Why environmentalists need to get angry, not just hold hands


by Sunny
26th April, 2010 at 2:22 pm    

Generally, I find the whole ‘let’s sing khumbaya’ attitude of many environmentalists quite annoying. The planet is burning up you people, stop being so happy and clappy! Get angry!

Did you hear about Earth Day? Neither did I, until I read the Climate Progress blog. Apparently nearly 100,000 people gathered in Washington DC.

That is over 10x the Tea Party rallies and yet it’s the latter that get all the attention. Why? Because people and the media are afraid of the Tea Party people. Those people are angry. Environmentalists on the other hand smile at each other and hug. Which is nice, for about five minutes, but what happened to the effigies people? What happened to the openly-visible firearms?

I’m only half joking. The unwillingness of many ‘environmentalists’ to get angry and take some direct action is why the media attention and public pressure is near zero. This is why I have more respect for groups like Climate Rush, Climate Chaos and Plane Stupid.


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  1. fatima.ahtesham — on 26th April, 2010 at 2:29 pm  

    Nice Article thanks for sharing this

  2. Dan — on 26th April, 2010 at 2:37 pm  

    Wow. In my experience, environmentalists are FAR more willing to take direct action than other movements. Greenpeace, for instance, has carved itself a pretty amazing niche, being focused on direct action while retaining a certain political acceptability and a wide-ranging supporter base. Or Earth First, or all the little affinity groups without names?

  3. halima — on 26th April, 2010 at 2:39 pm  

    Steady on, Sunny. The climate movement is a coalition of different groups, some do direct action, others do influencing and advocating, but all share a common objective. Saving the planet is a huge, huge task, we need everyone on board – including the happy clappy types you say that sing Khumabaya.

    I wanted to say, though, I heard Nick Stern speak for the vert first time a few weeks ago, and was blown away by how clear and convincing he was – and this was in front of a Chinese audience. You probably know that Nick Stern is the author of an influential report on the economics of climate change, and I don’t think I’ve ever heard anyone speak so effectively and energetically on the topic and make it easy. You’d never know he was once the chief economist at the World Bank …

  4. Kojak — on 26th April, 2010 at 2:53 pm  

    Earth Day?

    Yes I heard about it but only just after I was about to take a photo of a floodlit Alhambra Palace. I was having a nice drink at a bar on the hill opposite trying to judge when the light would be just right for me to press the shutter – and the lights went out to a cheer from crowd of crusty onlookers outside.

    If I was miffed it was nothing in comparison to the bar owner who’s terrace emptied within 5 minutes.

  5. Sunny — on 26th April, 2010 at 4:08 pm  

    I’ve interviewed him in the past – he’s brilliant. No wonder the denialists hate him.

  6. MaidMarian — on 26th April, 2010 at 4:35 pm  

    Sunny – the environmentalists do get angry, it’s just that since they hawked their support to the anti-capitalists they have had a bit of an image problem. I have no sympathy, they brought that on themselves.

    The anger just seems to have been transferred to the wierd and wonderful world of talkboards where the one dimensional, ‘you emit carbon, therefore you are scum,’ gets the full treatment from people who are just as, if not more so, professionally angry.

    If you live by the talkboard, you can die by the talkboard. It is a world where only the apocalyptic matters and green threats of the end of the world just started to wear thin. Worse, because it wore thin it left minor errors in IPCC reports very vulnerable to claims of exaggeration, because that was exactly the way talkboard greens operate.

    There is the other possibility that the article seems to overlook. What if the current levels of visible support we are seeing for the environmentalists IS their level of support. Nothing more nothing less. Too many greens seem to take ‘good will’ as being the same as ‘political support.’

    I happily identify as a conservation green. The carbon greens can go away. I’ll take my pasting now.

  7. Kismet Hardy — on 26th April, 2010 at 4:37 pm  

    Putting the mental into environmental

  8. cjcjc — on 26th April, 2010 at 5:45 pm  

    Of course Stern’s report sees more globalisation and more growth as part of the solution.
    So he and the “angry” crew are quite a long way apart, aren’t they?

  9. Naadir Jeewa — on 26th April, 2010 at 5:58 pm  

    “Sunny – the environmentalists do get angry, it’s just that since they hawked their support to the anti-capitalists they have had a bit of an image problem. I have no sympathy, they brought that on themselves.”

    I found in my time in ecological direct action is that they’re pretty much one and the same group of people. The anti-capitalist movement fell apart after 9/11, so much of the people and resources switched to the ecological direct action movement.

    The problem with the ecological direct action movement, compared to the tea parties is that they’re not a mass movement. Membership takes commitment–ideologically, financially and time-wise–that most people are not able to spare.
    Tea Parties don’t take much thought, and Fox News does the ideological/get-the-message-out work for them.

  10. Mango — on 26th April, 2010 at 6:18 pm  

    Sunny,

    I’ll tell you what makes me angry. Comfortably off, well-fed, well-clothed, Western-based Eco-mentalists (like you) doing their level best to prevent the Third World poor from having access to things like regular electricity, consumer goods, affordable flights and all the other good things that industrialisation brings, on the spurious grounds of global warming and the ‘world will end, really soon.. ish’ drivel.

    You think I exaggerate? Look at the response of my local Green Party, who now appear to have taken on the ‘White Man’s Burden’, regarding opposing the construction of a coal-powered power station for S. Africa.

    http://tinyurl.com/y3ztsww

    Here’s a simple question I asked you on a previous foray into this issue:

    Do you, like me want everyone in the ‘Poor South’ to have cars, fridges and air-conditioning or do you want them to walk everywhere, cook with brushwood and cow-dung and use oil lamps against the darkness?

    Easy question to answer, Sunny.

    p.s. Some twat called Gene of Greenpeace was last heard getting really angry and issuing death threats (since hastily and pathetically withdrawn).

    “We know who you are. We know where you live. We know where you work. And we be many, but you be few.”
    [Sounds very much like the stuff the NF/BNP/C18 generates]

  11. Boyo — on 26th April, 2010 at 7:02 pm  

    Have you got your Rick hat on?

    While it’s true the environment is an issue, environmentalists are mostly Zac and Jemima and you can’t help feeling Plane Stupid is more about ‘get those oiks off my easy jet’!

    Sorry – that’s why no real direct action – they don’t want to smear their future copy books.

  12. MaidMarian — on 26th April, 2010 at 7:11 pm  

    Naadir Jeewa – ‘Membership takes commitment–ideologically, financially and time-wise–that most people are not able to spare.’

    You missed out the most important bit – a commitment to live out the cause. Without that it all just looks like projecting guilt.

  13. damon — on 26th April, 2010 at 7:29 pm  

    The unwillingness of many ‘environmentalists’ to get angry and take some direct action is why the media attention and public pressure is near zero. This is why I have more respect for groups like Climate Rush, Climate Chaos and Plane Stupid.

    What do you want. More people going up onto the roof of the House of Commons and invading Stanstead airport?
    Getting angry like protesters do over Israel’s bombing of Gaza?

