Archive for the ‘climate change’ Category

Nuclear power for Australia? NO SOLUTION TO CLIMATE CHANGE (or anything else)

August 16, 2019

Friends of the Earth Australia Statement August 2019 http://www.nuclear.foe.org.au 

  1. Introduction 2. Nuclear Power Would Inhibit the Development of More Effective Solutions 3. The Nuclear Power Industry is in Crisis 4. Small Modular Reactors 5. Nuclear Weapons Proliferation and Nuclear Winter 6. A Slow Response to an Urgent Problem 7. Climate Change & Nuclear Hazards: ‘You need to solve global warming for nuclear plants to survive.’ 8. Nuclear Racism 9. Nuclear Waste 10. More Information
  2. Introduction 

Support for nuclear power in Australia has nothing to do with energy policy – it is instead an aspect of the ‘culture wars‘ driven by conservative ideologues (examples include current and former politicians Clive Palmer, Tony Abbott, Cory Bernardi, Barnaby Joyce, Mark Latham, Jim Molan, Craig Kelly, Eric Abetz, and David Leyonhjelm; and media shock-jocks such as Alan Jones, Andrew Bolt and Peta Credlin). With few exceptions, those promoting nuclear power in Australia also support coal, they oppose renewables, they attack environmentalists, they deny climate change science, and they have little knowledge of energy issues and options. The Minerals Council of Australia – which has close connections with the Coalition parties – is another prominent supporter of both coal and nuclear power.

In January 2019, the Climate Council, comprising Australia’s leading climate scientists and other policy experts, issued a policy statement concluding that nuclear power plants “are not appropriate for Australia – and probably never will be”. The statement continued: “Nuclear power stations are highly controversial, can’t be built under existing law in any Australian state or territory, are a more expensive source of power than renewable energy, and present significant challenges in terms of the storage and transport of nuclear waste, and use of water”.

Friends of the Earth Australia agrees with the Climate Council. Proposals to introduce nuclear power to Australia are misguided and should be rejected for the reasons discussed below (and others not discussed here, including the risk of catastrophic accidents).

  1. Nuclear Power Would Inhibit the Development of More Effective Solutions 

Renewable power generation is far cheaper than nuclear power. Lazard’s November 2018 report on levelised costs of electricity found that wind power (US$29‒56 per megawatt-hour) and utility-scale solar (US$36‒46 / MWh) are approximately four times cheaper than nuclear power (US$112‒189 / MWh).

A December 2018 report by the CSIRO and the Australian Energy Market Operator concluded that “solar and wind generation technologies are currently the lowest-cost ways to generate electricity for Australia, compared to any other new-build technology.”

Thus the pursuit of nuclear power would inhibit the necessary rapid development of solutions that are cheaper, safer, more environmentally benign, and enjoy far greater public support. A 2015 IPSOS poll found

that support among Australians for solar power (78‒87%) and wind power (72%) is far higher than support for coal (23%) and nuclear (26%).

Renewables and storage technology can provide a far greater contribution to power supply and to  climate change abatement compared to an equivalent investment in nuclear power. Peter Farley, a fellow of the Australian Institution of Engineers, wrote in January 2019: “As for nuclear the 2,200 MW Plant Vogtle [in the US] is costing US$25 billion plus financing costs, insurance and long term waste storage. For the full cost of US$30 billion, we could build 7,000 MW of wind, 7,000 MW of tracking solar, 10,000 MW of rooftop solar, 5,000MW of pumped hydro and 5,000 MW of batteries. That is why nuclear is irrelevant in Australia.”

Dr. Ziggy Switkowski ‒ who led the Howard government’s review of nuclear power in 2006 ‒ noted in 2018 that “the window for gigawatt-scale nuclear has closed”, that nuclear power is no longer cheaper than renewables and that costs are continuing to shift in favour of renewables.

Globally, renewable electricity generation has doubled over the past decade and costs have declined sharply. Renewables account for 26.5% of global electricity generation. Conversely, nuclear costs have increased four- fold since 2006 and nuclear power’s share of global electricity generation has fallen from its 1996 peak of 17.6% to its current share of 10%.

