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76 thoughts on “Andrew Neil interviews XR spokesperson

  1. Watch from 33’00”. This woman describes hereself as a ‘science communicator’. What she says, in answer to Andrew Neill’s accusation that XR are scaring people is:

    “I think there’s a danger of scaring people simply because we’re not taking it seriously enough”

    “Unfortunately, alarmist language works which is why we’re discussing it right now”

    This confirms that the more sensible members of XR are fully aware that their core message is alarmist BS, unsupported by science, but that they are using extreme alalrmist messaging as a way of raising the profile of climate change in an attempt to scare people into acting and scare the population into accepting what will be very unpopular carbon reduction measures.

    This also explains why people like Tamsin and so many other climate scientists and politicians and the media are curiously reluctant to publicly condemn XR outright – because they are useful in getting their own slightly less extreme, but no less economically, environmentally and socially damaging mitigation measures in response to a poorly evidenced ‘climate crisis’ across to the public.

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  2. This comment from Ben at the end of a very good thread on the Andrew Neil interview:

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  3. Meanwhile, over at ATTP, Extinction Rebellion are also getting a right royal roasting from Ken:

    “…they get some of the science wrong, and some of their demands seem unrealistic…”

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  4. And if you told the youth of today they wouldna believe you:

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  5. Steady on. The public is being duped by the BBC and XR with the oldest trick in the behaviourist’s handbook. This interview is as much a part of the political theatrics of climate activism as the choreographed ‘protests’ choking up London’s streets.

    What the BBC is using its ‘most trusted presenter’ to do is provide its viewers with the false choice to make between two extremist positions. One, intentionally absurdist in its punitive demands, and the other – presented by Neil in countering the first – made to sound eminently more ‘reasonable’ and palatable in comparison.

    The counter position is the one both parties desire the public to swallow from the outset (neither, of course, have any democratic support or scientific legitimacy). Parents play exactly the same ‘sleight of hand’ on their unwitting young children to bypass resistance to, or revolt against, parental authority.

    To see this BBC interview of XR as being in any way testing or objective is to have been taken in by its mutually agreed intended outcome.

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  6. Why does nobody ever challenge the invocation of the ‘precautionary
    principle’ as if it’s a zero sum game?

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  7. This woman presented not one solution. She also shared not one piece of peer reviewed research to back up any of her claims.

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  8. Think Monty Python said it best – “it’s all getting to be rather silly”
    [but also rather scary]

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  9. > Because nobody understands what the Precautionary Principle means.

    Indeed. If we’re going to be invoking the precautionary principle
    will nilly, shouldn’t we also be spending trillions on an anti-asteroid earth defense
    system?.

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  10. Couldn’t resist on seeing the man from Business Green’s reaction:

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  11. Andrew Neil is very good, & the cancellation of This Week was a travesty – I thought the best thing on tv by miles, but mebbe I’m a bit strange. (The intro pieces are ledendary.) He gives *everyone* a hard time, which most other interviewers do not. (The bias is perhaps a mere perception on my part, based on the apparent # of interuptions, who knows.)

    I feel for Zion, ‘cos she’s probably never had her ideas tested before. Suddenly you can almost read in her face that she’s thinking, “Hang on a mo, I can’t justify any of this… it’s all cobblers, isn’t it?”

    They (XR) have a policy of having no policies: as soon as they tell people they can’t have cars, or gas central heating, they know such support as they have will drain away. They don’t seem to realise that they are advocating the destruction of civilisation, er, in order to save it.

    I do find it amusing that the cops remove the glued-on protesters with acetone. Why not just leave them there…? I mean, round up their mates and cordon them off, but leave them there until they start feeling a tad stupid. Speaking personally, I’d probably last about an hour before I preferred peeling the skin off my palms to staying in one place for a moment longer.

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  12. PETERS 10 Oct 2019 11.15am
    Granted Neil v. Zion was a classic good COP/bad COP cop-out. But what would the average viewer take away from the confrontation between reasonable, fact-based authoritative Neil and “don’t-ask-me-for-solutions-I’m-only-a-nearly-dead-parrot” Zion? That not everything spouted by XR is true; that there are two sides to the question; and that therefore discussion is necessary. Isn’t that a significant step forward?

    I’d despaired of finding a crack in the invincible ignorance of the XR/Greta monolith in which to insert a wedge of doubt. You can argue with a convinced believer in the science, but how do you argue with someone in a red Ku Klux Klan outfit and white mask who claims nothing beyond inner certainty? But Zion had some glimmerings of knowledge. She parroted faultlessly the names of James Hansen and Michael Mann. Would that be the Hansen who predicted Manhattan would be underwater by now? And the Mann who preferred to pay massive court costs rather than clear his name of accusations of fraud by revealing his data?

