NSW greens upper house leader Dr. John Kaye has proposed a Greens policy that all coal mining in NSW should be phased out. In principle, I can support limits on coal mining for several reasons, and the fact that the policy suggests an investment in finding alternative employment and socio-economic measures is a good thing. The question however is how the phasing out of coal mining could be implemented without making this a major economic disruption. Dr. John Kaye suggests to do this from a government perspective, by regulation. A second question is how fast this should be phased out, and Dr. Kaye suggests that based on scientific evidence, this should commence immediately. Despite being a proponent of alternative energy sources, and having concerns about the impacts of mining, I would like to make some comments on the proposed policy.
This blog post was updated on 11/3/2015

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Mine operator and cattle farmer Andrew (Twiggy) Forrest has floated a plan to increase the amount of water available to agriculture to drought proof and to expand production. As you can understand, this immediately piqued my interest and I felt I should comment on this. I particularly want to make the link between this plan and the recent Agriculture Green Paper, which I also commented on.

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Another year has started and the doomsday clock has moved closer to midnight, and it makes me reflect on what my impact on change in the world is. With this I don’t mean my impact on climate change, which I, in contrast to some repbulican senators, believe is real, but my impact as a scientist on a better world. I think this is something we need to reflect on regularly, as it is easy to get all tied up in work and the University/academic sphere. So here is my reflection at the start of 2015.

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It has been a bit quiet around the project. I faced a few little problems and praticularly spend some time thinking about the presentation of the results. But another article from Jennifer Marohasy in the Land got me all excited again. In addition, I found some nice graphs on the BOM website which helped me think through my presentation issues, even though I cannot make these maps yet. Finally, there is now the new IPCC report, probably being discarded as well by sceptics, and I heard this quite good presentation about the physical background. All this got me back into action.

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I have been wanting to write a blogpost about the final report of the independent review of Coal Seam Gas Activities in NSW from the Chief Scientist and Engineer, Professor Mary O’Kane. This is quite an interesting report and it is clear that some significant effort has gone into the review. Overall this is a good report, with an in depth analysis of the issues related to coal seam gas (CSG) exploration. It also has a positivist outlook: it suggest that problems that might occur in the exploration can be managed and contained. Despite this, I would like to make some comments, particularly because some of the long term effects seem to have been missed.

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Whatever you think about the Abbot government, one thing is quite clear, it has a much stronger ideological view on the world than some of the more recent previous governments. For people like me, working in the environment, the direction of that ideology is not ideal. It also can be slightly demoralising looking at the future through the lens of the current government. But what is the alternative, and can this actually be achieved?

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Time to give an update on the app building. I can’t say it has not been a struggle, it is clearly time to get this working as soon as possible. This is even more urgent given the comments by Maurice Newman and the rap that this of course got on the climate sceptics pages, but also on the avalanche of criticism from the climate science majority and some of the more sane in the business community and luckily also in Agriculture.

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The Authors

  • Willem (Hydrology Research Laboratory)

About the Blog

Aimed at generating discussion on water research and water management in Australia
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Other blogs

Water droplets Mike Young's comments on water (Droplets)

Pannell discussions David Pannell's discussions

Water Recycling in Australia Stuart Kahn's blog