Category Archives: Environment and climate

ERIN O’DONNELL, AVRIL HORNE. Giving environmental water to drought-stricken farmers sounds straightforward, but it’s a bad idea (The Conversation, 18.09.18)

Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack last week suggested the government would look at changing the law to allow water to be taken from the environment and given to farmers struggling with the drought.

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HYLDA ROLFE. Protection v exploitation – Uncertain outlook for National Parks in New South Wales

A common framework for crime fiction builds on the notion of a heavy character leaning on target persons in order to ‘encourage’ them to fund the provision of protection from even heavier characters.  Hoping for security, the targets oblige and … Continue reading

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ANDREW GLIKSON. Human cognitive dissonance and the mass extinction of species.

The history of Earth is marked by at least seven major mass extinctions,  including asteroid impact effects 580 million years ago, the end Ordovician glaciation, late Devonian asteroid impacts, end-Permian volcanism and ocean anoxia, end-Jurassic volcanism and Cretaceous-Tertiary asteroid impact—mostly … Continue reading

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STEPHEN LEEDER. The Evil You Cannot See.

Concern about air quality in Australia popularly centres around two topics:  exhaust stacks from city road tunnels and climate change.  Neither are as critically important as the effects of small particle pollution.  

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CHRISTIAN DOWNIE. Lack of climate policy threatens to trip up Australian diplomacy this summit season.

Australia has navigated a somewhat stormy passage through the Pacific Islands Forum in Nauru. Scott Morrison’s new-look government faced renewed accusations at the summit about the strength of Australia’s resolve on climate policy.

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JOHN DWYER. How are we going to water the farm now that copious life sustaining rain is but a memory?

The change in the world’s climate is currently on full display with equatorial deluges, hurricanes and typhoons causing destruction and misery while the the rest of the world burns and experiences record temperatures further North than ever recorded before. As … Continue reading

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LUCIANA PORFIRIO, DAVID NEWTH, JOHN FINNIGAN. Climate change will reshape the world’s agricultural trade.

Ending world hunger is a central aspiration of modern society. To address this challenge – along with expanding agricultural land and intensifying crop yields – we rely on global agricultural trade to meet the nutritional demands of a growing world … Continue reading

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ANGUS WHYTE. A farmers’ perspective on the drought.

As someone who is dependent on Mother Nature for a living, climate is very much a “front and centre” issue for all farmers.  I graze livestock on semi-arid, native rangeland pastures in western NSW; the numbers we graze is dependent on … Continue reading

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GILES PARKINSON. Business gives up on Coalition, turns to Labor and states on energy, climate.

Here’s the most damning assessment of the Coalition’s energy and climate policy, such as it remains after the crucifixion of Malcolm Turnbull and the elevation of conservatives Scott Morrison as prime minister and Angus Taylor as energy minister:

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NICK KILVERT. Fossil record points to ‘major transformation’ of Australian ecosystems in next 100 years.

If the world continues on a “business-as-usual” trajectory on climate change, global ecosystems including Australia’s will undergo a “major transformation” over the next century.

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MICHAEL PASCOE. Billions wasted on drought aid that’s not helping those who need it most.

Wealthy people are stuffing their kitchen cupboards with donated goods and their sheds with free hay while animal welfare is being ignored and low-paid rural workers go without favours.

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GABRIELLE CHAN. Climate change making drought worse, farmers’ federation chief says.

Fiona Simson says people have been tiptoeing around the subject for too long and it is time for a national strategy. 

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PETER SMALL. National Party and Climate

Why farmers who are at the forefront of the impact from climate change, continue to support the National Party, a party of climate sceptics? After a week of unfathomable machinations in Canberra, a decade of climate wars and the “death” … Continue reading

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JAMES FERNYHOUGH. Climate change action off the agenda under Morrison government.

Energy Minister Angus Taylor has unveiled a new energy policy focused exclusively on reducing electricity prices, in a strong signal the Morrison government will abandon all efforts to lower carbon emissions.

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JOHN MENADUE & IAN McAULEY: A new “leader”, but no sight of leadership.

The Liberal Party has a new “leader”, but there is still a dearth of the leadership in the Liberal Party, which seems to be unable to deal with hard issues, such as meeting our emissions target and coping with the … Continue reading

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JOHN MENADUE Tracking Peter Costello is not a good start for Josh Frydenberg .

