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IndyWatch Au Environment News Feed was generated at Australian News IndyWatch.

Friday, 17 November

20:55

Solar Powered Trains makeasmartcity "IndyWatch Feed Enviro.au"

1) Sustainability problem: energy 2) Indian Railways are installing solar panels on 250 local trains to reduce fuel costs and lower emissions. The energy will among other things be used to power lights and fans on the trains. The technology will help advance Indias renewable energy program, especially because the trains mainly will run in []

via Solar Powered Trains makeasmartcity


10:14

The Weekend Quiz November 18-19, 2017 "IndyWatch Feed Enviro.au"

Welcome to The Weekend Quiz. The quiz tests whether you have been paying attention or not to the blogs I post. See how you go with the following questions. Your results are only known to you and no records are retained.

1. Larger fiscal deficits as a percentage of GDP typically mean that there are less real resources available for other productive uses.



2. For a nation running a current account deficit, national income adjustments will ensure government fiscal balance is in deficit if the private domestic sector seeks to increase its saving overall as a percentage of GDP.



3. If the central bank pays a positive interest rate on overnight reserves then it no longer would have to conduct open market operations to ensure its policy rate is sustained (ignore any reserve requirements).


...

06:05

Remaining EU Member will have to pay 15% More upon BREXIT "IndyWatch Feed Enviro.au"

QUESTION: Mr. Armstrong; All the news here in Britain is always how bad it will be if we leave the extortion ring in Brussels. You have mentioned that we are the biggest market for German cars. What will Brexit do to the EU?

Thanks

GD

ANSWER: Once the British exit from the EU extortion ring as you call it, the remaining nations will have to pay more than an additional 10 billion euros to keep Brussels floating in jobs and exorbitant pension. Besides the German auto-industry being clipped for political reasons as the EU punishes Britain to act as a deterrent to prevent others from leaving, Germanys proportion of making up the shortfall from BREXIT will be almost 4 billion. With BREXIT, everyone will have to contribute an additional 15% so they can do nothing but make it more miserable for Europeans.

European Parliament President Antonio Tajani calls for a doubling of the budget of the European Union. We need twice as much money as today, so 280 billion euros instead of 140 billion euros per year, said Tajani the spark newspapers.  Since the EU cannot issue debt, that means the doubling of the EU budget should not be financed by additional transfers from the Member States, but by the introduction of taxes.

This will require new EU own resources, such as a financial transaction tax on stock exchanges, Tajani said. The President of the European Parliament justified his initiative with the costs of dealing with the refugee crisis and the fight against terrorism, as well as the increased need for investment. Europeans must invest more in energy and digitalization of the economy in the future, the Italian said. Only in this way could the EU compete with the US, China, India or Russia in global competition.

The EU Parliament is currently negotiating with the finance ministers of the EU governments for the Community budget for the year 2018. The EU parliament demands funds of 146.7 billion euros for the coming year 2.3 billion euros more than the finance ministers want to make available.

Almost 80 percent of the EU budget is cov...

05:22

Lucas Heights is the obvious place for a National Radioactive Waste Management Facility "IndyWatch Feed Enviro.au"

Gary See Fight To Stop Nuclear Waste Dump In Flinders Ranges SA, November 15  

ANSTO at Lucas Heights are supposedly short of space to keep radioactive waste, but they are literally next door to a landfill site that is near to being closed. Anyone know if theyve ever considered building a National Radioactive Waste Management Facility  there?
It would seem a logical place for it.  https://www.facebook.com/groups/344452605899556/

...

04:05

First humans on Mars will have nuclear-powered electricity (and not much else) "IndyWatch Feed Enviro.au"

NASA reveals nuclear engine that could provide power to the first humans on Mars

  •  NASA plans to test the Kilopower engines on Earth this year
  • Will use a uranium rector the size of a toilet roll to create heat
  • ...

03:59

How the nuclear industry controls what the public do and dont hear about nuclear radiation "IndyWatch Feed Enviro.au"

Paul Waldon November 15    Fight To Stop Nuclear Waste Dump In Flinders Ranges SA

Denial aint just a river in Egypt (Mark Twain). The egregious runaway nuclear train fueled by 75 years of radioactive waste, reducing a green environment to a worthless parcel of real estate, with government bodies citing fabricated factoids of a industry we know to be plagued with a odious history of death to all life and the environment, and when they cant control such a industry they try to control the Media.

