Climate Policy’s House of Cards

There are the pragmatists willing to compromise to get at least something, and then there are the idealists who stick to their principles and end up with nothing. Or so the argument goes. This tired old binary has been used by various pundits to frame the division within the Climate Change Authority that saw the […]

The Climate Change Authority report: a minority view

Clive Hamilton and David Karoly As Members of the Climate Change Authority who have participated fully in the Special Review of Australia’s Climate Goals and Policies, we reached the conclusion, after much consideration, that in good conscience we could not lend our names to its report, published last week. Rather than resign we decided to […]

How Scared or Hopeful Should We Be in a Warming World?

For anyone who takes notice of the climate change debate, a mass of often-contradictory information comes flooding into our lives. Some of it prompts great alarm. The Great Barrier Reef is suffering severe bleaching. Wild fires are consuming Alberta. Last year was the warmest on record, and 15 of the 16 hottest years on record […]

Kant at Le Bourget

It is natural to adopt a cynical view of the global climate change conference now taking place outside Paris. Behind the noble public declarations self-interest is ruthlessly asserted in the private negotiating rooms. Rules are bent, scrutiny is resisted and numbers are manipulated to hide emissions. Yet from another standpoint, there is something magnificent taking […]

The earth has moved: big business’s radical climate shift is now unstoppable

The most surprising revelation here at the Paris climate conference has been the astonishing shift in the world of investors over the past 12 months. There is now unprecedented momentum towards participating in the transition to a low-carbon economy, and the view at the “big end” of the conference is that a strong agreement will […]

Good deal or bad? Emotional turmoil as Paris climate talks draw to a close

How should we react to the likely outcome of the Paris climate conference? Unless something dramatic happens overnight it is very likely that the news media on Sunday morning will hail the Paris agreement as a breakthrough and a big victory for those pushing for strong action on carbon emissions. Yet on Friday we heard […]

What Can Nietzsche Tell Us About the Paris Conference?

In essence, the Paris conference may be seen as a ceremony to which nations come to reaffirm their promises in the presence of the global community, that is, to make a public commitment to play their part in the shared enterprise of combatting global warming. This is so because virtually all delegations arriving in Paris […]

Tree spiking = Beheading ergo Environmentalism = Terrorism

Moral equivalence is among the standard logical fallacies identified by philosophers. “It seeks to draw comparisons”, goes a definition, “between different, often unrelated things, to make a point that one is just as bad as the other”. For lecturers in logic seeking a perfect case study, one has just been published by the federal government […]

Damned Lies, Minister Hunt and Climate Models

If you believe what you read in the Daily Telegraph saving the planet must mean trashing the economy. That’s their story and they’re sticking to it, no matter what the evidence shows. If the numbers show the opposite, well, they have ways. And so last week the Murdoch tabloid took a bunch of numbers concocted […]

Australia’s Special Pleading on Climate: Kyoto deja vu

When the Climate Change Authority – of which I’m a member – concluded that Australia should reduce its carbon emissions by 40-60% below 2000 levels in 2030, and by 30% in 2025, it did not pick the numbers out of the air. Those target levels are the minimum necessary for Australia to contribute its fair share to […]