As with renewables, energy efficiency and conservation measures are far cheaper and less problematic than nuclear power. A University of Cambridge study concluded that 73% of global energy use could be saved by energy efficiency and conservation measures. Yet Australia’s energy efficiency policies and performance are among the worst in the developed world.

  1. The Nuclear Power Industry is in Crisis 

The nuclear industry is in crisis with lobbyists repeatedly acknowledging nuclear power’s “rapidly accelerating crisis”, a “crisis that threatens the death of nuclear energy in the West” and “the crisis that the nuclear industry is presently facing in developed countries”, while noting that “the industry is on life support in the United States and other developed economies” and engaging each other in heated arguments about what if anything can be salvaged from the “ashes of today’s dying industry”.

It makes no sense for Australia to be introducing nuclear power at a time when the industry is in crisis and when a growing number of countries are phasing out nuclear power (including Germany, Switzerland, Spain, Belgium, Taiwan and South Korea).

The 2006 Switkowski report estimated the cost of electricity from new reactors at A$40–65 / MWh. Current estimates are four times greater at A$165‒278 / MWh. In 2009, Dr. Switkowski said that a 1,000 MW power reactor in Australia would cost A$4‒6 billion. Again, that is about one-quarter of all the real-world experience over the past decade in western Europe and north America, with cost estimates of reactors under construction ranging from A$17‒24 billion (while a reactor project in South Carolina  was abandoned after the expenditure of at least A$13.3 billion).

Thanks to legislation banning nuclear power, Australia has avoided the catastrophic cost overruns and crises that have plagued every recent reactor project in western Europe and north America. Cheaper Chinese or Russian nuclear reactors would not be accepted in Australia for a multitude of reasons (cybersecurity, corruption, repression, safety, etc.). South Korea has been suggested as a potential supplier, but South Korea is slowly phasing out nuclear power, it has little experience with its APR1400 reactor design, and South Korea’s ‘nuclear mafia‘ is as corrupt and dangerous as the ‘nuclear village‘ in Japan which was responsible for the Fukushima disaster.

  1. Small Modular Reactors 

The Minerals Council of Australia claims that small modular reactors (SMRs) are “leading the way in cost”. In fact, power from SMRs will almost certainly be more expensive than power from large reactors because of diseconomies of scale. The cost of the small number of SMRs under construction is exorbitant. Both the private sector and governments have been unwilling to invest in SMRs because of their poor prospects. The December 2018 report by the CSIRO and the Australian Energy Market Operator found that even if the cost of power from SMRs halved, it would still be more expensive than wind or solar power with storage costs included (two hours of battery storage or six hours of pumped hydro storage).

The prevailing scepticism is evident in a 2017 Lloyd’s Register report based on the insights of almost 600 professionals and experts from utilities, distributors, operators and equipment manufacturers. They predict that SMRs have a “low likelihood of eventual take-up, and will have a minimal impact when they do arrive”.

No SMRs are operating and about half of the small number under construction have nothing to do with climate change abatement – on the contrary, they are designed to facilitate access to fossil fuel resources in the Arctic, the South China Sea and elsewhere. Worse still, there are disturbing connections between SMRs, nuclear weapons proliferation and militarism more generally.

  1. Nuclear Weapons Proliferation and Nuclear Winter 

“On top of the perennial challenges of global poverty and injustice, the two biggest threats facing human civilisation in the 21st century are climate change and nuclear war. It would be absurd to respond to one by increasing the risks of the other. Yet that is what nuclear power does.” ‒ Australian

Nuclear power programs have provided cover for numerous covert weapons programs and an expansion of nuclear power would exacerbate the problem. After decades of deceit and denial, a growing number of nuclear industry bodies and lobbyists now openly acknowledge and even celebrate the connections between nuclear power and weapons. They argue that troubled nuclear power programs should be further subsidised such that they can continue to underpin and support weapons programs.

