keywords: Pollution

  • ECONOMICS

    How financial markets are stymying climate action

    • David James
    • 15 June 2016
    7 Comments

    There is little doubt that the means to dramatically reduce the amount of pollution produced by developed economies is already theoretically available. It is perfectly possible to redesign industrial systems so that they do not pollute and do not consume finite resources at a rate that is unsustainable. But it requires a radical shift - and the biggest barrier to that shift occurring, the financial markets, is barely even mentioned in discussions of the challenge.

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  • ENVIRONMENT

    Greg Hunt is the master of polluting the debate

    • Greg Foyster
    • 03 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
    • 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

    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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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Home, alone and stoned

    • Peta Edmonds
    • 08 March 2016
    7 Comments

    I've run out of dope. This is my last ever toke of synthetic pot, I hope. There's synthetic people, but my heart drops like a coin into a homeless man's hat. The eternal night isn't very maternal. Of all those people sleeping on a concrete mattress under a black sky doona ... The homeless have faces like empty spaces. No solution to their heads in the pollution, and their feet in the gutter. The poor gather on the banks of the flowing street. The rain hits the roof in pain.

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  • ENVIRONMENT

    Hope lies beyond latest climate shock therapy

    • Lyn Bender
    • 09 February 2016
    11 Comments

    News about climate change can be depressing. But it was downright shocking to learn that budget cuts to CSIRO have led to the decimation of the agency's climate science. Australia is one of the worst global emitters, yet Australian citizens have outsourced responsibility for climate protection, as they have for refugees. The ease of bipartisan agreement on such crucial dilemmas confirms the point. A dormant electorate creates a negligent, sleeping, self-satisfied and corrupt government.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Friendlier Ghosts of Australia Days Future

    • Andrew Hamilton
    • 28 January 2016
    4 Comments

    The two major challenges facing the world have to do with kindness to strangers and care for the natural world. If the image of the beginnings of Australia is of a boatload of powerful Europeans coming to exploit the land occupied by a primitive people, a better image of future Australia Days might be of Australia sending parties to Indigenous settlements and other nations to discover how to cooperate in the great projects of reconciliation between people and people with nature.

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  • ENVIRONMENT

    Pope Francis and climate justice

    • Frank Brennan
    • 06 November 2015
    1 Comment

    Francis does not pretend to have answers to the big questions which will confront world leaders when they gather in Paris. But he does think the science is IN, and the evidence is clear that much of the climate change, loss of biodiversity and water shortages are the result of human action. We are blessed to have a pope who speaks to all the world about the prudence, justice and empathy required so that more people on our planet might enjoy integral human development.

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  • ENVIRONMENT

    Political roadblocks to Sydney's electricity evolution

    • David James
    • 05 November 2015
    2 Comments

    In the early 1990s London engineer Allan Jones took the suburb of Woking off the grid by establishing a system of tri-generation, which reduces waste by generating power locally. The Sydney City Council employed Jones in 2009 to bring the same approach to Australia. But regulations from previous eras that greatly favour the incumbent power companies are preventing any meaningful change. Once again we find that the main challenges with tackling global pollution are not technical, but political.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Fossil fuel divestment economics in line with morality

    • Michael Mullins
    • 01 June 2015
    3 Comments

    The Norwegian Parliament has just ordered its $A1.15 trillion Sovereign Wealth Fund to divest from coal. This represents the largest single divestment from fossil fuels in human history, and our biggest sign yet that the age of coal is over and the financial case for investing in fossil fuels is likely to disintegrate. Australia will crash and burn both economically and morally if we do not follow suit.

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  • ENVIRONMENT

    Self-righteous road use causes accidents

    • Anthony James
    • 11 February 2015
    26 Comments

    Better infrastructure such as dedicated bike lanes helps to avoid cyclists being injured. But the road is not a battleground and increased armoury is not the answer to our need for safer roads. A more gracious attitude to each other on the part of both motorists and cyclists is just as important.  

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  • INTERNATIONAL

    China calls a halt to dirty coal imports

    • Evan Ellis
    • 24 September 2014
    2 Comments

    From 1 January 2015, China will ban the import of coal with high ash or sulphur content and impose a three per cent tariff on all coal imports. In the muddle of politics and policy, we have a concrete example of worsening environmental conditions forcing policy makers to act. Australia's economy propped up by coal exports, but it's also time to think beyond the specific implications of China’s proposed restrictions. 

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