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Measuring China's emissions - first you need rule of law

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Paul Mason | 09:42 UK time, Monday, 21 December 2009

Compare these two paragraphs, the first from the Copenhagen "deal", the second from the Pittsburgh G20 declaration. The first tells how developing countries, including China, will report their efforts to meet their own targets on reduced carbon emissions.

"Non-Annex I Parties will communicate information on the implementation of their actions through National Communications, with provisions for international consultations and analysis under clearly defined guidelines that will ensure that national sovereignty is respected."

Now let's hear the G20, including China, on how they plan to harmonise financial reporting standards:

"We are committed to maintain the momentum in dealing with tax havens, money laundering, proceeds of corruption, terrorist financing, and prudential standards. We welcome the expansion of the Global Forum on Transparency and Exchange of Information, including the participation of developing countries, and welcome the agreement to deliver an effective program of peer review."

No worries here about "respecting national sovereignty" - because the various agreements, above all the Basel II - are in the form of a treaty or convention.

Newsflash to world leaders: a treaty necessarily involves the partial sharing of national sovereignty with a supranational body to police the treaty. The WTO is one example, the Geneva Convention, I could go on.

Now consider the problems of "national communications" coming out of a country like China.

Exhibit One: In November 2006 the Chinese government announced it had discovered: "65,313 unlicensed mines, 4,509 illegal excavations, 960 unauthorized prospects and 1,365 illegal transfers of mining rights."

The Chinese government is engaged in continual public crackdowns on illegal mines and other production activities that would directly contribute to its carbon emissions. But the local bureaucracy and mobsters are continually engaged in evading the crackdown.

Chinese media recently reported on one case of illegal coal mining. The report from China News Radio has been translated here and indicates allegations of official involvement in the maintenance of production at one illegal coal mine. Here's a quote from it:

"Why do coal mines in Hengshan county, which the Shaanxi province government long ago ordered be shut, continue to openly operate? One village resident says that this is because government officials and public servants have privately invested in the mines, and closing them would be in conflict with their interests."

When the journalists rang the local party secretary to put these allegations to him, here is the response they got:

"You China Radio journalists should mind your own business, don't you think? What you're asking about, I know absolutely nothing. So if you want me to tell you about something, how can I tell you about something I know absolutely nothing about?"

You can read the whole report on Danwei.

Exhibit Two: China's state secrecy law means that all potentially sensitive statistics about industrial production, including carbon emissions, may be designated in advance or in retrospect secret.

The most severe punishments under the law are reserved for those who provide information to recipients outside the country, and can include death. There are numerous case studies of environmental campaigners being repressed under the state secrecy law. Systemically the impact is, as Human Rights In China explains:

"The great elasticity of state secrets protections has contributed to a widespread culture of secrecy in the official handling and dissemination of information. The government has control over 80% of relevant information in society. This bottleneck of information is exacerbated by the lack of any independent supervisory mechanisms or precise classification standards....

"To the CPC ... good governance has long rested on the principle of maintaining social stability and keeping a tight rein on information dissemination--including classifying critical information such as statistics related to health, the judicial system and the environment--in order to ensure political control."

In 2005 an environmental activist called Tan Kai set up a local environmental NGO to monitor chemical pollution which residents in Zheijang province believed were causing birth defects. According to HRIC:

"Tan, a computer repair technician,was formally indicted on April 29, 2006 of charges of "illegally obtaining state secrets," ostensibly for information he had obtained while doing routine file back-ups for his clients. However, the fact that on November 15, the Zhejiang provincial government had declared Green Watch an illegal organization calls into question the real reason for his prosecution."

So there's the problem. Since China has overtaken the USA as the biggest CO2 emitter (although its per capita emissions are much lower than the USA's) measuring and reporting its emissions are going to be crucial, even though it does not intend to reduce or cap emissions at all. In a big step forward China agreed to limit the carbon intensity of its growth, that is to slow down its rate of increase of CO2 emissions. But how do you measure it?

The state secrecy law is not the only problem. In large parts of China the writ of the central government does not run. This may seem strange for a country with such a powerful government, but it is observed by many western journalists who go there. (Robert Conquest's summary is a good starting point here, also my Newsnight reports this year on Western China)

The current trial of more than 40 members of the local bureaucracy in Chongqing, where senior party members have been accused of "triad like behaviour" is just one example of this. For a period this large city of 30 million people seems to have been in large part controlled by a network of corrupt officials. The Chinese government crackdown on corruption is ongoing, but it is necessarily retrospective: it can punish corrupt officials for defying central quotas and the rule of law, but any treaty or agreement coming out of the post-Copenhagen process has to be pro-active and behaviour shaping.

Does all this explain why Barack Obama made such a big deal out of transparency at Copenhagen and why the Chinese leader at one point walked out of the negotiations? The Chinese felt insulted by Obama's insistence on transparency mechanisms. But in the end Obama signed up to an accord that allows China to retain "national sovereignty" over the measurement of its emissions reduction targets. Winding up China over transparency on the last day of negotiations could be seen as possibly the surest way of making it look like they were to blame and not the developed countries. The current spin is certainly in the direction of "China is to blame".

Inevitably it is more complex. Chinese political reality is of this vast state bureaucracy which finds it difficult to control or even monitor the activities of local bureaucrats, and of intense official competition between regions and provinces of China over investment and infrastructure projects.

There is a long-standing and controversial school of thought in economics, led by Pittsburgh professor Thomas Rawski, which calls Chinese growth statistics into question. But emissions statistics are more crucial: Wen Jia-bao gave a commitment to reporting them transparently. But without effective scrutiny from the press, and with the state secrecy law always a threat to activists on the ground this is an issue that will haunt the attempts to rein in Chinese CO2 emissions, whatever the good intentions of its government and whatever it signs up to.


  • Comment number 1.

    For me, first we need to know with good certainly whether or not the earth is cooling or warming 'naturally' in the very short term - ten's - hundreds of years to ascertain the effects of Co2 upon us as a species. If its the case that the earth is warming 'naturally' higher Co2 levels in the atmosphere would be a problem, if the earth is cooling 'naturally' higher Co2 levels may mitigate cooling ?

    Someone show me the objective evidence on what the earth is doing naturally - cooling or warming without mans fueling of Co2 into the atmosphere. All I have read is that in the last ten years there has been no temperature change, if you then add mans activity it suggests cooling to me at least in the very short term.

