December 2020

Now more than ever we should be strengthening democracy. We’re not.

by Ben Oquist in The Canberra Times

by Ben Oquist [Originally published by the Canberra Times, 26 December 2020] On climate policy, both the election of Joe Biden and the acrimony from China should make Australia’s transition away from coal easier, though more urgent. Likewise, the strains that democracies are under around the world, especially in the United States, make the case

Economy, Health, Climate Change Top Voter Issues in 2020

New research from The Australia Institute has shown that the economy, health and climate change were the top three issues of concern for Australian voters in the second half of 2020. The Australia Institute surveyed nationally representative samples of over 1,000 Australians each month from August about what they think is the most important national

Stop believing in fairytales: Australia’s coal industry doesn’t employ many people or pay its fair share of tax

by Richard Denniss in The Guardian

Just as people in the Middle Ages mistakenly believed the sun revolved around the Earth, many modern-day Australians mistakenly believe our economy revolves around the coal industry. Of course, such misunderstandings aren’t an indictment of those who have been misled, but those who did the misleading. Galileo was imprisoned for life for the “heresy” of

Transport Emissions Returning to Pre-Covid Highs

New research from the Australia Institute’s Climate & Energy Program shows that while the COVID pandemic provided a brief respite from some fossil fuel emissions, in sectors like transport—which lacks any climate-abatement policy—emissions are quickly rising back to pre-pandemic heights. The Australia Institute’s analysis indicates that returning to business as usual post-pandemic will not be

$50 Million Hand-Out to Northern Territory Frackers

The Federal Minister for Resources, Water and Northern Australia Keith Pitt, has today announced a $50 million taxpayer-funded subsidy to fracking companies in the Northern Territory. “Subsidising oil and gas fracking is the last thing governments should be doing from both an economic and climate perspective,” said Rod Campbell, Research Director at The Australia Institute.

States are leading the way in the climate power shift

by Ebony Bennett in The Canberra Times

by Ebony Bennett[Originally published by the Canberra Times, 12 Dec 2020] 2020 has seen a shift in the balance of power. Not in the Senate, but between the Federal Government and the States.   All last summer during the bushfires—while the Prime Minister was infamously not holding a hose—it was the Premiers and Chief Ministers who

Statement on Government’s Future Fuels Strategy Discussion Paper

“This discussion paper is an admission of failure from the government when it comes to electric vehicles,” said Richie Merzian, Director of The Australia Institute’s Climate & Energy Program. “After waiting years for a much touted electric vehicle strategy, Australia now has little more than a wafer thin discussion paper that doesn’t even exclusively focus

Until recently, pressure on Australia to drop carryover credits had little impact. But times change

by Richard Denniss in The Guardian

by Richard Denniss[Originally published by Guardian Australia, 09 December 2020] Political pressure makes the impossible inevitable. Unfortunately, so much has been written about how democracy is broken, that it can seem churlish to point out that sometimes it works just as it is designed to: slowly, imperfectly and then suddenly. Take, for example, Scott Morrison’s

An unprecedented year: reflecting on 2020 with Richard Denniss

featuring Ebony Bennett and Richard Denniss

Let’s face it, 2020 has been a bit of a nightmare. This week, in our final episode of the year, Ebony Bennett and Richard Denniss revisit some of the Australia Institute’s predictions back in March 2020 and reflect on the way Australia’s economy and politics have changed this year in response to the pandemic. Mild

The myth of Australia’s gas supply shortage

featuring Ebony Bennett and Mark Ogge

The ‘gas-fired recovery’ is supposed to help Australia’s manufacturing industry by freeing up new supply. But the Australia Institute’s research shows the days of cheap gas are over. www.tai.org.au Host: Ebony Bennett, deputy director of the Australia Institute // @ebony_bennettGuests: Mark Ogge, Principal Advisor // @MarkOgge Producer: Jennifer Macey Theme music is by Jonathan McFeat

The US Election result and what it means for Australia

featuring Ebony Bennett, Richie Merzian and Allan Behm

In this episode we unpack what a Biden Administration means for climate and foreign policy in Australia, with Richie Merzian and Allan Behm. The Australia Institute // @theAusinstituteHost: Ebony Bennett, deputy director of the Australia Institute // @ebony_bennett Guests: Richie Merzian, director Climate & Energy Program // @richiemerzian Allan Behm, director International & Security Affairs program

Media Release NSWSAVIC

Leaked Government Paper: EV Tax Will ‘Discourage Uptake’, ‘Face Strong Opposition’

Putting a new tax on electric vehicles without related concessions, as has been proposed in Victoria, New South Wales and South Australia, would likely face strong opposition and discourage Australians from purchasing zero and low emissions cars, a leaked intergovernmental document has shown. The analysis of potential models for state based Road User Charges for

