Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Pyrrhic victory: Another denialist admits climate change is real

Time to add another denialist to the growing list of high-profile U-turns.

Republican strategist Frank Luntz and editor of sceptic magazine Michael Shermer and oil giant Exxon and then Lomborg.

Now to the list we can add Daily Mail science correspondent, Michael Hanlon:

I have long been something of a climate-change sceptic, but my views in recent years have shifted. For me, the most convincing evidence that something worrying is going on lies right here in the Arctic. Because while across most of the world evidence for current climate change is often inconclusive and anecdotal, the huge ice sheet which sits atop this, the largest island in the world, appears to be cracking up before our eyes. And on a timescale of decades rather than the millennia many predicted.

Just five days ago, a 'superberg', measuring 100sq miles broke off the Petermann Glacier in the north-west of the island and floated into the ocean - the largest chunk of ice to break off Greenland for nearly half a century.

(Amazingly he still thinks it might be eagerated a bit after that, but hey, you don't expect Rome to be built in a day - at least now he's open to the evidence).

Great commentary on this and more here.

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Cutting to the Chase of Morality

Lots of loose talk about morality and culture - you see it in politcs of all sorts, so it's great to see somebody cut to the chase - in this case it's John Gray in reviewing 'The Quest for Meaning' by Tariq Ramadan...

Ramadan wants to replace this practice with a high-minded attitude of mutual respect. Each of us, he writes, must accept that "the presence of the other within my own conception of the world is both a fact and a necessity". I am not sure what this means – assuming it means anything and is not just hot air – but if Ramadan is suggesting that in order to tolerate repugnant views one must empathise with those who hold them, he is plainly wrong.There is a conventional view that says we can despise someone's beliefs while respecting them as individuals, but there are plenty of people who deserve contempt. If we tolerate the hateful views of Holocaust deniers, the reason is not that we think such people have any kind of moral worth. It is because free speech is much too important to be compromised for their sake.
Mesmerised by this empty dream, he is scornful of talk of civilisation. "The definition of the term 'civilisation', he writes, "is very relative." But stoning women and gay people is an atrocity no matter how many cultures have sanctioned the practice. Torture is abhorrent whether it is inflicted by the Taliban or by Americans in Guantánamo. Civilisation comes in many forms, but barbarism is always the same.

Thursday, September 02, 2010

Another Denialist Talking-Point Retracted; Telegraph Officially A Shit Newspaper

That bastion of journalism sub-GCSE science science reporting paper, the Telegraph has had to retract another climate-linked story;

In reports in December 2009 we said that Tata had used the carbon trading scheme to transfer steel production from Redcar to India, pocketing £1.2 billion in carbon credits at the cost of 1700 jobs. We accept this was wrong. ... We also accept Tata’s assurance that it has no relationship with the Chairman of the IPCC, Dr Rajendra Pachauri.

We apologise for these errors.

What the denialists-in-residence at the paper had been doing is trying to make the IPCC look dodgy by hugely over-playing reports of inaccuracies and trying to insinuate it's chair was corrupt. In this instance by linking him to a carbon trading scheme.

So now we have:
- Retraction of the IPCC-Tata-carbon trading scheme (it's a myth)
- Retraction of story suggesting that the chair of the IPCC Rajendra Pachauri cashing in on climate change (also a myth)
- Retraction of bogus rainforest claim (IPCC was right, Telegraph was 100% wrong)
- Totally wacked-out coverage of the so-called Climategate scandal (the scandal was that there was no scandal)
- Telegraph Pulls Blog Failing to Toe the Party Line
- Telegraph commentator claims big oil interests were not funding climate change denail (they were wrong - oil interests are funding denial)

...and that's just the Telegraph!!!

Wow, what will they get right? Only the cover price and date, I suspect.

Bliar's Journey (to the Hague)

I saw a tiny bit of Tony Bliar on TV banging on about how the invasion of Iraq was the 'right' decision. Decisions, decisions - that all he talked about re Iraq. By focusing on the decision alone it allows him to ignore/forget the cack-handed, terrible, inhumane, murderous, idiotic, hubris-tic and racist manner in which 'the decision' was carried out. Oi! Bliar! Even if you'd decided to go into Iraq, your neo-con makes were hell bent on ignoring advice about how best to to it so it resulted in the minimum loss of life. They (and you) ignored any counter-view and set up a group-think empire that just followed free-market fantasies about how to invade, asset-strip and re-brand a country - and you gamely followed along.

Still guilty IHMO, decision or not;

So what happened? A Journey is a re-writing of history, events seen through the rear-view mirror from a man who hitched his wagon to the Bush neocons and learned some of their tunes.

You may not have wished to count the Iraqi dead - but they have no choice but to. I'd like to see you on 'a journey' to the Hague.

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Former Climate 'sceptic' Lomborg now believes global warming is one of world’s greatest threats

Lomborg is one of those names that sceptic love to cite. Wrongly, often as he's always accepted the findings of the IPCC, just disagreed that we should spend any money to do much about it. I've had confused denialists cite Lomborg then Monkton - both denialists - but who contradict each other in their reading of the science. Plus neither of them is a statistician. Anyhow, Lomborg is the most recent of the line of high profile figures (such as Republican strategist Frank Luntz and editor of sceptic magazine Michael Shermer and oil giant Exxon - though they are still at it on the sly...) moving from denial to accepting that we need to act:

Lomborg's latest book, published by CUP next month, is likely to reignite these passions, because it appears to contradict so much of what he has said before and because he is straying into newly controversial territory. He is advocating that much more attention and money be lavished on climate engineering methods, such as whitening clouds so that they reflect back more of the sun's heat.

Heat is something he is resigned to. When he gives talks, he says, he often meets "people who come up and say: 'I thought I'd hate you.'"

But Lomborg's record on climate change is more nuanced than the stereotype suggests. From the beginning, he has said global warming is happening and is largely caused by humans. However, he has been consistently critical of what he sees as exaggeration of how much this matters, and of policies to tackle the problem. These would achieve too little and cost too much, he argues, meaning the money would be better spent on, say, reducing malaria and HIV/Aids, or extending clean water and sanitation.

Though other argue, he's just shilling another book.