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« Simon Singh's integrity problem | Main | The new hiatus »
Sunday
May112014

More strong stomachs required

Josh points us to this video of Christiana Figueres speaking at St Paul's Cathedral. I haven't had the chance to look at it yet, but Josh says it is pretty appalling.

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Reader Comments (86)

Ah - sorry Martin, just notices the 'Church IN England' in your question, a very different entity to the CofE.

I doubt there's much in the way of solid data there. Certainly a lot of wealth built up over centuries; enough to be very attractive to various Monarchs who saw fit to appropriate it as the whim took them. Bear in mind that the Church had temporal as well as spiritual power and the two were variously on good or bad terms with each other as the politics swung this way and that.

To build that wealth however required effort and investment. Farming, building, brewing etc. all of which provided employment and support to the population. It's in the church foundations that you find the seeds of education and welfare services too. So a net figure for contribution, rather than drain, is probably in order.

May 12, 2014 at 10:30 AM | Unregistered CommenterCumbrian Lad

Figueres' speech is available on-line at
http://figueresonline.com/speeches/stpaulslondon.pdf

May 12, 2014 at 10:32 AM | Registered Commentergeoffchambers

Indeed Robin,

Cast-iron commitments all.......

May 12, 2014 at 10:34 AM | Unregistered CommenterJones

cofe was short of a spur from protestantism wasn't it?
Henry wanted a harem , did not get ok from the pope, subsequently thought it a nice idea to join the new wave with
a variant of his making (allowing harems)
at least that is what i picked up from a soap opera a while ago

May 12, 2014 at 10:49 AM | Unregistered Commenterptw

Tim Channon

"try shading part of a series connected panel"

Some 30 years ago I was involved in the production of remote sensing buoys that relied on very large and expensive primary (i.e. not rechargeable) batteries. Similarly expensive PV panels were employed on a new version, with great hope, but their unreliability proved disappointing. All sorts of causes were explored, such as weather sealing and salt water corrosion, but the chief culprit turned out to be seagull poo, which only had to obscure one cell to affect the performance of all the rest that were in series with it...

May 12, 2014 at 11:28 AM | Registered Commenterjamesp

@ jamesp 11:28

"....the chief culprit turned out to be seagull poo, which only had to obscure one cell to affect the performance of all the rest that were in series with it"

The wisdom of an engineer.

May 12, 2014 at 11:37 AM | Unregistered CommenterJoe Public

The language of climate alarmism is the same used by science fiction writers - 'imagine a world where'. They make stuff up at every turn. It's a wonder the dome didn't crack with all those lies trotted out.... oh hang on it is a cathedral. It never fails to amaze me how many of the useless sections of society are attracted to CAGW. I know that climate science and the solutions are very complicated but surely these people could avoid using patent falsehoods in their sales pitches? The Golgafrincham \B Arkers live amongst us!

May 12, 2014 at 12:53 PM | Unregistered CommenterTinyCO2

I knew I couldn't watch (or listen) so I've just read the comments...
I reckon it was worse than even I thought...!
Thanks, guys...

May 12, 2014 at 1:17 PM | Unregistered Commentersherlock1

The CofE did not come into being until after the middle ages.
May 12, 2014 at 10:07 AM | Unregistered CommenterCumbrian Lad

Of course I know that.

Please re-read what I asked. I wrote the Church in England. Not "The Church Of England".

I don't know how literally "a tithe" should be taken. I have a feeling it was more than 10% of the GDP in reality.

May 12, 2014 at 1:59 PM | Registered CommenterMartin A

Cumbrian Lad,

I posted the above, read your follow-up comment and tried to change what I had written. But I got (in bright red)

"[ The editing period for the item you are modifying has elapsed. These changes can no longer be saved. ]"

I'd agree that the church's contribution would not have been entirely negative.

"To build that wealth however required effort and investment." Agree entirely.

But with the large part of production [tithe? I suspect more than 10% overall] being hoovered up by the church, there would have been that much less available for the development of manufacture, skilled trades, drainage, water supplies and so on.

