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« Is there an environment conference on the way? | Main | Behind the scenes at Skeptical Science »

Politicians are the problem

In an announcement that is somewhat reminiscent of the Soviet Union, leaders of the opposition parties in Scotland have united in their backing for the ruling SNP's policy on climate:

The leaders of Scotland's political parties have united to reaffirm their commitment to tackling climate change and cutting emissions.

First Minister Alex Salmond, Labour's Johann Lamont, Tory leader Ruth Davidson and Willie Rennie of the Lib Dems have pledged to help meet targets.

Holyrood has passed legislation committing Scotland to a 42% cut in emissions from 1990 levels by 2020.

It is also committed to a reduction of 80% by 2050.

I would have thought a 42% reduction in votes for their parties by 2020 and an 80% reduction by 2050 would be a suitable response.

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Reader Comments (67)

The Dictatorship of Climate has arrived.

Mar 24, 2012 at 8:33 PM | Registered CommenterMartin A

It would be nice, but as far as I know there are no alternatives to vote for in Scotland. And let's face it, were there only three votes from a constituency the winner would still be elected an MP without even a blush.

Mar 24, 2012 at 8:35 PM | Unregistered CommenterPeter C

Next general election is 2015. So these affirmations are completely worthless.

Mar 24, 2012 at 8:41 PM | Registered CommenterSalopian

One wonders if electoral wipeouts will teach them anything! Queensland anyone? :-

Mar 24, 2012 at 8:48 PM | Unregistered CommenterIan E

"I'd encourage people to turn off for WWF's Earth Hour and raise awareness everywhere."

Sums it up. If you can reduce expectations "raise awareness" amongst the electorate - that they are doomed no matter who they vote for, aware that your life will become dark with no option of human optimism offered in the poll, then eventually being a politician overlord in that medieval fantasy world would become a cinch. That is why they unite on blowhard crap like this.

Mar 24, 2012 at 8:48 PM | Unregistered CommenterThe Leopard In The Basement

The "Big Yin", Scottish comedian Billy Connolly, has it about right. He describes the Scottish parliament as the wee pretendy parliament, much to Alex Salmond's annoyance apparently.

Mar 24, 2012 at 8:53 PM | Unregistered CommenterScottie

Describe Scotland in one word


PS So would an independant Scotland is going to cut their North sea oil and gas production and skint themselfs

Mar 24, 2012 at 8:59 PM | Unregistered Commenterjamspid

Was the target not !00% by 2020? Perhaps the 42% reflects the level of enthusiasm for the whole mad idea.

Mar 24, 2012 at 9:01 PM | Unregistered Commentersimpleseekeraftertruth

I wonder what will happen when the people realize that to reduce their "carbon footprint" to those levels that they will only so it by reducing their income by the same amount -- or more.

Recession is stalking Europe already. Even Germany is looking at their blind support of wind and solar power.

The lessons of Oz should not be ignored in Holyrood.

Mar 24, 2012 at 9:16 PM | Unregistered CommenterDon Pablo de la Sierra

I see a SNIP party rising

Mar 24, 2012 at 9:20 PM | Registered CommenterPharos

The big problem is, who do I vote for to get rid of this madness in Scotland ?

Mar 24, 2012 at 9:23 PM | Unregistered CommenterMorph

The English Democratic Party

The Mayor of Doncaster

Mar 24, 2012 at 9:39 PM | Unregistered Commenterjamspid

It's a bit reminiscent of post-war Eastern bloc states where the so-called "Peasants' Party" happily co-operated with the Commies. So where is there any real opposition in Scotland now? I don't think UKIP has the same resonance that it does south of the border.

Mar 24, 2012 at 9:58 PM | Unregistered CommenterCurmudgeon

"Politicians are the problem"

And their number is increasing at a greater rate than atmospheric CO2!
Parish Councillors
Welsh Assembly
Scottish Parliament
House of Commons
House of Lords
The list above is in no way intended to be exhaustive and neither is the ability of those involved with the above to procreate. We need a cull!

Mar 24, 2012 at 10:00 PM | Registered CommenterGreen Sand

Interesting that today's Scottish Daily Mail has a front page lead story about the negative effect of Climate Alarmism on children!

