The environment

It’s 4:41am and I am in my 10 1/2th hour of thesis work since I last slept. For weeks I have been working my way through my notebooks, compiling interview reports based on my discussions with campus fossil fuel divestment organizers in Canada. I have been paying special attention to getting the details from this […]

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An informative article by Peter Brannen in The Atlantic contrasts the plausible duration of the geological evidence of human civilization against the scale at which we normally designate geological epochs. It suggests convincingly that the idea of an Anthropocene epoch is misplaced: What humans are doing on the planet, then, unless we endure for millions […]

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It seems like a plausible rule for climate change reduction schemes that the people running them will generally prioritize other political and economic objectives over actual emission reductions. This meshes together with other forms of wishful thinking, where we give ourselves credit for overly generous assumptions about reduced emissions, then find every possible way to […]

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Among other things, this reinforces my view that “awareness raising” isn’t very meaningful and certainly isn’t sufficient to keep us from wrecking the global climate: At the European elections 48% of voters said climate change was their top concern. The Green Party came second in that election and now leads Mrs Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union […]

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Surprisingly, despite the importance placed on it in the University of Toronto fossil fuel divestment brief and in the divestment movement generally, I don’t have a post on the idea of the carbon bubble. If we start with the temperature targets countries have chosen as the upper limit for tolerable climate change, we can calculate […]

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As noted here before, getting humanity off fossil fuels requires more than replacing our electricity generation and transport systems with climate-safe alternatives. We also need to decarbonize the process of producing food and raw materials. Since most fertilizer is made from natural gas, engineering plant-fungal symbiosis to fix atmospheric nitrogen could be a promising route […]

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The National Trust – described by the BBC as “the biggest conservation charity in Europe” – has 4% of its £1bn stock market investment in fossil fuel corporations, but will now divest those holdings over 3-12 months.

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Natural gas is often held up as a solution to climate change, or at least a transition in the right direction, on the basis of producing less CO2 per unit of energy than oil or coal. Other factors are also relevant, however. Natural gas is mostly methane (CH4) which is a much more powerful greenhouse […]

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The CBC is reporting on polling results pertinent to this fall’s federal election: CBC News poll takes snapshot of Canadians ahead of fall election. They say the cost of living was the top concern identified, followed by climate change. This suggests a familiar Canadian dynamic: being notionally concerned about climate change, but rejecting action on […]

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Over the years I have written a variety of academic papers on various aspects of nuclear weapons and nuclear power: 1) Written for an undergrad international relations course at UBC and subsequently published in a journal and given an award: “The Space Race as ‘Primitive’ Warfare.” UBC Journal of International Affairs. 2005. p. 19-28. 2) […]

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