May 12, 2014 at 2:27 PM | Registered CommenterMartin A

On the subject: “What's the Church IN England ever done for us?” I'd add: collecting, preserving, copying and illustrating a load of musty old books in languages no-one could read (Greek, Anglo-Saxon, Aramaic...) most of which had nothing to do with Christianity.
It probably takes a special kind of peculiar psychology to indulge in such pointless activity when you could be out in the fresh air keeping bees for mead or peeling oranges for Cointreau. Could be the same kind of obsessive behaviour pattern that made people draw mammoths in inaccessible caves, or keep temperature records that no-one in centuries to come would care about..
Over to you Andy West..

May 12, 2014 at 2:49 PM | Registered Commentergeoffchambers

Geoff Chambers (9:50 AM): 'Yes, it's called “banki-mooning”..' :-)

I think you owe me a pint for providing a feed for that.

May 12, 2014 at 3:17 PM | Registered CommenterRobin Guenier

Cumbrian Lad (9:27 PM):

Richard D - I don't think we're expecting a document from Pope Francis until the Autumn, and given that he's full of surprises there are few clues around about what he's likely to say. There are some interesting theories though …

Thank you for those references. Francis certainly has the propensity to surprise. Since Benedict resigned - the first of so many surprises - the Vatican has, to me, as a sympathetic outsider, made enormous strides. I don't know if you caught Panorama's profile of Francis the day before he met the Queen, The Pope's Revolution, going through his first year. Amazingly the BBC presenter finished quite clearly (from 36 mins) with the threat to the Pope's life as a result of the reforms he's begun. His close friend, the rabbi from Buenos Aires, Abraham Skorka, said "Of course he's aware of the threat but he doesn't care, he believes that God will help him." Or something of that sort. Count me as one of his greatest fans. I wouldn't want to predict anything.

May 12, 2014 at 4:20 PM | Registered CommenterRichard Drake

Cumbrian Lad / Richard Drake:

It seems you may have to wait until next year for the Pope Francis encyclical. According to this:

The statement is unlikely to be released until next year, rendering it too late for the Vatican to deliver it as a pledge at a climate summit to be hosted by the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon in September, where other countries are expected to announce new national measures to tackle climate change.
Just as well: he won't have to join the other leaders in that (shudder) "bottom up" approach.

I agree it's impossible to predict what he'll say. I see Christiana Figueres is "try to figure out how to use the opportunity" - she may be in for a disappointment.

PS: I hadn't realised that her presentation in St Paul's was to "an audience of over a thousand".

May 12, 2014 at 5:49 PM | Registered CommenterRobin Guenier

Thanks Robin. Francis's concern for the poor seems completely genuine - he's one of the few leaders who seems much more at home with them than with bigwigs. Will he see the dire implications of climate policies for those who most need him to speak for them? Very interesting.

May 12, 2014 at 6:34 PM | Registered CommenterRichard Drake

Quite so Robin, I meant to put 'at least the autumn' as there's a big synod in October and no doubt that will take a lot of prep time.

That rtcc report of the UN pressing to 'use' the Pope as leverage may backfire on them. If you have a look at the earlier links you'll see that the Vatican's view of human ecology is rather different to the UN's. There a good deal of friction on the issue of overpopulation vs the value of life; a view which Benedict was clear on, and Francis is repeating. There are a number of other issues too where the Vatican is realising that the UN is not necessarily playing a straight bat.

Richard - I did catch that Panorama. I may be too close to the subject, but I did find it a bit of a rehash, though there were interesting bits. The death threat bit was rather overplayed; there's a much greater risk from external actors than internal, and I wince when I see that quite regularly now things are being thrown into the popemobile as it circles St Peters piazza. It would be ironic indeed if he was seen off by an errant unripe fruit or other gift carelessly flung.

On the issue of the thread, I think that in the same way as we should be engaging with people in general to make them aware of the real position of CC in the world, and the greater threat to humanity from what is being done in it's name, those of us in the christian spheres should be actively seeking to correct the many misunderstandings that are out there.

We do really need a concerted programme of (re)education!

May 12, 2014 at 6:58 PM | Unregistered CommenterCumbrian Lad

May 12, 2014 at 2:49 PM | geoffchambers
"Over to you Andy West.."

