Released a few weeks ago, without much fanfare, so far I have been able to see, was a rather sinister report produced by the House Of Lords Environment and Climate Change Committee (its first report of the 2022-23 session). Titled “In our hands: behaviour change for climate and environmental goals”, a few members of the unelected House of Lords seek to push behaviour change by the British public in order to achieve the objectives of the unelected Climate Change Committee. It smacks more of Big Brother and less of democracy, so far as I can see.

Including endpieces, index and appendices, it runs to 140 pages, an opening summary, nine chapters, a further summary of conclusions and recommendations, and six appendices. A detailed in-depth study of its findings is beyond the scope of a short article here, but there’s plenty to be concerned about, even from a quick overview. 1984-style Newspeak abounds.

Hubris

Underlying the report is the continuing belief, obviously shared by the whole of the Parliament which passed the Climate Change Act, and the Climate Change Committee, that urgent action by the UK is somehow both necessary and sufficient to deal with the “climate crisis”. Patently this is nonsense, with the UK producing around 1% of the world’s man-made greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions on an ongoing basis, and global GHG emissions continuing to grow year on year. I suppose it’s inevitable that members (albeit that they are unelected) of a Parliament that passed that nonsensical piece of legislation are not going to question its underlying beliefs, but the lack of intelligent questioning with regard to the direction of public policy is deeply disappointing.

And so the Report opens with a summary which contains some highly questionable statements:

The twin crises of climate change and nature loss demand an immediate and sustained response.

One short sentence, so much to criticise. No questioning of the so-called “climate crisis”. No discussion as to how the two perceived crises might be linked. No recognition that attempts to “deal” with the “climate crisis”, involving large-scale industrialisation and despoliation of the environment are exacerbating nature loss. No discussion as to who is to offer the “immediate and sustained response”. No recognition of the futility and expense and of unilateral action by the UK. Still, just fifteen words in, and the scene is already set. Common sense and intelligent questions will not be on display in the following pages.

The opening paragraph contains a second sentence:

The Government has committed to reaching net zero by 2050 and to leave the environment in a better condition for future generations.

Here we see the same lack of logic on display, the same quasi-religious belief that “net zero” equates to environmentalism, despite the abundant evidence regarding the environmental vandalism that is associated with net zero.

We need to change people’s behaviour

The second paragraph of the opening summary gets to the heart of the matter:

People power is critical to meet those targets. Analysis by the Committee on Climate Change (CCC) suggests that without changes to people’s behaviours now, the target of net zero by 2050 is not achievable. Drawing on the CCC’s assessment, we have identified that 32 per cent of emissions reductions up to 2035 [later in the report they add that “63 per cent relies on the involvement of the public in some form”] require decisions by individuals and households to adopt low carbon technologies and choose low-carbon products and services, as well as reduce carbon-intensive consumption.

The use of the word “decisions” is interesting, as an early example of Newspeak appearing in the Report. Accepting that the crazy “net zero” targets unilaterally adopted by Parliament, and pushed so assiduously by the CCC, cannot be met without changes in behaviour by the public, the Committee concludes that public behaviour has to change. Of course, to date the public has in effect decided not to go along with the agenda – if it supported it, a 140 page report would not be required to address the issue. And so the public’s behaviour has to change, we have to be made to change our ways, and this compulsion is described by the Committee as “decisions” by the public. Another paragraph makes this abundantly clear:

In our inquiry, we looked at evidence about the ways in which people can be encouraged to change their behaviours and the action the Government has been taking to do that. Whilst the Government has introduced some policies to help people adopt new technologies, like electric cars, these have not been replicated in other policy areas and there is a reluctance to help people to cut carbon-intensive consumption.

