James Hansen, an atmospheric scientist and the director of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies, has long been the most prominent scientific advocate of the catastrophic global-warming theory. However, on June 23, Dr. Hansen took an unprecedented step to turn up the volume on his message: speaking before the House Select Committee for Energy Independence and Climate Change, he called for the chief executives of large fossil-fuel companies to be put on trial for “high crimes against humanity and nature,” accusing them of actively spreading doubt about global warming in the same way that tobacco companies allegedly tried to hide the connection between smoking and cancer.
A nuclear power plant is arguably the most extraordinary product of engineering and scientific know-how in the history of mankind. Once every 18 months or so, a truckload of metal is delivered to the nuclear plant. The metal is uranium, which has been processed to increase the proportion of the isotope known as Uranium-235. This fuel for the power plant is not dangerous and can be held in one’s hands without risk. Only a few decades ago, its primary use was to impart an orange color to ceramics such as Fiestaware.
In early March a sign in front of a Citgo station read Regular/Unleaded: $3.19 per gallon, and I told my companion, “That’s absurd! Why would anyone buy gas there?” We’d just left a “cut-rate” station where it cost “only” $2.98 per gallon.
The high price of oil has caused those responsible for energy generation to think increasingly about coal as a fuel source, mainly because our nation’s coal reserves are much more abundant than our supplies of petroleum. However, fears of the byproducts of burning coal, most notably the emission of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, have many people worried.
Secretary of the Interior Dirk Kempthorne announced at a May 14 press conference that he is accepting the recommendation of U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Director Dale Hall to list the polar bear as a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act.