You and Your CourseOpportunities
Research and Teaching
Our ResearchResearch Degrees
Partners and Community
Partner with JCU
- About JCUPartner with JCU
- Careers and Employability
- College of Arts, Society and Education
- College of Healthcare Sciences
- College of Medicine and Dentistry
- Division of Tropical Environments and Societies
- International Students
- JCU Eduquarium
- Open Day
- Parents and Partners
- Pathways to University
- JCU Connect
- Scholarships @ JCU
- Media & Comms
- Australian Institute of Tropical Health & Medicine
- About JCU
Featured News Global expert: Most planned infrastructure projects “Are a bad idea”
Global expert: Most planned infrastructure projects “Are a bad idea”
At least half of the large-scale infrastructure projects being proposed today are a bad idea, argues a leading scientist who has spent nearly forty years studying such projects around the world.
“And when I say ‘bad’, I don’t just mean bad for the environment,” says Distinguished Professor Bill Laurance from James Cook University in Australia.
“I mean bad for bad for economies, bad for societies, and bad for project investors.”
Professor Laurance has summarised decades of research on the costs and benefits of big infrastructure projects—such as major highways, railroads, hydropower dams and industrial mines—in an article in the journal Trends in Ecology & Evolution.
“It’s vital to understand the realities because we’re living in the most explosive era of infrastructure expansion in human history,” said Laurance.
“Most new infrastructure projects are occurring in developing nations, which direly need smart development and investment. But many proposed projects are just plain foolish.
“For starters, widespread corruption completely distorts things. Projects that should never proceed get approved because government decision-makers are being paid off by project proponents.
“And the economic benefits of big projects are often grossly unfair—a few power brokers and their cronies are becoming fabulously wealthy, while most people see little benefit or even fall behind. That’s not smart development.
“In environmental terms, we’re seeing new projects tear into the most vulnerable ecosystems on the planet. For example, in parts of the Asia-Pacific, Africa, and Latin America, our research team is seeing Chinese-backed roads, dams, and mines happening in places that no rational investor should be touching.
“Investors assume they understand the risks and rewards of big projects. But far too often there are shoals of hidden risks, and projects that sound highly promising can turn into shipwrecks.
“Just look around. You see big projects failing all the time. Nations are incurring big debts, investors are losing money, the environmental damage is appalling, and most of all, the average person isn’t getting ahead.
“The vital thing is to slow down the big projects,” he said. “Delay them so there’s time for vital information to be disclosed and the public to debate the merits of each project.
“When the public understands what’s happening—what’s really happening—you’ll see a lot of bad projects disappear.”
Article Reference: William F. Laurance. 2018. Conservation and the global infrastructure tsunami: Disclose, debate, delay! Trends in Ecology & Evolution. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0169534718301198
Images, Videos and the Journal Article: Available here.
For further information:
Distinguished Professor Bill Laurance
Director, Centre for Tropical Environmental and Sustainability Science
James Cook University, Cairns, Australia
Email: email@example.com (Professor Laurance is traveling overseas but constantly monitoring his email and will reply immediately. He can phone, Skype or email any journalist).
- James Cook University
- Bachelor of Advanced Science
- Bachelor of Arts
- Bachelor of Biomedical Sciences
- Bachelor of Business
- Bachelor of Business / Laws
- Bachelor of Business & Environmental Science
- Bachelor of Dental Surgery
- Bachelor of Early Childhood Education
- Bachelor of Primary Education
- Bachelor of Secondary Education
- Bachelor of Environmental Practice
- Bachelor of Geology
- Bachelor of Information Technology
- Bachelor of Laws
- Bachelor of Nursing Science (External)
- Bachelor of Midwifery
- Bachelor of Pharmacy
- Bachelor of Physiotherapy
- Bachelor of Planning
- Bachelor of Psychological Science
- Bachelor of Science
- Bachelor of Social Work
- Bachelor of Speech Pathology
- Bachelor of Sport & Exercise Science
- Bachelor of Veterinary Science
- Bachelor of Clinical Sciences (Honours)
- Bachelor of Engineering (Honours)
- Bachelor of Engineering / Science (Honours) MBA in Tourism
- Master of Public Health and Tropical Medicine
- Master of Data Science
- Bachelor of Sports Psychology
- Bachelor of Marine Science
- Bachelor of Medicine / Surgery
- Bachelor of Nursing Science [Pre-Registration]
- Bachelor of Medical Laboratory Science (Honours)
- Bachelor of Occupational Therapy (Honours)
- Bachelor of Psychology
- Master of Conflict Management & Resolution
- Graduate Certificate of Conflict Management & Resolution
- Master of Global Development
- Master of International Tourism & Hospitality Management
- Bachelor of Technology and Innovation
- Bachelor of Science & Bachelor of Laws
- Diploma of Higher Education
- Diploma of Higher Education (Business)
- Diploma of Higher Education Majoring in Business Studies
- Diploma of Higher Education Majoring in Engineering and Applied Science
- Diploma of Higher Education Majoring in General Studies
- Diploma of Higher Education Majoring in Health
- Diploma of Higher Education Majoring in Information Technology
- Diploma of Higher Education Majoring in Science
- Diploma of Higher Education, Majoring in Society and Culture