Antinuclear

Australian news, and some related international items

Australia is to build new nuclear reactors, in partnership with China (does Parliament know?)

Australia is back in the nuclear game, Independent Australia,  By Noel Wauchope | 24 March 2019, One of Australia’s chief advocates for nuclear power Dr Adi Paterson, CEO of Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation, (ANSTO), has done it again.

This time in China, he quietly signed Australia up to spend taxpayers’ money on developing a new nuclear gimmick — the Thorium Molten Salt Reactor (TMSR).

This new nuclear reactor does not physically exist and there is no market for it. So its development depends on government funding.

Proponents claim that this nuclear reactor would be better and cheaper than the existing (very expensive) pressurised water reactors, but this claim has been refuted. The TMSR has been described by analyst Oliver Tickell as not “green”, not “viable” and not likely. More recently, the plan has been criticised as, among other things, just too expensive — not feasible as a profitable commercial energy source.

Paterson’s trip to China and his signing up to this agreement received no Parliamentary discussion and no public information. The news just appeared in a relatively obscure engineering journal.

The public remains unaware of this.

In 2017, we learned through the Senate Committee process that Dr Paterson had, in June 2016, signed Australia up to the Framework Agreement for International Collaboration on Research and Development of Generation IV Nuclear Energy Systems (also accessible by Parliament Hansard Economics Legislation Committee 30/05/2017).

This was in advance of any Parliamentary discussion and despite Australia’s law prohibiting nuclear power development. Paterson’s decision was later rubber-stamped by a Senate Committee……..

Dr Paterson was then obviously supremely confident in his ability to make pro-nuclear decisions for Australia.

Nothing seems to have changed in Paterson’s confidence levels about making decisions on behalf of Australia.

Interestingly, Bill Gates has abandoned his nuclear co-operation with China. His company TerraPower was to develop Generation IV nuclear reactors. Gates decided to pull out of this because the Trump Administration, led by the Energy Department, announced in October that it was implementing measures to prevent China’s illegal diversion of U.S. civil nuclear technology for military or other unauthorised purposes.

Apparently, these considerations have not weighed heavily on the Australian Parliament.

Is this because the Parliament doesn’t know anything about Dr Paterson’s trip to China and his agreement for Australia to partner with the Shanghai Institute of Applied Physics (SINAP) in developing Thorium Molten Salt Reactors?   https://independentaustralia.net/environment/environment-display/australia-is-back-in-the-nuclear-game,12488#.XJWdhxDqitc.twitter

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March 23, 2019 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics, politics international | Leave a comment

Hypocrisy in Scotland. For political reasons, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon refused to meet Aboriginal nuclear waste protestor

Gaffe reveals why Sturgeon refused to meet nuclear waste protestor    https://theferret.scot/sturgeon-nuclear-waste-protestor/  James McEnaney on March 14, 2019 The Scottish Government has mistakenly revealed that Nicola Sturgeon refused to meet an Aboriginal nuclear waste protestor in an attempt to avoid political damage – not because she was too busy, as her officials said. 

Internal emails uncovered by The Ferret reveal that the First Minister was advised to turn down a request for a meeting in 2018 so as not to become a “focus for criticism”. But officials said the public reason given for her refusal would be “on the standard basis of diary pressures”.

Campaigners reacted with sadness, saying that the Scottish Government’s “ears are closed”. The government stressed that it had “very limited scope” to address the issues raised.

Nuclear fuel was sent from an Australian research reactor to Dounreay on the north coast of Scotland for reprocessing in the 1990s. The resulting radioactive waste, amounting to 51 cemented drums, was originally due to be returned to Australia for disposal.

But under the terms of a waste substitution deal in 2014, Scottish and UK governments agreed that the drums should stay at Dounreay. Instead, the plan is to send four containers of “radiologically equivalent” waste to Australia from the Sellafield nuclear complex in Cumbria.

Two sites have been identified for a planned store for the waste in south Australia – Wallerberdina Station, near Hawker, and Kimber – both of which face opposition from indigenous communities. The Ferret reported in February that Scottish ministers had been advised that they had powers to prevent the waste being exported to protect human rights.

