THE HIDDEN COST OF SOLAR POWER AND WHO PAYS
Solar panels are costing those without them more than $1 billion a year.
New research by the Energy Supply Association of Australia reveals that the one million households with solar panels are avoiding network charges of $340 million a year - and rising. Read more here or read the ESAA paper here.
CLIMATE CHANGE GETS THE HEAVE-HO IN THE BUDGET
Professor Don Aitken could not find action on climate in the federal budget as he writes at Online Opinion: As has become usual, much of the news in the Budget had already been offered up as teasers and stories over the weekend and Monday, but I hadn't found anything much there about 'climate change'. And the Treasurer didn't say a lot about it. No longer are we hearing glowing accounts of how investing in new technologies will lead to a 'green-jobs' revolution. Read more
TASMANIAN FOREST DEAL SELLS OUT PEOPLE & THE ENVIRONMENT
Institute of Foresters Australia member, Mark Poynter examines the recent forest agreement in Tasmania in this article at Quadrant Online.
Few in the forestry sector can philosophically endorse an outcome largely forced by orchestrated campaigns of misinformation to intimidate and blackmail markets to an extent that the timber industry, already reeling from an unfavourable business climate, has been forced to allow its critics and enemies to determine the future of its resource base. By agreeing to allow the ENGO’s to draw-up the location and extent of new national parks supposedly encompassing ‘high conservation value forests’, the industry’s negotiators sanctioned an eco-activists’ nirvana.
PRESSURE ON COALITION AS COMPANY PAYS $15,000 FOR RENEWABLE ENERGY
The federal coalition faces grassroots pressure to revise its position on the Renewable Energy Target as the cost of the RET and other green schemes force up the cost of electricity.
Urangan Fisheries in Queensland is facing an extra $15,000 in charges added to their electricity bill just from the RET and probably up to $50,000 including all green schemes and the carbon tax, director Nicky Schulz said in a letter to the Opposition Leader.
Mr Schulz’s call for changes to the RET echo statements made by Labor’s Chief Whip Joel Fitzgibbon recently to the federal government to “forget the ideology” and cut the RET target to give relief to electricity consumers.
NT CROCODILE RECOVERY DEMANDS BETTER MANAGEMENT
The ongoing revival of saltwater crocodiles in the Northern Territory demonstrates how management has succeeded and failed on the same issue within the space of four decades.
Crocodile numbers were precipitously low in 1971 as a result of poor management of hunting. Now many would argue they are too high as a result of management that has not adapted to a strong recovery.
Adjunct professor Grahame Webb argues that widespread culling is not the answer. It does seem though that adaptive management might not be a bad idea.
What keeps crocodiles under control? Bigger crocodiles! Photo: Grahame Webb
'MUDDIED WATERS' DOCUMENTARY HIGHLIGHTS THE FLAWS OF THE MDBA PLAN
A 43 minute documentary screened on national television on December 9th 2012 highlights the many flaws of the MDBA plan tabled in parliament recently.
The plan's wilful avoidance of the effect of the 7.6km of sea-dykes that separate the Southern Ocean from the Lower Lakes precluding a return to the natural estuarine environment is an unforgivable omission. See more here.
THE FIVE STAGES OF CLIMATE GRIEF
The Kyoto Protocol died in Copenhagen in December 2009. Why, then, are climate change officials, including our own, meeting a third time since then and, instead of finalising burial arrangements, still talking about extending Kyoto to tackle climate change?
The answer is simple: the international community of climate change officials is going through the five stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance writes Alan Oxley in the Australian Financial Review.
Australia's financial grief however will continue to compound as we 'lead' the world in pricing carbon dioxide emissions, which continue to rise, while the global temperature stubbornly refuses to do the same.
IT'S THE END OF THE WORLD AS WE KNOW IT....OR JUST MORE CLIMATE ALARMISM?
Ben Cubby, environmental reporter for the Sydney Morning Herald ramped up alarmist reporting in this article on the release of a CSIRO report on the latest global greenhouse gas emissions.
"THE world is on track to see "an unrecognisable planet" that is between 4 and 6 degrees hotter by the end of this century, according to new data on greenhouse gas emissions".
Sarah Clarke from ABC News did the same with several broadcasts on the same subject. Perhaps Clarke has fallen victim to groupthink, unable to report on issues from a balanced perspective? Hayden Cooper from the ABC 7.30 Report gets in on the act as well, presenting a six minute report without an alternate view.
None of the reports mention falling global temperatures as reported a couple of weeks ago by the U.K. Met Office. None of the reports mention the fifteen year plateauing of global temperatures despite rising greenhouse gas emissions, a fact that directly challenges the alarmist 'projections' being reported on.
It is amusing to watch poker-faced Climate Change Minister Combet and Professor Matthew England warning of impending climate disaster from 'projected' rising temperature that conflicts with the observational data on global temperatures.
What is not so amusing is that none of the reports seek the views of anyone who may provide a different perspective other than supporting 'the end of the world' alarmism. It is little wonder that community scepticism of alarmist 'projections' and reporting continues to rise faster than global temperatures.
CLIMATE COMMISSION SAYS RENEWABLES COULD POWER THE COUNTRY!
More hyperbole from the Climate Commission in their latest report suggesting the whole economy could be powered by renewables. Attractive as that might be as an idea to some, the statement raises false expectations in many and bears no resemblance to the realities of what we can and cannot achieve with renewables.
Look at the present supply and demand in this graph from the National Energy Market. The red line indicates electricity demand, the blue line indicates what is currently supplied by renewables.
Anton Lang in a post at Jo Nova's website notes how the total demand average is between 22,000 and 28,000MW. Wind power from those 25 new plants generates as much as 650MW (the blue line). That’s 2.6%. This is from a total Nameplate Capacity of 2072MW being generated from those 25 Wind Plants which are made up of 985 huge towers.
GOVT. TO HELP BANKERS CLIP THE TICKET ON CARBON PRICING!
And we thought the carbon tax was about the environment.
Remember that? Back when former Prime Minister Rudd was trying to introduce the ETS, this whole scheme was supposed to be about saving the planet and the environment by taxing carbon dioxide.
In a frank statement during a speech to the Business Council of Australia on November 15th, Prime Minister Gillard makes it clear the government is here to help bankers "get their share" of the action.
"International carbon markets will cover billions of consumers this decade. Ask the bankers at your table whether they want Australia to clip that ticket. We’re going to help them get their share.
So that’s the work of coming years, that’s what preoccupies my thoughts as I think through the agenda for this country".
At least the pretense of 'saving the planet' is gone, it is now all about helping bankers clip the carbon tax ticket.
Read the full text of the Prime Minister's speech here
SUPPORT THE RATIONAL ENVIRONMENTALISTS
Become an AEF member and make an investment in good environment policy today!
Download a membership form or donate via the PayPal buttons on the left.
NATIONALS SENATOR BACKS LABOR'S FITZGIBBON ON ABOLISHING THE RET
Nationals senator Ron Boswell has supported the comments made by Government Whip, Joel Fitzgibbon calling for the Renewable Energy Target to be reconsidered.
Boswell highlighted an industrial user whose latest electricity bill of $244,000 contained a $32,500 component for the RET and a $45,000 carbon price charge.
The National Farmers Federation, Business Council of Australia and the Aust Chamber of Commerce and Industry have also called for the RET to be abolished or substantially modified pointing to a Productivity Commission report which says with a carbon tax in place the RET is redundant.
GOVT. WHIP TELLS LABOR TO FORGET RET "IDEOLOGY"
Government Whip Joel Fitzgibbon attacked the Climate Change Authoritiy's draft recommendations to leave the Renewable Energy Target largely unchanged, saying the target should be cut to give households relief from rising electricity prices.
Mr Fitzgibbon's comments echo those of the Aust Chamber of Commerce & Industry submission to the recent Senate inquiry on electricity prices which said "Greenhouse mitigation policies are entirely at the policy discretion of government and are unambiguously designed to make electricity charges higher than they otherwise would be.
"The Productivity Commission has noted that with an effective emissions trading scheme in place and
assuming international action, an explicit target for renewable energy would not only fail to achieve
any additional carbon abatement, but would also most likely lead to higher electricity prices".
Carbon tax + RET = Big power bills for no extra benefit.
In fact, a big green mistake.
REVIEW OF 2 IMPORTANT BOOKS ON FIRE & LAND MANAGEMENT
AEF member Roger Underwood reviews two recent books that explore the history and practices of fire and land management.
"Two important books have come my way recently. One, The Biggest Estate on Earth by Bill Gammage, is destined to become a classic in Australian literature, let alone bushfire literature. The other is Burning Issues by Mark Adams and Peter Attiwill, a concise, but comprehensive outline of the science underlying fuel reduction burning in Australia. Alongside Stephen Pyne’s earlier classic (The Burning Bush), well-read copies of all three of these volumes should be on the bookshelf of every land manager in Australia, and should be compulsory study for undergraduates in all of the natural sciences".
2012 ANNUAL CONFERENCE A RIPPER!
Members and speakers from every state and territory except the Northern Territory gathered at Rydges World Square Hotel in the centre of Sydney on Saturday October 20th for the start of the AEF Annual Conference.
Lively and informative presentations began with former diplomat and international trade adviser, Alan Oxley who spoke on greens and sustainable development. Read more on the conference.
Some conference papers here
Dr David Evans addresses the 2012 Conference
BURN FOR A BETTER NATURAL BALANCE SAYS HISTORIAN
Professor Bill Gammage putting the final touches to a speech to be delivered at the AEF annual conference told Stuart Rintoul of The Australian that the landscape needs to be burned back to a better natural balance for the best environmental outcomes. This subject is covered in detail in his award winning and widely acclaimed book The Biggest Estate on Earth.
SUPPORT THE RATIONAL ENVIRONMENTALISTS
Become an AEF member and make an investment in good environment policy today!
Download a membership form or donate via the PayPal buttons on the left.
SCARE TACTICS TARNISH SCIENTIFIC DEBATE
Campaigners on important but complex issues, annoyed by the leghth of time required for public deliberations, often react by exaggerating their claims, hoping to force a single solution to the forefront of public debate. But however well intentioned, scaring the public into a predetermined solution often backfires: when people eventually realise that they have been misled, they lose confidence and interest says the Skeptical Environmentalist Professor Bjorn Lomborg.
OBJECTORS SECURE A FUTURE FOR COAL IN EUROPE
Opposition to shale gas exploration in Europe and nuclear energy in Germany has delivered a massive boost to to coal-fired generators with the new German Environment Minister approving 23 new coal power stations.
While many point to Germany's 'success' with renewables they overlook the inevitable consequences now becoming apparent.
Meanwhile the U.S. wind industry laments the doubts over further tax credits as the unviable energy sector starts job lay-offs.
IS IT TRUE WHAT THEY SAY ABOUT WIND FARMS?
Only Australians get sick from wind farms
Along with Americans, Canadians, Kiwis, British, Dutch….
Communities overseas do not complain
An oft repeated claim that is belied by over 500 community groups world-wide opposed to inappropriately sited wind farms.
Funny how we don’t hear of turbine hosts getting sick
Most times you won’t either because they are bound by legally binding gag clauses preventing them speaking out, but some have anyway. Gag clauses are denied by wind farm supporters, but confirmed by Slater & Gordon solicitors. Read what else wind energy companies do not want you to know.
IS W.A. BIODIVERSITY DECLINING OR STABLE?
AEF member Roger Underwood examines the data to determine whether statements of catastrophic decline in W.A. biodiversity align with the facts.
HALLETT 3 WIND FARM SUCCUMBS TO COURT ACTION
Energy retailer AGL has ended more than three years of community-led litigation over the proposed development of its $180 million Hallett 3 (Mt Bryan) wind farm by shelving its approved plans for the site.
AGL received planning approval from the Regional Council of Goyder in 2009, but residents have been opposing it in the Environment, Resources and Development (ERD) Court.
Wind turbines and public health
This short video updates the issue of adverse health impacts from wind turbine operation.
GREENPEACE CO-FOUNDER, PATRICK MOORE ON THE EVOLUTION OF THE ENVIRONMENT MOVEMENT
Dr Patrick Moore, co-founder and ex president of Greenpeace shared his views of the current state of environmentalism in an interview with The Washington Times.
"By around the mid-1980s, when I left Greenpeace, the public had accepted most of the reasonable things we had been fighting for: stop the bomb, save the whales, stop toxic waste dumping into the earth, water, and air.
"Some, like myself, realized the job of creating mass awareness of the importance of the environment had been accomplished and it was time to move on from confrontation to sustainable development, seeking solutions. But others seemed bent on lifelong confrontation, "up against the man" "smash capitalism", "join the world-wide struggle against globalization" (I actually saw this on a cardboard sign at a demo).
"In order to remain confrontational as society adopted all the reasonable demands, it was necessary for these anti-establishment lifers to adopt ever more extreme positions, eventually abandoning science and logic altogether in zero-tolerance policies".
Moore goes on to say "So I conclude that in balance, ideology is the enemy of the people and the environment".
And this is the tragedy of modern environmentalism - promotion of ideology over facts and empirical evidence.
THE CHANGING LANDSCAPE OF ABORIGINAL AND GREEN POLITICS
ABC Radio in the Kimberley report that The Greens and their supporters face a moral dilemma in the Kimberley where environmental concerns are in conflict with Aboriginal self-determination.
Aboriginal elder, Rita Augustine pens a letter to Bob Brown 'We are not museum pieces'.
Meanwhile Labor MPs are not too sure what they support.
GREENS PARTY ATTEMPTS TO SILENCE PLANET ARK
Instead of accepting that other parts of the environmental movement might have different views to the Greens Party, Christine Milne this week on the ABC 7.30 Report attempted to discredit and exclude Planet Ark from the debate on the sustainability of timber harvesting. Alan Oxley writing in The Australian has some facts about the two forestry certification schemes in operation.
BIOFUELS STILL DISTORTING WORLD FOOD SUPPLY
The world isrunning short of corn. That is the message being delivered by the market, where on Thursday prices pushed above $8 a bushel for the first time. The biggest potential for a reduction in corn demand comes from the ethanol industry, which is using roughly 5bn bushels of corn, or nearly 40 per cent of the US corn crop, each year to make fuel for cars and animal feed.
Is there any value in ethanol other than that produced from waste products?
RENEWABLE ENERGY TARGET UNDER PRESSURE
The Australian editorialises that the support of both major political parties for the current renewable energy target of 20 per cent by 2020 is a sign that economically rational energy policy is not the forte of either the Gillard government or the opposition.
The Australian Financial Review also rails against costly green power. Continuation of the target in its present form will cause headaches for the government and the opposition. Read more
ACTIVIST SCIENTISTS CRYING WOLF ON CORAL BLEACHING & CLIMATE CHANGE
THE propaganda from our Great Barrier Reef scientists at the 12th International Coral Reef Symposium is relentless.
According to Janice Lough, Australian Institute of Marine Science (AIMS), the rate of change from anthropogenic global warming is unprecedented and is already having a catastrophic impact on the Great Barrier Reef.
Not so, according to Dr Jennifer Marohasy at her website where she has some facts.
GLOBAL WARMING: SECOND THOUGHTS OF AN ENVIRONMENTALIST
Professor Fritz Varenholt, regarded as one of the leading lights of the German environmental movement writes in the U.K. Telegraph: Scientists of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) are quite certain: by using fossil fuels man is currently destroying the climate and our future. We have one last chance, we are told: quickly renounce modern industrial society – painfully but for a good cause.
For many years, I was an active supporter of the IPCC and its CO2 theory. Recent experience with the UN's climate panel, however, forced me to reassess my position. In February 2010, I was invited as a reviewer for the IPCC report on renewable energy. I realised that the drafting of the report was done in anything but a scientific manner.
POOR POLICY COMES HOME TO ROOST
When the original Emissions Trading Scheme was announced in 2008 to almost universal expression of support, the AEF opposed it publicly and started a campaign to ensure its defeat in the parliament.
AEF objected to the policies of the Liberal, Labor and Greens parties which supported the ETS at that time. We objected on the grounds the ETS was poor policy that would not benefit the environment, would send Australian jobs overseas and be a large cost to the economy.
AEF had few friends in the debate on climate science or our focus of adaptation to climate change, rather than mitigation, whether that was to warmer or cooler global temperatures. It is fair to say at that point in the nascent debate, AEF was well aware it was out of step with public opinion.
In July 2008, with Kevin Rudd in power, 67 per cent supported an emissions trading scheme for Australia, and 77 per cent said Australians should reduce emissions regardless of what other countries did.
AEF holds the same position today, but public opinion has changed dramatically as voters desert the carbon tax with support falling a further 4 per cent to 33 per cent.
It is now fair to say that all of the environment movement, with the exception of AEF, is out of step with public opinion.
HIGH COST AND NIL EFFECT: THAT'S OUR CARBON TAX
Greg Sheridan from The Australian has been asking around about our new carbon tax. "The government and its countless mostly paid, carbon spruikers would have you believe that the Australian carbon tax is in line with most international practice.
Here is the sharp reality check. Nowhere in the world, in any significant jurisdiction, is any carbon tax or market-based mechanism having a significant economic or environmental impact."
"The truth is, as the Productivity Commission concluded, no economy anywhere in the world is doing anything like the Australian carbon tax with a pricie of $23 a tonne."
"In other words, we are imposing a cost on our economy unlike that imposed by any other government."
Sounds a lot like what we have been saying since 2008!
CARBON TAX HOAX BEGINS
The most expensive and useless public policy since Federation, the carbon tax, has now been imposed on all Australians in the name of saving the environment said the Australian Environment Foundation today in a media release.
WIND FARMS NOT COMPLYING WITH PLANNING & HEALTH LAWS
• It has already been established in several courts and tribunal hearings that wind turbine operation can cause health impacts in some people, it is the degree of those impacts that is not known. Denial of health impacts on a significant minority segment of the population is no longer credible or acceptable.
• People are abandoning homes adjacent to wind farms.
• A S.A. Supreme Court found wind farms were exceeding permitted noise levels in a case brought several months ago by long-suffering residents.
• The 2011 Senate Inquiry recommendations for medical and acoustical studies have not been implemented despite all stakeholders including the wind industry agreeing there should be studies.
• The Victorian Chief Health Officer has advised cash strapped rural councils they are responsible for wind farm monitoring and compliance after councils sought the Health department’s help following multiple complaints of adverse health impacts. The Chief Health Officer also refused their request for the department to undertake a Health Impact Assessment to determine the degree of impact from wind turbines.
• Freedom of Information documents show the NSW Health department officials warned ministers there was no evidence of adverse health impacts despite the department not undertaking any health studies to investigate the claims.
Read more on our campaign to see proper investigation and regulation of the wind industry.
NSW draft wind farm approval guidelines must be amended. See media release.
Independent Wind Survey
Please consider completing the survey at this link.
Detailed information about the survey can be found here.
AEF LAUNCHES 'RIVERS NEED ESTUARIES' CAMPAIGN FOR THE MURRAY
December 16th 2011
AEF today launched the ‘Rivers Need Estuaries’ campaign to have the current MDBA draft plan completely revised to prioritise restoring the Murray River estuary.
“There is a real need to restore the health of the Murray’s estuary by returning the artificial man-made freshwater Lower Lakes to a natural estuarine system” said biologist and AEF member Dr Jennifer Marohasy.
“For too long we have tried to prop up this unnatural freshwater system through the system of barrages that have destroyed a once flourishing natural estuary, wasting precious water from the entire Murray Darling basin.
The peer-reviewed scientific literature , unlike many recent government reports, recognises that the barrages have destroyed the estuary.” Read more on the Campaigns page.
CONGRESS EXPOSES GREEN JOBS
Congressional hearings get to the bottom of the growth in green jobs. Just reclassify almost any existing job!
SCIENTISTS DISCOVER EARLY SOURCE OF EL NINO
Tell-tale signs that an El Niño climate event is looming are detectable up to 18 months beforehand, scientists have found, nine months earlier than current models can predict.
Early warning of these events, which usually bring dry, hot conditions to much of Australia, would be welcome news for the country's farmers, fire fighters and weather forecasters says Stephen Pincock from ABC Science.
PRIVATE CONSERVATION PROJECTS LEAVE GOVT PROJECTS FOR DEAD
Atticus Fleming CEO of the Australian Wildlife Conservancy knows a thing or to about conserving endangered wildlife. Fleming says governments must reassess their roles in wildlife conservation. They need to consider reversing a trend in ecological management and put monitoring and control staff back into remote areas or funding private conservation bodies to manage wildlife.
PROPERTY RIGHTS REMOVED FOR THE 'GREATER GOOD', BUT NO COMPENSATION!
The continuing saga of Native Vegetation Laws where the property rights of individuals are diminished for the 'greater good' to address reduced native vegetation may appeal to those who argued for their introduction.
However the satisfaction of saving native trees wholly at the expense of landholders apparently does not extend to compensating them for their efforts on behalf of the community. David Leyonhjelm writes in The Land of this atrocious injustice inflicted upon a minority in the community for the greater good.
GM CROPS SHRINKING FARMING'S PESTICIDE FOOTPRINT
Professor Richard Roush and Dr David Tribe from the University of Melbourne say there is a lot to feel good about the way modern agriculture is shaping up to the big environmental challenges of the present.
LOWY INSTITUTE POLL SHOWS MAJORITY OPPOSITION TO A CARBON TAX
The 8th annual Lowy Institute poll of Australian attitudes to a range of issues includes a poll on climate change and the Carbon Tax.
The results show a remarkable change in the attitudes of the public to global warming scaremongering since 2007.
"The 63% of Australians who say they are against the legislation were presented with three statements and asked ‘whether you agree or disagree it is a reason why you personally are against the legislation’. Half the population (52%) oppose the legislation and agree it ‘it will result in job losses’. Thirty-eight per cent say ‘it is not necessary to act before other countries’."
LATEST MDBA PLAN A WASTE OF TIME AND MONEY
The latest MDBA plan released this week is an embarrassing waste of time and money when communities are looking for a plan for the future said the AEF in a media release today.
The revised plan continues with the flawed premise that the Authority can find enough fresh water in the basin to keep an estuarine coastal lagoon at the end of the Murray River fresh for most of the time. Read more.
WIND FARM SCAM A HUGE COVER-UP
Journalist James Delingpole from the U.K. Telegraph is currently on a speaking tour of Australia and in today's Australian newspaper writes of how inspired he was by an April 21 article by The Australian's environment editor Graham Lloyd, Where Eagles Dare Not Fly.
"It took great courage for Lloyd to write up his expose of the tremendous damage being caused by a wind farm to a small community in Waterloo, north of Adelaide.
"Inspired by Lloyd's article, I went to investigate and was heartbroken by what I found. Until you've seen what it can do to people, it's easy to dismiss wind turbine syndrome as a hypochondriac's charter or an urban myth.
"Even more shocking than this, though, were my discoveries about the finance arrangements and behaviour of the wind farm companies. What we have here, I believe, is the biggest and most outrageous public affairs scandal of the 21st century."
WIND SPIN: BLOWING HOLES IN INDUSTRY'S DENIAL OF HEALTH IMPACTS
Wind farm health impacts evident in many U.S. states.
A video compilation of the personal effects of wind turbines on families in California.
STEWART BRAND: 4 ENVIRONMENTAL HERESIES
The man who helped usher in the environmental movement in the 1960s and '70s has been rethinking his positions on cities, nuclear power, genetic modification and geo-engineering.
While not in complete agreement with some of his conclusions on climate, Stewart Brand is to be applauded for saying "I want to move my fellow environmentalists in the direction of not being ideologically driven, but evidence driven." Hear, hear!
Brand is not the only leading environmentalist to eschew long-held positions in favour of facts and evidence.
MARINE PARK SCALES BACK FISHING
AN unwritten agreement and self-regulation has long governed the commercial arrangements at Osprey Reef, an underwater paradise about 200 nautical miles north of Cairns in the Coral Sea writes Graham Lloyd in The Australian.
But will a marine park in the pristine Coral Sea improve environmental outcomes, or increase fishing pressure on unregulated overseas fisheries?
SALT-TOLERANT WHEAT VARIETY DISCOVERY TO TACKLE FOOD SHORTAGES
Australian scientists have crossed a modern wheat variety with a wild ancestral cousin to produce a high-yielding salt-tolerant plant that will help tackle world food shortages due to soil salinity writes Deborah Smith, science editor with the Sydney Morning Herald.
BILLIONS BLOWN AWAY ON WIND POWER
Governments are squandering billions of dollars on "uneconomic" wind farms, according to a landmark study that undermines the case for Labor's huge renewable energy subsidies says David Crowe in The Australian. Matt Ridley writing in The Spectator says it is just as bad in the U.K. but at least the government there is starting to wake up.
RENEWABLES ARE OK...IF THE NUMBERS ADD UP
As this article by Professor Bjorn Lomborg shows, much of the time, no matter how you slice and dice it many renewable energy schemes just don't add up.
"One of the world’s biggest green-energy public-policy experiments is coming to a bitter end in Germany, with important lessons for policymakers elsewhere."
PRIME MINISTER ATTACKS GREEN CAMPAIGNS
The Prime Minister says some environmental groups have waged an irresponsible and inaccurate campaign against the Tasmanian timber company Ta Ann.
Environment minister Tony Burke thinks some environment groups behaviour has been "appalling".
Indeed, some could say many environment groups give the environmental movement a bad name.
CLIMATE MODELS FLAWED SAYS EXPERT
In a paper released today [Feb 2nd], former Australian Greenhouse Office carbon modeller Dr David Evans says the predictions of climate models do not conform to the observed data collected by NASA satellites, radiosondes, and the Argo ocean buoy network.
“We show, in terms understandable by the lay-person, that all the major predictions of the climate models used to determine government policies, such as the carbon tax, are now wrong. The data and the models are now incompatible.” said Dr Evans. Read the media release.
AEF CALLS ON VIC. HEALTH MINISTER TO ACT
AEF has recently written to the Health Minister David Davis with a series of questions requesting his response to the senate inquiry recommendations for studies into the adverse health impacts of wind farms. The Waubra Foundation is also alarmed at the inaction as complaints continue to arise overseas and from Victorian doctors.
It's not only health issues of concern, others say "despite billions in taxpayer subsidies pumped into the so-called “green-energy” industry, almost 15,000 windmills — maybe more — have been left to rot across America."
ENVIRONMENTAL CREDIBILITY TRASHED FROM WITHIN - AGAIN
Not a grain of truth in sneaky Greenpeace tactics says journalist Malcolm Farr. A few weeks ago Greenpeace turned its “greenmail” forces on national franchise chain Bakers Delight, telling customers they soon would be eating bread made from genetically modified wheat.
There was no justification for the claim, and no thorough examination of the merits or otherwise of GM crops.
Meanwhile a paper company is reviewing the future of its $20 million plant in western Sydney after "intimidation" from environmental group Greenpeace cost it major supermarket orders.
MURRAY DARLING PLAN BASED ON MEANINGLESS AVERAGES
The Murray-Darling Basin Plan can’t deliver anything tangible and meaningful for communities, industry or the environment while its water sharing plans are based on averages.
Averages are a meaningless concept in the real world given the highly variable nature of Australian rainfall writes Dr Jennifer Marohasy in an article published in The Land.
PRINCE PHILIP LAMENTS "USELESS" WIND FARMS
In a robust discussion with a director of an energy firm, Prince Philip described wind farms as "absolutely useless" and "a disgrace". The U.K. Telegraph said the Prince's comments were supported by an increasing number of groups opposed to wind farms. This opposition to wind farms has spread to Denmark, often held up as the poster boy of success. The Danish government has banned any further on-shore wind farms because as the size of turbines grow, so do the complaints about noise and health effects.
The hidden costs and the farce of the 'Danish success' with wind energy are exposed in this peer-reviewed study of the false claims of economic and jobs value of wind energy.
Energy companies however, will have more to worry about in Australia than the Prince's strong opposition to the previously unquestioned acceptance of the 'fairy tale' that is wind energy.
As we head into another summer, one energy company operating in Victoria has been ordered to pay out millions of dollars in damages and another is facing a class action from fires allegedly caused by its assets.
Not wind turbine fires...yet. But the growing incidence of turbine fires [graphic photos in PowerPoint] in Australia, the inability to extinguish because of the turbine height and the big payouts will concern energy companies and nearby residents alike.
Towards a New Environmentalism (open criticism, midcourse correction, and scholarship needed)
AEF has had plenty to say about the lack of integrity and hypocrisy from large sections of the environment movement (see nearly any article below), so we find it interesting and informative to analyse the views of others. Steve Hayward from the American Enterprise Institute muses over the dissent from within the environment movement.
THE CRUMBLING EDIFICE OF THE IPCC
On Line Opinion published an article by AEF executive director Max Rheese that highlights the systemic flaws and omissions in the IPCC process.
"The truly frightening thing about Laframboise's book is that it clearly demonstrates the lack of integrity in the scientific report that is the primary foundation of policy decisions by the Australian government on climate change."
NOISE OF WIND FARM OVER THE LIMIT SAYS SUPREME COURT
Residents opposed to Stage 3 of the Hallett Hill wind farm in South Australia have had a win in the Supreme Court.
The case now will go back to the Environment, Resources and Development Court, in light of new evidence showing unacceptable levels of noise from Hallett Hill Stage 2.
