Antinuclear

Australian news, and some related international items

South Australia: Future Business Council calls for National smart energy grid

highly-recommendedTom Quinn: South Australian business is paying high price for ‘dumb’ national electricity grid http://www.adelaidenow.com.au/news/opinion/tom-quinn-south-australian-business-is-paying-high-price-for-dumb-national-electricity-grid/news-story/97918e65518213082303ddd011421d3f
Tom Quinn, The Advertiser August 25, 2016 SOUTH Australian businesses will continue to pay the price for a dumb electricity grid that’s no longer fit for purpose until all governments take decisive action to modernise our energy system.
smart-grid

Last week’s meeting of energy ministers fumbled their first chance to do so, leaving business hamstrung. Nowhere is that as painfully clear than in South Australia.

The state has led the country in tapping into rich, renewable resources but when it comes to accessing the benefits business is still missing out. The problem? South Australia must operate within a larger national system that’s designed for a different age.

The wholesale electricity price spikes seen in July, claims of gas market manipulation and barriers preventing the rapid shift to 100 per cent renewable electricity have highlighted the many systematic flaws. At the heart of all this, though, sits an outdated grid that is based on last century’s centralised generation model.

This obsolete system has served us well but is now holding back the state and business community.

The sand is rapidly shifting under the traditional energy market’s feet driven by households and businesses that are no longer just consumers of energy but also producers, particularly through domestic solar panels Continue reading

August 26, 2016 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, energy, politics, South Australia, storage | Leave a comment

Turnbull’s plan to defund Australian Renewable Energy Agency will cause loss of 100s of solar energy jobs in Queensland

Turnbull destroys renewablesQueensland solar projects that could create 2,600 jobs at risk in federal cuts
Many schemes may not go ahead if the Australian Renewable Energy Agency is defunded in the government’s omnibus bill, ACF warns,
Guardian, , 25 Aug 16, Thousands of jobs could be created in Queensland if 10 large-scale solar projects were to receive funding, according to analysis by the Australian Conservation Foundation.

The projects, earmarked for funding by the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (Arena), would create around 2,695 jobs according to the study.

logo-ARENA

The figure compared favourably with the 1,400 jobs which the Indian conglomerate Adani estimates its $16bn Carmichael coalmine would bring to the state if it obtains approval for the controversial project, the study claimed.

However, the findings comes as Arena faces defunding by the federal government, placing the projects in jeopardy. Continue reading

August 26, 2016 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics, Queensland, solar | Leave a comment

South Australian Parliamentary Inquiry asks inconvenient questions about nuclear waste import costs

scrutiny-on-costsSA parliamentary committee questions economics of importing nuclear waste, Independent Australia, 19 August 2016The economic benefits of SA’s push for a global nuclear waste dump took a negative turn during the current parliamentary committee inquiryNoel Wauchope reports.

THE SOUTH Australian Parliament is holdinga Joint Committee on Findings of the Nuclear Fuel Cycle Royal Commission (NFCRC).

The five committee members, with one exception, the Greens Mark Parnell, have pro-nuclear opinions. I thought that it was going to be just a rubber stamp for the NFCRC. Now I am not so sure. The committee gave the NFCRC a grilling on the economics of the plan to develop a nuclear waste import industry in South Australia.

Answers indicated that the NFCRC is keen to have discussions with other countries before the matter is resolved at the political level…….

Trawling through the 173 pages transcript of hearings of this committee, I was surprised at the rigour of the questioning of witnesses by the politicians. They did ask hard questions about the arrangements for contracts from overseas countries, customers sending radioactive wastes to South Australia. They asked questions about who pays and when, and for what aspects of the process.

The most intensive questioning of witnesses was certainly on that subject of economics. After all, the plan is to make a financial bonanza for the state. There is no other reason for it. I sensed that the parliamentary committee was indeed focussed on this one basic question:

If it’s not going to make money, why do it?……

Dr Johnson went on to rather confusing statements about the contractual arrangements, and particularly about at what stage revenue would come to South Australia. I don’t think that the committee was inspired with confidence as Johnson discussed this. It was a very lengthy discussion. A few extracts illustrate the economic problems that were revealed in this discussion:

(Transcript p.24) Dr JOHNSON:

We recognised that, once waste got to South Australia, it was very unlikely to leave South Australia. It was very unlikely that there would be anywhere else you could move it on to, so the liability and the responsibility for that waste would be transferred to South Australia. What was a realistic value of that willingness to pay number?  We looked at that in a number of different ways because there is no market for it……

a rare mention of the probability of a serious nuclear accident happening – who knows when? It raised the spectre of the expected nuclear waste bonanza suddenly fizzling out, after South Australia had committed to building the nuclear waste repository …..

