Author: Greg Foyster

  • ENVIRONMENT

    Electric carmaggedon

    • Greg Foyster
    • 14 September 2017
    6 Comments

    There are lots of reasons why China wants to accelerate the uptake of electric vehicles. It desperately needs to curb air pollution, which the World Health Organization estimates kills more than a million of its citizens each year. It also wants to reduce dependence on imported oil, and help meet climate change targets. Most crucial, however, is China's intention to dominate the global market for electric vehicles and the technology that powers them, lithium-ion batteries.

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  • ENVIRONMENT

    The renewables debate is won, but we may still lose the war

    • Greg Foyster
    • 17 August 2017
    9 Comments

    In the last few years, vested interests have changed their strategy for opposing action on climate change. Where they once focused on denying the problem, they’re now putting their efforts into sabotaging the solutions. Instead of funding fake experts to say the ‘science isn’t settled’, fossil fuel companies and their political backers have been running a smear campaign against renewable energy technologies like wind turbines, solar panels and batteries.

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  • ENVIRONMENT

    Electricity market for dummies (i.e. politicians)

    • Greg Foyster
    • 20 July 2017
    11 Comments

    After months of very silly debate about clean energy, one thing is abundantly clear: the electricity market is evolving much faster than most politicians and commentators can understand it. The story underneath all the distraction is that wind and solar have already changed the game. As that big Finkel report no one read made clear, 'there is no going back from the massive industrial, technological and economic changes facing our electricity system'.

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  • ENVIRONMENT

    Finkel and the climate theatre of the absurd

    • Greg Foyster
    • 22 June 2017
    6 Comments

    If politics is theatre, climate politics is a family drama. For the last decade we've watched two rival households having the same endless argument. Political journos call it the 'climate wars' and mostly focus on the lead actors standing in the spotlight - in the Western narrative tradition, characters drive events. Almost no one has noticed the scenery change. Stagehands dismantled the backdrop years ago, but politicians have carried on as if the same circumstances existed when they started this charade.

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  • ENVIRONMENT

    Getting off gas not so easy for renters

    • Greg Foyster
    • 26 May 2017
    4 Comments

    Standard electric heaters turn roughly one unit of electricity into one unit of heat. A reverse cycle air conditioner, however, uses electricity to 'pump' heat from one place to another and is incredibly efficient. Using electricity from the grid creates more pollution than burning gas, but the electric reverse cycle air conditioner is so efficient it's still less damaging overall. That's great news for households with air con, but galling for anyone who can't afford one, or isn't allowed to install it.

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  • ENVIRONMENT

    Why we will never give up flying

    • Greg Foyster
    • 27 April 2017
    14 Comments

    I haven't flown for six years. I didn't feel a pressing need to travel, but most of all I didn't want to make such an enormous contribution to climate change. A return flight from Melbourne to London pumps about 1.8 tonnes of carbon pollution into the atmosphere, wiping out other efforts to reduce emissions at home. But now here I am on a Jetstar flight to Sydney for a climate change conference. As the plane takes off, I squirm with a sense of hypocrisy: I've broken my vow for the same reason I made it.

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  • ENVIRONMENT

    Climate pipe dreams

    • Greg Foyster
    • 31 March 2017
    5 Comments

    About 40km from Warrnambool in south-western Victoria is Australia's first demonstration site for storing carbon dioxide pollution deep underground. In photos, it doesn't look like much - a few water tanks, sheds and pipes in a brown paddock - and yet plans to meet the internationally agreed climate change target are betting on the success of projects like this. This isn't a fringe strategy anymore. It is a big part of the mainstream, politically preferred approach to address global warming.

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  • ENVIRONMENT

    Turnbull's coal pitch is a Trojan Horse for gas

    • Greg Foyster
    • 23 February 2017
    10 Comments

    Australia's most politically contentious rock is back in the limelight after Prime Minister Turnbull spruiked 'clean coal' power stations in early February, and Scott Morrison brought a lump of the stuff to parliament. It was a juvenile act, but an effective one: here we are again, still talking about coal weeks later, when the real energy policy battle is over gas. But that's how it goes - a pitch for a new coal-fired power station in Australia is actually a clever exercise in repositioning gas as a greener fuel.

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  • ENVIRONMENT

    Appeals to caring and fairness alone can't bridge climate divide

    • Greg Foyster
    • 02 February 2017
    10 Comments

    If climate change were a short-term problem, polarisation wouldn't be so crippling. One side could push a solution through parliament, and by the time the other side took power it might be a non-issue. But climate change is an extraordinarily long-term problem that requires massive investment in new infrastructure and consistent policy settings over decades. It needs a supermajority of support so years of work isn't undone with each change of government. That means getting conservatives on board.

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  • ENVIRONMENT

    US goes rogue on climate

    • Greg Foyster
    • 17 November 2016
    5 Comments

    Here we go again. Just a few days after the historic Paris Agreement on climate change entered force, another Republican climate denier has snatched the White House. Donald Trump isn't just a closet sceptic, paying lip-service to climate change while doing nothing about it. He's an out-and-proud conspiracy theorist. All signs point to the US returning to its role as international climate saboteur, and for much the same reasons: Republican paranoia over the economic rise of China.

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  • ENVIRONMENT

    Spin counts more than facts in SA wind farm dispute

    • Greg Foyster
    • 21 October 2016
    10 Comments

    On 28 September an extreme storm lashed South Australia and the entire state lost power. How could this have happened? It's a question that has occupied the country for the last three weeks as politicians and commentators have peddled their unqualified opinions in an escalating culture war about the role of renewable energy. No one really knew what had happened until Wednesday this week, when the AEMO released its updated report. Even now, there are more questions than answers.

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  • ENVIRONMENT

    My climate change denial is worse than Malcolm Roberts'

    • Greg Foyster
    • 26 September 2016
    11 Comments

    In January, swathes of ancient forest in Tasmania burned in bushfire. February 2016 was a scorcher - the warmest in 136 years of modern temperature records. By late March I was looking at images of a bleached Great Barrier Reef and feeling similarly blanched. I went for a walk, breathing heavily. It was sunny. Ominously warm. Fifteen minutes later, when I returned to my desk, my mood was buoyant again. I turned off my computer, and threw the report I'd been reading in the recycling bin.

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