Category Archives: Updates

No end of bad news

The IPCC has issued a new warning about how we have a stark and immediate choice between abandoning fossil fuels or dangerously destabilizing the Earth’s climate.

If anything, we seem less well prepared than ever to respond. Instead of a brave experiment in cooperation and moving beyond narrow notions of national sovereignty, the EU is fracturing into bickering sub units. The United States is run by incompetents. Canada’s government is scrupulously committed to fighting climate change, just as long as that doesn’t actually require reducing domestic or global GHG pollution. And meanwhile Indian and Chinese fossil fuel demand keeps galloping upward.

There’s the increasingly abstract hope that as global conditions continue to worsen somehow governments will get seriously, and then there is the sealed envelope hope/fear that we will contain the worst via geoengineering.

One year of BuryCoal

It seems amazing, but it has now been a year since I set up BuryCoal. I did so after reading James Hansen’s book Storms of My Grandchildren: The Truth About the Coming Climate Catastrophe and Our Last Chance to Save Humanity. If Hansen is right, it may well be one of the most important books ever written. Slowly, at least some policy-makers are becoming aware of the risk posed by runaway climate change.

This site hasn’t yet necessarily attracted as many regular contributors as I initially hoped, but I have a huge amount of appreciation for everyone who contributed: especially Tristan. He put up far more posts than any other contributor and put up with an endless amount of tiresome disagreement from me.

The percentage is absurd since we only had one day of traffic before February 17th, 2010, but here is an amusing screen grab regardless:

Thanks to everyone who contributed, read, commented, responded, ‘Liked’ on Facebook, tweeted, etc.

A new strategy: direct email

During the last couple of years, I have been writing letters to the editors of newspapers and magazines that publish misleading or incorrect articles about climate change. For the most part, they don’t end up getting printed. Still, it is sensible to hope that they get into the hands of editors and sometimes the authors of the original pieces.

At the same time, we now live in an age where may people have email addresses that are either public or easy to guess. We can take advantage of that by directly contacting people who write problematic articles, and then engaging them directly in debate. If we are lucky, some of them will agree to let us publish the back-and-forth, as Nobel Prize winner Robert Laughlin has done.

I see several advantages to this approach:

  • It gives us a lot more space to make arguments and raise evidence than can be had in a letter to the editor
  • It provides a resource to those seeking information on climate change science and policy
  • It provides specific information on the viewpoints of individuals who are sufficiently well-connected to have their articles published
  • Ultimately, it may allow us to draw more attention to the idea of leaving most of the world’s remaning fossil fuels buried, to prevent dangerous climate change

I have already kicked off the new approach by writing to Colin Robertson. Naturally, I will continue to write letters to the editor and pursue other strategies to raise awareness about climate change and to try and encourage the development and implementation of sound climate change policies.

Now on Twitter

In the ongoing quest for eyeballs, there is now a new way to follow updates from

The feed will be updated when new content goes onto the site, for the benefit of readers who prefer to keep track of things that way. It won’t necessarily be every post that goes there, but I am hoping it will be a way to spread awareness of some more interesting or important ones.


By default, WordPress creates Really Simple Syndication (RSS) feeds that can be checked in an automated way using tools like BlogLines or Google Reader. BuryCoal has feeds for posts and comments.


There is also a Facebook page.