An Inconvenient Planetary Greening

Strange red women march in London. Assorted Climate Warriors glue themselves to things. Even Darth Vader has made an appearance.

Bizarre uniformed youths in silver outfits (that make them look like demented Telly Tubbies) traipse across the bridges of the Thames.

The Climate Rebellion gathers apace.

But meanwhile, as the rest of us stoically await the promised global annihilation, there has been an (another) unfortunate and rather embarrassing development.

I've told you about the North Pole that has point blank refused to go ice free in summer (Here)

I've told you about the decreasing average wind speeds. (Here)

But now,  it appears the planet is greening as well.

Even though Extinction Rebellion promised us desertification and mass starvation
within 10 years (9 years to go), the quantity of vegetation on the planet is increasing.

Which (somewhat) ruins the Armageddon-esque narrative. (See Here)

And it's not just me saying it. Honest! I'm just the messenger. So don't shoot! Reserve your ammo and associated climate justice for the likes of NASA.

They are the swine who've discovered this greening abomination and are bragging
about it.

It's On this Link.

Guess what? A great deal of that greening comes from ambitious tree planting programs in India and China. In other words they are taking pro-active steps to improve the environment, and it is working.

So India and China are hugely improving the lives of their populations and greening the planet as well. All primed by reliable, plentiful and cheap energy!

(The average Climate Warrior might not like that last bit - Sorry)

But it is not just India and China that are greening up. The rest of the world is too!

This has been known since 2016 (See Here) but whenever you ask your average Climate Warrior about it they either mumble in disbelief or just look at their eco-friendly shoes.

So far we have reducing average wind speeds. The north pole ice cap is still there (prophesied to be gone eight years ago). Now we have increasing growth of vegetation instead of desertification.

This climate catastrophe is not really going to plan is it?

Or rather maybe somebody has not looked at the plan properly. After all the Planet really is warming.

So whats left of this Climate Emergency?

Well, it does look like sea levels are rising. Maybe there's more precipitation (rain).

Which is after all what you would expect with Global Warming  Climate Change whatever its source.

But how bad is this change and how will drastically reducing Carbon Dioxide emissions mitigate this rise?

Is collapsing the economy and throwing millions back to the Dark Ages really worth it?

That is for another post.

Crime and Contraception


Something “funny” is happening to the UK crime rate. It is going down.

OK I know there’s some political massaging of figures and fiddling around the edges to make things look better. 

But really, there is less crime now (especially violent crime) than there was back in the 80’s and 90’s.

Here’s the graph from here https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-46984559



“Yea! Ba-Phooey!” I hear you cry. Its the bloody BBC again!

Well, yes. 

But even so, (believe me) crime has decreased significantly since 1995. Of course there is still ugly peaks and troughs as various types of criminality go in or out of fashion. 

Yet statistically, looking across the board, the crime rate (especially violent crime) has decreased.

But Why?

There are those who will tell you its because of “more modern” policing, or some special social program, more bobbies on the beat or even less bobbies on the beat.

But no. People suggesting such things are often simply making it up as they go along. They are simply mouthing their best guess.

But there is a solidly researched and scientifically verifiable reason.

I must admit though I do find that reason somewhat discomforting.

My Eureka moment regarding a falling crime rate came when I was about one third the way through a fantastically enlightening and entertaining book called FreakanomicsLink Here. (stunningly important book – read it!)

I reached Chapter Four “Where have all the Criminals Gone?” It was, to put it biblically, like having the scales fall from my eyes.

Freakanomics is an American book. The USA peaked out their crime rate in 1989 – not too different from the UK in 1995. So I wondered if the reason for the collapse in the American crime rate was mirrored in the UK. 

But before we look at that lets explore the reasons for the USA crime rate fall.

Why did the USA crime rate peak in 1989? Why has it been falling ever since? Put simply, the USA introduced abortion on demand around 1970.

Who has an abortion? Back before 1970 in the USA it was only the relatively wealthy and well connected. 

After 1970 abortion became increasingly available to all income groups. So if you were a poor vulnerable girl who accidentally became pregnant, instead of becoming a failing young mother, you now had abortion as an answer to an otherwise desperate situation.

The birth rate to low income single teenage girls collapsed. Young unsophisticated girls, often barely more than children and usually the product of a casual teenage liaison themselves were allowed to grow up without the burden of an unwanted and (often) uncared-for child to look after.

Before the introduction of freely available abortion the offspring of these often feral teenagers grew up to become feral teenagers themselves. The cycle continued.

As they grew up these accidental children had no role model (beyond the local drug-dealer). As the males matured many turned to criminality (90% of crime is attributable to young males). Or if female – they got pregnant and simply re-fuelled the vicious social lock-in that had brought them into the world in the first place.

Criminality is mostly a problem among feral young males aged 15 to 27. After the age of 27 there is a marked and prolonged decrease in male criminality. Of course other groups do commit crimes but young males from broken or non-existent homes form the bulk of modern day criminals.

With each passing year after 1970 the abortions continued. The reservoir of future criminals decreased. Then in 1989 about twenty years after the introduction of freely available abortion in the USA, the reservoir began to empty. The physical number of criminals in their early twenties or late teens began to decrease.

Less uncared-for feral children make for less young criminals. And less young criminals make for less crime.

Stunningly simple. Even though it feels somewhat discomforting.

So does this scenario pan out for the UK too? It looks like it does. 

