Oct 172010

On 20th May, 2009,  Monbiot had an article  at  Guardian Environment entitled Price of doing nothing costs the earth with the sub heading

MIT scientists forecast a global temperature rise of 5.2o C by 2100 – but climate change deniers reject models devised by the world’s finest minds. So what do they suggest instead… seaweed?

Here are comments number 11 -15

Hamlet4 (20 May 2009 2:10PM

@George

Thats not science – its a computer model trying and failing to describe a immensely complicated chaotic system. Please read up on the butterfly theory to find out HOW wrong such models can be over time. The 90 % confidence levels for forecasts over 90 years is simply absurd. Rubbish in – Rubbish out.
Hamlet4 (20 May 2009 2:18PM)

@Monbiot

OK, all those of you who reject modelling, answer the question: what would you use instead?

nr 1 – How about using your brain, not your political belief system.

nr 2 – Try and build models that explain the present stagnation in temperature, sea-level rise and increase in ice-extent, instead of just pretending its not happening.

nr 3 – Emphasize the limitations of such models, instead of using them trying to create fear and thereby grants.

 

scunnered52 (20 May 2009 2:29PM)

George the only person you are scaring is your self. All climate model projections are currently in serious error because they over-estimate “climate sensitivity”; and that’s due in main to what the modellers don’t know. I would recommend you undertake to create your own climate model. Here is DIY course on how to do so…

 

geoffchambers (20 May 2009 2:38PM)

At the end of the article … is this:

“This work was supported in part by grants from … foundation sponsors of the MIT Joint Program on the Science and Policy of Global Change”.

And who are these industrial sponsors? Why, Exxon, BP, Shell, Total, among others. This is research funded by Big Oil money. Can this be right?

Monbiot (20 May 2009 2:44PM)

Hamelt4: [sic]

You appear to be suggesting that the MIT team is guided by political beliefs and is using this model to create fear and harvest grants. Perhaps you would care to provide some evidence?

Monbiot denied the accusation that the models were used to “create fear and thereby grants” but deflected Hamlet4′s demand to Monbiot to  “us[e] your brain, not your political belief system” onto the MIT group, which Hamlet4 hadn’t mentioned (though I had). Clearly, Monbiot was rattled, because 11 minutes later,  he was back with this comment:

Monbiot (20 May 2009 2:55PM)

scunnered52:

Of all the posters on these threads, you are the one who looks to me most like an astroturfer: in other words someone posing as an independent citizen while being paid by organisations which have an interest in the outcome. Is my suspicion correct? How about providing a verifiable identity to lay this concern to rest?

 

Now look at scunnered52′s intelligent comment above and try to spot why Monbiot should accuse him of being an astroturfer. Odd, isn’t it?

 

Half an hour later, a puzzled Hamlet4 replied to Monbiot’s non sequitur of a question, with a comment that finished:

Try and THINK Monbiot – do you really believe that these models are producing accurate descriptions of our climate 90 years from now ???.

scunnered52 and Hamlet4 then disappeared, and I went off on another tack:

geoffchambers (20 May 2009 3:35PM)

George asks whether we should use computer models or seaweed for predicting future climate change. Research conducted by the International Institute of Forecasters on the accuracy of forecasting suggests that predictions made by the general public are usually more accurate than those made by experts. This is because the man in the street tends to believe things will probably continue much as they have in the past, while your expert tends to follow the spaghetti off the edge of his graphs into the wide blue yonder. So the correct answer is: seaweed.

I then came back to the subject of research financed by Big Oil:

geoffchambers (20 May 2009 4:36PM)

thesnufkin at 4.10pm complains we denialists are giving him nothing to get his teeth into. How about this? Monbiot’s new estimate for temperature rise in 2100 comes from what he describes as “the world’s most sophisticated models devised by the world’s finest minds”. And who are these world’s finest minds? They’re the MIT Joint Program on the Science and Policy of Global Change. Their site lists them all in democratic alphabetical order. Most of them are foreign exchange students in Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, Urban Planning, Engineering etc. Bright people Im sure, but when it comes to forecasting “the end of life as we know it”, (George’s expression) no more reliable than your average Jehovah’s Witness. And they are financed by Exxon, Shell, Total and BP – which is fine by me, but I wonder what George thinks about it?

geoffchambers (20 May 2009 10:28PM)

Filster at 10.04pm is still attacking the fossil fuel lobby, while Monbiot has moved on. The source for the alarmist prediction in this article is research financed by precisely the fossil fuel lobby which Monbiot so often decries. See the last paragraph of the MIT News article to which Monbiot links for special thanks to Exxon, Shell, BP and Total.

By next day the discussion had moved on to discussion of Mann and the attitude of the Chinese. Then gpwayne, (whose interventions have been retroactively graced with a “C for Contributor” since an article he recently wrote for the Guardian) joined in:

gpwayne (21 May 2009 5:59AM)

What fucking rubbish Geoff. You should be ashamed of yourself for writing such childish, stupid crap.

Apparently I was blogging under moderation at this time, because in my reply to gpwayne is this:

geoffchambers (21 May 2009 9:08AM

Hi. Nice to hear from you again. I’ve been away, under moderation for insulting Guardian readers, and sneaking in a couple of words in Chinese to a comment.

I’m surprised you didn’t know about Mann’s censored data file. It’s been much discussed by McIntyre and others, though possibly not on Guardian Environment.

I admire your reasoning: if the Chinese believe it, it must be true. I suppose the appeal to authority works best if the authorities you are appealing to are themselves authoritarian.