For example, US nuclear lobbyist Michael Shellenberger previously denied power–weapons connections but now argues that “having a weapons option is often the most important factor in a state pursuing peaceful nuclear energy”, that “at least 20 nations sought nuclear power at least in part to give themselves the option of creating a nuclear weapon”, and that “in seeking to deny the connection between nuclear power and nuclear weapons, the nuclear community today finds itself in the increasingly untenable position of having to deny these real world connections.”

Former US Vice President Al Gore has neatly summarised the problem: “For eight years in the White House, every weapons-proliferation problem we dealt with was connected to a civilian reactor program. And if we ever got to the point where we wanted to use nuclear reactors to back out a lot of coal … then we’d have to put them in so many places we’d run that proliferation risk right off the reasonability scale.” 

Running the proliferation risk off the reasonability scale brings the debate back to climate change. Nuclear warfare − even a limited, regional nuclear war involving a tiny fraction of the global arsenal − has the potential to cause catastrophic climate change. The problem is explained by Alan Robock in The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists“[W]e now understand that the atmospheric effects of a nuclear war would last for at least a decade − more than proving the nuclear winter theory of the 1980s correct. By our calculations, a regional nuclear war between India and Pakistan using less than 0.3% of the current global arsenal would produce climate change unprecedented in recorded human history and global ozone depletion equal in size to the current hole in the ozone, only spread out globally.” 

Nuclear plants are also vulnerable to security threats such as conventional military attacks (and cyber-attacks such as Israel’s Stuxnet attack on Iran’s enrichment plant), and the theft and smuggling of nuclear materials. Examples of military strikes on nuclear plants include the destruction of research reactors in Iraq by Israel and the US; Iran’s attempts to strike nuclear facilities in Iraq during the 1980−88 war (and vice versa); Iraq’s attempted strikes on Israel’s nuclear facilities; and Israel’s bombing of a suspected nuclear reactor site in Syria in 2007.

6. A Slow Response to an Urgent Problem 

Expanding nuclear power is impractical as a short-term response to climate change. An analysis by Australian economist Prof. John Quiggin concludes that it would be “virtually impossible” to get a nuclear power reactor operating in Australia by 2040.

More time would elapse before nuclear power has generated as much as energy as was expended in the construction of the reactor. A University of Sydney report states: “The energy payback time of nuclear energy is around 6.5 years for light water reactors, and 7 years for heavy water reactors, ranging within 5.6–14.1 years, and 6.4–12.4 years, respectively.”

Taking into account planning and approvals, construction, and the energy payback time, it would be a quarter of a century or more before nuclear power could even begin to reduce greenhouse emissions in Australia … and then only assuming that nuclear power displaced fossil fuels.

  1. Climate Change & Nuclear Hazards: ‘You need to solve global warming for nuclear plants to survive.’ 

“I’ve heard many nuclear proponents say that nuclear power is part of the solution to global warming. It needs to be reversed: You need to solve global warming for nuclear plants to survive.” ‒ Nuclear engineer David Lochbaum

Nuclear power plants are vulnerable to threats which are being exacerbated by climate change. These include dwindling and warming water sources, sea-level rise, storm damage, drought, and jelly-fish swarms.

At the lower end of the risk spectrum, there are countless examples of nuclear plants operating at reduced power or being temporarily shut down due to water shortages or increased water temperature during heatwaves (which can adversely affect reactor cooling and/or cause fish deaths and other problems associated with the dumping of waste heat in water sources). In the US, for example, unusually hot temperatures in 2018 forced nuclear plant operators to reduce reactor power output more than 30 times.

At the upper end of the risk spectrum, climate-related threats pose serious risks such as storms cutting off grid power, leaving nuclear plants reliant on generators for reactor cooling.

‘Water wars’ will become increasingly common with climate change − disputes over the allocation of increasingly scarce water resources between power generation, agriculture and other uses. Nuclear power reactors consume massive amounts of cooling water − typically 36.3 to 65.4 million litres per reactor per day. The World Resources Institute noted last year that 47% of the world’s thermal power plant capacity ‒ mostly coal, natural gas and nuclear ‒ are located in highly water-stressed areas.