    Will it really make much difference?

    Maybe Sinn Féin show the required amount of single mined determination and militancy that’s required.

    http://www.anphoblacht.com/
    http://www.sinnfein.ie/

    But they only got where they are today on the back of the IRA.

  14. Lydon — on 26th April, 2010 at 7:36 pm  

    How long did it take you to row to Thailand?

    Talk about hypocracy

  15. douglas clark — on 26th April, 2010 at 7:37 pm  

    damon,

    We want Sunny Hundal, to get angry, but in a useful way, instead of a stupid way.

    He is currently too easy to wind up in a useless way.

    Least what I think….

    And that is not something you chum will discuss….

    We are wrong and he is right.

    Not.

    That is a difference, and one he cannot see…

  16. Naadir Jeewa — on 26th April, 2010 at 7:47 pm  

    11 – Well, I include living out the cause under ideology.

    I think there’s a big difference between those who believe in strong action on climate change because of the human cost (UN IPCC, Stern, etc…) and those who oppose climate change because of a green aesthetic. I just don’t think these two positions are commensurable. The latter groups treat you with enormous disrespect. That was my experience.
    And what really pissed me off? A bunch of white, middle-class subalterns in the middle of Tower Hamlets complaining about how they couldn’t attract Bengalis to their cause. Well, stop espousing your 18th-Century-aristocratic-romantic wish for the destruction of industrial civilisation and start to actually work on the basis that Bangladesh will sink beneath the waves without real, pragmatic action.
    People might give a toss then.
    Of course, if you said that, you’re shunned and treated as a possible police informant. It reminded me of Hizb-ut-Tahrir, all over again.

  17. douglas clark — on 26th April, 2010 at 7:52 pm  

    Naadir Jeewa @ 15

    Can I join you gang?

  18. MaidMarian — on 26th April, 2010 at 7:59 pm  

    Naadir – The way you tell it, it is as if the environmentalists are parodies of themselves already.

  19. Boyo — on 26th April, 2010 at 8:09 pm  

    Quite right though – the green movement is dominated by toffs cos it harks back to the industrial revolution and the loss of power of the landed gentry, serfs getting ideas above their station, etc…

    That’s why Cameron loves it. Maybe when the “progressive” left rediscovers class the likes of globe-trotting Sunny (perfect green parody) will geddit.

  20. Naadir Jeewa — on 26th April, 2010 at 8:18 pm  

    @17 @18 -

    I don’t discount all environmental issues, just that I emphasize those that negatively impact our future living conditions for us. That’s where the concern over climate change, and that’s why it matters.

    Also, modern environmentalism, although having its cultural roots in the landed class is a product of the collapse of the secure, middle-class, social welfare state. I don’t think Cameron cares about climate change other than out of appealing to the median voter.

    To that extent, it’s a universal, and not merely a class issue (ala The Risk Society). Though, the poor are going to be worse off than those who can f. off to their gated communities.

  21. Sunny — on 26th April, 2010 at 9:20 pm  

    How long did it take you to row to Thailand?

    Why do we still get idiot trolls here?

    Have I ever said I’m against airline flights? No I haven’t. I like Plane Stupid but I don’t believe stopping people from flying internationally is the answer.

  22. Ravi.Nk — on 26th April, 2010 at 9:53 pm  

    That is over 10x the Tea Party rallies and yet it’s the latter that get all the attention. Why? Because people and the media are afraid of the Tea Party people. Those people are angry.

    In my view, the media is obsessed with Tea Party rallies (and Sarah Palin) because they are a freak show. But most Americans do not really care about them – in fact, a recent poll taken a few days before Tax day found that they were less popular than the IRS.

    In general, I feel people are turned off by angry demonstrations. I believe the pressure should be on governments to provide incentives and information so that ordinary people can make informed choices about how to lead more green lifestyles.

  23. damon — on 27th April, 2010 at 1:03 am  

    I like Plane Stupid but I don’t believe stopping people from flying internationally is the answer.

    http://www.planestupid.com/

    Environmental campaign group, Plane Stupid, has deposited a large mound of manure outside the south London HQ of soft drink giant Red Bull. The move was prompted by the revelation that Red Bull has applied for planning permission to build an aerodrome opposite London City Airport.

    Three activists, dressed as ‘avenging air hostesses’ in wigs and mini-dresses the same colour as the company’s logo, crowned the mound with placards reading: ‘Red Bull-sh*t’, ‘Red Bull gives you (plane) wings’ and ‘No second runway by stealth.’

  24. dave bones — on 27th April, 2010 at 1:06 am  

    I didn’t know you were into direct action Sunny

  25. dave bones — on 27th April, 2010 at 1:13 am  

    I used to be into all that.

  26. Sunny — on 27th April, 2010 at 2:20 am  

    Oh I still love direct action.

    got a few planned in the coming months in fact :)

    Mango – have you ever heard of Lord Stern? Read up. I like what he says. Stop boring me with strawmen arguments: there are different paths to development.

  27. Mango — on 27th April, 2010 at 9:12 am  

    Sunny,

    Know of Stern & not impressed.

    This isn’t a matter of straw men, rather a very simple question, which you refuse to answer. Sad really.

    You’re usually so voluble on a whole host of issues.

    Why be so shy about telling us where you stand on the matter of the power station in S. Africa and the ability of peasants to have air-conditioning & cheap flights?

    If you are the Green Eco-Zealot you proclaim to be, you must be against the building of this coal powered power station. Are you?

  28. Trofim — on 27th April, 2010 at 9:16 am  

    Here’s a real green, Sunny.

    http://www.independent.co.uk/opinion/commentators/terence-blacker/terence-blacker-if-only-the-countryside-could-vote-1955185.html

    This is where green-ness comes from, from empathy with the living world. Without this, you’re not a genuine, conviction green, but a faux, opportunist green, as are the Green Party, who are essentially people who simply couldn’t resist an additional, almost God-given opportunity to bash off the west from a different angle. From observing your writings, I’m absolutely certain that you have not one iota, one atom of interest in or knowledge about the ever-diminishing natural world around you in this island. If you did, you would oppose anything, including immigration, which increases the human population, the insatiable “needs” of which are responsible for the destruction of our local biosphere. Caring for the local, is part of caring about the larger whole. That’s the first step. If you believe in direct action, advertise the Optimum Population Trust, now:

    http://www.optimumpopulation.org/opt.toomany.uk.html

  29. MaidMarian — on 27th April, 2010 at 9:50 am  

    Sunny, you cold try handcuffing yourself to some anti-nuclear protestors if you want to. That way you could say you have taken direct action against the biggest threat facing the planet.

  30. Chris Williams — on 27th April, 2010 at 11:30 am  

    Naader – did you have any joy with the ‘Bangladesh is going to sink – let’s stop it’ routine in Tower Hamlets? I’ve been thinking of pointing this out to some of my Bengali neighbours (not in London) to see if there’s anything we might want to do together about it, so I’m interested in what, if anything, has been seen to work elsewhere. I agree with you 100% that urban green lifestylism appears to have boxed itself into a subcultural corner and is unable even to realise this fact.

