Australian news, and some related international items

PM Scott Morrison interested in nuclear electricity prices -NOT in health, safety, environment (“idealogical”)

PM ‘totally open’ to nuclear power if economics stack up  The prime minister says he will consider lifting the prohibition on nuclear power in Australia if research shows it can be done well.  Prime Minister Scott Morrison says he’s open to the idea of nuclear power if research emerges showing it stacks up economically.

Nuclear power has been banned in Australia since 1998, but Mr Morrison says he would consider lifting the ban if research proved it could be done on a commercial basis and bring power prices down.

I’m totally open to that work,” he told Sky News on Tuesday.

“But what we need to do is make sure it can stack up and we can successfully move in that direction.”

Mr Morrison said the source of Australia’s energy doesn’t bother him and he isn’t interested in an ideological debate.

“What matters is that it’s reliable, it can be contracted, it can be priced at lower than what we’re getting currently, because that’s what brings people’s power prices down.”


October 18, 2018 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics | Leave a comment

Coalition’s climate change stance will ‘kill people’, say Greens

  The Australian Greens have warned against the Morrison government backing a coal-led energy policy over the Snowy Hydro 2.0 project. SBS, 15 Oct 18  Greens MP Adam Bandt has warned the Coalition’s views on climate change and renewable energy will “kill people”.A major report released last week, referencing more than 6000 scientific studies, stated drastic changes are needed in global society to prevent world temperatures from rising by two degrees Celsius.

The Coalition Government says it will not renew or replace the Renewable Energy Target when it lapses in 2020.

Mr Bandt’s claim comes on the same day as former Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce declared the expected $4.5 billion cost for the Snowy 2.0 scheme would be better off used on funding new coal-fired power stations.

“The Coalition’s energy policy will kill people – it’s as simple as that,” Mr Bandt told reporters on Monday.

“Australia is going to be one of the countries worst hit by climate change and the Morrison government seems to not care how many people will die because of its policies.

“If Barnaby Joyce is concerned about farmers then he’d want to switch from coal to renewables.”

Mr Joyce told The Australian he would prioritise coal-fired power stations, two months ahead of a decision on the Snowy 2.0 scheme……

October 16, 2018 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming, politics | Leave a comment

Liberal Senator Amanda Stoker obediently takes dictation from Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation

Modest member: Go nuclear for a clean energy future The modern nuclear reactor is small, modular, self-contained and safer than any other energy generation, Financial Review, by Amanda Stoker 14 Oct 18   Amanda Stoker is a Liberal National Party senator for Queensland

Australia must develop a nuclear energy industry. It promises to provide clean and reliable energy from a resource we have in abundance.

The modern nuclear reactor is small, modular, self-contained and safer than any other energy generation method. It provides flexible generation capacity, as it can increase or reduce electricity output to reflect demand.  [Ed . Just a pity that it doesn’t exist – among other drawbacks] 

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has acknowledged that all electricity generation options with the capacity to reduce electricity prices need to be considered……

For too long we have allowed nuclear energy to remain off-limits in the discussion about the security of Australia’s energy supply. What we need is an informed and rational debate that isn’t driven by fear.

While the high capital cost of traditional nuclear reactors makes them unattractive compared to coal and natural gas as a source of dispatchable baseload power, the advent of safer and cheaper small modular reactors (SMRs), for example the NuScale facility commissioned in Idaho, offer a competitive and cost-effective entry point for Australia to cutting edge nuclear energy technology.

The projected levelised cost of electricity (LCOE) of NuScale’s SMR is comparable to other forms of dispatchable generation in the pipeline. [ Ed.,..t?

The Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation (ANSTO) has said a nuclear energy industry built either on SMRs or Generation IV reactors is technically feasible in Australia, but we do not have the necessary expertise available…….

The Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Act and the Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act prohibit the approval, licensing, construction, or operation of a nuclear fuel fabrication plant, a nuclear power plant, an enrichment plant or a reprocessing facility.

These acts should be amended to enable a nuclear energy industry to develop in Australia……

October 16, 2018 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics | Leave a comment

Barnaby Joyce calls the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) “wrong and ridiculous” about coal

Barnaby backs coal unless Australians want nuclear power supply, Northern Daily Leader, Chris Bath 15 Oct 18 

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

Cory Bernardi promises to explain why nuclear power is a “compelling investment opportunity”

Seize the mantle and stop this moratorium’: Cory Bernardi to lay out investment case for nuclear power 

Earlier this week, Scott Morrison suggested there was no investment case for nuclear power in Australia.

