The Lost Art Of Conversation…

…or a challenge foregone

It seems that Richard Treadgold, he of the “climate conversation” that isn’t, wants me to engage in an exchange of views. Following a brief flurry of comments at the Coal Action Network blog, Treadgold writes:

Here’s my challenge: let us, you and me, persevere with this most crucial of national debates.

I am afraid my answer is no, Richard, and I shall explain why.

There is no “debate” to be had about the reality of climate change. You might very much like there to be one, but there’s a very good reason why the rest of the world has moved on to talking about solutions. The evidence of rapid change is all around us, and incontrovertible to anyone who is willing to bring an open mind to the issue.

The only debate worth the candle is what we do about it. By pretending that there is no problem you shut yourself out of what is most certainly a crucial national political debate. Worse, by actively promoting misinformation you are deliberately trying to derail that discussion.

Your questioning of the science underlying our understanding of the problem does not mean there is any scientific debate about climate basics. There’s plenty of real science being done, and real debates going on, but they’re not about the policy-relevant big picture. We’ve known for 30 years that we need to cut emissions, and have been far too slow to take action.

In your comments at the Coal Action Network blog, and in your writings elsewhere, you show very little sign of understanding the way the climate system really works. I would have thought that if you wished to take part in a “crucial national debate”, you might have taken the trouble to learn some basic climate science, in order to ensure that your contributions made sense. As Patrick Stokes pointed out a few years ago:

false equivalence between experts and non-experts [..] is an increasingly pernicious feature of our public discourse

You clearly lack the expertise to make informed comment on climate science. However, you seem to think that I owe you an explanation for every climate denialist trope you can sling in my direction. I do not: it has already been done very well by Skeptical Science.

It is not my job to be your teacher. You can easily do what I did — read introductory textbooks, talk to scientists, check your reasoning with experts when unsure about something. You need to develop some expertise in the subject, and that takes time and effort. If you are willing to learn climate science from real climate scientists, as I did before writing a word of Hot Topic, you will find them more than willing to help.

Unfortunately, ten years of following what you and your friends in the NZ Climate “Science” Coalition say and do suggests very strongly that you are not exactly open-minded. I have done my modest best to point out when you and your colleagues are making mistakes, but none of you show any signs of learning from those errors.

To be blunt about it — and I think you would expect nothing else from me — I believe I would be wasting my time indulging in any form of protracted discussion about climate science with you. I do not believe that your position on the issue would alter in any important respect, however cogently I presented facts and figures. You have too much invested in your climate opinions — your blogging, your denialist colleagues, your public persona — to be willing to change. Your entire track record suggests arguing with you would be futile.

Your views on climate change only make sense in an odd world where 97 percent of climate scientists are somehow conspiring to force people to stop using fossil fuels for political reasons. That’s a very strange planet to live on. Very few people share it with you.

The rest of us have to live in a world where climate is changing — and fast — because of the cumulative effect of our greenhouse gas emissions. Our children will have to live with the consequences, and you have played a part, however small, in making that future a worse place than it need have been.
[Neil Hannon]

Notes: Richard, you are welcome to comment below this post – but only this post – and only if you follow the comment policy, paying careful attention to the fourth point. I would also prefer it if you did not misrepresent my expertise at your blog. I most certainly do have a science degree, and have spent most of the last 20 years working with and writing about science and scientists. [PS: RT might like to note that first degrees at Oxford and Cambridge are all BAs. But that might be inconvenient to his desire to denigrate…]

209 thoughts on “The Lost Art Of Conversation…”

  1. Gareth, that’s not only well said, but elegantly said. That’s an excellent explanation of why we all should not waste time engaging with those who will not engage. I can see myself responding to inane and insane requests to ‘debate the science’ by just dropping in the url to this post.

  2. I forgot that Richard was very supportive of the High Court case of the Climate Science Education Trust re NIWA temperature readings, calling their adjustments ‘a disgrace’:

    I urge people to read the case to see how truly bizarre the position of the Trust was. They actually argued that there was only one definitive scientific method for temperature adjustments, and it was NIWA that pointed out that, in science, that is never the case:

    “[80] NIWA does not accept that there is such a concept as an “officially recognised scientific opinion”. Dr Wratt [for NIWA] accepts that the science community has well developed processes for addressing debates about scientific methods and interpretation through scientific conferences, and publications in the scientific literature. Dr Wratt does not consider however that there is one absolutely standard global methodology for calculating adjustments in temperature series to account for site shifts that is immutable. He supports that opinion by reference to Petersen et al (1998) which describes various methodologies. He says, as a matter of logic that must be so otherwise there would be no development.”

    I agree with Gareth, you cant have a discussion unless Richard agrees that 1) the scientific method is valid and 2) most climate scientists competently and honestly apply it.

    I find commentators like Richard very passive aggressive. Their polite inquiries belie their underlying rage and slander against most of the scientific establishment and the thousands of hardworking women and men in it. And they get offended and play victim when called on that rage and slander.

    Richard’s request is the equivalent to an astrologer asking an astronomer for a debate on the science of planet formation. A waste of time. But possibly entertaining as comedy.

  3. Very well said Gareth. And indeed, this post of yours is one that will likely point to when required under similar circumstances. It is sad that this time and age we are needing to debate arm chair polemics with very little science education and understanding yet with a huge opinion based on ego, a track record of nonsense publicly said before and a political agenda.

    The Internet, for all its good, is permitting these people to lay down their nonsense in the ‘concrete’ of never forgetting bits and bytes. Rarely will any of these opinionists ever find a way back out of the one-way road they constructed for themselves and started driving down years back. And amongst the hundreds of millions of active internet users, any old crank idea will find its fellowship, forming an immutable morass which keeps the players stuck in their silly beliefs.
    Unwittingly they are then often abused to provide foot soldier duties for political and economic agendas of others.

    It clearly won’t matter what evidence climate science will provide or how eloquent it is laid out for Treadgold or is ilk, it will be to no avail whatsoever. While large parts of humanity place their belief systems on ancient mythology and kill each other over the tales their wicket minds spin from these, what hope is there for humanity one wonders to see the world for what it really is becoming…

    1. “There is no reply to be made to ignorance”, I read somewhere decades ago. As most people confuse innocence with ignorance it has become useful, I have noticed, to refer to “wilful ignorance”.

    2. and kill each other over the tales their wicket minds spin from these

      Cricket is a gentleman’s sport. I don’t think anyone is going to murder anything except a pint afterwards

  4. Well said, Gareth. I’d agree with elegant also! There is no point in the suggested “debate” and you have accurately explained why. Those of us who have been around a while know this. It’s a bitter irony that in this time shaped by science and technology there is a conservative minority that demonstrate a mindset of superstition, conspiracy “theorism” and irrationality that would be comfortable in the Dark Ages. People are very strange animals.

    1. What has sea level rise got to do with flooding in south Dunedin? Flood water normally comes from the sky. However, it is a basin and might be below sea level sometime in the future. Doesn’t matter, because anything that happens after 2100 is of no concern to Andy.

      1. Groundwater levels, which exacerbated flooding by reducing the ability of the ground to take in water.” Good point, yet another reason not to build so close to sea level. Presumably the Christchurch panel will also consider this issue in their determination.

  5. Oh dear, what a shame. Tell you what Andy I`ll volunteer to write a very,very stern letter to the Dunners City Council and tell them just how silly they are to worry so much about SLR because on your very own linear projections it`s little more than a myth and of course your projections are backed by solid scientific, pier reviewed papers. I mean I`m with you Andy ol buddy, you know your stuff, right.????????

    1. I am sure Andy can find a pier or two to “review” his projections. New Brighton has long pier! He could simply type it all up, roll and stuff into a bottle, then post into the waves of the end. Perhaps, if we wait long enough, Neptun himself will offer an opinion… 😉

      1. The point I am trying to make is, that for many, “climate change” is an abstract concept that they read about in the paper and watch on TV

        With 80% of the NZ public living close to the coast, the local government’s obsession with sea level rise and managed retreat has put it right in their living rooms.

        All these people are now asking questions, looking for the evidence of accelerating sea levels, and finding it wanting.

        So, you may decline “conversations”, but someone shouting in your face might be harder to ignore.

        1. Andy, local authorities have to plan for the long term, and have thus accepted the reality of anthropogenic sea-level rise.

          True, this may be a rude awakening for some NZers, including selfish and ignorant “shouters”, but they’re still very fortunate human beings.

          Many millions of people already experience climate change not as a fall in property values, but as misery, hunger, war and death.

          Time to wake up and smell reality.

          1. Yes they need to wake up and smell the reality of anthropogenic sea level rise, which at the current moment in time is zero percent of the 2mm or so linear rise we have experienced for the last 100 years (peer reviewed paper on request)

            Even if we took the acceleration from Church and White 2011 as the baseline for NZ acceleration, which is zero, it would add around 5cm to the 17cm of SLR that we are currently experiencing, in 100 years

            So, the tens of thousands of “selfish” property owners are, understandably, asking why councils are preparing for 1m of SLR in 100 years, when there is zero empirical evidence for this outcome.

            1. This is straightforward denial of the problem. You can play with numbers and misrepresent the state of our knowledge all you like, but sea level rise is going to be one of the hardest challenges for NZ and the planet to cope with. Planning guidelines from around the world (linked in my de Lange/NBR post) are routinely over 1m.

              When you take into account accelerating ice sheet melt – which I notice you strenuously avoid considering (and RT dismisses with an airy wave of his hand) – then SLR over 1m in this century looks distinctly possible. And in the longer term, we know where we’re heading – 20 metres at least.

              On the other hand – as I have said many times – the lack of any national policy framework for dealing with SLR makes it very hard for local authorities to handle the issue properly. We need to have policies in place that allow people to enjoy living on the coast, but avoid creating infrastructure that will be useless as seas rise. We also need to avoid privatising profits from coastal development while passing the costs of dealing with SLR off on the taxpayer.

    2. Perhaps you’d like to come to the IHP hearings in Christchurch on Friday. That’s where the real business is being done. The Tonkin and Taylor Peer review is a distraction

  6. Yep, that would do it and on the end of the pier there would be a peeee`r who would see the bottle off into the vast un rising sea. (Even though `every drop counts` on linear projections the little boys efforts are alas a wasted effort0.

    1. A long way off-topic, but mention of pears prompts this recollection.

      Years ago, a friend of mine from England (a very English Englishman, it must be said) was dining with us in Christchurch. The waitress cleared the main course plates, and enquired about dessert. My friend asked what she would choose. She said the poached pears. My friend looked quizzical? How do you poach a pier, he asked? Waitress looks confused…

      Two nations separated by a common tongue, etc etc.

      1. My father-in-law first came to NZ in the 1950s. Stopping at Taihape on the train up to Auckland, he was somewhat alarmed to hear a man on the platform declare that he was selling “Poison Peas”. “Why do you put poison in them?” he asked, only to get a blank stare in return. The man obviously decided he was speaking to someone fairly simple, so spoke slowly and clearly. “Pies… and… peas, mate”.

      2. An old Ross Noble (fellow Geordie) story about being in NZ. He took exception to a mother saying their baby was crying for their ‘titty beer’. Why cant you just call it breast milk. The baby was of course crying for their teddy bear.
        Mind you, Americans think that English is my second language, and I am on the posher end of Geordie, so am in no position to criticise.

  7. Well said. Science is not debated, doing so would mean the rules of rhetoric would apply instead of the scientific method.

    Another thing is an honest debate requires the good faith of all parties.

  8. The problem is, to oldies – including me – it just seems unbelievable. I still stare in wonder at a B747 or A380 taking off. It doesn’t seem real. Man’s awesome power. Small engine.

    I grew up with crystal sets. I was 21 before I saw a TV. Black and white; fantastic. Now my big plasma set is looking small… But it’s a development of a box of tricks I saw every day.

