Sections

Services

Information

AU Australia

Environment + Energy — Analysis and Comment

The tiny Pacific nation of the Marshall Islands could avoid being swamped entirely, although it will still suffer profoundly from sea-level rise. Christopher Johnson/Wikimedia Commons

Dynamic atolls give hope that Pacific Islands can defy sea rise

It is widely predicted that low-lying coral reef islands will drown as a result of sea-level rise, leaving their populations as environmental refugees. But new evidence now suggests that these small islands…
While green business is commendable, canola-fuelled elevators will not save us from climate change. monique/Flickr

Can business save us from climate change?

Without a functional international climate policy, and a set of Australian policies that look set to be repealed, it might seem that business offers the greatest hope for mitigating climate change. Business…
The South Australian town of Port Pirie – home to a historic smelter – has some of the worst reported toxic air pollution in Australia. Photo by Imre Hillenbrand www.universalfocus.com.au

Australia’s dirty secret: who’s breathing toxic air?

Australians living in poorer communities, with lower employment and education levels, as well as communities with a high proportion of Indigenous people, are significantly more likely to be exposed to…
Changing how we consume energy is the best way to mitigate climate change. Adam Bowie/Flickr

We all need to pay for climate change mitigation

While the latest IPCC report on mitigation doesn’t recommend any particular strategy for reducing carbon emissions, it suggests changing energy consumption is a key mitigation strategy. According to the…
Eastern Europe relies on the network of gas pipelines that runs from Russia through Ukraine and Belarus. EPA/Eustream/AAP

Will the Ukraine crisis open up a new gas market for Australia?

The ongoing standoff between Russia and Ukraine has exacerbated Europe’s vulnerability caused by its reliance on Russian gas. The situation has locked the two nations into a dispute over paying for gas…
A Cooktown home which lost its roof to Cyclone Ita, although damage was less widespread than feared. AAP Image/Dan Peled

How building codes save homes from cyclones, and how they don’t

During Queensland’s preparations for Severe Tropical Cyclone Ita, Queensland Premier Campbell Newman advised residents who lived in older houses (those built before 1985) to evacuate their homes as they…
For the first time the IPCC has addressed the ethical, as well as technical, issues of reducing greenhouse emissions. EPA/How Hwee Young/AAP

IPCC: emissions cuts are about ethics as well as economics

The new report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change shows that global greenhouse gas emissions have grown faster than ever over the last decade. Taking action to achieve the world’s goal…
The Brisbane Festival’s City of Lights display is one of many global arts events sponsored by a major and gas company. Wei Lun Koh/Flickr

Global arts scene awash with big oil and gas sponsorship

From Shakespearean flash mobs in London, to zombies and a “dying” koala at one of Australia’s most popular art galleries in Brisbane, there are growing protests over big oil and gas companies' sponsorship…
A test mine for the Alpha Coal project in central Queensland, which appears likely to go ahead but with greater groundwater protections. AAP Image/Greenpeace, Andrew Quilty

Alpha Coal ruling breaks new ground for protecting water

This week’s court ruling on the future of the A$6.4 billion Alpha Coal project in Queensland – set to be one of the biggest coal mines in the world – is of major significance for how mining projects are…
No vote: despite activists' urgings, the 2009 Copenhagen climate talks were stymied by the threat of veto. EPA/HENNING BAGGER/AAP

Votes, not vetoes: a new way to cut a United Nations climate deal

Anyone who has watched in frustration as the United Nations repeatedly failed to secure a meaningful climate treaty could be forgiven for taking a rather glum view on this weekend’s report by the Intergovernmental…
Two dozen ships anchored outside Gladstone harbour in 2008, waiting to load coal. milton.v1/Flickr

Australia’s biggest coal state plans for life beyond coal

We are in the coal business. If you want decent hospitals, schools and police on the beat we all need to understand that. – Queensland Premier Campbell Newman, June 2012. It was a rare moment of unscripted…
Furniture retailer Harvey Norman has been targeted by activists, in a campaign described by the federal government as dishonest. AAP Image/The Last Stand/Matthew Newton

Boycotts are a crucial weapon to fight environment-harming firms

In October 2000, I was driving through downtown Boise, Idaho, and nearly careered off the road. Just in front of me was a giant inflatable Godzilla-like dinosaur, well over 30m tall. It was towering over…
Japan’s harvest of endangered minke whales was ruled not to be for scientific purposes. EPA/Tim Watters/Sea Shepherd Australia/AAP

Whaling win will be a hollow victory without updating the rules

The International Court of Justice’s ruling this week that Japan’s Southern Ocean whaling program is not scientific does not represent an ultimate victory over whaling. The finer points of the court’s…
Politically, the carbon tax issue has been great for Tony Abbott, allowing him to position himself as a friend to business. AAP Image/Lukas Coch

Climate policy: could it be the boxing Prime Minister’s glass jaw?

Nine years ago, I spent long days inside Downing Street working with the then British Prime Minister Tony Blair on how to position his government on the global climate problem. Blair was keen to work out…
The threat of legal action can have a “chilling effect” on academic freedom. Shutterstock

The journal that gave in to climate deniers' intimidation

In February 2013, the journal Frontiers in Psychology published a peer-reviewed paper which found that people who reject climate science are more likely to believe in conspiracy theories. Predictably enough…
Japan has been ordered to quit its scientific whaling program in the Southern Ocean. Josh/Flickr

Whaling in the Antarctic: Japan’s scientific program illegal

Japan’s Southern Ocean “scientific” whaling program is contrary to international law, the International Court of Justice found last night after a four week trial between Australia and Japan in June last…
Coasts are at risk from rising seas, but that risk could be alleviated by coastal ecosystems such as mangroves. Sheep"R"Us/Flickr

How wetlands can help us adapt to rising seas

Instead of costly levees and seawalls, coastal ecosystems could offer an alternative way to protect Australia’s coastal communities from rising seas, saving money and storing carbon along the way. Sea…