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Posts Tagged ‘Spiked Online’

Greenpeace, Poorpeace

2009/06/15 3 comments

Or…how the usual “little” greenie exaggeration can ethically harm people under the unscrutinizing gaze of journalists and politicians…

Ben Pile on Spiked: “Greenpeace: putting trees before people

[…] There may well be an argument that what happens to trees thousands of miles away is a problem. But the problems experienced by the poor in Brazil, and throughout the world, must surely be more pressing. Instead, it is squeamishness about what our shopping habits do to forests that drives the argument for international regulatory frameworks, and it is hard to see how focusing on land, trees and cows will raise the standard of living for people whose labour and lives are cheap. Such campaigns seem to express greater solidarity with wood than with people.

Greenpeace enjoys an increasingly cosy relationship with the establishment. As politicians find it harder to make arguments for themselves, they frequently turn to NGOs to give their policies credibility. For instance, the UK Conservative leader David Cameron recently launched his party’s energy policy at a press event held on the rooftop of Greenpeace’s London HQ (watch it here).

Journalists, too, look to such organisations for moral direction and sensational copy. This means that rather than holding them to account, the claims and broader agendas of NGOs often go without scrutiny or criticism. It is taken for granted that they are ‘ethical’, but no one ever voted for Greenpeace and there is no good reason to believe that the preoccupation with environmental issues is in the interests of people, either in the UK or in Brazil

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The Dangers of Climate Change as an Ethical Challenge

Josie Appleton on Spiked Online explains why Climate Change (and all other “ecological” issues) should not be treated as ethical challenges:

Let us bin the moral fable of climate change

[…] My main concern with eco-ethics is that it allows us to stop thinking about the meaning and point to life. It is like a layer of scaffolding built across society, which allows every individual, and every institution, to avoid the questions that they find hard to answer. Eco-ethics allows us to avoid the question of human purpose, by directing all our actions towards the clouds.

None of this is an inevitable response to environmental emergency. […] At present we flee from uncertainty, and seek eco-handbooks for living. But there is another option: to grasp this situation as an opportunity. Indeed, in the course of history, it is often the periods of flux and uncertainty that have been the most productive. These are periods where things are rethought from scratch, presumptions questioned, and new schools of thought are born and new ways of living invented.

And that, I guess, is our choice: between a future of managing climactic stability, or the messy, tumultuous business of building our lives on their own foundations.

Wise AGWers (those that aren’t simply looking for an excuse to rebuild society according to their pet social theories) should really support the new, pragmatic stance of Jeffrey D Sachs.

Spiked Online: Sir David “King of the Climate Porn”

2008/02/29 1 comment

A commentary of “The Hot Topic“, the new book on Climate Change by Sir David King (with Gabrielle Walker) in the February 2008 issue of the spiked review of books:

The King of ‘Climate Porn’
A new book by the UK government’s former chief scientific adviser sheds yet more heat than light on the global warming debate – despite its promises of balance.
by Tony Gilland

Mr Gilland does not sound impressed with the thoughts of somebody, like Sir David, that once described climate change as a worse threat than terrorism. Here a few quotes:

[…] The Hot Topic adds about as much cool science and clarity to the global warming debate as the celebrity chef wars add to our understanding of nutrition […]

 […] As soon as you go beyond the jacket of The Hot Topic, King and Walker seem less interested in promoting understanding and reasoned debate than in foisting a one-sided account of climate science, coupled with narrow and constraining policy prescriptions, on to their readers.  […]

 […] what is probably most irritating about The Hot Topic is the way in which one particular response to global warming is promoted as the only sensible response – do everything possible to restrict climate change to no more than two degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels – without providing any sense of the substantial controversy that surrounds such a target.  […]

 […] Ultimately Walker and King appear to regard their trump card as the threat of the Greenland Ice Sheet melting  […] they point out that ‘the vulnerability of Greenland depends on aspects of its internal dynamics that are as yet uncertain’  […] What Walker and King do not draw their readers’ attention to is the fact that the IPCC has excluded such factors from their projections […]

Spiked Online’s Christmas All-Out Attack on AGW

(a) “Al Gore: enviro-tyrant” by Brendan O’Neill (Dec 18)
After Bali: In aspiring to ‘control the destiny of all generations to come’, Gore has unwittingly unveiled his anti-democratic streak

As he flies around the world to tell people that they should fly less, or organises rock-star extravaganzas to tell the masses they should live more meekly, some sceptics have asked: ‘Who the hell does Al Gore think he is?

(b) “Eco-imperialism at the Bali summit?” by James Heartfield (Dec 18) 
After Bali: Are Western powers offsetting their industrial growth by blackmailing poorer countries to foreswear development? One writer thinks so

More than most scientific questions, the state of the environment has been deeply mixed up with international rivalries. In fact, some nations seem to have politicised environmental claims as a weapon in their economic competition. CO2 emissions mirror industrial output. The agreement in Bali to limit CO2 emissions looks to me like an attempt by the Great Powers to regulate industrial competition.

(c) “Hairshirt posturing vs everyday reality” by Robert Lyons (Dec 18)
After Bali: It ended in stalemate because while everyone poses as an opponent of CO2-emitting technologies, the fact is humanity needs them.

‘It was exactly what we wanted, we are indeed very pleased. We will have now two tremendously demanding years, starting right in January.’ So said the European Union’s chief negotiator Humberto Rosa following the outline agreement forged at the UN climate change talks in Bali last weekend. But it seems quite clear that, on the substantive issues under negotiation, everyone simply agreed to disagree.

(d) “Return of the Skeptical Environmentalist” by Tony Gilland (Review, Dec 2007)
In his new book Cool It, Bjørn Lomborg shows how ‘the science’ on global warming – covering everything from polar bear extinction to the disappearance of Greenland – has been distorted and politicised

(e) “Who’s afraid of…Greenland melting?” by Rob Lyons (Dec 13) 
Rob Lyons says we should keep cool about the ongoing scare story of Greenland’s melting ice.

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