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Wednesday, 20 September

22:02

Nominations sought for Kimba Consultative Committee on National Radioactive Waste Dump Antinuclear

Details on how to apply are at www.radioactivewaste.gov.au.         Media Contact: 0438 619 987

National Radioactive Waste Management Facility:
Nominations sought for Kimba Consultative Committee

Nominations have opened for the Kimba Consultative Committee. The Committee will give the community the opportunity to have their say about a National Radioactive Waste Management Facility.

The formation of the Kimba Consultative Committee is an important next step in the Phase Two consultation and technical assessment process, which is now underway in the Kimba area.

Most of Australias current and future waste stream is linked to the production of nuclear medicines that, on average, one in two Australians will need in their lifetime.

The waste is stored in more than 100 locations around the country, and after landowners volunteered two sites and the community was found to be supportive, Kimba is being considered as the location for the facility where that waste will be consolidated and managed. Barndioota is the other site currently under consideration.

The Committee will ideally be made up of community members with a variety of views on the project, and include business owners, direct neighbours, local government and other stakeholders.

It will meet regularly during consultation as an information sharing source between the Government and Kimba community, providing a forum for:

  • Advice and input into areas that affect the community in relation to the project;
  • Advice on the suitability of proposed projects under the Community Benefit Package;
  • Consulting on, and being informed of, the outcomes of field and technical investigation work;
  • Advice on engagement activities undertaken with neighbouring landowners, key stakeholders and the general public;
  • Helping to identify the key social and community values to be considered in the evaluation of the sites; and
  • Assisting in communicating and disseminating information to the broader community.

Bruce McCleary, General Manager of the National Radioactive Waste Management Taskforce, confirmed the details today.

This Committee is a key conduit between the community and the Government, and will reflect the successful model already in place at Barndioota, said McCleary.

There are a number of jobs, business opportunities and community benefits that would come alongside the facility, and this Committee will provide advice to help shape those aspects.

In addition to community engagement, at both sites over the coming months, heritage and technical studies will help determine if the volunteered sites are technically suitable.

A Kimba Community Liaison Officer has also been appointe...

19:47

Australia: stop being blindly aligned with nuclear weapons nations: sign the treaty! Antinuclear

Tomorrow The World Is Going To Try And Ban Nuclear Weapons. Australia Wants To Keep Them. New Matilda, By Rewena Mahesh on September 19, 2017 A global push to save the world from a nuclear armageddon has the backing of more than 120 nations. Australia isnt one of them. Rewena Mahesh explains.

On July 7, a global treaty was adopted at the UN General Assembly to prohibit nuclear weapons. This treaty now sets precedence for a powerful norm that will change the course of history by helping promote disarmament and preventing further proliferation.

This treaty closes a large international law gap, by prohibiting states from developing, testing, producing, manufacturing, transferring, possessing, stockpiling, using, or threatening to use nuclear weapons once ratified by 50 states.

That will happen tomorrow, on the 20th of September.

Despite an overwhelming 122 countries endorsing the treaty, strongly and actively supported by hundreds of civic society organizations including the World Medical Association, Medical Association for Prevention of War, the World Federation of Public Health Associations, nine member countries that possess nuclear weapons and most NATO allies boycotted the agreement.

Shamefully, one of those countries absent from negotiations and which played a role in boycotting the treaty is Australia. We fall under the nuclear protection of the USA.

While Australia, possesses no nuclear weapons, it is a major producer and supplier of uranium used in the production of nuclear arsenals for the US and British military and most recently Russia, China and India.

Australia has had a long history with nuclear testing, hosting the British in the 1950s and 60s to conduct 12 major nuclear tests which dispersed radiation across much of the continent. In particular site workers and Aboriginal communities nearby have been suffering the consequences of radiation, seen in high rates of cancer with very little compensation, and a lack of capacity to use traditional land due to contamination.

As a result of Australia hosting the US military and intelligence facilities, such as Pine Gap near Alice Springs, we are offered protection in the face of a nuclear threat, under the extended nuclear deterrence, and thus consider nuclear weapons to be legitimate, useful and necessary despite their devastating and catastrophic effects..

