Wednesday, December 29, 2004

Tsunamis and Nuclear Power Plants

Natural disasters humble us as a species. They serve as reminders that for all our technological prowess, the natural world packs a far more powerful punch. Less arrogance and more humility is a reasonable response to these kinds of reminders. A good place to start might be to reconsider the siting of nuclear plants in light of potential catastrophes, as argued in this perspective, t r u t h o u t - Russell D. Hoffman | Tsunamis and Nuclear Power Plants.

For a list of relief agencies helping tsunami victims, follow this link.

Wednesday, December 22, 2004

Fuel-Cell Vehicles Close the Gap

Fuel-cell vehicles will be getting a toehold in the real world and making a small step towards commercialization when dealerships for Zap start doing business sometime in 2005, as described in this article, Wired News: Fuel-Cell Vehicles Close the Gap. Prices clearly will be an obstacle for some years to come, but hydrogen fueling stations are already popping up in places such as Sacramento, California. Definitely a product launch that we want to see...

Tuesday, December 21, 2004

Costly Effects of Warming

U.S. opponents of the Kyoto protocol invariably speak of the economic costs of implementing measures to decrease greenhouse gas emissions, but they're not so vocal about the bottom line costs of extreme weather. As this BBC article points out, the insurance industry is reeling from the effects of the fourth warmest year since tracking began (according to the World Meteorological Organisation). The year 2004 was the most expensive ever for the insurance industry with record payouts for damages incurred from hurricanes, typhoons, and other natural disasters.

Factor in the expense of agricultural losses, health costs, destruction of wildlife, and similar costs and it is clear that the cost of not responding to global warming is the much greater expense.

Monday, December 13, 2004

The View from Tuvalu

Perhaps if we lived in Tuvalu, there would be a heightened sense of urgency over the threat of global warming. A scant three meters above sea level, the capital island of Funafuti suddenly found itself immersed in sea water from the Pacific Ocean. Rising sea levels take on a dramatic reality when they're lapping at your front door.

Despite the vast preponderance of credible scientists convinced that human activities are steadily warming the planet, President Bush and the current administration are still in denial.