Australian news, and some related international items

Liberal National Party member would consider taxpayer funding for private coal-fired power station.

Coal-fired pledge for Qld
Queensland LNP leader would consider diverting taxpayer funds from renewable energy into a privately built coal-fired power station.


September 20, 2017 Posted by | politics, Queensland | Leave a comment

20 September REneweconomy news

  • Better data would improve transparency in electricity market
    Better data would reassure consumers that price changes are the result of real problems, such as weather or machinery failure, rather than market manipulation.
  • Liddell: It would cost $900 million to keep it open till 2027
    Liddell coal generator visit reveals a work-force that wants it to close. Even betting agencies are punting on its closure.
  • Sci-Fi novel envisions corporatocracy in a climate-changed future
    In Tal Klein’s new novel, The Punch Escrow, humans have successfully tackled disease and climate change, but powerful corporations control everything.
  • Graph of the Day: Live renewable energy share and emissions by state
    Two new live graphs show renewable energy share and energy emissions in each state. Rooftop solar is lowering emissions significantly during the day.
    • Queensland big solar boom continues, as another 150MW project approved
      Queensland’s Western Downs Region continues large-scale solar boom, with approval of 300MW battery ready Beelbee PV farm.
    • Redflow gets second major order within months for its zinc bromine batteries for application on remote, Pacific Island sites.
    • Brisbane Airport rolls out massive 6MW solar project
      Huge 6MW solar upgrade at Brisbane Airport will supply 18% of electricity needs and save around $1m a year on energy bills.
    • SolarEdge enhancing residential PV offering for Australia
      Increased power production with single-phase inverters and new three-phase inverters for cost-effective larger PV systems

September 20, 2017 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, energy | Leave a comment

Energy World Rocked as China Cuts Coal Imports, Aims for Fossil Fuel Car Ban


The global energy posture is changing almost as rapidly as a climate increasingly choked with greenhouse gas emissions. And few parts of the world show this emerging trend more clearly than China. In short, China is adding restrictions to both domestic coal production and coal imports even as it is rapidly building new solar generation capacity and moving to ban domestic fossil fuel based vehicle sales.

Cutting Coal as Solar Grows

Recently, China made two major policy moves that have rocked the global energy markets. The first was its recent closing of terminals to coal imports — which may result in a net reduction of imported coal by 10 percent during 2017. Since July, China has closed approximately 150 smaller facilities to coal imports. These ports, which China has designated as tier two, are less able to test coal for compliance with China’s new emissions standards. As a result…

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September 19, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Coal country backs renewable energy

A new ReachTEL poll, commissioned by The Australia Institute’s Climate and Energy Program, asked residents of the electorates of Hunter and Shortland about energy policy, including government investment in coal, renewables and the Liddell coal power station.

via Coal country backs renewable energy: Poll — RenewEconomy

September 19, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Murdoch media gets it wrong on renewable energy and Saudi Arabia

The Australian’s story linking excessive renewable energy subsidies to the Moree solar farm, a rich Saudi playboy and the singer Rihanna is very interesting. It is also hopelessly wrong (at least on the renewables bit).

via Murdoch misleads readers about renewable subsidies and Saudi playboys — RenewEconomy

September 19, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Most Labor MPs have pledged to get Australia to sign & ratify the UN nuclear weapon ban treaty


A majority of Labor MPs have pledged to get Australia to sign & ratify the UN nuclear weapon ban treaty:

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

To Malcolm Turnbull’s government, climate change is a joke

Coalition MPs giggle, cackle, smirk and laugh in Parliament over climate change, Independent Australia , Simon Black Many of our current crop of conservative politicians laugh like naughty children whenever climate change is brought up. This can’t be how the world ends 

NERO NEVER FIDDLED while Rome burned.

It is a popular myth, but it’s simply not true — there were no fiddles back in Roman times.

Nero is, however, reported to have sung a song about the sacking of Troy while watching as 70 per cent of Rome was swallowed by flames in a single blistering gulp.

