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Environment + Energy — Analysis and Comment

Australia likely has several decades of coal left in it yet. eyeweed/flickr

Four ways to boost Australia’s economy that can help the climate

Australia likely has decades of fossil fuels left to extract, export and burn. That could prove to be a problem if the world comes to an agreement on climate change. Here's four ways to help the economy, and the climate.
Monitoring fishing vessels could be a growth industry in the tiny Pacific island nations that govern the world’s largest tuna fishery. AAP Image/Xavier La Canna

The Pacific islands ‘tuna cartel’ is boosting jobs by watching fish

A tiny handful of Pacific island nations control more than 50% of the world's tuna fishery, and their efforts to monitor international fishing vessels are set to become a major source of jobs.
Proposed laws requiring covert footage of animal cruelty to be handed promptly to authorities would make in-depth investigations much harder. Animals Australia

Australia’s new bill to protect animals will do anything but

Proposed laws requiring immediate reporting of animal cruelty sound like a good idea. But in practice they will make it harder to mount comprehensive investigations like the ABC's greyhound expose.
South Australian Premier Jay Weatherill surprised his federal Labor colleagues by announcing a Royal Commission on possibilities for the nuclear industry. AAP Image/Alan Porritt

South Australia’s broad-brush nuclear review is meant to sideline opponents

The terms of reference for South Australia's Royal Commission on the nuclear industry are intentionally broad, meaning that anti-nuclear advocates will have to choose carefully where they direct their efforts.
Kangaroos are common in some areas but scarce in others. AAP Image/Lukas Coch

FactCheck: are kangaroos at risk?

Are kangaroos in plague proportions, necessitating large-scale killing and a commercial industry, or are they in decline?
Hefty problem: a local council was left with a huge clean-up bill after a dead whale washed up in Perth last year. AAP Image/City of Stirling

Dead whales are expensive – whose job is it to clear them up?

Dead whales can cost beachside ratepayers a lot to clean up. The alternative is to tow them away before they wash up - but the legal question of who does the job is far more complex than it sounds.
Lake Eyre: pretty dry today, but before 50,000 years ago it was an inland sea teeming with life. Matt Malone/Wikimedia Commons

Drying inland seas probably helped kill Australia’s megafauna

Huge beasts roamed Australia before suddenly dying out around 50,000 years ago. New research shows that at this time, vast inland lakes dried up, potentially explaining the megafauna's demise.
In most states, the issue of container deposit legislation has festered for decades. Brian Finestone/Shutterstock.com

Spin the bottle: the fraught politics of container deposit schemes

Four decades after South Australia's container deposit scheme began, New South Wales has finally overcome industry resistance and launched its own. Could the rest of the country now follow suit?
Use your solar photovoltaic panels to heat your water too, and you could cut the amount of excess electricity you give away cheaply to the grid. zstock/Shutterstock.com

Get more out of your solar power system by using water as a battery

Most solar power households feed excess electricity back into the grid, for very little financial reward. A hot water heat pump could put that power to better use, by heating water for evening use.
Not at loggerheads: jobs and the environment can coexist in Queensland’s north. Willem van Aken/CSIRO/Wikimedia Commons

Jobs versus the environment: the debate Queensland can end

Do politicians really have to choose between being pro-development or pro-environment? No, says Allan Dale, and Queensland's new government has the chance to prove it.
A huge float called an ‘actuator’ is lowered into the water off the Perth coast. AAP Image/Carnegie Wave Energy

Surf’s up – can wave energy rise to the challenge in Australia?

Australia's first large-scale wave energy project is online off the coast of Perth. As Hugh Wolgamot writes, it's a promising development, but technological challenges remain.
Orange roughy - one of the vulnerable fish species caught on the high seas. CSIRO Science Image

Close two-thirds of the ocean to make fishing better and fairer

The high seas – the area outside any country’s national waters – cover nearly two-thirds of the oceans and are largely ungoverned. Some fishers do venture into the open ocean and over the past century…
Despite adjustments to temperature data in the Arctic, the overall global warming trend remains the same. Flickr/P J Hansen

Global warming trend unaffected by ‘fiddling’ with temperature data

Attacks on institutions that keep records of global temperatures, such as NASA, the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the UK Met Office, and Australia’s Bureau of Meteorology, continue…
Secret footage revealed that Australian greyhound trainers are still using the banned practice of live baiting. Animals Australia

Greyhound racing in disgrace as riches push trainers to barbarity

Australia’s greyhound industry is reeling from the ABC’s Four Corners expose, featuring graphic footage of racing dogs tearing other mammals apart in the illegal training practice of live baiting. The…
Shell chief Ben van Beurden is pointing the way for oil companies to demand greater certainty over future climate policy. EPA/FACUNDO ARRIZABALAGA/AAP

Shell chief calls for climate action, but what are the firm’s motives?

In a speech last Thursday at International Petroleum Week – one of the biggest events on the industry’s calendar – Ben van Beurden, chief executive of Royal Dutch Shell, argued that big energy companies…
Water in Western Australia is one of the Academy’s examples of where climate is having an impact, and where communities are already adapting. Bram Souffreau/Wikimedia Commons

Australian Academy of Science brings climate change closer to home

The Australian Academy of Sciences today released the new The Science of Climate Change: Questions and Answers. This is an extensively revised update of a similar publication in 2010. Its stated purpose…