I just came by the following new video by Potholer54. Brilliant as usual. What amazes me most is how this myth went viral by the same people whom insist they are just sceptics waiting for suitable evidence… maybe all they needed was some tabloid nonsense to get it right for once.
Media Can be Held Accountable on Misinformation
Here’s a couple interesting events of late…
Australia’s channel 7 network has recently been found guilty of violating the broadcasting code for racist vilification. A little persistent and dedicated pressure lead to this corrective outcome.
On the other hand, little to zilch is done to correct what the Union of Concerned Scientists demonstrates to be a deliberate act of distorting public perception of what has grave potential to undermine the prosperity and well-being of future generations by News Corp. (see the report here). Finding that over 90% of the media for the first half of this this year from Fox News Channel which addresses climate change is misleading should set some alarm bells off. Instead we have business as usual, fuelling ignorance and political paralysis against sound risk management.
Media is supposed to be where sound bipartisan information is presented fairly to the mass audience. This is fundamental for democratic societies in which the lay audience depends almost exclusively on such media to inform their involvement in governance of their state (ie. through voting). Wilful undermining this process to misinform, confuse and warp public opinion to deliberately favour a political ideology (in lieu of compelling contrary evidence) should be seen as one of the greatest disgraces to “free” states.
This is not in contradiction to my previous post on free speech. Let the droning Bolts and old wind bag Jones’s speak on whatever topics such grumpy men wish to – just put it in context. It’s not informed. It’s often not sensible. But it’s opinion and that’s fine. Fair media would allow whoever to say whatever (within context of the various codes of conduct), but credit the authority of such on the empirical evidence that supplies the underlying reasoning.
The Spectrum of Reason
I commented recently on why I believe those often referred to as “climate deniers” should more appropriately be considered “committed sceptics”. They are, after all, not denying climate changes or that there isn’t a climate at all, but rather committed to the conclusion that climate is unaffected (at least dangerously) but our actions, leaving them unquestioningly sceptical of any information that challenges that conclusion. If it were otherwise, they would take the time to learn one of the various fields of science, rigorously test the fundamental hypotheses and show, convincingly, within the proper peer-viewed scientific literature, why such conclusions that have convinced almost the entire expert community in the field of anthropogenic climate change are wrong.
Such a finding would be immensely important and the accolades would be more wondrous to the researchers involved than many that came before it. They would be global heroes whom saved us the otherwise necessary upheaval of many of our primary activities to ensure the longevity of resources and infrastructure that we owe to future generations (as was given to us).
The silence in this arena (compared to the noisy blogosphere and town hall) is telling. This breed of scepticism isn’t scientific in any nature and people like Alan Jones do a massive injustice to the name of a brilliant mind, Galileo Galilei, by using it for a completely unquestioning (at least, in a scientific sense) movement.
How such people, standing for the status quo in the face of obvious error, can use the name of someone who challenged the status quo based on obvious error can do such a thing with a straight face is beyond me. However, as I’ve covered previously, the fox indeed smells its own scent first and such people tend to make claims 180o to reality to support idea that themselves are 180o to reality.
The Spectrum of Reasoning
What I’ve come to realise is that reasoning is actually a spectrum on which we all slide upon. There are those committed sceptics on topics such as climate, evolution, vaccination, the moon landing, alien / UFO visitations whom are unmoveable regardless of contradiction. However, on the other side of this spectrum, we have other groups many science communicators also challenge.
It’s all about the “other ways of knowing”. It’s the New Age thinking.
For them, it’s not committed scepticism, but rather about a mind unbuttoned, free to explore all possibilities. For them, it’s not about holding an idea – which to everyone else it may seem to be, and is the case with the previous group – but rather holding onto the possibility. Anything short of this, to such an individual, is simply closed minded. That we can never be entirely 100% certain about most, if not all matters, this, to such an individual, means that all possibilities thus require equal consideration.
Dead in the centre of this spectrum is scientific methodology. Science demands the will to entertain any idea, but also rigorous testing, aimed not to prove the idea, but instead disprove it, to merit its validity.
