Britons Less Concerned About Climate Change Than Any Other Nation

pewBritish people are less concerned than any other nationality about the risk they face from climate change, according to a survey ahead of negotiations on a global deal on emissions next month. Only 46 per cent of British people believe climate change will harm them personally in their lifetime, far below the global average of 72 per cent. The British are also less likely than most other major countries to agree with the statement that “global climate change is a very serious problem”. –Ben Webster, The Times, 12 November 2015

Acidic water may be a sign of healthy corals, says a new study, muddying the waters still further on our understanding of how coral reefs might react to climate change. Andreas Andersson of the Scripps Institution of Oceanography in San Diego, California, and his colleagues carefully monitored a coral reef in Bermuda for five years, and found that spikes in acidity were linked to increased reef growth. “At first we were really puzzled by this,” says Andersson. “It’s completely the opposite to what we would expect in an ocean-acidification scenario.” –Michael Slezak, New Scientist, 9 November 2015

The world’s first trillionaires will grow rich by mining asteroids. So say those who can see a future when humans call more than one planet home. Now, legislation just passed by Congress has brought that far-off suggestion a step closer to reality by granting US companies “finders, keepers” rights to natural resources obtained in space. That includes, perhaps, trillions of dollars-worth of platinum, gold, silver, iron, zinc, cobalt ‚Äì and the main prize, water. By creating space-borne fuel depots, spacecraft would no longer be single-use vehicles but could be sent into action again and again on missions of discovery. Over the longer-term, resources such as platinum could be extracted and brought back to Earth. –Jacqui Goddard, The Times, 12 November 2015

John Kerry, US secretary of state, has warned that December’s Paris climate change talks will not deliver a “treaty” that legally requires countries to cut their carbon emissions, exposing international divisions over how to enforce a deal. The EU and other countries have long argued that the accord due to be reached next month should be an “international treaty” with legally binding measures to cut emissions. But in an interview with the Financial Times, Mr Kerry stressed there were “not going to be legally binding reduction targets like Kyoto”, a reference to the 1997 Kyoto protocol, a UN climate treaty that had targets for cutting emissions that countries ratifying it were legally obliged to meet. –Demetri Sevastopulo and Pilita Clark, Financial Times, 12 November 2015

E.on, Germany’s largest electric power producer, announced that it had lost over 7 billion euros in the 3rd quarter, reports Germany’s flagship news magazine Der Spiegel. Germany’s Energiewende, transition to renewable energies, which mandates power companies buy up solar, wind and other green energies at exorbitant prices, and even when they are not needed, continues to rapidly erode the German base-power production. Tens of thousands of once high-paying industrial jobs are now in serious jeopardy. It’s a real pity. Germany’s power companies used to be solid, high tech companies that delivered the most stable and efficient power in the world. Now they are literally being gutted alive before our very eyes. The country is setting itself up for some terrible times, and doing so fast. –Pierre Gosselin, No Tricks Zone, 11 November 2015

When we speak about the ever-expanding chasm that defines modern American politics, we usually focus on cultural issues such as gay marriage, race, or religion. But as often has been the case throughout our history, the biggest source of division may be largely economic. Today we see a growing conflict between the economy that produces consumable, tangible goods and another economy, now ascendant, that deals largely in the intangible world of media, software, and entertainment. Like the old divide between the agrarian South and the industrial North before the Civil War, this threatens to become what President Lincoln’s Secretary of State, William Seward, defined as an “irrepressible conflict.” –Joel Kotkin, The Daily Beast, 8 November 2015