Don’t feel you have to reply. Blogging under moderation is like breakdancing with a ball and chain round your ankle, or arguing with a heavy stutter.

I tried to interest my interlocutors in Monbiot’s newfound enthusiasm for research financed by Big Oil, to no avail:

geoffchambers (21 May 2009 10:08AM)

thesnufkin at 9.37am asks what was in Mann’s file marked censored data. Peer reviewed tree-ring data, stalactite data, Finnish varves, I expect. But it wouldnt matter if it was full of old socks, would it? The point is he inadvertently handed a file named Censored Data to McIntyre. It’s not a conspiracy theory, simply an odd fact. Like the fact that Monbiot is expressing absolute faith in the results of research financed by Exxon.

geoffchambers (21 May 2009 10:57AM)

to gpwayne at 10.19am. You ask why China does this and that. How would I know? It all looks like perfectly sensible international diplomacy to me. You dont see the Chinese ambassador to the Vatican lecturing the Pope on dialectical materialism, but that doesnt mean that Beijing has gone Catholic.

And why ask me who censored Mann’s data? No-one. Its just the name on a file which Mann inadvertently sent to McIntyre. Read about it at ClimateAudit if youre interested.

While we are in rhetorical question mode, what do you think about Monbiot’s newfound faith in research funded by Exxon?

And just at this point, 20 hours after his last intervention, Monbiot turned up. So what did he think about China’s environmental policy, Mann’s censored file, or Exxon’s financing of his favourite alarmist climate model? Nothing.

Monbiot (21 May 2009 11:01AM)

Still no response from scunnered52. Interesting.

I got one decent response to my question though:

thesnufkin (21 May 2009 11:04AM)

If the work is sound it doesn’t matter who pays. The Renaissance was largely funded by the Borgias, but the art was still good.

I tried again:

geoffchambers (21 May 2009 11:43AM)

Since Monbiot has turned up, perhaps he would like to say how he feels about plugging data from research funded by Exxon?

But Monbiot was gone, never to be seen again on this thread. But the fun wasn’t over:

thesnufkin (21 May 2009 12:03PM)

scunnered52 has turned up!

And indeed, the blogger Monbiot had accused, without the slightest evidence, of being an astroturfer, had been busy at another part of Guardian environment, posting six times at :

http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/blog/2009/may/19/vaclav-klaus

The last five posts followed Monbiot’s accusation. Two have been deleted. Another two repeat, with different examples and links, the basic message of his first comment, which was posted before the comment which provoked Monbiot’s unfounded accusation:

scunnered52 (20 May 2009 10:22AM)

Who benefits from Cap-and-Trade? In the US it has been calculated that an economy-wide cap-and-trade program could generate up to $300 billion a year in PROFITS! With so much money at stake it is little wonder that those advocating eco-business attack sceptics. The Greens are just as greedy as you average oil billionaire.

Having spotted scunnered52′s reappearance on the Vaclav Klaus thread, thesnufkin piled in:

thesnufkin (21 May 2009 12:01PM)

scunnered52 Do you fancy replying to george monbiot’s allegation that you’re just an astroturfer? We’re all waiting.

scunnered52 (21 May 2009 1:01PM)

Did I actually get under old George’s skin that much … and I didn’t even know. LOL. Yes, my secret is out I am astroturfer – sponsored by Neeps&Tatties – a duplicitous grassroots organisation that acts as front for a secret group of empiricalists who have invested heavily in plastic macs and thermal long-johns. It is not in our interests to have people believe in global warming.

I’ve said too much already, but I trust you Snufkin not to pass this information on.

scunnered52′s next two comments have been deleted but he comes back one last time to denounce green greed.

 

scunnered52 (22 May 2009 9:30AM)

Climate Alarmism = BIG Profits. Knowing that relationship helps you understand the motives of Al Gore, Goldman Sachs, George Soros, Exxon, etc. Monbiot and company are just serving the vested interests of corporations. The Greens are just as greedy as your average billionaire.

 

So Monbiot, was accusing a sceptic commenter, who had already denounced the involvement of big business and oil billionaires in climate change policy, of being paid by big business.

Scunnered52 continued commenting wittily on climate matters until August 2009, when his comments stop. His user page is still up, indicating that he has not been banned.

 

Meanwhile, I had transferred my questioning of the morality of praising research funded by Big Oil to the Vaclav Klaus article, where Environment Editor John Vidal had been criticising Klaus’s sceptical book because it was financed by Exxon 

 

geoffchambers (21 May 2009 5:10PM)

No answer to my question about big oil money, so I’ll rephrase it and try again:

Why is it ok for Vidal and Monbiot to quote approvingly from research funded by Exxon, but not ok for President Klaus to have his book sponsored by a think tank funded by Exxon?

No answer from Vidal, but thesnufkin replied, and I responded:

geoffchambers (21 May 2009 10:37PM)

to thesnufkin at 10.17pm

..which comes down to: “it’s ok for Exxon to fund good stuff, but not bad stuff”.

I can accept that, but the problem is, John Vidal can’t, because his whole article hinges on the argument: “if its funded by Exxon, it must be suspect”. Which is quite amusing, given that back in March he was praising the same Exxon-funded research which Monbiot attributes to the world’s finest minds…

Some other good sceptics joined in, including our own BobFJ, and the thread  came to the usual unsatisfactory conclusion. Which is where the matter rested, until Monbiot reopened the debate on astroturfing a few months later with an article on the need for censorship at CiF.

At least this story demonstrates that Monbiot and Vidal don’t always have things their own way at CiF, and we commenters may sometimes influence policy at Guardian Environment.

