Renfrey Clarke

Admit it: you’re just a little disturbed when industrialists, fossil-fuel lobbyists and the Liberal and National parties thunder that big, quick cuts to carbon emissions would bankrupt Australian business. Well, aren’t you?
Not in so many words, mind you — frankness has rarely been the strong suit of News Corporation journalists and editors. The editorial in question, published in Rupert Murdoch’s Australian on September 10, argued in support of carbon capture and sequestration (CCS): in other words, “clean coal”.
From desert-fringe villages and drowning atolls, global warming is predicted to set climate refugees on the move. But arguably, the first climate refugees to reach Australia’s major cities are arriving already. And the places from which they have come are not exotic — rural towns like Mildura, Renmark and Griffith.
"Forget ‘alternative’ energy — it can’t work!" That — and in almost those exact words — was among the messages of an article published in the Rupert Murdoch-owned Weekend Australian on August 8 by journalist Terry McCrann.
If combating climate change is left up to the governments of the world’s wealthy nations, much of humanity is likely done for.
In the state that claims to have the greenest energy on the Australian mainland, South Australia’s climate camp will confront two of the country’s dirtiest power stations. The Northern and Playford B plants, fuelled by cheap but low-grade brown coal, are just outside Port Augusta, a four-hour drive north of Adelaide.
With its belching cows and giant diesel-powered tractors, the farm sector is widely known to be an important contributor to Australia’s impact on climate change. Just how important, however, is not often recognised.
“One hundred percent renewable energy in Australia by 2020!” That was the bold call endorsed by members of more than 150 climate action groups at the Climate Action Summit held in Canberra in January.
Sometimes you have to hand it to capitalism. It’s sheer magic the way the system takes promising concepts, hands them over to the market and turns them into howling social and environmental disasters.
Biochar production has been the object of considerable research and experimentation in Australia.

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