Blog Archives

Best of 2012: Why the global warming skeptics are wrong

The threat of climate change is an increasingly important environmental issue for the globe. Because the economic questions involved have received relatively little attention, I have been writing a nontechnical book for people who would like to see how market-based approaches could be used to formulate policy on climate change. When I showed an early […] … learn more→

Africa sitting on sea of groundwater reserves

Huge reserves of underground water in some of the driest parts of Africa could provide a buffer against the effects of climate change for years to come, according to UCL scientists. Researchers from the British Geological Survey and University College London have for the first time mapped the aquifers, or groundwater, across the continent and […] … learn more→

Getting the market to tell the truth

Moving the global economy off its current decline-and-collapse path depends on reaching four goals: stabilizing climate, stabilizing population, eradicating poverty, and restoring the economy’s natural support systems. These goals–comprising what the Earth Policy Institute calls “Plan B” to save civilization–are mutually dependent. All are essential to feeding the world’s people. It is unlikely that we […] … learn more→

Wind tops 10 per cent share of electricity in five U.S. states

A new picture is emerging in the U.S. power sector. In 2007, electricity generation from coal peaked, dropping by close to 4 percent annually between 2007 and 2011. Over the same time period, nuclear generation fell slightly, while natural gas-fired electricity grew by some 3 percent annually and hydropower by 7 percent. Meanwhile, wind-generated electricity […] … learn more→

Busting the myth of China’s property bubble

Five years on, the US economy remains sluggish after the bursting of a house price bubble. More recently, the focus has been on China, the world’s second largest economy, and whether it too might be overwhelmed by a similar event. Reports of “ghost cities” and some property developers facing bankruptcy have become commonplace. Some commentators […] … learn more→

Where the wild winds blow

Stanford engineers enlist weather models to find the best place on the map for a grid of four wind farms in the ocean off the U.S. East Coast. Politics aside, most energy experts agree that cheap, clean, renewable wind energy holds great potential to help the world satisfy energy needs while reducing harmful greenhouse gases. […] … learn more→

Charity case: can philanthropic journalism last?

Despite rapid growth in the number of non-profit investigative centres in the United States and many fine examples of quality journalism by such centres, uncertainty remains over the longer-term sustainability of philanthropically-funded journalism. There is a well-founded concern among senior non-profit centre editors that the next few years will see a consolidation in the number […] … learn more→

Do schools and corporations mix?

The furore following the announcement that Jenny Craig CEO Amy Smith would address a gathering of hundreds of girls\’ school teachers has once again brought the uncomfortable issue of corporate presence in schools to light. The public response – that school groups should not be seen to endorse the dieting industry – is certainly warranted. […] … learn more→

Bird ranges shift northward, but not as fast as climate

As warmer winter temperatures become more common, one way for some animals to adjust is to shift their ranges northward. But a new study of 59 North American bird species indicates that doing so is not easy or quick — it took about 35 years for many birds to move far enough north for winter […] … learn more→

What lies ahead for science and science writing?

The MIT Graduate Program in Science Writing turns 10 this year, and this Saturday saw many of the program’s 61 alumni back on campus to catch up and reminisce with fellow graduates, professors and mentors. A daylong symposium, titled “Telling the Stories of Science,” was a celebration of the past 10 years of science writing […] … learn more→