Milking the (climate) system, Irish-style

Below, article as it appears in the current edition of ‘Village’ magazine. (I co-authored this piece with Paul Price).

“IT IS DIFFICULT to get a man to understand something when his salary depends upon his not understanding it”. Novelist Upton Sinclair’s famous observation could well have been describing Agriculture Minister, Simon Coveney, a rare ambitious and ascending star on an otherwise jaded Fine Gael front bench.

Coveney’s understanding of the most basic of scientific facts will clearly not encumber his possible trajectory towards the goal of being Cork’s first Taoiseach since Jack Lynch. So, when Coveney appeared on a recent edition of RTE’s PrimeTime, only the thinnest of smiles betrayed the fact that he was selling a series of fat porkies on national television.

Coveney’s claim that the Irish dairy herd could be expanded by over 300,000 cows in the next five years “while maintaining the existing carbon footprint of the agriculture sector” is, he must well know, nonsensical.  To defend it, he engaged in some unconvincing waffle about higher yields per animal somehow magically offsetting the massive increase in our national herd.

This manifest nonsense is blown out of the water by data from the Environmental Protection Agency, which show that methane (CH4) emissions from ‘enteric fermentation’ in Irish dairy cows actually increased, from 101kg per head per annum in 1990 to almost 113kg per head in 2012.  Methane is a potent greenhouse gas, at least 28 times more powerful as a heat-trapping gas per molecule than CO2. The reason for the large increase in as few as 20 years? Almost certainly, it’s greater dairy intensification. So much for Coveney’s blarney about higher yields lowering emissions.

This sleight of hand also conceals a much wider truth about the nature of greenhouse gas emissions. And that is, what goes up, for all intents and purposes, stays up. Each year’s emissions are yet another warming addition to the human-caused accumulation in Earth’s atmosphere. So, even levelling annual emissions adds to total emissions and climate risk.

It is the sum of accumulated emissions to date, and the future emissions we choose to add to that absolute total that counts, not any efficiency measure such as emissions per animal or per kilogramme of milk or beef.  The atmosphere does not care about ‘efficiency’ or ‘yield’ it just traps more heat as humans add to the sum total amount of resident greenhouse gases.

This is important because anyone who tries to argue that improving efficiency somehow reduces emissions does not understand reality, or does not want us to. Simply put, any given global warming policy limit, such as the 2ºC Ireland has signed up to, has a related amount of remaining emissions that can ever be emitted.  Taking from Ireland’s share of the global carbon budget is a zero-sum game; more, used now by us, simply means less for others, elsewhere or in the future.

In opposition, Coveney had a clear grasp of the reality of climate change. Indeed, he spoke publicly that what he knew about the science of climate change “sent shivers down my spine”. But of course, Coveney was merely the Environment Spokesperson then, and free to speak truthfully since he had no actual political power.

That was then. Since becoming Agriculture Minister, Coveney has quickly embraced the first rule of his office: keep the IFA off your back. And the IFA has applied its formidable muscle to vehemently opposing even the most modest steps towards addressing climate change. This is deeply ironic given that agriculture is, by definition, highly weather-dependent, and therefore uniquely exposed to the impacts of the very same climate change that farmers’ leaders are busy convincing themselves and us is “not our problem”.

The IFA is following the same mad, tragic logic as the global fishing lobby which has stymied every effort at imposing science-based fisheries quotas and which, in its thirst for short-term gain, is systematically wiping out the very basis of their livelihood for the future.

While Coveney is snared by his ambitions, and the IFA blindsided by its inability to think strategically, where are the expert advisors in all this? Teagasc is the semi-state body, 75% paid for by Irish and EU taxpayers, that supports science-based innovation in the agri-food sector. Is Teagasc’s definition of ‘carbon footprint’ the same as climate science’s ‘sum total’?  No, it is not. Instead Teagasc repeatedly redefines carbon footprint as ‘production efficiency’ based on emissions per unit product.

Nowhere is this clearer than in the 2011 publication Irish Agriculture, Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Climate Change: opportunities, obstacles & proposed solutions, in which, Section 3.4, “From absolute emissions to emission intensities” spells out the codology:

Under Section 5(9) of the Climate Change Response Bill, sectoral plans must account for the need to (a) promote sustainable development, (b) safeguard economic development, (c) take advantage of economic opportunities within and outside the State and d) be based on scientific research. Under these criteria, Teagasc contends that an ‘absolute emissions’ metric is inappropriate for the agricultural sector. (our emphasis).

