Tuesday 13 March 2007

Thoughts on Enviroment Policies

There has been so much written and said about the environment in the last few weeks that I barely know where to start. I think first it is best to set out where I sit. The science to me is firmly on the side of man made global warming. I would love to believe the the great climate change swindle, but many of the arguments made in that have been disproved time and again (see realclimate.org for a fully scientific rebuttal). Perhaps the effects will not be as extreme as the likes of George Monbiot would like us to believe, but nonetheless we can all see the climate changing around us rapidly.So we must do something...

But tax is not the answer. Typically our ill-led and unambitious government (and opposition) can only think in one dimension. Tax.

This is not the solution at all, we need a far more market and globally based approach.
We need to finance and support new technologies and research (UK government research budgets have been falling in real terms for years) to find alternative fuels.
We need binding international agreements so that there is no incentive for businesses to practice 'carbon-avoidance.'
We need to follow the better, already tested, policy ideas such as those of Woking Borough Council, which has reduced its energy spend by 90%.

I know the wrong policies though, regressive and unilateral taxes on transport and consumers. These affect the poor the most and leave the rich to go about their chosen lifestyles. I am more or less ashamed of the Conservative policies announced this week, at least the Labour policies are less regressive.

Really if there is one thing emerging from the 'debates' this week, it is that there is already too much hot air in the UK; and this is definitely sharply on the rise.


Calvin Jones said...

It appears that the recent Channel 4 and More4 documentary "The Great Global Warming Swindle" has left many viewers doubting that today's climate change is largely humanly caused. In this email, anyone so affected by the programme is urged to view the following information:

1. An introduction to the flaws of the programme. http://climatedenial.org/2007/03/09/the-great-channel-four-swindle/ (or Google "climate denial", go to 9 Mar post.)

2. How a similar docu on Channel 4 by the same director Martin Durkin in 1997 was rapped by the ITC, in particular for misleading four featured interviewees and distorting their views. See Parags. 8-11 of http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/story/0,,2001694,00.html

3. Prof. Carl Wunsch says: I was misled and misrepresented in the 'swindle' documentary http://news.independent.co.uk/environment/climate_change/article2347526.ece

4. http://www.realclimate.org/index.php?p=414 (or Google "Realclimate", go to 9 Mar post.) Climate scientists' view of some of the key flawed or discredited claims made by the programme (some of which you may have seen elsewhere). A site praised by Scientific American, with explanations for the medieval grapes, why Thames stopped freezing, and loads more.

5. http://www.hipforums.com/forums/showthread.php?p=3268874#post3268874 - with THAT graph clearly explained, plus a clear guide to the links of some of the interviewees.

6. Royal Society and science academies around the world joint statement on climate change: http://www.royalsoc.ac.uk/news.asp?id=3226 (or via Google "Royal Society").

7. A blog discussion on the programme, including details of apparent breaches of the Broadcasting Code, and how to complain. http://portal.campaigncc.org/node/1820 (or Google "Climate Campaign Portal".)

Newmania said...

We need binding international agreements so that there is no incentive for businesses to practice 'carbon-avoidance.'

In fact why not have global governemnt then which by stealth you must know is already on its way.

Calvin Jones the documentary was only expressing the doubts that have been surfacing for long time . The Green cause consistently represents speculatively modelled predictions that cannot be "proven" as if they are facts .

The anti Green lobby has along way to go to catch up and Scientistts will say whatever hey are paid to . Generally they are paid by the govenment/s who like the excuse to extend control , remove freedoms and hard earned cash.
It is not unforeseen that there would be enterenched oppposition by scientists to the suggestion that they have been lying in order to further their carreers.

I have no doubt that the programme was simlifying and exaggerating all journillism does but in the boad canvass of propaganda it is still a drop in the ocean.

Still thanks for your links which I will browse to see if there is anything other than the usual misrepresentation and self interest.

I will not submit to any world government on the say so of scientists who have always been the willing accomplices and familiars of political power. Look at the way new labout have used their lackeys the BMA and the H and S Board to shut down freedom. These are all experts supposedly

Newmania said...

I have further responded to the Green fascists elsewhere but as they will probably suppress my view I am repeating it here.

Education is what we need is it. I have had a look at the sneering and supercilious threads you mentioned and there is nothing definitive in them except that weakest of points , "some clever people have said"...everything you might go on to finish.
For example you refer t the old problem of the medieval warm period but I don1t think you understand where it fits into the discussion. The Green argument presented itself as if the climate was unchanging and by act of godless vandalism we have messed it up . Such angst in the pants has an obvious appeal to much the same people who are running around bombing scientists on behalf of furry things but I see nothing that actually explain why that might be without admitting the truth which is that any prediction must be founded on an overwhelming mass of ignorance about such an infinitely complex system with patterns we almost certainly have not even identified.