Dr Johnson seemed to get a bit rattled:

Dr JOHNSON:

In essence we are spending money up until we start signing the contracts, and at this stage on the 28-year timeline that occurs at year six-ish, but if it’s a 40-year timeline and there are delays, then it may well be that you keep spending money and you don’t get the precommitments until later than year six. : I am not an economist; I am a chemist. Quite clearly, we were not looking at this from an economic perspective. Our remit was to look at it from a financial perspective…….

Kristen Jelk  asks:


South Australia nuclear toiletWho is talking about “Brand South Australia”?  ……….
If SA is pitching safe products to an international market, and it becomes known that this Australian state has established a dump for nuclear waste, then the damage to brand SA will be immeasurable….It will not matter that the dump is in a desert, nor will it matter if the dump is a distance from prime agricultural land, nor will it matter if experts assure of safety standards. The perception that would prevail is that SA will be a dumping ground for nuclear waste. Perception is everything….

China is our largest trading partner. At present, Australia has clear marketing opportunities in China, and for our other nearer neighbours. In assessing the so called golden coin to be gained for bringing in radioactive trash, South Australia needs to also consider the other side of that coin the economic opportunities that could be lost, along with the risk of a poor or no return on the waste facility investment. https://independentaustralia.net/environment/environment-display/sa-parliamentary-committee-questions-economics-of-importing-nuclear-waste,9371

August 21, 2016 Posted by | Nuclear Royal Commission, politics, South Australia, wastes | Leave a comment

Victorians, including Liberals, want urgent shift to renewable energy

Victoria-sunny.psdMajority of Victorians support urgent shift to renewable energy, poll finds https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2016/aug/18/majority-of-victorians-support-urgent-shift-to-renewable-energy-poll-finds

A ReachTEL poll commissioned by Friends of the Earth shows 68% of the state, including a majority of Liberal voters, want to see an end to reliance on coal, Guardian, , 18 Aug 16, The vast majority of people in Victoria – and even a majority of Liberal voters – support the state moving towards 100% renewable energy “as a matter of urgency,” a new poll has found.

The polling comes as the state government works to rewrite the Climate Change Act, including pre-2050 emissions reduction targets.

More than 68% of Victorians said they agreed or strongly agreed that “Victoria needs to transition its energy use from coal to 100% renewables as a matter of urgency”, according to the ReachTEL poll of 1,137 people conducted on 4 August and commissioned by Friends of the Earth.

That was in line with previous national polls. But when the researchers drilled down to the views of people who supported different political parties, they found consistent support for an ambitious state-based renewable energy target. Continue reading

August 19, 2016 Posted by | energy, politics, Victoria | Leave a comment

South Australia, Victoria – set up electricity trading scheme – says Xenophon

Xenophon, NickXenophon calls for SA and Victoria to set up their own electricity emissions trading scheme, ABC News, By Nick Harmsen , 18 Aug 16, The Victorian and South Australian governments should establish their own joint electricity emissions trading scheme if the Federal Government refuses to put a price on carbon, Senator Nick Xenophon says.

The South Australian senator told an industry conference in Port Pirie that such a scheme would drive down prices.

“The sooner that COAG acts, or alternatively the Victorian and South Australian governments, the sooner consumers and businesses will have real relief in power prices with enhanced reliability,” he said.

“It could and should happen this year.”

Senator Xenophon said he had discussed the proposal with South Australian Energy Minister Tom Koutsantonis, and had written to the federal Minister Josh Frydenberg, urging the issue be discussed at a national meeting of energy ministers this Friday.

Proposal first discussed seven years ago

Rather than advocating a nationwide carbon pricing scheme, Senator Xenophon said the Federal Government should resurrect a scheme first put forward in 2009, during Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull’s time as opposition leader.

“We, as in Malcolm and me, jointly commissioned Frontier Economics to come up with an alternative emissions trading scheme to [then prime minister Kevin Rudd’s] carbon pollution reduction scheme,” he said.