    For me, global warming came out of the blue. Maybe I was just ignorant and unaware; maybe it was not well promulgated. Both.

    I asked several friends and acquaintances; educated in science, maths, medicine, and engineering. All except one still doesn’t accept global warming. “You don’t believe that crap, do you?”

    It was actually Bob Carter who stopped me dithering. I saw a bit of Bob in recent years, he stayed with mutual friends he’d met at Cambridge. Degrees galore.

    When I asked about all the ice melting, he replied, “So what?” Other questions: “I’ll answer that later…”

    Time to put in the effort and learn the science.

    Once an unsure denier I am now an orthodox follower. Aghast and ashamed I was taken in by the greatest hoax in the history of science, orchestrated by psychopaths and deluded fools, telling us we could do whatever we like and all would be well. Me! Introduced to science as a kid… (My father had a laboratory.)

    So. I got there in the end. Saved by being a ditherer.

    My friends and acquaintances? Do highly successful people change their minds? No.

    Deniers die off. Sad.

        1. To paraphrase fellow climate change denier Tony Abbott, no one person is the suppository of all ignorance, but Treadgold and Andy come pretty close.

  9. Thing is with `climate change` its not a belief as in religious, its SCIENCE and either you understand or don`t understand the scientific information in front of you.
    In fact you don`t need to be of great intellect to understand the relatively simple physics that are involved but you do need to have an open minded attitude.
    It helps also if you have a bit of history and can reflect on the world as it was say 50yrs back but not be caught in the `boiling the frog` syndrome that seems to contaminate many individuals perspective.
    All I can say to those to think climate change is (quote Abbot) , “A load of crap” if you have plausible scientific (and peer reviewed) evidence to the contrary, front up with it.
    There are literally thousands of well qualified and dedicated scientists world wide who have to date spent most of their lives and millions of hours to provide us with the evidence to date and each and every one of them, I`m sure would wish it be other than it is.
    There is only one way to deal with he issue, that is (sorry, quote Abbott again) `Shirtfront it`. Push past the politics and vested interests and DEAL WITH THE ISSUE.

    1. But the problem is not intelligence, education or knowledge. Some of the people I’m talking about are as well qualified in their field as the climate scientists, and some a hundred times wealthier – widely regarded as a measure of success.

      I don’t think it’s possible to overestimate the impact of the conspiracy to misinform and confuse the public. It’s not just dumb people who have been won over. I would regard myself as a sceptic and contrarian, but “climategate” had me. I was suspicious even of the “investigations” and “whitewashing”. People have busy lives and one lie takes one minute; a rebuttal hours. It’s not “news” either so it doesn’t get broadcast.

      As I tried to explain, the notion that 0.04% of the air controls the temperature sounds silly to old people. When a (nerdy) scientist goes on television and claims that, people have “heard it all before”. Coming Ice Age … Cold fusion … whatever next? “What me a sucker for that?”

      Even if you can actually get them to think about it, and maybe curiosity and wonderment diminish with age – “I don’t talk about politics or religion” – you’re confronted with a plethora of detailed questions that require knowledge to answer. “Where the Great Barrier Reef is there was no water and then the sea came up, explain to me how that was man-made CO2.”

      Ask them to watch a video by Richard Muller, Naomi Oreskes, Steven Chu … and they reply they don’t watch propaganda.

      Then you have Rodney Hide dismissing the whole of climate science as “not science” (he “understands the scientific method”) and the widespread and profound consensus as a worthless and fallacious “appeal to authority”. Alan Wilkinson (PhD physical chemistry) who thinks you’re “brainless”. The more you know and sooner you make your mind up it’s a scam the less likely you are to change it.

      I wrote on ClimateConversation about the strange case of a woman who decided the aeroplane was flying upside down. Of course it’s impossible for an airliner to fly upside down and she was still sitting down comfortable not hanging in her seat belt but she was totally convinced. The mind is a funny thing. Once people get a weird idea in their heads … they seldom land on their feet…

      Why is there no national guideline on climate change and sea level rise? Well, don’t “misunderestimate” John Key. He knows exactly what he’s doing. The polls tell him. He’s staying prime minister.

        1. So if there are proper working guidelines, what is CCC doing?

          I’ll just add that in my opinion the government doesn’t believe in AGW any more than it believes in the various religions it allows people to follow.

          And no, Andy, that doesn’t mean I think science is a religion. You’ll have to find another stick to get the wrong end of.

          1. What CCC is doing is using one metre SLR as a policy benchmark (instead of the 0.5 – 0.8m mentioned in NZCPS and their own Climate Smart document from 2010)

            There were also trying to push this through under emergency earthquake legislation (fast tracked) last year, which forced the government to intervene and stop the process.

            Unfortunately, the part of the process not stopped was the High Flood Hazard Management Zone. This was lumped together with actual current hazards (caused by earthquake damage)

            The IHP requested that maps be redrawn at 0 (i.e current) 0.5 and 1.0 metre SLR increase. This clearly delineated the sea level risks from current risks. and was a very good exercise in my view

            The IHP have made a good decision (pending final submissions) to do this, so that climate impacts and sea level rise can be dealt with on a holistic basis (as the minute states), preferably with some guidance on a national basis under the RMA framework

            We need further clarification from CCC as to what the building compliance is within the coastal zones.

            That, plus the Tonkin and Taylor peer review stuff, is what we are up to.
            No conspiracies here.

            1. You mean the CCC are being sensible and taking heed of the latest studies on the imminent collapse of the Greenland and Antarctica Ice shelves with the consequent acceleration in SLR; and not relying on a report six years old? How very wise of them.
              eg in 2012 Shepard et al wrote

              Between 1992 and 2011, the ice sheets of Greenland, East Antarctica, West Antarctica, and the Antarctic Peninsula changed in mass by –142 ± 49, +14 ± 43, –65 ± 26, and –20 ± 14 gigatonnes year−1, respectively. Since 1992, the polar ice sheets have contributed, on average, 0.59 ± 0.20 millimeter year−1 to the rate of global sea-level rise.

              And in March this year DeConto and Pollard published in Nature this statement:

              Antarctica has the potential to contribute more than a metre of sea-level rise by 2100 and more than 15 metres by 2500, if emissions continue unabated. In this case atmospheric warming will soon become the dominant driver of ice loss, but prolonged ocean warming will delay its recovery for thousands of years.

              Such is the rapidly changing understanding of this topic. Everyday – more and more information pours in that confirms the realisation that the IPCC’s AR5 estimation was seriously underestimated and SLR is going go be more – not less than previously thought.

            2. I’m not sure where they got the one metre from. Obviously the RMA, the MfE guidance, the NZCPS and all the other “consensus” documents that we rely on from all the science academies in the world are wrong, and Christchurch City Council is right.

            3. They’re not wrong, they just need – as Macro points out – updating in the light of the latest evidence.

            4. If that is the case, then a national guidance statement is needed, updated from the 2010 policy document.

              We can’t have councils doing this kind of stuff; they haven’t the resources or expertise

  10. AndyS has written on ClimateConversation:
    “Dennis Horne, I don’t particularly want to butt into this particular conversation about the physics of CO2, but since you seem so keen on the consensus, I was wondering if you could define what that consensus is.

    “I did ask sometime ago. Strangely, I never get an answer. People keep telling me that “97% of scientists agree” about something, without saying what that something is.

    “Furthermore, they never explain what the 3%’s views are. Most odd”

    Now this is the-lost-art-of-conversation, so does anyone want to play hide and seek with Andy?

      1. Three reasons.
        1. If you don’t know what it is by now you’ll never know
        2. What I think it is doesn’t matter
        3. As I told you, I ain’t playing your silly games

      2. I have a better idea, Andy. Why don’t you tell us why you moved your home, family and business well inland, away from the South Brighton shoreline?

        Perhaps you do agree, alongside 97% of climate scientists, that anthropenic global warming and the associated sea level rise is a real and growing threat?

        Or was it just for easier access to the Southern Alps for mountaineering and skiing?

        In that case, there’s something you should know…

        1. “I have a better idea, Andy. Why don’t you tell us why you moved your home, family and business well inland, away from the South Brighton shoreline?”

          I haven’t

  11. Early this morning I was disturbed by the buzzing of a mosquito – despite ‘fly’ screens on all doors and windows – and eventually awoke to find the wretched thing had bitten me on the arm. Sore for hours, so it was a healthy beast.

    Would this be more likely to be associated with the longest night and more time to attack under cover of darkness perhaps than Auckland getting warm? (cough, cough.)

  12. Tom Bennion,

    ‘I urge people to read the case to see how truly bizarre the position of the Trust was. They actually argued that there was only one definitive scientific method for temperature adjustments, and it was NIWA that pointed out that, in science, that is never the case:

    “[80] NIWA does not accept that there is such a concept as an “officially recognised scientific opinion”.’

    Amazing. This is untrue, and it’s the first time I’ve seen this point reversed. It was so clearly understood and embedded in the papers, claims and comments at the time I’m stupefied anyone might mistake it.

    The truth is we didn’t argue for one method, NIWA did. In reconstructing the 7SS, NIWA declared they would follow the Rhoades & Salinger (1993) method. They affirmed this several times, and their minister at the time, Wayne Mapp, even assured Parliament they would. In the event, NIWA changed the method substantially. When we complained, they said we followed the method “too rigorously”.

    Still, in following “too rigorously” we found mild warming, while they changed RS93 willy-nilly and found substantial warming. In addition, NIWA has never published the method (as they promised Parliament they would) and we have, in de Freitas, Dedekind and Brill (2015).

    You (or your colleagues) often advised us to publish a paper, so we did. NIWA has not. Why not? What are they hiding?

    1. No Richard, Tom’s point is valid. I observed commented at the time the absurdity of your use of the adjective “official” in regard to methodology.

      It was obvious then, and is obvious stil, that you haven’t much clue how science is conducted.

      1. Yes, Tom is correct that NIWA rejects the idea of some kind of official scientific opinion. And I agree that those opinions can at any time be swept away.

        But you ignore my questions and especially you ignore the truth that NIWA said they would use the method in RS93. As I state above. Perhaps Tom has forgotten that the affair began when we asked NIWA what their adjustment methodology was. Just a question, no more, no less. We were flabbergasted when NIWA gave us the runaround.

        Remember that dFDB carefully followed the method in RS93 and found mild warming.

        1. Richard: you may believe what you write, but it is only “true” in the strange little narrative of self-justification you and your colleagues have built around the whole NIWA case.

          Note my comment below: dFDB did not apply RS93 correctly. They ignored testing max and min temperatures, and excluded 4 year comparisons (k=4). This was also pointed out in court, so you can hardly claim to be unaware of it…

        2. Remember that dFDB carefully followed the method in RS93 and found mild warming.

          You mean dFDB carefully cherry picked and found mild warming.

            1. Of course the did!
              But excluded parts and made adjustments to fit the conclusion they wanted!
              ie cherry picked!

    2. de Freitas, Dedekind and Brill (2015) does not “rigorously” follow the Rhoades & Salinger (1993) method. It uses “updated measurement techniques and corrects for shelter-contaminated data”.
      The fact that the de Freitas paper is so out of kilter with all other estimates for NZ’s temperature increase suggests problems with the methodology. BEST suggests 0.97± 0.24°C / Century for NZ since 1960. NZ temperature increases appear to be accelerating….

      1. You say: ‘de Freitas, Dedekind and Brill (2015) does not “rigorously” follow the Rhoades & Salinger (1993) method.’

        But it does, please pay attention. NIWA itself said the paper followed the method “too rigorously”.

        [Snipped: misrepresenting the facts. Please note: de Freitas et al did not apply “RS93” correctly. They ignored important parts of the method described by R & S. This was pointed out in court. See here (and subsequent posts) for more on dFDB’s shortcomings.]

