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The News That Matters about the Nuclear Industry

Some conservation scientists misinformed by the nuclear lobby- Jim Green busts the spin

nuke-bubbleEndorsing the wishful thinking and misinformation presented in the Brook-Bradshaw journal article is no substitute for an honest acknowledgement of the proliferation problems associated with nuclear power, coupled with serious, sustained efforts to solve those problems.

‘Wishful thinking and misinformation': An open letter to nuclear lobbyists   http://www.businessspectator.com.au/article/2014/12/18/energy-markets/wishful-thinking-and-misinformation-open-letter-nuclear-lobbyists

JIM GREEN 18 DEC,  A group of conservation scientists has published an open letter urging environmentalists to reconsider their opposition to nuclear power. The letter is an initiative of Australian academics Barry Brook and Corey Bradshaw.

The co-signatories “support the broad conclusions drawn in the article ‘Key role for nuclear energy in global biodiversity conservation’, published in Conservation Biology.” The open letter states: “Brook and Bradshaw argue that the full gamut of electricity-generation sources − including nuclear power − must be deployed to replace the burning of fossil fuels, if we are to have any chance of mitigating severe climate change.”

So, here’s my open letter in response to the open letter initiated by Brook and Bradshaw:

– – –

Dear conservation scientists, Continue reading

December 19, 2014 Posted by | 2 WORLD, AUSTRALIA, Reference, spinbuster | Leave a comment

USA pressure forces Auzstralia’s climate denialist PM to make one tiny concession on Climate Change, at the G20

Map-Abbott-climateG20: Australia makes token concession on climate change after US lobbying  , Guardian Australia political editor theguardian.com, Sunday 2 November 2014 

Government resists calls for climate change to be listed as a major agenda item, but agrees to include in final communique Australia has reluctantly conceded that climate change can be included in a single brief paragraph of the G20 leaders’ communique after heavy lobbying by the US and European nations.

The government had resisted any discussion of climate at the Brisbane meeting on the grounds that the G20 is primarily an economic forum, but other nations argued leaders’ agreements at meetings like the G20 are crucial to build momentum towards a successful international deal at the United Nations conference on climate change in Paris next year.

The final wording of the leaders’ statement after the meeting is still being finalised but it is believed to simply recommit to addressing climate change through UN processes.

The outcome – and Australia’s resistance – have been attacked by the leading climate economist Lord Nicholas Stern, who has written for Guardian Australia that the latest “synthesis” report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) should be “high on the agenda” for the G20 meeting.

“The G20 is the most effective forum for the discussion of the growth story of the future, the transition to the low-carbon economy. Yet the local politics of a country of less than 25 million is being allowed to prevent essential strategic discussions of an issue that is of fundamental importance to the prosperity and well-being of the world’s population of 7 billion people,” he writes.

Australia has agreed the G20 should discuss climate-related issues as part of its deliberations on energy efficiency, but this also appears to be wrapped up in a general commitment that countries consider taking action in the future on some of a long list of areas where energy efficiency improvements might be made……

In a special “message” about the G20 release on Sunday, Tony Abbott also did not mention climate change……..

US president Barack Obama’s international adviser, Caroline Atkinson, has insisted publicly that leaders around the table at the G20 will raise climate change. http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/nov/02/g20-australia-makes-token-concession-on-climate-change-after-us-lobbying

November 10, 2014 Posted by | AUSTRALIA, climate change, politics international | Leave a comment

Heat-related deaths from climate change: Australians particularly vulnerable

climate-AustCoal exports a killer for thousands’, says ANU academic Elizabeth Hanna  THE AUSTRALIAN NOVEMBER 04, 2014 TONY Abbott’s declaration that coal is good for humanity has been attacked by Australian ­National University academic ­Elizabeth Hanna, who warns thousands of people will be ­sentenced to death if Australia keeps exporting it.

Dr Hanna, whose research was included in the latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report, predicted Australia faced days hotter than 50C within 10 or 15 years under continuing global warming and this would dramatically increase the number of heat-related deaths.

If that happens, “we are at risk of mass-death events in Australia, similar to the death tolls due to ­extreme heat overseas’’, she said.

“In 2003, 70,000 people died in Europe and 55,000 died in Russia in 2010 due to extreme heat.”

Asked on Radio National about the Prime Minister’s support for coal, Dr Hanna said that Mr Abbott’s government was “captive to the vested interests” and eventually would be held to account. “Now if they continue to ­ignore this message they are sentencing thousands and thousands to their deaths,” she said.

