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CSIRO’s solar-concentrating mirrors can be used for several purposes, including creating high-energy ‘SolarGas’. CSIRO

Australia should export more ideas and fewer greenhouse emissions

As climate negotiators meet at the United Nations' Lima summit, which comes hot on the heels of the landmark US-China climate deal, there is a renewed focus on how the world can move to a lower-emissions…
Queensland’s cuts to water red tape could leave outback bores high and dry. kdliss/Wikimedia Commons

Queensland risks running the well dry by gifting water to coal

On Wednesday, Queensland’s parliament passed water reform legislation that will make it easier to take and use water, particularly for large mining and agriculture projects. The state government also recently…
China and the US have announced new climate change targets. China says emissions will peak around 2030. Rolex Dela Pena/AAP

US–China emissions deal will put pressure on Australian growth

While most of the world is celebrating the US–China pact on climate change, the deal puts pressure on the Australian government and resources companies to rethink relations with China. The deal, signed…
Ambassador for the Environment Peter Woolcott, as president of the final UN conference on the Arms Trade Treaty. Twitter

Abbott’s coal case runs into stormy weather

Australia has a new ambassador to lead its negotiations for the December 2015 United Nations climate change conference in Paris, which is tasked with hammering out an international agreement for post-2020…
The government knows that solar panel subsidies are very popular with voters. zstock/Shutterstock

The pitfalls of using renewable energy as a political football

Federal industry minister Ian Macfarlane has finally revealed his opening gambit on negotiations on the future of the Renewable Energy Target (RET). He and environment minister Greg Hunt have pledged to…
AAP/Dan Peled

Coal, capitalism and intergenerational justice

The ANU’s recent decision to stop investing in companies it judges to have behaved in an unsustainable manner environmentally or even socially has attracted a great deal of attention. The overwhelming…
Universities in the US have led the divestment charge - the ANU is leading the Australian movement. Light Brigading/Flickr

Divestment backlash shows companies need to improve sustainability reporting

Tony Abbott’s criticisms of the ANU’s divestment decision will come back to bite him. The tide of change is such that Vice-Chancellor Ian Young and the ANU Council will be seen as leaders. Others will…
Opening a mine in Queensland this week, Prime Minister Tony Abbott said coal was “good for humanity”. Dan Peled/AAP

Abbott’s G20 agenda: climate still the elephant in the room

News emerging from Washington last week suggests climate change may amount to more than an FAQ in the appendices of this November’s G20 leaders' summit agenda. President Obama’s deputy national security…
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…
The prime minister’s business adviser Maurice Newman continues to distract business leaders on the issue of climate change. Julian Smith/AAP

It’s personal: why leaders don’t turn climate knowledge into action

There is an abundance of profitable business opportunity to be found in addressing sustainability issues. These stand out against the difficulties we face implementing effective change. Globally, the World…
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…
Is the ABC biased against fossil fuels? The IPA thinks so, but it’s not really the most constructive question to ask. AAP Image/Tracey Nearmy

Claims of ABC anti-coal and gas ‘bias’ aren’t backed by the facts

It’s tempting to view The Australian’s latest broadside at the ABC as just another salvo fired between our nation’s two biggest media organisations. But the coverage, based on an Institute of Public Affairs…
The Saraji coal mine in the Bowen coal basin produces around 5 million tonnes of coal each year. Adani’s Carmichael mine could produce up to 60 million. Image Library/Flickr

Carmichael mine is a game-changer for Australian coal

The Carmichael coal project, approved this week by environment minister Greg Hunt, is unprecedented in its scale, and also represents a significant shift in Australia’s coal industry. If the mine goes…
High-emission brown coal power generators including Hazelwood are set to be among the short-term winners from the carbon tax repeal. AAP Image/David Crosling

Who gains most from axing the carbon tax – and at what cost?

When the carbon tax was introduced, there was a lot of discussion about winners and losers. The Labor government limited the number of businesses that had to pay the tax, while it also gave carbon tax…
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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