Category Archives: fossil fuels

Good little Christians must support Extinction Rebellion; the new fundamentalism

Some Christians specialise in dismissing other Christians because they don’t believe this or that , or do this or that. Often it is explicit and that poor Christian is told she cannot be a christian because……………….ararat_or_bust

The more evangelical and fundamentalist specialise in this and most commonly it will come out in issues like Creation in 6 days flat, a rejection of evolution, the inerrancy of the bible, and being able to date one’s conversion.

My introduction to the world of shunning came when I went to study under Francis Schaeffer at L’Abri in Switzerland in between working as a geologist and training for the ministry. I’d always thought that only a few nutters believed in a 6-day creation, but I was wrong on the fewness! It was the latest rave of his son-in-law who encouraged me to read creationists books to develop my Christian understanding. After wading through The Genesis Flood for two hours , I could see what Morris had done. It was systematic distortion and misrepresentation. (since then I have not found any accurate material in Creationism.) When I said what I found I got it!!!!! 

“Don’t you believe the Baybull?”

“Evilution is evil.”

And similar comments. From then on my faith was suspect as at best I was a heretic and I wondered if I was going to be dragged down to Geneva to join Servetus. Schaeffer wasn’t happy but then went off somewhere, so when I gave a talk on creationism he wasn’t there. The talk had a very mixed reception, but it was typed up and put in the library. We went back in 1998 and checked the talks in the library. Mine was missing! All the rest were there.

I soon found out how many Christians who accepted geology and evolution were shunned by their churches and fellow Christians, which initially shocked me, but gradually I realised it was common on this and other issues.

One evening Schaeffer was rambling on about elderly Greek women going to shrines in the Holy Land. He said they had no faith in Christ. A few months before I was at those shrines and saw similar women with their devotions. I was not impressed. Who was Schaeffer or I to judge?

I still thought it was only the looney extreme of Evangelicals until I started ministering in parishes and found it there, encouraged by the vicars. I’ll never forget at a staff meeting the vicar told me that some of the brethren were not sure I was a Christian, as I did not go on about my conversion.  It did not defuse the situation when I said they should sort themselves out. This vicar had divided his congrgation into Christians and non-Christians. If someone didn’t come out the jargon or worship him, they were clearly not Christian. (He had a gift in falling out with his curates!)

And so we have proper and improper Christians and too many “Christian” think they should judge others. YUK

 As a result I’ve kept my distance from this kind of evangelicalism, apart from forays into Creationism, when I get called all sorts of things.

For many years I thought moderate evangelicals and the rest of the Christian community were above all this, but have been forced to revise my opinions in the last decade.

 I would never have anticipated it but as so many have gone a bundle on an extreme Social Justice, (informed by Cwitical Theory and Intersectionalism) , follow the latest spoutings of groups like Extinction Rebellion on Climate Change , the environment and everything else, things have changed in the last decade. It does seem that you cannot have a questioning view on these subjects. You are either with them or against them. 

I first discovered this in 2011as I started to consider fracking, which I initially opposed. My geological and mining background led me into a minefield as I soon realised that the facts and arguments put forward about fracking by the Friends of the earth, the diocese and other groups were manifestly false. I was soon shunned for saying so. But then a priest who in their former career worked alongs drillers and planned and supervised a drill-rig would know far less than a graduate in modern languages.

With the advent of Extinction Rebellion all the woke conerns have between thrown together in one great big muddle – sorry – I should say classical example of intersectionalism. Thus we get environment, climate change, racism, patriarchy, capitalism, all in one sentence. Their all embracing concern is summed up here;

Right from the beginning Rowan Williams , former Archbishop of Canterbury, has supported Extinction Rebellion. Before long Christian Climate Action started saying they were the Christian wing of extinction Rebellion. Many of the number , including clergy, seem to enjoy being arrested.  Further both ER and Christian Climate Action has gained the support of several bishops.

It is unreasonable not to say the green woke concerns are the de facto position of the Church of England and other mainline churches. This comes out in the General Synod motion to achieve Net Zero by 2030 and not 2045 as in the original motion of Bishop Holtham.  This aim in unachievable and even more so after Covid. Many churches are in bad state at present, especially over finances and aiming for Net Zero 2030 will bankrupt many parishes, as well as alientaing many members and fringers.

More and more it is increasingly hard to present an alternative view (grounded in science of course) as the activists are speaking “truth to power” and thus utterly convinced of THEIR truth. It means that “anyone else’s truth” can be ignored, sidelined or rejected.

As examples of silencing of other voices look for Christians who actually argue WITH EVIDENCE for Nuclear Energy, or that renewables cannot replace fossil fuels for several decades, or point out the problems of producing electricity by renewables and , asuming it were possible, how long it would take to extend the grid to cope with the increased electrical generation. Mantras of “keep it in the Ground” and “renewables” do not produce the power.

The problems oif Extinction Rebellion are manifold. It is prone to scaremong with Hallam’s 6 billion deaths due to Climate Change and this article states;

XR starts from the premise that climate change is likely to bring about “human extinction through climate change”. At the core of their ideology is an understanding of climate change as “an unprecedented global emergency”. This theme of “a life or death situation”, a “Sixth Mass Extinction”, and a catastrophic “climate and ecological emergency” is constantly repeated in their speeches, on marches, and in articles.

It also argues from a very strong form of the Precautionary Principle, which would mean that I should never go out on my bike (I cycle over 100 miles aweek on public roads) or go walking on moor and mountain. There is a risk for me, but a low one.

http://www.uncancelled.co.uk/tie-world/the-problem-with-extinction-rebellion/?fbclid=IwAR2aLR5UDLRTs29WqDt__ClKGcL0hrxkuDWJk9SI1uugZFeAHffcd3hgzE0

Despite this, too many in the churches have backed ER as they did at the end of August 2020, with Rowan Williams to the fore.

The banner is a misunderstanding of Romans 8, but that is another issue

In the Church times article (URL below) Williams said;

People of faith should be here because they are people of faith

That seems to have the fervour of fundamentalism, which caught me (and others) out with their arrogant claim to truth and spiritual arrogance.

Instead of “Do you believe the Baybull” it is ;

“are you a climate denier?”

And if one says Net Zero 2030 is wrong, then one is!!

Read the Church Times here. It is hardly unbiased reporting

https://www.churchtimes.co.uk/articles/2020/4-september/news/uk/lord-williams-joins-extinction-rebellion-protests-in-london?utm_term=Autofeed&utm_medium=Social&utm_source=Twitter#Echobox=1599350669

He said “People of faith should be here because they are people of faith. That is, they believe they can make a difference of some kind and that that difference is worth making. At the moment we’re at a remarkable moment of opportunity. People are talking about building back better. We have to take the opportunity. It’s not just recovering what’s been lost but building again something that is genuinely more sustainable. Because in the last few months we have seen the possibility of some alternatives that might work and I think people of faith ought to be on board with making those alternatives work, taking that moment of opportunity.”

There is little room for those who disagree.

To say People of faith should be here because they are people of faith seems like my fundi friends and implicitly excludes from “people of faith” like me those who would not be protesting and agree with the agenda. Does that mean I am not a person of faith

It also ignores some of Paul’s teaching , when writing to Christians who wanted to no-platform him, as in 2 Corinthians chaps 10-12 , especially 2 Cor ch10 vs7 (This was the text of my last sermon of the church I mentioned at the beginning. It got home!)  or Galatians 1 vs13f. I won’t go as far as Paul did in Gal 5 vs 12.

We need to reply as robustly as Paul did , but this goes against the spirit of the age in the church today.

***********************************************************

There is another way of caring for God’s creation 

https://michaelroberts4004.wordpress.com/2018/01/03/gods-creation-and-the-environment/

Guest Blog – Stop Graveney Marsh Solar Farm

Why solar farms are not the panacea for green energy

a new nature blog

As regular readers will know I take an interest in solar farms and their impact on wildlife.

With this in mind, I’m happy to host a guest blog today from Matthew Hatchwell of the Faversham Society. Matthew was Director of Conservation at the Zoological Society of London, and before that was head of the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) in Europe. Matthew writes about a massive proposed Solar Farm on the north Kent marshes.

On May 10, 2020, the Daily Telegraph published an article about the proposed Cleve Hill Solar Park (CHSP) just outside Faversham on the north Kent coast.  If it goes ahead, it would be the largest solar power station in the UK, covering 900 acres of farmland, containing nearly a million solar panels, and including a battery storage system five times larger than the current record-holder, in Australia.  Local residents, although supportive of solar energy in general…

View original post 541 more words

5 recent wins for Christian climate activists – Premier Christianity


In the last few years Christians have been vociferous about the environment having shown utter disinterest until recently. However many have done so in extreme ways and are cavalier with the science of the environment. This was seen in the cack-handed response to fracking and now they’ve gone a bundle on Climate Emergencies and Net Zero dates.

Too often it is a green fundamentalism which is the public face and those who don’t accept the whole package are sidelined, to keep the activists pure in their understanding and activism. No christian environmental group or church structures seem to welcome or allow those who don’t accept every jot and tittle of their ideology, be it Net Zero 2030 (at the latest) fracking pollutes the water table, we need renewables NOW (even though they are not ready). It is rather like the evangelical fundamentalist, who will only have fellowship with those  who believe things like biblical inerrancy, substitutionary atonement to the exclusion of anything else, etc.

As well as that there is often an apocalyptic and millenarian mentality, which insists of an absolute emergency with doom just round the corner, allows no one to recognise any prior achievements by others on the environment, or those  who realise that going for Netzero 2025 is absurd, doomed to fail and will cause incredible hardship. Like those dispensationalists of yore who only read Daniel and Revelation, they only read the most extreme prognostications from climate scientists.

Even within General Synod more moderate rational voices are too easily sidelined, allowing the “activists” to call the shots. Dissension at all levels in the church is unsmiled at and thus the extremer views gain traction by default.

The conflict is not between caring for the environment and trashing it, but different ways of caring. That is scarcely recognised. I would take for granted that a Christian must care for creation as I present here in a rather simple, and uncontroversial, article on the Christian and Creation;

https://michaelroberts4004.wordpress.com/2018/01/03/gods-creation-and-the-environment/

I do wonder what members of the CCA do for the climate and creation;  plant trees, personal lifestyle, transport – bike, garden for wildlife. I suspect very little.

And so their contribution to Premier Christian Radio’s blog , which I print in full.

My comments are in quote form

 

5 recent wins [or flops]   for Christian climate activists

From preventing Heathrow expansion to divesting from fossil fuels, Caroline Harmon shares five recent climate change success stories to thank God for

Christians have been a strong presence within high profile environmental protests over the last year, with dozens of members of Christian Climate Action taking part in Extinction Rebellion protests.

