.

“[Corals] are the sort of poster child for ecological change, and other systems aren’t maybe as pretty to look at,” Professor Alexander said. “But [others] are equally as important in the ecosystems and food chains”.

Tasman Sea heat

The westward boundaries of the continents tend to be where oceans are warming fastest, including off the east Australian coast.

The Tasman Sea had experienced an increase in heatwave events even before this past summer’s record burst, that fell outside the researchers’ period of study.

In a special climate statement released last month by the Bureau of Meteorology and New Zealand’s National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research, the agencies found the south Tasman Sea recorded sea-surface anomalies of as much as 2.12 degrees last December and 1.96 degrees in January.

Those readings were compared with a 1981-2010 baseline – and broke the record for those months by about a degree – an unusual departure from the norm for ocean readings.

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April 13, 2018 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming, environment | Leave a comment

Aboriginal traditional owners warn that Rum Jungle uranium mine rehabilitation is jeopardised

 

Above: Finniss River polluted by Rum Jungle mine’s toxic metallic and radioactive debris

Rum Jungle uranium mine rehabilitation jeopardised by NT Resources Department, traditional owners warn http://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-04-03/uranium-mine-rehabilitation-jeopardised-nt-resources-department/9612056  By Sara Everingham 

April 4, 2018 Posted by | environment, Northern Territory | Leave a comment

Worrying changes to Gippsland mining plan – risk of radioactive pollution

Fingerboard mine changes are ‘significant and disturbing’ — MFG, http://www.gippslandtimes.com.au/story/5272468/mine-changes-are-significant-and-disturbing/David Braithwaite@DaveismOfficial 8 Mar 2018,  MINE-Free Glenaladale has not been directly advised by Kalbar what the changes to its project will entail, and spokesperson Pat Williams said it was waiting for the revised project description to be posted on Kalbar’s website.

“One of our members tried to get more information from Kalbar. All he was told was that the new project area was 1675 hectares (an increase of more 200 hectares) and that there would be a revised project description on their website in a few days,” Pat Williams said.

“So the only information we have to go on is the interview with Kalbar spokesman Martin Richardson.”

Mine-Free Glenaladale believes rather than being “refinements”, the extra processing plant for rare earths, as well as zircon and titanium, and the new mine path, are significant and substantial changes to the original proposal that was put to the referral for the environmental effects statement.

“It is unfathomable that as an effectively different project, they shouldn’t be required put in a new referral to allow for public comment,” Pat Williams said.

“Rare earth mining and processing has very bad press around the world.

“We understand there are only a handful of rare earth mines in Australia, and none in areas where there are so many conflicting land uses and such potential damage to the environment.”

Mine-Free Glenaladale also disputes Mr Richardson’s description of the mine tailings as sand, quartz and clay, claiming tailings from mineral sands mines contain large amounts of concentrated heavy metals and radioactive elements. 

Concerns are also held about the possibility of high levels of radioactive elements thorium and uranium.

The intervention of the mining warden with some affected landowners to effect mediation with Kalbar has also been viewed by the group as intimidatory.

Mine-Free Glenaladale has called on Kalbar to hold a “whole of community” meeting so people can hear the same information at the same time and get the opportunity to ask questions.

April 4, 2018 Posted by | environment, Victoria | Leave a comment

Australia needs an independent National Environment Protection Agency

Why Australians Need A National Environment Protection Agency to Safeguard Their Health   The rationale for reform is clear, writes David Shearman, Emeritus Professor of Medicine at University of Adelaide, in this article which first appeared in The Conversation. PrBono Australia, , 28th March 2018   David Shearman   

Australia needs an independent national agency charged with safeguarding the environment and delivering effective climate policy, according to a new campaign launched by a coalition of environmental, legal and medical NGOs.

Most Western democracies have established national regulatory action, such as the US Environmental Protection Agency – yet Australia is a notable exception.