  31. Naadir Jeewa — on 27th April, 2010 at 12:48 pm  

    @Mango
    “Know of Stern & not impressed.”

    Perhaps it’s time to know about Stern, and not of him. This meta-review by Geoffrey Heal is a good place to start for genuine criticism of the Stern Report – the time discount that Stern selects is too low. I.e., Stern makes his calculations on the assumption that a dollar today is worth a dollar in 80 years time. If so, then this makes a strong case for action to negate dangerous climate change to be undertaken by both developed and developing countries. If on the other hand, you select a non-zero time discount, typically 2%, then this would favour development now, at the expense of future ecosystem degradation.
    Stern’s response is that we normally select a non-zero time discount when we’re talking about relatively short term economic decisions. However, if we’re talking about a moral recognition of the rights of future generations, then we must select a zero time-discount. Furthermore, since the impact of climate change is uncertain, although it could be extremely large at a 30% probability, then we should also select a zero time-discount to mitigate risk.
    These impacts would include a minimum of 30% of GDP, which could be equal to 100 years of economic growth. The cost to take action now would slow down our ability to become ten times richer than we are today by 1 year.
    That seems like an eminently sensible trade off.

    @MaidMarian – Unfortunately neither the government nor anyone else has provided a run down of CO2 costs of nuclear new build which isn’t less than 80% of building fossil based power stations, as calculated in this Sustainable Development Commission report. Coal/Gas + Carbon Capture and Storage seems more suitable at the present time, until nuclear tech improves to the extent that costs and fossil fuel is reduced, like say the self-contained low-megawatt mini-plants that could be used for factories.

    @Chris William
    No, I didn’t have much joy with that line of argumentation. If I had the time, and the budget, maybe I’d explore that opportunity. My feeling is that too many NGOs at Copenhagen have failed to present the material costs of “Business As Usual” both to the domestic audience and the leaderships of emerging economies as well as LDCs. Instead, they’ve tried to universalise a culturally specific notion of “greenness”

    A particularly pernicious form of this is the conservation industry in Africa.

    The UN probably does the best work on considering actual human impact of environmental problems. I’m quite disappointed that nothing much was ever done with the excellent work of the Millenium Ecosystem Assessment, where a framework was put in place with regards to defining human well-being, relationships with ecosystems, and ways of translating global governance approaches into locally accepted norms.

    The key is not to use scientific knowledge to foreclose the real work of politics, like say, Contraction and Convergence, which is just politics by Excel spreadsheet. Instead, scientific practice helps to select which things should be represented in political discussion, and help to ensure that they are represented accurately. That was what I tried to get at in this Google vid I made in my yoof.

  32. Mango — on 28th April, 2010 at 1:17 am  

    Naadir, Excellent points, all. Thanks. But, lets get back to the human angle, from a ‘developmentally disadvantaged’ Third World angle.

    When Lord Stern wakes up in the morning, he doesn’t boil water for his tea on a stove using cow dung fuel, does he? He uses electricity.

    When Lord Stern has a shower, he doesn’t have to walk to a well and use a bucket because he has constant hot and cold running water.

    When Lord Stern performs his morning ablutions, he doesn’t squat over an open hole in the back garden. He (probably) uses a flushing loo.

    When Lord Stern needs to pontificate at a conference in Copenhagen or Hong Kong, he jumps on a plane instead of waiting for a ride on a bullock cart.

    It seems that Sunny won’t answer my questions in case incriminates himself, but I wonder whether Lord Stern opposed the building of that coal-powered power station in S. Africa.

  33. dave bones — on 28th April, 2010 at 1:24 am  

    I am up for chaining myself up or something so long as it is funny. I can’t get angry anymore.

  34. Naadir Jeewa — on 28th April, 2010 at 1:30 am  

    @32 -

    You’re playing the Al Gore bogeyman game with both Stern and Sunny.
    You’re also demonstrating that you’ve not bothered to read or engage with the Stern Review or the IPCC AR4 WG3 (Mitigation and Adaptation) Report in any way whatsoever:

    Comparing the social costs of carbon on a BAU trajectory and on a path towards stabilisation at 550ppm CO2e, we estimate the excess of benefits over costs, in net present value terms, from implementing strong mitigation policies this year, shifting the world onto the better path: the net benefits would be of the order of $2.5 trillion. This figure will increase over time. This is not an estimate of net benefits occurring in this year, but a measure of the benefits that could flow from actions taken this year; many of the costs and benefits would be in the medium to long term.

    - Executive Summary

    I can’t answer what he personally thinks of a coal-fired power station in South Africa, but I know the general approach goes like this:

    Developing countries should not be denied the chance to improve their economies and living standards.
    Developed nations should transfer the intellectual property for the current state-of-the-art low-carbon technology, so developing countries can leap-frog over the polluting industrial path that developed nations can take. So, yeah, South Africa can have coal-fired power stations, but they should Carbon Capture & Storage whereever possible.

    At the same time, there should be a global R&D fund to develop advanced low-carbon technology (Stern suggests $20bn per annum).

  35. Naadir Jeewa — on 28th April, 2010 at 1:44 am  

    Also, I found your description of life in South Africa quite disgusting.

    Regardless of your borderline racist stereotypes, it’s a middle income country, not an LDC.

  36. Sunny — on 28th April, 2010 at 2:37 am  

    It seems that Sunny won’t answer my questions in case incriminates himself, but I wonder whether Lord Stern opposed the building of that coal-powered power station in S. Africa.

    You seem to think that building coal powered stations is the only way. I disagree. China is particularly spending a lot of money into renewable energy development and I suspect it will soon be ahead of us.

    I have no problems with people in developing countries trying to get higher standards of living. I’d just prefer if they didn’t destroy the environment around them while doing so…

  37. Mango — on 28th April, 2010 at 11:47 am  

    Sunny,

    Good that you finally agree to allow the ‘Global Poor’ should have access to all the benefits of modern technological society including reliable power supply, sanitation, air-conditioning, cars and cheap air travel. Now, if only the Western Green movement would be as generous as you, they wouldn’t be biggest enemy facing the world’s poor.

    Naadir: to be accused of racism for pointing out the bleeding obvious of how really, really poor live in Africa and Asia is um… an odd experience. I don’t know of your background, but I speak from first-hand knowledge of how the miserably dirt-poor people live in Sri Lanka. Yes, they burn cow-dung for fuel, after they’ve de-forested the nearby jungle looking for firewood. And often they live in houses constructed of mud and cow dung.

