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Thursday, 23 November

20:49

Fukushima Class Action Federal Lawsuit Filed in Boston Against General Electric Fukushima 311 Watchdogs "IndyWatch Feed Enviro.au"

GE sued for Fukushima disaster Lawsuit alleges unsafe design, cost cutting Japanese property owners and businesses near the Fukushima nuclear plant that melted down after a devastating 2011 tsunami filed a $500 million class-action lawsuit against General Electric for negligently designing the doomed plant. The lawsuit, filed yesterday in federal court in Boston, claims the []

via Fukushima Class Action Federal Lawsuit Filed in Boston Against General Electric Fukushima 311 Watchdogs


20:48

Tepco Says The Fukushima Cleanup Is Progressing, But at a Painstaking Pace "IndyWatch Feed Enviro.au"

Fukushima 311 Watchdogs

Last July 2017 Tepcos remotely piloted robots transmitted view of what could be melted radioactive fuel inside Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plants destroyed reactors actually Tepco wants to believe that it is melted radioactive fuel but has not been able to get it confirmed since then.
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The Fukushima Cleanup Is Progressing, But at a Painstaking Pace
Earlier this year, remotely piloted robots transmitted what officials believe was a direct view of melted radioactive fuel inside Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plants destroyed reactorsa major discovery, but one that took a long and painful six years to achieve. In the meantime, the program to clean up the destroyed reactors has seen numerous setbacks and concerns, including delays on Japanese electrical utility Tepcos timetable to begin removing the highly radioactive fuel and continued leakage of small amounts of radioactive substances.
Japanese officials are now hoping that they can convince a skeptical public that

View original post 429 more words


20:45

Coal industrys final insult to humanity: Its killing our sperm RenewEconomy "IndyWatch Feed Enviro.au"

Taiwanese study finds that men exposed to higher levels of air pollution have poorer quality sperm. Add that to climate impacts and lung disease of fossil fuels.

via Coal industrys final insult to humanity: Its killing our sperm RenewEconomy


20:44

Solar & Wind cheaper than Coal. #StopAdani #Qldvotes #CoralnotCoal jpratt27 "IndyWatch Feed Enviro.au"

New study reaches a stunning conclusion about the cost of solar and wind energy Building new renewables is now cheaper than just running old coal and nuclear plants. Nov 20, 2017, 11:34 am CREDIT: Patrick Pleul/dpa via AP file In one of the fastest and most astonishing turnarounds in the history of energy, building and []

via Solar & Wind cheaper than Coal. #StopAdani #Qldvotes #CoralnotCoal jpratt27


19:47

Sydney unemployment still dropping "IndyWatch Feed Enviro.au"

Sydney unemployment falling

Greater Sydney has been creating thousands of new jobs per month in recent times, and the harbour city's unemployment rate has generally been trending down now for the past 44 months, now hitting an annual average of just 4.65 per cent.

Brisbane also recorded a neat fall in the month, but seems to be creating a dearth of full time positions.


Sydney's monthly unemployment rate dropped to just 3.9 per cent in the month of October 2017 itself, a fantastically strong result which suggests any serious housing market correction is unlikely for the time being.


There hasn't been a lower monthly unemployment rate since more than a dozen years ago, all the way back in August 2005, and before the financial crisis.

Sydney's labour market is tightening gradually, and there are some nascent signs of wage pressures in the trades and construction industries.

It now takes 14 weeks on average for Sydneysiders to find a job, down from 18 weeks three years earlier, so it's been a bit of a slow burn.

Newcastle and the Hunter Valley have also seen a fine turnaround in fortunes over the past couple of years as the state's economy accelerated away from the resources downturn (and coal prices in particular came shooting back with a vengeance).
...

18:38

Racism in Australia to be scrutinised on the world stage "IndyWatch Feed Enviro.au"

The Australian Government is bracing for another round of intense scrutiny at the United Nations this time focusing on its efforts to combat racial discrimination.

Despite being a nation committed to fairness and multiculturalism, racism is a growing problem in Australia one that causes immense pain to racial and ethnic minority communities, and which threatens to tear our social fabric apart.

Next week in Geneva, the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination will assess Australias compliance with a key international law that Australia pledged to uphold to tackle racism.

A coalition of Australian NGOs will brief the Committee in Geneva and present a report, endorsed by 53 organisations. The report documents Australias backward slide in the treatment of ethnic minority communities, refugees, people who seek asylum and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

The Committee is likely to question Australia about its cruelty towards people seeking asylum and the dire situation on Manus Island, which the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights has called a humanitarian crisis.

Australias poor record on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples rights will also come under review, including the alarming increase in governments locking up Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and taking children into child protection, the lack of progress on meeting Closing the Gap targets, racist social security policies, and the rejection of the Uluru Statement from the Heart.

The Committee is also likely to ask Australia why it still lacks a federal human rights charter to ensure equality for all Australians.

Only last month, Australia was slammed by the UN Human Rights Committee for failing to adequately engage and respond to UN bodies and recommendations. The stinging rebuke came just a month after Australia was appointed to the Human Rights Council.

Download report: Australias Compliance with the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination

Quo...

15:54

Girl recovering from shark attack off Melbourne Beach, Florida "IndyWatch Feed Enviro.au"

Crystal-clear water and lingering mix swell revealed some excited ocean activity in Central Florida last weekend both above and below the surface. On Saturday evening, at about an hour or two before sunset, 14-year-old surfer Kaia Anderson was bitten by what is believed to be a spinner shark off a Floridana Beach access in southern Melbourne Beach. "Kaia lives right next door to me, she's probably the nicest girl I've ever met in my entire life, and she and her sister go surfing every single day," said local pro Chauncey Robinson, who witnessed the attack. "I'd been up at the access watching the waves for 30 minutes prior and saw a shark go through a wave, but others thought it was a dolphin, since there were a few of those out, too. Then, probably ten minutes before it happened, I saw a spinner shark jump out the back and splash in front of everyone.