Dr Hanna, the president of the Climate and Health Alliance, in a following interview with The Australian, stood by her comments and went further:…….http://m.theaustralian.com.au/national-affairs/climate/coal-exports-a-killer-for-thousands-says-anu-academic-elizabeth-hanna/story-e6frg6xf-1227111379081

November 6, 2014 Posted by | AUSTRALIA, climate change | Leave a comment

Black and white Australians join to document the health effects of Maralinga atomic bomb testing

  http://www.pozible.com/project/187985   The story of the project   At the ANFA (Australia
Nuclear Free Alliance) meeting in Oct 2014 Indigenous Elders called for documentation of the health effects from the Maralinga and other atomic bomb tests in the 1950’s and 1960’s.   See https://ausnukefreealliance.wordpress.com for the meeting statement.

First Nations people along with the rest of the population from the southern regions of Australia were subject to horrific fallout from atomic testing carried out in these remote areas.
Permission was never sort from the Aboriginal nations.
“Just remember that the fallout at Maralinga affected the whole lot of us. Black, white, brindle; we all breathe the same air, and we’re all being affected in various ways, even though that happened a long time ago. It’s still around.” Sue Coleman-Haseldine (Kokatha Mula – Ceduna)
From 1952 to 1963 atomic testing covered vast areas of South Australia including Maralinga and Emu Fields test sites.
In November 2014 there will be a 3 week road trip to archive the stories of the people from Arabuna, Walitina, Ceduna, and Yalata country to produce film, audio and digital documentaries. We will begin a data base of the families affected, the geographical distributions of fall out and detrimental health repercussions of these unconsented tests.

The project will meet with people and family members who remained in the vicinity of the testing who were exposed to the immediate effects of radiological poison; people who were transmigrated from their homelands under duress to missions including Yalata in the south west of the state and people who suffer intergenerational impacts first hand at the expense of the atomic tests.

Nuclear weapons are the most destructive, inhumane and indiscriminate weapons ever created. Both in the scale of the devastation they cause, and in their uniquely persistent, spreading, genetically damaging radioactive fallout, they are unlike any other weapons.

For more information on nuclear weapons, including an article on Yami Lester, one of the survivors of the nuclear tests in South Australia, see http://www.icanw.org/au/

Many Aboriginal people in South Australia still rely on bush foods – plants and animals sourced from land that still is contaminated. The possibility of bioaccumulation is very real. Certainly the stories of early death from cancer, thyroid disease and congenital deformities are continuing.

“I’ve lost a lot of my family members through early death – and a lot of it was through cancer, and I do blame the Maralinga fallout.”
Aunty Martha – Arabana (Lake Eyre) Contact us at:  uraniumthesilentkiller@gmail.com

November 6, 2014 Posted by | AUSTRALIA, health, indigenous issues | Leave a comment

In deference to its climate denialist P.M, Australia censors G20 protest about climate change

Abbott-fiddling-global-warmBrisbane G20: Airport vetoes #onmyagenda climate change billboard, Brisbane Times November 3, 2014  brisbanetimes.com.au senior reporter Brisbane Airport Corporation has vetoed a “political” billboard asking for climate change to be added to this month’s G20 conference.

The billboard – backed by nine national and international conservation groups – was planned for Brisbane International Airport.

A second billboard is being unveiled in Peel Street at South Brisbane on Monday.

The groups wanted world leaders and their delegates to see the billboard as they arrived in Brisbane. The #onmyagenda campaign encourages people to tweet G20 leaders asking them to include climate change as a stand-alone item on the G20 agenda.

Climate change issues have been on the agendas at eight previous eight G20 summits.

It is not on the agenda in Brisbane.

G20-censorship

The decision comes as the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change on Sunday released its most recent report on the impact of climate change.

The report found that the world must stop almost all greenhouse gas emissions through a phased elimination of fossil fuels by 2100 if we are to avoid the worst impacts of climate change.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has urged companies to disinvest from fossil fuel-based industries.

In broad terms, the UN IPCC report finds there are “multiple pathways” available to keep global warming below two degrees.

All of these pathways require “substantial” cuts to greenhouse gas emissions over the next few decades, and “near zero” emissions by the end of the century, the report’s authors concluded.

BAC told Fairfax Media the billboards were rejected last Wednesday because they were  deemed to be “political”.http://www.brisbanetimes.com.au/queensland/brisbane-g20/brisbane-g20-airport-vetoes-onmyagenda-climate-change-billboard-20141103-11fzdm.html#ixzz3I9Xt6bP9

November 4, 2014 Posted by | AUSTRALIA, civil liberties | Leave a comment

Australia sets up military style preparedness for G20 Summit

Commandos and Black Hawk helicopters stage operations in Brisbane CBD as G20 security ramps up http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-11-03/g20-security-ramps-up/5861514 By Francis Tapim G20 security preparations are ramping up in Brisbane, as commandos and Black Hawk helicopters flooded the Eagle Street Pier area in a counter-terrorism training operation last night.

