Articles on Climate policy

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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…
Clive Palmer announced his climate policy at a press conference with former US vice president Al Gore last night. AAPImage/Alan Porritt

AUDIO Q&A: What’s in and out of Palmer’s climate strategy

In a surprising announcement last night Clive Palmer promised to abolish Australia’s current carbon price, and block the coalition’s Direct Action policy. But Palmer has said he will vote to retain the…
China’s air pollution reached crisis levels last year - but dealing with it could also mitigate climate change. William Veerbeek/Flickr

China’s plan to combat pollution will fight climate change too

Last month was the hottest May in terms of global surface temperature in a historical record that extends back 130 years, according to NASA, and with an El Niño forecast for the end of the year, we could…
Global action to reduce emissions could threaten Australia’s coal exports. Lock the Gate Alliance/Flickr

Australia’s economy will suffer if we fall behind on climate action

Australia’s economy faces grave threats from climate change, but the greatest threat is if we do not make a serious effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. It’s not just the physical impacts of climate…
It’s all one atmosphere: tackling climate change will need action on a global scale. blueforce4116/Flickr

The other world game: reporting from international climate talks

Over the weekend the latest round of international climate negotiations concluded in Bonn, Germany. Offering some encouragement, the talks are inching towards a new global agreement in Paris 2015 for global…
Tony Abbott and Canadian prime minister Stephen Harper are waving the flag of climate sabotage. AAP Image/Australian Government

No surprises: Canada and Australia are behind on climate

On tour in North America, Prime Minister Tony Abbott has forged an alliance with the Canadian prime minister Stephen Harper on climate change. Both champion climate policies that don’t put a price on carbon…
Whatever you call it - climate change, global warming, or the greenhouse effect - it’s increasing the frequency and severity of heatwaves. AAP Image/Dean Lewins

We need to talk about how we talk about climate change

How we talk about climate change has a lot to do with how we feel about it, and what we’re willing to do to act on it. Recent research from the US found that the terms “global warming” and “climate change…

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