Sunday, June 23, 2024

In which the pond spreads memes before spreading reptile manure on the morrow ...


The pond realises that it said herpetology studies would recommence tomorrow, which is to say Monday, no doubt with a serve of the Caterist nuking the country ... but by happenstance, the pond found itself near a computer, and was bedazzled and beguiled by an amazing offer ...

**Subject:** Urgent Assistance Needed for Revolutionary Nuclear Power Proposal

Dear Esteemed Australian,

I hope this message finds you well. My name is Prince D’ttonu, and I am a prince of the very royal family in Nigeria. I am writing to you with an unprecedented and highly excitable proposal that you should not tell anybody about because it is so good everybody will want to revolutionize your nation's energy sector and provide you with free power if they find out.
As you may have heard, your future government is embarking upon a very bold project to construct nuclear power plants for everyone all across Australia. Your future government will significantly reduce your reliance on the sun, which is so often hidden these days behind giant windmills designed to kill all the birds for climate change.
Unfortunately, due to the recent political instability in my country, I need your assistance to move $500 billion out of Nigeria and into this very exciting and not made-up project in your very lucky country.
This $500 billion, which I am assured by my advisors, will be enough for you to have your very own small modular nuclear reactor. The money is currently somewhere I cannot tell you, but I can assure you that I need a trustworthy foreign partner to help me transfer the funds.
However, due to the highly sensitive nature of this project and the opposition we face from solar billionaires with their billions of dollars, we require the assistance of trusted individuals like yourself to ensure our success.
To facilitate the initial phase of this project to deliver cheap, free energy that will not hurt the climate, we must invest in a new generation of technologies that made Fukushima and Chernobyl so famous as much-photographed wildlife sanctuaries with so many new and interesting creatures in them.
My friends! I do not need to secure AUD $500 billion to cover the initial costs of our bold and ambitious plan because I am a Prince of Nigeria, but can you and your children say the same thing? Can you afford not to secure AUD $500 billion for their future?
In return for your support, you will receive a generous interest going forward in the exciting nuclear synergies that will be with us for thousands of years to come.
To get in on the ground floor of this groundbreaking initiative, we request a modest contribution of AUD $1,000, which is much less than the final AUD $500 billion cost of this proposal, which my advisors assure me will be much, much more when it is finished.

The message appeared a couple of days ago here, and closed with a suggestion as to how account details might be provided for the transfer of funds. 

Some might wonder if the transfer is safe - so many nuke scams and scammers these days - but luckily the pond has connections in Nigeria, and all that needs to happen is for correspondents to provide their TFN, bank account details, passport, birth certificate, driver's license and star sign, and the pond will personally expedite the payment. Best of all the pond will facilitate the matter by a modest stipend of 100₿ for services provided, which is a much better deal than that offered by Prince D'ttonu (though the disclaimer provided in the original letter in the link above should be taken as read and still applying)...

In other words, comedy is now all the go. 

The calculations have been done, the arguments made, the trolling and the distractions aired, and it's meme time ...

This wouldn't be a dinkum blog if it didn't recycle memes ...

There were other images in that story, all worth spreading ... and though the smirk doesn't quite match up with the scowl, Little to Be Proud Of does a fine Smithers ...

Having got lost in Gippsland, this one had a personal resonance ...

The pond realises fuddy duddies and "experts" bemoaned the fun, by cavilling in Crikey ...

‘Unhelpful’: Experts criticise Labor’s radioactive memes.

In the wake of the Coalition's nuclear energy policy announcement, the Labor Party has become obsessed with Simpsons memes. But experts say it's unhelpful. (paywall)

...Associate Professor Tony Hooker, director of the Centre for Radiation Research, Education and Innovation at the University of Adelaide, called the proliferation of memes and pop culture references in attacking the Coalition’s plan “not helpful for true scientific debate”. 
“There’s a lot of misinformation in those memes,” he told Crikey, calling nuclear as safe as wind and solar per terawatt of electricity produced per hour. 
“Saying that it’s risky is actually untrue — and that’s taking into consideration Chernobyl and Fukushima,” he said, referencing the two most significant accidents in the history of nuclear power. 
Hooker is in favour of the inclusion of nuclear power in Australia’s energy mix, and said that memes such as those circulating following the Opposition’s announcement were “unfortunately effective” in swaying an electorate. 
“I think we’ve done a pretty poor job over the decades of providing radiation risk education,” he said. 
It’s not just nuclear advocates who think the memes are out of place. 
Ian Lowe is an emeritus professor in the School of Environment and Science at Griffith University, and has described nuclear power as “legally impossible, economically unachievable and environmentally irresponsible”. 
Nevertheless, Lowe told Crikey he was “not in favour of misinformation or oversimplification”. 
“The case against nuclear power can be based on solid evidence, and I don’t think you need to exaggerate it or dress it up with cartoons,” he said.

What a bunch of "expert" crybabies and spoilsports. 

There's absolutely no sign that Punxsutawney Pete and Little to Be Proud Of have the slightest interest in true scientific debate, genuine costings and meaningful time lines ... not to mention how to cope with the NIMBYism that's already erupted.

As the keen Keane noted in Crikey There’s one real Coalition energy policy now: sabotaging renewables, Dutton's nuclear power plan is a massive distraction, designed to cover for the one solid Coalition energy policy that currently exists. (paywall)

For all the acres of words being written about Peter Dutton’s fantasy of seven nuclear plants, no such plants will ever be built in Australia. Yesterday’s announcement by Dutton — so devoid of substance that even the press gallery’s fence-sitters derided its lack of detail — was really about creating a cover for the one solid Coalition energy policy that currently exists.
That policy is to sabotage investment in large-scale renewable energy — or to “cap” it, as Nationals leader (and putative deputy prime minister in a Coalition government) David Littleproud put it this week.
That cap will take the form of, if you like, a de jure one in which the Coalition would cut Commonwealth funding for large-scale renewables projects and the transmission and distribution projects needed for them, leaving the only investment in renewables to be by state governments or households in rooftop solar, and a de facto one in terms of the sovereign risk that renewables investors now face.
That is, why would you plan to invest in a large-scale renewables project if you know there’s a substantial chance — according to the latest polling — that a Dutton government would move to kill off funding both for renewables and for the poles and wires needed to move the power they produce and store to households and businesses?
This sovereign risk is already worrying business, especially those that rely on infrastructure construction. “What we’re doing here is bringing in sovereign risk again into this decarbonisation debate,” one group told the Financial Review...

And again...

...Dutton has now gone even further and is working to actively sabotage renewables investment. This is peak culture war: any economic, fiscal or philosophical logic has been abandoned in favour of the goal of destroying a hated enemy — renewable energy — no matter what the cost.
We’re all reporting this as a story about energy, about engineering, about public finance and costings and day-to-day challenges around delivering, operating and maintaining infrastructure. In fact it’s a culture war, pure and simple. And like any culture war, there’s no room for logic, evidence or reality — just enemies.

Poor Nick Feik proposed Journalists who fail to interrogate Dutton’s nuclear dream should resign, There is no credible nuclear plan, and journalists reporting the announcement seriously are misleading the public. (Paywall)

Resign? In what alternative hive mind reptile universe? 

This is manna from heaven, this is a bonanza, a gold rush, a gravy train windfall designed to inspire acres of reptile columns, this is an  Übermensch culture war, this is months of rabid ratbag capering and carping and lying and distorting...

Best then to enjoy the memes and luckily, the cartoonists were also having a good time, and while a few were old, they were still fragrant ...

Wilcox had a proposal almost as good as the Nigerian Prince's offer ...

The pond realises that it's possibly used up a vast amount of carry-on cartoon comedy, which might have come in handy with the Caterist, or similar reptile on the morrow, but there's no point worrying, there's likely going to be fresh comedy material for months to come ... so let playtime begin ...

By the way, as everyone already knows, the venerable Meade on Friday produced the usual News Corp insights in News Corp boss grilled over Hitler-Bandt headline as Seven admits failure over Lehrmann's rant.

Head reptile Michael Miller advised the Godwin's Law breach was just to "surface differing opinions", and in that spirit, the pond simply airs the opinion that Miller is an Adolf Hitler-loving Nazi, a fascist of the first water, a vile supporter of holocausts and genocides (and not just Gaza), and for anyone interested in complaining, he provided the correct response:

“I am not going to argue today about something which personally you disagree with, and that I could find people who would personally agree with it.”

No doubt the pond could find some people who personally agree with the idea that Miller is head of a proto-fascist company aligned with wannabe despots of the mango Mussolini kind ...

Speaking of bigots, the Graudian turned up a ripper in ‘Woke mumbo jumbo’: Sydney barrister says he will lobby King of Tonga in fight against Newington College coed shift.

Inter alia ...

...In the email, seen by Guardian Australia, Morgan wrote: “I am flying to Tonga on Saturday, nothing is clear, but I am working on meeting with the King of Tonga to explain we are fighting for a tradition in which they are important.”
Newington’s brother school, Tupou College, is in Tonga.
“It’s hard to keep fighting but myself and a lot of people on this link have worked very hard to fight against the bullshit that is destroying a school we love,” Morgan wrote.
In the email, Morgan also encourages the recipients to “never give up” and to oppose the school’s “strategic direction”.
“We will need to show like at the SGM the silent majority disagree with the ‘Strategic Direction’ aka ‘transgender midgets get free schooling paid for by hard working normal people’. What a joke.”

The irony? Wiki it here ...

Traditionally, Tongan culture has been supportive of transgender people in the form of the fakaleiti (also known as the fakafefine; literally like a lady). The fakaleiti, similarly to the fa'afafine of Samoa and the māhū of Hawaii, are people who were born male but act, dress and behave as female. They have traditionally been accepted by Tongan society. However, in modern times, Tonga has a powerful religious community, and recently has seen a rise in fundamentalism and religious fanaticism. As such, the fakaleiti tend to face regular discrimination and stigma, despite being an integral part of Tongan culture. Cross-dressing is illegal in Tonga under laws inherited by the former British Empire.

The British Empire and barristers doing their bit for Newington College, and spreading bigotry around the world...ignorance, prejudice, fanaticism and an ability to offer offensive blather, Western Civilisation at its finest (disrespectful sarcasm intended) ...

Meanwhile, the immortal Rowe is keeping the comedy flowing ...

Ziggy Stardust? Who knew he was still kicking around ...and as usual, it's all in the details, and that rear view mirror was a ripper ... his ghost may be heard if you pass by that billabong, munching on an onion, and singing "who'll come a climate science denying with me".

And on the principle of nuking all the 'toons before resuming reptile studies, here's a First Dog on the same topic ...

Friday, June 21, 2024

The pond is on a short travel break ...


For those who came in late, the pond is off in the wilds.

It has now left sunny Melbourne, land of trams, beautiful one day, perfect the next ...

The pond regrets that it didn't find the space to admire the many bits of filigree ...

The pond was also disappointed it didn't have a chance to celebrate the building frenzy on Smith street, full of sophisticated developments and inspirational copy...

And notable landmarks went unnoted, even if worthy of a Napoleonic parade ...

This is just a page holder, a way of keeping the comments section open and also offer an apology to the deep north at the way the pond has focussed in an unseemly way on the deep south ...

Congratulations again to Tarong and Callide in Queensland, part of the world's closest nuclear movement ... a nukessie-ism, so to speak ..

Meanwhile, the pond anticipates starting herpetology studies again on the coming Monday ...

No doubt in the interim pagans will be joining the pagan pond in celebrating the winter solstice ...

The pond also wants to stay in touch with the immortal Rowe ...

What a splendid set of portraits, with this one being undiluted Tamworth and much to be proud of...

It's always in the details ...

And finally a fond farewell to an actor who has graced the pond's banner for many a year, and somehow managed to make many stinkers bearable, while sometimes producing some striking moments and remarkable images ...

Please nuke the comments section, knowing that soon the reptile horror, the pod people, the hive mind dwellers, will return ...

Thursday, June 20, 2024

In which the pond has an On the Beach moment before leaving the Athens of the South ...


The pond regrets to advise that this will be the last post from the deep south, as the pond is about to head into the darkest wastelands for a while ...

This is a double disappointment. Firstly on observing the statue of Matthew Flinders parked near the C of E (don't believe the Anglican rebrand, the Angles are innocent) Cathedral, for the convenience of pigeons needing somewhere to do a dump ...

... the pond had hoped to do an epic piece on Religion and the Rise of Colonialism, which would have been more than a match for Tawney's Religion and the Rise of Capitalism ... and would have been vastly superior to Weber's The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism ...

Secondly, there came news of plans to end the world, in Former Trump national security adviser urges resumption of nuclear testing, Robert O’Brien says US should abandon moratorium but experts say proposal would hasten global nuclear arms race.

This was splendid news, as wiser minds than the pond once observed that Melbourne is a top notch place from which to watch the end of the world. The pond might have thought about staying over for a good view of the light show ...

As usual, being the Graudian, there were links to knockers and neighsayers ...

But Dr Strangelove is one of the pond's favourite movies and the pond has always dreamed of joining a Vera Lynn singalong while riding a nuke to earth.

The spoilsports weren't having any of it ...

...Jeffrey Lewis, a professor and nonproliferation expert at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey in California, said a resumption of testing around the world would throw away US advantages that were locked in when the moratorium began more than three decades ago.
“When the test ban happened, the US had done more than 1,000 explosions and had the most advanced computing capabilities in the world, so we had the best data and the best computers, and we were in a position of enormous advantage relative to the Russians, and certainly relative to the Chinese,” Lewis said.
“The Russians had conducted a smaller number of nuclear explosions, and I think that they were not as well-instrumented as ours were … and then the Chinese were way behind,” he added.
“China now has supercomputers comparable to the ones in the US, and so the Chinese laboratories would learn vast amounts about miniaturising nuclear weapons, [and about] making nuclear weapons more reliable, that we already know in the US. Whereas, comparatively, we would learn very, very little.”
Lewis said making more fissile material would be pointless. The US is estimated to have a stockpile of 87.6 tonnes of plutonium and 483 tonnes of highly enriched uranium, enough for tens of thousands more warheads without the need to make any more.
Lewis said the main point of the O’Brien article was to appeal to “an audience of one” – Trump – by putting forward radical ideas that spur outrage from liberals and the arms-control community.
He likened it to the punk rock movement: “Putting a safety pin through your ear is not because you think it looks good or it feels good, but because it outrages the normies.”