We have to be helped to make the “right” decisions. Funnily enough, the policies adopted to help people “decide” to buy electric vehicles (EVs), haven’t worked. There’s a very good reason for that. EVs cost a lot of money – certainly they are a lot more expensive than cars with internal combusion engines (ICEs). Relief from road tax, and the avoidance of fuel duty, and even for a while a bribe of a few thousand pounds towards the purchase price (paid for by other taxpayers, including very poor people) isn’t enough to “persuade” poor people who can’t afford to buy electric cars to “decide” to do so. There’s more to this issue than just cost, of course. There are practical issues too. Poorer people tend not to have garages, or even drives, where they could park their EVs and charge them overnight. People who make longer journeys in their cars suffer from range anxiety. Busy working people don’t have time to sit around checking their emails and drinking macchiato while waiting for their EVs to charge up.

And so we see another immediate failure of logic on the part of the Committee. Noting that the Government has introduced policies to “help people adopt” EVs, they ignore the fact that those policies didn’t work, and conclude that it’s a failure that such policies haven’t been replicated in other areas.

Expect your life to change dramatically

Moving on, we are told:

…the Government is in a unique position to guide the public in changing their behaviours. The Government should provide clarity to individuals about the changes we need to make, in how we travel, what we eat and buy, and how we use energy at home, and should articulate the many co-benefits to health and wellbeing of taking those steps. A public engagement strategy, both to communicate a national narrative and build support for getting to net zero, is urgently required.

Newspeak to the fore again. Guiding the public in changing our behaviours means leaning on us very hard so that we have no choice. Guiding = compulsion, to all intents and purposes. Why else ban the sale of new ICE vehicles from 2030? If we could be guided and persuaded to “do the right thing”, banning would be unnecessary.

And just look at what that paragraph slipped in: how we travel; what we eat; what we buy; how we use energy at home. Is there much left? Paragraph 29, on page 15 of the Report is explicit:

The Government should focus as a priority on enabling the most impactful behaviour changes that will be needed to meet climate and environmental goals including: adopting ultra-low emission vehicles; installing home insulation and low-carbon heating technologies; taking fewer long-haul flights; changing of diets; and generally reducing carbon and resource-intensive consumption and waste.

Public engagement strategies, national narratives – euphemisms for relentless propaganda, hectoring and bullying. Dishonest attempts to persuade us that the changes are good for us, Big Brother knows best. Co-benefits to health and well-being? Isn’t that for us to decide? Most people, I have little doubt, would regard their lives as having been diminished if their ability to holiday abroad is rationed, if they are forced to use inadequate public transport rather than their own vehicles, if they are left shivering in houses with heat pumps rather than gas boilers. Most people, I also suspect, would be horrified if they knew what “net zero” policies were already costing them in the myriad hidden ways that have been sneaked in over the years. No wonder there’s a cost of living crisis, a crisis which is much more real to most people than a “climate crisis”. The gilets jaunes message has travelled from France to the UK now – while Parliamentarians are concerned about the end of the world, the people they seek to control are worried about the end of the month.

Choice is not an option

How is all this to be achieved?

Behavioural science evidence and best practice show that a combination of policy levers, including regulation and fiscal incentives, must be used by Government, alongside clear communication, as part of a joined-up approach to overcome the barriers to making low-carbon choices.

Newspeak euphemisms abound! Policy levers – regulation (= compulsion); fiscal incentives (= carrot and stick, taxes and bribes); clear communication (= relentless propaganda); barriers (= an understandable reluctance on the part of the public to make their lives worse) to making low-carbon choices (= making their lives worse). By the way, paragraph 80 on page 27 makes it clear that they are talking not just about financial incentives, but also about financial disincentives.

And if choice isn’t an option for you and me nor, apparently, is it a choice for businesses:

Fairness is key to effective behaviour change and now more than ever must be at the heart of policy design. As the country faces a cost-of-living crisis, the Government must tailor behaviour change interventions to avoid placing a burden on those who can least afford it. The Government must also work with the many groups and organisations at different levels of society who have a critical role in securing behaviour change for climate change and the environment. Businesses are in a position to enable behaviour change through increasing the affordability and availability of greener products and services and engaging customers and employees, but need direction from government if they are to act against their immediate financial interests.