New York Academy of Science reported that the World Health Organization is not allowed to comment on issues of human health impacted by radioactive events unless granted permission from the NRC.

The Japanese government has re...

03:49

Among 56 countries studied Australia is close to worst on climate change action "IndyWatch Feed Enviro.au"

Ringing alarm bells: Australia near the bottom of the heap for climate action http://www.smh.com.au/environment/climate-change/ringing-alarm-bells-australia-near-the-bottom-of-the-heap-for-climate-action-20171115-gzm063.html Peter Hannam

Australia ranks as one of the worlds worst performing nations when it comes to climate action, with only South Korea, Iran and Saudi Arabia faring worse among 56 countries scrutinised by 300 international analysts.

The annual Climate Change Performance Index, led by Germanwatch and other groups, listed Australia as very low-performing for its greenhouse gas emissions, energy use and climate policy. It scored a low rating for renewable energy.

The results were released as talks in Bonn, Germany, aimed at shoring up support for the 2015 Paris climate accord enter their final few days.

As in the past three years, Australia has foundered near the bottom of the major tables, prompting the commentators to call on the Turnbull government to sufficiently implement credible policies to meet its Paris targets....

03:45

New research shows that climate change impacts are already locked in, but worst can be avoided "IndyWatch Feed Enviro.au"

Climate Change Impacts Already Locked In But The Worst Can Still Be Avoided  http://www.enn.com/pollution/article/53180    From: University of Exeter 
November 16,  
Some impacts of global warming such as sea level rise and coastal flooding are already locked in and unavoidable, according to a major research project.

Global temperatures have already risen by around 1C, and a further 0.5C warming is expected. The full impacts of current warming have not yet been seen, since ice sheets and oceans take many decades to fully react to higher temperatures.

But more severe impacts can still be avoided if global greenhouse gas emissions are reduced.

More than 50 scientists from 16 institutions in 13 countries have worked on the HELIX project (High-End Climate Impacts and Extremes), which has just finished after four years. The project examined the possible effects of warming of 1.5C, 2C, 4C and 6C compared to pre-industrial levels.

Read more at University of Exeter


...

03:42

The Adani Carmichael Coal Mine: Introduction To A Special Five-Part Series "IndyWatch Feed Enviro.au"

By Kristen LyonsMorgan Brigg & John Quiggin , New Matilda, on November 16, 2017  newmatilda.com/2017/11/16/adani-carmichael-coal-mine-introduction-special-five-part-series/

Per head of population, Australia is already one of the worlds worst carbon polluters.

Despite this, our two major political parties Labor and the Liberal-Nationals are pushing ahead
with the approval of a coal mine in Queensland that will exponentially increase our carbon emissions.

The Carmichael mine, proposed by Indian mining giant Adani, will be the largest of its kind in the southern hemisphere and annually produce  more carbon emissions than a small country.

In this special five-part New Matilda series,  researchers from the University of Queensland,
along with the Wangan and Jagalingou Traditional Owners Council,  and Australian Lawyers for Human Rights  look at the who, what, when, where and why of the proposed Adani Carmichael coal mine,
its impact on Traditional Owners,  the terrible economics that surround it, and our inexplicable march towards climate oblivion.

This first introductory piece the first in our series
is written by University of Queensland researchers Kristen Lyons,...

03:35

Nations pledge climate action, but scientists fear that it is not enough "IndyWatch Feed Enviro.au"

As Climate Negotiators Debate Nations Pledges, Scientists Worry Its Not Enough https://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2017/11/16/564384950/as-climate-negotiators-debate-nations-pledges-scientists-worry-it-s-not-enough

Governments are wrapping up a meeting in Bonn, Germany, to figure out how to implement a global climate agreement.

The conference has focused on the pledges to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, which nations made two years ago in Paris. But even as negotiators debate the details, scientists are warning that carbon dioxide levels are again on the rise, and the efforts in Paris may not be enough.

President Trump has vowed that the U.S. will pull out of the Paris deal. The final withdrawal will take a few years, and the government sent a small delegation to Bonn. It made one presentation on the value of clean coal that was disrupted by protesters.

U.S. cities and states sent their own delegations as well. California Gov. Jerry Brown attended to talk about his states commitment to climate change.

In the United States, he explained, we have a federal system, and states have real power, as do cities. And when cities and states combine together and then join with powerful corporations, thats how stuff gets done.

At that point protesters shouted over him, telling him to keep fossil fuels in the ground. But Browns message that states and cities have agreed to meet the Paris targets for reducing emi...