On Tuesday in Canberra, the Australian Panel of Experts on Environmental Law (APEEL) will hold a symposium on the reform of environmental laws in Australia. If enacted, these proposals would offer protection to Australia’s declining biodiversity and environment, as well as helping to safeguard Australians’ health.

The proposal would involve establishing a high-level Commonwealth Environment Commission (CEC) that would be responsible for Commonwealth strategic environmental instruments, in much the same way that the Reserve Bank is in charge of economic levers such as interest rates.

The new CEC would manage a nationally coordinated system of environmental data collection, monitoring, auditing and reporting, the conduct of environmental inquiries of a strategic nature, and the provision of strategic advice to the Commonwealth government on environmental matters, either upon request or at its own initiative. The necessary outcomes would then be delivered by government and ministers via a newly created National Environmental Protection Authority (NEPA).

On Wednesday, this call will be echoed by a major alliance of leading environmental groups, including Doctors for the Environment Australia. Similar to the CEC/NEPA proposal, this group has called for an independent National Sustainability Commission that would develop conservation plans, monitor invasive species, and set nationally binding air pollution standards and climate adaptation plans.

The new body would replace the EPBC Act, which has failed to deliver the protections it promised in key areas such as land clearing and species protection, and has no role in limiting climate change which is a major factor in species loss.

The new agencies would be in a position to provide authoritative and understandable consensus reports, similar to those produced by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change but with a stronger legal basis on which the government should act on its advice.

Why change the system?

The rationale for reform is clear. Only last week the International Energy Agency reported that Earth’s greenhouse emissions have increased yet again. Meanwhile, extreme weather events have increased, while wildlife diversity is on the decline………..https://probonoaustralia.com.au/news/2018/03/australians-need-national-environment-protection-agency-safeguard-health/

March 31, 2018 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, environment, politics | Leave a comment

Hunters Hill residents still waiting on government to clean up uranium contaminated land

Hunters Hill residents wary of latest announcement on uranium contamination, ABC News, 20 Feb 18, By Jade Macmillan

Residents on Sydney’s lower north shore have dismissed the Government’s latest plans to clean up land contaminated by a uranium smelter more than hundred years ago as “a hollow promise”.

Property Minister Victor Dominello announced $30 million to remediate the waterfront land on Nelson Parade in Hunters Hill, the former site of the Radium Hill refinery, which closed in 1915.

The area was also occupied by a carbolic acid plant until the early 1900s and a tin smelter until the 1960s.

Residents have spent decades urging the Government to remove the affected soil, which the NSW Environment Protection Authority found it was contaminated with petroleum hydrocarbons, coal tar pitch, arsenic and lead.

“Having this funding should give the community confidence that we are determined to remediate the site,” Mr Dominello said, ahead of a public meeting of more than 200 residents on Tuesday night.

“The Government is currently considering suitable disposal locations for the waste, and is in discussions with the Federal Government on the possibility of using the proposed National Radioactive Waste Management Facility earmarked for development in South Australia.”

The minister did not provide a timeframe for the works and a site for the radioactive facility has not yet been selected.

Rosemary Manusu, 80, who has lived on Nelson Parade for more than 50 years, said she had little faith in the announcement after years of inaction from successive governments.

“It’s been promised and promised about three or four times. So until they actually start moving it, I don’t believe a word they say,” she said……http://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-02-21/hunters-hill-uranium-contamination-residents-wary/9468272

February 21, 2018 Posted by | environment, New South Wales, uranium | Leave a comment

Labor Party branches want a new and more effective environment act and independent watchdog

Labor branches push for new environment act and independent watchdog. ALP’s internal advocacy group wants sweeping reforms to protect natural heritage to be adopted as policy at next conference, Guardian,  Adam Morton, 31 Jan 18

Bill Shorten is facing rising internal pressure to make the environment central to Labor’s election pitch after 250 ALP branches passed a motion calling for strong new national laws and an independent agency akin to a “Reserve Bank for environmental management”.