Talk about La-la Land! The cost-of-living crisis, the financial hurt caused to those who can least afford it, are the direct result of Government “net zero” interventions to date. Apparently business has to pay to bail out those who are suffering from Government ineptitude. And just how sinister are those final words? Businesses “need direction from government if they are to act against their immediate financial interests.” Seriously? Businesses are to be forced to act aginst their financial interests. Company directors, whose legal duty is to act in the best interests of shareholders, are to be compelled to do the opposite, it seems. How casually those extraordinary words were slipped in.

Covid lessons

I try very hard to avoid being a conspiracy theorist. I generally subscribe to the view that when something bad happens, it’s better explained by cock-up than conspiracy. I have to date given a wide berth to people who claim that covid lockdowns were a trial run for climate lockdowns. And yet, having skimmed this report, the first doubts are beginning to dawn on my consciousness. For we are now told:

Lessons can be learned from both successful and unsuccessful behaviour change interventions in other policy areas. Most notably, the widespread behaviour change brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic. We recognise that the changes demanded by the pandemic were seen as a short-term response to a short-term emergency, nonetheless it will be a major missed opportunity if the Government does not seize the chance to evaluate behaviour change interventions implemented during the pandemic and apply lessons learned.

Because I am so bothered by them, I quote paragraphs 103 and 104 (and part of 105) (pages 33 and 34) in full:

Some witnesses also told us lessons can be learned from government communications during the pandemic. One Home said: “COVID messaging on the first lockdown across society shows what a successful public communications campaign looks like for behaviour change.” The transferable lessons that can be learned from government-led communications, public engagement and education during the pandemic are explored in more detail in Chapter 8.

There are similarities between the specific challenges faced during the pandemic and those that may be faced in behaviour change for climate and environmental goals, such as the widening of inequalities and the spread of misinformation. Sir Patrick Vallance told us COVID-19 “both fed off inequality and fed inequality” and expressed concern that the same is probably true in the context of climate change and environmental damage, stating: “It is worse for those who are poorer, disadvantaged and marginalised. It will make that gap wider if it is not handled properly.” During the pandemic, Ofcom applied rules on harmful content in the Broadcasting Code to COVID-19 misinformation, and Carnegie UK suggested that Ofcom could use the same approach in the context of misinformation about climate change and environmental damage.

However, there are some clear distinctions between behaviour change in the pandemic and behaviour change required to meet climate and environmental goals, and the consequent limits to transferable learning. In particular, Mr Lord emphasised behaviour change for climate change and the environment would need to be “sustainable and sustained”, whereas the pandemic required time-limited actions. Sir Patrick Vallance echoed this concern from an organisational point of view, explaining SAGE and SPI-B are set up for “specific emergency situations”, suggesting this structure is not necessarily appropriate for longer term emergencies.

I hope and trust that I am not alone in finding those words to be deeply dispiriting, indeed borderline alarming.

Conclusion

The Government’s approach to enabling people to change behaviours risks a failure to meet statutory climate change and environment goals. Swift action to rectify the approach is required.

Be in no doubt. Big Brother isn’t just watching, he’s nudging – and perhaps more.

19 Comments

  1. I haven’t read the report avidly from cover to cover, because a skim read was enough to suggest that any further effort would go unrewarded. It was also enough to highlight some pretty mixed up logic. Take this paragraph, for example, offered under the somewhat patronizing subtitle, ‘Understanding’:

    “There is limited understanding of the scale of change that may be needed to address and adapt to climate change. Dr Jan Eichhorn, Senior Lecturer in Social Policy at the University of Edinburgh, explained that when asked about the impact of climate change on their lives by 2035 if no action were taken, 18 per cent of people in the UK surveyed thought their lives ‘would not be affected negatively at all’ and 45 per cent of people thought their lives ‘would just change somewhat requiring some adaptation’. Dr Gray told us: ‘Awareness of the extent of the transformation that will be needed in society is relatively low’.”

