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Richard Black, Environment correspondent

Richard Black Former environment correspondent

Richard is no longer with the BBC but we've left his page for reference

Farewell and thanks for reading

31 August 2012

This is my last entry for this page - I'm leaving the BBC to work, initially, on ocean conservation issues.

While this page will no longer be updated, it will stay here for reference.

I hope you've enjoyed reading my blog down the years - I've enjoyed writing it, and have appreciated your comments.

To keep up to date with news and views about the environment, I hope you'll keep reading the science and environment pages of the BBC News website, the thoughts of my successor Matt McGrath, and my science correspondent colleagues Jonathan Amos and David Shukman.

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Geoengineering: Risks and benefits

24 August 2012
Model cloud whitening ship
Cloud-whitening - geoengineering, or not?

Few issues arouse as much controversy in environmental circles these days as geoengineering - "technical fixes" to tackle climate change, by sucking carbon dioxide from the air or by reducing the amount of sunlight hitting the Earth.

And here's why.

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Climate: 2C or not 2C?

9 August 2012
Anti-climate tax protestor
Climate "sceptics" are making it hard for the US and other governments to progress

Comments by the US climate envoy last week discussing the value of the 2C target in international climate change negotiations have provoked quite a response.

Todd Stern, who leads the US negotiating team in the UN climate convention (UNFCCC) and performed the same role at the recent Rio+20 summit, told an audience at Dartmouth College that insisting on the target in negotiations would lead to "deadlock".

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Climate science and acts of creation

6 August 2012
James Hansen
Prof Hansen argues climate change is "loading the dice" of extreme weather

The role of formal scientific processes in climate science appear to be under threat as never before.

Last year, physicist Prof Richard Muller and colleagues published - in the sense of posting material on their website - results from a new project analysing the Earth's temperature record.

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Rio revisited: Glass half-full?

Dilma Rousseff speaking in Rio
Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff attended a very successful summit

A couple of weeks back I chaired a debate at Chatham House, the London-based think tank, on a question that I'd been asking myself for a while.

Rio+20: Green Growth or Greenwash? was the title.

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'ClimateGate': Case closed?

Prof Edward Acton, UEA vice chancellor, and detective chief superintendent Julian Gregory of Norfolk Constabulary
Prof Edward Acton, UEA vice chancellor, and detective chief superintendent Julian Gregory of Norfolk Constabulary

Will we ever know who hacked the "ClimateGate" files, and why?

Probably not, judging by the insights gained by the Norfolk police force during their two-and-a-half-year investigation, which they've just closed.

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Fukushima's disease risk: A major fallout?

Children playing in waves
Nakoso beach, 65km south of Fukushima Daiichi, opened for holidaymaking this week

What claims to be (and indeed appears to be) the first formal attempt to calculate numbers of cancer cases and deaths resulting from the Fukushima nuclear accident has just been published.

The Energy and Environmental Science journal paper calculates that total deaths will lie in the range 15-1,300, while cases will number 24-2,500.

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Whaling moves beyond the harpoon

The baiji or Yangtze River dolphin
The baiji, or Yangtse River dolphin, is thought by experts to have died out

The most common question I get asked after International Whaling Commission (IWC) meetings is simple: "What did it do for whales?"

Often, the answer has been: "very little". But at this year's meeting in Panama City, things were a little different.

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Whales snared in ocean debris

A whale entangled in a shark net off Australia's Gold Coast

How many whales are snared and killed by fishing gear and ocean debris each year? No-one knows for sure - but the number entangled is probably huge, and the number dying significant.

Over the past few years, the International Whaling Commission (IWC) has been starting to address this issue more seriously than before.

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South Korea's whaling: Faux and cons

Activists protest at the IWC in Panama City
Activists protest at the IWC in Panama City

This is the eighth meeting of the International Whaling Commission (IWC) that I've covered; so I'm always a bit chary of the possibility that over time I've become a more grumpy, wizened, curmudgeonly old cynic than the organisation's politics might merit.

So it's been refreshing to chat with a few first-timers this year - and confirmatory that some of them, after just three days of what's been a functional meeting by recent standards, already find the waters of hypocrisy and selective memory running deep and strong.

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More Correspondents

  • Matt McGrath Matt McGrath Environment correspondent

    Updates on emerging environmental news


  • David Shukman David Shukman Science editor

    My perspective on the science issues of the day


  • Jonathan Amos, Science correspondent Jonathan Amos Science correspondent

    UK and European space and the latest major science stories


About Richard

Richard produced and presented science and environment programmes for BBC World Service prior to becoming a news correspondent.

He regularly covered major environment conferences such as the UN climate summits in Copenhagen and Cancun and the UN biodiversity summit in Nagoya in 2010, and recently made radio documentary series on forests, whaling and fisheries.

The environment correspondent is now Matt McGarth.

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