To slow climate change, humanity has two main options: reduce greenhouse gas emissions directly or find ways to remove them from the atmosphere. Storing carbon in soil is often touted as a promising way to offset greenhouse gas emissions. There is, however, a catch. This Paper offers a critique of this strategy and finds that to be effective, emissions technology in Australia should focus on improving energy efficiency in industry, the residential sector and transport, where big gains are to be made.
Until recently, carbon released into the atmosphere from wildfires was not considered a significant component of atmospheric greenhouse gas as it was assumed that over the climatic cycle this carbon would be returned to vegetative re-growth. In Australia this may well be the case. Globally, however, a growing body of evidence suggests that carbon produced by wildfires is making a significant contribution to the volume of greenhouse gas in the atmosphere where it contributes to climate change.
Last week, the Prime Minister announced that a former Governor of Queensland and distinguished Australian diplomat, Hon. Penelope Wensley, AC, would be the next National Soils Advocate. In making the announcement, the Prime Minister also thanked General Jeffery – our founder, former Chairman and current Patron – for his tireless advocacy in promoting soil health across Australia and internationally.
To meet the targets set by the Paris climate change conference, greenhouse gas may have to be actively removed from the atmosphere and stored indefinitely. Carbon capture and storage technology will also have a key role in reducing future greenhouse gas emissions. Storage deep underground, in the oceans and in the soil, are some of the possible options but there are technological, financial, environment and time considerations.
After several weeks of COVID-19 lockdown, we are gradually emerging and relaxing our social distancing obligations. FDI will re-start its publication process from next week with the production of three papers per week. On Tuesday and Thursday, we will issue either a Strategic Analysis Paper, an Associate Paper or a Feature Interview. Our Wednesday edition will continue the Strategic Weekly Analysis that covers three items of immediate interest.
In 2020, FDI’s research will continue to focus on three areas: determining whether there will be a global food and water crisis between now and 2050; geostrategic developments, including opportunities and challenges for Australia, in the Indian Ocean region over the next 25 years; and what environmental and other challenges Australia might face in the development of northern Australia over the next 25 years and how these challenges might be met.
In 2020, FDI’s research will continue to focus on three areas: determining whether there will be a global food and water crisis between now and 2050; geostrategic developments, including opportunities and challenges for Australia, in the Indian Ocean region over the next 25 years; and what environmental and other challenges might Australia face in the development of northern Australia over the next 25 years and how might these challenges be met.
By working together to find ways of combatting environmental risks to Australia’s northern coast from marine plastic pollution, closer regional relationships can be achieved.
A continuing, international level emphasis is being placed on a range of mechanisms, designed to reduce the prevalence of marine plastic waste and micro-plastics in the world’s oceans. Correspondingly, there is a heightened focus on developing new packing materials and reducing the production of environmentally harmful plastics.
While much attention is paid to the economic aspects of China–US tensions, the Trump Administration is increasingly adopting a whole-of-government approach towards countering China. One outcome of that approach is the use of the relationship with Taiwan to thwart China’s ambitions.