June 2016: Great Barrier Reef - catastrophe laid bare - link


Australia is a small greenhouse gas polluter in global terms, but one of the worst per capita because it relies heavily for its electricity on its abundant reserves of coal, which also make it the world's largest exporter of the polluting fuel. As the driest continent after Antarctica, it is also considered one of the most vulnerable countries to climate change. 
Renewable energy provided 14.6% of Australia’s electricity in 2015. Rooftop solar power passed 5 gigawatts of capacity in early 2016. link
In 2015, Australia's wind farms produced 33.7% of the country's clean energy and supplied 4.9% of Australia's overall electricity during the year. link  Currently the biggest issue in Australia is survival of the Great Barrier Reef and the threat from coal plant development in Queensland (see section below). 
Country profile from Renewable Energy World    
Clean Energy Council - link

January 2015: Climate change will hit Australia harder than rest of world, based on 40 global climate models, the most robust picture yet of how Australia’s climate would change. Australia could be on track for a temperature rise of more than 5C by the end of the century, outstripping the rate of warming experienced by the rest of the world, unless drastic action is taken to slash greenhouse gas emissions, according to the most comprehensive analysis ever produced of the country’s future climate. The report stated there was “very high confidence” that temperatures would rise across Australia throughout the century, with the average annual temperature set to be up to 1.3C warmer in 2030 compared with the average experienced between 1986 and 2005. link

(March 2016) Heatwaves - the silent killer. Reducing greenhouse gas emissions rapidly and deeply is the best way to protect Australians from worsening extreme heat events  -  pdf report by Climate Council - link


Latest news:

April 10 2017: Coal talks in India. Australia wants coal to play “a very big role” in powering India’s future despite a glut in the local market and clear signals from Delhi that it aims to eliminate imports of the fossil fuel as soon as possible. India’s Adani Group is the mining company that will soon decide whether to begin building the world’s largest coalmine in Queensland’s Galilee basin. As well as concerns over its environmental impact, the $16bn project has been dogged by questions over its economic viability.  link  (See Great Barrier Reef section below)

March 30 2017: South Australia to get $1bn solar farm and world's biggest battery. A huge $1bn solar farm and battery project will be built and ready to operate in South Australia’s Riverland region by the end of 2017  The farm will enable 330MW of power generation and at least 100MW of storage. link


  • Politics rules climate action
  • NEW  -  Great Barrier Reef
  • Carbon Tax
  • Drought plagues Australia
  • Renewables 
  • Solar Power
  • Wind Power
  • What coal means to Australia / Carbon Capture
  • Other news (including nuclear)

Politics rules climate action

September 2016: Officials admit no modelling on how Australia meets Paris pledge.  Government officials have acknowledged that Australia’s 2030 greenhouse gas emissions reductions pledged at Paris were made without any modelling to show whether existing policies could achieve those targets. They also admitted the government did not have any modelling revealing when Australia’s emissions would peak. Advisory firm RepuTex released modelling showing Australia’s emissions wouldn’t fall much at all between now and 2030, under current policies. link

Until Kevin Rudd became prime minister of Australia in November 2007, Australia was the only significant nation not to have signed the Kyoto Protocol along with the USA. Ratification came into effect in March 2008 and Australia has committed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 60% of 2000 (not 1990) levels by 2050. However half of those reductions would come from imported permits and it is not expected that emissions will begin falling until around 2030. The so-called 2020 target of 5% reduction (in itself not very ambitious) would be achieved by importing carbon permits from developing countries. Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions are among the highest in the world at about 28 tonnes per capita. Although Australia has no nuclear power stations, it has almost 40% of the world's known uranium reserves, of which it supplies only 19% of the world market.

Australia experienced its hottest year on record in 2013. Temperatures were 1.2C above the long term average, the warmest since records began in 1910. link

[Liberal party leader, Tony Abbott, replaced Rudd as PM in the Septermber 2013 election and seeks to cancel carbon tax.Climate change is not a priority for the incoming government. Why Abbott wants to abolish carbon tax- read:]
On September 14 2015, Malcolm Turnbull challenged Abbott for the leadership and was sworn in as prime minister the following day.

