July 2013

June 2013

Tasmanian Forests Agreement: liberal society needs an alternative

by Andrew Macintosh in The Conversation

Fred Gale’s article, Tasmanian Forests Agreement: deeply flawed, worth backing, provides interesting insights into the views of one segment of the Tasmanian community that supports the Tasmanian Forest Agreement. However, he fails to fully grasp many of the fundamental reasons for continuing opposition to the deal and its associated legislation. Most notably, there is no

May 2013

Can Tassie see the deal for the trees? Peace comes at a cost

by Andrew Macintosh in Crikey

Passage of the Tasmanian Forest Agreement Bill in the state’s lower house effectively ended three years of negotiations between the forestry industry and environment groups. The deal is being celebrated by many as a resolution to the 30-year conflict over native forests in Tasmania and a win for the environment and economy. Nothing could be

April 2013

March 2013

Abbott’s direct action lesson

by Andrew Macintosh and Richard Denniss in The Australian

Tony Abbott’s Direct Action Plan has been ridiculed by many as expensive and unworkable. One of the primary objections has been that the centrepiece of the policy, the Emissions Reduction Fund, is a baseline-and-credit scheme that will require counterfactual baselines to be set for every participating polluter. The baseline for a given polluter will be

Why new CSG law is not the green victory it may seem

by Richard Denniss and Andrew Macintosh in Crikey

Although the new water trigger law, recently introduced by the Government was cheered by the rural independents, Greens and environmental groups, the proposal is illogical, runs counter to existing policy structures and is unlikely to improve environmental outcomes. The government has unilaterally introduced this water trigger in breach of the 1997 Council of Australian Governments

January 2013

Timber looks to bailouts, concessions to ward off undertakers

by Andrew Macintosh and Richard Denniss in Crikey

The native forest and forest product industries contribute a miniscule amount to the Australian economy (in the order of 0.15% to 0.20% of GDP). Despite this, it has dominated the minds and energies of many politicians and environmental policy makers for decades. Among other things, it helped spark the emergence of the environmental movement in

December 2012

The CCA’s forestry fumble

by Andrew Macintosh and Richard Denniss in The Australian

The Climate Change Authority’s final report on the renewable energy target, which was released yesterday, contains a number of controversial conclusions and recommendations. A standout amongst these is the recommendation that the federal government explore whether making native forest wood waste eligible to participate in the large-scale RET (LRET) would increase the rate of harvesting

November 2012

Data crunch: How many (con) jobs are there in Tassie forestry?

by Andrew Macintosh and Richard Denniss in Crikey

According to Rene Hidding, Tasmania’s Liberal spokesman for forestry, it is “insulting” to Tasmanians to inform them about the tiny contribution the forestry and logging industries make to that state’s employment. Presumably he thinks it would be better to deceive the people? For all of the analysis about what the collapse of the state’s forest

August 2012

Tasmania’s forestry sector akin to work for the dole

by Andrew Macintosh and Richard Denniss in Crikey

Late last week, the details of an interim agreement between the forestry industry and green groups on the future of Tasmania’s native forests was released, showing the distance between the two parties has narrowed considerably. Both sides now support the creation of additional reserves and a permanent native forest timber production area, and want governments

July 2012

June 2012

May 2012

Environment Protection and Biodiversity Act -The green tape slugfest that is the EPBC Act

by Richard Denniss and Andrew Macintosh in Crikey

Nothing gets interest groups more riled up than a proposal to reduce some regulation or, as business groups like to call the federal Environment Protection and Biodiversity Act (EPBC act), “green tape”. In the green corner, we have the major environment groups arguing that such reductions signal further retreat by government in the face of

April 2012

The government’s clean energy bank and the Abbott-proof fence

by Andrew Macintosh and Richard Denniss in Crikey

The government announcement on Tuesday that it accepts all of the recommendations of the Broadbent inquiry into the Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC) is a high-water mark in the politics of perception. The commitment to spend $10 billion on renewable energy and energy efficiency helps convince the public that the government takes climate change seriously.

