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« Hansen at the LSE | Main | ECS with Otto »
Monday
May202013

IoP and the great unwashed

The Institute of Physics Environmental Physics group seems to be very pressed for time at the moment. While meetings are usually announced well in advance, the organisers of the next event, the members day meeting on 22 May, seem to have left things until the last minute. The notice, which, from the document properties, was prepared by Simon Buckle of the Grantham Institute at Imperial, was only sent out yesterday evening. How unfortunate!

This is not the only oddity either. The group's events have previously been open to all comers - the IoP is a registered charity after all, so allowing the public to attend is part of their mission of public education. I hear, however, that for the latest event,  those who are thinking to go along have been advised to bring their membership cards. It appears that the great unwashed are no longer wanted. Will the IoP be turning the public away at the door? What would the Charities Commission say?

And if members might be thinking of raising these issues amongst themselves, another organisational innovation looks as though it will stop that happening. Lunch is being cancelled and opportunities to network are being kept to the bare minimum. There will be no gossip at this school gate.

What on earth is going on?

We on the outside can only guess, but from the notice that has belatedly gone out, we can see that most of the talks scheduled for the day are quite closely related to the subject of global warming. In fact even the essay prize, which is presented during members day, has gone to a student from the Grantham Institute at Imperial College, for a piece entitled "Communicating climate change: should we sell environmentally friendly behaviour?".

You don't suppose that the people at the top of the institute are trying to avoid tricky questions do you?

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Reader Comments (26)

What is 'environmental physics'? It wasn't part of my curriculum. Do the members of the 'environmental physics group' have one trouser leg rolled up and a secret handshake?

May 20, 2013 at 10:11 PM | Registered CommenterPhillip Bratby

You don't suppose that the people at the top of the institute are trying to avoid tricky questions do you?

Why not ask them? If they refuse to answer that will reflect badly on them. If they do answer it would be interesting to know what excuse they come up with.

May 20, 2013 at 10:52 PM | Unregistered CommenterRoy

what better quality passtime than having yourself shuffled out of the door by some Caviar Leftists , against their own rules ?

popcorn, beer, and some smartphones.

May 20, 2013 at 10:54 PM | Unregistered Commenterxyz

Hmmm ... the Institute of Physics? Is this not the very same group whose highly questionable activities led to Your Grace's pamphlet on Institutional Bias?

And speaking of the "selling" of "environmentally friendly behaviour" ... I am gradually coming to the conclusion formulation of an hypothesis that 2007 may well have been a "watershed year" for the green dreamers - and the "selling of environmentally friendly behaviour".

2007, in addition to being the year of AR4's (now) infamous sleight of phrasing (including the "consensus" and the "unequivocal" bits!), was the year of the IoP's actions that eventually gave rise to your pamphlet.

It also turns out to have been the year that British Columbia pulled together (with the very helpful hand of IPCC-nik, climate modeller Andrew Weaver) its 150+page (and whothehellis going to read all that - when its provisions will have no impact until several years down the road, eh?!) "Climate Action Plan" with legislated "targets" - and entered into a "not intended to be legally binding ... Climate Action Charter" with eventually 180 (of 188) municipalities signing on the dotted line.

As a consequence, I discovered earlier this week that - whether I like it or not - by 2015, I shall be required to separate out my "approved" organic waste for delivery into the hands of a US company - one of whose "largest investors" is ... you'll never guess ... Al Gore's Generation Investment Management!

Oh, and it appears that the industrial "process" they will be applying to all this "organic waste" - in order to divert it from landing in a methane producing landfill - will result in the production of the demon Carbon Dioxide!!

For all the ... uh ... gory details <shameless plug alert> pls. see:

Wastelandia: Andrew Weaver et al‘s big green choru$ and $ymphony … in the key of Gore

May 20, 2013 at 10:55 PM | Registered CommenterHilary Ostrov

"As a consequence, I discovered earlier this week that - whether I like it or not - by 2015, I shall be required to separate out my "approved" organic waste for delivery into the hands of a US company - one of whose "largest investors" is ... you'll never guess ... Al Gore's Generation Investment Management!"

Surely you could separate out your "approved" organic waste and donate it to a local gardener instead if you don't want to line Al Gore's pockets? (I'm assuming you don't have a garden yourself.)

May 20, 2013 at 11:19 PM | Unregistered CommenterTurning Tide

The Motto: "IP On Science" seems appropriate.

May 20, 2013 at 11:29 PM | Unregistered CommenterBruce

Extremism in British Universities, closing down the debate?

Will the IoP be segregating ladies to sit apart from the gentlemen in the audience?

I make no apology for this, what some might think an abstruse conflation.

Because it is evident that - if you do not religiously agree with the pious omniscience of the left leaning academic mafiosi, then you are against them. Thus it follows then, if you do not conform and toe the line you must be; a racist, denier, nay sayer, flat earther - or holocaust denier. Yet, there are worse things allowed by the Dons secluded from societal reality, roosting in their ivory towers.

Realists must beware the wrath of Imperial and a 'college of bias'.

Mind you, it's OK to preach anti western hatred and peddle racist doctrine - if you are a pedagogue adherent of a certain Eastern creed.

LONDON: Islamic extremists have infiltrated leading British universities, including the Oxford and the Cambridge, and are quite active on the campuses, a leading academic said on Monday.

According to professor Anthony Glees, director of Brunel University's Centre for Intelligence Security Studies, up to 48 British universities have been allegedly infiltrated by fundamentalists and the threat posed by radical groups must be tackled immediately.

"radical groups"

Free speech for some but not for others eh?

May 20, 2013 at 11:54 PM | Unregistered CommenterAthelstan.

May 20, 2013 at 11:19 PM | Turning Tide

Surely you could separate out your "approved" organic waste and donate it to a local gardener instead [...]

Yes, I could do this (at an even greater personal inconvenience because, as you surmised, I do not have a garden). But in order to get it to a local (composting) gardener, I'd be spewing the dreaded CO2 during the drive there and back!

In any event, that's not the greatest of my concerns - and since there will be an additional charge (regardless of what I do!), at least some of this money will line Gore's pocket, anyway!

Setting aside this blatant attempt (which is not the first, nor - I suspect - will it be the last) to modify my behaviour and the fact that I don't see how any of these so-called (still undefined, AKAIK) "green-economy" measures (including this one) are going to have even the slightest effect on "climate change" - or on production of the dreaded CO2 ... how in Gaia's name are they supposed to improve the lives of those who reside in third-world countries?

May 21, 2013 at 12:18 AM | Registered CommenterHilary Ostrov

"... how in Gaia's name are they supposed to improve the lives of those who reside in third-world countries?" --Hilary Ostrov

By terminating them with malaria (no DDT) or making food so expensive they starve (biofuels). If neither works, perhaps something more along the lines of the 10-10 video.

May 21, 2013 at 1:13 AM | Unregistered Commenterjorgekafkazar

how in Gaia's name are they supposed to improve the lives of those who reside in third-world countries?"

Improving people's lives isn't anywhere on the Left/Greens' agenda.

They are much happier damaging the lives of people they resent and envy, that is to say, almost anyone who has made themselves tolerably comfortable in our modern society.

Forcing you to separate waste is just one of their tactics which says about themselves:"Here I am, look at me, what a noble environmentalist I am, and I'm better than you."

May 21, 2013 at 3:18 AM | Unregistered CommenterRick Bradford

Were the meeting a general meeting, then the 21 days' notice required by charter hasn't been given.

I can't seem to find a meeting notice on the IoP web site. Is it at all a legitimate IoP meeting?

May 21, 2013 at 5:19 AM | Unregistered CommenterBernd Felsche

Oh dear, they sound worried about something.

May 21, 2013 at 5:49 AM | Unregistered CommenterA.D. Everard

Well, I'm not sure how avid or attentive the readership of the IoP Environmental Physics Group's "Newsletter" might be, but the "Spring 2013" (dated March 2013) edition message from (outgoing) Chair, Pat Goodman, includes the following:

We have our members day and AGM scheduled for the 22nd May, I would encourage as many as possible to attend, there is no cost to members, and lunch and refreshments are provided. You will also see an invitation for members to submit potential talks for presentation at the meeting, you may have some of your research that would be of interest to the members of the group.

The words of "Welcome" from Hugh Mortimer (editor?) included:

We also have the first notice of the next Environmental Physics Group Members’ Day (page 12).