    I’m sorry, but the point here is that the people in the UK are not convinced regarding the scale of the impact that unchecked climate change will have on their personal lives. This does not translate into a failure to understand just what the government has in store for them. For that, they would also have to know that the government plans to totally over-react at the behest of XR. This is a fundamental point that the report does not seem to get: risk stakeholders will only accept risk management costs that are actually to their personal benefit. What the government has in mind exceeds that remit.

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  2. Why do I get the feeling that these behavioural changes will apply to little people like us but not the elite that impose them? A carbon dioxide ration with no exceptions and no green-washing indulgences allowed would crash this thing immediately.

    Neither Clisceppers nor the House of Lords have the answer to this generation of madness. Unfortunately, we have the disadvantage of being aware of that fact.

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  3. Jit, absolutely!

    John, thank you for digging out that interesting quote. It sounds (to me, at least) like an implicit admission that not only are major lifestyle changes required of the British public, but many of those changes will be negative.

    And speaking of hubris (this may be O/T, but as it’s my thread that’s fine 😉 ):

    “East Riding of Yorkshire Council launches climate change strategy”

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-humber-63731346

    A climate change strategy has been adopted by East Riding of Yorkshire Council.

    The plans include increasing the number of electric car charging points and exploring the potential to reuse wasted heat from local industrial sites.

    The council warned that many homes are at risk from rising sea levels, coastal erosion and increasing temperatures.

    Council leader Jonathan Owen said the plan “highlights our commitment to tackling climate change”.

    The East Riding has one of the fastest eroding coastlines in Europe, with up to 13ft (4m) of coast eroded each year, according to the climate strategy.

    At that rate, around 209 homes would be lost to the sea within the next 100 years, the council said.

    The strategy, which runs until 2030, comes after the council declared a climate emergency in February 2021, according to the Local Democracy Reporting Service.

    It warns that the region is under threat from increasing rainfall levels, heatwaves and the impact of climate change on wildlife, livestock and agriculture.

    The strategy calls for a faster transition to low emission vehicles, a move towards public transport and more local renewable energy production.

    Yeah, that should “tackle” climate change! By the way, as for the claim of increasing rainfall levels, where are the fact-checkers? A visit to the Met Office website, and a glance at the data for Bridlington, suggests an increase in annual rainfall from 1961-90 to 1991-2020 of only 0.5″ or so:

    https://www.metoffice.gov.uk/research/climate/maps-and-data/uk-climate-averages/gcxgsp923

    I’m not sure why that should be regarded as a problem.

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  4. “During the pandemic, Ofcom applied rules on harmful content in the Broadcasting Code to COVID-19 misinformation, and Carnegie UK suggested that Ofcom could use the same approach in the context of misinformation about climate change and environmental damage.”

    big brother indeed.

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  5. I find the report very logical. If you really believe that we are on a Highway to Hell it is pointless to go after the evil oil companies. The problem is clearly with the consumption of hydrocarbons not the producers. Try to Stop Oil and all that does is raise prices to stratospheric levels and the consumers would revolt. Changing people’s behaviour is the only hope for the true believer.
    The comparison to COVID is interesting. What is not mentioned is that the reason most people complied with COVID restrictions was that they were scared of getting COVID and possibly dying. What the Climate Change Committee need to do is convince the majority of people that climate breakdown is happening and is a significant threat to their wellbeing. Good luck with that.

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  6. dfhunter, the reference to Ofcom and covid is particularly sinister. “Misinformation” has the potential to be any information (whether true or not) which conflicts with the narrative.

    potentilla, I suppose you’re right that it is logical, if you believe in Climate Armageddon. The problem is that this is a bunch of unelected people in a position of authority, seeking to influence policy in a deeply sinister way. The UK populace has no idea as to how they are being manipulated.

