Category Archives: fossil fuels

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

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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.

 

Why Apocalyptic Claims About Climate Change Are Wrong

I get fed up with those scaremongers who say 6  billion people will die of climate change, and thus scaring youngsters into thinking they won’t die at a good old age but of all the downsides of climate change.

Even if you take the worst case of IPCC reports this just ain’t true, but doom-mongers like Bill McKibbin, Extinction Rebellion, most Christian Green groups are claiming this.

Here Mike Schellenberger, a leading eco-modernists , with his head screwed on tight tears these extreme argument to shreds.

extinctionrebellion

 

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Environmental journalists and advocates have in recent weeks made a number of apocalyptic predictions about the impact of climate change. Bill McKibben suggested climate-driven fires in Australia had made koalas “functionally extinct.” Extinction Rebellion said “Billions will die” and “Life on Earth is dying.” Vice claimed the “collapse of civilization may have already begun.”

Few have underscored the threat more than student climate activist Greta Thunberg and Green New Deal sponsor Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. The latter said, “The world is going to end in 12 years if we don’t address climate change.” Says Thunberg in her new book, “Around 2030 we will be in a position to set off an irreversible chain reaction beyond human control that will lead to the end of our civilization as we know it.”

Sometimes, scientists themselves make apocalyptic claims. “It’s difficult to see how we could accommodate a billion people or even half of that,” if Earth warms four degrees, said one earlier this year. “The potential for multi-breadbasket failure is increasing,” said another. If sea levels rise as much as the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change predicts, another scientist said, “It will be an unmanageable problem.”

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Apocalyptic statements like these have real-world impacts. In September, a group of British psychologists said children are increasingly suffering from anxiety from the frightening discourse around climate change. In October, an activist with Extinction Rebellion (”XR”) — an environmental group founded in 2018 to commit civil disobedience to draw awareness to the threat its founders and supporters say climate change poses to human existence — and a videographer, were kicked and beaten in a London Tube station by angry commuters. And last week, an XR co-founder said a genocide like the Holocaust was “happening again, on a far greater scale, and in plain sight” from climate change.

Climate change is an issue I care passionately about and have dedicated a significant portion of my life to addressing. I have been politically active on the issue for over 20 years and have researched and written about it for 17 years. Over the last four years, my organization, Environmental Progress, has worked with some of the world’s leading climate scientists to prevent carbon emissions from rising. So far, we’ve helped prevent emissions increasing the equivalent of adding 24 million cars to the road.

I also care about getting the facts and science right and have in recent months corrected inaccurate and apocalyptic news media coverage of fires in the Amazon and fires in California, both of which have been improperly presented as resulting primarily from climate change.

Journalists and activists alike have an obligation to describe environmental problems honestly and accurately, even if they fear doing so will reduce their news value or salience with the public. There is good evidence that the catastrophist framing of climate change is self-defeating because it alienates and polarizes many people. And exaggerating climate change risks distracting us from other important issues including ones we might have more near-term control over.

I feel the need to say this up-front because I want the issues I’m about to raise to be taken seriously and not dismissed by those who label as “climate deniers” or “climate delayers” anyone who pushes back against exaggeration.

With that out of the way, let’s look whether the science supports what’s being said.

First, no credible scientific body has ever said climate change threatens the collapse of civilization much less the extinction of the human species. “‘Our children are going to die in the next 10 to 20 years.’ What’s the scientific basis for these claims?” BBC’s Andrew Neil asked a visibly uncomfortable XR spokesperson last month.

“These claims have been disputed, admittedly,” she said. “There are some scientists who are agreeing and some who are saying it’s not true. But the overall issue is that these deaths are going to happen.”

“But most scientists don’t agree with this,” said Neil. “I looked through IPCC reports and see no reference to billions of people going to die, or children in 20 years. How would they die?”

“Mass migration around the world already taking place due to prolonged drought in countries, particularly in South Asia. There are wildfires in Indonesia, the Amazon rainforest, Siberia, the Arctic,” she said.