We need to consider what ER actually stands for. It is not simply concern for the environment  and the climate. They give the impression but their aim is far more and perhaps the climate is only secondary. Their primary aim is to overthrow the present system of “capitalism” etc, hence their cry “System Change not Climate Change”.

Here we have it from one of the founders;

https://medium.com/extinction-rebellion/extinction-rebellion-isnt-about-the-climate-42a0a73d9d49 

Image result for extinction rebellion decolonisation

 . Also thrown in are aspects of Decolonisation etc , hence the aim of 

Consider these three

Democratise;  I thought we lived in a democracy!! It has slowly developed over 600 years but this tends to throw it all away with an appeal to Democracy which seems to have more in common with Stalin

Decarbonise, Now that makes sense to me and must be the aim.

Decolonise; The usual rant about colonisation forgetting that India got Independence in 1947.

 

I find it remarkable that so many don’t listen to what ER actually stands for and think it is just about the climate. Several Bishops have also failed to listen  – unless this is what they want………….

Their appeal for Net Zero by 2025 is simply impossible without total social breakdown, a vast increase of deaths through hypothermia etc.

Despite some of the doom and gloom we’ve heard around climate change, there is lots of good news too. Here are some recent wins.

 

 

 

The Church of England will be net zero carbon by 2030

At a General Synod meeting in February the church agreed to aim for net zero carbon by 2030 instead of 2045.

First let’s define Net Zero

#NetZero means going cold turkey on the 85% of our energy that currently comes from fossil fuels. That means trying to run not just the electric grid, which is ~20% of energy, without emissions, but all our heating, transport and industrial processes too.

Bluntly put, as less than 10% of our energy is from renewables  – the balance of the 15% of non fossil energy is from nuclear, which many environmentalists oppose. The Govt has an aim of Net Zero 2050 which is going to be very difficult to implement, unless there are some wondrous inventions in the next few years. The challenge is how to keep people warm in their houses (mostly by gas – usually imported and fracked), provide travel to work and transport of goods, and provide energy for industry, many of which are energy intensive.

Bishop Holtham went for 2045 as the church did not have requirements for industry!

This was altered by amendment from 2045. It was a small majority with many synod members missing. There are several things about this.The cost would be very great and it could bankrupt some churches.It will have little overall effect to climate change in Britain or the world. I wouldn’t be surprised if it causes great friction in churches already struggling to pay their way, with ever -rising demands from “the diocese”. It is probably an own goal by virtue signalling . My comments here;

https://michaelroberts4004.wordpress.com/2020/02/27/why-the-church-of-englands-decision-for-net-zero-2030-is-wrong/

Before anyone criticises me for being a “Climate Denier” or something equally wicked, here is a paper from Nature in 2019 warning against deadlines. All are climate scientists whose climate orthodoxy is impeccable! Perhaps the church as well as activist groups should read, mark and learn it.

https://www.nature.com/articles/s41558-019-0543-4.epdf?shared_access_token=IemqaDXjp59Xe4vx9SYpMtRgN0jAjWel9jnR3ZoTv0PHAItqILlRm_HHBm_TdKN2W4fclucYeFPP7FPSpe4YZCMx6e3jOvyKFNEN4tDVEsxhypkjCeaXw5HrYv5x1N4z6OOPAlKiCRowdURrPb_LMA%3D%3D

This is crucial because scientists and campaigners believe 2045 will be far too late.

That is a sweeping and dodgy statement. Some but by no means all scientists do not believe that 2045 is too late. By campaigners they mean themselves and those taking an extreme  line, rather than that of the Bishop of Salisbury. This is NOT an accurate comment.

It would take too long to list where groups like CCA are wrong in their science as they selectively listen to the bleakest and most apocalyptic scenario and filter out the rest.

The motion came as the Church of England began its first ever Green Lent campaign with 40 days of prayer and action to encourage care for God’s creation.

It has to be said that the Green Lent campaign is not in the obstructive and law-breaking style of CCA. We are not being encouraged to climb onto tubetrains or bare our tits as we close Waterloo Bridge. To signal my own virtue, many of the things recommended in the Green Lent, I have been doing for several decades. We have been using low-energy light bulbs since 1986 (i.e pre-LED), planted scores of trees and shrubs,prefer to cycle, etc etc.

2 Twenty Christian institutions are divesting from fossil fuels

In January they joined a rapidly growing ‘Fossil’ Free’ movement, where faith institutions represent almost a third of those divesting their funds from the fossil fuel industry. The movement has been so successful that some management companies have begun offering ‘fossil free funds’ to those who no longer wish to invest for example, their pension funds, in polluting resources. The 20 organisations included two Catholic dioceses, the United Reformed Church Synod of Wales and South Western Synod, two Catholic religious orders and some local Methodist churches.

It’s all very well divesting like this , but what about ceasing to use fossil fuels in any form? Eg fuel, use in providing mains water, base for medicines (will they stop taking medicines if made from fossil fuel?) , in industry etc?

Or is this virtue signalling?

The danger is that the shares will be snapped by others who may not care about ethical issues.

I often think that people who support divestment should simply stop using fossil fuels, in any shape or form themselves. That is far more than switching to a green supplier of elec and gas.

This flippantly shows what that would mean;

https://michaelroberts4004.wordpress.com/2019/03/05/fossil-fuel-fast-for-lent/

 

 

The Court of Appeal ruled Heathrow Airport expansion was unlawful

Just last week an extra runway at Heathrow was put on hold because the government failed to take account of the climate crisis when deciding to give the go-ahead.This was the first major ruling in the world to consider the Paris Climate Agreement of 2015, which commits us globally to limit the average rise in global temperature to 1.5⁰C.

This can be overturned. On this where do you stop? HS2? The much-neded by-pass of Little Snogging?

At the same time National Express has vowed to have a ‘zero emissions’ bus fleet by 2035

They have plans to ditch diesel, which would be great. An immediate improvement would be to switch to gas. Biogas, if sufficient, would be near Zero.

Much R & D is needed to go electric as at present it is not feasible as well as being very costly.

, and plans to expand Bristol airport were rejected last month over concerns it would exacerbate the climate emergency.

That can be over turned. Local councils can have decisions legally overturned by central government.

This is good news because transport accounts for a third of the UK’s carbon dioxide emissions.

None would make much difference and we are very far off from ditching fossil fuels for transport. also many overlook the fact that renewables account for only 10% of energy usage.

The government is currently holding a Citizens’ Assembly

From January-March 2020, 110 randomly selected people, who are a representative sample of the UK population, will be meeting four times to consider the climate emergency and propose solutions.

How can randomly selected people make informed decisions? It’s like asking to advise on revising a lexicon for ancient Chinese!!

Their views will be reported to government in the spring. Citizens’ Assemblies have been used in other countries to successfully move forward issues where people no longer trust their politicians to solve the problem or where there is deadlock.

 

A Citizen’s Assembly is one of Extinction Rebellion’s three demands, with the others being for the government to declare a climate emergency (which they’ve also done) and to achieve net zero carbon as a country by 2025 (we’re currently aiming for 2050).

 

So much for ER’s 3 demands. One needs to ask if they are remotely sensible.

Christians are actively involved

Christians have been a strong presence in the Extinction Rebellion protests in London.

Please do NOT assume that yours is the only Christian way.

Members of Christian Climate Action were involved in creating a ‘Faith Bridge’ – a site of worship, prayer and protest within the larger protest – at the October 2019 rebellion.

Yes , CCA also caused disruption at Canning Town to the annoyance of many  – and ER. That action in particular was especially unethical.

We held Eucharist services, prayed, worshipped, gave sermons, baptised people (in a paddling pool!) and washed protesters’ feet. Many of those arrested were Christians who have given accounts of interceding for the climate crisis during their time spent in police station cells.

Why is it a good Christian witness to break the law, disrupt people’s lives and get arrested?

Your reference to “interceding for the Climate Crisis” is spiritually arrogant.

Sadly many Christian green groups are rather spiritually arrogant in their position and look down on those who don’t agree with them. We would probably get burnt at the stake if it weren’t for the P2.5 particles which would be emitted 🙂

As I write this article, someone is praying in Parliament Square. Throughout Lent Christian Climate Action, alongside other faith groups, is holding a 24/7 Prayer Vigil outside the Houses of Parliament to lament our lack of action on the climate emergency

That is untrue. Since the mid 90s various all govts have steadily progressed in dealing with climate issues; e.g virtual ending of coal in electricity production, increase of renewables, fall of emissions, reduction in energy use etc. This hardly counts as “Telling the Truth.”

and pray that our political leaders find the courage they need to take the urgent action necessary.

I hope our leaders have the courage to reject CCA’s and ER’s extreme views and work for a constructive response to all our problems of climate and the environment. It seems CCA wants to thwart anything the government does.

There is much to be sad about when it comes to the climate crisis, but there is also hope.

I don’t think CCA will give anyone any hope. I cannot reconcile their law-breaking or “superiority” with the Gospel and wonder how counter-productive they are.

Instead of such a hostile attitude Christian need to look for positive ways of caring for God’s creation rather than protesting.

Finally, I am quite sure some will consider that I am a Climate Denier and don’t care about God’s Creation.

 

Caroline Harmon is a member of Christian Climate Action, a group taking prayerful direct action to tackle the climate crisis. CCA just published their first book, Time to Acta resource book for Christians who want to take action on the climate crisis

Source: 5 recent wins for Christian climate activists – Premier Christianity

Why the Church of England’s decision for Net Zero 2030 is wrong.

Why Net Zero 2030 is doomed to failure and despair

2030
Summary; The Church of England has entered discussions on Net Zero for Carbon. At the meeting of General Synod on 12 February 2020 as proposal for the church to be Net zero by 2045 was rejected and Net Zero 2035 was narrowly passed.
If carried out, this will be extremely expensive and bankrupt some local churches. Further those who proposed this did not consider either the implications or how it can be implemented.
Here I argue it is fundamentally wrong, and no more than virtue signalling.

When I first heard of Global Warming (before its name change to Climate Change) in about 1990 I was sceptical. This was just two years after James Hansen’s warning of danger in the USA. My reasons were geological or rather glaciological. I was aware how the earth’s temperature had fluctuated with glaciations in the Precambrian, Ordovician, Permian and Pleistocene. I have worked on the Precambrian (600my) glaciation and the latest ones ending 10,000 years ago. I was also aware of historical fluctuations with the Little Ice Age and the warming since about 1810, which I found apparent when walking in the Alps, especially the recent retreat of glaciers. Thus I was fully aware how the earth’s temperature had fluctuated for the last billion years.

It took until 1998 when Sir John Houghton personally convinced me what was happening. I later wrote a survey of evangelical responses to Climate Change up to 2010. By then I was convinced of the seriousness of Climate Change and that we should change our energy use among many other things in the future. Ironically I finished that chapter on April Fool’s Day 2011, the day a Mag 2.3 tremor occurred at Cuadrilla’s fracking site in Lancashire. I never felt it though I was only 10 miles away, but it changed my outlook.