You need not only the possibility of ideas, but also the cool-handed rejection of ideas that just don’t stand up to scrutiny. Equally, you don’t get by on hardcore scepticism of new or challenging ideas, because it’s clear that our intuitions have limitations. The natural universe is weirder than anything we could imagine.
New From the Credulous
It might be easy for those of us trained in science whom approach those heavy on either side of the spectrum with what looks to be an air of arrogance (whether intentional or not). We must remember however that none of us have it completely right. Each one of us were by our very nature once little people; inquisitive dreamers of all possibilities. Where we find ourselves today on that spectrum is the result of our history.
Even the very best of us at obtaining that central pivoting point have our moments. When a loved one passes away, we muse about them around us. In times of hardship, we wish or pray for assistance, guidance and/or strength. We see meaning in random events that our better training signifies as a statistical streak and nothing more.
At this point, I’m certain the committed sceptic could take the previous paragraph to confirm gullibility in those whom suggest new ideas are far more likely than previous ideas, based on strong evidence, while the unbuttoned mind would use it to confirm that “deeper understanding” is innate within us all, but trained out of us by the short-sighted and those of us that hover around the pivot point will be frustrated – even seeing this article as apologetic. The point of the matter is; we are all new from the credulous side of the spectrum, both as a species and individually.
The enlightenment refined the tools of inquiry so that we could build confidence in our assertions and as unfortunate as it may seem, each birth is a new start along the road of understanding; we are forced to learn from scratch what took a life time for others to appreciate. That both slows down the process of developing an understanding of the natural universe and demonstrates just how fragile the acquired knowledge can be; it takes great educators to ensure nothing is lost down the line.
The latter point sits behind the concerns of aging experts of any generation whom chastise “the abysmal level of education nowadays”.
The Science Communicator
I’m certain that our approach as science communicators fails to cause ripples among those heavy to either side of the spectrum because we fail to address where they are coming from. We also grow frustrated due to the same reason and condemn one group as fanatical believers to an “absolute truth” and the other as “off with the fairies”. Such attitudes and perceived arrogance does education no favours.
Instead, it may pay to put the obligation back on them to validate their reasoning.
Indeed, as Hamlet said (and quoted endlessly by some), “There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, Than are dreamt of in your philosophy.”
No-one knows better than a scientist just how odd and counterintuitive the natural universe is. Perhaps acknowledging and demonstrating this could capture their imagination… before pulling the conversation in with justification as to why we know such things and hold so much confidence in their validity.
Maybe take it a step further and muse their ideas following an attempt to test its validity in the same fashion. The universe would remain a weird and wonderful place, but just maybe some of your audience may shift a little closer to the pivot point; they might get why you test ideas and enjoy the genuine confidence they hold in these new assertions while maintaining their sense of wonder and majesty in the universe.
Admire the mind strict and trained to demand compelling evidence. Ask them why they believe what they believe. Ask them what it may take them to question the validity of these beliefs. I hinted at it above; get them test their ideas and your own. Work with them from the ground up. Expose them to a new form of confidence not based on simply being strongly held, but instead tested until it stands regardless what you do to it. Maybe they too may shift a little closer to the pivot point and enjoy the exploration of thought.
We are all in this together. We have reached a point that our impact on the world is far greater than that we ever gave to any god. We remove mountains. We are changing the global climate. We are causing a mass extinction event and degrading our resource base. We have an arsenal able to destroy our species along with many others.
It may be fun for some and fundamental for others to knock others down because of conflicting ideas, but it isn’t helping anyone. Especially now that we have the tool set to chisel out information in great detail and with great confidence. We need to change our approach or else we’ll still be squabbling, knee deep in salt water with little left to defend.
Lamenting on the Uncritical Mind
I wish I had read Carl Sagan’s The Demon-haunted World when it first hit the bookshelves some 17 years ago. That said, I doubt I would have got as much from it back then and ultimately, that I didn’t read it back then is evidence enough that I wouldn’t have.
Retrospect is a funny thing.
Sagan laments in the book at the level of uncritical thinking and poorly trained people he had observed in much of his life. He focuses on the US, but does provide evidence from elsewhere and anyone whom has paid much attention would have already observed as much regardless where they are.
