Tuesday, 26 January 2010

The 9 billion tonne Hamster – be scared!

Today we are hearing lots of rejoicing in Britain that the recession is over and that the economy is growing once again because we got a tiny bit of "growth" in the last quarter. Leaving aside the Christmas splurge and the car scrappage effect, which are an alternative possible source of the growth which might dampen the celebrations a bit, we have to ask ourselves if the resumption of conventional growth is entirely beneficial.

Yesterday, I sent a version of the text quoted below to our Treasury Minister, the Minister for Economic Development and a couple of greenish States members. I also sent it to the local paper. Unfortunately, I could not include this video from the New Economics Foundation (as I only saw it today) but, as they say, a picture is worth a thousand words and I suppose a video might be worth a million? or maybe a billion... but I'm spoiling the plot...

It demonstrates why economic growth is only a good thing for a certain period. After that time it becomes dangerous - like a larger than natural hamster

Here’s my letter:

“It's time to face up to the situation we are in because it would be irresponsible to do otherwise. As the world struggles with the latest and largest "bust" in the boom and bust economic cycle, many are starting to realise that the very basis of that economy, cheap fossil fuelled growth, is no longer sensible. More economic growth, of the type that conventional economists think will solve all ills, is no longer an option. All the experts that Finance Ministers and captains of industry and such-like rely on must be now regarded as false prophets. Their discipline is, of course internally self-consistent, which gives their pronouncements a spurious gravitas but the dangerous flaw is that it is based upon an oxymoron - an impossibility - unending exponential growth.

Successful as a theory for many decades, we are now coming up against the hard-wired physical limits of the planet and the serious nature of the large holes in the foundations of that theory are starting to show. Rather like Einstein had to come up with Relativity when Newtonian mechanics were no longer adequate to describe what we knew of the physical world, so too does conventional economics have to step aside for something more all encompassing.

The elephant-in-the-room flaw is that conventional economics just doesn't take enough into account when measuring the success or otherwise of businesses or economies. A car designed solely for high miles per gallon may appear, to the naive, to be the most efficient and cheapest to run but without consideration being given to the concomitant expensive maintenance costs, or the longevity of the engine and bearings, it is not a good deal. Similarly, the theories, expectations and prescriptions of conventional economists for the economy are a threat to the much larger natural environmental economy that supports it, supplies it and absorbs its waste.

While further economic growth is no longer desirable, economic development is still possible within the environmental and ecological limits that really should not be ignored or discounted any more. Are our Ministers fully aware of this imperative or are they hiding their heads in the sand?


Nick Palmer”



Anonymous said...

Dear Mr Palmer,

Please read this, you might learn something. Like humility, and tolerance of opposing viewpoints.

The Times: Science chief John Beddington calls for honesty on climate change

By the way, what are your formal, scientific qualifications? They are not listed on your blog profile.

Still disgusted at you calling people "Weasel People"

Nick Palmer said...

Not only a weasel, or one of their acolytes, but also patronising too. Oh boy, you're really asking for it! You display your arrogance, your ignorance and your stupidity in only 14 words...

viz:Please read this, you might learn something(a). Like humility(b), and tolerance of opposing viewpoints(c)(d).

Bear in mind I am not doing this long reply solely for you, but also for anybody like you who looks in here.

People like you really annoy me because you seem predisposed (aka prejudiced) to believe the liars, the misdirection merchants and those who are so incapable of discerning what's true and valuable, as opposed to deceitful, bullshit, black propaganda and the product of those with cognitive problems, that "mad" is as good a short description as any.

I feel I should deconstruct your paragraph.

Point a) "you might learn something" - implies not only that you think I don't know enough but also that you have a superior position or knowledge to me. You reference an article from the Times, which presumably you think backs up your case. If you actually read it with sufficient knowledge and comprehension, you would find it does exactly the opposite. I will analyse it after this deconstruction. If you think this article in the slightest way dents or casts doubt on the dangers of climate change, you have another think coming.

Point b) humility - again implies that you think your point of view is worth something, is somehow equal to mine and you thereby imply that I need to recognise that. Instead, your beliefs are massively irresponsible, grossly arrogant and part of a group mind that is thinking the most disastrously stupid group-think that humanity has ever experienced.

Point c) no, I will never tolerate dangerously stupid views that put not only the proponent and their descendants at great, and almost certain, risk but also me, my family and our descendants too. Nobody should "tolerate" pathological views like that. It is beyond belief that any sane person would advocate tolerance of such beliefs, if they were shared by more than a few conspiracy nuts, which sadly, they are.

What is the matter with people like you? I welcome any rational evidenced criticism from people who are not just mindlessly regurgitating propaganda they have swallowed, but if they rely on biased newspaper articles written by journalists with agendas then they are never going to know what fair criticism is.

Point d)"opposing viewpoints" - The "opposing" viewpoints are not equally valid. One is sensible, the other is barking mad. Truth trumps lies and idiocy and cognitive problems. The deniers have a right to their viewpoints but they have an absolute duty not to express them in public where they might mislead sufficient numbers of people to sway a vote which might end up achieving their psychopathic aims. Link to wiki article on psychopathy

see part 2

Nick Palmer said...

So to the article you reference:
Times article

Perhaps the easiest way of approaching the various climategate/glaciergate nonsenses, and the press reporting of them, is to compare it with the current stories about Toyota and "pedalgate" whereby Toyota is having to recall loads of vehicles because of a problem with the accelerator pedal. Have a look at this New York Times article Rapid Growth Has Its Perils, Toyota Learns

Look at the following piece of journalistic madness, that I've quoted from the NYT, which is highly equivalent to the crap that has been written recently about climate science.

The discrediting of Toyota could even destroy the world’s trust in Japanese manufacturing, which relies on its reputation for high quality, warned the Tokyo Shimbun, a daily newspaper."

Any uninformed or prejudiced person reading that in the same way that the denialist weasels hope that their idiot followers would approach their propaganda, would think that this one "pedal" incident calls into question the reliability of every other part of Toyota's engineering, not to mention all other Japanese companies as well! Completely insane, and yet this is exactly the sort of treatment that a very few corrupted journalists have been dishing out to climate science too. It is as if the media found a photo of a beautiful supermodel with a tiny spot on her face and ran stories saying that not only was this model now grossly ugly but also that she had never been beautiful - further yet that all other models and other beautiful people were ugly too. Literally, the denialist journalistic propaganda is that insane.

Oh, BTW the glaciergate mistake was discovered not by the denialosphere or any of its "red hot skeptical analysis team" members, which should have surprised their followers - they spend such unconscionable amounts of time nit picking, misinterpreting, deliberately or otherwise, real science and twisting rationality out of recognition to appeal to their followers that one would have thought that a genuine mistake like this would have been spotted by their crack investigators at least a couple of years ago. It wasn't. So much for their objective talent.

So, they're not only mad, bad and dangerous to know, they also can't spot a genuine error when it crops up! LOL. This mistake was owned up to in double quick time whereas all of the purported mistaken science that the deniers keep trying to bamboozle people with remains untouched in any real sense by their poisonous garbage.

Of course they fool what seems to be increasing amounts of ordinary people who do not appear to have the critical faculties necessary to judge the credibility of this stuff - thus, they are victims of shysters. I can't tell you which of the deniers secretly know that they are peddling lies - some must be - they can't all be so stupid as to believe what they do and be so impervious to realising when their ideas have been exploded into a million pieces.

Bear in mind that of all the tens of thousands of pieces of science that forms the "consensus" view the overwhelmingly vast amount of it is not challenged and is not mistaken. Contrast this with the denialosphere views, the vast majority of which are lies, distortions, misdirection etc etc. There are lists online which demolish just about every crafted disinformation point that the deniers have ever come up with over the last 30 years but "sceptics" and the misled never seem to seek these out to check out the validity of the propaganda that they have swallowed. I am sorry if you don't like it, but the arrogance of useful idiots, who have the nerve to demand respect when they whine about their crass stupidity and gullibility being held up to ridicule, irritates the hell out of me and a lot of others.

Nick Palmer said...

