Climate change change vs scaremongering

Written By: - Date published: 1:19 pm, December 11th, 2016 - 31 comments
Categories: climate change, Environment - Tags: , , ,

I’ve been arguing for a while that Guy McPherson is as much a problem as Climate Change deniers. I won’t read his work now for a number of reasons. It is scaremongering at its worst and I don’t need to be more alarmed about CC than I already am. My time is better spent talking and writing about what we can do. McPherson is essentially proselytising the end of the world and how we should enjoy it, and the danger in that (a serious danger IMO) is that it encourages people who are finding change too difficult to just give up, or worse, have a party that makes the ship go down when we might still have a chance to save it. I also object to his position because he states his opinion as fact. He doesn’t know that the world is ending, he believes it is. It’s dishonest to confuse those two things.

Let me be clear, the situation we are in is very serious and we should be doing everything we can to mitigate and then adapt to CC. It’s the most important issue of all time. So please don’t take my views on McPherson as a statement that everything is going to be alright. I’m instead pointing to the damage that can be done when we scare people too much and they stop acting.

I also have to say that I don’t particularly care about the maths, because personally I’m already convinced we are in serious shit and arguing about the maths is like trying to measure the temperature of the house fire while there are people still inside. I’m sure some will debate that in the article below Renwick is too conservative, with an intentional or unintentional implication that McPherson must be right. My concern here isn’t so much with the maths, as what gives us the best chance of mitigating the worst effects of CC? Is it telling people we’re all going to die? Or is it giving people the information, skills and pathways they need in order to proactively effect change? – weka.

The following is a post from Hot Topic by climate scientist James Renwick, who attended one of McPherson’s recent lectures in NZ. It puts McPherson’s claims in the context of current climate science, and makes some points about where McPherson is getting it wrong.

Guy McPherson and the end of humanity (not)

Is climate change going to wipe out humanity over the next 10 years? Prof Jim Renwick doesn’t think so…

Ecologist Guy McPherson has been touring New Zealand for the past couple of weeks, explaining why humanity has only 10 years to live (a kind-of Ziggy message that has immediate appeal to me). After his appearance on the Paul Henry breakfast show, I was called by TV3/Newshub for comment. Based on my understanding of climate change science I said that though the situation is very serious — dire even — extinction in 10 years is not going to happen. When I gave my remarks to Newshub, I knew little about McPherson but I understood that he is a very knowledgeable biologist who should not be dismissed lightly.

So, what’s the story? Is McPherson right? Is the IPCC woefully conservative and keeping the truth from us all? I had the opportunity to hear Prof McPherson speak in Paraparaumu on Saturday (Dec 10th) to get more insight into what his views really are. It was a very interesting presentation, and a very interesting discussion with the audience of 50-odd Kāpiti coasters who showed up to hear him. As the old saying goes, extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. What we heard was extraordinary for sure, but was not too convincing in terms of evidence.

McPherson’s presentation was as much philosophy as science. Much of his message is built around the undeniable truth that we are all, one day, going to die. Hence, we would do well to live in and for the present, express our love to those close to us, and act rightly according to our own beliefs and principles. Excellent advice, and a great philosophy for living well, what you would be told in any number of “life-coaching” books. Where he differs from most is in saying that all of us, i.e. all of humanity, and most other species, will be extinct in 10 years or so. Why is that, you might ask?

The detail on his view of the climate system can be gained by reading his “monster climate change essay”. A briefer overview, and what he bases much of the scientific side of his presentation on, comes from a blog postat the Arctic-News blogspot site,  written by “Sam Carana” (not his or her real name – you know why). This piece suggests that the globe will warm around 10°C in the next decade, and since such warming was associated with mass extinctions in past epochs, humanity and most vertebrates etc will be toast very soon.

The blog post starts by assuming the February 2016 global mean temperature represents the current average temperature of the earth, then throws in another 0.8°C for pre-1900 (0.3°C) and unavoidable future (0.5°C) warming. This is pushing it, as February was the warmest single month on record (in difference from normal terms), several tenths of a degree above the annual mean for 2016, and the amount of unavoidable future warming is small (maybe 0.1°C?), should greenhouse gas emissions stop now.

