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Climate change policy

Analysis and Comment (35)

Underwater cabinet meetings may soon be all too common. Mohammed Seeneen/AP

Legal avenues to fight climate change are limited, but growing

Given that the IPCC now considers that climate change is “unequivocal”, that human influence is “95-100%” likely to be the dominant cause, and that its effects are already being felt around world, it is…
How much green will it cost to go green?

IPCC report shows Stern inflated climate change costs

How much does climate change cost? What will be the impact on our wallets? The latest report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) Working Group II has concluded that global warming…
The result of bad planning? EPA/FACUNDO ARRIZABALAGA

Environment policy must embrace uncertainty

The uncertainty of the future is a universal concern. Humans have always tried to see into the future with the aid of specialist knowledge – from the days when rulers consulted haruspices and diviners…
Smoking: bad for pretty much everything. SlapAyoda

Establishing consensus is vital for climate action

What’s the best way to reduce the roughly half a million annual deaths from smoking in the US alone? Nearly half a million lives cut short, often with untold suffering, by a commercial product that has…
It’s about climate change, but it’s not ALL about climate change. John Giles/PA

Scrapping EU renewable targets after 2020 makes no sense

The European Commission has presented a new climate and energy policy framework for 2030 that focuses heavily on emissions reductions. Currently the EU implements “20-20-20” targets, which require a 20…
It is still not clear how emissions reductions will be measured. Marcus Wong/Wikimedia Commons

Three major loopholes in the Direct Action climate plan

You could be forgiven for missing it, but on the Friday afternoon before Christmas, federal environment minister Greg Hunt released the draft details of the Emissions Reduction Fund – the centrepiece of…
What does the future hold? SomeDriftwood

Scanning the horizon for future environmental challenges

Medical treatments for amphibians, resurrection of extinct species, increasing temperatures in the deep oceans and trade-offs between the financial value of fossil fuels and the magnitude of climate change…
What are the key issues influencing future climate change policy?

A 2014 calendar for climate change policy-making

To mark the beginning of a new year, I have put together a list of some of the major issues and events expected to influence climate change policy-making in 2014. From 1 to 8, these are my top predictions…
Lack of information and advice on climate change isn’t the problem. Steve Easterbrook

Government doesn’t need climate bodies: it needs commitment

In closing the Climate Commission, and introducing legislation to abolish the Climate Change Authority, the government has said it can instead rely on information from the Australian Bureau of Meteorology…
It hasn’t all been repeal… AAP Image/Alan Porritt

Climate and science policy: the Coalition’s first 90 days

As the end of the Parliamentary year draws to a close, and we mark the Coalition’s first few months in power, I thought it would be useful to provide a comprehensive list of climate change and science…
Jaundiced view? Julien Behal/PA

Russia’s silence on climate change helps no one

Russia is the fourth largest producer of greenhouse gases, but has shown little initiative and remained quiet among the turmoil at the UN Conference of the Parties (COP) climate summit in Warsaw. The hottest…
One is a national emergency, one isn’t. AAP Image/Courtesy; SBS Dateline, Supplied by Hussein Khoder & AAP Image/Dan Peled

Why ‘the boats’ are a national emergency and climate change isn’t

As anyone who has seen immigration minister Scott Morrison’s recent military-style press conferences knows, the Coalition has declared asylum seeker boats arriving in Australia are a “national emergency…
It’s too early for the new government to lose interest in international climate negotiations. EPA/NIC BOTHMA

Abbott’s climate ‘diplomacy’ sends the wrong message

This week, the Australian Government announced that it would not send a minister to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) negotiations in Poland for the first time since 1997. This announcement…
Messing around with climate change makes no sense. Michael Lloyd

Australia is hot, dry and risky, so why cut climate action?

The Abbott Government’s proposed repeal of Australia’s climate legislation will be heard through history. This action is being taken at a time when the rest of the world is moving in the other direction…
Maybe reducing the number of participants would help bring agreement. Andrea Lawardi

International climate agreements? There must be a better way

With the release Friday of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Fifth Assessment Report of the state of climate science, the message has never been clearer: we have to do something to get…
Australia can ill afford to lose the Climate Change Authority, led by experienced climate policy analyst Anthea Harris. AAP Image/Alan Porritt

Australia needs climate institutions, whoever is in power

The new Australian government is sacking the public service heads who implemented Australia’s carbon pricing scheme, and is closing institutions for climate change information and policy advice. It risks…
Mr Abbott yesterday made clear he’s not committed to a 5% reduction in emissions, and raised doubts about his acceptance of climate science. AAP Image/Alan Porritt

Soft targets, no caps, hot world? Abbott clarifies his position on climate policy

Saturday’s election will largely determine Australia’s domestic climate policy settings through to 2020. It will define Australia’s stance in international climate negotiations on targets and mitigation…
Kevin Rudd tried to turn climate change into a security issue, so why didn’t it work? AAP Image/Danish Foreign Ministry

Rudd and the failed promise of climate security

Kevin Rudd once called climate change “the greatest moral, economic and social challenge of our time”. Despite the fiery rhetoric, support for climate change action declined during his tenure. So, how…
Believing climate change isn’t happening won’t make it go away. Image from

Your MP doesn’t ‘believe’ in climate change? Ask the tough questions

As we head into an election, you’d be justified in asking what your local member is basing their climate change decisions on. If your MP says “I don’t support policies to prevent dangerous climate change…
The writing may be on the wall for Labor’s carbon policy, but that doesn’t mean the states should give up. Flickr/bk2204

States of decay: complementing the federal carbon policy

In a survey last year of 22,812 people across 22 countries (including Australia), the polling organisation GlobeScan found that environmental concerns had fallen worldwide since 2009, and fewer than one…
The Coalition’s proposed alternative to “the great big new tax” relies on storing carbon in trees and soil. AAP Image/Mick Tsikas

Will the Opposition’s Direct Action Plan work?

The Coalition has promised that if it takes government in September, it will get rid of the price on carbon emissions established by the Australian Labor Party. In its place, the party will implement a…
The American people have spoken in favour of climate change by re-electing Barack Obama to a second presidential term. Flickr/

Obama’s second term challenges must include tackling climate change

In his acceptance speech of November 6, Barack Obama at long last reaffirmed the need to address global warming. But unfortunately he also reaffirmed the spurious goal of US oil independence, which can…
A coal ship caught on Nobby’s Beach in Newcastle. The city is the biggest in the world for coal exports. asnewlibrarian/Flick

Why Australia must stop exporting coal

Why get worked up about our climate responsibilities when Australia’s contribution to global emissions – around 1.5% of the total - is small? Here is the usual reply. Australia’s domestic greenhouse gas…

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