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Safeguarding rainforests is an area where the United Nations has made great strides - hopefully the Paris summit can deliver more of the same. Sze Ning/Flickr.com/Wikimedia Commons

A global deal that drives good decisions: what success at the Paris summit should look like

In the final part of his essay on the Paris climate talks, Nick Rowley explains how a successful deal, whether binding or not, needs to influence directly the domestic policies of the world's nations.
UN lead climate negotiator Christiana Figueres (second from left) has been hailed as having the dynamism needed to drive the Paris talks. EPA/AAP

Why the Paris climate talks won’t be another Copenhagen

The much-hyped 2009 Copenhagen climate summit yielded only a flimsy accord. But, as Nick Rowley writes in part 2 of his three-part essay on the 2015 Paris climate talks, there are several reasons why this year won't see another flop.
BP’s energy outlook would make it difficult to keep warming below 2C. EPA/BERND THISSEN

BP’s extreme climate forecast puts energy giant in a bind

BP's Energy Outlook report forecast an increase in fossil fuel use by a third. That would make it difficult to keep warming below 2C.
Should the EPA figure the cost of reducing mercury emissions from coal-fired power plants for health reasons? Adam

Justices debate benefits and costs of EPA mercury power plant rule

A Supreme Court case could undo a key piece of the Obama's environmental agenda, which hinges on whether the EPA should consider the costs of air pollution controls from coal plants.
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…

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