Tuesday, 17 September 2013

The Scorched Earth

James Hansen and colleague's latest paper, 'Climate Sensitivity, Sea Level and Atmospheric Carbon Dioxide', appearing in Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society here and here [warning: pdf download], is suitably blunt. Burning all fossil fuels would generate approximately 20 degrees C average warming over land areas and appoximately 30 degrees C at the poles. Certainly fatal for civilization, most human life as we know it and countless other-than-human species and beings too. Hansen et al conclude that, '[i]t seems implausible that humanity will not alter its course as consequences of burning all fossil fuels become clearer.' But they then add the caveat, '[y]et strong evidence about the dangers of human-made climate have so far had little effect.'  Quite - or arguably there is no evidence whatsoever of the brakes being applied yet. The race for unconventional fossil fuels is just heating up.

Tuesday, 10 September 2013

News from Balcombe

Some recent news on the anti-fracking protests at Balcombe from an ex-student of mine here.

For an interesting and pointed critique of the economics of fracking and an overview of the ecological costs, I'd strongly recommend Richard Heinberg's Snake Oil: How Fracking's False Promise of Plenty Imperils Our Future. Alan Tootill's Fracking the UK also looks good, although I have yet to read it.