Things were looking pretty sunny for alternative energy sources back in 2005. Though still resisted by conservative politicians and allied voters, human-caused climate change was accepted as fact by the vast majority of scientists, many business leaders, and even the Pentagon. Energy security was a major concern for the armed services, given that U.S. troops were fighting and dying in Iraq, home to the world’s fifth largest reserve of oil—the substance that America was “addicted to,” according to President (and former oil man) George W. Bush.
Richard Muller is a Berkeley physics professor, senior scientist at Berkeley Lab, and founder of the group Berkeley Earth, a non-profit established to systematically address the concerns of climate change skeptics. (Muller considers himself a converted skeptic.) He is the author of numerous books including The Instant Physicist and most recently Now: The Physics of Time.
Posted on October 31, 2017 - 1:19pm
Editors’ Note: The Summer 2014 issue of California magazine is called “This is the End.” Every day this week: a different catastrophic scenario.
It started with a flash.
At a few minutes past 9:00, one crystalline morning last February, a burst of light brighter than 30 suns illuminated Chelyabinsk, Russia, a southern industrial city known mostly for making tractors. Thanks to smartphones, surveillance cameras, and Russian auto-dash cams, we have a voluminous record of what happened next.
Bad news keeps leaking from Japan’s tsunami-damaged Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant—literally leaking, as in 400 tons of highly radioactive water a day. Or it may be more than that. No one is really sure. The squabbles between the plant’s operator, the Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO), and Japan’s nuclear regulators are further obfuscating the issue.
Posted on September 6, 2013 - 4:40pm