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

Friday, 15 September

00:31

Another liberal MP sucked in by the nuclear lobby "IndyWatch Feed Enviro.au"

Liberal MP stands by nuclear energy option http://www.news.com.au/national/breaking-news/liberal-mp-stands-by-nuclear-energy-option/news-story/d46a5e637cbf097b67d1b1d5e1094465

As the federal government considers a clean energy target, one of its MPs is looking to nuclear power as a long-term solution. Nuclear technology sits hand in hand with concerns about North Korea but one federal MP believes theres also room for it in the energy debate.

Assistant minister Jane Prentice on Thursday again flagged support for nuclear power as a long-term solution.

It is clean and I think there are opportunities, she told reporters in Canberra.

I think the new nuclear technology is much safer than the old one and I think it should be on the discussion paper if were serious about long-term clean energy.

The government is weighing up a clean energy target, the only recommendation it is yet to address from Chief Scientist Alan Finkels review of the national electricity market.

Of course, our problem at the moment is short-term power and making it affordable, making it sustainable and reliable, Ms Prentice said.

I always believe that you need a longer ter...

00:29

Massive jump in solar energy roll-out means scarcity fears unfounded: council "IndyWatch Feed Enviro.au"

Official estimates of the risk of an electricity shortfall this summer are exaggerated because much more solar energy as much as six times current large-scale capacity is ready to be built, the Australian Solar Council says.
http://www.smh.com.au/environment/climate-change/massive-jump-in-solar-energy-rollout-means-scarcity-fears-unfounded-council-20170914-gyhd8k.html


00:28

Australian government aims to get rid of Renewable Energy Target "IndyWatch Feed Enviro.au"

No RET changes in overhaul
The government is aiming to exclude the renewable energy target from its looming overhaul of the nations power supply. .. (subscribers only) 
http://www.theaustralian.com.au/business/mining-energy/no-changes-to-ret-in-looming-power-supply-overhaul/news-story/8606b86fc5bdc8343adc47c979f525fa


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Thursday, 14 September

22:23

There is conflict of interest in the Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility "IndyWatch Feed Enviro.au"

Contributed from Queensland

The revelation that three out of the six board members of the Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility (Naif) are tied to mining. Australian governments have a long tradition of appointing corporate representatives onto bodies dealing with the concerned industry.

The exposure by Joshua Robertson   in the Australian edition of the Guardian (13 September 2017), raises the existence of conflict of interest. No argument. There certainly appears to be, when Naif is there to hand out up to $5 billion.

One example is Balla Balla Infrastructure Group (BBIG), which reportedly sought a  loan to help with its $6 billion Pilbara iron ore venture. Naif chair, Sharon Warburton, happens to be a director of this company. She is also a director of Fortescue Metals, which also mines iron ore in the Pilbara.

Another Naif director is Justin Mannolini. He is a partner in law firm Gilbert and Tobin, which has been working for BBIG to secure an agreement with the Western Australian government. He is also chair of Jindalee Resources, another Pilbara company. The third is Karla Way-McPhail. Her businesses provide services to the mining industry.

These three individuals play key roles in determining who gets access to taxpayer funded money. By any definition, there is a clear-cut conflict of interest. They should stand down or be removed. This is especially so, when it is claimed that Naif is an independent body.

Nor is it reasonable to pass this off as an accident. Appointments like this are not made so lightly. One justification that could be put forward is that these people bring knowledge of the industry. Perhaps. But this can be accessed if they are appointed as advisors. They should never be given the power to give money to ventures that they have a personal interests in.

Making it all the worse, is the lack of transparency over who makes specific Naif decisions. Warburton is reported as saying that directors had significant experience in deciding whether their personal circumstances give rise to an actual, apparent or potential conflict of interest, and that it is appropriate for them to be the ones to decide when to or when not to stand aside form specific cases.

At this point, there is no move by the government to change anything. Given this, Naifis poised  to blow out to a new headache for Turnbull to deal with.  More so, with an application coming in from Adani, asking assistance for the Carmichael venture in Queenslands Galilee Basin.

In May, there was the revelation that there is a connection between possible co...

20:05

Making Money With Cryptocurrencies "IndyWatch Feed Enviro.au"

Making Money With Cryptocurrencies

Dear Reader,

Yesterday, I attended a blockchain conference in Houston, Texas. Its focus was on how to implement blockchain technology into energy businesses.

I heard from data scientists and engineers from Exxon Mobile, Chevron, BHP Billiton, Halliburton, and Microsoft.

In 2012, we profiled Bitcoin at $13. I remember attending a few conferences that year. At the time, it was a bunch of geeks and libertarians, and here I was in 2017, surrounded by Fortune 500 companies talking about Bitcoin and Ethereum.