Around 50 personnel dressed like commandos, armed with semi automatic rifles and wearing body armour staged the training exercise on Sunday.

Courier Mail photographer Marc Robertson stumbled on the operation, and said there were four helicopters “only a few feet from the buildings”.

G20-security-1`

“I counted about 50 blokes wearing paramilitary uniforms, combat pants, and wearing body armour carrying full automatic weapons,” he said.

“They are not wearing any insignia at all… there was a lot of action in amongst the buildings.

“There were guys with night vision goggles running around the boardwalk, it was obvious that it was a training exercise and it had been left until after midnight before any of this action took place.”

There was no official information about the operation, but Queensland police confirmed they had been assisting with traffic control for a G20 training exercise in the CBD.

Meanwhile, the RAAF said the public would notice increased activity in the skies over south-east Queensland in the lead-up to the summit.

It said fighter jets, Black Hawk helicopters and surveillance planes would increase patrols, and conduct training exercises. Commander of ADF support to the G20 Major General Stuart Smith said the training period would allow the military to sharpen their response skills.

November 4, 2014 Posted by | AUSTRALIA, civil liberties | Leave a comment

Patrick Moore, fossil fuel and nuclear mercenary, tours Australia, courtesy of front group Galileo Movement

Moore,Patrick-11Moore’s trip to Australia has been financed through the climate science denial organisation the Galileo Movement.

.Moore has been given favourable coverage in popular rural newspaper The Land and the Rupert Murdoch-owned The Australian.

Moore is almost always described as a co-founder of Greenpeace, despite Greenpeace itself contesting that he wasn’t a co-founder.

An archive of Moore’s CV shows his work for corporations and organisations in logging, pulp and paper and mining. He has also been an advocate for the nuclear energy industry.


Climate Science Denialist Patrick Moore Tours Australia After Comparing Students to the Taliban
http://www.desmogblog.com/2014/10/23/climate-science-denialist-patrick-moore-tours-australia-after-comparing-students-taliban#disqus_thread Canadian climate science denialist Patrick Moore is at the beginning of a tour around Australia speaking to audiences across the country.

But here’s a warning.

If you do find yourself in the audience and don’t want to be compared to the “Taliban” then don’t even think about walking out in protest.

Less than two weeks before flying to Australia, Moore spoke on the campus of Amherst Collegein Massachusetts.

When members of the college’s environmental group decided they had heard enough and walked, Moore said they had a “Taliban mindset”.

When he was later asked to apologise, a report in the Amherst College student newspaper says Moore instead chose to double-down on his remark.

“Fifty people walk out, and I say that’s a pretty Taliban thing to do,” Moore is reported to have said, characterizing the behavior of the young students to that of the fundamentalist regime that massacred thousands and committed brutal repression of women.

Who is Patrick Moore?

Moore has no scientific credibility on climate change and has never published a scientific paper on the issue.

Yet Moore claims there is “no scientific proof” that humans are causing global warming and that “throwing bones on the ground” would have a better predictive ability than most climate models.

His opinion on the science runs against all the major national science academies in the world and about 97 per cent of all the peer reviewed studies on climate change carried out since the early 1990s. Continue reading

October 25, 2014 Posted by | AUSTRALIA, climate change, spinbuster | Leave a comment

How America and Britain crushed the government of Australia

THE FORGOTTEN COUP Little Darwin, John Pilger 24 Oct 14 – How America and Britain crushed the government of Australia Across the political and media elite in Australia, a silence has descended on the memory of the great, reforming prime minister Gough Whitlam, who has died. His achievements are recognised, if grudgingly, his mistakes noted in false sorrow. But a critical reason for his extraordinary political demise will, they hope, be buried with him.
Australia briefly became an independent state during the Whitlam years, 1972-75. An American commentator wrote that no country had “reversed its posture in international affairs so totally without going through a domestic revolution”. Whitlam ended his nation’s colonial servility. He abolished Royal patronage, moved Australia towards the Non-Aligned Movement, supported “zones of peace” and opposed nuclear weapons testing.

Although not regarded as on the left of the Labor Party, Whitlam was a maverick social democrat of principle, pride and propriety. He believed that a foreign power should not control his country’s resources and dictate its economic and foreign policies. He proposed to “buy back the farm”. In drafting the first Aboriginal lands rights legislation, his government raised the ghost of the greatest land grab in human history, Britain’s colonisation of Australia, and the question of who owned the island-continent’s vast natural wealth. …………………….
US diplomatic cables published last year by WikiLeaks disclose the names of leading figures in both main parties, including a future prime minister and foreign minister, as Washington’s informants during the Whitlam years……….Whitlam demanded to know if and why the CIA was running a spy base at Pine Gap near Alice Springs, a giant vacuum cleaner which, as Edward Snowden revealed recently, allows the US to spy on everyone. “Try to screw us or bounce us,” the prime minister warned the US ambassador, “[and Pine Gap] will become a matter of contention”.

