BBC BLOGS - Richard Black's Earth Watch
« Previous | Main | Next »

Can climate spending save money?

Richard Black | 17:19 UK time, Thursday, 10 September 2009

How much are you prepared to pay to combat climate change?

It's a question that's being asked in government offices from Berlin to Brasilia - and nowhere more so, this week, than in Europe.

The European Commission reckons that the EU should contribute between $2bn and $15bn per year to poorer countries from 2020 onwards, to help them adapt to impacts of climate change.

Nicolas_SarkozyFrench President Nicolas Sarkozy, meanwhile, is preparing to spend some valuable political capital introducing a carbon tax for domestic consumers and some businesses.

But there's a surprise awaiting across the big Atlantic pond, where a rather different question is being asked: how much of a financial benefit will accrue from combating climate change?

Since the Waxman-Markey bill - capping emissions of industry, establishing a carbon trading scheme - came into existence, all sorts of institutions have sounded warnings about the economic calamities it might bring.

Now, though, the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) calculates that Waxman-Markey could create more than half a million new jobs and save the average household nearly $300 per year - a boon to individuals, families and the nation itself.

You might contend, of course, that this is exactly the sort of conclusion you would expect from an organisation that supports energy-efficiency legislation.

You might also contend that warnings of economic doom are exactly what you'd expect from organisations such as the American Petroleum Institute that are none too keen on anything that might upset the current status quo of high fossil fuel use.

So who is right and who is wrong?

Often, these calculations depend on which factors you include and which you leave out, and what guesses you make about the numbers that you can't know.

The whole adaptation debate is a good example. In the immediate term, it'll cost, of course, for Europe and the US and Australia and Japan and so on to assist in the climate protection of poorer nations.

But the calculation is that in the end, it'll be money well spent if it results in fewer refugees, more cheap food to import, healthier markets overseas, and so on.

Sorry if that sounds cynical - but when you hear western politicians refer to climate change as a "security issue", you know whose security they're concerned about.

Putting exact financial costs on all that, though, is... well "difficult" would be an understatement.

Heat_image_of_Buckingham_PalaceThe argument that President Sarkozy's is making is that a carbon tax is a better option for curbing emissions than a national carbon trading scheme.

Opinions on that one are divided. Some economic experts (of whom I am emphatically not one) maintain the market is always a better mechanism because it's intrinsically more efficient than taxation.

But Norway and Sweden have made carbon taxes work for them, and both governments believe their emissions would be significantly higher now if they hadn't brought the taxes in during the last decade.

The current recession provides a nice example of the arguments.

It has brought the carbon price tumbling down, removing the financial incentive for businesses to invest in low-carbon technologies and practices.

A tax, meanwhile, would have chuntered along regardless, placing the same premium on every tonne of carbon emitted whatever the state of the economy - and so, presumably, constraining emissions.

Some would see that as a failing, others as a desirable outcome; you pay your money and make your choice. The UK has chosen domestic trading for small businesses; across the channel, Mr Sarkozy has chosen the other option.

Politically, Mr Sarkozy is betting that a reduction in income tax concomitant with the increased take from fuel, plus support for poorer families and rural communities, will eventually prove a more popular equation with voters than opinion polls on the issue would presently suggest.

If France's tax proves more effective than the UK's domestic trading scheme, and the ACEEE analysis of the US situation transfers to Europe, then French consumers stand to benefit by comparison with their British counterparts; the tax will eventually make them richer.

Stock_marketMeanwhile the Optimum Population Trust (OPT) has thrown another intriguing angle into the mix this week, issuing a report concluding that clean technology and carbon-penalising market mechanisms are both relatively inefficient.

Western governments could combat climate change five times more cost-effectively if they invested their money in programmes that lowered the birth rate in developing countries, the organisation concludes.

A controversial suggestion, for sure, and one that I am certain will find no place in the various financial mechanisms established by the new UN climate treaty, if and when such a beast emerges.

But being controversial doesn't necessarily mean the OPT is wrong. I'll turn once again to the words of long-time activist Jonathan Porritt in my recent radio documentary on the state of our shared environment.

He related the case made by a Chinese government official who recently visited his Forum for the Future offices.

Describing China's one child per family policy as having led to "400 million births averted", and calculating the volume of greenhouse gases those extra human inhabitants would have produced, she said that no other country had done as much to curb climate change.

The logic, said Mr Porritt, was inescapable, adding the rider: "You don't have to accept the China route to that logic.

"You can look to all kinds of alternative ways of reducing human numbers which aren't done as coercively as the one child per family policy was done in the past."

There are, of course, many factors whose monetary value we struggle to calculate, and others that are intractable to being turned into financial form.

Again, to some people's minds, that's a good thing - aspects of our lives and our world transcend mere money, they would say.

Nevertheless, economists are bound to try, whether they ply their trade in government, think-tank or campaigning organisation.

But which analysis you end up supporting is, perhaps, as informed by gut instinct and political persuasion as by the quality of the economic arguments.

How much are you prepared to pay? How much do you stand to benefit?


or register to comment.

  • 1. At 9:04pm on 10 Sep 2009, CComment wrote:

    Both Britain and France could go back to the Stone Age tomorrow, cutting their CO2 emissions to nearly zero - and it would make hardly any difference to the world situation at all. Unless and until coherent world-wide strategies are in place, measures we take are a combination of well-meaning futility and cynical tax raising by politicians. Caledonian Comment

    Complain about this comment

  • 2. At 10:36pm on 10 Sep 2009, John_from_Hendon wrote:

    Can climate spending save money?

    There have been a number of very expensive and misdirected initiatives that have manage to get promoted in the name of tackling climate change, for example the very expensive and complete ineffective carbon trading scheme that turned into a considerably profitable scheme fro existing carbon emitters and the badly directed bio-fuels initiative that was ,and is, so fundamentally flawed to make it almost laughable. (Only a tiny proportion of a tanker-full of fuel had to come from biological sources to make the who ship load a bio-fuel and all get the subsidy - what a racket!.)

    The problem with this class of initiatives is that they are directed to big-business and big businesses are expert in subsidy farming - and this should have been understood by the originators of the schemes. I mean setting up carbon trading by giving away trade-able credit to existing emitters is fine but to let them tell the government how much they emitted was worse than naïve, it was plain daft.

    The problem is that governments like dealing with the big organisation and hate dealing with individuals. Bigness is somehow equated with honesty and vice versa - when in truth the opposite is often true.

    The inescapable truth is that price works. If we need to stop ourselves destroying the planet it is a good idea to make it very expensive to do so.

    My concern is however deeper and scientific. Climate is an unstable system there have been hotter times and colder times. We have no even vaguely accurate long or medium term model of the planet's climate. Thus I tend to think that rather than trying to go overboard in limiting our destructiveness of the planet we need to plan to live with the effects of climate change such as higher sea levels and the changes to deserts and swamps on food production. There is no definitively model that says by cutting our emission to X we will achieve a desirable climate.

    There are areas where stepping back from our wanton destructiveness is a desired thing in itself whether or not it benefits climate change. Planting more trees than we cut down and stopping as much air travel as we can seem good starting points.

    The first because trees, woodland and forests provide not only a suitable home for plants and animals but also, when sustainably harvested, an excellent building material in a less destructive and more energy efficient way than concrete and steel - stone is good too but creating more rock is rather a longer term business!

    Secondly air travel is generally pointless as all we do is be ourselves elsewhere to no real advantage except to expose our skin to radiation that we are not suited to and hence generate more melanomas (ps ban all sun beds!) and generally destroy the places and the local culture of the places visit. The sky is polluted with vapour trails as was proven by the evidence of grounding of all US commercial flights after 9/11 - the sky was so much brighter and less cloudy.

    Both of these 'ideas' require less spending so my guess is that the idea that more spending can cut climate change comes from a banker who is trying to find someone to take on loans (that they cannot repay)! My answer to the question is no.

    Complain about this comment

  • 3. At 10:44pm on 10 Sep 2009, sensiblegrannie wrote:

    How much research has the government done to find out the opinions of the general population? The government may dismiss the opinions of the poor but I think they would find a surprising amount of common sense coming from their less fortunate citizens. If you want to sell the idea you will have to do the research on a grand scale. It looks as if the French president is looking after the needs of the less fortunate so we could too. I consider myself to among the poor as I cannot drive and could not afford a car and am excluded from a lot of activities that some of you take for granted. Being poor does not mean being daft, it just means that I have less options. Convince me that you have fair and just solutions to enable me to do my personal bit to reduce my family's carbon footprint and that I could be of some use in the wider scheme of things. if you can convince me you will convince others.

    Complain about this comment

  • 4. At 11:32pm on 10 Sep 2009, Jack Hughes wrote:

    Hi Gran !

    It comes back to the worldview thing.

    My own worldview is that ordinary people are capable of running their own lives without an army of experts and bureaucrats bossing them around.

    Complain about this comment

  • 5. At 01:22am on 11 Sep 2009, manysummits wrote:

    "How much are you prepared to pay? How much do you stand to benefit?"

    - Richard Black's question

    My answer:

    1) As much as it takes.

    2) Immeasureably, as the future becomes once more a place of challenge and hope.

    Imagine, for a moment. with Freeman Dyson:

    "He reasoned that if human civilization were to survive long enough, there would come a time when it required the total energy output of the sun."

    And so, inspired by Olaf Stapledon's "Star Maker," the "Dyson Sphere."

    It is no sin to dream. It may be an essential part of our being.

    If climate science is correct, we are now 'terraformers', another concept of one of the giants of science fiction, Olaf Stapledon.

    Come On People - lets think both big and small!

    - Manysummits -

    Complain about this comment

  • 6. At 02:38am on 11 Sep 2009, ArthurReader wrote:

    We'll have the population doomsters/neo-Malthusians any moment to tell us all that the real problem is overpopulation, that the Earth is being overused, and on and on.

    But they'll never tell us who they're nominating to be sterilized for the sake of the planet - is it their children? No. Their next-door neighbours? No. It'll be some nasty black and brown people far away who won't stop having children. But they'll never admit that.

    But its not racism in disguise. No. Of course not. They're trying to save the Earth.

    Then we'll have the people claiming that its not the amount of carbon dioxide that's causing the problem with the climate but the PER CAPITA amount of carbon dioxide. So no-one at all will mention that China produces the largest amount of carbon dioxide, because of course they have so many people, so its not their fault.

    No-one will mention that China and India have made it perfectly clear over and over that they will not accept any mandatory caps on their production of carbon dioxide. (Something that Richard Black never mentions) Instead while they grow their economies to get their people out of poverty, the neo-Malthusians will call on the West to impoverish their own people for the sake of the Planet, as if the Planet cared.

    And all of the time, the case that carbon dioxide is causing "dangerous climate change" gets ever weaker. In the past two weeks, new studies have shown that the climate models radically overestimate the effect that carbon dioxide has on the climate, that small changes in the Sun have a large response in the Earth's climate system, that the global mean temperature has continued its fall even as carbon dioxide levels continue to rise, that hundreds more scientists are coming out in decrying the claims of the IPCC (including some expert IPCC Reviewers), that tropical storms globally are at a fifty year low despite the claims of the IPCC that AGW will cause more storminess and an increased number of hurricanes, that projections of Arctic sea-ice for this year were far too low, that global sea-level rise appears to have levelled off.

    None of this will be reported by Richard Black.

    Instead Richard takes his cue to promote the latest Hockey Stick: Kaufman et al 2009. What he won't report is the dissection of that study on Climate Audit, which shows that once again the proxies are of extremely poor quality, the statistical model is worthless, the reconstruction fails to track the actual measured temperatures in the Arctic in the 20th Century, and the curve is meaningless. You can read about that dissection here and here

    So the answer to the question raised by Richard Black is "zero", because the Earth's climate is not on a trajectory to disaster, its doing what it always has done and always will: vary over every timescale. And the best strategy to protect people from climate change is the same one we've been practicing for millions of years: adaptation and the alleviation of poverty through concerted human industry and innovation.

    Complain about this comment

  • 7. At 05:43am on 11 Sep 2009, TJ wrote:

    Well said ArthueReader #6. For me you capture the essences 'almost' perfectly,

    'Almost' because IMO the BBC is moving from crawling to taking toddler steps towards balanced reporting on the subject. I was surprised and encouraged to read this one:

    This is in addition to recent articles referencing that we are likely heading for "a cold spell in the next couple of decades" and that other natural phenomena actually do affect our climate. Maybe sanity will prevail.

    Please keep it up BBC. According to the article above the bulk of your readers appear to be shifting to be encouraging you in your efforts. Maybe we will see you running ahead, as we all hope, as what is still regarded as the worlds most trusted news service.


    Complain about this comment

  • 8. At 06:21am on 11 Sep 2009, TJ wrote:

    On the topic of balanced rational media reporting I thought this was worth pointing out:

    Complain about this comment

  • 9. At 06:37am on 11 Sep 2009, Jack Hughes wrote:

    I love this bit from the BBC article:

    The survey, by Cardiff University, shows there is still some way to go before the public's perception matches that of their elected leaders.

    Let's get this the right way round, please:

    there is some way to go before the leaders' perception matches that of the public

    Complain about this comment

  • 10. At 08:06am on 11 Sep 2009, MangoChutney wrote:

    how much am i willing to pay to save the climate?

    not a penny, or at least not a penny until there is real proof that the climate needs saving

    how much am i willing to pay to save millions from dying every year through lack of clean water and sanitation?

    yeah, i'd spend what ever it takes (and what ever it takes is around $5b - how about the BBC campaign for this money instead of "solving" a problem that we can't even show exists?)

    Complain about this comment

  • 11. At 08:15am on 11 Sep 2009, MangoChutney wrote:

    also, please note the $2-15b stated in this article is what the EU wants to spend.

    Not the world, the EU alone.

    So how much money is going to be spent globally every year to resolve a problem that may not exist? A problem where there is no proof to show a trace gas is able to make this huge change in our atmosphere. No proof to show a gas which consists of less than 0.04% of our atmosphere is capable of causing tsunamis (according to the Guardian lol!

    @timjenvey #8

    you're wasting your time tim, most people won't even click on the link

    Complain about this comment

  • 12. At 08:21am on 11 Sep 2009, simon-swede wrote:

    Good morning Tim ! I have a question about #8.

    The link you give is to a blog. As much as I enjoy some of them, I don't equate blogs with "reporting". To me, reporting is more about informing, while blogging is more about commentary. Do you think some distinction between blog pieces and actual reporting is useful, or do you think that they should be considered two aspects of the same thing?

    Complain about this comment

  • 13. At 08:38am on 11 Sep 2009, TandF1 wrote:

    Yet again you report on the nutters from the "Optimum Population Trust". Overpopulation is not the problem. China does not have enough young people to look after its old people and is facing a "demographic timebomb" as the media like to say. The notion that we have to save the planet for our children by not having any is ludicrous. In anycase the population bomb has already gone off due to better crop yields, better sanitation and improved healthcare since the 2nd world war. But now birthrates are declining in almost every country in the world. We're headed for 9.5 bilion people whatever happens and we have to deal with that.

    Complain about this comment

  • 14. At 08:46am on 11 Sep 2009, sensiblegrannie wrote:

    You trod quite delicately around what I was hinting at, well done. Let us always remember the hidden agenda and steer away from that WW11 'solution'. It is handy to remember that some of the rich(not all of them) will expect massive rewards for their investment in reducing global carbon emissions because they will only see it as an investment opportunity. On the other hand many poor people (not all of them) would love to do their bit to reduce their carbon footprint if only they had more help, and they don't expect to gain profits for thinking and acting ecologically.

    The irony of educating the poor is that we become more aware of our situation. However, this can be offset by studying philosophy, because it is the goal of the true philosopher to live with less, not more and to disassociate with the chains of excessive greed.

    This platform is allowing a more balanced view, in real time, and it is to be commended, well done BBC.

    I would like to hear some views from other groups of people, so that this tree can grow in a balanced way. What do children think?

    Complain about this comment

  • 15. At 09:41am on 11 Sep 2009, simon-swede wrote:

    Tangentially on-topic, sort-of... :-)

    In this week's edition of Science, an article discusses how global-scale challenges are outpacing the development of institutions to deal with them.

    The authors argue that the core of the problem is the need to gain cooperation in situations where individuals and nations will collectively gain if all cooperate, but each faces the temptation to take a free ride on the cooperation of others.

    Their conclusions:

    "The major powers must be willing to enforce agreements, but legitimacy will depend on acceptance by numerous and diverse countries and by nongovernmental actors, such as civil society and business. This seems to be the basis for the greater success of the Montreal Protocol relative to the Kyoto Protocol. Strong backing by a majority for collective action, even though it may restrict individual freedoms, is necessary to institute and uphold an agreement. Formal sanctions are necessary to prevent cheating and are more likely to succeed where the backing is based on transparent, common norms. Agreements should not only be instruments of change but should establish processes for change, engaging a wide set of actors."

    See: 'Looming Global-Scale Failures and Missing Institutions', Walker et al, Science Vol. 325. no. 5946, pp. 1345 - 1346, 11 September 2009.

    Complain about this comment

  • 16. At 10:03am on 11 Sep 2009, sensiblegrannie wrote:

    What is meant by restricting individual freedoms? If that means that the poor suffer PROPORTIONATELY more restrictions that the better off, it will be immoral and there will be a backlash. If the restrictions of individual freedoms are proportional, truly proportional, then it might work. There was a strong debate in parliament about the lack of proportionality in society. The disposable income of many people is so low that even small extra financial burdens will disrupt normal life expectations. The concept of enforcement must be rigorously debated in parliament and thoroughly checked by legal professionals. If a debate takes place, I want to be at that debate.

    Complain about this comment

  • 17. At 10:07am on 11 Sep 2009, Jack Hughes wrote:


    Is this a new problem ? I remember in the cubs we all had to clean up before we could have ice cream but not everyone joined in with the cleaning up.

    Akela could have written this 'academic' paper.

    This is exactly what China, India, and now South Africa are doing: shirking.

    Well only if you believe in this stuff.

    Complain about this comment

  • 18. At 10:11am on 11 Sep 2009, Jack Hughes wrote:

    It's even worse than that.

    Imagine if some of the cubs are saying: "you need to do an extra share of cleaning up because your dad and your grandad ate ice cream".

    And if many of the cubs don't believe there is any ice cream anyway.

    You're not going to get much cleaning up...

    Complain about this comment

  • 19. At 10:39am on 11 Sep 2009, Gates wrote:

    Surely the best way we can spend our money to combat climate change is to invest in researching new technologies that can provide us with more efficient, cheaper and greener power. The first country to become a world leader in this will surely become the big economy of the century.

    "The whole adaptation debate is a good example. In the immediate term, it'll cost, of course, for Europe and the US and Australia and Japan and so on to assist in the climate protection of poorer nations.

    But the calculation is that in the end, it'll be money well spent if it results in fewer refugees, more cheap food to import, healthier markets overseas, and so on. "

    Investing in the welfare of people is more important than investing in the economy.

    Complain about this comment

  • 20. At 11:20am on 11 Sep 2009, euroscot wrote:

    Following the financial crisis with the loss of $12 trillion worldwide, it's not just the climate change compensation that will be rethought; but the Doha trade agenda, aid and millennium goals as well.

    The 'EU Observer' reports resistance to the financial assistance being demanded. A more comprehensive solution is wanted: "Paris and Berlin feel that the EU has already done more than other industrialised nations in committing to binding carbon reduction targets and that it is time that the US, Japan and others step up to the plate. They also feel that, similar to classic trade negotiating tactics, a clear position should be held back until the last minute in order to squeeze as many concessions as possible from other parties."

    Some of the economics will be discussed in a couple of weeks at the G20 summit in Pittsburgh.

    Complain about this comment

  • 21. At 11:52am on 11 Sep 2009, manysummits wrote:

    To sensibleoldgrannie:

    You wrote:

    "The irony of educating the poor is that we become more aware of our situation. However, this can be offset by studying philosophy, because it is the goal of the true philosopher to live with less, not more and to disassociate with the chains of excessive greed."

    I like that! Thought you might like this?

    What is an adult?

    "Conversely one may legally be an adult but possess none of the maturity and responsibility that define adult character.

    Coming of age is an event; passing a series of tests to demonstrate the child is prepared for adulthood; or reaching a specified age, sometimes in conjunction with demonstrating preparation. Most modern societies determine legal adulthood based on reaching a legally-specified age without requiring a demonstration of physical maturity or preparation for adulthood."

    I was talking just yesterday about this with a friend, and noting that my friends from African villages, who do have ancient and traditional rites of passage, have seemed to me a breath of fresh air in a high civilization almost devoid of responsible adults.

    The contrast is so striking I am still looking for the words to describe it, but some of the comments on this blog exemplify the irresponsible adult way of thinking that I am trying to combat. It is the hope and intention of my wife and I to emulate, or invent, a proper rite of passage for our son, and to bring him up in such a way that this rampant irresponsibility of our high civilizations is not passed on to Cloudrunner.

    You speak of the 'poor' and their (our) plight. This is a sure sign of the irresponsibility of which I speak. Our high civilizations actively condone and promote this disparity, even laud it, in this Age of Celebrity and Foolishness.

    - Manysummits -

    Complain about this comment

  • 22. At 12:56pm on 11 Sep 2009, jon112uk wrote:

    Mmmm...more taxes, thats a surprise.

    I notice the poll reported on this site today saying that the percentage of the population who see this whole thing as a tax scam is INCREASING.

    Put yourself in the place of someone on a low wage, living in the English countryside with no access whatever to 'public' transport. Every day they are hit by some new tax scheme to 'force them out of their car.' Soon they will be unemployed, when they can't afford to get to work anymore. Trapped in their home, unable to even access a shop. Now they hear that the money from all this tax is to be given away to someone they have never met on the far side of the world - in order to sustain that person's life style which revolves around breeding 11 kids and burning down the rain forest.

    A tad unhappy perhaps?

    Personally I think it's time for another popular uprising like the 2000 petrol strike.

    Complain about this comment

  • 23. At 1:45pm on 11 Sep 2009, MarkoHolden wrote:

    While curbing third world population growth is a laudable idea, to combat global warming it would far better to reduce the "first" world population; The wealthy are the ones who consume fossil fuel in huge amounts.
    The poor of the third world consume relatively little.
    So far.
    the only way we rich folk will consume less fuel is if we have to pay more for it.
    In the mean time, please do your part for the planet by not having children; particularly if they are likely to be wealthy when adult.

