Category Archives: Environment and climate

STEVE RINTOUL AND STEVEN CHOWN. Antarctica has lost 3 trillion tonnes of ice in 25 years. Time is running out for the frozen continent.

Antarctica lost 3 trillion tonnes of ice between 1992 and 2017, according to a new analysis of satellite observations. In vulnerable West Antarctica, the annual rate of ice loss has tripled during that period, reaching 159 billion tonnes a year. Overall, … Continue reading

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ANDREW GLIKSON. Silence over the acceleration of global warming.

“To ignore evil is to become an accomplice” (Martin Luther King) If there is a single critical issue science has ever conveyed, it is that altering the composition of the Earth’s atmosphere can only bear fatal consequences for nature and … Continue reading

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SOPHIE VORRATH. Martin Green – Australia’s “father of PV” – beats Elon Musk to Global Energy Prize.

Australia’s “father of PV,” UNSW Scientia Professor Martin Green, has been awarded the 2018 Global Energy Prize, beating out a shortlist that included Tesla’s Elon Musk, and becoming the first Australian to win the $820,000 gong.

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IMOGEN ZETHOVEN. Outsourcing Reef Protection.

The outsourcing of nearly half a billion dollars of taxpayer funds to an independent Foundation to protect the Great Barrier Reef is unusual by any measure.

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ANDREW GLIKSON. An Orwellian climate endangers planet

“Two plus two is five – if the party says so” (George Orwell). Should anyone record the history of the 20th and 21st centuries, they may report that, while temperatures and sea levels were rising, the human sense of reality … Continue reading

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GRAEME WORBOYS. Save Kosciuszko.

Australians need to save Kosciuszko from legislative action that will lead to the decline of one of Australia’s most beautiful areas, its mountain water catchments and unique alpine native animals and plants.

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DAVID SPRATT. Senate report recognises climate change as existential risk, but fails to draw the obvious conclusions.

Climate change is “a current and existential national security risk”, according to an Australian Senate report released on Thursday 17 May. It says an existential risk is “one that threatens the premature extinction of Earth-originating intelligent life or the permanent … Continue reading

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PETER DAWSON. Review of Sunburnt Country.

Peter Dawson reviews Sunburnt Country’ – Dr Joelle Gergis’ new book on Climate Change Climate Scientist, Dr.Joelle Gergis’s book pulls together from wide-ranging sources the story of the Australian climate since white settlement, but also reaches back 1000 years and … Continue reading

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MANDY FREUND, BEN HENLEY, KATHRYN ALLEN, PATRICK BAKER. Recent Australian droughts may be the worst in 800 years.

Australia is a continent defined by extremes, and recent decades have seen some extraordinary climate events. But droughts, floods, heatwaves, and fires have battered Australia for millennia. Are recent extreme events really worse than those in the past? In a … Continue reading

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ANDREW GLIKSON. Methane, Coal Seam Gas and the demise of the planetary life support system.

The extraction and transfer from the earth crust to the atmosphere of every economically available molecule of carbon, including coal, oil, tar sand oil, shale oil, methane gas, coal seam gas and other forms of hydrocarbon, constitutes the most significant … Continue reading

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GILES PARKINSON. Turnbull’s election budget dumps on climate and renewables.

What is widely regarded as the last budget to be delivered by the Turnbull government before the next federal election ceded no ground on climate policy, insisting that it’s much criticised emissions reduction targets would remain unchanged.

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IMOGEN ZETHOVEN. Rescuing the Reef … again.

There must be a federal election coming as the government has announced a rescue package for the Great Barrier Reef. Like a damsel (fish) in distress, the Reef has experienced many rescue packages in the past. As early as the … Continue reading

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PETER SAINSBURY. Macron tests his entente cordiale with Turnbull on climate change.

France’s President Macron is taking the opportunity while briefly in Australia to bully, embarrass, shame, blackmail, whatever, Prime Minister Turnbull into taking meaningful action on climate change and become the real leader the Australian people and Macron himself are looking … Continue reading

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Media Watch. How News Corp and The Australian mislead us on climate change.

Great Barrier Reef coral bleaching The Australian and Cairns Post highlight a dissenting view on whether global warming is the cause of mass coral bleaching. 

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JULIE P SMITH. Live sheep exports are not worth the moral cost.

Growing up near Midland on the outskirts of Perth during the 1960s and 1970s, I endured the weekly stench from the local abattoir. It was the price we paid to get meat to population centres. My first job was in … Continue reading

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IAN DUNLOP. Climate Change: The fiduciary responsibility of politicians & bureaucrats. Part 2 of 2.