          1. Don’t be disingenuous. The “method” used in dFDB formed a part of your evidence to the court. In fact, dFDB was pre-bunked! If only the NIWA evidence was in the public domain…

            1. “If only the NIWA evidence was in the public domain…”

              What do you want that for? But it was a public hearing—nothing was secret. If you want to see some evidence, ask the court or one of your mates at NIWA.

              Nothing said at the hearing could have been aimed at dFDB, because it was not written yet. The notion that the authors “ignored important parts of the method” is nonsense.

            2. NIWA’s written evidence – which is not in the public domain, as it has not been released by NIWA or the court – shows that the NZCSET’s evidence included erroneous interpretations of adjustment methods – errors which were then repeated in dFDB.

              dFDB excludes the use of k=4. Dedekind confirmed that at your blog, but refuses to accept it is a part of the RS93 method as explained in that paper, and confirmed by the material NIWA released to Brill et al long before the trial. That is an error big enough to make the paper unacceptably flawed. It should never have passed peer review in that form.

        1. You should read the paper Richard. The authors took the view that the Auckland and Wellington sites were ‘contaminated’ and made extraneous adjustments.

  13. Gareth,

    ” [PS: RT might like to note that first degrees at Oxford and Cambridge are all BAs. But that might be inconvenient to his desire to denigrate…]”

    I was unaware of those BA degrees, so thank you. Now, please describe where on your About page your qualifications are mentioned, which would justify your sarcasm.

    1. Ok, thanks for the links

      Maybe I live in a state of perpetual disappointment, because as a maths guy I can define Group Theory in 4 lines, yet it leads to a rich set of understanding of our world that spans physics and biology, for example

      Yet no one can succinctly define the “climate problem”, yet alone solve it

      1. Really, Andy?
        I am a also maths guy, but I understand what you are apparently unable to grasp.

        Whilst the weather is a complex nonlinear chaotic dynamical system that is inherently unsolvable and unpredictable long-term, that is not true for the climate.

        Climate is bulk weather, a statistical abstraction that is predictable via physics that has been known for the last 150 years.

        Of course, you do know this, you’re just trying to obfuscate with irrelevant mutterings. Shame on you.

  14. Some 15 years ago I debated with certain members of Treadgold’s group. They were trumpeting Mitchell’s 2000 paper about sea level rise in the Pacific which noticed a sudden drop in sea level in certain pacific islands. Of course the drop in sea level happened in 1998 and the paper was already out of date when it was published.


    I pointed them to the Australian (then NTF) BOM monthly reports on sea level in the Islands which showed the drop and the recovery and the continued rise since. The response was something like “la la la la – it was published we can’t argue with it – the NTF reports are too short a time frame” etc. However now we have more than 20 years quality results from the BOM sensors and the sea level rise is averaging from 2.3mm – 7.9mm per year in the islands. Yet they refuse to accept the evidence.

    7.9mm per year in Samoa over 23 years means that average sea level is 18cm higher than when recording started. That must look significant to anyone.

    I can see why you wouldn’t bother debating them.

    1. ” Yet they refuse to accept the evidence.”
      Who do?

      “7.9mm per year in Samoa over 23 years means that average sea level is 18cm higher than when recording started. That must look significant to anyone.”
      Not sure what your point is, barry. Significant? Only to Samoa, and CO2 didn’t cause it.

      1. Not sure what your point is, barry. Significant? Only to Samoa, and CO2 didn’t cause it.

        The point is obvious to anyone who is not in absolute denial.
        Only to Samoa!!! Oh well that’s only a 1/4 million people, and who cares about them anyway?
        CO2 didn’t cause it… Quite right! Humans with AGW did.

        1. The point is obvious

          But you have left it unstated. We can do nothing about the 180 mm of sea level rise. It has already happened. You offer wall-to-wall sarcasm rather than facts and an explanation. But think. Is the land sinking? Well, yes it is, and this paper is only a fortnight old.

          The Samoa tide gauge, according to the Pacific Sea Level Monitoring Project report for May 2016, is installed on Upolu Island, which this paper finds is subsiding. That supplies at least part of the reason; the paper’s behind a paywall so I can’t see how much the subsidence has been. [Gratuitous insults removed. GR]

          1. so I can’t see how much the subsidence has been.

            This is not new evidence Richard. The fact that some Pacific Islands are subsiding has been know for some years. And because of archaeological evidence we know roughly how much.
            A cultural horizon yielding Lapita potsherds, the only decorated Lapita assemblage yet found in Samoa and dating to ca. 2.8 ka, lies at a depth of 2.25 m below modern sea level beneath a capping of cemented paleobeachrock. With fluctuating hydro-isostatic sea level taken into account, the sherd occurrence implies subsidence of a former coastline by ca. 4 m at a mean rate of 1.4 mm/yr.
            So yes there is subsidence of around 1.4 mm/yr. Hardly enough to account for the 180mm in the last 23 years you are happy to accept above.
            The sarcasm comes from the fact that your whole modus operandi is to cast doubt and confusion on what is a serious global issue. Such people deserve the derision they receive because their actions, and theirs alone, allow others to overlook and ignore the impeding catastrophe that awaits all humanity.

  15. AndyS

    Wasn’t Bertrand Russell nearly halfway through the second volume of Principia Mathematica before he proved 2 +2 = 4? Perhaps he was a bit slow-witted. When his father died he could do his own “peer-review”. (That could be what Monckton does.)

    Perhaps you would like to give us a proof for evolution in a few lines? Symbols or pearls of wisdom.

    Or do you think “consilience” might be more important in reality than “proof”?

          1. Well you’re the one who introduced maths, remember, maths guy: “I can define Group Theory in 4 lines, yet it leads to a rich set of understanding of our world that spans physics and biology”

            It seems to me, maths is the study of defined systems and science is the study of reality.

            So. Back to the old shanty with you, Andy, to eat a meagre meal by candlelight after a hard day behind a horse ploughing your field, while you wait for some mathematical formulation of your life … and a straw bed. Fit for a straw man.

  16. Don’t get involved in a debate Gareth. It will be a waste of time that goes over all the usual tired old arguments.

    Someone made a comment that its hard for people to accept that small quantities of CO2 could modulate temperatures. Very fair point, however I think of it this way. Transistors use incredibly small quantities of added substances to modulate very significant electric currents. The world has many other examples where small things can modulate much larger changes.

    1. “The world has many other examples where small things can modulate much larger changes.”

      For instance, hanging chad in Florida led directly to a failed, war-ravaged Iraq and the rise of ISIL.

    2. Also. Skatole is an indole that gives human sh*t its awful smell.

      But it’s also used in perfumes. Has a nice lavender smell. In very small amounts. (About 1000 times cheaper too.)

    3. “The world has many other examples where small things can modulate much larger changes.”

      Yes, it does—chemistry has examples of poisons, etc. But the analogies of poisoning and transistor effects don’t hold with thermal influence, where heat capacity is everything. A strong anthropogenic thermal influence on the atmosphere seems unlikely because our emissions are puny. According to this analysis [Snipped: misrepresenting matters of fact. GR]

  17. I see Andy has changed his icon… He is obviously celebrating with the rest of the hooligans of Farage’s gang the destruction of what a generation before them has built. Already the clown face has to be blamed for a smart trillion of dollars that have been wiped off the combined international stock valuations in the first hours after he celebrated his ‘victory’. As the world reacts in the hours to come this is likely to grow significantly.

    The most telling of all stats that have come out is the correlation of education versus vote. It is obvious that the lower educated with no professional qualification have caused this vote to turn out the way it did.

    While seemingly off topic, the Brexit vote in my mind spells trouble for the prospect of the world to come together in order to actually solve critical common issues such as the climate crisis. The rise of the ugly nationalistic right-wing movements from the USA to Europe spells trouble indeed.
    We had hoped that right wing political hooliganism was laid to rest as a significant element of the Western culture at the end of WWII. But not so.

    Due to dimwitted vocal polemics such as Farage, Trump, and others, who manage to galvanize the underbellies of their respective societies by preaching populist propaganda (with complete disregard to the truth which, as already Goebbels figured, does not matter in that game at all when you talk to ‘the masses’) , reason, social justice, international equality and equity and the hope for world that unites to creatively solve its problems is fading.

    Farage and his hooligans have pushed the handle on the WWIII clock further towards midnight today. I am sure they care not one iota.

    Once the confetti has settled and the English working class wake up to some new numbers popping up on the price stickers in the supermarket, petrol station or the local ‘red-shed’, and the sharp decline of their pension fund, that they might realize they have even less to spend now for pints at the pub… But surely, they will blame somebody else for that and not their own gullibility or the snake oil seller Farage…

    Will we have a chance to really battle climate change in the age of Trump, Farage, and the resurgence of nationalism? Is democracy in the current incarnation (every person a vote) able to deliver us the rational minded and well-reasoned decisions we need to make the journey into the future successful?

    1. You might want to reflect on the fact that a lot of left wingers were in favour of Brexit, and the late Tony Benn, an ardent socialist of the old school UK labour party, was a long time campaigner against the EU.

      Reflect also on the fact that the most prosperous countries in Europe, namely Norway and Switzerland, are outside the EU but in the EEA

      This is the future for Britain, as decided by the majority of the public in a democratic referendum

      1. Norway my friend, is a social democracy with high taxes, excellent education, and excellent social services. Their example is indeed honourable.
        Switzerland is one of the hordes for world’s elite who are hiding their wealth from social responsibility at home….
        Funny you would compare England to these…..

        1. Norway and Sweden have relatively low taxes these days. State owned oil company Statoil that was until recently 100% state owned has had a sell down to around 50% private equity, quite similar to NZ so-called “asset sales”

          In my life, I have lived in the UK, Norway and NZ

          I can now proudly say that none of these countries will be, in the near future, part of the unaccountable and undemocratic EU.

          We should be proud that citizens can chose the path they decide, in the same way that we in NZ can reject the TPPA for its undemocratic pro-corporate and unaccountable attack on our freedom

          1. If you mean “still among the highest taxes”, yes, they are relatively lower here in Sweden.

            And Sweden accept immigrants. Does that sound like the new little England to you?

      2. Snort! That’s a great illustration of the fantasy world that andy occupies. Switzlerand is not a member of EEA, their proposal to join it was rejected by a referendum. Norway is a member of EEA, and dutifully implements every piece of EU legislation that gets faxed over to it from Brussels. So, andy’s solution to Britain having to implement EU laws is, er, for Britain to implement EU laws but without the opportunity to modify or veto them. Yeah, that’s really taking back control.

        1. You still haven’t answered how exactly Britain has “taken back control”, given that you are now proposing that the EU simply faxes its legislation for Britain to implement without any say whatsoever.

          Also, the Brexit leaders seem to have no answer to some interesting questions, perhaps you can enlighten us, andy – for example, how much of that £350 million per week is going to be spent on the NHS? By how much will immigration reduce after Brexit? Will Scotland and NI remain in the UK?

          1. The “Norway Option” of joining the EEA as an interim step is outlined in this document:


            This is a shorter version of the Flexit document which runs to 425 pages

            I can’t comment on the NHS claims. There was some fairly outrageous propaganda from both Leave and Remain camps. The real work has been taking place for decades in the background. Politicians and activists with little clue were running the public media campaign

            1. Thanks Gareth for letting us go off topic on the Brexit politics, however I’m assuming its ok to discuss the Brexit / climate change connection.

              I think Thomas is right. Brexit and a dissolution into nationalistic sentiments of every country for itself obviously wont help mitigate climate change, as it destroys trust and linkages with other countries. It doesn’t matter if its Boris in charge or someone a bit more reasonable, it all goes down the toilet.