Victor Marchetti, the CIA officer who had helped set up Pine Gap, later told me, “This threat to close Pine Gap caused apoplexy in the White House… a kind of Chile [coup] was set in motion.”

Pine Gap’s top-secret messages were de-coded by a CIA contractor, TRW. One of the de-coders was Christopher Boyce, a young man troubled by the “deception and betrayal of an ally”. Boyce revealed that the CIA had infiltrated the Australian political and trade union elite and referred to the Governor-General of Australia, Sir John Kerr, as “our man Kerr”…………………..
The Americans and British worked together. In 1975, Whitlam discovered that Britain’s MI6 was operating against his government. “The Brits were actually decoding secret messages coming into my foreign affairs office,” he said later. One of his ministers, Clyde Cameron, told me, “We knew MI6 was bugging Cabinet meetings for the Americans.” In the 1980s, senior CIA officers revealed that the “Whitlam problem” had been discussed “with urgency” by the CIA’s director, William Colby, and the head of MI6, Sir Maurice Oldfield. A deputy director of the CIA said: “Kerr did what he was told to do.”…………………
On 11 November – the day Whitlam was to inform Parliament about the secret CIA presence in Australia – he was summoned by Kerr. Invoking archaic vice-regal “reserve powers”, Kerr sacked the democratically elected prime minister. The “Whitlam problem” was solved, and Australian politics never recovered, nor the nation its true independence.http://littledarwin.blogspot.com.au/

October 25, 2014 Posted by | AUSTRALIA, politics international, USA | Leave a comment

Lest we forget: what was done to Australia’s greatest Prime Minister, Gough Whitlam

Whitlam, the CIA and Nugan Hand http://nuganhand.wordpress.com/2011/01/23/whitlam-the-cia-and-nugan-hand/ November 11: Coup? What coup? [Green Left Weekly], November 21, 2010 By John Jiggens“………Lest we forget.

Former Australian prime ministers Robert Menzies, Howard Holt, John Gorton, Bob Hawke and John Howard all compliantly sent Australian troops to fight US wars. But in the early 1970s, Whitlam’s government had the courage to bring Australian soldiers home from the US war in Vietnam.

For this audacious action, Labor would never be forgiven by then-US president Richard Nixon, the CIA, Rupert Murdoch, the CIA, and corrupt conservative premiers Bob Askin (NSW) and Joe Bjelke-Petersen (Queensland) — who all hated Whitlam as though he were Che Guevara.

Whitlam’s election in 1972 began a short-lived era in which the stated aims of the new Labor government were to promote equality and involve the people in decision-making processes.

Within two weeks of Whitlam’s election, conscription was abolished and draft resisters released from jail. Voting rights were extended to all Australians over 18, and university fees abolished.

Whitlam’s youth constituency also gained community radio stations, and the Whitlam government intended to decriminalise marijuana. Aborigines were granted land rights in the Northern Territory.

Whitlam was less subservient than his Liberal predecessors to Washington’s foreign policy directions. He took a more critical line in foreign policy, condemning Nixon’s 1972 bombing offensive against North Vietnam and warned he might draw Indonesia and Japan into protests against the bombing.

The People’s Republic of China was recognised and the Whitlam government spoke up in the United Nations for Palestinian rights. The French were condemned for testing nuclear weapons in the South Pacific, and refugees fleeing the CIA-backed coup in Chile were welcomed.

Nixon and the CIA found such independence intolerable. After Whitlam was re-elected in 1974, and Jim Cairns became his deputy, Nixon ordered the CIA to review US policy towards Australia. Although the CIA’s response to Nixon has never been released, it seems it began a covert operation to destabilise the Whitlam government began then.

The puppet masters who led the coup were Ted Shackley and Marshal Green. Nixon appointed Green as US Ambassador to Australia in 1973. Nick-named “the coup-master”, Green had been involved in several countries where the CIA had masterminded coups, such as Indonesia (1965) and Cambodia (1970).

Green’s goals were to maintain US bases in Australia and to protect US economic interests.

Green let it be known that if the Labor government honoured one of its key election pledges to reclaiming ownership of oil refineries and mining industries, the US would respond. Green carefully cultivated the Fairfax, Murdoch and Packer dynasties that controlled the Australian media.

