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Tuesday, 19 September

23:08

Energy World Rocked as China Cuts Coal Imports, Aims for Fossil Fuel Car Ban "IndyWatch Feed Enviro.au"

robertscribbler

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 Chinas new emissions standards. As a result

View original post 806 more words


22:53

Coal country backs renewable energy "IndyWatch Feed Enviro.au"

A new ReachTEL poll, commissioned by The Australia Institutes 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


22:49

Murdoch media gets it wrong on renewable energy and Saudi Arabia "IndyWatch Feed Enviro.au"

The Australians 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


17:02

An Empire of Chaos: The Real Reason the US is in Afghanistan "IndyWatch Feed Enviro.au"

Donald Trump is sending more troops to Afghanistan, continuing the USA's longest war. CEO Michael Silver, of the American Elements corporation, wrote a short op-ed in the Wall Street Journal, urging for the extraction of the country's mineral resources. Afghanistan remains unstable. Many questions must be asked. The one on many minds is "Why is the USA in Afghanistan?" Terrorism? Minerals? Or Something Else? The USA has been occupying Afghanistan since 2001. Why? Both supporters and opponents of US Afghan policy give murky answers. Supporters of US efforts say they are in the country to fight terrorism and help the country rebuild and move toward democracy. Opponents of the occupation say the USA is seeking to control its rare minerals such as neodymium, indium, gallium, and lanthanum which are essential in making computer chips.

15:23

Coal mining devastates villages and cultural heritage in Australias Hunter Valley "IndyWatch Feed Enviro.au"

In Australias Hunter Valley the coal mining industry is devastating local villages and precious Aboriginal heritage, and three people who have been campaigning against mine expansion in the area face possible seven-year jail sentences under New South Wales new anti-protest legislation.

The valley is a stunningly beautiful area that is one of Australias main wine-producing regions, with a viticultural history dating back to the early 1800s, but the local town of Mudgee now has three coal mines on its doorstep Wilpinjong, Moolarben, and Ulan and one more mine is planned at nearby Bylong.

The local landscape is now dominated by mine pits and mining infrastructure. The ecosystem has been irreparably damaged, local wildlife have lost vital habitat, and the owners of Wilpinjong have run roughshod over local peoples lives and livelihoods.

...

13:21

UFO books by Australian authors "IndyWatch Feed Enviro.au"

I was asked recently for a listing of UFO books by Australian authors. So, here it is. If any blog readers know of others, I would appreciate an email to keithbasterfield@yahoo.com.au in order that I may amend this list. Images are courtesy of Amazon Books, unless otherwise credited.

1965. "Flying Saucers Over Australia." James Holledge.



1967. "Flying Saucers Where Do They Come From?" Richard Tambling.



1969. "UFOs over the Southern Hemisphere." Michael Hervey.



1976. "UFOs: The American Scene." Michael Hervey.
1978. "UFOs: A Scientific Enigma." David Seargent.



1981. "UFOs: The Image Hypothesis." Keith Basterfield.

...

13:04

The Largest Glaciers in the Rocky Mountains are Melting Faster "IndyWatch Feed Enviro.au"

Research on top of the Dinwoody Glacier

SCIENCE The Rockies largest glaciers are melting with little fanfare

From an Article by Benjamin Storrow, E & E News, September 13, 2017

WIND RIVER RANGE, Wyo. Here at the roof of the Continental Divide, one of the Rocky Mountains largest glaciers is in retreat.

A new world is emerging in the wake of the receding ice. In a vast, glacially carved basin, where towering spires of granite dominate the skyline, a small colony of stunted Engelmann spruce has taken up residence in a pile of rocky debris, some 500 feet above the tree line. Bees flit among the yellow mountain asters dotting the boulder field at the glaciers base. Grass grows along a stream where there was, until recently, only snow and ice.

Its a different place today, Darran Wells, an outdoor education professor at Central Wyoming College, observed from a research camp near the base of the Dinwoody Glacier on a recent evening. A regular visitor to the glacier over the last two decades, Wells offered a succinct take on its evolution over his nightly meal, a dehydrated serving of shepards potato stew with beef.