              The following is of interest. As we all know Trump the Populist and Nationalist is a big climate change sceptic, but a couple of years ago he wasn’t!

              A couple of years ago Trump signed a declaration that climate change was a big problem and mitigation was required, as below.


              It gets even more amusing. Trump also invoked climate change as a problem in an application for something to do with one of his golf courses and erosion.


              The point is these populists like Trump and Johnson will say anything and have no core beliefs or ideals, so are completely unpredictable and unsound. They are purely egotists and reactive people.

            2. Is it OK to talk about the Brexit climate change connection?

              Good question. Thomas seems to think it is OK to make various assumptions about this topic and myself.

              I’ve been following the EURef issue for about 7 years. It is very disappointing and frustrating that it has descended into a shouting match between people, some of whom don’t even know what the EU is

            3. Andy, I lived the first 30 years of my life in Europe and have celebrated the unity, the open borders, and the common market. I formed and operated a company selling software in 17 languages in that market. The common market and the EU was a significant blessing for us. The peace and stability and strength in unity it projected during the cold war times was reassuring. The economic benefits significant.
              Farage (the Bozon) has lived the last 20 years of an MEP salary and has done not a day’s ‘real work’ in his own words while living it up at the expense of the EU and the same time undermining the hand that fed him.

            1. In the link I gave you, it describes “The Norway Option”/EEA membership as an interim off the shelf solution, since the two years allocated after invoking Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty is a very short time to negotiate an acceptable exit package.

              From there, the UK can negotiate better deals with EU and non-EU countries, and trade freely in world markets and take control of its borders, as do Norway, Switzerland and New Zealand

            2. Controlling borders is useful when there are hordes of refugees from politically dysfunctional countries trying to get in. Some of those who do come in are reluctant to integrate fully with society and try to push their own outside agendas, often through social media. It used to be that some of them were good at football, but not anymore.

            3. Controlling borders is useful when there are hordes of refugees from politically dysfunctional countries trying to get in

              It is also useful to control the flow of migrants dependent on the contribution they can bring to the country, and to prevent overload on your social services, as NZ and Australia do.

              Nevertheless, I see from the Twitter feed here that the NZ Herald are branding the Leavers as “culturally ignorant”

              The EU is a corrupt, unaccountable, anti-democratic authoritarian dictatorship, with goal to form a European superstate with no mandate from the people

              The “liberals”, luvvies, celebrities, and metropolitans who support this corrupt entity are now in the minority in the UK. Yet the increasingly irrelevant MSM and the cultural elite who despise the working class seem to think referring to the Leavers as bigots, racists and morons is a winning strategy, when they themselves only have insults and appeals to authority left to serve.

            4. Careful Andy, your conspiracist ideation is showing. You misrepresent the Herald story, but then perhaps you can’t allow yourself to understand what it really says, because you are a victim of the very thing it’s all about.

            5. Oh Andy, full force ahead into a wall as it seems….
              The usual complete nonsense.
              The EU parliament is elected by the people of the EU states. The EU election turnout is similar to the turnout to US presidential elections. There is no reason that people in the EU countries could not become politically more active inside the EU and work towards promoting the political change they would like to advance – within – the EU parliament.
              Andy, you are a polemic beating the ‘war’ drums of populist ill-informed mantras. In other words, you are a member of the church of agnotology… check it out.

              If tomorrow a second referendum on “Brexit” was held, it would support the Remain position as many people who voted “leave” had no idea of what they were actually voting for, and, as they has admitted already, neither had the clown Nigel Farage or the naughty boy Boris Johnson who both admitted that some of the most popular statements they made to bring the unwitting into voting for them were false, exaggerated or simply impossible to implement. The UK people (and the rest of the world) have been defrauded.

            6. Thomas,
              The MEPs have no effective power.

              Watch “Brexit the Movie” (Youtube) alternatively you can ignore it and refer to everyone that objects to the EU as “racists” and “bigots”

              The problem is, the eurosceptics are now in the majority in the UK, and this will bolster other European countries to leave

              Since you have been caught on the hop, and don’t have the EU sceptic equivalent of “Skeptical Science”, I would suggest that you have an uphill battle in front of you.

              Yours sincerely,
              Someone living in a non-EU country with democratic accountability.

            7. Andy, your relationship with the truth is rather thin as usual:

              Andy Said: “The problem is, the eurosceptics are now in the majority in the UK, and this will bolster other European countries to leave” (emphasis mine)

              The fact is Andy, the Ukppiers and the Populists among the Tories have pulled the pin as far the United Kingdom goes. There is no longer a United Kingdom following the Brexit betrail by the bozon and his muppet:

              Scottland – preparing to leave the UK in order to remain a member of the EU

              Northern Ireland – wanting to leave the UK in order to remain a member of the EU

              Wales – even though they had a majority voting Brexit they now realize that all they wanted was to send a message to London and may also consider leaving the UK and join the EU.

              Londoners – fed up with the Ukippers and ready to declare independence themselves if that was even possible.

              That will leave Farage as the leader of the English soccer hooligan club perhaps… The Queen would have hung both Farage and Johnson for treason if she still had power…

              So after the bozon and the trump hair muppet have had their way, the UK will become balkanized as it seems with sizeable parts back in the EU.

              Your dream of a “great UK”, free from Europe is looking like a pipe dream from day one and it will be a heck of a mess for your compatriots in the former United Kingdom and everybody who has been dragged down by rampant populism and their stooge cheerleaders.

            8. Andy: The voters in the UK were hoodwinked by admittedly false advertisement. If this was a commercial product they bought, the bozon and the muppet would be sued for all their worth now by a class action lawsuit demanding compensation after waking up and unpacking the ‘product’. Yet political false advertisement and outright campaign lies are seemingly Ok? Freely interpreting Goebbels again: “a lie repeated will eventually become ‘truth’ in the mind of the simple people”, the clowns pushed the pendulum their way, for a few hours.
              Now the UK will soon be no united kingdom anymore and the hoodwinked people of England will find themselves poorer and living in a balkanized territory.
              Your ‘majority’ would not hold if the vote was held again today as is obvious from the many messages of regret we hear. And it is yet to be seen if any of the remaining muppets in the political morass that Ukip has made the Uk into will actually send the postcard to Brussels enacting that ’50’ clause… While the Uk has shot itself into the foot upon the bozon and his muppets urging, who is there to fire the final shot to the brain?

            9. The British people were lied to in 1973 when they voted to join the EEC, a free trade Common Market, when the goal was always political union amongst the European countries.

              The remain camp came up with some fairly outrageous claims, such that WW3 would break out in the event of Brexit. Obama threatened that the UK would be “at the back of the queue” in any trade deals. He has since rescinded that claim

              Richard Branson is asking that the referendum be vetoed. This is a man that lives on a private island and keeps his wealth in the Swiss tax haven.

              All the worlds celebs, luvvies, media, banks and large corporates wanted remain.

            10. Thomas says:
              There is no longer a United Kingdom following the Brexit betrail by the bozon and his muppet:

              Are you able to put that into English?

              As far as I know, the UK still exists, the majority of Scots want to remain in the UK, and the UK is still in the EU and will be for some time. Furthermore, several countries including NZ and Aus are queuing up to enter trade negotiations with the UK.


            11. This sovereignty issue is interesting. Clearly some people have a perception that Britain is loosing sovereignty to the EU, however the EU bodies are elected, and its unlikely that some greater degree of fiscal union would happen without a vote. The grain of truth is that many “regulations” are implemented by technocrats rather removed from the democratic process.

              But compare all this to NZ. We currently have a government that is also “elected” but implements policies that may not be universally popular, like asset sales. Much of what they do is due to advice of technocrats. Previous Labour governments have sometimes done the same.

              We also have a government considering the TPPA. Public polls indicate quite a bit of opposition to this agreement, and it indisputably involves reduction of NZ sovereignty, for good or bad, in the investor state dispute tribunals, and (in my opinion) does seem to generally favour the corporate sector. Yet many people I know who are worried about Britain’s loss of sovereignty to the EU seem happy with NZs loss of sovereignty to the TPPA! So maybe sovereignty is less the question, and perceived personal gains and losses are the question.

              I’m somewhat cautious of loss of sovereignty to any international economic agreements, yet at the same time the world is moving towards these agreements, although Brexit may deal a blow to all of them.

              One thing is for sure, big economic or political unions or agreements need to be based on sound, fairly based principles. The EU has valiantly tried to do that, but hasn’t quite got there completely. But neither has the TPPA, in my opinion.

            12. MEPs are elected, but they have no mandate to pass or reject legislation. The British MEPs admit this.

              I’m not sure how many times I have to repeat these points.

            13. AndyS, your description of the powers of EUP members is a massive over simplification. They have more power in reality than you imply. The EUP bills are being passed more regularly now by the (unelected) European Commission. They are not using their power of veto so often.


              Remember also that The House of Lords in Britain is unelected, and can prevent and delay bills, although not totally stop them.

              The EU system is not ideal, and I agree I don’t like an unelected upper body with powers of veto on certain forms of bill, but other democracies are not ideal either! You don’t seem to be able to see this.

              And remember if The EUP propose for example greater fiscal union, this could be vetoed by the EC. The point is legislation comes from the EUP, and if people don’t like what the EUP proposes, they can vote out the members of this body.

              The real problem is as I said technocrats and parliament slipping through regulations against the will of the people, a common issue in all democracies. But you cant have a referendum on everything.

            14. Because it will piss off Farage, Johnson, Gove and Scrase.

              Please: I’ve allowed this comment thread to wander a million miles off topic because #brexit is momentous and important, but let’s not get into a full blown debate on the merits or otherwise of the EU. There are plenty of other venues for that sort of discussion.

            15. Thank Gareth.

              The Brexit debacle is I think highly relevant to the climate change debate. In fact, there is a close overlap with Climate Change denial, or at least Climate Change Action denial and the sort of people aligning themselves with the Trumpsits and the Brexiters and similar right-wing movements elsewhere.
              All have in common a deep disdain for any internationally agreed on policy framework to avert or at least mitigate against the consequence of climate change.
              The “balkanization” of the world under the march of the neo-nationalist movements is moving the prospect of actually saving our home planet from the worst of our actions further out of reach as it already often seems to be.
              In a political climate where international solidarity is out and the shameless advance of narrow nationalist interests is suddenly acceptable, solutions that re

            16. So you thank Gareth for drawing a line over Brexit by continuing the thread about Brexit.
              Well done Thomas

              Whilst you Big State/Corporate/Globalist fanboys are wafting around telling the plebs how superior you are, Kiwis are getting up and go and offering their trade negotiators to the UK, since the UK hasn’t done any trade negotiations in several decades, having outsourced their governance to Brussels


              A small agile country in the South Pacific can assist the “motherland” become agile again, competing in 21st Century marketplaces away from the creaking orthodoxy of Big State Solutions, that always fail, as history tells us.

            17. arghh… when will the edit button come back….

              …In a political climate where international solidarity is out and the shameless advance of narrow nationalist interests is suddenly acceptable, solutions that require individual or national restraint will become next to impossible to sell.
              Why would Nigel Farrage or Boris Johnson care about consequences of climate change if these don’t directly affect the people voting for them?
              Why would Trump be interested in CO2 emissions reductions if that would mean that his hooligan constituency might need to reduce the size of their fuel guzzling SUV’s….
              Not these polemic populists will sell denial of the problem unless of cause their voters are directly affected….
              Saving the planet from our human hubris must start at combating human hubris and that means combating nationalism and right-wing political ideology. Unless we win this fight, its curtains for a civilised world. And those who voted Ukip or similar need to be aware of where the boat is drifting. The middle-class Germans who voted for the NSDAP in 1933 did not want WWII either one would imagine, but once the door to the right-wing takeover was pushed open, all else was no longer stoppable by democratic means. Just look at Poland or look at Turkey…..

