January 5, 2014 3:44 pm
Atlantis joins latest wave to list on Aim
By Pilita Clark in London
A Singapore company that plants large underwater windmills in the seabed to generate electricity is heading to the London Stock Exchange to raise money in the latest sign of activity in the tidal energy industry.
Atlantis Resources hopes to garner up to £20m from an initial public offering on London’s Aim market, around half of which would fund its flagship MeyGen tidal project on the northern tip of Scotland, one of Europe’s biggest proposed tidal power schemes.
The company initially plans to install four 1.5 megawatt turbines by the second half of 2015, each around 25m in height, to generate power from the rise and fall of the tides between the Scottish mainland and the nearby island of Stroma.
It has approval to put in a total of 86MW of generating capacity in the first phase of the scheme, enough to power 42,000 Scottish homes each year, but hopes to eventually install far more.
The tidal energy industry is still immature compared with the wind and solar power sectors that have boomed in the past decade as countries have started subsidising renewable energy to cut the greenhouse gas emissions blamed for climate change.
However, a number of big engineering companies, including Siemens of Germany and France’s Alstom, have started snapping up smaller tidal groups over the past two years, amid forecasts that tidal energy will eventually become a far more popular form of renewable power.
Tides can be accurately predicted years in advance, unlike wind and sunshine, and commercial tidal energy schemes are expected to grow from a handful of small projects today to about 170MW of generating capacity by 2020, mostly in Europe, according to the Bloomberg New Energy Finance research group.
This is likely to depend on how fast the tidal power industry can reduce its costs, which are far higher than many other forms of low-carbon power.
Atlantis is working on tidal power projects in several countries, including Canada, France and China, but its chief executive, Tim Cornelius, said the financial support offered by the British government had put the UK at the forefront of the industry.
“The UK has led the way and now you see Canada, France and these sorts of places effectively taking all the good bits out of the UK’s policies and applying them in their own domestic environments,” he said in an interview with the Financial Times.
Tidal power companies will get a “strike price” of £305 per megawatt hour under the UK’s latest renewable energy financial support scheme, nearly double the £155 MWh for offshore wind farms and triple the £95 MWh for onshore wind projects.
Published on May 12, 2013
Learn all about Humus,
the layer of soil essential for healthy food production which is being gradually depleted by unsustainable farming practices.
Graeme Sait a lifelong human and soil health educator explains how 467 billion tonnes of carbon has been released from the soil into the atmosphere, and that we urgently need to return that carbon to the soil, and start replenishing the humus in order to reverse the impact.
In the spirit of ideas worth spreading, TEDx is a program of local, self-organized events that bring people together to share a TED-like experience. At a TEDx event, TEDTalks video and live speakers combine to spark deep discussion and connection in a small group. These local, self-organized events are branded TEDx, where x = independently organized TED event. The TED Conference provides general guidance for the TEDx program, but individual TEDx events are self-organized.* (*Subject to certain rules and regulations)
Thandika Mkandawire does not work for, consult to, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organisation that would benefit from this article, and has no relevant affiliations.
Commitment, duty, reconciliation: Nelson Mandela. PA Wire
It is difficult to write about Nelson Mandela without sounding sycophantic or as if engaged in uncritical hero worship. Mandela’s stature and personality left little room for other sentiments other than those of profound admiration and gratitude. The post-World War II era produced some memorable African leaders who grace the pantheon of champions of the African liberation struggle. There is little doubt that Nelson “Madiba” Mandela ranked among the best of these.
In this brief note, I will simply point to the influences the man had on my generation (politically speaking). For much of the last century during which I grew up, Africa was involved in ridding itself of colonialism and racist rule. From the 1960s onwards, the walls of colonial domination crumbled one after another as the colonialists granted independence or simply ran away as did the Belgians while ensuring that King Leopold’s ghost would continue to haunt the heart of Africa that Congo is. And so for my generation, the death of Mandela marks the triumphant end of Africa’s liberation struggle.
The name Mandela became first inscribed in the annals of African liberation as nothing particularly unusual at the time. The late fifties was an era of trials and detentions in the colonies. The Treason Trial, which took place from 1956 to 1961, was closely followed by those of my generation largely through Drum Magazine. Mandela was one of 156 people arrested and tried for high treason.
