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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  • MJ

    The only extinction event that is a nailed-on certainty is the next ice age. If the current inter-glacial period is of average duration (30k years) then it is already over half way through.

    It is not known for certain why ice ages occur, or even whether they come on gradually or as a single cataclysmic event. The activity of mankind doesn’t seem to enter into the reckoning so there’s not a lot to rebel against.

    One of the findings of the Human Genome Project is that during the last ice age the human population fell to only a few thousand. Everyone alive today is a descendant of those few hardy individuals, which is why we are all so closely related genetically.

    • Clark

      I suggest you check the science. We’re currently on course for around 5 centigrade of global average warming, which may not sound like much, but the previous ice age was only 4 centigrade cooler, and it placed Boston under a mile of ice.

      • michael norton

        There is a green valley in Greenland, Qinnquadalen, a refugia from a warmer past,
        should our world become five degrees warmer, many million of square miles of ice-free land will be reborn as forests, these massive forests will take in Carbon, thus returning our planet to its tranquil state.

        • Clark

          Fantasy. This is happening on hundred-year timescales; forests take a bit longer than that to grow. Meanwhile, the most populated and fertile lands disappear under the rising seas, and unable to adapt fast enough, species become extinct even faster than they are now, which is already a thousand times the background rate.

          The last time the CO2 concentration went through the roof was 255 million years ago; the ensuing climate change wiped out 97% of life on Earth. We’re raising the concentration ten times faster than that.

  • Loony

    In the UK average energy consumption stands at 25.73 boe/day/1,000 people.

    In Pakistan the equivalent figure is 2.15 boe/day/1,000 people and in Somalia the equivalent figure is 0.5 boe/day/1,000 people.

    The UK hosts the largest European communities of Pakistani’s and Somali’s. Thus the immigration policy of the UK directly contributes to rising global energy consumption and rising global emissions. UK immigration policy directly contravenes the stated aims of environmental protesters/agitators – and if these people had any consistency of thought would be lobbying hard to stop all immigration from low energy use countries.

    If global warming devotees want more immigrants then they should be doing everything in their power to attract Americans, Canadians, Scandinavians, South Koreans, Germans and Saudi Arabians – all of whom use more energy on a per capita basis than the UK.

    There must be some reason that environmentalists are not advocating such policies.

    • DiggerUK

      “There must be some reason that environmentalists are not advocating such policies.”
      Is it because they’re bigots, just suggesting…_

      • pretzelattack

        what’s a global warming devotee, and what the f does immigration have to do with the science?

        • Ian

          In Loony’s confused and tangled logic, anything can be pressed into service for taunting people he doesn’t like. Same old schtick as usual, covert prejudice paraded as a self-serving pub bore lecture. Faintly amusing in its crude attempt to sound terribly clever by googling a few statistics and then asserting that reasonable people must agree with the perverse use to which he puts them. You can safely ignore.

          • Charles Bostock

            With great respect, I usually find Loony’s posts a lot more substantial and interesting than yours. So I choose not to ignore.

          • glenn_nl

            You genuinely find condescending piffle laced with insults and non sequiturs “substantial and interesting”? Good news – there is an endless supply of the same in The Mail, Fox News and so on. You should find these sources right up your street.

          • Charles Bostock


            Don’t be silly. You may disagree with the content or the methodology of Loony’s posts but he usually says something and exposes a point of view. Whereas the good Ian prefers to focus on insults , as in the post at 22:49.

    • Clark

      “Thus the immigration policy of the UK directly contributes to rising global energy consumption and rising global emissions”

      Nonsense. The only thing that determines emissions is the rate of extraction. More demand from richer countries simply raises the price, reducing consumption in poorer countries. Overall consumption, and hence emissions, remain unchanged.

      Immigration, immigration; you always return to immigration, don’t you Loony? Well if you’re so worried you’d best consider climate change, because it is causing mass displacement of people, from coastal areas inundated by rising sea levels, and areas made agriculturally unproductive by rising temperature and drought. Projected displacement figures have been published by the IPCC; 100 million is a minimum.

      • Loony

        You are not one to allow facts to serve as any kind of impediment to your ideology. For those interested in facts consider this:

        In 1980 India (a poor country) consumed 643,000 bbl/day. In 1980 the UK (a rich country) consumed 1,725,000 bbl/day.

        In 2014 India consumed 3,735,000 bbl/day. In 2014 the UK consumed 1,502,000 bbl/day.

        Over the reference time period UK consumption declined slightly whilst Indian consumption almost tripled.

        in 1980 global oil consumption was 65 million bbl/day and in 2015 global oil consumption stood at 88 million bbl/day.

        Meanwhile between 1980 and 2010 global coal consumption rose by 3.8 billion tonnes or 91%. Of interest is that Asian coal consumption doubled between 1980 and 2000 and then doubled again between 2001 and 2010.

        What we can conclude from all of this is that it is beyond puerile to state that “More demand from richer countries simply raises the pricel, reducing consumption in poorer countries. Overall consumption, and hence emissions remain unchanged”

        • Clark

          It remains unchanged, except by changes in the extraction rate. I thought I’d stated that clearly, when I wrote “the only thing that determines emissions is the rate of extraction”.

          The extraction rate is determined by geological availability (which decreases with extraction) and overall economic activity (which has increased) ie. availability of labour.

          • Loony

            No. Very little of what you write is clear.

            The primary driver of emissions is consumption. Consumption is of course correlated to extraction, but companies only tend to extract resources once they are confident that there is demand for these extracted resources. Demand drives supply.

            The extraction rate of resources is not constrained by labor availability but by technology. BP did not poison the Gulf of Mexico due to a labor shortage – they poisoned the Gulf of Mexico due to a failure of technology.

            There is no known issue with “geological availability” but there are issues surrounding the energy cost of accessing that “geological availability”

          • pretzelattack

            the primary driver of emissions is fossil fuels. consumption of renewable energy doesn’t result in fossil fuel emissions to anywhere close to the same degree.

      • Geoffrey

        Clarke. Nonsense doubled. ” Overall consumption and hence emissions remains the same ” …..
        If it costs more to produce than consumers are prepared to pay …then there will be no production….hence less extraction. Obviously.
        The same could also be said about Chinese products made for consumption in the rich West.

    • Grhm

      The reason we don’t obsess about immigration could be that we regard people from foreign lands as individuals just like ourselves, worthy of respect and compassion, rather than as an homogenous mass of faceless Others to be feared, or deployed strategically like so many pawns on a giant chess board.
      Just suggesting.

      • Loony

        It seems that what you write is untrue.

        What is true, based on your comment, is that you accord higher status to Somali’s and Pakistani’s than you do Scandinavians, North Americans, Germans, South Koreans and Saudi Arabians.

        In any sane world that would qualify you as a simple racist.

        • Grhm

          I’m bewildered.
          Treating everyone with equal respect and compassion irrespective of their race or nationality… is _racism_?!!
          I’d like to point out the flaw in your reasoning but I can’t because no reasoning is on display.
          It seems to be just a bold, random non-sequitur.

          • glenn_nl

            He’s always coming up with balderdash like that. One of his classics (through a rather convoluted route) was that if you’re a supporter of the EU and would like to remain part of it, that means you’re a Nazi. Brilliant, eh? But what do you expect from a slavishly devoted Trump boot-licker.

          • flatulence

            I think Loony is playing a verbal reasoning/logic game. Quite amusing really, well to me anyway, but then I call myself flatulence.

          • flatulence

            Cheers Clark. I assumed there may be some history there between you, but knowing you’re a good un, not so amusing then, fair do’s.

          • Loony

            Why are you bewildered.?