Soon afterwards an election leaflet was delivered by a certain political party to our house. I liked all the suggestions on better cycle routes etc and I decided to vote for them, until I read the risible comments on the risk of damage from earthquakes. From a position of being hostile to fracking I started to study it carefully and found that claims by anti-frackers were fallacious. I also found that Christian green groups were simply repeating them as Gospel and had no wish to listen to the science! Outside the churches the two worst offenders for misinformation were Friends of the Earth and Greenpeace, as FoE found out to their embarrassment in early 2017.

It was clear that green groups were singing from the same hymn book with anti-fracking, anti-GMO, anti-nuclear along with a blind faith in renewables as the cure for everything energy wise. They also took the most extreme and apocalyptic understanding of climate change.  As the decade progressed the evils of fossil fuels and divestment came to the fore, but this was not accompanied with a presentation of what alternatives should be used, nor with a partiality to precision. Few acknowledged the intermittency of renewables, highlighted on 23/1/20 when lack of sun and wind resulted in little energy from renewables (see below). With an almost sectarian zeal any who did not accept this outlook were dismissed as a climate denier and thus the way was opened for Extinction Rebellion in late 2018. Green groups were clear what they were against – fossil fuels (and often nuclear) – but did not provide an alternative, except simplistic appeals to renewables. The actual aim is better seen in the anticapitalism which marks such activists as Naomi Klein or Extinction Rebellion.

To get back the General Synod resolution. The government target of Net Zero 2050 is, in fact, ambitious and unless new techniques of energy production or carbon capture are developed, very hard to fulfil. The aim of Net Zero 2025 by Extinction Rebellion is simply absurd and impossible to fulfil without killing lots of people through hypothermia.  The target of 2045 is more challenging than realistic, but could be doable for the church, because so many aspects of energy in industry are not considered. However the amendment from Bristol Diocese for Net Zero 2030 is beyond absurd. It is clear that the implication were not thought out, whether practical details or cost. On paper it could possibly be done, as the church could opt to use only renewables, but the cost is prohibitive and my rough calculation  of moving over with a considerable use of heat pumps is –

A backofenvelope calculation is that cost for my diocese -Blackburn would be £15 million and thus £600 million for the whole Church of England. That is each parish must raise extra £8000 p.a or £160 per week .

One could quibble over details but this is the right order of the financial implications. I look forward to this being sent to the parishes by the various Diocesan Boards of Finance!

And so the amendment was passed for 2030;

“The rest of the morning session was devoted to a debate on the Climate Emergency and Carbon Reduction Target. The motion as originally proposed was amended, most significantly when “2045 at the latest” in paragraph (a) was replaced by “2030”. This amendment was quite narrowly carried by 144 votes to 129 with 10 recorded abstentions. At the end of the debate, the amended motion below was carried on a show of hands.

Here is the amendment;

That this Synod, recognising that the global climate emergency is a crisis for God’s creation, and a fundamental injustice, and following the call of the Anglican Communion in ACC Resolutions A17.05 and A17.06;

(a) call upon all parts of the Church of England, including parishes, BMOs, education institutions, dioceses, cathedrals and the NCIs, to work to achieve year-on-year reductions in emissions and urgently examine what would be required to reach net zero emissions by 2030 in order that a plan of action can be drawn up to achieve that target;

(b) request reports on progress from the Environment Working Group and the NCIs every 3 years beginning in 2022 and;

(c) call on each Diocesan Synod and cathedral Chapter to address progress toward net zero emissions every 3 years.”

The account on the  CoE website

https://www.churchofengland.org/more/media-centre/news/general-synod-sets-2030-net-zero-carbon-target

 

The Bishop of Manchester expressed his unease at the way the motion was got through.

https://viamedia.news/2020/02/14/general-synod-the-highs-lows/

I’d hoped the Environment debate would be a highlight, and in some ways it was. We heard passionate pleas for the Church to work to eliminate its carbon footprint. My one speech in the chamber this time was to support an amendment from the chair of the Finance Committee to set up the structures we will need to produce robust intermediate targets, identify specific solutions and oversee the work well. The crucial issue of selecting the year by which all this will be achieved was moved from a perhaps under-ambitious 2045 to a date of 2030. Whatever ones views on the urgency of the climate crisis, it felt unsatisfactory that this was achieved through an amendment which was decided after less than ten minutes debate, by a majority of 15, with a turnout that meant fewer than a third of Synod members voted in favour of it. Many, I suspect, were caught in the tea room, not having expected a close vote. 2030 maybe the right year, but the process felt flawed.

Perhaps a 2/3rds majority was needed………

The case for a 2045 target was laid down in  GS 2159 1

GENERAL SYNOD CLIMATE EMERGENCY AND CARBON REDUCTION TARGET

https://www.churchofe20Climatengland.org/sites/default/files/2020-01/GS%202159%%20Emergency%20and%20Carbon%20Reduction%20Target.pdf

It would be difficult to object to the general tenor of this report, unless one had no concern for the environment, which is to devalue God’s creation. However, it does reflect the general weakness of most recent Christian thought on the environment, in that it is weak on energy and mineral resources, with a tendency to appeal to renewables as a panacea and an implicit disdain for mining. Of course, those like Naomi Klein would agree as this is to reject all forms of “extractivism”. The term is pejorative and prevents one from seeing how much of everything in life is dependent on what has been extracted from the ground. Apart from food, most things we use have been extracted; fossil fuels, Uranium for nuclear, clay, gravel and stone for construction, every metal from Iron to Aluminium to rare Earths and Lithium which are needed for electronics and batteries.

My eco-friendly bicycles, which cover 4,500 miles, a year, are made as a result of “extractivism”; frame – mostly aluminium, fork – Carbon-fibre (very energy intensive), tyres –from petroleum, most parts are from a mixture of plastics, metals etc all from the ground. So my bicycles are dependant of fossil fuels! But the saddle is made of leather!

This “ethical” disdain of “extractivism” is apparent in the Church Times brief statement of Bishop Urquhart;

The Bishop of Birmingham, the Rt Revd David Urquhart, has said that the Church Commissioners chose to invest in mining, despite the ethical considerations, because “it is important for everyone on the planet.”

Church Times 14/2/20

Ultimately mining and quarrying are messy businesses. They cannot be anything else·. But then so is farming, forestry and house building. Having worked half a century ago for an international mining company in various parts of Africa I saw the mess. One of the great concerns are tailings dams, but in Uganda I lived a few hundred yards from two, which were just above a river in the Ruwenzori mountains, which flowed into a National Park. The water below the dams looked pristine and pure.

Surely there are ethical considerations of any investment in any industry?  Mining when uncontrolled is awful, but that was not my experience of most mines I visited. However I was concerned when I visited an opencast Wolfram Mine in Uganda as there seemed to be no procedure, safety or otherwise, in place. At the time I thought it a cowboy outfit in contrast to my company, of which I was often critical.

Perhaps a cause of the Bishop’s disdain, which reflects that of most Green groups, Christian or not, is that it shows a simplistic green outlook, which does not grasp that all human activities are in some way polluting.  Hence there is a tendency for a kneejerk reaction regarding all mining and fossil fuels as unethical. For energy the “ethical” response is renewables, but then failing to ask where all the materials to make them come from. Some responses are examples of the Dunning-Kruger Effect.

It makes me wonder whether I should admit that before ordination I worked in mining and whether I should repent of having been in mining!

From GS2159

Summary There is a climate crisis; indeed, a crisis for creation. Our response is driven by our call to mission, specifically to the fifth mark of mission. This motion encourages all parts of the Church of England to recognise this and to take coordinated action toward a target of Net Zero by 2045. The urgency and significance of climate change and the degradation of the environment cannot be over-estimated. The Church of England’s Environment Working Group (set up by General Synod in 2014) issued a Call for Action1 in November 2019, and this motion follows from that call.   “It becomes ever clearer that climate change is the greatest challenge that we and future generations face. It’s our sacred duty to protect the natural world we’ve so generously been given, as well as our neighbours around the world who will be first and worst affected. Without swift decisive action the consequences of climate change will be devastating.” Archbishop Justin Welby

 

Background 1. The recent International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report warned that humanity has 11 years to take emergency action in order to prevent global heating greater than 1.5°C 2. Above this, the risks to humanity of floods, droughts, extreme heat and poverty become much greater, impacting on hundreds of millions more people. Increasingly, the national discourse is one of climate emergency and climate crisis.

The report gives five possible targets; the first is the 2009 church one, which as they say is passe. The other two align with the government at 2050 and the Climate Coalition at 2045.  Both are hard but in the realms of possibility . The government one is also politically acceptable, even if grudgingly.

Here are possible targets from the Government’s 2050 to Extinction Rebellion’s 2025;

20452

Both the targets of 2050 and 2045 are sensible, and it is understandable that the Climate Coalition as an activist group should go for an earlier date.

However after the decision for 2030 the response of Christian members of the Climate Coalition raises questions. It does seem that they prefer 2030 and also support Extinction Rebellion.

Thus the response on Twitter and elsewhere on 12th February;

12/2/20 from JRI “Well done to @synod on going for the 2030 target. It is NOT going to be at all easy, and it will cost a lot of money, but it is the right thing to do.”

Andy Lester A Rocha “a positive message from CofE…we will need to keep some pressure on to make sure there is a genuine delivery alongside the genuine intent.”

https://www.tearfund.org/en/media/press_releases/tearfund_reacts_to_church_of_england_2030_net_zero_commitment/

Valerio from Tear Fund ““The church must continue to take courageous steps to cut its carbon emissions ensuring it reaches net zero as soon as possible, protecting the world’s most vulnerable people and the wider natural world.”

https://operationnoah.org/news-events/press-release-operation-noah-welcomes-church-of-england-decision-to-set-2030-net-zero-target/

Green Anglicans on FB 13/2/20 The Church of England takes a prophetic stand and commits to net zero in ten years

Congratulations!!!

I wonder how much behinds the scenes lobbying went on.

The paper pushes for more than 2050 and explains why a 2045 target is essential. When you take into account that the Church of England is a limited body – no attached industry! – 2045 is similar in challenge to the Government’s 2050.

20453

This is a very balanced argument for 2045 with a serious warning of aiming too high i.e 2030

2045 is achievable but hard; it is a possible target, which, most importantly, should get most on board.  It is vital to get almost everyone in the church on board, as even a small opposition group could derail the whole process.

2030 is set to fail. This is mostly because it is an impossible target as Bishop Holtam said in a veiled way. It is already getting a lot of criticism both from naysayers and others. It will attract a lot of tabloid attack, as well as losing allies. It will be unsellable to most PCCs.

I consider that it is a sad day for church. Whereas the original motion would have been tough, even if not enough for some, but going for 2030 will result in a serious loss of support, which will result in abject failure and then no chance of achieving 2030.

