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Analysis and Comment (32)

Germany’s Philippsburg nuclear power plant. Is Australia preparing to follow suit? Germany’s Philippsburg nuclear power plant. Is Australia preparing to follow suit? Lothar Neumann/Wikimedia Commons

Sure, let’s debate nuclear power – just don’t call it “low-emission

Nuclear power is back on Australia’s radar. In its recent issues paper released as a preface to September’s Energy White Paper, the Abbott government reopened the debate thus: With environmental considerations…
Brisbane’s annual City of Lights show, which is sponsored by an oil and gas company. Brisbane’s annual City of Lights show, which is sponsored by an oil and gas company. Flickr/Wei Lun Koh (some rights reserved)

When will Australians finally stop wasting our energy?

From flicking on a light to travelling around town, our lives are utterly dependent on energy. That’s why it’s so surprising that Australia has been so bad at thinking about our country’s future energy…
Building in their backyard will annoy them - but the public know energy decisions have to be made. Building in their backyard will annoy them - but the public know energy decisions have to be made. John Giles/PA

Hearts and minds must be won for us to fill the energy gap

On a clear day one can see North Somerset – the future site of Britain’s Hinkley Point C new nuclear power station – from Cardiff Bay, across the Severn Estuary. Deep in hilly Powys, arguments rage around…
Solving energy problems requires more than just putting on a jumper. Solving energy problems requires more than just putting on a jumper. Steve Parsons/PA

Rising energy bills require brave leadership, not cuts

The nights are drawing in, leaves are changing from green to gold, and energy suppliers are announcing price hikes. Along with animals disappearing into hibernation, energy price rises have become what…
10% price rises are becoming the new normal. 10% price rises are becoming the new normal. Rui Vieira/PA

Raise income tax to tackle escalating energy prices

Energy prices seem seldom out of the news. Politicians show their frustration with the energy market in proposing various solutions. This week Tory grandee and former prime minister John Major has called…
The future Hinkley Point C nuclear power station (centre), with older reactors. The future Hinkley Point C nuclear power station (centre), with older reactors. EDF

Hinkley C goes ahead, but future nuclear costs must fall

There has long been talk of the need for a “nuclear renaissance”, and now it seems underway. The deal has been struck that would see the first new British nuclear power station in a generation. But is…
Oil and gas production is growing in the US, mainly thanks to unconventional production methods. Oil and gas production is growing in the US, mainly thanks to unconventional production methods. EPA/Jim Lo Scalzo

Now largest oil and gas producer, will the US get extra clout?

A recent article in the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) reported: The U.S. is overtaking Russia as the world’s largest producer of oil and natural gas, a startling shift that is reshaping markets and eroding…
Can someone turn on the heating? Can someone turn on the heating? O.F.E

Freezing energy prices risks collusion among big six

Ed Miliband is right to be concerned about the lack of competitiveness in the UK energy retail sector. His worries are shared by many observers in the media and those of us in the regulatory and academic…
Electricity prices, renewable energy, climate change, uranium exports: what does the Coalition plan to do about our energy future? Electricity prices, renewable energy, climate change, uranium exports: what does the Coalition plan to do about our energy future? akeii/Flickr

Where to for energy policy under a Coalition government?

The Coalition has returned to government at a time of uncertainty and rapid change in almost every area of energy policy. With an energy policy released and a responsible minister named, what can we determine…
The Coalition will retain the Labor government’s onshore extension of the Petroleum Resource Rent Tax. The Coalition will retain the Labor government’s onshore extension of the Petroleum Resource Rent Tax. AAP

Coalition to axe mining tax, but petroleum will keep on giving

Along with repealing the carbon tax, scrapping the mining tax is one of the Abbott government’s first orders of business. Deeming it damaging for jobs and investment, Prime Minister Tony Abbott promised…
Recent reports reveal that the cost of environmental damage far outweighs the cost of business model restructuring. Recent reports reveal that the cost of environmental damage far outweighs the cost of business model restructuring. Image from www.shutterstock.com

Dollar signs of the times: how our politicians are costing the Earth

One of the most depressing and puzzling features of the current election campaign is the lack of emphasis on the costs that environmental risks pose to industry and business. Australian politicians appear…
An aerial view of the Cononaco River in the Ecuadorian Amazon, with a huge emergent Ceiba tree in the foreground. An aerial view of the Cononaco River in the Ecuadorian Amazon, with a huge emergent Ceiba tree in the foreground.

FactCheck: is protecting global rainforests the best way to rapidly tackle climate change?

“Nothing would do more to rapidly decrease the risk of climate change than a major plan to protect global rainforests” – Opposition climate action spokesman Greg Hunt, media release, 30 August. Launching…
The ground beneath our feet is full of riches. How do we make the most of them? The ground beneath our feet is full of riches. How do we make the most of them? Flickr/ginger_ninja

Election 2013 Issues: The ground beneath our feet

Welcome to the The Conversation Election 2013 State of the Nation essays. These articles by leading experts in their field provide an in-depth look at the key policy challenges affecting Australia as the…
The health of our rural landscapes depends on supportive policies and hard work by caring Australians, such as here on David Marsh’s property near Boorowa, NSW. The health of our rural landscapes depends on supportive policies and hard work by caring Australians, such as here on David Marsh’s property near Boorowa, NSW. Andrew Campbell

Election 2013 Issues: Looking after Australia

Welcome to the The Conversation Election 2013 State of the Nation essays. These articles by leading experts in their field provide an in-depth look at the key policy challenges affecting Australia as the…
Giving overseas investors more power over our energy resources is no way to ensure security or emissions reductions. Giving overseas investors more power over our energy resources is no way to ensure security or emissions reductions. Ross Beckley

Will a new government hand control of our energy to overseas investors?