Ted Shackley, known as the “Blond Ghost”, joined the CIA in 1951. Over the next two decades, he emerged as the agency’s “dirty tricks” specialist, directing the CIA’s campaign against Cuba and Fidel Castro’s government in 1962.

In 1966 he became Chief of Station in Laos and directed the US secret war there — earning his other nickname, “the Butcher of Laos”.

In 1971, he became head of the CIA’s Western Division (covering North and South America) where he plotted the overthrow of Allende. In 1974, Shackley became head of the Eastern Division of the CIA, covering Asia and Australia.

Shackley’s speciality was financing black operations through the drug trade and he learned the dark art of running drug armies during the secret war in Laos. One of his foot soldiers in Laos was Michael Hand, co-founder of the Nugan Hand bank.

Michael Hand helped forge documents used by the media to discredit the Whirtlam government, while his partner Frank Nugan was the conduit for CIA money to the Liberal Party. Millions of dollars flowed to the conservative parties via Nugan Hand.

Shackley played a key role in the security crisis of November 1975, which revolved around the US military base at Pine Gap. Whitlam had threatened that if the US tried to “bounce” his government, he would look at the presence of US bases in Australia.

The lease for Pine Gap was due for renewal in December 1975. On 10 November 1975, the day before Whitlam was sacked, Shackley sent an extraordinary cable from the CIA to ASIO’s director general, threatening to remove ASIO from the British-US intelligence agreement because he considered Whitlam a security threat.

The cable was published by the Financial Review in 1977 and has been widely reprinted. It shows Shackley’s involvement in the security crisis.

Shackley was furious that Whitlam had accused the CIA of funding the opposition conservative parties and had claimed CIA money was being used to influence domestic Australian politics. In particular, Whitlam was asking questions about the close relationship between Richard Stallings, who ran the so-called joint facility at Pine Gap, and National Party leader Doug Anthony.

“The CIA has grave concerns as to where this type of public discussion may lead”, Shackley’s cable said.

In his 1977 speech calling for a royal commission into the activities of the CIA in Australia, Whitlam called Shackley’s cable “a clear example of the attempted deception of the Australian Government by the American intelligence community … The message was offensive in tone, deceitful in intent and sinister in its implications.”

For the Australian media, the message of Remembrance Day 2010 was clear: sleeping dogs must be allowed to lie. There could be nothing nobler to aspire to than the service of our imperial overlords, and to remind the Australian people that these imperial overlords had subverted a democratically elected government was well off message.

[John Jiggens has been involved in civil liberties and anti-corruption campaigning for many years. He is the author of a number of books, including the recently released The Killer Cop & the Murder of Donald Mackay, about the drug trade, Nugen Hand Bank and the overthrow of the Whitlam government.]

October 25, 2014 Posted by | AUSTRALIA, politics international | Leave a comment

Australian rare earths miner Lynas must make a plan for radioactive waste disposal, says IAEA

rare-earth-dysprosiumflag-MalaysiaIAEA reports no long-term plan for Lynas waste, Malaysian Insider  17 October 2014 The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) on Friday gave a passing safety grade to a controversial Malaysia rare earths plant, but raised concerns that there was no long-term plan for properly disposing of the plant’s potentially radioactive waste.

The rare earths processing plant in the state of Pahang has generated opposition from green groups who fear radioactive contamination and have accused authorities and Lynas of overriding public concern.

In a report, the IAEA said it saw little risk of contamination due to the low-level radiation involved, and that its investigators were “not able to identify any instances of non-compliance” with international standards. “Lynas needs to demonstrate that the disposal of solid waste can be carried out in a safe manner over the long-term,” the report said.

It recommended that Malaysian authorities require Lynas to come up with a plan.

“There is a lack of a plan for managing the waste from the decommissioning and dismantling of the plant at the end of its life,” it said……

However, it also appeared to underscore environmentalists’ concerns that Australian miner Lynas Corp has no long-term plan for the disposal of waste from the plant.- http://www.themalaysianinsider.com/malaysia/article/iaea-teams-says-lynas-plant-generates-low-level-radioactive-waste-bernama#sthash.JEFk1poD.dpuf

 

October 18, 2014 Posted by | AUSTRALIA, Malaysia, rare earths | 1 Comment

Australian government sets up a disastrous course for nuclear weapons proliferation

India-uranium1Australia–India nuclear treaty: a non-proliferation disaster, The Strategist, the Australian Strategic Policy Institute Blog 14Oct 2014  By  “…….Nuclear suppliers do have a responsibility, however, for ensuring their nuclear material isn’t used to build nuclear weapons, and must maintain strict mechanisms for that purpose. If countries can access nuclear supply without the attendant responsibilities, then support for longstanding non-proliferation regimes will be undermined, countries will see less value in treaties such as the NPT, and a key pillar of the nuclear arms control regime as a whole will be weakened.

