Thursday thought – Josh on 'Why are we waiting?"

Josh writes: Ruth Dixon’s excellent book review of “Why are we waiting?” by Nicholas Stern is well worth reading. You can download a pdf version here.


As the cartoon notes, the question ‘Why are we waiting?’ has already been answered by David Cameron, UK Prime Minister, who famously announced that he wanted to get rid of all the Green Cr•p.

Today we read that Naomi Klein disagrees with Stern – Naomi thinks the only solution is a ‘public uprising’ to end capitalism.

Something they might like to sort out before Paris, eh.

Cartoons by Josh

78 thoughts on “Thursday thought – Josh on 'Why are we waiting?"

  1. The writer of the article in The Guardian (somebody called Gay Alcorn) says: “As the critical Paris climate summit in December looms – the last realistic chance for an international accord that could limit warming to 2C..” You can bet that the next big climate conference will also be called ‘the last realistic chance’ and the one after that, too. Well, all the previous ones have been ‘our last realistic chance’, haven’t they? I just want to know what people like Gay Alcorn will be saying after the Paris conference fails to achieve what she wants it to achieve.

    • We have to be always just on the cusp of an all-encompassing agreement so that the faux concern and climate catastrope theater can continue with all its benefits for the activists, crony capitalists, eco-loons, politicians and scientivists.

    • Until the average temperature rise stays between 0.0°C/decade (satellites) and +0.1°C/decade (ground data – corrected…), with a possible slight cooling looming in the next 15-30 years, they will have about 200 or 300 years to repeat “the last realistic chance for an international accord that could limit warming to 2C”.

    • I thought the critical conference was 5 years ago, or was it 7, or 3? Or was it last year? I get all of the critical conferences mixed up. Wasn’t it in London? Or was it Tokyo? Sydney? There have been so many. Which one was the actual really, really critical conference?

    • I am sure they will still organize climate change conferences after we enter the next ice age. Simply a matter of sticking to your guns.

  2. In her own summary of the book review, Ruth Dixon says:

    What is lacking are realistic policies that take into account the physical, chemical, and engineering challenges arising from the world’s demand for energy. The fact that ‘climate action’ has not gone as far as Stern wishes suggests that such policies (or technologies) are not (yet) available.

    As many others have pointed out, serious action on CAGW will certainly bork the economy and cause much more damage than doing nothing (even if we accept all the CAGW doomsday cr*p).

    • why doesn’t that oaf Klein
      Klein doesn’t see the irony. Without capitalism she would not receive a penny in royalties for her books. Her work would belong to the State and it is the State that would receive the royalty check.
      She would of course get paid for the hours spent writing the book, but only if the State first approved the subject matter. Try finding a socialist state that will approve you writing a book that calls for the overthrow of socialism.
      The simple fact is that the only system that allows you the freedom to earn a living by writing a book calling for the overthrow of the state is a capitalist state. All other states limit your freedom to criticize the state, if not directly them by economic means.

      • I wasn’t aware that socialist countries curtail press freedoms as a matter of course. Is this true of Scandinavia, for instance? I understand that many people conflate “socialist” and “communist”, or add the modifier “totalitarian” into the discussion but I don’t recall muzzling dissent being a hallmark of that ideology.

      • D.J. Hawkings – for a start, Scandinavia is not a country. However, if you’re referring to Sweden, Denmark, Norway and Finland, all are free market capitalist economies with large welfare programs. All rank highly on economic freedom indexes. Some call them ‘social democracies’ – because they people have voted themselves large social programs. Not socialist at all. The only remaining socialist countries are North Korea and Cuba, though that is slowly changing.
        Socialism is about common ownership of the means of production. To make that work, totalitarian rule must be imposed. The state owns all output and intellectual property. ‘To each, according to the needs, from each, according to their ability’.
        ferd berple’s comment is exactly correct. Only in a free economy/state are you able to make money calling for the overthrow of said state.

      • brc:
        Your equation of socialism with communism is exactly the error which D.J. Hawkins wrote to refute.
        He is right. And you are wrong because your definition of socialism is both wrong and is an offensive insult to those of us who are socialists.