However, the next steps are where McPherson’s grasp of the science seems shakiest. Cutting aerosol pollution to zero (as would happen when and if industrial society falls over) will unmask another 2.5°C of warming. This is a factor of ten too large, as the actual amount would be around 0.25°C by current best estimates (see figure 10.5). Reduced planetary reflectivity (albedo) from loss of Arctic ice will add another 1.6°C (perhaps in the Arctic, but not in the global mean), plus the water vapour feedback, seafloor methane release etc will add an extra 3.5°C. So that’s another 7.5°C on top of essentially where we are at now, giving a total of about 10°C warming compared to pre-industrial, assumed to happen in the next 10 years. Then, all the world’s nuclear reactors melt down, and we are all extinct.

The way Guy McPherson talks about water vapour shows his sketchy grasp of atmospheric physics. He states that most of the water vapour in the atmosphere is above 6km altitude, where it “acts like a lens” to heat the earth. Most of the water vapour is actually in the lowest few kilometres of the atmosphere, as the upper troposphere is too cold to support much water vapour. Perhaps he’s thinking of the release of latent heat in the tropics, which does occur mostly in the upper troposphere, leading to a warming “hot spot” in the tropical upper troposphere as greenhouse gas concentrations rise (See AR5 WG1, figure 12.12).

Water vapour is of course a critically important part of the climate change story and is the main amplifying feedback of greenhouse gas increase. McPherson is trained as an ecologist, so it’s no surprise that he isn’t totally on top of the vertical profile of water vapour in the atmosphere. But, if your public profile depends on your image as an authority on “global warming”, you would do well to be clear on the science.

Now, the potential consequences of climate change, and the lurking feedbacks such as Arctic methane release and other carbon cycle changes, are an extremely serious concern, one that I think the governments of the world have yet to really take on board. The risks of severe food and water shortages, population displacements and conflict over resources, already has the potential to endanger hundreds of millions of lives – even with another degree or two of warming (as outlined in the last IPCC report). But truly catastrophic and extremely rapid climate changes do not look to be on the cards, at all. Earth’s climate is not poised for “runaway” change (as per Venus), nor is there any clear indication from the geological record that the climate system is so sensitive to greenhouse gas increase that 10°C of warming in 10 years is imminent, or even possible. The climate community of course does not know everything about past climate change nor about what the climate system is capable of if pushed hard. But, the extinction in 10 years scenario is really at the outer edge of speculation about the future.

Even without imminent extinction, the consequences of climate change are more than dire enough to galvanise us into action. My perception is that concerted global action within the next decade can avoid the worst consequences. The flip side is that business as usual, even for another ten years, could lock in changes that do indeed put global society at risk and threaten possibly hundreds of millions to billions of lives. Not instant death but a very unpleasant future for a very long time. I find that prospect plenty scary enough, and it leaves room for us to take action. Let’s take it.

Gareth adds: McPherson’s views are a good example of real climate “alarmism”. Deniers love to paint the IPCC or consensus position on climate change as alarmist, thereby implying that their rejection of that consensus is somehow sensible or moderate. McPherson’s stance shows that to be a mere debating trick. The truth, of course, is that by rejecting the consensus view on what we can expect, deniers are as extreme as McPherson — polar opposites, but just as guilty of exaggeration.

31 comments on “Climate change change vs scaremongering”

  1. weka 1

    A couple of articles from scientists refuting McPherson’s work (in 2014), from a comment in the Hot Topic post,

    http://planet3.org/2014/03/13/mcphersons-evidence-that-doom-doom-doom/

    https://fractalplanet.wordpress.com/2014/02/17/how-guy-mcpherson-gets-it-wrong/

  2. Macro 2

    Thanks for posting this weka.
    As you are aware – my thoughts on the matter of MacPherson’s claims fall much in line with those of Jim Renwick and Gareth Renowden above.
    Further to the above article on the misconceptions of MacPherson it is important to state that he bases his outlandish claims on a misunderstanding of feedback loops. His “thesis” is based upon the misconception that feedbacks are multiplicative, and true there are many differnt feedbacks in the climate system – both positive and negative, but he claims that they have a multiplying effect on each other which is clearly erroneous, as their effect are not multiplicative but additive – and that is a big difference.