The pond refuses to be a normie and so was wildly excited by Punxsutawney Pete's and brave Ted's plans to nuke the country to save the planet ...Dutton reveals locations for seven nuclear power plants under Coalition plan ... (paywall) ... and the winners are ...

Opposition Leader Peter Dutton has unveiled long-awaited detail of his pledge to build nuclear reactors in Australia, confirming that two nuclear plants would be producing electricity by the middle of next decade and be built with public funding under a government-owned business model.
The Coalition revealed there would be seven nuclear plants at the sites of former coal power plants:

Lithgow and the Hunter Valley in NSW, Loy Yang in Victoria’s Latrobe Valley, Tarong and Callide in Queensland, Collie in Western Australia and Port Augusta in South Australia.

Congratulations to the winners.

“We know the government has a renewables-only policy which is not fit for purpose. No other country in the world can keep the lights on 24/7 with the renewables-only policy,” Dutton said at an announcement in Sydney on Wednesday morning.
“Today we announce seven locations that we have looked at in great detail over a long period of time that can host new nuclear sites, and that’ll be part of an energy mix with renewables and significant amounts of gas into the system, particularly in the interim period.”
He said the new assets would be owned by the Commonwealth, which would form partnerships with experienced nuclear companies tasked with building and operating them.
But he conceded his policy had not yet been costed. “We will have more to say in relation to the cost in due course and, as you know, we’ve done this in a step-by-step process. The focus today is on the sites,” Dutton said.
The opposition leader also acknowledged he would need to convince state premiers, who have their own bans on nuclear that would need to be overturned.
“Somebody famously said: I would not stand between a premier and a bucket of money, and we’ve seen the premiers in different debates before, where they’ve been able to negotiate with the Commonwealth. And we’ll be able to address those issues,” Dutton said.
Dutton said a Coalition government would start by building either small modular reactors, which is nascent technology not yet in commercial production, or a large scale reactor, like the AP1000 or APR1400. He said the small reactors could be operating by 2035, while the larger ones would produce electricity by 2037.
The CSIRO has found the first nuclear reactors could not be built until 2040 and would cost up to $16 billion each.
Dutton’s announcement will end months of speculation about the proposed locations and sharpen the political debate after he reignited the nation’s climate wars by pledging to dump the government’s target to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 43 per cent of 2005 levels by 2030.
He has said the Coalition remains committed to net zero emissions by 2050 but will not reveal its interim climate targets until after the federal election, due by May next year.

In the Graudian's live coverage, Little to be Proud Of did a little back track ...

David Littleproud: What I’m saying is that we are obviously all for renewables in the right place.
… [but] why wouldn’t we look at all of the options?
… This is a great move for regional Australia to give us the jobs. But we’re not turning our back on the opportunities, but we’re just saying - understand our lived experience.
Because you know what, we count, too.
And your food security depends on us. And if we can’t produce it, your food prices go up. So, we’ve been pragmatic.
The National party have made this commitment to net zero by 2050. But [this] linear pathway is not just hurting metropolitan families. It’s hurting our wallets but our lifestyles and our capacity to make a living.
And I’m saying to everybody – please, understand that every Australian should be given a go through this and we can do it together if we back ourselves to do this with the know-how, and adopt it here in this country and regional Australia will come with you and continue to deliver for you.

Once again the doubters and the knockers and the neighsayers were out and about ... but the pair fought on gamely ...

Dutton draws comparisons to green hydrogen or Aukus when talking about non-existant (sic, it's the Graudian) nuclear technology

What about the fact that the technology doesn’t exist?
Peter Dutton: Again, green hydrogen doesn’t exist in the world at the moment. Here in our country, the prime minister is proposing that that will be a replacement*.
At the moment, the Aukus submarine doesn’t exist. But we know that the technology is there, and we know that the technology that exists in the nuclear propulsion systems on those submarines, posed to be used by our country, but already used by others, is there and it’s able to be translated.
That’s why you look at the 2035 and not … 2028 or whatever it might be. So you give yourself plenty of room and that’s the sensible approach to it. We’ve taken a prudent approach, but it is all about bringing down electricity prices and keeping the lights on and that’s what we’re doing.
* Snowy Hydro 2.0 – which includes the Kurri Kurri green hydrogen plant – was established under the Turnbull Coalition government.

There were cavils about the timeline, easily knocked for six:

Dutton can’t say which countries have deployed nuclear technology during proposed similar timeframe
What is the timeline?
Peter Dutton: So in terms of the first two ... we say between 2035 and 2037, depending on which technology you use. And then, out into the 2040s. So ahead of 2050.
And that is achievable. It’s a sensible rollout. And given capacity constraints within infrastructure providers etc, that is a reasonable runway for them over the 2040s as well.
What other countries have done it in that timeline? Dutton can’t say:
There are 450 ... How many reactors around the world? About 450.
And the fact that is you can look at different factors in each environment. I mean, some will roll out more quickly than others. In some cases, they’re going for a bespoke build, which is of no interest to us, whatsoever.
The technology is available. When you look at products that Westinghouse has, or Hitachi or GE, and you look at the Canadian experience, there’s the ability to roll out and we’ve spoken with a number of companies in the infrastructure space about the timelines that we’re proposing and people feel comfortable with those.

Ted was there too, chipping in, with cost and government subsidy simply not an issue ...

Coalition says nuclear drives prices down but dodges questions on cost
The Coalition continue to dodge the questions about cost.
Ted O’Brien says: When it comes to all households and all businesses benefitting from zero emissions in the mix, we will have plenty of time in due course to talk about the costings once we release them here in the Australian context.
… We are putting Australians at the centre. When it comes to doing the modelling [we are] putting consumers at the centre. There is no reason why – as you scan the rest of the world, nuclear drives prices down – that it wouldn’t be the same here in Australia. And, indeed, I believe that that is precisely what is going to happen.

Still the sceptics kept blathering away while the visionaries outlined a vision which handily would only. be seen long after they'd left the stage:

Amy’s analysis: is NSW a nuclear state?
Peter Dutton is talking about Lucas Heights there. That site manufactures radioactive medicine. It is at a very different scale to a nuclear reactor which would power the energy sector.
He also says, correctly, that Aukus will involve nuclear. But again, that is for a submarine reactor, which is still much smaller than a nuclear reactor used for power.
Dutton does not go into those differences: Since 1958 Lucas Heights has operated successfully, I saw talk the other day, what will happen to house prices? What happened to house prices in Lucas Heights? They went up similarly to other suburbs here in New South Wales.
What will happen in Osborne where Premier Malinauskas signed up to the Aukus deal? A reactor will be there … Australian uniforms will sleep in the submarine alongside the reactor in a safe way.
Osborne is a matter of kilometres from local communities. In Henderson, WA, then premier McGowan signed up to the Aukus deal, [where] nuclear reactors in the submarines will be there alongside residential and industrial areas.
So those premiers have shown a level of pragmatism before we signed up to Aukus, nobly believed it could happen. Everyone said the premiers would not agree, but they did.
We will work with the premiers because it is in our national interest.