February 2017: Australia's carbon emissions rising as coal-fired power ramps up.  In 2016 overall emissions are up 3.4% compared with 2014-15 and up 7.5% since the Abbott government eliminated the carbon price in June 2014. link
March 2016: Rapid global warming leads to urgent action call. Record hot spells in Australia blurred the line between summer and autumn in another sign of rapidly advancing global warming. The first four days of March 2016 saw maximum temperatures in much of the country 4C above average, and 8C to 12C above average in most of southeastern Australia. . It argued that evidence of escalating heat impacts lent urgency to climate mitigation efforts that remain politically contentious in Australia, including a moratorium on new coalmines. link

February 2016: Australian emissions rising towards historical highs and will not peak before 2030. Australia's national greenhouse gas emissions are set to keep rising well beyond 2020 on current trends, with the projected growth rate one of the worst in the developed world, a new analysis has found. Australia's emissions are on track for a further 6 per cent increase to 2020. link

August 2013: Heat-related deaths set to quadruple by 2050.  Australia’s major cities could see four times the number of heat-related deaths by 2050, according to a new report commissioned by the Australian federal government. The report predicts the number of heat-related fatalities in Australia’s cities will rise to 2,000 by mid-century, compared to the approximately 500 recorded in 2011. The report found the cities of Brisbane and Perth will see the most heat-related deaths, with predictions of nearly 800 in each city by 2050, compared with fewer than 200 in 2011. Sydney could experience close to 350 heat-related deaths by 2050, compared to about 70 in 2011. link

October 2013: Australia failing to meet emission reductions. A study on behalf of WWF Australia, states that Australia should look to reduce carbon emissions by a “bare minimum” of 25% by 2020, based on 2000 levels. Australia has already eaten through at least two-thirds of its share of a “carbon budget” that would keep global warming below 2C, requiring it to drastically escalate its emissions reduction target, according to the new report. Australia would need to reduce emissions by 25% below 2000 levels by 2020 and 90% below 2000 levels by 2050, to contribute properly to the internationally-agreed goal of keeping the world below 2C of warming from pre-industrial temperature levels according to a 2008 review. link

Great Barrier Reef

June 2016: Great Barrier Reef - catastrophe laid bare - link

April 2017: People come to Great Barrier Reef’s rescue. First in the hundreds, then in the tens of thousands, a people’s movement grew to defend the reef. Everyday Aussies turned activists and campaigners.  Scientists and lawyers came forward with vital expertise. Only finally did the politicians follow the will of the people. Through the power and determination of the Australian people, the greatest marine park in human history was established and the Great Barrier Reef lived to fight another day. Determined Australian efforts to save the reef must be directed to closing down the coalmining industry. link   (How did the reef reach terminal stage? - Short video -  link)

Proposed Carmichael coal mine and Adani connection.  
March 2017: Fierce debate over monster coal mine.
 The so-called Carmichael mine, delayed for six years by a stream of legal challenges and environmental impact assessments, would be one of the biggest mines on the planet. If the $12.5bn project goes ahead in Queensland's Galilee Basin - and latest indications are that it will - the coal produced there will emit more CO2 into the atmosphere every year than entire countries such as Kuwait and Chile, claim its opponents. link

Official site for the project - link

See also page on Coral Reefs - link

 Carbon Tax

December 2016: Australia is blowing its carbon budget. Australia has emitted about twice what is allowed by the Climate Change Authority’s carbon budget since 2013. In the three years and nine months to September 2016, the country emitted 19.8% of its share of what the world can emit between 2013 and 2050 if it intends to maintain a good chance of keeping warming to below 2C. If Australia continues to emit carbon pollution at the average rate of the past year, it will spend its entire carbon budget by 2031. link