    Here’s a typical kitchen in a low-income SL household.
    http://img211.yfrog.com/i/slkitcheninfo.jpg/

    Lord Stern’s kitchen (I presume) may look like this:
    http://tinyurl.com/3xgmfsc

    Here’s another little factoid you can pass on to Lord Stern. It seems that there’s a strong association between catching malaria and living in hovels.
    http://www.ajtmh.org/cgi/content/full/68/2/177

    The real racists are the Western Green Eco-nutters (Greenpeace et al and their fellow travellers) who are doing their best to prevent poor black and brown people from acquiring what the white Greens already have. A decent standard of living and access to the basics of life.

    I’ll let the Pravin Gordhan, the South African finance minister speak for his country:

    “It is regrettable,” he says, “that … developed countries and [a] very small group of NGOs in South Africa are putting their environmental concerns, which can’t be immediately addressed, above the economic needs of South Africa and our need to grow the economy so that all the people benefit.”

    “For now, not only South Africa but developing countries more generally will have to rely on coal.”

  38. damon — on 28th April, 2010 at 12:36 pm  

    I’d just prefer if they didn’t destroy the environment around them while doing so…

    That statment begs so many questions really, as what constitutes ”destroying the environment” is a contentious issue.

    To some people, extending the M3 motorway through Twyford Down was a sacrilege.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Twyford_Down

    But I think that these things had to be done.
    The A4 used to run right through the high street of Newbury until the bypass was built, and that faced opposition from eco-protesters too.

    The Chinese are building Roads through Congo, which must be a good thing as what Congo needs is an functioning economy.
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/programmes/newsnight/7343060.stm

    South Africa might have a GDP of $10,243 – but it is one of the most unequal countries on earth, so I wouldn’t call it ”middle income country”.

  39. fugstar — on 28th April, 2010 at 12:53 pm  

    being south asian post colonial living in the uk means ‘our’ practical, political approaches to categories like climate change, development and immigration are harder to make coherent with what is already out there.

    Naadir, youve thought thought a lot of things which cause me angst. looking forward to trawling your blog.

  40. Naadir Jeewa — on 28th April, 2010 at 2:06 pm  

    @Damon
    “…what constitutes ”destroying the environment” is a contentious issue.”
    Agreed.

    “South Africa might have a GDP of $10,243 – but it is one of the most unequal countries on earth, so I wouldn’t call it ”middle income country”.”

    GDP per Capita right? You’re right, GINI measures place S.A. amongst the highest in the world. I used the World Bank categorisation of S.A. as a MIC. That said, South Africa scores higher than India in the Human Development Index.
    But Mango’s caricature is still insulting, because it generalizes a rather diverse population.

    Overall, I think S.A.’s power station is a hard case. Their short-to-medium term requirements for economic growth will mean they’ll want the most economical baseload capacity station – renewables simply aren’t there yet. Though I do wonder whether or not the energy company, or the World Bank considered suitable alternatives, such as combined cycle gas turbines or a CCS system. Given what we know about aid agencies, I highly doubt it.

    Can’t be bothered responding to Mango. It’s clear they can’t be bothered to learn anything about an ECONOMIC review of climate change that deals primarily with medium to long-term global development issues.

    @fugstar
    Just don’t go too far back. Don’t want to be damned for stuff written a few years ago, that doesn’t reflect my views now.

  41. Mango — on 28th April, 2010 at 3:18 pm  

    Naadir: My characterisation is meant to encompass the daily reality for the truly massive numbers of Third World poor. In Lagos & Nairobi the slum dwellers rely on flying toilets. i.e.they crap into a plastic bag and twirl it away from them. No doubt those cretins at PlaneStupid will wish to add a carbon tax to these flights.

    Rather than feel insulted on behalf these unfortunate people, you may wish to do something to help them. And that means opposing the Western Green Eco-zealots who would like to keep the Global Poor, permanently poor and in no position to demand things like regular power supply, sanitation and industrialisation, because, you know, uhh.. it might cause or increase global warming.

    What sort of kitchen fuel would you like to use on a daily basis? Cow dung or gas?

  42. Arif — on 28th April, 2010 at 3:36 pm  

    Mango, although I agree with your focus on poverty and I don’t think Naadir Jeewa is being at all fair in characterising your descriptions as racist, I also think you aren’t engaging with some of the points being made.

    Asking “What sort of fuel would you like to use on a daily basis? Cow dung or gas?” is as reductionist as asking “What kind of environment would you like to live in? Full of floods and droughts, or sustainable?”

    People in the Green movement (like people in other political movements) have many ideals which contradict, and sometimes they suppress them, and sometimes grapple with them in different ways. “Contraction and Convergence” which Naadir Jeewa mentioned (dismissively?) is a relatively mainstream way that many environmentalists try to square the circle of wanting an ecologically sustainable planet, economic development in the global South to eliminate poverty and global equity.

    Naadir Jeewa – I would like to know more about why you suggest contraction and convergence is not a serious political approach.

    Mango – I would like to know what you think about contraction and convergence. Does it meet your concerns? I am assuming that you do agree that ecological sustainability is a moral imperative, given the potential impact on human welfare, in the global south as elsewhere, of runaway climate change.

  43. Greymung — on 28th April, 2010 at 5:22 pm  

    21. Sunny — on 26th April, 2010 at 9:20 pm
    “Why do we still get idiot trolls here?”

    Probably because you still have idiot trolls writing the articles.

    21. Sunny — on 26th April, 2010 at 9:20 pm
    “Have I ever said I’m against airline flights? No I haven’t. I like Plane Stupid but I don’t believe stopping people from flying internationally is the answer.”

    It has been proven that air travel is a significant contributor to global climate change – in the EU alone greenhouse gas emissions from commercial aviation increased by 90% over the last 15 years or so.

    Stopping people from flying internationally (or people concerned enough about human contributions to climate change deciding not to fly internationaly off their own bat) might not be ‘THE’ answer but it is part of the answer. As is a drastic reduction in our consumption of livestock, one of THE main contributors to global climate change – responsible for 18% of all greenhouse gas emissions.

    So, Sunny, what do you believe is ‘THE’ answer? Presumably it would involve stopping people from doing only those things that don’t have a negative impact on your own lifestyle.

  44. Naadir Jeewa — on 28th April, 2010 at 6:45 pm  

    What’s wrong with continual references to cow dung fuel as THE paradigm of developing countries is just another in the long style of writing of “Africa, Land of Rape, Poverty and Lions.”

    What’s wrong with C&C?

    The heart of C&C as proposed by the founders at the GCI is the CCOptions Excel spreadsheet (now missing from the GCI website). The spreadsheet is filled with national population data and historical CO2 output to date. It then runs a regression to project future usage. By dividing total CO2 by total population, you receive a figure of a CO2 output per capita for a given target concentration. For starters, this doesn’t work. If you want to calculate future CO2 output with any measure of accuracy, then you need more complex “integrated models”, based on regions, industrial sectors, population growth, responses to ecological change, etc…, which feed into global climate models and back again.

