RET Road Trip #6 – Special treatment for fossil fuels in Anglesea

On May 22, Friends of the Earth visited Anglesea for the sixth leg of the RET Road Trip. The seaside town of Anglesea is best known for its surf and summer vacations. What’s lesser known is that Anglesea is home … Continue reading RET Road Trip #6 – Special treatment for fossil fuels in Anglesea

Which are the dangerous technologies?

Image: Australian Conservation Foundation
Image: Australian Conservation Foundation

Yes 2 Renewables’ South Australian correspondent David Clarke:

Wind farms and solar power are replacing fossil fuel burning power stations. And electric vehicles powered by renewable energy could replace fossil fuel powered vehicles.

Wind turbines have been blamed for making people sick but both the NHMRC (National Health and Medical Research Council) and the AMA (Australian Medical Association) have recently made public statements that there is no evidence to support this claim. And, let’s face it, what could possibly be coming from wind turbines to cause illness? They are, after all, basically quite simple, although sophisticated, machines.

What about the other side of the coin? If we don’t replace fossil fuels with renewables how many deaths and illnesses can we expect from ‘business as usual’ with fossil fuels? A new report from the World Health Organisation (WHO) states that “Air pollution has become the world’s single biggest environmental health risk, linked to around 7 million – or nearly one in eight deaths – in 2012”. The WHO ascribed nearly half of these deaths to ambient air pollution (the other half were down to indoor pollution, from smoking, stoves, etc). Most of the world’s ambient air pollution comes from coal burning and vehicles powered by fossil fuels.

If we build more wind farms and solar power installations we can not only help reduce this health burden, but, at the same time, reduce greenhouse gas emissions causing climate change and ocean acidification.

Continue reading “Which are the dangerous technologies?”

Vic govt on naptime as mine fire poisons Morwell

By Ben Courtice — an updated version (March 2) of an article originally published at Green Left Weekly

Vic govt on naptime as mine fire poisons Morwell

Premier Denis Napthine is living up to his new nickname “Naptime” as the Hazelwood coalmine fire continues its terrible impact on the town of Morwell, in Victoria’s Latrobe Valley.

The edge of the town is only a few hundred metres from where the fire has been burning since February 9. The plume of toxic smoke and ash from the fire is blanketing the town much of the time.

A protest rally in Morwell on March 2 drew around a thousand angry locals. A panel of speakers, and many people who stood up on the floor to vent their rage, confirmed that it is a widespread view that the government has left the town in the lurch and given them false information about the health risks from the fire.

Morwell rallies for action
Morwell rallies for action

The unfolding disaster demands an immediate escalation of action, and Greens MLC Greg Barber is right to demand that the government declare a state of emergency, even while health minister David Davis denies it is needed. Continue reading “Vic govt on naptime as mine fire poisons Morwell”

Wind Energy In Iowa Cuts 8.4 Million Tons Of Carbon Pollution Per Year

Iowa has been a prime example for the progress of wind energy in the past few years. As this article shows, Iowa’s wind energy benefits extend from being an electricity generator and economic driver, it drastically cuts pollution and benefits the environment. Read on.

Original post by Think Progress. View article here.

Wind energy

Iowa’s hugely successful wind industry isn’t just an economic driver, it’s having a major impact on cutting pollution and saving water. Wind energy generation in Iowa avoids more than 8.4 million metric tons of climate-altering carbon pollution — the equivalent of taking 1.7 million cars off the road, according to a new report released by Environment Iowa.

Additionally, the report found that wind energy saves Iowans nearly 3.8 billion gallons of water per year, enough to meet the needs of over 158,000 people. The U.S. National Drought Monitor shows a significant portion of the state is in moderate to severe drought conditions and has been for several months. Continue reading “Wind Energy In Iowa Cuts 8.4 Million Tons Of Carbon Pollution Per Year”

Victoria can vote for renewables, climate change action in 2014 poll

In January, Friends of the Earth published a report quantifying the cost of ‘natural’ disasters exacerbated by climate change. Yes 2 Renewables received the following letter from Anthony Gleeson in response to our coverage of the report: I must declare a conflict of interest here. I want my 10 … Continue reading Victoria can vote for renewables, climate change action in 2014 poll

Rationale for renewables: Disasters & warming climate cost Victoria $20b

A new Friends of the Earth research report shows disasters and a warming climate have cost Victoria almost $20 billion between 2003-13. The report provides fresh rationale for the Victorian government to encourage the rollout of renewable energy. Victoria is now the … Continue reading Rationale for renewables: Disasters & warming climate cost Victoria $20b

No need for polluting Alcoa coal plant

ImageEnvironment group Friends of the Earth say there’s no need for Alcoa to be granted a license to generate electricity at their Anglesea coal power plant. Rather, the plant that came online in the 1960s should be retired—delivering public health and climate change benefits for Victorians.

