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AQ: Australian Quarterly - BEST OF 2017

AQ: Australian Quarterly - BEST OF 2017

AQ: Australian Quarterly - BEST OF 2017

2017 was a huge year, for a variety of reasons. In this BEST OF 2017 Special edition, AQ looks back at some of the best articles of the year. Climate Change, Inequality, the Oxymoron of American Democracy - all this and more in your FREE Best of 2017 edition of AQ: Australian Quarterly. And 2018 is shaping up to be even bigger and better. So subscribe to AQ to receive the best in scientific, political and social debate from the people in the know.

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Australian Institute of Policy and Science

in this issue

3 min.
a word

We certainly live in eventful times…distressing times, but eventful. 2017 has been the year of Donald Trump – for all the wrong reasons. The only way to look optimistically upon this frst year is to hope that this is the nadir of the old/white/rich/male hold on world politics. From here, the pendulum can only swing towards tolerance, diversity, and considered political debate... In Australia, it still feels like a novelty to have had the same PM for 24 consecutive months, but without a signature achievement and the continued kowtowing to the venomous corners of his party, Turnbull’s rope is looking ever shorter. Whether it was the same-sex postal survey, the citizenship debacle (that claimed the deputy PM), the NBN, the brutal and senseless treatment of refugees, the Uluru Statement, the Finkel Review, Turnbull’s…

11 min.
australia’s blue carbon future

JANUARY 2017 Australia’s marine industries are expected to contribute $100 billion pa to our economy by 2025, but there is uncertainty how our oceans will cope with increased exploitation and climate change. At risk are important ecosystem services that are also vital to our economy and society – such as carbon sequestration, coastal protection, and nutrient cycling – which are not commoditised or adequately valued, yet they underpin Australia’s marine economy. There is a growing movement to recognise the vital link between our marine economy and the natural ecosystems from which they derive, to support decision-making and better resource management. The poster child for the movement is ‘blue carbon’ – which refers to carbon that is stored and sequestered by the oceans, and represents a powerful new opportunity for offsetting Australia’s carbon emissions…

1 min.
removing greenhouse gases from the atmosphere: we’ve done it before, why can’t we do it again?

The global carbon budget is concerned with the exchange of carbon among the earth’s five spheres: the atmosphere, lithosphere, biosphere, cryosphere and hydrosphere. During the 1980’s, it was recognised that CFCs – another form of greenhouse gas – in the atmosphere had caused a hole in the ozone layer, with serious health ramifications for earth’s citizens, namely risk of skin cancer. Leading nations developed a plan to remove CFCs from our manufacturing. Following the international ban of CFCs by the Montreal Protocol in 1987, CFCs emissions have been reduced to negligible amounts, and in 2016 scientists have reported that the hole in the ozone layer is now 10 million square kilometres smaller in 2014 than it was in 2000, showing that the atmosphere can repair itself when greenhouse gases are removed. If…

1 min.
more than carbon sinks

In addition to sequestering carbon, blue carbon ecosystems provide other important benefits. They support an estimated 50% of the world’s fisheries by providing fish with a nursery ground during their juvenile stages of development, offering them food, shelter, and protection from predators. By supporting fisheries, seagrasses indirectly provide vital nutrition for close to 3 billion people. Blue carbon habitats mop up nutrients and pollutants that run off the land. They stabilise shorelines and prevent coastal erosion. They help buffer against ocean acidification and protect our coasts from extreme weather events, while providing critical habitat for birds, fish, dugongs and turtles.…

15 min.
land of the free (market): the oxymoron of american democracy

APRIL 2016 Graham Maddox is the author of the new book Stepping Up to the Plate. America, and Australian Democracy. For more information see page 20 Trump was elected on a tide of emotional fervour from ‘middle America’, while the traditional powerhouses of New York and California raised stormy billows against everything he stood for. Many of his hostile pronouncements and Twittered epigrams were against the very spirit of democracy, particularly those directed at minorities within the population. Some trust that the Congress, although dominated by the Republican Party that nominated him, will act as a brake on his more outlandish intentions. Yet the peculiar nature of the Constitution of the United States is that its system of separated branches allows the executive to claim wide powers, and the President is not subject…

1 min.
stepping up to the plate. america, and australian democracy

Western democracies are on the verge of crisis: a rising tide of displaced persons, vast economic inequality, a repudiation of traditional politics. In the past, the world has looked to the United States for leadership. In Australia’s case our nation was built on the hybrid examples of British and American models of government. Yet in recent years the defensive alliance with America, and more importantly, the intensifying hegemony of American business over Australian economic, social and political life, is forcing changes in our political attitudes. What is seldom recognised, however, is that American democracy was a myth almost from the start. The American Founders held the majority of their people in contempt, investing their trust in those who had a substantial stake in the country by owning land. They expressly hated democracy, and…