During this period leaders such as Jomo Kenyatta, Dr Hastings Banda, Kenneth Kaunda, Robert Mugabe and Joshua Nkomo were in and out of courts, detentions centres or prison. Some, like Patrice Lumumba, were assassinated. Personally, I did a prison stint in 1961 and emerged as a “Prison Graduate” after three months of incarceration on trumped-up charges of inciting violence. We took it for granted then that being jailed for nationalist activities came with the territory.
The rapid pace of decolonisation was brought to a halt on the shores of the Zambezi River by the recalcitrant racist regimes of South Africa and Rhodesia and the decrepit, fascist Portuguese regime of Salazar who continued to insist on maintaining its colonies.
We anxiously followed the fate of Mandela when he went underground as the “Black Pimpernel”. His arrest in 1962 and his conviction for life in 1964 together with the assassination of Lumumba and the Unilateral Declaration of Independence (UDI) in Zimbabwe in 1965 were major reversals to the liberation of the continent. These were only countered by the emancipation of the “Protectorates” of southern Africa a few years after Mandela’s sentencing. It did appear then that not only would the wave of liberation be derailed on the banks of the Zambezi river but that it would be reversed by neocolonial machinations that included the assassinations of African leaders and coup d’états. South Africa took the war outside its border, hunting down exiled leaders.
If the life imprisonment of Mandela seemed like a major reversal for African nationalism and a victory for the remaining racist and fascist regimes, the Nelson Mandela statement at the dock of the court on April 20, 1964 was one the most inspiring statements for my generation.
We read it as a call for the final push in southern Africa through armed struggle. We also understood it as meaning that the usual path of “protest-detention-talk-statehouse” that had been taken by many nationalist leaders was closed for the remaining colonial regimes of the region. It was clear now that the struggle for liberation in southern Africa had taken a dramatically different turn – that of armed struggle and indeed the liberation movements of Lusophone Africa, Namibia and Zimbabwe took this position and we were to witness an acceleration of armed struggles in the region. Three decades later came the end of apartheid, a remarkable achievement in Africa’s tormented history.
Mandela’s release on February 11, 1990 marked the beginning of the final chapter in the struggle for the liberation of the continent from colonial domination but it was also a spur to the struggle for the “Second Independence” – the struggle for the end of authoritarian rule and democracy – that was being waged throughout the continent.
It emphatically underscored the fact that the incarceration of a person for political reasons had no moral basis. Political prisoners in every African country became “our Mandelas” calling for release. In Malawi one political prisoner released in 1994 had spent as much time in jail as Mandela.
There were so many features in the amazing life of this outstanding man. Highlights will differ from one commentator to another. One of the most highlighted areas has been the spirit of reconciliation exuded by a man who had been incarcerated for close to three decades. Important though this aspect was in light of the racial animosity and fears that apartheid had generated, it was not unique to Mandela.
From its original articulation by Jomo Kenyatta, “reconciliation” became the slogan of all the leading nationalist movements in white settler-dominated countries. It is often forgotten that even Mugabe was feted in the capitals of Europe for precisely conveying that message.
The focus of the West on reconciliatory overtures occluded other aspects of the leadership of these men – the avaricious accumulation of wealth in case of Kenyatta and the brutal repression of fellow citizens on the part of Mugabe. In all these cases, reconciliation skirted the issue of justice. And within South Africa the terms of reconciliation are still a hotly debated issue. So there must obviously be something more to Mandela than the “spirit of reconciliation”.
Commitment, duty, sanity
Four things struck me as why the man is the most admired among Africans. One was Mandela’s deep commitment to the liberation of the African people, a commitment baldly stated in court and underscored by his years on Robben Island.
The second was Mandela’s deep sense of duty and a warm sense of respect for the people he led and the movement to which he had been of selfless service. Contrast that to the arrogance of some of the triumphant nationalist leaders who rewrote history for their own purposes and reduced the movements that had brought them into power into massive voices of sycophancy and intolerance.
The third feature was Mandela’s eminently sane relationship to power. It never got into his head. And for all his regal bearing putatively born of his royal upbringing one felt he was a humble and loyal servant of a movement to which he has given so much. Mandela contributed by example in his exercise of power. One unfortunate outcome of the heroic struggles for liberation and the enormous personal sacrifices incurred by individual leaders was the production of “heroes” who in turn produced, wittingly or unwittingly, hero worship. A number of leaders conducted themselves with a sense of entitlement to the throne on the basis of their contribution and sacrifices. Mandela emerged from all this with a remarkable sense of duty and recognition of the many others that had contributed to the struggle. He graciously retired from office after only one term of leadership, a remarkable gesture, given Africa’s experience with national heroes turned “life presidents” and his enormous popularity. Mandela’s gesture cast the searchlight on the “Life Presidents” on the continent and exposed much of the pomp and grand standing for what it was – waste and arrogance
The fourth was his commitment to democracy and rule of law. In a sense Mandela normalised the idea of democracy in Africa. No leader could proudly proclaim himself (it was always a he) a dictator by claiming that African culture sanctioned it without looking extremely foolish.