    In addition, the GCI folk that I used to talk over email with always presented the CCOptions model as a “fait accompli,” completely non-negotiable, without any discussion of costs, or how even to begin to enact the system into reality. Hence, the retort; “politics by Excel spreadsheet.” Politically, C&C is dead in the water since it requires a one-shot, completely top-down, globally binding agreement. Any agreement based on C&C will be weak, have poor enforcement mechanisms or will be non-binding. For NGOs to pile all their resources into nice sounding but evidentially and politically flawed efforts sets us up for failure. Continually.

    I am still in favour of some form of carbon pricing. Either carbon tax, or cap and trade. With effective monitoring.

    Anyway, I’ll shut up now. I’ve been out of the loop since 2007. This looks like an exciting summer read.

  45. jungle — on 28th April, 2010 at 9:48 pm  

    Why don’t the climate change protests get the same media coverage as the Tea Party? Simple, and it’s not because they’re angry. Tea Party politics is good for business. Climate change protests are bad for business.

    Mango: “Do you, like me want everyone in the ‘Poor South’ to have cars, fridges and air-conditioning or do you want them to walk everywhere, cook with brushwood and cow-dung and use oil lamps against the darkness?”

    Both your options are ridiculous.

    – (A) Have you not even heard of renewable energy? Not using coal-fired power stations does not equal “cook with cow dung”
    – (B) If the third world developed by consuming fossil fuels on the same scale as us, they wouldn’t get very far since their food supply would be destroyed by the resulting climate change.
    – (C) And just for good measure, you might have noticed nearly all environmentalists are in favour of cutting OUR emissions before the third world’s…

  46. Mango — on 29th April, 2010 at 11:03 pm  

    Arif,

    I focus on poverty because alleviation of poverty is more important than genuflection at the altar of Global-Warming crazed Western Greens, who as I’ve shown conclusively would rather let these people continue to live in misery than promote development & industrialisation with all of their resulting benefits including increased food production.

    Did no-one read what the S. African Finance Minister said: “It is regrettable,” that … developed countries and [a] very small group of NGOs in South Africa are putting their environmental concerns, which can’t be immediately addressed, above the economic needs of South Africa and our need to grow the economy so that all the people benefit.”

    “For now, not only South Africa but developing countries more generally will have to rely on coal.”

    What applies to S. Africa also applies to SL, India, etc.

    A lot of the points you raised, I covered on a previous discussion on this topic.

    Have a look here:
    http://www.pickledpolitics.com/archives/6463
    From comment 14 onwards.

    But I’ll let a Ghanaian speak for himself:

    http://www.spiked-online.com/index.php?/site/article/3771/

    “If Westerners are not happy with such great things, perhaps they should swap with us Africans. We would love to have what these people seem to hate. You see, we believe in the material progress of mankind; the vast majority of Ghanaians I spoke to while making Damned by Debt Relief said they want more from life: more goods, more products, more choice. We hate being constantly subdued by nature; we are tired of dying early; we are tired of sleeping in mud huts; we are tired of walking long distances for water, food and fuel; we are tired of doing our washing by hand; we are tired of farming with hoes and cutlasses and waiting for nature to be merciful unto us.You think this way of life is ‘natural’ and happiness-inducing? Then you should try it out.”

    “the West’s environmentalism, which puts nature above human beings and despises true development, leaves Africans living off the land and remaining as poor as ever. The West’s association of corruption with Africans and their leaders is racial discrimination in disguise – it is an idea which sweeps global inequality and underdevelopment under the carpet.”

    BTW, I don’t think the cow dung fuel argument is reductionist at all. For most well-off Westerners (especially the Green variety) an energy crisis is when their fridge bulb blows.

  47. Naadir Jeewa — on 29th April, 2010 at 11:20 pm  

    Spiked, home of the disinformation mercenaries for hire, The [ex] Revolutionary Communist Party of the United Kingdom.

  48. I AM DUFFY — on 29th April, 2010 at 11:52 pm  

    Spiked can’t be just disinformation can it? Doesn’t one of their masthead campaigns involve a call to ‘Open the Borders’?

    Yes I thought so.

    http://www.spiked-online.com/index.php/site/issues/C137/

    What’s not to like?

  49. Mango — on 30th April, 2010 at 12:11 am  

    I heard that the Spiked editors also eat babies. Oh do grow up.

    Perhaps you’d care to put your first-hand expertise on the living conditions of the Third World poor to good use and refute what that Ghanaian teacher wrote.

  50. Naadir Jeewa — on 30th April, 2010 at 1:15 am  

    I can’t be bothered.

    Because you can’t be bothered to engage with the literature on climate change.

    Spiked’ take on climate change has been debunked enough elsewhere. I assume you’re not interested in that, and you’re not going to be convinced of the case.

    So, I’m not going to waste my time.

  51. damon — on 30th April, 2010 at 2:03 am  

    Because you can’t be bothered to engage with the literature on climate change.

    I can’t really be bothered with the literature on climate change either as it’s so complicated.
    I have a very poor understanding of science, but I do balk at some of the politics and direct action stuff these people like Plane Stupid get up to.
    It just turns me off and seems so middle class.

    For me, it’s not so much about the science of climate change, but what we do about it that matters.
    And the lifestyle thing of trying to have a low personal carbon footprint I find all a bit BS to tell the truth.

    Yes the Spiked people stir it up for their own agenda, and may ignore science for their own reasons, but they are sometimes right about stuff too, and to this day I have never heard really good counter arguments to their general position.

    Someone on Liberal Conspiracy couldn’t even get the simple point about why football fans should be allowed to be a bit rude and coarse at games, and nickname their rivals things like ‘Pikeys’ without being condemned for it.
    It sounded so ‘Rod Liddle’ that it just had to be awful.

  52. Naadir Jeewa — on 30th April, 2010 at 4:36 am  

    The Spiked lot have been against climate change for decades, though they’ve slowly changed their reasons why. First they claimed that it doesn’t exist, then it’s not human made, and now, it’s all a plot to keep the poor…poor.

    Science is basically this:
    Two factors drive global temperatures. Most warming of the atmosphere is by water vapour. But water vapour isn’t a driver of temperature as it’s atmospheric half-life is short (i.e. it rains). What determines medium-to-long term temperature changes, we call drivers. The distance between the Earth and the Sun, as well as solar activity is one of them. The other major driver is greenhouse gases. CO2 drives temperature changes, because of the way electrons are arranged in the molecular configuration. CO2 molecules absorb infrared radiation, exciting the electrons, which then emit radiation in random directions, instead of the radiation reflecting directly back into space.

    This is all fairly basic physics, without which, most of modern technology and science would not work. Which is why the notion that climate change doesn’t exist or is not man made simply is not tenable.

    The major question is around climate sensitivity – how many celsius does the temperature rise for a given atmospheric concentration of CO2 and other gases. We’ve got pretty good estimates of the minimum sensitivity given what we know about existing rises in temperature. We don’t know the extent of the upper maximum.

    Working from the conservative estimates, we can start to estimate what the economic effects of global warming could be, and these have direct impacts on the long-term development of “least developed countries.”

