How Australia bungled climate policy to create a decade of disappointment | Mark Butler

Unlike the UK, Australia has never had climate consensus – and it’s been costly, argues Labor frontbencher Mark Butler in an extract from his book, Climate Wars

In the lead-up to the 2015 general election in the United Kingdom, the leaders of the three major parties sat down together and signed a statement on climate change policy that would seem unimaginable to Australians. They agreed that “climate change is one of the most serious threats facing the world today” and undertook to “to work together across party lines to agree carbon budgets in accordance with the Climate Change Act”. They pledged “to accelerate the transition to a competitive, energy efficient, low-carbon economy and to end the use of unabated coal for power generation”, meaning that the last coal-fired power station will be closed in the United Kingdom in 2025 at the latest.

The 2015 UK election – true to the pledge signed by party leaders – saw no real debate over climate change or energy policy, other than a minor skirmish over the balance between on-shore and off-shore wind power. In the context of the deep cuts in pollution and the profound transition in the energy sector agreed by the parties, the absence of bare-knuckled fighting over these policies was amazing for Australian observers. Within 12 months, UK politics was then thrown into turmoil by the referendum decision to terminate the nation’s membership of the European Union – Brexit. But in the wake of that momentous vote, the Committee on Climate Change still recommended an ambitious carbon reduction target for the five-year period 2028-32 that is equivalent to Australia committing to a 61% cut against the 2005 baseline used by the Australian government. The budget was quietly endorsed by both parties shortly after.

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Border Force illegally sent two Australian citizens to Christmas Island

New Zealand-born men released when error was realised in episode reminiscent of Cornelia Rau and Vivian Solon cases

Australian Border Force illegally detained two Australian citizens and sent them to Christmas Island in an episode reminiscent of the Cornelia Rau and Vivian Solon cases of more than a decade ago.

Guardian Australia understands the two men are New Zealand-born but hold dual Australian citizenship.

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Heyfield workers push for greater supply despite fears forests ‘running out of wood’

CFMEU’s national president says job losses are avoidable and interim wood supply offer is not enough

The union representing workers at Victoria’s Heyfield sawmill says it will fight to increase the native timber supply after the Andrews government bought the business for more than $40m on Monday.

The Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union national president, Jane Calvert, said the government’s in-principle agreement to buy the mill from the Hermal Group had removed the threat of forced redundancies, which Hermal was scheduled to begin in August with a view to closing the mill by 2018.

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Facebook is fighting the US on user data requests

Facebook is challenging the government over data searches that are possibly related to protests that happened during Donald Trump's inauguration. According to information dug up by Buzzfeed, Facebook received warrants from prosecutors to search three…

Supreme Joey Chestnut eats 72 hot dogs to win Nathan’s Famous title

  • Champion breaks his own record to win 10th title of career
  • Miki Sudo snaffles 41 hot dogs to take women’s belt

Joey Chestnut continues to bestride the world of competitive eating like the magnificent hot dog consuming colossus he is.

On Tuesday, the 33-year-old won the Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest for the 10th time, breaking his own record by snarfing down 72 frankfurters and buns like they were mere cocktail sausages. The women’s competition was won by an equally fierce competitor: Miki Sudo’s immaculate consumption of 41 hot dogs was good enough to deliver her a fourth title.

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Nokia’s new smartphones start at £120 in the UK

Now Nokia's name is back in the public consciousness thanks to the all the hype surrounding the 3310 reissue, manufacturer HMD Global is onto more serious matters: Bringing Nokia back as a smartphone brand. HMD first announced the Nokia 3, 5 and 6 ba…

New EU court blow to Uber over French taxi case

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – Uber [UBER.UL] suffered a new setback in Europe on Tuesday when a European Union court adviser said France was entitled to charge local managers of the U.S. ride-hailing app firm with running an illegal taxi service.

US still has no path to peace in Afghanistan, bipartisan senators say

John McCain, visiting Kabul, excoriates 15 years of US efforts in nation – saying goal has been to not lose rather than to win

After more than 15 years in Afghanistan, the US still does not have a strategy for winning peace, and is making that goal even more unattainable by hampering diplomacy, a bipartisan group of US senators said in the Afghan capital on Tuesday.

The criticism came as the Trump administration mulls the deployment of thousands of additional soldiers, without publicly explaining what they are meant to achieve.

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