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Months After Banning Fracking, France Now Has A Carbon Tax

Climate Progress, 19 December 2013

The French Parliament on Thursday adopted a budget for 2014 which includes a tax on carbon emissions from gas, heating oil and coal, according to a report in Platts. The money derived from the tax — which largely targets transport fuels and domestic heating — will be used to reduce emissions through increased installation of renewable energy throughout the country, according to the report. The move is projected to raise €4 billion, or $5.5 billion, per year by 2016, which can then spent on tax breaks for the wind and solar power industries.

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North shore and inner west cyclists face further delays for paths under state government plan

Sydney Morning Herald, 19 December 2013

Long-awaited new cycle paths through Sydney's inner west and to the northern side of the Harbour Bridge have been mothballed or pushed back for years under the O'Farrell government's 20-year bike plan.

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Inexpensive oil vanishing at alarming rate

The Globe and Mail, 13 December 2013


The United States is awash in shale
oil. Iran, once OPEC’s second-largest producer, is slowly ramping up output.
Oil consumption growth in the Western world has been somewhere between negative
and flat since the 2008 financial crisis. The “peak oil” theory has pretty much
vanished, along with The Oil Drum, the bible of peak oil believers. Rest in
peace.
Or turn in your grave, for the oil
price charts tell a different story.

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High Speed Trains are Killing the European Railway Network

Resilience, 17 December 2013

High speed rail is marketed as a sustainable alternative to air traffic. According to the International Union of Railways, the high speed train "plays a key role in a stage of sustainable development and combating climate change". As a regular long-distance train traveller in Europe, I have to say that the opposite is true. High speed rail is destroying the most valuable alternative to the airplane; the "low speed" rail network that has been in service for decades.

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Getting the detail right on public transport

Online Opinion, 16 December 2013

The 2013 WA State Budget contained some high-profile public transport investments but runs the risk of creating a financial burden for future generations that is unmatched by the benefits. It also largely ignores walking and cycling – the lower-cost, healthier transport alternatives to the private car that can reduce the problems of congestion, pollution and our collective carbon footprint.

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The Ӳ0 minute neighbourhoodԺ does it make sense?

Crikey, 11 December 2013

The draft metropolitan planning strategy released earlier this year for Melbourne proposes a city made up of 20 minute neighbourhoods. As the exhibit shows, the idea is that every home will be within 20 minutes travel time of jobs, shops, cafes, schools, parks and community facilities. Of course every home already is if you’re driving, but the important innovation here is Plan Melbourne proposes it will be 20 minutes travel by active modes i.e. by public transport, walking and cycling (1).

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Fracking hell: what it’s really like to live next to a shale gas well

The Guardian, 14 December 2013

Veronica Kronvall can, even now, remember how excited she felt about buying her house in 2007. It was the first home she had ever owned and, to celebrate, her aunt fitted out the kitchen in Kronvall's favourite colour, purple: everything from microwave to mixing bowls. A cousin took pictures of her lying on the floor of the room that would become her bedroom. She planted roses and told herself she would learn how to garden.

What Kronvall did not imagine at the time – even here in north Texas, the pumping heart of the oil and gas industry – was that four years later an energy company would drill five wells behind her home.

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US Energy Independence: Another Pipe Dream, Says Analyst

Resilience, 12 December 2013

One of Canada's top energy analysts has warned investors and geologists that "the shale revolution" will not meet conventional expectations as a so-called game-changer in energy production. Speaking at the Denver meeting of the Geological Society of America and later at Queen's University and an energy conference in Toronto, David Hughes challenged the assumptions of industry cheerleaders by spelling out startling depletion rates for high-cost unconventional shale and tight oil wells.

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Holden angered by media reports it did not submit bid to supply ‘blast-proof’ vehicles for Australia

Sydney Morning Herald, 13 December 2013

The top of the line Holden Caprice was recommended by the Attorney-General's Department last year as the preferred option for a fleet of nine specialised blast-proof VIP vehicles to be used by the prime minister and other dignitaries, according to confidential government documents.

The revelation appears to contradict reported Abbott government sources as saying Holden had not even submitted a bid in the tender because the car maker simply ''was not interested''.

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Walking away from Holden: Abbott finishes what Hewson started

The Conversation, 11 December 2013

“Building cars in Australia is just not sustainable.” That was GM Holden managing director Mike Devereux, announcing the closure of Holden. Ominous words for Toyota as well. Toyota responded that Holden’s departure places “unprecedented pressures” on the company.

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