When abortion was introduced into the UK in 1969 uptake was relatively slow. In 1970 the number of abortions was 86,000 while in 1975 (twenty years before the peak in crime rate) it had risen to 140,000. From then on it levelled off at around 190,000. Today it is just over 200,000 per year.

So around 20 years after the provision of easily accessible abortion in the UK, the crime rate started to fall. Just as it had in the USA.

This is not to say that this is the only reason for falling crime rates but it is without doubt a (very) major factor.

But nobody (and I base this on many conversations with female friends) likes abortion as a method of birth control.

Ironically the best way to avoid abortions is not by abstention (didn’t work in the 80’s and won’t work now) but by free and readily available contraception. Especially to those most likely to fall into the teenage pregnancy trap and are sadly the least likely to get pro-active support and help.

Maybe by pro-actively promoting contraception more we can reduce the abortion rate and still keep the benefits of a lower crime rate.

Remember the problem here is with contraception for young people who are probably already having difficulty growing up and need to be guided by more capable individuals. For example we are not dealing with the typical emancipated and pro-active young woman who can sort her self out.

Criminality is driven by a surprisingly small sector of society. (more in a later post). That is why the advent of freely available abortion has had such a large impact upon it. 

But abortion can be traumatic. A better regime of contraceptive support especially for the vulnerable can cut this trauma and still reduce unwanted pregnancies.

To me promoting contraception seems a much better idea than simply relying on abortion. While maintaining a falling crime rate is a big societal bonus.

I think few would disagree.


Storms, Climate Change & an Economy of Truth.


You've heard the rhetoric. Global Warming/Climate Change/Climate Emergency is increasing severe weather events. There will be more storms. More destruction.

Statements like this from my friends in Greenpeace (of whom I have none) Link Here 

[quote]
“The frequency and strength of storms is increasing, leaving destruction in their wake.”
[unquote]

Lurid stuff. Frightening even.

But is it true?

Is the frequency and strength of storms increasing?

The answer to that is No.

The frequency and strength of storms is not increasing. In fact for the last thirty years the average wind speed across large sections of the planet have been in decline, as have severe storm events. You can trace a slowing in global wind speeds right back to the 1960's.

From Antarctica right up to near the North Pole wind speeds have been going down.

I’ll concentrate here on the UK but this really is a global phenomena. (see references later)

Here is the frequency of high wind gusts events across the UK by year which the Met Office states they use as an indicator of "storminess".

Notice all gusts are in decline and that includes the extreme gusts that are supposed to be increasing. (MET office Data taken from Here)

Storms in the UK by year


Even though they have adopted a silly storm naming scheme (one suspects in order to add a little drama to otherwise common or garden weather events) the Met Office have come out and made clear that there is no link between Global Warming and UK storm frequency.

But they cannot quite bring themselves to reference their own data showing a slow decline in storminess since the 1990's. The Met Office webpage on Wind Storms is Here

The global slowing of wind speed is emphatic and serious enough to now be a research project for EU. (Here)

Even dear old Wikipedia has a (somewhat rudimentary) page on it Here

The best page is probably This Page from the Institute of Physics. (with caveats – see later)

Here’s a few more links that give useful insight into the phenomena.

ABC News Australia

Cosmo Magazine

Nature Magazine

So, while the panic laden Drama Queens in Greenpeace and Extinction Rebellion would like you to think that storms are dangerously increasing, actually the reverse is true.

Bad things always happen. There will always be storms. But today there are less of them and they are less potent.

But you will not hear anyone suggesting that this is a “good thing”.

Even the Phys.org article above struggled hard to find some bad outcomes yet failed to address any of the advantages of lower wind speed and less storms.

Yet when we look to (say) coastal defence, less storms mean coastal defence systems last longer. Less storms mean less storm surges. Less storms mean less wind damage. Less lost work days and less insurance claims.

The list goes on.

Even a merely lower average wind speed must result in less wear and tear on external structures. I am sure you can think a few more advantages of what is in essence more benign weather. 

By the way while the linked reports are all reasonably recent, this is far from new knowledge. Its just appears to have been kept pretty quiet until now.

It is interesting to note that while these reports all mention the possible ill affect on wind-turbines the reports make great efforts to (incorrectly) indicate that little is known about the wind speed at wind-turbine height.

I first blogged on it and how it can affect the wind turbine farce using data from Garrard-Hassan. But that data from 2011 which shows the slowing of wind speed across Northern Europe seems to have been (how should we say…) overlooked.

The full 2011 post is Here: Wind Speed Decline: A Blip or a Trend?

Here's the Garrard Hassan graph (this only goes to 2005)



But whatever the effects on marginal power producers, clearly wind speed is something that is getting more benign. Maybe it is due to Global Warming, maybe not. But whatever, wind speed is not getting worse.

Global Warming may well have deleterious affects. But (like this) there may also be positive outcomes

It’s just nobody wants to tell you about them.



An Audience with Greta Thunberg

Today Greta Thunberg had an audience with Congress in the USA. One would therefore pre-suppose she was an expert in her chosen field (which I assume is Climate Science) or possibly an individual with massive popular support.

Expertise

At 16 years of age (and as far as I know not an exceptionally gifted child) it is hardly likely Greta has any expertise in climate science at all. It would seem to have been a better choice to seek testimony from someone a little more qualified.

Say Jim Hansen, James Lovelock (100 years old God bless him!) or even Bjorn Lomborg. While their testimony may well have been more boringly factual it probably would have been far less dramatic. It most certainly would not have been delivered with the arrogance that comes from being a precocious child.

Perhaps the doughty Congressmen would have been even better off by first reading Factfulness by the late Hans Rosling. Though, to be fair an optimistic book based on (gasp!) actual facts was never going to out-drama-queen a message of fear parroted by a child.

Popular Support

So that leaves the other possible pathway to give testimony to Congress - massive popular support from the American public. So lets look at Greta's pathway through the USA and how much support she has garnered in her appearances so far

Arrival
First, after a huge amount of worldwide press coverage she dramatically sailed into New York harbour. The accompanying 17 boats were all decked out before her arrival with UN goals written on their sails.  But other than these 17 pre-prepared boats, there was no spontaneous flotilla. The dock was lined by about 200 people. Hardly an auspicious start.

New York
Then on August 30th she attended a demonstration outside the UN headquarters in New York. These reports rate the attendance from “dozens”, “several dozens”,  "hundreds" to the highest at “up to 1000”

Strangely the first and last of these links are to two separate Guardian pieces. The Guardian manages to start off in its real-time reporting at “dozens” and then in a later article manages to massage that to “up to 1000”.  But remember - this is the Guardian. It often appears that truth comes a very distant second to a good story at the Guardian. 

Washington
Next there was the the Washington demonstration outside the White House on Friday 13th (unlucky for some..)

Here we again get that “dozens” of protester appeared with Greta though another news source bigs it up to 1500. But I think the Guardian gives the game away somewhat by informing us that the protest was so small it was literally surrounded by the media. It was so hemmed in could not move off for its march.

Notice none of these demonstrations and rallies attracted more than a paltry 1500 people, and that is if you believe the highest estimate. In all likely hood neither the New York or the Washington demonstrations actually reached 100 people let alone 1000. These rallies were poorly attended. Dare I say dismally so.

Congress

Yet a 16 year old non expert with a committed popular following in the USA that amounts to a few dozen gets an audience with Congress. Along with this audience she and her tiny demonstrations also get huge coverage in the world media. Before this (a few months back) she was feted by the UK parliament.

I get that uncomfortable feeling that there is something seriously amiss here.

Someone is pushing an agenda.

When Senators, Congressmen and British MPs fawn before an arrogant child (who happens to be the mascot for a death cult) I think we should all be worried.

And more than just about Global Warming.

Brexit Party & SDP. A Crazy Idea. But….


OK. Laugh this out of court if you like. It is (as it says on the tin) only a crazy idea. I’d love your comments (however derogatory) either here or on twitter.

This concerns the next General Election, which we all hope will not be long in coming.

It also concerns the Social Democratic Party (to whose members it is mainly aimed). So if you are not interested in the SDP or (say) the Brexit Party or even Brexit then stop reading now.

This post particularly concerns the vulnerability of the Brexit vote to splintering and how (this is the crazy bit) how to mobilise and maximise the Leave vote in staunchly Labour areas to ensure Brexit.

It also concerns (take a deep breath at this point – this is even crazier) also how we may yet get some SDP MPs.

So, here we go.

The Conservatives even though they are well ahead in the opinion polls, will struggle in many traditional Labour seats. However dismal Labours policies are, many will still vote for them rather than Conservative. The historic loyalties of honest Northern voters will be played like a fiddle by Momentum and their pals.

While the Brexit party may gain traction in these seats it may not be enough. The end result could well be that (thanks to our crap electoral system – FPTP) in many traditional Labour seats the Labour candidate sneaks in with 30-35% of the vote.

We could easily end up with another minority Leave government or even worse a minority/majority Remain government. Even though the electoral vote share for Leave may swamp the Remain vote.

This has happened before in UK General Elections. See these old posts of mine for dates and what happened. (Overview Here) (Example 1 - 1929 ) (Example 2 -1951) (Example 3 - 1974)

One of the obvious tactics that will be used by Labour to attack the Brexit Party will be that (as viewed by many on the left) they are closet Tories. Meanwhile many Tory voters in those same seats will see the Brexit Party as a one trick pony with few policies or direction.

The Brexit Party will get squeezed by both these ideas. Even though in fairness, it has gone some way to ensure it has candidates that are other than small Tories, and it also has policies beyond Brexit.

But voter perception is King. You can bet your bottom dollar the Brexit Party will get vilified by both sides.

So how does the SDP fit into this?

To answer that we need to look at the structure of the Labour Party. (Yes I told you this was crazy. Now it is going to get bizarre)

Or rather lets look at the structure of two separate partys. The Labour Party, and the Cooperative Party.

Most Labour MPs are just that. Labour MPs.

But 38 (who also take the Labour whip) are not. They represent two parties. they are elected on a joint ticket for the Labour & Cooperative Party

Although these days there is little difference between the two different parties, these 38 MPs in the House of Commons are actually from an alliance (dating back to 1927) between the Labour Party and the Cooperative Party. (See Here)

Today they form the the fourth largest grouping in the House of Commons. They do NOT stand under the ticket of the Labour Party but under a joint ticket. On the ballot paper voters put their X in the box marked “The Labour & Cooperative Party”.

I expect you are way ahead of me by now. But if not, let me expand.