But in saying so, the XR spokesperson had grossly misrepresented the science. “There is robust evidence of disasters displacing people worldwide,” notes IPCC, “but limited evidence that climate change or sea-level rise is the direct cause”

What about “mass migration”? “The majority of resultant population movements tend to occur within the borders of affected countries,” says IPCC.

It’s not like climate doesn’t matter. It’s that climate change is outweighed by other factors. Earlier this year, researchers found that climate “has affected organized armed conflict within countries. However, other drivers, such as low socioeconomic development and low capabilities of the state, are judged to be substantially more influential.”

Last January, after climate scientists criticized Rep. Ocasio-Cortez for saying the world would end in 12 years, her spokesperson said “We can quibble about the phraseology, whether it’s existential or cataclysmic.” He added, “We’re seeing lots of [climate change-related] problems that are already impacting lives.”

That last part may be true, but it’s also true that economic development has made us less vulnerable, which is why there was a 99.7% decline in the death toll from natural disasters since its peak in 1931.

In 1931, 3.7 million people died from natural disasters. In 2018, just 11,000 did.  And that decline occurred over a period when the global population quadrupled.

What about sea level rise? IPCC estimates sea level could rise two feet (0.6 meters) by 2100. Does that sound apocalyptic or even “unmanageable”?

Consider that one-third of the Netherlands is below sea level, and some areas are seven meters below sea level. You might object that Netherlands is rich while Bangladesh is poor. But the Netherlands adapted to living below sea level 400 years ago. Technology has improved a bit since then.

What about claims of crop failure, famine, and mass death? That’s science fiction, not science. Humans today produce enough food for 10 billion people, or 25% more than we need, and scientific bodies predict increases in that share, not declines.

The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) forecasts crop yields increasing 30% by 2050. And the poorest parts of the world, like sub-Saharan Africa, are expected to see increases of 80 to 90%.

Nobody is suggesting climate change won’t negatively impact crop yields. It could. But such declines should be put in perspective. Wheat yields increased 100 to 300% around the world since the 1960s, while a study of 30 models found that yields would decline by 6% for every one degree Celsius increase in temperature.

Rates of future yield growth depend far more on whether poor nations get access to tractors, irrigation, and fertilizer than on climate change, says FAO.

All of this helps explain why IPCC anticipates climate change will have a modest impact on economic growth. By 2100, IPCC projects the global economy will be 300 to 500% larger than it is today. Both IPCC and the Nobel-winning Yale economist, William Nordhaus, predict that warming of 2.5°C and 4°C would reduce gross domestic product (GDP) by 2% and 5% over that same period.

Does this mean we shouldn’t worry about climate change? Not at all.

One of the reasons I work on climate change is because I worry about the impact it could have on endangered species. Climate change may threaten one million species globally and half of all mammals, reptiles, and amphibians in diverse places like the Albertine Rift in central Africa, home to the endangered mountain gorilla.

But it’s not the case that “we’re putting our own survival in danger” through extinctions, as Elizabeth Kolbert claimed in her book, Sixth Extinction. As tragic as animal extinctions are, they do not threaten human civilization. If we want to save endangered species, we need to do so because we care about wildlife for spiritual, ethical, or aesthetic reasons, not survival ones.

And exaggerating the risk, and suggesting climate change is more important than things like habitat destruction, are counterproductive.

For example, Australia’s fires are not driving koalas extinct, as Bill McKibben suggested. The main scientific body that tracks the species, the International Union for the Conservation of Nature, or IUCN, labels the koala “vulnerable,” which is one level less threatened than “endangered,” two levels less than “critically endangered,” and three less than “extinct” in the wild.

Should we worry about koalas? Absolutely! They are amazing animals and their numbers have declined to around 300,000. But they face far bigger threats such as the destruction of habitat, disease, bushfires, and invasive species.

Think of it this way. The climate could change dramatically — and we could still save koalas. Conversely, the climate could change only modestly — and koalas could still go extinct.

The monomaniacal focus on climate distracts our attention from other threats to koalas and opportunities for protecting them, like protecting and expanding their habitat.

