Thursday 07 Oct 2021 | 20:40 | SYDNEY

Climate change

Documentary trailer: Chasing Ice

Chasing Ice is a film about photographer James Balog, the man behind the Extreme Ice Survey, which uses time-lapse photography to track the retreat of Arctic glaciers. The documentary includes footage of the largest glacier 'calving' (breaking or cracking) ever captured on film. Chasing Ice

Managing environmental migration

Dr Khalid Koser is Head of the New Issues in Security Program at the Geneva Centre for Security Policy, and a non-resident Fellow at the Lowy Institute. Bloggers, government officials, academics, and radio interviewers have kindly (and in one or two cases, not so kindly) responded to my paper

The oil glut and the environment

The Guardian, summarising the latest International Energy Agency World Energy Outlook report, comes up with the attention-grabbing headline that the US could become the world's biggest oil producer in a decade, displacing Saudi Arabia. The story itself puts the date at 2017, making the headline

Interview: UNFCC Christiana Figueres

On Wednesday the Lowy Institute held a sold-out event with Christiana Figueres, Executive Secretary of the UN's Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCC). Figueres, who happened to be at the Lowy Institute on international UN Day, gave a colourful and informative overview of the status of

Reader riposte: Storing solar energy

Sam Roggeveen's 18 September post about the rapidly declining cost of solar energy noted the continuing problem of storing solar power. Richard Broinowski responds: I was interested to read Sam's data on the rise of natural gas to replace coal in the energy mix of the United States, and the

The unnecessary climate fight

A quick note on Roger Pielke\'s piece in Foreign Policy about the future of climate change policy, and specifically his suggestion that we break the problem down into smaller chunks so that we avoid the pitched battle between \'warmists\' and \'deniers\'. There\'s no hope for progress on that

How Australia can lead on climate change

Fergus Green is co-author of Laggard to Leader: How Australia can Lead the World to Zero Carbon Prosperity. He will be launching the report in Brisbane on Thursday. Part 1 of this post here. With UN negotiations deadlocked, our new report, Laggard to Leader, published by climate solutions think

Why Australia must lead on climate change

Fergus Green is co-author of Laggard to Leader: How Australia can Lead the World to Zero Carbon Prosperity. He will be launching the report in Sydney tonight and in Brisbane on Thursday. Since 1992, the international community has been trying to avoid dangerous climate change through the

America remarkable energy transition

This is one of the more remarkable and hopeful charts I have seen in some time, describing America\'s energy mix: Why impressive? Just look at the rate of transition from coal to natural gas. As Alexis Madrigal says in his commentary, \'that\'s the kind of growth that you tend to see in the

McKibbin on Australia carbon tax

Earlier this week we caught up with Lowy Institute Professorial Fellow Warwick McKibbin to discuss the new carbon tax. For those readers who follow Warwick\'s work on economic instruments to address climate change (summarised in a 2006 Lowy Institute Analysis and more recently in 

Why is support for climate action dropping?

Roger Pielke Jr is a professor of environmental studies at the University of Colorado. He spoke at the Lowy Institute in February on the intersection of science and public policy. It has been a long time since polls of public opinion on climate change measured anything much to do with

Doco trailer: Surviving Progress

The trailer for this Martin Scorsese-produced documentary (based on Ronald Wright\'s book, A Short History of Progress) puts me in mind of Roger Pielke\'s iron law of climate policy: When policies on emissions reductions collide with policies focused on economic growth, economic growth will

Rolling Stone says RIP Australia

Rolling Stone has a piece in its latest issue titled Climate Change and the End of Australia. Depending on your views, it\'s either alarming or alarmist: How bad could it get? A recent study by MIT projects that without \"rapid and massive action\" to cut carbon pollution, the Earth\'s

Interview: Shyam Saran

Earlier I linked to economist Tyler Cowen\'s list of reasons why a carbon tax might not be a good idea. Here\'s reason 1: Other countries won’t follow suit and then we are doing something with almost zero effectiveness. The Australia-India Roundtable, convened by Lowy\'s own

Geoff Gallop is wrong about N power

According to Geoff Gallop\'s recent opinion piece, all the questions about nuclear power have been answered — it\'s too dangerous, too expensive, too unpopular, and would be best left to die. We don\'t need it to tackle climate change and we can\'t afford it.  That\'s a pretty

Carbon and incentives

Janet Albrechtson\'s latest column describes a recent carbon tax debate held in Sydney: Curious about the assertion by the climate change proponents that the carbon tax will drive innovation, one young man said he was all in favour of innovation \"but when one looks back on the history

