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Category Archives: Environment and climate
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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
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
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
On the face of it, there was plenty of bad news for the climate in 2017. Donald Trump announced that the United States would withdraw from the 2105 Paris agreement and promised to reverse the decline of the coal industry. … Continue reading
As we approach the end of the year, it’s useful to look back and forward. Now is an auspicious time, as two major energy-related reports have been released this week: the federal government’s review of their climate change policies, and … Continue reading
“We’re simply talking about the very life support system of this planet.” (Professor Joachim Schellnhuber, Director of the Potsdam Institute of Climate Impacts) The extreme rise in atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) since the onset of the industrial age, reaching approximately … Continue reading
Prime minister Malcolm Turnbull has chosen to close the year in much the same way as he started it on climate and energy policy: awaiting yet another review, and parroting the ever more absurd claims of the fossil fuel lobby … Continue reading
Sometimes it is what is not mentioned, or little-mentioned, rather than widely discussed, which tells the story.
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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
As humans progressively kill off the living creatures which inhabit the planet, do we risk at the same time killing off ourselves?
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
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
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
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.
How weakened laws in Qld and NSW are failing our wildlife and how the Australian Government is doing little to prevent it.
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 and the Guardian. … Continue reading
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