By the way, I should take a moment to address this Jamie Dimon (JP Morgan) comment yesterday. Him calling Bitcoin a fraud was hilarious to me, and it shows you just how ignorant the mainstream media is about this entire space.

Jamie Dimon has been hating on Bitcoin since it was $50 its now $4,000.

His company, JP Morgan, is one of the principal investors in Ethereum, so what you really have here is a competitor of Bitcoin doing some trash talking.

The blockchain is the most certain investment Ive ever been a part of, and people like Jamie Dimon know it, which is why they are heavily investing into it both through blockchain implementation and Ethereum.

As of June 2017, there is now more money heading into this space than there is venture capital thats invested in other non-blockchain tech companies.

The U.S. Department of Defense is planning to use blockchain technology for secure communications.

Homeland Security even helped seed four security companies that will be using blockchain technology.

In Australia, Japan, Germany, Canada, and even here in the U.S. with the NASDAQ, all are either running prototypes or trial runs to do commodity and stock trading using blockchain technology.

The blockchain reduces costs, self-validates, is unhackable, secure, and eliminates settlement risk.

Here is a screenshot of some of the companies that are using the Ethereum blockchain platform.

...

08:32

Trumps Five Biggest Moves Yet "IndyWatch Feed Enviro.au"

The next six months will be the biggest of Trumps presidency.

He will have to make five decisions that determine the economic future of the global currency system, let alone Americas economy.

Australias wealth is driven by exports priced in dollars and on American markets.

The price of iron ore, coal, agricultural commodities and much more depend as much on the fate of the US dollar as their own supply and demand. Not to mention the profitability of our exporting companies swing with currencies too.

But what are these decisions Trump will make?

Prolific author Jim Rickards, of our own Strategic Intelligence newsletter, explains the situation below.

In short, there is an enormous personnel change coming up at the worlds most powerful institution.

The majority of control is up for grabs.

And Trump decides who gets nominated to what post

Trump Owns the Fed

Jim Rickards

Donald Trump has the opportunity to appoint a higher percentage of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System at one time than any president since Woodrow Wilson.

President Wilson signed the Federal Reserve Act during the creation of the Fed in 1913 when it had a vacant board. At that time, the law said the Secretary of the Treasury and the Comptroller of the Currency were automatically on the Feds Board of Governors.

But besides that, President Wilson selected all five of the other participating members.

Now Trump has the opportunity to fill more seats on the Feds Board of Governors than any president since then.

Thats pretty amazing when you think about it.

To review, the Federal Reserves Board of Governors is made up of seven appointees. That means they can make a majority decision with four votes. If youre reading about the Fed, you might also see reference to regional reserve bank presidents. These are roles within the Federal Reserve System, but the real power is found on the seven-member Board of Governors.

Heres the remarkable part:

As of last week, four of the seven Fed board seats are now vacant.

In fact, Im describing a 72-hour span last week as the most momentous three-day period in the...

07:59

Pan-African News Wire "IndyWatch Feed Enviro.au"

Cuba Says Good Health in Bad Weather
Instructions for the National Health Service were clear: ensure the necessary conditions to continue providing medical services across the entire country, and protect material resources in hospitals and healthcare institutions

Lisandra Farias Acosta | lisandra@granma.cu
September 13, 2017 13:09:19

Firefighters working to clear water from the basement area of the Ameijeiras Hospital. Photo: Nuria Barbosa

Its just after 6pm on September 11, and theres an unusual sense of calm at the normally busy Hermanos Ameijeiras Hospital.

There are currently no patients at the health center, located only a short distance from Havanas waterfront Malecon.

The Ameijeiras, hard hit by Irma, has been completely evacuated.

Its difficult to picture the reception area empty, except for one staff member at her work station graciously answering every phone call; explaining to the population why the hospital is closed, telling them to call back for updates.

I hope she knows that we have come to report on how one of the countrys principal health institutions is coping after Hurricane Irma. She stops answering calls for a moment to tells us that in the 19 years she has worked at the hospital, she has never experienced a situation like this before, and much less one that has caused the center to close. This is a first.

According to damage reports by the Ministry of Public Health, the basement of the building is flooded with one meter 20 centimeters of contaminated water, too much to pump out and affecting nuclear medicine, radiotherapy, clinical-laboratory, x-ray and out-patient surgery services.

The record level of sea water, caused by storm surges the principal cause of damage, even more than the wind to have penetrated the hospital since it was founded, was one meter 12 centimeters. But Irma surpassed all predictions. According to our most recent estimates, there is currently one meter 50 centimeters of water. The basement area is still completely flooded, and the polyclinics are practically inaccessible, stated Dr. Rigoberto Garca Gmez, deputy director of teaching and research at the Hermanos A...

