Irony alert ? “Typhoons ? They happen all the time. It’s just a little local storm. Nothing to worry about. Happens every season or so. The locals know how to read the warning signs, and head to high ground or build their huts on stilts. Power lines down ? Oh, they’ll be strung back up in no time. And the rice paddies will benefit from all that extra rain.”
Even only semi-regular perusers of this little web log will be astonished, galled and maybe even venomously upset to discover that for once, and probably only the once going on past evidence, I actually agree with Christopher Booker :-
“The Clean Development Mechanism delivers the greatest green scam of all : Even the UN and the EU are wising up to the greenhouse gas scam, “the biggest environmental scandal in history”, says Christopher Booker. : By Christopher Booker : Published: 28 Aug 2010 : …The way the racket works is that Chinese and Indian firms are permitted to carry on producing a refrigerant gas known as HCF-22 until 2030. But a by-product of this process is HCF-23, which is supposed to be 11,700 times more potent as a greenhouse gas than CO2. By destroying the HCF-23, the firms can claim Certified Emission Reduction credits worth billions of dollars when sold to the West (while much of the useful HCF-22 is sold onto the international black market). Last year, destruction of CFCs accounted for more than half the CDM credits issued, in a market that will eventually, it is estimated, be worth $17 billion. Of the 1,390 CDM projects so far approved, less than 1 per cent accounts for 36 per cent of the total value. Even greenies have become so outraged by this ridiculous racket that the Environmental Investigation Agency has described it as the “biggest environment scandal in history”…”
I would commend Mr Booker to get his chemical acronyms sorted out, by substituting “HCF” with “HFC”, or “HCFC”, but apart from that, which was fairly easy to unpick, it is quite an honourable description of the problem.
None of the money-based “flexible mechanisms” sewn into the Kyoto Protocol appear to be working, and that’s because they are (a) money-based and (b) not economy-wide.
People won’t be moved. There’s no use hoping for an outpouring of charitable giving and energetic aid organisation – the world is suffering too many ongoing parallel disasters to be able to scramble effectively for this – the biggest ever (probably).
A similar situation exists with Climate Change policy, or rather the incredible inertia against taking the obvious first steps towards meaningful Carbon Dioxide emissions reductions.
People are too busy with their Facebook, their Twitter, their own personal financial nemeses (is that the plural of “nemesis”, really ?) to be able to form a coherent “movement”, as Bill McKibben, Al Gore and others wish us to mobilise into :-
Of course, Pat Michaels is “right-wing”, but that’s not what I meant.
Some folk will be surprised that I agree with anything that Patrick Michaels says, as he is consistently inaccurate about the Science of Global Warming.
However, he is right that a Carbon Tax is the wrong way to proceed.
Carbon pricing, whether by direct taxation or by a trading scheme, effectively creates a double disincentive for change.
We have a large number of companies and organisations that are highly dependent on the use of Fossil Fuels. Carbon pricing will make these companies and organisations less financially efficient, and they will try anything they can to pass on the costs of Carbon to their consumers and clients, in order to remain profitable.
Carbon Taxation will therefore stimulate cost offsetting, but not Carbon reductions.
Moreover, if companies that make and sell energy are forced to pay for Carbon, they will have less funds available to deCarbonise their businesses; less capital to invest in new lower Carbon technologies.
Carbon Pricing will not alter the patterns of emissions significantly, if at all.
We have to face facts : the economists are largely wrong about environmental taxation. Record fines and levies demanded of Fossil Fuel companies in the last ten years have not stopped the spills, the leaks, the poisonings of waterways; nor have they helped the companies change course and start to develop Renewable Energies.
The pricing of large scale environmental pollution is a failed disincentive.
The BBC puts the blame on Climate Change – almost – in a report on the Russian heatwave-wildfire disaster.
But they just can’t bring themselves to admit it as an organisation – and put the claims into the mouths of others – using quotation marks in the headline (‘partly to blame’) and ascribing the opinion to “researchers”, the “UK Met Office” and “experts” :-
“10 August 2010 : Climate change ‘partly to blame’ for sweltering Moscow : By Katia Moskvitch : Science reporter, BBC News : Global climate change is partly to blame for the abnormally hot and dry weather in Moscow, cloaked in a haze of smoke from wildfires, say researchers. The UK Met Office said there are likely to be more extreme high temperatures in the future. Experts from the environmental group WWF Russia have also linked climate change and hot weather to raging wildfires around the Russian capital. Meteorologists say severe conditions may linger for several more days…”
Well, I’ve got a bit of a question to pose – it might not be possible to ascribe the current weather conditions in Russia (and Pakistan and China and and and…) to Climate Change, statistically. I mean no one weather event can be said to have been caused 100% by Climate Change. But would these extreme weather events have happened without Climate Change ?
