Why deny: the useful idiots

Written By: - Date published: 7:29 am, December 15th, 2009 - 90 comments
Categories: capitalism, climate change - Tags:

According to myth (it seems), Lenin called socialists in the West ‘useful idiots’ – people whose ideological fervour saw them accidentally aid the realpolitik aims of the USSR. Similarly, an army of useful idiots are the greenhouse polluters’ best weapon as they attempt to save their right to pollute for profit.

These are people who are able, somehow, to simply disregard the mountain of evidence and insist that climate change doesn’t exist. Laughably they make up conspiracy theories that entail deception on a scale that makes faking the moon-landings look like child’s play. If they do admit the undeniable they will claim that the cause isn’t humanity, in face of all the evidence, and they will still say scientifically meaningless and factually wrong things like ‘but the warmest year was in 1998, so we’re getting colder’.

I can’t think of a single major scientific theory, one that is supported by the bulk of scientists in the field, that I disagree with. It would take a certain level of arrogance or wilful blindness to do so. Plus, the basics of climate change are pretty simple – some gases trap heat in the air, like water vapour does in a greenhouse, add more heat and weather patterns will change and become more energetic.

I could say that all day though, in a thousand different ways and in a lot more detail, and it wouldn’t matter. We all know it doesn’t matter, we’ve been through enough comment threads with them to see their belief is impervious to rational points. The useful idiots are beyond scientific argument. There’s no point in using it on them.

So, why do they deny? It’s ideology. If you accept climate change, I mean seriously accept that this is a desperate problem that we have to confront now, it’s clear that we have to make serious changes. We can’t let businesses be free to do whatever the hell they want if they want to emit loads of greenhouse gases. We need to impose a cost on pollution. More fundamentally, we need to accept that the Earth isn’t a cornucopia that we can endless exploit for infinite growth. All of this is anathema to right-wing ideologues. They genuinely believe that, with hard work and skill, one day they’ll be part of the capitalist elite (don’t laugh, they really believe it) and, so, they want to preserve capitalism in as unbridled form as possible. And climate change threatens that.

If climate change is a problem, the capitalist system that ultimately causes it needs to be drastically reformed. If you worship capitalism, you’re going to have to deny climate change or your belief system will collapse (same reason hardcore Christians need to deny evolution). And ‘ta da’! An enormous body of scientific evidence, evidence of a quality that no-one would dismiss if it concerned astronomy or chemistry, can just be ignored. Simple as that.

Of course, the joke is on the useful idiots. They aren’t going to be part of the tiny capitalist elite – capitalism exists to perpetuate the elite, not include you and me in it. And they, along with us, or rather our descendants, are the ones who will suffer the most if we allow runaway climate change to take place.

90 comments on “Why deny: the useful idiots”

  1. Andrei 1

    If climate change is a problem, the capitalist system that ultimately causes it needs to be drastically reformed. If you worship capitalism, you’re going to have to deny capitalism or your belief system will collapse (same reason hardcore Christians need to deny evolution). And ‘ta da’! An enormous body of scientific evidence, evidence of a quality that no-one would dismiss if it concerned astronomy or chemistry, can just be ignored. Simple as that.

    You give yourself away here pal – this isn’t about science at all – it is your visceral loathing of capitalism that is driving your quasi religious belief in AGW – its cartoonish.

    The environmental movement did have something to offer once and valid points to make but it has long since been hijacked by ideologues such as yourself and damaged beyond repair.

    And along the way science has become distorted. and now faces a huge crisis which I am sure in the fullness of time it will resolve and then hopefully we can get on with solving the real problems humanity face – like making sure everyone gets enough to eat, has access to clean water and so forth.

    I actually have come to believe that people such as yourself don’t like people at all and leftists have been quite prepared to inflict mass death and suffering on people to advance their agendas many times in the past and here they want to do it again.

    And if you think smashing capitalism in the west will resolve the problems of the third world think again. All you will achieve is a return to third world lifestyles for the majority in the west.

    • Pascal's bookie 1.1

      OP: QED

    • Rob 1.2

      The capitalist system RELIES on taking money away from the poor in order to build up capital for business. It is a system with inherent poverty. The left is all about fixing that. Every time people want to contribute to poor countries, redistribute wealth to the poor in their own country or make minimum working conditions and wage capitalists jump up and shout how it is awful and going to ruin the capitalist system.

