Friday, March 09, 2007

Climatic depression

Green debate caught in an icy grip

I feel so much happier in the knowledge that my kids and their kids'
futures are in such able and sincere hands, whichever one of the
whole sorry bunch gets to play with the keys to the kingdom.


I was going to add a bit about the media's role in reporting it all.

But they do own the playground and the ball.

Ready, aim... assess, monitor, report...

Re-cycle of Life

Most councils can only 'see' things like targets.
I wouldn't mind so much but this is usually to the exclusion of all else, or ever getting round to doing anything commonsensical to try and hit them (assuming they actually have an enviROI in the first place).

ps; try getting the kids reusing and repairing. It's way more fun than acting as an unpaid sorter for a £200k local authority boss' bonus chances, and the profits of the recycling contractors. - Rubbish needn't be a dirty word

Wonder if she'll post it?

Buy now, while stocks last

Gadget overload

We had a stand (one of about six out several hundred, and ours was next to a patio heater vendor) there last year because we were told its theme was 'the environment'.

But as I say, that was soooo 'last year'.

Well, they asked

A road map for originality
We can't move for things that aren't 'fit for purpose'. What other overused phrases are you, on the ground, fed up with?

That's a good question...
We'll need to look into this....
It's obviously not acceptable...

All closely followed by doing nothing at all to address the issue.

Last Rights

Against Nature - Channel 4

I’m going to break a firmly held principle and comment on something I have not... yet... seen. Again.

In a certain irony, last night as I expounded to a group at Aston Science Park on how we can harness consumer power to effect positive environmental behavior changes through incentive and reward, my twins had decided that some Japanese cartoon was a better bet on Sky than what I had programmed to record. Let’s hope I am as successful in helping save the planet as the spiky doe-eyed dude and his posse of mutant mates.

What struck me at the event was the enthusiasm of all those present for tangible DOING, as opposed to endless debate on esoteric issues, jockeying to be smarter and righter. And while these were folk from the SME’s prepared to stay from early to late evening, I hope it would not be unfair to say many present were representative of the average, working, Previa and not Prius person general public.

So I wonder what they would have made of this? Doubtless there will be great debate in the eco-media, including such as the Indy and Guardian (no chance to scope the onlines yet, and BBC Breakfast doesn’t seem concerned), but I’m pretty sure it will all pass last night’s group by. Unless an editor scents some headlines from contention, and blows it up for a quick ratings fix. Unlikely with X Factor looking like it was rigged.

A lot of my audience confessed to be dubious about what I was pitching as all they knew beforehand was that I was what Jeremy Clarkson has dubbed a ‘mentalist. I am glad to say I left with some converts inspired.

And here is my main point. We still very much seem to be in a ‘media rules of engagement-controlled’ era of green being only viewed in black and white.

In the dark green corner are ‘activists’, empowered eco Nazi book-authors, Al Gore, IPCC scientists, certain government ministers (even a newly converted, if confusingly mixed message PM)... and a largely compliant ‘left’ media ready to publish or broadcast relatively unchallenged global warming propaganda.

In the black gold corner are ‘deniers’, empowered ex eco fascist traitor book-authors, a few government ministers (at least out loud, including a confusingly mixed word vs. deed PM)... and a largely compliant ‘right’ media ready to publish or broadcast relatively unchallenged big-oil lobby-funded propaganda.

And all this lot have very lucrative careers already, and ahead, exchanging artillery exchanges of claim and counter claim, accusation and counter accusation at each other. Facts go out the window, as for every one pro, there are a score cons. And one Prof’s howler is another think-tank PhD’s thesis.

Meanwhile, sod all seems to get done.

And stuck in no person’s land, I believe, are the vast majority of folk like those I was with last night, keen to understand the issues and act rationally on them based on halfway decent information and reasoned debate with some objective outcomes.

To me the issue is simple. In ten years time, if one set are right, we can all breathe easier and a few folk are a bit red faced. The down side is that some economically driven development may not take place and... if you subscribe to the views of such as Mr. Durkin or Bjorn Lomborg, there will be serious consequences to the state of health and lives in the Third World.

If the other set are right, breathing at all may be a tad tricky in some parts, and faces will possibly be redder still, now for exterior reasons as well. Those in the Third World, if they are around, may find the rest of us have our own issues to worry about.

So which side should we err on? I’m voting caution. Especially when there are quite a few credible science guys around who seem to be getting us to quite high percent levels of probability. I’m prepared to move before we are 100% sure global warming WAS catastrophic.

I’ll need to dig it from my blog verbatim, but a long time ago I read a good analogy. If you are in a plane full of journalists and aero engineers flying across the Atlantic, and a problem with it’s structure is raised, do you side with the majority of them who think it best to turn back to check, or do you go with the journalists sitting with the guys in Club class who are just getting comfy, and would prefer to stay on course in case it’s nothing?

It would be wrong to say I don’t care about these esoteric debates, but I find them essentially irrelevant. Natural or man made, serious or not, I simply believe that, for the sake of my kids’ kids, every effort needs to be made to reduce pollution and waste and improve efficiencies. Plus match this all with a reasoned downturn in our aspirations and demands for expansion of consumption as they may be leading us on a downward spiral.

And one thing is key. What I call the EnviROI – the return on investment has to help the planet recover, and not just be to sell books, get ratings, secure salaries, careers or pensions, meet targets or make those who think they are more worthy feel warm and fuzzy. So I have all sorts of doubts that get me offside with a lot of folk. I’m not sure about wind turbines. I think the Government has totally screwed up road pricing, which is necessary but I petitioned against on their terms, And anything with the words ‘carbon’ and ‘trading’ bring me out in cold sweat as all I see is vast hordes of even richer City folk going with Guardian journalists and Mr. Miliband to meet other green elites in Bali to discuss it all.

Sadly, like you Ben, in trying to arrive at conclusions, information I can trust is in short supply, and looks like remaining so for a while.

And from the evidence of this blog (with a few notable, and noble opinions and links, for which I am grateful – though oddly the follow up posts by those who saw the show almost all left me none the wiser to those preceding it), I guess I, and most of the population will need to hunker down in our bunkers a while longer as those who claim know better than us argue over who is right.

Me, I’ll just get back to my shed and keep on doing anything I can to improve matters.

I just had a gander at a few of the follow ups, and they kinda prove my point. Death-match, winner takes the first iceberg shuffleboard on the Titanic.

God spare us from those who would tell us what to think... to the death. All of ours.



Just back from my shed. Cripes.

At least a very few have tried to see a middle ground, work within it and understand it enough to work out a positive solution.

But as to the rest.... 'ding'... Round [pick a number]!


Guardian - Noxious emissions

For what it's worth (not much, I'd hazard, looking at the comments here), Bad Science has, is and doubtless will be providing a complementary venue for a not dissimilar cock-fighting tournament.

So I'll just cut 'n paste my 2p here.

Indy - Global warming gurus set a bad example

Dear Mr. Lawson,

We're guessing that would make you a 'no' then?

Times - The global warming debate overheats