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Whaling commission: What's missing?

Richard Black | 16:31 UK time, Monday, 28 June 2010

En route from the International Whaling Commission (IWC) meeting in Agadir, Morocco:

So the whales have been put to bed for another year; and at Agadir airport, amid all the tanned Europeans making their way back from their beach holidays (well, lobster-red in the case of Brits, obviously) I'm thinking about all the issues that didn't get solved this time.

Whale protestOne of the issues that concerns conservationists most about the IWC is where its competence ends.

For most of the time, its discussions concern just 12 species from the global total of about 90 cetaceans.

(I deliberately leave the number vague because there are always changes of mind about what's a separate species and what isn't, especially in the case of the beaked whales, the most enigmatic branch of the order.)

So it doesn't have a remit, for example, to regulate or even cast much of eye over the Dall's porpoise hunt off the Japanese coast, which accounts for about 15,000 animals each year, with perhaps a further 5,000 taken as bycatch in fishing nets.

Two years ago, the IWC's scientific committee recommended [300KB PDF] that the take be reduced to levels it considered sustainable, and asked for more research on quantifying the population size. But it is unable to mandate either.

The same is true of hunting for species such as beluga, narwhal, pilot whale, and Baird's beaked whale that variously takes place around the Arctic, in Japanese waters, and the Caribbean.

From the standpoint of ecology and conservation, this is absolutely illogical. Small cetaceans are just as capable of being rendered extinct through hunting as big ones, and often inhabit the same ecosystems.

It's also illogical from a territorial point of view. These hunts take place within national waters; but so does most hunting for minke whales, bowheads, humpbacks, gray whales and other species that are under the IWC's explicit aegis.

It stems from history; from the fact that at its inception the IWC was a forum of whale-hunting nations - with Norway and the UK in the vanguard at that particular point - with a remit to conserve commercially important species so there was something to hunt.

Is that appropriate now?

VaquitaMany would say not - and that if they were coming at the issue afresh, governments would either establish a body that encompassed all cetaceans, or one that acted on the high seas only - or (a favoured option of some within the hunting nations) a series of regional organisations analogous to Regional Fisheries Management Organisations (RFMOs) such as the North Atlantic Marine Mammal Commission.

How much these bodies would be geared towards pure conservation and how much management of hunting they would do depends, of course, on your vision of cetaceans.

As it is, species such as the Dall's porpoise are left without any effective international management.

The same is true, more starkly, of the smallest cetaceans living in rivers or in coastal zones.

The baiji, or Yangtze River dolphin, is almost certainly extinct, as we've discussed before on these pages; the IWC's scientific committee report from Agadir [1.7MB PDF] notes that only about 250 vaquita remain, while the Mekong River population of Irrawaddy dolphin numbers less than 100.

But noting the problem and making recommendations are not the same as mandating a solution.

Moves are afoot in certain areas.

One outcome of IWC62 will be a workshop on oil and gas exploration - prompted by the ongoing problems of gray whales around Sakhalin, by long-term concerns about oil exploitation in the Arctic feeding grounds, and more immediately by the Gulf of Mexico oil leak crisis.

Work goes on towards ensuring the whale-watching industry uses approaches that do not disturb the animals being watched, and on evaluating the risks that climate change might pose, for example by reducing the extent of polar sea ice.

The IWC's scientific committee is probably the world's most concentrated gathering of expertise on the issue; and despite the political games that go on when, for example, Japan's scientific whaling programmes is discussed, there's a mass of work centred there that could prove vitally important for whales and their smaller relatives in the future.

But overwhelmingly, the feeling is that its potential is constrained by the politicised wrangling over hunting - as is the potential of the commission itself to turn the committee's recommendations into reality.

The overall conservation picture regarding cetaceans is painted: but the capacity to do anything more than observe the painting and move on is small indeed.

Comments

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  • 1. At 5:07pm on 28 Jun 2010, Smiffie wrote:

    Richard has been doing a lot of non climate articles lately. It does appear that the scientific and political establishment, of which the BBC is a part, is keen to quietly forget about warming, they have staked too much of their credibility on AGW theory to turn around and say that they were wrong, perhaps letting it fade away is the nearest that they will ever come to a retraction.

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  • 2. At 7:07pm on 28 Jun 2010, bowmanthebard wrote:

    I detest whale-hunting, but I think we ought to tolerate it.

    By "tolerate", I don't mean "change our minds and start thinking it's OK", just let people in other counties who want to hunt whales do so without too much of a fuss.

    It might be a valuable lesson in toleration, and we sure need one. We use the word 'disgraceful' so often it's like we've forgotten it's better to try to improve ourselves instead of constantly trying to improve others.

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  • 3. At 8:56pm on 28 Jun 2010, manysummits wrote:

    "minimum population needed to preserve each threatened organism on Earth, especially in this age of accelerated extinctions...

    A group of Australian researchers say they have nailed the best figure achievable with the available data: 5,000 adults."


    Caveat:

    "“I can’t imagine 5,000 being a meaningful number for both Alabama beach mice and the California condors. They are such different organisms,” Beissinger says."

    http://www.americanscientist.org/issues/pub/a-magic-number

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

    Nevertheless, we have a first order approximation - a frame of reference.

    Since we ultra-modern and sophisticated humans are playing with nano-technology and Large Hadron Colliders, it is a little unsettling that this is the first time anyone has thought to put a minimum number to what constitutes a healthy species population - or am I missing something here, being a Luddite!

    I notice that several of the species mentioned in Richard Black's piece are below this number;

    "only about 250 vaquita remain, while the Mekong River population of Irrawaddy dolphin numbers less than 100." (Richard Black)

    Here is a link to endangered cetaceans:

    http://www.savethewhales.org/mostendangered.html

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

    I have crossed the Baja Penninsula on foot, in the year 2002, at the invitation of my climbing friends in Mexicali, from the Pacific shore to Bahia de Los Angeles, where we camped on the beach following the 'Traversia,' a yearly event!

    Fresh fish was caught by yours truly and company only meters from the shore, marinated and eaten raw, along with some local Tequila of the finest quality.

    I am sorry to hear that the vaquita is near extinction. It seems so pointless, so utterly stupid.

    And I detest stupidity, which is quite different from ignorance.

    Stupidity for me is willful disregard, in the name of some false god.

    The Baja Penninsula, which I have visited several times now, is magnificently hostile - and it is the one and only original California.

    They were paving over gravel roads last time I was there, in the name of progress, as currently construed a false god if ever there was one.

    Real progress would see world population on the decline, and frivolous pursuits such as deep water drilling for oil curtailed. It would see the General Assembly of the United Nations ensuring the health of all species now extant, and funded by willing world citizens.

    What in the world are we doing?

    "Stupid is as stupid does" comes from Forest Gump, in his challenged state far wiser than our Oppenheimers and Tellers.

    - Manysummits -

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  • 4. At 8:57pm on 28 Jun 2010, ghostofsichuan wrote:

    It would be good to remember that the whale populations diminished during the time when whale oil was a oil for lamps and machinery. After gas and oil became available the West no longer needed the product and by that time not much was available. Japan met the West by having whalers wash up on their shores having depleted the whale populations in the Atlantic. Chasing what they called the "right" whale, protected since 1931, the recovery remains in question as their environments are in questionable health and the commerical fishing competes for their meals. We look to puinsh the scavengers who go through the scraps of what the West no longer needs. The West is always more moral after they have stopped doing what they decide others should be commended for doing.

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  • 5. At 10:09pm on 28 Jun 2010, CanadianRockies wrote:

    3. manysummits wrote:
    "minimum population needed to preserve each threatened organism on Earth, especially in this age of accelerated extinctions...

    A group of Australian researchers say they have nailed the best figure achievable with the available data: 5,000 adults."

    Caveat:

    "“I can’t imagine 5,000 being a meaningful number for both Alabama beach mice and the California condors. They are such different organisms,” Beissinger says."

    http://www.americanscientist.org/issues/pub/a-magic-number

    ----------

    That caveat is right on. Which makes one wonder how, and more importantly why, these researchers would come up with such an obviously false and simplistic one-size-fits-all number?

    Junk science.

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  • 6. At 10:15pm on 28 Jun 2010, quake wrote:

    In reply to skeptic claims about IPCC solar section, I did some investigating.

    Not good for the skeptics I am afraid, it looks like CanadianRockies, Barry Woods and Brunnen_G in particular have fallen for it hook line and sinker. I question whether they've even glanced at the IPCC report solar section in question. Perhaps it's time for them to start doubting whatever they read on any old blog.

    Props to Lorax who predicted what was the case.

    The claim that an IPCC consensus over solar activity is formed from one paper and one author makes utterly no sense if you bother to read the IPCC report section. You will see many papers mentioned and uncertainties pointed out. It's also not exactly clear what the skeptics meant by the "consensus" anyway and precisely what part of the section they have a problem with:
    http://www.ipcc.ch/publications_and_data/ar4/wg1/en/ch2s2-7.html#2-7-1

    The ACRIM/PMOD differences are mentioned. They are even graphed. The blog that raised the accusations even takes the graph from the IPCC report...

    Even the claim that there was only one solar expert involved is wrong. The blog displayed a review comment but didn't show this part of the response:
    "attempts were specifically made by the chapter author team after receiving this comment to solicit, in a short period of time, suggestions from six solar experts (four responded), so as to improve upon the text"

    Additionally elsewhere in review comments which I stumbled on by sheer chance is:
    "Criticism that the differences are incompletely understood is acknowledged, but there are works that do indicate this may be more an instrumental rather than of solar origin. These include works other than the authors'. Note that the chapter has been available for a review by anyone - twice. See also response to 2-26. In a solicitation effort undertaken by the chapter in the wake of this comment, Dr Willson, who did not do reviews of the FOD or SOD, was contacted and requested to assist us in enhancing the text, but a response was not received"

    So the idea that only one solar expert and one paper defined this section simply doesn't make any sense. With regard to objections - why weren't they raised during the review?

    What's most reprehensible is skeptics are attacking the reputation and honesty of a working scientist based on the flimsiest evidence. Seemingly in contrast to their high-bar demands for evidence when they read something they don't want to believe.

    JaneBasingstoke wondered why WUWT and ClimateAudit hadn't latched onto this story yet. Perhaps they have now, I haven't checked. But if not certain posters better warn WUWT and ClimateAudit guys to avoid this story like the plague. I haven't even touched on some of the other weird errors in that blog post.

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  • 7. At 11:25pm on 28 Jun 2010, CanadianRockies wrote:

    #6 quake - Interesting. I am looking forward to more exposure of that story. I confess that, given the pattern of behaviour of the AGW gang, I may be too quick to assume that stories about more are true.

    You know. The bogus hockey stick. The bogus 'adjusted data' from the bogus surface temperature measurement system. The bogus stories of polar bear (etc.) extinction. The bogus tales of AGW malaria spread. The bogus stories of islands being submerged by bogus levels of sea level rise. The bogus stories of the disappearing Arctic ice caps. The bogus use of the West Antarctic peninsula and the bogus avoidance of looking at the rest of Antarctica. The bogus stories of the Amazon. The list goes on, and on, and on.

    And yet the IPCC, the media, and those working for the AGW industry seem too quick to accept all of these things "based on the flimsiest evidence" and attack anyone questioning them as "deniers" and whatnot.

    So, we shall see how this solar story plays out. In the meantime, let's hope the AGW industry starts becoming a little more sceptical about flimsy evidence themselves. Unfortunately, that does not seem likely.

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  • 8. At 01:44am on 29 Jun 2010, manysummits wrote:

    To Ghost #4:

    re "Chasing what they called the "right" whale, protected since 1931, the recovery remains in question as their environments are in questionable health and the commerical fishing competes for their meals." (Ghost)

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

    I remember ChangEngland in a post many Moons ago indicating he thought 3 to 5 percent of the available fish biomass might be about the right number for fishing a wild species. (presumable still healthy?) I had indicated that from a graph in Figure 2 of the following paper:

    Rebuilding Global Fisheries
    Worm et al.
    Science 31 July 2009: 578-585
    DOI: 10.1126/science.1173146

    only 10 percent of a species could seemingly be exploited without producing any statistical possible 'collapse' of the species.

    Along with the metric I cited from the 'American Scientist' article in my #3:

    http://www.americanscientist.org/issues/pub/a-magic-number

    in which an Australian research team had determined that a 'Magic Number' of 5,000 individuals appeared to exist:

    "minimum population needed to preserve each threatened organism on Earth, especially in this age of accelerated extinctions...

    A group of Australian researchers say they have nailed the best figure achievable with the available data: 5,000 adults."

    I am interested in these metrics.

    Naturally further refinement will come with more research, but until it does, both of these numbers will exist in my mind for my own use in thinking about biodiversity loss, and should I think be a main element in the new organization just formed for appraising the state of biodiversity on the planet:

    "Breakthrough in International Year of Biodiversity as Governments Give Green Light to New Gold Standard Science Policy Body
    Friday, 11 June 2010 15:55" (News)

    i.e.,

    The Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES)

    http://ipbes.net/

    I was wondering what you thought of these numbers Ghost?

    1) 5,000 individuals minimum for long term health of a species. (Note that humankind is thought to have gone through a 'bottleneck' some 70 to 80 thousand years ago during the Toba volcanic eruption, and that our numbers were apparently above this magic number)

    2) ChangEngland's 3 to 5 percent skim for a sustainable percentage of the biomass capable of being repeatedly taken without compromising the long term health of the species.

    It seems to me that using these two numbers would be a good start, and a considerable improvement over our current destructive and unsustainable practices.

    - Manysummits -

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  • 9. At 01:50am on 29 Jun 2010, CanadianRockies wrote:

    #6 quake - Not so simple. I did a little checking myself. The relevant comment and response is here:

    http://pds.lib.harvard.edu/pds/view/7786003?n=6&imagesize=1200&jp2Res=.25

    You wrote that "if you bother to read the IPCC report section. You will see many papers mentioned and uncertainties pointed out."

    Yes they were pointed out, by the same people who thought that it was not prudent to have only one solar physicist as the lead author of such "an important chapter," particularly since she was the coauthor of the ONLY paper supporting their conclusions about solar forcing.

    However, these other papers and this lone solar physicist problem were brushed off by the IPCC, stating that it was "impractical" to consider "additional experts or additional authors at the current stage."

    Instead they state that, not to worry, it had already been reviewed by "a number of [unidenitified] solar and climate experts" - whatever that is supposed to mean.

    And, yes, they stated that "attempts were specifically made by the chapter author team after receiving this comment to solicit, in a short period of time, suggestions from six solar experts (four responded), so as to improve upon the text."

    But, again, no indication of who these "solar experts" were, what their expertise was, how they responded, or whether or not any changes were actually made.

    They allegedly made "attempts" to "improve" the text, based on unspecified "solar experts" and unspecified comments, with no indication that ANYTHING was actually improved or changed.

    So, quake, you have bought the IPCC cover story as eagerly as I accepted the original story. And given the IPCC's track record of pushing out politically convenient conclusions, I would say that we shall have to see if indeed this story is what it appears to be or not.

    I would wager that its more of the same from the IPCC - cherry picked junk science.

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  • 10. At 07:37am on 29 Jun 2010, simon-swede wrote:

    Off-topic... here's a link for a tongue-in-cheek video interview on BP's response to the oil spill.

    http://grumunkin.blogspot.com/2010/06/john-clarks-spin-on-bp-oil-crisis-front.html

    If the link doesn't get by the moderators, one could always search using the terms "bp oil crisis john clark". The video is on YouTube.

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  • 11. At 08:33am on 29 Jun 2010, Smiffie wrote:

    At post #1 I said “Richard has been doing a lot of non climate articles lately. It does appear that the scientific and political establishment, of which the BBC is a part, is keen to quietly forget about warming, they have staked too much of their credibility on AGW theory to turn around and say that they were wrong, perhaps letting it fade away is the nearest that they will ever come to a retraction.”

    At that time I did not know about the Panorama programme that evening, although the programme was a bit light and contained some important omissions the fact that the BBC of all people even broadcast such a programme is in it’s self a watershed, I predict that in five or ten years from now warming will be all but forgotten.

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  • 12. At 09:20am on 29 Jun 2010, JunkkMale wrote:

    11. At 08:33am on 29 Jun 2010, Smiffie

    There's even a couple of pieces in complement:

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/panorama/hi/front_page/newsid_8758000/8758352.stm

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/theeditors/2010/06/whats_up_with_the_weather.html

    I do wonder if, post settled science, a Wall of Certainty is quite the best new direction, mind.

    Not everyone's a fan, either:

    http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/jamesdelingpole/100045118/id-rather-stick-my-bag-of-amphetamine-injected-rattlesnakes-than-put-my-trust-in-tonights-bbc-panorama-documentary-on-global-warming/

    But it's good to let opinions be given voice, and judged on their merits, or otherwise. As opposed to preselecting who talks, about what and then editing to taste. Topped off by running any responses through a filter.

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  • 13. At 11:00am on 29 Jun 2010, rossglory wrote:

    #6 quake

    it struck me a while ago that to a large extent (some exceptions of course) the regular posters here had fallen into two camps and that lead me to the conclusion that this is primarily a political debate rather than a debate about science, biobiversity or anything else that richard writes about.

    funnily enough the panorama programme last night reinforced that idea.

    after speaking to scientists both mainstream and sceptic it appeared you couldn;t get a fag paper between their views about the core science (i.e. the scientific debate is pretty much over). where they differed was on the future extent of agw (and this will always be imprecise and open to interpretation) and how to deal with it (which of course impacts the first point).

    so in essence i think the debate is about the precautionary principle viz:
    1. do you apply the principle to ensure that those that are most likely to be impacted by agw, deforestation, loss of biodiversity etc are protected, and this will primarily be the poor.
    2. do you apply the principle to protect western economies and ensure that they remain in a priviledged position to exploit the environment and the developing world.

    if 1. you'll support reductions in co2, protect species and their habitat etc. if 2. you'll support adaptation and investment in technology.

    also in the mix is the concerted effort by the corporate world to protect profits and this has led to the debate being misperceived in non-scientific circles (this was also highlighted in the programme.)

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  • 14. At 11:50am on 29 Jun 2010, LabMunkey wrote:

    @ 13.

    nearly an excellent post ;-)

    I don't think the segregation for 1 and 2 is correct, or indeed even necessary.

    We can (and should) do what we can to prevent deforestation. We can (and should- in fact just assume i mean 'and should for the rest of these points) protect natural habitat, we can protect biodiversity (ish) and we can protect the poor from the EVER changing climate.

    suprisingly we can do this AND not drive the world into a technological dead-end.... by dropping the C02 is evil malarky. If we spent less money trying to prove C02 is dangerous (yet to be done btw) and more on conservation, re-forestation, costal defences, PROPER town/village/city planning (ie. dont build on a flood plain then complain when you get wet...) we'd actually get somewhere.

    as for
    "also in the mix is the concerted effort by the corporate world to protect profits and this has led to the debate being misperceived in non-scientific circles (this was also highlighted in the programme.)" you could just as easily substitute that for; concerted effort of the worlds polticians to save face and keep an inexhaustable and incredibly lucrative tax revenue coming in.

    Also as a throw away point and Just to re-iterate... the money behind AGW dwarfs that behind the sceptics... also big oil HEAVILY fund AGW research/marketting.

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  • 15. At 12:21pm on 29 Jun 2010, simon-swede wrote:

    CanadianRockies at #5 (and ManySummits at #3)

    Your wrote: "Which makes one wonder how, and more importantly why, these researchers would come up with such an obviously false and simplistic one-size-fits-all number?"

    In short, they don't - the American Scientist article oversimplifies the reserach and its results.

    The paper by Traill in Biological Conservation contains a number of caveats and much additional detail that the American Scientist piee glosses over or omits entirely. It is worth looking at the actual paper before jumping to conclusions about what the research did and didn't do.

    Rather than a simple number, a major product of the research is database of MVPs [mimimum viable populations] and species attributes that span a broad range of biomes, body sizes, life histories and threat status. But the researchers stress that this database should be seen only as a PRELIMINARY GUIDE to the MVP range expected for a particular species or taxa. Any real determination would require detailed context-specific analysis.

    It is also worth noting their conclusion that MVP size and regional or global extinction risk are essentially unrelated, as MVP is more closely related to context-specific factors (such as variability of the local environment), whereas endangerment or 'extinction risk' is related primarily to broad-scale drivers.

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  • 16. At 2:21pm on 29 Jun 2010, Wolfiewoods wrote:

    manysummits you need to get your self over to BBC blog about yesterdays Panorama climate change programme, your input is urgently needed.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/theeditors/2010/06/whats_up_with_the_weather.html

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  • 17. At 2:25pm on 29 Jun 2010, ghostofsichuan wrote:

    manysummits:

    Although I would agree that some baseline should be established in this world minimums end up being viewed as maximums and therefore potential for population growth is limited. I am not sure we understand the interplay of these reproductive cycles and how the varies populations and sizes of population to some extent dictate the health and evolution of each species. Certainly human have decided that inbreeding can have negative impacts so we should look at the population sizes in the same light. To simply end the capture or harvesting of spieces will not be sufficient. As I mentioned related to the Right Whale, enviornmental health and the availability of food sources also relates to populations rebounding.
    We tend to isolate these issues as if they can be solved in that manner. Without a more comprehensive approach to the systems the rest is just localized or industrial based decision-making.
    Remember the capitalist mantra: supply and demand fix prices (and friends in government). To keep the supply low increases prices and that is good for those who currently trade in a particular product. The numbers developed for populations will be developed with this economic graph in mind.

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  • 18. At 5:09pm on 29 Jun 2010, manysummits wrote:

    To Wolfiewoods #16: re Panorama

    Roger - Will Comply

    Manysummits

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  • 19. At 5:27pm on 29 Jun 2010, manysummits wrote:

    To Ghost #17: re Minimum Viable Population

    Hi Ghost!

    I have just printed off the article from 'Biological Conservation':

    Pragmatic population viability targets in a rapidly changing world
    Volume 143, Issue 1, January 2010, Pages 28-34
    Lochran W. Traill et al.


    "...we suggest that most vulnerable species are not really being managed for viability (continued existence under trying environmental circumstances); rather, conservation targets in most cases merely aim to maximize short-term persistence and fit with complex political and financial realities...

    The problem is similar to the dilemma faced by climate scientists, where national and international policy seems incapable of meeting the emissions reduction implied by the available geophysical and biological evidence to avert severe anthropogenic interference with the climate system, let alone to reverse the damage already done..."

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

    This is a groundbreaking article in my opinion Ghost, based on this lead authors long-term investigations.

    His point is highlighted in the excerpts I have provided. Both the American Scientist article on this study and Lochan Traill were explicit in providing caveats as to detail - the main points are twofold:

    1) That there is in fact a ballpark Minimum Viable Population number.

    2) That the political process is interfering with long term sustainability in favor of short term gain.

    That sounds eerily familiar to me, whose interest in climate science is well established, and coincidentally it is precisely this similarity to climate science that the authors of this paper highlight.

    I say again - the Science must be made separate from the Politics.

    Ergo - the Interacademy Panel on International Issues, or individual statements from the various national academies of science who can speak freely and with authority.

    Regards,

    Manysummits

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  • 20. At 5:28pm on 29 Jun 2010, MangoChutney wrote:

    @Wolfiewoods #16

    manysummits you need to get your self over to BBC blog about yesterdays Panorama climate change programme, your input is urgently needed.

    lol

    desperate times i see

    /Mango

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  • 21. At 6:20pm on 29 Jun 2010, bowmanthebard wrote:

    #13 rossglory wrote:

    in essence i think the debate is about the precautionary principle

    Would you mind stating your version of this mysterious "principle" in your own words? A while back we had a lot of confusion over the (misleading) Wikipedia version.

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  • 22. At 6:43pm on 29 Jun 2010, manysummits wrote:

    To Wolfiewoods re Panorama:

    Excerpt from the BBC article:

    "There is genuine uncertainty and disagreement about the exact scale and speed of human-induced global warming and crucially what we should do about it. But I was surprised to find how much agreement there is on the fundamental science."

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/theeditors/2010/06/whats_up_with_the_weather.html

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

    Hello Wolfiewoods!

    I am happy to oblige.

    I've listened to all of the interviews, and read the article.

    My input, for what it's worth:

    1) "People are like sheep Charlie brown - they follow each other."

    -Schultz

    2) This is partly our nature, and partly due to a passivity culturally promoted by civilization. The proportions due to each influence are hard to determine, as most of us are embedded in our cultures.

    I think a hard and courageous look inside is probably warranted, as one can make the assumption, to a first approximation, that we are all the same. If one honestly attempts to look inward, and filter out the cultural noise, one can get a true appreciation of just who we are and what makes us tick, or not tick.

    For example, the science is not readily accessible to the vast majority of people. They have neither the experience nor the knowledge base to use multiple lines of evidence from our paleoclimatic past, from our current understanding of physics and chemistry and the many and disparate sciences involved in climate studies, to calculate a probability concerning the effects of climate change, and they have no intention of rectifying these deficiencies, as they have more important things to do.

    That the science is not in dispute I am not surprised at. It is only on blogs like this or in the mass media where outright lies and misinformation can be promulgated with impunity - in the name of freedom of expression. This is as it should be. I have faith in the basic instinctual ability of the people to recognize the potential for misinformation.

    I do not believe however that the public can make an informed assessment of who is misinforming the most.

    So the public will wait for unequivocal proof, or an inspired leader. This may also be as it should be, though it irks those of us who see all sorts of grief occurring that might easily have been prevented.

    The danger is clear and present only to the imaginative few who are also in possession of the required knowledge base and talent for processing complex information.

    I am aware that this sounds elitist, and indeed it is. You would rather have an elite neuroscientist and surgeon operate on your brain I imagine, and an elite and winning general direct you on the battlefield.

    Why would anyone not want our very best scientists to speak out on AGW.

    But who are our very best scientists?

    Back to square one, i.e., the public will await unequivocal proof, or perhaps will follow a great leader if he or she speaks out.

    Here is the current situation, as seen by the Dark Mountain Project:

    "Today, humanity is up to its neck in denial about what it has built, what it has become – and what it is in for. Ecological and economic collapse unfold before us and, if we acknowledge them at all, we act as if this were a temporary problem, a technical glitch. Centuries of hubris block our ears like wax plugs; we cannot hear the message which reality is screaming at us."

    http://www.dark-mountain.net/about-2/the-manifesto/8/

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

    I agree very much with this assessment.

    I think that someone like President Obama, possibly one of the imaginative few, possibly also an inspired leader, may be waiting for the political and geophysical realities to coincide.

    And I think the problem is much broader than merely scientific appreciation.

    It is tied in to who we are, and how we got here, particularly in the West, but now increasingly on other continents, who are apparently trying to 'catch up.'

    Catch up with what?

    Perceived success - money and power and prestige and things.

    Back to the present:

    If unequivocal geophysical proof, or an inspired leader presents within the next year or two - all may be well.

    If on the other hand the Tea Party mentality takes hold, and Sarah Palin and company take power for even four more years, I think we are in real danger of losing control completely of both the geophysical situation and of the political/financial situation.

    In my opinion, we are imploding now, and it may be that the explosion soon to follow is inevitable.

    The G-20 just concluded is in my opinion proof of this. Austerity, higher taxes, more joblessness, increased resignation - this is what we are actively promoting.

    No vision at all that I can see - none whatsoever. In fact, the politicians are in denial.

    So, that the science of climate change is firm is of little consequence in the big picture.

    The denial of our present situation is all encompassing, from how the West came to be privileged, to what constitutes success, to the continuuing destruction of the natural world, which can only get worse as population soars - I see little to warrant a positive attiude.

    Our scientists are in part in thrall to money and funding from the corporate sector, either directly or indirectly, through government agencies.

    But the prevalent weight of opinion is for less government, not more, a sort of death spiral.

    I wish I were more coherent in this ramble, but in its very rambling there may be a shred of hope, for in confusion and chaos there may at long last be creativity.

    Ultimately we will have to learn to be creative, because what we are doing is not working.

    - Manysummits -

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  • 23. At 7:29pm on 29 Jun 2010, quake wrote:

    Re 9. CanadianRockies wrote:
    "#6 quake - Not so simple. I did a little checking myself. The relevant comment and response is here:"

    Not so simple is exactly why the accusations against Judith Lean and the IPCC solar variability section are baseless. The accusations made are very strong and smeary on character assassinating working scientists, but lacking in substance.

    The accusations form around a simplistic picture that Judith Lean has only referenced her own paper in some imaginary solar chapter which she was the only solar expert on the lead author team. However there is no IPCC "solar chapter", there is a section on Solar Variability in AR4 chapter 2 "Changes in Atmospheric Constituents and in Radiative Forcing", but it's a small part of the overall chapter as you'd expect given that the sun is only one forcing of many. Other forcings discussed in the chapter include aviation ozone, co2, CFCs, methane, aerosols, land use changes, black carbon, water vapor, and others.

    Another false impression as part of the accusation was that the solar part was being sidelined. Yet in fact the solar section has more pages (5) than the co2 section (3).

    The accusers failed to cite any parts of the IPCC report itself to back up precisely what they disagreed with and instead just blanket claimed there was some kind of "consensus" presented that only backed up with one paper.

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  • 24. At 7:39pm on 29 Jun 2010, ghostofsichuan wrote:

    The science is never separate from the politics because economic interests make sure it is not. Reference, Galileo. Things change when there is no other choice. Doing the right thing is way down the list of why things get done. It is difficult to expect reasonable outcomes from processes that are based on dishonesty. I am not sure that this latest and greatest of all governmental betayals, the banking theft and bailout, will not end with a real worldwide recession. Governments are scrambling and defending the bankers and creating greater hardships for the people in the process. These situations can lead to dramatic changes in the structure of the political system, more authority to maintain order, and failing social support for the form of government. The governments know the options are running out and they overestimate the patience of the people. EU has many financial problems and although some governments are making half-hearted attempts to appear in control the failing countries have yet to place their debts on the table. Everyone knows what these debts are but the reality is being delayed for political reasons and some faint hope that things will get better. Regulated Capitalism works well, corrupt capitalism fails everyone. China is revising downward the economic forecast and that ,I believe, is because people are deciding to support local businesses and products because the governments only represent big busineeses and continue to engage failed policies that benefit political allies but not the economies. People with their purchases drive the economies not this nonsence you hear from governmental economic advisors, those are campaign ads. Governments will not do anything that will have what is perceived to have a negative economic impact no matter what the level of harm or environmental impact. I read it costs a billion dollars to have the G20 summit...how remote can these folks be from reality. The main question in the future is the same as the question of the past: whose side will the armies be on.

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  • 25. At 7:55pm on 29 Jun 2010, sensiblegrannie wrote:

    simon-swede at post 10
    Ah well, at least we can have a laugh.

    bowmanthebard at post 21

    The precautionary principle. I think drunken thugs use this principle before they pickle their brains completely.

    If the other person looks aggressive (and looks smaller or weaker than you) hit first and ask questions afterwards.
    If the other person looks aggressive (and looks much bigger and stronger than you) run, or look for someone else to blame.

    2 men ee pee ple et al.

    Why then, is there a trend to give free fertility treatment to women over 40 years old if there is an issue of overpopulation. Population control is a tricky subject, bound to ruffle feathers and offend many people.

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  • 26. At 8:19pm on 29 Jun 2010, manysummits wrote:

    To Wolfiewoods re Panorama (#16) and my #22:

    May I try and relate climate and state of the world denial to mountaineering?

    I see, and have seen, all sorts of people climb things they had no business on, courting disaster as it were, out of some misguided sense of who they are and were.

    Then they go back to the office or floor and brag about it.

    They would be better to assume the virtue of humility, as what they have demonstrated is stupidity and luck.

    They were, and are, in denial.

    It seems to be a reaction to too sedentary and boring a life.

    The cure for depression of this sort is action, and risk is essential.

    Paradoxically, managing this risk until it is very small is a principal goal and step forward - real progress - learning to live "in harmony with nature's laws." (Freeman Dyson)

    Just now we are way over our heads in risk, and afraid even to look down. (Dark Mountain)

    But we must manage our fear, and not only look down, but figure a route to safety.

    Regards,

    Manysummits

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  • 27. At 8:47pm on 29 Jun 2010, manysummits wrote:

    Ghost #24:

    re "The main question in the future is the same as the question of the past: whose side will the armies be on." (Ghost)

    Every time I see those police officers geared up like invading Darth Vader disciples, and in the midst of their own people, I shudder.

    So this is what fascism looks like as it gets started.

    The one billion dollars on security for the G-20 should be the cause for immediate dismissal of all those involved, but it is not - the people are afraid - and this is what fascism looks like as it gets started.

    Ghost, I still believe that science can be separate from politics. We will find a way. At its heart, science is the discovery of new knowledge, and its practioners, though only human, are often devoted to this cause, and no other, beyond a normal expediency.

    I speak my mind on science, and I am beholden to no political interest.

    James Hansen the same.

    This fellow from Australia, Lochran W. Traill - same.

    If the powers that be shut down the Internet and land all the satellites, the Earth will continue to warm, and we to be the cause. The glaciers and Ice Sheets will continue to melt and Sea level to rise.

    Nothing can change this, and as has been pointed out by Thomas H. Huxley:

    "Every time a savage tracks his game he employs a minuteness of observation, and an accuracy of inductive and deductive reasoning which, applied to other matters, would assure some reputation a man of science...

    The intellectual labor of a "good hunter or warrior" considerably exceeds that of an ordinary Englishman."

    ==========

    However, we are most of us very far indeed from our roots, and while we remain divorced from our roots, we will not prosper.

    Regards,

    Manysummits



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  • 28. At 8:55pm on 29 Jun 2010, manysummits wrote:

    To sensibleoldgrannie re

    "Population control is a tricky subject, bound to ruffle feathers and offend many people. "

    ===========

    Only to those in denial.

    Manysummits

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  • 29. At 9:09pm on 29 Jun 2010, sensiblegrannie wrote:

    Manysummits at post 26

    With respect manysummits what you say worries me.

    'I see, and have seen, all sorts of people climb things they had no business on, courting disaster as it were, out of some misguided sense of who they are and were.'

    Are you suggesting that ordinary people have no business in becoming involved in a debate that interests them? This is a contradiction to what you have said previously. Do ordinary people have to agree to the propaganda being fed to them? This open debate at least allows for the bull s... to be exposed for what it is. If an interested blogger has been fed b.s. and repeats it here, at least there is a chance for enlightenment. If you scare bloggers away because they are not in the trade, or are misinformed, they remain misinformed.

    Perhaps this is not what you meant but it reads that way. :-)

    We are all here to peel back the layers of the onion with tears and all. My old pa used to say, "never slice an onion with a blunt knife."

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  • 30. At 9:51pm on 29 Jun 2010, Brunnen_G wrote:

    Re: manysummits comments post #22 and onward

    At last, your true colours are revealed.

    You talk of "the people" with no small measure of contempt. "The people" must be protected and shepherded. Their opinions are not to trusted as they are not well enough informed. They haven't read the same books you have you have. They are ignorant of the truth.

    You go on to reveal yourself further with your little treatsie on who should and should and should not be climbing mountains. How dare you?

    Who are you to say who should and should not go climbing?

    As for "the people", I love it when people start using that term. It's been the excuse of dictators and fascists since time immerorial, they did it for The People...


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  • 31. At 10:04pm on 29 Jun 2010, Brunnen_G wrote:

    #27 manysummits wrote:

    However, we are most of us very far indeed from our roots, and while we remain divorced from our roots, we will not prosper.

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

    What roots would those be? Our hunter gather origins where we rarely lived past 45 and a broken ankle was a death sentence?

    Our medieval roots where the majority of the population lived as serfs under the rule of some lord or other, lived about as long as the hunter gatherers and had a 50/50 chance of not living through the first year of their life?

    Or do you mean our roots in an imaginary past where we lived in harmony with nature, famines never happened because crops never failed, all our boo-boos were healed wise old men with herbs or kissed better by unicorns and every night we gave Mother Earth a great big hug before going to bed?

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  • 32. At 10:12pm on 29 Jun 2010, manysummits wrote:

    To sensibleoldgrannie #29: re

    "Are you suggesting that ordinary people have no business in becoming involved in a debate that interests them?" (Grannie)

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

    No, of course not.

    I am obviously capable of putting my foot in my mouth inadvertently, though I try hard not to do this.

    The mountainering analogy was meant to demonstrate that civilized folk are putting their lives at needless risk every day out of 'denial,' and a conditioning which prevents their seeing clearly.

    The post which stated that most people do not have the background or inclination to evaluate science is 100 percent direct observation.

    That doesn't mean that those on this board are necessarily in that category, or that even if they are they are not welcome to state their opinions here.

    So you did misunderstand me, and I will try and be less obtuse.

    Let's take a concrete example.

    For forty three years I have been absorbed in geology, in the study of the Earth and Solar System's past. I doubt if more than a few days have passed without my thinking about and actively researching some aspect, big or small, of natural history. None of this has been done for personal gain or career advancement - none. I enjoy learning, it is more than that, it is a compulsion.

    I am widely travelled, fairly gregarious and talkative with any and all. I can assure you that the number of people who have lived and thought like me are an extreme minority, and if you think about it, you will undoubedtedly concur.

    It just so happens that climate science is fundamentally dependent upon geology - on studies of the natural history of the past, including but not at all limited to paleoclimatology. James Hansen will be the first to acknowledge this.

    Just how do you suppose I can impart this forty-three year long record of observation and research to you or anyone else in anything other than a cursory way, which can instantly be denounced as an opinion?

    It cannot.

    You can run down the list, how to explain in a few soundbites a professional scientists understanding of say radiometric dating.

    It cannot be done.

    Or geochemistry, and on and on.

    These 'people' come on this blog with their pronouncements of 'junk science.'

    Just how stupid does one have to be to say that or believe it?

    Very.

    The fact that they can even say this with a straight face and not be laughed out of the country is proof positive of what I say.

    I rest my case.

    - Manysummits -

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  • 33. At 10:20pm on 29 Jun 2010, davblo wrote:

    sensibleoldgrannie #25: "2 men ee pee ple"

    Hey; that was my line.

    But it's... "2 men e pea pull"; and that was a long time ago...

    ...and re: "Why then, is there a trend to give free fertility treatment to women over 40 years old if there is an issue of overpopulation?"

    It's not hard to realise that the ones needing help haven't had any at all. Having one (or two) isn't the cause of the problem.

    It's the ones who don't need help, who are having "many" who contribute most to the problem.

    All the best; davblo

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  • 34. At 11:03pm on 29 Jun 2010, davblo wrote:

    #33 continued...

    Oh; and I think it's "over 30" not "over 40".

    /davblo

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  • 35. At 00:37am on 30 Jun 2010, CanadianRockies wrote:

    Junk science.

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  • 36. At 00:39am on 30 Jun 2010, CanadianRockies wrote:

    “Let’s be clear: the work of science has nothing whatever to do with consensus. Consensus is the business of politics. Science, on the contrary, requires only one investigator who happens to be right, which means that he or she has results that are verifiable by reference to the real world. In science consensus is irrelevant. What is relevant is reproducible results. The greatest scientists in history are great precisely because they broke with the consensus.

    There is no such thing as consensus science. If it’s consensus, it isn’t science. If it’s science, it isn’t consensus. Period.”

    –Michael Crichton, The Caltech Michelin Lecture, 17 January 2003

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  • 37. At 00:58am on 30 Jun 2010, CanadianRockies wrote:

    #15. simon-swede

    My question - "Which makes one wonder how, and more importantly why, these researchers would come up with such an obviously false and simplistic one-size-fits-all number?" - was rhetorical. I am actually VERY familar with the concept and use (and flagrant abuse) of the MVP, and all the tricks they use to create and inflate it as required.

    The key question is why.

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  • 38. At 03:46am on 30 Jun 2010, manysummits wrote:

    My question is why the constant trivia?

    Why are so few willingly to voice their political opinions with regard to the environment?

    Is it because you've heard that employers troll these sites, and will not promote malcontents?

    Or are we to believe you have no opinion?

    I suppose we'll just leave it to the monks and mountaineers, like ontius Pilate.

    - Manysummits -

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  • 39. At 04:14am on 30 Jun 2010, manysummits wrote:

    Ghost #24: re

    "Regulated Capitalism works well, corrupt capitalism fails everyone."

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

    I heard it called 'casino capitalism' the other day!

    Man, I am trying to make sense out of what is happening, the massive denial, the insane G-20's security budget -

    the even more insane non-reaction to both the billion dollar budget and the wisdom of the leaders!

    Have we been so pummeled that there is no fight left?

    Or is this it Ghost? Is this how a global civilization collapses?

    Manysummits

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  • 40. At 04:20am on 30 Jun 2010, manysummits wrote:

    Ghost, should I have stayed in the mountains?

    "In the society of men, the best man becomes a sinner." (Vedic)

    What else to think?

    Speaking pragmatically, if this thing is exploding, the only course of action is to make oneself small and duck until the shock wave passes.

    Tell me about your life in Buddhist China Ghost - I tire of words that only seem to sink into the sand.

    Manysummits

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  • 41. At 06:12am on 30 Jun 2010, sensiblegrannie wrote:

    davblo at post 33

    Drat! I didn't think you would notice after I 'lifted' your idea and changed it by 20%

    Poor old grannie needs to get some new specs. I will admit, I read that article as 40 not 30. Perhaps some other people need specs too, especially when data gets misread. :-)

    manysummits, don't despair. I only flagged up your post because it might upset and it needed further explanation. Your words are not sinking into the sand and you must be more patient if you want your words to sink into dense brains.

    If the human species were much smaller, they would use less resources, be subject to a fairer amount of predation and have less impact on the planet. We all need to change to become 'the little people.' Who has got the magic wand?

    ....anyway I have got to go off and earn my crust of bread.

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  • 42. At 08:36am on 30 Jun 2010, simon-swede wrote:

    CanadianRockies at #37

    Surely, the key thing is in this case that they didn't!

    Or do you just condemn out of habit?

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  • 43. At 09:10am on 30 Jun 2010, Smiffie wrote:

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

  • 44. At 09:37am on 30 Jun 2010, rossglory wrote:

    richard,

    whether the iwc should cover all ceteceans or not will probably become a moot point since whether they are hunted to extinction, poisoned to extinction, starved to extinction or cooked to extinction will make little difference in the long run.

    what is really required is a body that is able to apply good science to the conservation of all marine species in international and national waters.

    until this happens, i don;t see there is much of a long term future for most marines species with the possible exception of jellyfish and algae.

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  • 45. At 09:56am on 30 Jun 2010, simon-swede wrote:

    Rossglory at #44

    Perhaps it is less about the availability of "good science" and more about the absence of sufficient political will to apply it when taking management decisions?

    In a similar vein, I think it is nonsense to talk about some arbitary separation of science from politics, as some here believe is or should be the case. What is necessary is that science informs political decision-making.

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  • 46. At 10:10am on 30 Jun 2010, rossglory wrote:

    #21 bowmanthebard

    "in essence i think the debate is about the precautionary principle

    Would you mind stating your version of this mysterious "principle" in your own words? A while back we had a lot of confusion over the (misleading) Wikipedia version."

    of course we could skip merrily down the road of linguistic analysis. but i think the post made it pretty clear what i meant, however this may clarify my view.

    there are predicted threats to the planet but these threats can't be precisely quantified (maybe 2-6 oC, maybe 50-90% of species, maybe 70-100% of rainforest etc)

    so the question is how do we react to these threats and it's clear to me that you can take the upper ranges (imho the sensible application of the precautionary principle) and do something about them or you can take the lower ranges because you do not want to impact the status quo (a traditionally reactionary use of the precautionary principle quoted oft on this comment board as 'you can;t do that because it will damage our economy').

    my considered opinion is, if you take the reactionary approach it is most probably solely a reflection of your reactionary political principles.

    this accusation does not apply in the same way to the other approach since although fascists, socialists, anarchists etc can all be 'environmentalists', there are plenty of environmentalists who, like myself, inherently support the liberal stance but can see the sense in balancing this due to the obvious threat we are facing. when i say obvious, i mean accepting the fact does not require me to accuse vast swathes of the scientific community of incompetence or criminality and to align myself with extreme right wing politicians, the crank fringe of the aristocracy or religious fundamentalists.

    the other aspect that amazes me is why so many so-called right wing libertarians are happy to accept the fascistic restrictions that are implemented in the name of such things as national security, crime prevention, corporate confidentiality etc....but that's a different debate.

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  • 47. At 10:10am on 30 Jun 2010, Smiffie wrote:

    Manysummits, I think that Wolfiewoods meant for you to actually post on the Panorama blog, there you will reach a whole new audience due to the recent broadcast.

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  • 48. At 10:59am on 30 Jun 2010, JaneBasingstoke wrote:

    @simon-swede #10 - thanks for that

    @sensibleoldgrannie #25 - thanks for the de facto hat tip

    @bowmanthebard - your reply to sensibleoldgrannie's #41 is on the wrong thread

    @sensibleoldgrannie #41 - re magic wands - have you checked down the back of the sofa. Also you know how it is with blokes and magic wands, only they can be trusted with changing the TV channel. :-p

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  • 49. At 11:07am on 30 Jun 2010, JaneBasingstoke wrote:

    @manysummits #38

    "Is it because you've heard that employers troll these sites, and will not promote malcontents?"

    Or skivers - hah, not skiving. Or employ them in the first place? That's why I don't use my surname here.

    However you ask for depth of political opinion. Many of the more complex relevant subjects here would take way too much space. Or too much time and the conversation will have moved on. Sometimes I start writing stuff and have to give up because a finished version would take up ten times the space of the longer posts here.

    We all need humour and light relief, but that's not what you're talking about. Of course there's other reasons for trivia. But you go looking for somewhere where they have high standards of membership and either they don't let you in or they are insufferable snobs.

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  • 50. At 11:19am on 30 Jun 2010, bowmanthebard wrote:

    #46 rossglory wrote:

    "of course we could skip merrily down the road of linguistic analysis. but i think the post made it pretty clear what i meant"

    It's not at all clear what you meant, or what anyone means by "the precautionary principle". It's junk, masquerading as something "deep".

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  • 51. At 11:20am on 30 Jun 2010, JaneBasingstoke wrote:

    @rossglory #46

    "right wing libertarians"

    Before Bowman goes ballistic over being called "right wing" perhaps I need to point you in the direction of

    http://www.politicalcompass.org/

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  • 52. At 11:23am on 30 Jun 2010, manysummits wrote:

    To simon-swede @45:

    "Perhaps it is less about the availability of "good science" and more about the absence of sufficient political will to apply it when taking management decisions?

    In a similar vein, I think it is nonsense to talk about some arbitary separation of science from politics, as some here believe is or should be the case. What is necessary is that science informs political decision-making."

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

    That would be me Simon!

    Let me point out the complete and utter failure of the process so far.

    You have faith that eventually you will succeed, which is fine.

    For myself, I have never gone to the IPCC for my information - never.

    Why, because it is too politicized.

    You work within the system, but the system is the problem.

    All my life I have watched this system degrade, as advisors advise. Economists advise - financial collapse.

    Science advises - ignored.

    When the water is over our heads we will react - rendering advisors unnecessary.

    I am sorry, but I have lost faith in the process.

    The only thing I have not lost faith in is science as practiced by the curious - in this I recognize like-minded spirits, very few of whom post here.

    There is something insidious about remaining in an advisory capacity forever, even when you see collapse occurring.

    To my way of thinking, government is there to serve the people, not the other way around. Therefore science should speak directly to the only legitimate constituency - the electorate.

    - Manysummits -

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  • 53. At 11:27am on 30 Jun 2010, bowmanthebard wrote:

    #45 simon-swede wrote:

    "the absence of sufficient political will"

    Translation: people don't want it.

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  • 54. At 11:38am on 30 Jun 2010, manysummits wrote:

    To Jane #49: re intimidation

    That's a flat honest answer Jane, and I thank you for it.

    I'm a little naive I'm afraid, being more a monk than a worldly person I suppose.

    The strange thing is, Ghost appears to see the world more clearly than many of our supposedly connected fellows.

    Perhaps the connection is corrosive?

    And I read you loud and clear about high standards and snobbery.

    I am reading over sections of Robert Pirsig's "Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance" to see if he can illuminate the situation for me.

    In "Empires of Illusion," by Chris Hedges, a Dark Mountain book if ever there was one, the author speaks of 'America Lost,' and all in savage and uninhibited prose.

    Finally, he ends up, in a sort of desperation, calling in the power of 'blind stupid love' to save the day. This is very reminiscent of Cormac MacCarthy's "The Road."

    Peter Ward has "The Flooded Earth" coming out soon, and I know in his book "Under a Green Sky" he was in a similar 'desperate' state of mind, like James Hansen.

    Personally, I don't know what more to do? The situation in its broader implications is crystal - and we spin our wheels.

    Thinking and acting like this is death to the mountaineer - and I fear, death for our civilization.

    Thanks again for being human.

    Regards,

    Manysummits

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  • 55. At 11:39am on 30 Jun 2010, manysummits wrote:

    Smiffie #47: re Panorama

    I hadn't thought of that!

    Thank you,

    Manysummits

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  • 56. At 11:45am on 30 Jun 2010, manysummits wrote:

    To Rossglory #44:

    "what is really required is a body that is able to apply good science to the conservation of all marine species in international and national waters.

    until this happens, i don;t see there is much of a long term future for most marines species with the possible exception of jellyfish and algae."

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

    That would be my take too Ross.

    We have convergence - incipient consensus. A worried lobby?

    Manysummits

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  • 57. At 11:49am on 30 Jun 2010, simon-swede wrote:

    Manysummits at #52

    You wrote: "Therefore science should speak directly to the only legitimate constituency - the electorate."

    You are still talking about political decisions being informed by science.

    Personally, I agree that engaging "the public" is important. I disagree with you when you say that informing the electorate should be the exclusive channel of providing such information.

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  • 58. At 11:49am on 30 Jun 2010, manysummits wrote:

    Sensibloldgrannie # 41: 'words into the sand'

    Thanks Grannie - I have never been good at patience.

    My favorite mountaineer Bill Tilman described patience as a virtue which he found wore thin with use.

    He also decried those who 'assumed a virtue though they had it not.'

    He also noted 'even powerful bad wine is better than holy water.'

    I miss him.

    Manysummits

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  • 59. At 12:03pm on 30 Jun 2010, MangoChutney wrote:

    @manysummits #52

    For myself, I have never gone to the IPCC for my information - never.

    Aren't you the manysummits that once said you would only change your mind about AGW if there was a complete reversal of the IPCC's position?

    /Mango

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  • 60. At 12:07pm on 30 Jun 2010, simon-swede wrote:

    Bowman at #53 ("the people don't want it").

    That can be true (although "which people"?), but I am unconvinced that it is necessarily so. There are numerous examples where "people" don't want things that governments decide to give them anyway. There are also numerous examples where most "people" are apathetic, but a few drive the decisions. There are also examples where the majority want something passionately, but governments refuse to act.

    "Too many boats hunting too few fish" has been a feature of fisheries mis-management for years. Politicans have been reluctant to tackle over-fishing as it has meant needing to meddle with what has been described as a "Richard Scarry" business - politicians aeem adverse to be seen as putting a fisherman out of business, despite being aware that a failure to address over-fishing condemns entire fishing communities in the longer-term.

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

    Manysummits, your #56 appears to contradict somewhat your #52.

    If you have lost faith in the process and believe that science should only engage with the electorate (as you note in #52), exactly what should be this new international fisheries body you endorse in #56 and how should it go about its business?

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  • 62. At 12:37pm on 30 Jun 2010, manysummits wrote:

    Mango:

    Yes, same!

    They are supposedly the gold standard, so I bowed to orthodoxy - always a mistake.

    Their science is OK - consensus based by scientists I respect.

    But the message is lost in the melee, and the science is OK - not great.

    For great you go to the best.

    James Hansen is the best.

    Happy now Chutney?

    - Manysummits -

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  • 63. At 1:04pm on 30 Jun 2010, JaneBasingstoke wrote:

    @manysummits #52

    "I am sorry, but I have lost faith in the process."

    You've been spending too much time at that b****y Dark Mountain site. Gloomy s**s who don't always seem to understand that democracy thrives on criticism.

    Monbiot_not_quite_ready_to_climb_the_Dark_Mountain-Kingsnorth_democracy_comment

    Don't give up on democracy and democratic processes. And don't give up on people. Democracy and civil rights have always needed fighting for, on multiple fronts.

    "The condition upon which God hath given liberty to man is eternal vigilance." [John Philpot Curran]

    Here's a quote from a man who was locked up during his campaigning for civil rights, the man who coined the term "Satyagraha" [truth force] and made a pair of sandals for his captor as a gift.

    "When I despair, I remember that all through history the ways of truth and love have always won. There have been tyrants, and murderers, and for a time they can seem invincible, but in the end they always fall. Think of it--always."

    And here's an interview with a woman who didn't have the legal right to sit down on a particular seat on a bus.

    http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-189420203914406728#

    Meanwhile you mention Chinese Buddhism to Ghost. China is also responsible for Taoism

    "A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step."

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  • 64. At 1:04pm on 30 Jun 2010, manysummits wrote:

    Simon #61:

    You are correct.

    As I pointed out to Mango, I am only human and I try to not always be the outsider which I undoubtedly am.

    No one would be happier than me if you and your governments would straighten all of this out, and I could live my life as I see fit.

    But the system has intruded on my space, and the machinations of the system threaten me and mine.

    I realize fully now that the machinations of our system, because it is our system in a democracy, have destroyed the lives of countless millions around the world as we essentially robbed them blind in the name of - something.

    I can't do anything about that now, except try and stay sane knowing what western democracies, often operating in the name of religion, have perpetrated on the world at large.

    You have a neat mind, but the world is not neat Simon.

    A politician might describe the situation as fluid.

    It is a bloody mess.

    Maybe the IPBES will work - it is at least new.

    Probably not.

    The statements that have been produced by the Interacademy Panel on International Issues surprised me with their brevity, and with their essential correctness.

    But I assume, perhaps incorrectly, that the powers that be have a preferred route, and that it is not the Interacademy Panel.

    They appear set on another IPCC-like body, the IPBES.

    Such is life. I am sure the scientists working on this new body will do their best, just as the IPCC scientists did.

    And they will be ignored.

    But I am not so cock-sure of myself that I don't realize I could be wrong. Maybe your way will work.

    But it seems it will not. Something more is needed.

    Manysummits

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  • 65. At 1:09pm on 30 Jun 2010, JaneBasingstoke wrote:

    @manysummits #54

    "And I read you loud and clear about high standards and snobbery."

    Please be careful how you interpret that.

    Wanting to talk about deep stuff is completely natural. Looking for people who can share ideas with you is completely natural and a good thing. But being able to talk about deep stuff can ... ugh ... result in tedious little self congratulatory clubs of smugness. Like some, not all, of the fans of 70s prog rock.

    I see the first two in your posts, but not the third. I only mention it because it is a hazard that people affected by the first two points have to watch out for.

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  • 66. At 1:09pm on 30 Jun 2010, manysummits wrote:

    To Simon-swede:

    As to process.

    Well, Evo Morales is ready to scrap capitalism altogether. He may be right - I don't know.

    But in reading over his speech to the United Nations, he emphasized explicitly his conviction that a new Bill of Rights which included Mother Earth Rights was his highest priority.

    That is reminiscent of the paper you put me onto by Christopher Stone, and is surely less radical than scrapping capitalism altogether.

    So this might work?

    As for capitalism - well, casino capitalism must be scrapped.

    Can that be arranged?

    Manysummits

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  • 67. At 1:11pm on 30 Jun 2010, bowmanthebard wrote:

    A liberAL is someone who thinks individual freedom is the main social good. Most liberals are "left wing", because they favour some redistribution of wealth to promote individual freedom. For example, taking £100 from a millionaire diminishes his freedom slightly, but giving it to a pauper increases his freedom greatly. So moderate redistribution of wealth increases freedom overall. Thus liberals mostly favour free education, high taxes, generous social welfare, and so on.

    This association of liberal with "left" thinking has led to the sloppy usage of 'liberal' as a synonym for 'left wing'. That is quite wrong, because liberals are not in favour of equality per se (unlike most on the left) and they are opposed to socialism because they always think in terms of individuals (yes, as did Margaret Thatcher).

    A liberTARIAN is someone who favours an unregulated market and opposes "large government". As far as I know, all libertarians are "right wing". There are important points of difference between liberals and libertarians. For example, Hobbes was a liberal who favoured large government (a "leviathan") because he thought that was the most effective way of guaranteeing freedoms for ordinary people. He thought that "freedom for the pike is death for the minnows" (not his phrase), and that a big, powerful, threatening government was the most effective way of keeping the "pikes" in line. JS Mill was another liberal who opposed an unregulated market. For example, he supported widespread peasant ownership of land as a solution to the Irish famine.

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  • 68. At 1:20pm on 30 Jun 2010, bowmanthebard wrote:

    #60 simon-swede wrote:

    "a failure to address over-fishing condemns entire fishing communities in the longer-term."

    I've often wondered about why there are so many people still fishing for a living, given that they tell us it's practically impossible to make a living out of it!

    I'm not in favour of an unregulated market, but I think ordinary market forces might be the "solution" (i.e. the least bad option) in this particular case. As edible fish get rarer and rarer, fewer and fewer people will try to make a living out of it, which means that fish numbers cannot fall all that low. And the fact that the seas are not isolated suggests that outright extinction is unlikely.

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  • 69. At 1:25pm on 30 Jun 2010, manysummits wrote:

    To Simon - further:

    I don't think I said, or at least meant, that science should speak only to the electorate. And you are right, even speaking to the electorate it is still science informing politics.

    But it is significantly different if the electorate can depend on hearing from the horse's mouth, so to speak, the unvarnished science, and then pressure their politicians, than what we are in fact seeing, which is behind closed doors policy where certain scientists inform certain politicians, and all out of the public's view.

    That is what happened at Copenhagen, and it is what just happened at the International Whaling Commission.

    Thus I want to hear from as independent a body as possible, just what the science says, and I as a voter will take it from there. If the political system wishes to listen to the same voices of science and act before I pressure them, fine and good.

    But I want, and I dare say demand, a separate voice that I trust, and that is not filtered through the political system before I hear it.

    Manysummits

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  • 70. At 2:01pm on 30 Jun 2010, simon-swede wrote:

    Bowman at #68

    The experiece from most fisheries is that as stocks dwindle there is a rush to exploit what is left. The economics favour this tendancy, not counter it. The few exceptions occured where regulations were used to reduce the intensity of the fishing effort.

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  • 71. At 2:05pm on 30 Jun 2010, LabMunkey wrote:

    @ 69.

    not meaning to sound harsh manysummits- but it's nice to see you writing about relevant matters rather than going off on one on pointless theological ramblings- and it was a good post too.

    The problem with relying on an independant body, is that there isn't one. Any that will be appointed will be political and slanted towards the organisation/government that appointed it.

    Rely on the raw data- start at the bottom and work up. if the data doesn't match what they're saying- you can ignore them. If it doesm then there's some 'truth' in their ramblings.

    Try cut things back to the simplest, earliest point- and then work from there. starting at the top (ipcc/uk gov etc) and working down only leads to confusion and, to be frank, a bloody bad headache....

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  • 72. At 2:09pm on 30 Jun 2010, ghostofsichuan wrote:

    Mnaysummits:

    My friend from Wuhan brought her mother to visit and her mother went to a large tree that is between my house and the river. She went and hugged the large tree for a couple of minutes, arms wrapped around and face against the bark, and declared that it was 500 years old. A "real" tree hugger, with a connection and appreciation for nature. What else does one need to know. She gave me a gift of some tea from her visit to Beijing. The Buddhist accept the world as a place of human suffering and the human emotions and desires that are the causes. It is the story of the seed. The student is asked to go to the large tree and pick off a seed pod and open a seed pod, divide the pod, take out the seed and remove the shell and divide the final small seed. The teacher tells the student that the nothing that is left to divide is the essence of all things. The large tree grows from the essence.That is what is to be understood. Buddha was a great scientist.
    The issues of today are simply the consequences of dependent origination.

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  • 73. At 2:13pm on 30 Jun 2010, bluemaumau wrote:

    BBC please redirect your efforts to save species that are in real danger and stop whipping up this anti whaling hysteria. you are paying into the hands of a foolish , namby pamby ersatz religion !!!
    there are enough whales of many species to justify a controlled hunt,for people to eat a few and for the bleeding heart fanatics to watch.
    Anyway, I cannot see much of that supposed beauty in whales. for one thing their breath stinks !!!

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  • 74. At 2:27pm on 30 Jun 2010, rossglory wrote:

    #68 bowmanthebard

    "I'm not in favour of an unregulated market, but I think ordinary market forces might be the "solution" (i.e. the least bad option) in this particular case. As edible fish get rarer and rarer, fewer and fewer people will try to make a living out of it, which means that fish numbers cannot fall all that low. And the fact that the seas are not isolated suggests that outright extinction is unlikely."

    unfortunately the market works totally @rse-about-face in this scenario as bluefin tuna, gorillas, rainforest tree etc species have shown. as a species (what you would call a commodity i guess) becomes rarer its price increases and there is a vested interest to fish, hunt, log it to extinction :o(

    and you're right that we're unlikely to haul the very last speciman of a species onto a boat but we can change the dynamics of an ecosystem to such an extent that the species in question just cannot compete, find food or a mate and mortality rates are often huge for many species. so that's it....species gone.


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  • 75. At 2:40pm on 30 Jun 2010, rossglory wrote:

    #67 bowmanthebard

    to some degree you're right but to use a hackneyed phrase, we are in a post-ideological era. in the west, left/right/liberal/conservative are to a large extent being redefined by a global, enormously powerful, non-democratic corporate oligarchy.

    western govts primarily see their role as serving these corporate interests (partly becauase they cannot control them and fear them but also because they genuinely see their role as solely job creators, implementing policies to grow gdp) and the electorate cease being political agents and merely serve as consumers.

    there is a balance to be struck but i don;t think we are any where near that balance point.

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  • 76. At 5:12pm on 30 Jun 2010, Manufracture wrote:

    Why does Richard Black look like he is on the verge of crying in his preview picture?

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  • 77. At 5:35pm on 30 Jun 2010, manysummits wrote:

    To LabMunkey @71 re 'independent science bodies'

    There is truth in what you say - and omission.

    The IPCC and the IPBES are government appointed, and as Rossglory has pointed out in #75, a global corporatism is largely running things, with all that implies.

    But individual scientists still exist who speak their mind, and many of the national academies predate the current globalism. While they are not as independent as the individual scientist, they add balance, and if you have read the statements issued by the Interacademy Panel on International Issues over the last fiteen or so years, you might see some value there.

    I actually have always used your approach, from the bottom up. Obviously there are severe constraints in an age of super-specialization - one cannot reinvent every wheel every time.

    Hence deciding whom to believe, based on one's own observations of nature, one's training, and one's instincts.

    This is rather messy, but I see no other way.

    Just now, the two Jim's, Hansen and Lovelock, appear to me to hold the lock on reality, using the approach I have just outlined.

    Sea level is rising almost twice as fast as the IPCC predictions, and every time we take stock of the ice, we see that we are newly surprised at how quickly it is going. And that applies to the entire cryoshere, tundra and permafrost, high altitude landscapes, and the great Ice Sheets - all of them, including the East Antarctic.

    I could point you to sources, but if your approach is to disbelieve everybody, there is no point, is there. And I very much doubt you or I are going to launch ourselves into polar orbit, and bring along our favorite satellite with which to make the required measurements, or even personally to visit the Ice Sheets with rod and chain?

    Hence the coping mechanism of denial. It is all more than a little too much, this super-specialization and reliance on vague personalities employed by NASA or the Met office, and further politicized by our politicians, whom we all trust implicitly, given their record of truth telling.

    Then there is the destruction of pretty much the entire biosphere, and on top of that our wonderful financial wizards turn out to be so many pikers.

    So while you or your acquaintances are trying to find a way to make a living, one is expected to be the super-citizen, devote endless hours to the democratic political process which turns out to be not much more than thugs in disguise, and fix everything up - all the while keeping gdp up, being fruitful, and multiplying.

    Then you can blog about your adventures here.

    - Manysummits -

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  • 78. At 5:46pm on 30 Jun 2010, bowmanthebard wrote:

    #76 Manufracture wrote:

    Why does Richard Black look like he is on the verge of crying in his preview picture?

    Because unlike most BBC blog hosts he actually reads the posts. He was on the verge of reading some when the photo was taken.

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  • 79. At 5:52pm on 30 Jun 2010, manysummits wrote:

    Ghost #72 re 'tree hugging'

    That was a wonderful story Ghost, and I thank you for this vignette into life so very far away from Calgary.

    The sky here is blue, and Canada Day will be celebrated tomorrow, July 1. The weather forecast is for more Sun and warmth, a welcome change from our winters.

    I remember Canada Day in 1994. I was on a pilgrimmage of sorts, a six months journey, alone, in my half ton Ford.

    I pulled up to a campsite in the middle of the night in late June, not knowing where I was, threw my tent, and woke to find myself camped out on the beautiful Winnipeg River at Otter Falls north of Winnipeg. My intention was to wash the truck and head for Montreal the next day, where I had been born and raised, and which I had not seen for twenty-three years.

    But I liked my neighbors - and stayed a month. That Canada Day I bought some fireworks, courtesy of one of your inventive ancestors I imagine, and rowed a boat out to a small rocky island a hundred meters offshore. Campfires all along the strip of beach in front of me danced merrily as I set off my sky candles, and celebrated being alive and well in so magic a place, for my ancestors had paddled by this very spot I believe, in the days of the fur trade.

    Please convey best wishes from myself, Underacanoe and Cloudrunner to your friend from Wuhan and her mother.

    Regards,

    Manysummits

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  • 80. At 6:23pm on 30 Jun 2010, bowmanthebard wrote:

    #74 rossglory wrote:

    we're unlikely to haul the very last speciman of a species onto a boat but we can change the dynamics of an ecosystem to such an extent that the species in question just cannot compete, find food or a mate and mortality rates are often huge for many species. so that's it....species gone.

    Let's take these in turn. Any individual competes with other individuals, both of the same species and other species. The fewer individuals of the same species there are around the place, the less any individual has to compete with them, in other words the bigger the "niche" left by their absence. And you what they say about big niches -- "big niche, easy pickins".

    The fewer other individuals there are around eating the same food as you, the more food there is for you.

    As for finding mates, I'd guess that is something that birds and fishes do with the same single-minded ease as us humans. The real problem most animals have is not finding a potential mate in the sense of "locating" one, but getting her (usually it's a "she") to lower her standards enough to give the OK! And again, the absence of same-species competition keeps standards low.

    By the way, it's interesting how biologists used to habitually assume that distinctive colouring (etc.) in animals was a way of "helping them to find/distinguish their own species" -- as if they had difficulty doing that, or any compunction about having sex with the "wrong" species! In fact, of course, colouring (etc.) helps individuals judge the "class" of other individuals of their own species.

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  • 81. At 6:40pm on 30 Jun 2010, KennethM wrote:

    I have no expertise but I wondered if it is possible to have several areas in the world’s seas that are sanctuaries – where no fishing or whaling is allowed at all?

    I would have thought that with satellite positioning this would be easy to police and avoid the virtual impossibility of agreeing through constant negotiation. It would just require a one-off agreement and countries could fish anywhere else they wanted to.

    As I said, I am no expert. Am I being too simplistic? Will this have the desired effect?

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  • 82. At 6:41pm on 30 Jun 2010, LarryKealey wrote:

    Dateline Gulf of Mexico, Day 71

    Hurricane in the Gulf.

    As normal, as soon as it was predicted to enter the gulf, plans began to be implemented. The National Guard was mobilized on Monday. On Monday, electric companies from all over Texas and surrounding states began mobilizing, sending trucks and crews and stationing them at predetermined locations. Local Emergency Management Groups began operations. Evacuations were ordered for certain areas....the list goes on and on. Every possible local, state and federal agency has been mobilized and have been at work for two days.

    This is the kind of response we should have seen with the DeepwaterHorizon from day one. We still don't even really have it yet with this ecological disaster. This is the number one thing that needs to be fixed - should be first on the 'lessons learned' and 'what we could do better' lists.

    Well, so far we have lucked out with Alex. The storm looks like it will go into Northern Mexico. The seas around the DeepwaterHorizon site range from 8 to 12 feet, but the recovery ship and both ships drilling the relief wells are still in operation - but the skimmers and other boats and ships have been sent to port.

    This storm may actually help with the clean-up a bit. Right now, we have winds in the area blowing on shore - causing extra high tides and pushing oil into the salt-marshes and other wetlands, but this should pass soon, to be followed by lots of rain. The storm is expected to lose its tropical status over the Sierra Madre mountains and then move toward the North East, dumping a lot of rain over Louisiana both for the next couple of days and then again for several weeks - all this water could help 'flush' out the marshes a bit and push the oil outwards. Let us hope this is the case.

    Well, a lot more I would like to write, but getting married in 3 days (hard to believe it is already here....;) - finishing up on re-staining the lakehouse (and guesthouse, greenhouse, garage, carport and boat lifts and docks...and so much more to do...

    Let's hope that Alex flushes out some of those marshes and we don't have another storm for a good long while.

    Kealey

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  • 83. At 7:24pm on 30 Jun 2010, bowmanthebard wrote:

    #82 LarryKealey wrote:

    getting married in 3 days

    What a fantastic date for a wedding! When we lived in Chicago, my then wife and I would take our young children to the July 3 firework display. Then the following evening we'd head to Evanston (20 mins north on the L) for the July 4 firework display. Our children thought of it as "firework season", and so did I. Nearly every time, after the second display we'd see the first fireflies of the summer -- a truly magical time of the year.

    I wish you and your wife well.

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  • 84. At 7:59pm on 30 Jun 2010, CanadianRockies wrote:

    #45. simon-swede wrote:

    "Perhaps it is less about the availability of "good science" and more about the absence of sufficient political will to apply it when taking management decisions?

    In a similar vein, I think it is nonsense to talk about some arbitary separation of science from politics, as some here believe is or should be the case. What is necessary is that science informs political decision-making."

    ----------

    Really??? So you want science to inform political decision-making yet you don't seem to care whether its "good science" or junk science?

    I presume as long as it supports what you want politically, that's OK?

    I couldn't disagree more. That anyone could even suggest this says how far down the tubes we have gone. Unfortunately, too many people, including many ideologues masquerading as 'scientists,' agree with this slippery slope thinking. The junk science informed AGW political agenda is just one huge example of this.

    I must again post this link which addresses this political corruption and perversion of science, which includes this VERY revealing quote from Mike Hulme, founding director of the Tyndall Centre, and Professor of Climate Change at the University of East Anglia (UEA):

    "The function of climate change I suggest, is not as a lower-case environmental phenomenon to be solved…It really is not about stopping climate chaos. Instead, we need to see how we can use the idea of climate change – the matrix of ecological functions, power relationships, cultural discourses and materials flows that climate change reveals – to rethink how we take forward our political, social, economic and personal projects over the decades to come."

    http://buythetruth.wordpress.com/2009/10/31/climate-change-and-the-death-of-science/

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  • 85. At 8:10pm on 30 Jun 2010, CanadianRockies wrote:

    42. simon-swede wrote:

    If you would look into the “Nonessential Experimental” reintroduction of the gray wolf into the western US (starting in the mid-1990s) you will discover that they are now using this meaningless 5000 number as the necessary target there... when the original target for that population, when this experiment was dishonestly SOLD to the public, was only 300.

    Its called moving the goalposts.

    And every time this exploding wolf population expands to a new area it suddenly becomes 'critical habitat' with profound implications for the people living there... and another expansion for the 'rewilding' agenda.

    (Google 'Rewilding' ... and, if you look carefully at that agenda, you will also find Reed Noss, the cofounder of the "scientific" journal Biological Conservation. Remarkable coincidence - not.)

    Its called a land grab, using the wolf as the tool. But the consequences have become so extreme that it is provoking a major backlash and lawsuits from several affected states against the federal government.

    I hear that some fools want to reintroduce them to Scotland!

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  • 86. At 8:22pm on 30 Jun 2010, Robert Lucien wrote:

    What the world needs is a new paradigm - state communism is dead but the free marketeers have used that to hoodwink the world into a global 'free' market, profit for the parasites and financial predators destruction for everyone else. They've left us with broken and corrupt government and low taxes for the rich and high taxes for the poor everywhere. Whatever benefits it provides unbridled capitalism is genuinely evil - its turned most of us into surfs who bow to a tiny ultra rich elite who have mostly little or no talent or imagination. What they've done to parts of British culture, our industry, our culture, our science is an abomination. But the worst thing they do is destroy peoples hope and morale and belief in ‘goodness’, and that is something we can all fight.
    The solution is revolution, its all just a matter of what kind and who and how and where. I know that my way to destroy/repair the current system is increasing technology, the internet and information has injured them hugely because they now find it so much harder to hide their lies and they now have a habit of getting caught. The real irony though is that it’s the very globalist system they used to ‘enslave’ the ordinary people the world over that’s turning round to bite them. As the Chinese saying goes “May we all live in interesting times!.” J (smiley)

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  • 87. At 8:27pm on 30 Jun 2010, CanadianRockies wrote:

    77. manysummits wrote:

    "Sea level is rising almost twice as fast as the IPCC predictions, and every time we take stock of the ice, we see that we are newly surprised at how quickly it is going. And that applies to the entire cryoshere, tundra and permafrost, high altitude landscapes, and the great Ice Sheets - all of them, including the East Antarctic.

    I could point you to sources..."

    Oh, please do. Otherwise one might think that you are making this up.

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  • 88. At 9:16pm on 30 Jun 2010, crash wrote:

    What business is it of ours if the Japanese people whale hunt?

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  • 89. At 10:02pm on 30 Jun 2010, manysummits wrote:

    To Robert Lucien #86:

    Now you're talking Lucien!!!

    "Whatever benefits it provides unbridled capitalism is genuinely evil - its turned most of us into surfs who bow to a tiny ultra rich elite who have mostly little or no talent or imagination. What they've done to parts of British culture, our industry, our culture, our science is an abomination. But the worst thing they do is destroy peoples hope and morale and belief in ‘goodness’, and that is something we can all fight." (Lucien)

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

    I am studying Robert Pirsig's 'Metaphysics of Quality' in his "Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance."

    I would like to summarize, as this bears directly on our current situation:

    The sophists of pre-Socratic Greece taught 'arete' through the use of rhetoric. 'Arete' is mistranslated 'virtue,' but according to H.D.F. Kitto's "The Greeks" it means 'excellence', and is used indifferently in all categories, not just ethics.

    'Arete' implies 'duty towards self,' analagous to the Hindu 'dharma,' and in addition implies a respect for the wholemess or oneness of life, and a consequent "dislike of specialization."

    It implies a "contempt for efficiency - or rather a much higher idea of efficiency, an efficiency which exists not in one department of life but in life itself."

    'Arete' is thus Robert Pirsig's 'Quality,' and Evo Morales of Bolivia, in speaking for the indiginous peoples of the world, suggests that a 'life well lived' is key, not the acquisition of more and more, which necessitates a continuuing impoverishment of the Environment - Mother Earth.

    This way of thinking, of being, is what I call the true 'Mountaineer's Way,' it is Reinhold Messner's 'by fair means,' it is my 'pace is everything.'

    And it is Antoine de Saint-Exuoery's 'responsible man.'

    Robert Pirsig:

    "He had built empires of scientific capabilities...

    but for this he had exchanged an empire of understanding...

    \\\ of what it is to be a part of the world, and not an enemy of it." ///

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

    Diehard readers of this blog will recall my using almost exactly those last bolded words in describing my seven years as a devoted mountaineer.

    They ring loud and true as I peruse Robert Pirsig's marvellous insights.

    Revolution - Yes.

    - Manysummits -


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  • 90. At 10:05pm on 30 Jun 2010, LarryKealey wrote:

    @bowmanthebard

    Thank you very much.

    Cheers.

    Kealey

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  • 91. At 10:31pm on 30 Jun 2010, manysummits wrote:

    All the best Kealey!

    Manysummits

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  • 92. At 11:47pm on 30 Jun 2010, Brunnen_G wrote:

    #72 ghostofsichuan wrote:

    My friend from Wuhan brought her mother to visit and her mother went to a large tree that is between my house and the river. She went and hugged the large tree for a couple of minutes, arms wrapped around and face against the bark, and declared that it was 500 years old. A "real" tree hugger, with a connection and appreciation for nature. What else does one need to know. She gave me a gift of some tea from her visit to Beijing.


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

    What else does one need to know?

    Two things.

    1. Where all the sharp objects in house are and where to put them where she won't find them.

    2. What else was in that tea.

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  • 93. At 03:27am on 01 Jul 2010, manysummits wrote:

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

  • 94. At 05:21am on 01 Jul 2010, Robert Lucien wrote:

    I just realized I thought I should clarify things, the reason so many scientists believe in human induced climate change has little to do with climate science itself, its simple logic. Although the Earth is vast humans and our society and our agriculture cover around half of the total land surface area of the planet. Worse though much of the part that isn't covered by human society is either tundra, scrub land, ice, or dessert - all marginal at best.

    I haven't mentioned it before because its been a while since I looked at it, but the thing with population verses carrying capacity is that we're within the worlds carrying capacity now but only because of intensive agriculture. The problem or rather the question is about long term soil
    depletion and damage, is intensive agriculture sustainable long term? It might seem very low level at the moment but its really a critical question because it plays a big part in tipping the whole balance positive or negative. Eco-web overload is a far bigger threat if soil depletion does turn out to be a big problem, of course climate is sitting on the other side of the see saw as well..

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  • 95. At 06:44am on 01 Jul 2010, bowmanthebard wrote:

    #85 CanadianRockies wrote:

    I hear that some fools want to reintroduce them to Scotland!

    What else can be done to control the exploding beaver population?

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  • 96. At 06:53am on 01 Jul 2010, MangoChutney wrote:

    apparently AGW is real and started 15000 years ago when that dirty beast "man, killed off the last mammoth triggering global cooling:

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2010/06/30/climate-craziness-of-the-week-the-agu-peddles-a-mammoth-climate-change-theory/

    hmmmm, doesn't this just suggest that todays global warming is a bounceback from 15000 years ago?

    ;)

    /Mango

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  • 97. At 07:21am on 01 Jul 2010, simon-swede wrote:

    CanadianRockies at #85

    Don't know what you were referring to in my post #42.

    My point is quite simple. You have denounced the reserach for producing a "one size fits all number", but Traill et al don't propose a one size fits all number.

    Nothing you have written actually addresses that fundamental point.

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  • 98. At 07:30am on 01 Jul 2010, simon-swede wrote:

    CanadianRockies at #84

    You wrote: "So you want science to inform political decision-making yet you don't seem to care whether its "good science" or junk science?"

    Nonsense. Wrong again!

    I care very much about the quality of the science used. My point is that political decision-making involves many non-science-related considerations. Whereas science can and must inform those decisions, science on its own is an insufficient basis to determine what those decisions should be.

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  • 99. At 07:43am on 01 Jul 2010, simon-swede wrote:

    KennethM at #81

    The concept of such sanctuaries (or "marine protected areas") is not a new one, but there is currently growin interest in developing this approach, from governemnts, fishing interests and environemntal NGOs.

    See for example...

    Government example: http://oceanservice.noaa.gov/topics/oceans/mpa/

    Industry example: http://www.fishnewseu.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=2900:mpa-fishing-coalition-launched-in-london&catid=44:uk&Itemid=55

    Environmental NGO example: http://wwf.panda.org/what_we_do/how_we_work/conservation/marine/protected_areas/

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  • 100. At 07:49am on 01 Jul 2010, MangoChutney wrote:

    I would agree with Simon, science can and must inform policy, subject to the scientists being objective. The problem is when scientists don't just report the science and become activists. Hansen is the perfect example of a scientist turned activist, who, imho, can no longer be seen as an objective scientist - if he wants to be a politician, let him stand for office

    /Mango

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  • 101. At 08:12am on 01 Jul 2010, Robert Lucien wrote:

    #89 manysummits wrote:

    To Robert Lucien #86:

    Now you're talking Lucien!!!

    "Whatever benefits it provides unbridled capitalism is genuinely evil - its turned most of us into surfs who bow to a tiny ultra rich elite who have mostly little or no talent or imagination. What they've done to parts of British culture, our industry, our culture, our science is an abomination. But the worst thing they do is destroy peoples hope and morale and belief in ‘goodness’, and that is something we can all fight." (Lucien)

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

    "I am studying Robert Pirsig's 'Metaphysics of Quality' in his "Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance." "

    I didn't mention but to me an engineer has to have a Zen and a love for machines and for what he does to be any good. My trouble is that I'm a mass of contradictions sometimes thats good sometimes bad.

    "I would like to summarize, as this bears directly on our current situation:

    The sophists of pre-Socratic Greece taught 'arete' through the use of rhetoric. 'Arete' is mistranslated 'virtue,' but according to H.D.F. Kitto's "The Greeks" it means 'excellence', and is used indifferently in all categories, not just ethics.

    'Arete' implies 'duty towards self,' analagous to the Hindu 'dharma,' and in addition implies a respect for the wholemess or oneness of life, and a consequent "dislike of specialization."

    It implies a "contempt for efficiency - or rather a much higher idea of efficiency, an efficiency which exists not in one department of life but in life itself." "

    I couldest agree more with that, both on a higher degree of efficiency and on dislike of specialization. I' like to think of myself as a Renaissance man, a believer in enlightenment and rationality and harmony. I don't know if you can tell but I've actually achieved that 'wholeness with the one' in the past, its the best thing and the worst thing in the world.

    " 'Arete' is thus Robert Pirsig's 'Quality,' and Evo Morales of Bolivia, in speaking for the indiginous peoples of the world, suggests that a 'life well lived' is key, not the acquisition of more and more, which necessitates a continuuing impoverishment of the Environment - Mother Earth.

    This way of thinking, of being, is what I call the true 'Mountaineer's Way,' it is Reinhold Messner's 'by fair means,' it is my 'pace is everything.' "

    And it is Antoine de Saint-Exuoery's 'responsible man.'

    Robert Pirsig:

    "He had built empires of scientific capabilities...

    but for this he had exchanged an empire of understanding...

    \\\ of what it is to be a part of the world, and not an enemy of it." ///
    "

    A new way is to do both at once, to balance science and power and wisdom together. Science coupled with blind greed and lack of care or understanding has always led to empires set to fall. For science there has been a severe lack of balance for many years, science as philosophy has been under enormously heavy attack by the Christian right for decades
    and they have largely won. Its not surprising because science was killing the monster with its truth, science as philosophy was largely atheist and socialist and worst it was invading areas the church considered exclusively its own.

    The Zen path of line (or triangle), is the path of powergod and requires the greatest skill to wield it and stay in balance, it is never eternal because it requires eternal vigilance.
    The path of circle or balance is very strong but it doesn't allow for strong emotion or passion, it is eternal but its eternity is weak (weak - meant as positive, it accepts reincarnation).
    The final path of square is the path of 'abomination' power and gains eternity and power through physical strength and wealth and hidden secrets but only at the price of constant battle and eternal war.
    There is a fourth path life and that gains power through the balance of the other three. The path of life is the path followed by the true innocent/ignorant, once you begin to specialize in the three sub-paths you begin to fall (not a negative meaning) and only rise again when enlightened. The path of the circle is Zen Buddhism or Tao, the path of the line is Tantra, and I think the third is called the path of Shiva, the path of the king. The path of life is the path of oneness, in its low form innocence and in its high form 'gnosis' or enlightenment. Of course enlightenment is not free, its price is one soul, its a path that demands sacrifice either yourself or another. (and that is its definition of good or evil)
    I hope I got all that right, it took a while to pull it out of my memory- its been a long time since I read it.

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  • 102. At 09:21am on 01 Jul 2010, CanadianRockies wrote:

    #95. bowmanthebard wrote:

    What else can be done to control the exploding beaver population?

    -----------

    Wolves would be the worst method. Wolves will prey on everything else - deer, sheep, cattle, pet dogs - and they go after the larger prey first... so by the time they get to preying on beaver, too many other problems.

    Much simpler to simply trap them, preferably in winter when their pelts are worth something. There are many areas in Canada where beavers are pests and simply trapped to control their populations, but too often they do that when their pelts are worthless - which seems like a waste to me.

    Beavers are profilic rodents and in a place like Scotland they must be controlled or the backlash will get very serious. Flooded farm fields and roads and too many trees chopped down tend to upset the rural folk, as well as those who enjoy riverside parks, not to mention dams blocking salmon streams.

    But good luck with the kind of rabid animal rights groups and environmentalists that you have in the UK when it comes to dealing rationally with 'cute' beavers!



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  • 103. At 09:31am on 01 Jul 2010, rossglory wrote:

    #80 bowmanthebard

    "Let's take these in turn. Any individual competes with other individuals, both of the same species and other species. The fewer individuals of the same species there are around the place, the less any individual has to compete with them, in other words the bigger the "niche" left by their absence. And you what they say about big niches -- "big niche, easy pickins"."

    that probably sums up our ecosystem knowledge 150 years ago but we now know the world is not that simple. i'm sure larry could give you some tips on stochastic systems.

    maybe read up on the collapse of atlantic cod on the grand banks.

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  • 104. At 09:38am on 01 Jul 2010, LabMunkey wrote:

    @ manysummits #77.

    and then you fall right back into your old ways-

    "Sea level is rising almost twice as fast as the IPCC predictions, and every time we take stock of the ice, we see that we are newly surprised at how quickly it is going. And that applies to the entire cryoshere, tundra and permafrost, high altitude landscapes, and the great Ice Sheets - all of them, including the East Antarctic.

    I could point you to sources, but if your approach is to disbelieve everybody, there is no point, is there."


    Manysummits- there is direct and incontrevertable eveidence that sea levels have risen, on average, at a steady rate of 3.4 mm per year for at least 150 years. I have linked this information before.

    Contrary to what you say- i would be more than happy to view any information you choose to post and if convincing, will change my stance. I'm a scientist, it's how we work. BUT, because of the data i have seen, i can only take your statement as what it appears to be- an ill-informed (but well meaning) rant.

    "Hence the coping mechanism of denial. It is all more than a little too much, this super-specialization and reliance on vague personalities employed by NASA or the Met office, and further politicized by our politicians, whom we all trust implicitly, given their record of truth telling."

    Manysummits. Just try, REALLY try to see that not all sceptics are simply denying AGW because of pre-held ideals. Some (and i'd like to include myself in this group) have thoroughly researched this matter, have a sound scientific background and are capable of making their own interpretations on data and the quality of said data.

    for sure, there are people on both sides of the debate who are simply zealots... and unfortunatley i class you in that group, who are so firm in their beliefs that they are even unwilling to enter discussion on the issue- instead 'pigeon holing' their opposites as deniers/warmists etc so that they can dismiss them out of hand, but it doesn't mean everyone is.

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  • 105. At 09:45am on 01 Jul 2010, rossglory wrote:

    #86 Robert Lucien

    "I know that my way to destroy/repair the current system is increasing technology, the internet and information has injured them hugely because they now find it so much harder to hide their lies and they now have a habit of getting caught."

    but it makes no difference if there is no means of controlling them. the real issue is that they are global (govts are national), they effectively own most of the mass media (murdoch et al) and they have bought the govts that could potentially do them some damage.

    the internet gives us a chance to get alternative news (zcom, grist, schnews etc) but in reality how many people get their info from these sites compared to sky news, cnbc etc.

    and if you're in any doubt whether corporations will influence elections here's obama's view on a supreme court decision recently (jan) on election funding:
    "a major victory for big oil, Wall Street banks, health insurance companies and the other powerful interests that marshal their power every day in Washington to drown out the voices of everyday Americans."
    the corporations paid bush to put those guys in the supreme court and this is their pay day. a sad day for democracy.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2010/01/22/us/politics/22scotus.html

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  • 106. At 09:50am on 01 Jul 2010, CanadianRockies wrote:

    98. simon-swede

    Well then why did you say: "Perhaps it is less about the availability of "good science" and more about the absence of sufficient political will to apply it when taking management decisions?"

    That sounded like you did not care whether the science was "good" as long as there was the political will to apply it.

    You just wrote: "I care very much about the quality of the science used. My point is that political decision-making involves many non-science-related considerations. Whereas science can and must inform those decisions, science on its own is an insufficient basis to determine what those decisions should be."

    I certainly agree with that. In terms of environmental science, given how much of it is "mission oriented" junk science pushing agendas, it is entirely insufficient, and dangerous.

    To your #97 - I was referring to the general concept introduced way back in #3, which I commented on in #5. My last comment to you was following on that, and hopefully I answered my rhetorical question for you.

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  • 107. At 10:17am on 01 Jul 2010, simon-swede wrote:

    CanadianRockies at #106 ("That sounded like you did not care whether the science was "good" as long as there was the political will to apply it.)

    No, and I think that is something of a strange reading of what I wrote. To try to be clear, in the particular case of fisheries mentioned by Ross, I consider that there is an abundance of good scientific information available, but a lack of will to apply it in a consequential manner when taking the management decisions.

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  • 108. At 10:27am on 01 Jul 2010, rossglory wrote:

    What can be done to control the exploding neocon, luddite population?

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  • 109. At 10:44am on 01 Jul 2010, Dr Brian wrote:

    This is not original but I like it.

    "Humanity, through the ages, guilty of crimes against nature and pogroms and holocausts against defenseless animals EXCEPT for the Native American Indians who lived in balance with Gaia as guardians of the Earth, living in perfect harmony as one with nature (we know this is true because we all watched the documentary ‘Dancing with Wolves’)."

    We are all witnesses to the rewriting of the historical record to paint humanity as climate criminals.

    PS. Would it be a good idea to ask the World Bank to pay for the inhabitants of the Climate Camp in Parliament Square to paint the Andes white so they stop shitting on the grass.

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  • 110. At 10:46am on 01 Jul 2010, simon-swede wrote:

    Rossglory at #108

    Hmmm, talk about unknown unknowns... How about in-breeding?

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  • 111. At 10:47am on 01 Jul 2010, bowmanthebard wrote:

    #105 rossglory wrote:

    "they effectively own most of the mass media (murdoch et al)"

    No matter where you are, from the Soviet Union to the capitalist UK or US, the media/press has the job of pleasing people. In the Soviet Union, the people Pravda had to please were high-ranking members of the communist party. In the UK or US, the people the Guardian and Daily Telegraph have to please are the newspaper-buying public.

    Perhaps most of those who buy these newspapers simply enjoy having their prejudices confirmed; in which case, they are changing little but doing little harm. Perhaps a minority enjoy controversy and want to have their prejudices exposed as prejudice; in which case, they are changing opinion a bit more.

    In neither case is there a Svengali-like "hidden persuader" in the background hypnotizing an innocent public into adopting his own wicked agenda. That is a misunderstanding of how the human mind works, of how the press works, and indeed it reveals your own prejudices about the opinions of ordinary people: you don't agree with them, and so despise and disrespect them.

    Do me a favour and run for office sometime. The voters would give the metaphorical "kicking" you deserve!

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  • 112. At 11:31am on 01 Jul 2010, JaneBasingstoke wrote:

    @CanadianRockies #84

    You want to be very careful with context when you look at Mike Hulme quotes.


    Hulme is a political moderate amongst "warmists", the practical implications of this include facing up to scientific uncertainty by getting scientists to avoid conflicts of interest and giving non-scientists more of a political say. He strongly disapproves of scientific dishonesty. And he strongly disapproves of the abuse of science and scientific position for political gain.


    Back to the importance of context with those quotes. He is frequently making the complete opposite point to what the isolated quotes suggest. Compare

    "And the conference chair herself, Professor Katherine Richardson, has described the messages as politically-motivated. All well and good."

    to

    "Which leads me to the second curiosity about this conference statement, what exactly is the ‘action’ the conference statement is calling for? Are these messages expressing the findings of science or are they expressing political opinions? I have no problem with scientists offering clear political messages as long as they are clearly recognized as such. And the conference chair herself, Professor Katherine Richardson, has described the messages as politically-motivated. All well and good.

    But then we need to be clear about what authority these political messages carry. They carry the authority of the people who drafted them — and no more. Not the authority of the 2,500 expert researchers gathered at the conference. And certainly not the authority of collective global science. Caught between summarizing scientific knowledge and offering political interpretations of such knowledge, the six key messages seem rather ambivalent in what they are saying. It is as if they are not sure how to combine the quite precise statements of science with a set of more contested political interpretations."


    http://seedmagazine.com/content/article/what_was_the_copenhagen_climate_change_conference_really_about/


    I have found a more complete version of your quote in the following article. There is a big snip in your version, suggested at by the dots, and substantially changing the mood of the sentence. A more complete quote, with restored text highlit, is as follows

    " The function of climate change I suggest, is not as a lower-case environmental phenomenon to be solved. Solving climate change should not be the focus of our efforts any more than we should be ‘solving’ the idea of human rights or liberal democracy. It really is not about stopping climate chaos. Instead, we need to see how we can use the idea of climate change – the matrix of ecological functions, power relationships, cultural discourses and materials flows that climate change reveals – to rethink how we take forward our political, social, economic and personal projects over the decades to come."
    http://www.peopleandplace.net/media_library/audio/2009/6/10/mike_hulme_why_we_disagree_about_climate_change


    Meanwhile most of the other quotes come from these articles. Some of which you may wish to mock. But very very little to actually whinge about.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/2007/mar/14/scienceofclimatechange.climatechange
    http://m.mydigitalfc.com/plan/no-consensus-yet-climate-change-hulme-702
    http://glocktalk.com/forums/archive/index.php/t-1115811.html
    http://www.rorotoko.com/index.php/article/mike_hulme_book_disagree_climate_change_controversy_inaction_opportunity/
    http://www.rorotoko.com/index.php/article/mike_hulme_book_disagree_climate_change_controversy_inaction_opportunity/P1/


    In the mean time you may wish to look at some of his more clearly worded stuff

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2009/dec/04/laboratories-limits-leaked-emails-climate
    http://www.thersa.org/fellowship/journal/archive/winter-2010/features/heated-debate


    Finally a disclaimer. It is very very easy to take Hulme out of context. The worst cases I have seen have been in two steps, someone decides to mock his flowery language then someone else interprets the resulting out of context quote as part of a conspiracy theory. But I have yet to see anything that looks like malicious quote mining as opposed to misunderstanding.

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  • 113. At 11:43am on 01 Jul 2010, Robert Lucien wrote:

    #105. At 09:45am on 01 Jul 2010, rossglory wrote:

    "but it makes no difference if there is no means of controlling them. the real issue is that they are global (govts are national), they effectively own most of the mass media (murdoch et al) and they have bought the govts that could potentially do them some damage."

    I have one word for you - 'Special Rendition', ideal for bankers and other city fraudsters. They think they've got away with it then wake up in a Turkish torture chamber. Nice.

    "the internet gives us a chance to get alternative news (zcom, grist, schnews etc) but in reality how many people get their info from these sites compared to sky news, cnbc etc."
    The poor broken deluded zombies, not a lot anyone can do to save them now, maybe one day...

    "and if you're in any doubt whether corporations will influence elections here's obama's view on a supreme court decision recently (jan) on election funding:
    'a major victory for big oil, Wall Street banks, health insurance companies and the other powerful interests that marshal their power every day in Washington to drown out the voices of everyday Americans.'
    the corporations paid bush to put those guys in the supreme court and this is their pay day. a sad day for democracy."

    Its all the same old story isn't it. To be honest I never really liked Obama that much, he reminds me of Blair a little to much. (thinks of 'The Salesman' from Clive Barkers Weaveworld)

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  • 114. At 8:01pm on 01 Jul 2010, CanadianRockies wrote:

    112. JaneBasingstoke

    First, Jane, I must congratulate you on your diligent research.

    To your point, I just happened to have that quote handy, as it was noted in this extremely revealing article about 'Post-Normal Science' (which I would simply call politicized junk science a la Lysenko):

    http://buythetruth.wordpress.com/2009/10/31/climate-change-and-the-death-of-science/

    Second, your explanation didn't change anything. The key words in that quote are "how we can use the idea of climate change."

    If not Hulme, then there is no end of others explaining that they are using 'green' issues as a cover and driver for social engineering and other agendas. Because these agendas are typically if not always far to the left (red), they are most aptly described as Watermelons. You know, control freaks eager to tell everyone else how to live in order to 'save the planet.' Plenty of Watermelon posts here.

    Unfortunately for the lower caste Watermelons, they are actually only useful idiots manipulated by those at the top who are simply in it for pure power and money, and will be very disillusioned when/if they realize that.

    In the meantime, and just to use a familiar name, Goldman Sachs loves them.

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  • 115. At 8:36pm on 01 Jul 2010, jr4412 wrote:

    CanadianRockies #114.

    "..these agendas are typically if not always far to the left (red), they are most aptly described as Watermelons. You know, control freaks eager to tell everyone else how to live in order to 'save the planet.' ... Unfortunately for the lower caste Watermelons, they are actually only useful idiots manipulated by those at the top who are simply in it for pure power and money, and will be very disillusioned when/if they realize that."

    you believe so and that makes it so, eh?

    "..Goldman Sachs loves them."

    the powers-that-be love the immature 'city' boys who will sell out for bribes that enable them to live beyond their means; you won't find many socially conscious people there.

    I envy you, no, really.
    ROTFL

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  • 116. At 01:08am on 02 Jul 2010, CanadianRockies wrote:

    115. jr4412

    Just look at all the 'solutions' to AGW or other real or alleged environmental problems. They are always about increased control of individual rights and freedoms and expansion of government control.

    Or humour me and find one that doesn't do that.

    This kind of control is exactly what the powers-that-be want, and if they can fool the useful idiots into surrendering their freedoms under the guise of saving the planet or being socially conscious, all the simpler for them... which is why they have done that. At the same time, the carbon business offers huge new revenue streams for governments and fabulous opportunities for their Wall Streeter masters.

    And, of course, the research-industrial complex that supports this is also rewarded for their good work. Billions poured into the chosen research and researchers.

    Like I said, some people, apparently including you, "will be very disillusioned when/if they realize that."

    In the meantime, can I sell you some used carbon offsets?

    Familiar with Gore's vested interests? Here's one:

    http://www.generationim.com/about/team.html

    If you click on the link and view the Partners, out of the first 20, 16 came from, and all have ties to Goldman Sachs.

    But, really, they do all they do for the planet.






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  • 117. At 01:20am on 02 Jul 2010, JaneBasingstoke wrote:

    @CanadianRockies

    "The key words in that quote are "how we can use the idea of climate change.""

    Which I interpreted as a "if life sends you lemons make lemonade" type comment. Remember Hulme accepts the mainstream science and therefore sees climate problems ahead. Also Hulme is explicit elsewhere about not abusing science for a political agenda.

    You did read those final two links in my #112, didn't you.

    "A good example of misunderstanding the relationship between scientific evidence and political action occurred at the Camp for Climate Action at Heathrow in 2007. The protesters claimed they were "armed only with peer-reviewed science". They were in fact armed with much more: a powerful vision of a future Britain, a strong belief in the value of natural ecosystems, compelling ethical principles about the rights of the poor. None of this armoury was to be found in the peer-reviewed science they quoted. They didn't help their cause by hiding behind science."

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2009/dec/04/laboratories-limits-leaked-emails-climate

    "Neither scientists nor politicians should try to discredit unorthodox views about how to respond to climate change by using the pejorative labels of ‘denialist’ or ‘flat-earther’. Scientists must learn to respect their public audiences and to listen more closely to them. Now is no time for the elite to despair of democracy. We have only one planet, but we also have only one political system that most people would choose to live under. Politicians must learn not to hide behind science when asked to make complex judgements. Science is useful as a form of systematic critical enquiry into the functioning of the physical world, but it is not a substitute for political judgement, negotiation and compromise."

    http://www.thersa.org/fellowship/journal/archive/winter-2010/features/heated-debate


    On carbon traders

    1. Most grass roots warmists, with or without socialist sensibilities, actively dislike carbon trading.

    Very few of the criticisms are left wing, although some of the critics are. Phrases such as "mediaeval indulgence", "scam" and "business as usual" get banded around.

    2. Most campaigns against carbon trading are by warmists.

    Sceptics seem to think attacking AGW science will be more effective, and seem to confine references to carbon trading to blogs.

    3. What makes you think that disproving AGW will get rid of carbon trading?

    Remember the financial world thinks with coke and has a track record of getting politicians to believe its nonsense. "Hey we can run the markets as an unregulated casino and there won't be a rerun of 1929 because we've traded away risk." You could disprove AGW outright tomorrow and they'd come up with some excuse to keep carbon trading going.

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  • 118. At 03:04am on 02 Jul 2010, jr4412 wrote:

    CanadianRockies #116.

    "But, really, they do all they do for the planet."

    ah, dis-illusioned and sarcastic, know it (too) well.

    "..always about increased control of individual rights and freedoms and expansion of government control."

    self-employed builder Joe has the right to run his business and try to make a living; Joe has no right, however, to fly-tip some 'rubble' in a quiet country lane.

    rights and freedoms come with duties, obligations.

    where do you draw the line? are you in favour of no rules? do you trust people to do the 'right thing'?

    "..if they can fool the useful idiots into surrendering their freedoms.."

    sure, it would be in everybody's interest then to have a global state because (a) all people ought to enjoy equal freedoms and (b) we'd only have to deal with one 'malignant' government as opposed to the current 200+.

    btw, I think 'sheeple' -- thanks, Shadorne -- is a nice(r) euphemism for "useful idiots".

    "At the same time, the carbon business offers huge new revenue streams for governments and fabulous opportunities for their Wall Streeter masters. And, of course, the research-industrial complex that supports this is also rewarded for their good work. Billions poured into the chosen research and researchers."

    yes, I'm not in favour of carbon trading either but since so much money is wasted on other stuff, like killing people (1464000000000 USD in 2008, over $220 for each of us), I cannot get worked up over it.

    AGW/Gore

    I've no position/interest on the 'A' in 'AGW'; I'd say that equitable and sensible use of land and seas would do more to check the increasing GW (if any) than any of the technical solutions that have been proposed.

    equally, no interest in Gore, he's a professional politician and daddy left shares in Occidental Petroleum. still, in today's world of hero worship Al Gore's political brand of hypocrisy isn't as bad as, say, Benjamin Netanyahu's. $0.02

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  • 119. At 04:01am on 02 Jul 2010, jr4412 wrote:

    JaneBasingstoke #117.

    "..the financial world thinks with coke.."

    "..a former Chief of Staff at Conservative Party headquarters.." hinted that politicians were trying to too. ;)

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  • 120. At 05:19am on 02 Jul 2010, CanadianRockies wrote:

    #117. JaneBasingstoke

    Hmmm. I'm not quite sure how to respond to the first part of your post.

    The first quote simply illustrated, mildly, my point. It is also notable for the reference to "peer-reviewed science," now the clarion call in appeals to authority, which simply doesn't mean much anymore with post-normal science. Looking at that particular protest, one can only imagine what kind of 'peer-reviewed science' they were even claiming... sociology or one of the other mushy fields?

    The second quote sounds marvellous. Wouldn't it be wonderful if that was how things really worked. The problem lies with the way that description pretends that politicians and scientists are two different species when all are just humans, and all humans are political and economic animals.

    But this bit is rather informative: "Now is no time for the elite to despair of democracy. We have only one planet, but we also have only one political system that most people would choose to live under."

    One assumes that the writer means 'scientists' when they refer to the "elites." But those whitecoats are only the tools of the real elite.

    And, of course, that there is "only one political system that most people would choose to live under" is a false Western conceit given the whole planet. I suppose we are supposed to think that is "democracy," but then what exactly is that these days? In the US it mean voting for one of two sides of the SAME party... based on massive media advertising campaigns that sell politicians like soap. In the UK it appears to mean something similar.

    So, if we imagine a world where dishonest scientists inform dishonest politicians who in turn break all their election promises - sound familiar? - then what do we have? What we have.

    On carbon trading. Well, I could argue the first two points but I won't, other than to say that I think your "most" comments were too simplistic.
    As for point 3, I DO expect the scam to happen no matter what because we have what we have, and its only pretend democracy that uses Orwellian brainwashing and social engineering methods and post-normal science. So, what can one do? Be realistic. Adapt.

    In the meantime, one doesn't have to actually believe the propaganda.

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  • 121. At 05:42am on 02 Jul 2010, CanadianRockies wrote:

    118. jr4412

    Living in Canada, especially where and how I live, is much different than living on your crowded island. I cherish the freedom we still have. So the level of government you imagine you need is much different than what we need. Thus we will always differ. The idea of a global state is an abomination for me. Local government is bad enough, and we live a long way from the nearest little town.

    The term 'useful idiots' came from Lenin. He was referring to all the revolutionary serfs he fooled, used, and then betrayed. I think the term 'sheeple' refers more to the passive folk who are easily fooled but not so readily motivated. They just get herded along.

    You frequently mention military spending in your posts. But I'm a little baffled by how you miss the similarities between the fear-mongering military-industrial complex and the fear-mongering enviromental research-industrial complex. They both sell fear. The war on terror, the war on climate change, blah, blah, blah.

    I just mentioned Gore as he is such a conspicuous and easy target. Sort of like Tony Bliar.

    And I appreciate your rational view of "GW (if any)." On my list of urgent environmental problems, its not even there.

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  • 122. At 1:22pm on 02 Jul 2010, JaneBasingstoke wrote:

    @jr4412 #118

    "yes, I'm not in favour of carbon trading either but since so much money is wasted on other stuff, like killing people (1464000000000 USD in 2008, over $220 for each of us), I cannot get worked up over it."

    Here's a reason to get worked up about it, another financial crash like the one that's caused our current problems.

    http://www.foe.org.uk/news/carbon_trading_21807.html

    And here are Lovelock and Hansen giving it a good kicking

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2009/mar/10/lovelock-meacher-slam-carbon-trading
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2010/jan/12/james-hansen-carbon-emissions

    And problems aren't either / or. Does Mark Thomas confine his attentions to corruption in the Arms Trade?
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/profile/markthomas
    http://www.markthomasinfo.com/

    Corruption is not hermetically sealed in one area of public life, instead it is a multi-headed hydra and no part of the political spectrum is immune. And I remind you of this

    "The condition upon which God hath given liberty to man is eternal vigilance." [John Philpot Curran]

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  • 123. At 1:34pm on 02 Jul 2010, JaneBasingstoke wrote:

    @CanadianRockies #120

    "The first quote simply illustrated, mildly, my point."

    Actually the tone of your previous posts was that Mike Hulme wanted to abuse the situation. If that was not what you meant then they needed to be clearer.

    Whereas the first quote illustrated mine, that Mike Hulme campaigns against the abuse of science for political gain.

    The first quote also illustrates Hulme's point, Hulme appears to have chosen these campaigners as a clear case of well meaning wrongheadedness where sincerity is not in doubt.

    And it is not good at illustrating other aspects of your posts. Unless you think a bunch of hippies in some tents campaigning against Government policy on the expansion of Heathrow airport are somehow the establishment. Or you think the hippies are cynical rather than wrongheaded in hiding behind the science. Or you think that the fact that hippies take AGW seriously somehow disproves the science.

    News article on the Climate Camp criticised by Hulme.
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/6943084.stm


    "One assumes that the writer means 'scientists' when they refer to the "elites." But those whitecoats are only the tools of the real elite."

    I didn't read that comment as him restricting the "elite" to the scientists. Rather I thought he was talking about politicians and the political class in general (he does refer directly to politicians two sentences later), and reminding the political class that democracy is too important to cheat.

    I take your point about western style democracy not applying to every country and not being as complete as we would like. But it is irrelevant when Hulme appears to be having a dig at those who would sacrifice some of the democracy we do have.


    "In the meantime, one doesn't have to actually believe the propaganda."

    So all I have to do to convince you of something is to dress up its opposite as propaganda? If someone uses an idea in propaganda that idea must automatically be wrong?

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  • 124. At 2:21pm on 02 Jul 2010, JaneBasingstoke wrote:

    @jr4412 #118

    Ugh. Punctuation of part of my #122 has been confused by thread software replacing my double space between sentences with a single space.

    So here it is the segment again, with the punctuation clarified.

    And problems aren't either-or.
    Does Mark Thomas confine his attentions to corruption in the Arms Trade?
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/profile/markthomas
    http://www.markthomasinfo.com/

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  • 125. At 10:59pm on 02 Jul 2010, CanadianRockies wrote:

    #123. JaneBasingstoke

    OK. I'll accept your opinion about Hulme - even though people often say things they do not actually mean. Actions speak much louder and clearer than words. That said, it seems many for AGW missionaries are changing their tune as reality sets in.

    "Unless you think a bunch of hippies in some tents campaigning against Government policy on the expansion of Heathrow airport are somehow the establishment. Or you think the hippies are cynical rather than wrongheaded in hiding behind the science. Or you think that the fact that hippies take AGW seriously somehow disproves the science."

    They're useful idiots. They are gullible not cynical. What "hippies" believe doesn't prove or disprove anything. The real point here is what 'science' they were allegedly believing in for that demonstration?

    I can see all sorts of reasons not to want an airport expansion that have nothing to do with science at all. Like noise and the demand for more land that could be used for something else.

    And nice that the 'elite' needs to be reminded that democracy, for what it is now worth, is something that they should at least pretend to respect. But the mere fact that he thought he needed to say that tells us how things really are... please, master, let us play.

    "So all I have to do to convince you of something is to dress up its opposite as propaganda? If someone uses an idea in propaganda that idea must automatically be wrong?"

    No Jane. That would be stupid. All effective propaganda does have at least some grain of truth or it wouldn't work at all. The trick is to critically examine it and separate the wheat from the chaff.

    My point, when I wrote that one must adapt even while "one doesn't have to actually believe the propaganda" is simply my approach to things. Even though I don't believe the AGW propaganda at all, I can see where it is leading... so I invest accordingly. That's what the Wall Streeters do. They don't believe in AGW but they profit from it.






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  • 126. At 04:10am on 03 Jul 2010, jr4412 wrote:

    CanadianRockies #121.

    "So the level of government you imagine you need is much different than what we need. ... The idea of a global state is an abomination for me."

    not quite sure what you imagine my imagination to be :-); while I am in favour of a planetary society without borders and equal rights, I do not like (and don't think we'd need) a 'nanny-state'.

    a system akin to the Swiss model perhaps would do nicely, ie. "a federal structure with three different political levels: the Confederation, the cantons and the communes".

    "..you miss the similarities between the fear-mongering military-industrial complex and the fear-mongering enviromental research-industrial complex."

    no, they're not different, much (most?) technological R & D is paid for from defense budgets.

    "..view of "GW (if any)." On my list of urgent environmental problems, its not even there."

    yes, the GW debate may well be academic since the food chain collapse has begun already.

    "The term 'useful idiots' came from Lenin."

    thanks, didn't know.

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  • 127. At 04:26am on 03 Jul 2010, jr4412 wrote:

    JaneBasingstoke #122, #124.

    "..another financial crash.."

    if carbon trading really can hasten the collapse of this illiberal 'new world order' I may have to change my mind!!

    "Corruption is not hermetically sealed in one area of public life, instead it is a multi-headed hydra and no part of the political spectrum is immune."

    correct, "guns don't kill people, rappers do" (goldie lookin chain) :-)

    we will never get rid of corrupt behaviour but we can aim to minimise it; unambiguous legislation and strict enforcement would help.

    "..thread software replacing my double space between sentences with a single space."

    oh dear! ;)

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  • 128. At 09:17am on 03 Jul 2010, Asterionella wrote:

    I'm glad that Richard Black is also covering other topics, than the "climate change" alone. And in the IWC Scientific Committee, the climate change is also discussed, and research on the effect of climate change on cetaceans (usually in conjunction with research on other sea inhabitants) of the Arctic and Antarctic is suggested (and done? Don't know, I'm not that up to date).
    Suggesting international bodies that work the way we would like is fine. The fact is that we have to deal with those that actually exist. Or build new ones, but does anybody here have the power to create them?
    The IWC is a well established institution. It was born as a "whalers club" but in the '70ies international concern for the sea and its inhabitants, brought many non whaling nations like Switzerland or Austria to adhere. This shifted the powers from pure whaling to "conservation management". In the wake of this the constitution of the IWC should have been changed: from "Whaling" to whale management, from the bunch of species that historically interested whalers, to all of the cetaceans ... but it was never done (beacause of lack of interest, of lack of the 3/4 majority, or just because "nobody thought about it at the time" ... I don't know). Fact is: in the meantime the last whaling nations decided to counter the power of "non whaling nations" "inviting" other states ... now we have a stale mate. Richard Black rightly pointed out that "The IWC's scientific committee is probably the world's most concentrated gathering of expertise on the issue". So it is. But it's blocked by the stale mate in the political meeting. So what do we do?
    Do we "sacrifice" some whale lives in order to get this body "rolling" again, break the stale mate and then work towards a reorganisation of it? Or like in chess, we just break off the "game" ... "Game over" for the IWC and start afresh, anew?
    We can phylosophize, and blogs and discussions are here for that, but the reality is this one. Either we deal with it or then leave it ..
    I would be sorry to see the IWC split up ... many good people put in a lot of effort. I would like to see it "reorganised", but for that the constitution has to be changed! If you want a change in the state of thing, either take away the moratorium of get the votes together, you political non-whaling- people, and if necessary fight for them (in politics you don't get nothing for "nothing"), and CHANGE THE CONSTITUTION OF THE IWC!
    All the rest is "BLA BLA BLA" ...

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  • 129. At 09:56am on 03 Jul 2010, Asterionella wrote:

    So much about the IWC. If on the other side "you" want to stop whaling, especially Japanese whaling, then I believe Greenpeace made the smartest move, and Junichi Sato is the proof of it. Most probably the way to stop whaling in Japan is NOT via IWC, NOT via assaults at sea, but by fighting "behind the lines", involving Japanese people. So I believe Greenpeace made the good choice, by putting its fund and efforts not in "sea battles" but in information and local involvement. Maybe the fact that Greenpeace does not stand alone for "non whaling", but also for a battle to save the Okinawa dugongs http://greenpeace.or.jp/dugong/ , which is probably an issue which can involve more Japanese people as the US Airbase in Okinawa is a hot debated issue, maybe this will prove a smart move that gets the issue, also of non-whaling, to the heart of the Japanese people. I'm no Greenpeace member, I had my quarrels with Greenpeace as well, but if whaling should end in Japan, this is, IMVVHO, the way to "fight the battle".

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  • 130. At 10:14pm on 03 Jul 2010, CanadianRockies wrote:

    123. JaneBasingstoke wrote:

    "Unless you think a bunch of hippies in some tents campaigning against Government policy on the expansion of Heathrow airport are somehow the establishment."

    Update. I guess those useful idiots helped to get the job done.

    "Britain Curbing Airport Growth to Aid Climate"

    http://www.nytimes.com/2010/07/02/science/earth/02runway.html?_r=1

    The photo with this article makes me so happy not to live there, even without the low flying jets.

    And I'm guessing that climate was not the real reason for this decision.

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  • 131. At 00:23am on 04 Jul 2010, JaneBasingstoke wrote:

    @jr4412 #127

    "if carbon trading really can hasten the collapse of this illiberal 'new world order' I may have to change my mind!!"

    That's a grim answer. Two things

    1. People get used to fixing problems on their computer by turning the computer off and on again.

    But this is only a temporary fix, it works best when you have up to date back ups, and you frequently have to repeat it until [censored] have fixed the underlying bug.

    So don't think that "turn it off and on again" works for civilisation in the same way it works for your PC.

    2. Take a look at history.

    Financial collapse is always painful for those at the bottom. If the system doesn't completely implode it's people at the bottom that lose their jobs. If the system does implode it's those at the bottom that go hungry or get used as cannon fodder. Meanwhile financial collapse rarely costs most of those with power or money their power. Nor does it automatically bring the right sort of change.

    And when some powerful players do lose their position in a time of crisis it is often because some opportunist extremist takes political advantage of people's misery. You have to vote fascist or communist because otherwise the fascists or communists get in. And then once we have the perfect Party it would be treason to vote for anyone else.

    So no. Financial collapse won't fix the woes of current political system.

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  • 132. At 03:15am on 04 Jul 2010, Bryan wrote:

    As much as I'd like to be proven wrong, I don't think there ever will be a common ground on something like whaling. Certainly not on the basis of principles. Reading comments here only reinforces this point.

    Half-heartedly following this debate for several years now, I've come to the conclusion that, in essence, the whale worshiping is a religion for some people. As with any religion, it is cluttered with passion, sincerity, lack of perspective and a touch of madness.

    As an outside observer, I don't see any difference between the Christians who are trying to bring in "Intelligent Designs" into a science class, Druids who organize naked ceremonies, terrorists who blow themselves up for god, and campaigners who worship whales.

    The seriousness of the resultant effect is different, of course, but the driving force is the same; they are all self-endorsed and does not lend itself to a broad dialogue with conflicting parties. They merely invent some technicalities to justify themselves and try recruit supporters to further their respective agendas.

    Don't get me wrong - I'm not implying that religious people are bad people. If anything, they passionately follow what they believe in and do a whole lot of good. It's just that I happened to notice that the lack of perspective is a common denominator.

    Nevertheless, in such an environment, a common ground will never be found because the narrow-mindedness is inherent and forms the essential part of any faith.

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  • 133. At 04:46am on 04 Jul 2010, kecsmar wrote:

    This is a very interetsing read. It sheds light, on those not familair already, with Japan's corruption and secrecy regarding Whaling, as well as Japan's appalling lack of Human rights. All going either un-noticed or un-spoken, why??

    http://edition.cnn.com/2010/OPINION/06/24/sato.iwc.whales/?fbid=RykIATEmk3P

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  • 134. At 05:44am on 05 Jul 2010, Bryan wrote:

    kecsmar, that depends on which side of the argument you choose to take. Information only comes from one side of the debate and there is nobody to defend it.

    Push comes to shove, you are only given some information you fancy. In my opinion, that is one of the biggest problems in this debate; each side is being social-engineered by selective information.

    The only way to solve it is for both parties to see the views they don't want to see, take in the perceptions they don't want to take in and accept the differences they don't want to accept. This is not possible without an even-handed distribution of information. We see this week in week out involving nations we tend to dislike (e.g. China & Russia). We start off with an assumption that "they are the bad guys" and our media plays a huge role.

    In recent years, I was surprised by BBC's proactive approach to be more even-handed in the Israeli–Palestinian conflict (their refusal to broadcast the charity clip comes to mind). That sort of effort is distinctly missing in the whaling debate. If you are a neutral like me, this is blinding obvious.

    When was the last time you saw a pro-whaling article in the English speaking media? Compare that with numerous articles which have the anti-whaling overtone. The process becomes fundamentally flawed when only one side of the debate is represented. Why do you think we bother having 2 (or 3) sides in the house of parliament?

    This debate reminds me of 80s Soviet where information was carefully rationed to control the public opinion. Worryingly, it's happening right here in 2010.

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  • 135. At 08:19am on 05 Jul 2010, simon-swede wrote:

    Btryan at #132

    A "lack of perspective is a common denominator" which you share, apparently.

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  • 136. At 5:44pm on 05 Jul 2010, bowmanthebard wrote:

    #121 CanadianRockies wrote:

    The term 'useful idiots' came from Lenin. He was referring to all the revolutionary serfs he fooled, used, and then betrayed.

    I thought he was referring to Western academics and middle-class armchair socialists!

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  • 137. At 10:55pm on 05 Jul 2010, GeoffWard wrote:

    Dear Manysummits (@32, part 2),
    A personal reflection - thank you.
    I have recently been thinking the same thoughts and from the same perspective. I guess this is the state of being educated, enquiring and no longer young.
    I know there will always be the partisan, extreme and stupid (your 'junk science' proponents), but when I take perspective by stepping back and contemplating the true wonderousness of the internet and the way it allows thee and me and a million others around the world to share the special minutes of time (like your reflective posting), it is such a privilege to live these years of our lives in the 21st century.
    Geoff.

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  • 138. At 10:49pm on 06 Jul 2010, Bryan wrote:

    #135 simon-swede:

    It would help if you could include a bit more information rather than throwing a one-liner.

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  • 139. At 10:11am on 07 Jul 2010, simon-swede wrote:

    Bryan at #138

    Look at the comparison you make in your post at #132. It applies equally to you, as it does to the viewpoint you are criticising.

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  • 140. At 11:21am on 07 Jul 2010, jr4412 wrote:

    JaneBasingstoke #131.

    "People get used to fixing problems on their computer by turning the computer off and on again. ... So don't think that "turn it off and on again" works for civilisation in the same way it works for your PC."

    I don't, and I can tell you from experience that it doesn't work for PCs (either).

    we need real reform of the UN in order to get a reponsible, fair and equitable planetary management/administration, or we'll find that our life support system will stop working soon.

    (it would be better for all other life on the planet though if the human element 'failed', IMO)


    "Financial collapse is always painful for those at the bottom. ... Financial collapse won't fix the woes of current political system."

    and continuing as we are will not end the misery that comes from the perception that there have to be 'those at the bottom'; why do you argue for the perpetuation of a flawed system??


    "Take a look at history."

    I did (and still do), hence my opinion(s).

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  • 141. At 11:27am on 07 Jul 2010, jr4412 wrote:

    kecsmar #133.

    "..Japan's appalling lack of Human rights."

    and the US of A's, and the UK's, and Israel's, and, and, and, ...

    get used to it, we're living in 'interesting times' as the old Chinese curse goes.

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  • 142. At 12:22pm on 07 Jul 2010, bowmanthebard wrote:

    #140 jr4412 wrote:

    continuing as we are will not end the misery that comes from the perception that there have to be 'those at the bottom'; why do you argue for the perpetuation of a flawed system??

    The idea that humans could ever give up competing with each other is laughable. Do you think we are somehow immune to the biological currents that sway the rest of the living world?

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  • 143. At 12:58pm on 07 Jul 2010, bowmanthebard wrote:

    #141 jr4412 wrote:

    "..Japan's appalling lack of Human rights."

    and the US of A's, and the UK's, and Israel's


    Two guesses:
    (1) You call yourself a "pacifist".
    (2) You haven't read George Orwell on "pacifism".

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  • 144. At 1:44pm on 07 Jul 2010, jr4412 wrote:

    bowmanthebard #142.

    "The idea that humans could ever give up competing with each other is laughable. Do you think we are somehow immune to the biological currents that sway the rest of the living world?"

    not at all, however, I do think that sapient humans can compete with each other, rather than against, and that knowledge plus technology ought to enable us to be equitable.

    are you arguing that we cannot do better than, say, 'mindless' amoeba?

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  • 145. At 2:00pm on 07 Jul 2010, jr4412 wrote:

    bowmanthebard #143.

    your second guess is correct, I haven't read Orwell; I'm very uncomfortable with kecsmar's Japan 'bashing' though (people who live in glasshouses and all that).

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  • 146. At 2:50pm on 07 Jul 2010, jr4412 wrote:

    #145 cont'd.

    on reading.

    have you read Patrick Fitzsimons' "Globalization" bowman?

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  • 147. At 3:00pm on 07 Jul 2010, bowmanthebard wrote:

    #144 jr4412 wrote:

    I do think that sapient humans can compete with each other, rather than against

    That sounds like the sort of thing primary school teachers say on sports day -- "everyone is a winner". Primary school children are quick to see that there is no competition unless there are winners and losers.

    You're going to have to "get real" I'm afraid.

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  • 148. At 3:34pm on 07 Jul 2010, bowmanthebard wrote:

    #144 jr4412 wrote:

    are you arguing that we cannot do better than, say, 'mindless' amoeba?

    I would argue that we are doomed to do even worse than amoebae, because they don't compete for sexual selection, and we do. We are even doomed to do worse than deer, because sexual selection is exercised by both human sexes.

    Sexual selection drives urges to do well in school, in sports, in arts, in business, even in science. The large human head -- life-threateningly large to both mother and infant at birth -- is very likely a product of sexually-selected brain. The human brain is just about as small as it can be given what it has to do to "hang in there" with a chance -- i.e. a chance in competition against other, similar brains.

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  • 149. At 4:00pm on 07 Jul 2010, jr4412 wrote:

    bowmanthebard #147.

    "That sounds like the sort of thing primary school teachers say on sports day -- "everyone is a winner". Primary school children are quick to see that there is no competition unless there are winners and losers."

    come on now, even when taking into account your stated preference for 'frivolity' you must be able to distinguish between competing for a sports trophy and vital (to survival) resources.

    "You're going to have to "get real" I'm afraid."

    does this mean that you too think humans unable (collectively) to rise above base instincts?

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  • 150. At 4:46pm on 07 Jul 2010, jr4412 wrote:

    bowmanthebard #148.

    so, humans are "doomed" because they're big-headed??

    well, we can agree on that. ;)

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  • 151. At 5:32pm on 07 Jul 2010, jr4412 wrote:

    LarryKealey #82.

    thought you might like to read this:

    http://slatest.slate.com/id/2259781/?wpisrc=newsletter

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  • 152. At 5:34pm on 07 Jul 2010, bowmanthebard wrote:

    #149 jr4412 wrote:


    does this mean that you too think humans unable (collectively) to rise above base instincts?

    It's not that we are "unable" to do so no matter how hard we try, so much as we never want to try. All instincts amount to is what we want. We want love, sex, status, popularity, safety for our children, and so on. It's not that we are "unable to rise above that" -- we just don't want to rise above that!

    Some of us (myself for example) have given up all hope of gaining status through acquiring wealth. That's not because I didn't originally want it, just that I realized my strengths didn't involve making money. So I paid more attention to my other strengths. I didn't selflessly give up competitiveness, I just gave up hope of winning in any competition for wealth!

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  • 153. At 10:56pm on 07 Jul 2010, jr4412 wrote:

    bowmanthebard #152.

    "..I just gave up hope of winning in any competition for wealth!"

    how about getting a lottery ticket? :-)

    btw, my #146 appears to have been too contentious for the moderators; triggered by your Orwell reference, I linked to an interesting (IMO) paper by Patrick Fitzsimons, it's the last article in:

    http://globalization.icaap.org/volume2issue1.php

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  • 154. At 8:15pm on 08 Jul 2010, Bryan wrote:

    #139 simon-swede:

    It would be nice if you could raise specifics and explain your reply. I don't mind being addressed individually, but it's silly to just give an abstract throw-away comment, which can be used as a reply to anything.

    I couldn't include every thought-process in one post, as my first post was relatively short, but I would be more than happy to elaborate.

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  • 155. At 7:21pm on 17 Jul 2010, Blasius wrote:



    are people in UK still doing hunting and fishing as sport?


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