Category Archives: Environment and climate

JOAN STAPLES. Government targets international philanthropy for civil society.

A Bill expected to be introduced by the Government this week, may deliberately create confusion by linking foreign donations to political parties, with foreign donations to civil society organisations.  It is expected to propose banning both.

Posted in Environment and climate, Human Rights, Uncategorized | 1 Comment

BRUCE THOM. Keeping the Murray mouth open

Maintaining an open mouth of the Murray River in South Australia was a key objective of the Murray Darling Basin Plan (MDBP). The Basin Plan was established by the Australian Government to address the chronic over-allocation of water for irrigation … Continue reading

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ANDREW GLIKSON. Humanity’s stark choice: continue genocidal wars or try to save our planetary home.

CO2 levels reached 403.64 ppm in October 2017, a rise of 2.07 ppm above October 2016. This has triggered amplifying feedbacks from land and oceans. It is becoming clear the only way to avert environmental and nuclear catastrophes is to … Continue reading

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IAN DUNLOP. Climate & Energy – Appeasement Does Not Work

The current chaos around climate and energy policy brings to mind George Santayana’s caution that: “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it”. That is exactly what we are witnessing, albeit with far more profound implications even … Continue reading

Posted in Environment and climate, Politics | 3 Comments

RICHARD KINGSFORD. Policy holes drain the life out of Murray-Darling rivers.

We are often told by some politicians and irrigation lobbyists not to worry about our rivers – Australia is a land of droughts and flooding rains – and ever it was thus. After all, Murray-Darling rivers surely fixed themselves when … Continue reading

Posted in Environment and climate | 2 Comments

GILES PARKINSON. LNP, One Nation would force Queensland energy prices up; Greens, ALP down

A new analysis of the energy policies presented by the major and smaller parties contesting the Queensland state election shows that the Greens would deliver the biggest electricity savings, Labor would also push prices down, while One Nation and the … Continue reading

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SOPHIE VORRATH. CBA challenged for “weakest climate policy,” dirtiest investments.

The Commonwealth Bank of Australia has made $6 billion worth of new loans to coal, oil and gas projects in the 20 months since committing to the Paris climate agreement, a new document has shown – more than four times … Continue reading

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JULIAN CRIBB. Can we avert ecocide?

As humans progressively kill off the living creatures which inhabit the planet, do we risk at the same time killing off ourselves? 

Posted in Environment and climate | 2 Comments

ANDREW GLIKSON. at 2.5 minutes to midnight, we must defend the planet

On the 27 January, 2017, the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists moved the arms of its doomsday clock to 2.5 min to midnight, the closest it has been since 1953, with enormous implications for humanity and nature. A book titled … Continue reading

Posted in Environment and climate | 4 Comments

ANDREW GLIKSON. A privileged few ignore scorched Earth in race to Mars

Scientific exploration of the solar system planets constitutes one of the most exciting achievements of the human race. However, the idea of colonizing Mars may prove to be one of the most misleading, creating an impression that an alternative exists … Continue reading

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GILES PARKINSON. South Australia’s stunning transition to consumer-powered grid

South Australia is already being hailed – or in some quarters demonised – for its leadership on renewable energy technology.  A new report from the Australian Energy Market Operator highlights how far out in front it is in the transition … Continue reading

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GILES PARKINSON. Garnaut says NEG may do little for prices, certainty or competition.

Leading economist Ross Garnaut has delivered a critical appraisal of the federal government’s proposed National Energy Guarantee, warning that it will unlikely deliver lower prices or investment certainty, and could simply lock in the power of the big incumbent generators.

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MARTIN TAYLOR. How weak laws and weak enforcement are failing our wildlife.

How weakened laws in Qld and NSW are failing our wildlife and how the Australian Government is doing little to prevent it.

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ANDREW GLIKSON. Hurricanes and megafires abound, but don’t mention the words ‘climate change’

As extreme hurricanes and extensive wildfires proliferate around the globe, an internet search suggests that, in reporting these events, the words “climate change” have almost disappeared from much of the mainstream media. Some exceptions include the SMH[1] and the Guardian[2]. … Continue reading

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GRAEME WORBOYS. About Snowy water, catchment restoration, Snowy 2.0 and jobs

The Snowy 2.0 project, if it is to realise its contribution to lowering carbon emissions, should proceed hand in hand with a program of environmental restoration of alpine ecosystems which have not recovered from past and present alpine grazing and … Continue reading

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BRUCE MOUNTAIN. Energy prices are high because consumers are paying for useless, profit-boosting infrastructure