Given the current volatile environment with unpredictable leaders...

19:43

Nuclear lobby bringing top USA nuclear spruiker Michael Shellenberger to Australia Antinuclear

Michael Shellenberger  will visit Australia in November to promote a rethink on nuclear at a minerals industry conference.

A radioactive wolf in green clothing: Dissecting the latest pro-nuclear spin https://independentaustralia.net/environment/environment-display/a-radioactive-wolf-in-green-clothing-dissecting-the-latest-pro-nuclear-spin,10735

 Noel Wauchope 20 September 2017,  Michael Shellenberger is a nuclear salesman posing as a new generation environmentalist with unsubstantiated energy solutions, writes Noel Wauchope.

LAST WEEK, The Australian excelled itself in uncritically regurgitating nuclear lobby propaganda in the...

19:41

An Australian to be proud of Dr Tilman Ruff Antinuclear

Whats your alternative? CommonSpace talks to anti-nuclear expert Dr Tilman Ruff Ahead of the UN signing of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, CommonSpace discusses disarmament with Nobel Peace Prize-winning activist Dr Tilman Ruff

THE TREATY ON THE PROHIBITION OF NUCLEAR WEAPONS was passed by the United Nations in July after being voted for by 122 countries, making it the first legally-binding international agreement to eliminate nuclear weapons.

This historic development came about amid heavy opposition from the nuclear-armed states and rising tensions between the United States of America and the Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea, who have warned that recent sanctions will only accelerate the North Korean nuclear programme.

On 20 September, the ban treaty will be open for signature at the United Nations headquarters in New York. Once the treaty is ratified by at least 50 countries, it should come into force within 90 days.

One among many of the anti-nuclear activists who brought the treaty to this point was Dr Tilman Ruff, co-president of the International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War, which collectively received a Nobel Peace Prize for their efforts towards disarmament in 1985, and founding member of the International Campaign Against Nuclear Weapons (ICAN).

Following his...

19:39

Rural South Australia could end up with the curse of stranded nuclear wastes Antinuclear

Robyn Wood, Fight To Stop Nuclear Waste Dump In Flinders Ranges SA, 19 Sept 17

Greg of FLAG has a letter to the editor in todays Advertiser for those who can get around the paywall

On the charge

HEA...

19:37

Trumps first United Nations appearance was not well received Antinuclear

Trumps First U.N. Appearance Was a Clunker, Slate, 19 Sept 17  But why is the United Nations so worried about bureaucracy at a time like this? By Fred Kaplan  President Trump got off to an underwhelming start at the U.N. General Assembly on Monday morning. He sat on a panel flanked by various diplomats, including Ambassador Nikki Haley, who introduced him before he delivered some brief remarks, and it would be charitable to describe the welcoming applause as light.

Then came the clunker. Haley had told the assembled that the new American president sees tremendous potential in the U.N.a cold enough slap at an organization thats been around for 72 years and, for all its flaws, has accomplished quite a bit. But Trump followed that dig with a face-splash of ice water, saying that the real potential he saw was right across the streeta reference to one of his East Side real-estate projectsand noted that the U.N.s presence was what gave it such potential.

ts so typical of Trump to view the rest of the world, even the official assembly of the worlds leaders, as a footnote to the saga of his own wealth.

Trumps remarks, which he read from notes, were brief and inc...

19:36

Australia VERY QUIETLY signs up to help develop new nuclear reactors Antinuclear

How is it that Dr Adi Paterson of ANSTO signed up to this, in advance of Parliamentary approval, and that the whole thing can be done without any proper public consultation? Australian tax-payers are now to be supporting the development of these new dreams of nuclear power  advanced nuclear reactors that exist now only as blueprints, and will be expensive, require government funding, and will not be commercially operational for many decades, if ever.
Surely it is time for a thorough inquiry into ANSTOs funding and finances. The New Generation nuclear reactors are controversial, to say the least. They are in fact, part of the global nuclear lobbys push to save itself  its future being threatened by its dire economics, and by its connection to the nuclear weapons industry.
The Australian media is regularly used to promote ANSTOs nuclear reactor as having as its purpose medical research  and medical isotopes saving lives despite the fact that non nuclear production of these isotopes can be, and is, being done.  The reality is that ANSTO is part of the global nuclear...