            You seem content with Pakistani and Somali communities despite the fact that their translocation can be conclusively demonstrated to increase aggregate emissions.

            You do not appear supportive of importing large numbers of Germans, Scandinavians, North Americans, South Koreans and Saudi Arabians despite the fact their translocation would decrease aggregate emissions.

            No-one treats everyone with “equal respect and compassion” Do you regard the perpetrators of the attacks in Sri Lanka as being deserving of the same respect and compassion as the victims of those attacks? The answer is obviously No. You need to make your mind up as to whether you are interested in virtue signalling or in saving the planet. The two things do not align.

          • pretzelattack

            i’m bewildered because you think you conclusively demonstrated that their translocation increases aggregate emissions, or why you would think any such increase would be significant. note, asserting is not “conclusively demonstrating”.

          • Grhm

            He’s certainly playing games, and he’s using words, so they are verbal… but there’s no reasoning or logic involved that I can detect.
            Probably best just to ignore him.

          • Geoffrey

            I would have that it is obvious and simple what Loony is saying and you would have to have some mental blockage not to understand it . A Westerner consumes more than say a villager from India so when the villager moves to the West he starts to consume like a Westerner ie more. So if a Westerner moves from high consuming Western country to another there is no overall increase in consumption whereas when the villager moves to the West there is.
            Western countries by increasing there GDP and ever demanding more relatively cheap labour are causing this problem . But the fact remains that what Looney says is obviously correct.

          • pretzelattack

            uh is there any evidence that emigrants from somalia use as much power per capita as native brits? is there any evidence that if they do, this represents a significant factor in global warming? is there any evidence of what loony means by “global warming devotees”, and is there any evidence that they in fact don’t want to stop the west’s dependence on countries like china for most manufacturing? what loony is saying is not clear at all.

      • Mary Pau!

        But the point here is, when there are more of us we consume more, regardless of how nice the more are as people. The EUs policy of promoting the mass movement of poorer eastern Europeans to the richer countries of North Western Europe, is inevitably going to increase consumption of scarce resources in those countries.

        • Geoffrey

          Mary, and in aggregate too. The consumption of an Eastern European is likely to be far lower than that of a Northern European.

          • Mary Pau!

            Well of course once someone moves from say Romania to the UK, where a lot more resources are deployed in daily living, then their consumption rises compared to what it was at home. The more immigrants come to the UK and increase our population, the more our overall consumption rises here too.

        • pretzelattack

          i think this is the definition of a tempest in a teacup, but yes we all need to consume less, all over the world, but especially in the west.

    • flatulence

      haha I love your logic. I would only add there ought to be a mass exodus of ‘devotees’ to Somalia. Obviously they should walk, on water where necessary.

      Nothing against the ‘devotees’ etc really. I share ideals with a lot of them. It’s just the shamers and smug preachy arrogant ones that really get on my tits, not least because they give the reasonable and considered ‘devotees’ a bad name.

      • pretzelattack

        is this like a gravity devotee? what is this bs propaganda point trying to accomplish?

        • flatulence

          what point? I made a point…?? Doesn’t sound like me… Why are you bringing gravity into this?? Propaganda? What??? Leave gravity alone!! Why the hell am I hungry for a salty snack. Nothing makes sense anymore. Maybe it is gravity’s fault, that might go some way to explaining why 85% of the known universe’s mass is missing. I’m going to bed.

          • pretzelattack

            that scientists, or people that agree with basic science are “devotees”. it’s related to the attempt to frame climatology as a sort of religion. i think it’s just a handy rhetorical device left over from the creationist-evolution debates.

  • Crispa

    I am interested in this thread because I have always been a mugwump on green matters and have never formed a coherent view. Mind I am not sure that I am becoming any clearer from the discussion so far. I certainly support the right of the current protesters to protest as they do and broadly their aims. But they certainly face an uphill task.
    To me, it’s no good asserting the idea of individual responsibility, which might conceivably reduce demand and therefore the production of, for example, plastic packaging. At one time fish and chips were wrapped in newspaper, then plain paper and now polystyrene containers – changes that have nothing to do with consumer demand. Producers will go on packaging their products until compelled to use alternative means, and think of the opposition that would bring.
    I also wonder if people really understand what they mean by such statements as “saving our planet”. What they mean is saving the planet for the perpetuation of the human race and only by extension other species. The planet has existed in some from or other for millions of years and will go on doing so irrespective of a human presence. Given the amount of destruction caused by humans it might not be a bad thing if the human race became, like the dinosaurs, extinct, thereby giving other species the chance to flourish in our absence.
    There is also more of a whiff of hypocrisy about the whole debate. It might be the case that countries like China and India are currently the biggest users of fossil fuels, but it is important to factor in the centuries of industrialization of mainly westernized countries that are now telling the rest of the world what to do, when they have caused the problem in the first place.
    In finding a solution, if that is possible,we must realize the sheer scale of the sacrifices that will be involved. For example, sporting activities, including professional sports, once largely took place in the daylight. Now sport is a global business involving all kinds of athletes jetting around the globe to take part in events that are often under floodlights. Cricket and football alone are good examples of sports that now consume massive amounts of energy to satisfy their supporters. For example, the current IPL involves a match or two a day for several weeks with each games played under floodlights in different parts of India reached by plane. Think also of the amount of plastic that will be used at the upcoming London Marathon. Can any of these processes, which are generally seen as progressive be reversed? And how? Will football ever revert to being played almost entirely on Saturday afternoons? We can go on dutifully doing out recycling every fortnight and eating our veggie food, but we should not delude ourselves that nothing short of massive system change at the highest level driving social and cultural change will really address the issues. Which, of course, is still why the protests need to continue, including when Donald Trump next arrives in town.

    • Clark

      Crispa, I second Grhm; that is not a mugwump’s comment. I broadly agree, but will just pick you up on this point:

      “What they mean is saving the planet for the perpetuation of the human race and only by extension other species”

      Yes and no. Human activity is causing a mass extinction; as best we can tell (with inadequate research funding) the current species extinction rate is about a thousand times the background rate for the preceding geological period. But we have no idea how much of the structure we can destroy before causing catastrophic collapse; the mass extinction some 255 million years ago apparently wiped out around 97% of life on Earth..

      Four of the five previous mass extinctions seem to have started with rapid rise of CO2 concentration. The current rate of rise looks to be around ten times faster than those examples.

      • Andrew Ingram

        It could be called the Anthropomorphic Extinction Event by any English speaking fossil hunter a couple of epochs down the way. Or we humans do something about it and clean up our act.

    • Vivian O'Blivion

      There is a long standing government diktat that environmental issues MUST be addressed by Marketisation of the issue and Prohibition is left off the table.
      In an attempt to reduce packaging the concept of Producer Responsibility and Packaging Reprocessing Notes was devised by the ever eager (to extract a heavy fee) consultants. The concept is that as a producer, if you use 100 tonnes of packaging a year, you are obligated to purchasing Packaging Reprocessing Notes to the sum of 100 tonnes in whatever material you use as packaging. This would encourage businesses to innovate and devise means of recycling packaging materials and would encourage the primary producers to reduce the amount of packaging they used.
      In practice, the producers figured out that they could pass costs onto the consumer.
      You may have noticed that glass bottles have become lighter as wall thickness has been pared back but otherwise I can’t say I have noticed any reduction in the application of packaging.
      And yes, the example you cite regards fish and chips is maddeningly frustrating.

      • Johny Conspiranoid

        Vivian o’blivian;
        There is a long standing neo-liberal diktat that all issues must be addressed by marketisation, everywhere. The present demos etc. are a PR leader for some profitable marketisation.

