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Why deny: the bought priesthood

Written By: - Date published: 7:57 am, December 16th, 2009 - 54 comments
Categories: climate change - Tags:

There are some very wealthy industries that make their money off burning fossil fuels and emitting greenhouse gases. It is in their financial interest to prevent action to tackle climate change, so they fund lobby groups and denier propaganda. There is a large population of ‘useful idiots‘ who soak up this propaganda and repeat it. They deny climate change because to acknowledge it for the problem it is fundamentally challenges their ideology of limitless growth, individualism, and capitalism.

But these deniers could not propagate and reproduce their anti-scientific and dangerous beliefs without the aid of a willing media. The labour movement used to call the newspapers who defended capitalism ‘the bought priesthood’ because they – owned by capitalists, funded by capitalist advertisers, and cloaked in assumed gnostic authority – indoctrinated the people with the religion of capitalism. Today, the media perpetuates and gives legitimacy to the religion of climate change denial.

You don’t see in every article on a new fossil discovery space given to a creationist. Articles on astronomy don’t include rejoinders from geocentrists or reminders of astronomers who used dodgy science once or twice. But that is standard fare were climate change is concerned. Then there’s the endless denier columns that out-number serious columns on climate change two to one at least. These columns come not from climatologists mind but idiot failed vice-Presidential candidates, sell-out ex-environmentalists, self-styled comedians, and time travellers from the 1950s.

Why does the media give a platform to deniers?

  • the media is capitalist. It inherently, reflexively, and unconsciously defends capitalist (short-term) interests.
  • the media is largely scientifically, historically, and economically illiterate. As Coolio asked ‘If they can’t understand it, how can they teach me?’
  • the media is prone to being bought off by interest groups. Denier lobby groups don’t pay the media to run their stories but they do provide newspapers with lots of free copy in the form of op-eds from authoritative sounding sources and that is something they are always desperate for.
  • the mythical code of journalistic objectivity is in reality just a fig leaf for conservatism and reactionism. It means that because the deniers can shout loud enough (ie they have enough money), they get equal or, more often, greater coverage than the under-funded scientists and environmental groups.

The polluters are acting in self-interest, the useful idiots are acting out of deluded ideology, but the bought priesthood? They’re fuelling climate change denial for no good reason – mostly, it seems, it is a misguided and miscinsruced attempt at ‘balance’.

In the process the media  are failing in their duty to inform and, instead, fostering misinformation in the public. And that’s a serious problem for us all because the longer denialism remains a potent force, the longer until we can begin to take the urgent action needed to prevent an environmental, economic, and social disaster on a scale humanity has never seen before.

I don’t want a media that only prints what I want it to print. I just want a media that spreads information, rather than misinformation and polluter propaganda.

54 comments on “Why deny: the bought priesthood ”

  1. gitmo 1

    Argggggghhhhhhh the capitalists the capitalists oh noes !

    Everything bad in the world is because of the capitalists because Marty hates them and it’s their fault oh noes oh noes !

    • Chris 1.1

      hmmm, capitalism has delievered obesity, chronic health problems, housing problems, traffic problems, water, air, noise, earth, chemical, and plastic pollution, ENRONs aplenty, chronic poverty, etc. It’s the market you see.

      Yes oh noes.

      • ben 1.1.1

        hmmm, capitalism has delievered obesity,

        Yep, capitalism has made food so cheap now people are worried about getting too much of it. For nearly all human history people were starving. Major problem solved. Whew.

        chronic health problems

        Yep, under capitalism the diseases that killed many at birth and in their 30s and 40s have been solved, meaning many more people now live long enough to get other diseases chronic. Global life expectancy increased from 30 years in 1900 to 60 in 2000. Thanks capitalism!

        , housing problems

        Yep, capitalism ain’t perfect. But virtually everybody has a roof over their head. Thanks capitalism! A good start might be to get the state out of housing. You’ll note that housing problems are in all the areas that the state is active. Coincidence?

