Archive for the ‘Environment’ Category
Proposed Jetty at Smith Bay on Kangaroo Island
KI Plantation Timbers (KPT) is planning to build a deep water jetty at Smith Bay on the North coast of Kangaroo Island. This plan has been controversial, mainly because of the possible impact of changes in water quality on the abalone farm which occupies land adjacent to the proposed jetty.
I will consider the reasons this development is being planned along with reasons for the choice of this site. I will then list some of the possible benefits to Kangaroo Island if the project is successful, before discussing some of the objections, both to the site, and to the proposal as a whole.
I have no personal interest in KPT whatever. This discussion is motivated by a desire for fairness and accuracy in discussions of development on Kangaroo Island, and for the best possible outcome for KI and its residents.
Why Build a Jetty?
Just under one half of one percent of Kangaroo island has been planted to renewable timber. About two-thirds of this is native hardwoods, and one-third Pinus Radiata. Almost all of these plantations are located West of Parndana. The estimated value of harvestable timber is a completely renewable $50 million per year, of which $20 million per year will flow back as direct income to Kangaroo Island. That value is only realisable if a cost-effective way can be found to transport harvested timber off the island. Taking wood chips or timber in trucks across the length of the island for transport on Sealink ferries and further transport from there to a deep water jetty is not economically viable. Even if it were financially sustainable, wear on kangaroo Island’s roads, and additional environmental and safety concerns, particularly during tourist season, make this an undesirable option. A deep water jetty in proximity to plantations is the only realistic option.
Why Smith Bay?
A dozen different sites have been considered by KPT. The project needs a sheltered site on the North coast as close as possible to existing timber plantations, where land is reasonably level, and with rapid drop off into deep water so that large vessels can berth reasonably close to shore. Smith Bay matches all these criteria. In addition, adjacent land is already cleared, so there is minimal impact on land environment, and the seabed where the jetty is planned has previously been dredged, meaning minimal impact on the marine environment.
What are the Potential Benefits to Kangaroo Island?
Once operational, KPT will directly employ people in 120 FTE (full time equivalent) positions in timber planting and maintenance, sawmill operation, transport, administration, jetty operation, etc. In addition a further 100 FTE positions will be created in direct support; contract and supply, etc. With family members, this is likely to lead to the addition of over 400 people to Kangaroo Island’s population. This means additional rates income for Council, additional money spent in local businesses, additional students in local schools, possibly to the extent of its being feasible for Parndana to offer classes up to Year Twelve again. In total, some $20 million additional income to Kangaroo Island, not as a once off, but in perpetuity.
A project which has the potential to bring such major and ongoing financial and social benefits to Kangaroo Island should not be rejected unless there are overwhelming, compelling, evidence-based reasons to do so.
What are the objections?
Does Kangaroo Island Really Need a Port of This Size?
This is not really an objection, although it is sometimes framed as one. Firstly, it is not a port, it is a jetty. And at 150m in length, it is about the same size as other jetties on the island. The simple answer to the question is yes. The jetty needs to be 150m in length for large ocean-going vessels to be able to berth.
The Planned Port is a Monstrosity Which Will Ruin the Look of the Bay.
Firstly, it is not a port, it is a jetty. Secondly, the look of the bay has already and tragically been destroyed by the establishment of an industrial-type complex right on the foreshore. And finally, is Christmas Cove a monstrosity? Is the Vivonne Bay jetty? On the contrary, our jetties are some of our most loved and photographed landmarks.
An International Port is a Major Quarantine and Exotic Pest Risk.
It is not a port, it is a jetty. Any overseas vessels berthing at the Smith Bay jetty will already have passed customs and quarantine inspection at Fremantle or Port Adelaide. This is the same process that applies to cruise ships which currently visit the island. Cruise liners visit the island in similar numbers to those planned to dock at Smith Bay, but are much larger vessels.