The text of the proposed Australian export deal fails that basic test. In addition to a range of other flaws, for the first time in 40 years Australia won’t be able to guarantee how the nuclear material it supplies is being used. Specifically, the agreement allows India to reprocess uranium supplied by Australia to create plutonium, potentially at weapons grade, with no direct accounting by India to Australia for that material, and unusually, no provision for the return of the material in the event of it being misused. As former Director-General of ASNO, John Carlson, explains, Australia currently allows reprocessing only by two export partners, the EU and Japan, each with direct reporting requirements and specific permission being given by Australia as to how the reprocessed material is to be used.

Accordingly, the deal with India isn’t comparable to Australia’s other nuclear export agreements. Australia is privileging India by excluding key provisions normally included to ensure a recipient of nuclear material is accountable to the supplier. Australia’s other nuclear export partners might demand similar concessions, undermining the integrity of the non-proliferation regime as a whole.

Moreover, the concessions made by Australia are unnecessary. ………Not only does this agreement undermine long established non-proliferation regimes and Australia’s credibility as a nuclear supplier, it represents a missed opportunity to strengthen it. Given that what matters most to India is being treated on a par with China and the United States, India should be expected to ratify the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) after the US Senate does, just as China has already agreed to do……..

The agreement marks a significant departure from Australia’s longstanding practice. By excluding the normal provisions that ensure a nuclear recipient is directly accountable to the supplier, Australia is abrogating the principle that nuclear suppliers are accountable for how their exported nuclear material is used……..Crispin Rovere is a former PhD student at the Strategic and Defence Studies Centre, ANU and co-author of Non-strategic nuclear weapons: the next step in multilateral arms control. Image courtesy of Flickr user Indiawaterportal.orghttp://www.aspistrategist.org.au/australia-india-nuclear-treaty-a-non-proliferation-disaster/

October 15, 2014 Posted by | AUSTRALIA, politics international, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Australia’s Tony Abbott government out of step on climate change

Government drops ball on climate change http://www.theage.com.au/comment/the-age-editorial/government-drops-ball-on-climate-change-20141007-3hhgq.html 8 oct 14 Two weeks ago, when Prime Minister Tony Abbott spoke before the General Assembly of the United Nations, he named four dire problems facing the world: the dangers posed by the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), Russia’s destabilising influence in eastern Ukraine, the outbreak and spread of the Ebola virus in western Africa and the economic malaise that continues to afflict many countries.

But Mr Abbott did not mention climate change at all. That failure was conspicuous because just two days earlier, at the same podium, US President Barack Obama had outlined the same four threats to the world (”terrorism, instability, inequality and disease”) but added one more. Mr Obama told more than 120 leaders attending the UN Climate Summit that ”there’s one issue that will define the contours of this century more dramatically than any other, and that is the urgent and growing threat of a changing climate”. Mr Obama said the US had a duty to lead on emissions reduction strategies, and he urged other nations to do their part, saying no nation could afford to pretend climate change was not real.

Mr Abbott, though, did not even bother to attend the Climate Summit. He sent Foreign Minister Julie Bishop instead, and she chose to promote the government’s Direct Action strategy, under which businesses would be paid to cut their emissions. Sure, there are several other nations – India, for one – that obstinately shuck off any responsibility for initiating emissions-abatement strategies and which do so because they perceive their economies would be significantly disadvantaged. But Australia under the Abbott government has become an international joke on matters related to climate change. Only last year, for example, Mr Abbott suggested the UN’s climate chief, Christiana Figueres, was ”talking out of her hat” when she said bushfires in Australia were linked to climate change. Soon after, Environment Minister Greg Hunt sought to defend the PM in an interview with the BBC. During that interview, Mr Hunt said he had ”looked up what Wikipedia says”, and then sought to downplay the notion that climate change could influence the likelihood of bushfires.

Map-Abbott-climate

But as Fairfax Media reported this week, Mr Hunt was thoroughly briefed just weeks before the interview by officials of the Bureau of Meteorology who explained the effects of climate change on weather patterns. They told the minister that a pattern of recent episodes of extreme heat was ”consistent with the general pattern of warming”. Last week, five separate studies published by Australian universities all concluded that record temperatures in Australia in 2013 were almost certainly caused by man-made climate change.

