What would a fair energy transition look like?

Minimising the economic and social impacts on fossil fuel communities. AAP Image/Julian Smith Opposition Leader Bill Shorten announced last week that a federal Labor government would create a Just Transition Authority to oversee Australia’s transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy. This echoes community calls for a “fast and fair” energy transition to avoid the worst impacts of climate change. Read more: Labor’s...

Labor’s battery plan – good policy, or just good politics?

With the right settings, Labor’s new scheme could benefit householders as well as the grid itself. Shutterstock.com Federal Labor obviously likes the politics of giving rebates of up to A$2,000 each to 100,000 households of prospective voters so they can install domestic batteries. But is this good policy that will support Australia’s transition to a reliable, affordable, low-emissions energy system, or is it just...

The new electric vehicle highway is a welcome gear shift, but other countries are still streets ahead

Motorists and governments have each been waiting for the other to take the plunge on electric cars. Shutterstock.com Perhaps buoyed by a 67% increase in the sale of electric cars in Australia last year – albeit coming off a low base – the federal government this month announced a A$6 million funding injection for a network of ultra-fast electric vehicle recharging stations. Eighteen stations will...

We have so many ways to pursue a healthy climate – it’s insane to wait any longer

Opportunities to help drive the energy transition are everywhere - even in Western Australia’s remote salt pans.  Peter C. Doherty, Author provided As a broadly trained life scientist, my concern about climate change isn’t the health of the planet. The rocks will be just fine! What worries me is a whole spectrum of “wicked” challenges, from sustaining food production, to providing...

How biomethane can help turn gas into a renewable energy source

Are there greener pastures ahead for gas?  Shutterstock.com Australia’s report card on reducing its greenhouse gas emissions is not exactly glowing, but there are ample opportunities to get it on track during this period of rapid change in the energy sector. Greater use of renewable electricity sources like wind and solar are playing a large part in reducing emissions, and gas...

Big firms voice lack of faith in ‘cumbersome’ and ‘impractical’ Emissions Reduction Fund

Many of Australia’s biggest emitters have not yet engaged with the Emissions Reduction Fund. AAP Image/Dave Hunt Four years after it was launched, the federal government’s A$2.55 billion Emissions Reduction Fund (ERF) has still not attracted the participation of many of Australia’s highest-emitting companies. Our research on corporate managers’ attitudes suggests that the scheme, which remains the Coalition government’s flagship...

Will 2018 be the year of climate action? Victorian London’s ‘Great Stink’ sewer crisis might tell us

As extreme weather events, like Hurricane Florence, become more common it is time to ask what it will take for the world to finally tackle climate change. Encouragingly, there may be a historical precedent: Victoria London’s handling of the ‘Great Stink’,where growth had turned the River Thames into an open sewer. EPA/JIM LO SCALZO In the late 19th century, the irrepressible Mark...

Explainer: what is energy security, and how has it changed?

 The idea of energy security has been at the centre of much policy debate recently. The federal government defines energy security as the adequate supply of energy across the electricity, gas and liquid fuel sectors. But this notion has become outdated, following the spate of electricity blackouts that have occurred in the past few years. The concept of energy security is now...

Google searches reveal where people are most concerned about climate change

A handy source of information about questions big and small. TheDigitalWay/pixabay What do you do if you have a question? You probably Google it. According to Google Trends, in 2017 Australians were keen to know about tennis, Sophie Monk, fidget spinners and Bitcoin. But besides these arguably trivial queries, our Google searches also revealed our concerns about extreme weather events such as...

Coal does not have an economic future in Australia

The closure of the Hazelwood mine has lessons for the future of coal in Australia. Global Warming Images/AAP Renewables are stealing the march over coal in Australia, and the international outlook is for lower coal demand. Today the international Coal Transitions project released its findings, based on global coal scenarios and detailed case studies by teams in China, India, South Africa, Australia,...