The Bullroarer - Friday 9 November 2007

The Age - The major parties' green credentials are off the rails

A fixation with road transport compromises climate change policy, writes Kenneth Davidson.

RUDD Labor's green credentials are slipping. And you don't have to look far for the reasons. Until Labor produces interim greenhouse gas targets for 2020, and policies to match, the promise of a 60 per cent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 just remains so much hot air.

On the ALP's election website there were 29 transport policy promises — 27 involved specific pledges for road funding totalling $8.3 billion and two "vision" statements on shipping and rail in speeches by shadow transport minister Martin Ferguson in July and August.

These speeches don't commit a dollar expenditure or give even an indication of the roles shipping and rail might play in achieving greenhouse targets. Nor do they mitigate the double whammy of peak oil (which is driving world oil prices towards $100 a barrel) and Australia's "oil squeeze" as declining domestic production and rising demand will push oil self-sufficiency from a present 84 per cent to 20 per cent in the next two decades.

ABC - 'Get off oil addiction': Greens

The Australian Greens says both the major parties need to increase their commitment to public transport - especially in light of record high oil prices. Crude oil has recently been trading around $US100 a barrel.

Greens Senator Christine Milne, says the demand for public transport is going to continue to increase because of the oil price. She says half of the Auslink roads funding should be allocated to public transport past 2014. "The Prime Minister has no idea of the connection between the oil price and the road funding," she said. "What we need to do is say 'get off our addiction to oil' - as indeed President Bush has recognised - 'and invest in public transport'."

ABC - Greens push for high speed rail network

NZ Herald - $600m power lines upgrade planned

The Age - Drought hits rice industry

More than 200 rural factory workers are facing job losses in the Riverina region of southern NSW this summer as Australia's rice industry, which has been gripped by drought for five years, prepares to deliver its smallest harvest since 1928. Predicted to be just 15,000 tonnes, based on the latest grower surveys, that crop will represent little more than one per cent of the industry's normal production.

SMH - Solar panels for the roof -- worth it or not? - Homes could see mandatory energy reviews - watchdog

The Age - Climate change 'serious threat' to coastal towns

The Australian - Oil refinery key to energy security: King

The Australian - Birth rate ensure's US remains a superpower. Why does the Oz use different headlines in the print version to the online one ? If everyone thought this way, the population doomers would have a field day (a classic case of the tragedy of the commons). Beware the impact of religious fundamentalism and bellicose nationalism on population trends.

Sustainable Energy Blog - Palm Oil to CO2 disaster

Peak Energy - Oil From Wood Waste

TreeHugger - A-Squared Goes For Rain Barrels Too

The Last Whale - No Humane Way to Kill a Whale: Tim Winton

(Hat Tip Dave B)

With the coming election in Australia, I would encourage all AU readers writing to their local members and leaders of major political parties the urgent need to begin shifting their investment from road to rail. As well the need to increase funding of public transport and cycling.

The pollies need to understand the problem is coming up faster than they think. ie not after the next election and whoever wins will have to deal with the consequences of risng oil prices when they get control of the big house on the hill in Canberra.

We will not thank them for more roads when we have a supply crunch. The other thing is a democracy works best when we participate in it.