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Chinese president Xi Jinping and Indian prime minister Narendra Modi. EPA/Harish Tyagi

Fair’s fair: time for China and India to step up at climate talks

At the UN Climate Negotiations underway in Lima, Peru, foreign minister Julie Bishop has called on China and India to do more to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. In her address to the conference on Wednesday…
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…
CSIRO’s solar-concentrating mirrors can be used for several purposes, including creating high-energy ‘SolarGas’. CSIRO

Australia should export more ideas and fewer greenhouse emissions

As climate negotiators meet at the United Nations' Lima summit, which comes hot on the heels of the landmark US-China climate deal, there is a renewed focus on how the world can move to a lower-emissions…
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…
The real background would be too polluted. EPA/Petar Kujundzic

What next for China after historic climate deal?

The joint US-China announcement on tackling climate change has been described as “historic”, a “turning point” and a “positive signal”. It has also been written off as insubstantive or even “hype”. The…
Plants use photosynthesis to build molecules and energy they can use. By copying plants, humans can make cleaner fuels. Ranjit Bhatnagar/Flickr

To shift away from fossil fuels, we need to copy plants

Most of the energy that fuels our lives comes from plants. Whether it is a fossil fuel that was formed hundreds of millions of years ago or the food we eat, all carbon-borne energy has its ultimate origins…
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…
Could carbon capture and storage be the way to clean up coal power stations, such as this one in Australia’s Latrobe Valley? Monash University/Flickr

Carbon capture and storage — reality or still a dream?

To have any chance of avoiding dangerous climate change we’ll have to reduce the carbon emissions from our energy sectors — currently the largest human source of greenhouse gas emissions globally. And…
A new study shows plants may absorb more carbon than we thought. Jason Samfield/Flickr

Plants absorb more CO2 than we thought, but …

Through burning fossil fuels, humans are rapidly driving up levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, which in turn is raising global temperatures. But not all the CO2 released from burning coal, oil…
Having two children could leave more carbon emissions than you can save by changing lightbulbs. p.Gordon/Flickr

How family planning could be part of the answer to climate change

You’ve changed your lightbulbs, you recycle, you’ve retrofitted your house, cycle when you can, and drive an electric car when you can’t. You’re doing your bit to reduce your carbon emissions and prevent…

Standing room only

Demography is destiny. It’s an old idea but it remains as true as ever, despite the fact that it doesn’t get anything like the attention it deserves. It’s not hard to see why: not only is there a crowded…
World greenhouse emissions reached a new record in 2013 and will be even higher in 2014, driven largely by the continued use of fossil fuels such as coal. nito/Shutterstock

Global carbon report: emissions will hit new heights in 2014

As heads of state gather in New York for tomorrow’s United Nations climate summit, a new report on the state of the world’s carbon budget tells them that greenhouse emissions hit a new record last year…
As early as 2015 China’s use of thermal coal for electricity could peak. Bret Arnett/Flickr

Ross Garnaut: China to reach ‘peak coal’ for electricity by 2015

China’s use of coal for electricity could peak as early as next year, then decline until 2020 in a turnaround of “global importance”, according to economist Ross Garnaut in a lecture presented at the Melbourne…
Australia’s Tim Cahill never loses sight of the goal – and neither should we on climate change. Dan Himbrechts/AAP

Keeping our eyes on the ball is the only way to hit our climate target

Kicking goals is a whole lot easier when you’re running hard, with a clear line of vision. But amid so much backpassing and confusion on climate policy in Australia, it could be easy to lose sight of what…

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