Thursday 17 Sep 2020 | 07:42 | SYDNEY

Climate change

Copenhagen: The Indians at the airport

Fergus Green is co-author of the Lowy Institute’s Guide to the Copenhagen Conference. He is about to leave Copenhagen for a holiday but will blog on the conference and its implications in the new year. For those interested in the political machinations that produced last Friday's Copenhagen

Copenhagen: China words, America dollars

Peter McCawley is a Visiting Fellow at the Indonesia Project, ANU, and former Dean of the ADB Institute, Tokyo. What are we to make of the Copenhagen Accord document that came out of last week's climate change conference? A terrible failure for the planet? A confirmation, as Walter Russell

Climate politics, high and low

The high politics of climate change in Australia shifted significantly even before the Copenhagen summit drove into the snow. For nearly three years, there was a surprising degree of agreement between the Labor and Liberal parties on the high politics of global warming. By 'high politics', I

Copenhagen: Not a treaty, but a conversation

Fergus Green is the co-author of Comprehending Copenhagen: A Guide to the International Climate Change Negotiations. He is in Copenhagen working with Project Survival Pacific. As the Copenhagen conference heads into its final days, the mood remains rather gloomy. A comprehensive treaty is well

Reader riposte: Climate financing

Frank Jotzo was an economic adviser to the Garnaut Climate Change Review. He writes: Peter McCawley is spot-on about the need for large-scale climate financing for developing countries. I share some of his pessimism about public finance, but not about all forms of climate finance. The

Copenhagen: It all about energy

Peter McCawley is a Visiting Fellow at the Indonesia Project, ANU, and former Dean of the ADB Institute, Tokyo. One central issue needs to be borne in mind in attempting to follow the tortuous arguments and negotiations about climate change in Copenhagen – energy. Stripping away a great

Reader riposte: Climate and UNSC bid

Tim writes: I saw some of the ABC2 news program this morning, which got me thinking. I wasn't paying 100% attention until it was too late (trying not to burn myself while ironing a shirt), but I gather there was a 'walkout' from the Copenhagen summit by a reasonable number of national

Half time in Copenhagen

Fergus Green is the co-author of Comprehending Copenhagen: A Guide to the International Climate Change Negotiations. He is in Copenhagen working with Project Survival Pacific. If the first week of the international climate change conference in Copenhagen is anything to go by, there is little

More on conservatives and climate

Following up a post I wrote in November about how persuade climate sceptics to go along with emissions trading, I notice that, right to the end of his time as Opposition Leader, Malcolm Turnbull stuck to the risk management argument on climate change. But as I said in November, that argument

The quotable Economist

Much as I admire The Atlantic, if I had to pick a 'desert island' magazine it would be The Economist. It's rare to ever feel as if you have 'finished' an issue (in the sense that, leafing through it, you decide there's nothing else you want to read) before the next one arrives. The layout is

Passion and banality: Copenhagen kicks off

Fergus Green is the co-author a new Lowy Institute Analysis, Comprehending Copenhagen: A Guide to the International Climate Change Negotiations. He is in Copenhagen with an NGO that is assisting Pacific Island countries in the negotiations. After years of expectations, months of pre-negotiations

5-minute Lowy lunch: Copenhagen

It's intriguing how acronyms as ridiculous as CPRS have entered into the vernacular as climate change discussions have taken off. No doubt we can expect more impenetrable jargon as the Copenhagen talks get underway, but to soften the blow Fergus Green and Greg Picker yesterday launched a Lowy

Climate change: The US and Australia

The 2009 Lowy Institute Poll released last month found 76% of Australians thought climate change was a problem, but that it was slipping as a goal people wanted the government to tackle and as a perceived threat. A new poll reported in the Washington Post suggests a similar trend in the United

Conservatives and climate change

Crikey's Canberra press gallery correspondent Bernard Keane highlights a speech on climate change by a Senator I had never heard of before, Simon Birmingham, a Liberal from South Australia. Below is a paragraph of Birmingham's speech, followed by Keane's approving comment: "For these reasons I

Rudd snow job on climate

Fergus Green is co-author of a forthcoming Lowy Institute Analysis on the Copenhagen climate change conference. This is part two of his analysis of Prime Minister Rudd's speech to the Lowy Institute last Friday. Part one is here. The Prime Minister's speech was about positioning the

Lowy speech: Rudd attacks

A few thoughts on Prime Minister Rudd's climate change speech, which he has just delivered here at the Lowy Institute. My colleagues and I will probably have some more considered views next week, but here's how it struck me at first blush: It was highly partisan: this was a full-throated attack

