environment

The likelihood of Australia meeting its obligations under the 2015 Paris Climate agreement to cut emissions by 26–28% by 2030 (compared with 2005 levels) is becoming a vain hope if budget provisions are any indication.

It is bad enough that Australia is not on track to cut its greenhouse gas emissions by 26–28% on 2005 levels by 2030, as it is notionally committed to doing, but according to the government's own figures, it is only set to reduce them by 5%. What makes it worse is that even the 26–28% target is very conservative and unlikely to be sufficient.

In truth, wealthy industrialised countries like ours should be seeking to become net zero emission economies and societies, both because we can and because it is simply not worth gambling with the continued existence of life as we know it.

Multinational gas corporations are expected to sell $50 billion worth of Australia’s liquefied natural gas (LNG) overseas every year, but it will be at least 10 years before the national treasury receives any rise in tax revenue. Even then, many projects will never pay any tax to the government for the resources they export.

A report prepared for the federal government into the operations of the Petroleum Resource Rent Tax (PRRT) shows that revenue from the offshore gasfields will remain static until at least 2027.

Two–and–a–half years after the suicide of Chinchilla farmer and Lock the Gate activist George Bender, who had led a decade long campaign against fracking, on May 11 Linc Energy was fined a record $4.5 million for causing serious environmental harm at its underground coal gasification plant on Queensland's western Darling Downs.

The federal government reached an agreement with the Labor opposition to pass amendments to the Murray-Darling Basin Plan (MDBP) on May 8, effectively ensuring less water will flow to the environment in the southern basin.

The deal sidelined negotiations with cross-bench Senators and scuttled a move by the Greens to request a disallowance motion for the vote because of environmental concerns.

The NSW Coalition government’s long anticipated Koala Strategy, which was released on May 6, has been condemned as inadequate and doomed to fail by conservation groups, which say it ignores the key threat of habitat loss.

Santos has ignored the 23,000 mainly oppositional submissions on its Environmental Impact Statement in a 1000-page response released on April 23, which claims its Narrabri Gas Project can be developed "safely" and "sustainably".

 

A meeting of state and federal government representatives on April 27 has set the goal of making all Australian packaging reusable, compostable or recyclable by 2025.

Founder of 350.org Bill McKibben addressed a sell-out crowd of more than 500 on May 1, on the Sydney leg of his national tour.

Referring to the rapid progress of climate change McKibben said: “Things are changing fast: what isn’t is government policy. The environment movement is engaged in a fight against money and power."

The Supreme Court in Brisbane on May 2 overturned the Land Court decision of May 31 last year that recommended rejection of the stage 3 expansion of the New Acland (NAC) coalmine on Queensland's Darling Downs.

On February 14, the Department of Environment and Science refused the application for an amended environmental authority to allow for Stage 3, however the minister deferred a decision pending the outcome of the judicial review.

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