The governments of the world’s biggest economies and biggest emitters – the United States and China – are focused on emissions reduction strategies. In Australia, while the Abbott government says it supports the science indicating man’s influence on climate change, there is a distinctly grudging aspect to its attitude, a deliberate effort to minimise the scale or urgency of the problem and a clear intention to focus instead on the economic impact of emissions abatement strategies. The government has scrapped the carbon tax and it wants to wind back the renewable energy target, which is intended to ensure that one-fifth of Australia’s energy supply in 2020 will come from renewable sources.

This is a highly educated nation, whose scientists have made valuable contributions to the growing body of knowledge on climate change, and it is a wealthy nation with great economic opportunity. But it is being governed by a party that refuses to acknowledge the vital role it must play at this point in history.

October 8, 2014 Posted by | AUSTRALIA, climate change | Leave a comment

Australia’s Prime Minister Abbott illiterate on both climate and Aboriginal health

Abbott-fiddling-global-warmflag-AustraliaAbbott Hasn’t Joined The Dots On Black Affairs And Climate Change, SaysActivist https://newmatilda.com/2014/09/30/abbott-hasnt-joined-dots-black-affairs-and-climate-change-says-activistThe gaping hole in Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s self-declared interest in Aboriginal aspirations is his ignorance on climate change. Amy McQuire reports.

Tony Abbott’s ambition to become the “Prime Minister for Aboriginal affairs” doesn’t align with his position on climate change, with First Nations communities the most vulnerable to the disastrous effects of global warming, according to a young Bundjalung environment warrior.

Abbott drew condemnation last week after he dodged a United Nations climate change summit attended by 120 world leaders, including US President Barack Obama. Abbott jetted into New York a day later to attend UN Security Council talks on the situation in Iraq and Syria, and Western responses to militant Sunni group the Islamic State.

In a speech to the UN General Assembly, Abbott fudged on the threat to the world posed by climate change, instead elevating the “murderous rage” of the Islamic State, the “Russian aggression” in Ukraine, the Ebola crisis in West Africa and the situation of the world’s economies above it.

It came in the same week President Obama labelled climate change a greater threat to the world than terror and pointed the finger at Abbott and other heads of state absent at the talks, pointedly noting “no-one gets a pass”.

Abbott also came under fire earlier this year for taking climate change off the agenda at key G20 talks in Brisbane in November, despite the issue being on the agenda of the past three G20 meetings, which bring together the heads of the world’s 20 leading economies.

While Abbott claims to be a champion of Aboriginal rights, 20-year-old Bundjalung climate change activist Amelia Telford says the Abbott government needs to understand the situation facing First Nations communities, many of whom will be most adversely impacted by the effects of climate change.

“Abbott hasn’t connected the dots,” Ms Telford told New Matilda.

“The government is taking us backwards compared with the rest of the world. We are living in a country where Indigenous people have barely contributed to what is causing climate change….

“(But) the most vulnerable communities within Australia – Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities – are going to be impacted more than any other community and we need our government to recognise that.

“We aren’t seeing that leadership and so there is an opportunity to stand up for ourselves and begin a movement lead by our people.”

Ms Telford was speaking ahead of a historic summit organised by the Australian Youth Climate Coalition, which will bring together 50 young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander youth from around the country to talk about climate change. Dubbed the ‘Seed summit’, it will kick off in Melbourne this weekend.

While Aboriginal youth have largely been voiceless in climate change talks and activism, Ms Telford says it is critical our young people are at the forefront. She says it’s been hard to raise awareness because of the dire social issues afflicting First Nations youth, and the influence of the fossil fuels industry within First Nations communities.

“We know that Indigenous people across Australia have been looking after our lands for tens of thousands of years and it gives us hope that we can do it again. But there are so many structural issues within our communities so it’s hard for young people to prioritise it.

“… There are more and more of us coming out and talking about climate change, sustainability and caring for country but there are so many things competing for our attention.

“It can be a tricky issue because of the fossil fuel industry and the massive impact and stress of that on our land and culture for decades.”

It becomes hard to advocate for solutions to climate change if you are forced to rely on the mining industry, Ms Telford says.

But she says rather than just targeting government, the Seed summit also hopes to put a declaration to the four leading banks asking them not to invest in coal ports on the Great Barrier Reef.

“We need to get climate change on the agenda of our politicians, but it also involves engaging with business leaders, rather than specifically government,” Ms Telford says.

“… We are calling on the CEOs of the four big Australian banks which are considering whether to fund coal ports on the reef. In this time in politics, where we are not seeing leadership from governments, we have to find ways to counteract that and figure out how we can make a difference.”

Ms Telford says she was surprised at the number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander youth who wanted to get involved in climate change advocacy. The summit received 30 applications within a week of opening registrations.

“The young people are the ones with the most at stake,” Ms Telford says.

