Category Archives: Environment and climate

PETER SAINSBURY. Sunday environmental round up, 17 February 2019

It may be too slow but the policy environment around climate change is moving. Recently in NSW we have seen a mine proposal refused because of its impact on climate change and the release of a report calling for the … Continue reading

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ANDREW GLIKSON. Imagining the real: Two minutes to mid-night on the Clock of the Atomic Scientists

On January 24, 2019, the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists stated: “Humanity now faces two simultaneous existential threats, either of which would be cause for extreme concern and immediate attention. These major threats—nuclear weapons and climate change—were exacerbated this past … Continue reading

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JOSEPH A. CAMILLERI. Just Peace: A timely roadmap for Australia or impossible dream? – Part 2

If ‘just peace’ requires peacemaking and peacebuilding to be sensitive to the cries of the poor and the cries of the Earth, how relevant is it to Australia’s present circumstances? If what is proposed is a holistic approach to the … Continue reading

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NOEL TURNBULL. A climate of hope.

Despite Donald Trump, Scott Morrison and others there is a significant change of opinion on climate change around much of the western world – particularly in the US of all places – for the better. 

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LIZ HANNA. A warming Australia spells serious trouble for human health

Climate change. Global warming. A hotter planet. A hotter Australia. Yet few are asking the difficult question of ‘how hot is too hot?’. We have so many elephants in the room at present that ‘the room’ is getting pretty crowded, … Continue reading

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RICHARD FLANAGAN. Tasmania is burning. The climate disaster future has arrived while those in power laugh at us. (The Guardian 4.2.2019)

Scott Morrison is trying to scare people about economic policy but seems blithely unaware people are already scared – about climate change.  

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PETER SAINSBURY. Sunday’s environmental round up, 3 February 2019

A complete focus on climate change this week, starting with a short video by the inspirational Greta Thunberg and finishing with a map of distinctly chilly Iowa. In between, articles about last year’s game-changing IPCC report on warming of 1.5oC, … Continue reading

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RICHARD KINGSFORD. The successive government failures behind the fish kills. (SMH 31.1.2018)

With the NSW election looming, it’s time to make sure the next state government has environmental policy front and centre at the big table of decision making. On nearly every major measure for the environment – numbers of threatened species, … Continue reading

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BOB DOUGLAS. Would Australian politicians contemplate a strategy for human survival?

Why are governments around the world  avoiding the constellation of threats to survival of humans on the planet? 

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PETER SAINSBURY. Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions are galloping ahead

The Australian government’s most recent projections indicate that greenhouse gas emissions will increase by 5.4% between now and 2030, when they will be only 7% below the level in 2005. Such a reduction is well below Australia’s Paris Agreement commitment … Continue reading

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PETER SAINSBURY. Sunday’s environmental round up, 27 January 2019

The Australian Energy Market Operator’s report (summarised here by Sophie Vorrath) into the power failure (caused by a lightning strike) that affected Victoria, NSW and Tasmania in August 2018 illustrates the complexity of maintaining reliable electricity supplies across Australia’s east … Continue reading

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DEAN BAKER. The Green New Deal is happening in China.

One of the Trump administration’s talking points about global warming is that we’re reducing greenhouse gas emissions, while the countries that remain in the Paris accord are not. Well, the first part of this story is clearly not true, as … Continue reading

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PETER SMALL. A Royal Commission on the Murray-Darling.

In response to an excellent article by Michelle Pini “Something stinks in the Coalition and its not dead fish” Pearls and irritations 18/01, I posted a comment. “Yes a Royal Commission with forensic capacity to peel away each layer of … Continue reading

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PETER SAINSBURY. Sunday’s environment round up

Environmental issues, particularly but not only climate change, are once again prominent in the public eye and their importance has been reflected in frequent posts over the years in Pearls & Irritations. We can also be certain that a range … Continue reading

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MICHELLE PINI. Something stinks in the Coalition and it’s not just dead fish (Independent Australia 17.01.2019)

The sight of close to a million dead fish in one of Australia’s most important waterways may herald the end for the Morrison Government. For this is hardly the first time this Coalition Government, under its various iterations, has spat in … Continue reading

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RICHARD KINGSFORD. The catastrophic fish kill on the Darling River– decades in the making

The plight of the Darling River shocked the nation last week, when up to a million fish were killed by lack of oxygen, accompanying the disruption of a blue-green algal bloom on a forty kilometre stretch of the river near … Continue reading

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LORRAINE CHOW. Ten grim climate scenarios if global temperatures rise above 1.5 degrees celsius.