Scientists like it because it makes them feel important and gets there grant out of the government
Governments like it because it allows them to tax and control and appear virtuous whilst being active
Large companies like it because a mass of regulation outs market entrants out of business and leaves them a quasi monopoly
Socialists like it for the same reasons as government is that it bulwarks the odious idea of a societal relationship that can only be expressed through bureaucracies
A lot of people just like being trendy and having a cause
Public Sector employees like it because it justifies further tax which allows larger empires promotions and increases to their already overly large slice of a dwindling pie to which they contribute little

It is entirely reasonable therefore that everything coming from these interested groups should be viewed with the greatest scepticism. Ther evidence of a medieval warm period is not one ha requires wine if you have read Chaucer it is obvious from the activities of all the characters at times of the year that it must have been a good deal warmer . It has been argued that the writers were drawing on a French Tradition and characters re enact pastimes of the Loire valley in a quite unsuitable climate but the simple explanation id surely worth considering . Grapes bu the way were not the only unsuitable fruit have been grown peaches and other unlikely customers are mentioned in Marvell.
In fact the very determination of the Greenists to remove the medieval warm period is itself highly suspicious .

You need to wake up to the fact that we cannot be dictated to by the claims of state hirelings whose near relations the BMA and the Hand S have been so useful to those wishing to reduce the citizen to the state of a serf. You never listen and until I see VAST lopped off virtuous products I will assume it is all Guano.. How hard do you imagine it would be for me to find the sonorous pronouncements of scientists on behalf of this or that dictatorship or indeed the US tobacco industry. Right or wrong you have become the lackeys of the sate doing their dirty work for them with your drip feed propaganda.

Perhaps you need to be educated .

Peter Risdon said...

Although they cite him, realclimate.org and climatedenial.org are examples of what Professor Wunsch was concerned about when he wrote:"I am on record in a number of places complaining about the over-dramatization and unwarranted extrapolation of scientific facts. Thus the notion that the Gulf Stream would or could "shut off" or that with global warming Britain would go into a "new ice age" are either scientifically impossible or so unlikely as to threaten our credibility as a scientific discipline if we proclaim their reality."

Freeman Dyson has just expressed his concerns with climate alarmism, as have an increasing number of scientists.

Wunsch, in a paper published last year by the Royal Society, actually argues that anthropic climate change is not just unproved, it is unprovable. In his piece about the C4 programme, he suggests the problem should be approached in the same way we approach the risk of fire in a house, with a mixture of precaution and insurance.

There is still massive unwarranted alarmism.

As you suggest, we should seek to accelerate technology shift, not accede to the strident demands of watermelons.

Anonymous said...

A characteristically concise and balanced piece, CU.

Some more one-liners I believe to be accurate:

- there are examples of where direct govt intervention has worked, lead in gasoline being a case in point (but CO2 may be orders of magnitude more difficult)

- there is no way that people in developing economies will forego their desire for electricity, cars etc (and why should they?)

- therefore major effort must be spent on adaptation - even more perhaps than on mitigation

As regards global measures, & this is an open question addressed to Mr Mania - just how big a problem would it need to be before you did approve of a global solution? (I only ask because I'm seriously interested)

Finally, cap-and-trade (for industrials etc) definitely works mechanistically, but whether it produces the desired results depends on the implementation. I have been appalled at how little understanding of markets has been evidenced by many of the EU govts implementing the EU ETS: for example, the Germans, who didn't realise that if they gave away Allocations free, there would be a windfall to the utility recipients!!! Just how ignorant is it possible to be? And these people have jobs...

James Higham said...

Brilliant post - very sensible, measured comments.

CityUnslicker said...

wow. What aset of posts to answer. I have been away today so unable to answer.

Mr mania - Thank you for you contributions. I am less convinced the more I have looked into climate change (which I have this week), the less sceptical I have become.

It is wishful to hjope it is all a marxist lie; even if some of it is. So we need to do something; i don't want global government but fail to see what is wrong with international agreements. How do you think trade is regulated across the world? Ot air travel or sea travel?

As much as the UN and EU are held up as failures, there are international successes.

As for Green Fascists, these do indeed exist and I find them scary. All the more reason to find market based and sensible ways to combat climate change and not to allow their idiotic socialist dogma to win out. We are past head in the sand time. But there is plenty of time left to sort things out for the world without going back to living in caves and murdering the poor of the world as the socialists would have us do.

Peter - Alarmisim is going to get worse with the ill-considered bandwagoning of various politicians. Sadly as you point out, this is not helping the situation at all.

ND - I agree entirely with your points. However I am please to see the City of London leads the way in Carbon trading and this will be another big boon for our financial servicez indsutry for decades to come.

Anonymous said...

Great minds cityunslicker, well done, calvin jones mentions a few of the points raised by my guest blogger yesterday, a Cambridge scientist. But it is right we should listen to all sides and let people decide, though this is made harder when incorrect information is presented as fact.

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