Delingpole on Reason.tv

James Delingpole and WUWT are inextricably linked in climate history. I broke the climategate story here at WUWT from my laptop at Dulles airport, Delingpole was the first in the MSM to pick it up. From there the story spread and the rest is history. The irony is that just hours before I had met James in person for the first time at a conference in Belgium, but I couldn’t say anything then because nobody was sure if what we had was real. In this video interview from reason.tv, Delingpole acknowledges WUWT’s role in getting it started. He also talks about his new book Watermelons, which I’d been given a copy of and have read. It is entertaining, sad, and funny all at once. Here’s what they say bout him in the YouTube description, and the video is well worth watching.

James Delingpole is a bestselling British author and blogger who helped expose the Climategate scandal back in 2009. Reason.tv caught up with Delingpole in Los Angeles recently to learn more about his entertaining and provocative new book Watermelons: The Green Movement’s True Colors. At its very roots, argues Delingpole, climate change is an ideological battle, not a scientific one. In other words, it’s green on the outside and red on the inside. At the end of the day, according to Delingpole, the “watermelons” of the modern environmental movement do not want to save the world. They want to rule it.

Approximately 10 minutes.

Produced by Paul Feine and Alex Manning.

h/t to Dr. Ryan Maue for the link

88 thoughts on “Delingpole on Reason.tv

  1. LOL…..

    Political from the beginning… and we knew this all along… but still they work feverishly to rebuild the facade.. Al Gore… King and high priest…

  2. At the end of the day, according to Delingpole, the “watermelons” of the modern environmental movement do not want to save the world. They want to rule it.

    Celebrities like Gore sure do spend a lot of time going around telling other folks how they should live their lives. As though he was any sort of example one would want to copy. Huge carbon footprint, self righteous to a fault. Condemning others for daring to commit just a fraction of his sins. Do as I say, not as I do.

  3. A friend of mine has been saying this for years about the hardcore environmentalists: They aren’t pro environment, they are anti people.

    You see it in the climate debate with the AGW proponents claiming the evil oil companies are funding the “deniers”. A label they use specifically as a pejorative as recently discussed here on WUWT.

    For some it certainly has become a religion. And as with religious beliefs, it’s almost impossible to change someone’s beliefs using rational arguments and logic.

  4. I look forward to reading Watermelons. I am a relative newbie to seriously examining the issue of AGW. I really woke up when ClimateGate happened. Thanks for the pointer.

  5. As a mining engineer, I’ve cleaned up more environmental messes left from mining during the 1800’s than 10,000 environmentalists put together–with the added benefit that these “cleanups” netted $millions and $millions in gold, silver, copper, lead, zinc, coal, diamonds, etc. Now the environmental movement in the US has just about destroyed an entire industry–the only worthwhile government bureau eliminated over the past several decades was the Bureau of Mines.

    Apparently none of these environmentalists realize how horribly deprived their lives would be if we banned mining altogether–they’d have to do without transportation, without housing, and without food. That’s a pretty sparse existence. And at the end of the day, they’re to be absolute rulers and we’re to have nothing. I’m wondering how they’ll cope with being king of nothing.

  6. Henry chance says on September 27, 2011 at 8:47 pm

    I remember the intro of the climategate fiasco. Doubt the fearmongers will ever recover.

    Took better than an hour over the connection to that Russian server to download the WHOLE thing … did this while carrying the Cisco-issued Lenovo (IBM) laptop around the lab (second) floor hoping the connection (and the in-bldg WiFi) wouldn’t drop til all the file xferred … surprised to this day the ‘firewalling’ there (CSCO) allowed a connection like that to take place …

    .

  7. Quite unfortunately Amazon Japan doesn’t sell his “Watermelons.”
    So I’m taking a watermelon as a dessert this evening.

  8. Bill H says:
    September 27, 2011 at 8:46 pm
    “Al Gore… King and high priest…

    Sorry Bill, Al’s the puppet on the throne, the real power-mongers hide behind the scenes so if it all falls apart they can start again with out the inconvenience of being known and watched.

  9. Good to bring No Pressure back to public attention in the week when we learn of the children burnt to death in the name of ‘climate change’.

  10. Zorro says:
    September 27, 2011 at 9:21 pm
    I saved the 10/10 comments on youtube just as they were deleted. Enjoy!

    http://climate-catastrophe.blogspot.com/

    Marvellous set of comments. The video is private now. Not that I want to watch splattering deniers skeptics, but it needs to be made public.

  11. Whty can I not buy a paperback edition of Dellers’s book from Amazon in UK? There seems to be a Kindle edition.

    REPLY:
    Only in hardback so far that I know of, the copy I have is HB – Anthony

  12. Congratulations to James Delingpole on an excellent video. I will be buying the book.
    The tide is beginning to turn wrt climate change. I have yet to speak to anyone who believes that not only is AGW not happening, neither is GW. Anecdotal evidence on the other hand is not enough to stop the politicians spending our money on futile “green” projects and raising more money through taxation on the pretence of saving the planet. What we need is more evidence of this scam and I think that if the US legal system can force the University of Virginia to make public the data used by Michael Mann to invent, I mean create, his hockey stick graph then I think the lies will be exposed. Even if Mann does prevent release of the data his credibility will be questioned. The other factor which will influence people’s thinking on climate is the weather. Two or three more cold winters in the UK and US will certainly make people question the politicians, who then must question the scientists, although I think the politicians already know the answers.

  13. James Delingpole is a great guy. That interview pretty much sums it all up. I have basically lost all my illusions regarding journalism. But hey, there is a bright star here and there in the darkness after all !

    There is no conspiracy. Just read what the the UN and the Club of Rome writes. Conspiracy?
    Not unless you call the policy of the UN a conspiracy.

  14. This video just reminds me what a wake up call Climategate was for me.

    I have no dog in this hunt. I am a mechanical engineer and I own a couple of fabrication facilities and I stay plenty busy and I have plenty of problems as a businessman and as an engineer and certainly don’t need to be concerned with some phony-baloney nonsense like Man-Made Global Warming. But to see how much money has been spent on this fools-errand is just nauseating. This entire debate/issue should never have been elevated any further than some back-water academic squabble.

    It is nonsense and foolishness elevated to a mass-movement cult-like status. That politicians and governments world-wide actually take it seriously and are implementing policy based on zero evidence is quite frightening and holds my interest far more than the so-called settled science of Climate Science.

    Now, let me also say that study and observation of our atmosphere is both interesting and important – but I also say let’s keep it in the realm of science. And until we are certain, and until we realize the danger in exaggerating our certainty and exaggerating our certainty of negative outcomes from Man-Made warming we should exercise the ultimate in the precautionary principle and do nothing so as to do no harm.

  15. Delingpole is a good man and an honest dealer. And I say that as an aging soft leftie who condemns equally the watermelons and the greedy free-marketeers, both of whom are authoritarians who want to rule us as they see fit. I wish him the best of luck with the book sales, and look forward to reading many more of his columns.