    • Draco T Bastard 2.1

      Feedback loops have an exponential nature:

      When the loop gain is positive and above 1, there will typically be exponential growth, increasing oscillations, chaotic behavior or other divergences from equilibrium.

      • Macro 2.1.1

        The feedback maybe exponential as you say – but that is not argument that MacPherson is making. There are numerous feedbacks (Water vapour, artic methane, albelio etc) – and his thesis is based upon a belief that they interact multiplicatively whereas they do not.

        • weka 2.1.1.1

          Does that mean that if take phenomena 1 and phenomena 2, they will each have the same effects together that they would alone, whereas GM is arguing that you get double (or whatever) the effect of each because they are happening together?

          • Macro 2.1.1.1.1

            Yes essentially that is the case. By doing this he calculates a 10 degree increase in global surface temperatures in 10 years. That is obviously an outlandlish claim. And as Jim Renwick notes in his post on Hot Topic; inflates each forcing in some cases by a factor of 10 – eg the elimination of aerosols. He gets these figures by incorrectly misinterpreting the nature of feedbacks. He is an ecologist – not a physicist. However even ecologists need to understand the physics.

        • Draco T Bastard 2.1.1.2

          It’s entirely possible that they will interact multiplicatively rather additively.

          It’s a complex system of relationships. An increase in one could result in a multiplicative increase in another.

          Personally, I’d expect it to be a proportional change and that is always multiplicative although most like measured in decimals of less than one. Added together they then, overall, be greater than one and at that point we have an exponential increase.

          No, I don’t think that things are as bad as McPherson thinks but I also don’t think things are as optimistic as the IPCC reports either.

        • Given that CC itself is exponential in nature, even additive feedbacks are a huge problem.

      • One Anonymous Bloke 2.1.2

        Climatologists use the term to describe different phenomena than the one described by sound engineers. Even jargon depends on context.

        There was a post or comment about this on Realclimate some years ago – I’ll try and find a link…. to no avail. In any event, the terms are not interchangable:

        Climate change feedback (Wikipedia).

  3. Bill 3

    I don’t really care about McPherson. As someone said in a thread hereabouts, he’s the carbon copy negative of a denier.

    And as you know, I kind of do care about the numbers (eg – the available carbon budget and what not) . But anyway, putting all of that aside, something worth throwing in is that there seem to be a large number of people who don’t act because they believe we (or they) will be able to adapt as stuff ‘comes down the line’.

    And that’s the scary one for me; this idea of, or faith in simple adaptation.

    Even if we are of a mind to find it acceptable for those in temperate regions (us) to adapt to an average global surface temp increase of (say) 2 degrees even as that average surface temp increase makes living impossible for however many millions in equatorial or tropical regions, by the time we act on the basis of that immediate and impacting 2 degrees scenario, there will be another x degrees of warming locked in. And sure, maybe we adapt to that additional temperature too. But by then there’s another x degrees of warming locked in.

    And this is putting any feedback loops to one side. But there seems to be a kind of Peter Principle implicit to the idea of adaptation because of the lag time in warming.

    So whereas in management terms, the Peter Principle suggests that employees only stop being promoted once they can no longer perform effectively, and “managers rise to the level of their incompetence.” – relying on adaptation to survive likely CC we (or some lucky few in the right place) adapt right up until the situation we find ourselves in is beyond adaptation.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peter_principle

  4. AB 4

    McPherson is a gift to the CC deniers. He gives their accusations of alarmism some credibility.

  5. johnm 5

    Canadian Climate Scientist, Paul Beckwith says we’re in a climate emergency.He believes we must:

    1. Stop all emissions now
    2. Geoengineer the Arctic to stop its melting
    3.Start direct CO2 removal from the atmosphere asap.

