Chem Links, November 4: Mapping Climate Change
2:47 PM MST | November 4, 2009 | By VINCENT VALK
Chem Links is our weekly round-up of stories and links from around the web related, in some way, to the chemical industry. If you have any suggestions, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Met Office, the UK government's meteorological service, has created a nifty (and sort of frightening) map showing some of the localized impacts of a 4 degree Celsius rise in global average temperature. In case you're wondering, the eastern half of the U.S. would see some of the biggest temperature increases – the hottest days could be as much as 12 degrees Celsius (that's 22 degrees Fahrenheit) hotter. Over 150 million people, mostly in Asia, would be vulnerable to severe flooding due to sea-level rises. Most of the permafrost in Siberia would disappear. The Amazon might disappear, too. It's not pretty. (UK Met Office)
Have a favorite element? You will after listening to the Royal Society of Chemistry's weekly podcasts on the periodic table. The entire table hasn't been covered yet, but it will be, and all past podcasts are available on the site. (Royal Society of Chemistry)
Expectations for December's Copenhagen climate talks have come down quite a bit lately. Michael Levi of the Council on Foreign Relations says that's probably realistic – and that it's not much more realistic to expect a major agreement in 2010. Rather, nations and negotiators should probably rethink things and adopt a more incremental strategy. (Foreign Affairs; free registration required)
In May, WalMart introduced GreenWERCS, an algorithm designed to develop a 'score' measuring the chemical toxicity products on the store's shelves. The algorithm is meant to encourage greener chemistry – here's a quick rundown of how it works, and here's a discussion of some problems with the approach. (GreenBiz and TreeHugger)
Did you know that plastic was called Parkesine when it was invented in the 1860s? Inventor Alexander Parkes (hence the name) failed to mass-market the stuff, but in the decades to come it would revolutionize our lives, as this timeline illustrates. (NPR)