The preliminary report on energy prices released last week by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) suggests that the consumer watchdog is concerned about almost every aspect of Australia’s electricity industry. It quotes customer groups who say electricity is … Continue reading

Posted in Economy, Environment and climate, Uncategorized | 1 Comment

AMBER CARVAN. The health impacts of climate change in rural and remote Australia

Without swift action climate change stands to further cement the health deficit experienced in rural and remote populations. Conversely, taking action to build the climate-resilience of rural and remote communities, and the health care services that support them, could lead … Continue reading

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An open letter to the Prime Minister on climate and nuclear perils

This open letter was initiated by Dr  Andrew Glikson (Earth and Paleo-climate science, ANU School of Anthropology and Archeology) and signed by over 200 Australian scientists, including those in the medical, environmental and physical disciplines, as well as scholars in the … Continue reading

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JULIAN CRIBB. The ‘Coal Toll’ and the moral vacuum.

While the focus of public debate about energy has been on monetary costs, it has almost entirely ignored the larger issue of human life, health and wellbeing. Julian Cribb sets the record straight.

Posted in Environment and climate | 1 Comment

OISIN SWEENEY. Let’s take the opportunity to put the wellbeing of people at the heart of forest protection.

Any Australian under the age of 30 is unlikely to have heard of Regional Forest Agreements (RFAs). The RFAs, signed in the late 1990s and lasting for 20 years, were designed to facilitate multiple uses of public native forests including … Continue reading

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MUNGO MacCALLUM. Game changer.

Malcolm Turnbull crows that his National Energy Guarantee is a game changer – and so it is, but that doesn’t mean much.  The energy game has been changing for well over the last decade, and in all likelihood will go … Continue reading

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IAN McAULEY. Turnbull’s National Energy Guarantee: can it work?

The Commonwealth’s proposed National Energy Guarantee is vague and confusing, and is based on dated engineering and economic ideas. But it may allow an economically responsible government, if we elect one, to reshape it into a set of policies that … Continue reading

Posted in Economy, Environment and climate | 2 Comments

MICHAEL LAMBERT. The National Energy Guarantee – what do we make of it?

After a progression of schemes, such as the Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS), The Carbon Pollution Tax (CPT), Direct Action, including the Renewable Energy Target (RET) as well as dabbling with the Emissions Intensity Scheme (EIS) and the Clean Energy Target … Continue reading

Posted in Economy, Environment and climate, Politics | 2 Comments

JOHN QUIGGIN. Jobs bonanza? The Adani project is more like a railway to nowhere

The dispute over the Adani Group’s proposed Carmichael mine and the associated port at Abbot Point has long been cast as a choice between jobs and the environment. Climate change is already well on the way to destroying the Great … Continue reading

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KATE CHARLESWORTH and PETER SAINSBURY. The Devastating Health Costs of Coal.

Amid all the debate about energy policy – about security, affordability, and carbon emissions –  there is one critical issue that has barely rated a mention: human health. Coal is hazardous to our health; renewables are not. In any discussion … Continue reading

Posted in Environment and climate, Health | 3 Comments

WE ARE ALSO READING AND LISTENING TO …

Pearls and Irritations provides the following links for weekend reading:

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JULIAN CRIBB. Our Parliament: an unqualified failure for the future

Australian politicians have next to no qualifications or skills when it comes to deciding the focal issues of our time. No wonder the decision making of recent years has been so poor. Julian Cribb argues that a continued political bias … Continue reading

Posted in Environment and climate, Media, NBN, Politics | 12 Comments

BRUCE LINDSAY. “Anti-corruption”, water and the Basin plan.

Water management and decision-making is vulnerable to lobbying by powerful commercial interests, as was illustrated recently by the ABC Four Corners investigation into NSW water management. Even where such conduct cannot be categorised as corrupt in the criminal sense, it … Continue reading

Posted in Environment and climate | 2 Comments

MICHAEL LAMBERT. Achieving Clean Energy

The constant refrain from the Commonwealth of reliable, secure and affordable power appears to dismiss the other objective of clean energy. This is reinforced by the failure to endorse the Clean Energy Target recommendation of the Finkel report. However, clean … Continue reading

Posted in Environment and climate | 6 Comments

HYLDA ROLFE. A Sydney icon is under threat – the creeping commercialisation.

In this blog on 20 September 2017 I (John Menadue) described how ‘the new squatters in our National Parks’ are being given commercial access to our ‘public commons’. In NSW and elsewhere National Parks are being deliberately under funded, resulting … Continue reading

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