March 16, 2019 Posted by | aboriginal issues, AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, Federal nuclear waste dump, politics international | Leave a comment

Australia participating in the Waigani Convention, – banning import of nuclear wastes to island countries, controlling their transport

Ban of hazardous radioactive wastes tops agenda,  https://fijisun.com.fj/2019/02/21/ban-of-hazardous-radioactive-wastes-tops-agenda/  Fiji Sun, by Ministry of Environment,  21 Feb 2019 
The seventh meeting of the Scientific and Technical Advisory Committee (STAG-7) of the Convention to Ban the Importation of Hazardous and Radioactive Wastes into Pacific Island Countries and to Control the Trans boundary Movement of Hazardous Wastes and the Management of Hazardous Wastes within the South Pacific Region  (Waigani Convention) is underway in Nadi .
The two day regional meeting, chaired by the Director of Environment, Sandeep Singh, discussed the sound management of hazardous wastes and radioactive waste in the region. The outcomes from this meeting will be presented before the 10th Conference of the Party of the Waigani Convention in September 2019.
The 1995 Waigani Convention is a regional treaty that bans the exporting of hazardous and radioactive wastes to Pacific Island Forum countries, and prohibits forum island countries from importing such wastes.
The meeting is being attended by Australia, the Cook Islands, Fiji, Kiribati, Niue, Papua New Guinea, Samoa Tonga, Tuvalu, and Vanuatu. Other parties to the Waigani Convention included the Federated States of Micronesia, New Zealand and the Solomon Islands.

February 23, 2019 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics international, wastes | Leave a comment

The Waigani Convention – on banning import of radioactive wastes, and controlling their transboundary movement

Waigani Convention, SPREP – Pacific Environment  The Convention to Ban the Importation into Forum Island Countries of Hazardous and Radioactive Wastes and to Control the Transboundary Movement and Management of Hazardous Wastes within the South Pacific Region, also known as Waigani Convention, entered into force in 2001.

The Waigani Convention is modelled on the Basel Convention and constitutes the regional implementation of the international hazardous waste control regime (Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions. There are however some differences between the two conventions: the Waigani Convention covers also radioactive wastes and extends to the Exclusive Economic Zone (200 nautical miles) rather than the territorial sea (12 nautical miles) under Basel.
The Convention is also strongly related to the Convention on the Prevention of Marine Pollution by dumping of wastes and other Matters, 1972 (London Convention)…….

Members are listed – include  Australia, the Cook Islands, Fiji, Kiribati, Niue, Papua New Guinea, Samoa Tonga, Tuvalu, and Vanuatu. Other parties to the Waigani Convention included the Federated States of Micronesia, New Zealand and the Solomon Islands……more https://www.sprep.org/convention-secretariat/waigani-convention

February 23, 2019 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics international, wastes | Leave a comment

Courageous indigenous appeal to Scotland to stop sending nuclear waste – stop indigenous cultural genocide

Last ditch aborigine appeal to Scotland to stop nuclear waste transfers to Australia, https://www.heraldscotland.com/news/17391290.last-ditch-aborigine-appeal-to-scotland-to-stop-nuclear-waste-transfers-to-australia/?ref=fbshr&fbclid=IwAR3r2Lqdv0V66rc7I8PrKJme4mkAsIx2Wtd5bv-Vy_XeT1i3GOgi_Mr    By Martin Williams  29 Jan 19, SOME of the Aborigines who live in and around a sacred burial place in South Australia can still remember the clouds of poison that were the result of Britain’s nuclear bomb tests in the 1950s.

Many of the indigenous population claimed they were exposed to radiation as a result of the post-war atomic weapons tests in the desert and received compensation from the Australian government.

But a new kind of radiation could be heading to the remote sacred area of Wallerberdina – nuclear waste. The concerns are centred over a spot 280 miles north of Adelaide, which has become a potential location for Australia’s first nuclear dump.

The movement of waste is part of a deal that returns spent fuel processed at the nuclear facility currently being decommissioned to its country of origin.

Despite campaigners’ efforts it has emerged that David Peattie, chief executive of the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA), has insisted that there can be no change.

And now Aboriginal elder Regina McKenzie has made a last-ditch direct appeal to the First Minister for help to halt Dounreay’s dumping plans, calling for her “not to be part of the cultural genocide of Australian Aboriginal people”.

