Democracy Sausage: John Kerry and the changing global climate

30 November 2020

John Kerry being appointed as President-elect Joe Biden’s special climate envoy has the potential to encourage much stronger action by the world’s nations to tackle climate change. But it comes at a time when the great powers of the US, China, and Russia are at loggerheads on a wide variety of issues. So how will the global climate change, and what does this mean for Australia?

President-elect Joe Biden’s win in the US election, and his appointment of John Kerry as his special climate envoy, could finally shift global action to tackling climate change more assertively. But can the world come together to tackle this emergency even as its great powers divide on issues such as trade and the coronavirus? And where does this rapidly changing global environment leave Australia? On this Democracy Sausage, Professor Mark Kenny is joined by Professor John Blaxland and Dr Siobhan McDonnell to talk climate change, the history of disaster in Afghanistan, great power contestation, whether Australia can rise above its climate wars, and more. Listen here.

Siobhan McDonnell is a legal anthropologist with over 20 years of experience working with Indigenous people in Australia and the Pacific on land use, gender, and climate change. She is a Senior Lecturer at Crawford School of Public Policy, and the lead negotiator on climate change for the Vanuatu government.

John Blaxland is Professor of International Security and Intelligence Studies and former Head of the Strategic and Defence Studies Centre at the Australian National University (ANU).

Mark Kenny is a Professor in the ANU Australian Studies Institute. He came to the university after a high-profile journalistic career including six years as chief political correspondent and national affairs editor for The Sydney Morning HeraldThe Age, and The Canberra Times.

Democracy Sausage with Mark Kenny is available on Apple PodcastsSpotifyGoogle Podcasts, or wherever you get your podcasts. We’d love to hear your feedback for this podcast series! Send in your questions, comments, or suggestions for future episodes to You can also Tweet us @APPSPolicyForum or join us on the Facebook group.

This podcast is produced in partnership with The Australian National University.

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