Articles on Climate policy

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UN negotiators will struggle to balance the demands of countries that want binding emissions targets, and those that don’t. EPA/Paolo Aguilar

‘Legally binding’ demands are still the biggest climate dealbreaker

Could the preoccupation with legally binding targets sink the next climate deal in Paris in 2015? In the run-up to this week’s Lima talks, widely seen as a precursor to the Paris summit, the Abbott government…
Chinese president Xi Jinping and Indian prime minister Narendra Modi. EPA/Harish Tyagi

Fair’s fair: time for China and India to step up at climate talks

At the UN Climate Negotiations underway in Lima, Peru, foreign minister Julie Bishop has called on China and India to do more to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. In her address to the conference on Wednesday…
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…
John Howard made sure he was facing the same way as other world leaders on climate policy, unlike the current Prime Minister. AAP Image/David Crosling

How John Howard could help turn Tony Abbott around on climate

Throughout his prime-ministership, which ran from 1996 to 2007, John Howard’s perspective on climate change was informed by geopolitics more than science. The Kyoto Protocol, the key international climate…
By 2100 there could be 11 billion people on Earth, but there’s no quick way to slow growth. James Cridland/Flickr

No quick fix for overpopulation — let’s focus on climate

The rise in population since 1900 has been so rapid that up to 14% of all humans that have ever lived are still alive today, according to recent research. Other research shows that slowing population growth…
Should you be paying for big energy users? Bill image from www.shutterstock.com

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…
The IPCC’s latest report sets the record straight on science (again), but could be stronger on the economic case for climate action. EPA/Niels Ahlmann Olesen/AAP

New IPCC report: busting myths, both scientific and economic

The headline statements of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s new Synthesis Report – unequivocal climate change, almost certainly driven largely by humans, and an urgent need to cut emissions…
Could carbon capture and storage be the way to clean up coal power stations, such as this one in Australia’s Latrobe Valley? Monash University/Flickr

Carbon capture and storage — reality or still a dream?

To have any chance of avoiding dangerous climate change we’ll have to reduce the carbon emissions from our energy sectors — currently the largest human source of greenhouse gas emissions globally. And…
It’s not just protesters: even climate models suggest it’s more sensible to act on climate change now. AAP Image/Delta Harpley

‘Wait and see’ on climate? No, the science is clear: act now

When should we act to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions and tackle climate change: now, or later when we know more? One person who thinks we should wait is New York University theoretical physicist…
The government’s energy green paper is seeking reform on electricity prices and gas supply; but avoids climate change. Rae Allen/Flickr

Energy green paper scores ‘pass’ on electricity, ‘fail’ on climate

The Energy Green Paper 2014 released this week by federal Industry Minister Ian Macfarlane provides more clear direction and coverage of critical policy issues than did its 2012 predecessor. However, while…
US president Barack Obama addresses the 2014 UN Climate Summit. EPA/JUSTIN LANE

A view from the 2014 UN Climate Summit in New York

The 2014 UN Climate Summit has wrapped up in New York. What has progressed and what big challenges remain in the run up to and beyond the Paris negotiations in December 2015? Secretary General of the UN…
As early as 2015 China’s use of thermal coal for electricity could peak. Bret Arnett/Flickr

Ross Garnaut: China to reach ‘peak coal’ for electricity by 2015

China’s use of coal for electricity could peak as early as next year, then decline until 2020 in a turnaround of “global importance”, according to economist Ross Garnaut in a lecture presented at the Melbourne…
Economist Thomas Piketty has warned “climate change cannot be eliminated at the stroke of a pen”. Parti Socialiste du Loiret/Flickr

Thomas Piketty, climate change and discounting our future

French economist Thomas Piketty and his book Capital in the Twenty-First Century are a global publishing phenomenon. But while Piketty’s writing on wealth inequality has been widely debated, far fewer…
Forestry is credited under New Zealand’s emissions trading scheme. World Resources Institute/Flickr

Carbon pricing is still the best way to cut emissions, if we get it right

The Coalition government has recently axed Australia’s carbon “tax”, leaving us with no carbon price. Alternatives include the government’s “Direct Action” plan, or Clive Palmer’s proposed emissions trading…
The Mount Thorley Warkworth mine in the Hunter Valley of New South Wales produces coal for both electricity and steel-making. Lock the Gate Alliance/Flickr

Australia’s coal industry needs to prepare for global climate action

At the recent midyear UN climate negotiations in Bonn, an unprecedented 60 countries (including Germany) called for a total phase-out of fossil fuels by 2050, as part of a global agreement on climate change…

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