Australia Abolishes Its Carbon Tax – A Justified U-Turn?

As chance would have it, the Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott scrapped the carbon, or greenhouse gas (GHG), tax at a time when the country has just been experiencing its hottest year on record. Carbon pricing was introduced in Australia in 2012 by Julia Gillard, then Prime Minister, and it sanctioned the biggest polluters by demanding financial compensation payments for their GHG emissions. The elimination of this environmental measure, which had been a world premiere, comes at a moment when an extensive coal project is being reviewed in northeast Australia: 'Alpha Coal' is likely to have dire repercussions for the environment. It will emit millions of tonnes of greenhouse gases and put at risk the Great Barrier Reef to the extent that UNESCO has threatened Australia to list the reef as a World Heritage in Danger site.

Save Canarias: Save Ourselves, Save the Planet

The Spanish Government has reiterated its approval for the oil exploration project in the Canary Islands despite the re-launch of the petition ‘Save Canarias’ by the Keeper of the Coast, Wim. It had previously rejected the call for a referendum, made by the current autonomous Canary Islands Government, which is opposed to the project. Faced with such a blatant lack of cooperation, Wim, supported by the Government of the Canaries, re-launched his petition. The Canary Islands Government is also planning to organise its own referendum to find out what the Spanish population thinks about this exploration project.

The Environment as important as Peace ? UN says yes with the new Environment Assembly

The United Nations Organisation took a historic step when it placed the environment on the same level of importance as peace, security, trade, finance, and health. The year 2014 saw the inauguration of the new United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA), which met for the first time from the 23rd to the 27th of June in Nairobi. The Kenyan capital also plays host to the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). With environmental issues no longer inferior to financial or trade affairs, the stated objective of this inaugural UNEA meeting was to establish concrete global measures. UNEP Executive Director Achim Steiner called for increased efforts in the fields of waste reduction and recycling, which must be fully endorsed.

Boyan Slat’s Ocean-Cleaning Machine: Let’s Not Get Carried Away

One year ago, the young Dutchman Boyan Slat, aged only 19, claimed to have found the solution to cleaning up the oceans. His project created a buzz and even won several awards. The media were quick to be speaking of a ‘genius idea’, a ‘solution’ for our oceans, a project seeming to rally several researchers around this potential genius. His concept is, above all, being well marketed and makes people dream; and this is exactly what is annoying about it. Make no mistake, I wish him all the success, but this is not where the issue lies.