19:35

BHP supports climate change action is at odds with Minerals Council Antinuclear

But dont lets forget that BHP is a big member of the nuclear industry   which claims (incorrectly), that nuclear power is  clean energy, and the solution to climate change

 

BHP considering Minerals Council exit over lobby groups climate policies

Key points:

  • BHP under pressure to quit lobby groups that dont support clean energy target
  • Activist group backed by big investors including ANZ, AMP, Australian Super, Blackrock
  • Board considering move before next months AGM

BHP announced it would review its membership of all industry associations, and publish the findings, by the end of this year.

The review comes hot on the tail of a demand by activist shareholders that the miner sever ties with the council, which successfully advocated for the abolition of the carbon price and is currently lobbying the Federal Government to reject a clean energy target.

We are aware that some civil society and other organisations believe that, where an industry body advocates for a position which does not align with our own, we should cease to be a member of that in...

19:33

Most Britons would not be happy living near mini nuclear power stations Antinuclear

Guardian 18th Sept 2017 Most Britons would not be happy living near the mini nuclear power stations that Rolls-Royce and several other international companies want to build in the UK, a survey has found.

The government has promised the developers of small modular reactors a slice of a 250m funding pot in a race to position the UK as the place where the first generation of the power stations should be built.

Polling by YouGov, however, believed to be the first survey of public attitudes towards the plants, found that 62% of people would be unhappy living within five miles of one.

The poll, commissioned by the climate change charity 10:10, found that only 24% would be unhappy living near an onshore windfarm, which the Conservative party has stymied with tougher planning rules. The figure fell to 17% for community-owned windfarms.

Ellie Roberts, a campaigner at 10:10, said:
These results show just how wildly out of step with public opinion UK energy policy has become. Most small modular reactors (SMRs) would generate less than a tenth of the power the projected Hinkley Point C will provide, but are backed by industry as a cheaper option to big nuclear plants and an opportunity for British firms to be first in a new technology. Harry Holt, the president of nuclear at Rolls-Royce, said: With demand for energy set to rise in the near future, in part due to
the growing popularity of electric cars, we believe that a UK SMR programme is a vital addition to our national infrastructure....

19:32

Donald Trump at the UN threatens to totally destroy North Korea Antinuclear

Donald Trump threatens to totally destroy North Korea in UN speech
President castigates a small group of rogue regimes
Iran nuclear deal an embarrassment to the United States, Guardian, 
Julian Borger 20 Sept 17, Donald Trump has threatened to totally destroy North Korea, in a bellicose first address to the United Nations general assembly in which he lashed out at a litany of US adversaries and called on righteous countries to confront them.

The speech was greeted in the UN chamber mostly with silence and occasional outbreaks of disapproving murmurs, as Trump castigated a succession of hostile regimes.

In an address heavy with echoes of George W Bushs Axis of Evil State of the Union address more than 15 years earlier, Trump said: The scourge of our planet today are a small group of rogue regimes.

If the righteous many do not confront the wicked few, then evil will triumph, the president said.

He first singled out North Korea, recounting its history of kidnapping, oppression, and missile and nuclear tests....

