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Wednesday, 10 October


Casualisation of work must be turned around "IndyWatch Feed"

Contributed by Joe Montero

According to the OECD, Australia is suffering from one of the highest incidences of temporary work in the industrialised world. It should not be this way. The health of the economy does not depend on it, andtThe rise of temporary work seriously undermines jobs and the quality of life for those locked into it.

The number of Australians working short hours or in temporary jobs, is anywhere up to a third of the workforce. It is growing and effects Fifty five percent of the young people in the workforce.

The only country worse off is the United States, where the number is now around 51 percent of the total workforce. We are quickly heading the same way.

The collective name for this type of work is now called casualised labour. Besides enforcing less than adequate pay, casualised labour denies the right to paid holidays, sick leave and other entitlements that come along with any proper job. There is often less protection, a greater risk of being put into dangerous situations at work, and increased vulnerability to having ones wages stolen.

Casualisation exploded, because major employers became obsessed with increasing labour flexibility, as means of cutting costs. They locked successive governments into applying policies to help bring this about.

It has been argued, that this was a major part of creating a better use of resources, stimulating competition and growing the economy. They insisted that although there may be some initial pain, the creation of jobs would benefit everyone in the end. Jobs have been destroyed instead and the economy has not grown.

One important fact was forgotten. What might find an individual employer laughing all the way to the bank, may not be so good when applied across society.

Consider this. The nature of the economic system in its present circumstances, has forced employers into capital intensification. This means technology has been replacing labour. It has been necessary to stay in the race. In the real world, those who can operate at below the average per unit costs of production stay in the game, and those who operate above this line fall by the wayside. Many businesses are missing out as well.

The drive down this road brings a few important consequences. The main one is that there is a growing gap between the costs of production and the return from circulating the output in the market.

Although per unit costs might go down by spreading them over a higher volume of output, there is a tendency for total costs to go up. Per unit costs go down because the fixed or constant part, that which is accounted for by the technology, can be spread out, and the bigger the operation, the greater the advantage.

Labour (known as variable cost...


The Global Mental Health Movement Cause For Concern "IndyWatch Feed"

This week, we present the first in a series of interviews on the topic of the global mental health movement. These interviews will be led by our Mad in America research news team.

In this episode, we interview Dr. Melissa Raven, who is a psychiatric epidemiologist, policy analyst and postdoctoral research fellow in the Critical and Ethical Mental Health research group at the University of Adelaide, South Australia. Originally qualified as a clinical psychologist, she then worked as a lecturer and researcher in public health and primary health care. Her current mental health research and advocacy is informed by a strong social determinants perspective and a strong critical orientation, which she applies to a range of topics, including suicide prevention, workplace mental health, (over)diagnosis, (inappropriate) prescribing, and conflicts of interest in mental health and the broader health/welfare arena.

On October 10th, 2018, World Mental Health Day, The Lancet Commission on Global Mental Health and Sustainable Development published a report outlining a proposal to scale up mental health care globally. At the same time, the UK government is hosting a Global Mental Health Ministerial Summit with the intention of laying out a course of action to implement these mental health policies globally.

In response, a coalition of mental health activists and service-users have organized an open letter detailing their concerns with the summit and report. The response has attracted the support of critical professionals, psychologists, psychiatrists, and researchers.


Joy of living the change in a tiny house "IndyWatch Feed"

Guests in The Sustainable Hour on 3 October 2018 are Vicki Perrett, president of Geelong Sustainability and coordinator of Sustainable House Day Geelong, together with Peter Clapinski from Tiny Homes Geelong & Bellarine, for a talk about why he is so passionate about this idea to build tiny houses.

We also talk with Chris Gerbing, who is co-director of the Environmental Film Festival Australia, which starts in Melbourne on 11 October, and play a clip from a presentation by Jeff Butler about Grow it, Eat it festival in Grovedale, which starts on 20 October.

Listen to The Sustainable Hour no. 236 on 94.7 The Pulse:



Australia has two decades to avoid the most damaging impacts of climate change "IndyWatch Feed"

A wealthy, emissions-intensive country with abundant natural resources in a region highly vulnerable to climate impacts, what will Australia do? How the Land Down Under can rise to the climate challenge?


Now iron ore is at $100/tonne "IndyWatch Feed"


With coking coal already having enjoyed a bonanza at $200/tonne and the lower dollar boosting export prices, now it's the turn of iron ore to go on a surge on the expectation of Chinese stimulus measures.

The spot price jumped 2.5 per cent to $71.14/dry tonne (62% Fe Fines) during today's trade.

That's the highest spot price close since March 15, for a 7-month high. 

And with the Aussie dollar down at 71 US cents, this puts the price in Aussie dollar terms back above $100/tonne...something we haven't been able to say for a long while. 