 After failing with his National Energy Guarantee, Josh Frydenberg rushed to Melbourne to get some tips from Peter Costello about handling his new Treasury portfolio. In fawning style over coffee, Frydenberg described Costello as ‘the greatest living Treasurer’. It is … Continue reading

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GILES PARKINSON. Morrison names leading anti-wind campaigner as energy minister.

New prime minister Scott Morrison has ended the experiment of combining the energy and environment portfolios, and appointed one of the country’s most prominent anti-wind campaigners as energy minister, and a former mining industry lawyer as environment minister.

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JANE McADAM, JOHN CHURCH. Rising seas will displace millions of people – and Australia must be ready

Sea-level rise is already threatening some communities around the world, particularly small island states, as it exacerbates disasters resulting from storm surges and flooding.

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GILES PARKINSON. Turnbull survives as puppet of right wing, as Australia burns (RenewEconomy, 21.08.18)

At least in 2009, Turnbull left his job as then Opposition leader with his dignity intact.But not now.

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DAVID SPRATT & IAN DUNLOP. In the climate end-game, humanity has a big decision to make

Humanity has a big decision to make very soon about its future on warming planet, but the Federal Coalition is still in denial that human-induced climate change even exists, let alone that the climate end-game is upon us.

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WILL STEFFEN. A Fundamental Re-think of the Climate Change Challenge

Using a complex systems framework, we argue that a set of feedback processes intrinsic to the Earth System could form a planetary threshold which, if crossed, would not only speed up climate change, but also take the trajectory out of … Continue reading

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IAN McAULEY. If we can’t kill the NEG can we at least shape it into something useful?

The National Energy Guarantee can possibly be made to work – to improve the reliability of power supplies, to reduce emissions, and to reduce people’s power bills – but not in its present form.

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JEFFERY SACHS. We Are All Climate Refugees Now.

This summer’s fires, droughts, and record-high temperatures should serve as a wake-up call. The longer a narrow and ignorant elite condemns Americans and the rest of humanity to wander aimlessly in the political desert, the more likely it is that … Continue reading

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HYLDA ROLFE. What’s in a name? The threat to our National Parks

For three years now, Sydney-based company Gap Bluff Hospitality Pty Ltd (GBH) has been revising an offer it made to NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) under which the company would assume a large share of the burden of … Continue reading

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ANDREW GLIKSON. Last call on climate—evidence for a demise of the planetary life support system.

In a key paper titled “Trajectories of the Earth System in the Anthropocene“, published in the Proceedings of the US National Academy of Science (6.8.2018), a group of 17 climate and environment scientists (Will Steffen, Johan Rockström, Katherine Richardson, Timothy … Continue reading

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WILLIAM FINNEGAN. California Burning.

On the northwestern edge of Los Angeles, where I grew up, the wildfires came in late summer. We lived in a new subdivision, and behind our house were the hills, golden and parched. We would hose down the wood-shingled roof … Continue reading

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JOHN MENADUE. National Parks and the new squatters

The new squatters on public land are being given a leg-up, as they were in the 19th Century, to seize and occupy public land. By deliberately underfunding National Parks developer-friendly governments are putting commercial interests ahead of the public interest.   … Continue reading

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IAN McAULEY. Don’t rush to endorse the National Energy Guarantee: There’s an election in a few months.

The best outcome for electricity consumers would be for state governments to kill the National Energy Guarantee when the COAG energy council meets on Friday. Having gone nine years without a well-grounded energy policy we can wait a few months … Continue reading

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JOHN MENADUE. The Great Barrier Reef Foundation and crony capitalism

Just imagine if a Labor prime minister handed out a $444 million grant to a small reef ‘charity’  without any due process.  The Murdoch media would be even more apoplectic than usual.  There is a lack of transparency and probity … Continue reading

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ALAN KOHLER. Another fine energy shambles (The Australian, 07/08/18)

Years of cat-herding by those who actually know and care about Australia’s electricity market will come to fruition this week with the meeting of COAG energy ministers to discuss the National Energy Guarantee, and possibly make a decision about it. … Continue reading

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