The situation hasn’t changed since writing the book and the problem isn’t one unique to the US.
Is it really a problem after all?
Certainly many of us feel it is, however societies are clearly evolving entities / populations. Like a gene pool, ideologies within a society make up an “ideas pool”, which ultimately make or break a society.
It has always been, but is even more so since electronic communication, that ideas share (often more easily than genes) between societies. The evolution of societies is refining, specialising and regardless of what it may appear like, they are becoming less physically aggressive.
The successful are no longer those with the most powerful gods or god-kings, but most clever in securing resources via more diplomatic means. Just look at the falling star of the US and the rising star of China, for instance.
I know there’s more to it and I’m simplifying the various situations immensely. The point is that societies are changing and that change is the result of expression, which amounts from a rearrangement and the removal / addition of ideas within the social pool. The civil unrest throughout the Middle East is a cry for democracy due to the expression of new ideas within the social pool (transferred from other societies).
Critical Scepticism as a Social Idea
Critical scepticism* comes and goes within the local ideas pool just like any gene that doesn’t hinder or enhance the fitness of a species. A bit like the biologist’s favourite example the Peppered Moth, it may be expressed in greater numbers at certain times because of short term conditions, but ultimately, it is an idea that remains in fairly low concentrations within societies.
I suspect we are not, but nature, inclined to be critical of evidence unless we need to. Indeed fiction, either written or presented, demands we forego critical review. Music insists we don’t acknowledge noises emanating from banging skins, vibrating strings etc, but rather focus on the harmony. Love leads us to see those close to us through rose-coloured glasses.
This isn’t to say that we couldn’t be, or shouldn’t be, more critically minded of evidence or that such societies would be any less enriching or creative. Personally, I feel the evolution of society will eventually achieve this higher plateau, as it is increasingly doing racial and sexual equality (admittedly, we are not there yet). However, we are a far way off yet and we have many other refinements to make before societies are well equipped with “nonsense meters”.
Sharing Sagan’s Lament
The reason I write about this now is because many of us share Sagan’s lament. I move among different arenas in my writing on this very bane. I know my readers make up individuals whom share this feeling and also those committed sceptics insisting evolution is false, that vaccination causes more harm than good, that anthropogenic climate change is rubbish, that there are no ceilings to growth that we could reach in our industrial endeavours.
The more I look into such topics, the further I see into the rabbit hole of the committed sceptics. Pick nearly any subject, hit it up on a good search engine and I bet you can find a group uncritically sceptical of it. For one reason or another, they have come to such a conclusion regardless of the weight of contradictory evidence. For a passive example to my Australian readers; just listen to Alan Jones for a while…
Perhaps critical scepticism remains in low concentrations within the ideas pool not only because it doesn’t yet enhance the fitness of a given society, but also because in low concentrations, societies can express various avenues for production that it otherwise could not; think homeopathy and traditional medicine (which has either not undergone strict clinical trials or failed them), the myriad of books on the so-called “Climategate”, Christmas/Easter (ironically as pagan as Christian) and even the types of political propaganda I’ve recently commented on here and here.
For the most part, political stability and profiteering currently favours a largely credulous society. Why should anyone expect education to teach critical thought better when we have this highly productive peak?
The Future Favours Accurate Information
As I said above, I do not think this will always be the case. It’s conceivable that such a critically sceptical and better educated society would be more productive, with the extra kicker of being so without an incessant call for growth. However, to move out of this current peak and to one more humane and better educated, we would first need to correct many disparities. That, I believe, is the key.
In such arenas of debate, it’s clear that evidence hard-won through critical evaluation will not be enough to challenge contrarians. They are immune to it for the most part and likely to be unmoveable in most cases. It’s a dead horse of a debate and I think, while we must continue to share this hard-won knowledge of the known universe, we need to tackle such debates in a different fashion – perhaps evaluating their evidence base, on its own right, without comparison to information discovered via science may be helpful. Teach them to be critically minded by taking their evidence into a serious review.