Mar 24, 2012 at 10:33 PM | Unregistered CommenterRoyFOMR

Doe anybody know if there are any offical numbers available on the amount of carbon pollution /sarc that has actually been avoided since the regulations to do so have been started? I am really curious where these people get their confidence from in thinking that the measures taken so far (wind, solar, bio-fuel, carbon tax, etc) will get them their 42%. I would think they have some data to back up that it is even possible (without nuclear)?

Mar 24, 2012 at 10:36 PM | Unregistered CommenterWijnand

"The big problem is, who do I vote for to get rid of this madness in Scotland ?"

If none is worthy of your vote, vote Informal. Scribble a message on your ballot paper to the effect that none of the candidates deserve your vote, and vote Informal.

It is important not to get disenfranchised from the political process by mediocre parties and candidates. Even if you vote Informal, your vote still counts and your voice is still heard.

It is important that you vote. If you don't vote, you have no voice.

Mar 24, 2012 at 10:51 PM | Registered CommentersHx

Any cuts in UK (or scottish emissions) are irrelevant. In 2006 China increased CO2 emissions over 2005 levels by 545.2 Mt, while in the same year total UK emissions were just 535.8Mt. The 2008 climate change act aims to cut UK emissions to 20% of 1990 levels by 2050 at a costs of hundreds of billions of pounds in subsidies. It will have zero effect on UK temperatures and globally its effect is delta above insignificant. The UK’s entire contribution over 40 years will be to offset just 1 single year of increases in China’s CO2 emissions. It is a noble act of moral posturing.

Mar 24, 2012 at 11:04 PM | Unregistered CommenterClive Best

@Mar 24, 2012 at 11:04 PM | Clive Best

Interesting numbers. It shows the utter futility of the whole thing. But I rather meant the comparison between the CO2 emissions with the green measures in place as compared to what the emissions would have been with busines-as-usual. How much less are we emitting with all these measures in place. Is anybody even keeping track? No evaluation and review after 4 years (since 2008)?

Please, do you have a link or reference for the numbers you quoted? I'd be interested! Thanks in advance!

Mar 24, 2012 at 11:38 PM | Unregistered CommenterWijnand

The big problem is, who do I vote for to get rid of this madness in Scotland

For the last few elections, I have been writing "None of the Above" at the foot of the ballot paper and putting my cross next to that. However, I have noticed that the authorities have been making this increasingly difficult to do, by reducing the footer margin until there is virtually no space to write anything. So much so that at the next election, I plan to take along a blank sheet of paper and some scissors and sellotape to physically extend the length of the ballot paper so I can then exercise my democratic right to vote for 'None of the Above'.

I firmly believe that voting should be mandatory, but only on the condition that there should always be an official option to vote for "none of the above" on all ballot papers. Naturally politicians will never allow this, as it would enable the disenfranchised a real vote, and at a stroke quash the myth that low turnouts are due to voter apathy, when the reality is that it is more likely to be voter antipathy.

Another option would be to set up a "None of the Above party" but this would cost time and resources which sadly I don't have. Getting potential NOTA party candidates to always appear below all the others on the ballot paper would also be a problem.

Mar 25, 2012 at 12:14 AM | Unregistered Commenterlapogus

"The leaders of Scotland's political parties have united to reaffirm their commitment to tackling climate change and cutting emissions."

Good for them. I find the throwing of hands up and moaning it's too hard to stop CO2 emissions rising distasteful. At least some countries are trying to do it. Hopefully this commitment will help bring greater international agreement too.

Mar 25, 2012 at 12:49 AM | Unregistered Commenterhmm

Sixty years ago my Dad warned that 'voting for politicians only encourages the buggers'. He was a firm believer in voting for 'none of the above' where it seemed appropriate. I have a distinct recollection of Billy Connelly saying much the same thing.
And there is usually some daft spambot here such as hmm, who utterly misses the point: why would anyone in their right mind want to limit the supply of essential plant food to the planet?

Mar 25, 2012 at 12:59 AM | Unregistered CommenterAlexander K

Because it's lowering ocean pH and it's a significant greenhouse gas.

Why do you need to increase levels of CO2 at a rate unprecedented in Earth's history?

More to the point: why would you risk it?

Mar 25, 2012 at 2:11 AM | Unregistered Commenterhmm

@hmm (how appropriate)
"Because it's lowering ocean pH and it's a significant greenhouse gas"
Of course it's affecting oceanic pH. Not adding it would also affect pH. It would increase (Oceanic Alkalisation!!!!) 'cos certain organisms utilise C concentrations to thrive.
Which is worse? Hint- no arm-waving.
Significant GHG. Wot more than H2O? Juvenile and/or infertile cud-chewing i.e. b*llocks!
"Why do you need to increase levels of CO2 at a rate unprecedented in Earth's history?"
Dunno but at least I'm an order of magnitude more honestly ignorant than you appear to be.
More Plants -> Increased biomass->greater foodstuff for non-photo-energy-converting lifeforms (Hmm)
Sounds a fair trade. You do believe in Fair-Trade, don't you?
Unprecedented?!$WTF. Check out the History of Climate History. It makes early soviet propoganda look like stenography!
How knowledgeable you or more likely your information sources are. Unprecedented is a busted flush in our post-scientific, x-factor 0898 consensus-driven media-machine. What's it worth. Ten years, twenty years, a human life-span? You're far too trusting IMO.
Hmm, a bit of advice that you will definitely not appreciate just now but we all evolve at our own rates.
Sometimes you gotta spit and not swallow!

"More to the point: why would you risk it?"
Risk what? Reducing risk requires reason, numeracy, understanding and pragmatism. The focus has to be on pragmatism as opposed to idealism and warm wooly touchy-feely intentions; however well-intentioned.
The biggest Risk that I can currently see is that to powerful political and economic conglomerates.
Huge amounts of cash have been staked by powerful and influential gamblers on the certainty of a self-perpetuating consensus that welcomes disciples while hammering critics.
Governments and major purse-holders have bet their shirts on the tax and income revenues that will be released by controlling energy aka life-controlling resources. I once believed the Science implicitly and without question. I now believe that I was a naive twit who over-romanticised the 'nobility' of the Scientist and was blind to the avarice and self-agrandisement of the individual under the white lab-coat.
They hold the risk part of the equation. Nature controls the roulette wheel and no amount of table-fixing will alter where the ball settles.
You're far too trusting mate. I was like you once.

Mar 25, 2012 at 3:13 AM | Unregistered CommenterRoyFOMR


Put aside (just for a moment) all scientific and policy debates about CAGW. Guess, what, unless you have China, India, and all of the "developing" world onboard, self-flagellating actions in Europe and North America are virtually meaningless, even if all of your assumptions and beliefs are accepted.

Unless you can drastically change the course of China, India, et al, we are looking at "adaptation" to climate changes anyway, and no amount of self-flagellation in the EU or North America can change that basic fact.

You may find this simple reality "distasteful" but if you look are the curve trajectories for rising emissions outside of EU/North America it is clear that all the CAGWarmists are merely trying to burden the economies of "developed" countries with futile feel-good gestures.

Mar 25, 2012 at 3:44 AM | Registered CommenterSkiphil

The big problem is, who do I vote for to get rid of this madness in Scotland ?
Mar 24, 2012 at 9:23 PM | Morph

Morph. I voted with my feet. I got out of the UK for good in 2004.

Mar 25, 2012 at 3:53 AM | Unregistered CommenterJimmy Haigh

@Jimmy Haigh
You can take the Jimmy out of the UK but can you take the UK out of the Jimmy?
Your continued presence on this hallowed site would indicate 'No' to the latter.
PS - Great move BTW, lucky dog:)

Mar 25, 2012 at 4:22 AM | Unregistered CommenterRoyFOMR

lapogus 12:14 AM

"For the last few elections, I have been writing "None of the Above" "

Yes, I too have been doing this if no UKIP vote is available. I believe we should doggedly go on voting UKIP and eventually the message might get through. Ukip is fielding candidates in the forthcoming council elections to raise their profile and to show that ukip is not a single-issue party. However, as I discovered when working for the '97 General Election, the intelligence of the average Scottish voter leaves much to be desired, making it a hard slog.

Mar 25, 2012 at 8:12 AM | Unregistered CommenterHuhneToTheSlammer

Scotland's economy will be a third world economy soon
Thank you SNP

Mar 25, 2012 at 8:14 AM | Unregistered CommenterConfusedPhoton

WRT mine of 8.12 AM, the "spoiled" ballot papers are the only ones shown to the candidates / agents, so they are not entirely wasted votes.

Mar 25, 2012 at 8:16 AM | Unregistered CommenterHuhneToTheSlammer

Reply to Wifnand :

The figures for CO2 emissions are from the International Energy Agency

This comparison was pointed out first by Matthew Sinclair in his new book "Let them Eat Carbon" which should be obligatory reading for all politicians.

