Archive by date | November 2008

Pre-Poznan: China makes the first move

Pre-Poznan: China makes the first move

Though experts have pegged China as the world’s biggest carbon dioxide emitter for well over a year, it was only two weeks ago that the government first openly admitted China’s emissions have caught up with the US (just barely, they insist).  Read more

Oil crisis, financial crisis, total crisis

Oil crisis, financial crisis, total crisis

Cross-posted from The Great Beyond The Paris-based International Energy Agency came out with its annual World Energy Outlook report yesterday. And it makes for gloomy, and expensive, reading (Press release, Calgary Herald, Greentech Media). The agency bases its findings on a reference scenario that assumes no new government policies are introduced. In this scenario, the IEA says that between now and 2030 world energy demand will grow by 1.6% a year, requiring energy-supply investments of $26.3 trillion (yep TRILLION dollars). “Yet the credit squeeze could delay spending, potentially setting up a supply-crunch that could choke economic recovery,” says the press  … Read more

Glaciation ahead – on a geological time scale

Glaciation ahead - on a geological time scale

More elderly readers of these pages may remember having heard in their school days back (circa 1970s) that scientists then thought an ice age would be coming soon. I certainly do – even though the alleged ‘global cooling consensus’ in the scientific literature of the time has recently been disproved as a myth. Now an interesting new paper in Nature [subscription] suggests that a rapid natural transition towards a stable glacial climate, with permanent ice sheets covering large parts of North America and Eurasia, could indeed be ahead. Thomas Crowley and William Hyde ran a coupled energy-balance/ice-sheet model to test  … Read more

Energy vs Climate: A surprising confluence of goals

Guest Commentary by Andrew Dessler There is an emerging view among some experts that recoverable fossil-fuel reserves are far smaller than previously thought. If so, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) highest emissions scenarios could be unrealistically high, thus limiting the worst-case climate change during the 21st century. This view of a constrained fossil-fuel supply points to a potential convergence of thinking about policies and actions needed to address the seemingly divergent problems of energy supply and climate change. <img alt=“oil_plot.jpg” src=“http://blogs.nature.com/climatefeedback/oil_plot.jpg” width=“400” height=“211” border=“0” align=“right” hspace=“10px”//> One of the standard techniques for estimating future oil production is the  … Read more

Climate change hits loveable lemmings

Climate change hits loveable lemmings

Cross posted from the Great Beyond Let us get one thing clear right at the start: lemmings do not commit mass suicide by leaping off cliffs into the sea. However, their populations do undergo massive size fluctuations, leading to mass migrations where the cute critters may go swimming to find new food sources. At least, they used to undergo massive population explosions. In a paper published this week in Nature a group of researchers analyse the absence of such events since 1994. The culprit, you guessed it, is climate change. Nils Stenseth and colleagues show that changes in winter weather  … Read more

Obama victory brings new hope for climate policy, dark days for fossil fuels

Obama victory brings new hope for climate policy, dark days for fossil fuels

Following Obama’s landslide victory in the US presidential elections last night, pundits are already speculating on how he will deal with the formidable challenges in his in-tray, not least of which will be reducing greenhouse gas emissions and moving the economy into clean-energy mode. The news that Obama will be the 44th President of the US has been met with jubilation by environmentalists (as reported here and here), who are hopeful that the new administration will come good on promises to protect the planet. Over on the New York Times’ Green Inc. blog, James Kanter reports that hopes have soared  … Read more