      The science on Climate Change isn’t left though. It is decided by scientists of all ideologies. If you can find me a report by a climate scientist not funded with petrodollars against climate change I will be very surprised.

    • Clarke 1.3

      I have to congratulate you, Andrei – this is a fantastic comment. I mean, it takes real skill to lampoon Marty’s post by parodying every CCD argument in the book, and to do so in only a couple of paragraphs shows your firm grasp of the rules of post-modern irony.

      Although …. you were intending to be ironic, weren’t you? You weren’t actually serious … ?

      • Chris 1.3.1

        The post-modern lack of irony in wingnuts is rather discombulating. I must learn to enjoy the richness of it. And my! how it flows from wingnuts.

    • prism 1.4

      “I actually have come to believe…” Try thinking instead of raw believing, round your beliefs off with a nice cerebral polish and attempt understanding not just making stabs of judgment in the dark fog of your present mental processes.
      Don’t do anything eh! What a good leader you would be – when anything happened you would be relaxed that your problem would magically resolve itself. Blame somebody else, if only others did things right everything would right itself. Bad things shouldn’t be happening like they are, you forbid them. Blame somebody. Perhaps Blame Canada! (South Park uses this motif to illustrate the desire to slide away from responsibility in the USA.) Now I have given you an opportunity if you wish to accept it, to slide away from doing some hard thinking, into condemning me for commenting on USA.

    • rainman 1.5

      @Andrei:

      There are 1000 billionaires.
      80% of the world lives on less than $10 a day.
      1 billion on less than $1 a day.

      If you think this is a good outcome for a political and economic system you have a poor imagination.

      • ben 1.5.1

        It is an OUTRAGEOUS outcome.

        But it is not too much capitalism that is the problem: it is not enough. The poorest people in the world do not live in capitalist countries. They are nearly universally oppressed by their governments, they generally do not have the right to vote, they are not free to leave, they are not free to export their products, and they operate under corrupt and massively intrusive bureaucracies. Bill Easterley writes a blog on these issues and I can recommend it.

        • Draco T Bastard 1.5.1.1

          The poorest people in the world do not live in capitalist countries.

          Yes they do and we have NACT to prove that
          1.) Fire at will bill
          2.) Double Dipton
          3.) Rodney Hides Supercity which was NOT put to referendum as required by law
          etc etc

          Everything you wrote there is a part of capitalism.

          • fizzleplug 1.5.1.1.1

            I’m pretty sure sure your examples mean nothing to those millions of poor in Africa. In fact, close to 100% certain.

          • ben 1.5.1.1.2

            What are you on about? What does NACT have to do with living on less than $1 a day?

          • Gosman 1.5.1.1.3

            What do those three things have to do with where the poorest people in the World live?

            • Draco T Bastard 1.5.1.1.3.1

              They’re all part of the corruption that ben was on about and there in this country. They’re systemic to capitalism.

              • Gosman

                How is the fire at will bill, (BTW it is nothing of the sort either), corrupt?

                If you think the Supercity is actually illegal why don’t you take a court case against it?

                Bill English is just like any number of politicians in the West, (from both the left and right), who engage in that sort of behaviour. While distasteful it isn’t exactly corruption on a third world level.

                Get a sense of perspective would you please.

              • Rob Carr

                Gosman the fire at will bill is corrupt because it is a piece of legislation designed to allow their business mates (who probably paid large amounts of their campaign funds) to get around the current laws. There are much worse examples of legislation passed for their friends in recent weeks though, for example specific clauses have been added to random legislation to allow a business to build on DOC land they don’t own without a permit retrospectively.

                Supercity isn’t illegal it just defies democratic process and is therefore unconstitutional (yes we still have that even if its not written down). It will be even worse when it comes into force with the gerrymandering of voting lines in it so some peoples votes are worth 25% less than others.

                Bill English altogether has claimed over $300,000 he was not entitled to and paid back only a small portion of what he had taken without admitting it was wrong. He only differs in that he didn’t have the same amount of money available to him to take. He still took as much as he could.

              • Gosman

                The 30 Day Trial bill for small and medium sized business is not corrupt. The UK has something similar but on a much larger scale. The National Party campaigned at the last election on this policy and was elected. How can fulfilling a campaign promise be corrupt?

              • Rob Carr

                Gosman if you look at the wonderfully National-Hating herald:
                http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10547238&pnum=1

                You will note it is 90 not 30 days, and it was not an election promise. The method it was passed by was also very dodgy with the use of urgency through all stages. This meant unions had no say on the bill.

