The environment

I’ve written elsewhere about how The Economist doesn’t understand climate change. In their science section and the occasional editorial they stress the need for massive and urgent action, but their thinking is not joined up. Their general editorial stance remains that economic growth is the greatest good, every new fossil fuel discovery is a boon, […]

{ 0 comments }

There are some comparatively convincing arguments for why fossil fuel divestment can’t do much to limit the severity of climate change, at least in terms of the direct effects from institutions selling their shares. One important one is that people buying and selling stocks, and the changing value of the stocks, doesn’t directly profit or […]

{ 0 comments }

Friday’s episode of “The Current” discussed the case of Michael Foster who — after warning the pipeline control centre to shut off the pumping stations — turned a valve to shut down the flow of bitumen through the Keystone pipeline in North Dakota. It’s a very self-conscious act of civil disobedience, with Foster sending video […]

{ 0 comments }

It’s rare to see an article on a news website speaking so directly to a current question of current scholarly interest. In 2012, Doug McAdam and Hilary Boudet published Putting Social Movements in their Place: Explaining Opposition to Energy Projects in the United States, 2000-2005, which generally encourages scholars of contentious politics and social movements […]

{ 0 comments }

They stress the unknown future production levels from U.S. oil fracking as important for determining the future size of Canada’s oil industry. They mention this Jeff Rubin report: Evaluating the Need for Pipelines: A False Narrative for the Canadian Economy Abstract: The claim that additional pipeline capacity to tidewater will unlock significantly higher prices for […]

{ 1 comment }

Sticky with humidity after 9pm, electricity demand in Toronto must be crazy right now. The Independent Electricity System Operator has data for the whole province: Back in April 2005, province-wide electricity use was 14,890 megawatts: 62% nuclear, 19.3% hydro, 13.5% wind, 4.6% gas. This connects to lots of climate change questions. Can we really afford […]

{ 2 comments }

{ 0 comments }

New Zealand’s kakapo parrot is equally rare and bizarre: critically endangered, with 154 survivors living on three protected predator-free islands, the birds can’t survive the presence of rats, cats, and other potentially-carniverous mammals, can’t fly, and reproduce slowly and strangely. The chapter about them is perhaps the most memorable part of Douglas Adams’ excellent non-fiction […]

{ 2 comments }

One way in which the lives of contemporary urban dwellers must differ from those of most people in the 250,000 years of anatomically modern human history is in not knowing our neighbours. In a small settlement in a time before widespread travel and privacy, you would probably know everybody. Now, many of us couldn’t pick […]

{ 6 comments }

Howard Dean recently made some interesting comments about young people and U.S. politics: “They’re very independent-minded. They don’t like politics. And they mistrust institutions,” Dean said in his characteristically matter-of-fact style. “I think our problem as Democrats is, we’re the head of the oldest party in the West, and this party is an institution that […]

{ 2 comments }