Thursday, 30 April 2009

Elephants in da house

I didn't have room for the elephant.

We're going through the housekeeping like there's no tomorrow, borrowing ourselves into the middle of next week, whilst the tabloids bark nonsense. Oh well, what's the worst that can happen?

Some interesting background to the swine flu pandemic, from Craig Mackintosh

Monday, 27 April 2009

Divine Interventions

The old sunspot chestnut raises its head again, threatening to give comfort to the denialists and maybe temporarily mask some of the unpleasantness so it can all crash down on us at once.

We at Throbgoblins International all trooped off to our local independent cinema yesterday, to watch "In the loop" and duly laughed our collective teeth loose. I mention this because the Westminster Prince of Darkness has set up a rival energy and climate power-base to scupper environmental legislation on behalf of business.

Saturday, 25 April 2009

Creative Differences

Shock-horror. It seems that the big polluters actually suppressed evidence and denied the conclusions of their own scientific advisors! Who'd have thought it. Shocking and wholly unexpected. I, for one, am shaken to the core that such paragons of civic and environmental virtue would stoop to such shit-splattering levels of sociopathic deceit.

Meanwhile, our fellow creatures continue to vacate history apace, whilst the diverse inheritance of evolution gets reduced cut by cut to what biologists refer to as "fuck-all".

More shock horror as humungous hive-building is seen as potentially risky strategy

The text of Al Gore's statement to the House Subcommittee on Energy and Environmnent, (courtesy of Climate Progress)

Wednesday, 22 April 2009

Equality and diversity

As indigenous peoples worldwide are variously disenfranchised, de-iced and supplanted by agrobusiness and rip-offsets, their representatives gather to ask for some justice.

Meanwhile, great rivers turn to wadis worldwide whilst others are dammed to a future of post-glacial dribbling.
Oh - and the land's turning to shit

Should anybody soaked in the western press coverage be interested in triangulating a more thoughtful response to Ahmadenejad's UN speech, the full text is here.

Saturday, 18 April 2009

Industry Exhales

Ern is, perhaps, identifying a little too closely with his industry interests. He's not alone.
The US EPA paves the way for significant legislation by deciding that CO2 is hazardous to human health and well being, whilst The Uk gov't promises a massive investment in CCS infrastructure, whether it exists or not.

Ice and water continue to make the news

Friday, 17 April 2009

When Fixes Need Fixing?

Grist provides these two links to reports of pending agricultural collapse in the Punjab due to (profit driven?) over-exploitation of resources.

The Huffington Post posts this , by Lise van Susteran, on Moral Obligation

Wednesday, 15 April 2009

Drinking for England

The director of WWF Scotland - Dr Richard Dixon - has suggested that energy wastage should be regarded in the same anti-social light as drink-driving, and should be punishable under the law.

We are invited to stop passing the buck, seeing as it is easier to regulate one person who consumes a thousand watts, than a thousand people who consume one each.

Elsewhere - NCAR research suggests that we are not quite toasted yet, and Cuba and Rwanda are allowed some lifelines.

Monday, 13 April 2009

Aggravated Protest

Just a quickie. Details are still a bit sketchy as I post, but it seems a mass protest now constitutes a conspiracy. Well, at least there were no fatalities. Small mercies, I suppose.

Elsewhere some context concerning the Somali piracy news-fest, and some things to back it up.

Some thoughts on robustness and efficiency from Grist, and some on fragility and incompetence, from the FT

Sunday, 12 April 2009

Elective Deafness

This weekend many of you will be celebrating the annual festival of Easter - when we commemorate the point at which our nation traditionally goes into ecological debt - consuming beyond our means and damning us and the rest of the planet to a joyful future of instability, expensively shagged soils and dry taps. We celebrate this with over-packaged chocolate eggs to demonstrate that we are blessed with the requisite amount of kiddy-friendly blind faith, and that we really couldn't give a toss.

The prognosis is poor, and we don't have time to "rinky-dink" with half-arsed, poorly financed quarter-measures.

Some folk would have us believe that what we need is to wait for the same people who got us into this mess - respectable, wealthy folks in nice suits - to come up with a new visionary realism that supersedes the green agenda and saves us at the last minute without upsetting anybody. And if they fail? Well, after 3 days we shall rise again....