        , traffic problems

        I know. Cars are so cheap, now every’s got em. Thanks capitalism! How to avoid congestion? Hmmm… well you could start by letting somebody other than the state provide roads, and charge for access. Charge a bit more on peak and make it free off peak, and boom, congestion problem solved.

        , water, air, noise, earth, chemical, and plastic pollution,

        You’re right, pollution is everywhere. But thanks to capitalism, virtually every measure of pollution is improving (CO2 being an important exception). You see, when people get wealthy enough to stop worrying about starving and putting a roof over their head, they start worrying about the environment and how to clean it up. That’s why environmentalism is far stronger in first world economies. Thanks capitalism!

        ENRONs aplenty, chronic poverty, etc.

        Enrons are everywhere! Oh wait, no they’re not. Enron was a big deal, but you’ll note that neither Enron nor their partners in crime Arthur Andersen are still trading. Once their deceipt was revealed, they were history. ACC, on the other hand, is still trading, and none of its executives are in prison.

        It’s the market you see.

        It is. Thanks capitalism! 🙂

        • Pascal's bookie 1.1.1.1

          Seems many of the benefits you list are more correctly atributed to either public provision, or the regulation of capitalism.

          • ben 1.1.1.1.1

            You’re right. Those state farms selling to state supermarkets, all the medical innovations coming out of those state run pharmaceuticals and medical suppliers, and don’t get me started on the utopia that is state housing! And let’s face it, who didn’t want a Trabant in 1990? Thanks Pascal.

            • Pascal's bookie 1.1.1.1.1.1

              I thought you were opposed to strawman arguments ben. Though strangley you only bring them up when people are arguing against people that actually exist.

              But I’ll expand a little, to assist in cutting through your true believer fog.

              Life expectancy did indeed increase rapidly through the twentieth century. That coincided with a number of things, natably public healthcare, the public provision of potable water, public immunisation programmes, UN projects and so on. The increase in life expectancy was noticed on both side of the iron curtain, (though Russia has fallen back somewhat of late).

              Capitalsm of course, was in a much purer form back when life expectancy was (you say) 30.

              Enron and co didn’t collapse just because of Capitalism. There were laws broken and investigations. Certainly they would have collapsed anyway, eventually, but so what? Does that make such antics, cheered on by the markets for many a year, a net good?

              What laws are there against private roads? Are these laws universal?

              Much research of course, is publically funded. Computers and the internet for example, are state inventions. the market is very very good at commercialising these things, but developing them in the first place? Not so much.

        • Macro 1.1.1.2

          What about inequality???
          NZ has moved from being a country with one of the most fairest income distributions in the world, in the 1960’s 70’s,to a country rivaled only by the corrupt and the USA as having the most inequitable income distribution today. All due to the madness of neo-liberal economics. And just before you attack me as being a benefit grubbing bludger I have a net worth of several millions and have never drawn a benefit in my life. Yes I have done reasonably well over the past 20 years – but I am well aware that millions of others haven’t! Yes MILLIONS of people have done less well over the past 20 – 30 years because the share of wealth in NZ has moved steadly from the middle income and below to those in the top 10 percent. And at a faster rate than that of Australia – why? because Australia has followed a less aggressive neo-liberal economy than NZ! But idiot of idiot Brash wants NZ to go even harder!! Has he learnt NOTHING over the past 20 years??

          Back to the post.

          Excellent work Marty
          a definition of the term “useful idiots” is here http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Useful_idiot
          and it is, I believe, the correct term to use for CCD’s generally.

          • ben 1.1.1.2.1

            Macro, New Zealand was capitalist in the 1960s as well. We pay a lot more tax now and operate under vastly more regulation. We also trade more. The main driver of higher inequality is, as I understand it, increasing returns to education. It is a worldwide phenomenon. I suppose capitalism could be blamed for making educated workers increasingly productive – but it isn’t obvious to me at least why higher education returns should be all that troubling. Inequality caused by the rich forcibly stealing from the poor, on the other hand, would be something to be more concerned about.

