Consequences

Category archives for Consequences

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…

50 ways to leave your lover

A new review paper in Nature makes a stab an answering the question “Has the Earth’s sixth mass extinction already arrived?” In an apparent effort to satisfy a variety of audiences with different evidentiary and skepticism standards, Nature and the reviews authors, led by Anthony D. Barnosky of the University of California, Berkeley, offer a…

The heart of the problem

No one is more surprised than I to see something worthwhile reading in The Daily, Rupert Murdoch’s iPad magazine. You might even be forgiven for suspecting an April Fool. But there it is. It’s an editorial by Shikha Dalmia, a senior policy analyst at frequently misnamed Reason Foundation, exploring the fundamental problem with nuclear power.…

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

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…