Category Archives: Environment and climate

HYLDA ROLFE. Summer of our disconnect. (Part 1 of 2)

Some National Parks in New South Wales are taking a beating. On occasion, it’s difficult to distinguish the businesses that are officially sanctioned in them from the activities usually undertaken in normal commercial venues. Should they be there at all? … Continue reading

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DAVID NICHOLLS. We are the lobster

An increasing feeling of unreality is pervading the social environment. It has an almost dreamlike feel to it. Or perhaps one should say should say, “nightmare-like”.

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ROSS GITTINS. Self-interest standing in the way of a fix for the Murray-Darling

Genelle Haldane, my desk calendar tells me, has said that “only until all of mankind lives in harmony with nature can we truly decree ourselves to be an intelligent species”. I’ve no idea who Haldane is or was, but she’s … Continue reading

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QUENTIN GRAFTON and JOHN WILLIAMS. States’ dummy-spit over the Murray-Darling Basin Plan clouds the real facts

Given the outraged reaction from some state water ministers to the disallowance of an amendment to the Murray Darling Basin Plan, you would be forgiven for thinking that a heinous crime had been committed against farmers in upstream states.

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ANDREW GLIKSON. The price of the Earth.

“Dear Caesar, Keep burning, raping and killing, but please, please spare us your obscene poetry and ugly music” (From Seneca’s last letter to Nero).   Astrophysicist Greg Laughlin came up with a figure of €3000 trillion for the worth of planet … Continue reading

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GILES PARKINSON. Weatherill: Why state election will be a referendum on renewables.

South Australia Premier Jay Weatherill might not be able to see much daylight between his Labor Party and the rival Liberals and SA Best, but he’s certainly making sure there is a big difference between his energy policy and those … Continue reading

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GILES PARKINSON. SA Labor shoots for 75% renewables, 25% storage target

South Australia’s Labor government has doubled down on its commitment to renewable energy, promising to increase the share of renewables to 75 per cent by 2025 if re-elected at next month’s state poll, and announcing plans to install 750MW of “renewable … Continue reading

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MARC HUDSON. It’s 20 years since privatisation lit the spark under South Australia’s livewire energy politics

February 17, 2018, marks the 20th anniversary of a momentous day in South Australian energy politics. The then premier, John Olsen, announced that, despite repeated promises during the previous year’s state election campaign, his Liberal government would be putting the … Continue reading

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GILES PARKINSON. Battery storage leaves fossil fuels and regulators in state of intertia

The brain cells are working overtime at the headquarters of network owners, grid operators, generators, and regulators. Australia’s electricity grid is about to make the leap from analogue to digital, and everyone is scrambling to keep up.

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RICHARD ECKERSLEY. Closing the gap between the science and politics of progress (Part 1 of 2)

Global politics is based on an outmoded and increasingly destructive model of human progress and development. In the first of two parts, RICHARD ECKERSLEY examines what is wrong with the model with respect to sustainability and quality of life.

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RICHARD KINGSFORD. The Darling River – up the creek without a political paddle.

Once again, the Senate is poised this week to decide the future policy course of the rivers of the Murray-Darling Basin. The critical decision for senators is whether or not to accede to the recommendation by the Murray-Darling Basin Authority … Continue reading

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JOSHUA GILBERT- Partnerships in Agriculture- the time for mutual collaboration and respect

Farmers have a natural affinity with their land. The farm is the home of their family’s dreams and aspirations; the page upon which they write their stories of passion and love; their life; their livelihood; their heart.

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BOB DEBUS. Restoring integrity in nature conservation. Part 2 of 2

‘There is a limit to what laws can achieve, but they are an essential part of any robust system of environmental governance. Environmental laws should effectively enable the protection, conservation, management and, where needed, restoration of our national heritage. The … Continue reading

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QUENTIN GRAFTON, ET. AL. The Murray Darling Basin Plan is not delivering – there’s no more time to waste

More than five years after the Murray Darling Basin Plan was implemented, it’s clear that it is not delivering on its key objectives.

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GILES PARKINSON. Shorten hails cheap wind and solar, but will he stop Adani.

