Welcome from the new editor

Climate Spectator may have a new editor but the areas of coverage will largely remain the same, with the site offering everything you need to know about climate change, carbon policy and renewable energy.

It is with some degree of trepidation and humility that I take on the job of Climate Spectator editor. The readers and contributors to this website read like a who’s who of the greenhouse abatement and energy sectors in Australia… I have a lot to live up to.

My aim is to ensure that you can rely on Climate Spectator for the most insightful analysis and information on carbon markets, technology and government policy developments:  This will naturally have a slant towards what’s happening in Australia, but the carbon market and clean energy technology sectors are shaped by global events. Consequently, we will constantly monitor and interpret developments from overseas which have implications for domestic businesses and policymakers.

Areas of coverage

Climate Spectator will continue to cover the crucial news and themes that interest you in the year ahead such as:

1)     Putting a price on carbon pollution

Climate Spectator will closely follow market and policy developments relevant to the Australian carbon pricing scheme and those happening overseas (European ETS, the Clean Development Mechanism, the North-Eastern United States, California and other schemes in development). We’ll also attempt to better nail-down exactly what the Coalition intends to do with its Direct Action alternative to putting a price on carbon.

2)     Acceleration of technological innovation

The website will continue to provide news and analysis on the supply, demand and price for renewable energy technologies, carbon capture and storage (CCS) and also nuclear. In addition, we’ll keep a watch on some of the advances occurring with electrification of motor vehicles and overall fuel efficiency. 

Some areas we’ll keep a close watch on in the Australian context are the market for renewable energy under the Renewable Energy Target scheme, feed-in tariffs, the various assorted grant funding schemes – such as CCS Flagships and the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) – and the Clean Energy Finance Corporation.

3)     Addressing behavioural barriers to efficient energy use

We’ll follow policy and market developments relevant to energy efficient buildings, equipment and practices. Key areas of interest will be the markets for energy efficiency credits/certificates and developments around a potential national energy efficiency target scheme, energy performance labels/disclosure for homes and commercial buildings, minimum regulated efficiency standards, the assorted grant schemes supporting energy efficiency, and the mandatory energy efficiency assessment schemes for large businesses (e.g. EEO).

4)     Reform regulation of energy systems and associated infrastructure

Australia’s electricity system has been largely designed around an expectation of growing and unalterable demand, met through large power plants located in major coal fields.  This model is increasingly under stress as we deploy greater amounts of renewables and place greater value on improved energy efficiency.  While sometimes it can appear to be rather arcane, the way we manage, regulate and price our electricity system has major implications for energy efficiency and renewable energy. We’ll aim to identify and explain the key issues and developments occurring in this space. 

Advances in information technology hold the potential to alter the way we manage and operate transportation systems.  But exploiting them will require government to change their approach to planning, building and charging for use of transport infrastructure.    

If there’s an area you’d like Climate Spectator to cover that you feel is important to business and policymakers engaged in the area of climate then please get in touch with myself or Daniel Palmer.

About me

I’ve been closely involved in business and policy issues related to reducing carbon emissions since 2002 when I joined the Australian Government’s Greenhouse Office (now the Department of Climate Change and Energy Efficiency). Since then I’ve had some degree of involvement (often minor I must concede) in the debate around most major energy-related climate policy initiatives in this country.  During my time at the Greenhouse Office I was involved in motor vehicle fuel efficiency and alternative fuels, as well as the energy efficiency programs for electrical equipment. I then became heavily involved in issues related to renewable energy and carbon pricing when I joined the Business Council for Sustainable Energy (which subsequently became the Clean Energy Council) in 2005.  I then advised businesses and government on these areas at Ernst & Young between 2008 and 2009 before joining the Grattan Institute in 2009. My work at the Grattan Institute is freely available on their website (www.grattan.edu.au).  Much of this was co-authored. While I would stand by just about all that these reports contain, it is not mine alone.  For that reason please do not be surprised if things that I write sometimes conflict with what is written by others from the Grattan Institute.

On that point, I should note that Grattan Institute is now hiring to replace me. Visit their website for more information.