    Peter Wadhams also advocates we must do 2 and 3

    Can’t see it happening though, we certainly will continue on our merry way with BAU and eventually CO2 will get to 450ppm.

    https://paulbeckwith.net/

  6. Andre 6

    Something I find really disappointing is when discussion starts about a specific mitigation measure such as a carbon tax, there are always poo-poohers jumping in to say we shouldn’t be dreaming about it because it’s not enough on it’s own to solve the problem.

    There is no magic bullet, there’s just the sum of a lot of different mitigation measures we can do now, a lot of development of new mitigation measures, and a lot of adaptation we won’t be able to avoid. How much and how expensive the third one will be depends on how serious we get about the first two.

    • Bill 6.1

      Too many people put far too much store by carbon pricing. And the studies show, conclusively, that a price on carbon as a central plank to any mitigation policy…well, it’s akin to standing on a train track and walking down the tracks ‘away’ from the train. Doesn’t even really buy much time.

  7. Red Hand 7

    Walk, cycle or use public transport
    Reduce meat, fish and dairy consumption (or stop eating them)
    Grow vegetables and fruit trees
    Turn off the lights, get rid of TV, dishwasher, dryer, heat pump, motor mower, leaf blower, hedge and string trimmers
    Reduce or stop air travel overseas
    When travelling stay in a homestay, camping ground or apartment
    Go boating in a sailboat
    Avoid supermarkets
    Avoid packaged goods
    Get a big, well made kete and use it

    • b waghorn 7.1

      and hope like fuck science comes up with a fix because 7 billion humans and climbing says that we art going to learn the hard way what happens when you ignore cause and effect.

  8. Andre 8

    Some interesting thoughts If Tillerson (ExxonMobil CEO) gets the nod for Secretary of State it will open up opportunities to publicize how they’ve been deceitful about climate change since the 70s at least

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jamie-henn/trumps-pick-of-rex-tiller_b_13552612.html

  9. The Pants Of Doom 9

    When are we going to face up to the population issue?

    It’s time we made having children considerably more expensive. We do not need more humans. This is going to be a very hard call but someone needs to make it.

    Turning off appliances is not going to cut it.

  10. Pat 10

    if nothing else McPherson at least got climate change on the news and on the home pages of the daily newspapers for a few days……no mean feat in the current environment.

  11. Incognito 11

    A different perspective on climate (change) and possibly off-topic, but only ever so slightly IMHO, and a very interesting read:

    http://sciblogs.co.nz/guestwork/2016/12/10/ice-ages-earths-wobbly-orbit/

    If I had to put money on it, I’d say the Earth has experienced its last ice age for a very, very long time.

  12. CnrJoe 12

    did any of you even see how fast the last tens went bye?

  13. Sabine 13

    i just came across this at the site of the great orange satan aka Dkos.

    A diary about winter in Iceland that apparently never came this year.

    http://www.dailykos.com/stories/2016/12/10/1609543/-The-Sun-Has-Gone-But-Winter-Never-Came-A-hike-amongst-snowless-mountains-near-Reykjav-k

    but other then that all is well.

  14. Venezia 14

    Jim Renwick states ” My perception is that concerted global action within the next decade can avoid the worst consequences.” But are those with power to take ” concerted global action” coming anywhere close to this? The Paris agreement can hardly be decsribed as “concerted global action”. Thats the worry. For those with the power, retaining that political power and the focus on economic “growth” are the antithesis of what is needed.

  15. Seemorerocks 16

    Renwick’s science is at least 10’years out-of-date and hopekessly inaccurate. You don’t have to accept the near-term extinction but you can’t fault his science . Every statement is supported by scientific research that is at least up-to-date.

    How about doing something radical and start with reality and then sort out your response.

    Here is Prof. McPhersons response to Renwick

    • johnm 17.1

      Right at the end of Guy McPherson’s NZ tour Prof. James Renwick of Victoria University turned up and introduced himself. Instead of checking out the up-to-date references provided to him Renwick wrote a hit piece relying on grossly out-of-date information from the 4th IPCC Report.

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    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    6 days ago
  • California bans private prisons
    Private prisons are a stain on humanity. Prison operators explicitly profit from human misery, then lobby for longer prisons terms so they can keep on profiting. And in the US, prison companies run not only local and state prisons, but also Donald Trump's immigration concentration camps. Faced with this moral ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    6 days ago
  • Why PPPs are a bad idea
    When National was in power, they were very keen on Public-Private Partnerships (PPPs) - basicly, using private companies to finance public infrastructure as a way of hiding debt from the public. They were keen on using them for everything - roads, schools, hospitals. But as the UK shows, that "service" ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    6 days ago
  • A Movement That No Longer Moves.
    Moving And Shaking: There was a time when people spoke matter-of-factly about the “labour movement” – a political phenomenon understood to embrace much more than the Labour Party. Included within the term’s definition was the whole trade union movement – many of whose members looked upon the Labour Party as ...
    7 days ago
  • NZ ‘left’ politically embracing extreme postmodernism
    by Philip Ferguson Much of the left, even people who formally identify as marxists, have collapsed politically in the face of postmodern gender theory of the sort pioneered by American philosopher Judith Butler. For Butler even biological sex is socially constructed. “If the immutable character of sex is contested, perhaps ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    1 week ago
  • The obvious question
    The media is reporting that the (alleged) Labour party sexual assaulter has resigned from their job at Parliament, which means hopefully he won't be turning up there making people feel unsafe in future. Good. But as with everything about this scandal, it just raises other questions. Most significantly: why the ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • The moment I found out that you found out, I acted swiftly
    By Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern I am every bit as angry as you are. I am every bit as disappointed as you must be. The people with power, oversight and the ability to do something about these processes within the Labour Party should be ashamed. Whoever those people are, I ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    1 week ago
  • This is why people hate property developers
    Property developers think there is an "oversupply" of houses in Auckland:High turnover rates and falling prices may be a sign that there are too many new houses going in to some parts of Auckland, commentators say. [...] Property developer David Whitburn said there was a "bit of an oversupply" in ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Australia to Pacific: “Fuck you, you can all drown”
    World leaders are meeting in New York in two weeks for the 2019 Climate Action Summit, where they are expected to announce new and more ambitious targets to stop the world from burning. But the Australian Prime Minister won't be there, despite being in the USA at the time:Scott Morrison ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Implausible ignorance
    Labour Party president Nigel Haworth resigned yesterday over the party's sexual assault scandal. But while that's good news, its unlikely to take away the stench of a coverup. Because according to Paula Bennett in Parliament yesterday, pretty much everyone in the Prime Minister's office was involved as well:I have been ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Labour’s Fatal Flaw.
     Two-Faced? Labour insiders' commitment to the neoliberal status quo puts them at odds with their party’s membership; its trade union affiliates; and a majority of Labour voters, but this only serves to strengthen the perception they have of themselves as a special elite. Among the lesser breeds, they’ll talk up a ...
    1 week ago
  • Ten reasons the Tories do NOT want an election
    There has been a lot of talk about Boris Johnson wanting an election, and he has blustered with great gusto about 'chicken' Jeremy Corbyn refusing one, but I think there are many reasons why he is secretly glad he has been refused the opportunity:The Tories are an utter rabble,tearing themselves ...
    1 week ago
  • Prorogation Illegal, rule Scottish judges
    Scottish appeal court judges have declared that Boris Johnson’s decision to suspend parliament in the run-up to the October Brexit deadline is unlawful. The three judges, chaired by Lord Carloway, Scotland’s most senior judge, overturned an earlier ruling that the courts did not have the powers to interfere in the prime ...
    1 week ago
  • Let me explain what I meant by Everyday New Zealanders
    By Simon Bridges. The following is a press release from the office of Simon Bridges, leader of The National Party. Key ora, New Zealand. Happy Maori Language Week. Look, I’m writing to you today because I want to clear something up. There’s been a lot of kerfuffle around some things ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    1 week ago
