Wonkblog: Australia

Sick of the winter chill? New research shows why the planet is still heating up

Sick of the winter chill? New research shows why the planet is still heating up

It seems like a new report on climate change is coming out every month. Not only did the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change release its latest state of the science assessment last fall. The American Association for the Advancement of Science, the world's largest general scientific society, has also put out a report, albeit a much shorter one, that seeks to educate the public on "what we know" about climate change. Additionally, each year the World Meteorological Organization — a U.N. agency like the IPCC — releases a report summing up the state of the world's climate. Here's a roundup of key findings from this year's report, which came out just today:

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Did gun control work in Australia?

Did gun control work in Australia?

John Howard, who served as prime minister of Australia from 1996 to 2007, is no one’s idea of a lefty. He was one of George W. Bush’s closest allies, enthusiastically backing the Iraq intervention, and took a hard line domestically against increased immigration and union organizing (pdf).

But one of Howard’s other lasting legacies is Australia’s gun control regime, first passed in 1996 in response to a massacre in Tasmania that left 35 dead. The law banned semiautomatic and automatic rifles and shotguns. It also instituted a mandatory buy-back program for newly banned weapons.

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Does Romney want to be a debaser?

Does Romney want to be a debaser?

“Today, as some wonder about the way forward out of economic recession and fiscal crisis, the answer once again is ‘Look to Poland,’ ” Mitt Romney declared in a speech in Warsaw yesterday. And, sure enough, Poland has weathered the financial crisis considerably better than the United States has.

Its economy grew by 1.6 percent in 2009, as the U.S.’s shrunk by 3.5 percent. But the secret to Poland’s success, as Matt O’Brien and Matt Yglesias have noted, is aggressive currency debasement. Here, via O’Brien, is how the Polish currency, the zloty, has fared against the Euro since the crisis hit:

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Australia’s getting a carbon tax. Who’s next?

Australia’s getting a carbon tax. Who’s next?

The big news out of Australia today is that a carbon tax is on track to pass into law, after making it through in the lower house of Parliament. Debates over climate policy have brought down previous governments in the country, which relies heavily on coal and is the largest per-capita carbon polluter on the planet. All of the sudden, though, Australia’s poised to pass a carbon scheme that’s arguably as ambitious as Europe’s or California’s — a $23 per ton carbon tax that will be replaced with a cap-and-trade system in 2015. How did this all happen?

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