Lomborg gate

26 Apr

I am slightly hesitant writing this blog in the shadow of the Nepalese earthquake (there are more important things in life) and because so much else has already been written on the topic of Dr Bjørn Lomborg’s proposed centre at the University of Western Australia. As a publicity stunt, it was definitely worth it and gold for UWA. I have been in two minds about this. On the one hand, I would love to see someone like Bjørn Lomborg in Australia and would even welcome him at The University of Sydney. In fact, I should probably invite him here. However, I also think there are some major questions about the current proposed centre and the process. I am trying to weigh up how much is academic jealousy and how much is valid ciiticism.

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I wanted to write a blog post about intergenerational issues, but I think I am too slow, so I am wondering whether this is a waste. Most of the comments in the news on the intergenerational report, released by the treasurer Joe Hockey have already pointed out the intergenerational questions that were missing.

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NSW greens upper house leader Dr. John Kaye has proposed a Greens policy that all coal mining in NSW should be phased out. In principle, I can support limits on coal mining for several reasons, and the fact that the policy suggests an investment in finding alternative employment and socio-economic measures is a good thing. The question however is how the phasing out of coal mining could be implemented without making this a major economic disruption. Dr. John Kaye suggests to do this from a government perspective, by regulation. A second question is how fast this should be phased out, and Dr. Kaye suggests that based on scientific evidence, this should commence immediately. Despite being a proponent of alternative energy sources, and having concerns about the impacts of mining, I would like to make some comments on the proposed policy.
This blog post was updated on 11/3/2015

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Mine operator and cattle farmer Andrew (Twiggy) Forrest has floated a plan to increase the amount of water available to agriculture to drought proof and to expand production. As you can understand, this immediately piqued my interest and I felt I should comment on this. I particularly want to make the link between this plan and the recent Agriculture Green Paper, which I also commented on.

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Another year has started and the doomsday clock has moved closer to midnight, and it makes me reflect on what my impact on change in the world is. With this I don’t mean my impact on climate change, which I, in contrast to some repbulican senators, believe is real, but my impact as a scientist on a better world. I think this is something we need to reflect on regularly, as it is easy to get all tied up in work and the University/academic sphere. So here is my reflection at the start of 2015.

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It has been a bit quiet around the project. I faced a few little problems and praticularly spend some time thinking about the presentation of the results. But another article from Jennifer Marohasy in the Land got me all excited again. In addition, I found some nice graphs on the BOM website which helped me think through my presentation issues, even though I cannot make these maps yet. Finally, there is now the new IPCC report, probably being discarded as well by sceptics, and I heard this quite good presentation about the physical background. All this got me back into action.

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I have been wanting to write a blogpost about the final report of the independent review of Coal Seam Gas Activities in NSW from the Chief Scientist and Engineer, Professor Mary O’Kane. This is quite an interesting report and it is clear that some significant effort has gone into the review. Overall this is a good report, with an in depth analysis of the issues related to coal seam gas (CSG) exploration. It also has a positivist outlook: it suggest that problems that might occur in the exploration can be managed and contained. Despite this, I would like to make some comments, particularly because some of the long term effects seem to have been missed.

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The Authors

  • Willem (Hydrology Research Laboratory)

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Aimed at generating discussion on water research and water management in Australia
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