            18. The UK has the Climate Change Act that is far more aggressive than EU emissions reductions targets, so leaving the EU is not going to stop the UK meeting these targets

            19. You are dreaming! No, in fact you are rubbing your mitts with glee because:
              Ukip denies the link between CO2 level rise and climate change and plans to repeal te Climate Change Act….
              Boris Johnson is talking about the coming ice age….

              Nobody buys your assurance (and in particular not from you!!) that the UK (or what is left of it soon) would under a neo-nationalists rule do anything to curb CO2 emissions. More likely they would take the UK (or what’s left of it) back towards greater oil and coal dependency, rip out wind farms, tax solar PV and continue to deny that human-caused climate change is real!

              Oh Andy you must be so happy! Finally, you can smell victory! Or is the wafting perhaps the stench of the ‘Smokers’ having arrived in town (waterworld)? Dumb, dumber, Bozon and his muppet are ‘winning’ with their populist propaganda machine against pesky Scientists with their figures and peeeer reviews…. Just turn their funding off will you and we will never need to hear about this whole ‘conspiracy’ again…. (sarc)

            20. … The muppet has left the stage without cleaning up his mess….

              … And the Bozon is being slowly deflated by his sugar daddy who paid for the bus of lies and most of the rest of the Leave Campaign propaganda….

              The British Neo-Nationalist game of thrones resembles the Goon Show more and more

            21. This Andy is what the Bozon and the Muppet will be remembered for:


              And as I said earlier, the populist neo-nationalist crap that brought desperation to Britain overnight is a good time lapse movie analogy of what is playing itself out over this and the next generation in the matter of climate change and in general society’s ability or not to make the right choices. And as in the matter the Brexit, when the dust has settled, so will, in matters of wrecking the planet as a whole, the people never forget who did this to us and to the future prospects of humanity. Today, the British would hang the Muppet and the Clown if they still had the Gallows.

              ‘Tomorrow’ they will want to hang Seitz, Singer, and the whole entourage of populist and fossil fuel industry-funded science deniers, who, either for money or for fame among their neo-nationalist or libertarian capitalist peers or for cynical machiavellian political sort term gain, sold the entire planet down the drain.

            22. ‘Tomorrow’ they will want to hang Seitz, Singer, and the whole entourage of populist and fossil fuel industry-funded science deniers,

              Good to know your open minded views on this

            23. Thomas writes

              The current generation has never had their homes bombed and their countries invaded or their relatives killed by war and the last of those who witnessed the carnage are dying out

              Indeed this is true. Last July 1st was the hundredth anniversary of the start of the battle of the Somme, which saw over 19,000 British soldiers slaughtered in the first day

              My late German grandfather was at the Somme and wrote a harrowing tale of watching his fellow countrymen mown down by machine guns. Luckily he survived, and also literally dodged a bullet in WW2

              My father was an Englishman who was evacuated from London during the Blitz

              We have to ask ourselves though, whether the current anti-EU sentiment is really a resurgence of nationalism, or just a desire to unshackle itself from corrupt and unaccountable supra-national governance

              With the EU planning to form its own army, perhaps to match the might of the USA, we can’t guarantee that world peace will dominate, as we have seen with the destabilisation of the Middle East and the rise of ISIS

              Sorry for continuing this off topic thread.

            24. Thomas writes that “my mate” Farage is gone.

              He is not my mate. I do have a mate who is a prominent Brexiteer who wrote the following summary, which seems appropriate

              I suppose I should say something about the Farage resignation. Nobody made it harder to argue a measured and credible case for leaving the EU. As it happens nobody tried harder to prevent an EU referendum. It was only the ineptitude of the party machine he created that stopped Ukip from preventing a Tory majority. And he alone managed to put up several barriers to swing voters who would otherwise have given the Brexit case a fair hearing.
              His ignorance throughout has created a number of problems for post-Brexit politics, not least with his moronic conflation of freedom of movement with open borders – which now puts our EU trade at risk. This man did nothing to broaden the appeal of the Brexit case and in the end probably cost Leave a larger majority.
              His input will not be missed and we should be thankful that he is nowhere near the Brexit negotiations. Without a second thought I say good riddance to bad rubbish and I look forward to having absolutely nothing to do with his followers or that grubby, shitty little party. I hope it crawls back under the rock it came from and should Farage suffer an untimely demise in his retirement, I shall very much enjoy pissing on his grave.

          2. Thomas, I don’t want to keep on this topic because we have been given the nod that it is not welcomed.

            However, just a last word from me on this. I also am in favour of the common market, as is most of Britain today, I think (not the same as the EU)

            I’m also happy that Europe has not been at war for some time. I’m not sure this is because of the EU. More likely it is because of war fatigue

            Just one last link that you might find interesting. It is a pro-leave advocate from the Left, who offers up some ideas that you might find interesting .


            1. “I’m also happy that Europe has not been at war for some time. I’m not sure this is because of the EU. More likely it is because of war fatigue….
              Indeed Andy: The current generation has never had their homes bombed and their countries invaded or their relatives killed by war and the last of those who witnessed the carnage are dying out. Tales are no longer told and neo-national idiots in many parts of the world act as if they were itching for a time when issues were settled on the battlefield….
              But Andy, may I point out to you the hope at least that humanity is slowly growing up perhaps towards a greater sense of responsibility perhaps? And it is that sense of long term and intergenerational and international responsibility that we need to solve the climate crisis and to abolish nationalism as permissible political dogma. Trump, the Bozon Farage and the Muppet Johnson are a exemplars of a risible kind that has no place in our path towards a peaceful future.

            2. I guess that’s why both the Clown and the Muppet walked the plank…



              They could not press the button for the plan, in fact, most likely there is no plan. Because plans need experts and those most likely advised against the Brexit after a glance at the consequences….
              Just as the climate change deniers have no plan other than not wanting to deal to the reasons for human-caused climate change and thus to deny the who lot or deny the consequences and deny the denial….
              Just sad in a way that the consequences of Brexit are immediate – while the consequences of climate change inaction are long-term allowing the denial to run further.
              The Brexit example, however, may serve as a warning to all these arm chair politicians and scientists that real experts are needed when it comes to making decisions with grave implications.

    2. I agree that extreme right movements are “immovable” obstacles to action in mitigation of climate change. They are perhaps major beneficiaries of the status quo.

      1. I think on a social level the status quo (elites hoarding 90% of the world’s wealth, much of it in offshore arrangements of some sort or another) is certainly at the source of the problem. The nations in the early decades of the 20th century went into fascism (left or right) to ‘solve’ issues of social discontent. A better solution than that must be urgently found. At the moment the right wing push is going entirely in the wrong direction. It is obviously not asylum seeking refugees that are the cause of the problem, they simply provide an easy target like the antisemitism of Nazis. The real issue is, that we have not had successful social democratic movements to guide us through these times and to tackle the elites accumulation of wealth, influence, and inequity.

        The right wing hooligans with their fences and their xenophobia, homophobia and libralphobia are not going to lead us towards a peaceful and sustainable future. They will lead us towards a deterioration of relationships and ultimately towards conflict once again.

        This we must stop at all cost if we want our children to enjoy the relative international calm of the last 60 years for their lives too.
        It is time to put effort into reversing the current political trends. A world that teeters on the brink of electing Trumps and Farages as their leaders is a world that is in serious trouble!

          1. No, but they have been misled by those who are. Many of the ordinary English have woken up to a significant regret to what they have done.

            And Bois (Turmphair) Johnson looks rather flat I must say himself, just having caused two trillion $ to disappear from international stock values and now having to explain to his people how to find a way through the rubble…… Populism is so productive!

            1. Do you have any evidence that the British people were “deceived” by Right Wingers?

              The Eurosceptic cause, which I have followed for about 7 years, is essentially a grass roots movement of bloggers and writers who have developed ideas and thrashed them around. Richard North, (of whom I spoke earlier) and his son Peter have been incredibly active in this field. My Facebook feed is largely taken up by Pete’s ramblings about the regulatory framework for Aubergines and Dredging policy in the UK, that kind of stuff
              What the public largely see is Farage and Johnson, but there is a lot more to it than this.

              The Norths actually hate UKIP and Farage. Pete thought Leave had lost until the very last minute, thanks to the populism and borderline racism of UKIP.

              What really swung it for a lot of people, in my view, was the naked contempt that the ruling elite showed for the common man (and woman). The image of Bob Geldorf giving the fishermen on the Thames the two fingers was the defining moment for me.

              The people of Britain have collectively given the ruling elite, the bankers, globalists and corporations that benefit from unaccountable governance the fingers.

              Furthermore, this is just the start. This is a populist uprising.

            2. Do you have any evidence that the British people were “deceived” by Right Wingers?

              There is plenty. Just about every campaign promise made by Leave was a fantasy, as is now becoming apparent to the British electorate. £350m a week? Made up, but painted on the side of their campaign buses. To be spent on the NHS, by politicians who’ve made a career of trying to get rid of it… Yeah, right.

              A “populist uprising”? Hardly: the Leave campaign benefitted from a “stuff you” vote by the regions being callously ignored by Cameron’s government. But there’s no appetite for the sort of policies Gove et al on the Tory hard right would like to introduce.

              In any event, I don’t think Brexit is a done deal. There’s no majority in Parliament for leave, and if Tory europhiles grow some balls there might yet be some life in the UK’s European adventure.

            3. There is talk of a second referendum, and the EU has a habit of this. They reran the Lisbon Treaty in Ireland until they got the answer they wanted. Ireland is now basically run from Brussels and the ECB. They are a shell of a country.

              Goldman Sachs seem very influential and seem to install their people in senior positions in EU countries.

              It has been fascinating seeing what the political elite has become, basically a club for banks and corporations that has naked contempt for the public. This spans the political spectrum. Apparently, people still think that the Left “care” about people. It is quite clear that no one in the Westminster/Brussels bubble gives a stuff about the people, and democracy is an irritant that gets in their way

            4. “Furthermore, this is just the start. This is a populist uprising.”

              Oh, excellent – populist uprisings have always worked out well in the past. Let’s see, Julius Caesar gave the people what they wanted, destroyed the Roman Republic leading to 400 years of dictatorship. Okay, not a great example. The French Revolution – power to the people, leading to totalitarian government and 25 years of near continuous war killing millions. Hmm. The Russian Revolution, that was a good thing, ended serfdom in Russia, millions died in Gulags, oppressive totalitarian government that nearly led to nuclear holocaust. Okay, maybe not so great. Hitler and Mussolini, they made the trains run on time, that’s good, also oppressive totalitarian government , World War 2 and the extermination of 6 million Jews. Okay, andy, help me out here. Surely there must be some examples of a populist uprising being a good thing, right? Right?

            5. Were you all so shouty when the USSR collapsed?

              I’m sure there was a lot of benefit of the Union. The millions who died of starvation under Stalin might have disagreed

              The end of the USSR was in part precipitated by those dreadful right wingers Thatcher and Reagan

              I see that many other European countries are looking to exit now. I guess they must be all isolationist racist bigots.

              Save your insults for them. I didn’t even get a vote

    3. You make some good points on Brexit Thomas, and I agree economically it will hurt Britain.

      I’m not sure it will have many implications for climate change as I dont think the EU controls climate policy of member states? However I suppose we could say that a fractured Europe / world generally means it is harder to deal with mitigation.

      However dig a bit deeper into the reasons for Brexit, because I think they are understandable, and have implications for NZ and general global policy thinking. I would suggest the leave vote won over the following main issues:

      1. Ordinary working people weren’t seeing the free trade benefits really trickling down to them. Al they have seen is austerity and the elite getting all the benefits of growth.

      2. All ordinary working people saw was very high immigration rates putting pressure on infrastructure and jobs, and theres an element of truth in this.