        • Lanthanide 1.5.1.2

          That’s a lot of bluster with no real thought.

          From wikipedia:
          “Poverty in the United States is cyclical in nature with roughly 13 to 17% living below the federal poverty line at any given point in time, and roughly 40% falling below the poverty line at some point within a 10 year time span.[1] Most Americans (58.5%) will spend at least one year below the poverty line at some point between ages 25 and 75.[2]”

          America is *the* capitalist nation, and they have a significant problem with poverty. Obviously I’m not talking <$10 day here (although I'm sure there are people that fall into that category in America), but those numbers are relative to the society in which one lives anyway.

          Surely if "not enough" capitalism is what leads to poverty, then you must be arguing that even the US does not have "enough" capitalism, whatever that actually means, because they still have a significant poverty problem.

          Of the 5 specific areas you identified, the US obviously has no problem with 1 through 4, although #5 is arguable.

        • Rob Carr 1.5.1.3

          What about Somalia?

      • Andrei 1.5.2

        It is appalling – I have worked in the third world you know and have seen it for myself.

        Question: how does lowering the standard of living in the developed world address this?

        Question: Without access to cheap energy how does anyone address this?

        The problem isn’t capitalism it is human nature. Have you ever heard the saying
        “power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely”?

        Capitalism’s only virtue is that it dilutes power and communisms failure resulted from concentrating it.

        I don’t particularly like capitalism but thus far there is nothing better.

        And the fact we can discuss these things in this manner is entirely a fruit of capitalism which developed electronics, computers electricity generation and distribution etc etc etc,

        And when it comes to caring for the environment Western Capitalistic industries cleaned up their act long before their counterparts in the communist world which never did

        • Rob Carr 1.5.2.1

          “Question: how does lowering the standard of living in the developed world address this? ”

          Well if we continue to live at our current standards Africa will become uninhabitable within 50 years. Can you imagine what a temperature increase to a country already that hot would do? I say preventing their entire population from dying is a benefit.

          Question: Without access to cheap energy how does anyone address this?

          By using technologies that require less energy. Also Copenhagen aims to set up a fund to build renewable energy sources for developing countries/to enable them to adjust which will give them cheap AND sustainable forms of energy.

          Nothing better than capitalism? How about a semi-regulated market where capital building up beyond a certain level is prevented that is run on a democratic system. i.e. halfway. It works a lot better than rushing off to a random extreme. Its like saying well I don’t like being too cold so I will be too hot instead (pun intended).

          Western countries are still increasing their pollution. New Zealand has increased 22% since 1990. They are getting worse and they have worse pollution per capita. China has over 1 billion people of course it is going to pollute a lot. What excuse do the US and the EU have?

    • roger nome 1.6

      Leftists hate people? What were you saying about acting cartoonish? Grow up.

      Research has shown that many in the business elite are actually sociopaths without concern for other people, so it’s funny that you accuse leftists of this.

      http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_qa5427/is_200907/ai_n32127546/

  2. Good post Marty.

    There are two other threads to the fossil movement:

    1. There is a deep anti intellectualism. The wingnuts think that their knowledge and analysis of the science is just as relevant as that of the most trained scientist.

    2. The deep inbred hate of anything collective also annoys the hell out of them. The thought of a World Government, which we may eventually need to deal with the problem, has them quaking in their boots.

    I do not disagree with Andrei in that food will become a greater and greater problem. The cause is uncontrolled population growth. We should be talking about population policies and making contraception readily available throughout the world but the Christians go into meltdown at the very mention of the topic. Continued population growth will eventually destroy the planet.

    Don’t you love it when wingnuts become humanitarians!

    • Bill 2.1

      I’m not in any way against contraception. And I’m not in any way religious.
      But this population growth argument is bullshit when argued in relation to climate change,CO2 or food production.

      Readthis for a much needed little perspective.

      On World Government and collective something-or-other….What is that? Collective action? Collective responsibility? Whatever it is, how you reckon to square World Government with collective anything?

  3. gitmo 3

    “We should be talking about population policies and making contraception readily available throughout the world but the Christians go into meltdown at the very mention of the topic. ”

    Ummmmm what ?

    • Rob 3.1

      He is referring to Catholics being against condoms I guess. The pope did go give a speech in Africa not too long ago on how condoms cause aids.

    • Andrei referred to the need to keep on feeding the masses.