Mr Peattie said in a letter to UK campaigners who are fighting against the dumping: “The NDA does not have an option of retaining the waste in the UK.”

The Dounreay Waste Substitution Policy, agreed in 2012, sees waste from Australia, Belgium, Germany and Italy processed at the Scottish facility to make it safe for storage being returned to its country of origin.

The UK Government has previously confirmed that “a very small quantity of Australian-owned radioactive waste” is currently stored in the country.

Scottish Government policy allows for the substitution of the Dounreay nuclear waste with a “radiologically equivalent” amount of materials from Sellafield in Cumbria.

The proposed dump site is next to an indigenous protected area where Aborigines are still allowed to hunt, and is part of the traditional home of the Adnyamathanha people, one of several hundred indigenous groups in Australia. And Ms McKenzie, an Adnyamathanha woman who lives at Yappala in South Australia and leading campaigner against any dump, has told the Nicola Sturgeon in a letter that the substitution policy is “culturally inappropriate”.

Ms McKenzie, who has been trying to get a meeting with the First Minister since the start of last year, said: “Adnyamathanha people have lived and practised culture in our country since the beginning of time. We understand and have connections with our land in a way the Australian Government does not. It is our duty to care for our country, song/storylines for future generations.

“We know we have friends in Scotland and in the UK. My great grandfather was Joseph Thomas McKenzie from Aberdeen, so we have a great respect for our Scottish heritage. We ask that you do all in your power to cancel the agreement made with the British Government and send a message of support to our people that Scotland stands with us in our fight to protect our country.

“We have previously offered to crowdfund money to travel to Scotland to raise our concerns with you in person, and we extend the offer for you to visit us here on our country at the sacred women’s waterhole Pungka Pudinah so you can hear why we must protect our country, for all of our futures.

She has said the UK should not make the mistakes they did when the nuclear tests were conducted between 1956 and 1963 at Maralinga, part of the Woomera Prohibited Area in South Australia.

“Please do not be a part in cultural genocide of Australian Aboriginal people, the past atrocities that were practiced on all the nations of Aboriginal people, must be something of the past and not committed further,” she told Ms Sturgeon.

“This waste facility is just that, cultural genocide, it will stop future generations’ access to a significant site.

“Again I ask please listen with your ears and heart, be a voice for my people and help stop cultural genocide on a minority group only trying to keep our culture strong and survive.”

The local Aboriginal people claimed they were poisoned by the tests and, in 1994, the Australian Government reached a compensation settlement with Maralinga Tjarutja of $13.5 million in settlement of all claims in relation to the nuclear testing.

Despite the governments of Australia and the UK paying for two decontamination programmes, eight years ago concerns were expressed that some areas of the Maralinga test sites are still contaminated 10 years after being declared “clean”.

Campaigner Gary Cushway, a dual Australian-British citizen living in Glasgow, said the new appeal came after the reached deadlock on any movement in ditching the substitution policy. He said: “My argument remains the same, that the material shouldn’t be returned, at least until the final destination is known.”

the Aborigines from supporters in the UK was turned down by the First Minister. Rory Hedderly, the diary team manager, wrote back: “Unfortunately, due to considerable diary pressures, the First Minister is unable to meet with Ms McKenzie at this time.”

A Scottish Government spokesman said: “The Scottish Government believes any concerns expressed by indigenous people must be addressed and we sympathise with concerns relating to the location of the planned radioactive waste facility in Australia.

“However, this issue is a matter for the Australian authorities, who are responsible for waste arising from historic reprocessing of Australian spent fuels, carried out under contract at Dounreay.”

January 29, 2019 Posted by | aboriginal issues, AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, Federal nuclear waste dump, politics international | Leave a comment

Fiji PM tells Scott Morrison- Australian coal is killing the Pacific

Australian coal is killing the Pacific, Fiji PM tells Scott Morrison,  Fiji has firmly told Australia to shift away from coal and fossil fuels because climate change is hurting Pacific island nations. SBS 18 Jan 19 Australia must not put the interests of a single industry above the lives of Pacific nations battling climate change, Scott Morrison has been firmly told.At an official dinner in Fiji to mark a newly announced partnership between the two nations, Fijian Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama explicitly told Australia to do better.

He said the only way to guarantee the survival of Pacific island countries was for Australia to shift away from fossil fuels.

