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Rio Tinto’s Mount Thorley-Warkworth mine in the Hunter Valley, which looks set to expand further. The NSW planning department says it would “not be reasonable” to require Rio Tinto “to completely or even partially backfill the final void”. Lock The Gate Alliance/Flickr

Disused mines blight New South Wales, yet the approvals continue

There are hundreds of derelict mine sites across New South Wales – and the state planning department has admitted it is "not aware of the total size" of large mining voids currently being left behind.
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.
The University of Sydney is hoping to chart a path to climate-safe investment. University of Sydney

Universities are (slowly) feeling their way forward on divestment

Another Australian university has outlined plans to reduce the exposure of its investments to climate change, and is taking a contrasting approach to the Australian National University’s high-profile divestment…
To find out if the carbon price worked, you have to look at the electricity sector. Paul Hocksenar/Flickr

FactCheck: did carbon emissions fall faster before the carbon price?

Emissions fell by six times the rate in the five years before the carbon tax than they did under the carbon tax. – Environment minister Greg Hunt, The Guardian, January 17, 2015. Australia’s total greenhouse…
Should coal projects be held responsible for the greenhouse emissions that flow from their product, even if it’s burned on another continent? CSIRO/Wikimedia Commons

Court challenge will test coal mining’s climate culpability

A new legal challenge to the proposed Carmichael coal mine – Australia’s largest – will test in the federal court whether climate change caused by greenhouse gas emissions should be taken into account…
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…

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