Postcards from la la land: David Archibald and the four horsemen of the cooling apocalypse

A day or two ago, my interest piqued by a link that popped up in a news feed, I started to investigate the strange climate world of Australian oil man David Archibald. It was a weird journey down the rabbit hole of climate denialism, and the further down into the dark I went, the stranger the things I encountered. According to Archibald, rapid cooling caused by the sun going to sleep is going to usher in a biblical apocalypse of starvation, war and mass death. Even worse, we all have a moral duty to give up eating Chinese food. Sod climate cooling, I will bow to no man in my love for Peking Duck and hoisin sauce. This is serious stuff Archibald’s preaching.

The four horsemen of Archibald’s apocalypse are severe, solar-driven cooling, which will cause food shortages and population collapse in the Middle East (enter horseman two), energy supply changes driven by high oil prices (horseman three), and cantering in fourth place just before the denouement, Pakistan’s nuclear weapon programme going rogue. Then, with the horses out of the way, things start to get seriously weird…

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How to become a climate change denier (in 4 easy steps)

Cakeburgerdenial

Cartoon drawn by Joshua Cakeburger Drummond as a contribution to the High Water Project, and rooted in bitter experience, I suspect…

TV3’s The Nation: Antarctica and public understanding of climate change

antarcticaA few days have passed since Lisa Owen’s interview with Antarctic scientists Chuck Kennicutt of the US and Gary Wilson of New Zealand on TV3’s The Nation but I hope it’s still worth drawing attention to. Programmes like The Nation tend to focus on immediate political excitements. It was therefore a pleasant surprise to see an interviewer who was reasonably well informed of the issues surrounding the effect of global warming on the Antarctic and who allowed the two scientists space to explain the far-reaching planetary consequences of Antarctic melting.

I won’t traverse the content of the interview here. It was familiar enough material to anyone who follows the science. The scientists were restrained and objective, almost to a fault. But their observations were stark enough. Gary Wilson observed that looking back in geological time we know that the last time carbon dioxide levels were at 400 parts per million the end solution of a prolonged period in that state was that the West Antarctic ice sheet retreated.

Beyond expressing pleasure at the quality of the interview and the fact that it was undertaken my main purpose in this post is to draw attention to the contribution of one of the panellists who subsequently discussed the interview (3 minutes in).

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The Moral Challenge of Dangerous Climate Change

The combination of a recently acquired desktop video magnifier and a kindle has for the time being restored some ease to my reading. Hence this review. I was drawn by the title The Moral Challenge of Dangerous Climate Change: Values, Poverty and Policy, since I can’t see the resistance to energy reform mounted by powerful fossil fuel interests being overcome without some kind of moral determination by a significant portion of the population. I was also attracted by the fact that the author, Darrel Moellendorf is a political and moral philosopher and I was curious to read a philosophical perspective on the climate change issue.

Although the book is intended to be accessible to readers who are not versed in the discipline of philosophy it is no light read. The discussions of the various policy issues it addresses are exhaustive and rigorous. There are no ringing calls, just appeals to humane rationality. But the conclusions are no less compelling for that.

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Long weekend viewing: Years Of Living Dangerously

This is the trailer for Years Of Living Dangerously, a nine part documentary about the impacts of climate change by James Cameron and a bunch of Hollywood filmmakers, working with some of the USA’s top TV journalists and a team of top climate scientists. There are some big names involved: Harrison Ford, Matt Damon, Jessica Alba, and Arnold Schwarzenegger investigate various aspects of how climate impacts are already being felt. It’s being shown on Showtime (cable TV) in the US, and I imagine it will eventually turn up elsewhere around the world. For the time being you can watch the first episode in its entirety here:

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