    By the way, one member of that Committee is Lord Lilley. I assume that’s the one-time Peter Lilley MP, one of the brave few who voted against the Climate Change Act. I was therefore surprised to see no minority report or dissenting voice.

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  7. Mark, I have found my ability to “like” curtailed here but I wish to tell you that I found your article most stimulating. Informative yes, but controversial (for me) also. It seems to me that often you seek out an ‘us verses them’ interpretation, arguing strongly against keeping control well in the hands of authority including government.This might be true, but I don’t always assume a nefarious motive.
    I constantly try to examine the motives of those trying to do or impose actions upon us that I disagree with. My judgement of the document you discuss is that it was written by worried people. Anyone believing even a portion of climate change dogma should be worried, perhaps even extremely worried, and should be prepared to contemplate measures that you find objectionable. With the type of governance we have the powers that be have to carry the populace with them. Hence the necessity to engage in propaganda that you also find so objectionable. But the worrIed feel it to be necessary. Governments manage to pursue policies that they consider essential but which they know a majority of their population object. In a democracy they are difficult concepts to square.

    With much surplus time to contemplate these matters, and the world in general, I seek answers to these and other complex problems, not really with any real expectation of any resolution. But articles like yours have greatly stimulated me to examine different viewpoints. Thank you.

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  8. Alan, thank you for your kind words. It seems that not only have I stimulated you to examine different viewpoints, but your words also gave me cause to think further about what I have written and why I wrote it.

    You say that it seems to you that I argue “strongly against keeping control well in the hands of authority including government.” If that is how my views come across, then I need to clarify my position. It is clear to me that government needs to govern, otherwise anarchy beckons. My position in some ways is the opposite of your summary, although only because I draw a broad distinction between “authority” (as you put it) and government. Indeed, my argument is that too often unelected people in positions of authority abuse their authority to take control of our society in a way which undermines democracy. In this article I was taking careful aim at two unelected bodies – the Climate Change Committee and a Committee of the House of Lords.

    I suppose this article could have been called “Net Zero Democracy – Part 3”, and I toyed with that, since net zero does seem to lie at the heart of so much of the denial of democracy to the people of the UK, but in the end I preferred the title I went with, since euphemisms abound in the Committee report, and references to 1984-style Newspeak seem very appropriate, to me at least. Democracy is far from perfect, but as Churchill said (I paraphrase) it’s the best of a bad bunch, all other systems of government being worse. That is why democracy is precious, and we need to guard it carefully. That is why I am angry and worried about so many recent developments, and why I wrote this latest article, as (possibly) a culmination of articles such as

    The Politics Of Fear

    Net Zero Democracy

    and

    Net Zero Democracy – Part 2

    In the Politics of Fear, I quoted at length from a Brendan O’Neill article in Spiked:

    The elites have entirely lost the ability, and the will, to reason with us. The impact this has on the ideal and the practice of citizenship cannot be overstated. It is an offence against democracy to issue apocalyptic warnings to try to dragoon the masses into compliance with restrictions. It turns us from democratic citizens who ought to be engaged in factful discussion about how crises should be tackled and society should be organised, into aberrant children whose behaviour must be shaped and controlled by threats and occasional treats…

    Funnily enough, although those words more or less opened that mini-series of four articles from me, we have now come full circle, since that’s pretty much how I feel about the House of Lords Committee report I have just criticised. Except that I fear that the Committee report goes one stage further, inasmuch as it comes dangerously close to recommending subliminal nudges rather than even the most basic (and unsubtle) form of engagement with the public. I went on:

    There are a number of common strands between climate alarmism, Brexit hysteria and covid rule-making. First, and I think most importantly, there is fear. The second theme is hubris. The third theme is authoritarianism. There is, perhaps, a fourth thread that also connects these apparently disparate subjects – the failure of “expert” models and projections. Of huge importance, there is collateral damage – which may be worse than the harms sought to be avoided by the measures themselves. Finally, there is the infantilisation of debates, such as exist.