Mandela was the one individual of and to whom it can be said the African continent was unanimously proud and infinitely grateful.
Hamba Kahle, Madiba
LSE’s African Chair Thandika Mkandawire suffered imprisonment for his role in the struggle for the independence of Malawi and 30 years of exile. This post was originally published on Africa at LSE
Extract from The Conversation – http://theconversation.com
The Conversation is funded by CSIRO, Melbourne, Monash, RMIT, UTS, UWA, ACU, ANU, Canberra, CDU, Curtin, Deakin, Flinders, Griffith, JCU, La Trobe, Massey, Murdoch, Newcastle, QUT, Swinburne, Sydney, UniSA, USC, USQ, UTAS, UWS and VU.
Audits reveal broken promises, green decline
By Emma Fitzpatrick & Sophie Vorrath on 28 November 2013
The Victorian Coalition government has been given a resounding “fail” for its handling of environment issues, with the latest report on its green achievements revealing a of pattern broken policy promises and backwards steps.
In its annual ‘Envirowatch’ audit, not-for-profit green group Environment Victoria found that the Coalition government, now lead by Premier Denis Napthine, had broken 13 key election promises on green policy in its three years in power.
These included promises to deliver on Victoria’s greenhouse pollution reduction target of 20 per cent by 2020; to direct an inquire on the design of a market-based gross feed-in tariff scheme for renewable energy; to implement a $20 million plan to replace inefficient street lights; and to transition all existing housing stock to meet an average of 5 star energy rating.
Environment Victoria CEO Kelly O’Shanassy said that in a “terrible three years” for Victoria’s environment, only 16 of the 58 environmental policy commitments made ahead of the election had been delivered in full; nine had been partially delivered, five had not yet been delivered, 13 represented a step backwards and 13 had been broken.
According to the report, some of the above-mentioned ‘backwards steps’ included commercialising National Parks for private interests, reducing government support for solar and wind power, and scrapping greenhouse pollution standards for new power stations.
The delivery of the scathing Environment Victoria report has coincided with the release of results from a major stocktake of Victoria’s environment – the first of its kind in five years – detailing significant worsening trends in critical areas of green health.
The audit – commissioned by the government itself and prepared by Victoria’s Commissioner for Environmental Sustainability, Professor Kate Auty – has found that, of 30 indicators used to assess the state’s environmental health, 16 have been found to be in poor health, six fair, just one good.
Most notably, reports The Age, the state’s greenhouse gas emissions rose 12 per cent between 1989-90 and 2010-11; the number of wildlife species under threat increased; and the extent and condition of native vegetation was found to be in decline.
The report also recommends several ways for the government to remedy the problems, including policies aimed at cutting CBD car use and congestion, and the development of a plan to “modernise” Victoria’s energy system, including encouraging more renewables and increasing energy efficiency.
All in all, the report offers a total of 32 recommendations of policy measures to help save the government from a legacy of what Environment Victoria’s O’Shanassy has described as taking the state’s environment protection backwards by decades.
“Unfortunately positive environmental action by the state Coalition has been the exception rather than the rule,” O’Shanassy said, noting the two particular exceptions of the government’s strong urban water efficiency agenda and the recently announced moratorium on fracking.
“With actions such as abandoning action on climate change and commercialising national parks, the government is putting the jobs, health and wealth of all Victorians as risk,” she said.
“For the Coalition to have any credibility on the environment at the 2014 election, it would require a massive turnaround in approach, beginning with dropping plans for a coal allocation in the Latrobe Valley and scrapping Ted Baillieu’s anti-wind farm laws.”
Hope you did not miss
2013 BELLARINE 2050 Forum 3,
We listened to one of the great leaders in AFL,
Brendan McCartney / Senior Coach Bulldogs.
This inspirational video clip from the Rising Star awards gives you a small insight into how a great leader thinks and engages his audience, as well as to the character of the person. His talk was extremely motivating to all who attended the 2013 Bellarine 2050 Forum 3.