The Earth’s climate system is entirely indifferent to economic imperatives. All that matters is physics. X amount of additional emissions begets Y increase in average surface temperatures. And known increases mean measurable, extremely dangerous and largely irreversible impacts on all life on Earth, be it human, dairy-cow or polar-bear.

All that matters to the climate system is absolute emissions. For Teagasc, a body claiming to be science-driven, to describe this metric as “inappropriate for the agricultural sector” strongly suggests the organisation has undergone ‘agency capture’. Instead of being the arbiter of the best available scientific evidence, it sees itself as ‘pulling on the jersey’ for its many friends and colleagues in the agriculture sector, the people it works with every day, the people who it identifies with.

If the facts about the impacts of climate change are inconvenient or likely to create tensions between Teagasc, the Minister and the IFA, well, let’s find some other, less unpalatable facts, dress them up with some scientific-looking charts (while burying the uglier realities deep in the bowels of their reports) and, just like Coveney on PrimeTime, poof, the problem magically disappears.

Lest we forget, in October the EU agreed a new target of a 40% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions, and a 27% target for renewable energy use, by 2030. It also set a 27% target for improvements in energy efficiency. This is just 15 years away. Precisely how is Ireland planning to meet these binding obligations for dramatic emissions reductions at a time when Harvest 2020 adds millions of extra tonnes of emitted CO2 and methane? Perhaps every car in the country should be taken off the road and electricity rationed to six hours a day?

Given that agriculture, which accounts for some 30% of Ireland’s total annual emissions, has given two fingers to bearing any of the burden of emissions reductions, then clearly either the remaining two thirds of our emissions are going to have to virtually stop dead or, more likely, the whole exercise is another ghastly sham.

Globally, meat and dairying produces a colossal 14.5% of global emissions. That’s more than all the cars, trains, planes and ships in the world – combined. A recent Chatham House study in the UK found that the public grossly underestimated the carbon impact of agriculture. This lack of awareness is the main reason most people are unwilling to consider changing their diets away from meat and dairy-intensive choices.

Despite its massive contribution to climate change, beef and dairy “attracts remarkably little policy attention at either the international or national level”, the Chatham House study noted. “In the absence of policy, livestock will consume a larger and larger share of a rapidly-declining carbon budget”. Report author Rob Bailey added: “You can make a compelling case that without dietary change at the global level, the two-degrees goal is pretty much off the table”.

But as we see over and over again, one man’s global ecological disaster is another’s economic opportunity. By now it should be abundantly clear that Coveney and the IFA, aided by Teagasc, are not going to allow any number of uncooperative facts to get in the way of Ireland’s ambition to be the best little country in the world at trashing the planet.

John Gibbons is a specialist environmental writer & commentator

Paul Price has an MSc in Sustainable Development

ThinkOrSwim is a blog by journalist John Gibbons focusing on the inter-related crises involving climate change, sustainability, resource depletion, energy and biodiversity loss
This entry was posted in Global Warming, Irish Focus, Sustainability. Bookmark the permalink.

38 Responses to Milking the (climate) system, Irish-style

  1. Paul Price says:

    And here are the links to references:

    1. On methane per head “data from the Environmental Protection Agency”
    http://erc.epa.ie/safer/downloadCheck.jsp?isoID=21&rID=10174&atID=2282517

    2. Teagasc document: “the 2011 publication, Irish Agriculture, Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Climate Change: opportunities, obstacles & proposed solutions”
    http://www.teagasc.ie/publications/2011/61/61_ClimateBillSubmission.pdf

    3. “Chatham House study.”
    Livestock – Climate Change’s Forgotten Sector: Global Public Opinion on Meat and Dairy Consumption
    http://www.chathamhouse.org/sites/files/chathamhouse/field/field_document/20141203LivestockClimateChangeBaileyFroggattWellesley.pdf

  2. econroy says:

    Well done again John, and to Paul for his input.

