May 2021

Australian subsidies give oil refineries the whole carrot farm while electric vehicles get the stick

by Richie Merzian in The Guardian

The only viable long-term solution to our liquid fuel insecurity is to get off fossil fuels. Instead we are giving them taxpayer handouts When I was a kid, every year in early December we would go to the Geelong oil refinery in Corio. The refinery’s fire engine would cruise around, flash its lights and hand

The government’s embrace of ‘clean hydrogen’ helps no one but the fossil fuel industry

by Richard Denniss in The Guardian

Nothing captures prime minister Scott Morrison’s approach to climate change better than his embrace of “clean hydrogen” – a BS marketing term that delivers nothing but obfuscation and helps no one but the fossil fuel industry. Tellingly, this approach isn’t even new: Morrison has simply dusted off an old polluter playbook and changed a few

April 2021

How can NSW allow new coalmines while committing to net zero emissions? It’s bizarre

by Richard Denniss in The Guardian

New mines won’t boost world demand for Australian coal — but they will cannibalise jobs from existing coalmines The New South Wales government is simultaneously committed to a net-zero emissions target for 2050 at the same time as new coalmines in the Hunter Valley with the capacity to produce 10 times more coal than Adani’s

Is Malcolm Turnbull the only Liberal who understands economics and climate science – or the only one who’ll talk about it?

by Richard Denniss in The Conversation

Yesterday, former Liberal prime minister Malcolm Turnbull was unceremoniously dumped as chair of the New South Wales government’s climate advisory board, just a week after being offered the role. His crime? He questioned the wisdom of building new coal mines when the existing ones are already floundering. No-one would suggest building new hotels in Cairns to help

Right now we’re choosing not to solve our biggest problems

by Ebony Bennett in The Canberra Times

It’s incredible what can happen in a year. This time last year Australia was heading into lockdowns and recession. The Treasurer was still sipping on his “Back in Black” mug and clinging to the idea that any stimulus spending would be small, targeted and temporary, and hundreds of thousands of Australians were still recovering from

March 2021

Roderick Campbell writes: Recommending approval of a mine based on economic assessment that not only lost in court, but lost in court against you, is a new level of crazy

by Rod Campbell in The Newcastle Herald

What would happen in your industry if a judge described someone’s methodology as “inflated”, “lacking evidentiary foundation” and “plainly wrong”? If your industry would stop using that methodology, then you probably are not an economist and you don’t work for coal companies. Exactly this happened in 2019 and, with no change and no reflection, the

February 2021

December 2020

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

Gas-fired recovery a massive employment dud

by Richie Merzian and Mark Ogge in The Newcastle Herald

by Richie Merzian & Mark Ogge[Originally published in the Newcastle Herald, 18 November 2020] A gas-fired recovery from the economic damage caused by Covid-19 will not help the Hunter region.  In fact, a gas-fired recovery will struggle to employ anyone, except the gas executives that proposed the idea. The bottom line is, creating jobs in

November 2020

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

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

September 2020

Now we’re cooking (ourselves) with gas

by Ebony Bennett in The Canberra Times

by Ebony Bennett[Originally Published in The Canberra Times, 19 September 2020] Gas didn’t even make AEMO’s top five list of potential sources of dispatchable power – but the Coalition is looking to divert taxpayer funds earmarked for clean energy into LNG projects. Picture: Shutterstock  Just months after Australia endured its worst climate-fuelled bushfire season on

Phasing out gas would benefit Australian manufacturers and households

by Richard Denniss in The Guardian

by Richard Denniss[Originally published by the Guardian Australia, 03 September 2020] Rather than drill new fracking wells into prime farmland, the quickest, cleanest and most economically efficient way to boost the supply of gas in Australia is to stop wasting it. According to the Australian Industry (AI) Group’s budget submission, “Ramping up support for manufacturers to

