Extinction Aversion 1214


Man made climate change has appeared to me for three decades to be sufficiently proven, and it has that cardinal virtue of a scientific hypothesis, you can see the things which it predicts will happen, come to pass before your eyes, like being uncomfortably hot in your Edinburgh flat on Easter Monday.

Direct action of the illegal kind is a very important weapon in the arsenal of protest. It represents a challenge to the state’s monopoly of force. While it may appear non-violent, in fact by imposing your body into a space and blocking it off, that is an assertion of physical force. What the Extinction Rebellion protests showed this week was the reticence of the Metropolitan Police in dealing with nice, middle class and largely white protestors. That reticence is to be welcomed; the fact that it is not extended to other groups is what is to be deplored. The alternative is to argue for everyone to get beaten up by Plod equally, which is not a sensible line to take.

I broadly support the Extinction Rebellion protest. In terms of gatecrashing climate change on to the political agenda, they have had a good and entirely necessary effect. Their use of what was in effect force, certainly did some harm in restricting the movement of people around London, and in some cases will have impacted the ability of struggling people to earn their living. It also disrupted public transport systems which are a good thing. But these are minor items if you accept that climate change is whirling its way to becoming an existential threat – and that is a premise which I do accept. The disruption is outweighed by the intent to do a much greater good, in terms of the justification of the people doing the protesting. Whether it succeeds in prompting real action by government and achieving a balance of good, is a different question. I fear we have to get rid of the Tories first.

I accept that climate change is a worldwide phenomenon and action in individual states of limited utility. But individual states can inspire by example, not least by showing that a switch to a greener economy can lead to a major stimulation of economic growth. I do not pretend to expertise in green economics. What follows are rather some homely policy nostrums which I believe should form a part of a coherent approach to green policy.

1) Home Insulation

The Tory Government has effectively abandoned and cancelled home insulation schemes; in effect nothing whatsoever is happening. Yet the government’s own plan to reach committed emissions targets by 2050 explicitly depends on one third of all savings being achieved by insulation in Britain’s existing stock of over 20 million very poorly insulated homes.

There is the clearest case here for government action. The aim should be to upgrade 4 million homes a year. Full funding should be provided to local authorities and housing associations for their stock. Householders should face a legal obligation to bring home insulation up to high defined standards – with generous means-tested grants available from central government funds, which should meet 100% of the cost for all those in straitened circumstances, and a decreasing percentage thereafter based on income and wealth. Private landlords should be forced to comply and self-fund up to the value of four months’ rent, with grants available for higher costs. Failure to comply should lead to the landlords’ property being confiscated by the local council, with tenancies protected.

Those are the broad outlines of a policy which would provide massive employment and contribute to a major Keynesian boost for an economy crippled by years of austerity, as well as make a major difference to emissions.

2) Ocean Energy

Wind energy has made massive strides, and to a lesser extent solar and hydro. But disappointingly little has been done to harness the restless energy of the seas. Government support for research programmes into utilising wave and current energy is pitifully small, given the potentially vast and reliable energy resource available, to the UK in particular.

On tidal energy, those objecting to the Severn or Wash barrage schemes on the grounds of effect on wildlife habitat are failing spectacularly to see the wood for the trees. Of course biodiversity is massively important, but we are fighting a battle in which some resources will need to be sacrificed. The Severn, Wash and Swansea Bay schemes do not require substantial technological innovation – they are basically just low head hydro – and should be pushed ahead as urgent projects. Simultaneously major research funding should be given to innovation. I suspect the harnessing of currents rather than waves would be the first to fruition.

3) Aviation Fuel Tax

Cheap flights are the opiate of the people. I cannot buy in to the argument that aviation fuel tax is only viable if everybody does it. Planes landing can very easily be taxed on any fuel they have in their fuel tanks brought in from third countries. If hub passengers transiting are reduced in favour of fuel tax free destinations, I cannot see that as a bad thing. An aviation hub is a particularly undesirable thing to become, from any sensible environmental view.

Flying is a major contributor to pollution and there is far too much of it. The tax free fuel status that makes flights cheaper than trains is ludicrous. Aviation fuel should be taxed at the same levels per calorific value as road fuels.

4) Expand Rail Networks

Nationalisation and re-integration is of course the sensible prelude to any development of rail transport. The UK is chronically behind most of the developed, and even much of the developing, world in terms of high speed rail lines. This needs to be rectified as does the chronic over-concentration of transport resource on South East England. HS2 should run on to Aberdeen and Inverness, not just be confined to the southern third of the UK.

On a wider note, with demand for rail transport buoyant, re-establishment of many Beeching axed lines should be undertaken with a view to a simple containerised nationwide freight distribution system as well as passenger transport. Rail is far more energy efficient than road. The preponderance of road transport is simply the result of perverse incentive from government policy.

Light rail and tram systems should be expanded in cities. Here in Edinburgh, the poor planning and execution of the start of a tram system should not put us off. Trams should be a local service, not fast and stopping frequently, but rather akin to buses, as in Manchester. They should not be confused as in Edinburgh with an express airport service, with very few and inaccessible stops.

5) Encourage Micro-Generation: Abolish Nuclear

The UK had an immensely successful programme of encouraging domestic solar generation through feed in tariffs, so the Tories cut it, as they cut the less successful insulation grants. Generous feed-in tariffs for domestic generation should be rebooted, while technologies such as heat pumps and exchangers should be zero rated for VAT (as should bicycles).

By contrast, the massively expensive nuclear power projects should be scrapped immediately. I lived almost all my adult life under the impression nuclear energy involved some fiendishly clever technology, until I realised it generates from bog standard steam turbines, and the nuclear part is simply a ludicrously complicated, incredibly expensive and devastatingly dangerous way to – boil water.

The real attraction to governments of nuclear power is the precise reason governments dislike micro-generation – nuclear power promotes a massively centralised security state, and links in well to weaponisation. It is the most expensive electricity of all, and should be immediately closed down.

The above represent my own thoughts on possible short term policy responses to climate change. I acknowledge quite freely that it is not my area of expertise and is perhaps insufficiently radical, and certainly insufficiently broad and detailed. It has however focused my mind on the great economic stimulus that can be gained from wholesale pursuit of the necessary technologies at the government level.

I have deliberately concentrated on unilateral measures rather than international negotiation, because I am sceptical there is sufficient will for progress on the latter or that governments around the world intend to stick to commitments. I have viewed it from a UK not a Scottish perspective because action is required immediately, and Scotland starts from a much better place anyway.

That I am thinking on this at all is in a way evidence that Extinction Rebellion achieved their aim from their immediate action, though it is those in power they seek to influence, not random bloggers. I am very sceptical of their declared desire to “negotiate with government”. If David Cameron were still in power, he would undoubtedly “hug a swampie” and make all kinds of green noises, then continue shutting down environmental programmes. Those around Theresa May are quite clever enough to recommend such an approach, as a potential Tory rescuing image as the party otherwise crashes to electoral disaster.