  3. Paul Holden says:

    But Teagasc were working with handcuffs on. If the Climate Change Response Biill says that they have to respond without any change to the prevailing, and demonstrably failed, economic model, they are being asked to create a square circle. The only game in town for economists and politicians seems to be growth. Michael Noonan was recently quoted as saying that we could reasonably expect 5% growth a year for the next ten years. In other words we can continue to consume resources without any thought for the future. Continuous growth is clearly unsustainable, if not a logical impossibility. The same belief system holds that the rising tide of growth lifts all boats and is a satisfactory way of dealing with inequality. Also clearly false.
    We need a policy of degrowth, and an alternative economic model, based on different values. May be difficult to sell this, however, to a population that regards the last few years as austerity. Or that regards water charges as the ultimate indignity.
    Interesting that the pope is planning an encyclical on the subject.
    And that the Club of Rome’s predictions are proving to be remarkably accurate (http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/sep/02/limits-to-growth-was-right-new-research-shows-were-nearing-collapse).

  4. Morfinn says:

    It might be worth noting that we humans have no control over “climate change”! The propaganda of “carbon emissions” etc is pure nonsense in my opinion. CO2 is a naturally occurring gas. The implication of “cutting our emissions” is tantamount to saying we want people to stop breathing & trees to , well stop being trees.

    The oxygen/carbon dioxide cycle is part of nature.
    CO2 constitutes 0.04 % of air. How much of that is anthropogenic given that most of it comes from the sea & nature in general.The idea that by slapping on a few cents on a bale of briquettes to prevent people , not only keeping warm, but somehow discouraging them from using fossil fuels & thereby cutting a fraction of a fraction of a percent of “emissions” would be laughable if it wasn’t so manipulative & sinister. As for stopping cows farting…ha ha ha. Wake Up people.

    What effects climate is the Sun & the Moon & the distance of the Earth from each at the various cycles that the Earth goes through causing Ice Ages, warm periods etc. Apart from that there are earthquakes,& volcanoes. is there a Green Party bill to deal those as well?
    CO2 emissions are one thing but POLLUTION is an entirely different matter.
    There seems to be confusion amongst our earnest environmental brethren
    Zero Emissions ????.Ha Ha Ha ha HAH!!!

    Whether i get my car NCTd or not does not make a blind bit of difference. Carbon Tax is a scam. I do believe that most “Environmentalists” believe all the garbage about carbon footprints & Al Gores propaganda. I used to as well until I woke up & actually had a look at the evidence.
    Check out the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics people.

  5. CoilinMacLochlainn says:

    Hi Morfinn, – I am surprised there is still anyone like you out there, with no notion of the existential crisis we are now in. You need to read up on this and get your head around it, it is really serious shit. After that, you can pontificate to your heart’s content, but I suspect that once you get wise to what’s happening you won’t be so quick to give us your tuppence worth. But fair dues for trying.

  6. CoilinMacLochlainn says:

    You’re right on every front, Paul. It is difficult to get Teagasc to take this problem seriously. They are stuck in the groove, in the idea that agriculture based on fossil fuel energy will go on forever, but it can’t, and it won’t, it is pretty near over.

    Now is the time for Teagasc to be reskilling farmers and advising local communities on making them ready for life after fossil fuels. Are they doing this? From what I hear on ‘Ear to the Ground’ they don’t actually have their ear to the ground, they are wearing blindfolds, holding their hands to their ears and bleating ‘I can’t hear you, I can’t hear you!’. In other words, not really helping the mainstream farmer prepare for the inevitable shock. Sure, they are encouraging small, alternative enterprises, but they are not telling the big guys that a monumental upheaval is on the way and they should be aware of it.

    People may laugh when you say it, but that time is very close now. It could happen within the next ten years. Twenty years. I don’t know for sure but I know it is upon us and I know the country as a whole is not preparing for it. It needs to. Simon Coveney would not be the person to go to for advice on this.

  7. Morfinn says:

    Hi Colin,
    That is very gracious of you, In fact I too am surprised. being one of the vanguard of “green people” over the years I am surprised that I have gone this far & only recently noticed that the “movement” of greater awareness was somewhere hi-jacked . i first had my suspicions when George W decided to swap sides & declare that , ‘yes climate change IS man made’. Hmm , I thought, who got him to say that? And Why ?
    Then, somehow, being environmentally aware transformed from being mindful of the Earths resources in to a political agenda of taxing people for heating themselves & using transport.
    This is where some genius had the eureka moment & said “we can turn these damn tree huggers around & work for US” !!!
    Now we have sheeple out marching with placards saying “Zero Emissions” !
    Poor people. Duped by the Government funded IPCC & suckled by the media.
    Do you not remember Climate gate whereby certain scientists were found to be manipulating facts to suit their “model” /agenda ?