03:33

Australian government helps business lobbies, while punishing charities "IndyWatch Feed Enviro.au"

Business lobbies get free rein, while govt delivers charities a legal body-slam https://www.crikey.com.au/2017/11/15/business-lobbies-get-free-rein-while-govt-delivers-charities-a-legal-body-slam/  Michael West, 15 Nov 17 

The government is crunching charities for foreign donations and tax breaks. Why, then, are the Minerals Council and other corporate lobby groups allowed tax breaks on their foreign funding?

SLAPP: a strategic lawsuit against public participation (SLAPP) is a lawsuit that is intended to censor, intimidate, and silence critics by burdening them with the cost of a legal defence until they abandon their criticism or opposition. Such lawsuits have been made illegal in many jurisdictions on the grounds that they impede freedom of speech. 

Wiktionary

Its all happening to charities: Australian Tax Office (ATO) audits, investigations by the charity regulator and the Australian Electoral Commission (AEC), and new laws slated for early next month to stymie tax deductibility, contain advocacy and ban or restrict foreign donations. Many in the not-for-profit sector are scared to speak out for fear of reprisal.

Left-wing activist group GetUp went before the Senate inquiry into political donations last week and pulled out a report detailing the vast amount of money that is spent buying influence in Australian politics.

I should declare an interest here: yours truly did the resea...

03:29

17 November More REneweconomy news "IndyWatch Feed Enviro.au"

  • Australia fails again in climate rankings, but states get honourable mention
    Australias unambitious, uninspired climate policyagain puts it near bottom of global rankings. States get a mention for taking independent action.

03:28

At Bonn Climate Summit 19 nations pledge to phase out coal "IndyWatch Feed Enviro.au"

Political watershed as 19 countries pledge to phase out coal
New alliance launched at Bonn climate talks hopes to signal the end of the dirtiest fossil fuel that kills 800,000 people a year with air pollution,
Guardian, Damian Carrington 16 Nov 17  A new alliance of 19 nations committed to quickly phasing out coal has been launched at the UN climate summit in Bonn, Germany. It was greeted as a political watershed, signalling the end of the dirtiest fossil fuel that currently provides 40% of global electricity.

New pledges were made on Thursday by Mexico, New Zealand, Denmark and Angola for the Powering Past Coal Alliance, which...

03:19

Huge opinion survey, over 13 countries, finds overwhelming support for solar power in UK "IndyWatch Feed Enviro.au"

Solar Power Portal 15th Nov 2017, The majority of UK respondents to the largest survey of attitudes towards green energy ever conducted would like to see more solar power used compared to other generation technologies. The rsted Green Energy Barometer, which surveyed more than 26,000 people across 13 countries, asked just over 2,000 people in the UK where they would like to see more of their energy come from.

The results showed that the most common answer wassolar, with over three quarters (77%) preferring the technology to its closest competitors, tidal power (71%) and offshore wind (70%). Natural gas
and nuclear, the two technologies being pursued most vigorously by the UK government, languished in bottom place with 34% and 31% respectively, while the survey did not even ask UK respondents for their views on coal, which is to be phased out by 2025.

UK (2,020 respondents) International average (26,401 respondents)
Solar power 77% 80%
Tidal power 71% 58%
Offshore wind 70% 67%
Onshore wind 61% 64%
Sustainably sourced biomass 53% 51%
Natural gas 34% 37%
Nuclear 31% 26%

https://www.solarpowerportal.co.uk/news/new_evidence_of_overwhelming_public_support_for_so...

03:11

15,000 Scientists From 184 Countries Warn Humanity of Environmental Catastrophe "IndyWatch Feed Enviro.au"

More than 15,000 scientists have signed a chilling article titled World Scientists Warning to Humanity: A Second Notice, urging global leaders to save the planet from environmental catastrophe.

via 15,000 Scientists From 184 Countries Warn Humanity of Environmental Catastrophe GarryRogers Nature Conservation


01:42

The unions are in the Turnbull governments sights "IndyWatch Feed Enviro.au"

Contributed by Joe Montero

Anyone following developments can not help but be aware that a central plank of the governments agenda, is to eliminate trade unions, and if this is not possible, to render them totally ineffective.

Ever since the Howard government and the Hawke days before that,  step by step, a noose has been tightened around the Australian union movements neck.  It has fought back, but eventually compromised at each point. It now finds itself weaker, less organised,  its officials no longer have the right to visit members at the workplace and what they can be concerned with has narrowed down over time.