On and on it went, as Ted and Punxsutawney Pete nuked the cat and the pigeons:

Gabrilelle Chan asked a silly question, If regional communities don’t want a windfarm, why would they accept a nuclear power station? How else to save the whales at Nundle?

The AFR’s running commentary, handily noted by an esteemed correspondent, had Bowen saying it was a fantasy that failed at the first hurdle. 

Down below were some choice items:

Victoria’s Liberal leader sidesteps nuclear debate
Patrick Durkin
Victoria’s Liberal Opposition Leader John Pesutto has tried to sidestep today’s nuclear debate, repeating that it has no plans for nuclear as a state opposition.
“It may well be that a future federal government initiates a national discussion on nuclear power, noting that there is a moratorium currently in place nationally,” Pesutto said.
“Our focus as a state opposition, as the alternative government, is on addressing the current shortfalls in energy, particularly with gas shortfalls which the ACCC and AEMO have both among others identified as confronting Victorians in the coming years. That’s where our focus will be.”

Expert questions nuclear costs, timeline
Tess Bennett
Tony Wood, the director of the energy program at the Grattan Institute, has questioned whether the proposed nuclear power plants will be online before coal is phased out.
Apart from the social licence question, the big challenge facing the Coalition’s proposal is whether it can be achieved between 2035 and 2050, Mr Wood told the ABC.
Opposition Leader Peter Dutton has pledged to build seven government-owned nuclear power stations by 2050, with the first unit to be operational in just over a decade.
“Can we seriously have them online, given the coal-fired power stations will close between now and 2035?” Mr Wood said.
“The costs look very high. All the numbers we’ve seen so far suggest they will be very high, and higher than the alternative.
“I’ve got no problem with nuclear technology per se. I’ve travelled to many countries where nuclear is used and I’ve never been worried about it, and I think the idea that you could build nuclear fundamentally is not stupid by any means.”

Dutton’s nuclear plans a “smokescreen” for coal and gas
Tom McIlroy
The Climate Council has accused Peter Dutton’s Coalition of engaging in a “radioactive greenwash”, suggesting the policy for a shift to nuclear power in Australia is designed to hide its commitment to coal and gas.
Chief executive Amanda McKenzie says Dutton’s plans will also delay an urgently needed shift to renewable energy in the economy.
“The winners from this scheme are the multinational coal and gas corporations who will keep polluting until well past mid-century. On the other hand, as a result of this scheme, Australians will suffer from worsening unnatural disasters due to climate pollution,” McKenzie says.
“Communities are being pummelled by heatwaves and dangerous bushfires one week, and extreme rainfall and flooding the next.
“Dutton’s scheme is: let the climate burn, let the mega-fires burn, let the sea levels rise, let the heat become unbearable.”
McKenzie warned that Australia has no nuclear workforce and no waste facilities.
“Nuclear reactors are a dangerous delay tactic that would mean climate pollution explodes in the next two decades.”

The Guardian's live pages offered the same sorts of stories:

Queensland premier negative on Coalition plan for nuclear power
Andrew Messenger
The Queensland premier, Steven Miles, has slammed nuclear power as “four to six times more expensive” than the alternatives.
Peter Dutton announced plans for two nuclear plants for the sunshine state this morning, in Tarong and Callide, both near existing coal plans. Miles:
We know that nuclear reactors are four to six times more expensive. So think about that. That means your electricity bill could go up four to six times to fund these nuclear reactors that the LNP wants to build in Queensland.
And that is not to mention how future generations - my kids, your kids - will need to manage dangerous radioactive nuclear waste, forever. That’s what that plan means.
The state has a legislated plan to transition to 80% renewables by 2035, when Dutton says the first nuclear plant would come online. Queensland also has state legislation banning nuclear power generation.

South Australian premier, Peter Malinauskas, says nuclear power is safe and has “an important role to play in the global energy mix as we pursue a decarbonised future”. But, he says, the question is whether it’s economical:
And what we know is that from report after report is that in the Australian context, it will make power more expensive. So why on Earth would we pursue it?
Malinauskas says it’s also “normal” to announce the cost of policies, which opposition leader Peter Dutton failed to do:
That means one of two things. Either Peter Dutton knows how much it’s going to cost and he’s refusing to tell people. Or, he’s making a massive policy commitment without knowing how much it’s going to cost. Either way, it’s an extraordinary position.

Western Australia’s energy, environment and climate action minister, Reece Whitby, says opposition leader Peter Dutton’s nuclear plan makes “absolutely no sense to Australia, and particularly to WA”. It would lead to “massive, massive increases in power bills”, he said.
Whitby said building a nuclear power industry would be hugely expensive and take a long time, and that WA had plentiful renewable resources in the meantime. He said:
In Australia you have no legislative or regulatory landscape or infrastructure for nuclear, you have no workforce. It’s going to take a long long time – I think at least 20 years or more – and we don’t have time to waste. This is the worst possible case you can imagine. Peter Dutton, I think, is lacking courage… he must know this is a crazy plan. He must know that it won’t work.
Nuclear energy was a “unicorn that will never arrive” and a way for coal supporters to keep the coal industry going, Whitby said.

The same esteemed correspondent offered a link to Rolls Royce but the pond was blocked, only to be vastly relieved that the good SMR news could be found here. It was from 2021 but it carried the reassuring news that SMRs were just around the corner and would run for 60 years! The first five will come with TruCoat to ensure longevity, and while none have actually been built, Poland is a goer.

The pond's only concern was that we should also make sure we got the chance to nuke the planet, and dammit, then the Graudian linked to Chris Douglas at ASPI furiously scribbling Opposition's nuclear-energy policy would increase defence risk.

The Australian Liberal-National opposition’s proposal to build nuclear power stations on the sites of old coal-fired plants is misguided. The policy would perpetuate Australia’s concentration of electricity generation and worsen our vulnerability to air and missile attack.
Renewable-energy installations, by contrast, are numerous, dispersed and therefore much less profitable for an enemy to destroy. They’re also far easier and quicker to fix. And energy storage capacity, another source of resilience, necessarily grows as they’re built.
The current concentration of large slabs of generation capacity in coal-fired stations is already a vulnerability. They’re attractive targets. A single attack by a few strike missiles might knock out a plant and its large chunk of power supply.
Chinese bombers, submarines and carrier-launched aircraft could attack them using guided bunker-busting bombs, regular air-to-ground missiles or hypersonic ones with tungsten penetrators. Russia is indeed targeting power stations in its war against Ukraine, typically hitting them with missiles and drones.
If a big power station’s energy comes from nuclear reactors instead of boilers burning fossil fuel, a strike could cause an environmentally devastating release of radioactive material. If we had nuclear power stations, they would in fact be things that an enemy could use against us.
The Chernobyl nuclear disaster resulted in radioactive contamination of about 150,000 square kilometres reaching as far as 500km from the plant. It released more radiation than the atomic bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki combined. In 2007 the Royal United Services Institute for Defence and Security Studies reported: ‘a nuclear power plant contains more than 1000 times the radiation that is released in an atomic bomb blast’. The Chernobyl experience suggests that destruction of a large nuclear station on the site of the Eraring coal-fired plant in New South Wales might render the port of Newcastle inoperative and perhaps force the evacuation of 800,000 people in the city and Central Coast.
Most of Australia’s coal-fired power stations are in NSW, Victoria and Queensland. Replacing at least some with nuclear plants, as the opposition suggests, would therefore expose much of the population to frightening wartime risk. Attacks could result in long-term crippling of the economy by rendering cities uninhabitable. They would raise the cost to Australia for continuing any war...