Branches from every state and territory have backed a campaign by the Labor environment action network (Lean), an internal advocacy group, for sweeping reforms to protect natural heritage to be adopted as policy at this year’s ALP conference.

It would be backed by a “science-fuelled and politically empowered” agency with the authority of the Reserve Bank and watchdog powers to police the law.

Felicity Wade, Lean’s national convener, said protecting the environment was a legacy issue for Labor. This dates back to Gough Whitlam’s introduction of Australia’s first federal environment laws and Bob Hawke’s protection of iconic sites and early work factoring sustainability into government decisions.

 “It’s time for Bill Shorten to recognise the environment has been central to modern Labor’s success and to work with us to make this happen,” she said.

She said the need to act was clear. “Australia’s identity is incredibly tied to this amazing landscape, yet things are crashing at an alarming rate,” she said. “We are one of the top 10 land-clearers in the world and we have one of the highest extinction rates in the world, yet we are one of the richest countries in the world.”

The Lean campaign was devised at a meeting of members in Canberra in August. It has precedent: in 2015, the group won the backing of 370 branches for a successful motion calling on the party to adopt a 50% renewable energy goaland an emissions reduction target for 2030 based on the advice of the federal Climate Change Authority.

………She said the need to act was clear. “Australia’s identity is incredibly tied to this amazing landscape, yet things are crashing at an alarming rate,” she said. “We are one of the top 10 land-clearers in the world and we have one of the highest extinction rates in the world, yet we are one of the richest countries in the world.”

The Lean campaign was devised at a meeting of members in Canberra in August. It has precedent: in 2015, the group won the backing of 370 branches for a successful motion calling on the party to adopt a 50% renewable energy goaland an emissions reduction target for 2030 based on the advice of the federal Climate Change Authority.

Wilderness Society’s national campaigns director, Lyndon Schneiders, said it would be a positive campaign. “We know 2018-19 is the once-in-a-generation chance to set up serious national environment laws,” he said. ……https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/jan/31/labor-branches-push-for-new-environment-act-and-independent-watchdog

 

February 3, 2018 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, environment, politics | Leave a comment

Govt funding for environment languishes, as mining companies receive double the benefit in tax credits

Miners receive twice as much in tax credits as Australia spends on environment
Analysis shows federal and state environment spending cut while industry awarded $2.5bn in fuel tax credits, Guardian,  Adam Morton, 2 Feb 18, 

Mining companies will receive more than twice as much in fuel tax credits as the Turnbull government will spend on environment and biodiversity programs this financial year, an analysis has found.

Coalmining companies alone are expected to get more back than the diminishing funding allocated to the federal environment department.

The analysis by the Australian Conservation Foundation (ACF) found that, across commonwealth, state and territory governments, investment in environment and biodiversity programs was cut by 9% – from $6.95bn to $6.32bn – in the three years to 2016-17. Total budget spending rose by 10% in the same period, from $634.9bn to $701.5bn.

It adds to a weight of evidence that environment campaigners and political veterans say shows government support for environment protection is at its lowest ebb since before the landmark decisions to protect Kakadu, the Daintree rainforest and the Franklin river in the 1980s.

…….. The commonwealth’s state of the environment report last year found parts of Australia’s natural estate were in poor or deteriorating condition and there was insufficient public support for environmental management and restoration programs.https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/feb/02/miners-receive-twice-as-much-in-tax-credits-as-australia-spends-on-environment

February 3, 2018 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, environment, politics | Leave a comment

Glencore’s “non profit” group and the plan to pollute the Great Artesian Basin

Great Artesian Basin Protection Group Fight To Stop Nuclear Waste Dump In Flinders Ranges SA, 17 Dec 17 

“A PLAN to capture and store liquid CO2 in the Precipice Sandstone Aquifer of the Great Artesian Basin has been bluntly opposed by a room of 50-odd landholders at an information session in Wandoan.