I would recommend Extinction Rebellion to keep blocking the roads and stay clear of the politicians. If they could refine their tactics to concentrate more on direct action against the big polluters and their financial backers, and move away from shocking the public through inconvenience, that might be tactically good for a while. But on the whole, I applaud. Vigorously.


1,214 thoughts on “Extinction Aversion

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  • Vivian O'Blivion

    There is very limited scope for further, retrofitting of insulation to the existing housing stock. Replacement of historic, sandstone houses and tenements with new build to modern standards in our cities will not be palatable to the public. Better to phase out gas central heating boilers faster than currently planned. If all the low hanging fruit has been harvested in the housing sector best to move on to transportation.
    Renewable energy storage capacity needs to be prioritised. Fortunately storage technologies are either mature or relatively simple requiring only to be upscaled.

  • Hmmm

    Nice how everyone avoids the elephant in the room…
    We need a MEAT TAX.
    Farming produces the largest volumes of greenhouse gases. Totally unnecessary and rapidly reversed.
    If you’re still eating meat you have zero credibility in this debate.

    • glenn_nl

      Excellent point. Agree 100%.

      Another major point not addressed is having children – is anyone stupid enough to think that having large families is a sustainable approach? Do mass breeders not care about the excessive burden they are inflicting on the environment? I don’t imagine this point is much of a vote-winner, however.

    • flatulence

      yum, elephant.

      While you two are at it, you ought to stop breathing, you evil carbon producers. And your hemp keyboards are continuously going up in flames so please subtract that from some of your smug.

      • glenn_nl

        An idiotic point, which is sadly all too common. Because someone isn’t perfect, they’re not allowed to comment on obvious harm being done? Shame that this is your level of contribution to the most important issue life on Earth faces.

          • Deepgreenpuddock

            the flammable gas in flatulance is hydrogen, not Methane. The methane produced by cattle is actually ‘belched out’ and is produced by the microorganisms responsible for breaking down the grass/silage that the cattle eat.

        • Charles Bostock

          Glenn_nl

          Not having many children is a good point but one which should probably be addressed, as a matter or urgency, to African and the Indian sub-continent (and possibly South American) countries.

          Birth rates in Europe (including Russia) and the US (except for certain groups) are barely at replacement levels.

          I hope you’re not going to call me a racist for saying this.

          • glenn_nl

            Actually it didn’t cross my mind to call you racist. While a person in a first world country (which, arguably, the UK still for the time being) unquestionably takes more resources than in some other country as you suggest, the rate of growth in the latter is so unsustainably massive it is a clear disaster in the making.

            Education (particularly of women) and the irradiation of blights like Catholic priests is probably the most immediate solution.

          • Applejack

            I fail to see the relevance of whether a population is at a level that is being maintained. It is per capita greenhouse gas emissions which are the issue for all nations, not that nations are relevant to climate change. Of course, population reduction would cause issues to the infinite growth models of economics we have, but that is the nub of the problem.

            The only way population control would be a fair if not viable option is if it were on an individual level. Set the fertility limit inversely relative to an individual’s emissions. That way the benign section of the human population would not need to be administered to.

          • Republicofscotland

            Oh Charles, ever since Watt came up with his steam condenser and pushed the Industrial revolution into full swing, the Wests and Europes for that matter carbon footprint has been much higher than that of developing countries.

            Only now in the last part of the 20th and the beginning of the 21st century are they catching up.

            However you do have a point that if they continue to pursue the Western (present) life style, parts of which are detrimental to our planet then yes they to will, need to change.

          • Rowan Berkeley

            @RoS: ” if they continue to pursue the Western (present) life style, parts of which are detrimental to our planet then yes they to will, need to change.”

            Or else what will you do?

          • Republicofscotland

            Rowan.

            Not quite sure of the context of your poser, the or else bit comes across as though you expect them to be threatened in some way.

          • Alyson

            Abortion on demand should be universally available. Too many women are giving birth to more children than they chose to have

          • Rowan Berkeley

            @RoS “the or else bit comes across as though you expect them to be threatened in some way.” Indeed. It seems to me that Green occupation regimes imposed by the virtuous West would be the only answer to the question of: or else what.

          • Mary Pau!

            And to the Middle East. Having large families (as well as multiple wives for rich men) is admired. And look at the birthrate in areas like Palestine.

        • flatulence

          You call my point idiotic, while going on to contradict your own… slow hand clap.

          • Applejack

            You’re going to have to explain the harm caused by a meat tax or reply is going to make as little sense as it seems to.

          • flatulence

            Well, my reply was to ‘Hmmm’ and then Glenn at 1347. My comment was more about the attitude of those who would naively slap a tax on everyone and dismiss any meat eaters from any dialogue or debate. Glenn then managed to call me an idiot and agree with me at the same time.

            To answer your query on a meat tax though, I’d say taxes such as this invariably and disproportionately punish the poor, and this wouldn’t tackle the real issues of sustainable, biodiverse, low carbon farming. If anything the ill thought out taxes would encourage more people to seek cheaper meat so encouraging lower standards worldwide and exacerbate issues, not just with the environment.

          • glenn_nl

            I don’t know if I agreed with your idiotic point at all, you misinterpreted. In any case, I didn’t call you an idiot.

            A meat tax wouldn’t have to be as big as you think – just stopping the massive taxpayer subsidy to the meat industry would put a serious dent in it. And stopping subsidies for these blasted sheep which devastate wildlife, and cost vast amounts to deal with, would also be very advantageous all round.

            Charging properly, for the amount of pollution and water animal farming takes, and not paying farmers from taxpayer money when their grossly reckless practices cause the likes of BSE and foot & mouth disease.

          • flatulence

            ‘Hmmm’ says “If you’re still eating meat you have zero credibility in this debate.”

            you agree. I call BS.

            You then ask “Because someone isn’t perfect, they’re not allowed to comment on obvious harm being done?”

            Which highlights my point perfectly, whether you understood my point or not.

            Your argument about the use of words idiot and idiotic are, I’m afraid to say, idiotic.

          • Applejack

            The possibility of lower standard meat would depend on Brexit. If it was considered appropriate for the sugar tax then there is no reason why it wouldn’t be for meat. In the same way if its going to affect people’s finances they are eating too much for their health.

            Seriously though, its a political issue about the ‘nanny state’ which is getting in the way, nothing else.

          • flatulence

            “if its going to affect people’s finances they are eating too much for their health”

            I think whoever says that, should be made to stand and say it in front of the millions who have been forced to use food banks.