      3. There was also the question of Islamic radicalism creeping into Britain through the back door. Of course the awful far right are exaggerating this, but personally I do feel its becoming a concern to at least some degree. The truth is probably in the middle on this one.

      4. There was also a sense they were losing their sovereignty to outside forces and also having excessively tedious regulations thrust on them (although I personally think Euro regulations also have considerable sense in many cases).

      I tend to think those are valid concerns. The benefits of globalisation / free trade must be more fairly shared or the whole system will unravel. I support multi culturalism and immigration in principle, but I dont think a borderless world works. There have to be regulatory controls from a practical point of view on immigration flows, and Islam is an issue to some degree. If there arent reasonable controls people will demand extremes like Brexit. There are lessons here for NZ.

      The EU itself is basically unstable. It is neither a United States of Europe, or just a simple free trade zone. Its an uncomfortable creature in the middle. I’m not sure what they do, but it could start to unravel, and I hope they find a solution that stops a descent into chaos and disunity.

      1. I agree that the EU (and with saying that, the rest of the world) must address pressing concerns more directly and foremost, show leadership behind which the people are happy to unite.

        But I very sincerely doubt that Boris Johnson or Nigel Farage have any clue to solve the same. In fact, they have made overnight the position of those that voted for the so much worse! And they will start playing running a country (if Boris becomes PM) with a rather dud hand dealt by themselves!

        The hangover from their victory party will be a very long one, we are talking about the next decades. Already the cost of living for the average Brit will be up by double-digit percentage points. The elites, though, with their expatriated funds in other currencies or wealth in Gold can rejoice as their net worth measured in Pounds went up a fair lot overnight.

        The real problem is that in the vacuum of leadership towards bringing us forward to solve the big problems of our time, such as Climate Change, disgraceful populists are allowed to step in and hijack the anger of the people. They can galvanise the masses maybe, but they will have no real plan to solve any of the global issues we are facing and which are causing the discontent of the people.

        The real issues of massive global inequity, environmental decline, resource exhaustion, abuse of power, and corruption, the right-wing populists have no solutions to offer. Boris Johnson and Farrage are in the pockets of the Murdoch empire and the tabloid rags they depend on for spreading their poison.

        It is all so very 1920ies….

        1. If you think being ruled by a technocratic elite who can’t be voted out is such a great thing, then presumably you won’t have any objection to the NZ government being shut down and our country run from Singapore, like a lot of Asia Pacific companies are.

          The economic structures of a post Brexit UK are already defined by “Flexit”, thanks in no small part by Dr Richard North of fame

          The EEA and EFTA will serve us well in terms of trading blocs, as it does with other non-EU European countries

          The NZ media have no idea about this. They are completely clueless.

          1. Good God. How to make a bad day even worse. The idea that the big thinker behind #Brexit is Richard North. The lunatics really are in charge of the asylum…

            1. Doesn’t really surprise me, Gareth. The Brexiteers share a lot of traits with climate change deniers (and a lot of them are the same people) – fantastical and conspiratorial thinking, living inside an echo chamber, cleaving to factoids long after they have been debunked, etc.

            2. You could of course read his work. It is rather long and tedious, but then anything to do with regulation is like that

              The same goes for his book The Great Deception, which North co-authored with Christopher Booker.

              It describes in painstaking detail how the EU started as project before WW2 and was indeed a conspiracy. Yes they do exist, this one was done by hoodwinking the public into thinking it was just a free trade deal (EEC) that they were voting for, when all along the supranational government that we now see in Brussels was the ultimate goal, with the destruction of nation states along with it.

              There were probably some lofty goals about stopping war in Europe, but the beast was going to develop a life of its own

            3. Well, there’s another page we seem to be on.

              But I suspect our views on the way forward would be chalk and Brie.

        2. Thomas, I generally agree with your response. Boris Johnson talks the talk, but is unlikely to have any sensible answers. I think Donald Trump is much the same.

          However the EU and Britain have both built up a lot of tension like an earthquake fault, and something had to change. A completely free market in immigration doesn’t make sense. Very large flows of immigrants, and certain particular immigrants with very alien values cause problems. The EU and David Cameron have failed to deal with this, and people have voted with their feet.

          1. The issue of immigration = sharing of wealth between the have-lots and the have-nots on this planet is just starting. The 1 million or so Syrian refugees are just a taste of what is to come due to AGW and SLR. 60 Million in Bangladesh will need to find a new home in not to distant future.
            The EU – and any country must deal with these pressures. We can do it in a humane way (Germany) or the brown shirts way. The later means desperation and death for many of those who can not find refuge.
            Can we do it better, yes we can. Do we need to be compassionate: we definitely do if we do not want to be part of the problem. The UKIP way or the Australian way is not a way forward.

            BTW perhaps ponder the thought that the recent flood of refugees from Syria was planned by Putin tactically with his bombing campaign of Syrian civilians to precede the UK Brexit vote in order to amplify the pressure that was needed to play into the hands of the brown shirts of Europe that will do Putin’s bidding to rip the European unity apart for him. Note that he stopped the bombing when enough pressure was brought upon Europe! I would suggest to you that without the Syrian flood the close referendum would likely have come out the other way around!
            At the moment: No winners in the UK, even UKIP and Boris Johnson are dumbfounded by the destruction they caused. No winners in Europe, a weakened EU is not helpful. But Putin? Laughing all the way to the bank…!

            1. At the moment: No winners in the UK, even UKIP and Boris Johnson are dumbfounded by the destruction they caused.

              Are these voices in your head or do you have something more concrete for us to work with?

            2. Let’s count Andy: after 48 hrs of the populist stooges ‘winning’ at the polls:
              1 – the United Kingdom is unravelling with Scottland and Northern Ireland running…
              2 – Even Londoners want to leave the UK
              3 – UK economic outlook: bad, currency down, prices up, 2 trillion and counting wiped of international stock markets
              4 – Many “Leave” voters express shock and regret
              5 – The stooges backpedalling on their ‘promises’ made to the electorate
              6 – The Boris stooge facing a ‘Never Boris’ campaign in his own party
              7 – Putin rubbing his hands in glee….
              8 – The stooges hiding (Boris played a round of Charity golf, then disappeared again….)
              What more do you want Andy?
              See, letting populist stooges run the political show what do you get?

            3. Thanks Thomas.

              “The issue of immigration = sharing of wealth between the have-lots and the have-nots on”

              Yes I can sympathise with that. However if the process is not managed it will disintegrate. Nobody wants to import criminals or women haters, etc and there has to be a limit on numbers of immigrants or rates of acceleration, or housing prices get pushed through the roof, and this hurts poor people most.

              I hate chaos, and its probably the control freak side of my nature coming out, or OCD tendencies towards neatness and order!

              However I don’t think we should exclude all Moslem immigrants. This could just inflame moderate Moslems, and pushing them towards radicalism and so do more harm than good. Its just not a smart move. I dont think cultural differences are so huge that they justify total exclusion.

              I think we should just be much more choosy about Islamic individuals before we let them immigrate here. Try to screen out people with extreme tendencies etc and be quite fussy. Sorry if I sound a bit like Winston Peters. I never thought I would see the day where I partly agreed with the guy, sigh.

              Regarding Putin, I wouldn’t put that motive past Putin. He is very bright and as cunning as a snake. I would say his basic motive was to support Assad, and demonstrate Russian power, (and his own power) but the refugee situation and impacts on Britain probably occurred to him. Motives are never simple things.

              Boris Johnson is a muppet and has egg on his face.

              Britain may have freed itself from the EU tyranny, but all free trade treaties involve a loss of sovereignty to some extent. I wonder if certain people are really concerned about sovereignty or just the EU version as some of these people seem quite happy to support the TPPA. Self interest maybe?

              However I don’t think the economic impacts on Britain leaving would be massive. Most of Britain’s trade into Europe is services and manufactures, and these don’t have big tariffs even for countries outside the free trade zone. So market panic and a recession are likely, but longer term I cant see a huge issue.

              But I’m not a fan of populists either. Donald Trump is too unpredictable for me, and Boris Johnson just doesn’t seem terribly bright.

            4. His claim that a majority of Labour voters wanted out is an interesting one

              And not supported by what data we have: Lord Ashcroft Polls

              Two thirds of Labour voters appear to have voted to remain.

      2. 3. There was also the question of Islamic radicalism creeping into Britain through the back door. Of course the awful far right are exaggerating this

        Immigration was one issue in Brexit but by no means the only one.

        However, here are some facts for you. A Gallup poll some time ago found that 100% of British Muslims find homosexuality unacceptable (that was a sample size of about 1000 people)

        A more recent poll found that more than 50% thought that homosexulaity should be criminalised in the UK, and well over 20% support Sharia, for which the punishment for homosexuality is death
        These data come from a Channel 4 documentary

        Anjem Choudrey, a well known UK Islamic figure, has publically called for the execution of gays.

        This is not Islamic Extremism, this is mainstream “moderate” Islam

        The story for women isn’t much better.

        So there is your progressive multicultural paradise for you. Take a look at Sweden, rape capital of Europe

        1. Andy, the issues you mention are fundamental issues of our time. I.e. how to maintain and defend the values of our liberal Western democracies against a clash with intolerant and bigot people and religions. The answer to this though is that we together have to work this out!
          Running away from the global issue, building fences, and projecting right wing prejudice on the “others” is precisely the wrong way! Boris Johnson, Pharage and their gang are simply populist cowards.
          What they have done will go down in history as one of the great blunders of our time. A majority of the English will in due course want to hang them for their treason against unity and prosperity. The only people cheering them on are the brown shirts across the globe (great company to have!) and of cause Putin, Iran and anybody who has an interested in a divided and weakened Western world.

          1. “A majority of the English will in due course want to hang them for their treason”

            A more wrong statement I have never heard in my life

            How is standing up for national sovereignty and democracy a treasonable offense?

            The Queen, who is the head of State of both the UK and NZ, has stated that she is pro Brexit

            Can the Queen be hung for treason, by simply asserting national sovereignty that has existed for hundreds of years?

            1. The good thing is Andy, that unlike in the long term matter of climate change, where the lies of the denial camp will be coming home truly to roost and roast the liars in a generation, with the Brexit consequences, this took just 24 hours:


              And the beauty is, now the populists have ‘won’ they have to eat the dirt that their madness is causing in front of all to see.
              Already the liars are backpedaling as we hear and that red double decker bus with the exaggerated financial claims will soon be overpainted….

              But the people are now in rage as you can see. The liars are running for the hills as the people’s financial outlook burns. And all was hung on measly 2% of the vote….
              In the end, the Farage Johnson gang will serve perhaps one good: That all the people see for themselves what happens if you let the populists carry the day!
              The disaster now befalling Britain in front of the world will sink the appetite elsewhere to listen to guttersnipes…

              2 Trillion dollars – what a price to pay!

            2. You are correct that evil climate deniers ™ are behind Brexit

              I also noticed that the delectable Liz Hurley is behind Brexit.

              which makes me think that the entire Austin Powers movie set was actually a propaganda stunt for Brexit. Is this possible?

              Dr Evil, Brexit, Nigel Farage, Sharks with laserbeams attached to their heads.

            3. I do not think that word, sovereignty, means what you think it means.

              Presumably you are talking about the notion that the EU “writes” Britain’s laws, and that Britain will now be able to “write its own laws”. How exactly is that going to work, andy, given that you have said that Britain should stay as part of EEA/EFTA? You do realise that membership of those bodies carry exactly the same legaslative requirements as membership of the EU, right? What proportion of the EU legislation currently enacted as UK law do you think will get repealed as a result of Brexit? My pick is maybe 20% at best – I wouldn’t really call that “taking back sovereignty”.

        2. Andy, yes there are some problems with Moslems, and there is obviously a degree of cultural clash between Islam and the west. This doesn’t mean multiculturalism is wrong, it just means it may not work well for every group of people.

