Thursday, 30 April 2009

The Cedars of Lebanon are burning…

Paul Brady wrote a song called "The Island" in 1985 (recently covered by Celtic Thunder in 2008). The first couple of lines of this great song are particularly memorable. They go:

 “They say the skies of Lebanon are burning
Those mighty cedars bleeding in the heat”

It was written about the “troubles” in Northern Ireland but began by referring to the Lebanese civil war (1975-1990).

This recent Reuters video is about how increased numbers of days of excessive heat are stressing these trees by altering their habitat. These symbolic trees can be up to 2000 years old…

Like most things to do with climate change it cannot be definitively proven to be the cause of the death of these trees but, as everybody ought to realise by now, waiting for final proof is idiotic because by the time the final proof is in, it will be far too late to do anything about it and, like in Churchill’s vision in the previous post, we would all be forced into “entering a period of consequences”.

The Locust Years

A year or so before Hitler invaded Poland, Churchill was giving a speech to the House of Commons entitled “The Locust Years”. It was about the way that Britain had watched the massive military build up of arms in Hitler’s Germany without seemingly realising the danger or doing anything about it – some had even scoffed.

In the middle of the speech he said this:

“The era of procrastination, of half-measures, of soothing and baffling expedients, of delays, is coming to its close. In its place we are entering a period of consequences - Winston Churchill, November 1936”

This quote was used in "An Inconvenient Truth" and has also been used in the blogosphere by quite a few people who care about climate change (including this one – A Year in a Day) and it fits in well with the main theme of Greg Craven’s book-to-be-published-soon (that I helped a bit with). Risk analysis says it is stupid to wait until everyone is convinced because there are some people who will never be convinced, even if the waters are rising around their necks and the eco-system is failing!

Wednesday, 29 April 2009

It’s not all gloom on this blog!


Not much to do with sustainability - more like “and stuff”. A simple compilation of cat “video moments” that is guaranteed to raise at least a couple of laughs.


The video is backed by a spectacular “guitar hero” pyrotechnics version of Pachelbel’s Canon. I love just about any version of this “old favourite” but when I first heard the two versions embedded below I got chills down my spine. Not technically perfect in the execution but crikey, they are unbelievably inventive! The version on the video is the Funtwo one – pump up the volume.




Monday, 27 April 2009

Too Big to Fail?

Click the following link to go to an article in The Atlantic, by Simon Johnson. He is a professor at MIT’s Sloan School of Management and was the chief economist at the International Monetary Fund during 2007 and 2008.An alternative to the reassuring words of some finance types

Some financial institutions have been said to be too big to fail. If this is true then it seems obvious that a sustainable global economy should never allow them to get this big again. Too big to fail, in future, must mean too big to be allowed to exist.

Page 4 of the article has the following gloomy outlook about the consequences of one of a couple of "options" that the USA now faces, depending on what it does next. Note that the rest of the world does not come off lightly... Remember this guy came from the IMF so he is not financially "illiterate".

"It goes like this: the global economy continues to deteriorate, the banking system in east-central Europe collapses, and—because eastern Europe’s banks are mostly owned by western European banks—justifiable fears of government insolvency spread throughout the Continent. Creditors take further hits and confidence falls further. The Asian economies that export manufactured goods are devastated, and the commodity producers in Latin America and Africa are not much better off. A dramatic worsening of the global environment forces the U.S. economy, already staggering, down onto both knees. The baseline growth rates used in the administration’s current budget are increasingly seen as unrealistic, and the rosy “stress scenario” that the U.S. Treasury is currently using to evaluate banks’ balance sheets becomes a source of great embarrassment.

Under this kind of pressure, and faced with the prospect of a national and global collapse, minds may become more concentrated.

The conventional wisdom among the elite is still that the current slump “cannot be as bad as the Great Depression.” This view is wrong. What we face now could, in fact, be worse than the Great Depression — because the world is now so much more interconnected and because the banking sector is now so big. We face a synchronized downturn in almost all countries"

Remember Gordon Gecko's speech in Wall Street (the movie)? "Greed is good... greed works" that launched a whole generation of yuppies? Not looking so workable now, is it?

Friday, 24 April 2009

Poisoning children's minds the Australian way

There seems to be a bit of a concentration of outspoken climate deniers in Australia.This link to a pdf file is to an electronic “children’s comic” entitled

“We’re not scared anymore Mr Gore (A Climate change story for little sceptics)”

The very kindest thing that can be said about the writer/s of this piece of cr*p is that they may be stupid, or weren’t paying attention when their so-called answers (to what they claim Al Gore said) were demolished many years ago. I don’t realistically think either of these are the case. They even included the classic misdirection “CO2 lags temperature rise” legerdemain that was covered in the last “crock of the week” I posted below.

Deniers like to call themselves “sceptics” to give the public the impression that they are simply not convinced and need more evidence to come to an objectively reliable conclusion. Nothing could be further from the truth. In itself their attempt to confuse people by masquerading as genuine sceptics is a lie because a sceptic, presented with a good answer to their “sceptical” questions would accept it. Deniers masquerading as sceptics ignore the fact that their BS has been answered and blown up (over and over again) and KEEP ON SAYING THE SAME THING to the next bunch of suckers. This is why  they are either totally stupid (unlikely) or just plain evil. That is why they are nick-named “deniers”.

While I was looking at the incredibly twisted propaganda, that this comic puts forward as some form of reasoned answer to climate science in order to fool children, I had much the same sort of reaction I had to that chilling scene from the classic 1972 movie “Cabaret”  where a fresh faced Aryan blonde youth ecstatically sings in the beer garden in 1931.

At first we only see the face of this boy singing to the seated guests what seems an innocent lyrical song about the beauties of nature. This gradually shifts and darkens to the militaristic power hungry "Tomorrow Belongs To Me" while the camera pulls back to show that the boy is actually one of the “Hitler Youth”. One by one, nearly all guests in the beer garden (except a bewildered old man - or an elderly veteran who has seen this before) get up and voluntarily join in the singing and saluting. Remember Goebbels!

Never forget that there are always people in the world who are so convinced of their own ideologies that they feel justified in lying and distorting and twisting and censoring the inconvenient truth to make their case and thereby get people to support them.

Thursday, 23 April 2009



Senator Stuart Syvret has asked Island bloggers to publicise this march.


Join the Public March this Saturday

12.0 Noon – Peoples’ Park.

In Jersey this Saturday, we will be holding a peaceful demonstration in the form of a march from Peoples’ Park to the Royal Square.

Organised by survivors, supporters of survivors, and organisations such as the Care Leavers Association – this march will be an opportunity for decent people to come and join in and express support and compassion for survivors of abuse – wherever they may be.

Though organised by survivors, by taking part in the peaceful protest you will be helping to make a more general point concerning the frequently poor standards of public administration in Jersey.

Full details below.

Hope to see you there.


Wednesday, 22 April 2009

Crock of the week – CO2 lags behind temperature


Finally, Peter Sinclair nails probably the most deceptive and cynical piece of deliberately misleading BS that the professional denier/inactivist/sceptics use to fool the gullible.

It’s the argument based on the Vostok ice core records that clearly show that (in most cases) when the climate changed naturally, in the past, first the temperature started rising then, about 800 years later, the atmospheric CO2 levels went up.

The deniers ruthlessly use this cherry-picked piece of evidence along these lines – they claim that as CO2 always lagged temperature rise in the past, then the observed increase in CO2 we are seeing since the start of the industrial revolution must have been caused by a natural temperature change cycle that started before that and that the global warming we are measuring (that even the deniers no longer deny is happening) is just a continuation of this natural cycle. S. Fred Singer is probably the worst denier in this regard because he publishes books about it and other denier classic canards.

