Category Archives: Environment

GILES PARKINSON. Tide turns as solar, storage costs trump ideologues and incumbents

Looking at the machinations over the proposed Adani coal mine in Queensland’s Galilee Basin this week, or seeing certain Coalition Senators howling at the moon over wind turbine “emissions”, or the Treasurer brandishing a lump of coal in parliament, it is … Continue reading

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MUNGO MacCALLUM. Another distraction, but what a distraction.

The starting point is putting a price on carbon – some form of emissions trading policy. But this is total anathema to the coalition party room – worse even than negative gearing. 

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TIM COLEBATCH. Old coal, no new gas: how to generate an electricity crisis.

 We need to set a timetable to reduce emissions from electricity generation, which now contributes a third of Australia’s greenhouse gases – and, by and large, the third that will be easiest and cheapest to reduce. We need price mechanisms … Continue reading

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GILES PARKINSON. How AEMO’s new boss will reform Australia’s energy vision.

Audrey Zibelman, the new chief executive of the Australian Energy Market Operator, has been in the job for little over a week, but is already making her mark, signalling the biggest shift in energy management philosophy in a generation.  

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The Australian does it again, and again, and again.

Media Watch on 27 March 2017 described the unprofessional behaviour of the Australian and journalist Graham Lloyd  over the reporting of the bleaching of the Great Barrier Reef. The Media Watch story follows.  

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JOHN MENADUE. The terrorism threat here is because our troops are over there.

Compared to other risks, we have little to fear from terrorism. In the last two decades only three people in Australia have died from terrorism. But there is a ‘vividness’ bias in terrorism because it stands out in our minds. … Continue reading

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TIM COLEBATCH. Why gas prices went sky-high, and what governments need to do about it

There is an overwhelming consensus that the centrepiece should be an emissions intensity scheme, as proposed by the draft Finkel report, by the government’s handpicked Climate Change Authority, and by electricity generators and big users alike. This would give the energy industry … Continue reading

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PETER BROOKS and JOHN WILLOUGHBY. A call for doctors to take a stand on the Adani Carmichael coal mine

The comprehensive investigation, published as The Adani Files  (adanifiles.com.au), provides a litany of stories of pollution, failed clean-ups of damaged environments, and allegations of corruption and of abuse of workers.  

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GEORGE BROWNING. The non-existent Australian government energy policy.

It has been clear for some time that the normal capitalist approach of privatising everything does not work in relation to energy. 

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IAN McAULEY. The National Electricity Market: What happens when economists get involved with electricity

John Menadue has asked me to write about the National Electricity Market – the NEM.  I should be qualified to do that: my first degree and my first years of professional work were in electrical engineering and in my later … Continue reading

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ALAN KOHLER. Hello, Elon? It’s Malcolm.

“Cannon-Brookes! That man’s an absolute nuisance. He’s been causing Arthur problems with our 457 visa plans, and now he’s trying to mess up the nice little wedge we’ve got going with Shorten and Weatherill over renewables and blackouts in Adelaide.”  

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LESLEY HUGHES. Angry summers are the new normal. Our climate is on steroids.

The occurrence of the extreme summer experienced in NSW, for example, was at least 50 times more likely than would have been the case without climate change.  

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JOHN MENADUE. A little bit of honesty would go a long way in energy policy.

We really do need some honesty from the media on energy policy. The fact is that Coalition policies have failed for at least eight years and are largely responsible for our pending crisis. Media cover-ups for failed Coalition policies will … Continue reading

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WAYNE SWAN. Coalition energy policy.

It’s a lost decade we couldn’t afford on climate change and energy policy – but when the consequences are felt in years and decades to come, it’s incumbent upon us all not to forget the political opportunists and charlatans who … Continue reading

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ROSS GITTINS. Outlook for Australian politics and government in 2017.