    Complain about this comment

  • 24. At 1:57pm on 11 Sep 2009, MangoChutney wrote:

    a couple of things to chew over before spending my money on something unproven:

    (unfortunately the last one is a google translation)

    Complain about this comment

  • 25. At 2:38pm on 11 Sep 2009, jon112uk wrote:

    23. At 1:45pm on 11 Sep 2009, MarkoHolden wrote:

    While curbing third world population growth is a laudable idea, to combat global warming it would far better to reduce the "first" world population; The wealthy are the ones who consume fossil fuel in huge amounts.
    The poor of the third world consume relatively little.

    Unfortunately you miss two points...

    1) The 'poor' use relatively little fossil fuel per capita, but there is a lot of them. In countries like India and China (worlds biggest CO2 emitter) the growth rate is phenomenal.

    2) You only mention fossil fuel use. CO2 from burning forest is a significant source. It is also a 'double whammy' - it both releases CO2 AND permanently destroys an essential carbon sink (trees). A farmer in Indonesia who slash/burns forest may well have a higher 'carbon footprint' than I do. He may also have 11 kids who all intend to do the same thing in a few years time.

    The idea that you can solve this alleged problem by making people in the UK poor, whilst people you currently label as poor carry on as usual, doesn't make sense. Anomalies like that are one of reasons that so many people think this is all a scam about politics & money, not 'environment'

    Complain about this comment

  • 26. At 3:19pm on 11 Sep 2009, MangoChutney wrote:

    Who here trusts the figure of $2-15b, when the UK consistently goes way over government budgets on all sorts of procurement programmes such as ID cards etc and the EU hasn’t even managed to have their books pass the auditors for many, many years?

    Complain about this comment

  • 27. At 5:09pm on 11 Sep 2009, euroscot wrote:

    Re the EU's accounts [#26], last November for the first time the auditors reported that the statements gave a fair presentation of the EU's financial position and results. However the auditors are also required to give a verdict on the legality and regularity of the underlying transactions; the watchdogs couldn't and criticised especially the controls imposed by member states on spending and the Commission's supervision of the member states.

    In context? The financial crisis in the private sector cost the public sector about $11 trillion. That's one reason why aid budgets will drop dramatically. Pittsburgh G20?

    Complain about this comment

  • 28. At 5:10pm on 11 Sep 2009, ghostofsichuan wrote:

    There is no creativity in governments or business these days. You have to wonder how such ignorant people still run the world. Remember, both governments and the financial industry could plainly see that all those bad loans were going to fail and did nothing about it, so I wouldnh't be very confident in anything either of them say about climate change. The business of government being business, they look at every oppoortunity, good or bad, as a way of making money. The governments want to tax the air, a strange but novel concept, apparently they have worked out ownership. Corporate Business, that private sector engine that seems to have an unending canpaign based on gloom and doom if they do not receive access to the public treasury but do not want intrusions of public oversight...please turn your back while we steal your money. These two jolly partners are riding a wave of public desception encouraged by last years' greatest robbery of public funds in the history of mankind. As the steam producers decried the use of gas and oil and the oil of electricity and now oil and coal crying about potential alernatives, they are simply posturing to be able to charge and tax more for something that will probably costs less to produce. As they say in most bureaucracies, corporate or governmental, "It costs a lot to save money."

    Complain about this comment

  • 29. At 5:18pm on 11 Sep 2009, sensiblegrannie wrote:

    Being a humble fly on the wall, I get to see things at first hand and I shall report what I have seen today, which really upset me. There is a certain lack of humanity going on at the moment, and it doesn't always come from the rich. The population are gradually being brainwashed into the cult of condemnation of single mums, young mums, in fact any mums or pregnant women, even toddlers and children. I watched this effect in action on the bus today. A young mum with two beautiful, clean bonny babies struggled onto the bus with one of those twin parallel pushchairs. In the struggle to get the chair onto the bus and into position, the young woman realised that she did not have her bus ticket. Someone had her portion of bus ticket but wouldn't admit to it when I called out loud for people to check their tickets. The reluctance to check the tickets was almost unbelievable and the bus driver's reaction was also unbelievable. He would not give the woman a new ticket even after her explanation. I could see the woman was upset and embarrassed. She told me she was on the way to a funeral and was already running late. Being a young mum, she did not have spare money to buy a new ticket and she would have to walk to the funeral. I offered to pay for her ticket which she refused, but luckily a man leaving the bus put £2.00 in her pushchair as he was leaving the bus. I made up the difference to get her a 'day rider' ticket which she accepted.
    It took me as an individual, to take a stand for fairness. The reaction of the passengers on the bus is a result of where our society is leading us. When the SELF becomes more important than the society, inhumanity sets in. To do nothing is as bad as doing the wrong thing, because it perpetuates the wrong thing.
    I have used this example as a simple way to demonstrate how our love of self freezes our correct responses to helping others and behaving responsibly as a society.

    Complain about this comment

  • 30. At 5:30pm on 11 Sep 2009, MangoChutney wrote:

    @euroscot #27

    So after 14 years of the European Court of Auditors refusing to give a clean bill of health to the EI's accounts (budget 114b euros), they have finally said "the statements gave a fair presentation of the EU's financial position and results".

    Isn't the ECA also supposed to give a verdict on the legality and regularity of the underlying transactions?

    Spending on cohesion takes up over 35% of this 114b euros and, according to the ECA, has an error rate of more than 5%, so approximately 20b euros.

    So in context, the EU could fund clean water and sanitation for the millions dying of thirst and lack of sanitation easily.

    Complain about this comment

  • 31. At 5:49pm on 11 Sep 2009, TJ wrote:

    Simon-swede #12.

    You ask: "Do you think some distinction between blog pieces and actual reporting is useful, or do you think that they should be considered two aspects of the same thing?"

    I would consider blog pieces from mayor media like Washington Post and the BBC's 'Earth Watch' and 'Blog of Bloom' (does anybody know what's happened to this as it stop in July?)to be aspects of the same thing.

    A journalist/reporter employed by such media is estentially taking that media's name in everything they write, say or do.

    Blogs like WUWT and RC are a different kettle of fish IMO and can be easily separated and should be in forming our impressions.


    Complain about this comment

  • 32. At 5:56pm on 11 Sep 2009, euroscot wrote:

    MangoChutneyUKOK #30

    Isn't the ECA also supposed to give a verdict on the legality and regularity of the underlying transactions?

    Yes, see #27.

    However, significantly, the private sector had to be reimbursed with $11 trillion. This is disastrous for aid budgets, including climate change compensation.

    Complain about this comment

  • 33. At 6:09pm on 11 Sep 2009, MangoChutney wrote:


    The American Thinker has an interesting take on old media v new media:

    They give the example the White House environmental czar, Van Jones. A blogger highlighted the fact that Jones has left wing ties and found his signature on a petition claiming Bush was involved in the 9/11 attacks, amongst other things. The old media didn't even bother to report any of this, until Van Jones resigned.

    I think as long as the reader is prepared to check the source of these stories, the bloggers are a useful addition to the media, because unfortunately many reporters seem to either join media that they feel comfortable with or simply toe the party line (not a criticism, i just think they should state there references when reporting or even better put their biases (left or right wing alike) to one side and report objectively)

    Complain about this comment

  • 34. At 6:11pm on 11 Sep 2009, MangoChutney wrote:

    @euroscot #32

    oops missed that! apologies.

    however, just think how many people could be alive today if the EU didn't lose $20b of our money from the Cohesion Fund every year and it was spent on clean water.

    Complain about this comment

  • 35. At 6:28pm on 11 Sep 2009, euroscot wrote:

    MangoChutneyUKOK #34

    Hello again.

    What is more of a disaster? The public sector losing a few billion or losing $11 trillion.

    I think the latter. Such is the cost of financial regulation with a light touch, and the importance of corrective action at Pittsburgh.

    A report on the crisis tells us that the UK and US spent the most, with the UK spending far more, 94% of its GDP compared to 25% in the US.
    That equates to £30,000 per person in the UK and $10,000 in the US.

    Complain about this comment

  • 36. At 7:15pm on 11 Sep 2009, ioanniskaramitros wrote:

    I almost sure that the best solution is to limit the birth rate at the developing countries while limiting the emision of Greenhouse Gazes in the developing world.

    Complain about this comment

  • 37. At 8:17pm on 11 Sep 2009, simon-swede wrote:

    In the interest of balanced coverage, here’s a few more news stories that the BBC somehow managed to miss…

    “DO NOT BE AFRAID OF SHINY, YELLOW BALL IN THE SKY, SAY EXPERTS” SCIENTISTS are urging people not to panic when a large, shiny yellow ball appears in the skies over Britain this week. Experts say that while the ball will lead to increased amounts of heat and light, it is not a demon, a dragon or an alien spacecraft, and will, for the most part, be rather pleasant. Link to full article

    THE Earth can be saved from the damaging effects of climate change with a series of contraptions built by Wilf Lunn, it has been claimed. A report by the Royal Society said Lunn's 20ft-long egg-boiling machines could be adapted to capture carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and then use it to boil millions of eggs. Link to full article

    THE ****-wrenching tediousness of climate change pundits is worse than previously thought, it has been claimed. Experts believe the Intergovernmental Panel on Tiresome Climate Change Articles has drastically underestimated the rate at which people were becoming angrily bored by all this. Link to full article

    And my favourite…

    Link to full article

    Smile, it’s Friday!

    Complain about this comment

  • 38. At 8:27pm on 11 Sep 2009, simon-swede wrote:

    Ooops, the links disappeared...

    For those who want to see the full articles, they're on 'the daily mash' web-site, two in the "environment" and two in the "science/technology" section.

    If the moderators permit, here are the actual links:

    Shiny yellow ball piece:

    Earth's future piece:'s-future-in-hands-of-wilf-lunn-200909012023/

    Climate pundits piece:

    Wikipedia piece:

    Complain about this comment

  • 39. At 10:08pm on 11 Sep 2009, sensiblegrannie wrote:

    Read all of the links and had a good laugh, were you a Monty Python fan?
    Clean water and sanitation would give millions of people a chance to drag themselves out of the situation they are in. People who have hope are more inclined to defer gratification whereas those without hope will live for the day and not invest in an uncertain future.

    Complain about this comment

  • 40. At 11:51pm on 11 Sep 2009, manysummits wrote:

    To ghostofsichuan #28:

    "There is no creativity in governments or business these days." (ghost)

    And maybe there is very little on this blog?

    My post on 'Dyson Spheres' and 'terrafroming' has elicited a nul response!?

    I think democratically elected governments are an accurate reflection of ourselves. In separating ourselves from the natural world many millennia ago, we gave up something to get something. On balance, it seems we must look closely for what we gave up, as we seem to have left a few essential parts behind by mistake!

    I am reading about Christopher Stone's argument for giving natural objects legal standing. He makes a strong, even self-evident case for this, a sort of: "Why didn't I think of that?" And I think this will come to be.

    But in thinking a little more on this subject, it occurred to me that it has taken civilized man an awful long time to recognize (almost) what our pre-agricultural forebears knew. The land, and natural objects, seem to have been accepted as sacred, and instead of having a high court and non-governmental organizations acting as arbiters and guardians, respectively, of natural objects, each and every member of these non-civilized societies were in fact guardians of the environment, and enculturated as such from birth.

    The profane aspects of our high civilizations which you so sincerely depict in your blogs are real, I believe. We see - and we are maddened, and we speak out.

    - Manysummits -

    Complain about this comment

  • 41. At 01:52am on 12 Sep 2009, ArthurReader wrote:


    Perhaps the reason nobody responded to your comment was that they were being kind by not giving encouragement to the reality-challenged like yourself.

