Falling fossil fuel prices create a climate change opportunity


Author: Andrew Elek, ANU

The recent and sharp fall in fossil fuel prices, thanks to new extractive techniques, will not last forever. It is high time to think about its threats and the opportunities.

In the short term, lower fossil fuel prices are terrible news for autocrats and kleptocrats whose survival depends on the resource rents created by higher prices. Read more…

Planning an efficient energy future for Japan

Members of the media inspect the damage at the Fukushima nuclear plant. (Source: AAP).

Author: Masakazu Toyoda, Institute of Energy Economics

The Great East Japan Earthquake, the tsunami and the subsequent nuclear power plant accident in Fukushima on 11 March 2011 changed Japan’s energy future drastically. The revised Strategic Energy Plan, which the Japanese Cabinet approved in April 2014, outlines a new conceptual framework for Japan’s energy policy. Read more…

Will there be a China–US deal on climate change?

Chinese workers install solar panels on the rooftop of a workshop at a textile factory of Guanxing Group in Liaocheng city, Shandong province, China, 30 October 2012. China has become the world’s largest producer of solar panels and wind turbines. (Photo: AAP)

Author: Frank Jotzo, ANU

For many years China and the United States have faced off over climate change. Now, climate change action is one of the few things the two powers can agree on. A new view on the benefits of climate action goes some way to explain this shift. Read more…

India’s coal tax is not the best path to a low-carbon economy

An increased tax on coal will help to reduce Indian carbon emissions, but there are more efficient ways of achieving this goal. (Photo: AAP).

Author: Anshuman Sahoo, Stanford University

India’s 2014–15 budget doubled the rate of tax on coal from 50 rupees (US$0.82) to 100 rupees (US$1.64) per metric tonne. Though the additional revenue could accelerate the deployment of renewable energy technologies in India, the increase in coal tax is not an unambiguous step in the ‘right’ direction of lowering the carbon intensity of the Indian economy. Read more…

Energy market reform needed as China heads for national emissions trading

Smoke is discharged from chimneys at an oil refining and chemical plant of Sinopec in Qingdao city, east China’s Shandong province, 9 February 2014. China has announced that its national emissions trading scheme will begin as early as 2016. (Photo: AAP)

Author: Frank Jotzo, ANU

China is shifting up a gear in its drive towards national emissions trading. Yet, for carbon pricing to be effective, market reform in China’s energy sector will be needed — a big task that will bring benefits not only for the environment but also to the quality of China’s economic growth.

China’s National Development and Reform Commission recently announced that a national emissions trading scheme would start as early as 2016. Read more…

G20 should facilitate international cooperation on climate change

Environmentalists from Poland and Europe participate in the March for Climate and Social Justice in Warsaw, Poland. (Photo: AAP).

Author: Ross Garnaut, University of Melbourne

The time is right to place climate change at centre stage of the 2014 G20 leaders-group meeting in Australia. The G20 has a record of leadership on the international climate change agenda. With the world working toward a critical meeting of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in Paris in December 2015, a firm position articulated by G20 leaders in Brisbane in November would be in time to influence the Lima UNFCCC meeting in December 2014. Read more…

G20 must shape a new world trade regime

The G20 meeting at the IMF/World Bank Spring Meetings 11 April 2014 at the IMF Headquarters in Washington, DC. (Photo: AAP).

Authors: Mari Pangestu and David Nellor, Indonesia

Over the past decade global trade and investment discussions have moved far away from the formal global trade regime. The multilateral system has been mired in the Doha Development Round — defined by a single undertaking and a fixed agenda that is increasingly out-of-date. In the meantime, most countries have devoted their energies to regional trade and investment discussions. Read more…

Indonesia’s transport planning lacks rigour

A train loaded with passengers heads to central Jakarta. (Photo: AAP).

Author: Howard Dick, University of Melbourne

Both of Indonesia’s presidential candidates have committed to tackling the country’s deficient infrastructure. Joko Widodo (Jokowi) promises 2000 kilometres of roads, ten new airports and seaports and ten new industrial zones, while Prabowo Subianto promises 3000 kilometres of roads and 4000 kilometres of railways. Read more…

Can the G20 deliver new direction?

Australian Treasurer Joe Hockey looks back to US Federal Reserve Chairman Janet Yellen center, while delegates pose for an official photo at the Opera House during the G20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors meeting in Sydney in February 2014. (Photo: AAP).

Author: Peter Drysdale, Editor, East Asia Forum

The G20 summit in Brisbane in November this year will be held, almost to the day, on the sixth anniversary of the first summit in Washington in 2008. The leaders’ level meeting was born in a time of crisis and panic, with the world economy facing the danger of a total collapse of the financial sector in the United States and its inevitable spread to the rest of the world. While there are still deep problems in the industrial economies of Europe — with massive unemployment levels, especially among the young, and most economies barely on the mend — the United States is steadily moving out of recession and global economic confidence is on the mend. Read more…

Climate change: protecting Indonesia’s forests for the future

A devestated forest area near Bugit Tiga Puluh National Park, in Jambi, Sumatra. (Photo: AAP).

Author: Fitrian Ardiansyah, ANU

Climate change poses a grave threat to Indonesia’s nature-based economy, including its land-use and forestry sector. But it is also likely to provide good opportunities, especially in the incentives created to support the overall REDD+ program (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation plus) in Indonesia. Read more…

Promoting standards harmonisation in the fight against climate change

Visitors look at a Toyota Prius Hybrid car during the Northeast Asia Investment and Trade Expo in Changchun city, Jilin province, China, 8 September 2012. (Photo: AAP).

Author: Llewelyn Hughes, GWU

Last year the US and Japanese governments affirmed their joint commitment to fight climate change by cooperating in developing clean energy. Both countries are also pursuing green innovation independently. These efforts are crucial in responding to climate change.

The emerging battle between auto manufacturers in Japan, the United States and Europe over standards for electric vehicles shows, however, that green innovation is as much about competitiveness Read more…

India’s green industrial policy


Author: Ashwini K Swain, Delhi

After the global financial crisis governments were asked to support industrial activities, and eventually many states decided to restructure their industrial policy.

After all, there is a new reason for industrial policy — the problem of climate change. Read more…

The changing climate of Bangladeshi migration to India

An art installation in Dhaka depicting the drowning hands of climate refugees 25 May 2011. (Photo: AAP)

Authors: Manish Vaid, ORF, and Tridivesh Singh Maini, New Delhi

Bangladesh’s vulnerability to climate change is the main reason behind its number six ranking on the 2011 UN World Risk Index — the highest within South Asia.

UN projections indicate that a sea level rise of 0.5 metres could see Bangladesh lose approximately 11 per cent of its land by 2050, which would affect around 15 million people.  Read more…

Southeast Asia not ready to go nuclear

Filipino activists call on the Philippine government to completely dismantle the country's unused Bataan Nuclear Power Plant, at candlelight vigil to mark the 25th anniversary of the Chernobyl nuclear tragedy, in Quezon City, Philippines. (Photo:AAP)

Author: Sahara Piang Brahim, NUS

Southeast Asia is experiencing sustained economic growth and will continue to do so in the foreseeable future.

A recent OECD forecast shows that the region is expected to achieve an annual average growth rate of 5.5 per cent from 2013 to 2017. Read more…