Mar 25, 2012 at 10:16 AM | Unregistered CommenterClive Best

i think that there still exists, in the minds of the political classes, a belief that carbon taxation is something they can get away with in the hope that taxpayers are willing to "pay to save the planet".

And I would be willing to pay but I don't have the hubris to think my (our) carbon contribution is significant. Neither do I think politicans lack hubris in any small measure.

Mar 25, 2012 at 10:52 AM | Unregistered Commentertimheyes

Morph on Mar 24, 2012 at 9:23 PM
"The big problem is, who do I vote for to get rid of this madness in Scotland ?"

See my response to Curmudgeon, below! And get involved yourself!

Even if you joined the LibDems, Lab, Con or the Scot Nats and asked the awkward questions (like, are the windmills value for money?) you would still be confronting the Global Warming brigade's agenda.

Curmudgeon on Mar 24, 2012 at 9:58 PM
"I don't think UKIP has the same resonance that it does south of the border."

A bit of a backhanded compliment, eh!

Mar 25, 2012 at 10:53 AM | Unregistered CommenterRobert Christopher (UKIP member)

The Australian government appears to see no logical self-contradiction in wanting to "decarbonize" and yet remain the worlds largest coal exporter. So I expect any potential Scottish government would find a way to have their cake and eat it.

Quite a number of politicians are more sceptical than they let on, but don't want to find themselves cut off from the herd before seeing which way to jump. If every party takes the same line [in public] then they minimize the political risks. This has probably worked in favour of the carbon abolitionists so far. Oil and gas revenues start looking juicier when in power.

Mar 25, 2012 at 10:57 AM | Unregistered Commentermichael hart

macbeth act 1 scene 1

Mar 25, 2012 at 11:50 AM | Unregistered CommenterAnoneumouse

"Have your cake and eat it" is right there with "allegedly" educated people citing Canute as stupidly trying to prevent the tide coming in.

I "have" cake, I "eat" cake. No problem. The hard thing is to eat your cake and still have it. Doesn't anyone get an education these days?

Mar 25, 2012 at 12:11 PM | Unregistered CommenterHector Pascal

Hector Pascal

Hear hear !

Mar 25, 2012 at 12:13 PM | Unregistered CommenterHuhneToTheSlammer

lapogus 12:14 AM

"For the last few elections, I have been writing "None of the Above"

And Huhneslayer.....Quite right. AFAIK all spoiled papers have to be counted and the number announced. I keep telling my friends who want to see a 'None of the Above' selections on ballots that all they have to do is put a cross against all the candidates.

Mar 25, 2012 at 12:14 PM | Unregistered CommenterSnotrocket

Curious; who would be paying for all these renewable projects, Scotland alone or UK+Scotland? If the majority of costs land on UK then cynically it makes sense for Scotland parties to back this policy as it amounts to a large additional net flow of money into Scotland.

Mar 25, 2012 at 12:23 PM | Unregistered CommenterRob L

My friend will pay.

Mar 25, 2012 at 1:48 PM | Unregistered CommenterSteve

"Confine humans in huge cities; that will allow animals to roam freely and thrive."*

* National Geographic, April 2012, Page 6.

The goal is to destroy or incapacitate the bulk of human population. A chosen few, the NatGeo reporters for example, will of course be allowed their freedom to travel, pollute and live in excess. This is different from any other murderous tyranny? Because they mean to do good? For the animals? Really.

Mar 25, 2012 at 2:00 PM | Unregistered CommenterRedbone

Others have said it, but anything we do will be futile unless China, India, Brazil, Mexico and South Africa decide to commit economic suicide on the cusp of entering a new age of prosperity for their people. The problem the alarmists have with these countries is that none of the disasters predicted in the IPCC SPM would make life worse than it is now for the billions of indigents in these countries and Africa.

I suggest everyone on these blogs should write to their MP telling them they're going to vote UKIP because of the climate policies of their respective parties. The Scots, not for the first time, are banjaxed.

