The absurd “moral superiority” of tar sands oil

In a rational world the notion that Canadian tar sands oil is ‘ethical’ by comparison with oil from many other sources would be laughable. But I wrote earlier this year that the Canadian Conservation Minister Peter Kent used the term with some emphasis in his defence of the tar sands operation. This week I read that it’s now being vigorously promoted through a website  launched by  Alykhan Velshi, a neocon lawyer who until recently was  the communications director for Immigration Minister Jason Kenney. He was also an important part of the Conservative Party election campaign operation.

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Rash Brash and the potty peer’s PR pratfall

The schedule for “potty peer” Christopher Monckton’s visit to New Zealand next week has now been finalised. He’ll be visiting Auckland, Wellington and Whangarei, but there’s no sign of any of the high-profile debates his sponsors were so keen to set up. ACT party leader Don Brash is joining in the fun, accusing the Greens of being “yellow” (geddit?) for refusing to debate with the good Lord:

Apparently the Greens are prepared to cripple our economy and condemn us all to subsistence living with dopey measures designed to stop the planet warming, but they’re not prepared to debate their reasons for doing so with a reputable opponent.

Brash considers Monckton reputable? Really? That reflects very poorly on Dr Don, unless he considers that a reputation for misrepresenting scientific research and calling his opponents Nazis or Hitler Youth is somehow respectable. Perhaps that sort of thing is now de rigueur on the extreme right…

One of the stranger aspects of Monckton’s visit is that the Public Relations Institute of New Zealand (PRINZ) is organising two of his appearances, in Auckland and Wellington. A little digging into the background of the PRINZ events reveals tantalising hints that fossil fuel interests in New Zealand could be tacitly supporting the potty peer’s short tour.

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The Climate Show #17: the end of the peer show

Nano electric cars from India, 100 year old electric vehicles, the Petermann ice island floating down towards the Atlantic, heatwaves in the USA and snow in North Canterbury, and a bit of peerless chat about a larrikin Lord on his way to New Zealand. With added vegan cheese and the BFC (big fat cat). Yes Glenn and John Cook wax lyrical, while Gareth’s mind wanders off on his EU and US trip — The Climate Show is back with another rambling but perfectly essential distillation of climate and related news and commentary.

Watch The Climate Show on our Youtube channel, subscribe to the podcast via iTunes, listen to us via Stitcher on your smartphone or listen direct/download from the link below the fold…

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Hard Talk on the wrong track

I wondered what Stephen Sackur might want to put to Rajendra Pachauri when he interviewed the IPCC chair on BBC’s Hardtalk this week. His agenda turned out to be depressingly predictable for the most part. The opening was not encouraging. Sackur referred to other options than a global climate deal in view of the stalled international negotiations, mentioning the abandonment of the Kyoto approach  proposed by David King recently. “Has Pachauri got the energy and the ideas to reframe the climate change debate?” he asked.

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Global Climate Change: A Primer

Global Climate Change: A Primer may be a book for beginners, but those with an understanding of the issue will find interest in the wide-ranging exposition provided by geologist Orrin Pilkey  and his lawyer son Keith. Pilkey’s research area has been shorelines and coastal geology, with a special focus on barrier island coasts, and his previous book The Rising Sea, which I reviewed here, gave clear warning of the possible magnitude of sea level rise this century. This primer has been written to provide a brief and simple account for the layperson of the science of global climate change. The guided tour the authors provide is well managed in terms both of the straightforward language they use and the topics they select to survey.

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