06:12

Plantation fire sale a short-sighted subsidy for Hodgmans native forest logging "IndyWatch Feed Enviro.au"

Thursday, 14 September 2017 - 11:41am


The sale of publicly-owned plantations to pay down debt and fund the transition of the state logging agency amounts to a desperate and short-sighted fire sale of an important future resource of the industry, simply to prop up loss-making native forest logging, The Wilderness Society said today.

Hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars was given to Forestry Tasmania to establish plantations, at great cost to the environment, and the Tasmanian Audit Office reports Forestry Tasmania acquitted its grants using a $3500/ha figure for establishment cost[i]. At this rate, the 29,000 ha plantation estate cost the taxpayer over $100 million to plant. 

"Flogging-off publicly-owned plantations, at a massive loss, to subsidise unviable native forest logging operations is a desperate last-ditch effort to hide the ongoing failures of Premier Hodgmans chaotic approach to forestry," said Vica Bayley, spokesperson for The Wilderness Society.

"Premier Hodgman has just privatised a publicly-owned asset in a fire sale, making a massive loss on taxpayer investment and divesting an important future resource for the timber industry to an unknown multi-national company.

"This is not only short-sighted, but it maintains the Hodgman Governments heavy subsidisation of Forestry Tasmania, coming on the back of a  $30 million equity transfer from TasNetworks in 2015 and recent government absorption of expensive Forestry Tasmania liabilities, like staff superannuation.

"According to the Tasmanian Auditor General, these plantations cost the taxpayer over $100 million to establish. They offer a future resource for the logging industry and yet, Premier Hodgman has offloaded them at a loss, simply to subsidise state-sanctioned native forest logging."


More information

For further comment, please contact Vica Bayley on 0400 644 939.

[i]...

02:04

Under his Eye: income management and the surveillance state "IndyWatch Feed Enviro.au"

This article was originally published at Independent Australia with the title Cashless Debit Card: income management and the surveillance state under a Creative Commons Licence.

Philosophically speaking, debate for and against income management of welfare recipients typically balances the belief in the right to freedom of choice against the argument that freedom of choice and right to a private life can be limited when that freedom and privacy brings substantial harm to the self or others.

The Parliamentary Joint Committee on Human Rights is the body in Australia with responsibility for evaluating new legislation against International Human Rights, reporting on whether any identified limitation of a human right is justifiable according to the limitation criteria(pii).

They do this with reference to the information provided in Explanatory Memorandum to Bills and find that where limiting the right to a private life, the existence of a legitimate objective must be identified clearly with supporting reasons and, generally, empirical data to demonstrate that [it is] important.

And that;

To be capable of justifying a proposed limitation of human rights, a legitimate objective must address a pressing or substantial concern and not simply seek an outcome regarded as desirable or convenient. Additionally, a limitation must be rationally connected to, and a proportionate way to achieve, its legitimate objective in order to be justifiable in international human rights law. (Twenty-Seventh Report of the 44th Parliament, 2016, p21)

Since the Committees report (based on the original Bill) was tabled, the Explanatory Memorandum to the Social Security Legislation (Debit Card Trial) Bill 2017 has been updated to speci...

00:15

Uniting Church calls for increase to Newstart and Youth Allowance "IndyWatch Feed Enviro.au"

Contributed from Western Australia

Showing a bit of leadership, the Uniting Church in Western Australia has called on the Federal Government to make an immediate commitment to increase Newstart and Youth Allowance payments to allow thousands of vulnerable Australians to live in dignity above the poverty line.

The call came out of the latest Annual Synod of the Church, held over the last weekend and came as a contribution to Anti-Poverty week, which will occur next October.

Rev Steve Francis, Moderator of the Uniting Church WA, said the current rate for Newstart and Youth Allowance was significantly below the ACOSS poverty line and change was needed urgently to help people break free of the poverty cycle.

At Synod, we unanimously agreed to lobby the Federal Government to commit to an immediate process to increase Newstart and Youth Allowance payments to provide recipients with the resources to live above the poverty line, Steve said.

This increase is essential in order to safeguard the health and well being of individuals and families currently receiving these payments. Living in poverty is stressful and forces people to choose between essential items and services.

Governments can afford a welfare system that isnt below the poverty line when tax is paid by those who can afford it and we encourage efforts to ensure that all individuals and businesses pay their fair share of tax.

The proposal was jointly brought by the Uniting Church Western Australias Social Justice Commission and community services agency, UnitingCare West.

We acknowledge that there are growing pressures on WA households that are particularly challenging for people living below the poverty line, including the low minimum wage, rental affordability and rising electricity, water and public transport costs.  The Social Justice Commission and UnitingCare West will continue to advocate for vulnerable people in the WA community to have fair supports provided, Steve said.