To ensure success in Labour Heartland seats, the Brexit Party needs to de-tory-fy itself. It has done this to the best of its ability by selecting candidates that are in the main clearly not Torys. But the stigma sticks. 

If it could form a public alliance with a Party with a strong working class history that Labour voters could easily identify with, it would greatly aid it electoral chances.

I would suspect too that many of the chosen Brexit Party candidates, while fully committed to delivering Brexit, are still somewhat unhappy about being on exactly the same ticket as Nigel Farage and would like some distance.

So for the Brexit Party it would make a lot of sense to stand candidates as “Brexit and SDP Party”. Just as some Labour candidates stand as “Labour & Cooperative Party”

I’d put money on it that Labour voters would much rather put an X in a box labelled Brexit & SDP Party than one marked Brexit Party. (let alone one marked Conservative)

It would also make a lot of sense for the SDP to adopt some of the finer centre-left candidates in the Brexit party as dual party members, and maybe negotiate to replace one or two of the weaker ones with real quality SDP candidates like Patrick O’Flynn.

Both partys would gain.

As Robert E. Heinlein once said

“Never appeal to a man's 'better nature.' He may not have one. Invoking his self-interest gives you more leverage.”

It is in the self interest of the Brexit Party to have an alliance. It is also in the self interest of the SDP to have an alliance.

It is in neither partys interest to squabble or ignore each other.

(Right. I’ll restart taking the medication now. Thank you)

Parliament, MPs and a Betrayal of Democracy.


When Boris Johnson attempted for a second time to trigger a General Election on the 10th September he won the vote in parliament with a majority of 247. 

Of the votes cast 85% were for a General Election.

So why did the bill to trigger a General Election fail? 

It failed because according the Fixed Term Parliament Act he needed the backing of 66% of MPs. 

A 66%+ majority was inadequate. In fact only 52% of MPs voted.

Look at this and weep.



Thats right. Nearly half of all MPs elected to Parliament to vote on our behalf could not be bothered (or were too scared) to even register a vote. Yet this was one of the most important bills to come before Parliament this century. For these cowards no vote was recorded.

If in a General Election only 52% of the electorate turned up to vote then it would (quite rightly) be regarded as a crisis for democracy.

I am unsure as to the true motivation (or lack thereof) of those who failed to vote but I can make a few guesses. 

But the first and foremost aspect of all this is the type of example it sets to an electorate that is already pretty damn disillusioned with politics in the UK.

Dare I suggest that if you are elected to Parliament it is your DUTY to vote. 

No ifs buts or wherefores or Machiavellian subterfuges, you must vote.

There may be (very) rare occasions when you may feel inadequately qualified (or whatever) but the clue is in the word – rare. 

There was absolutely no excuse for any MP not to vote (either for or against) this bill.

Of course there are reasons why some MPs would oppose Johnsons bill. 

But instead of actually publicly displaying their preference they allowed a clearly flawed Fixed Term Parliament Act to do their dirty work for them.

Look at this.



Notice the block of 111 Labour MPs (for who no vote is recorded) happen to represent Leave majority constituencies. 

I don’t know whether they are stupid enough to think the little subterfuge of not voting will allow them to pretend they were not responsible for vetoing a General Election.

I do wonder whether they are hoping to say on the doorstep that they didn’t actually vote down Johnsons bill. 

Or maybe they just wanted to avoid any immediate unwanted publicity that their vote might attract in their home town.

We elect politicians for a purpose. 

They are there to represent our views and are handsomely paid to do so. In order to represent our views the very least they have to do is actually vote! 

Then we can see them publicly upholding (or for that matter – betraying) our mandate.

This shocking dereliction of duty for petty party political ends is simply obscene and a betrayal of the electorate.

If you are an MP at least have the guts to vote. You were not elected to sit on your hands.

Greta’s Laws of Irreplaceable Utility.


Actually these were going to be Billothewisp’s laws of Irreplaceable Utility. 

But as little Greta Thunberg has gone to such lengths of personal privation on her two week crossing to the USA to prove these laws I just had to give her the credit.

Of course young Greta (and her puppet masters) had no deliberate intention of proving these laws. But she has done such an amazing job she just has to get the credit.

So what are Greta’s Laws of Irreplaceable Utility?

Here dear reader, we will address the three laws one by one.

Law One:

Usage of a particular technology only dominates when that technology is far more utilitarian (i.e. quicker/better) than the competing technology it replaces.

Young Greta’s proof here is stunning. I stand in awe.

It took her two weeks to sail to the USA. If she had flown it would have taken her eight hours. That is an amazing 42:1 improvement.

Remember this was pitting a state of the art racing yacht with minimal concessions to humanity – no toilet (except a bucket) not enough bunks, crew of six, two passengers and no beer against a Jumbo jet also with a crew of six, 250 passengers, reclining seats, eight toilets (no buckets) and lots of gin and beer.

However you like to cut it, except for a publicity stunt (and maybe a holiday adventure), sailing the Atlantic as a viable method to get to the USA is a no-hoper.

True: People did do it in the past.

But that was because they had to. 

Relatively few ever did sail to the USA and even fewer ever sailed back. All that sailing stopped when they invented passenger airliners.

Even today flying the Atlantic in (say) a 1950’s Bristol Britannia airliner (like this beauty below) would be far more utilitarian (i.e. quicker and better) than sailing it in the latest state of the art yacht.

