HOW WE SPENT CHRISTMAS

Celebrating in style: Back row, Dave Nadin, of NSW, Anya Reading, of the ACT, Rimero Logares, from Argentina, Pat Brennan, of NSW, Eddy Birkett, of NSW, Andrew Klekociuk, of Tasmania, Allan McAllisterThe station leader at Australia’s Davis Station said being so far from home, expeditioners make a special effort to celebrate Christmas in style.
Nanjing Night Net

She’s had Christmas in remote places before but nothing quite like this, she says.

“This is quite amazing. It’s really nice but it will be a bit sad as well, but at the moment it’s very happy and positive,” she said from Davis this week.

There were 74 expeditioners sharing the Christmas festivities yesterday.

“We’ve got a lot of first- timers and they are still excited and getting out and about on Sundays,” she said.

During the summer, the crew works 24 hours a day, seven days a week, but Christmas Day is one day they all have off.

“It’s a big day. We have a Kris Kringle, so everybody draws a name out of a hat and everybody gets a present from under the Christmas tree. So every night after work the trades workshops have been humming with people busily making presents. They have to be home-made: lots of photo frames, lots of candle holders and there’s a lot of knitting of scarves and beanies,” she said.

Santa – an expeditioner chosen for his girth and beard, this year a bloke nicknamed Yogi – arrived in a ute with his “reindeer”, presents were exchanged, carols sung and lunch eaten around 3pm.

Tables are set with linen tablecloths and everyone dresses in their best.

The menu includes turkey, crayfish and ham, vegetables, rum balls and pudding.

The food at Davis is excellent, she says. The staff of the Chinese Antarctic base has visited by helicopter three times since she arrived in early December because they love the food.

Fresh food supplies are eaten very quickly, after which most is frozen, except for lettuces grown in the station’s hydroponic garden.

The week before Christmas had both snow and balmy conditions of -1deg.

Antarctica is still hemmed in by sea-ice, which will last for about another month.

From her window, Ms Robertson looks out on a “giant ice rink” spread out for 10km to a horizon punctuated by massive icebergs.

Every day, she watches penguins playing on the ice floes.

“They’re very inquisitive and, although we’ve got rules about approaching them, they come straight over to us,” Ms Robertson said. Originally from Victoria, Ms Robertson, 35, began her career in environmental management and national park management before being appointed to Antarctica, where she is spending her first year.

As the largest of Australia’s three Antarctic stations and the one in the most sheltered location, Davis is the station carrying out most of the scientific research.

Ms Robertson will be one of 18 expeditioners to spend the winter at Davis.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

Read more

Rudd government should rethink its green dream

The defeat in the Senate of the Federal Government’s ideologically driven plan to introduce an emissions trading scheme removes, for the moment, the greatest threat to face the steel industry in recent times.Non-government senators yesterday voted down the proposal by the Rudd government to introduce a scheme that would have made industry pay to pollute.The Government had wanted to reduce carbon pollution by up to 25 per cent of 2000 levels by 2020, conditional on global agreements. If these could not be sought, the Government would instead reduce carbon pollution in the range of 5 to 15 per cent, unconditionally.While we all want a greener planet and Mr Rudd could argue he had a mandate for reform having told the electorate prior to election of his general intent, it is difficult to fathom the rush. Indeed, we have to wonder if Mr Rudd appreciates the huge impost such a scheme would place on Australia’s biggest steelmaker, our own BlueScope Steel, and the coal industry, which is receiving very limited concessions.We contend the scheme is a very direct threat to steelmaking in this country. After all, how can placing a huge economic burden on an already-stressed industry – a sector of national importance – be anything but economic madness? China’s steel industry is far from clean, and we expect never will be. And while we penalise our own companies, the Chinese Government dollops out massive subsidies to support its factories.We believe that collectively the world must take action over climate change. But this scheme, in its current form and timing and without any assurances about what will occur in other economies, is unlikely to make any dent on the problem. Hence, a more considered approach would be beneficial before pulverising the Australian steel industry into the ground to merely export a significant part of our region’s and nation’s wealth to countries most responsible for carbon emissions.
Nanjing Night Net