18:40

CELEBRATING 20 YEARS OF HELPING AUSTRALIA STAY NUCLEAR FREE "IndyWatch Feed Enviro"

Members from the Western Australia Nuclear Free Alliance (WANFA) have returned home this week from a weekend in Adelaide on Kaurna country for the Australian Nuclear Free Alliance annual conference to debrief and strategise for the struggles ahead.
At the core of Australian Nuclear Free Alliance (ANFA) are Aboriginal people living with nuclear projects on their lands, including uranium mines and the toxic legacy of nuclear weapons testing in the 1950s and 60s, and others trying to stop new uranium mines or nuclear waste dumps being imposed on their country.
This year marked the 20th annual conference; reflecting on the (many) wins of the past, the continued impact of nuclear projects past and present, and strategising on the future directions of the movement.
WANFA has come back from Adelaide, stronger, keener and more connected to continue fighting proposed uranium mines on their land.
We will take what we have learnt from ANFA back into our communities so we can keep WA uranium free.
We made a strong commitment over the weekend along with many other people from around this country to;
* recognise that everyone has the same issue when dealing with the nuclear industry and we are committed to supporting traditional owners and communities on country; and
* we are going to keep fighting against uranium mining at Kintyre, Wiluna, Yeelirrie and Mulga Rock until we get a permanent ban on mining uranium in Western Australia.
We have upcoming events organised so please keep in touch.
Call 0401 909 332 for more information.

...

17:57

Privatising universities places individual corporate interest above societys needs "IndyWatch Feed National"

Contributed by Joe Montero

Ross Gittens article (The Pen 19 September 2017) about the backdoor privatisation of Australian universities has prompted the following comments. To begin with, he is right to suggest that government defunding is causing university administrations to turn towards establishing special relationships with corporations and that this is compromising them as institutions of higher learning.

One can take issue with his favourable comments on the Higher Education Contribution Scheme (which puts students into long-term debt) and the growing shift towards recruiting overseas students. But they are secondary issues to the central one of defunding and turning universities over to corporations.

University education is often thought of as a means, to expand knowledge. After all, individuals attend to gain expertise and those who progress to academia, are supposed to contribute to the expansion of collective knowledge in their chosen field.

A more basic reason for universities to exist, is to train the next generation as the providers of specific forms of labour required by the economy. Australias economy is capitalist and this means, for the most part,  meeting the requirements of privately owned enterprises. From this direction, the push is for a quite narrow set of skills and applied knowledge that is specific to the demand of the corporate world.

To expand knowledge, universities must break new ground and stretch the field of theory, as well as pass knowledge to the new generation. They must go beyond immediate economic application and embrace a whole of society approach. Doing these things does not mesh well with the demands of the current market.

In theory and policy,  neoliberalism is driving the present changes. This comes from the corporate world and filters through government, seeing that whatever doesnt serve the bottom line of the corporate world is a waste of resources that must be eliminated as much as possible. This outlook is closely tied to the mantra of small government, which has become a cover to divert funds to raise corporate subsidies and other related expenses. Removing funds from universities is part of the package.

Neoliberalism is not a new idea. It is applied orthodox economics in times of relative economic downturn. At these times, the rate of return in investment is in decline, even if the absolute return isnt. It provides incentive for the corporations to socialise costs as much as possible. In every-day language this means to transfer costs to the rest of society.

The means to do this is to raid the public purse. Spending on government services goes down, alongside company tax and personal tax on the wealthiest. At the same time as corporate welfare in the forms of grants, contracts and privatisations and o...

17:12

Fossil discovery in Indonesia reveals lost world of beasts "IndyWatch Feed Enviro"

As recently as a few thousand years ago, the Indonesian island of Sumba was home to miniature elephants, giant rats and dragons, according to fossil discoveries reported in a scientific journal last month. The expedition marks the first discovery of a Komodo dragon fossil outside the islets off of Flores, an island east of Bali, prompting one scientist to wonder if the creatures might be reintroduced in Sumba. The report, published last month in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B, described fossils of dwarf elephants (Stegodon florensis insularis), rodents as big as cats, and the worlds largest living lizard, the Komodo dragon (Varanus komodoensis), the only one of the group that still exists. The island of Sumba in eastern Indonesia. Image by Gunkarta via Wikimedia Commons. Some of these species are estimated to have inhabited Sumba as recently as 12,000 years ago, according to the paper. The expedition took place in 2011 and 2014 when scientists from the Zoological Society of London (ZSL) collected fossils from several deposits on Sumba, part of a group of islands tucked between the continental shelves of Asia and Australia. The archipelago, known as Wallacea, was named in honor of the biologist Alfred Russel Wallace, who first identified the borders of species distribution across the region in the 19th century. The region received global attention in 2004 when a group of archaeologists described fossils of an extinct tiny human, dubbed the hobbit, or Homo floresiensis, on Flores, just north of Sumba. The discovery of

15:30

Vacancies falter "IndyWatch Feed Economics.au"

Resources recovery

August 2017 was a softer month for job vacancies on the Department of Employment's index.