      • Communism is an extreme form of socialism. Socialism maintains the idea of personal property, but only personal property such as homes, furniture, etc. All business, agriculture or any means of producing anything is state owned and planned. Communism additionally takes away the personal property and eliminates freedom of religion. Socialism keeps freedom of religion but tends to promote secularism. Socialism is not as overtly totalitarian as communism but can feel that way to someone who does not like the state telling them how to live and what their work is worth.
        It’s all a matter of degree, but the basic concept is the same; the state owns and controls all forms of production and what is produced is decided by the state, not consumer demand. Philosophically it is less individual oriented than capitalism. The actual practice of these systems of course is all over the board.

  3. Why do these ‘greenies’ think people should buy into the load of questionable crapola?
    Control the climate? I think its more about control the people and use their earned wealth to do it…

  4. A Public uprising to end Capitalism? I think it would lead to an economic version of the Dryas period.
    We seem to live in an age where dumbed-down “Soundbite” and “Twitterati” thinking is coming to the fore.
    This is to some extent a spin off from the corruption of science to suit political and economic agendas.
    When the touchstones of thinking are shown to have feet of clay, anything with dirt on is equally plausible to some.

    • Part of the problem is you can only push so many badly made cell phones and tablets on the rest of the world. There are still a large amount of distressingly badly made goods coming out of China and this is bound to effect sales sooner or later.
      A majority of Chinese have seen no significant changes in their lives from all this controlled capitalism. Therefore, they have no reason to excel at their jobs. Prosperity is very slow to develop where there is no truly free enterprise. This lesson is about to be re-learned in America, probably the hard way.

      • A majority of Chinese have seen no significant changes in their lives from all this controlled capitalism.
        if your population is 1.3 billion, and you lift 600 million out of poverty, yes it is true that more than 1/2 (the majority) have seen no change. But for those 600 million that are no longer living in poverty, the change has been huge.
        Talking about the majority while failing to mention the minority fails to provide an accurate picture.

      • Really, it’s more about central planning causing economic unbalances which eventually tip over the iceberg. Nothing to do with cheaply made products – the sales of which are still continuing to this day.
        Overallocation of resources to particular sectors of the economy, building of ghost cities and endless currency manipulation – these are the foundations for economic problems, not $59.99 tablets.

    • China is very capitalistic. Capitalism is changing the entire country for the better, faster than anywhere else. The only thing about China that remains “Communist” is the title of the one party system.

      • China is very capitalistic. Capitalism is changing the entire country for the better, faster than anywhere else. The only thing about China that remains “Communist” is the title of the one party system.
        Nonsense. China is a “controlled” economy, which is in many ways the opposite of free-market capitalism (what most people mean when they say “capitalism”).
        A recent picture I saw is an educational illustration: the Chinese bragged about a new “highest in the world” suspension bridge. And the bridge was impressive! Spanning a very deep gorge between mountain peaks.
        But the devil in the details. In the picture, there is this huge, tall bridge on what looks like a major highway… yet the only vehicle visible anywhere is one lone semi crossing the bridge.
        A healthy economy cannot spend forever on infrastructure that goes unused. This is the primary folly (and fallacy) of the central-planning philosophy. Production is completely divorced from value of goods, or the cost of that production.
        Granted, the more “capitalist” they have become — sort of, in a central-planning way — the better their economy has done. But much of the wealth of that economy is being wasted on central-planning boondoggles.

  5. Yes, the solution for the Greens is to have Madame Mao lead a New Leap Forward which kills billions of people.

  6. Naomi Klein is an absolute nonentity. Who gives a $hite what she says or thinks except Pope Francis?

    • To be honest, I think the only people paying the slightest attention to ANY of this are the people who read this blog. Or the eco-loons shilling for the dollars of the ignorant. Everyone else thinks it’s a dog-and-pony show. After Obama, I think it’ll just go away . . . because it’s pretty obvious that the planet is not overheating, and if it did it has nothing to do with us.

