Category: The Planet

Make the study of economics “more sexy”: Chris Bowen

Labor frontbencher Chris Bowen, who has previously been shadow treasurer and before that treasurer, wants the study of economics made “more sexy” to attract more students, especially women, to study it. And he thinks young people’s concerns about climate change...

/ November 19, 2019

Humans light 85% of bushfires, and we do virtually nothing to stop it

It’s hard to comprehend why someone would deliberately light a bushfire. Yet this behaviour regularly occurs in Australia and other countries. We would go a long way to preventing bushfires if we better understood this troubling phenomenon. Experts estimate about...

/ November 18, 2019

Climate change: why Sweden’s central bank dumped Australian bonds

Sweden's central bank ways it will no longer invest in assets from governments with large climate footprints, even if the yields were high. ShutterstockWhat’s happening? Suddenly, at the level of central banks, Australia is regarded as an investment risk. On...

/ November 15, 2019

A surprising answer to a hot question: controlled burns often fail to slow a bushfire

Firefighters conduct property protection as a bushfire approaches homes at Woodford NSW, Friday, November 8, 2019. Calls for more controlled burning are common after a major bushfire. DAN HIMBRECHTS/AAPAs sure as night follows day, this week’s bushfires prompted inevitable debate...

/ November 15, 2019

3 ways cities can prepare for climate emergencies

Thousands of people evacuated Calgary when its two rivers flooded in June 2013. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan HaywardCities are on the front line of climate change. While their footprints cover a mere two per cent of the Earth’s surface, they consume...

/ November 14, 2019

Grattan on Friday: When the firies call him out on climate change, Scott Morrison should listen

When five former fire chiefs held a news conference on Thursday to urge the federal government to take more action on climate change, it was a challenging moment for Scott Morrison. Those who fronted the cameras represented a group of...

/ November 14, 2019

Climate change fueled the rise and demise of the Neo-Assyrian Empire, superpower of the ancient world

Ashurbanipal, last major ruler of the Assyrian Empire, couldn't outrun the effects of climate change. British Museum, CC BY-NDAncient Mesopotamia, the fabled land between the Tigris and the Euphrates rivers, was the command and control center of the Neo-Assyrian Empire....

/ November 13, 2019

What is a ‘mass extinction’ and are we in one now?

Humans are probably causing what ice ages and asteroids caused before them. Keith Roper/Flickr, CC BY-SAFor more than 3.5 billion years, living organisms have thrived, multiplied and diversified to occupy every ecosystem on Earth. The flip side to this explosion...

/ November 12, 2019

The milk, the whole milk and nothing but the milk: the story behind our dairy woes

A dairy cow grazes on the lawns in front of Parliament House in Canberra in 2015, as part of an industry event. Dean Lewins/AAPThe plight of Australia’s dairy farmers is on the political agenda this week, after One Nation leader...

/ November 11, 2019

Saudi Aramco’s $1.5 trillion IPO flies in the face of climate reality

The largest oil and gas producer, Saudi Aramco, is due to become the world’s most valuable publicly listed company. The Saudi government is planning to sell a small fraction of the firm’s shares on the Riyadh stock exchange before seeking...

/ November 8, 2019

The science of drought is complex but the message on climate change is clear

Detecting human fingerprints on complex events like droughts is not straightforward. AAP Image/Dan PeledThe issue of whether Australia’s current drought is caused by climate change has been seized on by some media commentators, with debate raging over a remark from...

/ October 31, 2019

Why ‘acting locally’ is impossible in an interconnected world

It's all connected. Vasin Lee/ShutterstockLike many Americans, I worry about the state of the planet and try to make a positive impact through decisions in my day-to-day life. But I also am nagged by the feeling that I often get...

/ October 28, 2019

Climate change is forcing butterflies and moths to adapt – but some species can’t

The silver-studded blue butterfly is among that species that may be flexible enough to thrive. Callum Macgregor, Author providedButterflies are rather like Goldilocks, preferring conditions to be neither too hot nor too cold, but “just right”. Under climate change, the...

/ October 25, 2019

Flight shame: flying less plays a small but positive part in tackling climate change

Nils Nedel/Unsplash., FAL“Flyskam” – the Swedish word for “flight shame” – describes a phenomenon that has taken off around the world, as travellers face growing pressure to reduce their carbon emissions by switching to alternative modes of transport. Climate activists...

/ October 25, 2019

The economic illusions of the Canadian election

The time has come to accept that energy corridors and fossil fuel exports will be a declining feature of Canada’s economic future. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntoshAs an economist, I approached voting in the Canadian federal election with deep ambivalence that...

/ October 24, 2019

What if we measured the thing that matters most: “carbon productivity”

Carbon productivity is the measure that matters, but we are hung up on the productivity of our workers. pixabay/pexelsAsk any economist a question, and you will usually get the answer: “productivity”. The winner of the 2008 Nobel Prize in Economics,...

/ October 24, 2019

Federal election frustrations for the Greens highlight electoral system flaws — again

About 4,000 climate activists and pro-pipeline supporters gathered on the steps of the Alberta legislature in Edmonton on Oct. 19, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Dave ChidleyFor an election that was sometimes described as being about “nothing”, it turned out to be...

/ October 23, 2019

Politicians must mine the divide between coal lobbies and energy companies

BHP has voted to stay in the Minerals Council of Australia. Environmental Change and Security Program/Flickr, CC BY-NC-SAIt’s time we started talking about the principal opponents to action on climate change – fossil fuel industries. If history has taught us...

/ October 23, 2019

Monkey fossils found in Serbia offer clues about life in a warmer world millions of years ago

Two monkey teeth: the first monkey fossils found in Serbia. Predrag Radović, Author provided Sparse trees cast long shadows as the morning sun rises over the grassy woodland clearing. Elephants and rhinos gather around a quiet watering hole. A troop...

/ October 21, 2019

A monster rally for climate change, but divergent goals hinder the fight

Nearly half a million people demonstrated in Montréal to demand climate action on Sept. 27. It was one of the largest rallies in the city’s history and believed to be the largest of its kind in Canada. Throngs of people...

/ October 20, 2019