    Freeman Dyson has stated more recently that carbon dioxide levels, even if they were to be shown to be a problem, could be easily solved without resorting to crackpot schemes like blocking out the sun or cap-and-tax schemes designed to create global poverty.

    "...all the fuss about global warming is grossly exaggerated.", he said

    Here's the article:

    ...but I bet you won't read it.


    "While curbing third world population growth is a laudable idea, to combat global warming it would far better to reduce the "first" world population; The wealthy are the ones who consume fossil fuel in huge amounts."

    And exactly how are you going to curb third world population growth? Inquiring minds would like to know. Just because it smells like colonialism and racism doesn't mean that it isn't colonialism and racism.

    As for the first world population, the growth as slowed so much that many European countries are projecting declines in their populations leading to a demographic timebomb. But we will be entertained by your proposals for further reducing the population in order to save the Earth from Thermageddon - will it be deliberately promoting disease, forced sterilization, war or a combination of the above?

    And all of this in support of a religious belief in the deadly warming powers of a trace gas essential to life on Earth. Not science. A gas which has been many times its current concentration for most of Earth's history and never once caused climate change, because it has always been a centuries-delayed response to climate change and never a precursor.

    Almost as incredible as Richard Black's environmental reporting.

    Complain about this comment

  • 42. At 03:31am on 12 Sep 2009, manysummits wrote:

    To Arthur Reader #41:

    Actually I have read a fair amount of Freeman Dyson, and I am one of his big fans. I won't read your link, as I am already familiar with his views on global warming and his belief in contrarian views.

    I disagree with his views on climate change, which is fine. His proposal for CO2 eating artificial trees is similar to Wallace Broecker's idea for bringing CO2 back down to something approaching pre-industrial levels, or at least to 350 ppmv. I have posted on this before - several times I believe.

    Mr. Dyson believes there are more pressing concerns on the planet - I have posted repeatedly on the "Limits to Growth," and on humanitarian topics as well as reform of the United Nations, a court for the environment, etc...

    As for being 'reality challenged,' well, I'll take that as a compliment, and post something Liza Minelli once purportedly said:

    "Reality is something you rise above."

    And what are you aspirations, Arthur Reader?

    - Manysummits -

    Complain about this comment

  • 43. At 07:52am on 12 Sep 2009, MangoChutney wrote:

    @simon-swede #38

    i think the wilf lunn piece is genuine, isn't it? at least as genuine as some of the other ideas to cure global warming


    Complain about this comment

  • 44. At 09:12am on 12 Sep 2009, sensiblegrannie wrote:

    Many summits,
    Just because people are not always visibly responding to what is being said here doesn't mean that the information has not been read and enjoyed ...thankyou. There must be lots of people reading but not adding info themselves, but taking it in all the same. We most certainly are terraformers in virtual reality.
    Your response to Many had a chilling ring to it which we have discussed elsewhere and dropped the subject because it was too awful to contemplate. Just as I have very strong doubts about genetically altered crops which are infertile, making poorer nations utterly dependent on buying more and more seed and getting into more and more debt.
    I shall start reading work written by Dyson and by Stone Any other reading suggestions for newbee's? I read all of the links and I expect everyone else does too.

    Complain about this comment

  • 45. At 10:11am on 12 Sep 2009, rossglory wrote:

    "....maintain the market is always a better mechanism because it's intrinsically more efficient than taxation" would be funny if...

    i think this post is about the economics of the 21st (and hopefully a few more) century. the markets are about infinite resources and eternal exponential growth, it's promises are as ephemeral and unrealistic as a collateralised debt obligation. the views of manysummits are much closer to any likely succesful future since we, as a species, have to grow up and recognise our obligations (to maintain a healthy planet for us and future generations) before we bang on about our rights.

    all of this reminds me of that part of al gore's wonderful 'an inconvenient truth' (ha, there's a red rag) where he has the economist put up a slide suggesting the usa cannot afford green showed some scales, on one side was lots of lovely money, hmm hmm, but on the other was the entire planet...doh!!!

    imo, the amount is not the issue (i'm with manysummits, whatever it costs) but ensuring that whatever we do (and money's not teh only tool) is successful.

    Complain about this comment

  • 46. At 10:53am on 12 Sep 2009, euroscot wrote:

    The financial collapse worldwide means there's little chance of big compensation payments for climate change, anyway. [#20]

    Even aid payments have suffered over the years. Aid

    Although rich countries have given an enormous $2.74 trillion dollars in aid since 1970, the accumulated total shortfall in their aid since 1970 (when the target of 0.7% was set) amounts to $3.66 trillion (at 2007 prices).

    The FSA chairman's suggestion of a Tobin tax therefore has some merit.

    Complain about this comment

  • 47. At 10:56am on 12 Sep 2009, JunkkMale wrote:

    36. At 7:15pm on 11 Sep 2009, ioanniskaramitros :
    I almost sure that the best solution is to limit the birth rate at the developing countries while limiting the emision of Greenhouse Gazes in the developing world.

    Seems a plan. Milibands D. & E. would approve, as it might well offer opportunities to their beloved 'control people whilst making money' schemes.

    Not so much 'Cap and Trade' as 'Snip and (stop) Trade'.

    Mind you, as I noted in another blog, next time they fly mob-handed to the Asian Sun-continent to empathise with all those suffering from (the wrong sort (of)) flying, I'd be wary if they come bearing radios.

    Complain about this comment

  • 48. At 11:37am on 12 Sep 2009, manysummits wrote:

    To sensibleoldgrannie #44:

    Thanks for that! We are a hardened bunch here on this blog, and it's so nice to come across a post like yours.

    I have several favorite books and articles, and I was wondering if you have an area in mind?

    - Manysummits -

    Complain about this comment

  • 49. At 11:39am on 12 Sep 2009, simon-swede wrote:

    The World Resources Institute (WRI) have looked at the funding focus of Official Development Assistance (ODA) and dedicated climate adaptation funds, and suggested how they may be better deployed.

    They point out that to-date, the dedicated adaptation funds have largely supported activities on the climate-specific side of the adaptation continuum, while ODA has dominantly focused on the development side. As part of initiatives to "mainstream" climate change into development policy, the WRI contend that ODA-funded activities will increasingly be considered to be “adaptation” in a post-Kyoto climate regime. However, the extent to which this can occur is limited by the limited amount of ODA funding and, in particular, by the reluctance of recipient countries to see ODA diverted from existing priorities. The limitation of ODA in this context is that it is not driven by the imperative for increased funding in response to climate change.

    For the details, see: McGray, Heather, Anne Hammill and Rob Bradley. 2007. Weathering the Storm: Options for Framing Adaptation and Development. Washington, DC: World Resources Institute.

    Complain about this comment

  • 50. At 11:43am on 12 Sep 2009, sensiblegrannie wrote:

    I have been reading your other stuff as well and have found it highly amusing like Tom Sharp but with more rhythm and subscript. We all need to explore this cave, rather than believing that the shadows on the wall are real.
    Synthesis can only occur if all of the ideas are on the table, picked over, rejected, accepted, re-accepted so that further more relevant questions can be asked. We will never find the right answers, we can only formulate the right questions to continue the dialogue.

    Complain about this comment

  • 51. At 11:55am on 12 Sep 2009, manysummits wrote:

    To rossglory #45 & euroscot #46:

    The financial collapse is a reminder, I think, rather than a constraint.

    Here in North America we have reservations for the indigenous peoples of the Americas whose lands we took and whose way of life we destroyed.

    Our solution has been inadequate.

    People are the same everywhere, and don't want handouts, or to be patronized.

    They want to be treated well.

    As far as the economy goes, while not an expert economist, I have incorporated a federal corporation in the past (small), and was once a stockbroker for a year...

    What we need is a new way to make a living, amounting I think, to a paradigm shift.

    Ghostofsichuan has advocated thinking small along these lines, and I think this may well be a significant part of the solution - to decrease our almost total dependence on big everything. It is more a matter of psychology, which is as real as a euro, after all. To feel and be somewhat in charge of your own affairs is very much in tune with the hunter/gatherer, or the Apache, to use my favorite metaphor.

    We have been civilized (domesticated), for far too long now. Time to rediscover our true natures in practice as well as in theory. It's what 'living the life of a mountaineer' taught me.

    - Manysummits -

    Complain about this comment

  • 52. At 12:44pm on 12 Sep 2009, euroscot wrote:

    Thanks for the comment manysummits. In essence you seem to suggest that the foreign aid shortfalls of $3.66 trillion are justified. Moreover that climate compensation need not be given.

    In an earlier post I noted aid donations in 2007, as a %age of gross national income:

    Norway 0.95; Sweden 0.93; Luxembourg 0.9; Denmark 0.81; Netherlands 0.81; Ireland 0.54; Austria 0.49; Belgium 0.43; Spain 0.41; Finland 0.4; France 0.39; Germany 0.37; Switzerland 0.37; UK 0.36; Australia 0.3; Canada 0.28; New Zealand 0.27; Italy 0.19; Portugal 0.19; Japan 0.17; Greece 0.16; USA 0.16.

    The commitment some years ago was 0.7%.

    Complain about this comment

  • 53. At 1:15pm on 12 Sep 2009, sensiblegrannie wrote:

    thank you for your respect it is appreciated. Yes indeed, I have many areas of interest and I doubt even your bookshelves would cover all of them, because I am very 'arty farty' and terrified of heights, but here goes.
    I would like to know if there is an updated version of the world definition of absolute poverty and an updated version of the world definition of relative poverty. I am asking for this information is because the debate needs to be re-opened in the current situation.
    The older definitions of poverty did not take into consideration the effects of 'global warming.'
    I would re-open the debate to create new definitions of poverty (relating to the papers 'Weathering the Storm' as the backbone of the enquiry) My question then would be, 'given the current world situation and the information gathered by the World Resource Institute, how can we re-address the accepted conditions of what is defined as absolute and relative poverty'?
    If global warming appears to be creating massive migrations of displaced people, a new underclass of homeless, Country-less, non citizens, with no rights and no place to go, except as charity cases, will be formed.
    Perhaps this issue has already been addressed and you can direct me to an academically-sound resource?

    Complain about this comment

  • 54. At 3:13pm on 12 Sep 2009, MangoChutney wrote:

    Over the last 20 years, the US government alone has pumped $32 billion for climate research and another $36 billion for development of climate-related technologies.

    $78 billion spent by the US government alone.

    Current US Government spending is in excess of $7 billion per annum (figure excludes funding for carbon sequestration at $3.4 billion for the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act)

    These figures can be obtained from US government reports, and are not adjusted for inflation. The reports are pdf's or I would link to them.

    With all this spending by the US government alone, how much empirical evidence has been discovered to support AGW?


    Not a single piece of empirical evidence has been proved in over 20 years of research and vast funding

    Ask yourselves, should we spend $15 billion a year on something that, despite the enormous sums of money thrown at it for over 20 years, still has not a single piece of evidence to support the existence of CO2 induced global warming

    Complain about this comment

  • 55. At 3:41pm on 12 Sep 2009, euroscot wrote:

    sensibleoldgrannie #53

    Some information that may help.

    1. May 2009, Aid and the financial crisis: Shall we expect development aid to fall?. The conclusion is yes - aid is discretionary. In this latest crisis loose regulation cost the public about $11 trillion - foreign aid will probably drop spectacularly.

