Pip Hinman

Arguably, the University of Sydney’s decision to give former Prime Minister John Howard an honorary doctorate on September 30 has backfired badly. 

Academics and students spoke eloquently against the award before and during the ceremony, prompting some students who had just been given their degree to join in.

The university had cited Howard’s “world-leading gun law reform, leadership in East Timor and contribution to Australia’s economic reform” as reasons for the award. While many would question these, the elephant in the room was Iraq.

AGL CEO Andrew Vesey likes to paint himself as a sort of “greenie” who is shifting the company in the right direction in these “carbon constrained” times.

Gamilaraay people are engaged in an epic fight for country against coal and gas giants supported by state and federal governments. For Raymond “Bubbly” Weatherall, from the Gunu Gunu clan and the Biridja clan, the fight is about totems — “our water, the environment and the land itself”.

Communities across Victoria have won a permanent ban on unconventional gas mining and fracking. It is the first state to do so and sets a precedent for other states and territories to follow.

The Labor state government announced on August 30 it was banning unconventional gas and extending the moratorium on conventional gas until 2020.
More than 1.4 million hectares of the state had been under threat from some form of gas mining — coal seam gas, tight gas, shale gas and underground coal gasification.

Communities across Victoria have won a permanent ban on unconventional gas mining and fracking. It is the first state to do so and sets a precedent for other states and territories to follow.

On August 30, the Labor state government announced it was banning unconventional gas and extending the moratorium on mining conventional gas until 2020.

Asking the peak oil and gas industry body to prepare a report on Australia's future energy needs for federal and state energy ministers was always going to have a predictable outcome.

The Australian Petroleum Production & Exploration Association (APPEA) was tasked to report to the Council of Australian Government (COAG) energy ministers meeting on August 18 and 19. Unsurprisingly, it recommended urgently producing and supplying more gas — and fast — before Australia runs out.

If we needed any more proof that Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull's plebiscite on equal marriage is a spurious delaying tactic we got it on August 21 when the media reported that the vote will now be pushed back to February 2017, some 18 months after it was first proposed.

Some would have seen One Nation Senator-elect Malcolm Roberts' performance on ABC's Q&A on August 15.

He went hammer and tong repeating ad nauseum that academics are doctoring the science, that the major science bodies are corrupt and that the science on climate change is anything but settled.

Here is one small excerpt from his exchange with British physicist Brian Cox:

Roberts: “I'm saying ... two things. First of all, that the [climate] data has been corrupted and we know that the 1930s were warmer than today.”

A new climate report released on August 3 by the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) confirms the world is hot and getting hotter.

The State of the Climate report said that last year was the second consecutive hottest year on record, surpassing 2014 as the previous warmest year.

As AGL announced a $400 million loss on August 10, anti-gas protesters assembled outside its headquarters to demand it close its Camden coal seam gas (CSG) project in south-west Sydney.

AGL, which largely invests in coal, has been producing gas in the Macarthur region since 2009, taking over from Sydney Gas Limited, which started in Camden in 2001 and expanded south east in 2004.

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