Monbiot smacks head first into reality

George Monbiot has published a story in the Guardian with a strong dose of reality:

He goes on to say that maybe it’s time to give up “magical thinking”.

I hope that by laying out the problem I can encourage us to address it more logically, to abandon magical thinking and to recognise the contradictions we confront.

I’ll say. While I disagree with a lot of what Monbiot says, he does know enough not to lie to himself when things really aren’t going in his favor. He also hits on why the green/warmist movement is becoming so unpopular:

It is a campaign not for abundance but for austerity. It is a campaign not for more freedom but for less. Strangest of all, it is a campaign not just against other people, but against ourselves.

Monbiot does have some realist sense about him, so I find it encouraging that he’s writing about the pickle the greens and warmists find themselves in. I recall during Climategate when he was the first to come out with a statement saying that the issue needs to be addressed square on:

Confronted with crisis, most of the environmentalists I know have gone into denial. The emails hacked from the Climatic Research Unit (CRU) at the University of East Anglia, they say, are a storm in a tea cup, no big deal, exaggerated out of all recognition. It is true that climate change deniers have made wild claims which the material can’t possibly support (the end of global warming, the death of climate science). But it is also true that the emails are very damaging.

The response of the greens and most of the scientists I know is profoundly ironic, as we spend so much of our time confronting other people’s denial. Pretending that this isn’t a real crisis isn’t going to make it go away. Nor is an attempt to justify the emails with technicalities. We’ll be able to get past this only by grasping reality, apologising where appropriate and demonstrating that it cannot happen again.

And, as he wrote there, many have continued with the “storm in a tea cup, no big deal, exaggerated out of all recognition” meme. Except the public knows better, and warmists are losing, and losing big. His article this week though is well worth a read, because he’s pretty well come to the conclusion that warmists and greens have painted themselves into a corner with demanding energy policy changes, while providing for no alternatives of substance, and the public is having none of it.

All of us in the environment movement, in other words – whether we propose accommodation, radical downsizing or collapse – are lost. None of us yet has a convincing account of how humanity can get out of this mess.

Dogged reality bites – coming soon to an election near you. Canada this week, Australia soon, and the USA in 2012.

The way out, George, is the same as the way in. Let the free market decide. Shoving mandates down peoples throats like that dimwitted liar Julia Gillard is trying to do in Australia simply won’t work, and she’ll find herself knocked on her butt come next election. She must think people are too stupid to notice or care. People will embrace energy saving technology, but it takes time. And, the solution must have more value, not less. The modern world wasn’t built in 100 days, and neither will the postmodern.

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121 thoughts on “Monbiot smacks head first into reality

  1. “Canada this week, Australia soon, and the USA in 2012.”

    Unfortunately, unless we can somehow FORCE an election here, down-under, its actually quite a while until the next election.. and if we can’t stop this idiotic tax, I suspect a whole lot of economic pain as well.

  2. Further.. if money isn’t wasted now on such costly idiocies as wind turbines, solar farms and other money sinks, there will be more funds available to investigate more economically sensible alternatives, should they ever really be needed.

  3. I think there will be a ‘lag’ in the response of green-centered MSM as the defeat becomes obvious to THEM. It’s probably obvious to them now, but it will take a while to come out of denial. Like someone noted in the previous post about Lund University, do they look out the window? They spend so much time pushing the flagging agenda, that they don’t notice that decomposition has set in, and that the vultures are circling.

  4. The pity of the Australian situation is that too many scientists contributed to public confusion. For all I know – because there are many scientists here more specialised than I am – many of the scientists copping some criticism might be quite correct. However, there are likely to be some who have been incorrect, yet they have failed to retract hypotheses when they discovered them to be wrong.
    The political mess is one matter, but of more concern is the strange philosophy of scientists who guard their data, do not seek outside help to improve it and do no write corrections. Their unswaying obedience to the mantra is behind the strength of the political response.
    We are used to erratic decisions from generalist politicians, but we are filled with trepidation if future generations of scientists do not learn how to conduct themselves with professionalism.

  5. “People will embrace energy saving technology, but it takes time. And, the solution must have more value, not less.”

    Exactly. I do not in the least claim to be an environmentalist. I think it is a polluted word. But I bought a used natural gas powered car with a state of Utah $2,500 tax credit and fill it with $1.27 per gallon fuel. I bought a fuel-efficient furnace. I recently added insulation to my home with a tax credit.

    Why? Zero thought for the environment but all about saving myself money.

    Frame your argument in terms of real economic savings for the individual, if you can. Not some nebulous future global environment disaster.

  6. Gee! If only George Monbiot were to read Bob Carter’s book (as well as other excellent publications, of course) maybe he would realise that burning fossil fuels is not such a problem.

  7. Monbiot, like Trenberth, occasionally touches base with solid reality. Not often enough, unfortunately.

    Instead of chasing fairies in the bottom of the garden, how about solving real problems: hunger, malaria, and bad water in the Third World? The present economic crisis, despite the rosy picture painted by politicians, is still with us. The eco-nut movement is proposing to attack waste with…more waste, in a grim, grey Socialist hell. .

  8. “The way out, George, is the same as the way in. Let the free market decide. ”

    Amen, Brother, Amen!!!! And ‘Don’t let the free market hit ya, on the way out!’

  9. There are only 4 forces in nature.
    Man’s worst inventions are still Greed and the Lust for Power, neither of which advances any hope of a brighter future.

  10. Good observations, Anthony. Much of my problem with the greens is how they attempt to force things to happen that can only happen naturally, over time, as events change (I often tell one of my favorite environmentalist friends that “you can’t force the love”).

    We still, believe it or not, have plenty of oil, plenty of natural gas, plenty of opportunities to employ nuclear power, water power. As long as these things exist, and can be produced and distributed economically, there will be NO economical alternatives that anyone can persuade anyone to adopt. It is the nature of our modern society. Only when the horizon genuinely changes will there be a real ability to focus on alternatives. That, I say, is at least 200 years (if not more) down the road.

    Creating a phony crisis to get people to adopt your policy solutions, at great expense and loss of freedom, is at best a charade. At its worst, it is Communism, Fascism, and Pol Pot-ism all wrapped into one.

  11. Oh the irony!

    History shows us that wherever large-scale collapse has occurred, psychopaths take over. ….

    All of us in the environment movement, in other words – whether we propose accommodation, radical downsizing or collapse – are lost.

    This part is good for what it realizes is missing, but still misses the big stuff.
    Simon Fairlie …. exposes a remarkable but seldom noticed problem: that most of those who advocate an off-grid, land-based economy have made no provision for manufactures. … I’m talking about the energy required to make bricks, glass, metal tools and utensils, textiles, ceramics and soap: commodities that almost everyone sees as the barest possible requirements.

    Somehow he does not mention all the wind turbines, photovoltaic panels, DC/AC inverters, and all the high tech computerized grid monitoring equipment to make them all play nice. Going 100% renewable will be a very high tech world, unless your plan is to live like it was 1650.

  12. The problem for the Australian prime minister is that she wants to have her way (to tax human sourced carbon dioxide emissions) AND to have a consensus on this issue, before she acts.

    That is proving rather difficult when 60% of the population now oppose such a tax and their numbers are swelling daily as people catch on to what’s involved.

    There is however an elephant in the room.
    The idea is that this proposed tax is not the end, merely the first bitter episode.
    The idea is that the tax will be increased year by year, until the electricity generators fail and shut down, until the bulk of road and rail transport rust away and all farm animals are banned.
    A low carbon future awaits.

    Yum yum.
    Goodie goody.

    What will crack first?
    The ecomony?
    The Green – Independents – Labor coalition?
    The Prime minister’s resolve?

    Politics in Australia is very interesting at the moment.
    (In the meanwhile the strength of our national ecomomy hangs on a slende thread.)
    Will common sense come charging in to save us all at the last moment?
    Watch this space – do NOT fall asleep!
    This is fun.

  13. I do believe that G.M. is sincere in wanting what is best for the environment, AND humankind, hence his willingness to support nuclear power. Ironically, though very much a CAGW skeptic, I like the “believers” agree that we need to end our dependence on fossil fuels, albeit on a different timescale.

    As an alternative to coal, that we should be pursuing nuclear energy is a no-brainer. Perhaps by working with people like George we could have a sensible outcome, even if we disagree about the models. There have been stranger bedfellows.

  14. Anthony, I thought you showed admirable restraint in your description of Julia Gillard (via Andrew Bolt). Many of us down under would have gone further – a lot further.

    Keep on punching – the blows are starting to tell.

  15. Quite frankly, Moonbat and the Greens tend to give man more power than he has.
    A good VE8 eruption, a X class Solar flare, Coronal Mass Ejections, i.e. a Carrington
    type event. Humbling when you think about it…
    Japan’s Earth quake is a good example…

  16. A quick cautionary tale, why I’m no longer a believer in big government!

    As A Canadian I care about Australia and it’s future.

