Monbiot & Miliband in: the Wrong Trousers

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Just like real climate scientists, we at Cliscep keep our best remarks for private emails between ourselves: For instance, Ian Woolley, à propos of Paul’s recent article on Sharman & Howarth, said:

It’s a painful process to watch, though, isn’t it? The slow dawning… the lumbering, plodding research to discover.. what? The bleeding obvious that political conviction might just be a big factor – in all sides! – of this. Who knew? Who the fucking-fuck knew?

That’s scientism for you. Scientism is like a man watching pornography presented with a novel problem he’s decided to address by designing looser, more comfortable trousers.

I was still chuckling about Ian’s remark when I came across this podcast at the Graun featuring George Monbiot and Ed Miliband arguing the toss off the cuff before an invited audience. Listen if you must. (Or watch a similar discussion between Peter Cook and friends from 1979 but written in 1961, long before the Club of Rome, Kyoto and COP21.)

But back to the Miliband / Monbiot podcast, which is scientism at its wackiest.

Scientism, defined as “the dogmatic endorsement of scientific methodology and the reduction of all knowledge to only that which is measurable” (see Wiki for this and other definitions) is rare among -isms in being almost always used pejoratively. While scientists are almost universally admired, no-one will admit to espousing scientism – above all its most fervent believers among the climate catastrophist community, who are not scientists – and who often express a deep-seated hatred for the scientific method – but who nonetheless are willing to follow any guru with a graph and a PhD in something environ-mental.

The fact that the Guardian has raked up these two hasbeens does rather support the theory that climate catastrophism is on its last legs. Why do they do it? Or rather, why do they do it with these two Jurassic jerks?

Monbiot will be eternally beatified in the hallowed halls of climate scepticism for being the first mainstream journalist to demand, in the wake of Climategate, the resignation of Professor Phil Jones. Then remorse or the Inquisition got to him and he reneged, promising to leave off the subject of climate change If Jones was cleared by the official enquiries – the first case in recorded history of an investigative journalist promising to call off his investigation if the powers-that-be would assured him that there was nothing wrong. This is his first venture back into the fray, as far as I know, since Professor Jones was cleared of all blame by seven independent enquiries.

Miliband is – well – the Wrong Trousers personified. Both Miliband and Monbiot believe in Science the way Art Critics and Ministers of Culture believe in Art. It Exists. It’s Good. And if you don’t believe in it the way they do, there’s no point in discussing it. In fact there’s almost nothing interesting to be said about their discussion at all. They disagree on just one point. Monbiot believes Growth is Bad, while Miliband believes Growth can be Good if it’s Green Growth. (And the Caps are there for a Purpose, because that’s the way they Think. Rational Thought to them is like a game of Scrabble, the Aim being to land your Idea on a Triple Word Score.)

I did intend to transcribe this event, but my heart’s not in it. Not again. Not yet another attempt by the Guardian’s finest minds to try and grapple with their own inability to understand why they can’t understand why they’re not succeeding in making the rest of us understand that the crisis which we all understand to be the biggest threat to our civilisation needs to be understood. No.

Just one example of Moliband/Minbiot trying to face up to their impotence in the face of our indifference is this from about 36 minutes in. You can practically hear Monbiot’s trousers stretching to breaking point as he tries to figure out “quite why it is” that he hasn’t yet managed to get us all to react as he does to the greatest crisis of our times. He concludes that it’s the fault of the media. What we need to do is to:

“…break the media stranglehold and I’ve yet to see the social media realise its potential. There’s still a sense that what drives politics and public perception in this country remains the mainstream media. Now I realise I’m talking myself out of a job here, but it’s this tremendous potential for us to communicate without having to go through the Murdochs or even the Guardians of this world and to be able to reach people directly with the issues that are self-evidently the most important, that is a potential that we have yet fully to tap. And I don’t know quite why that is, but there is something tremendously exciting about the unrealised potential for social media to catalyse political change, and I think we’ve just seen one percent of that potential has become visible so far and a great majority is still to be gained. But at the same time I believe we must be having some much more fundamental discussions about economic structures, about the very basis…”

and so on. An’ on an’ onan’ onan’….