  • Yes, the SIS is subject to the Public Records Act
    I understand there's some stuff going round about how the SIS "was removed from the list of public offices covered by the Public Records Act in 2017". The context of course being their records derived from US torture, which will be disposed of or sealed. The good news is that ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • An evidence-based discussion of the Canadian fluoride/IQ study
    Dr. Christopher Labos and Jonathan Jarry discuss the recent Canadian fluoride/IQ research. They provide an expert analysis of the paper and its problems. Click on image to go to podcast. The critical debate about the recent ...
    1 week ago
  • Climate Change: Australia in denial
    Australia is burning down again, and meanwhile its natural disaster minister is denying climate change:Australia’s minister responsible for drought and natural disasters, David Littleproud, has said that he doesn’t “know if climate change is manmade”. Clarifying earlier comments that the question is “irrelevant” when considering the Coalition government’s response to ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Philippines activist speaking on the Duterte tyranny
    Auckland Philippines Solidarity is excited to host Professor Judy Taguiwalo for a speaking tour of NZ in September. She is a well-known activist in the Philippines and was a political prisoner under the Marcos dictatorship. Professor Taguiwalo briefly served as a Cabinet member under President Duterte but was forced from ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    1 week ago
  • Disgust
    I have no special insights to offer on the Labour sexual assault coverup. All I have is disgust. Disgust that an organisation could fail its people so badly. Disgust that they punished the victims rather than the perpetrator. Disgust that its party hacks are apparently blaming the victims for demanding ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Speak Up for Women calls out Greens’ censorship
    This open letter to the Green Party was penned after an opinion piece by Jill Abigail, a feminist and founding member of the party, was censored by the Greens’ leadership. (Redline has reprinted her article here).The intolerance of the Green Party leaders and their acceptance of the misogyny of gender ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    1 week ago
  • Member’s Day: End of Life Choice, part 3
    Today is a Member's day, and David Seymour's End of Life Choice Bill continues its slow crawl through its committee stage. They're spending the whole day on it today, though the first hour is likely to be spent on voting left over from last time. After that they'll move on ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Flight to Los Angeles turned back after passengers decide they don’t want to go anymore
    An ambitious plan to fly to Los Angeles petered out into a brief sight-seeing trip and a desire to return home and get some sleep before work tomorrow. Air New Zealand has confirmed a flight to Los Angeles last night was turned back about a quarter of the way into ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    1 week ago
  • Indigenous Futures: defuturing and futuring – an analytical framework for policy development?
    There appears to be consensus – by omission – that the concept of indigenous futures should be accepted at face value. So I scavenged the internet to see if I could locate an academic descriptor or a framework around how we think about it as a concept, and whether it ...
    EllipsisterBy Ellipsister
    1 week ago
  • Cadbury rumoured to be releasing the Pineapple Trump
    Here’s another novelty chocolate to shove in your gob, New Zealand Cadbury could be seeking to make itself great again with a rumoured new release: Pineapple Trumps, a spin on its classic chocolate-encased pineapple treat and do-it-yourself tooth remover. The global confectionery manufacturer and bumbling “before” character in an infomercial, ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    1 week ago
  • The coming resource war.
    During my time in the Pentagon I had the privilege of sitting down with military leaders and defence and security officials from a variety of Latin American nations. Sometimes I was present as a subordinate assistant to a senior US defence department official, sometimes as part of a delegation that ...
    KiwipoliticoBy Pablo
    1 week ago
  • Māori Language Week with The Civilian
    Kia ora, Aotearoa. It’s that magical time of year. Te Wiki o te Reo Māori. In English, the week that frightens talk radio. As you probably know by now, all your favourite media outlets are participating, some more successfully than others. Stuff has changed its name to Puna for the ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    1 week ago
  • Will Horizons act on climate change?
    Local body elections are coming up next month. And it looks like all Palmerston North candidates for Horizons (the Manawatu-Whanganui Regional Council) want to take action on climate change:Climate change is set to be a key issue in Palmerston North for the next three years if those wanting to get ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • BORA reform is stalled