    We Canadians have always identified with Australians, and we have suffered for many years with the Leftist tax and spend government’s, public broadcasters (CBC) like ABC who always spin the socialist line.
    They have longed for Cap and Trade and Carbon taxes. And they love and sign up for every pronouncement and regulation that comes out of the UN and the IPPC, the EU or the loony Global warming the end is near crowd?
    Our governments have been determined control us though punitive tax and fees schemes starting with the liberals (socialists in sheep’s clothing) in the late 1960s, they invented big government, big spending, interference with our lives and huge crippling deficits.
    Till the IMF called and told Canada it was weeks away from going broke just like in New Zealand.
    We went through years of austerity, a collapsing 56% dollar, higher taxes and no increase in wages and sky-high prices for everything FOR 15 YEARS!!
    We have had a Minority government for some time and it is NOT the way to go for ANY Country financially (Witness most of Europe) Leftist government’s always go the same root and are always the first in line to commit the long suffering taxpayers to crazy tax and spend scams, as is happening in Australia today.
    We Canadians have dodged the global warming bullet/nuts, and now have a steady majority Conservative government and no crazy Carbon Tax / ETS plans for the next 4 + years, thank god.
    Good luck Australia and America, you’re going to needs it for all our sakes!
    Best wishes to all.
    Dave.

  17. The potential for clean, renewable energy generation is almost unlimited. The Sahara Desert alone receives enough solar radiation to, theoretically at least, meet the world’s energy needs 1000 times over. Don’t like Solar? Take your pick from Nuclear, Hydro-electric. Wind, Wave or Tidal power. It’s all out there.

    The problems as of now are cost, collection, storage and distribution. Technological solutions to these problems almost certainly exist, and seeking out these solutions should the world’s No.1 priority. If George Monbiot would like to move the debate in this direction, he will have my full support (Yikes!)

    The potential rewards are enormous – a utopia of cheap, clean renewable energy for all. The people win. the environment wins and, best of all, the polarised and possibly unsolvable debate, about man’s impact on the Earth’s climate, becomes pretty much irrelevant.

    (Reading this back, I think I must have over-dosed on Kool-Aid.) Sorry.

  18. Monbiot is an engaging personality (on TV) who writes really well but I don’t buy his gloomy vision of our future as fossil fuels become more and more expensive.

    Not long ago paleo-Monbiots were predicting dire consequences owing to the diminishing availability of the whale oil that was used for lighting. The predictions were entirely wrong as kerosene turned out to be an excellent substitute for whale oil at a tenth of the price.

    Monbiot’s vision of our energy future will also be proved entirely wrong. My guess is that electricity generated by nuclear power will fill the gap when fossil fuels fail us.

  19. Following the GFC it seems ‘austerity politics’ is the norm worldwide (well at least in the moribund developed countries). Who isn’t belt tightening? The present UK government seems like a case in point, if the US legislature can get something agreed it’s going to be on similar lines. I had started thinking that the misanthropic, austerity politics of the greens would have started to chime with a wider audience given the times we are living through. I guess there’s only a certain amount of room on that particular bandwagon.

  20. In the end Monbiot stills shows that he is at heart a Green with the “the planet’s real nightmare: not too little fossil fuel – but too much

    He wants us to have to ration. He wants us to have to live less well. He wants us to deny to the Third World the advantages we have.

    At heart he is in the hair shirt brigade. The Middle Ages had flagellants, and we have Greens. They want to hurt, and they want us all to hurt with them.

    And, just like the flagellants, their evidence is as much faith based as reality based.

    It’s not CAGW that is the real danger, but the idea that it would be good for the world to regress. That somehow doing with less is more moral. That suffering is inherently good.

  21. Monbiot shouldn’t be given any credibility, he’s come out with too much dross in the past to be taken anywhere near seriously. He’s also guilty of ensuring that some comments made to his blog never got published (not mine, I hasten to add). The man is as guilty of alarming the public and letting them believe complete nonsense as many others – and must be remembered for this. Back-peddling now is not good enough George.

  22. Werner Brozek
    “UK recorded its lowest temperature for 25 years”

    Maybe it was in December last year, but I heard on the wireless this morning that the UK has a heatwave and bush fires, no rain in sight.

  23. The Moonbat’s piece reveals a previously unsuspected gift for humour.

    Or at least, I ASSUME it is humour.

    It certainly had me laughing until I was gasping for breath.

    He suffers from a similar problem to the Royal Academy of Engineering report:-

    http://www.raeng.org.uk/news/releases/shownews.htm?NewsID=553

    Mind boggling conclusions. But no check of the reality of the initial premise.

  24. When Monbiot thinks he has he upper hand he abuses whatever power and influence he thinks he has to the fullest extent. When he gets slapped down he cowers in the corner pretending to be a victim of errorsome humanity.

    Worse than a politician.

  25. UNPOPULAR I went on to a newspaper forum I used to frequent a couple of years ago. Then I was the only sceptic amongst a couple of dozen active alarmists.

    Now, there are a couple of alarmists (one I think has a financial interest in wind so maybe only one actual believer) and everyone and I mean everyone else is sceptic. The world is now so full of us sceptics that there is hardly anywhere left to have a decent argument with an alarmist!

    And very relevant to the story, the news count for “global warming”, which used to be around 20,000 (2007) which dropped to 10,000 before climategate and is now in the low 5000s; it is now at severe risk of being overtaken by the “peak oil” newscount which is now at 4000.

    Why is this important? First, it was my naive attempt to add a link to peak oil from global warming on Wikipedia which showed me the true nature of the warmists: lying deceitful manipulative bullyboys. Second: I’m officially calling the global warming scam to have died its natural death when the “global warming” news count drops below “peak oil”. At the current rate, I think that will happen in the next couple of months … then of course we can all moan about the peak oil alarmism and the way the wind lobby are now trying to push the scare of peak oil in order to secure future subsidies … but, at least oil will run out, whereas it is still far from certain that CO2 will cause harmful warming.

  26. Anthony,

    “dimwitted liar” is such an uncharitable way to refer to poor Julia Gillard. She is destroying herself and immolating the Labor party. We should call her…. “Our secret weapon!!!” No one has helped clarify things like Ms. Gillard. You go girl!

  27. “Mark A says:
    May 4, 2011 at 11:12 pm”

    Bush fires in the UK, yes that is correct however, just like in Australia most summers, most of those fires were started by arsonists.

  28. gallopingcamel says: May 4, 2011 at 10:33 pm

    “Not long ago paleo-Monbiots were predicting dire consequences owing to the diminishing availability of the whale oil that was used for lighting. The predictions were entirely wrong as kerosene turned out to be an excellent substitute for whale oil at a tenth of the price.”

    Gallopingcamel, by a series of dumb luck, our civilisation has found more and more energy supplies: coal, oil and nuclear. It is therefore understandable that people have the belief that when one source of fuel runs out, that there will magically (“as always”) be another source of fuel. After all it simply isn’t possible to conceive of a Western economy without the energy to run it … and therefore, most people assume, there must be another form of energy just around the corner when our current energy supplies run out.

    Well … that’s about as stupid a logic as saying: “CO2 must have some impact on planet earth” … both are entirely irrational

    Now, I’m not saying peak oil will be the end of the Western civilisation (more accurately “modern” civilisation), but neither can I honestly say it won’t. To me, peak oil doesn’t so much mean the end of oil: it means the end of known supplies of oil … it means we are moving from the known, certain world of established supplies, to the uncertain world of diminishing known supplies and a huge big unknown as to how our demand for oil can be satisfied by unknown supplies.

    At one end, it is entirely conceivable that the Arab countries have been vastly overstating their oil reserves, that shale oil is only enerconic in small pockets, and that wind, nuclear and all other fuels are entirely inadequate to fill the demand for oil leading to a rapid run on coal, which itself has had the best reserves dug out. On a worst scenario, we are talking mass starvation (food production uses huge amounts of oil), armies of billions of people trying to secure food/energy and a series of regional wars heading rapidly to WWIII. At the other end of the scale is: “business as usual”. (I.e. people who are at heart global warmist’s in that they actually believe we can: “continue using fossil fuels at the current rate … and the worst that will happen is some warmer weather”)

    Personally, I’m in the camp that says: “We really have to understand the true extent of our future energy supplies … forget I’ll Kidya, forget global warming, forget Libya, Israel, etc. … the megalosaurus in the dunny is that we simply have no idea where the key energy supplies that sustain our western economy will come from in the next few decades let alone the next century. The real crime of global warming is that if we had spent even a fraction of the money wasted on this global warming nonsense, we would by now have had a very clear idea of what practical energy supplies are available for the next century.

    And you know what! Sometime I wonder whether global warming was deliberately stoked up by some government(s) or some oil suppliers either to hide the nature of peak oil, or to provide a smoke screen to e.g. secure all the available oil reserves before other countries cottoned on to the fake nature of global warming and the true nature of peak oil

    And who are the big alarmist nations!! The US and the UK. So as a true patriot, should I just hope that the secret service of our countries have all got a cunning plan … somehow I think not!

