Archive by category | Topics

The real holes in climate science

When I started working last month on a news feature about gaps in climate science I was expecting a tough reporting job. Too fresh, so I thought, were the scars the field and many leading scientists had received from the hacking affair at the Climate Research Unit (CRU) in Norwich to readily discuss with a reporter the ‘dirty laundry’ (my phrase) of climate science.  Read more

Warming speeds carbon release from peat

Warming speeds carbon release from peat

Northern peatlands, typical for subarctic Scandinavia and Russia, contain one third of the world’s soil organic carbon. How much extra carbon these soils will release to the atmosphere, through accelerated respiration in a warmer climate, has been pretty much guesswork. Data from an eight-year in situ experiment carried out in Sweden now suggest that even modest warming will release enough extra carbon to effectively equalize the European Union’s emissions reductions achieved under the Kyoto Protocol.  Read more

What the G8 target means

The G8 meeting last week – the last get-together of the leaders of the world’s major industrialized nations before the United Nations climate summit in December – was loaded with expectations as to what Obama & Co might give climate negotiators to take with them to Copenhagen.  Read more

Plant power

Why carbon dioxide concentrations over the past 24 million years or so have never dropped below 200 parts per million, despite environmental conditions that have been favourable for CO2 drawdown by rock weathering and sedimentation, has always been a bit of a mystery.  Read more

Perestroika and permafrost

Perestroika and permafrost

Russia has been a rather puzzling actor in the complicated diplomatic game which resulted in the Kyoto protocol, and which will be played out again in Copenhagen in December. Climate warming doesn’t make headlines, and has so far not been a big concern, between Moscow and Vladivostok. What prompted Russian leaders to ratify Kyoto was the prospect of making good money from emissions trading, rather than conviction that man-made climate change is a real phenomenon and a threat to society.  Read more