  • Comment number 2.

    Holding the climate change conference in mid December in a Nordic country was obviously playing fast and loose with avoidable presentation risks. The severe limitations described here relate to size as well as Chinese political systems. Whilst there is no doubt Western democracies are more transparent they are not only smaller (but not less polluting)but are particularly skilled in manipulating public opinion and exploiting the opportunities in green wash.

    Just what has been achieved by Western governments - we still go about our business of consumption consumption consumption and the talk is all about resuming growth and leaving untouched our extraordinary use of private transport and the need for cheap (VAT 5%) energy to heat our homes to an excessive temperature.

    Only an apocalyptic environmental disaster will sober up western and eastern governments from bingeing on the Earth's fossil fuels.

  • Comment number 3.


    I am with you on this.

    What we really need is a proper assessment of climate change, sorry Paul, but your whole post is build on the playing card pyramid that comprises the arguments for global warming. Take away global warming and your post becomes irrelevent hot air (a bit like what went on in Copenhagen).

    As I have said before, the climate changes all the time without any intervention from man and via natural mechanisms completely beyond mans control with it!!! It is part of the deal of living on planet earth.

    Ethical mans Kitchen experiment left me cold (like the weather at the moment)to put global warming in terms of shining a lamp into a plastic bottle (one with elevated Co2 in one without)is ludicrous!

    What is not being looked at are the stabilising negative feedback loops the planet has in terms of C02. A very basic one is higher temperatures cause more plant growth hence taking more carbon out of the atmosphere and regulating the system, yet all we hear is how it will turn huge tracks into is not abalanced argument.

    The whole thing is a pile of **** in terms of proper science as far as I am concerned. The world would be much better served by a conference on sustainability NOT climate change.

    The real issue is (Again I have typed this before until I am blue in the face..not that it makes and bl*****dy difference)WE CAN NOT KEEP USING UP A FINITE RESOURCE EVER MORE QUICKLY BECAUSE DERRRRRRR, GUESS WHAT ALL YOU GENIUSES...IT WILL RUN OUT!!!



    Is it just me ???

    Please tell me it isnt someone because I am in danger of going insane amongst all this bull**** peddled as truth!!

  • Comment number 4.

    keeping following the money Paul.

    how did the bbc let you write this? are you off to the bbc gulag now for some climate justice re-education? where people have to 'dress as polar bears and pandas and cheer such climate justice leaders as Venezuela's Hugo Chavez as he calls for the end of capitalism' until they submit to the groupthink again? :)

    maybe this time someone in mainstream media will see the financial disaster of carbon trading and 'climate justice' [reparations!] before it sinks everyone. unlike with the credit crunch when everyone became an expert after the event.

    people just want to be given money no questions asked. Anyone who asks questions is called 'a flat earther'.

    let us not forget the corruption in the uk where the uk again lost millions in VAT carousel fraud this summer. After the loophole was closed carbon trading volume fell 90%.

    the corruption in the narrative is another question on which there could be a book.

    we learn Rockefellers have close links with the UN and maurice strong.
    which may help explain the makeup of interests behind the carbon trading exchanges and the promotion of 'climate change'?

    in "The Gospel of Wealth" we learn 'the central thesis of Carnegie's essay was the peril of allowing large sums of money to be passed into the hands of persons or organizations ill-equipped mentally or emotionally to cope with them'

    yet this was exactly what the UN was trying to do. create 100 billion fund but no one knows who would administer it.

    gordon wants to be a world leader in locking in the monetising of carbon just as he was a world leader in 'light touch regulation' and a world leader in the failures of iraq and afghanistan?

    as Reg [of the People's Popular Front] of Life of Brian might say in climate camps across the world 'Let us not be downhearted. One complete disaster like this is just the beginning!'.

  • Comment number 5.

  • Comment number 6.

    NO - NOT IN ISRAEL (#3)

    The Jews have shown that, when up against it, mankind can invent the most preposterous beliefes AND NAIL THEM INTO EVERY NEWBORN, such that they survive over millennia. (At least Christianity is having the good grace to fall apart.)

    But we gentiles know the Jews are not 'chosen' - they are not even special - WE ARE SO LIKE THAM IT HURTS; it hurts planet and it hurts us all, beyond sustainability. We are a self-defeating species; and are making a good job of it.

    ONLY the wise can redeem the situation. Where are they? They govern not, neither do they war wage. They con not their fellow, neither do they amass obscene wealth. They strut not neither do they orate. They are of no interest to the Sun, neither the Mail do they excite.

    "Those who do the most good are seldom noticed" (Chinese proverb). But there comes a point where barrenness of spirit is so great, good cannot germinate.


    The sinew of integrity is strained
    in Britain's GM-green unpleasant land.
    Britannia's conquering wheel is spoked by doubt,
    while waves she ruled defer to other law.
    Our God, perplexed, now spurns this Sceptred Isle,
    fouled - rudderless - set in a leaden sea.
    Noblesse no obligation dignifies
    and 'Great' of Britain's boast contrives to grate.
    Where once true Heroes' feet strode legend hills,
    false idols rise, precursed by Mammon's gold
    and though no booted foe made Britons yield
    yet, soft subversive step now trips our land.
    With black of psyche's deep, life’s flame we fuel,
    as light of honour fades from Arthur's Jewel.

  • Comment number 7.

    The very idea of an objective truth.

    This is the Holy Grail of epistemology - that unatainable human desire for certainty. It is also the last refuge for one who wishes to refute a complex argument - "show me the proof".

    A popular alternative is nihilism - saves on xmas cards and stamps.

    Otherwise one may accept the truth of a fact from within a belief system. And of course there may be any number of belief systems, but there may also be a diffuse consensus too.

    In the final gambit the belief system can be backed up with force - economic, coercive or military..............................

    Merry Xmas

  • Comment number 8.

    While settled pols seem to be ever more unsettling, is there any wonder that a confused public turns to other sources of guidance for the future as the politico-media establishment gushes forth ever more...

    New term is going to be fun...

    Now what was that again about arranging parties in breweries, or was it inmates being allowed undue control of various institutions?

  • Comment number 9.

    Now, if only the Welsh had ignored Thatcher and had carried on digging out the coal!

