Introduction to the Breakspear Blog


Michael Breakspear

January 13th, 2020


There is compelling evidence for human-caused climate change, principally due to the production and release of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. The associated heating is accelerating the loss of species, ecosystems and biodiversity, increasing fire risk and will cause substantial future mortality and economic damage. Although the public increasingly accept the science and importance of climate change, there remains substantial inertia regarding effective policy and action.

This document briefly reviews the physics and peer-reviewed science of anthropogenic climate change – with a focus on fire risk – for those wishing closer familiarity with the peer reviewed literature.

Sources used in the following sections include scientific peer-reviewed research papers [papers], reports and briefing to the Australian federal government [reports], third-party scientific websites [sites] and where relevant to specific instances, [media] reports.

  1. Climate change; the Australian context                                                                     2
  2. Is the climate changing?                                                                                             5
  3. Is it due to human activity?                                                                                        7
  4. Is it “normal variation”?                                                                                             10
  5. Climate change and bushfires                                                                                    13
  6. Impact of climate change on economic activity and human mortality                      18
  7. Action to arrest further climate change                                                                      21
  8. What is not causing climate change                                                                           28
  9. Source material                                                                                                           35


Author: breakspearblog

I’m a psychiatrist and professor of neuroscience with about 200 peer-reviewed publications. I studied medicine at the University of Sydney but I also enrolled in an Arts degree and studied mathematics in parallel (I also did some history and philosophy). I hence did four years of formal undergraduate mathematics (the fourth, honours year was at the University of California on an exchange program) together with medicine. Following university, I did a PhD in computational neuroscience (including some post-graduate mathematics in the UK) and then a post-doctoral fellowship in the School of Physics at the University of Sydney. I graduated with a BA (hons), BSc (hon), MB BS, PhD and a Fellowship from the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists (FRANZCP). I am currently the Global Professor of Systems Neuroscience at the University of Newcastle, NSW, Australia. I also work part-time in private clinical psychiatry

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