At the same time, greater focus on disparity is essential. It isn’t enough to work in ejecting outdated ideas from the pool. This needs to be complimented by additional ideas to replace the old ones. In many cases, new ideas alone can be enough to overtake old ones if their expression is dominant to the opposing ideas. Look at the heavy handed ideologies of the dark ages. They were horrible and did great harm to generations, but were ultimately weak when critically reviewed (hence all the executions). Eventually word got out about the challenging and more accurate idea and the dark ages were dead.
Living within the information age, the word is always out and while it may not always seem it, more accurate information is eventually dominant because it simply cannot be broken. Gravity can’t be undone no matter how much one may want it to be a miraculous inspiration. CO2 plays an important role as a greenhouse gas in our atmosphere regardless how much one may wish it to ignore passing longwave radiation. Homeopathy simply doesn’t have any active ingredients (which, in many cases, is a good thing because of the poisons suggested to be within them). The story of smallpox and the clinically proven very low risks involved with vaccination stand stubbornly in the face of the committed sceptics. One can throw a blanket over accurate information, but that will erode in time, not the information.
While there remains valid reason to lament and a constant need to transmit increasingly accurate information, the short term goals are not the same as the long term goals. Hoping committed sceptics will accept their standpoint is evidence-deprived in the face of overwhelming contrary evidence is a pipedream. It won’t happen. Equally, while we live at a point in time when “other ways of knowing” is a serious argument against scientific methodology (arguably Sam Harris built the final bridge between science and morality), we are many generations way from widespread critical scepticism. However, the path isn’t entirely invisible and we know enough about ourselves and our ideas to paved the way forward.
We shouldn’t stop at the lament.
*I had to make the point here, seeing as there are groups whom call themselves “sceptics”, that by critical scepticism I mean to actually take the time to learn and understand the topic, evaluate the evidence professionally and if it’s found to be strong, write as much and if not, write as much – preferably within a peer-review process (ie. peers = professionals within the field) to have this new thought critically reviewed. This is a process that refines and improves our knowledge base, as a species, of the known universe and is incredibly powerful and useful to us.
What these self-proclaimed “sceptics”, or as I prefer, committed sceptics, offer is instead a rejection of ideas they feel cannot be correct. They do this without being able to, or without taking the time to, critically review and provide valid and condemning evidence to refute the standing approximation of the truth. This breed of scepticism is validated instead on anecdotal evidence or conspiracy (eg. “the experts are stealing our money”, “the truth is being suppressed by the status quo” etc).
For Everything Else, There’s Gina Rinehart: The Price of Democracy
Wrapped in Flags and Bolt on ‘Free Speech’
Although this is simple another example of the same type of hypocrisy that seems forever in the news, I wish to comment on two events I’ve been made aware of recently (in both cases, I’ve not seen the direct source, but only read the subsequent media).
Firstly, there has been a wave of complaints over the use of the Australian flag as bedding (or simply that the flag was placed on the ground) in the new series “At Home with Julia” . At the same time, Andrew Bolt has begun to bark “free speech” over the courts ruling in relation to his singling out of a small group of fair-skinned Aboriginal Australians or, as he called them, “political aborigines” .
How is it that a satirical piece can be taken so seriously and cause such offence on one hand whilst Bolt’s coining “White fellas in the black” is supposed to be fair game?
Personally, I find Bolt’s writing repugnant and devoid of genuine intellect. After reading and responding to the post regarding the Golden Sun Moth , I made a personal vow never to read his rubbish again.
But so what? Who cares what I do and don’t do. That is my own choice. We all have that same choice.
I do agree with Greg Barns, in that free speech isn’t an absolute right  and especially with the following excerpt;
Commentators like Bolt and Mark Steyn, a Canadian commentator who has used freedom of speech arguments to attack elements of Islam over the years, love to dress up their political agenda with the claim that they are simply exercising freedom of speech, and therefore how could anyone possibly object to such a fundamental tenet of democratic life.
But as Justice Bromberg rightly found that this ‘defence’ falls away when you get things wrong as he found Bolt did in his characterisation of how a small group of ‘fair-skinned’ Aboriginal Australians conducted themselves, and when you attack a person’s use of their racial identity because “people should be free to fully identify with their race without fear of public disdain or loss of esteem for so identifying”.