    2. June 2009, An (iron) fistful of help
    The use of aid to win friends and influence people is not new. America and the Soviet Union both used aid as a weapon in the cold war. Now a 21st-century equivalent is emerging.
    The competition for resources is getting intense.

    Complain about this comment

  • 56. At 3:47pm on 12 Sep 2009, rossglory wrote:

    #54 mango

    compare those figures to their military spending, just a drop. i don;t have faith in laissez-faire free market economics and believe just as much of my money is 'wasted' by private corporations as by govt spending. at least i have some say in what a govt spends (not much though), the only free-market choice you have is whether to be a consumer or not.

    so, even if no evidence had been found (and as you know i find you view totally incomprehensible), that money is just cash pumped into an economy, no better or worse spent than investing in credit-default swaps or bloated executive pay.

    that's not to say i don't want money spent wisely on producing useful services or commodities. reducing co2 emissions and producing a healthier planet (as well as reducing traffic congestion, airport pollution etc) would be a very useful service imho.

    #53 sensibleoldgrannie

    i may sound like a whingeing urban-eco but although i make a decent living in computing, over the years the time (and travel and effort) committment expected of me has increased significantly. so i feel like i suffer from free-time poverty. i am in the process of renogotiating contracts so that i can work 4 days a week and spend more time with my family but it's hard work and everyone seems to think i'm barmy :o)

    it's a strange world.

    Complain about this comment

  • 57. At 3:47pm on 12 Sep 2009, sensiblegrannie wrote:

    Hard cash for the hegemony,
    Minimal money for the masses.
    Who are 'we'?
    It isn't you, and it certainly isn't me.
    Carbon cash converters
    For the workers?
    No, it's all hard boiled Humbug
    For those who have,
    And the knighted
    Because the have-not, is not invited.

    Complain about this comment

  • 58. At 6:04pm on 12 Sep 2009, JunkkMale wrote:

    50. At 11:43am on 12 Sep 2009, sensibleoldgrannie

    [Blushes] Especially as our Tom and his writings were the first and remain among the few to make me laugh at loud at the often rather less than stellar aspects of the human condition.

    Sadly I find my contributions on a few blogs to err a tad too often at eyebrow crankings when I honestly prefer the rewards of positivity and incentivisation, but I am cursed by an odd mix of an education and early career in the sciences and engineering, followed by an even longer one, to date, in the dubious world of persuading the masses, that is advertising and design. So I tend to detect BS masquerading as fact, especially when gilded with some unsubtle smoke and mirrors swirling around to make it palatable.

    Combine all that with a passion for environmental common sense in making this planet better for my kids than I inherited (not looking great so far), and I often slam into problems of detail when it comes to what I have coined the enviROI of various 'eco initiatives' (namely, even if the £/$ financial return still sucks, it can still be OK, unless it so out of kilter money is being simply poured down a green hole and away from better projects). Plus I do find that some self-appointed messengers bearing certain messages they deem vital (often with cause), either don't seem to have noticed (or are bothered) that the vast majority who DO matter either don't care for their pitches, or are a tad offside on the often multiplicity of standards between what they say (others should do) and what they might actually inspire by way of example (exemption by believing one is acting in the public interest is a fair conceit, and epic delusion, at best). I think many do register this discrepancy (often aided by those pushing other agendas I find equally discomfiting) and at best ignore, or at worst kick back. Which, IMHO, is not helping much.

    Hence I like to crank the odd eyebrow, and often suggest the odd sharp object may be directed at overinflated sacks of hot air, in the hope that a more measured, moderate dialogue based on fact, objectivity and compromise might see us drift to truly productive shores than just trying to win often unwinnable debates.

    There is so much that can be DONE, but talk is still vital to coordinate valuable efforts. I like them civilised and intelligent, and by way of a 'backatcha' have enjoyed reading your posts not just for the content, but the manner of their delivery. It is possible to disagree with style, and maybe in so doing change a view that a knee jerk will only make worse. And humour is well, harder to resist. Funny (not ha-ha) how some keep failing to appreciate that.

    Green is good, but only if you really think about it, and in debate it is also worth recalling that green can rarely be viewed just in black and white, as some often seem to forget. Or don't seem to care.

    I think the human race will work this whole thing through, but possibly not to the satisfaction of the many who see life as a series of absolutes, be they through dogma, idealism or a bunch of other rather restricting standpoints.

    And as I learn or am persuaded by new information, links or just great arguments from the likes of your goodself, and many others here (who you seem to tease the best from), I often find my views can and do evolve and even change. I hope for the better. For my... our kids' sake.

    Complain about this comment

  • 59. At 11:55pm on 12 Sep 2009, manysummits wrote:

    To sensibleoldgrannie #53:

    First, may I say how much better I think we all are on this blog because of your posts!

    I am some sort of tribalist I would suppose, and obviously it is not only in outdoor adventure settings that the multigenerational community benefits. Wouldn't it be nice to hear from more women on this blog, for example, and from youngsters?

    Your question as regards 'absolute poverty' vs 'relative poverty' will require, on the one hand, some searching and thinking, but on the other hand, no thinking or searching at all. We can invent our definitions of both right here!

    But first (or is it now second?) - for you:

    "An artist will understand how much I was attracted by this conversation. There is no bond so near as a community in that unaffected interest and slightly shame-faced pride which mark the intelligent man [woman] enamoured of an art. He sees the limitations of his aim, the defects of his practice; he smiles to be so employed upon the shores of death, yet sees in his own devotion something worthy. Artists, if they had the same sense of humour with the Augurs, would smile like them upon meeting, but the smile would not be scornful."

    - Robert Louis Stevenson, "In the South Seas"

    Absolute Poverty: = Death

    Relative Poverty: Everything else.

    I have heard it said that one can live on any income save zero.

    The late President of the United States Theodore Roosevelt once said:

    "Death is always and under all circumstances a tragedy, for if it is not, then life itself has become one."

    May I tender as well a saying from a Dinka village in Africa? From 'wunarik': (a friend of mine and former blogger)

    "A man without wealth is not without words."

    How if we start here?

    - Manysummits -

    Complain about this comment

  • 60. At 02:47am on 13 Sep 2009, manysummits wrote:

    How if we continue?

    Absolute Poverty

    "The cycle of life is intricately tied up with the cycle of water...the water system has to remain alive if we are to remain alive on earth."

    - Jacques Yves Cousteau, testimony before Congress, ca 1971 (from the book "Should Trees Have Standing)

    Relative Poverty

    "We are depleting our energy and our food sources at a rate that takes little account of the needs even of humans now living.

    These problems will not be solved easily; they very likely can be solved, if at all, only through a willingness to suspend the rate of increase in the standard of living (by present values) of the earth's "advanced" nations, and by stabilizing the total human population. For some of us this will involve forfeiting material comforts; for others it will involve abandoning the hope someday to obtain comforts long envied. For all of us it will giving up the right to have as many offspring as we might wish. Such a program is not impossible of realization, however. Many of our so-called "material comforts" are not only in excess of, but are probably in opposition to, basic biological needs."

    Christopher Stone, in "Should Trees Have Standing?", 1972.


    Sanity is, in its essence, nothing more than the ability to live in harmony with nature's laws.

    - Freeman Dyson, "Disturbing The Universe"

    So, we have the ocean explorer and the physicist and the professor of law in simple agreement, and myself, of course - the tribalist.

    - Manysummits -

    Complain about this comment

  • 61. At 03:37am on 13 Sep 2009, TJ wrote:

    Reading down the posts just now and an assortment of themes ran through my mind thanks in particular to some very poignant post from: sensibleoldgrannie, ghostofsichuan and ArturReader. So just doing a dump of the ideas that were kicked off:

    I see that folks in poverty are generally there because of bad governments. A man under no government will survive by using all the natural instincts we are naturally born with. We can grow and reap and look after our kin and neighbors because we all know instinctively that we need each other in the various and precarious ways that Mother Nature takes us.

    We invented governments to watch our backs. To look after our security, administer the laws we agreed and regulate our businesses so we can live fuller lives. To do this corporately was time and cost efficient.

    However, governments grew and took on ‘more’ and continued with ‘more’ even though that particular ‘more’ had passed. They enjoyed the power and the revenues that could be creamed. Warlords and crooks saw easy ways of getting power and wealth and the whole of government became bloated and corrupt. They failed to regulate businesses and thus are to blame for the current financial crisis and every business scandel. Now they have just stolen $trillions from us to make up losses and further line their pockets and the pockets of their controllers.

    Governments then joined forces and created bureaucracies (e.g. EU, UN) because there is even more power and even more corruption that can be garnered. Food for Oil, Cap and Trade, Air Tax and even more control and redistribution of wealth (which of course means more into their pockets).

    Socialist governments, since 1945 in the UK for example, have created welfare states where folks now expect the state to look after them from health care to benefits for every which way and how. We depend on government and not our families and neighbors and we neglect our families and neighbors as a result. We now have ME and that's all that matters. If anything happens to ME the government will look after ME so why do I need to care or watch out for others? So folks, it's time to redress this drift which I see as a bad and failed socialist experiment in recent years of the last half century. Currently in the US we are seeing huge resistance to the Obama socialism agenda and we have witnessed the largest fall in popularity of any president in the first year of any presidency.

    Rise up folks and let’s fight back for our freedom. "Government of the people by the people". You will be hearing many more such quotes from our US constitutional founders over the coming months as Joe folks her in the US fight back and redress the power of government to its rightful place. Please join us.........


    Complain about this comment

  • 62. At 05:02am on 13 Sep 2009, TJ wrote:

    After publishing above post I took a look at the latest BBC Headline:

    "Protests over Obama health reform"

    It quotes:
    'Taxed to death'
    But in Washington protesters attacked Mr Obama's administration for what it called out-of-control spending - on healthcare, the stimulus packages and the bailout of the banking and car industries.

    Please support us and I’m sure you will receive US Citizen support in your individual public battles.

    Night, night…..

    Complain about this comment

  • 63. At 05:23am on 13 Sep 2009, Jack Frost wrote:

    Here's and interesting video interview with Dr Fred Singer an American Atmospheric Physicist. Singer is Professor Emeritus of environmental science at the University of Virginia specializing in planetary science, global warming, ozone depletion, and other global environmental issues.

    His extensive credentials can be found elsewhere, but his views in the vid below are quite interesting.

    Complain about this comment

  • 64. At 08:02am on 13 Sep 2009, Beejay wrote:

    In a kilometer high section of atmosphere the man made CO2 contribution by the UK is less than the thickness of a human hair - what on earth are the AGW people panicking about?

    No carbon tax, no carbon trading, just let it lie. So much cheaper and so much less wasteful. Get rid of wind farms, build nuclear and coal fired power stations Now!

    CO2 is a fertilizer, all vegetation needs it, more CO2 means bigger crops, the present level of 380 ppm could be doubled with no problems. CO2 is neither poison nor pollutant. We exhale 40,000 ppm with every breath, all 6 Billion of us.

    Why does mankind always develop crass schemes that inevitably fail. CO2 hysteria has many predecessors. Tulip Trading, Fool's Gold, South Sea Bubble, Dragons, Witches and my bete noire, religion.

    Complain about this comment

  • 65. At 09:24am on 13 Sep 2009, rossglory wrote:

    i have always taken the view with taxes that i have no issue as long as they are raised fairly (e.g. no non-domiciled exemptions etc) and spent so that their benefit is shared widely (e.g. not by pumping the money into the health service to be spent on very expensive computer consultants - and i was one of them.....i was expected to spend 30 quid an evening on a meal on top of a 100 quid hotel room....needless to say i didn't but lots did and still do!).

    the current uk govt is a disgrace in that respect, so i understand the levels of resentment....and distrust.

