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Ethical Investment

I met several people in the finance-with-conscience crowd the other week, when I went for a spot of champers and Marmite soldiers at the House of Commons for National Ethical Investment Week.

I learned about various views on social and positive impact investment, and about elements of the Coalition Government’s “Big Society” and the proposed Green Investment Bank.

Ethical Investment appears to have come a long way since I put some money into a Fair Trade company many moons ago, where I knew I would never see a dividend, or even be able to sell the shares at some point.

Grown up people in sharp suits and big name frocks now do moral banking, and often reap a healthy return on their investment – “doing well” as well as “doing good”, as Adam Ognall of UK Sustainable Investment and Finance says.

I was challenged to think about what faith communities do with their money around a month ago, all precipitated by a conversation I had with Martin Palmer of the Alliance of Conservation and Religions, and then I heard something at a recent meeting that caused me to investigate a little…

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The Right To Evolve

Image Credit : Oil Change International

https://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20101028/sc_afp/franceenvironmentclimatewarming

“Global warming ‘unquestionably’ due to humans: France : Global warming exists and is unquestionably due to human activity, France’s Academy of Science said in a report published Thursday and written by 120 scientists from France and abroad. “Several independent indicators show an increase in global warming from 1975 to 2003. This increase is mainly due to the increase in the concentration of carbon dioxide,” the academy said in conclusion to the report. “The increase in carbon dioxide, and to a lesser degree other greenhouse gases, is unquestionably due to human activity,” said the report, adopted unanimously by academy members. The report contradicts France’s former education minister Claude Allegre, a geochemist, who published a book called “The Climatic Deception” which claimed that carbon dioxide was not linked to climate change. The report was commissioned in April by Minister for Research Valerie Pecresse in response to hundreds of environmental scientists who complained that Allegre in particular was disparaging their work. Allegre is a member of the Academy of Sciences and also signed off on the report. “He has the right to evolve,” the academy’s president Jean Salencon said. Pecresse said: “The debate is over.”…”

To my Climate Change sceptical readers, you, too have the “right to evolve”.

Come on over from the dark side to the side of light, life and understanding.

Stop the blame game, the game of suspicion, nitpicking, paranoia and irrationality, and reflect on the path of right dealing, factual research, and true and cooperative human endeavour.

Human beings are genetically encoded for pragmatic policies and practical decisionmaking; yet sometimes the fastest route to a solution is the least successful in the longer term.

Digging high calorie substances out of the ground and burning them in very large quantities is having a negative effect on the ability of the Earth to sustain Life. Ponder that for a while.

Eventually virtually all mining activities will be curtailed. As an elderly relative commented to me when discussing recycling – if we recycled all materials then people wouldn’t have to risk their lives going deep underground for new resources – like those poor miners in Chile and China.

The mines are getting deeper and more dangerous – something the Gulf of Mexico ecosystem encountered to its irrecoverable loss earlier this year.

We can live without mining. We can garner energy without mining. We can live having all our wants and needs provided for by the power of sunlight and the winds and waves it drives, and by the gravitational pull of the Moon turning the tides restlessly.

That kind of productivity will keep us in industrial development for as long as we survive as a species, whilst preventing destruction of our habitat, which would finish us off as a species altogether, along with millions of others.

That’s the kind of evolution we need.

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Ellen’s Collaboration

Video Credit : Ellen MacArthur Foundation

I can’t decide whether I’m inspired or concerned by this little film from Ellen MacArthur.

It seems to focus quite heavily on cars, and one of the collaborators is Renault.

It also talks a lot about electricity, and another one of the corporate names shown is National Grid.

And then it also talks a lot about waste, and the company that sponsored Ellen’s sail around the world was B&Q, the chain that spawned a thousand home makeovers.

None of these companies appear to want to follow the sustainability principles spelled out in the movie.

Is it just a little bit too high-brow to be talking of “closing the loop”, when most people in the world are simply concerned with finding their next meal or coasting towards their next pay cheque ?

Who is this video designed for ? What’s the intended audience and how are they being asked to respond to it ?

Tell me I’m wrong to be ever-so-slightly sceptical.