Getting all on board for 2045 would need much effort and persuasion and from experience I know that many PCCs would simply disregard it as something else from the “diocese”,  and then scoffed at and dismissed.

The target 2030 is far more challenging than 2045 with an immediate high financial commitment. I wonder whether all clergy would push for it as the cost becomes clear.

There are other concerns. There is a danger of a negative press (as clergy are often warned about!). Those church members who can be seen as “passive uncommitted” will reject 2030 and becoming vocal and stroppy, but would have gone along with 2045. This is absolutely vital as wither motion depends on parish and PCC support to have a chance of success.

The target of 2030 breaks any coalition of environmentally minded, as it only appeals to the left of environmentally minded Christians. Some will go into opposition and refuse to support 2030 in any shape or form.

I feel this is the worst kind of virtue signalling , which is going to cause major problems for the Church of England.

Were I still a vicar I’d simply refuse to take part.

 

This recent article by Peter Franklin outlines the range of views on the environment.

https://unherd.com/2020/02/bigger-than-brexit-the-new-politics-of-climate-change/?=frbottom&fbclid=IwAR0vGsA1Qnn3VsII1hN0Kp_vhs7eiu8FJQ8L0aCqCI4GFqc1PmCPfzsQ8DQ

It is a provocative article and stresses how we are divided between the Climate Left and the Climate Right

The Climate Left are dominated by Extinction Rebellion and their calls for Citizens Assemblies and System Change – yes, they are anti-capitalist and anti a few other things. It is hard not to see Christian Greens as aligned to them and Christian Climate Action most clearly is. The Climate Right, so often called Climate Deniers, are a varied bunch and thrive by picking holes (an easy task) in the Climate Left, and how costly even Net Zero in 2050 would be. One figure is £3 trillion. I would suggest neither the Climate Left or Climate Right have much to offer, and I find neither very constructive.

As Peter Franklin writes, “So, if the climate Left is mad and the climate Right is bad, then we desperately need an alternative to both. This is provided by the Climate Centre.

Climate centrism takes the science seriously — enough not to indulge in scare tactics or to pretend that business-as-usual is a responsible option. It rejects the accelerated timelines demanded by green new dealers, not because action isn’t required, but because haste makes waste. Achieving net zero in the space of a single decade would divert scarce resources into the creation of a command state, when what we need is more of what’s been achieved so far through competitive markets supported by smart government.”

This century the governments have been a snail’s pace Climate Centre, and have made many advances which are denied by the Left. Who in 2000, and even more so in 1990, would have thought coal has become almost redundant for electricity generation? Neither Delingpole nor Monbiot did that! Being of a certain age I have witnessed environmental changes for over half a century, including the last pea-souper of 1963 which stopped just short of our house. It has been loss and gain and definitely far better than the Climate Left claim. In the 70s and 80s any environmentalist was a bit of a nutter!! I was the green nutter then!

To return to the General Synod support of Net Zero 2030. This is very clearly of the Climate Left, as that seems to dominate Christian discussions on the environment. Few Anglicans would dare to admit they were on the Climate Right or even Centre, and us climate Centrists are often either silent by nature or muted. Perhaps more will come out when the implications of Net Zero 2030 become apparent.

The proposal from Bishop Holtam was much more central and with a target date of 2045 was more or less achievable. It also had the virtue of including many more supporters –  including the semi-committed who probably make up the bulk of the Church of England. Further it was a narrow vote and some were distinctly unhappy about the result. For this vote a 2/3rds majority should have been required in each house as the matter is of such importance.

The amendment was very much in line with groups like Christian Climate Change, and thus Extinction Rebellion who call a nationwide Net Zero by 2025. These are groups are clear in what they oppose and see a grim future. They also throw in anti-capitalism with appeals for a system change. However like many protest groups they are good at calling things out and stating what they want, but totally fall short on how to achieve it.

As well as involving political compromise a plan for achieving Net Zero, whether in 2030 , 2045 or 2050, must go beyond wishing it and actually giving detailed plans on all the technological issues along with costings. There needs to be plans on how to discard all fossil fuel heating in churches, vicarages and schools and how to provide a suitable replacement. My observation is that activists groups like those mentioned, whether Christian or secular are highly skilled at rhetoric, repeating simple appeals to be renewable, but do not have the engineering grasp or knowledge to begin to effect it. Here those actually knowledgeable, with a few exceptions, realise it is a long and slow process and that even 2050 is a tall order. Even worse, they realise that fossil fuels will still be need at mid-century.

Too often the climate Left resort to scaremongering https://www.forbes.com/sites/rogerpielke/2019/09/26/its-time-to-get-real-about-the-extreme-scenario-used-to-generate-climate-porn/#75a19d7c4af0

There were several reports in the Church Times for 21st February. First is a general report https://www.churchtimes.co.uk/articles/2020/21-february/comment/opinion/net-zero-carbon-by-2030-is-do-able

Bishop Holtam was mentioned in a report but Canon Martin Gainsborough, who moved the crucial General Synod amendment, explains his hopes in an article. Nowhere does he consider the cost implications and difficulties that any parishes will face, beyond saying it “require a significant injection of money” (I suggest nearly half a billion pounds), but instead gives bland advice on what can be done to start;

“The charity Climate Stewards recommends six steps that churches can take to lower their emissions: carrying out a carbon-footprint audit and reducing emissions where you can; switching to a green energy supplier; registering for the A Rocha Eco Church scheme; joining in with the LiveLent campaign; engaging with your diocesan advisory committee; and offsetting unavoidable emis­sions. (The point about net zero is that it allows for some offsetting.)”

Apart from the first, which would make you look hard at energy use and “other carbon use” none will reduce emissions. If a church, or family or other group, has already been frugal and looked to waste it will have already reduced emissions. Obviously there will always be room for improvement. (I would argue that every individual or organisation should being doing this continually, whether on direct use of fuel or embedded use. I do.) His article may convince the faithful, but not the hard-headed grounded in the reality of delivering technical solutions.

Gainsborough has not convinced me that it is do-able. His article was far more wishful thinking than giving any real idea how Net Zero 2030 could be achieved. What was needed was to explain the steps and the costings. It seems that the amendment was brought to General Synod without considering either. That is not a responsible way of doing things.

**********************************************

Appendix

Some comments on Bishop Holtam’s General Synod paper GS 2159.

I’ve picked out a few sections which raise important aspects .

  1. We are now in a position where we could, with the right encouragement, and with no less than the current national resources and funding as well as strong support at diocesan and local levels, make great progress. It is important both to achieve net zero carbon emissions in the long term, and to make early and significant reductions in the amount of CO2 we produce.

The concept of Net Zero is not always helpful as it does not consider Carbon (in fact Carbon Dioxide) emissions for things other than energy. Many items are made using coal or petroleum , for example these from Natural Gas

20454

These are often overlooked in the wish to be Carbon-free.

As well as that there is the energy used in manufacture, which is often left out of the equation.

One aspect overlooked is the energy used for making many products from bricks to paper. This makes Net Zero almost impossible to achieve, unless products made with non-fossil fuel energy can be sourced. This is taken from the late Paul Younger’s wonderful book “Energy”. Paul, a Christian, died tragically young two years ago.

20455

In fact, almost all the materials we use rely on Carbon, either in their make-up or their preparation. As we get to 2030 should we only use bricks, concrete, paint etc which are Carbon-neutral? That was not considered.

I shall resist the temptation of suggesting our diets go Carbon-free.

  1. To achieve a net zero target much would need to happen, including, as examples,

the following;

  1. a) Energy use for heating and lighting would need to radically reduce in all our

buildings, through, for example, the installation of LED lighting where not yet in

place, extensive programmes of draught-proofing and insulation.

Many of these have been encouraged for years, especially on an individual level. We have been using low-energy bulbs since 1986. LEDs will only make a minute contribution compared to what is needed.

We need to start with the following

  • Woolly jumpers (serious suggestion!)
  • Thick socks
  • Heavy curtains where possible
  • Draught-proofing
  • Lowering ceilings
  • Insulation
  • Trees and shrubs in the built environment to reduce windchill of buildings

If people insist on wearing summer clothes in winter, they’ll either feel cold or switch up the heating!

They mere fact that these have been listed shows how far as a nation we have not come. Most have been around for decades and many of us have followed them.

 

  1. b) The heating of our 16000 churches, 4700 schools, clergy housing and diocesan

offices would need to move away from gas and oil, to electric heating powered

by green electricity and focussing more on heating people rather than heating

spaces.

The Key Flaw is that it rejects gas and oil, and probably nuclear, in the energy mix. (Many Greens today reject nuclear as strongly as fossil fuels.) Most forecasts for future energy supply include fossil fuels at least up to 2050. It also overlooks the fact that heating by electricity is the most expensive form of heating. All serious (non-doctrinaire green) scenarios include gas to 2050 unless dictated by ideological or political concerns

This also ignores oil, gas and coal as source of materials – not just plastic. Further coal is necessary for some industrial processes. Of course new methods will come in, but there is a considerable time lag from discovery, through development to delivery.

I am puzzling how to heat people not spaces, as the only way is heated clothing!!!  As it is February we have the heat on (gas) with thermostat to 20 deg. The house is cool warm! I am wearing a fleece, thick socks and feel a trifle cool. For me a few more degrees is too warm. I am also fairly cold-resistant. To have the air temperature of 10 deg or less is too cold for most people to sit around or work at a desk. It is also dangerous for the sick and elderly. The older you get the less you can withstand cold, as I have found out!

500 years ago many wore hats in the house and probably gloves. Gloves would prevent manual tasks. If too cold one needs gloves! This I found out on Seatsandle in the Lake District in the snow. I was warm but eating sandwiches with bare hands in subzero temperatures was painful.

This statement assumes plentiful, reliable and non-intermittent green energy, but at present renewables produces about a third of electricity demand and has a totally intermittent nature. Thus on 23/1/20 renewables were producing less than 10% of electricity but in the February storms it has shot up to nearly 50%. Economical battery storage on a large scale is not yet available. Further present batteries lose 20% of electricity on storage.

It also overlooks the fact that if we move from fossil fuels to electric then the grid must provide THREE TIMES the present electricity i.e tripling power stations and grid networks.  But that excludes other uses of energy in transport and industry. When you factor that in, you need another THREE TIMES as much energy  – thus to replace fossil fuels we need to increase energy from other sources TEN FOLD.

This wouldn’t really apply to the church, but to go totally electric many of our buildings would have to have a major upgrade of electrical circuits.

A very useful site  is https://gridwatch.co.uk/ And its twitter feed. To take an example take the details on 14/2/20 .These show immense variation from various fuel sources, with renewables being yo-yos and gas used to make up the shortfall

20456

Grey is nuclear which is constant. Blue is wind and orange is gas. When wind is insufficient gas (orange) is ramped up. At night gas is used less due to a lower demand, but when there is no wind, gas comes in as it did round 23rd January where there was  virtually nothing as no wind or sun.

