Nuclear priced out of Australia’s future energy equation

Australia’s official economic forecaster has finally admitted that the cost of nuclear energy is more than double other clean energy alternatives, suggesting it would likely play no role in a decarbonised grid based around lowest costs.

The Australian Power Generation Technology Report is a 362-page collaborative effort from more than 40 organisations, including the CSIRO, ARENA, the federal government’s Department of Industry and Science and the Office of the Chief Economist.

The report clearly shows that solar and wind will be the cheapest low carbon technologies in Australia.

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The impact of eating meat

Were we to eat soya, rather than meat, the clearance of natural vegetation required to supply us with the same amount of protein would decline by 94%. Producing protein from chickens requires three times as much land as protein from soybeans. Pork needs nine times, beef 32 times.

A recent paper in the journal Science of the Total Environment suggests that our consumption of meat is likely to be “the leading cause of modern species extinctions”. Not only is livestock farming the major reason for habitat destruction and the killing of predators, but its waste products are overwhelming the world’s capacity to absorb them. Factory farms in the US generate 13 times as much sewage as the human population. The dairy farms in Tulare county, California produce five times as much as New York City.
Freshwater life is being wiped out across the world by farm manure. In England, as I reported last week, the system designed to protect us from the tide of crap has comprehensively broken down. Dead zones now extend from many coasts, as farm sewage erases ocean life across thousands of square kilometres.

George Monbiot: The Guardian:  18 November 2015

Key Words: Climate Change
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Renewables are changing the climate narrative from sacrifice to opportunity

Oil-rich countries are choosing renewables as a means to create jobs, boost GDP and improve livelihoods – as well as reduce emissions

Dramatically falling solar photovoltaic costs are changing the economic equation. A solar photovoltaic tender in Dubai earlier this year resulted in record-low price of $0.06 per kilowatt hour – cheaper than domestically produced gas generation. Jordan’s recent tender results locked in power prices of between $0.06-0.08.

Accelerating signs of climate change and rising global temperatures are perhaps more pressing here in the Middle East than anywhere else on the planet.  Record-breaking temperatures made global headlines this year and a recent scientific study predicts the region will face heatwaves “beyond the limit of human survival” if climate change remains unchecked.

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Coal Atlas 2015: Facts and figures show the consequences of coal

The Coal Atlas 2015 contains the latest facts and figures on the use of coal and its environmental and social consequences. With more than 60 detailed info-graphics, the atlas illustrates the coal industry’s impact on nature, health, labour, human rights and politics.

Moreover, it sheds light on the beneficiaries of coal production and shows the current developments of the sector in China, India, the United States, Russia and Germany.

The atlas is available free in print and online at

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South Australian Government Commits to 100% Low Carbon Electricity

The South Australian Government has set a goal of becoming 100 per cent powered by low carbon electricity.

Announced by Premier Jay Weatherill today, the government is seeking proposals from the energy industry for the supply of low carbon electricity; specified as emitting less than 400kg carbon dioxide equivalent per megawatt hour of electricity generated.

Coal-fired power stations emit on average around 1,000 kilograms of carbon dioxide per megawatt hour and natural gas based power generation is generally more than 500 kilograms. Given the restriction, renewables such as wind and solar power are therefore front-runners.

The Government is looking for proposals to service up to 481 gigawatt hours of electricity a year, which is equivalent to 100% of the government’s electricity needs states a summary document.

“We are determined to make Adelaide a showcase city for low-carbon and clean technologies, to attract investment, drive innovation and create new jobs,” Mr Weatherill said.

South Australia sources more than 36% of its electricity from renewable sources and a quarter of SA homes have installed solar panels. The state is the largest producer of wind energy in Australia and boasts 41% of the nation’s installed capacity.

Energy Matters: 12 November 2015

Key Words: Climate Change, OzPolitics
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Heat records smashed again as big El Nino rides on global warming

Worldwide temperatures last month soared to new heights for October, boosted by the second-strongest El Nino on record, adding to the likelihood that 2015 will also smash annual heat records.

A good video on this site explains what is happening with the current extreme El Nino. A large blob of warm ocean is disrupting the winds which normally disperse El Nino. This means that this El Nino might last longer than a normal El Nino.

The Age: Peter Hannam: 17 Nov 2015

Key Words: Climate Change,
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How climate change influenced Australia’s extreme weather in 2014

Scientists have linked climate change to several extreme weather events that hit Australia last year, including city melting heatwaves, record hot spring temperatures and the sweltering conditions that greeted the G20 meeting in Brisbane.  They are part of a series of new studies – published in a special edition of the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society – examining the emerging scientific area of extreme weather “attribution”

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Climate change missing from full Trans-Pacific Partnership text

The final text of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement was finally released on Thursday.  This has confirmed the “worst nightmares” of environmental groups, with no mention of climate change in its lone environment chapter and weak enforcement mechanisms.

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China’s plans for 155 new coal-fired power and heating plants

Just outside the south-west border of Beijing, a new coal-fired power and heating plant is rising in Dongxianpo, a rural town in Hebei province. Cement mixers roll onto the site. Cranes tower above a landscape of metal girders.

When it’s finished, the plant, run by a company owned by the Beijing government, is expected to have a massive generating capacity of 700 megawatts of power. But whether it will actually be used to its fullest is questionable, despite the investment of $US580 million ($820 million).

That is because the plant is scheduled to come online in three years amid a glut of coal-fired power plants – an astounding 155 planned projects received a permit this year alone, with total capacity equal to nearly 40 percent of that of operational coal power plants in the United States.

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King Island achieves 100% renewables for 33 hours straight

Tasmania’s King Island was powered by 100 per cent renewable energy for a period of 33 hours non-stop this month – another huge milestone for the renewable energy system established on the island as part of a world-leading project by Hydro Tasmania.

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