[What would I do, I wonder, if I were one of the thousands of bright young aspiring Monibands and Milibots employed on “alternative media”, churning out article after article that receives no comments, no tweets – nothing – month after month on websites with six-figure budgets financed by governments and billionaires’ trust funds? Would I shoot myself? Or would I try and take some of those nasty deniers with me when I go? But what’s the point since we’re all doomed anyway? It’s not difficult to understand the odd mood swings of the Green Blob.]

By far the most interesting participant was the moderator Helen Czerski, an oceanographer from University College London, who gives her own original version of what science is and how it should be taught right at the outset:

“Just before we get started into what they have to say I just want to say a little bit as well because I’m a research scientist. I work at University College London. I study the surface of the ocean and my perspect… so in a way the scientists have moved on from the science in some ways which is great – the science is now answering other problems about adaptation – but my perspective as a scientist is that the – we can think of ourselves as human beings as having three great life support systems, and if I was in charge of science teaching this is how it would be taught, right? We’ve got our human body, we live in this. This is one life support system. We have our planet which is a life support system in other ways. It provides us food and resources and energy. And now more than any other generation we have a third life support system and that is our civilisation. And the problem we’re facing with climate change is that two of those life support systems are clashing up against each other, and the way the earth works as a life support system is affecting and being affected by the way our civilisation works as a life support system. So when we’re debating these issues, I think those are the terms to think about them, the terms in which to think about them, because we are dealing with two of the great systems that we rely on, and they shouldn’t be underestimated.”

So out go boring old deduction and induction, hypothesis and theory, right? So much for “a systematic enterprise that creates, builds and organizes knowledge in the form of testable explanations and predictions about the universe.” [Wiki] In comes the Clash of Life Support Systems, right? So, following the reasoning of the chirpy Ms Czerki’s definition of what science is all about, what is the role of the scientist? According to her logic, I’d suggest: the construction of Life Support Systems for Yours Truly, starting with a university teaching post, following up with fronting some BBC science programmes, and topping it off with some part time debate-moderating for the Guardian. And if one life support system clashes a bit with another, so much the better for the career.

Remember, for the thousands of Milibots and Monibands who interpret and legislate climate matters, what the Science says is unquestionable. And the science is what scientists say it is. And the scientists who matter are the ones who talk to the Molibands and Minibots, the ones on the government committees and in the TV studios and hanging around the Guardian’s offices. It’s about Lifestyle Support. I’ll support yours if you’ll support mine.

44 thoughts on “Monbiot & Miliband in: the Wrong Trousers

  1. Good grief. Three life support systems; our bodies, the planet and our civilisation; and two of them are “clashing up against each other, and the way the earth works as a life support system is affecting and being affected by the way our civilisation works as a life support system.” If Czerski was in charge of science teaching (3 year olds I presume), ‘this is how she would teach it, right?’ God forbid.

    I guess what she means is that civilisation and the planet are slogging it out with each other in the school playground and one of them must be expelled. You can guess which. Thus, harmony shall be restored when we give civilisation the boot and then we shall jolly well have to rely upon our bodies and the planet only as life support systems. I mean, it’s not like we haven’t done that before. ‘We’ as in you and me of course: a scaled down civilisation, I am sure, will have to be maintained for the elite just so they can oversee the whole business of saving the planet and to make sure it keeps on track.

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  2. Jaime:
    “If Czerski was in charge of science teaching (3 year olds I presume)…”
    According to her Wikipaedia entry she’s already presented 11 BBC TV science programmes, so she’s reached more people than a nursery school teadcher would in a thousand lifetimes. And she’s only 37.

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  3. The blurb under the Guardian podcast states

    After the failures of Copenhagen in 2009, the Paris summit has been hailed as a success, with the 180 attending countries agreeing to limit global warming to 1.5c. However, the pledges still amount to the acceptance of 2.7c of warming.

    If we assume* the non-policy RCP8.5 scenario produces 4.5C of warming, the non-policy RCP8.5 scenario produces 4.5C of the pledges (INDC Submissions) if fully enacted will not reduce emissions sufficiently to produce 2.7c of warming. To achieve the difference would mean that instead of global emissions being nearly triple the current level in 2100, policy would have to ensure that they were about half the current levels. This claim was made in the run-up to Paris by UNFCCC Executive Secretary Christiana Figueres.
    The INDCs have the capability of limiting the forecast temperature rise to around 2.7C by 2100, by no means enough but a lot lower than the estimated four, five, or more degrees of warming projected by many prior to the INDCs.