Every year, more grass, less snow, he said.

The largest concentration of glaciers in the American Rocky Mountains are melting, unseen, in this remote corner of Wyoming. More than 100 glaciers cover about 10,000 acres in the Wind River Range, according to a recent study by researchers at Portland State University. No American mountain range outside Alaska and Washington is covered in more ice.

The Wind River glaciers remain some of the least understood ice sheets in North America. Researchers dont have a firm grasp on the amount of water locked away in the alpine ice, and estimates of how much they contribute to local streams vary widely.

Answering those questions requires penetrating a rugged wilderness nearly the size of Rhode Island and climbing to elevations between 11,000 feet and 13,800 feet, where the glaciers hug the crest of the Continental Divide.

Today, a growing number of scientists are pushing into the backcountry to understand these icy reservoirs. Their concern: The Wind River glaciers are retreating just when Wyoming needs them most.

If you havent had proximity to these glaciers,....

10:16

Move To The Rear Of The Power Station, Drink From The Renewable Kool-Aid "IndyWatch Feed Enviro.au"

In the debate over keeping the Liddle Power Station open, the numbers just dont add up. But probably not the numbers youre thinking. Geoff Russell explains.

According to Guy Rundle, writing last week on Crikey.com, we could build a socially distributed [clean]energy system (whatever that is), in a decade.

The Germans are the prototypical renewable energy zealots and they figure theyll manage about 80 per cent of their electricity from renewables by 2050. Which is 50 years after they passed their Renewable Energy Sources Act back in 2000.

Perhaps Angela Merkel could dispatch some renewable energy gurus to sit at Guys feet and learn. But perhaps renewable energy engineers are intrinsically non-dispatchable and will just have to wait for a favourable wind before visiting.

Having read Guys article, I went back to check his references, numbers, evidence. But apparently, this too is non-dispatchable, so Ill need to wait until the sun comes out from behind its cloud and illuminates Guys reasoning.

Shop-Sparkke-Change-the-Date-740-x-200

Did anybody hear Alan Finkel on the ABC Science Show recently? Among a panel of pretty gung-ho renewable advocates, Finkel stood out by robustly urging caution and concern for the finer details and massive complexity of our energy system. His metaphor was that changing the global energy system was like turning not just the biggest supertanker youve ever seen, but like turning a tanker 1,000 times bigger than anything youve ever seen.

So lets look at turning not the whole system, but just one little coal plant; the Liddell power station.

Liddell is a 2,000 megawatt (MW) coal fired power station. So it will deliver 2,000MW whenever you want. This is what dispatchable means; whenever you want. So you can get 2,000MW on windless evenings when solar and wind are producing nothing. You can get 2,000MW in the chilly pre-dawn of any morning when the roasters of coffee beans are preparing for the morning rush.

Before making grand claims about turning the entire Australian energy supertanker in a decade, Guy could first explain how to replace Liddell in 5 years?

Australias Nyngan solar farm is currently our largest, at 102MW. Is that 5 percent the size of Liddell? Would building 20 do the job?

...

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Monday, 18 September

23:47

Govt faces fresh calls for sugar tax "IndyWatch Feed Enviro.au"

The federal government is facing fresh calls to introduce a sugar tax. Photo Orin Zebest flickr.com/photos/orinrobertjohn

The federal government is facing fresh calls to introduce a sugar tax. Photo Orin Zebest flickr.com/photos/orinrobertjohn

SYDNEY  [AAP]

The federal government is facing fresh calls to introduce a sugar tax as part of a plan drawn up by a coalition of health and community groups which want urgent action to tackle Australias obesity problem.

The eight-point plan includes a 20 per cent tax on sugary drinks, restrictions on TV junk food ads, the establishment of a national obesity taskforce, and mandatory health star ratings for food packaging by mid 2019.

The plan has been drawn up by a group of 34 leading health and community groups led by the Obesity Policy Coalition and includes the Cancer Council, Heart Foundation, several universities and Nutrition Australia.