Before considering other objections let me be clear; the abalone farm at Smith Bay is a completely inappropriate development for KI, both from an environmental and an aesthetic point of view. It should never have been approved. It has changed a lovely rocky bay on the North coast into what looks like an industrial wasteland, one which pumps millions of litres of high nitrate, high bacterial waste into the ocean. The World Wildlife Fund has raised a number of concerns about land-based abalone farming, including noise, odour and dust, high energy use (How much energy? Yumbah was quoted $1.35 million for electricity for operations in SA in 2017), unsustainable kelp harvesting for food, or use of fish meal and algae in manufactured feed, the impact of waste disposal including the pumping of waste water directly into the ocean, including waste nutrients, chemicals, shell grit, faeces and sludge, and the risk of disease. Unlike some claimed objections to the proposed jetty, this is a real, evidence based concern. An outbreak of Abalone Viral Ganglioneuritis, traced to a land-based abalone farm at Port Fairy owned by Southern Ocean Mariculture Pty Ltd, has devastated wild abalone along 1200 kilometres of the Victorian coast and continues to spread at a rate of about 5kms per month. An abalone farm in Santa Barbara, California, released Candidatus Xenohaliotis Californiensis into the environment, causing devastation to native black abalone populations. That species is now listed as endangered. Why would anyone want this on Kangaroo Island?
In addition, the abalone farm makes a minimal financial contribution to KI. It is owned by Yumbah, which also owns abalone farms at Port Lincoln, Narrawong and Bicheno. Profits are not returned to the island, and abalone grown here is not marketed as a Kangaroo island product.
Sadly, the time to make these objections, and to launch a campaign to save Smith Bay, was before the abalone farm was established. It is now an operational business, and any concerns or objections it has need to be considered. However, I will just add that the proposed jetty site at Smith Bay is not only the obvious, most economical and most environmentally appropriate site on the North coast, it has previously been dredged and used as a jetty/landing. Due diligence prior to the establishment of the abalone farm would have shown this to be the case, and suggested that another site would have been a better option. To establish a business adjacent to a site previously used as a jetty and likely to be used as a jetty again, and then complain because your business is incompatible with a jetty, is like buying a house next to the airport and then complaining about flight noise.
Worst Case Scenario – A Ship Sinks or Capsizes Resulting in Major Spill of Fuel or Cargo
The plan is for twelve ships per year to berth at a sheltered deep water jetty. Roughly the same number of ships will berth at Smith Bay as cruise liners visit the island each year, except that cruise liners are substantially larger. This is about the same number of ships that dock at Penneshaw every weekend, carrying far more hazardous cargo. In no business or endeavour is it possible to proceed by inventing the scariest possible scenario and then claiming that anyone in favour of the project wants this dreadful thing to happen. Risk assessment has to be based on historical evidence and the real, assessable likelihood of various possibilities.
Ports and Shipping are Incompatible with Aquaculture.
No, they are not. China is the world’s largest producer of farmed abalone, and much of its aquaculture takes place near major shipping lanes and population centres. Many Australian abalone farms are in close proximity to ports; Port Lincoln, Port Fairy, Narrawong – directly across the bay from Portland, to name just a few.
The Federal Government is Deeply Concerned About the Environmental Impact of this Project.
A recent letter to The Islander claimed that “the Federal Government is so concerned that they have placed Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act controls over the project.”
It is not a matter of being “so concerned” at all. The Act is triggered whenever an issue is raised about the potential environmental impact of any development. In this case, there have been reports that the proposed jetty may impact nesting areas of endangered birds. This concern is answered simply by pointing out that the bird species reported as potentially impacted do not nest in any area that will be disturbed or affected by the development.
Water Quality Will be Negatively Affected
It is important to understand exactly what is being planned. The jetty at Smith Bay will be operational for two months of the year. During that time it will service between ten and twelve ships. That is, the Smith Bay jetty will service as many ships in a year as travel to and from Penneshaw in an average weekend. Ferries docking at Penneshaw carry, load, and unload creosote treated timber, gas, oil, petrol, building materials, fresh produce and livestock, as well as passengers and vehicles. The ships at Smith Bay will load only an entirely natural product, treated with no artificial fertilisers or pesticides. Natural timber will be stored temporarily on the site, sufficient for the next load. If there is rain, runoff from sheltered timber stacks is no different from rain falling on natural native forest. Nonetheless, the site will be designed to ensure that any runoff is collected and secured.
