If there’s anything to be gleaned about Joss Whedon’s worldview from his hit show Firefly, it might be that he’s pessimistic about the future of politics.
“Nothing will change in the future,” Whedon, who also wrote and directed the enormously successful Avengers movie, once said about the dystopian universe depicted in Firefly. “Technology will advance, but we will still have the same political, moral, and ethical problems as today.”Full Story
Extreme heatwaves and heavy rain storms are already happening with increasing regularity worldwide because of manmade climate change, according to new research.
Global warming over the last century means heat extremes that previously only occurred once every 1,000 days are happening four to five times more often, the study published in Nature Climate Change said.Full Story
BP's shareholders overwhelmingly supported a resolution on Thursday that would force the company to disclose some of its climate change-related risks. The shareholder vote was extraordinarily lopsided, with about 98% of shareholders approving the resolution, which had the backing of BP's chairman, Carl-Henric Svanberg.
The embrace of the climate change resolution is being called a watershed event in the history of climate-related shareholder resolutions, which investors large and small have been pursuing since 1999 to try to encourage oil, coal and gas companies to inform shareholders of their climate change-related risks and shift their investments into renewable sources of energy.Full Story
Pledges made by countries to slash carbon emissions are deeply inadequate to take them down to safe levels by 2030 and put the brakes on global warming, a new analysis warned Monday.
Based on the stated undertakings of the world's major emitters, global emissions could reach about 57-59 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (GtCO2e) by 2030, said the report co-authored by British academic Nicholas Stern, a former World Bank vice-president considered an authority on the economics of climate change.Full Story
Republican Bob Inglis received the John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage Award on Sunday for reversing his position on climate change despite the predictable political fallout that helped cost him his seat in Congress.
Kennedy's grandson, Jack Schlossberg, presented the award to Inglis on Sunday at the JFK Library in Boston.Full Story
Greenland’s polar bears have a thyroid problem. Their endocrine systems, too, are being disrupted.
In both cases the culprit agency is environmental pollution by a range of long-lived industrial chemicals and pesticides.Full Story
China’s recent scrapping of small coal plants will avoid the release of as much as 11.4 million metric tons annually of climate-warming carbon dioxide, helping the country cut emissions for the first time in more than a decade.
The impact is a sign of what’s to come as China pushes for a cap on coal and moves to shutter, or refit, its dirtiest coal-burning power plants. China overhauled or scrapped as much as 3.3 gigawatts of the facilities in 2014, according to a March statement from the National Bureau of Statistics.Full Story
Three-quarters of known fossil fuel reserves must be kept in the ground if humanity is to avoid the worst effects of climate change, a group of leading scientists and economists have said in a statement timed to coincide with Earth Day.
The Earth League, which includes Nicholas Stern, the author of several influential reports on the economics of climate change; Hans Joachim Schellnhuber, a climate scientist and adviser to Angela Merkel; and the US economist Jeffrey Sachs, urged world leaders to follow up on their commitments to avoid dangerous global warming.Full Story
Don’t hold your breath, but future historians may look back on 2015 as the year that the renewable energy ascendancy began, the moment when the world started to move decisively away from its reliance on fossil fuels. Those fuels — oil, natural gas, and coal — will, of course, continue to dominate the energy landscape for years to come, adding billions of tons of heat-trapping carbon to the atmosphere. For the first time, however, it appears that a shift to renewable energy sources is gaining momentum. If sustained, it will have momentous implications for the world economy — as profound as the shift from wood to coal or coal to oil in previous centuries.
Global economic growth has, of course, long been powered by an increasing supply of fossil fuels, especially petroleum. Beginning with the United States, countries that succeeded in mastering the extraction and utilization of oil gained immense economic and political power, while countries with huge reserves of oil to exploit and sell, like Kuwait and Saudi Arabia, became fabulously wealthy. The giant oil companies that engineered the rise of petroleum made legendary profits, accumulated vast wealth, and grew immensely powerful. Not surprisingly, the oil states and those energy corporations continue to dream of a future in which they will play a dominant role.Full Story
Nothing has caused climate scientists quite as much recent trouble as the so-called “global warming hiatus.” Not only did this approximately 14-year lull in the rise of global mean (or average) temperatures provide fodder for a variety of misguided climate change deniers (there have been other, longer pauses), but it also represented a genuine scientific mystery. Scientists knew it was being caused by falling ocean temperatures, but they also knew that the ocean, as a whole, was warming. Where was the extra heat being stored, and when would it make itself known?
Then this past November Axel Timmermann, a climate scientist at the University of Hawaii’s International Pacific Research Center, announced that global mean temperatures had finally resumed their rise, driven mainly by an unprecedented spike in sea surface temperatures in the northeast Pacific.Full Story