As I was scrolling through this .pdf, I also noticed:

Environmental Research Letters, ERL, covers all of environmental science, providing a coherent and integrated approach including research articles, perspectives and editorials.

ERL is a publlcation of IoP. And it also happens to be the "home" of Cook et al's:

Received 18 January 2013,
accepted for publication 22 April 2013
Published 15 May 2013

version of Cook's latest and greatest.

Is it possible that Cook was a winning (if not the only) contender who responded to the "call for presenters"? If so, I can well imagine that he would not exactly be open to any questions from the great unwashed!

Perhaps this is the reason for the rather late notice (and cancellation of lunch)?! Nah ... must just be coincidence!

May 21, 2013 at 6:46 AM | Registered CommenterHilary Ostrov

Well we can't have the 'swivel eyed loons' asking awkward questions now can we.

May 21, 2013 at 8:22 AM | Unregistered Commenterconfused

"What would the Charities Commission say?" The usual, " nothing to see here move on". They have to protect their own...don't they?????

May 21, 2013 at 10:40 AM | Unregistered CommenterDerek Buxton

Derek Buxton,

"What would the Charities Commission say?" The usual, " nothing to see here move on". They have to protect their own...don't they?????

Charities commission they act just like the Quality Care commission, who copy the Electoral commission - heads in the sand "nothing to see here" - vastly overpaid sinecures and pensions and positions remain intact.

May 21, 2013 at 11:36 AM | Unregistered CommenterAthelstan.

"What would the Charities Commission say?"

Nothing at all. Absolutely nothing.

The Charity Commission is a shop steward for trustees of charities. Its role is to catch the flak and reply explaining that

(a) they are not satisfied that the trustee has done anything wrong, and in any case

(b) a trustee can do anything he or she likes and there is nothing you can do about it.

If you point out that some law has been broken in what has been done, they will simply reply that in that case you must take it up with the other relevant authorities, its nothing to do with them.

We need to abolish the Charity Commission. Its only role at the moment is to prevent any effective regulation of the sector.

May 21, 2013 at 11:54 AM | Unregistered Commentermichel

@Hilary Ostrov

I really don't see how you can be required to separate out organic waste: are there going to be Garbage Police to rummage through the normal rubbish just to check whether you've chucked any apple cores amongst it? Are there fines/penalties if you don't comply? What if you don't have any organic waste? ("Sorry - my compost caddy is empty this week because I'm on the chicken-bones-and-cabbage-stalk diet. It's great - I've lost two stone already" or "There's no approved organic waste today because I've just met this wonderful man who has whisked me off to a different restaurant for dinner every night this week").

In the UK, the powers-that-be flirted with a Big Brother approach to household waste collection (electronic chips in the wheelies bins, and so forth), but they seem to have backed away from this now, following much derision in the tabloid press.

May 21, 2013 at 4:18 PM | Unregistered CommenterTurning Tide

Not so long ago.....

....Bin men across large areas of the county are being asked to keep an eye on what people are throwing in their plastic containers. In Southampton, residents who break the rules will be reminded of possible “enforcement measures”, according to a council report.

http://www.dailyecho.co.uk/news/district/eastleigh/10304649._Bin_spies__checking_your_rubbish/

May 21, 2013 at 6:45 PM | Unregistered CommenterMessenger

@ Turning Tide

"Are there fines/penalties if you don't comply?"

Not sure about individual fines, but if Hilary's experience is anything like ours in Ottawa, then the city council is "fined' for not delivering the contracted amount of organic waste - being forced to pay the full cost to the organic waste composters (imposters?) regardless of the amount delivered. I am not even sure that we weren't on the hook for penalties since the company had contracts to deliver compost that they couldn't fill because of too little raw material. Thus our city waste taxes were increased to cover a system that few people wanted anyway (as shown by the low take-up rate of organic bins).

The City have now gone to only collecting garbage every two weeks in order to try and push more people into diverting their organic waste - with little notable results so far. I remember seeing the stories from the UK when that was introduced......

May 21, 2013 at 6:59 PM | Unregistered CommenterRob Potter

In my undergraduate days we at least knew that the really obnoxious left-wing loons would be found in the Arts faculties.

Membership of the IoP used to be listed on my CV. It isn't any more.

May 21, 2013 at 8:42 PM | Unregistered CommenterSteve Jones

Time for a recycling bing for the IoP directors.

