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16 November 2016 |
The last 30 days have seen some big developments in the ongoing attempts of Premier Weatherill's plan to import high-level and intermediate level radioactive waste. On Sunday 6 November came the surprising decision of the Premier-initiated Citizens Jury. By the end of their six day deliberations, the 350 second round jurists showed a decided shift in opinion. Their 50 page report, presented to a somewhat discomfited Premier, had a strong two thirds majority against the dump.
16 November 2016 |
Here we go again. Just a few days after the historic Paris Agreement on climate change entered force, another Republican climate denier has snatched the White House. Donald Trump isn't just a closet sceptic, paying lip-service to climate change while doing nothing about it. He's an out-and-proud conspiracy theorist. All signs point to the US returning to its role as international climate saboteur, and for much the same reasons: Republican paranoia over the economic rise of China.
08 November 2016 |
The 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.
20 October 2016 |
On 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.
25 September 2016 |
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.
22 September 2016 |
On 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?
22 September 2016 |
Last 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.
18 September 2016 |
Apple 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?
08 September 2016 |
With 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.
25 August 2016 |
On 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.
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