Obesity Policy Coalition executive manager Jane Martin said while 63 per cent of Australian adults and 27 per cent of children were either overweight or obese, there is still no national strategy addressing the issue.

It just doesnt make sense, she said on Tuesday.

Without action, the costs of obesity and poor diet to society will only continue to spiral upwards.

The policies we have set out to tackle obesity therefore aim to not only reduce morbidity and mortality, but also improve wellbeing, bring vital benefits to the economy and set Australians up for a healthier future.

The OPC estimates that the annual cost of overweight and obesity in Australia between 2011 and 2012 was about $8.6 billion in direct and indirect costs including GP services, hospital care, absenteeism and government subsidies.

Ms Martin said kids were being bombarded with ads for junk food and high-sugar drinks that are cheaper than water.

Many so called healthy foods were also being laden with sugar and saturated fat.

Making a healthy choice has never been more difficult, she said.

Professor of epidemiology and equity in public health at Deakin University, Anna Peeters, said the government could no longer afford to do not...

23:38

Q&A: panellists spar over coal as energy debate dominates "IndyWatch Feed Enviro.au"

Doctor says respiratory and cardiovascular implications of coal should be top of Australia's energy debate and warns Adani mine threatens health of millions The health implications of coal-fired power should be a main concern in Australia's debate over energy generation, doctors have argued. Speaking on the ABC's Q&A program, the chair of Doctors for the Environment New South Wales, Dr John Van Der Kallen, asked panellists why health was not a primary consideration in the discussion over [...]

21:40

Nearly 1,000 US Troops in Syria Are Currently Under Attack by Russians "IndyWatch Feed Enviro.au"

(ANTIMEDIA Op-ed)  According to the Guardian, an estimated 900 U.S. troops are embedded with Syrian opposition forces that are currently within strike range of the Russian military. Over the weekend, the U.S. military claimed Russian jets had struck Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) positions in Deir ez-Zor east of the Euphrates River. The attack allegedly wounded six of these SDF fighters, but no American personnel were harmed.

The attack came not long after these confident SDF fighters gave the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) a red line not to cross the Euphrates River. According to Reuters, the SAA had already crossed it, anyway. Now that we know Russia is continuing to provide the SAA with air power as it advances throughout this oil-rich region, it is clear these increasing developments are capable of worsening conflict between the fighting powers.

According to Newsweek, the Russian Defense Ministry already warned its American counterparts about the operations it intended to undertake.

To avoid unnecessary escalation, the command of the Russian troops in Syria revealed the boundaries of the military operation in Deir ez-Zor to the American partners through the existing communication channel, the Russian Defense Ministry said in a statement on Sunday.

Further, as quoted by Russian-state owned outlet RT, Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Major-General Igor Konashenkov said:

Within the framework of this operation, the fighters, armored vehicles, and objects of terrorists are being destroyed on both western and eastern banks of the Euphrates.

At the same time, the Russian Air Force makes pinpoint strikes only on reconnaissance targets confirmed by several channels in IS-controlled areas.

Konashenkov added:

Over the past few days, on the eastern bank of the Euphrates, Russian control and reconnaissance facilities have not identified a single combat of Islamic State terrorists with armed representatives of any third force. Therefore, only representatives of the international coalition can a...

18:42

The Key Question at the U.N.: What Does North Korea Want? "IndyWatch Feed Enviro.au"

The answer will determine whether its even possible to push the country off the nuclear path at this point

In this undated picture released Saturday by North Koreas state-controlled news agency, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un inspects the launch of the strategic ballistic rocket Hwasong-12 at an undisclosed location.
In this undated picture released Saturday by North Koreas state-controlled news agency, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un inspects the launch of the strategic ballistic rocket Hwasong-12 at an undisclosed location. PHOTO: KCNA/AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE/GETTY IMAGES

As President Donald Trump and other world leaders gather at the United Nations this week, a lot of important questions hang in the air, but none more important than this one: What does North Korea want?

That is, what is North Koreas real goal in its relentless, reckless pursuit of nuclear weapons as well as missiles that can carry them as far as the United States? The answer will determine whether its even possible to push the country off....