Arguably, there is much more than coincidence between this and the significant fall in the wages share of national income, the generally deteriorating conditions of employment and the rise of the casualised economy. Weaker unions is not the only cause. The weaker state of the economy is important. But weaker unions have ensured that the position of the worker has deteriorated more than it would otherwise have been the case.

Within the union movement has been an expectation of further blows. It is no secret that the government and employers behind it are out to do everything they can, to move as close as possible to creating an industrial relations landscape with no unions.

A worsening economy and the growing militancy of big business, shared by the Coalition, have come together to result in a series of try ons,  which have been aimed at imposing major wage cuts through further casualisation of their workforces.  Last years battle at Carlton and United in Melbourne last year marked a turning point. Although the unions won this battle, the war has continued, with other large employers taking their turn at doing the same.

This is more than separate and unlinked individual workplace battles. They make up parts of a national strategy to force a breech that can be spread across the whole of the Australian workforce, to crush it into obedience and the acceptance of less reward for work.

Despite being in a weaker position now, the unions still remain the barrier to achieving this goal. This is the reason why they are being targeted.

Employment Minister Michaelia Cash has been particularly zealous and biting at the bit for her chance at unions jugular. She is also in urgent need of a distraction from the fallout of the GetUp and Australian Workers Union fiasco. It has the potential of knocking her out of her job.

She stood with Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull at a press conference a week ago, where a commitment was made to take o...

00:56

Commbank is ditching coal "IndyWatch Feed Enviro.au"

Contributed by Ugly

A year of campaigning and more than 100,000 people signing a petition, Commbank has finally decided to phase out investment in coal and this move the bank closer to turning away from fossil  fossil fuels altogether

Protests outside branches of the bank and bad publicity had an effect.

It came to a head at the banks annual general meeting in Sydney, where the Chair, Catherine Livingstone announced the new policy. No more coal projects will be funded.

The bank has made a commitment remove its existing $6 billion investment in this carbon emission producing industry.

This is a major change for the better.

Anti-coal campaigners know that it is not enough to leave it at this and that the pressure will have to be kept on Commbank to do what it says it is going to do.

At the same time, this success will be used as leverage to induce other banks into going down the same road.

The banks are aware of how unpopular they are, and their advertising campaigns are geared around each of them telling the public that they are different to the others. They know they are vulnerable to losing customers. This is the reason why Commbank recently dropped its ATM charges and was followed by the other banks in a very short time.

The unpopularity of the banks has provided campaigners with an unusual opportunity to be effective and win significant concessions. With these under the belt, greater pressure can be put on politicians to make them act decisively, to stop support for fossil fuels and promote renewable alternatives.

Australia needs this to move towards a modern, sustainable economy.

There is still along way to go to make this a reality and it wont be easy to get there. But every win takes us another step down this road.

The post Commbank is ditching coal appeared first on The Pen.

00:10

Wanna be startin' somethin' "IndyWatch Feed Enviro.au"

Northern Powerhouse

We all know that employment growth since the peak of the resources construction boom in 2012 has been all about Sydney and Melbourne.

Until now!

Queensland is suddenly off to the races, with trend employment growth blazing +4.62 per cent higher across the year to October, by far its strongest annual result since before the financial crisis. 


Of course, it's harder for the most populous states to record such a large percentage increase, but even so, this has suddenly become too big a move to ignore. 

Some questions we've not had to ponder too often in Queensland since 2007 include: where, why, & what are the new jobs? And will it continue?

Where? Pretty much all around the state, as I've looked at here previously (Queensland is the one mainland state where employment is not excessively capital city focused). 

Queensland is also coming from a relatively low base, after a rough trot, and much of the hiring has been part time in nature. 

The likely drivers of the upturn might range from a surge of Chinese visitors and the dollar-driven tourism industry, the commodity price rebound creating jobs upstate, a slew of public sector and NDIS hiring, and perhaps some late spillover or multiplier from the now-fading residential construction bonanza.

Agriculture exports have been strong, so that's another possible bright spot, plus some increased aggregate demand creating services jobs as interstate migration has picked up.

Just from driving around various parts of SEQ, there are evidently an awful lot of roads being built right now, while there are several significant infrastructure projects underway or about to commence in Brisbane.

SEEK...& ye may find

We'll get more detailed number...