Climate change and the Right

Rob Burgess at Business Spectator mounts an argument for a conservative approach to climate change, and it sounds eerily familiar: Conservatives should understand this point. It\'s because we don\'t know for sure what climate change will bring, that we have such a strong interest in

Change begins at home

It is regularly argued that Australia shouldn\'t get ahead of the world with a carbon tax. For example, here is former Prime Minister John Howard yesterday on Insiders: I\'ve just been in the United States and there\'s no chance in the world of the Americans embracing an emissions

Press gallery stifling climate debate

More evidence, if it were needed, that the notoriously tight discipline of our major political parties is often enforced, not by the parties themselves, but by the media. According to Michelle Grattan and Ben Schneiders, \'Malcolm Turnbull has undermined Tony Abbott\'s attack on the government by

Greg Hunt international solution

Yesterday I said that, given the Government\'s Clean Energy Future plan is based partly on the \'heroic assumption\' that there will be a global agreement on carbon trading some time down the track, it should have set aside some resources and developed a plan to help bring about

Greg Hunt alternative climate policy

Greg Hunt, Shadow Minister for Climate Action, has just left the Lowy Institute after presenting an alternative climate change policy. It was more than a \'this tax is bad\' speech; you can read it here, and there will be an accompanying 5000-word paper on our website tomorrow. The Shadow

The carbon policy: What missing

Fairfax\'s Peter Martin\'s points out that the Prime Minister\'s Clean Energy Future policy, announced yesterday, is premised partly on the \'heroic assumption that there will soon be a global carbon price\'. From that perspective, what\'s notable about the Government\'s approach

The new carbon tax ad gets it right

I beg to differ with Sam on the carbon tax ad. Accepting that any ad will simplify this complex story, this one gets at the essence of the issues. First, the tax should be imposed as close as possible to the source of the problem. This gives maximum bang-per-buck. It\'s not unreasonable to say

Why the Cate Blanchett ad sucks

Critics of this new ad campaign have missed the point. To me, the main problem is not Cate Blanchett (though this argument does have some merit), but the \'make big companies pay\' line at the beginning of the ad. It\'s a line that reveals some crude ideological prejudices among the

C02 emissions: Easy and hard problems

Sam has written again on the conundrum that, if energy use becomes more efficient, we might use more of it. This seems an easy one to address, at least compared with the broad problem of carbon pollution. As for the Jevons Paradox, the answer is to tax the energy which has now become

5-minute Lowy Lunch: Going green

On Tuesday the Lowy Institute hosted a joint presentation by the 'sceptical environmentalist' Bjørn Lomborg and Canadian architect Michael Green, which you can listen to here. There's also a short interview below, in which I try to push back gently against Lomborg's characterisation

Why energy efficiency matters

We've discussed previously on The Interpreter the seemingly inescapable conundrum at the heart of global efforts to reduce carbon emissions through technology: if we make power generation more efficient, won't that just create an incentive to use more of it' To put this in everyday

Climate policy still all about the US and China

Dougal McInnes is a Geneva-based consultant with the UN Environment Program. He has worked as the head of climate policy at CNRG International and with the Office of National Assessments. Eleven months after the Copenhagen shemozzle and one month before the next round of talks in Cancun, there

Reader riposte: Picking winners

Kien Choong writes: On Sam's comment about 'picking winners', I seem to recall hearing Jeffrey Sachs making a comment to the effect that it is important to pick technologies, and the normal free market prescription of letting the market choose doesn't apply to the global challenge of

China\ whopping clean energy plans

Some jaw-dropping figures in this FT story about China's clean energy plans. The highlights:  '...officials have aired a goal of a 40-45 per cent cut in carbon intensity by 2020, and the new five-year plan will reinforce that with an interim target.' 'The new energy investment plan

5-minute Lowy Lunch: Climate risk

Former Climate Change Minister Penny Wong said in February that 'there may well be dispute about the cost of catastrophes, but the science on the link between these catastrophes and climate change has not been credibly challenged.' Yesterday's Wednesday Lowy Lunch speaker, Professor John

Climate shock therapy

This coming Sunday is the 10th of October or 10/10/10, which has been marked as a 'Global Day of doing' by the UK-based 10:10 Campaign, whose aim is to cut carbon emissions by 10% a year, starting in 2010. Put aside the practical aspects of this ambition, which, according to Roger

In-vitro meat: Don't have a cow, man

Articles about the ways resource constraints (oil, gas, water) will transform the global scene are pretty common. And we're all familiar with debates about the use of technology (solar, wind, the electrification of motor transport) to overcome such shortages. Here's an article that