That scheme would effectively see dirty power generators pay cleaner generators to run more……..

South Australian Energy Minister Tom Koutsantonis said Senator Xenophon’s proposal had already been considered by numerous bodies, including COAG. “I am sure this idea is one of the many things we will discuss on Friday at what is an incredibly important COAG meeting,” he said.

“The main point I agree with Mr Xenophon on is that this is an urgent issue that requires the ministers to take back power in decision making, form a consensus and agree to a reform of the energy market.” http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-08-17/electricity-emissions-trading-scheme-plan-for-sa-and-victoria/7751324

August 19, 2016 Posted by | energy, politics, South Australia, Victoria | Leave a comment

Environmental groups put a winning argument against the Yeelirrie uranium project

The winning argument against the mine A joint submission was provided to the Yeelirrie Public logo CCWAEnvironment Review by the Conservation Council of WA, the Australian logo-WANFAConservation Foundation, Friends of the Earth Australia, The Wilderness Society, the Anti-Nuclear Alliance of WA, the West Australia Nuclear Free
logo-FOEAlliance and the Australian Nuclear Free Alliance.

Amongst other points, they called for the project to be rejected “on the grounds that logo ANFAthe Yeelirrie Subterranean Community, a Priority 1 Ecological Community (PEC) comprises a series of highly endemic, diverse stygofauna and troglofauna species within multiple calcrete habitats). The impacts of the proposed Yeelirrie uranium mine, predominantly the associated groundwater drawdown, pose an unacceptable risk that could see a number of subterranean species become extinct (particularly 15 species that are currently only known from the direct impact zone).”

The EPA decision was based on the impacts on subterranean fauna, and disregarded other points made in the submission.

The Wongutha Traditional Owners have been fighting this project for over 40 years.

WA EPA rejects proposed Yeelirrie uranium mine, Online Opinion,  By Mara Bonacci – posted Tuesday, 16 August 2016 After nearly 3,000 people lodged submissions with the Western Australian EPA in opposition to the proposed uranium mine at Yeelirrie, on August 3 the EPA recommended that the project be rejected. Traditional Owners and environmentalists welcomed the decision, but remain wary……. Continue reading

August 17, 2016 Posted by | politics, uranium, Western Australia | Leave a comment

Industry Minister Greg Hunt attacks renewable energy, but Energy Minister Frydenbereg supports it

Mr Frydenberg has said Friday’s national energy ministers’ meeting will discuss topics including the transformation of electricity markets to ensure a greater use of renewable energy and new technologies, such as battery storage.

In an interview with The Advertiser, Mr Koutsantonis renewed a push for a high-voltage interconnector cable to New South Wales, at a cost of about $700 million, saying this would result in cheaper prices and improved supply by connecting SA to more sources of electricity.

He said competition in SA was limited by the high-voltage transmission link to only one state, while Victoria’s lower prices were explained by cables connecting to three states — SA, NSW and Tasmania.

Mr Koutsantonis said state and federal taxpayers might be willing to fund up to $300 million of the NSW interconnector project if electricity supplies were improved.

Federal Industry Minister Greg Hunt blames high electricity prices on growing use of renewables by states Jackson Gothe-Snape, Paul Starick, The Advertiser August 17, 2016 FEDERAL Industry Minister Greg Hunt has lit the fuse for a fiery national energy summit on Friday by blaming high electricity prices on the failure of some states to plan for the growing use of renewables.
Hunt-direct-action

In a thinly veiled attack on SA’s embrace of solar and wind, Mr Hunt will on Wednesday use a speech in Port Pirie to condemn a pretence that integrating renewable energy into power grids is free of cost and other impacts.

Mr Hunt’s comments contrast sharply with those of Cabinet colleague and Energy Minister Josh Frydenberg, whose stated aims in calling Friday’s ministerial meeting in Canberra were to “strengthen co-operation” between governments to ensure energy markets remained “stable and secure”. Continue reading

August 17, 2016 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics | Leave a comment

Western Australia’s EPA approves Vimy uranium mine, but Conservation Council and Aborigines oppose it

Vimy Resources uranium mine east of Kalgoorlie given environmental approval, ABC News, By Laura Gartry , 16 Aug 16, A new uranium mine in Western Australia’s Goldfields has been recommended for approval by the state’s environmental watchdog, just weeks after a similar proposal in the area was knocked back.