The trend is now +6.4 per cent higher than a year earlier, and +23.8 per cent below the October 2013. low. 


Despite the weaker month, Queensland and Western Australia still experienced double digit growth from a year earlier, with a decent lift in Victoria. 


The annual figure was down in Tasmania, but that's as likely related to a surge in employment uptake based on other indicators.

The wrap

It's good to see that vacancies in Western Australia are now well off the lows of 2016, at about 12 per cent higher.

But nationally, this was a softer result. 

Perhaps this is an early indicator that the economy is set to underwhelm in 2018.

Westpac's Bill Evans, always worth following closely, sees no rate hikes in 2018 on this basis. 

...

09:55

Abbott threatens to cross floor on energy "IndyWatch Feed National"

Former prime minister Tony Abbott at a press conference at Parliament House. AAP Image/Mick Tsikas

Former prime minister Tony Abbott at a press conference at Parliament House. AAP Image/Mick Tsikas

CANBERRA AAP

Tony Abbott has warned hell vote against the coalition government if it tries to legislate a clean energy target, with up to six backbenchers tipped to follow him.

He has let the government know his position. He wont vote for a clean energy target, a government source told The Australian on Wednesday.

In an opinion piece, Mr Abbott argues the recommendation by the chief scientist for such a target should be dropped.

It would be unconscionable for a government that was elected promising to scrap the carbon tax and to end Labors climate change obsessions to go down this path, he writes.

Tony Abbott is yesterday's man, stuck in the past with his 'coal is good for humanity mantra'.

Tony Abbott is yesterdays man, stuck in the past with his coal is good for humanity mantra.

Mr Abbott claims it is bordering on absurd for a country with the worlds largest readily available reserves of coal, gas and uranium it should have some of the worlds highest power prices.

But thats what happens when policy is driven by wishful thinking and green religion.

On Tuesday, Mr Abbott told 2GB the Turnbull government could send a strong signal to AGL by dumping all subs...

09:32

Refugees to receive decisions from the US "IndyWatch Feed National"

A 2014 file image of asylum seekers staring at media from behind a fence at the Manus Island detention centre, Papua New Guinea. AAP Image/Eoin Blackwell.

A 2014 file image of asylum seekers staring at media from behind a fence at the Manus Island detention centre, Papua New Guinea. AAP Image/Eoin Blackwell.

CANBERRA AAP

After years in limbo on Manus Island and Nauru, some refugees will soon know whether they will be moving to the US to start a new life.

Immigration Minister Peter Dutton confirmed on Wednesday US authorities would begin handing out resettlement decisions in the next few days with the first group to leave in coming weeks.

He says the processing of other individuals continues and further decisions by US authorities are expected in due course.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said there would be about 25 from each centre in the first wave, with more extreme vetting to follow.

President Trump had some reservations about it but nonetheless, he is honouring the commitment made by his predecessor and I want to thank you for doing so, he told the Seven Network.

Some refugees received appointment slips on Tuesday afternoon.

People are a bit surprised, some people had given up hope that it would happen, Refugee Action Coalition spokesman Ian Rintoul told AAP.

Right now theyre experiencing anxiety and anticipation.

A document on a notice board on Manus Island warns refugees every case is different and moves through the required process at different speeds.

Please be patient, the US Resettlement Support Centre document says.

It says more decisions will be issued over coming months.

The Manus Island detention centre is slated for closure by the end of October.

T...

