Archive by date | July 2008

Climate war games

Nature reporter Jeff Tollefson is one contestant in a ‘climate war game’ taking place this week in Washington, where four teams representing China, India, Europe and the United States are negotiating a new deal on curbing global greenhouse gas emissions.  Read more

Nature takes a closer look at coal in China

Nature takes a closer look at coal in China

A couple of weeks into the early reporting for a story on the prospects for advanced coal use in China, which I wrote for the latest issue of Nature, I started to get nervous. I had already talked to several Western researchers and observers, but our first major contact in China fell through (for reasons that were never entirely clear) and the dozens of emails I sent out to Chinese scientists and policymakers simply disappeared into a void. But our thesis seemed sound, and everybody I talked to who had experience in China suggested that things would fall into place  … Read more

A precipitous rise in extreme rainfall

A precipitous rise in extreme rainfall

Global warming has been expected to bring not only droughts, but also floods, because what rain you get comes hammering down harder. And the downpours of the future now look to be even more drenching than expected.  Read more

Nobelists talk energy

Nobelists talk energy

Twenty-five Nobel laureates convened early this month on the island of Lindau, Germany, to meet with 567 talented young physicists from universities and laboratories around the world. After several lectures on Bose-Einstein condensates, high-energy particle physics, and carbon nanotubes, as well as presentations on biophysics from the winners of the 1988 Nobel prize in chemistry, seven laureates got on stage for a panel discussion of climate change and energy challenges. Though they were all admittedly speaking beyond their fields of expertise, the scientists offered unfiltered political and social advice.  Read more

Solar cells: thin is in

Solar cells: thin is in

Thin-film solar cell technology is starting to get hot. This week in Science, a paper by Marc Baldo and friends at MIT applies thin films, stuffed with organic dyes, to a piece of glass. This concentrates the light to just the edges, where small amounts of expensive PV materials can soak up the rays as much as they like. (see Nature news story)  … Read more

Biodiversity vs. carbon sinks – an Oregon tale

Biodiversity vs. carbon sinks - an Oregon tale

When I tell people I grew up in Oregon, they usually have one of two reactions. Some faces tense as they try to place the state on their mental US map somewhere around Nevada (actually it’s on the Pacific coast, above California). Others light up because they’re about to say, “Oh, it’s beautiful there!” If you don’t mind drizzling rain or hay fever – so much grass seed is grown in my native Willamette Valley that in summer the local paper prints the pollen count next to the weather forecast – it really can be pretty nice. There’s a new  … Read more