    I do not believe in being On One Side or Another Side… that is formatory thinking & leads to divisiveness. It is not either /or. The facts are that the Earth and the Sun have their cycles/lives & there is F.A we can do about it.

    Facts about gas…do I have to go in to this ? It rises & cools because the distance between the molecules increase. That is why it is colder the higher up you go .It’s called the Adiabatic Ratio. I think it is 2 derees for every 1000 feet.
    The idea that the atmosphere heats the planet goes against basic science or even common sense.
    God Help Us !!!

  8. Morfinn says:

    Colin/ Paul
    The supply of Energy! There are certain criteria:
    Can the source provide
    1. Large amounts of energy
    2. Reliable supply
    3. A Dispatchable supply with a compact infrastructure.
    4. Economical
    5. Ability to respond to demand fluctuations.

    Apart from fossil fuels , what energy supplies can do this?

    I am aware of inventions by various people that have been “stolen” ,
    for lack of a better word by those companies whose interest it is to
    sell fossil fuel.
    This is the issue. Alternative means ARE available.
    I do not mean the likes of Wind-Power which having being an advocate of, I now realise is probably more environmentally damaging than fossil fuel because of not only its environmental impact but also its inefficiency.

    being a vegetarian I would love to blame beef & dairy farming as being a villain of the piece. They are to a certain extent but only a minor one. The amount of land given over to livestock could be put to better use for tillage.
    One of the most important issues we face is GMO & the right to control our
    food. Seed !!

  9. CoilinMacLochlainn says:

    Yes, Morfinn, you do have to go into it, because your post clearly indicates you have no understanding of the greenhouse effect or how increasing carbon emissions are detrimental to life on the planet. Where have you been living in the last 20 years? Please do some reading and inform yourself of our predicament.

    Get back to us when you have got to grips with the problem and have some understanding of why it is existential as opposed to political, i.e. not something that was dreamt up to score political points or serve a climate change industry but to save us from extinction.

    By the way, when I say ‘detrimental to life on the planet,’ what I mean is that life as we know it is in grave danger and we have only a decade or two to ensure that the human species will survive into the future.

    What the cost of our survival will be to the rest of the Earth’s living creatures is not yet known, but, under the present economic system and land management strategies, most species are being pushed towards extinction by our rapacious and insatiable ransacking of the Earth’s resources and natural habitats. And that may prove our undoing too, as the Earth’s life support systems collapse.

  10. Morfinn says:

    Colin,
    I completely agree with your comments about ransacking the Earths’ resources & natural habitats .
    Palm Oil is a big culprit along with fracking or at least uncontrolled fracking.

    I am not an apologist for “big business” etc.

    You asked me to look at the issue of Greenhouse Gases. OK. Have you ?

    The following is taken from World Meteorological Organisation website;

    “The build-up of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere alters the radiative balance of the atmosphere.
    The net effect is to warm the Earth’s surface and the lower atmosphere because greenhouse gases absorb some of the
    Earth’s outgoing heat radiation and reradiate it back towards the
    surface. ”

    So, from a book I am currently reading I will paraphrase;

    ‘Greenhouse gases (so called) are part of the atmosphere.Warmed by the infra red these gases quickly lose their heat by convection.These gases DO NOT HEAT ANYTHING. Nor can they “trap” anything, least of all heat.By what possible means can a CO2 molecule heat the other molecules of Nitrogen & Oxygen ? By what means could they (gases) warm the atmosphere? By re-radiating downwards? If that were possible it would have been demonstrated before now. There is no such demonstration.’
    I think , to put it simply. heat only exists if it is generated.
    According to 2nd Law of Thermodynamics it then cools.
    Re-Radiate ???

    Just try getting your own head around that for a day or so & if you dont like it you can screw the other AGW head back on again.
    If you would like some info on the corelation of CO2 presence in the atmosphere versus Global temperature see http://www.co2science.org/

    Of course the idea of “global temperature” is dodgy as well given that the temp in Cork is different than Wexford as it is between Brisbane & Bonn.
    I’m only saying !!!

