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September 20, 2017
Much is being made of a new paper in Nature Geoscience in which the authors recalculate "Emission budgets and pathways consistent with limiting warming to 1.5 °C." Whether the authors are justified in their marginally optimistic conclusions — and there's plenty of debate about that — there really…
September 15, 2017
“The monitoring of the atmosphere, of the surface of the Earth, of what’s going on in the ocean and under the ice — all of that is overwhelmingly funded by the federal government.” — Former Obama science adviser John Holdren The other day a friend of mine who works in Beijing as a foreign…
September 7, 2017
The Conference Board of Canada, usually described as a business-friendly think tank, has come out with a report that is refreshingly honest, and even a bit subversive — especially if you pay extra attention to some sidebars, consider what the authors deliberately left out, and are at least a little…
August 29, 2017
The release of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere by the burning of fossil fuels is, conceiveably, the most important environmental issue in the world today. — "Costs and benefits of carbon dioxide," Nature, May 3, 1979 Actually, the scientific understanding of the dangers posed by rising CO2…
August 24, 2017
The most charitable comment I can come up with for the just-released Department of Energy Staff Report to the Secretary on Electricity Markets and Reliability is the refusal of the authors to use what is surely a candidate for Most Overused Term of the Year: resilience. Not that resilience isn't…
August 10, 2017
The number of people who still aren't worried about climate change — or the number of voters willing to elect someone who feels that way, which is pretty much the same thing — is still depressingly high. But many others have long since moved on to?the practical issues of how to respond to the…
August 4, 2017
ILLUSTRATION: THE CLIMATE PROJECT Eleven years ago David Guggenheim and Laurie David managed to turn a documentary about a most unlikely subject — a slide show by a man famous for being too dull to be elected president — into an Oscar-winning international hit. The reaction to?An Inconvenient…
July 20, 2017
In what?New York Magazine is calling the most-read article in the publication's history,? David Wallace-Wells?writes about what will happen if we?don't stop burning fossil fuels soon. In a nutshell: the climate "will now go to war with us for many centuries, perhaps until it destroys us." This has…
July 19, 2017
How many kids should you have? Used to be the answer was "none of anyone's damn business." But that's not the approach a pair of sustainability experts took in a new paper that concludes the single-most powerful thing anyone can do about climate change is having fewer offspring. In "The climate…
July 18, 2017
A study published in Science at the end of June should have found its way onto the front pages and screens of every community newspaper and local news program in the country. But it didn't. At least, not around these parts. Which is a shame, because it's precisely the kind of story we've been…
June 30, 2017
Anyone?asked to identify the two biggest forces for change in the world today could do worse than choose artificial intelligence and climate change. Both are products of technology?whose effects are only beginning to be felt, and the ultimate consequences of both?will almost certainly be…
June 27, 2017
Nature Climate Change has wandered into political science with a?study from Stanford University. Seth Werfel's examination of the "crowding-out" effect — the idea that humans have a tough time pursuing more than one strategy to solve a problem — is worth considering, even if its finding aren't…
November 8, 2013
Apologies for the blatant exploitation of an ostensibly tangential news story to drive traffic to this blog. But I think there is a connection, and it's high time I resurrected Class M. The spark is, of course, the revelations about Toronto Mayor Rob Ford's contempt for the people who elected him.…
March 14, 2013
Among those who spend their working lives and/or spare time worrying about climate change, there are many subjects that still provoke heated debates, so to speak. Chief among them is the wisdom or folly of turning to natural gas as a "bridge" between the carbon-intensive oil- and coal-dominated…
January 11, 2013
Inside Climate News reports that "The New York Times will close its environment desk in the next few weeks and assign its seven reporters and two editors to other departments. The positions of environment editor and deputy environment editor are being eliminated." Is this a good thing or bad? The…
January 10, 2013
The pseudoskeptical argument goes something like this: the last decade hasn't been significantly warmer than the previous decade, so global warming has stopped. And because the causes of anthropogenic climate change have not stopped, the link between fossil fuel combustion and global warming is…
January 4, 2013
Every now and then someone who ordinarily makes a fair amount of sense writes something that serves only to remind us that even the extraordinarily smart can be extraordinarily wrong. So it was with Sam Harris's defense of gun rights, The Riddle of the Gun. First, Harris insists that "the…
November 14, 2012
This is worth a few seconds of your life. Trust me. I'm serious. ?
November 1, 2012
The other day I found myself looking for reading material in a clinic waiting room and for the first time ever I picked up a copy of Bloomberg Businessweek. It's not that I never used to care about business. I just found business publications and business journalists rarely demonstrated a decent…
October 30, 2012
OK, no one can predict a specific weather event months in advance. But what we can do is anticipate expected frequency of events. Back in February of this year, Nature Climate Change published a paper, Physically based assessment of hurricane surge threat under climate change, (PDF bypasses Nature'…
October 30, 2012
Did Climate Change Supersize Hurricane Sandy? asks Chris Mooney in Mother Jones. Look. We know there's more moisture in the atmosphere because when you warm a gas it holds more vapor. So that means there's more precipitation when a storm blows in. And we know the sea level is rising because when…
March 28, 2012
Now on CNN: Imagine you are sitting in your office simply doing your job and a nasty e-mail pops into your inbox accusing you of being a fraud. You go online and find that some bloggers have written virulent posts about you. That night, you're at home with your family watching the news and a…
March 8, 2012
Michael Mann, co-author of the "hockey stick" visualization of the last millennium of global warming, has written a book about the trials of sticking to the science in an era when half the country is hostile to reality. Here's the 10-minute synopsis, in the form of an interview:
February 21, 2012
Another day, another distraction from the real issue at hand. Yes, a hitherto respectable member of the climate science community, MacArthur fellow, and all-round good guy has admitted appropriating someone's identity to obtain private records of a climate-denial think tank. Was this wrong? Yes,…
February 15, 2012
Someone has leaked a treasure trove of insider documents from the Heartland Institute, which until now has been a major source of climate change obfuscation in the U.S. There's plenty of illuminating information to chew on, including detailed budgets and an IRS 990 form. Shades of "climategate"…
February 6, 2012
For reasons that can only reflect poorly on the paper, the Wall Street Journal recently decided it was a good idea to publish an op-ed that recycled some the of the most soundly discredited notions associated with the climate change denial movement. The piece was signed by 16 ostensible "scientists…
February 4, 2012
Two examples of why blogs are better than mainstream news coverage, when it comes to confronting reality and doing something about it, one from the climate wars, one from the front lines of women's health. First, Andy Revkin, a former New York Times journalist who still blogs there. He calls out a…
February 4, 2012
As if you needed another reason to lament the state of American politics: Across the country, activists with ties to the Tea Party are railing against all sorts of local and state efforts to control sprawl and conserve energy. They brand government action for things like expanding public…
January 26, 2012
George Monbiot usually pays more attention to the climate than weather, but his recent interest in the latter should provide many hours of merriment, and not just in the UK; This month, I questioned the credentials of the alternative weather forecasters used by the Daily Mail, the Express, the…
January 24, 2012
From the US Energy Information Adminstration's latest thinking: Total U.S. energy-related carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions remain below their 2005 level through 2035: Energy-related CO2 emissions grow by 3 percent from 2010 to 2035, reaching 5,806 million metric tons in 2035. They are more than 7…