Articles by Erasmus K. zu Ermgassen
February 12, 2010
One hundred species will go extinct today. Another hundred tomorrow, and a further hundred the day after that. We lose roughly one hundred species of plants and animals every single day, and it’s all your fault.
November 24, 2009
On December 7, world leaders will descend on Copenhagen for the United Nations Climate Change Conference to determine the future of planet Earth. Or at least they should. So far only 65 national leaders have actually committed to attending the talks. Notable absentees include president Hu Jintao of China and Barack Obama. These politicians, by waiting until the last moment to commit to attending the conference, hope to be portrayed in the media as the saviors of the planet, as the deal clinchers for a sustainable future. Unfortunately, they will be disappointed. Not only will the world not be saved in Copenhagen, because there will not be a treaty to sign, but also there is only one man who can truly salvage the process and play the hero: Barack Obama.
November 10, 2009
“We need more research!” This was the rallying call of climate scientist and MIT alum David Keith ’91 at the Geoengineering Symposium held at MIT just over a week ago. This is, of course, the scientist’s traditional response when challenged, but when considering research in geoengineering, the risk is that we may be damned if we do and damned if we don’t.
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October 13, 2009
Theodore Roosevelt became the first U.S. president to be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for negotiating the end of the 1904 Russo-Japanese war, in which 130,000 people died. Woodrow Wilson was similarly rewarded for his role in founding the League of Nations in 1919. Now, Barack Obama has become the third president of the U.S. to be awarded the Nobel peace prize — for his “extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples.” Spot the difference? Roosevelt and Wilson actually did something constructive (or prevented the destructive), but Obama has been applauded for his “efforts” — precisely because he hasn’t actually done anything yet.