Here at Darwin's annual writers' event, Professor Tim Flannery launches his Wordstorm 2010 address with a primer on the basic science of climate change, which he argues was universally unchallenged until recent years when it's become a political football.
Flannery knows that problem first-hand, having been head of the Copenhagen Climate Council. He speaks of the media's attempt to discredit the Copenhagen talks and his deep disappointment at the Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme (CPRS) not being passed in Australia's parliament. He offers a damning critique of the Rudd Government's "funking out" on this issue.
His address, based on a recent essay Now or Never, maps out how, in the next few decades, we are likely to see the collapse of major ice shelf, and therefore, rising sea levels.
Despite all this gloom and doom, Flannery remains optimistic about the climate change challenge. He favors new carbon reduction methods, such as the sequestration of carbon in soils, which can have a big impact.
Tim Flannery has written such books as the definitive ecological histories of Australia (The Future Eaters) and North America (The Eternal Frontier). He has published more than 100 peer-reviewed papers.
As a field zoologist he has discovered and named more than thirty new species of mammals (including two tree-kangaroos) and at 34 he was awarded the Edgeworth David Medal for Outstanding Research.
He is a regular contributor to The New York Review of Books and The Times Literary Supplement and has edited and introduced many historical works, including The Birth of Sydney, The Diaries of William Buckley and The Explorers. He received a Centenary of Federation Medal for his service to science and in 2002 he became the first environmentalist to deliver the Australia Day address to the nation.
Tim Flannery spent a year as professor of Australian studies at Harvard, where he taught in the Department of Organismic and Evolutionary Biology. In Australia he is a leading member of the Wentworth Group of Concerned Scientists, which reports independently to government on sustainability issues.
Tim Flannery was named Australian of the Year the day before Australia Day on 25th January 2007.