Opinion

Read the latest opinion articles inspired by science.

Yes, it’s rocket science: Australia needs eyes in space to monitor our tinderbox landscape

As climate change worsens, bushfires are likely to become more intense and frequent. We must find new ways of managing bushfires to prevent catastrophic events. Satellite data can help in this task.

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As climate change worsens, bushfires are likely to become more intense and frequent. We must find new ways of managing bushfires to prevent catastrophic events. Satellite data can help in this task.

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11 Nov 2021

The 'Ringo Starr' of birds is now endangered: here’s how we can still save our drum-playing palm cockatoos

Australia’s largest parrot, the palm cockatoo, is justifiably famous as the only non-human animal to craft tools for sound. They create drumsticks to make a rhythmic beat. Sadly, the “Ringo Starr” of the bird world is now threatened with extinction – just as many other parrots are around the world.

Cattle in a field

3 Nov 2021

Australia’s refusal to sign a global methane pledge exposes flaws in the term 'net-zero'

At the United Nations climate summit in Glasgow, more than 90 nations signed a global pledge led by the United States and United Kingdom to cut methane emissions. However, Australia was not among them.

A kangaroo standing in the middle of burned bushland

25 Oct 2021

Australia’s stumbling, last-minute dash for climate respectability doesn’t negate a decade of abject failure

Prime Minister Scott Morrison is poised to announce Australia will adopt a target of net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. The pledge is long overdue – but the science tells us 2050 is about a decade too late to reach net-zero.

Aerial shot of a large dam

28 Sep 2021

The hydropower industry is talking the talk. But fine words won’t save our last wild rivers

Technologies to harness the power of water are touted as crucial for a low-emissions future. But over many decades, the hydropower industry has caused serious damage to the environment and people’s lives.

23 Sep 2021

We may never be able to predict earthquakes – but we can already know enough to be prepared

Even though earthquakes happen all the time, we still can’t predict when the next one will strike, or where, or how big it will be. Unfortunately, we may never be able to make that kind of prediction.

A bird on a tree branch

17 Sep 2021

Destroying vegetation along fences and roads could worsen our extinction crisis, yet the NSW government just allowed it

Many native species can all be found in vegetation along fences and roadsides outside formal conservation areas. And yet, the NSW government last week made it legal for rural landholders to clear vegetation on their properties, up to 25 metres from their property boundaries, without approval.

A submarine surfacing in the ocean

16 Sep 2021

How do nuclear-powered submarines work? A nuclear scientist explains

The Australian government has just declared an historic defence agreement with the United States and United Kingdom that will see a new fleet of nuclear-powered submarines patrol our shores and surrounding waters.

Landscape in the sunset, with wind turbines visible

10 Sep 2021

A promising new dawn is ours for the taking, so let’s stop counting the coal Australia must leave in the ground

How do we advance Australia’s economic future outside high-emissions industries? And how can we seize the opportunities presented by the declines of coal, and then gas, rather than watching the economy go underwater as we try to stem an unstoppable tide?

Fallen trees on a forest floor.

3 Sep 2021

Decaying forest wood releases a whopping 10.9 billion tonnes of carbon each year. This will increase under climate change

As deadwood decomposes it contributes to the ecosystem’s cycle of nutrients, which is important for plant growth. It also releases carbon: what are the implications for climate change?

Artwork by Arison Kul from Lae Papua New Guinea.

27 Aug 2021

Pacific Island bats are utterly fascinating, yet under threat and overlooked. Meet 4 species

A whopping 191 different bat species live in the Pacific Islands across Micronesia, Melanesia, and Polynesia — but these are, collectively, the most imperilled in the world. In fact, five of the nine bat species that have gone extinct in the last 160 years have come from this region.

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