Water quality at the jetty at Penneshaw is consistently high. There are hundreds of times more ship movements than are planned at Smith Bay, with far more hazardous products, on a shallow sandy bottom, yet the water quality is unaffected. In fact, the water inside the rock wall where the ferries dock is frequently clearer than outside, for the simple reason that the protection offered by the rock wall reduces the amount of sand and organic matter picked up by wave motion, and helps to ensure consistent water quality in the protected area.
In addition, abalone farms in China, South Africa, Australia, the US and other countries operate in a wide variety of locations, with widely varying input water quality and temperature. Input water is filtered, usually through a sand filter, and temperature controlled as required. Provided inputs and filters are managed correctly, they can, and already do, cope with natural day to day changes.
KPT is conducting and will conduct ongoing tests of water quality at the proposed site. The only likely change once the jetty is operational is that there may be a slight reduction in the amount of sand and other suspended matter because of the protection offered by the jetty. There is no objective, evidence-based reason to believe there will be any long term changes which will affect the operation of the abalone farm.
Even if all the Above is True, Water Quality Will Definitely be Affected During Construction.
Two of the advantages of the Smith Bay site are that it slopes steeply down into deep water, and that some dredging has already taken place. The use of a floating pontoon also reduces the need for disruption to the sea bed. Nonetheless, some dredging will need to take place, and large quantities of rocks will need to be placed to construct the jetty out of mostly natural materials.
Fortunately, a wide variety of mitigation procedures are available to minimise silt plumes. These include hydraulic dredging, use of a closed clamshell, ensuring there is no barge overflow, use of silt curtains, and dredging and construction only when tide or current is flowing away from critical areas. Other measures may be available to the abalone farm to alleviate any concerns it has about water quality during construction, including changes to filtration processes, moving or extending water intake locations, enhanced use of water storage and recycling, etc. KPT has employed consultants to consider all available options, and has offered to meet with representatives of Yumbah (the owners of the abalone farm) to discuss these and other measures to ensure the abalone farm is able to continue to operate without interruption. So far this offer has not been taken up.
Objections offered so far either have no basis in real world evidence and experience, or in the case of temporary changes in water quality during construction, can be mitigated to ensure continued safe operation of the abalone farm. The development of a jetty at Smith Bay offers substantial ongoing social and financial benefits to the residents of Kangaroo Island and should proceed.
PDF available if you want to downlaod this post in a more easily readable and printable form: KI Plantation Timbers
There never was any real-world evidence to support the theory of catastrophic anthropogenic global warming.
According to Richard Lindzen, Professor of Meteorology at MIT, the ‘consensus’ was declared before the research had even begun: “Future generations will wonder in bemused amazement that the early 21st century’s developed world went into hysterical panic over a globally averaged temperature increase of a few tenths of a degree, and, on the basis of gross exaggerations of highly uncertain computer projections combined into implausible chains of inference, proceeded to contemplate a roll-back of the industrial age.”
It has always been a media/political creation rather than a creation of science. John Cook of 97% fame, for example, is a cartoonist by trade, while Bill Nye the science guy is not a scientist, but an actor on a children’s TV program.
Just a couple of key things to note:
CO2 has never been a driver of climate. CO2 levels have been more than ten times higher than they are now, eg in the Mesozoic Era when corals flourished without any ill effects on anything, and positively beneficial effects for green plants.
There is no correlation between human use of fossil fuels and changes in global climate.
There is a very clear correlation between solar activity + PMO and AMO and changes in global rainfall and temperature.
Now very low solar activity is leading some scientists to take the view (one I have shared for the last fifteen years) that what we really need to be concerned about is the possibility of deep and extended cooling, and even of the end of the current inter-glacial. That would be genuinely catastrophic unless we focus now on developing all available energy sources, and improving crops to cope with much cooler conditions.
In 2012 Stanford University’s Centre for Health Policy did the biggest comparison of organic and conventional foods and found no robust evidence for organics being more nutritious. A brand-new review has just repeated its finding: “Scientific studies do not show that organic products are more nutritious and safer than conventional foods.”