WIND FARM SILENCE DEAFENING
The Senate inquiry into wind farms impact on peoples health made multiple recommendations for health studies and research. Meanwhile rural residents continue to abandon their homes adjacent to wind farms writes Max Rheese.
UPDATE: People may be supportive of wind farms, but surveys show that 93% wouldn't want to live near one.
GUNN'S PULP MILL APPROVAL 'INEVITABLE' SAYS MAYNE
Business media commentator, Stephen Mayne writing at Crikey says the long planned and debated Bell Bay mill is needed for Tasmania. Recently, author of Saving Australia's Forests And Its Implications, Mark Poynter lamented the Green's vision pushed onto unwilling locals while other commentators say Tasmania needs to do much more to attract investment, because at the moment, the state relies on Federal Government handouts for almost two thirds of its income.
SHOULD THE TAXPAYER FUND THE GOVT'S "SAY YES" MEN?
It was revealed in senate estimates hearings that $3 million of taxpayer funds were distributed to green groups who "have backed Labor's package to fight off the Opposition's campaign against the policy."
It is certainly a very dubious method of selling poor public policy.
GREAT BARRIER REEF 'RESEARCH' - A LITANY OF FALSE CLAIMS
For ten years the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) has been campaigning to ‘Save the Great Barrier Reef’.
The WWF campaign is an example of prejudice against industry and pesticides and also how alarmism is increasingly favoured over evidence resulting in junk science says Dr Jennifer Marohasy.
IT'S TIME TO TELL YOUR MP's - NO CARBON TAX!We all helped to defeat the Emissions Trading Scheme legislation in 2009 by direct contact with our members of parliament. A huge deluge of emails and calls to MP’s changed political thinking and the tide of events. The ‘inevitable’ ETS was consigned to the political dustbin.
It’s time to take action again. Tell members of parliament a carbon tax:
1. Will not change global temperatures;
2. Will force Australian jobs overseas; and
3. Will make Australians poorer; while it is richer, not poorer nations that are better able to protect their natural environment.
Use this email list to send a personal message to all federal MP’s.
BARGAIN BROKEN BY DIFFERING AGENDAS?
Wayne Bergman, former head of the Kimberley Land Council laments changing agendas that threaten indigenous progress in rising from poverty.
SEA WILL SAVE THE MURRAY MOUTH
Later this year the government will release a plan that is supposed to place the Murray-Darling on a sustainable environmental footing, and already $10 billion has been set aside for the plan's implementation. But if the guide released last year gives any indication of what to expect, then it will do nothing to restore that part of the system most affected by agriculture and most in need of saving: the Lower Lakes and Murray mouth, once the Murray River's estuary writes Dr Jennifer Marohasy in The Australian (August 27, 2011).
AN INCONVENIENT FALLACY
Professor Bob Carter writing in The Sydney Morning Herald (26 June 2011) nominates the key issues the government will have to communicate in selling its climate change action plan. This is all the more important with the latest annual Lowy Institute poll showing only 41% of Australians now support action on climate.
SENATE REPORT ON WIND FARMS CALLS FOR URGENT HEALTH STUDY
The long awaited Senate report on the impacts of rural wind farms was tabled on June 23rd with clear recommendations for government to undertake medical studies into adverse health effects of wind farms. This followed the release earlier in the week of a Danish study confirming that large modern wind turbines are increasing the amount of low frequency noise at adjoining properties. Both reports vindicated the campaign by AEF and others to address the serious concerns of many people in rural communities over wind farm establishment. See media release and 7.30 Report.
FREE FLOWING ESTUARY VITAL TO HEALTHY RIVER
I am a Murray-Darling Basin food and fibre producer, and I'm very aware of how much water our operations use. My company, Twynam Agricultural Group, also invests in research and development constantly to improve water-use efficiency so we can produce more food and fibre with less water.
Read full article at The Australian
WIND POLICY FAILURES
The attitude within government and the bureaucracy to wind farm complaints has been characterised succinctly, with adversely affected persons within rural communities explicitly referred to as political “road kill”.
This article by AEF executive director Max Rheese explores some of the issues before the current Senate inquiry into wind farms.
AEF DEBATES ACF ON MURRAY DARLING WATER
Dr Jennifer Marohasy from AEF debated Dr Arlene Harris-Buchan from the Australian Conservation Foundation in Brisbane recently.
“The problem for the Murray, for its estuary is not agriculture. It is politics and the barrages. During the prolonged recent drought the South Australian government sacrificed the lakes to make a political point.
Let’s be honest, the Australian Conservation Foundation have clearly chosen to ignore the plight of the Congolli, the Mulloway, and other estuarine species and to campaign against Australian agriculture when they should, especially during the recent drought, have been campaigning for the removal, or at least opening of the barrages.”
BLOWING AWAY MONEY
Wind and alternative energy activists confronted with evidence that clean and green power is little more than a vastly expensive way to not save carbon, may start talking about the jobs to be generated by our adoption of green power in all its forms says journalist Mark Lawson in this article at Quadrant Online.
Also see The reality of wind turbines in California.
MAROHASY SLAMS GREENPEACE ON ANTI-GM CAMPAIGN
Jennifer Marohasy, a respected biologist and Adjunct Research Fellow in the Centre for Plant and Water Science at CQ University, says Greenpeace campaigning on genetically modified crops has successfully and significantly reduced the competitiveness of Australian canola growers and achieved little else.
In this article in The Land newspaper she says the Greenpeace is waging a fear campaign against GM technology and technological innovation.
INQUIRY ON WIND FARMS
A massive flood of submissions have arrived at the Senate committee secretariat in the last few weeks over the divisive issue of wind farms and their impacts on rural communities. The AEF submission can be viewed here. The committee will begin public hearings on March 25th.
The Australian published this article on the impact of wind farms on Rosemary Quinn of South Australia on March 5th 2010.
TOPHER’S UNPOPULAR VIEW OF MD BASIN WATER DEBACLE
Topher’s critical and incisive view of water issues is worth a look for a good overview.
GOVERNMENT MUST ACT
It is the ultimate in hypocrisy for the Commonwealth government to be insisting farmers give back water under a new planning scheme to save the environment, while continuing to pocket millions from water wasted by Snowy Hydro for derivative trading on the electricity market says Jennifer Marohasy in this article at Quadrant Online.
WHATEVER YOU DO, DON’T MENTION THE DAMS!
Recent floods in Queensland and widespread rainfall in eastern Australia has prompted commentary on the need for debate over whether more dams should be built or existing dams extended, if possible.
Some commentators not only did not see value in more dams, but could not see any value in contesting the ‘conventional wisdom’ that dams are not good for the environment. In short, despite the public furore over management of the Murray Darling basin, the recent long drought and extraordinary drought breaking rains, many do not want to have an informed debate on this most basic form of water management.
Self described leftist, Barry York published this article in The Australian decrying the Greens, capitalism and the lack of debate on dams. Let’s at least give thought to the merit of his call for a debate on dams.
FURTHER INVESTIGATION OF RIVERINA FLOODS REVEALS MORE
The Whole Truth: Water Deliberately Dumped Into Flooded Area
SNOWY Hydro chief executive, Terry Charlton, recently confirmed that water was dumped into the already flooded Murray-Darling Basin, but said the authority had little choice (The Australian, December 15, 2010, page 7). A real time operational diagram, however, tells a very different story. Full article at Quadrant Online
WATER ACT WASTES WATER
Both sides of federal politics are championing the Water Act as a response to problems in the Murray-Darling Basin but what is happening at the present moment illustrates just how wrong this response is. Every valley in the Basin is in flood, some for the third and fourth time in twelve months, and most dams are overflowing. But what is happening with water management? asks Ron Pike at Quadrant Online
Bureaucratic Flood Damage?
Snowy Hydro tops up floods with environmental flow says Dr Jennifer Marohasy
While residents of Wagga Wagga scrambled to save their belongings from rising flood waters there was a rumour circulating that the crisis was exacerbated by bureaucratic incompetence, in particular that Snowy Hydro was releasing environmental flow water into the already flooded Murrumbidgee River.
Full article at Quadrant Online
Also see AEF media release of 14 December 2010:
Snowy Hydro Wants Changes to Licence Provisions to Avoid Exacerbating Flooding
TRUTH IN OBSERVATION
Quadrant Online published an article by AEF chairman, Alex Stuart
On 1 November, the widely-respected Earth System Science Centre at the University of Alabama at Huntsville (UAH) published its satellite-derived average temperature of the lower atmosphere for October. The smoothed running average for October was level with the 1998 figure – showing that for the past 12 years, there’s been no global warming. Yet in those same years carbon dioxide in the air rose by 6%. So what’s going on? Either the warming influence of man-made CO2 has been offset by unspecified cooling – or the man-made global warming theory must be questioned.
View article here
THE FOLLY OF TILTING AT WINDMILLS
And as the wind farm footprint grows, so do questions about cost, reliability, health effects and the methods being used by wind-tower spruikers to propagate what has become a modern-day wind rush.
ABC chairman Maurice Newman, who owns a property at Crookwell in NSW that will soon be impacted by wind farms favours the analogy that wind turbines will turn out to be for power generation what the zeppelin was for air transportation: it looked promising but was not the answer.
Newman holds a view common in Western Australia, South Australia, Victoria and almost everywhere in the world that wind turbines are being installed: that this is an expensive, unsightly and sub-optimal means of generating power
The Great Wind Rush Waterfront warrior sails against the wind
The folly of tilting at windmills
THE CASE OF IRISH OAK TREE RINGS
Dr John Abbot and Dr Jennifer Marohasy have published the following paper which looks at the reliability of tree ring data as temperature proxies.
"Accessing environmental information relating to climate change: the case of Irish oaks tree rings". Environmental Law and Management 2010 Volume 22, Issue 4, 172-181.
A summary of the paper can be viewed here
Community Meeting Unanimous in Opposition to Wind Farm Proposal
110 local residents gathered at the Tooborac Hall, near Seymour in central Victoria on Sunday October 31st to hear proposals to establish a large wind farm in the local area.
The meeting was organised by local group the Granite Boulders Landscape Guardians with speakers from that group, the Australian Landscape Guardians and the Australian Environment Foundation.
The audience having heard the proposed wind farm would impact on scores of existing residences and farms via loss of amenity, decreasing land values and adverse impacts on health through low frequency sound were amazed to hear the costly power produced by this wind farm would be subsidised by them and all other Victorians through their electricity bills for insignificant to zero reductions in CO2 reductions.
A resolution at the conclusion of the meeting directed to the company responsible, Transfield and the Victorian government reiterating community opposition to the proposal was passed unanimously.
See AEF media release
Senator Cory Bernardi opens AEF Conference
The AEF 5th Annual Conference was held on the weekend of October 16th and 17th in Brisbane in front of an enthusiastic audience of members and non-members who travelled from around the country to hear some excellent presentations. Conference papers can be found here.
Water plan will decimate Murrumbidgee frogs
Dr Jennifer Marohasy and Ron Pike highlight overlooked benefits to the environment from farming habitats in this article at On Line Opinion.
Rice growers along the Murrumbidgee River are likely to be among the hardest hit if the federal government proceeds with its new water sharing plan. If the region loses 45 per cent of its current allocation as proposed by the Murray Darling Basin Authority, an unintended consequence will be a dramatic decline in the populations of over a dozen species of frog. These frogs have benefited from water being pooled in upper catchment areas for rice production; if the plan goes ahead more water will end up going down to South Australia and over the barrages into the Southern Ocean, to the detriment of flood plain wildlife. On Line Opinion article
Will Real Evidence or Realpolitik Drive Change in the Murray Darling Basin?
The MDBA Basin Guide released on October 8th 2010 is set against the imperative of obtaining more water for the environment. The report calls for a minimum of 3000 gigalitres [GL] to be recovered for environmental flows, while we have been told repeatedly since at least 2003 that the expert scientific conclusions were 1500 GL were required to restore environmental well-being to the Basin.
Several curiosities appear in the Basin Guide relating to environmental matters with little substantiation via evidence or reference to data.
The decline of emblematic river red gum forests is referred to, citing varying degrees of decline in different areas, with the inference this is wholly attributable to a decline in available water. Recent investigations in both NSW and Victoria prior to national park declarations showed the forests in best condition were those actively managed by local communities and the forest in the worst condition was contained in the national park estate, both subject to the same water regime.
Similarly, claims were made about the large decline of waterbirds in the basin since 1983 with graphs supplied by Dr Richard Kingsford from the UNSW used to illustrate the point. This graph using Dr Kingsford’s own data from 2003 paints a different picture of waterbird abundance in one of Australia’s prime breeding sites. While there are reasonable grounds to study Dr Kingsford’s point that unseasonal flooding of wetlands could be detrimental to the food chain and birdlife, there is little to suggest that mandating 3000 GL to the environment to see an extra 2000GL flow out through the mouth of the Murray is a good outcome.
This idea of maintaining an artificial environment in the Lower Lakes through the use of barrages is all the more questionable when one reads the statements attributed to the MBDA CEO, Rob Freeman on the release of the Basin Guide, when he said “''If the Coorong, Lower Lakes and Murray mouth were chosen as a priority in this particular example, then insufficient water will be available in the median-to-wet years to meet targets at floodplain sites like Barmah-Millewa forest.'' Poor management decisions taking precedence over good environmental outcomes is realpolitiks in motion.
(See also AEF media release of 14 October 2010.)
The Murray: a fresh perspective
Jennifer Marohasy, September 19, 2010
The release of a new Murray Darling Basin plan on October 8, 2010, is likely to reignite debate over how best to solve the problems of the Murray River. It will further pit some environmentalists and some South Australians against upstream irrigators as a debate over how to fix the two very large freshwater lakes at the very bottom of the Murray River rages. Article at Quadrant Online.
Anglican report backs Pearson on Wild Rivers legislation
Noel Pearson has long railed against the Queensland government Wild Rivers legislation and has been criticised for doing so by its proponents, Anna Bligh’s government and the Wilderness Society. However last week the Anglican church released its detailed study into the legislation and backs Pearson. “The Anglican report represents the most comprehensive, objective and rigorous analysis of the Wild Rivers legislation and its effect on Aboriginal communities and landowners.” Article in The Australian (October 02, 2010)
Gunns to cease harvesting native forests
Forester Mark Poynter writes of the never ending campaign against native forest harvesting in Tasmania that has seen timber giant Gunns announce its ending of public forest harvesting.
The lack of integrity in the campaign to cease completely the sustainable harvesting of native forests provides no balance between protecting the environment and wise resource use to provide products demanded by society. The madness of driving out world’s best practice forestry operations to import increasing amounts of illegally harvested timber from overseas beggars belief.