    It won’t be Neil who asks these questions, but sooner or later someone will.

    [Edited by RD – replaced Marr by Neil.]

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  13. John, I wouldn’t describe it as a royal roasting at ATTP. They are getting rather sympathetic treatment if you ask me especially considering how their science is totally wrong.

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  14. It took as sarcasm from John there DPY. Vinny has just pointed to Ken’s endorsement of XR in the other thread. That surprised even me.

    As balm for this one, another interview, this time with both parties being highly intelligent:

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  15. Here’s a senior lecturer in psychology being arrested at London City Airport yesterday:

    As the police marched him away he shouted:

    We’re doing it for everyone’s children! A thousand children die from climate breakdown – already! It’s only getting worse!

    Also something about ‘starvation in our own lifetimes’.

    He teaches advanced statistics at Oxford Brookes.

    His research focus: immature behaviour.

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  16. DPY,

    Yes, I can confirm Richard’s understanding that I was being deeply sarcastic regarding Ken’s position on XR. I think his is praising them with faint damnation.

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  17. This is quite enjoyable too, the irony being delicious. I first heard about it on the BBC Radio 4 News at 1pm, but funnily enough, I can’t find it on their website. I wonder why….

    “Extinction Rebellion protestors get onto the roof of BBC and glue themselves to doors of Broadcasting House in rage over Radio 4 airing ex-police chief’s views that eco-mob should be treated as ‘extremists’
    Eco zealots protests have shut down a series of sites around the capital to the exasperation of workers
    Today they locked journalists out of BBC because they are angry at Radio 4 interview with ex-police chief
    Comes on fifth day of demonstrations and the second day of carnage planned for London City airport ”

    https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-7561893/Extinction-Rebellion-battle-BBC.html

    “Extinction Rebellion protesters got onto the roof of the BBC’s main office today as they tried to shut down and gag the corporation after it interviewed a former police officer who thinks detectives should treat them as ‘extremists’.

    ….They are angry that BBC Radio 4’s Today programme interviewed former Scotland Yard Commander Richard Walton, who previously wrote a report saying the group should be treated as ‘anarchist extremists’ by police.”

    So, while the BBC gives them loads of free publicity, everything’s fine, but anything that doesn’t toe their party line has to be censored. These people are eco-fascists who don’t believe in freedom of speech (except for themselves, of course), and IMO it’s far beyond time they stopped being given such an easy ride, and also far beyond time the police started treating them like the criminals they are.

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  18. Vinny,

    Born again hippie Ben Kenwood has a ‘thing’ about very young children punishing ‘non conforming’ adults. It doesn’t surprise me that he’s out there shouting his mouth off about a mythical 1000 kids dying daily from climate breakdown. I’m sure he expects the little toddlers to punish non conforming adults for this bad behaviour. Seeing Greta laying into adults at the UN conference in NYC must really have floated his boat (wouldn’t be surprised if he had to use a 90 degree hot wash after that).

    Here, five-year-olds were given the opportunity to allocate desirable or unpleasant items to antisocial and neutral adults, who were presented as real and shown on video. Neutral individuals were almost always allocated only desirable items. Antisocial individuals were instead usually allocated unpleasant items, as long as participants were told they would give anonymously.

    Children allocating sweets anonymously usually chose to give the antisocial actor disgusting sweets. Because most children’s justifications clearly indicated that they did so because of the actor’s antisocial act, and because they did not allocate disgusting sweets to the neutral actor, this clearly demonstrates that five-year-olds are spontaneously motivated to punish real antisocial individuals. Furthermore, this represents third-party punishment, because participants were not directly affected by the antisocial act.

    “Hellooo children, what would you say if I was to give you the chance to punish all those nasty climate deniers who are killing all the plants and animals and taking away your future?”

    http://www.benkenward.com/articles/kenward_punishment.pdf

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  19. Jaime,

    One shouldn’t get too carried away with the notion of infant moralization. At five, most children have a somewhat underdeveloped Theory of Mind (ToM) that reflects their limited capacity for empathy. Without such cognitive skill, their capacity for developing a sophisticated morality is severely limited. Indeed, it was Lawrence Kholberg, in the 1950s who basically invented the scientific study of moralization in children. His model, now canonical within the field, involves three stages of development, each with two subparts. At the age of five, children are still basically at stage one – they are still very ego-oriented and self-interested in their outlook. The notion that they can evaluate and adjudicate upon adult behaviour with anything approaching moral sophistication is nonsense. In Ben’s studies, the same kids offering yukky sweets to yukky adults would probably do the same to their least favourite teddy bear.

