Search Results: United Nations

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  • ENVIRONMENT

    Vulnerable countries leave mark on Paris agreement

    • Fatima Measham
    • 17 December 2015
    5 Comments

    It has been an exercise in managing optimism and reality in the week after the Paris Agreement on climate change. One thing that can be certain is that COP21 is pivotal in terms of the model it offers for solutions to global problems. The Paris summit departed from a top-down approach, enabling the 43-member Climate Vulnerable Forum, led by current country-chair the Philippines, to work persuasively. 'We were more united,' says Tony La Viña, dean of the Ateneo School of Government in Manila.

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  • ENVIRONMENT

    Pope Francis' hope for our poor earth

    • Paul Fyfe
    • 10 December 2015
    2 Comments

    Twenty years ago I was hopeful that countries would take strong and sensible action to address climate change, just as we had in 1987 when we faced the major depletion of the ozone layer. The following years slowly erased this hope. The Church did not do enough to stem disappointment, or to affirm that 'stewardship' alone was not going to provide sufficient grounds for the needed changes. By 2010 I was resigned to devastation. But Pope Francis has provided me with a ray of hope.

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  • INTERNATIONAL

    Fragile earth will not be saved by Sunday

    • Bronwyn Lay
    • 09 December 2015
    3 Comments

    Located in Paris in the aftermath of the attacks, COP21 spookily mirrors how climate change politics occurs within complex and pre-existing power structures that determine its effectiveness. Social and environmental wars merge with increasing intensity: from Syria to the Arctic, from Indonesia to Paris. Climate change complexity matches the complexity of terrorism. Causal chains of social conflict are as complicated as carbon movements that result in environmental distress.

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  • RELIGION

    Discerning the place for the churches in the great moral questions of the age

    • Frank Brennan
    • 26 November 2015
    2 Comments

    'The crisis of child sexual abuse in our societies has required that our institutional procedures be more transparent and that we learn from the ways of the world in exercising power openly and justly. This means we have to restructure some of our church arrangements so that power is exercised accountably and transparently. All of us who have positions of influence and power in institutional churches need to be attentive to the voices of those who have suffered within our institutions.' 'Discerning the place for the prophetic voice and pragmatic cooperation of the churches in the great moral questions of the age', address to the Association of Practical Theology in Oceania conference, 26 November 2015.

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  • INTERNATIONAL

    Countering ISIS by going off-script

    • Fatima Measham
    • 19 November 2015
    12 Comments

    It is tempting to view the aftermath of terrorist attacks such as those in Paris as a well-rehearsed script. There are condemnation of the killings, sympathy for the families of victims, resolve to seek and punish perpetrators, expressions of solidarity across nations. Also, assaults targeting Muslims on the street and in policy. This time a few things have gone off-script. 'Hugs and hashtags' won't stop ISIS, but there is strength in refusing to cede control over our language and behaviour to terrorists.

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  • MEDIA

    A fascist by any other name

    • Jeff Sparrow
    • 16 November 2015
    15 Comments

    In journalism, 'he said, she said' often functions as an evasion. Reporters' loyalty should be to accuracy, which isn't about compromise between extremes. When denialists and climate scientists take diametrically opposed stances, the truth doesn't lie somewhere in the middle. Sometimes, one side's right and the other's just wrong. The same can be said of reporting about the rightwing United Patriots Front. While they deny being fascists, that's what they are, and that's what we should call them.

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  • ENVIRONMENT

    Paris climate talks offer real/last hope for meaningful action

    • Fatima Measham
    • 10 November 2015
    6 Comments

    The UN Climate Change Conference in Paris is set to become the last opportunity for meaningful global action. The signs so far bear optimism, as the impetus for a binding international agreement to tackle the severity and effects of climate change has taken a turn. In order to better understand why, and appreciate the difference that a few years can make, it is worth revisiting why Copenhagen was such a disaster. The most meaningful difference between then and now involves leaders.

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  • ENVIRONMENT

    Climate justice demands more than a price on carbon

    • Nicholas Low
    • 03 November 2015
    20 Comments

    Environmental justice will be part of the discussion in Paris this month. The principle of justice says each person is of equal value no matter which nation or ethnic group they belong to. Each Australian contributes 16 tonnes of carbon dioxide per year, while each Bangladeshi contributes a little more than a third of a tonne. If the principle of justice is applied, Australia will have to move from 16 tonnes per person to about a third of a tonne, roughly equivalent to what a Bangladeshi emits now.

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  • ENVIRONMENT

    Zones of sacrifice in the Western Downs gasfield

    • Mark Copland
    • 01 November 2015
    10 Comments

    When Chinchilla farmer George Bender took his own life, it ended a ten year struggle with the coal seam gas industry that has wreaked havoc on his property and that of his neighbours. Despite mountains of paper regulations, despite a well-resourced Gasfield Commission and Gasfield Compliance Unit, people in the region feel abandoned. It seems that government bodies are enablers and facilitators of the industry rather than regulators and protectors of the people, the soil and the water.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Reflect and connect to give peace a chance

    • Andrew Hamilton
    • 23 September 2015
    3 Comments

    This year's International Day of Peace comes amid much war-making. Those with a feel for history may see it as an echo of an idealistic age that had experienced years of war and was determined to shape a better world. To those caught in fear and violence, and promised another ten years of the same, it will come as an insinuating hope against hope; a reproach to a world that stirs rather than douses wars.

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  • Reshaping the public space: Lessons for Australian refugee, Aboriginal and climate policy

    • Frank Brennan
    • 17 September 2015

    Pope Francis's concerns are not narrowly dogmatic or pedagogical but universally pastoral. He knows that millions of people, including erstwhile Catholics, are now suspicious of or not helped by notions of tradition, authority, ritual and community when it comes to their own spiritual growth which is now more individual and eclectic. He wants to step beyond the Church's perceived lack of authenticity and its moral focus on individual matters, more often than not, sexual. He thinks the world is in a mess particularly with the state of the planet — climate change, loss of biodiversity and water shortages, but also with the oppression of the poor whose life basics are not assured by the operation of the free market, and with the clutter and violence of lives which are cheated the opportunity for interior peace. He is going to great pains to demystify his office. He wants all people of good will to emulate him and to be both joyful and troubled as they wrestle with the probl

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  • AUSTRALIA

    A moment of compassion and solidarity that nurtures hope

    • Andrew Hamilton
    • 10 September 2015
    16 Comments

    A fortnight ago political conversation about asylum seekers had to do with turning back the boats, the links between terrorism and religious identity, exporting our Stop the Boats policy to Europe, the seductive dangers of compassion, and attempts to wedge other parties on the basis of their softness. Now it appears we have moved on, and for that Mr Abbott deserves our ungrudging gratitude, whatever side of politics we stand on.

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