Fossil fuels

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The Liverpool Plains near Gunnedah in New South Wales where the Watermark coal mine would be built. Tim J Keegan/Flickr

Shenhua mine’s water uncertainty means we should proceed with caution

The controversial Shenhua Watermark coal mine in New South Wales recently cleared another hurdle along the way to being granted full approval to proceed. But there are major environmental risks which should still call the project into question.
Pressure is mounting inside and outside Australia for greater action on climate. AAP Image/Dan Peled

The pressure is mounting on Abbott to deliver on climate

International and domestic forces appear to be conspiring to significantly ratchet up the pressure on Prime Minster Tony Abbott’s climate policy.
Last week’s G7 meeting showed that turning our backs on fossil fuels altogether is no longer a fringe idea. Michael Keppeler/EPA/AAP Image

We can quibble over timescales, but real climate progress is afoot

Advocates of climate action have been saying it for years - we need to wean ourselves off fossil fuels completely. And now, the leaders of the world's richest countries have started saying the same.
Old people in many countries are less likely to own a car. Anna Jurkovska/Shutterstock.com

Our ageing populations could help slow greenhouse emissions

Could developed countries' ageing populations help clean up the climate? New research suggests that a 1% increase in the proportion of over-65s delivers a 1.5% cut in carbon dioxide emissions.
As China realises the unpriced costs of coal power, such as air pollution, coal production is starting to fall. Gustavo M/Flickr

The world is waking up to the $5.3 trillion cost of fossil fuels

China's falling coal production suggests the world is waking up to the real cost of coal, calculated as $5.3 trillion in a report released this week.
You need to take a wider view to work out the true greenhouse emissions from nuclear power. Teollisuuden Voima Oy/Wikimedia Commons

Is nuclear power zero-emission? No, but it isn’t high-emission either

Nuclear power isn't 'zero-emission', as many proponents claim. Factor in uranium mining, power plant construction, and other factors and it has similar emissions to wind power. But that's still lower than fossil fuels.
Investment in technologies beyond the existing wind and solar could stagnate in the face of the government’s reduced Renewable Energy Target. Rolandg/Wikimedia Commons

How will the reduced Renewable Energy Target affect investment?

After months of deadlock, a deal has finally been reached to reduce the Renewable Energy Target, ending the uncertainty for industry but also risking an already sparse pipeline of future projects.
Amid the fanfare over the launch of the Powerwall, has Tesla’s Elon Musk struck a decisive blow for renewable energy? YouTube/Tesla Motors

The Tesla battery heralds the beginning of the end for fossil fuels

Tesla's new home battery could help halve the costs of electricity for typical American households - all using existing technology. The fossil fuel industry is right to be worried.
Ready for more? Department of Energy

Are we ready for more offshore drilling?

Five years after the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, the Obama administration is looking to expand offshore drilling. Is it any safer today?
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.
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.
Is Bill Gates' desire to help tackle the world’s problems compatible with his foundation’s huge fossil fuel investments? EPA/Cole Burston

Can the Gates Foundation be convinced to dump fossil fuels?

The Gates Foundation is being urged to dump its sizeable fossil fuel assets. Bill Gates cares deeply about world health and development, both of which are affected by climate, but will his charity divest?
The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has been urged to join the fossil fuel divestment movement. Adbar/Wikimedia Commons

Like everyone else, research charities have a duty to divest

The Guardian's divestment campaign is targeting charitable research trusts. John Quiggin says they have a moral duty to divest fossil fuels, regardless of the temptation to research technological climate fixes.

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