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Thursday, 16 November

22:57

NSW assisted dying bill: fight goes on "IndyWatch Feed Enviro.au"

A voluntary euthanasia bill has been voted down by one vote after a marathon late night sitting in the NSW upper house, but the fight isnt over yet.

The parliamentary vote came at the end of an emotional day on Thursday as MPs made pleas for and against the draft bill, which was eventually defeated by 20 votes to 19.

Nationals MP Trevor Khan introduced the private members bill, which would have provided patients 25 years or older, whose deaths are imminent and are in severe pain, a choice to end their lives.

(Well) never give up the fight, an exhausted and disappointed Mr Khan told AAP on Friday.

Youve just got to pick yourself up and look at how you move forward otherwise youre not doing the right thing by the people youre trying to help, he said.

We knew it would be close it was a matter of where some of the undecided fell and they didnt all fall the way we wanted them to.

He said most criticisms of the bill during the debate were on a philosophical basis as opposed to the structure of the bill.

We will look at the bill to see if there are any improvements, Mr Khan said, noting he would watch what happens in Victoria where MPs are also in the middle of a marathon debate over the voluntary assisted dying laws.

Mr Khan said the Parliamentary Working Group on Assisted Dying would not be folding up.

Weve put so much effort in now, so many people whove relied upon it that well continue.

He said it was a time to regroup before re-introducing another draft bill before the next state election in March 2019.(We will) go back and see if theres anything different we could have done.

However, even if the proposed legislation had passed the upper house, it likely would have failed in the lower house where coalition Premier Gladys Berejiklian and Labor Opposition Leader Luke Foley have previously stated their opposition to any such legislation.

The post NSW assisted dying bill: fight goes on appeared first on Echonetdaily.

16:36

Bega Valley. COMMENT: Greed, stupidity and mismanagement destroying Sapphire Coasts gems "IndyWatch Feed Enviro.au"

Tathra local Greg Otton spoke out at the recent council meeting against the fluoridation of the shires water supplies, but also what he sees is the destruction of the regions pristine natural gifts. An excerpt of an opinion piece he has submitted is below. Gregs views  do not necessarily represent those of Fairfax, but we put this forward as a topic for readers to discuss. 

There are so many precious gems that the Sapphire Coast provides us with. Especially the life giving pristine water supplies of the Kiah, Tantawangalo, Brogo Dam catchments and the Bega Aquifer. The many natural gifts of this area are all being destroyed, mismanaged or are under threat by the bureaucratic decisions usually in the name of the dollar, progress, growth or just pure greedy stupidity.

Let me list the gems I have personally seen decimated by humanitys greed, lust and plain stupidity. I lost over 50% of my oyster leases to siltation yet my voice went unheard, I was ridiculed by successive councillors of this shire.

I have worked for over 35 years in the once lucrative abalone industry. Worth at one time $35million to the Far South Coast. A line in the sand on Cape Howe divides a 22 tonne Victorian quota from a 2 tonne NSW quota, same water, same seasons, just different management.

The tuna industry was decimated in a few years by greed and mismanagement.

The timber industrys once thriving saw mills all but gone. The chip mill is in its death throws after destroying the south-east forests and silting up major rivers and coastal estuaries.

The famous Pambula river mouth surf break is all but gone due to development of its catchment.

The millions of dollars spent by the dairy industry on noxious weeds and pests within the shire.

The decimation of migrating birds from the other side of the world by foxes and cats along our local beaches.

How much do we pay for Bega Cheese with irrigation draining our rivers, nutrient runoff and toxic chemicals used by farming?

The 15km of gravel shire roads that are graded each day using dubious practices with limited siltation runoff protections.

The wanton development of coastal villages. Do they end in the next town or the next shire?

What is the exact purpose for the shark buoy in Merimbula bay? Does the government think this will really help the shark menace that is rapidly escalating along our coast?

More attacks will come just as I predicted and warned the swimmer that was taken in Tathra. Do not call her death the result of a three metre Bronze Whaler. It was an eight to nine metre Great White that killed....

13:06

Massachusetts Senate Passes Bill To Codify Obama-Era Sex Assault Policies "IndyWatch Feed Enviro.au"

The Massachusetts State Senate has passed a bill that would essentially codify the harmful campus sexual assault policies written into federal regulations under President Barack Obama. California Gov. Jerry Brown recently vetoed a similar bill.