    Ironically, only last week 'they' supposedly found a massive new coal-field under Swansea Bay, as if this was news to the locals - the whole of the British Channel is one giant sunken forest, but there is much talk now about opening up the pits again. Give it a few years and we will be hearing people moan about those ruddy Chinese and Polish miners coming here and taking all our... Um, does anyone really wish to be a miner?

    I was reading an article only last night referring to the "CO2 rich" atmosphere of Titan. For some reason, unknown to myself, CO2 is a bad thing on Earth but a good thing on Titan. Those NASA scientists obviously have not read the memo.

    Speaking of which - the CO2 I mean. The Bohr Affect was mentioned by another poster on here over the weekend. It is a little known fact that when Human Beings first evolved lungs that the atmosphere on the planet had much higher amounts of CO2 and, accordingly, the lungs of mammals evolved to operate with more CO2. Researchers into the rapid increase of Asthma in the World today are taking a long, hard look at the Bohr Affect, CO2 levels in the lungs and how lower levels of CO2 leads to Hyperventilation Syndrome and to Asthma - the theory being that the bronco-constriction of the airways in Asthma is a natural defence by the body to try and keep CO2 levels higher in the lungs.

    In theory, if there was more CO2 in the atmosphere, as there was when our air-breathing lungs first developed, then diseases such as Asthma would not exist. Of course, a lack of Vitamin D - Asthma barely exists in Equatorial climates, Diesel particulates and Stress are also considered big Asthma causes... but I digress.

    What I am trying to say is that, for a time longer than most of us can imagine, the CO2 levels in the atmosphere were much higher than today and they were so at time when life, as we know it Jim, was forming on the planet.

    Finally, as I feel I need to say this just in case any BBC comics are reading this, I do believe the planet is warming and I do believe passionately that we need to do much more about sharing and recyling the resources of our planet.

    It is our home - the only one we have got - and we need to take care of it more. I do think that big yellow ball about 93 million miles from us is the main cause though and you can't tax the Sun can you?

  • Comment number 10.


    That phrase is worthy of a skin cream yielding 73.5% fewer wrinkles, or a dog food that builds character. Does it not SHOUT the manipulative moral bankruptcy of our politicians? So OBVIOUS that they and their vile advisers have huddled in a callow coven to formulate their stinking spells, for casting over a gullible electorate? And who delivered the odious result? None other than 'Son of The Manse', 'Moral Compassman', JAMES GORDON BROWN.

    Now he is to debate PARTY BLOODY POLITICS with the other evil-doers. Nick Robinson says the debates will be 'electrified' - maybe - but still staged, schooled and bogus Nick.

    There is only ONE slogan that will take this ountry forward:


  • Comment number 11.

    My God ..... these comments......they're....... frightfully dreadful! No, no, no, on a site like this that simply won't do at all!

    I only wish that there was some kind of way of holding all you Climate Change denialists to account for your views in 30 years time, when unfortunately our children won't take the time to make the distinction - they will lump us all into the dock with you barkpoles and find our whole generation guilty.

    Check the statements from the Royal Society - they updated their respected opinion only a few days ago, to accomodate the Climategate scandal. They now say that they are convinced that the completely unnatural change in climate over the last 150 years is man made, caused by an increase of C02 levels in the atmosphere.

    The Royal Society. Not a magalomaniac tyne tees weatherman. Not a Lord of the realm inbred to within an inch of his life. Not the Daily Mail. Not some non-peer reviewed scientist. Not the Phantom of the Medieval Warm Period. Not one thermomter in the middle of Las Vegas. No,The Royal Society.

    To come on a forward-thinking, big-picture seeking blog like this and say "show me the evidence" is an embarrassment for all concerned, and one i would hope that other readers of this blog would take the time to post here and redress matters to their proper balance.

    As for HopelessHagen itself, maybe the only benefit to the whole sorry matter is that the Danish president may well be brought down in response to his authorisation of the emergency powers given to the police - in effect, the temporary legalisation of internment.

    Sorry to say that no such concern has been demonstrated in this country in similar circumstances. No, we don't even have the strength to pull our fat little faces far enough from the comfort-feed to even read the plain rebuttals of the bad science we use as enabler for our disgusting addictions.

    And to think we take the peas out of America.....

  • Comment number 12.


    science is one thing

    the carbon trading climate justice neo maoist therapy one world government psycho babble another.

    it is the latter they are trying to sell us using 'science' as a tin opener to get at the money. That will mean £100 a year of each person's energy bills going to kooks and schemes that have no evidence they will do anything regarding co2 but will make a few people very rich.

    for some reason people expect that the science evidence be looked at but not at the evidence of vested interests promoting the psycho babble monetising carbon on the back of it.

    i see people use the denialist name calling jibe. they should be looking in the mirror when they say that.

    not everyone needs a new religion.

    if co2 is 'a problem' then carbon trading and climate justice gaia one worldism is not going to deal with it.

  • Comment number 13.

    actually all this getting rid of co2 stuff reminds me a lot of china's 'get rid of the sparrows' programme.

    its the same mindset.

  • Comment number 14.

    Intriguing thought over in Nic R's political blog there that Gordon has played a blinder just to be able to call the whole debate thing off for legal fairness reasons so he can join Ed, Tone and John Prescott flying around the world saving it whilst in charge of various lucrative climate funds and global police forces.

    On account of them all being so good at this already. Plus likely investigating their options, career-wise, locally, soon.

    Maybe Aunty will insist all the press release readers fly behind in gliders, Arnhem-style, so as to claim with only the skill and conviction their science correspondents/editors/analysts have shown so far, that there will be no emissions expended (sic).

    Like so much in the politico-media infirmament, there is what the people need to be told to enhance the narrative and interpret events, and then there is reality; with actual consequences either covered up or, at best, shoved elsewhere. With settled science.

    Hope they weren't relying on Wikipedia.

  • Comment number 15.

    Nos 11 - redress matters

    'To come on a forward-thinking, big-picture seeking blog like this and say "show me the evidence" is an embarrassment for all concerned, and one i would hope that other readers of this blog would take the time to post here and redress matters to their proper balance.'

    Proper balance ? my god its us who are pretty much vilified and in my view just like those caught out in an affinity fraud ponzi scheme, when the penny finally drops the embarrassment may well not be ours !