Part 3

You appear to believe that what the Government’s chief scientific adviser, John Beddington is saying (or rather is portrayed as saying), somehow backs up your "scepticism" about climate change science. Here are a few quotes from the article which you should concentrate on:

Beddington “It’s unchallengeable that CO2 traps heat and warms the Earth and that burning fossil fuels shoves billions of tonnes of CO2 into the atmosphere. But where you can get challenges is on the speed of change."

Professor Beddington said that uncertainty about some aspects of climate science should not be used as an excuse for inaction: “Some people ask why we should act when scientists say they are only 90 per cent certain about the problem. But would you get on a plane that had a 10 per cent chance of landing?”

He added: “There is a danger that people can manipulate the data, but the benefits from being open far outweigh that danger.”

Beddington, when he calls for more honesty and openness in the science and acknowledgement of the uncertainties, is essentially indulging in a damage limitation exercise, which is only required because of the foul madness and vicious misrepresentation and deception of the denialist attack dogs and their media stooges.

In essence, the denialists and their patsies have so muddied the waters and so perverted the apprehensions of the gullible public, that Britain's chief science adviser considers it apposite to throw a few scientists to the wolves by slagging them off in public so that the greater body of scientists can retain credibility IN THE BEFUDDLED MINDS OF THE PUBLIC - not that what the scientists may or may not have done was in any way dishonest or any evidence whatsoever of some great conspiracy to lie and conceal anthing about climate change science or observations.

They were very rude about denialists - so what? - climate change denialists/delayers and those who pose as "sceptics" are even more scum-like than the exact same breed who worked for the tobacco companies and invented the campaign to deny and delay action being taken to inform the public about the cancer causing effects of smoking - even after their own scientists knew that it was true.

At least one of the earlier climate change deniers was actually one of the tobacco company deniers too (Seitz). Those tobacco deniers contributed to the deaths of many hundreds of thousands, possibly millions of people. Climate change deniers, if too many gullible people fall for their propaganda, will be responsible for billions of deaths over the next century. They are using exactly the same tactics as the tobacco deniers used, as set out in the Philip Morris tobacco company memos

link to wiki article about climate change denial - scroll down to "connections to the tobacco lobby"

Although the following link is only indirectly relevant to the Times article, it references David Rose - the newly formed denialist journalist who did his worst, in the Mail, to deeply blacken the story about the Himalayan glaciers and blow it up out of all proportion or relevance. Watch as the respected science blogger "Deltoid" takes him apart - sadly you are unlikely to see any of this type of response in the Mail, so their readers will doubtless carry on in their sleep being spoon fed disinformation.
Denier hack David Rose taken apart

BTW, as far as climate science or environmental kudos goes, I've got more real knowledge than most. I have been called an expert on denialism with an encylopaedic knowledge - although I wouldn't personally go quite that far. No doubt in Jersey I am pretty near or at the top.

I can, and have done many times, quite happily (and fairly easily) defeat full Professors in a straight argument.

Anonymous said...

But you're not a scientist, are you?

Nick Palmer said...

Again this reply is for the wider audience - replying to one anonymous sniper is a waste of time but unfortunately there are just too many like them about - as a too numerous breed, they are super dangerous to our future.

Anonymous (who really must identify themselves if they expect this conversation to continue because I have no idea if it's the same anonymous every time or just a horde of mindless net trolls jumping on the bandwagon) wrote:

But you're not a scientist, are you?

Fun first: Blimey! You really are a major pain aren't you? You read through three full comment spaces worth of check-uppable stuff - presumably coming out the other end with your delusions unscathed due to your misplaced self-belief - yet all you can do is metaphorically look, not just at the mole on Cindy Crawford's face, but at just one small completely irrelevant hair on it - clinging to your vain attempt to wrest some ugliness from amongst a sea of loveliness.

Alternatively: It depends what you mean by scientist. A scientist in one field is generally worthy of little more credibility - when speaking about another scientific field than the one they were trained in - than the man down the pub. Thus Professor Ian Plimer, one of the most prominent and most publicised denier "scientists", is or was Professor of Mining Geology at Adelaide University. No doubt his opinions on rock strata are unimpeachable but his opinions on climate change are catastrophically wrong and stupid.

