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Archive for March, 2009

Fire as a Threatening Process: A Note from Roger Underwood

ABOUT two months ago I received a “heads-up” from a mate who works in Canberra that Environment Minister Peter Garratt was considering listing prescribed burning as a threatening process under the Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Act. At first I thought this was nonsense, but then I reflected on the attitudes towards prescribed burning that we [...]


Note to President Obama: The Science is Not Settled

“Few challenges facing America and the world are more urgent than combating climate change.The science is beyond dispute and the facts are clear.” President-elect Barack Obama, November 19, 2008 With all due respect Mr. President, that is not true. We, the undersigned scientists, maintain that the case for alarm regarding climate change is grossly overstated. [...]

Empty Promises and Gridlock: Bjorn Lomborg Reflects on Earth Hour

YESTERDAY the power failed in Sydney’s central business district and there was chaos.   The cross-city tunnel was closed and many people became trapped in lifts in high-rise buildings and in traffic gridlock.  This reminder of the importance of electricity came to the city that invented Earth Hour and just two days after Earth Hour 2009.    The following piece written by [...]

The Cost of Symbolism

How can one justify an emissions trading scheme that imposes large costs for purely symbolic benefits?  Read more.

Biotechnology and Food Production in Africa

In a world where almost a billion people went hungry last year—119 million more than in 2007—and with food demand set to double by midcentury, the taboo against GM foods is crumbling.  Read more.

White Possum Back from Extinction, but Now Possum Man Has Gone Bush

LATE last year academic Stephen Williams, from James Cook University, reported that a rare species of white possum was possibly extinct and that this was likely the first recorded mammalian extinction due to global warming.   Not surprisingly his claims attracted much media interest.  Now Professor Williams has rediscovered the white possum and the media is [...]

Make a Night of It – Earth Hour

THE Carbon Sense Coalition today came out in support of Earth Hour, but said it should be renamed “Blackout Night” and be held outdoors, for the whole night, in mid-winter, on the shortest and coldest day of the year.  The Chairman of “Carbon Sense”, Mr Viv Forbes, said that spending just one night in the [...]

Save the Snake, Graze Some Bush?

WHILE some armchair environmentalists believe that burning bush is bad for biodiversity, there is a growing body of evidence suggesting otherwise. Ongoing research at Sydney University by a group lead by Rick Shine suggests Australia’s most endangered snake would benefit from more controlled burns. Researcher David Pike, at his Sydney University home page, goes as far [...]

Extinction by Committee?

Can the last 20 Christmas Island pipistrelle bats be saved?  Read more here.

Confirmation Bias at the Australian Bureau of Meteorology

THROUGH his ongoing study of US weather stations, Anthony Watts has uncovered some remarkable examples of poor placement resulting in a warming bias.  I am increasingly of the opinion that the problem in Australia is not so much placement of weather stations, but rather how the data is manipulated post collection.  It is also difficult to [...]