Post archive – by topic

Australian Carbon Price Legislation Passed

The Senate has just passed the primary piece of legislation for the carbon pricing mechanism.

Well done, Australia :-)


IETA GHG Market Report 2011

The 2011 report on the state of greenhouse gas markets by the International Emissions Trading Association begins with a chapter on Australia, of which I am the lead author.

The report is available online.


Still Not Famous

Today, on Twitter:

GemmaBajgar1409: Oi, follow me ? :) I’m aussie to. :L hehehe. I’ll follow back.

Me: Yeah, that’s not how this works. Be interesting, then I’ll follow you.

GB: lame.

Me: *shrug* it works for me. How is propositioning random people going?

GB: no idea what that word means. :L how’d you get so many follower’s. You’re not even famous. :L

I’m still wiping the tears off my keyboard.


Adelaide Conversations

I was in Adelaide for a dance event, and perhaps it’s the proximity to Hindley St – which is replete with strip clubs, massage parlours, and pokies venus – but the event courses with stories of encountering seedy types at night or seeing drunk girls urinating in the gutter. This year’s highlight story was the “Adelaide in a nutshell” sighting of a girl in a tight dress vomiting in the driveway of a church in the early evening.

My own experiences with the locals were less putrid, but still a little disturbing. On Sunday afternoon I sat outside the Adelaide College of the Arts on a bench with other dancers and munched a muesli bar. A greasy-haired young man with stained Fila tracksuit pants, beaten-up runners, and fading pimples came and sat next to me. He was clearly not a dancer; rather, he was the type of fellow retail staff keep their eye on if they spot him entering the premises, just in case.

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Details of the Clean Energy Future Package

The Clean Energy Future legislation is lengthy and boring, but it’s important: these 18 bills (and a few more to come in the first half of next year) lay the framework for what will be the primary driver of Australia’s attempt to mitigate dangerous anthropogenic climate change – assuming they pass, of course. This post is a summary of some of the CEF’s nitty-gritty details.

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In the Heat of the Moment

My old toaster functions as well now as it did when I bought it. But heating is only a portion of what a toaster has to do. It also, at some point, has to stop.

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Empirics vs. appearance

“Is this really too heavy for you to carry?”

 - “Yes.”


 - “Yes.”

“… did you even try lifting it?”

 - “No. But it looked heavy.”


What Are the Visions of Australia’s Future Reflected in Our Parties’ Policies?

When the Government released its climate change package on July 10, it was under the moniker of a “Clean Energy Future”. This is, ostensibly, a fairly clear vision for where Labor sees Australia in 2050 and beyond. However, the package is a mish-mash of measures that don’t deliver clear policy signals to achieve this clean energy future. While this is partially a result of the multi-party committee that spawned the package, the rhetoric the Government employs is ambiguous as to precisely what sort of society they see Australia moving toward.

So where are we really going with all this? If the world follows the suggestions of science and reduces CO2-e emissions to constrain dangerous climate change, what place is this future do our parties foresee?

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POWERLESS: A Play in One Act


In front of the office printer.


Your Intrepid Hero;


A Colleague;


The Printer



“Martin, the printer does not work.”


(Striding purposefully past, flicks power switch without missing a beat.)






Floor Pricing for Alcohol

A journalist whose views I usually respect today derided calls for an increase in the minimum price of alcohol as coming from the “killjoy” crowd, who “do not even attempt to … estimate the value of the pleasure given by alcohol to the vast majority of Australians who do not abuse it.”

This is balderdash. As with gambling, the problem is not with what the vast majority of Australians do, but with the problematic excesses of a few. In the case of alcohol, it is the problem of those who purchase litres of cask wine at 30c per standard drink and proceed to destroy their health and lives. Prevalently, these are people of lower socio-economic status, especially Aborigines. Coles, Woolworth, and IGA have already almost quadrupled this minimum price in Alice Springs by selling alcohol at no less than $1.14 per standard drink, without affecting the prices of beer, spirits, better wines, etc – the stuff the vast majority of Australians actually drink.

The Henry Review suggested that the final rate of volumetric tax should “be intended solely to optimise price signals facing consumers. It should be set without regard to the government’s fiscal position, and irrespective of any specific spending commitments related to alcohol abuse” (Australia’s Future Tax System, Chapter E5-3, 2010).

Floor pricing for alcohol is a sensible health proposal that deserves support, not to be dismissed out of hand as coming from the “killjoy” crowd.