    Complain about this comment

  • 66. At 11:44am on 13 Sep 2009, sensiblegrannie wrote:

    I think I shall keep the title of my poem, 'Mango'( man go) because it goes with a piece of sculpture that I have just finished, a mixed media effigy of excessiveness, a bulging, dripping exaggeration of awful avariciousness. You can find it in Southampton,UK, but you will have to search hard and use your intuition because it sits with no title, no name, no price :o)
    The boat show is on and people pack in to see conspicuous wealth, in the hope of a glimpse of the celebrities and the possibility of brushing shoulders with the wealthy, all for the price of a good meal out, (of which you could at least participate instead of spectate).

    Complain about this comment

  • 67. At 12:20pm on 13 Sep 2009, sensiblegrannie wrote:

    google: The Poverty Site to get a basic understanding of poverty as it is defined now. Armed with the basic definitions, one can devise strategies to reduce the impact of carbon warfare on the weaker members of the planet.

    Complain about this comment

  • 68. At 1:18pm on 13 Sep 2009, sensiblegrannie wrote:

    How much would it cost the world to provide basic sanitation to our poorest nations? Given that the people concerned would do the job themselves with the right advice, right equipment (borrowed and donated), right materials (donated) and a bellyful of food and clean water to provide the physical energy needed for such a task.
    Start first with the nations who are not killing each other, so that the people who are killing each other, see what the others are getting, realise that they would get more benefit from being creative rather than destructive. Give the arms manufacturers and dealers a different way of making money that is still lucrative but beneficial instead of harmful. The same technologies could be used to cut railway paths, dig tunnels, create water reservoirs and build infrastructure, create communication links etc.
    A great number of people can be a good thing because they have the potential to achieve great things when working together towards a shared goal. I don't believe in the idea of reducing populations as there may be some purpose in large populations that we have not figured out yet because we are too primative. The pyramids did not go up by thought alone and the workers were not all slaves as has been suggested.

    Complain about this comment

  • 69. At 2:00pm on 13 Sep 2009, Doctuer_Eiffel wrote:

    1. At 9:04pm on 10 Sep 2009, CaledonianComment wrote:

    "Both Britain and France could go back to the Stone Age tomorrow, cutting their CO2 emissions to nearly zero - and it would make hardly any difference to the world situation at all. Unless and until coherent world-wide strategies are in place, measures we take are a combination of well-meaning futility and cynical tax raising by politicians. Caledonian Comment"

    Defeatist nonsense. The threat of the stone age is a thought terminating cliche. It is spread by the oil industry. The real reason why SOME people are against facing reality is because they are either paid by or instrumentalised by the oil industry. The corporate lobby puppets and the world's governments just don't like the truth:

    The solution has been around for along time.
    They just don't want us to have the means of production.
    And they don't want us to interfere with their war games.
    As soon as one major national economy moves over to practically zero cost fuel the others will have no choice but to follow.
    THAT is the TRUTH. Britain is in the most precarious economic position right now. Drive fuel costs to near zero and the nation benefits. Watch the others follow. All it takes is a government without the neo-liberal competition mantra getting in the way of common sense and common purpose.
    Come on Britain get off your knees.

    Complain about this comment

  • 70. At 3:50pm on 13 Sep 2009, CComment wrote:

    You're so absolutely, totally right - they've all got it in for us, haven't they ? Caledonian Comment

    Complain about this comment

  • 71. At 4:55pm on 13 Sep 2009, manysummits wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 72. At 6:54pm on 13 Sep 2009, manysummits wrote:

    To simon-swede:

    Yes - a "gem". (Should Trees Have Standing?"

    Our moderators are less gemlike, I'm afraid. A quote or two and they get very nervous about copyright infringement and such, though all are available for free on the internet, and I posted links to same.

    That would mean I shan't post what I came up from the courtyard to do, another quote from Christopher Stone.

    Very boring and mundane, this too harsh enforcement of house rules.

    So I will say this, upon reading "How to Heal the Planet", by Christopher Stone, especially the part in the Introduction which begins with "Scientists - at least... and ends with the "mundane vista" of international lawyers...:

    I, by the power invested in me as 'Blogger' around Richard Black's virtual campsite, do confer upon Christopher Stone the tile of "artist and poet."

    - Manysummits -

    Complain about this comment

  • 73. At 7:34pm on 13 Sep 2009, sensiblegrannie wrote:

    Pass me a rib from the virtual barbeque and who is up for a ghost story? How about Scrooge? Watch it with that toasting fork when you are knighting Christopher Stone
    72 Where is the virtual beer? Here is to Christopher Stone, cheers
    63 love your link, he looks a bit like santa
    69 What happened to the lovely gas run buses we used to have?

    Complain about this comment

  • 74. At 10:41pm on 13 Sep 2009, rossglory wrote:

    this comment board is becoming quite uplifting (nothwithstanding a few raspberries from the denialosphere).

    hadn't come across stone before....maybe can make some time to read it. the concept of guardians for the rights of future generations is an interesting idea, problem is we have to heal our society first or the guardian could be fighting for their rights to long haul travel, cheap oil and patio heaters :o(

    #63 colonelAgentEnigma
    haven't seen fred singer thrown into the ring for quite a while, thought he'd been disowned.

    Complain about this comment

  • 75. At 06:37am on 14 Sep 2009, TJ wrote:

    Christopher Stone argues:
    “that special guardians be empowered to speak for the "voiceless" elements in nature, in effect, to give legal standing in the court of law to endangered species and threatened forests.”

    I and many of the denialist here on this blog have been doing this since the birth of this blog. We have been the voice of the “voiceless elements” and the only ones to stand up for them. How many times have we been a voice for their wishes to see CO2 levels at 3-4 times above there current level? They will reward us greatly for our efforts to help them with greater yields and quality. We have also been the voices to allow the forest to burn as nature intended and not prevent them and allow the build up of brush of decades that is causing the uncontrollable fire storms which is leading to total destruction rather than renewal.

    Rossglory says: “this comment board is becoming quite uplifting (nothwithstanding a few raspberries from the denialosphere).”

    The uplifting of course is due to all the hot air that you alarmist religious believer folks keep puffing out. The raspberries will continue until us deniers have won you over to the cries of the “voiceless “elements.

    So, now as the flames of our campfire dwindle and we close another day lets all link and reach out into cyberspace and turn up your sound on your computers and after me:
    1 -2- 3 Kum ba ya my lord Kum ba ya [Unsuitable/Broken URL removed by Moderator]

    Night, night campers……

    Complain about this comment

  • 76. At 07:39am on 14 Sep 2009, PAWB46 wrote:

    Having been away for a few days, I come into this debate very late.

    My answer to the question is "nothing". The reason is that the climate is too big for mere humans to have any significant influence over the huge energy flows involved in the climate. How can we be so arrogant to even conceive of playing with the large forces of nature?

    Even to ask the question shows the staggering ignorance of those asking the question, or reveals an ulterior motive.

    Complain about this comment

  • 77. At 09:12am on 14 Sep 2009, jon112uk wrote:

    69. At 2:00pm on 13 Sep 2009, Doctuer_Eiffel wrote:
    "...Defeatist nonsense. The threat of the stone age is a thought terminating cliche...."

    It all depends on what is on offer.

    I notice you mention hydrogen. I totally agree that if we move away from fossil fuels in a controlled way and shift to non-fossil energy, then there should be no reason for economic collapse, poverty and starvation.

    But that is not what is being embraced by the zealots and the tax grabbers. People are being 'forced' away from fossil fuel energy, but no realistic alternatives are being provided. This option WILL result in economic collapse, poverty and starvation.

    Complain about this comment

  • 78. At 09:53am on 14 Sep 2009, rossglory wrote:

    #75 timjenvey

    "been the voice of the “voiceless elements”"

    hmmm. i think i commented quite a few times anout just how successful the 'denial' campaign has been especially in the uk and usa. you should be rejoicing over recent headlines like "The British public has become more sceptical about climate change over the last five years, according to a survey.".

    the only place you're voiceless is within the scientific community and there's a pretty good reason for that.

    Complain about this comment

  • 79. At 09:56am on 14 Sep 2009, rossglory wrote:

    #76 "The reason is that the climate is too big for mere humans to have any significant influence over the huge energy flows involved in the climate."

    i, and virtually the entire scientific community, disagree.

    Complain about this comment

  • 80. At 11:40am on 14 Sep 2009, manysummits wrote:

    I thought I'd summarize my impressions of Christopher Stone's:

    "Should Trees Have Standing?, and other essays on law, morals and the environment" (1996):

    1) James Lovelock's 'Gaia Theory' and the nascent 'Earth Systems Science' both influenced, I would think, and are implicit in the 1972 "Should Trees Have Standing?", and Professor Stone's later essays. The idea of the 'ecosphere', of ecosystems and even of the entire solar system as a legal entity recognized in law will, I hope, come to pass.

    2) The Idea of a 'Global Commons' in law.

    3) The Idea of a 'Global Commons Trust Fund', administered internationally and possibly raising its own money through a tax on polluting substances and damaging practices would make the 'Fund' self-sustaining, and provide a ready means of "Healing the Planet."

    4) Implicit in the above, I think, is an International Court of [for] the Environment, once natural objects are recognized as having legal standing and rights themselves. Of course, a 'Global Commons Trust Fund' would have here a ready-made arbitration and oversight mechanism!

    5) The 'Dyson Sphere', and the migration of humans into the solar system, is a logical and perhaps inherent calling of the human race, as we put our house in order. Our endocrine systems, and our spiritual or myth-making propensities, have both evolved to make us who we are - insatiably curious, technically adept, co-operative hunter-gatherers.

    Time to expand our horizons, as our population reaches critical mass, and direct the ensuing flow of energy.

    - Manysummits -

    PS: It has been inspiring for me to see in Christopher Stone the working of a first rate intelligence at the height of his powers, impelled by a radiant and compassionate life-force.

    Complain about this comment

  • 81. At 12:47pm on 14 Sep 2009, simon-swede wrote:

    Manysummits at #80

    I think it's great you find inspiration in Christopher Stone, but I think in your exuberence you are substituing some of your own ideas for what he discusses.

    Please correct me if I'm wrong, but I don't recall Christopher Stone ever mentioning 'Dyson Spheres' in 'Should Trees Have Standing?', nor does he discuss the migration of humans into the solar system, let alone as "a logical and perhaps inherent calling of the human race". Appropriately, in my view, his focus is on what we do and what we ought to do, with the resources of the planet on which we find ourselves.

    Complain about this comment

  • 82. At 1:23pm on 14 Sep 2009, MangoChutney wrote:

    @ross_glory #56

    even if no evidence had been found (and as you know i find you view totally incomprehensible),

    I have to say, I find it incomprehensible that anybody can believe CO2 is a major driver of climate, without asking themselves "where is the evidence to support this claim?"

    @pawb46 #76

    My answer to the question is "nothing". The reason is that the climate is too big for mere humans to have any significant influence over the huge energy flows involved in the climate.

    Now i'd have to disagree with that statement too. I have never found any empirical evidence to support anthropogenic CO2 as being the main driver of climate change, but I do think by changing our landscape, particularly deforestation, we must affect the climate in some way, either through changing wind patterns or water run off or many other ways.

