Environment and Ecology

Cooperation as a cornerstone of evolution - Labrinth

Vic Arcus Oct 16, 2009

In their book, The Major Transitions in Evolution, John Maynard Smith and Eors Szathmary describe 8 great evolutionary leaps which take us from individual molecules in a primordial soup, to human societies. John Maynard Smith gave an inspirational lecture at The Royal Institute on the Origins of Life shortly before his death, which you can see here. The … Read More

Is Garth George capable of original thought? - Hot Topic

Gareth Renowden Oct 15, 2009

According to the Rotorua Daily Post, Garth George is “a veteran newspaperman living semi-retired in Rotorua”. Garth sallies forth from time to time to lend the benefit of his wisdom on climate policy to the readers of the NZ Herald, and on Thursday Oct 8th offered the following comment on reports of tax fraud in [...] … Read More

Polar ice keeps melting – whichever way you look at it - Degrees of Change

Andy Reisinger Oct 15, 2009

At the risk of banging on and on about it: another research article just out today from the prestigious journal Nature has used satellite-based measurements to show that the thinning of glaciers that are draining the Greenland and key parts of the Antarctic ice sheet is increasingly widespread. A quote from the abstract: “We … Read More

Fomenting unhappy mischief… - Hot Topic

Gareth Renowden Oct 14, 2009

I usually stay out of the fray at NZ’s political blogs, but sometimes it’s impossible to resist a brief plunge into bracing waters. Yesterday, David Farrar at Kiwiblog posted approvingly about the impending launch of a movie called Not Evil, Just Wrong, apparently intended as a counter to Gore’s Inconvenient Truth. Here’s Farrar: The film compares [...] … Read More

Is agricultural trade liberalisation bad for the climate? - Degrees of Change

Andy Reisinger Oct 14, 2009

A Dutch research team has analysed the effect of agricultural trade liberalisation on global greenhouse gas emissions. Their study finds that a full liberalisation of agricultural trade (ie, removal of all trade barriers, quota and subsidies globally) would result in a 6% increase in global greenhouse gas emissions in 2015. Most … Read More

Plan B (not from outer space) - Hot Topic

Bryan Walker Oct 12, 2009

I hadn’t expected to be doing a Hot Topic review of Lester Brown’s book Plan B 4.0: Mobilizing to Save Civilization, since he writes about a variety of sustainability issues. However the 90 pages or so he devotes to climate change were irresistible for their sensible optimism and I report them here. The Plan B books have [...] … Read More

Deep time, deep water - Hot Topic

Gareth Renowden Oct 11, 2009

The last time CO2 hit a sustained level of 400 ppm 15-20 million years ago global average temperatures were 3 – 6ºC warmer than now, and sea level was 25 to 40 m higher, according to research released last week. That’s bad news, because the target for current international negotiations to find a successor to [...] … Read More