Saturday, May 31, 2008

Finding where to stick it. Or sticking where to find it.

The Guardian asks a semi-rhetorical question: Can recycling bins be evil?

Well, I don't know about evil. But how about (depending on the measure chosen) effective? It may not be that simple... or populist. I am more interested in the facts and deliverables.

With such 'any negative so long as it sells a paper' from such as the Daily Mail in one corner, and 'it's claimed to be green so it must be good and you're not if you don't' wide-eyed, uncritical cheerleading in other media, I am tending to find the actual good ideas that might actually serve our kid's futures are usually to be found somewhere between the extremes.

But, by heavens, with all the conflicting, partisan rubbish churned out in the name of enviro-information and debate, it's not made very easy for the average consumer just trying find what to do that's best for their family and community.

Big News?

Coming across across this in Grist, I thought 'Wow!': Well, You Don't Say - White House admits humans causing climate change

Not a hint of doubt there. Even to the extent, at least as I read it, that one of the more persistent climate optimist entities not only grant that negative climate exists, but it is all down to man. No other factors at all, it seems.

I find this highly significant, but do wonder why it has not...yet... had more coverage? The US titles quoted are significant, but what about here? So far, nothing. Not even in some media one is quite used to being keen to push the 'pessimist' agenda.

If this is as billed, might one hope that there may be a more concerted effort at pinning down causes and practical, enviROI+ solutions as a consequence now we can move on from the 'tis/t'isn't exchanges.

Addendum - Meanwhile...

No more hyperbole, let's discuss the facts about global warming

Now there is a turn-up for the books... blogs and broadcasts.

I welcome the latest information, but rather dread the further twists and turns of the discussions that will follow.

Especially as I have, albeit with a rather cocked eyebrow, recently shared this with those who might fairly be described as being on the fence, and hence apathetic at best. I rather think they politely tolerate my zeal to get to the crux of what I consider a key question to allow sensible future planning to take place, and in a timely manner. While my personal views are known (Man-worsened negative climate change is a distinct possibility, and any reasonable mitigations seem well worth considering as soon as possible, but before rushing into knee-jerk 'solutions' of dubious enviROI I still need a lot more convincing on most proposed, as few seem to sensibly address waste or increased pollution whilst recognising global socio-political realities), it really doesn't do my... the cause of environmental caution much good when you are running to and fro week on week saying, in effect, 'the sky is falling... no it isn't... yes it is'. And especially when most governments and media seem to address something claimed to be serious in such an erratic, piecemeal and often frankly hypocritical manner.

I just hope we don't now see a spate of 'tis/t'isn't' exchanges, especially as these usually devolve into attacking the person as opposed to the wisdom, or otherwise, of the message. While the qualifications of those making pronouncements is important, I have long since ceased to be too impressed with even Professorships. A Nobel Prize is however nifty, and this one is recent. Mind, I had thought the prize Al Gore shared was with the head of the IPCC (I guess symbolically, then, and in the face of diverse views within that organisation), and by what I understand, the views of S Fred Singer are not exactly going hand in hand with with Mr. Gore's, are they? Hence trying to work out the definitions of winning that 'accolade' (it has of course been called into question as being more a means of sending political messages rather than signifying any objective values) and the provenance it (or most other cited substantiations these days) bestows, and who gets to share them, just got very murky. To me at least.

I have to say that some aspects of what he is quoted as saying here do resonate. There often does seem a rather over-egged desire to see in every aspect of climate a rather dire reason. And then a green solution comes along that can sometimes be sold more on its perceived greenness than any actual value to our futures. The AGW victim du jour on Breakfast TV was Puffins, I think. Such things don't really help if it turns out that colony numbers ebb and flow just as do the tides... or climate... over certain periods. I have also just left a debate on vegetarianism where I pondered the effect such enforced policies might have on such as the poster kids of saving the planet, such as polar bears or tigers.

The key is to look at the trends over more significant periods, and then do whatever we can to identify causes... and practical, sensible solutions.

Oh well, I guess it shows debate is alive, and healthy. I just hope we are not going to be subjected now to too much more on the absolutes of the A in AGW... or not... such that worthwhile tangible efforts, which we might not have the time to afford, get further delayed. An inevitable penalty of a flawed system I guess, but with luck it's still the best we have. If not, the future may have just got even more 'interesting'.

Addendum 2 -

It seems very clear that the description 'Nobel Prize Winner' was an exaggeration, though down to whom I am still not sure. And for sure that needs correcting. What has been a worry to me is that almost every response I have seen has been to tackle the man and not the argument; with some going so far as to say that no dissenting positions should be allowed or given exposure. Not, I would suggest, the most sensible way to avoid the notion that there are those who think they know better what is got for the rest. And that, especially in the Internet age, does tend to backfire.

Silly Question

Newsnight - Energy Policy

16. At 11:58 am on 29 May 2008, bookhimdano :energy policy

There's the rub. Who knows? And why do the majority of the population (inc. me) not?

The German example you share seems inspirational, proactive, positive and profitable.

Yet, apparently... 'the uk govt refuse to have a two way grid as they do not believe there is any evidence it would work'.

Now belief is all well and subjective. Surely to heavens it is not beyond the wit of media to help us get to find out what the actual facts and/or truth is? Then the people can lobby for what is good for pocket... and planet.

I would dearly love some clear information and discussion on this (and others), and not a 'tis/t'isn't twofer with extremes from the dogmatic activist or box-ticker/lobbyist/subsidy junkie end of a debate.

And even if we do get actual engineers and/or number crunchers, if they still have opposing viewpoints might we hope for a host with experience and training enough to actually get to definitive answers we can act/vote on than a 'that's all we have time for' ratings segment that gets filed and forgotten in days?