16:52

Trend new motor sales hit record "IndyWatch Feed Enviro.au"

Car sales power on

The so-called "canary in the coalmine" that was falling new motor sales has turned out to be another rubbish indicator.

The canaries have long since carked it, but the trend result for new motor vehicle sales was 100,809 in August 2017, which was the highest ever.


Selfish Urban Vanity

Sports utility vehicles continue to drive the record results, although in reality today's small SUVs, such as the one I drive, is probably more akin to a passenger vehicle rather than anything more rugged. 


Alas, production levels domestically are destined continue their precipitous decline as the industry departs Australian shores. 


Finally, the state level data shows that Melbourne's burgeoning economy continues to power new car sales along.

New South Wales also saw nearly 398,000 units shifted over the past year, for yet another annual record. 

...

16:10

Why is the USA in Afghanistan? An Answer To The Big Question "IndyWatch Feed Enviro.au"

563231231Donald Trump is sending more troops to Afghanistan, continuing the USAs longest war. CEO Michael Silver, of the American Elements corporation, wrote a short op-ed in the Wall Street Journal, urging for the extraction of the countrys mineral resources. Afghanistan remains unstable. Many questions must be asked. The one on many minds is Why is the USA in Afghanistan?

Terrorism? Minerals? Or Something Else?

The USA has been occupying Afghanistan since 2001. Why? Both supporters and opponents of US Afghan policy give murky answers. Supporters of US efforts say they are in the country to fight terrorism and help the country rebuild and move toward democracy. Opponents of the occupation say the USA is seeking to control its rare minerals such as neodymium, indium, gallium, and lanthanum which are essential in making computer chips.

These answers are insufficient. As for terrorism, since 2001, the presence and strength of terrorist groups in Afghanistan has vastly increased. Al-Queda, ISIS, various warlords, Jundallah, and many terrorist groups, most of which had minimal presence under the Taliban government, are now all across the country. Even the Taliban itself, the government the USA toppled in the 2001 invasion, has not vanished, and still controls a large portion of the country. If the USA is in Afghanistan to fight terrorism, its efforts have not only completely failed, and but had the opposite of their intended affect.

So, is it all about the minerals? Is the USA seeking to get control of these vital rare earth elements which are key in making modern computer chips? Well, perhaps this is a factor for seeking to control the country, but its worth noting that in the entire 16 years of the occupation, the USA and its allied Afghan government have never moved forward with any plan for mineral extraction. Michael Silver, the CEO of American Elements wrote an op-ed for the Wall Street Journal on August 30th, essentially begging the US government to go ahead and help Afghans exploit their mineral riches.

If the occupation of the country were motivated purely out of desire to plunder the rare earth minerals, wouldnt it have been done by now? 16 years is a long time to put off something, if indeed, it is the entire basis of the military operations. It is also unlikely that a C...

14:20

Surfer bitten by shark in Ponce Inlet, Florida "IndyWatch Feed Enviro.au"

A shark bit a man surfing in Volusia County on Saturday. Volusia County Beach Safety officials said a shark bit a 28-year-old man Saturday afternoon. Advertisement The Melbourne man was surfing in 8-foot deep water near the jetty in Ponce Inlet when he was bitten on his left foot, officials said. The man was taken to Halifax Hospital with several lacerations to the top and bottom of his foot. Officials did not release the name of the man injured.

08:34

NEGLIGENCE AND/OR DEFECTIVE ADMISTRATION "IndyWatch Feed Enviro.au"

Debt amount: 
$9500
Date debt issued: 
Monday, 11 September 2017
Period debt occurred: 
May 2010 to September 2011
Has your case been referred to a collection agency?: 
No
Appealing Debt?: 
Yes in process
Tell us about your debt and how has this affected you? e.g. anxiety levels, financial and accommodation stress: 

My case is to prove my innocence against a perceived debt/recovery that HAS now been found 7 years later due to an INEFFICIENT SOCIAL SECURITY PAYMENT SYSTEM used by Centrelink
I see this as NEGLIGENCE AND/OR DEFECTIVE ADMINISTRATION on Centrelinks behalf.
If the system was EFFICIENT then the problem SHOULD HAVE been detected and dealt with, not 7 years later.