    I looked up the support for the claim. The UNFCCC’s own report on the INDCS stated that the pledges only covered until 2030, and even if fully enacted in 2030 global emissions would still be at record levels and still trending upwards. The two claims of 2.7C by 2100 are to be found in a table at the end of a Technical Annex, published separate to the main report. These claims, by organisations separate to the UNFCCC, achieved their figures by post 2030 splicing modelled policy scenarios onto the pledges.
    It is not really scientism in Geoff’s sense of “the dogmatic endorsement of scientific methodology and the reduction of all knowledge to only that which is measurable”. Rather it is the pretence of doing science through using complex computer models, and being supported by people with science PhDs, whilst talking value-laden waffle.

    *I studied economics, which makes lots of unrealistic and abstract assumptions. The purpose is enable exploration of the consequences of changes these assumptions in isolation from other factors.

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  4. Geoff:

    Ha, yes, that’s true. The last time I saw her on Horizon ‘What’s Wrong With Our Weather?’, she was telling us how “basic physics” means that intense rainfall events will become more frequent in a warming world. And she should know, being a physicist and all. Alas, “basic physics” doesn’t quite live up to the reassuring expectations which warmists place upon it in their bid to convince us all that ‘climate science’ is based upon solid theoretical foundations:

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  5. There’s an almost endearing naivety about them. Miliband thinks that that cutting CO2 is just about a bit more effort. Monbiot accepts that cutting CO2 is a massive task but is deluding himself about who gives a stuff. They both fantasise about reaching THE PEOPLE. Social media seems to be part of the plan. What do they think they could say that hasn’t already been said? Twitter may be a powerful tool but it’s not going to spawn an army of green recruits. Talking of which, surely the dire results of the Green Party should tell them there’s no serious support for environmentalism? Even Cameron suffered for his ‘vote blue, go green’ fiasco. Most of the current Green supporters may jump ship and vote for Corbyn since the Green Party is just another hard left red party.

    If they want an extraordinary result they need an extraordinary case. I’m sure that they and many warmists would claim that there is an extraordinary case but couldn’t explain it other than by starting ‘the scientists say’.

    Persuasion can actually be tested. Instead of asking ‘do you believe in climate change’ they need to ask how much people would pay annually to solve it. Are people £50 a year sure? £500 a year? Or £5000 sure? What are they prepared to give up and under what circumstances? It seems most warmists aren’t prepared to do without much and certainly not before deniers are forced to do the same. People will be expected to endure a lot, for very little personal gain. How many even know that hardship is on the cards? Certainly not Miliband.

    At this point most warmists will grumble that it’s not their responsibility to cut CO2 it’s government/industry/anyone else’s job. They assume some technological breakthrough will save them the effort. Well fine, let’s wait until that comes along and then try to persuade the public to pay for it in the name of CAGW. Why ask now when the only options available don’t work?

    Alternatively they could all agree that cutting CO2 is considerably harder than they thought and a) the evidence needs to be a lot better and c) the public need to know what cutting CO2 will cost them. One thing is for sure, they can’t be conned or PRed into something this big.

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  6. Milipede has to go on believing. He has lead us into a blind alley that causes us to spend wasted and increasing billions every year. This will mean economic disaster and the death of many both here and in the third world, especially if cooling is the future. If he ever comes to understand and accept that, psychological problems may ensue in the same way it did for many Christians in the late 19th century when it became obvious the world wasn’t 6000 years old.

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  7. economic disaster and the death of many both here and in the third world

    care to share how you come to that conclusion?

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  8. Raff, it won’t happen. Most governments aren’t that suicidal and even if they were, the public would show them the door. Only the North Koreans have been prepared to ruin their country on a principle, although Russia and China came close. Their public of course don’t get a vote on it.

    Care to prove that spending trillions on unreliable renewables wouldn’t cause economic disaster or that economic disaster doesn’t cause deaths? You don’t have to believe us, you just have to allow us to not believe you. We’re more than happy for believers to pay for an energy revolution, it’s just the concept of the rest of us paying too that we have a problem with.