With LNG exports also smoking records by the month here are further signs that we're heading for an income boom, ultimately to be translated through into wages growth.

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Tuesday, 09 October


Baby humpback whale saved from shark net "IndyWatch Feed"

This ABC News video from Australia says about itself:

Humpback whale calf rescued off Gold Coast while mother watches on

8 October 2018

A whale calf has been freed after becoming caught in a shark net off Queenslands Gold Coast. Rescuers said they believed the calfs mother, who was swimming close by during the rescue, realised they were helping the calf and stayed calm.

Read more here.


NSW coal mine approval coincides with IPCC announcement "IndyWatch Feed"

Warning sign: protests against the Bylong Valley mine. Photo Farmonline

Community groups have slammed the NSW Department of Planning and Environment (DoPE) for recommending a new thermal coal mine should proceed on the very same day that the IPCC warned the world needed to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees.

The department has recommended that the destructive, foreign-owned Bylong coal mine near Mudgee can proceed, despite a new assessment identifying state significant heritage values on the site where mining is proposed.

Meanwhile, an independent expert report on the heritage values also released yesterday by the department concluded that: the Bylong Valley generally had state significant heritage values as a scenic landscape on the western side of the World-heritage listed Blue Mountains; and the Tarwyn Park property in particular had state significant heritage values as the site of the first and longest running application of Natural Sequence Farming in Australia.

Despite this report, the DoPE suggested only minor amendments to the mine plan rather than rejecting the mine outright. The proposal will now go to the Independent Planning Commission for a final determination.

Lock the Gate spokesperson Carmel Flint  said the recommendation to proceed with the mine shows the NSW Government is completely missing in action on climate change just as the IPCC warns warming beyond 1.5 degrees risks catastrophic heat and disruption.

Not only will this mine put the climate at risk, but new research shows it will take South Korean mining giant KEPCO one step closer to destroying a magnificent valley with state significant heritage values, she said.

The DoPE has cherry-picked the expert heritage information and moved only to amend the mine plan slightly, when its clear the mine should have been rejected outright.

Equally worrying is that there is no new information on Aboriginal cultural heritage impacts provided by the department, even though the Independent Planning Commission previously stated that further investigation was needed.

This mine will only proceed with the backing of the NSW Government, who at every step have allowed it to progress through the planning process despite the obvio...


Baby whale caught in Gold Coast shark net "IndyWatch Feed"

A baby whale caught by a Gold Coast shark net was later released but photos like this will become harder to take if new laws are introduced. Photo supplied

The entrapment of a baby whale in a Queensland shark net on Tuesday (October 9) could not even legally be reported if the state government passes a new gag law.

Humane Society International (HSI) and the Australian Marine Conservation Society (AMCS) were on the scene today as the baby humpback whale was caught in a shark net on the Gold Coast.

Staff alerted the rescue and response team to the trapped whale, and it has now been freed.

This latest horror of the Queensland shark control program comes as the states government tries to implement legislation to criminalise close proximity to shark control equipment, making photography of lethal drumlines and shark nets almost impossible.

As part of a suite of amendments to the QLD Fisheries Act, the government is proposing implementing exclusion zones of 20 metres around shark control equipment, making it almost impossible to independently capture photography and videos of sharks and other marine animals caught on lethal drumlines and in shark nets throughout the state.

Lawrence Chlebeck, marine campaigner for HIS, said seeing the images of the baby humpback whale entangled in the net should be enough to get the Queensland Government to remove the nets. How many more animals must suffer in these nets before the Government moves to more effective, non-lethal measures? he queried.

The Queensland Governments plan to put exclusion zones around shark control equipment is simply a measure to keep the slaughter of sharks and marine wildlife hidden from public view. This is not about public safety, rather its a blatant tactic to reduce public scrutiny by a government under increased public pressure to end its archaic culling program.

The Queensland Government has 368 lethal drumlines and 30 shark nets throughout the state, and is now justifying these no-go zones by saying this equipment is a hazard to the public. If thats the case, they should remove these culling devices as a matter of urgency and instead implement non-lethal technologies to protect ocean users, Mr Chlebeck, said.

Dr Leonardo Guida, AMCSs senior sha...


Australia in the firing line as climate change hits the planet "IndyWatch Feed"

It is sad to see that Australia, the country that could be the leader in renewable energy and energy efficiency, is instead the laggard.  Among the wealthy nations that could take action, Australias governments, with the exception of the Gillard govt (2010-2013), have refused to act. .

While it might be a reality that coal mines are being started up in other parts of the planet, and that if Australia shut down its coal mines, the global impact might not be huge, there would still be quite an impact.