      • Hmmm

        What was i saying about zero credibility?
        This is about choices. I could choose to stop breathing but then I wouldn’t be around to read your ever so witty comments…

      • Applejack

        I am aware of the possibility of sustainable meat. Given the changes needed to tackle climate change given our current society and agriculture system we need a meat tax, perhaps with some exemptions where meat production is integrated into other food production systems.

      • Hmmm

        You don’t have a choice being human but you do have a choice being stupid. You chose wrong.

        • Uzmark

          Hmmm calling people names or “stupid” does seem common in the anti-meat movement. Not getting proper nutrition does make people emotional. I could with some justification throw names like “useful idiot” back and there are an awful lot of you in this comments section who are dutifully accepting and amplifying a lot of BS on this bigger subject without question.

          • Hmmm

            I refer to my previous comment. You can choose to be better informed. It’s entirely up to you.

        • Uzmark

          Likewise I refer to my previous comment. Don’t blindly accept the BS…it sounds like you have some reading to do

    • Casual Observer

      Look up methane on wiki. It dont last long as a greenhouse gas in the atmosphere.

      So trying to enforce some form of veganism renders success unlikely, and the perception that the climate lobby are some sort of puritan cult that makes suggestions that are ill thought out.

      Remember the words of George Carlin, ‘The planet isn’t going anywhere, We are !’

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EjmtSkl53h4

      • glenn_nl

        it doesn’t last as long (maybe 10 years), but has an impact of 40 times the quantity of CO2. The real problem is if frozen methyl hydrates in the arctic tundra and under the sea floor escapes, which would make for a very rapid effect on atmospheric global warming. This is why the very significant warming of the arctic is such a problem.

        If you’re interested, here’s a scientist (a real one!) explaining the process: https://youtu.be/Hx0C6VV6szI

        Here’s a shorter version: https://youtu.be/5u47DfXMkVI

        • Casual Observer

          From: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atmospheric_methane

          Methane has a large effect but for a relatively brief period, having an estimated lifetime of 9.1 years in the atmosphere,[15] whereas carbon dioxide has a small effect for a long period, having an estimated lifetime of over 100 years.

          From memory I’d thought it in the region of 4 to 5 years, but hey, wiki is a moving feast 🙂

          Interestingly thats the first time I’ve seen the life estimation of CO2, and given the source its probably safe to say that they have erred on the liberal side. Its still comforting to know that all the stuff pumped out by Coalbrookdale at Night has now been written off the balance sheet.

        • nevermind

          its about seven years for methane to dissipate, acco0rding to my env. science friend.

      • Bill Thomson

        The current MSM backed drive for vegetarianism has probably more to do with ameliorating the impending risk of meat shortages and the attendant price hikes if swine fever gets out of control. Being vegan has morphed from rebellion to government policy but don’t be fooled into thinking that is because it’s good for you or the environment.

        • Hmmm

          No one is fooled. It is good for you and the environment. You may be correct about impending shortages but government haven’t pushed any veggie options.

  • Mark

    Craig,
    It seems your emotions have gotten the better of your critical thinking skills:

    “Man made climate change has appeared to me for three decades to be sufficiently proven”.

    Whilst man-made climate change may be plausible, I would argue that it is not for the reasons articulated by the protesters. Instead of focusing on CO2 from fossil fuels as responsible for an increase in global temperatures, attention would be better drawn to the root cause for these emissions – which is the ever expanding human population and its ever increasing consumption of the words resources. The solution to reducing CO2 emissions ought therefore to be the reduction, through education, of the worlds population and its consumer-waste lifestyle.

    And although man-made climate change may be plausible, it is not valid to claim it as sufficiently proven; as a time-line of three decades is far too short to extrapolate a conclusion. If you consider, for example, that the receding glaciers in Greenland have identified the presence of Viking farms from less than a thousand years ago; or that the deserts of Iran and Iraq have replaced the fertile lands, from several thousand years BC, of Persia and Mesopotamia; or the receding glaciers in Siberia have revealed fully preserved woolly-mammoths from ten-thousand yeas ago; it seems clear that climate change is a natural phenomenon that takes place regardless of human activity.

    • glenn_nl

      Agree with your point about population (noted in the comment just above yours, funnily enough, at almost exactly the same time).

      It’s hard to see how you have avoided noting the many gigatons of CO2 being put into the atmosphere annually by the burning of fossil fuels, which is cumulative, together with destruction of forests, have something to do with the fact that CO2 levels are about half as much again as they were before the industrial revolution. When millions of barrels of oil and tons of coal are burned daily, it doesn’t simply disappear without trace – it’s not just gone.

      The last time CO2 levels were this high, the planet was not suitable for human habitation. Yes, climate changes over time (which denialists will endlessly crow about, as if they had actually found an amazing fact that settles the entire issue). But a swing this momentous, in this short a geological period, is rather startling to say the least. Particularly when the events it causes somewhat lag behind CO2 increase – clearly we are in for some unprecedentedly trying times for humankind.

      • Mark

        I didn’t so much avoid the topic of existing CO2 levels, but regard it simply as a parameter that increases with population and energy consumption. Conversely fewer people, living a sustainable life-style, will reduce CO2 emission. Regardless of which route is taken, the planet will find its own equilibrium; and what ever that might be, people in future we will just have to adapt to accommodate. But one thing is for sure – fewer people squabbling over a diminishing number or resources seems a better prospect that the opposite.
        And as for Craig’s notion of throwing money at the problem – that would only make the situation worse given these funds would be created from government debt, which requires an expanding economy to service, which necessitate more people consuming more goods, which would then require more energy and produce more CO2.

        • J

          “Throwing money at” is a rather lazy and reactionary retort, not to mention obfuscatory. As much as $5.3 trillion annual subsidy thrown at fossil fuels for example.

          Population is certainly a large component of the problem but so are current economic models, the very debt model you point to as a barrier to any solution is an even larger part of the problem. See Modern Monetary Theory for example.

          • glenn_nl

            Mark Carney (Bank of England head) delivered a stark warning just last week about final risks from climate change, saying there would be $20 TRILLION worth of assets lost worldwide, by destroying infrastructure and property.

          • MArk

            On your first point of subsidies – a good solution is to remove all of these. Let the free market find the true price for energy, for without government subsidy you will see a dramatic reduction in energy consumption; and thereby reduce CO2 emissions.
            On your second point – do you actually understand MMT? If you did, you would know that it is a vehicle to expand government dept with continuous growth and consumption. Which is what I am arguing against.

        • nevermind

          We must mention here that the dissipation of CO2 depends on much of our activities here. Soils are increasingly washing down de-forested hillsides, increasing heat and a chaotic weather pattern makes for less rain in certain areas and increased fire risks, see California, Indonesia,etc.
          Soil scientists say that we have about some 60 to 100 harvests left in our chemically farmed landscapes, so the sooner we adopt crop rotation, permaculture, plant more tree and a limited animal husbandry, mainly to aid the fertility of our soils and crops, the better we will do with reducing carbon in the atmosphere.