  11. Paul Holden says:

    Morfinn,
    You are obviously well meaning, but i’m not sure about the quality of some of your sources. You cite an (unnamed) book that takes a stance that appears to be opposed to that of the vast majority of experts in the field. You seem to believe that climate scientists all over the world have somehow been duped into a conspiracy by governments or big businesses, despite the fact that their findings have implications for governments and big businesses that are directly opposed to the interests of businesses and governments that are committed to the current economic model.
    Alternative means are available, you say, but alternative means of sustaining the current economic model and continuing economic growth indefinitely are simply NOT available. Resources are finite. We have to face this fact and develop a model that allows us to live with a finite planet. For us in the rich part of the world, it means accepting a significant lowering of our standards of living in order to ensure a reasonable standard for those in the other nine tenths.

  12. johngibbons says:

    Paul, Coilin, it’s pretty clear the anonymous ‘Morfinn’ is just another climate troll. He is following the troll playbook of being semi-plausible, half-quoting sources, mixing them up and passing himself off as somehow interested in a real debate. He isn’t. (how do I suspect it’s a “he”? Because 99% of trolls are male saddos).

    You’ll find variants of anonymous ‘Morfinn’ trolls on pretty much every climate related website. And whenever people start quoting the 2nd law of thermodynamics at you, rest assured you have a troll on your hands! JG

  13. Morfinn says:

    Paul,
    In answer to your questions. Book referred to is Climate For The Layman by Anthony Bright Paul.
    The interesting thing about this particular book is that it uses correspondence between the author & scientists who are experts in the field to develop the argument.
    Your statement “You seem to believe that climate scientists all over the world have
    somehow been duped into a conspiracy by governments or big businesses,”.. is incorrect. There are SOME scientists who are employed by the IPCC which is funded by the UN , I believe. So , the United Nations for example have a policy document called Agenda 21.
    If you start joining the dots here you will see how this ties up with IPCC agenda. Social Engineering is what it is called I believe.
    Does “Big Business” suffer ? No.
    Does the Government Suffer ? No,.
    Do the people who have no choice but to pay whatever tax the government decide to levy on fuel suffer ? YES
    The alternative means I refer to are, for example , those developed by Tesla, Victor Schauberger, Wilhelm Reich,Bruce De Palma, Stan Meyers ( murdered), I personally know someone who went to university with someone who developed an engine powered by water. The student/inventor disappeared without trace along with his invention.
    You seem to be surprised that a government and their agents should dupe the public? Really ???
    The reasons that these inventions are NOT available is because those in control of the energy choose for them not to be.
    I would suggest ,in particular, that you bone up on Victor Schauberger.
    The “facts” that we have to face Paul are that we are being screwed by those in power. The way they are doing it is by making people like you & me believe that we have to be taxed for breathing ( literally CO2), heating, cooking, travelling. Basically taxed for energy to make life happen.
    Am I “Well Meaning ” ?? Bloody right I am. You & all those of us who wish for a future for our children are potentially the agents of our own destruction unless we wake up .

  14. Morfinn says:

    John,
    I must be hitting a nerve. Interesting, Personal insults now because logic will not work ?
    i would think that there is probably not much point in arguing with you but I can say that I am not a “troll”.
    What I am is a man who is concerned about his environment & his own life & that of his family.
    Accept it. Just me !

  15. Paul Holden says:

    OK, i don’t propose to argue science with you, as you are clearly not a scientist snd nor am I. And nor is Anthony Bright Paul. The best analogy I can give you is not mine, but it goes like this: suppose you are driving a car towards a bridge over a ravine, and your children and grandchildren are in the car with you, and you know that 98% of the world’s specialist bridge engineers had condemned the bridge as unsafe, and stated categorically that it would not support the weight of a car. Would you continue to drive over the bridge because a retired schoolteacher who admitted having no knowledge of bridge engineering but was approaching the subject from a logical and philosophical perspective said that he believed the engineers were being duped and were engaged in a massive hoax?

  16. Janus Stark says:

    Paul,
    Thank you for making me smile.
    I don’t know where the figure 98% comes from and just because I cite ONE source of information does not mean I agree with everything that particular author says either.
    The real issue here is that we as (hopefully) rational people need to look at the information we are being given and question it.
    There is a lot of second hand verbiage coming from people who just like you & me are not scientists.
    As with life my personal axiom is “do not believe anything you do not understand”.
    Verify.
    Can you answer to yourself that you are in 100% agreement with the proposal that human beings are warming the planet through their emissions of Carbon Dioxide?
    So , as we are hurtling along in the car toward that bridge & I turn to you and ask that question will you answer truthfully and not drive over the bridge when you might find something on the other side worth the effort?

  17. Morfinn says:

    Paul,

    In your article can you explain to me what a “heat trapping gas” is please?

  18. Paul Holden says:

    Janus,
    Actually, i believe loads of things I don’t understand. I believe in gravity, but i don’t understand it. I believe that NASA just landed a craft on a piece of rock some millions of miles away, but i haven’t a clue how they managed it. Hell, i believe when i turn on a light switch the light comes on, but i have only the vaguest notion how that happens.
    But you have made clear that there is a big difference between us. You are prepared to risk the lives of the people you love most against the advice of the world’s experts in the hope that by taking this gamble, you will have a better future. I’m not.

  19. Anthony Bright-Paul says:

    Amazing!
    …And that is, what goes up, for all intents and purposes, stays up. Each year’s emissions are yet another warming addition to the human-caused accumulation in Earth’s atmosphere. So, even levelling annual emissions adds to total emissions and climate risk.
    What pure balderdash! What goes up stays up? Has the writer never played golf or cricket? Has he never heard of gravity? On the other hand it is true that hot waters rise, as ‘smokers’ in the oceans, as steam rises out of a kettle of boiling water, as hot gases rise up as in a balloon. But to say that these gases somehow stay put is the height of ignorance. The atmospheres are some 62 miles high wrapped round a globe that is hurtling round the Sun, and wobbling as it goes. Since the Met Office tells us every day with wonderful charts winds are blowing all the time, not only in the Troposphere but also in the Stratosphere – ever heard of the Jet stream? Now some heat escapes to Outer Space, by radiation. This causes cooling. What helps in this radiation to space? Why none other than our friend Carbon Dioxide. The idea that emissions of Carbon Dioxide could possibly cause warming is simply nonsense. The atmosphere is turbulent and changes 360 time in every hour. There is no static state. As hot gases rise they cool by convection. Everything that is above absolute zero is radiating its heat away. Thank God for the Sun, without whose radition we would be a frozen Planet bereft of life.

  20. CoilinMacLochlainn says:

    Of course I believe 100% that human beings are warming the planet. This has been obvious from the get go. Tyndall, an Oxford scientist who grew up in Leighlinbridge, Carlow, first warned of the global warming problem in around 1850 and his work has been added to monumentally ever since. The reason he studied the question is because he could see that the industrial revolution was fuelled by extensive burning of coal and he worried about its impact on the atmosphere. The discovery of oil led to atmospheric pollution on a scale that Tyndall probably could not have imagined and is now the gravest threat to our continued existence, as well as that of most life forms on Earth.

    We have been receiving warnings from scientists from the mid-1980s that, unless we stopped burning of fossil fuels, we would eventually destroy the ability of the planet to support life. That is where we are now, within decades of destroying life on Earth, barring a few microbes tolerant of extremes.

    The only road we can take now to save ourselves is to eliminate fossil fuels completely from our energy equations. We must power down and find ways of living within the Earth’s means. This will require massive depopulation as quickly as possible but hopefully this can be planned and not be the result of war and famine. Though with Putin now threatening to engulf all of Europe in outright war, I am very fearful of the future.

    I have always advocated that the EU stick together through thick and thin and never even contemplate the departure of any member state, and I have opposed any suggestions that Ireland, or Greece, or any other member state, depart the union, as I firmly believe we need to stick together for political cohesion, military strength and for the communal sharing of resources. It now looks like all this is about to become very real in the EU and that we should be looking at political integration and a United States of Europe as soon as possible, ditto with banking and taxation.

  21. CoilinMacLochlainn says:

    No way, José. You are a troll, it’s obvious.

  22. Morfinn says:

    So, what is a “troll” anyway?
    I always thought it was a mythical being that lived under a bridge.
    Why do U call me that ?

  23. Morfinn says:

    “This will require massive depopulation as quickly as possible but
    hopefully this can be planned and not be the result of war and famine. T” …wow DEPOPULATION.. there we go ! Agenda 21.

  24. Morfinn says:

    Paul,
    No I dont think there is a difference really .U may misunderstand my position. M concern is that there are people , such as yourself, who quote “facts” given to them when they do not actually know if these facts are true or not.
    I am not making a case for or against AGW.
    I have “facts”levelled against my attemepts at objective discussion such as “98% of scientists “…’agree that Global warming is Man made’!

