Greenhouse gases

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It might be nice if buying the right to emit greenhouse pollution could be made a bit simpler. Oleandra/Shutterstock.com

Politics aside, a simple carbon tax makes more sense than a convoluted emissions trading scheme

The term 'carbon tax' is a political poison in Australia, thanks to the previous carbon tax which was actually an emissions trading scheme. Yet ironically, many economists prefer a tax over an ETS anyway.
To get to zero emissions, we’ll have to reform our energy sector away from fossil fuels. ccdoh1/Flickr

Australia can stop greenhouse gas emissions by 2050: here’s how

To avoid dangerous climate change there is a finite amount of greenhouse gas emissions, in particular CO<sub>2</sub>, that we can add to the atmosphere - our global carbon budget. If we use our budget wisely, we have until about 2050 to transition to zero net emissions. But how do we get there?
US domestic carriers won’t face emissions curbs until the rest of the world’s airlines do too. Lasse Fuss/Wikimedia Commons

Without a global deal, US curbs on airline emissions are hot air

Greenhouse emissions from the aviation industry are still largely unregulated. The prospect of regulations for US flights sounds like progress, but it won't happen without an elusive international consensus.
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.
A new Grattan Institute report suggests solar panels in Australia might be more trouble than they are worth. Duncan Rowalinson/Flickr

Given the value of emissions cuts, solar subsidies are worth it

The Grattan Institute has reported that the costs of solar panels have outweighed the benefits by almost A$10 billion in Australia. But the real benefits of cutting greenhouse emissions are much larger.
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.
The Fukushima disaster was a dark chapter for nuclear power - but high-profile accidents are far from the only downside. EPA/KIMIMASA MAYAMA/AAP

Accidents, waste and weapons: nuclear power isn’t worth the risks

Is nuclear power worth it? No, says Mark Diesendorf – it's never been a major world energy force, it has caused huge accidents, and its greenhouse emissions are higher than many people realise.
The wrong track? The biggest emitters, such as power stations, were largely absent from the government’s first round of greenhouse reduction contracts. AAP Image/Dan Peled

On these numbers, Australia’s emissions auction won’t get the job done

Federal environment minister Greg Hunt has hailed the first round of Emissions Reduction Fund auctions as a "stunning result". But extrapolating the numbers puts Australia behind on its carbon targets.
Scaling back coalmining is one way Australia could make big progress towards its emissions targets. CSIRO/Wikimedia Commons

Report calls for emissions cuts, but plays down the opportunities

The Climate Change Authority has recommended Australia cut greenhouse gas emissions 30% below 2000 levels by 2025. While sensible, the government is unlikely to accept, and the target misses bigger opportunities to cut emissions.
Climate Change Authority chair Bernie Fraser says other wealthy nations have already pledged far deeper emissions cuts than Australia. AAP Image/Lukas Coch

Climate Change Authority calls for 30% emissions cut by 2025

A report from Australia's Climate Change Authority recommends cutting greenhouse emissions by 30% by 2025 if the country is to be seen as a good global citizen in this year's climate negotiations.
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.
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.
Switching to alternative energy sources, such as renewables, and using more electric cars could double Australia’s energy productivity. NRMA Motoring and Services/Flickr

Australia could double its energy productivity by 2030: report

A new report shows Australia can and should double its energy productivity, increasing economic productivity while reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
Farming makes a huge contribution to global greenhouse emissions, mainly through methane from livestock. Billy Hathorn/Wikimedia Commons

Meat the future: new book sets out the effects of the world’s diet

Meat uses a lot of resources - between three and ten times as much as plants for the same amount of protein. The rich world might be slowly losing its taste for meat, but the developing world isn't.

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