Posts Tagged ‘global warming’

air conditioning and global warming

Friday, August 24th, 2018

Air-conditioning has been a godsend for hot countries, and hot regions of otherwise temperate countries, but it comes with a huge environmental cost: the electricity needed to power these machines fuels global warming. A leader in this week’s Economist magazine argues that more needs to be done to make these machines more energy efficient, and that buildings, even entire cities, should be designed so that less air-conditioning is required. Here is a self-explanatory excerpt, with a link to the full article. (more…)

Jeffrey Sachs on Trump’s withdrawal from the Paris accord

Sunday, June 11th, 2017

Columbia University economist Jeffrey Sachs provides his opinion on Trump’s decision to leave the Paris agreement on climate change. There is nothing unexpected in the column, but the points he makes are concise and well drafted, easy to read and to share. (more…)

Martin Wolf on US withdrawal from the Paris accord

Tuesday, June 6th, 2017

Martin Wolf’s Wednesday column this week contains uncharacteristically harsh language, describing the US as a “rogue superpower”.

Mr Trump’s decision to withdraw from the agreement on climate change was frightening and inexplicable. But who can control him? The US constitution in my opinion gives too much power to the leader of a supposedly democratic country. Last week’s decision to renounce participation in the Paris accord was not a decision of “the United States”. It was the decision of Donald Trump. (more…)

Trump accepts existence of global warming

Sunday, June 4th, 2017

It is difficult to keep up with Donald Trump’s changing views. President Trump no longer believes that global warming is a hoax invented by and for the Chinese. Nikki Haley, the US ambassador to the UN, told CNN that Donald Trump now “believes the climate is changing and he believes pollutants are part of the equation”. Moreover, he knows “the US has to be responsible for it”.

Why, then, does Trump want to leave the Paris climate agreement? Apparently because he finds its conditions too onerous. This is strange, since each participating country sets its own goals, and meeting them is voluntary. There are no penalties for non-compliance. (more…)

Nicaraguan views on climate change

Sunday, June 4th, 2017

Donald Trump is increasing to three the number of countries that are not signatories to the Paris climate change accord. One of the three is Nicaragua. The reason for Nicaraguan opposition to the proposal might surprise you. (more…)

Trump’s speech on the Paris climate agreement

Saturday, June 3rd, 2017

If you were shocked by Donald Trump’s speech announcing the immediate withdrawal of the US from the Paris climate agreement, you should read this piece by David Roberts. Here is the introduction.

Yesterday, President Donald Trump gave a speech announcing that the US would withdraw from the Paris climate agreement.

It is a remarkable address, in its own way, in that virtually every passage contains something false or misleading. The sheer density of bullshit is almost admirable, from a performance art perspective. Trump even managed to get in some howlers that had nothing to do with climate change. He started by citing an act of terrorism in Manila that wasn

Humboldt on scientific collaboration and climate change

Wednesday, May 31st, 2017

In September of 1828 Alexander von Humboldt organized a conference for the German Association of Naturalists and Physicians. He invited hundreds of scientists from across Europe, using an interdisciplinary approach that reflects very much the philosophy of a research institute with which I have the good fortune to be affiliated: IIASA (International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis) in Laxenburg, Austria.

Unlike previous such meetings at which scientists had endlessly presented papers about their own work, Humboldt put together a very different programme. Rather than being talked at, he wanted the scientists to talk with each other. …. Humboldt encouraged the visiting scientists to gather in small groups and across disciplines. …. He envisaged an interdisciplinary brotherhood of scientists who would exchange and share knowledge. ‘Without a diversity of opinion, the discovery of truth is impossible,’ he reminded them in his opening speech.

Similarly, Humboldt foresaw the work of IIASA and other research centres when he highlighted the relationship between human activity and climate change:

Humboldt wrote about the destruction of forests and of humankind’s long-term changes to the environment. When he listed the three ways in which the human species was affecting the climate, he named deforestation, ruthless irrigation and, perhaps most prophetically, the ‘great masses of steam and gas’ produced in the industrial centres. No one but Humboldt had looked at the relationship between humankind and nature like this before.

These quotes are from Andrea Wulf, The Invention of Nature: Alexander von Humboldt

Alexander von Humboldt (1769-1859)

Thursday, May 18th, 2017

Historian and writer Andrea Wulf has written a prize-winning account of the complex personality, travels and companions of this Prussian naturalist, explorer and geographer. Alexander von Humboldt, though famous in his day, is now all but forgotten.

This is a fascinating book. Here is an excerpt from the epilogue. (more…)

Trump’s climate fantasies

Sunday, April 2nd, 2017

Columbia University economist Jeffrey Sachs (born 1954) writes, optimistically, that Donald Trump will be unable to slow the global move to low-carbon, renewable sources of energy. He is not the only person to make this argument, but few have stated it so eloquently.

Trump is surrounded by cronies … [who] believe that by denying climate change they can restore the wealth and glory of coal, oil, and gas. They are wrong. Greed will not reverse human-caused climate change, and Trump

satire of the day

Friday, February 3rd, 2017

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