The MIT Joint Program on the Science and Policy  of Climate Change were introduced to Guardian readers in March 2009 with three fanfare articles – one by themselves, one by Vidal, and one by Monbiot. They were described proudly as members of the Guardian Environment Network. They were next quoted in the May 2009 article analysed above. They haven’t been heard of since.

144 Responses to “My Affair with George Monbiot: part 1”

Pages: « 1 2 [3] Show All

  1. 101
    manacker Says:

    TonyB

    Regarding your 98 to Peter, you question whether or not he was ignorant of the fact that Arrhenius had downscaled his initial estimate of 2xCO2 climate sensitivity (as it is now known) by a factor of 3.

    I am no psychologist, but I believe that Peter may have read this somewhere, but was unable to physically process the information (Thomas Kuhn), because it conflicts with his deeply-ingrained (pseudo-religious or politically motivated?) paradigm that industrial CO2 is a dangerous GHG, which will cause deleterious effects to our climate if “evil, capitalistic, profit-motivated” industry is not curbed by international governmental regulations imposing draconian carbon taxes on humanity to force us all away from our sinful and wasteful consumption of fossil fuels.

    He likes to accuse those who disagree with his personal views:

    They aren’t motivated by scientific considerations, but instead they have started out with the idea that its all a hoax and a put-up job by politicians and scientists.

    Yet, it appears that “starting out with a fixed notion” is exactly his problem, not only from his inability to see the Arrhenius correction, but also from his unwillingness to even discuss the science behind his “dangerous AGW” belief, as we have both tried in vain to get him to do.

    Maybe I’m wrong, Tony, and he is pulling us all around by the nose (and really doesn’t believe all this “dangerous AGW” BS), but that’s the way it looks to me.

    Max

  2. 102
    tonyb Says:

    Max 101

    Of course neither of us would believe that Peter deliberately referred to the older (alarmist) Arrhenius paper in the hope of deceiving those that don’t know the full story.

    Consequently we must assume that Peter himself wasn’t aware of the continuation of Arrhenius’s studies, which in 1906 resulted in a revised temperature sensitivity that was some three times less than in his earlier paper.

    Now that we have pointed this out I suspect that Peter has gone down the pub for a celebratory drink in the knowledge that the situation is nowhere near as bad as he had feared.

    Indeed, various studies in more recent years have shown that Arrhenius was right to backtrack, as the IPCC figures are said by many to be wildly overstated by a factor of three.

    I think we should all have a good weekend knowing that we have shown to Peter that his fixation on CO2 disasters are unwarranted. I feel like the good Samaritan and will now go outside to see if I can help an old lady across the road. :)

    As I know you like old documents-and judging by Peters Arrhenius posting so does he-I thought you might like to revist these two gems

    http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.2153-3490.1957.tb01849.x/pdf
    revelle

    http://www.pensee-unique.eu/001_mwr-083-10-0225.pdf
    Giles Slocum

    Tonyb

  3. 103
    tempterrain Says:

    Max,

    Arrhenius estimated that halving of CO2 would decrease temperatures by 4 – 5 °C degC and a doubling of CO2 would cause a temperature rise of 5 – 6 degC . In his 1906 publication, Arrhenius adjusted the value downwards to 1.6 degC (including water vapour feedback deg C). Recent estimates from IPCC say this value is likely to be between 2 and 4.5 deg C.

    I’m not sure if it made much difference if it had been his first or second estimate which was closer. There was quite a large element of luck involved that he did get so close by either method. But he had the overall principle correct and deserves full credit for his pioneering work.

    Are you aware that Judith Curry’s line of research is Hurricane intensity? In testimony to the US congress she makes the case that Hurricane intensity has increased.

    http://curry.eas.gatech.edu/climate/pdf/testimony-curry.pdf

    She says in answer to possible criticisms:

    “Skeptics have found our analysis unconvincing owing to suspected problems with the data.
    However, given the existing database and the lack of any rigorous uncertainty analysis of the
    data, the existing data cannot be used to reject our assertion that the number of category 4 and 5
    hurricanes has increased substantially since 1970.”

    Yes its the same Judith Curry who you speak of so approvingly!

  4. 104
    tonyb Says:

    Peter 103

    Judith wrote her piece back in 2006-if you have been reading her recent pronoucements you will know she is re-evaluating her position.

    Here is an October 2010 Hurricane analysis.

    http://www.worldclimatereport.com/index.php/2010/10/14/no-trend-in-global-hurricane-activity/

    There is no recent trend. IPCC figures go back to 1850 when our coverage of Hurricanes and SSST’s was extremely poor so they are bound to show an increase on that. (not that they emphasis that fact of course)

    However we can pick out major storms-as Lamb did- and know they were much worse in pre global warming days. Presumably that has to do with the temperature difference with Winters much colder than today and summers around the same.

    On my recommendation Judith was intending to buy the Hubert Lamb book I recommended to you the other day concerning Historic storms.

    Tonyb

  5. 105
    tempterrain Says:

    TonyB,

    Are you saying Judith Curry has withdrawn her testimony to Congress?

    It would be serious step, but if she has changed her mind she should make that clear. On the other hand if she hasn’t, then she should leave it up on her website – exactly as she has done.

  6. 106
    manacker Says:

    PeterM

    Thanks for the “cherry-picked” quote from the 2006 Judith Curry testimony.

    I will not return the favor by “cherry-picking” another quote, as that would be silly.

    Scientific knowledge changes as time moves on, Peter (this does not require “retraction” of previous testimony before a political body, of course).