That is by far the most important question to ask, and Michael Tobis does just that :-
“…Are the current events in Russia “because of” “global warming”? To put the question in slightly more formal terms, are we now looking at something that is no longer a “loading the dice” situation but is a “this would, practically certainly, not have happened without human interference” situation? Can we phrase it more formally? “Is the average time between persistent anomalies on this scale anywhere on earth in the undisturbed holocene climate much greater than a human lifetime?” In other words, is this so weird we would NEVER expect to see it at all?…”
Q. (from Christian Hunt, a plant in the audience from Greenpeace)
– You say it’s just the journalists who are the sceptics. What happens if another Government comes in and scepticism gets political footholds ? [ reference to Conservative Party Climate Change sceptics ]
A. (Phil Thornhill, Campaign against Climate Change)
– People shy away from the problem if they can’t find solutions. We propose a million Climate jobs – there are lots of ways of dealing with the crisis. That’s the kind of thing we should be emphasising.
Q. Andrew Neill interviewed Caroline Lucas and asked her about the Phil Jones interview with the BBC where he said there had been no “statistically significant” warming in the last 15 years. Has there been no statistically significant warming or not ? Why wouldn’t Caroline Lucas, head of the Green Party, say “you’re wrong” ?
– I wrote her a rather long e-mail. You can’t really debate Science in the popular Media. Most people don’t understand.
– The tip for answering this kind of question is – in 15 years, it’s hard to spot a trend against the background noise. It’s a difficult thing to explain.
– It’ a clear case of how once you start debating the Science it gets twisted. She should have said “this is a typical case of the misrepresentation of Science”.
I really love China. It’s a country with noble ambitions, to protect and prosper its people, and to advance its economic development through trade across the world.
The rest of the world love China, too. They have outsourced all their manufacture, and other services such as recycling, to the powerhouse that is China, where the labour is cheap and the people work willingly.
When it comes to “Foreign Policy”, commentators often fall back on a very simple device : describing a whole country as if it had the intentions and desires of a single person. This is called anthropomorphisation, or anthropomorphization if you read North American or publishing books. OK, to stop the language dispute, let’s call it “anthropomorphism”.
“Free Thinking – David Miliband : Last broadcast on Tuesday 3rd November 2009, 21:15 on BBC Radio 3. In an interview given in front of an audience at The Sage Gateshead as part of the 2009 Free Thinking festival, Foreign Secretary David Miliband talks to Philip Dodd about his family background, his life in politics and his vision for democracy – both home and abroad. A rising star in the Blair government, Miliband has become a government heavyweight under Gordon Brown. He is among the youngest foreign secretaries in history.”
Somewhere during the interview David Miliband utters what I consider to be a myth. He said something along the lines of “…China…building four coal-fired power plants a month…or a week.”
Is there any truth in this ? And how could we verify it ? And why does pointing at China let American and European Coal expansion off the hook ?
I watched the film “A Crude Awakening” for the third time this week with the good people of Transition Waltham Forest.
Several people in the room were strongly affected by the footage of the deserted oil fields of Texas, Baku and Venezuela.
In the discussion after the film I challenged the Green Party activist in the room (hopefully without hurting anyone’s feelings), asking where Energy is in the list of electoral campaign policy priorities. I said I don’t hear strong concern from any political party. It’s a subject that’s just not there.
[ UPDATE : Some of you have mentioned that you thought this piece was rather biting. So I put it under Bryony’s nose and offered to change anything that she felt was inaccurate, personally distressing, or that she disagreed with or objected to on professional grounds. Changes are bolded. ]
At the The Guardian Climate Change Summit in London’s Russell Square’s Hotel Russell on Monday 15th June 2009, there was a large banner marked out with the name of the key sponsor of the event, E.On, but nobody at the large table underneath it to schmooze the attendees.
Perhaps they thought that the info pack in bright friendly red, orange and yellow colours would suffice in terms of communications. Perhaps they thought that they had enough of a hold on the event’s messaging by having their Chief Executive Officer Paul Golby speaking at one of the morning sessions.
Lord Ron Oxburgh, formerly non-executive director of Royal Dutch Shell, now honorary president of the Carbon Capture and Storage Association, today labelled the clean coal technology as an “Elastoplast” – a temporary, transient technology to use in the Energy system until Energy has all been de-Carbonised.
Speaking at the Tenalps Energy and Environment 2009 Conference in Westminster, he derided the 20th Century as profligate in the use of cheap Carbon Energy, oil, coal and natural gas. He said that in the field of Energy, optimisation has been to anything other than fuel use – in other words – the relative cost has always been the driving factor.