Article at Online Opinion
Environmental activism kills millions: The cost of banning DDT
“3 Billion and Counting is a new documentary film on the awful human cost of banning DDT. The film’s producer, medical doctor Rutledge Taylor, circled the tropical world, finding that malaria has claimed some three billion human lives throughout history—and the toll of needless deaths is continuing to mount by perhaps 1.5 million per year. Moreover, it permanently debilitates millions more.” says Dennis Avery in this article at the Science & Public Policy Institute website.
Denmark’s Green Energy Revolution runs out of puff
Andrew Gilligan from the U.K. Telegraph writes of the growing community backlash against wind farms and their limitations in this article. “To green campaigners, it is windfarm heaven, generating a claimed fifth of its power from wind and praised by British ministers as the model to follow. But amid a growing public backlash, Denmark, the world's most windfarm-intensive country, is turning against the turbines.
Last month, unnoticed in the UK, Denmark's giant state-owned power company, Dong Energy, announced that it would abandon future onshore wind farms in the country. "Every time we were building onshore, the public reacts in a negative way and we had a lot of criticism from neighbours," said a spokesman for the company.”
WIND FARMS BLOW ILL WIND FOR LOCAL COMMUNITIES
The North American experience of the establishment of wind farms has been challenging for local communities, energy consumers and those waiting for reductions in CO2 emissions. Power bills have risen, quality of life for local communities has fallen – all without any real reduction in emissions. This video from Canada tells a compelling story.
THE GREAT RENEWABLE ENERGY RORT
Kathy Russell from the Australian Landscape Guardians writes a compelling article on the need for a rigorous analysis of the alleged benefits of more wind farms.
Government has accepted, without due diligence, proposals put forward by vested interests that disadvantage the people with higher energy costs and little or no benefit for the environment.
The moral high ground taken by those in government and those initially in favour of turbines is that they are doing their bit for the environment – the data shows otherwise.
Why is anyone of sound mind supporting Renewable Energy Targets?
Article at Quadrant Online
RENEWABLE ENERGY – WHAT IT WILL REALLY COST
With the deferment of the Australian emissions trading scheme until at least 2013 renewable energy companies and advocates for a greater mandating of renewable energy use in Australia are ramping up their efforts to commit Australia to a changed energy mix.
This appears at face value to be a plausible policy path, if one were committed to the concept of reducing reliance on fossil fuels, until the economics and practicalities are subjected to scrutiny.
The proposal to mandate an increasing amount of Australian energy use to renewables is poor policy on the same scale as the failed emissions trading scheme and deserves the same scrutiny.
The following link is a paper prepared last month that examines the question in the American context; it is very comparable to the Australian discussion and experience. This link is to the U.S Energy Information Administration data referred to in the paper.
Only because it happens so infrequently, this link to a journalist’s mea culpa on wind farms is included. The original story relates to a big wind farm proposal for Massachusetts for which the stated cost of implementation tripled during the investigation process and wind energy costs blew out to four times the cost of conventional electricity.
AEF SUPPORTS VEGETATION LAW OVERHAUL
6 May 2010
The Australian Environment Foundation today backed the Senate Inquiry into Native Vegetation Laws recommendation to establish a “balance between maximising agricultural production and best practice conservation.” See media release
SCIENCE ON SOLID GROUND WITH GM FOOD
The Chief Scientist of Food Standards of Australia and New Zealand (FSANZ), Dr Paul Brent responds to criticisms of the regulatory approval process for GM food on ABC Bush Telegraph April 28th.
“It’s getting to the point where those people who object to GM foods have failed miserably to show any credible data that GM foods are unsafe”. Listen to the interview
Greenies use 'wilder nullius' to get their way in Cape York
Richie Ahmat, chairman of the Cape York Land Council
The Australian April 19, 2010
THE confrontation between the Aboriginal traditional owners of Cape York Peninsula and The Wilderness Society in relation to Queensland's Wild River laws is fundamental. If it is not resolved fairly and soon, it will be the beginning of a long war that our people will never abandon until justice is restored. (more)
Abbott's bill would reverse the injustice of Wild Rivers laws
Noel Pearson, 3 April 2010
THE Senate's legal and constitutional affairs committee this week started its inquiry into Tony Abbott's private member's bill, which seeks to override the Queensland government's Wild Rivers Act 2005. (More in The Australian.
We need a new paradigm for national parks
Max Rheese, 25 March 2010
The ever increasing expansion of the national parks estate across the country continues to provide fertile ground for conflict between users of public land, rural communities, environment groups and governments. (more)
ABC Beat Up
March 15, 2010
The ABC’s Australian Story episode entitled “Something in the Water”, which attacks Tasmania's plantation forestry and aquaculture industries, is biased and misleading according to forester Mark Poynter. See his article at On Line Opinion.
Dump Emissions Trading Scheme Now
09, February 2010
“The declining credibility of the UN’s science on climate should send a signal to the Rudd government that it’s time to fundamentally reconsider its approach to climate policy” said Alex Stuart, chairman of the Australian Environment Foundation. See AEF media release.
Environmentalists have crossed the Rubicon
21 December 2009
Environmental advocacy in Australia is increasingly producing perverse environmental outcomes that are changing the way we live, largely as a result of political decisions for electoral gain. (more)
When are we going to wake up?
by Walter Starck
November 23, 2009
Six degrees and rising: I’ll call your 2 degrees and raise it to 6
The past few months has been a frustrating time for the climate change industry. Earlier in the year they were on a roll and it looked like a global treaty agreement at Copenhagen in December was a done deal. The heady scent of unprecedented power and money was palpable. Everyone on the bandwagon, activists, bureaucrats, researchers and entrepreneurs, were in high anticipation. But, as Copenhagen approached, unwelcome reality began to intrude on the dream. (more at Quadrant.)
FORCING COMPANIES TO CARRY OUT BIODIVERSITY SURVEYS CAN BACKFIRE SAY EXPERTS
Forcing timber, mining and plantation companies to carry out costly, time-consuming and for-the-most-part incomplete biodiversity surveys on their holdings could drive away those genuinely committed to conservation, while allowing less scrupulous commercial ventures to fly under the radar, a new study by the Center for International Forestry Research suggests in this article in Forest News.
IRRATIONAL OPPOSITION TO GM CROPS BY GREENPEACE
Dr Patrick Moore, co-founder of Greenpeace, but no longer a member rails against the stance taken in opposing GM crops at his website: Greenpeace has openly and aggressively spread misinformation about Golden Rice since it was first invented and has continued to do so at every opportunity. They claim that there are better ways to alleviate vitamin A deficiency, such as vitamin pills and “home gardening”. Yet Greenpeace is doing nothing to implement alternative programs for the millions of victims, claiming the cause of vitamin A deficiency is “poverty”. Read more.
TRUE NATURE: REVISING IDEAS ON WHAT IS PRISTINE & WILD
Are there any pristine ecosystems out there? The evidence is growing that our ideas about virgin nature are often faulty. In fact, the lush rainforest or wind-blown moorland we think is natural may be a human creation, with alien creatures from distant lands living beside native species. Realizing this will change our ideas about how ecosystems work and how we should do conservation. Fred Pearce explores the question in this article at Online Opinion.
IT'S OK TO LINK CLIMATE DENIAL TO PEDOPHILIA ABC TELLS EX-CHAIRMAN
It seems there is some sort of disconnect in the ABC as debate rages yet once again on the coverage of climate science and political issues by the national broadcaster.
It seems from our experience that ABC regional radio coverage is generally fair, balanced and informative for the most part. This conflicts with coverage on ABC TV and radio in capital cities, which on many occassions hardly seems balanced or prepared to offer a diversity of views.
Whether this is because staff living in regional areas are more attuned to the views and interests of their communities than their capital city counterparts is difficult to determine, but there is certainly a city/ country divide in attitudes and presentation.
Former ABC chairman Maurice Newman appears to have only encountered one variant in his direct dealings with ABC staff as was widely reported when he addressed a staff meeting as chairman, asserting there was a culture of 'groupthink' within the organisation.
This week an opinion article by Newman in The Australian prompted more analysis of the issue, all started again by the distasteful commentary on the ABC Science Show.
NEW GOVT. REPORT SHOWS 'NO-TAKE' ZONES IN MARINE PARKS ARE UNNECESSARY
The release of a government report showed that more than 90 per cent of fish stocks are sustainable was used to argue that last month's gazetting of a string of marine parks around the country was unnecessary. Read more and link to the report here.
IS A 'NO-DAMS' POLICY WORTH $28 BILLION?
Ask any Melburnian who has just received their latest water bill and is now paying hundreds of dollars a year for a desal plant that is going to be mothballed after commissioning is complete in a month or so.
The world's largest desal plant was given the go-ahead by the then Victorian Labor government panicked into action with the realisation that Melbourne could run out of water ahead of the 2010 state election. This was a result of years of adherence to a green driven 'no-dams' policy supported by some Victorians. They now have 28 years of high water bills to reflect on whether this policy was worth the environmental benefit [?] of no new dams.
While not denying that desal plants can be useful in providing water security as a last priority behind broad-scale recycling, new dams and stormwater retention, the poor policy framework that overlooked serious consideration of these options first will cost Victoria dearly.
Imagine if $3 billion had been spent on a new dam and the other $25 billion had been committed to fixing real environmental problems.
FACTS BLOW WIND MYTHS AWAY
Recently in two probing articles, The Australian environment editor Graham Lloyd drew back the curtain exposing the fallacious myths perpetrated by those who believe wind power will save the planet and who will say anything to advance what has become a noble cause.
Many acolytes for wind power perhaps are an exemplar of warriors for a noble cause, absolved from ethical behaviour, where the end justifies the means in prosecuting a righteous case for the greater good – disregarding those whose rights are trampled in the process. AEF executive director, Max Rheese examines these myths in an article at Online Opinion.
On the same day 2GB's Alan Jones interviewed Senator Chris Back on the Wind Power Scam. Senator Back is a member of the senate committee inquiring into draft legislation proposing to curb excessive noise from wind farms. Committee senators were very concerned that wind industry witnesses were very resistant to publically releasing noise data, which they claimed, do not produce any adverse health impacts.
WIND FARMS LOSING SOCIAL LICENCE SAYS ENERGY AUSTRALIA
Enforcing the Renewable Energy Target via a massive expansion of giant wind turbines will polarise the community according to leading energy companies.
Adverse health impacts, excessive noise and increased electricity prices because of costly renewables are testing the limits of community tolerance.
Some industry sources say that wind turbine construction would have to triple from present levels to meet the current targets.
Origin Energy reveal that the community backlash over wind farms has surpassed opposition to coal-seam gas mining.
The Climate Change Authority have refused to consider adjusting the current RET despite evidence showing with falling energy demand the target is likely to be exceeded by 25% with a further consequent upward pressure on electricity prices.
Wind farms 'worse than aircraft noise'. Wind farm noise does harm health and sleep say scientists
RALLY AT PARLIAMENT HOUSE TO SUPPORT WIND FARM NOISE BILL
Residents from three states, AEF members, the Flyers Creek Wind Turbine Awareness Group and the Boorowa Landscape Guardians rallied at Parliament House Canberra on November 13th to demand support from all political parties for the bill initiated by Senators Madigan and Xenophon to curb excessive wind farm noise. Read more. See media release.
Earlier in the morning Alan Jones interviewed wind turbine host David Mortimer from S.A., Annie Gardner a landholder next to the Macarthur wind farm and acoustician Steven Cooper on excessive wind farm noise and its impacts.
Read the AEF submission to the Senate Inquiry on the legislation to limit excessive wind farm noise.
IS THE USE OF SECONDARY BOYCOTTS OR MARKETPLACE BULLYING ETHICAL?
Or does the end justify the means? By adopting a 'noble cause' attitude some environmentalists seem to believe they are absolved from ethical behaviour.
Mark Poynter looks at tactics in recent forestry and marine campaigns in this article at Online Opinion.
HURRICANE SANDY NOT DUE TO GLOBAL WARMING & THE CLIMATE COMMISSION IS WRONG TO SAY SO
The Climate Commission was pretty quick of the mark with a media release on November 4th attributing climate change as a major factor in the destruction caused by Hurricane Sandy as it swept through the north east of the U.S.
However, climatologist and AEF founding member Professor Bob Carter and William Kininmonth former head of the National Climate Centre in an article published in The Age point to the conclusions of climate experts at NOAA.
"As has already been stressed by senior scientist Martin Hoerling from the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and many other scientists, no evidence exists for any influence of global warming, let alone human-caused warming, on the intensity of hurricane Sandy".
President of the Australian Conservation Foundation, Ian Lowe thinks Carter and Kininmonth will "sooner or later have to accept the science" as he does.
That would be the same science that shows there has been no increase in hurricane landfall in the U.S., no global increase in temperature for 15 years, no increase in global ocean temperature since the Argo buoy network was deployed in 2003 and two years of increased rainfall in Australia.
All these things are self-evident while no-one disputes that atmospheric levels of carbon dioxide are rising. It is becoming more and more evident to those who accept the evidence instead of the ideology that the theory of catastrophic man-made global warming is unproven and without basis.
SAVE THE WHALES, FORGET THE CHILDREN
Say what you will about Greenpeace says Henry Miller in the Wall Street Journal, the organization has always had a flair for publicity. From its early days of dodging harpoons and Japanese whalers in outboard motor boats, it has used media savvy and an aptitude for political theater to become a $360 million-plus per year behemoth with offices in more than 40 countries.
But what few members of the public know is that Greenpeace isn't just about saving whales and other appealing sea creatures. Its PR machine is now spearheading an effort to deny millions of children in the poorest nations the essential nutrients they need to stave off blindness and death.
BUSHFIRE FRONT CHAIRMAN SAYS W.A. FACING RISKY FIRE SEASON
AEF member Roger Underwood who is chairman of the think-tank Bushfire Front talks of the accumulation of heavy fire fuel loads and the risks facing West Australians this summer in this interview with ABC radio.
DEATH KNELL FOR WIND FARMS: ENOUGH IS ENOUGH SAYS U.K. MINISTER
Speaking to the U.K. Telegraph Minister John Hayes said that we can “no longer have wind turbines imposed on communities” and added that it “seems extraordinary” they have allowed to spread so much throughout the country.
So much for claims other countries are happy with wind farms.
ANOTHER COUNCIL REJECTS WIND FARM APPLICATION
Mitchell Shire Council this week unanimously rejected an application for a 16 turbine wind farm by Infigen Energy south east of Seymour in Central Victoria. This was the first application since new planning rules prohibiting wind farms within 2km of residences took effect.
This follows on from the recent rejection by Goyder Council in South Australia for the Stony Gap wind farm.
An analysis of wind farm noise data by acoustician Steven Cooper presented at the 2012 AEF Conference lends weight to the decision by both councils to reject the applications on the basis of potential adverse health impacts. See media release
S.A. HAS MORAL RIGHT TO MORE MURRAY WATER?