By contrast, the REN21 Renewables 2015: Global Status Report states: “Although renewable energy systems are also vulnerable to climate change, they have unique qualities that make them suitable both for reinforcing the resilience of the wider energy infrastructure and for ensuring the provision of energy services under changing climatic conditions. System modularity, distributed deployment, and local availability and diversity of fuel sources − central components of energy system resilience − are key characteristics of most renewable energy systems.” 

  1. Nuclear RacismTo give one example (among many), the National Radioactive Waste Management Act dispossesses and disempowers Traditional Owners in every way imaginable:
    • The nomination of a site for a radioactive waste dump is valid even if Aboriginal owners were not consulted and did not give consent.
    • The Act has sections which nullify State or Territory laws that protect archaeological or heritage values, including those which relate to Indigenous traditions.

The nuclear industry has a shameful history of dispossessing and disempowering Aboriginal people and communities, and polluting their land and water, dating from the British bomb tests in the 1950s. The same attitudes prevail today in relation to the uranium industry and planned nuclear waste dumps and the problems would be magnified if Australia developed nuclear power.

The Act curtails the application of Commonwealth laws including the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Heritage Protection Act 1984 and the Native Title Act 1993 in the important site-selection stage.

  • The Native Title Act 1993 is expressly overridden in relation to land acquisition for a radioactive waste dump.

9. Nuclear Waste

Decades-long efforts to establish a repository and store for Australia’s low-and intermediate-level nuclear waste continue to flounder and are currently subject to legal and Human Rights Commission complaints and challenges, initiated by Traditional Owners of two targeted sites in South Australia. Establishing a repository for high-level nuclear waste from a nuclear power program would be far more challenging as Federal Resources Minister Matt Canavan has noted.

Globally, countries operating nuclear power plants are struggling to manage nuclear waste and no country has a repository for the disposal of high-level nuclear waste. The United States has a deep underground repository for long-lived intermediate-level waste, called the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP). However the repository was closed from 2014‒17 following a chemical explosion in an underground waste barrel. Costs associated with the accident are estimated at over A$2.9 billion.

Safety standards fell away sharply within the first decade of operation of the WIPP repository ‒ a sobering reminder of the challenge of safely managing nuclear waste for millennia.

  1. More Information 
  • Climate Council, 2019, ‘Nuclear Power Stations are Not Appropriate for Australia – and Probably Never Will Be‘
  • WISE Nuclear Monitor, 25 June 2016, ‘Nuclear power: No solution to climate change‘
  • Friends of the Earth Australia nuclear power online resources
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Australia can be a global leader on combating climate change, and rejecting nuclear

May 25, 2019

Australia is now a divided society.  The Adani coal mine dispute is symbolic of this division. The majority see climate change as an urgent issue.  But others see coal mining as a lifeline for rural communities.

It is now the job of the environmental movement to explain to those communities, how clean energy is economic – provides jobs, can revitalise rural areas, can play  a role in conserving  water, and bring this society together, in positive action.

We also need to revive Australia’s role as a good global citizen.  It takes a comedian to work this out. Charlie Pickering of the ABC’s “The Weekly” pointed out that Australia emits less than 2% of global greenhouse gases.  The big emitters, like China and USA emit far more. (graph – not perfectly accurate, adjusted from Charlie Pickering’s Facebook. https://www.facebook.com/officialcharliepickering/videos/295306311406255/?v=295306311406255  )

However, the countries like Australia, that emit 2% or less of the total, together make up 41% of the global total, the largest contributor.  If these countries together took action on climate change, they  would make a major difference. But if each decides that they’re too small to matter, – the world is in trouble,

Australia used to be a leader in so many humanitarian and environmental areas.  What Australia does IS WATCHED by the world. Australia has the opportunity to act on global warming, and show itself once again to be a good global citizen. Australia needs also to retrieve its former international respectability , also by giving REAL help to Pacific Islanders, as sea levels rise.  (We also might want help from other countries when we have an environmental crisis, e.g bushfires.)

The Greens get it. Labor might get it.  The COALition have shown that their loyalty is to the fossil fuel industries, not to the Australian public.