I don't know whether you are tongue-in-cheek, but if not it takes a brave man to call such activities pointless. All those arcane texts fuelled the start of the Rennaissance for instance (monastries were scoured for works), and in some places / times got an airing earlier too. And in amongst the plays and poetry and legends were texts on warfare and engineering, mathematics and medicine, etc. Perhaps even the recipe for Cointreau :) While no doubt the early Germanic tribes may indeed have thought the monkish psychology of narrative preservation 'special', in the end those tribes (and later the Vikings too) did not slowly but steadily submit to Christianity because it was a weak religion characterised by pointless activity, but because it was a much stronger cultural system than their own, which enabled the next step up in integrated civilisation.

The whole of sociey is much more bookish now than then, and collectors of anything you can name abound, so I think that their special psychology may have won out too :) Much of modern science is about obtaining arcane information that may (or may not) be useful in years or generations hence. If Christianity once performed the archivist part of that role albeit not the experimental part, this was still a useful part to play.

Of course now we shouldn't need religions to provide the services they once did, we should be able to provide those services via a more conscious and objective method. But apparantly we are finding that hard, so despite faith in God is waning, we are inventing secular religions like CAGW to fill the void he left behind.

May 12, 2014 at 8:07 PM | Unregistered CommenterAndy West

Robin Guenier (May 12, 2014 at 3:17 PM)
OK for the Pint. Sat 31 May or Sun 1 June lunchtime or early evening at the Bell, weather permitting?

May 12, 2014 at 8:28 PM | Registered Commentergeoffchambers

Andy West:
Yes of course I was being ironic. I'm a big fan of pointless activity (or “art for art's sake” as it's sometimes called). I was attempting to link my admiration for those monk-copyists and illustrators to your interesting point about how seemingly absurd behaviour patterns may have evolutionary value which escapes rational explanation at the time.
In a disintegrating society, monasteries were a haven of art and the preservation of what remained of civilisation because of the sanctity which even pagan Vikings sometimes recognised (though not Henry VIII or the puritans). It's called tabu when it's encountered in primitive societies. You have to be feeling very superior to break tabu, like a Christian missionary or a protestant iconoclast – or a global warming believer.

Almost all we know about the ancient Greeks comes from documents preserved by monks who considered their works heresy. Maybe all that will be known about climate sceptics in the future will be what is preserved in the sacred texts at SkepticalScience. (I really must start being nicer to John Cook and Lewandowsky).

May 12, 2014 at 8:48 PM | Registered Commentergeoffchambers

May 12, 2014 at 8:48 PM | geoffchambers:
"Yes of course I was being ironic."

Ah, I wasn't sure... excuse my poor perception! And of course your point is very well made, though when one lives in a time of irrational behaviour, it can be much harder to appreciate!

I have often wondered what future history will make of CAGW, how much time will need to pass before true objectivity reasserts itself, and whether enough data will still be around by then for the true picture to indeed be reconstructed. I very much doubt there will be an 'ah-ha' moment, a time of heads rolling (metaphorically), a time when sceptics will be lauded. FWIW I figure there will be many incremental shifts in position, much airbrushing, a series of "deep work by the consensus reveals it's not as bad as we thought, BUT..." announcements. In other words, a rear-gaurd evolution of the narrative. I suppose we shouldn't really care as long as it ceases to be dangerous, which I think it probably will. But it'll be a great shame if 99% of folks in the world today never find out what's really happening / happened.

I don't think you need worry about being nicer to Lew though. Sooner rather than later I think one of the repositionings will drop him; he's way beyond the narrative remit and unlike Mann is not core to requirements. In short he's become a liability. I'm aiming to do a post citing his earlier work (pre conspiracy ideation), but time is my enemy and the day job has to come first. I've noticed in other declining memeplexes, the fatal pressure comes from an 'enlightened elite', those *within* the narrative who are more flexible and have more vision. This is because those outside rarely have the power-base to mount a realistic attack. This suggests that your bid for historic recognition should be made at Climate Etc :)

May 12, 2014 at 10:07 PM | Unregistered CommenterAndy West

Andy/Geoff; If you don't already know the book, could I suggest you look out a copy of 'A Canticle for Leibowitz' by Walter J Miller. It covers exactly the topic you discuss - the monastic preservation of texts post apocalypse. One of the classics of it's genre.