  29. Mark A says:
    May 4, 2011 at 11:12 pm

    Werner Brozek
    “UK recorded its lowest temperature for 25 years”

    Maybe it was in December last year, but I heard on the wireless this morning that the UK has a heatwave and bush fires, no rain in sight.

    That’s just typical British weather; rain forecast for the next few days btw.

  30. I think in George Monbiot we are seeing a conversion. His column re a debate between himself and Helen Caldicott, beginning…Over the last fortnight I’ve made a deeply troubling discovery. The anti-nuclear movement to which I once belonged has misled the world about the impacts of radiation on human health…is a staggering recantation, and shows that the whole green edifice is about to fall.

    I will certainly not refer to him in derogatory terms on my blog, and imagine that the green wrath descending on him will inspire further soul searching on his part.

    see…http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2011/apr/05/anti-nuclear-lobby-misled-world/print

  31. Monbiot: It is a campaign not for abundance but for austerity. It is a campaign not for more freedom but for less. Strangest of all, it is a campaign not just against other people, but against ourselves.

    Well, that just about sums up socialism. I wonder if he’ll get the reality of that next.

  32. Martin Brumby says: May 4, 2011 at 11:35 pm

    “The Moonbat’s piece … had me laughing until I was gasping for breath.

    He suffers from a similar problem to the Royal Academy of Engineering report:-
    http://www.raeng.org.uk/news/releases/shownews.htm?NewsID=553

    Martin Brumby,

    I don’t understand your comment. If you are saying the premise is that we have to cut fossil fuel BECAUSE of global warming, then I entirely agree with you. But the conclusion is more “if we are to meet this … then the implication is this”:

    “Whatever happens in the future, we need to recognise that the changes required to the UK energy system required in order to meet the 2050 emissions reduction targets are so substantial that they will inevitably involve significant rises in energy cost to end users.”

    This is simply a statement of fact. If anyone were stupid enough to try to proactively reduce energy use (which is extremely closely correlated to GDP so in effect “try to reduce GDP”), then they will certainly have a mega huge problem trying to do so. Which is born out by the way all previous attempts in this area have been abysmal failures (and in my opinion will continue to be so)

    The key to the problem is in the connection between GDP and energy use. The problem is that people seem to think that they can create new economic activity to reduce energy use. Because energy and GDP are so closely linked, this is really saying: “create more economic activity to reduce economic activity”.

    The kind of nonsense is exemplified by attempts to introduce “energy saving” schemes. What is the effect of saving energy? It is to save energy usage and therefore money! And what do people do with the money they save? They spend it! And so, from spending money/energy on e.g. electricity, they go to spending money/energy on extra holidays. The net result is not to reduce energy usage, but to transfer energy consumption from one area (electricity) to another (foreign holidays, luxury goods in China). Indeed, some naive civil servants might actually believe that energy efficiency works in their country because their energy usage is going down, but the reality is that manufacturing is going abroad, people are spending money abroad rather than at home, and in the end the result is the present economic mess of the US, UK, etc.

    The truth is that reducing energy usage is simple:
    1. Reduce population
    2. Reduce standard of living

  33. The following quotes demonstrate why the AGW is living in a windmill fantasy world.

    Monbiot
    “We’ll be able to get past this only by grasping reality, apologising where appropriate and demonstrating that it cannot happen again.”

    Monbiot
    “All of us in the environment movement, in other words – whether we propose accommodation, radical downsizing or collapse – are lost. None of us yet has a convincing account of how humanity can get out of this mess.”

    Anthony Watts
    “People will embrace energy saving technology, but it takes time. And, the solution must have more value, not less. The modern world wasn’t built in 100 days, and neither will the postmodern.”

    WUWT and other excellent sites have demonsrated, time and again, that their ‘solutions’ are naive / disingenuous and people, like Turkeys, will never vote for Christmas. This is why the AGW movement is acting in a wild and desperate manner.

    For the record George Monbiot, like his fellow Warmist Dr. James Lovelock, is pro-nuclear.

  34. Here is more candour from George Monbiot – the self-confessed hypocrite.

    “Show me an environmentalist, and I will show you a hypocrite.”

    ““Consumer democracy”, “voluntary simplicity” and “mindful living” have proved to be a disastrous distraction from the political battle. They don’t work for all sorts of reasons, but above all because of the staggering hypocrisy of well-meaning people.”
    Source: Monbiot.com

  35. And finally……………………..George Monbiot should stop listening to idiotic climate scientists otherwise he will continue to make failed predictions.

    George Monbiot – 2005
    “The freezes this country suffered in 1982 and 1963 are – unless the Gulf Stream stops – unlikely to recur. Our summers will be long and warm. Across most of the upper northern hemisphere, climate change, so far, has been kind to us.”

    http://www.monbiot.com/archives/2005/02/15/mocking-our-dreams/

    Then the reality smacks head first.
    UK winter snow since 2007

    Evening Standard – 8 February 2007
    “Airports close as snow brings travel chaos to Britain”

    UPI – 2 December 2008
    “Early snow blanketed much of Britain Tuesday,…”

    Guardian – 2 February 2009
    “Transport hit as UK wakes to heaviest snow in decades

    BBC – 7 January 2010
    “Frozen Britain seen from above”

    Reuters – 13 January 2010
    “Britain, shivering through its coldest winter in three decades…”

    BBC – 25 November 2010
    “The earliest widespread snowfall for 17 years has gripped many parts of the UK.”

  36. Another jeremiad from one of Britain’s leading miserablists, dismayed that the economic collapse he so yearns for has not yet happened.
    Human beings are a plaque on the Earth.

    My God, he’s seen with his very own eyes people in east Africa, deprived of paraffin and kerosene, actually cut down trees rather than give up cooking!
    This example apparently ” illustrates that wherever large-scale collapse has occurred ['collapse' is used 6 times], psychopaths take over “. He sounds as loopy as ever.

    It will get to the stage when Monbiot and his ilk will have forgotten why they want to decarbonize everything, along the lines of Santayana’s famous quote.

  37. Monbiot is not a stupid man. The scales fell from his eyes after “Climategate” and he has been shiftily rowing back ever since from his pre-Climategate hysteria about CO2. Not easy, considering what a rabid frother he was at that time.

    However, as others have said here, I too will not forget his journalism and neither, fortunately, will the Internet.

    Particularly unforgiveable was his “Top Ten Climate Deniers” article.

    Revenge is a dish best served cold…..or at least with some statistically significant cooling.

  38. WATCH THE BLACK SWAN!

    Google : Andrea Rossi E-CAT Bologna University LENR CANR

    Since January my Google Alerts have increased to at leasst three a day and the Chairman of the Swedish Sceptics Society is convinced.

  39. If it was not for CO2 there would be NO life on Earth. Monbiot still does not believe this simple fact. His new stance is not a softening of beliefs but another way to persuade people that the ‘greens’ are correct.

  40. The comments in the Guardian nearly all mention population control and this surely is the ultimate aim of ‘environmentalists’.
    I am not a conspiracy theorist but I have heard the suggestion that ‘global players’ above government level have pushed and financed cAGW as a way of reducing population via limiting energy, particularly to the developing world.
    Liquid fluoride thorium reactors or some other nuclear technology is the way to go.

  41. I must admit that my solar powered water heating, insulation and renewable energy source ( I burn coppiced ash) has saved me a fortune in energy bills. I also like growing my own food and keep livestock. Am I an environmentalist or a clever capitalist? I think climate change science has been badly undermined by vested interests, does that make me a denier? Maybe it’s time we stopped using these words as the dividing line becomes more fuzzy. While some posters really worry about renewable energy and condemn it at every opportunity, it can be really useful, and anyone who condemns it on principle without thinking it through is behaving just as badly as any mad warmist crusty at Glastonbury. If it works, use it and don’t worry to much about your image or politics. You have the worlds full permission to be an evironmentalist/skeptic/green/republican/conservative activist if you want. I’ll even send you a permission slip.

  42. There is no such thing as peak oil as supply and demand are always balanced by price until it runs out which it never does for the same reason. The correct solution for population and energy supply is the market and politicians should stay out of it if they want to see solutions.

  43. @David, UK
    Yes, read some of the comments on the MB piece. Most advocate population control as a solution to the problem. It’s ironic because they’re using the very same ‘magic thinking’ that Monbiot complains of.

  44. rbateman says:
    May 4, 2011 at 8:39 pm

    There are only 4 forces in nature.
    Man’s worst inventions are still Greed and the Lust for Power, neither of which advances any hope of a brighter future.