In working to deal with the climate crisis, we must not fall prey to the blandishments of the nuclear industry. Their shills will be coming out from under their rocks, touting nuclear power as the cure.  It’s like how the tobacco lobby might recommend smoking as a cure for obesity, (a thought first expressed by Dr Helen Caldicott.)

Josh Frydenberg, driving force in Australian government, determined against further action on climate change

May 20, 2019

Don’t be fooled by folksy, blokey Prime Minister Scott Morrison. The suave and slick Josh Frydenberg is the brains of the outfit. And he knows whom he is working for –  the fossil fuel industries, not the public.

Our plan is very clear’: No climate revamp for re-elected Coalition,  Australians should not expect any change to the Liberal-National government’s climate change policies after their federal election win.   SBS, 20 May19

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg has hosed down any suggestion that the Coalition will be going back to the drawing board on climate change after the government’s come-from-behind election win.

“Our plan is very clear and it’s the plan that we took to the Australian people,” he told ABC’s Insiders on Sunday. Treasurer Josh Frydenberg has hosed down any suggestion that the Coalition will be going back to the drawing board on climate change after the government’s come-from-behind election win.

“Our plan is very clear and it’s the plan that we took to the Australian people,” he told ABC’s Insiders on Sunday.

Mr Frydenberg was among Coalition members who faced a swing against them on Saturday, in the face of challenges from independent or Green candidates campaigning largely on climate change.

Former prime minister Tony Abbott lost his seat to Independent Zali Steggallfor whom climate change was pivotal.

As the results rolled in, outgoing MP Julie Bishop said the Coalition must reassess its position on climate change and possibly revisit former prime minister Malcolm Turnbull’s signature energy policy.

“It will have to end the uncertainty and the National Energy Guarantee was the closest thing we had to a bipartisan position.” …..

Labor frontbencher Tanya Plibersek hopes the government finally grapples with climate and energy with a policy aimed at bringing down pollution, reducing power prices and boosting investment in renewables.

“How is this government going to manage that when they are still so broken inside with climate change deniers on one side and people who at least accept the science on the other side, but 14 different energy policies?” https://www.sbs.com.au/news/our-plan-is-very-clear-no-climate-revamp-for-re-elected-coalition

Australia’s Environment Ambassador, Patrick Suckling, promoted coal at the Climate Summit!

December 13, 2018

Climate Mobilisation Australia, 11 Dec 18, The Australian Ambassador for the Environment, Patrick Suckling, appeared on a panel for a US government side-event pushing clean coal technologies as climate solutions. The session on Monday 10 December was called: “U.S. Innovative Technologies Spur Economic Dynamism – Promoting innovative approaches”.

One must ask was Ambassador Suckling’s presence sanctioned at Ministerial level? His attendance on the panel is hardly good diplomacy for Australia, even given the Liberal Government support for coal and weak climate targets and climate policy.

After about 9 minutes the first speaker was disrupted and youth and civil society delegates unfurled a banner and made their own testimonies on the disruptive and dangerous nature of coal for health and climate.

They chanted “Keep it in the ground” and “Shame on you”, before leaving the session. After they left, there were very few people to listen to the myths being spouted of clean coal.

Watch the Facebook Livestream video of young delegates taking over the side event about 9 minutes in and making their own testimony on the fossil fuel industry.

The Australia Institute Director of Climate & Energy Program Richie Merzian was there to document the session in the tweets below.

“How could this be good for Australia? The Ambassador finding himself in the middle of the largest cultural battle at #COP24” remarks Richie Merzian……  https://www.facebook.com/groups/859848424161990/

Australia’s bushfires, climate change, and nuclear site risk

December 1, 2018

Bushfires in Queensland have ushered in the “new normal”  of superfires in Australia. California has already experienced this new normal. It means that these fires are now catastrophic. They encroach on human habitation. Fire behaviour has changed.  Their intensity is greater. Their severity is greater: their flames are higher. Fires last longer, and come with increasing frequency. They spread at higher rates, and jump gaps such as roads, rivers and fire breaks. .