14:16

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

Mikdad: We Support UN Role in Case it Respects its Charter and States Sovereignty
23 November 2017

Damascus, SANA- Deputy Foreign and Expatriates Minister Fayssal Mikdad stressed that the summit meeting between President Bashar al-Assad and President Vladimir Putin is one of the most important meetings as it came before holding the tripartite summit in Sochi city in Russia and it conveyed a message that Russia stands by Syria and consults with it on sensitive issues.

In an interview with the Syrian TV on Wednesday,  Mikdad commented on Sochi statement, saying that the language of the statement affirms the political sides which we have dealt with over the past years, and it deals with issues of combating terrorism and the bases set to accomplish the political process.

Answering a question on the UN role in the future political process in Syria, Mikdad said We support the role of the UN in case it respects its Charter which embodies the sovereignty and the independence of the states and the noninterference in their internal affairswhen the UN practices its role on these bases we welcome it.

The committee to discuss constitution during the coming National Dialogue Congress in Sochi doesnt have an official nature and it is a brainstorming process as the Syrian Arab Republic discusses its constitution according to the constitutional mechanisms adopted by the laws in force similar to the parliamentary elections which are conducted according to a constitutional mechanism and the ballot boxes, Mikdad added.

He clarified that the battel against terrorism has almost reached the end and the remnants of Jabhat al-Nusra and Daesh terrorists and the groups affiliated to them will naturally decline, asserting that the battel will continue till fully eliminating terrorism.

Mikdad called upon the states which are part of the illegal US-led coalition to withdraw from it, calling upon the US at the same time to stop its operations in Syria and withdraw its forces from it, and to combat terrorism according to the recognized international mechanism.

R. Jazaeri/ H. Zain

13:30

Fake economics: how to make bad transport projects look good "IndyWatch Feed Enviro.au"

Victoria is spending $5.5 billion building the West Gate Tunnel, another $1 billion widening CityLink, probably $10 billion on the North East Link, $11 billion on Melbourne Metro, $8 billion removing level crossings, and, if the Coalition returns, more than $3 billion on the East West Link.

NSW is spending $16 billion on WestConnex, $14 billion on Western Harbour Tunnel Beaches Link, $9 billion on the F6 Extension, $3 billion on NorthConnex, $11 billion on Sydney Metro South West, $8 billion on Sydney Metro NorthWest, $3 billion on Parramatta Light Rail, $2 billion on Sydney Light Rail, and billions more on Sydney Metro West.

It would be nice to know it was money well spent.

There's a fiction that a benefit-cost ratio above "1" means things are OK.

Here's how it works. A consultant adds up all the costs over a period of 30 or 40 years and all the benefits. If the benefits are greater than the costs, giving a ratio of, say, 1.5, it is said to be worth doing. But if they are less, say, 0.45 (which was the ratio in the first study of in the East West Link), it is said to be a waste of money.

Often the studies are never made public, sometimes they are never conducted (as was the case with the national broadband network) and very often they are conducted as an "add-on"; financial bling to be sprinkled over the project after it has been approved and announced.

Melbourne's $5.5 billion West Gate Tunnel is a case in point. Sydney's $14 billion Western Harbour Tunnel and Beaches Link is another. Internal NSW Transport emails released to me under freedom of information show an analyst complaining that his superiors had as good as completed the business case without access to the numbers.

"How something with no, repeat, no, benefit-cost analysis or traffic numbers can be construed as 80 to 90 per cent complete is beyond me," the exasperated official wrote. "The numbers tell us if the thing makes sense."

And the numbers are sometimes rigged.

A seminar in Melbourne last month on the use and abuse of cost-benefit analysis explored the ways.

One of the easiest is to hike the traffic forecasts. On some toll roads, the number of cars predicted to use them was greater than the capacity of the roads. Out of court settlements were reached between the modellers and investors in Sydney's Lane Cove Tunnel and Brisbane's M7 Clem Jones Tunnel.

Professor Jago Dodson of the RMIT Centre for Urban Research revealed that in the queue at a conference he had met one of Australia's senior transport modellers who had worked on at least one of those tunnels.

"Myself and another col...

08:45

The lame progressive obsession with meaningless aggregates "IndyWatch Feed Enviro.au"

Maybe the British Labour Party could get Nancy Pelosi to do some stupid tweets for them as well. She is an expert at it see my blog When neoliberals masquerade as progressives. She thinks it is smart progressive politics to post tweets criticising her political opponents for a policy that explodes the deficit dumping debt on every man, woman & child in America. A fallacious argument. But moreover, a very stupid strategic argument because it fails to educate the public on what deficits and public debt are and what the capacities of a currency-issuing government and locks the progressive side of politics into no-win dilemmas. When it is their turn to govern they quickly find that they have no room to move on government spending because their own taunts when in opposition are thrown back at them. Same the world over. The progressive side of politics seems to have a lame obsession with meaningless aggregates like the size of the fiscal deficit or public debt to GDP ratio. Pathetic is not the word.

In Australia, you still see headlines regularly like this one Our national debt blasts past half a trillion dollars which apart from the emotional language and framing that is meant to create fear immediately (blasts past) it also runs the line that:

Australias national debt has exceeded $500 billion, more than double the debt Labor added during the global crisis but in a fraction of the time, forcing the Coalition to defend its claim to be the better economic manager.

Which suggests that the conservatives (Coalition) are worse policy makers because their fiscal deficit has been higher.

The Labor Party in Australia has been demanding the Government drop its planned corporate tax cuts because they will lead to a debt blowout. Idiots.

The corporate tax cuts are bad policy but not because the deficit will rise as a consequence.

This sort of attack is mindless and doesnt advance progressive politics. In fact, it holds it back.

We know that there is a matching public debt issuance for the on-going deficits. So under those redundant institutional arrangements (more later), it is obvious that if the government is running a deficit then its debt will rise $-for-$.

To merely rehearse the line that if a government with lower public debt is doing a better job than one with higher public debt, which is basically the argument the journalist seeks to make in this case, is an exercise in ignorance or deliberate deception.