Some of our current crop of politicians have gone one better — they now laugh like small children whenever climate change is brought up.

This week, the conservative side of politics continued what seems to be the running gag of climate change for the during a motion by Senator Peter Whish-Wilson calling for recognition of Australia’s climate scientists.

Whish-Wilson told the floor and later posted on social media, that it was “the angriest I have ever been in the Senate” as he watched members of the house openly mock climate scientists.

Liberal Senator James McGrath stood to read what appeared to be his party’s talking points in a deadpan monotone stopping a number of times to smirk and chuckle.

Leader of the Australian Conservatives Party, Cory Bernardi, rose to make a point of order, informing the house that it was, in fact, he who had been raucously laughing.

Presumably, he was concerned the people who voted him in would be upset if he wasn’t earning his base pay of $199,040 a year by chuckling his way through Senate motions.

Nice work if you can get it.

It’s part of a trend in Australian politics for conservatives to openly mock, laugh and ridicule climate change, even as the Great Barrier Reef bleaches and dies, even as we notch up record hot year after record hot year, even as natural disasters such as Hurricanes Harvey and Irma increase in frequency and intensity worldwide.

When asked about climate change in June this year by a Liberal colleague, Australian Environment Minister Josh Frydenberg had a good laugh.

He spent 30 seconds answering the question and then two-and-a-half minutes openly laughing about an interview where Labor MP Andrew Leigh mentioned climate change could have an impact on the ski season.

“He’s just worried about one thing: losing the ski season,” guffawed Frydenberg.

Someone else who is worried about the ski season is the CSIRO, who warned climate change could shrink Australia’s ski season by 80 days a year by 2050.

But never let reality get in the way of a good joke.

And it seems there’s nothing funnier than the threat posed by climate change — once described by Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull (before he was Prime Minister) as  “catastrophic”.  ……..–not-with-a-bang-but-with-a-chuckle,10722

September 18, 2017 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming, politics | 1 Comment

Death of the former Soviet office who averted World War 3

‘I was just doing my job’: Soviet officer who averted nuclear war dies at age 77 

Soviet officer saves world from Armageddon – Cold War unknown facts 

A decision that Soviet lieutenant colonel Stanislav Petrov once took went down in history as one that stopped the Cold War from turning into nuclear Armageddon, largely thanks to Karl Schumacher, a political activist from Germany who helped the news of his heroism first reach a western audience nearly two decades ago. Continue reading

September 18, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

US ambassador to UN, Nikki Haley, favours the “military option” for North Korea

North Korea: UN has ‘exhausted’ its options and America may hand issue to Pentagon, Nikki Haley says, ABC News 18 Sept 17  The US ambassador to the United Nations says the UN Security Council has run out of options to contain North Korea’s nuclear program, adding Washington may have to turn the matter over to the Pentagon.

Key points:

  • Ms Haley says if North Korea continues it “will be destroyed”
  • Donald Trump calls Kim Jong-un “rocket man” and praises sanctions effects
  • Security adviser HR McMaster says preparing a military option is becoming necessary

“We have pretty much exhausted all the things that we can do at the Security Council at this point,” Nikki Haley told CNN, adding that she was perfectly happy to hand the North Korea issue over to Defence Secretary James Mattis.

As world leaders head to the United Nations headquarters in New York for the annual General Assembly meeting this week, Ms Haley’s comments indicated the US was not backing down from its threat of military action against North Korea.

On Thursday, North Korea launched a missile over Japan into the Pacific Ocean in defiance of new UN Security Council sanctions banning its textile exports and capping imports of crude oil.

China has urged the US to refrain from making threats to North Korea, but when asked about President Donald Trump’s warning last month that the North Korean threat to the US will be met with “fire and fury”, Ms Haley said “it was not an empty threat”.