      Climate change and growth in population are linked. The more people the more cars, the more animals to feed them, the more consumption …

  4. ieuan 4

    ‘Laughably they make up conspiracy theories that entail deception on a scale that makes faking the moon-landings look like child’s play.’

    NASA has something like 250,000 people working on the moon landings, I doubt there are that many scientists in the world let alone that many studying climate change.

    ‘I can’t think of a single major scientific theory, one that is supported by the bulk of scientists in the field, that I disagree with.’ How are you with ‘dark matter’?

    ‘They genuinely believe that, with hard work and skill, one day they’ll be part of the capitalist elite (don’t laugh, they really believe it) and, so, they want to preserve capitalism in as unbridled form as possible’
    I doubt that most people want to be part of your capitalist elite, they just want to get ahead and do the best they can for themselves and their children, our capitalist system gives them that opportunity.

    The whole climate change debate (and especially at the Standard) has become a case of ‘I’m right, look at the evidence, your a denier’.

    There is a debate to be had about climate change, about what it makes sense to do and what we really can affect. Unfortunately that debate won’t happen at ‘The Standard’.

    • Rob 4.1

      I am not sure how much useful discussion we can have about what to do on an international level now. It is far from ideal but a cap and trade system has been chosen and it is very unlikely the politicians will change their mind. The focus then on the international level needs to be on preventing all the economic harms of that system, making sure people can’t cheat and making the targets as large as possible at the same time. Along with how much money to give developing nations to help them and how much they should reduce emissions.

      On a domestic level I think a discussion on what to do could be useful. We need to serious consider the benefits of say a carbon tax vs cap and trade or versus straight out cap and making of certain technologies illegal. There are a lot of different domestic policies we can take.

      • ieuan 4.1.1

        I think a lot more money being spent on R&D worldwide would be a good start with limits phased in on car emissions, factory emissions etc (again worldwide). That coupled with new forestry plantations where nations have to have a certain % of carbon offset either domestically or paid for in another country.

        I doubt that developed nations giving money to developing nations will have much effect (what ever happened to the Live Aid money?)

        • Rob Carr 4.1.1.1

          I agree R&D in climate technologies is probably the most important thing we should be researching at the moment. By limits on car emissions do you mean legal fuel efficiency or reducing car consumption?

          I don’t think we should just give them money because yes people would probably steal it. I think we should be looking at setting up developments there with the money and giving the management of it to developed countries (since they have the expertise) and using local labour to build it. As much as I dislike nuclear power I also think it should be seriously considered getting China to use it, they actually have deserts they can put the waste in so for them it wouldn’t be such a harmful technology and it would reduce emissions of CO2 a lot if people aren’t worried of the bomb risk.

  5. jcuknz 5

    GITMO suggests part of the solution with permitting one child per family at the most .. a preferable option to war or famine … but would it work fast enough to help? The Churches are in a time-warp back to the 17th and 18th centuries when more souls could be success. In the 21st it is disaster.
    I don’t think you have to be a capitalist to be a success. It is just different in other systems, humans are humans is whatever society they live in. Basically we all have a built in ethic called “Me Me”.

    • gitmo 5.1

      Congratulations you are as retarded as Mike Sausage.

      [lprent: That steps outside of the policy. It is a comment with an insult with no point. This is probably the last time I’ll warn you about behavior before giving you a ban to help remember it. ]

    • Draco T Bastard 5.2

      Basically we all have a built in ethic called “Me Me’.

      Actually, we don’t. Only a minority of people have such a mindset. Unfortunately, capitalism forces such a mindset on people. It’s one of it’s biggest failures where a delusional mindset of a minority is forced upon everyone else.

      • ben 5.2.1

        As if people stop looking out for Number 1 depending on the economic system they find themselves in. The selfish gene that got us here just gets turned off by collectivism?

  6. zelda 6

    This is too silly for words’

    “..some gases trap heat in the air, like water vapour does in a greenhouse”

    First the ‘greenhouse effect’ is fundamentally different from an actual greenhouse – which doesnt rely on water vapour at all.
    Back to primary school so you learn some science

    • snoozer 6.1

      zelda. How do you think a greenhouse works? Do you think the glass traps the heat? No, it traps the water vapour while allowing in the light (you’ll notice that greenhouses are humid).

      The most important greenhouse gas in the atmosphere is water vapour, and about half the global warming cuased by our release of other greenhouse gases is actually due to the warmer air being able to hold more water vapour.

      deep fail, zelda.