    'world temperatures had been falling since about 1940. It was around 1979 that they reversed direction and resumed the general rise that had begun in the 1880s, bringing us today back to around 1940 levels.'

    Why ?

    Ref :

  • Comment number 16.


    At last we caught someone who believes this stuff, let the debate begin!

    Lets start with:

    1) The climate changes naturally and unpredictably, always has, always will, ever since we had a climate on this planet. Deal with it.

    2)We will have all turned on each other and started murdering each other long before climate change effects us as we squabble for ever decreasing unreplaceable natural resources to 'feed economic growth'. That is afar bigger and more proven issue than climate change.

    3) Climate change is actually a convenient distraction for the 'hawks' from the real issues of sustainability and the unsustainable world economic model. We would be better focussing our energies there, if we did, as aresult of that, we would also deal with climate change (if it exists in the way you say it does).

    The danger here is that climate change attempts to do the right things (move towards a throughput economy rather than an eternal growth one) but for the wrong reasons...this only serves to distract from the real issues.

    Our children will thank us more if we move towards a sustainable global economy on the basis of more pressing matters, rather than the half baked 'climate change science'.

    Who do you think stands to profit from 'carbon trading' exactly.

    I am sorry but you have been duped, your intensions are good and you are right, we need to move towards a more sustainable global economy, but NOT for reasons of 'climate change'.

    Response please....

  • Comment number 17.


    I was begging that the other people who read this blog take the time to register their support for the overwhelming scientific proof in favour of co2 causing global warming. I still hope that people will take the time to do that, otherwise your vocal minority end up seeming like you actually occupy a credible position, which you don't.

    Why does Denis Dutton say that the world has actually been cooling rather than warming - i give up. Because he knows more than hundreds of climatologists interpreting thousands of sources of data that all point to global warming? Because he is mad? Because he has a hidden agenda to keep the issue in doubt and thereby ensures inertia? Not that interested really.

    As for maoist conspiracies about 100 pounds each on 'crazy schemes' that save the lives of millions of people - i rate that kind of talk on the same level as "911 was an inside job", ZOG, and the idea that any criticism of the racist Israeli state is anti-semitic.

    My god, this site really isn't what i thought it was at all! Come on you Sensible Sams! Lend a guy a hand here!

  • Comment number 18.

    Nos 17

    What I'm getting at is that a number of credible people - scientists and what not genuinely thought there was going to be an ice age in 1975, if you read the article. Also I don't think Co2 pumped into the atmosphere by man isn't affecting global temperatures its just that mother Earth and the Sun will do far more and in far shorter time - sun spots solar flares and El Nino /La Nina and god knows what ever else. Sure we should cut down on emissions and find sustainable power source's.

    I just suspect so far the emissions if anything have served to curb cooling, is that a bad or a good thing? what do I know, I don't.

  • Comment number 19.


    please demonstrate that carbon trading in an unregulated market will affect the climate.

    please demonstrate how giving money to people with no international verification, standards or democratic oversight will affect the climate.

    science is about demonstration.

    not gaia one earth maoist rhetoric and name calling.

  • Comment number 20.

    In a way it doesn't really matter who is right and who is wrong as Jericoa points out.

    We are all incredibly wasteful and should be ashamed of ourselves for taking much more than our fair share. Just watch any TV documentary about hunter-gatherer tribes and how every part of the animals they hunt is used. Nothing is wasted; everything from the earth is valued. We are so careless and arrogant to throw so much away and to waste so much.

    If we were all to live taking just what we need there would be plenty to go around for all the people on earth.

    We also need to learn how to live sustainably so as not to pollute and spoil. Not only for ourselves but for future generations.

    Sometimes we see on TV that there are still wildernesses on earth such as the plains in Mongolia etc. This gives me hope that we are not completely doomed as a species.

    The world will survive whatever we do. It is mankind which will suffer but there are plenty of other species on earth which will rapidly fill any gaps we may leave if mankind were to become extinct.

  • Comment number 21.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 22.


    ''as light of honour fades from Arthur's Jewel.''

    Very eloquent and more.

    What are we to do Barrie?


    ''My god, this site really isn't what i thought it was at all! Come on you Sensible Sams! Lend a guy a hand here! ''

    We are all waiting patiently for those 'sensible sams' to appear, they never do. They prefer the much easier time they are given by journalists and mainstream media when compared to people who will take them out of their comfort zone.


    Yep, I am with you there, the global climate has so many variable parameters associated with it is a career scientists wet dream. Loads of money available for research, almost limitless data to collect examine, debate, debunk, re-examine with latest infinitum..

    Mans influence is just one input parameter among many which vary on small and large cycles, be it solar, angular tilt of the earth, a catastrphic volcanic eruption, man buring a load of fossil fuels. It is beyond sciences grasp to reliably tackle this subject due to the number of variables involved, the only reliable way would be to create an identical earth in an identical orbit as a 'control' planet by which to measure specifically the variable of 'man'. If there are any 'sensible sam' scientists out there please debate my last point at your leisure without slipping into rhetoric..if you can :).

    Nobody is denying mans negative influence but climate change is the wrong vehicle to pick to address that negative influence. It is too vague, too open to manipulation, too easy to attack as we have already seen. It is also a very convenient excuse for not dealing with the real core issues which are the real 'inconvenient truths'. Here are a couple:


    As fed by 15th century religious doctrine (if we let them have their way there will be 10billion on a planet that can only sustain 5 billion long term)...not a conference of world leaders in sight for that ''inconvenient truth'..

    Or how about

    The global economic model

    It depends on 'economic growth' to sustain itself and keep people in work.. nobody bothers to ask the inconvenient question about how that model can still work on a planet of finite resources and increasing population, all of which have aspirations to consume like the USA ( they use about 10 times their global fair share). When does that conference come around?

    Climate change..

    Give me a break, we have much better reasons to close down illegal Chinese mines and use less fossil fuels / earths resources in general.

    I cant believe the media goes along with this rubbish..oh sorry i forgot, the media is owned by afew leveraged hawks like Murdoch.

    The BBC however has no such excuses what so ever.

    ''as light of honour fades from Arthur's Jewel.''

    nuff said.

    Have a good winter solstace everyone.

    Cold isnt it, i dont remember a winter like this one since the 70's...


  • Comment number 23.


    (* Tony was the epitome, yet the World has taken him to its bloodied bosom. Weep World.)

    Why is 'law' invoked at all? We can't even police ourselves. The deep-rooted wickedness that underlies media, advertising, politics, state narcotics, differential tax, differential law, state gambling, 'defence' sales etc, disqualifies us from pointing a finger (let alone a gun) at anyone. Yet, as I type, Miliband D is explaining our role in the world.
    What rank hypocrisy. But would he understand if confronted in the above terms?

    Miliband NEEDS status - they are ALL after status. Their individual 'life flame' is fuelled by 'black of psyche's deep', and they have NO CONCEPT of the 'Light of Arthur's Jewel'. Thus they are inimical to public service. All the hung Parliaments imaginable will not remove these ciphers from our backs. It is THE WESTMINSTER ETHOS ITSELF that must be hanged. Step one:


  • Comment number 24.

    Just a question from me to those who know much more. The IPCC has a working group of scientists. There has been four periodical assessments of global warming - 1990,1995,2001 and 2007.They are working on a fifth.

    The key finding in 2007 was "The warming in the climate system is unequivocal [...] ", is based on measurements made by many independent institutions worldwide that demonstrate significant changes on land, in the atmosphere, the ocean and in the ice-covered areas of the Earth. Through further, independent scientific work involving statistical methods and a range of different climate models, these changes have been detected as significant deviations from natural climate variability and have been attributed to the increase of greenhouse gases."

    To quote the scientists " Every layer in the process (including large author teams, extensive and multi-step reviews, independent monitoring of review compliance, and plenary approval by governments) plays a major role in keeping IPCC assessments comprehensive, unbiased, open to the identification of new relevant literature, and policy relevant but not policy prescriptive. Therefore, no individual scientist in the IPCC assessment process is in a position to change the conclusions, or to exclude relevant peer-reviewed papers and scientific work from an IPCC Assessment Report. "

    Could you just explain why you say that these scientists are wrong and why the multiple of countries ( 133?) involved in the Panel on Climate Change with quite significantly variable geo-political and economic objectives would want to pursue an artificial agenda?

    Back to Paul's post - I see your point - globalised financial contagions drew common responses to be verified but globalised environmental threats didnt. Treaties cant impose laws internationally, just mutual self interest.

  • Comment number 25.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 26.

    Ok, here is my original comment without the alternative spellings of swearwords, and some of the anti-middle class vitriol drawn from it.

    "Man, this is getting scary! Am i HONESTLY the only person reading these comments that believes in man-made climate change? Phew! That stinks!

    #16 -
    1) All the evidence shows that this is the most dramatic AND SUDDEN temperature change in all the evidence that we have been able to gather, WAY faster than natural oscillations. There is no doubt in that, even by the people that frequent your side of the argument, so you need to catch up there. Solar winds seeding clouds and Sun spots have been disproven conclusively, natural cycles can't account for the speed of the increase, or the size of it. Watch the BBC series currently on iplayer for a much better account that i can provide:

    2) I am an insurrectionary anarchist ...... and so yes, by definition i think this world has problems. And anyway, what has that got to do with the science of climate change?

    3) Do you actually want me to answer this? Your opinion? OK, yes, I agree with you. I believe, as Paul Mason says in his book, that the reason for many of the problems we face is that labour has been devalued by capital and (my own opinion) the Class War was won by the middle and upper classes in the 1980's and we've been treated like a defeated power ever since. Again, what has ANY of this got to do with the science of climate change?

    Do i agree with carbon trading, or any other placebo? No? Do i agree with a low-impact lifestyle? Yes. Again, where's the link to the climate science that you deny?

    "science is about demonstration.not gaia one earth maoist rhetoric and name calling."
    Classic. The science has been demonstrated, conclusively. That's why you have to rely on non-peer reviewed crackpot theories and supposed 'Climategates' to hide your intellectual nakedness now. And are you aware that using a term like "gaia one earth maoist rhetoric" is not widely accepted as a standard scientific term?

    There you go, suitably modified? Hope it gets through.

  • Comment number 27.


    You answer your own question within your post, when a thing becomes so complicated it requires

    ''extensive and multi-step reviews, independent monitoring of review compliance, and plenary approval by governments''

    The answer moves towards the political bias of the day not the scientific truth by force of 'consensus'..particularly if there is a buck or a career to be made out of it.

    Just look what happend when we let all those

    ''extensive and multi-step reviews, independent monitoring of review compliance, and plenary approval by governments''..also known as banks and economists run the global economy.........

    Remind me what happened ... did they get that right too?

    See my point?

  • Comment number 28.


    We have no control 'Earth' against which to judge our results, and it is most unlikely we know all the influences on climate.

    No person, thinking scientifically, will gainsay change, as such; it is the assertion that change has come due to higher atmospheric CO2 that is in question; further: that it is OUR CO2. This is where you need AT LEAST one more Earth (preferably several). As far as I know, no one can tell OUR CO2 from that of Mother Nature. A puritanical scientist would demand you PROVE the rise is down to our stuff, before you even start to CLAIM anything accruing from its presence in the atmosphere.

    I was told, by an accountant, that if the accounts are 1p out, there might be all manner of errors (+ and -) that cancel out to 1p. these errors might be in millions. Suppose the Earth is naturally producing vastly more CO2 than in recent years, and absorbing more also, we could not know how much CO2 of ours was out there, and would have great difficulty pinning (supposed increased) CO2-forced warming on OUR output alone.

    Scientist are mostly blokes who do science. Politicians are mostly blokes who do politics. If one lot lie for advantage (or to hang on to the job) why not the other? We KNOW the politicians lie. QED

  • Comment number 29.


    The wave/particle 'Light Wars' were ultimately outmoded - nobody won.

    As I have taken on board an alternative paradigm for the Cosmos (heresy for 'proper scientists', but solving more cosmological problems than cherished orthodoxy can) I can reasonably postulate that Earth is in the grip of forces other than atmospheric warming from trapped sunlight. I have been following its development since the 50s - it is in the nature of Academe that it ossifies, and is displaced. History is full of fallen idols.

  • Comment number 30.

    Hi Maff

    Hope you don't mind me commenting on your #16

    "Solar winds seeding clouds and Sun spots have been disproved conclusively, natural cycles can't account for the speed of the increase, or the size of it."

    CERN has recently started a research project looking into that phenomenon.Here's a explanation of the CLOUD 09 research project.

    I am no physicist, nor a scientist by any stretch of the imagination, but I found the lecture very interesting and well explained.

    In my humble opinion, politicians should stop politicizing this science (50 days to save the world etc), good science takes time and can not be short-circuit to fit a political timetable.

  • Comment number 31.

    Correction to above, post 30.

    Should have been -

    "Hope you don't mind me commenting on your #26"

  • Comment number 32.

    ...are you aware that using a term like "gaia one earth maoist rhetoric" is not widely accepted as a standard scientific term?

    yes. that is why i oppose those selling it and calling it 'climate science'.

    the basic lie is pretending there is a climate model [beyond doubt] that has demonstrated it works.

  • Comment number 33.

    ...non-peer reviewed crackpot theories and supposed 'Climategates'..

    if you had read susans blogs you will find it discussed already that the idea there needs to be peer reviewed papers proving man is not the cause is just like asking peer reviewed papers proving elves do not exist and then claiming until there are such papers everyone must accept they do exist or be called 'a denier'.

    which is how the old church used to work.

    if you read maurice strong's stuff you will see there has been an agenda to present 'fear' [real or not] as a means to enable a socialist revolution.

    in the same way the lefties used to attend any mass gathering of people in the hope it could be used as a platform of revolution they now attend climate agendaism because that is where the the naive and idealistic masses that can be easily manipulated are.

    since communism the lefties had to look for a new trojan horse behind which to hide their agenda. they went into climate activism. which is why dealing with co2 in a rational way is not enough.For them there must be the 'end of capitalism, there must be massive redistribution of wealth [with no democratic oversight] through 'climate justice', the creation of a One world government run by specially trained leaders who have done leadership courses such as the ones on Maurice strong retreat farm.

    clearly they will be annoyed if anyone points their plan out. their usual tactic is name calling and personal attacks in the hope of intimidating or deflecting or distracting the debate from their real intentions.

    copenhagen failed for a reason. people saw through the manufactured hallucinations.

  • Comment number 34.


    Not because the End of The World is nigh, but because nobody is having a go at me! Come on guys; am I not contentious enough? What do you want: Angel globes in photos? Out of body/near-death experiences? Spontaneous combustion? God/human sexual union yielding blood sacrifice to save Ape Confused by Language?

    Hope your Xmas PARTIES run the gamut of joy - UNSPOILED. (:o)

  • Comment number 35.

    At the risk of contradicting myself in an earlier post (I am a fan of paradox)the consensus of opinion here seems to be.

    Yes there is climate change caused by man (no brainer on a basic level without doing any anlysis).

    The 'science' behind it is being corrupted by self interest via politics the media, business and national bias with associated hedgemoney. i.e. it has become a minefield noboddy can agree on and take forward.

    The real underlying cause of climate change caused by man are overpopulation and the nature of the current unsustainable global economic model. Solve those and by default you solve 'climate change caused by man' in the long term. Note I am refering to climate change in its broadest sense, forget all this distracting singular focus on global warming alone and carbon emissions.

    As a closing note I would like to point out that humanity is part of nature and as such climate change caused by man is an entirey natural phenomena anyway. As far as the planet is concerned we may as well be dinousars that fart a lot, it will deal with us in its own self regulating way.

    We are not ruining the planet,we are ruining ourselves. The only thing constant in the history of this amazing planet is 'change' , man in his arrogance seeks to say 'change no more' we like you the way you will change anyway no matter what we say or do...

    Anybody want to go back to talking about illegal coalmines in china now?

  • Comment number 36.


    As things stand, science (hurrah!) tells us there IS time and space (and on a bad day - 'Spacetime').

    It is apparent that law and space do not mix; we went and told the head-hunters of Borneo 'not to' but now the Muslims have turned up in the UK with camel-loads of Sharia. Travel has a lot to answer for. But TIME, and law, do not mix either. We did a lot of overt lawful-evil, right here, a few hundred years back. Now (having moved to much more INSIDIOUS evil, finely woven into our culture) we demand that the world 'skip time' and come, immediately, to OUR SORT OF LAWFUL.

    I think we should go back to apologising (a practised art) for all the centuries since our deeply unscientific religion began sending missionaries to roger the world. Then we should leave China to struggle, even to match the total evil that we have amassed.

    When the Guinness Book tally's EVIL, we shall be recognised above all. Our record will stand to the end of time (December 2012).

  • Comment number 37.

    Nos 26

    "Solar winds seeding clouds and Sun spots have been disproved conclusively, natural cycles can't account for the speed of the increase, or the size of it."

    'disproved conclusively'

    In that program he doesn't offer ( in his view ) a more plausible reason as to why the mini ice age occurred in the 17th Century which may or may not have been caused by no sun spot activity. His argument was that the heat the sun gives out hardly changes and saw fit to ridicule William Herschel.

    It will be interesting to see how long this 'cold snap' lasts in relation to his argument for less recent sun spot activity and temperatures being higher now - he says 'we have reached record temperatures' - 'record temperatures' in relation to how long ? When he had already stated that its very difficult to be specific on past centuries temperatures.

    Common sense tells me that the Sun has by far the most important effect on Earth temperature and its study is very important.

  • Comment number 38.


    I can only repeat: from our disadvantaged position inside the EXPERIMENT that is Earth, we should assume ignorance of some vital parameters of (putative) change.

    The diligent scholar should search: 'The Electric Universe'. (For the demanding enquirer, please note they DO have the odd Nobel laureate 'in house'.)

    To regard the Earth-Sun as functioning in isolation, is probably the 'big mistake'. Now read on, thinking 'ELECRIC'.

  • Comment number 39.

  • Comment number 40.


    if you want a row try the guardian blogs e.g monbiot.

    or the sky news boards.

    funny how the bbc doesn't have news boards now. anyone would think it was a public service. maybe that is why it was axed. :)

  • Comment number 41.


    Definitions of Science.....

    “......the systematic study of the structure and behaviour of the physical world, especially by watching, measuring and doing experiments, and the development of theories to describe the results of these activities” (from Cambridge Dictionary)

    (Note – Development of THEORIES!!!!!!!!!!!!!)

    A NEW definition from The Science Council???????????? Who? A funded body with vested interests????????

    "Science is the pursuit of knowledge and understanding of the natural and social world following a systematic methodology based on evidence."