August 2020

Australia is about to get ripped off by the gas industry, and it’s not the first time

by Ebony Bennett in The Canberra Times

by Ebony Bennett[Originally published by the Canberra Times, 22 August 2020] The same geniuses who hiked up domestic gas prices, raked in the profits and left Australia with bupkis to show for it are trying to convince us (once again) that Australia has a gas supply shortage requiring huge taxpayer subsidies. So, let me explain

February 2020

Putting the ‘net’ into net zero targets: it’s time to start doing things that work. Now

by Richard Denniss in The Guardian

by Richard Denniss[Originally published on Guadian Australia, 19 Feb 2020] After a summer of catastrophic bushfires, the most brutal evidence of the impacts of climate change, the Government has managed to move the debate towards the ‘pros and cons’ of setting a long-term net zero emissions target for 2050. Well played, Scott Morrison. While #Scottyfrommarketing

Until we stop approving gas and coal projects, there’s no transition taking place

by Ebony Bennett in The Canberra Times

by Ebony Bennett[Originally published in The Canberra Times, 08 February 2020]There’s a hole where Australia’s climate and energy policy should be and the Morrison Government just keeps digging. The cheapest, cleanest solutions are right in front of its nose and yet it keeps subsidising the problem. In the face of a climate-fuelled bushfire crisis the

Scott Morrison talks big about pressure on gas prices but says nothing about flooding markets with coal

by Richard Denniss in The Guardian

by Richard Denniss[Originally published on Guardian Australia, 05 February 2020] If you think the quality of debate about climate change and bushfires is bad, allow me to give you a glimpse into the debate over the link between the supply and demand of fossil fuels and their price. Spoiler alert – according to the Morrison

January 2020

No one job is worth saving at the expense of climate catastrophe. Not even Scott Morrison’s

by Richard Denniss in The Guardian

by Richard Denniss[Originally published on Guardian Australia, 22 January 2020] Would the prime minister rule out protecting Australians from terrorism if it cost a single job? Would he promise that no nurse, teacher or other public servant would be sacked in pursuit of a budget surplus? Of course not. But when it comes to preventing

Most conservatives know prevention is better than cure – except when it comes to climate change

by Richard Denniss in The Guardian

by Richard Denniss[Originally published by the Guardian Australia] If only Scott Morrison was as willing to spend money preventing climate change as he is to spend it on disaster repair. The idea that a “stitch in time saves nine” and “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” was once central to the conservative approach

Fund fire recovery with climate tax

by Richard Denniss[Originally published in the Australian Financial Review, 07 Jan 2020] If Australia and other countries meet their current emission reduction targets bushfires are still going to get much, much worse. Over the past century, humans have caused the world to warm by one degree, but if Australia and the rest of the world

November 2019

Australia’s dirty great secret

by Fergus Green & Richard Denniss[Originally published in the Australian Financial Review, 26 November 2019] The amount of fossil fuels that companies and governments around the world expect to extract over the coming decade is startlingly out of kilter with the imperative to maintain a stable climate system – and Australia is a large part

I was there for the 2003 fires. Let’s not let the same thing happen again

by Ebony Bennett in The Canberra Times

by Ebony Bennett[Originally published in the Canberra Times, 18 November 2019] I was a cub reporter working in the press gallery for the Sydney Morning Herald when bushfires engulfed Canberra in 2003, claiming four lives and almost 500 homes. It’s seared in my memory, as I’m sure it is for a lot of Canberrans. I’ve been thinking

Climate change makes bushfires worse. Denying the truth doesn’t change the facts

by Richard Denniss in The Guardian

by Richard Denniss[Originally published on the Guardian Australia, 13 November 2019] It’s not just climate protesters who powerful voices are trying to silence in Australia, it’s anyone who wants to talk about the bigger-picture causes to the problems Australia is facing. In modern Australia it has become “inappropriate” to talk about why our rivers are

The Prime Minister needs to get real on climate

by Richard Denniss[Originally published in the Financial Review, 11 November 2019] Despite Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s best efforts, Australia has a target of net zero greenhouse gas emissions in 31 years’ time. His suggestions that Labor’s renewable energy target of 50 per cent by 2030 is an economic “wrecking ball” is as pointless and wrong

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