The Environmental Protection Authority [EPA] granted the approval for Vimy Resources’ Mulga Rock uranium project, which is 240 kilometres east-north-east of Kalgoorlie, subject to a range of conditions.

Final approval is still required from both the state and federal environment ministers…….

Earlier this month, the EPA rejected Cameco Australia’s Yeelirrie uranium project after it deemed there was too much risk to the area’s subterranean fauna.

The Canadian company had sought to mine up to 7,500 tonnes of UOC per year from the Yeelirrie deposit, about 420 kilometres north of Kalgoorlie-Boulder and 70 kilometres south-west of Wiluna.

The proposal had attracted protests, including from traditional owner and chair of WA nuclear free alliance Kado Muir, who argued there was no broad community support for uranium mining in WA…….

More than 1,000 submissions were received during the 12-week public review period…….

Two other WA uranium projects have received EPA and ministerial approval in recent years, including the Wiluna uranium mine and the Kintyre uranium project, 270 kilometres north east of Newman.

logo CCWAThe Conservation Council of WA said it would appeal the proposed mine because it threatened a pristine environmentally and culturally-significant area.……

Vimy Resources faces many hurdles and road blocks and today’s EPA recommendation is a long way from a green light for mining yellow cake at Mulga Rock,” Council campaigner Mia Pepper said.

Pila Nguru Aboriginal Corporation chair Bruce Hogan said the site was culturally significant. “We don’t want that mine to go ahead. We will fight against that mine at Mulga Rock,” Mr Hogan said.

Spinifex Pilki elder Sandra Evans said traditional owners from the Great Victoria Desert area were not consulted properly. “There are a lot of women’s sites there – they didn’t come to talk to the tribal women from there about clearing the grass trees and other special places,” she said.

“Uranium is different to other minerals – it’s dangerous. If it leaves our country and goes somewhere else – that’s still our responsibility, we worry about that.”

The EPA’s report is open for a two-week public appeal period.” http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-08-15/epa-approves-uranium-mine-near-kalgoorlie/7734798

August 17, 2016 Posted by | politics, uranium, Western Australia | Leave a comment

Media coverage given to serial climate denying pest Sen. Malcolm Roberts

“Campaign of intimidation” One of the academics on the receiving end of Roberts complaints, John Cook, of the University of Queensland, told DeSmog:

Beneath the public attacks on climate science, scientists are also subject to a more insidious campaign of intimidation, otherwise known as the subterranean war on science. This takes the form of complaints to universities to get scientists fired, complaints to journals to get papers retracted and FOIrequests to pick through scientists’ emails. 

Sen. Malcolm Roberts: Climate denier, conspiracy nut and serial pest, Independent Australia DeSmog Blog 15 August 2016 One Nation’s Senator Malcolm Roberts has spent countless hours harassing scientists, researchers and politicians with rantings about climate change conspiracy theories. DeSmogBlog‘s Graham Readfearnreports.

MALCOLM ROBERTS is a former Australian mining consultant who thinks the United Nations is using the “scam” of human-caused climate change as a cover story while it builds an all-powerful world government.

He’s also just been elected as an Australian Senator.

Roberts will sit in Australia’s upper house as a member of the far-right One Nation party that wants to ban Muslim immigration and investigate climate scientists for “fraud and corruption”.

Since his election, Roberts has been given blanket coverage in the Australian media, with high profile interviews on flagship shows on the publicly funded ABC. Continue reading

August 17, 2016 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming, politics | Leave a comment

The “heroic” assumptions of the Nuclear Fuel Chain Royal Commission

scrutiny-Royal-Commission CHAINSubmission to Joint Committee on Nuclear Royal Commission South Australian Parliament, – Mothers for a Sustainable South Australia, August 2016 http://www.parliament.sa.gov.au/Committees/Pages/Committees.aspx?CTId=2&CId=333

The assumptions underpinning the century-long cost-benefit calculation that this proposal relies upon, are heroic.

Price: There is no market for disposing of HLNW, so the proposed ‘price’ is a guess. It is ‘an illustrative benchmark’ (p 293) – but is critical to the $51 billion profit figure. Experts cannot predict the price of gas, coal or iron ore one year ahead – despite well developed markets for all three. How can a century-long price for something that is not yet traded be sensibly predicted? The price used by the RC is much higher than that suggested by Finnish experience. It is nothing more than a guess.