November 2020

Instead of taxing electric vehicles, heavy vehicles should pay more for the damage they cause

by Richard Denniss in The Guardian

by Richard Denniss[Originally published on the Guardian Australia, 25 November 2020] The purpose of the tax system isn’t just to collect revenue, it’s to shape society in ways we see fit. It’s no accident that fresh food is excluded from the GST and it’s no accident that the tax on alcohol is higher than the

Statement in response to Narrabri Gas Project Federal Approval

“The Federal Government’s decision to approve the Narrabri gas project not only endangers water and the environment, but will permanently lock NSW manufacturers into high gas prices,” said Richie Merzian, Climate & Energy Director at the Australia Institute. “Australia Institute research shows high cost gas from Narrabri ($7.40 GJ at the wellhead) will displace lower

Statement on the Victorian Government’s Making Victoria a Renewable Energy Powerhouse plan announced in the Victorian Budget 2020/21

The Australia Institute welcomes the Victorian Government’s Making Victoria a Renewable Energy Powerhouse plan, as announced in the Victorian Budget 2020/21. “This is one of the largest investments in clean energy by a state government and it should bring down prices, reduce emissions and improve the resilience of Victoria’s grid, by increasing innovation and competition,”

Australian Workplaces Unprepared for Rising Heat Stress in Light of Climate Change

Last Summer’s devastating Black Summer bushfires exposed the under-preparedness of Australian workplaces to the serious health and safety risks of heat stress for many workers across Australia. Heading in to next Summer season, new research published today by the Centre for Future Work, outlines why working in extreme heat is a growing and urgent issue

Renewed calls for Climate Levy on Fossil Fuel Exports as Black Summer Disaster Bill Soars

In the lead-up to Summer, the Australia Institute, emergency leaders, and bushfire survivors have renewed coals for a Climate Levy on fossil fuel exports to help pay for increasing disasters due to climate change. The call follows estimates that the Black Summer bushfires cost Australians over $50 billion, which represents a step change in disaster

Australia’s leaders are lagging behind on climate

by Ebony Bennett in The Canberra Times

by Ebony Bennett[Originally Published in the Canberra Times, 14 November 2020] Australia is experiencing climate change now and warming is set to continue, according to the Bureau of Meteorology and CSIRO’s 2020 State of the Climate report released yesterday. This news won’t come as a galloping shock to most Australians – we can see the evidence of global warming

Gas for export 12 times larger than gas for manufacturing

Research released today by The Australia Institute shows that the Federal Government’s “gas-fired recovery” will not assist Australia’s manufacturing industry. Increasing gas production is likely to benefit gas exporters, not manufacturers.  Australian manufacturing used just 373 petajoules (PJ) of gas, while more than 4,500PJ went to exports in 2018-19. Just 56PJ, or 1% of Australian

The best way to help Australian manufacturing? Stop exporting gas

by Richard Denniss in The Guardian

by Richard Denniss[Originally published on the Guardian Australia, 12 November 2020] While it might seem heretical to suggest we stop exporting gas, it’s important to remember that we only started exporting gas from Australia’s east coast in 2015. But since that fateful day, the wholesale price of gas has risen from around $3 to $4 per

Post SA

SA EV Tax Backlash Grows – Parliamentary Opposition Continues to Mount

The Australia Institute has welcomed the decision from the South Australian Labor and Greens parties to oppose the Marshall Government’s proposed Electric Vehicle Tax. “The Australia Institute welcomes the decision of the South Australian Labor Party and the South Australian Greens to oppose the electric vehicle tax,” said Noah Schultz-Byard, SA Director at The Australia

EV Road User Charge: ‘A Great Big New Tax on Not Polluting’

The State Government’s proposed road user charge for electric vehicles, as announced in the Budget, is a backwards and unnecessary step for the state that contradicts its supposed commitment to increasing the uptake of EVs into the future, The Australia Institute has said. Key points: The State Government is planning to introduce a ‘road user

Biden Win Pours Cold Water on Australia’s Paris Emissions Target Tricks

A Biden win puts pressure on Australia to dump the use of controversial Kyoto credits to meet its Paris Target.  “There will now be increased pressure on Australia to abandon its proposed use of so-called Kyoto carry-over credits,” said Richie Merzian, climate & energy director at the Australia Institute.  “Australia Institute research and legal analysis

Biden as president would pursue climate ‘cheaters’ – and Australia could be among them

by Richie Merzian in The Guardian

by Richie Merzian[Originally published on the Guardian Australia, 04 November 2020] Whether Donald Trump loses or wins the presidential election, the US will officially withdraw from the Paris agreement on Wednesday. The US intention to withdraw was announced in mid-2017 and, exactly one year ago, formal notification was sent to the United Nations. It caps

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