Consequences

Category archives for Consequences

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 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,…

Who will stop/start the rain?

Media outlets both main and sidestream are abuzz (atwitter?) with the story that scientists are finally daring to link specific weather events with anthropogenic climate change. A pair of papers in Nature are to blame. One, Human contribution to more-intense precipitation extremes, concludes that the titular events “have contributed to the observed intensification of heavy…

How bad could it get?

Fast Friday feature (from Utah!): Climate Science in a Nutshell #9: How Bad Could it Get? from Planet Nutshell on Vimeo.

An elegy for the oceans

There’s always room for one more post about oceanic acidification. Even Sheril Kirshenbaum understates the threat that it poses to the planet’s ecosystems and civilization when she describes it a “huge deal.” First, let’s get one thing straight:

Lomborg v Lomborg

Much is being and will be written about Bjorn Lomborg’s volte face on climate change. After a decade of denial — not of the reality of anthropogenic warming, but of the threat it poses to civiliation — the Skeptical Environmentalist now says: “If we care about the environment and about leaving this planet and its…

Worst graph ever

A couple of scientists at the University of Montana say they have detected a small but non-negligible decline in global terretrial “net primary production.” NPP is basically a way of measuring plant growth — how much carbon they’re removing from their surroundings and turning into biomass. To my mind, there are two noteworthy aspects to…

The Earth will survive

Stanford physicist Robert B. Laughlin shared a Nobel prize in 1998 for helping explain something called the fractional quantum Hall effect. That particular phenomenon has nothing to do with climatology, and neither does the rest of Laughlin’s c.v. Still, one might expect something cogent about the public policy challenge posed by anthropogenic climate change if…