“Indigenous youth have to be at that forefront and the great thing is we are backed by thousands of young people all across the country.

“Knowing we are a part of that movement is pretty great.”

October 6, 2014 Posted by | AUSTRALIA, indigenous issues | Leave a comment

Australia’s 2013 was brought on by global warming – researchers conclude

heat_waveAustralia’s 2013 heatwave due to climate change, researchers conclude http://www.theage.com.au/environment/australias-2013-heatwave-due-to-climate-change-researchers-conclude-20140930-10o1sj.html September 30, 2014   National political reporter Record temperatures in Australia in 2013 were almost certainly caused by man-made climate change, five separate studies have found.

Researchers from the University of Melbourne, the Australian National University and the University of NSW have concluded it is “virtually impossible” that the heatwaves that hit Australia in 2013 would have occurred were it not for carbon emissions caused by human activity.

The reports have been published in the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society as part of a global project examining the impact of climate change on extreme weather.

The results, which are the strongest statement yet on the impact of climate change on Australia’s weather patterns, are a wake-up call for the Abbott government a week after it was criticised for failing to take beefed-up emissions reduction targets to a special summit of world leaders in New York.

Five teams of researchers examined the heat that baked Australia for much of 2013, leading to the hottest day, month, spring and summer since records began.

They concluded that the record temperatures for the whole of that year would almost certainly not have occurred without man-made climate change and that the chance of heatwaves occurring was more than 2000 times greater because of human-caused climate change.

Professor David Karoly, one of the authors, said the results mark the first time that researchers had concluded that a specific weather event couldn’t or most likely couldn’t have occurred in Australia without the increase in greenhouse gas emissions caused by human activity.

“The Prime Minister last year said that studies hadn’t been done and the CSIRO cautioned against attributing individual extreme weather events to climate change,” Professor Karoly said.

“Now the studies have been done and the results are very clear.”

The teams of researchers used a variety of computer-based simulations that modelled 20th and early 21st century temperatures.

One set of models factored in natural variations in climate and human influences on climate, while another set showed what temperatures would have looked like without man-made climate change.

Out of 12,500 simulated years, only one result in the latter group produced temperatures higher than those seen in Australia in 2005 – the hottest year before 2013 – and none as hot as 2013.

“There was an increase in the frequency of heatwaves in 2013 and the intensity of heatwaves due to climate change,” Professor Karoly said “It was three times the frequency and two times the intensity.”

October 1, 2014 Posted by | AUSTRALIA, climate change | Leave a comment

The death spiral of fossil fuel electricity: but the utilities are fighting back

“Distributed generation (DG) could be the end of utilities as we know them today,” U.S. investment research firm Morningstar said earlier this year. “Utilities’ centralized network monopolies break down when customers become self-sufficient competitors.”

Romero, the Spanish renewable energy expert, said: “Utility companies know that the future is in renewables, but they’re not going to go down without putting up a fight.”


fossil-fuel-fightback-1From Sydney To Spain, Old Energy Is Doing Everything It Can To Hold Back The Rise Of Solar
, Business Insider Australia TRACY RUCINSKIBYRON KAYE MADRID/SYDNEY (REUTERS) 29 SEPT 14
 

4  – A YEAR AFTER SPAIN, THE SUNNIEST COUNTRY IN EUROPE, ISSUED NOTICE OF A LAW FORCING SOLAR ENERGY-EQUIPPED HOMES AND OFFICES TO PAY A PUNITIVE TAX, ARCHITECT INAKI ALONSO RE-INSTALLED A 250 WATT SOLAR PANEL ON A BEAM OVER HIS MADRID ROOF TERRACE.

“The government wanted people to be afraid to generate their own energy, but they haven’t dared to actually pass the law,” Alonso said as he tightened screws on the panel on a sunny summer day this month. He had removed solar panels from the roof last year.

“We’re tired of being afraid,” he said.

Halfway across the globe, in the “sunshine state” of Queensland, Australia, electrical engineer David Smyth says the war waged by some governments and utilities against “distributed energy”, the term used for power generated by solar panels, is already lost.

“The utilities are in a death spiral,” he told Reuters by telephone while driving between a pub where he helped set up 120 solar panels to cut its $53,000 annual power bill and a galvanizing plant which was also adding solar panels to reduce costs.

In Australia, he said, solar panels have shifted from being a heavily subsidized indulgence for environmentally-conscious households to a pragmatic option for businesses wanting certainty about what their running costs will be next year.

“Not many people are doing it because of emissions or the environment,” Smyth said. “It’s about the cost.” Continue reading

September 29, 2014 Posted by | 2 WORLD, AUSTRALIA, renewable | Leave a comment

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