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John Hepburn

John worked as a mechanical engineer making components for the coal, oil and nuclear industries before becoming an environmental activist in the mid 1990's. He co-founded a successful recycling business in Brisbane before moving to Sydney to work with Greenpeace. He has a strong interest in the politics of technology and in social movement strategy, and, like many, is extremely concerned about climate change. He works part-time as a senior campaigner with the Greenpeace Australia Pacific climate change campaign.

Gloucester landowners blockade AGL coal seam gas project

If you have ever visited Gloucester, you will know it as a delightful farming community in the foothills of the Barrington Tops world heritage area. It is an area best known for rich dairy herds, fine produce, and the dramatic Gloucester Tops range that rises abruptly from the valley floor. But now it is increasingly […]

Big Coal vs. The People

The eyes of even the most hardened court observers glazed over as the seemingly endless mess of legal procedures dragged on. It wasn’t just unremarkable, it was outright dull – obscuring the profound struggle set to unfold. Monday  was day one of a court case in the Brisbane Magistrates Court in which a group of […]

Award winning awards. Or is it just greenwash?

We’re approaching corporate AGM season. It’s an inspiring time of year. As the birds begin nesting and the spring flowers bloom, countless annual reports with pictures of smiling children and windmills will be printed on glossy recycled paper, reminding us all of the ability of companies to pretend that they care about something other than […]

Climate denial, science and Genetic Engineering

Greenpeace have been strongly criticised in recent weeks over the destruction of a trial crop of genetically engineered wheat. Some critics have labelled the organisation ‘anti-science’ and claim that opposition to GM crops somehow contradicts the support of climate science. Firstly, it is useful to revisit what ‘science’ actually is, and what it isn’t. Science […]

Will the carbon price rule out new coal?

On Sunday evening, after reading the Dr Seuss classic “If I ran the zoo” to my three year old daughter, I sat on the couch, fortified myself with a strong drink, and began to read the Treasury modelling on the carbon price (I know, I know, it’s an exciting life). After reading the projections for […]

Another day, another whinge from big coal

Another day, another rent-seeking whinge from the richest companies in the country.  Yesterday the Australian Coal Association(ACA) released more ‘independent economic analysis’ that said just how hard done by they would be under a carbon tax. It was a pre-emptive strike before the much awaited Productivity Commission report, due today, that analyses the effective carbon […]

Coal exports boom amid carbon price talks

With the multi party climate change committee (MPCCC) in the midst of the crucial negotiation phase for the introduction of a price on carbon, other parts of the country are rushing forward with plans that will see Australia’s contribution to global warming soar. Yesterday, Queensland Premier Anna Bligh announced that proponents are being sought for  […]

Another dirty coal plant approved

The approval by the Victorian EPA on Friday of a new coal power station is set to create yet another headache for Julia Gillard. In the leadup to the election, she promised that “We will never allow a highly inefficent and dirty power station to be built again in Australia”. With a projected emissions intensity […]

Probability and responsibility at Fukushima

In the long run, the least likely event will occur. Such is the nature of probability, and the nature of risk. The environmental movement have been talking about this for some time now. It has been the basis of much of the opposition to nuclear energy and releasing genetically engineered organisms into the environment for […]

Hypocrisy, synchronicity and carbon neutrality: you can bank on it

September 30 was a busy day. It was the day that ANZ signed off on secret loan for the refurbishment of the highly polluting Muja A&B power stations in Western Australia, citing reputation risk as the reason for the confidentiality clause. Thanks to some more snooping by the AFR yesterday, it turns out that National […]