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  20. VINNY BURGOO says:

    > That should have been ‘A thousand children a day’.

    So are people doing the Right Thing™ and eating their children?

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  21. Andrew Neil has made it clear that XR chose Zion following the BBC’s request to put forward the best they have. She has an MSc in science communication and has done TV before. She is the best XR have. Andrew Neil tore her to shreds in 10 mins, during which time she communicated virtually no science at all. Oh dear.

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  22. Thanks very much for pointing to that Jaime. Of course, a lot of ‘informed debate’ then followed on Twitter, with this being a highlight for me:

    Being a contrarian to the end, though, I’d like to suggest one important rejoinder Neil missed and one important thing Ms Lights got right.

    There was limited time of course but when ZL mentioned James Hansen it would have been easy to remind her that Hansen is very committed to nuclear power as a solution to what (she’s right to say) he sees as a climate emergency. (Geoff has mentioned the failed NY-under-water prediction but I’d have gone with Hansen’s principled stand on nuclear. Might be worth coming back to why.)

    Key question: would ZL and XR agree with JH on this? Are they really listening to the scientists or is that in fact difficult because the scientists don’t all agree? This is a policy matter of course but the utter banality of ‘listen to the science’ needs multiple trucks driven through it and this would have made a useful one, because this was a scientist ZL singled out, implying he was more on track than some unknown number (dig here) of the rest.

    (Neil did great on the mention of Michael Mann though – in playing straight back with the upteen thousand who’d contributed to the IPCC. We might have been tempted to get personal there but … absolutely no need.)

    As an aside, I don’t think this guy needs to be held to the same standards on Twitter:

    What did Ms Lights get right? That carbon capture technology is very immature and it’s wrong to rely on this coming good any time soon. See the last section of my magisterial Climate Change – the Missing Facts.

    Ho ho. Only kidding on the magisterial. But I think this interview was the most important set piece from the Beeb since Attenbollocks in April, as we so kindly referred to it. And young Zion was right to be more sceptical than the veteran.

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  23. I seem to be missing what I think are links to Twitter streams, in some of the comments. Is it because I use Ad Blocker?

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  24. Mark: I doubt it. More likely to be browser, version of browser and/or browser settings.

    NB: Embedding a tweet in a comment should allow you to see the text of that tweet, plus any image, tweet or document included within it, plus the same for the tweet it is responding to, if any. If you wanted to say exactly what you’re seeing for the two tweets embedded in my previous comment we could investigate from there.

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  25. This video is begging for a bit of creative editing. It even has a flipchart ready in the background. Alas, I don’t have the software or skills to do it justice these days. Anyone?

    That’s Stu Basden, the globetrotting XR co-founder who I think quit XR for a while after failing to persuade a strategy meeting in Stroud that XR should concentrate less on climate change and more on post-colonial guilt. His video is about solving conflicts within activist groups.

    Probably. I was a bit distracted by his new beard. And, yes, by his tiny crotch bulge.

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  26. Not yet, billbedford. XR founder Gail Bradbrook says cannibalism won’t kick in for another five years. (She cited the IPCC, so it must be true.)

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  27. Richard, thanks for responding.

    Where you’ve put your twitter comment, I see nothing. After the words “Of course, a lot of ‘informed debate’ then followed on Twitter, with this being a highlight for me:” there’s just nothing and the comment continues with “Being a contrarian to the end…” etc.

    The same is true of the second twitter reference in your comment. This is a new phenomenon for me; I’ve just noticed it in the last few days.

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  28. On Richard’s comment:

    “There was limited time of course but when ZL mentioned James Hansen it would have been easy to remind her that Hansen is very committed to nuclear power as a solution to what (she’s right to say) he sees as a climate emergency. (Geoff has mentioned the failed NY-under-water prediction but I’d have gone with Hansen’s principled stand on nuclear. Might be worth coming back to why.)

    Key question: would ZL and XR agree with JH on this? Are they really listening to the scientists or is that in fact difficult because the scientists don’t all agree? This is a policy matter of course but the utter banality of ‘listen to the science’ needs multiple trucks driven through it and this would have made a useful one, because this was a scientist ZL singled out, implying he was more on track than some unknown number (dig here) of the rest.”

    I’ve always assumed that the vast majority of climate scientists are anti-nuclear power, or at least believe that renewables are just as effective, on the basis of their complacency about the distinct lack of nuclear power plant building that has been going on in Western countries over the last thirty years or so, the era of the global warming scare. The only fairly well-known climate scientists I can think of who are pro-nuclear power are James Hansen, Peter Wadhams and James Lovelock.

    One of the Climategate 3 e-mails provides some evidence for the assumption that climate scientists are probably mainly anti-nuclear:

    http://junkscience.com/2013/03/15/climategate-3-0-phil-jones-attacks-uk-skeptic-piers-corbyn-as-an-utter-prat/

    In this one Phil Jones, head of CRU, is writing to someone in 1996, and includes a PS where he attacks Piers Corbyn (British climate change sceptic and brother of Jeremy Corbyn). At the end, Jones throws in an anti-nuclear gibe which implies that being anti-nuclear is quite a commonly held view in the climate science community.

    > Cheers
    > Phil
    >
    > PS Britain seems to have found it’s Pat Michaels/Fred Singer/Bob Balling/
    > Dick Lindzen. Our population is only 25 % of yours so we only get 1 for
    > every 4 you have. His name in case you should come across him is
    > Piers Corbyn. He is nowhere near as good as a couple of yours and he’s
    > an utter prat but he’s getting a lot of air time at the moment. For his
    > day job he teaches physics and astronomy at a University and he predicts
    > the weather from solar phenomena. He bets on his predictions months
    > ahead for what will happen in Britain. He now believes he knows all
    > there is to know about the global warming issue. He’s not all bad as
    > he doesn’t have much confidence in nuclear-power safety. Always says
    > that at the begining of his interviews to show he’s not all bad !
    >
    > Cheers Again
    >
    > Phil
    > Dr Phil Jones
    > Climatic Research Unit Telephone +44 (0) 1603 592090
    > School of Environmental Sciences Fax +44 (0) 1603 507784
    > Norwich Email p.jones@uea.ac.uk
    > NR4 7TJ
    > UK

    I also checked up on the accuracy of the claim that Hansen made a prediction that Manhattan would be under water by now, and it looks like Hansen did say something a bit like that, according to a Salon article from 2001:

    https://web.archive.org/web/20110202162233/https:/www.salon.com/books/int/2001/10/23/weather/

    “While doing research 12 or 13 years ago, I met Jim Hansen, the scientist who in 1988 predicted the greenhouse effect before Congress. I went over to the window with him and looked out on Broadway in New York City and said, “If what you’re saying about the greenhouse effect is true, is anything going to look different down there in 20 years?” He looked for a while and was quiet and didn’t say anything for a couple seconds. Then he said, “Well, there will be more traffic.” I, of course, didn’t think he heard the question right. Then he explained, “The West Side Highway [which runs along the Hudson River] will be under water. And there will be tape across the windows across the street because of high winds. And the same birds won’t be there. The trees in the median strip will change.” Then he said, “There will be more police cars.” Why? “Well, you know what happens to crime when the heat goes up.””

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  29. Yes John, Rice’s stance is deeply hypocritical since he is otherwise a very strong consensus enforcer (at least when it suits his political activism). But unfortunately its par for the course with climate scientists too. Even deeply wrong science is OK as long as it serves the narrative. It’s quite pathetic. I also believe it will not work in the long run. But I could be wrong as I never thought transgenderism was persuasive given its science denial.

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  30. Richard, sorry for the delay.

    I’m an IT naif, so barely understand the question (!), but I think the answer is that I use DuckDuckGo to access the internet. I’m not sure which version, though I started using it only fairly recently (though for much longer than the period since things have started disappearing from comments on this website).

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  31. DPY6629 13 Oct 2019 1.07am

    …it will not work in the long run. But I could be wrong as I never thought transgenderism was persuasive given its science denial.

    I don’t think you’re wrong. Extinctions Rebellion, like transgenderists, has fallen for the Visibility Fallacy. In the first stages of the birth of any movement, the big problem is making people aware of your existence, so publicity from outrageous behaviour pays off, swelling your popularity from – say – 1% to 5%. From inside the movement, a 500% increase in support feels wonderful, and they don’t notice that the other 95% view them with contempt.

    The big question is: where’s their ceiling? For ecology / environmentalism in general, it seems to be around 15%. I’d guess that XR will lower that ceiling as most environmentally conscious people who might be tempted to vote Green find them deeply embarrassing.

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  32. DPY,

    If you look at the general thrust of the commentary that Ken’s XR articles on ATTP have attracted, you will note that the sentiment that ‘the end justifies the means’ is quite prevalent. Ghandi gets a mention, which I think is the self-satisfied equivalent of name-dropping Hitler to shame your opponents. And if that fails, one has always got the ‘but Willard’ argument to fall back on.

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  33. Geoff I’m sorry but I don’t see your logic

    “From inside the movement, a 500% increase in support feels wonderful, and they don’t notice that the other 95% view them with contempt.”

    The last part doesn’t follow at all. The 95% could be made up of people who are mostly indifferent to the issue rather than being contemptuous of it and its supporters.
    Moreover an increase in support is an increase. Not uncommonly such increases presage ever. expanding support.

    Wouldn’t you be delighted with a 500% increase in the readership of Cliscep. You might even anticipate a continuing increase.

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  34. Roger Hialam is batshit crazy or lying.
    No ethical sane person, looking at the science in a reasonably way can come the conclusion he claims.
    The devolution of the climate consensus and its rise in power are far more worrisome than any realistic climate concerns.

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  35. Richard

    The problem was DuckDuckGo. I’ve uninstalled it and fallen back on Google chrome, and am now seeing everything. Thanks for your advice.

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  36. Thanks for the transcript, Alex. As it happens, I read a Media Lens post about that interview yesterday:

    http://medialens.org/index.php/alerts/alert-archive/2019/912-how-dare-you-the-climate-crisis-and-the-public-demand-for-real-action.html

    First few sentences:

    Reality clashed with the BBC version of false consensus in a remarkable edition of HardTalk last month. Roger Hallam, co-founder of Extinction Rebellion, was starkly honest about humanity’s extreme predicament in the face of climate breakdown and refused to buckle under host Stephen Sackur’s incredulous questioning. Sackur’s inability to grasp that we are already in a climate emergency, and that massive changes are necessary now to avoid societal collapse, was clear for all to see.

    Last sentence:

    We are literally fighting for human survival.

    In between: Chomsky, Thunberg, Rahmstorf and Wadhams. And the Iraq War, of course.

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  37. Dave Gardner: Thanks for digging into these details on Hansen. One reason I would, if I was Andrew Neil, have gone the nuclear power advocacy route is that there is no shadow of a doubt about that settled opinion of the guy. Whereas, as you put it:

    I also checked up on the accuracy of the claim that Hansen made a prediction that Manhattan would be under water by now, and it looks like Hansen did say something a bit like that, according to a Salon article from 2001 …

    Saying ‘something a bit like that’ means lots of get-out clauses and special pleading. Neil would know they’d get bogged down. He did very well not to.

    The anti-nuclear bias of people like Jones is reflected in the IPCC but subtly. That’s harder to bring out in a fairly short interview. If there was one thing to mention on the IPCC it’s the wide range of climate sensitivity, unchanged since 1979. This makes a nonsense of ‘settled science’ and the certainty about how soon emissions need to be cut to achieve the 1.5deg target. At the lower end of sensitivity we’d have far more time. And that’s where real-world data points.

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  38. This hour-long video by XR’s thought leader Roger Hallam, posted a few weeks after XR was born, shows a self-described ‘numbers man’ who is incapable of simple maths, misspells simple words, gets the wrong Mitford and can’t stop talking about Hitler:

    Hallam’s now-abandoned let’s-make-money-from-activism effort from a few years earlier:

    radicalthinktank.wordpress.com

    Weather robbed him of his veggie-box business so he went all Jesus.

    We’ve all been there. Time for some forgiveness, perhaps.

    In a very real sense.

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  39. Following Geoff and Alan …
    DPY6629 13 Oct 2019 1.07am

    …it will not work in the long run. But I could be wrong as I never thought transgenderism was persuasive given its science denial.

    Geoff felt you weren’t wrong about this; Alan thought Geoff was wrong about that!

    I’m just glad you said it this way. What Geoff misses, for me, in his response, is how much international institutions and national ones have been captured in both the climate activism and transgenderism cases. So a small but vocal minority can go a very long way in moving the ‘Overton window’ substantially.

    Ben and Jaime get this aspect of the climate case (all imho, obviously) and are fighting like tigers on Twitter.

    I’m stuck with my post on hope. It’s hard to do justice to the size of the battle we face without giving in to despair. This honesty helped.

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  40. I’ve begun to respond to people on twitter again more, after ‘proroguing’ myself about a month ago. So last night:

    Lovely by name, lovely by nature? A software guy, as is Jason Gorman, who I challenged originally. I’ve been blocked by so many people in what’s still officially my field. But not this (much better connected) one, for now. Aaron’s always playing with words and this seemed to create a free hit:

    I then checked with Ross McKitrick if this is still true. Apparently, yes.

    I talked of glimmers of hope but they are patchy at best. But Brexit remains one, for now.

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  41. As Ben points out, XR are really just a smokescreen:

    I’ve said all along that XR are a product of the establishment. Now these lunatics are being cynically used to justify only slightly lesser lunacy. It’s classic psychological warfare being waged on the masses – lower the bar for what is acceptable by pushing extremism to the fore, then dialling back and claiming the consensus opinion is somehow ‘moderate’

    Even Betts is arguing that children must be ‘informed’ of the risks and given the option of being involved in policy making, even though they’re too young to vote. He’s saying what a lovely letter that well known celebrity liar Attenbollocks wrote to some school encouraging them in their musical crusade to end the climate crisis.

    I’m finding it increasingly difficult to disguise my loathing for the climate alarmist establishment now intent on brainwashing kids into their cause. Reason and logic are becoming increasingly blunt instruments in the face of these people and that’s very frustrating.

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  42. At least when crazy social behaviors broke out during the Plague, there was an actual plague. One that was actually wiping out large percentages of whole villages, towns and cities.
    The weak minded pathetic twits who are pretending we are dying off under an existing ongoing crisis are self deluded. There is literally no evidence at all to support their claim.
    I hope every academic and politician who promoted XR lives long enough to be shamed and shunned for the damaging lie they cynically push.

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  43. Jaime: Strangely enough in the last hour I was just bookmarking loads of Michael Liebreich tweets to ponder. Here’s a selection. I’d say it’s a pretty helpful mixed bag. Tigers can sometimes be too destructive.

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  44. Richard,

    Hopelessly inconsistent messaging from Liebreich there; it just mires the issues in yet more confusion and controversy. He seemingly can’t (or won’t) see the wood for the trees. I can’t in all honesty, in my tiger-like consciousness, see how he is being helpful. He’s floating around on the flotsam and jetsom kicked up by 40 years of extremely poor science and most recently extremely destructive reactionary activism ostensibly taking its legitimacy from that poor science and he is making a big effort to appear reasonable, but if you don’t drill down to the core of the problem, any reasonableness is just so much decorative icing layered onto a poisoned cake. He should be asking instead why the media, politicians and scientists themselves have been so lamentably lax in criticising these lunatics, even to the point of lending them some unearned legitimacy.

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  45. ALAN KENDALL 13 O9ct 2019 10.23am
    You’re right, there is no logical connection between my observation that XR is over the moon about the “exponential” rise in its support, (See Roger Hallam in the Hard Talk interview mentioned by Alex Cull above) and the existence of a ceiling to support for almost any political or social movement you care to mention, which is simply a matter of common observation. Which is not to say that extremist groups don’t sometimes manage to impose their will (Hallam mentions the Suffragettes) when they’re offering people something they want (i.e. votes for women.) XR aren’t even offering blood sweat and tears, but simply death if you don’t join them.

    Hallam on Hard Talk has an interesting variant on the “think of the children” argument, when he envisages his children living in a world where 6 billion have been mysteriously eliminated, and the little Hallams form part of the lucky billion left. I’m not sure how that works.

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  46. I don’t think people like Liebreich can broker this debate any longer because it’s not a debate (alarmists mostly have ensured that); it’s a collision of worlds and only one will survive the impact.

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  47. JAIME JESSOP says: “I’ve said all along that XR are a product of the establishment.”

    I agree. The establishment no-platformed scepticism as its genuine opposition several years ago. This left it with a vacuum and in need of a resistance to its policies to avoid appearing autocratic in the public eye.

    To resolve this dilemma, a replacement opposition has been manufactured and given a curiously free-rein over London’s streets upon which to bring itself into public consciousness. Whereas the establishment was unconvincing in its dismissal of sceptical reasoning by labelling it as “extremist”, the demonstrable absurdism of the this new group make the same label a far easier one to stick – creating the public illusion of the establishment as being sensible and middle-of-the-road.

    Before this view is itself dismissed as absurd, it’s worth noting the Britain (like most other countries) has a permanent – if tiny – underbelly of ne’er-do-wells… those for whom adulthood is seen as an ever-present obstacle to the perpetual childhood (and its privileges) they crave to exist in. Of course, the establishment is well aware that this group – along with actual, real children – are the easiest members of society to manipulate into being the unwitting foot soldiers to its cause. Whether the resistances involve striking from school work or prancing about in Oxford Street, the establishment now has its bogus opposition in place.

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  48. Jaime: He’s only being helpful in preventing, with others, a billion needless deaths from famine. And he’s explicit about that, about what we should by now have learned from the experience of Stalin and the Ukraine and Mao’s even more disastrous rerun of the same experiment 1958–62. As I see it we are in damage limitation mode by now. Anyone who turns us away from the worst case I count as my ally, at least for the week.