This “CO2 lags temperature” argument was ruthlessly misrepresented in “The Great Global Warming Swindle” by carefully deceptive editing – the scientist who was exploited by the producer has completely disavowed what the programme made him appear to say!

By the way, if you want to see a high quality version of this video, double click on the video and you will be taken to YouTube – click on the HQ button (bottom of the video, right hand side)

Monday, 20 April 2009

An alternative to the alternative of renewable energy – probably…

CBS news last night did a "60 Minutes" programme including a 12 minute feature on Cold Fusion research 20 years on - it's now called LENR (low energy nuclear reactions) or CANR (chemically assisted nuclear reactions). There’s a 15 second advert first before the video (that I’ve embedded below) starts.

I've been following the almost underground pariah science that has been done in this area since 1989 and, as I've mentioned before, I've contributed to a couple of publications about the subject. Cold Fusion is going to get hot again soon. If you want to follow developments, here are links to probably the two best web resources around for a general overview and also detailed scientific papers.

New Energy Times

CBS’s piece left out probably the “hottest”, most convincing (to sceptics), piece of recent research which was done by the US Navy's Space and Naval Warfare Systems Center (SPAWAR) in San Diego, California.The video below is a relatively non technical explanation of  what the SPAWAR centre found – that there is hard evidence of nuclear reactions taking place in the cells beyond the well-established fact that more heat is generated than can be accounted for by the conventional calculations of chemistry. Briefly,they see tracks in a plastic radiation detector (CR39) that are hard to explain without taking them as strong evidence that energetic nuclear particles are formed in the test cells, which should not be there according to conventional nuclear physics.

Thursday, 16 April 2009

A brand new aspect to climate change

The article below is adapted from today’s New York Times Click for full article. It talks about the recently discovered considerable climate changing characteristics (18% of the total) of carbon soot emissions which, fortunately, it’s not too hard or expensive to do something about. There is the serendipitous angle that reducing carbon soot from third world cooking stoves will also considerably improve health. One way to do this would be to just give away solar cookers like I described in my previous post Click here for post although I think they would need to be a bit more robust. That would be overseas aid that helps everybody.


Published: NYT April 15, 2009

By ELISABETH ROSENTHALKOHLUA, India — “It’s hard to believe that this is what’s melting the glaciers,” said Dr. Veerabhadran Ramanathan, one of the world’s leading climate scientists, as he weaved through a warren of mud brick huts, each containing a mud cookstove pouring soot into the atmosphere.

The Threat of Black CarbonSlide Show

As women in ragged saris of a thousand hues bake bread and stew lentils in the early evening over fires fueled by twigs and dung, children cough from the dense smoke that fills their homes. Black grime coats the undersides of thatched roofs. At dawn, a brown cloud stretches over the landscape like a diaphanous dirty blanket.

In Kohlua, in central India, with no cars and little electricity, emissions of carbon dioxide, the main heat-trapping gas linked to global warming, are near zero. But soot — also known as black carbon — from tens of thousands of villages like this one in developing countries is emerging as a major and previously unappreciated source of global climate change.

While carbon dioxide may be the No. 1 contributor to rising global temperatures, scientists say, black carbon has emerged as an important No. 2, with recent studies estimating that it is responsible for 18 percent of the planet’s warming, compared with 40 percent for carbon dioxide. Decreasing black carbon emissions would be a relatively cheap way to significantly rein in global warming — especially in the short term, climate experts say. Replacing primitive cooking stoves with modern versions that emit far less soot could provide a much-needed stopgap, while nations struggle with the more difficult task of enacting programs and developing technologies to curb carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuels.

In fact, reducing black carbon is one of a number of relatively quick and simple climate fixes using existing technologies — often called “low hanging fruit” — that scientists say should be plucked immediately to avert the worst projected consequences of global warming. “It is clear to any person who cares about climate change that this will have a huge impact on the global environment,” said Dr. Ramanathan, a professor of climate science at the Scripps Institute of Oceanography, who is working with the Energy and Resources Institute in New Delhi on a project to help poor families acquire new stoves.