But with the February storms there was a lot of wind power, with winds of 25-30 mph and stronger gusts. (I won’t go out on my bike!). But if the winds are too strong as it was on 15/2/20 wind Turbines were only operating at 50% capacity because of 80 mph winds, meaning they needed to be feathered back.

The concern over fossil fuels often ignores the drop of emissions in the developed world, which are declining this decade but rising elsewhere.

20457

And the change in 2018-9. (Japan’s reduction would be greater if they had not rejected nuclear.)20458I’ve left out clothes, and many long-term use of petroleum-based materials:i.e not single use plastics.

This pie chart from 2019 shows UK emissions in comparison to the rest of the world. Note UK population is 70 million and China 1,400 million i.e 20x greater, but Chinese emissions per capita are higher as are USA, Canada and Germany. So far reduction in emissions is limited to “Western” countries, but many Africans have no access to energy. (I am baffled why Christian Aid opposes any development of drilling for oil and gas in Africa. If nothing else it would slow deforestation.)

20458

Now what about Costs?

Heat pumps £6,000-£18.000  https://www.evergreenenergy.co.uk/heat-pumps/much-heat-pump-cost/

Solar  https://www.evergreenenergy.co.uk/heat-pumps/much-heat-pump-cost/

Need 4K/W for an average house – £4,000-£6,000 but a vicarage is larger. Let’s call it £10K

The cost for a church or school is far more and in the order of £20K.

Now that would put up Parish Share for each parish!

One aspect overlooked, and mentioned above, is the energy used for making many products from bricks to paper. This makes Net Zero almost impossible to achieve, unless products made with non-fossil fuel energy can be sourced.

 

  1. c) This would in turn require the church’s electrical supplies to be robust enough to

support electric heating, and the National Grid to support this increased

electrical loading.

How’s this going to happen?

The National Grid is not up to electrification of heat and transport. We need a doubling or tripling of generation and grid network, if this is for the whole nation.

To move to 100% electricity for heating in building would require major rewiring. To give an example, in one church in about 2004, the cost was prohibitive just to improve the wiring to install brighter lighting. If I remember right the figure was over £5K as opposed for a few hundred to ensure just adequate lighting. For financial reasons we ended up with lighting which was only just adequate. As that church was in the middle of a field oil heating was the only option.

  1. d) The travel and transport of staff and volunteers would need to move away from petrol/diesel powered vehicles (even in our rural dioceses).

There is no mention of bicycles for local journeys.  Why shouldn’t clergy use cycles around the parish? I can ask this question rather smugly as I often did. I reckon bikes are ideal in a parish and very evangelistic. You can actually stop. As a result of that several people started to come to my various churches.

Again there is a cost consideration. Apart from the tiny Twizzy there is no EV below £17,000  https://www.autoexpress.co.uk/best-cars/99735/the-cheapest-electric-cars-on-sale  but you can buy a Dacia for £7000!!

Further EVs are not in the breakthrough stage and carbon benefits are not clarified as much carbon emissions occur in manufacture, not to mention mining for electrical components which are more than a hunk of steel /alloy for the engine. But you never know when the change will come. After all, Randolph Churchill ridiculed electric lighting but within ten years it had taken off. 

  1. e) We would need to think about our international travel, recognising that there are

very strong connections with the rest of the world but also developing ways of

nurturing those relationships which are more sustainable, and offsetting flights

when necessary.

Most don’t travel by air except for holidays. Perhaps the church should limit frequent fliers, including bishops!!

  1. In addition to carbon output, we must also protect and enhance biodiversity across

our land and buildings, including churchyards, glebe land, and investment assets.

The Church needs to build ecological awareness into everything we do. Caring for

creation is an essential element of our mission and ministry.

This is very much needed, but is inhibited by inertia and a desire for tidiness. Many parishes are more concerned with a tidy churchyard than a green one. I will never forget a farmer churchwarden going around a churchyard spraying every wild-flower with roundup.

There is a tremendous amount that could be done on church land in the way of planting, and to encourage all churchmembers to do the same.

An inspirational read on this is;

204510

It gives lots of fun and hope.

My own brief case for the Christian and the environment, written as a beginners’ article

https://michaelroberts4004.wordpress.com/2018/01/03/gods-creation-and-the-environment/

Church of England Climate Resolution

A thought-provoking response to the Church of England’s vote for 2030 Net Zero.

I wonder if the great and good at General Synod knew they’d voted to freeze in church and switch off their water

extinctionrebellion

how do we replace all the fossil fuels with renewables?

renewbles

But at least renewables don’t require sinful extractivism, does it?

solarpanal

 

A New City of God

Thomas Cranmer (1489-1556)Thomas Cranmer (1489-1556)

The synod of the Anglican church has just passed the following Resolution.

That this Synod, recognising that the global climate emergency is a crisis for God’s creation, and a fundamental injustice . . . call upon all parts of the Church of England, including parishes, BMOs [Bishop Mission Orders], education institutions, dioceses, cathedrals, and the NCIs [National Church Institutions], to work to achieve year-on-year reductions in emissions and urgently examine what would be required to reach net zero emissions by 2030 in order that a plan of action can be drawn up to achieve that target;

(Additional sections discuss the reporting process.)

The following were my initial thoughts on reading this resolution.

Congratulations #1

Congratulations to the Anglican church on providing desperately-needed leadership. One of the themes of this blog is that climate change and related issues provide an an opportunity for the church. The Anglican…

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The Ahuman Manifesto: The Final Solution to Climate Change

It is against this context that Patricia MacCormack delivers her expert justification for the “ahuman.” An alternative to “posthuman” thought, the term paves the way for thinking that doesn’t dissolve into nihilism and despair, but actively embraces issues like human extinction, vegan abolition, atheist occultism, death studies, a refusal of identity politics, deep ecology, and the apocalypse as an optimistic beginning.

 

ahuman manifesto

The Ahuman Manifesto: The Final Solution to Climate Change

I am sure someone will say I shouldn’t post this from a right-wing petrolhead!! Howver he makes very pertinent comments on the latest green lunacy.

 

https://naturalgasnow.org/the-ahuman-manifesto-the-final-solution-to-climate-change/?fbclid=IwAR3lUoqnyjZEyeqa3ouvMLNvVnOXCXdvAxwDOv-hXtUdn2L6T8f8m3JF8Ac

energy futuresRobert Bradley, Jr.
Founder and CEO of the Institute for Energy Research
Principal, MasterResource: A Free-Market Energy Blog
..

.…

“The Ahuman Manifesto” is fringe today, but that it is even half-seriously proposed as the final solution to climate change exposes environmental nihilsim.

Here you go: the “final solution” to climate change. This book, “The Ahuman Manifesto,” is a glimpse of where the climate road to serfdom ends. (And it is not, I repeat not, a satire.)

ahuman manifesto

The Ahuman Manifesto: Activism for the End of the Anthrocene” by Patricia MacCormack (Bloomsbury Academic: 2020) is self-described as follows:

We are in the midst of a growing ecological crisis. Developing technologies and cultural interventions are throwing the status of “human” into question.

It is against this context that Patricia MacCormack delivers her expert justification for the “ahuman.” An alternative to “posthuman” thought, the term paves the way for thinking that doesn’t dissolve into nihilism and despair, but actively embraces issues like human extinction, vegan abolition, atheist occultism, death studies, a refusal of identity politics, deep ecology, and the apocalypse as an optimistic beginning.

In order to suggest vitalistic, perhaps even optimistic, ways to negotiate some of the difficulties in thinking and acting in the world, this book explores five key contemporary themes:

· Identity
· Spirituality
· Art
· Death
· The apocalypse

Collapsing activism, artistic practice and affirmative ethics, while introducing some radical contemporary ideas and addressing specifically modern phenomena like death cults, intersectional identity politics and capitalist enslavement of human and nonhuman organisms to the point of ‘zombiedom’, The Ahuman Manifesto navigates the ways in which we must compose the human differently, specifically beyond nihilism and post- and trans-humanism and outside human privilege. This is so that we can actively think and live viscerally, with connectivity (actual not virtual), and with passion and grace, toward a new world.

Four positive pre-publication reviews are shared:

“Patricia MacCormack goes relentessly beyond ‘just’ deconstructing anthropocentrism and dismantling multispecies extinction caused by human dominance in the Anthropocene. The manifesto is not only theorizing, but compassionately calling for direct abolitionist action for the other at the expense of the (human) self. Trembling with joyful energy and critically affirmative insights, this manifesto encourages us to engage in ahuman arts & activist practices, inspired by queer feminist (secular) spirituality, and death activism.” ―Nina Lykke, Professor of Gender Studies, Linköping University, Sweden

“This beautiful book is both a passionate, insightful meditation on the world we actually live in, and a radical call to action. Is it even possible for us to stop being human, to let multiple beings flourish without reducing them to means for our own selfish ends? Reading this book, thinking with it and about it, and responding openly to it, is absolutely essential.” ―Steven Shaviro, DeRoy Professor of English, Wayne State University, USA

“Patricia MacCormack’s splendid refusal to nuance her intent in The Ahuman Manifesto will both intrigue and infuriate. As a vegan abolitionist/extinctionist, she provides an unrelenting and exacting take down of the violent self-interest of the human species, and offers a call to ethical action best described as eating the Anthropocene.” ―Margrit Shildrick, Guest Professor of Gender and Knowledge Production, Stockholm University, Sweden

“This book is a delightful provocation and invitation: to imagine a world without humans and to think of what we can do to get there. It is an urgent call for action. A joyful, lucid, fiercely intelligent call to readers to hope and work for a future not for themselves, but for the thriving of all nonhuman life. Engaging with this book will be a transformative experience. One cannot see the world or oneself in the same way after reading it.” ―Christine Daigle, Professor of Philosophy and Director of the Posthumanism Research Institute, Brock University, Canada

A writeup by Alisair Ryder in Cambridge News, “‘The only solution for climate change is letting the human race become extinct,’” describes the book and author as follows:

Patricia MacCormack, a professor of continental philosophy at Anglia Ruskin University, has just released her new book The Ahuman Manifesto, which will officially be launched in Cambridge today (Wednesday, February 5).

The book argues that due to the damage done to other living creatures on Earth, we should start gradually phasing out reproduction. But rather than offering a bleak look at the future of humanity, it has generated discussion due to its joyful and optimistic tone, as it sets out a positive view for the future of Earth – without mankind.

It also touches on several hot-button topics, from religion and veganism to the concept of identity politics, tying these into how the creation of a hierarchal world among humans has left us blind to the destruction we are causing to our habitat and other forms of life.