    To me , this sounds, at first juvenile, but on second look…propaganda.
    98% of WHO ?
    Who says ?
    98% of IPCC Scientists. ( Funded by the UN)
    98% of independent scientists outside of the IPCC ?
    98 % of ALL scientists in the world ( Russia, China, Ireland , Indnonesia etc etc,.
    98% of scientists who are experts in Climatology ?
    98% of those asked ( who happened to be scientists)
    My daughter , for example is a scientist.
    She was never asked for her opinion on Global warming.

    So, yes we agree.
    Let us observe & verify & remain skeptical.
    Core samples show ( (I believe) that there is a correlation between warming & production of CO2 but it shows that increase of emissions follow warming.
    That makes sense. Warming leads to greater life abundance which leads to greater CO2 ( & also O2 by the way)…

  25. Paul Holden says:

    Ok, i think we have taken this about as far as we can.
    I’m prepared to take the word of every, as in every, scientific body in the world that has expressed a view on the subject, across all relevant scientific disciplines, including earth sciences’ physics, climatology, and every, as in every, national science body and every international science organisation on the subject. You are prepared to accept the word of a retired schoolteacher who has no science background. I am not prepared to drive a car over the bridge with my kids and grandkids in the car. You are. You believe the IPCC is a giant conspiracy.I don’t. So i’m sorry, there is a vast difference between us.

  26. Morfinn says:

    Paul,
    Yes, there is a difference certainly in the way we process facts.
    For example your statement …”You are prepared to accept the word of a retired schoolteacher who has no science background” … is incorrect and somewhat derogatory to boot. I mentioned his (Anthony Bright Pauls) book for its’ approach to the so-called facts that many of us accept unquestioningly especially those of us who have NO SCIENCE BACKGROUND , such as yourself.
    I never said I accept ABPs opinion on science.
    I do accept his common sense approach & healthy skepticism.
    The fact is that his book is compiled of correspondence with those who DO HAVE A SCIENCE BACKGROUND & are experts in the field, seems to have been conveniently lost on you .
    As for my driving my family in a car over an unsafe bridge, well…
    As it is only an analogy I would say that…If the bridge seemed to be ok & I wanted to get to the other side but found that there were those who did not wish me to get there and those same people were paying the engineers (IPCC) to declare the bridge unsafe I would start asking questions…so here I am !

  27. Paul Holden says:

    Well, I’m glad that’s cleared up. So now your belief is that the IPCC is paying thousands of scientists in hundreds of universities, research bodies and professional organisations all over the world to invent and disseminate a myth? Could you explain how on earth they might go about doing this? Do you know anything at all about what the IPCC does or how it does it?

  28. johngibbons says:

    We know who Paul and Coilin are. My details are there for all to see. Our mystery contributor ‘Morfinn’ provides no clue as to his identity. I wonder why? Maybe in real life he’s a perfectly decent guy, and would be ashamed if people were to associate him with the lame conspiracy theorist aka ‘Morfinn’ under whose nom de plume he plies his furtive trade as an amateur climate change denier. How about it Morfinn, are you ready to drop the mask, man up and identify yourself? Mmm, didn’t think so. JG

  29. Morfinn says:

    Paul,
    Yes, I do. They gather information that suits their agenda from various “independent”scientists & turn it in to a report used to finfluence government policy as part of a wider agenda of the UN !
    An interesting article in Forbes Magazine regarding the funding of IPCC has the following to say…
    “Representative Luetkemeyer’s defunding proposal cites unsupportable IPCC claims based upon irresponsible science practices which were revealed in e-mail exchanges between climate researchers in the U.K.’s East Anglia University network.
    These communications provide clear evidence that leading global scientists intentionally manipulated data
    and suppressed legitimate opposing arguments in peer-reviewed journals.
    In some instances, collaborators were asked to delete and destroy incriminating e-mails rather than comply with legally-binding Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests”…..”

    The central FCCC strategy to fight what was promoted as
    “anthropogenic” (man-made) climate change was brilliant…to put a value credit on cutbacks in the amounts of carbon dioxide emitted by fossil-burning industries, and then let other industries that produced amounts of CO2 emissions in excess of their allocations, purchase credits from them.