Cost: There is no existing deep geological storage anywhere in the world, so no experience with what it actually costs. The cost estimate – from transport through to maintenance of the site for 100,000 years – is also simply a guess. The Finns who must dispose of about 6,000 tonnes of their own high level nuclear waste have recently granted construction approval for a deep geological dump at Onkalu – after 40 years lead up. This is the first of its kind in the world – expected to be operational in the 2020s. But until it is built, there is no reliable cost experience for the experimental technology. Further, Onkalu is much smaller than that proposed for SA. What are the costs of something 23 times larger likely to be? Who knows? There are no reliable estimates of what it will cost to transport 138,000 tonnes of HLNW or intermediate waste from, say, Korea to Port Augusta – and then to store it and re-transport it to the far north of the state. Such international transport has not been done before.

A single quote from a nuclear industry insider: As we have pointed out, all these rely on a single consultant report by Jacobs & MCM. Jacobs are industry insiders. They have been in the nuclear industry for 50 years – on projects from construction through to clean up. They have a business interest in the nuclear industries expansion. Jacobs’ website prides itself on ‘ongoing business relationships’ with nuclear industry clients, promising ‘to serve as their advocates and support them in their global aspirations’. They are hired consultants who pride themselves on acting in the interests of their hirers – not for an objective critical viewpoint on behalf of the larger community

The nuclear industry consistently overestimates returns and underestimate risk. For example, academic analysis of the cost of building 180 nuclear reactors up until 2014 (for which cost data is known) found that on average they cost double their original estimates – and most took years longer than expected to build, increasing the costs of finance very significantly (Sovacook, Gilbery and 4 Nugent, 2014). The costs of the US Yucca Mountain deep disposal project also blew out very significantly (prior to it being mothballed). The RC offers ‘sensitivity analysis’ on price, costs and quantity but keeps its analysis within parameters that mean it remains profitable on paper. There are many other plausible assumptions about price, cost and amount of waste received, accidents, and changes in legal, contractual, market or community circumstances that make it not only unprofitable, but potentially extremely costly to Governments – who would own and control the project – and who would have to pick up the tab. The financial risks of the project throw the losses of SA’s state bank debacle into the shade.

What happens if the amount of high level nuclear waste does not eventuate? The economics of the project rely on a minimum quantity of high and medium level nuclear waste. What happens if it does not arrive – for any number of reasons? What if China or the US – or companies from anywhere in the world – enter the market for waste disposal? Both countries – and others – plan to build dumps for their own waste. If this is so profitable, why would they not enter the market to take waste, easily undercutting SA’s price and reducing the quantity in the SA facility – which must achieve a very large share of the international market to be viable, let alone profitable? The nuclear industry consistently overestimates returns and underestimate risk. For example, academic analysis of the cost of building 180 nuclear reactors up until 2014 (for which cost data is known) found that on average they cost double their original estimates – and most took years longer than expected to build, increasing the costs of finance very significantly (Sovacook, Gilbery and 4 Nugent, 2014). The costs of the US Yucca Mountain deep disposal project also blew out very significantly (prior to it being mothballed).

The RC offers ‘sensitivity analysis’ on price, costs and quantity but keeps its analysis within parameters that mean it remains profitable on paper. There are many other plausible assumptions about price, cost and amount of waste received, accidents, and changes in legal, contractual, market or community circumstances that make it not only unprofitable, but potentially extremely costly to Governments – who would own and control the project – and who would have to pick up the tab.

The financial risks of the project throw the losses of SA’s state bank debacle into the shade. What happens if the amount of high level nuclear waste does not eventuate? The economics of the project rely on a minimum quantity of high and medium level nuclear waste. What happens if it does not arrive – for any number of reasons? What if China or the US – or companies from anywhere in the world – enter the market for waste disposal? Both countries – and others – plan to build dumps for their own waste. If this is so profitable, why would they not enter the market to take waste, easily undercutting SA’s price and reducing the quantity in the SA facility – which must achieve a very large share of the international market to be viable, let alone profitable?