The “non-profit” wholly-owned subsidiary of Glencore, Carbon Transport and Storage Company spent two hours on Tuesday afternoon informing the community of their proposed plan to drill 1300m underground into the aquifer and inject CO2 in the form of a “supercritical liquid”, with half the density of water.

The project is still in its infancy, with another six years of modelling and technical studies to get through before a trial injection can even be contemplated in 2022.

If the trial does go ahead in 2022, 60,000 tonnes of liquid CO2 would be injected into the aquifer from a Glencore-owned property 15km west of town for three years to determine the feasibility of a larger-scale project.
The liquid CO2 would dissolve into the aquifer’s water, acidifying it to a pH of 5. Water has a pH of 7.
The acidified water would form a plume.”

https://m.chinchillanews.com.au/…/landholders-vow-…/3104799/

December 17, 2017 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, environment | Leave a comment

Australian environment has no constitutional protection, unlike Norway’s

An Australian right to a healthy environment?

Our Constitution doesn’t contain an explicit paragraph for environmental protection, nor do we have a bill of rights.

Brendan Sydes said we have very few rights in our Constitution. “We don’t have the direct constitutional foundation for pursuing these sorts of actions,” he said.

“But there certainly is interest in … trying to find duties or obligations deep within our legal system that would force the Australian Government to take climate change and the need to reduce emissions farm more seriously than they are at the moment.

Dr Tom Baxter, corporate governance lecturer at the University of Tasmania, says the Federal Government hasn’t added a climate change trigger to Australia’s environment legislation. “Environmental lawyers are trying to use other mechanisms to prevent companies like Adani digging up the Galilee Basin and shipping coal out through the Great Barrier Reef.”

Should a healthy environment be a human right? These Norwegians think so http://www.abc.net.au/triplej/programs/hack/should-a-healthy-environment-be-a-human-right/9186144     23 NOVEMBER 2017  By Courtney Carthy 

Greenpeace and the environmental group Youth and Nature are suing the Norwegian Government for granting Arctic oil drilling licenses.

Their argument is based on an article in the Norwegian constitution protecting the right to an environment that’s healthy and that long-term consideration be given to digging up natural resources.

Greenpeace Norway head Truls Gulowsen told Hack it all comes down to climate change and oil licenses.

“We had challenged the Norwegian state for handing out new licenses for drilling in the arctic in spite of the fact that they have signed the Paris Agreement,” he said on his way to court. “They acknowledge climate change is a problem, and they know that the world has already found more carbon, fossil carbon, than we can ever afford to burn.”

He said Norway’s constitution gives future generations the right to a healthy environment.

“[That] puts duties on the state to guarantee and safeguard those rights.”

Brendan Sydes, lawyer and CEO of Environmental Justice Australia, says the strategy used by Greenpeace goes to a country’s legal foundation, instead of working with a country’s environmental regulations. Continue reading

November 24, 2017 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, environment, legal | Leave a comment

Farmers and graziers in Norther Queensland worried about environmental impacts of Adani coal mine project

Qld farmers and graziers afraid to speak out against the Adani mine, says Bruce Currie, ABC AM By Katherine Gregory   23 Nov 17 It’s not just urban southern greenies and pro-coal country Queenslanders involved in the Adani debate — farmers and graziers in the north are also voicing their concerns.  In north and central parts of Queensland, some say they are worried about the environmental impacts of the mine and their future livelihood.

Bruce Currie, who has land near Jericho, about 100 kilometres from the Adani site, said many graziers in the Galilee basin were worried about their groundwater security.

“The people I have spoken to on the actual site are very concerned,” he said.

“Because any discussions they’ve had with Adani, the company has not been prepared to accept the onus of proof.

“Court cases have shown it is going to be extremely hard, if near nearly impossible, for landholders to get their water supplies secure if they have to prove it’s a mining company that destroyed them.”