“If North Korea keeps on with this reckless behaviour, if the United States has to defend itself or defend its allies in any way, North Korea will be destroyed,” she said………

Military options available to Mr Trump range from a sea blockade aimed at enforcing sanctions to cruise missile strikes on nuclear and missile facilities to a broader campaign aimed at overthrowing leader Kim Jong-un.

Mr Mattis has warned the consequences of any military action would be “tragic on an unbelievable scale” and bring severe risk to US ally South Korea……..

September 18, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Success of an international Treaty – the ozone hole is healing

After 30 years of the Montreal Protocol, the ozone layer is gradually healing The Conversation Andrew Klekociuk, Adjunct Senior Lecturer, University of Tasmania, Paul Krummel, Research Group Leader, CSIRO This weekend marks the 30th birthday of the Montreal Protocol, often dubbed the world’s most successful environmental agreement. The treaty, signed on September 16, 1987, is slowly but surely reversing the damage caused to the ozone layer by industrial gases such as chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs).

Each year, during the southern spring, a hole appears in the ozone layer above Antarctica. This is due to the extremely cold temperatures in the winter stratosphere (above 10km altitude) that allow byproducts of CFCsand related gases to be converted into forms that destroy ozone when the sunlight returns in spring.

As ozone-destroying gases are phased out, the annual ozone hole is generally getting smaller – a rare success story for international environmentalism.

Back in 2012, our Saving the Ozone series marked the Montreal Protocol’s silver jubilee and reflected on its success. But how has the ozone hole fared in the five years since?

The Antarctic ozone hole has continued to appear each spring, as it has since the late 1970s. This is expected, as levels of the ozone-destroying halocarbon gases controlled by the Montreal Protocol are still relatively high. The figure below shows that concentrations of these human-made substances over Antarctica have fallen by 14% since their peak in about 2000.

It typically takes a few decades for these gases to cycle between the lower atmosphere and the stratosphere, and then ultimately to disappear. The most recent official assessment, released in 2014, predicted that it will take 30-40 years for the Antarctic ozone hole to shrink to the size it was in 1980………

Reassuringly, a recent study showed that the size of the ozone hole each September has shrunk overall since the turn of the century, and that more than half of this shrinking trend is consistent with reductions in ozone-depleting substances. However, another study warns that careful analysis is needed to account for a variety of natural factors that could confound our detection of ozone recovery……..

While annual monitoring continues, which includes measurements under the Australian Antarctic Program, a more comprehensive assessment of the ozone layer’s prospects is set to arrive late next year. Scientists across the globe, coordinated by the UN Environment Program and the World Meteorological Organisation, are busy preparing the next report required under the Montreal Protocol, called the Scientific Assessment of Ozone Depletion: 2018.

This peer-reviewed report will examine the recent state of the ozone layer and the atmospheric concentration of ozone-depleting chemicals, how the ozone layer is projected to change, and links between ozone change and climate.

In the meantime we’ll watch the 2017 hole as it peaks then shrinks over the remainder of the year, as well as the ozone holes of future years, which will tend to grow less and less large as the ozone layer heals.

September 18, 2017 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

New classification of climate risks brings in new categories – “catastrophic” and “unknown”

New climate risk classification created to account for potential ‘existential’ threats–ncr091417.php Researchers identify a one-in-20 chance of temperature increase causing catastrophic damage or worse by 2050

UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA – SAN DIEGO A new study evaluating models of future climate scenarios has led to the creation of the new risk categories “catastrophic” and “unknown” to characterize the range of threats posed by rapid global warming. Researchers propose that unknown risks imply existential threats to the survival of humanity. Continue reading

September 18, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Anti Adani coal project- action is seriously hotting up in Queensland

Anti-Adani protesters promise week-long action against Queensland mine 16 September 2017 

September 18, 2017 Posted by | climate change - global warming, Queensland | Leave a comment

Time for a new approach on the North Korean nuclear crisis?

Some Analysts Say Time May Be Right For A Rethink On North Korean Nuclear Crisis, NPR, September 17, 2017, ANTHONY KUHN

North Korea test-launched another missile Friday that arced over northern Japan and into the Pacific, showing its progress toward being able to strike the U.S. and signaling its defiance of U.N. sanctions imposed after its sixth, and most recent, nuclear testearlier this month.