The (Northern) summer of 2018 was intense: deadly wildfires, persistent drought, killer floods and record-breaking heat. Although scientists exercise great care before linking individual weather events to climate change, the rise in global temperatures caused by human activities has been … Continue reading

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ANDREW GLIKSON. The gathering climate storm: the media cover-up.

“Earth is now substantially out of energy balance. The amount of solar energy that Earth absorbs exceeds the energy radiated back to space. The principal manifestations of this energy imbalance are continued global warming on decadal time scales and continued … Continue reading

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LESLEY HUGHES. The Best of 2018: Cognitive Dissonance in the Big Dry.

Climate change is worsening the drought now affecting huge swathes of the continent, bringing gut-wrenching misery for farmers and the communities they support. And what have some of the parliamentary representatives of those regions been up to? They have been … Continue reading

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CHRIS MILLS. Australian Defence Organisation Combats Climate Change Effects in Australia.

The Mission of the Australian Defence Force is to defend Australia and its national interests. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change 2018 Report assesses that climate change presents a global ‘risk to heath, livelihoods, food security, water supply, human security … Continue reading

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GILES PARKINSON. Coalition energy and climate policies hit rock bottom at year’s end.

The federal Coalition government has achieved what most would have assumed impossible at the start of 2018: its position on climate and energy policies has worsened and shifted even further to the right. 

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CSIRO and BUREAU OF METEOROLOGY. Climate report 2018 shows continued warming of climate and oceans.

More frequent extreme heat events and marine heatwaves, an increase in extreme fire weather, and declining rainfall in the southeast and southwest of the continent are some of the key observations showing Australia’s changing climate, as detailed in the latest … Continue reading

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ANDREW GLIKSON. Crimes against the Earth: a deep time perspective.

“Dear Caesar  Keep Burning, raping, killing  But please, please  Spare us your obscene poetry  And ugly music ”  (From Seneca’s last letter to Nero) 

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ANDREW GLIKSON. The 2018 Queensland and California firestorms: there is no Planet B.

It takes only a spark, from a lightning or human ignition, to start a fire, but it involves high temperatures, a period of drought, a build-up of dry vegetation and strong winds to start a bush fire, such as is … Continue reading

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ANDREW GLIKSON. Climate cover-up and Orwellian newspeak.

In so far as it may have been assumed that the growing manifestations of global warming through extreme weather events will cause people to realize the reality and the implications of carbon emissions, this is only partly happening, due to … Continue reading

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CHRISTIAN DOWNIE. Australian Energy Diplomacy.

In Australia, little attention has been given to the concept of “energy diplomacy”, including the way in which it might interact with foreign policy objectives.

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CHRISTIAN DOWNIE. Australian Energy Diplomacy.

ALEXANDER KAUFMAN, CHRIS D’ANGELO. Federal Climate Report Predicts At Least 3 Degrees Of Warming By 2100 (Huff Post).

The White House’s decision to release the report over the holiday weekend is likely to bury the sobering new findings.

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FRANK JOTZO. Labor’s policy can smooth the energy transition, but much more will be needed to tackle emissions (The Conversation).

The Labor party’s energy policy platform, released last week, is politically clever and would likely be effective. It includes plans to underwrite renewable energy and storage, and other elements that would help the energy transition along. Its approach to the … Continue reading

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ROD MITCHELL. A carbon price that curbs polluters and reduces inequality.

The federal government’s non-response to climate change has run its course and events are rapidly overtaking its startled members. And now, after years of resistance, Woodside, BHP and Rio Tinto have done an about face and are calling for a … Continue reading

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ANDREW GLIKSON. Which planet is the media living on?

While extreme weather events are being reported almost daily on news bulletins, only rarely is it conveyed that these events constitute the manifestation of advanced global warming and a fundamental shift in the state of the atmosphere. Rarely do major … Continue reading

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