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05 April 2017 |
A 2015 cartoon by Bill Leak depicts an Indian family squatting, smashing solar panels to pieces. A woman chews on a shattered piece of glass, and a man attempts to smear mango chutney onto glistening shards. The initial reaction centred around the racist depictions of Indians. But it also represents a broader and worrisome attitude towards global energy politics, that assumes idiocy in developing countries, combined with a push to burden them with the dangerous wares of a dying industry.
30 March 2017 |
About 40km from Warrnambool in south-western Victoria is Australia's first demonstration site for storing carbon dioxide pollution deep underground. In photos, it doesn't look like much - a few water tanks, sheds and pipes in a brown paddock - and yet plans to meet the internationally agreed climate change target are betting on the success of projects like this. This isn't a fringe strategy anymore. It is a big part of the mainstream, politically preferred approach to address global warming.
26 March 2017 |
Earlier this month Tesla launched the Powerwall 2. In the transition to renewable energy, it may be the biggest disruption to hit traditional energy companies yet. In fact, it's probably their worst nightmare. Our role in energy under this innovation has changed from us being consumers to possibly all being providers. Just as Uber disrupted taxis and Airbnb disrupted traditional hotel chains, so too will the Tesla battery change our relationships and transactions with energy.
16 March 2017 |
One year ago, a remarkable win for indigenous rights took place in a little-reported corner of Asia. On the island of Borneo, rainforest communities won a long fight against a hydroelectric dam that was to be built on their land. After more than two years of muddy resistance, the dam plans were shelved, and land rights were restored to the indigenous population. This was a landmark win, in more ways than one.
22 February 2017 |
Australia's most politically contentious rock is back in the limelight after Prime Minister Turnbull spruiked 'clean coal' power stations in early February, and Scott Morrison brought a lump of the stuff to parliament. It was a juvenile act, but an effective one: here we are again, still talking about coal weeks later, when the real energy policy battle is over gas. But that's how it goes - a pitch for a new coal-fired power station in Australia is actually a clever exercise in repositioning gas as a greener fuel.
12 February 2017 |
'It will be your artists: the poets, painters, actors, dancers, musicians, orators - they will be the ones to lead the changes.' It was one of the many international invited guests, a Maori woman speaker, who made this prediction to the huge 40,000 strong crowd that marched to Hyde Park, Sydney, on 26 January 1988. In South Australia almost 30 years later, this prophecy continues to unfold in the high-stakes battle for country that surrounds the proposed nuclear waste dump.
01 February 2017 |
If climate change were a short-term problem, polarisation wouldn't be so crippling. One side could push a solution through parliament, and by the time the other side took power it might be a non-issue. But climate change is an extraordinarily long-term problem that requires massive investment in new infrastructure and consistent policy settings over decades. It needs a supermajority of support so years of work isn't undone with each change of government. That means getting conservatives on board.
01 December 2016 |
Neither India nor Australia can go it alone when confronting a global issue such as climate change. India cannot disregard the effects on other nations when it adopts laws and policies for alleviating the poverty of the poorest of the poor. Australia cannot disregard the effects on other nations when it considers restricting the availability of resources for export such as coal which might help provide electricity for the world's poorest citizens.
27 November 2016 |
'No matter what the economic, political and legal problems confronted by modern day India, our response can be improved by an application of the key principles and norms developed in the international law of trade and human rights, helping to enunciate the realm of law, regulation and political accountability, enhancing public scrutiny providing the right environment for doing business.' Frank Brennan presents the 25th JRD Tata Oration, Xavier School of Management, Jamshedpur, India, 26 November 2016.
16 November 2016 |
The evangelical Christian vote no doubt assisted the climate-denying Trump to his election victory, yet it is remarkable how out-of-step it is with the general view of faith communities globally. This view was made abundantly clear the day after Trump's victory on 10 November, with the release of an Interfaith Statement in Marrakech, Morocco, and it should stand as a challenge to those in public life who continue to block climate action.
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