Archive | Opinion

Ecomodernists: Environmentalists Are Doing It All Wrong?

The ABC recently ran a story called 7 ways environmentalists have had it wrong (which you can read here ‘Ecomodernists’ who are mentioned in the article as being some of the most noted environmental thinkers of today have put together “An Ecomodernist Manifesto” which purports to explain to environmentalists 7 things they’ve been doing wrong all this time.

At first hearing of this we were pretty outraged, here we are trying to look after the environment and you have this group come along and start tarring and feathering environmentalists. However we hadn’t even read the manifesto yet and so we thought we should cool down, have a read and let you know what all the fuss was about, and importantly our opinion at ACM Group on this ecomodernist viewpoint.

1.Human Technology Is Bad

If so, then why have so many of us gotten behind solar power and energy efficient lighting etc. They were big schemes here in Australia, not without fault but people genuinely tried and got behind the idea. I don’t know of any environmentalists who got behind a human technology is bad banner, just that we can always do it better.

2. Humans Need Connection With Nature

They say if humans don’t have a connection with nature they won’t destroy it. If you’re using electricity in Australia and not going outside, guess what? You’re still directly affecting nature via coal mining and pollution. Humans should definitely have a connection to nature, it’s a natural part of us.

3. Humans Are Part Of The Ecosystem

By trying to use land to survive we destroy it apparently, part of the ecosystem or not. Ecomodernists argue that if we make nature worthless we won’t try and use the land, so the last pristine areas on the planet will be areas no one bothers to go to because there’s nothing there we can use. We don’t really want to comment.

4. Unlimited Energy Is A Bad Thing

“Many environmentalists have long argued that we need to reduce our consumption, rather than find new ways to feed it.”

While we agree reduced consumption is a good idea, there are a slew of innovative new energy producing technologies being developed that we really need to develop. Wind, solar and excitingly fusion power are all on the cards as Germany has gone through the first tests of a working fusion power reactor.

5. Nuclear Energy Is Bad

This is a rather divisive concept in the environmental field, on the one hand we can create relatively clean power using nuclear technology, on the other hand when accidents happen the ecological effects, let alone the cost of suffering is tremendous. I think in the future environmentalists and ecomodernists alike will be able to get behind fusion power and we can drop the nuclear debate altogether.

6. Genetically Modified Food Is Bad

ACM Group has done a lot of research around the GM food debate and we hold what is probably a bit of a controversial view. Genetically modified food is good! What’s that you said? Hear us out.

If we as a species find a species of grain which can raise food production from the same amount of plants we think it’s a fantastic idea in order to be able to feed the worlds growing population.

What’s not cool is using GM products in an aggressive business sense, creating variations of stock that die within a generation or holding people to stringent business deals in order to be able to obtain seeds.

GM food has the opportunity to create fantastic benefits for the world, the business side of it however is pretty questionable!

7. Thinking Environmentalists Are Peak Everything

It’s been said for years we are going to meet peak oil soon, peak food, peak this, peak that etc.

It is true we haven’t yet reached the limits of what we can do technologically, and we’re going to continue to grow. People are not going to stop taking oil out of the ground, so we need to keep pushing technology to reduce the footprint when we do do these things.

At the end of the day, labels cause division, environmentalists, ecomodernists, it doesn’t matter we’re thinking along the same lines and maybe we need to talk and consider the different options. We should put together some of the best ideas from both camps, the connection with nature and the technological race to save the planet working hand in hand.

Read the Manifesto here –



Climate Change: Is It Real?

Climate change is a very controversial topic, constantly on the agenda of businesses and indeed governments worldwide. It is considered, or not considered often to much chagrin, in major national and international agreements.
There’s a back and forth in the scientific community regarding the existence of climate change, it’s real, it’s not real, it will bring about catastrophic weather changes, it will have no effect on world weather systems.
All of this can be quite confusing, especially as an average person without much access to data and little or no scientific background. It makes it even more confusing that key scientists who voice their opinions on the issue can be either for or against, with either side calling the other side out for taking grants, which means extra money in short, in order to support one argument or another.
So what to do in a world where our government can’t agree on the existence of climate change and we can’t rely on scientists to give us unbiased information?

