April 2009

Both The Globe and Mail and The New York Times are reporting on recent comments from Jim Prentice, Canada’s minister of the environment, about phasing out coal-fired electricity in Canada: “The concept is that, as these facilities are fully amortized and their useful life fully expended, they would not be replaced with coal.” That is […]

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The BBC recently published an article that goes together well with two of my earlier posts. Like my post on how many greenhouse gasses humanity can safely emit and my post on the (absent) long-term future of the fossil fuel industry, it highlights how preventing catastrophic climate change obliges humanity to keep a significant proportion […]


Claire Leigh, a friend of mine and colleague from the Oxford M.Phil program, has published an article based on her thesis in Cosmopolis: Independence and transnational activism: lessons from Gleneagles. It may be of particular interest to the many readers of this blog who are interested in effecting political change through civil society, protest, and […]

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Back during the 2008 election, many eyes were glued to fivethirtyeight.com: the statistics-oriented website of a baseball analyst turned electoral statistician. A couple of days ago, the man who runs the site posted an interesting diagram based on polling data about climate change (n=2,164). Basically, it shows that ever-decreasing numbers of people expect harm from […]


One proposed element for a cap-and-trade system is holding back some permits for ‘new entrants.’ Basically, this would mean preemptively grandfathering emissions from certain types of new facilities. Depending on how it was done, it seems like it could be either environmentally beneficial or harmful. If the overall cap for any year is set below […]

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According to a legal analysis from the Institute for Policy Integrity (PDF), the Waxman-Markey bill currently holed up in a Congressional committee isn’t the only way the United States might get a cap-and-trade system in the next year or so. In the wake of the recent ‘endangerment finding, the IPI analysts conclude that the Environmental […]


We have discussed the issue of waste heat before, in the context of both incandescent lightbulbs and the cogeneration of heat and power. For those interested in a more hands-on treatment of the subject, there are instructions for building a thermoelectric unit which allows you to charge electronics using waste heat from appliances. The same […]


I am curious about the origin of the swine flu currently radiating out from Mexico. The CDC thinks it arose from one individual who was superinfected with both human and swine flu varieties, which then exchanged genetic information. It certainly would not surprise me if this was simply the latest monster disease to emerge from […]


Over on the National Geographic website, there is a feature called The Daily Dozen, which consists of really excellent photography. The quality and originality of many of the shots is somewhat intimidating, though they are also an inspiration to improve one’s own efforts.


Due to a recent federal court ruling, a long-standing disclosure exemption for the mining industry has been repealed. Previously, mining firms were not obliged to determine and disclose the toxic compounds present in their waste rock and tailings ponds. Apparently, environmental groups have been seeking to get rid of the exemption for sixteen years. American […]