However, free speech comes back to choice. If, as the courts decided on the case of Bolt’s articles, he had used “errors in fact, distortions of the truth and inflammatory and provocative language” in relation to a persons racial identification, well that should be addressed. If Bolt was man enough, he’d own up to pushing unsubstantiated claims too far and unfairly characterising a group of people. He could go one better and then possibly apologise for it before moving on. If history has taught us anything, it’s that this is unlikely to occur.
More importantly (and why I bring it up for the third time), we much remember that free speech comes back to our choice to hear it. Greta Christina says it best ;
[T]he right to the free expression of political ideas, is one of most crucial cornerstones of our democracy. Without it, democracy collapses. Without the freedom to express political opinions, we can’t participate fully in the political process. Without the freedom to hear political opinions, we can’t make informed decisions about what we think. And without the freedom to hear and express opinions that dissent from the mainstream, there is no way that mainstream opinion can change. The right to free speech is an essential part of democracy. And it is, in and of itself, a basic human right, a value that is worth treasuring and protecting for its own sake.
So our default assumption should always, always, always be that speech should be free, unless there is a tremendously compelling reason to limit it…
…I’m saying that, as a society, we can’t move forward and accept new ideas if we don’t let people express ideas that we find shocking and upsetting. And I’m saying that, as a purely practical matter, if we want the right to express our opinions when most people find them revolting, we need to protect other peoples right to express their own revolting opinions.
Bolt makes a living off of a game of Hathos, there’s simply no doubt about that . That said, except for when he, or others like him, actually break the law, he should be allowed to say whatever he wishes, regardless of how vile you or I may find it. The same should be said of other media – including the use of the flag as a sheet in “At Home with Julia”.
If you have a problem with them, rather than applying Hathos, simply don’t expose yourself to such opinions. Don’t read Bolt’s work and don’t tune into the show (or, alternatively, you could reply to it as I have done in the past to Bolt ).
We need to protect the right of free speech (where the law hasn’t been broken) to protect democracy and we also don’t want people like Bolt playing the trump card of being suppressed, thereby inflating his ego further. So don’t be fooled by his retort to losing the court case. He, just as with the rest of us, still has the right to free speech, but, rightly not to make racist remarks, targeted at certain individuals.
If you agree with me, don’t read his work. If you disagree with me, then continue to read his work and stop reading mine. It’s that simple.
 At Home with Julia’s sex scene in Australian flag a ratings flop for ABC show
 Andrew Bolt says free speech lost as court finds he breached racial discrimination act
 Boltus ineptus leaps out from the office desk to pounce on the dodo
 Even Bolt’s freedom of speech isn’t an absolute right
 The Fred Phelps Supreme Court Decision and Why We Shouldn’t Look for Loopholes in the First Amendment
 Hathos: Fuel for the Climate Debate and Bolt’s Pay Cheque?
Drowning out the truth about the Great Barrier Reef
MEDIA & DEMOCRACY – Ove Hoegh-Guldberg dives into the media’s coverage of an Australian icon’s future.
One of the most straightforward climate change storylines is the link between global warming and coral reefs such as the Great Barrier Reef.
When our reef waters get too warm, corals sicken (bleach), often causing disease and death. And when the corals go, many of the other organisms go with them. At the current rate of ocean warming, we will soon exceed the critical temperature at which this happens every year, causing the Great Barrier Reef to rapidly degrade.
The greater the amount of human-driven climate change, the less will be left of the Great Barrier Reef as we know it today. And the less fishing, tourism and other benefits we will derive from it as a country.
The science tells us that exceeding 2°C in average global temperature will largely exceed the thermal tolerance of corals today. It is already happening. Rolling mass bleaching events, unknown to science before 1979, are increasing in frequency and severity.
This simple set of linkages demonstrates the risk that climate change generally places on natural ecosystems.
It is supported by hundreds of papers and highly experienced and published experts from oceanography, climate science and marine biology.
Why is it then that commentators in the media such as Andrew Bolt and Jamie Walker consistently take a different view and posit, either directly or indirectly, that all those leading experts are fraudulent, dishonest or at best shoddy scientists?