    NOTE the word ‘pursuit’

    And this, relating to Karl Poppers ‘definition’.

    “In science, an idea concerning an event and its possible explanation. The term is one favoured by the followers of the philosopher Karl Popper, who argue that the merit of a scientific hypothesis lies in its ability to make testable predictions.”

    Clearly, we KNOW nothing. So, surely we SHOULD apply restraint in all consumption (no laws required) in order to leave a world worthy of inhabiting for our children’s children’ children.

    One thing I AM sure of, parties, nationalities, world economies, theories aside is, that we, mankind, are

    ‘Asset Stripping’ our planet. Our home. Splitting anything of worth into bite sized (some have bigger mouths than others) pieces and hiving them off to the highest bidder then a select few pocketing the ‘finders fee’.

    We continue systematically raping the earth to fulfil ever more futile desires for satisfaction at the peril of our own precious fruits.

    Learning to sift the Wheat of Need from the Chaff of Want, making do with ENOUGH; CUTTING our CLOTH accordingly in respect of NEEDS of all then life, is a way forward?. New Year’s resolution anyone??

    And if we do so, a natural by product is very likely to be a reduction in CO2 whether that IS required or not.

    CHRISTMAS Has to be the biggest abuser of the linguistic confusion of Want and need. The cards (oh whoopy doo, on recycled paper) sent to EVERYONE you’ve ever bumped into.; tThe fancy printed wrapping in the bin within minutes; the light pollution of the growing US trend of external home dressing; , the food that will be wasted; the party til you drop; the tatt (mostly made in ‘devloping economies’) changing hands with mock smiles and later passed on with a feeling of 2nd hand goodwill to some charity shop if not cleverly labelled and passed on to another unsuspecting recipient.

    WHEN will we wake up and shout ENOUGH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I’ve GOT ENOUGH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Oh, and while I am here..... may I add, I am heartily, heartily sick to my Gut of
    - ‘dissent being renamed denial
    - ‘Climate (or anything else ??????) ...GATE!!!!!!!!!!!!!’

    In cyber space can anyone hear you scream?

  • Comment number 42.


    Help a chap out supersnapshot. I can't see how your three offerings relate to the point I was making in response to Jericoa inviting us to attach the word 'illegal' to coal mines in China. Might you re-post, with a one-line 'enlightener' for each link?

    As my title declared, I was addressing the concept of legality.

  • Comment number 43.


    Oh Jaunty - season of goodwill and all that. Monbiot and Sky? What an indictment. Do I really come over that loathsome?

    In passing - What are they like? Never been. (:o)

  • Comment number 44.


    ''As things stand, science (hurrah!) tells us there IS time and space (and on a bad day - 'Spacetime').''

    Your quantum leaps (ha!) from culture to religion to astrophysics in the context of defining the word 'illegal' in relation to Chinese Coal mines are a little tricky to follow to be fair Barrie.

    Perhaps superiorsnapshots real point is if time does not exist (as the great (possibly greatest) mathematician Kurt Godel believed shortly before he starved himself to death)then the concept of 'illigality' dissapears too along with everything else in the intellectual domain.

    Maybe he was getting tired of all this debate, cutting out the middle man and taking it straight to the next level.

  • Comment number 45.


    While my brother was in the care home, I tried to stop remewal of his home insurance. Today I received (recorded) notification that they rejected my proof of Power of Attourney, and (in a garbled letter) wanted clarification in 14 days, which went beyond auto-renewal date. However, my brother died last Wednesday so P of A is defunct, and Probate is not yet granted. And it has snowed. And it's Christmas.

    I am always tricky to follow - that way they can't get a clear shot.

    So all the time I waste on here IS ALSO ILLUSORY! Dya hear that Mum?

  • Comment number 46.


    Being a creature of very little brain and even littler concentration span I am lost in quantum physics and the likes.

    I am reminded.....
    "You must remember I have been asleep for many millenia and know NOTHING of these early sixties sitcoms of which you speak." 42!

    But I do recognise music and artists who appear to have leapt some time/space continuum and still sound remarkably fresh and even topical.


  • Comment number 47.

  • Comment number 48.


    42 indeed!

  • Comment number 49.

    So sorry to read about your brother.

    In short my thinking is that time may be understood in a social context, rather than as given (taken ?) absolute. Likewise I take law and legality to be contingent on social context.

    Further, if we take it( yes an assumption ) that reality bears on us, then we can have knowledge, contingent upon a belief system, be it a science, theology, policy or philosophy.

    Realism tainted by Idealism if you want. We can have time only as an impure concept, we can know, but NOT completely..........uncertainy remains.

    This leaves lots of questions regarding power to be addressed. So our discussion on Climate Change becomes one on Power and it's agents.

    There, I've put my neck on the block.

    Best wishes at this difficult time.

  • Comment number 50.

    Nos 30 & 45

    Sorry to read about your brother as well barrie.

    Yes I think that lecture is important and I hope NN researchers are switched on to it.

    The associations and correlations between cosmic rays, sun spots and sea level, the Pacific Decadal Oscillation (new to me) and the necessity for improvement being the cloud 09 test to give us a better idea of whether or not there is a correlation between cosmic rays and cloud formation. Also the publication of sun spot weakening research being turned down for publication.

    Newsnight please take note.

  • Comment number 51.


    I just felt that Sods Law would not impinge, were there no such thing as time (Just being capricious.)

    So: sorrow definitely not apposite, except that I was too idle to put all the caveats in, when telling the story. For that I AM sorry.(:o)

    Your "Likewise I take law and legality to be contingent on social context." seems to endorse my point @36, and we need not invoke time's effect on social constructs! That'll do nicely.

  • Comment number 52.

    Thanks for the info, Steve-London, I'm in no position to judge the physics aspect, but i will pass the link on to my old landlord, who is a dr of physics and on pan-european panels, so i definitely trust his opinion on the accuracy of the science. I'll post his reply on here if you like? Only 'peer reviewed science' with all its faults, but about as good as it gets in an imperfect world?

    As to the rest of the comments that followed my posts, thank you for proving my point without me needing to say a word! :-)

  • Comment number 53.

    if you 'had' proved your point copenhagen would have been a success?

  • Comment number 54.