August 16, 2016 Posted by | Nuclear Royal Commission, politics, South Australia | 1 Comment

Cutting clean energy supplement will hit the poor hardest

Axing clean energy supplement has barely caused a ripple, but it should, Guardian , 13 Aug 16   Although the amounts appear insignificant, the cuts in payments to new welfare recipients will hit hard for the most disadvantaged Australians For many people, $4.40 a week is a small sum – trivial even. A cup of coffee on the way to work, the parking change in the car console.

But for those Australians set to lose between $4.40 and $7.05 a week in one of the 45th parliament’s first legislative acts, many of them living below the poverty line, those small sums will make the dire choices of subsistence budgeting even more desperate. Continue reading

August 15, 2016 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics | 1 Comment

Submissions to South Australia Parliament are overwhelmingly opposed to nuclear waste importing

South Australian Parliament’s Joint Committee on Findings of the Nuclear Fuel Cycle Royal Commission.

This Parliamentary Inquiry is still going on. Transcripts of hearings and submissions can be read at
http://www.parliament.sa.gov.au/Committees/Pages/Committees.aspx?CTId=2&CId=333.

The opinions of those submitting to this Committee are overwhelmingly opposed to the nuclear waste import plan.

Graph Submissions to SA Parlt 2016

However,the Committee itself is hardly neutral:

August 13, 2016 Posted by | politics, South Australia, wastes | 1 Comment

Nuclear waste forum in Port Pirie got a negative response from indigenous community

scrutiny-Royal-CommissionSpeakers in Pirie raise doubts about nuclear dump http://www.portpirierecorder.com.au/story/4087477/negative-vibes-at-nuclear-forum/ Greg Mayfield 10 Aug 2016, Speakers at an indigenous forum in Port Pirie questioned the merits of proposals for a nuclear waste dump in South Australia.

The forum was hosted by Jason Downs, of the Consultation and Response Agency set up after the Nuclear Fuel Cycle Royal Commission. It was aimed at gathering informal views from the Aboriginal community on the findings of the commission.

Gregory Waldon, of Wirrabara, said radioactive contamination on the leg of a fly could be a “problem dose” amid the scenario of handling nuclear waste. He said the issue of “risk” should be reserved for the casino. Only about $230 for each resident of South Australia would flow, he said, from development instead of an original estimate of $3300, once the Commonwealth became involved.

“It is not our waste. We should not be taking any risk,” he said.

Enice Marsh, 73, of Gladstone, is an Adnyamathanha indigenous woman who was once a coal-miner at Leigh Creek. Mrs Marsh said she was on Adnyamathanha land and was the only person from this group here at the gathering. “There are lots of Adnyamathanha people living here in Port Pirie and the area,” she said.

“I really got very little notice about this gathering. It is my duty to come here to represent my country.

“We have two uranium mines on our land – Beverley and Honeymoon. “It doesn’t matter whether it is low, intermediate or high-level waste, we are saying ‘no’ from day one.”

Neville Reid, who works in Port Pirie, said that if he were not logged into the “no nuclear” website, he would not have known about the event. He queried why there were only 10 country people on the Citizens’ Jury looking at the nuclear issue when the dump was “going to be in a country area”.

He warned that steel and concrete doors on repositories would “rot away”, leading to “another site then another site” being used during the long radioactive life of the waste.

Leader for engagement with the agency Mr Downs said a private research company had been engaged to report to the next Citizens’ Jury in October followed by a report to Premier Jay Weathefill who would “make decisions” in November based on feedback.

August 12, 2016 Posted by | politics, South Australia, wastes | Leave a comment

Climate facts refute One Nation’s Malcolm Roberts’ claims

text politicsOne Nation’s Malcolm Roberts is in denial about the facts of   climate change http://www.skepticalscience.com/One-Nation-Malcolm-Roberts-denial-about-facts-climate-change.html 5 August 2016 by John Cook This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.The Conversation

The notion that climate science denial is no longer a part of Australian politics was swept away yesterday by One Nation Senator-Elect Malcolm Roberts.

In his inaugural press conference, Roberts claimed that “[t]here’s not one piece of empirical evidence anywhere, anywhere, showing that humans cause, through CO₂ production, climate change”.

He also promoted conspiracy theories that the CSIRO and Bureau of Meteorology are corrupt accomplices in climate conspiracy driven by the United Nations.

