Articles tagged with: greenhouse gases

FALLACY WATCH: "The science isn't settled."

Posted in News Last updated on: Monday, 01 August 2016


This is the go-to statement for politicians defending fossil fuels when climate dangers are raised. It has the ring of reasonableness: the speaker is no ostrich hiding from the facts but simply maintains a threshold for belief that hasn't been met. And it's certainly true that science is constantly changing its mind. So where's the fallacy?

AIRPLANES: SUVs of the sky?

Posted in News Last updated on: Monday, 11 July 2016

AIRPLANES: SUVs of the sky?

We didn't used to know that flying's environmental downsides are so huge--but now we do. Will flying eventually become like driving a Hummer, a mode reserved for the unevolved? Just how bad is it? What fixes are in sight?

How big is the problem?  Take all the West's greenhouse gas emissions--from industry, power plants, cars, agriculture, etc--and flying's portion works out to 10 percent. That's a startlingly high number. It got so big in part because planes release their CO2, water vapor, soot, and nitrous oxide into the upper atmosphere, which multiplies their ill effects. The average American generates 19 tons of carbon per year, but a single coast-to-coast round trip weighs in at 2-3 tons. What's to be done?

STOP, LOOK, THINK: Eyes wide open on meat

Posted in News Last updated on: Sunday, 11 September 2016

STOP, LOOK, THINK: Eyes wide open on meat


You probably eat meat once or more a day without giving it a thought.  Socrates' response: "The unexamined life isn't worth living."  What about the unexamined diet?

Instead of mindlessly swallowing, many are looking closely at the meat on their plates.  High meat-eating levels, like high energy use, are woven into Western culture, a point of pride.  That diet is now spreading worldwide.  What could be the problem with something so widely eaten?  The issues fall into two main categories.