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  9. Raff, it won’t happen. Most governments aren’t that suicidal and even if they were, the public would show them the door. Only the North Koreans have been prepared to ruin their country on a principle, although Russia and China came close. Their public of course don’t get a vote on it.

    Care to prove that spending trillions on unreliable renewables wouldn’t cause economic disaster or that economic disaster doesn’t cause deaths? You don’t have to believe us, you just have to allow us to not believe you. We’re more than happy for believers to pay for an energy revolution, it’s just the concept of the rest of us paying too that we have a problem with.

    Appologies if this posts multiple times, my computer is acting strangely.

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  10. TinyCO2,
    Your comment about countries not being suicidal in backing useless and damaging policies is backed up by the Indonesian INDC submission. The introduction is as follows.

    In more basic language, Indonesia has more important and immediate priorities than “climate change“. From a national point of view, imposing drastic and ineffective policies will go against the Indonesian Government’s perceived duty to its people.
    In the rest of the INDC the Indonesians massaged the figures to make it appear as if they were proposing major policy changes, when in fact they were doing nothing.
    https://manicbeancounter.com/2015/10/31/indonesia-outflanks-the-climate-activists-in-its-indc-submission/
    Other countries did the same. I do not blame them. It is easy to produce the coded diplomatic messages that will stop any proper agreements going forward, whilst at the same time pleasing the climate activists like Monbiot and Miliband. There is an annual opportunity for the leaders to show they are leaders on the world stage. For the poorer nations there could be some easy handouts. Play the game and there will be no real pressure to impose policies that would harm on their own people.

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  11. Tiny, do you remember the AI program called ELIZA from way back when? It fooled a lot of people into thinking it was thoughtful and intelligent, but it was just a piece of pretty simple coding that picked up on words, and had some standby responses ready when it got stumped.

    You can get a few implementations of it online these days, such as this one: http://www.manifestation.com/neurotoys/eliza.php3

    I tried it out with snatches from an earlier comment from David Richardson, and from the latest one from you:

    ELIZA: Hello, I am Eliza.
    HUMAN: He has led us into a blind alley that causes us to spend wasted and increasing billions every year.
    ELIZA: Can you elaborate on that?
    HUMAN: This will mean economic disaster and the death of many both here and in the third world, especially if cooling is the future.
    ELIZA: What does that suggest to you?
    HUMAN: If he ever comes to understand and accept that, psychological problems may ensue in the same way it did for many Christians in the late 19th century when it became obvious the world wasn’t 6000 years old.
    ELIZA: Does that question interest you?
    HUMAN: Aargh! You are annoying. I am upset.
    ELIZA: Perhaps you would like to be annoying …. You are upset.
    HUMAN: Care to prove that spending trillions on unreliable renewables wouldn’t cause economic disaster or that economic disaster doesn’t cause deaths?
    ELIZA: What other reasons might there be?

    As the man says at the above link, ‘ELIZA has almost no intelligence whatsoever, only tricks like string substitution and canned responses based on keywords.’ Remind you of anyone?

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  12. Care to prove that spending trillions on unreliable renewables wouldn’t cause economic disaster or that economic disaster doesn’t cause deaths?

    I will as soon as you explain why economic disaster doesn’t follow from our spending trillions on any part of the economy that is arguably wasteful or pointless (liposuction for fatties who wont stop eating, breast enhancements, jeans with holes in them, shoes that I can’t walk far in, pets, the 30% of food that is thrown away, nuclear submarines… add your own).

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  13. Well Raff, if you didn’t want a tummy tuck, high heels and big boobs, you shouldn’t have bought them.

    John Shade, it certainly seems like talking to a brick wall.

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  14. So you think whether we get “economic disaster” or not depends somehow upon whether we want what money is spent on?

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  15. If you’ve been spending on stuff you don’t want, no wonder you’ve ended up with uncomfortable shoes. And yes, that is a way to financial ruin.

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  16. You were talking about economic disaster and deaths, not personal financial ruin. Please explain why spending on renewables would cause economic disaster but spending on waste food (which is is clearly not “wanted” either) does not.

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  17. It seems that Mr Gupta’s plan for saving Port Talbot relies in part on paying lower than normal energy prices. Perhaps Raff could comment on the benefits of artificially mandated high energy prices.