Given a suitable platform I could show him up for the recidivist liar/madman/fool that he is. It wouldn't even be hard but the audience would need to have their cognitive faculties in gear, have knowledge of logic and be rational. Qualities which are in increasingly short supply these days.

Enjoy watching a "mere" journalist, George Monbiot - not a qualified climate scientist - calling the lies and annihilating the professorial bullshitter on Australian TV - it gets good about 8 minutes in...

Like Monbiot, I too am not a working climate scientist but just about everything I write is based upon their peer reviewed work and the basic unarguable physics of the situation. I contribute to, and have had my contributions welcomed as valid, indeed as valuable and original by top climate blogs and sites run by some of the top climate scientists in the world.

Being 55, I have known about the science behind climate change since I was 16 and have followed it and learned about it for almost 40 years, so I think that counts for something. I certainly outrank dangerous idiots who blindly swallow propaganda and arrogantly believe in it whilst getting their thoughts moulded by blatantly and deliberately misleading articles in the press or by denialist blogsites.

Part 2 follows

Nick Palmer said...

Part 2

BTW, when deniers debate climate scientists in public, the guys speaking truth and reality often are seen to "lose" in the judgement of the public. For example, Professor Plimer and arch-denier (and borderline flake) Lord Monckton are on a tour of Australia right now. On Friday, they had a live debate with climate scientist Barry Brook, who heads Adelaide University's Research Institute for Climate Change and Sustainability. Yup, his office is yards from Plimer's.

The public view was that the climate scientist lost the debate.

Here's a great review of Plimer's "masterpiece" book "Heaven and Earth" reviewed by Brook. Plimer, in this latest debate, paid not the slightest heed to the fact that in the review Brook had identified where he used "trimming, cooking and forgery" to make his anti-science points.

Here's yet another detailed take-down of Plimer's lies.

Monckton is slipperier. He uses (admittedly) extremely good rhetoric and oratory to work the crowd - just like Hitler at the Nuremberg rallies - and is extremely well versed in the Gish gallop method of blitzkrieging the audience with bullshit look it up here - well worth it to anyone who cares how they're being bamboozled.

The great irony about this pair of deniers and professional deceivers is that they use mutually incompatible arguments to sway the crowd and the crowds are generally so ignorant or prejudiced that they don't even realise! Monckton goes to extraordinary rhetorical lengths to claim that climate sensitivity (how many degrees centigrade the Earth heats up for each doubling of CO2 - it's around 3 degrees C) is much less than the IPCC do. Therefore, he hopes to fool the gullible into thinking that things won't warm very much and any changes won't be a big deal.

Plimer's forte is to use the Gish Gallop to swamp the audience with the (true) fact that the climate has changed many times in the past and so he hand-waves that what's happening now is just another natural change. The laughable aspect of the combined views of these two uber-dangerous clowns is that it is the fact that climate has changed naturally many times in the past that proves unarguably that climate has high sensitivity! And yet the naive, gullible audience of businessmen types lapped up the totally opposing arguments as somehow reinforcing each other and judged them the winners!!!

This is just some of the level of stupidity, evil and deceit that is out there fooling people who apparently have way too much self-belief in the adequacy of their own judgement for their own good.

Nick Palmer said...

Oh - in one of the previous comments I mentioned Seitz and that the tobacco industry's methods of muddying the waters on "cancer science" are now being used by deniers to muddy the waters on climate science.

I didn't fully realise quite how large were the "cognitive difficulties" that Seitz, who once upon a time was an excellent scientist, suffered while he was a tobacco industry shill.

This video of Pete Sinclair's shows his deterioration into irrationality as he took up the cause of the fossil fuel industry and also shows Seitz's links to the infamous Oregon petition which is a long time darling of the denier movement, despite being based upon a fundamental linguistic deception. I usually imply that people who come up with this mind rotting stuff are bad (liars) - perhaps all of them are just suffering cognitive difficulties or are just too ignorant to judge things correctly?