Brendan was the introductory guest speaker at Forum 3 to be held at Suma Park,
Bellarine Highway, Marcus Hill, on Friday 18th October, commencing 9.00am .
After Brendon’s inspirational speech the forum attendees were asked to form into adhoc groups to take part in some workshops that were to be formulated into ongoing programs for the benefit of all who live and work on the Bellarine Peninsula.
These workshops were closely monitored by the “master of ceremonies” to keep to a format of
“How can we create positive outcomes for various areas of critical Food Water & Energy security issues?”
The first video to actively bring some ideas to the fore on “Energy Security” – More soon..
On 18th October, at Suma Park, the Committee for Bellarine will conduct the next and third of its
Bellarine 2050 Our Place Our Future forums, commencing 9.00 am
with guest speaker Brendan McCartney / Coach AFL Bulldogs, to be followed by a series of managed workshops, and lunch at 12.30pm with a keynote guest speaker.
The program focus will be on the key elements that define great leadership and in turn a level of confidence, within the community, for the future of The Bellarine, that the unwavering vision and skills of great leadership can provide.
In line with the previous two, this forum will attract those active community members with a genuine interest in the future of The Bellarine, along with an appropriate mix of local, State and Federal Government members and staff.
For further information, the outcomes from the previous two forums are available via the website along with further information of the Forum 3 program as it becomes available.
Suma Park Conference Centre & Homestead.
2135 Bellarine Hwy, Queenscliff VIC 3225, Australia
+61 3 5258 3507 · www.sumapark.com.au
|By Chris Nelder | August 7, 2013, 1:32 AM PDT
For complete article and graphics refer: http://www.smartplanet.com/blog/take/trouble-in-fracking-paradise/1028
The shale revolution is “a little bit overhyped,” Shell CEO Peter Voser said last week as his company announced a $2.1 billion write-down, mostly owing to the poor performance of its fracking adventures in U.S. “liquids-rich shales.” Which of its shale properties have underperformed, Shell didn’t say, but CFO Simon Henry admitted that “the production curve is less positive than we originally expected.”
Shell was a latecomer to the tight oil game. As late as 2010 it was acquiring mineral rights at inflated prices, predicting that those properties would produce 250,000 barrels per day in five years. Three years down the road, they are yielding only 50,000 barrels per day, and the company intends to sell half of its shale gas and tight oil portfolio. Shell has officially abandoned its production target of 4 million barrels per day by 2012-2018. Instead, Voser said, “we are targeting financial performance.”
Second-quarter earnings were dismal for the so-called oil supermajors. Shell, BP, Exxon Mobil, Chevron, Total SA, Statoil, and Eni SpA all reported sharply lower profits.
Production was also down nearly across the board, with only Total SA reporting an increase.
Of course, none of this would be a surprise for those who read my article from March, “Oil majors are whistling past the graveyard.”
The declining profitability and production primarily owed to lower oil prices and rising costs. AsPlatts reported in June, total capital spending for the top 100 U.S. producers in 2012 rose 18 percent year on year. Costs will be higher still this year.
Rising costs are partly due to the tight oil boom itself. Producers that invested heavily in tight oil production are struggling to maintain output against the accumulating undertow of existing wells, where output declines rapidly. Geologist David Hughes finds an average decline rate of 60 percent to 70 percent for the first year of production in new wells in the Bakken shale of North Dakota. And a new statistical analysis by Rune Likvern at The Oil Drum shows production from most Bakken wells falls by 40 percent to 65 percent in the second year.
For the Bakken field as a whole, Hughes calculated an annual production decline rate of 40 percent per year in his February report, Drill, Baby, Drill.
The problem is obvious. Decline rates that sharp make tight oil production a treadmill that speeds up a little more every year. Producers have to keep drilling more each year to simply keep output flat. That increases costs.
Other factors contribute to rising costs across the industry globally, including the ever-increasing difficulty of finding new prospects, and overall price inflation for basic commodities like cement and steel.
A good summary by Tom Fowler and Daniel Gilbert in the Wall Street Journal quotes analysts at Bernstein & Co. who see trouble ahead. “This cannot continue. . . . As long as oil prices stay flat and costs continue to rise, it will be impossible for the industry to sustain the current levels” of spending. If their spending drops off, production will too.”