      • Andrei 6.1.1

        No – glass is transparent to visible wavelengths of light but not to the longer wavelengths although you are partially correct in noting that a large percentage of the energy so trapped is held by water vapor within the glass house

        So you get a FAIL rather than a DEEP FAIL

        • zelda 6.1.1.1

          You are confusing the earths greenhouse ‘effect’ with an actual greenhouse where the glass prevents thermal convection. This is the real reason greenhouses work

          So the presence of water vapour doesnt trap the energy ( you mean heat energy BTW).
          Radiation doesnt require a gas as the Suns heat wouldnt reach us , space being a vacuum.
          This idea that the heat is ‘held by the water vapour’ ( ie 2%) of the total gases is bizarre.

        • lprent 6.1.1.2

          Exactly. The longer wavelengths are at the infra-red end of the spectrum, and are largely generated by the energy reduction when light is adsorbed (or reflected) by solid surfaces or water vapour, and the then emitted again. The clear air distance inside a glasshouse is too low to get the effects of the similar shorter to longer wavelengths that happens in the atmospheres larger atmospheric column.

      • Rob Carr 6.1.2

        Except any temperature increase caused by cloud during the day has the exact opposite effect at night meaning the average temperature does not increase you simply have more extreme weather.

  7. jcuknz 7

    Well of course the Pope was right when he said condoms promote AIDS …. condoms permit intercourse with reduced likelihood of fertilisation but encourage the spread of AIDS from bodilly contact and exchange of body fluids. So it is a fact being used to promote a perverted concept.

  8. ben 8

    Awful post, Marty.

    1. From your brief description of how global warming works it is apparent you do not understand it. At best, what you said is clumsy.

    2. Again, the straw man. Who denies the climate changes? Who is your post aimed at? Where are these people? Not in the media. Not in mainstream blogging. Not in Parliament. Where are the people who deny the climate is changing? Names, please. Or is this just a smear?

    3. Your analysis of capitalist philosophy is utterly ludicrous. Do you really think that “belief” in capitalism, whatever that means, requires a believer to pretend there are no associated emissions don’t occur and that they cannot affect climate at all? That’s what you think every corporate CEO and every small business owner believes?

    4. Not for the first time, you have things exactly backwards. Most of the captains of industry are leading the fight against climate change. Why? Apart from obvious brand benefits, these companies stand to profit $billions from subsidies for green tech, and from the protection from competition that new green tax and regulation delivers. And politicians are more than happy to accept their campaign donations in return. You are right to be suspicious of corporates – but for their support of climate change, not its denial. Climate change is pairing these massive companies with politicians, with the end result being less competition, bigger profits for the big companies, and the little guy getting squished. This is the corporate state.

    5. What does your attack on capitalism add? Presumably you still want capitalism, just with more regulation on polluters. So why does capitalism even get a mention?

  9. lukas 9

    crap, how can you justify these comments on climate change-

    Jim Salinger, who featured in the leaked Climategate emails, offended listeners to a national talk radio show last night by saying that, as a Jew, he regards climate change skeptics as morally the same as Holocaust deniers.

    • Daveosaurus 9.1

      “saying that, as a Jew, he regards climate change skeptics as morally the same as Holocaust deniers.”

      Considering that the denialists have stooped as low as blood libel in their rhetoric, it could be contended that the comparison is valid.

  10. jcuknz 10

    Zelda … just becuase his example is flawed doesn’t mean the basic argument of the thread is wrong.. I share his feeling of frustration of a world not prepared to make the neccessary changes. Cap and Trade is not a solution but a promotion of the problem IMO.

  11. Clarke 11

    How are you with ‘dark matter’?

    Dark matter is one of a number of possible explanations for the observed behaviour of the universe. While it may or may not be proven correct in the years ahead, the point is that it’s clear our understanding of how the universe works is not yet capable of fully describing the phenomena we can measure.

    There is a similarity between this and climate change. While the climate like the universe is a chaotic (i.e. non-deterministic) system, both are amenable to being simplified in order to understand local events. It’s not necessary to model every atom in the universe to be able to predict the orbit of local planets; likewise it’s not necessary to model every possible variable to understand the effect of adding more energy to the climate system.

    And so while we don’t fully understand how to describe dark matter (or dark energy, or a range of other hypothesised factors) we can still predict the motion of the Earth around the Sun and the interactions of our solar system with only a basic familiarity with Netwonian physics. The climate is the same – increasing the range of our understanding and the detail of our models will improve the detail of what we can predict, but it doesn’t change the basic physics that adding more energy to the system will push it away from its current locus of stability.

