Sunday, October 25, 2009

Clive James in denial, not really funny.

I just put this up as a comment in response to Clive James pisspoor piece on Radio 4 last Friday supporting the cause of man-made climate change denialism.

OK Clive, you admit you know naught about climate science, that's OK. I bet you don't mind putting a bob or 2 on the horses, so let's start from there.

Let's look at it from a betting perspective.

Despite what you say, the consensus among scientists (yes, with a few exceptions, as is always the case in science, and when you say the number of sceptical scientists is increasing, you mean that they have gone up from 31 to 32 or some such, but at the same time, the Grim Reaper is taking their numbers down, because most of the "sceptics" have been drawing their pensions for a couple of decades)... where was I? Ah yes, the consensus among real climate scientists is that we should decarbonise our economy as a matter of urgency.

So what would the bookies say?

Say we decarbonise our economy, and it turns out (against all reasonable expectations) that the scientific consensus view was wrong, and that Clive James had it right all along? Well, we will have created hundreds of thousands of jobs in insulation and renewable energy manufacturing and taken thousands out of fuel poverty. We will also have reduced the shock of Peak Oil and Peak Gas, and reduced the acidification of the oceans. And addressed our energy security problems. And increased prosperity in hot countries. And created wonderful new natural diverse forests. And so on. Not bad, not bad at all.

Say on the other hand, we go the way of the denialists/skeptics, and it turns out, as per all reasonable expectations, that they are wrong and the atmospheric scientists are right?

We will be facing problems with energy security, Peak Oil, Peak Gas, acidified oceans, acid rain, fuel poverty, unemployment, poverty, civil unrest and finally, massive, catastrophic climate disruption from droughts, floods, crop failures, disease, and war. With massive migration caused by environmental collapse. Not good.

Any sensible punters would put their money on decarbonising the global economy.

In the end, this is not an academic debate, because we and our children are part of the experiment. We have to make a choice, and if we get the choice wrong, it's not going to be funny at all.


weggis said...

Hey Doc.

You have to realise that James, Clarkson, Littlejohn et al have a living to earn and are writing for those who want to believe that everything is OK and they can carry on in the manner to which they are accustomed.

Telling those peeps the truth doesn’t sell copy or pay the rent.

So, you Doc are the psychiatrist. Please advise on how to counter it.

DocRichard said...

Ah yes. Denial. Very difficult condition to treat. The model lies in addiction treatment, and as you point out, James, Clarkson, Littlejohn and their gullible readers are addicted to the carbon based lifestyle.

Therapists agree that the addict has to come up smack against the wall of reality before they can start to be motivated to make the challenging life style changes that they need. Once they have done that, recovery is possible, and my 30 year experience convinces me that the 12-step process of Alcoholics Anonymous is the most successful approach.

It is the reality testing that we are waiting for at the moment, which is why, sadly, I think it is going to take something in the order of a Great Flood of London to make our leaders turn their talk into walk.

The alternative to waiting for disaster to start the process of the transition to a green, decarbonised economy, is a General Strike. Since we are a long way from this at the moment, we should start with a little General Pause: a ten minute delay in work, which we spend discussing AGW with our work colleagues. This should take place on Monday at 10am until 10:10am>

Andrew Cooper said...

I listened to Clive James (as you so rightly say, piss poor) piece earlier and could hardly believe my ears. They I a. came to the same conclusion as weggis and b. googled for "Clive James" and "climate change" and you were pretty much the first hit.

I could witter on endlessly about my views on James' piece and what it says about the human condition, but I won't. Meanwhile, have you seen this?

Andrew Cooper said...

PS Your addiction analogy is excellent. James attacks those who use the 'climate change denier' label. His logic, such as it is, is that only once catastrophic change has occurred will it be possible to say that the deniers are wrong. I'd rather not wait that long.

I really must find time to post about this on my own blog As I've pointed out there, a number of times, everything is psychology.

DocRichard said...

Hi Andrew, thanks for coming. I like the look of your blog, which looks as if it required an hour spent on it.

I met Greg Wonderingmind42's wonderful video many moons ago. Thanks for the reminder. This time, to avoid losing it again, I have blogged it.

All readers are invited to viral this video.

Andrew Cooper said...

Hi Richard - thank you for your kind comments about my blog: I really must find time to start posting again, but I think that will have to wait until our youngest has finished his final year at school.

There's one topic that's gnawing away at me - the state of sub-Saharan Africa - which has major implications for climate change and much else. Finding a way to deal with my thoughts which won't make me persona non grata in the region is a little tricky!

Dorothea said...

"those who can meet their needs with the least resources tend to win"

Andrew - I like your blog too, please don't give up on it completely. Humanity's problems are most definitely psychological. All this technology will never do us a bit of good - indeed may do us a lot of harm, without sorting our mental attitudes out first.

Pause from 10am to 10:10 excellent idea.