Speaking to CambridgeshireLive, Professor MacCormack outlined how she came to this point of view, and how these ideas are not as provocative as they may initially sound.

She said: “I arrived at this idea from a couple of directions. I was introduced to philosophy due to my interest in feminism and queer theory, so reproductive rights have long been an interest to me – this led me to learn more about animal rights, which is when I became vegan.

“The basic premise of the book is that we’re in the age of the Anthropocene, humanity has caused mass problems and one of them is creating this hierarchal world where white, male, heterosexual and able-bodied people are succeeding, and people of different races, genders, sexualities and those with disabilities are struggling to get that.

“This is where the idea of dismantling identity politics comes in – they deserve rights not because of what they are, but because they are.

“The book also argues that we need to dismantle religion, and other overriding powers like the church of capitalism or the cult of self, as it makes people act upon enforced rules rather than respond thoughtfully to the situations in front of them.”

The central argument in The Ahuman Manifesto can be boiled down to this: mankind is already enslaved to the point of “zombiedom” by capitalism, and because of the damage this has caused, phasing out reproduction is the only way to repair the damage done to the world.

Additionally, humanity has to see it isn’t the single living dominant force – but first, it needs to dismantle an established hierarchy amongst itself. This argument has not received as much disagreement as you might expect.

Professor MacCormack continued: “Everyone’s okay with the ideas in the book until they’re told they’d have to act on it. There is a lot of agreement that these changes might work for the world, but when it imposes on people, it becomes proactive.

“Many people are surprised it’s so joyful and it has this radical compassion, which cares for the world. It’s not about our death, so much as it’s about celebrating the tools that exist to care for a decelerating Earth.

“People wonder why I don’t think humans are exceptional, dominant beings – but when I ask them why they think that, I never get a good answer back. The way we perceive the world isn’t the only one, we never think about animal life.

“Even Extinction Rebellion only focus on the effect this will have on human life when climate change is something that will affect every living being on the planet.

This worldview of hopelessness, victimization, and human-hate is truly the end of the road to serfdom. It is the final solution with all of humankind, not just one race or creed, set on fire.

Editor’s Note: “The Ahuman Manifesto” is really just a bible for environmental nihilism. No doubt some readers will dismiss it as the radical lunatic fringe but we know from very recent history how a fringe cause can suddenly metastasize and become the center overnight. It is one of the characteristics of a Western Civilization that has lost confidence in itself. Let’s just hope it will be a “jump the shark moment” for those who hang onto a global warming cause kept on life support by special interests and true believers. It has surely all but run its course. We can only hope to get back to real life, real science and real progress.

Appeals for a rapid energy transition at Davos thwarted – by Copper and Cobalt

dd

At the World Economic Forum in the Swiss ski resort of Davos, there seemed to be spat between Greta and Donald though they did not meet.

Image result for greta thunbergDonald Trump

As far as I can see one is “Drill, baby, drill”. and the other is stop using oil now i.e yesterday.

This article highlights the issues oil companies face, which are considerable.

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-davos-meeting-oil/oil-industry-in-davos-torn-between-greta-and-trump-idUSKBN1ZM1Z6

The end is most interesting as it lays out the problems of going renewable ASAP along with electric cars. The obstacles to the energy transition are not the amount of wind or sun, or whether devices can be made to trap the energy, or the design of electric vehicles. The technology may be available now, but that does not make it possible.

It boils down to the availability of the metals required to do this. Here Richard Herrington just mentions cobalt and Copper

Richard Herrington, head of earth sciences at London’s National History Museum also said a speedy energy transition may simply be impossible.

“If the UK were to turn tomorrow all of its cars into electric ones, we would need twice the world annual cobalt and half of annual copper production,” he said. “You can imagine what happens if you scale it up to the whole world.”

He mentions only the UK, but the mind boggles at how many extra mines would be needed to provide just the copper and cobalt. Herrington made no mention of other metals needed , like Lithium.

Trust a geologist to make us face reality!

However I think we could do it in UK as there is a superb porphyry Copper deposit be the gorgeous Llyn Crafnant north of Betws y Coed in Snowdonia. This was successfully opposed in the 1970s, but because of the Climate Emergency I am sure all green groups would support it today .

We would see the area including Betws y Coed changing from this

Image result for llyn crafnant

to this

Image result for bingham copper mine

(Bingham Copper mine, Utah. )

I am sure all green groups want to see this transformation of Snowdonia National Park

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-davos-meeting-oil/oil-industry-in-davos-torn-between-greta-and-trump-idUSKBN1ZM1Z6

Happy Christmas!Climate Change won’t kill you, BUT…..

For the last fifteen months we’ve been filled with forecasts of doom by Extinction Rebellion and teenagers wagging it off school. It has become green orthodoxy for most green groups, including religious ones. It is summed up in this protest by British youngsters and mums.

Extinction Rebellion Protest In London

There have been interviews of teenage girls sobbing because they thought they would die young because of climate Change.

This article by Michael Shellenberger gives lie to all that scare-mongering as it does not have the support of Climate scientists. He is fully aware of the problems of Climate Change and the need to do something ( or rather a lot of things about it). Rather than wave placards, gluing yourself to trains, smashing windows of government buildings, he prefers a host of more useful things. These range from personal economy, tree-planting, wetland restoration,energy saving, NUCLEAR ENERGY, changes in farming etc. Sobbing that children will die helps no one.

It is the case that Climate alarmism has attracted many followers, including the former Archbishop of Canterbury, various celebs  (some of whom have their own yachts and planes – I do confess to having three bicycles.) and have got the ear of too many politicians and other opinion formers. Too often Climate Change is taught badly and sensationally in schools. In Britain the churches seem to have fallen for it. Very few seem to realise that dealing with climate change is a very slow process and that we cannot go Net Zero by 2025, or 2030 and aiming for 2050 will be damn difficult.

I hope you enjoy this article which is very constructive. I hope you don’t sit in a corner and sob, but rather do something about it like those things I indicated above. Climate alarmism seems to reduce people to despair as this article points out, rather than actually doing something. Ultimately the major part will have to be led by world governments, but personal behaviour and actions can make a difference whether reducing energy usage, or volunteering for green solutions like tree planting.

For myself I am growing grown 40 tree seedlings to be given away, successfully planted sphagnum in moors where there has been peat restoration over the last 5 years. I think I am fairly green!! Not to mention other things which are not directly  on Climate Change .

I do wonder whether Climate Alarmists are counter-productive and will slow down the rate of change needed.

Note how Dr Tamsin Edwards put Rupert Read in his place for scaremongering.

This is from a recent Forbes article

https://www.forbes.com/sites/michaelshellenberger/2019/12/04/why-climate-alarmism-hurts-us-all/#59050ddd36d8

 

Why Climate Alarmism Hurts Us All

In July of this year, one of Lauren Jeffrey’s science teachers made an off-hand comment about how climate change could be apocalyptic. Jeffrey is 17 years old and attends high school in Milton Keynes, a city of 230,000 people about 50 miles northwest of London.

“I did research on it and spent two months feeling quite anxious,” she told me. “I would hear young people around me talk about it and they were convinced that the world was going to end and they were going to die.”

In September, British psychologists warned of the impact on children of apocalyptic discussions of climate change. “There is no doubt in my mind that they are being emotionally impacted,” one expert said.

“I found a lot of blogs and videos talking about how we’re going extinct at various dates, 2030, 2035, from societal collapse,” said Jeffrey. “That’s when I started to get quite nervous and worried. I tried to forget it at first but it kept popping up in my mind.”

Today In: Business

In October, British television aired repeated claims by spokespersons for Extinction Rebellion that “billions would die” from climate change.

“In October I was hearing people my age saying things I found quite disturbing,” says Jeffrey. “‘It’s too late to do anything. ‘There is no future anymore.’ ‘We’re basically doomed.’ ‘We should give up.’”

Leading celebrities including Benedict Cumberbatch, Stephen Fry, Emma Thompson, Olivia Colman, Ellie Goulding, Tom Yorke, and Bob Geldof have all promoted Extinction Rebellion in recent weeks.

“I did research and found there was a lot of misinformation on the denial side of things and also on the doomsayer side of things,” said Jeffrey.

Since early October, Jeffrey has posted seven videos to YouTube, and joined Twitter. I discovered her videos after googling “extinction rebellion millions will die.”

“As important as your cause is,” said Jeffrey in one of the videos, an open letter to Extinction Rebellion, “your persistent exaggeration of the facts has the potential to do more harm than good to the scientific credibility of your cause as well as to the psychological well-being of my generation.”

Why There’s No Apocalypse in Science 

In my last column, I pointed out that there is no scientific basis for claims that climate change will be apocalyptic, and argued that environmental journalists and climate activists alike have an obligation to separate fact from fiction.

If you haven’t read that column yet, I hope you do so before continuing.

Part of what inspired me to write that column is that I am concerned by the rising eco-anxiety among young people. My daughter is 14 years old. While she herself is not scared, in part because I have explained the science to her, she told me many of her peers are.

In 2017, the American Psychological Association diagnosed rising eco-anxiety and called it “a chronic fear of environmental doom.” Studies from around the world document growing anxiety and depression, particularly among children, about climate change.

“One of my friends was convinced there would be a collapse of society in 2030 and ‘near term human extinction’ in 2050,” said Jeffrey. “She concluded that we’ve got ten years left to live.”

For the last two years, British and international news media have published and broadcast claims by Extinction Rebellion founders and spokespersons that “billions will die” and “life on Earth is dying” from climate change, often without saying explicitly in the stories that such claims are not scientific.

I wanted to know what Extinction Rebellion was basing its apocalyptic claims upon, and so I interviewed its main spokesperson, Sarah Lunnon.

“It’s not Sarah Lunnon saying billions of people are going to die,” Lunnon told me. ”The science is saying we’re headed to 4 degrees warming and people like Kevin Anderson of the Tyndall Center and Johan Rockström from the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research are saying that such a temperature rise is incompatible with civilized life. Johan said he could not see how an Earth at 4 degrees (Celsius) warming could support a billion or even half-billion people.”

Lunnon is referring to an article published in The Guardian last May, which quoted Rockström saying, “It’s difficult to see how we could accommodate a billion people or even half of that” at a 4-degree temperature rise.

I pointed out that there is nothing in any of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) reports that has ever suggested anything like what she is attributing to Anderson and Rockström. Why should we rely on the speculations of two scientists over the IPCC?

“It’s not about choosing science,” said Lunnon, “it’s about looking at the risk we’re facing. And the IPCC report lays out the different trajectories from where we are and some of them are very very bleak.”

To get to the bottom of the “billions will die” claim, I interviewed Rockström by phone.

He told me that the Guardian reporter had misunderstood him and that he had said, “It’s difficult to see how we could accommodate eight billion people or even half of that,” not “a billion people.”