In our view it’s pretty simple, is climate change real?

It doesn’t matter!

Let’s look at this issue again, climate change comes about because of pollution supposedly, the more pollution the more climate change.

Well guess what?

More pollution also simply means more pollution and I don’t know of anyone who can argue pollution is a good thing. We should be looking at reducing pollution. Pretty simple.
When we look at the issues surrounding climate change and realise that they’re actually issues relating to pollution everything seems to become a lot clearer.

Think about this in relation to industry and business, the most efficient businesses are the ones with a serious competitive advantage, versus a dirty, dingy old factory or power plant somewhere.

Wouldn’t Australian businesses prefer to be the most efficient in the world? Wouldn’t they prefer to have a competitive edge? Introducing measures to reduce energy consumption often directly relate to savings when it comes to the bottom line.

At the end of the day, it serves all Australians when we reduce pollution, the right and the left, if we want to preserve our way of life, it just has to be done.

We will be exploring this controversial issue in more depth in the future, but we just wanted to take the time to give an interesting spin on this idea, just as food for thought.


The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) And The Environment

The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is the largest trade agreement of all time for Australians, and as such presents a number of benefits and challenges not just to us but also to the 12 nations involved. Representing 40% of trade in the global market the countries involved Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, the United States and Vietnam will remove 98% of trade tariffs between them.

However a number of analysts and specialists have spoken out regarding provisions contained therein, and rather than read through 30 chapters of legal speak, we thought we would go ahead and analyse their thoughts on your behalf and talk about some aspects of what is contained in the TPP.

We will also be relying on what experts have said in relation to the TPP in order to expound a very balanced view of the situation.

Intellectual property law professor at Queensland University of Technology, Matthew Rimmer has said the chapter on environmental regulations is lacking detail.

“It seems to me remarkable that the environmental chapter in the Trans-Pacific Partnership doesn’t even mention the phrase climate change. It’s kind of like Voldemort in the Harry Potter series, it’s a taboo phrase in the Trans-Pacific Partnership.”

Australia’s trade minister Andrew Robb retorted that the TPP does not need to address climate change as it is in fact a trade agreement.

“This is not a climate change policy. It’s not an agreement to do with climate change, it’s a trade agreement.”

Many people however question this kind of sentiment. Should we actually be tying environmental protection and climate change to our industrial and business needs? From the perspective of this writer it’s been made clear that without enforcing environmental protections in a robust manner alongside industry it just seems that environmental needs are ignored in favour of profits. What do you think?

Another concern is being presented in the form of ISDS provisions, or Investor-State Dispute Settlements. This allows foreign investors, i.e. businesses, to sue foreign governments if legislation is introduced which can harm their potential future profits.

Think about that for a second, a foreign company can sue the Australian government if laws are introduced which could harm their bottom line. It seems pretty crazy, however it has happened in the past and is happening currently. In fact due to a prior ISDS provision introduced in a treaty between Australia and Hong Kong, the tobacco company Phillip Morris is currently suing the Australian government for a sum which some have estimated to be in the billions. We would like to highlight the fact that this is completely legal at this stage and will now apply on a much broader scale.

How does this affect the environment though? Tobacco packaging is a separate issue.

Well we’d be interested to know what you think of this as a case study. Though this didn’t take place under the TPP, the provisions seem to be similar at this time.

A claim was brought about by an American resources company against a moratorium on oil and gas exploration in Quebec, Canada.

When that moratorium was announced in 2011, the Lone Pine Resources Company had acquired a permit to extract gas from beneath the St Lawrence River.

When the permit was revoked, it was claimed the Quebec government was breaching the ISDS provision in the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), and the Canadian government is now being sued for around $US230 million for that case alone.

There are currently 8 cases outstanding against the Canadian government with damages claimed at somewhere around the 6 billion mark.

Do we think it’s a good idea that Australia is open to this kind of system, where private tribunals can effectively decide outcomes against Australian legislation?

It seems like our sovereign rights as a country are being encroached upon from where we are sitting, but as with any legal speak it’s open for interpretation. We’re very open to hearing any feedback from both sides of the community regarding the TPP and hope to bring more updates and opinions to you as they come to light.