The Adelaide Advertiser editorialises that S.A. always had a strong moral argument for more water for the Murray River.
Given that most of that water is for Adelaide, which is not even in the Murray Darling basin, and Premier Weatherill has mothballed the desalination plant in favour of cheaper river water at the expense of the environment, the strong moral argument seems a bit thin.
THE ENVIRONMENTAL MOVEMENT NOW EFFECTIVELY CONTROLS AUSTRALIA'S FUTURE...
So says Nick Cater of The Australian in an article titled Big Wilderness's veto on development. In a story that reflects the theme of several of the presentations at our annual conference, Cater details how many of the 'Big Wilderness' groups have lost their way pandering to populism to secure funding and support.
It is a sad indictment of the policy process that outcomes are determined by social media and the loudest voices, rather than science or evidence.
WORLD FOOD DAY, THE NATIONAL FOOD PLAN, GREEN TAPE AND EXTORTION
The Greens in Australia are still opposed to GM food despite decades of consumption by humans with no recorded ill effect and prominent overseas environmentalists recanting their opposition to GM technology.
Campaigns by environmental groups for changes to Native Vegetation laws to restrict clearing of native regrowth have produced perverse outcomes with virtual monocultures of ‘woody weeds’ in large parts of NSW and Queensland that has disrupted cropping and grazing production.
Now some groups are now attempting to coerce beef producers into a certification scheme that has been labelled as extortion.
Meanwhile Tim Andrews explores some of the obstacles to food production resulting from green tape in an article at Online Opinion while David Leyonhjelm looks at the possibilities of a northern food bowl in an article in Stock and Land.
AEF campaigned for the successful adoption of GM technology as an environmentally positive outcome. When are we going to see some positive initiatives from other environmental groups that actually enhance the environment without putting obstacles in the way of food production and security?
AWARD WINNING AUTHOR TO SPEAK AT AEF CONFERENCE
Professor Bill Gammage author of The Biggest Estate on Earth winner of the Prime Minister's 2012 Literary Award for Australian history, Winner, 2012 Queensland Literary Awards (History Book Award) and the Victorian Premier’s Literary Award will speak on his book at the 2012 AEF conference.
A fascinating account of aboriginal land management through the use of fire Gammage's book has many lessons for land managers and challenges the preconceived notions of Australian 'wilderness'.
IS THE TEMPERATURE OR THE TEMPERATURE RECORD RISING?
Dr David Stockwell has authored a paper with the above title on which he will be presenting at the 2012 AEF conference on October 20. The paper is the topic of a guest post by Dr Stockwell at the Watts Up With That website and looks at the adjustments made in temperature datasets and the influence this has on temperature trends.
FUNDING THE DEMISE OF THE BARRIER REEF?
Marine biologist Dr Walter Starck asks what has been the result of the huge taxpayer funding to the GBR experts if their latest report is right.
The core claim of the report is that the reef has lost half of its coral in the past 27 years and that “Without significant changes to the rates of disturbance and coral growth, coral cover in the central and southern regions of the GBR is likely to decline to 5–10% by 2022.”
If this is true, the implications for future research and management are profound.
It means that the current condition of the GBR is essentially no better than that of the heavily exploited and effectively unmanaged reefs of the Caribbean or SE Asia. It means all the money and effort that has gone into management and research has been an abject failure. It means that the promised “resilience” to environmental impacts that was the major justification for greatly expanded green zones and sundry other stringent and costly restrictions on productive usage have achieved nothing, and that the vaunted resilience has been just another theoretical academic fantasy.
It means that the claims of having the best managed reefs in the world have been only a self-serving delusion. It means that all the past assertions of successful management have been untrue and the research supposedly supporting it has been either grossly incompetent or a deliberate misrepresentation.
If the 'experts' were wrong about that why should we believe their latest report is right?
IS ENDING TIMBER HARVESTING IN VICTORIA THE RIGHT THING TO DO?
Institute of Foresters Australia member Mark Poynter in an article at Quadrant Online points out some groups seem opposed to the very idea of any timber harvesting continuing in Victoria. Would this be a balanced outcome for the environment and the people of Victoria?
And is importing even more timber to fulfill our needs from countries with less rigorous regulation really ethical?
"With only around 9% of Victoria’s State forests still being managed for long-term timber production, and the annually harvested area dropping to around 5,000 hectares (or around 0.0008 of the state’s public forest area), activist campaigns against the native hardwood industry could have been expected to decline. Instead they have intensified, particularly in Victoria’s Central Highlands".
RENEWABLE ENERGY TARGET BLOWING IN THE WIND
The Australian editorialises about the operation of the Renewable Energy Target and the current review of the scheme, reflecting the concerns of many regarding the costs imposed by the RET.
The biggest question still remains unanswered - what are the actual, verified emissions reductions from the scheme? No one knows. This was confirmed by a spokesman for the Climate Change Minister in the media this week who said emissions reductions were ascertained from "modelling by external consultants or in-house calculations by the Department".
The scheme has been operating for a decade and has cost consumers billions of dollars via increases to their electricity bills, but there is no evidential basis to demonstrate the key objective of emissions reductions is being achieved.
ENVIRONMENT MINISTER TRASHES LAST VESTIGE OF CREDIBILITY
Evidenced-based environmental policy is the mantra of many (including AEF), but that is dumped more often than not for politics. Environment Minister Tony Burke’s decision this week to override his own reasoning of last week, the previous decision of the Fisheries Minister and reject the government’s own experts from the Australian Fishing Management Authority to ban the trawler Abel Tasman (formerly the Margiris) is a new low in political expediency.
As Lenore Taylor says in the Sydney Morning Herald, “You can't say you base your decision-making on science and then not base your decision-making on science. Otherwise, one might conclude that policy making was being driven by the fear of public campaigns by groups like Greenpeace and Get Up!
Governments should always be mindful of public opinion. But evidence-based policy making is evidence-based policy making. And a wave of public opinion should not outweigh a clear scientific consensus”.
Or as The Australian editorialises “A week later, it was not the risk to species that had energised the minister into further action, but the political risk of a backbench revolt fanned by a campaign from radical political and green groups”. Indeed.
THE RET COSTS A LOT AND DISTORTS THE MARKET BUT DOES NOT DELIVER EMISSIONS REDUCTIONS!
Graham Lloyd, environment editor with The Australian reports on a devastating analysis of the Renewable Energy Target driven wind energy expansion and the non-existent reductions in greenhouse gas emissions.
"Analysis shows that despite receiving hundreds of millions of dollars from green energy schemes driven by the renewable energy target, Victoria's wind-farm developments have saved virtually zero carbon dioxide emissions in the state.
A forensic examination of publicly available power-supply data shows Victoria's carbon-intensive brown-coal power stations do not reduce the amount of coal they burn when wind power is available to the grid".
Engineer Hamish Cumming who undertook the two year analysis says in an ABC radio interview surplus energy is wasted to make room for intermittent supplies from wind. His findings have been confirmed by Victoria's coal-fired electricity producers and by independent energy analysts who say it is more efficient to keep a brown-coal power-station running than turn it down and then back up.
Lloyd postulates "the bottom line surely must be whether any carbon emissions actually are being saved".
No, the bottom line is how much money can the wind industry get via taxpayer funded renewable energy certificates for providing no environmental benefit and how long will the government allow the scam to continue.
Very similar conclusions have been reached this month in a study in The Netherlands.
UPDATE: Read the email Hamish Cumming sent to the Clean Energy Council asking them to refute his analysis after they disputed it on radio.
GERMANY'S NEW ENERGY POLICY - 23 NEW COAL FIRED POWER PLANTS
With Germany's many wind farms only producing a disapointing 16% of name-plate capacity and renewable energy costs rising rapidly, the Environment Minister has approved 23 new coal power plants. This month a 2200MW coal power plant was opened to underpin electricity security.
Physicist Dr Kelvin Kemm explores an issue unreported in the Australian media as debate in Australia intensifies over the costs and benefits of the Renewable Energy Target.
Hopes of slashing emissions blowing in the wind The Australian Sept 1 2012
Wind farm concerns to be aired Seymour Telegraph August 22 2012
Councils condemn Red Gum National Parks ABC August 2 2012
Abbott outlines carbon tax battle plan The Land July 6 2012
Marine Park plan creates blue divide The Cairns Post June 15 2012
Green tape threatens vision of food superpower ABC The Drum June 7 2012
Reef threatened by do-gooding, not fishing The Australian June 4 2012
Fun fishing is dead in the water The Daily Telegraph May 25 2012
Carbon tax pointless, says miner The Australian May 12 2012
Call to stop Marine Parks ABC Rural May 1 2012
Sea Change: Tim Winton's view from the deep OnLine Opinion April 30
Taxpayers should not gamble on renewables The Australian April 19 2012
The Murray Mouth Controversy ABC Radio National 26 March 2012
Media Watch shocked by scientist Herald Sun 19 March 2012
MDBP has science wrong: AEF Stock Journal 29 February 2012
Water must mix in the Lower Lakes Adelaide Advertiser 25 February 2012
Basin Meeting in Swan Hill Weekly Times 23 February 2012
Coral Sea reserve a sell-out to foreign green groups The Australian 30 Jan 2012
When spin meets research Ballarat Courier 21 January 2012
CSIRO wind farm report unbalanced Weekly Times 19 January 2012
Enviro groups welcome wind farm planning change 1 September 2011
Sea will save the Murray mouth The Australian 27 August 2011
ABC Counterpoint interview with Max Rheese on wind farm concerns
WHO PROFITS FROM THE CARBON TAX AND RET?
Much is made of vested interests in the discussion on climate science and the taxing of one of life's essential elements - carbon dioxide, with fingers pointed at Big Oil, Big Coal etc, but not much is heard in regards to Big Energy. Jo Nova at her website decided to look at one of the biggest.
Global energy giant GE lobbied for the introduction of the Carbon Tax and took out full page advertisements spruiking their wind turbines. It was clearly in their best commercial interests for a carbon tax to go ahead and GE were entitled to lobby for their own interests.
Their market however is mandated by government fiat and the Renewable Energy Target is subsidised by Australian taxpayers with inflated electricity bills funded by householders. And that is clearly not in the interests of Australian consumers.
Large Australian energy company boss Origin Energy's Grant King said the target, also known as the RET, will be the main driver of electricity price rises by 2020 because it locks in increasing reliance on more expensive sources of electricity, such as solar panels and wind turbines.
We now have a Carbon Tax, a Renewable Energy Target and the $10B Clean Energy Fund to reduce emissions by 5% and help produce 'cheap' renewable energy.
We actually have real environmental problems we could be throwing our billions at.
CLIMATE COMMISSION NOT 'FAIR DINKUM' ABOUT ACTION
The Climate Commission report released today is another example of the Commission not being fair dinkum about the supposed catastrophic effects of man-made global warming said the Australian Environment Foundation in a media release.
The report ignores proven technologies for reducing emissions while embracing marginal solutions.
The Climate Commission at the release of its last report put forward solar and wind energy as the centrepiece of the nation's energy mix as a means of combating climate change. Last week ex Greenpeace founder,Dr Patrick Moore described the "vision of a world run on wind and solar is a green dream that is actually a green fantasy that is rapidly turning into a green nightmare" [see the article below].
EX-GREENPEACE FOUNDER SHARES HIS VIEW ON THE DIRECTION OF THE ENVIRONMENT MOVEMENT
Dr Patrick Moore, former president of Greenpeace expands on his views in this second interview with The Washington Times [see first interview in an earlier post below]. AEF and Dr Moore agree on most things environmental these days, while we disagree with Greenpeace on most of their views of the environment, as now does he.
Moore: "Today Greenpeace's efforts are largely counter-productive and parasitical on political agendas such as trade disputes. Their vision of a world run on wind and solar energy is a green dream that is actually a green fantasy that is rapidly turning into a green nightmare for ratepayers in the countries that have provided exorbitant subsidies for these technologies which don't even work most of the time, and then they claim nuclear energy is too expensive".
Some are discomfited that AEF rails against the anti-science, anti-evidence and counter-productive views of some in the environment movement, which gives environmentalism a bad name. This implies we should stay silent or give tacit approval to patently absurd ideologies simply because they are put forward by 'environmentalists' - sorry, we won't.
See more on the rally and petition against the closure of the Coral Sea here
MYOPIC GOVT. VIEW OF ELECTRICITY PRICE RISES
It appears the federal government has just discovered electricity prices are rising with calls to state governments to rein in price rises. While network charges are a significant portion of the increases, presumably we will see returned benefits from upgrading essential infrastructure.
Benefits owing to increases from the Carbon Tax are proving much harder to justify along with the increases due to the Renewable Energy Target, both imposed by the federal government.
According to the Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal these schemes impose substantial costs on the average consumer.
Origin Energy chief Grant King has warned the 20 per cent renewable energy target could add more to power bills than the carbon tax by 2020.
Driving up electricity prices to 'stop' global warming is bad policy that is of no benefit to the environment.
The U.K. is also paying the price of green politics.
HOW SCIENTIFIC IDEAS BECOME FASHIONABLE
Scientists are meant to know the difference between fact and fiction and as a first check of the reliability of a source of information they will often ask if it has been “peer-reviewed”. Peer-review means that research findings are conducted and presented to a standard that other scientists working within that field consider acceptable writes Jennifer Marohasy at her blogsite.
But is peer-review 'the' benchmark for scientific discussion?
MORE WIND TURBINES SHUT DOWN AND OTHERS DON'T EVEN GET TO START UP
Tablelands Regional Council in Queensland is the latest council to take action against industrial wind turbines due to concerns over excessive noise. The council is seeking an order from the Planning and Environment Court for the shutdown of turbines until the operator can demonstrate their compliance with noise standards following complaints from residents.
In early August the Supreme Court rejected an appeal by the developer of The Sisters 12 turbine wind farm in south west Victoria. The first appeal hearing was told the application should be rejected on noise concerns alone.
Meanwhile in South Australia Goyder council has refused a permit for a 41 turbine project due to concerns over adverse health impacts. Talkback callers to ABC radio were pleased with the decision.
The wind farm scam is coming to an end.
JUNKING EMPTY GREEN SYMBOLISM
The Australian editorialises on Wild Rivers legislation: Queensland Premier Campbell Newman's move to scrap the state's stifling wild river preservation laws is a win for common sense. The laws, which were introduced under former Labor premier Peter Beattie and extended under Anna Bligh, forced impoverished Cape York indigenous communities to foot the bill for Labor appeasing city-based Greens and picking up their preferences.
NEW PAPER CONFIRMS GROSS INACCURACIES IN U.S. TEMPERATURE RECORD
A paper released on July 29th by Anthony Watts et al confirms the bias long suspected in the U.S. long-term temperature record. The findings show that half of the alleged rising temperature trend is artificial.
Removing the bias from the records reveals a very unalarming trend in U.S. temperatures over an extended period.