These fires now do long -term damage to the ecosystem. The earth underneath is affected, habitat destroyed, killing all the normal bacteria and inhabitants of the soil. Many are fires that are impossible to put out.

The background to these new superfires is climate change. Climate change has brought higher temperatures and  drought – resulting in drier trees and other vegetation – meaning that tinder-dry fuel is ready for ignition.

Australia is uniquely vulnerable, as the driest continent, with its prevailing eucalypt forests.

In California, the authorities are trying hard to cover up the reality that the wildfires started at an abandoned and still radioactively contaminated, nuclear facility . The fire would undoubtedly have caused radioactive ash to be blown about. (The fact that it’s not measured doesn’t mean that it is non existent) 

Australia is vulnerable to a similar radioactive threat. Last year, bushfires went uncomfortably close to the  Lucas Heights nuclear reactor. Plans to transport Lucas Height nuclear waste 1700 km across Australia to Flinders Ranges area mean that this radioactive trash would be at risk of accident, and one of the worst risks would be bushfires.

Australia must face up to the climate change threats – floods (as more water vapour, due to heat, will come down as flooding) , sea level rise, and super bushfires. Lucas Heights nuclear reactor should be closed, and ANSTO’s nuclear dream prevented from becoming Australia’s climate-nuclear nightmare.

Aussie schoolkids on strike to save the environment from climate change

November 26, 2018

Why aren’t they doing anything?: Students strike to give climate lesson, https://www.brisbanetimes.com.au/environment/climate-change/why-aren-t-they-doing-anything-students-strike-to-give-climate-lesson-20181123-p50hvu.htmlBy Peter Hannam,  24 November 2018 This Friday, November 30, thousands of Australian students will go on strike, demanding their politicians start taking serious action on climate change.The movement, School Strike 4 Climate Action, has been inspired by a 15-year-old Swedish student, Greta Thunberg, who started boycotting classes before parliamentary elections in her nation on September 9, and continues to skip school every Friday. She also has a particular message for Australia.

Students in each state capital and across 20 regional Australian centres will walk out of their classrooms this week to tell politicians that more of the same climate inaction is not good enough.

Here are some of the lessons they hope to teach.

‘If we really want a better planet Earth’

Lucie Atkin-Bolton, 11, who will soon graduate as school captain at Sydney’s Forest Lodge Public School, says Australia should be sourcing 100 per cent of its electricity from solar power: “I can’t understand why it hasn’t been done yet.”

“Right now the political leaders aren’t doing very much at all,” Lucie says. “They’re more promoting coal-sourced energy when, if we really want to have a better planet Earth, we need renewable energy.”

Climate change “is a crisis”, she says. “It’s not going to happen in two or three decades – it’s happening now.”

Lucie says “whole islands will disappear” as warming lifts sea levels, and the time for thinking is running out.

“We can’t just talk about it, we have to act,” she says. “We have to make a change.”

While Lucie hopes to attend the main strike event at NSW Parliament, school principal Stephen Reed has been supportive, she says. Students remaining behind are expected to be involved in school-wide activities.

Fear’ is a motivator

Vivienne Paduch isn’t waiting for Friday’s gathering – where the Manly Selective school student will also be a speaker  – to get active. This Sunday, she’ll be busy at a “Crafternoon”, creating banners and honing her speech.

The 14-year-old says Australia needs to cut its carbon footprint “dramatically” and soon. The run of “crazy, extreme weather events” – from the NSW drought to destruction of the Great Barrier Reef and recent unusual fires within the Arctic Circle – are part of her motivation.

“Firstly it’s fear,” Vivienne says. “I’m really scared for me and for my generation and the generations that are going to come after me from the implications of what climate change will mean.

“It’s only going to get worse if we don’t take action now.

“Striking for climate action is more important [to me] than missing a day of school.

“With all the support we’ve got this year, I can see it happening again next year,” Vivienne says. “It’s very important to keep pressure on the politicians.”

‘Young people have to step up’

For Aisheeya Huq, a year 10 student at Auburn Girls High School, the School Strike is a natural extension of her volunteer work for the Australian Youth Climate Coalition.

