Consequences

Category archives for Consequences

Ice recap Summer 2011

The good folks at the National Snow and Ice Data Center summarize the season in the Arctic Ocean. Turns out that the weather conditions that helped make 2007 a record for low sea-ice extent didn’t recur. And yet, 2011 came within a relative hair’s breadth of setting a new record. That means longer-term climate trends…

Give it time?

More than a few writers have gotten a lot of mileage out of comparing the tobacco and fossil-fuel industries’ propaganda efforts to counter rapidly rising mountains of science that counter their “it’s all good” message. Al Gore featured it in his slide show. Naomi Oreskes and Erik Conway wrote an entire book, Merchants of Doubt.…

Change is the one constant

Fill in the blanks: It is customary in the popular media and in many journal articles to cite a projected _________ figure as if it were a given, a figure so certain that it could virtually be used for long-range planning purposes. But we must carefully examine the assumptions behind such projections. And forecasts that…

The stick sets the beat

The title of this post won’t mean much until you read this contribution to The Conversation, a new and laudable attempt by climatologists to get out the message that time’s a wastin,’ folks. Here’s a taste: We’re only a few decades away from a major tipping point, plus or minus only about a decade. The…

Good news and bad

David Appell at Quark Soup draws our attention (via Stoat) to a graph in the recent America’s Climate Choices report from the NAS/NRC. If the forecasts on which the authors rely come to pass, it’s going to take almost a couple of decades for U.S. energy-related CO2 emissions to return to post-recession levels. Sounds like…

The target

I like Tim’s Lenton’s style, and his substance. He has his detractors — and his latest essay in Nature is a little light on supporting data — but he’s almost always worth reading. This one is probably a doomed to be ignored because it advocates focusing climate policy efforts on the complex issue of radiative…

A roadmap to clean living

What if we could avoid hundreds of thousand of deaths, billions of dollars in crop losses and trillions of dollars in healthcare expenditures simply by spreading off-the-shelf technology and industrialized-world regulations to developing nations? Oh, and along the way, we’d mitigate a fair bit of global warming. Sounds like a plan? I’d say such a…

Proponents of shale gas extraction are not particularly pleased with the attention drawn this week to a new study in Climatic Change that found widespread development of Marcellus natural gas may actually accelerate climate change rather than slow it down. Unfortunately for them, their primary argument rests on a lack of hard data on 1)…

Natural gas won’t save us

It was in Bill McKibben’s first, and arguably best, book, The End of Nature, that I first came across the challenge posed by fugitive emissions. Back then — just 20-some years ago — natural gas was touted as a cleaner alternative to coal and oil because the combustion of its primary constituent, methane, results in…

See that black box over on the left-hand side of this blog? The one with the numbers counting down? That’s a little widget I assembled by rejigging one from trillionthtonne.org. The basic idea is that, if our climate can be expected to suffer severe disruption at a certain amount of global warming due to a…