    Without detracting from his “pioneering work”, Arrhenius’ calculations are “old hat”, along with pre-2006 IPCC model simulations, in view of later empirical data from physical observations (previously cited).

    These empirical data have falsified the earlier hypothetical calculations on the 2xCO2 climate sensitivity (including feedbacks), demonstrating that it is below 0.9C, rather than 2.0 to 4.5C, as estimated at the time by IPCC (or 1.6C, as estimated even earlier by Arrhenius).

    Time marches on, Peter – and so does scientific knowledge.

    Max

  7. 107
    manacker Says:

    PeterM

    Let’s play a little “numbers” game.

    Let’s say that Arrhenius was “spot on” with his latest estimate of 1.6C for the 2xCO2 clmate sensitivity (including water vapor feedback).

    Incidentally IPCC puts this at 1.9C (also including surface albedo feedback), so they are not exaggerating it by much (if we ignore the Minschwaner + Dessler observations on water vapor).

    The biggest problem with the IPCC model simulations cited in AR4 WG1 and SPM is that the models totally miss the impact of net total cloud feedbacks (admittedly conceding that “cloud feedbacks remain the largest source of uncertainty”).

    IPCC model simulations estimate these to be strongly positive, strong enough to increase the 2xCO2 CS by 1.3C (from 1.9 to 3.2C on average).

    We now know from empirical data based on physical observations reported after the IPCC report, that the net feedback from clouds is strongly negative instead.

    So taking Arrhenius’ 1.6C estimate (which did not include the net negative impact from clouds, which was only observed much later) and subtracting, let’s say, 0.8 to 1C to cover this, we end up with 0.6 to 0.8C for the total 2xCO2 CS (incl. all feedbacks).

    This means that we should see a theoretical GH warming from today (390 ppmv CO2) to 2100 (560 ppmv) of 0.3 to 0.4C. Yawn!

    So Arrhenius’ latest estimate may actually have been pretty close, keeping in mind that he made this estimate long before there were satellites that enabled scientists to actually measure cloud feedbacks.

    Max

  8. 108
    tonyb Says:

    Peter #105

    Judith has serious thoughts about the way that IPCC creates its reports and increasing doubts on the validity of some of the information used in some of those reports. I am certainly not claiming her as a full blown sceptic. She is doing what the Royal Society motto suggests and querying the status quo.

    I think it will be very hard for any prominent scientist to turn round and say ‘I was wrong’

    She is certainly now considered to be a heretic amongst many of her peers as she has increasing doubts about what she previously believed.

    Bearing in mind the amount of conflicting evidence, new research and the absurdity of some measures (global temperatures and SST’s to 1850 etc) it is not surprising that any sane and rational person would start to wonder what was going on.

    PS Shouldn’t we transfer all this to the other thread?

    tonyb

  9. 109
    manacker Says:

    TonyB and PeterM

    Agree with Tony we should move this all to the NS thread, since our exchange no longer has much to do with the original topic here (Monbiot’s misguided moronisms), but more with the science behind the “dangerous AGW” postulation.

    Agreed?

    Max

  10. 110
    Axel Morris Says:

    @manacker (109)

    The science behind the “dangerous AGW” postulation.

    Science ?

    Postulation ?

    Surely that should read ….

    The dogma behind the “Dangerous AGW” conjecture.

  11. 111
    tempterrain Says:

    Max,

    Yes please answer Axel’s point is the mainstream scientific postion based on dogma or what you might consider to be an incorrect understanding of the available evidence?

    Its an important point. And what about other positions of mainstream science , are they based on dogma too or is it just AGW that is?

  12. 112
    tempterrain Says:

    Max and TonyB,

    The quote from Judith Curry was in no way chosen to deliberately misrepresent the conclusions and arguments that she’d presented in her testimony to Congress. If you think that’s the case just read the whole thing.

    Yes, we have 4 years more data available now than she did then, but it’s really quite unlikely to make much difference to the conclusions she reached at the time.

    Testimony to Congress must be treated as a serious issue. Either she is standing by what she testified or she isn’t. I do remember reading on a blog, but which I can’t now find, that she says she isn’t going back on anything she wrote and that her position is still essentially the same as it always was. The only difference is that she’s decided to speak up on the levels of uncertainty that have been applied to some scientific data, and conclusions formed from it, primarily by the IPCC.

    That’s fine , but it can’t just be assumed that any increased uncertainties are going to be make any danger less likely.

  13. 113
    tonyb Says:

    Peter 112
    I have answered this on the usual thread.

    tonyb

  14. 114
    manacker Says:

    Axel and PeterM

    I’ll respond to your 110 and 111 on the NS thread, as TonyN may feel that they are not directly on the topic here (Monbiot’s strange personal opinions on AGW and his arrogantly accusing those who disagree with these views as being “astroturfers”, etc.)

    Max

  15. 115
    E Smith Says:

    I think it’s a really big mistake to operate on the basis that Monbiot believes anything he writes in the Guardian. He and the other corporate flunkies are paid to promote carbon trading.

    The Guardian has science correspondents but they put up Monbiot to be their little street thug. When global warming became too embarassing even for Monbiot, they put green lifestyle correspondent Leo Hickman in the front line, who I am sure knows a lot more about handbags and carpets than science.

    Both are totally shameless. Monbiot took British journalism to a new low the Sunday Sport would be hard pressed to beat.

  16. 116
    Axel Morris Says:

    @114

    NS Thread? What is that? URL Please.

  17. 117
    E Smith Says:

    This is what Monbiot wrote about carbon trading before he became a Guardian [snip].

    Hurray! We’re Going Backwards!

