Do we need a meat tax?

Do we need a meat tax?

Water pressure, deforestation, risks to human health, and global warming are some of the consequences of meat production. On it’s own, behaviour change cannot be relied upon to limit consumption or production, as people are sceptical about the link between livestock and climate change. The idea of a tax on meat products has been raised as a means to limit consumption and subsequently reduce production and its environmental impact. The question is then what characteristics should a meat tax have?

Will “Johnny Cabs” help curb transport emissions?

Will “Johnny Cabs” help curb transport emissions?

Transportation currently releases 14% of greenhouse gas emissions worldwide, a proportion with the potential to increase due to rising vehicle ownership. Cautious forecasts suggest that 10% of global vehicles will be autonomous by 2035. Contributor Richard investigates at how that autonomous future may look.

The economic viability of the proposed Great Forest National Park

The economic viability of the proposed Great Forest National Park

The proposed Great Forest National Park has provoked environmental, political, economic and socio-cultural controversy through conflicting values of the Central Highlands. The topic is contentious, as management outcomes in any regard will infringe upon vested interests of stakeholder groups. It is therefore essential that decisions be based on extensive research, collaboration between stakeholders, and investigation into future outcomes. 

The Great Barrier Reef is dying. Is it time to engineer the climate?

The Great Barrier Reef is dying. Is it time to engineer the climate?

In the absence of a sudden and rapid reduction in global greenhouse gas emissions, recovery options are few and tenuous. In fact, that’s a generous assessment. We have basically reached the point where anything that provides a glimmer of hope is “worth a crack”. The idea of “climate engineering” is gaining momentum as the prospect of dangerous climate change becomes more imminent.

Due diligence beyond planetary boundaries

Due diligence beyond planetary boundaries

As much as we need to concentrate on the priceless environmental resources we have on land and fight for their conservation, it is easy to forget about the expansive resource that exists below the ocean’s surface. There is so much we don’t know about deep sea ecosystems and unless we begin to take steps to a greater understanding of its limits we risk doing more damage than it can sustain.

The Journey of Climate Entrepreneurship

The Journey of Climate Entrepreneurship

Conducting business in a carbon-constrained world is a challenging area, but one that presents enormous potential and opportunities if you know where to look. This was one of the main messages that I took away from my recent foray into the entrepreneurial scene as part of The Journey, a three-week summer school run by Climate KIC and EIT.

Are communities the answer to our renewable energy needs?

Are communities the answer to our renewable energy needs?

Australia’s electricity system faces many challenges. It needs to drastically reduce emissions while maintaining secure and affordable electricity supply.The vulnerability of our current interconnected electricity system has become increasingly apparent. This is a particularly pertinent problem for the community of Tamborine Mountain in South East Queensland. The entire community lost power for more than seven days following Cyclone Oswald in 2013. The fragile electricity market has resulted in calls to increase the resilience of the electricity system. The need to change the way the system operates is especially dire considering climate change will likely increase the incidence of extreme events.

So how do we address the issues while moving away from polluting fossil fuel energy sources, increasing resilience to extreme events and keeping prices affordable for consumers?

EU Centre Postgrad Research Weekend

EU Centre Postgrad Research Weekend

PhD candidate Kieran Sullivan recently participated in a weekend school for postgraduate students associated with EU Centres in Australia and New Zealand. This year, it was in Hanmer Springs, a spa town about 2 hours north of Christchurch in New Zealand. The weekend is a chance for the students conducting research at an honours, masters, or doctorate level to get together and talk shop, develop their skills and perhaps most importantly, get in a little bit of time away from the desk to relax and get some perspective from outside our own research bubbles.

Field work with a quadcopter drone in Indonesia

Field work with a quadcopter drone in Indonesia

In February 2017, I visited a hamlet called Ponggang in West Java in Indonesia to conduct research on renewable energy potentials and collecting community aspirations. This was to assist in a research project for the Australia-Indonesia Centre led by Dr Sebastian Thomas from the OEP. I was equipped with a drone to document our journey in the village, a piece of equipment used by the Sustainability Lab @ Melbourne (SL@M).