Follow Slashdot stories on Twitter


Forgot your password?
Slashdot Deals: Cyber Monday Sale! Courses ranging from coding to project management - all eLearning deals 25% off with coupon code "CYBERMONDAY25". ×

National Academy of Science Urges Carbon Tax 875

eldavojohn writes "Moving for the first time from a cautious message to a message of urgency, the National Academy of Science has advised the United States government to either adopt a carbon tax or cap and trade legislation. This follows a comprehensive study in three parts released today from the National Academies that, for the first time, urges required action from the government to curb climate change."

India Ditches UN Climate Change Group 403

Several readers have told us that the Indian Government is moving to establish its own group to address the science of climate change since it "cannot rely" on the official United Nations panel. "The move is a severe blow to the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) following the revelation parts of its 3000 page 2007 report on climate science was not subjected to peer review. A primary claim of the report was the Himalayan glaciers could disappear by 2035, but the claim was not repeated in any peer-reviewed studies and rebuffed by scientists. India's environment minister Jairam Ramesh announced that the Indian government will established a separate National Institute of Himalayan Glaciology to monitor climate change in the region. 'There is a fine line between climate science and climate evangelism,' Ramesh said. 'I am for climate science.'"

Huge Phishing Attack On Emissions Trade In Europe 114

bratgitarre writes "A targeted phishing scam on companies trading with greenhouse gas emission certificates in Europe has reaped millions, Der Spiegel reports. By sending phishing e-mails to companies in Australia and New Zealand purporting to be from the German Ministry for Environmental Protection (German article, Google translation) the criminals obtained login credentials for companies owning polluting permissions. They then swiftly sold them to other polluters in various European countries. Damages are probably huge for a single incident, as 'one medium-sized German company alone had lost allowances worth €1.5 million ($2.1 million).' German federal officials, who can trace some of the transactions, claim that out of 2000 certificate sellers, seven responded to the scam."

CIA Teams Up With Scientists To Monitor Climate 417

MikeChino writes "The CIA has just joined up with climate researchers to re-launch a data-sharing initiative that will use spy satellites and other CIA asets to help scientists figure out what climate change is doing to cloud cover, forests, deserts, and more. The collaboration is an extension of the Measurements of Earth Data for Environmental Analysis program, which President Bush canceled in 2001, and it will use reconnaissance satellites to track ice floes moving through the Arctic basin, creating data that could be used for ice forecasts." Even though the program is "basically free" in terms of CIA involvement, the Times notes: "Controversy has often dogged the use of federal intelligence gear for environmental monitoring. In October, days after the CIA opened a small unit to assess the security implications of climate change, Senator John Barrasso, Republican of Wyoming, said the agency should be fighting terrorists, 'not spying on sea lions.'"

The Limits To Skepticism 1093

jamie found a long and painstaking piece up at The Economist asking and provisionally answering the question: "Does the spirit of scientific scepticism really require that I remain forever open-minded to denialist humbug until it's shown to be wrong?" The author, who is not named, spent several hours picking apart the arguments of one Willis Eschenbach, AGW denialist, who on Dec. 8 published what he called the "smoking gun" — it was supposed to prove that the adjustments climate scientists make to historical temperature records are arbitrary to the point of intentional manipulation. The conclusion: "[H]ere's my solution to this problem: this is why we have peer review. Average guys with websites can do a lot of amazing things. One thing they cannot do is reveal statistical manipulation in climate-change studies that require a PhD in a related field to understand. So for the time being, my response to any and all further 'smoking gun' claims begins with: show me the peer-reviewed journal article demonstrating the error here. Otherwise, you're a crank and this is not a story. And then I'll probably go ahead and try to investigate the claim and write a blog post about it, because that's my job. Oh, and by the way: October was the hottest month on record in Darwin, Australia."

US House May Pass "Cap & Trade" Bill 874

jamie found this roundup on the status of the Waxman-Markey climate change bill, which is about to be voted on by the US House of Representatives. (The article notes that if the majority Democrats can't see the 218 votes needed for passage, they will probably put off the vote.) The AP has put together a FAQ that says, "[The bill, if passed,] fundamentally will change how we use, produce and consume energy, ending the country's love affair with big gas-guzzling cars and its insatiable appetite for cheap electricity. This bill will put smaller, more efficient cars on the road, swap smokestacks for windmills and solar panels, and transform the appliances you can buy for your home." The odds-makers are giving the bill a marginal chance of passing in the House, with tougher going expected in the Senate.

DoE Considers Artificial Trees To Remove CO2 418

eldavojohn writes "CNN is running an article on a new angle of attack to reducing greenhouse gases. After meeting with the US Department of Energy on the concept, the researchers revealed the details that each 'tree' (really a small building structure in the concept design) would cost about as much as a Toyota and remove 1 ton of CO2 from the air per day. Don't worry, they're accounting for the energy the 'tree' uses to operate: 'By the time we make liquid C02 we have spent approximately 50 kilojoules [of electricity] per mole of C02. Compare that to the average power plant in the US, which produces one mole of C02 with every 230 kilojoules of electricity. In other words, if we simply plugged our device in to the power grid to satisfy its energy needs, for every roughly 1,000 kilograms [of carbon dioxide] we collected we would re-emit 200, so 800 we can chalk up as having been successful.' Each unit would remove 20 automobiles' worth of CO2 from the air and cost about as much as a Toyota... so the plan might be a five percent surcharge on automobiles to fund these synthetic tree farms."

Scientist Patents New Method To Fight Global Warming 492

SUNSTOP writes to tell us that a relatively unknown Maryland scientist has proposed a public patent that he claims could combat global warming. The proposed plan would require massive amounts of water to be sprayed into the air in an effort to bolster the earth's existing air conditioning system. "First, the sprayed droplets would transform to water vapor, a change that absorbs thermal energy near ground level; then the rising vapor would condense into sunlight-reflecting clouds and cooling rain, releasing much of the stored energy into space in the form of infrared radiation. Kenneth Caldeira, a climate scientist for the Carnegie Institution's Department of Global Ecology at Stanford University whose computer simulation of Ace's invention suggests it would significantly cool the planet. The simulated evaporation of about one-half inch of additional water everywhere in the world produced immediate planetary cooling effects that were projected to reach nearly 1 degree Fahrenheit within 20 or 30 years, Caldeira said."

A good supervisor can step on your toes without messing up your shine.