Carbon Economy


Cimate Authority exposes Abbott

From the SMH: In a draft report that is likely to ignite further debate about the Abbott government’s policies, the Climate Change Authority said Australia should aim for a 15 per cent cut in emissions by 2020 compared with 2000 levels as a “minimum option”. The authority, which the Coalition has vowed to scrap, said


Why is Antarctic sea ice growing?

Cross-posted from The Conversation. Recently NASA reported that this year’s maximum wintertime extent of Antarctic sea ice was the largest on record, even greater than the previous year’s record. This is understandably at odds with the public’s perception of how polar ice should respond to a warming climate, given the dramatic headlines of severe decline in Arctic


Economists trash “direct action”

Leading economists have overwhelmingly rejected Tony Abbott’s direct action climate change policy and backed carbon pricing. For what its worth, a Fairfax Media survey 32 of 35 prominent economists supported carbon pricing: Internationally renowned Australian economist Justin Wolfers…said direct action would involve more economic disruption but have a lesser environmental pay-off than an emissions trading


Abbott slams fire, warming link

From the AFR: In a wide-ranging interview with right-wing columnist and broadcaster Andrew Bolt, due to air on television on Sunday, Mr Abbott slammed the ABC and other media organisations for suggesting this month’s bushfires were a result of climate change. “I suppose, you might say, that they are desperate to find anything that they


Sydney burns as carbon price goes

From the SMH: A senior United Nations climate change official says there is ”absolutely” a link between climate change and bushfires and has warned that the Coalition government will pay a high political and financial price for its decision scrap carbon pricing. In an interview with CNN’s Christine Amanpour on Monday, the head of the


Industry still wants to trade carbon

The Australian Industry Group is on crusade this morning to render “Direct Action” moot. From the AFR: The Abbott government’s direct action climate change policy is unlikely to reduce carbon emissions sufficiently, and the money set aside for it would be better spent on paying for pollution reduction in developing counties, the Australian Industry Groups


Carbon price repeal won’t cut your bills

As I’ve said. From the SMH: Hugh Saddler, a principal consultant for energy analysts Pitt & Sherry, said it had been ”almost impossible” to see the carbon price footprint when it was introduced, and it would be no easier if it was removed. The Australian Bureau of Statistics agreed. ”The ABS is not able to


Carbon price ritual sacrifice begins

From the SMH: Tony Abbott will have the first half of a constitutional trigger for a double-dissolution election in place by Christmas, after announcing plans to present his carbon price repeal legislation this year. The move keeps open the chances of another election in the first half of 2014 if the eight bill package is


China launches carbon price pilot

It’s one of those spectacular ironies of history when the communists push forward into market reforms where the capitalists fear to tread. But that’s where we’re at today with carbon pricing. As Australia prepares to dismantle its emissions trading scheme via a politically driven government with little interest in markets and a clever coal billionaire


IPCC: It’s getting hotter

The AFR this morning reports that: The latest findings from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change on the science of climate change, on whichThe Australian Financial Review has been briefed, are expected to upgrade the likelihood that man-made activity is causing global warming to 95 per cent. It is now “unequivocal” Earth has warmed since the start of


Is hydraulic fracking for natural gas safe?

By Leith van Onselen Technological advancement and the shale gas revolution currently underway in the United States has encouraged other countries to seek to extract natural gas trapped in shale rocks or coal seams via the process of hydraulic fracking. This process essentially involves drilling and inserting a pipe deep into the ground and then


Coalition axes Climate Department

By Leith van Onselen It hasn’t taken long for the new Coalition Government to fulfill its election promise to disband the Climate Commission and sack its commissioners: The Coalition is delivering on an election promise to dispense with the commission, saving taxpayers $580,000 this financial year and $1.6 million in following years… “The Coalition believes


Where to for Coalition energy policy?