    OK, I am still on a mission to convince you guys (if you are open minded enough to read links), that CO2 is not the main driver of climate change. Here is an article, peer-reviewed and recently published, showing how even small changes in the sun effect our climate. This article is produced using computer modelling and observation. Yes, empirical data! Something still not available with the CO2 hypothesis.

    "Amplifying the Pacific Climate System Response to a Small 11-Year Solar Cycle Forcing"

    [Unsuitable/Broken URL removed by Moderator]

    Complain about this comment

  • 83. At 1:51pm on 14 Sep 2009, MangoChutney wrote:


    anybody know what happened to richard and shanta from the blog of bloom? Do they still work for the BBC or have they been sacked for not toeing the party line?

    Complain about this comment

  • 84. At 2:25pm on 14 Sep 2009, simon-swede wrote:

    Mango, there is something strange about your definition of 'empirical' if you can honestly write that there is NO empirical data about CO2 and AGW. There is oodles (technical term) of empirical data! I can accept that you disagree about how it should be interpreted, but I am mystified that you can possibly argue that it simply doesn't exist.

    Complain about this comment

  • 85. At 2:35pm on 14 Sep 2009, simon-swede wrote:

    You keep on making comments about people being willing to read the links you post, implying that they don't. For my part, I do if I can make the time. Generally when I do read your links, even if they come from the peer-reviewed literature, I typically find that they don't state exactly what you claim or come with caveats that you forget to mention; or they have been challenged by findings from other peer-reviewed studies, making their findings just one of a number to be considered.

    Complain about this comment

  • 86. At 2:49pm on 14 Sep 2009, simon-swede wrote:

    Mango at #82

    I tracked down the study, despite the removal of the link by the moderators. The reference is to a paper by Meeehl et al in Science 28 August 2009: Vol. 325. no. 5944, pp. 1114 – 1118.

    I assume you noticed the very last sentence in the paper: “This response also cannot be used to explain recent global warming because the 11-year solar cycle has not shown a measurable trend over the past 30 years.”

    Complain about this comment

  • 87. At 7:55pm on 14 Sep 2009, MangoChutney wrote:

    @simom-swede #84

    I'm sorry Simon, perhaps my understanding of what empirical evidence is. According to the Miriam-Webster dictionary, the scientific method consists of:

    “principles and procedures for the systematic pursuit of knowledge involving the recognition and formulation of a problem, the collection of data through observation and experiment, and the formulation and testing of hypotheses.”

    Empirical means simply what belongs to or is the product of experience or observation. If you can touch it, smell it, feel it, see it or measure it, it's empirical.

    So please tell me, what part of the empirical evidence that i have missed shows that global warming has been caused by anthropogenic CO2?

    You see I know about Fourier, Tyndall, and Arrhenius (should i mention he was a strong believer in Eugenics (The Swedish Society for Racial Hygiene (Eugenics) - he was a member of the institutes board? Probably not, but then alarmists like to point out that Spencer believes in Creation, so why shouldn't I?). Back to the point. I accept Fourier was correct about the Greenhouse effect and Tyndall showed how it worked, and I accept Arrhenius was correct about CO2 being a GHG capable of raising the global temperature (it's a question of how much).

    I accept Arrhenius was able to show how CO2 could do this in the comfort of a test tube, but as we all know the earths atmosphere is not a test tube, so how did Arrhenius reconcile the fact that a test-tube full of CO2 was not really representative of the atmosphere? Tell me what you think would have happened if Arrhenius's tried the same test outside of the lab? Would convection etc have rendered his experiment meaningless or would he have got the same result as in a test tube full of CO2?

    There is also plenty of empirical evidence to show other factors have a bigger influence.

    I accept man is responsible for some climate change - see my response to pawb46 #82, but as far as i am aware there is no empirical evidence to show CO2 is capable of causing global warming in the real world.

    As for the caveats in 85/86, i accept there are caveats and whilst i wonder why there are often not the same caveats in alarmists papers, just certainty that they are correct, I also wonder if the caveats are just there to ensure more government funding.

    Finally, it is very difficult to express everything in a simple manner, in the pages of a blog, because often people don't read the full post (including me) or don't understand some of the complexities (apologies in advance if that offends anybody). I appreciate you and some others have some scientific training (which makes it harder for me to understand how you can not see the significance of the AGW signature, but hey!), but not everybody here has your training or access to the literature.

    Complain about this comment

  • 88. At 9:09pm on 14 Sep 2009, rossglory wrote:

    #82 mangochutneyuk

    "I have never found any empirical evidence to support anthropogenic CO2 as being the main driver of climate change"

    it is co2 plus a number of significant feedbacks (arctic melting, tundra, forest fires, methane hydrates etc) that are the main driver. if there were no feedbacks i could even, in one of my more optimistic moods, believe we have a chance to prevent dangerous climate change.

    btw i guess you know half the emissions have just gone to acidifying the oceans which will soon cease being a net sink.......and you're not the least bit edgy?

    Complain about this comment

  • 89. At 9:29pm on 14 Sep 2009, simon-swede wrote:

    Mango at #87

    In your post at #82 you wrote that you were talking about empirical data, not evidence. And you said there was none. You are wrong to say there is no data.

    At #87 you are talking about empirical evidence. Evidence is how you interpret the data. Once again, there is lots of data, but I can accept that you may interpret it differently and draw different conclusions.

    Complain about this comment

  • 90. At 9:32pm on 14 Sep 2009, simon-swede wrote:

    Mango at #87

    You didn't comment on the final sentence in the paper you cited: “This response also cannot be used to explain recent global warming because the 11-year solar cycle has not shown a measurable trend over the past 30 years.”

    Complain about this comment

  • 91. At 10:46pm on 14 Sep 2009, manysummits wrote:

    To simon-swede #81:

    Yes of course you are right. There is no discussion of Dyson spheres or migrations into the Cosmos! But the idea of giving natural objects legal standing has no constraints that I am aware of. It is a fractal universe legally in the sense that if a tree can have standing, or an ecosystem, both discussed in his essay, then so can an ecosphere, or a Dyson Sphere, or an amoeba, or a colony of bacteria in some micro-habitat. His essay is idea and paradigm rich, and I'm just going with the flow.

    We would have given license to the legal world to discuss science in the same language, if you will, but from a different perspective.

    And you are right, I am exuberant about this idea!

    - Manysummits -

    Complain about this comment

  • 92. At 00:56am on 15 Sep 2009, Kev wrote:

    While you all argue over the Tax / Trade question you might want to consider this.
    1. Most people use transportation to get to work. I.e. most people work 5 days a week and only a day or so travelling for recreation. Of course this depends how far you live from where you work, but I would guess in this country the average is quite high.

    2. The majority of house hold bills are for heating, cooking and washing. Heating takes a lot of energy as does cooking and washing however recreational activities such as watching TV take very little energy. TVs generally run on 5amp plugs where as a cooker needs to be wired directly into the fuse box.

    So from the above the majority of energy people are consuming come from working, heating, cooking and washing. So to levy disproportionate Taxes against energy would mean one or more of the following:
    A. People are unable to get to work due to fuel prices / shortages. This is a biggie if the population cant get to work, then the whole economic system collapses. If I can't afford to travel to do a days work, then as a result my job will not get done which in turn will mean a reduction in revenue for my company. So my company will have to pay more in order to allow me to travel - which leads to inflation as we witnessed when the oil prices went through the roof.

    B. Nobody has mentioned the effect of pricing people out of heating their houses, how many pensioners a year die because they cannot heat their house, I would wage a few. Putting a Tax on this is murder pure and simple.

    C. Washing and cooking, so far these are the only two activities we can do without, so we can look forward to a smelly future of salad eating. Until that is we all get wiped out by a plague cultivated in either uncooked food or unwashed linen.

    Complain about this comment

  • 93. At 08:08am on 15 Sep 2009, euroscot wrote:

    Re #32 and #52

    "the private sector had to be reimbursed with $11 trillion. This is disastrous for aid budgets, including climate change compensation."

    From the NYT: Europe Signals Limits on Climate Funds

    deep hesitation on the part of rich-world governments about signing any kind of agreement that could oblige them to pay out hundreds of billions of dollars over the next two decades to prickly trading partners like China, India and Brazil – particularly when these countries are swiftly growing rich and powerful in their own right

    Complain about this comment

  • 94. At 08:15am on 15 Sep 2009, MangoChutney wrote:

    @ross_glory #98

    Ross, you've hit the main argument - feedbacks, but why have you only highlighted negative feedbacks and not positive feedbacks? I'm a little pushed for time at the moment, so i will try to write more on this subject at lunchtime.

    btw i guess you know half the emissions have just gone to acidifying the oceans which will soon cease being a net sink.......and you're not the least bit edgy?

    strictly speaking the oceans are slightly less alkali

    Speak later

    Complain about this comment

  • 95. At 08:19am on 15 Sep 2009, MangoChutney wrote:

    @simon-swede #89

    accepted, my bad, however there is still no empirical evidence to support the claim that CO2 is a main driver of global warming


    yes i replied - caveats.

    A final sentence tacked onto the end of a paper that records how small changes in the sun affect the climate to placate the AGW crowd is hardly a ringing endorsement of AGW, is it?

    Complain about this comment

  • 96. At 08:52am on 15 Sep 2009, MangoChutney wrote:

    had to rush to work because i realised my mistake in #94

    ross's feedbacks are positive not negative, he omits the negative feedbacks

    Complain about this comment

  • 97. At 10:15am on 15 Sep 2009, simon-swede wrote:


    I disagree and fear that you have failed to understand the significance of the caveat expressed in the final sentence. It is not an attempt to tack on a meaningless platitude, it is guidance on how the results of their research should be understood in a broader context.

    Complain about this comment

  • 98. At 10:28am on 15 Sep 2009, simon-swede wrote:

    Re #95

    MangoChutney, the problem I have with your line of argument is that it appears to me to be thus:

    - Empirical data on climate and AGW is unacceptable to you as evidence for AGW, irrespective of how robust or questionable it may be - it is all the same, NOT acceptable evidence.

    - Empirical data or assertions that something else may be responsible for some portion of climate change, no matter how doubtful or insubstantial, IS acceptable evidence that AGW is NOT happening.

    Such an approach simply is not compelling.

    Complain about this comment

  • 99. At 1:07pm on 15 Sep 2009, MangoChutney wrote:

    @rossglory #88

    I promised i would come back to you on feedback at lunchtime:

    CO2 is a greenhouse gas proved over 100 years ago. We know the absorption frequencies of CO2. We can work out how much infrared radiation from the ground is absorbed by CO2 and how much infrared radiation CO2 emits into space and back to the ground. None of this is in dispute.

    The climate models use the very same calculations to predict how much warming will occur as CO2 levels increase - the no feedback warming, around 1C for a doubling of CO2. This no feedback warming causes the temperature to rise an insignificant amount due to the logarithmic curve of the absorption frequencies, but, cumulatively will cause the warming stated in the models. The extra warming is the temperature change due to feedbacks, which increases the no feedback warming when positive or decreases the no feedback warming when negative.

    None of this is in dispute, but the calculated effect of both positive and negative feedbacks must be taken into account, so just because CO2 is capable of warming, it doesn't mean it will do. We cannot choose to only take account of the no feed back warming, we must look at both positive and negative feedbacks, and unless we know the temperature change due to this combination, we cannot just assume that CO2 is causing the rise in recorded temperatures.