“I urged your predecessor repeatedly to honour his commitment to clean energy,” Mr Bainimarama said on Thursday night in Suva.

“From where we are sitting, we cannot imagine how the interests of any single industry can be placed above the welfare of Pacific peoples and vulnerable people in the world over.

“Rising seas threaten whole communities, forcing them to endure the trauma of relocating from land they’ve endured for generations.

“Fijian farmers are watching their crops perish in soil that has been spoiled by the heightened salinity that is associated with sea level rise.”

Mr Bainimarama said the evidence of climate change was clear in the disappearing coastlines in Bangladesh and worsening flooding in the United States.

“And in Australia as well, where soaring temperatures have reached record highs in several major cities just this week,” he said.

“This cannot be written off as a difference of opinion.

“Consensus from the scientific community is clear and the existential threat posed to Pacific island countries is certain.”

Mr Morrison responded in his speech, praising Mr Bainimarama for Fiji’s global leadership on climate change…….https://www.sbs.com.au/news/australian-coal-is-killing-the-pacific-fiji-pm-tells-scott-morrison

January 19, 2019 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming, politics international | Leave a comment

Australian Julian Assange in new danger as Ecuador caves in to USA pressure (and Australian govt does nothing)

More troubles for Julian Assange as ecuador bows to pressure to extradite him following this letter, http://thewikidaily.com/more-troubles-for-julian-asange-as-ecuador-bows-to-pressure-to-extradite-him-following-this-letter/  We have been monitoring Julian asange’s asylum in Ecuadorian embassy in britain to outline the dangers the computer proggrammer and  wikileaks founder face in coming future and it seems alot have been happening lately than the mainstream media’s  are reporting.

Ecuador has begun a “Special Examination” of Julian Assange’s asylum and citizenship as it looks to the IMF for a bailout, the whistleblowing site reports, with conditions including handing over the WikiLeaks founder.

Former Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa tweeted an image of the letter he received from the State Comptroller General on December 19, which outlines the upcoming examination by the Direction National de Auditoria.

The audit will “determine whether the procedures for granting  asylum and naturalization to Julian Assange were carried out in accordance with national and international law,” and will cover the period between January 1, 2012 and September 20, 2018.

Assange has been in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London since he sought asylum there in 2012. He was granted Ecuadorian citizenship last December in a bid to protect him from being extradited to the US where he fears he faces secret charges for publishing US government cables and documents.

WikiLeaks tweeted the news on Wednesday, joining the dots between the audit and Ecuador’s consideration of an International Monetary Fund bailout. The country owes China more than $6.5 billion in debt and falling oil prices have affected its repayment abilities.

According to WikiLeaks, Ecuador is considering a $10 billion bailout which would allegedly come with conditions such as “the US government demanded handing over Assange and dropping environmental claims against Chevron,” for its role in polluting the Amazon rainforest.

Assange’s position has increasingly been under threat under Correa’s successor, President Lenin Moreno, with Ecuadorian authorities restricting his internet access and visitors.“I believe they are going to turn over Assange to the US government,

January 14, 2019 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, civil liberties, politics international | Leave a comment

Labor is right to support a nuclear ban treaty

Labor’s pledge to commit to nuclear disarmament puts the alternative party of government on the right side of history.

The gulf between the shenanigans of way too many politicians, and the growing urgency of grave and looming threats has rarely seemed wider. Action on crucial issues languishes while parliamentarians make naked grabs for power, acting in the interests only of themselves. Poor personal behaviour seems endemic. On the two unprecedented dangers looming over all humanity – nuclear war and climate disruption – Australia has been not just missing in action, but actively on the wrong side of history, part of the problem rather than the solution.

The government’s own figures demonstrate that our country, awash with renewable sun and wind, is way off track to meet even a third of its greenhouse gas emissions reduction target by 2030 – itself nowhere near enough.

Not only is nuclear disarmament stalled, but one by one, the agreements that reduced and constrained nuclear weapons, hard-won fruit of the end of the first cold war, are being trashed. All the nuclear-armed states are investing massively not simply in keeping their weapons indefinitely, but developing new ones that are more accurate, more deadly and more “usable”. The cold war is back, and irresponsible and explicit threats to use nuclear weapons have proliferated. Any positive effect that Australia might have on reducing nuclear weapons dangers from the supposed influence afforded us by our uncritical obsequiousness to the US is nowhere in sight. Our government has been incapable of asserting any independence even from the current most extreme, dysfunctional and unfit US administration. The US has recently renounced its previous commitments under the nuclear non-proliferation treaty (NPT); we have said nothing.