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Big Oil’s Tea Party

https://www.desmogblog.com/astro-turf-wars-uncovered-new-undercover-documentary

If you, dear Reader, are a Republican American, and you are demographically “middle class”, and you support the Tea Party movement, you are likely to have been seriously deceived – by Big Energy. Or Big Mining.

Who are these “Big Diggers”, propagandising the naive, well-intentioned, right-wing citizens of the United States of America, so they don’t realise they’re thinking somebody else’s thoughts, shouting somebody else’s slogans, riding somebody else’s train ?

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Go Beyond Oil

https://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5gt9FazoUMIDxODUKwX2TF5LxndsQ

“Protesters condemn ‘dirty oil’ at World Energy Congress : (AFP) : 14 September 2010 : MONTREAL — Hundreds of protesters demonstrated in the streets of Montreal Sunday, calling for an end to “dirty, risky” oil exploration, ahead of a global gathering of energy experts. A dozen protesters covered in molasses staged a “Black Tide Beach Party,” while dozens of others carried banners that read “Too dirty, too risky, go beyond oil.” A blond baby boy smeared in brown sticky molasses wailed in his activist father’s arms, while protesters used megaphones to slam the provincial Quebec government of Jean Charest for inviting oil companies to the five-day World Energy Congress at the sprawling Palais de Congres. Some 5,000 participants from industry, government and academia, were expected to attend the conference, slated to officially open Sunday evening. The event is expected to tackle global energy issues, such as improving access to energy in the world’s poorer regions and the role of new technologies in ensuring a sustainable energy future. Many protesters directed their anger at BP over a devastating oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico earlier this year. But Julien Vincent, a campaigner for Greenpeace International, said BP was only part of the problem. “British Petroleum is one part of a big industry that’s got an abysmal safety record and an abysmal record in terms of its obligations toward protecting communities,” he told AFP. “You also have oil from Shell dripping out over Nigeria right now. You have oil spills that have taken place in China that have flooded ports,” he added. “The entire industry needs to be told to sit back and listen up.” …”

https://www.wecmontreal2010.ca/en.html

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Gunk Zero

What happened to all that deepwater crude gusher oil, so visible from space, spreading like a magical sheen on the surface of the waters in the Gulf of Mexico ?

It’s now lying as a 5cm layer of gunk on the sea floor, that’s what. That’s where you’ll find Ground Zero for BP’s careless “blame the cement” spill mess-tastrophe :-

https://www.desdemonadespair.net/2010/09/oil-layers-two-inches-thick-coat-gulf.html

If ever there were an advertisement for the campaigns to end the age of fossil fuels, this, I think, is it.

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Liberate Tate : Pouring Oil on Troubled Relationships

https://www.youandifilms.com/2010/09/crude-2010-oil-painting-protest-over-bp-sponsorship-in-tate-modern-turbine-hall-liberate-tate-calls-for-footprint-of-art-museum-to-be-free-from-big-oil/

https://twitter.com/liberatetate

https://docs.google.com/leaf?id=0B2JesScn-l6lM2E2OTU2MGEtZmEzYy00NDZmLWE0YWMtYzY4Zjg5YmUxZTVi&sort=name&layout=list&num=50&pli=1

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Climate Weak

An e-mail trail with a certain amount of political content…


from: Kate Shepherd
date: Tue, Aug 10, 2010
subject: Climate Week

Hello Jo

It was lovely to speak with you today about Climate Week and I’d be grateful if you could pass on the information to the rest of your team.

Climate Week, 21st – 27th March 2011, is a new national occasion on climate change, backed by the Prime Minister, Al Gore and Kofi Annan. During Climate Week, thousands of events will be run by organisations from every part of society to highlight the positive steps being taken to help prevent climate change.

I have attached a document for further information, the document includes a list of supporters of Climate Week, which range from every part of society: from the Chief Fire Officers Association to the Women’s Institute, the Girl Guiding UK to several Regional Development Agencies.

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Peak Everything

From a conversation with the Claverton Energy Research Group over the leak of a German military study into Peak Oil :-

https://www.spiegel.de/international/germany/0,1518,715138,00.html

“09/01/2010 : ‘Peak Oil’ and the German Government : Military Study Warns of a Potentially Drastic Oil Crisis : By Stefan Schultz…”


Hi Clavertonians,

My view on Peak Oil is that it is the tip of the iceberg – and I know that’s a totally inappropriate metaphor.

