Thinking About Tomorrow

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Monday, March 27, 2006

Gore vs. Bush

A few years ago Helen clark got into trouble for basically saying that the world would have been a better place if Al Gore had beaten George Bush in the presidential elections (back before the "war on terror"). I always agreed with her whole-heartedly. This recent piece in the Guardian about Gore's new movie makes me wonder what a difference he could have made on the environmental front. Imagine the US, signed up to Kyoto and pioneering emissions reductions...

Apparently, there is a great mp3 going around of Gore's recent address at a TED (Technology Entertainment and Design) conference, in which he outlines his views. Unfortunately, TED doesn't seem to want anyone to post it so it is difficult to find.

As an alternative, here is a speech on climate change by the guy who somehow managed to get elected over Gore.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Warmest Canadian Winter

Canada has experienced its warmest winter since modern record-keeping began, with average temperatures 3.9 degrees (!!) above normal and all regions of the country basking in abnormal mildness, according to preliminary figures compiled by Environment Canada.

The biggest departure from typical winter weather was in the area where Alberta, Saskatchewan and the Northwest Territories converge. Temperatures there were a staggering eight degrees warmer than normal. But other notable warm spots included the entire Prairie region, where temperatures were five to seven degrees above average, and southern British Columbia.

Not too many urban heat islands "in the area where Alberta, Saskatchewan and the Northwest Territories converge." As the saying goes, I thought these things might be clues. On the plus side, one assumes that use of fossil fuels for home and office heating in winter might be on the downward slide (although summer a/c is a different matter of course).

Friday, March 10, 2006

French researchers find new species (to eat?)

Kiwa hirsuta is a newly discovered species of lobster that is blind and blond-haired. This deep sea creature was found 2.3km below the surface of the ocean and 1500km south of Easter Island. It is so morphologically different from related species it has been given its own taxonomic family (though lets look at its DNA before we get too excited). Unfortunately for this little critter it is already being refered to in the same sentence as a salad plate by the Associated Press:

The animal is white and 15 centimetres long - about the size of a salad plate.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Antarctic Ice Sheet Is Melting Rapidly

A recent article in Science has estimated that Antarctica is losing about 36 cubic miles of ice each year. This is equal to 150 cubic km. An article in the Washington Post provides a good synopsis. This is the first evidence of the extent to which the Antarctic ice sheet is shrinking and the extent of melting has surprised many scientists, especially because previous data had shown that some local regions of the Antarctic continent were getting colder. This new information about the Antarctic ice sheet as a whole adds to the already strong evidence of rapid melting of the Arctic sea ice, suggesting that rising sea levels could become a major issue sooner than previously anticipated.