Thursday, 19 November 2009

Softly, Softly, Catchee Monkee Public…

Nick Herbert, Call-Me-Dave’s shadow secretary of state for environment, food and rural affairs, sets out his stall in a ‘CiF’ column bashing McCartney & Stern as ‘unrealistic’ in their demands:
But even if a world without roast beef was one in which we all wanted to live (please count me out), we need to think a little harder about what will really work to arrest global warming.

Why are Mondays to be free of meat alone? After all, dairy cattle produce greenhouse gases as well as milk. Are we meant to become part-time vegetarians or vegans? And why single out meat? Asia's rice fields emit the same amount of methane as their livestock industry. It seems doubtful that a campaign for rice-free Tuesdays will be next.
Well, indeed it does…
A global deal to combat dangerous climate change at UN talks in Copenhagen next month is critical. But successful action won't end with a new international agreement, whenever it is struck.
No, it won’t. But not, I suspect, for the reasons that Nick would have us believe…
For a start, we'll need to maintain the public pressure that is driving governments to agree action. That means guarding against demands for behavioural changes so unrealistic that they risk undermining public support for the steps we can and must take.
It’s public pressure driving this, is it? Are you sure?
The call last month by the government's former climate change adviser, Lord Stern, to give up meat-eating altogether could almost have been calculated to reduce public support for climate change action. In fact, the people's response, according to a subsequent opinion poll, was to deliver Stern a loud raspberry. But the reputational damage to a vitally important cause may have been more serious.
Ah, this is a squabble between moderates and fanatics. Far be it from me to suggest that perhaps both are equally as wrong…
McCartney is right on one point: effective action to prevent global warming will depend on securing individual behavioural change. A consensus that extends only to the political elite is no consensus at all.
Better tell Fat Al to ditch the Learjets and humungous mansion then, hadn’t you?
Without widespread public buy-in, the societal shift needed to de-carbonise our economies won't follow. To encourage this democratic engagement we must frame policy in a way that incentivises and rewards people to do the right things.
You were saying above that it’s the public driving this, though, Nick.

So, why are they not already doing this?
That means setting out an optimistic vision of the world we're trying to protect – what David Cameron has called the "good future", where green technologies create new wealth and employment; where we all enjoy and truly value the fruits of a cleaner, more beautiful environment, and where individuals and communities live within their environmental means.
And we all have a unicorn in the garden…
Right now, a climate deal seems hard. Making the changes that follow will be even harder. We can't allow political agendas to undermine the chance of success. Ultimately, we'll only achieve a good future if people want to get there.
You keep telling us that they do. That they are pushing you, the politician, to make these changes and take this forward.

It sounds like you don’t really believe that, Nick.

Now, why would that be ?

13 comments:

Apogee said...

The public dont, by and large,believe this, and the "settled science" keeps falling apart.People do eventually get the idea of a tax/money making scam being done to them regardless how "softly-softly" the approach.
Who is getting money from this scam, and who is getting poorer?

D.

Quiet_Man said...

"Ultimately, we'll only achieve a good future if people want to get there."

86% of us want a referendum on the EU according to the Daily Express, but I can't see any politicians giving in to that pressure either.

Gibby Haynes said...

As a carbon-based life form, I have to say the word 'de-carbonise' makes me a little uncomfortable.

davidncl said...

The (infomed) public have long seen through the AGW lies but that matters not a jot 'cos the pollitical classes are going to go down the green route and put the lights out.

The green movement is part of a broader momvement which can be broadly characterised as "the forces of the counter enlightenment". Who funds and pays for it? What are their long term objectives?

Some good scary quotes here:

The Green Agenda

and detailed analysis of the ties between the greens and facsism here:

How green is your Nazi

(I'm kinda sorry about link spamming your blog Julia. But in my defence none of this stuff is by me. I just think they're great resources which deserve wide attention).

Pat said...

I suspect that a large number, even a majority, of politicians expressing support for the AGM hypothesis do so under the misapprehension that this will make them more popular. Since politicians mainly talk to other politicians such bubbles of thought are common. I hope and believe that this misunderstanding will soon pass.

MTG said...