The art of petrogeology dictates that right on the heels of Peak Oil is Peak Natural Gas, and there is strong evidence for Peak Coal. In the US for example, I understand there is very little good hard anthracite left.

My position is that – since the “conventional” Fossil Fuels are depleting, there are strong moves towards the “unconventionals”, the shale gas, the deepwater oil, the smoky “half peat”, the Lake Baikal hydrates, the frozen subsea wastes of the Arctic [don’t forget the Tar Sands !] and so on. People argue for “stop-gap” energy resources, but they carry with them huge risks not only to the Climate, but also the the Economy with the step-change in EROI/EROEI [Energy Return on Energy Invested – that is – how much energy do you need as input to get energy as output] and the “clean-up” costs.

My take on this is that pretending that Peak Conventionals doesn’t exist leaves a veil in front of most peoples’ minds – they believe in the Power of Technology to supply all their Fossil Fuel needs, now and into the future – it’s just that the actual location and form and dirtiness of these new resources will be different than in the past.

And here’s the rub – we need to encourage people to think about the “alternatives”, or rather, the “solutions”.

The only way forward is Renewable, Sustainable Energy resources, because of Peak Oil, Peak Natural Gas and so on, and if people do not learn about that, they will not understand the privation for most people that will surely come with Peak Conventionals.

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Spill, Baby, Spill

It’s OK to spill.

That’s the message handed to Royal Dutch Shell in the form of their fine for spilling oil in the Niger Delta – only 10% of their spillage will be counted :-

https://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2010/aug/22/shell-niger-delta-un-investigation

Environmental fines don’t work – because the oil and gas and coal companies have well-paid and persistent lawyers :-

https://www.dallasnews.com/sharedcontent/dws/bus/industries/energy/stories/DN-valdez_26bus.ART.State.Edition2.4e176ea.html

Money can’t buy you a clean environment. Take note.

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Rethink Fossil Fuels

We all love the inputs, but what about the outputs ?

Fossil Fuels have been providing an easy life and easy pickings for the citizens and enterprises of the industrialised world for some time.

People love their jet-fuelled lives. One man will move one kilometre from his home to a restaurant in two and a half metric tonnes of steel and glass believing he is admired for his larger-than-car-sized car. He will wear sunshades, and oil-slicked hair (if he has any) and sport a tan from his recent holiday over the ocean. A life of glory and feeling good about himself.

But what about the emissions ? What, indeed, about the environmental devastation at the places the Fossil Fuels (and metal and glass) were mined and refined and manufactured ?

What do we leave behind ?

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Come On Over For Lunch

Shock ! Horror ! Major Climate Change Scientist spotted at Climate Camp…ah, but which one… ? How to distinguish one dressed-down, unwashed individual with dishevelled locks from any another ?

Any sign of Climate Change sceptic-denier Andrew Montford, as affectionately known as “Bishop Hill” ? Can’t make him out, but he might have responded to the banner appeal to “Come On Over for Lunch”. You never know. That might be him chopping potatoes, right in the thick of it.

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Climate Change Denial, Everywhere

Here follows an extract of a conversation I have had with members of the Claverton Energy Research Forum, which I have cut-and-paste into a more easy-to-read fashion below the fold :-

https://groups.google.co.uk/group/energy-discussion-group/browse_thread/thread/68f666ff4f69599b/59dfb3351bb432ec?q=abbess&lnk=ol&

https://groups.google.co.uk/group/energy-discussion-group/browse_thread/thread/68f666ff4f69599b/bfec36913d002b91?lnk=gst&q=abbess#bfec36913d002b91

As you can see, there are Climate Change sceptic-deniers everywhere, even in the most knowledgeable and respectable circles.

Countering Climate Change denial from so-called “sceptics” takes a lot of time and energy, and is a bump-in-the-road nuisance/irritation distraction from the main priority for human civilisation, which is how to stop being addicted to Fossil Fuels.