However, farmers like Mr Couture concerned about the mine face desperation for jobs in the region.

Mr Couture said though publicly the media was reporting that Bowen was pro Adani, in truth the town was split on the issue.

“I would say it’s 50/50. The silent majority is not game to talk in public, because you could upset your neighbour, you could upset your family, you could upset people that are pro Adani,” he said.

Mr Currie, who is running as an independent in the electorate of Gregory for the state election, said while Adani spoke about developing the Galilee Basin, that was not really happening.

“Once those mines have been and gone within the lifetime of my kids, there will be no mines, there will be no resources and no royalties, and they would have destroyed our water for perpetuity,” he said.

Concern about the mine has also extended hundreds of kilometres further east to Bowen, about three hours drive south of Townsville.

Dennis Couture, a fruit and vegetable grower in Bowen, said the growing region and Great Barrier Reef could be under threat in the future.

“For the future generation, to be able to give them something that won’t be destructed and wrecked,” he said.

However he said he mostly unhappy with what appeared to be a double standard by the Queensland Government.

“The Government will permit Adani to use as much water as they want,” he said.

“And on the other hand they look at us, the farmer that supplies food, and they are restricting us on water.”…….http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-11-23/qld-farmers-afraid-to-speak-out-against-the-adani-mine/9182958

November 24, 2017 Posted by | environment, Queensland | Leave a comment

Western Australia: Mulga Rock Uranium Project threatens environmental impacts from Tailings waste:

Briefer (Nov 2017) by David Noonan, Independent Environment Campaigner

Uranium mining has unique, inherent risks and long term impacts. The West Australian Parliament has passed a Motion (Legislative Council 23 May 2012) recommending:

The government adopt equivalent or better environmental management regulatory requirements for any future uranium mine in Western Australia as exists under Commonwealth and Northern Territory legislation for the operation of the Ranger uranium mine in the Northern Territory with regard to the disposal of radioactive tailings, including the requirements that –

(a) The tailings are physically isolated from the environment for at least 10,000 years: and

(b) Any contaminants arising from the tailings do not result in any detrimental environmental impacts for at least 10,000 years.”

The Barnett era WA gov Approval for the Mulga Rock Uranium Project (Dec 2016) fails to comply with required Commonwealth & NT legislative standards or with the WA Parliament recommendation.

There are two types of intended Tailings Storage Facilities (TSF): an Above Ground TSF and multiple Mine Pit TSF’s in 4 areas across 30 km. An “authorised extent of physical and operational elements” (Approval Schedule 1 Table 2) place some limits on Above Ground TSF but no limits on Mine Pit TSF’s:

Initial disposal for no longer than 2 years after commencement of mining operations, in the above ground TSF labelled on Figure 2. After this time, all disposal must be in the mine pits”;

Disposal of no more than 3 Mtpa of beneficiation rejects and no more than 2 Mtpa of post-leaching tailings material”, within an Above Ground TSF cleared area of up to 106 ha.

Mine Pit TSF’s are not required to use “best available landform modelling over 10 000 years post mine closure” or to try to meet a safety outcome that is applied to the Above Ground TSF disposal:

Condition 16 (1) ensure that the above ground TSF is safe to members of the public and non-human biota, geo-technically and geo-morphologically, and geo-chemically non-polluting.”

Condition 15-1 allows for a plume of tailings seepage and contaminants to move in groundwater:

The proponent shall manage the design and maintenance of all TSF’s to … ensure that the tailings plume is within background groundwater concentrations at the M39/1080 lease boundary”.

The TSF Monitoring and Management Plan (C 15-3) provides for the proponent: “to manage impacts on groundwater quality including from seepage of contaminants into the groundwater and/or soil”.

Conditions 12 & 14 only seek to “minimise impacts” on Inland Waters, on groundwater, and impacts on water quality, including: “Acid and Metalliferous Drainage from seepage into groundwater”.