    Net Zero Democracy was about the lack of democratic choice presented to the British public, given the overwhelming consensus among our political class and political parties on the topic of climate change and net zero. Democracy implies a choice. On this – arguably the most important issue facing us (though I think that for very different reasons to those of climate alarmists) – the public is denied a choice.

    The purpose of Net Zero Democracy – Part 2 was to draw to the attention of Cliscep visitors the appalling arrogance of the unelected Climate Change Committee. Lord Deben’s words, that saw me rushing off to transcribe the interview were staggering then, and I think are now:

    Well just a moment, you can’t revise the targets, because the targets are in the law, and they can’t change the law unless the Committee on Climate Change gives them permission, and we’re not going to.

    I could go on, and make clear my concern at the abdication of responsibility by MPs and governments alike. On interest rates and monetary policy the Government simply says there’s nothing they can do, because that’s down to the (unelected) Bank of England. Whatever you think of the ill-starred short-lived Truss/Kwarteng debacle (and I suspect you think as little of it as I do, Alan) the fact remains that Jeremy Hunt, a man who twice failed to interest his own party in electing him as leader, has essentially been foisted on Parliament and the country, and appears to be running the country in all but name, because he is acceptable to the markets, and supranational institutions like the World Bank and the IMF. The British people (aka the electorate) don’t get a look-in. Regarding covid lockdowns, vaccinations and non-pharmaceutical interventions, the government basically abdicated responsibility to SAGE and the “experts”, hiding behind the mantra that we have to “follow the science”. Regarding climate change and net zero much the same criticism can be made – but instead of SAGE, read Climate Change Committee.

    In other words, on three of the most critical issues of the day, elected politicians have copped out, and the electorate effectively lack any say at all.

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  9. Alan, I simply do not believe that the members of this committee seriously believe that we are headed for a climate apocalypse. Any intelligent person who has examined the facts would come to the same conclusion: the threat is exaggerated. “Teh Climate” has become, as has often been said on this site, a pseudo-religion, but one in which the headline belief – in the coming climate apocalypse – is entirely superficial, to the extent that even the truest of true believers do not behave as if they believe it.

    With the exception perhaps of St. Greta.

    Narrow guard-rail limits (for this old-fashioned liberal, anyway) excepted, politicians have no business telling the people what to do. The purpose of democracy is that the people tell the politicians what to do: the exact inverse.

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  10. JIT, with respect, the absurdity of the belief that the extreme danger that climate change is supposed to pose is believed by many including the informed and erudite. For many skeptics this itself constitutes a considerable problem – how can so many informed and wise persons, including many informed of the facts, believe in something that is apparently to you so very wrong. People working at the Climate Research Centre are not stupid and upon other matters can be knowledgeable. When I taught at UEA it was this problem that caused me to ponder most that I, with barely relevant geology skills, could be right about climate and they, and so many others that I admired, could be so very wrong. It is a problem unsolved, one, for me, merely buried.

    I envy your belief that the facts disprove the case posed by the concerned.

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  11. Alan, it’s the madness of crowds. I see you’ve just read Jit’s superb latest article, which I think answers your question nicely.

    I would add two other points. After 27 COPs, which have completely failed in their stated aim of reducing (or even reversing) CO2 emissions in order to stave off “climate catastrophe”, it ought to be apparent even to a 5 year old that they aren’t working, and won’t work. Yet still they keep attending (in their tens of thousands) and demanding the same thing that they failed to achieve last year. If that isn’t a sign of delusion, I don’t know what is.

