Category Archives: Environment and climate

JOHN MENADUE. The banking royal commission confirms our worst fears about many business executives and crony capitalism

There was a revealing heading in an article a while back by Ross Gittins, the economics editor of the SMH, ‘Faster growth demands better chief executives’. He concluded his article by pointing to the need for business leadership to seize … Continue reading

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EMMA CARMODY. Lack of transparency in irrigation efficiency programs

An article by Kerry Brewster in the Guardian this week reports on a significant fraud investigation by Queensland’s Major and Organised Crime Squad (Rural) into subsidies granted to a landholder under the Healthy Headwaters Water Use Efficiency Program.

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DAVID BLOWERS. Australia’s slow march towards a National Energy Guarantee is gathering pace.

The finer policy details of the of the proposed National Energy Guarantee (NEG) have begun to leak onto newspaper front pages and websites, ahead of Friday’s crucial meeting of federal and state energy ministers. The good news is that the … Continue reading

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IMOGEN ZETHOVEN. Trashing our Global Ocean Leadership.

Australia was once a global leader in marine protection. Today, we have fallen spectacularly from grace. The Commonwealth marine park plans tabled recently in federal Parliament represent a triumph for the oil, gas and fishing industries and a massive backward … Continue reading

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CAROLYN PETTIGREW. Tourism and NSW National Parks – looking to the future. Part 2 of 2

The NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) is facing a future crisis that perhaps is not fully recognised by supporters of nature conservation. Visitation is skyrocketing http://www.environment.nsw.gov.au/research/NSWparkspopularity.htm which on the face of it is wonderful. More and more people … Continue reading

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FRANK JOTZO. China’s emissions trading takes steps towards big ambitions.

China’s new emissions trading scheme will start small, but comes with big potential, Frank Jotzo writes. China recently announced that it will begin to introduce a national emissions trading scheme for carbon dioxide this year. The promise for more market-oriented … Continue reading

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CAROLYN PETTIGREW. What has gone wrong with the management of NSW National Parks? Part 1 of 2

In 2014 the NSW government hosted the IUCN World Parks Congress. The government touted securing the conference as a victory for their major events calendar. The key outcome of the congress was the Promise of Sydney – the Vision was … Continue reading

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ANDREW BLAKERS, MATTHEW STOCKS. Solar PV and wind are on track to replace all coal, oil and gas within two decades.

Solar photovoltaic and wind power are rapidly getting cheaper and more abundant – so much so that they are on track to entirely supplant fossil fuels worldwide within two decades, with the time frame depending mostly on politics. The protestation … Continue reading

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ANDREW GLIKSON. Daniel Ellsberg and the global nuclear suicide machine

“The unleashed power of the atom has changed everything save human way of thinking and thus we drift toward unparalleled catastrophes.” Albert Einstein 1946 Daniel Ellsberg, former presidential advisor, who had released the famous top-secret Pentagon Papers related to the … Continue reading

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MICHAEL LAMBERT. An Update on the National Electricity Market and the National Energy Guarantee.

The Council of Australian Governments (COAG) Energy Council meets in the second half of April to consider a report from the Energy Security Board on the proposed initial design of the National Energy Guarantee which seeks to address both emissions … Continue reading

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MATTHEW FISHER. Malcolm Turnbull in denial on climate change: The Uses and Abuses of Complex Causation.

It is commonplace for political and corporate leaders to obfuscate public debate on issues they want to avoid by applying simplistic, linear concepts of cause and effect to events that have multiple causes. In the case of climate change, one … Continue reading

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TRISTAN EDIS. How renewables trumped brown coal and gas over Australia’s summer.

In reading some of the panic-stricken media commentary about the impending blackouts we were supposed to have this summer, you might have been led to believe that renewable energy doesn’t contribute much at all to ensuring the lights stayed on.

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ANDREW GLIKSON. The betrayal of the future

A species which has invented combustion, electromagnetic radiation and nuclear energy orders of magnitude more powerful than its own physical potential, needs to be perfectly wise and in control lest it is overwhelmed by these powers.

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JULIAN CRIBB. When ‘oil’ spells murder.

A worldwide spate of legal actions against governments and fossil fuel companies is changing the political context of the climate debate more profoundly than anything yet. Yet it may still not be enough to rescue humanity from the other nine … Continue reading

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GILES PARKINSON. South Australia’s renewable energy future hangs by a thread.

It’s an election that is impossible to call. And too important to ignore.

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LAURIE PATTON. It’s not about the size of the population, it’s about where we’re all going to live

This week the ABC’s Four Corners and Q and A programs are focussing attention on an important issue facing 21st Century Australia – the size of the population. As is commonly the case with this subject, the debate is creating … Continue reading

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PETER SAINSBURY. US Republicans advocate (smoke and black holes) plan on climate change.

Eight prominent US Republicans are advocating that the Republican Party should lead action on climate change by introducing a carbon tax, with distribution of the revenue raised to all Americans (a Carbon Dividend). While this may move the debate forward … Continue reading

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SAMANTHA HEPBURN. Why aren’t Australia’s environment laws preventing widespread land clearing?

Australia has national environment laws – the Environment Protection Biodiversity Conservation Act (EPBC Act). Yet given the staggering rates of land clearing taking place, resulting in the extinction and endangerment of plants and animals in Australia, these laws are clearly … Continue reading

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JOHN MENADUE   The impotent and the pure!

In the Batman bi election the Greens have correctly directed criticism at the cruel policies of the ALP and the Coalition on refugees in Manus and Nauru.But the Greens do not have clean hands either.  

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HYLDA ROLFE. Summer of our disconnect .

Hurrah-words don’t disguise the reality of the steady creep of business into our National Parks. When a world-status Park is involved, all sorts of phoney justifications for commercial incursions are trotted out. The pity of it is that so many … Continue reading

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MICHAEL LAMBERT. Revisiting the South Australian Electricity Market.

In the context of the current South Australian election campaign, it is opportune to revisit the state of play with the South Australian electricity market which in 2016 and 2017 was used at the national level as an ill-informed or, … Continue reading

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MUNGO MacCALLUM. Adani.

Bill Shorten has finally taken a firm position on the Adani coal mine: procrastination.

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BOB DOUGLAS. Time for Australia to lead in building a safer future

A combination of hazards threatens the continued survival of human civilization on Planet Earth. They are all man-made – and most are being systematically ignored or under-rated by political decision makers everywhere and especially, here in Australia.

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ANDREW GLIKSON. The onset of climate tipping points

 As extreme temperatures, sea ice melt rates, collapse of Greenland glaciers, thawing of Siberian and Canadian permafrost, increased evaporation in the Arctic and intrusion of cold fronts into Europe and North America are rising, analogies with geological hyperthermal methane-release events … Continue reading

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MARC HUDSON. The Nationals have changed their leader but kept the same climate story

After Barnaby Joyce’s demise as Deputy Prime Minister and Nationals leader, and his replacement by Michael McCormack, we might wonder what the junior Coalition partner’s leadership change means for Australia’s climate policy.

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ANDREW GLIKSON. The ABC and the climate impasse.

“Half-truth is much worse than a whole lie because it makes it even harder to tell the difference between the two.” (Gene Ruyle) For many weeks the Australian parliament, paralyzed by the antiquated legalistic of Section 44 and pre-occupied with … Continue reading

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BRUCE THOM. CLIMATE CHANGE ADAPTATION—A LOSS OF MOMENTUM

Over the past 10 years, there has been a range of initiatives by federal and state governments that aim to improve the nation’s capacity to meet the challenges of climate change. Considerable attention has been directed at reducing emissions, or … Continue reading

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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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