      • Everyone else thinks it’s a dog-and-pony show.
        Possibly, but the continuing Climate Catastrophe Theater pretending ensures that tens of billion of dollars per year are wasted.

    • Her book is a best seller at So, yeah, many people are buying the book. I am not saying she will convince many, I am just saying that people buy her books.

  7. Once again, the purveyors of climate truth and wisdom like Stern and Klein reveal their supreme ignorance about not only climate but economics, and ultimately, human freedom as well.

  8. If AGW was real (i.e. catastrophic) then real measures would have been taken by governments to stop the problem. The first is to reduce energy use (by limiting the size and weight of autos, for example). Instead we have wind farms, solar farms, electric cars and a glut of oil from over production. The latest decision by Obama to allow oil & gas drilling in the Arctic and in the same breath his comments that leaders who do not take climate change seriously aren’t fit to lead only makes AGW even more ridiculous.

    • Limiting consumption by mandates will fail because it won’t impact production. Mandates don’t apply globally but production does. If N energy units are produced then N energy units will be consumed, somewhere. Without reducing N the greens have no hope of achieving their goal. Doesn’t matter though because their goal is not to reduce N but to reduce the global gini index to zero or close to it. That is most easily achieved by removing capitalism from the mix.
      To do that they need someone to capitalize the movement as it will be very expensive – which is rather ironic.
      Morons like Bernie Sanders would like the wealthy to give up their money to the government to help fund socialism. He’s apparently not aware the money of the wealthy is already out there fueling the economy and creating more wealth, not stuffed in a mattress. What will Bernie do when he runs out of other people’s money?

      • “Whoever commands the sea, commands the trade; whosoever commands the trade of the world commands the riches of the world, and consequently the world itself.” – Sir Walter Raleigh (17th Century)
        “Eat Local” was one of the reasons we used to die so young: poverty, vitamin and mineral deficiency and crop failure, bringing famine and disease.

    • Steve, AGW is real even if t’s just by the addition of direct heat to the atmosphere. CAGW does not appear to be real. Keep the distinction between AGW and CAGW very clear. All the argument is really about is whether there is catastrophic warming happening or likely to happen.

  9. If you’re worried about brute economic force working for its own ends, capitalism isn’t the problem. But government as capitalist is everything they like to scare us with and then some.

  10. Klein doesn’t fly much any more, maybe not on commercial airlines but I bet her broomstick remains well oiled. it is puerile infantilism to believe that humanity can or could influence climate change even more idiotic is the notion that Co2 is the cause of it. Klein and Stern embrace all of the advantages and wealth of the capitalist system whilst disparaging its context and existence whilst never imagining for one moment that if the capitalist system dies they die with it. The imagining that 7.5 billion people will survive the impossible transition from fossil fuels and nuclear to having only wind and solar is ridiculous as is the notion that such a transition is even possible forgetting the fact that enabling this transition will result in the copious and unrestricted consumption of that fuels they pretend to hate coal oil and gas. How exactly do these intellectually challenged parodies believe billion of tons of iron ore and other commodities can be shipped across the planet without consuming billions of barrels of oil? As ever with humanity they have found a cause that enables them to make everyone else’s life a misery whilst lining their own pockets, think the most appropriate term is hypocrite.

    • I always wonder how they are going to build, transport the pieces and transmit the wind/solar power WITHOUT the oil industry to provide the materials and the transport of the parts of a turbine in the first place. Oh I get it a solar powered locomotives and wind powered 18 wheelers.

  11. It’s getting near time for an uprising, but not for what this idiot Naomi Klein wishes for. Just the opposite.
    Also, tell that Idiot to go to Russia and tell Putin the same crap she’s pushing in the west and he might just throw her in the gulag. China too. Iran as well. I guess it’s only the west who would have to suffer her idiocy.

    • In the U.S. there is this pesky thing called the right to speak your mind freely. OTOH, the left will keep pushing their agenda to the last dying breath. I will refrain from taking this idea to a logical conclusion.