    • J

      We’ve produced more carbon in the last thirty years than in the entire history of our species.

      “And although man-made climate change may be plausible, it is not valid to claim it as sufficiently proven” is entirely false even on your own terms, our carbon and methane emissions (and also water vapour, produced my most human activities) are produced in excess of and in addition to natural causes while natural absorption and sequestration processes have been curtailed by deforestation and absolutely must have some effect. The role of carbon in regulating temperature has been discussed for well over a century and while we can’t know anything with absolute certainty, the balance of probability alone urges the precautionary principle. It is the measurable speed of increase in temperature which is terrifying and correlates extremely closely with carbon levels.

      There’s no longer any credible argument for delay or further obfuscation.

      • Mark

        I think you may be confusing weather patterns with climate change.
        If you are interested in facts, opposed making an argument based on a belief system, check out the temperature and CO2 graphs from the Vostok ice-core samples. These show atmospheric data covering several hundred thousand years as repeating cycles, with each dominant cycle repeating over a period in excess of one-hundred thousand years. Within these these are repeating sub-cycles with duration in excess of 10,000 years, and numerous perturbation lasting hundreds or thousands of years. So to claim that current weather patterns are the result of man-made climate change, and the belief that this has been proven, is simply false based on factual evidence. It is however a hypothesis.
        But I do agree that caution is prudent – which is why tackling the ROOT CAUSE of CO2 emissions seems the obvious solution; as stated in my comment.

        • Applejack

          Yes, there have been changes in climate and average temperature over the millenia, but that doesn’t detract from the sharp spike at the end of the graph.

          You make interesting points about the futility of throwing money at the problem of climate change, but we seem to throw money at everything else so it also seems a bit selective. The choice between low carbon lifestyles and population reduction need not be binary and the assumption that is would be perverse. Not that in any way I support artificial population control, it seems the simplest yet most inhumane solution imaginable. Its primary allure to people on this comments section is that its such a bad idea that it implies all resistance to climate change is some kind of eco-fascist idealism and therefore to be rejected.

          As you describe it everything related to climate change in perverse and I’m not surprised you have such a strong reaction against it. However, while nothing is proven or disproved in science, including god, science finds the ‘sceptical’ view of anthropocentric climate change, wrong.

    • pretzelattack

      you might “argue”, but if you have a scientific contribution to make to refute settled science, by all means get it published. the fossil fuel companies will shower you with money, and you will likely win a nobel prize. otoh, you could just be another shill or ignoramous denying the science.

    • Alyson

      While climate change may be part of a natural cycle, and rising CO2 levels with it, we are trashing the planet like there is no tomorrow. Plastics are killing life in the oceans and the only way to address the continent sized gyre at the centre of the Pacific would be to get huge 3D printer ships out there to construct it into something more useful, like a floating continent which can be towed somewhere better. Cleaning up after ourselves is something all of us can do. Manufacturing should factor in decommissioning of everything from tee shirts to computers. China is building hydrogen fuelled buses. Germany has hydrogen fuelled trains. Palm oil is the fast track to extinction. Green diesel from palm oil is destroying the rain forest. Once the Amazon has been burnt to clear it for palm oil, the lungs of the earth will suffocate, the great rivers will stop flowing, the Gulf Stream will slow, and we are, quite frankly, all stuffed

  • John2o2o

    I thought I might add a little to what I said previously to illustrate a point Craig.

    You say that your “being uncomfortably hot in your Edinburgh flat on Easter Monday” was something which tends to confirm to you that man-made global warming is real. Okay, I recognise that it was a somewhat glib thing to say.

    And for those to adhere to this religion I should just say first of all that I sit on the fence when it comes to this matter. I am not saying that man-made global warming is not a genuine phenomenon. It may or may not be. But I don’t regard it as proven fact.

    Easter is a Christian movable feast. It occurs on different days each year. In 2015 it occurred on 5th April, 2016 on 27th March, 2017 on 16th April, 2018 on 1st April and this year, 2019 on 21st April.

    So, perhaps the reason that Easter this year seemed so much hotter than it did last year has something to do with the fact that Easter is three weeks later than it was last year and not just simply that it was a warm weekend. In fact Easter occurs between about 23rd March (2008) and 25th April so it is especially late this year.

    I’m just trying to illustrate here that the causes of particular phenomena may not always be what you initially think they are. The same applies to the concept of “man-made global warming”.

    If you buy into that concept then in my opinion perhaps the best you can for the planet is have less sex – if you are fertile. Because the ultimate cause of this is not human activity in itself, but the sheer weight of numbers of humans that we have on the planet at this time. If we were able to cut the numbers of people by a half in the next (say) fifty years then we will have halved the level of human consumption. Of course that’s not as sexy as glueing yourself to bridges in London.

    It’s not rocket science.

    • glenn_nl

      And the fact that February was incredibly warm, and that record temperatures are being set just about on an annual basis, doesn’t figure into your “rocket science” standard of analysis either.

      • Charles Bostock

        Incredibly warm in the UL or in Holland, Glenn? It certainly wasn’t incredibly warm where I was, quite the contrary in fact. So if I based myself on February temperatures where I was, I should have to conclude that we’re heaed for another ice age 🙂

      • Mark

        I concur with CB’s conclusion. If local weather is a threshold for discerning climate change, we are headed for another ice age.
        Here on the Texas Gulf Coat the weather this year has been unseasonably cold. And last year around Christmas it was below freezing, with the rain turning into to blanket of snow to the great detriment of my palm trees. Not quite the weather you expect in the sub-tropics.

        • glenn_nl

          Why do people insist on refuting points that are not being made? Nobody said local weather is a threshold for discerning climate change. John leapt on CM’s point about it being an exceptionally warm Easter bank holiday (as every single denier here eagerly did, give or take), saying (I paraphrase), “Oh – oh – but it was a really late Easter!”

          Rather than let him bask in smugness on that feeble point (which you certainly had nothing to say about), I pointed out that it happened to be an exceptionally hot late February too. A record for winter, no less.

          Indeed, five of the hottest March’s on record have occurred in the last five years. At some point, you might want to stop waving your arms around, saying “Local weather! Local weather – nothing to see here!” and pay attention to something pretty significant which is happening right under your nose.

          Nah, you won’t, of course. If it’s a cold event, though – even one caused by climate disruption – you bet your bottom dollar the denialists will all start cackling about how it’s a bit cold for global warming.

          • Charles Bostock

            One of the reasons why people might – I repeat; might – insist on refuting points that are not being made might be for the pleasure of seeing people like yourself get even hotter under the collar. You really shouldn’t, because hotter under the collar means even more global warming.