The 16-year-old says her generation can’t ignore climate change and environmental destruction and the justice issues that flow from them.

“We’re going to have to face the consequences [from the work of] a lot of the policymakers and politicians … due to their lack of understanding and perhaps care for the future,” Aisheeya says.

“Young people have realised that because we are going to be affected, we have to step up, and we have to do something about it.”

Politicians talk about the importance of education and shouldn’t be surprised when students join the climate dots. “If you care so much about our education and what you’re teaching us, why aren’t you doing anything about it?” she says.

‘Massive emergency’

Students from Castlemaine, a town in the Victorian goldfields north-west of Melbourne, were the originators of the School Strike movement in Australia after reading about Greta Thunberg and also the special Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s 1.5 degree report.

Tully Boyle, a 15-year-old at Castlemaine Secondary College, has already taken part in several school boycotts, and this week took a train into Melbourne with other students to deliver demands to politicians.

“It’s a massive emergency,” Tully says. “We want all governments to take it seriously.”

She says heatwaves, flooding and worsening bushfires are a portent of much worse to come if temperature rises reach 4-5 degrees – the course they are now on.

Tully would like to see support for renewable energy and greater promotion of electric vehicles given priority.

“Climate change matters more for us,” she says. “We need to fight for our future.”

Callum Neilson-Bridgefoot, an 11-year-old student at Castlemaine Primary School, has also taken part in four strike activities already.

“Sacrificing a little bit of my education will help in the long term,” Callum said. “I work really hard when I’m at school.

“Any political leader can really make a difference – they have much more power than we do,” he says. “Right now what they are doing is not enough.”

Greta’s actions were a key inspiration. “I was really moved,” Callum says. “It was really brave and very powerful.”

It was so easy’

Greta Thunberg has seen her Friday vigils for action on climate change copied in many parts of the world, including Finland, Germany, Belgium, The Netherlands, Norway, Italy, Canada and Britain. “And Australia of course!” she says.

“The thing I think surprised me the most was that it was so easy,” she tells Fairfax Media, via email.

“I remember thinking before I started ‘why has no one ever done this before?’”

The solution, she says, is to keep climate change in front of the public’s attention.

“All we need to do is treat it like a crisis with headlines and news reporting all the time. And I mean A L L the time,” she writes. “As if there was a war going on.”

Greta wants her Australian acolytes to know she is aware of their actions: “I would tell them that they are making a huge difference. I read about them in newspapers up here in Europe and it’s hopeful beyond my imagination.

“And Australia is a huge climate villain, I am sorry to say. Your carbon footprint is way bigger than Sweden and we are among the worst in the world.”

Greta says leading by example is important, as is “saying the things that are too uncomfortable to say”.

“We may not like that we have to change some of our habits, like flying or eating meat and dairy. But we do have to. Because our carbon budget has been spent and there is nothing left for future generations or the ecosystems we rely on,” she says.

Australia’s Turnbull Government releases transparent video on Climate Policy and Coal Mining

December 11, 2016

Honest Government Advert – Carmichael Coal Mine

Nuclear power as climate treatment – a cure worse than the disease

September 13, 2016

dangerous-medicine

Let’s pretend that nuclear power is really “zero carbon” (which it isn’t)

Let’s pretend that thousands of “conventional” nuclear reactors, or millions of little geewhiz new Small Modular Nuclear Reactors could be set up within just  a few years, in time to be effective against climate change ( we know they would take from about 70 years at the earliest)

Do we need a dirty,  dangerous, unsafe, land and water polluting industry as an environmental cure?

(Especially when clean renewable energy and energy efficiency can be set up quickly)

The web of climate denialism, and Australia’s part in it

July 13, 2016

liar (2)

US Senators detail a climate science “web of denial” but the impacts go well beyond their borders Australians have been both helpers and victims of the fossil fuelled web of climate science denial being detailed in the U.S Senate,Guardian, , 12 July 16, By the middle of this week, about 20 Democratic Senators in the US will have stood up before their congress to talk about the fossil fuelled machinery of climate science denial.

