Posts by: tim

Leading scientists say urgent action needed

I'm not one to usually trot out the latest "open letter" or what-have-you from some consortium of Very Important Scientists regarding climate change, but I think this one bears mentioning. Issued today, the open letter from 20 U.S. climate scientists and experts calls for quick passage of the Waxman-Markey bill. The letter is postmarked from the Woods Hole Research Center… read more →

I’d be vegetarian if it were cheaper

As a firm believer in economic incentives to improve the health of the environment and stave off climate change, signs like the one above always exasperate me. I would find this funny if it weren't so prevalent. It just seems odd that the vegetarian option is only ten cents less than the chicken, and forty cents less than the beef/pork… read more →


A couple weeks back, NASA's Orbiting Carbon Observatory (OCO) failed to achieve orbit and crashed into the ocean, having measured...absolutely nothing. The nose cone somehow failed to disengage from the satellite, and the whole thing was too heavy to actually enter orbit. Ugh. I'd have snarkier things to say if I weren't so disappointed by the news. The satellite system… read more →

Is it getting hot in here?

I know that we're trying to be positive and future-focused here, what with posts about clean energy and green technology and air-powered cars -- but global warming is freaking scary. A recent study by two researchers showcases just how dangerous unchecked warming could be (in the interest of disclosure, I took a class from one of these researchers, Dr. Rosamond… read more →

Beware the atmospheric brown cloud

Maybe cars aren't so bad after all. OK, OK -- they are still a huge source of pollution, but a recent study adds to the debate on the importance of cars relative to forest fire pollution in Southeast Asia. Every winter over Southeast Asia and the Indian Ocean, an enormous atmospheric brown cloud (ABC) tiptoes in on little cat feet.… read more →

Where is the missing carbon?

A giant hole in the global carbon budget may be plugged by an unlikely source: fish guts. A large proportion of manmade CO2 emissions drain back out of the atmosphere into various carbon sinks. Scientists have long known that approximately half the CO2 flux from the atmosphere goes to land-based sinks and half to the ocean. The problem is that… read more →

Global warming is bad news for U.S. trees

Western forests are not doing so well. The temperate, evergreen forests that stretch from the Pacific Northwest to the high deserts of the Southwest are changing quickly, and it appears global warming is the cause. The forests of western North America have recently been struck by a series of blows to the trunk. First, pests like the Western Pine Beetle… read more →

Population go boom now?

So when is that population bomb going to happen, exactly? In theory, exponential increases in human population should eventually be constrained by limited, non-renewable resources. One way to track an impending resource crunch -- when high demand hits low supply -- is by watching for a surge in the price of various goods. In 1980, biologist and author of The… read more →
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