        • J

          Dandelions blooming on Christmas day for the last eight years in North West England is not a sign of Ice Age. Except in the fantasies of petroleum interests and obfuscationists.

  • Jones

    for anyone like myself with no scientific training it’s hard to know what to believe about man-made climate change, there are theories both for and against, climate has fluctuated dramatically ever since earth was formed the question is is the present situation a natural phenomena or man-made. I’m guessing the vast majority of people have probably done little in-depth scientific study and mostly rely on hearsay to form their opinions.

    regarding the Extinction Rebellion aims, change will only occur if a sitting government believes in cause or if there is sufficient public demand to force it, only if people’s lives are directly affected by climate change (most are not as yet) or if a campaign makes it socially unacceptable to deny it will there be sufficient numbers to make an unsupportive government take action (many people live by the pack syndrome fearing social isolation which is why propaganda often trumps truth).

    On a personal level i’m sick to death of how man has trashed our planet, clinging on to hope there is more awareness now than when i was young though, 60 years ago i was brought up next to one of the most polluted rivers in England which was devoid of all life and consisted of raw sewage and oil slicks, today fish swim in that same river so perhaps there is yet hope.

    • glenn_nl

      Fair enough – you’re not a scientist and no expert on climate change. But such people do – in fact – exist. Why aren’t you prepared to listen to them?

      I take it you didn’t decide to become an expert on, say, TCP/IP protocols before accepting that you can connect to other machines via the Internet.

      • Jones

        never said i don’t you twit ! i said it’s hard to know what to believe.

        i am open minded question things and listen to all sorts of people, i am sensible enough to know that people sometimes tell lies mislead or just innocently get things plain wrong, you suggest i should just believe what i’m told without question with a closed mind like your’s.

        • pretzelattack

          you think every major science organization “got it wrong” on climate change? why? what qualifies you to criticise the science?

          • Jones

            actually i haven’t said any scientific organization has got it wrong i said i don’t know who to believe, you appear too dumb to see the difference, neither have i criticized the science, i have said i have no scientific training however my independent mind qualifies me to look at both sides of the argument.

          • glenn_nl

            Jones: Since the genuine experts are in consensus, and only a few industrial-sponsored stooges and their useful idiots are saying otherwise, it’s hard to avoid the conclusion that -you- are not the twit, for expressing doubt as to which side to come down on. The evidence is there, it is not hidden. Follow it if you can be bothered, if not, recognise the utterly obvious for what it is.

            Maybe the verdict is still out on whether smoking is related to lung cancer, in your rather confused state as to just who are we supposed to believe? After all, there are bound to be a few bought-and-paid-for “scientists” still peddling the tobacco industry line.

            Sorry if you don’t like your own logic repeated back to you.

          • pretzelattack

            i see that you refer to climatologists as people who possibly got it wrong, so you throw your hands in the air and declare the subject is uncertain. who do you believe, all the major science organizations or the fossil fuel companies? and why?

  • Petrov

    Two things should be distinguished: climate change and man made climate change. The first is obvious and the second is in no way proven scientifically by any scientific standards. It’s not science, it’s pure politics.

    • Garth Carthy

      It’s not science, it’s pure politics. No it isn’t pure politics.
      How can you ignore the fact that there is an overwhelming consensus of opinion by climate scientists that man-made climate change is real?
      There IS pure politics involved but that is being promoted by the deniers and fossil fuel supporting lobbyists.

      • Petrov

        “An overwhelming consensus of opinion” is largely exaggerated. It’s a consesus of scientists that have got grants in order to “prove” the man made climate change. Whereas “politically incorrect” scientists tend to be not listened to. And they do not receive grants. The thing is, there’s no real scientific proof to the man made climate change, there’s only speculations. As of now, It’s the matter of belief, not the matter of science.

        • glenn_nl

          Utter tosh. The idea that governments are falling over themselves to throw cash at phony scientists who are just in it for the money is the exact opposite of the truth.

          The only so-called scientists who pump the denialist line are well paid stooges of the fossil fuel industry. Get real.

          • Petrov

            It’s a political trend that governments should follow. Or else. Of course, personally they don’t give a damn about climate change and it’s causes, they just follow the path of least resistance.
            And I don’t think this scientists are really “phony”. In the absence of the real scientific proof, they are free to speculate one way or another. Naturally, the majority of them choose to speculate in the more profitable way. They are human, after all.

          • pretzelattack

            governments are heavily influenced by fossil fuel corporations. the incentives are in the opposite direction to your claim.
            scientists don’t make much money from grants, if any. and yet scientists all over the world, of different ideologies, have made contributions to the science, and support it.

          • Petrov

            Governments and scientists are heavily influenced by crazy public opinion. Then they in turn contribute to that public opinion. It’s a chain reaction of craziness, that doesn’t need any scientific proof. It’s the same mechanism we see in the Skripal case. “The proof” is an obsolete concept now. We live in a postmodern world.
            By the way, there’s many real dangers to the mankind. The natural resources depletion is real. The pollution of the planet is real. Compared to all this, a hypothetical man made climat change is the least we should be worried about.

          • glenn_nl

            Petrov – I assume you were only born fairly recently. Governments spent many a long year vigorously denying there was any problem, and most of all, denying they should do anything about it.

            The US government distinguishes itself by having every last one of the ruling party being denialists.

            Yet you’re happy to promote the idea that these same governments have been paying lots of money to crooked scientists, in a whole-wide scam to promote a hoax, which concludes the exact opposite of what governments wanted to hear.

            It’s kind of tough to take this nonsense from you seriously.

          • Petrov

            glenn_nl. You assumption is wrong. I was born 64 years ago. And you don’t get my point. There are no “crooked scientists”, “whole-wide scam” or “hoax”. What we have here is mass madness. Whereas those people you call “denialists” are relatively sane.
            Of course, it’s possible that I may be wrong. But do you personally know about any solid evidence that the present climate change is caused by human activity? Or do you simply believe what “everybody” say.

        • pretzelattack

          evidence please, that the scientists are being “heavily influenced by public opinion” and doing bad science. i suspect you don’t have any solid evidence of that. you will probably quote some magazine from the 1970’s, or some site run by an ex tv weatherman.

          • Petrov

            Any human being is heavily influenced by public opinion. Scientists are human. It’s called “logic”. And I didn’t say that they are doing “bad science”. Maybe they are doing good science about climate change. But they definitely don’t have any solid evidence that this climate change is caused by human activity. They only speculate about that.