Watch out Centrelink, I'm coming for you, and you will have no where to hide. I will re-educate you in the principals of The AUSTRALIAN Social security System - when in the 2016 THE COALITION POLICY - 'Better Management of the Social security System' - you state that you will look after the most Vulnerable, well I'm one of those most vulnerable....and I'm not scared, and I'm not gonna go away.

06:18

A mathematician warns "IndyWatch Feed Enviro.au"

Coalitions pro-coal policy likely a vote loser; optional voting in plebiscite helps Yes, The Conversation, Adrian Beaumont  Honorary Associate, School of Mathematics and Statistics, University of MelbourneSeptember 16, 2017  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 weeks 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 Coalitions pro-business reputation. [lots of figures given here]

As a result of the Coalitions pro-coal policy, some Abbott supporters could return, possibly boosting the Coalitions 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 NSWs 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...

05:18

Corruption between resources, energy and government is real "IndyWatch Feed Enviro.au"

Contributed by Joe Montero

There is an urgent need for a cleanup in the relationship between the energy industry, government and the bureaucracy. Mounting evidence points towards an improper association that is feeding  corruption, as the industry offers inducements to open the way the benefit of the major shareholders.

To an extent, it is already clear that there exists a network of payments mainly going into the Coalition parties. Payments that often  arrive by  circuit, designed to prevent disclosure under Australias existing and inadequate disclosure laws and there is good reason to believe that donations to political parties and other types of payments are significant enough to ensure that policy is effectively written in the boardrooms and then rubber stamped in parliament by willing politicians.

Nothing shows this more clearly than Australias energy policy and the containment of the debate over where to go from here. In the face of overwhelming scientific evidence and the experience of changing weather patterns, it remains that government keeps on refusing to act decisively to reduce carbon emissions.

One suggestion that is often made  is that there is an ideological block, keeping the politicians locked into the religion of free market. After all, we have constantly been reminded that only the forces of demand and supply, unhindered by government interference, will provide the answers.

The truth is that they dont believe this any more than anyone else does. The best proof is that they have put into place a truckload of measures that bring government into the centre of regulation and control, not for the purpose of ensuring the needs of society are met, when these do not coincide with the corporations bottom line, but to assist them to expand their activities and guarantee a certain level of profitability. Their opposition is not to government intervention. Its just to certain kinds on intervention.

From the corporate viewpoint, paying for service makes good business sense, when the opportunity exists.

A good reason to suspect why the industry is currently enjoying so much support is that is has been paying for the service.

Two controversies have begun to untangle the web more than anything else and they are the Adani project in Queensland and events around fracking industry.

How is this help being given? By establishing generous funds to help with new proje...

04:42

YES appears in sky after Vote NO complaint rejected "IndyWatch Feed Enviro.au"

Photo Dario Burgos/ Facebook

Photo Dario Burgos/ Facebook

CANBERRA [AAP]

The electoral watchdog has received complaints about marriage survey no case skywriting over Sydney on the weekend not being properly authorised.

But soon after it announced it would allow the practice a Vote Yes response appeared in the sky.

A campaigner against same-sex marriage commissioned a pilot to write Vote No.

The skywriting, which was not organised by the key no case group Coalition for Marriage, attracted much discussion social media, and the website from which it was crowdfunded was inundated with comments.

Photo Jenn Lucs/Facebook

Photo Jenn Lucs/Facebook

The Australian Electoral Commission has received a number of complaints regarding the skywriting.

But an AEC spokesman told AAP on Monday the safeguards laws passed by parliament did not apply to this type of communication.

It is only material that is capable of containing authorisation details that is regulated by the Act, the spokesman said.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, who is encouraging a yes vote, told reporters people were entitled to express their views.

If you want people to respect your point of view youve got to be prepared to respect theirs, Mr Turnbull said.

The Coalition for Marriage updated its website over the weekend to comply with the need for authorisation under the safeguards laws, but wont face any penalty.