  16. Isn’t it strange how the “pink” greens steadfastly refused to suggest population control as a means to limit CO2 production … instead going for the “capitalist” solution of oil-company funded wind energy.

    Isn’t it also strange that the greatest capitalist superpower in the world … NO not the US … CHINA!!! Has a population control strategy but is doing next to nothing on the world’s “greatest problem”.

    Personally, I think it is only prudent of any government to look ahead at the resources the next few generations will have, particularly food … requiring huge inputs of fossil fuel so food=energy… and try to manage the population so that future generations are least likely to have a problem. Obviously the first step on that policy is to manage immigration … a policy step that the BBC e.g. have seen as extremist right wing. Which makes me wonder why Delingpole has aligned himself with the Biased Broadcasters?

    The simple fact is that at some point fossil fuels will run out (… or will they?) and personally, I think we know much less about our fossil fuel supplies than even the effect of CO2. E.g. temperatures may be questionable, but oil reserve figures are just fraudulent. Arguably (i.e. I could make a good case), a 50% reduction in fossil fuel would severely increase the pressure on humanity tending toward WWIII, IV, & V unless we saw a similar scaled reduction in population. Or to put it another way, we will have little choice about population reduction only how it is achieved: either by controlled population reduction planned well ahead or catastrophic population reduction through war and famine.

    However as it has been several hundred years since we were last in a position of a catastrophic reduction in energy supplies, we really have no idea how such an event would play out. There is one suggestion I read that the fall of Rome was actually a result of diminishing agricultural output and a general depletion of mineral reserves. We can look back to history and see the famines and economic collapse, but we have little idea how much, if anything has changed/is the same …. let’s put it this way, I’m now doing a part time archaeology degree largely to understand the effects of such a scenario, and the worrying thing is that even archaeologists have little more clue than the rest of us about economics of the past.

    So, this idea that population control is “wrong” is just absurd. Yes Delingpole is right that the same nasty people that used global warming will use the population issue to line their pockets and keep their government jobs, but just because nasty people make money, it doesn’t mean it is fundamentally wrong.

    The real question like: “what is the right temperature for the world”, is “what is the right level of population for the world” …. and how on earth do we know … answers on a postcard?

  17. At its very roots, argues Delingpole, climate change is an ideological battle, not a scientific one.
    ———–
    There is a saying that: if the only tool you have is a hammer then every problem looks like a nail.

    So if you imagine you are an expert in political manipulation and have no clue about science, then naturally enough you think all of science is about politics. It brings to mind the Stalinist position that everything is poltics. Seems Delingpole has absorbed that position from the ultraleft that he despises.

  18. Whilst I completely understand where James is coming from. I detest ‘watermelons’ as yet another label, It will offend far more people than ‘warmists’ does, and worse using this world will alienate many grassroots environmentalists.

    Whilst James had a point about the politics of it all, the un, ngo’s jumping on an agw bandwagon, to pursue many other agendas.. We must recognise that for many people that are scientists, activists, politicians, etc they are genuinely, sincerely concerned about AGW..

    Using the label ‘watermelon’ to describe them will just make these people think sceptics are ‘climate cranks’

    I really dislike ‘watermelon’ as a wholey negative label

  19. Scottish Sceptic:

    You seem to have made a typographical error in your post at September 28, 2011 at 1:34 am where you write:
    “The simple fact is that at some point fossil fuels will run out”

    Surely, you intended to write;
    “The simple fact is that economic reality means fossil fuels will not run out during the existence of the human race.”

    Richard

  20. Barry sorry but look at the comments below the Vid if that is the “grass roots environmentalists”
    and their way of debating then what could we ever call them that they won’t get offended by ? they call us the ‘d’ word with gay abandon but yet it’s only our side that has to give never them ,
    sorry but when they figure out that hurling abuse at non believers is wrong and stop then they will earn some of the respect they think is their right !but not before in my eyes.

  21. I am reading Watermelons at the moment. It’s wonderful! Thoroughly recommend it. James has a great punchy polemic style but backed up with a great deal of thought and research. All that and modesty too. I got my paperback version from James’ site but shipped from New York. I suspect it is being suppressed here in the UK. (Nigel Lawson says in the foreword to his Appeal to Reason that he had great trouble finding a publisher, despite having had previous books published.) Read the Book!

  22. The battle is dead serious but some of you still think that removing “denier” from vocabulary will change the rules of the battle. Tragic naivety. What a shortsightedness…

    Regards

  23. Barry Woods says:
    September 28, 2011 at 2:08 am
    > I really dislike ‘watermelon’ as a wholey negative label

    Ha,ha,ha! Another sanctimonious denier.

    > We must recognise that for many people that are scientists, activists, politicians, etc they are genuinely, sincerely concerned about AGW..

    The correct form:
    We must recognise that for many people that are scientists, activists, politicians, etc they are genuinely, sincerely intelligent AND sold-off. They know where the tangible fruits are (read: money).

    BTW. Writing such tripes as above and what’s worse thinking that way is offensive for the “scientists, activists, politicians, etc” as it assumes they are stupid.

    > Using the label ‘watermelon’ to describe them will just make these people think sceptics are ‘climate cranks’

    Far fetched conclusion. Some says that “green” is unripe “red”. Is this libel too?!

    Regards

  24. Scottish Sceptic: “The real question like: “what is the right temperature for the world”, is “what is the right level of population for the world” …. and how on earth do we know … answers on a postcard?”

    This is actually rather a simple calculation. You take the area of a region and divide by the target level of consumption (expressed as hectares and hectares per person, say). Result is the number of people the region can support.

    The calculation, done thusly, gives a range of ways of arriving at a sustainable population. Lots of poor people or a few rich people at the extremes, and somewhere in the middle the porridge is just right.

    Get people to choose their level of consumption and the “target” population size follows. You can even build in increases in productivity, if you think they are realistic.

    I’m not yet sure how to deal with small countries with dense populations, like Singapore. Maybe this is where economics comes in, or where a “greater” regional approach is needed.

    The next question is how you get there without being evil.

  25. Mat. How will ‘they’ figure out hurling abuse is wrong, if you hurl it back..

    Grass roots don’t bother commenting anywhere(just hardcore do this), they are just too busy getting on with their lifes.

    I find it quite embarrasing to be associated with some comments here. Please take a moment to see how you come across to people that are just curious

  26. Barry Woods says:
    September 28, 2011 at 2:08 am

    Sorry Barry but, it is an emotive label. A bonus being, it’s damn funny too.

    All watermelons already believe “sceptics are ‘climate cranks’” – especially vested “scientists, activists, politicians” who believe in Catastrophic AGW. Nothing is likely to convert them, up to and including auto-da-fé . No matter how we describe their bitterness they will revile us.
    Equally, they will never forgive us.

    Our hope is to inform those who remain “on the fence” and expose, torment and ridicule EVERY watermelon on the funny-farm at EVERY opportunity. These goals are not mutually exclusive (thank you Josh).