July 2014: Australia's Senate has voted to repeal the carbon tax, a levy on the biggest polluters passed by the previous Labor government. PM Tony Abbott, whose Liberal-National coalition beat Labor in an election last year, had made the repeal a central aim of his government. Politicians have been locked in a fierce row about the tax for years. link

July 2015: Carbon tax repeal leads to increase in CO2 emissions. Australia’s Climate Council  cites new data showing CO2 emissions went up 6.4m tonnes in the last financial year since the tax was axed. The increase of 4.3% has undone part of an 11% fall in emissions during the two years the tax was in place. link

December 2014: Carbon tax results in biggest emissions drop. Greens and conservation group say significant drop in annual emissions shows the carbon price, which was scrapped by the Abbott government, was effective, Emissions reduction accelerated during the two-year span of carbon pricing, with emissions edging down by 0.8% in the first 12 months of the system. The latest greenhouse gas inventory showed emissions from the electricity sector, the industry most affected by carbon pricing, fell 4% in the year to June. link

Pre-2013 election:
October 2011: Carbon tax bill passes.
Australia's lower house of parliament has narrowly passed (74 votes for and 72 against) a bill for a controversial carbon tax. It is expected to pass the Senate with the help of the Greens next month. The legislation would force about 500 of the biggest polluters to pay for each tonne of carbon dioxide they emit. The tax is central to the government's strategy to combat climate change, but the opposition says it will cause job losses and raise the cost of living.  link  

CO2 emissions would be taxed at A$23 beginning July 2012 covering the country's biggest 500 companies. In 2015, a market-based trading scheme will be introduced. The aim is to cut 159m tonnes of carbon pollution by 2020, reducing emissions by 5% below 2000 levels. Apart from the European Union, only New Zealand currently imposes a national carbon tax.  link  (60% of Australians say they oppose the tax; after the next election in 2013, a defeat for the government would possibly lead to a repeal of the tax.)  
November 2011: Carbon tax to raise $25 billion  - link  

Drought plagues Australia

Since the 1860s there have been nine major Australian droughts. The major drought periods of 1895-1903 and 1958-68 and the major drought of 1982-83 were the most severe in terms of rainfall deficiency and their effects on primary production. In south-eastern Australia the droughts of 1967-68 and 1982-83 were notably extreme.
Drought a prominent feature of the Australian scene. link

January 2011: Extreme weather part of Australia’s future. Global Change Professor Peter Grace from the Queensland University of Technology says Australia will see a higher incidence of extreme weather events like the flooding in Queensland, saying greenhouse gases and global warning are contributing factors. Since late December 2010, more than 70 towns and cities across Queensland have been flooded and more than 200,000 people have been affected. link

July 2014: Australia is drying out due to greenhouse gas emissions. The south-west of Australia can expect to see average annual rainfall drop by 40% compared with the mid-20th century, and a new model suggests that the main cause is human greenhouse gas emissions. Since 2000, the average annual amount of water flowing into reservoirs in Perth, capital of Western Australia, has dropped to less than a quarter of the yearly average between 1911 and 1974. As a whole, the south-west of Australia has seen a 20% decline in winter rain since the 1960s. Studies suggest this drop in rainfall is because westerly winds around Antarctica are moving closer to the pole, sucking moisture away from Australia, New Zealand and South America. link

January 2013: Forecast temperatures now extreme in Australia. Global warming is turning the volume of extreme weather up, with one forecast so unprecedented - over 52C - that it has had to add a new colour to the top of its scale. (Australia's highest recorded temperature was 50.7C, set in January 1960.) link  

March 2014: Climate forecast: hot days, higher fire risk, more severe droughts
The 2014 State of the Climate Report said that Australia’s temperature is predicted to rise by 0.6C to 1.5C by 2030; in comparison, between 1910 and 1990 the temperature rose by 0.6C. This will lead to decreases in rainfall in southern Australia. 
link  (2016 Sate of the Climate Report) . 