… animals on organic farms are not generally healthier. A five year US study showed that organic “health outcomes are similar to conventional dairies”. The Norwegian Scientific Committee for Food Safety found “no difference in objective disease occurrence.” Organic pigs and poultry may enjoy better access to open areas, but this increases their load of parasites, pathogens and predators. Meanwhile the organic regulation against feeding bee colonies with pollen supplements in low-pollen periods along with regulation against proper disinfection leads to sharply lower bee welfare.
Organic farming is sold as good for the environment. This is correct for a single farm field: organic farming uses less energy, emits less greenhouse gasses, nitrous oxide and ammonia and causes less nitrogen leeching than a conventional field. But each organic field yields much, much less. So, to grow the same amount of wheat, spinach or strawberries, you need much more land. That means that average organic produce results in the emission of about as many greenhouse gasses as conventional produce; and about 10 per cent more nitrous oxide, ammonia and acidification. Worse, to produce equivalent quantities, organic farms need to occupy 84 per cent more land – land which can’t be used for forests and genuine nature reserves.
Freezing temperatures from Chablis to Côte Chalonnaise to Chinon and Montlouis damage young vine buds, threatening this year’s crop
Early reports from the Loire were not hopeful. “In the memory of vignerons, there are two major freezes: 1991 and 1994. This is on the level of 1994. It’s historic,” said Guillaume Lapaque, director of the federation of the Indre-Loire wines trade group and the Bourgueil wine syndicate. “It froze on three nights—April 18, April 25 and then April 27.”
Lapaque said he does not have exact estimates of damaged vines yet, but the early word is bad. “In Bourgueil and St.-Nicolas-de-Bourgueil it’s between 50 and 60 percent. In Chinon, it’s a little less, about half. In Montlouis, it’s very serious. And in Vouvray, happily it’s not too serious overall, although some vineyards have problems.”
More cold is in the forecast, but Lapaque adds that the damage has already been done. “You can’t set fire to a forest that has already burned. The lower vineyards froze, it doesn’t matter if they freeze again. The upper slope vineyards didn’t, and we don’t expect them to,” said Lapaque.
No more the grinding poverty and filth of 150 years ago. Fossil fuels have made the world a safer, cleaner, greener place.
That’s something to celebrate! From Viv Forbes at Carbon Sense.
It was petroleum that provided the kerosene that replaced whale oil in lamps and greatly reduced the slaughter of whales.
Coal saved the forests that were being cut down for smelters, forges, charcoal, heaters and stoves. Steel made with coke then replaced wood for mine props, bridges and tall buildings. As steam engines and iron ships replaced wooden wind-jammers in world navies and merchant fleets, the forests expanded.
Coal gas and clean coal cured the smogs of London and Pittsburgh. Piped gas for home heating and street lighting and the even better “clean-coal-by-wire” (coal powered electricity) worked wonders to reduce air pollution in “The Big Smoke”.
Petrol driven cars and trucks removed horse manure from the big cities, and tractors reduced the amount of land required to grow food for those cities.
Nuclear power is the ultimate “green energy” – enormous amounts of clean energy generated on a tiny footprint, by minute quantities of fuel, with little effect on air or water quality. Its only disadvantage is that, unlike coal and gas, it does not recycle the gases of life to the atmosphere.
Naturally there are risks in every human endeavour but modern energy sources kill far fewer people and wildlife than were once lost in timber getting, horse breaking, wind-jammers, sulky capsize, air pollution and city wildfires. And to believe that man can tweak the climate with carbon taxes is non-sense.
In contrast, the so called “green energy” sources usually lauded on Earth Day have a heavy toll on the environment to produce piddling amounts of unreliable and costly energy.
Both wind and solar energy are so dilute that large areas of land must be sterilised by roads, transmission lines and construction sites to collect significant energy. Already many wind towers have been abandoned and others are being de-commissioned because of high maintenance costs or poor energy production.