    Before Kyoto, the other negotiators flatly rejected Gore’s proposals for emissions trading. So his team threatened to sink the talks. The other nations capitulated, but the US still held out on technicalities until the very last moment, when it suddenly appeared to concede. In 1997 and in 2007 it got the best of both worlds: it wrecked the treaty and was praised for saving it.

    Hilary Benn is an idiot. Our diplomats are suckers. United States negotiators have pulled the same trick twice and for the second time our governments have fallen for it.

    There are still two years to go, but so far the new agreement is even worse than the Kyoto Protocol. It contains no targets and no dates. A new set of guidelines also agreed at Bali extend and strengthen the worst of Al Gore’s trading scams, the clean development mechanism(6). Benn and the other dupes are cheering and waving their hats as the train leaves the station at last, having failed to notice that it is travelling in the wrong direction.

    http://www.monbiot.com/archives/2007/12/17/hurray-were-going-backwards/

  18. 118
    manacker Says:

    Axel

    The “NS” (New Scientist) thread link is
    http://ccgi.newbery1.plus.com/blog/?p=274&cp=16#comments

    This thread has had an unusually long life (over 12,000 comments and still going strong).

    It covers the “science” (or lack thereof) underlying the politically popular “mainstream” postulation that anthropogenic greenhouse warming (AGW) represents a potential serious threat for mankind and our planet.

    Welcome aboard!

    Max

  19. 119
    manacker Says:

    ‘Scuse me, Axel. It’s the “New Statesman” thread (not “New Scientist”) – but the rest is OK.

    Max

  20. 120
    manacker Says:

    E Smith

    Yes. Monbiot bounces back and forth on the specifics of his opinions, but one thing remains clear (in his mind, anyway): he is always right even when he’s left (as he usually is).

    Max

  21. 121
    E Smith Says:

    manacker

    What I meant is that Monbiot [snip]. It’s because he is beng paid [snip]. He also has extreme right wing environmental views about CO2 (which happen to coincide with the views of carbon trading advocates like the oil companies and banks which the Guardian is paid to promote).

    International Emissions Trading Association (IETA)
    The biggest lobbying group at Copenhagen was the International Emissions Trading Association which was created to promote carbon trading more than ten years ago.

    Its members include :-

    BP, Conoco Philips, Shell, E.ON (coal power stations owner), EDF (one of the largest participants in the global coal market), Gazprom (Russian oil and gas), Goldman Sachs, Barclays, JP Morgan Chase, Morgan Stanley..

    http://www.ieta.org/ieta/www/pages/index.php?IdSiteTree=1249

    Their aim

    the objectives of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and ultimately climate protection;

    the establishment of effective market-based trading systems for greenhouse gas emissions by businesses that are demonstrably fair, open, efficient, accountable and consistent across national boundaries; and maintaining societal equity and environmental integrity while establishing these systems.

    http://www.ieta.org/ieta/www/pages/index.php?IdSiteTree=1248

    why ?

    Carbon trading could be worth twice that of oil in next decade
    The carbon market could become double the size of the vast oil market, according to the new breed of City players who trade greenhouse gas emissions through the EU’s emissions trading scheme.

    The ETS market may see $3tn (£1.8tn) worth of transactions a year in the next decade or two, according to Andrew Ager, head of emissions trading at Bache Commodities in London, with it even being used as a hedge against falling equities or rising inflation. “It is still a relatively new industry with annual trades of around €300bn every year. But this could grow to around $3tn compared to the $1.5tn market there is for oil,” says Ager, who used to be a foreign currencies trader.

    The speed of that growth will depend on whether the Copenhagen summit gives a go-ahead for a low-carbon economy, but Ager says whatever happens schemes such as the ETS will expand around the globe.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2009/nov/29/carbon-trading-market-copenhagen-summit

    Paven Sukhdev, a career banker for Deutsche Bank who now works on the issue for the UN and EU, argues that at least 65% of reductions must be made within developed countries. That means firms such as AEP may still be limited in how much they can invest in projects abroad. Firms in developing countries may not have to buy credits at all. That has led to worries in the City that there won’t be enough money to buy all the forest carbon. London’s financial centre is the main home to the incipient global carbon market. Prof Heal believes that in a decade, the trade could be worth trillions of dollars.

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/business/8359397.stm

    [TonyN: Please read the blog rules]

  22. 122
    geoffchambers Says:

    ESmith #115
    I just don’t understand why you have to make baseless accusations against Monbiot when there are plenty of solidly based accusations one can make. “Corporate flunkey” “street thug” and “[snip]” just don’t fit.
    Here’s my assessment, probably based on far less wide-ranging analysis than yours, but avoiding the kind of inflammatory language which gets our common efforts ridiculed or ignored.
    Monbiot is (or was) a decent investigative journalist, capable of a rare righteous anger, but also of digging out the kind of detail which reveals the meaning of important stories.
    As an example of the former, his linking of the death of the passerby at last year’s London climate demonstration to police activity. He had no evidence, so was taking a risk with his professional reputation whe he voiced the suspicion of millions. According to strict journalistic ethics, he was probably wrong to speak out. Later video evidence vindicated him.
    As an example of the latter – an article in which he revealed how Chief Police Officers had registered a private limited company so that they could discuss policy without being subject to Freedom of Information requests. He was never going to make the front page with legalistic nitpicking like that, but he did perform an important public service. I choose this example because Lord Oxburgh (of the 5-page CRU inquiry) was involved in precisely the same kind of scheme – GLOBAL, a private company where politicians, businessmen and academics could discuss global warming business out of sight. The moment this was revealed (by a commenter at Bishop Hill, I believe) and Monbiot failed to take up the story, he ceased being an investigative journalist. That is the real charge against him.