Climate change and the end of Australia. Want to know what global warming has in store for us? Just go to Australia, where rivers are drying up, reefs are dying, and fires and floods are ravaging the continent. This October 2011 Rolling Stone article presents a picture of Australia suffering the first devastating consequences of climate change as a precursor of what the rest of the planet faces in the near future. With abundant access to potential solar power, yet being the world’s greatest source of coal and depending on coal for 80% of its energy, Australia is the lesson we should be paying attention to.                 Article here

October 2010: It's official. The Big Dry is over. The worst drought in the state's history is officially over after nine years. At its fiercest, in April 2003, drought was declared over 99.5 per cent of NSW. It shrank already small towns, propelled farm women into paid jobs to keep families afloat and shattered men's spirits. It cost the state $535 million in drought assistance and the federal government $1.5 billion in interest rate subsidies for primary producers and small businesses. link   (Pictured:Colwell Station in north-west Queensland: Picture: Mechielsen Lyndon) 

The Big Dry.  Australia is the most arid continent on Earth and perpetually struggles with water scarcity problems that will only worsen as the planetary temperature rises. About two-thirds of Australia receives less than 20 inches of rain a year, and only 10% of the continent receives more than 40 inches. Presently in what is known locally as the "Big Dry", Australia is in the grip of its worst drought in a century which has been causing devastation in the country. More than 10,000 Australian farming families have had to leave their land as a result of the country's ongoing drought. link  


July  2010: Australia's five largest cities to spend $13.2bn on desalination plants. The plants are scheduled to be up and running in two years and will draw up to 30% of their water from the ocean. Critics argue that desalination will add to the very climate change that is aggravating the country's water shortage, and urge better water management and conservation.  link
Desalination plants necessary for Australia. Desalination plants could supply about one-third of the country's water in the next two years, according to estimates. Since the 1970s, southwest Australia has seen declines of up to 20% in its annual rainfall. In the past decade, a drought said to be the worst in  more than 100 years parched much of the country and forced state and local agencies to look to alternate sources of water. Through analysis of snowfall in Antarctica, scientists have pegged climate change as a cause of the extreme weather, and predict that water shortages will only intensify in the future. 


A May 2013 analysis of government data finds Australia on track to not only hit 22% renewables by 2020, but reach an unprecedented 51% of all electricity by 2050. link   

March 2017: Renewable goals. Australia’s most ambitious renewable plan comes from the ACT (Australian Capital Territory) which aims to source 100% renewable energy by 2020, then comes Victoria’s aim of 40% by 2025. By reaching the 100% renewable energy target the ACT will reduce its emissions by about 40%. Federal government attacks these targets claiming they are ‘unrelastic’. link

June 2015: Australian renewable energy law allows expansion. Wind and solar developers  can now get to work on more than A$14 billion in projects after a new renewable energy target passed parliament. The legislation ended months of policy uncertainty that paralyzed in renewable energy projects. Australia has already seen a solar boom in the residential sector, with about 1.4 million homes putting panels on their roofs since 2001, the most in the world as a proportion of total households, according to the Grattan Institute. The resolution on the renewable energy target is expected to spur significant investment in big solar plants as well. link

April 2015: Australia could source 100% of power from renewables by 2050. A report by World Wildlife Fund in collaboration with the Australian National University argues Australia could source 100% of its power from renewables by 2050  without incurring massive adjustment costs or depressing economic growth. Currently Australia’s national climate policy does not extend beyond 2020. The Abbott government is expected to set post-2020 emissions reduction targets in June. link

Renewables progress pre-Tony Abbott.