On and on he went, an endless spoilsport and fusspot.

At that point, the pond realised the real implications, and they were incredibly serious ... long dreary mornings reading endless reptile screeds about the wonders to be seen from nuking the country ...

It was left to the very end of the keen Keane's rant in Crikey (paywall) for the real point of the trolling to become obvious:

Despite Peter Dutton this morning unveiling “details” of his plan to build a fleet of nuclear power plants across the country by 2040, we’re still no closer to understanding exactly how the Liberal leader will achieve such an improbable feat.
Dutton has committed the Coalition to building seven reactors on the sites of coal-fired power stations: two in Queensland, at Tarong and Callide, two in NSW, at Liddell and Lithgow, one at Port Augusta in SA, one at the current Loy Yang A site in the Latrobe Valley in Victoria, and one at Muja in south-western WA.
There is a little detail in the timing. The glossy brochure handed out by the Coalition claims “the timeline for establishing a civil nuclear program in Australia including building two establishment projects is 10 to 12 years from the government making a decision until zero emissions nuclear electricity first enters the grid.”
Separately, it also states “a federal Coalition government will initially develop two establishment projects using either small modular reactors or modern larger plants such as the AP1000 or APR1400. They will start producing electricity by 2035 (with small modular reactors) or 2037 (if modern larger plants are found to be the best option).”
That timeline is at odds with the CSIRO’s estimate that nuclear could not be deployed until 2040 at the earliest. There are no small modular reactors currently in operation in any developed country, and the US project touted by the Coalition, NuScale in Idaho, was shut down in November due to soaring costs.
According to the CSIRO’s costings, seven reactors at $8.6 billion each for a 1000MW reactor, would cost $60.2 billion, however the first build would suffer a first of a kind premium of up to 100% in addition to that. That does not include a cost blow-out of 20-30% of a kind that has characterised nearly all major infrastructure projects in Australia over the past two decades.
According to the CSIRO, small modular reactors will cost two to three-and-a-half times more than large-scale nuclear plants per unit of output.
Dutton has also confirmed what Crikey has long pointed out — the reactors will have to be publicly owned, meaning taxpayers will fund the $60-90 billion cost.
“The Australian government will own these assets, but form partnerships with experienced nuclear companies to build and operate them,” Dutton said this morning.
This reduces, but does not remove, one of the key impediments to any nuclear build — that companies will refuse to invest in their construction because of a potential change in government, with a new government restoring a nuclear ban. The Coalition would likely offer onerous break fees as part of any deal with companies interested in building reactors, in order to deter future governments from halting construction.
It will also mean the Commonwealth will enter the power generation industry at a truly colossal scale, far beyond what any state government has ever managed. Dutton has made a commitment to a radical expansion in the size and role of the federal government.
However, there remains the biggest hurdle of all: state governments. The Coalition might be able to purchase existing sites from private companies to build the reactors — though not in Queensland, where Callide and Tarong are government-owned. But it will not be able to build reactors without state cooperation, including the repeal of state prohibitions on nuclear power. Dutton joked this morning about premiers and buckets of money, but his chances of convincing Labor governments in NSW, Victoria, South Australia and Western Australia to allow nuclear power plants appear slim.
Dutton may have more luck in Queensland, with his own party, the Liberal Nationals, set to take power in October. However, state LNP leader David Crisafulli appeared to kill that off this week, saying when asked about repealing Queensland’s ban on nuclear power “the answer is no, and I’ve made my view very clear on that.”

Then came the killer climax:

...More realistically, it’s all intended as a distraction from abandoning climate action and maintaining fossil fuel-based power. Dutton and his colleagues were in power for nine years and never expressed the slightest interest in pursuing nuclear power — or even removing the Howard government’s ban on it. There’s a reason for that — in Australia, it’s a ludicrously expensive fantasy.

Consider the pond distracted, but then the pond has always had a soft spot for unicorns.

...The U.S. isn’t the only country dealing with Mother Nature’s immoderate effects. This month alone, over 730 fires have been detected in Brazil’s Pantanal region, the largest tropical wetland on the planet, according to the country’s National Institute of Space Research.
It’s a record high in Pantanal for the month of June, which was previously 435 fires in June 2005, according to CNN.
Extreme heat in Cyprus and Greece reached upward of 110°F last week, causing officials to temporarily shut down the Acropolis, close public schools and limit other outdoor attractions.
According to the Washington Post, two elderly people died in Cyprus after suffering from heatstroke. An additional three elderly patients are being treated at various hospitals in the region for heatstroke symptoms, according to reports.
The debilitating heat is also plaguing India, where temperatures were so hot that a one-of-its-kind insurance policy made payouts to 50,000 women across 22 districts to help them cope with the economic impacts of extreme heat.
Meanwhile, 14 Jordanian pilgrims died while on a holy trip to Mecca in Saudi Arabia. Jordan’s Foreign Ministry reported Sunday that they died as a result of exposure to extreme sun and heat, according to the New York Times. An additional 17 pilgrims are missing.
Heavy rains are affecting southern and central Chile as well, reportedly killing one person, causing damage to over 2,000 homes and forcing around 150 people to be evacuated from their homes, according to Sky News.  (The link has the links to the stories)

An esteemed pond correspondent also offered these annotations. Cold:


While at Crikey, the pond couldn't help but notice a couple of great items.

Cam Wilson's story gave the game away in the header: Tucker Carlson’s Australian tour ticket prices have been slashed with hundreds of seats still available, Seats at one of the Clive Palmer-backed events are now listed at less than a quarter of their original price. (Paywall)

Even at 50 bucks, it's at least $49.99 too much, and maybe it'd be better to hang on to the cent too.

Daanyal Raeed's story (paywall) was an ominous reminder that reptile studies would have to resume soon:

Much has been made, including in Crikey’s pages, of the incendiary column in The Australian last week by contributor Francis Galbally that likened the Greens to the Nazis and Adam Bandt to Adolf Hitler. 
Despite the article’s incoherence, Media Watch host Paul Barry managed to make enough sense of it to tear into the broadsheet on Monday night, calling the piece a “new low for a once-proud paper, and an absolute disgrace”. 
Amid the outrage, a tipster alerted us to an unnoticed element of the column. Galbally is the owner and chair of a cybersecurity firm called Senetas, which itself owns an Israeli security outfit called Votiro. Votiro, per its CEO, services “most” Israeli government departments.
This may go some length to explaining Galbally’s views on the war in Gaza — but when Crikey approached The Australian with questions, the paper was silent. Crikey asked whether it was aware of Galbally’s business interests prior to publication, and whether it considered them a relevant element to disclose in the column. The Australian did not respond for comment. 