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This Is Not A Riot

[ UPDATE FROM JOABBESS.COM : ROYAL BANK OF SCOTLAND, EDINBURGH, CLIMATE CAMP SITE HAS BEEN TAKEN. ELECTRONIC COMMUNICATION FROM process@climatecamp.org.uk, Wed, Aug 18, 2010 at 9:59 PM : “Site taken! People needed NOW! At 9.15PM tonight Climate Camp took the site on RBS HQ. Get on site as fast as you can! Defence help urgently needed. Come to RBS Gogarburn Gardens, off Gogar Station Rd. More info later. x” ]

Al Gore has been telling all the young people, and well, all of us, really, to protest, in public, to make a downright law-unabiding nuisance of ourselves :-

https://thehill.com/blogs/e2-wire/677-e2-wire/114717-al-gore-calls-for-us-protests-on-climate-change-inaction

“Gore calls for major protests on government’s climate change inaction…In a post on his personal blog headlined “The Movement We Need”…”

Well, it won’t work to call people out onto the street. Most people are too busy credit-crunching, wage-slaving or favour-scraping to be able to commit to a short-term, potentially self-defeating public display of annoyance, frustration and shrill demands.

And if people do come out to the big protests, it won’t achieve much. News reports can be swept into the trash. Activists can be swept into holding facilities. Politicians can conveniently ignore anything that isn’t violent.

Drop the loud-hailers and home-made placards, I say, and do something more…focussed.

The Climate Camp want to target the Royal Bank of Scotland for financing Coal power plants and Tar Sands oil projects, which are very bad things to be doing, and smacks of huge corporate irresponsibility, considering the bank is largely owned by the British taxpayer, and I say, if you can’t make the camp (and I can’t for reasons which I shall not go into just now), do something about money in other ways instead.

What’s your money doing ? Which oppressive regimes in oil-rich countries is it supporting ? Which Fossil Fuel companies trashing your Environment do your bank support ? Why not switch your money to an ethical financial organisation ? Why don’t we all try to do this at the same time ? “Crowd-banking” could have an impact, you never know until you try.

Let’s pick, say, Monday 23rd August 2010. And let’s all spend our way out of Climageddon together on that day. Transfer your money to an ethical bank, or pledge to do so. Phone your bank and tell them you’re leaving for a sustainable bank.

Other actions possibly useful :-

1. Refuse to buy Fossil Fuels for a day.

2. Refuse to use any hot water for one day (most hot water is produced by burning Fossil Fuels). It’s summer in the Northern Hemisphere – come on – a cool shower won’t hurt you.

3. Don’t spend any money on anything that had Petroleum-based plastic or Natural Gas-based chemicals in its production – which would rule out 85% of non-food purchases, I reckon.

4. If you’re working for a company or an organisation who have anything to do with the Energy industry, make a point of asking your boss, or their boss, or the Chief Executive or something what the company/organisation intends to do about moving the whole business to Renewable Energy.

5. One short telephone call could have you moving from burning Coal for your home electricity to a Green Energy account.

This is not a riot – but it is an emergency, and the response should match the scale of the problem.

Our Climate – Not for Sale.

Bloody Oil from Felix Gonzales on Vimeo.

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Judith Curry : Carbon Lockdown

Dr Judith Curry insists, quite correctly, that we should take uncertainties into account when deciding Climate Change policy.

Yet I think our respective positions probably strongly differ on which way we weight the uncertainties.

I strongly favour the Precautionary Principle, implemented Early, making it the “Early Precautionary Principle”.

One of the reasons I come down on this end of the spectrum of possible responses to uncertainties is that there are quite a spectrum of unknowns that form the pillars of those uncertainties.

After all, if we don’t know a term in an equation, how can we possibly calculate anything meaningful with any kind of confidence ?

How can anybody feel safe and secure not knowing for certain what the actual equilibrium Climate Sensitivity amounts to ? The response of the Earth’s Climate system to extra airborne Carbon Dioxide-forced temperature rise is a number that is becoming firmer, but there are error bars. Surely this points to conservatism in emissions ?

Moreover, we could be well advised to cut back on Fossil Fuel burning not just to protect the Climate, but to save the Economy. How can we pursue our normal everyday Carbon-emitting lives not knowing how much Fossil Fuel there is left in the ground that can be inexpensively mined ?

How can we know the order of magnitude of Fossil Fuels left to extract ? And how can we know what kind of impact this will have on the Climate ?