As for fire, one of Australia’s leading scientists on the issue says, “Bushfire losses can be explained by the increasing exposure of dwellings to fire-prone bushlands. No other influences need be invoked. So even if climate change had played some small role in modulating recent bushfires, and we cannot rule this out, any such effects on risk to property are clearly swamped by the changes in exposure.”

Nor are the fires solely due to drought, which is common in Australia, and exceptional this year. “Climate change is playing its role here,” said Richard Thornton of the Bushfire and Natural Hazards Cooperative Research Centre in Australia, “but it’s not the cause of these fires.”

The same is true for fires in the United States. In 2017, scientists modeled 37 different regions and found “humans may not only influence fire regimes but their presence can actually override, or swamp out, the effects of climate.” Of the 10 variables that influence fire, “none were as significant… as the anthropogenic variables,” such as building homes near, and managing fires and wood fuel growth within, forests.

Climate scientists are starting to push back against exaggerations by activists, journalists, and other scientists.

“While many species are threatened with extinction,” said Stanford’s Ken Caldeira, “climate change does not threaten human extinction… I would not like to see us motivating people to do the right thing by making them believe something that is false.”

I asked the Australian climate scientist Tom Wigley what he thought of the claim that climate change threatens civilization. “It really does bother me because it’s wrong,” he said. “All these young people have been misinformed. And partly it’s Greta Thunberg’s fault. Not deliberately. But she’s wrong.”

But don’t scientists and activists need to exaggerate in order to get the public’s attention?

“I’m reminded of what [late Stanford University climate scientist] Steve Schneider used to say,” Wigley replied. “He used to say that as a scientist, we shouldn’t really be concerned about the way we slant things in communicating with people out on the street who might need a little push in a certain direction to realize that this is a serious problem. Steve didn’t have any qualms about speaking in that biased way. I don’t quite agree with that.”

Wigley started working on climate science full-time in 1975 and created one of the first climate models (MAGICC) in 1987. It remains one of the main climate models in use today.

“When I talk to the general public,” he said, “I point out some of the things that might make projections of warming less and the things that might make them more. I always try to present both sides.”

Part of what bothers me about the apocalyptic rhetoric by climate activists is that it is often accompanied by demands that poor nations be denied the cheap sources of energy they need to develop.

“If you want to minimize carbon dioxide in the atmosphere in 2070  you might want to accelerate the burning of coal in India today,” MIT climate scientist Kerry Emanuel said.

“It doesn’t sound like it makes sense. Coal is terrible for carbon. But it’s by burning a lot of coal that they make themselves wealthier, and by making themselves wealthier they have fewer children, and you don’t have as many people burning carbon, you might be better off in 2070.”

Emanuel and Wigley say the extreme rhetoric is making political agreement on climate change harder.

“You’ve got to come up with some kind of middle ground where you do reasonable things to mitigate the risk and try at the same time to lift people out of poverty and make them more resilient,” said Emanuel. “We shouldn’t be forced to choose between lifting people out of poverty and doing something for the climate.”

Happily, there is a plenty of middle ground between climate apocalypse and climate denial.

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 also a frequent contributor to The New York Times, Washington Post

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Why Extinction Rebellion seems so nuts

A good discussion on the absurdity  of Extinction Rebellion.

note that the “warriors” at the battle of Canning Town were mostly Christians , and from Christian Climate Action

The more dogmatic environmentalism becomes, the more it loses touch with reality.

Source: Why Extinction Rebellion seems so nuts

 

My comment on Bishop Bayes

https://michaelroberts4004.wordpress.com/2019/10/19/bishop-bayes-on-extinction-rebellion/

During the past few weeks Extinction Rebellion has been active in cities all over the world. Here in Britain the focus is on London where many streets have been blocked and over 1000 arrested.

On the church side various Christian Green groups have been active and three bishops have taken part, including Rowan Williams, former Archbishop of Canterbury, and Paul Bayes, Bishop of Liverpool. This blog both re-blogs and discusses Bayes’ blog The Rainbow of Non-violent Advocacy

On thursday 17th October tube trains were stopped at Canning Town to the chagrin of commuters. There were ugly scenes and protesters  were pulled off the roof of the train and roughed up. The scene was ugly, but commuters were stopped getting to work.  Here Christian Climate Action were highly involved and among arrestees were an Anglican and Catholic priest.