  12. scroll down for the CLIMATE section excerpted. not surprised to find out Naomi can’t grow stuff!
    the Tom Switzer exchanges with Naomi are well worth a read:
    Transcript: 31 Aug: ABC Q&A: Cheating, Climate, War & Democracy
    ALEC RITCHIE: My question is for Naomi Klein. In your book, you suggest that combatting climate change is incompatible with capitalism, that we are locked in politically, physically, and culturally to a world that capital has made. Naomi, I am a diehard lefty, who would love nothing more than to grow organic beetroot with you in a communal system of food production that would be carbon neutral. Do you think we will ever be rid of such an environmentally destructive economic system?
    NAOMI KLEIN: I’m a terrible gardener, I hate to but I can learn…

  13. Obviously, Naomi Klein is too stupid to realize that a public uprising is not likely to end up with a greenie takeover followed by the left’s equally stupid ideas of paradise on earth — at least not in the U.S.
    In the U.S. we have spawned another revolution in oil and gas production and clearly upset the balance of power in the world of petroleum. That occurred in spite of our overreaching government trying its best to interfere with that revolution and the drilling continues. Looking at the beginnings of the next election process I would say that a majority of those interested are clearly demonstrating that they are fed up with the current power structure that supports greenies like Stern and Klein.
    Governments elsewhere are already backing off commitments they made to “go green” because they know their countries can’t afford to do so. Public uprisings in those countries are likely to be short and not end well. The left would do well to curb its rhetoric, but they are desperate and will not. Too bad. They are losing ground every day.

  14. I bothered to go to Ruth Dixon’s thoughts at her garden pond and read that she puts a lot of faith in public opinion as reflected in the Yale Project on climate Change Communication. So, naturally, I headed there to see what I thought of the quality of this work.
    The results seem very inconsistent to me. For example, the survey suggests a large majority of the U.S. population thinks that regulating CO2 as a pollutant makes good sense (74% somewhat to strongly in favor), but a significantly smaller majority (63%) is in favor of setting limits on CO2 emissions of power plants. Even in counties where the entire economy comes from mining coal, and making electricity to be shipped to good ol’ green California, the survey still finds as many as 40% who think regulating CO2 as a pollutant and limiting CO2 emissions from power plants is a good idea. These are the sorts of results one gets with a badly informed group of respondents.
    Moreover the results correlate so strongly to the dominate political affiliations across states and withion states that I will bet that the results could be predicted within the margin of error on the basis of 1. party affiliation and 2. what fraction of the local economy depends on fossil fuels extraction and power production from coal. There is no “public opinion” in here.

    • Consistently, when Joe Public is asked to rank things that are important, anything related to climate winds up at the bottom of the list. Therefore, I have doubts about any study that says 74 percent of that same population supports regulating CO2 as a pollutant. Sorry.

  15. Every September a new generation of college students is rolled into the anti-capitalism war as idealistic cannon fodder.
    Led by wounded and bitter generals from previous generations, in the tradition of “fighting this war with the strategies of the last one”, they have their individuality knocked out of them as they are drilled in mantra regurgitation, specious arguments and hypocrisy.
    Many desert, some become brain damaged and go into politics, but most will surrender to the enemy. Hard to reconcile being anti-capitalist with drinking $8 lattes and binge-watching on Netflix on your MePhone.
    Sorta like this:

    • It’s even harder to reconcile being anti-capitalist when you have to get a job, work for a living, marry, have kids, buy a house; all those things that adults do. It’s easy to be anti-capitalist when you’re living in your parents’ basement.

      • I know too many twenty-somethings who believe that they are somehow escaping the “capitalism curse” by working for non-profits. While I have no problem with charity, there are too many now that are nothing more than fronts for left-wing parties (tax-free, of course).
        I tried to explain to one of them that most of their money comes from capitalism (i.e, deep-pocketed, usually left-wing donors who made their money from…capitalism), but just got a circular argument.

