This is a guest post by Charlie Flindt.
I can’t see what all the fuss is about; I loved 2016. The Left spent much of the year deafening us with its whining, and flooding us with its bitter tears, the Brexit vote has done marvels for my farm's bank balance after a mediocre but easy harvest, and, best of all, the Soil Association has gone completely potty.
We conventional farmers have always loved our organic brethren. We love anyone who deliberately grows less than they could be growing – it’s good for the wheat supply-and-demand, even if it is slightly morally questionable when much of the world is still hungry. We marvel at their carefully cultivated image of ‘pesticide-free’, when the truth is not quite as clear-cut as that. So when the leading lights of the Soil Association start sounding a bit bonkers in front of the media – well, it’s time to get the popcorn and enjoy the show.
Back in May, yet another report came out stating that GM food was safe. After a brief chat with a world-weary-looking pro-GM scientist, the BBC interviewed Lord Peter Melchett, the Soil Association’s policy director, who, not surprisingly, took a different view on GM’s dangers. “Just because there’s no evidence,” he said solemnly, “doesn’t mean that nothing’s happening. Now, in the country where most GM food has been eaten, there is a huge developing diet-related health crisis – in North America. I’m not saying that’s because of GM food – but you can’t tell me it’s not.”
This is remarkable and (I would suggest) somewhat contradictory logic from a man who read Law at Cambridge. I would refer M’Lud to some of the finest cover stories of the Sunday Sport in its 80s heyday: ‘B-52 Bomber Found on Moon!’ ‘Lord Lucan Seen on Shergar!’ ‘I was a nine-inch sex slave!’ ‘B-52 Bomber Now GONE From Moon!’ All must be true, according to the Soil Association’s finest legal mind, because of a lack of evidence that they’re not. I rest my case.
In July, the herbicide glyphosate (Roundup) came under attack again, and this time it was the Soil Association’s Helen Browning’s turn to be given the kid-glove treatment by the BBC. Countryfile allowed her free rein to demand that this vital herbicide should be banned simply because there are suggestions that it might be carcinogenic, and that the public would be happy to pay more to compensate the farmer for drying costs if pre-harvest desiccation were banned. The hilarity (and hypocrisy) of this interview stemmed from the fact that much of it was carried out over the bonnet of an aged diesel-powered Land Rover Defender. When it comes to carcinogenic emissions, there’s only one way to beat a diesel-fuelled grain dryer: you drive one of Solihull’s finest.
And then, late in the year, we had SA's astonishing Tweet. ‘Millions of farm animals are abused in the pursuit of cheap food, but there is another way...’ said the Soil Association on its Twitter feed. The resulting (and perfectly justified) outrage from non-organic livestock boys and girls was enough to prompt a letter of apology. But even that seemed to stop being an apology halfway through, and drifted off into the realms of comedic praise for Greenpeace’s intimidation of companies by staking out their HQs dressed as gorillas. Really, Ms Browning? I mean – really?
Yup, it has been a vintage year for entertainment, courtesy of the Soil Association. It’s the organic gift that goes on giving. Let’s hope they keep it up for 2017.
The charity Survival International is reporting that the OECD is going to investigate allegations that WWF has been funding human rights abuses in Cameroon.
Survival submitted the complaint in February 2016, citing numerous examples of violent abuse and harassment against Baka “Pygmies” in Cameroon by WWF-funded anti-poaching squads. Survival also alleges that WWF failed to seek communities’ free, prior and informed consent for conservation projects on their ancestral land.
This is the first time a non-profit organization has been scrutinized in this way. The acceptance of the complaint indicates that the OECD will hold WWF to the same human rights standards as profit-making
WWF funds anti-poaching squads in Cameroon and elsewhere in the Congo Basin. Baka and other rainforest tribes have reported systematic abuse at the hands of these squads, including arrest and beatings, torture
and even death, for well over 20 years.
The Advertising Standards Authority has been conducting an investigation into Friends of the Earth's wild stories about unconventional oil and gas in recent weeks. Today it was announced that our green friends have decided that a hasty retreat is in order. Rather than fighting the allegations against them they have decided to promise to stop telling said porkie pies rather than wait for an official ruling that they are, in fact, wholesale purveyors of baked meat products.
Some of you may be interested in Gavin's Schmidt's forthcoming talk at Exeter University. It's hard to deny his expertise in the area.
Climate change is now a constant presence in the media with many stories about the latest records in global heat, Arctic ice loss, sea level rise, or the potential for changes in extreme weather. But many people still have questions about how scientists study the Earth system, where the dramatic predictions of future change come from, and how credible they are.
In this talk Dr Schmidt will discuss the use and abuse of climate simulations, how they are used to attribute changes in the past and what they suggest for the future. He will specifically discuss how global society now has to choose its own adventure and what the implications of these choices will be.
From the Guardian
South Pacific island ditches fossil fuels to run entirely on solar power
Using more than 5,000 solar panels and 60 Tesla power packs the tiny island of Ta’u in American Samoa is now entirely self-sufficient for its electricity supply – though the process of converting has been tough and pitted with delays.
From the website of the government of American Samoa
The project description lists 1,410 kW of Solar panels and 6,000 kWh of battery storage. Also, three new 275KW Cummins Diesel Generators...
The latter presumably for decoration.
You can pre-order the Calendar here.
The calendar will be printed after 8th November and pre-order deliveries will be made the week of the 21st November.
As a special offer I am including a second calendar for half price for all orders before the 8th November.
To tell the truth, there has been very little that has piqued my interest in the climate scene since my long break began all those months ago.
But my goodness, David Rose's splash in the Mail on Sunday over the weekend was something else wasn't it? Those paragons of virtue at Centre for Climate Change Economics and Policy, overseen by our old friends Nick and Bob, have been, well, nicking other people's results and passing them off as their own, the better to fleece the taxpayer of a bob or two (or nine million).
That certainly made me sit up and take notice.
Here's Josh's take...
Actor and activist Leo DiCaprio:
“If you do not believe in climate change, you do not believe in facts, or in science or empirical truths and therefore, in my humble opinion, should not be allowed to hold public office,” he said.
The irony is that DiCaprio has come under fire for taking private jets around the world and renting out superyachts for lavish parties — that’s a big carbon footprint for a climate crusader.
Hacked Sony emails showed DiCaprio used private jets to fly between New York to Los Angeles six times in six weeks during 2015.
The Academy Award winning actor even flew 8,000 miles to receive an environmental reward — enough carbon dioxide was burnt to power 20 U.S. homes for a year.