A Weblog monitoring coverage of environmental issues and science in the UK media. By Professor Emeritus Philip Stott. The aim is to assess whether a subject is being fairly covered by press, radio, and television. Above all, the Weblog will focus on science, but not just on poor science. It will also bring to public notice good science that is being ignored because it may be politically inconvenient.

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Iffy and grandstanding 'global warming' - a serious article that says it all.....

Being away in Canada, one frets a tad that one has not been able to do one's daily bit to halt the flood of 'global warming' rhetoric and rubbish in the UK and elsewhere. But today, The Washington Post, of all newspapers, carries a seminal piece. One could do no better. So everybody, just read this - and pray for such common sense and logic to begin to mature the infantile debate in the UK media:

'Greenhouse hypocrisy' (The Washington Post, June 29):
"Almost a decade ago I suggested that global warming would become a 'gushing' source of political hypocrisy. So it has. Politicians and scientists constantly warn of the grim outlook, and the subject is on the agenda of the upcoming Group of Eight summit of world economic leaders. But all this sound and fury is mainly exhibitionism - politicians pretending they're saving the planet. The truth is that, barring major technological advances, they can't (and won't) do much about global warming. It would be nice if they admitted that, though this seems unlikely.

Europe is the citadel of hypocrisy.....

.....What we have now is a respectable charade. Politicians and advocates make speeches, convene conferences and formulate plans. They pose as warriors against global warming. The media participate in the resulting deception by treating their gestures seriously. One danger is that some of these measures will harm the economy without producing significant environmental benefits. Policies motivated by political gain will inflict public pain. Why should anyone applaud?"

Iffy science, European hypocrisy, political grandstanding and exhibitionism, a sensible focus on energy and technology, and a balanced view of the nature of climate change ... there is only one other thing to add, for many the most unpalatable truth: on this issue, President Bush has got it just about right!

Philip, eagerly beavering away to cut down logs to dam up all the UK gushing. It's time to pulp The Gloomiad and The Indy for my new Lodge. "Salmonberries for tea, everyone?" "What's that in The Daily Gnaw then?"

Monday, June 27, 2005

'Oh to be from Britain now the G8's there'.....

Reading online yesterday's The Observer (vitriolic summary courtesy of the ever-excellent Daily Ablution), it was with an intense sense of relief that I find myself in beautiful downtown Vancouver, a third of a world away from the Billy Graham-style religious fervour now attending the upcoming G8 Summit in Scotland. Have you ever read such apocalyptic latterday ranting? Who can question that, in the UK, 'global warming' has become the faith for our North London/East Anglian media masses? They cry out for you to confess your sins in tub-thumping old revivalist style. It is truly dreadful. Thank goodness, therefore, that I am over here in Canada, looking down on Burrard Inlet and Stanley Park, and not at home having to digest all the uncritical hype. It will surely end in tears - and it will eventually pass, like all 'revivals'. But for the moment, we must endure the hysteria or, like me, flee the beaters of tambourines and the pious preachers.

Yet, how civilized and calming it is to be able to open over the hash browns at breakfast two leading Canadian newspapers in which the phrases 'global warming' and 'climate change' do not even appear. It is like finding sanity in a fever hospital.

What is more, the friendly folk of Vancouver seem to be singularly unimpressed by the 'global warmers' (fewer fruit and nuts and more jacuzzis than in California, I suspect), having suffered a rather poor start to summer, with much low cloud and below average temperatures.

So here are seven great reasons why Canada will never meet those bar(l)my Kyoto targets:-

(a) In Vancouver, there are surely more patio heaters than in the whole of the United Kingdom put together - and yesterday evening (coolish), they were all at full blast keeping my seafood pasta at Italian temperatures. "Pooop! Poop! Poop! Pooop!" as the little clock says in Gastown;

(b) There are more SUVs in a single street than on a whole UK school run - indeed, Vancouver doesn't have suburbs, more suvurbs;

(c) The lovely diminutive sea planes (those gorgeous twin-engined sea otters) rev up with immense vigour as they sweep around from Canada Place to cross the forested ridges and the islands to visit that 'Twee Little England with Mountains', Victoria, where the most engaging place to take lunch is unquestionably the Members' Dining Room in the B.C. Parliament Buildings (a hidden gem);

(d) Despite frequent 'No Idling' signs, Vancouver drivers appear to idle their time away with the best;

(e) The jacuzzi at my hotel never ceases to swish and to swirl - Canada is the land of 'The Bear and the Hot Tub' (a potential name for Ye Olde English Pub in Victoria? Too grizzly to contemplate!);

(f) Smart developments are going up everywhere, as Vancouver becomes a port city of the future - some of the buildings along Bayshore, and in the West End, being 'post-post-modern', glass-glinting wonders - simply stunning;

(g) In yuppie Yaletown, there are more designer dogs to go with the designer youth than even the designer cars - and even I winced at the designer dog lead shops! Quite barking.

Thus, 'though my hotel blandly declares that "Environmentality (sic) is a global effort" (saves money on the linen?), I am thankfully far, far away from the self-righteous cant of an overheated UK. Canada talks PC Green, but lives, thank goodness, in the real world.

And who can doubt the mighty benefits of globalisation in a port like Vancouver, a city where that wood-burning marvel, No. 347, first linked the West and the East by rail and where tall-masted ships began a tale of trade that has circumnavigated the world and made Vancouver the joy it is today, a modern marvel looking both west and east on the mighty Pacific Rim? I have seen the future, and Mr. Monbiot and all his ilk are just plain wrong.

And such relief - no British 'bible' bashing! This is what I call a holiday. You should get over here quick - The Gloomiad is promising a 30-page climate change blockbuster for June 30th! Escape the nonsense while you can!

Philip, maple syrup all round on the waffle. Lunch - oysters? Yummie. Must clam up now. "See ya, Guys."

[New counter, June 19, 2006, with loss of some data]

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