I'm back from a most enjoyable and relaxing few days in Hobart and Eaglehawk Neck in Tassie, with my girlfriend Cat and her family. It's a beautiful part of the world. We packed a lot in, with some great walks - Mt Wellington in Hobart and a couple on the Tasman Peninsula, some interesting tours (my favourite was the old Cascade brewery; now I know what hops are) and great restaurants. The weather was crazy though - very much three seasons in one day (no summer!).
Elsewhere, it's been a big week for Australian and global environmental policy, with a new federal environment Minister, a big water plan from the federal government, talk about Queensland recycling drinking water, environmentalist Tim Flannery being named Australian of the Year, George W actually mentioning climate change in his State of the Union address and a lot of buzz over the upcoming release of the latest report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).
And in an interesting example of how climate change has become big news and how much of what passes as news isn't really news at all, CSIRO republished data they'd produced in 2004 in a more concise and rebadged document, and so the "frightening" "latest scientific report into the problem" has been front-page news across the country for the past 24 hours. I remember when it came out in 2004 - when it really was new and frightening - and it didn't make such a big splash then.
For some news and views on these issues: