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Valuing nature, doing what with the numbers?

Richard Black | 15:58 UK time, Monday, 14 June 2010

African wild dogLast week's decision to set up a global organisation to provide governments with advice on biodiversity wasn't entirely unexpected, but wasn't a shoo-in either.

The Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IBPES) will be loosely modelled on the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) - presumably taking into account of whatever recommendations the ongoing review of IPCC practices come up with.

It's been a long time coming - five years, in fact, since publication of the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment (MEA), the pioneering attempt to catalogue the health of the biosphere from the equator to the poles.

MEA flagged up in as much detail as could be mustered that "human activities threaten the Earth's ability to sustain future generations", as my colleague Jonathan Amos summarised things back in 2005.

It also flagged up the fact that with six and a half billion people on the planet, pushing to something around nine billion in just 40 years' time, the state of the biosphere was a moving target that would need to be monitored closely - not least for signs that its declining health was threatening human wellbeing.

The former French President Jacques Chirac helped push things forward shortly afterwards; and the impetus given by him and others has now proven sufficient to overcome the objections of those countries that felt biodiversity loss to be overwhelmingly a national rather than a global issue.

Following last week's deliberations in South Korea, the organisation should be in play by the end of the year.

For advice on how the IPBES should function and what lessons should be learned from the IPCC, last week's meeting would have had to look no further than its vice-chair Bob Watson, the former IPCC chief dethroned in 2002 by the US in favour of the current incumbent, Rajendra Pachauri, whom the administration of George W Bush and its supporters in the US oil industry considered less alarmist and more tractable.

Jacques ChiracDr Watson - currently a senior UK government advisor, among other things - will find himself on the other side of the planet this week, in Montreal.

There he will be one of four "witnesses" testifying on Tuesday to the IPCC review, which as regular readers will know is conducted under the auspices of the InterAcademy Council.

(This is the review's second public session, following the opening in Amsterdam last month.)

Joining Dr Watson on the witness stand will be:

All four have inside knowledge of the IPCC; and it seems reasonable, on the basis of what they've said previously in public, to assume that none will unequivocally endorse everything about the organisation.

Bob Watson and Chris Field, for example, had words to say in the UK's Sunday Times some weeks ago about possible errors in the IPCC's 2007 assessment.

John Christy described on this website several years ago what he saw as the politicisation of the panel's scientific pronouncements, and has more recently espoused the notions of removing the panel from the UN system and transforming its publications into some sort of wiki operation, with the current state of knowledge or ignorance being constantly discussed and updated.

As noted here previously, the review is also seeking submissions from anyone who cares to write in; and although I don't have an exact number for those submissions, I'm told that the flow has been quite impressive.

Climate sculpture(Both Roger Pielkes - senior and junior - have posted some comments.)

Whatever emerges from this review in October should, in principle, strengthen the IPCC and increase the credibility of its reports.

But while governments are addressing this issue, they might like to debate another: conclusions that the IPCC produces, or that the IPBES will produce, are in a practical sense useless unless they result in political decisions commensurate with those conclusions.

After all, one can only assume that governments want to set up such institutions if they intend to be guided by their analyses - otherwise (to put it crudely), they're establishing a mechanism that can tell them how far they are up the creek without ever intending to paddle out.

In that light, it was salutary once again to find the UN climate convention negotiations last week still riven through with ideological and procedural wrangling that threatens to prevent any meaningful progress in the foreseeable future.

Back at the Nairobi summit in 2006, the talk was all of having a new international legal instrument tied up by 2009, so companies and investors could survey the lower-carbon field on which they would be playing after the current Kyoto Protocol targets expire in 2012, and make sensible decisions.

That was back when a genuinely global carbon market, acting on a meaningful carbon price set by tough emission caps, seemed something that might actually happen.

Now, a rather different question is being asked: will anything at all be in place by 2012, other than the nationally determined and in all meaningful senses voluntary targets inscribed on the Copenhagen Accord?

One wonders whether at the IPBES meeting in South Korea last week, a parallel question materialised: once we've told governments how bad the biodiversity situation is, what's the basis for believing they'll do anything about it?

Comments

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  • 1. At 4:29pm on 14 Jun 2010, Kamboshigh wrote:

    Lets get one thing clear from the start "This is not a scientific body but a political operation to push the UN forward after the failure of the IPCC"

    They have no clue or idea about biodiversity and their first report has more errors, distortions and agenda setting advocates than AR4.

    http://climatequotes.com/2010/06/13/teeb-pushes-fear-and-new-taxes/

    Utter rubbish again politically driven with no idea what they are talking about

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  • 2. At 5:16pm on 14 Jun 2010, Brunnen_G wrote:

    I wonder if the people 'reviewing' the IPCC will paint my fence when they're done.

    They should have some whitewash left over...

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  • 3. At 5:29pm on 14 Jun 2010, brucepotter wrote:

    Two thoughts -- quite minor in the face of the the REALLY BIG and IMPORTANT point being made by Richard that even with robust, relatively rigorous analytical methods, there is no important political process that wants to support major re-engineering of the failing, and increasingly dangerous dominant economic models.

    1) English or American dialect, it's shoo, not shoe . . .

    2) Attributing the valuation of environmental services to the Millenium Environmental Assessment ignores a LOT of important work over the previous decade or two by the Environmental Economics community, summarized in the 1997 Nature article:

    The value of the world’s ecosystem services and natural capital

    Robert Costanza*†, Ralph d’Arge‡, Rudolf de Groot§, Stephen Farberk, Monica Grasso†, Bruce Hannon¶,
    Karin Limburg#I, Shahid Naeem**, Robert V. O’Neill††, Jose Paruelo‡‡, Robert G. Raskin§§, Paul Suttonkk & Marjan van den Belt¶¶

    * Center for Environmental and Estuarine Studies, Zoology Department, and † Insitute for Ecological Economics, University of Maryland, [Personal details removed by Moderator]
    ‡ Economics Department (emeritus), University of Wyoming, L [Personal details removed by Moderator]
    § Center for Environment and Climate Studies, Wageningen Agricultural University, [Personal details removed by Moderator]The Netherlands
    kGraduate School of Public and International Affairs, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, [Personal details removed by Moderator]
    ¶ Geography Department and NCSA, University of Illinois, [Personal details removed by Moderator]
    # Institute of Ecosystem Studies, Millbrook, New York, USA
    ** Department of Ecology, Evolution and Behavior, University of Minnesota, [Personal details removed by Moderator]
    †† Environmental Sciences Division, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Oak Ridge, Tennessee [Personal details removed by Moderator]
    ‡‡ Department of Ecology, Faculty of Agronomy, University of Buenos Aires, [Personal details removed by Moderator]
    §§ Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, [Personal details removed by Moderator]
    kkNational Center for Geographic Information and Analysis, Department of Geography, University of California at Santa Barbara, [Personal details removed by Moderator]
    ¶¶ Ecological Economics Research and Applications Inc., [Personal details removed by Moderator]
    ----

    Another important contributor to this discussion has been Herman Daly, now emeritus professor at the University of Maryland, a senior expert at the World Bank at the time of the earlier work by Costanza and other others. Bob Costanza is currently in the process of moving from the GUND Institute at the University of Vermont to another institute he is setting up at the University of Portland (Oregon).

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  • 4. At 5:47pm on 14 Jun 2010, manysummits wrote:

    To Richard Black: Kudos Richard - this is a step in the right direction!

    You wrote:

    "But while governments are addressing this issue, they might like to debate another: conclusions that the IPCC produces, or that the IPBES will produce, are in a practical sense useless unless they result in political decisions commensurate with those conclusions."

    =========

    Indeed! But they will eventually. James Lovelock was right - AGAIN!

    The 'People will only move when they sense a clear and present danger.'

    That time is arriving all too rapidly, and, if we survive, it will be a close thing.

    We risk being thrown back in time into another Dark Age.

    The forces of fear are powerful, and we are already burning witches, yet again, in the attacks upon science, upon reason, upon compassion.

    This time there is the Internet.

    I am not a Utopian. The People will not change - we are what we are.

    But for the first time in history, we can spread ideas and information at near the speed of light everywhere in the world.

    This may not be enough - I cannot say.

    But it represents a chance. A chance we must seize with both hands.

    The lobby is powerful - their constituency large, and possibly growing.

    Make no mistake, this forum is only partly a place to debate and present information.

    It is also a virtual war room.

    The lobby, whether knowingly or unknowingly, in Freud's 'unconscious world,' is undermining and threatening the world community with their 'assault on reason,' but more than that, with their appeal to our darker sides.

    This is intentional. The lobby is not unknowingly adopting the tactic of vilification and outright dissembling.

    They know that this will drive away the more reasonable members of the warmist camp - it has and it continues to do so.

    I am here because I will not shy from a fight, because I believe that might 'for' right is honorable - and because I believe there is no other choice.

    We fight for survival - not for ideology.

    The single most important thing we can do today is to tell it like it is - to tell 'the pilot the condition of his craft.'

    When enough people realize the state of the planet - we will act.

    It is therefore my goal, now and into the future, to communicate the true state of the planet to all with ears, and eyes - and a conscience.

    People seem to like that phrase, which is why I use it again. It struck a chord, and I need not question the response.