    Being a “grassroots environmentalist” I demand my right to broadcast my anger at the hijack of science, misdirection of cash and effort from real, curable problems and the outright lies of the watermelons who cause these ills to continue in the face of mounting evidence that their phantasms are more than wrong. Using all instruments at my disposal.

    A rose by any other name is still a rose.

  27. Delingpole joins most American conservatives in missing the point about the Greenies, and about Obama as well. He thinks they’re Marxists with a goal of power. Nope. Some of the lower-level functionaries may be fully Marxist, but all the top folks in all the elite institutions have been Gramscians for at least 20 years now.

    Control is a secondary effect for them. Their two goals have always been (1) enrich the rich and kill the poor, and (2) create total chaos. Their utopia is Somalia, not the Soviet Union.

  28. I think the comments here so far about me really make my point..

    Especially the one where I’m called a sanctimonous denier..

    I’m about to have lunch with my wife and three year.
    old. So rather than explain in detail, if anyone wants to see what a big denier I am,

    I suggest they Google – “Barry woods” climate -

  29. Can someone explain to me why it is considered evil to think that popotation growth should be limited or even reversed. I find contries/cities with high population density to be highly uncomfortable. Yes, I’m sure the planet could support many more people, but I struggle to understand why that is desirable. While I agree with many of the CAGW sceptical viewpoints, I’m slightly puzzled about the idea that even more people is something to strive for.

  30. Scottish Sceptic says: @ September 28, 2011 at 1:34 am

    “Isn’t it strange how the “pink” greens steadfastly refused to suggest population control as a means to limit CO2 production …”

    No it is not strange at all. At least not here in the USA. The welfare moms popping out babies every year to keep those government checks coming are a HUGE part of the Democratic voter base. Why the heck would you tick off your voter base???

    If you want to cut the birth rate in the industrialized nations get rid of welfare per child and tax breaks per child not that the first world needs to cut their birth rates. African countries have the highest total fertility rate followed by South America.

    Of Course the numbers are some what inflated because they are “…a figure for the average number of children that would be born per woman if all women lived to the end of their childbearing years and bore children according to a given fertility rate at each age. The total fertility rate (TFR) is a more direct measure of the level of fertility than the crude birth rate, since it refers to births per woman. This indicator shows the potential for population change in the country. A rate of two children per woman is considered the replacement rate for a population, ….” (Actually it is 2.1 births per woman)

    The USA has a nicely balanced birth rate while countries in the EU as well as China have shrinking populations. “…Global fertility rates are in general decline and this trend is most pronounced in industrialized countries, especially Western Europe, where populations are projected to decline dramatically over the next 50 years….” See https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/rankorder/2127rank.html (statistics and quotes)

    The above stats need to be balance by the number of babies who die before their first birthday: https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/rankorder/2091rank.html

    Oh and if you want to know one of the reasons for the wars in the middle east and Afghanistan, there is this from the CIA. War of course is a great way to reduce population and get rid of the dangerous young males.

    “…Despite the general trend toward aging, many developing nations will experience substantial youth bulges: the largest proportional youth populations will be located in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, and Iraq….” https://www.cia.gov/library/reports/general-reports-1/Demo_Trends_For_Web.pdf

    (Youth = lots of energy, no wisdom)

  31. The only people who really seem to care about (C)AWG are all “fat, dumb, and happy.” I.e., they lead rich and comfortable lives. The majority of the world’s population who struggle to earn a living (or simply to keep living another day) are generally less (or un-) concerned about the slight amount of warming that has occurred over the past 100 years.

    I could argue that these “warmists” are not so much “pro-green” as they are “anti-poor-people.” Obviously, they would not put their own views in these terms, but when you look at all the “unintended consequences” that the (C)AGW and green movement have caused – what other judgment can you reach?

  32. I’ve just finished reading Michael Crichton’s State of Fear.

    Unfortunately, even if the Green Brigade were to read it, they would not recognise the hypocrisy in the book aimed at their beliefs vs lifestyles, nor the inaccuracies in the ‘science’ they proclaim is ‘settled’.
    .

  33. Been known since at least the 70s. Hardly a coincidence that the first Earth Day on April 22, 1970 was the centennial of Vladimir Lenin’s birth.

  34. polistra says:
    September 28, 2011 at 4:03 am

    “…… Some of the lower-level functionaries may be fully Marxist, but all the top folks in all the elite institutions have been Gramscians for at least 20 years now…”

    Thanks for the tip… I had never heard of Antonio Gramsci, and am researching it now…. it explains a lot. Like why ex-cons are now considered “Heroes”

  35. At one point I believed that the alarmists were doing some good by promoting alternate energy, which given the situation in the middle east is a good thing.

    I have now changed my mind. There are almost unlimited amounts of coal and natural gas in the USA. There is enough to make us independent from the middle east for hundreds of years and by that time workable renewable energy will be available.

    As of now the “hang up” is storage. The winds don’t blow when it is 110 F and there is no sunlight at night or in deep winter so you have to have the same generation capability as if sunlight and wind were unavailable.

    The effect of the alarmists actions is to weaken the USA not strengthen it.

    By pretending that CO2 is harmful they preclude the use of the very resources which can make the USA strong !

  36. Richard S Courtney says:
    September 28, 2011 at 2:30 am

    Scottish Sceptic: You seem to have made a typographical error in your post at September 28, 2011 at 1:34 am where you write:
    “The simple fact is that at some point fossil fuels will run out” Surely, you intended to write;
    “The simple fact is that economic reality means fossil fuels will not run out during the existence of the human race.”

    Richard, a good point, but if you want to be pedantic, I was defining a property of fossil fuels: they get consumed. I would however agree that under conventional economics one would be encouraged to say that the price of energy rises as availability decreases.

    But I not at all convinced that has any meaning in the scenario I was describing. I cannot see how you can use standard economics because they are so ingrained in the economy that they have a very similar function to money. Saying energy is in short supply is akin to saying money is in short supply:so you would be saying something like: “as money is taken out the economy, money becomes more expensive”.

    The reality is that “as money (or energy) is taken out the economy, the economy gets smaller”.

    Another way to put this, bearing in mind that energy and food are pretty much interchangeable (over the long term), is that as energy runs out the cost of living will rise … until people cannot afford the cost of living. Which is another way of saying they will die. My feeling is that standard economics starts to fall down when people are starving to death and their only option is to steel the “cost of living”.

    We then get to a situation where population, economics and energy/food are pretty much intertwined in a way standard economics cannot model, more like an ecology rather than economic model. My inkling is that in the long run we may get far more sensible answers regarding our future by looking to the population boom and bust of other species which tend to modulate as the availability of their resources rise and fall. Only problem is that when resources are plenty, it’s really difficult to imagine a time when they will “run out” or should I have put “the cost of living is too high”?

  37. To believe that watermelon theory you first have to believe that the United Nations is a political organization.

    Sarc/off … click… click… bang. Sorry the very thought of the UN being a scientific organization causes my keyboard sarc button to stick down.

  38. I am able to remember sitting on a beach as a small child, up on Cape Anne north of Boston, and watching the boats head out in the morning and come back seagull-swarmed in the evening, when they were mostly fishing boats. I feel a sort of pang now that there are such traffic jams of pleasure boats. However I don’t take that pang, (which is a sort of nostalgia for bygone times,) as a reason to become militant. What really scares me about some environmentalists is that they honestly seem to want to reduce the population of earth by five or six billion, and have no inkling that what they are talking about is tantamount to a horrific genocide.

    I feel life is far more subtle and complex than any sound-bite or talking-point, however if we must work on that level, (without descending to that level,) I think the story about the little boy burned to death while his mother was out, in Uganda, should be trumpeted from the rooftops.

    It succinctly puts things in a nutshell: “We are killing you little people for your own good.”

  39. Jit says: September 28, 2011 at 3:42 am

    Scottish Sceptic: “The real question like: “what is the right temperature for the world”, is “what is the right level of population for the world”

    This is actually rather a simple calculation. You take the area of a region and divide by the target level of consumption (expressed as hectares and hectares per person, say). Result is the number of people the region can support.

    But that figure of “level of consumption” is really a statement of energy availability and as I said energy is running out (i.e. getting consumed). So what is the “target level of consumption”?

    I was reliably informed by a farming friend who had investigated growing their own bio-fuels that if they ON THE FARM replaced fossil fuel by bio-fuels, then half their output would be consumed before it left the farm gate: on the farm. In other words, the number of hectares per unit output would need to double if farmers tried to grow their own fuel.

    But farmers aren’t the only ones using fuel, so if we tried to grow all the other uses of fossil fuels and add to this the energy needed to transport that fuel to the retailer, then add to that the energy needed for the consumer to acquire it. Then lets add in the cost of growing the oil-base needed for all those fertilisers and pesticides and herbicides. Add a handsome dose for general costs of society like running a government, healthcare, military. And how much energy would actually leave the farm gate … or would it be like a communist country … more go into production than comes out?

    But let’s for argument say that 1/4 of the energy produced by a farm reaches the consumer. Under this scenario, without fossil fuel, we would need 4x as much land for each person, and as land itself is pretty well a finite resource (arguably a consumed resource as fertility of much land diminishes over extensive periods of farming – only offset by fossil-fuel fertilisers!) the result is that if we had to grow our own fossil fuel, using the 25% guess, we could only sustain 25% of the present population. A quick calculation shows that if that were to occur over 200 years. Then we would need a yearly 0.7% worldwide reduction in population to reduce population by 75% in 200 years. I estimate that in practical terms the number of children would have to drop one less child for every two families.

    So, even if we argue that fossil fuels will not run out for hundreds of years, the scale of problem when they run out is so severe that we should consider doing something now. … Or at least, we really should do the calculations and have the debate.

  40. Richard S Courtney says:
    September 28, 2011 at 2:30 am
    Scottish Sceptic:

    You seem to have made a typographical error in your post at September 28, 2011 at 1:34 am where you write:
    “The simple fact is that at some point fossil fuels will run out”

    Surely, you intended to write;
    “The simple fact is that economic reality means fossil fuels will not run out during the existence of the human race.”

    Richard

    I believe fossil fuels will never run out as they will become outdated as an energy source before they are depleted as resources. This is one of the primary reasons Peak Oil is a bunch of hooha.

  41. Agenda 21. Interesting reading. If it were to be implemented, the result would be world de facto governance by the UN. That’s why it is a political issue, not scientific.

  42. “Can someone explain to me why it is considered evil to think that popotation growth should be limited or even reversed.”

    You want to send men with guns to threaten anyone who decides to have another baby beyond the state-approved maximum (and what do you do if they do get pregnant? Compulsory abortion?). Think about that for a moment: how can that not be evil?

    Other problems with the idea are that it’s often been promoted by a distinctly unsavoury bunch whose real interest is more in eugenics (‘kill the poor’) than ‘saving the environment’, and that most of the people I’ve seen promoting it on the Internet in the past usually seem to have at least half a dozen kids already.

    In the West, we’re a long way from needing ‘population reduction’ because our native populations are already dropping; if anything we need incentives to have kids, which the welfare state has largely eliminated. A century ago one of the most important reasons why people had kids because they’d look after us when we got old, today we circumvent that by taking taxes from other people’s kids so we don’t need any of our own.

    BTW, the reason why China has a ‘one child’ policy — which seems to have largely become an ‘abort/kill your daughters’ policy leading to a massive imbalance between men and women — is that Mao introduced a ‘have as many kids as you can because we need a huge army to fight the United States’ policy. State interference in the number of kids people have has generally been disastrous regardless of which side it takes.

  43. R. de Haan says:
    September 28, 2011 at 6:49 am

    ;-)

    Another box ticked(maybe). I came to the climate (lack of) debate because I saw it as the main chance. The main opportunity to show that consensus science will not lie down even when it has been shot full of holes. Repeatedly. In the head. At close range.

    To be perfectly frank I didn’t expect to see the limit(s) of the speed of light removed before “Monkeys Burning Fossil Fuels will End the World Tomorrow” or “The Big Bang was Definitely the Start of Time and Space” or “Red Shift Proves the Universe is Expanding”, etc, etc.

    /begin sarc

  44. I’ve just bought Watermelons through Delingpole’s site. (Amazon Canada doesn’t have it.)

    In an election debate last night, the Premier of Ontario was extolling the virtues of smart meters. Anthony introduced discussion here about their vices months ago. See http://wattsupwiththat.com/2011//05/12/the-smartmeter-backfiring-privacy-issue/
    What I discovered this morning is that in Ontario “consumers are going to have to pay extra for the privilege of being smart metered.” http://www.nationalpost.com/opinion/columnists/green+leapt+before+looked/546779/story.html
    Here’s a scary video: http://goldsilver.com/video/smart-meters/

  45. Scottish Sceptic says:
    September 28, 2011 at 7:32 am

    Check out hemp (seed) – weight to oil ratio and oil to fuel ratio. Both are extreme and you still have the oily fibres left to work with. Hemp grows pretty much anywhere. Higher, drier, colder and at more northerly latitudes than any other plant. No pesticides, herbicides, fertilizers or fungicides needed. None. It rotates, sympathetically and supportively with everything we need (legumes, tubers, fruit, veg, grasses) but doesn’t need to be itself. Its only defence mechanism to fight aridity, wind, cold, heat and over-watering? Make more oil.

    It is a very hardy plant. Throw the seeds on the ground and let it grow. Over and over and over. Yep, 3 times a year in some climes. There are no truly bad places (outside of deserts and swamp) to plant hemp but maybe some difficult terrain to get it to market for sure. Oh, and the chemical, fibre and paper industries hate it. With a vengeance. That could be a problem (wouldn’t be the first time).

    As a concentrated, portable fuel there is no real “alternative” to what we have (derv, avro, petroleum distillate). Which is why we will manufacture it if it “runs out” – barring a miracle (which I don’t discount just don’t expect) replacement.