  16. Asybot,
    We already have wind powered 18 wheelers – out here in the west you often see them resting by the roadside on their sides….;-)

  17. Ms. Klein and her fellow cult of CAGW members, live and think in ‘La La land’, where there is unlimited public money to spend, were everyone has a cushy advocate job, and where goods, food, and services appear out of thin air.

    La La Land
    to think that things that are completely impossible might happen, rather than understanding how things really are
    1. (Placename) a nickname for Los Angeles
    2. (not capitals) a place that is remote from reality

    Meanwhile in reality.
    All of developed countries are deeply in debt. They have run out of public money to spend on everything (unending list of great things for more government spending, number one is more government ‘jobs’ and higher salaries and more benefits for government employees, end of road policy road see Soviet union) health care, roads, infrastructure, parks, education, and so on.
    The cult of CAGW are trying to force the developed countries to spend trillions of dollars (funds that we do not have) on green scams that do not work, do not significantly reduce CO2 emissions but do triple the cost of electricity. All the pain for no gain.
    Bill Gates truly wants to help underdeveloped countries. Gates is not paid by the oil companies to say green scams do not work. Green scams do not work for basic engineering and economic reasons.

    beyond astronomical

    Recently Bill Gates explained in an interview with the Financial Times why current renewables are dead-end technologies. They are unreliable. Battery storage is inadequate. Wind and solar output depends on the weather. The cost of decarbonization using today’s technology (William: Solar and wind power rather than nuclear) is “beyond astronomical,” Mr. Gates concluded.

    The key problem appears to be that the cost of manufacturing the components of the renewable power facilities is far too close to the total recoverable energy – the facilities never, or just barely, produce enough energy to balance the budget of what was consumed in their construction. This leads to a runaway cycle of constructing more and more renewable plants simply to produce the energy required to manufacture and maintain renewable energy plants – an obvious practical absurdity.
    A research effort by Google corporation to make renewable energy viable has been a complete failure, according to the scientists who led the programme. After 4 years of effort, their conclusion is that renewable energy “simply won’t work”.

    • Least we forget–all that “public” comes from the wealth creating sector of the economy–ie. capitalism. Without someone creating wealth, all those socialists would have a h*ll of a time redistributing the wealth they are so against.

  18. Klein is a true Marxist:
    “Between capitalist and communist society lies the period of the revolutionary transformation of the one into the other. Corresponding to this is also a political transition period in which the state can be nothing but the revolutionary dictatorship of the proletariat.” (Marx)

    • “Period of revolutionary transformation” ? Is that another way of saying civil war? How many dead is Klein expecting? Who will they be ?

    • “Just give me the emergency powers, I will relinquish them once the crisis is over” – said every totalitarian, ever. From Darth Sidious to Adolf Hitler to the Kim dynasty, it’s always the same playbook.

  19. “Naomi thinks the only solution is a ‘public uprising’ to end capitalism.”
    Ending capitalism means ending free markets and replacing them with a top down economy where the ‘elites’ get to dictate to the masses what they can grow and produce and what they can buy and sell. Naomi must think she would be one of those elites. A managed economy only works well for the elites. Everyone else suffers from both a loss of freedom and a loss of income. But as long as they can maintain complete control, the elites don’t care what happens to the masses.

  20. Naomi perhaps hasn’t considered the possibility that some parts of ‘the public’ might just rise back.

  21. Klein has confirmed for me that this is all an attempt to create chaos and then pop up to lead us out of the mess, for a price.

  22. Naomi Klein, the Guardian –
    That’s what Karl Kraus called ‘Revolver Journalismus’ –
    his Revolver on Your sleeve says ‘You print mine* other You die.’
    * You print what I want other no more advertising.

  23. Naomi Kleins Revolver on The Guardians sleeve says ‘You print me other You die.’
    full stop.

  24. “Naomi thinks the only solution is a ‘public uprising’ to end capitalism.”
    It is important to remember that capitalism is not an economic system It is simply what happens when free people make free choices. No one has to do anything to put it in place. It happens naturally.
    Socialism, by contrast, must be installed by threat of force. It cannot and does not happen unless forced.

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