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Palm oil deal points to corporate greening

Richard Black | 16:31 UK time, Wednesday, 9 February 2011

This week's announcement of a new partnership aimed at curbing deforestation in Indonesia should give succour to anyone who thinks consumers and companies, rather than governments, hold the key to curbing environmental decline.

Man with bike laden with palm oil fruits

 

Essentially, the world's second biggest (and Indonesia's biggest) producer of palm oil, Golden Agri-Resources (GAR), has joined forced with environmental group The Forest Trust (TFT) to establish and follow tougher rules on where they can plant.

Old-growth forest is supposed to be protected already - at least, where companies adhere to regulations established by the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO).

The new deal is principally aimed at preventing the release of carbon, and so will protect all forests whose tree density (and thus carbon storage) is above a certain threshold.

It will also ban development on peat. As Indonesia contributes about half of the world's CO2 emissions from peat, that's no trivial issue.

International organisations such as Greenpeace have been pursuing the East Asian palm oil industry for years (as they have the soy industry in the Amazon, for similar reasons).

Generate enough heat this way - persuade enough consumers to write angry letters to major brands or politicians, put companies' names in the press with unflattering references to their environmental footprint, maybe even instigate a boycott or two - and eventually, those major Western brands will pay attention.

Last year, TFT worked with Nestle [pdf link] to draw up rules ensuring the company's palm oil footprint, as it were, had no net impact on forests.

That meant Nestle putting pressure on its suppliers, creating problems for companies that did not up their game - and opportunities for those that did.

GAR's oil, for example, will now appear more attractive to a number of Western buyers - and at least some of GAR's competitors will presumably follow suit.

The deal comes at a paradoxical time for Indonesia.

In 2009, President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono became one of the first developing country leaders to pledge control of greenhouse gas emissions, promising a curb of 26% by 2020 - or by 41% if enough international assistance were forthcoming.

That implies slamming the brakes on deforestation - the country's biggest source of emissions.

Last year, the government pledged a two-year moratorium on new logging concessions, in return for which Norway would contribute $1bn - a harbinger of the much greater wealth transfers that may come under the UN's Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation (REDD) scheme.

Palm plantation

Palm oil plantations create a monoculture - damaging to biodiversity, and more

But amid confusion over which of two decrees should be used to introduce the moratorium, the Indonesian government delayed implementation.

And last week it announced that most mining and logging companies in Kalimantan, the Indonesian province that takes up the largest slice of Borneo, were operating illegally.

This shouldn't exactly have been a surprise, given that organisations such as Global Witness, with local counterparts, have been researching and revealing such issues in southeast Asia for years.

The status of the Norway-Indonesia deal is currently unclear. But while it disentangles itself, TFT and its allies have taken a parallel route, scouting around the edges of government concerns and heading down the track of consumer and corporate engagement - and scored something of a success.

It's a tactic with a mixed record.

Probably the quintessential example of a success is the "dolphin-safe tuna" campaign of the 1980s, which saw consumers (especially in the US) demanding that retailers stock only fish caught using methods that did not harm dolphins.

The issue itself remains somewhat controversial, with critics maintaining the methods that fleets subsequently adopted have had a disproportionate impact on other marine species, less iconic but more threatened - while backers argue that rules established then have subsequently been watered down.

Whatever the rights and wrongs of that issue, there's little doubt that purely as a campaign, it was a huge success, sending ripples right through the industry.

But it's one of just a few successes in a huge industry - fisheries - that has remained largely barren.

Forestry, too, has not been substantially impacted by consumer and corporate pressure. As Greenpeace itself acknowledges, the Asian pulp and paper industry remains largely immune to outside influences, even as palm oil suppliers feel the consumer force.

And there are some regions of the world where the tradition of public engagement in such issues leading to corporate pressure just doesn't seem to have relevance - notably China, whose importance as a destination for all kinds of goods sourced in nature is soaring.

Nevertheless, the palm oil deal demonstrates that in certain circumstances, the tactic does work.

Ten years ago, Greenpeace and its counterparts were lambasting virtually the entire industry as unsustainable, socially exploitative and environmentally destructive. Now, they're suggesting that if GAR/TFT standards were applied across the whole sector, the war would virtually be over.

For some, then, this is a surely a day for a piece of celebratory cake - made, surely, with just a dash of sustainable palm oil.

 

Comments

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  • 1. At 5:55pm on 09 Feb 2011, b5happy wrote:


    As I understand it:

    Nothing else grows or lives where Palm Oil is produced...

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  • 2. At 6:54pm on 09 Feb 2011, bowmanthebard wrote:

    What troubles me about this sort of scheme is that a vague idea lurks behind it, which goes something like this: "because there is such an excess of food, a slightly smaller excess will make no difference, because it's still an excess".

    Unfortunately, prices are decided by how much people are prepared to pay, not by how much is available in the abstract. (Look at oil prices.) Because food means life or death, people are prepared to pay any price they can afford, no matter how ridiculous or unjust. This gives food prices the explosive potential to spiral out of control, unlike the prices of things that people can take or leave.

    During the Irish Famine, there was plenty of food for those who could afford it -- the usual excess -- but prices rose above the critical threshold for the poor. The latter duly started to die in large numbers, despite relatively enlightened aid programs that assumed what matters is abstract availability rather than price. (Of course most Irish victims of the famine emigrated to live lives of poverty in the US -- please note that far from being "trapped" in Ireland, most were able to escape, as would surely happen to the poor were the AGW's hoped-for doom to actually come about.)

    It strikes me as foolish -- or worse -- for "Golden Agri-Resources" and "The Forest Trust" to dice with death (of others) by "playing around" with food prices. Be aware: the increased risk of the death is borne by the poor rather than environmentalists or big shots who run big companies. Be aware: smaller excesses of food suit agricultural types just fine, as higher prices compensate for smaller production. (You can see something like this in our own lives with OPEC's carefully-orchestrated meting out of meager amounts of oil to artificially inflate its price.)

    As a non-libertarian (but a liberal) I believe governments should intervene to prevent this sort of arrangement between profiteers and religionists.

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  • 3. At 7:35pm on 09 Feb 2011, b5happy wrote:


    #2 bowmanthebard:
    "Of course most Irish victims of the famine emigrated to live lives of poverty in the US"

    And opportunity.

    "please note that far from being "trapped" in Ireland, most were able to escape, as would surely happen to the poor"

    Really? The poor are safe? The poor can take comfort?

    "were the AGW's hoped-for doom to actually come about."

    What insight you must have to know it is 'hoped-for'.

    "religionists."

    More amazing insight: someone has an opinion and you call them that.

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  • 4. At 7:56pm on 09 Feb 2011, CanadianRockies wrote:

    "Last year, the government pledged a two-year moratorium on new logging concessions, in return for which Norway would contribute $1bn - a harbinger of the much greater wealth transfers..."

    Its called extortion.

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  • 5. At 8:13pm on 09 Feb 2011, bowmanthebard wrote:

    bowmanthebard #2: "Of course most Irish victims of the famine emigrated to live lives of poverty in the US"

    b5happy #3: And opportunity.

    Most of them merely did not die. They were not Kennedys.

    bowmanthebard #2: please note that far from being "trapped" in Ireland, most were able to escape, as would surely happen to the poor

    b5happy #3: Really? The poor are safe?

    They're not buried waist-deep in sand as the tide rises, if that's what you mean.

    People who OWN houses near crumbling cliffs in Kent worry about rising sea-levels.

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  • 6. At 11:14pm on 09 Feb 2011, Dr Brian Skinner wrote:

    I hope the Norwegian people vote out the politicians that entered into the moronic forest appeasement deal with Indonesia.

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  • 7. At 03:30am on 10 Feb 2011, jr4412 wrote:

    Richard Black.

    "..should give succour to anyone who thinks consumers and companies, rather than governments, hold the key to curbing environmental decline."

    Coalition drops further green pledges on timber and renewables (21.09.2010)
    "In correspondence from a government minister to the Green MP Caroline Lucas, the government makes clear it will not honour a pledge to make it a criminal offence to posess, or bring into the country, illegal timber. Campaigners say such legal measures are necessary to help curb the 350m-650m square metres of forest that is illegally logged every year – possibly as much as 40% of the total market."

    Illegal timber sold by British businesses putting world's forests at risk (05.02.2011)
    "Reluctance by UK firms to check source of imported wood contributing to devastating deforestation around the world, finds WWF report"

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  • 8. At 07:32am on 10 Feb 2011, PragueImp wrote:

    Despite the flaws, these sorts of deals have to be the way forward.
    It's only when the really big producers get involved (Nestle, GAR in these examples) that a significant effect can be had.
    Consumers have concerns but won't change their shopping habits in large numbers. If, for example, the large supermarkets promote more sustainable products then the consumers will buy them.

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  • 9. At 08:16am on 10 Feb 2011, sensiblegrannie wrote:

    bowmanthebard,

    Perhaps the world should be redefining the meaning of poverty.

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  • 10. At 10:19am on 10 Feb 2011, bowmanthebard wrote:

    "Prince Charles: Climate sceptics gamble with the future"

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-12403292

    AGW parochialism again rears its ugly head. Climate change sceptics gamble with the possibility of people dying as a result of climate change; food shortage sceptics gamble with the possibility of people dying as a result of famine.

    I guess if one has a manservant to squeeze toothpaste onto one's toothbrush, the possibility of not having enough money to buy food for oneself doesn't occur to one.

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  • 11. At 3:14pm on 10 Feb 2011, SR wrote:

    @10

    If the 'most probable' projections on AGW play out, what effect will that have on food shortages? Compare this to the food shortages that will result because of measures to mitigate the effects of AGW. If you put both of these on a pair weighing scales, they would tip violently in one direction, but which?

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  • 12. At 3:39pm on 10 Feb 2011, bowmanthebard wrote:

    SR #11 wrote:

    If the 'most probable' projections on AGW play out, what effect will that have on food shortages?

    You've got to be very careful with words like 'probable'. Science does not say anything about how much its own predictions ought to be believed. I repeat, science is completely mute about belief. All it can ever do is make statistical claims about what proportion of this or that class have a particular property.

    What you are calling "AGW's most probable predictions" are just what the majority of its computer models agree on. That is a reflection of the minds of the people who twiddle the knobs of the models, not an objective or scientific estimate of how much something ought to be believed.

    Putting the subjectivity of that aside, if the temperature rises, and water is more plentiful, and there is more carbon dioxide, then there will be more food. The AGW scientists are clueless about the availability of water, but if recent floods are the result of warming as many have claimed, there'll be plenty!

    Don't forget too that there'll be more farmable land as frozen areas of Greenland and Siberia and even Antarctica become more temperate.

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  • 13. At 4:52pm on 10 Feb 2011, b5happy wrote:


    #12 bowmanthebard:

    "...if the temperature rises, and water is more plentiful, and there is more carbon dioxide, then there will be more food. The AGW scientists are clueless about the availability of water, but if recent floods are the result of warming as many have claimed, there'll be plenty!

    Don't forget too that there'll be more farmable land as frozen areas of Greenland and Siberia and even Antarctica become more temperate."

    D'oh!

    That naturally could mean greater population growth.
    Translating to possible greater extinction of our fellow creatures
    both great and small...

    Films suggesting future Earth Populations upwards of 200 Billion
    may not be all that far fetched. Especially if and when we learn how
    to live vertically to-the-max.

    Of course that could also possibly mean that the oceans would be some kind of algae soup full of Jelly Fish and we are farming our preserved fish species on land.

    That could also mean that my personal view of the race between technology
    and the population bomb, this latter being the winner, would need to be readjusted to the view of technology being the winner... Thus, 'saving'
    humanity but not before great loss of species and their environment in which they can also survive... Please, stop me before I implode, or, is
    it, explode... D'oh!

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  • 14. At 5:12pm on 10 Feb 2011, ghostofsichuan wrote:

    I hope you will follow-up in a year and give some report on implementation.
    These transfers of money based on not doing something is very problematic.

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  • 15. At 5:34pm on 10 Feb 2011, b5happy wrote:


    PS to my #13 comment:

    And the planet will be controlled by 5 Corporations

    as portrayed in the 1975 film, 'Rollerball'...

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  • 16. At 5:57pm on 10 Feb 2011, bowmanthebard wrote:

    b5happy #13 wrote:

    That naturally could mean greater population growth.

    Other things being equal, less death means more population growth. If you think global warming means more death, and you think that's a good thing because it limits population growth, why don't you welcome global warming?

    Happily, if food is more readily available, people have more time for other things, and they tend to get richer. The richer they get, the more they invest in each child, and the fewer children they have. That's the humane way to limit population growth.

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  • 17. At 6:15pm on 10 Feb 2011, b5happy wrote:


    #16 bowmanthebard:

    "If you think global warming means more death, and you think that's a good thing because it limits population growth, why don't you welcome global warming?"

    To welcome or not to welcome global warming...

    "To be, or not to be, that is the question:
    Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer
    The Slings and Arrows of outrageous fortune;
    Or to take Armes against a Sea of troubles,
    And by opposing end them: To die, to sleep
    No more; and by a sleep to say we end
    The heartache, and the thousand natural shocks
    That flesh is heir to? 'tis a consummation
    Devoutly to be wish'd. To die, to sleep
    To sleep, perchance to dream; Aye, there's the rub,
    For in that sleep of death, what dreams may come,
    When we have shuffled off this mortal coil,
    Must give us pause. There's the respect
    That makes calamity of so long life:
    For who would bear the Whips and Scorns of time,
    The Oppressor's wrong, the proud man's Contumely,
    The pangs of disprized love, the Lawes delay,
    The insolence of Office, and the Spurns
    That patient merit of th' unworthy takes,
    When he himself might his quietus make
    With a bare bodkin? Who would there fardels bear,
    To grunt and sweat under a weary life,
    But that the dread of something after death,
    The undiscovered Countrey from whose Bourne
    No traveller returns, puzels the will
    And makes us rather beare those ills we have
    Than fly to others that we know not of?
    Thus conscience doth make cowards of us all,
    And thus the native hue of resolution
    Is sicklied o're with the pale cast of Thought,
    And enterprises of great pith and moment,
    With this regard their currents turne away,
    And lose the name of Action.—Soft you now,
    The fair Ophelia? Nymph, in thy orisons
    Be all my sinnes remembered."
    William Shakespeare, The Bard

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  • 18. At 6:28pm on 10 Feb 2011, CanadianRockies wrote:

    #17. To warm or not to warm, that is the question:
    Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer
    The Slings and Arrows of outrageous "science";
    Or to take Armes against a Sea of nonsense,
    And by opposing end that...

    Alas, poor AGW, I knew it well...

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  • 19. At 6:33pm on 10 Feb 2011, sensiblegrannie wrote:

    bowmanthebard
    I watched the link you have suggested to everyone.
    Whether you are a climate sceptic or an agnostic or Prince Charles, climate mitigation strategies appear to be necessary. After finding some excellent and reasoned arguments on U-tube, I am in favor of a range of mitigation strategies to protect populations from the effects of climate change.
    I still stand by my position that climate change is being caused by other factors including raised CO2 levels. The issue appears to be about how to lower standards of living to pay for change, without lowering the living standards of the poorest people.
    Is palm oil production going to prove a costly mistake in the long term?

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  • 20. At 6:54pm on 10 Feb 2011, b5happy wrote:


    #16 bowmanthebard:

    "If you think global warming means more death, and you think that's a good thing because it limits population growth, why don't you welcome global warming?"

    World wide climate change brought about by a warming planet does not
    necessarily conclude to a rise in death. I do believe, positive elements
    aside, it means more strife. A lot more strife and suffering and confusion.

    I think (I do not desire) that change is going to happen and very fast.
    Faster than was and is currently being predicted. I'm not alone in this view (as if that really mattered). What I would like to see or not like to see is moot from my front porch. I believe our footprint cannot be covered up.

    The planet is huge and others feel that based on that fact alone... humanity could not possibly cause warming. I understand this...

    But, that's the rub: Ever inhale a tiny piece of dust just the wrong way?

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  • 21. At 7:01pm on 10 Feb 2011, CanadianRockies wrote:

    #19. sensiblegrannie wrote:

    "bowmanthebard

    I watched the link you have suggested to everyone."

    Not sure what you mean here. The link in #10?

    In related news, here more from Prince Charles, from a year ago:

    "“Well, if it is but a myth, and the global scientific community is involved in some sort of conspiracy, why is it then that around the globe sea levels are more than six inches higher than they were 100 years ago?

    “This isn’t an opinion – it is a fact.”

    He added: “And, ladies and gentlemen please be in no doubt that the evidence of long-term and potentially irreversible changes to our world is utterly overwhelming.”

    Charles spoke after arriving in Manchester by Royal Train pulled by a coal-fired steam locomotive, named the Tornado, which was rebuilt from a 1948 design."

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2010/02/04/ummm-charles-about-that-train-thingy-you-arrived-on/

    Poor Charles was, of course, wrong about his sea level fact. Has he ever been right about anything? Why does anyone even listen to this hypocrite?

    And lest we forget that in 2009 he pronounced that we only had 8 years to act before we reach the Great AGW Tipping Point!!!! LOL.

    Long live the Queen!!!

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  • 22. At 7:21pm on 10 Feb 2011, b5happy wrote:


    #21 CanadianRockies wrote:

    "And lest we forget that in 2009 he pronounced that we only had 8 years to act before we reach the Great AGW Tipping Point!!!! LOL."

    Just remember what you said. Foolish statement on your part ,in my view, when one considers there are 6 more years to fruition.

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  • 23. At 7:34pm on 10 Feb 2011, bowmanthebard wrote:

    sensiblegrannie #19 wrote:

    climate mitigation strategies appear to be necessary

    I agree that weather mitigation strategies are necessary, but they always have been necessary. For example, if you bring water to the desert, the desert blooms. If you put plants into greenhouses in colder regions, they thrive. (If you put them into greenhouses and artificially raise the carbon dioxide level, they thrive even more.) Humans have always done that sort of thing

    But I really don't think anyone can do anything about the climate. I think there's a lack of wisdom -- a Canute-like hubris, if you like -- about human attempts to control it. It's like reacting to being cold by going outside and shaking your fist at the sky instead of putting on warmer clothes.

    Even if humans are responsible for global warming (which I find very hard to believe, as common sense tells us otherwise) the idea that we could change human nature (by magically switching off interest in profit, by making water thinker than blood, or whatever) strikes me as completely daft wishful thinking.

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  • 24. At 7:42pm on 10 Feb 2011, bowmanthebard wrote:

    CanadianRockies #21 wrote:

    Poor Charles was, of course, wrong about his sea level fact. Has he ever been right about anything? Why does anyone even listen to this hypocrite?

    His father is rumored to be Prince Philip -- an intelligent, funny, frivolous (and indeed adventurous) man with a penetrating mind. If Philip really is this nitwit's Y-chromosome-donor, I suddenly understand what is meant by "regression to the mean".

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  • 25. At 7:52pm on 10 Feb 2011, b5happy wrote:


    #23 bowmanthebard:

    "Even if humans are responsible for global warming (which I find very hard to believe, as common sense tells us otherwise)"

    I did not realize that, apparently, common sense must be relative...

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  • 26. At 7:54pm on 10 Feb 2011, Michelle wrote:

    It is good to see corporations respond to consumer pressure. if only more consumers were aware of what the environmental impacts are of our often excessive lifestyles. While I agree that implementation, monitoring and reporting are key in tangible results, it is great to see such large companies make these types of commitments.

    World Leaders are in a political stranglehold making deals that benefit the rich or powerful, consumers have power and need to be more active in holding corporations, and governments to account. Fossil fuel companies are clouding science and muddying the science imperative. Companies that see the writing on the wall are starting to make bold moves, and hopefully will create the motivation for others to follow suit.


    Our forests are our lifeline, both in mitigation and adaptation, so we need everyone to act immediately to protect them.

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  • 27. At 8:08pm on 10 Feb 2011, CanadianRockies wrote:

    #22. b5happy wrote:

    "#21 CanadianRockies wrote:

    "And lest we forget that in 2009 he pronounced that we only had 8 years to act before we reach the Great AGW Tipping Point!!!! LOL."

    Just remember what you said. Foolish statement on your part ,in my view, when one considers there are 6 more years to fruition."

    Even more foolish for Prince Charles. Of course, the doomsday gang does seem to be able to make false predictions constantly and not get called on them.

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  • 28. At 8:12pm on 10 Feb 2011, jr4412 wrote:

    sensiblegrannie #19.

    "Is palm oil production going to prove a costly mistake in the long term?"

    if it's done as in the picture above, then yes ("monoculture - damaging")

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  • 29. At 8:22pm on 10 Feb 2011, bowmanthebard wrote:

    b5happy #25 wrote:

    common sense must be relative...

    Which bit of common sense tells you global warming is happening?

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  • 30. At 8:31pm on 10 Feb 2011, b5happy wrote:


    @26 Michelle

    Your words and thoughts are refreshingly crystalline.

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  • 31. At 8:48pm on 10 Feb 2011, b5happy wrote:


    #29 bowmanthebard wrote:

    "b5happy #25 wrote:

    common sense must be relative...

    Which bit of common sense tells you global warming is happening?"

    I'm sure this will seem a weak response but I can't believe your

    question is serious...

    So, I will simply respond: 7 Billion Bits.

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  • 32. At 8:53pm on 10 Feb 2011, CanadianRockies wrote:

    29. bowmanthebard wrote:

    "Which bit of common sense tells you global warming is happening?"

    Who needs common sense? Prince Charles has spoken. Any reading of history will surely reveal that his bloodline is never wrong. Now, run off and be a good Anglican.

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  • 33. At 9:29pm on 10 Feb 2011, b5happy wrote:


    Correction to #31:

    7 Billion Fractal Bits

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  • 34. At 9:47pm on 10 Feb 2011, CanadianRockies wrote:

    Speaking of Charles...

    http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/jamesdelingpole/100075418/what-did-our-grandchildren-do-to-deserve-the-prince-of-wales/

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  • 35. At 09:47am on 11 Feb 2011, rossglory wrote:

    Palm oil deal points to corporate greening

    since the legal footing of corporations in the west was changed to effectively maximise shareholder returns (another reagan/thatcher toxic legacy) i'm always suspicious of corporations 'greening'.

    if 'green' activities are in line with increased profit that's fine but if gar's profits start to slump you can bet this deal will be the first victim. in reality government intervention will always be necessary to keep them on the straight and narrow when the profits don;t look so good.

    at some point 'all' corporations will have to be 'green' if we are to survive on this little lump of rock and legislation must remove any profit motive for those that are willing to take advantage.

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  • 36. At 11:46am on 11 Feb 2011, sensiblegrannie wrote:

    34). At 9:47pm on 10 Feb 2011, CanadianRockies wrote:
    'Speaking of Charles...'

    How to demonstrate a scintillating and persuasive speech which will send Sceptics running for their lives and send big business to the bio-digester of green economics. I wish I had such a powerful influence, where I could be invited to speak at such expensive meetings. Was a lavish feast-o-tainment included in the price? I do like a bit of posh food, so long as it is 'green.' :-)
    Oh well, back to my tower of ineptitude.

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  • 37. At 12:35pm on 11 Feb 2011, bowmanthebard wrote:

    rossglory #35 wrote:

    at some point 'all' corporations will have to be 'green' if we are to survive on this little lump of rock

    If "we" are to survive? Are you aware that all men are mortal? No one survives! Our species on the other hand -- an impersonal and amorphous process -- will naturally evolve over the course of time as all species do.

    The confusion you exhibit here between sentient individuals and a wholly impersonal process is typical of people who are in denial (sic) of their own mortality.

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  • 38. At 1:00pm on 11 Feb 2011, Lamna nasus wrote:

    @5 '..People who OWN houses near crumbling cliffs in Kent worry about rising sea-levels.' - bowmanthebard


    No, they worry about erosion of cliffs on a much shorter timescale.. and their ridiculous lack of research into a major investment...

    Interesting how all the libertarians are howling about how the market works.. when it isn't working according to Friedman fanboys' political world view.. rather like the whining about reputable, peer reviewed science, when it is saying Lord Monckton is wrong...

    Exactly the same happened when environmental NGOs went corporate, kinda hard to regurgitate the old anti-environmentalist 'ignore the beardy nutters in sandals' meme when you are facing someone in a suit (with reputable, peer reviewed scientific studies to back up their argument) across the conference table...

    On the subject of memes, I see the other old canard of the Libertarian Tendancy, that being an environmentalist automatically means you are a mass murderer responsible for every death in the Developing world has also been dusted off.. utter piffle of course.. the fact is, that laissez-faire
    libertarians require a large chunk of the world to remain in poverty in order to prevent them competing for resources, which those of the Tea Party persuasion wish to ring fence for themselves.. and to manufacture cheap consumer goods in sweat shops...

    However, libertarians hate being described as 'right wing' so they simply take their own shortcomings and blame their opponents... when the case for AGW becomes as accepted by the general public as Plate tectonics, libertarian Contrarians will simply blame environmentalists for taking too long to make their case as the reason for the problem...

    Libertarians already do this every time a species hits the headlines as teetering on the edge of extinction.. its all the environmentalists fault, why weren't they doing more!.. Corporate pollution? its all the environmentalists fault, why weren't they doing more!.. its logic Jim , just not as we know it...

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  • 39. At 2:28pm on 11 Feb 2011, PragueImp wrote:

    Why is it that the same 4 or 5 people hijack these blogs with their nonsense?!
    You are so cryptic that I have no idea if you agreeing, disagreeing or just want to talk for the sake of it. What are you all on about?!!
    Frankly I don't really care what you are on about, but what I do care about is that sensible people are to scared/confused to join it what should be a sensible discussion.

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  • 40. At 3:30pm on 11 Feb 2011, Lamna nasus wrote:

    @39

    Nothing to be scared of PragueImp, your opinion has just as much value as any other contributor and you are just as entitled to voice it.. bowman is a philosopher and so his 'what is cake anyway?' thesis can be hard to follow at times.. and just because some contributors have a high post count doesn't mean they are correct...

    The question is whether any deal with corporate agribusiness monoculture will always be flawed.. or can regulation be enforced so that business makes a profit, while at the same time protecting the environment and not trampling on rights of the local population.

    I personally think it is possible to achieve such a business model and that consumers from Developed nations are in a tremendously powerful position to encourage positive change.. every time you buy something you are (through the supply chain of that product) capable of being an agent for change.. your wallet has much greater power internationally than you might imagine.. money speaks almost every language on earth, fluently...

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  • 41. At 3:47pm on 11 Feb 2011, Dr Brian Skinner wrote:

    Foolish PragueImp.
    Most of these comments are only Richard arguing both sides of the cryptic.
    The only real people are CanadianRockies and me!
    And I'm not sure about me.

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  • 42. At 3:54pm on 11 Feb 2011, b5happy wrote:


    #37 bowmanthebard wrote:

    "rossglory #35 wrote:

    at some point 'all' corporations will have to be 'green' if we are to survive on this little lump of rock

    If "we" are to survive? Are you aware that all men are mortal? No one survives! Our species on the other hand -- an impersonal and amorphous process -- will naturally evolve over the course of time as all species do.

    The confusion you exhibit here between sentient individuals and a wholly impersonal process is typical of people who are in denial (sic) of their own mortality."

    Get a grip bowmanthebard...

    The use of "we" by rossglory is strictly generic. I would venture that
    you are in the singular position here when you refer to "The confusion"...

    To grind an axe one needs a stone. You have none in this instance...

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  • 43. At 4:08pm on 11 Feb 2011, PragueImp wrote:

    :-)

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  • 44. At 6:28pm on 11 Feb 2011, bowmanthebard wrote:

    b5happy #42 wrote:

    The use of "we" by rossglory is strictly generic.

    Strictly "generic"? I don't know what you mean by that, and I submit you don't know what you mean by that either!

    The pronoun 'we' is a plural. That is, it stands for individuals, not for some "generic" individual.

    Please give this a bit of thought. Extinction, in the absence of further information, is neither a good thing nor a bad thing.

    If you believe in the theory of evolution, as I do, then you will agree that our great-great-great-...-great-grandmother was literally a fish. That fish belonged to a species that is now extinct. No doubt some individuals of this species lived long, happy lives, while others lived short, unhappy lives. But they all died, because that's what happens to individuals that are alive -- and it happens to all of them, whether they live long happy lives or short unhappy lives.

    Pretend now that that species is not extinct. What difference does it make to the individuals we have just been considering? -- Absolutely none whatsoever. What difference does it make to us, as individual descendants of those earlier individuals? -- Again, absolutely none whatsoever.

    This is all extinction and species-membership involves: in the highly counterfactual situation of those fish being able to travel in a time machine to the seas of today, they would be able to produce fertile offspring with some present-day fish.

    To yearn for the non-extinction of the human species is similarly to yearn for the counterfactual ability to produce fertile offspring with our own descendants. What kind of lunatic would want that?

    To yearn not to die ourselves as mortal individuals -- that's entirely different. It's a perfectly sensible thing to want, even though there is no hope of achieving it. If that's what we're talking about, let's not dress it up in phony "biblical" language by talking pompous mystical rot about "survival of species".

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  • 45. At 7:00pm on 11 Feb 2011, rossglory wrote:

    #37 bowman

    "Are you aware that all men are mortal? No one survives! Our species on the other hand -- an impersonal and amorphous process -- will naturally evolve over the course of time as all species do."

    yes

    for 'we' you could read 'most sentient creatures'. burn all the alternative fossil fuels (tar sands/shales, arctic/antarctic oil, deepwater oil/gas etc) and there won;t be anything resembling a modern human civilization left. it wasn;t that long ago homo sapiens were counted in millions not billions.

    but however you take it (and i don;t really mind how you take it) rampant corporatism will be a disaster for millions/billions of people in a very human time scale (a century or two).


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  • 46. At 7:05pm on 11 Feb 2011, rossglory wrote:

    #42 b5happy

    i warn you, if you have high blood pressure don;t get too drawn into one of bowman's debates. it can be entertaining for a while but you'll end up shouting at the screen :o)

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  • 47. At 7:19pm on 11 Feb 2011, bowmanthebard wrote:

    rossglory #46 wrote:

    it can be entertaining for a while but you'll end up shouting at the screen :o)

    I love the idea of you shouting at the screen, and of my being able to get you to do so -- but I hope we're both being a bit frivolous too. It seems to me that life is an experiment, and thoughts are experiments, and all expressions of thought ought to have a playful side. Let us never let it really affect our blood pressures!

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  • 48. At 7:22pm on 11 Feb 2011, bowmanthebard wrote:

    rossglory #45 wrote:

    rampant corporatism will be a disaster for millions/billions of people in a very human time scale (a century or two).

    I'm not sure what "corporatism" is, but if it's anything like what the banks have been doing, it already is a disaster for millions/billions of people right now!

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  • 49. At 7:34pm on 11 Feb 2011, b5happy wrote:


    #44 bowmanthebard wrote:

    "b5happy #42 wrote:

    The use of "we" by rossglory is strictly generic.

    Strictly "generic"? I don't know what you mean by that, and I submit you don't know what you mean by that either!

    The pronoun 'we' is a plural. That is, it stands for individuals, not for some "generic" individual."

    So, bowmanthebard, "I don't know what I mean by that"... like rossglory is not "aware that all men are mortal?"... or rossglory "is typical of people who are in denial (sic) of their own mortality."?

    Get a grip, bowmanthebard...


    #46 rossglory wrote:

    "#42 b5happy

    i warn you, if you have high blood pressure don;t get too drawn into one of bowman's debates. it can be entertaining for a while but you'll end up shouting at the screen :o)"

    Fortunately, I don't care for typing.

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  • 50. At 7:46pm on 11 Feb 2011, bowmanthebard wrote:

    b5happy #49 wrote:

    So, bowmanthebard, "I don't know what I mean by that"... like rossglory is not "aware that all men are mortal?"... or rossglory "is typical of people who are in denial (sic) of their own mortality."?

    Yes. So if you have the faintest clue what you meant when you said the use of a word was "strictly generic" -- I'm waiting!

    The merest hint of a whiff of some clear idea of what you meant would be very welcome.

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  • 51. At 8:45pm on 11 Feb 2011, b5happy wrote:


    @#50 bowmanthebard

    Because I viewed your disrespectful singling out rossglory as
    being clueless towards his mortality and used such a rude and ridiculous
    statement to continue forth bashing his intellect I simply said 'generic we' as what I coined, correctly, in the moment as a colloquial term in a quick attempt to describe that rossglory was referring to the masses, and yes, including himself but not to the extent that any ignoramus would not know better than to take the route you took...

    I guess you are not just any ignoramus...

    Peace/out

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  • 52. At 9:10pm on 11 Feb 2011, CanadianRockies wrote:

    #36. sensiblegrannie wrote:

    "(34).CanadianRockies wrote: 'Speaking of Charles...'

    How to demonstrate a scintillating and persuasive speech which will send Sceptics running for their lives and send big business to the bio-digester of green economics..."

    Yes. Well, I'm not sure what people thought of this scintillating speech:

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

    In an hour-long speech, the heir to the throne argued that man's destruction of the world was contrary to the scriptures of all religions - but particularly those of Islam."

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

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  • 53. At 9:18pm on 11 Feb 2011, CanadianRockies wrote:

    38. Lamna_nasus wrote:

    Susan, I must say I find your simplistic charicatures of 'libertarians' quite entertaining. I am happy that you can invent such convenient strawmen to valiantly rail against. Much less complicated than the real world where grey, not black-white, prevails.

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  • 54. At 01:25am on 12 Feb 2011, JaneBasingstoke wrote:

    Getting really fed up with these "oh look here's another excuse to laugh at Prince Charles, therefore AGW is wrong" posts.

    If we want to look at which side has the daftest supporters I can always link to The-Queen-Is-A-Lizard.com. They believe AGW is a scam. And they believe that the queen is a lizard.

    http://www.amazon.co.uk/David-Icke-Guide-Global-Conspiracy/dp/0953881083/ref=ntt_at_ep_dpi_3

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  • 55. At 02:01am on 12 Feb 2011, b5happy wrote:


    @#54 JaneBasingstoke

    I cannot laugh at Prince Charles and maintain self-respect.




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  • 56. At 02:47am on 12 Feb 2011, jr4412 wrote:

    JaneBasingstoke #54.

    blue-blooded, cold-blooded, same difference. ;)

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  • 57. At 02:54am on 12 Feb 2011, Lamna nasus wrote:

    @53 CanadianRockies

    ... think you must have missed the thread last year, where I explained my name is not 'Susan'.. spelt backwards...

    http://www.iucnredlist.org/apps/redlist/details/11200/0

    ..would that be the 'real' world where surveys demonstrate the majority of glaciers are advancing and polar bear populations increasing?.. the Quantum multiverse is certainly an interesting hypothesis.. don't forget to feed Schrödinger's cat...


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  • 58. At 03:28am on 12 Feb 2011, b5happy wrote:


    #19 bowmanthebard:

    "I still stand by my position that climate change is being caused by other factors including raised CO2 levels."

    I cannot see why anyone would argue with the above statement.

    "Is palm oil production going to prove a costly mistake in the long term?"

    My understanding is: Yes.

    I find it interesting (or should I say, depressing) that corporations seem to grab onto something shiny and are reluctant to let it go for something much shinier...
    In the USA, corn is shiny when unfortunately there are much shinier objects.

    It's really quite painful...

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  • 59. At 06:14am on 12 Feb 2011, Shadorne wrote:

    More Global Warmig?

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-latin-america-12437862

    Surely the BBC will figure out a way to attribute this to Global Warming.

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  • 60. At 07:23am on 12 Feb 2011, CanadianRockies wrote:

    #54. JaneBasingstoke wrote:

    "Getting really fed up with these "oh look here's another excuse to laugh at Prince Charles, therefore AGW is wrong" posts."

    True, there are no end of laughable Prince Charles anecdotes related to many things. But given his potential future role, I don't think that some of the things he says are really funny, in the ha ha sense of the word. So, long, long, long live the Queen!

    The news posted in my #21 was a classic. Wrong big sea level fact. And lecturing on CO2 while traveling by coal-fired train. Where is Monty Python when you need them? Then (#52) his 'spiritual' speech just kind of makes you wonder.

    Neither of them were actually about the AGW question per se, so your "therefore AGW is wrong" link is quite the leap.

    And I can't think of anyone on the 'skeptical' side who is as far 'out there' as Prince Charles. Lord Moncton (I believe) looks pretty wierd but in our politiclly correct world that should not matter. All that should matter is what he writes or says. That is all that matters about Prince Charles.

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  • 61. At 07:28am on 12 Feb 2011, CanadianRockies wrote:

    #57. Lamna_nasus wrote:

    "think you must have missed the thread last year, where I explained my name is not 'Susan'.. spelt backwards..."

    Yes I did. Looked logical to me.

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  • 62. At 08:55am on 12 Feb 2011, JunkkMale wrote:

    '41. At 3:47pm on 11 Feb 2011, DrBrian wrote:
    Most of these comments are only Richard arguing both sides of the cryptic.
    The only real people are CanadianRockies and me!
    And I'm not sure about me.


    Made me laugh (could have gone for a foot-stamping 'fed up', but that would spoil the mood), because... it might be true. In which case, that means I may not be re....

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  • 63. At 11:19am on 12 Feb 2011, Dr Brian Skinner wrote:

    Prince Charles is a complex character.
    Most people think he's a bit daft about vegetarianism and climate change but agree with his views about the external appearance of buildings and the soul-depressing effect of most modern architecture.
    His 'carbuncle' speech gave us the excellent Sainsbury extention to the National Gallery (although I'm not a fan of the darkened glass) and the beautiful rebuilding of the south part of Trafalgar Square. Shame he didn't talk against New Zealand House or the Lloyds Building or Sainsbury's Camden Town (or the new library in Colney Hatch Lane).
    It'll be interesting to have a royal savant as king if he outlasts his mother, but that's unlikely.
    His son's who will succeed him seem rather warmer (like their mother). I don't know if they've got their father's strange views on climate change as, quite properly, they've taken after their uncle Andrew in working their way through an entire generation of willing female Sloans. I wish I still had the energy.

    By the way.
    I assume Lord Moncton's bulging eyes are the result of him having an overactive thyroid gland at some time and may account for his hyperactivity and fast brain.

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  • 64. At 1:09pm on 12 Feb 2011, snappygonzales wrote:

    The sole reason for buying palm oil is because it is cheap. It is an inferior oil to other vegetable oils, with a high saturated fat content bad for health, and makes cheap waxy soaps. If palm oil were to be sustainable this would involve ensuring the following standards that are not currently being met (plus some I probably forgot):
    - Paying a premium for land that has been cultivated for x amount of years not encroaching on virgin forest,
    - fair trade and at least minimum wage,
    - paying for land tenure,
    - increased inputs such as fertiliser as land would be cultivated for many years, slash and burn of forest to gain fertile soil would not be regarded as sustainable on this scale
    - various conservation efforts such as corridors of uncultivated land through the massive monocultures.

    When all these costs are taken into account palm oil would be just as expensive as other vegetable oils. In that case it would be better to buy sunflower oil and market your product as 'reduced saturated fats' or 'produced in europe' or 'Palm oil free'. If palm oil were the same price as vegetable oils grown in established, non forest areas no industry would buy it.

    In summary, Sustainable Palm Oil does not make sense economically, and this partnership looks like mutual grooming. On forming a partnership - GAR get good press coverage and green NGO's find someone else to target, and TFT get a membership fee that will nicely cover the high european wages.

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  • 65. At 2:45pm on 12 Feb 2011, JaneBasingstoke wrote:

    @DrBrian #63

    Monckton claims to have been very ill with Graves' disease and claims to have cured himself. I am not sure whether such a claim can be reconciled with an apparent Graves' symptom.

    I can't link to the claim that Monckton was previously very ill with Graves' as it was part of the recent BBC documentary.

    "Patients have been cured of various infectious diseases, including Graves’ Disease, multiple sclerosis, influenza, and herpes simplex VI. Our first HIV patient had his viral titre reduced by 38% in five days, with no side-effects. Tests continue."
    http://www.ukip.org/content/latest-news/1675-christopher-a-man-of-many-talents

    Here's a reference to Monckton claiming the eye thing is due to him having had Graves'. Note past tense.
    http://www.pcc.org.uk/news/index.html?article=NjQwMg

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  • 66. At 3:19pm on 12 Feb 2011, JaneBasingstoke wrote:

    @DrBrian #63

    Here's Monckton expanding on his situation with Graves' disease.
    http://www.ipfrontline.com/depts/article.aspx?id=24242&deptid=6

    Note, it does not seem to have been standard Graves'. His anecdotes suggest the treatment needs investigating properly. But his enthusiastic language is way strong given the limited number of cases involved, and the possibility that something else had been making his own Graves' case worse.

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  • 67. At 7:11pm on 12 Feb 2011, CanadianRockies wrote:

    #63. DrBrian wrote:

    (#65, 66 JaneBasingstoke)

    "Prince Charles is a complex character."

    Yes indeed. Given his childhood and life, no wonder. Henry VIII was a complex character too. So was George, or was it Edward?, who abdicated just before WW II because he was a big supporter of ... well, let's pretend it was because of his marital situation.

    As for Monckton, did not know that about that disease, which presumably also afflicted that British actor (name?) with similar eyes. In any case, all snarky comments based on appearances are childish. What matters is what people write, say, and do. Thus AGW heroes like Gore, who writes and says science fiction and is a complete eco-hypocrite, are the worst kind of people in my opinion. (And Gore was ALWAYS like that, even back when he was VP).

    On the other hand, Monckton does things like this:

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2010/05/24/lord-monckton-wins-global-warming-debate-at-oxford-union/

    Now, correct me if I am wrong, but the BBC forgot to cover this story. I suppose they were off somewhere looking for a nonexistent sinking island or a wet polar bear to portray as a crisis.

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  • 68. At 7:30pm on 12 Feb 2011, CanadianRockies wrote:

    Some rather interesting stories out there in the past few days.

    You know the AGW fairy tale about how the weather would become more extreme? Sounds scary but it is not happening:

    "As it happens, the project’s initial findings, published last month, show no evidence of an intensifying weather trend. “In the climate models, the extremes get more extreme as we move into a doubled CO2 world in 100 years,” atmospheric scientist Gilbert Compo, one of the researchers on the project, tells me from his office at the University of Colorado, Boulder. “So we were surprised that none of the three major indices of climate variability that we used show a trend of increased circulation going back to 1871.”

    In other words, researchers have yet to find evidence of more-extreme weather patterns over the period, contrary to what the models predict. “There’s no data-driven answer yet to the question of how human activity has affected extreme weather,” adds Roger Pielke Jr., another University of Colorado climate researcher."

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2011/02/10/wsj-no-weather-weirding-worries/

    This story includes a graph showing the NON-increase in hurricane and cyclone frequency:

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2011/02/08/climate-professor-paul-krugman-destroys-deniers-with-his-knowledge/

    This one shows the NONincrease in weather related deaths:

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2011/02/09/extreme-nonsense-by-krugman/

    Now, given the striking contradictions between AGW propaganda and the statistical reality here, this seems appropriate:

    Doublethink:

    "The power of holding two contradictory beliefs in one's mind simultaneously, and accepting both of them....To tell deliberate lies while genuinely believing in them, to forget any fact that has become inconvenient, and then, when it becomes necessary again, to draw it back from oblivion for just so long as it is needed, to deny the existence of objective reality and all the while to take account of the reality which one denies — all this is indispensably necessary. Even in using the word doublethink it is necessary to exercise doublethink. For by using the word one admits that one is tampering with reality; by a fresh act of doublethink one erases this knowledge; and so on indefinitely, with the lie always one leap ahead of the truth.”

    George Orwell, "Nineteen Eighty Four"

    Speaking of the Ministry of Truth, posted right now at WUWT is a very disturbing titled "Quote of the Week: ... ugliest moment yet?"

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  • 69. At 7:33pm on 12 Feb 2011, CanadianRockies wrote:

    One other development:

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2011/02/11/breaking-house-bill-unvieled-late-friday-cuts-epa-budget-by-3-billion-block-funding-for-all-current-and-pending-epa-climate-regulations-for-stationary-co2-sources/

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  • 70. At 8:38pm on 12 Feb 2011, CanadianRockies wrote:

    JaneBasingstoke

    Just to follow this up...

    You: "I have yet to see any evidence that the scientists are committing fraud and/or are grossly incompetent."

    Me: "You haven't been looking very hard then. I see no end of both from the AGW gang (e.g. the so-called "mainstream" "science")."

    You focused on the "fraud" but ignored the gross incompetence. Or what I would call manufactured incompetence, to put it more mildly than the 'f' word.

    And what McIntyre says about this is irrelevant to me. He is extremely polite and collegial for his own reasons. I call things like I see them. What any 'authority figure' says is worth considering and examining but cannot merely be accepted because of the source. After all, we are being lied to by authority figures all the time... and I do mean ALL the time.

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  • 71. At 10:41pm on 12 Feb 2011, JaneBasingstoke wrote:

    @CanadianRockies #70

    OK.

    Are you are now retracting "fraud" but still think there is an issue with "gross incompetence"?

    If so, explain, in simple words, "Upside Down Mann", what Mann did, what Mann should have done, and why it went wrong.

    (Just describing the problem result is not good enough, if Mann has been grossly incompetent then it should be a doddle to explain to the scientifically literate how and why he made his mistake.)

    And remember, "Upside Down Mann" is the example McIntyre likes for being possibly the most straightforward to explain problem he has with Mann.

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  • 72. At 11:20pm on 12 Feb 2011, CanadianRockies wrote:

    #71. JaneBasingstoke wrote:

    "@CanadianRockies #70

    OK.

    Are you are now retracting "fraud" but still think there is an issue with "gross incompetence"?"

    No, I am not retracting that at all. I am suggesting that calling it simply "gross incompetence" is putting lipstick on that pig. Like the way the apologists try to explain that the Iraqi WMD 'intelligence' was wrong due to incompetence. Or that the Wall Streeters were so incompetent that they did not see the manufactured crash coming. Just follow the money in both cases, and you will find the truth.

    Incompetence and errors can be quite convenient, as shown by the AGW gang's constant creation, promotion, and repetition of them.

    The proof of this pudding is the pattern and track record of the AGW gang. They have been so consistently wrong about so many things - but always wrong in the right way for their cause - that it seems obvious to me that this goes far beyond mere incompetence - although there is plenty of that to go around.

    As I said, what McIntyre may say in public is irrelevant to me. The way Mann cherry picked his data explains everything. Here's all I really need to know about Mann, his faked hockey stick, and why the AGW gang promoted it. It is just one some fraud supporting a huge one.

    Headline Story: Did a Secret Climate Deal Launch the Hockey Stick Fakery? by John O'Sullivan, guest post at Climate Realists

    http://climaterealists.com/index.php?id=5700

    And the book 'The Hockey Stick Illusion'

    Faked temperature data, faked predictions, faked results, faked linkages to anything and everything, faked pretext for raising the taxes for you suckers in the UK.

    So, what has the fake AGW 'science' actually got right? Absolutely nothing. Here's a partial list of the things they have got wrong:

    Climate Science Scandals – List Of Gates Balloons To 129

    http://notrickszone.com/2010/12/07/climate-science-scandals-list-of-gates-balloons-to-129/

    P.S. Caught your correction to the Pielke quote after I posted that here. Pielke didn't do that study so its just semantics. What qualifies something as a "disaster"?

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