  • Dave Lawton

    More Green groups becoming aware of the XR scam. This is what happen`s have seen before many times over the years.The Yellow vests put the XR to shame they have not been conned yet.Rebellion Extinction: a capitalist scam to hijack our resistance

    “When Extinction Rebellion first burst into action in the UK last November, it felt as if something was finally going to change.
    Their high-profile arrival on the political scene had a noticeable effect on awareness of environmental issues and gave people permission to speak more freely than before about our society and its relationship to nature.”

  • David

    Climate change solutions ignore the massive elephant in the room. Resources are limited, life is not.

    Our planet has exceeded its maximum capacity for human life, nothing we do from a technological standpoint will stop climate change from occurring, it may, at best slow it down a small amount.

    It would require a significant depopulation to really solve the underlying issue around climate change, global one child policy, tax incentives not to have children, as opposed to currently tax breaks to have children. Tax and benefit punishments for those that have more than one child.

    That of course will never happen as the global economic system currently requires continued growth in consumption to survive. It isn’t just new tech we need, its a complete new mindset on everything from family life to global economics.

    You can block every road you want, you can harass every minister and every CEO, it wont make a blind bit of difference whilst global populations continue to grow at an exponential rate.

    Maybe Thanos wasn’t such a bad guy after all 🙂

    • George

      “….. the global economic system currently requires continued growth in consumption to survive. It isn’t just new tech we need, its a complete new mindset on everything from family life to global economics.”

      Are we talking about an economic system or a “mindset”?

      • David

        Both…. A new economic mindset that values the environment as much or more so than profit. There is no reward for a business to spend profit on environmental issues.

        • George

          The issue is that the system trumps all else. If the system demands continued growth then that is what all those involved, i.e. everyone, will have to do simply to make a living. They can make all the distressed noises they want. But they will carry on doing what they are paid to do. The change of “mindset” may already have happened. But what the system demands always wins out.

    • Jasper

      I agree – we should start with the First World, from the elites downwards. If we’re lucky, Thanos will choose you and your loved ones among the first. It’s your cause.

      • David

        The first world would have to be first, we are by far and away the biggest consumers and polluters.

    • giyane


      eugenics. an elitist term for an elitist mind-set.

      As many on this topic have tried to explain, we cannot afford to have planes injecting diesel fumes into the atmosphere to satisfy the whims of business men trying to make a quick buck. We cannot afford to ferment war in our neighbouring sovereign countries in which people have learned over the centuries how to live more economically than ourselves. We cannot afford to believe that we who have created the climate problems also have the solutions.

      • Charles Bostock

        I believe the expression is “to FOMENT war”.

        That, at least, is the verb I was taught in MY public school and college.

      • David

        So your solution is more of the same ? Technology cannot solve this problem, unless we magic some method to remove greenhouse gases from the atmosphere, that salve is further away than fusion. Craig’s solution is to make transport so expensive that only the elite could afford it. There is no nice fix for climate change. It’s going to be brutal no matter if we do it to ourselves or wait for nature to do it for us.

        • giyane

          There was a time when one could sail to China by tea clipped.
          Sail has progressed since then as has steam, but big oil and US hegemony keep these technologies secret..

          For some reason only neo- zio- cons understand

        • Ascot2

          ” re nature to do it for us…”
          Nature is already removing 60% of the CO2 we produce, so we must at least get atmospheric CO2 levels down from 410ppm to what was the pre-industrial steady state which was approx 280 ppm.
          Moving away from fossil fuels is quite doable, if we apply ourselves and use our brains. Frankly civilization will likely be the better for it ( no smog, end of endless middle east problems, better trains and public transport, Teslas instead of Hummers ).
          Some (albeit small ) communities, like The Orkney Islands, are well on the way.
          I am frankly tired of hearing people who have nothing new to add to the existing scientific knowledge on Climate Change continue to claim it’s all some kind of left wing plot or other. They need to be pushed aside so that the necessary can be sped up without hindrance.

  • Charles Bostock

    No more air travel. No more big diesel lorries driving food and goods around. No more eating meat. Insulating every home. Installing solar panels on every roof. Turning the Sahara into a gigantic solar panel farm. Indians, Arabs, Pakistanis and Africans to have far fewer children.

    The elements of a solution are legion.

    There is only one snag.

    None of those elements are going to actually happen. At least, not any time soon.

    Perhaps one shouldn’t worry : let human activity and nature take their course. After all, nothing is forever. Not even our planet.

    • Observer

      Charles, well put. I was just thinking the other day that the Universe/Multiverse is said to be infinite, but everything within it is finite. So why are we fighting as much, when we could be enjoying ourselves more.

      We are 8 billion idiots, dancing in the dark, on a pinhead, in the Universe. Sums it up for me.

    • pete

      Re “nothing is forever”
      Chas is right, nothing is forever, it’s a tautology, of course, and meaningless. Nevertheless we should consider our extinction. The Atlantic ran an article recently asking the question are we earth’s only civilisation, explaining that, given the enormous length of earth’s history, and the limitations of merely studying fossils as evidence, what evidence could we possibly hope to find of any earlier civilisation. Such a civilisation would have to be of a non human kind, but not necessarily without technology. In the course of the article The Atlantic runs over what signs our civilisation could leave that might possibly survive to be discovered millions of years later. It turns out to be practically nothing, given the geological events that would transpire in the intervening period.
      The article is interesting because it explains, in relatively simple terms, the processes involved in the changing environment of the earth. The link is: https://www.theatlantic.com/science/archive/2018/04/are-we-earths-only-civilization/557180/
      Action on climate change may turn out to be futile, if we pass a tipping point. If we care for future generations we should do anything we deem necessary to try to avert it, even if a self serving public relations company makes a buck in the process.

      • Sharp Ears

        Sounds rather fatalistic to me. It is in OUR hands to take notice and to take action.

          • George

            I assume that your point is we either sit back and just enjoy ourselves perishing or we try and do something about it and end up assassinated?

          • Charles Bostock


            The former, rather, although your way of putting it is a little too crude and simplistic.

            At any rate, we should not get our knickers in the twist.

            As someone once said, what’s the future ever done for me? Let’s face it, did our ancestors ever worry too much about what sort of a world they were leaving us? As they did not, why should we?

  • Jasper

    If we are indeed facing an extinction event, are the points raised here sufficient? Since this blog varies across many topics, how serious does Mr Murray think this threat? Cynics may argue that activists use it as a cudgel to influence people.

  • Yr Hen Gof

    There are about 25 million dwellings in the UK, over 20% of them were built before 1919 and almost all of those will have solid, non cavity walls.
    Yes they can be insulated, either externally in many cases and internally in almost all. However the cost of either solution, would, over 5 million dwellings be enormous.
    Internally, of course the added insulation will make small rooms even smaller and will require the redecoration, remodelling and in some cases electrical rewiring too, of every wall with an external face.

    Our son had the gable end of his terraced 1900’s house externally insulated by a company specialising in such work and it cost him £10,000 – and that was for one wall. So for a detached house that would be at least £40k. Scaffolding costs alone would negate any saving from the company remaining on site.

    With my wife and I living on the British State Pension, acknowledged as the worst in the developed world, where exactly will we be finding the money to bring our jerry built 1917’s house up to any particular standard of insulation, let alone meet a legal obligation to do so?
    Prison sounds an altogether more attractive alternative, at least we’d be warm and fed.

    I note in your piece, there’s no mention of the pollution created by container ships that largely fuel a world economy based on, consumption, debt and obsolescence.