A report released by the Australian Council of Social Services (ACOSS) in October 2016 showed there were 731,300 children or 17.4 percent of all children in Australia living in poverty at the time, an increase of 2 percent over the past 10 years, from 2004 to 2014. The report found that nearly three million people were living in poverty in Australia in 2014, or 13.3 percent of the general population.

According to the Western Australian Council of Social Services (WACOSS), in 2016, Figures indicate that 240,000 Western Australians live below the poverty line, with a further 150,000 at risk of financial hardship.  These figures are likely to be an underestimate, as they do not take into account higher living costs in Western Australia.

 

...

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Wednesday, 13 September

23:25

Australian government moves to cover coal as banks pull out "IndyWatch Feed Enviro.au"

Contributed by Jim Hayes

As people campaigning against the Adani Carmichael coal mine rallied again in Brisbane, Steve Ciobo, the minister for trade, complains that activists are stopping the banks from financing the project and are pushing them into pulling away from the coal industry altogether.

He therefore suggests that the government must step in to fill the market gap. In other words, government should subsidise the industry through taxpayers money.

The generosity is likely to include the Adani mine.

Ciobo openly admits that money from the Export Finance and Insurance Corporation (Efic), will be handed out and the lending criteria of the corporation will to be changed to enable this.

The minister said in parliament:

Im increasing the scope of Efics statement of expectation, so that Efic has got more ability to finance onshore resource projects.

Now what are some of the radical groups doing that is threatening this? The fact is that we are seeing a campaign. Weve seen, for example, the stepped-up campaign of activist groups which is discouraging our major retail banks from financing otherwise viable exporters in the coal sector.

But its not just about coal, its also about what we can do in other sectors within resources, he said.

Adani is already seeking a loan of up to $900m from Naif, to help build a rail line between the mine and the Abbot point coal terminal near the Great Barrier Reef. Adani may nowapply for more and be given what he wants.

Although opponents are having have an impact, they are not decisive in causing the banks to pull away. Public opinion is and this has turned against an industry widely regarded as dirty, in terms of creating carbon emissions. So much that the industry has launched a major advertising campaign to win people back to coal.

The government refuses to acknowledge this, and in turn, this feeds the growing perception that its actions are being driven by...

23:21

Baby Great White Shark Washes Onto Shore And People Know Just What To Do "IndyWatch Feed Enviro.au"

In the past, when sharks have washed onto the beach, it hasnt always ended well for the animals. Selfie-obsessed people have been known to drag them onto the sand to pose with them in front of cameras, which often kills the sharks. But when a juvenile great white shark washed onto a popular beach earlier this week in Sydney, Australia, beachgoers knew exactly the right thing to do.

After finding the male great white shark (estimated to be 2 or 3 years old) flopping around on the sand, people contacted Manly Sea Life Sanctuary, a conservation center that rescues and rehabilitates ocean animals. A rescue team quickly arrived to help the distressed shark.

Sharks cant breathe without swimming, so getting the shark back into water was of the utmost importance. At the same time, the team needed to make sure the shark wasnt injured or sick, so they didnt want to put him right back into the ocean. Instead, they moved him into a nearby ocean pool, which was filled with natural seawater.
 

Credit: Nick Dawkins

Rob Townsend, the life sciences manager at Manly Sea Life Sanctuary, started calling the shark Fluffy as a joke but soon everyone was doing it. That was me just chatting to some kids on the side of the pool and it just stuck, Townsend told The Dodo.

Credit: Nick Dawkins

While Fluffy swam around the sea pool, Townsend made sure a diver was always there to babysit him.

White sharks prefer the open oceans and do not do well within the confines of captivity, which is why you dont usually see white sharks in aquariums, Townsend said. We needed the divers to guide him away from the walls so he didnt further injure himself....

13:25

Designated Survivor Argues Right-Wingers Are More Dangerous Than Islamists. Preposterous "IndyWatch Feed Enviro.au"

What Does ABCs Designated Survivor have in common with the Anti-Defamation Leagues recent report on right-wing terror groups? Answer: both go to extreme lengths to minimize the threat of Islamist violence and magnify what the ADL calls right-wing terrorism.

Last May, as DS wrapped up its first season, ADL issued a new report on right-wing terrorism. Entitled A Dark & Constant Rage, the report explores the danger these extremists have posed since 1993. The result makes a compelling case that extremist ideologues are a grave threat to the American public. In focusing attention on this danger, the ADL has performed a valuable public service.

Yet the report goes off the rails in its tendentious comparison of the danger posed by right-wingerscomprising adherents of several distinct ideologies, including white supremacist, anti-government, anti-abortion, and anti-Muslim extremiststo that posed by radical Islamic terror, and assertion that right-wing extremists pose an equally serious threat of terror compared to homegrown Islamist terror.

