The General Discussion Thread

[Publish Date updated to restore to front page]

Okay as an experiment here it is. Discuss your favourite generals here!

Well perhaps… Really this is simply the place to post news-items, fun-items or whatever takes your fancy. In short just post what you want here.

It’s just another wee experiment – comments welcome.


[Image: General Sir Anthony Cecil Hogmanay Melchett (Stephen Fry)]

16,731 thoughts on “The General Discussion Thread

  1. “Fred, you really seem not to understand.”

    I think the IPCC understands well enough and what you are saying is not what they are saying.

  2. Clark I’m afraid extinction was popular on the planet long before humans gummed up the works. Millions of species fell to selective survival before our entrance.

    The Earth has survived the Yucatan asteroid strike without a hint of human contamination and it will shake us off like we were a head cold when it feels we’ve overstayed our welcome.

  3. Remember when first woman NASA Astronaut CHrista McCallough was killed in the Challenger disaster in the beginning of 1986, a plot to kill off a nuclear war by destroying the Soviet land-based ICBMs in a surprise attack triggered by the assassination of Swedish PM Olof Palme, but still went ahead,and was prevented from going nuclear by Moscow adopting the necessary counter measures, thanks to American spying, starting with that of Rick Ames.

    Guess Fred does know about that near miss.

  4. Her last name is spelled McAuliffe as I recall, and didn’t get time to change the mistake.

  5. B: “Clark I’m afraid extinction was popular on the planet long before humans gummed up the works. Millions of species fell to selective survival before our entrance.

    Ben, try not to be so freaking stupid, eh? Goddamn, this simplistic BS off know-nothings who think they’re being clever pisses me off.

    WE are currently the cause of the 6th extinction. It’s happening vastly faster than all the others, save for suspected massive meteor strikes. I suppose you’d know all about that. That is if you’d bothered reading a few books on the subject, which of course you have not.

    Sounds like you’re one of these simpleton “Well, duh… it’s cyclic!” sort of deniers. Our governments must be _so_ grateful that there is an abundant source of people like you – overwhelming in numbers, in fact – too stupid, and too lazy to bother even doing the least research, and incapable of independent thought.

  6. Fred

    There is nothing in that ecologist article that shows XR are anti-capitalist. It is an opinion piece that simply posits adoption of tactics popular with anti-capitalists is proof of anti-capitalist politics. This is a fallacy. The author doesn’t have even a basic grasp of leftist theory (making a claim for Marx that is hilariously wrong). It’s transparent nonsense.

  7. I think the description I’ve seen that best describes them was “Religion for middle class atheists” Phil.

  8. OK. Why then keep insisting they are anti-capitalist commies? They’re really not. It’s very upsetting to us anti-capitalist commies.

  9. I know they aren’t anti-capitalist commies to an anti-capitalist commie Phil but to your average middle of the road centrist they are.

  10. Glennuk: Thanks for sharing your viewpoint but you should always consider the context before you get too excited.

    Humans are adding carbon and exacerbating any normal cycle but your rhetoric prevents a consensus on practical solutions. You have not convinced a plurality of citizens of the danger but the other side has been effective at telling people what they want to nothing changes.

    Visionaries are burdened with their own insights but doubly so when they fail to communicate their warnings to those of poorer eyesight.

    But my point on extinction stands. It is rank temerity for humans to believe only they can save the Earth. The Earth shall survive.

  11. Ben: I’m surprised to hear civility from you, in fact that was the last thing I expected. So kudos to you for wrong-footing me there. I’ll treat you as if you were not a belligerent correspondent if you can manage to do the same from this point.

    We’re not just exacerbating a natural cycle. We’re undoing a balance that has kept the Earth habitable for its millions of species, but at such a rapid rate that – on an archeological scale – it looks like a staggeringly fast extinction. We are the cause of it, over just a few generations.

    The “normal cycle” is irrelevant. We have added as much carbon since Al Gore’s first book on the problem was published (“Earth in the balance”, around 1991 from memory) as we have since the industrial revolution. The amount we add per year, measured in the tens of gigatons, is still increasing.

    It’s not likely that the Earth will survive as anything but a rock going around the sun – in the same was Mars and Venus “survives”. The Earth (Gaia if you will) is too old to start all over again, and the sun is getting hotter – a lot hotter than it was when life started here.

    It’s not about us coming along to “save the Earth” – we need to reverse our active and willful destruction of its capability to support life.

  12. Here’s a thought: Politeness is the enemy of equality and being obstreperous challenges the mores that sustain injustice.

    Across cultures and throughout history it is observable that the insistence of civility is directly correlated to material and social inequality. i.e. the greater the inequalities the greater the insistence on “civil” discourse. In egalitarian societies the word “please”, and the like, is rarely heard.

  13. I and my spouse, who epitomizes the female resistance to ‘not nice’ argue this point all the time. She says kindness is always preferable even if a ‘white lie’ must be told to keep people happy. I say a lie is a lie if it deceives or enables.