    To all with ears, and eyes and a conscience - and a warlike spirit;

    come to this forum - ENGAGE.


    - Manysummits -

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  • 5. At 6:15pm on 14 Jun 2010, Richard Black (BBC) wrote:

    #3 brucepotter - thanks for the correction - spelling now amended.

    On the second point - sure, indeed I remember reporting on that Costanza study. But it didn't have anything like the scale and breadth of the MEA - no single study could.

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  • 6. At 6:31pm on 14 Jun 2010, simon-swede wrote:

    Brucepotter at #3

    I don’t entirely agree with the way you characterise the MEA – I think this broke new ground, not least of all because of its sheer scope and the ways it sought to combine knowledge from different fields and scales of assessment. However I do agree with you about the importance of work such as that done by Costanza and his colleagues.

    Here is another paper that you may find to be of interest. Srinivasan and his colleagues sought to provide a quantitative analysis of claims that a cost of global economic growth during the past century has been the degradation of vital ecosystems — and that this is a cost borne disproportionately by the world's poor. To do so they calculated the distribution of costs and benefits over a range of indicators of ecosystem change.

    “The debt of nations and the distribution of ecological impacts from human activities”, Srinivasan, U. T. et al., PNAS, 5 February 2008, vol. 105 no. 5, pp 1768-1773. (I believe this is as open access article, see: http://www.pnas.org/content/105/5/1768.full).

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  • 7. At 6:38pm on 14 Jun 2010, Jack Hughes wrote:

    Meanwhile on Planet Earth:

    Clegg's wife gets wind job as Nick votes for ... windmills

    "Nick Clegg's wife has accepted a lucrative job with a major Spanish wind farm firm just weeks after her husband became Deputy Prime Minister.

    Miriam Clegg is joining the board of Acciona which has been awarded contracts in Britain."

    Source: Daily Mail

    Mrs Clegg got the job with no experience of wind power or construction.


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  • 8. At 6:50pm on 14 Jun 2010, Jack Hughes wrote:

    Why are these UN projects so parochial and small-minded.

    After all they could be saving the solar system - or beyond. Just think how unsustainable all these galaxies are and I haven't even started on black holes - surely worse than me driving a 4x4 to Tesco.

    They could have more and more conferences - grand banquets, limos, pompous speeches. Maybe even define "gravity" as the new carbon.

    Won't someone think of the children!

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  • 9. At 6:58pm on 14 Jun 2010, John_from_Hendon wrote:

    I wonder if we as a planet are taking the first faltering steps to a planetary wide government? The UN certainly is spreading its flippers.

    There is the same problem of enforceability and the lack of democratic legitimacy as the IPCC. In short without legitimacy that can only really come from universal suffrage how can any other the UN initiatives make progress?

    I don't think they can. That is not to say that they are all bad - far from it (but a bit like the curate's egg) - but without legitimacy I don't see how they can any progress.

    Today President Obama declared his support for clean energy (for very obvious reasons). Now if the UN was to push for the same thing then perhaps progress could be made - but I still doubt it. For so long as we insist, for sound economic reasons, on running a World based on dirty energy the problem will remain.

    The way that sulphur was removed from combustion is really the only clean up that has succeeded and that may have removed some acid rain - but that was more than just luck, but the driver was really health. As I see it the way ahead for clean energy needs to be health too. We will all note that the Americans only started to care about clean energy AFTER the got oil on their own beaches - they did not give a hoot when the oil wells of Iraq burned for months.

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  • 10. At 7:14pm on 14 Jun 2010, Brunnen_G wrote:

    #4 manysummits wrote:

    We risk being thrown back in time into another Dark Age.

    --------------------------------------

    Only if we were dumb enough to go with your plan to shut down all the factories and move to worldwide sustenence farming.

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  • 11. At 7:39pm on 14 Jun 2010, Jack Hughes wrote:

    That's the big problem with the greenies: they go all quiet when you ask them to spell out the ideal green lifestyle.

    It's a vague farrago of windmills and turning down the thermostat, with Kumbaya sung in the background. Just watch how they never explein what is a good setting for the thermostat - we just need to keep turning it down. And down. And down.

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  • 12. At 8:36pm on 14 Jun 2010, Ispeakinprose wrote:

    I try to keep my thermostat at 10 degrees C in winter. Not only is it green, but it also saves me tons on my heating bill.

    I have a lot of other things I do while attempting to live my ideal green lifestyle - and they all save me money.

    Getting green while getting rich? That's pretty ideal, I'd say. Win-win, really.

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  • 13. At 8:50pm on 14 Jun 2010, andy765gtr wrote:

    jack,'greenies' have been spelling out how we can live relatively sustainably for decades. however most of them are as dumb as the next person because they have studiously avoided the real elephant in the room... OUR ASTRONOMICAL NUMBERS. until the UN tells everyone what they dont want to hear, and aggressively keeps telling them untill they get the message, we havnt the slightest hope of surviving the next 50 years of population overshoot resource depletion, let alone peak oil.

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  • 14. At 9:46pm on 14 Jun 2010, JB wrote:

    # 10, Brunnen_G: "Only if we were dumb enough to go with your plan to shut down all the factories and move to worldwide sustenence farming."

    Who needs the first part of this plan? - the factories are closing down anyway. As for the second phase, it is just dreaming. The vast majority of the world's urbanised population wouldn't have the determination to get anywhere with farming at any level let alone subsistence farming. So I agree that the "plan" is going nowhere. More likely a lot a people are just going to starve to death.

    If it turns out that one day your country doesn't have enough surplus money to import the food you need to survive, then what would you recommend? One thing for sure is that you won't be able to borrow it from subsistence farmers because - by definition - they don't have any surplus to lend. I'm not sure about "sustenence" farmers - maybe they are better off :o)

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  • 15. At 9:49pm on 14 Jun 2010, Yorkurbantree wrote:

    Interesting stuff.

    Re: 1: You can't beat paranoid neo-conservatism for an unobjective overview. If your ideology precludes you from accepting that the UN is a legitimate concept, then its hardly suprising that your not a big fan of their latest development.

    Re: 7, 8 and 11: Bit of Daily Mail smearing, then a wierd rant, followed by the old chestnut of 'what do we do'. About a year ago I fell into the trap of trying to answer Mr Hughes and was reminded by others that he periodically asks that question and ignores the responses he gets. There is some fascinating psychology there...

    Re: 13: Everyone knows a smaller population would be a good thing for reducing our environmental impact. However, as others have said - reducing the population is not exactly easy unless you run a dictatorship.

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  • 16. At 10:33pm on 14 Jun 2010, Jack Hughes wrote:

    Hi Yorkie !

    Yes I have asked this question more than once.

    Fair play to you - yours was the only honest answer. The other answers were vague and evasive.

    You mentioned travelling by bike round town and commuting to Leeds by train. Insulating your loft.

    Bu you never got to the crux which is this: are you, Yorkurbantree, doing enough? If we all copied your lifestyle would that be enough?

    I don't care if you are doing more than others or less than others. I am interested to know if you are meeting the target.

    This is the reason why I keep asking this question. I want to know what the green lifestyle is going to be like.

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  • 17. At 10:37pm on 14 Jun 2010, John_from_Hendon wrote:

    #12. Ispeakinprose wrote:

    "I try to keep my thermostat at 10 degrees C"

    That is far too cold. There will be quite severe medical consequences for you and your young and elderly relations and visitors.

    Schools have to send children home if the temperature goes below 16 C - the recommended minimum is 18 C. The extreme elderly and chronically physically inactive really need at least 21C day and night. In the UK you are also likely to suffer bad condensation problems.

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  • 18. At 10:41pm on 14 Jun 2010, John_from_Hendon wrote:

    #15. Yorkurbantree wrote:

    "Re: 13: Everyone knows a smaller population would be a good thing for reducing our environmental impact. However, as others have said - reducing the population is not exactly easy unless you run a dictatorship."

    Dictatorships generally need cannon fodder and so actually want a large population (but there are exceptions - see year zero and Pol Pot).

    But is it really necessary for the major religions of the World to seek the maximises the population?????

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  • 19. At 00:48am on 15 Jun 2010, TeaPot562 wrote:

    1. European and North American population descended from European ancestors are already in decline - majority of children in schools in the USA will be of hispanic or muslim descent within twenty years.
    Providing free solar-powered TVs to everyone in third world countries wouldn't hurt on reducing future human population.
    2. If biodiversity preservation is to be practical, Japanese government and other whaling nations must find other occupations for the whale hunters. Otherwise whales go extinct within a few years.
    TeaPot562

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  • 20. At 00:53am on 15 Jun 2010, CanadianRockies wrote:

    "once we've told governments how bad the biodiversity situation is, what's the basis for believing they'll do anything about it?"

    First, who needs this body to tell governments what most of them know better than some global bureaucracy?

    For some species this would make more sense but, for what it is worth, we already have the IUCN for that.

    Second, why should they believe what they are "told" by such a body?

    Another IPCC is the last thing anybody needs.

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2010/06/14/the-ipcc-consensus-on-climate-change-was-phoney-says-ipcc-insider/#comment-409431

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  • 21. At 00:54am on 15 Jun 2010, manysummits wrote:

    10. At 7:14pm on 14 Jun 2010, Brunnen_G wrote:

    #4 manysummits wrote:

    We risk being thrown back in time into another Dark Age.

    --------------------------------------

    Only if we were dumb enough to go with your plan to shut down all the factories and move to worldwide sustenence farming.

    =============

    See how the lobby operates. Your last paragraph is a lie - you put words in my mouth, and then others pick this up, and argue over it. But your lie remains just that - a lie.

    - Manysummits -

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  • 22. At 03:09am on 15 Jun 2010, manysummits wrote:

    Richard Black asks:

    "One wonders whether at the IPBES meeting in South Korea last week, a parallel question materialised: once we've told governments how bad the biodiversity situation is, what's the basis for believing they'll do anything about it?"

    ===========

    Close to zero, as things stand.

    George Monbiot has an intersting article:

    http://www.monbiot.com/archives/2010/06/14/bogus-misdirected-and-effective/

    "The radical right has something to teach us on this side of the Atlantic as well: the world is run by those who turn up."

    =================

    Yes - the radical right - they are at least angry - angry enough to do something.

    The left - we are polite - and reasonable - and ineffective.

    You can see it on this blog.

    Biodiversity as perceived by the scientific community will not sell as is.

    We've got to get rid of words like biodiversity - and speak English.

    When you throw a baseball and make it curve over here - we sometimes use the term 'english' on the ball to describe its spin.

    We've got to get over our fear of this type of 'english,' and talk to people in language everyone can relate to.

    This is not rocket science.

    - Manysummits -


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  • 23. At 08:23am on 15 Jun 2010, M Bergman wrote:

    Unfortunately, no amount of science or documentation can force people to accept facts. People can change, but we've gotten so flabby and weak that we'd rather die denying reality than suck it up and do what's necessary to change.

    It doesn't take an Oxford mathematician to know what needs changing, BTW. For starters, try: (1) Enforced population control (because people are too selfish to do it themselves); (2) Strong incentives for business to convert to real green, renewable energy sources, and strong penalties for those that don't (because business is too blind to do it otherwise); (3) Support for citizens to convert to solar and/or other green sources of power (what a nice way for banks to give back to those that bailed them out, don't you think?); (4) Take universities and science off the corporate payroll so we can trust the results to be as objective as possible (because otherwise our "experts" are just mouthpieces for politicians and stock holders); (5) Provide robust protections for community food and water sources, and air, to prevent them being poisoned by corporations in the name of short term profits, and enforce them; (6) Prosecute white collar criminals and submit them to the same treatment average citizens receive at the hands of justice; (7) Break media monopolies and introduce legislation ensuring that buyouts do not result in one political party controlling all the media outlets (because people have never been able to recognise the difference between propaganda and news); and (8) Stop bailing out corrupt, unethical businesses. LET THEM FAIL. (Because people only learn from the consequences of their actions, and bailouts remove the consequences; hence the lesson is not learned.)

    Yes, that's right. Ouch.

    Oh, I do feel for all those CEOs and stock holders. Growing up is hard to do, but it's time to move out of mum and dad's house now and live--or go broke--on your own. Try reading the Lloyd's 360 Environmental Risk Assessment report for 2010. That should sober you up a bit. And should you find yourself feeling sceptical again, remember: Just because you can't imagine it, doesn't mean it isn't true.

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  • 24. At 09:24am on 15 Jun 2010, Smiffie wrote:

    manysummits @ #4 said of the lobby “They know that this will drive away the more reasonable members of the warmist camp”
    Manysummits, do you think that it might be you who drive away the more reasonable members of the warmist camp?

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  • 25. At 10:07am on 15 Jun 2010, manysummits wrote:

    Actually, I'd like to qualify my # 22 substantially:

    22. At 03:09am on 15 Jun 2010, you wrote:

    Richard Black asks:

    "One wonders whether at the IPBES meeting in South Korea last week, a parallel question materialised: once we've told governments how bad the biodiversity situation is, what's the basis for believing they'll do anything about it?"

    =============

    Governments seem to like creating protected Parks and Marine Sanctuaries, so the response to this new panel may be much more positive, especially considering that no reduction in fossil fuel use is required.

    Should have remembered that - bit pessimistic there.

    Probably the potential is greatest for the oceans, where less than one percent is now protected. Even George W. jumped at the chance to be seen as an advocate of the environment.

    And the Yellowstone to Jasper initiative worked fairly well here in North America, so even on land, much may be possible.

    But the population increase forecast by the UN will increasingly demand more of everything from both land and sea unless we reduce that demand in some way.

    - Manysummits -

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  • 26. At 10:11am on 15 Jun 2010, manysummits wrote:

    24. At 09:24am on 15 Jun 2010, Smiffie wrote:

    manysummits @ #4 said of the lobby “They know that this will drive away the more reasonable members of the warmist camp”
    Manysummits, do you think that it might be you who drive away the more reasonable members of the warmist camp?

    ===============

    Sometimes I do wonder.

    - Manysummits -

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  • 27. At 10:13am on 15 Jun 2010, manysummits wrote:

    To M Bergman #23:

    You sound a little pessimistic in your post.

    I'm guessing that you are not a politician??

    - Manysummits -

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  • 28. At 11:31am on 15 Jun 2010, farmer john wrote:

    I am referring to your current article on the Green Revolution and its wonderful ability to curb greenhouse gases. This study seems completely absurd. It is well known that the Green Revolution in India has had horrible impacts both environmentally and socially. Modern intensive mechanical farming does produce more grain with less man power. That is its overachieving result, but it does not produce more grain on less land. Synthetic fertilizers produce huge amounts of nitrous dioxide which is 300 times worse than carbon dioxide in respect to climate warming. India saw gains in its national crops in the early years, before the destruction of the land lowered production or forced a move to new land (clearing more forest). Please try to tell the whole story.

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  • 29. At 12:17pm on 15 Jun 2010, simon-swede wrote:

    CanadianRockies at #20

    You wrote: "First, who needs this body to tell governments what most of them know better than some global bureaucracy?"

    That seems to ignore that it is the governments themselves that have have concluded that there is a deficiency in the science-policy advice available in this area. It wasn't available from elsewhere, so they have chosen to create a new body.

    You also wrote: "Second, why should they believe what they are "told" by such a body?"

    Well, the governments who are establishing the body, will be giving it a mandate and deciding on how it should operate. Ultimately the body reports and is accountable to the governments who establish (and fund) it. If they don't like what they get, then these governments can act accordingly.

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  • 30. At 12:49pm on 15 Jun 2010, simon-swede wrote:

    farmerjohn at #28

    I'm curious about your criticism as the article (and the paper it links to) appear to address directly the concerns you raise - but disagrees with them. So if there is a failing it lies in the central conclusions of the research but not in the way it is reported.

    The article (and research) acknowledges, for example, that intensive farming uses much more power and the "use of chemicals such as fertilisers, whose production involves emissions of CO2 and whose use generates nitrous oxide, another greenhouse gas". But the research concludes "However, additional emissions from the extra land clearance, releasing carbon stored in trees and soil, would have been the more important factor by far."

    It may well be that the conclusion is faulty and that it is not the case that the indirect impacts from converting land to agriculture outweigh the direct emissions that come from the modern, intensive style of agriculture. But that is something to challenge the research on, not the reporting of the results that were obtained.

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  • 31. At 12:54pm on 15 Jun 2010, bowmanthebard wrote:

    #23 M Bergman wrote:

    It doesn't take an Oxford mathematician to know what needs changing, BTW. For starters, try: (1) Enforced population control (because people are too selfish to do it themselves)

    Do you hope to achieve this following the methods of the German Nazi party, or those of the Chinese communist party?

    Wouldn't it be a more humane idea to have a world in which people just naturally want to have fewer children? -- As is already the case in the West?

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  • 32. At 2:01pm on 15 Jun 2010, Robert Lucien wrote:

    Environmentally it would be interesting to compare the size of disasters, though this is pretty hard to do because they are different types. Obviously some disasters kill a lot more people than others out of proportion for their size and so on, and a lot of the time scale is extremely difficult to estimate. Long term pollution from oil or radiation into the atmosphere could be killing for years or decades after an event. Here's a rough fit with nuclear disasters, obviously its only a start. -

    Environmental Damage (rough estimates)
    The Deep Horizons gulf oil spill 2 to 10 times the size of Chernobyl.
    Chernobyl 300 to 500 times the size of a (military type) nuclear bomb
    Nuclear bomb est 10 times the size of the Windscale accident.
    Nuclear bomb 1000 to 10,000 times the size of Three Mile Island.

    Looking at the Niger delta the total amount spilt there is is roughly 2 to 10 times bigger than the Deep Horizons spill but that is in hundreds or thousands of small spills over a period of decades.

    Bhopal, hard to get any real figures - it certainly killed a lot of people but environmentally it was quite a small area -

    The point is that this Deep Horizons disaster is on an absolutely enormous scale, its effectively killing a whole ocean scale ecosystem. The direct effect on people might be relatively minor though the eventual death toll may well still be in the hundreds or more. The effect on communities and local industry is another matter, just look at the effects after the Exxon Valdez spill.


    Like others I really do think this shows we need to start moving away from such large scale extraction of oil. It sounds like the actual accident was a chain of incompetence - as they so often are, but the real disgrace is that there was so little preparation for this kind of disaster. It reminds me of Iraq - or our current preparations to cope with a large volcanic ash eruption or climate change. Its short termism run rampant. We've become like the frog in the road, we wait till we can see the danger coming and only act at the last second. Do you know what happens to a frog when it gets run over by a car? [squicht!]

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  • 33. At 2:12pm on 15 Jun 2010, Barry Woods wrote:

    Thanks to Richard Black for the links to both Pielkes blogs...

    Their advice to the IPCC on procedures are particularly enlightening, on how things went wrong at the IPCC...

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  • 34. At 2:31pm on 15 Jun 2010, Smiffie wrote:

    I have been reading through some of the Richard Black blogs from about a year ago, Gordon Brown was a statesman, anthropogenic climate change was real and it was the sceptics who were the nutters, it was a different world back then.
    Manysummits – I see that you have a cat, well there’s something that we have in common.
    Smiffie

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  • 35. At 2:34pm on 15 Jun 2010, LarryKealey wrote:


    Dateline Gulf of Mexico Day 57

    Well, the oil has now invaded the estuaries of Southern Alabama - a Marina owner was interviewed this morning who said they were not allowed to clean up globs of oil - BP would call them when they can send a crew out.

    I used to skydive a lot in that area, I have photos of the estuaries along he Florida/Alabama border from over 14,000 ft - I wish I could post some here - it would really give people an idea of just how hard it will be to clean these estuaries - as opposed to the (once) beautiful beaches.

    It has been reported here that a number of internal BP emails have been obtained showing that 'it was a disaster waiting to happen' and BP was taking a lot of shortcuts. I don't know the whole truth - and I doubt that we ever will - but Mr. Hayward will be 'grilled' on Capital Hill on Thursday. While I am not happy with him, nor his COO, nor many of the execs at BP - I am afraid that the US government will fail to live up to its share of the responsibility - and they do share.

    I do think that the 'lack of transparency' on the part of BP and the US Government must end and end immediately - everyone should know all the facts and all the data.

    I am concerned that nothing more than a 'blame game' will come out of this mess. That will truly be (yet another) tragedy.

    As I have stated, I have hopes that real disaster planning (just like we do for hurricanes) will come out of this.

    Some have said a good hurricane or tropical storm would actually help - nature's way of cleaning up the mess - if we have a storm like Allison in 2002 (or was it 2003) - which was just a tropical storm which sat over us for a couple of days and dropped 48 inches (yes, four feet) of rain here (in Sugar Land) in two days - could help with all the flood waters pushing oil out of marches and estuaries and into the Gulf - a strong storm with a large surge I believe, however, will push oil inland.

    Fortunately, when storms generally occur this early in the season, they form mainly in the Gulf and do not have time over open water to strengthen significantly - let us hope.

    I don't feel so well this morning, so I think I shall return to bed - more tomorrow, sorry for the shortness - there is so much to say yet.

    Let us all hope for a better day tomorrow.

    Kealey

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  • 36. At 2:37pm on 15 Jun 2010, Smiffie wrote:

    bowmanthebard @ #31 said “Wouldn't it be a more humane idea to have a world in which people just naturally want to have fewer children? -- As is already the case in the West?”

    As development occurred in the West, birth rates fell and population stabilized. Many now argue that the same will happen as the third world develops, but are we correct to assume that what happened for us will automatically happen for other peoples from other cultures? It may be that in South Asia, for example, where the family is very important, that development will lead to an accelerated rate of population expansion. South America too, development will not necessarily change belief systems that encourage large families, and what of Sub Sahara Africa, is development possible or will the violence that is so endemic to those people destroy any prospect?

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  • 37. At 2:52pm on 15 Jun 2010, simon-swede wrote:

    Robert Lucien at #32

    The basis for your comparison is unclear, to me at least. Exactly what factors did you use to compare Chernobyl with the Deepwater Horizon? Even if the other comparisons (Chernobyl, a nuclear bomb, and Windscale) had radioactivity in common, it is unclear to me how you can make a direct comparison without giving some criteria.

    However, entering into the spirit of your idea, you may want to have a look at the "World’s Worst Polluted Places" report. This is an annual report (beginning in 2006) and focuses on highlighting what it considers to be the worst polluted places around the globe and the associated problems for the people living there.

    For those that think this is rather doom-mongering, the 2009 report took a new approach. The 2009 report focuses on solutions and success stories - describing 12 notable examples where there were effective measures taken to reduce pollution and improving health.

    For details about this project and links to the reports, see:
    http://www.worstpolluted.org/

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  • 38. At 3:38pm on 15 Jun 2010, Brunnen_G wrote:

    #21 manysummits wrote: See how the lobby operates. Your last paragraph is a lie - you put words in my mouth, and then others pick this up, and argue over it. But your lie remains just that - a lie.

    - Manysummits -

    --------------------------------------------

    So you're saying you DIDN'T write that in the future you want factories dismantled and for people to grow their own food?

    So who wrote this?

    "I will paint a simple picture of what I see when I envisage a future here on this Good Earth:

    Your supermarket no longer has any 'middle section,' filled with packages of unhealthy industrial foods. As a consequence - there are no longer any 'factories' producing this unhealthy mess, and the population is growing healthier by the day as a result. Those who lost their jobs in those now defunct factories are now busy at other jobs, one of which is dismantling these factories and recycling their materials into something useful.

    There are no cars on the roads, and our cities are shrinking, as more people move into denser housing units, and the green spaces are converted finally from useless lawns to the growing of foods. Dandelions are no longer considered a weed, and take their place as the nutritious foodstuff they have always been."

    You have the cheek to call me a liar. I demand an apology as I have just proven that there is only one liar and dissembler around here, and it is YOU.

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  • 39. At 3:40pm on 15 Jun 2010, Brunnen_G wrote:

    #23 M Bergman wrote:

    It doesn't take an Oxford mathematician to know what needs changing, BTW. For starters, try: (1) Enforced population control (because people are too selfish to do it themselves)

    --------------------------------------------

    And how exactly to suppose we enforce this little piece of fascism?

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  • 40. At 4:08pm on 15 Jun 2010, bowmanthebard wrote:

    #36 Smiffie wrote:

    "It may be that in South Asia, for example, where the family is very important, that development will lead to an accelerated rate of population expansion."

    Families are important to humans all over the world. We all belong to the same species, and reproduction matters to us all pretty much equally.

    Or, to be more precise, behaviour that tends to get our genes into future generations matters pretty much equally to all of us. If each individual child has a good chance of reaching adulthood, and has to compete against other adults who are reasonably well-off and well-educated, and older adults don't have to worry about security in old age, then parents will want naturally want to have fewer children and invest more in each individual child.

    It seems to me that the facts of human biology agree with enlightened common sense that everyone is better off with more wealth and more education.

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  • 41. At 4:16pm on 15 Jun 2010, Smiffie wrote:

    The president of the greediest nation on earth has called for a move to clean, secure, renewable energy after an Anglo/American oil company messed up in his back yard. The greens have long been calling for a major catastrophe in order to get things moving and this one could be it, though thankfully with considerably less loss of life than many greens thought would be necessary. If you are into conspiracy theories, as many Americans are, you might even wonder if it was an inside job – eco-terrorism, but I digress.

    There is no reason why the changes that Mr. Obama proposes should be a problem to AGW sceptics like myself, unless of course we really are in the pay of the oil companies, as long as we all understand the real world (non AGW) benefits of doing so then there is no reason to object. Your average petrol-head is likely to be very interested in developing new technologies, it will be like being transported back to the early days of Henry Ford. Of course the greens will have to work hard to get the petrol-heads on board, the greens think that they have had it tough recently, the rest of us have a hard time of it for more than two decades…“you can’t have a hot rod show, it’s bad for the environment, don’t you have any kids?” that sort of thing, but maybe we can put AGW behind is and become ethanol heads.

    In 1899 Charles H Duell, Commissioner of the U.S. Patent Office is reputed to have said “Everything that can be invented has been invented.” From where we are now it is hard to see how we can replace fossil fuels and maintain our standard of living, this is because we cannot imagine the technologies that we will be using in twenty years from now. When I was at college in the 1970’s I reluctantly had to attend a computer studies course, the college did not own a computer but they did have a machine for typing punch cards. I could not see the point of the course, it was not as if I was ever going to use a computer.

    So let’s run with it, business as un-usual, good news for the West, not such good news for Saudi Arabia .

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  • 42. At 5:09pm on 15 Jun 2010, CanadianRockies wrote:

    Since we already have the IUCN, why do we need this new bureaucracy at all?

    We don't. So, surprise, surprise, here's what it is really about:

    http://climatequotes.com/2010/06/13/teeb-pushes-fear-and-new-taxes/

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  • 43. At 5:17pm on 15 Jun 2010, CanadianRockies wrote:

    29. simon-swede wrote:

    "That seems to ignore that it is the governments themselves that have have concluded that there is a deficiency in the science-policy advice available in this area. It wasn't available from elsewhere, so they have chosen to create a new body."

    OK. How about one single example of some advice that Sweden or Canada could possibly get from this new IPCC that they would not already know or could not get from the IUCN (for what that is worth).

    If they go ahead and set up this new bureaucracy, does that mean the IUCN is redundant and should be defunded and ended?



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  • 44. At 5:40pm on 15 Jun 2010, manysummits wrote:

    To farmer john #28 re "Please try to tell the whole story." (Green Revolution)

    Yes, I agree. Both Lester Brown's "Plan B 4.0" and Al Gore's "Our Choice" go over farming, forestry and best practice thoroughly, including the use of unnatural fertilizers and the degradation of the soil - a non-trivial development of the so called Green Revolution.

    The law of unintended consequences seems to have operated at maximum efficiency on this one - net result - we have expanded our numbers in response to an unsustainable method of mining the soil, which is not at all the same as farming.

    And yes, the highest productivity of the soil in a sustainable manner involves best practice on smaller individually tended farmland - most definitely not industrial agri-business, whose primary purpose, as so often is the case, is the enrichment of the agri-businesses themselves and their shareholders - eg Monsanto et al...

    Good post,

    Manysummits

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  • 45. At 6:01pm on 15 Jun 2010, manysummits wrote:

    To Robert Lucien #32:

    "It sounds like the actual accident was a chain of incompetence - as they so often are, but the real disgrace is that there was so little preparation for this kind of disaster." (Robert)

    ===========

    I have a saying in the mountains - 'It takes three mistakes to kill you.'

    I.E., you can get away with a lot - luck, as it were, but if you screw up three times in a row - that is real danger, and your chances of survival drop precipitously.

    I've read what I could of the Deepwater chain of events. Having been in the 'patch' on drilling rigs for some twenty years, I can say that I sense massive interference from 'the office' on this one, i.e., the guys in the field typically know exactly how to do it right, want to do it right, and are often overruled by 'the ofice,' read a psychopathic publicly held corporate-elite, concerned principally about short-term sharholder gratification. The shareholders are often in it only for the money - some long-term, most short-term. This is a prescription for disaster - the proof of this, as they say, is in the pudding - we are surrounded by disasters in thinking by a divorced plutocracy, now and into the forseeable future.

    As for preparation:

    This is the preparation - a lawyers office, where the costs incurred will be systematically passed on to the public, i.e. externalized.

    In short - corporate welfare.

    - Manysummits -

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  • 46. At 6:03pm on 15 Jun 2010, manysummits wrote:

    Smiffie #34:

    Two cats - and the denialists are the nutters.

    Sensiblegrannie is the only true skeptic on this blog.

    - Manysummits -

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  • 47. At 6:17pm on 15 Jun 2010, manysummits wrote:

    To Brunnen_G #38:

    Good - you've cut and pasted my exact words - now be so good as to re-read them.

    I refer specifically to the middle aisles of our supermarkets, i.e., junk food, and the factories producing - 'junk food.'

    Any rational familiarity with my writing on this blog, and there is a lot of it, would have told anyone capable of thinking that I am not a 'back to sustenance farming' person. For one thing, that would suport a small percentage of the world population, and my entire purpose for blogging is to prevent the stupid, ignorant and entirely unnecesary loss of life which narrow and denialist thinking, i.e., yours and the lobby's - is bent on achieving.

    I and others are trying to arrange a retreat from madness - a soft landing.

    This is technically still possible.

    But you and yours are doing everything in your power to maintain the status quo - Armageddon in the making.

    Often I assume a level of intelligence in readers which appears not to be there.

    If I am guilty of this - I apologise, and will try and speak more clearly.

    Factories supplying good paying and permanent kobs to employees making necessary products - YES. Solar panels, windmill parts. supergrid, Internet, alternate clean power for the billion without any electricity, food to the billion undernourished right now.

    There are jobs a plenty needing doing, and jobs a plenty which need to be eliminated.

    - Manysummits -

    PS: Thanks at least Brunnen for at least 'following up.'

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  • 48. At 6:26pm on 15 Jun 2010, simon-swede wrote:

    CanadianRockies at #42

    Your link is about the TEEB, but the new decision was to proceed with establishing the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IBPES). They are not the same.

    The TEEB's main focus is to examine the economic costs of biodiversity decline and the costs and benefits of actions to reduce these losses.
    The study is being led by UNEP with financial support from the European Commission, German Federal Ministry for the Environment, and the UK Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.

    The IPBES will be a global body, and it is expected to be established with a mandate from the UN General Assembly. Its roles will include carrying out peer reviews of the science on biodiversity and ecosystem services emerging from research institutes around the world. These reports will cover the state, status and trends of biodiversity and ecosystems, and also outline policy options and responses to governments.

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  • 49. At 6:45pm on 15 Jun 2010, simon-swede wrote:

    CanadianRockies at #43

    The Swedish government clearly sees a need for the IPBES as demonstrated by it taking a lead in the process and by providing funding to the preparatory process. At last years 2nd meeting on the establishment of the IPBES, Sweden, on behalf of the European Union (EU), proposed the establishment of a mechanism to improve and strengthen the existing science-policy interface.

    And IUCN itself has noted:

    "Do we need a IPBES?
    There are already several mechanisms and processes at national, regional and global level that are designed to ensure that scientific information is considered when designing policies or making decisions (examples of this are technical bodies/panels under the environmental agreements or national research institutions attached to ministries, among many others). However, there is no global ongoing mechanism recognized by the scientific and policy communities, that pulls this information together, synthesizes and analyzes it for decision making in a range of policy fora."

    The reality is that an IPBES would have a very different mandate, focus, goals, strategies, composition and working methods than IUCN. Rather than been worried about possible duplication, I imagine that IUCN would intend to contribute its expertise to the work of the IPBES and use the outputs of the IPBES work in IUCNs own programmes. That is exactly what happened with the MEA.

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  • 50. At 6:50pm on 15 Jun 2010, Robert Lucien wrote:

    #37 simon-swede

    "The basis for your comparison is unclear, to me at least. Exactly what factors did you use to compare Chernobyl with the Deepwater Horizon? Even if the other comparisons (Chernobyl, a nuclear bomb, and Windscale) had radioactivity in common, it is unclear to me how you can make a direct comparison without giving some criteria."

    Its an extremely rough comparison, looking at the size and extent of environmental destruction and the rough time for the local environment to recover. Chernobyl was about as bad as a nuclear accident could be, terrible reactor design - but even it was still a lucky scrape. If there had been that secondary steam explosion a lot more could have died.

    Really its a question more than an answer, is the destruction from oil as bad or worse than that from nuclear or chemical disasters? I 'm curious myself.
    Like Chernobyl Bhopal is very unlikely to happen again (I hope), and generally the nuclear and chemical industries now seem to have a pretty good attitude to safety. Compare that to the oil & fuel industry and we see a long continuing series of accidents and disasters. They have a bad reputation but they seem to deserve it.

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  • 51. At 7:18pm on 15 Jun 2010, Dr Brian wrote:

    Just a few points on organic farming. Prince Charles please note.

    Organic farmers in Britain produce grain 3 times per decade at about 2 tons per acre with the land lying fallow for the rest of the time under clover or grass.
    Using pesticides, fungicides or herbicides and with crop rotation an 'industrial' farmer produces wheat 5 times in a decade at about 4 tons per acre with beet, peas, beans or oilseed rape in the intervening years.
    In the time an 'industrial' farmer produces about 20 tons of grain an organic farmer will be lucky to produce 6.
    It would be quite simple to feed the planet organically. It requires 3 things.
    1. The killing of all livestock and the conversion of the entire planet to vegetarianism.
    2. The ploughing up of all rain-forests and prairies to produce grain.
    3. A political decision to select the 2 odd billion people to be allowed to starve to death.

    Islington type people please stop waffling.

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  • 52. At 7:20pm on 15 Jun 2010, Brunnen_G wrote:

    Ah, the sound of backpeddling...

    'The middle aisles' of a supermarket is a meaningless phrase. Are you so parochial that you think all supermarkets in the world are laid out the way the are in North America?

    In my local supermarket, the middle aisles of one of them sells electrical goods, in the other sells clothing.

    No matter, your views are still nothing short of fascism. If people want to eat junk food, that's THEIR choice, not yours. If they don't want to live crammed together in "denser housing units" that's THEIR choice, not yours.

    The only way you could get people eating dandelions in a high rise flat without even the prospect of a park to relax in as those "wasteful" lawns will have been turned over to food production will be by force. Gunpoint will be necessary.

    Not that that should be a problem for you, after all, it's for the good of the planet.

    And finally, the only person here whose intelligence you're guilty of overestimating is your own...

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  • 53. At 7:46pm on 15 Jun 2010, CanadianRockies wrote:

    48. simon-swede wrote:

    "The IPBES will be a global body, and it is expected to be established with a mandate from the UN General Assembly. Its roles will include carrying out peer reviews of the science on biodiversity and ecosystem services emerging from research institutes around the world. These reports will cover the state, status and trends of biodiversity and ecosystems, and also outline policy options and responses to governments."

    Oh, given the UN's track record with the IPCC, that's reassuring.

    Yes indeed, the more levels of overpaid and underworked bureaucrats, employing the 'peer reviewed' research of the "mission-oriented" pseudoscience of Conservation Biology, the better. The eco-crisis research-industrial complex sure is a growth industry, using exactly the same fund-raising methods as the military-industrial complex.

    I hope you will profit handsomely from it.

