Why we need to have that tax. Labor is in for a real public opinion hiding if the global warming debate continues to be about nothing more than who is going to pay how much more for what. It quickly needs to turn the discussion into why Australia needs to take action to curb carbon dioxide emissions — and the consequences if we do not — rather than get stuck down on arguing about the tax that is to be the means of curbing them.

Greenland’s glaciers double in speed. Perhaps the Climate Minister Greg Combet could start by giving a little publicity to this startling finding by glaciologist Professor Julian Dowdeswell, director of Cambridge University’s Scott Polar Research Institute: there is evidence that some parts of the Greenland ice sheet have doubled in speed up to 10 kilometres per year in the past decade. That means the contribution of Greenland to global sea level change is increasing.

While Greenland’s glaciers might be putting more ice into Arctic waters, the overall decline in sea ice continues with this current northern winter likely to be a new record low.

Management guff awards for 2010. Lucy Kellaway, that most entertaining writer for the London Financial Times has just released her Management guff awards for last year and I think a worthy winner was the US Bank, which came up with a new euphemisms for firing people, when it spoke airily of “bank-initiated departures”.

The other side of the world’s growth engines. India and China might be the fastest growing large economies in the world but there is a lot of trickling down to occur before it means a great deal to hundreds of millions of their inhabitants. The Times of India highlighted the task still ahead with this front page introduction to its coverage of yesterday’s Indian budget:

As for China, this chart from The Economist tells the story of incredible inequality:

Putting more kids in each class room. Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is making a considerable investment in research into improving the outcome of the education system so the Bill Gates views on potential changes to the school system at least deserve serious consideration. I fear, though, that the entrenched conservatism of the teaching profession with its belief that smaller class sizes are best will mean his latest suggestion will not catch on in Australia.

Peter Fray

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