Rockström said he had not seen the misquote until I emailed him, and that he had requested a correction, which the Guardian made last Thursday. Even so, Rockström stood by his prediction of four billion deaths.

“I don’t see scientific evidence that a four-degree celsius planet can host eight billion people,” he said. “This is, in my assessment, a scientifically justified statement, as we don’t have evidence that we can provide freshwater or feed or shelter today’s world population of eight billion in a four-degree world. My expert judgment, furthermore, is that it may even be doubtful if we can host half of that, meaning four billion.”

Rockström said half of Earth’s surface would be uninhabitable, people would be forced to migrate to the poles, and other shocks and stressors would result from heatwaves and rising sea levels.

But is there IPCC science showing that food production would actually decline? “As far as I know they don’t say anything about the potential population that can be fed at different degrees of warming,” he said.

Has anyone, I asked, done a study of what happens to food production at 4 degrees warming? “That’s a good question,” said Rockström, who is an agronomist. “I must admit I have not seen a study. It seems like such an interesting and important question.”

In fact, scientists, including two of Rockström’s colleagues at the Potsdam Institute, recently modeled food production.

Their main finding was that climate change policies are more likely to hurt food production and worsen rural poverty than climate change itself, even at 4 to 5 degrees warming.

The “climate policies” the authors refer to are ones that would make energy more expensive and result in more bioenergy (the burning of biofuels and biomass), which would increase land scarcity and drive up food costs.

“Although it is projected that the negative effects of climate change will increase over time, our conclusions that the effect on agriculture of mitigation is stronger would probably hold even if moving the time horizon to 2080 and considering the strong climate change scenario RCP8.5,” the scenario that IPCC says would lead to a 3 to 5 degree warming.

Similarly, UN Food and Agriculture concludes in its report, “The Future of Food and Agriculture” that food production will rise 30% by 2050 unless “sustainable practices” are adopted in which case it would rise just 10% to 20% (pp. 76 – 77).

And technological change significantly outweighs climate change in every single one of FAOs scenarios.

What about the claim IPCC author Michael Oppenheimer made to The Atlantic that a 2 foot 9 inches sea level rise would be “an unmanageable problem”?

“There was a mistake in the article by the reporter,” Oppenheimer told me. “He had 2 feet nine inches. The actual number, which is based on the sea-level rise amount in [IPCC Representative Concentration Pathway] 8.5 for its [Special Report on the Ocean and Cryosphere in a Changing Climate] report is 1.1 meters which is 3 feet 7 inches.”

But what exactly would be “unmanageable” about a 3 feet 7-inch sea-level rise between now and 2100? I asked.

Oppenheimer pointed to failures by the cities of New Orleans and New York to prepare for big hurricanes like Katrina in 2005 and Sandy in 2012.

But couldn’t places like Bangladesh simply do what the Netherlands did? One-third of the Netherlands is below sea level, and some parts of it are seven meters under sea level.

“The Netherlands spent a lot of time not improving its dikes due to two World Wars and a depression,” said Oppenheimer, “and didn’t start modernizing them until the disastrous 1953 flood.”

The 1953 flood killed over 2,500 people and motivated the Netherlands to rebuild its dikes and canals.

“Most of humanity will not be able to avail itself of that luxury,” said Oppenheimer. “So in most places, they will accommodate flooding by raising structures or floodable structures. Or you retreat.”

But is retreating from communities built along the coast really “unmanageable”? I asked.

“People moved out of New York after Hurricane Sandy,” acknowledged Oppenheimer. “I wouldn’t call that unmanageable. Temporarily unmanageable. Meaning we wouldn’t be able to maintain societal function around the world if sea level rise approaches those close to 4 feet. Bangladeshis might be leaving the coast and trying to get into India.”

But millions of small farmers, like the ones on Bangladeshi’s low-lying coasts, move to cities every year, I pointed out. Doesn’t the word “unmanageable” suggested a permanent societal breakdown.

“When you have people making decisions they are essentially compelled to make,” he said, “that’s what I’m referring to as ‘an unmanageable situation.’ The kind of situation that leads to economic disruption, disruption of livelihoods, disruption of your ability to control your destiny, and people dying. You can argue that they get manageable. You recover from disasters. But the people who died didn’t recover.”

In other words, the problems from sea level rise that Oppenheimer is calling “unmanageable” are situations like the ones that already occur, such as in the days following Hurricane Katrina, where societies become temporarily difficult to manage. (Katrina killed over 1,800).

We should be concerned about the impact of climate change on vulnerable populations, without question. There is nothing automatic about adaptation.

But it’s clear that there is simply no science that supports claims that rising sea levels threaten civilization much less the apocalypse.

Tipping Points?

After I wrote my last column, several people asked me about climate “tipping points,” such as the collapse of ice sheets from Antarctica and Greenland, the escape of methane gas from melting tundra, the slowing of circulation in the Atlantic ocean, and the drying out and burning up of the Amazon.

In response I pointed out that nowhere does IPCC predict any of those things would be catastrophic to human civilization much less apocalyptic.

If the Greenland ice sheet were to completely disintegrate, sea levels would rise by seven meters, but over a 1,000-year period. Even if temperatures rose 6° Celsius, the Greenland ice sheet would lose just 10% of its volume over 400 to 500 years.

The Nobel-winning economist, William Nordhaus, calculates that the total loss of the Greenland ice sheet would increase the optimal cost of carbon by just 5%.

As for the Amazon, the IPCC says “the likelihood of a climate-driven forest dieback by 2100 is lower than previously thought.”

In my last two columns, I discussed how non-climate factors outweigh climate change when it comes to fires around the world. The same is true for the Amazon.

“There is now medium confidence,” IPCC writes, that climate change alone will not drive large-scale forest loss by 2100, although shifts to drier forest types are predicted in the eastern Amazon.”

What will really matter is how much deforestation, fire, and other changes to landscapes there are, just like in California and Australia.

As for the circulation in the Atlantic ocean, the IPCC notes, “There is only limited evidence linking the current anomalously weak state of [the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation] AMOC to anthropogenic warming.”

While AMOC may likely weaken 11 to 34%, says IPCC “it is very unlikely that the MOC will undergo an abrupt transition or collapse in the 21st Century.”

In her new book, student climate activist Greta Thunberg warns of “unforeseen tipping points and feedback loops, like the extremely powerful methane gas escaping from rapidly thawing Arctic permafrost.”

But if methane gas escaping the permafrost were “unforeseen,” then Thunberg wouldn’t have forseen it.

In reality, climate scientists closely monitor the release of gases from the permafrost and take the additional warming from them into account in estimating temperature rises.

Last week, a group of scientists including Rockström argued in an opinion “Comment” at the journal Nature that “evidence is mounting” that the loss of the Amazon rainforest and West Antarctic ice sheet “could be more likely than was thought.”

What they described, however, would take place over hundreds and perhaps thousands of years. At no point do they predict “billions will die.”

Last week, when I interviewed the lead author of the Nature Comment, Professor Timothy Lenton of the University of Exeter, I asked him about a verb tense I found curious.

Lenton notes that the West Antarctic ice sheet “might have passed a tipping point” but goes on to say “when this sector collapses, it could destabilize the rest of the West Antarctic ice sheet like toppling dominoes  — leading to about 3 metres of sea-level rise on a timescale of centuries to millennia.”

“When you say ‘when,’” I asked, “does that mean it’s an inevitability that it will collapse?”

“Well, we can’t rule out that it’s on the way out,” he said. “Any glaciologist specialist will tell you that we really want more data. Because it’s not trivial to monitor what’s going on in West Antarctica.”

“So the right word in your view is ‘when’ not ‘if’?” I asked.

“We can’t be absolutely sure,” Lenton said, “but if it is, it will have knock-on effects. With the limited data, it’s hard to rule out that it’s already collapsing.”

I wasn’t the only person who felt confused by the multiple “ifs” and “coulds” in the commentary. “The paper has a strange array of rising risks lumped as ‘tipping points,’” noted Columbia University Earth Institute’s Andy Revkin.

Justin Ritchie, a researcher at the University of British Columbia, highlighted 11 conditional statements in the four paragraphs summarizing the complicated causality for a “global cascade” of tipping points.

“I might be the only one,” writes Ritchie, “but after reading it I’m actually less convinced about imminent climate tipping points. One example: if it takes 11 ‘if’ statements to support an opinion, then it’s time to revisit the opinion’s substance.” (The word “could” is used 26 times.)

I asked Lenton if he agreed with the IPCC that “the likelihood of a climate-driven [Amazon] forest dieback by 2100 is lower than previously thought.”

“To be honest, the problem is a majority of the climate models predicted the Amazon getting wetter,” Lenton said, “but the observations are showing a drying trend, particularly in the key seasons.”

Most everyone agrees that the risks of climate change, including from tipping points, are significantly higher at four degrees above pre-industrial levels than they are at two degrees.

The good news is that the world may already be headed to temperatures closer to two degrees than four. A new report by the International Energy Agency (IEA) forecasts carbon emissions in 2040 as lower than in almost all of the IPCC scenarios.

“The global energy system today, as modeled by IEA, is tracking much closer to 2˚ of warming this century than previously thought,” notes Ritchie, due to lower use of coal.

Does that mean there is nothing to worry about? Of course not.

We should reduce the risk of climate change, including from tipping points, by moving from dirtier to cleaner fuel and helping finance the water, electrical, and farming infrastructure that poor nations need to become less vulnerable.

I was surprised to be asked whether some amount of exaggeration about climate change wasn’t necessary to grab people’s attention. My response was, “Not if journalists and scientists hope for any trust with the public.”

I asked Jeffrey how she would answer such a question.

“Raising awareness of an issue is important,” she said, “but there’s a difference between raising awareness and telling children younger than myself that they might not grow up. Climate fear-mongering has become very child-aimed. I see a lot of mental health issues and fatalism.”

Climate Scientists Speak Out

The good news is that mainstream climate scientists are starting to push back against the fear-mongering.

Jeffrey said she got some of her information from scientists writing for a web site called Climate Feedback, which debunked Extinction Rebellion’s pseudoscientific claims last August.

Others are using social media to speak out.

“Rupert, I am shocked by this talk,” tweeted Kings College climate scientist Tamsin Edwards last October at an Extinction Rebellion activist named Rupert Read. “Please stop telling children they may not grow up due to climate change.”

The video was of a July talk given to school children as young as 10 years old by Read, who began by climbing on top of a desk at the front of a large classroom at University College London.

“People sometimes ask you, ‘What are you going to be when you grow up?’” said Read. “But the question has to be, ‘What are you going to do if you grow up.’”

Dr. Jo House, a Bristol University climate scientist, tweeted at Read, “you spoke at our Net Zero conference in Oxford, you disagreed with the scientists while you made up untrue stuff, and said it was ok that [Extinction Rebellion] XR ‘stretched the truth’.”