Watch Out for Those Limited-Government Types

DS offers a similar vision of how many people in America today view threats of political violence from right-wing and Islamist extremists. The shows main character, Tom Kirkman, succeeds from Housing and Urban Development secretary to the presidency after the U.S. government is decapitated by an attack on the capitol.

As Kirkman begins assembling a new government, the nations intelligence apparatus fingers an Arab terrorist group for the attack. Kirkman naturally feels pressure to retaliate, but resists until receiving proof in a taped admission by the groups leader. He fires the new chairman of the joint-chiefs-of-staff for insubordinately ordering a retaliatory strike before Kirkman had authorized it.

It gets worse for the military. Eventually, Kirkman learns the Arab terrorist had nothing to do with the attack besides being paid to take the fall. The real conspirators are right-wingers led by former military personnel. They will stop at nothing to put one of their own in the White House.

Michigans National Guard defies Kirkmans federalization order, insisting his presidency is illegitimate. The show repeatedly depicts the police negatively, whereas American Muslims are portrayed only as innocent victims. In Washington, police stop Kirkmans Muslim speechwriter on the street and question him, apparently for the crime of looking Muslim. In Michigan, the governor orders police to arbitrarily detain Muslims for questioning, without warrants, and a...

12:32

After Australian Energy Market Operators initiatives, South Australia defers energy security target "IndyWatch Feed Enviro.au"

S.A. puts energy security target on back-burner after AEMO steps in http://reneweconomy.com.au/s-a-puts-energy-security-target-on-back-burner-after-aemo-steps-in-86049/ By Giles Parkinson on 11 September 2017 South Australia has abandoned plans to have its state-based energy security target in place this summer after conceding is could have little impact given the new initiatives by the Australian Energy Market Operator and the lack of competition in the local grid.

Officially, South Australia has decided to defer the start date of the EST until 2020, having already deferred it from a July 1 start to a January 1, 2018 start. But given the state poll in 2018, and the new initiatives taking place in the broader market, it seems unlikely to ever see the light of day.

The EST was a key component of the $550 million Energy Security Plan the S.A, government unveiled earlier this year following its dismay at the forced load shedding in February and other incidents.

But it seems likely that the only two components to have a lasting impact will be the Tesla big battery, which is due to come into service on December 1, and the 150MW solar tower and molten salt storage facility in Port Augusta, which will contract to supply the governments own electricity needs.

 The government has also committed to an emergency gas plant, and will install emergency generators this summer and next, but has kept its options open about the future. These may not be needed if demand management initiatives and other schemes take effect.

The EST was to be one of the centerpieces of the plan, aiming to ensure that 50 per cent of demand was met by S.A.-based dispatchable generation by 2025.

...

12:18

What the Australian Energy Market Operator actually did advise the government "IndyWatch Feed Enviro.au"

AEMO: Our advice was pretty straight forward, we need dispatchability http://reneweconomy.com.au/aemo-advice-pretty-straight-forward-need-dispatchability-13353/

We need flexible capacity that can be switched on and off, and we need to transition to a new generation of Australias principal energy market institutions, and the newly-formed Energy Security Board.

Our advice was fairly pragmatic, Zibelman said. We are concerned that on a 45C day if we lose a generator (which AEMO has said is quite likely) we want reserves in the system to be able to respond.

In our report we identified the fact that with amount of variability (from solar and wind energy and elect...

12:13

Plutonium and reprocessing a dud technology "IndyWatch Feed Enviro.au"

the separation and use of plutonium as a fuel is not economically competitive with simply storing the spent fuel until its radioactive heat generation has declined and a deep underground repository has been constructed for its final disposal. In this once-through fuel cycle, the plutonium remains mixed with the radioactive fission products in the intact spent fuel and therefore is relatively inaccessible for use in weapons.
the volume of an underground repository for highly radioactive waste is determined not by the volume of the waste but by its heat output; the waste has to be spread out to limit the temperature increase of the surrounding buffer clay and rock . Reprocessing waste would contain all the heat-generating fission products in the original spent fuel, and the heat generated by the plutonium in one ton of spent MOX fuel would be about the same as the heat generated by the plutonium in the approximately seven tons of spent low-enriched uranium fuel from which the plutonium used to manufacture the fresh MOX fuel had been recovered.
Forty years later, Japans breeder program, the original justification for its reprocessing program, is virtually dead.
Forty years of impasse: The United States, Japan, and the plutonium problem http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/00963402.2017.1364007 ...