    There is a video out on youtube of Milton Friedman about Greed. Puts it in another light altogether, well worth watching

  45. #
    Best of the Best: Milton Friedman – Greed

    29/10/2007 · Milton Friedman was an American Nobel Laureate economist and public intellectual. An advocate of economic freedom and personal liberty, Friedman made major contributions …
    bestofthebestvideos.blogspot.com/2007/10/​milton-friedman-greed.html

  46. I put the quote make in the wrong place in my post above: ….illustrates that “wherever large-scale collapse…”.

  47. Mark A says:
    May 4, 2011 at 11:12 pm
    Werner Brozek
    “UK recorded its lowest temperature for 25 years”

    Maybe it was in December last year, but I heard on the wireless this morning that the UK has a heatwave and bush fires, no rain in sight.

    The night before last in East Anglia the temp fell to -5.8°C (minus 5.8). The coldest MAY night for 15 years. It is a prime example of how H²O affects night temps. Dry air is very cold at night because the CO² “trapped heat” is passed directly into space.

  48. Gareth Phillips says:
    May 5, 2011 at 2:27 am

    Your actions make you a sensible resource scavenger for the benefit of your pocket and all credit to you. However, in many towns throughout the world people do not have the land / space to do what you are doing or the money to invest in the necessary infrastructure. Fuel is about supplying energy to all on the same equitable basis which is impossible using the greenie beenie approach. Coppiced wood won’t grow in the Sahal or Sahara or cannot been grown where their lives depend on having food avaible all year round and no supermarket for a few hundred miles.

  49. I cannot count the number of times I have said this but I will say it just one more time.

    Journalists like politicans have 2 skills, lying and deceiving. Sometimes they do both to themselves. Monbiot has been doing both for too long. We, the world, have no need of his prognostications and no need of his (what is the word in english?) public self -flagelation ? Anthony, I know you are a very generous person but you should ignore Monbiot and the Grauniad they have nothing to say of interest.

  50. Well … that’s about as stupid a logic as saying: “CO2 must have some impact on planet earth” … both are entirely irrational

    Mike

    You need to explain this. Why must CO² have an impact on the planet? Why must energy run out? You are being irrational unless you can explain both of these assumptions through definitive scientific explanations. To my knowledge, non exists and I have been a degree physicist since 1978.

  51. Julia Gillard is neither dim witted (though I admit she ‘sounds’ dim witted) nor a liar.
    Julia is an intelligent middle ranking beaurocrat politician. She had to be consistently cunning if not clever, to be chosen by the party cabal that (for reasons so lost in the mists of time it would be pointless to even begin explaining…read ‘The Wild Men of Sydney’ for an account of the origins of NSW politics between the late 19th and early 20th Centuries) she had to be clever and charismatic to be chosen by the ‘faceless men’.
    And no she’s not lying either she is reading from the script provided and sometimes you can actually hear that she is clawing desperately at the failing narrative the ‘faceless men’ have provided her.
    It’s the green/independents that maintain her government that are truly going to be put to the cross come the next elections.
    We’ve had a cool wet summer and now the cold is setting in and for those who might think otherwise, it does get cold in Australia and just as it gets cold Julia must deliver some laws or regulations to mitigate ‘climate change’ which is ABC code for GLOBALWARMING; but the carbon tax is slaughtering her in the polls…all of the polls and the surge of public concern, which was so effectively exploited during the recent drought and forest fires has faded.
    No wonder sea levels are ‘levelling off’ , weather systems have dumped billions of tons of water into and onto Australia just recently.
    And Australians being fundamentally sensible folk have witnessed this cyclical shift in climate…and only the very looniest…and those in the media who have been so rabidly evangelising ‘climate change’ for so long that to turn back now would mean the collapse of what little credibility they might have possesed as journalists. They’re the only voices you hear now…fading and growing fainter.
    Phew!

  52. Piffle,
    Monbiot and his ilk have just shifted in discomfort with the recent facts on the gross and inhumane suffering by women and children mostly in developing regions and nations.

    But Monbiot et al are well entrenched in the cities, where they have always been holed. Now these same misanthropes have long been become entrenched and employed in the nanny state (and local government) with their capacity for anti-development, spreading housing in greenfields and deliberate and population capping of our cities.

    Paul Keating in ‘muesli-chewer’ blast at Sydney mayor Clover Moore
    FORMER prime minister Paul Keating has launched a colourful attack on Sydney Lord Mayor Clover Moore, labelling her a supporter of “sandal-wearing, muesli-chewing, bike-riding pedestrians”.

    source: http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/nation/paul-keating-in-muesli-chewer-blast-at-sydney-mayor-clover-moore/story-e6frg6nf-1226050623430

    Naughty Nannies

    Background to Hon Paul Keating, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paul_Keating Barangaroo http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Barangaroo,_New_South_Wales and Clover Moore http://www.clovermoore.com.au/
    Monbiot should have stuck being a scrub scout in emergency surgery of outback Africa for a few months.

  53. Poor George, he’s been writing tosh for the Grauniad for so long, he’s in a difficult spot trying to realign himself.
    He got it right on Climategate, he knew right then that it AGW was a fraud, and he’s been slowly repositioning himself for ages, each new post reaffirming his credentials as a green, while at the same time pointing out how wrong green policies and solutions are.

    Sorry George, your new clothing is a welcome sight, but your credibility is still very doubtful, especially when you continue to use insulting references to “deniers”.

  54. So, essentially, a hippie can start out with sounding all rational with a logical reasoning but come the end they can’t but come out suffering the worst case of hubris.

    How can they, the poor fellows in the communist hippie, err green, movement save us all from them, err, ourself, and the weed, err green, garden of Gaia too?

    Here’s a thought: Maybe they could start out small, say by saving the good folks of North Korea from their evil smurf masters. Would probably be a tad bit more manageable project. And besides the hip(pie) green movement seem to be on the same hubris page as the overlord smurfs, which would make things easier in the rainbow communication department.

    Anyone know why the early adopters of the LED based screen technology consited mostly of hippies in the weed movement?

    F O U R B I L L I O N C O L O R S :p

  55. It’s May 5 and Monobot surrenders.
    Heheh, I predicted this, I’m a fricking prophet:

    “John Silver says:
    November 11, 2010 at 9:22 am

    Die Ökofascisten are getting desperate.
    Don’t worry, this is just like the Battle of the Bulge, cruel but irrelevant for the outcome in the end. By May next year, they will surrender.”

  56. “Dimwitted Liar Julia Gillard”

    Wow. Spoken like a man of science.

    So you think Monbiot recognizes denial when he sees it? What does he think o f WUWT then? Why don’t you ask him, Anthony. Or is it the same as with scientists: You only back them when they support you view of the world?

    The last couple of paragraphs demonstrate what this site is really about: self-interested politics.

  57. It occurred to me many years ago that the austere lifestyle the Greens demand of everyone else is, in reality, a demand that Man ignores his basic drive to invent and build clever stuff and to experience pure unalloyed joy. Watching children inventing stuff to play imaginative games with is not only fascinating, but a real pointer to Mans’ real nature. Children automatically understand and accept that the world is an exciting place, if sometimes a bit scary; the child in all of us will lead to all sorts of wonderful discoveries and inventions in the unknown future, but the Greens all seem to be born with a major genetic mutation which makes them instinctive joyless control freaks and bullies without the wit to see that their aims and aspirations are basically both inhuman and inhumane.
    I am convinced that Mans’ natural state is a joyfull quest for ways to enrich our individual and group existence. This is a reality that Greens can’t get their heads around, but hopefully, like every other maladpatation throughout the long sweep of evolution, they will eventually disappear from the world.

  58. @Mike Haseler says: May 5, 2011 at 12:29 am

    “Martin Brumby says: May 4, 2011 at 11:35 pm

    “Martin Brumby,

    I don’t understand your comment. If you are saying the premise is that we have to cut fossil fuel BECAUSE of global warming, then I entirely agree with you. But the conclusion is more “if we are to meet this … then the implication is this””

    No, my comment was that a bunch of highly qualified and competent Engineers (OK, several with ‘alternative energy’ interests) produced a report (in essence) on the implications of complying with the then fairly recently enacted Climate Change Act 2008. This requires an 80% reduction in CO2 emissions by 2050.

    (Note that Monbiot refers – with approval? – both in his 2 May piece and in his 5 May follow up to the Zero Carbon Britain 2030 “Report” which was penned by a bunch of nutters including Geoffrey Houghton and which espouses the idea of ZERO emissions, without nuclear, by 2030)

    Now the RAE report, having given a serious analysis of the legal requirement of the Act, comes up with various prescriptions, largely depending on by how much current demand for energy can be curtailed. The prescriptions they give are absolutely mind boggling in their potential cost and, (even if you neglect little details like how ineffective so-called renewable energy solutions have so far proved to be) it is far from clear that they could physically be achieved almost regardless of cost.

    This I described as:-

    “Mind boggling conclusions. But no check of the reality of the initial premise.”

    Their premise in this case being that there was a real problem with CO2 emissions and that this problem needs to be solved and further that it needs to be solved in accordance with the ludicrous ‘legal’ requirements of the 2008 Act.

