Opinion & Policy

For media commentary or speaking requests email Christian at christian.downie@anu.edu.au


Strategies for middle powers


What strategies can Australia use to shape G20 outcomes?

Time for China and Europe to lead, as Trump dumps the Paris climate dea


President Donald Trump’s announcement that he will withdraw the United States from the Paris climate agreement comes as no surprise.

What hope for making clean coal?


The Prime Minister’s recent decision to back coal rests on the assumption that it can somehow be made ‘clean’. The problem is that it can’t and the US experience shows why.

Putting Energy into Foreign Policy


The Foreign Policy White Paper process presents a timely opportunity for Australia, a global energy superpower, to reconsider its role in shaping the rules that govern energy.

The Security Threat from Climate Change


The worsening impacts of climate change threaten international stability.

Why China and Europe should form the world’s most powerful ‘climate bloc’


If Europe and China together decide to fill the vacuum left by the United States, they could form a powerful bloc to lead global efforts against climate change.

The geopolitical rationale for climate action


Not only is there a strong economic and moral case for unilateral climate action, but there are good geopolitical reasons too.

Election 2016: do we need to re-establish a department of climate change?


With a Federal election looming, a question for an incoming government will be whether to re-establish a department of climate change?

Australia can learn a lesson from the US’s approach to coal


As Australia continues to prop up the coal industry, the United States is taking away the supports.

Why we should go it alone on climate change


What if the negotiations in Paris later this month matter less than we think? There are lots of good reasons unilateral action to combat climate change might be a better option

MIKTA: Benign middle-power diplomacy, or a risk for Australia?


MIKTA has the potential to constrain Australia’s capacity to use one of our most effective foreign policy strategies: building issue-based coalitions.

Australia is not meeting its IEA oil reserve targets


Australia is the only member of the International Energy Agency (IEA) to be in breach of its treaty obligation to hold a 90-day ‘strategic petroleum reserve’.

UN climate resolution in Lima increases pressure for domestic action


The United Nations climate change talks will not save the planet by themselves, but they put important pressure on every nation to do its part.

Global Energy Governance in the G20: States, coalitions and crises


At the upcoming G20 Brisbane Summit in November, leaders look set to consider reform of the global energy governance architecture.

Missteps on climate change could cost Australian diplomacy dearly


The Abbott government is at risk of sullying its international reputation if it fails to acknowledge the seriousness of climate change as a global issue.

The G20 has a crucial role in preventing future energy crises


Global energy policy needs to promote sustainability. Climate change is ultimately an energy issue, and if the world is to address the problem it must transform the sector of the economy that has done the most to change the climate: the energy sector.

Story for a Nation: Capturing Climate Change for Social Democrats


For the Chifley Research Centre, Christian Downie has written about the opportunities that arise for social democrats when tackling the seemingly vexed issue of climate change.

A Proposal for a Consultative Group for Low Emissions Development 


For Resources For the Future, Abigail Jones, Christian Downie and Nigel Purvis, propose that a new Consultative Group on Low Emissions Development could serve as a coordinating mechanism for low emissions development.