Search Results: sustainability

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  • ENVIRONMENT

    Spin counts more than facts in SA wind farm dispute

    • Greg Foyster
    • 20 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
    • 25 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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  • ENVIRONMENT

    Australian churches off the pace on clean energy switch

    • Thea Ormerod
    • 08 September 2016
    10 Comments

    With the grip of climate change tightening, few seem to understand the urgency of the crisis. This is why the announcement of over 3500 churches in the UK switching to clean power is so significant. At last, a solution presented by religious communities that matches the scale of the problem. They are providing the kind of leadership for the needed transition to an ecologically sustainable future. Unfortunately, one reason why it is so exciting is that we're nowhere near this in Australia.

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  • ENVIRONMENT

    SA power play backfires

    • Greg Foyster
    • 25 August 2016
    8 Comments

    On 7 July, South Australia experienced a cold snap. As residents turned on their heaters, the still and cloudy conditions meant wind and solar power couldn't contribute much to meeting electricity demand. The last coal plant had closed a few months before, pushed out of the market by renewable energy. As if on cue, the spot electricity price spiked. Instead of a lesson about the danger of too much wind power, it's about the danger of too much market power in the hands of a few big players.

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  • ENVIRONMENT

    Environmentalists' potential allies on the populist right

    • Greg Foyster
    • 02 August 2016
    6 Comments

    The neoliberal right is losing political power to the populist right, which isn't filled with the same ideological zeal for free-market capitalism. Suddenly debates can expand beyond the narrow confines of economic growth. Moral and social arguments won't be relegated to the intellectual fringes anymore. Mainstream parties of the left and right, both of which bought into the neoliberal agenda, will have to break their bipartisan dismissal of discontent with the side effects of globalisation.

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  • ENVIRONMENT

    Environment groups face fight for their lives

    • Greg Foyster
    • 30 June 2016
    13 Comments

    By the time polls close Saturday, tens of thousands of voters in marginal seats will have received 'election scorecards' from environment groups. Almost all will rate the Liberal Party worse than Labor or the Greens on a range of issues, from protecting the Great Barrier Reef to encouraging investment in clean energy. Privately, some Liberal candidates will be seething - and, if the Coalition wins, they'll have the means for brutal revenge.

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  • ENVIRONMENT

    Greg Hunt is the master of polluting the debate

    • Greg Foyster
    • 02 June 2016
    11 Comments

    All politicians and political parties select the statistics and 'frame' that best suits their position. But even among the slippery-tongued ranks of federal parliamentarians, Greg Hunt is in a league of his own. The frustrating thing is that proving him wrong is almost counterproductive. One of the main reasons for stalled action on climate change is the issue has become overly abstract. Debating technicalities with the Environment Minister just reinforces these ways of viewing climate change.

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  • ENVIRONMENT

    Five reasons the LNP's carbon scare campaign is doomed

    • Greg Foyster
    • 02 May 2016
    6 Comments

    It was as if Australian politics had regressed four years overnight. No sooner had Labor released its new climate change plan than the Coalition was resuscitating Tony Abbott's 'carbon tax' line. The Coalition's attempt to revive the defining debate of the 2013 federal election won't work. As other commentators have noted, Labor's plan has been carefully crafted to avoid the carbon tax sledge. More importantly, external factors have changed to make a scare campaign less potent.

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  • ENVIRONMENT

    Sulphur sunshade is a stupid pollution solution

    • Greg Foyster
    • 13 April 2016
    10 Comments

    Geoengineering means intervening in the Earth's climate to offset global warming. It's hacking the planet on a monumental scale. The most widely studied proposal is spraying sulphate particles into the upper atmosphere to reflect sunlight, cooling the planet. The idea comes from huge volcanic eruptions, which can blast millions of tonnes of sulphur into the stratosphere, creating a kind of chemical sunshade. After decades of being taboo, this outlandish scheme is now being taken seriously.

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  • ENVIRONMENT

    A word to the wise on selling climate action

    • Greg Foyster
    • 10 March 2016
    3 Comments

    The best known examples of framing come from American cognitive linguist George Lakoff. He argues that George W. Bush replaced the phrase 'tax cuts' with 'tax relief' to reframe paying tax as an affliction. Embedded in those two words is a neo-conservative worldview against government intervention in the private sphere. If you accept the term, you absorb the worldview. In a similar way, a few words could build political will to tackle climate change. The problem is no one is sure what they are.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Down to The Wire: How SIBs can save social programs

    • Gabriela D'Souza
    • 01 March 2016
    5 Comments

    Social impact bonds are a type of impact investing: investing for results. A community service provider who wants to pilot or scale up an existing program can use SIBs to finance their projects. A bond issuer makes the SIBs available to private investors, who will receive the principal with interest if the program attains a predetermined success rate. While modified versions of this model are being trialled in NSW, the heartbreaking fourth season of HBO's The Wire sheds light on how they might work.

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  • ENVIRONMENT

    Greg Hunt and the Sheikh Back-Scratching Theory

    • Greg Foyster
    • 14 February 2016
    16 Comments

    It would have made a great April Fools joke, if it wasn't February. On Wednesday, we woke to the news that Greg Hunt, environment minister in the most anti-environment government in Australian history, had been awarded 'World's Best Minister' at an international summit in Dubai. But maybe the award had nothing to do with Hunt's track record at home. In the grubby way of politics everywhere, maybe it is a favour returned. A thank you from an oil-rich nation for making it look good in the past.

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