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Analysis and Comment (10)

The shared stance by Australian prime minister Tony Abbott and Canada’s Stephen Harper is a formidable barrier to a global climate deal. Office of Prime Minister of Canada Stephen Harper

Making change happen in G20 climate talks: Beijing pact not enough

Having reached a landmark agreement with China this week to limit greenhouse gas emissions, US president Barack Obama heads to Australia for the G20 summit of economic superpowers. The China deal will…
The Earth is finite - so are there limits to growth? NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center/Flickr

Why uncontrolled climate change may be an ultimate limit to growth

“But who do you think’s right, Prof? The optimists or the pessimists?” At the end of my sustainability economics course in 2007, students were challenging me to end 20 years of professional fence-sitting…
Carbon emissions from burning fossil fuels and cement-making reached 36 billion tonnes in 2013. Shutterstock

Mapping global carbon emissions

The latest report on global carbon emissions released this week revealed that carbon dioxide emissions will likely reach 40 billion tonnes this year. Growth in emissions continues to match the worst-case…
Using tree measurements by Papua New Guinean villagers such as Daniel and Jackson, scientists can estimate that this tree stores about one tonne of carbon in its trunk and branches. Michelle Venter

How tree huggers can save forests with science

While hugging a tree sounds relaxing, it’s harder than you might think - especially when the tree is 20 storeys high and 3 metres wide, it’s hot as hell, and you’re swatting away swarms of sweat bugs…
Carbon double-take: shoppers will turn to eco-friendly groceries, mainly when they’re cheap. Flickr/Bruce A Stockwell

Do carbon labels change shopping behaviour?

If everyday items were labelled according to the carbon emissions embodied in them, would shoppers change what they buy? And if they did, would it make a difference in the grand scheme of things? Voluntary…
It’s not just greenhouse gases that affect climate: other air pollution could be changing atmospheric circulation. NASA Goddard Photo and Video

Poleward-shifting climate zones - where are they headed and why?

The Earth’s principal climatic zones appear to be shifting poleward. If this continues, as climate models project, the weather patterns that give rise to deserts in the subtropics, and stormy wet weather…
Households will bear more financial burdens as Gillard’s carbon tax regime matures. AAP

Carbon tax will make working families pay for problems markets created

The carbon tax is short-term carrot and long-term stick. The Coalition’s campaign against “a great big new tax” drove Gillard to introduce a tax for which most people and businesses affected will be compensated…
The move away from nuclear energy may be counterproductive. Greenpeace Finland

We can’t abandon nuclear now

It won’t surprise many people that world carbon emissions have failed to slow down, but the fact we’re now at risk of surpassing targets set for nine years hence, intended to limit the global rise in temperature…
Not that large? $26 is the single most important number in Garnaut’s report. AAP

Is Garnaut’s $26 per tonne the right price for carbon?

The most important single number in the latest Garnaut Review is 26, the proposed starting value for the carbon tax, expressed in dollars per tonne of carbon dioxide emitted. By coincidence, this is exactly…

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Research Briefs (10)

Human urine: a wee energy producer?

Carbon from dried human urine has been extracted for use in chemical fuel cells. These cells traditionally use platinum as…

Deep Earth carbon cycles cracked

Carbon modelling is easier to create for surface cycles, but deep in the Earth’s crust things become a lot more difficult…

Carbon released at highest ever rates

The rate of release of carbon into the atmosphere is nearly ten times as fast as during the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum…