As many of you will have noted (and some have commented upon) I have recently experienced fits of depression over the state of affairs regarding comments and proposals about climate change. In recent months these have become more frequent and strident in the run up to COP26. It might well have been expected because climate change hysteria has previously increased in the run up to earlier international meetings. Those meetings have been designed with the express purpose of getting international agreements to do something about preventing further climate change – usually by commitments to reduce CO2 emissions. In previous incarnations of this phenomenon, the increased “noise” has quickly died down to its previous levels after the international meeting has come and gone. But the way climate change has recently ramped up is to my mind extraordinary and I fear that this time the noise level may not return to its previous lower intensity. As I read it, COP26, although unlikely to achieve any significant or meaningful change as an international agreement or treaty, may well be forced to move the goalposts by outside pressures.

These pressures have been deliberately caused by the use of increased hysterical language. We don’t speak much about “climate change” now, it’s all “climate crisis” or “climate catastrophe, chaos, emergency or breakdown”. We are led to fear the future, not from any real evidence but from the relentless drumbeat of scaremongering that pervades our sources of news. The Guardian’s deliberate hyping of its style guide was instrumental. The absence of any BBC scepticism is critical.

I fear that if, or rather when, COP 26 fails to meet its self-professed goals (or more importantly it fails to meet the goals of the very large number of people relying upon the meeting to solve their climate fears), the public won’t be prepared to accept failure. The fears engendered in large proportions of our populations are now so strong that failure will not be acceptable. Can anyone predict what these groups will do? I suspect a lack of analysis comes about because it requires acknowledgment that COP26 may fail in its objectives and this cannot be countenanced by the climate-fearful.

Why the difference this year? Why the greater expectations? My explanation is the rise of attribution “science”. Whatever the negative impact of extreme weather events has been, it is now, without fail, linked with climate change with the implication that the effects have been made stronger (and worse). So more and more of us experience extreme weather events (or see them across the world on our televisions) and hear them attributed to climate chaos. Time and time again I see victims of weather attribute their genuine woes to climate change without a shred of evidence. So over time we have increasing numbers of witnesses willing to testify to the reality and future threat of climate change. Climate scepticism has lost ground big time.

Implausible links have also been forged in the minds of some between non climate hazards, like earthquakes and volcanic eruptions, and climate change. Climate chaos is identified everywhere. It’s as if wildfires, strong hurricanes, heavy rainfall events and flooding and the like never occurred before or (at best) were never as extreme. Simply, every single event is now linked to climate change. This is illogical. Whenever such claims are made I seek enlightenment and solace from Paul Homewood’s blog (sometimes WUWT) where due diligence to the historical record is given. Almost invariably the claims of unprecedented extreme weather events fail at the first hurdle. I am relieved, but most recipients of the media’s climate bilge have no redress and so progressively become ever more climate fearful. Many of the young, with no climate history of their own, become militant in the belief that us oldies have trashed the planet. The like of St. Greta are ever increasing.

We sceptics face additional problems that make any appeal to the general public so difficult. I cannot argue that climate change isn’t happening because I believe it is occurring. Forget temperature records because they can be fudged. Forget my memories of much colder winters and cool summers, because that’s what they are, memories and not measurements. No, for me it is the appearance of European species, previously unknown in southern England, and the increased northern spread of other species that are most telling.

I cannot argue that carbon dioxide is not a potential greenhouse gas because I know my physical chemistry. Nor can I argue that the increase in atmospheric CO2 is not produced by human industry. So I cannot refute with absolute certainty the scenario that human CO2 in the atmosphere is increasing global temperatures. As a former scientist, with appropriate training, I cannot dismiss this possibility.

On the other hand, I can point to periods of time when CO2 increases were minimal yet the temperature record reveals an increase of similar magnitude and rate to that being attributed to our CO2 emissions. I can point to other time periods when CO2 emissions increased at an unchanged rate, yet the global temperature did not increase. As a geologist I see evidence that periods of the past, even the last interglacial, were substantially warmer than the present without high CO2 levels. Past glaciations occurred when CO2 levels were much, much higher than today’s and Antarctic ice cores give little support for CO2 being a climate driver. For me these are obvious and substantial spanners in the works of the claim that human CO2 emissions have substantially changed temperatures. For me, this has yet to be proven. But convincing others of this is becoming increasingly hard. Why, if it’s so obvious to me, isn’t it evident to others with scientific training? Why are people like Attenborough so adamant that humans are causing dangerous climate change? Instead of healthy scepticism, people are already convinced; they believe they personally have been negatively affected by climate change and are perfectly willing to believe scepticism is motivated by personal gain (=all that oil money). Who are they likely to believe, an oil-contaminated ex-geologist or a world famous and much admired knight of the realm?

I have two main worries, not really for myself because I shan’t be around to see their full impact. The first is that a future climate commissariat will, to great acclaim, ban climate scepticism, making it a thought crime, subject to extreme penalties. The second is that one country alone, fed up with extreme weather events, will attempt to change its climate by geoengineering, to the detriment of other countries that were not consulted or given a veto. This could lead to warfare. I can easily imagine, for example, North Korea, that already has a terrible winter and summer climate, and which has had recent devastating harvests, trying to improve matters unilaterally. 

I leave you mes braves sceptiques in my own personal climate gloom. Tell me I’m wrong if you can. Convince me that my concerns have no merit. Please!

66 Comments

  1. Those who call for drastic action to avert climate catastrophe have the following to support them:

    a) All the world’s political parties

    b) The judicial system

    c) The educational system

    d) Everyone below 18

    e) The world’s media

    f) All instruments of corporate governance

    g) Every celebrity

    h) Every climate scientist that didn’t get frozen out in the Great Alignment

    i) All the world’s religious leaders (and therefore, presumably, the various candidate creators of the universe that they represent)

    j) Her Majesty

    Those who are not so convinced have the following:

    a) A bunch of largely depressed curmudgeons whose lives now revolve around pills, ointments and creams.

    This battle ain’t over yet!

    Liked by 6 people

  2. Dar Alan,,

    A fine piece. I have long contemplated the absurdity of people like Thunberg and Attenborough, completely ignorant of the science, ranting about AGW. It has became a religion based on pseudo-science. Like religion, it is difficult veto explain to or argue with those who have a belief system; they are not interested in data. I and my group GSL-position, have determined that AGW is corrupt, politically driven nonsense. There is no consensus; many thousands os scientists world-wide The alarmists will not argue or debate because they fear the truth emerging. It is a theory that has no scientific basis and for which there is no evidence. We have reached the stage in which that the alarmists no longer (never did) feel the need to discuss the science. Most of them do not know any radiation physics. I constantly ask climate so-called scientists to explain to me the simple basis of their beliefs but they smile and claim that the science is settled. This is just about the opposite of how science works by constantly challenging and refuting. I have never seen before any science in this malodorous politically-driven conditioncondition. Even the scientific societies are setting down debate. The trouble is that the UN are using AGW to redistribute the wealth of the world in a levelling down to a pre-industrial society, taken up with a vengeance by the green woke left young. I look forward to the Republicans taking back power in the US.

    Keep up the good work and keep in touch.

    All best wishes, John Dewey

    Liked by 1 person

  3. The clear connection between climate madness and covid madness is that both rely on fear mongering, censorship and tyranny.
    My position to those fear mongering tyrannical schmucks is inspired by
    The quote from Woody Allen in the closing scene of The Front, a movie about 1950s witch hunting to the end witch hunters:
    Fuck You.
    Don’t let the ass hats busy turning the West into a live action version of 1984 get to you Biden and Boris and the Australian dictator are all corrupt ass hats, and dumber than rocks. The faux intellectuals who are rotten with menticide deserve the status of despicable just as the good German and other intellectuals who brought us Marxism and Fascism.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Past glaciations occurred when CO2 levels were much, much higher than today’s and Antarctic ice cores give little support for CO2 being a climate driver.

    The current rising CO2 level is higher than anytime during the last million year or so period of glaciation cycles. Earlier glaciations or even snowball Earth are associated with lower solar output levels. This is something that certainly warrants our attention, but it is not clear what the effects are. I think it’s very possible that it may have prevented a severe little ice age and negated any severe warming effects other than turning us into Venus. For better or worse, we are creating an unavoidable, unprecedentedly fast rise in CO2 concentration. Of course, in doing this we are also creating an unprecedented increase in technological capability. I find it likely that if this rising CO2 is proven to be seriously detrimental, that more harvestable energy, perhaps from fission, fusion, … space mirrors, can reverse it, perhaps trivially. I agree that the biggest worries are fundamentally, fundamentalistly religious, Malthusian, Orwellian, … Hitchensonian:

    Liked by 1 person

  5. John,

    To your second, unconvinced, group you can add:

    Gaia’s children, that is, all life on earth that is not included in your convinced list.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. “… No, for me it is the appearance of European species, previously unknown in southern England, and the increased northern spread of other species that are most telling.”

    I don’t know if this has anything to do with climate change, but for me in mid Michigan, there now seems to be bald eagles all over the place. One thing that I suspect might be CO2 induced is that I notice lots of small wooded islands overrun with grape vines:

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  7. Cheer up, Alan! Our sins are about to be forgiven.

    Cars are waiting,
    Windshields wiping,
    Nowhere left to go! Oh!

    The ice caps are melting, oh ho ho ho!
    All the world is drowning, oh ho ho ho ho.
    The ice caps are melting,
    The tide is rushing in.
    All the world is drowning,
    To wash away the sin.

    The Insulate Britain protests prove that the End Times are Nigh, as predicted by Tiny Tim in 1968.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Alan

    I fear that everything you write is true. The levers of influence are now been pulled almost entirely by climate worriers. Children are being brainwashed, not a day passes without the mainstream media banging the “climate chaos” drum, most politicians are sold on it, and seem to think its popular.

    We also have the problem that climate fanatics fight dirty. We’ve already seen how the Guardian managed to mangle (without actually telling any lies) a report on the mortality effects of extreme temperatures, so as to create the impression that it’s extreme heat that causes most human deaths, when the reality is that extreme cold is responsible for many more human deaths than extreme heat. We’ve seen the campaign to force the BBC (which instantly complied) to say that climate change was all bad news, with no countervailing good news (even though the UK’s climate change committee has reported on the benefits and opportunities to be enjoyed from climate change, albeit it’s very low key about them – doesn’t suit the agenda). We’ve seen the torturing of statistics in just the last few days – Siberian forest fires the worst since 2001 spun to suggest that they’re the worst ever. We’ve seen this autumn’s energy crisis, caused at least in substantial part by the failure of unreliable renewable energy, turned into a gas price crisis, not an electricity price crisis.

    Against that I give you causes for optimism. Bizarrely the optimism comes from bad news. Green jobs haven’t materialised. There is an increasing backlash against the destruction of our countryside by wind farms. Increasing numbers of people are being pushed into fuel poverty. People are being forced, against their wishes, to contemplate electric cars and the scrapping of their efficient gas boilers. And blackouts might well be looming. Plus XR and their various loony offshoots are seriously p*ssing people off. Their spokespersons on TV look and sound, frankly, demented. They are ridiculed by even mainstream presenters. Most people pay lip service to the agenda, but aren’t interested, in reality. Just look at the desperate attempts to fill cars with petrol and diesel. Once it hits people’s wallets and lifestyles, just wait for the backlash. It’s coming soon. And when it does, just watch the politicians and media change their tune.

    Liked by 2 people

  9. Then again, reasons to be negative – this seems like the sort of indoctrination programme that you might expect to see in North Korea:

    “From Corrie to car ads, carbon literacy training pushes climate to the fore
    Project has trained more than 21,000 staff and pupils, aiming for changes on whole-organisation level”

    https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2021/oct/02/from-corrie-to-car-ads-carbon-literacy-training-pushes-climate-to-the-fore

    “…“Climate action just falls front and centre of what we do now, it’s part of our culture,” said Lee Rayner, the head of production at Coronation Street.

    ITV is one of hundreds of organisations to have introduced carbon literacy training for its staff in recent years, and Rayner says it is a key factor behind the soap’s focus on sustainability….

    …The Carbon Literacy Project, founded in Manchester in 2011, has trained more than 21,000 people in workplaces, communities and schools. Participants take a one-day training course covering the science of the climate crisis and potential solutions, and commit to taking two actions – one in their own life and one that involves people around them – to reduce emissions….

    …At Opera North in Leeds, all 250 staff members have taken the training and they are putting on a show next season using a fully recycled set. “Arts and cultural organisations are uniquely placed to do something about the climate crisis, because I feel like talking about facts and statistics has only got us so far,” said Jamie Saye, a senior technician who has become a carbon literacy trainer and is working across multiple organisations.

    “Having the carbon literacy training means if we are going to be starting to influence our audience on this, we can come from a position of knowing what we’re talking about. With everybody pulling in the same direction it really helps to make the change.””

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  10. Beth I don’t see much panic in the climate fearful. What I do see more and more of is the operation of the blame game – look at how the petroleum industry has been treated over quite a few decades now. It is anathema to the climate-strident, despite conferring untold benefits which are demanded (or coveted) by most. Look at how your own country is being deliberately maligned for continuing to use coal and exporting it. We few sceptics are increasingly being called out as being impediments to the grand scheme of converting lock, stock and barrel to the holy grail of renewable energy. Utter BS.

    I need to stop this, I’m in peril of once again sliding head first into the pit of climate sceptic despair..

    Interestingly the BBC News app today offers help and advice to the climate fearful, suggesting that even small personal changes work, if not globally then in making the individual feel better. Typical !

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  11. Do not slide into the Slough of Despond dear Alan. I say this as one with muddy boots myself. Eschew fear and guilt.
    Mann-ipulators seek to rob us of our precious self-possession.

    Liked by 2 people

  12. Alan:

    Beth I don’t see much panic in the climate fearful. What I do see more and more of is the operation of the blame game…

    Yes, totally agree. It’s pathological invention of evil foes that don’t remotely exist. So I also resonated with this:

    I have two main worries, not really for myself because I shan’t be around to see their full impact. The first is that a future climate commissariat will, to great acclaim, ban climate scepticism, making it a thought crime, subject to extreme penalties.

    The first will suffice, for me. For me it’s a valid fear.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Great post.

    “For me these are obvious and substantial spanners in the works of the claim that human CO2 emissions have substantially changed temperatures. For me, this has yet to be proven. But convincing others of this is becoming increasingly hard. Why, if it’s so obvious to me, isn’t it evident to others with scientific training? Why are people like Attenborough so adamant that humans are causing dangerous climate change? ”

    In a more level playing field, it likely would be more obvious to those with scientific training. But as John R notes above, it’s not at all a level playing field. If most of the mainstream sources of information via which people might judge, have been culturally hi-jacked, then folks with scientific backgrounds are likely to believe the narrative too. The only way they may disbelieve, is by digging down into the skeptical fringes. But the culture in charge has ensured that accessing these has more stigma than accessing porn, establishing that such sources only exist because there are a small minority of diabolical people in the world.

    And indeed this is exactly because culture, not rationality, is in charge. As John D succinctly puts it, this is a religion and you can’t convince those who believe in it otherwise. And in fact, it is easy to demonstrate that it’s a secular religion via social data. Adherents are emotively convinced, not rationally convinced. Plus, scientists are just as vulnerable to such belief-systems as other folks. (In fact, some studies suggest they may be *more* vulnerable outside of their narrow expertise, and Attenborough is certainly outside his domain regarding climate-change. Part of this is maybe because of the strength of the concept of ‘the fraternity of science’; scientists may default to believing that which is claimed by other scientists, and unfortunately this may still be the case even when the claim – e.g. of certain global catastrophe – actually *isn’t* supported by most relevant scientists, yet nevertheless *says* that it is).

    “These pressures have been deliberately caused by the use of increased hysterical language.”

    It’s far worse than being deliberate. If this was a conscious, deliberate process, it would be much easier to combat. As you’ve pointed out above, there are plenty of logical holes, so if rationality was in charge these would soon cause the narrative to collapse under interrogation. But it’s not in charge, and most of the action is *not* conscious. It’s emotively emergent. The narrative themes that get more propagation out-evolve those that don’t, which is why the hysterics grow on average. There’s more to it than this, such as balanced (narrative) populations, but this is the essence. And the whole thing is supported by the fact that the hysterical narratives trigger deep and non-rational behaviours in us, which not only sustain the propagation but cause the policing of narrative consensus and the demonization of out-groupers (anyone who doesn’t buy the narrative). It is in fact an in-group / out-group identification and reinforcement system. And indeed religion operates the same.

    “The fears engendered in large proportions of our populations are now so strong that failure will not be acceptable. Can anyone predict what these groups will do? I suspect a lack of analysis comes about because it requires acknowledgment that COP26 may fail in its objectives and this cannot be countenanced by the climate-fearful.”

    Arguably, all the COPS have failed. Unsurprising, since they’re essentially addressing the impossible demands of a fairy-tale narrative about the certain doom of the planet. I doubt it will make a blind bit of difference; in fact these ‘failures’ tend to stimulate yet higher levels of belief and dedication, unfortunately. And the culture itself (it’s neither sentient nor agential, but via selection has an agenda), picks solutions that *can’t possibly work to solve the touted issue*. Hence renewables. But no-one minds as long as the virtue-signalling is fevered and everyone is engaged upon the culture’s business. If the culture picked solutions that might actually help with the touted problem, e.g. nuclear, then this would kill the culture. It’s never going to evolve in that direction, hence the antagonism of most greens / adherents to nuclear power. But the fairy-tale does include simultaneous salvation too, so there will always be floods of hope and bright-eyes too.

    “Why the difference this year?”

    I don’t believe there is one except another marginal turn of the screw, which happens as the years pass. Josh has done an excellent cartoon of the ritual of all the COPS: the massive expectations, the despair as things don’t come together, the high stakes, the late-night sessions, the fraught announcements, etc etc. It’s a ritual, part of the secular religion, this is how they are ‘meant’ to be, in cultural terms. One would think that, at some point, this culture would run aground on reality, that the rituals would fall apart. But it has massive inertia, and also cultures have hundreds of thousands of years (at minimum) of accumulation of clever tricks to survive, and can access the bypass switch on our rationality too.

    Liked by 3 people

  14. Richard,

    We have to confuse the bu**ers and sow seeds of doubt. F’instance:

    Of course, CAGW is not at all compatible with Gaia Theory…

    Liked by 1 person

  15. “What I do see more and more of is the operation of the blame game – look at how the petroleum industry has been treated over quite a few decades now. It is anathema to the climate-strident, despite conferring untold benefits which are demanded (or coveted) by most. Look at how your own country is being deliberately maligned for continuing to use coal and exporting it. We few sceptics are increasingly being called out as being impediments to the grand scheme of converting lock, stock and barrel to the holy grail of renewable energy. Utter BS”

    Yes. Cultures always demonize that which doesn’t support the narrative, and so the associated orgs or people. Beth’s right though: ‘Do not slide into the Slough of Despond… …Eschew fear and guilt’. I think a useful aid to this is to grasp that it is a process that’s occurring, and one that has occurred endlessly throughout history and before. Not something that is down to ‘evil’ or individuals out to get us or bent upon destruction (indeed believers genuinely think they are saving the planet). This doesn’t absolve individuals who’ve done bad things in the name of the culture; but it’s not about individuals. Its not personal. While all this means it’s actually harder to fight (the process is huge and entrenched) rather than easier, it also means one can disconnect it from personal emotions (or at least, I find this). This is a thing, not people; it’s like fighting a rising tide. But the Dutch know how to live perfectly normally below sea-level, and the cultural tide must one day turn.

    Liked by 2 people

  16. Excellent post and comments: I expect we have all felt much the same way at times, especially now with the hyperbole around COP26.
    I’m optimistic that the increasing intrusion of reality will, sooner or later, bring things to a head.
    When that happens we might get wide-spread acceptance of the “green regime” of higher costs, restrictions on liberties, greater daily inconveniences, more hardship, etc.: a form of national sacrifice, akin to the wartime ethos.
    However, imho that is unlikely. I think (hope?) enough folk have some awareness of what’s happening that there will be rising resentment and resistance to the point where something snaps and the whole rotten edifice comes crashing down, like the end of McCarthyism. It could be triggered by a Farage-type figure capitalising on obvious problems like blackouts, shortages, etc..
    As for what we can do as sceptics, the Bjorn Lomborg approach of not challenging the credo while drawing attention to the practicalities and consequences may be the best tactic, advocating adaptation when needed as it is far less costly and disruptive than the wholesale changes pushed by the climerati. That sounds entirely reasonable and it buys time for reality to intrude further. It also moves the focus on to what this will all cost and the disruption it will cause rather than trying to argue the scientific case against folk who have been convinced emotionally.
    The next few years are going to be interesting….

    Liked by 4 people

  17. To put this is a larger scope, note an essay by Anthony J. Constantini Democracy’s Progressive Police. Excerpt:

    “This substituting of definitions fundamentally misunderstands (or purposefully twists) what democracy is supposed to be, and how people see it writ large. When people hear “democracy” they think of the will of the people. They do not understand that “democracy” is a term of art that refers to whatever policy Western progressives have cooked up at a given time.

    By trying to merge the definitions of progressivism and democracy, liberal democrats could ultimately cause the collapse of democracy itself across the West. If liberal democrats malign democracies every time they vote conservatively and lambast citizenries for being “anti-democratic,” eventually those citizenries will no longer care. The West just watched this happen in Afghanistan, and we would be foolish to imagine such a collapse could not happen elsewhere.”

    IOW, belief in climate crisis is one of a basket of social ideologies embraced by anyone wanting to identify as “progressive.” The bundle includes many onerous notions, such as genderism, anti-racist racism, anti-islamophobia and covid panic. This is highly motivating to the leftists, but is offensive in multiple respects to ordinary people with traditional values.

    How this new religious movement will fare depends on whether the adherents choose to peacefully proselytize (convert the majority), or whether they leverage their positions of power in social institutions to ruthlessly impose their beliefs upon the resisters. So far, on the climate issue, they have mostly taken the persuasion approach, and failed to gain the necessary political power. On covid, the vaccine mandates signal onset of raw power to gain submission. It remains to be seen when, where and in what form the backlash will take place, and whether the old order will be overturned.

    Constantini’s article from Vienna is: https://americanmind.org/salvo/democracys-progressive-police/

    My synopsis is: https://rclutz.com/2021/10/03/how-progressives-took-democracy-hostage/

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Mark I appreciate your attempts to lighten my mood regarding climate change. Unfortunately I also recognise that any change will come about by the push against using hydrocarbon fuels causing a significant counter reaction from the voting populations because they have been greatly inconvenienced. You argue that politicians will rush in, change their stance on climate in order to maintain control. I don’t see this at all. There is no political party that doesn’t support action to prevent climate chaos, so who will the flock of the inconvenienced vote for? Secondly, our governments are tied up with international agreements and controls to reduce emissions (=reduce use of hydrocarbons). Thirdly there are legions of the climate committed who will not give up their beliefs just because others are pi**ed off by ever squeezing restrictions resulting from adherence to already agreed commitments to reduce emissions.I can see clashes across the land as groups of the climate change concerned contest with groups determined to keep the status quo. There would be no easy victory for either side.

    It seems to me the consequences of friction between elements of our societies that require us to greatly reduce emissions to “save the planet” and those not prepared to accept the restrictions of doing this, these consequences could be dire and could be even more disastrous than carrying on down our present track. We all must have experience of just how heated discussions about climate change can become. And with one side bearing the righteous armour of “saving the planet….”

    Gosh I should write a BBC screenplay about this future dystopia (so long as the good guys win).

    Liked by 1 person

  19. Alan, “Secondly, our governments are tied up with international agreements and controls to reduce emissions (=reduce use of hydrocarbons)”

    That’s not true. The 2ºC ‘target’ in Art 2(1) of the Paris agreement, is a purely aspirational statement, the aspiration to be realised ‘in the context of . . . efforts to eradicate poverty’.

    Like

  20. Alan,
    If you’re worried about geo-engineering (solar radiation management in particular, I guess) being used in a way that leads to conflict (which may well be a valid concern) why not then be in favour of developing alternatives to fossil fuels, or finding ways to stop emitting greenhouse gases into the atmosphere? It seems unlikely that geo-engineering will be used unless climate change has already become particularly extreme.

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  21. ATTP,

    >”It seems unlikely that geo-engineering will be used unless climate change has already become particularly extreme.”

    You should know us well enough by now to anticipate why we might disagree with this statement. Our despondency arises because we perceive a mismatch between the actual level of concern and the level that can be justified. Given that it is the actual level that drives the decision-making, it would not surprise anyone on here if geo-engineering were to be used even when climate change has not become ‘particularly extreme’.

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  22. John,
    Is it possible that climate change could be used to justify policies that do much more harm than good? Sure, it certainly could be and I agree that there is a risk of this. However, climate change is happening and it’s mostly due to human activities. If we don’t find ways to limit how much we emit and also develop more resilience, then it has the potential to have a severely negative impact. Hence, I would argue that a way to address concerns about how nations might respond to this threat is to participate constructively in discussions about how they might do so.

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  23. ATTP. Oh but I am in favour of developing alternatives to fossil fuels because as time passes we will run out of cheap hydrocarbons and will need alternatives. Nuclear (especially fusion) would be my preference, and certainly not renewables as a reliable energy source. Until cheap fusion becomes available, there probably no alternative to hydrocarbons. Nothing has all the benefits of hydrocarbons and that’s not including the benefits of using them in the petrochemical industry.

    Like

  24. Alan

    I told you the backlash is coming. Chin up. This might only be the start:

    “Drivers clash with Insulate Britain protesters”

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-london-58787144

    “Insulate Britain protesters have been confronted by angry drivers as the group blocked more roads in London.

    Police arrested 38 climate change activists near the Blackwall Tunnel entrance during the morning rush hour.

    Wandsworth Bridge, Arnos Grove and the Hanger Lane gyratory were also targeted. It follows recent protests on the M25 and M4.

    One driver confronted the demonstrators saying she was desperate to see her 81-year-old mother in hospital.

    Captured by LBC, she said: “She’s in the ambulance, she’s going to the hospital in Canterbury. Do you think I’m stupid?

    “I need to go to the hospital, please let me pass. This isn’t OK… how can you be so selfish?””

    The BBC has provided a video with the story. Watch the distraught lady trying to reason with the protestors who just stand there apparently showing no emotion or empathy (though it’s difficult to be sure, since their backs are to the camera – they certainly don’t make any attempt to help the poor lady). Given how on board the BBC has been to date, happily giving XR in the past, and Insulate Britain recently, loads of free (and largely positive) publicity, I regard this is an interesting straw in the wind. The BBC can see which way the wind is blowing and has subtly adjusted its reporting style.

    There’s more:

    “In other footage shared by Talk Radio, angry motorists at Wandsworth Bridge were filmed dragging protesters out of the road, where an ambulance appeared to be blocked.

    London Ambulance Service have also appealed to Insulate Britain to let their drivers pass.

    A spokesperson said: “Ultimately, a delay to us reaching someone who needs our care can cost lives. We would ask any protesters to please allow our crews to pass to ensure we are able to reach people who need our help as quickly as possible.””

    In that section the BBC provides a link to another video, released by Talk Radio (anathema to the BBC, I should have thought). Again, that’s footage I couldn’t have imagined the BBC offering up to the public to see, a week or two ago. Something changed today.

    Yes, the BBC still quotes Insulate Britain, but it’s much more low-key, and only after first showing how seriously annoyed people are, and how inexcusably selfish the Insulate Britain protestors are. They are behaving like mindless drones, who seem to think the end justifies the means.

    There even seems to have been something of a change at the Guardian too (though why that should surprise me, I don’t know, since the BBC and the Guardian move in lock step on these issues):

    “Drivers clash with Insulate Britain activists blocking three London roads
    Protesters stop traffic at Hanger Lane, the Blackwall tunnel and Wandsworth Bridge”

    https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2021/oct/04/drivers-clash-with-insulate-britain-activists-blocking-three-london-roads

    They actually begin their report with the Talk Radio video. Unheard of, surely? I repeat, something happened today, something changed.

    Liked by 1 person

  25. Alan, Both the Kyoto Protocol and Doha agreement were replaced by the Paris Agreement.

    Like

  26. Alan, another reason to be cheerful. aTTP has visited, and confirmed his opinion that:

    1. There is a risk that climate change could be used to justify policies that do much more harm than good;

    2. Climate change isn’t entirely due to human activities;

    3. It has the potential to have a severely negative impact (which to me as a statement carries with it the implicit acknowledgement that it might not have such an impact); and

    4. We need to develop resilience as well as seek to find ways to reduce our emissions.

    I’m not surprised to see aTTP writing that paragraph, as I’m sure it represents his sincerely held views, but it’s refreshing to see it laid out like that, and I appreciate the candour. Put like that, although we are at different ends of the spectrum, at least we are on the same spectrum. I for one have been banging on about the importance of adaptation ahead of mitigation for some time.

    Liked by 1 person

  27. Amazingly, the BBC has devoted a second piece to this anti-Insulate Britain story:

    “Woman pleads with Insulate Britain protesters over sick mother”

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/av/uk-58796091

    “Insulate Britain protesters blocked the Blackwall Tunnel entrance in south-east London on Monday

    One angry and distressed driver confronted the demonstrators, saying she was desperate to see her 81-year-old mother in hospital.

    Captured by LBC, she said: “She’s in the ambulance, she’s going to the hospital in Canterbury. Do you think I’m stupid?”

    “I need to go to the hospital, please let me pass,” she continued. “This isn’t OK… how can you be so selfish?””

    That’s the sort of treatment they normally reserve for climate change propaganda pieces. Interesting to see the BBC doing this.

    Like

  28. ATTP,

    >”…a way to address concerns about how nations might respond to this threat is to participate constructively in discussions about how they might do so.”

    I wouldn’t disagree with that, but I would add that the constructive discussion should also cover both the assessment of threat level and the levels of threat associated with each proposed solution. That there are conceivable threats is relatively easy to ascertain. The controversy arises when attempts are made to quantify levels and establish thresholds of tolerance that all can agree upon. These debates are usually simplified by pointing out that the threat posed by climate change is potentially, and uniquely, existential, and so its management should be treated as transcending. However, I’m not even sure that this argument holds true. I suspect that a too rapid transition to world-wide carbon neutrality could be just as damaging as a too rapid increase in global temperatures. When you are in a night club and someone shouts fire, I’m afraid that constructive discussion regarding how to respond to the threat can be at a premium. To some of us, it feels that way regarding global warming. We live in interesting times.

    Liked by 3 people

  29. Maybe I was too quick to assume a change of reporting position by the BBC:

    “What are Insulate Britain and Extinction Rebellion and what do they want?”

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-48607989#comments

    I guess the reporting this time is fairly balanced, though it is simply gratuitous PR to keep producing news articles about them. Still, I wonder if the BBC has decided to test the water on this one. They’ve opened it up to a “Have Your Say” and the highest rated comments are universally hostile.

    Like

  30. ATTP (4 Oct 21 5.28pm)

    …climate change is happening and it’s mostly due to human activities […] it has the potential to have a severely negative impact. Hence, I would argue that a way to address concerns about how nations might respond to this threat is to participate constructively in discussions about how they might do so.

    We agree with all the above, with the possible exception of the word “mostly.” Which is why we’d love to participate constructively. Any suggestions as to how we might, and why we’re not allowed to? And I don’t just mean being allowed to comment at your blog. For a start we’d like to be allowed to utter the words “climate scepticism” on Wikipaedia. It’s not a lot to ask.

    Liked by 1 person

  31. I recall someone (name?) who served as a policy adviser to a Member of Parliament. His view of his responsibility was to provide four briefs on a matter under discussion. The costs and benefits of doing something and costs and benefits of doing nothing. Anything less he regarded as lobbying. When have we ever seen anything other than lobbying on the issue of global warming/climate change?

    Liked by 1 person

  32. Geoff,

    Just having a few sanity checks in place would help, such as:

    ‘World temperatures can go down as well as up’

    Like

  33. Ron,

    I’m afraid that cost and benefit analysis went out of fashion when the precautionary principle came to the fore. That’s one of the problems with the PP; it is pure lobbying.

    Liked by 1 person

  34. Richard, that’s the name that led me to the source. Many thanks, here’s the quote:

    A timely discussion of this issue is provided by someone with experience in briefing governmental officials on issues requiring choices. Michael Kelly writes in Standpoint Magazine:

    “A well-briefed minister knows about the general area in which a decision is sought, and is given four scenarios before any recommendation. Those scenarios are the upsides and the downsides both of doing nothing and of doing something. Those who give only the upside of doing something and the downside of doing nothing are in fact lobbying.”

    Turning to Lord Stern’s policy advice, Kelly says:

    “In his introduction he makes it clear that he has consulted many scientists, businessmen, philosophers and economists, but in his book I find not a single infrastructure project engineer asked about the engineering reality of any of his propositions, nor a historian of technology about the elementary fact that technological breakthroughs are not pre-programmable. Lord Stern’s description of the climate science is an uncritical acceptance of the worst case put by the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), one from which many in the climate science community are now distancing themselves.”

    Kelly provides considerable contextual information in his article, which is accessible here:
    http://www.standpointmag.co.uk/features-october-2015-michael-kelly-climate-change-poor-pay-the-price

    Liked by 2 people

  35. I now recall that in my paragraph that describes attributing increased frequency or severity of earthquakes or volcanic events to climate change I originally meant to add that pre the climate change hysteria (gosh, how long ago that seems) such claims would be ridiculed or laughed out of court. Regular geoscientists would poor scorn on such musings. But today they remain silent (or is it that they don’t get a hearing in the media?) and a prominent advocate gets promoted to SAGE. The world is pot bound.

    Liked by 1 person

  36. BTW Michael Kelly has an article today at GWPF
    ‘Climate Rationality: From Bias to Balance’ by Jason Scott Johnston. A Review by Michael Kelly

    JS Johnston is a legal scholar who developed in the past a framework for legal cross-examination of climate crisis claims. His 2010 research paper is
    Global Warming Advocacy Science: A Cross Examination

    Click to access UPennCross.pdf

    My post on that topic is
    Critical Climate Intelligence for Jurists (and others)
    https://rclutz.com/2017/12/22/critical-climate-intelligence-for-jurists-and-others/

    Like

  37. Wow, good timing, Dr Kelly (and Ron!)

    The book is at Amazon.co.uk: Climate Rationality: From Bias to Balance Hardcover – 19 Aug. 2021

    Michael Kelly’s GWPF book review mostly just gives last paragraphs of the many chapters.

    Ross McKitrick says ‘Johnston’s exhaustive analysis shows that governments and courts alike need to realize the IPCC is not what it appears: longstanding procedural flaws have allowed it to function as an advocacy group while claiming to be a science authority. This book is a critical contribution to understanding and fixing the problem.’

    It sounds mighty useful.

    Liked by 1 person

  38. Indeed, if you look into his paper on Global Warming Advocacy, his counter arguments refer a lot to deceptive rhetoric employed by the IPCC faithful in support of their advocating CO2 reduction policies.

    Liked by 1 person

  39. Mr. Kendall:
    Almost everyone has
    one or more beliefs
    that were NOT create
    with facts, data and logic.

    Those beliefs
    can not be changed
    with facts, data and logic.

    Some of the beliefs
    I can think of are:

    Santa Clause
    The Tooth Fairy
    Weapons of Mass Destruction in Iraq
    Donald Trump Colluded With Russians
    The 2020 US Election was the most honest in history
    Heaven and Hell, Life After Death
    God
    The Coming Climate Crisis,
    etc.

    These beliefs are based on faith,
    and sometimes on fake news.

    The belief in
    a coming climate crisis
    is just one of many beliefs
    based on faith,
    plus a small amount
    of science that explains
    climate change,
    but provides no evidence
    of a coming climate crisis.

    As a retired geologist (I assume),
    you have studied reality
    — data from the present and past.

    The climate change beliefs
    are in the future.
    So there are no data.
    The future hasn’t happened yet !
    There are just predictions.
    Always wrong, wild guess predictions !

    Predictions of a coming climate crisis,
    appeared to have started with Roger
    Revelle, a oceanographer, back in 1957.
    The climate crisis is always “coming”,
    but never arrives !

    Rather than always wrong wild guesses
    about the future climate, you’d think that
    people would “study” their own experience
    LIVING WITH with actual global warming
    in the past 45 years.

    Mild harmless global warming.
    Nothing like the rapid,
    dangerous global warming
    predicted since 1957.

    Most affecting high (cold)
    latitudes of the Northern Hemisphere,
    mainly during the six coldest months
    of the year, and mainly at night.

    We loved the mild warming
    here in Michigan USA.

    I’d expect most people
    living in the UK
    have enjoyed the
    mild warming
    since the 1970s.
    Or maybe they
    didn’t even notice?

    … But most people will fear
    the next 45 years
    of global warming,
    even if they didn’t notice
    the past 45 years
    of global warming.

    And no amount of
    facts, data and logic
    will change their beliefs.

    So we might as well
    ridicule their beliefs,
    and make jokes
    about their absurd fear
    of carbon dioxide.

    Liked by 1 person

  40. Quoting Alan: “Until cheap fusion becomes available, there probably no alternative to hydrocarbons. ”

    Well, there is small-scale fission, essentially variations on the molten-salt reactor, with or without Thorium. _Can_ be done safely, and can consume our existing stocks of high-level waste and convert it to low-level waste, needing a few hundreds of years of storage, rather than thousands. Using the breeder reactor principle, we should theoretically never run out of nuclear fuel.

    And although I have some skin on the (fusion) game (admittedly at at least one remove), I don’t think I’ll see it in my lifetime.

    Like

  41. Quote: “So we might as well
    ridicule their beliefs,
    and make jokes
    about their absurd fear
    of carbon dioxide.”

    Oh yes, carbon dioxide, that stuff we are all supposed to be so terrified of (even if they always now refer to it as “carbon”).

    I almost laughed out loud (if it weren’t so serious) hearing various reports on BBC news about the apparent shortage of carbon dioxide in the food industry (and probably other industries). I can’t remember the precise cause, but no doubt involving HGV driver shortage, Brexit, etc, etc. No one in the media seems to point out the irony, but if pushed would probably reply something like:

    “Oh yeah, that’s carbon DIOXIDE. We definitely need that. It’s CARBON that we have to worry about, and that’s why we have to get to a zero net carbon economy by 2030, [ or 2025 or some other ridiculously improbable number ].

    Do they even remember (if they ever knew) that with every breath we take, we exhale about 4% carbon dioxide, and that carbon has always been, and will always be, fundamental to human life, and most other forms of life?
    And when they talk about “carbon” or “carbon dioxide” being a “pollutant”, well….words fail me.

    I do realise of course that there is a difference between CO2 in the atmosphere, and CO2 being available for use in industry, but still, it’s kind of funny. Looking into the back story, it seems it’s because commercial CO2 is a by-product of the fertiliser industry, and production of that was halted due to – wait for it – rising gas prices.

    There is another connection to the energy industry. According to the Times: “The Times reported that ministers were concerned that six [ nuclear ] reactors might have to close because of the supply problems.”. Hey no problem: we have “renewables”, right…?

    Like

  42. Richard, Ron,

    The book extract that drew my attention the most in Michael Kelly’s review was:

    “The legal causation issue in cases such as California v. BP PLC is not whether human activities in general have impacted global climate, it is the magnitude of the defendants’ CO2 emissions. To estimate this magnitude, other influences must be measured and carefully controlled for in any kind of analysis (statistical, 3D climate modelling or lower dimensional climate modelling). Precautionary climate science has failed to do this, precisely because it is precautionary, focussing on establishing evidence supporting regulatory interventions to reduce CO2 emissions, rather than actually understanding and qualifying the full set of human influences on climate. As the defence in California v. BP PLC completely failed to present any of this, it ended up managing a climate tutorial that did not inform the court as to the real issues involved.”

    So I’m not the only one who has noticed how the ‘focussing effect’ is framing the management of climate change risk. As I said in ‘The IPCC on Risk, Part 2: Framing the Framework’:

    “What does skew the debate, however, is a treatment of risk management that focuses purely upon the management of risk from a single perspective, i.e. the IPCC’s perspective in trying to tackle the risks associated with anthropogenic global warming. Much is said in AR5 Chapter 2 regarding cognitive bias (more on that in the next article) but the one bias that it doesn’t highlight is the so-called focusing effect, in which utility-based decisions are taken from the perspective of a single factor of interest. This is ironic given that the document is guilty of that bias. As a consequence of this focus, the uncertainties confronting decision makers are considered important by the IPCC only insofar as they may impede the taking of ‘correct’ decisions, i.e. the implementation of options that are aligned with the objectives that lie behind climate change policies…Of course, a broader perspective on risk should lead to a debate in which all risks and perceptions are taken into account, but the IPCC is not interested in such debates. As far as it is concerned, climate change risk is the only existential risk and so it is the fundamental risk that requires management. Perception of that risk is all that matters – the rest is just about incurring [necessary] cost. Broader risk profiles are only considered relevant insofar as they can cause individuals to take ‘incorrect’ decisions.”

    The IPCC on Risk, Part 2: Framing the Framework

    Liked by 2 people

  43. Yes Ron, That fraught CO2… Read Primo Levi The Periodic Table – Story of a carbon atom, essential for all living things. Read Chiefio blog. E.M. Smith; ‘Get Wood,’ post …Trees, bamboo, wheat fields, pond scum, just suck up CO2, strip the air above of CO2 in a matter of days. If CO2 gets below 220pm, plants die and famine and domino effect for humanity ensues.

    Liked by 1 person

  44. Beth, thanks for the reminder of the great chemist, and writer, Primo Levi there. They made him work as a slave labourer for IG Farben, as I remember. Ironies don’t come more horrible.

    Like

  45. Ah yes Beth, the much maligned carbon dioxide molecule (aka carbon), the gas that controls the pH of blood and other of our internal fluids, a component required in the inhaled gaseous mixture in order to induce the breathing process – without it you stop breathing and DIE. Oxygen, a much lauded gas, is mostly spurned by us, with most inhaled being immediately breathed out in the gaseous mix that is exhaled.

    Let’s hear it for CO2 the gas that keeps us breathing and alive.

    [Did you know that you (and I) exhale a tiny percentage of hydrogen with every breath, courtesy of our gut microbes?]

    Like

  46. Quote: [Did you know that you (and I) exhale a tiny percentage of hydrogen with every breath, courtesy of our gut microbes?]

    Hydrogen eh? How cool is that. So as well as directly and indirectly pumping out all that evil “carbon”, we are all personally contributing to the hydrogen economy that I keep hearing about.

    I’m confident that it will go with a boom.

    ( p.s. many thanks to Ron and all other commenters)

    Like

  47. Back to reasons to be cheerful, final straws, tipping points etc:

    “Drivers threaten Insulate Britain activists in Essex protests
    Tense scenes as lorry drivers use vehicles to try to break through demonstrators’ blockades”

    https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2021/oct/13/drivers-threaten-insulate-britain-activists-in-essex-protests

    “Drivers dragged climate protesters out of the road and threatened to run them over on the eastern outskirts of London, as Insulate Britain staged roadblock protests for the 13th time.

    There were tense scenes as about 40 members of the climate activist group blocked the M25 at junction 31 and the London Road A1090 near the Dartford Crossing, with stranded drivers shouting abuse and accelerating towards protesters.

    At the A1090, lorry drivers leaving nearby warehouses tried to use their vehicles to force demonstrators, who laid on the ground to prevent them from passing, out of the way.

    One woman was almost run over by a driver who moved her car so far forward the protester was beneath her bumper. Other drivers mounted kerbs and central reservations in order to evade the roadblock, while passersby dragged protesters to the side of the road to clear the junction.”

    Complete with video footage.

    Like

  48. Richard, the mind boggles. You’re balancing your new weighty tome on £1000 worth of precariously-placed Mac???

    Like

  49. Mark, from City a.m.:

    Footage circulated online showed one woman get out of her black Range Rover and argue with those gathered around her car.

    “Move out of the f****** way, my son needs to get to school,” she told demonstrators.

    “I don’t care what the f****** issue is. My son is 11 and he needs to get to school today, so move out of the way and let me get him to school.”

    And:

    A female protester was almost run over after stopping in front of a blue Hyundai car, and was berated by the driver who told her “This is stupidity”.

    Sooner or later, someone is going to get hurt, thanks to the inept response of the authorities to these baboons.

    Like

  50. Mark. Why should friction between deliberately immobilised protesters with an affinity to road surfaces, and irate and equally immobilised drivers provide me with reasons to be cheerful? All too soon someone is going to die or be severely injured for absolutely no benefit whatsoever. And authorities who should have acted more decisively to stamp out the problem have been moribund. Nothing to cheer about IMHO.

    Like

  51. Alan, because we may have reached peak stupid and the tide may be turning. 😊

    Like

  52. Have you seen the IB protester explaining that if we don’t do [foo] within three years then the atmosphere will run out of oxygen because plankton?

    URL:twitter.com/talkRADIO/status/1448206392096067584

    And in today’s edition of The Daily Hypocrite, here’s the website of another of this morning’s IB road-blockers:

    URL:web.archive.org/web/20210307091356/https://www.aroundtheworldin800days.com/blog/a-carbon-heavy-heart

    She and her husband drove a 3-litre 4×4 81k miles around Europe, Asia and North Africa. It looks like a fun trip but if you’re going to do something like that, don’t sit on the M25, dearie.

    She was aware of climate change and carbon footprints before they set off but managed to portray the humongous holiday as carbon-virtuous via a somewhat creative use of a carbon calculator. A resumption of overlanding has been on hold since she joined Extinction Rebellion in 2019 but it’s their favourite thing and they have kept the car, so the homongous holiday’s hiatus probably won’t last much longer.

    Like

  53. Meanwhile, the latest from Princess Greta:

    “Greta Thunberg: I’m open to meeting Biden at Cop26 but don’t expect much”. (headline from Grauniad Environment)

    Terribly gracious of her to offer to hold court like that.

    One thing I have in common with Greta: I don’t expect much either.

    Liked by 1 person

  54. Apologies if this has already been linked to/discussed:

    Everyone in the studio is presumably onside with tackling climate change and insulating their houses, etc., and yet Insulate Britain’s Liam Norton manages to alienate not only them but potentially huge numbers of GMB viewers at the same time – it’s a masterclass in self-immolation.

    *****

    Liam Norton: In 1937, do you know how many ministers – how many MPs – supported Churchill, when he was trying to fight er… er… Hitler?

    Richard Madeley: You’ve just got your fingers in your ears, haven’t you. You just cannot hear the reality of what you’re doing –

    Liam Norton: Do you know how many MPs supported Churchill –

    Richard Madeley: I don’t care. I’m not interested in Churchill.

    Liam Norton: – in 1937? Six! Six MPs supported him.

    Richard Madeley: I’m interested in people who can’t get to hospital because of what you’re doing.

    Liam Norton: Six MPs. And Churchill was right, wasn’t he. But he only had the support of six MPs.

    Richard Madeley: You’re comparing yourself to Winston Churchill?!

    Liam Norton: No I’m putting hisself [“myself”?] into a historical situation, that always – it’s not always the public who are always with you but you’re still right. And we’re right, now!

    [Richard Madeley laughs.]

    Liam Norton: This is about what is right and what is wrong!

    Richard Madeley: This is about the most twisted parallel I’ve ever heard in a debate.

    *****

    Worth watching in full… 🙂

    Like

  55. Alex,

    Yes, it has been picked up on already, but please do not apologise. This is one of those things that cannot be referenced enough. When I go to my ‘happy place’ this video is playing in my head on an endless loop.

    Like

  56. A few more encouraging words from Liam on talkRADIO:

    *****

    Cristo Foufas: – you got your home insulated yet?

    Liam Norton: Because I’m a hypocrite.

    Cristo Foufas: Well, that is going to be the accusation. I mean, you understand that that’s a reasonable accusation, for you to ask for something else to be done, because it’s so urgent, but that you haven’t done it where you live, yet?

    Liam Norton: Yeah.

    Cristo Foufas: Because you – as you said, a billion people are going to be displaced, and this huge existential threat, and all of these people are going to be “slaughtered”, using your word. So why haven’t you insulated your own home, yet, when you know that that’s the issue, Liam?

    Liam Norton: Yeah, I know. I’m terrible, aren’t I.

    Cristo Foufas: But then, do you understand why people will think: well, this guy doesn’t really care about insulation, he only cares about causing disruption and trying to make a name for himself?

    Liam Norton: Yeah, they’re right, I don’t particularly care about insulation.

    Cristo Foufas: So you don’t care about insulation, after all.

    Liam Norton: No.

    *****

    Uh… well okay then, “emergency” over, it seems. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

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