It might be true that the policies that are in place which deliver a higher fi...

07:24

Threatened species protected on Toorongo Plateau "IndyWatch Feed Enviro.au"

Mt Toorongo is a magical spot: it is a mountain in the Central Highlands to the east of Melbourne. If you drive to the Baw Baw ski village from Noojee, it is the steep dark mountain that fills the skyline above you as you head through the last of the farming country at Icy Creek.

Not many people go there. Its a bit off the track, but is accessible quite easily via a number of dirt roads. As I understand the ecology of the mountain, it was burnt twice in close succession (in the 1920s and the infamous 1939 fires). So the eucalypt forest on the summit was replaced by a remarkable cloud forest of what are normally understorey species. The summit itself is a long ridge which offers wonderful views of the Baw Baw Plateau, the Latrobe Valley and distant Strzelecki Ranges to the south.

Like many forests in the region, the mountain has been relentlessly logged. Much of the cloud forest was chained down by bulldozers in the early 1990s and planted with Shining Gum (which is not actually indigenous to the area as I understand it).

But there are still pockets of cool temperate rainforest, and the forest at the treeline, composed of old wattles and myrtle beech, is a delight. It still harbours endangered animal species, too.

Recently, WOTCH (Wildlife of the Central Highlands), a volunteer group which focuses on citizens science like animal surveys, identified Leadbeaters Possums on the Toorongo Plateau, the northern slopes of the mountain. It is hard to overstate the importance of Toorongo Mountain and the plateau. Like the Errinundra Plateau, it has acted as a refugia in times of climate variation and climate change in the past, providing a place for the old Gondwanic species to retreat to when temperatures are warmer and fire regimes are stronger.

The Leadbeaters Possum was found in an area that was scheduled for logging and the discovery of the individual means that this particular section of forest will be protected. This is a great outcome, won by an inspiring group.

You can find out more about WOTCH via their facebook page.


06:38

Part 6 of the Queensland election blog for 2017 #qldvotes #qldpol @Qldaah "IndyWatch Feed Enviro.au"

Ongoing coverage of the Queensland election campaign for 2017. Check back for updates. Table of contents Jump to comments section. Antony Greens Queensland election 2017 guide. Queensland election: Breaking down the big promises from Labor and the LNP. Archive of The Courier Mails front pages during election 2017. (November 23, 2017) Day 26 Adani NAIF veto to be respected. . (November 23, 2017) Day 26 -Adani NAIF veto to be respected Adani NAIF veto to be respected Michelle Gately reported, IF QUEENSLAND is led by a Labor Government after Saturday, there will be no chance of Federal funding for the rail line vital to Adanis Carmichael Coal Mine. LNP Senator []

Author information

David Marler

David Marler

Queensland reporter at No Fibs

David is a full time carer for his son and in quiet times contributes to NoFibs. More at: http://nofibs.com.au/meeting-david-marler-nofibs-twitter-activist-by-griffithelects

05:10

Sharks vs. Measles, Victorian Minister vs. Sweden, and Vax vs. Playgrounds "IndyWatch Feed Enviro.au"

Jackson State University study found shocking statistics about vaccination (photo Immunity Education)

By Dee McLachlan

Am I reading this correctly?

The Herald Sun reported today:

Three children were removed from the father and mothers care following serious concerns for their welfare, but the couple are now fighting a decision made by a childrens court that the children be immunised while in the care of the Department of Health and Human Services....

04:30

Global Coal Market Shrugs Off Indias Reduced Imports "IndyWatch Feed Enviro.au"

While Indias coal imports have dropped 12% over the last three years, as the Modi government pursues a domestic strategy, they have picked up in recent times and are likely to continue to rise.

Credit: Reuters

Indonesias benchmark price for thermal coal has risen by more than 25% since June this year. Credit: Reuters

New Delhi: The international coal market is hardening on strong Chinese demand, brushing off the impact India was projected to have as a result of it reducing dependence on the imported dry fuel.

The global rise, surprisingly, comes even though the 13.6 million tonne gain in Chinas imports during January-July 2017 has not been enough to offset the 16.3 million tonne decline in Indias purchase of coal from the overseas market.

The Indonesian coal market, which is the main source of imported fuel for Indian power plants, too remains ebullient, proving wrong those who predicted an imminent end to the boom in the Southeast Asian countrys coal sector.

The Indonesian governments benchmark price for thermal coal has risen by more than 25% since June this year on strong Chinese demand for the dry fuel. The benchmark Indonesian thermal coal price in November is 12% higher compared to the same month last year.

This despite India continuing its focus on increasing domestic coal production to reduce coal imports. Moreover, India buys low-grade thermal coal from Indonesia which can be blended with higher grade coal before burning. In contrast, China majorly sources higher-quality of coal from Australia and South Africa...

01:00

Core of climate science is in the real-world data "IndyWatch Feed Enviro.au"

The following was provided by Dr. Willie Soon, reproduced with permission from Dr Ian Flanigan. The Coalition referenced in the post is the current Australian Government, a Coalition between the Liberal and National parties. Core of climate science is in the real-world data by Dr Ian Flanigan News Weekly, November 18, 2017 The Government continues

00:06

Mixed bag for PNG in new risk report "IndyWatch Feed Enviro.au"

We are always hearing about where is the best place for foreigners to invest [i.e. extract profits] but what about looking at the equation from the perspective of people in the target countries? Who are the best and the worst investors based on their track records?

Probably mining companies, logging companies, and oil palm companies are among the worst investors and the ones PNG should avoid?

Time for the World Bank / ADB / Australian Aid to fund something that would really be useful!

A COMPREHENSIVE study has just been completed about where in the world you would find the best and the worst jurisdictions in which to invest your hard-earned cash.

PNG Industry News | 22 November 2017 

Published by PNGIndustryNews.net sister publication, the Mining Journal World Risk Report (featuring MineHutte ratings) is a comprehensive piece of work which gives a...

