Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Taking on the terminator?

This from Counterpunch takes a big side swipe at Arnie, calling him a hypocrite. I'll leave you the reader to decide whether its a fairly warranted statement.

"Arnold Schwarzenegger's address to the United Nations today about global climate change is one of the most blatant examples of hypocrisy that I've ever witnessed."

"This is greenwashing at its absolute worst!"

"There is no doubt that Schwarzenegger is the worst Governor in California history - and we've had some really bad ones - for fish, water and the environment, in spite of his shallow rhetoric proclaiming his 'leadership' in 'the fight against climate change on a world stage'."

Ooo errrr! I bet Arnie's quaking in his boots!

Should be fun

As readers will appreciate, BBC's Newsnight more often than not stirs me to the blogside.

Usually I am abed when it goes out live, but thanks to the whizzbangery of IT in the naughties, I can catch it at leisure the next day.

This in my in-box from Jeremy Paxman (ADD; now online) makes it an almost must watch, followed, with luck, by a 'must told you so. Well, must have 'been telling you so'.


Miliband was interesting because he was trying to lay out what he called the 'Second Wave' of New Labour Foreign Policy. I'll be asking tonight whether this amounts to anything more than forgetting the First Wave.

Not so much 'Not Flash. Just Gordon', more 'Not Tony. So just who cares what the rest of us were doing for the last 10 years?'.

Lions led by donkeys, springs to mind. I'm guessing the BBC don't feel constrained any more by the 'rearranged edit' fiasco, thank heavens. But will it make a blind bit of difference, I wonder?

At least the Nu-Lab comeback should prove entertaining, if they can be bothered.

Indy - This is the reason people don't care about politics - A theme develops?

You don't love me? You really don't love me?

According to this - The demand for expert generated content - research showed that less than 1 per cent trusted blogs as a reliable source of information.

Say it ain't so!

Especially when... if... 'This trend is further supported by research into the information sources web users consider trustworthy. The BBC is the UK’s most reliable source of information, according to 58 per cent of people who have faith in Auntie to provide accurate news.

If you say so, Bub.

What did and didn't surprise is that Wikipedia is only trusted by 2 per cent of the people surveyed, and recently had to remove swathes of content found to be written by prejudiced individuals. Unlike....?

Well, you know what I think of research. Until I see who asked what of whom, pinches of salt all round. Where's the Tequila?

Man causing climate change - poll headline claims

Large majorities of people across the world agree that humans are causing global warming, a BBC poll indicates.

Now, as all would know, I have a few views on polls; how they are conducted, what the questions are and then how they get applied. I am no statistician, so I am in no position to comment on detailed methodology, but I can cock an eyebrow at how detail gets turned into a sound-bite.

So I do wish that such significant findings, in all their complexity, hadn't quite been offered up in such a way as to give the contrarians the chance to have a go at a headline like that. It surely should read as the subhead does to avoid any charges of trying to sway opinion. It is powerful enough already.

And I note that it's not that man has made and is making things worse, but indeed has caused it. So that perception now has taken hold, and maybe a good thing. But is it proven yet? I don't know if it is. And if shown to be shaky, does such absolutism help or hinder those trying to ease us back to less wasteful ways, or simply hand a 'get out of any responsibility free card' to those needing little incentive to grab such a thing if the science raises doubts on nature's total exclusion from the deal?

And while representatives from about 150 countries, including 80 heads of state or government, were at the meeting, I note it is noted that US President George W Bush was not present. Instead, he is hosting a meeting of 16 "major emitter" countries in Washington on Thursday and Friday.

Who else world-leading emitter-wise, but not mentioned, was not there I wonder? Talk about serving up a distraction on a plate to those who would challenge the motivations of the commissioners? Just give us the facts, and explain them rationally, guys. We don't need to be lead.

And on a final note, what does the team think the actual move to action will be of those strongly moved to respond with... words?

