In the wake of the Carbon Pricing Mechanism’s repeal, the government is tasked with a short-term challenge. Having reaffirmed its commitment to achieving Australia’s current Kyoto Protocol target (unconditionally reducing our 2020 emissions by 5 per cent compared with 2000 levels) the government, somewhat awkwardly, does not have an active policy mechanism to achieve this.Read More
In the News
I just presented at the IPWEA Sustainability in Public Works 2014 conference. My job was to outline the innovative methods that the City of Greater Geelong and Net Balance have implemented to respond to climate change.
Geelong has taken an interesting route, being one of the leaders in understanding and realising the benefits of embedding climate change considerations into their council operations early on in 2010. The key message of my presentation was the importance of embedding new ways of thinking and new ways of decision making to deal with climate change and the uncertainty associated with it, rather than just focusing on understanding climate and its impacts.Read More
December 2nd this year will mark the 30th year anniversary of the Bhopal gas tragedy, the world’s worst industrial disaster, the scale of which was unprecedented. Around 4,000 people perished, around 4,000 more were severely or permanently disabled, around 40,000 were temporarily partially injured and over half a million were injured. The stillbirth rate increased by up to 300% and neonatal rate by around 200%.Read More
In working in the dynamic field that is adaptation to climate change, it is often exhausting trying to navigate the politicization and media coverage of the ‘big CC’, and encourage stakeholders in various industry contexts to ‘proactively’ adapt. It often gets me thinking though, when will climate risk become a component of the traditional risk profile for corporations? Isn’t it inevitable?Read More
Our economy as well as global economies are unhappily only too familiar with bubbles and stranded assets/costs. The most recent example that led to the global financial crisis is subprime mortgages – where the inflated value was belatedly recognised, leading to recalibration at significant global costs. The resulting stranded assets were the repossessed houses, and the implications of stranded costs are what we are continuing to see unfold across failing economies whose banks were more directly invested in the bubble than Australia.Read More
Everything that we know has limits, whether they relate to physical, psychological or capital stocks. Stocks need to be replenished; assets maintained; brains rested for them to keep going, except perhaps one quite relevant phenomenon, human stupidity, according to French novelist Gustave Flaubert, who once proclaimed "earth has its boundaries, but human stupidity is limitless".Read More
Now more than ever, businesses are reaping the rewards of investing in supply chain sustainability. According to a recent Supply Chain report released by the Carbon Disclosure Project, companies are increasingly seeing benefits flow from the expansion of low carbon products and services, including operational efficiencies and improved business reputation.Read More
Reflecting on the flood events in Queensland, both in January 2013 and December 2010, a question that arises in my mind is how our towns and cities are going to build their capacity to respond to climate change events and thrive?Read More
Technology, especially computer technology, is widely heralded as the likely saviour from a number of large social and environmental impacts. This ‘enabler’ is seen as having the potential to deliver on the millennium development goals as well as capacity to help mitigate environmental degradation, including climate change. This is because the measurable economic impact and efficiency delivered by technology is unquestionable.
Two words – Hurricane Sandy. Governor Andrew Cuomo, of New York, has said that Sandy will cost thirty-three billion to his State alone. Whether Sandy had a bearing on President Barrack Obama’s re-election outcome is hard to say. Obama was seen as both empathetic and the better candidate to deal with global warming, post the hurricane. But, there are four factors to consider here – link between global warming and hurricane activity, the link between global warming and power dissipation of storms, population and wealth.Read More
As one of the first few engineers to have qualified as an environmental engineer in the Australia, I have witnessed a turf-war like no other between economic edvelopment and the environment (including local community impact), both locally and globally. The past two decades have crystallised several battlegrounds, including climate change, hazardous waste, product stewardship and packaging, native title, resource limitation/depletion, impact on world heritage areas, water scarcity and urban sprawl.Read More
They say forests are the flags of nature - when the flag falls, you know that it is the end of the race. 2011 marks the International Year of Forests, as a consequence of a resolution adopted by the United Nations (UN) General Assembly, re-affirming amongst other commitments, to the Non-legally Binding Authoritative Statement of Principles for a Global Consensus on the Management, Conservation and Sustainable Development of All Types of Forests.Read More
An effective well-funded adaptation safety net is required for those people least capable of coping with climate change impacts, and a common but differentiated mitigation strategy is needed to protect the poor and most vulnerable.
I am predicting that Copenhagen will become known at the place that found solutions to the climate crisis. The solutions will comprise modest shorter-term and ambitious longer-term emission reduction targets.