The one bright light in this gathering gloom is the 2017 UN treaty on the prohibition of nuclear weapons. For its role in helping to bring this historic treaty into being, the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (Ican) was awarded the Nobel peace prize for 2017 – the first to an entity born in Australia. This treaty provides the first comprehensive and categorical prohibition of nuclear weapons. It sets zero nuclear weapons as the clear and consistent standard for all countries and will help drive elimination of these worst weapons of mass destruction, just as the treaties banning biological and chemical weapons, landmines and cluster munitions have played a decisive role in progressing the elimination of those other indiscriminate and inhumane weapons. The treaty lays out a clear pathway for all states, with and without nuclear weapons, to fulfil their binding legal obligation to accomplish nuclear disarmament. It is currently the only such pathway.

Regrettably, the Australian government was the most active “weasel” in opposing the treaty’s development at every step and was one of the first to say it would not sign, even though we have signed every other treaty banning an unacceptable weapon.

Hence the Labor party’s commitment at its recent national conference in Adelaide that “Labor in government will sign and ratify the Ban Treaty” is an important and welcome step. It is a clear commitment, allowing no room for weaselling.

The considerations articulated alongside this commitment are fairly straightforward and consistent with the commitment. First, recognition of the need for “an effective verification and enforcement architecture” for nuclear disarmament. The treaty itself embodies this. Governments joining the treaty must designate a competent international authority “to negotiate and verify the irreversible elimination of nuclear weapons” and nuclear weapons programmes, “including the elimination or irreversible conversion of all nuclear-weapons-related facilities”. Australia should also push for the same standard for any nuclear disarmament that happens outside the treaty.

Second, the Labor resolution prioritises “the interaction of the Ban Treaty with the longstanding Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty”. The treaty has been carefully crafted to be entirely compatible with the NPT and explicitly reaffirms that the NPT “serves as a cornerstone of the nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation regime”, and that its full and effective implementation “has a vital role to play in promoting international peace and security”. All the governments supporting the treaty support the NPT, and the NPT itself enshrines a commitment for all its members to “pursue negotiations in good faith on effective measures relating to cessation of the nuclear arms race at an early date and to nuclear disarmament”. The UN secretary general, Antonio Guterres, and the International Committee of the Red Cross are among those who have affirmed that the treaty and the NPT are entirely consistent, complementary and mutually reinforcing. Even opponents of the treaty recognise that prohibition is an essential part of achieving and sustaining a world free of nuclear weapons.

Third, the Labor resolution refers to “Work to achieve universal support for the Ban Treaty.” This too is mirrored in one of the commitments governments take on in joining the treaty, to encourage other states to join, “with the goal of universal adherence of all States to the Treaty.”

An Australian government joining the treaty would enjoy wide popular support in doing so – an Ipsos poll last month found that 79% of Australians (and 83% of Labor voters) support, and less than 8% oppose, Australia joining the treaty.

Australia would also stop sticking out like a sore thumb among our southeast Asian and Pacific Island neighbours and be able to work more effectively with them. Brunei, Cook Islands, Fiji, Indonesia, Kiribati, Laos, New Zealand, Malaysia, Myanmar, Palau, Philippines, Samoa, Thailand, Timor-Leste, Tuvalu, Vanuatu and Vietnam have already signed the treaty.

Most importantly, joining the treaty and renouncing nuclear weapons would mean that Australia would become part of the solution rather than the problem of the acute existential peril that hangs over all of us while nuclear weapons exist, ready to be launched within minutes. Time is not on our side. Of course this crucial humanitarian issue should be above party politics. The commitment from the alternative party of government to join the treaty and get on the right side of history when Labor next forms government is to be warmly welcomed. It is to be hoped that the 78% of federal parliamentary Labor members who have put on record their support for Australia joining the treaty by signing Ican’s parliamentary pledge will help ensure Labor keeps this landmark promise.

