Environment + Energy — Analysis and Comment

Acehnese fishers are among the quarter of the world’s population who live on the coast, and for whom climate-driven changes to the oceans would make life much harder. Hotli Simanjuntak/EPA/AAP Image

New report: the chance to rescue the world’s oceans from climate change is drifting away

Failing to stick to the world's agreed global warming limit of 2C won't just affect the atmosphere - it will play havoc with the oceans too, potentially ruining ecosystems on which much of humanity depends.
The government has convened 16 experts to help deliver its plan to save the Great Barrier Reef. Ove Hoegh-Guldberg, Global Change Institute, University of Queensland

It’s time for the new Great Barrier Reef expert panel to wade into the issue

The government's plan to save the Great Barrier Reef hinges on hitting a series of pollution and conservation targets within just a few years. A new expert panel will advise on how best to get there.
Business, environmental, trade union and social groups all see advantages in looking beyond high-emission industries such as coal-fired power. Nick Pitsas/CSIRO/Wikimedia Commons

Australia’s ‘climate roundtable’ could unite old foes and end the carbon deadlock

The Australian Climate Roundtable unites business, environmental and social groups in calling for a strong climate policy. This unprecedented show of unity might even break down Canberra's climate stalemate.
The court ruled that Dutch citizens have a legal right to be protected from climate change. Moyan Brenn/Flickr/Wikimedia Commons

What does the Dutch court ruling on climate targets mean for Australia?

For the first time, a court has ordered a government to strengthen its climate targets. It's a watershed, not just for the Netherlands but potentially for countries such as Australia whose targets have been criticised.
In calling for people to be ‘ecological citizens’, Pope Francis is asking everyone in the world to think of future generations. EPA/MAURIZIO BRAMBATTI/AAP Image

Pope Francis wants us to be ‘ecological citizens’, but how?

Pope Francis’ recent encyclical on the environment has attracted plenty of attention since it was published last week, and indeed it caused a significant stir even before it was released to the public…
While many people in India live without electricity, it is looking less likely that Australian coal will supply it. Environmental Change and Security Program/Flickr

The case for Australian coal in India is weakening

"India needs Australian coal" is a view promoted by government and industry alike. But is there really a case for Australian coal in India? The evidence suggests not.
Climate change will affect defence personnel themselves, as well as the kind of situations they find themselves deployed in. AAP Image/Australian Department of Defence, Corporal Ricky Fuller

Political warfare on climate could leave national security at risk

Nations such as the United States have treated climate change as a major security threat for years. The Australian government's forthcoming Defence White Paper cannot afford to ignore the issue.
Wind energy will not cost Australians billions of dollars. David Clarke/Flickr

How much does wind energy cost? Debunking the myths

Wind energy is already competitive with fossil fuels, will reduce electricity prices for consumers, and will play a large role in reducing Australia's greenhouse gas emissions.
Go with the flow: scarce water has allowed Outback species to persist for millennia, where otherwise they might have died out. Jenny Davis

Australia needs a plan to protect the Outback’s precious water

The Outback covers 70% of Australia, and its water is precious and scarce. Yet there is no joined-up plan to monitor and manage Outback water, despite the wealth of species and communities that depend on it.
Diminishing returns: how long should experts be expected to search for health problems no one has proved are real? EPA/Horacio Villalobos/AAP Image

More research is good, but not if wind experts are told what to find

"More research needed" is a familiar cry in science. But in the case of the Senate's call for yet more scrutiny of wind farms, there are signs that experts are being ushered in a preconceived direction.
The north may be pleasant now, but climate change may make it less so. rjcox/Flickr

Climate: the elephant in the room for developing northern Australia

The recently released white paper on developing northern Australia ignores an elephant in the room: climate change. While the paper sees a bright future for the north (roads, rail, dams and food), without considering climate change we can't be sure the north will even be liveable.
Australian cities are increasingly building up rather than building out. AAP/Joel Carrett

Speaking with: Hazel Easthope on designing for high density living

Speaking with: Hazel Easthope on high density living and design.
Higher density housing provides unique challenges that make the mix of design, build and social considerations all the more important in creating sustainable and enjoyable living environments.
Hepburn Wind in Victoria is Australia’s largest community renewable energy project. Hepburn Wind/Flickr

Communities are taking renewable power into their own hands

Australia, like much of the rest of the world, is in the midst of an energy transition, driven by falling demand and uptake of renewables. Community energy is one way we can mange this transition to the benefit of all Australians.