As the legislation only came into operation late last we...

04:27

Canada and Mexico want ISDS in NAFTA, against their own national interests "IndyWatch Feed Enviro.au"

September 18, 2017: Ambassadors from Canada and Mexico have told Politico that their governments want to keep  Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) in the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA),  despite the fact that most NAFTA ISDS cases have been taken by US companies against their governments. In contrast, US negotiators are reportedly responding to strong US community opposition and may want to make ISDS optional in a revised NAFTA.

ISDS allows foreign investors to sue governments in an international tribunal if they can argue that a change in law at a local, state or national level has harmed their investment.

Canada wants to use as a model the ISDS chapter in the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) between Canada and the European Union, which attempts to make the tribunal system more independent. The US Trump administration position is not yet public.  But US negotiators are reportedly considering an opt-in clause for each country. This is being opposed by US corporate interests that strongly support ISDS.

Many community groups in all three countries remain strongly opposed to the inclusion of ISDS in the NAFTA. Even if the tribunal system is changed, the issue of already powerful foreign investors being able to sue governments remains. ISDS should be scrapped not sweetened.

03:04

03:02

To Malcolm Turnbulls government, climate change is a joke "IndyWatch Feed Enviro.au"

Coalition MPs giggle, cackle, smirk and laugh in Parliament over climate change, Independent Australia , Simon Black 16 September 2017 Many of our current crop of conservative politicians laugh like naughty children whenever climate change is brought up. This cant be how the world ends 

NERO NEVER FIDDLED while Rome burned.

It is a popular myth, but its 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 Australias climate scientists.

Whish-Wilson told the floor and later posted on social media, that it was the angriest I have ever b...

03:00

Death of the former Soviet office who averted World War 3 "IndyWatch Feed Enviro.au"

I was just doing my job: Soviet officer who averted nuclear war dies at age 77 https://www.rt.com/news/403625-nuclear-soviet-officer-died/  17 Sep, 2017 A Soviet officer who prevented a nuclear crisis between the US and the USSR and possible World War III in the 1980s has quietly passed away. He was 77. In 2010 RT spoke to Stanislav Petrov, who never considered himself a hero. We look at the life of the man who saved the world.

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.

On September 7, Schumacher, who kept in touch with Petrov in the intervening years, phoned him to wish him a happy birthday, but instead learned from Petrovs son, Dmitry, that the retired officer had died on May 19 in his home in a small town near Moscow.

On September 26, 1983, Stanislav Petrov was on duty in charge of an early warning radar system in a bunker near Moscow, when just past midnight he saw the radar screen showing a single missile inbound from the United States and headed toward the Soviet Union.

When I first saw the alert message, I got up from my chair. All my subordinates were confused, so I started shouting orders at them to avoid panic. I knew my decision would have a lot of consequences, Petrov recalled of that fateful night in an interview with RT in 2010.

The siren went off for a second time. Giant blood-red letters appeared on our main screen, saying START. It said that four more missiles had been launched, he said. From the moment the warheads had taken off, there was only half an hour for the Kremlin to decid...

02:57

US ambassador to UN, Nikki Haley, favours the military option for North Korea "IndyWatch Feed Enviro.au"

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 Koreas 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 Haleys 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 t...

02:53

Success of an international Treaty the ozone hole is healing "IndyWatch Feed Enviro.au"

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 September 15, 2017 This weekend marks the 30th birthday of the Montreal Protocol, often dubbed the worlds 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.

...

02:49

New classification of climate risks brings in new categories catastrophic and unknown "IndyWatch Feed Enviro.au"

New climate risk classification created to account for potential existential threats https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2017-09/uocncr091417.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.

These categories describe two low-probability but statistically significant scenarios that could play out by centurys end, in a new study by Veerabhadran Ramanathan, a distinguished professor of climate and atmospheric sciences at Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California San Diego, and his former Scripps graduate student Yangyang Xu, now an assistant professor at Texas A&M University.

The risk assessment stems from the objective stated in the 2015 Paris Agreement regarding climate change that society keep average global temperatures well below a 2C (3.6F) increase from what they were before the Industrial Revolution.