Enough of this which fills the news, and before discussing Bayes’ blog , here is something about me.

I consider myself an environmentalist (though some would deny me that now), but cannot say when it started as my parents gave me a love of nature and the countryside, especially mountains. That led to me changing from studying chemistry to geology and then working for a mining company in Africa. There I became more aware of environmental issues (although my company was pretty good on the environment compared to some recent horror stories.) and as I trained for the ministry I found virtually nothing on a Christian view of the environment until Sam Berry wrote a little booklet and Bp Hugh Montefiore tried to make an impact.

At that time I was in Friends of the Earth, anti-nuclear, pro-organic and voted Ecology in in 1979. Then no one opposed coal, possibly because E F Schumacher (with whose sons I went to school) was the green guru and he was pro-coal and anti-nuclear. I only used my bike in the parish.  It was my eccentricity! Moving to a vicarage in 1980 I practiced wildlife gardening. One disappointment was visiting the Centre of Alternative Technology in Wales. I was not impressed by the poor engineering of their alternative technology – at that time I ran Morris Minors and swapped engines, gearboxes, wings, doors and – woodwork. My ultimate was when a Minor conked out on the Galibier Pass. We were off again in five minutes.

There was no interest in the environment in the diocese of Liverpool and in 1982 I brought it up on the Board of Social Responsibility. I was met with stony silence and never made it to the minutes!

From the late 1980s the reality of Climate Change became clearer but took a decade to become generally accepted. Some, especially American evangelicals rejected it, and I wrote about that in my book Evangelicals and Science (2008) and then in Religion in environmental and Climate change https://michaelroberts4004.wordpress.com/2018/07/10/evangelicals-and-climate-change-1990-to-2011/  I finished it on the day a tremor was caused by fracking 10 miles away, which I did not feel. At the time I was hostile to fracking, but started to research it in depth after reading a Green Party leaflet in 2012. What it said about earthquakes was laughable and thus I did not vote Green as I intended!! I started to research fracking and soon found the immense inaccuracies from Green groups, which were swallowed by Christian environmentalists. Having a geological background did not help me!

Since then I’ve been concerned at the total bias of so many Christians on the environment, or usually only climate change, who seem to have replaced the apocalyptic scenario of Dispensationalism with a climate apocalypse. That I cannot buy into. (I suppose I ought to say that I consider Climate Change a serious issue, which needs addressing on many fronts, rather than just Divestment.)

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

Enough of me and so to Bishop Paul Bayes.

He begins with his protesting with CND in the 1980s, rather like Rowan Williams at that time.

He speaks of a rainbow of responses from the backroom girl to the activist

Within the rainbow some work quietly and unobtrusively to influence political and other leaders with facts, evidence, scholarship, quiet wisdom, nuance. Others will follow the advice of an editor of the Economist: “Simplify, then exaggerate”, crafting messages which motivate the heart and lead people to take a stand, and proclaiming them clearly and very loudly.

Facts and evidence are essential on any issue, as without them one is liable to talk nonsense or worse, and be intentionally or unintentionally, dishonest. That may be the scientist and historian in me coming out, but there is always the one ugly fact that can destroy one’s case. I reckon those ugly facts are the best facts of all. On climate change the evidence is paramount. Once a researcher or activist comes out with false facts, they lose credibility.

Bayes’ second one “Simplify, then exaggerate” is very dubious. Yes, things must be put over simply, but exaggeration is no better than dishonesty, and too many activists have fallen foul of this, like Hallam’s claim that 6 billion people will die of Climate Change by 2100. Proclaiming a lie clearly and very loudly is doomed to failure, and is liable to result in less action over Climate Change. It has emotional appeal, but it is wrong to convince people of the dangers of extinction and death, when they are not there.