One thing that doesn’t help the cost curve is unprofitable investments, and some of the newer tight oil plays aren’t panning out as hoped. In April, Bloomberg reported that the four biggest stakeholders in the Utica shale of Ohio were divesting, due to “disappointing” results. And the Monterey shale in California has continued to prove troublesome.
A growing consensus suggests that only the Bakken, Eagle Ford, and Permian formations will be major tight oil producers.
Prices are going higher
To be clear, smaller companies who are extremely focused on U.S. tight oil exploration are still turning profits. Tight oil production is still growing, and should continue to grow for several more years at least, just not as quickly as it has for the last several years. However, I am dubious about its production increasing from a bit over 2 million barrels a day today to 5 or 8 million barrels per day by 2020, as some have forecast.
We’ll probably drill around 19,000 horizontal wells this year, which will push production another few hundred thousand barrels per day higher. But we’re not going to raise production by a million barrels per day in a year anymore.
And it’s gonna cost ya. U.S. oil prices have bounced around $95 this year (as I predicted) but that has not been high enough for Shell to make money in tight oil and shale gas. It has not been high enough to sustain high drilling rates in the Bakken. It has not been high enough for most of the supermajors to turn a profit.
The decline in Bakken drilling could have been partly due to the glut at the Cushing, OK delivery point, which forced Bakken producers who ship by pipeline to accept a steep discount. (Bakken producers who shipped by rail directly to coastal refineries could fetch higher prices.) That is now partially relieved due to new pipeline capacity, and U.S. oil prices have risen back to global price levels. That may spur a new uptick in production as we head into the end of the year. As I explained in my last column, tight oil production supports price, it doesn’t reduce it.
But the decline in Bakken drilling can’t be wholly explained by the temporary glut at Cushing. The entire U.S. tight oil boom appears to be running into more systemic problems.
Analyst Bob Brackett of AllianceBernstein says, “the prime locations have already been drilled” in U.S. tight oil plays, and that drillers are moving on to less prospective areas. He sees the U.S. oil price benchmark WTI averaging $103 per barrel in 2015, while the European benchmark Brent rises to $113.
Rising costs across the industry, and declining profitability for the supermajors in an era of triple-digit global prices, suggest that oil prices need to be higher to maintain output. Since domestic gasoline and diesel prices, which are strongly linked to global prices, have remained stubbornly high even while U.S. oil prices were falling this year, that suggests we will likely see gasoline prices pushing toward $4.50 a gallon next year in higher-priced U.S. markets like San Francisco and New York City.
From an oil booster’s perspective, drilling 19,000 new horizontal wells (and 35,000 new wells in total) this year is a good sign. But regular folks might want to think about how much longer such a frenetic pace can go on, about the incursion of fracking into their backyards, about the environmental cost, and about the financial cost of keeping the “bonanza” going.
There is trouble in fracking paradise. A $2 billion write-down by Shell doesn’t quite spell the end of the U.S. oil boom, but it doesn’t bode well either. The “Saudi America” craze was cute, but that slogan isn’t going to make you any happier when you’re shelling out $4.50 and more for a gallon of fuel.
Want my advice? Get a more efficient vehicle. Don’t settle for less than 40 mpg. If your habits and pocketbook allow, consider an electric vehicle. And if energy independence is really your thing, then make it an EV with a rooftop solar PV system. That’s your best protection against the persistently rising cost of fuel.
My thanks to David Hughes and Rune Likvern for their contributions to this article.
Have your say …. G21 Geelong Region Alliance releases G21 Regional Growth Plan/ draft Implementation Plan for comment …..
The G21 Regional Growth Plan was adopted by the Victorian Government last April as the framework for sustainably managing likely regional population growth of up to 500,000 by 2050.
G21 CEO Elaine Carbines said developing a G21 Regional Growth Plan / Implementation Plan was the logical next piece of work.
“We are now at the stage we need the wider community’s input. I’d encourage people to take an interest in the future of their region and planning for its inevitable growth,” Ms Carbines said.
“There will be extensive opportunity to obtain detail and provide feedback between now and 9 August. We’ll be running six ‘Open House’ drop-in information sessions across the region, conducting on-line surveys and will have background materials available on the Growth Plan website,”
“This draft Implementation Plan includes an infrastructure plan, detailed data on the current status of residential and industrial land supply, analysis of opportunities for longer-term urban growth and actions and strategies to ensure people have adequate housing choice in the future.