            • prism 1.1.1.2.1.1

              ben if people pay a lot more tax now than the 1960s that’s because of inflation, and because they are earning more. Taxation is graded isn’t it, if you earn more you pay more.
              This of course doesn’t apply to beneficiaries trying to augment their meagre benefits or trying to get work experience and a CV that will get a good paying job, they get marginally taxed very highly for trying. A new twist on the tall poppy syndrome!

              • ben

                No. The government consumes a much higher share of the economy now than it did. So in real terms taxation is higher. Think of it this way: taxpayers spend a larger proportion of the year working for government than they did back then.

            • Macro 1.1.1.2.1.2

              I was a tax payer in 1960 as well! But we only started down the road of neo-liberal economics in 1984 and even then even harder in the 1990’s! that was when it all well belly up!
              Yes we have had a “capitalist” system for decades, but in the 1960’s we had a much more socialist distribution of wealth as well. Child benefits for a start.
              You are sadly misinformed if you think that education has anything to do with it – it used to be the case but today it is the constant redistribution of wealth by tax concessions to the wealthy. $46 million extra to Private schools, and the like. When I first started work with a bachelors degree – I could support a family and buy a house with one income. Today my daughter with a BSc and MA hons and her husband with a medical degree both have to work and place their child in day care. And that is, as you know, a very common situation. No! NZ has faired badly under neo-liberal economics and anyone who argues to the contrary has no knowledge of what NZ was like like in the past.

              • ben

                Yes we have had a “capitalist’ system for decades, but in the 1960’s we had a much more socialist distribution of wealth as well. Child benefits for a start.

                I don’t think that’s right. I am nearly certain benefits are much more widespread and consume far more resources than they did in the 1960s.

                I was a tax payer in 1960 as well! But we only started down the road of neo-liberal economics in 1984 and even then even harder in the 1990’s!

                Inequality has increased around the world, has done since the 1960s. New Zealand’s reforms beginning in 1984 don’t explain why.

                What do $46 million transfers to private schools in NZ have to do with income inequality?

                Your daughter has to work? She doesn’t do it for the enjoyment or empowerment or out of her own preferences? She could not survive on her husband’s income alone? With a degree like his? In a country with a welfare state this big? Hmmm… or is she working because that is what she prefers to do? Just asking. It seems to me the empowerment of women and their increasing labour force participation is a good thing. But you know your daughter and I don’t.

  2. Chris 2

    Granny is a capitalist propaganda broadsheet right to the roots of her blue rinse hair.

    Is the Standard a new form of broadsheet?

  3. Andrei 3

    You would like a Stalinist media which only would print what you want it to print.

    Great Idea Not!!!!

    And your thesis is flawed

    For example I’ll raise your failed vice-Presidential candidate to a failed Presidential Candidate

    The AGW theory of climate change is going into the dustbin of history along with the Phlogiston theory of fire and Astrology with which it has much in common.

    • Marty G 3.1

      There’s no point arguing the science of climate change, Andrei. I was writing about the likes of you yesterday.

      And I suspect there’s no point giving you more facts on the capitalist nature of the media either.

      I don’t want a media that only prints what I want it to print. I want a media that spreads information,rather than misinformation and polluter propaganda..

      • lukas 3.1.1

        Here Marty, corrected that last paragraph for you..

        I want a media that only prints what I want it to print. I want a media that spreads misinformation and green propaganda..

    • Andrei

      I am really confused. You link to an article where Al Gore is suggesting that the North Pole ice will disappear possibly by 2014 and another quoted scientist thinks it may be later than that?

      Isn’t this supportive of AGW being a reality?

  4. lukas 4

    i’d much rather call people idiots and cry about the main stream media not publishing all my spin… oh wait, that would be you.

    • Marty G 4.1

      ‘useful idiot’ is a term of art, lukas. If you don’t like it, stop being one.

      I’m complaining about baseless propaganda being published in answer to real science – like that embarrassing Sarah Palin piece the other day.

      Palin is the intellectual heavyweight of your movement. That says all that needs to be said.