    The people “problem” will mostly take care of itself given enough time and wealth creation. The math guys reckon 9 billion tops. Within 30 years. Decline afterwards. There is plenty of everything to go around those numbers unless one believes, like psychopaths and such, that only an elite deserve it all.

  46. Scottish Sceptic says: @ September 28, 2011 at 6:48 am

    “….We then get to a situation where population, economics and energy/food are pretty much intertwined in a way standard economics cannot model, more like an ecology rather than economic model. My inkling is that in the long run we may get far more sensible answers regarding our future by looking to the population boom and bust of other species which tend to modulate as the availability of their resources rise and fall. Only problem is that when resources are plenty, it’s really difficult to imagine a time when they will “run out” or should I have put “the cost of living is too high”?”

    Do not worry about it. The problem has been “addressed” by the “elite”. They are in the process of driving the peasants off the land and creating a world wide food monopoly so only the wealthy can afford to eat. (I wish it was sarcasm) The food shortage will then be attributed to “Global Warming” (That excuse is already in play)

    I sort of address this starting with this comment

    The plan is already working. In 2008, nearly 9 million children died before they reached their fifth birthday. One third of these deaths are due directly or indirectly to hunger and malnutrition.

    Meanwhile money is to be made while advancing the “Human Depopulation Agenda”
    “….Today three companies, Archer Daniels Midland, Cargill, and Bunge control the world’s grain trade. Chemical giant Monsanto controls three-fifths of seed production. Unsurprisingly, in the last quarter of 2007, even as the world food crisis was breaking, Archer Daniels Midland’s profits jumped 20%, Monsanto 45%, and Cargill 60%. Recent speculation with food commodities has created another dangerous “boom.” After buying up grains and grain futures, traders are hoarding, withholding stocks and further inflating prices….” http://www.globalissues.org/article/758/global-food-crisis-2008

    How Goldman Sachs Gambled On Starvation explains how Goldman Sachs got the regulations controlling agricultural futures contracts abolished so the contracts could bought and sold among traders who had nothing to do with agriculture thus creating the market in “food speculation.” that caused the 2008 food riots and deaths from starvation.

    Fmr. President Clinton went so far as to Apologized for Trade Policies that Destroyed Haitian [and other third world] Farming“President Bill Clinton, now the UN Special Envoy to Haiti, publicly apologized last month for forcing Haiti to drop tariffs on imported, subsidized US rice during his time in office. The policy wiped out Haitian rice farming and seriously damaged Haiti’s ability to be self-sufficient.”

    “Global Warming” was the scape goat used by the UK Guardian to explain the sustained suicides rate of Farmers in India. One every 32 minutes between 1997
    and 2005. However the fact that India farmers ganged up and beat the daylights out of a Monsanto rep tells the true story.

    According to a study by Jose Romero and Alicia Puyana carried out for the federal government of Mexico, between 1992 and 2002, the number of agricultural households fell an astounding 75% – from 2.3 million to 575, 000

    Even in Britain farmers are taking their own lives at a rate of one a week.

    While sitting in on a EU meeting Julian Rose reported…a lady from Portugal, who rather quietly remarked that since Portugal joined the European Union, 60 percent of small farmers had already left the land. “The European Union is simply not interested in small farms,” she said.

    Food Wars: the global battle for mouths, minds and markets details the increasing concentration of control of the food supply in to the hands of a few international corporations thanks to the international trade treaties.

    The Food Wars are a hidden problem that will effect all of us and a lot sooner than most people realize as Rogers, Rothschild and Soros are snapping up farmland right now.

  47. (Nigel Lawson says in the foreword to his Appeal to Reason that he had great trouble finding a publisher, despite having had previous books published.)

    The way e-book readers are coming on, and the new low=priced versions from Amazon announced today, traditional publishers will soon (in three years) no longer be in a position to effectively gatekeep.

  48. Nuke Nemesis says:

    I believe fossil fuels will never run out as they will become outdated as an energy source before they are depleted as resources. This is one of the primary reasons Peak Oil is a bunch of hooha.
    This is an interesting argument! I believe … therefore everything will be fine. … as in I believe you can’t burn all that fossil fuel and not cause any harm to mother earth …?

    Almost all modern energy forms are very old: wind (boats in Egypt sailing up Nile), hydro (Egypt boats drifted down the Nile) solar (first plants), coal – used to smelt copper in early Bronze age. The only recent ones are gas (more because pipes weren’t easily available that because gas was a problem – indeed wood flames are actually gas), electricity (which isn’t really a primary energy source) and nuclear. (I don’t count PV as it isn’t yet an energy source as I think it uses more energy than it produces)

    In other words, apart from nuclear, we haven’t actually discovered a new energy sources in several thousand years. Yes we can harness them better and transport them in different way, but we haven’t magically invented any new energy sources except nuclear.

    So, where do we get this energy from from: solar – – solar via wind, plants etc. and solar via stored solar in fossil fuels … and nuclear.

    Nuclear
    Nuclear fission works, but it relies on a finite resource of heavy isotopes that will spontaneously break apart when exposed to radiation. For reasons why should be obvious, stuff which is likely to disintegrate is pretty rare and rarer still in usable quantities. I don’t know how long nuclear stocks are available but I once saw 30years. Perhaps a century?

    Which leaves nuclear fusion as the only real “saviour”. But this hasn’t progressed much at all in decades and given our experience of “climate science” we should really have learnt by now to ask the question whether this is yet another nice gravy boat of never ending research grants with nothing but a lot of PR to show for all the money being spent and no prospect of much useful coming out.

    In other words when “believing” really means putting your faith in a science establishment and people Like Paul Nurse: people who so passionately believe in manmade global warming doomsday who also passionately believe in their ability to create new forms of energy … do you not think it might be time to develop a plan B?? I know you must have great faith in people like Paul Nurse, but don’t you think that there is just the remotest possibility that these warmist institutions might just be wrong and that there is no new magic form of energy waiting to save us from going over the energy cliff?(/sarc off)

  49. Scottish Sceptic:

    Thankyou for the reply to me that you provide at September 28, 2011 at 6:48 am.

    I stand by my point. Humans never run out of anything. We did not run out of flint, antler bone, bronze, iron, or anything else. And we will not run out of fossil fuels.

    When a resource is abundant it is cheap so nobody bothers to seek an alternative. But its cost rises as it becomes scarce so people then seek alternatives. And found alternatives often prove to have advantages.

    There is sufficient coal to provide human needs for at least 300 years (and probably for several times that). Oil and gas can both be synthesised from coal, and synthetic crude oil can now be produced from coal at competitive price to crude oil (google Liquid Solvent Extraction: LSE). This possibility of synthetic crude oil sets an upper limit to the price of crude.

    Nobody can know what energy needs and energy sources will be 300 years in the future, but I doubt that energy supply will then be based on fossil fuels: technology advances change things.

    Richard

  50. I look forward to James Delingpole’s new book Watermelons.

    I have just read and would highly recommend Christopher Booker’s book “The Real Global Warming Disaster – Is the obsession with ‘Climate Change’ turning out to be the most costly scientific blunder in history? This CO2 climate fiasco is quite amazing.