As we approach the Australian federal election, trade minister Richard Marles recently confirmed Australia will not sign the Trans Pacific Partnership Trade Agreement if it includes an investor-state dispute…
Costs vs carbon. Costs vs carbon. Rui Vieira/PA

Germany decisive while UK dithers on green energy routes

Germany and the UK have ambitious clean energy policies. Both have set themselves national emission reduction targets beyond the European Union’s goal of 20% below emissions levels of 1990. Germany has…
Do they have any idea what they’re doing? Or is it all an act? Do they have any idea what they’re doing? Or is it all an act? Stefan Rousseau/PA

Osborne won’t usher in a renewable renaissance

In a dramatic flourish of energy policy announcements over the past two weeks, the government’s spending review was merely the first act. Soon after, a British Geological Survey report revealed our huge…
A trade dispute between China and the EU could blow up into full-on stormy weather. A trade dispute between China and the EU could blow up into full-on stormy weather. Ben Birchall/PA

International spat over solar must not turn into trade wars

Manufacturers and politicians embroiled in the dispute between China and the EU are closely watching the looming deadline of June 5th. By then the European Commission must conclude its provisional anti-dumping…
Without energy storage technology we’re leaving good energy blowing in the wind. Without energy storage technology we’re leaving good energy blowing in the wind. Danny Lawson/PA

When the wind blows we must capture it for a calmer day

The handling of Britain’s energy strategy leaves much to be desired, subject as it is to short term politics over long term planning. We face a trilemma that stems from the opposing tension of climate…
Speed is not enough, we need growth. Speed is not enough, we need growth. Gareth Fuller/PA

Planes and trains can deliver the growth the IMF wants

The International Monetary Fund’s annual report on the UK economy calls for the Chancellor to boost economic growth through investing in infrastructure. While the IMF is right to make this point, we must…
The roots of Germany’s anti-nuclear stance go back many decades, and are stronger than ever today. The roots of Germany’s anti-nuclear stance go back many decades, and are stronger than ever today. Memkaos/Flickr

Nuclear futures: renewables blossom in Germany’s post-nuclear vision

When the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in Japan was hit by a tsunami in March 2011, the disaster had a profound effect on German energy policy. Chancellor Angela Merkel reasoned that “Fukushima…
Speedy and decisive action is needed from the government to ensure our future energy security. Speedy and decisive action is needed from the government to ensure our future energy security. Flickr/Cayusa

Nuclear futures: tough decisions needed to keep Britain’s lights on

Our nuclear reactors have reached the end of their lives, North Sea oil is running out, coal is dirty: Britain faces an energy crisis of rising demand and falling supply. In our Nuclear Futures series…
Even if Congress is opposed, President Obama has made it clear he means to act on climate change. Even if Congress is opposed, President Obama has made it clear he means to act on climate change. EPA/JIM LO SCALZO

State of the Union: climate change action is a domestic concern

In his Inauguration address on 21 January, Obama placed tackling climate change high on the agenda for his second term. His definitive statement that “we will respond to the threat of climate change” signalled…
Barack Obama and Mitt Romney share the goal of US “energy independence”. Barack Obama and Mitt Romney share the goal of US “energy independence”. Neil Kremer/Flickr

US elections and environment: The dubious goal of US ‘energy independence’

Energy policy featured only briefly in the first debate between President Obama and his challenger Mitt Romney. As became evident in the second debate, Romney’s case for restoring strong economic growth…
Republicans have dragged the US energy policy debate, on issues like foreign oil independence, far to the right. Republicans have dragged the US energy policy debate, on issues like foreign oil independence, far to the right. micheleoneill/Flickr

US elections and environment: the politics and the policy fundamentals

That Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney is locked into such an unalloyed pro-oil stance is not so surprising, given the alignment of the core Republican states with oil producers' interests. However…
Do you see the light? Solar costs are comparable to fossil fuels, and are falling 45% annually. Do you see the light? Solar costs are comparable to fossil fuels, and are falling 45% annually. Flickr/MyEye85

Newsflash: solar power costs are falling below fossil fuels

Recent postings to The Conversation have enlivened the debate over the “Great Transition” that is underway all around the world from the fossil-fuelled energy systems of the 20th century to the renewably…
ANU’s “big dish” solar is the envy of Asia, but the Australian Government has turned its back. ANU’s “big dish” solar is the envy of Asia, but the Australian Government has turned its back. AAP

Wake up Australia, and take a lesson on solar from Korea

I am here in Seoul, the burgeoning and confident capital of a burgeoning and confident Korea, to investigate the country’s formidable “Green Growth” strategy. Back in August 2008, the Korean government…

Research Briefs (1)