Bristol Britannia on maiden flight to USA 1958
Courtesy Wikipedia and RuthAS


Law Two:

The level of utilitarian advantage to humanity of a particular technology is directly proportional to how much cheaper it is than the technology it replaces.

I would bet that the cost of sailing, crewing and maintaining a high performance yacht for two weeks while it crosses the Atlantic is much about the same as fuelling and crewing a Jumbo jet for a single eight hour crossing.

Again young Greta plays a blinder here.

The Yacht: Two passengers. Six crew.
The Jumbo: 250 passengers and six crew.

That is a 125:1 advantage for the later technology.

Both the sailing yacht and the Jumbo (I would guess) will have a useful life of about twenty years.

Assuming the Jumbo takes one day for a return journey and the yacht four weeks and both run for ten months of the year (the rest being soaked up by maintenance) that means a Jumbo will do 6000 crossings in twenty years to a yachts 200. 

A diesel engined ocean liner could manage about 500.

Clearly and obviously:  The later the technology, the more effective it is.

Law Three

The unitised level of pollution of utilitarian advantage is directly proportional to its age.

A candle wastes about 60 Watts of as heat to produce 12.5 Lumens.. A 60 Watt incandescent bulb produces 860 Lumens while six LED lamps each consuming about 10Watts (i.e. 60 Watts total) produce a blinding 5200 Lumens.

Guess which is the newest technology.

However much you improve your candle or even your incandescent bulb it simply cannot compete with the new kid on the block – LED lights. The same applies for yachts and air liners.

Supposedly Greta’s one way crossing was Carbon free. Sadly that is simply laughable. So dream on.

The replacement crew (to sail the yacht back) have all flown out to take her over. I imagine also that the six crew that sailed young Greta to the USA will also all fly back. That’s twelve flights.

For individual crew members, grandstanding on the political stage is not an option. They have to live in the real world – and to do so entails using the latest, most cost effective and least polluting technology available.

How young Greta gets back is also of interest but as yet unannounced.

It is at this point worth remembering that whatever the level of vilification of air transport, when calculated on a per capita per mile basis it is in fact pretty damn economic.

We all know Greta could have really done it with zero emissions. That would have meant that Greta would have stayed at home and used a telecommunication link. Yet another aspect of high technology.

But how can your minders get you to promote their agenda when you are not there in person to press the flesh? How can you personally chastise all those bad people who have never been on a racing yacht and had to share a bucket for a toilet for two weeks?

And that is the rub.

Whatever the cost, for this event, even little Greta Thunberg had to go to the USA in person.

Just like Mrs Smith from down the road has to go to America to see her new Grandson. 

Or a surgeon has to go to a conference to find out and share information about new life saving techniques.

Or like the other millions upon millions of journeys to and from the USA every year that are as important if not more so than that of a child-star political puppet.

Unlike Greta they cannot afford to lose two weeks. Nor can they afford to pay for a racing yacht, six crew and a strong plastic bucket.

So if Greta’s Laws prove one thing it is this:

High technology is our friend - and the planets friend.

Going backwards is not an option.

---------

p.s. As a side issue, I do have to ask: What happened to the contents of the bucket after use? It wasn’t just thrown into the ocean I hope! You know raw sewage, pristine oceans and all that.




Fiddling while the Forests Burn.


It appears from this NYT article that most of the fires in the Amazon basin are actually on land that has already been cleared. They are mostly the equivalent of the now abandoned UK practice of stubble burning, or using fire to clear the land of the previous years residue before re-planting.

NYT image. red is fire, yellow is farmland, green is rain forest.


True, (regarding air pollution in particular) using fire to clear farm land of crop residue to make it ready it for new planting is not good. But it is not the same as catastrophic slash and burn of virgin rain forest. Poor farmers, scraping a living, have little else to fall back on than fire to clear land for the next crop.

Meanwhile the wild fires in the Congo rage. Especially wildfires in virgin rain forest. (See Here) It appears the Glitterati and their fellow travellers find them somewhat less engaging.

Yet if this were some form of pyromaniacal competition then today the Amazon wild fires are an also-ran.

But compared to what has been going on with the Indonesian Peat fires over the last ten years both the latest Amazonian and Congo fires almost pale into insignificance. (I first blogged about them in 2013 Here)

Not heard of the Indonesian Peat fires?

I am unsurprised. In fact I can only remember one UK news report on the Peat fires way back about six years ago when the smoke closed an airport in Malaysia.

The Indonesian peat fires are dying down now. Today they are at about 20% of their peak in 2015.

At their peak (2015) the Indonesian Peat fires were dumping more emissions into the atmosphere (for no practical gain at all) than all sources from the entire European Union. These Peat fires peaked out at 11.9MT of CO2 per day whereas the EU only manages a mere 8.9MT a day.

For a significant period in 2015 the peat fires produced even more Carbon Dioxide that the entire USA economy! Let alone the EU.

So how does this ugly Indonesian record compare with the fires in the Amazon? It looks like the Amazonian fires are producing around about one megaton of Carbon Dioxide a day. (See Here)

In other words the virtually unreported Indonesian Peat fires were (in 2015) an order of magnitude (over 10x) as bad as the hysterically reported Amazonian fires.

Even today with the peat fires down to a mere 20% of their 2015 peak they pump double the Carbon Dioxide into the atmosphere compared to the Amazon fires.