“Essentially we are now taking the planning up to the next level of detail to ensure the elements of the Growth Plan are put in place effectively,”
“The aim is to ensure the right regional infrastructure is in place at the right time.”
“The infrastructure planning elements of the Implementation Plan are the first of their kind in Victoria. They will allow G21 region councils, and other infrastructure providers, to attract investment and deliver infrastructure that’s coordinated and efficient.
“Similarly, the property sector and local councils will benefit from the data and action plans around industrial and residential property and the elements of the Implementation Plan were setting new standards in regional planning for Victoria. ”
‘Open House’ drop-in information sessions:
Bannockburn: Bannockburn Cultural Centre and Library, 27 High Street, Monday 22 July – 4.00pm to 7.00pm
Queenscliff: Borough of Queenscliffe Town Hall, 50 Learmonth Street, Thursday 25 July – 4.00pm to 7.00pm
Torquay: Torquay Improvement Association Hall, 12 Price Street, Saturday 27 July – 10.00am to 1.00pm
Colac: Colac Otway Performing Arts and Cultural Centre, 2-6 Rae Street, Wednesday 31 July – 4.00pm to 7.00pm
Geelong: Geelong West Town Hall, 153 Pakington Street, Thursday 1 August – 4.00pm to 7.00pm
Lara: Lara RSL, 2 Rennie Street, Saturday 3 August – 10.00am to 1.00pm.
The draft G21 Regional Growth Plan Implementation Plan comprises:
- a regional level Infrastructure Plan, identifying projects important to supporting the region’s growth and provision of jobs
- a strategic housing incentives action plan and residential and industrial land supply analysis
- analysis of the two ‘Further Investigation Areas’ identified in the Growth Plan for medium to longer-term growth.
and is supported by a Background Report and a number of draft residential and industrial land supply reports.
All documents can be downloaded from the project web site: www.G21regionalgrowthplan.com.au
Beyond Zero Emissions Chief Executive Officer Wanted
Beyond Zero Emissions is a not-for-profit research and communication organisation developing solutions for the implementation of climate change mitigation programmes. Their objective is to transform Australia from a fossil fuel based economy to a renewable powered clean tech economy. Sharing this research with tens of thousands of Australians via a multitude of external channels, the organisation is engaging, educating and inspiring stakeholders with real and positive solutions to climate change.
As one of the fastest growing NGOs in Australia, BZE are seeking an experienced and passionate CEO who can lead and consolidate the organisation through the next period of change and growth.
Reporting to the Board of Management, your role as CEO will be to provide the collaborative leadership needed to ensure the organisation can deliver on its ambitious goals. You will work to foster an environment of courage, collaboration and accountability alongside staff and volunteers alike.
The key responsibilities for the role are:
- Staff management and leadership
- Operational management
- External stakeholder engagement
- Media communications
As someone with proven leadership, coaching and management experience you will be thoroughly committed to, and passionate about, action on climate change and the work that the organisation undertakes. As a strong communicator you will be the focal point externally therefore it is essential that you have advanced influencing skills.
Further key requirements include, but are not limited to:
- Excellence in organisational and project management with the ability to coach staff, manage, and develop high-performance teams, set and achieve strategic objectives.
- P/L management, ensuring the fiscal viability and sustainability of the organisation.
- Strong marketing, public relations, and fundraising experience with the ability to engage a wide range of stakeholders.
- Experience developing productive, collaborative partnerships with external agencies and influential individuals.
You will be given the platform to be a highly visible exponent of climate change mitigation, engaging with influential private and public stakeholders across Australia and potentially further afield. This is a fantastic opportunity for you to help shape the future of the Australian energy industry and build on the progress that this organisation has achieved to date.
For a confidential discussion contact Ben Cartland on 0413 555 632 or Richard Evans on 0431 414 883 or send your resume to email@example.com
Stephen will be commencing as CEO of Beyond Zero Emissions on Monday the 9th of September 2013.
Stephen has worked on climate change, renewable energy, energy efficiency and sustainable transport for the past 20 years, primarily in policy and research positions at a local, national and international level.
Ross Garnaut warned against over-playing the dangers of economic growth damaging the ecosystems AAP/Julian Smith
Economist Ross Garnaut has warned against over-playing the dangers of economic growth damaging the ecosystems that are important to life.
Current patterns of economic growth had those effects, he said, but “economic growth is not inherently in conflict with conservation of the natural environment”.
Garnaut, who did much of the groundwork for Labor’s carbon pricing, was launching a booklet of essays titled “Placing global change on the Australian election agenda”.