07:38

Energy World Rocked as China Cuts Coal Imports, Aims for Fossil Fuel Car Ban Antinuclear

robertscribbler

The global energy posture is changing almost as rapidly as a climate increasingly choked with greenhouse gas emissions. And few parts of the world show this emerging trend more clearly than China. In short, China is adding restrictions to both domestic coal production and coal imports even as it is rapidly building new solar generation capacity and moving to ban domestic fossil fuel based vehicle sales.

Cutting Coal as Solar Grows

Recently, China made two major policy moves that have rocked the global energy markets. The first was its recent closing of terminals to coal imports which may result in a net reduction of imported coal by 10 percent during 2017. Since July, China has closed approximately 150 smaller facilities to coal imports. These ports, which China has designated as tier two, are less able to test coal for compliance with Chinas new emissions standards. As a result

View original post 806 more words


07:23

Coal country backs renewable energy Antinuclear

A new ReachTEL poll, commissioned by The Australia Institutes Climate and Energy Program, asked residents of the electorates of Hunter and Shortland about energy policy, including government investment in coal, renewables and the Liddell coal power station.

via Coal country backs renewable energy: Poll RenewEconomy


07:19

Murdoch media gets it wrong on renewable energy and Saudi Arabia Antinuclear

The Australians story linking excessive renewable energy subsidies to the Moree solar farm, a rich Saudi playboy and the singer Rihanna is very interesting. It is also hopelessly wrong (at least on the renewables bit).

via Murdoch misleads readers about renewable subsidies and Saudi playboys RenewEconomy


01:32

An Empire of Chaos: The Real Reason the US is in Afghanistan "IndyWatch Feed National"

Donald Trump is sending more troops to Afghanistan, continuing the USA's longest war. CEO Michael Silver, of the American Elements corporation, wrote a short op-ed in the Wall Street Journal, urging for the extraction of the country's mineral resources. Afghanistan remains unstable. Many questions must be asked. The one on many minds is "Why is the USA in Afghanistan?" Terrorism? Minerals? Or Something Else? The USA has been occupying Afghanistan since 2001. Why? Both supporters and opponents of US Afghan policy give murky answers. Supporters of US efforts say they are in the country to fight terrorism and help the country rebuild and move toward democracy. Opponents of the occupation say the USA is seeking to control its rare minerals such as neodymium, indium, gallium, and lanthanum which are essential in making computer chips.

Tuesday, 19 September

23:53

Coal mining devastates villages and cultural heritage in Australias Hunter Valley "IndyWatch Feed Enviro.pacific"

In Australias Hunter Valley the coal mining industry is devastating local villages and precious Aboriginal heritage, and three people who have been campaigning against mine expansion in the area face possible seven-year jail sentences under New South Wales new anti-protest legislation.

The valley is a stunningly beautiful area that is one of Australias main wine-producing regions, with a viticultural history dating back to the early 1800s, but the local town of Mudgee now has three coal mines on its doorstep Wilpinjong, Moolarben, and Ulan and one more mine is planned at nearby Bylong.

The local landscape is now dominated by mine pits and mining infrastructure. The ecosystem has been irreparably damaged, local wildlife have lost vital habitat, and the owners of Wilpinjong have run roughshod over local peoples lives and livelihoods.

...

21:51

UFO books by Australian authors "IndyWatch Feed National"

I was asked recently for a listing of UFO books by Australian authors. So, here it is. If any blog readers know of others, I would appreciate an email to keithbasterfield@yahoo.com.au in order that I may amend this list. Images are courtesy of Amazon Books, unless otherwise credited.

1965. "Flying Saucers Over Australia." James Holledge.



1967. "Flying Saucers Where Do They Come From?" Richard Tambling.



1969. "UFOs over the Southern Hemisphere." Michael Hervey.



1976. "UFOs: The American Scene." Michael Hervey.
1978. "UFOs: A Scientific Enigma." David Seargent.



1981. "UFOs: The Image Hypothesis." Keith Basterfield.

...