Yet the western media along with European leaders are silent about them. I wonder why. Is it the wild fires they don’t like? Or Mr Bolsonaro? Or maybe the EU-Mercosur trade deal?

Of course you may argue that it is not all about emissions. After all burning peat is in essence burning dead matter, burning rain forest is burning living oxygen producing vegetation.

That is true. So lets look at how much rain forest is actually being cleared in the Amazon. Here’s a graph showing annual deforestation in Brazil over the last thirty years.



 True the loss of rain-forest has up-ticked. But it is nowhere near the value in 2004.

So, while the Western elites may think Mr Bolsonaro, (the President of Brazil) is a very bad man, clearly his ability to level the rain forest is positively third division stuff compared to his much loved predecessors.

I suppose some criticism of Brazil would be reasonable if it was not for the rank hypocrisy of the European leaders issuing it. 

In 2017 Germany produced 8.7% of its electricity from biomass or 47.4 TWh.

From this document we can work out that 47.4 TWh from wood requires about 100 million tonnes of green wood which equates to levelling 25 million acres of forest.

Two tonnes of green wood contains about 500Kg of carbon. One tonne of green wood equates when burnt, to approximately one tonne of Carbon Dioxide.

So over a year the Germans are pumping into the atmosphere about 100 million tonnes of carbon dioxide by burning wood for electricity alone. All this while they are decommissioning perfectly fine, safe and carbon free nuclear plant.

So far I’ve not even looked at German biomass burning for heat.

But in Germany biomass is the least of it.

Germany with its fatuous Energiewende fashion statement is in fact addicted to lignite – the dirtiest form of coal. They have destroyed over 50 villages and displaced over 40,000 people just so they can rip out forests and agricultural land to get at the filthy stuff. (See Here)

This is not just a German problem. All over Europe forests are being decimated, people up-rooted and bio-diversity wrecked. Read this report and weep (Here)

So when it comes to slash and burn perhaps sanctimonious Europeans should look in a mirror before vilifying poor farmers in Brazil.

The Brazilians are not the ones decommissioning nuclear plant while burning wood and lignite in its place.

They are not the ones destroying ancient forests and demolishing churches simply to get at the dirtiest fuel known to man.

If the European elites want to help stop the wild fires, maybe gaining a little sympathy for the dirt poor farmers in Brazil would be a good place to start.

As well as putting their own house in order.


Extinction Rebellion, the BBC and a Deadly Embrace

A Little Historical Background (skip this if you like)

In 1957 a world renowned Social Scientist named Leon Festinger  studied an end-of-the-world cult to see what would happen when their end-date came and went.

He was particularly interested in what would happen after their prophesy failed ( a disconfirmation as he called it). Surprisingly the disconfirmation did not destroy the cults belief but rather the cult tended to re-direct and reinforce it with some pseudo-rationalisation as to why the disconfirmation occurred.

Before the end-date the cult was utterly convinced that the end-of-the-world was at hand. The primary members fed off each others belief in a bizarre social embrace which annihilated
any prospect of disbelief and locked them into the cult. While the leading members were middle aged, the "foot soldiers" were almost exclusively young. Most were teenagers.

Intelligence did not appear to be a criteria in cult membership. The cult included a PhD Astro-physicist, one of the leaders was a qualified medical doctor and another was a degree qualified electrical engineer.

Yet their cult belief was laughable. They believed that the world was going to end in a flood and that they (as the chosen) would be picked up by flying saucer.  As the end-date approached they saw every calamity affecting the world (in that year there were severe earthquakes in Iran) as proof of their belief.

When the end-date came and went, the cult were presented with the painful truth that their mutually inflated prophesy had failed. Festinger later on defined this state as one of "Cognitive Dissonance" . Instead of what most people would expect to happen (i.e cult members would realise their error and move on) the cult leaders pseudo-rationalised that the disconfirmation was due to their commitment. In fact in their view the cult had saved the world from certain annihilation.

Preposterous as it was, this pseudo-rationalisation drove the cults proselytising into over-drive. The press lapped it up.

The editorial policy for almost all newspapers was (then as now) to boost circulation.

The stories of a world about to end, governmental conspiracy and a "higher calling" boosted circulation and so played directly to the newspaper's editorial policy. The fact that the cult was based on an absurd premise was irrelevant.

The editorial policy came first.

So, what has it got to do with Extinction Rebellion and the BBC?

Unfortunately, in my opinion, quite a lot.

I hate to use  25 minutes of your time but if you have a chance please watch at least a few minutes of this video of one of the founders of Extinction Rebellion in an interview on BBCs Hard Talk. (starts one minute in)



Notice the end-of-days style prophesies with "6 billion dying from wars/starvation".  Notice the impending "social collapse", how "nobody was listening". Then we have the "lying elites" and "lying experts". It could be Festinger's flying saucer fanatics talking. And of course, like Festinger's cult, only Extinction Rebellion have the answer.

So what about the BBC?

Watch the interview. While it is perfectly reasonable for a public service broadcaster to interview fanatics, the interviewer allows the Extinction Rebellion founder to get away with just about any hair brained statement he cared to mention.

He continually refers to "the science" though what he quotes is out-and-out dark fantasy and bore no relation to anything from the IPCC let alone from any other reputable scientific source. Nobody asks what science he is referring to. Let alone requesting verification.

Unchallenged, he repeated several times that 6 billion would die. At one point early on he predicts mass starvation within ten years. No scientific references were given or sought. Each time the BBC presenter nodded it through.