    I say its cruel to be kind..we go on and on…. 🙂

  14. I can be polite and pretend your halitosis is refreshing or I can be kind and tell you the truth about why others avoid talking with you.

  15. Fred, October 18, 5:38 pm:

    “I think the IPCC understands well enough and what you are saying is not what they are saying”

    Link please. The delay is perfectly standard climate science, and the reason for “temperature overshoot” as described in the 2018 IPCC Report.

    I can only assume that you haven’t understood the 2018 report. About four fifths of its 1.5 centigrade scenarios require active removal of CO2 from the atmosphere, eg. BECCS – Bio Energy with Carbon Capture and Storage. The engineers are telling us that such technologies are failing to scale up sufficiently.

  16. Phil, so far as I know, XR actions against the Tube do not originate from XR central. There was one such action in April. It was discussed at a site meeting, and most participants were opposed, but a particular Affinity Group went ahead anyway. Central’s rapid apology suggests that the Canning Town action was a similar sort of thing.

  17. Clark

    The WHO are predicting 250 thousand extra deaths between 2030 and 2050 because of climate change.

    ER prophesy 6 billion.

    The WHO estimate is based on science.

    If you claim the science is wrong then you undermine it, you can’t expect climate deniers yo have faith in science if you have no faith in it yourself.

  18. Get ready for food riots everywhere like are happening in Chile. Basic food prices are too high, and luxury food ;like wines uses too much water.

  19. “250 thousand extra deaths between 2030 and 2050…”

    Precisely, and the temperature curve we’re currently following doesn’t even level out until 2300, and that’s if it levels out without triggering a tipping point. Try looking at some of the more pessimistic scenarios. Do you regard as acceptable say a 5% chance of run-away heating and global ecosystem disaster? What about 1%? Would you use an airline advertising that 99% of their flights land safely?

  20. US has gone from opposing Turkish nationalists like Ecivic under Clinton to being led by the nose by Erdogan, now a rabid one, under Trump. Amazing what covert warfare can achieve!

  21. So why is Hillary Clinton tarring Tulsi Gabbard as a third party candidate without any evidence as a Russian spoiler, like she claimed that Edward Snowden was a Russian spy from the outset. Gabbard is an attractive woman who lost both her legs in the Iraqi combat who could capture a significant number of votes at Joe Biden’s expense.

    In Hillary’s book Hard Choices, she demonstrated her willingness to believe anything evil about North Korea, especially its effort to make nukes. She even said that Obama’s offering the hand of peace upon becoming POTUS to North Korea was met with a closed fist.

    Actually it was Biden’s closed fist it got, and Hillary is fearing the truth will come out with Tulsi’s candidacy.

  22. Sure, Fred. You’re very concerned about the truth.

    And you were talking about those royals “waving at something in the sky”, instead of giving the straight-arm Nazi salute it clearly was. Any remaining respect I had for you died at that point. You also like to grievously insult people.

    You don’t tell the truth, when you know what you’re saying quite obviously isn’t the truth. You are a wind-up, a mischief-maker, and a dishonest correspondent – at best.

    Why should anyone take anything you’re saying as anything but trouble-making BS, with mean-spirited and bad intent? Genuine question – I don’t expect an honest answer, though.

  23. Oh my God, did unknown scruffy oik Roger Hallam overstate something while under the BBC studio lights and intense pressure from a professional presenter quoting a neoliberal think-tank?

    The IPCC said that humanity had twelve years to slash its emissions by about half, or we lock in climate change that will probably prove irreversible. Nothing to see here, move along please, return to buy-stuff-and-throw-it-away or the economy might suffer. It’s now eleven years, and emissions rose more than ever before.

  24. Trow
    “Get ready for food riots everywhere”

    We are already witnessing a wave of global anti-austerity, anti-corruption, anti-repression rioting and insurrection (Chile, Equador, Honduras, Bolivia, Mexico, Hong-Kong, Lebanon, Iraq, Sudan, Haiti, France, Spain) possibly not seen since 1848. Don’t expect the BBC or XR to mention revolution though.

  25. “Would you use an airline advertising that 99% of their flights land safely?”

    There is always some risk using an airline, planes do crash, it is frequently headline news.

    Would you tell a load of children about to get on a plane that they were all going to die because of it? Would you exaggerate the statistical facts of 110 people a year, on average, dying in a plane crash to the extent those children would believe they were all going to die?

  26. Joker theme KILL THE RICH may be found in recent California fires..mainly in well-to-do neighborhoods.

    I believe that theme, not lone shooters wearing masks, is what drove the anxiety over Joker release.

    Joaquin Phoenix should get the BA Oscar but wont because of the fear.

