Thursday, June 21, 2007


Not for the first time Scott Adams' Dilbert is right on the button....

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Dirty snow warming the planet

The story that 'dirty snow' (snow with soor particles) may be responsible for a sizeable part of Arctic warming seems not to have generated massive amounts of coverage compared to some of the more alarmist climate change stories. For those who missed it, the science is straightforward enough - snow that contains soot and other dark particles absorbs sunlight for more than cleaner snow does. This promotes warming as less light is reflected back into space. The research suggests that up to 20% of the warming attributed to man-made CO2 emissions may be down to this dirty snow.

Now, what does this mean? Firstly, this is a factor that seems to have sprung up from nowhere. It's not accounted for in those models that are driving the most apocalyptic visions. It should prompt the question what other unknown effects are there? How can we be taking action to cut CO2 when something like this can come out of nowhere?

Secondly, it also offers a relatively cheap and fast means to ameliorate the situation. Reducing man-made particulates is easier and cheaper than cutting down on CO2.

Will this finding cause any change in the current climate change discourse? Don't hold your breath...

Thursday, June 07, 2007

What U.S. immigration policies mean to Google

There's a blog piece on Google about what US immigration policy means to their company. What it doesn't state is also worth mentioning - that those immigrants working in the US and other Western economies now send back more money to their home nations than they receive in aid. What does this mean? It means that those who want to block immigration and who want to speed economic development in poor countries can't do both. Immigration to the West is now a key driver of economic development and change in poor countries.

It's a win-win situation - the host country gains economically and so does the country that immigrant came from.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

When the global warming bubble bursts

While climate change remains at the top of the political agenda, it feels as though the myth of scientific consensus is beginning to crumble. It's too early to say that the tide has turned, but it seems to me that the voices disputing the idea of 'man-made' global warming are growing more numerous. Just as important are those who don't dispute the theory of 'man-made' global warming but who are saying that tackling global poverty, lack of development and disease should take higher priority.

The big question for me is what happens to public perception of science and scientists when the bubble bursts? Do those scientists who've made the loudest noises and most extreme statements regarding global warming realise that when their theory falls flat the millions of people who listened to them will feel that science itself is a con? Public antipathy to science will rise rather than fall in response to this. Rather than 'man-made' global warming acting to make science important and relevant, it could in the end fuel the biggest backlash against science ever.

On the plus side, perhaps it'll be another nail in the coffin of those leftists who jumped on the bandwagon. Having lost any way to connect with ordinary people, the 'man-made' global warming theory has been a lifeline to them. With it they find legitimacy and relevance, and the more gloomy the prognostications the better as far as they're concerned.