    In the case of Moonbat, he is starting (apparently) to realise some of the consequences of his belief system (and it IS a belief system, underpinned by extremely shonky pseudo science) and has been forced to admit that some of the consequences are not only really bad news by any sensible reckoning (destruction of treasured landscape for the erection of BigWind, destruction of manufacturing industry and a return to ‘living off the land’) but are politically unachievable unless we are to live in a state like North Korea.

    He has questioned (and now belatedly rejects) his belief that his Greenie chums’ attacks on nuclear power are scientifically defensible.

    He still can’t stand to question his beliefs that CO2 is really a major problem, nor that BigWind provides useful and affordable energy. He thus finds himself in a cleft stick. His conclusions must seem risible even to himself but (like the RAE Engineers) he can’t bear to question whether his starting point is sensible.

    My reaction is to roll on the floor laughing. If I was more charitable towards him (unfortunately, I don’t, due to his past behaviour, for example towards Ian Plimer and his childish climate deniers deck of cards) I might content myself with a face palm moment.

  59. On the one hand, it is really refreshing to see a Greenie ‘fess up to the irrationality of the Green position. However, what I find remarkable about Monbiot’s article is that it is darker than the idea of blowing up school children. Consider the following:

    “And even if there were an immediate economic cataclysm, it’s not clear that the result would be a decline in our capacity for destruction. In east Africa, for example, I’ve seen how, when supplies of paraffin or kerosene are disrupted, people don’t give up cooking; they cut down more trees. History shows us that wherever large-scale collapse has occurred, psychopaths take over. This is hardly conducive to the rational use of natural assets.”

    Monbiot is quite willing to consider economic cataclysm as a partial solution of humanity’s “capacity for destruction” [of the environment]. Monbiot does not reject pursuit of economic cataclysm because it would be, well, cataclysmic for humanity but because it would be ineffective; that is, that awful humanity stuff would just squish out elsewhere and continue its destruction. Has there ever been a darker vision of humanity? Given this vision, mitigation of humanity’s impact on the environment cannot be the goal of the Green movement. On this view, mitigation is comparable to installing a breathalyzer in the automobile of an enthusiastic, happy, binging alcoholic. The alcoholic will find another car. It is the alcoholic that must be eliminated, not the probable threats posed by his drunken behavior. Monbiot is considering eliminating humanity and its potential for destruction of the environment.

    Monbiot concedes that within the Green movement there is a radical faith darker than anything outside of Pol Pot’s faith in his Maoist transformation of Cambodia. This concession should be communicated in clear and stark terms to all Americans and to everyone. Everyone should understand what these ideas portend.

  60. Gareth Phillips says:
    May 5, 2011 at 2:27 am
    “I must admit that my solar powered water heating, insulation and renewable energy source ( I burn coppiced ash) has saved me a fortune in energy bills.”

    I heat my water with solar. In Central Florida. December through February I take cold (as in absent all warmth) showers. Why would anyone north of the Florida-Georgia border use solar? Why would anyone in Britain use solar? Surely, Brits would require a thousand square feet of solar panels to create enough hot water for one shower. By the way, I know that my solar works well because my water is boiling hot during the summer.

  61. Is there some reason why anyone should care what Moonbat thinks? He is a second-rate Marxist intellectual writing opinion columns in a third-rate left wing rag. Yes, he does on rare occasions inadvertently mumble some platitude that appears to be grounded in reality. Call it curious. Call it pathetic. Call it whatever you want, but don’t call it newsworthy.

    Moonbat still uses the word “denier” like it’s going out of style. Please stop dignifying his column by giving him extra publicity and/or by praising him for grasping something that any semi-intelligent 10 year old already knows.

  62. “And, the solution must have more value, not less.”

    This simple statement is the key to ALL progress. By definition, solutions are better because they do something positive at lower cost. It’s so obviously tautological that it’s a wonders that anyone would disagree. Willis would identify it as Constructal Law.

  63. “Skeptic”, “Denier”, “Warmist”, “Alarmist”… Ah, for the time we can all accurately call ourselves “Realists”. No clear-thinking human should identify with any other term.

  64. Does a Monbiot change his spots? I’m not so sure… He’s realised perhaps sooner than most warmists that the ‘shove it down their throats’ plan didn’t work, so now he’s trying the ‘softly softly’ approach to try and ultimately get the same outcome. They don’t give up that easily…

  65. Christopher Hanley says:
    May 5, 2011 at 1:16 am
    ………………..
    My God, he’s seen with his very own eyes people in east Africa, deprived of paraffin and kerosene, actually cut down trees rather than give up cooking!

    I have pointed Warmists to this point. Deprive the Third World of fuel and they will decimate their forests. Nobody wants to eat raw chicken, potatoes or rice. It’s as simple as that.

    With George Monbiot we are dealing with a Watermelon. They want pain for everyone else except themselves. Monbiot has a secure job and house. Now read this!

    George Monbiot – Guardian – 9 October 2007
    I hope that the recession now being forecast by some economists materialises. I recognise that recession causes hardship. Like everyone I am aware that it would cause some people to lose their jobs and homes.”http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2007/oct/09/comment.economy

    I do hope he has changed his ways.

  66. Dr T G Watkins says:
    May 5, 2011 at 2:22 am
    ……………………
    I am not a conspiracy theorist but I have heard the suggestion that ‘global players’ above government level have pushed and financed cAGW as a way of reducing population via limiting energy, particularly to the developing world.

    There is a lot of fuel locked up in the forests of the world. The ‘global players’ would see MASSIVE deforestation, the likes of which the world has never seen before. The way to reduce population is to increase standards of living for the poor, educate girls, provide cheap contraception and energy. The other way will fail very badly.

  67. Gareth Phillips says:
    May 5, 2011 at 2:27 am
    “……………..While some posters really worry about renewable energy and condemn it at every opportunity, it can be really useful, ………………If it works, use it and don’t worry to much about your image or politics.”

    I agree. The country I live in is hot and sunny 11 months of the year. There are quite a few solar powered water heaters, winpowered water pumpls and small wind turbines used by some residences along the coast. When it makes economic sense and supplements your energy needs then I have no problem with it. In the same vein I don’t think Anthony Watts has a problem with it either.

    http://wattsupwiththat.wordpress.com/2007/02/28/er-outlook-sustainability-my-missing-article/

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2010/02/07/swapping-my-lights-fantastic/

  68. Gareth Phillips says-
    “While some posters really worry about renewable energy and condemn it at every opportunity, it can be really useful, and anyone who condemns it on principle without thinking it through is behaving just as badly as any mad warmist crusty at Glastonbury. If it works, use it and don’t worry to much about your image or politics”

    I don’t think the majority of us condemn renewables out of principle but simply economics. I have a 2.1kw solar feed-in system on my roof compliments of the Australian Govt’s $8000 subsidy(tax clawback) and a further $1500 in Renewable Energy Credits, plus a net power feed-in subsidy to give me a riskless, after tax return of 10%. Sure it ‘works’ as you call it but sweet Jesus, what sort of ‘reshiftable energy’ is that? I’m a baby boomer and can avail myself of it but what about struggletown or the first home owners? The fallacy of composition problem here is just mind boggling but it’s every citizen’s fundamental right to stick his hand out for whatever dopey rort is going down.

  69. “Strangest of all, it is a campaign not just against other people, but against ourselves.”

    That George has wrong. It’s clearly a campaign by a certain Big Green elite against virtually everyone else, especially the world’s poor and the developing nations.

  70. Here, here! Monbiot was in a discussion group on BBC a few weeks ago and was much more conciliatory about the views of AGW “deniers” than I expected. I’m about to put an air heat pump heating system to compliment the solar water heating already fitted, plus solar electric panels and low energy lighting in the kitchen and bathroom. I’m not doing all this to lower my “Carbon Footprint” or “save the planet for our grandchildren”, but to cut my extortionate energy bills, which are getting out of control in order to build windmills everywhere. End of sermon!

  71. Interesting to read the comments below Monbiot’s article. So many of them are made by population control (crypto eugenics) nutters.

    Pointman

  72. Mike Haseler says:
    May 5, 2011 at 12:07 am

    To me, peak oil doesn’t so much mean the end of oil: it means the end of known supplies of oil

    ‘Peak’ anything is the point at which economic substitution occurs.
    It is not a geology discussion.

    In the case of transportation fuel at some point we stop building our vehicles out of inexpensive but heavy steel and switch to lighter but more expensive composites. We look at aerodynamic efficiency. We add regenerative braking systems….we add the ability to burn a range of fuels.

    Others will re-evalutate their transportation needs. Maybe they decide they still need the gas guzzling SUV but adding a second more fuel efficient vehicle for everyday use makes sense for them.

    Personally, I drive a scooter as my primary transportation…I still need my gas guzzling SUV for the various home renovation projects I do on the side.

    A dual fuel gasoline/natural gas Chevy Aveo costs $1100 more then a gasoline only Chevy Aveo in India.

    We used to produce electricity by burning oil…we phased off of that without much fanfare.