ADDENDUM - speaking of what happens 'twixt headline and what follows:

Guardian Home - Benn rallies US on emissions targets - Do what? Rather, who what?

But click on that to get - Benn calls on US to adopt binding aims on emissions - That's more like it. Nothing like a good call. As to who will pay any more attention this time...

Apparently, 'Mr Benn made his appeal (is that more or less than a call, or better than a rally?) at a climate change summit at the United Nations headquarters in New York... attended by more than 80 heads of state and government...' but '...President George Bush was not at the meeting.'

Now where have I heard that before? Meanwhile, who else wasn't there? Or, for that matter, who was?

Maybe Mr. Brown was less not there than Mr. Bush. Which makes him 'Green God Gordo' by not being something as bad as he could be. Yeah, that'll work.

Guardian - Has the US stand-off run out of steam?

I've read everywhere from the Guardian to the BBC that George Bush did not attend this, but other than Hillary Benn am having trouble finding out which 'world leaders' actually did. Can anyone help?

If this is the 'single, greatest (etc)..' I'd just like to see which of our global great and good didn't feel there was something more pressing at the 'mo.

Guardian - The new climate change pioneer

As the BBC and the Guardian seem to be linking back and forth I have so far gathered that George Bush isn't there, but other than Mr. Benn am having trouble finding out which other 'world leaders' (Does his boss know?) were. Anyone?

Anyway, big up to NZ for some national initiative on the DOING vs. talking front. Maybe it's the perfect entire country for eco-tourism, once the whole flying thing can be addressed.

Mind you, I do have a certain sympathy with those who try and point out certain comparisons need to be matched with a few realities.

Some Singaporean chums once challenged me to explain why the UK could not be more like their city state in terms of economy, transport, etc. I had to point out that if one put a wall round London it would be a pretty rich place with a public tube and bus system that's... well, it would be a pretty rich place.

At least I managed to note that their thirst for oil per head was also top of the list, too. So being small doesn't automatically make it easier to go green.

ADDENDUM - Having had little that made sense from our media here, I have turned to Google. And roamed a world of headlines, from Thailand's Bangkok Post to some Canadian effort. What was first of all interesting was how many had either taken a lead from the same press release, or had a very similar take on it all. Like, word for word.

At least I now know that a fair number of 'world leaders' were there: France, Germany, Canada at least. Plus Al Gore. I also know, A LOT, that George Bush wasn't. Condi Rice was. What I didn't see was that the Prime Minister of the UK also didn't quite make it, but sent our A team instead. For some reason the Chinese just sending their Foreign Minister was OK, too. No word yet on Putin being there or not, or indeed what the Indian contingent comprised.

One thing's for sure, it didn't come across as the be-all-and-end-all that some media seemed to wish it was, but mainly because of the way it was reported.

Grist - Every Momentum Counts
U.N. hosts one-day climate meeting to spur climate-agreement fever

They usually talk sense.

I loved this though: Gathering momentum for a United Nations climate conference in Bali, - at last I can make it up!

And an answer, of sorts: The conference attracted 150 nations, about 80 of which sent at least their heads of state, making it the best-attended climate meeting in U.N. history among high-level officials

Plus a certain, welcome, pragmatism: 'However, since it's being hosted by the binding-agreement-wary U.S., critics see little coming out of the meeting but voluntary actions and vague technology-sharing agreements. Oh, and probably press releases and goodie bags too'. Darn, I forgot to mention the goodie bags. I wonder if Mr. Benn will have spares?

Sometimes non-disclosure can tell you a great deal

In the great global warming debate, there has long been a succession of 'experts' wheeled out to denounce any statement suggesting the climate change is anthropogenic in any way. One of these experts is Patrick J. Michaels of the Cato Institute, who has appeared in dozens of media reports, live talk shows and debates in the USA.

This from PR-Watch.Org reports on how Michaels has withdrawn as a witness from a high profile Vermont court case rather than be forced to disclose his sources of funding.

