James Wight

Author's posts

We need to politicize climate change

We’ve all heard the laments: the public has gone cold on climate action because the issue has become so “politicized”. Someone has to say it: we need to politicize climate change. What does it mean to “politicize” something? It means to put it on the political agenda, propel it into the headlines, make it a …

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Abbott stacks RET review panel

As Australia suffers through a drought which Prime Minister Tony Abbott insists is entirely natural, the Liberal/National Coalition government has announced a review of the federal Renewable Energy Target (RET), which “a senior Liberal” told the ABC is “cover” for “let’s kill the RET”. Australia’s current target is 45 terawatt-hours (TWh) of new renewable energy …

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New legislation tries to criminalize protest

In the Australian state of Victoria, the Napthine Liberal government is pushing draconian legislation to restrict citizens’ right to protest. The Summary Offences and Sentencing Amendment Bill would expand police powers to order people to “move on” from a public place. It introduces new circumstances in which move-on orders can be issued, including some which …

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Global warming not slowing – it’s speeding up

The Earth is gaining heat faster than ever In 2013 the Earth’s oceans accumulated energy at a rate of 12 Hiroshima atomic bombs per second, according to global ocean heat content records from the US National Oceanographic Data Center (NODC). This rapid heating in 2013 compares to an average of 4 Hiroshima bombs per second …

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Book Review: Scorcher by Clive Hamilton

Note: This book review is more measured in tone than my typical blog post, because it was originally written as a university essay. Clive Hamilton, Scorcher: The dirty politics of climate change, 2007, Black Inc. Agenda, Melbourne, 266 pp, ISBN 9 780977 594900. The 2007 classic Scorcher: The dirty politics of climate change, by Australian …

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Government has a double standard on entitlements

This is a longer version of an article published at Independent Australia. Last week, Australian Treasurer Joe Hockey refused to provide $25 million of government assistance to struggling local tinned fruit cannery SPC Ardmona. Hockey says “the age of entitlement is over, and the age of personal responsibility has begun”. This opposition to “entitlement” is …

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Great Barren Reef: the cost of coal exports

On Friday the Abbott government approved the dumping of three million cubic metres of dredged seabed in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park. That’s enough waste to fill 150,000 dump trucks. This outrage is occurring because of a planned coal export boom. Environment Minister Greg Hunt quietly approved the dredging in December while you were …

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21 flaws in Tony Abbott’s climate policy

Australia’s new Abbott Government intends to replace the former government’s climate policies with a “Direct Action Plan”, consisting mainly of an “Emissions Reduction Fund”. This post will examine the flaws of the proposals outlined in the recently released Green Paper. They should have just called it the “Paper”, because it contains very little that is …

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We need to rethink national interests

On this blog I talk a lot about how Australian and other governments have allowed the fossil fuel lobby to systematically sabotage their climate policies, and give voters a highly misleading impression as to what those policies will achieve. The blame for the lack of action ultimately lies with the fossil fuel industry. But this …

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How Labor lost the climate debate

These two videos go a long way toward explaining why the Australian Labor Party won the 2007 election and lost in 2013. They show how Labor changed the way it framed climate change. In 2007 they correctly identified it as the most important issue of our time: By 2012 (when Labor were already in an …

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