    Over 90 percent of world trade is carried across the world’s oceans by some 90,000 marine vessels. Like all modes of transportation that use fossil fuels, ships produce carbon dioxide emissions that significantly contribute to global climate change and acidification. Besides carbon dioxide, ships also release a handful of other pollutants that contribute to the problem.

    The shipping industry is responsible for a significant proportion of the global climate change problem. More than three percent of global carbon dioxide emissions can be attributed to ocean-going ships. This is an amount comparable to major carbon-emitting countries — and the industry continues to grow rapidly.

    In fact, if global shipping were a country, it would be the sixth largest producer of greenhouse gas emissions. Only the United States, China, Russia, India and Japan emit more carbon dioxide than the world’s shipping fleet. Nevertheless, carbon dioxide emissions from ocean-going vessels are currently unregulated.

    Who’s going to happily give up on their mange tout from Kenya, their blueberries from Peru or their strawberries at Christmas? Food miles have doubled since the 1990’s and the answer to limiting them is nowhere near as straightforward as ‘going without’ would suggest.

    Reports shows that it is less environmentally friendly to grow tomatoes in Britain under glass than it is to import tomatoes from Spain. The energy needed to heat the glass houses for growing tomatoes in Britain is significantly more than the energy used in transporting tomatoes from Spain where no heating is used because of the warmer climate.

    With the death of the high street and the growth of out of town shopping centres – add in the food miles travelled by households and supermarket deliveries.

    Realistically, with a democracy closer in function to a kakistocracy and our politicians pimped by corporations to act in their favour I see no hope of this situation being resolved anytime soon. Politicians don’t see any further than the next bung, crisis or election.

    • Loony

      What you say about shipping is spot on.

      It is one of the few industries that is able to burn semi-refined Venezuelan heavy oil. Many of the same people who bemoan the fate of Venezuela are also expressing concern regarding climate change. Any meaningful steps to alleviate climate change are going to require the short term complete destruction of the Venezuelan oil industry.

      Only the US is capable of destroying the Venezuelan oil industry – do I hear people cheering Trump and the US deep state to the rafters? Or do I hear the sound of sullen cowardice pitifully masquerading as virtue?

  • fredi

    “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”

    Perhaps it can lead to a major contraction of economic growth.

    • pretzelattack

      since mindless growth is leading to major problems, that is probably a good thing.

      • MJ

        The recession caused by the financial crisis ten or so years ago led to a reduction in fossil fuel consumption by about 10%.

      • Loony

        Mindless growth is leading to major problems. However it is the only possible method of sustaining the current population.

        If you want to initiate mass starvation then say so. Unless you can persuade a few billion people to voluntarily starve themselves to death then you also run the risk of initiating a full scale nuclear war. If this is a risk you consider worth taking then step up and make your case.

        No-one is likely to be persuaded of anything by those who endlessly genuflect before the alter of cowardice.

          • Loony

            You have a binary choice – starve billions of people and/or destroy the planet.

            Make your choice, and explain exactly where you have derived the right to make such a choice

            If you do not make the choice then there is no need to ask me where you may find the alter of cowardice – it would be more logical that I ask you.

        • Herbie

          You could have a big war, I suppose, and a few mass slaughters.

          Rinse, repeat.

          Zbig B mentioned, that today it is easier to kill a million people than to control a million people.

          So yeah, population reduction is the way it’s headed.

          It’s how it’s done, is the thing.

          • nevermind

            Too many rats in one box with limited food would do exactly that and intelligent human beings will do the same? over and over again. War is too extreme and not necessary, but we choose it because its the macho thing to do, its vastly profitable and it creates a lot of pollution, devastation to ecosystem, waters, food stuffs, etc. and the need to rebuild at great energetic costs and more pollution, not very clever.

            Should we now stop research into Alzheimers, dementia, cancers and flu vaccines, let nature take its cause and ensure that our demise feeds the depleted soils?
            Soilent Green is a coming, and the composting of human remains will soon be the preferred solution as we eschew the use of vast quantities of gas to incinerate our beloved, causing avoidable pollution.


        • pretzelattack

          oh, so contraception doesn’t work. good to know. why do you endlessly genuflect before the altar of ignorance?

  • Geoffrey

    If you are as sincere as you claim to be about the necessity to reduce consumption I can tell you how… but you will whinge and whine. Simply put interest rates up to 10%
    The effect on growth and consumtion would be almost instantanious.
    Look what happen to carbon output after the near financial collapse of 2008.
    The fact that nobody mentions this is in itself interesting and suggest what others have intimated that this imovement is closely connected to big business and corporates. I see even the CEO of Unilever and other bosses is backing Extinction.. See his letter To The Times.

  • Gary |Littlejohn

    There is little scope for increased hydropower in the UK, apart from micro-hydro for which the technology already exists even for heads of only about 1 foot, and tidal power which Craig rightly says is a kind of low head hydro. One could add the Solway Firth to his list of tidal projects, which an American aluminium company wanted to build about 50 years ago. One only needs to look at the St. Malo tidal station in France that has been running for about 50 years, to be sure that it is reliable and has low maintenance costs. The damage to biodiversity can be mitigated.
    While conventional uranium-based nuclear generation should be discontinued, because it has always been too expensive, thorium reactors were run reliably over a 12 year period by NASA (thinking of using them for space travel). Thorium has a very short half-life (decades not centuries or more) and is abundant in the Earth’s crust, so it is cheap, unlike increasingly scarce uranium. Thorium also runs at too low a temperature to have a meltdown, and so is inherently safe. Uranium power stations only reduce carbon emissions by about 30 per cent over the power station’s life cycle. Thorium stations can be very small giving a highly decentralised system of power generation with low start-up costs. The 2010 coalition government refused to spend a measly £300 million on updating thorium technology while committing billions to various uranium nuclear power stations some of which will never be built, because EDF has effectively lost the relevant skill set, as even its own trade unions publicly acknowledge. In addition, wind power technology has recently been developed in Russia that can survive Arctic winds and temperatures, and is again much smaller than the large wind turbines currently favoured. They would do very well on Scottish islands.
    Wave power has been so badly neglected by the UK government that a successful technology working southwest of Orkney was effectively stolen by a Portuguese company with no possibility of legal redress since the UK company had spent all its funds on the actual technology and could not afford legal fees. The UK government failed to supply funds to defend this British technology.
    Craig is right that insulating buildings, especially housing, would save the most energy in the short run, and it is utterly shameful that the UK government cut this programme, although Scotland has made much more progress in this area. Coal is indeed being used on an increasing scale in Asia, and one can see the effects in terms of atmospheric pollution from satellite on various websites. It should be a priority to stop fracking because it really does cause earthquakes, despite denials. Some coal-fired power stations should be converted to natural gas as an interim measure to ensure base supply currently provided by nuclear power stations. This would also reduce dependence on ‘farms’ of diesel generators that are currently used to deal with unexpected peak in demand. Drax in Yorkshire would be an example of such a role, and fairly cheap to convert.

    • Loony

      Drax is certainly an example of something – but possibly not what most people think it an example of.

      Latest Drax accounts reveal that in 2017 it received a government subsidy of GBP 789 million or GBP 57.17/MWh. In addition it received an average market payment of GBP 53.71 per MWh generated. Thus subsidies account for over 50% of income. Despite all of this revenue Drax only managed to post a profit of GBP 37 million.

      Still maybe it is worth the price to save the planet…all except that by burning trees (which is what biomass is) aggregate emissions are calculated as being 8% higher than if the plant just burned coal.