  27. No Fred, the question is, would you usher kids onto a flight that had a 1% chance of killing everyone aboard? Would you silence the ones pointing out the fuel leaking from the wing, and tell the others to ignore them? Oh, it’s only a slow leak, I’m sure you’ll land before the fuel’s all gone…

  28. B: “They say human flesh tastes sweet like pork

    Cannibals called humans “long pig” back in the day. Might well be some truth to it.

    I don’t eat meat or fish anyway, being entirely vegetarian and mostly vegan. Unfortunately for the dogs, it appears they are the first to go in major strife, like the siege of Leningrad. The cats were too hard to catch, and besides – they proved very useful in keeping the rats down, which preserved the remaining grain stores.

  29. OMG Ben. Who says human flesh tastes sweet? Hannibal Lecture?

    I recall seeing a book long, long ago alleged to include images to show the excoriated limbs of human and pig are indistinguishable. Maybe a hoax. I’m not going to search for it.

  30. Do we really have reliable sources for these cannibals stories? I always thought this stuff was colonialism/white supremacist propaganda. Were they real? Did they have a bone through their nose?

  31. Yeah Glenn wins with the convincing precedent of Leningrad’s dogs. But maybe there weren’t too many rich folk hanging around there to properly test Ben’s hypothesis.

  32. “No Fred, the question is…”

    No that isn’t the question because nobody is putting any children on any planes.

    However Rupert Read is giving lectures in schools telling children that they are probably going to die young despite there being no scientific basis for it.

  33. Extinction Fred, extinction:

    – The Holocene extinction, otherwise referred to as the sixth mass extinction or Anthropocene extinction, is an ongoing extinction event of species during the present Holocene epoch (with the more recent time sometimes called Anthropocene) as a result of human activity.[1][2][3] This large number of extinctions spans numerous families of plants and animals, including mammals, birds, amphibians, reptiles and arthropods. With widespread degradation of highly biodiverse habitats such as coral reefs and rainforests, as well as other areas, the vast majority of these extinctions are thought to be undocumented, as the species are undiscovered at the time of their extinction, or no one has yet discovered their extinction. The current rate of extinction of species is estimated at 100 to 1,000 times higher than natural background rates.[2][4][5][6][7][8]

    – Recent extinctions are more directly attributable to human influences, whereas prehistoric extinctions can be attributed to other factors, such as global climate change.[16][3] The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) characterises ‘recent’ extinction as those that have occurred past the cut-off point of 1500,[146] and at least 875 species have gone extinct since that time and 2012.[147] Some species, such as the Père David’s deer[148] and the Hawaiian crow,[149] are extinct in the wild, and survive solely in captive populations. Other species, such as the Florida panther, are ecologically extinct, surviving in such low numbers that they essentially have no impact on the ecosystem.[150]:318 Other populations are only locally extinct (extirpated), still existence elsewhere, but reduced in distribution,[150]:75–77 as with the extinction of gray whales in the Atlantic,[151] and of the leatherback sea turtle in Malaysia.[152]

    – Most recently, insect populations have experienced rapid surprising declines. Insects have declined at an annual rate of 2.5% over the last 25–30 years. The most severe effects may include Puerto Rico, where insect ground fall has declined by 98% in the previous 35 years. Butterflies and moths are experiencing some of the most severe effect. Butterfly species have declined by 58% on farmland in England. In the last ten years, 40% of insect species and 22% of mammal species have disappeared. Germany is experiencing a 75% decline. Climate change and agriculture are believed to be the most significant contributors to the change.[153]

  34. Those are species that the children will never see, not even the daughter of your talk-radio conspiracy theorist friend who does you such a big favour. This most certainly is a case of the activities of current adults impacting upon the children and future generations. How many strands can we remove from the web of life before it collapses? Are you God or someone?

    We’ve had decades of organised and well funded denial, but when someone stumbles the other way you pounce.

  35. Fred

    Assuming you’re not just winding up Clark, let me offer a few thoughts:

    Any risk analysis must consider the severity of the loss as well as the odds.

    The lack of nuclear armageddon is no proof that the threat was not real.

    That the threat of nuclear war was used by politicians to frighten/tame a populace does not mean that the threat was not real.

    It is hard to imagine two people more smug and annoying than Hallam and Read. Sure, they lie in pursuit of their own agenda and self-aggrandisement. But…

    The existential nuclear and climate threats are almost too frightening to contemplate. We want to deny them. The infuriating bullshit of the likes of the XR leadership invites an emotional counter reaction. Attacking the messengers and bullshitters can be fun. Denial can be fun and comforting. But denial it is.

  36. Phil

    They are using people, real people and they are targeting children.

    Young people just at a time when they have difficult choices to make about their futures are being brainwashed into believing they have no futures, encouraged to not go to school, being told it’s OK to break the law.

  37. Clark

    So what is the difference between Alex Jones and Roger Hallam? What is the difference between telling people science says the Arctic ice is not receding and telling people the science says that climate change will kill 6 billion people this century? What is the difference between you and her.