Roof-top solar is a joke as a reliable supplier of energy for most of humanity. In most installations of wind and solar power, the facilities would not be built without subsidies and other political props, and it is doubtful that the green-power turbines and panels will generate enough useful energy over their limited life to recover the energy needed for their raw materials, manufacture, construction, roads, power lines, earth works, maintenance and decommissioning.
Green energy is not environmentally friendly.
Where big wind/solar facilities are constructed, many native birds and bats are sliced by whirling swords, or singed and fried by concentrated solar heat rays. Blinded by their obsession with blaming fossil fuels for everything, greens pretend that this unnecessary slaughter of wildlife is not occurring.
Without carbon and nuclear fuels, Earth would be raped for fuel and food by destitute people trying to eke out a living without the greatest boon to modern living – cheap reliable energy. As Alex Epstein, from the Centre for Industrial Progress says eloquently, “fossil fuels are the greenest energy”.
That is the subtitle of Paul Driessen’s powerful book describing how Western “green” restrictions on the cheap energy the West demands and takes for granted result in suffering and death in the world’s poorest nations:
It could just as well be the tile of Brendon Pearson’s article “Carefree ignore consequences of limiting supply of fossil fuels” in The Australian a few days ago. This is just a few paragraphs. Read the whole thing.
“The response from green advocates is that the emissions from coal and fossil fuels are different — they can be replaced by renewables. Let’s do the maths. Last year wind and solar energy produced the equivalent of nine days of global primary energy needs. Coal produced 109 days and fossil fuels combined produced 313 days of the world’s annual primary needs. Despite all these power sources, 1.3 billion people still missed out on electricity and a further 1.7 billion only had partial access.
To put this problem into context — the energy used by Christmas lights in the US in an average festive season is more than the national electricity consumption of many developing countries, such as El Salvador, Ethiopia, Tanzania, Nepal or Cambodia.
Halting or limiting coal or fossil fuels output will simply mean that those with no or partial access to electricity would have to wait much longer in the dark.
That is an uncomfortable but incontrovertible fact. If you limit something or make it more expensive to the poor then you are delaying or denying that access. Not just for weeks, months or years, but generations. Hundreds of millions of people will live shorter, more miserable lives as a result of the choices of the comfortable and warm.”
That is it exactly. The cost of cozy green self-righteousness is that hundreds of millions of people will live shorter, more miserable lives.
A longish article from Mark Musser on the origins and continuing influence of the theory of sustainable development:
Understandably, Albert Speer Jr. has spent much of his life trying to escape the long shadow of his father, Albert Speer, the Third Reich’s architect during the 1930s who later was baptized as Hitler’s Armaments and War Production Minister during the heights of World War II. Albert Speer Sr. died in 1981. After serving 20 years in Spandau Prison, Speer made millions off of his best-selling books that described his life deep inside the Third Reich. In 1984, Albert Speer Jr. began a very successful architect company in Frankfurt, Germany called AS & P, or Albert Speer & Partners.
Today, AS & P is a very profitable high end international architectural company that has building projects in Germany, the Middle East, and in China. Much of Speer Jr.’s earlier financial success in the 1970s took place in Libya, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and Jordan. Speer Jr. loves the Middle East and Arab culture. He is currently working in Qatar. Qatar was awarded the 2022 World Cup because of Speer Jr.’s audacious plans to design a carbon neutral sustainable arrangement of soccer stadiums.
AS & P pursues a holistic approach to architectural design that roots all building activities into the surrounding culture, landscape, and regulatory environment. AS & P proudly advertises its emphasis upon sustainability in the area of ecology, economics, and social quality. AS & P has even published a “Manifesto for Sustainable Cities – Think Local, Act Global.” Albert Speer Jr. is also an international lecturer on environmental sustainability. According to Der Spiegel, Speer Jr. is credited with having introduced the idea of sustainability into German urban planning. Others consider him to be the green conscience of the construction architect industry and one of the first sustainable practitioners of green building in Germany itself.
While Speer Jr. has publicly stated he has purposefully tried to place as much distance between himself and his father as possible, this is not exactly true. In reality, Speer Jr. has followed his father’s footsteps, not only in terms of being an architect, but also because of his obsession with sustainable development.