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  49. “Stepping outside my comfort zone”

    https://andthentheresphysics.wordpress.com/2019/10/14/stepping-outside-my-comfort-zone/

    “I noticed that I was getting some flack in the comments on another climate blog (to which I won’t link), with some commenters claiming I’d lost whatever credibility I had. This seemed a little surprising, as I didn’t think I really had any with those who typically commented there. Turns out, it was because I’d signed this petition. I’m often reluctant to sign petitions, because they’re – by their nature – simplistic and rarely say something I completely agree with.”

    Fame at last!

    But there’s more:

    “In this case, I’m somewhat uncomfortable with the claim that human-caused changes to the Earth’s land, sea and air are severely threatening the habitability of our planet. I think we are certainly messing with the system that makes this planet habitable, but I don’t think what we’re doing is going to make it un-inhabitable (although we could make some currently habitable regions, uninhabitable).

    However, I am trying to step out of my comfort zone, and I do think we need to take immediate and decisive action, I do think that the warnings from the scientific community have – to date – been largely ignored, and I do support those who are campaigning to get governments to act (although, it’s key that this remains peaceful and non-violent). Hence, I wanted to show some support.”

    As I said, he’s lost what credibility he had.

    “I wanted to show some support”. What? By signing a letter that says things you’re uncomfortable with, without expressing that discomfort or any reservations as to what’s being said. Is this how the “97% of scientists agree” trope spreads?

    Like

  50. PETERS 14 Oct 2019 3.23pm
    While I agree with your analysis of the way the establishment uses XR extremism to position itself as “moderate,” I’m puzzled by your description of extinction rebels as “ne’er-do-wells.” Many of them are university lecturers, doing very well for themselves (not to mention the odd rabbi, princess etc.).

    Norman Cohn got their number in his description of the leaders of millenarian groups in the Middle Ages:

    They “…belonged to a distinct social type which changed little down the centuries. Many were members of the lower clergy – priests and monks and friars who for one reason or another had turned their back on the Church… One also comes across eccentric members of the lower nobility… and many more obscure laymen who had somehow contrived to acquire a cleric’s education.. Whatever their individual histories, collectively these people formed a recognisable social stratum – a frustrated and rather low-grade intelligentsia. And it was here, in this restless world of déclassé intellectuals, that eschatological lore was … edited and elaborated until it was fit to serve as a revolutionary ideology.

    Like

  51. Richard, I don’t often disagree with you, but Liebreich is not an honest broker in my opinion. It’s all too easy to oppose XR’s insanity on the basis that their politically motivated, evidence-free policy making will result in genocide. That’s pretty obvious. What is less obvious is that, by following ‘what the science says’, Liebreich is not also advocating policies which will result in widespread poverty, loss of freedoms and the deaths of millions, both in the developed and in undeveloped Third World nations forced to remain underdeveloped by carbon reduction fanatics who are merely sticking to what the IPCC says.

    Here’s his sticky tweet. ‘Clean energy’. Who the hell is he kidding? Many people unfortunately.

    Then he retweets this from fanatic James Murray:

    There’s that bloody Overton Window again. I’m afraid it just confirms my suspicion that climate change/green energy transition fanatics are just using XR extremism to shift what is acceptable in the public consciousness nearer to their own, just slightly less extreme ambitions for re-organising society based upon atrociously bad science. Net zero by 2050 for the UK is sheer lunacy and virtually impossible to achieve without very serious disruption to society, as opposed to net zero by 2025 which is stratospherically insane and technically impossible. Net zero for the world by 2050 will quite likely result in the deaths of billions, unless the world starts building thousands of nuclear powered stations right now, every year and perfects battery storage and develops electric powered combine harvesters and tractors. Climate fanatics’ Overton Window isn’t just triple-glazed, non-opening save for a two inch gap, and sound-proofed (so you can’t hear the screams of the peasants), it’s also rose-tinted.

    Liked by 1 person

  52. It’s happening. The police have cleared the loonies off the streets of London and now the loonies at Defra are having their say. A government bill is going to ‘hold the government to account’ on its net zero by 2050 pledge. No mention of the people who will be drastically affected by this insane virtue-signaling policy which, if implemented, might reduce global temperatures in 2100 by 0.014C. No mention at all. They are just driving through this far-reaching policy without a democratic mandate and no doubt people like Liebreich will support it because ‘science’.

    Like

  53. As Jaime mentions, the Police have banned XR completely from London, see BBC here and police statement here.

    Predictably, spiked, who have been ruthless in their condemnation of the eco-nuts, are opposed to this because they are so strongly pro-free-speech.