    Business as Usual is adapting to ever changing circumstances.

  73. You mean forcing people to do that which they do not or would not normally do is counter-productive?? Who knew?/sarc

  74. Monbiot is tantilizing us with a handfull of straw (he picked up at our feet) to “Please come into the barn where it is warm and safe”. He hasn’t changed his mind, just his tact.

  75. Monbiot says,

    “It is a campaign not for abundance but for austerity. It is a campaign not for more freedom but for less. Strangest of all, it is a campaign not just against other people, but against ourselves.”

    Immanuel Kant says,

    “An action, to have moral worth, must be done from duty.”

    Did Monbiot take a course on Kant at university?

    John

  76. It’s not just money, not even preposterous amounts of money.
    Refusing to face contrary scientific evidence in the “Liberal” clique has led to corn for ethanol for fuel–and that is KILLING many thousands of people in the Mideast, mostly in riots, and also from hunger.

    Our lawyers need to find their relatives in American mosques and bring them crying into the courtroom to name names.

    And of course, counter suits by people with a measurable and horrifying loss.

  77. Monbiot’s piece is astounding. He mixes what appears to be (to him) new-found logic with the same old errors that he and the rest of his kind have made from the beginning. Notice the real meaning in the following sentence:

    What the nuclear question does is to concentrate the mind about the electricity question. Decarbonising the economy involves an increase in infrastructure. Infrastructure is ugly, destructive and controlled by remote governments and corporations.

    Note the explicit assumption “Infrastructure is ugly” followed immediately by what they perceive as the real problem “controlled by remote governments and corporations.” In other words, if “we” cannot control everything, then it’s not a solution.

    What outrageous hubris! Read the rest of his article carefully and it is littered with the same self-righteous complaint. But he’s on the right track; he is close to concluding that he and his friends have no valid solutions. That’s a real step forward. Too bad he’s just one guy.

  78. Monbiot is a smooth privately educated smear machine. Sometimes he has flashes of reality, but his response is always to revert back to his bunker where he reads up more populist press releases, he then goes overboard and tells the rest of the world what to do.

    He has been through this cycle so many times that his readers have gradually deserted him. They see him for the shallow contemptable dull character he really is.

    He seems incredibly jealous of Richard North (EUreferendum blogspot) who does original research and comes up with a stream of interesting and original stories. Monbiot cannot understand why the rude and crude Richard North has so many loyal followers but find the smooth PC Monbiot a boring irrelevance.

    I a little surprised you waste space reporting the views of this has been, I think even the green movement have become bored by him

  79. …he’s pretty well come to the conclusion that warmists and greens have painted themselves into a corner with demanding energy policy changes…

    But that is what their initial intent was, and was all along.

    They were industry haters, all come together in one big Kumbaya, dancing around the Maypole they’d found in climate science. They had succeeded with the Clean Air Act and the Clean Water Act, and then with the ozone hole scam (yes, it is there; no it isn’t man-made).

    I well remember the moaning of the industrialists in the 1970s about having to install scrubbers and taking care about discharges into the waterways. The hue and cry was that it would make America less competitive in the world marketplace and help our competitors. Looking back 40 years later, it is hard to not think they were right. But am I glad we have cleaner air and water than in 1970? Yeah. America was one polluted place back then.

    At the same time, they used scare tactics then, and they’ve done it ever since. Most of their exaggerations succeeded, but not all. Acid rain is one that died a merciful death, when the government actually went out and checked out the acidity in lakes and ponds in the Northeast – and found next to zero.

    But they got a free run-up on the ozone hole and the next ice age, and then on global warming.

    ONLY the efforts of Steve M and Anthony and the other skeptics has finally called their bluff.

    Anthony, we all owe you and Steve a huge thank you.

    Does it matter, though, that Monbiot (or any other activist warmers) has awakened to reality a little bit? Nah. Them beating their chests and rending cloth makes no difference. The Climategate emails – their own words – sank their ship. The war is lost to them. Nothing they can say will make a difference now.

  80. Monbiot (from his article):

    …a system that demands perpetual economic growth…

    For crying out loud. Prior to the warmers’ successful attempt to monoplize and control the dialog, “perpetual economic growth” was called “progress,” and it was always seen as a good thing. It meant a better life for more people, more jobs, more wealth, more capacity for the individual to control his or her own life.

    Basically, they re-worded “progress” right out of the English language.

    I was just thinking last night how my life would be if I lived 100 years ago. NONE of us wants to go there. 100 years ago, we had to do so much for ourselves that our days were half filled with chores and more chores.

    We all want the lives we have, and as new gizmos and new ways of enjoying life appear on the scene, we lemming our way to getting them into our lives. We love progress.

    We LOVE progress. We want it, and the whole world wants it in the same degree that we Americans and Europeans have it.

    Progress is good. GOOD. it is why the Earth can support 6.5 billion people. At no other time in history could the planet have supported so many people. Paul Ehrlich be damned, life is better now than when he told us we were all going to die in our elbow-to-elbow world. NONE of that Mathusianism has turned out to be true. Human progress keeps making “perpetual economic growth.”

    We should be proud of it.

    Monbiot swallowed Ehrlich’s and Malthus’ claptrap hook line and sinker, and he frames everything in that context – that we are on the road to destruction. Instead, we’ve been on the road to giving more and more people progress and better lives.

    And they can’t get enough of it.

  81. Rather than slagging off the ‘Moonbat’, some of us actually talk to him and provide him with logical and scientific information. It would be easy to be offended at the ‘denialist’ tags but that doesn’t actually change minds. I have had my share of mud slung at me – not by Monbiot – but from most unexpected academic quarters and not at my arguments, but at my person for being contrarian enough to make them.

    Monbiot is an environmentalist in that he cares about what happens to ‘the environment’ – that is, human habitation and ist surrounds that affect health and mentality – such as beauty and biodiversity, tranquility and continuity. Environmentalists are not automatically dishonorable as so many who post here like to think. The ‘free market’ so many like to espouse is no respecter of the environment and it is the poor and vulnerable who get the most degraded surroundings. I despair at the atttitudes displayed on this site and yearn for the ‘old days’ when the issues were primarily science (I still cannot fathom why today’s page begins with a picture of a spy-plane – what is it…..a boy thing?).

    If this site is going to extend to comments about global energy policy and the environment in addition to climate science – then for quality’s sake, find people with real knowledge of the issues. Monbiot’s syndrome should be a lesson. It takes a lot of self reflection to realise that things you have accepted and believed are flakey. As an environmental writer I have done my best to tell them about climate science and mostly been ignored – but there is a shift occurring.

    So – a dose of reality please –

    1) the era of cheap energy is over – peak or plateau in production matters little – it is all about energy density and cost and no renewable strategy can replace fossil fuel, neither can nuclear. So the greens have started to do the frigging sums at last – but so now must nuclear advocates – they don’t add up either!

    2) some rich countries may be able to buy their way out of a crisis, but many such countries – and most especially Britain, though rich, have very large impoverished subsections for whom energy (and food) costs are a susbtantial proportion of their income and benefits – the really poor countries have no chance – they simply cannot follow the western development model, but their elites will not recognise that fact and divert what little money the country recieves by selling its resources or gets in aid to make sure they at least can follow the western way (and that usually involves a sizeable investment in prisons, militias and secret police).

    3) the real issue is whether the West cares that much! And any reading of the business and financial pages will tell you it does not. As for government aid – the UK is increasing it, but earmarking a large proportion for ‘climate aid’ (mitigation strategies that use western technology) rather than ecological adaptation to a shifting climate;

    4) the global population issue is real, but a red herring for most…..the current rapid growth is in precisely those countries that cannot follow the western economic development model but pretend that they can – so not much can be done to avoid the crisis or help them when it hits (they will get a double whammy of high fuel prices and vulnerability to natural climate change) – much more real as an issue is the rising demand from the new rich countries (e.g. China, India, Russia and Brazil) and this stresses the global environment – in terms of forest destruction, biodiversity loss, ocean depletion, pollution, depopulation of rural areas and the migration to mega-cities).

    What is to be done —- maybe not much can be done. We in the West are rich but intent on getting richer. Two billion people remain poor and live in a degraded ecological environment. Who would vote for a western contraction and shift of money to aid the poor – and is money what they most need?

    Monbiot and many other Greens concern themselves with these issues (as does the ‘left liberal’ Guardian) when the vast majority don’t care or might care but don’t act. The tragedy of the Greens is that they were seduced by ‘big science’ because it appeared to be giving them a huge campaign boost and means of financing a better (they thought) environment. It was easy to believe because not just the UN said so, but every single science academy worldwide (as Monbiot pointed out to me as reason not to bother reading my book on revising the theories of global warming!).

    The environmentalists I knew in the 1970s and 1980s would never have been so hoodwinked. So – the key questions are – why were their successors so easily misled and what happened to the global science community? I would rather see a discussion of these themes on a climate blog than pictures of a U2 or celebrations of the death of the most wanted man on Earth.