When the interviewer does briefly corner him the Extinction Rebellion founder then declares the interviewer was not "emotionally" connecting to the problem. (Whatever that means.) Again this ludicrous assertion is given a free pass.

The BBC interviewer appears to be solely interested in the disruption this group causes and how it may threaten the established order. The only scientific query the  presenter focused on was their crazy concept of making the UK "carbon free" by 2025. (Even the journalist finds this risible)

Other than this, in a quite shocking dereliction of journalistic enquiry the journalist simply fails to challenge the pseudo-science spouted out by this individual. Particularly, nowhere is the reduction of the planets population to just one billion by starvation and war in 60 years questioned.

I worry that this dereliction is in fact driven by BBC policy rather than simple editorial incompetence. I got the continual impression that the journalist was trying at every opportunity to align with the Extinction Rebellion founder. The scientific basis for the absurd claims went totally unchallenged. The silence implied agreement. It was in effect a discussion between two like minds. It was just one of them was more extreme than the other.

Like Festingers cult, where journalistic integrity came a distant second to editorial policy, I suspect the BBC deliberately ditched the hard (and vital) questions. To them it is better to flatter the crazies. Just as long as they more or less align with the BBC editorial policy on Climate Change.

While all cults are potentially dangerous this abomination called Extinction Rebellion makes Festingers flying saucer fools look positively benign. The social embrace from Extinction Rebellion (especially to the very young) is far more sinister, destructive and totalitarian in nature.

I fear that one day soon the followers of Extinction Rebellion may well find the "cause" has turned from a call to civil disobedience into a crushing deadly embrace that could easily cost them (and many others) their lives.

While Climate Change may well be a problem, it is NOT an end-of-days problem.

It is wholly irresponsible of an organisation like the BBC to sit back and give unchallenged airspace to (any) organisation that presents pseudo-science as fact. Even if the pseudo-science is more palatable to the BBC than asking the hard and verifiable questions.

We need a public broadcaster that is prepared to ask the hard questions. Even if the BBC themselves do not like the answers, and even if the questions go against BBC editorial policy.

Otherwise we simply have a propaganda channel.

Extinction Rebellion: When Prophesy Fails

[quote from Factfulness by Hans Rosling page 229]

"We need to create Fear!" That's what Al Gore said to me [Hans Rosling] at the start of our first conversation about how to teach climate change.

[unquote]

Hans Rosling declined Al Gore's invitation.

(By the way if you want a really excellent view on what is really happening to the world read Factfulness by Hans Rosling it is HERE)

But not everyone has the same scruples as Hans Rosling.

Unable to galvanise people to their cause by rational discourse many politicised proponents of "doing something" about Global warming/Climate Change/Climate Emergency have done exactly what Al Gore suggested to Hans Rosling.

They have deliberately gone out of their way to create a climate of fear. As an example today in the UK every out-of-the-ordinary weather event is somehow blamed on Global Warming.

Even when a reservoir Dam gets badly damaged by a ten year event (see here) it is somehow blamed on Global Warming rather than substandard maintenance.

I have to ask: SHOULDN'T a dam withstand a ten year event intact? Global warming or no global warming?

But all this fear mongering gathers like puss in a sceptic wound and now we have the inevitable result: Extinction Rebellion.

Extinction Rebellion is one of the more alarming cults to emerge in recent years.

The invisible controllers behind the organisation appear to target children. These children are then used in much the same way as African War lords use child soldiers or Drug dealers use child runners. To ensure loyalty to the cause they feed them panicky end-of-days predictions along with a sense of grievance about a "lost" future "stolen" by selfish seniors.

Let us look at the central prophesy promoted by Extinction Rebellion and their camp followers.

So, do we have only 18 months to "Save the Planet"?

The statement appears to have coalesced in this BBC article .

To be fair this 18 months is not actually a hard deadline where we all drop dead at the end of it. It is a deadline where "something has to be done".

That something appears to involve a lot of rich and powerful folk descending in Lear Jets on a few resorts and making some fatuous political statements.

So it is perhaps one of the easier prophesies to achieve. It is also one that can be successfully used to draw away from the failed climate prophesies of the last twenty years.

Take this statement from the above BBC article:

[quote]
But today, observers recognise that the decisive, political steps to enable the cuts in carbon to take place will have to happen before the end of next year. 
[unquote]

So, who are these "observers"?
What are these "political steps"?
Who finally makes the call in 18 months time as to whether the planet is saved?

This all seems somewhat less clear.

What is clear is that (short of a Global recession) Carbon emissions are not going to stop rising in the  next 18 months, let alone decrease.

China and India who together make up the bulk of coal users in the world are not going to stop improving the lives of their peoples. Nor should they.

So should the West then do the "decent" thing and abandon their peoples to poverty?
Should we revert to some pre-industrial idyll? (that never existed) and do all this to prevent (so the theory states) a rise of more than 1.5 degC over the next century?

Personally I don't do poverty.

Even the IPCC doesn't do poverty. Their more sober predictions amount to a reduction in the rate of increase of the world's prosperity NOT a decline.

Really we need to put the risk from Global warming into perspective. According to the IPCC it may impact the rate of improvement in the world economy but it will not stop that improvement. Let alone reverse it.

Carbon emission reductions or not, the world is not going to collapse into some form of dystopian ecological catastrophe. Whatever the likes of Extinction Rebellion get their child soldiers to say.