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Oil Salesmen

Advertising imitating Life…but just which photograph is the fashion shoot ?

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Natural Gaza (3)

Video Credit : PressTV : January 2009

Timeline in the last week :-

1. Something happens to provoke some persons as yet unidentified in Gaza.
2. Some persons as yet unidentified may or may not have fired a Grad missile from the Gaza Strip towards the Israeli town of Sderot.
3. The Israeli Defense Force act “in retaliation” and bomb three locations in Gaza, killing at least one person and wounding eight.
4. Some persons as yet unidentified may or may not have fired a Qassam rocket from the Gaza Strip towards Ashkelon.

You may be forgiven for thinking this is all about simple tactical weaponry exchange, embedded cultural or religious hatred, or revenge attacks.

But you’d be wrong.

This escalation in violence is merely part of what looks very strongly like an ongoing strategy to keep Gaza from economic development, by preventing them from exploiting their largest natural resource – offshore sub-marine Natural Gas.

I am going to give you my first attempt at some history on this matter. I make any and every apology if I have got something wrong. Please correct me by comments below the post.

I have not even started to attempt to address the hypocrisy of the United Kingdom and the United States of America effectively giving weapons to Israel via a system of direct and indirect aid. All that is brilliantly covered by Robert Fisk, so I don’t need to :-

https://www.independent.co.uk/opinion/commentators/fisk/robert-fisk-israel-has-crept-into-the-eu-without-anyone-noticing-2040066.html

Gaza is being locked down under a “resource curse” – the Gazans are being forcefully detained in an open air concentration camp with scant resources, when all the time, just off-shore are enough hydrocarbons to make them all very wealthy. Many Gazans are succumbing to starvation of the body and mind, and many are unwell and have to endure appalling deprivation.

I should expect that the “final solution”, whatever that will be, will be announced by Israel in the next few years, unless the international community wakes up to the obvious risks that Gaza faces, and does something decisive about it.

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They Shall Beat Their Destroyers Into Marine Turbines

OK, so it’s a ham paraphrase on a Biblical quotation, but as the world loses its appetite for big military assault (particularly for no discernible just reason), we could see more weapons manufacturers turn their metal-working skills over to the production of Renewable Energy :-

https://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2010/jul/25/bae-green-energy-project

“BAE to assist green energy project : Britain’s biggest arms manufacturer will contribute its marine engineering expertise to a wave-power project off Orkney : Terry Macalister, guardian.co.uk, Sunday 25 July 2010”

Isaiah 2:4 (New International Version) : “He will judge between the nations and will settle disputes for many peoples. They will beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation will not take up sword against nation, nor will they train for war anymore.”

The great energy revival could contribute to world peace, after the fading of a Century of competition and conflict over Fossil Fuel resources.

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BP Tony Hayward’s Marching Orders

Did he jump, or was he swamped ?

And is he really leaving, or is he being hounded out by propaganda ?

The reports of his demise may be premature, but the clock is probably ticking on his tenure anyway.

You know as soon as the board of a company, or a central government expresses “full support” for an executive or a minister, their job is at risk.

At least BP didn’t have to invent a scandal about his private life to get shot of him, like the (I think, despicable) way they ousted John Browne, the “sun king”.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-10753573

“25 July 2010 : BP chief Tony Hayward ‘negotiating exit deal’ : Mr Hayward has been with the company for 28 years BP’s chief executive Tony Hayward has been negotiating the terms of his exit, with a formal announcement likely within 24 hours, the BBC has learned. Mr Hayward has been widely criticised over the Gulf of Mexico oil spill. An official statement issued by BP in response said he had the “full support of the board and senior management”. BBC business editor Robert Peston says Mr Hayward is likely to be replaced by his American colleague, Bob Dudley, who is in charge of the clean-up operation…”

Is Bob Dudley a fan of solar and wind power ? Only asking…

And will a change of figurehead on the prow stop the BP vessel sinking ?