 Dr Tilman Ruff is co-founder of the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (Ican) and Nobel peace prize winner (2017)

December 28, 2018 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics, politics international, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Australian Labor Party’s very limited support for the United Nations nuclear ban treaty

Bill Shorten wins cautious agreement on foreign aid, recognising Palestine and nuclear ban treaty, SMH, By Michael Koziol
18 December 2018 A federal Labor government will pursue the recognition of Palestine, a treaty banning nuclear weapons and an increase to foreign aid – but final decisions will be left for cabinet under an agreement struck between the party’s factions.Three controversial issues in the foreign relations portfolio were settled in backroom deals on Tuesday morning to ensure there were no contentious votes and Labor leader Bill Shorten ended the party’s national conference on a united note.The changes to Labor’s platform urge the next Labor government to recognise Palestine as a sovereign state as an “important priority”, but leaves the final decision to cabinet acting on expert advice.Labor has also given in-principle agreement to the United Nations nuclear ban treaty – but only after taking account of whether nuclear-armed states had signed up (so far none have) and whether they were abiding by the treaty’s terms…….

Senator Wong and defence spokesman Richard Marles led the negotiations, while the Left’s Anthony Albanese was heavily involved in the nuclear talks  ……..

The controversial nuclear treaty bans states from using, producing or stockpiling nuclear weapons, and prohibits them from assisting any other state to engage in such activities.

Mr Marles – who has criticised the treaty as “the non-nuclear world thumbing its nose at the nuclear world” – said it was “no secret” some in Labor were sceptical about the treaty and its impact on Australia’s alliance with the US.

A Labor government would need to be “certain” the treaty would not endanger that alliance, Mr Marles told the conference, and it was essential there was a realistic pathway for nuclear powers to sign up.

According to the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons, 69 states have signed the treaty, and 19 have ratified it into law. However, none of the nuclear weapons powers or nuclear-armed states have signed or ratified the treaty.

As recently as October, Senator Wong said there was “no realistic prospect” of any nuclear states signing the treaty, let alone ratifying it, and it would have “no effect” without their endorsement……https://www.smh.com.au/politics/federal/bill-shorten-wins-cautious-agreement-on-foreign-aid-recognising-palestine-and-nuclear-ban-treaty-20181218-p50mw8.html

December 22, 2018 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics, politics international | Leave a comment

Australia’s credibility on the line at UN climate talks.

COP24 sees Australia walk climate tightrope amid ‘Paris Rulebook’ deadlock, ABC Weather , By Ben Deacon 15 Dec 18 The COP24 Climate talks in Poland have been extended through the weekend, as nations remain deadlocked over how to implement the Paris agreement.

The aim of the annual United Nations conference is to determine what collective action the world takes on climate change. AUDIO: Australia walks climate talks tightrope (AM)

More than 100 ministers and more than 1,000 negotiators from around the globe have been hammering out the so-called ‘Paris Rulebook’ with an eye to defining how pledges will be put into action.

In the thick of it all has been the Australian delegation, which has been walking a tightrope between the Paris obligations and support for fossil fuels.

In a defining moment at COP24, protesters disrupted a pro-fossil fuel event on Monday that had been organised by the Trump administration.

On stage, the only non-American panellist at the event was Australia’s Ambassador for the Environment, Patrick Suckling.

“Fossil fuels are projected to be a source of energy for a significant time to come,” Mr Suckling said.

Fossil fuel event ‘damaged’ Australia’s credibility

The Director of the Climate & Energy Program at the Australia Institute, Richie Merzian, believes Australia jeopardised its influence in the COP process by appearing at the US event.

“Everyone picked up on the fact that Australia was on the panel with the Trump appointees,” Mr Merzian said.

“I think it even made the New York Times and the Washington Post.

“It really damaged, I think, Australia’s credibility here.”……. https://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-12-15/australia-walks-climate-tightrope-at-cop24/10623558

December 17, 2018 Posted by | climate change - global warming, politics international | Leave a comment

Australian government’s hypocritical performance at UN Climate Summit

‘New energy future’: Minister touts Australia at climate summit, Brisbane Times, By Peter Hannam,13 December 2018 — Australia is moving “towards a new energy future”, powered by unprecedented investments in renewable energy, Environment Minister Melissa Price has told a summit in Poland even as the country earned a “fossil of the day award for its poor climate policies.