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  • 54. At 7:52pm on 15 Jun 2010, CanadianRockies wrote:

    Cats are bad for the environment. There is a global population explosion of cats that threatens biodiversity. They kill millions of birds and small animals and the food they consume has high ecological costs. In the Brave New Green World of the future, all cat owners must pay a very high tax per cat - much higher if they reproduce - and all cats must be vegetarian and composted after they pass away - unless they can be recycled or turned into biofuel.

    I'm sure all greenies will agree.

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  • 55. At 8:02pm on 15 Jun 2010, manysummits wrote:

    Brunnen_G #52:

    True to the lobby - to the bitter end.

    So be it.

    - Manysummits -

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  • 56. At 8:07pm on 15 Jun 2010, bowmanthebard wrote:

    #41 Smiffie wrote:

    "the greediest nation on earth"

    You mean "the most successful nation", don't you? Has resentment hijacked your critical faculties?

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  • 57. At 8:09pm on 15 Jun 2010, CanadianRockies wrote:

    51. DrBrianS - More from the Prince. Hope the Queen lives forever.

    Prince Charles yesterday urged the world to follow Islamic 'spiritual principles' in order to protect the environment.

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1285332/Follow-Islamic-way-save-world-Charles-urges-environmentalists.html#ixzz0qVedA7z5


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  • 58. At 8:10pm on 15 Jun 2010, manysummits wrote:

    Valuing nature - a thought experiment:

    Suppose five billion people at the Italian Standard, i.e. UN World Health Organization's optimum state of health, is the carrying capacity of Earth, barring 'breakthroughs.' (from Lester Brown Plan B 4.0)

    Suppose further that the UN recognized this, and communicated this information to all seven billion alive today, as well as the information that world population is going to nine billion by mid-century.

    Suppose this scenario.

    Then, what thinking, feeling person would not take actions to address the current imbalance, and the even larger imbalance forecast for 2050?

    Without coercion, from anyone.

    - Manysummits -

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  • 59. At 8:27pm on 15 Jun 2010, Brunnen_G wrote:

    55. At 8:02pm on 15 Jun 2010, manysummits wrote:
    Brunnen_G #52:

    True to the lobby - to the bitter end.

    So be it.

    - Manysummits -

    -------------------------------

    Pathetic. You say you don't want factories shut down or people living a subsistence lifestyle, I quote where you say EXACTLY that and you're not man enough to apologise for calling me a liar.

    Go ahead and try and spin your way out of it, but that's what you said, I posted proof and everyone here is free to read it for themselves.

    Beyond that, you've got nothing to say that I want to hear other than the apology I'm owed. You should stick to fantasising about shadowy lobbies and concentrate on your armchair dictator dreamworld.

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  • 60. At 10:18pm on 15 Jun 2010, farmer john wrote:

    Referring to Simon-swede at #30

    Thank you for your comment. I was not trying to attack the reporting, but was merely aghast at the research. Modern industrial agricultural practices employ large amounts of chemical inputs which destroy the soils. Infertile soils require more and more chemicals inputs every year to get the same result, all the while increasing disease pressure and creating resistant viruses, pests and weeds. The raping of the soil eventually leads it to be more profitable to move to new soils, meaning the clearing of more forest for more fertile plots. Therefore the argument that the Green Revolution has saved forest is bogus. Modern industrial agriculture releases more carbon dioxide by cutting more forest, produces more nitrous oxide by applying chemical inputs and produces less food per hectare (than intensive bio-sensitive farming). The only advantage is that it uses less man power to produce more food (this isn't an advantage unless unemployment is non-existent). There is a lot of money to be made off of research like this though. Less farmers means more money for the few big farmers, but mainly the Green Revolution "aid" to India and developing countries from industrialized nations means hooking farmers (as buyers) on chemical inputs from the countries that first supplied the "aid". Please read Vandana Shiva's "The Violence of the Green Revolution" for India's side of the story.

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  • 61. At 10:32pm on 15 Jun 2010, Brunnen_G wrote:

    "The head of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, Rajendra Pachauri, says he welcomes "the development of a vigorous debate" on climate science.

    In an article for the BBC's Green Room series, he says those on the side of "consensus" must remember that debate drives the evolution of knowledge."

    Does this mean the ecofascists will stop telling us that consensus is a good thing and (sing it with me boys and girls, you know the words) "The Debate Is Over"?

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  • 62. At 10:57pm on 15 Jun 2010, davblo wrote:

    bowmanthebard #56: {Re: "the greediest nation on earth"} "You mean 'the most successful nation', don't you? Has resentment hijacked your critical faculties?"

    Something appear to have hijacked your faculties.

    Greed and success are not at all the same thing, they are not comparable, equatable, or in any way mutually exclusive.

    It is perfectly possible to be the greediest and most successful.

    Also, in this case, I think some may question you criterion for "success".

    /davblo

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  • 63. At 03:07am on 16 Jun 2010, CanadianRockies wrote:

    61. Brunnen_G - Indeed the backpedaling has only just begun as that Nobel Prize winner desperately tries to save his job. He and Gore make a nice couple.

    You'll probably enjoy this:

    http://www.climatedepot.com/a/6920/Say-What-After-Wishing-Skeptics-Would-Rub-Asbestos-on-their-Faces-UN-IPCCs-Pachauri-Now-Declares-he-is-not-deaf-to-skeptics-Says-IPCC-should-welcome-vigorous-debate

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  • 64. At 03:26am on 16 Jun 2010, manysummits wrote:

    \\\ President Obama's Oval Office Speech ///

    I just watched this speech.

    It sounds to me like 'business as usual' may be dead, and the transition to a cleaner energy future underway.

    This might be incorrigible optimism, but heh, the alternative is a continuation of the poisonous atmosphere present right here, right now.

    - Manysummits @ the Climate Change Cafe -

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  • 65. At 03:33am on 16 Jun 2010, manysummits wrote:

    To the lobby:

    Having been in the gutter with you lately, I can hardly understand how you get up each morning and go to work.

    Invective, character assassination, and a climate of anti-science pervade your posts.

    I think misanthropic might be your best descriptor.

    /////////////////

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  • 66. At 06:56am on 16 Jun 2010, simon-swede wrote:

    farmerjohn at #60

    I take your point about the broader issues at stake, however I still wonder how you reach your conclusion that the data for emissions is wrong (or do you not have a problem with the results per se, just teh way they frame the question?).

    The researchers agree with you that there are significant emissions caused by intensive agriculture. Their thesis is however that these impacts are outweighed by the indirect impacts that would be associated with the much greater land-use that would be required for agriculture in the absence of intensive methods, in order to produce the same amound of food. From the perspective of emissions, do you consider their findings to be in error?

    I agree with you that there are many other direct and indirect impacts (including social impacts) associated with modern agricultural methods and the associated activities, but these lay outside the narrower scope of the research.

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  • 67. At 07:20am on 16 Jun 2010, MangoChutney wrote:

    @Manysummits

    Once upon a time in a far off thread, you stated the only thing that would make you change your mind about AGW would be the complete reversal of the IPCC's position. Now that pachuri has agreed that scepticism is healthy, will you at least concede there may be the tiniest chance that AGW may be false?

    /Mango

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  • 68. At 07:48am on 16 Jun 2010, bowmanthebard wrote:

    #62 davblo wrote:

    some may question you criterion for "success"

    I never mentioned how I judged the success of a nation, but assuming we're talking about the US of A, I would draw your attention to better art, better science and better philosophy than anywhere else for at least 100 years.

    I don't think there would be much art, science or philosophy in Europe were it not for the fact that Americans successfully defeated an illiberal, authoritarian, militaristic European culture that was actively anti-art, anti-science and anti-philosophy -- to say nothing of anti-Jews.

    After that, American "greed" in the form of the Marshall Plan gave Europe another chance.

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  • 69. At 07:56am on 16 Jun 2010, Barry Woods wrote:

    To the lobby:

    Having been in the gutter with you lately, I can hardly understand how you get up each morning and go to work.

    Invective, character assassination, and a climate of anti-science pervade your posts.

    I think misanthropic might be your best descriptor.

    -------------------------------

    manysummits seems to be enjoying himself..

    the only 'lobby' is in people mind....
    I'm part of no 'lobby' but that does not fit the believers world view...

    Please refrain from this type of riduclousness and insults...

    if this is the 'gutter' manysummits seems to like it..

    please talk about thescience, and discuss fact, not make personal atacks on people.. Would you do that face to face?

    Manysummits is an anonymous keyboard warrior...

    I imagine anybobey reading these comments, will see by manysummits actions/words how 'thin' the true catastrophic AGW 'believers' evidence is..

    so thin, they just deal in insults, innuendos and spin.

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  • 70. At 08:16am on 16 Jun 2010, Barry Woods wrote:

    The head of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, Rajendra Pachauri, says he welcomes "the development of a vigorous debate" on climate science.

    In an article for the BBC's Green Room series, he says those on the side of "consensus" must remember that debate drives the evolution of knowledge.

    -------------------------
    do I trust this man?