Martin A: I'm no expert on the middle ages, but as I recall tithing was for the support of the churches (buildings), the clergy, and the poor. It was levied as a tenth of the gain, or profit, so was more like corporation tax than income tax, and usually paid in kind - so if you grew ten carrots, one went in tithe. Given that it was usually the tenants paying to the landowners (monasteries), it's not that different today, just the Church is rarely the landowner.

Given the current rates of NI, VAT, Income tax, and Council tax, I think the church tithes look rather fair!

May 12, 2014 at 10:08 PM | Unregistered CommenterCumbrian Lad

May 12, 2014 at 10:08 PM | Cumbrian Lad

Thanks for the reading tip. As noted above time is my enemy and my reading list is the size of New York already, but I'll maybe dip into this work if there's an electronic version.

May 12, 2014 at 10:17 PM | Unregistered CommenterAndy West

as to the "Bottom up" Quote/Meme mentioned above, is this not probably related to the findings of the recent paper/posts by the Bish & John ?

they have lost the fight for the adults of most societies (in the west) but will make sure they get the message to the young.

ps. no mention of the the beneficial/dreaded Agenda xx from me :-)

May 13, 2014 at 12:32 AM | Unregistered Commenterdougieh

Cumbrian Lad
I read Canticle for Leibowitz long ago. All I remember is the image of a monk faithfully copying a circuit diagram from some ancient text, hoping that some future sage would be able to work out what it meant.
A bit like Professor Phil Jones patiently dividing the world into trapezia and plotting temperature readings. “What does it all mean?” he must wonder, as he quietly hums to himself: “Some day he'll come along, the Mann... and he'll be big and strong, the Mann...”

May 13, 2014 at 10:39 AM | Registered Commentergeoffchambers

LOL - You've put a picture of Phil Jones in my head now that I'll need a strong drink to shift!

It's worth re-reading if you've a copy still about. All the timeless themes of power, corruption, humility, courage, and the unassailable propensity of humanity to keep making the same mistakes.

May 13, 2014 at 11:29 AM | Unregistered CommenterCumbrian Lad

Reverting for a moment to our discussion about whether we should prioritise focus on policy or focus on "the root cause", I refer you to this interesting post by Pierre Gosselin. He refers to "a heated podium discussion" where all the participants were warmists except "leading German IPCC critic Fritz Vahrenholt" who, it seems, dealt especially with the underestimation of the impact of natural factors. Gosselin goes on report:

As Europe and Germany hastily attempt to barrel ahead in switching to renewable energy, Vahrenholt warns that the switch “is not sensible” and is “threatening prosperity“. To underscore the absurdity of Europe’s trillion-euro green-energy project, Vahrenholt tells the audience:

Everything we do, at great cost, to reduce CO2 over the next 15 years, up to 2030, will be wiped out in China in just 6 weeks.”

His presentation was "rebutted" by talk of “weather extremes, ocean-acidification and mass human migration” (supported by "colorful models and charts") - and by ad hominem insults. I suspect that, had Vahrenholt focused exclusively on the absurdity of European policy, none of these "rebuttals" and insults would have made any sense - or had much (if any) impact.


PS: did anyone see my post here about the remarkable similarity of Kate Fleetwood (playing King Lear's scary daughter, Goneril) to Christiana Figueres? If not, here's the LINK.

May 13, 2014 at 12:12 PM | Registered CommenterRobin Guenier

Geoff - May 12, 2014 at 8:28 PM

Great. 12:30 on Sunday, 1st June?

May 13, 2014 at 12:16 PM | Registered CommenterRobin Guenier

I'm enjoying the interaction on this thread so much that I can hardly bring myself to tease out differences between my reading of the Pope Francis situation and that of Cumbrian Lad (6:58 PM). First, though, Guenier (12:12 PM):

His presentation was "rebutted" by talk of “weather extremes, ocean-acidification and mass human migration” (supported by "colorful models and charts") - and by ad hominem insults. I suspect that, had Vahrenholt focused exclusively on the absurdity of European policy, none of these "rebuttals" and insults would have made any sense - or had much (if any) impact.

It's very helpful to have a specific example to consider. Even without looking, I believe you. I think there are ways to do what you say and have the effect we all desire and still mention the science - albeit very briefly. But we need this trained barrister's view - all of us, scientists included (in fact, perhaps, scientists especially). Keep banging the drum.