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The Worst Is Yet To Come

The Transnational Institute are carrying a story warning of further oil industry nightmare scenarios :-

https://www.tni.org/article/bp-style-extreme-energy-nightmares-come-four-scenarios-next-energy-mega-disaster

“BP-Style Extreme Energy Nightmares to Come: Four Scenarios for the Next Energy Mega-Disaster…Michael Klare : The Huffington Post : July 2010 : The BP Gulf oil spill is not an anomaly but the result of industry-wide recklessness, as companies employ more and more risky methods to reach inaccessible reserves as the conventional ones run dry. On June 15th, in their testimony before the House Energy and Commerce Committee, the chief executives of America’s leading oil companies argued that BP’s Deepwater Horizon disaster in the Gulf of Mexico was an aberration – something that would not have occurred with proper corporate oversight and will not happen again once proper safeguards are put in place. This is fallacious, if not an outright lie. The Deep Horizon explosion was the inevitable result of a relentless effort to extract oil from ever deeper and more hazardous locations. In fact, as long as the industry continues its relentless, reckless pursuit of “extreme energy” – oil, natural gas, coal, and uranium obtained from geologically, environmentally, and politically unsafe areas – more such calamities are destined to occur…Until then, prepare yourselves. The disaster in the Gulf is no anomaly. It’s an arrow pointing toward future nightmares. [ Michael Klare is a professor of Peace and World Security Studies at Hampshire University, a renowned analyst on oil politics and US defence policy and was TNI’s first Phd graduate when TNI used to run an academic programme through a virtual US university. ]”

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Unpicking Kyoto (3)

Unpicking Kyoto
Jo Abbess
20 June 2010

CONTINUED FROM PART 1 AND PART 2

PART 3

Linking Climate Change to Trade

America and China are both “Carbon Intensity” first-movers – competing to make commitments that their economic production has falling associated Carbon Dioxide Emissions. The United States, China and Canada all continue to claim that their commitments on Climate Change amount to reductions in “carbon intensity”, rather than actual reductions in levels of emissions. This is a piece of policy propaganda, as proposed by linguistic strategists. A reduced carbon intensity of production would still allow countries to follow a path of economic growth, and increase carbon emissions overall. What is clear is that lower carbon intensities is not enough.

Behavioural economists, who look at both individual behaviour and collective social responses, have concluded a number of useful facts about humankind and its uses of resources. A good summary of what we know is provided by John Gowdy, writing in the Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization 68 in 2008, “Behavioral economics and climate change policy” :-

https://www.sciencedirect.com

Some of his policy “clues” point the way.

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Threatening Correspondence ?

I thought I’d seen enough Climate Change denial-sceptic tactics to be able to spot a payload, but no. I’ve just been sucked into the maelstrom again, by taking the time and trouble to reply to somebody that wrote a couple of e-mails – someone who appeared to be asking genuine questions – only to find that as the exchanges continued, my correspondent became increasingly agitated, incoherent and threatening.

Was it something I said ? I don’t think so. I was trying to be as helpful and polite as possible. I think the person had an agenda. So, not evil, but wrong, and sad, and quite possibly a little brainwashed.

Fortunately, we are separated by a large expanse of salt water, and differing legal systems, so I don’t regard the threats as holding any substance. And anyway, I’ve done nothing wrong, just tried to paraphrase and summarise where we are with the Science.

I checked out Ms Catherine French, using that fine search engine that is Google, and discovered her pattern of attack – rather like that of a mosquito – whining, buzzing, irritating and painful.

A lot of the things she wrote to me she has written to other people in the past, just adding the latest Climate Change denier-sceptic arguments in as they get invented/fabricated.

Baiting Climate Change web loggers is fine sport for some, but I can’t see the funny side of it. It wastes time and personal energy and it doesn’t move the public discourse forward.

Just remember this, Catherine French – you’re wrong. Wrong about the science and wrong about your tactics. Personal abuse, emotive language, false accusations and threats are not the way to conduct rational debate.

Climate Change “scepticism” is being washed away, and so you’d better be prepared to have your vision and perspective altered. You can have all the opinions you want, but you’re not entitled to contradict the facts. You are not believable, and your position is losing ground by the second.

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Divide & Rule Peace not War Political Nightmare Protest & Survive Resource Curse

Natural Gaza (2)

What’s wrong with this picture ?

Yes, that’s right. There’s no mention of the Gaza Strip or the West Bank.

Besides blurring the land boundaries, it seems that Israel is also blurring the maritime and sub-sea borders into the bargain.