Environmental Studies

Jenny Diski: On Babyface

Jenny Diski— The great advantage over real live creatures that my Three Bears had in common with Walt Disney’s Mickey Mouse, aside from not needing to be fed or produce droppings, was neoteny. Mickey and my ursine family looked only glancingly like a mouse or brown bears, and much more like babies.

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“It’s the Climate, Stupid.”

Geoffrey Parker— Once upon a time, climate change was a hot topic. In 1979 the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), the United Nations Environment Programme, the National Science Foundation, the Ford Foundation and the Rockefeller Foundation paid for 250 historians, geographers, archaeologists and climatologists from thirty countries to share their expertise

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Why Oil Prices May Go on Falling – Forever

Dieter Helm— When the Saudis decided to draw a halt to the great shale oil boom in the United States at the end of 2014, they thought they could administer a short, sharp shock of lower prices that would kill off this threat, and then the market would rebalance again

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Finding the Future of Environmentalism in its Past

Benjamin Heber Johnson— Most environmental protections are predicated on the use of state power. When Americans feared that a species would soon be pushed over the brink of extinction, they passed laws forbidding or limiting hunting it; when they valued an area for the serene majesty of its old-growth timber,

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An Arboreal Meditation

Fiona Stafford— In spring, you can feel life stirring in the barest twigs and the silhouetted catkins look as if a diminutive duck has run across the sky. One day the twigs are just beginning to thicken and brighten and bulge; by the next they are covered in pincer-paired leaves

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Eclipses and the Lessons of History

Anthony Aveni— “Celestial source of life and light on earth! What envious rival intercepts thy rays? Dares thy own satellite intercepts thy blaze, Or stay thy stream of empyrean birth?…”   The first four lines of a sonnet “tweeted out” by the sixth president of the United States, John Quincy

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Decarbonization and the Fossil Fuels – What Happens Next?

Dieter Helm— The simple answer is that if Paris is the best we can do to decarbonize the global energy system, the companies can relax and carry on as usual. Paris keeps the climate change bureaucracy in business, and the UN in the game, but it emphatically does not do

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Digitalization: The Deadly Threat to Fossil Fuels

Dieter Helm— Decarbonization should eventually bring about the end of fossil fuels, but they face a much more immediate threat. That threat is digitalization. Everything digital is electric. The future of energy is therefore electric too. Whilst there are some people who think that the impact of the communications revolution

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Trump Gets Lucky on Energy

Dieter Helm— The Trump narrative on energy is, like his on manufacturing, full of holes. But this might not matter much. What is going on in the oil and gas markets, and what is going on in the US, may produce results for which he can claim the credit, even

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The Joys of Being a Natural History Artist

Debby Kaspari— I’m a natural history artist, and try to draw and paint from living animals whenever possible. Some of what I do in the field might turn out to be finished art, and some of it will become raw material for studio works. But making the art is only

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