Looking at clouds from both sides and up and down

The Pacific Ocean is not only the largest continuous body of water on this planet but it has the largest continuous bodies of water in the skies above it – the clouds in the sky. Some of them as bigger than some of our continents and clouds are one of the many things that keep the climate of our planet stable enough to support human life.

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Mature forests – the planet’s natural air conditioners

Everyone thinks of rain forests as important to the stability of the climate because they convert carbon dioxide into carbon, thereby sequestrating the greenhouse gas. So they are, but rain forests also play another equally important role in the climate of the planet, and this role is often overlooked. Rainforests are places which degrade energy, and this energy degradation is as important as the role rain forests play in sequestrating carbon. If this was understood better we would go to much greater lengths to preserve mature forests in all places. I shall explain how it works. Continue reading

OPEC, oil prices and oil reserves

OPEC will be meeting in Vienna this week in order to decide on production. OPEC do not control all of the world’s oil production, but the organisation controls around 35% of it and if they reduce production by a few percentage points the oil price will rise. Since 1982 OPEC has operated a quota system for its member countries which has the effect of limiting their production and keeping the oil price high, but with some stability. Continue reading

The price of carbon and the cost of emissions

The collapse of the financial markets has revealed fundamental flaws in the way that we run markets. These have not been foreseen by any government, and are now causing them to rethink their policy towards the very heavy reliance on markets. They have regarded markets as providing growth, which they regard as a good thing, but as the markets have failed and growth turns into contraction governments around the world realise that creating and stimulating markets has got to be done win a way that avoids the artificiality and speculation which created such complex financial instruments that no one really understood and which clothed incompetence and fraud. Continue reading

Gordon Brown, markets and the need to cage the beast

Gordon Brown thinks that markets (and this this context he really means the financial markets) must reflect society’s values which include fairness, stewardship and co-operation. He is wrong on both counts, Markets actually never reflect society’s values, but operate on a value system of their own. All markets have to be competitive, uncooperative and only interested in stewardship in so far as it may affect the perceived interests of those operating in the markets. Continue reading

The environmental policies of the US Presidential candidates

The election of the President of the United States of America is the most important event that will take place this year. The United States is the world’s most powerful and influential country. Its leader, subject to the checks and balances of the United States Constitution provides leadership. Although the President cannot put all of his ideas into law, he (or she) will be able to direct policy which will not only affect Americans but also affect the whole world. Continue reading