11:31

Why I am voting Yes in the SSM postal survey (but wont be telling anyone else how to vote) "IndyWatch Feed Enviro.au"

It probably wont surprise anyone who knows me well that Ill be voting Yes in the Same Sex Marriage postal survey. After all, Im a small-l liberal, non-religious legal academic with many friends in same-sex relationships. Im the stereotypical Yes voter. But I have become increasingly concerned that the Yes vote will not win, despite the fact that the majority of my friends on Facebook have rainbow profile pictures. It seems my instinct is correct, according to an article earlier this week in the Canberra Times:

Support for same-sex marriage has crashed ahead of the Turnbull governments postal survey, and only two-thirds of voters are inclined to take part, according to the latest polling from same-sex marriage advocates.

At the start of a two-month campaign, the confidential research provided to Fairfax Media shows support for a no vote has risen, as has the number of people who say they dont know how they will vote.

And alarmingly for yes campaigners, turnout could be very low, with just 65 per cent of voters rating themselves as very likely to participate  falling to 58 per cent among those aged 18 to 34.

On the other hand, my pessimism may be unwarranted, according to a later poll:

The yes side on same-sex marriage is headed for a resounding victory with seven out of 10 definite voters backing a change to the law, a Fairfax/Ipsos poll has found.

Some 65 per cent of respondents rated themselves certain to take part in the voluntary postal survey, and of those 70 per cent said they would vote yes.

If youre not Australian, you may be wondering why we have a postal survey on same-sex marriage at all: the short answer is that it was an election promise by the Coalition, and after they couldnt get a Bill for a compulsory plebiscite vote past the Senate, they opted for a survey by the Australian Bureau of Statistics. I think its been, from start to finish, a derogation of Parliamentary authority the whole point of representative democracy is that our representatives vote for us. As my two older kids said, If we can vote on this issue, why cant we vote on other issues? Why do they need our opinion on this? Good question, kids.

In this post, Ill outline why I am voting Yes. However, I dont intend to tell others how they should vote thats a matter for them...

11:05

World Nuclear Industry Status Report shows drop in new build projects "IndyWatch Feed Enviro.au"

Nuclear newbuild projects at decade low report http://www.euronews.com/2017/09/12/nuclear-newbuild-projects-at-decade-low-report, By REUTERS, 2/09/2017 By Geert De Clercq PARIS  The number of nuclear newbuild projects worldwide has dropped to a decade low in the wake of the 2011 Fukushima disaster and due to the rising cost of atomic energy, an industry report showed.

From a high of 15 in 2010, the number of construction starts of nuclear reactors worldwide dropped to 10 in 2013, eight in 2015, three in 2016, and just one in the first half of 2017, according to the World Nuclear Industry Status Report (WNISR).

China, the most active builder of nuclear plants in the past decade, saw its newbuild activity slow from 10 in 2010 to six in 2015 and just two last year. This may be the end of the Chinese exception, lead author Mycle Schneider told reporters in Paris.

The 2010 construction peak marked the end of a brief nuclear renaissance when several countries started building reactors again after a nearly 20-year hiatus following the 1986 Chernobyl disaster. Schneider said he would not be surprised to see more nuclear projects under construction being dropped, following the abandonment of a high-profile one in the United States.

After the bankruptcy of reactor builder Westinghouse early this year, two South Carolina utilities in July abandoned the V.C. Summer project for two new Westinghouse reactors,...

11:03

13 September More REneweconomy news "IndyWatch Feed Enviro.au"

RenewEconomy
  • Networks push back on more small-scale solar. But why?
    Culture wars: It may explain the continued efforts of some network operators to push back against the installation of more rooftop solar.

11:02

Pope Francis urges climate change sceptics to consult scientists "IndyWatch Feed Enviro.au"

Pope Francis On Climate Change Denial: Man Is Stupid Huff Post, WASHINGTON, 12 Sept 17 Climate change denials amid catastrophic hurricanes are a reminder that humans are not a particularly smart species, Pope Francis said Sunday while flying over areas in the Caribbean decimated by Hurricane Irma.

 Man is stupid, he said, referencing a passage in the Old Testament, according to the The New York Times and The Associated Press. When you dont want to see, you dont see.

A correspondent for Crux Now had a slightly different translation of the pontiffs comments: Man is a stupid and hard-headed being who doesnt see.

The pope who has sparred with President Donald Trump on several issues, including climate change also urged the climate skeptics of the world to consult with a scientist.

...

10:59

13 September REneweconomy news "IndyWatch Feed Enviro.au"

    RenewEconomy
AGL calls Coalition bluff on Liddell, focuses on solar, wind and storage

10:02

Galaxy Poll finds overwhelming support for Dick Smith on population "IndyWatch Feed Enviro.au"

Dick Smith commissioned a Galaxy poll to assess both the impact of his $1 million TV ad campaign based on the Grim Reaper AIDS ad of the 1980s, and community attitudes towards Australias developed-world-leading immigration-fueled rapid population growth. The sample comprised 1,005 respondents, distributed throughout Australia including both capital city and non-capital city areas the report is attached. The main findings of the poll were:

The majority of Australians (83%) believe that population growth is of such significant consequence that every major political party should have a population plan.
There is an overwhelming belief that politicians should be doing something about population growth (82%).
Population growth is an issue of concern for the majority of supporters of both the Coalition (62%) and the Labor Party (62%).
Among those that have seen the TV ad 91% are convinced that every major political party should have a population plan.

