Carbon Economy


The purge in renewable energy employment continues

By Leith van Onselen The ABS has today released its Employment in Renewable Energy Activities 2014-15 report, which attempts to quantify the number of Australians working in the renewable energy industry. According to the ABS, employment in renewable energy has fallen by around one quarter since peaking in 2011-12: Employment in renewable energy activity fell


Urban consolidation and the heat island effect

By Leith van Onselen Griffith University academics, Tony Matthews and Jason Byrne, have posted an interesting article in The Conversation urging Australia’s planners to develop urban greening strategies to overcome the so-called “heat island effect” and cool Australia’s cities: …green infrastructure – including street trees, green roofs, vegetated surfaces and green walls – is emerging


Maurice drops BOM

Last year was the hottest by far but no, from The Australian: Weather bureaus have changed. They are no longer invisible organisations where avuncular bureaucrats use basic computers to deliver dodgy forecasts. Today’s weather bureaucrats are visible, sophisticated and ideological. But, despite a huge investment in supercomputers, their record for accurate forecasts remains dismal. Their


Tesla will shake-up Australia’s electricity market

By Leith van Onselen In December, Tesla launched its much vaunted residential Powerwall in Australia, which is a rechargeable lithium-ion battery that can be mounted on the wall of one’s house. Gizmodo explains the benefits of the Powerwall as follows: For those with solar panels already installed, it can store the excess energy being collected,


2015 hottest year on record by far

From the US NOAA: The State of the Climate November 2015 report noted that in order for 2015 to not become the warmest year in the 136-year period of record, the December global temperature would have to be at least 0.81°C (1.46°F) below the 20th century average—or 0.24°C (0.43°F) colder than the current record low


Coalition vows to tackle urban heat island

By Leith van Onselen Back in January last year, Helen Brown, Lecturer in Health, Safety and Environment at Curtin University, published an article in The Conversation arguing that the lack of trees in new housing developments is significantly increasing the use of air conditioners and energy use: Air conditioners across the country are running on


IEA condemns coal

Via Macquarie:  The International Energy Agency (IEA), often referred to by coal producers due to its bullish outlook, today released their Medium-Term Coal Market Report to 2020. They have cut their total global 2020 demand for coal by 500Mtce to 5.8bn Mtce and slashed their 5 year growth in Chinese coal demand from 2.6%pa


Global coal lobby chief says he’s a “slave trader”

From Euractiv: The coal industry’s European lobbying association has said that the landmark deal to cap global warming at the UN Climate Change Conference (COP21) in Paris means the sector “will be hated and vilified, in the same way that slave traders were once hated and vilified”. Brian Ricketts, Secretary-General of the European Association for Coal and


The future of Aussie coal after Paris

Cross-posted from The Conversation: The ink is barely dry on the Paris climate agreement and the debate has already started on how the deal will affect the future of fossil fuels, particularly coal. Following the deal on Sunday, the mining industry has responded that Australian coal will remain an important provider of affordable energy to


Carbon pricing returns Downunder

From the AFR come the loon pond on Paris: Liberal MP Craig Kelly has dismissed the agreement as a “farce” while West Australian MP Dennis Jensen, instrumental in the February attempt at a leadership spill, said any change to more ambitious climate policy would break a promise. …Speculation that Australia would allow the use of international emissions reduction credits to


Westpac embraces climate change action

From the AFR: Westpac Bank will find it hard to justify lending to new fossil fuel projects after it commits on Friday to running its business to support an economy that limits global warming to below 2 degrees. The new pledge will take Westpac well beyond the “support” offered by the three other big Australian


Have we finally reached peak emissions?

Cross-posted from The Conversation: Despite robust global economic growth over the past two years, worldwide carbon emissions from fossil fuels grew very little in 2014, and might even fall this year. A report released today by the Global Carbon Project has found that fossil fuel emissions of carbon dioxide grew by only 0.6% in 2014,


Lomborg: Your new climate correspondent

The loon pond has struck back today with PM Turnbull capitulating to his foaming internal opposition, from BS: Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull won’t sign an international agreement to phase out fossil fuel subsidies amid concerns it could jeopardise Australia’s diesel fuel rebates. Mr Turnbull has opted out of signing the key fossil fuel subsidy reform


COP21 comes, ready or not

The Paris Climate Change Conference, COP21, is underway. Martin Wolf has a nice backgrounder: Couldn’t have out that better myself. Meanwhile, Dumb and Dumber are thrashing it out at home, from The Australian: Malcolm Turnbull will hold open the prospect of increasing Aus­tralia’s carbon target as he joins other world leaders at today’s clim­ate change


Coal power plants going CHEAP!

From Fairfax: Brisbane-based energy consultant Trevor St Baker and coal baron Brain Flannery paid the princely sum of $1 million to the NSW government for the Vales Point power station. …The low price for the plant on the shores of Lake Macquarie – the backdrop for the film clip of the Midnight Oil hit “US Forces” – is sobering for


Britain goes ex-coal

From Reuters: Britain aims to close its coal-fired power plants by 2025 under newly unveiled plans, becoming the first major economy to put a date on shutting coal plants to curb carbon emissions. Instead, the country will look to nuclear and natural gas-fired power plants to complement intermittent renewable energy, Secretary of State for Energy


IEA set to crush coal forecasts

From the AFR: In a move no doubt to be seized on by the anti-coal lobby, the closely-watched International Energy Agency looks to be preparing to revise down its forecast for coal demand growth. …The unexpected slowdown in Chinese coal demand that was particularly evident in 2014 is a factor, but the IEA’s director for energy markets


It’s been Australia’s hottest October ever

Cross-posted from The Conversation: This has been Australia’s hottest October on record. Barring an (extremely unlikely) cold snap, it will also be the hottest October for Victoria, and for Melbourne. And the record-breaking temperatures are at least six times more likely thanks to human-induced global warming. But hold up, you say, October isn’t over yet!


PM Turnbull needs a carbon price

Continuing today’s energy theme, from the AFR comes PMT in response to the 61 coal-concerned latte sippers: “Coal is a very important part, a very large part, the largest single part of the global energy mix and likely to remain that way for a very long time…Having said that, the pace of technological development in the renewable space has been extraordinary. The pace of improvement


Electricity death spiral edges closer

By Leith van Onselen The electricity “death spiral” has, for a long time, been a key risk facing electricity generators/distributors globally. The “death spiral” arises when demand for power declines, due in part to customers taking up solar, leading to higher prices to cover fixed network costs. That is, the more people that take-up solar