A number of Management Plans relevant to TSF’s, Groundwater & Environment issues are required: “prior to substantial commencement of the proposal or as otherwise agreed in writing by the CEO” (Conditions 6-1 & 7-1). These Plans require the approval of the CEO Depart of Environment. 2

Barnett era WA gov Uranium Approvals fail to protect Aboriginal Heritage sites:

Redress is required to WA Uranium Approvals authorisation of impacts to Aboriginal Heritage in favour of mining vested interests and irrespective of cultural & heritage values. Aboriginal people should have rights to Free, Prior and Informed Consent over any WA uranium mine proposal.

The WA Approval to the Mulga Rock Uranium Project (Condition 11-1 Aboriginal Heritage) authorises impacts to registered Aboriginal Heritage sites and to “unregistered sites”, with a weak objective to only minimise impacts on heritage sites rather than to properly protect sites and avoid impacts:

  1. minimise impacts as far as practical to registered sites DAA 1985 and DAA 1986 and unregistered sites.”

An Aboriginal Heritage Management Plan is required to be approved “prior to ground disturbing activities being undertaken” with decision powers held by the CEO of the Depart of Environment.

Flawed Federal Uranium Approval fails to mention Aboriginal Heritage or Tailings issues:

The Federal Approval to the Mulga Rock Uranium Project (02 March 2017, Minister Josh Frydenberg MP) inexplicably fails to mention Aboriginal Heritage or regulation of uranium mine radioactive tailings. These are unacceptable omissions of key Federal EPBC Act responsibilities to protect the environment from nuclear actions. The Federal ALP should commit to address this Liberal failure.

WA Approval Conditions require a “Compliance Assessment Plan” by May 2018:

WA Approval Condition 4 “Compliance Reporting” requires the proponent submit a “Compliance Assessment Plan” by May 2018, to the satisfaction of CEO Depart of Environment. This will test the new ALP State gov: acquiesce to uranium mining or require robust Plans to protect the environment.

Further, the CEO has a power under Condition 5 to require release of all validated environmental data relevant to assessment of the Mulga Rock Project “within a reasonable time period approved by the CEO”. These data sets should be made public ASAP and well prior to any Project commencement.

marginal Uranium Project risks a pristine Priority Ecological Community:

The Mulga Rock Uranium Project site is entirely inside the Yellow Sandplain Priority Ecological Community and upstream from the Queens Victoria Springs ‘A Class Nature Reserve’. The project poses a serious long term risk to a listed ‘pristine’ area through production of approx. 32 million tonnes of radioactive tailings and seepage of wastes that require isolation for over 10 000 years.

The Bulletin Magazine (Oct 2016) reports capital costs for Mulga Rock processing and mining infrastructure and indirect costs at over A$360 million, with a planned annual production of uranium oxide concentrate at (only) 1,350 tonnes over a mine life of 16 years. A ‘break even’ Uranium Price for Mulga Rock has been estimated at US$50 per pound. Steve Kidd a former senior official of the World Nuclear Association writes in NEI Magazine (Sept 2017) that: “…uranium prices are set to remain in the US$20’s per pound for a long time, maybe throughout the whole of the 2020’s.

For further info see: www.ccwa.org.au/nuclearfreewa and www.ccwa.org.au/mulga_rocks 

November 18, 2017 Posted by | environment, legal, reference, uranium, Western Australia | Leave a comment

1461 scientists speak up for saving Australia’ oceans

Conservationist and 1,461 other scientists release statement describing Australia’s oceans as a ‘global asset’ that must be protected,  https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2017/sep/27/david-suzuki-australia-sickening-threat-to-marine-reserves-undermines-global-protection

Guardian,Michael Slezak, 26 Sept 17, Growing global momentum to protect the world’s oceans from overfishing could be undermined by Australia, warns renowned conservationist David Suzuki and more than 1,461 other scientists.David Suzuki: Australia’s ‘sickening’ threat to marine reserves undermines global protection He said Australia needed to face up to the interconnected issues of climate change and ocean health, both of which it was failing to address.