Poll confirms that Smith understands what ordinary Australians want

Dicks Smith said This just confirms that what Ive found from the conversations Ive had with ordinary Australians: 8/10 are concerned that the major political parties have no population plan. Dick Smith said Aussie families can have up to 20 kids during their lifetime, but none do. This is because parents have a population plan for the number of children they can give a decent life to. Yet our politicians have no similar plan for our country. Its time for a population plan that involves stabilising Australias population below 30 million by reducing the net overseas migration program down from the current 200,000 back to the long-term average of 70,000 per annum.

Is Dick Smith the last good rich man in Australia?

Or will some other wealthy people come out in support of democracy too? It is admirable that Dick Smith really seems to be on a truth-seeking mission. He has refused to be put down by the ABC propaganda dogs at The Drum and Media Watch and he has financed a proper survey which has shown his support base is very high. His detractors have greatly underestimated him. Is Dick Smith the last good rich man in Australia, a country run by wealthy men and women politicians, CEOs, property developers, transnational corporations and media owners, entirely for their own enrichment, at great cost to the rest of us.

.........

09:30

Iran Prepares for U.S. To Pull Out of Iran Nuclear Deal "IndyWatch Feed Enviro.au"

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TEHRAN (FNA)- Geopolitical analyst James ONeill says Washington will kill the nuclear agreement with Iran as part of its hawkish policy of threat to the country that is a heavy weight actor at the center stage of political equations and developments in the Middle East.

Iran is uniquely placed to be a significant force for good in a volatile and rapidly changing region. It is this unique role that is a major reason why the US continues to make threats, uses proxy forces such as the Mojahedin-e Khalq (MEK) to destabilize Iran, and will undoubtedly resile from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), ONeill said in an exclusive interview with FNA.

The analyst further added that the US animosity towards Iran has pushed the latter towards stronger ties with other world powers. Irans growing links with China and Russia are its best defenses against US aggression, he said.

James ONeill is a geopolitical analyst and a former academic who since 1984 has practiced as a barrister, first in New Zealand and since 2002 in Australia. He has appeared on international media outlets such as RT and Press TV. He is also a regular contributor to New Eastern Outlook, an online expert opinion journal.

FNA has conducted an interview with James ONeill to discuss Syria and its allies in the war on terrorist groups, the possible geopolitical implications for regional and trans-regional players and the geopolitical trends in the Middle-East.

Below you will find the full text of the interview.

Q: From time to time we have been hearing about the so-called US-led coalition and Israel coming to help the terrorist groups operating inside Syria, the financial support coming from the US and its allies and the ideological support from the Wahhabi regime in Saudi Arabia. Why do you think with all that support, these days we keep hearing about their proxy forces failing and losing ground in Syria?

A: The US, Israel and Saudi Arabia will continue to support terrorist groups in Syria while pretending to be fighting terrorism.  This is because they are pursuing disparate goals, not....

03:51

For Dicks Sake, Lets Call Out The ABCs Right-Wing Bias "IndyWatch Feed Enviro.au"

Bias is in the eye of the beholder, unless the beholder is just trying to win a political argument. Kath Wilson pens an open letter.

Dear Dick Smith,

There are people who, with a straight face, accuse the ABC of left-wing bias. Not just the usual reactionary bigots, but good-hearted people like you, who have campaigned for social and environmental justice.

There are also people who gleefully ridicule your muddled politics, but I dont want to do that. I think youre a decent bloke whos fallen in with the wrong crowd.

Recently, you teamed up with shock-jock Alan Jones to protest left-wing bias at the ABC. On your website, you attributed the ABCs failure to cover your anti-population-growth campaign to its left-wing bias.

Kath WIlson

Your current campaign conflating immigration rates with the growth fetish at the root of our environmental problems is evidence-averse and plays into white supremacist agendas. Thats sickening, and its how the black arts of populism operate, but this isnt what Im writing to you about.

Politicians, you say, have told you they would lower immigration rates, but are too scared of the ABC to do so.

Mate, youve been played. All the evidence suggests that since the Howard era, poor Aunty has been more scared of politicians than the other way around, and data accrued in recent years debunks every claim of ABC bias.

Audits from varied sources Newspoll, Essential poll, ABC Committee Review Panels have found ABC coverage even-handed. According to a Gans and Leigh study: The only statistically significant slant was ABC2s bias towards Coalition-favoured intellectuals in their reporting. This suggests the ABC news has a right...