The current state of the energy market makes the retirement of the coal power plant possible. There’s now an oversupply of fossil fuel generators in the energy system.

The oversupply is due to decreasing electricity demand from increased energy efficiency, and renewable energy sources such as rooftop solar and wind farms coming online.

In its application, Alcoa says the impacts of not granting the license on electricity prices and reliability must be considered. Removing 150 megawatts of polluting coal power is really a drop in the ocean in terms of power prices. The impact of rejecting Alcoa’s generation license on electricity prices would be virtually undetectable.

Retiring the Alcoa coal power station will barely affect power prices, yet will deliver benefits for the local community who are sick of pollution spewing over their community. It will also deliver sizable carbon emissions savings and help Victorians address climate change. Continue reading “No need for polluting Alcoa coal plant”

Look out for that turbine! Climate sceptics are the real Chicken Littles

Published in The Conversation by Stephan Lewandowsky, a cognitive scientist and Chair of Cognitive Psychology at the University of Bristol. These views are his own. View original article.

The sky is falling! Oh wait, no: it’s just the clouds moving… Sarah Smith


Several Australian corporate figures have recently disparaged climate scientists.

First, former banker David Murray questioned the integrity of climate scientists on national TV. Casting such aspersions on scientists follows the precedent set by the tobacco industry, which referred to medical researchers as an “oligopolistic cartel” that “manufactures alleged evidence.”

Attacks on scientists proceed according to the same playbook and regardless of discipline. If there is any novelty in Murray’s slur, it is that until recently he led the Future Fund, a body that is legally tasked with delivering risk-adjusted returns on the Australian Government’s budget surpluses. The adjustment of a risk by denying or ignoring it is arguably not without precedent; see the 2007 financial crisis, for example.

More recently, mining figure Hugh Morgan confronted the issue of risk head-on and declared the world’s climate body, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, to be “Chicken Littles” whose dire predictions would soon be cast aside, in the same way that the apocalyptic warnings of the Club of Rome from 40 years ago turned out to be false. (Except that when a CSIRO scientist reviewed those 40-year old projections, he found them to be remarkably accurate.)

Much is known in cognitive science about how people judge risks. It is now commonly accepted that those judgements are inherently subjective and subject to cultural biases, such as one’s attitudes towards the free market.

Thus, whereas the medical community lives up to its reputation as Chicken Littles by claiming that tobacco has adverse health effects, other institutions that arise from a different cultural background, such as Morgan’s Institute of Public Affairs (IPA), take a more heroic approach by chastising such “corrupt science” as overly alarmist. The trade-off between free-market fundamentalism and lung cancer is a matter of cultural preferences. Continue reading “Look out for that turbine! Climate sceptics are the real Chicken Littles”

Collision of science and sentiment – Waterloo wind farm cleared by EPA

Published by Renew Economy. View original article.


The most interesting places on Earth are the subduction zones where tectonic plates of science and emotion scrape relentlessly. Buried in these dynamic boundaries we find the most telling insights into human nature. Wind energy spans the continents of science and sentiment, and discourse is dominated by this violent collision of empirical reality and unbridled passion.

Though living full time in this fissure might seem unenviable, I guarantee it is stirring. Yesterday, the plates grated once more, as the South Australian Environmental Protection Agency (SA EPA) released the long-anticipated results of their study into low-frequency noise levels at Waterloo Wind Farm.

Waterloo wind farm. Source: ABC News.

First, some history. In May 2012, Graham Lloyd of The Australian mused in an article whether the Waterloo Wind Farm could be the culprit behind the mutations of chicken embryos, spikes in “sheep deformities” and “reports of erratic behaviour by farm dogs” – a joyful foray into absurdity that served as a textbook example of implication by proximity. Continue reading “Collision of science and sentiment – Waterloo wind farm cleared by EPA”

Pollie Watch: Victorian Senator shines a light on dodgy anti-wind farm group

“So I could set myself up as the organisation to prevent Football Withdrawal Syndrome and apply for DGR status? And you would have no basis in which to reference whether that is an illness or not?”  – Senator Richard DiNatale … Continue reading Pollie Watch: Victorian Senator shines a light on dodgy anti-wind farm group