But Australian Conservatives leader Cory Bernardi begs to differ and  has confirmed he will lay out an investment case to pursue the power generation option next week.

“If Scott Morrison says he’s not afraid to use the nuclear word, I want to give him the economic case so that he can seize the mantle and stop this 20 year green moratorium on even contemplating nuclear power in this country,” Bernardi tells Luke Grant. “I will lay out an investment case that makes nuclear a compelling opportunity. It will detail not only the energy benefits of nuclear energy but the whole range of other spin-off benefits. It could relieve drought-affected areas, it could ensure greater crop production.”

“We can also detail a way, which is a little riskier in a political sense, that it could be built with no additional capital input from the government right now.”

Bernadi says the time for an elimination of the ban is now, with the blanket prohibition precluding Australia from capitalising on its uranium resource abundance and shutting us off from the economic advantages that would flow on.

“We’re crazy,” he says.

“There’s 30% of the world’s uranium resources in this country, something like 20% in South Australia alone. We could radically change Australia’s economic future. You can do it perfectly safely and to those who want to stop carbon dioxide emissions, you can cure that problem too.”

October 13, 2018 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics | Leave a comment

Alex Turnbull, son of former Prime Minister denounces the “crazy” climate agenda of the Liberal Party

Grattan on Friday: Malcolm Turnbull is gone but son Alex keeps the climate faith, The Conversation, Michelle Grattan, Professorial Fellow, University of Canberra, October 11, 2018  In a Thursday video for the Wentworth byelection, Malcolm Turnbull’s son Alex has denounced “extremists on the hard right” who, he says, have taken over the Liberal Party.

The younger Turnbull called on voters in his dad’s old seat to register a protest about the party’s direction, and deliver a message on climate change. “If you want to pull the Liberal party back from the brink, there is one clear signal you can send,” he said, urging people not to vote Liberal.

Apart from the leadership coup Turnbull, a Singapore-based investment manager, highlighted energy policy to make his point about the hard right’s “crazy agenda”.

“As an investor in energy, I’ve seen that in particular there’s no way coal can compete anymore. Renewables have gotten too cheap, firming costs are reasonable, and really there’s no trade off any more between lowering your power bills and reducing emissions. And yet still some would like to prosecute a culture war over this issue”.

Kerry Schott, head of the Energy Security Board, is coming from a rather different place but at the Australian Financial Review’s energy summit this week she delivered an equally blunt message about the politics of energy, describing “the general state of affairs right now as anarchy”. ……..

Business is more tuned into, and willing to talk about, the emissions challenge and climate change than the government is. For the government, going there takes it down the alley of internal ideological conflict.

When the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s report came this week, the Coalition was unimpressed by its call for the international community to phase out coal by mid-century in order to contain the temperature rise. After all, the government is still under internal pressure to underpin investment in new coal-fired power, if investors can be found.

In contrast, Alex Turnbull said in his video the IPCC report “frankly was terrifying … and it’s seemingly insane to me that we could not be doing something about this and soon”.

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

An alt-right, all-male, racist, anti-semitic, pro nuclear group aims to join Liberal-National politics

Is Australia’s ruling Liberal-National coalition even more in danger from the extreme right-wing than we thought?    This all-male crowd likes violence – fighting (The Lads Society), racism, anti-semitism, and of course  – coal and nuclear power.
Manifesto reveals alt-right’s plans to go mainstream after ‘infiltration’ of NSW Young Nationals, Background Briefing , By Alex Mann

The ABC has uncovered a covert plot by Australia’s alt-right movement to join major political parties and influence their policy agendas from within.

Haircuts and hatred

Inside Australia’s alt-right movement. Who are its members and what does their manifesto reveal about their political ambitions?
Background Briefing has witnessed members of the NSW Young Nationals in Sydney attending a secret men’s-only fight club set up by some of the country’s most prominent alt-right nationalists.

The program has also gained access to a private Facebook group in which these same people discuss their manifesto, which includes plans to shake up mainstream politics.

