Environment + Energy – Analysis and Comment

Nice weather if you’re into skiing, or being really cold. AAP Image/Progressive PR, Mount Buller Ski Resort, Andrew Railton

Is the tropical Indian Ocean to blame for southern Australia’s wet winter?

The Indian Ocean Dipole may be El Nino's less famous cousin, but that hasn't stopped it having a profound effect on Australia's weather since it flipped into a "strong negative phase" two months ago.
Forests and other land-based carbon stores held onto more carbon during colder historical climates. Miguel.v/Wikimedia Commons

Land carbon storage swelled in the Little Ice Age, which bodes ill for the future

When temperatures dipped between 1500 and 1750, the world's landscapes responded by storing more carbon. Now, with temperatures climbing, it's possible they will do the opposite and release even more.
Under a cloud: South Australia’s wind farms have been blamed for price spikes, but without them the volatility would be even worse. Tim Phillips Photos/Wikimedia Commons

South Australia’s electricity price woes are more due to gas than wind

South Australia's electricity price spikes during this month's calm weather have been blamed on its reliance on wind turbines. But a bigger problem is the rising price of gas-fired power.
Australia’s power policies still aren’t heading in quite the right direction. AAP Image/Mick Tsikas

Australia’s energy sector is in critical need of reform

Australia's energy policy has lost its way over the past couple of decades, which is unfortunate because the challenges – to move to a low-carbon economy without high prices – have never been tougher.
Turnbull might be hamstrung by his barely-there majority. AAP Image/Paul Miller

Can Malcolm Turnbull do climate and energy policy now?

Malcolm Turnbull returns to the helm with a wafer-thin majority and a significant element in his government who still oppose climate action - can he defy the odds and serve up some credible policy?
Clean water can help to break the link between poor hygiene and eye diseases such as trachoma. Central Australian Aboriginal Media Association (CAAMA)

It’s a fallacy that all Australians have access to clean water, sanitation and hygiene

As Australia joins a New York summit to discuss the UN Sustainable Development Goals, it still faces questions over whether it is meeting water standards at home.
The Chinese icebreaker Xue Long sails from Fremantle Harbour on its way home from Antarctica. Bahnfrend/Wikimedia Commons

Why Antarctica depends on Australia and China’s alliance

Australia and China both have a keen interest in the frozen continent. And while they don't agree on everything, there is great scope for scientific collaboration.
Australia (whose flag is pictured on the right) is one of several countries with a big stake in the South Pole. Josh Landis/US NSF/Wikimedia

Why Australians should care about the South Pole

It's one of the remotest places on Earth and yet is still claimed by six nations – including Australia.