Archives for March, 2011

Last year much was made by climate-change deniers of a poorly referenced section of one of the IPCC reports of 2007 that said “up to 40% of the Amazon rainforest could be sensitive to future changes in rainfall.” It turned out that the claim was based on solid science, despite the best efforts of those…

Maximum meltdown

Just case you were wondering what was going on up North: Arctic sea ice extent appeared to reach its maximum extent for the year on March 7, marking the beginning of the melt season. This year’s maximum tied for the lowest in the satellite record — NSIDC, March 23

I’m almost weary of blogging about nuclear power. But others are still going strong. Take the Globe and Mail’s Doug Saunders, who writes this week that we shouldn’t even think of abandoning the technology. Such enthusiasm is particularly curious because he glosses over the Achilles heel of nukes — the cost — and Canada has…

Whale of a whopper

James Delingpole’s relationship with what is commonly understood by the term “journalism” is not readily apparent. 1. PLOS One publishes a peer-reviewed paper by some of the world’s leading marine biologists with an interest in the effects of underwater noise pollution. The paper tests the idea that naval sonar could have an impact on whale…

There’s an amusing little video making the rounds, and receiving a largely positive response. Which is unfortunate, because it’s little more than government-industry propaganda that glosses over the colossal abrogation of responsibility that led to the Fukushima crisis. At first glance, the cartoon does an exemplary job explaining the situation to Japanese schoolchildren too young…

What Fukushima doesn’t change

How nuclear power is perceived by the general public will take decades to return to what it was a week ago. (Kind of like radioactive decay.) But the list of immutable and defining characteristics of the technology is long one and nothing that happens in Japan is likely to change them. First up: the daunting…

The journal Nature inadvertently (I suspect) reveals why the nuclear power industry has a public-trust problem: Robin Grimes, director of the Centre for Nuclear Engineering at Imperial College London … says that he believes the [Fukushima] event actually proves the safety of nuclear power plants. Despite being more than 30 years old, and having faced…

The Fukushima legacy

At one end of the hyperbole scale we have Helen “If you love this planet” Caldicott, who raises the specter of “cancer and genetic diseases” if things get any worse at the growing list of nuclear power reactors crippled or destroyed by last week’s earthquake in Japan. At the other we have Republican congressman Mitch…

I don’t drink much coffee. So the news that some coffee producers are finding it tough to deal with changes in growing conditions that could be an early taste of what global warming will bring doesn’t strike close to home. And of course, “scientists are uncertain whether the peculiar weather patterns in the area are…

“What is the optimum temperature for man?” asked Virginia Rep. Morgan Griffith at yesterday’s Congressional hearings on a bill that would remove the EPA’s ability to regulate greenhouse gas emissions “Have we looked at that? These are questions that, believe it or not, I lay awake at night trying to figure out.” Call me crazy,…