We are steeped in messianic, exceptionalist thinking.

Thursday, 9 April 2009

Wheels Within Wheels

Gordon Brown and sheep-dog Boris both make extravagant claims about the greening of their budgets and the blissful cornucopia of fairy dust technology that will miraculously trump the ugly realities of a finite planet. Should be worth a few votes.

It's a shameless re-tread of this early Frank strip.

Meanwhile the Lords of Saudi Arabia make a surreal plea for special consideration, and plans are laid at the Doc Fiendish Institute

It seems to be very deep in our genes, this buying and selling lark


Wednesday, 8 April 2009

Choice and Prosperity

It's a conundrum, isn't it? Development and climate change. Such a dilemma -convoluted and labyrinthine, loaded and provocative. Whilst India pushes for escape from endemic poverty by pursuing a Nano for everyone, its' islands start to disappear, as do its' neighbours. The result of success will be failure. Hmm. Tricky. Plenty of arguments to be had there. Good job we're all totally focused on it and not distracted by beer and football.

Elsewhere the Murray dries up, as do the Cedars of Lebanon. Bankruptcy beckons.

The poles are not so far apart after all.

When even the CBI say we're not doing enough, we know we're in trouble.

Saturday, 4 April 2009

More nails in Satire's coffin

Truth is far stranger and dumber than fiction.

Noel Lynch brought the Tesco idiocy to my attention thus;

"Today's Guardian has a half page advert for TESCO. It is headed 'Turn lights into flights'. It shows a low energy light bulb and says that if you buy it you can get a clubcard voucher that you can turn into 60 Airmiles. So that's save a small amount of energy by buying a low energy light bulb and then consume a large amount of energy by flying an extra 60 miles. Doh!"

Quite so.

The Earth Hour folk drop a bollock with Alanis -really quite breath-takingly numb of them.

The Masters of the Universe would rather not be regulated, thankyouverymuch

We're probably all fucked now.

OPEC denies any part in Climate Change

An excellent cartoon from Martin Rowson in the Grauniad

Not a good week, on the whole. A lot of Obama-fueled Gordon Brown-nosing, coupled with a handful of pseudo-anarchist wankers playing to a phallanx of pseudo-journalistic cameras made for a poor display. Too much kettling and containment and predictably OTT PCs. A couple of non-committal half-statements at the end of an economists communique may quickly fade away.

Here's an excellent lecture by Dieter Helm. Succinct and informed and inarguably respectable.
(thanks to Richard Douglas via Marc Hudson)

Environmentalists should take the helm

When the Stern Review came out in late 2006, I scanned the papers to see if any of the Great and Good pundits would write something along the lines of-
"Er, ok, we misunderestimated the ecological consequences of rampant growth. We acknowledge that the greens, of various shades, got there first, about twenty years ago. So, in our new spirit of humility, we will now look at what greens are NOW saying, and engage with that seriously,- regardless of how deeply it offends our cherished beliefs- so 20 years hence, we're not making the same sheepish announcement that we're making today."
Yeah, right.

But now, Dieter Helm, a respected (and IMHO, from previous reading I've done, worthy of respect) economist specialising in energy policy, has come out and said "the Environmentalists are right." Helm is no swivel-eyed loon, and cannot be dismissed as such.

His lecture is extraordinary, and provides a HUGE stick for Greens to wave around in debates about economics, climate change, our way out of this grotesque mess that we in the West have created for everyone and everything on this rather lovely planet.

I'll quote a bit, but the lead up and everything is worth close attention. It's only 12 pages, but it's the most vital reading you will do for quite a while.

The environmentalists are right

What then can we conclude? First, the conventional economic growth model is at best highly misleading when applied to the big environmental question of our time. The environment is not just another factor input. Second, our consumption is far too high, and incompatible with sustainability. Third, by focusing on consumption rather than production, the developed countries have a dominant responsibility to reduce carbon emissions and biodiversity destruction – including much of that happening in developing and poor countries. Fourth, the solution to our environmental problems is therefore a significant transfer of wealth, resources and technology to the developing world.


The solution to our environmental problems is not wishful thinking. It is cold, hard realism. That has not been helped by the selective quoting by politicians from the Stern Report. It is time to tell voters some unpleasant facts.