In a speech on Wednesday at the COP24 climate talks in Katowice, Ms Price said Australia was “committed to the Paris Agreement” and the development of a “robust rulebook” to implement the global pact agreed in 2015…….

Richie Merzian, a climate researcher with The Australia Institute, said Minister Price’s speech “relied almost entirely on policies her government tried to kill-off or water down”.

He also criticised the climate finance pledge, saying Prime Minister Scott Morrison “had trashed and cut support for UN’s key climate finance body, the Green Climate Fund”.

‘Fossil of the Day’

Australia’s policies also copped flak from The Climate Action Network, an alliance of 1300 environmental groups, which declared the country “fossil of the day” for its four years of rising greenhouse gas emissions.

The network also raised the issue, first reported by the Herald, that Australia had “remained silent” about whether it planned to use any surplus from the Kyoto Protocol period – possibly 400 million tonnes worth – to count against its Paris target.

Ms Price’s Labor counterpart, Mark Butler, has also continued to not rule out the use of any Kyoto credits for its post-2020 targets.

“It’s not clear whether the so-called rulebook for the Paris Agreement will allow a carryover,” Mr Butler told Radio National on Thursday.

“If it does, we would have to consider any conditions about that,” he said, adding, “my bias is to steer very clear of cop-outs and accounting tricks when it comes to climate change policies.”

Greens climate spokesman Adam Bandt said: “It is disappointing that Mark Butler has left the door open to cooking the books to meet their Paris commitment. The analysis is clear that up to a quarter of Labor’s target could be met by fake Kyoto credits if they follow the Coalition and pull the same dodgy accounting tricks.” https://www.brisbanetimes.com.au/environment/climate-change/new-energy-future-minister-touts-australia-at-climate-summit-20181213-p50m3f.html

December 15, 2018 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming, politics international | Leave a comment

Australia silent, as New Zealand rules out using ‘Kyoto credits’ for Paris

New Zealand rules out using ‘Kyoto credits’ for Paris, Australia shtum, (shtum means silent, non-communicative), Brisbane Times ,By Peter Hannam, 11 December 2018 New Zealand’s Climate Change Minister James Shaw has ruled out his nation using carryover credits to count against its Paris climate target, saying such a move would make it challenging for the world to meet the important goal of reducing emissions.Australia silent

Mr Shaw made the comments to Australasian journalists in a conference call on Tuesday after meeting his Australian counterpart Melissa Price during the climate talks in Katowice, Poland.

As the Herald has reported, Ms Price and her environment department have refused to exclude use of any surplus credit generated during the soon-to-be concluded Kyoto Protocol against Australia’s Paris emissions pledges.

Federal Labor also said it won’t rule out the use of Kyoto credits until it has received advice………

Low ranking

Mr Shaw’s comments come as Australia was named 55th out of 60 nations on a Climate Change Performance Index compiled by Germanwatch, a non-government agency. Saudi Arabia and the US occupied the bottom rankings, while Sweden and Morocco topped the list.

Australia scored particularly poorly for its national climate policy and per capita greenhouse gas emissions – at more than 16 tonnes of CO2 a year – both ranked second-worst.

The Paris target – in which the Abbott government set at reducing 2005 levels of carbon pollution to 26 per cent by 2030 – was rated 12th among the 60 nations.

Tim Baxter, a researcher at Australian-German Climate and Energy College and Melbourne Law School, said it was likely Australia would try to get international backing to use Kyoto credits – and it might succeed………https://www.brisbanetimes.com.au/environment/climate-change/new-zealand-rules-out-using-kyoto-credits-for-paris-australia-shtum-20181211-p50llv.html

December 13, 2018 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming, politics international | Leave a comment

Australia’s ambassador for environment, Patrick Suckling ridiculed as he joins USA pro coal panel in Poland

The only non-American was Patrick Suckling, the ambassador for the environment in Australia’s coal-enthusiast government.
Protesters disrupt US panel’s fossil fuels pitch at climate talks, Official event praising coal, oil and gas met with laughter and chants of ‘shame on you’  Guardian,  Jonathan Watts in Katowice, Tue 11 Dec 2018

  Trump administration presentation extolling the virtues of fossil fuels at the UN climate talks in Poland has been met with guffaws of laughter and chants of “Shame on you”.Monday’s protest came during a panel discussion by the official US delegation, which used its only public appearance to promote the “unapologetic utilisation” of coal, oil and gas. Although these industries are the main source of the carbon emissions that are causing global warming, the speakers boasted the US would expand production for the sake of global energy security and planned a new fleet of coal plants with technology it hoped to export to other countries.