          However 50% think homosexuality should be illegal which means 50% feel it should not be illegal. Attitudes within Islam clearly vary.

          Excluding all Moslems from the west therefore seems a sweeping step as not all Moslems have totally hard line views on gay people or women. I’m open minded, but it would have repercussions and plays into the hands of ISIS.

          Another approach is to be more choosy about screening individual Moslems before they immigrate here. Try and get people with moderate views. I know this is hard, but there are many ways of assessing people that would work well enough to minimise problems.

  18. I have lived in London and Paris and my children live in the UK on French passports.

    The EU’s a dead elephant yet still it feeds. It’s great ivory tusks in Brussels raking in wealth enough to send Louis XIV frenzied with envy.

    Immigration has turned both great cities into sh*tholes. The natives are fleeing.

    Will I be forced out of Auckland? The city of my birth, sold under my feet to aliens? A chain letter economy; the winners the banks. Lending fake money, not to invest in the economy, but to rob our children of their heritage and homes.

  19. Why bad ideas refuse to die…. from flat-earth nonsense to the denial of climate and other science- bad, absurd and outright malicious ideas often win in the “marketplace” for ideas where brains shop for entertainment, power, confirmation of bias, simplicity of explanation, revenge, association with groups or acclamation. It is also a marketplace that is distorted by very strong commercial interests seeding new ideas that are promising power and profitability….

    This article in the Guardian on the matter is spot on:

    Warning: Its a long read.

    1. Thomas, thanks for the link. Further to your “why bad ideas refuse to die” there’s also an excellent article in todays Herald, and it’s a short read.

      Its called Culturally constructed ignorance wins the day, and its in the opinion section as below. It uses Brexit as the starting point, but covers various other matters from climate change to past tobacco issues and vaccination.

  20. Thomas writes:

    Andy, “from corrupt and unaccountable supra-national governance”… this is your skewed personal view.

    Which bit is skewed?
    An organisation that hasn’t had its books audited for over 10 years?
    One that has a lower tax rate for MEPs?
    One that hands out $800 expense rebates for a $40 flight?
    One that has special shopping malls for MEPs only?
    One that was never asked the UK if it wanted to be a member of, other than the 1973 EEC referendum before the EEC morphed into the EU?

    How much do you hate democracy and love corruption Thomas? How far are your prepared to go to support the rotten, pus-filled putrescence of our modern political system?

    A long way, it would seem.

  21. I just watched the movie “Concussion”. The story is about a medical scientist who discovers why so many NFL football player in the USA suffer from concussion-caused brain damage. Of cause, this scientific discovery is denied and actively attacked by a campain of intimidation and corrupt actions by the mighty NFL. Eventually, the scientific truth prevails – at least it becomes an established fact.
    The story plays out the very same “plot” that have seen with big tobacco against health science and of cause big fossil fuel against climate science. With climate science, though, the battle if fought especially hard by the well-funded denial machine with its fake “institutes”, corrupt politicians, and cynical legal teams converting cash from coal companies into legal missiles against scientists.

    The movie is worthwhile watching and the story inspires some hope that the con-artists from the denial campaign will eventually be sent packing for good. I wonder if and when Hollywood will take on the climate battle. As psychology goes, often it takes a story well told to reach those who at the moment defend the denial for whatever their personal reasons may be.

      1. Nice, might get the book. But unfortunately, what’s going to be “new” in it? The anti-science movement is well known, their players obvious, the money trail documented, and the motives (religious nutters, right-wing libertarians, dogmatics from all works of life) are also obvious.

        I think the real culprits in this are the press and the media in general and foremost the fact that we have permitted media organizations to be owned by private and exceptionally wealthy people and their organizations. Once you take the profit motive out of media – as in public broadcasting organizations for example – things are dramatically different. And that is why the libertarian right wingers are so against publicly funded not-for-profit media. They know very well that their entire house of cards is built on lies and denial and the only way they can keep the huff of the truth that would blow it all over away, is by owning the airwaves and the printing presses.
        This is why a strong and independent public broadcaster is so important for the future of humanity.

        Libertarianism and the denial of consequences stand a chance only theoretically in the fantasy world of the “infinite cake”. In real life, though…..

    1. Thomas, the people described in your link, the ultra conservatives, neoliberals, libertarians, neocons and so on make me very angry. The word that comes to mind is “intellectually bankrupt” but I can think of far stronger. I say this because of their dismissal of science and pretty hard evidence on so many different things.

      The influence of these lobby groups on politics has become insidious. It is often behind closed doors and the money involved can only distort good decision making and the public good.

      The Koch brothers are arrogant and selfish, and seem to think they are above science, or above the rules of society, or above any need for any rules or regulations unless it happens to suit the Koch brothers. Ironically they would be the first to complain if the air was dirty near where they lived. Their double standards and contradictions are amazing.

      Any viable community has to balance individual freedom and significant community rules and legislative restrictions. The reasons for this should be self explanatory. Its a fine art getting the balance right, and the rules right, but far from impossible. For pragmatists who value liberty but also see the need for some rules, its not so hard to see where things should be and the need to base things on the best scientific knowledge we have, even if its not perfect knowledge.

      If these people like the Koch Brothers cant grasp this need for some rules, they have no place in the human community. If they feel they can undermine rules by preaching misleading propaganda, they have no place in the human community.

      Science is being attacked by vested interests, who do indeed sadly have a significant influence on the media, and not in a good way. This is all part of the same thing.

      However this jumped out at me in the article in your link “Alec’s national chairman, Earl Ehrhart, warned in 2005 that “the threats posed by the European constitution can easily be transported over here – the threats to free trade, free markets and individual liberty”

      This is so bizarre because the EU has more free trade than America in terms of low tariffs. If the EU still subsidises farmers, well so does America.

      I suppose what the writer ‘really’ doesn’t like if they were honest, is EU regulations on things like product safety, and gun ownership which are probably tighter than America, and the European ETS. apparently these are ‘excessive’ restrictions on business and its just too bad for ‘joe public’ and their reasonable expectations of protection.

      No system is of course perfect, but the EU is more in the right direction than America on these specific sorts of things.

      1. So the conservatives are intellectually and morally bankrupt (despite having a written constitution) and the anti-democratic EU, which never asked for a mandate from its member states (UK especially) whether its form of technocratic supranational governance was ever wanted, is the better option?

        1. Andy, I never said conservatives are intellectually bankrupt. I said ultra conservative are, in other words people towards the extremes, and in my view the Koch brothers certainly fit the description. If it walks like a duck, etc.

          My comments were also limited to how at least some conservatives see science. Not too clearly, and there is some independent evidence of this if you do a simple google search. I never mentioned “constitutions”.

          In my opinion both the United States system and EU each have their strengths and weaknesses. It would be good to combine the best of both somehow.

      2. What strikes me about these Kock brothers and their ilk is the fact that they are so obsessed with the destruction of the EU as a means to weaken the only block in the western world hat has a relatively well-developed liberal and socially aware democracy. Also, the EU is generally a pro-truth (read pro-science) community and is critical of the Machiavellian rule the Koch Brothers want.
        “Divide et empera”, was already an old Roman directive. A divided Europe would be helpful to the Kochs, especially if they can bootstrap right wing brown shirt parties into taking over. Strategically the Kochs are aligned with Putin. Funny that….
        Perhaps the clown Trump will for a while wash the right wing conspirators with him down the drain…. there is hope….

        1. Thomas there is another group of people who pushed the leave side. These are the GMO and agricultural company apologists. The TPP was being discussed in secrecy but some of the information contained in it was slowly leaked and the grass roots in Europe realized that they were not going into a free trade agreement but an agreement to get all regulatory rules in the EU dictated by US based companies such as Monsanto et al. The Europeans in general have much stricter regulations on GM crops and pesticides than the US. For example a number of nasty pesticides are still in use in the US but have been banned in Europe, e.g. atrazine and the neonics. Many of the powerful people in the leave campaign are both pro fossil fuel use and strong supporters of GM and their associated pesticides. Examples are Owen Paterson, Lawson, Ridley et al. Thus they supported the leave campaign so that they can allow their sugar daddy large corporations free hand in selling their products with essentially no regulations if they could do a separate deal with the US.

          1. Yes, you are correct. The “Divide and Rule” strategy is in full swing. The EU is a thorn in the eye of the mega corporations as they find themselves up against a strong institution that has the mandate to protect the environment against corporate exploitation and shortcuts. A divided Europe would offer these people a much better playing field where they can play one nation against others. All this of cause is well above the head of the common “Brexit” voter who simply followed the hooligans Farage and Johnson over the cliff.
            Welcome to the nightmare of the populist times.
            All this of cause happens at a time when our condition is getting worse by the day and we need to urgently unite to dampen the fires our reckless civilisation has lit….

        2. Thomas, the Koch brothers hate the EU, no question about that. We have a simple conflict of philosophies. The EU tends towards slightly liberal social values and a solid welfare system, and is basically a mixed economy model. The Koch brothers are opposed to those values and are socially conservative, small government extreme libertarians. Its chalk and cheese, even though the EU is largely in the middle in terms of its ideology and can hardly be described as hard left leaning.

          The EU is an anathema to them, and they are afraid of the model “spreading” a bit like fears of communism “spreading” in the 1960s, and restricting American business interests, hence American interventions like Vietnam and Chile.

          No doubt the Koch brothers work hard and have been successful under Americas system, but success has gone to their heads and made them believe their judgement is infallible. And they clearly have no understanding of economic history and the failings of their own extremist version of capitalism.

          But its the contradictions that amuse me. The Kochs and their ilk talk about “freedom” but this apparently only applies to “free trade in goods” and “the right to bear arms” but not immigration flows, or social rights like gay marriage. They seem oblivious to the contradictions. But in their arrogance they feel they are entitled to define what “freedom” means, but fortunately in the real world of democracy the public have the final say on how our society is structured. This is why the Kochs try so hard to undermine democracy, and to influence or buy elections by throwing money at people as much as possible.

          The truth is the only viable economic model is free markets but with some regulation to make things work smoothly and protect the public good. The sooner people work this out, the better off the world will be.

          1. Do you actually have any evidence at all to back up these claims about the EU or the Koch Brothers?

            The EU is an anti-democratic technocracy. However, most of the rules that the EU implements come from outside bodies, like ISO and the WTO. The EU merely adds it stamp and tells member states to implement them.

            The EU is an economic basket-case, as was reported by the IMF a few days ago.
            Youth unemployment in Spain and elsewhere is around 50%. Austerity measures are imposed on Greece etc, who have no way to devalue their currencies relative to other EU Eurozone countries.

            The UK is well rid of the EU, and will be able to form trade alliances with countries around the world without the tariffs imposed by EU

            I am not aware of anyone who thinks the world should trade without regulation or standards

            The EU is not a “model”. It is a disaster, and will eventually collapse and take a large part of the world economy with it

            1. Andy, all my points on the Koch brothers are accurate. If you want evidence read Koch Brothers on wikipedia and look at both the article, and source material which notes the following in general terms:

              Basically the Koch brothers are very much towards the libertarian end of the spectrum, (quite extremely so if you read between the lines). They lean conservative on economics ( they are more liberal on things like gay marriage). They have funded strongly right wing organisations like the Heritage foundation and Cato institute and have promoted the tea party.

              Basically if it walks like a duck, and quacks like a duck, it probably is a duck. Im sure you would be familiar with this famous quotation.

              Its very difficult to see how libertarians would like the EU, given the EU is not a libertarian structure.

              Interestingly the EU internal market operates pretty much on neoliberal free market principles of free trade and movement. (I think they take this a bit too far).

              But clearly the EU is also quite state interventionist at some levels and is thus not in any way libertarian. The EU has quite a strong regulatory structure.