Cross-posted from The Conversation The Coalition has returned to government at a time of uncertainty and rapid change in almost every area of energy policy. With an energy policy released and a responsible minister named, what can we determine about where this new government is headed? The Coalition’s formal policy tries to address some of


Leaked UN report sees ice melting faster

From Bloomie: Ice in Antarctica and Greenland is disappearing faster and may drive sea levels higher than predicted this century, according to leaked United Nations documents. Greenland’s ice added six times more to sea levels in the decade through 2011 than in the previous 10 years, according to a draft of the UN’s most comprehensive study on


World Bank sees $1 trillion bill for rising seas

From the World Bank overnight: Climate change, rapid urbanization, and subsiding land are putting the world’s coastal cities at increasing risk of dangerous and costly flooding, a new study calculating future urban losses from flooding shows. The study, led by World Bank economist Stephane Hallegatte and the OECD, forecasts that average global flood losses will


IPCC hikes its global warming certainty

From the SMH: The world is on track to become up to five degrees hotter, and sea levels could rise more than 80 centimetres this century, according to a leaked draft of a landmark climate change report prepared for the UN. There is now a 95 per cent likelihood human greenhouse gas emissions are driving


Solar power is becoming increasingly viable

By Leith van Onselen The Financial Times has published an interesting article on the increasingviability of solar power, whose costs have reduced by so much that they are now in a position to legitimately challenge conventional power sources, even without subisdies: Until now, the idea that unsubsidised solar power could make enough financial sense to


Carbon emissions stable over past decade

Cross-posted from The Conversation There has been no growth in greenhouse gas emissions in Australia over the last decade, despite economic growth of 31% over the same period, a new report has found. The findings show that conversion to a green economy need not be painful and is already underway in Australian industry. The report,


In defense of carbon markets

Cross-posted from The Conversation. John Daley, Chief Executive Officer, the Grattan Institute. Many are puzzled by the political theory of carbon markets. Why does the Institute for Public Affairs – a libertarian think tank – oppose a market in carbon? Tim Wilson, for example, thinks that private property rights are good, intellectual property rights are important,


Paying for carbon politics

Details are emerging on how the Rudd government will pay for its carbon politics: The Rudd government will impose a new public service efficiency dividend, slash at least $750 million from climate change programs and possibly tighten fringe benefits tax concessions for ­salary-sacrificed cars to help cover the $4 billion bill for dropping the fixed


Carbon price gives way to politics

From David Uren: The Prime Minister yesterday invoked the need to cut living costs for his decision to replace the carbon tax with an emissions trading system 12 months earlier than scheduled in July next year, bringing an effective 75 per cent cut in the carbon price. …Mr Rudd stressed that the deal had to


NSW to produce fuel from algae

By Leith van Onselen One of the purported benefits of implementing a carbon tax or an emissions trading scheme is that it will, over time, transition the economy away from dirtier sources of energy towards cleaner sources by better aligning firms’ goal of profit maximisation with the Government’s goal of lowering Australia’s carbon footprint. Today,


Is carbon pricing reducing emissions?

Cross-posted from The Conversation Australia’s carbon pricing mechanism has been vilified by the Federal Opposition and certain members of the business community, but it is a key part of Australia’s response to climate change. So one year on, where does it stand? Far from being “absolutely catastrophic” and a “wrecking ball” to the economy as


The sickening wind

From the Guardian Australia: The Coalition will impose new noise monitoring rules on windfarms that the multibillion dollar industry says will inflict crippling costs, provide no useful information and represent another victory for an anti-noise campaign by concerned citizens backed in part by the climate sceptic lobby. The yet-to-be-released resources policy is set to require


Let the dangers mount!

Cross-posted from Kate Mackenzie at FTAlphaville. ‘Collectively, humanity has yawned and decided to let the dangers mount’ So writes the FT’s Martin Wolf in his column today, which starts out noting that atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations exceeded 400 parts per million last week, the highest level in 4.5m years. As he says, if we take a prudential