You would have missed it, if you were relying on mainstream media, but Labor leader Bill Shorten did actually mention clean energy and climate policies in his scene-setting speech for 2018, which may well turn out to be an election … Continue reading

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BRUCE THOM. King tides and extreme events

Summer has been awash with extreme ocean water levels reaching positions rarely seen in the past along the NSW coastline. On two occasions the tide gauge at Fort Denison reached levels only exceeded three times since the more accurate self-recording … Continue reading

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ANDREW GLIKSON. 2.0 minutes to midnight on the clock of the atomic scientists.

“The era of procrastination, of half-measures, of soothing and baffling expedients, of delays, is coming to its close. In its place we are entering a period of consequences” (Winston Churchill). On 25 January 2018 the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists … Continue reading

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I have watched and mourned as NSW national parks have been run into the ground

MICHAEL MCFADYEN. Over the past 40 years I have visited probably more national parks in NSW than 99 per cent of the population, both for work and recreation.

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BOB DEBUS. Restoring integrity in nature conservation Part 1 of 2

The Australian Government’s short and pointless document, published just before Xmas and entitled Strategy For Nature 2018-2030, has been accurately described as a ‘global embarrassment’. It is useful only insofar as it reminds us that Australian government policies for nature … Continue reading

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ANDREW GLIKSON. An Orwellian climate: the rise of dangerous ideologies in a heating world.

It is impossible to say anything good about “Ingsoc”— George Orwell’s brutal and inhumane 1984 dystopia, mimicking Hitler’s and Stalin’s regimes, with only one proviso:  Bar blowing atomic bombs in distant wars, no mention is made in the book of … Continue reading

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IAN DUNLOP. Facing “Disaster Alley”, Australia shirks responsibility- A REPOST from June 27 2017

The first responsibility of a government is to safeguard the people and their future wellbeing. The ability to do so is increasingly threatened by human-induced climate change, the accelerating impacts of which are driving political instability and conflict globally. Climate … Continue reading

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ANDREW GLIKSON. Climate change, droughts and wars: is there a nexus?

According to Al Gore during 2006 and 2010 some 60 percent of farms in Syria were destroyed and abandoned and some 80 percent of the livestock were killed during the most severe drought parts of the Middle East ever recorded[i]. … Continue reading

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REBECCA PEASE. The federal Climate Policy Review: a recipe for business as usual

The federal government’s newly released Climate Policy Review is hugely disappointing, but far from surprising. It does not depart from what the Turnbull government has been saying for some time: it plans to loosen compliance obligations for emissions-intensive companies even … Continue reading

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DYLAN McCONNELL. A month in, Tesla’s SA battery is surpassing expectations.

It’s just over one month since the Hornsdale power reserve was officially opened in South Australia. The excitement surrounding the project has generated acres of media interest, both locally and abroad. The aspect that has generated the most interest is the battery’s rapid response time in … Continue reading

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ANDREW GLIKSON. The ALP and global warming

When a lump of coal was presented in Parliament to the cheers of conservative MPs no doubts could remain regarding their position on global warming, covered with the thin fig leaf of the Paris agreement.  One wonders whether the PM … Continue reading

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MICHAEL KEATING. National water reform- A REPOST from September 28,2017

According to the Productivity Commission’s draft report on National Water Reform, Australia is now viewed internationally as a world leader in water management. Nevertheless, these reforms continue to be challenged by special interests. In particular, the history of poor investment … Continue reading

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IAN McAULEY. Reframing public ideas Part 4: Economy and environment

Arguments around climate change and other environmental matters tend to assume some tradeoff between “economic” and “environmental” objectives. But the overriding principle is about making the best use of scarce resources.

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JULIAN CRIBB. Highway to an endless energy future.

Australia is spoiled for choice among the array of energies we have to power our future, for centuries to come. Concentrated sunlight, huge reserves of coal, gas, hot rocks, wind, wave and tidal energy, not to mention uranium, thorium, biomass, … Continue reading

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DAVID BLOWERS. A high price for policy failure: the ten-year story of spiralling electricity bills.

Politicians are told never to waste a good crisis. Australia’s electricity sector is in crisis, or something close to it. The nation’s first-ever state-wide blackout, in South Australia in September 2016, was followed by electricity shortages in several states last summer. More shortages … Continue reading

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BRUCE LINDSAY. “Anti-corruption”, water and the Basin plan. A repost from October 8, 2017

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

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