It's a bit late to be noting Media Watch, but all the same, herpetology studies are just around the corner ...

...So who at The Australian read this column and thought it was a good idea to run it? And why?
Even if they didn’t want to spike it for being crazy, stupid and offensive, didn’t the lawyers warn that it was likely to be hugely defamatory? 
After all Hitler jailed and killed his political opponents, started a world war in which 70 million people died, and ordered the killing of six million Jews.
Surely, it wouldn’t be hard to prove the Greens are not similar to the Nazis and that Adam Bandt is not Adolf Hitler, if he sued. 
But whatever happens, The Australian should take that column down and apologise. It is a new low for a once proud paper and an absolute disgrace. 

The pond has only one quibble with those yarns.

A once proud paper? 

The reptiles have always been proud, in the manner of that snake in Snakes and Ladders ... but pride isn't something to be esteemed.

It was a killer, always on 98, a bloody long way down too, and the result's a rag that's been in free fall since the days of Adrian Deamer ... and apparently incapable of making a comment when it comes to breaking Godwin's Law ...

Never mind, the good news this day is that everything is in hand, it's the best of all possible best worlds, and the visionaries will fix things by 2050 ...

And so to end with an immortal Rowe, celebrating impending salvation, and then, in due course, the pond's return to herpetology studies...

Wednesday, June 19, 2024

In which (eventually) Little to be Proud Of and Punxsutawney Pete proudly show how to do a Gordon in the new climate wars ...


As a dedicated connoisseur of olden days and golden ways, the pond always enjoyed the Victorian element in Victoria, though sadly Melbourne has of late been much diminished by the RMIT hordes. 

Still, the occasional glory of the empire can be seen in a tramp around the town...

The pond mainly knows that Gordon of Khartoum had a most valiant enemy in the form of a black face Larry Olivier, playing the aptly named Muhamwithtriplebaconmad Ahmed, aka the Mahdi ...

There he stands at the top of the hill, dominating the park, proud testament to his colonial triumphs ...

What a valiant warrior, from all angles ...

... though strangely few do the reverse angle ...

And that's a pity, because the text on the back is as inspirational as the rest...

There's much to know about Gordon, starting with his wiki here, but the pond likes these interpretations the best:

...The American historian Byron Farwell strongly implied in his 1985 book Eminent Victorian Soldiers that Gordon was a homosexual, for instance writing of Gordon's "unwholesome" interest in the boys he took in to live with him at the Fort House, and his fondness for the company of "handsome" young men.
Gordon, at the age of 14, said that he wished he had been born a eunuch, which has been taken to suggest that he wanted to annihilate all of his sexual desires and, indeed, his sexuality altogether. Together with his sister Augusta, Gordon often prayed to be released from their "vile bodies" in which their spirits were "imprisoned" so that their souls might be joined with God....

…In the 20th century, many British military leaders came to have a critical view of Gordon, with Field Marshal Bernard Montgomery writing that Gordon was "unfit for independent command, mentally unbalanced, a fanatic, self-imposed martyr", adding that he should never have been sent to the Sudan and the Gladstone–Gordon relationship was a case study in dysfunctional civil–military relations.In 1953, the British novelist Charles Beatty published a Gordon biography, His Country was the World: A Study of Gordon of Khartoum, which focused on Gordon's religious faith, but for the first time noted what a tormented figure Gordon was: a man of deeply felt Christian convictions, full of guilt and self-loathing over his own sinfulness and inability to live up to his own impossibly high standards over what a Christian should be and desperately longing to do something to expiate his sinfulness. Like Strachey, Beatty found Gordon a ridiculous figure, but unlike Strachey, who had nothing but contempt for Gordon, Beatty's approach was a compassionate one, arguing that Gordon's many acts of charity and self-sacrifice were attempts to love others since he was unable to love himself.
Another attempt to debunk Gordon was Anthony Nutting's Gordon, Martyr & Misfit (1966). Nutting's book was noteworthy as the first book to argue that Gordon had a death wish.Nutting noted that Gordon had often recklessly exposed himself to Russian fire while fighting in the Crimea and stated he hoped to die in battle against the Russians before leaving for the Crimea On the basis of such statements and actions, Nutting argued that Gordon's suicidal courage of going into battle armed only with his rattan cane, which so impressed the Victorian public, reflected darker desires. Nutting made the controversial claim that the basis of Gordon's death wish was that he was gay, noting that Gordon never married, is not known to have had a relationship with any women, and often wished that he had been born a eunuch, which strongly suggested that Gordon wished to have no sexual desires at all.
Nutting contended that the conflict between Gordon's devoutly-held Christian ideals and his sexuality made Gordon deeply ashamed of himself and he attempted to expiate his wretched, sinful nature by seeking a glorious death in battle. Behrman wrote that the first part of Nutting's thesis, that Gordon had a death wish, is generally accepted by historians, but the second part, that Gordon was homosexual, is still the subject of much debate. In his Mission to Khartum – The Apotheosis of General Gordon (1969), John Marlowe portrays Gordon as "a colourful eccentric—a soldier of fortune, a skilled guerrilla leader, a religious crank, a minor philanthropist, a gadfly buzzing about on the outskirts of public life", who would have been no more than a footnote in today's history books, had it not been for "his mission to Khartoum and the manner of his death", which were elevated by the media "into a kind of contemporary Passion Play". (See the wiki for more and the footnotes).

Deeply weird, deeply Victorian, perhaps even in the Melbourne sense of the word ...

Nearby there's another Gordon ...

But the pond has had enough of statues today, and you can stuff your bush ballads and sick stockriders in your tucker bag, because the colonial enterprise proceeds apace, with the pond spotting this in Haaretz's daily updates ...

This also caught the eye ...

Splendid stuff, what an advanced colonial democracy, and anyone wanting to read an Haaretz writer outside the paywall can tune into Alon Pink's Netanyahu's 'war cabinet' had little power - but its demise does him real damage, thanks to the Graudian.

For some reason, all these military matters reminded the pond of some airhead, some idiot Faux Noise klutz, some bumble brain, who apparently thought that the 21 gun salute came from adding up the numbers in 1776, or so the pond was told, by diminishing its IQ by watching YouTube

Luckily there are correctives to hand, as per this at Arlington National Cemetery:

Salute by cannon or artillery is a military tradition that originated in the 14th century. The 21-gun salute, commonly recognized by many nations, is the highest honor rendered. The custom stems from naval tradition, when a warship would signify its lack of hostile intent by firing its cannons out to sea until all ammunition was spent. The British navy developed the custom of a seven-gun salute because naval vessels typically had seven guns (and possibly also due to the number seven's Biblical and mystical significance). Because greater quantities of gunpowder could be stored on dry land, forts could fire three rounds for every one fired at sea — hence the number 21. With the improvement of naval gunpowder, honors rendered at sea increased to 21, as well. The 21-gun salute eventually became the international standard. 
In the United States, the custom has changed over time. In 1810, the War Department defined the "national salute" as equal to the number of states in the Union (at the time, 17). This salute was fired by all U.S. military installations on Independence Day and whenever the president visited a military installation. In 1842, the 21-gun salute was designated as the "presidential salute," and in 1875 the United States followed Britain in adopting the 21-gun salute as its international salute. 