21:34

The Largest Glaciers in the Rocky Mountains are Melting Faster "IndyWatch Feed National"

Research on top of the Dinwoody Glacier

SCIENCE The Rockies largest glaciers are melting with little fanfare

From an Article by Benjamin Storrow, E & E News, September 13, 2017

WIND RIVER RANGE, Wyo. Here at the roof of the Continental Divide, one of the Rocky Mountains largest glaciers is in retreat.

A new world is emerging in the wake of the receding ice. In a vast, glacially carved basin, where towering spires of granite dominate the skyline, a small colony of stunted Engelmann spruce has taken up residence in a pile of rocky debris, some 500 feet above the tree line. Bees flit among the yellow mountain asters dotting the boulder field at the glaciers base. Grass grows along a stream where there was, until recently, only snow and ice.

Its a different place today, Darran Wells, an outdoor education professor at Central Wyoming College, observed from a research camp near the base of the Dinwoody Glacier on a recent evening. A regular visitor to the glacier over the last two decades, Wells offered a succinct take on its evolution over his nightly meal, a dehydrated serving of shepards potato stew with beef.

Every year, more grass, less snow, he said.

The largest concentration of glaciers in the American Rocky Mountains are melting, unseen, in this remote corner of Wyoming. More than 100 glaciers cover about 10,000 acres in the Wind River Range, according to a recent study by researchers at Portland State University. No American mountain range outside Alaska and Washington is covered in more ice.

The Wind River glaciers remain some of the least understood ice sheets in North America. Researchers dont have a firm grasp on the amount of water locked away in the alpine ice, and estimates of how much they contribute to local streams vary widely.

Answering those questions requires penetrating a rugged wilderness nearly the size of Rhode Island and climbing to elevations between 11,000 feet and 13,800 feet, where the glaciers hug the crest of the Continental Divide.

Today, a growing number of scientists are pushing into the backcountry to understand these icy reservoirs. Their concern: The Wind River glaciers are retreating just when Wyoming needs them most.

If you havent had proximity to these glaciers,....

18:46

Move To The Rear Of The Power Station, Drink From The Renewable Kool-Aid "IndyWatch Feed National"

In the debate over keeping the Liddle Power Station open, the numbers just dont add up. But probably not the numbers youre thinking. Geoff Russell explains.

According to Guy Rundle, writing last week on Crikey.com, we could build a socially distributed [clean]energy system (whatever that is), in a decade.

The Germans are the prototypical renewable energy zealots and they figure theyll manage about 80 per cent of their electricity from renewables by 2050. Which is 50 years after they passed their Renewable Energy Sources Act back in 2000.

Perhaps Angela Merkel could dispatch some renewable energy gurus to sit at Guys feet and learn. But perhaps renewable energy engineers are intrinsically non-dispatchable and will just have to wait for a favourable wind before visiting.

Having read Guys article, I went back to check his references, numbers, evidence. But apparently, this too is non-dispatchable, so Ill need to wait until the sun comes out from behind its cloud and illuminates Guys reasoning.

Shop-Sparkke-Change-the-Date-740-x-200

Did anybody hear Alan Finkel on the ABC Science Show recently? Among a panel of pretty gung-ho renewable advocates, Finkel stood out by robustly urging caution and concern for the finer details and massive complexity of our energy system. His metaphor was that changing the global energy system was like turning not just the biggest supertanker youve ever seen, but like turning a tanker 1,000 times bigger than anything youve ever seen.

So lets look at turning not the whole system, but just one little coal plant; the Liddell power station.

Liddell is a 2,000 megawatt (MW) coal fired power station. So it will deliver 2,000MW whenever you want. This is what dispatchable means; whenever you want. So you can get 2,000MW on windless evenings when solar and wind are producing nothing. You can get 2,000MW in the chilly pre-dawn of any morning when the roasters of coffee beans are preparing for the morning rush.

Before making grand claims about turning the entire Australian energy supertanker in a decade, Guy could first explain how to replace Liddell in 5 years?

Australias Nyngan solar farm is currently our largest, at 102MW. Is that 5 percent the size of Liddell? Would building 20 do the job?

...