May 2013: Australia on course to surpass its renewable energy target by deriving 22.5% of its power from sources such as solar and wind by 2020, according to a new study. The analysis of government agency data forecast a long-term decline in fossil fuels, with the use of coal for electricity falling by a third over the next 20 years. Brown coal, the most carbon dioxide-heavy of all coal varieties, is set to be phased out as an energy source completely by 2050, as is oil. Meanwhile, renewables are set to grow from 13% of the energy mix to 51% by 2050, trumping the target of 20% by 2020 along the way.  The report states that electricity consumption fell by 5.5% from 2008 to 2012, with half of this reduction driven by solar and energy efficiency schemes. link

November 2012: Australia looks ahead to renewable future. Renewable energy sources could rapidly expand to provide 40% of Australia's energy needs by 2035 and 85% by 2050 and virtually eliminate coal-fired power stations, according to the latest energy white paper. . But Australia remains firmly attached to carbon capture and storage (CCS) and its booming gas sector. Under the 85% by 2050 scenario, modeling sees fossil-fuel-fired with CCS contributing 29% to the energy mix, large-scale solar 16%, wind energy and household solar PV 13% each, geothermal energy 9%, and hydroelectricity and bioenergy 5%. (Pictured: A solar-thermal power station in remote Hermannsburg, in Central Australia.)  link

November 2013: Tasmania aims for 100% renewables. While new Australian Prime Minister Abbott has been waging an anti-climate crusade,Tasmania, Australia’s island state off the southeastern edge of the continent, has taken it’s own initiative and released a climate change strategy aimed at achieving 100% renewable power usage by 2020. “We now have in Australia a climate denialist government that is taking us backwards on climate change,” Tasmania’s Climate Change Minister said. “Tasmania here has extraordinary advantages with our hydropower, with the carbon in our forests and we do need to show leadership; it’s also the economically sensible thing to do.” link   

Renewable energy provided 14.6% of Australia’s electricity in 2015, enough to provide power for the equivalent of approximately 6.7 million average homes. This was up on the 13.5% the year before. link  

Solar power

September 2016: Large scale solar to triple. A giant surge of investment in renewable energy has been sparked by what might be the last grants made by the Australian Renewable Energy Agency before funding cuts are implemented. When complete, the solar farms will triple the amount of large-scale solar in Australia, from the current 240MW to 720MW, powering 150,000 average Australian homes and fulfilling 10% of the renewable energy target for 2020. The biggest winner of the new grants was Queensland, where six projects would deliver 300MW.  link

March 2015: Southern Hemisphere’s largest solar power plant. A project in the Australian Outback that will more than double the country’s large-scale solar output should begin generating its initial power as early as this week, according to First Solar Inc. The A$ 290 million Nyngan solar plant in New South Wales  will start at 25MW before increasing to full capacity of 102MW. The solar project is expected to be the largest in the Southern Hemisphere until a 141MW First Solar project in Chile commences operation late 2015. link

April 2013: One million homes now with solar. The number of Australian homes with rooftop solar power systems has passed the magic one million mark, according to figures from the Clean Energy Regulator. Queensland leads with more than 300,000 rooftop PV systems installed;NSW comes in second with just under 230,000. Just five years ago in 2008 there were only about 20,000 systems installed across the entire country. link

July 2012: Solar alone could supply Victoria with energy. Victoria could capture enough energy from the sun to meet its electricity needs twice over and trails other parts of the world in harnessing wind power, says the national Climate Commission. It is estimated that Victoria receives at least 2500 petajoules of usable solar energy - more than double the amount consumed across the state in 2009-10, when demand for electricity peaked. On wind power, the commission says installed generation is only a fraction of what could be harnessed. It contrasts the state with Denmark, which is more densely populated and has similar onshore wind speeds but in 2010 had seven times more wind energy. link

Wind power

In 2015, Australia's wind farms produced 33.7% of the country's clean energy and supplied 4.9% of Australia's overall electricity during the year. Five wind farms became operational in 2015, adding 196 turbines and 380MW of generating capacity. These additional projects took the Australian wind industry to a total of 76 wind farms with a combined capacity of 4187 MW, made up of 2062 turbines. link

July 2015: Abbott government dramatically escalates war on wind power. The directive is just the latest salvo in the government's attacks on the wind industry as it orders the $10 billion Clean Energy Finance Corporation not to make any new investments in wind power projects. The directive was issued without the approval or knowledge of Environment Minister Greg Hunt. International investors are warning the government's move sends a bad message about how safe it is to do business in Australia.  link