VALE ALEXANDER HAMILTON STUART
AEF members mourn the sudden passing of chairman, Alex Stuart on July 23rd 2012. Alex was a staunch defender of AEF's values and a great believer that environmental policy should be based on facts and evidence.
Alex's life and his many contributions was celebrated by hundreds of his friends in Sydney on July 30th.
PREVENT BUSHFIRE THE ABORIGINAL WAY
Author of the Biggest Estate on Earth, Bill Gammage in this interview with ABC radio calls for a fresh look at the way we manage land and fire.
In his book Gammage examines in detail the way Aboriginals managed the land through fire for multiple purposes over thousands of years.
CLIMATE COMMISSION REPORTS RELY ON FAULTY DATA
The Climate Commission report, The Critical Decade – Victorian climate impacts and opportunities, released yesterday [July 23rd] contains no new scientific information and continues to rely on inaccurate, discredited Bureau of Meteorology temperature datasets and faulty computer modelling.
A recent review of the BoM historical temperature record found more than a thousand errors in the data, which impose a distorted warming trend in the Australian average temperature record. See media release
CAMPAIGN FOR MORE MARINE PROTECTED AREAS HAS NO MERIT
The proposals for additional vast Marine Protected Areas in Australian waters to protect marine biodiversity are a solution in search of a problem.
The federal environment minister Tony Burke has announced proposals for huge additional Marine Protected Areas in four regions around Australia. The largest is the Coral Sea MPA encompassing one million square kilometres.
Mr Burke describes the Coral Sea as the 'jewel in the crown' of protected areas and we agree it is a 'jewel', but it did not attain that status through government protection. Nature made and maintained the Coral Sea and without any documented threat to marine biodiversity we could expend our resources addressing real environmental threats elsewhere.
No merit, No reason, No benefit, No good.
Read more at the Campaigns Page.
NEW REPORT ON FISHERIES & MARINE PROTECTED AREAS
May 23rd 2012
The AEF today released the report ‘Australia’s Unappreciated and Maligned Fisheries’ written by marine biologist Dr Walter Starck. This report details a compelling account of mismanagement, over-regulation and declining yields from healthy fisheries. Read more here.
GOVT. AVOIDS WIND FARM ADVERSE HEALTH SCRUTINY
On June 28th a motion introduced into the senate calling on the federal government to note that the 2011 Senate Inquiry chaired by Greens Senator Rachel Siewert into the impact of wind farms made recommendations calling for studies, “as a matter of priority”, on the effects of wind farms on human health.
Also that after 12 months the government has not acted on those recommendations, nor responded to the motion passed by the senate in March 2012 calling for action on the recommendations.
The June motion requested the government comply with: orders that there be laid on the table by the Minister representing the Minister for Health, no later than noon on Tuesday, 14 August 2012, information detailing the actions being taken by the Government to act on the recommendations calling for studies on the effects of wind farms on human health.
Greens senators, as well as Labor senators who sat on the inquiry, voted to defeat the motion.
Why is it that the parties of ‘social justice’ are so averse to inquiring into the adverse health effects from wind farms?
UPDATE: Canadian government votes to support a health study into wind farms
WIND FARM SUPPORTERS DRIVEN FROM THEIR HOMES BY WIND TURBINE NOISE
Professor of Public Health Simon Chapman says it is amazing that wind turbine hosts do not get sick from turbines when nearby landholders who do not receive any payment do get sick from turbine noise. He should read host contracts with 'gag clauses' that prevent hosts from speaking out or better still he could talk with turbine host David Mortimer who has been driven from his home. "Many years ago Mr Mortimer and his wife signed a confidentiality agreement to receive thousands of dollars annually for two Lake Bonney wind turbines on their farm."
Or Carl and Samantha Stepnell and dozens of others in the same position, such as former wind farm supporter Andreas Marciniack.
And many say it is amazing all these problems are being aired in Australia when wind farms have been operating for two decades overseas with little complaint. A statement worth investigating, except it is not true, hundreds of communities in numerous countries have the same concerns as Australians.
Senate inquiry recommendations to the federal government to urgently undertake medical and acoustical studies gather dust as angst in rural communties grows.
Victorian Planning Minister Matthew Guy has received an independent acoustician's report showing a wind farm is not compliant with government guidelines. Minister Guy recently wrote to the Stepnells saying he would shut down any non-compliant wind farms.
LAZY HEALTH DEPARTMENT MUST ACT ON WIND FARM NOISE
The Victorian Chief Health Officer must immediately initiate a Health Impact Assessment of affected residents following the completion of an independent peer-reviewed acousticians report demonstrating the Waubra wind farm is not compliant with government noise guidelines.
What many have been saying about the noise effects of wind farms for years is today revealed as truth AEF said in a media release.
TAKING MARINE PROTECTION TOO FAR
Australia leads the world in marine protected area with more area set aside for conservation than the rest of the world combined, but proposals to double this protection are going too far, turning the notion of sustainability on its head. Read more
WIDELY TOUTED 'WARMING' PAPER DISAPPEARS WITHOUT A TRACE
University of Melbourne climate scientist Dr Joelle Gergis was lead author of a widely publiscised paper detailing warming temperatures using tree ring data that was published online at the Journal of Climate. It was reported in The Age that the paper had been removed from the journal website after mistakes were found in the paper, despite having been peer-reviewed.
Canadian climate realist Steve McIntyre [of Hockey Stick slayer fame] identified what appeared to be errors in the study and started asking inconvenient questions.
The Gergis paper apparently attracted funding of $300,000, took three years to produce and only withstood three weeks of scrutiny.
LIBERALS & LABOR SLAM 'OBNOXIOUS' GETUP! ADVERT
Wayne Swan and his Queensland counterpart yesterday set aside their differences to slam an advertisement in the Asian press by GetUp! and Greenpeace warning against investing in Australian resources projects.
The Deputy Prime Minister and Treasurer said the ad in yesterday's Asian Financial Times targeting Queensland's $6.2 billion Alpha Coal project was "deplorable" and should be condemned.
THE GREAT BARRIER REEF - PERFECT ONE DAY, PERISHING THE NEXT
The conclusions of the UNESCO draft report on development adjacent to the GBR contradict studies by the World Resource Institute, a study which was supported by WWF, NOAA,NASA and many other research organisations.
The recent WRI report says the GBR is one of the least threatened reef systems in the world and in excellent condition. Links to the WRI study in our media release.
ADVERSE HEALTH IMPACTS FROM WIND TURBINES "REAL"
2GB's Alan Jones talks with Environment Editor from The Australian Graham Lloyd about his experiences interviewing people who live near wind farms. Listen here.
PREVENT BUSHFIRE THE ABORIGINAL WAY
Aboriginal use of fire to manage the land is the key to modern bushfire management says Bill Gammage, adjunct professor at the Australian National University. In his extensively researched book The Biggest Estate on Earth he sets out the case that Aboriginal people managed the land with fire.
Listen to Gammage interviewed by ABC Radio.
ENVIRONMENTALISM AND THE DECLINE OF THE WEST
Most of the leading Western Nations are now experiencing ageing populations, declining industries, chronic trade imbalances, bloated government, punitive taxation, high levels of personal debt, unsustainable government deficits and a rapidly metastasizing regulatory regime that is an increasing impediment to any productive activity.
Although all these issues have inflicted great suffering and socio-economic damage, probably none have resulted in such ongoing, widespread and ever increasing detriment as has environmentalism writes Dr Walter Starck in an article at Quadrant Online.
SCIENCE SAVING THE SPECIES...AGAIN
ONE of the country's rarest mammals and Victoria's faunal emblem will be the subject of a captive breeding program - the first major breeding and release program for Leadbeater's possums - as scientists intervene to build up the wild population and establish an insurance population in captivity.
THE SORRY LESSONS OF GREEN POWER SUBSIDIES
Ontario residents are coming to grips with the realities of previous decisions by provincial governments that are now evident on their power bills.
UNION, GREENS AND LIBERALS IN BUNFIGHT OVER TASMANIA'S FUTURE
Green flak for Paul Howes.
The Greens have dismissed comments by Australian Workers Union secretary Paul Howes that the state's future depends on standing up to the environmental movement.
THE UNSUPPORTABLE CASE FOR CORAL SEA MARINE PARK 'NO-TAKE' ZONES
Sea Change: Tim Wintons view from the deep.
Accomplished author and Western Australian resident Tim Winton has written a personal and evocative essay, ‘Sea Change’, in Good Weekend magazine on April 14th ‘for all Australians who want a better future for our common underwater heritage’ according to WWF who have posted the article on their website. Winton is a patron of the Australian Marine Conservation Society and undoubtedly loves the sea.
The article, while rich in personal experiences with the sea, is devoid of evidence that would support a case for massive new Marine Protected Areas, which the federal Environment Minister Tony Burke is currently considering and being urged along by Winton.
Advocating for change to environmental policy must be supported by facts and evidence says AEF executive director Max Rheese in this article published at OnLine Opinion.
SUPPORT THE RATIONAL ENVIRONMENTALISTS
Become an AEF member and make an investment in good environment policy today!
Download a membership form or donate via the PayPal buttons on the left.
SCIENTISTS STEP IN TO SAVE MOUNTAIN PYGMY POSSUMS
Mt Buller’s Mountain Pygmy-possums have had some rare good news following the success of an emergency action to save the isolated population from extinction caused by declining genetic diversity.
BATTLE OF THE CORAL SEA
The expected announcement by federal environment minister Tony Burke to create a 1 million square kilometre Marine Protected Area in the Coral Sea as a 'no-take' zone thereby banning all fishing would be environmentally irresponsible says AEF.
A cursory examination of publicly available data clearly shows Australian fishery harvest is the most environmentally friendly in the world with harvests of less than 1% of recognised sustainable yields from the world's largest per capita fishery.
There is no demonstrated environmental need to close the Coral Sea. Australia needs to increase its sustainable harvest of seafood to remove the burden Australian consumers are placing on heavily exploited overseas fisheries. 70% of seafood consumed in Australia is imported from fisheries that do not have the same standard of environmental management as Australia.
ABC Landline reported on the effects of these proposals, which will have perverse environmental outcomes. See media release.
WWF CRUSADING ON SUSTAINABLE BEEF
A LEAKED document authored by a senior operative of the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) shows the anti-farmer organisation is on a green crusade to establish new "sustainable beef standards" on producers Australia-wide.
FARMERS CONSERVATION EFFORTS ACKNOWLEDGED
FARMERS have been vital workers to help protect one of the Colac district’s most threatened animals.
The rare Corangamite water skink, lives in an area north-west of Colac between Lake Colac and Lake Bolac. Farmers and environment officers have worked together to protect the skinks and their habitat.
AUSTRALIA'S CONSERVATION FARMING REVOLUTION
The misconception of Australian agriculture being inefficient and unsustainable is deeply concerning for me. Images of dusty ploughed fields and dying sheep and trees are misleading. On the contrary, if there was an Olympics for conservation agriculture Australian farmers would win gold! says the CSIRO's principal research scientist, John Kirkegaard.
And does this agricultural progress compliment or conflict with the Australian Roundtable on Sustainable Beef?
A DANGEROUS METHOD
Former chairman of the ABC, Maurice Newman writing in The Spectator says the people are smarter than their leaders with regard to climate change policy and no amount of bullying by politicians or others will convince them the science is settled.
This perhaps explains the latest Nielsen Poll showing only 36% of Australians support a tax on the essential trace element gas, carbon dioxide.
POLAR BEAR NUMBERS CONFOUND DOOMSAYERS
The debate about climate change and its impact on polar bears has intensified with the release of a survey that shows the bear population in a key part of northern Canada is far larger than many scientists thought, and might be growing. The new data does not conform to previous predictions of decline in numbers.
VESTED INTERESTS DRIVE CLIMATE CHANGE DEBATE
Professors Bob Carter, Stewart Franks, Dr David Evans and former head of the National Climate Centre, William Kininmonth provide a critique of recent climate change discussion in the public arena.
"It is clear that current Australian public policies regarding dangerous climate change, sea-level rise and other climate hazards are based upon inadequate scientific advice, are shackled to the vagaries of inadequate computer model projections and are not remotely cost-effective. There is therefore an urgent need for climate hazard to be assessed and reconsidered by experienced scientists who are independent of the present climate agency cabal."
Further analysis here
CLEAN ENERGY FUND A $10B BOONDOGGLE
Oliver Marc Hartwich from the Centre for Independent Studies said on the 7.30 Report April 2nd "The Clean Energy Finance Corporation is a complete waste of money because it will not cut emissions by a single gram of carbon dioxide."
Richard Denniss from the Australia Institute said "While the taxpayer's putting up the $13 billion on the table, it's not actually gonna result in an increase in the amount of renewable energy."
AEF says the Clean Energy Fund is an extraordinarily expensive taxpayer funded slush fund that will not deliver any significant environmental benefit.
This comes a few days after outgoing Future Fund chairman David Murray said the carbon tax is the "worst piece of economic reform I have seen in my life."
Hartwich examines the Clean Energy Fund in detail in this report.
Good outcomes cannot be delivered by bad policy.
ECONOMIC ANALYSIS REVEALS WIND FARMS ARE 'WORSE THAN A MISTAKE'
One of the UK's leading energy and environment economists warns that wind power is an extraordinarily expensive and inefficient way of reducing CO2 emissions. In fact, there is a significant risk that annual CO2 emissions could be greater as a result of Britain's flawed wind policies when compared with the option of investing in efficient and flexible gas combined cycle plants.
Dr Gordon Hughes is a Professor of Economics at the University of Edinburgh. He was a senior adviser on energy and environmental policy at the World Bank until 2001. His analysis is published here.
According to Connie Hedegaard, the European Union’s commissioner for climate action, “People should believe that [wind power] is very, very cheap.”
In fact, this is a highly problematic claim says Professor Bjorn Lomborg. While wind energy is cheaper than other, more ineffective renewables, such as solar, tidal, and ethanol, it is nowhere near competitive. If it were, we wouldn’t have to keep spending significant sums to subsidize it. Indeed.
MEDIA WATCH'S "CONSENSUS SCIENCE" - DON'T MENTION THE FACTS
We are in withchhunt territory here writes Andrew Bolt at his blog. It seems Media Watch take exception to AEF's name.
ABC MEDIA WATCH TELLS AUSTRALIA ABOUT THE JUNK SCIENCE THAT UNDERPINS WATER POLICY
And for this we thank Media Watch.
AEF however are most grateful to the many people who donated online via our website after the show had finished. We appreciate your support for a balanced view on environmental public policy.
For those who missed the program, Media Watch on March 19th featured a segment on the report recently released by AEF on the false narrative that the Murray River’s terminal Lower Lakes have a freshwater history.