    The second point is the UK’s “leading the way” mantra. It should, equally, be apparent, that the biggest emitters among the developing world (which, absent the USA = the world’s biggest emitters now) have no intention of following. They don’t believe there’s a climate crisis (if they did, they wouldn’t be seeking to develop their own fossil fuel resources in order to develop). Thus it ought to be transparently obvious (this overlaps with Jit’s article) that it doesn’t matter what we in the UK do, we can make no difference to their imaginary “climate crisis”. That being the case, it is utter madness to waste £100s billions (or even £trillions) in tilting at windmills, while making energy more expensive and less reliable, and generally making life worse for the UK’s inhabitants. No, if there is a climate crisis, it makes sense to save that money and spend it on adaptation against the worst effects of the climate crisis if/when it happens. But they don’t do that. They believe that UK action is both necessary and sufficient to “deal with” the climate crisis. They are deluded.

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  12. Mark. I don’t believe the structure and interactions of our societies can ever allow agreements that penalise those same societies. Consequently all the CODs are doomed. Even if they are agreed there will be countries that will never, ever fulfil their obligations. Look at what happened to the League of Nations given the horrors of WWI in living memory.

    I get the feeling that you, JIT and myself are in agreement on most things but disagree upon this one fundamental point — whether the climate concerned are villains, dupes or perhaps legitimate in their concerns. It does however make an interesting and legitimate topic of conversation. I strongly believe I will be in a very small minority.

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  13. I would answer Alan’s challenge like this.
    1. There has always been a disconnect between the dry science reports and the outrageous exaggerations in the media and among activists. Perhaps the scientists are becoming bolder in their proclamations after having been accused of minimising the threat for so long. I do not know. But I do think that it is inevitable that the envelope of the “threat” will widen year by year, even in the absence of new data.

    2. Can anyone honestly, objectively state that the climate in 2022 is in any way worse than the climate in 1922? If no such proof exists, I see no evidence of a threat, only a phantom.

    3. If you do manage to prove to me that the climate now is somehow objectively worse than it was a hundred years ago, we move to the next stage: the human niche is defined as a function of climate and civilisation. By which I mean that absent civilisation our climate niche is very narrow indeed. How has civilisation fared over the past 100 years of its “addiction to fossil fuels”? The answer I think is obvious: that civilisation has done very well indeed. The niche that humans can occupy on Earth is wider now than ever before. Only recently with our decadent thoughts of enviro-guilt has perhaps Western civilisation begun to collapse in on itself.

    4. Finally I would point at the environmental destruction that has taken place over the last 100 years. I see humans destroying things everywhere. I do not see climate destroying anything, despite the best efforts of cheerleaders to persuade me otherwise (e.g. that wildfires are climate driven, or that burnt areas have somehow been “destroyed”).

    When I get a mo I’m going to post up my Denierland list of all the reasons I think the scare is exaggerated. It’s rather incoherent – having been composed on the back of an envelope – but serves a purpose, I think.

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  14. JIT. My immediate (ie not considered) response is that climate changes in the past have destroyed or impoverished civilisations and sometimes abruptly. We have the hubris to believe we can adjust now but I wonder. Certainly I believe adjusting to harsher (colder and/or dryer) climate would be more difficult,

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  15. Alan, we may disagree about “whether the climate concerned are villains, dupes or perhaps legitimate in their concerns”, but at least we are very definitely not the monolithic face of climate denial that some alarmists might like to think we are. If we were, we wouldn’t (happily) disagree about so much.

    Actually, I think the climate concerned probably fall into one or other of your categories. Earnest young people, convinced they have no future, are regrettably dupes. They are certainly not bad people, but they’ve been sold a pup. Sadly, educational institutions these days don’t seem to teach them how to think, but instead tell them we’re on the road to climate hell. If I were in their position (subject to incessant proselytising, rather than being – as I was at secondary school and University – taught to question, challenge and think for myself) I might well be as concerned as they are. But it doesn’t mean they’re right.

    There may be cause for some genuine concern in some areas, but as Jit’s articles today have suggested, there is cause for far more concern about many other non-climate related, issues, yet concern in those areas is conspicuously lacking or less intense than with regard to the climate. So there’s something profoundly wrong about that. The people who bother me most, though, are those who do – or should – know better, but who preach this stuff relentlessly, whether it’s to further some other agenda (climate justice, aka redistribution of wealth), to sell papers or generate website clicks, to get elected, to make money from subsidies or climate indulgences or whatever. The people who know they’re selling a pup are beyond the pale, so far as I’m concerned.