    TonyN: I realise that the snip was not your fault.

  23. 123
    E Smith Says:

    Geoff

    Does Monbiot come across as a nice, left wing, liberal journalist from his profile below ?

    George Monbiot grew up in Henley-on-Thames, in a large country house. The Monbiot family, descendants of French aristocracy, fled the French Revolution. He attended the expensive and elite Stowe school.

    His father Raymond was deputy chairman of the Conservative party and achieved notoriety for his undemocratic stance on members’ voting rights. George spoke at a Conservative party conference, his grandfather was a right wing Conservative MP, his mother was an extreme right wing Conservative councillor who led South Oxford district council, his mentor Sir Crispin Tickell, Margaret Thatcher’s ambassador to the UN is an extreme right wing eugenecist who believes that the UK population should be a third of its current level.

    His friend Paul Kingsnorth was an associate of the ultra right wing Goldsmith family (deputy editor of The Ecologist) and the leader of the blatantly fascist Dark Mountain project (Monbiot attended their festival and publicised it in the Guardian ). He writes ultra conservative, backward facing, ecological articles for the Guardian. His researcher Christine Ottery also worked for the ultra right wing Goldsmith family at the The Ecologist. The Goldsmith family and their eco fascist colleague, John Aspinall were accused by Peter Wright (Spycatcher) of attempting a fascist coup against the Wilson government. Wilson resigned in fear of his life. The story has been made into a BBC documentary.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2005/jan/09/politics.past

    Monbiot claims that trans Atlantic travel is worse than molesting children (despite flying to Canada for a paid engagement last year, while initially [snip] that it was to attend a demonstration), the UK must reduce its greenhouse emissions by 90 percent, UK flights must be reduced by 96 percent. He also wrote that every time someone dies as a result of floods in Bangladesh, an airline executive should be dragged out of his office and drowned.

  24. 124
    E Smith Says:

    Monbiot actually spoke at the Dark Mountain festival.

    This is what an intelligent, educated human being thinks of Dark Mountain

    Everyone should stay vigilant and keep their danger sniffers on full alert when the likes of those high on the Dark Mountain and others associated with “deep ecological” tendencies get on about “crises” of “humanity.”

    Sadly, we have a great deal of evidence now, that such ‘dark’ tendencies have been built upon a legacy of misanthropic meandering, petty eco-fascism and immigrant bashing– souped up in talk of waywardness from the “myth[s] of human centrality”–by the likes of Teddy Goldsmith, the gaggle of old Ecologist sods, inter alia, some of whom helped precipitate the Cornerhouse.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/cif-green/2010/may/10/deepwater-horizon-greens-collapse-civilisation?showallcomments=true#CommentKey:7d400bce-4a2c-4578-b079-351145ee98db

    Dr. M. K. Dorsey is a professor in Dartmouth College’s Environmental Studies Program and the Director of the College’s Climate Justice Research Project.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michael_K._Dorsey

  25. 125
    E Smith Says:

    I found this the other day. The connection between environmentalism and anti semitimism in Nazi Germany.

    Hitler’s Green Killing Machine

    By Mark Musser | February 15, 2010

    [snip]

    http://www.aim.org/aim-report/hitlers-green-killing-machine/

  26. 126
    E Smith Says:

    Can anyone imagine even a tabloid journalist making constant personal accusations against an individual reader that he is a denier and an astroturfer, that he works for an oil company ? Monbiot is a thug journalist. He is a thug interviewer too.

    The Guardian stopped his interview series. It was nasty and vicious. One of the last ones was with a friend of his from Campaign to Protect Rural England. It was obvious by the friendly manner and smiles that he knew Monbiot.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/video/2008/dec/18/monbiot-cpre-wind-coal

    Monbiot went for his throat. The guy was shocked and the Guardian gave him a blog on cif to reply to his savaging.

  27. 127
    E Smith Says:

    George Monbiot (in our time – 2000)

    “When we turn our kettle on in Birmingham, we are helping to flood Bangladesh”

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p00546l7

    Is that journalism or is it screaming hysterical propaganda ?

  28. 128
    E Smith Says:

    George Monbiot endorsed the actions of protesters who sabotaged Scottish mine equipment and encouraged future similar action.

    But while the government undermines its own targets, some people in Scotland are putting its climate change policy into effect. The Scottish camp for climate action has declared war on opencast coal mining. Yesterday people associated with it did what the government should have done years ago, and cut the conveyor belt used to carry coal from the Glentaggart pit in Lanarkshire to the local rail terminal. Now they propose to take on other pits, as well as Scotland’s biggest coal-burning power stations. They have chosen the right targets. Coal is the dirty word that threatens to destroy attempts at Copenhagen in December to prevent climate breakdown. If governments won’t take it on, we must.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/georgemonbiot/2009/aug/07/monbiot-scotland-climate-policy

  29. 129
    TonyN Says:

    E Smith:

    Please see the snips on your previous comments and read the blog rules before commenting again. As you are new to this site I have been less stringent than I might have been otherwise. We try to do things rather differently to places like RealClimate and Jo Romm. If you make allegation you need to be able to back them up, preferably with references, and ad hominem attacks are never acceptable.

  30. 130
    E Smith Says:

    Conclusion

    Monbiot is not a journalist, but a very aggressive propagandist for his extreme right wing political views. Made even more insidious by the fact that readers assume he is left wing because he is anti capitalist and anti globalisation (as were the Nazis).