What’s the point of having a decent colonial past if you don’t have the first clue about it? 

It’s a bit like that bizarre attempt to drawn a line between the American republic and a democracy, mainly on the basis that the mango Mussolini is a wannabe authoritarian dictator … and so democracy is inherently bad. No need to take a vote on that.

Speaking of oddities, the pond was also forwarded a link to  Reuter's story ...Pentagon ran secret anti-vax campaign to undermine China during pandemic.

At the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, the U.S. military launched a secret campaign to counter what it perceived as China’s growing influence in the Philippines, a nation hit especially hard by the deadly virus.
The clandestine operation has not been previously reported. It aimed to sow doubt about the safety and efficacy of vaccines and other life-saving aid that was being supplied by China, a Reuters investigation found. Through phony internet accounts meant to impersonate Filipinos, the military’s propaganda efforts morphed into an anti-vax campaign. Social media posts decried the quality of face masks, test kits and the first vaccine that would become available in the Philippines – China’s Sinovac inoculation.
Reuters identified at least 300 accounts on X, formerly Twitter, that matched descriptions shared by former U.S. military officials familiar with the Philippines operation. Almost all were created in the summer of 2020 and centered on the slogan #Chinaangvirus – Tagalog for China is the virus.

There was a sample graphic ...

Dear sweet long absent lord, the Philippines no doubt has many good reasons for having a beef with China (think South China Sea), and no doubt the vaccine was a poor person's substitute, but how was this helping?

It seems this sort of trolling is everywhere, with the far right and Vlad the sociopath and even the Swedes at it:

Employees at Sweden’s national news channel, TV4, were last month told to avoid wearing clothing or badges that might identify their employer’s logo in public. The security risk was deemed too big. The advice was made in response to increased threats against the station and its reporters after its investigative programme, Kalla Fakta (Cold Facts), alleged that the far-right Sweden Democrats – the second biggest party in Sweden – operated a vast network of anonymous social media accounts, coordinating attacks on political opponents and the media.
Sweden is one of the world’s strongest democracies, with very high levels of trust in its media and political institutions. But journalists covering domestic politics now have to fear for their safety.
Swedish media outlets have reported on nationalist “troll farms” in the past, but a TV4 journalist spent a year working undercover at the communications department of the Sweden Democrats. The channel said it was able to confirm at least 23 social media accounts run anonymously from the department. In just three months, posts from these accounts got 27m views across social media platforms.
 The reporting suggests that this is the tip of an iceberg of misinformation and ultra-nationalist hate speech coming straight out of the publicly funded offices of a party on which the governing coalition relies for support. In hidden camera shots, party strategists were also seen coordinating secret attacks on political opponents, including conservatives who were deemed insufficiently loyal to the Sweden Democrats’ cause.
What was truly remarkable wasn’t the revelations of anonymous accounts, but the response from the Sweden Democrats leader, Jimmie Åkesson, in a so-called “speech to the nation”. Åkesson not only refused to apologise, but also launched a fierce attack on the news media. The entire programme, he claimed, was disinformation; part of a “gigantic, domestic influence operation by the left-liberal establishment” with a secret plan to “demoralise” far-right voters ahead of the EU elections. In follow-up interviews, Åkesson stayed on the attack, often using bullying, condescending language to make fun of reporters for asking about the scandal.

Never mind, the real triumph, as correspondents have noted, has been the work of the man who has Little to be Proud Of ... a dinkum down under troll of the first water, with this story a beauty ...

The climate wars are back in full force and Little to be Proud Of is a master of Punxsutawney Pete speak:

The Coalition is yet to detail its full energy plan, which will include a mix of nuclear, coal, gas and renewables. Littleproud said a Coalition government would result in “no windfarm” for the Illawarra.
“We want to send the investment signals that there is a cap on where [the Coalition] will go with renewables and where we will put them,” he said.
“The Coalition isn’t against renewables, but renewables should be in an environment they can’t destroy. Why don’t we give priority to where they can make a difference and give energy independence to businesses and households, which is on rooftops where the concentration of power and population is?”
Asked why the Nationals supported an offshore windfarm in Victoria’s Gippsland, but not in the Illawarra, Littleproud said: “They are fixed in Gippsland, this is floating.”...

WTF? The pond has seen some specious, meaningless distinctions in its time doing its herpetology studies, but that’s beyond the valley of the meretricious. The windmills are going to float everywhere, taking out boats and whales and then drifting up the mighty Yarra?

Meanwhile, on another planet … more records promised ...

More records ... more opportunities for 'toons ...

Back to Little to be Proud Of …

...He said, unlike the Illawarra zone, few people lived near the Gippsland site, “and the transmission lines that are required aren’t as necessary”.
Earlier on Monday , Littleproud told ABC radio the Coalition’s energy policy will show investors Australia doesn’t need “large-scale industrial windfarms, whether they be offshore or onshore”.
“From what you’ll see in our energy mix, we won’t need large-scale industrial renewable projects. So that’s in essence where we’ll get to and be very clear and upfront and we are committed to that pathway. But it won’t be a linear pathway that you’re experiencing at the moment,” he said.
“It’d be one that’ll invest in the technology that’s zero emissions and it will take a little longer to get there.”
Guardian Australia has contacted the shadow energy minister, Ted O’Brien, and the member for Gippsland, Darren Chester, for comment.
The federal energy minister, Chris Bowen, defended the Illawarra’s windfarm announcement on Monday, saying three other areas around the country had also been marked as wind energy hubs.
“It’s very energy-rich, it’s very windy off our coast, and it’s windy constantly,” he said.
“Unlike onshore wind, which is windy some of the time and not some of the time, offshore wind is pretty much always windy. During the night, during the day, all the time.”
The Clean Energy Council’s chief executive, Kane Thornton, said his group were certain Illawarra residents would prefer “wind turbines that are 20 kilometres offshore, as opposed to a nuclear reactor on their doorstep”.
“It is disappointing that the Coalition has chosen to oppose sensible policy developments such as offshore wind and instead focus on stoking division in regional communities,” he said.

“This will undermine investor confidence in infrastructure projects right across Australia.”
In a statement to Guardian Australia, Littleproud clarified the Nationals are not against renewables but preferred “common sense and sensible options”, such as solar on rooftops.
“While the Gippsland project is smaller in size, the offshore wind farm in the Illawarra will still be 1,022 square kilometres and just 20 kilometres from the coast.”
Peter Dutton, the opposition leader, has said the Coalition is looking at six or seven nuclear power sites around the country but their locations will only be revealed “at a time of our choosing”.
Dutton has also backed away from Labor’s legislated 43% emissions reduction target by 2030 as part of Australia’s commitments to the 2050 net zero agreement, warning it would “harm Australian families and businesses in the interim”.

Meanwhile, Coalition’s climate and energy policy in disarray as opposition splits over nuclear and renewables, Simon Birmingham contradicts Nationals’ leader, saying renewables are ‘an important part of the mix’ while Queensland LNP leader rules out nuclear.