Climate policy: Leadership vacuum

The Labor Party's climate approach is extremely disappointing. The science and expert input has made a strong case for action for more than a decade. A majority of Australians already want to take action on climate change. What would be required to come out of a Citizens' Assembly to convince the

Email exchange with IPA on climate

After posting my piece about the Institute of Public Affairs' attitude toward developing a global consensus on climate change, I invited a response from the IPA's Alan Moran. The email exchange went as follows: ROGGEVEEN: Alan, I just wanted to alert you to my post and to invite your

Rudd climate 'ripple' overseas

Nic Maclellan works as a journalist and researcher in the Pacific islands. In her post on 'Brand Australia', Alex Duchen suggests that Kevin Rudd's back down on climate change is 'unlikely to cause much of a ripple overseas.' Let's have a look at some media headlines from around the world

The refossilisation of Australian climate policy

Fergus Green is an environmental and climate change lawyer and a co-author of the Lowy Institute's Guide to the Copenhagen Negotiations. One of the more entertaining rituals at international climate change negotiations is the nightly presentation by the Climate Action Network of the 'Fossil of

Interview: Designing cap & trade

Franz Litz, a Senior Fellow at the Washington think tank, the World Resources Institute, is in Australia thanks to the US State Department. My thanks to the US consulate in Sydney for putting me in touch with Franz for this interview. As you can see from his bio page, Franz Litz is very

5-minute Lowy Lunch: Parkinson

Secretary of the Department of Climate Change Martin Parkinson made headlines (subscription required) with his speech to the Lowy Institute yesterday — the Opposition accused the Government of politicising the public service, with the Secretary arguing strongly against those who oppose market-

Reader riposte: Climate and risk

Thomas Brinsmead comments on an old post of mine, but his thoughts remain relevant: Sam, you wrote: The argument that conservatives ought to favour climate change action on risk management grounds is superficially attractive, and in fact I have suggested it myself. But on further

5-minute Lowy Lunch: Climate change

John Connor, CEO of the Climate Institute, gave the Wednesday Lowy Lunch this week. He was surprisingly upbeat about the outcome at Copenhagen, and in his interview with me afterwards, I asked him why. I also asked if the UNFCC was still the right mechanism for reaching a global deal to reduce

Reader riposte: Climate 'conversation'

John Hannoush writes: I am pleased that Fergus Green has taken to putting scare quotes around the word 'conversation' (though I notice other words get the treatment, like 'action', 'voluntary'). What exactly does 'conversation' mean in national and international politics?  It is used often:

The 'climate conversation' after Copenhagen

Fergus Green is a climate change lawyer and co-author of the Lowy Institute's Guide to the Copenhagen Conference. During the final days of the Copenhagen conference, as negotiators were huddled around tables thrashing out what became the Copenhagen Accord, I penned a post suggesting that we

RIP climate change?

Opposition Leader Tony Abbott, who has just delivered a speech on the Coalition's climate change policy, can draw some comfort from this Walter Russell Mead post announcing the 'death of global warming'. Mead clearly isn't a denialist about climate change — he probably belongs in the 'alert

Glaciers have no political agenda

Much has been made recently of the IPCC's unsubstantiated prediction that Himalayan glaciers will disappear by the year 2035. I referred to this claim in my recent Lowy Paper, 'The Mekong: River Under Threat', published in November 2009, which was essentially concerned with dams on the Mekong

Climate numbers: Read 'em and weep

Because they appear deep down in two long posts, I wanted to bring to greater attention some quite startling statistics provided in two recent Interpreter pieces on the Copenhagen Accord. First, Peter McCawley, on how much developed countries might have to shift to the developing world for climate

Reader riposte: Climate 'insurance'

Dominic Meagher writes: I think you miss the point of the precautionary principle in relation to climate change. The idea isn't that people should take out insurance against a risk they consider insignificant - personally, I wouldn't want to take out an expensive insurance plan against something

Funding Copenhagen: Small change

Frank Jotzo is Deputy Director of the ANU Climate Change Institute. Climate finance has been one of the stickiest issues in the two years of negotiations leading up to Copenhagen. It is widely accepted that developing countries need help to adapt to climate change and to invest in a lower-

Why I lost, by Malcolm Turnbull

An op-ed in Saturday's London Times by former Opposition Leader Malcolm Turnbull makes it unintentionally but painfully clear why he lost the support of his party: A curious feature of climate change denial is that it seems to be found overwhelmingly in the ranks of the old. I have never known