Cumbrian Lad, first up, I agree of course on the need for education within all the Christian world.

Richard - I did catch that Panorama. I may be too close to the subject, but I did find it a bit of a rehash, though there were interesting bits.

You are doubtless much closer to the subject but even I didn't think it was Panorama's finest hour or anything like that. My interest was much narrower:

The death threat bit was rather overplayed; there's a much greater risk from external actors than internal, and I wince when I see that quite regularly now things are being thrown into the popemobile as it circles St Peters piazza. It would be ironic indeed if he was seen off by an errant unripe fruit or other gift carelessly flung.

Very funny - and a warning against worship of any man, apart from one who walked among us, full of grace and truth, without sin. I didn't find the 'death threat bit' overplayed, since the testimony came from someone evidently close to Francis himself and I take this to be the view of his inner circle. I don't think they're being paranoid. But that all goes back to reading David Yallop on the untimely death of John Paul I in the early 80s. I realise there are different interpretations, even among the most devout, to put it mildly.

There are connections with the global warming issue, in my mind at least. Dark places in the human heart and how they get to be exposed without either dissenters or the dissented against resorting to bloodshed. But we have to wait and see how Francis copes with the many-layered deceptions of CAGW. I agree that existing thinking on 'human ecology' has laid a foundation that will already be worrying Christiana Figueres and her ilk. This story has everything!

May 13, 2014 at 1:58 PM | Registered CommenterRichard Drake

Richard: the blogosphere is replete with examples of that Vahrenholt experience. Take for example the Bish's latest post about Bob Ward and Nigel Lawson. Nigel Lawson is an informed and authoritative protagonist for the view that the UK's climate policies are pointless - see for example the concluding paragraphs of his recent Standpoint article. However, in that article he reviews, eloquently and persuasively, a wide range of other matters arising from the climate change issue - from climate sensitivity and the 'missing heat' to the benefits of a warmer world and the degree of risk we really face: the latter being the issue that Ward seized upon. As BH points out, Ward's accusation was foolish as he has himself has made a similar point to Lawson's - but how many of his acolytes and cheerleaders will know about or be put off by that? In their view, the 'denier' accusation, once made, is all that's necessary to undermine Lawson.

My point is that, by going into all these other areas, Lawson provides his detractors with plenty of opportunities (however ill-judged and illogical) to point to areas of controversy and to shout 'denier' - thereby effectively drowning out the key argument about current policy. Had he (boringly perhaps) confined himself to that simple argument, his opponents would have to show why there is some point in current policy. And shouting 'denier' obviously cannot do it. Thus a valuable debate might ensue.

Now I appreciate that this view puts me in a difficult position: do I really want to stop people like Lawson from making making eloquent and persuasive observations about important matters? Well, plainly that would seem to be absurd. But, as I've said many times, I believe our overriding priority should be to expose the nonsense of current policy - not least because it's potentially so dangerous. Some sacrifice is I think necessary to achieve that. If that means that authoritative people like Vahrenholt and Lawson should start boiling their arguments down to the simple 'pointless policy' issue - avoiding any comments, however cogent, that might provide warmists with a peg on which to hang the 'denier' accusation - so be it.

May 13, 2014 at 5:16 PM | Registered CommenterRobin Guenier

Richard, The parts I think were 'overplayed' in the last part of that programme were the narrators not-so-subtle mention of the Borgias and the conspiratorial innuendo. One could almost feel the presence of Cardinal Richelieu! The rabbi and the journalist were credible enough, but were perhaps basking a little in the limelight and playing up the drama?

That said, I've no doubt that feathers are being seriously ruffled behind the scenes. I just think that a physical threat internally is unlikely (not impossible, just improbable). Far more likely is a bureaucratic standoff, though I think it's not yet at all clear from which wing that will come!

I do worry about his personal safety from external threats. Bear in mind that today is the 33rd anniversary of the shooting of John Paul II. Francis's open ways are attractive, but they give his security men the heebie-jeebies.

I do think that Chrisiana Figueras is going to have her work cut out trying to out-manoeuvre a Jesuit though; it'll be fun watching!