    Trillions of dollars are in the process of being wasted. The money spent will not significantly reduce atmospheric CO2. As we are all aware the planet’s response to a change in forcing is negative (planet resists the change by an increase in clouds) rather than positive (planet amplifies the change) which means the net warming due to a doubling of atmospheric CO2 will be less than 1C. (The supposed safe warming has been determined to be 2C.)

    In some cases, such as the biofuel scam there will be direct damage done to the environment and to the third world.

    If one calculates the total energy input of biofuels there is almost no net carbon benefit of growing food and converting it to ethanol. Legislating a percentage of ethanol in gasoline increases the cost of fuel as the cost of biofuel produced ethanol is roughly twice the cost of fossil fuel comparing equivalent energy available rather than volume.

    The net affect of converting food crops to ethanol has been a significant increase on the price of food crops which adversely affects the third world. Currently third world virgin forests are being cut down to grow food crops to convert to ethanol. This last consequent of this absurd scam has brought Green Peace and other environmental groups objections.

    We all have a moral and financial responsibility to stop this colossal waste of planetary resources and tax payer funds.

  51. Scottish Sceptic says:
    September 28, 2011 at 9:57 am
    “…Nuclear fission works, but it relies on a finite resource of heavy isotopes that will spontaneously break apart when exposed to radiation. For reasons why should be obvious, stuff which is likely to disintegrate is pretty rare and rarer still in usable quantities. I don’t know how long nuclear stocks are available but I once saw 30years. Perhaps a century?….”

    You might want to take a look at Thorium, it is much more abundant in nature than uranium.

    http://www.world-nuclear.org/info/default.aspx?id=448&terms=thorium

    http://pubs.acs.org/cen/science/87/8746sci2.html

  52. Scottish Sceptic says:
    September 28, 2011 at 9:57 am

    This is an interesting argument!

    Thank you!

    as in I believe you can’t burn all that fossil fuel and not cause any harm to mother earth …?

    Interesting argument as well, as I never said that. You’re changing the subject from running out of fossil fuels to the trade-offs we have to make whenever we choose to do/not do anything.

    Regarding Plan B — What’s your point again? I wrote that I believe we will quit using fossil fuels before we ever run out, and I’m not understanding your counterargument. Burn all fossil fuels and then worry about a replacement? Act as if technology will never advance? That market forces won’t take affect as fossil fuels (particularly oil) become more expensive?

    ~More Soylent Green! (Formerly Nuke Nemesis)

  53. More Soylent Green! (Formerly Nuke Nemesis) says: September 28, 2011 at 11:58 am

    Regarding Plan B — What’s your point again? I wrote that I believe we will quit using fossil fuels before we ever run out, and I’m not understanding your counterargument. Burn all fossil fuels and then worry about a replacement? Act as if technology will never advance?

    I think we need to plan the future on the basis that there is no new energy supply and that available energy sources “come down the cost curve” in terms of fairly predictable but painfully slow improvements in efficiency. Not overly pessimistic, but certainly not “someone will invent something”.

    We then need to fill in a few big holes: “How much fossil fuel is there?” I would suggest a few billion spent working out how much fossil fuels actually exist … even if it involves bribing middle eastern countries it would be money well spent and we could be pleasantly surprised … or really start panicking depending on the answer.

    Next we need to understand the relationship between energy, food supply and other things like e.g. land exhaustion, so that we can work out how much food we can really grow without fossil fuel. My understanding is that a very plausible reason for the fall of the Roman Empire was that agricultural land because exhausted. We don’t see that at present because we bombard our land with nitrogen and other fossil fuel based chemicals which vastly increase output. We’ve all seen what a disaster organic has been … what if we were forced to be organic? It would result in worldwide famine!

    Finally, we need to realise that the critical point is not “running out”, but the turning point from increasing availability to reducing availability. In other words from a period where increasing GDP was the norm, to one where decreasing GDP is the norm. Can I restate that: we need to plan for a couple of centuries of recession.

    So really plan B is: work out when we are likely to start entering a phase of reducing energy supply (based on realistic estimates and sample testing of reserves). Try to estimate the social and economic effects of changing from year-on-year increase to year-on-year decrease … I could reasonably argue the effect is anything from “seen it all nothing to see move on” to “WWIII,IV,V”, that’s a rather large range of estimates, with a worrying worst case scenario. I think we could probably do better, but it needs a new way of thinking (economic-energy-techno-history-forcasting)… trying to learn lessons from what is really ancient history and apply them a modern world. Finally, where it does seem prudent to act … let’s start the ball rolling. Reducing population looks like a sensible thing to do, so stopping increases in population and unnecessary immigration seems a good idea.

    And finally, we could re-establish the credibility and usefulness of some of these “sciences”. At the moment I feel like I’m on the Titanic, and the captain and lookout (“scientists”) are dressed in voodoo costumes with a bottle of whisky or worse in their hands. Somehow that just doesn’t seem sensible, particularly if we are about to enter troubled waters.

  54. Scottish Sceptic says:
    September 28, 2011 at 12:44 pm

    “…..I think we need to plan the future on the basis that there is no new energy supply and that available energy sources “come down the cost curve” in terms of fairly predictable but painfully slow improvements in efficiency. Not overly pessimistic, but certainly not “someone will invent something”…..”

    IF the idiots trying to sink our civilization can be muzzled – BIG IF – then I do not think you really have very much to worry about. My aunt who just died this spring (at over 100 yrs of age) went from the horse and buggy era to space flight.

    To run around in fear because we might run out of energy is like worrying about NYC, or London being buried in horse Manure.

    Romes problem by the way was the same as ours, to many parasitic people consuming wealth without contributing aka welfare here in the USA.

    “…The reason why Egypt retained its special economic system and was not allowed to share in the general economic freedom of the Roman Empire is that it was the main source of Rome’s grain supply. Maintenance of this supply was critical to Rome’s survival, especially due to the policy of distributing free grain (later bread) to all Rome’s citizens which began in 58 B.C. By the time of Augustus, this dole was providing free food for some 200,000 Romans. The emperor paid the cost of this dole out of his own pocket, as well as the cost of games for entertainment, principally from his personal holdings in Egypt. The preservation of uninterrupted grain flows from Egypt to Rome was, therefore, a major task for all Roman emperors and an important base of their power (Rostovtzeff 1957: 145). “ http://www.cato.org/pubs/journal/cjv14n2-7.html

    Sounds familiar doesn’t it….. Just substitute food stamps for bread and TV sets for games. At least the Romans made the ruler pay out of his own pocket.

  55. Scottish Sceptic says:
    September 28, 2011 at 12:44 pm
    More Soylent Green! (Formerly Nuke Nemesis) says: September 28, 2011 at 11:58 am

    Regarding Plan B — What’s your point again? I wrote that I believe we will quit using fossil fuels before we ever run out, and I’m not understanding your counterargument. Burn all fossil fuels and then worry about a replacement? Act as if technology will never advance?

