Kathy Fairfax

World famous climate scientist James Hansen, known as the “father of global warming” for being the first to see the threat of catastrophic climate change in 1988, has issued a new warning. Sea level changes are likely to be much higher, less stable and happen much sooner than previous predictions.

The ABC has revealed that a report prepared for the Queensland government says that hundreds of square kilometres of prime agricultural land are at risk from an experimental plant operated by mining company Linc Energy.

Queensland’s environment department alleges that the Linc plant at Chinchilla is responsible for the toxic chemicals and explosive gases that have caused “irreversible” damage to valuable Darling Downs farming land.

Forest conservation groups have demanded that the New South Wales government immediately halt logging operations in state forest areas known to be koala habitat. They fear that proposals by the Environment Protection Authority (EPA) to allow clear felling of large areas of forests on the NSW north coast could be the catalyst that tips the area's koalas onto the path to extinction.

Australia’s human rights reputation has been savaged in a new report by Amnesty International. The report is highly critical of Australia’s detention of Aboriginal children for minor offences.

The Amnesty report, A brighter tomorrow: Keeping Indigenous kids in the community and out of detention in Australia, focuses on the crisis of Aboriginal child detention. The report says rates of Aboriginal youth detention are higher now than they were 20 years ago.

Australia’s most popular children’s author, Mem Fox, has criticised the federal government’s unfair funding of private schools.

Fox was addressing an audience of public school educators at the National Press Club. She said the "confidence trick" of private schools marketing was being revealed, but governments persisted with unfair funding models.

"The federal government spends two-thirds of its school education dollars on the one-third of students in Australia who go to private schools,” she said. “Where is our national sense of shame at that statistic?

A 59-year-old Aboriginal man died in Darwin on May 21 while being held under controversial new “paperless arrest laws”. These laws give police the powers to arrest people for summary offences — such as “obscenity”, undue noise, offensive language — and hold them for up to four hours at a time.

In NSW, a program that has been proved to prevent Aboriginal deaths in custody has lost funding under the federal government’s ironically named Indigenous Advancement Strategy.

The University of Sydney has found no grounds to dismiss Associate Professor Jake Lynch as director of the university’s Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies, following its investigation into possible breaches of its code of conduct.

Lynch will keep his job and has been cleared of serious misconduct after an investigation into a campus protest left him facing dismissal.

This follows an announcement by the university in April clearing Lynch of accusations of anti-Semitism.

It took a long time for politicians to accept that human actions were warming the planet. Climate scientists began warning that human actions in burning fossil fuels were changing the climate in the late 1980s.

The difficulty was how to put the scientific data into a simple form that the public and politicians could understand. Their first effort was to describe Earth as if it were covered by something that kept the heat in: the greenhouse effect.

A 23 year-old Iranian asylum seeker has been savagely attacked on Nauru.

The young woman had been on day-release from the detention centre on May 16, visiting refugees in the community. She was expected back at 5pm so at 4.30pm she left the house she was visiting to catch the bus back to the detention centre.

She never arrived.

At about 8pm Nauruan police were seen wrapping the woman in a blanket and trying to place her in a police car. She had been found naked, distressed and disoriented.

Australia has fallen behind similar economies around the world in the generation of renewable energy, a new report has found.

The Climate Council’s new report, The global renewable energy boom: How Australia is missing out, says that despite having enough renewable energy resources to power the country 500 times over, jobs and investment in the renewables sector have fallen sharply since the Coalition government came to power.

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