08:17

Govt faces fresh calls for sugar tax "IndyWatch Feed National"

The federal government is facing fresh calls to introduce a sugar tax. Photo Orin Zebest flickr.com/photos/orinrobertjohn

The federal government is facing fresh calls to introduce a sugar tax. Photo Orin Zebest flickr.com/photos/orinrobertjohn

SYDNEY  [AAP]

The federal government is facing fresh calls to introduce a sugar tax as part of a plan drawn up by a coalition of health and community groups which want urgent action to tackle Australias obesity problem.

The eight-point plan includes a 20 per cent tax on sugary drinks, restrictions on TV junk food ads, the establishment of a national obesity taskforce, and mandatory health star ratings for food packaging by mid 2019.

The plan has been drawn up by a group of 34 leading health and community groups led by the Obesity Policy Coalition and includes the Cancer Council, Heart Foundation, several universities and Nutrition Australia.

Obesity Policy Coalition executive manager Jane Martin said while 63 per cent of Australian adults and 27 per cent of children were either overweight or obese, there is still no national strategy addressing the issue.

It just doesnt make sense, she said on Tuesday.

Without action, the costs of obesity and poor diet to society will only continue to spiral upwards.

The policies we have set out to tackle obesity therefore aim to not only reduce morbidity and mortality, but also improve wellbeing, bring vital benefits to the economy and set Australians up for a healthier future.

The OPC estimates that the annual cost of overweight and obesity in Australia between 2011 and 2012 was about $8.6 billion in direct and indirect costs including GP services, hospital care, absenteeism and government subsidies.

Ms Martin said kids were being bombarded with ads for junk food and high-sugar drinks that are cheaper than water.

Many so called healthy foods were also being laden with sugar and saturated fat.

Making a healthy choice has never been more difficult, she said.

Professor of epidemiology and equity in public health at Deakin University, Anna Peeters, said the government could no longer afford to do not...

08:08

Q&A: panellists spar over coal as energy debate dominates "IndyWatch Feed National"

Doctor says respiratory and cardiovascular implications of coal should be top of Australia's energy debate and warns Adani mine threatens health of millions The health implications of coal-fired power should be a main concern in Australia's debate over energy generation, doctors have argued. Speaking on the ABC's Q&A program, the chair of Doctors for the Environment New South Wales, Dr John Van Der Kallen, asked panellists why health was not a primary consideration in the discussion over [...]

06:10

Nearly 1,000 US Troops in Syria Are Currently Under Attack by Russians "IndyWatch Feed National"

(ANTIMEDIA Op-ed)  According to the Guardian, an estimated 900 U.S. troops are embedded with Syrian opposition forces that are currently within strike range of the Russian military. Over the weekend, the U.S. military claimed Russian jets had struck Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) positions in Deir ez-Zor east of the Euphrates River. The attack allegedly wounded six of these SDF fighters, but no American personnel were harmed.

The attack came not long after these confident SDF fighters gave the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) a red line not to cross the Euphrates River. According to Reuters, the SAA had already crossed it, anyway. Now that we know Russia is continuing to provide the SAA with air power as it advances throughout this oil-rich region, it is clear these increasing developments are capable of worsening conflict between the fighting powers.

According to Newsweek, the Russian Defense Ministry already warned its American counterparts about the operations it intended to undertake.

To avoid unnecessary escalation, the command of the Russian troops in Syria revealed the boundaries of the military operation in Deir ez-Zor to the American partners through the existing communication channel, the Russian Defense Ministry said in a statement on Sunday.

Further, as quoted by Russian-state owned outlet RT, Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Major-General Igor Konashenkov said:

Within the framework of this operation, the fighters, armored vehicles, and objects of terrorists are being destroyed on both western and eastern banks of the Euphrates.

At the same time, the Russian Air Force makes pinpoint strikes only on reconnaissance targets confirmed by several channels in IS-controlled areas.

Konashenkov added:

Over the past few days, on the eastern bank of the Euphrates, Russian control and reconnaissance facilities have not identified a single combat of Islamic State terrorists with armed representatives of any third force. Therefore, only representatives of the international coalition can a...

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