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Five Griffith University academics have been recognised for their role in boosting the Gold Coast economy by attracting conferences to the city.
Griffith academics named Gold Coast ambassadors
Consumer desire for the best and latest electrical and electronic equipment is creating a mounting environmental challenge. E-waste is one of the fastest growing waste streams in developing, emerging and developed regions
E-waste: what we throw away doesn’t go away
Climate policy is in the media yet again, but this time it might be different. The set of policy principles released by the Australian Climate Roundtable yesterday are extraordinary for two reasons. First, the principles themselves offer some calm common sense in an arena that has been dominated by ferocious partisan politics and dramatic policy reversals. They could therefore offer a way to break the current policy deadlock and re-establish a bipartisan approach to climate change. Second, the principles are the product of a highly unusual alliance of ten organisations, representing business, unions, environmentalists, and the community. It is unusual that such disparate groups can sit down together to talk, and downright extraordinary that they can agree on a common set of principles. So what is going on here? A principled approach to policy? On the first point, the principles state that: Our overarching aim is for Australia to play its fair part in international efforts to achieve this while maintaining and increasing its prosperity. The Roundtable’s ideal policy would lead to “deep reductions in Australia’s net emissions”, using policy instruments that are well targeted, well designed, based on sound risk assessments, internationally linked, operate at least cost, and are efficient. On the environmental side, there is a demand for net zero emissions in the long run, an acceptance that there are market failures that need to be fixed, and a call for long-term planning based on climate change scenarios. On the economic side, there are statements about achieving reductions at the lowest cost, avoiding regulatory burdens, ensuring no loss of competitiveness for trade-exposed industries, and the need for a smooth transition to a low-carbon economy, without undue shocks for investors. Finally, on the social side are concerns about providing decent work opportunities, protecting the most vulnerable people, and helping communities to make the necessary transition. While there is apparently something here for everyone, the contentious issues are avoided. There is no mention of the government’s Direct Action Emissions Reduction Fund, the former government’s price on carbon, or the recently reduced Renewable Energy Target. This is clever politics, as it allows for the establishment of a broad consensus without the need to quibble over policy detail. An unlikely alliance The roundtable’s membership is remarkably diverse: the Australian Aluminium Council; the Business Council of Australia; the Australian Industry Group; the Energy Supply Association of Australia; the Investor Group on Climate Change; the Climate Institute; WWF Australia; the Australian Conservation Foundation; the Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU); and the Australian Council of Social Services (ACOSS). How and why did these disparate groups form such an alliance? It is clear from the principles themselves that all the member groups want some policy consistency that will survive regardless of who is in government. The last thing they want is for the recent cycle of major policy changes to continue. Such reversals impose waves of new compliance costs on industry and create uncertainty for investors, which is why business is so heavily represented in the Roundtable. Policy changes also make it difficult to consolidate significant emissions reductions, which is where the environmentalists come in. Finally, policy uncertainty has implications for employment options and the cost of living, which is why the ACTU and ACOSS are also on board. There are also some specific strategic advantages to being involved in the Roundtable for each of the participants. Business groups that have been getting bad publicity about their contributions to climate change might use the Roundtable to improve their image and frame the future policy debate in a way that suits them (for instance, by calling for a strong focus on costs and competitiveness). Environmentalists, who have effectively been sidelined by the Abbott government on climate change, might see this is a way to deal themselves back into the policy game and make some progress in reducing emissions. Unions concerned about their members’ future employment might see this as a way to manage the transition by creating new “green-collar” jobs that will offset the loss of employment opportunities in the older polluting industries. Finally, ACOSS is clearly worried about the impact of climate polices on low-income households, and being part of the Roundtable ensures that their concerns are heard. A precedent for influencing policy? While unusual, alliances such as the Australian Climate Roundtable are not unknown in Australian environmental policy. Sometimes they have led to the creation of effective long-term polices; other times they have fizzled out, leaving little more than rhetoric. One positive example is that of Landcare. In 1989 the Australian Conservation Foundation and the National Farmers’ Federation proposed a grant scheme that would empower communities to rehabilitate their local environment. More than a quarter of century later, Landcare is still going strong with the support of all four leading political parties. On the negative side, an extensive consultation process involving all levels of government, business, unions and environmentalists led to the creation of the National Strategy for Ecologically Sustainable Development in 1992. It is still on the books and referred to by current legislation, yet we don’t appear to be much closer to sustainability. So will this be a Landcare moment or not? Only time will tell. Author Michael Howes Associate Professor, Griffith School of Environment Disclosure statement Michael Howes received funding from the National Climate Change Adaptation Research Facility 2012-13 This article was originally published in the
Australia’s ‘climate roundtable’ could unite old foes and end the carbon deadlock
3D printing technology is developing at such a pace that it will soon have a real impact on everything from medicine to manufacturing. More than any other technology 3D printing has served as the bridge between digital and physical disruption. The technology will not only dramatically alter engineering and design but whole supply chain and distribution networks. But how does 3D printing work? What exactly can be 3D printed? Why is designing for 3D printing different? And how will it change our world? Join Program Leader of Industrial Design Associate Professor Jennifer Loy and Head of Engineering Professor Geoff Tansley as they discuss the future of 3D printing and its impact on industry. WHEN: 5:30 – 7:30 20 August 2015 with networking drinks and canapes after the event WHERE: G42 4.23 Griffith Gold Coast Campus COST: FREE RSVP: Essential, register now. Associate Professor Jennifer Loy Jennifer Loy has a PhD in Industrial Design and background in design for mass production. Her research interests focus on digital fabrication, in particular 3D printing and its impact on design. Jennifer is Program Leader of Industrial Design and 3D Design Digital Media at Griffith University and teaches 3D printing into both programs. Jennifer’s research collaborations are across disciplines, applying design thinking and 3D printing as a transformative technology in diverse situations, from humanitarian logistics and medical modelling, to digital fashion design and commercial product design. She is a speaker on creative design for 3D printing around the world. Professor Geoff Tansley Professor Geoff Tansley is a mechanical and biomedical engineer heralding from Nottingham Trent, UK before joining Griffith University to Head the School of Engineering in 2013. Geoff’s research expertise and activity is primarily in the design, manufacture and testing of medical devices with a particular expertise in the design of cardiovascular devices such as blood pumps and blood bearings. Before re-joining academia he was Chief Mechanical Engineer at Ventracor in Sydney which developed a rotary blood pump which was used clinically and marketed in Australasia and Europe. Geoff oversaw the introduction of an Industrial Design degree, with a focus on 3D printing, into the Engineering School and is an advocate for 3D printing meshing with traditional engineering practices.
FREE EVENT: The 3D printing revolution