Articles on International politics

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On thin ice? Alan D. Wilson/naturespicsonline.com

All eyes turn to the prize as the Arctic opens for business

Foundation essay: This article on the future of the Arctic by Tavis Potts, Senior Lecturer in Oceans Governance at the Scottish Association for Marine Science, is part of a series marking the launch of…
Heading into the next climate treaty, it looks like getting everyone on board will be more important than reducing emissions. RB Reed

Universal and useless? The 2015 global climate agreement

It looks as though everyone will be happy to sign the next global climate agreement, due in 2015. Why? Because there will be very little in the agreement that will force countries to act on climate change…
The Falkland Island may be cold, windswept and remote, but they retain major geo–political importance and this weekend’s referendum on sovereignty will define the relationship between the UK and Argentina for years to come. Felipe Trueba/EPA

Falklands referendum will change little

History is about to be made on the Falkland Islands, which holds its first official sovereignty referendum this weekend. Some 1,600 Islanders will be asked whether they wish to retain their current political…
Mourners accompany the remains of the late Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez through the streets of Caracas. EPA/David Fernandez

In death, Chavez is more alive than ever in Latin America

The recent death of Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez from cancer comes as no great surprise. The former military leader had rarely been seen in the public eye since December last year when he travelled…
Hugo Chávez was public persona was crafted over years of domestic revolution and international rebellion. Boris Vergara/EPA

The many faces of Hugo Chávez, and the challenge ahead for Venezuela

In Hugo Chávez, Venezuela has lost the most iconic leader the country has seen since Simón Bolívar fought for independence from Spain. The rest of the world has lost one of the most polarising leaders…
We were delighted to be elected to the security council, now we must make the most of our tenure. AAP/Andrew Gombert

Australia must take a human rights focus at the security council

Now that Australia has taken its seat on the UN Security Council, it is worth considering how we might make a difference. Former diplomat Bruce Haig has recently dismissed Australia’s new role as chair…
All eyes are on Doha, but most of the action is taking place in Asia. almasudi/Flickr

Doha is worthwhile, but real decisions are elsewhere

The irony of the world’s climate change negotiators meeting in Doha this week cannot be lost on anyone taking an interest in climate change. Qatar is hardly a model of the low carbon economy. With annual…
Global energy use must grow substantially every year to keep up with population - our decarbonisation efforts aren’t making inroads. Carolyn Chan

The Australian Government, Kyoto and the illusion of progress

The Minister for Climate Change and Energy Efficiency, Greg Combet, announced on Friday that Australia is “ready” to join a second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol to the United Nations Framework…
Failing to reach a decision on protecting Antarctic waters doesn’t mean the process is over. Dean Lewins/AAP

Don’t write off Antarctic marine protected areas

The annual meeting of the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR) wound up in Hobart on Thursday last week without declaring a system of marine protected areas (MPAs…
Rape as a weapon of war needs to stop – but how can local and international communities help? EPA/Nicolas Postal

Rape as a weapon of war: what the law can do

During the chaos of war, rape is used by the powerful as a deliberate strategy to destroy any opposition. The law, seemingly, has little role to play. After all, during conflict the normal rules of law…
Humans as well as animals are affected by climate change. A treaty could keep them safe and reduce forced migration. AAP

We need a treaty to help people displaced by climate change

Climate change will lead to significant human displacement. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and other groups warn that the effects – including rising sea levels, heavier floods, more…

Electoral influence is all in the timing

The closer the election the more the views of individuals become influential, a study has found. Research showed when people…
On her recent visit to Thailand, Burmese opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi said her country had an urgent need for basic education. EPA/Barbara Walton

How education can help Burma on the fragile road to democracy

On June 1, after decades of struggle to be a legitimate voice for the Burmese people, Aung San Suu Kyi addressed the World Economic Forum on East Asia in Bangkok. She did not raise a call to arms or popular…
There is no queue. EPA/Lynn Bo Bo

Refugee populations across the globe: the facts

Refugees are created by wars and persecution. People flee their homes because their governments will not, or cannot, protect them from harm and allow them to live in peace. Under international law, as…
A simple desire to understand the way the world works has landed some Iranian researchers in hot water.

Particles and persecution: why we should care about Iranian physicists

On a given day, your typical physicist is mainly preoccupied with trying to understand the intimate secrets of the universe. As with most academics, we get to visit one another in parts of the world to…
The coalition needs to tread more lightly when it comes to Indonesia. AAP Image/Alan Porritt

Attention Tony Abbott: Indonesia wants collaboration, not confrontation

In his budget reply speech last week, opposition leader Tony Abbott said Indonesia was to be a “vital partner in Australia’s future”. He’s right, and for now, at the government-to-government level, Australia-Indonesia…
Rudd’s commitment to Australia’s bid for a UN security council seat must continue under Bob Carr. EPA/Jason Szenes

Australia shouldn’t give up on a UN security council seat

Now we have a new foreign minister, some have suggested it’s time for Australia to give up its bid for a permanent seat on the UN Security Council. During his time as prime minister and foreign minister…
A proposed United Nations panel could give biodiversity the same profile as climate change. Dano/Flickr

We need an international approach to biodiversity (but local action)

It’s looking increasingly likely that this will be the year the United Nations introduces an Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) - a group similar to the IPCC, but…

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