Articles on Direct Action plan

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A price on carbon introduced by the Labor government, dubbed the “carbon tax”, was more effective at motivating big emitters to act, compared to the current Direct Action plan. Mick Tsikas/AAP

Direct Action not as motivating as carbon tax say some of Australia’s biggest emitters

New research has found that carbon intensive companies have lost focus on reducing emissions under Direct Action, when compared with the carbon tax.
Malcolm Turnbull, as a former investment banker, should be able to feel the prevailing global winds around climate finance. AAP Image/Paul Miller

Australia’s climate policy is messier than a teenager’s bedroom, but is Turnbull the man to tidy it up?

After years of squabbling over climate policy, do we now have a prime minister prepared to clean up the mess? Given a fair wind at the Paris summit and an election win, Turnbull might just pull it off.
It might be nice if buying the right to emit greenhouse pollution could be made a bit simpler. Oleandra/

Politics aside, a simple carbon tax makes more sense than a convoluted emissions trading scheme

The term 'carbon tax' is a political poison in Australia, thanks to the previous carbon tax which was actually an emissions trading scheme. Yet ironically, many economists prefer a tax over an ETS anyway.
Nations need to focus on the global carbon budget, not on what their neighbours are doing. Andriano/

An objective way to decide on a fair Australian emissions pledge

Australia's emissions target will inevitably be compared with other leading nations. But a fair target should be calculated not on a basis of comparison, but on the world's shared 2-degree climate goal.
UN chief climate negotiator Christiana Figueres told a Melbourne conference Australia risks becoming an outsider at this year’s crucial Paris talks. EPA/JEON HEON-KYUN/AAP

UN climate chief: other countries are ‘further ahead than Australia’

UN climate chief Christiana Figueres has hinted that Australia risks becoming an outsider at this year's Paris climate talks if it doesn't match the ambition of many other countries' climate pledges.
The wrong track? The biggest emitters, such as power stations, were largely absent from the government’s first round of greenhouse reduction contracts. AAP Image/Dan Peled

On these numbers, Australia’s emissions auction won’t get the job done

Federal environment minister Greg Hunt has hailed the first round of Emissions Reduction Fund auctions as a "stunning result". But extrapolating the numbers puts Australia behind on its carbon targets.
Growth industry: forestry will account for much of the carbon reductions under the first round of Emissions Reduction Fund contracts. CSIRO/Wikimedia Commons

Infographic: emissions reduction auction results at a glance

The first round of contracts for Australia's Emissions Reduction Fund have been awarded, at an average price of just under A$14 a tonne. How do the numbers stack up, and what projects are the big winners?
Climate Change Authority chair Bernie Fraser says other wealthy nations have already pledged far deeper emissions cuts than Australia. AAP Image/Lukas Coch

Climate Change Authority calls for 30% emissions cut by 2025

A report from Australia's Climate Change Authority recommends cutting greenhouse emissions by 30% by 2025 if the country is to be seen as a good global citizen in this year's climate negotiations.
You didn’t need a onesie to get hot under the collar about sharks in 2014. AAP Image/Theron Kirkman

2014, the year that was: Environment + Energy

Want a single word to sum up environmental affairs in 2014? Let’s go with “heated”. The year began with the realisation that 2013 was Australia’s hottest ever (and yes, it’s because of us), and ended with…
The Climate Change Authority has recommended giving Australia more time to hit its renewable energy target. AAP Image/Angela Harper

Climate Change Authority calls for delayed renewables deadline

The Climate Change Authority has recommended that the government move back the deadline for the large-scale Renewable Energy Target by three years, from 2020 to 2023, rather than risk jeopardising investment…
Julie Bishop will need to fight to rescue Australia’s standing after a dire first week at the Lima climate talks. AAP Image/Alan Porritt

Julie Bishop arrives at climate talks amid ignominy for Australia

Australia’s foreign minister Julie Bishop will have a lot of explaining to do when she arrives here in Lima, Peru, ahead of her address to the UN climate summit tomorrow. It will take all of her diplomatic…
Should you be paying for big energy users? Bill image from

RET changes may leave households to foot the bill

The federal government has now achieved passage of its Direct Action plan through the Senate. Some wheeling and dealing with the cross-benches was required of course – but while the government may oppose…
Greg Hunt (left) says he doesn’t want an emissions trading scheme; Clive Palmer says he does. But Hunt’s Direct Action plan might ultimately take us there anyway. AAP Image/Alan Porritt

Direct Action could deliver a useful outcome: carbon trading

There’s little point in getting too excited just yet about the details of Direct Action and its merits (or otherwise) as compared with emissions trading. Why? Because all of the current debate about Australia’s…
Bernie Fraser of the Climate Change Authority, environment minister Greg Hunt, and Clive Palmer announce a deal on a plan to cut Australia’s emissions this decade. What happens after that isn’t so clear. AAPImage/Alan Porritt

Direct Action’s here, but how will Australia cut carbon after 2020?

With the passage of the Emissions Reduction Fund through the Senate last night, the federal government has taken a step towards achieving Australia’s minimum target to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to…

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