    All of which assumes that these discussions can be held in a neutral fashion with a basic understanding of the laws of physics … which may be a bit of a wild assumption, as Marty notes.

  12. Trying to blame Global Warming on Capitalism is the knee-jerk reaction of a one-eyed fanatic. The technologies that underlay the increase in atmospheric carbon for the last two centuries are equally the ‘fault’ of the science that made the technology possible, but had the blogger written “If climate change is a problem, the scientific methology that ultimately causes it needs to be drastically reformed.” who would take it seriously?

    China’s non-capitalist system is now one of the major polluters.

    Politicising global warming, and trying to use it for political point-scoring, is pointless and negative. “Capitalism” is as capable of responding to the danger as is socialism or any other ‘ism’. All that’s required is the understanding and the will.

    • snoozer 12.1

      you don’t think China is capitalist?

      It is locked in the capitalist growth paradigm even if its government is a dictatorship.

    • Draco T Bastard 12.2

      Actually, capitalism isn’t as it requires more and more growth. Growth in population most of all because the interest needs to be paid somehow and that is by extending markets.

      • ben 12.2.1

        Oh this is rich, Draco. You think interest is unique to or special in capitalism? Of course it isn’t.

        You’ll also note that slowest-growing (in some cases declining) populations are in wealthy capitalist economies. Why? Because high incomes raise the opportunity cost of procreation.

        • Gosman 12.2.1.1

          Draco is just regurgitating the tired old Socialist mantra that there is only a limited amount of wealth in the world and that it is somehow linked with the total population. Therefore the only real way of increasing it under Capitalism is to turn more and more people into consumers.

        • Rob Carr 12.2.1.2

          It has nothing to do with the opportunity cost. It has to do with the empowerment of women and perspectives. Still poor countries have managed to drastically reduce population rates simply by giving women high school education.

        • Draco T Bastard 12.2.1.3

          Why? Because high incomes raise the opportunity cost of procreation.

          And because they’re exporting to all the poorer countries. Without that export they would be losing income. Why else do you think that our government keeps going for an export led recovery rather than a local based recovery?

          • ben 12.2.1.3.1

            Draco, what are you on about? Third post today from you that makes no sense at all. How is a couple’s decision to procreate affected by whether they live in a nation that exports to poorer countries??

            • Draco T Bastard 12.2.1.3.1.1

              /facepalm

              You really that stupid aren’t you?

              If they weren’t exporting they wouldn’t have investments that made a return because the local productivity far exceeds what the local market can consume. Therefore, rich countries can only remain rich if they export to poor countries. This is achieved through regulation that opens up the poor countries market while keeping the rich countries market closed.

              • Gosman

                “Therefore, rich countries can only remain rich if they export to poor countries.”

                That must be one of the most economically illiterate statements I have seen written on this blog. Well today at least 😉

                What share of World Trade does the poorest continent on the Planet have Draco?

                Has this been increasing or decreasing over the past thirty years?

              • ben

                Nothing you say makes any sense. Facepalm yourself.

                About 93% of New Zealand’s exports are to wealthier countries. About 7% to developing countries. So I don’t much like your silly little theory of being rich only by selling to the poor.

                All of which has nothing to do with population growth. Duh.

              • ben

                Sorry: that last post was aimed at Draco, not Gosman 🙂

                I’m with Gosman on the illiterate call. It’s not only the illiteracy, its the condescension, as if the stuff coming from so far out of left field from Draco was so obvious.

    • Bill 12.3

      Sure, industrialisation is a culprit.

      But industrialisation was and is shaped by the economic system it was embedded in. ( Why overwhelming petro chemical R&D and next to sfa R&D in other more intelligent areas for example?) Because of the reward system that walks alongside science resulting in or favouring/encouraging the pursuit dubious developments.

      And it’s the imperatives of the economic system that skews research and development along particular lines.

      It’s the economic system that thwarts ‘the will’ and obstructs understanding….or at least encourages a blind eye being turned to understanding while rewarding only particular ‘wills’ and penalising other’s.

      • ben 12.3.1

        What’s ironic is a bunch of lefties bagging capitalism by typing into their Dell laptops, sipping their Nescafe, wearing a t-shirt made in China, shortly to jump in the Prius and head down to the Warehouse for Xmas shopping.

        More than happy, it seems, to enjoy capitalism’s very considerable benefits while arguing nobody else should.

