Archive by category | Opinion

Australian agency denies gagging climate researchers

Australia’s national science agency, the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO), has denied claims that it prevents researchers from publishing work on politically-sensitive issues such as climate change, reports Nature News [subscription].  Read more

Copenhagen: advice for negotiators

Copenhagen: advice for negotiators

Reaching a climate deal in Copenhagen will depend on rich nations’ proactive commitment to making mandatory emission cuts at home, prominent experts from India and China reiterate in a couple of opinion pieces in Nature [subscription] today. And it will require exceptional diplomatic skill, adds a veteran climate negotiator.  Read more

Superfreakonomists spout off about global cooling

Superfreakonomists spout off about global cooling

The authors of the bestselling Freakonomics, which was largely an attempt to make sense and fun of economics for those who don’t think they care about such things, are now back with a title that sounds like a bigger and better version of the original: Superfreakonomics. Exploring the topics of global cooling, patriotic prostitutes, and why suicide bombers should buy life insurance, economist Steven Levitt and New York Times journalist Stephen Dubner are again unabashedly aiming for mass appeal.  Read more

Plan B for Copenhagen

“smoke.bmp”The United Nation’s upcoming climate summit in Copenhagen threatens to get caught in a trap between high expectations and the immense complexity of the task at hand, warns the author of an opinion piece in Nature today [subscription]. Since diplomats cannot possibly produce a useful treaty for the December meeting in the remaining twelve weeks, negotiations should focus on a small number of realistic goals, and leave the rest for later, says David Victor, an expert on international relations at the University of California in San Diego.  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=“” width=“400” height=“211” border=“0” align=“right” hspace=“10px”//> One of the standard techniques for estimating future oil production is the  … Read more

From greed to green?

Is the global financial crisis good or bad for green issues? The ongoing controversy over the European Union’s ambitious climate and energy package suggests the latter might be the case. But political and economical analysts seem to be increasingly confident that the current crisis might give rise to environmentally healthier policies and investment decisions.  Read more