Is it a genuine lack of understanding of the facts, or is it a deliberate strategy to confuse people about what is otherwise a very clear message about climate change and coral reefs?
Could it be that confusing Australians about the risk to our reef is highly prized by the people that fund their operations?
Let’s take Andrew Bolt. Andrew has been vociferous in his claim that scientists like me are alarmists, even deliberately deceptive.
He wraps us all up in the same blanket: me, Flannery and Garnaut. Quite an honour really, given the eminence of my co-accused.
Apparently, we do it because we are mad, we do it because we are on the take, and we do it because we are zealots!
Bolt has repeatedly claimed, for example, that I warned in 1998 “that the Great Barrier Reef was under pressure from global warming, and much of it had turned white. In fact, [I] later admitted the reef had made a “surprising” recovery.”
This implies that I got the events of 1998 wrong. Let’s examine his claim.
In 1998, more than half of the Great Barrier Reef experienced bleaching and about 5 to 10% of the corals that make up the reef died (about 4000 km²).
This was the largest mass coral bleaching event in Australian recorded history.
All of this has been reported in the scientific literature.
Other coral reefs did not get off so easily. In the Western Indian Ocean, 46% of corals were eliminated by the underwater heatwave that swept through the region in 1998. An estimated 16% of the corals were eliminated worldwide.
While 1998 was an extraordinarily hot year, it will be commonplace in a few decades time at the current rate of global temperature increase. As if to emphasize this point, 2010 was a shade hotter then 1998 and saw record bleaching in many regions.
If conditions had been as hot on the Great Barrier Reef as in the Western Indian Ocean, similar events would have transpired.
We did fear the worst, but we got lucky, hence the reference to “surprising recovery” when the heat stress was abbreviated by storm activity.
It is hard to see what I got wrong.
Despite my having responded to these issues, Andrew Bolt has not removed the misinformation and continues to this day to chant its content on a regular basis. I find it hard to believe that Andrew cannot understand this critical issue. Perhaps he doesn’t.
It is hard to practice as a humble scientist when powerful columnists like Bolt run amok. Drawing attention to their fundamental scientific errors and distortions only brings more insult and abuse.
Hardly what I signed up for when I began training in science over 30 years ago.
Is this simply bad journalism or an attempt to deliberately mislead the Australian public on this issue? It’s an interesting question, given the fact that Bolt receives direct support from Australia’s richest mining magnate and climate denialist, Gina Rinehart. Cash for comment?
Bolt is not alone.
The Australian has also been ahead of the charge with commentators such as Jamie Walker either not understanding or deliberately distorting the information on the risks of climate change to the Great Barrier Reef.
Jamie has published a number of incorrect statements about the Great Barrier Reef, rarely, withdrawing statements when they were proved wrong.
Jamie published the following opening statement to an article in February last year:
“Kevin Rudd’s insistence that the Great Barrier Reef could be “destroyed beyond recognition” by global warming grates with new science suggesting it will again escape temperature-related coral bleaching.”
The truth couldn’t be further from Jamie’s clumsy spin.
First, there was no “new” science or report, given the story was based on a single year of data from a survey program that the Australian Institute of Marine Sciences has been running for 19 years. It’s literally published every year.
Second, AIMS responded by saying “The latest AIMS monitoring observations of the Great Barrier Reef do not contradict projections of potential harm caused by rising sea surface temperature or any other consequences from increasing concentrations of atmospheric carbon dioxide.”
According to AIMS CEO, Dr Ian Poiner, “One or two seasons of no bleaching do not mean that the GBR is not threatened. It is over-generalisation to the point of unreality to extrapolate from one set of observations to what is going to happen to the GBR in the long term.”
As you can see, Dr Poiner statement is pretty unambiguous. Hardly grating up against Kevin Rudd’s statements!
These statements are also relevant to Andrew Bolt’s misunderstanding (deliberate or otherwise) of statements relevant to what will happen within a single year, versus what will happen in the long term.
But this is what happens over and over again in the Australian media.
By misreporting “facts” and smearing scientists’ personal reputations, journalists are willfully misleading the public about the nature of the threat to one of the most diverse ecosystems in the world, and one of our most valuable tourism assets.
And ultimately to our world.