And so he writes

 “In the case of Extinction Rebellion the messages and demands are suitably loud and clear (See https://rebellion.earth/the-truth/demands/):

  • Tell the truth (and declare a climate emergency)
  • Act now (and move to net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2025)
  • Go beyond politics (and establish a citizens’ assembly to focus the practical steps)

The details of these demands are of course open to debate

And so to consider these three points

  • Tell the truth (and declare a climate emergency)

Sadly Extinction Rebellion is prone to exaggeration. Hallam’s 6 billion deaths is a good example from a founder of ER. We also see it as people, especially the young, are reduced to tears as they fear they will not get to old age.

I have not found ER good at telling the truth. In time this will backfire to the detriment of the planet.

  • Act now (and move to net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2025)

I would say we should have acted 20 years ago and in fact most governments have. The progress since 2000 has been considerable but needs more. I can’t expand on that here.

The second part to move to Net Zero by 2025 is simply impossible, – 2050 is possible but not 2025. There is simply not the technology in place or available for 2025. To reach Net Zero by 2025 would mean us reducing energy consumption by a good 80%, as there are no Net Zero alternatives available now. It would mean that nearly all homes would have their heating stripped out, with nothing to replace. That would increase deaths from hypothermia.

Slightly flippantly could I suggest that Liverpool diocese gives an example and follow this timetable so the diocese is Net Zero by 2025. The timetable –

mid-2020 all clergy and employees should stop using cars

mid-2021 all vicarages must stop using fossil fuels for heating (est cost £26,000 per house to provide alternatives. That would be about £4 million)

mid-2022  all churches should stop using fossil fuels for heat.  (another £10 million)

mid-2023 all churches and vicarage must get off mains water , as that is dependant on fossil fuels for distribution AND chlorine for sterilisation – the Cl is made in Widnes using natural gas by Ineos.

This is clearly impossible and is a daft suggestion, but illustrates the impossibility of Net Zero by 2025. Realism is needed as well a naive hope.

  • Go beyond politics (and establish a citizens’ assembly to focus the practical steps)

This is a total rejection of all our democratic structures, and a citizens’ assembly sounds more like a separate political organisation to which most people would not have a say. There is something dark and dictatorial about ER.

The whole talk of DEMANDS is anything but democratic.

Image result for system change not climate change

The unwitting message of this banner is that ER is not about Climate change but a rejection of any form of Social Democracy and capitalism. (yes, Capitalism can and does go wrong, summed up by Ted Heath in the 70s on Lonrho “the unacceptable face of capitalism.” Capitalism needs regulating, with regulations continually brought up to date , not rejecting it out right.) One does not have to look far to find arguments for System Change.

 

And so he concludes.

If you’re a Christian then, in matters of the future of the planet, in all matters of justice and peace, will you listen for the voice of the triune God who loves you, the voice of the Holy Spirit within you who comforts and provokes you? Will you take your stand within the rainbow of non-violent advocacy? And if you will, where will you stand?

I am very uneasy with his conclusion as it invokes Christian discipleship (which is much needed) but implies, if it does not state, that if you disagree with this you are not a faithful Christian. In other words, if one rejects what Bayes says, one is not listening to God. That is offensive and will alienate many Christians. It is rather like extreme evangelicals who insist you believe in the inerrancy of the bible and, for some, creation 10,000 years ago. Many will simply dismiss what he says and carry on turning up the heating rather than putting on a sweater.  (I write this in a cosy fleece.)

At this pointPaul Bayes seems to present a very exclusive view of Christianity, whereby those who don’t stand with his views on ER and the environment are somehow outside the fold. Have normally been a contender for an Inclusive church here he does the exact opposite. Anyone who works in fossil fuels, mining, much of energy are those excluded from the rainbow. I can name some who are in that position, and feel their church involvement under question.

I am only too aware that many Christians and others have little or muted environmental concern, but this will only make them less concerned.

Just focussing on churches, we will find many (most?) are not bothered by Climate Change and the actions of ER will make them less so as seen in response at Camden tube station.

As David Sheppard, former Bishop of Liverpool, told me in his study years ago, to argue in such a 100% /0% way means than many will reject what you have to say, but a 60%/40% will persuade your hearers/readers of a little.

However if protesters went out ,put on a fleece, turn off the tap while brushing their teeth or planting trees in their garden or churchyard, instead of stopping people at work that would be a big step in the right direction for the climate.