The Massachusetts bill isnt much different than policies the Obama administration enacted in 2011 and have since been rescinded by U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos. These guidelines enshrine unfairness for students accused of sexual assault. While colleges were told what they must provide for accusers, they werent told what they needed to provide for the accused, other than a fair proceeding. This led to remarkably unfair playing fields for both parties.

The Massachusetts bill simply restates most of the Obama-era guidance, that both sides need equal access to an advocate or lawyer and presenting evidence. The problem is that under the Obama rules there were no repercussions for schools that only allowed accusers these resources, unless the accused student could afford to sue the school.

The bill also provides some things for accusers that it does not for the accused, such as a confidential resource officer who will tell the accuser about counseling and accommodations. These accusations can be extremely stressful, especially for an innocent person. Many accused students have needed counseling (and have attempted or committed suicide).

Prosecution Based on Anonymous Complaints

The part of the bill that hurts due process the most, however, is allowing accusers to report anonymously. Unless a school only provides accommodations for the accuser (which may be the case), it should not be able to prosecute an accused student without him or her even knowing what the accusation is or who is making it.

Regarding Browns veto, he wrote he was not prepared to codify additional requirements in reaction to a shifting federal landscape, when we havent yet ascertained the full impact of what we recently enacted. He was referring to Californias adoption of a yes means yes definition of consent for sexual encounters, which basically turns sex into an impossible question-and-answer session. That, coupled with the campus culture the Obama administrations rules fostered, made it more likely that a false accusation would occur and an accused student would be railroaded.

If Massachusetts enacts this bill, it would be disastrous for students in the state. Considering...

11:04

An interview with Writer Des Pensable About his Divinity Seeds Trilogy "IndyWatch Feed Enviro.au"

 

copyright Des Pensable 2017

Since everyone cant attend the book release heres what you might expect if you were there.

Interviewer: Des Pensable has just published the third and final book of his Divinity Seeds trilogy, Edge of Chaos. Were going to find out a little about him and his story.

Interviewer: Is Des Pensable your real name?

Des Pensable: No. I learnt many years ago that people judge others by the origin of their name. I wanted people to judge me only on the quality of what I write. So I chose a pen name.

The word pensable comes from the French meaning thoughtful. The word dispensable generally is taken to mean something that can be discarded. So Des Pensable is a play on thoughts and concepts that can be used or discarded if you dont like them.

Interviewer: Can you tell us a little about yourself.

Des Pensable: I was born in Sydney Australia and have lived there for most of my life. I was married and have two children and four grandchildren. I went to a public high school; I am a scientist. Ive worked in a range of science jobs in private enterprise and government; Ive travelled extensively around the world and spent considerable time camping and walking in wilderness areas.

Interviewer: You write on a wide range of topics. What is your favourite?

Des Pensable: I have written a lot on the issues surrounding Global Warming lately as I see it as the largest and most serious threat that our civilisation has ever faced. I have researched the data thoroughly and believe the science is correct. Im convinced that if we continue as normal our civilisation will collapse and the survivors will live in a very inhospitable world for centuries to come.

I was pretty fired up on the subject a couple of years ago so I went to Canada and did one of Al Gores Climate Change leadership courses. It was a lot of fun and I met some great people. Since then Ive concentrated on writing short stories, poems and satire about fracking, coal mining, climate change activism, protests and of course global warming politics.

However, my favorite project has been my epic fantasy trilogy Divinity Seeds which has been an epic journey in itself. Its about half a million words long and was written over several years. The third part of the story has just been published.

Interviewer: What inspired you to write an epic fantasy?

Des Pe...

07:46

Commonwealth Bank commits to exiting coal "IndyWatch Feed Enviro.au"

Australian finance giant Commonwealth Bank has indicated it will bring its coal funding down to zero, in line with the global transition to a low-carbon economy.

04:30

Adanis Australia Story: A Crucial Ideological Battle Over the Politics of Coal and Jobs "IndyWatch Feed Enviro.au"

While support for the controversial mine exists in rural areas where the narrative of jobs finds resonance it is opposed in metropolitan centres where a more definitive acceptance of the threats from climate change defines attitudes.

...

Wednesday, 15 November

23:31

Eligibility doubts about two Nationals MPs "IndyWatch Feed Enviro.au"

High Court of Australia. (Wikipedia)

High Court of Australia. (Wikipedia)

Two more Turnbull government MPs could be tripped up by the High Court after it ruled a Liberal candidate was ineligible to take the Senate seat of former cabinet minister Fiona Nash.