This article is part of the Media & Democracy series. Read the rest of the series here.
This article is about the media’s representation of climate change – we’d love to hear your opinions on that topic. If you would rather discuss the existence of climate change, there are many other articles on the site covering that issue: please take your comments to one of those discussions.
This article was originally published at The Conversation.
Read the original article.
FOX News: Brilliant for…? I’ve Got No Answer
The beloved news source of the AGW deniers demonstrates it’s brilliance yet again. Hasn’t Fox been obsessed over the ‘War on Terror’ for a decade, or have words lost all meaning beyond saturation?
It would be funny if this news source wasn’t so import to a wide audience…
Loss of Jobs or Job and Wealth Creation?
The denial noise has made us forget where we were a few years ago. Here’s a few sections from chapter 7 of Nicholas Stern’s A Blueprint for a safer planet (2009).
“…the role of UK business in shaping the county’s allocations plan in the EU ETS. In phase I of the scheme, the UK government, like all other EU governments, was extremely cautious in its allocation plans in the face of strong business lobbying, in order to avoid accusations of putting of putting jobs at risk. In the second phase, however, a group of major UK companies lobbied in favour of a more ambitious approach, arguing that a stable and strong carbon price was essential in order to give business sufficient certainty to make long-term investment decisions.[The group was the corporate leaders group on climate change]”
Worth noting in response to the near hysterical “No carbon price” outcry here in Australia… Honestly, is modern information technology that hopeless or are communicators that rubbish at their job that the lessons learned in the ‘mother country’ not making to our fair shores?
“At the international level, in 2007 the chief executives of 153 companies worldwide, including thirty from the Fortune Global 500, committed to speeding up action on climate change and called on governments to agree as soon as possible on measures to secure workable and inclusive climate market mechanisms post 2012.”
“In many ways, industry has been ahead of government in looking to the long term for the analysis of policy options, risks and opportunities. While some governments have short-time horizons – primarily the next election – firms making long-term investment decisions have to think of horizons over a few decades, and thus have every reason to think through where policy is going and to contribute to it’s sensible formation.”
From insurance firms, corporate leads, communities to governments, there has been little genuine scepticism regarding climate change for some time. I remember the buzz around eco-mapping of company practices and ICLEI only a few years ago when I worked with the SA EPA on the 2008 State of the Environment Report. Lord Stern has opened my eyes to the vast amount of activity occurring largely outside the public eye and at a time of great confusion about climate change within the general community.
Most corporate heads see this challenge as a great opportunity for innovation and investment, not “the beginnings of a collapse of developed economies” or “the loss of many jobs” that a small proportion on the media and general public like to wail on and on about.
I really suggest reading Nicholas Stern’s A Blueprint for a safer planet.
Nature’s New Journal on Climate Change
As the title suggests, Nature have released the first addition to the new Nature Climate Change journal. I like what I’ve read of it so far.
Putting together the list of scientific papers regarding climate change, I must admit I’m growing a little bored. The case is a strong one that time and time again is verified independently through many other studies. I, for one, don’t need the constant reiteration (although am more than happy to continue to work on increasing the list so as I can provide it as a resource for my readers and because every now and then I stumble upon and absolutely interesting papers – hopefully I can hit 400 papers by the end of the month) and Nature’s new journal provides broader scope than just the physical sciences of climate change. For instance, two of the feature articles were very interesting.
Opening the future: looks into new ways how the climate community can develop scenarios that better reflect our choices and the results. That Inman pays homage to H. G. Wells, a personal hero of mine (no doubt some readers are aware of my parody of the opening of War of the Worlds last year), in relation to these scenarios was of particular interest. 🙂
It isn’t easy being green: Here Chris Woodside explores the social science aspect of climate change and meeting the challenges – especially in energy consumption. The “Jones effect”, or peer pressure, that I’ve discussed many times previously seems to undermine action (and strengthen my belief that the picture adjacent truly reflects a deep set desire in social status).
I look forward to more discussions able to the social aspects of the challenges that face human activity in the coming century and recommend everyone to pop over to the new journal seeing as to the best of my knowledge, this first installment is largely (if not entirely) free!