Recently the Bishop of London has written a fine, gently encouraging and challenging, letter to her diocese. I doubt if her readers will get arrested protesting, or swearing about extremism, but are liable to say, “Mmmm, I think she has a point.” Suggestive ideas can eat away over time, and change people. A bloody nose does not.

https://www.london.anglican.org/articles/letter-from-the-bishop-of-london-taking-action-in-response-to-climate-change/

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

via The Rainbow of Non-violent Advocacy

by the Rt Revd Paul Bayes, Bishop of Liverpool and Chair of the Ozanne Foundation

my-name-is-paul

Last Thursday I stood with a number of colleagues, lay and ordained, as part of the Christian Climate Action contribution to the Extinction Rebellion protests in London. We read from the book of Revelation In Trafalgar Square, standing in front of the National Gallery, surrounded by people of all faiths and none who were taking their stand together to form part of this extraordinary non-violent direct action movement.

I was not arrested, though I could have been. Some of my ordained colleagues there had been arrested the previous day, and a great many Christians have been arrested before and since, just a few of the 2600+ people (at the time of writing) who have taken their protest to the point of loss of liberty. Without violence they break the law and they face the music. And who are we to judge?

On the way to Trafalgar Square I passed Downing Street and Admiralty Arch, two of the several places where I myself had been arrested in the 1980s, over 35 years ago. At that time it was my great privilege to be a national co-chair of Christian CND, and to have been able to take a stand on the wide rainbow of non-violent advocacy which wanted to see nuclear weapons banned, within the still wider rainbow that seeks to change the world for the better in any way. That was around the time of the “Church and the Bomb” report. I spent time lobbying the General Synod and arguing with bishops, and I spent time in the cells at Cannon Row police station. All that advocacy felt like one seamless thing to me.

And the arguments used against Extinction Rebellion last week were also familiar to me, since the same things had been said to me whenever I sat in the road, or chained myself to railings, or prayed persistently outside a US base, or otherwise took action all those years ago. “Isn’t this just ridiculous middle-class posturing?” “Aren’t you just messing about?” “Do you really think that these protests will change policy – will change anything at all?”

All these are fair questions, but they miss the point. The point is that non-violent advocacy is a wide, wide rainbow, and each colour in it has its place, and it would be foolish to assume that no part of it makes or will make a difference. It’s a matter of diversity, as St Paul understood very well when he spoke of the body and its different parts.

The advocacy of Mahatma Gandhi or of Dr Martin Luther King took its place within this diverse, non-violent, world-changing rainbow. Within the rainbow some work quietly and unobtrusively to influence political and other leaders with facts, evidence, scholarship, quiet wisdom, nuance. Others will follow the advice of an editor of the Economist: “Simplify, then exaggerate”, crafting messages which motivate the heart and lead people to take a stand, and proclaiming them clearly and very loudly.

In the case of Extinction Rebellion the messages and demands are suitably loud and clear (See https://rebellion.earth/the-truth/demands/):

  • Tell the truth (and declare a climate emergency)
  • Act now (and move to net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2025)
  • Go beyond politics (and establish a citizens’ assembly to focus the practical steps)

The details of these demands are of course open to debate, and so are some of the tactical choices made about where and how to protest and what to disrupt. But when it comes to the future of the planet the rainbow of advocacy needs XR, just as it nees Greta Thunberg and the school strikes. The urgency of the climate crisis means that nuanced debate between sophisticated grown-ups is not enough, as the famous sculpture by Isaac Cordal, “Waiting for climate change”, makes clear:

Waiting for Climate Change

All this is personal. It bears in on each one of us, as Bishop Rowan Williams knows. Writing in the afterword to the XR manual “This Is Not A Drill” [1], he has this to say:

“To put it very directly: it is worth changing our habits of consumption, the default settings for our lifestyle, the various kinds of denial and evasion of bodily reality that suit us, the fantasies of limitless growth and control, simply because there are healthy and unhealthy ways of living in this universe.

To go on determinedly playing the trumpet in a string quartet is a recipe for frustration and collapse and conflict. There are ways of learning to live better, to make peace with the world. Learn them anyway: they will limit the disease and destruction; they may even be seeds for a future we can’t imagine…

It just might work.”