May 13, 2014 at 7:29 PM | Unregistered CommenterCumbrian Lad

Robin:

Now I appreciate that this view puts me in a difficult position: do I really want to stop people like Lawson from making making eloquent and persuasive observations about important matters? Well, plainly that would seem to be absurd.

It doesn't seem absurd to me at all. Whatever works. But what will work? Thanks for clearly putting one point of view. We really need to think about it. I don't see 'denier' as the last word but as the achilles heel. But this doesn't feel like the place for the whole caboodle.

Cumbrian Lad: I'd forgotten mention of the Borgias. That sort of stuff tends to wash over my head. If the Vatican Bank has been guilty of money-laundering then some of the 'customers' might be fairly nominal Catholics only and the 'external' threat might be hard to distinguish from the internal one. I'm sure Francis himself is genuine in trusting his life to God and so do I. He has my prayers more than most prelates.

May 14, 2014 at 12:41 PM | Registered CommenterRichard Drake

Richard: while you're thinking about whether my approach will work, you might consider the relevance of the Bengtssom incident.

A quick summary of my view:

There's ample evidence that arguing about the science - however cogent and well founded the argument - is getting us nowhere. That's so because the warmists are well dug in behind established defences - peer-review, appeals to authority, consensus, 'you’re not a climate scientist', ad hominem insults, 'think of the children', etc. To get anywhere, we must bypass those defences. And that’s possible by focusing exclusively on the absurdity of policies that are expensive and damaging; and above all pointless. Easily done and the facts are on our side.

The Bengtssom incident is relevant because it demonstrates the closed minds and intolerance of the warmist Establishment. There’s no prospect of their even contemplating the possibility of being mistaken about the science.

May 15, 2014 at 9:53 AM | Registered CommenterRobin Guenier

But is there any prospect that politicians will come to think that their science advisers may be mistaken? Australia and Canada say yes to that I think, as does what little I discern about the inner thoughts of George Osborne. I also think it's significant how the 'Bengtssom incident' has quickly become about McCarthyism. In my book that's simply a politically correct way to talk about conspiracy - and thus part of the esoteric or cultic aspects of CAGW. I don't seek to predict where the dam will crack. I remain convinced you're onto something - in other words I think on specific occasions where debate breaks out it will be wise to restrict ourselves to policy-only. I realise it must seem an uphill struggle.

May 15, 2014 at 11:13 AM | Registered CommenterRichard Drake

But is there any prospect that politicians will come to think that their science advisers may be mistaken?
But that's not really the point Richard. The point is whether there's any prospect that the (Western) politicians will come to think that their policies might be mistaken. Just possibly - over the next 20 months - some may begin to realise that. Especially if we keep referring them to reality and away from dreamland.

May 15, 2014 at 5:34 PM | Registered CommenterRobin Guenier

In the real world as it is at the moment it's not really possible for politicians to make radical changes to all parts of what have become known as climate policies (very stupidly) without having become sceptical of what their scientific advisers have been telling them. You rightly want to change that and in the next 20 months it may change. What matters is that the policies do radically change. We are as one on that.

May 16, 2014 at 6:04 AM | Unregistered CommenterRichard Drake

"... it's not really possible for politicians to make radical changes to all parts of what have become known as climate policies (very stupidly) without having become sceptical of what their scientific advisers have been telling them."
Sorry, Richard, I disagree. I think it's most likely that the West's politicians will continue to believe what their scientific advisers are telling them. Or at least they'll say they do. But they'll change their policies because sooner or later they must realise realise that a global agreement to cut emissions isn't feasible. And, when that happens, they'll have little choice but to opt for adaptation instead of mitigation.

This report provides a vivid example of why a global agreement isn't feasible. It states that the GCF (the UN's "Green Climate Fund"):

is seen as a critical element of a proposed UN climate change deal, set to be signed off in 2015 ...
and that its failing to become properly established;
would scupper hopes that Ban Ki-moon’s world leader’s climate summit, scheduled for September, could herald a wave of new funding promises.
Yet it seems its success requires "investments of $5 trillion annually by 2020". There's surely no prospect of that happening. That the last GCF meeting (in March) "ended in farcical scenes with ... time spent bickering over what class flights staff could take" puts the absurdity of it all into perspective.

May 16, 2014 at 4:09 PM | Registered CommenterRobin Guenier

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