  82. Here’s the real test for the Greens. Let’s say, hypothetically, we found a source of energy that was cheep, clean and abundant. Would that be a good thing or a bad thing in the eyes of the Greens. I think, deep down and unspoken, the majority of Green’s would view such a development as a bad thing.

    The reason for this is that cheep, abundant and clean energy would allow people to produce more stuff, live more prosperously and expand the population. They fear that an expanded population will lead to a collapse of elite society. In the end, it’s the success of the modern human life style that the Greens find objectionable. This is the essence of the Malthusian belief system that animates the Green movement.

    In the Malthusian/Green world, its ok to have a small number of Elites and large numbers of peasants; but its dangerous to have an increasingly numerous and prosperous middle class.

  83. The problem is one of interpretation, what they consider to be “planet-wrecking” isn’t. That is the actual problem, their interpretations of the “data” (assuming it’s not manipulated) are always extreme to uber extreme.

    In Vancouver a few years back they were widening the road way through Stanley Park that provides access to the Lions Gate Bridge, this was being done to bring the width of the three lanes up to modern road width safety standards. Environmentalists where up in arms that about 25 trees where to be cut down. Oh, and they we planting new trees to compensate, but I guess that is never good enough. The road was widened in the end of course. Then a few years after Nature tossed a very windy storm at Vancouver and presto knocked down 10,000 trees in Stanley Park! Yes, 10,000! That’s 400 times as many! Oh and the park is recovering nicely. So, Nature can dish it out orders of magnitude worse yet when humans work to manage a park people freak out about the most trivial of things.

    It’s a lack of perspective on the “greens” part. They “deny” the biological benefits of CO2 while panicking over doomsday scenarios that have almost no actual chance of happening. Maybe some people just need to see “doomsday futures” as part of their psyche?

  84. DeanL says:
    May 5, 2011 at 4:47 am
    “Dimwitted Liar Julia Gillard”

    Wow. Spoken like a man of science.

    DeanL, have you ever seen the evidence supporting the above remark? The glare would get through arc-welding goggles. I think Anthony shows a fair bit of restraint. Gillard’s bizarre, empty-headed arrogance is a sight to behold…and getting the reaction it invites.

  85. It is a campaign not for abundance but for austerity. It is a campaign not for more freedom but for less.

    Says everything you need to know.

  86. Well said.

    What the warmists missed was a solution. Starvation and economic collapse may help their cause, but the rest of us would not stand for it. Had they proposed a workable solution that was affordable, and that did not require redistribution of tax money to fund it, they might have made some real progress. Instead, they chose to scare us with lies and exaggeration.
    The disaster in Japan put the brakes on a re-awakening nuclear power industry. Unfortunate, because new designs are much safer than the ones in Japan. The Chinese are not slowing down, building modular nuclear plants and coal plants as fast as they can. We need to replace our aging, vulnerable nuke plants with better cited, better designed plants. That is where the effort needs to be, and the sooner we get going the better.

  87. In the UK we are getting a carbon tax in the next few years, and nobody minds. at least in Aus they have the balls to oppose it, as all parties are eco socialists. we face economic powerdown. Naturally none of our industrial competitors are introducing it.

  88. Cold Englishman says:
    May 5, 2011 at 3:54 am

    Poor George, he’s been writing tosh for the Grauniad for so long, he’s in a difficult spot trying to realign himself. [...]

    Indeed. Though, even when trying hard, he can’t quite get away from the required doom laden prose. I think that George is slowly discovering that the whole environmentalism/green/sustainability “movement!” is just a dumping ground for every kind of Western malcontent from Prion rights campaigners to “ex” communists of the EU trying desperately trying to recover some kind of power.

    Although they appear to live under the same umbrella, other than being “anti” they have nothing whatsoever in common and that is his blindingly slow discovery. The truth is that while George may have had a clear vision for the future of mankind he now finds that “the movement” never did. Perhaps, after the inevitable nervous breakdown and, one hopes, recovery, George can guest here at WUWT.

    Mark A says: May 4, 2011 at 11:12 pm
    Werner Brozek
    “UK recorded its lowest temperature for 25 years”

    Maybe it was in December last year, but I heard on the wireless this morning that the UK has a heatwave and bush fires, no rain in sight.

    Yes Werner, we also had a 2.2 earthquake last month centred on Blackpool. A drink can was moved.

    We once had a summer with all that you describe in addition to drought and locusts – 1976. Thank [insert deity] that we haven’t had a 1976 summer recently – the cult would have a field day with anyone under 35.

    I think the news you read does a great disservice to those who have genuine heatwaves, bush fires and drought.

    BTW Its raining here in Yorkshire now.

  89. Monbiot has his half-clear moments, but unfortunately he was also one of the most vile warmist propagandists; remember his “AGW Denier card game” or what it was called? He knows no shame; he’s an attack dog. Maybe he’s just a tired attack dog now; a good opportunity to win; not one to forgive.

  90. My gloomy vision kicks the behind of Monbiot’s with one arm tied behind its back. My gloomy vision is based on both geological and recorded history.

    There WILL be another period similar to 450 – 800AD. In addition, there WILL also be another period like the Pleistocene.

    These things are inevitable.

  91. Mark A says:
    May 4, 2011 at 11:12 pm
    “Maybe it was in December last year, but I heard on the wireless this morning that the UK has a heatwave and bush fires, no rain in sight.”

    We’ve had a nice warm April, unusual but not in any way unprecedented. I still wore my fleece jacket to work this morning though it warmed up a bit in the afternoon (as it tends to in spring). Here in Sussex we’ve had small amounts of rain overnight the last few nights. More rain is forecast. We’ve had a lot nicer time recently than most of North America in Weather terms.

    The fires here have been started by moronic arsonists – police haven’t yet discovered whether, like in Israel, the perps were Green activists (sarc).

    http://hauntingthelibrary.wordpress.com/2011/01/13/environmentalist-starts-israels-worst-ever-fire-greenpeace-blames-global-warming/

  92. “Canada this week, Australia soon, and the USA in 2012.” And the UK never, not while all three political parties speak with a single voice on all the major issues. As far as energy policy is concerned, you can have any policy you like as long as it’s Green and runs on wind power.

  93. This Guy is a total Flake. Remember as a journalist he still has to make a living after this Crusade has collapsed, so he has to shift his position to appear to remain relevant, and he likes to portray that it’s him doing it first ahead of all the other gullibles, but he’ll soon be back on message , just like was after he’d got over the shock of Climategate. Whatever he’s saying today, it’ll be somfhhhing else tomorrow. ‘e’s a journalist fer goodness sake – ‘e’s got to keep mixing it.

  94. Yes Dirk H. @1.05pm, that Climate Deniers pack of cards thing was a total disgrace. Utterly offensive an’ ‘e’s been peddling it for years. Some folk have no shame and no sense of what is constant or true.

  95. stephen richards says:
    May 5, 2011 at 3:29 am

    “Journalists like politicans have 2 skills, lying and deceiving. Sometimes they do both to themselves. Monbiot has been doing both for too long. We, the world, have no need of his prognostications and no need of his (what is the word in english?) public self -flagelation ? ”

    Agreed.

  96. “None of us yet has a convincing account of how humanity can get out of this mess.” What “mess” does he mean, I wonder? Sure, there are lots of problems, as there always have been. But making energy more expensive than it needs to be, thus hobbling economies worldwide only adds to the problems, making them far worse. The problem greenies have, Monbiot included, is that they see “carbon” as the bogeyman, yet their demonized molecule is as green as they come.
    It’s fun watching them spin their wheels, getting nowhere, stuck on C02.

  97. mpaul says:
    May 5, 2011 at 11:10 am
    Here’s the real test for the Greens. Let’s say, hypothetically, we found a source of energy that was cheep, clean and abundant. Would that be a good thing or a bad thing in the eyes of the Greens. I think, deep down and unspoken, the majority of Green’s would view such a development as a bad thing.

    mpaul,
    In their own words:

    “Complex technology of any sort is an assault on
    human dignity. It would be little short of disastrous for us to
    discover a source of clean, cheap, abundant energy,
    because of what we might do with it.”
    – Amory Lovins, Rocky Mountain Institute

    “The prospect of cheap fusion energy is the
    worst thing that could happen to the planet.”
    – Jeremy Rifkin,
    Greenhouse Crisis Foundation

    “Giving society cheap, abundant energy would be the
    equivalent of giving an idiot child a machine gun.”
    – Prof Paul Ehrlich, Stanford University

    “Isn’t the only hope for the planet that the
    industrialized civilizations collapse?
    Isn’t it our responsiblity to bring that about?”
    – Maurice Strong,
    founder of the UN Environment Programme

    “A massive campaign must be launched to de-develop the
    United States. De-development means bringing our
    economic system into line with the realities of
    ecology and the world resource situation.”
    – Paul Ehrlich,
    Professor of Population Studies
    “The only hope for the world is to make sure there is not another
    United States. We can’t let other countries have the same
    number of cars, the amount of industrialization, we have in the US.
    We have to stop these Third World countries right where they are.”
    – Michael Oppenheimer,
    Environmental Defense Fund

    No further comment needed.