          • James Charles

            “The amount of warming caused by the anthropogenic increase in atmospheric CO2 may be one of the most misunderstood subjects in climate science. Many people think the anthropogenic warming can’t be quantified, many others think it must be an insignificant amount. However, climate scientists have indeed quantified the anthropogenic contribution to global warming using empirical observations and fundamental physical equations.”
            https://www.skepticalscience.com/empirical-evidence-for-co2-enhanced-greenhouse-effect-advanced.htm

  • Deepgreenpuddock

    I have a powerful sense here that many of the ‘pontiffiposts’ are made with reference to science by people who have not actually practiced science in any meaningful way.

  • Applejack

    The population argument has long been set aside by any serious thinkers. it is infeasible and unfair and its proposition is lazy and ever so 80’s. It assumes a low childhood mortality rate and that we all create equal emissions and as nations have equal culpability.

    While I type I realise there would be a way around these issues, set the fertility limit inversely relative to the individual’s emissions. One problem would be whether you round up or down the 1%’s 0.1 child fertility limit.

    • glenn_nl

      Haven’t we heard all this whataboutary and questioning the bleedin’ obvious before? Oh yes we have –

      https://www.imdb.com/title/tt3675568/

      “Merchants of Doubt” : A documentary that looks at pundits-for-hire who present themselves as scientific authorities as they speak about topics like toxic chemicals, pharmaceuticals and climate change.

  • Garth Carthy

    @Deepgreenpuddock
    “I have a powerful sense here that many of the ‘pontiffiposts’ are made with reference to science by people who have not actually practiced science in any meaningful way.”

    That’s why we should surely defer to the consensus of expert scientific opinion who aren’t in the pockets of the oil companies.
    The inescapable fact is that we need to clean up the planet and become more efficient with the earth’s resources regardless of the reasons for climate change. For the life of me, I can’t comprehend why there is so much stupidity among climate change deniers.

  • David Metcalfe

    HS2 is a flawed scheme. It does not connect with HS1. It should be cancelled now. Proper consultation on the the way forward should be actioned.

  • J

    One neglected aspect of the neo-liberal direction the world took was increased (and largely unnecessary) commuting prevalent in modern working practices. Many daily commuters in America regularly take one to three three connecting flights in their daily routine.

    By contrast only a decade or two ago a bright new future beckoned, with people potentially working (and travelling) fewer hours by remote working from home, the internet allowing us to meet by video conference and do much of the necessary work where we live.

    If we recall, Blackberry, the only end to end encrypted communications device available was an early and deliberate casualty of the The War Against Terror, which helped to necessitate face to face contact for all completely confidential communications among many other things. It’s clear that every impulse toward a better and more environmentally beneficial way of working has been thwarted by the current ideological drift.

  • Mary Pau!

    I particularly share Craig’s views on the pollution caused by air travel. But we should also look at the pollution caused by huge diesel trucks crossing Europe on unnecessay journeys.

    In the recent Tesco,/Aldi horsemeat lasagna row, it turned out that the horses used had probably come from the American racetrack, to a storage unit in Rotterdam, to be trucked to a processing plant in Romania (built with EU grants) then shipped back to Belgium storage, then trucked down to south west France, to be turned into lasagne in an EU subsidised factory, then trucked to Paris area to be labelled for UK market, then trucked into UK, then trucked round UK to supermarkets to be sold for what ? around £3 packet. All of this trucking done by large polluting diesels.

    And the final sale price must surely reflect large subsidies along the way, not to mention some sleight of hand with the documentation to conceal it was American horsemeat, which being race horses was probably linked full of drugs. ( I may have got one of two destinations mixed up, I am doing this from memory, but you get the jist.)

    • Republicofscotland

      MaryPau!

      Don’t forget the British Tories such as Jacob Rees-Mogg praising the fact that after Brexit we can import X amount of tonnes of Lamb from New Zealand.

      Another Tory Thatcher had the bright idea of importing coal all the way from Poland into the UK because it was cheaper.

      • Mary Pau!

        I am not a vegetarian and do not have any objections to organic horsemeat, as a form of recycling. What I object to is the pollution (,direct and indirect) and wasted energy caused by trucking all this stuff round Europe in these huge diesel lorries. And that the EU seems to be subsidising it.

        • Republicofscotland

          But its okay to ship it in from thousands of miles away in NZ, and the pollution and carbon emissions that entails getting it to Britain hmmm…..

          • Charles Bostock

            Mary Paul’s entirely reasonable objection is to the ridiculous carousel of dodgy meat in Europe, carried in very large and very polluting diesel trucks. She makes a very fair point in my opinion.

          • Tony

            The horsemeat Mary is discussing travelled thousands of miles AFTER it arrived from the USA, courtesy of EU shenanigans which covered it’s dodgy tracks. And people have the audacity to use the ‘chlorinated chicken’ and suchlike cards as an argument for remaining in the EU!

        • nevermind

          Yes Mary, you should be able to source your organic horse meat in Newmarket or some other horse mad region. If we have less international goods transport our reliance on local production and services would be paramount to politicians.

          As for our pets comment, Mary did not say anything derogatory or used the term dodgy meat in Europe, your deceptive reflections here are far more dodgy, desist.

          • Charles Bostock

            You mention something “Mary” said but I can find no post from anyone called “Mary” on any of these pages.

            I should like to check for myself the post to which you refer. By whom was it written?

  • Kim Sanders-Fisher

    A great start with putting together ideas to combat climate change. Rupert Read was on Daily Politics today pitching for the Extinction Rebellion protesters; you can bet that would not have occurred without the disruptions of the past week. I will forward this link to my friend Rupert who is actively involved in the Extinction Rebellion; the Greens have always been passionate about this issue. I have a couple of additions to make.

    So many people are talking about how Brexit is sucking up all the bandwidth, but we must not lose sight of the fact that, if the Tories force their style of Brexit on the UK, it will have a massively damaging impact seriously exacerbating climate change. If we ignore the market just across the channel to focus on those great trade deals from all over the world, the shipping and airfreight will skyrocket. No one is bothering to raise this issue as an argument against Brexit, but you can count on the Tories shopping around overseas for the dirt cheap deals from disadvantaged developing countries.

    You did not mention Fracking. Not an issue for the enlightened Scots, but we are still manning huge protests to get the Tories to ban Fracking in the UK. All too often I hear Tory ministers reeling off bogus statistics alluding to what they have accomplished while tormenting and persecuting us with years of austerity. The Tories need a serious “shame on you” reminder of how backward thinking it is to support Fracking.

    We used to have a lot more trains and train stations all over the country; we need to get them back on line. There has been a huge reduction in rural bus routes too over the past decade or so. This is counter productive if you want to get people out of their cars. In Oxford we have two regular bus lines running between Oxford and London every ten minutes during the day, less frequent, but still running through the night. During the day they are usually pretty full. Decent leg room, tables, Wifi on board; If the service is there people will use it. In South America some of the long distance coaches are really awesome.