It has been issued by Australia21, a non-profit group, chaired by a former secretary of the defence department, Paul Barratt, that promotes research on big issues.
The aim of the booklet is to “stimulate a constructive discussion between voters and political aspirants from all parties about the kind of Australia we will leave to our children in an increasingly hazardous, globalised and resource-constrained world”.
The essays have a heavy emphasis on climate change but also cover such topics as defence, the global financial future and the threat from chemical and antibiotic overuse.
Garnaut said that increases in material wellbeing (“economic growth”) derived from increases in population, in the amount of capital each worker used and in productivity.
While an inexorable increase in population was by definition in conflict with finite natural resources, experience showed that rising living standards reduced fertility, in a process that was stronger “than the edicts of imans as well as popes”.
Increases in capital per worker could be resource-saving or resource-using – and he suggested China would provide an example of the former, Garnaut said.
The same went for productivity growth which came from technological change – much technological improvement resulted in less pressure on natural systems per unit of economic value.
“When we see economic growth in this light, we do not need to make enemies of the whole of the developing world’s people as they seek higher standards of living.
“When we see economic growth in this light, we recognise that the important thing is to make sure that we put in place policies that encourage resource-conserving and discourage resource-using capital intensification and technological change”.
That was what Australia had done in a small but so far effective way with its carbon pricing and associated clean energy policies.
He conceded that the linking of the Australian price to the European Union from 2015 would probably lead to lower carbon prices for a while and diminished pressure for the use of carbon-conserving investments and technologies.
“However, the pressure of the carbon pricing causes firms to consider the likelihood that European prices will rise in future, and to think twice about the carbon intensity of future output from investments that they are making now”.
In a shot at the opposition, which is pledged to remove the carbon tax, Garnaut said: “To expect Australians to put the welfare of future Australians near the top of their priorities may be too much to ask as we live through what I hope are the later days of the great Australian complacency.
“But surely it is not too much to expect that we will not make things worse, by retreating on the modest steps forward that we have made in addressing one of the great challenges facing our people”.
In the preface to the booklet Barratt and editor Bob Douglas, former director of the National Centre for Epidemiology and Population Health at ANU, have framed a dozen sets of questions that they hope “become part of the political discourse in the lead up to the election of our next government”.
If you want to grill your local candidates during this election, here are some of the questions. (Good luck with them.)
GREENHOUSE GASES. Do you believe we should radically curtail energy production from fossil fuels? If so, over what timeframe? Should we also curtail our mining and export of fossil fuels to other countries?
ECONOMIC MANAGEMENT AND GROWTH. Do we need to develop a more “steady state” approach to economic management, in which we can maintain full employment without rapid growth in the demands placed upon our resources and the biosphere?
DEFENCE POLICY. Are we spending enough on defence for the Australian Defence Force to be able to meet your expectations? Are you concerned about the prospect of strategic competition emerging between China and the US, and how should Australia respond?
FOOD FOR OUR FUTURE. What are the prospects of Australia feeding itself in the context of rising temperatures, declining extent and health of croplands, and rising food prices and international famine?
OUR DEPENDENCY ON OIL Should the government adopt policies to ensure we have specified stock levels of fuels and lubricants in-country?
PROSPECTS FOR THE GLOBAL ECONOMY What is the likelihood of another global financial crisis? What should we do to prepare for such an eventuality?
PROTECTION AGAINST TOXINS AND ANTIBIOTIC RESISTANCE. What role should government play in protecting the community against exposure to toxins and deterioration in antibiotic sensitivity?
THE VALUATION OF SERVICES PROVIDED BY ECOSYSTEMS. Should we include in our evaluation of proposed developments or changed land use the economic value of the services provided by local ecosystems to human communities and to industry?
ECOLOGICAL FOOTPRINTS AND EQUITY. How can we reduce our per capita footprint in a way that both assists developing countries and makes limited resources more equitably available to all Australians?
ENVIRONMENTAL REFUGEES. How should we best integrate provision for refugees from the results of climate change into our immigration policy?
DOMESTIC TRAVEL. Do you think that the rising demand for rapid movement between our major cities can be met into the indefinite future by increasing civil aviation capacity?
RESPONDING TO THE NEEDS OF THE COMING GENERATION. Is Australia preparing its younger population adequately for the likely risks ahead as climate change and resource scarcity challenge the conventional wisdom of endless economic growth?