The group is called The New Guard and its followers are self-described fascists

At least three NSW Young Nationals — including Clifford Jennings, who sits on the executive of the party’s youth wing — are, or recently have been, members.

On Facebook and elsewhere online, more NSW Young Nationals are sharing alt-right talking points, racist in-jokes containing coded references to Hitler, and theories of a global Jewish conspiracy.

In response to these revelations, one member of the party has been asked to resign, while two others have been sent show-cause notices.

The first sign of an alt-right push within the NSW Young Nationals came during a dramatic state conference in May. Continue reading

October 13, 2018 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics | 1 Comment

Dave Sharma, Liberal candidate for Wentworth byelection, is complacent about Liberals’ non policy on climate change

Dave Sharma says Liberals ‘doing enough’ on climate after Hewson attack

The Wentworth candidate rejects former leader’s view that party’s policy on emissions is inadequate, Guardian,  Anne Davies@annefdavies 10 Oct 2018 The Liberal candidate for Wentworth, Dave Sharma, said his party is “doing enough” and has “a good record” on climate change, after a blistering attack from former leader John Hewson, who said the party deserved a “drubbing” over its inaction on the issue…….Hewson has accused the Liberals of putting their heads in the sand on the issue and kicking the issue down the road for future generations.

The former prime minister Malcolm Turnbull dropped plans for a national energy guarantee that would have imposed emissions reduction targets and then was dumped by his own party, which was deeply divided over his plan……

the economy has been growing and so too have overall emissions.

Australia is on a trajectory that will see it miss its Paris climate targets – a reduction of 26% to 28% based on 2005 levels – according to figures from the consultants, NDEVR Environmental, for the year up to the end of June 2018.

The NDVER figures showed Australia’s emissions were again the highest on record when unreliable data from the land use and forestry sectors was excluded. This was the third consecutive year for record-breaking emissions.

Despite this, Frydenberg claimed that the nation is on track to meet its Paris commitments – even without the Neg, which he had supported. He also lauded the Coalition’s record on investment in renewables…….

Asked about the IPCC report this week, which called for coal generation to be phased out by 2050 or the world would be facing a catastrophe, Frydenberg said it was their word, not ours….

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

Renewable subsidies phased out by 2030 Labor leader Bill Shorten says coal will be part of Australia’s energy mix for the foreseeable future, but wants renewable energy to be more accessible.

Opposition Leader Bill Shorten says a lack of policy is preventing Australia from becoming a renewable energy superpower, but admits coal will be part of the mix for the foreseeable future.

“What we need to do is create investment certainty, write out what the rules are so we can get more renewable energy,” he told reporters in Melbourne on Wednesday.

Renewable energy “is getting cheaper and I want to make it more accessible to small business and consumers.”

October 11, 2018 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, energy, politics | Leave a comment

Prime Minister Scott Morrison resuscitates the nightmare dream of the nuclear chain in Australia

Prime Minister Scott Morrison says nuclear would be considered if the investment case stacks up, Daniel Wills, State Political Editor, The Advertiser  October 8, 2018

PRIME Minister Scott Morrison says he is willing to do “whatever it takes” to bring down power bills, and would consider going nuclear if he was convinced it made economic sense.

Mr Morrison has opened a new flank in the energy battle by saying he was open-minded about nuclear, a move South Australia’s former Labor premier Jay Weatherill also once entertained.

Mr Morrison told 2GB radio in Sydney he would overturn a legal ban on building nuclear reactors in Australia if he believed it would put downward pressure on power prices.

Mr Morrison said he would do “whatever it takes” to make electricity cheaper, and have no issues allowing nuclear reactors to be built if it would make lower household bills.

But he warned the investment case to build a nuclear reactor did not “stack up”.

SA’s Nuclear Fuel Cycle Royal Commission, called by Mr Weatherill and completed in 2016, was arguably the most comprehensive examination of the matter undertaken in Australia.

Its strongest recommendation was to pursue construction of a high-level dump for international waste, but the commission also suggested national bans on nuclear be loosened.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison said he would overturn the ban on building nuclear reactors if he believed it would bring down power prices. File image.

It concluded that nuclear power did not make sense in SA because of the state’s relatively low energy demand, and starting from scratch meant a delay until at least 2030 to build a facility.

“This allows 14 years for establishing regulatory systems and expertise, undertaking a detailed assessment of the nuclear supply chain before pre-licensing activities, licensing, project development and construction for a large plant,” the report stated.