    Most recent estimates in Nature predict a third of the planet reduced to a dustbowl, and 2/3rds of the life in global ecosystems dead by 2080. The value of nutrient cycling ecosystem services to the global economy was valued at $17 trillion in 1999, whilst global GDP output was $18 trillion. That means most of the economic value of ecosystems goes unaccounted for in our economic models – hence Stern calling the climate change the greatest market failure in the whole of human history.

    So a loss of 2/3rds of the global ecosystem would pretty much wipe out economic growth for much of the world.

    The estimates in the Stern review predicted permanent loss of global GDP output of 3% if we contain climate change within 2-3 celsius. If not, we risk 5-10% loss, with poorer countries losing more than 10% of GDP. Per capita, this will translate into a 20% reduction in consumption.

    The newer World Bank figures predict a minimum loss of 4-5% of GDP for Africa and South Asia. As they state:

    “Economic growth alone is unlikely to be fast or equitable enough to counter threats from climate change, particularly if it remains carbon intensive and accelerates global warming. So climate policy cannot be framed as a choice between growth and climate change. In fact, climate-smart policies are those that enhance development, reduce vulnerability, and finance the transition to low-carbon growth paths.”

    This seems to answer the main critics of the Stern Review over the choice of the time discount I mentioned above.

    What Mango kind of has a point with, if it wasn’t wrapped up in overall climate change denial, is that given that developed nations are largely to blame for causing the problem, they at least benefitted from economic growth while the going was good. So, why can’t developing countries do the same?

    Simply because it’s already too late. We’re going to have to hit the brakes, and hit them pretty hard. The key is to develop a mechanism and sets of agreements that allows developing nations as much breathing space as possible to catch up with the west. Contraction and Convergence actually demands pretty strong action by all participants, though most of the ideas that have been tabled do involve some convergence towards per capita emissions. Both, India and Brazil, for example have floated their own models.

    For me, it’s not so much about the science of climate change, but what we do about it that matters.
    And the lifestyle thing of trying to have a low personal carbon footprint I find all a bit BS to tell the truth.

    I agree to an extent. Buying a Prius to reduce CO2 output is silly if you’ve already got a car, since the CO2 output gone into manufacturing the car is never taken into account in personal footprint calculations.
    If you believe in market-based solutions, then carbon pricing is a necessity. Until then, consumers will rely on imperfect signals and false lifestyle marketing.

    The environmental movement started before climate change was on the scene. They’ve just claimed it as their own since it’s the most salient issue at the moment. Many of them would agree with critics like you in disbelieving the Stern Review, or the UN reports. Only they think it’s a capitalist plot to hide the real consequences of climate change. Even the New Scientist hasn’t been above this at times. See here for one example, and what happened afterwards.

    Sources:
    * Millennium Ecosystem Assessment Synthesis Report: Ecosystems and Human Wellbeing (2005), UNDP & UNEP
    * Stern Review on Climate Change – Executive Summary (2006), HM Treasury
    * World Development Report 2010: Development and Climate Change (2010), World Bank.
    * Nature 458, 30 April 2009

  53. Arif — on 30th April, 2010 at 8:36 am  

    Mango, thank you for the link to the previous discussion.

    You did not specifically there express any view on contraction and convergence.

    By saying that immediate material improvement is more important than avoiding potentially catastrophic climate change at an unspecified date, and citing Lomborg, you give the impression that you don’t believe that climate change will occur, or that if it did it would not be particularly harmful for the poor in developing countries. Or maybe that focusing on the present generation’s welfare is more important than that of future generations. In which case, I understand why you consider contraction and convergence a sideshow.

    I do object to the caricature that environmentalists are generally in cahoots with some kind of western conspiracy to keep people in poverty. C&C shows that they are not, and that they ARE in fact willing to reduce their own standards of living in order to promote development in poorer countries. Some environmentalists may connect this with models of human happiness you disapprove of, but there it is.

    Just as politicians sign up to declarations on carbon emissions, they sign up to millennium development goals. They set targets for themselves which they miss on both. They say things cannot continue as they are, and then support business as usual. It is a caricature of the environmental movements, and of the global development movements to somehow portray them as vanguards of western imperial interests when they are dedicating themselves to changing the status quo.

    So I can see how politicans who want business as usual might use environmentalist arguments to see off anti-poverty concerns, and use developmental arguments to see off environmental concerns, but to me that does not make them environmentalists or supporters of global justice. To say they are seems to me to misrepresent those movements.

    To Naadir Jeewa – in terms of cap and trade – can this work (in terms of reducing global carbon emissions while enabling poverty alleviation) outside an implicit framework of contraction and convergence? Surely caps would have to be set which take account of rights or needs in some way – I think that is what you say in your last post. If those needs are defined in terms of current use/consumption – that would be manifestly unfair. If India and Brazil propose fairer global models, we should be putting pressure on our own Governments to support them.

    Cap and trade institutions can be developed nationally, but just as with any other form of contraction and convergence, there still needs to be international co-ordination to ensure total emissions are limited, and there would probably have to be some mechanism of policing breaches.

    Similarly, I think technology transfer needs to be managed by recipients more than donors to ensure it meets their developmental needs, not the donors’ – and that should be the case for international aid too.

  54. Mango — on 30th April, 2010 at 12:02 pm  

    Naadir: Literature? Literature? Truly we’re blessed with the Marie Antoinette of the Eco movement.

    “Lord Naadir, Sir, the peasants don’t have anything to eat and they’re crying out for food, clothing, electricity & clean running water.”

    “Let them read the IPCC Report”

    I have a more practical use for the global warming scam literature. Let’s collect those copies of that great work of fiction, The IPCC Report, and airfreight it to the poorer parts of the world. They can use this literature as cooking fuel instead of cow-dung and brushwood.

    p.s. this debunking you mentioned, does it also apply to the whole climate change scam?

    Arif, Thanks for at least taking the time to read the previous encounter. I don’t think much of any of these schemes which try to prevent immediate development. So, C&C will no doubt be discussed in the manner of mediaeval theologians arguing about how many angels can fit on a pinhead.

    I don’t even need to caricature Eco-nutters as being against development and keeping the Third World in some kind of pre-industrial pristine Eden. They’re quite capable of showing their real intentions, as can be seen in their opposition to the Gibe III being built in Ethiopia.

    http://tinyurl.com/yenmu7e

    And right on cue, a Western NGO comments:
    “No respectable outside body should be funding this atrocious project,” Survival International director, Stephen Corry, said in a statement.

    And even more unbelievably, here’s Corry’s worldview: (at least if Wikipedia’s to be believed): “Before his interaction with the Himalayan tribes, he had always believed that British civilisation and development was the best. His experience with these people completely changed his mindset. With no electricity or cars, he found them to be living very fulfilling lives. They had no schools but they were very intelligent people.

    I believe the cliche is ‘you couldn’t make it up’.