    If you have one standard 'foot' rod, held in state at the National Physical Laboratory (is it still there?) and you take two copies from it; to check that copy No. 1 is one foot long, by measuring it with copy No. 2, only proves they are copies of the NPL master.

    Peer review is analagous.

  • Comment number 55.

  • Comment number 56.


    Is that link corrupted?

  • Comment number 57.

    the link seems to work even if all of it isn't highlighted. it takes you to the 'new posts' page.

    its a bit more of a bear pit in terms of language. it makes bbc blogs look like watch with mother.

  • Comment number 58.


    I suggest Peer-Review sould be replaced by Cross-Discipline-Review.
    Truly competent (polymathic) minds, should be able to spot poor science (referring to, but not deferring to, peers of the originator - as required).

    #57 I tried again but did not see the words: "New Posts". Have to click to get a date, and they are not consecutive. Is it me? (:o)

  • Comment number 59.

    if you click all messages then the next time only the new stuff comes up

    the general latest from all boards is

  • Comment number 60.

    Compliments of the season to one and all. 2010 will offer us much more to discuss with Paul. Thanks, Jericoa and Barriesingleton, for your responses - festivities intervened. Whilst careerist self aggrandisement and a tendency of bureaucracies such as the IPCC to garner themsleves with more importance than they deserve must always attract our vigilance, I still dont see why 194 countries on the Panel would approve an agenda which has the premise that anthropogenic influence is a present and immediate danger and is contributing to unusual and potentially dangerous global consequences if they did not believe that or that it was based on false information. A good proportion of them may have a lot to lose from the policy fallout. I fully accept that the precautionary-principle causes people to run ahead of finally settled science, but isnt that understandable when the state of the planet is at risk from human activity and final scientific agreement might only arrive when it becomes too late to take remedial action.

  • Comment number 61.


    I have chosen to talk you up in a mix of Obamaspeak and Westminstercrap, shireblogger.

    All I can say (again) is that the adult part of my 77 years was devoted to earning a living (and then founding and running a company) all based on scientific nous. My other consuming interest was the psychological workings of 'self and other'.

    Orthodox cosmology is due for a massive reform, and Earth is part of the Cosmos. Science is bloke-driven; blokes tend to be undisciplined. I think my #58 would go some way to improving matters (ad hoc, it is already happening).

    And a Merry Christmas. (:o)

  • Comment number 62.


    Please do as you think is right, but I am sure the CLOUD team would have had to convince a panel of their peers at CERN to get the necessary grants to fund such a research project in the first place. The Register published some information on the projects objectives and it's status in Nov.

    But my point in posting @30 was to show that contrary to you typing @26 “Solar winds seeding clouds and Sun spots have been disproven conclusively, natural cycles can't account for the speed of the increase, or the size of it.” was not in the whole correct, the science has not been conclusive either way. That's why I also said “good science takes times and can not be short-circuited to fit a political timetable.”.

    I think people have a right to be sceptical of public policy based on a incomplete understanding of this science. Specially when government policy is based on it and will effect 6- 9 billion peoples lives around the world and cost the West $ 100 billion a year for how many decades , who knows ?

    Anyway , have a good Christmas and a prosperous new year. I am off to get merry and look foolish in family photographs for the sake of posterity.

  • Comment number 63.


    A good point, well made.

    My principal objection revolves around there being more convicing and much easier to prove reasons to justify a change in the way we live than the specific climate change science that is put on the table.

    Climate change science is full of holes and at least in part self serving and driven by opinion on which assumptions to make (too many variable and time related parameters for a truely hard science approach).

    The only thing going for it is that it is culturally neutral as a vehicle so we don't have to deal with issues like population (which drags in religion etc) and the global economic model (which threatens the livelihood of the current global elite and powerful countries).

    I think these issues are incredibly important but that importance is being obscured by the choice of vehicle to take it forward. Carbon trading wont help if we still allow population to grow and emerging economies retain aspirations to live as the Americans do in terms of consumption.

    Public perception (reality tends to follow perception) is very important for the huge changes that are needed in the coming decades. Right now in the Uk the public at large are shovelling snow fron their drives mutterring ' global warming' and laughing at the folly of our politicians in Copenhagen.

    That is no way to set of on the journey that needs to be started now in order to moderate the quantum of human suffering that will come upon us if we do not do something now.

    I almost wish the global financial meltdown had not been dragged back from the brink, it was a warning shot accross the bows in terms of how we live which we seem (on current evidence) to have chosen to ignore, culminating in the Copenhagen farce.

    We have to confront the hard truths which must be addressed, in a respectful peaceful way, but the starting point has to be honesty with each other. e.g.

    USA you can not carry on consuming as you are.

    India, you can not allow your population to continue to grow unchecked.

    and so on.

    In one sense I wish these debates on here did not have any basis to happen, but in another sense it has been an education and has restored some of my faith in humanity to engage with all the regular contributors on here. It is good to know I am not the only one who thinks that things are not as they seem.

    I will drop my cynical analytical stance for a moment and wish you all a happy Christmas.


  • Comment number 64.


    This is a very telling article. (Read the opening and then scroll down to the Hubble stuff.)

    You will find that Hubble's HYPOTHESIS was never really accepted by the MAN HIMSELF, and by the time he died he was VERY UNCERTAIN. Meanwhile, ORTHODOX SCIENCE had elevated The Hubble Constant to Holy Writ, and much cosmology (codswallopy?) has been built on it.

    The truth (of how Science and 'scientists' proceed) is out there. CONSENSUS, be it over Hubble Constant or IPCC diktat, PROVES NOTHING.

  • Comment number 65.

    An interview with Jasper Kirkby and Markku Kulmala about the CLOUD 09 experiment :

  • Comment number 66.

    Nos 64 - yes, link - good read.

  • Comment number 67.

    Part of the problem in getting at the truth of all this.

    The closer I looked the more of this stuff I found :

  • Comment number 68.


    Bloggers - if daunted by the total, Just read Statement III. No maths, just human behaviour.

    Thanks SPB

  • Comment number 69.

    #67 SPB

    Great link. Slowly slowly ploughing through (thanks also to BS #68 for edit pointer)

  • Comment number 70.

    Different subject but relevant.

    Seems a bit loose and ropey but I like Lucy Komisar :

  • Comment number 71.


    Miliband D has just commanded THE IRANIANS to respect the human rights of their own people. I don't need to write the rest, do I?


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