A national Clean 21 Technology Innovation Network has been established by the Australian Government to help small and medium businesses reduce running costs and become more competitive and sustainable.

The Clean 21 Technology Innovation Network is being delivered by Enterprise Connect and is part of the broader Clean 21 manufacturing industry strategy.

Innovation Minister Senator Kim Carr said that energy, water and waste efficiency had been part of business reviews conducted by Enterprise Connect for over 3000 firms. The Clean 21 Technology Innovation Network will provide more specific and specialised support on clean technology issues.

A new environmental rating system is needed for vehicles because its current model is flawed and irrelevant in Australia, according to research by the University of South Australia.

A new web guide to sustainability in higher education has been launched.

Environment Minister Tony Burke has announced members of an advisory group to inform the Federal Government’s development of a National Wildlife Corridors Plan, to be chaired by former Environment Minister Bob Debus.

A new manufacturing process using organic fibres to make planks for shipping pallets, developed by Biofiba Limited, based at Gosford, NSW, has been awarded funding of up to $1.97 million from CSIRO’s Australian Growth Partnership (AGP).

Member nations of the CEM, which was launched in July last year, collectively represent 80 per cent of the world's energy consumption and over 90 per cent of the world's clean energy investment.

The Grattan Institute has released a new report, entitled, Learning the hard way: Australian policies to reduce carbon emissions, which assesses the outcome of 300 programs to tackle climate change introduced by Australian governments since the Kyoto Protocol in 1997.

The report analyses four kinds of carbon abatement instruments: market mechanisms; rebates; energy efficiency standards; and grant tendering schemes.

Of all the measures analysed, market mechanisms, such as a carbon trading scheme, have delivered the greatest emissions reductions and have met targets ahead of time.

By contrast, $7 billion of grant-tendering schemes – upfront grants to companies for proposals to reduce emissions – have done very little to reduce greenhouse pollution.

Governments have also spent $5 billion on rebate programs to encourage the purchase of low-emission products. Again, the impact on emissions growth has been minimal.

A fourth kind of program – energy efficiency standards – can reduce emissions cheaply and effectively, but is limited in scope.

Based on experience, only an economy-wide carbon price (a type of market mechanism) can meet Australia’s 2020 target, endorsed by both main political parties, of reducing annual emissions by five per cent below 2000 levels.

The report was written by John Daley, CEO and Tristan Edis, Research Fellow at the Grattan Institute.

It can be downloaded at http://www.grattan.edu.au/pub_page/077_report_energy_learning_the_hard_way.html

A Queensland farmer, a Tasmanian journalist and a council planner from mid-coast NSW have been named among National Climate Change Adaptation Research Facility’s (NCCARF) first Climate Adaptation Champions.

A leader and recognised expert in the field of water management and quality, Adjunct Professor Don Bursill AM, has been appointed as South Australia’s new Chief Scientist.

Nominations have opened for the 2011 Western Australian Coastal Awards for Excellence.

With debate continuing about the Government’s proposed carbon price, the Australian Trucking Association (ATA) has commissioned a major research study into the environmental credentials of the trucking industry.

The study is being prepared by The Centre for International Economics (TheCIE) and will provide evidence about how the industry has improved its environmental performance, before looking at possible future developments, including:

The Australian Centre for Renewable Energy (ACRE) has released its Strategic Directions report setting out priorities for renewable energy technology development and recommends initiatives to support its development, commercialisation and large scale deployment.

Australia has the opportunity to play a leading role in international efforts to increase the deployment of renewable energy technologies and drive down their costs with its election to the Council of the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA).

Queensland can expect coastal erosion and permanent inundation of coastal land as a result of a predicted 0.8 metre sea level rise by 2100, according to a new scientific report released by the Queensland Climate Change Centre of Excellence.

The Victorian Auditor-General’s Office has released its report into whether the development of renewable energy has been facilitated effectively by the Department of Premier and Cabinet (DPC), Department of Primary Industries (DPI), Department of Business and Innovation (DBI) and Sustainability Victoria (SV).

CSIRO has launched a new Climate and Health Cluster, with funding of  $3.15 million over three years from CSIRO’s Flagship Collaboration Fund.

Grants totalling $4.4 million have been awarded to 16 businesses under the Australian Government’s Re-tooling for Climate Change Program.

The Tasmanian Environment Protection Authority has called for expressions of interest for three positions on its Board.

The Queensland Government has extended the consultation period for its Biodiversity Strategy until April 8.

Recently released National Pollutant Inventory (NPI) data have shown that emissions of a range of common air pollutants dropped slightly in 2009–10.

Bill Kelty’s interim report on Tasmanian Forests has been submitted to the Senate and released publicly,  setting out recommendations on how he believes the conflict over the future of the Tasmanian timber industry could be resolved.

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