        • Gosman 12.3.1.1

          You’ve forgotten the mantra ben – We’re all doomed!

          BTW I suspect the lefties bagging capitalism would suggest they are enjoying the fruits of the expolitation of the working class rather than capitalism’s considerable benefits. 😉

  13. Bill 13

    Meanwhile.

    Those on bended knee before the alter of exploitation; who are offering up their futures and their children’s futures for a few shiny beads and baubles; who want to continue the supplication and the trading away of their human potential way into the future and in spite of Casey Jones riding that steam train of climate change straight down on top of their little arrangement….

    ….they’ll be heartened by the fact that at the same time as the barely audible, but hotly contested notion of $10 billion being allocated to ‘developing’ nations to ‘combat’ climate change ( about a tenth of what is reckoned to be needed) does the rounds at Copenhagen, that Dubai gets a $10 Billion bailout as a matter of course….at the drop of the proverbial hat.

    Ah, the priorities of this system; the result of the enablers on bended knee…..or are they all bending over? And does it really matter at this late juncture?

    • ben 13.1

      Barely audible? Are you kidding?

      10 billion being allocated to ‘developing’ nations to ‘combat’ climate change ( about a tenth of what is reckoned to be needed

      It doesn’t matter how much money it is. There is no relationship between government assistance and a nation’s development. $50 billion in assistance has been pumped into Africa since 1945. The resource curse or Dutch Disease is real and explains why aid does not work. Government to government transfers do not assist development and may retard it.

      • Gosman 13.1.1

        It is something that people advocating this massive capital transfer don’t really address. There is all the woolly, high-minded, socially-concerned, talk about helping Developing nations cope with the impact of Climate change but what it actually means is not immediately obvious. What it will probably mean is an increase in corruption and waste on a scale not seen since the Cold war inspired Aid wars of the 1960’s to 1980’s

        • ben 13.1.1.1

          Yes, what I suspect is going on is to think good intentions are enough (I suspect people living in poverty would prefer what actually works – even if that means trying to do less) and an implicit view that the aid actually helps (the evidence broadly says it doesn’t – although this is very contentious).

          • Pascal's bookie 13.1.1.1.1

            Alternatives then chaps?

            Assume AGW is true, sea levels rise and increased storm surges. How does Bangladesh cope? What should we do, if anything, other than watch?

            • Gosman 13.1.1.1.1.1

              Ideally you would allow a free movement of both population and capital however that might be politically unpalatable. India should offer to buy the country off them now and then resettle the population when the need arises.

              • Pascal's bookie

                There is all the woolly, high-minded, appropriately-concerned, talk about helping Developing nations cope with the impact of Climate change but what it actually means is not immediately obvious. 😉

              • Gosman

                It’s like a form of insurance. The Bangladeshi’s sell their country now, whoever buy’s it get’s the benefits for a few decades and then they have to accomodate the hundred and sixty million people.

                Alternatively somewhere like Russia or Canada should offer to sell parcels of frozen tundra on a lay-buy basis so that nations about to be flooded will have somewhere to resettle.

      • Rob Carr 13.1.2

        It would have worked had african countries not been paying 30%+ interest on their loans while western countries will loan each other money at 4%.

        • ben 13.1.2.1

          Rob, I call bullpucky on that claim. Show me a single African nation paying 30+% at the same time a western nation could borrow at 4%.

          Anyway, even if you’re right the aid should still have helped at the margin, and the evidence does not support that. You don’t sound like you much care either way.

          • Gosman 13.1.2.1.1

            I say good call on the bullpucky claim. I’d suggest that Rob Carr might opnly be using one or two extreme examples, or not even that number, to base his 30+% Interest figure on.

            • Rob Carr 13.1.2.1.1.1

              The 30% level is fortunately not something we still have going on today significantly with governments as the world bank/IMF provided loans to pay off the high interest loans. To be honest I wouldn’t have a clue where to look on the internet for historic interest rates to African countries. I always knew they were high but didn’t know how high, went to a poverty seminar last year and they said it averaged 30%…

              Anyway the rates were at least significantly higher and for that I can give you several journal articles if you would like them. This is what allowed to debt to bloom into $300 Billion, they borrowed nowhere near that amount. This level of poverty means $50 Billion over such a long period of time is meaningless because even at tiny interest rates it barely covers the bills.

              • ben

                I call bullpucky on that claim as well. Taking into account debt cancellation and defaults on payments, I’ll bet good money little of that $50 billion was consumed in interest.