Meanwhile, a rich country like Australia looks very bad, internationally, as our government lies about our greenhouse emissions, and continues to promote coal, while trying to suppress renewables. As to energy efficiency   nobody seems to be mentioning that   yet it can be an enormous component of climate change action. Australia hypocritically does little to help Pacific neighbours, threatened by sea level rise.

Australia is an international climate change disgrace.

And, even sadder   Australia is the most vulnerable of developed countries, to the ravages of global warming.  When those global warming chickens come home to roost, will other countries feel like helping us?

Australias traumas could set off even this summer with bushfires.   And still our leaders do not care about global warming, do not care about joining in international action against it.



Prime Minister Scott Morrison resuscitates the nightmare dream of the nuclear chain in Australia "IndyWatch Feed"

Prime Minister Scott Morrison says nuclear would be considered if the investment case stacks up, Daniel Wills, State Political Editor, The Advertiser  October 8, 2018

PRIME Minister Scott Morrison says he is willing to do whatever it takes to bring down power bills, and would consider going nuclear if he was convinced it made economic sense.

Mr Morrison has opened a new flank in the energy battle by saying he was open-minded about nuclear, a move South Australias former Labor premier Jay Weatherill also once entertained.

Mr Morrison told 2GB radio in Sydney he would overturn a legal ban on building nuclear reactors in Australia if he believed it would put downward pressure on power prices.

Mr Morrison said he would do whatever it takes to make electricity cheaper, and have no issues allowing nuclear reactors to be built if it would make lower household bills.



Climate apocalypse is heading, unless the world takes drastic action "IndyWatch Feed"

Australia is the worlds largest coal exporter, with thermal and coking coal shipments last year totalling 382 million tonnes.

The findings of the report are at odds with the Morrison governments insistence that coal will play an essential role in the nations economic future.

For the first time in a IPCC report, the authors included social and economic impacts. That marked the end of magical thinking that sustainable development goals and poverty reduction could be divorced from climate action.

If governments fail to drastically and urgently reduce emissions, they are knowingly contributing to the dangers of a world that is at least 1.5 degrees warmer, Tessa Khan, co-director of the Climate Litigation Network.

This has clear legal consequences and governments will inevitably be held accountable for knowingly putting people in harms way, Ms Khan said, noting citizens in the Netherlands, Ireland, Switzerland, Norway, Colombia, the US and New Zealand have already taken their governments to court.

This litigation is only just picking up speed.

Next decade critical: Perils mount at 1.5 degrees of warming, says IPCC , Sydney Morning Herald,  By Peter Hannam & Nicole Hasham 8 October 2018 The amount of coal and other fossil fuels the world can burn without unleashing dangero...


Under the mask of Transparency, Trump government suppresses reputable science about radiation "IndyWatch Feed"

Yes, radiation is bad for you. The EPAs transparency rule would be even worse.  The Trump administration wants to strangle access to reputable science. By Audra J. Wolfe, 8 Oct 18   Audra J. Wolfe is a Philadelphia-based w...


Renewable energy bringing a new golden age to South Australia "IndyWatch Feed"

Ships, renewables energise SA as new golden age looms  Hopes of a manufacturing renaissance are being buoyed by warships and confidence in renewable energy after the disaster expected with Holdens closure failed to eventuate. (subscribers only}


UN report calls for shift from coal to renewables "IndyWatch Feed"


Coals share of electricity supply should be cut to 2 percent or less.

 Renewables should supply 70 percent to 85 percent of power generation.

Climate Crisis Spurs UN Call for $2.4 Trillion Fossil Fuel Shift, By Reed Landberg, Chisaki Watanabe, and Heesu Lee, October 8, 2018,    

World on track to warm 3 degrees, overshooting 2015 Paris goal

UN panel releases report on capping warming at 1.5 degrees

The world must invest $2.4 trillion in clean energy every year through 2035 and cut the use of coal-fired power to almost nothing by 2050 to avoid catastrophic damage from climate change, according to scientists convened by the United Nations.

Their report published Monday adds pressure on policymakers and businesses to step up their response to global warming, which is boosting sea levels, making storms mor...


White Rock solar farm begins production, completing latest wind-solar hybrid RenewEconomy "IndyWatch Feed"

White Rock solar farm begins producing electricity to the main grid, becoming the second wind-solar hybrid facility in the NEM. The post White Rock solar farm begins production, completing latest wind-solar hybrid appeared first on RenewEconomy.

via White Rock solar farm begins production, completing latest wind-solar hybrid RenewEconomy


Northern Territory signs PPA with 25MW solar farm, as grid reforms take shape RenewEconomy "IndyWatch Feed"

Northern Territorys largest solar PV project seals a solar off-take deal with NT-owned utility Jacana Energy. The post Northern Territory signs PPA with 25MW solar farm, as grid reforms take shape appeared first on RenewEconomy.

via Northern Territory signs PPA with 25MW solar farm, as grid reforms take shape RenewEconomy


Cost of action on climate change is high political will is lacking "IndyWatch Feed"

The political will to prevent climate change is lacking, even as the cost climbs Brisbane Times By David Crowe,8 October 2018 Australians are being presented with another startling contrast between colossal risk and paltry action over climate change.The latest scientific advice is that human activity has already caused an increase of 1 degree in world temperatures, with global warming estimated to reach 1.5 degrees by 2052 on current trends.