  5. ben 5

    An utterly ludicrous post, Marty:

    1. Your definition of deniers includes people who do not deny the world is warming, which is nearly everybody.

    2. Probably the most ludicrous idea of all is that the media is in cahoots with denial. The media has attributed to global warming 600 problems, and counting. And no, the media does not call up a skeptic every time a glacier recedes. That’s because few doubt the world is warming.

    3. Accepting climate changes and that humans may have something to do with that, which nearly everybody does, has no implications whatsoever for individualism or capitalism. Environmentalism has implications for those views.

    4. You provide two links to opinions writers. One is happy that his wind turbines will not be built where he grew up. The other thinks Copenhagen is not worth the time and effort. Neither denies the climate is warming. You complain that “These columns come not from climatologists” but what expertise does a climatologist have on how much value we place on our childhood homes? What expertise does a climatologist have on whether the economic and political tradeoffs being considered at Copenhagen are worth it?

    5. As previously noted, big business is leading the charge against climate change. It is in their interests to do so, and they do. There is no money in denying the climate is changing.

    This, apparently, is what it takes to be a Leftist. You have to argue black is white. All that matters is propaganda. Repeat the same bullsh*t often enough and the punters will follow. What a hollow ideology yours is.

    • Another morning and more of the same from Ben and Andrei.

      You guys should get real jobs.

    • Marty G 5.2

      sure, some deniers like yourself will now admit theoretically admit that the world is warming but:

      you deny that it is a serious and/or
      you deny that it is human-induced and/or
      you deny that anything can be done about it and
      you still leap over any evidence, no matter how slight or misunderstood, that warming isn’t occurring even though you claim to admit it is

      In substance, that amounts to the same thing – opposition to doing anything about climate change. Why? because the admission that collective action to control freedom to pollute would run counter to your ideology. You and I could have been having this same argument 40 years ago about sulfur dioxide and acid rain.

      • ben 5.2.1

        Marty, denial is the wrong word for those things. You fundamentally misunderstand so much of this issue. The question of whether GW is serious enough to warrant the massive interventions being proposed is not a question climatologists are qualified to pontificate on. They are qualified to explain the relationship between emissions and temperature, but the question of what to do in response bring in other disciplines, particularly economics, and personal values. It is not denial to suggest other ways might be better, or that other problems demand our attention first. One can accept AGW and still believe other problems are more immediately pressing.

        No scientist I am aware of, and not the IPCC, have said warming is certainly human induced. Nobody doubts nature has a role as well. Few argue humans have had no impact.

        Who says nothing can be done about GW? Nobody I am familiar with. Taxes and regulation will of course limit emissions.

        you still leap over any evidence, no matter how slight or misunderstood, that warming isn’t occurring even though you claim to admit it is

        I don’t claim to admit anything. I say warming is happening. Who doesn’t? Not Garth George. Not Jim Hopkins. Why should doubts about whether the current policy approach is the best possible one ever be conflated with denial the world is warming? They are unrelated things.

        What’s interesting is the language. It is Inquisitorial. “you claim to admit it is” “you deny…”

        Your first in last refuge in this debate is “ideology”. As if there could be no reason to doubt the value and sense of large expansions in government power. As if there are no tradeoffs. As if that policy presents no danger. As if any other course of action – a carbon tax instead, or instituting revenue neutrality, or increased tech subsidy, or a host of other policy innovations – couldn’t possibly match the brilliance of cap and trade. As if there is simply no room for reasonable people to disagree. What colour is the sky in your world, Marty?

  6. Pascal's bookie 6

    “The AGW theory of climate change is going into the dustbin of history along with the Phlogiston theory of fire and Astrology with which it has much in common.”

    Heh.

    And Evilution will be joining them anyday now too, yessiree it will, just you see if it don’t now. You betcha.

  7. TightyRighty 7

    had a long rebuttal written up, but i decided this could be summed up succinctly.

    you are wrong. you are living in la la land. it is the mark of terrible person who can’t handle dissent from their views. to attack a large sector of society because they don’t do things how you want them to do it is petulant. whats more incredible, this is the majority view of people who believe in AGW. because the media dare present another side to the story the argument is built up so that they are evil, and given the chance, should be abolished.

    oh and your views on capitalism and the media, don’t forget, without either of them, we wouldn’t be where we are as a society today, so you wouldn’t be able to write such drivel.

    and did you do any research to back you assertation that the media is implicitly aiding the sceptics? like a count of the op-ed peices any newspaper leaning one way or the other? because in the dompost i mainly see bs from greenpeace and other fuck knuckle slaves to gore the bore and anything put out by the ipcc and the un. with the odd bit of balance provided by a sceptic to the “settled” science, flat earth anyone?

  8. Marty, could I please send this in to our local paper?

    appropriate captcha – avoids

  9. grumpy 9

    This type of post disturbs me and does nothing to advance the AGW cause.

    It seems to be a fundamental act of faith by the extreme Left that AGW must be accepted in it’s entirety and no dissent is allowed. However, those not quite so politically polarised can see and consider arguments from other views and make their own minds up.

    Your hatred of capitalism seems to lead in some obscure way to Capitalism = AGW = Bad. It is then easy for the sceptics to point out the link between the hard left and the AGW believers and denigrate it as just a rearguard action of old style socialism.

    We hear cries of “traitors” from the Left – a return to the days of Stalinism and 1984.

  10. tsmithfield 10

    I don’t really think it does Marty et. al. any credit at all to continue a strawman attack on the likes of Ben et al. Ben, myself and several others have made it quite clear that we agree completely with the fundamentals of AGW. Our only area of skepticism is with respect to the sensitivity of the climate system and the usefulness of cap and trade type measures to make any difference. This is well within the realms of legitimate scientific debate. So I don’t really see the point of the unreasoned attacks.

    • Pascal's bookie 10.1

      I don’t think these posts are totally directed, if at all, at ben et al.

      Your complaint is that people aren’t talking about/with you, and having the argument you want to have. That’s fine, but it doesn’t make it a strawman argument. The fact is that strong denialism does exist. Wishart has a best selling book full of it for example. If you want to move the debate on past that, then help get rid of those arguments first. At the moment you are just assisting them via distraction.

      • ben 10.1.1

        100% wrong, Pascal. Marty has made clear he counts the sorts of views expressed by me and others as ‘denial’. He linked to a Garth Geroge article, in which George merely expressed relief that wind turbines would not be put in his former back yard. According to Marty, that is a “denier column”.

        • Pascal's bookie 10.1.1.1

          So? That doesn’t mean these posts are just directed at you, or that stronger forms of denialism don’t exist.

          • Pascal's bookie 10.1.1.1.1

            And Garth Geroge thinks AGW can’t be true because God made rainbows as a promise not to let catastrophe happen.

          • ben 10.1.1.1.2

            Oh good, maybe we can have an argument about whether Marty really is thinking about me personally when he writes his posts, or on whether stronger forms of denial exist.

            Or maybe you can stop shifting goal posts.

            Marty does count the objections I and others make as denial. He has not even attempted to address the points we raise. It seems to me that if the full extent of Marty’s response to our concerns is to yell “Denier!” then he doesn’t have a case.

            [lprent: You have to remember that as posters we have less time to respond to comments than you do. It takes time out of a busy day, so generally we’d only deal with substantive points (if even that) when we don’t have time. Try it some time. A work/life balance gets even harder when you add blogger in on top.

            That is a long way to say: those who can do, do. Those who can’t criticize. ]

            • ben 10.1.1.1.2.1

              Lynn, yes ok – but Marty’s had three posts now and hasn’t spent his time replacing the ‘denier’ strategy with something more fitting, or really addressing anything being said in response to his earlier posts. I don’t expect instant answers at all. But I would like to see something at some point that is slightly more developed than what’s been put out so far. If its time that’s preventing Marty doing this, then presumably he will get a response out at some point, which I look forward to.

              • lprent

                The posts are there for youall to comment on. Not for Marty to comment on your comments. Anyway, I suspect that Marty probably wrote them during the weekend.

