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The plug and play city: how shipping containers are changing infrastructure

We often take for granted our access to vast quantities of inexpensive goods manufactured overseas. And we often overlook the unassuming innovation that has made this global industrial revolution possible: the shipping container. While the shipping container was conceived in the 1950s by American businessman Malcom McLean, it was only widely adopted after the US […]

Will the latest electricity review bring climate and energy policy together at last?

The Australian government is reviewing our electricity market to make sure it can provide secure and reliable power in a rapidly changing world. Faced with the rise of renewable energy and limits on carbon pollution, The Conversation has asked experts what kind of future awaits the grid. Australia’s National Electricity Market (NEM) is under review […]

Oslo’s ambitious ‘climate budget’ sets the bar for other cities

Oslo’s city government has issued an ambitious “climate budget” with the intent of halving its carbon emissions from 1990 levels by 2020, and becoming completely carbon neutral by 2030. To achieve this goal, the city plans to limit access for cars with new tolls and fewer parking spaces, power the bus fleet with renewable energy, […]

Canada lets the states lead on climate, should Australia do the same?

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau showed Australia a thing or two when he announced a new climate change plan last week – and not just because it was delivered impeccably in two languages. Trudeau has decided to leave climate policy to the provinces, while forcing them to act. Is this state-based approach a model for […]

A smart ‘switch’ in photosynthesis holds lessons for solar technology

Photosynthetic organisms like plants are the ultimate natural solar panels. They are extremely efficient at converting sunlight into stored energy. Researchers working on “bio-inspired” solar innovations – drawing from the natural world to create new technologies – find this extremely interesting. They’re keen to understand exactly how the photosynthetic machinery works to harvest light under […]

Renewables are getting cheaper all the time – here’s why

The stars are aligning for Australia to transition to 100% renewable electricity. Our fossil fuel infrastructure is ageing, which means we will soon need to invest in new power generators. New technologies such as battery storage could revolutionise long-standing business models. With care, the transitions away from fossil fuels could offer greater job opportunities. Our […]

Victoria’s renewables target joins an impressive shift towards clean energy

The Victorian Labor government has announced an “ambitious and achievable” Victorian Renewable Energy Target (VRET). This target will commit the state to generating 25% of its electricity from renewable energy by 2020, and 40% by 2025. While details of the VRET are yet to be fully fleshed out, it is set to be based on […]

Australia to ratify the Paris climate deal, under a large Trump-shaped shadow

Australia’s government has announced that it is to ratify the Paris climate agreement, which was struck 11 months ago and entered into force last Friday. The move comes despite the election of Donald Trump, who has called climate change a Chinese-inspired hoax. Trump has pledged to turn his back on the Paris treaty after he […]

DiCaprio’s documentary calls for a green future, but his vision isn’t radical enough

Leonardo DiCaprio’s new climate change documentary, Before the Flood, began streaming online this week. As a disaster risk scientist, I watched with intrigue. While it doesn’t cover a lot of new material for those familiar with the topic, DiCaprio will undoubtedly reach a new audience given his star power and access to figures like Pope […]

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