Underground Coal Gasification too costly and too unreliable

This week The Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis (IEEFA) published a report describing how coal-to-gasification technology for electricity-generation purposes remains commercially unviable.

The report—“Using Coal Gasification to Generate Electricity: A Multibillion-Dollar Failure”—concludes that two long-running marquee American Integrated Gasification Combined Cycle (IGCC), projects, Duke Energy’s Edwardsport plant in Indiana and Southern Company’s Kemper plant in Mississippi, prove the case against such investments.

“Efforts to gasify coal for power generation have been major failures, technologically and financially,” writes David Schlissel, the author of the report and IEEFA’s director of Resource Planning Analysis. “Both Kemper and Edwardsport have been economic disasters for consumers and investors alike, and a number of important and painful lessons have emerged from Kemper and Edwardsport.”…

To Christians arguing ‘no’ on marriage equality: the Bible is not decisive

Just in case you were wondering about claims of biblical support:

“We need to put all this in perspective. These are six verses out of more than 31,000 verses or roughly 0.016% of the text. In contrast, the Bible contains more than 2,000 verses about money (and related issues of greed, wealth, loans, and property), and more than 100 specifically on one’s obligation to care for widows.

In other words, monitoring and proscribing human (homo)sexual activity is not a particular concern of the Bible when compared to the overarching demand for justice, economic equality, and the fair treatment of foreigners and strangers. For certain Christian groups to make this the decisive Christian issue is simply a misreading of biblical values.”
— Robyn J Whitaker, Lecturer in Biblical Studies, after analysing verses in the bible dealing with sex, writing in the conversation about the same sex marriage issue.

 

Don’t let Monsanto get their way!

Don’t let Monsanto get their way!

It’s been over 20 years since the introduction of the first GM crops to Australia and the majority of our food remains GM free.

However, the GM crop industry has a plan. Aided and abetted by the Federal Government they have four key objectives this year:

  • Ensure that new GM techniques such as CRISPR are not regulated as GMOs – so they can use them in our food with no safety testing and no labelling.
  • Remove the ability of states to introduce GM crop bans – so they can introduce GM wheat unobstructed.
  • Remove GM labelling so they can sneak GMOs into our food without us knowing – even more than they already do.
  • Allow GM contamination in organics – so we are really unable to avoid GMOs in food.

In the past couple of years a Government Inquiry into Agricultural Innovation and a Productivity Commission report into the Regulation of Australian Agriculture made precisely these recommendations.…

Yami Lester

 Yami Lester, Wallatinna Station (Jessie Boylan)

It was with great sorrow that Friends of the Earth learnt of the passing of Yami Lester in July. Yankunytjatjara Elder, atomic test survivor, Aboriginal rights activist, father, grandfather and great-grandfather, Yami’s voice and support will be sorely missed.

 

Many Friends of the Earth anti-nuclear campaigners got to meet Yami over the decades. On occasions we would stay with him at Wallatina ? in the far north of SA ? as part of our Radioactive Exposure Tours or on our way to Australian Nuclear Free Alliance meetings in Alice Springs. The last time some of us got to visit Yami at Wallatina was in September 2016 ? we were working with Aboriginal communities to stop the SA government’s plan to dump the world’s high-level nuclear waste on Aboriginal land to improve the state’s economy.

Yami lost his sight as a result of one of the British atomic bomb tests in SA in 1953. Speaking on ABC radio in 2011, he said: “I was a kid. I got up early in the morning, about 7:00am, playing with a homemade toy. We heard the big bomb went off that morning, a loud noise and the ground shook. I don’t know how long after we seen this quiet black smoke ? oily and shiny ? coming across from the south. Next time we had sore eyes, skin rash, diarrhea and vomiting everybody, old people too.”

Along with Maralinga veteran Avon Hudson, Yami was responsible for the formation of a Royal Commission in the 1980s that shone a light on the atomic crimes of the British government, the spinelessness and culpability of state and federal governments, and the ugly racism that pervaded everything to do with the atomic bomb tests.

As a young man, Yami joined the Aboriginal Advancement League in Adelaide. He was also central to the work of the Pitjantjatjara Council that led to the grant of freehold title to traditional owners in SA.…

Increased compliance obligations for charities target environmental advocacy organisations

The long campaign against the environment movement

As the environment and climate movements grow in power and influence, various conservative and anti-environmental forces have sought to damage or reduce the power of the movement.

The campaign against environmental protectors reached something of a fever pitch while Tony Abbott was the Australian Prime Minister, and has become less overt since Malcolm Turnbull became PM. But it is now clear that the agenda continues, with a new ‘review’ of tax arrangements for non-government organisations (NGOs) singling out environmental organisations for particular scrutiny.

Last Thursday evening at the Conservation Council of SA AGM we heard from Dr Peter Burdon and Dr Sylvia Villios speak about changes to the charity (DGR) status of environmental NGOs. They spoke about the recent treasury discussion paper, describing the proposed changes. Submissions have now closed, but none of the proposed changes have been passed into law. There is still an opportunity to influence this process by contacting the Federal Minister for the Environment, Greg Hunt or the Assistant Minister to the Treasurer, Michael Sukkar.

For more background on this campaign, as well as additional resources, click here:

http://www.foe.org.au/here_we_go_again?utm_campaign=foe_aug17&utm_medium=email&utm_source=foe

This article appeared in The Saturday Paper is recommended:

https://www.thesaturdaypaper.com.au/news/politics/2017/08/19/nobbling-the-charities/15030648005086

The article is behind a paywall, but the site allows non-subscribers to read one article free per week. Here are some excerpts from the article:

In 2015, the government initiated an inquiry by the House of Representatives standing committee on the environment into whether green groups should lose their Deductible Gift Recipient status if they engaged in advocacy or protest.

The current minister with responsibility for the commission is the assistant minister to the treasurer, Michael Sukkar.

“Michael Sukkar is of that right-wing part of the Victorian Liberal Party, along with Kevin Andrews, that opposed the very notion of the ACNC,” David Crosbie says.…