    Jewish American Guardian and New York Times journalist Jonathan Freedland recognises eco fascism when he sees it.

    It came apart again when it emerged that Zac Goldsmith, a Green & Blacks organic chocolate bar in human form, had been a non-dom,

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2010/mar/09/smoothies-party-rich-tories-brand?showallcomments=true#end-of-comments

  31. 131
    E Smith Says:

    TonyN

    I have literally no idea who you are. I stumbled here from a link.

    You will presumably know that Monbiot makes extreme, unfounded accusations against individuals and groups , even specific readers. I am doing the same to him. It is partly humour ([snip]), something Monbiot knows nothing about.

    [TonyN: If you want to comment here, then you must abide by the rules. If you think that Monbiot's behaviour is unacceptable, then I am at a loss to know why you think that it is acceptable to mimic it on my blog.]

  32. 132
    E Smith Says:

    Here Monbiot lays out his fundamental belief that the enemy is progess itself, celebrating pagan cyclical beliefs and contrasting them with the dangers [snip]

    [TonyN: Sorry, if you are going to summarise or quote Monbiot then it should be an accurate summary and not a quotation that is taken out of context.]

    http://www.monbiot.com/archives/2005/03/22/god-of-the-soil/

    “When people attempt to rebel against the iron logic of nature, they come into conflict with the very same principles to which they owe their existence as human beings. Their actions against nature must lead to their own downfall.”

    Adolf Hitler – Mein Kampf

  33. 133
    E Smith Says:

    TonyN

    You have to understand the article before you make decisions about context. Have you read it ? Perhaps you would like to give us a little summary of its meaning yourself.

    Here is the larger context. The part that is relevant.

    God of the Soil

    Thereafter, God’s relationship to the city becomes more equivocal. In Kings I we discover that the ark of the covenant is housed in “the city of David, which is Zion”.(6) By Nehemiah’s time, Jerusalem has become “the holy city”.(7) But to Ezekiel it is a place of “lewdness” and “whoredoms”.(8) “Woe to the bloody city! I will even make the pile for fire great … that the scum of it may be consumed.”(9) This tension survives into the New Testament. In the sermon on the mount, Jesus speaks of his flock as a city on a hill.(10) But even then the wilderness – the uncultivated pasture of the nomads – remained the realm of terrestrial purity, the haunt of John the Baptist and the retreat of Christ.

    What happened between the time of Abraham and the time of Christ was that the nomads, having seized the fertile soils where the farmers dwelt, settled down. While they still looked back with longing upon the lives of their ancestors, their theology shifted to match their circumstances.

    With this shift came something new: a belief in progress. The philosopher John Gray has pointed out that, while pagans typically see history as a cyclical process, Judaism, Christianity and Islam all claim to be working towards a denouement: “salvation is the culmination of history”.(11) The followers of these religions see life not as an endless cycle of hubris and nemesis, but as a journey towards a moment of transformation.

    The peculiarities of the Abrahamic religions – their astonishing success in colonising the world and their dangerous notion of progress (now inherited by secular society) – result from a marriage between the universal god of the nomads and the conditions which permitted cities to develop. The dominant beliefs of the past 2000 years are the result of an ancient migration from soils such as xerepts and xeralfs to soils such as fluvents and rendolls.

    At Easter, the Christian belief in a permanent resurrection is mixed up with the pagan belief in a perpetual cycle of temporary resurrection and death. In church we worship the Christian notion of progress, which has now filtered into every aspect of our lives. But, amid the cracking of easter eggs and the murmur of prayer, there can still be heard the small, faint voice which reminds us that our ecological hubris must eventually be greeted by nemesis.

    http://www.monbiot.com/archives/2005/03/22/god-of-the-soil/

    TonyN: The first paragraph of the section of Monbiots article that you quoted in #132 begins, “My untested hypothesis is as follows”, which you omitted. And I don’t really want large chunks of Monbiot’s polemics cluttering up this blog. Just use a link.]

  34. 134
    manacker Says:

    TonyN, geoffchambers and E Smith

    I cannot add anything definitive to your discussion on Monbiot – i.e. whether his writings are more like those of a Nazi or a Communist.

    And I don’t know that it really makes much of a difference (the two seem rather similar to me, as a Swiss, who has been fortunate enough never to have been exposed directly to either form of totalitarian repression).

    Vaclav Klaus, President of the Czech Republic, believes that the movement espousing AGW hysteria is an anti-democratic one, which is using flawed pseudo-science as propaganda to increase the power of non-elected (in other words, non-democratic) international bureaucrats and politicians.

    Klaus (unlike most of us bloggers here) has spent most of his life under a totalitarian rule, so he may have a somewhat better feel for this than we all do.

    Here is a link to a recent opening speech by Klaus at the Global Warming Policy Foundation, from the Bishop Hill site.
    http://bishophill.squarespace.com/blog/2010/10/29/vaclav-klaus-video.html

    Klaus cites a Nobel Prize winning physicist, Robert B. Laughlin, who tells us

    Climate change… is something that the Earth routinely does on its own without asking anyone’s permission – far from being responsible for damaging the Earth’s climate, civilization might not be able to forestall any of these changes, once the Earth has decided to make them.

    Climate is beyond our power to control.

    Klaus points out that the global warming hysteria is based on faulty pseudo-science, citing the discredited Mann hockey stick, which purported to show that recent warming was unusual and which was used as an icon for the AGW hypothesis in the Third Assessment Report of the IPCC, as an example.

    Klaus quotes John Dawson on the hockey stick:

    It was the product of a pseudo-scientific mindset, faulty data selection, erroneous data identification, dubious statistical methodology, flawed mathematics, a perverted peer-review process, a frenzied propaganda campaign and unscrupulous defence mechanisms.