                Personally I haven’t seen anything (whilst scanning comments) in what you’ve been saying that would change my opinions about CCDs and their useful idiots of various hues. My views are probably not too far different from Martys, except I probably know more, and are therefore even more sensitive to the downside risks.

                Basically the CCDs (and you) seem to ignore the downside risk levels and other uncertainties that are in the science. The IPCC reports are pretty much certain results – they are very conservative. But there are high probabilities in the known science are that climate change will be a *lot* worse. My opinion is that the denier part of CCDs relates to an unwillingness to look at the realities of the science, preferring to ignore the risk levels, and hope for the best possible results. I find that to be a pig-ignorant attitude whenever and in every area I deal with (not just climate change).

                These days I don’t bother arguing with CCDs much. The arguments are repetitive because they never seem to bother to read and understand the science (like DPF’s recent efforts). They just make statements of uninformed faith. Unlike Marty I do enjoy tormenting them on occasions.

        • Pascal's bookie 10.1.1.2

          He linked to a Garth Geroge article, in which George merely expressed the belief that carbon is beneficial, not harmful, to the environment

          Fixed.

      • Andrei 10.1.2

        The fact is that strong denialism does exist.

        Where? Cite an example?

        (1) It is accepted that climate change is real
        (2) It accepted that humans play a part in this

        What is not accepted and is up for debate is
        (1) The changes we can observe are unprecedented
        (2) That the human contribution is the major driver for the changes we can measure.
        (3) There will be a climate catastrophe in the near future

        Add to the mix political hyperbole, poorly written news articles promising a climatic Armageddon, the unscrupulous who smell opportunities to make a buck and away we go – down the rabbithole

        • Pascal's bookie 10.1.2.1

          yawn. AGW is the theory that Humans are affecting the climate in an unprecedented way, to a degree that we need to do something about it.

          how about that evolution andrei? Is it in the dustbin yet?

        • Pascal's bookie 10.1.2.2

          The AGW theory of climate change is going into the dustbin of history along with the Phlogiston theory of fire and Astrology with which it has much in common.

          So it’s just like phlogiston but that’s not denying it’s true!!

  11. grumpy 11

    Let’s get this straight Marty, you believe in AGW and hate capitalism?

    Then why would you want to buy into a market created by ENRON?

  12. Bill 12

    I think I finally get it!

    CCDs are CCDs for all the aforementioned reasons. Of course.

    As mentioned before these people are, at best, intellectually mediocre.

    Let me quickly add that there is nothing wrong with that in and of itself…we all have strengths and weaknesses. But a problem arises when a system routinely rewards mediocrity and can even be said to favour mediocrity to the point where the system itself seems so smothered in it that it has moved beyond a point where widespread questioning, challenging or recognition of it’s detrimental aspects can occur.

    But in the face of AWC it is imperative that the status quo be rigorously and robustly challenged. The mediocrities are not capable of undertaking this task. Worse, and much more to the point, their innate animal cunning recognises that without this present system, they will lose their favoured status and be exposed as the grasping but incapable, unimaginative, dull and insipid little mediocrities that they truly are.

    So just as the system defaulted to a position where it disproportionately rewarded dullards they, the dullards default in their turn to a position that defends the system.

    If I can be allowed to indulge in a little anthropomorphism, I would have suggested that the relationship between CCDs and Capitalism is a situation of bad symbiosis, but that’s seems contradictory and I don’t know the expression for mutually negative parasitic behaviour.

    • prism 12.1

      Sounds like the peter principle at work, sorting everyone who have reached their zenith of capability and then got stuck just beyond where they flounder desperately reliant on the work from others rising still.

      • Bill 12.1.1

        Never head of the Peter Principle before, but yeah…seems to fit.

        I guess the only add is their subsequent mindless defence of the scheme that led to their elevated status.

  13. randal 13

    The press has achieved its own version of wittgensteins ladder.
    once they performed certain functions now they support others.
    once they had owners now they have shareholders.
    once editors did the hiring and firing now they do the proofreading (hahahahaha).
    once horizons were unlimited.
    now they are finite and bounded and closing in.
    add your own as your please.