                And it is not meaningless at the margin. Africa with the loans and interest is still $50 billion the wealthier with loans and interest and aid.

  14. Gosman 14

    Trying to blame Capitalism for Global warming is like trying to blame it on Scientific progress or even human population growth. You could make a connection but so what?

    • Rob Carr 14.1

      Because Capitalism is an issue we can fix. Scientific progress doesn’t cause an issue unless we over exploit the technologies given under it as is promoted by our current system of economics that maximises consumption. Human population growth is obviously linked and similarly needs to be dealt with. There are many causes of Climate Change, if you don’t fix all of them then its not going to be fixed. You can’t simply ignore one cause because there are others.

      • Gosman 14.1.1

        Depends on your definition of ‘Fix’. I’d argue that it is unlikely you are going to be able to get the changes you think you can without some serious negative unintended consequences.

        For example, if we exclude Developing Nations from any Emission scheme, or give them concessions we could end up in the situation where polluting industries all decamp to the Developing nations and and total emissions actually increase at a faster rate.

        • Rob Carr 14.1.1.1

          Mmm I would like to see temperatures limited beneath a 2 degree rise. This would have significant negative consequences yes but I think it would avoid far greater negative consequences. I certainly don’t think we are going to see anything like the communist states someone posted me a link to before.

          I don’t advise we give developing countries a free ride. I want a universal equal cap on how much carbon dioxide can be used per capita to be the eventual goal. If we do it that way everyone can reach an equivalent level of development with the right technology.

          I know the reductions in carbon needed are massive but I also know that a significant amount of that percentage can be achieved by simply reducing wastage in business and moving to the latest technologies accompanied by some fuel efficiency standards. If you believe the greens new scheme we could have 30% reduction with minimal cost (I’m thinking they are a bit optimistic about how well it would work but it would still be a lot reduced). If we can do it I don’t see why the rest of the world can’t.

          This isn’t meant to be easy but we can do it without everybody starving to death and if we do nothing huge numbers will be dead anyway.

  15. Sanctuary 15

    To quote:

    “…So, why do they deny? It’s ideology. If you accept climate change… …it’s clear that we have to make serious changes. We can’t let businesses be free to do whatever the hell they want… …We need to impose a cost on pollution. More fundamentally, we need to accept that the Earth isn’t a cornucopia that we can endless exploit for infinite growth… …If climate change is a problem, the capitalist system that ultimately causes it needs to be drastically reformed…”

    This simply won’t work. To quote Henry Stimson, Roosevelt’s secretary of war, “If you are going to try to go to war or prepare for war in a capitalist country you have got to let business make money out of the process, or business won’t work”.

    If we regard fighting global warming as a war, then think about the implications of Stimson’s statement. Right now, through its propaganda mouthpieces and those who have been duped by that propaganda, business isn’t working.

  16. @ Lukas, 9am. re: Jim Salinger ‘offending’ radio listeners.

    It might have been reported on the radio, Lukas, but the comment was made at a public meeting. In July. Apparently nobody was offended by Salinger, but the same can’t be said of Nick Smith.

    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10584007&pnum=1

    BTW, for some reason the reply function seems a bit non functional. Won’t let the reply attach to the comment being replied to. Cheers.

    [lprent: Yeah it is annoying me as well. Works almost all of the time. It is on my work list for this weekend and maybe earlier if it peeves me enough. ]

  17. tsmithfield 17

    In the end it will be capitalism that solves the global warming problem to whatever degree it exists. The fundamental motivators of the capitalist system, greed and fear, are two powerful motivators.

  18. todd 18

    Coppenhagen.
    The science maybe settled but when it comes to shelling out the cash most so called rich nations are giving it the big fingered salute lead by your hero Obama.Exactly what I thought would always happen.AGW is buggered.

  19. Draco T Bastard 19

    Climate change? Well, we’ll be dead by then

    Among all these, reigning supreme, is the “zombie argument”: arguments which survive to be raised again, for eternity, no matter how many times they are shot down.

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    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
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  • 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
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  • Indigenous Futures: defuturing and futuring – an analytical framework for policy development?
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  • 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
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  • The coming resource war.
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  • 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 ...
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    2 weeks ago
  • Will Horizons act on climate change?
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    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
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  • BORA reform is stalled
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    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Corbyn and Brexit
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    2 weeks 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
    2 weeks 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 ...
    2 weeks ago

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