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

Read more

One solution to ETS options

The Rudd Emissions Trading Scheme legislation is a process where the Government sells or gifts certificates to pollute, and as such is not a Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme. This fact is best exampled by the Rudd government’s action in including compensation to cover increased electricity charges to low-income families because it knows electricity generators are going to, and for technical reasons have to, continue to pollute, pay for the certificates and pass the cost on to consumers.You will, in fact, be paying to maintain the existing pollution.At BlueScope Steel, similar circumstances exist. A blast furnace cannot make steel without burning carbon, with the associated emissions. The industry has been improving that process for 100 years and there is probably little improvement available.So BlueScope must buy certificates to pollute. The Government offers them some free certificates for a limited time but the managing director says they are not enough and his business will not survive. In today’s intensely competitive market, the purchase of one certificate is one too many.But view it from the other side of the argument. Through buying or receiving free certificates, BlueScope gains the legal right to emit exactly the same quantity of CO2 pollutants as it does now.So where is the climate advantage? Worse still, BlueScope must deal at every trading level with intense international competition. Under the Rudd Emissions Trading Scheme it is argued costs of certificates to pollute will be cheaper if bought offshore. But from whom? Well, it’s your biggest competitor China, who, because it does not propose an ETS but is investing billions in low-emissions technology, will have many certificates to sell. The United States Congress narrowly passed an ETS, which will have no material effect on US industry until 2025. It may never pass the US Senate.The US has also restructured its vehicle industry, reducing manufacturing costs in one sector by about $1500 per car. It has provided billions of dollars of free capital. What then is the future of the Australian car industry and the steel it consumes when managers in Detroit sell cheaper cars of US manufacture in Australia, while our steel producers must increase their prices, buying certificates to pollute?The Australian manufacturer has few options. The first is to close down and/or relocate overseas. Wage cuts to Chinese levels is another.Green energy jobs sound attractive, but the cost of energy they produce will be higher than the certificates and so create the same problem.So who will create private sector jobs to sell energy that no-one can afford?An ETS guarantees increased costs to maintain the CO2 pollution necessary in so many industries. There is, however, a solution – for Government to invest directly in energy efficiency, and some renewables that produce large quantities of energy in a predictable fashion. Initial debts can be recovered over extended periods.For every $1 billion of government funds invested in proven technologies, it is my belief a real cut in CO2 emissions from the electricity sector can be achieved with corresponding decrease in electricity charges.Instead of taxing business out of business and workers out of jobs, Mr Rudd should be investing in carbon reductions that deliver benefits, not obstacles.Wilson Tuckey, Liberal Member for O’Connor, Western Australia.
Nanjing Night Net

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

Read more

Biggest on record in four years

Geoscience Australia said that the earthquake hit in an area known as Macquarie Rise in the Pacific Ocean, about 800km off the coast of Tasmania.
Nanjing Night Net

The epicentre was 400km off Macquarie Island.

Seismologist Cvetan Sinadinovski said that this was one of the most active areas in the world, with large earthquakes common every one or two years.

“This was an inter-plate earthquake between the Indo- Australian and Pacific plate and earthquakes of this size can be felt for up to 1500km,” he said.

“There was no danger to structures anywhere because the quake struck so far off the coast.”

Mr Sinadinovski said that many reports from people who felt the effects of the the quake were received from Southern Tasmania and isolated phone calls from around the State.

He said that in terms of energy, the earthquake was 30 times larger than the 1989 Newcastle earthquake.

“If a quake that size happened underneath a population centre in Australia, it would have been devastating in its effect and could have destroyed a whole city,” he said.

Australian scientists working on the remote Macquarie Is. in the sub-Antarctic were unaware of the earthquake, the Australian Antarctic Division said.

“Nobody felt anything,” AAD spokesman Tony Press said.

Prospect resident Sue Francis said she was up sitting in an armchair watching TV just before 2am when she felt the effects of the earthquake.

“All of a sudden I felt a distinct jolt and the floor sort of waved sideways,” Miss Francis said.

“I thought `oh my God here we go again,’ because I’ve felt one before here to the extent I think the house might be on a fault line.” She said she had previous experience with earthquakes while living in Wellington, New Zealand.

Legana resident Peter Fleming felt the quake.

“I got up to go to the toilet and when I got back into bed the house started to creak structurally and the bed started to rock,” he said.

“My wife slept through it and thought I was kidding this morning when I told her about it until she turned on the news and heard the story about the whopper 8.1 earthquake.”

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

Read more

Rudd government should rethink its green dream

The defeat in the Senate of the Federal Government’s ideologically driven plan to introduce an emissions trading scheme removes, for the moment, the greatest threat to face the steel industry in recent times.Non-government senators yesterday voted down the proposal by the Rudd government to introduce a scheme that would have made industry pay to pollute.The Government had wanted to reduce carbon pollution by up to 25 per cent of 2000 levels by 2020, conditional on global agreements. If these could not be sought, the Government would instead reduce carbon pollution in the range of 5 to 15 per cent, unconditionally.While we all want a greener planet and Mr Rudd could argue he had a mandate for reform having told the electorate prior to election of his general intent, it is difficult to fathom the rush. Indeed, we have to wonder if Mr Rudd appreciates the huge impost such a scheme would place on Australia’s biggest steelmaker, our own BlueScope Steel, and the coal industry, which is receiving very limited concessions.We contend the scheme is a very direct threat to steelmaking in this country. After all, how can placing a huge economic burden on an already-stressed industry – a sector of national importance – be anything but economic madness? China’s steel industry is far from clean, and we expect never will be. And while we penalise our own companies, the Chinese Government dollops out massive subsidies to support its factories.We believe that collectively the world must take action over climate change. But this scheme, in its current form and timing and without any assurances about what will occur in other economies, is unlikely to make any dent on the problem. Hence, a more considered approach would be beneficial before pulverising the Australian steel industry into the ground to merely export a significant part of our region’s and nation’s wealth to countries most responsible for carbon emissions.
Nanjing Night Net

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

Read more