February 2013: Wind energy now cheaper than coal. Wind is now cheaper than fossil fuels in producing electricity in Australia according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Relying on fossil fuels to produce electricity is getting more expensive because of the government's price on carbon emissions imposed last year, higher financing costs and rising natural gas prices, BNEF (Bloomberg New Energy Finance) said. The cost of wind generation has fallen by 10% since 2011 on lower equipment expenses, while the cost of solar power has dropped by 29%.  link

August 2011: New 600MW farm announced. South Australia already has 534 turbines installed producing 1,150MW of wind-generating capacity, which is more than 21% of the state's total electricity generation."  A 600MW farm will catapult the state towards a target of 33% of renewable-energy generation by 2020 according to South Australia Premier Mike Rann. The project should be complete by the end of 2015.  link

August 2010: Southern hemisphere's largest wind farm. The largest wind farm in the Southern Hemisphere will be built in Australia at Macarthur near Hamilton, 260km west of Melbourne, Victoria. The 420 MW Macarthur Wind Farm will have the capacity to power more than 220,000 average Victorian homes and abate more than 1.7 million tons of greenhouse gases every year, the equivalent of taking more than 420,000 cars off the road each year. link

What coal means to Australia

May 2016: Australia is the world’s largest coal exporter, accounting for 35% of all coal exported, with the majority of the tonnages travelling to our nearby neighbours in Asia, primarily Japan and China. link

January 2017: Australia’s coal plans twice as costly as renewables. Researcher says new coal plants aimed at reducing emissions would cost $62bn, while the cost using renewables would be $24-$34bn.A plan for new coal power plants, which government ministers say could reduce emissions from coal-generated electricity by 27%, would cost more than $60bn. Achieving the same reduction using only renewable energy would cost just half as much -between $24bn and $34bn - the report found. link (Pictured: Hazelwood power station in Victoria – photograph: Paul Crock – Getty Images)

April 2016: Air pollution increases 69% as coal named top polluter. Air quality across Australia has deteriorated to alarming levels with the coal industry the nation's worst polluter. Nationally, total PM10 emissions have increased 69% in one year, and 194% in five years. . link

March 2015: Australia urged to shut coal-fired power plants urgently as analysis reveals huge emissions. Unlike the US, China and parts of Europe, Australia has few regulations in place to limit emissions. link

April 2013: Australia’s abundant coal could be worthless. If the world's governments fulfil their agreement to act on climate change, Australia’s huge coal industry is a speculative bubble ripe for financial implosion. The warning that much of the nation's coal reserves will become worthless as the world hits carbon emission limits comes after banking giant Citi also warned Australian investors that fossil fuel companies could do little to avoid the future loss of value. A recent report by Carbon Tracker found that at least two-thirds of existing fossil fuel reserves will have to remain underground if the world is to meet existing internationally agreed targets to avoid the threshold for "dangerous" climate change.  link

Carbon Capture.

October 2012.  According to the CSIRO, (Commonwealth Scientific & Industrial Research Organization) CCS technology has moved a step closer. However a draft report and associated documents reveal a far more complex and troubling picture. Back in March the CSIRO announced that carbon capture technology had moved a step closer. Apparently, a study of "post combustion capture", whereby CO2 is removed from the exhaust gas of a power station, had been technically proven at pilot scale. The report that this conclusion was based on was presented to the Government, but not made public. Given that billions of dollars of Australian taxpayer's money has been allocated to carbon capture and storage, which, it's worth pointing out, still does not exist at a commercial scale, it is only fair that the public should see the fruits of this research into the technology. Last week the CSIRO finally put the reported that the phrase "moving a step closer" really stretch the imagination. Here's what they revealed. The first jaw dropper was the price tag. Installing this technology on just half of Australia's coal-fired power stations would cost $52 billion up front and another $5 billion per year in operating costs. This is excluding the additional cost of transporting, storing, and monitoring the CO2. link  