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Wednesday, 22 November

23:18

It's time (to take Labor seriously) "IndyWatch Feed Enviro.au"

The shape of the next Labor government is becoming clearer.

This week we learnt that it will end the practice of signing Australia up to trade agreements that haven't survived a benefit-cost analysis.

Seriously. Korea, Japan, China. None of the three big agreements boasted about by Tony Abbott and Malcolm Turnbull has been subjected to an independent assessment of its benefits and costs. And nor has the far bigger, 5600-page, Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement signed by trade minister Andrew Robb shortly before he resigned and took up a position with the Chinese investor that runs the Port of Darwin.

Nor have any of Australia's agreements ever had to face official scrutiny after the event. "Not that I am aware of," were the words used by a foreign affairs official at a parliamentary hearing.

The US-Australia free trade agreement at least faced an unofficial analysis about the time of its 10th birthday in 2015. An economic modeller from the Australian National University applied the framework developed by the Productivity Commission and found it had cut rather than boosted trade between Australia and the US and the rest of world. Trade between Australia and the US also slid, but for other reasons.

It's easy to see why it cut trade with the rest of the world. Like most exclusive agreements it gave special access to exports from its members. Here's how it would have worked with the 12-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership (had Donald Trump not pulled the pin): Vietnam would have been a member but Thailand would not have been. The US-based Peterson Institute for International Economics has found that Vietnam would have exported more to Australia (which would have boosted its economy) in place of Thailand, which would have exported less (which would have harmed its economy).

And Australia would have had to change the way it made things, cutting inputs from countries such as Thailand and Indonesia under complex "rules of origin" if it wanted special access to the US, even where that meant much higher costs. The Korea-Australia agreement included 5200 rules of origin.

It's little wonder that the business organisation closest to the action, the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, finds its members less than keen to use the agreements trumpeted by the Coalition. Only 15 per cent use and understand the Austr...

22:42

Australias reputation faces serious risks if Adani loan goes ahead "IndyWatch Feed Enviro.au"

Peter Hannam reports (Sydney Morning Herald 19 November 2017) that the former executive secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, has condemned the prospect of a $1  billion loan to Adani, and Australias performance at the Bonn climate talks last week.

Providing a $1 billion loan to underwrite Adanis proposed mega coal mine in Queensland would have serious negative impacts for Australias international reputation and unpick the progress of the Paris climate agreement, according to Christiana Figueres, a former United Nations climate chief.

Ms Figueres has written to the Turnbull governments Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility (NAIF), which is considering a concessional loan for a rail link from the mine to the coast.

The former executive secretary of the UNs Framework Convention on Climate Change
sought to highlight that under the NAIFs own enabling legislation, it must not act in a way that is likely to cause damage to the Commonwealth governments reputation, or that of a relevant State or Territory.

Ms Figueres warned the expected total lifetime carbon emissions from burning coal from the proposed Carmichael in the Galilee basin would be 4.64 billion tonnes of carbon-dioxide, according to details of the letter obtained by Fairfax Media.

At its peak, the mines product would trigger emissions of 120 million tonnes of CO2-equivalent, roughly equal to what Australia has pledged to cut by 2030 from current pollution levels under its Paris pledges.

Based on these numbers, emissions that would result from burning Carmichael coal in one peak production year would completely cancel out the total emissions reduction effort Australia has committed to for the 13 years from now until 2030 under the Paris Agreement, she said

The rail loan, now being considered by NAIF, has been a key point of debate in Queenslands state elections, with polls indicating little support for concessional finance for Adani, a mining conglomerate owned by Indian billionaire Gautam Adani.

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said her government, if re-elected at Saturdays elections, would have no role in assessing the NAIF loan, effectively blocking it. Oppositional leader Tim Nicholls supports the loan and has blasted the premiers stance as putting thousands of regional jobs at risk.

Ms Figueres said her intervention was prompted by a deep concern for planetary well-being, I cannot, in all good conscience, remain silent on an issue that threatens to u...

21:34

Traditional Owners Expose Adanis Relentless Pursuit of W&J Country "IndyWatch Feed Enviro.au"

In the third in a five part series on the proposed Adani Carmichael coal mine, Kristen Lyons looks at a deal struck between the miners and the local traditional owners, and why it just adds to the smell that pervades the entire project.

 

Introduction

The Indian industrial conglomerate, Adani Enterprises well known for environmental damage and human rights abuses at its project sites around the world, and built upon a complex business structure with tax havens in the Cayman Islands entered Australia in 2010 with the purchase of coal tenements in the Galilee Basin, in Central Queensland.

Despite its controversial back story, some of which has only come to light since approvals were granted for its Australian project, Adani quickly rose to become a poster child for the State Government, based on promises its Carmichael mine project would deliver jobs and economic growth for regional Queensland.

Managed by its domestic arm, Adani Mining Pty Ltd, over the following years it developed a project proposal that included a coalmine, as well as rail and port infrastructure, thereby opening up the massive Galilee Basin for coal exports.

With seven years gone since acquisition of the coal tenements, and marred by substantial project downsizing, Adani is yet to start construction of its mega mine.

Wangan and Jagalingou Traditional Owners Family Councils (W&J) defiant opposition to Adanis proposed Carmichael mine has been central to this delay; opposition that has, in itself, exposed the dirty deeds Adani is willing to perpetrate against Traditional Owners who seek to defend their right to say no to a mine that would destroy their country.

This article exposes some of Adanis deeds, including its nefarious actions in reaching an agreement with Traditional Owners, as well as its use of an Indigenous Participation Plan and cultural heritage work as attempts to blackwash its corporate brand, all while walking over Traditional Owners rights.

These tactics, alongside collusion with state and federal governments, are all part of Adanis relentless pursuit of a land grab of Wangan and Jagalingou country. Yet the outcome of Adanis bullying tactics has not simply failed to achieve agreement with Traditional Owners for the destruction of their country, it has also eroded the companies social license to operate in Australia.

 

W&J country is the heart of Adanis Project......