And as a person of faith he says:

“In the Book of Proverbs, in the Hebrew Scriptures, the divine wisdom is described as ‘filled with delight’ at the entire world which flows from that wisdom. For me as a religious believer, the denial or corruption of that delight is like spitting in the face of the life-giving Word who is to be met in all things and all people…”

And he ends by saying:

“Anger, love and joy may sound like odd bedfellows, but these are the seeds of a future that will offer life – not success, but life.”

So what? Well, with all this in mind, there is a question for you who are reading this. On this matter – the future of the planet – and indeed on any other matter of justice and peace, will you take your stand within the rainbow of non-violent advocacy? And if you will, where will be the right place, the best place, for you yourself to stand?

Of course some approaches stand outside any non-violent advocacy rainbow. On one side is the assumption that no advocacy is necessary at all, or perhaps that advocating is so naïve as to be pointless, or perhaps that we can’t be bothered – that other people will engage with it and so we won’t have to. And on the other side, the assumption that only violence will change things, or that if we feel we must break the law, then having broken the law, no consequences should or must be faced.

Neither of these approaches was taken by Mahatma Gandhi, or by Dr King. As they engaged with the issues of justice that lay before them, each one understood the spectrum of advocacy and operated across it; at times pragmatic, at times prophetic. Jesus too spoke highly of the law and also acted in ways that challenged it, reaching out to the excluded. In words of the Lutheran Gordon Lathrop that so often speak to my own heart, “…we are speaking of the biblical, historic Christ who eats with sinners and outsiders, who is made a curse and sin itself for us, who justifies the ungodly, and who is himself the hole in any system”.

Jesus lived with urgency, for the times were urgent. The times for us too are urgent, as indeed they have always been.

If you’re a Christian then, in matters of the future of the planet, in all matters of justice and peace, will you listen for the voice of the triune God who loves you, the voice of the Holy Spirit within you who comforts and provokes you? Will you take your stand within the rainbow of non-violent advocacy? And if you will, where will you stand?

 

Paul Bayes is Bishop of Liverpool

[1] Extinction Rebellion, “This Is Not A Drill”, Penguin Books 2019

 

 

Fracking Porkies at Cuadrilla’s Site at Preston New Road

The other day I went to the entrance of the Cuadrilla site at Preston New Road, near Blackpool. Unlike previous occasions there were no protestors there, though their photographer was walking up the the road and then took photos of me. Earlier the vestal virgins had been there as they are every Wednesday!

Hence I could wander around without being sworn at by the ladies present or interviewed by some clown thrusting a phone into my face.

Here are my photos with comments

P1000838

Here we go “No social licence” – whatever that means. The appeal gets boring and usually it means they have consulted protestors!

As for  “Renewable energy requires no conflict” that is face-palming. Each method causes conflict over the environment as wind, water and solar all have an environmental price to pay, whether threats to moorlands, valuable land submerged or simply the mining to extract metals needed.

As for people the conflict is there, whether loss of land for production, the visual impact etc. The protestors ignored the conflict over a wind farm at St Michaels, 10 miles from PNR, a few years ago – and other objections to wind and solar farms

P1000839

Fracking , like other industries, including farming, does use vast amounts of water, so what is the difference?

To say that after fracking the water is highly contaminated is an exaggeration. Of course it is not suitable for drinkng  or for agriculture, but neither is what you flush down your loo, unless you like cholera.

After fracking the flowback water cleaned up to Environmental standards, just  like your piss and pooh.

More less than honest scaremongering

PNR 181026 Ros Wills

This is absurd beyond words

P1000840

What about the 100s of toxic chemicals? That is perfectly true and were itemised in a paper some 10 years ago listing all chemicals which HAD been  used in fracking. Note the PAST tense and these are what HAVE been used in the past , not what are being used today. Today the fluid is 99% water, some sand and a few chemicals like surficants, which are used in many applications.

This is a dishonest and misleading claim.