The only way it may collapse into a nightmare of increasing poverty, reduced opportunity and blighted futures is if we allow the True believers and their disciples to call the tune.

So what should we do about Global Warming??

All the progress that has been made over the last two centuries has hinged around cheap effective energy. What has been shown time and time again is that if energy supply is not long-term cheap and 24/7 effective, it is not worthwhile.

While the effects of Global Warming may be bad, they would pale into insignificance if we allowed the billions recently lifted out of dollar-a-day poverty by cheap and plentiful energy to slide back down into it again.

Yet there are viable alternatives to coal and oil (aka: gas and nuclear) that will (and do) reduce emissions without pushing people into poverty. But sadly they are not fashionable or extreme enough for the likes of Extinction Rebellion.

Whatever we do, we must not throw two centuries of progress down the toilet simply to appease a cult.

Today I read that some elements with Extinction Rebellion are going on what they laughably call a baby strike. In other words they will not be having any children.

That is of course their choice. Personally I would consider their choice a wise one bearing in mind their lack of stability.

But worryingly this nihilism is only one step away from the next cult fantasy: The ultimate sacrifice.

Like all cults, the the young and gullible are the foot soldiers. Frightened little girls and boys swept up into an apocalyptic cult by the "fear" as prescribed by Al Gore.

If we keep appeasing the zealots running this cult then one day we will find we have another Jonestown or Heavens Gate to deal with. An avoidable tragedy where the victims will be kids. Kids who will have been in a perverse way, scared to death.

For them there really will be no future.


Al Gore: When Prophesy Fails.


Back in 2006 Al Gore made the following statement:

And politicians and corporations have been ignoring the issue for decades, to the point that unless drastic measures to reduce greenhouse gases are taken within the next 10 years, the world will reach a point of no return … A true Planetary emergency.”
[CBS News "Al Gore Does Sundance" 2006]

For those who doubt the CBS report and deny he actually said this, may I just refer you to this Al Gore Interview YouTube Video from 2017.



I’m actually not snarking at Al Gore. But clearly as it is now 2019, 10 years have been and gone.

What I’m interested in is his response (and that of others) to this failed prophesy. 

It looks to me that the responses fit (rather alarmingly well) with Leon Festinger’s concept of “Cognitive Dissonance” which he demonstrated with his interactions with a 1950's dooms-day cult in the USA. Its recorded in his book "When Prophesy Fails" (book link: Amazon HERE)

Festinger showed that under certain circumstances, rather than reducing belief, a failed prophesy (or disconfirmation as Festinger calls it) can not only significantly increase belief but also lead to enhanced proselytising on behalf of the belief.

Festingers rules for this to happen were as follows

1. The belief must be held with deep conviction and be relevant to the believer's actions or behaviour.

2. The belief must have produced actions that are arguably difficult to undo.

3. The belief must be sufficiently specific and concerned with the real world such that it can be clearly disconfirmed.

4. The disconfirmatory evidence must be recognized by the believer.

5. The believer must have social support from other believers.


Lets apply that to Al Gore.

1. I would suggest that he strongly believes in the righteousness of his cause.

2. He (and many others) had taken drastic and costly action.

3. The belief “10 years… point of no return” is clear.

4. In the video he clearly acknowledges the failure of the prophesy.

5. As the ad-hoc head of a movement, clearly he has lots of social support.

So rather than questioning the parameters of his failed prophesy, Al Gore (along with many of his supporters and co-followers) doubles down on his primary belief and pseudo-rationalises the disconfirmation.

Take Al Gore in the video interview above. When confronted with the disconfirmation he justifies the failed prophesy roughly as so:

“We have seen a decline in emissions (on a global basis) so they’ve stabilised and in some cases have started to decline.... Some of the responses of the last ten years have helped but unfortunately a lot of damage has been done…...”

His statement that somehow greenhouse gas emissions FELL from 2006 to 2016 is a palpable nonsense. But it fits with exactly what you would expect with cognitive dissonance from a true believer.

Incidentally Here’s the emissions graph 2006 -2017


Meanwhile others seek to minimise their cognitive dissonance by denying that Al Gore ever said such a thing!

It becomes “nasty” propaganda by “trolls”. See this Guest Piece on pro-AGW Skeptical Science blog. 

Ironically all the references the author rages at with a cut-paste from Facebook are in fact fairly accurate renditions of what Al Gore really did say on January 25th, 2006 in a speech, while at the Sundance film festival. 

The author identifies the original source as a  "Climate Denial Blog". I am sure CBS News would be mortified. (original CBS News story link: Here ) 

Unfortunately this cognitive dissonance seriously affects both out ability to continue improving the world and also prevents us from moving away from panic responses to Global Warming. It stops us taking a viable approach to reducing pollution and world emissions.

But I fear worse is to come. (though not from Al Gore who I believe is an honourable man)

As item 5 from Festingers list (social support grouping) gets more intense, Climate Emergency proponents are going into over-drive proselytising their extremist view. As each day goes by they look more and more like a dangerous cult.

With groups like Extinction Rebellion focusing on the most easily led in our society (i.e. children) I fear we may be in a deadly downward spiral.

As discomfirmation follows disconfirmation some of the less gullible may escape. But others will be held in an ever tightening grip of the cults fanaticism.

I fear that one day we may not wake up to just another silly protest in London or New York.