19:33

People Make 'Security Systems' For Special Wild Parrots To Keep Them Safe "IndyWatch Feed Enviro.au"

Swift parrots may be small, but the risks theyre facing in the wild right now are anything but.

Native to southeastern Australia, these tiny, endangered birds migrate to Tasmania each year to breed and settle into nests with their babies. But this year, theyve moved to a different side of the island that is packed with sugar gliders who love to break into nests for a quick snack.

Credit: Dejan Stojanovic

On average, about half of the adult female parrots that nest in Tasmania are killed by sugar gliders each year, Dr. Dejan Stojanovic, a conservation scientist from Australian National University, told The Dodo. This threat is the reason the parrots were listed as critically endangered [two years ago].

Credit: Shutterstock

In addition to being at risk from sugar gliders during their breeding season, swift parrots have also faced habitat loss in recent years due to the logging industry. Only an estimated 2,000 remain in the wild.

Luckily, some humans are on their side and have raised over $87,000 to save them.

Credit: Dejan Stojanovic

The money, collected through a crowdsourcing campaign that started in October, is being used to build specially-designed, predator-proof nesting boxes for the birds.

By covering the small entry hole in nesting boxes with a solar-powered door, the birds inside are protected once the door shuts at nightfall (when sugar gliders are out prowling for food). With the light of the morning sun, the tiny door automatically opens again and the birds can carry on with their day....

17:53

Autumn Budget 2017: Key climate and energy announcements "IndyWatch Feed Enviro.au"

Philip Hammond, the UKs chancellor, has delivered his second budget this year in a speech to parliament high on post-Brexit optimism and green rhetoric.

Hammond said the UK led the world on climate change agreements and promised new money to support a shift to electric vehicles. He also said: We cannot keep our promise to the next generation to build an economy fit for the future, unless we ensure our planet has a future.

He touted the promise of a Global Britain and the legacy it would leave to its children though this section did not mention climate change.

For energy and climate, however, the substance within the budget documents is more ambiguous. It quietly announces an effective moratorium on new support for low-carbon electricity. It promises to maintain a UK carbon price at current levels, until coal is phased out, but without explaining the details.

It freezes fuel duty yet again, adding to a cumulative cost to the exchequer of 46bn since 2010. And it offers further beneficial tax changes to the North Sea oil and gas sector.

The budget does not flesh out several crucial aspects of the UKs Clean Growth Strategy on how to meet legally binding carbon budgets, including efforts to decarbonise heat and improve energy efficiency even though the main home efficiency scheme was recently extended.

It also does not mention plans to develop a UK shale gas industry, long a favourite subject for previous chancellor George Osborne.

Low-carbon subsidy moratorium

Todays budget leaves many questions hanging over the future of low-carbon subsidies, raising doubts over the UKs ability to meet its legally binding carbon targets up to the early 2030s. The government has already admitted it is falling short of these goals and the Committee on Climate Change has said more subsidies will be needed to meet them.

...

15:24

The Goofy Billionaire Overnight Saudi Prince is Going After Iran "IndyWatch Feed Enviro.au"

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Lebanons Prime Minister Saad Al-Hariri, who announced his surprise resignation in Riyadh, has recently announced his intention to return to Beirut.

In fact it was the Saudi crown prince Mohammad bin Salman, who still needs an excuse to provoke Israel into attacking Iranian, Hezbollahs and Shia militias positions in Syria, that was behind this trick with the resignation of Hariri. And thats just square one of the plan to fulfill the unparalleled ambitions of the not as sane as one would want heir of the Saudi throne. And nobody really doubts his ability to take all power in Saudi Arabia at this point. The transition of power in favor of his son Mohammed, while retaining the title of the keeper of two sacred places (Mecca and Medina). The delay is caused by the need to negotiate this transition with two influential clans: the Al-Rashid clan that controls the Republican Guard and intelligence agencies, and the clan of Al-Jiluwi that has been ruling the Eastern province of Saudi Arabia, the main oil producing region of the kingdom that is populated by Shiites.

However, to make his dreams come to fruition Mohammed also needed huge financial resources to sponsor his military adventures that are going to be launched under the banner of combating the Shia expansion. And boy did he get those by arresting about 200 members of his fellow royal family members and high-ranking officials under the pretext of fighting corruption. Among them one could find Prince Al-Waleed bin Talal, whose estimated fortune exceeded 18 billion dollars. He would suggest then that the detainees, who were kept hostages in the luxury Ritz hotel would surrender 2/3 of their fortune to Mohammed in order to escape the punishment. Due to this, Muhammad received a whopping sum of 800 billion dollars. And through this secured a successful IPO of the state-owned oil company Saudi Aramco for a sum of 2 trillion dollars.

And who would have thought that the inadequate Mohammed that is still in his 30s would be capable of this? The answer is simple: Jared Kushner was behind this scam, none other than the son-in-law of Donald Trump and his senior adviser at the same time, but he was assisted by his best friend Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu.

Now Mohammed bin Salman has the means to modernize Saudi Arabia, which is going to be without abolishing the poisonous Wahhabi ideology, but theres still more....

07:57

Renewables, coal and culture war "IndyWatch Feed Enviro.au"

In the final week of the Queensland election campaign, Ive been busy trying to do what I can to influence the result. Ive put out a couple of opinion pieces about the choice between coal and renewable energy. This one, in The Guardian, focuses on the central role of the culture war in motivating rightwing opposition to renewable energy. In The Conversation, I look at the economics and business aspects and debunk the idea that ultrasupercritical technology makes coal-fired power a high efficiency, low emissions technology

Also, in New Matilda, Im collaborating with Morgan Brigg and Kristen Lyons of the Global Change Institute to produce a five-part series on Adani and the resistance to the project by the Wangan and Jagalingou people.