“This is an ambitious time frame, but the commission considers it reasonable if there were an imperative.”

It said the economic case for a nuclear plant would strengthen if governments put in place aggressive policies to cut carbon emissions in a bid to stave off catastrophic climate change.

“The potential viability of a nuclear power plant in SA improved under more stringent carbon policies, but remained unviable even under the strong carbon price scenario,” the report found. Former prime minister Tony Abbott last month called for an end to the nuclear ban.

The push to revive the nuclear debate comes after Mr Morrison declared dead the national energy guarantee policy of his predecessor.

Opposition energy spokesman Mark Butler has held out the prospect of Labor reviving the policy in government after industry consultation.

Opposition Leader Bill Shorten said: “At the same time as the site of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster transforms into a massive solar farm, Morrison thinks it’s time to take Australia nuclear. You’ve got to be kidding”.

October 9, 2018 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics | Leave a comment

Cost of action on climate change is high – political will is lacking

October 9, 2018 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming, politics | Leave a comment

Australia’s Prime Minister Scott Morrison joins the pro nuclear bandwagon

Whatever it takes: ScoMo prepared to go nuclear if it cuts power prices GREG BROWN, OCTOBER 8, 2018   Scott Morrison says he would overturn the ban on building nuclear reactors in Australia if he believed it would put downward pressure on power prices.

The Prime Minister said he would do “whatever it takes” to make electricity cheaper, and he would have no issues allowing nuclear reactors to be built if it would make lower household bills.

But warned the investment case to build a nuclear reactor did not “stack up”.

You’ve got to make the investment stack up,” Mr Morrison told 2GB radio.

Last month, former PM Tony Abbott called on the Morrison government to lift the prohibition on nuclear power.

Mr Abbott told 2GB there was “absolutely no reason why, when it’s economic, we shouldn’t have nuclear power generation in ­Australia”.

The push to revive the nuclear debate comes after Mr Morrison last month declared the NEG dead, while opposition energy spokesman Mark Butler held out the prospect of Labor moving to revive the policy in government following engagement with industry.

The former chair of the Australian Nuclear Science and Tech­nology Organisation and current chair of NBN Co, Ziggy ­Swit­kowski, told The Weekend Australian it was sensible to clear the regulatory pathway for the next generation of small ­nuclear reactors.

Mr Morrison today defended Australia remaining a signatory to the Paris climate change agreement, arguing it has no impact on electricity prices.

Meanwhile, the International Atomic Agency says nuclear energy is vital to meeting the global challenge of climate change but projections were for a dramatic shortfall in capacity by 2050.

A new report from the agency revealed without nuclear, cumulative greenhouse gas emissions between 2018 and 2050 could be up to 12 gigatonnes higher, more than 20 times Australia’s entire emissions last year.

Called Climate Change and Nuclear Power 2018, the report said climate change was one of the most important issues facing the world today.

Nuclear energy could make an important contribution to reducing greenhouse gas emissions while delivering energy in the increasingly large quantities needed for global economic development.

“Nuclear power plants produce virtually no greenhouse gas emissions or air pollutants during their operation and only very low emissions over their full life cycle,” the report said.

October 8, 2018 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics | Leave a comment

No Australian government support for “nonsense” like climate change action

Morrison vows no money for climate conferences and “all that nonsense” Giles Parkinson

In an early morning interview with radio 2GB’s Alan Jones, where he also supported the push to advertise a horse race on “Australia’s biggest bill-board”, a reference to the sales of a building hitherto known as the Sydney Opera House, Morrison indicated Australia would resume its disruptive role in international climate talks.

He said Australia would not follow the US out of the Paris climate treaty – that would be catastrophic for Australia’s attempts to land a free trade deal with Europe and its ongoing relationship with Pacific neighbours – but it has no intention of increasing its current target of a 26-28 per cent cut in emissions by 2030.

This was despite the IPCC recommendations of decisive action, and a rapid phase out of fossil fuels, if the world was to meet the target of trying to limit average global warming to 1.5°C.

“We’re not held to any of (those recommendations) at all, and nor are we bound to go and tip money into that big climate fund,” Morrison told 2GB.

The participation of Australia and other wealthy countries in the Green Climate Fund is seen as critical to keep the Paris climate accord together, as it was a fundamental part of negotiations in the lead up to Paris in 2015.