On the parallel topic of rubbish tirany, you may want to check the madness of the stalinist pro-ETA party in northern Spain, with 5 enforced bins per household, rubbish inspectors and corresponding fines.
Being Spain planning never goes according to forecasts and some citizens decided to be very proactive: as a way of saving collection costs, many hundred took their rubbish bins on their own cars and dumped the contents at the entrance of the mayor's residence:
http://tinyurl.com/lbywn62

May 21, 2013 at 9:04 PM | Unregistered CommenterPatagon

May 21, 2013 at 4:18 PM | Turning Tide

I really don't see how you can be required to separate out organic waste: are there going to be Garbage Police to rummage through the normal rubbish [...]

Well, in my post I did speculate as to whether or not there might be a "Green police" in the planning works :-)

And to be fair to the contact person with whom I spoke, he didn't think it was too likely that they'd come after me if I don't comply! But against that, please see Rob Potter's note above - and I also recall sometime within the last year that a notice was distributed indicating that we shouldn't put x in the recycling bin for y because the pick-up company would just leave the whole thing.

All of this aside, however, it's more the principle of the whole thing; including other "regulations" that may well come into force - in no small measure thanks to the impending presence in our provincial legislature of the self-important, autocratic, Green dreamer (and IPCC-nik), Andrew Weaver (who just happened to be on The Team who dreamed up BC's "Climate Action Plan" in 2007).

Lots of other "bright" ideas in this pipeline, many of which sound warm 'n fuzzy 'n reasonable on the surface. But I am far from convinced that any of them will make a significant positive difference to lives of British Columbians (certainly the over-hyped under-performing "Revenue neutral" carbon tax - and "Emissions Trading Scheme" - has not lived up to its billing).

And I still don't know how any of these measures are supposed to improve the lives of those who reside in third-world countries.

May 23, 2013 at 3:35 AM | Registered CommenterHilary Ostrov

Hilary, here in Australia some local councils, including the one where my folks live, in Sydney, have introduced compulsory green waste recycling. Many others have activists constantly agitating for its introduction.

Apart from the fact that compulsory recycling of all stripes is bunkum (like compulsory water restrictions when dams are full and green energy levies) which has everything to do with social engineering and nothing to do with saving the planet - it stinks. Literally. Just imagine what the Christmas meat scraps and prawn heads smell like after a week in a sealed plastic bin when daily maxima are regularly over 30C and can hit 40C. You are not allowed to wrap them up.

This is where thousands of years of civilisation has got us - festering, maggot-riddled bins of rotting food in every home as an aspirational target. People used to live like that because they were poor and ignorant - now we are supposed to embrace it because we are rich and educated.

If people want to recycle (at their own expense) that is fine by me. But sending us back to the Middle Ages and charging us for the privilege is symptomatic of the real ideology behind a lot of the 'save the planet' crowd. It is all about social control and loathing of capitalism.

The hypocrisy of it all is revealed when you consider that properly managed landfill or incineration has a lower carbon footprint than multiple bins and trucks and waste depots and sorting and so on. What's more, some of the recyling material is then put on ships and sent to poor countries because, frankly, it's worthless and useless to us.

I guess that's the payoff for the Third World countries (sarc), but in terms of saving the planet, the whole thing is a con.

May 23, 2013 at 8:56 AM | Registered Commenterjohanna

Johanna,

This is where thousands of years of civilisation has got us - festering, maggot-riddled bins of rotting food in every home as an aspirational target. People used to live like that because they were poor and ignorant - now we are supposed to embrace it because we are rich and educated.

If people want to recycle (at their own expense) that is fine by me. But sending us back to the Middle Ages and charging us for the privilege is symptomatic of the real ideology behind a lot of the 'save the planet' crowd. It is all about social control and loathing of capitalism.

Bingo!

And to add insult to injury, those who would have us follow this shining path utter not a peep about the "Sustainable Capitalism" [I kid you not!] of Al Gore (and his pals) - whose hypocritical pockets these measures are indisputably lining.

May 23, 2013 at 10:39 AM | Registered CommenterHilary Ostrov

the Q/Answer inertia can be explained if we take into account eg the salaries at the MET, and the profit margins of the windmill scam.

May 27, 2013 at 1:04 PM | Unregistered Commenterxyz

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