Archive by date | September 2008

Shock climate change verdict acquits Hansen’s heroes

Cross posted from The Great Beyond Criminal damage in the name of climate change is not a criminal offence, according to a shock ruling from a British court. A jury yesterday acquitted six Greenpeace activists who claimed that the threat of global warming was a ‘lawful excuse’ for the damage they caused while protesting at a coal power plant (see this blog post for background). Climate change scientist James Hansen had previously backed the six: he released a statement declaring “We will need our Mercedes-driving lawyer friends to tell us if the verdict has greater significance — but the jurors  … Read more

Trees of the Ages

Hard to believe: The long-standing notion that old forests are carbon neutral – that is, that from a certain age forests cease to absorb and accumulate carbon – has its origin from a mere decade worth of data from one single site.  Read more

IPCC elections

IPCC elections

Check out my story today on NRCC for details on the IPCC elections held last week. News in brief: Rajendra Pachauri is chairman again – he had no contenstants for the chief job on the next assessment report, having overseen the UN climate panel’s transformation to Nobel-winning semi-household name last year. But new co-chairs will lead the three working groups, and their elections had a novel feature: voting.  Read more

James Hansen gets all fired up

Last week NASA climatologist Jim Hansen came to London to testify on behalf of activists who defaced the Kingnorth coal-fired power station in Kent, which we recently blogged about here on Climate Feedback. Nature reporter Geoff Brumfiel caught up with Hansen in a London hotel to find out what has got him all hot and bothered. You can read the full story over on Nature News.  Read more

Graphing climate policy progress

Graphing climate policy progress

At the IPCC’s twentieth birthday party Sunday, UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon urged the diplomats present to get moving – now – on the post-Kyoto climate treaty. “We must fight the urge to postpone everything until Copenhagen,” where the treaty is to be finalized in 2009, ”http://www.reuters.com/article/homepageCrisis/idUSLV184554.CH.2400″>he said. “Surely we can make concrete progress on some issues.” How much progress? The glass-half-full view is that the latest talks, wrapping up in Accra, Ghana, last week, already took some modest but visible steps forward – particularly on reducing emissions from deforestation and heavy industry. On the other hand, the major  … Read more

Jolly hockey sticks

Jolly hockey sticks

Cross posted from The Great Beyond The contentious ‘hockey stick’ climate change graph has again been upheld as broadly accurate, doubtless to the rage of climate denialists/sceptics/whatevers. A team led by Michael Mann of Penn State University has looked at a whole range of proxies for surface temperatures over the last 2,000 years in an attempt to counter criticism of the graph, which showed a long ‘handle’ and a sharp upturn (the blade). Their findings? As the Christian Science Monitor puts it: “It still looks a lot like the much-battered, but still rink-ready stick of 1998. Today the handle reaches  … Read more

US elections: a climate of change?

Whether it’s the US agreeing to greenhouse gas emissions targets, passing federal cap-and-trade legislation or allowing climate scientists to speak out about their work, the accepted wisdom has been that such things will come about once George W is replaced as president.  Read more