Ms Nash was disqualified by the High Court on October 27 because she held dual citizenship, in breach of section 44 of the constitution.

Hollie Hughes was the next candidate on the NSW coalition Senate ticket at the 2016 election behind the then-Nationals deputy, and was due to take Ms Nashs seat following a court-ordered special count.

However, the court on Wednesday ruled Ms Hughes could not take up the seat because she was also disqualified.

Ms Hughes was appointed a part-time member of the Administrative Appeals Tribunal on July 1 this year, which the government admitted to the court was an office of profit under the Crown.

The ruling has heightened concerns inside the government that assistant minister David Russell who is facing his own High Court battle and Nationals colleague Barry OSullivan might be disqualified for similar reasons.

Attorney-General George Brandis wouldnt be drawn into speculation about the pairs future until the courts reasoning in the Hughes case is made public.

Let us see, let us see what the High Court says, he told Sky News on Thursday.

In the Hughes case, the government argued Ms Hughes did not hold the AAT position at any time between her nomination for election and the declaration of the election result in 2016.

However the court heard the fact she held the AAT position between September 4-5, when the Senate resolved to refer the Nash case to the court, and October 27, should render her ineligible.

The NSW Liberal Party is awaiting further direction from the court, but commended Ms Hughes for seeking clarification of her status.

It is expected if there is another special count the seat could go to Liberal candidate, Major General Jim Molan, a key ally of Tony Abbott.

Labor senator Penny Wong said it was a humiliating defeat for the government and showed it could not be trusted.

The post E...

22:52

The Adani Carmichael Coal Mine: Introduction To A Special Five-Part Series "IndyWatch Feed Enviro.au"

Per head of population, Australia is already one of the worlds worst carbon polluters. Despite this, our two major political parties Labor and the Liberal-Nationals are pushing ahead with the approval of a coal mine in Queensland that will exponentially increase our carbon emissions. The Carmichael mine, proposed by Indian mining giant Adani, will be the largest of its kind in the southern hemisphere and annually produce more carbon emissions than a small country. In this special five-part New Matilda series, researchers from the University of Queensland, along with the Wangan and Jagalingou Traditional Owners Council, and Australian Lawyers for Human Rights look at the who, what, when, where and why of the proposed Adani Carmichael coal mine, its impact on Traditional Owners, the terrible economics that surround it, and our inexplicable march towards climate oblivion. This first introductory piece the first in our series is written by University of Queensland researchers Kristen Lyons, Morgan Brigg and John Quiggin.

Shop-Sparkke_Banner_300x250The controversial proposed Adani Carmichael coalmine commands diverse media headlines, but the untold story is about Indigenous rights and, in particular, the resistance of Wangan and Jagalingou people to the expropriation of their lands.

Theres been much said about the controversial and politically divisive Adani Carmichael mine the environmental costs of this ticking carbon bomb, Adanis international track record of human rights abuses and environmental harm, lies about employment figures, the failed economics of the project, and the revolving door between Adani and government staffers and lobbyists.

Kicked off in a big way by the Newman Government, its a major headache for the Palaszczuk government whos determined backing of the project has surprised and angered many of its supporters.

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk. (IMAGE: NREL, Flickr)Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk. (IMAGE: NREL, Flickr)

Labors decisive announcement, at the end of week one of the election campaign, to veto Adanis requested $1 billion loan from the Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility (NAIF), demonstrates the volatility of this mi...

22:35

Dream on! Mattis claims UN let US intervene in Syria, but never did "IndyWatch Feed Enviro.au"

US Defense Secretary James Mattis has recently claimed that Washington received a mandate to operate in Syria from no less than the UN itself. The problem is the UN never did any such thing as it does not even have any legal capacity to do so. The UN cannot sanction a foreign invasion of Syria or any other country because it is absolutely impossible under international law, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Gennady Gatilov said, commenting on the issue. "The UN cannot do such things," he told the Russian media. He went on to say that "Syria is a sovereign independent state," adding that "only the Syrian government can invite armed forces of the third countries onto its territory" while "the UN has no such right," as reported by Rossiyskaya Gazeta daily. The diplomat also said that "the fight against terrorism does not give any states or coalitions a free hand to establish their presence on Syrian territory." International law indeed envisages no way for the UN or any other international body to sanction an invasion of one state's armed forces on the territory of another state. In fact, such actions are regarded as aggression under international law and are strictly prohibited. UN General Assembly Resolution 3314 on the definition of aggression explicitly states that an "invasion or attack by the armed forces of a State of the territory of another State" as well as "any military occupation, however temporary" or "bombardment by the armed forces of a State against the territory of another State" is what particularly constitutes aggression. However, all these facts did not prevent Mattis from claiming that it was the UN that sanctified the presence of the US troops on the Syrian territory without the consent of the Syrian government. "You know, the UN said that ... basically we can go after ISIS. And we're there to take them out," the US defense secretary said, referring to the US actions in Syria as he answered a journalist's question on Monday.