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  18. Man In a Barrel, he can’t even comprehend that we’re massively in debt. A debt that arose from splashing money on stuff people couldn’t afford. For him there is a magic money machine that pays for everything. It goes along with the magic energy machines that makes electricity out of thin air, 24/7. I’m guessing he thinks the steel workers can retrain as cobblers… much like his theories.

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  19. To return to the comment about countries not committing economic suicide –

    It came as a surprise to many, even the Conservatives that the public voted for austerity. They didn’t, they voted to get a government that would pay off the debts. It seems they still haven’t got one. They’d grab with both hands a government that promised to stop piddling money down the drain on whatever fad that made them feel good about themselves.

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  20. MiaB not until Tiny tells me why spending on renewables would cause “economic disaster” but spending on waste food does not.

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  21. Since when should governments be frittering money on food waste either? I thought we got rid of the butter and grain mountains and the wine lake. Government money should always be spent wisely. I’d advise personal money be spent wisely too – I do. Since when were people forced to waste food? We don’t get the same freedom to chose over renewables.

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  22. Once again I’m coming to RAFF’s defence. His first post questioned David Richardson’s point that the “blind alley” (of climate change policies) “will mean economic disaster and the death of many both here and in the third world.” He mentions many things (10 Apr 16 at 5:40 pm) – “…pets, the 30% of food that is thrown away, nuclear submarines… add your own” – that seem on the face of it to be wasteful and pointless. We might well go on preserving Trident for centureies alongside Mary Rose and HMS Victory – why not? We might prefer to waste 30% of food rather than economise by, for example, each keeping a pig in our back garden. These are socio-psychological choices, and wasteful expensive pointless windfarms and solar panels might just be more of the same.

    David Richardson’s claim about deaths caused by climate change policies is defensible, but it’s not an argument I care to use because it’s too easy to misuse. The 2006 heatwave “caused” x thousand extra deaths, in the sense that frail old people may have died a few months earlier due to dehydration, just as they may die a few months earlier in a cold spell because they can’t afford higher heating costs due in part to subsidies for renewables. But no-one had “heatwave” or “windfarms”’ written on their death certificate. It’s an exercise in creative statistics in which the greens are expert.

    To get back to RAFF’s “wasteful” pets and liposuction and nuclear submarines: I remember being shocked by learning in first year anthropology that poor Mexican peasants spend 10% of their income on images of the Virgin Mary. But once you’ve fed yourself, everything else is wasteful. A sheaf of Monbiot articles has the same carbon footprint as the same weight of images of the Virgin Mary. 3-ply bog paper is 200% more wasteful than the one-ply sort. Where do you stop counting, and worrying? I’d suggest: before you begin.

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  23. “But no-one had “heatwave” or “windfarms”’ written on their death certificate.” too true but have you ever been in hospital in the summer? The elderly are hastened to their grave by a lack of water and high temps.

    There is too much waste and part of the problem is few people are counting. It’s why we’ve got an ever expanding NHS budget and a declining service. I agree that renewables aren’t bankrupting the country, they’re just one of the things bankrupting the country. And yes, Trident is part of that or even new hospitals with air con bought with PFI. The UK is living beyond its means. Just because it can service its debts doesn’t mean we are any less broke. One of the few things that could be ditched without a massive public outcry is its ineffective CO2 policy.

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  24. I remember before the crash, the Money Saving Expert guy was saying merrily that there was nothing wrong with debt and teaching people how to switch their ever growing debt from one credit card to the next. What happened to those people when the crash happened? A lot of them defaulted… like Greece and said ‘can’t pay, won’t pay’. Ditto the poor Americans who’d been given mortgages they couldn’t afford on worthless property. The banks got into deep trouble and we ALL had to bail them out. Debts have become too easy to walk away from so where’s the pressure to stop people and governments spending like it was 2007? Raff IS right, there’s no difference between waste choices, they all should stop. When you’re in credit you can waste your money, governments never should.

