natural gas

natural gas

Carbon Exports Climate Change and Democracy

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Australia's prosperity depends on the export of coal and liquefied natural gas. In a world of growing concern about climate change caused by burning these fuels, how will Australia's political system respond? What are the risks and opportunities for democracy in a world that faces unprecedented environmental pressures? As conflict between carbon and anti-carbon interests escalates, there is an intense struggle to dominate the government and policy-making processes that control carbon. This will test the limits of democracy in societies that depend on carbon production, with political parties, legislatures, bureaucracies, universities, regulators and media becoming targets for co-optation. The same challenges face Canada, and especially the province of Alberta, which has been Canada's main producers of fossil fuels for seven decades. The experience of Alberta will interest Australians, as the pro and anti-carbon debates rage on. PRESENTER: Dr Kevin Taft is a former Leader of the Opposition in Alberta. Kevin led the Alberta Liberal Party from 2004-2008, and was a member of the Legislative Assembly of Alberta from 2001-2012. He has a PhD in Business from the University of Warwick in the UK, and has written extensively on political issues in Alberta. Kevin was visiting Australia as a guest of the Whitlam Institute. DISCUSSANTS: Dr. John Hewson AM is an economic and financial expert with experience in academia, business, government, media and the financial system. Dr Hewson's political career included seven years as a ministerial advisor and a further eight years as the Member for Wentworth in the Federal Parliament. He was Shadow Finance Minister, Shadow Treasurer and Shadow Minister for Industry and Commerce, and Leader of the Liberal Party and the Federal Coalition in Opposition for four years.He was federal leader of the Liberal Party of Australia from 1990-1994. Dr David McNight is Associate Professor at the University of New South Wales. He is the author of four books. His most recent book is the co-authored Big Coal: Australia's Dirtiest Habit, on the power of the coal industry and Australia's status as a major global exporter of coal. Presented by the Whitlam Institute within the University of Western Sydney on 19 March 2014.