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‘Plates of the Outback’ - A supercell thunderstorm near Urana, NSW drifts over the landscape. John Allen

Australia faces a stormier future thanks to climate change

The supercell that hit Brisbane on November 27 this year caused more than A$500 million worth of damage, produced hail up to 7.5 cm in diameter, and lashed the city with winds of more than 140 km an hour…
This lot survived rapid global warming – so why can’t we? Jay Matternes / Smithsonian Museum

Sudden global warming 55m years ago was much like today

It is often said that humans have caused the Earth to warm at an unprecedented rate. However researchers have discovered another period, some 55m years ago, when massive volcanic eruptions pumped so much…
Energy supply including nuclear is the best way to fight climate change and conserve wildlife and ecosystems. James Marvin Phelps/Flickr

It’s time for environmentalists to give nuclear a fair go

Should nuclear energy be part of Australia’s (and many other countries') future energy mix? We think so, particularly as part of a solution to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and prevent dangerous climate…
The Gold Coast is one of Australia’s climate “hot spots” — vulnerable to rising seas, storms and erosion. Phalinn Ooi/Flickr

Cities could be the secret to fighting climate change

The world’s population could reach almost 10 billion by 2050. Most people will live in cities. To accommodate an additional 3 billion people, we’ll need to build the equivalent of one new city, that can…
Australian farmers apply nearly a million tonnes of nitrogen-based fertilisers every year. Pete Hill/Flickr

Meet N2O, the greenhouse gas 300 times worse than CO2

When we talk about greenhouse gases we usually talk about carbon dioxide. When media reports depict climate change, we invariably see the cooling towers of a coal power station. Which is fair, because…
A properly designed cap and trade scheme could lift Illinois out of the fog. Kevin Lamarque/Reuters

Cap and trade could be the answer to state budget crises

So-called cap and trade may be a solution to a problem it was not intended to solve: state budget crises. Cap-and-trade policy was designed to address climate change by putting a “cap” on carbon dioxide…
Trade Minister Andrew Robb will accompany Julie Bishop to the Lima climate conference – without the environment minister. AAP/Dan Himbrechts

Australia’s environment minister doesn’t get a guernsey at Lima climate change conference

Tony Abbott is sending Trade Minister Andrew Robb rather than Environment Minister Greg Hunt to accompany Julie Bishop at the United Nations climate conference in Peru. Bishop, as Foreign Minister, is…
Another million tonnes of this and we can cancel that ski holiday. Jimmy Thomas

Our equation proves climate change is linked to emissions

We know the world is warming and that, unless things drastically change, we will keep emitting more carbon. We know the two are linked. But exactly how much warmer will it become as we emit more carbon…
Phytoplankton are responsible for half the world’s productivity. Here, a phytoplankton bloom in the northern Pacific. NASA Goddard Space Flight Center/Flickr

Tiny marine plants face a mixed bag thanks to climate change

You may not have heard of them or given them much thought, but phytoplankton — the microscopic plants that grow throughout the world’s oceans — are the foundation of oceanic food webs. Although tiny, they…
King tides are just one of the threats faced by the people of Saibai Island in the Torres Strait, as a result of climate change. Brad Marsellos

Rising seas pose a cultural threat to Australia’s ‘forgotten people’

While you may have heard about the increasing threat that climate change and rising seas pose to Pacific islands — already forcing some communities to move — Australia has its own group of islands that…
Australia’s official forecasts for expanding fossil fuel exports don’t match up with what’s needed to avoid severe climate change. Jeremy Buckingham/Flickr

Australia’s coal and gas exports are being left stranded

In the last week the US and China announced goals to reduce emissions by 26-28% and cap emissions by 2030 respectively. India also signalled its aim to end coal imports within 2-3 years. These are telling…
To match the US, Australia would have to increase its emissions reduction target to 25% below 2000 levels. AAP Image/Alan Porritt

FactCheck: are Australian and US climate targets the same?

If you use the full Kyoto period — 1990 to 2020 — the US is minus 5% and Australia is almost exactly the same. Environment minister Greg Hunt, Radio National, November 17. We and the United States are…
Climate change could make your hay fever much worse, thanks to three times more pollen allergens in the air. Serhiy Kobyakov/Shutterstock

Future hay fever seasons will be worse thanks to climate change

It’s now late spring, with summer just around the corner, and many people with hay fever suffer at this time of year in Australia. Although the cause of this suffering is invisible to us, it is actually…
Many G20 members have now pledged contributions to the Green Climate Fund, but Australia has signalled it will not. PR handout/AAP

UN Green Climate Fund: it’s time for Australia to step up

The G20 summit in Brisbane has put the pressure on Australia to boost its action on climate change not just at home but also internationally through a new UN-backed fund. The summit yielded major pledges…
G20 leaders agreed to an economic growth target of 2.1% by 2018. AAP Image/Lukas Coch

Climate not included: the G20 growth target will accelerate crisis

Despite Australia’s best efforts, climate change muscled its way onto the G20 agenda. The summit’s final communique included one paragraph restating the importance of international negotiations in Paris…

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