Search Results: coal industry

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  • ENVIRONMENT

    In the 'climate wars' Tony Abbott is Hiroo Onoda

    • Greg Foyster
    • 11 October 2017
    11 Comments

    The conflict has finished, but a stubborn and deluded band of stragglers, led by their belligerent General, Tony Abbott, don't want to believe it. Abbott is behaving like the infamous Imperial Japanese officer Hiroo Onoda, who refused to accept his country's surrender in 1945 and spent a further 29 years fighting phantom enemies in a remote tropical jungle.

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  • ECONOMICS

    Why musicians are the canaries in the coal mine

    • Terry Noone
    • 20 August 2017
    9 Comments

    To get a good idea of where employment practices are headed, a good place to start is the music industry. Musicians have been the canary in the coalmine. The gradual removal of their work place rights, and even basic remuneration, points to what happens when there are no effective constraints on employers’ behaviour. Instead, they are being offered ‘exposure’—and, as one muso quips, ‘you can die of exposure.’

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  • ENVIRONMENT

    Electricity market for dummies (i.e. politicians)

    • Greg Foyster
    • 19 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
    • 21 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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  • AUSTRALIA

    Political donations reform ignores insider politics big picture

    • John Warhurst
    • 19 June 2017
    5 Comments

    The revelations that several billionaires of Chinese origin have sought to influence Australian politics through large political donations have rekindled bipartisan concern to ban such donations. That it took investigative journalism by ABC and Fairfax media to generate such a rush to reform is a reflection on the Australian political class. While it is likely that reform legislation will be introduced and passed before the end of the year that will be only a very partial response to a bigger problem.

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  • ENVIRONMENT

    Why we will never give up flying

    • Greg Foyster
    • 26 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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  • AUSTRALIA

    Not such a super way to buy your first home

    • Francine Crimmins
    • 13 April 2017
    15 Comments

    As a millennial, I frequently find myself being told to stop complaining about housing affordability. It's all about working harder, saving more and, for goodness' sake, keeping off the avocado. As a young person, I'm concerned about using super, a system which was put aside for our economic welfare in retirement, as a savings account for instant gratification. The government is trying to solve the housing crisis not through direct action, but by encouraging young people into lifelong debt.

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  • ENVIRONMENT

    Racism and renewables in the developing world

    • Ketan Joshi
    • 05 April 2017
    1 Comment

    A 2015 cartoon by Bill Leak depicts an Indian family squatting, smashing solar panels to pieces. A woman chews on a shattered piece of glass, and a man attempts to smear mango chutney onto glistening shards. The initial reaction centred around the racist depictions of Indians. But it also represents a broader and worrisome attitude towards global energy politics, that assumes idiocy in developing countries, combined with a push to burden them with the dangerous wares of a dying industry.

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  • ENVIRONMENT

    Climate pipe dreams

    • Greg Foyster
    • 30 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
    • 22 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

    Latrobe Valley a litmus test for clean energy transition

    • Jarni Blakkarly
    • 08 November 2016
    4 Comments

    The death-knell was sounding for Hazelwood long before the announced closure last week. The 50 year old power plant is one of the country's oldest and most inefficient, making it extremely vulnerable to the lower electricity price and supply surplus. As the most polluting power plant per unit of energy produced in the industrialised world, many will be glad to see the power station go. But its closure also flags a rising dilemma, over who bears the cost of the transition to clean energy.

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  • ECONOMICS

    Morality is back on the economic agenda

    • Andrew Hamilton
    • 19 September 2016
    4 Comments

    It is a welcome change to see budgets spoken of in moral terms. The government recently insisted on a moral responsibility to future generations to fix the deficit. And the Australian Catholic bishops welcomed on moral grounds the compromise that saw dropped from the budget measures which would further disadvantage vulnerable people. The difference was that the government's argument was focused on the budget, whereas the bishops' focused on particular groups of people.

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