    I don’t see any.

  38. Phil, a year ago, had you ever heard of Roger Hallam? I hadn’t. Nor Gail Bradbrook.


    “…encouraged to not go to school, being told it’s OK to break the law…”

    That’s rich, coming from you! It’s also misleading nonsense; one afternoon on strike per month is not dropping out, and Non-Violent Direct Action is a far cry from, say, covering up murder by the local drug mafia. And where’s this “brainwashing” going on? Is Roger Hallam’s Facebook feed now compulsory reading on the school syllabus?

  39. “I don’t see any.”

    So we’re all hurtling along in the works van, and the boss says we must drive ever faster and faster, or we’ll lose money. He’s put a lot of effort into convincing about half the occupants that the road signs are a conspiracy to make us uncompetitive, but others are getting worried anyway.
    “We’ll all be killed” cries one.
    “Ignore that fool” says the boss, “it’s unlikely that even a quarter of us will suffer worse than broken ribs, and certainly not before four thirty”.

    No difference at all.

  40. The road sign we just flashed passed said that the maximum speed for the bend ahead is 20, but we were doing 80 and have continued accelerating. The later we leave it the harder we will have to brake.

  41. Phil, I don’t know much about quantum computers. I did try reading some Wikipedia pages a couple of years ago. Maybe a decade ago, a friend referred to an article about them; he looked nonplussed and sneered “you don’t even have to put the data in”.

    So what I remember from Wikipedia this:

    There’s a quantum theory of information, in which there are two types of information, with different properties. There’s classical information and quantum information.

    Classical information is stuff like text, numbers etc. It can be read as many times as you like, and it can be created, copied and deleted. Its smallest unit is a binary digit or bit.

    Quantum information behaves like quantum things, in a superposition. Its smallest unit is called a qubit, and is something like “a direction on a Riemann sphere” (not that I claim to understand that mathematical term), which collapses to classical information if read ie. observed. This is a one-way process; the classical information yielded is insufficient to recreate an identical superposition. Quantum information can thus be moved but not copied. It cannot be created or deleted.

    I might come back later to my impression of what quantum computers actually do, because it’s taking ages to put into words. But I think they attempt to solve certain classes of numerically complex maths by setting up, maintaining and selectively observing systems of qubits.

  42. My daughter benefited greatly from attending the ‘strike’, raising her awareness of issues – not to mention being more aware and questioning of all matters – including why she had permission from her ‘school’ to strike i.e. with hindsight, she felt this undermined her actions and would have preferred a real strike.
    Laughable that Fred describes these afternoons as “breaking the law” and he obviously doesn’t know the background.

  43. Quantum physics describes reality by two distinct processes.

    One is propagation of the wave function, which proceeds, mathematically, in complex variables, each having real and imaginary components. It specifies, for instance, the probability that a particle will be found in a particular place, so it’s a sort of probability distribution, developing and expanding over time as the particle remains unobserved.

    The other is observation or measurement, whereupon the wave function “collapses” to one of those possibilities. Mathematically, real and imaginary parts are resolved to just real numbers. Propagation of the wave function starts afresh immediately after measurement ie. with all the other possibilities ruled out.

    So I think the idea with quantum computers is to set up and maintain quantum systems in superposition, such that many possibilities can be tried out simultaneously. The hope is to apply this to mathematically complex matters like protein folding or the travelling salesman problem.

    Disclaimer: the above is my personal impression.

  44. Fred
    “They are using people”

    Sure. You repeat what I already agree with, but you ignore my wider point of why you singularly focus on the manipulation which is trivial compared to the threat. You don’t entirely dismiss the threat because you seem to broadly accept the IPPC analysis (at least you have quoted it).

    I used to joke that I would feel privileged to see the end of life as we know it in a nuclear war. At least the bourgeoisie are going down with me. Fuck you bourgeoisie! I always knew it was a defence against the unbearable but still it got a reaction and steered away the conversation. I am wondering about my reaction to the climate threat. Few of us contemplate our own death. We generally ignore it on a conscious level, often adopting strange contortions in the effort, until we are forced otherwise by our imminent demise. No wonder we do the same, individually and collectively, when facing planetary level threats. It’s all too dread to think about and our anger turns elsewhere. Do you recognise anything of what I am saying in yourself?

  45. Clark
    “which collapses to classical information if read”

    I think this helps my understanding.

    “Quantum information can thus be moved but not copied. It cannot be created or deleted.”

    And then this further confuses me. I can get that it collapses thus cannot be copied. But how is it not created? Surely the act of reading/collapsing is evidence that it has been created?

  46. Phil, I can’t really answer that. My guess is that the quantum state emerged or developed, unobserved, from some previous quantum state, also unobserved. If or when the quantum state is observed, ie. measured, we can get some classical information from that but something else, maybe some quantum state in the measuring system, becomes even less well known.