“I’m sorry Australia, wake up,” Suzuki said. “The oceans are a mess and a great deal of the mess is a reflection of climate change. Climate change is the overarching issue that is hammering the oceans as well as terrestrial areas. And it is absolutely disgusting that coal is still considered a great economic input to Australia.

“When you’ve got something that [other countries] would die for – you’ve got sunlight up the ying yang, why isn’t Australia the world leader in this incredible form of energy? It makes me sick. You’ve got great research facilities. You’ve got great scientists. You’ve got everything going to be a world leader in the energy of the future and you’re not doing it. And it’s not surprising then that you are doing the same to the oceans. What is it going to take for Australia to wake up to the opportunities?”

Australia is currently considering the world’s biggest downgrading of a protected area with a reduction in the size of its network of marine reserves. Continue reading

September 27, 2017 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, environment | 2 Comments

Renowned author Tim Winton on how Malcolm Turnbull betrayed our ocean s

How Malcolm Turnbull has trashed the Liberal Party record and betrayed our oceans, SMH, Tim Winton , 17 Sept 17 “……

Australians have always loved the ocean, but now, more importantly, we understand how vital the sea’s health is to the future of our island home…….

In 2012, after an exhaustive scientific process and wide community consultation, Tony Burke declared a system of marine national parks, one of the biggest and best in the world, the most significant conservation gain in Australian history.

That took courage. Because it put science before politics, prudence ahead of expediency. And it was popular. But as soon as he came to power in 2013 Tony Abbott announced an immediate moratorium on these parks and instigated a review. The purpose was purely political. To delay implementation, corrode consensus and deny the science. A move straight out of the culture warrior’s playbook.

After decades of forward-thinking leaders, the nation had fallen into the hands of a man whose loyalties were only to the past. It was a low moment. But Abbott’s reign was as brief as it was fruitless. It was a relief to see him replaced in 2015 by a man who’d actually done things, who believed in the future. Malcolm Turnbull did not scorn science. He seemed to understand the value and fragility of our natural estate. So there was new hope the marine parks review would now be expedited and redirected towards real conservation outcomes. With coral reefs bleaching and miners pressing for even more coal ports and seabed to drill, the need for protection had only grown more urgent.

Well, that moment of promise is long gone. Turnbull’s period in office has basically been a hostage drama. The bargain he made with powerbrokers rendered him captive to the party’s most illiberal wing, and if his performance on climate, energy and marriage equality aren’t evidence enough, last month’s announcement that marine parks would be slashed beyond all recognition puts it beyond dispute.

……The draft management plans recently released for consultation by Josh Frydenberg don’t just signify the gutting of the national system, they represent the largest removal of protection for Australian wildlife in our history. What the government is proposing is a nihilistic act of vandalism. Forty  million hectares of sanctuary will be ripped from the estate. That’s like revoking every second national park on land. Under its new plan, 38 out of 44 marine parks will be open to trawling, gillnetting and longlining, 33 will be open to mining, and 42 exposed to the construction of pipelines. In total defiance of the scientific advice upon which the original system was designed, 16 marine parks will now have no sanctuary zones at all.

…….. The shame of it is, the Liberal Party has a worthy environmental record, especially with oceans. Malcolm Fraser declared the Great Barrier Reef a marine park in 1975 and in 1978 he ended whaling. And remember, the national push for marine parks began under John Howard. So this government is trashing its own party’s proud legacy……..http://www.smh.com.au/comment/how-malcolm-turnbull-has-trashed-the-liberal-party-record-and-betrayed-our-oceans-20170908-gydy2d.html

September 18, 2017 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, environment, politics | Leave a comment

A truly good news story – the cuttlefish are back in Spencer Gulf

South Australians – pat yourselves on the back. When the nuclear lobby wanted to put the nuclear industry up at the top of Spencer Gulf – South Australia said “NO” – as South Australians have been doing for decades – fighting back. Nuclear power would have caused releases of hot water into the Gulf, ruining the special temperature conditions essential for the breeding of these unique and beautiful animals.