    Ethiopians themselves (at least those able to blog) have nothing but contempt for the Western Greens attempting to halt their access to regular electricity, of the kind you, I, Naadir and His Holiness Lord Stern take entirely for granted. Read their comments here:

    http://tinyurl.com/ye5z9pj

    I’ve chosen this comment for the Western Eco-mentalists:

    “I would like to forward a free invitation to those westerners, who enjoy seeing destitute, hungry, ailing and helpless tribes of the Omo valley, to come and live the same life as these unfortunate tribes, just for a year, so that they can feel the joy of living in the Stone Age. There is no fun in utter poverty. The unfortunate people of the Omo valley deserve the same humanely life, like any other Ethiopian and any other human being any where in the world, for that matter.”

    In fact the Western Green movement’s ideology reminds me most strongly of Bantustan policies of National Party of Apartheid South Africa, who used Bantustans to keep the Black people in poverty and low level of development. In essence, their ideology could be distilled into the following: “they’re savages anyway, so they don’t need to have the technology and comforts of the developed West.”

    Back to the original topic of Sunny’s post, that’s what makes me angry.

  55. Mango — on 30th April, 2010 at 12:47 pm  

    test.. sorry having trouble posting a reply.

  56. Mango — on 30th April, 2010 at 2:09 pm  

    Naadir: Literature? Literature? Truly we’re blessed with the Marie Antoinette of the Environmentalists.

    “Lord Naadir, Sir, the peasants don’t have anything to eat and they’re crying out for food, clothing, electricity & clean running water.”

    “Let them read the IPCC Report”

    I have a more practical use for the global warming scam literature. Let’s collect those copies of that great work of fiction, The IPCC Report, and airfreight it to the poorer parts of the world. They can use this literature as cooking fuel instead of cow-dung and brushwood.

    p.s. this debunking you mentioned, does it also apply to the whole climate change scam?

    Arif, Thanks for at least taking the time to read the previous encounter. I don’t think much of any of these schemes which try to prevent immediate development. So, C&C will no doubt be discussed in the manner of mediaeval theologians arguing about how many angels can fit on a pinhead.

    I don’t even need to caricature Eco-nutters as being against development and keeping the Third World in some kind of pre-industrial pristine Eden. They’re quite capable of showing their real intentions, as can be seen in their opposition to the Gibe III being built in Ethiopia.

    http://tinyurl.com/yenmu7e

    And right on cue, a Western NGO comments:
    “No respectable outside body should be funding this atrocious project,” Survival International director, Stephen Corry, said in a statement.

    And even more unbelievably, here’s Corry’s worldview: (at least if Wikipedia’s to be believed): “Before his interaction with the Himalayan tribes, he had always believed that British civilisation and development was the best. His experience with these people completely changed his mindset. With no electricity or cars, he found them to be living very fulfilling lives. They had no schools but they were very intelligent people.

    I believe the cliche is ‘you couldn’t make it up’.

    Ethiopians themselves (at least those able to blog) have nothing but contempt for the Western Greens attempting to halt their access to regular electricity, of the kind you, I, Naadir and His Holiness Lord Stern take entirely for granted. Read their comments here:

    http://tinyurl.com/ye5z9pj

    I’ve chosen this comment for the Western Eco-mentalists:

    “I would like to forward a free invitation to those westerners, who enjoy seeing destitute, hungry, ailing and helpless tribes of the Omo valley, to come and live the same life as these unfortunate tribes, just for a year, so that they can feel the joy of living in the Stone Age. There is no fun in utter poverty. The unfortunate people of the Omo valley deserve the same humanely life, like any other Ethiopian and any other human being any where in the world, for that matter.”

    The Western Green movement’s ideology reminds me of the Bantustan policies of Apartheid South Africa’s National Party , who used Bantustans to keep the Black people in poverty and low level of development.

    In essence, their ideology could be distilled into the following: “they’re savages anyway, so they don’t need to have the technology and comforts of the developed West.”

    Back to the original topic of Sunny’s post, that’s what makes me angry.

  57. Mango — on 30th April, 2010 at 3:00 pm  

    Sorry again, still not able to post. Perhaps the Green Gods are angry with me?

  58. Mango — on 30th April, 2010 at 3:05 pm  

    Reply in two parts due to problems in posting. Apologies.

    Part 1
    Naadir: Literature? Literature? Truly we’re blessed with the Marie Antoinette of the Environmentalists.

    “Lord Naadir, Sir, the peasants don’t have anything to eat and they’re crying out for food, clothing, electricity & clean running water.”

    “Let them read the IPCC Report”

    I have a more practical use for the global warming scam literature. Let’s collect those copies of that great work of fiction, The IPCC Report, and airfreight it to the poorer parts of the world. They can use this literature as cooking fuel instead of cow-dung and brushwood.

    p.s. this debunking you mentioned, does it also apply to the whole climate change scam?

  59. Mango — on 30th April, 2010 at 3:31 pm  

    Part 2
    Arif, Thanks for taking the time to read the previous encounter. I don’t think much of these schemes which try to prevent immediate development. C&C will no doubt be discussed like mediaeval theologians arguing about how many angels can fit on a pinhead.

    I don’t even need to caricature Eco-nutters as being against development and keeping the Third World in some kind of pre-industrial pristine Eden. They’re quite capable of showing their real intentions, as can be seen in their opposition to the Gibe III being built in Ethiopia.

    http://tinyurl.com/yenmu7e

    And right on cue, a Western NGO comments: “No respectable outside body should be funding this atrocious project,” Survival International director, Stephen Corry.

    Here’s Corry’s worldview: (at least if Wikipedia’s to be believed): “Before his interaction with the Himalayan tribes, he had always believed that British civilisation and development was the best. His experience with these people completely changed his mindset. With no electricity or cars, he found them to be living very fulfilling lives. They had no schools but they were very intelligent people.

    If Corry wants to live without electricity or cars, that’s his choice. It is not his choice to decide for others, in the developing world.

    Ethiopians themselves have nothing but contempt for the Western Greens attempting to halt their access to regular electricity, of the kind you, I, Naadir and His Holiness Lord Stern take entirely for granted. They are very angry. http://tinyurl.com/ye5z9pj

    Here’s one for the Western Eco-mentalists:

    “I would like to forward a free invitation to those westerners, who enjoy seeing destitute, hungry, ailing and helpless tribes of the Omo valley, to come and live the same life as these unfortunate tribes, just for a year, so that they can feel the joy of living in the Stone Age. There is no fun in utter poverty. The unfortunate people of the Omo valley deserve the same humanely life, like any other Ethiopian and any other human being any where in the world, for that matter.”

    The Western Green’s ideology reminds me of the Bantustan policies of Apartheid South Africa’s National Party, using Bantustans to keep the Black people in poverty and low level of development.

    In essence, their ideology could be distilled into the following: “they’re savages anyway, so they don’t need to have the technology and comforts of the developed West.”

    That’s what makes me angry.

  60. Mango — on 30th April, 2010 at 3:51 pm  

    Now I have to split it into three parts. Some sort of glitch.