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  25. This is getting surreal is it not. Raff says:

    “I will as soon as you explain why economic disaster doesn’t follow from our spending trillions on any part of the economy that is arguably wasteful or pointless (liposuction for fatties who wont stop eating, breast enhancements, jeans with holes in them, shoes that I can’t walk far in, pets, the 30% of food that is thrown away, nuclear submarines…”

    So, inviting economic disaster and widespread fuel poverty, not to mention a looming crisis in national energy supply, by spending billions on useless renewables, is akin to wasting money on boob surgery, liposuction and having a pet dog or cat (or hamster, or snake, whatever)!

    Aside from the urge to scoff mightily at the absurd comparison, I must take issue with at least one of those supposedly ‘wasteful’ activities – pet ownership. Raff may not be aware that it has been proven that owning a dog is a significant health benefit, both for adults and children, e.g. “it has been proven that having a pet makes us live longer and animals can be useful in predicting seizures, reducing blood pressure and cholesterol, and even monitoring their diabetic owners’ blood sugar levels.” Kids brought up with animals in the house are less likely to suffer from asthma and other allergies. So overall, less strain on the NHS; an economic benefit as well as a socio-psychological one.

    http://www.bexhillobserver.net/news/local/new-research-finds-significant-health-benefits-from-pet-ownership-1-7164939

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  26. TINYCO2
    “The elderly are hastened to their grave by a lack of water and high temps.”

    I believe you. France was the country most affected by the 2006 heatwave. An official report found that the main reason was government inefficiency (everyone on holiday in August, so no-one on hand to authorise a publicity campaign to warn the elderly to drink more.) But that didn’t stop the IPCC from quoting the report in support of its claim that increased CO2 was killing people.

    The mania for data collection and the ease of processing it has made the old anti-scientific canard that “you can prove anything with statistics” a commonplace. The Greens are in the driving seat and using this facility for all it’s worth to promote their agenda. Manicbeancounter in his interesting article on Indonesia referred to above demonstrates the same tendency when he cites the Indonesian government’s aim to eliminate poverty as justification for whatever they want to do (which may include destroying their tropical rainforests, and the orang utan and “backward” tribes that live there.)

    The Greens use these pseudo-scientific methods all the time. There are two methods of countering their arguments. One is to use their weapons, pointing out for instance that more die from cold than from heat. The other is to question the entire mode of reasoning.

    We’re all going to die of something. Would “we” have allowed the internal combustion engine 100 years ago if we’d known it would cause 30 million deaths? Nuclear power has resulted in trivial numbers of deaths so far. If an accident killed ten thousand tomorrow, it would still be the safest source of energy. If a dozen island states sank beneath the waves tomorrow, the number of climate refugees wouldn’t begin to equal the number of refugees fleeing western-instigated wars in the Middle East, and so on.

    I see that since I started replying Jaime has brought up the benefits of pet ownership. Is climate alarmism wasteful like keeping goldfish (but beneficial because it makes people feel better) or like Lysenkoism (because it leads to catastrophic economic decline)? We don’t know because no-one dares ask. That’s serious.

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  27. Jaime
    I bet this is the first time the Bexhill Observer has been cited in a discussion on the future of the planet. Are there any Twitter users here who could alert Monbiot or Miliband to the profound discussion instigated by their thoughts? Perhaps they’d like to join in.

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  28. The difference is, your government doesn’t mandate that you have a pet or a plaster saint.

    “Is climate alarmism wasteful” That’s a separate issue to renewables. Renewables won’t significantly prevent rising CO2. They won’t save a single life. They do make energy more expensive and consequently they will damage businesses. People will lose jobs. Does unemployment shorten lives? The current warning is that grids may become unstable with too much renewable energy. Too much electricity is more dangerous than too little. Germany has already had a few close calls. Wind isn’t that bad but solar is uncontrollable. The government solution is reverse STOR, where companies are commanded to take surplus electricity. I asked on Bishop Hill what logical things companies would turn on to use the spare power. Apart from air con (which might already be on) there weren’t any suggestions.

    I don’t know why westerners are determined to waste money on guilt trip stuff that doesn’t work, other than it makes you feel better. FFS get a pet or a plaster saint, it’s cheaper.

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  29. Hopefully we can discard the “economic disaster” claims now. Renewables are just another part of the economy, with good and bad aspects, just like most other things. If we generate too much electricity, we’ll figure out ways to turn it off or use it (power to gas, maybe). The most certain thing one can say about renewables inverstments is that they have an opportunity cost – the money could be better used elsewhere. One could invent a theory that consumers know best and that they would spend that money more productively. But the idea of people being ‘rational’ is easily observed to be false.