      All those people so keen to prostrate themselves before the orthodoxy of scientific consensus will obviously be intimately aware of Professor Bill Moomaw. Professor Moomaw led a team that won a Nobel prize for its work on climate change at the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Well guess what Bill and several dozen of his scientific mates have all written to the British government warning them about the inanity of burning wood on such a scale. Now guess what? Climate change zealots could no longer give a flying fuck about science or the scientists that create science. Now aint that strange. Who would have thunk it.

      • Ian

        One wonders who these mythical people you keep ranting about are, other than figments of your own very overheated imagination. What weird claims, attacking fictional people – makes you feel good no doubt. how comforting for you.

        • Loony

          Does burning wood at Drax represent an increase in emissions of 8% over burning coal or not? If not, why not? what do you know that experts do not know? If it does increase emissions then for what possible reason should this be subsidized.

          Answering these questions will be far more profitable than engaging in tedious jibes regarding my writing style.

          I bet good money that if you tried to write in my native language and people confined themselves to making snide insults about your choice of words then it would not take you long to cry foul and claim victim status.

          • David en Françe

            doesn’t the Drax wood currently come from Canada?, that’s as silly as the Bottled Baikal water that I saw on sale in Monaco recently.

            I’ve always maintained that there are many long-term solutions, but for our current levels of tech and leadership we need Photovoltaic bi-facial panels on all buildings. 30% extra power ‘free’, with a mix of other technologies as described excellently and at length here in Craig’s debate.
            micro ‘in river’ hydro for £1M a pop is another uk appropriate tech, why not add to the wave dampening too (tho’ theres the soliton problem, rare but deadly high energy events that make it hard to engineer for) PV on all our lakes, and calm waters.

            it is what our leaders would want , if they were not too busy squabbling! At least Scottish indyref2 by 2021 is now declared, and as for the “orange idiot”, as some of the media disrespectfully call him what is his (yesterday’s) deeply important take on pressing extinction? over to the miss-spelled “stream of consciousness” twitter….

            “Former CIA analyst Larry Johnson accuses United Kingdom Intelligence of helping Obama Administration Spy on the 2016 Trump Presidential Campaign.” @OANN WOW! It is now just a question of time before the turuth comes out, and when it does, it will be a beauty!
            4:04 AM – 24 Apr 2019

            U could not make it up, seems like he has completely different priorities, dealing with his own extinction – then can anyone talk sense into this or the next US admin on the terrible fears associated with ‘tipping-point’ climate-change?

          • Johny Conspiranoid

            Since all the carbon in a tree is extracted from the atmosphere as the tree grows the burning of the tree gives zero extra carbon in the atmosphere. You would have to plant anew tree for each one burnt to keep the carbon levels steady. Coal contains carbon extracted from the atmosphere millions of years ago.

      • Gary Littlejohn

        In reply to Loony, I was not advocating a continuation of biomass use at Drax, but a conversion to natural gas as an interim measure instead of coal and biomass in order to supply base level electricity as conventional nuclear power is phased out. I am fully aware that biomass based on trees in this context is uneconomic. (Biomass based on human sewage and cattle slurry in anaerobic digesters is a different story.) Converting another of the nearby coal power stations to gas would enable it to be used as a substitute for the ‘diesel farms’ for responding to peaks in demand. The power transmission cables are already in place. I did not express any views about ‘climate change’ (anthropogenic global warming) being more concerned with trying to discuss what a sensible UK energy policy might include in its profile of mixed energy technologies.

        But since the point has been raised then I have to say that I am a ‘climate change’ denier. Contrary to overwhelming media coverage, the time series data does not support these claims of global warming. Indeed much of the media has been misled by the way that global average temperature maps are presented in the annual reports of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) annual reports on average global temperatures. What is presented first is the percentile change maps, rather than the absolute temperatures but if one looks further down the web page one sees the absolute figures shown in map form. Contrary to media reports, and to David Attenborough’s recent claim on BBC TV that the last four years (2005-2008 inclusive) have been the warmest on record, in fact each of those years have been cooler than their predecessor. The pattern has often been record cooling in north America and Russia with warmer temperatures in the UK and Western Europe, and that is also what we are seeing right now.

        A Russian professor working at Newcastle University has examined the time series data over a much longer period and has shown that solar variations have a large impact on Earth’s global temperatures. She points out that these effects may exceed the effects of greenhouse gases. This was reported in The Guardian but had no impact on that newspaper’s general coverage of that issue. In addition, longer time series analysis shows that the global temperatures 6,000 years ago were higher than they are predicted to be by current climatological models based on ‘climate change’ theories suggest will happen in this century. Polar bears did not become extinct. Current rapid melting in the Arctic and Antarctic is the result of six recently-discovered undersea volcanoes in the Antarctic and a recently-discovered area of warm magna that is much nearer the Earth’s surface than geologists had expected. That is why the glaciers in Greenland and elsewhere in the Arctic are melting FROM BELOW. They would be melting from above if it was caused by atmospheric warming. The same applies to permafrost in Russia and Canada.

        Most importantly, the whole theory of global warming is wrong at the quantum level. It depends on Planck’s Constant, which has recently been confirmed to be a VARIABLE. Engineering textbooks have shown for decades how carbon and other black bodies such as methane emit at a higher rate in a cold environment such as the upper atmosphere, but theoretical physicists and meteorologists have not caught up with this. The greenhouse gas effect in the upper atmosphere is 40 per cent weaker than global warming theorists expect and this is confirmed by satellite observations. Professor Pierre Marie Robitaille has shown how Planck got it wrong. Planck uncritically included an equation of a mid-19th century German scientist called Hirschoff in his equation of heat transfer. Hirschoff’s experiments appeared to show that black bodies such as carbon always emitted heat at the same rate, regardless of the temperature of the surrounding environment. But these were experiments conducted in a room lit by candles that had deposited soot (a form of carbon) all over the place, thereby giving false results. As Robitaille says, the collapse of Planck’s Constant has big implications for statistical thermodynamics.

        We are now entering a Solar Minimum and while this one is not predicted to be a Grand Minimum like the Maunder Minimum of about 450 years ago (which produced the Little Ice Age) there will probably be a Grand Minimum later this century. There is clearly evidence that the Professor at \Newcastle is unaware of showing that in fact solar variation is the main determinant of variations in Earth’s climate. See:



        These show the wide implications of the emerging scientific revolution sometimes called the ‘electric universe’ or the ‘plasma universe’. Astronomers, climatologists,astrophysicists theoretical physicists, geologists and health researchers are facing a fundamental rethink. Time for the scientific establishment to wake up, and for the ‘global warming’ religion to be abandoned. The other implications are equally startling for conventional science. [For example, there is no such thing as a ‘black hole’: astronomers are actually looking at plasmoids, but they are not trained in plasma physics.]

        Other research

        • Simon

          Quoted from here – https://archive.briankoberlein.com/2014/12/30/tilting-windmills/
          “Robitaille is a radiologist who around 2000 became convinced that physicists and astrophysicists were seriously wrong about basic physics. He believes that Kirchoff’s blackbody radiation law is wrong, and in 2002 he took out a full page ad in the New York Times to promote his ideas, because his theory is “both too simple and unexpected to stand any chance of publication in the peer reviewed physics literature”

          Robitaille makes several wild claims about astrophysics. He claims that the cosmic microwave background isn’t due to the thermal remnant of the big bang, but rather due to microwaves reflected off the surface of Earth’s oceans. He claims the Sun isn’t powered by nuclear fusion in its core, but is instead a layer of liquid metallic hydrogen at 7 million degrees.”

          Sounds utterly convincing eh? Doeasn’t bode well for the substance of the remainder of your claims but I lack the energy to go through them.

