Search Results: climate change

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  • ENVIRONMENT

    Sulphur sunshade is a stupid pollution solution

    • Greg Foyster
    • 13 April 2016
    10 Comments

    Geoengineering means intervening in the Earth's climate to offset global warming. It's hacking the planet on a monumental scale. The most widely studied proposal is spraying sulphate particles into the upper atmosphere to reflect sunlight, cooling the planet. The idea comes from huge volcanic eruptions, which can blast millions of tonnes of sulphur into the stratosphere, creating a kind of chemical sunshade. After decades of being taboo, this outlandish scheme is now being taken seriously.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    New radicalisation on display at fundraiser protest

    • Lyn Bender
    • 12 April 2016
    27 Comments

    The chants were thunderous and sustained, as the suited and elegantly coiffed guests began to arrive for the Liberal Party fundraiser at Docklands. Initially there did not seem to be a significant police presence, as if the need for security was not considered high. As the chanting rose to a crescendo, chaos ensued. The mounted police arrived; but there seemed no plan of crowd control. It was a small protest but it was locked into a contained area with only one entrance. Then the wounded started to emerge.

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  • RELIGION

    Companies' bastardry about more than bad apples

    • Andrew Hamilton
    • 06 April 2016
    19 Comments

    How do good people sink to this? The answer lies in the mutation of economic ideology from the crude buccaneering spirit of doing whatever it takes to get rich into a more urbane form. People see themselves as competing, not only for their own economic benefit, but for that of the company. This means greed can mask itself as altruism in serving a larger good. And as in the case of churches, identification with the company provides reason for protecting the company's reputation at all costs.

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  • MEDIA

    The ills and thrills of talking about science

    • Ketan Joshi
    • 05 April 2016
    7 Comments

    When Alan Alda was 11, he threw a simple inquiry to his teacher. What's a flame? The response he received was less than satisfying. 'All I heard from the teacher was "it's oxidation". That didn't explain anything to me.' It's a neat illustration of a modern problem. Merely presenting over-simplified factoids is no longer sufficient in a world filled with phenomena like climate denial and the anti-vaccination lobby. For science to be communicated effectively, it needs to spark passion and excitement.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    A new year, a new Bill?

    • Osmond Chiu
    • 17 March 2016
    9 Comments

    While Turnbull may be ahead as preferred prime minister, the Coalition has yet to demonstrate the principle of fairness that is deeply held and widely felt across the electorate. Labor's narrative needs to be not only that it is the party best equipped to deal with the challenges we face, but is the only party that can ensure any changes will be just and equitable. A plan for the future that is both convincing and seen as fair may end up being the difference between being in government and opposition.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Humility is the forgotten virtue this election year

    • Andrew Hamilton
    • 16 March 2016
    10 Comments

    In a month in which some politicians trumpeted their own virtues and others their opponents' vices, one traditional virtue went unserenaded: humility. The reticence is unsurprising. Humility is associated with timidity, self-doubt and a reluctance to put oneself forward. Successful politicians project themselves, are confident, competitive, and lead like strong men. This view merits challenge. It assumes a corrupted form of humility, and exempts politicians from ethical reflection about their craft.

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  • ENVIRONMENT

    A word to the wise on selling climate action

    • Greg Foyster
    • 10 March 2016
    3 Comments

    The best known examples of framing come from American cognitive linguist George Lakoff. He argues that George W. Bush replaced the phrase 'tax cuts' with 'tax relief' to reframe paying tax as an affliction. Embedded in those two words is a neo-conservative worldview against government intervention in the private sphere. If you accept the term, you absorb the worldview. In a similar way, a few words could build political will to tackle climate change. The problem is no one is sure what they are.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Cultures of accountability for clergy and celebrities

    • Andrew Hamilton
    • 09 March 2016
    24 Comments

    If we are to make institutions safe for children, we need not only hold to account people who have presided over unsafe places, but also to address a culture that protects silence at each level of organisations, preventing complaints being made and being reported. Clergy and celebrities must not be treated as different from others, entitled to have their bad behaviour ignored. They must be held accountable to the officers and regulations of the organisation in which they work.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Count the human cost of Australia's overseas mining interests

    • Fatima Measham
    • 06 March 2016
    3 Comments

    In 2012, a pregnant woman and two of her children were killed in their own home in Tampakan, on the southern Philippine island of Mindanao. Tampakan is the site of a new mine with Australian interests. The woman was the wife of a B'laan tribal leader agitating against the mine. Over recent years indigenous peoples of Mindanao been harassed, displaced and killed by militias, some allegedly with the imprimatur of the Philippine army. Much of this has passed without notice in Australia.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Diagnosing the great Australian sickness

    • Andrew Hamilton
    • 02 March 2016
    9 Comments

    Who better to consult than Dr Hippocrates and his humours? Before Tony Abbott's deposition the choleric element dominated in Australia, full of sound and fury. This has been followed by the preponderance of the sanguine humour, expressing itself in that sunny optimism that makes light of problems. But more recent events suggest that the humours are again in chronic imbalance. The core weakness in the Australian constitution has not been removed with the accession of Malcolm Turnbull.

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  • ENVIRONMENT

    Greg Hunt and the Sheikh Back-Scratching Theory

    • Greg Foyster
    • 14 February 2016
    16 Comments

    It would have made a great April Fools joke, if it wasn't February. On Wednesday, we woke to the news that Greg Hunt, environment minister in the most anti-environment government in Australian history, had been awarded 'World's Best Minister' at an international summit in Dubai. But maybe the award had nothing to do with Hunt's track record at home. In the grubby way of politics everywhere, maybe it is a favour returned. A thank you from an oil-rich nation for making it look good in the past.

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  • ENVIRONMENT

    Hope lies beyond latest climate shock therapy

    • Lyn Bender
    • 08 February 2016
    11 Comments

    News about climate change can be depressing. But it was downright shocking to learn that budget cuts to CSIRO have led to the decimation of the agency's climate science. Australia is one of the worst global emitters, yet Australian citizens have outsourced responsibility for climate protection, as they have for refugees. The ease of bipartisan agreement on such crucial dilemmas confirms the point. A dormant electorate creates a negligent, sleeping, self-satisfied and corrupt government.

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