Idiotic environmental policy

I've criticised 'Minister for Holden' Kim Carr for shovelling public money the way of favoured companies so they can produce 'green' vehicles. But Mr Carr can't hold a candle to the authorities in the US state of Colorado, who are offering a US$42,000 rebate on a US$110,000 Tesla sports car,

The cost of Fiji floods

Nic Maclellan works as a journalist and researcher in the Pacific islands. As political parties in Australia debate the content of our Emissions Trading Scheme, an important new report analyses the damage caused to Fiji's sugar industry by flooding in January 2009. The floods, the worst in Fiji's

'Humans don't like being suckers'

Via Will Wilkinson, here's a video of this year's Nobel laureate for economics, Elinor Ostrom, explaining how her work on overcoming the tragedy of the commons can be applied to environmental problems. Wilkinson quotes one critic as saying Ostrom's theories tend to be most applicable at small

Friday funny: Captain Planet

In case you missed last night's episode of the ABC's Q&A, here's the animation they ended the program with: Have a good weekend

As for protectionism, so for carbon?

No one will be surprised by this ABC report describing the failure of climate change talks in Bangkok intended to lay the groundwork for an agreement in Copenhagen. We're surely tackling this problem from the wrong end by putting so much emphasis on an international agreement. Not only is such

Batteries as 'disruptive technology'

Several times on this blog I have wrestled with what struck me as a conundrum about the economic relationship between oil and alternative sources of energy: The cheaper alternative energy gets, the lower will be the demand for fossil fuels, and hence the further oil prices will drop. So

Reader riposte: Beds are burning

Nick Goodwin writes about the newly released remix of Midnight Oil's Beds are Burning: Sam, I love your defence of Oils purity, may they never grow old. But I think you are missing the point. The 'Beds are Burning' video is not aimed at you, nor most of the analyst community, neither was the

Japan: Climate rhetoric and reality

The parallels between the first months of the Rudd Government and the first weeks of the new Hatoyama Government in Japan extend beyond proposals for new forms of regional architecture. The new Rudd Government basked in the warm glow of the global media spotlight early on by signing Australia

No fire in the bed, just vomit

A group of singers and celebrities has released a remix of Midnight Oil's Beds are Burning as part of a publicity campaign ahead of the Copenhagen climate change conference. Not since the 'Yes we can' song recorded by Barack Obama's celebrity chorus has there been such a sickening display of

Pacific leaders contradict Cairns climate deal

Nic Maclellan works as a journalist and researcher in the Pacific islands and was a member of the media pack at the Cairns summit. At the August 2009 Pacific Islands Forum in Cairns, Australian officials drafted the 'Pacific leaders' call to action on climate change', which won approval from all

Copenhagen free riders

On Crikey's website today, a statement of what I take to be the conventional wisdom on climate change diplomacy. The interviewee is Erwin Jackson from the Climate Institute: Q: How important is it that the US senate pass their trading scheme before Copenhagen? A: It is critical to an

5-min Lowy Lunch: Copenhagen doomed

There won't be a global CO2 reduction agreement if the focus remains on deadlines and targets. That was the strong message from yesterday's Lowy Lunch presentation by the Lowy Institute's own Warwick McKibbin, a professor at ANU, senior non-resident fellow at Brookings and Reserve Bank board member

Reader riposte: Climate and risk

Fergus Green asks: If Nassim Nicholas Taleb doesn't think climate change is anthropogenic, why is he concerned about 'releasing pollutants in the atmosphere'? In other words, why advocate that we 'leave the planet the way we got it' if you don't think the things we're doing to it are the cause

Climate and complexity

It is well known that Opposition Leader Malcolm Turnbull is having all sorts of problems getting his Coalition to speak with one voice on climate change. Perhaps the problem has been that Turnbull and those in the Liberal Party who believe in anthropogenic climate change have been trying too hard

The Minister for Holden

I just spent a few hours with colleagues grilling an eminent European economist about the state of the world. On climate change, he was adamant that governments could have no possible idea which technologies will end up being decisive in the move from carbon-based energy, so their focus should be

Friday funny: Toyota Pious

For our readers who have heard too much about organic mobile phones, green coal and carbon neutral trips to Europe, South Park brings you smugness.  Photo by Flickr user head in a milk bottle, used under a Creative Commons license

Climate: The limits of public concern

WorldPublicOpinion.org has a new poll up showing worldwide desire for government action on climate change. But the pollsters didn't ask people what it was they wanted governments to do, or how much they were prepared to pay for this unspecified action. The Lowy Institute can fill in this gap, at

Why Rudd is losing the climate debate

If the exchange between the Prime Minister and Senator Stephen Fielding on Punch is any indication, it's because Rudd sticks to bland generalities about a 'serious threat to our economy, our environment and to future generations' without ever engaging critics like Fielding on the facts. In his

Electric cars: Chaaarge!

