The great palm oil debate: how the consumer turned an industry on its head
FOOD Magazine – Australia
Social media outlets have been rampant in naming and shaming manufacturers who use palm oil in their products. Supermarket giant, Woolworths, suffered a massive belting for the inclusion of the controversial ingredient in its hot cross buns earlier …
PNG company named as a global sustainability leader
In a number countries in southeast Asia, the clearing of virgin forests has often been associated with the controversial palm oil industry. PNG company named as a global sustainability leader (Credit: ABC). However, Indonesia's eastern neighbour, Papua …
I’m morbidly fascinated by the way conventional wisdom lags behind evidence, like the CW that renewable energy is expensive and fossil fuels cheap. In fact, there is a tectonic shift underway. Renewable energy prices are declining as technology improves, economies of scale kick in, financing mechanisms mature, and public policy begins to take some (inadequate) account of the negative externalities of fossil fuels.
Meanwhile, the cost of coal-fired electricity is heading up. It’s getting harder to finance coal plants in the face of competition from clean(er) energy, activist opposition, and the inevitability of some kind of carbon policy. Construction costs are rising. Transportation costs are rising. It’s getting harder to reach the coal that’s left in the ground. Etc.
The two lines — falling RE costs and rising coal costs — are going to cross. It’ll happen everywhere eventually. According to a Bloomberg New Energy Finance analysis, it’s already happened down under: "Renewable energy now cheaper than new fossil fuels in Australia."
No new wind farm can compete with existing fossil fuel generators that are already paid off. So it’s not like Australia’s climate battle is won or anything. (They’re exporting all that coal anyway.) But when power companies consider new generation assets in Australia, wind is the way to go:
The study shows that electricity can be supplied from a new wind farm at a cost of AUD 80/MWh (USD 83), compared to AUD 143/MWh from a new coal plant or AUD 116/MWh from a new baseload gas plant, including the cost of emissions under the Gillard government’s carbon pricing scheme. However even without a carbon price, wind energy is 14% cheaper than new coal and 18% cheaper than new gas.
(BNEF projects that large-scale solar PV will be cheaper than coal or gas by 2020.)
The lines will cross in different places at different times; much depends on changes in technology and policy that are difficult to predict. But they will cross. As BNEF head Michael Liebreich puts it, "The perception that fossil fuels are cheap and renewables are expensive is now out of date."
How long will it take conventional wisdom to catch up?
Filed under: Article, Business & Technology, Climate & Energy
Australia Acts to Stop Super-trawler
The Australian government Tuesday sought to change its environmental protection laws to prevent a controversial super-trawler from fishing in its waters amid concerns about the by-catch. The Dutch-owned 9,500-tonne FV Margiris, recently reflagged as …
Australia will create the largest network of marine parks in the world, protecting waters covering an area as large as India while banning oil and gas exploration and limiting commercial fishing in some of the most sensitive areas.
Australia’s marine reserves will increase from 27 to 60 under the new scheme, covering more than 3 million sq km, or one third of the island nation’s waters.
The announcement of the network was made a week before more than 130 heads of state and government will gather in Rio de Janeiro for the United Nations’ sustainable development conference as part of global efforts to curb climate change, one of the biggest conferences in U.N. history.
New reserves will be established from the Perth Canyon in the southwest to Kangaroo Island off the southern coast, but the “jewel in the crown” will be the protection of the Coral Sea area which surrounds the Great Barrier Reef in the northeast, Environment Minister Tony Burke said on Thursday.
MELBOURNE – Australia’s federal environment minister said Thursday that he wouldn’t apologize for his caution over a proposal by Rio Tinto PLC (RIO) to expand its bauxite mining operations in Queensland state. A word of words has erupted …
A comprehensive review calling for a shakeup of environment laws in Australia has been put on the back burner for two years, prompting criticism from its author. The Hawke Review , led by Dr Allan Hawke, formerly secretary of the Defence Department, looked …
The Australian Institute of Marine Science ( AIMS ) is an internationally renowned, world leader in the science underpinning sustainable development, conservation and management of tropical marine environments …