AQ Jan-Mar 2018
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.
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?