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The real holes in climate science

When I started working last month on a news feature about gaps in climate science I was expecting a tough reporting job. Too fresh, so I thought, were the scars the field and many leading scientists had received from the hacking affair at the Climate Research Unit (CRU) in Norwich to readily discuss with a reporter the ‘dirty laundry’ (my phrase) of climate science.  Read more

Warming speeds carbon release from peat

Warming speeds carbon release from peat

Northern peatlands, typical for subarctic Scandinavia and Russia, contain one third of the world’s soil organic carbon. How much extra carbon these soils will release to the atmosphere, through accelerated respiration in a warmer climate, has been pretty much guesswork. Data from an eight-year in situ experiment carried out in Sweden now suggest that even modest warming will release enough extra carbon to effectively equalize the European Union’s emissions reductions achieved under the Kyoto Protocol.  Read more

What the G8 target means

The G8 meeting last week – the last get-together of the leaders of the world’s major industrialized nations before the United Nations climate summit in December – was loaded with expectations as to what Obama & Co might give climate negotiators to take with them to Copenhagen.  Read more

Plant power

Why carbon dioxide concentrations over the past 24 million years or so have never dropped below 200 parts per million, despite environmental conditions that have been favourable for CO2 drawdown by rock weathering and sedimentation, has always been a bit of a mystery.  Read more

Europe looks to draw power from the Sahara

Cross-posted from The Great Beyond A gargantuan plan of supplying European consumers with electricity generated in the Saharan desert could see the light of day earlier than even the most optimistic solar energy aficionados had expected. According to the Süddeutsche Zeitung, a group of 20 large German companies, led by the reinsurance giant Munich Re, and also including Siemens, Deutsche Bank and RWE, is determined to go ahead with an €400 billion project known as Desertec. If fully realized, the envisaged network of huge solar thermal power plants across North Africa could provide up to 15 % of Europe’s overall  … Read more

Jungle Fit!

“Lewis.jpg”Tropical forests which (still) cover around 10% of the global land area contain more carbon per hectare than any other form of vegetation. It’s obvious from that that their growth or decline has a huge impact on the global carbon budget.  Read more