    Eighteen months ago, the government promised to strengthen the Bill of Rights Act, by explicitly affirming the power of the courts to issue declarations of inconsistency and requiring Parliament to formally respond to them. So how's that going? I was curious, so I asked for all advice about the proposal. ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Corbyn and Brexit
    As the Brexit saga staggers on, the focus is naturally enough on the Prime Minister and his attempts to achieve Brexit “do or die”. But the role played by the Leader of the Opposition is of almost equal interest and complexity. The first problem for Jeremy Corbyn is that he ...
    Bryan GouldBy Bryan Gould
    1 week ago
  • A ditch for him to die in
    Last week, English Prime Minister Boris Johnson boldly declared that he would rather die be dead in a ditch than delay Brexit. Unfortunately for him, the UK parliament accepted the challenge, and promptly dug one for him. The "rebellion bill" requires him to ask for and secure yet another temporary ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Warning! Warning! Danger Jacinda Ardern! Danger Marama Davidson! Warning!
    Lost In Political Space: The most important takeaway from this latest Labour sexual assault scandal, which (if I may paraphrase Nixon’s White House counsel’s, John Dean’s, infamous description of Watergate) is “growing like a cancer” on the premiership, is the Labour Party organisation’s extraordinary professional paralysis in the face of ...
    1 week ago
  • Union solidarity with Ihumatao land occupation
    by Daphna Whitmore Every Sunday for the past two months unionists from First Union, with supporters from other unions, have set out to the Ihumatao land protest, put up gazebos and gas barbeques, and cooked food for a few hundred locals and supporters who have come from across the country. ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    1 week ago
  • Climate Change: The wrong kind of trees?
    Newsroom today has an excellent, in-depth article on pine trees as carbon sinks. The TL;DR is that pine is really good at soaking up carbon, but people prefer far-less efficient native forests instead. Which is understandable, but there's two problems: firstly, we've pissed about so long on this problem that ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • No freedom of speech in Turkey
    Canan Kaftancioglu is a Turkish politician and member of the opposition Republican People's Party (CHP). Like most modern politicians, she tweets, and uses the platform to criticise the Turkish government. She has criticised them over the death of a 14-year-old boy who was hit by a tear gas grenade during ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Speaker: Tadhg Stopford: Why I’m standing for the ADHB
    Hi there, just call me Tim.We face tough problems, and I’d like to help, because there are solutions.An Auckand District Health Board member has nominated me for as a candidate for the ADHB, because her MS-related pain and fatigue is reduced with hemp products from Rotorua.  Nothing else helped her. If I ...
    1 week ago
  • Good little vassals
    The Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security has published their report on whether the SIS and GCSB had any complicity in American torture. And its damning. The pull quote is this:The Inquiry found both agencies, but to a much greater degree, the NZSIS, received many intelligence reports obtained from detainees who, ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Who Shall We Turn To When God, And Uncle Sam, Cease To Defend New Zealand?
    Bewhiskered Cassandra? Professor Hugh White’s chilling suggestion, advanced to select collections of academic, military and diplomatic Kiwi experts over the course of the past week, is that the assumptions upon which Australia and New Zealand have built their foreign affairs and defence policies for practically their entire histories – are ...
    2 weeks ago
  • The Politics of Opposition
    For most of the time I was a British MP, my party was out of government – these were the Thatcher years, when it was hard for anyone else to get a look-in. As a front-bencher and shadow minister, I became familiar with the strategies required in a parliamentary democracy ...
    Bryan GouldBy Bryan Gould
    2 weeks ago
  • More expert comments on the Canadian fluoride-IQ paper
    The Green et al (2019) fluoride/IQ is certainly controversial – as would be expected from its subject (see If at first you don’t succeed . . . statistical manipulation might help and Politics of science – making a silk purse out of a sow’s ear). Anti-fluoride campaigners have been actively promoting it ...
    2 weeks ago
  • The return to guerrilla war in Colombia
    by Gearóid Ó Loingsigh On August 29th a video in which veteran FARC (Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia) commander Iván Márquez announced that they had taken up arms again was released. There was no delay in the reaction to it, from longtime Liberal Party figure and former president Uribe, for ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    2 weeks ago

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