22:21

Climate Clock Ticking: Its Time BHP Stopped Funding Deniers, Says Bill McKibben "IndyWatch Feed Enviro.au"

As the Great Australian prepares for its AGM this morning, legendary climate activist and founder and senior adviser for 350.org Bill McKibben pens a passionate plea for the mining giant to get out of the abusive relationship its in with another not-so-great-Australian.

If BHP had a personal Facebook page, its relationship status would be its complicated.

Shop-Sparkke_Banner_300x250BHP and the Minerals Council of Australia (MCA) have been in a long-term relationship for some time, but its pretty evident to anyone watching that BHP is now on the verge of a break up. And the MCA, bitter and frustrated with BHPs growing distance and more than a passing interest in climate change action is sulking.

Years ago when they first got together, BHP and the MCA wanted the same things a glorious, shared future based on their mutual love of fossil fuels, especially coal. But the world has changed and now BHP and the MCA want different things.

The MCA is desperate to hang on to BHP, its biggest funder. Feeling threatened and jealous, the MCA is lashing out in the only way it knows how, taking out its frustration on another target the environmental groups that it worries would woo BHP away to supporting climate change action.

BHP, embarrassed by the stance of its erstwhile partner, feels held back by the relationship. Its only a matter of time before they split.

Australian-miners

The timing is right for BHP to break from the Minerals Council pro-coal agenda and it should move swiftly. The company has already distanced itself from the lobby groups attacks on Australian charities.

This witchhunt seeks to pressure the government to legislate how charities operate, rendering many of them ineffectual. As David Crosbie, chief executive of the Community Council for Australia said recently, this would mean groups would be picking up the dead fish instead of advocating to stop the poisons going into the stream.

There is currently a six-pronged a...

22:07

Marriage equality is supported by the Australian community "IndyWatch Feed Enviro.au"

Editorial comment

The release of the of the massive yes vote for marriage equality, by David Kalisch, the chief statistician of the Australian Bureau of Statistics, was the signal for the outbreak of spontaneous celebrations around the country.

Nearly 13 million Australians took part in the Marriage Law Survey and 61 percent declared their support for equality for same sex couples. It is beyond question now. The Australian community wants change and expect that the parliament will deliver. There can no longer be any excuse for the dithering that has been characteristic up to now.

Australia wants to move forward to build a more tolerant and accepting society and the politicians now have an obligation to respect this and move quickly to make it a reality.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull had promised that in the event of the yes vote, the Coalition will facilitate a private members Bill to make same-sex marriage legal before the end of the year. The time for promises has gone and it is now time deliver and it needs t happen during the parliamentary debate will begin on 27 November.

It will not be plain sailing. As it stands, two different bills Were to be presented and there is a danger that the debate will be seriously limited.

One of them is from Western Australian Liberal Senator James Paterson, which contains provision that exempts ministers of religion and celebrants on the grounds of conscientious,  guarantees  freedom of speech on paper and allows parents to opt their children out of school classes that conflict with their values. In the wake of the strength of the Yes vote Paterson withdrew his bill and and has joined those who wish to make sure the alternative comes as close to it as possible.

Two things are wrong with the Paterson bill and is it worthwhile commenting on it.

Any conscientious objection provision needs to be restrictive enough not to become and under the counter means to legitimise discrimination. The same applies to the vague notion of guaranteeing free speech. The right to peddle hate that brings harm to others because of race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation and other differences has nothing to do with free speech. Everyone should have the right to express their opinion, so long as it is within the context of honouring their repo9nsibity to not use this to harm others. Those at the recieving end have a right to protection.

It is now becoming clearer that some of the forces behind the No vote, are seizing the opportunity to to destroy the Equal Opportunity Act, by piggy backing into the Marriage Act a legal right to discriminate. Expect some vigorous campaigning on this score.

Pinning  education into a change in the Marriage Act is wrong. It has nothing to do with it and lends...

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