    The usual stuff of quantum physics will apply – superposition, entanglement, non-locality, uncertainty, complementarity. We get to determine some classical information, but the quantum information ends up somewhere else, making something else a bit more indeterminate.

  47. Phil

    Extinction Rebellion is about overthrowing the government , changing the political system, class warfare, I don’t see much in their proposals that would actually do anything to combat climate change.

    We had a similar problem back in the 80’s, a big hole in the ozone layer over Antarctica, we were all going to die. Scientists alerted governments to the problem, governments legislated, the hole in the ozone layer is almost gone and without everyone having to live in communes and grow their own food and without bringing down any governments.

    There is a lot that could be done to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, switching baseload generation to nuclear, underground gasification combined with carbon capture looks promising. If climate change were anything more than an excuse to manipulate people these are things ER would be campaigning for but as far as they are concerned the only solution is to overthrow the government and change the political and economic system.

  48. Extinction Rebellion in the UK have three demands:

    1) Tell the truth – about the climate and ecological emergency.

    2) UK to achieve net zero emissions by 2025.

    3) Government to accept the decisions of a Citizens Assembly, set up to address the emergency.

    Nothing about “overthrowing the government”, and regarding Fred’s “If climate change were anything more than an excuse to manipulate people”, his argument is with the IPCC, the IPBES and the Earth-sciences community rather than XR.

    Fred, hint – when the icecaps are melting away, it’s definitely “more than an excuse to manipulate people”.

    Grief Fred, you have no idea about XR members. Many have taken to stencilling their profession onto their jackets, because the Mail on Sunday etc. are claiming they’re all unemployed thugs. I personally have seen or met many doctors and nurses, a computer consultant, a school inspector, two psychotherapists, a dentist, a social worker, many teachers, academics, business people, engineers, an ex-army engineer, festival organisers, a landlord… You think they’re all there to “overthrow the government”? I think maybe the media you choose hasn’t been telling the truth.

  49. What the fuck do you think will happen when the polar sea ice has all gone?

    Think of your iced drink on a hot day. While any ice remains, the drink remains near zero centigrade, the ice slowly melting away, but as soon as all the ice has all gone the temperature starts to rise rapidly.

    Polar ice is melting faster than predicted by the IPCC.

  50. I don’t know why the two of you indulge in the notion that Fred is arguing in good faith, because he most clearly is not. You’re providing him with fine entertainment, though, absolutely at your own expense too. Very sporting of you, I have to admit.

  51. The trouble with nuclear is that it’s too expensive, even for nation states, and it takes too long to build.

    It’s much cheaper and quicker to grid up over continent-scale areas using the modern HVDC interconnects made possible by advances in semiconductor technology.

    My mole at UCL tells me that carbon capture and storage is proving more problematic than anticipated; it has so far refused to scale up adequately.
    – – – – – – – –

    But the foregoing is all minutiae. International cooperation is needed to address the problems. Agriculture produces about a quarter to a third of CO2 equivalent, through slash-and-burn deforestation, and methane emissions from meat and dairy ruminant livestock.

  52. Phil, personally I’ve nothing against overthrowing the government, but it isn’t what XR are about.

    Glenn, no, Fred’s for real. He unashamedly sucks up to an abusive ex talk-radio host and conspiracy theorist whose daughter was kept out of school because “schools brainwash the kids into believing in climate change”.

    Note that term “brainwash”, which Fred uses against XR. Fred’s projecting.

  53. ‘Glenn, no, Fred’s for real. He unashamedly sucks up to an abusive ex talk-radio host and conspiracy theorist whose daughter was kept out of school because “schools brainwash the kids into believing in climate change”.’

    You use quotes like someone else besides you has said that.

    Do you mean my friend who lived off grid in a tent in the middle of a field and has just put a lot of time and money into planting several acres of woodland? Tell me one of your mates in ER with a smaller carbon footprint.

  54. Clark – come on, Fred is simply a wind-up merchant, a mean-spirited bad faith dissembler who is simply here to yank your chain. It’s not simply a matter of being unfortunately mal-informed here or there, it’s flat out denial of the truth for a laugh, on a consistent basis, for many years.

    One of your major flaws, Clark, is that you have a blind spot for the pure lack of honesty that some people possess. You seem to think nearly everyone would do the right thing, if only they could be persuaded to see reason. Some people don’t want to see reason, unfortunately, and take great delight in getting good people like yourself thrash around attempting to make them “see” what they full well know already – but are nevertheless shameless in their denial of it.

    They also love having people talking about them. Think of Macky. It’s what gets them off.

    I do have some sympathy for such miserable creatures – think how empty their existence has to be, that this is their primary pleasure in life. Terribly, pathetically sad, don’t you think?

  55. Great, Fred, really good, especially there. But consumer choice can’t stop eco-armageddon, and why are they doing it if they don’t accept the facts?