His claims conflict with many independent lines of evidence for human-caused global warming. Coincidentally, the University of Queensland is releasing a free online coursethis month examining the psychology and techniques of climate science denial. The very first video lecture addresses Roberts’ central claim, summarising the empirical evidence that humans are causing climate change.

UQx DENIAL101x 1.2.1.1 Consensus of Evidence

Scientists have observed various human fingerprints in recent climate change, documented in many peer-reviewed scientific papers.

Satellites measure less heat escaping to space at the exact wavelengths at which CO₂ absorbs energy. The upper atmosphere is cooling at the same time that the loweratmosphere is warming – a distinct pattern unique to greenhouse warming. Human activity is also changing the very structure of the atmosphere.

Not only do these unique fingerprints confirm humanity’s role in recent climate change, they also rule out other potential natural contributors. If the Sun caused global warming, we would expect to see days warming faster than nights, and summers warming faster than winters.

Instead we observe the opposite: nights are warming faster than days, and winters are warming faster than summers, which is a greenhouse pattern predicted by John Tyndallas long ago as 1859.

Similarly, if global warming were caused by internal variability, we would expect to seeheat shuffling around the climate system with no net build-up. Instead, scientists observe our climate system accumulating heat at a rate of more than four atomic bombs per second.

Our scientific understanding grows stronger when many independent lines of evidence all point to a single, consistent conclusion. In the case of climate change, the “consensus of evidence” has led 97% of climate scientists to agree that humans are causing global warming.

The scientific consensus on climate change has also been endorsed by many scientific organisations all over the world, including the national science academies of 80 countries

Is it a conspiracy?

How does one dismiss a global scientific consensus built on a robust body of empirical evidence?

There are five characteristics of science denial. These common traits are seen when people reject climate science, the benefits of vaccination, or the research linking smoking to cancer.

The techniques of denial are: fake experts; logical fallacies; impossible expectations; cherrypicking; and conspiracy theories. This is summarised in the acronym FLICC.

UQx DENIAL101x 1.4.3.1 Five Characteristics of Science Denial 

Climate science denial and conspiratorial thinking are often found together. A well-known example is that of Donald Trump, who has dismissed climate change by blaming it on a Chinese conspiracy.

Several studies have linked climate science denial and conspiratorial thinking. If a person disagrees with a global scientific consensus, they’ll typically believe that the scientists are all engaging in a conspiracy to deceive them.

Malcolm Roberts’ conspiracy theories have been well documented and were once again on offer in yesterday’s speech. He espouses a conspiracy that encompasses the CSIRO, Bureau of Meteorology, international banking families, the United Nations and Al Gore.

Unfortunately, I am not optimistic that the evidence for human-caused global warming will persuade Malcolm Roberts. The scientific evidence from psychology tells us that scientific evidence is largely ineffective on those who dismiss climate science with conspiracy theories.

My own research found that communicating the science of climate change to those who exhibit conspiratorial thinking can even be counterproductive, activating their distrust of scientists and strengthening their denial of the evidence.

Furthermore, conspiratorial thinking is self-sealing. When conspiracy theorists are presented evidence that there is no conspiracy, they often respond by broadening the conspiracy to include that evidence. In other words, they interpret evidence against a conspiracy as evidence for the conspiracy.

Our course on climate science denial will be much more useful to those who are open to scientific evidence and curious about the research into the causes and impacts of climate change and the psychology of climate science denial.

August 8, 2016 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming, politics | Leave a comment

South Australian Govt’s “Simplify Day” – aimed at removing nuclear restriction laws?

Will the SA legislative prohibitions on nuclear waste dumps be included?
“SIMPLIFY DAY
Weatherill nuclear dream
The Premier has announced that the first ‘Simplify Day’ will be held on 15 November, 2016 to repeal out-dated and redundant legislation that impacts on the Government’s ability to deliver on its 10 Economic Priorities.
In the lead-up to Simplify Day a consultation process is being held to seek the views of businesses and the community on how red tape can be removed for businesses, including any legislation that may be outdated or unnecessary.
Should you wish to know more about this initiative or make a submission visit the YourSAY website at www.yoursay.sa.gov.au.
The consultation period is open until 13 August, 2016.”
http://yoursay.sa.gov.au/decisions/yoursay-engagements-making-sa-the-best-place-to-do-business-by-removing-outdated-legislation/about

August 7, 2016 Posted by | politics, South Australia | Leave a comment

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