The Great Industrial and Social Resistance to care for the environment/climate is nothing new. Throughout a dogmatic reign it has always taken a great Plague, a Great Fire, a Stinking Dead Thames or a Cholera epidemic to finally get things moving. I have no doubt that some maniacal polluter out there is itching to make a case for copying China with a return to the Great Smog and cheap fuel of the 50's.

BTW smoke control was available in the 19th century but social resistance prevented its application. The anti-smoke lobby failed to get more effective laws through parliament but kept the issue in the public mind. Industry labelled the lobbyists 'nutters' and cried implementation would bankrupt the Nation. It took generations of debate and cajoling before stricter smoke abatement laws were generally acceptable.

Umbongo said...

MTG deploys the straw-man defence of the warmists to perfection ie because smoke pollution control was delayed, we're all going to die of MMGW. That's it - the debate's over. Not a particularly convincing argument but, there again, you play the hand that you're dealt.

After all, an appeal to proper scientific enquiry finds the warmist arguments increasingly threadbare. There is no "debate" on MMGW and never has been. Hysteria and panic-creation (disgracefully connived at by the MSM, particularly the BBC) are so much more persuasive. So, MTG, keep your finger on the panic button. I'm sure you'll be happy as the West bounces into the Stone Age.

MTG said...

Since you take much refuge in your frequent use of it, I trust you understand what is meant by a straw man fallacy, Umbongo.

If your your obvious discomfort is solely attributable to finding no inaccuracies amongst my comments, I owe you no apology for the irritation of a lengthy search.

I give no cause for panic, nor do I have a finger on any button of your imagination. It was more outrageous to claim I have ever suggested that we return to the Stone Age. The statement "we're all going to die of MMGW" - was yours entirely. Furthermore, I never implied such a prediction.

The only assumption I made Umbongo - which I now feel obliged to withdraw, is your understanding of what is meant by a straw man fallacy.

davidncl said...

MTG, I'm not suggesting that you personally are making any claim "that we return to the Stone Age". However it's true that many well renowned greens make such statements:


"Isn't the only hope for the planet that the industrialized civilizations collapse? Isn't it our responsibility to bring that about?"

- Maurice Strong,
founder of the UN Environment Programme


There's so much more of this kind of stuff exposing the desires of those behind the green movement.

And on panic:

"Unless we announce disasters no one will listen."

- Sir John Houghton,
first chairman of IPCC

So, MTG, would you align yourself with those sort of remarks, or repudiate them?

Umbongo said...

The straw man in this case is the assertion that "some maniacal polluter out there is itching to make a case for copying China with a return to the Great Smog and cheap fuel of the 50's" which is a "distorted, exaggerated or misrepresented version" of the sceptical position or what a sceptic would support (ie a straw man argument). But your pedanticism aside, davidncl makes my point rather more elegantly than me. We eagerly await your response.

MTG said...

Dear Davidncl,

I am sure there is no intention on your part to play Grand Inquisitor. Allow me to say that men are firstly accountable to themselves for their own words and may justly elect to ignore distorted versions of what was either said or meant. A duty to interpret and explain the words of men is the province of Teachers and Judges.

The honest are not obliged to take up positions of convenience to others and true men will not be heckled into doing so.

JuliaM said...

"86% of us want a referendum on the EU according to the Daily Express, but I can't see any politicians giving in to that pressure either."

And there's the death penalty debate too....

"I'm kinda sorry about link spamming your blog Julia."

No need to be - they are fascinating sites!

"Since politicians mainly talk to other politicians such bubbles of thought are common. I hope and believe that this misunderstanding will soon pass."

I wouldn't bet on it...

"There is no "debate" on MMGW and never has been. "

No 'consensus' either, despite what we are continually told...

davidncl said...

First of all I'm not posing as a grand inquisitor – I asking you a civil question on a blog.

No matter, It's a dead thread and I'd have let it pass but for this remark:

"A duty to interpret and explain the words of men is the province of Teachers and Judges."

Are you saying that only capital T teachers and capital J judges are the only ones who's province is to "interpret and explain the words of men"? That people who aren't capital T teachers and capital J judges cannot teach or judge the words of men?

If you are, then that's a position at some variance to my view that all of us have duty to teach and judge.

In fact I consider your view to be - if I am interpreting you correctly, quite monstrous. Mind you most greenies have views like that.