    I think we need to plan the future on the basis that there is no new energy supply and that available energy sources “come down the cost curve” in terms of fairly predictable but painfully slow improvements in efficiency. Not overly pessimistic, but certainly not “someone will invent something”.

    We then need to fill in a few big holes: “How much fossil fuel is there?” I would suggest a few billion spent working out how much fossil fuels actually exist … even if it involves bribing middle eastern countries it would be money well spent and we could be pleasantly surprised … or really start panicking depending on the answer.

    People already do this. The amount of known oil reserves has increased dramatically in the last decade, even with the world-wide increase in consumption. As technology is not static, more and more of these known reserves are now recoverable.

    Things aren’t static. The tars sands oil is recoverable because of the price of oil. If oil were less expensive, it’s not economically practical to harvest that oil. Same goes with the oil shale in the Western USA.

    Next we need to understand the relationship between energy, food supply and other things like e.g. land exhaustion, so that we can work out how much food we can really grow without fossil fuel. My understanding is that a very plausible reason for the fall of the Roman Empire was that agricultural land because exhausted. We don’t see that at present because we bombard our land with nitrogen and other fossil fuel based chemicals which vastly increase output. We’ve all seen what a disaster organic has been … what if we were forced to be organic? It would result in worldwide famine!

    Most of the world would starve without modern agriculture — that includes farm equipment, pesticides, fertilizers and fossil fuels to power everything and transport the goods. Organic techniques cannot feed the world, but there is no need for them to do so, either.

    Fortunately, we’re not running out of agricultural land. We have so that we grow crops for fuel instead of fuel.

    Finally, we need to realise that the critical point is not “running out”, but the turning point from increasing availability to reducing availability. In other words from a period where increasing GDP was the norm, to one where decreasing GDP is the norm. Can I restate that: we need to plan for a couple of centuries of recession.

    So really plan B is: work out when we are likely to start entering a phase of reducing energy supply (based on realistic estimates and sample testing of reserves). Try to estimate the social and economic effects of changing from year-on-year increase to year-on-year decrease … I could reasonably argue the effect is anything from “seen it all nothing to see move on” to “WWIII,IV,V”, that’s a rather large range of estimates, with a worrying worst case scenario. I think we could probably do better, but it needs a new way of thinking (economic-energy-techno-history-forcasting)… trying to learn lessons from what is really ancient history and apply them a modern world. Finally, where it does seem prudent to act … let’s start the ball rolling. Reducing population looks like a sensible thing to do, so stopping increases in population and unnecessary immigration seems a good idea.

    Energy companies are already spending tons of money to estimate the supply of fossil fuels. There are companies that specialize in corporate intelligence. Government intelligence agencies also are already keeping an eye on natural resources worldwide.

    And finally, we could re-establish the credibility and usefulness of some of these “sciences”. At the moment I feel like I’m on the Titanic, and the captain and lookout (“scientists”) are dressed in voodoo costumes with a bottle of whisky or worse in their hands. Somehow that just doesn’t seem sensible, particularly if we are about to enter troubled waters.

    It’s amazing that Malthus still occupies so much of our thoughts even to this day. (Is it a broken clock is right twice a day logic at work?) Somehow we all survived the ’70’s, when we were going to run out of oil. Or was it food? Or was it the ’80’s? Futurists have a zero percent batting average, but still people like Ehrlich and whomever came after him have managed to keep pushing their doomsday scenarios upon us no matter how many times they are proven wrong.

    I don’t know who has failed more, the futurists or the central planners. I can just imagine what an IPCC-like body for doing what you’re suggesting would come up with, and it wouldn’t be much different from what the catastrophic climate change factions are already proposing.

    The world’s resources are limited, but they are also vast. We have centuries worth of fossil fuels available. I can’t imagine how time will continue to move forward while the market, technology and society does not, but if that does happen, we have a long time before we’re really screwed.

  56. JamesD says:
    September 27, 2011 at 9:06 pm
    That guy is cool. Tempted to buy the book.

    Yeah. Strikes me as the James Dean of journalism.

  57. Barry Woods says:
    September 28, 2011 at 2:08 am
    “Whilst I completely understand where James is coming from. I detest ‘watermelons’ as yet another label, It will offend far more people than ‘warmists’ does, and worse using this world will alienate many grassroots environmentalists.”

    Does a perfect succinct label for describing the concept even exist? Putting things into perspective, “Watermelon” is a heck of a lot more polite than D-word that Warmistas are so fond of flinging about. The dated expression, “closet Marxists,” is just as accurate, and may be slightly less emotionally charged.

    My beef is that it’s not entirely truthful to describe all Warmistas as coming in only one flavor. There are several, not-necessarily-mutually-exclusive categories of people, who have coalesced into the CAGW movement.

    Category 1: The vast majority of Warmistas are useful idiots–to use Lenin’s expression–and salivate on command, for the agendas of others. These True Believers, in the Eric Hoffer sense, would be just as happy following a New Age religion, based upon the Tooth Fairy.

    Category 2 Warmistas are simply greedy and power-hungry. Al Gore is the perfect example.

    Category 3 Warmistas are former scientists, who are currently hired guns, with delusions of grandeur.

    Category 4 Warmistas are misanthropic Depopulationists, like Prince Philip, Paul Ehrlich, and Obama’s pet ‘science advisor’, John Holdren.

    Category 5. And yes, there are also the Watermelons. They have an intensive dislike for freedom of all kinds. And some of them are attempting to use CAGW as a pretext, and carbon credits and ‘climate reparations’ as mechanisms, for transferring trillions of dollars to corrupt governments of developing countries.

    Did I leave anything out?

  58. I think you have left most people out, you’ve perhaps only described those that haunt the blogs and the media..

    Do you know anybody, that you have assigned these labels to.. Would you describe those categories to them face to face.

    Imagine you have a nephew, that’s just started a PHd in atmospheric physics.. or some other climate scientist discipline. Or a colleague that supports wwf , because they are concerned about saving the tiger..

    To these people and the wider general public, they would not recognise themselves or others they know as fitting any of these categories.. and just reject sceptics as a bunch of ‘conspiracy theorists’

    This is the same type of thinking, within a group of similar thinking individuals, that led to the pr disaster 1010 video..

    A lack of awareness of the wider public, who are oblivious to all of this, and have no clue about any of the sceptical and AGW proponents blogs.

    A couple of years ago, I certainly had never heard of WUWT, Realclimate, Bishop Hill, Think Progress, etc and if you asked me who Michael Mann was, I’d have said Isn’t he the guy that made Miami Vice, in the 1980’s

    An outside of the blogs, I can safely say every one I know would be equally as clueless.

  59. Gail Combs says:
    September 28, 2011 at 12:10 pm
    Henry Galt says:
    September 28, 2011 at 9:28 am

    Check out hemp….
    _____________________________________

    American farmers really really wish they would allow us to grow hemp (You do not smoke it btw)
    It is such a useful plant that the USDA had educational films promoting it.