03:23

Energy Chaos in Australia: Closing the Liddell Power Station "IndyWatch Feed Enviro.au"

Australia is having an energy crisis. A country with such abundant resources is incapable it seems, of handling matters of reliable supply, either in terms of affordability, or in terms of delivery. The situation has been further muddied by the

01:02

Govt told back off, let power market work "IndyWatch Feed Enviro.au"

Liddell Power Station

Liddell Power Station

The best thing the Turnbull government could do to prevent energy shortages is to get out of markets way and let the regulator do its job.

Thats the view of Oliver Yates, who headed the governments green bank for more than four years until May.

The government has been contemplating how to make energy giant AGL keep open the ageing Liddell coal-fired power station beyond its planned 2022 closure.

But Mr Yates says its actually AGL who has given the market certainty by announcing two years ago its intentions to close the Hunter Valley plant.

Even under the Finkel review theyre only requiring that a coal-fired power station give three years notice; AGL gave about seven, he told ABC radio on Wednesday.

That meant the industry was working to replace the capacity based on a certain projected closure date.

Thats very difficult if a prime minister walks into the room and basically says, Well I know youve been investing on that basis but I think I might just decide to legislate in some way and keep these clunkers open, Mr Yates said.

That doesnt help the market at all, it puts us into a position of paralysis all over again.

Energy policy in Australia isnt broken but it is highly polarised and thats a problem, Mr Yates said.

The governments latest action was sparked by a report from the Australian Energy Market Operator which warned there would need to be an extra 1000 megawatts of dispatchable power which is able to be sent when its needed in the system before Liddell closed.

What they said is the same thing I say to my kid when they want to borrow the car: If you want to borrow the car and you dont fill it up with petrol, youll run out of petrol, Mr Yates said.

If the policy paralysis continued and AEMO didnt get the powers it needed to deal with preventing blackouts, as recommended in the Finkel review, then there likely would be shortages.

Mr Yates warned that any kind of coal-fired power station even the newest technology, so-called clean coal didn&#8217...

Tuesday, 12 September

22:18

Real Neat Blog Award, congratulations to 14 nominees! "IndyWatch Feed Enviro.au"

Real Neat Blog Award

Late in 2014, I made this new award: the Real Neat Blog Award. There are so many bloggers whose blogs deserve more attention. So, I will try to do something about that

It is the first award that I ever made. I did some computer graphics years ago, before I started blogging; but my computer drawing had become rusty

The rules of the Real Neat Blog Award are: (feel free not to act upon them if you dont have time; or dont accept awards; etc.):

1. Put the award logo on your blog.

2. Answer 7 questions asked by the person who nominated you.

3. Thank the people who nominated you, linking to their b...

21:56

Gas Cartel pushes for fracking in the Northern Territory "IndyWatch Feed Enviro.au"

 
Contributed by Joe Montero

As opponents of coal seam gas (fracking) in the Northern Territory step up the fight against the possibility of resumption at the end of this year, the industry is claiming that it is necessary to do so, to counter the high price people are paying for the resource.

Eying the remote Beetaloo Basin, south of Mataranka, Gas companies have resurfaced the claim that the high price is determined by a shortage of supply. The two biggest players here are Santos and Origin Energy.

Bruce Robertson, an analyst from the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis, suggests the main reason why Northern Territorians pay more is that most of the gas is committed to being sold overseas under long term contracts.

The companies have a problem in that global prices have fallen because of over-supply in the market. Long term contracts, means that the companies are locked into lower returns and are seeking cheaper gas to increase their margins.

Gas companies are also being accused of acting as a cartel to increase prices so that Australians effectively subsidise the fall of returns from exports.

The industry has hit back by insisting that driving up the price is a supply shortage and that expanding the coal seam gas industry will fill the gap and lower the price.

Critics point out that the shortage has been deliberately created by diverting a large portion of the supply to the export market and there is no good reason to expect that an increased supply would not go the same way.

By forming a cartel, the companies have been able to extract more out of Australians, precisely by minimising supply. The problem is not market derived, but the result of monopoly power leading to monopoly prices.

To lower the price in these conditions, it is necessary for the government to step in and outlaw cartel behavior, impose a roof on monopoly prices and compel the redirection of existing gas production for the use of Australian consumers. Only when the needed domestic supply is secured, should consideration to exporting be given.

Bruce Robertson adds that the high cost of production in the territory, brought about by its isolation and the the high cost of transportation to bring the resource to the necessary East Coast market, makes production in the Territory uneconomical, unless Australians are made to subsidise it. There are simply not enough consumers in the Territory itself.

 

Producing high cost Northern Territory gas, which is very high cost gas, about $7.50 a gigajoule, is no way to bring down the cost of gas on the east coast of Australia, he said.

He adds that the pu...

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