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China’s embrace of technologies like solar roofs has seen it become the world’s biggest renewable energy investor. Climate Council

Australia is losing ground as the climate policy race gains pace

Climate change, now belatedly added to the agenda for this month’s G20 meeting in Brisbane, is a perennial topic whenever leaders gather for international summits. That’s understandable, given that countries…
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…
Bernie Fraser of the Climate Change Authority, environment minister Greg Hunt, and Clive Palmer announce a deal on a plan to cut Australia’s emissions this decade. What happens after that isn’t so clear. AAPImage/Alan Porritt

Direct Action’s here, but how will Australia cut carbon after 2020?

With the passage of the Emissions Reduction Fund through the Senate last night, the federal government has taken a step towards achieving Australia’s minimum target to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to…
Environment minister Greg Hunt and Palmer United Party leader Clive Palmer have agreed to an inquiry into an emissions trading scheme. AAP/Alan Porritt

Government agrees to inquiry into emissions trading scheme

The government has been forced to agree to an 18-month inquiry into an emissions trading scheme – despite declaring it would…
Chinese President Xi Jinping and India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi will both skip the UN climate talks, but that doesn’t mean the world’s biggest emitters aren’t acting. EPA/AAP

Leaders skip UN talks as China looks to go it alone on carbon

There are a few notable absentees among the more than 120 world leaders gathered in New York for today’s United Nations Climate Summit. Perhaps most notable of all is the head of the world’s highest-emitting…
Economic reforms such as a national carbon price could usher in dramatic changes on China’s energy landscape. Vmenkov/Wikimedia Commons

China heads for price on carbon; energy market overhaul is next

In the lead-up to the UN leaders’ summit on climate change, China is shifting up a gear in its drive towards national emissions trading. Yet for carbon pricing to be effective, market reform in China’s…
Clive Palmer, with the unlikely backing of Al Gore, may have found a way to salvage something from Australia’s looming climate policy vacuum. AAPImage/Alan Porritt

Stopgap carbon policies: far from perfect, but better than nothing

Climate policy is back on the agenda in Canberra this week, with the focus on the government’s centrepiece Direct Action plan. The Coalition will have to negotiate with the Palmer United Party, which will…
A tourist train from Sheringham to Holt steams past an offshore wind farm, one of many that have sprung up along the UK coast. Gerry Balding/Flickr

UK shows how Australia can cut emissions without a carbon tax

Australia’s carbon price has gone – but a UK review released this week shows that to lay the foundations for a low-carbon economy, pricing carbon is far from the whole story. Over recent months, as Australia’s…
Even before it was born, the carbon price had plenty of friends – and lots of enemies. Shutterstock

Obituary: Australia’s carbon price

The Carbon Pricing Mechanism, known to its friends as the carbon price and its critics as the carbon tax, passed away today in Canberra, aged two, after a long battle with slogans. While it won praise…
After more than a week of delays, the Senate has scrapped the carbon tax. AAP Image/Lukas Coch

Carbon tax repealed: experts respond

The government has succeeded in getting legislation passed to repeal the carbon tax, despite some last-minute doubts cast…
Emissions from Australia’s power network fell sharply as a result of the carbon price. Peripitus/Wikimedia Commons

Despite its imminent demise, the carbon price has cut emissions

Carbon emissions in Australia’s national electricity market would have been 11 to 17 million tonnes higher if Australia had not introduced a carbon price. New research using the latest data indicates that…
Leader of the House Christopher Pyne and Environment Minister Greg Hunt when the carbon tax repeal passed through the lower house on Monday. AAP Image/Alan Porritt

Carbon tax repeal raises long-term risks for Australian business

The bill to repeal Australia’s “carbon tax” is poised to pass the Senate, potentially leaving Australia without a working price on carbon. In the short term, the repeal may provide some relief for businesses…
Better appliances and energy-efficiency rules saved Australians more than A$3 billion on electricity last year alone. Shutterstock

Energy-smart appliances cut Australian power bills by billions

The latest review of Australia’s energy-saving appliance scheme has delivered a rare trifecta: a good news story for the economy, the community and the environment. According to my estimates from data…
Government energy efficiency regulation has made China a leader in clean technology. Do they really need an ETS? Yuek Hahn

Emissions trading in China: risky, difficult, but necessary

China’s pilot emissions trading scheme was launched on June 18 in Shenzhen. Five other pilots - Beijing, Tianjin, Shanghai, Hubei and Guangdong - are also expected to be launched this year. Only Chongqing…
In the last few years, both China and the US have ramped up efforts to address climate change. Stefano Paltera/US Dept. of Energy Solar Decathlon

China and the US step up on climate

Ambition has awakened the global energy giants, China and the United States. Both nations have recently strengthened commitments to address climate change and announced plans to strengthen collaboration…
The price of Australian carbon permits is set for a steep drop after 2015 when it links to Europe’s fluctuating emissions market. Flickr/PaulSteinJC

Europe’s rollercoaster carbon prices set to hit Australia

Australia’s key strategy to tackle climate change is looking shaky, after another price drop on the world’s biggest carbon…
Trade in emissions entitlements has struck some large practical problems. EPA/MARK

Falling EU carbon price should inspire greater mitigation efforts

Emissions growth in the 21st century was overwhelmingly concentrated in developing countries. My own calculations on “business as usual” emissions for the Climate Change Review Update suggested that in…

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