    Part 2
    Arif, Thanks for taking the time to read the previous encounter. I don’t think much of these schemes which try to prevent immediate development. C&C will no doubt be discussed like mediaeval theologians arguing about how many angels can fit on a pinhead.

    I don’t even need to caricature Eco-nutters as being against development and keeping the Third World in some kind of pre-industrial pristine Eden. They’re quite capable of showing their real intentions, as can be seen in their opposition to the Gibe III being built in Ethiopia.

    http://tinyurl.com/yenmu7e

    And right on cue, a Western NGO comments: “No respectable outside body should be funding this atrocious project,” Survival International director, Stephen Corry.

    Here’s Corry’s worldview: (at least if Wikipedia’s to be believed): “Before his interaction with the Himalayan tribes, he had always believed that British civilisation and development was the best. His experience with these people completely changed his mindset. With no electricity or cars, he found them to be living very fulfilling lives. They had no schools but they were very intelligent people.

    If Corry wants to live without electricity or cars, that’s his choice. It is not his choice to decide for others, in the developing world.

  61. Naadir Jeewa — on 30th April, 2010 at 5:04 pm  

    Whatever

  62. Naadir Jeewa — on 30th April, 2010 at 6:20 pm  

    @Arif – Yeah, I should have been more explicit. I was referring to the general attitude of the specific proponents of “Contraction & Convergence (TM).” Any equitable end-result system will involve elements of that original programme.

    I don’t know how cap & trade would work in practice either.

  63. Mango 2 — on 30th April, 2010 at 6:44 pm  

    Part 2
    Arif, Thanks for taking the time to read the previous encounter. I don’t think much of these schemes which try to prevent immediate development. C&C will no doubt be discussed like mediaeval theologians arguing about how many angels can fit on a pinhead.

    I don’t even need to caricature Eco-zealots as being against development and keeping the Third World in some kind of pre-industrial pristine Eden. They’re quite capable of showing their real intentions, as can be seen in their opposition to the Gibe III being built in Ethiopia.

    http://tinyurl.com/yenmu7e

    On cue, a Western NGO comments: “No respectable outside body should be funding this atrocious project,” Survival International director, Stephen Corry, whose worldview is (if Wikipedia’s to be believed): “Before his interaction with the Himalayan tribes, he had always believed that British civilisation and development was the best. His experience with these people completely changed his mindset. With no electricity or cars, he found them to be living very fulfilling lives.They had no schools but they were very intelligent people.

    If Corry wants to live without electricity, cars or schools, that’s his choice. It is not his choice to decide for others, in the developing world.

  64. Naadir Jeewa — on 30th April, 2010 at 9:48 pm  

    If anyone floats over here from the BNP shop thread, we’ll see a perfect example of group polarisation effects, and the limits of deliberation above.

    The end.

  65. Mango 2 — on 30th April, 2010 at 11:55 pm  

    Part 2
    Arif, Thanks for taking the time to read the previous encounter. I don’t think much of these schemes which try to prevent immediate development. C&C will no doubt be discussed like mediaeval theologians arguing about how many angels can fit on a pinhead.

    I don’t even need to caricature Eco-zealots as being against development and keeping the Third World in some kind of pre-industrial pristine Eden. They’re quite capable of showing their real intentions, as can be seen in their opposition to the Gibe III being built in Ethiopia.

    http://tinyurl.com/yenmu7e

    Entirely predictably, a Western NGO comments: “No respectable outside body should be funding this atrocious project,” Survival International director, Stephen Corry, whose worldview is (via Wikipedia ): “Before his interaction with the Himalayan tribes, he had always believed that British civilisation and development was the best. His experience with these people completely changed his mindset. With no electricity or cars, he found them to be living very fulfilling lives.They had no schools but they were very intelligent people.

    If Corry wants to live without electricity, cars or schools, that’s his choice. It is not his choice to decide for others, in the developing world.

  66. Mango — on 1st May, 2010 at 1:02 am  

    Part 3

    Ethiopians themselves have nothing but contempt for the Western Greens attempting to halt their access to regular electricity, of the kind you, I, Naadir and His Holiness Lord Stern take entirely for granted. They are very angry. http://tinyurl.com/ye5z9pj

    Here’s one for the Western Eco-mentalists:

    “I would like to forward a free invitation to those westerners, who enjoy seeing destitute, hungry, ailing and helpless tribes of the Omo valley, to come and live the same life as these unfortunate tribes, just for a year, so that they can feel the joy of living in the Stone Age. There is no fun in utter poverty. The unfortunate people of the Omo valley deserve the same humanely life, like any other Ethiopian and any other human being any where in the world, for that matter.”

    The Western Green’s ideology reminds me of the Bantustan policies of Apartheid South Africa’s National Party, using Bantustans to keep the Black people in poverty and low level of development.

    In essence, their ideology could be distilled into the following: “the Blacks are savages anyway, so they don’t need to have the technology and comforts of the developed West.”

    That’s what makes me angry.

  67. KJB — on 1st May, 2010 at 2:06 am  

    That’s nice, Mango. Now, fuck off. This is not the thread for you to play your tiny violin.

  68. Jim C. — on 3rd May, 2010 at 1:40 am  

    Unfortunately, too many environmentalists remain passive and politically-correct about the core action needed to slow the destruction of nature.

    There are simply too many people (6.8 billion, headed to 9 billion+ by 2050) and too many excuses to coddle “growing needs,” as if endless resource-takings are natural and inevitable.

    We need serious, diligent use of birth control to reduce the current 75,000,000 growth rate to zero ASAP. Waiting around for all nations to modernize (whereby birthrates tend to fall voluntarily) has proven futile.

    The sort of poverty that drives people to have more kids (no longer for logical reasons) shows no signs of abating. Yet, food-aid instead of birth control aid is still pushed as a cure for the destitute. The old mop vs. faucet analogy has not sunk in.

    Until growthism is replaced with a steady-state mindset and smaller families, environmentalists will just be chasing growing messes. We need “populationists” who never lose sight of root causes and see that the Earth is truly finite.

  69. douglas clark — on 3rd May, 2010 at 2:03 am  

    Jim C.

    The answer to all overpopulation issues, as far as I can determine, is an old age, independent of numbers, or indeed sexes of ones children. It has always been the case that, in order to hope for security in ones declining years, the primary investment was in producing children. The rise of superannuation, as an alternative method of securing your old age has made a huge difference.

    Look at Europe as an example. Where you could argue it has gone too far.

    I’d be interested in your thoughts on how that balance between replacement numbers and care for the elderly might be achieved.

  70. Aubrey Meyer — on 17th May, 2010 at 5:38 pm  

    Contraction and Convergence – or C&C – has been an effort to cast light on the UNFCCC process with a view to avoiding [not generating] more heat . . . perhaps information at this link will be helpful here: –
    http://www.gci.org.uk/briefings.html

    I hope so . . .

    AM

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