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Southern QLD Branch – Recording Now Available – Digital Tech Talk: Climate Change and the Mining Industry

Viewers will see a balanced scientific assessment of climate science and the geological record of climate change. This should promote structured analytical thinking about the subject. They will be reminded that climate change is a risk to many aspects of their organisation and it should be thoroughly and pragmatically assessed.

Presenter: Dr Ian Wilson, Director, Sustainable Resource Sciences and Adjunct Professor, School of Earth and Environmental Sciences, University of Queensland.


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Digital Tech Talk Overview

Climate change is an increasingly important issue for the mining industry. Dr Wilson applies a strong scientific background and a long association with environmental policy to the issue. He examines climate change throughout geological history. He shows that the Earth’s orbit and the energy output of the Sun are major controls on climate and that cloud cover, ocean currents and tectonic events have significant effects. Although carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas, evidence is accumulating that it has not driven climate change during the past million years or the current warming trend. Despite this evidence, there is strong public pressure to reduce carbon dioxide emissions. This is a real threat to coal mining and petroleum and gas producers. However, all mining companies should include climate change in their risk management strategies and also look for opportunities resulting from the increasing demand for renewable energy.    


Ian started his career in the Queensland Geological Survey, mapping the Mt Isa Inlier. His PhD from University of Queensland is on the geochemistry of the Proterozoic volcanics in the Inlier. In 1983 he transferred to Premier’s Department to assess environmental impact statements. He was seconded to the Department of Emergency Services to review the fire brigades of Queensland in 1989 and subsequently set up the Chemical Hazards and Emergency Management Unit. In 1991 he joined the Department of Environment and Heritage and led the team that developed the Environmental Protection Act. He returned to the Department of Mines as Director of Environmental Compliance and in 1998 was transferred to the Environmental Protection Agency where he continued to develop environmental policy and manage contaminated land and emergency planning until he retired in 2011. In 2015 he was made an Adjunct Professor in the School of Earth and Environmental Sciences at the University of Queensland. 

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