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  16. This is about covid, not climate, but given the House of Lords Committee’s references to adopting covid-style techniques and learning from the covid experience, it’s perhaps worth noting here:

    “BMJ Article Calls for Governments to “Neutralise Misinformation” and Ban Dissent in Pandemics”

    https://dailysceptic.org/2022/11/25/bmj-article-calls-for-governments-to-neutralise-misinformation-and-ban-dissent-in-pandemics/

    As a director of the U.K. Medical Freedom Alliance, the U.K.’s most recognised and respected organisation advocating every individual’s right to informed consent, bodily autonomy and medical choice, I was shocked and appalled to read the article “Understanding and neutralising COVID-19 misinformation and disinformation“, published in the BMJ on November 22nd 2022. The article contains insinuations and unsubstantiated and unreferenced allegations concerning the UKMFA (and other organisations including HART, UsForThem and Children’s Health Defense) and which appeared to seek to undermine the contribution of our organisations to a critical debate of national importance.

    My shock at the tone and text of the article, and its inclusion in a highly respected medical journal like the BMJ, has been echoed by notable scientists and doctors around the world including Dr. Jay Bhattacharya, who posted this strongly worded tweet calling out the “authoritarian nonsense” proposed by the authors of the article, which violates “key civil rights” and is “inconsistent with long standing free speech norms in democratic countries”…

    …It is deeply disturbing that there should be such a blatant push to silence legitimate scientific debate and to seek to exclude opposing voices from the U.K. COVID-19 Inquiry. We contend that the main aims and objectives of a public inquiry are to scrutinise and evaluate all the policies that the Government implemented and to carry out a retrospective full cost-benefit analysis and assessment of any resulting collateral damage. Now is the time to calmly and rationally assess all the arguments and evidence that campaigning groups have tried to present – much of it, due to extreme censorship, deliberately kept away from the public and political sphere for debate.

    The call by the authors of this BMJ article to promote and enforce only one ideology in a totalitarian way, the unsubstantiated smearing of named organisations, and the stated aim to outlaw any other viewpoint, should have made this article unsuitable for publication in a respected scientific journal such as the BMJ.

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  17. “Climate impact labels could help people eat less red meat
    Information on environmental impact can persuade consumers against carbon-heavy food choices, says study”

    https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2022/dec/27/climate-impact-labels-could-help-people-eat-less-red-meat

    Climate impact labels on foods such as red meat are an effective way to get people to stop choosing options that negatively affect the planet, a study has found.

    Policymakers have been debating how to get people to make less carbon-heavy food choices. In April, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report urged world leaders, especially those in developed countries, to support a transition to sustainable, healthy, low-emissions diets.

    In the UK, Henry Dimbleby, the government’s food tsar, recently said it was politically impossible for a government to tell people to stop eating as much meat. About 85% of agricultural land in England is used as grazing pasture for animals such as cows or to grow food which is then fed to livestock. Dimbleby believes a 30% meat reduction over 10 years is required for land to be used sustainably in England, while Greenpeace argues for a 70% reduction.

    The clinical trial, published in the journal Jama Network Open, has found that consumers respond well to climate labelling on their foods….

    The authors said: “We found that labelling red meat items with negatively framed, red high–climate impact labels was more effective at increasing sustainable selections than labelling non–red meat items with positively framed, green low–climate impact labels.”

    Like

  18. Mark Hodgson- 25 NOV 22 AT 7:55 PM

    snippet –
    “The call by the authors of this BMJ article to promote and enforce only one ideology in a totalitarian way, the unsubstantiated smearing of named organisations, and the stated aim to outlaw any other viewpoint, should have made this article unsuitable for publication in a respected scientific journal such as the BMJ.”

    wonder what that also applies too!!!!

    Like

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