The Day the Dinosaurs Died

by Douglas Preston, April 8, 2019 in TheNewYorker


One of the central mysteries of paleontology is the so-called “three-­metre problem.” In a century and a half of assiduous searching, almost no dinosaur remains have been found in the layers three metres, or about nine feet, below the KT boundary, a depth representing many thousands of years. Consequently, numerous paleontologists have argued that the dinosaurs were on the way to extinction long before the asteroid struck, owing perhaps to the volcanic eruptions and climate change. Other scientists have countered that the three-metre problem merely reflects how hard it is to find fossils. Sooner or later, they’ve contended, a scientist will discover dinosaurs much closer to the moment of destruction.

Locked in the KT boundary are the answers to our questions about one of the most significant events in the history of life on the planet. If one looks at the Earth as a kind of living organism, as many biologists do, you could say that it was shot by a bullet and almost died. Deciphering what happened on the day of destruction is crucial not only to solving the three-­metre problem but also to explaining our own genesis as a species.

Methane warming exaggerated by 400%

by Barry Brill, March 30, 2019 in WUWT

The IPCC’s AR5 estimated the global warming caused by a tonne of livestock methane would be 28 times that of a tonne of carbon dioxide. New research destroys that estimate.

The war on meat has been gathering pace amongst our Western elites. The Economist makes a detailed case for “plant-based food” in the interests of quelling climate change –

The FAO calculates that cattle generate up to two-thirds of the greenhouse gases from livestock, and are the world’s fifth largest source of methane. If cows were a country, the United Herds of Earth would be the planet’s third largest greenhouse-gas emitter.

These calculations are based on figures supplied by the IPCC’s AR5, which contends that the global warming potential (GWP) of methane over 100 years is no less than 28 times the global warming it expects to be caused by an equivalent weight of carbon dioxide. This estimate is up from the GWP of 21 put forward in the IPCC’s previous report.

All this is now challenged by a new and authoritative research paper, Allen et al (2017): “A solution to the misrepresentations of CO2-equivalent emissions of short-lived climate pollutants, under ambitious mitigation”. This paper finds that conventional GWPs misrepresent the impact of short-lived gases (such as methane) on global temperature – and recommends the adoption of a new metric, denoted as GWP*.

New Coal Power Projects Declining In India?

by P. Homewood, March 30, 2019 in NotaLotofPeopleKnowThat

Anybody expecting that retirements will start outstripping new builds soon will be severely disappointed however.

As we know, the UK has already shut many coal plants, and the ones left are generating very little power. Other EU nations are following suit, so there will soon be little scope for further retirements.

Meanwhile Germany and several eastern European countries, such as Poland have no intention of moving away from coal for many years to come.

In the US, coal power generation has fallen by 39% in the last decade, principally due to low gas prices. It now only accounts for 13% of global coal generation.

Worldwide, there is 574 GW of coal power in the pipeline, including 281 GW outside of China and India. Whatever the US and EU do will scarcely make a dent in that lot.