Archive by date | January 2008

EU climate plan “hits the sweet spot”?

EU climate plan "hits the sweet spot"?

The European Commission’s draft blueprint for tackling climate change, announced January 23rd, is praised in today’s Nature editorial for hitting “the sweet spot” between politically pragmatic but shortsighted proposals and implausably idealistic ones. Other groups – idealists and pragmatists alike – have reacted differently.  Read more

American society strengthens position on climate change

The American Geophysical Union released a revised statement on climate change on Thursday. The new statement is a bit bolder, strongly linking human activities to global warming and including a call for collaboration with industry and government.  Read more

Censorship and an outspoken scientist

Censorship and an outspoken scientist

Currently on Nature Reports Climate Change, we have a review by Michael Oppenheimer of Mark Bowen’s lastest book, Censoring Science: Inside the Political Attack on Dr. James Hansen and the Truth About Global Warming. As suggested by the title, the book documents the White House-led censorship of James Hansen, director of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies, who bravely spoke out about the dangers and urgency of global warming long before many of his fellow climate scientists. Oppenheimer writes: In doing so, Hansen staked a claim to unfettered speech far beyond the usual scientist’s model of announcing research findings. If  … Read more

Geoscience essays for International Year of Planet Earth

Geoscience essays for International Year of Planet Earth

Historian Will Durant … is said to have cautioned: “Civilization exists by geological consent, subject to change without notice.” This warning, re-broadcast in an essay by eminent public scientist Frank Press, wraps up an excellent special supplement on Earth science in this week’s Nature. In honor of the International Year of Planet Earth, the supplement features more than a dozen in-depth commentaries on current topics in geoscience, almost all looking warily toward past, present and future climate change (with or without notice). As an overview of several leading-edge climate science issues, it’s well worth a look – and the thoughtful  … Read more

Making biofuels sustainable

Making biofuels sustainable

The Royal Society today released a report on the future of biofuels, which have recently been the subject of intense debate, as Kurt Kleiner reported in Nature Reports Climate Change last month. New UK rules to begin this April require transport fuel suppliers to include a small percentage of ‘renewable fuel’ in their fuel sales, working up to 5% by 2010. But according to the Royal Society report, this policy intiative (called the Renewable Transport Fuel Obligation or RTFO) is not guaranteed to meet its climate-preserving goals. When it comes to lowering greenhouse gas emissions, the report points out, there  … Read more

Technology lessens Americans’ power hunger

Technology lessens Americans' power hunger

Did you resolve to use less energy for your home appliances in 2008? In a study released yesterday, a lab within the the US Department of Energy found that lots of Americans (or at least lots of Pacific Northwesterners) want to do the same – and given more information, tools, and sophisticated market incentives, they’ll actually do it. To the tune of 15% less peak power use and 10% lower household electric bills.  Read more

Arctic amplification

Arctic amplification

A paper in Nature on Arctic warming is getting some interesting and possibly somewhat misleading media pick-up. In their paper Rune Graversen and colleagues at Stockholm University use statistical analyses to try and understand what processes are important in the recent warming of the Arctic. One of their findings is that a substantial part of the warming is seen at altitude, rather that at the surface — “A remarkable result,” Graversen told National Geographic News. “I think nobody expected that.”

The road from Bali

Now that the dust is beginning to settle on the road that will lead from Bali to Copenhagen in December 2009, where the world is set to agree a new global climate deal, and the euphoria of seeing the US yielding under global pressure has begun to fade, the question is emerging of whether Bali actually accomplished what it set out to achieve.  Read more