Author: Greg Foyster

  • ENVIRONMENT

    Five reasons the LNP's carbon scare campaign is doomed

    • Greg Foyster
    • 03 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
    • 14 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
    • 11 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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  • ENVIRONMENT

    Greg Hunt and the Sheikh Back-Scratching Theory

    • Greg Foyster
    • 15 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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  • AUSTRALIA

    Petrol price plunge won’t arrest car decline

    • Greg Foyster
    • 06 February 2015
    3 Comments

    After years of writing pain-at-the-pump puns, journalists are giddy at the prospect of prices heading south for once. The low price is a boon for motorists and regional tourism operators. But it won't change the face that we've hit 'peak car' and are driving less. Young people now prize access over ownership.

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  • ENVIRONMENT

    It's time to heatproof our cities

    • Greg Foyster
    • 10 February 2014
    23 Comments

    Climate change has loaded the dice towards hotter days and more frequent heat spells. Heatwaves are only going to get worse, and air conditioning isn't the godsend it seems. We need to start retrofitting our cities, suburbs and homes to withstand the sweltering summers to come. Any new houses that perform poorly in the heat are going to be a tremendous burden on the next generation.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Australians are not doing it tough

    • Greg Foyster
    • 02 September 2013
    19 Comments

    Throughout the election campaign, both major parties have pledged to address 'cost of living' pressures. But a quick comparison with the economies of other industrialised nations confirms that Australians have nothing to complain about. If prices rise by 5 per cent but incomes rise by 10 per cent, households are better off, even if the cost of a petrol reaches a new pinnacle.

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  • ENVIRONMENT

    A reading list for climate change deniers

    • Greg Foyster
    • 30 July 2013
    29 Comments

    With the release of some frightening reports over the last 12 months, those who deny the scientific consensus on climate change will have to expand their list of 'alarmists' to include some unlikely suspects — the World Bank, PricewaterhouseCoopers and the International Energy Agency. When accountancy firms start sounding like environmental campaigners, the future looks very alarming indeed.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Parable of the unwelcome strangers

    • Greg Foyster
    • 20 June 2011
    22 Comments

    One day a stranger knocks on the door. 'Help!' he shouts. 'The people in my house are trying to kill me!' Instinctively, you reach for the door handle. A wrinkled hand, old yet firm, grabs your wrist. You look up and see your landlord, a bald man with thick rectangular glasses and bushy eyebrows.

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  • ENVIRONMENT

    Sydney's crazy car culture

    • Greg Foyster
    • 06 April 2011
    13 Comments

    Before being elected Premier, Barry O'Farrell described Sydney's new 200km bike network as 'crazy' and an 'inconvenience' to motorists. Given cycling's overwhelming benefits to society, what's really crazy is O'Farrell's populist pledge to keep Sydney car-dependent into the future. 

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  • INTERNATIONAL

    Trade troops for refugees as Afghanistan worsens

    • Greg Foyster
    • 08 October 2010
    15 Comments

    The situation in Afghanistan isn't getting better. It is getting much, much worse. If we are thinking about sending more troops to counter the Taliban, we must also think about accepting more Afghani asylum seekers fleeing the regime. 

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  • INTERNATIONAL

    Asylum seekers are Australia's invisible homeless

    • Greg Foyster
    • 13 August 2010
    11 Comments

    Every day, Australians face north and scan the horizon. Has another boat arrived? But if our politicians and journalists want to see asylum seekers living in poor conditions, they need to look closer to home.

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