Even if that objective is met, a global temperature increase of 1.5C (2.7F) is still categorized as dangerous, meaning it could create substantial damage to human and natural systems. A temperature increase greater than 3C (5.4F) could lead to what the...

02:22

Anti Adani coal project- action is seriously hotting up in Queensland "IndyWatch Feed Enviro.au"

Anti-Adani protesters promise week-long action against Queensland mine https://www.brisbanetimes.com.au/national/queensland/qld-adani-protesters-promise-week-long-action-20170916-p4yvy9.html 16 September 2017 

By Sonia Kohlbacher Anti-Adani protesters are preparing for a week-long demonstration against the Indian mining giant in an attempt to stop initial works going ahead on its Carmichael coal mine.

Tycoon Gautam Adani last month announced the company would break ground on the $16.5 billion central Queensland mine in October.

Demonstrators from the Frontline Action on Coal and Reef Defenders groups were undergoing training on Saturday and Sunday ahead of a planned week-long protest kicking off at Yasso Point in Bowen on Sunday night.

Whitsunday tourism operator and farmer Paul Jukes will be among the protesters.

He said governments were prioritising the international mining behemoth over thousands of north Queensland business owners who relied on the Great Barrier Reef.

Deloitte Access Economics report released in June put the value of the Great Barrier Reef at $56 billion, more than twice that of t...

02:19

Time for a new approach on the North Korean nuclear crisis? "IndyWatch Feed Enviro.au"

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.

Then again, perhaps the window of opportunity for military action was never open, argues Lyle Goldstein, an associate professor in the Strategic Research Department at the U.S. Naval War College in Newport, Rhode Island. This is because the South Korean capital, Seoul was always so vulnerable to North Korean conventional artillery attacks, which could cause mass casualties.

Analysts say North Korea looked at the fate of other authoritarian regimes, particularly Libya under Moammar Gadhafi and Iraq under Saddam Hussein, and concluded that their lack of nuclear weapons left them vulnerable to being toppled by the U.S. and its allies.

Pyongyang now believes correctly or not that, by acquiring the ability to carry out a nuclear strike against the U.S., it has taken a crucial step toward assuring its own survival.

You could credit the Kim regime with taking regime change off the table, says the U.S. Naval War Colleges Goldstein.

Anot...

02:17

Renowned author Tim Winton on how Malcolm Turnbull betrayed our ocean s "IndyWatch Feed Enviro.au"

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 seas 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 warriors 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 Abbotts reign was as brief as it was fruitless. It was a relief to see him replaced in 2015 by a man whod 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. Turnbulls period in office has basically been a hostage drama. The bargain he made with powerbrokers rendered him captive to the partys most illiberal wing, and if his performance on climate, energy and marriage equality arent evidence enough, last months 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 dont 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. Thats 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.

...

Sunday, 17 September

19:15

No excuses: Russia informed Pentagon about area of military op in Deir ez-Zor in advance "IndyWatch Feed Enviro.au"

The Russian Defense Ministry has denied Pentagon allegations that it bombed US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces near Deir ez-Zor. The Russian military said that its US partners were informed about the area of the operation beforehand. "To avoid unnecessary escalation, the command of the Russian troops in Syria revealed the boundaries of the military operation in Deir ez-Zor to the American partners through the existing communication channel," the Russian Defense Ministry said in a statement on Sunday. "Within the framework of this operation, the fighters, armored vehicles, and objects of terrorists are being destroyed on both western and eastern banks of the Euphrates. At the same time, the Russian Air Force makes pinpoint strikes only on reconnaissance targets confirmed by several channels in IS-controlled areas," Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Major-General Igor Konashenkov said. "Over the past few days, on the eastern bank of the Euphrates, Russian control and reconnaissance facilities have not identified a single combat of Islamic State terrorists with armed representatives of any 'third force.' Therefore, only representatives of the international coalition can answer the question as to how 'opposition members' or 'military advisers of the international coalition' managed to get to the IS-held areas in the eastern part of Deir ez-Zor without striking a blow."

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