07:54

Australia Defends Alternative Accommodation for Asylum Seekers Against UN Criticism "IndyWatch Feed Enviro.au"

An undated image released November 13, 2017 shows detainees staging a protest inside the compound at the Manus Island detention centre in Papua New Guinea. Refugee Action Coalition/Handout via Reuters

An undated image released November 13, 2017 shows detainees staging a protest inside the compound at the Manus Island detention centre in Papua New Guinea. Refugee Action Coalition/Handout via Reuters

Sydney/Geneva: Australias foreign minister said on Wednesday that asylum seekers occupying an abandoned Australian-run detention camp in Papua New Guinea (PNG) can relocate to...

05:46

I will never give up the fight against the nuclear waste rubbish dump on Adnyamathanha yarta "IndyWatch Feed Enviro.au"

Heather Mckenzie-Stuart Fight To Stop Nuclear Waste Dump In Flinders Ranges SA, 22 Nov 17, I am so sick of ANSTO and the Department of Innovation @ Science with their nuclear waste dump site of choice saga, the money packages, the problems, divisions, anxiety/stress, disrespect, envy, jealousy, malice, not pride, that they have brought and caused in the Flinders Ranges on yuras yarta re the proposed nuclear waste rubbish dump.

I am so over it,I will be glad the day ANSTO takes that nuclear dump and shove it wherever else they ca...

05:37

Now Russia admits to extremely high contamination of radioactive Ruthenium-106 around Ural Mountains "IndyWatch Feed Enviro.au"

Russia admits spike in radioactive ruthenium-106 over Ural Mountains amid fears of nuclear accident, ABC News, 22 Nov 17,  Russian authorities have confirmed reports of a spike in radioactivity in the air over the Ural Mountains.

Key points:

  • Russia admits extremely high contamination of Ruthenium-106 around Ural Mountains
  • Air samples near Mayak nuclear plant showed levels nearly 1,000 times higher than usual
  • The state-controlled plant denies any nuclear accidents and claims theres no health risk

But the suspected source of the leak, a nuclear fuel processing plant, denied it was the source of contamination.

The Russian Meteorological Service said in a statement on Tuesday it recorded the release of ruthenium-106 in the southern Urals in late September and classified it as extremely high contamination.

Russian authorities insisted, however, that the contamination posed no health risks.

Frances nuclear safety agency earlier this month said it recorded radioactivity in the area between the Volga River and the Ural Mountains from a suspected accident involving nuclear fuel or the production of radioactive material.

It said the release of the isotope posed no health or environmental risks to European countries.

Last month, when reports of a trace of...

05:34

Anti Adani coal plan protest in Brisbane, as Queenland election nears "IndyWatch Feed Enviro.au"

Anti-Adani protesters defy council, police in last-ditch action before election, SMH, Toby Crockford , 21 Nov 17 More than 200 anti-Adani activists have defied council and police by gathering in the heart of Brisbane for a last-ditch protest just days before the Queensland election.

Organisers hinted there could be mass arrests on Tuesday evening after Brisbane City Council and the Queensland Police Service refused to issue permits for the action, but despite a strong police presence, no arrests were made.

Cr Sri also asked protesters to take pictures from the rally and post them onto social media in order to generate discussion about the Adani proposal in the days before voters head to the polls.

No one wants the coal, the business models all wrong, he sang.

And if the trucks start to roll, you better bet were locking on.

There are thousands of us, our supporters number millions, were gonna mobilise, a whole army of civilians.

And if you dont like it you might as well resign, cos theres no way well ever let you build that mine, theres no way well ever let you build that mine.http://www.smh.com.au/queensland/anti-adani-protesters-defy-council-police-in-last-ditch-action-before-election-20171121-p4yx57.html


05:31

New arms race as USA ramps up a $1.25 trillion nuclear arsenal "IndyWatch Feed Enviro.au"

Reuters reported in February that in a phone conversation with Russian President Vladimir Putin, Trump denounced the New START treaty and rejected Putins suggestion that talks begin about extending it once it expires in 2021.

Some former senior U.S. government officials, legislators and arms-control specialists many of whom once backed a strong nuclear arsenal are now warning that the modernization push poses grave dangers.

Special Report: In modernizing nuclear arsenal, U.S. stokes new arms raceScot PaltrowWASHINGTON (Reuters), 21 Nov 17   President Barack Obama rode into office in 2009 with promises to work toward a nuclear-free world. His vow helped win him the Nobel Peace Prize that year.

The next year, while warning that Washington would retain the ability to retaliate against a nuclear strike, he promised that America would develop no new types of atomic weapons. Within 16 months of his inauguration, the United States and Russia negotiated the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty, known as New START, meant to build trust and cut the risk of nuclear war. It limited each side to what the treaty counts as 1,550 strategic nuclear warheads.

By the time Obama left office in January 2017, the risk of Armageddon hadnt receded. Instead, Washington was well along in a modernization program that is making nearly all of its nuclear weapons more accurate and deadly.

And Russia was doing the same:Its weapons badly degraded from neglect after the Cold War, Moscow had begun its own modernization years earlier under President Vladimir Putin. It built new, more powerful ICBMs, and developed a series of tactical nuclear weapons.

The United States under Obama transformed its main hydrogen bomb into a guided smart weapon, made its submarine-launched nuclear missiles five times more accurate, and gave its land-based long-range missiles so many added features that the Air Force in 2012 described them as basically new. To deliver these more lethal weapons, military contractors are building fleets of new heavy bombers and submarines.

President Donald Trump has worked hard to undo much of Obamas legacy, but he has embraced the modernization program enthusiastically. Trump has ordered the Defense Department to complete a review of the U.S. nuclear arsenal by the end of this year.

Reuters reported in February that in a phone conversation with Russian Pr...

05:18

Australias Chief Scientist Alan Finkel urges more energy storage "IndyWatch Feed Enviro.au"

Alan Finkel pushes for more energy storage to keep bills down and maintain reliability   http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-11-20/energy-storage-needed-to-keep-bills-down-finkel-report-warns/9167610   Power bills will go up and energy supply will be less reliable unless Australia develops better storage systems, according to Chief Scientist Alan Finkel.