    • giyane

      ” It should be a priority to stop fracking ”

      Advice on fracking is on the Tories’ ” Ignore Priority List “, along with the Good Friday Agreement, No Deal and Eating Your Own Vomit by supporting Islamists. The fatal repercussions of which have all been in the news this week.

  • Mist001

    Extinction Rebellion 3 days ago: “We want to negotiate with the government!”

    Government 2 days ago: “No.”

    Extinction Rebellion 1 day ago “We’re going home.”

    I said 3 days ago on here that there was something not quite right about this organisation. I still don’t know what it is, but it’s looking like I was correct to be suspicious of them.

    • Noit a Lever

      Yeah, it’s just off, isn’t it?

      Just because the cause is right and you agree with it, doesn’t mean that it can’t be used for nefarious ends.

  • Anon1

    Can anyone name a single species that has been made extinct because of “man-made climate change”? Thousands of species have become extinct because of habitat loss.

    Loss of habitat, intensive farming practices, overfishing, illegal trade, hunting, introduction of alien species – these are the key drivers. But instead we have an autistic child dictating how we should tax the sun.

        • BrianFujisan

          That’s a fact Ian

          I think it’s yet another Human Conceit that change of environment by Humans Can’t be classed as Climate change. Since increasingly it is.. I know what Anon ! is trying to get at. Shame.

    • Mighty Drunken

      The Bramble Cay melomys. Now intelligence is a wonderful thing, it can allow us to analyse a situation and make predictions for the future. The strange thing about the future is, it hasn’t happened yet.

      Climate change is ongoing and many more species will become extinct as sea levels rise, alpine habitats disappear and ecosystems change. Some say that prevention is better than cure, I agree.

    • michael norton

      Well, round here in Southern England
      the Red Kite, seems to be doing rather well, brought back from Wales or Norway or whatever, all day long they are over flying my estate looking for Grey Squirrels to eat.
      No shortage of Grey Squirrels, either .

  • Hmmm

    We obviously need a WAR ON CLIMATE CHANGE!!!
    It has to be a war. It’s the only thing they understand.

    • Herbie

      I think local environmental damage is the much greater threat.

      But that doesn’t get the favourable media coverage.

      The Green Movement overall, and media coverage, are like those Human Rights organisations who seem only to concentrate on the state’s official enemies.

      I mean, look at poor old Ian R Crane and his campaign against the Frackers.


      How come he ain’t being fawned over in media.

    • giyane


      The Tories already had that when they came in in 2010. New Labour was about to replace all gas boilers with electric heat pumps. But Cameron decided instead to trash the middle East, and call it the Arab Spring , which started in 2010 , a 100 years investment in oil security for the EU . BREXIT is basically the part of the strategy which deals with the resultant migration of war refugees.

      All of our current climate crisis is due to Cameron and the Tories starting empire2 in 2010. They also blamed new Labour for the total fuckup of 2007 in banking which they created in the 80’s under Thatcher ‘s banking deregulation

  • Matt

    All energy comes at a cost. Tidal energy sounds great, but what would be the effect of all of the world’s energy needs being met by tidal power? Where is that energy coming from? It’s coming from the Earth-Moon gravitational system. I haven’t crunched any numbers, and the effects would very probably be tiny in a single lifetime, but over a few centuries, we’re increasing the length of the day and speeding up the process which will result in tidal locking. Our great great grandchildren won’t thank us.
    Solar energy is flawed too, this will slowly warm the planet by turning sunlight that would have been reflected back into space into heat here on Earth.
    Wind energy will have negligible effects on the weather, but again over a long period of time, negligible effects become, well, less negligible. As daft as it might sound, eventually we’ll run out of wind. Wind is generated by pressure differentials in the atmosphere, by harnessing wind power we’re meddling with this differential. We’re taking energy out of the atmosphere.

    I’d say the ideal future is solar power, with efforts to offset the warming, perhaps by painting rooftops white to reflect more sunlight back into space.

    • Herbie

      “and the effects would very probably be tiny in a single lifetime, but over a few centuries, we’re increasing the length of the day and speeding up the process which will result in tidal locking.”

      Don’t we already have Tidal Locking with the Moon?

      That’s why you see the same face every night.

      And yes, that means our orbit is slightly slowed.

      This is the current condition, and there’s nothing we can do about it, nor should we.

      In a few billion years the earth day will be slightly longer.

      Nothing to worry about.

      It’s local environmental damage that we should be concentrating upon, not space shit.

    • nevermind

      40 square kilometers of concentrated solar power in the Sahara, these are mirrors that channel the sunlight on to one spot on a massive boiler to produce steam, generating electric energy via modern turbines, can power all of Europe’s power demands.

      The assumption by some that we have to cover the Sahara with mirrors, heating up the atmosphere, lets be clear here, this from a public school educated being, leaves me to wonder what they have been taught at all.

      We can solve our energy needs in the world by harnessing this power in our deserts/24/7 all around the world, given that one single benign condition exist.

      Peace. From that cooperation and exchange of knowledge will help to solve our problems and set us on to a more sustainable path. This does not mean sitting back and carrying on as usual, we have all got to seriously look at ourselfs and adjust our lifestyle, teach our children how to live, grow food, care for each other and be friendly to others.

    • Johny Conspiranoid

      Yes the enrgy for tidal energy is comming from the earth moon system but extra energy is not being extracted from the earth moon system, the existing energy is being re-routed into the national grid.

    • flatulence

      haha “space shit”, Herbie 00:48, made me smile

      Glenn calls you daft because if it goes over his head then you must be the idiot. Oh no, he said daft, not idiot, now he’ll want to argue the toss over the difference. Friendly bunch.

      I say good for you. Visualisation ability should not be discouraged, especially in science, and certainly not mocked by those who could simply query it for better understanding or to highlight errors or assumptions made. Einstein was one such visionary. Glenn, is one such halfwit bully. There’s just no need for it and you’re giving anything you stand for a bad name. Even Glenn’s example of ‘daft North Carolinians’ is amusing. While saying “you are using up the Sun by using solar” would be, by and large, incorrect. It isn’t as simple as that. Heisenberg and Schrödinger might have a few things to say about that but at the very least you would have to concede that anything reflected back from the Earth to the Sun is directly involved in the Sun’s energy input/output, no matter how miniscule that effect might be. Capturing any of the would-be-reflected energy will affect that system, again, no matter how miniscule that effect might be. So to dismiss it completely, especially in an attempt to shit on someone else when completely uncalled for, only makes you look like a twerp.

      Personally I don’t see anything daft there at all, but then I am a bit daft.

      With regards to points you and others have made:

      The Earth is not tidally locked with the Moon, more correctly, the Moon is tidally locked with the Earth. For the Earth to be tidally locked with the Moon, the Moon would be continually above the same point of the Earth. Probably directly above my house therefore submerging me in a few miles of ocean. The Earth becoming tidally locked with the Moon is indeed a ‘thing’, though general consensus is that the Earth will be long gone before this happens. The timescale involved is in the billions of years rather than hundreds, so other things come into play first like ambient temperatures increasing due to the Sun gearing up to becoming a red giant. Imagining the seas boiled away, massively reducing the tidal friction would be a start, i.e. double tidal locking would be slowed/delayed indefinitely with no oceans which provide the bulk of this friction.

      It’s possible that utilising tidal energy could speed up the tidal locking. I’ve not really thought it through but I’d imagine that using tidal energy is effectively increasing tidal friction, and by doing that you’d be directly affecting the Earth-Moon system and how much it slows the Earths rotation for one thing. An example of this is that the Earth is currently slowing faster than it has in the past due to the changing arrangement of the continents. The current arrangement (imagine two large long north to south land masses) causing more of a barrier to the tidal waves, therefore increasing tidal friction… requires more thought and you would also need to consider the Moon wandering off too! Either way, not daft by any means, and actually quite remarkable if you don’t have a science background.