  56. F: “Which page of the IPCC report is eco-armageddon on, I must have missed it.

    Yeah, of course you missed it, you miserable liar. You can’t find any reason for concern at all.

    Fuck you, Fred, you utterly insincere bastard.

  57. “But consumer choice can’t stop eco-armageddon, and why are they doing it if they don’t accept the facts?”

    More to the point why are you not doing it instead of criticising people who do?

    Will you be going to Doune again next year? Do you know the busiest day of the year for cars on the A9 is when there is a music festival on in Inverness?

  58. People seem to have drawn very differing conclusions from the IPCC 1.5° report. I don’t know enough about it. After a quick search I have the following:

    1) net zero CO2 emmissions by 2050
    2) 70-85% renewable electricity by 2050
    3) will cost $2.4 trillion p.a.
    4) 7m m2 land needed for biomass crops
    5) carbon removing technologies needed after 2050

    Is this a fair bullet point summary of the report?

  59. “Will you be going to Doune again next year? Do you know the busiest day of the year for cars on the A9 is when there is a music festival on in Inverness?”

    Fred, this is the “consumer choice can save us” argument, yet again. It was indoctrinated into people by neoliberal governments, and corporate “news” media which is really just click-bait for advertisements. In its various forms it is the major reason that too little has been done. So keep spreading it Fred.

    When Europe faced the threat of the Nazis, the UK government did not propose market solutions. It did not propose that a consumer boycott would be the only acceptable or effective reaction to Nazism, nor introduce war-chest surcharge vouchers on selected products so that people could “decide with their wallets”.

    Conscription, rationing and commandeering of resources were implemented. Large chunks of the “free market economy” were put on hold. Was this a case of the UK government disrupting the capitalist system and overthrowing itself?

    – – – – – – –
    I criticised your conspiracy theorist friend for spreading disinformation. I did not praise them for reforesting because I didn’t know until you told me, Fred. And I doubt you’re being entirely honest anyway.

    “Which page of the IPCC report is eco-armageddon on”

    It isn’t, and that’s part of the problem. It’s all couched in very measured, conservative language, a deliberate policy of the IPCC to avoid the deniers’ smear of “alarmism”. But the scientific facts are presented clearly enough; if emissions aren’t curbed rapidly and existing CO2 drawn down, global temperature is most likely to spiral out of control and vast areas of agricultural land will be lost to rising sea level.

  60. Phil, I thought carbon capture technologies needed to be deployed as fast as possible.

    Greta Thunberg gave a good summary to the UN:

    “The popular idea of cutting our emissions in half in 10 years only gives us a 50% chance of staying below 1.5C degrees, and the risk of setting off irreversible chain reactions beyond human control.

    – Maybe 50% is acceptable to you. But those numbers don’t include tipping points, most feedback loops, additional warming hidden by toxic air pollution or the aspects of justice and equity. They also rely on my and my children’s generation sucking hundreds of billions of tonnes of your CO2 out of the air with technologies that barely exist. So a 50% risk is simply not acceptable to us – we who have to live with the consequences.

    – To have a 67% chance of staying below a 1.5C global temperature rise – the best odds given by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change – the world had 420 gigatonnes of carbon dioxide left to emit back on 1 January 2018. Today that figure is already down to less than 350 gigatonnes. How dare you pretend that this can be solved with business-as-usual and some technical solutions. With today’s emissions levels, that remaining CO2 budget will be entirely gone in less than eight and a half years.”

  61. Scientists’ Declaration of Support for Non-Violent Direct Action Against Government Inaction Over the Climate and Ecological Emergency


    As scientists, we have dedicated our lives to the study and understanding of the world and our place in it. We declare that scientific evidence shows beyond any reasonable doubt that human-caused changes to the Earth’s land, sea and air are severely threatening the habitability of our planet. We further declare that overwhelming evidence shows that if global greenhouse gas emissions are not brought rapidly down to net zero and biodiversity loss is not halted, we risk catastrophic and irreversible damage to our planetary life-support systems, causing incalculable human suffering and many deaths.

    We note that despite the scientific community first sounding the alarm on human-caused global warming more than four decades ago, no action taken by governments thus far has been sufficient to halt the steep rise in greenhouse gas emissions, nor address the ever-worsening loss of biodiversity. Therefore, we call for immediate and decisive action by governments worldwide to rapidly reduce global greenhouse gas emissions to net zero, to prevent further biodiversity loss, and to repair, to the fullest extent possible, the damage that has already been done. We further call upon governments to provide particular support to those who will be most affected by climate change and by the required transition to a sustainable economy.

    As scientists, we have an obligation that extends beyond merely describing and understanding the natural world to taking an active part in helping to protect it. We note that the scientific community has already tried all conventional methods to draw attention to the crisis. We believe that the continued governmental inaction over the climate and ecological crisis now justifies peaceful and nonviolent protest and direct action, even if this goes beyond the bounds of the current law.

