Sunday, 29 May 2011

Snippets from the Interwebs 6





Australia has some prominent AGW deniers such as Bob Carter and Ian Plimer. They also have genuine working climate scientists (a few of the younger ones were featured in the rap video I blogged about recently) and the Australian Climate Commission who have just published a report entitled The Critical Decade. This is how they introduce it:

“Over many decades thousands of scientists have painted an unambiguous picture: the global climate is changing and humanity is almost surely the primary cause. The risks have never been clearer and the case for action has never been more urgent.

Our Earth’s surface is warming rapidly and we can already see social, economic and environmental impacts in Australia.

Failing to take sufficient action today entails potentially huge risks to our economy, society and way of life into the future.

This is the critical decade for action”

Take that, deniers (particularly Baudains and Fergusson)!


In 2008 Ecuador recognized the legal rights of Mother Earth in its new constitution. Article 1 of the new “Rights for Nature” chapter of the Ecuador constitution reads:  “Nature or Pachamama, where life is reproduced and exists, has the right to exist, persist, maintain and regenerate its vital cycles, structure, functions and its processes in evolution.  Every person, people, community or nationality, will be able to demand the recognitions of rights for nature before the public bodies.

Also group of countries led by Bolivia have recently brought the issue to the agenda of the UN General Assembly as they ask for a UN treaty that would grant the same rights found in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights to Mother Nature so there will be legal systems to maintain balance between human rights and what they say are the rights of other members of the Earth, such as plants, animals and terrain.

Taken from


The Thoughtful Bread Company claims to be England's first fully sustainable bakery.

click link for article The old school bread of the future


One-third of the world's food produced for human consumption is lost or wasted each year, according to a study (pdf) released on Wednesday by the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO).

source: Guardian – news - global development


Bankers aren’t always evil…  On May 18th the global finance giant Bank of America announced that it has set a goal of reducing its greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions 15 per cent by 2015 based on the company’s 2010 baseline. It’s not enough but it’s not bad for a start


In a speech in early May Levi Strauss & Co. CEO and President John Anderson urged the clothing industry to adopt a new level of social, economic and environmental sustainability, moving beyond compliance with site-specific regulations to encompass improvements in the daily lives of workers in the global supply chain.

Puma is the first company in the world to put a value on the ecosystem services it uses to produce its sports shoes and clothes. In a huge leap for CSR, the company has published an economic valuation of the environmental impacts caused by greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs) and water consumption along its entire supply chain. It plans to become even more ambitious by integrating both its  social and economic impacts.

 Taken from


Taken from the New York Times May 3rd 2011 (click for original article).

The population of the world, long expected to stabilize just above 9 billion in the middle of the century, will instead keep growing and may hit 10.1 billion by the year 2100, the United Nations projected in a report released Tuesday.

“Growth in Africa remains so high that the population there could more than triple in this century, rising from today’s one billion to 3.6 billion, the report said”


We’re already using up Earth’s resources 1.5 times as fast as Earth can regenerate them. Dickens’ Mr Micawber summed up the inevitable result:

Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure nineteen pounds nineteen and six, result happiness. Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure twenty pounds ought and six, result misery


source:Global Footprint network.


Even Kentucky Fried Chicken is getting in on sustainability and CSR as far as one of their latest restaurants is concerned. KFC’s newest restaurant in Indianapolis is designed to use 25 percent less energy and water. The Indianapolis restaurant is part of KFC’s E3 initiative “which looks at Economically responsible ways of saving energy and being environmentally aware. Many corporations are now far in front of where government is in pro-active action. However, KFC still have the same rather less responsible menu.


Monday, 23 May 2011

P P P Peak oil!!

Mark Forskitt, Daniel Wimberley, Chris Perkins and myself all raised the forthcoming spectre of peak oil when we stood for election in 2008. We warned about the consequences for the way we currently do things. Guess what? Just about nobody listened. Well, here's an Australian documentary that shows very authoritative figures saying that we are at (probably past!) peak oil now - the only way is down (sorry Yazz). In this film, Dr Jonica Newby goes to the International Energy Authority to find out how much and how fast they have changed their views recently. Guess what? We were right, they were wrong.



Tuesday, 17 May 2011

Ooh Missus! Rap science - more swearing on Nick’s blog!

Before you all get shocked by the robust rap language in the video that this post is about (the second one below), you ought to first watch the LHC rap to get broken in gently to the sight of real scientists speaking out. In 2008, Kate McAlpine (A.K.A Alpinekat) released the Large Hadron Rap about the LHC at Cern, Switzerland. She is a science communicator (click for her website). Her rap music inspired video went viral and has had at least 6 million views so far.

Large Hadron Rap


Real climate scientists are a bit sick of the numbers of people in the media who talk disparagingly about climate science as if their views were worth anything (mostly, they’re not…). This video is a fun but serious rap by real working climate scientists from Australia. Here’s a link to an article about the making of the rap video

Be warned, the following video contains the “M-F bomb” - words that are often found in rap music - but get past that (or, if you’re too delicate, I’ve included the “clean” version afterwards – which seems a bit silly by comparison) and this is a shrewd comment on the huge numbers of people expressing opinions about subjects they don’t know enough about – such as those who pick up a few deceptive ideas from climate change denialist propaganda and think their “new understanding” gives their fond beliefs the edge over peer reviewed science. This is the Dunning-Kruger effect writ large. This particular manifestation of human stupidity just might be the death of many of us and untold future generations before the climate settles down again. Alarmism (I hear the deniers cry)? Why not? The potential of climate change is actually terrifying and it should scare people. Remember those multiple AGU (American Geophysical Union) delegates who have already made survival retreat plans? If you read that and don’t get alarmed, you’ve got more than one screw loose… Click for link to post.

The problem is the Dunning-Krugers then go on with such confidence in their own judgement that they pontificate about their ridiculously (and dangerously) warped understanding as if they had discovered some smoking gun holes in the science that the whole of science had somehow missed and this implausible idea seems to be unfortunately received rather well by too many people. No doubt some would like the smartest scientists to fall flat on their faces but, realistically, that’s not going to happen.

It’s all rather like those early stage X-Factor contestants who tell Simon Cowell that he’s a fool not to recognise their fantastic talent. This widespread misplaced confidence (A.K.A. unjustified arrogance) seems to be a bit of an epidemic these days. Unfortunately, most of these people can vote which is why the deceitful forces of denialism are trying so hard to spread their disinformation.

Favourite lines?

“Droppin’ facts all over this wax, while bitches are crying ‘bout a carbon tax”

“Denialists deny this in your dreams, coz climate change means greater extremes”

I'm a Climate Scientist (HUNGRY BEAST)


I'm A Climate Scientist - Extended Version - (CLEAN)