      Basically the timescales involved mean that by the time we might have had any meaningful effect on the system, we’d be so advanced that we could reasonably correct and prevent any imbalances. I mean by then we ought to be well beyond getting 25GWh from 1g of sand. Or better yet, 1g of waste. Who knows, by then we may be ascended or something bonkers like that and no longer require energy at all.

      The wind energy one is a similar story. If you managed to suddenly take all the wind energy from the system, so no wind left at all in an instant on the planet, it would immediately regenerate. A couple of examples. You’ve got Coriolis effect; so currents generated from the rotation of the Earth. You’ve got currents produced by the continual expansion contraction of air etc as day becomes night for example. But again you’d still want to consider what happens when you take energy from these systems. Maybe you get less energetic weather systems, maybe weather systems/paths/patterns are changed completely. Similar to the tidal energy, re. Coriolis, maybe you would be increasing the resistance to the Earth’s rotation, further shortening the time until double tidal locking! Realistically though, again same as the tidal idea, it is hard to imagine being able to take enough of the energy to produce any measurable effect, and by the time we could measure it, we’d be so advanced it wouldn’t be an issue.

      The inefficiencies of solar, creating heat etc are another interesting one! Actually it doesn’t matter how you produce the energy, or even how efficiently you do so, the end user and all the inefficiencies in between (very) basically means that all the energy ends up as heat anyway. (Actually the mirrors and efficient steam turbine in the desert made me laugh, because there is no reason why that might not be more efficient than solar with the right technology; using all of the solar radiation rather than a specific band of wavelengths for starters.) So really, to prevent global warming, man-made or not, you either need to store/recycle that heat, or get rid of it. That’s why your white roofs are again on the right track (natures version being more snow cover), but greenhouse gasses make the white roofs redundant (and the warming melts natures version!). Ideally I suppose we would measure the global energy requirements, and get that almost entirely from recycled residual heat, balancing new energy generation with global warming/cooling. But in the meantime, and even afterwards taking man-made heat out of the equation, we need to be able to radiate heat from Earth. It’s the greenhouse gasses that prevent this, capturing or reflecting this infrared radiation back to Earth. So be as efficient as you like, but if you cannot get rid of the inevitable heat, you get the greenhouse effect. One way to reduce warming, is of course to reduce the greenhouse gasses, another is to use less energy (why efficiency is important).

      Sorry for the long response, had half an hour and nothing to do but eat my sandwich. There may be someone else who can give a more astute answer. Had someone on here a while back put me straight about ovoid orbits. They said something fairly abstract about conic sections in a one liner that made me see the light and allowed me to spot a mistake in one of my assumptions. Boom, one line! Wish I could do that.

      Don’t you just hate it when you can’t actually remember eating your sandwich. I was really looking forward to that.

    • Hmmm

      “There is no obvious climate signal to point to in this case; atmospheric and ocean observations in the vicinity of the Brunt reveal little in the way of change.”

    • Sharp Ears

      Or the polar bear who travelled on his bit of broken ice for 700kms.


      ‘In recent decades, sea ice in the Arctic Ocean has been melting faster than it re-freezes in winter. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Fourth Assessment Report states that greenhouse gas forcing is predominantly responsible for the decline in Arctic sea ice extent. A study from 2011 suggested that internal variability enhanced the greenhouse gas-forced sea ice decline over the last decades. A study from 2007 found the decline to be “faster than forecasted” by model simulations. The IPCC Fifth Assessment Report concluded, with high confidence, that sea ice will continue to decrease in extent, and that there is robust evidence for the downward trend in Arctic summer sea ice extent since 1979. It has been established that the region is at its warmest for at least 40,000 years and the Arctic-wide melt season has lengthened at a rate of 5 days per decade (from 1979 to 2013), dominated by a later autumn freeze-up. Sea ice changes have been identified as a mechanism for polar amplification.

  • BrianFujisan


    ” What habitat have we lost? ”

    Wow.. You see; it’s a Human Conceit.. ” WE ” ..What about our ( human ) Extinction of our fellow lifeforms

    Then there is Habitats Lost to humans.. Rain Forests, Parts of the Pacific – Plastic Islands – Low lying Island states..Vast tracts of Canada to Fracking.. the list goes on.

    Welcome back to Clark.. A week in a tent on tarmacadam.. A warrior indeed.

    • Hmmm

      I meant we as a planet not humans. I posted previously about eating meat. Do you eat meat?
      Are the losses you mention demonstrably caused by human climate change?

  • Alex

    proposing to effectively halt the air traffic is “insufficiently radical”? Government schemes? Come on. The only real effect there would be channeling the public money into the politicians’ owned or controlled business. With the same effect as bicycle helmets. Or solar hot water systems. Both examples conveniently fall into the grey area where one can neither prove nor disprove the effectiveness of either. Just as with the statement that the (more or less observable) climate change is partially “man made”.

    However, with the climate change we want to be on the safe side, so, perhaps, it will be better to discuss the source of the (potential) problem – which is a unrestricted human population growth. Until we fix that (or God fixes it for us), trying to reduce the energy (and any natural resource) consumption by the individuals is ,at best, only going to postpone the agony.

  • Antonym

    Regarding the (Greta) Thunberg/Ernman family:
    Their memoir tells the story of “a family in crisis and a planet in crisis,” and while these two narratives might appear to be entirely unrelated, Ernman and her co-authors insist they are inextricably linked. The oppression of women, minorities, and people with disabilities, we are told, is a product of the same root cause as climate change: our unsustainable way of life. The family’s private crisis and the global climate crisis, the authors implausibly argue, are simply symptoms of the same systemic disorder https://quillette.com/2019/04/23/self-harm-versus-the-greater-good-greta-thunberg-and-child-activism/

  • Dave

    For some the climate scam provides an opportunity for virtue signalling and telling other people want to do. Its similar to the ‘green’ demand for higher fuel tax, which persists even after fuel costs have increased due to market forces. I.e. no matter how high fuel costs are, the government isn’t doing its duty to tackle ‘climate change’, unless it raises taxes too!

    The climate scam allows a host of nonsense to be imposed, such as an array of different coloured bins outside your house (making the road look like a tip) with heavy fines for mixing up the rubbish that often all ends up in the same tip to save money.

    Jeremy Corbyn knows its a scam, because Piers has told him and I had to laugh as he described those protesters outside his brother’s house as deranged, but Corbyn, due to Labour policy, attends the Durham Miners Gala (a legacy title as almost all mines are closed) (and is invited as deemed old rather than new Labour) and then denounces Trump for opening coal mines.

    I.e. The climate scam requires Corbyn to de facto denounce miners (once the vanguard of the labour movement and working class) as enemies of the planet and Trump as public enemy No.1 for opening coal mines at a miners gala.

    (Separately I am offended that protestors and ‘journalists’ are allowed to regularly turn up outside his house, which is far worse intimidation than anything suffered by the aggressive weepers complaining about being called fat on facebook).

    • James Charles

      “For climate change, there are many scientific organizations that study the climate. These alphabet soup of organizations include NASA, NOAA, JMA, WMO, NSIDC, IPCC, UK Met Office, and others. Click on the names for links to their climate-related sites. There are also climate research organizations associated with universities. These are all legitimate scientific sources.