    There would be more people switching to electric cars if the Government had put serious investment into the supporting infrastructure. I have also been interested in another innovative green tech vehicle: the Compressed Air Cars. The only exhaust gas from these cars is fresh air; what a difference that would make in heavily air polluted London. They do require power to run compressors for a supply of compressed air, but the shift in power generation will hopefully support this need. Of course these cars will also require support infrastructure that politicians are yet to commit to.

    At Green Party Conference there was an exhibitor displaying info on an innovative, futuristic example of an elevated train that could not only speed up public transport, but also the hassle of getting the track in place. The whole system of elevated rail line would not require so much acquisition of property for demolition. This is one of the major delaying factors that also causes huge budget hikes.

    We must also rethink how we work, and get to work, staggering start and finish times for a less crammed and chaotic rush hour. Does everyone really need to get to work at exactly the same time? How many of us could work from home? Keep thinking about the climate change priorities?

    • Jo1

      “Not an issue for the enlightened Scots, but we are still manning huge protests to get the Tories to ban Fracking in the UK.”

      It remains to be seen if the current position in Scotland can be held. It’s a reserved matter and not all Parties are against banning fracking.

      • Jo1

        EDIT
        “…not all Parties are against banning fracking.”

        Should say

        “not all Parties support banning fracking.”

        Sorry.

  • Jimmeh

    @Craig

    “I fear we have to get rid of the Tories first.”

    I thought “we” had already more-or-less eliminated the Tories in Scotland. And I thought that your principal criticism of Nick The Fish was that she was more interested in British political issues (e.g. Brexit) than Scottish independence.

    FWIW I’m not a scotsnat, partly because I’m not a proper Scot (my mum was a ‘true Scot’). I’ve voted a straight green ticket since the invasion of Iraq. Scotsnats don’t get elected in this part of middle England – there isn’t even usually a scotsnat on the ballot. But I’m certainly a supporter of Scottish independence (and I hope that once they’ve won it, I get to apply for citizenship – I’d happily move to Fort William, or perhaps Inbhir Nis). My great-great grandfather wrote the first ever grammar of Scottish Gaelic, and also the words of the anthem of the Scottish gaelic society (I forget it’s proper name).

    I wish I was not a sassenach.

    • Republicofscotland

      Nice comment, just move up anyway, you don’t need to be born a Scot to live Scotland, I like to think we welcome one and all, To see oursels as ithers see us.

    • Jo1

      I’m from Lanarkshire, I’m a Sassenach despite being Scottish. Sassenach is a word for non-Highlanders Jimmeh, so you’re in good company!

  • mog

    Anyone here familiar with the idea of George Monbiot as ‘witchfinder general of the permissable Left’ ?
    https://www.jonathan-cook.net/blog/2018-01-12/monbiot-bully-hypocrite/
    Regarding the dispute about Cory Morningstar’s work, here is his response:
    We might ask ourselves why @elleprovocateur and others feel moved to spread baseless rumours about a 16 year-old girl, and why so many adults want to repeat them. It is not a good look.
    As is clear to anyone who has actually read Cory’s work, she is not criticising Greta the individual, but the NPIC milieu who have given her a platform and access to the highest echelons of power.
    Does that straw man response not seem reminiscent of Monbiot’s attempts to discredit questions about events in Syria involving the White Helmets? Read the thread below. He is offered a chance to qualify his attack, but true to form he silently retreats to write a smear piece for his next column. The narrative must not be questioned !
    https://twitter.com/GeorgeMonbiot/status/1120679329053184001

  • Baron

    We humans have FA to do with climate change, the climate has been changing since times immemorial, the impact from the rising CO2 levels on temperature is tenuous, human activity such as driving, flying, steel bashing and anything else that releases the gas contributes only 4% to the annual aggregate discharge of CO2.

    Our response to the climate change should be to adapt to it, just as Darwin suggested, it’s adaptation that ensures the survival of a species, it’s where our resources should be directed.

    • pretzelattack

      we have fa to do with forest fires, forests have been catching on fire since before there were humans, we need to get the fake crime of arson off the books asap. see a problem with this argument?

    • Ian

      this kind of pathetic response only emphasises how little you have bothered to inform yourself. these kind of memes, happily repeated by people who think a simplistic argument is all you need to deny what an absolute mountain of facts and data, are just ridiculous, and of course won’t alter by one iota what is actually happening. it is irrelevant what you, or others, personally think, given your reluctance to actually learn the most basic science.

    • J

      Even a Baron would melt on Venus, hot enough at the surface to melt lead. A runaway greenhouse effect is more than possible, it’s happened at least once in the solar system.

  • Steviemac

    Some facts a cursory search of the internet brings up suggests we have a problem.
    The UK has a population of at least 66 million souls. It needs to import approximately 50% of its food requirements from across the globe to feed itself. In 2016 the EU imported almost 93 million tonnes of food, an increase of 6% by volume from 2012. In 2016 the EU exported 91 million tonnes of food outside of its borders – compared with five years ago this was an increase of 42% in volume.

    In 2012 demand for jet fuel worldwide was about 5 million barrels per day.

    Apparently there are 53,000 merchant ships currently trading internationally, some 11,000 ships are bulk carriers crisscrossing the worlds oceans. The 15 largest ships in the world emit as much nitrogen oxide and sulphur dioxide as the world’s 760 million cars.

    We live in a complex, interconnected and globalised world where mindboggling quantities of fuels, foodstuffs and goods are transported every day. First world economies rely on ‘just in time’ sourcing of fuel, parts, and goods from around the world to function. If every plane and ship was halted tomrrow we would have the prospect of mass starvation and fuel poverty in 1st world economies within days.

    There is no quick fix to change any of this. There is no chance of phasing fossil fuels out any time soon. What is required is no less than a complete reboot of civilisation, a move to localism and sustainability and an acknowledgement that the days of having every exotic spice, foodstuff and new item of clothing to hand is coming to an end. It requires a reboot of capitalism itself and and end to the fetishisation of profit and everlasting growth in the economy. It requires global debt forgiveness to reboot the economies of the worlld. It will require the politics of mutuality and local accountability and not Global Governance. This will take a century to achieve as population levels will need to come down to match local sustainability (I’m not talking about any type of Final Solution by the way!).
    How we respond to climate change, population density, reliance on debt to bring about growth and increasing globalisatiion will define whether we have a future. Given our wonderful drift towards more and more Neoliberal ithinking I’m not holding my breath!

    • Jimmeh

      Stop eating asparagus from Peru; English asparagus is now in season (it only lasts for a few weeks).

      Seriously – boycott peruvian asparagus.

      • Charles Bostock

        The funny thing about asparagus – as any gourmet knows – is that it is only in season for a few weeks no matter which country it’s grown in.