    We therefore support those who are rising up peacefully against governments around the world that are failing to act proportionately to the scale of the crisis.

    We believe it is our moral duty to act now, and we urge other scientists to join us in helping to protect humanity’s only home.

    Nearly 1500 signatories, all highly qualified, hundreds of them professors in relevant fields.

  62. “Fred, this is the “consumer choice can save us” argument, yet again.”

    I’ll take that as a yes then.

    “Conscription, rationing and commandeering of resources were implemented”

    So you favour authoritarian government.

  63. I prefer voluntary vegetarianism. It doesn’t matter if the bullies who demand compliance are from the Left or Right or if they use social exile rather than violence to achieve their goals.

    It’s all just Fascism.

  64. Remember that scene in Jurassic Park when Goldblum asks in response to the question ‘Can it be done?’ with…SHOULD it be done?

  65. Ben: “I prefer voluntary vegetarianism.

    Ok, fine. In China and parts of Korea they have some annual dog-eating festival, where the poor miserable creatures are chained up immediately prior to slaughter and cooking, obviously aware of what’s going on.

    Should this be allowed – and is it fascism to stop it, or even object to it (perhaps with ‘social exile’) ?

    Pigs are just as intelligent as dogs, and they – like many other species – get slaughtered by the billion each year, to please a certain food preference some have.

    In addition, should taxpayer money go towards subsidising this preference, so the cost of meat (in terms of money) is kept artificially low?

  66. Sackur: ‘You want to bring down the capitalist system as we know it, is that correct?

    Hallam: ‘The capitalist system is going to be brought down by itself. The capitalist system is eating itself.’

    Sackur: ‘Well, no, the point about your…’

    Hallam (interrupting): ‘Let me make this point clear, right. The capitalist system – the global system that we’re in – is in the process of destroying itself, and it will destroy itself in the next ten years. The reason for that is because it’s destroying the climate. The climate is what’s necessary to grow food. If you can’t grow food, there will be starvation and social collapse. Now, the problem is, people in elites, people in the BBC, and people in the governmental sector, cannot get their heads round what’s actually happening. The fact of the matter is, if you go out and talk to ordinary people in the street, they’re aware of this. And that’s why hundreds of thousands of people around the world are starting to take action…’

    Sackur (interrupting): ‘I understand what you’re [saying], your perspective on the climate is that the emergency is here, it’s now and we have to respond.’

    Hallam (interrupting): ‘No, I don’t think you have [understood].’

  67. I saw a video about China recently, about why there are so many “fake ‘phones”. Patent law is ignored, so manufacturers copy and modify all emerging designs. This results in very fast but often idiosyncratic development.

    China has installed more renewable electricity generation than any other country, and it has, reportedly, “decoupled” economic growth from emissions by far the most successfully.

    Still not enough though.

  68. Yes, the Climate Crisis May Wipe out Six Billion People

    Creator of the ‘ecological footprint’ on life and death in a world 4 C hotter.
    William E. Rees 18 Sep 2019 |

    William E. Rees is professor emeritus of human ecology and ecological economics at the University of British Columbia.

    – “As much as a decade ago a climate symposium organized to discuss the implications of a 4 C warmer world concluded, “Less than a billion people will survive.” Here Schellnhuber is quoted as saying: “At 4 C Earth’s… carrying capacity estimates are below 1 billion people.” His words were echoed by professor Kevin Anderson of the U.K.’s Tyndall Centre for Climate Change: “Only about 10 per cent of the planet’s population would survive at 4 C.”

    – Similarly, in May of this year, Johan Rockström, current director of the Potsdam Institute opined that in a 4 C warmer world: “It’s difficult to see how we could accommodate a billion people or even half of that…. There will be a rich minority of people who survive with modern lifestyles, no doubt, but it will be a turbulent, conflict-ridden world.” Meanwhile, greenhouse gas concentrations are still increasing.

    – Keep in mind that a global temperature increase averaging 4 C means land temperatures would be 5.5 to 6 C warmer away from the coasts. Much of the tropics would be too hot for humans and many densely populated parts of the temperate zone would be desertified. A 4 C warmer world map suggests that as much as half the planet would become uninhabitable. (A ‘4 C world’ assumes business-as-usual or no new climate policies in coming decades. Note, however, that known and unknown ‘feedback’ mechanisms could make 4 C possible, even with new politically acceptable policies in place.)

  69. Ben: No, of course I am not a dog hater. I actually volunteer to help abandoned and ill-treated animals, which includes dogs. You didn’t answer the question either.

    I don’t think vegetation feels pain the way an animal does. For one thing, it has no central nervous system. Nature rarely grants useless abilities – what would be the point in enabling a plant to feel pain, when it has no ability to move away from the source of that pain? That’s not to say it won’t react in some fashion.

