Collective emission reduction efforts of nations will not avoid 3 degrees centigrade global warming by the end of the century. Therefore, national adaptation actions will need to prepare for the worse than expected scale and impact of climate change. Earlier ideological assumptions about governments will have to give way to policies that are interventionist and systemic.Read more
In energy transition conversations, hydrogen is having a bit of a moment. But, as ever, there’s a catch. So here, from the Union of Concerned Scientists’ Julie McNamara, an introduction to hydrogen as a decarbonisation pathway, to help differentiate between the promise and potential and the distractions and misdirections.Read more
Contemplating a world after COVID, some are calling for a reset of existing models of policymaking. In this essay the authors outline shortcomings in existing neoliberal economic models, and argue that the radical pragmatism of effective crisis response—a willingness to try whatever works, guided by an experimental mindset and commitment to empiricism and measuring results —represents a policymaking model that can and should be applied more widely, not only in times of crisis.Read more
Future pandemics will emerge more often, spread more rapidly, do more damage to the world economy and kill more people than COVID-19 unless there is a transformative change in the global approach to dealing with infectious diseases, warns a major new report on biodiversity and pandemics by 22 leading experts from around the world.Read more
The report ‘Surviving and thriving in the 21st century’ from Australia’s Commission for the Human Future sets out clearly and with insight the major and inter-dependent challenges that will persist beyond the pandemic – including global warming, food insecurity, biodiversity loss, environmental degradation, resource scarcity and wealth inequality. Action is vital, but how to respond seems as elusive as ever.Read more
Former Australian politician, Dr John Hewson, now chair of Australia’s Commission for the Human Future and a professorial fellow at the Crawford School of Public Policy at the Australian National University, warns that ‘the coronavirus pandemic should be seen as a dress rehearsal for what awaits us if we continue to ignore the laws of science, the physical world and the demands of several catastrophic threats such as climate change’.Read more
While it is difficult to see an inflection point during a crisis, missing that moment is potentially catastrophic. To subsequently persist with former paradigms when the world has shifted is folly. The artefacts of neo-liberal economics—globalised production, transnational supply chains, international finance, the erosion of the welfare state, and the abandonment of responsibility to the faceless market by governments—have produced a world not-fit-for-purpose in a crisis.Read more
It may be unrealistic to expect the normal citizen to become an expert on climate change, but excuses don’t wash for politicians – they should be well-informed, and government policies should be firmly-rooted in the best evidence and science.
Failed policies based on marketing undermine our political institutions, and Australian Prime Minister Morrison’s 29 January 2020 address to the National Press Club doesn’t cut it.Read more
The comments of US Secretary of Treasury Steve Mnuchin concerning Greta Thunberg were meant to be droll. However, they reveal a serious and dangerous cognitive dissonance affecting much of the world’s political elite.
Claiming, as Mnuchin seems to, that economics is the sole determinant of policy action is not simply uninformed, it is a mind-set that will bring about disaster.Read more
The future international environment is now coming into focus. It doesn’t look promising. Government approaches to defence and human security will need to undergo a radical reassessment if they are to ameliorate the adverse effects. Global warming and population growth will be the weft and warp.
Responding to recent suggestions regarding the development of a greater capacity for government to respond to climate-related events, this article suggests that dealing with the impacts of global warming must not become sidelined by narrowly defining it as a national security issue.
Instead, advisors and governments need a greater capability to understand global warming science and to effectively translate it into institutions, actions and public understanding.Read more
Is Australian Prime Minister Morrison’s call for a Royal Commission on matters related to the recent bushfires just a smokescreen, an excuse for avoiding real action, or putting off a confrontation with the luddites in the Liberal Party Room, until at least after the next election? Or is it a genuine attempt to get a body of evidence and a report on which the government could build a holistic strategy for addressing global warming, which should be applauded?Read more
The Thodey Review of the Australian Public Service is set against a backdrop of four simultaneous and momentous crises before which modern democracies seem impotent; global warming, population growth, wealth inequality, and a dangerous geostrategic shift. Is the APS as reformed by the Thodey Review going to be up to the task of supporting ministers facing this level of overwhelming uncertainty and risk management?Read more