        • Jimmeh

          Evidently not; Peruvian asparagus appears to be available year-round. Of course, your knowledge of asparagus life-cycle is flawless (as one would expect from a gourmet!), but apparently it is contradicted by the facts.

          Honestly, I don’t know how Peru is able to grow asparagus all year round. I didn’t think asparagus worked like that.

    • Mary Pau!

      I have to say, one reason why we have 66m living herenow is a big increase in population in last 30 or so years due to immigration from both within the EU and from Commnwealth and ROW.

    • Geoffrey

      Reduce the population ? Or at the very least cut the subsidies paid by the government to parents ? Slow the economy down so that less people migrate here ?
      A few very simple measures that would very quickly be effective and if replicated in other rich Westérn countries even more so.

  • pete

    Good post Craig, the criticisms I’ve read so far seem to veer between denial and nit-picking of various sorts, I would have thought that more people would be sympathetic.
    It is true, at least in my case, that I am not an expert on this matter, but as one of the potential sufferers of a forthcoming eco disaster, on the self interest level alone I would prefer that humanity erred on the side of caution. This is why I note that J @ 14.42 asks that we use the precautionary principle in this matter. The arguments for and against such a stratagy are discussed at the Wiki entry on the subject: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Precautionary_principle
    The question is whether we can persuade the powers that be to take enough action at an international governmental level to make a difference. Passive resistance may not be enough.

  • Republicofscotland

    I can’t understand those who say that climate change is a fraud, or that scientists have been paid to spin the global warming story.

    Do they not realise the consequences if they are wrong? Is it not better to take action and be wrong than to take no action at all?

    And what would be the consequences of our actions if say climate change turns out to be unproven? We’d have cleaned up our air a bit in the cities, cut back on the productions of harmful gases, reduced the plastics in our oceans and foods, and possibly kept the temperature from rising, are those not good things?

    Shouldn’t we be striving to do those things not out of neccessity, but out of caring for our environment anyway, without the need to be reminded that continuing down this road that we are travelling ends badly for humanity, and all the flora and fauna that we are meant to be the guardians of.

  • michael norton

    The United Kingdom has improved its placing, with regard to electricity produced by wind power, we were the sixth in the World, we are now fourth in the World.

  • Monteverdi

    ” Flying is a major contributor to pollution and there is far too much of it.” ( Craig Murray )

    https://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/news/uk-world-news/hypocrite-emma-thompson-flies-5000-14434255

    In which case for once this makes the tabloid press’s ridicule of actress Emma Thompson’s long-haul flight to join the Extinction Rebellion protests in London totally valid.
    I have been active on so many protests I’ve lost count. Marches and demonstrations since 1967 on numerous issues. Apartheid, CND, Trade Union, Miners Strike , Greenham Common, Anti-War, Palestine etc, the majority of them peaceful but numerous ones subject to violent policing and very tough Police responses. I was amazed at the almost timid policing of the Extinction Rebellion protests. This was not the normal policing that I have witnessed for decades, and I don’t believe that Police tactics have miraculously changed overnight or that quickly. Hence my political antennae tells me that all is not what it seems ??

  • Grhm

    I remember seeing a cartoon many years ago, I’m not certain where, but it may have been in ‘New Scientist’.
    The cartoon depicted a vast landscape entirely covered in ‘renewable’ power infrastructure; forests of wind turbines clustered on every hill, every river dammed, solar farms covering all the agricultural land, substations and pylons and high-voltage cables everywhere.
    And high above it was a flying saucer with two little green men in it, looking down.
    The caption was: “Amazing! These beings evidently don’t know about nuclear power!”

  • Ian

    Craig, if you weren’t aware of her, i highly recommend reading up on Scottish activist Polly Higgins, who sadly died from cancer recently. Her dedication to legal statutes against the destruction of environment for profit, with no responsibility, was remarkable, something she sacrificed most of her life and career for. Her colleagues will carry on her work, but it is inspiring and educational to see what one person can do when equipped with some knowledge of her own field and the kind of dedication she demonstrated.

    Lists like yours are admirable, but the field is daunting in its complexity and the scale of change required. You acknowledge it is not your area of expertise, and many of us will feel the same. However the important point is surely, demonstrated by people like Higgins, that if ever there was a need to pool our resources and the expertise of many people like her, it is on this issue now. There are highly qualified and resourced people in economics, climate science, engineering, law and politics who have been researching and quantifying ways forward – nobody can expect to have all the answers, or come up with pat solutions – so building a movement which harnesses many of these talents alongside every concerned person seems to me to be a way of thinking about how to proceed, without the usual carping, niggardly social media demands that you must have the science at your fingertips or vast readymade solutions (otherwise we are going to trap you in endless, futile point-scoring exercises, as we divert all the energy and discussion into ignorant avoidance strategy cul-de-sacs). Extinction Rebellion was a great start, they have succeeded beyond their expectations in getting the issue on to every news and discussion forum, but is merely a start.

    I remember your enthusiastic reports of your experience at the Doune the Rabbit Hole festival, and its recharging effect on you. Had you been able to attend any of the XR sites you would have found a good example of that kind of positive atmosphere, devoid of the usual grindingly negative party politics and ideological posturing. I think you would have enjoyed it, and felt that maybe you could deploy your talents in assisting this nascent movement.

  • Chris Barclay

    There should be a global commitment to stop population growth and neo-imperialist ideologies that prohibit contraception should be opposed. In developed countries this policy would come in the form of a tax and benefit system that rewarded adults for having only one or no children instead of rewarding people who have more than two.

  • William Purves

    Easter this year was only 2 months from midsummer. Therefore had quite a good chance of being warm. Regarding rising sea temperatures, engineers in motor ships, when at sea, take the sea temperature every 4-hour watch and log them in the engine room log book. Old log books would give the sea temperatures, all over the world, for over 100 years.

  • Salford Lad

    Apologies for being off -topic, but this concerns Scotland Independence both National and Monetary., and will be of interest to Craig.
    Prof Bill Mitchell and Warren Mosler ,experts in Modern Monetary Theory will give a talk in Edinburg 8th May. Much can be learned from them.
    Edinburgh – May 8, 2019
    MMT Scotland will be hosting an event in Edinburgh – Modern Monetary Theory and the Economics of an Independent Scotland.
    Join our host Chris Cook who has been involved for 25 years in the legal design, development and regulation of markets and ask questions with Patricia Pino.
    As two of the leading founders of MMT Warren Mosler and William Mitchell will explain in great detail what Modern Monetary Theory would mean for an independent Scotland and the UK as a whole.
    The event will be held at – EICC, The Exchange, Edinburgh, EH3 8EE and will run from 19:00 to 21:30
    Tickets are £12.50 and can be purchased – HERE.

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