The area of economic reform where the government’s performance has been most egregious is on policy to ease our transition to a low-carbon economy and honour our commitments at the Paris conference. Leaving aside Abbott’s role in our policy regression, … Continue reading

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IAN VERRENDER. Coal-fired generators have no future in Australia.

From an economic perspective, it would be far more efficient to eliminate subsidies altogether and to put a price on carbon that reflected its true cost. Private investors then would be able to choose which technology was most efficient.  

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MUNGO MacCALLUM. Malcolm Turnbull on climate change and coal.

Unfortunately the storms and the heat waves are making it clear to reluctant voters that climate change is not going to disappear. Sooner or later the message will filter through even to the recalcitrants of the coalition. But by then … Continue reading

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STEPHEN LONG. Malcolm Turnbull’s turnaround on renewable energy, from pro-carbon price to clean coal

What a stunning turnaround. The man who lost the leadership by fighting to introduce a carbon price is now railing against renewable energy.  

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Conservatives push carbon tax to address climate crisis.

Conservatives push carbon tax to address climate crisis By John Upton on 9 February 2017  Climate Central With President Trump and Republicans in Congress moving swiftly to repeal regulations that slow global warming, a group of prominent conservatives on Wednesday touted a … Continue reading

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CHRISTIAN DOWNIE. The security threat from climate change

The Turnbull Government’s decision to continue to back coal is not just bad economics, it also makes no sense from a national security perspective as the worsening impacts of climate change threaten international stability.  

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RICHARD ECKERSLEY. The Trump imbroglio: confusion and contradiction everywhere

Global consumer capitalism, is reducing quality of life: stripping our lives of intrinsic worth and meaning; weakening communities; undermining health and wellbeing; creating grotesque inequities; destroying the natural environment; and undermining our faith in humanity’s future.  

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MUNGO MacCALLUM. Trump and Turnbull.

The problem is not with America and Australia – it is with Trump and Turnbull, and more urgently with Turnbull. Sooner or later he will have to decide: does he continue as the next in line of Trump’s Aunt Sallies, … Continue reading

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FRANK JOTZO. New coal plants wouldn’t be clean, and would cost billions in taxpayer subsidies.

Following a campaign by the coal industry, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has argued for new coal-fired power stations in Australia. But these plants would be more expensive than renewables and carry a huge liability through the carbon emissions they produce. … Continue reading

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GEOFF DAVIES. Brexit, Trump and a Rigged System. Part 2 of 2.

Neoliberalism let loose the anarchic forces of free markets just at the time when we most needed them to be restrained and redirected so as not to wreck our planetary home.

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JOHN MENADUE. The new squatters on public land.

The new squatters on public land are being given a leg-up as they were in the 19th Century to seize and occupy public land.  

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WALTER HAMILTON. Rex Tillerson and Australia’s national interest

President-elect Donald Trump’s Cabinet picks are being cross-examined in public for the first time. Here begins the real business of assessing how a Trump administration might behave––in more than 140 characters. The indications so far suggest the need for an … Continue reading

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BRUCE THOM. Agonies of an American scientist under Trump.

A truly great nation must be compassionate, loving, kind, rational and celebrate diversity. 

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IAN McAULEY. Brexit, Trump and the Lucky Country 2 – The response of those left behind

It would be hasty to attribute the Brexit and Trump votes to a “swing to the right”, or to an ill-informed electorate. The most compelling explanations are in terms of protest votes. People’s anger of electorates has given an opening … Continue reading

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IAN McAULEY. Brexit, Trump and the Lucky Country 3 – Globalization takes the rap, unfairly

Globalization has been only one of the developments that has led to widening inequality and social exclusion. Countries that have globalized have also introduced a raft of neoliberal domestic policies, against which people are reacting.

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JON STANFORD. Australia’s climate change policy mess: quo vadis?

Make no mistake: Malcolm Turnbull’s pusillanimous refusal even to consider the option of an emissions intensity scheme (EIS) for electricity generation represents a massive abdication of responsibility to the Australian community.

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