Brave new green world: biodiversity’s response to Australia’s carbon economy

12 03 2013

carbon farming 2I’ve had a busy weekend entertaining visiting colleagues and participating in WOMADelaide‘s first-ever ‘The Planet Talks‘. If you haven’t heard of WOMADelaide, you’re truly missing out in one of the best music festivals going (and this is from a decidedly non-festival-going sort). Planet Talks this year was a bit of an experiment after the only partially successful Earth Station festival held last year (it was well-attended, but apparently wasn’t as financially successful as they had hoped). So this year they mixed a bit of science with a bit of music – hence ‘Planet Talks’. Paul Ehrlich was one of the star attractions, and I had the honour of going onstage with him yesterday to discuss a little bit about human population growth and sustainability. It was also great to see Robyn Williams again. All the Talks were packed out – indeed, I was surprised they were so popular, especially in the 39-degree heat. Rob Brookman, WOMADelaide’s founder and principal organiser, told me afterward that they’d definitely be doing it again.

But my post really isn’t about WOMADelaide or The Planet Talks (even though I got the bonus of meeting one of my favourite latin bands, Novalima, creators of one of my favourite songs). It’s instead about a paper I heralded last year that’s finally been accepted.

In early 2012 at the Terrestrial Ecosystem Research Network (TERN) symposium in Adelaide, the Australian Centre for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis (ACEAS) put on what they called the ‘Grand Challenges’ workshop. I really didn’t get the joke at the time, but apparently the ‘grand challenge’ was locking 30 scientists with completely different backgrounds in a room for two days to see if they could do anything other than argue and bullshit. Well, we rose to that challenge and produced something that I think is rather useful.

I therefore proudly introduce the paper entitled Brave new green world: consequences of a carbon economy for the conservation of Australian biodiversity just accepted in Biological Conservation. The online version isn’t quite ready yet (should be in the next few weeks), but you are welcome to request a preprint from me now. If you attended (the surprisingly excellent) TERN symposium in Canberra last month, you might have seen me give a brief synopsis of our results.

The paper is a rather  in-depth review of how we, 30 fire, animal, plant, soil, landscape, agricultural and freshwater biologists, believe Australia’s new carbon-influenced economy (i.e., carbon price) will impact the country’s biodiversity. Read the rest of this entry »

Australian ecologists support carbon tax

18 07 2011

© Herald Sun

Last week I came across a report that 60 % of economists support the newly proposed Australian carbon tax initiative, and that most believed the Coalition’s plan was inferior and would likely be more costly.

I thought that it would be good to survey ecologists on this very same issue because we are the people dealing with the fall-out of climate change to natural systems, and we are the group communicating it and its consequences to the greater public. Climate change effects on the Australian biota are already being witnessed, and if we don’t take the lead in this over-populated world of myopic, self-interested growth addicts, it’s our children who will suffer most.

Usually, ecologists and economists tend to disagree on major policies because of the general view that development is incompatible with functioning ecosystems; however in this case, it’s telling that the two seem to agree. If economists and ecologists together support something, it’s probably a good idea to give it a go. Read the rest of this entry »

Do ecologists support Australia’s new carbon tax?

13 07 2011

Today on The Conversation, it was reported that 60 % of 145 economists surveyed support Australia’s new Carbon Tax scheme.

I am wondering what kind of support there is for it out there amongst ecologists. If you are one, please complete the following short survey by clicking here.

I’ll post the results in a few days.

CJA Bradshaw