Presenter Jonathon Holmes correctly points out the report and AEF state that current policy for maintaining the Lower Lakes as an artificial man-made freshwater system is based on junk science.
He also points out that the information he is using is all on the public record, which is also correct as AEF listed our sponsors on our website, directly provided full and timely responses to all questions posed by Media Watch and clearly stated our objectives in advocating for changes in public policy on our website. Read more about the program and who supports the science in the report.
AEF’s view of the ‘exposé’ by ABC Media Watch.
Find out more about the Rivers Need Estuaries campaign here
Support a rational voice for the environment - Donate today!
Pick a PayPal donation tab on the left to support the Rivers Need Estuaries campaign or AEF's other work on environment policy.
MURRAY DARLING BASIN PLAN BASED ON JUNK SCIENCE SAYS NEW REPORT
A report released today by the Australian Environment Foundation undermines the claim by the South Australian government that the Murray River’s terminal Lower Lakes have a freshwater history, a key plank of their demand for an additional 4,000 gigalitres of water under the Murray Darling Basin water reform plan. Read more on our Campaigns page.
THE RAMBUNCTIOUS GARDEN OFFERS A DIFFERENT VIEW
Emma Marris argues convincingly in her new book Rambunctious Garden that we are fore-going much in our quest for pristine environments.
"A paradigm shift is roiling the environmental world. For decades people have unquestioningly accepted the idea that our goal is to preserve nature in its pristine, pre-human state. But many scientists have come to see this as an outdated dream that thwarts bold new plans to save the environment and prevents us from having a fuller relationship with nature. Humans have changed the landscapes they inhabit since prehistory."
RESEARCH HEALTH EFFECTS OF WIND TURBINE NOISE SAY MEDICAL EXPERTS
An article in the British Medical Journal has called for robust, independent research into the health effects of existing wind farms saying such research is long overdue.
The expertise of the authors in sleep disorders is widely acknowledged and they are unequivocal about the need for research into adverse health effects of wind turbines.
Which puts them completely at odds with Professor Simon Chapman of the University of Sydney, who is often proclaimed as a public health expert, but who has no training in sleep disorders or expertise in acoustics. Professor Chapman has been rubbishing claims of health effects from wind turbines and is dismissive of the need for health studies to address this growing problem.
This calls into question why a professor of public health, with no expertise in the subject matter would be so opposed to medical research and health studies to protect the health of the public.
It also casts serious doubt on the efficacy of the soon-to-be implemented NSW draft guidelines for wind farms in protecting residents of rural communities from adverse health impacts of inappropriately sited wind turbines.
See media release See AEF's submission to the NSW guidelines for wind farms.
GOVT FUNDS GREEN GROUPS THE TREASURER IS RAILING AGAINST!
Three green groups named in last week's leaked proposal to undermine the multi-billion-dollar coal industry have received a total of close to $750,000 in funding from the Department of Climate Change, an industry analysis obtained by The Australian shows.
THE COUNTRY RUNS ON COAL, BUT ACTIVISTS 'ARE LIVING IN FANTASYLAND'
Proposals by activist groups Greenpeace and CoalSwarm to disrupt and delay coal projects were attacked by the federal government.
Trade Minister Craig Emerson has warned an immediate switch to renewable energy would result in a global depression and has branded a group of anti-coal activists as "delusional". The secret plan by environmental groups to raise $6M to fund the plan was leaked to the media.
CLEAN ENERGY FUND WRITTEN OFF AS $10B 'TOTAL WASTE'
THE $10 billion Clean Energy Finance Corporation is "likely to be a complete waste of money" and have no impact on Australia's carbon emissions, according to a new research paper from the Centre for Independent Studies reported on in The Australian.
The author, Oliver Hartwich, writes that "the CEFC will have zero effect on emissions" once Labor's carbon tax becomes an emissions trading scheme in 2015.
NO-GO SCAREMONGERS 'FISHING FOR FUNDS'
Photo: Colin Murty The Australian
Relentless anti-fishing campaigns have misled consumers about the good health of Australian fish stocks, a leading US marine scientist said yesterday.
Ray Hilborn is a hired gun for a fishing industry feeling the heat from demands for no-go marine parks and consumer advice scorecards that show which fish not to eat. He is also an acknowledged world expert on global fish stocks. And when it comes to catching fish and what's good for the plate, Dr Hilborn and environmental groups such as Australian Marine Conservatory are oceans apart.
Dr Hilborn, professor of Aquatic and Fisheries Sciences at the Univiersity of Washington published a report which questions the basis for expanding Marine Protected Areas in Australian waters.
"The perception of the majority of Australians of the sustainability of Australian seafood is not aligned with reality. Public perception has been distorted, primarily by numerous NGOs and others who benefit from projecting apprehension in seafood consumers. These NGOs are out of touch with recent global developments and in denial of fisheries management outcomes in Australia. Their distortion of reality has been based on misrepresentation of overseas examples of inadequate fisheries management to falsely claim gloom and doom for Australia’s fisheries and their impacts. The resulting anti-fishing rhetoric has falsely demonized fishing and led to ill-directed calls for more restrictions, particularly in areas that are closed to fishing and then called ‘protected’."
POOR WANT CLIMATE POLICIES THAT WORK
Max Rheese reviews and comments on an insightful article in The Quarterly Essay written by Dr Andrew Charlton, economic adviser to former Prime Minister Rudd on the failure of climate policies globally.
"The enviropolitical green agenda of rich countries to reduce energy consumption by raising the price of fossil fuels and forcing a false choice between progress or the planet is fatally flawed, while the consequences of efforts so far on global climate policy risk condemning the poor to continuing poverty." Read more at Online Opinion.
WIND TURBINES INCREASE CO2 EMISSIONS
As more real world data becomes available globally on the actual operations of wind turbines it has become clear the wind industry claims of signifcant emissions reductions; claims derived from 'models', are false.
Emissions reductions were the raison d'etre for wind farms. Why else would you support generating electricity that is two to three times more expensive than other means? Electricity engineers have been pointing out this fact of insignificant reductions for years, now we have the data that proves it.
PUBLIC MEETING LEADS TO SUCCESSFUL SENATE MOTION ON WIND FARM HEALTH IMPACTS
A meeting near Ballarat on February 2nd hosted by Senator John Madigan and attended by 200 people heard from approximately 22 local residents opposed to the inappropriate siting of large wind turbines. The opposition to wind turbines was primarily due to the residents experiencing adverse health impacts.
Following the meeting Senator Madigan tabled a motion in the senate on February 8th calling on the federal government to implement the recommendations of the recent senate inquiry into the impacts of wind farms in rural areas. The motion was passed with the support of independents, Greens and Coalition senators.
AEF calls on the government to respect the wishes of the senate and the people by immediately implementing the inquiry recommendations.
A frequent rejoiner from supporters of wind farms goes along the lines of 'there are thousands of wind turbines overseas and there are no problems with them'. This argument has been debunked many times with some of the opposition overseas illustrated here in this article in the U.K. Telegraph.
PRESENTATION AT THE SYDNEY INSTITUTE ON THE MURRAY ESTUARY
Dr Jennifer Marohasy gave a lecture at the Sydney Institute in mid-February that encompassed the history and management of the Lower Lakes followed by numerous questions from the audience. The management of the Lower Lakes using the barrages [sea dykes] is of course hotly contested with the MDBA, AEF and CSIRO, amongst others, putting forward different scientific reports to inform the debate. Considered analysis of scientific reports on such a complex subject is considered good form.
It was therefore extraordinary to hear an MDBA official at senates estimates committee hearings on February 14th reply to the question "If a peer-reviewed scientific report was available that demonstrated the predominant history of the Lower Lakes was estuarine, would this change the MDBA views on the management of the Lower Lakes as fresh water system." His reply "probably not."
AGANIST THE WIND
Maurice Newman, former chair of the Australian Securities Exchange and until recently the ABC, writing in The Spectator magazine and The Australian says "The pursuit of clean energy has relegated ordinary people to the status of collateral damage."
"Even before they threatened my property, I was opposed to wind farms. They fail on all counts. They are grossly inefficient, extremely expensive, socially inequitable, a danger to human health, environmentally harmful, divisive for communities, a blot on the landscape, and don’t even achieve the purpose for which they were designed, namely the reliable generation of electricity and the reduction of CO2 emissions."
That's what AEF has been saying all along!
The Australian environment reporter Graham Lloyd wrote about the impacts of wind farms in this feature article.
CSIRO REPORT ON WIND FARMS 'NOT CREDIBLE'
The Australian Environment Foundation today slammed the CSIRO report released this week ‘Exploring community acceptance of rural wind farms in Australia’ as not befitting the premier national scientific research organisation. Read the media release
AEF critique of the report. Recently retired ABC board chairman, Maurice Newman criticises wind farms in The Australian, saying "these things are not properly researched." And the Ballarat Courier, which has given wide coverage to the wind farm issue as it affects central Victoria, has picked up on many of the same points as raised in AEF's critique of the CSIRO report in this editorial, When spin meets research.
WIND POWER IS EXPENSIVE AND INEFFICIENT IN REDUCING CO2 EMISSIONS
A study in the Netherlands found that turning back-up gas power stations on and off to cover spells when there is little wind actually produces more carbon than a steady supply of energy from an efficient modern gas station.
The research is cited in a new report by the Civitas think tank which warns that Britain is in danger of producing more carbon dioxide (CO2) than necessary if the grid relies too much on wind. The same effect applies in Australia.
The Wind Farm Scam is an informative book on "the extraordinary series of illusions on which this new political infatuation with wind energy was based". Written by former Reader in Ecology at the University of Wales and co-editor of the international Journal of Ecology, Dr John Etherington.
WWF RECOGNISES FARMERS CONTRIBUTION
Dermot O'Gorman, CEO of WWF Australia rightly recognises the role of the farming community in an article at the ABC The Drum website. Perhaps now is also a good time for WWF to recognise that the 'environmental' regulations for native vegetation, in NSW and Queensland in particular, are having perverse environmental outcomes through bans on properly managing regrowth of native 'woody weeds'.
YOU CAN CALL THESE PEOPLE LIARS, ANTI-WIND CRAZIES, NIMBYS OR HYPOCHONDRIACS – BUT YOU’D BE WRONG.
Lilli Green and Preston Ribnick from Cape Cod, Massachusetts in the United States interviewed people in New Zealand and Australia about their experiences and their research relating to wind farm operations. They undertook this project because of proposals to locate wind farms in their community in Massachusetts and to gain a better understanding of the issues.
If you have not experienced first-hand the harrowing stories of people affected by wind farms watch the video and draw your own conclusions.
University scientists, acousticians, energy consultants and ordinary people tell of their experiences.
In a Canadian newspaper article Dr Patrick Moore, co-founder of Greenpeace blasts the wind industry saying it "destroys more jobs than it creates, and causes energy prices to climb for all users."
THE AGE REPORTS ON THE SEA LEVEL WOES OF THE MALDIVES
The Age newspaper published a feature article on Saturday January 7th, followed by an editorial on Monday 9th, on the threats allegedly posed to the Maldives from rising sea levels, which were attiributed to climate change.
Nowhere in the article or the editorial was there any acknowledgment of the substantial body of scientific evidence showing the Maldives to be subsiding on its own coral foundations.
No attributions to scientific studies were made nor any interview conducted with Dr Nils-Axel Morner, doyen of sea level experts who led an international research project to the Maldives to investigate the very issue the article reported on. Dr Morner found no evidence to substantiate the claims.
Never let the facts get in the way of a good emotive story - or pass up the chance to blame an issue on climate change.
REGENT HONEYEATER PROJECT ON TRACK FOR SUCCESS
Amateur botanist Ray Thomas has overseen an on-going project [17 years so far] to restore habitat for the nationally endangered Regent Honeyeater on previously cleared farmland north of Benalla in north east Victoria.
Thousands of volunteers encouraged by Ray over the years have restored 463 sites using nearly 489,000 native tree seedlings with the aim of providing box ironbark forest with suitable understorey for the Regent Honeyeater and other uncommon local species.
The project's success is testament to Ray's vision and the co-operation of nearly all local landholders supported by many volunteers.
THE BIGGEST ESTATE ON EARTH
Historian Bill Gammage has written a well-researched and referenced book on the careful management of the Australian landscape prior to 1788. The book explodes the myth that pre-settlement Australia was an untamed wilderness revealing the complex, country-wide systems of land management used by Aboriginal people. Author Roger Franklin has more to say on the book in this article at The Spectator. Listen to the interview of author Bill Gammage on Counterpoint
DISCONNECT WITH ENVIRONMENTAL REALITY IN THE MD BASIN
Professor Richard Kingsford of the University of NSW speaking on the ABC AM program seems amazed that waterbird numbers have made such an astounding recovery since the end of the drought. Professor Kingsford has previously decried the “chronic over-extraction of water” in the MD Basin which he says led to a long-term decline in water bird numbers. The professor is not alone in pointing to ‘environmental catastrophes’ occurring because of a lack of water, with many others pointing to the decline of red gum forests and wetlands – these are the myths that persist despite the facts showing otherwise.
What seems to have escaped mention in the populist narrative that “human water use is destroying the Basin” is that we live in a country of drought and flooding rains. When we have drought the environment will suffer along with farmers and communities. Farmers are allocated little if any water in droughts and yet the dams built for irrigation continue to supply water for the environment throughout the worst droughts. The Murray River no longer runs dry during drought as it used to.
Those calling for radical change in water use should be upfront and acknowledge the wetlands, birdlife and red gum forests are now recovering very nicely through the hand of nature – as they have always done.
The simplistic notion of returning more than the 1400 gigalitres of water already returned to the environment over the last decade obscures the real problem of mismanagement of the artificial freshwater Lower Lakes and Murray estuary.
WARMING DENIALISM IS IN THE POLITICAL EYE OF THE BEHOLDER
Professor Bob Carter, author of Climate: The Counter Consensus takes on Professor Robert Manne at the Crikey website.
Says Manne "For several decades I have engaged in ideological disputes". "And therein lies the problem,"according to Carter, "for ideology is the business of politics whereas global warming is the business of science."
A DIFFERENT PERSPECTIVE ON W.A FIRES AND FIRE MANAGEMENT
"Western Australia is actually 20 years ahead of the rest of the country when it comes to fire management," says the former deputy director of the Australian Counter Disaster College at the Department of Defence, David Packham. "The West Australians have been heavily researching bushfires for more than half a century and, while they have had many fires over the years, the lack of fatalities on any grand scale tells the story."
NO RESOLUTION TO MD WATER WOES WITHOUT AMENDING THE WATER ACT
The Water Act of Federal Parliament passed in 2007 was in response to a poorly researched media campaign waged by environmentalists that the Murray-Darling Basin (MDB) was being badly managed, over regulated and as a result aquatic habitat and “the environment” were suffering. Sensationalist claims of “dying rivers, dead and dying species, water shortage and plundering inefficient irrigators,” abounded and were accepted as truth says water consultant Ron Pike at Quadrant Online.
