Why high-speed trains are vital for Australia

A zero-emissions, high-speed train network linking Australian cities, would be visionary, nation building and go a long way to stemming our greenhouse gas emissions.

Imagine travelling in comfort from Melbourne to Sydney on a train in just three hours. Browsing the internet, watching the landscape whiz past, alighting upon arrival in the centre of the city.

China warns Australia on world pact

A KEY Chinese adviser believes the world will forge a new climate change pact at
Copenhagen in part because China is recognising it can lead the world on clean technology.

But Jiang Kejun, who leads a climate change modelling team affiliated with the National
Development and Reform Commission, has some advice for Australia's Climate Change
Minister Penny Wong, who was due to fly into Beijing overnight.

With green power comes great responsibility

CLIMATE change is a diabolic problem, but the brightest minds are working fiendishly to find genuine solutions, and they will carry the day.

One such is David Mills, one of our most successful scientists, formerly from the University of Sydney, who quit Australia a decade ago to launch solar power company Ausra in California. It was one of our best brain-drain moments.

The need for speed: Europe's trains beat planes

With the advent of high-speed trains, rail travel in Europe has become so popular that some intercity flight routes are being cancelled.

Why would you fly from London to Paris, for example, and tackle Heathrow and Charles de Gaulle airport check ins plus security when you can catch a high-speed train that lands you right in the centre of town?

Now about 90 per cent of people travel by Eurostar between these two cities.

London's new drinking fountains a challenge to bottled water industry

London may soon follow in the footsteps of Bundanoon, the Australian town that last week banned bottled water and set up drinking fountains for thirsty locals.

Arctic seas turn to acid, putting vital food chain at risk

With the world's oceans absorbing six million tonnes of carbon a day, a leading oceanographer warns of eco disaster

Carbon-dioxide emissions are turning the waters of the Arctic Ocean into acid at an unprecedented rate, scientists have discovered. Research carried out in the archipelago of Svalbard has shown in many regions around the north pole seawater is likely to reach corrosive levels within 10 years. The water will then start to dissolve the shells of mussels and other shellfish and cause major disruption to the food chain. By the end of the century, the entire Arctic Ocean will be corrosively acidic.

UN warns of 70 percent desertification by 2025

Drought could parch close to 70 percent of the planet's soil by 2025 unless countries implement policies to slow desertification, a senior United Nations official has warned.

"If we cannot find a solution to this problem... in 2025, close to 70 percent could be affected," Luc Gnacadja, executive secretary of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification, said Friday.

Australia's population fairytale

Today Australia's population is 21,995,000. Because it is increasing by more than a thousand people a day, we will reach the 22 million threshold on Friday. Maybe even Thursday night.

Which leads me to the only time I have ever asked Kevin Rudd a question in his capacity as Prime Minister. His reply was not truthful. As in, not the truth. I asked him why, when he was committed to a surge in lowering Australia's carbon emissions, he had also committed Australia to a population surge that was one of the largest in our history.

UK Met Office warns of catastrophic global warming in our lifetimes

• Study says 4C rise in temperature could happen by 2060
• Increase could threaten water supply of half world population

Droughts and heatwaves are predicted to spread if average temperatures rise by 2C. The Met Office's study warns global warming could result in a rise of 4C by 2060. Photograph: Vinay Dithajohn/EPA

Zero-carbon boffins aim to have us renewable-ready by 2020

The Australian Government employs about 237,000 public servants. Not one of them is planning for the country to make a complete transition to renewable energy or even seriously envisaging such a scenario.

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