The Senators are naming the fossil fuel funders, describing the machinery and calling out the characters that make up a “web of denial”……

Australia has been a consumer, a contributor and a victim of the web of climate science denial.Australia has long provided personnel and contributors to the efforts of several of the key groups being named in the US Senate.

The late Dr Robert Carter, once of James Cook University, was an advisor and active contributor to several of the groups, including the Heartland Institute and the Science and Public Policy Institute (SPPI).

Malcolm Roberts (the wannabe One Nation Australian Senator) and bloggers JoNova and her husband David Evans have all written reports for the SPPI that claim human-caused climate change is some sort of elaborate hoax.

Retired Australian meteorologist William Kininmonth is also an SPPI science advisor.

Australian politicians have flown over to the United States to speak at conferences for climate science denialists hosted by the Heartland Institute – the group that once compared the acceptance of human-caused climate science to the values of terrorist and mass murderer Ted “Unabomber” Kaczynski.

Former Family First Senator Steve Fielding, current Liberal Senator Cory Bernardi and the current Nationals MP George Christensen have all spoken at Heartland’s conferences. The conferences themselves have been enthusiastically sponsored by several Australian groups over the years.

Australia’s role in the web of denial has been running since the 1990s, when groups like the CEI flew staff to Australia to firm up opposition to greenhouse gas regulations around the world.

Partnerships were formed with groups like the Melbourne-based Institute of Public Affairs, which has hosted and supported many visits from US-based climate science denialists.

Once here, those speakers will write columns for newspapers, do radio and television interviews and travel around the country to give talks.

In 2011 when the Gillard Government was trying to introduce laws to put a price on greenhouse gas emissions, the stopgillardscarbontax.com enlisted Pat Michaels, of the Cato Institute, as a science advisor. Cato is another member of the web of denial. Michaels once estimated that about 40 per cent of his funding came from the petroleum industry.

The impact of all this on the Australian public and the way the media covers climate science is clear.

There remains a split among Australians about the cause of climate change, despite multiple studies showing that more than 90 per cent of climate scientists are in agreement that it’s the burning of fossil fuels that’s driving up temperatures, fuelling weather extremes, raising sea levels, melting ice sheets and killing corals (and that’s just a few of the impacts).

The public becomes doubtful and the media, so often looking for controversy and conflict, has been a conduit for the fossil fuelled messages.

The fossil fuel companies, meanwhile, retain a grip on their so-called “social licence to operate.”

When Senator Whitehouse said the web of denial is “so big, because it has so much to protect” we might also think that we have so much to lose.

In failing to unravel the web of denial and by allowing our public discourse to be polluted by fossil fuelled PR outfits, ideologues and pseudo-science, who knows how much time we may have lost.

Twenty five yearshttps://www.theguardian.com/environment/planet-oz/2016/jul/12/us-senators-detail-a-climate-science-web-of-denial-but-the-impacts-go-well-beyond-their-borders

Australia’s embarrassment: govt praising coal at Paris Climate Summit!

November 30, 2015
hypocrisy-scale
Australian Delegation To Present ‘Coal Is Amazing’ Video At Climate Conference http://www.theshovel.com.au/2015/11/30/australian-delegation-to-present-coal-is-amazing-video-at-climate-conference/   Australia’s contribution to the Paris climate change talks will be a short animated  video explaining the benefits of coal.

Environment Minister Greg Hunt said he was looking forward to sharing the ‘little gem of a video’ on the conference’s main stage. “The broader global community has a bit of catching up to do when it comes to understanding coal’s amazing qualities. This video will be the talk of the conference I feel,” he said before leaving for Paris.

A Rational Fear – This Little Black Rock is gonna F you Up!

[Oh dear, I think I might have put up the wrong video – what  a shame!]

Mr Hunt said the little black rock provided endless possibilities. “It can provide light. And jobs,” he said, holding up a piece of coal for reporters to see.

Following Australia’s presentation, delegates will receive a take-home bag containing a genuine piece of Australian coal. “It’s a little memento to remember the Aussies by,” Mr Hunt said.