Mar 25, 2012 at 2:11 PM | Unregistered Commentergeronimo

Mar 24, 2012 at 11:04 PM | Clive Best

" ... a noble act of moral posturing." Yes - and the Government appears to think it's necessary. Here's what Oliver Letwin (Cabinet Office Minister) said a year ago:

… this is an issue of moral leadership – we absolutely have to establish moral leadership on the issue of climate change … Those of us who made the case at Copenhagen for a carbon cap now have a moral obligation to show that we are true to our word by delivering green changes in our own countries. Doing so will send a signal to more reluctant countries that we are serious, and will help build the conditions necessary to reach a global agreement to act.

So, you see, it's all about setting an example - the White Man's Burden, I suppose. Letwin presumably thinks that the likes of India and China (the main reason for 2010's global GHG emissions being "the highest in history" - link) will wake up and say, "Oh look, the UK's adopting a “green” energy policy. It must know best - so we’d better follow suit, even if it means halting our economic development and keeping millions of our people in continuing poverty".

This policy is irresponsible, foolish, arrogant, self-harming, neo-colonial nonsense.

Mar 25, 2012 at 2:13 PM | Registered CommenterRobin Guenier

Hector Pascal - I think the cake proverb works both ways and would even suggest placing the "having" first is preferable because it introduces an element of puzzlement into its usage. The phrase is about the conflicting desires of 'retaining' and 'consuming' and states that, whilst the two desires can be (and often are) experienced at the same time, both cannot be met. Of course, the proverb exists and resonates because there is a third desire which humans often become caught up in - the overriding pleasure of destroying that which is otherwise known to be a valuable and useful resource. Here, the phrase could be seen as being related in meaning to "Cutting off one's nose to spite the face"... an act which might well sum up the Environmentalist cause.

Mar 25, 2012 at 2:34 PM | Unregistered CommenterPeter S

Setting an example is important. Other countries like China, Brazil etc are more likely to agree to CO2 reductions if a) we show we really mean it with our actions and b) we've shown it's possible and the naysayers who link co2 reductions with destruction of the economy are wrong.

I note that If we had started this in the 90s China could have been on board from the start. By delaying things all we've done is made the rest of the world more dependen more dependent on carbon.

Got to start somewhere. Throwing hands in the air and screaming "it's impossible" is cowardly.

Mar 25, 2012 at 2:40 PM | Unregistered Commenterbob

I don't see the Scottish Independence Party listed there. And isn't there a group of Scottish skeptics that just took off? Are primaries possible in Scotland?

Mar 25, 2012 at 4:20 PM | Unregistered CommenterMikeN

Some quite good news if you live in London

Mar 25, 2012 at 4:20 PM | Unregistered CommenterjAMSPID

Politicians are A problem. Only one among several which include:

1. Politicians (No name embellishment necessary)
2. Consensus Climate Scientist Hockey Team Goons
3. Official Scientific Organization Alphabet Soupists
4. Unthinking Street Warmer Zombies


Mar 25, 2012 at 4:35 PM | Unregistered CommenterBad Andrew

bob: you are are apparently lacking a bit logical ability. Burning coal and hydroelectricity is the way that rural peoples are able to develop a substantial industrial society with large conurbations where you have to pump water and sewage so the people aren't killed off by water-borne diseases.

What you are suggesting is that we should return to a poverty-ridden rural existence in order to show the Chinese people how superior it is compared with that we have developed over the past 170 years!

What's that I hear? You think we can use windmills to produce the power AND save CO2 so we don't all die as global warming takes place? Firstly, if we install any more windmills without pump storage, they will cause more CO2 to be produced than if we didn't have them. Secondly there is no significant CO2-AGW - the science has since 1967 been based on entirely wrong assumptions, possibly fraudulent. And thirdly, in reality it's a scam to enrich the windmill operators and the landowners, also to underpin the Euro via carbon trading and neo-colonialist land clearances in the Third World.

Grow up: we need nuclear and methane from shale and anaerobic digesters, also to take the luvvies and the other idiots who have swallowed this fake science and give them a rough emetic of hard scientific facts from nasty people like me who know the real science and engineering. This is so we can counter the fraudsters and the idiot politicians on the make like Clegg and Cameron whose path this is the EU Commissioner overlordship in the 4th Reich..

Mar 25, 2012 at 4:51 PM | Unregistered Commentermydogsgotnonose

The Jocks will be exporting their excess windpower to us south of the border, at 3X the price they'll be paying to import power when the wind doesn't blow!
Now, who are the idiots?

Mar 25, 2012 at 5:34 PM | Unregistered CommenterAdam Gallon

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