              Regarding your criticisms of the EU. I think we would describe the EU as a “partial union” and this creates some stresses. The EU in general and the monetary union works for the northern like minded countries, but it was always a mistake trying to integrate countries like Greece in the monetary union. As you say this stops them devaluing, if they have serious economic problems.

              It’s such a complicated series of issues, and I dont really want to take sides on it too much.

              I feel the EU could work as a true United States of Europe, but its hard to see them moving that far.

              I suspect the current “partial” union will continue but some countries might leave, leaving a core of northern and eastern countries. Italy’s banks are currently looking shaky.

              There are some things the EU could do to put its house in better order. Have a system of eurobonds and better banks, and put some basic controls on immigration flows to stop large surges, and to try to sort out the issues with Islam. If they don’t, then the EU will become more unstable.

              However the EU has some very positive attributes. The essence of the EU is an internal free trade zone, with reasonably free movement of people, and some shared regulatory frame, and theres actually nothing wrong with that in principle. I also like the commitment to environmental issues and some sort of basic welfare state. As I said above they just need to fix certain policy problems.

              You criticise the EU for austerity. Fair enough I agree. A lot of this is Germany going a bit too far.

              But the Koch brothers and their ilk like the Tea Party and The Republicans are fans of austerity especially applied to poor people. They are worse than the EU.

  22. Is technology part;y to blame for humanity loosing the ability to have a truthful and well-informed conversation?

    This article sums it up well and resonates with my long held belief that the Internet with all its fantastic opportunities is also presenting us with a significant risk to loose unity, the ability to seek and consolidate truth and to move united against common challenges such as climate change, inequality and the injustices of our global systems.

    It explains why we must these days endure a small army of “up themselves arm chair idiots” blasting their nonsense into the internet with no fact checker or editor putting them back onto their cardboard box in the back yard where they used to preach to their dog….

    It explains the Threadgolds and their sorry fellowships of the deeply confused, the conspiracy buffoons and the selfrighteous. It also explains the money thrown around at some of them by the small club of machiavellian billionaires who know that a people confused and divided amongst themselves into splinter groups are keeping them safe from the pitchforks of the revolution and make it easier for them to run shamless mugshot over the rest of us. They eek on the right wing thugs and the (Eurpean) union breakers. They throw mud at science as the truth is their enemy in most cases – with the exception perhaps if a scientific discovery aids their quest for power, good health or new tools to exploit the rest of us.

    In all this lies a deep challenge. I have no suggestion at the moment. But to recognize that we have a problem is a first step. And unless we solve this issue, we will keep on struggling to unite humanity towards a socially just and environmentally responsible future.

    1. “unless we solve this issue, we will keep on struggling to unite humanity towards a socially just and environmentally responsible future.”

      Once upon a time I read “The settled unity of humanity is our goal”. I decided I had to contribute to that. Yet it seems further away than ever, especially in the face of climate change. I still see it as the goal, it certainly helps define the issues.

    2. Thomas, those are very thorny problems on information. We have always had intensely misleading crazies in the media, (sadly many of them seem to be right wing). Its a market led thing, as outrageous and simplified comments tend to gain an audience, while the truth is more complex and so a bit more intellectually challenging for people with limited attention spans.

      However sometimes left wing or liberal commentators sometimes try so hard to be polite and balanced their views become insipid. Maybe liberals need to call a spade a spade a bit more.

      The internet has amplified this whole phenomenon, but its too late to put that genie back in the bottle.

      Maybe the public will come back to seeing the huge value in public broadcasting, which at least is a bit more objective than the utter trash from some privately owned media.

      1. Yes, I am a great fan of public broadcasting. I think we should push for giving public broadcasting a stronger constitutional anchor and make sure it can not be subverted or disabled by any future government. And I agree, we have been too generous to the right wing gutter snipes for too long. Where would the ridiculous state of the US Republican party be without Rush Limbaugh and his ilk? The right-wing talkback radio hosts have a significant culpability in creating the hate filled sodden mess that the so-called “Conservative” movement in the USA has become.

        1. Thomas, I have always been a fan of public broadcasting, and have tried to promote this on John Drinnans articles on the Herald, when they allow comments to be posted.

          The need for public broadcasting has a solid basis even in orthodox market theory, ironically. In NZ there’s a very real and dangerous possibility of a monopoly commercial broadcasting dominating the market, simply because the market is so small. We are all seeing various mergers and consolidations. This leaves the possibility of intense and dangerous bias in the media, certainly in climate change matters.

          Given its hard to get ideal levels of competition in a small country its important to have a VERY robust public broadcasting media. This gives some alternative to a dominant private player. I agree a public charter or constitution would be ideal, setting out values and requirements.

          America is maybe a little different as they have big networks each with their own flavour. Fair enough. Although Rush Limbaugh is just a hard right shouting machine, with his loyal followers in their echo chamber / bubble. Group think personified.

          Although people like the Koch brothers wield an unholy influence as in my comments above dated July 14.

          However in NZ we have a number of laws people aren’t maybe aware of that do the opposite and attempt to entrench the neoliberal profit orientated state owned enterprise model and corrode public services over time. You might want to read the book “The Fire Economy” by Jane Kelsey in that regard. Its basically about the expansion of the finance sector and the general anti public services agenda.

          1. That book “The Fire Economy” sounds interesting. Will check it out. Thanks!

            And yes, since I arrived in NZ in 1995 I have been bewildered by some of the “interesting” ways in which some of NZ’s public services were privatised. More often than not the “ownership” went through the hands of some well-known asset strippers (I shall name no names but everybody knows I suppose that those involved were often Rich, White and certainly not Poor or Brown…) who then sold the “shares” on other investors making a fortune on the way. How bizarre. Some of these deals would have landed the people involved behind bars in other countries, here, though, a tiny clique of lawyers and rich people at the top seems to protect each other, perhaps by what they know about each other, and banana republic methodologies seem commonplace….

            NZ has the population of a mid-size European city…. and the clique at the top is therefore perhaps naturally too small to really have the checks and balances found in countries with ten times our population.

            1. Very true Thomas. Its interesting to look at the background to the privatisation issues and the underlying philosophy, as it has some important implications ultimately for climate change policies, so here are a few points. I was just out of Auckland University when all this unfolded in the 1980’s.

              Firstly to go back a bit, NZ was a bit of a mess in the late 1970’s and early 1980’s. We were over regulated and the state owned a few strange things, including even a chain of hotels. Which was of course loosing money.

              The government of 1984 changed all this radically, with a set of privatisation and deregulation policies.

              I think it was desirable that certain things were privatised and loosened up, but the whole thing went too far towards the neoliberal extreme, and the privatisation process was badly handled. It made sense to sell things like state owned hotels, NZ Steel, and fertiliser plants etc, but much less sense to sell the railways or telecommunications grid, for obvious reasons.

              The selling process was extremely dubious with some assets virtually given away and certain “faymous, rich, white” people made a killing and both advised on the privatisation process and participated in the process, which was rather close to a conflict of interest.

              I agree its partly a problem in small countries that everyone knows everyone and this can generate crony capitalism and a closed shop sort of mentality. However failures in the privatisation process were also driven by ideology emerging at the same time that basically said that such privatisation processes should be largely left unregulated and that the finance sector would work better “self regulating”. This is the backdrop to the privatisations of the 1980s and early 1990s and of course it delivered a bit of a disaster, as the process was unregulated with totally inadequate independent scrutiny.

              The ideology developed at the time and still current today was that finance markets should self regulate or have very light handed government regulation that focusses purely on transparency and avoids prescriptive regulation. The term is “risk tolerant regulation”. In fact our financial sector was not only left to self regulate, transparency was very poor, although this has now been improved a little (and grudigngly) by the financial markets authority act.

              But I find it bizarre that fundamental and good government philosophy and regulation is to ensure we have safe products like food products, and yet they are prepared to let the finance sector take pretty huge risks. This is a massive contradiction! The belief was that letting finance markets be virtually not policed would generate innovation, but it has just lead to problems.

              The same neoliberal self regulating doctrine gave rise to the failure of financial markets and derivative markets that in turn drove the global financial crash.

              The same ideology also drives climate change policy, sadly. This mantra of markets know best (which they dont always) has driven the emissions trading scheme and has opposed ideas like a carbon tax. So basically we have a dubious, extreme form of market ideology in the background with an unholy influence on everything, and the authorities seem unable to see the repeated failure of this ideology.

  23. When the deniers point to “Models being incorrect”… new evidence underlines the fact that they have been rather accurate, especially at predicting the ocean heat content:

    …we used a large group of computer models to predict warming rates, and we found excellent agreement between the predictions and the measurements.

    According to the measurements, the Earth has gained 0.46 Watts per square meter between 1970 and 2005. Since, 1992 the rate is higher (0.75 Watts per square meter) and therefore shows an acceleration of the warming. To put this in perspective, this is the equivalent of 5,400,000,000,000 (or 5,400 billion) 60-watt light bulbs running continuously day and night. In my view, these numbers are the most accurate measurements of the rate at which the Earth is warming.

    What about the next question – how did the models do? Amazingly well. From 1970 through 2005, the models on average showed a warming of 0.41 Watts per square meter and from 1992-2005 the models gave 0.77 Watts per meter squared. This means that since 1992, the models have been within 3 % of the measurements.

    And a draft of the underlying paper here:

      1. Hate mail is an ever present but prominent activity undertaken by a deluded minority in our modern society – in the UK we have just had a case of someone receiving a lot of hate mail after they lost a leg in a rollercoaster accident. I dont know why sad ineffectual trolls do this.
        As for CdF, why does he write egregious articles like the one I linked to. Have you read it? Imagine how little regard you must have for your credibility to submit trash like that for publication, even if you are being paid. After his previous efforts he must think that he really has nowhere honest and rational left to go.

      2. The pingback link below (take down of CF published in The Standard) is excellent.
        And while CF does not deserve hate mail, he certainly deserves the critique.

  24. I read the article by Sabine Hossenfelder about her experiences in consulting for armchair physicists about their “grand theories”.

    Perhaps the climate science community could offer a similar service to “grand climate armchair theorists” such as the infamous Richard C. Perhaps this could be a way to dispell some of the mythology that is being vented by the RC’s and lapped up by the mental Trumpists of our world.

    1. Thomas, interesting link. We do indeed have various arm chair experts who think they know better than people like James Hanson, who has a phd in physics and years of experience studying climate matters as his job.

      Of course I’m not saying high level expertise proves people right, but it deserves respect. People with “alternative theories” and mediocre qualifications need to have some very compelling proof.

      The article mentioned self appointed engineers who write things claiming to have found the answer to everything. I actually picked up a book at Aucklands central library by a mechanical engineer claiming to have proven Einstein wrong about relativity. I make no claim to be an expert on anything, but even I could see straight away this chap has misinterpreted a fairly basic aspect of things on page one. I didn’t read further.

      The thing is the real experts or specialists in their fields are not idiots. Some arm chair experts say recent climate change is all just the sun, without thinking that the climate science community might just have explored this option, which of course they have. Its very unlikely that someone with no knowledge of either physics or meteorology or geography etc is going to add anything new to the debate.

      But it doesn’t stop Donald Trump, who doesn’t even bother to come up with a sciency sounding argument. Trump says global warming is a Chinese conspiracy to weaken american manufacturing. Leighton Smith says its all a socialist conspiracy. Ian Wishart thinks its a green party conspiracy and god wouldn’t allow it anyway, but if he does its gods punishment, and we have to suck it up. I respect religiously motivated people, but the geography of the earth is not under the day to day control of some god.

      So in fact we have what I would call “world view bias”. This is people who blame global warming on their favourite scapegoat or pet hate, and try to kill two birds with one stone! But this doesn’t change the basic scientific evidence.

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