Saturday , August 8 2020
Home / Tag Archives: environment

Tag Archives: environment

End oil imports

One of the consequences of the pandemic has been the realization that reliance on the ready availability of imported goods may be a problem in a crisis. This isn’t new, particularly in relation to oil, which plays an outsized role in geopolitics. The supposed need to protect sea lanes, and particularly oil supplies against disruption has been a major part of the rationale for naval defence spending. And we have repeatedly been criticised for failing to maintain stocks of refined...

Read More »

Shellenberger

Michael Shellenberger’s “apology essay” is the last gasp of “ecomodernism” Although ecomodernists make a lot of claims, the only one that is distinctive is that nuclear power is the zero-carbon “baseload” energy source needed to replace coal, and that mainstream environmentalists have wrongly opposed it. Historically, there is something to this. It would have been better to keep on building nuclear plants in the 1980s and 1990s than to switch from oil to coal, and it was silly...

Read More »

If we could design JobKeeper within weeks …

… , we can exit coal by 2030. Here’s how to do it. That’s the title of my recent article in The Conversation. It’s a summary of a report, titled Getting Off Coal: Orderly, Early Transition to Minimise Impact for Australian Economy which was published recently by The Australia Institute. Share this:Like this:Like Loading...

Read More »

Adani news, June 2020

Amid the coronavirus pandemic, the climate crisis rolls on, slowed a bit by the economic impact of travel restrictions. The campaign to stop carbon dioxide emissions, including those from the Adani Carmichael project, has to continue as well.It’s now almost a year since Adani Mining gained the final environmental approvals for the construction of the Carmichael mine and rail project. At the time, the company promised to ramp up construction in a matter of weeks, with at least 1500 jobs...

Read More »

A pre-pandemic energy policy

The government has released a report on energy policy it commissioned from former Origin Energy boss Grant King. I prepared a brief response for the Australian media science centre The government’s thinking remains five to ten years behind the times.  Although the idea of new coal-fired power stations seems finally to have been abandoned, the report focuses heavily on technology options that seemed promising in the past but have now been abandoned everywhere in the developed world,...

Read More »

Coronavirus’s priceless gift

The freesias that my daughter sent me are long dead, but the clematis in my garden is in full flower, and the flowers smell of vanilla. It has taken over six weeks for my sense of smell to return. But I was only mildly ill. For many people, the road to recovery is much longer.Initially, coronavirus was thought to be a respiratory illness causing cough, fever and breathing difficulties. But the range of symptoms that the virus produces is now known to be much wider. Headache, muscle pains,...

Read More »

Getting off coal: Orderly exit or last-minute stampede

I’m one of 10 000 Australian academics who signed an open letter to Unisuper (our industry superannuation fund) calling for a policy of divestment from carbon-based fuels. The first step in such a policy has to be divestment from thermal coal. Purely on fiduciary grounds, getting out of thermal coal is now a matter of cashing out before the assets are completely unsaleable. Just in the last week, here’s a list of investors, ranging from small institutions to financial giants that have...

Read More »

This time is different …

… Australia’s tourist numbers may take years to recover. That’s the headline for my latest piece in The Conversation. It’s part of a larger project on the economic impact of the bushfire catastrophe. It’s going to be hard to disentangle this from coronavirus – I’m still thinking about this issue. Share this:Like this:Like Loading...

Read More »

Baristas and coal miners: apples and oranges

ABC Fact Check has a piece looking at a claim by the Young Greens that “making lattes provides more Australian jobs than the entire coal industry.” The detail of the tweet included the claim that there were 86000 barista jobs compared to 52000 in the coal mining industry The Fact Check Unit observed that the quoted firgure is for total employment in the cafe industry, not just barista. By comparing an estimate of the number of baristas to total employment in coal mining, the Fact...

Read More »

The worst case is happening

A couple of years ago, I published an article on why “extremely unlikely” climate events matter. The central point was that climate outcomes with a probability of 5 per cent or less (“extremely unlikely” in IPCC terminology) were still much more likely than risks we take seriously in our daily life, like dying in a car crash). As an illustration, at the time the piece was written, it seemed less than 5 per cent probable that, within two years, many countries in the world (including...

Read More »