Hello from UN COP 16!

by Miguel Sossa November 29, 2010
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The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change has finally arrived, and so has the University of Michigan Student Envoy! After managing through a lack of communication outlets, we are proud to finally be reporting from on site here in Cancun.
Despite the initial sobering sentiment of little to no political advancement over the past few [...]

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The future of oil and the wedge of hope

by Mason Inman November 15, 2010
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Most greenhouse gases that people emit come from fossil fuels, so understanding how much fossil fuels we’re likely to burn in the coming decades is a crucial climate issue. I’ve been learning a lot about “peak oil” and related ideas lately, and have been having some heretical thoughts—or at least they feel heretical to me, [...]

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Politicized Vernaculars and the Vernaculars of Politics

by Eric October 25, 2010
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I was sitting on a plane from Washington to Johannesburg last July when I struck up a conversation with a fellow traveler sitting across the aisle from me. As any sane person would do on this 18-hour-long flight, I began to inquire about his vocation and why he was heading to South Africa in the [...]

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“CO2: The Thermostat that Controls Earth’s Temperature”

by Nick October 23, 2010
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As a non-climate scientist, I found Dr. Richard Alley’s 2009 AGU presentation, “The Biggest Control Knob: Carbon Dioxide in Earth’s Climate History,” to be particularly educational.

NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies just published a modeling study that further substantiates Dr. Alley’s argument that carbon dioxide acts as Earth’s thermostat because of the dynamic relationships that [...]

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Redrawing rivers to reduce water insecurity?

by Priyanka October 20, 2010
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I’ve seen some stunning headlines recently.. “Water map shows billions at risk of ‘water insecurity’”, “China moving heaven and Earth to bring water to Beijing”, “Huge parts of world drying up due to land evapotranspiration”
Most scientists agree that the climate change is already underway — irrespective of who’s to blame and how much we mitigate [...]

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Limit Mountaintop Removal, and the World Will End…

by Nick October 16, 2010
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I love this short post from James Kwak over at Baseline Scenario.
“Nice Economy You’ve Got There . . .”
That, I believe, was a line from Nemo in a comment long ago, on how the megabanks were holding the federal government hostage by threatening to collapse and take the financial system with them.
The coal industry seems [...]

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Representing Himself–Why Are We (sort of) Okay With Ken Cuccinelli’s Witchhunt?

by Nick October 15, 2010
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Ken Cuccinelli might run the 2013 Governor’s seat in Virginia, one year before his tenure as Attorney General would have run its course. As we ponder the bizarre discrepancy between voters’ articulated demand for transparency and surging support for disingenuous, pandering candidates for public office, we would be wise to avoid making firm predictions [...]

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India’s peculiar contradictions

by Priyanka October 10, 2010
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“China & India must play a leading role in reducing GHG emissions and develop ‘clean’ energy economies.” This is repeated often by other nations, environmentalists, and anyone who feels like dispensing advice. I take some issue with China & India being put in the same bucket when talking about GHG reductions and the level of [...]

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Black Swan Events and the Plight of Probability

by Katie Whitefoot September 9, 2010
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Many scientists believe that climate change will increase the likelihood of extreme weather events, but will we improve our ability to understand and react to these risks?
Nassim Taleb popularized the term “Black Swan” to refer to outlier events that could not have been predicted by drawing from past experience—alluding to the surprise of 17th century [...]

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Global Hazards in July

by Nick August 17, 2010

What is outside the envelope of natural variation? How are we framing risk?
Global hazards in July, according to a NOAA report:
Severe drought plagued Bolivia, killing crops and livestock.
Three massive wildfires raged across Southern California.
Record high temperatures and sparse rainfall in Russia, killing 40% of the grain harvest, creating huge wildfires, oppressive smog, and causing many [...]

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