On the same thread, a young man replied, “Thank you for speaking out against this. I am a young person and one of Read’s talks last year made my mental health spiral and I almost made some awful life decisions.”

Rates of anxiety, depression, and suicide among teenagers are at their highest levels in two decades in Britain and the United States.

At least some young people have decided to talk back to the climate alarmists.

“Adults tell young people the end of the world is coming and then have the nerve to ask, ‘Why is every teenager so depressed these days? Why does everyone have anxiety? Oh, it must be those terrible phones!’

“No — it’s you!” said Lauren Jeffrey. “It’s you people going around scaring the hell out of them with unscientific rubbish!”

The young man on Tasmin’s Twitter thread agreed. “Doomerism is honestly just about as dangerous as delay for the climate movement at the moment.”

Jeffrey hopes to be the first in her family to go to university next year. She has long enjoyed reading books about biology and says she may major in environmental studies.

“I’m not saying we shouldn’t talk to kids about climate change,” she says. “I’m saying we should take better care of our ecosystems and the world. What kids don’t need is people telling them they’re going to be dead in a few years’ time.”

Follow me on Twitter. Check out my website or some of my other work here.

Michael Shellenberger is a Time Magazine “Hero of the Environment” and Green Book Award Winner. He is a frequent contributor to The New York Times, Washington Post, Wal

… Read More

The plot against fracking

I’m not supposed to agree with Matt Ridley!! Or else I’m not green.

However having followed fracking in the UK all this decade I struggle to disagree with what Ridley has written here

I totally agree with what he says about GMOs and not the opposition to them by Friends of the Earth, Greenpeace, Christian Aid and ER.

I waver a bit about the Russian connection but…………

Protesters at Cuadrilla’s Blackpool site (Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)

The plot against fracking

How cheap energy was killed by Green lies and Russian propaganda

The first coffee house in Marseilles opened in 1671, prompting the city’s vintners to recruit a couple of professors at the University of Aix to blacken their new competitor’s reputation. They duly got one of their students to write a pamphlet claiming coffee was a vile foreign novelty made from a tree favoured by goats and camels. It burned the blood, dried the kidneys and attracted the lymph, inducing palsies and impotence. “From all of which we must necessarily conclude that coffee is hurtful to the greater part of the inhabitants of Marseilles.”

Thus does novelty run up against vested interests. Today similar pseudoscience is used to blacken the reputation of almost any new development. Usually, as was the case with coffee, the campaign fails. But these days the anti-innovation forces have deep pockets and few scruples and have won some big battles. We now know that the opposition to genetically modified crops in Europe has resulted in more pesticide use than would otherwise have been the case, yet that opposition was very profitable for the big green pressure groups.

They fanned the flames of opposition, coining terms such as “Frankenfood”, and nimbly hopped from one fear to the next as each myth was busted: biotechnology was going to poison people, damage ecosystems, cause allergies, impoverish small farmers, boost corporate profits, and so on. They turned Monsanto into a pantomime villain and forced it to contemplate a strategy (making plants that could not breed true so the plants could not spread in the wild) that activists then criticised as a “terminator technology” designed to prevent small farmers saving seed, thus forcing them to rely on Monsanto.

 

Eventually, the issue lost its ability to yield donations and media interest, so the green business blob moved on. As Mark Lynas, a prominent anti-GM campaigner, now ruefully admits: “We permanently stirred public hostility to GMO foods throughout pretty much the entire world, and — incredibly — held up the previously unstoppable march of a whole technology. There was only one problem with our stunningly successful worldwide campaign. It wasn’t true.”

Cameron’s government projected gas prices would either rise fast, medium or slow – In fact they fell

More than a decade later, environmentalists hit upon another money spinner: opposition to fracking. When the shale gas revolution first came along, some environmentalists welcomed it, and rightly so. It “creates an unprecedented opportunity to use gas as a bridge fuel to a twenty-first-century energy economy that relies on efficiency, renewable sources, and low-carbon fossil fuels such as natural gas,” wrote Senator Tim Wirth, a prominent environmentalist. And so it has proved: the country that adopted shale gas first and most — the United States — is the country that lowered its carbon dioxide emissions first and most, because gas displaced coal, a much higher-carbon fuel.

But then the vested interests got to work. Renewable energy promoters panicked at the thought of cheap and abundant gas. Their business model was predicated on the alleged certainty that prices would rise as fossil fuels ran out, making subsidised wind and solar power look comparatively cheap. David Cameron’s coalition government produced three projections about what might happen to gas prices: that they would rise fast, medium or slow. In fact they fell, a possibility the government had entirely ignored.

It is hard to recall now just how sure almost everybody was in 2008 that natural gas was running out. Its price had risen as gas fields in North America and the North Sea began to run dry. Peak gas was coming even sooner than peak oil or peak coal. Yet in the suburbs of Fort Worth, Texas, something was stirring. Engineer Nick Steinsberger, working for a company called Mitchell Energy, tried different ways to fracture shale rocks deep underground so that the gas would flow. Hydraulic fracturing had been invented the 1940s, generally using petroleum gels, but it did not work in shale, which contained an enormous amount of gas and oil. Nobody much minded you pumping gels down into rocks in those days. After all, the rocks themselves are — by definition — already soaked in toxic mixtures of oil and gas.

Steinsberger noticed water worked a bit better than gel. In 1998, he tried sending water down first, then some sand to prop open the cracks and — whoosh! — out came a lot of gas. And it kept on coming. “Slick-water fracking” had been invented, using far fewer chemicals than previous methods, allowing vast shale reserves around the world to be exploited.

Most experts said shale gas was a flash in the pan and would not much affect global supplies. They were wrong. By 2011 America’s declining gas output shot up and oil soon followed suit. The US has now overtaken Russia as the biggest gas producer in the world, and Saudi Arabia as the biggest oil producer. Cheap gas brought a stream of chemical companies rushing back from Europe and the Persian Gulf to manufacture in America. Gas import terminals were rebuilt as gas export terminals. The Permian basin in Texas alone now produces as much oil as the whole of the US did in 2008, and more than any Opec country except Iran and Saudi Arabia. This — not wind and solar which still provide only 2 per cent of world primary energy — is the big energy story of the past decade.

One country that should have taken sharp notice is Britain. As late as 2004 Britain was a gas exporter, but as North Sea production declined it rapidly became a big net importer, dependent on Norway, Qatar or Russia. As Britain was paying far more for its gas than America, that meant that our huge chemical industry was gradually moving out.

Russia Today television ran endless anti-fracking stories, including one that “frackers are the moral equivalent of paedophiles”

Fortunately, it then emerged that Britain has one of the richest and thickest seams of shale: the Bowland shale across Lancashire and Yorkshire contains many decades of supply. Fracking it would mean drilling small holes down about one mile, then cracking the rocks with millimetre-wide fractures and catching the gas as it flowed out over the next few decades. Experience in America showed this could be done without any risk of contaminating ground water, which is near the surface, or threatening buildings. The seismic tremors that have caused all the trouble are so slight they could not possibly do damage and were generally far smaller than those from mining, construction or transport. The well pads would be hundreds of times smaller than the concrete bases of wind farms producing comparable amounts of energy.

Still, friends of the earth, which is effectively a multinational environmental business, spotted a chance to make hay. Despite being told by the Advertising Standards Authority to withdraw misleading claims about shale gas, it kept up a relentless campaign of misinformation, demanding more delay and red tape from all-too-willing civil servants.

foe-leaflet-coverfracking-sand

Poor Bosworth was shown up on the BBC by claiming sand was the carcinogen, hence the seaside meme , more here from the culprits of the complaint on FoE! https://michaelroberts4004.wordpress.com/2017/01/04/friends-of-the-earth-fck-it-up/

The industry, with Cuadrilla fated to play the part of Monsanto, agreed to ridiculously unrealistic limits on what kinds of tremors they were allowed after being promised by the government that the limits would be changed later — a promise since broken. Such limits would stop most other industries, even road haulage, in their tracks.

The Russians also lobbied behind the scenes against shale gas, worried about losing their grip on the world’s gas supplies. Unlike most conspiracy theories about Russian meddling in Western politics, this one is out there in plain sight. The head of Nato, Anders Fogh Rasmussen, said the Russians, as part of a sophisticated disinformation operation, “engaged actively with so-called non-governmental organisations — environmental organisations working against shale gas — to maintain Europe’s dependence on imported Russian gas”.

The Centre for European Studies found that the Russian government has invested $95 million in NGOs campaigning against shale gas. Russia Today television ran endless anti-fracking stories, including one that “frackers are the moral equivalent of paedophiles”. The US Director of National Intelligence stated that “RT runs anti-fracking programming … reflective of the Russian Government’s concern about the impact of fracking and US natural gas production on the global energy market and the potential challenges to Gazprom’s profitability.” Pro-Russian politicians such as Lord Truscott (married to a Russian army colonel’s daughter) made speeches in parliament against fracking.

As night follows day, Tory politicians lost courage and slipped into neutrality then opposition

No scare story was too far-fetched to be taken up and amplified. Tap water would catch fire (no: though it’s a natural phenomenon in some places in America where gas naturally contaminates ground water). There would be significant gas leaks (no: there are more gas leaks from natural sources and pipelines). The water that comes out of the well is dangerously radioactive (no: it is not). Fracking uses a lot of water (a lot less than farming). And so on. The unelected quangocracy that runs these things on behalf of taxpayers, mainly in the form of the Environment Agency, appeared at times to be taking its instructions directly from Friends of the Earth. So, of course, did the BBC.

The endless delays imposed by regulators played into the hands of shale gas’s opponents, giving them time to organise more and more protests, which were themselves ways of getting on the news and hence getting more donations. Never mind that few locals in Lancashire wanted to join the protests: plenty of upper-middle class types could be bussed in from the south.

As night follows day, Tory politicians lost courage and slipped into neutrality then opposition, worrying about what posh greens might think, rather than working-class bill-payers and job-seekers. A golden opportunity was squandered for Britain to get hold of home-grown, secure, cheap and relatively clean energy. We don’t need fossil fuels, the politicians thought, we’re going for net zero in 2050! But read the small print, chaps: the only way to have zero-emission transport and heating, so says the Committee on Climate Change, is to use lots of hydrogen. And how do they say most of the hydrogen is to be made? From gas.

After genetically modified crops and fracking, what innovation will be next to get stopped in its tracks by vested interests? Vaping, I reckon. It’s an open secret that the pharmaceutical industry pours money into anti-vaping campaigns because the technology is a threat to their lucrative nicotine patches and gums, which they have been getting doctors to prescribe to smokers trying to quit for years. Unlike e-cigarettes, which are the most effective aids to quitting yet found, Big Pharma’s products don’t work very well. So they are worried. Next time you hear somebody arguing that e-cigarettes (like coffee) burn the blood, dry the kidneys and attract the lymph, ask who benefits.