We don’t really know why they dwindled, and why they’re now back. But hooray for their return!

Thousands of giant cuttlefish back in SA http://www.heraldsun.com.au/news/breaking-news/thousands-of-giant-cuttlefish-back-in-sa/news-story/f859a1f7bd568fb213ae2fe4fe66b680, Australian Associated Press, August 25, 2017 Thousands of giant cuttlefish are flocking to the rocky coastline of the upper Spencer Gulf in South Australia to spawn in record numbers, reserving a worrying decline.

More than 100,000 cuttlefish have journeyed to Point Lowly near Whyalla to breed, according to data from the state government’s principal research institute.

The number is up from a record low of just over 13,000 in 2013.

The giant Australian cuttlefish – which can reach up to 60cm in length and weigh five kilograms – live for two to three years and migrate annually to Spencer Gulf to spawn.

The worrying decline in their numbers in 2013 promoted more research into their breeding patterns. This year’s population estimate is the third-highest recorded over the last decade,” said senior research scientist Dr Mike Steer.

It is still not completely understood why cuttlefish migrate to the Spencer Gulf nor why their numbers declined, but fishing restrictions have been put in place until 2018 as a precaution.

“The last five years of research has clearly demonstrated the population’s capacity to rebound from low numbers very quickly,” Dr Steer said.

August 28, 2017 Posted by | environment, South Australia | Leave a comment

Adani fined $12,000 for Abbot Point coal terminal stormwater breach

 The Age, Jorge Branco , 11 Aug 17,  Indian mining giant Adani has been fined $12,000 for a stormwater breach at its Abbot Point coal terminal during Tropical Cyclone Debbie.

The Adani-owned Abbot Point Bulk Coal was granted a temporary licence to more than triple its “suspended solids” releases during the severe weather in March. But the Department of Environment and Heritage Protection claimed more than eight times that amount was released into the ocean near the north Queensland facility.

The fine did not relate to water released into the surrounding wetlands, which was still under investigation. Activists released striking photos of the difference in the wetlands before and after the cyclone, claiming coal had turned the area black, but Adani said it had complied with the conditions of its licence.

 The breach related to stormwater released on the other side of the facility, into the ocean.At the time, a company spokesman said no spill had made its way into the sea and the Queensland Resources Council said “water absorbs light so it is usually black in the images”.

According to the Environment Department, the Temporary Emissions Licence allowed Abbot Point Bulk Coal to release stormwater with a suspended solid limit of 100mg per litre during the high rainfall.

But on April 6, the company informed the department it had breached the conditions with the release of stormwater containing 806mg/L of suspended solids, the department said…….

Mackay Conservation Group co-ordinator Peter McCallum criticised the fine, saying it would encourage future harm rather than deter it.

“Adani is likely to make a business decision that it is cheaper to pollute the Caley Valley wetlands and the waters of the Great Barrier Reef than to put in place infrastructure that will ensure the sensitive environments at Abbot Point are never damaged again,” said the man, whose organisation released the before and after photos of the wetlands.

“Without sufficient penalties for breaching environmental conditions there’s little point in having them.”…….

The company has proposed a $3 billion expansion of the Abbot Point terminal to service its massive Carmichael mine plans in the Galilee Basin. http://www.theage.com.au/business/mining-and-resources/adani-fined-12000-for-abbot-point-coal-terminal-stormwater-breach-20170810-gxtxmd.html

August 12, 2017 Posted by | environment, legal, Queensland | Leave a comment