The event featured prominent cheerleaders for fossil fuels and nuclear power, Continue reading

December 11, 2018 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming, politics international | Leave a comment

Australia quietly sabotages UN climate change message, in Poland

Australia’s silence during climate change debate shocks COP24 delegates, Guardian, Ben Doherty in Katowice, Poland @bendohertycorro, Mon 10 Dec 2018 

Country accused of tacitly supporting oil allies’ rejection of the latest science As four of the world’s largest oil and gas producers blocked UN climate talks from “welcoming” a key scientific report on global warming, Australia’s silence during a key debate is being viewed as tacit support for the four oil allies: the US, Saudi Arabia, Russia and Kuwait.

The end of the first week of the UN climate talks – known as COP24 – in Katowice, Poland, has been mired by protracted debate over whether the conference should “welcome” or “note” a key report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

Negotiators spent two and a half hours trying to hammer out a compromise without success.

The apparently minor semantic debate has significant consequences, and the deadlock ensures the debate will spill into the second critical week of negotiations, with key government ministers set to arrive in Katowice.

Most of the world’s countries spoke out in fierce opposition to the oil allies’ position. The push to adopt the wording “welcome” was led by the Maldives, leader of the alliance of small island states, of which Australia’s Pacific island neighbours are members.

They were backed by a broad swathe of support, including from the EU, the bloc of 47 least developed countries, the Independent Association of Latin America and the Caribbean, African, American and European nations, and Pacific countries such as the Marshall Islands and Tuvalu.

Australia did not speak during the at-times heated debate, a silence noted by many countries on the floor of the conference, Dr Bill Hare, the managing director of Climate Analytics and a lead author on previous IPCC reports, told Guardian Australia.

“Australia’s silence in the face of this attack yesterday shocked many countries and is widely seen as de facto support for the US, Saudi Arabia, Russia and Kuwait’s refusal to welcome the IPCC report,” Hare said.

Richie Merzian, climate and energy program director at the Australia Institute, said widespread goodwill across the Katowice talks was being undermined by “a handful of countries” trying to disconnect the science and urgency from the implementation of the Paris agreement.

“It is disappointing but not surprising that Australia kept its head down during the debate … by remaining silent and not putting a position forward, Australia has tacitly supported the US, Russia and Saudi Arabia’s rejection of the latest science on climate change.”

Merzian said Australia’s regional neighbours, including New Zealand and Pacific islands, had voiced strong support for the IPCC’s report, which was a key outcome of the Paris agreement.

“A number of delegates privately shared their frustration that countries like Australia stood on the sidelines while Trump’s, Putin’s and King Salman’s representatives laid waste to the fundamental climate science.”

Hare said the interests of the fossil fuel industry were seeking to thwart the conference’s drive towards larger emissions cuts.

“The fossil fuel interest – coal, oil and gas – campaign against the IPCC 1.5 report and science continues to play out in the climate talks, but even those countries [opposing welcoming the report] are being hit by the impacts of only one degree of warming.

“The big challenge now is for the Polish presidency to set aside its obsession with coal, get out of the way and allow full acknowledgement of the IPCC 1.5C report, and its implications for increasing the ambition of all countries, in the conclusion of COP24 later this week.”

Australia’s environment minister, Melissa Price, arrived in Katowice on Sunday, with negotiations set to resume Monday morning……..

Australia’s emissions, seasonally adjusted, increased 1.3% over the past quarter. Excluding emissions from land use, land use change and forestry (for which the calculations are controversial), they are at a record high. https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/dec/10/australias-silence-during-climate-change-debate-shocks-cop24-delegate

December 11, 2018 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming, politics international | Leave a comment

Australia’s dirty tricks in Poland: getting away with no reduction in greenhouse emissions

December 11, 2018 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming, politics, politics international | 1 Comment