“The world will never accept a nuclear-armed North Korea,” U.S. Ambassador Nikki Haley told the U.N., after the sanctions passed the Security Council on Monday. She added: “If the North Korean regime does not halt its nuclear program, we will act to stop it ourselves.”

But some analysts believe that this approach to the North Korean nuclear crises is dangerously deluded.

A decade or so ago, it still may have been possible to use sanctions or the threat of military force to compel North Korea to give up its nuclear programs, argues Zhao Chu, an independent, Shanghai-based analyst, former soldier and former editor of World Outlook, a foreign affairs magazine.

But Zhao warns that the situation has now fundamentally changed, and that trying to fly through a window of opportunity that has already closed is a very bad idea. Pyongyang can hardly be expected to give up the nuclear ace in the hole that it worked so long to acquire. Continue reading

September 18, 2017 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

…….. The shame of it is, the Liberal Party has a worthy environmental record, especially with oceans. Malcolm Fraser declared the Great Barrier Reef a marine park in 1975 and in 1978 he ended whaling. And remember, the national push for marine parks began under John Howard. So this government is trashing its own party’s proud legacy……..

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

A mathematician warns – Coalition’s pro-coal policy likely a vote loser

Coalition’s pro-coal policy likely a vote loser; optional voting in plebiscite helps Yes, The Conversation, Recently the Coalition and its media supporters have condemned the SA and Victorian Labor governments for allowing coal-fired power plants to close. The Coalition is trying to extend the life of the Liddell power plant in NSW, and is considering building a new coal-fired power plant. This is an attempt to portray Labor as the party of intermittent, unreliable and costly power.

The Coalition has been in office for four years. In July 2014, they repealed the carbon price that Labor had introduced. Many people would now ask why energy prices have kept increasing in the three years since this repeal. In a mid-August Essential poll, 59% thought they were paying a lot more for electricity and gas than two or three years ago.

In February, 45% in an Essential poll said that recent blackouts were mainly due to failures of the energy market, 19% blamed privatisation and just 16% blamed renewables.

In mid-August an Essential poll gave the Coalition a net -34 rating on providing affordable and reliable energy, their worst score from a list of 12 issues. In last week’s Essential, 49% blamed private power companies most for rising energy prices, 22% blamed the Turnbull government, 9% environmentalists and 5% renewable energy companies.

People who blame private power companies are more likely to trust Labor than the Coalition to get tough, given the Coalition’s pro-business reputation……. [lots of figures given here]

As a result of the Coalition’s pro-coal policy, some Abbott supporters could return, possibly boosting the Coalition’s primary vote at the expense of One Nation and Others. However, respondent allocated preferences are currently more friendly to the Coalition than the previous election method, and this could change. The Coalition risks losing more centrist voters to Labor.

In some parts of the country, such as NSW’s Hunter Valley, coal is important to the local economy, and the Coalition is likely to benefit. In most of the country, being pro-coal is likely to hinder the Coalition.

SA has been the state most subject to attacks from the pro-coal lobby. It has a Labor government that is over 15 years old, and this would be expected to be a drag on Federal Labor in that state. We would expect the SA swing to Labor to be the lowest of any state.

Instead, the Poll Bludger’s BludgerTrack currently gives Labor their second largest swing in SA. Labor leads in SA by 58.4-41.6, a 6.1 point swing to Labor since the 2016 election. The SA sample sizes used in BludgerTrack are small, so this result is much more error-prone than the national BludgerTrack figure (53.7-46.3 to Labor, a 4.1 point swing), but this is still a large swing to Labor in a state that should have the lowest swing.

SA will have only 10 House seats at the next Federal election, but Victoria will have 38. If the Coalition antagonises Victorians as much as they have South Australians, they could suffer a disastrous loss of seats in both states……..

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