Water expert and professor at Harvard University, John Briscoe says in his submission to the senate inquiry into the Water Act "My conclusion is stark. I believe that the Water Act of 2007 was founded on a political deception and that that original sin is responsible for most of the detour on which Australian water management now finds itself.
I also believe that Australia cannot find its way in water management if this Act is the guide."
PEER-REVIEWED STUDIES ON SEA LEVEL OBVIOUSLY NOT ALARMING ENOUGH
A former senior researcher in the NSW department of Climate Change, Doug Lord, said in The Australian two papers he co-authored with colleagues and was due to present at conferences were suppressed because they suggested sea-levels on the east coast are rising at only one 10th of the rate estimated by the federal government, based on data from the IPCC. His conclusions are supported by the work of renowned sea level expert, Dr Nils-Axel Morner.
WATER UNDER THE BRIDGE: A GUIDE TO THE MD BASIN
Author Kate Jennings spoke to all sides of the argument for this article in The Monthly. "The demonising of farmers has been insidious in the last decade but reached a crescendo this last year when the Murray Darling Basin Authority’s Guide to the Proposed Basin Plan was released. It was a plan which proposed cutting water in amounts that would’ve, if not outright killed irrigation areas and their towns, at the very least caused them to atrophy. A plan assembled without consultation with farmers and scientists from the areas in question."
MD BASIN PLAN FAILS TO ADDRESS KEY ISSUES
The long-awaited revised draft plan for the Murray Darling Basin was released on November 28th 2011 and was met with disappointment from all stakeholders. The draft plan failed to address three key issues, two of which have the potential to deliver the water savings the MDBA is seeking.
• End the preoccupation with maintaining the artificial man-made freshwater system in the Lower Lakes by returning the lakes to a natural estuarine system by removing the barrages. This alone would save 800 gigalitres of freshwater evaporation every year.
• Use the funds already set aside for infrastructure upgrades. Infrastructure upgrades increase the size of ‘the cake’, delivering extra water for the environment and productive use. Money spent on water buy-backs does not add to the efficiency of the basin.
• Amend the Water Act of 2007 to reflect the balanced outcomes the community expects and deserves. Failure to do so will see aggrieved stakeholders challenge the objectives of the final basin plan in court.
Shepparton mayor Geoff Dobson articulates the concerns of many communities across the basin. Given that farmers manage the majority of land within the basin, having unviable landholders is not a long-term option for gaining the best environmental outcomes.
CLOUDS OF UNCERTAINTY IN MURRAY WATER BUYBACK PLAN
How much more healthy can a river or forest be?" asks Louise Burge, AEF member, local farmer and mother-of-three turned irrigation campaigner. "Just look how naturally this red gum forest and its wetlands have come back after the drought and you can't help but ask what these additional environmental flows are trying to achieve." Riverina community leaders are already talking about "preparing for war" over the hefty water buyback plan in this article in The Australian.
CARBON TAX BITES BEFORE INTRODUCTION
AEF's long held view that a tax on carbon dioxide would cost jobs for no environmental gain appears vindicated with the news that a company has shelved a $1 billion expansion because of the tax. The government however, says the company does not understand the tax.
NEW BOOK SHOWS THE IPPC IS IN BED WITH THE GREEN LOBBY
Canadian investigative reporter, Donna Laframboise spent two years researching the 2007 IPCC report. She found that graduate students were lead authors, hundreds of references were to non peer-reviewed material and that dozens of authors had direct links with climate activist lobby groups. Read more on the IPPC's activist 'experts'.
See media release and author interview video
AEF's PROFESSORS CARTER & RIDD ON THE BOLT REPORT
AEF members Professors Peter Ridd and Bob Carter along with Emeritus Professor Garth Paltridge appeared in a panel session on The Bolt Report to answer the big four questions on climate change.
AEF SUBMISSION TO THE INQUIRY ON OUR CLEAN ENERGY FUTURE
Having a clean energy future is highly desirable, but taxing carbon dioxide is not the way to efficiently achieve this goal. Read the AEF submission to the inquiry here.
RENEWABLES HAVE A PLACE, BUT COAL IS KING
Ockham’s Razor on ABC Radio National gives airplay to a dissenting view on coal by Melbourne industrial engineer, Graham Palmer. Listen here
MYTH AND THE MURRAY
A website dedicated to discussion on Murray Darling environment issues
TASMANIA’S FORESTS: PUSHING A GREENS DEAL ONTO UNWILLING LOCALS
Institute of Foresters Australia member, Mark Poynter writing at OnLine Opinion outlines a viewpoint of the much-vaunted forestry agreement that is rarely reported in the mainland media – many Tasmanians do not support it.
NEGLECTED TRUTHS OF CLIMATE CHANGE
Marine biologist Dr Walter Starck has written a brilliant, clear summary of many of the basic issues in the climate debate that are overlooked or ignored by many. If more in the media had taken a leaf out of Dr Starck’s book, applied some critical thinking to the anomalies in the debate and more analysis, rather than advocacy, the debate on ‘how we stop global warming’ would have finished years ago. Article at Quadrant Online.
GREATEST MORAL CHALLENGE, NOW JUST ECONOMIC REFORM
Legislation to introduce a tax on carbon dioxide emissions will be introduced into the federal parliament in mid September to fulfil a pledge by the government to tackle our greatest moral challenge – the alleged catastrophic threat to the global environment. However, nowadays ministers rarely mention the benefits to the environment from the implementation of a tax on carbon dioxide, but talk of the tax as an economic reform.
The sales pitch for this deeply unpopular tax may have changed, but AEF’s rationale for our opposition to the original ETS and now the carbon tax has not. Back in early 2009 we said an ETS:
1. Will not change global temperatures;
2. Will force Australian jobs overseas; and
3. Will make Australians poorer; while it is richer, not poorer nations that are better able to protect their natural environment.
Nothing has changed except the desperate sales pitch of those who want to impose ‘economic reform’.
THIS IS OFF THE RECORD – THE CLIMATE MOVEMENT SHREDS LAST TRACE OF INTEGRITY TO STAY INSIDE THE TENT
“Gillard’s plan shows beyond doubt that the only carbon price Australia will adopt is one that largely defeats the purpose of a carbon price” says Research Fellow and author, Guy Pearse in this article in The Monthly.
TOP 5 MYTHS ABOUT GENETIC MODIFICATION
Chief Research Scientist for Plant Science at CSIRO, Richard Richards outlines just some of the many benefits to the environment from GM crops in this article.
TURBINES BLOWN AWAY BY WINDS OF CHANGE
At least three proposed wind farms have been dumped or thrown into limbo over the past three months, as the Victorian government's tough new guidelines cause projects that have been years in the making to topple over says Pia Akerman in The Australian (August 30, 2011).
The Waubra Foundation, who investigate adverse health effects of wind turbines distributed this information relating to recent events.
HEALTH PROBLEMS NEAR NEW HEPBURN WIND FARM
A local doctor has spoken out publicly for the first time after treating patients for symptoms associated with living near wind turbines.
Dr Andja Mitric-Andjic, who practises in Daylesford Victoria, said she had treated at least two local patients for sleep deprivation, and spoken with others living near the Hepburn wind farm.
Another doctor, practising in Ballarat, also spoke about the health issues associated with industrial wind turbines.
The NSW premier is also not keen on wind farms.
AMERICAN NGO TAKES ON THE STATE OF COLORADO
The American Tradition Institute whose motto is ‘Restoring science, accountability and liberty to the environmental policy debate’ is taking legal action against the State of Colorado over the proliferation of wind farms and renewable energy targets. Sort of what AEF has been saying all along.
HOW TAX DOLLARS ARE HELPING TO FUND GREEN AGENDAS
Picture: Andrew Brownhill Source: The Australian
When accosted by a giant, benign-looking koala on a city street, rattling a tin and seeking a donation for the Wilderness Society, you may slap a few of your hard-earned dollars into the fake marsupial paw to help the environment. Or you may walk on by, keeping your money, because you believe the Wilderness Society has become an extreme-left, anti-development organisation.
Chris Kenny from The Australian queries whether government funding of environment groups receives adequate scrutiny in this article while Noel Pearson, director of the Cape York Institute for Policy and Leadership knows all about backroom deals.
THE ROAD TO HELL IS PAVED WITH GREEN INTENTIONS
If you thought pink batts were a poorly implemented, badly designed, money-wasting, deadly green disaster, you ain’t seen nothing yet. Try wind turbines says Miranda Devine in this article in the Daily Telegraph.
INDUSTRIAL WIND FARM PROPOSALS UNSETTLE COMMUNITIES NEAR YASS
New proposals for large wind farms for the Rugby-Boorowa district near Yass in southern NSW have initiated a community meeting, which was held at Boorowa on March 14th to inform local residents and proceed with the establishment of the Boorowa Landscape Guardian group. Two new wind farm proposals totalling 190 turbines up to 150 metres tall spread over 65 properties encompassing approximately 35 kilometres of the Yass valley have been proposed.
The proposed wind farms would add to the existing wind farms at Crookwell north-east of Yass and a proposal for another large facility at Collector, east of Yass.
A lack of information on the proposed wind farms saw local residents organise a public meeting which was addressed by AEF executive director Max Rheese, Waubra Foundation medical director, Dr Sarah Laurie, district resident Dr Dave Burraston, Friends of Collector organiser, Tony Hodgson, local MP, Katrina Hodgkinson and solicitor Aaron Cornish. Scott Evans from Wind Prospects, one of the proponents, addressed the meeting and took questions from concerned residents. Suzlon, the other company involved in proposing a facility in the local area attended the meeting, but declined to speak or take questions.
Much valuable information was conveyed to the 140 residents at the meeting covering issues such as the need for large taxpayer subsidies for wind farms, decommissioning and contractual liabilities for hosting landowners, adverse health effects, job prospects, possible economic opportunities and division within local communities over wind farm establishment.
More meetings are planned after incorporation of the local Landscape Guardians group.
Rugby-Boorowa wind farm concerns Wind farms divide community
RUMBLING FROM TURBINES PUT WIND UP SLEEP DEPRIVED LOCALS
While the Senate holds an inquiry into the social and health effects of wind farms The Australian highlights the ongoing real life disruption to thousands of Australians who live near large industrial wind farms and suffer the consequences.
TURBINES DECLARED A NASTY NEIGHBOUR AS SECRET BUYOUT IS REVEALED
Victorians who have endured health problems from a nearby wind farm have been gagged from talking in return for the sale of their land.
Spanish multinational energy company Acciona has been quietly buying farms adjacent to its site at Waubra, near Ballarat, as an increasing number of residents in the tight-knit community complain of the ill effects of living near turbines.
SCIENCE FOR SALE
Oceans are trashed with non-biodegradable plastics often fatal to sea life; tropical forests are burned or cleared; critical species habitat is destroyed; and life-forms potentially crucial to medical science are extinguished. But the politically correct of the West, lowering the priority of immediate matters, maintain blind loyalty to a longer-term hypothesis: anthropogenic global warming says Australian Environment Foundation chairman, Alex Stuart in this article at Quadrant Online.
AEF Chair Alex Stuart says carbon not worth a plug nickel
Politicians and theoreticians say carbon must be priced so the market can efficiently sort out the problem of CO2-induced climate change. But markets have already spoken and they don’t like what they see: collectively, they don’t think atmospheric CO2 costs society much, if anything at all. (See the rest of the article at On Line Opinion)
LIMITS OF CLIMATE MODELS
Scientific adviser and AEF board member, Professor Peter Ridd’s address to the AEF annual conference was published at Online Opinion on December 17th pointing out the flaws in relying on computer climate models to predict future climate accurately. Article at Online Opinion
THE FORESTS AGREEMENT TO END ALL FORESTY DISAGREEMENT?
Dr Simon Grove, a qualified forester, queries whether the proposed forestry agreement in Tasmania will be good for the environment in a well argued article.
Article at Online Opinion
Leading Environmental Campaigners Now Support AEF Stance on GM and Nuclear
Leading environmental campaigners in the U.K. have overturned decades long ideological opposition to nuclear energy and genetically modified crops in favour of support to help curb global warming.
AEF does not support their reasons for changing their views, but give them credit for doing so. AEF was the ONLY environment group in Australia to support the introduction of GM crops and support the need for an informed debate on whether Australia should or should not adopt nuclear energy.
For this we have been vilified and denigrated by other environment groups blinkered by their ideological view in the face of damning scientific evidence, despite GM crops being adopted in most of Australia.
Well now we have also been vindicated.
"Environmentalists did harm by being ignorant and ideological and unwilling to change their mind based on actual evidence. As a result we have done harm and I regret it."
See article in the U.K Telegraph
Also see Environmental groups should admit mistakes
Wind Farm Review Needed
As protests against wind farms continue to mount in rural communities over health issues, questions arise about any of the alleged benefits of wind power.
“The premise underpinning the pursuit of renewable energy through wind power, at any cost, needs urgent review before we move from the current 266 turbines in Victoria to the planned total of 1228, as well as massive planned expansion in South Australia and NSW” says AEF executive director, Max Rheese in this article at Quadrant Online
Landscape degradation for little benefit
AEF media release on wind farm protest
LISTEN TO US CAMPAIGN SUCCESS
AEF’s first campaign on our campaign website, to oppose the proposed Emissions Trading Scheme, has achieved a significant milestone in the deferral of the legislation until 2013.
The recognition that this legislation did not have the support of the people no doubt was the reality that led to this historic backdown. This is all the more significant given that AEF was almost alone in its opposition to this poor policy in early 2009 when big business, trade unions, many politicians, media and trade associations supported the legislation in some format.
In the end poor policy – for all the rhetoric – is still poor policy and should be condemned.
Thank You to all who supported the campaign to this point.
Don Burke receives Australia Day Honor
Former AEF Chairman, Don Burke was awarded an OAM in the Australia Day Honors List. The award was given for services to conservation, the environment and the media.
The board and members of AEF warmly congratulate our fellow member and hard working chairman on this recognition of his services to the community.
SENATE HAS VOTED IN THE NATIONAL INTEREST
December 2, 2009
The Australian Environment Foundation applauds the senate vote against the legislation to introduce a flawed emissions trading scheme that will have no measurable benefit to the environment.
“This costly scheme is nothing more than a tax on energy that will make Australians poorer” said Alex Stuart, chairman of the AEF.
See AEF Media Release
AEF speaks out on global warming in The Australian
An advertisement was placed in The Australian on Tuesday June 9th to draw attention to the campaign opposed to the introduction of an Emissions Tradinng Scheme.
The background theme for the advertisement were all the ridiculous claims attributed to global warming listed at John Brignell's Numberwatch website.