Earlier in the year I was asked to talk at a Politics in the Pub event on the subject of ‘How Effective Is the Fossil Fuel Divestment Movement in Speeding up Action on Climate Change?’. I shared the stage with Blair Palese, Australian CEO of 350.org, and it was an opportunity to talk about how divestment might contribute to a more effective political response to the climate crisis. Below is an abridged version of my talk and you can view a video of the presentation at the bottom of this post.
Recently, the Balanced Enterprise Research Network (BERN) at the University of Sydney hosted a visit by Ben Caldecott, Director of the Stranded Assets programme at the Smith School of Enterprise and Environment at the University of Oxford. During his visit, Ben presented a number of very well-attended talks on the issue of fossil fuels as stranded assets and the implications for Australian investments in coal mining. Continue reading Fossil Fuels as Stranded Assets?
The politics of climate change is becoming ever more complex. Just last week in Australia we have witnessed the spectacle of our major political parties voting against moves to prohibit coal and CSG mining on agricultural land; one of the country’s most influential conservative radio commentators supporting a Greens’ politician in her efforts to limit fossil-fuel developments on farming land, and the conservative NSW government approving a massive expansion of coal mining in the Hunter Valley (which will include the relocation of an entire village!). Continue reading The Future of Fossil Fuels in a Climate-Challenged World
With the growing success of the divestment movement in the United States and concern over ‘stranded assets’ as the climate crisis exacerbates, the Balanced Enterprise Research Network (BERN) at the University of Sydney Business School, in association with 350.org, Market Forces and the Australia Institute, hosted a panel discussion on Thursday 29th May exploring the potential for fossil free investment. You can view a video of the event below.
As the disconnect between political obfuscation and climate science continues, how might individuals respond to climate change?
One theme that has emerged in my research is how people are beginning to reconsider their jobs and careers based upon a personal realisation of the urgency of the climate crisis. For instance, last week I received an email from a scientist in a US environmental agency, who related the increasingly tough choices she was having to make in her job. She was involved in overseeing fossil fuel developments in coal and gas, something she found increasingly problematic. After much thought she decided to no longer work for organisations facilitating the extraction and use of fossil fuels. As she explained:
…many have pointed out that my position allowed me to protect the environment. But that never sat well with me, especially as it relates to fossil fuels with their broad and wide externalities. After much introspection, and a couple of tears, I realized that an opinion like that is a flat view and it ignores the fact I have enabled interests that are contrary to human existence. It’s the enabling that drives us nuts. To this end, I now flatly refuse any work that deals with fossil fuels interests. It makes life much simpler for me and I suspect it will for others.
Last night I attended Bill McKibben’s first public Australian lecture at the University of Sydney. It was sell-out event and the Seymour Theatre was full as young and old crammed in to hear what one newspaper has termed the “rock star of the global warming movement”. Waiting for the doors to open it did have that feeling of a big event – a performance by someone who has been willing to call-out the elephant in the room – our convenient but ultimately suicidal race to change the physics of the Earth in the name of “business as usual”. People were hungry to see and hear the unassuming American who has become the most prominent public face of the fight against global warming.