|When:||Tuesday 13 November 2012
|Where:||Pacific Cultures Gallery|
Bookings essential on 08 8207 7090
Professor Barry Brook
Australian Research Council Future Fellow, Sir Hubert Wilkins Chair of Climate Change
Director of Climate Science, the Environment Institute
School of Earth and Environmental Sciences, University of Adelaide
The 21st century conservation challenges facing mega-biodiverse regions of the planet (such as South- and Southeast Asia, sub-Saharan Africa, and the Neotropics), are enormous. For millennia, much of the habitat of these regions was only lightly modified by human endeavour, yet now it is experiencing rampant deforestation, logging, biofuel cropping, invasive species expansion, and the synergies of climate change — drought, fire and sea level rises.
Although small-scale conservation management might assist some species and habitats, the broader sweep of problems requires big thinking and some radical solutions. Given the long lead times between progressive economic development and stabilisation of human populations size and consumption rates, we argue that 'technological fixes' cannot be ignored if we are to address social and fiscal drivers of environmental degradation, and associated species extinction in rapidly developing and highly populated regions.
The pursuit of cheap and abundant 'clean' energy from an economically rational mix of nuclear, geothermal, solar, wind and hydrogen-derivated 'synfuels' power, is fundamental to this goal. This will permit pathways of high-tech economic development that include intensified (high energy-input) agriculture over small land areas; full recycling of material goods; a transition from fossil fuel use for transport and electricity generation; a rejection of tropical biofuels that require vast areas of arable land for production; and a viable alternative to the damming of major waterways for hydroelectricity.
Rational approaches that work at large scales must be used to deal with the ultimate, rather than proximate, drivers of biodiversity.
Professor Barry Brook, a leading environmental scientist and modeller, is Director of Climate Science at the University of Adelaide's Environment Institute.
He has published three books, over 200 refereed scientific papers and regularly writes popular articles for the media. Prof Brook has received a number of distinguished awards for his research excellence and public outreach, including the Australian Academy of Science Fenner Medal and the 2010 Community Science Educator of the Year.
His research interests are climate change impacts, conservation biology, simulation modelling, energy systems analysis (with a focus on nuclear power), and synergistic human impacts on the biosphere.
He runs a popular climate science and energy options blog at http://bravenewclimate.com