    Yes, CO2 is a greenhouse gas and the extra CO2 does cause some warming, and even though we can work out how much infrared radiation is reflected back by the extra CO2, it tells us nothing about how much warming would in reality be caused, because of the combined effect of positive and negative feedbacks.

    Computer models are programmed with feedbacks based on assumptions made in the early 1980's. Since then, climate scientists have tried to refine these guesses based in observations. The climate models assume strongly amplifying feedback (positive), but the observed evidence points to the feedbacks being negative i.e. decreasing the amount of warming caused by CO2.

    Which is right? The computer models or the observations? You decide

    If the computer models are correct, then the earths climate must be fairly unstable and runaway global warming caused by CO2 should have happened a long time ago - assuming some climate scientists are correct and, according to the ice cores, following temperature rises, CO2 increases and then amplifies the warming. CO2 levels have been 20 times current levels and we've not had runaway global warming so far, why should now be any different? Geology even tells us that CO2 levels have been 5 times higher than now during some ice ages, so how does that correlate with CO2 induced warming?

    Complain about this comment

  • 100. At 1:24pm on 15 Sep 2009, MangoChutney wrote:

    @simon-swede #98

    Empirical data on climate and AGW is unacceptable to you as evidence

    Not unacceptable, it's non-existent, otherwise you would be able to silence me simply by pointing to the evidence that shows CO2 is the main driver behind climate change.

    The evidence in favour of CO2 being the main driver behind global warming seems something like this:

    1 Recorded temperatures have risen globally
    2 Greenhouse gases cause Earth’s climate to warm
    3 CO2 is a greenhouse gas
    4 People generate a lot of CO2
    5 Therefore, people cause global warming

    I agree with items 1 to 4, but 5 is mere conjecture with no evidence to back it up. There may be a correlation, but i can remember reading somewhere that somebody (i forget where and who) recognised a correlation between the price of an american stamp rising in relation to the temperature record, thus proving global temperature rise is caused by the price of an american stamp! I know that's ridiculous, but correlation doesn't imply causation.

    Empirical data or assertions that something else may be responsible for some portion of climate change, no matter how doubtful or insubstantial, IS acceptable evidence that AGW is NOT happening

    Empirical data is acceptable, assertion isn't acceptable.

    Complain about this comment

  • 101. At 2:32pm on 15 Sep 2009, simon-swede wrote:


    I have pointed you to data that is intepreted as evidence of AGW. You don't accept it. Fair enough. But it doesn't mean that it is non-existent.

    As to your evidence that other things are the main drivers, I agree there is data. But I disagree with your interpretation that this data shows either that AGW is not hapenning or that these other factors are the principal drivers of climate change.

    It is not a quetsion of whether there is data for one and not for the other. It is a question of what conclusions one draws from the interpretation of the data. I don't agree with yours. Simple.

    Complain about this comment

  • 102. At 5:13pm on 15 Sep 2009, TJ wrote:

    I found the following in an article a few weeks ago when we last discussed ‘empirical evidence’ but the debate moved on. I remember reading similar articles back in the early 1990’s when I worked closely with research scientist and that’s probably why it caught my eye:

    If true scientific method were always followed, empirical evidence would be used without fail and things would run smoothly. However, this is not the case. The use of valid empirical evidence to confirm or partly confirm a theory can be prevented and is prevented almost all the time, according to the dictates of the current paradigm. The methods that are used are listed below. These methods are not part of a conspiracy, but rather have to do with each individual having his own prejudices and reasons for preventing a newly presented theory from being accepted.

    1. When more than one theory can explain the evidence, the evidence is applied to the first theory presented, especially if that theory is part of the current paradigm. Any theory subsequently presented is not allowed to use this evidence as proof or partial proof of its validity.

    2. When more than one theory can explain the evidence, the evidence presented by the person or group with the least prestige in scientific circles is not allowed to use the evidence to support that theory.

    3. If the evidence shows flaws in the existing paradigm, it is given a new name that is misleading and causes it to be set aside and subsequently ignored.

    4. If the evidence shows flaws in the existing paradigm, its publication is prevented insofar as possible, especially in textbooks. The evidence is then ignored and subsequent generations never discover its existence.

    5. If an error in math or interpretation that is not detectable at the time causes evidence to be accepted as proof for a particular theory, after the error has been discovered the "proof" for that theory is kept as if there had been no error and the theory continues to exist as long as it is part of the existing paradigm. Newly presented theories which are not part of the existing paradigm may not be supported by the corrected evidence.
    Here’s the full article for reference:


    Complain about this comment

  • 103. At 04:09am on 16 Sep 2009, simon-swede wrote:


    Hi Tim! I don't agree that what is described is a general "rule", but I have seen versions of it in action!

    In a similar vein, you might want to consider the 'framing' of assessments or problems.

    Many of the processes in which I have been engaged over the years have been characterised by many different strongly-held (and often conflicting) views about the extent of a problem and how best to address it. Science and arguments from many disciplines are used on all sides to underpin the positions taken.

    Often it's not that any of the individual analyses are especially 'wrong', or that the data or methodologies used are incompatible, but that these only describe 'their picture' (or bits of the 'elephant'). Taking a step back can help one to get the bigger picture, and then many of the 'disagreements' can be traced back to how the participants 'frame' the problem/issue - what they include, what they leave out.

    The big challenge has been trying to integrate the different pieces into an overall whole in deciding on a course of action. The temptation is to try take an 'easy' way out, and adopt one 'frame' and ignore all the others, which at best leaves some participants disgruntled, and at worst ignores vital aspects of the problem.

    Complain about this comment

  • 104. At 5:52pm on 16 Sep 2009, TJ wrote:

    Thanks for the thoughtful reply Simon.

    I would disagree and say that there is an element of these rules in all of our interactions whether they are applied subconsciously or not. It’s the degree with which they are applied that changes the version. This is key to understanding what's going on in any interaction. It's human nature IMO. I'm no different!!

    PS Did you have any further thoughts on my reply to Citzen Scientists?

    Complain about this comment

  • 105. At 6:18pm on 16 Sep 2009, davblo2 wrote:

    timjenvey #104: "...and say that there is an element of these rules in all of our interactions..."

    But according to your principles (as per your#63) you would be constantly trying to re-evaluate and disprove them. So how can you be convinced that they always apply?

    All the best; davblo2

    Complain about this comment

  • 106. At 6:27pm on 16 Sep 2009, davblo2 wrote:

    My #105 continued

    That was your #63 on the "next blog" of course (I'm losing track here!).

    You said...
    "As new data becomes available the old paradigms and pet theories have to be put aside and start afresh with new approaches"


    Complain about this comment

  • 107. At 6:31pm on 16 Sep 2009, TJ wrote:

    Missed a bit from 104. Got distracted:

    I'm not sure I understand what the difference is when you use 'framing'. Is'nt this the same thing?

    I had some other stuff on my mind to say but forgot. Later perhaps. Must go now.

    Complain about this comment

  • 108. At 7:08pm on 16 Sep 2009, TJ wrote:

    Hi davblo2.

    No problem with changing the rules here. It happens all the time in human interactions. I'm not following you at the moment. I'll read again later.

    Just can't get it together today!!!!

    Complain about this comment

  • 109. At 11:27pm on 16 Sep 2009, davblo2 wrote:

    timjenvey #108: "Just can't get it together today."

    Another day tomorrow....

    Complain about this comment

  • 110. At 04:09am on 17 Sep 2009, simon-swede wrote:

    Tim at #104, and #107

    Thanks Tim! I think we are talking about something very similar, but I am not sure if what you are describing is exactly the same as what I mean when I refer to framing. Perhaps I misunderstood. In any case, I think we are talking about similar aspects of a common problem.

    Perhaps incorrectly, I got the impression that you were looking at the application of parts of the same dataset in the context of differing hypotheses.

    When I refer to framing, I mean how we describe the problem, which questions we ask, which outcomes we consider relevant, what scales we consider, what values we apply and so on - these all impact on what analyses we do (and thus on what data we collect), but also these will impact on how we weight the data we receive and/or how we evaluate the significance of other data/findings/analyses.

    Perhaps I am making an artificial distinction? I think we both are pointing to the need to be aware that such choices are being made, consciously and unconsciously.

    You also ask about my response to you on your Citizen Scientist posting. My apologies, I wish to respond, but I have been rather stressed and haven't been able to sit down and think through your reply properly yet. It raised some interesting points from a different perspective to mine (there's that framing thing again!) and so I need to reflect a bit before replying. Will do soon!

    Complain about this comment

  • 111. At 05:25am on 17 Sep 2009, TJ wrote:

    Simon #110:

    I think we are very close when you say:

    "I think we both are pointing to the need to be aware that such choices are being made, consciously and unconsciously."

    In my work I apply the same methods that you describe in your 3rd paragraph ("When I refer to framing........"). Although I haven’t usually got the luxury of a lot of time for debate when the client is wanting delivery!!!

    Thanks for an interesting exchange.....

    Complain about this comment

  • 112. At 04:19am on 23 Sep 2009, Johnpaiy wrote:

    Fighting Global Warming and Climate Change does not need huge money, but the Knowledge of Nature and the reality that it is not the “carbon cycle” but “energy cycle” that is more important that needs to be looked at and dealt with

    Please give this a kind thought. This can change the very thinking and perception of Global Warming
    The cause for Global warming and climate change needs to be understood in terms of our intervention into Earth’s Energy Rhythm or Biorhythm of Earth. Earth is designed with two phases that co-exist. There is a ordering and disordering phase that balance each other. When west awakes to sunlight and goes in to disorder, east sleeps to and goes into order. When west peaks in light the east peaks in darkness and they give way to the opposite. The earth is dynamic and designed to balance it self. Thus earth is designed to keep the temperature of earth within in the limit and help life flourish. All life lives in this energy flow of earth. The system is dynamic and stable and works between to limits.

    All life is anti-gravitational, by instinct they work against the time directed to gravitational collapse [second law of thermodynamics]. Thus life supports nature from collapsing. However, a time direction emerges in the system towards disorder and collapse, when human mind aligns with material force and exploits nature. In the process he breaks into the ordering phase of the earth’s “energy cycle”. Thus the disorder in the world increases to a point where it becomes inevitable the system collapses. Over exploitation of material energy, intrusion into ordering phase of earth’s “energy cycle” is causing the shredding experience and is heading towards a collapse. The solution is to know the “Truth of Nature” and take steps to
    1] To reduce our intervention into nature’s dark cycle such that she gets space and time to recover.
    2] Develop nature compatible technique and technologies that does not release excess heat into environment.

    If you observe nature, a warming phase is part of all climatic cycle. When the “dry heat” increases and water evaporates and life is stressed, nature reacts forming clouds, which cuts the heat of the sunlight and limits the evaporation of water. This leads to build up of “wet heat” or warming. But warming is an indication of life force emerging. It is a “Good News”. Plants and animals take this signal. The physiology of plants changes in response to it. The reproductive phase gives way to vegetative phase. This phase can be dangerous if there is uncertainty and prolongation. A weeding process occurs during this period.

    We human are the cause for breaking the energy cycle. We need to “awaken to truth” of nature. We need to realize simple truth that exists next to our skin. We need to become conscious and truly intelligent to know our basic relationship with nature. The present time is calling out to humanity to become conscious and make advancement in their thinking. Unless humanity awakens to simple “Truth of Nature” we will only prolong the disordered state of the world calling upon humanity huge destruction.

    Complain about this comment

View these comments in RSS


Sign in

BBC navigation

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.