It is a honest as saying lead is added to petrol (as tetra-ethyl lead) which was withdrawn in the 90s after Claire Petterson proved it to be dangerous

One could also mention National Benzole, a fuel for cars up to the 60s which was rich in benzole or benzol – a coal-tar product consisting mainly of benzene and toluene. It was withdrawn for health reasons in the 60s.

https://www.davidicke.com/article/472397/fracking-madness

The poster claims that the chemicals contaminate drinking water. Again that is duplicitous as the mixture if spilt could contaminate water, or rather water courses not water supply.

Of course the aim is to release methane as that is the point of fracking for gas. But any methane lost represents a loss of the product desired.

And the usual onEarthquakes!!!! Good scaremongering here as most don’t grasp how tiny they are.

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Form what I’ve seen on the Fylde it is the protestors who are good at destroying communities!!

 

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This poster is very challenging and the substance of many calls for divestment.

However it represents a gross misreading of the paper produces by researchers at University College, London, who argued, with good justification that;

  • 80% of  coal reserves need to be left in the ground
  • 50% of gas reserves
  • 30% of oil reserves

That is very different from saying 80% of fossil fuels must be left in the ground.

Many green groups do this, including Christian Aid. Frankly it demonstrates either gross incompetence or blatant dishonesty

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This raises some serious questions.

Why do the protestors  put up such inaccurate nonsense?

Why don’t they check out their facts?

Are they simply clueless or dishonest?

If it were a bunch of swampies with little knowledge then one could make allowances, but these protests are supported by the supposedly informed;

  • Prof Mike Berners-Lee of Lancaster Univ has supported them. That removes any credibility from his writings
  • Various  MPs MEPs and Cllrs from the Green Party and Labour, not to mention those from Friends of the Earth and Greenpeace
  • John Ashton OBE
  • and others who cannot hide behind being uneducated.

Why did they not criticise the inaccuracies of both these displays and the content of the material put out by these anti-frackers? (They could have commented on the stuff at Maple Farm too.)

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There doesn’t seem much desire for an accurate and dispassionate portrayal of fracking

And so we can consider Extinction Rebellion with their clarion call of

TELL THE TRUTH

This stuff at Preston New Road  is the opposite of telling the truth, but so is much anti-fracking propaganda.

 

A European Parliament without Science?

A warning about letting the Green Party have too much influence in the EU parliament. Also of other green groups by implication.

I may not agree with every word, but with the daftness of Extinction Rebellion etc , people should be wary of voting Green – at any level

The Risk-Monger

This document is a follow-up to my Science Charter blog.

German Green MEP Maria Heubuch has spent more time campaigning against agricultural technologies (and Africans) than representing her constituents. When she went to Berlin on the public purse to attend a secret NGO meeting to campaign against the merger of Bayer and Monsanto, she used her Gmail account so her activities could not be officially recorded. A few weeks later, she stood up in the European Parliament and demanded that a Commission official be transparent. MEPs Bart Staes, Pavel Poc and Michele Rivasi spend public funds obsessively campaigning against a single company and flying in non-scientific activists from as far away as the US and Australia to speak in the European Parliament. No scientists were invited to speak at their public events. The chair of the Parliament’s PEST Committee, Eric Andrieu, has tried to change the…

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What Monty Python can teach us about Extinction Rebellion

A excellent take down of Extinction Rebellion.

I am sure he could do something on Rowan Williams’ part in it. – some friar from MP and the Holy grail

The Risk-Monger

Unless policy-makers act immediately, the planet will cease to be able to support human life in twelve years, three months and seven days … this event will happen on a Tuesday … after lunch.

No, that is not a skit from Monty Python but an approximation made by the latest virtue signalling publicity craze, Extinction Rebellion. This motley crew of eco-rednecks was founded in October, 2018 and quickly created a loose network from eco-conscious hippies to students on Easter break to antagonised aging Marxists. Together they have managed to show how social networks can be utilised to control an agenda with stunts that require limited funding, planning or intellectual coherence. The media, during a slow news cycle, are lapping up these attention whores who use the microphone and a myriad of intertwined social media accounts as acts of virtue signalling liberation.

There is one nagging question that won’t go away: Was…

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