Surely he hadn't got something to hide, had he?

Wot 'e sed

Also from the Indy Letters Page, this time from a former Chairperson: More recycling of plastic water bottles

Bearing in mind the Indy and others are trying to ban this method of packaging for this source of fluid, I'll just highlight a few key bits:

Cahal Milmo's article "Bottled drinks companies under pressure to boost recycling rates" (18 September) demonstrated the commitment of soft-drinks and bottled-water companies to deal with the ecological impact of "wasted" plastic bottles, particularly PET (polyethylene terephthalate).

PET plastic is one of the best materials for transporting and retailing soft drinks and alcoholic beverages. Its manufacturing process is ideal for on-site production, with the final bottle being exceptionally strong, flexible and lightweight. It meets the needs of producers and distributors, as well as the consumer, being safe in the home and convenient to carry; and it can be recycled.

What is wrong is that few governments are able to deliver effective recycling systems. The UK's landfill treatment of waste is disastrous. PET has a "long life", which is not good news in a landfill but it can now be recycled to "food grade" standard with more efficiency than glass. Already some UK and European bottled-water brands incorporate recycled PET in their new bottle production. The UK lags behind, largely because our plastics waste is not efficiently "streamed" so there is a shortage of "clean" UK PET waste for recycling. However, now the UK's first PET recycling plant has started operations supply should improve.

Ian Hall
Former Chairman, the Natural Mineral Water Association

In the Red

I noticed this in the Indy Letters page: Time is short to avoid a new mass extinction of species

Now I know that I'm easily impressed by titles, so I accord Prof. & Dr. perhaps more than I should, but this makes for interesting reading. I'd never heard of the Red List 'til now.

Read behind the lines of this: if a successor species exists that's able to understand [extinction] at all, as having had a completely new cause: humanity. There'll be an extremely thin layer of rock dividing deeper levels full of diverse fossils from shallower levels with hardly any. The marker layer will contain abundant plastic polymer molecules, radioactive decay products from artificial nuclear fusion, and distinctive concentrations of metals.

I don't know if the author means it this way, but my main take is that are simply too darn many of us. The rest are consequences of that. Nice to see our political leaders have their priorities right, then. Not.

A nice little place in the sun

I clicked on this honestly expecting something else: More shabby delaying tactics

No, not the 'big issue' of will he/won't he?

It starts: All the recent scientific evidence suggests that the process of climate change is occurring at a faster pace than previously predicted.

Meanwhile, our Dear Leader has made, by all accounts 'A good start' (well, ignoring the last 10 years I guess) according to most chattering class media, based on all I can see are a collection of puff-piece 'must do's, must do betters, looking intos and not acceptables - Indy Leader: The Prime Minister's speech was full of stirring conviction but gave little away. Well, D'uh. Maybe saying nothing is getting a bit tired, if still proving effective on some.

Mr. Bush was not the only one indulging in his usual shabby delaying tactics. Or did not turn up to the UN meeting. And while the world's largest economy may refuse to engage honestly with the crisis in an abnegation of leadership of epic and scandalous proportions, it's not the only one.

I really could care less about whether there is an election now or later, and that our leadership and the media that serve them in the Westminster Village can say they care about issues rather than playing silly games, whilst playing the silliest games of all and addressing little but trivia, does make me wonder about the sense of proportion this side of the pond as well.

Green Party - Brown is kicking climate change into the long grass - That will be short, Brown grass at this rate.

Time precludes me from doing much other hunting and gathering (and verifying), so I'll leave it to these guys. I can't say I can argue much.

'...instead of changing the Climate Change Bill , he's chosen to kick it into the long grass by leaving it for the climate change committee when it's eventually established. We don't have time for yet more commissions and reviews, for more political delay.'

"Worse than that, Brown's speech failed to indicate any new, effective policy measures on climate change, which are desperately needed after a decade of inaction and failing policies from his government.'