The cost is astronomical. The damage over the years to 2100 would reach $US54 trillion in todays dollars if warming was kept to 1.5 degrees. The cost would climb to $US69 trillion if warming reached 2 degrees.

The obvious message from the report is to stop the 2 degree scenario. The scientists say this means halting th...



IPCC Summary omits some of the biggest risks of climate change "IndyWatch Feed"

The IPCC global warming report spares politicians the worst details, Bob Ward 8 Oct 18   dangers if governments ignore efforts to limit warming to 1.5C are more grave than the summary makes out

A report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change confirms the enormous wisdom that governments showed in Paris in December 2015, when they agreed to the goal of pursuing efforts to limit global warming to 1.5C.

The reports summary for policymakers paints a sobering picture of the potentially terrible impacts of allowing global mean surface temperature to rise by 2C compared with pre-industrial levels: more extreme weather, sea level rise and ocean acidification, with detrimental effects on wildlife, crops, water availability and human health.

But the policymakers, or at least their aides, should make the effort to read the whole report. Incredibly, the stark summary is still a relatively conservative assessment of the consequences we might face if global warming does exceed 1.5C.

The report is a comprehensive review of...

Monday, 08 October


Australian government backs coal in defiance of IPCC climate warning "IndyWatch Feed"

Deputy PM Michael McCormack says policy will not change based on some sort of report'The Australian government has rejected the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report's call to phase out coal power by 2050, claiming renewable energy cannot replace baseload coal power.The deputy prime minister, Michael McCormack, said Australia should absolutely continue to use and exploit its coal reserves, despite the IPCC's dire warnings the world has just 12 years to avoid climate [...]


Fate of Human Race Depends on Massive Greening Effort "IndyWatch Feed"

It strikes me as darkly humorous that we, the most intelligent species ever to have evolved on earth, homo sapiens (evolved circa 190,000 years ago), were so clever that around 1750 we started burning so much wood, coal and later on oil and natural gas that we started changing our own climate so much that it may threaten our survival. And, in a new scientific report, scientists hair is on fire, and they are warning us as vehemently as these polite researchers know how that we have to be net zero carbon by 2050, and we have to jump on getting there RIGHT NOW, during the next decade. Or else, Very Bad Things will happen.

We have to go to war, folks. This challenge is like when Hitler took over all of mainland Europe and the US geared up to go defeat him. The climate crisis is also a genocidal maniac.

The IPCC report says that if we push the global average surface temperature of the earth up only by about 2.7 degrees F. (1.5C), it will be *much* better than if we push it up to 3.6 F. (2 C.) or more (and it can go up 10 degrees F. if we really want it to). Remember, we are talking about an average increase of 3.6 degrees F. That includes the surface of the oceans, which is cold, and the two poles, etc. So in Alabama or Arizona, it will be *way* more than a 3.6 degrees F. increase.

The difference between a 2.7 degrees increase and 3.6 could be 4 inches that the seas dont rise. Four inches dont seem like that much, but if you live in Palm Beach it is the difference between your house flooding or not.

The IPCC says that coral reefs would decline by 70-90 percent with global warming of 2.7 degrees F., whereas virtually all (more than 99 percent) would be lost with a 3.6 degrees F. increase. Coral reefs are where fish hide from predators and multiply and feed. They also help protect coasts from storm surges. You need coral reefs way more than you know and it is better NOT TO KILL THEM ALL.

Here is a graphic from Carbon Brief that shows the difference:

The IPCC press release says, Every extra bit of warming matters, especially since warming of 1.5 C or higher increases the risk associated with long-lasting or irreversible changes, such as the loss of some ecosystems, said Hans-Otto Prtner, co-ch...


Video: Companies try win their way into fracking "IndyWatch Feed"

Queensland farmers are fighting plans to dispose of millions of tonnes of toxic CSG salt waste just 100m from a creek in the headwaters of the Murray Darling Basin. Will you support them?

Video from the Lock The Gate Alliance


Toxic salt dump on farming land

Qld farmers are fighting plans to dispose of millions of tonnes of toxic CSG salt waste just 100m from a creek in the headwaters of the Murray Darling Basin. Will you support them?

Posted by Lock The Gate Alliance on Friday, October 5, 2018


The post Video: Companies try win their way into fracking appeared first on The Pen.

IndyWatch Au Environment News Feed Archiver

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