Huzzah, the wets are on the march:

The federal Coalition’s climate and energy policy is in disarray, with a senior Liberal contradicting the Nationals’ anti-renewables push and the Queensland LNP leader ruling out allowing nuclear energy in that state.
After the Nationals further undermined the push for net zero by 2050 by claiming the Coalition would “cap” investment in large-scale renewable energy, the Liberal leader in the Senate, Simon Birmingham, declared on Tuesday it is an “important part of the mix”.
On Monday the Nationals leader, David Littleproud, said Australia did not need “large-scale industrial windfarms” such as those proposed for an offshore zone south of Sydney. That position was backed by Nationals senator, Matt Canavan, a longstanding opponent of net zero who nevertheless revealed the position had not been to their party room.
On Tuesday Birmingham contradicted the junior Coalition partner’s stance. The leading member of the Liberals’ moderate faction told Sky News that there is “absolutely a place for large-scale renewables, as part of a technology-neutral approach” and they are an “important part of the mix”.
Birmingham said that renewables and other sources of power should be judged on reliability – “which is why nuclear is important” – price, including the cost of transmission, and the “social licence” aspects about whether local communities support them.
“There will be difficult discussions on that journey [to net zero by 2050]. We’ve been having them in relation to nuclear energy. The Albanese government has stuck its head in the sand.”
The Coalition is expected to announce its long-awaited nuclear policy as early as Wednesday, after it called a snap joint party room meeting for that morning.
As the federal Coalition attempts to ramp up pressure on Labor for refusing to lift the ban on nuclear energy, it also faces opposition at the state level from its own side of politics, as Guardian Australia revealed in March.
In Queensland the Nuclear Facilities Prohibition Act 2007 bans “the construction and operation of particular nuclear reactors and other facilities in the nuclear fuel cycle”.
On Tuesday, the Queensland Liberal National party leader, David Crisafulli, was asked whether he would consider repealing the legislation if his federal colleagues proposed a nuclear plan that stacked up.
“The answer is no, and I’ve made my view very clear on that … contrary to some of the most childish memes that I’ve seen getting around social media from the Labor party,” he said.
Crisafulli said nuclear is a “matter for Canberra” and it is “not on our plan, not on our agenda”. “The things that we are offering are real and they are tangible, I understand there is that debate in Canberra, fair enough, but I can’t be distracted by it.” ...

And so on and so forth, but is there an upside, there must be an upside? Why certainly, it's great times and business for cartoonists ...

And so to the keen Keane, getting excited in Crikey in On climate, Dutton is officially worse than Abbott. Why doesn’t the press gallery care? (paywall). Peter Dutton having a worse climate policy than Tony Abbott, or proposing one of Australia's biggest infrastructure projects, should be receiving far more attention than it's getting.

If Peter Dutton’s nuclear energy policy has received a degree of scrutiny from political journalists, more recent developments on the Coalition’s climate policy seem to have gone through to the keeper as far as the press gallery is concerned.
The Coalition’s formal position now is to go to the next election with a worse climate policy than Tony Abbott. Peter Dutton — apparently unilaterally, and certainly without the agreement of the joint partyroom — has not merely walked away from Labor’s 43% emissions reduction target for 2030, but will have no target of any kind for 2030.
At the next election, 2030 will be just five years away, just beyond the forward estimates. Failing to offer a target for 2030 to voters at the 2025 election is an act of electoral mendacity. It also means withdrawing Australia from the Paris Agreement, regardless of what Dutton or his media unit at The Australian insists.
But more to the point — a point widely missed — in doing so, Dutton has also dumped the 2030 target that was in place under three Liberal Prime Ministers: the 26-28% target agreed upon by Tony Abbott for Australia to take to the Paris climate talks in 2015.
Abbott, out of power, later reversed himself completely and claimed he’d been lied to by bureaucrats over the target. But that target, hopelessly inadequate as it was, held under both Malcolm Turnbull and Scott Morrison.
Dutton is copying Abbott in having a fake climate policy: Abbott had the risible “direct action”, which relied on carbon sequestration to pretend farmers were storing carbon in vegetation (Labor persists with programs based on discredited human-induced regeneration because big polluters need the resulting carbon credits)...

Sadly the keen Keane missed out on a key point. It was an era that was great for cartoonists ...

How great is it to have Little to be Proud Of and Punxsutawney Pete back, and the climate wars brought back to life?

To be honest the pond tried to include L'Age in the discussion, but it's impossible to tell it apart from the SMH, except for the football, and so the keen Keane was left to finish his rant on his own ...

...Dutton has nuclear power. Both are intended to maintain business-as-usual for fossil fuel companies. But Dutton won’t have even Abbott’s weak emissions reduction target.
That Dutton has an even worse climate policy than Abbott — the benchmark of Australian climate denialist politicians — should be attracting extensive scrutiny from the press gallery, and at least as much as his nuclear energy policy. That lack of scrutiny is at least bipartisan — Labor’s commitment to the fiction of carbon capture and storage, in order to accommodate the “gas-fired recovery”, has similarly been ignored by the corporate media’s representatives in Canberra.
There’s also been little effort to interrogate the costs of Dutton’s nuclear policy — journalists appear content to wait for the Coalition to produce its own costings for building an array of nuclear power stations and propping up unviable coal-fired power stations in the interim (especially as the Coalition has now confirmed it intends to “cap” funding of renewables).
As Crikey showed yesterday, it’s quite possible to undertake such an exercise based on available financials. Given the now-long history of major infrastructure projects in Australia blowing out both in timelines and costs, the Coalition’s commitment to six major energy infrastructure projects in an area with no expertise or industry knowledge, with a price tag in the tens of billions, should be a subject of concern, namely that the Commonwealth will repeat Victorian Labor’s disastrous Suburban Rail Loop project or the massively over-budget Sydney metro.
What’s also missing is any questioning of the fact that even under the most optimistic investment scenarios, the construction of a fleet of new nuclear power stations — backed by new coal or gas-fired power stations — will require a massive financial commitment by the Commonwealth, either by direct subsidies or through guarantees for the tens of billions required. The states are unlikely to take on the task of building nuclear power stations — NSW, South Australia, Western Australia and Victoria are all Labor for the foreseeable future, and Queensland’s LNP, which will be in power from October, isn’t interested in nuclear power.
As a result, the Commonwealth will, for the first time — if it can overcome state government hostility — be entering the power generation industry, and on a colossal scale. Dutton is proposing a radical enlargement of the role of the federal government in an industry in which it has zero expertise, corporate knowledge or history. You’d think that would be worth covering. Editors and journalists seem to disagree.

No doubt the reptiles of the lizard Oz have got it all covered, or buried, buried as deep as a shallow grave can get, but the pond remains in holiday mode, an intrepid traveller, and let's face it, while the pond hates to mention it, even on a day when the sun comes out, Melbourne is bloody freezing, so where's all the climate change? 

The greatest mind of the last two centuries has routinely made this point, with the same monotonous dedication to repetition as any third grader...

In fact he's been making it for more years than the pond can remember ...

Oh there are going to be some beautiful deals and a beautiful planet ...(paywall) with Little to be Proud Of and Punxsutawney Pete channelling their orange Jesus ...

The pond has no idea why the keen Keane is so grumpy. 

Faux Noise is playing close attention ... just as they pay close attention to everything ...