    BTW, I love my dog too.

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  30. …an opportunity cost – the money could be better used elsewhere

    Oops, scrub ‘better’. The opportunity cost is the in spending the money on one thing, it can’t be spent on another. Whether the other is ‘better’ is another matter. I was trying to point out that it aint necessarily so.

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  31. I just got to minute 26 and stopped, taking off the headphones in some dismay. I can see why you might well baulk at transcribing these torrents, Geoff!

    What was it like? It was like a tiny nursery class of three overexcited five year olds with remarkable vocabularies, and a good line in portentous phrases with intonations that would serve them well in any melodrama their school might like to stage. And somehow constrained to talk pretty much just one at a time!

    But if you were their teacher, and if you cared enough about them, you would surely be looking for ways to calm them down. How to slow the rapid-fire chatter, and find ways of getting them interested in things more appropriate to their ages and abilities, and which would also be less upsetting for them?

    The longer-term goal might be to widen their interests, and make them more open to opinions critical of theirs so that one day they might reduce their hectoring, and slow down their chatter to a rate more suitable for troublesome issues that call for calmer minds, and more measured responses. Especially when broadcasting to the general public.

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  32. “Hopefully we can discard the “economic disaster” claims now” No, actually we can’t. Just because the government fritters money on other junk, isn’t an excuse for wasting it on windmills and solar panels. Countries shouldn’t live beyond their means, any more than people should. Sure, you can declare yourself bankrupt and say you want a clean slate. It never did Greece any harm… except it has. Especially amongst the young.The Greeks were living a high flying lifestyle on a plodder’s salary. They wanted what Germany has but weren’t prepared to pay for it. The UK isn’t prepared to pay for it. Ultimately even Germany doesn’t want to pay for it. It can get away with experimenting with renewables because it’s a wealthy country with high end products. And yet it still suffers and the experiment is almost at the end of expansion. Nobody can keep blowing money of things with no return forever. Countries can go bankrupt, it just takes longer. Personally I’d rather not see what it takes.

    John Shade as a capitalist and sceptic the recording was particularly irksome.

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  33. Oh dear, is there a reputable study that shows any economic benefits from using renewables? I am sure the steel workers of Port Talbot would love to know what they are. And Raff, “rational” in economics probably doesn’t mean what you think. Lots of people derive great satisfaction from spending their disposable income in ways that you characterise as irrational. All that means is that you are a puritan. Spending money to deliberately increase energy prices, on the other hand, probably only satisfies puritans and also decreases the standard of living and also the basic incomes of many people, including pensioners and steel workers. The climate activists are convinced that this is good and rational and have managed to convince successive UK governments that this is so. It is not so clear to me.

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  34. It sounds like you are just an economic disaster doom monger. It it is not renewables, it is debt. If not debt, then something else. By the way, countries are not the same as people. Debt/GDP ratios fall naturally and continually in a growing economy with a balanced budget. So a country growing at trend, say a few %, can run continual deficits of a few % of GDP and the debt ratio will stay the same. That is just maths, no values attached.

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  35. While I wait for my comment with links to appear-

    It’s thinking that businesses and countries are significantlly different from people, that leads to trouble. We’re running at 112% of GDP and we’re in the good times between recessions. What you can get away with in the good times is not the same as what happens during the bad. I think the key word was ‘growing’.

    Liked by 1 person

  36. Of course countries are different from people. They can print their own currency, borrow from their own people, force companies to lend to them, raise taxes to pay their debts, borrow on an indefinite basis (by rolling over debt on generation after another), inflate away debt. It all works best when the economy is growing, but growth seems to be the natural state of an economy like the UK. Your anti-debt bias is more in tune with the likes of Monbiot who want to stop growth. Strange bedfellows.

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  37. No, they make us pay for them which makes business less viable, which leads to government bailouts and other ways of supporting those who can’t pay their inflated energy bills. Think of all the unemployed or those on low income, being supported by taxes, needing an extra boost because energy bills are higher.

    Ultimately the public always pays.

    Liked by 1 person

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