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Analysis and Comment (13)

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…
New homes go up at a housing estate at Cecil Hills in western Sydney. AAP/Dean Lewins

Why energy-saving homes often use more energy

Energy efficient houses are often thought to be a promising way to reduce our environmental footprint by using less energy and producing fewer greenhouse gas emissions. Yet, surprisingly, if you consider…
“Averted loss” biodiversity offsets rely on ongoing biodiversity declines to work. Kenneth Pinto

Biodiversity offsets could be locking in species decline

In a recent interview, the Opposition environment spokesperson Greg Hunt promised to reverse biodiversity decline in five years if the Coalition wins the forthcoming election. Is this goal achievable…
In the Coral Triangle, conservation plans that helped fish were unfair for people. Zona Retiro/Flickr

Equity, economy or environment: you can’t have it all

You can’t get a project approved these days unless it satisfies the triple bottom line: equity, cost-effectiveness and environmental sustainability. But our research shows that getting all three is almost…
Tasmanians are pretty happy with their lot in life: isn’t that worth more than growth for growth’s sake? Georgie Sharp

No basket-case: Tasmania on the bumpy road to economic sustainability

Is Tasmania at a tipping point? Over the next two weeks The Conversation, in conjunction with Griffith REVIEW and the University of Tasmania, is publishing a series of provocations. Our authors ask where…
On the international stage, China is reluctant to cut emissions. Back home, its new emissions trading scheme will be the world’s second largest. Flickr/peregrinari

Carbon trading in the Asian Century: China’s ETS on track

In the United Nation’s annual climate change conference held in Doha last December, delegates from 194 countries came together at the last minute to extend the Kyoto Protocol. The Protocol is a legally…
Giant fish made with plastic bottles emerge from the sands of Rio during the sustainability conference. AAP/EPA/Antonio Lacerda

Rio+20: Another step on the journey towards sustainability

On the wall along the massive entrance hall to the Rio+20 Sustainable Development conference venue, there was a painting of an African landscape with the simple words “Keep the oil in the soil and the…
Rio+20 has backtracked on many intellectual property measures put in place by Agenda 21. David Foote/AAP

Rio+20: who owns the Green Economy?

The Rio+20 summit has raised a number of difficult questions about law and technology: what is the relationship between intellectual property and the environment? What role does intellectual property play…
More people live in cities than ever before. We can’t solve problems of sustainability and health without fixing them. Bill Hertha

Rio+20: Human health, wellbeing and survival depend on the future of cities

The secretary-general of the United Nations’ (first) Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro, Maurice Strong, famously declared that if our planet is to remain a hospitable and sustainable home for the human species…
Darkness visible: we’re driving animals to extinction, burning through resources, and throwing out natural balances, yet consumption still reigns. Flickr/NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center

State of the future: challenge one; sustainable development and climate change

State of the Future 2012, a quick introduction What is the “state of the future”? How successfully are we tackling global challenges threatening our collective future? These questions are asked annually…

Research Briefs (1)

Computer model to help build better cities

Researchers have developed a computer model that allows them to reconstruct cities to see if they can find smarter and more…