Archive for the ‘Climate change’ Category

Is Our Weather Getting Worse…?

December 11, 2012

…Is the title of the Channel 4 documentary I’ve just finished watching.

I should be pleased in that it basically makes the same points I made in my last post. The recent weather we’ve been getting is exactly what we’d expect in a warming world: more heat leads to more moisture in the atmosphere, more heatwaves, more rain, more floods, and more unstable weather generally.

Only it’s a Channel 4 documentary, like The Great Global Warming Swindle, so I was predisposed to hostile suspicion from the start.

The 2012 UK floods and climate change

November 27, 2012

Well, it’s been raining a lot in the UK recently. Even more than usual.

Lots of footage of overflowing rivers, flooded homes, people being rescued from their abandoned cars. Lots of interviews with flooded home owners, officials from the Environment Agency, and excited weather forecasters.

But one surprising omission in the coverage I’ve seen:
No mention of global warming.


Why I’m no longer so fussed about climate change (although I probably should be)

February 20, 2012

I follow climate change issues intermittently in the mainstream press and on a shifting selection of blogs. But it’s dawned on me that I probably follow them less now than I did two, three, four or even five years ago. Leaving out the personal and professional factors, [*] here are a few reasons why I think this is the case:


When should the Anthropocene start?

June 5, 2011

As has been widely reported, there are serious moves afoot to define a new geological epoch, the Anthropocene. Although geologists have used the term informally for some time (Paul Crutzen, chemist and Nobel Laureate, popularised it in 2002), the evidence that humans will leave a lasting and significant footprint in the geological record is starting to look robust enough for formal recognition.

From this Guardian article:

The geological signal will be clear from industrial-scale mining, damming, deforestation and agriculture, as well as the concentration of carbon in the atmosphere and nitrates in the oceans. Even the presence of the first human-produced chemicals like PCBs, radioactive fallout and the humble plastic bag could be measured millions of years hence.

Reading between the lines of the various articles, it looks fairly certain this change to the geology textbooks is going to happen, sooner or later. The main debate seems to be around when to set the start date.

Anthropogenic Climate Change, Health and the Tobacco Analogy

April 5, 2011

Consider this statement: smoking is bad for health, and so is fossil fuel-derived anthropogenic climate change.

What a mouthful.

There are many striking parallels between these two public health issues, and of course areas where the analogy breaks down. On balance though, and with all the usual ‘health warnings’ about arguing from analogy, I think it’s a useful comparison. Either way, it seems to come up fairly frequently in climate commentary circles, so perhaps it’s worth a dedicated post here.

So— I will proceed to mercilessly flog the analogy. Like this blog as a whole, this is mostly for my own reference and is subject to additions/amendment at any time. That said, suggestions welcome. I’m sure I’ve missed lots.


Malaria news

May 31, 2010

Artemisia annua

Mostly news to me, rather than news per se:

MMR and climate change: the missing link

February 7, 2010

Andrew Wakefield’s comeuppance part 1 seems very likely to be followed by part 2 (“the strike-off”) later this year.

I’ve just read some of the detail of the recent findings: it won’t be a minute too soon. He is not, of course, the only party at fault. The Lancet published a shoddy paper— twelve patients! Twelve selected patients!— with the retraction last week amounting to an historically belated stable door closure. The government and the medical profession were patronising, clumsy and ineffectual in their efforts to reassure the public. But perhaps the biggest villain of the piece is what Ben Goldacre says. The meeja.

Meanwhile, someone at GQ magazine has written this.