The rush to develop Australia’s hydrogen industry is based on export opportunities, especially to Japan and Korea, which have been vastly overstated by comparison with Japanese and Korean targets. Developing hydrogen with coal and gas risks locking in increased emissions, given the track record of carbon capture and storage. Australia should focus on hydrogen produced with renewable energy.
The Australia Institute welcomes the opportunity to make a submission to the South Australian Select Committee on the findings of the South Australian Murray Darling Basin Royal Commission and the Productivity Commission’s five-year assessment of the Plan.
Public commentary frequently blames the Basin Plan for the economic, social and environmental demise of much of the Basin. Industries such as dairy, rice and citrus in some valleys have suffered serious decline and many remaining businesses will be lucky to survive this drought.However, we agree with the Royal Commission’s finding that the Basin Plan is only one of many contributors to this failure.
by Richard Denniss
[Originally published on the Guardian Australia, 13 November 2019]
It’s not just climate protesters who powerful voices are trying to silence in Australia, it’s anyone who wants to talk about the bigger-picture causes to the problems Australia is facing.
In modern Australia it has become “inappropriate” to talk about why our rivers are running out of water, why our aged care centres are running out of food and nappies, and why our fire brigades are running out of firetrucks. But it’s impossible to solve problems when you can’t talk about the underlying causes.
by Richard Denniss
[Originally published in the Financial Review, 11 November 2019]
Despite Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s best efforts, Australia has a target of net zero greenhouse gas emissions in 31 years’ time. His suggestions that Labor’s renewable energy target of 50 per cent by 2030 is an economic “wrecking ball” is as pointless and wrong as his claims that pursuing a budget surplus when the economy is stagnating is good for “jobs and growth”.
by Mark Ogge
[Originally published on The Fifth Estate, 12 November 2019]
It is a terrible irony that the coal being mined in New South Wales is helping fuel the state’s unprecedented increase in extreme heat, fires and drought.
Every year, coal produced in NSW results in about 500 million tonnes of greenhouse gases being pumped into the global atmosphere. This is roughly equivalent to Australia’s domestic annual emissions, and more than those of the UK or France.
The offshore oil and gas regulator NOPSEMA has once again taken issue with the environmental plan submitted by Equinor as part of their attempts to drill for oil in the Great Australian Bight.
Citing a lack of information relating to ‘consultation, source control, oil spill risk, and matters protected under Part 3 of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999’, NOPSEMA has given the Norwegian oil giant 21 days to resubmit their environmental plan.
If Norwegian company Equinor is given permission to drill for oil in the Great Australian Bight, it will likely pay the Norwegian Government more than it will pay in Australian Government taxes and up to 27 times more than they will pay to the South Australian Government, a new report from The Australia Institute has revealed.
BEN OQUIST: My name is Ben Oquist, I’m the Executive Director at the Australia Institute and I'm delighted to be with such an eminent group of people. David Morris, CEO of EDO NSW, Janet Reynolds, bushfire survivor from the 2015 Tathra fires, Ken Thompson, former deputy commissioner of NSW Fire and Emergency Services and member of Emergency Leaders for Climate Action, and of course Paul Stein who you know, AM and QC, former Land and Environment Court and a former judge here in NSW.
The fight to protect NSW climate laws has stepped up, with experts launching a statewide television commercial today to send Premier Gladys Berejikilian a clear message – don’t put coal over climate.
Under unprecedented pressure from the coal industry, the Berejiklian Government is moving to amend the NSW laws that require the full climate change impacts to be considered in the assessment of new coal mines.
Any changes to these laws would be a dangerous step of political interference and undermine the independent process used to assess the overall impact of new coal mines.