    In other words, they would create a trading market to
    buy and sell air.
    Although IPCC is broadly represented to the public as the top
    authority on climate matters, the organization doesn’t actually carry out any original climate research at all.
    Instead, it simply issues assessments based upon supposedly independent surveys of published research. However, some of the most influential conclusions summarized
    in its reports have neither been based upon truly independent research, nor properly vetted through accepted peer- review processes.”

  30. Paul Holden says:

    You really need to get better informed on the IPCC and what it does, and stop giving credence to the views of ignorant — and dangerously ignorant — people who have their own vested interests in peddling nonsense. http://ngm.nationalgeographic.com/2015/03/science-doubters/achenbach-text

  31. johngibbons says:

    Breaking! Moon landings were faked! Vaccines cause autism! Evolution has been debunked! Climate change science is a conspiracy! Etc. etc.

  32. Morfinn says:

    I read your article by Joel Achenbach. That explains everything thanks. And there was I thinking daily doses of flouride was bad for me! Tsk !!

    He ends it with this…

    “Everybody should be questioning,” says McNutt. “That’s a
    hallmark of a scientist. But then they should use the scientific method, or trust people using the scientific method, to decide which way they fall on those questions.” We need to get a lot better at finding answers, because it’s certain the questions won’t be getting any simpler.”

    Hmm…TRUST?
    He means have faith ? Is faith not the quality in religion that certain people employ to believe what they do not understand? You say you are not a scientist & admit you are not qualified to hold a scientific opinion.

    Do you, despite the lessons of history believe in those taxing us for the fuel we use ? Science has been the new religion for a while now.
    Faith,as defined in the Spiritual Exercises of St Ignatius: “We should always be prepared so as never to err to believe that what I see as white is black,if the hierarchic Church defines it thus”…To quote Sartre on that…”Only this active faith held by the representatives of truth can save the subject from the mysterious ravages of history.He is not yet free of the universe of trial to which he is bound by the historic sentiment of fear.But, without this faith,he runs a perpetual risk of becoming, without having wised to do so & with the best intentions
    in the world, an objective criminal’.

  33. Morfinn says:

    What??? Moon landing faked? I seee..that explains the amazing camera work. Always wondered how the camera on the rover managed to track the landing module as it took off. I suppose that would also explain that despite the temperature ranging from +120 degrees centigrade to -150 degrees the magnificent men in their amazing space suits went uneffected as did their little camera which they managed to set up perfectly BEFORE they got off their space ship. Then again I was never on the moon so I only have that info about temperature second hand !!!Thanks for that John.

  34. Paul Holden says:

    I said I was not a scientist. I did not say I was not qualified to hold a scientific opinion. You ask whether I believe in those taxing us for the fuel we use. I’m not sure whether you mean do I believe in taxes, which I do, or do I believe that fuel should be taxed, which I also do, or whether I believe in the legitimacy of the elected Government, which I do, irrespective if the fact that I disagree with them on a whole variety of things.
    And you conflate a rational trust / faith in science and scientists with an irrational faith in religion. Do you, for example, have any ‘faith’ in doctors or dentists? Are you saying that you only have such ‘faith’ to the extent that you understand exactly what they do? Do you ever listen to the weather forecast? Do you trust it only to the extent that you understand the science of meteorology? Do you ever travel by plane? Do you trust it only to the extent that you understand the science of aerodynamics and the business of piloting? The world is a complex place, and really, we depend on experts for an awful lot of just getting by. Is your scepticism reserved solely for climate science or have you a more generalised distrust of people who are better educated?

  35. johngibbons says:

    Morfinn, you’re either (a) a genuinely funny guy or (b) the living embodiment of the Dunning-Kruger effect – not sure which…

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dunning–Kruger_effect

  36. Morfinn says:

    Paul,
    “Better educated” ? Excuse me?
    How does skepticism equate with qualification ?You say yourself that just because you are not a scientist it does not mean that you are not qualified to hold a scientific opinion.
    I find your argument illogical.
    As regards the “professional community” i.e doctors ,dentists etc I would say that the opinions of some can be trusted & some not.

  37. Morfinn says:

    John,
    I think that is what is called a false dilemma but it doesn’t mean that I couldn’t be both or (c) replying with the equal amount of sarcasm of your original post.

  38. Pingback: Every sector must pull its weight on curtailing climate change | ThinkOrSwim (the Climatechange.ie Blog)

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