  14. gomango 14

    There is plenty of evidence to suggest that ETS won’t work, and I think that is the real debate worth having. Look no further than european carbon credit pricing over the last few years for direct evidence of the silliness of an emissions trading scheme approach. Buy shares in investment banks, oil companies etc again!

    And there is plenty of economic (as opposed emotional response) research. For instance – a good summary: http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=997948&rec=1&srcabs=1140808

    People who legitimately question the response to global warming are tagged as deniers and thats not helpful to the debate. What do we in 10 years time when the ETS regime has severely damaged growth, had an outsize negative effect on LDC’s and hasn’t made any significant difference to the global rate of CO2 emissions? Then what?

    The real debate is not arguing about hockey sticks, medieval qarm periods, data massaging etc. The real question, and the only one worth discussing is this:

    “What is the most efficient, effective way to reverse the measured increase in global average temperature of recent years?”

    Note I’m not even debating whether it is man made or not, or whether it is best addressed by a) removing CO2, or b) by injecting aerosols into the upper atmosphere, or c) by magically creating vast new sources of cheap, non-polluting power generation.

    • lprent 14.1

      I’d agree that the cap’n’trade is generally showing every sign of being reasonably useless. However it will have some effect, just at a high cost. However it at least starts doing something after 20 years since I started to get concerned about GG.

      The only alternative at a price signal level is to increase the costs with a straight emissions tax on feedstocks for pollutants. That is a hell of lot simpler for NZ. But essentially would require an instantaneous change with major losses for anyone who has relied on ETS or its equivalents. Fortunately the NZ ETS is so ineffective in the short term, that there are unlikely to be many people.

      Basically the best overall solution is to put a price signal on materials and processes that cause emissions. That will cause industries to start carrying and processing the true cost of their processes, and allows innovation to happen to drop the cost of existing processes. We have most of the processes and tech already – but the artificially low cost of fossil fuels (ie missing their pollutant costs) makes them uneconomic at present. They won’t get as economic until they hit mass production. ie we need a cost signal on pollutant tech.

      Aerosols or CO2 scrubbing have significant costs when you start adding in the FULL costs and risks.

      CO2 scrubbing is pretty effective at putting a price signal – provided that the cost goes to those who are emitting. It is extremely expensive once you add in the long-term sequestration requirements. However I suspect that will just be another lobbyist wet dream like the ETS has proved to be.

      Aerosols do absolutely nothing for the oceans that will continue to suck up CO2 for later bulge releases. They are also susceptible to political interruption which would cause a very rapid climate change (ie the worst case). They are also an unproven tech for anything like the required volumes. Frankly they’re an emergency measure and probably wouldn’t work – we simply don’t know enough.

    • Bill 14.2

      “People who legitimately question the response to global warming are tagged as deniers and thats not helpful to the debate.”

      I think my opposition to cap and trade is pretty obvious. And nobody has labelled me a denier.

      Sounds simplistic, but the best way to reverse the damage inflicted by the actions we indulge in is to stop indulging in those actions.

      No government will encourage this. No business will encourage this. They’d rather you and I left it all to them and their policy or market prescriptions and participated in climate change matters only insofar as choosing to buy different light bulbs or indulging in other equally inconsequential and ineffective acts of mere consumerism.

      The way out is to act as citizens. Effective citizen actions will (if any actions eventuate) be in spite of governments and in spite of business. Effective citizen action will involve radical departures from our our own personal ‘business as usual’ habits. That will entail a radical reappraisal of the intellectual and emotional investment we have made in our reward systems and our systems of worth.

      Finally, effective citizen action will involve deep and meaningful modes of cooperation being developed and implemented fast. Very fast. And the recent neo-liberal past has taken our already less than optimal starting point in regards to community/cooperative potential and whacked it severely round the head.

      Which is why I probably sound like a nutter to more than a few who read these comments. Notions of cooperation and/or community are entirely foreign to most. Self empowerment is a notion bound and gagged by fear of upsetting betters and lost in wrong-headed notions of individualism and communal dictatorships.

      Which all means…..?

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