What electricity will really cost under a carbon tax

by Richard Denniss and Andrew Macintosh in Crikey

Late last week the ACT electricity price regulator released its draft electricity pricing decision for 2012-13. And the political response couldn’t have been more predictable. The Coalition raced to highlight that, out of an estimated $244 increase in annual household electricity bills, almost $190 was attributable to the carbon price. Labor and the Greens downplayed

September 2007

Aviation and global warming: a change in the air?

by Christian Downie and Andrew Macintosh in Crikey

Comments this week by Federal Environment Minister Malcolm Turnbull suggest that the Government is beginning to realise the incompatibility between endless growth in the aviation sector and the prevention of dangerous climate change. Even if Australia adopts a lower target of 60% reductions by 2050, as the Labor Party has proposed, aviation could still gobble

March 2007

Cooking the greenhouse books

by Andrew Macintosh in On Line Opinion

The Government dismissed the Institute’s report, claiming we don’t understand the Kyoto accounting rules and didn’t make adjustments for differences in methods. These claims are false (and are addressed in a paper available on the Institute’s website). Even if they were correct, the fact remains that NCAS is a black box: its data are not

February 2007

Promises, promises

by Andrew Macintosh in The Age

There cannot be a competitive market for water while the Government continues to subsidise agriculture through such things as drought assistance and half-price water delivery. All in all, the plan looks more like a deft political move than a serious attempt to solve our water problems. It is, as Shakespeare once said, all sound and

December 2006

Ice, ice, baby

by Andrew Macintosh in On Line Opinion

Since the early 1900s, Australias drug policies have been based on the notion that the law should be the primary mechanism for addressing drug problems. By prohibiting both the supply and use of certain undesirable drugs, governments thought they could stamp out drug use and drug-related activities. But drug markets have proved remarkably resistant to

Lack of political will leads to problems for Earth

by Andrew Macintosh in The Canberra Times

Back in 1999, the Government overhauled the original Commonwealth environment laws that were introduced by the Whitlam Labor government. The old laws needed updating and the Government obliged, creating the loftily titled Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act. While an improvement on the original laws, the EPBC Act has proven to be a failure, largely

November 2006

Sustainability Reporting: How far have we come?

by Andrew Macintosh in New Matilda

Over the last fifteen years, much effort has gone into the preparation of sustainability reports. These are reports that provide information on social and environmental as well as economic matters. This has been done in the name of improved decision making, accountability and transparency. It has also been motivated by a desire to promote ecologically

Dressing windows while the globe burns

by Andrew Macintosh in The Canberra Times

The recent rush of activity around climate change has led some to suggest that the Federal Government has finally got the message on the perils of global warming, but history indicates such optimism is misplaced. The Government’s announcements of the past month are just more of the window-dressing and stalling tactics that we have had

August 2006

A leaky ship of State

by Andrew Macintosh in On Line Opinion

The government’s industrial relations changes were always going to be controversial, but it has done itself no favours in establishing a regime that is overseen by government agencies that are politically compromised. Until the Office of Workplace Relations and other similar agencies are truly independent of government, employees are justified in suspecting that there is

May 2006

Minority groups target of vilification

by Andrew Macintosh in The Canberra Times

The Howard Government’s vilification of indigenous communities and their culture is another in a long line of morally repugnant diversionary tactics employed by a Government devoid of ideas and scrambling to retain the interest of the electorate. When the history of this Government is written, the events in recent times should be placed side-by-side with

Farming the wind getting bad press

by Clive Hamilton and Andrew Macintosh in The Canberra Times

Community opposition to wind farms is heavily influenced by a network of anti-environmental activists, some with links to the fossil fuel and nuclear industries. This helps to explain why apparently independent local opposition groups reproduce the same misinformation and distortions about wind power. The truth is that most wind farm opponents don’t like the look

April 2006

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