    Flashback Dec. 2009: UN IPCC Supporter Judith Curry rips UN Chief Pachauri for 'crazy stuff'-- UN should pick leaders who will 'shut their mouths about advocating for policies. Otherwise, we don't look credible'

    UN Con Exposed: Climate Scientist Mike Hulme: Claims such as '2,500 of the world's leading scientists have reached a consensus -- are disingenuous' -- Hulme: 'That particular consensus judgement, as are many others in the IPCC reports, is reached by only a few dozen experts in the specific field of detection and attribution studies; other IPCC authors are experts in other fields'

    http://www.climatedepot.com/a/6920/Say-What-After-Wishing-Skeptics-Would-Rub-Asbestos-on-their-Faces-UN-IPCCs-Pachauri-Now-Declares-he-is-not-deaf-to-skeptics-Says-IPCC-should-welcome-vigorous-debate

    previous comments of pachauri...

    Is this the same Pachauri who declared global warming skeptics “flat-earthers” in 2008? See: Flashback 2008: There is, even today, a Flat Earth Society that meets every year to say the Earth is flat. The science about climate change is very clear. There really is no room for doubt at this point.

    Is this the same Pachauri who smeared veteran Indian glaciologist and prominent global warming skeptic V K Raina? See: Flashback Jan. 2010: Glaciologist demands apology from Pachauri for 'voodoo' smear remark

    Pachauri's new found respect for scientific dissent and openness is in marked contrast to his wish in February 2010 that skeptics would “apply asbestos to their faces every day.” See: Flashback Feb. 2010: UN IPCC's Pachauri Unhinged?! Wishes Skeptics Would Rub Asbestos on their Faces! 'I hope that they apply it (asbestos) to their faces every day'

    Pachauri pulled no punches on dissenters of the UN IPCC climate claims. Skeptics “are people who deny the link between smoking and cancer; they are people who say that asbestos is as good as talcum powder – I hope that they apply it to their faces every day...I'm totally in the clear. I have absolutely nothing but indifference to what these people are doing,” Pachauri said in a February 3 2010 interview with the Financial Times.

    Pachauri has a very long consistent history of smearing skeptics. Here are but a few examples:

    Flashback Nov. 2009: UN IPCC Chair Pachauri in panic -- accuses Indian skeptics of 'arrogance -- attempts to smear scientist who dares to challenge UN IPCC

    Flashback March 2009: UN IPCC's Pachauri: 'Deniers of climate change have been lying in wait...the moment this opportunity arose they've decided to strike and since then they've been on a rampage'

    UN IPCC's Pachauri: 'We risk descending into a new Dark Age where ideology trumps reason'

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  • 71. At 08:16am on 16 Jun 2010, Barry Woods wrote:

    link to the above may be missing..
    http://www.climatedepot.com/a/6920/Say-What-After-Wishing-Skeptics-Would-Rub-Asbestos-on-their-Faces-UN-IPCCs-Pachauri-Now-Declares-he-is-not-deaf-to-skeptics-Says-IPCC-should-welcome-vigorous-debate

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  • 72. At 08:21am on 16 Jun 2010, Brunnen_G wrote:

    @canadianrockies

    Excellent link, shows Pachauri's true colours.

    As we all suspected, Pachauri donning sackcloth and ashes is nothing more than a cynical attempt by him to keep his job at the IPCC.

    does he really think that a quick chorus of mea culpa will be enough to make all the people he insulted, abused, maligned and marginalised over the years forget who he is or what sort of man he is?

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  • 73. At 11:04am on 16 Jun 2010, rossglory wrote:

    #bowman

    #41 Smiffie wrote:
    "the greediest nation on earth"

    bowman wrote:
    "You mean "the most successful nation", don't you? Has resentment hijacked your critical faculties?"

    how do you define successful? and whatever that definition of success is what proportion of the population do you think it benefits? and what is the cost of that success to the rest of the world (human and non-human)?

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  • 74. At 11:08am on 16 Jun 2010, Smiffie wrote:

    Going back to my post at #41, how do other sceptics feel about embracing clean, secure, renewable energy without the pretext of AGW?

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  • 75. At 11:10am on 16 Jun 2010, rossglory wrote:

    #68 bowmanthebard

    forget my previous post you've clearly tried to answer the question as you see it in your rather limited world view. i don;t think i'll comment on the content.

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  • 76. At 11:24am on 16 Jun 2010, rossglory wrote:

    #22 manysummits

    thanks for the monbiot link. it reminded me of a news item about a woman at the bush 2004 convention. she was clearly on a small wage (i think whe was a waitress) struggling to raise three children with the two boys having to enlist to get an education being asked why she supported bush jr and wasn;t pushing for free health care, support educating her children, tax breaks for the low paid etc. her very revealing reply was 'oh, my dear that's communism'. orwell would have given a wry grin i think.

    it does help explain why there are so few grass roots movements (real ones, not those corporate financed astroturf campaigns) in the anglo-saxon world. supports my view that there has been a drift towards 'lying' as the norm in these cultures i think.

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  • 77. At 11:29am on 16 Jun 2010, rossglory wrote:

    #69 barry woods
    "I imagine anybobey reading these comments, will see by manysummits actions/words how 'thin' the true catastrophic AGW 'believers' evidence is.."

    not me (in fact i've never seen any of manysummits actions). just curious, why the quotes around 'thin' and 'believers'?

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  • 78. At 11:38am on 16 Jun 2010, Brunnen_G wrote:

    #74 Smiffie wrote:
    Going back to my post at #41, how do other sceptics feel about embracing clean, secure, renewable energy without the pretext of AGW?

    --------------------------------------

    As long as it doesn't intrude on my lifestyle, I'm all for it.

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  • 79. At 11:51am on 16 Jun 2010, Smiffie wrote:

    Manysummits, you can’t be a bad person if you’ve got two cats but I do not think that all this crusading is good for you. I am sure that you are sincere, unlike many who simply use AGW to further hidden agendas, but can’t you see that if you had not got swept up with this issue you would have found something else that was the end of the world, like poor old Blueberries and his HAARP nonsense.
    Can I suggest that you have a self imposed break from the internet, maybe even try some aversion therapy, try putting the recycling in the ordinary rubbish, go and watch some motor racing or something, it will feel so liberating.
    I know that you get a hard time here, you do occasionally make a good point but often it lost among a lot of other stuff.

    Take it easy
    Smiffie

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  • 80. At 11:54am on 16 Jun 2010, Robert Leather wrote:

    Modeled on the IPCC?
    So does that mean that it's head will also be on the board of a major company that kills raw animals? And actions they take will directly increase the profit of said company? Only, you did say it will be based upon the IPCC model.

    You know;
    90% politicians, civil servants and business representatives
    5% scientist
    5% shills

    That kind of thing.

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  • 81. At 12:24pm on 16 Jun 2010, LabMunkey wrote:

    @ 78.

    i'd go one further, i'd be more than happy to take a temporary dip in my lifestlye to have clean, safe, renewable energy.

    As long as it's not wind.

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  • 82. At 1:27pm on 16 Jun 2010, MangoChutney wrote:

    @smiffie #74

    Going back to my post at #41, how do other sceptics feel about embracing clean, secure, renewable energy without the pretext of AGW?

    Definitely for it, providing it is genuinely reliable.

    My personal view is we should build as much nuclear as possible to ensure the lights are kept on, whilst we develop further cleaner energy in whatever form that takes. Until then we are stuck with fossil fuels, but at least the lights will stay on.

    /Mango

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  • 83. At 1:41pm on 16 Jun 2010, Brunnen_G wrote:

    The problem, labmunky, is in the definition of 'temporary'.

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  • 84. At 1:49pm on 16 Jun 2010, rossglory wrote:

    #65 manysummits

    i think smiffie may be right (apart from the motor racing!).

    i think the biodoversity/agw debate here has all but been lost in a political stand off between those with a libertarian viewpoint, paranoid that what they perceive as loony greens will impose restrictions on their lifestyle and......well everyone else i guess.

    i don;t share the libertarian view but i do have a fear that the environmental movement can be hijacked to impose restrictions of all sorts that are totally unfounded (and the previous uk govt was guilty of that imho) and in this respect their rants may be useful.

    so although you're right that there is a concerted lobby to prevent the changes we talk about (in fact i would be stunned if there hadn;t been given the evidence of history) in general it doesn;t help to take things too personally and it's better to find some middle ground (labmunkey's post #81 being a case in point) and ignore the obvious wums.

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  • 85. At 2:14pm on 16 Jun 2010, LarryKealey wrote:


    Dateline Gulf of Mexico Day 58

    Well, Obama made a 'big speech' last night - as American's, we know that when the president uses the Oval Office (instead of the White House Press Room) we are all in big trouble - I am going to leave the speech pretty much alone, the only opinion I will state is that we don't need another 'czar' and I did not feel like the President stood up and took the government's share of the blame - and there is plenty of blame to go around in my opinion.

    I was moderated yesterday, responding to a poster who said it was "Amoco" and not BP - news flash - BP bought Amoco and has owned the company for several years - briefly it was called "BP Amoco" - now it is just called BP. I had also mentioned a refinery fire at what was once the largest distillation unit in the world when it was built by Amoco. I did not mean to imply that BP was negligent nor had any fault with regards to that refinery fire which occurred at the then BP refinery in Texas City Texas - I hope that will pass the moderators.