    General info on modern uses of hemp: http://www.rense.com/general49/could.htm

    1942 USDA film, Hemp for Victory : http://www.globalhemp.com/1942/01/hemp-for-victory.html

    ====================

    For the background to the demonisation of hemp in the US by corporate business interests manipulating science and governments worldwide:

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2011/09/23/let-the-inhaler-hoarding-begin/#comment-752790

  60. More Soylent Green! (Formerly Nuke Nemesis) says:
    September 28, 2011 at 2:58 pm
    Things aren’t static. The tars sands oil is recoverable because of the price of oil.
    That is where I have serious reservations. The impression I was getting early on was that more energy was going into the process than energy coming out of the oil sands, and that it wasn’t so much a way of mining energy, but a process for converting gas in remote and difficult to exploit areas into oil which was easier to transport. … but less energy was delivered than if the gas itself were transported!

    That is why I like to talk about the “enerconics”, rather than the economics, by which I mean not whether more money comes out than goes in, but whether it provides more energy out than goes in. Admittedly the noises now suggest that more shale oil/gas is enerconic, but I still have concerns over how much of the total suggested reserve is enerconic and how much is not. Also traditional oil supplies are becoming less and less enerconic as we are being driven into more and more hostile environments. So, whilst there may be substantial reserves, the energy availability of those reserves goes down as they become less and less enerconic.

    And here is why I prefer enerconics …. because there is no point at which energy prices will ever rise enough to make an unenerconic source viable. In other words, if the enerconic costs of producing the steel for all the infrastructure and the transportation and efficiency means that more energy is invested in getting the energy source out than is delivered from that source, then there is no price of energy that will ever make it economic.

    Futurists have a zero percent batting average

    I correctly predicted the banking crisis … to the extent I persuaded my wife get away from a banking related job. But I’d say that was obvious to anyone who looked at the trillion being added to personal debt. I correctly predicted the Euro crisis … but again, it’s pretty obvious if you understand how currencies work. I got it wrong on global warming.But I correctly predicted the lack of UK wind jobs. I correctly predicted the update of PCs into households, but I spectacularly failed to recognise the importance of CDs.

    So, personally, around 4/6 of my predictions seem to be right. Obviously I’m probably biased.

  61. Gail Combs says: September 28, 2011 at 2:55 pm

    IF the idiots trying to sink our civilization can be muzzled – BIG IF – then I do not think you really have very much to worry about. My aunt who just died this spring (at over 100 yrs of age) went from the horse and buggy era to space flight.

    Gail, the absolute level of wealth seems less important than the relative change in wealth. E.g. if our society were suddenly to go back to 1940s GDP, the social chaos would likely become near revolution, riots etc. Whereas if society in the buggy era were propelled forward to 1940s GDP, the last thing they would do is riot (riotous party perhaps!). The same GDP, but the effects would be completely different depending on the expectations of the society.

    The biggest problem we face is that we simply don’t have the experience to understand the nature of the social, economic and political problems that could be caused by a sustained period of economic decline in real terms which seems to be the likely result of the end of fossil fuels, which itself isn’t a foregone conclusion … but a reasonable expectation.

    (Indeed, to be honest, I seem to be the only person mad enough to have considered the issue, which is why I’m so pleased to be able to discuss it.)

    If you plot energy against GDP, the graphs are orders of magnitude closer fit than CO2 and temperature over several hundred years. This is a strong indicator that GDP and energy are extremely closely linked. Moreover apart from a few wiggles, they both keep going up.

    So, if or when we “run out” of fossil fuel, a pragmatic look at energy and GDP would suggest that as GDP appears to be intrinsically linked to energy, we will also enter an era of continuing shrinking GDP. If we are discussing “coal lasting for hundreds of years … until there is none”, we are discussing a period of several hundred years of reducing GDP – almost the mirror of the several hundred years of rising GDP.

    I repeat, we simply don’t have any experience of a prolonged period of reducing GDP on which to base our predictions of the effects of such a period if/when it comes. All we can say is that those short periods we have had, have all been extremely negative. The closest we have is the “great depression” and where did that end? Nazi Germany and WWII! Does that mean all sustained periods of reducing GDP end up in World war? Simple logic seems to suggest that people will get on better when the future looks bright, and they will struggle and fight competing over diminishing resources. But then again simple logic brought us the global warming nonsense, so somehow we need to be more professional in our approach … somewhere not so much between “head in the sand … it’s not going to happen go away I don’t want to listen” and “screaming about madly shouting ‘the end is nigh'” … but a calm rational and as far as possible, impartial analysis.

  62. I am extremely concerned about putting people into groups. We seriously risk “Divide And Rule”, worsening the language issues.

    Sure, “watermelons” has a grain of truth. And sure, climate skeptics hold both the scientific and the moral high ground, on balance. We have momentary lapses, as is only human – but to hold the moral high ground, we need to be all the more careful with such lapses.

    I think “watermelon” is far too equivalent to “denier” in its connotations to be useable. The Communist regimes enacted just as ferocious a program of ethnic cleansing etc, as did the Nazis. Just less reported and spread over a longer timeline. “Greenies” are people, individuals, with a huge range of attitudes – and even if there is something deeply wrong in a common “greenie” attitude, it’s still precious human beings I have to relate to. I’m still an environmentalist and so is Peter Taylor, author of “Chill”. Anyone doubting my climate sceptic credentials, click my name.

  63. @Scottish Skeptic
    China has been trying to curb their population growth for quite some time with their “One Child is Best” policy. While not officially proscribed, the government there *really strongly* wants families to have only one child.

    So of course almost everyone wants a son to carry on the family name and inherit whatever the Communists will allow to be inherited. When portable ultrasound obstetric equipment became available, abortions of female babies skyrocketed in China.

    In recent years there are places in China where young men have been having problems finding women of their generation to marry. I’ve seen reports of many marriages to second or first cousins. Some have resorted to finding their brides in other Asian countries, but the anti-foreigner sentiment runs pretty strong and finding women willing to move to back-country China isn’t easy. The future of China WRT their population and genetic disorders in future generations over the next 30~50 years doesn’t look too healthy.

    As for population density, humans are only really thick on the ground in some large cities. Monaco, one of the smallest countries, has the highest population density on Earth at around 43,000 per square mile. (Actual area is about 3/4 square mile, population around 32,000.) Even there they’re not packed in cheek by jowl.

    Here’s an easily provable factoid. The entire human population of Earth could quite comfortably fit within the borders of Texas. The last time I did the division the answer was nearly 2,000 square feet of Texas per individual human. That’s larger than most American homes for a family of four, for every single human. A density of 13,940 per square mile. (Rounded up because I’ve never encountered a .2 human.) Texas could be covered with a single story building, complete with space taken up for utilities and hallways and we’d all fit in it very loosely.

    Earth is a huge place. Humans don’t yet use much of it, but some of them like to gather together in collections of a few hundred thousand to a few million, then imagine the whole world must be just like where they live.

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