The movement from a carbon-based to an electric transport infrastructure is gathering momentum, if the number of electric and plug-in hybrid car projects in development is any guide. Here are some of the more interesting projects, all either in commercial production or near to it:       

New climate policy not the change we need

Fergus Green is an energy and climate change lawyer and a former Lowy Institute intern. Last week the Australian Government released a set of significant changes to its climate change policies. Media coverage has focused on the domestic ramifications, but there are also important

The ETS on ice

There was no need for Annabel Crabb to cast around for odd but quirky tales for a story this morning the big story of the day has all the fodder anyone needs. In case you missed it, Australia's Emissions Trading Scheme has been postponed; a day or two after the announcement of plans for a

Reader riposte: Climate change paradoxes

Two responses to my climate change questions. First, Jon: I think the logic in your posts stacks pretty well — worryingly so, one might say. Your second point might be 'offset' by the diminishing supply of fossil fuels (who'd have thought anyone would be pleased about the

Unanswered questions about climate change

When it comes to climate change, I've long been a technological optimist. That is to say, my assumption has been that the advance of technologies that reduce emissions will make the seemingly insurmountable policy challanges seem less important over time. But here are two arguments I&#

Climate change and Southeast Asia

A recent report funded by Canadian and Swedish aid agencies has tried to map Southeast Asia’s vulnerability to climate change. Alas, it is not good news for central Jakarta, which is rated as the most vulnerable area out of 530 considered. The Philippines (yes, the whole country, including its

Clinton in China: Climate change goes mainstream

Fergus Green is a lawyer and former Lowy Institute intern. He has worked on Sino-US relations at CSIS and as a research analyst at an energy and resources consultancy. During last year’s US presidential campaign, I argued that, based on the candidates’ respective policy statements

Climate change: Adding insult to policy

When she pauses for a moment's honest reflection, I wonder if Climate Change Minister Penny Wong will regret this sentiment, from her op-ed in today's Australian: Some commentators, and the Opposition, appear intent on diverting us from action by embarking on yet another round

CPRS: Review cancelled, opportunity lost

It was good news when Treasurer Wayne Swan announced that the House Economics Committee was to enquire whether the core of Australia’s response to climate change – the Carbon pollution Reduction Scheme (CPRS) — is the best way to tackle climate change. This now cancelled review could

More on IRENA

You'll recall that a week or so ago I wrote a short post wondering why Australia had decided not to join the new International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA). At the time, I thought the Department of Climate Change had carriage of this issue, so I asked them for comment. I subsequently

Why aren't we in IRENA?

It was barely reported in Australia, but via this clean energy blog, I discovered yesterday that Australia has decided not to join the newly minted International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), the renewable energy equivalent of the IEA. According to this report, the US, UK, Japan and China are

Climate change diplomacy: Missing our big chance

Fergus Green has been a research analyst at an energy and resources consultancy. He recently completed an internship at the Lowy Institute, where he worked on the forthcoming Review of Australia’s Instruments of Foreign Policy. Thanks to Hugh White for zeroing in on the most important

Forking out for our habitat

Reading the estimates on the likely impact of the Rudd Government's climate trading system, it's interesting to look back to the results from the 2008 Lowy Poll. The Prime Minister said the initial impact on households would be around $4 a week extra on their electricity bill.  We

Five obvious points about climate change

Obvious point 1: The hardest thing about greenhouse gas emissions as a policy challenge is that it is so unrelentingly global. Individual countries acting alone can do nothing to protect themselves or anyone else from the long-term effects of carbon emissions.  So what matters to

Kevin everywhere

When I heard the PM would personally launch the Climate Change White Paper today, elbowing out his minister, Penny Wong, it reminded me of someone

Climate change: Howard perfect storm

On last night's final episode of The Howard Years, former Prime Minister Howard said that in October 2006 he faced a 'perfect storm' on the climate change issue: the Stern Report, Al Gore's 'An Inconvenient Truth', early bushfires in Victoria, and increasing  despair about

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