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Latrobe Valley a litmus test for clean energy transition

08 November 2016 | Jarni Blakkarly

Hazelwood MineThe death-knell was sounding for Hazelwood long before the announced closure last week. The 50 year old power plant is one of the country's oldest and most inefficient, making it extremely vulnerable to the lower electricity price and supply surplus. As the most polluting power plant per unit of energy produced in the industrialised world, many will be glad to see the power station go. But its closure also flags a rising dilemma, over who bears the cost of the transition to clean energy.

Spin counts more than facts in SA wind farm dispute

20 October 2016 | Greg Foyster

StormOn 28 September an extreme storm lashed South Australia and the entire state lost power. How could this have happened? It's a question that has occupied the country for the last three weeks as politicians and commentators have peddled their unqualified opinions in an escalating culture war about the role of renewable energy. No one really knew what had happened until Wednesday this week, when the AEMO released its updated report. Even now, there are more questions than answers.

My climate change denial is worse than Malcolm Roberts'

25 September 2016 | Greg Foyster

Greg Foyster cartoon 'Climate denial greenhouse'In January, swathes of ancient forest in Tasmania burned in bushfire. February 2016 was a scorcher - the warmest in 136 years of modern temperature records. By late March I was looking at images of a bleached Great Barrier Reef and feeling similarly blanched. I went for a walk, breathing heavily. It was sunny. Ominously warm. Fifteen minutes later, when I returned to my desk, my mood was buoyant again. I turned off my computer, and threw the report I'd been reading in the recycling bin.

The normalisation of destruction in SA nuclear plan

22 September 2016 | Michele Madigan

Edie Nyimpula KingOn Saturday 3 September, in Port Augusta, Yankunyjatjara Elder Edie Nyimpula King was keeping up the struggle, singing again the Seven Sisters inma, strong in its demands for a clean country and protection for the future generations. Its cry: Irati Wanti ... leave the poison! Have nothing to do with it! No radioactive waste dump in our country! But why is such responsibility for country and the health of its people forever so hard? Why is the destruction of country forever allowed to be normalised?

International ecocide law could criminalise Reef destruction

22 September 2016 | Bronwyn Lay

Great Barrier ReefLast year I sat in the offices of one of the judges of the International Criminal Court as we spoke about the possibility of ecocide law becoming an international crime against humanity. An international law against ecocide at its simplest is the criminalisation of mass destruction of the environment due to human action. At that time I heard that the obstacles were not legal, but political. Last week the ICC announced it may hold corporate executives and governments legally responsible for environmental crimes.

Count the cost of Apple's September sell

18 September 2016 | Megan Graham

iPhoneApple has been in hot water for years about the ethics of the manufacture of their devices. Yet iPhone fans gleefully fork out more money every September when the next version is ceremoniously revealed. This circus has become so normalised, most of us hardly blink an eye. How many people ask themselves whether the upgrades in the technology are worth getting a new phone every year? More importantly, how many people question the real-world costs that their purchase entails?

Australian churches off the pace on clean energy switch

08 September 2016 | Thea Ormerod

Winbourne solar arraysWith the grip of climate change tightening, few seem to understand the urgency of the crisis. This is why the announcement of over 3500 churches in the UK switching to clean power is so significant. At last, a solution presented by religious communities that matches the scale of the problem. They are providing the kind of leadership for the needed transition to an ecologically sustainable future. Unfortunately, one reason why it is so exciting is that we're nowhere near this in Australia.

SA power play backfires

25 August 2016 | Greg Foyster

Pollution distribution system, cartoon by Greg FoysterOn 7 July, South Australia experienced a cold snap. As residents turned on their heaters, the still and cloudy conditions meant wind and solar power couldn't contribute much to meeting electricity demand. The last coal plant had closed a few months before, pushed out of the market by renewable energy. As if on cue, the spot electricity price spiked. Instead of a lesson about the danger of too much wind power, it's about the danger of too much market power in the hands of a few big players.

Environmentalists' potential allies on the populist right

02 August 2016 | Greg Foyster

Donald TrumpThe neoliberal right is losing political power to the populist right, which isn't filled with the same ideological zeal for free-market capitalism. Suddenly debates can expand beyond the narrow confines of economic growth. Moral and social arguments won't be relegated to the intellectual fringes anymore. Mainstream parties of the left and right, both of which bought into the neoliberal agenda, will have to break their bipartisan dismissal of discontent with the side effects of globalisation.

Environment groups face fight for their lives

30 June 2016 | Greg Foyster

Advocate bound by green tape. Cartoon by Greg FoysterBy the time polls close Saturday, tens of thousands of voters in marginal seats will have received 'election scorecards' from environment groups. Almost all will rate the Liberal Party worse than Labor or the Greens on a range of issues, from protecting the Great Barrier Reef to encouraging investment in clean energy. Privately, some Liberal candidates will be seething - and, if the Coalition wins, they'll have the means for brutal revenge.

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