“In terms of climate change we’re driving fast toward a cliff, and this could buy us time,” said Dr. Ramanathan, who left India 40 years ago but returned to his native land for the project.

Better still, decreasing soot could have a rapid effect. Unlike carbon dioxide, which lingers in the atmosphere for years, soot stays there for a few weeks. Converting to low-soot cookstoves would remove the warming effects of black carbon quickly, while shutting a coal plant takes years to substantially reduce global CO2 concentrations.

But the awareness of black carbon’s role in climate change has come so recently that it was not even mentioned as a warming agent in the 2007 summary report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change that pronounced the evidence for global warming to be “unequivocal.” Mark Z. Jacobson, professor of environmental engineering at Stanford, said that the fact that black carbon was not included in international climate efforts was “bizarre,” but “partly reflects how new the idea is.” The United Nations is trying to figure out how to include black carbon in climate change programs, as is the federal government.

In Asia and Africa, cookstoves produce the bulk of black carbon, although it also emanates from diesel engines and coal plants there. In the United States and Europe, black carbon emissions have already been reduced significantly by filters and scrubbers.

Like tiny heat-absorbing black sweaters, soot particles warm the air and melt the ice by absorbing the sun’s heat when they settle on glaciers. One recent study estimated that black carbon might account for as much as half of Arctic warming. While the particles tend to settle over time and do not have the global reach of greenhouse gases, they do travel, scientists now realize. Soot from India has been found in the Maldive Islands and on the Tibetan Plateau; from the United States, it travels to the Arctic. The environmental and geopolitical implications of soot emissions are enormous. Himalayan glaciers are expected to lose 75 percent of their ice by 2020, according to Prof. Syed Iqbal Hasnain, a glacier specialist from the Indian state of Sikkim.

These glaciers are the source of most of the major rivers in Asia. The short-term result of glacial melt is severe flooding in mountain communities. The number of floods from glacial lakes is already rising sharply, Professor Hasnain said. Once the glaciers shrink, Asia’s big rivers will run low or dry for part of the year, and desperate battles over water are certain to ensue in a region already rife with conflict.

Doctors have long railed against black carbon for its devastating health effects in poor countries. The combination of health and environmental benefits means that reducing soot provides a “very big bang for your buck,” said Erika Rosenthal, a senior lawyer at Earth Justice, a Washington organization. “Now it’s in everybody’s self-interest to deal with things like cookstoves — not just because hundreds of thousands of women and children far away are dying prematurely.”

In the United States, black carbon emissions are indirectly monitored and minimized through federal and state programs that limit small particulate emissions, a category of particles damaging to human health that includes black carbon. But in March, a bill was introduced in Congress that would require the Environmental Protection Agency to specifically regulate black carbon and direct aid to black carbon reduction projects abroad, including introducing cookstoves in 20 million homes. The new stoves cost about $20 and use solar power or are more efficient. Soot is reduced by more than 90 percent. The solar stoves do not use wood or dung. Other new stoves simply burn fuel more cleanly, generally by pulverizing the fuel first and adding a small fan that improves combustion.

That remote rural villages like Kohlua could play an integral role in tackling the warming crisis is hard to imagine. There are no cars — the village chief’s ancient white Jeep sits highly polished but unused in front of his house, a museum piece. There is no running water and only intermittent electricity, which powers a few light bulbs.

The 1,500 residents here grow wheat, mustard and potatoes and work as day laborers in Agra, home of the Taj Majal, about two hours away by bus.

They earn about $2 a day and, for the most part, have not heard about climate change. But they have noticed frequent droughts in recent years that scientists say may be linked to global warming. Crops ripen earlier and rot more frequently than they did 10 years ago. The villagers are aware, too, that black carbon can corrode. In Agra, cookstoves and diesel engines are forbidden in the area around the Taj Majal, because soot damages the precious facade.