    But the idea it feels pain anything like an animal experiences it is rather doubtful to say the least. But even if it did – there would be less overall pain experienced in the world by adopting a veggie diet, because less plants overall would be grown to be eaten. So anyone genuinely concerned about pain experienced in plants would adopt a veggie diet and cause something between 1/20th and 1/50th of that pain they purport to be so worried about.

    I often hear this argument about “what would happen to all the animals?” as if for-meat animals had lovely long lives, grazing peacefully before being led off to some sort of paradise slaughterhouse. In reality, animals are grown by the billion in mostly miserable conditions, artificially rapidly with steroids and antibiotics, and slaughtered very early in their lives (people don’t like tough old meat as a rule).

    We’re not seeing the majority of for-meat animals. Those in the fields are the lucky ones – give thought to factory farmed animals, which make for the majority of meat consumed. I would far rather see a few cows in a zoo than millions of them pass through a slaughterhouse, having contributed vast amount of methane to the sum of greenhouse gasses throughout their lifetimes.

  70. Glenn: Brahmin Hindus do not molest cows even if such partake of veggies freely in a market. Clearly, they are more righteously disposed than say your average PETA member who merely wishes to dictate consumption practices based on their values.

    Temple Grandin revolutionized the meat industry through her methods designed to make their sacrifice less traumatic and I applaud her compassion and good sense.

    Yes there is plenty of cruelty in the meat industry and they are slowly changing practices that cost them money through inefficiency.

    Legislation prods the rest along with public knowledge of mistreatment results in boycotts and consumers making choices.

    You are trying to persuade the public that you know what’s best for all and you’re being annoyingly other words: you are making no converts. Is your next move to prohibit meat consumption?

  71. Ben: Factory farming is all about efficiently producing flesh for the least cost. It must take an almost religious faith in the “market” to imagine a positive outcome for animals (and the environment) would come about simply because of supposed consumer pressure. Most people give little thought to the subject, and dismiss concerns as easily as you are doing here, with flippant objections and/or ignoring them altogether.

    Modern factory farming is doing precisely the opposite of any conceivable positive outcome for the lives of the miserable creatures one might enjoy eating. Deluding oneself that they have great lives and everything is on the up is self deception on a truly massive scale.

    We can definitely presume anti-slavery advocates were annoying too. Before you leap on the tired old bandwagon of “Oh! Oh! Now you’re comparing blacks with animals!!”, the analogy is quite obviously about justice, suffering and harm. In exactly the same way that you love dogs and detest ill-treatment of them does not imply that a love of a coloured person and detest the ill-treatment of such a person suggest you equate them.

    You are jumping around a fair bit. I respond directly to each point you make, and rather than any response in return to the subject you raised, you go onto something else each time. It would show honesty to either concede your point/objection, or bring some counter to it.

    I’ve never heard of Temple Grandin before, and you talk about how I am trying to persuade the public, etc. – quite where these grand generalisations come from I do not know. You brought the subject up, and I have been responding directly to your questions and challenges. It’s a bit much to demand answers, and then accuse the other of forcing something upon you.

    Maybe you’d like to respond to a direct point for a change, particularly those you yourself have brought up just here and now. But if you’d rather not, I certainly understand.

    Your earlier statement is quite wrong. I have thought this through a great deal.

  72. “Modern factory farming is doing precisely the opposite of any conceivable positive outcome for the lives of the miserable creatures one might enjoy eating. Deluding oneself that they have great lives and everything is on the up is self deception on a truly massive scale.”

    You speak as though an authority on the subject but I fear you are repeating what you’ve read in brochures. If you haven’t heard of Temple Grandin it’s not a crime but it undercuts your apparent confidence in your facts. It’s hard to answer your questions when they are so loaded with emotional triggers but maybe you could answer one from my previous comment

    If you fail to persuade people voluntarily will you support jail time for meat eaters who violate some future law?

  73. Kind of easy to dismiss someone as having read a few pamphlets, and then accuse them of not knowing the facts if they’re not up to date with some current trend, however irrelevant it might be to a point in hand. But I do understand that – it’s easier than confronting the harm and cruelty one pays for when they are eating meat.

    I’d find it more convincing that you know what you’re talking about, if you responded to the very points you brought up, I answered, and then you completely ignored and moved onto something else.

    If you would engage in _any_ particular point you had brought up, that would help me believe you were being just a tiny bit sincere about them too. I could list a dozen points which you quickly skipped over just today, just as soon as I’d answered them.

    Go on – try it. Take one point – your strongest if you would – and we’ll talk about that, rather than you dancing around like you have today.

    Your current performance would rather suggest you have no proper response, and would rather not consider it. It’s quite amazing – a lot of supposed ‘animal lovers’ do that, then eat factory farmed flesh and like to pretend they are doing nothing wrong or immoral or harmful to animals and the environment.

  74. Just remember: fascism is fascism no matter your political party. I think, if I hear him correctly, that Fred’s point is roughly the same.

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