“Fiduciary: a person to whom power is entrusted for the benefit of another” “Power is reposed in members of Parliament by the public for exercise in the interests of the public and not primarily for the interests of members or … Continue reading

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IAN DUNLOP. Climate Change: The fiduciary responsibility of politicians & bureaucrats. Part 1.

“Fiduciary: a person to whom power is entrusted for the benefit of another” “Power is reposed in members of Parliament by the public for exercise in the interests of the public and not primarily for the interests of members or … Continue reading

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JOHN MENADUE. The banking royal commission confirms our worst fears about many business executives and crony capitalism

There was a revealing heading in an article a while back by Ross Gittins, the economics editor of the SMH, ‘Faster growth demands better chief executives’. He concluded his article by pointing to the need for business leadership to seize … Continue reading

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EMMA CARMODY. Lack of transparency in irrigation efficiency programs

An article by Kerry Brewster in the Guardian this week reports on a significant fraud investigation by Queensland’s Major and Organised Crime Squad (Rural) into subsidies granted to a landholder under the Healthy Headwaters Water Use Efficiency Program.

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DAVID BLOWERS. Australia’s slow march towards a National Energy Guarantee is gathering pace.

The finer policy details of the of the proposed National Energy Guarantee (NEG) have begun to leak onto newspaper front pages and websites, ahead of Friday’s crucial meeting of federal and state energy ministers. The good news is that the … Continue reading

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IMOGEN ZETHOVEN. Trashing our Global Ocean Leadership.

Australia was once a global leader in marine protection. Today, we have fallen spectacularly from grace. The Commonwealth marine park plans tabled recently in federal Parliament represent a triumph for the oil, gas and fishing industries and a massive backward … Continue reading

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CAROLYN PETTIGREW. Tourism and NSW National Parks – looking to the future. Part 2 of 2

The NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) is facing a future crisis that perhaps is not fully recognised by supporters of nature conservation. Visitation is skyrocketing http://www.environment.nsw.gov.au/research/NSWparkspopularity.htm which on the face of it is wonderful. More and more people … Continue reading

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FRANK JOTZO. China’s emissions trading takes steps towards big ambitions.

China’s new emissions trading scheme will start small, but comes with big potential, Frank Jotzo writes. China recently announced that it will begin to introduce a national emissions trading scheme for carbon dioxide this year. The promise for more market-oriented … Continue reading

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CAROLYN PETTIGREW. What has gone wrong with the management of NSW National Parks? Part 1 of 2

In 2014 the NSW government hosted the IUCN World Parks Congress. The government touted securing the conference as a victory for their major events calendar. The key outcome of the congress was the Promise of Sydney – the Vision was … Continue reading

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ANDREW BLAKERS, MATTHEW STOCKS. Solar PV and wind are on track to replace all coal, oil and gas within two decades.

Solar photovoltaic and wind power are rapidly getting cheaper and more abundant – so much so that they are on track to entirely supplant fossil fuels worldwide within two decades, with the time frame depending mostly on politics. The protestation … Continue reading

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ANDREW GLIKSON. Daniel Ellsberg and the global nuclear suicide machine

“The unleashed power of the atom has changed everything save human way of thinking and thus we drift toward unparalleled catastrophes.” Albert Einstein 1946 Daniel Ellsberg, former presidential advisor, who had released the famous top-secret Pentagon Papers related to the … Continue reading

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MICHAEL LAMBERT. An Update on the National Electricity Market and the National Energy Guarantee.

The Council of Australian Governments (COAG) Energy Council meets in the second half of April to consider a report from the Energy Security Board on the proposed initial design of the National Energy Guarantee which seeks to address both emissions … Continue reading

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MATTHEW FISHER. Malcolm Turnbull in denial on climate change: The Uses and Abuses of Complex Causation.

It is commonplace for political and corporate leaders to obfuscate public debate on issues they want to avoid by applying simplistic, linear concepts of cause and effect to events that have multiple causes. In the case of climate change, one … Continue reading

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TRISTAN EDIS. How renewables trumped brown coal and gas over Australia’s summer.

In reading some of the panic-stricken media commentary about the impending blackouts we were supposed to have this summer, you might have been led to believe that renewable energy doesn’t contribute much at all to ensuring the lights stayed on.

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ANDREW GLIKSON. The betrayal of the future

A species which has invented combustion, electromagnetic radiation and nuclear energy orders of magnitude more powerful than its own physical potential, needs to be perfectly wise and in control lest it is overwhelmed by these powers.

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