Still, replacing hundreds of millions of cookstoves — the source of heat, food and sterile water — is not a simple matter. “I’m sure they’d look nice, but I’d have to see them, to try them,” said Chetram Jatrav, as she squatted by her cookstove making tea and a flatbread called roti. Her three children were coughing.

She would like a stove that “made less smoke and used less fuel” but cannot afford one, she said, pushing a dung cake bought for one rupee into the fire. She had just bought her first rolling pin so her flatbread could come out “nice and round,” as her children had seen in elementary school. Equally important, the open fires of cookstoves give some of the traditional foods their taste. Urging these villagers to make roti in a solar cooker meets the same mix of rational and irrational resistance as telling an Italian that risotto tastes just fine if cooked in the microwave.

In March, the cookstove project, called Surya, began “market testing” six alternative cookers in villages, in part to quantify their benefits. Already, the researchers fret that the new stoves look like scientific instruments and are fragile; one broke when a villager pushed twigs in too hard.

But if black carbon is ever to be addressed on a large scale, acceptance of the new stoves is crucial. “I’m not going to go to the villagers and say CO2 is rising, and in 50 years you might have floods,” said Dr. Ibrahim Rehman, Dr. Ramanathan’s collaborator at the Energy and Resources Institute. “I’ll tell her about the lungs and her kids and I know it will help with climate change as well.”

Wednesday, 15 April 2009

Laws of Physics Persist: In Crashes, Big Cars Win

These links are to MIT’s Technology Review which reports on a study that shows that even though small cars such as Minis and Smart cars do well in standard “crash into a wall” crash tests, they do less well in “real world” collisions with bigger vehicles because of conservation-of-momentum physics. The actually experienced crash forces on people in the smaller vehicles in head-on impacts are much greater. Click for article - In Crashes, Big Cars Win 

This is interesting. Locally, we already hear people defending their purchase of large 4x4s because they “feel safer”. This study suggests that in certain situations they are right.  This might lead to an “arms race” whereby people, in pursuit of safety for themselves, purchase ever bigger and heavier vehicles.

click for video of crash testing

The problem is, they are purchasing extra safety for themselves at the cost of reducing safety for others who either choose to drive smaller vehicles for environmental reasons or cannot afford a larger one.

In a totally free market which couldn’t care less about the climate one could see that Jersey’ites would all end up driving giant Hummers at enormous cost to our carbon footprint. Surely this new information strengthens the case for the authorities to introduce measures to steer people away from purchasing vehicles which not only use more fossil fuel to do the same job as smaller vehicles (horse box owners and towable boat owners get a free pass on this), but also expose more responsible people to extra risk?

I can’t resist cross posting this comment on the article from “Malkmus”! Watch out X5s and Cayennes!

“If, as the study suggests, large cars present a bigger hazard to other road users, why not restrict the speed of all cars to the same damage potential instead of the same speed. As the example in the study shows, a heavy car at 27 mph would pose the same threat to others as a light car at 50 mph. Hence a speed limit of 30mph for the heavy car and 50 mph for the light car should make them about equally dangerous for other road users. Since speed limits are presumably there for the safety of all road users, tying speed limits to vehicle weight seems a sensible system. Incidentally since fuel consumption is related both to vehicle size and speed this would reduce the consumption of fuel more efficiently by slowing down those cars that consume most fuel. Another thought: If heavy cars inflict larger damages to other road users, shouldn't the insurance premium on those cars reflect this. In particular on a crash where the weight of one of the cars was instrumental in causing harm to the occupants of the other vehicle shouldn't the heavier car be partly responsible for the damages, regardless of the cause of the accident itself. This would be a little like other liability cases where buying and using a product that increases the risk to others makes the user partly liable for damages when they occur”.

On the buses - the future for public transport

In Boston, USA you can see where the buses are in real time, on an online map; the buses are equipped with GPS and an Internet connection and the info is viewable on Google maps Click this link . It is fascinating to watch the buses moving along the various routes and stopping at stops (click on the moving “balloons” to see route and number details) – it’s even better if you zoom in.