CCS projects in Australia - pdf

December 2012 - The coal industry says it has made a giant step forward with the opening of Australia's first 'clean coal' carbon capture plant in Biloela, central Queensland, a 30MW plant. While capturing 85% of CO2 gases, the operators still seek somewhere to store the gas. link

Other news

March 2017: Big Australian banks invest more in fossil fuels. Australia’s big four banks invested three times as much in global fossil fuels as they did in clean energy in 2016, despite pledging to help Australia transition to a low carbon economy. The banks provided a combined $10bn to projects around the world that expanded non-renewable energy, despite publicly supporting a 2C global warming limit laid out in the Paris climate agreement.  link

January 2017: Record-breaking extreme weather in 2016 devastates ecosystems. Extreme weather led to devastated ecosystems both on land and in the sea, with unprecedented bushfires in regions that don’t usually burn, the worst coral bleaching on record, and has been attributed as the cause of damage to vast tracts of crucial kelp forests, oyster farms and salmon stocks across southern Australia. link

October 2009: Climate change threatens Australia's coastal lifestyle, report warns. With 80% of Australians living along the coast, a government environmental committee warns that thousands of miles of Australia's coastline are under threat from rising sea levels. A new report into the effects of climate change on Australia's vast coastline is forcing the country to consider the unthinkable: life away from the surf. The report does not say the government should force people to move inland, but proposes that an independent group look into whether the government could - and should - do just that. link   

August 2016: Warning of extreme events for Australia.  A new report says the upper end of current climate extremes would be "the new normal" at 1.5 degrees warming - which could be just 10 to 20 years away under the current trajectory. At 2 degrees, the picture is much less clear – the climate system would move into uncharted territory. Several countries – including Australia – have been assessed as not having policies that can limit warming to about 3 degrees. link 
February 2009: Australia faces collapse as climate change kicks in.  link   

Nuclear Power

February 2016: Australia’s outback could store world’s nuclear waste. A royal commission into the nuclear fuel cycle has found storage and disposal of used nuclear fuel from other countries is likely to deliver substantial economic benefits for South Australia. Draft findings back nuclear fuel storage and expanded uranium mining, but rule out nuclear energy.
South Australia was suitable because of its low levels of seismic activity, arid environment in many parts of the state, stable political structure and frameworks for securing long-term agreement with landowners and the community. Federal minister for resources and energy Josh Frydenberg said the proposed national nuclear waste facility would only store low and intermediate level waste. “It cannot and will not be built to store radioactive waste generated overseas or high level waste.” link  

November 2015: Nuclear priced out of Australia’s future
. Australia’s official economic forecaster has finally admitted that the cost of nuclear energy is more than double other clean energy alternatives, suggesting it would likely play no role in a decarbonised grid based around lowest costs.
link  (Australia has no nuclear power plants.)

December 2013: Nuclear still not in Australia’s plans. While nuclear power isn’t as carbon intensive as coal, there has been longstanding bipartisan opposition to developing the energy source in Australia. Despite Australia having some of the largest uranium deposits in the world, the Howard government, which ruled from 1996 to 2007, banned domestic nuclear energy. Today, the government has insisted it has no intention of introducing nuclear power to Australia after releasing a paper that states the technology continues to be an option for “future reliable energy”. link

A growing population is another source of future problems for Australia. The Optimum Population Trust, an environmental organization in England whose concern is with the impact of population growth on the environment, determined that at the current standard of living (as determined by the WWF's Living Planet Report 2002), the optimum population for Australia is 10 million and at a lower standard of living it is 21 million. (February 2016: Australia’s population reaches 25 million - link)   Government estimates that the population will increase by 53% by 2050 to 33 million. 
Australia’s population – what is sustainable?  link

April 2016: Sea-level rise.  Website reveals which homes will be swamped by rising sea levels. Coastal Risk Australia combines Google Maps with detailed tide and elevation data, as well as future sea level rise projections - link

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