  98. What I find incredibly ironic with the Australian situation, is that much of the country’s wealth and individual prosperity (resources industry aside) gained over the past 10-15 years has flowed to the small business/family business community, who are the loudest voices on the pro-carbon tax stance. Many of these are in fact young singles and couples who’ve set up small businesses in boutique areas like IT, fashion/jewellry, arts and crafts, personal welfare (ie. fitness, mentorship, life coaching), architecture/design, freelance journalism, homewares and home services/franchising.

    And yet these small business owners who have done incredbly well out of reforms to business and industrial relations over the past decade, are the big supporters of the Greens, and ironically its Greens policies (such as a carbon tax/emissions trading among other business constraining policies, esp in IR) that will eat into their own personal wealth more than they ever care to imagine. And yet (and Im friends with many in this category), these people haven’t a single clue about climate science or even the basic fundamentals of natural science.

    Its this growing modern Petite Bourgeoisie’ class in Australia that seems to be the sole supporters of a carbon tax. I would also be assuming its similiar in North America nad Europe. I would love to hear what others are noticing?

  99. This waffling stooge is simply trying to soften us up by pulling our heartstrings. The majority if alarmists would gleefully have us all hanged if the vote was ever available to them. Georgie Porgie Puddin’ Pie is one of their guiding lights. He is a a one man PR firm, selling bunny rabbit shaped land mines. Science is not natural. Savagery is what we are still up against. Or maybe I just have the running gun blues.

  100. Peter Taylor says:
    May 5, 2011 at 11:07 am

    “The ‘free market’ so many like to espouse is no respecter of the environment and it is the poor and vulnerable who get the most degraded surroundings.”

    You should get out more. The world is just chock full of poor people who live in pristine environments. Those who live in degraded surroundings often do so because there is something in those surroundings that they want. In the USA, the poor move to cities because they want the services, luxuries, and opportunities for personal growth that cities provide. In the USA, some of those who live in cities find that their environments are relatively degraded. For example, how many people in New York City pay hundreds of thousands of dollars for a studio apartment and alternate-side-of-the-street parking? For them, life on the farm was far more healthy and predictable but it was lonely and lacked the 24/7/365 stimulation and opportunities for personal growth that NYC provides. The same principle applies to the slums around Mexico City.

  101. The comments section is a keeper.
    The real face of the modern “environmental” movement. Pleasant lot aren’t they?

  102. EternalOptimist says:
    May 5, 2011 at 12:19 am
    If only man could harness the power of Julia Gillards jaw

    I’ve been trying, but she’s still ahead by a nose.

  103. “All of us in the environment movement, in other words – whether we propose accommodation, radical downsizing or collapse – are lost. None of us yet has a convincing account of how humanity can get out of this mess.”

    Just because someone has good intentions doesn’t mean they can clearly understand what will be required to mitigate any damage. After all, it was environmentalists whose policy preferences set the stage for Yellowstone park nearly burning to the ground a few years ago.

    How many year’s worth of total urban air pollution were the Yellowstone fires equal to? The smoke cast a pall downwind that was visible to the east coast of the US.

    But I digress. The “mess” as Monbiot calls it, is caused by insufficient prosperity, not excessive prosperity. Who wants to pollute? When a person can afford to be clean, it becomes the easy preference. Yet it is the policies of people like Monboit that directly destroy our ability to grow economically and by which we will move towards solving the “mess” he complains about.

    That environmentalists lament and fret about prosperity shows their real agenda. This is confirmed when their solutions only destroy liberty and prosperity. The time was when we had sufficient prosperity to entertain their demands, but no more. We must focus on economic efficiency that is consistent with low environmental burden, but we must remember that without the wealth, we cannot afford the costs of low pollution activities.

  104. Gareth Phillips says May 5, 2011 at 2:27 am: I must admit that my solar powered water heating, insulation and renewable energy source ( I burn coppiced ash) has saved me a fortune in energy bills. I also like growing my own food and keep livestock. Am I an environmentalist or a clever capitalist?

    Gareth, There are so many imponderables in your short statement.

    1. Have you done an proper economic analysis of the amount of money you have saved (if any!), taking into account the capital cost of your solar powered water heating system?

    2. Did you receive a subsidy of any kind for its purchase and installation (hidden or otherwise)? What about repairs?

    3. Ditto all the above for your house insulation?

    4. Do you own the land on which the coppiced ash grows? Do you account for the time you take to cut it down and feed it into your boiler? What about the time taken for re-planting? All these factors make a difference to its cost effectiveness as a fuel.

    4. Growing your own food and keeping your own livestock takes a lot of time and effort. Have you costed the time spent on these activities?

    5. In your main job, are you an above or below average earner ? If the latter, are you taking into account the free benefits you accrue as a subsidised member of your society at the high earners’ expense?

    If you have done all these things and you still come out with a positive result, good on you – you are indeed a self-interested capitalist. But whether you are a good environmentalist is a separate question, unanswerable without further information and analysis. And irrelevant to the debate in this blog trail since, one hopes, everyone (warmist and skeptic alike) strives towards good environmentalism.

  105. theBuckWheat says:
    But I digress. The “mess” as Monbiot calls it, is caused by insufficient prosperity, not excessive prosperity. Who wants to pollute? When a person can afford to be clean, it becomes the easy preference. Yet it is the policies of people like Monboit that directly destroy our ability to grow economically and by which we will move towards solving the “mess” he complains about.

    Excellent point, which can be seen on a smaller scale anywhere that landfill restrictions are put in place.

    Where I live, our local landfills don’t accept yard waste (don’t ask me why) so you can’t just put it out with the trash. Instead, you have to take it to a special collection center and pay an extra fee. The result? In early January, the sides of the road are littered with dead christmas trees, and most people in the area just burn their yardwaste.

    Where I used to live, they enacted a ban on small appliances at the landfills, and set up special receiving centers (with appropriate fees) to deal with them. The result? Microwaves, toaster ovens, and coffee makers strewn all over the sides of back roads.

    Neither regulation resulted in the desired effect.

  106. “So the greens have started to do the frigging sums at last – but so now must nuclear advocates – they don’t add up either!”

    Naturally. No one will let them add up; they just scream louder that it can’t be done.

  107. @mark A

    ‘Maybe it was in December last year, but I heard on the wireless this morning that the UK has a heatwave and bush fires, no rain in sight’

    Rain started in Scotland yesterday lunchtime and continued at least until I left at 14:00 today. Back here in London rain is forecast for tomorrow.

    Do not believe everything you hear on the wireless.

  108. I hope greens will give up the Co2 argument and use all their energies and focus and place it on black carbon mitigation. There’s the one particulate we should be eliminating tomorrow and we would all see beneficial effects of it’s removal shortly thereafter.

  109. Dear Anthony, what you are (falsely, I believe) assuming is that reality matters to Monbiot. He is a marketing/propagandist writer, and the article is just a call for more and stronger revolutionary struggle, and a betterment of technique in attaining the same preconceived goal. It is “magic writing” in that it is an age old technique of marxist self-criticism (it existed long before that, of course, only the “critical” standards are different) engaged in finding new, better ways of achieving the goals, which never change. That is what “goal orientated” means. They goal is set, only means are subject to change. He is not even concerned with finding better ways to fight “climate change”, only with new ways of persuading the public that their way is the only possible one. That is his goal.

  110. “rbateman says: May 4, 2011 at 8:39 pm
    Man’s worst inventions are still Greed and the Lust for Power, neither of which advances any hope of a brighter future.”

    What you miss is that individual freedom supported by defense against initiation of force, which police, courts, and military do, counters greed and powerlust by providing choice and stopping those who would force you.

    Your type of claim overlooks that humans are creative and productive, and will work for good when they have to take the consequences of their own actions.
    In contrast, Marxism – which most environmentalists believe in substantial part whether they recognize the source or not – teaches a “fixed pie”, thus someone who has something cannot have earned it, and teaches that humans will “drive to the bottom”. Environmentalists fail to look out the window and see the gardens and replanting of trees that humans undertake when ownership gives incentive. Even within the building environmentalists ignore the clean water from their tap, and the solid roof over their head. Why are they so blind?

    Yes, Christianity teaches some of the same things, thus I am not surprised that Canadian Green Party leader Elizabeth May is becoming an Anglican minister, but the actions of Christians seems to vary widely (the Amway dealer from Spokane in contrast to the leftist Bishops in Seattle, for example) and there’s only half of Marx’ famous saying in the bible.

    As for resource shortages, I suggest reading the books “The Doomsday Myth” and “The Resourceful Earth”.

    (BTW, the definition of “greed” varies with ideology, as the “fixed pie” mentality considers consumption greed because it takes away from others (recall that production is not possible).)

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