Key points:

  • Report emphasises batteries and other storage solutions including turbines and demand response are key to keeping costs down and maintaining reliability
  • It also notes Australia could source 50 per cent of its energy from renewables by 2030
  • Energy ministers are due to meet this week to discuss Turnbulls National Energy Guarantee
 A new report from Dr Finkels office and the Australian Council of Learned Academics (ACOLA) warns planning and investment are needed to prevent power costs continuing to rise and to shore up reliability.The reliability of renewable energy depends on energy storage, particularly on days when the sun does not shine or the wind does not blow.

Storing the energy captured from renewable sources like solar and wind means suppliers are able to meet electrical energy demand at all times of the day.

Dr Finkel has recommended in the past that all large-scale wind and solar generators in Australia shoul...

05:16

Britains nuclear trade will grind to a halt, as UK leaves European Union and its nuclear regulatory agency "IndyWatch Feed Enviro.au"

The consensus is clear: there is no upside to a nuclear Brexit, Guardian, Clare Moody, 21 Nov 17,  This government must heed the warnings leaving the treaty on nuclear energy, Cabinet resignations, a government with no majority in the Commons, a make-or break-budget for the chancellor and a fast-approaching Brexit negotiating deadline means it is easy for issues to slip out of the public consciousness. Against this backdrop, Euratom and the UKs future nuclear safeguarding regime risk being forgotten.

As the nuclear safeguards bill one of the Brexit bills announced in the Queens speech makes its ...

05:04

22 November More REneweconomy News "IndyWatch Feed Enviro.au"

  • Queenslands election what do the energy numbers say?
    I hate to break the news, but north Queensland will not be getting a new coal fired power station if the LNP are elected on Saturday.

04:59

Australias govt and nuclear lobby soften up South Australians for nuclear waste dumping "IndyWatch Feed Enviro.au"

National Radioactive Waste Management Facility:21 November 2017 
Industry has one week left to tender for Site Characterisation Works

Industry is invited to get involved in the process to build a National Radioactive Waste Management Facility, with tenders now open for Site Characterisation works.

The tender is to deliver a range of technical assessments that will form part of Phase Two of the process in relation to the proposed National Radioactive Waste Management Facility, including:

  • Assessing flora and fauna, geology, seismic activity, risks, the surrounding environment, transportation and other infrastructure.
  • Inputting into the Detailed Business Case, with reference to the site specific design and cost estimates that arise from site characterisation.
  • An additional option, following site characterisation, for the preparation and development of submissions for licensing and approvals process.

Bruce McCleary, General Manager of the National Radioactive Waste Management Facility Taskforce said that site characterisation is an important activity in the next part of the project.

Three sites, two in Kimba and one at Wallerberdina Station were voluntarily nominated by their landowners and moved to Phase Two assessment after the community supported continuing the discussion, McCleary said.

Phase Two involves building a detailed understanding of the nominated sites, through in depth community consultation and technical assessments.

Communi...

04:56

In UK, government and nuclear lobby soften up Cumbria citizens for nuclear waste dumping "IndyWatch Feed Enviro.au"

Radiation Free Lakeland 19th Nov 2017, West Cumbria was ruled out as a site to bury nuclear waste 20 years ago because the geology was unsafe. The plan this time round is ten times as big and to include high level nuclear wastes, so not surprisingly Cumbria County Council said NO in January 2013.

However, in order to build new nuclear plants the industry and government need to be seen to have a
final solution to the problem, no matter if that final solution is dangerous to life in Cumbria and on planet earth. The ducks are being lined up.

To soften the public up in West Cumbria deep mining is once again being promoted as a good thing no matter that it is for coal, the mining expertise and infrastructure is being aggressively put into place
creating a demand. Companies like Eden Nuclear and Environment are sprouting up like toxic mushrooms and promoting their services: Our team has undertaken work for a range of disposal facilities including the Geological Disposal Facility (the one that is planned for Cumbria?)
https://mariannewildart.wordpress.com/2017/11/19/geological-dumping-of-nuclear-waste-where-why/


04:52

22 November REneweconomy news "IndyWatch Feed Enviro.au"

  
  • ACCIONA announces new head of Australian energy business
    ACCIONA has appointed Brett Wickham as the new Managing Director of its Australian energy business.
    ...

04:20

ESB modeling confirms NEG designed to shut door on renewables "IndyWatch Feed Enviro.au"

New modelling confirms little if any new renewable energy investment will be made under the NEG. But it reveals that the big savings the Coalition is claiming from the NEG are driven almost entirely by the policy it sought to kill the renewable energy target.

via ESB modeling confirms NEG designed to shut door on renewables RenewEconomy


04:18

Climate Change could kill 50-80% of Pacific fish. #StopAdani #Qldvotes #CoralnotCoal "IndyWatch Feed Enviro.au"

jpratt27

Climate change could kill 50-80% of Pacific fish species: study

From Dateline Pacific, 6:04 am today


Pacific island nations could lose between 50 and 80 percent of their fish species by the end of the century if climate change continues unabated.

The figure is published in a new study, published in the journal Marine Policy, which examined more than a thousand species across the region to see how they are reacting to changes in the ocean.

Its lead researcher, associate professor Rebecca Asch from the University of East Carolina, says the Pacifics temperature has little variability, with the temperature being more or less the same all year.

She told Jamie Tahana this means species are unlikely to be able to adapt to dramatic changes in ocean temperatures, and could die out.

REBECCA ASCH: So we did look at two climate change scenarios. One that is a warmer kind of

View original post 900 more words


00:05

Protestors peacefully disrupt Leaders Debate in Townsville, urging parties to reject Adanis mega coal mine "IndyWatch Feed Enviro.au"

Townsville, 22nd November: Just days out from the Queensland election, protestors have disrupted the Leaders Debate in Townsville, taking to the stage to call on Queenslands politicians to Stop Adani building one of the worlds largest coal mines, which would cook the climate and wreck the Reef. Four of the protestors were later removed by police and have been taken off-site in a paddy wagon.