    (Here is a link to the complete article by John Dawson on the hockey stick.)
    http://www.quadrant.org.au/magazine/issue/2010/7-8/the-tree-ring-circus

    Klaus ends his speech with this prescient statement:

    We should be prepared to adapt ourselves to all kinds of future climate changes, including cooling, but we should never accept losing our freedom.

    This is strong stuff from a political and intellectual heavyweight, who knows what the loss of freedom really means, and which directly refutes the ramblings of the intellectual lightweight, George Monbiot.

    Just my opinion, guys.

    Max

  35. 135
    E Smith Says:

    manacker

    Ther difference is that Nazism was an ultra conservative environmental philosophy opposed to technological progress as a fundamental principle. That is exactly what Monbiot wrote in the article.

    Over 60 million people who knew the difference between communism and nazism died in WWI.

    [TonyN: You are confusing Monbiot's article with the one by Musser that you mentioned in an earlier comment. Your line of argument is going nowhere and if you persist then I will snip your comments]

    The same philosophy was expounded by Batman’s

  36. 136
    E Smith Says:

    Sorry

    An extreme version of the same philosophy was expounded by Batman’s enemy Ra’s al Ghul and seen in the film Batman Begins.

    Ra’s al Ghul viewed the human race as a virus that had to be destroyed before it destroyed nature.

  37. 137
    E Smith Says:

    TonyN

    “My untested hypothesis is as follows”, does not change the fact that is his point of view, and it was not misleading to omit it. It was confusing clutter at the start of the passage.

    The fundamental opposition to progress is clear in this article and the vast majority of Monbiot’s Guardian blogs. I have put him on my ecofascist page tonight. He wasn’t there before. I don’t have anything personal against him or any other public figure.

    It would be good to know who you were and some background on your interest in the subject.

    [TonyN: Then take some time to read the 200 or so posts on this blog]

    Many people are confused about the difference between left and right wing politics and AGW has mistakenly portrayed as a left wing cause. Most of the genuine (non corporate) left wing material I have seen is anti AGW.

    Most opposition comes from the libertarian, capitalist right which is confusing, especially to Americans. I like to know if the person I am dealing with is right wing.

  38. 138
    E Smith Says:

    TonyN

    [TonyN: You are confusing Monbiot’s article with the one by Musser that you mentioned in an earlier comment. Your line of argument is going nowhere and if you persist then I will snip your comments]

    I was saying that Monbiot agreed with the Nazi philosophy, you f* dimwit.

    Let me guess Tony. You weren’t the top of the class at school and you never made it to university. You don’t understand the Monbiot article. Why don’t you just admit it. The Musser article is more your level. Hitler was a bad man, the type your mummy told you to avoid.

    [Then take some time to read the 200 or so posts on this blog]

    I didn’t even read this one and that’s the truth !! It degenerated into confusing drivel almost immediately. Why didn’t you just write a summary ?

    These people are making morons out of you because they are lying through their teeth. Not too difficult a task mind you.

    [TonyN: That's your last comment on this blog.]

  39. 139
    geoffchambers Says:

    Manacker #134

    I read the Klaus speech, and I thought it very good. He’s a favourite hate figure of the European Greens, because of his opposition to further European integration, as well as to global warming.
    Monbiot is neither communist nor fascist. He’s a radical, anti-authoritarian journalist in a long English tradition. You don’t need to be an intellectual heavyweight to do his job, you just need to be independent of all ideologies.
    Since he, and the entire centre-left press, have adopted global warming as their central policy, there is a serious lack of a radical critical voice in British politics.
    Read the comments on any Guardian article (not just global warming) and you’ll see the readers crying out for a radical left-wing critique of contemporary politics which isn’t wedded to the absurd anti-scientific creed of environmentalism.

  40. 140
    manacker Says:

    geoffchambers

    Regarding your 31 October post, sorry for delay in responding.

    It appears, from what you write, that the AGW hysterics have kidnapped not only the real environmental movement, but also the “radical critical voice in British politics”.

    Too bad.

    Max

  41. 141
    geoffchambers Says:

    Manacker
    I imagine your “too bad for the radical critical voice in British politics” message was ironic. Let me explain.
    Both the Independent and the Guardian are in financial difficulties and may disappear, leaving Britain with no centre-left newspaper comparable to le Monde, La Repubblica, or the Suddeutsche Zeitung. The scandal rag Private Eye has traditionally been a source of news considered untouchable by the mainstream. All these three journals are wholly committed to the global warming story. It is perfectly conceivable that the pseudo-science might be demolished, Mann and Hansen disgraced, and a large part of the British population would remain in the dark (literally, with their wind-powered generators).
    In these circumstances, the action of independent-minded critical journalists is critical for informing the public. This is the origin of my somewht obsessional interest in the Guardian Environment Site and it’s figurehead journalist George Monbiot.

  42. 142
    peter geany Says:

    Geoff I understand where you are coming from. I am a firm believer in checks and balances, something we don’t have in either our current press or in our politics. Whatever my own beliefs,I can divorce them from the fact that we need debate on a whole range of subjects that currently just don’t get aired.

  43. 143
    Harry Denfeeld Says:

    Geoff

    You are a complete simpleton. There is no such thing as an independent journalist these days.

  44. 144
    TonyN Says:

    I’ve moved some comments about Mensa’s bright idea from this thread to the New Statesman thread here:

    http://ccgi.newbery1.plus.com/blog/?p=274&cp=18#comment-102095

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