    Last night, the volume of oil leaking was upgraded to between 35,000 and 60,000 bbl per day. BP had said at the end of last week that they expected to be capturing 90% of the oil by Tuesday - yesterday - it does not appear that has occurred yet - personally I have real doubts they will be able to do that period. Even if they could, it looks like it could still be 6000 bbl per day leaking into the Gulf until the relief well is complete - or BP implements another, better solution. Just have to wait and see. 6,000 bbl per day was what the 'estimate' was just a couple of days after the disaster struck - so seems like 'square one' to me...

    A friend sent me this link yesterday - I am pretty skeptical of the claims made, but basically this guy says that BP was trying to break the Russian drilling record and hit a hot magma and gas pocket at the edge of the crust. Like I said, I am pretty skeptical of this - but it is kinda interesting to watch (a bit far fetched though) in any case:

    http://lightworkers.org/node/108209

    Well, I am going to stain a fence today out in the Texas Heat - the heat index has been around 90 by 7:30 AM all week - summer is here on the Texas coast.

    Well, lets hope for some better news from BP - and perhaps a better interim solution in the next few days. Lets hope that the Federal Government gets more serious about mobilizing every asset possible - lets hope that they bring in every available asset from every driller in the Gulf (and elsewhere) to battle this disaster.

    Today, if I am not mistaken, there will be executives from most of the major oil companies to testify before congress on whether they have the ability to 'handle' a disaster of this magnitude. Personally, as I have stated before - I really don't think so. I think it would take all the resources of all the drillers in the Gulf along with all the local, state and federal resources to begin to be able to handle such a situation. It should be interesting to hear what they have to say.

    Tomorrow, I believe we get Mr. Hayward on Capital Hill, testifying before Congress - this too should be interesting. We'll see what he has to say and what gets said and done in the next couple of days.

    I want to end by saying that while I believe BP and others bear a great deal of responsibility - I also believe that the US Government certainly shares a great deal in that responsibility. I personally am disappointed with the response of both BP and the Federal Government and the apparent lack of transparency (although, how deep that lack of transparency is - only time will tell).

    Thats it for today.

    Kealey

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  • 86. At 2:23pm on 16 Jun 2010, Wolfiewoods wrote:

    Brunnen_G @ 78

    There is no point changing one type of energy for another if it is not also green i.e. bio fuel v food production. The move away from oil will be difficult, low energy consumption is the answer, it will also help to free us from our unfulfilling lifestyles, less is more.

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  • 87. At 2:54pm on 16 Jun 2010, MangoChutney wrote:

    @rossglory #84

    You’ll be surprised, but I agree with many things you say.

    i think the biodoversity/agw debate here has all but been lost in a political stand off between those with a libertarian viewpoint, paranoid that what they perceive as loony greens will impose restrictions on their lifestyle and......well everyone else i guess.

    It’s not about restrictions on lifestyle, ross, it’s about the reality of AGW, which is, imho, not shown to be occurring.

    i don’t share the green view on AGW, but i do have a fear that the environmental movement is being hijacked to impose restrictions of all sorts that are totally unfounded (and the previous uk govt was guilty of that imho) and in this respect our thoughtful interjections may be useful, as may be the rants from the less rabid greens. You and others will hopefully have noticed by now that very few posters who are sceptical of AGW actually support conserving our shared environment.

    so although you're right that there is a concerted lobby to prevent the changes we talk about (in fact i would be stunned if there hadn;t been given the evidence of history) in general it doesn;t help to take things too personally and it's better to find some middle ground (labmunkey's post #81 being a case in point) and ignore the obvious wums.

    There may be a “concerted lobby” trying to prevent the changes you talk about, in exactly the same way as there is a concerted lobby trying to impose their vision of an Utopian future, but as far as I am aware, there is no “concerted lobby” on this forum. The “concerted forum” is just a figment of your fevered imaginations (pun intended)

    I think there is common ground – the earth! But, as you rightly point out, environmental extremism hijacking causes to promote and impose their single minded view of the world will never be common ground

    /Mango

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  • 88. At 3:45pm on 16 Jun 2010, Smiffie wrote:

    LarryKealey @#85

    If it was my post @ #41 that you were referring to, I did not say Amoco, I said an Anglo/American oil company, making the point that BP is 40% British owned and 39% American owned.

    Soon it will be Chinese owned.

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  • 89. At 3:45pm on 16 Jun 2010, Brunnen_G wrote:

    Speak for yourself wolfie. I find my lifestyle quite fulfilling.

    It might not please the greens, but I happen to LIKE gadgets.

    And no, I'm not going to drive some stupid little smart car either. I have two kids and two large dogs, I NEED a big car to move them around.

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  • 90. At 4:16pm on 16 Jun 2010, LabMunkey wrote:

    @ 87 mango
    " You and others will hopefully have noticed by now that very few posters who are sceptical of AGW actually support conserving our shared environment."

    i hope you mean- You and others will hopefully have noticed by now that MOST posters who are sceptical of AGW actually support conserving our shared environment.

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  • 91. At 4:16pm on 16 Jun 2010, MangoChutney wrote:

    as may be the rants from the more rabid greens

    not less

    /Mango

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  • 92. At 4:30pm on 16 Jun 2010, Smiffie wrote:

    Skeptics and warmists finding common ground, soon someone will mention the Hartwell Paper. Opps I just did.

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  • 93. At 8:47pm on 16 Jun 2010, Robert Lucien wrote:

    #89 Brunnen_G
    "Speak for yourself wolfie. I find my lifestyle quite fulfilling.

    It might not please the greens, but I happen to LIKE gadgets.

    And no, I'm not going to drive some stupid little smart car either. I have two kids and two large dogs, I NEED a big car to move them around."


    As I have said before there is an environmentally clean, CO2 neutral solution that does allow you to keep your big car and its called Synthetic Fuels. Why has no one heard about it? why is there not even an article in Wikipedia? I don't know. But synthetic fuels are basic chemistry harnessed to a big source of energy like a nuclear station or a large solar array. The idea has been around since the seventies and the first energy crisis. (I can't remember where I came across it but I think it was a NASA project making kerosene for rocket fuel...)



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  • 94. At 9:20pm on 16 Jun 2010, Robert Lucien wrote:

    Correction, there is now a WP article, at a glance detailed but not totally complete. - The conversion chain can go all the way from CO2 itself right through to various finished fuels.

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  • 95. At 00:14am on 17 Jun 2010, LarryKealey wrote:

    88. At 3:45pm on 16 Jun 2010, Smiffie wrote:

    LarryKealey @#85

    If it was my post @ #41 that you were referring to, I did not say Amoco, I said an Anglo/American oil company, making the point that BP is 40% British owned and 39% American owned.

    Soon it will be Chinese owned.

    ---------------------------------------------

    Hi Smiffie

    No, I was not responding to you - I saw your comment and wondered why you didn't call the company by name - BP (formerly known as British Petroleum - but not called by that name in a number of years - just BP - doesn't 'stand' for anything).

    I think I have made my issues with all this pretty clear - in my view - lack of a real 'plan' or assets to deal with such a situation. Apparent lack of transparency. Seems to me there is more focus on 'recovering oil' than 'sealing the well' - lack of responsibility taken by US Gov't - not happy with Obama's remarks (long before his speech last night) - the list goes on, if you have read my posts you know...

    If you have any comments related to this I would be interested.

    Cheers.

    Kealey

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  • 96. At 07:43am on 17 Jun 2010, MangoChutney wrote:

    @labmunkey #90

    yeah, you're correct - apologies, i was very tired when i wrote that

    /Mango

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  • 97. At 09:37am on 17 Jun 2010, rossglory wrote:

    #87 mango

    "You’ll be surprised, but I agree with many things you say." - what? and then go and disagree with everything i said. but i do understand that consistency is not your strong point mango :o)

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  • 98. At 1:48pm on 17 Jun 2010, MangoChutney wrote:

    not everything ross

    although as labmunkey and i pointed out, i was having a bad day yesterday, having not slept for 2 nights on the run - guess i was worrying about manysummits sanity again ;)

    you see i do agree with you on most aspects of agw - just not the co2 part and i do agree with you that we need to make the best use of our limited resources etc

    there is common ground

    /Mango

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  • 99. At 2:52pm on 17 Jun 2010, Brunnen_G wrote:

    #98 MangoChutneyUKOK wrote:


    although as labmunkey and i pointed out, i was having a bad day yesterday, having not slept for 2 nights on the run - guess i was worrying about manysummits sanity again ;)

    -------------------------------------------------

    I don't worry about that for the same reason I don't worry about AGW.

    There's no point worrying about something that clearly doesn't exist.

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  • 100. At 08:22am on 22 Jun 2010, Beejay wrote:



    My main question is why does the US refuse offers of help from Canada, Mexico, Norway, Belgium and others to use their oil cleaning ships that recover a huge percentage of oil and return virtually clean seawater as a result? Why did the US Government not seek expertise from all over the world? When earthquakes devastate lands, rescue teams from far and wide turn up with the appropriate gear and work until the last person alive is recovered. What is it with the USA 1920 Jones Act that stops help when help is patently needed?

    Also,
    Is this headline true?

    "White House Allowed BP to Keep Video of Gushing Pipe from Public for Three Weeks."

    Then later Obama got angry on TV as though he had no idea that BP was in trouble and hiding it from Joe Public!

    Where does the buck stop Mr President?

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