For a long time I have thought that the only way to get significant numbers of Jersey folk out of their cars and on to pubic transport would be to make public transport more convenient than cars, which is a tall order if using a conventional bus system.

The solution is the shared minibus idea that I first saw in Istanbul in 1975 (the Dolmus) where it worked very well. Click for Wikipedia article on the original shared taxis .

Like a bus, people pay for the distance they travel but the route does not have to be fixed and passengers can be dropped off outside the place they really want to go to and not just the nearest bus stop or terminus. Now that this GPS/Internet tracking of buses is available, Click for the hi tech systems combined with Satnav systems, consider the following scenario.

You want to travel from point A to point B at a certain time – you input this into your mobile or computer and the transport company’s computer works out which of the circulating minibuses is nearest at the relevant time and diverts it to pick you up at your door – it takes you exactly where you want to go and you pay only for the elapsed distance of your trip. No worries about finding elusive and expensive parking at the end of your trip. The system is incredibly flexible and ideal for getting people to work and back again – the minibus size of vehicle is very conducive to social interaction and should enhance a community feel about transport instead of our currently isolated cage for one or two. Significant shopping can also be done using this method. Parents who lived off the beaten track would be more willing to allow their children to use a service where the children did not have to walk to a bus stop.

If the system became widely used, the congestion on commuter routes into town would reduce, thus cutting journey times. Also congestion caused in town by cars circling around for a parking space would dissipate.

Many people would be able to manage entirely without a car and would save a fortune. Others, who are currently “several car families”, could dispense with one or more, also saving time and money, not to mention reducing stress.

Because of the way the system would be organised, there is a very high continual occupancy of each minibus, thus compensating for the potentially larger running costs – maximum number of passengers is necessarily less than a full size bus.

Tuesday, 14 April 2009

The global warming debate and propaganda

This video points out the sources of some of the misleading claims of the sceptics/deniers. It shows how often the process of "Chinese whispers" and simple, but uncorrected, mistakes has created mountains of deceptive misinformation out of molehills of "misunderstood" (I'm being kind here) information. This 18 minute video isn't as punchy as the "crock of the week" videos, but does contain a lot more analysis.

Saturday, 11 April 2009

Crock of the week video – batten down the hatches!

 EarthThis video by Peter Sinclair counters a few misleading claims by the deniers/inactivists about rising seas and ice shelves. Ironically, some deniers are quoting figures from the latest AR4 IPCC report (Assessment  Report 4) to attack claims that sea level rise will probably be a big threat. As is often the case, it’s what the deniers don’t mention in their rhetoric that sharply illustrates their very shaky grasp on what is fair comment and genuine scepticism, as opposed to the black propaganda they so often seem to end up spouting. Are they stupid? Are they subtly greedier than Wall Street bankers? Are they evil? You decide…

Friday, 10 April 2009

Ecological debt: no way back from bankrupt


EarthThis recent BBC article points out that Britain goes into "ecological debt" in about mid-April. This means that Britain’s impact/demands on the planet will have exceeded, in under four months, what the planet can sustainably supply in the whole year.

Another way of looking at the same idea is to realise that if the whole world made the demands of the average Brit on the planetary systems we would need about 3 planet’s worth of resources to supply them. Clearly unsustainable!

Somebody tell Terry le Sueur that sustainability means the average person internationally uses no more in one year than the planet can supply in one year – our States seem woefully (or is that wilfully) ignorant of this concept.

Solar-powered cooker wins prize for climate change innovation



Although the solar oven is an old idea, this new design won a $75,000 prize by holding off 300 other inventions that included a machine that turns organic material into charcoal, wheel covers that reduce a truck's drag, and a livestock feed supplement that reduces livestock's methane emission by 15 percent.