But Morrison said Australia has no intention of lifting its target, focusing instead on prices, and promising the loss of no jobs in any action on climate change.

At the moment, Australia has no policies to actually reach that target, and emissions last year rose 1.3 per cent, putting Australia’s trajectory completely off course. Morrison insists that the country will “meet it in a canter”.

Morrison, who waved around a lump of coal in parliament early last year when Treasurer, and later dismissed the Tesla big battery as being about as useful as the Big Banana (despite the battery’s profound impact on the grid this past year), says Australia was acting to protect the Great Barrier Reef.

But the IPCC report warns that even under a 2°C scenario – and current climate pledges have the world heading to average global warming in excess of 3°C – all coral reefs would cease to exist. At 1.5°C, there is a  fair chance of saving 10-30 per cent of existing ecosystems, the report says.

The scenarios and assessments are similar to those made at the Paris climate talks. The difference with this latest report is that it is an agreed text – with more than 6,000 scientific references cited, thousands of expert and government reviewers worldwide, and 91 authors and editors from 40 countries.

More importantly, it survived intervention from government “experts” in the last few days, and was approved by all countries.

October 8, 2018 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming, politics | Leave a comment

New political party – Stop Selling Australia party

Mike Barclay shared his first post.Fight To Stop Nuclear Waste Dump In Flinders Ranges SA, 8 Oct 18
I am registering a new political party for the next Federal election in the senate.

Stop Selling Australia party.

We mainly focus on the prevention of our assets and essential services being sold off to foreign countries, we also care about the long term future of Australia.

This includes the dumping of nuclear waste in Australia which is not in the interest of our kids.

We are planning on running a candidate in each state, but as yet don’t have one for South Australia.

If you know anyone who might be suitable, please contact me and we can have a chat.

Mike Barclay

October 8, 2018 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics | Leave a comment

Australia lagging behind in electric cars, though they save lives and cut costs

Electric cars would save lives and cut costs, but Australians ‘risk being left behind’, SMH, By Nicole Hasham
6 October 2018 Deaths from air pollution would be prevented and the Morrison government would meet its pledge to make electricity more reliable and affordable if more Australians drove electric cars, but a lack of political will is holding back the benefits.That is the widespread view expressed to a Senate probe into electric vehicles in Australia. Electric car maker Tesla, headed by controversial entrepreneur Elon Musk, is among those who assert that “government leadership” is the main barrier to increasing electric vehicle uptake in Australia, while the government’s own infrastructure adviser warned that Australians “risk being left behind” in the global transition.

Australia trails the world in the adoption of electric vehicles. Just 2284 were sold last year – 0.2 per cent of total vehicle sales. This is largely attributed to a lack of vehicle choice, fears about limited driving range and higher upfront costs than traditional cars.

In contrast, electric vehicles make up about 20 per cent of new sales in Norway, and are expected to reach 30 per cent of sales in China by 2030.

The Senate inquiry, chaired by independent South Australian senator Tim Storer, is investigating the benefits and opportunities of electric vehicles in Australia.

It is broadly acknowledged that electric vehicles improve air quality, help address climate change, boost public health and are cheaper to run than conventional vehicles.

……The Morrison government said these two outcomes – making electricity more reliable and affordable – would be its “unrelenting” focus following the demise of the National Energy Guarantee. However the government provided only limited support for electric-vehicle adoption.

Tesla told the inquiry that thousands of Australians had placed deposits for its model 3 sedan and research showed 50 per cent of Australians would consider an electric vehicle for their next purchase.

But it said governments must help ensure Australians could access charging infrastructure and a wide range of vehicle models, and reduce financial and logistical hurdles.

“The main barrier to increasing electric vehicle uptake in Australia is not consumer appetite; rather it is clear government leadership,” Tesla wrote.

Tesla said the Morrison government should set an ambitious target for electric vehicle uptake to send a clear message to manufacturers and consumers that Australia was ready for the transition.

The NRMA, ClimateWorks and the Electric Vehicle Council also called on governments to act to encourage the uptake of electric vehicles in various ways, such as implementing vehicle emissions standards, supporting the establishment of charging infrastructure and setting targets for government fleets. ……


October 8, 2018 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, energy, politics | Leave a comment