    The government environment bill is interesting because it is 100% content-free. Apart from setting targets, there are no actual concrete actions at all. It’s just full of meaningless phrases sush as “commitment to tackle climate change”, “legally binding targets”, “decisive action”…

    Like

  54. XR have done their job now. They’ve raised the public consciousness of climate change policy to fever pitch. It wouldn’t do to have them now just irritate the public further with their extremist reaction to a ‘real problem’. Best let the sensible people in government now get on with addressing ‘the problem’ in a sensible manner – and when protestors take to the streets to object to having their boilers and central heating systems removed and their cars taken away, the police can just use a Section 14 to clear them off the streets too.

    Like

  55. “Richard, I don’t often disagree with you, but Liebreich is not an honest broker in my opinion.”

    I agree with you there Jaime. Michael Liebreich is one of the world’s leading ‘Green capitalists’, the founder of ‘Bloomberg New Energy Finance’ that finances renewable energy projects.

    In my view the Green capitalists are actually the most ‘dangerous’ bit of the Green Blob. If they didn’t exist, the UK Conservative party probably wouldn’t be on board with the Green malarkey.

    The apparent inconsistency where Liebreich disapproves of XR but admires Greta Thunberg makes sense from a Green capitalist viewpoint. XR seem to be hostile to capitalism, whereas Greta can’t be anti-capitalist or she wouldn’t have been plucked from obscurity to lecture the world’s financial elite at Davos.

    Liked by 1 person

  56. Dave, you claim to be agreeing with Jaime. And I never said that Liebreich is an honest broker. A logical conundrum that I intend only to add to now.

    The person I thought hit the nail on the head best was this lady on Twitter:

    Lots of scientists have indeed been far too silent. Liebreich, despite also being a capitalist, isn’t one of those. I didn’t call him an honest broker but I did call him an ally. For a season. There are many who did not yet make it to that much-coveted category and, realistically, may never do so, because they are what I would call cowards. And, hate me for it, I remain to be convinced that the ex-Olympic skier is one of those.

    Liked by 1 person

  57. You’re correct Richard, you did not describe him as an honest broker; I merely pointed out that he wasn’t. You describe him as a temporary ally. I think it might be wise to choose our allies very carefully, even temporary ones, because they might turn out to be the enemy next week. From what Dave says about Liebreich, I would not count him as an ally personally, even on a temporary basis. But it seems the goal-posts have been shifting even as we speak and IPCC lead authors are now joyfully hopping aboard the XR bandwagon, brandishing ‘science’ on social media, in order to explain to us non-experts how XR are, in fact, the good guys and the climate criris is in fact, really, really urgent, which is only what those nice peole at XR have been trying to get across.

    As Paul points out, Steinberger is a lead author in the forthcoming IPCC AR6 report. So the distinction between the extremists and the scientists is vanishing before our very eyes, which perhaps gives us a clue that the dividing line between them was not that distinct in the first place, which perhaps also explains ClimateKola’s observation that so few scientists appear to be willing to call out XR for their extremist ideas.

    Which rather renders Liebreich’s reassuring dismissal of XR and his corresponding embrace of science somewhat moot – unless this be an isolated incident of a fanatic infiltrating the IPCC. I seem to remember a female investigative journalist whose exhaustive research put paid to that notion some time ago . . . . . . .

    Like

  58. ATTP is basically the good German academic who in his heart didn’t think the Jews were *that* bad but heck, that Austrian and his pals do have some good points, so he’s going to be a big guy and step out of his comfort zone and support running out the Jewish academics anyway. But it’s not really do bad, according to everyone in the teacher’s lounge.
    Or he’s that faithful Maoist who thinks that just maybe killing all the birds who might eat some occasional rice grains but also eat the bugs might not improve the crop yield like the great Mao believed. But a good soldier of the dictatorship of the proletariat knows how to keep discipline, do kill those birds!

    Like

  59. IPCC lead author says London will be destroyed unless we listen to Extinction Rebellion. Science. Tell that to the kids, Richard Betts, Michael Liebreich.

    Like

  60. Greta Goblin who only wants us to listen to the science has also come out in support of XR – and their law-breaking. Didn’t take long for Miss Goody Two Shoes to hop aboard the Rebellion wagon then. That’s what happens when you’re passed over for a Nobel Peace Prize, I guess.

    Like

  61. John Ridgway: ‘And if that fails, one has always got the “but Willard” argument to fall back on.’

    You’re peddling. Last warning.

    Like

  62. Pingback: Protesting Against Variations in Global Temperature for Teenaged Dummies | Climate Scepticism

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