The competition was run by Forum for the Future (click the link for more on the competition) to encourage innovation to combat climate change. The winning entry consists solely of two cardboard boxes, a black painted one inside a foil lined one with an acrylic “window” on top. Incredibly simple and cheap to make ($5) it can still boil water, cook vegetables and bake bread in hotter countries. It can greatly reduce the need for people to walk many miles every day cutting and carting heavy loads of firewood and “deforesting” their neighbourhood. It can also be used to sterilise drinking water.

Thursday, 9 April 2009

Overkill in Grouville (poetry)

Earth Never fear - it's not as bad as the old days - they used to need 13 Keystone Cops to raid someone!
N.B. The police's David Warcup has just told the JEP, click for letter that they did not have the full information necessary to make a comment like they did in their editorial last night - neither do I, but please just take it as a bit of teasing, lads!

Keystone cops

Sunday, 5 April 2009

Stunning views on financial culpability

The interviewee in this video makes no bones about who he thinks is to blame for the current financial crisis. If he's right then things can only get a lot worse.
PBS Moyers video

Saturday, 4 April 2009

Yet another in the "Crock of the Week" series

The "crock" video embedded below is about the "Oregon petition" which was supposedly signed by 32,000 “leading scientists”. It goes into some detail about the background of the initiators of the petition and their dubious values. It also touches upon the past links that some major deniers have to the tobacco industry’s previous long term denial (and deliberate deception about) the risks of smoking. It does not, however, mention probably the most misleading aspect of the petition, the whole text of which follows.

We urge the United States government to reject the global warming agreement that was written in Kyoto, Japan in December, [sic] 1997, and any other similar proposals. The proposed limits on greenhouse gases would harm the environment, hinder the advance of science and technology, and damage the health and welfare of mankind. There is no convincing scientific evidence that human release of carbon dioxide, methane, or other greenhouse gasses is causing or will, in the foreseeable future, cause catastrophic heating of the Earth's atmosphere and disruption of the Earth's climate. Moreover, there is substantial scientific evidence that increases in atmospheric carbon dioxide produce many beneficial effects upon the natural plant and animal environments of the Earth.”

Firstly, even the re-circulated (in 2007) petition still uses this text which is clearly severely out of date. Secondly, the major deceit comes in the misrepresentation of what can be called scientific philosophy in order to fool the public. When they use the term "convincing scientific evidence" in this way it should be taken to mean there is no final and certain proof that man made emissions will definitely cause catastrophic heating and disruption of the climate. This is true!! What deceitful denialist propaganda like this fails to tell the suckers is that only by "running the experiment", and seeing what actually happens, can there be final proof of the theories. By the time the theories are scientifically proved, if we are then undergoing catastrophic disruption, it will be a bit late to do anything about it.

Another crock that the author is probably working on is the "it's just a fallible computer model" canard. Senator Ferguson loves this one. I'll get around to commenting on that in due course but the basic riposte to this argument is this: seeing as we do not have perfect knowledge of how climate systems alter with varying inputs, nor could we without hundreds of years, possibly thousands, of actual experimental science, the computer models we have, flawed as they may be, are our very best idea of what may happen.

When the best available peer-reviewed scientific prognostication method states that there will be a problem that will range from moderate to catastrophic, it should be basic risk/benefit analysis that we use to show us what to do. Are you feeling lucky, punks?

It is not simply that there is one model anyway - there are at least twenty and they all broadly agree. Even if they are all wrong, policy makers and people generally, and deniers in particular, have to take into account that they can be wrong either way when deciding what to do to mitigate the risk. The models and majority science may be wrong and global warming could turn out to be benign, even ultimately beneficial, compared with our current climate - or it could turn out to be the end of our civilisation and the prelude to one of those mass extinctions of species that happen when some major outside disturbance assaults the planetary systems, like an asteroid slamming in. It would be pretty stupid of the so-called intelligent human race to do that sort of destructive planetary engineering all by itself wouldn't it? Acts of God are one thing but how much dumber would be this “Act of Man”? Jared Diamond would be able to write a much more dramatic sequel to "Collapse”!