Current Edition : Jan – Mar 2017
Preview the Current Edition!
When it comes to climate change, why is Blue the new Green?
Should the climate change debate, be re-framed in a language we can understand – namely ‘who to sue when the house price falls’?
And what is the insidious Catch-22 at the heart of science communication?
Welcome to 2017, we hope you enjoy your stay?
There is little doubt that politics-as-usual is under siege.
On the 20th January, Donald J Trump will be inaugurated as the President of the United States, perhaps the most acute (and surreal) manifestation of the changing tide. 2017 will also see major elections in Germany, France and the Netherlands, each of which is battling a populist, far-right uprising of their own.
And science will not be immune from these upheavals; a dedication to objectivity does not ensure impartiality, particularly as science and politics collide on issues such as climate change. Now more than ever, science needs to find its voice and be a guiding light in what could end up being a dark few years.
This edition is all about those strong, positive voices in science; AQ chats with SciComm superstar Prof Brian Greene, ahead of the groundbreaking World Science Festival in Brisbane.
We hear why Blue is the new Green when it comes to halting and reversing climate change, from recent Tall Poppy Award winner, Dr Peter Macreadie. You can view Dr Macreadie’s article for free here.
To add to this, we dive into the realm of science fiction, interrogate the Catch-22 of science communication, and once again check in with Andy Matter to see what has fallen between the cracks.
AQ continues to deliver in-depth and independent analyses of the topics that are shaping Australia. With longer-style articles written by the people at the forefront of the debates, AQ is unique in bridging the gap between journal and magazine, combining the compelling writing of a glossy with the intellectual rigour of a journal.
Australia’s Blue Carbon Future
Blue is becoming the new green. ‘Blue carbon’ is the ocean’s capacity to capture and store vast amounts of CO2. Despite occupying <1% of the seafloor, blue carbon ecosystems contribute to half of all carbon burial in the oceans. In addition, the efficiency of these aquatic ecosystems in eliminating carbon is staggering; far outstripping the capacity of our rainforests. Yet through habitat destruction and bad management, we risk turning this global sequestration system into a carbon bomb that would sink our chances of meeting our global emissions targets.
You can view Dr Macreadie’s article for free here.
Trust Me, I’m a Scientist
Science is haunted by a persistent and confounding catch-22. Why, when scientists are ranked as some of the most-trustworthy people in society, do people not necessarily trust what scientists tell them? Echo chambers, vested interests, the fickle nature of human beings…if scientists are the experts, why don’t we defer to them on scientific matters? Yet as inexpert voices become louder and louder (Trump!) bridging this trust gap is of greater and greater importance.
Extreme Climate Change: Damage and Responsibility
Climate scientists use the same statistical techniques to determine global warming’s influence in extreme climate events as public health researchers use to investigate the health impacts of smoking and asbestos exposure. These public health issues have positively attributed blame for causation, so similarly it raises the question of who should be held liable for run-away climate change? Should we rephrase our climate action in a way that is ‘far closer to many of our hearts than global sustainability or planetary survival – who to sue when the house price falls?’
20,000 Leagues Under the Sea – SF & Seafaring
The role of science fiction is to predict major technological or environmental changes in the world, and to explore how humanity responds to these. To date, SF has done a reasonable job of predicting changes in maritime technology. Yet looking forward, is there anything that SciFi can tell us about the role of the maritime industry in modern issues such as the refugee crisis in Europe and North Africa; the unceasing race for shipping companies to build ever-larger ships; international biosecurity; and the need to innovate?
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