Its just crazy for any politician to think of giving a billion dollars to a billionaire for a giant dirty coal mine when the Reef is dying before our eyes. If we want our children to have a safe climate, we simply cant be building new coal mines. said Liisa Rusanen, mother of two, Coffs Harbour

We are in a crisis. Our children and grandchildren face a polluted planet. We need our political leaders to stop supporting new coal mines. We all need to stop Adani. Said Jonathan Cassell, Emerald Beach.

This mornings action is one of dozens that have put Adanis mega mine front and centre of the Queensland election. Around the country, thousands of people are taking action, including at the site of the proposed project, putting their bodies on the line to stop work on the mine. Recent polling indicates that the majority of Australians do not support the mine.

Media Enquiries: 0438 437 070 or 0403 646 787 and flacmedia@protonmail.com

The post Protestors peacefully disrupt Leaders Debate in Townsville, urging parties to reject Adanis mega coal mine appeared first on Frontline Action on Coal.

Tuesday, 21 November

23:49

Woman Driving Home From Work Realizes She's Not Alone "IndyWatch Feed Enviro.au"

Its been said that, at any given moment, youre probably no more than a few feet away from a spider the implication being that most are too small, well-hidden and harmless to ever actually be noticed.

But such was not the case for Australia native Bianca Merrick. Recently, the spider nearest her was pretty much unmissable.

Credit: YouTube/Storyful

Turns out, at some point a very large arachnid (reportedly a huntsman spider, who are actually pretty friendly and harmless) had managed to get inside Merrick's car where he then proceeded to make his presence be known as she drove down the freeway.

"I was on my way home from work when I looked up and saw it staring at me," Merrick told 7News. "I considered stopping but I didnt know how Id get it out of the car so I thought the best option for me was to keep driving and pretend it wasnt there for the longest 20 minutes of my life."

In other words, to her credit, Merrick took a live-and-let-live approach to the situation. It's clear from her video of the encounter, however, that she'd still prefer to have been elsewhere.

Once at home, Merrick said, she got out, locked the car and went to sleep, preferring to "pretend that it never happened." And sure enough, that cool-headed approach paid off.

By the next morning, the creature in her car had evidently moved on. Upon checking the vehicle, Merrick said, "there was no spide...

22:29

Adani finance deal imminent: report "IndyWatch Feed Enviro.au"

The Stop Adani rally at Byron Bay's Main Beach made a clear point. Photo Orion Sturch

The Stop Adani rally at Byron Bays Main Beach made a clear point. Photo Orion Sturch

The Adani Group is reportedly close to announcing it has the money to build its controversial Queensland coal mine and rail link, but there are concerns the involvement of Chinese cash could cost Australia jobs.

An unnamed director of Adani Mining has told industry figures that the company had secured Chinese funding for the Carmichael mine and associated rail line, the ABC says.

He reportedly said Adani wouldnt need a loan of up to $1 billion from the taxpayer-funded Northern Australian Infrastructure Facility for the rail line.

A formal announcement about the financing deal is imminent.

But the ABC reports that reliance on funds from Chinese enterprises and export credit agencies could cost Australia jobs associated with the project.

Such Chinese interests invariably require that materials for key infrastructure are sourced from China and that effective shifts work out of Australia, the ABC said.

The post Adani finance deal imminent: report appeared first on Echonetdaily.

22:24

Real Neat Blog Award, congratulations to my sixteen 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 blogs.

4. Nominate any number of bloggers you like, linking to their blogs.

5. Let them know you nominated...

21:19

The Queensland Government Is The Real Driver In Adanis Dirty Land Grab "IndyWatch Feed Enviro.au"

A key issue in the upcoming Queensland election issue is the Adani coal mine, a massive project slated for development in the Carmichael basin north west of Brisbane. To ensure it happens, the Queensland Government is threatening to compulsory acquire land from the local Traditional Owners. In the second in a five part series, Kristen Lyons explains.

When Adani purchased the coal tenement for its proposed Carmichael mine in 2010, then Premier Anna Bligh declared the proposed mine and related infrastructure project could generate more than 11,000 jobs and lucrative economic returns for Queenslanders.

The rhetoric about the Adani Carmichael mine, coming in turn from the Newman, and later Palaszczuk Governments, however, has always been about more than simply more jobs and more growth.

The Galilee Basin has been lauded as Queenslands last coal frontier. The region has been described as the most prospective area outside that currently being mined and on this basis has seen successive Queensland Governments establish policy settings and financial breaks, as well as expedite approval processes and champion pro-mining rhetoric, to drive a state-led enclosure of Aboriginal and pastoral lands to open up the Galilee Basin for coal mining.

And for Adani, this constitutes a land grab of Wangan and Jagalingou Country. While Wangan and Jagalingou people are pulled in multiple directions by competing interests, the Wangan and Jagalingou Traditional Owners Council (W&J) have asserted sustained opposition to Adanis proposed mine.

Despite their resistance, and a tireless campaign built around a defense of the right to say no, the Queensland Government has failed to even acknowledge W&Js opposition to the mine, a position simply incongruent with their coal extraction agenda for the region.

Instead, the Queensland Government has walked over Indigenous rights in its efforts to secure W&J country, and to open up the Galilee Basin for the final frontier in a long history of often violent extractivism.

Former Queensland Premier Anna Bligh. (IMAGE: David Jackmanson, Flickr)Former Queensland Premier Anna Bligh. (IMAGE: David Jackmanson, Flickr)

Our research exposes some of the direct and covert manoeuvres of the Queensland Government in sidelining the rights of Traditional Owners to make way for Adanis mines. And given the current elevation of the A...

20:25

Frydenbergs solar defence: Bernardi has panels and didnt sign up to Paris "IndyWatch Feed Enviro.au"

Frydenberg defends lack of solar panels, saying Cory Bernardi has them, and didnt sign up for Paris climate target. Say what?

via Frydenbergs solar defence: Bernardi has panels and didnt sign up to Paris RenewEconomy


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