      If you have to dismiss all of these scientific organizations to reach your opinion, then you are by definition denying the science. If you have to believe that all of these organizations, and all of the climate scientists around the world, and all of the hundred thousand published research papers, and physics, are all somehow part of a global, multigenerational conspiracy to defraud the people, then you are, again, a denier by definition. 

      So if you deny all the above scientific organizations there are a lot of un-scientific web sites out there that pretend to be science. Many of these are run by lobbyists (e.g.., Climate Depot, run by a libertarian political lobbyist, CFACT), or supported by lobbyists (e.g., JoannaNova, WUWT, both of whom have received funding and otherwise substantial support by lobbying organizations like the Heartland Institute), or are actually paid by lobbyists to write Op-Eds and other blog posts that intentionally misrepresent the science.”

      • Johny Conspiranoid

        James Charles;
        This is what’s called an “appeal to mere authority”.

        • glenn_nl

          Actually, it’s not. This is referring Denialist Dave to the actual mass of knowledge and understanding of the matter, and the conclusions of those involved with such research. If he – and you – decide you know better, without bothering to understand any of the science itself, then this is probably best described as your own appeal to stupidity.

          Dave’s supposed logic of simply declaring something a “scam” and “nonsense” multiple times is, what, argument by repetition? Yet you have no problem with that. Fascinating.

    • nevermind

      My word, ‘making the road look like a tip’? it is and always has been a pollution channel going past our houses, what a prissy comment to make about recycling. What you should be decrying Dave ios that we are unable to sell recycled goods to prissy people who have to have virgin plastic for each and every good they purchase, who rather burn waste than recycle it, because its so untidy.

      Corbyn is no different from other politicians who only oil what is squeaking loudly, so he will be lobbied like other politicians are.
      Targeting him with this protest and trying to pin another negative on him is what the media has done for three years solid, not news, but another attempt to smear, as false as a nine bob note, so relax, they will have to live with PM Corbyn.

  • Garth Carthy

    Real science? I’m sure the real climate scientists would pull that apart.
    What is asserted on that tacky looking website does not prove anything.

  • mog

    So I have read on here the several statements of support for what I refer to as ‘eco-liberalism’ – that even if it’s shown that protest has become a marketing exercise for corporations and even if it is a sham and even if neoliberalism is generally agreed to be the major obstruction to environmental protection and even if players promoting XR are linked to explicit plans to financialise nature – even after considering all that, they argue we should throw in our unthinking, unreserved support behind a sixteen year old mascot.

    …nowhere in their demands have Extinction Rebellion named this economic cause or called for its change, presumably because doing so would align them with social and political forces from which Farhana Yamin’s negative description of a ‘rabble’ has taken care to distance them. As Extinction Rebellion state in their list of principles: ‘We avoid blaming and shaming – we live in a toxic system, but no one individual is to blame.’

    Some of us disagree. The rabble that, for the 23rd week running, have protested in France against the capitalism they have identified as the cause of the rising inequality to which they are not alone in being subjected, and of which the environmental disaster we are facing is a bi-product, saw through Macron’s attempt to place that disaster in the service of monopoly capitalism. As the leadership of Extinction Rebellion meets with politicians this week to discuss their demands, will they risk alienating the class and corporate interests that have given them this platform by aligning their environmental demands with the social, political and economic revolution that alone is capable of averting this disaster?

    What is becoming increasingly clear is that capitalism will either be overthrown and superseded or it will lead us to extinction as a species. If it is not to be just another ideology of liberalism to which Extinction Rebellion unfortunately bears numerous points of resemblance, an environmentalist project must at the same time also be a revolutionary project.

  • Ottomanboi

    The Bavarian capital Munich has an efficient integrated transport system, U-Bahn, S-Bahn and tram all coordinated for ticketing and fares. Citizens of Manchester have an excess of private polluting buses often running empty, congested train lines and a rather ugly tram system, foreign owned, which can crawl at walking pace through the city centre, suffers from frequent breakdowns and delays and whose vehicles, because it was conceived to run on rail track, are oversize and there is no integrated ticketing. A typically public/private, confused and illogical British model not to replicate.

    • Salford Lad

      The Manchester Metro system trams used to have a large brass plate on the side which read ‘ Fabricado in Milano. Italy,
      Being an Engineer , I notice such things.
      I notice also that they have since been removed, being such an embarrassment to the City which housed the first Railway station in the world as part of the George Stephenson built, Liverpool = Manchester railway. And being once the hub of a great engineering manufacturing tradition.
      Which brings us to the dysfunctional British economy, 92% of bank credit goes to the froth of Financial speculation in the UK, with the manufacturing wealth creating sector starved of investment.
      This is no way to run an economy or a railway ,as our Yankee friends would say.

      • Charles Bostock

        I don’t think that Italian made goods would have the word “fabricado” written on them. The reason for that is perhaps that “fabricado” is not Italian for the notion you are attempt to convey…..

    • Mary Pau!

      well of course the EU transport policy is to outsource transport to the private sector, as this is deemed more efficient and capable of producing a better, more customer friendly product, than nationalised systems.

      • Johny Conspiranoid

        My guess is that Munich isn’t following EU policy and gets away with it, or that EU doesn’t force us to do these things but our own politicians have chosen it, at least the ‘moderate’ ones have.

    • mog

      “Sadiq Khan insisted that he was very worried about the climate, but it was time to return to ‘business as usual’.”

      We’ve heard been the same message coming from the capitalist establishment for thirty years, only now we hear it from the protest leaders themselves:
      Extinction Rebellion’s political circle coordinator, the climate change lawyer Farhana Yamin, announced that the week of protests in London would now be ‘paused’ as commuters went back to work and shop. This would show, she said – although she didn’t say whom it would be showing – that ‘we are not a rabble’.

      [article linked above]

    • giyane

      That depends how you Squeeth it. In my book in English you can Squeeth it however you jolly like.

  • Anon1

    Really it’s time to stop exploiting this vulnerable autistic child who’s been terrified into thinking the world is about to end. Where are her parents?

  • Mary Pau!

    I think our food needs to be rated in food miles, to reflect how many miles it has travelled by road, in total, from raw product to processed where relevant, to reach us. Particularly as most of these miles will be in diesel running giant lorries.

    • Bill Thomson

      Not all food miles are equal. Air, ship, lorry or bicycle?
      I see an other quango, a book of regulations and a levy coming.
      All accompanied by an army of bureaucratic rule extrapolaters with nicely decorated offices, mileage allowance and pension.

      • Johny Conspiranoid

        “Not all food miles are equal. Air, ship, lorry or bicycle?
        I see an other quango, a book of regulations and a levy coming.
        All accompanied by an army of bureaucratic rule extrapolaters with nicely decorated offices, mileage allowance and pension.”
        And all outsourced for profit.

    • giyane

      Mary Pau!

      Mary, how can you be so innocent? Bringing our basic foods from Eastern Europe increases the value of the land the capitalists bought for nothing over there. They are well happy to put British farmers out of business by hiking the food 1000 miles one way. This is Tory capitalism red in tooth and claw, not some kind of benign socialism that plans for our economic well-being and future.

      • Mary Pau!

        The food I was referring to was not grown in Eastern Europe. It was brought by sea from the USA, to Rotterdam, then trucked to a processing plant in Eastern Europe to be rendered and then trucked again to SW France to be processed and trucked again to northern France to be packaged, and then again to the UK where it was distributed (with more minor movements in between). This road movement was all by polluting diesel mega lorries. So I would settle for a road miles rating to start with.

          • Mary Pau!

            “rendered” is used here to mean turning horses into horsemeat, “processed” refers to turning the horsemeat into cheap lasagne, packaging refers to packing into boxes branded for Tesco and Aldi etc.

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