Can anyone identify as a climate scientist?

A paper signed by 11,000 ‘scientists’ was not all that it seemed.

Rob Lyons

It’s not often that an opinion piece makes headlines around the world. But last week, a ‘viewpoint’ article in the science journal Bioscience did just that. ‘World scientists’ warning of a climate emergency’ featured the grandiose byline ‘William J Ripple, Christopher Wolf, Thomas M Newsome, Phoebe Barnard, William R Moomaw, and 11,258 scientist signatories from 153 countries’. While the intent may have been to give the impression that the scientific community had come together to sound the alarm, the article actually seems to demonstrate that there is no ‘climate emergency’ at all.

Much fun has been had at the expense of the authors – members of the self-proclaimed Alliance of World Scientists – and their puffed-up claims because it has been shown to be pretty easy to put fake names on the list, including ‘Micky Mouse’ (sic) from the ‘Micky Mouse Institute for the Blind, Namibia’. The headmaster of Hogwarts, Albus Dumbledore, also makes a guest appearance. The list of signatories was withdrawn at one point to allow for a cull of obviously made-up names.

But such leg-pulling aside, the real problem was that the definition of ‘scientist’ was so broad as to be pretty much meaningless. This was not just a list of experienced academic researchers in climate science and its associated fields — it also included biologists, geographers, social scientists, undergraduate and postgraduate students, and others.

Of course, anyone should have the right to declare their concerns about climate change or any other issue. But the implication of the article, as amplified through the media coverage of it, is that these authors and signatories speak with authority. They are the experts, we are the numpties, therefore we should all just shut up and pay attention to every pearl of their wisdom. In truth, the vast majority of the signatories are not experts on the issue of climate change, never mind having the authority to tell the rest of us what we should do about it.

More strangely, the article seems to demonstrate the opposite of what the authors claim. If we are living in a ‘climate emergency’, what would that look like? Perhaps it would be a state in which living standards plummet, food supplies run short and we live a miserable existence, if we even survive at all. So what does the article tell us?

The article helpfully provides us with a myriad of different graphs – what the authors call ‘vital signs’ – showing the changes going on over the past four decades. Human population is shooting up (graph 1a), but birth rates have fallen sharply (graph 1b). That means that people are living longer lives than before. We’re farming more livestock (graph 1c), presumably because we’re eating more meat (graph 1d). World GDP is rising by 80.5 per cent each decade (graph 1e). This all sounds incredibly good to me, but the eco-worrying authors call these changes ‘profoundly troubling’.

Global forest cover is down, says graph 1f, but the authors also admit that: ‘Forest gain is not involved in the calculation of tree cover loss.’ They counted the trees lost, but not the ones gained. Data compiled by the World Bank suggests the total area of land covered by forest worldwide has fallen from 31.6 per cent in 1990 to 30.7 per cent in 2016 – a fall of less than one percentage point in 26 years. Even the authors of the Bioscience study have to admit that the rate of loss of the Amazon rainforest has fallen sharply since the early 2000s, though it has accelerated a little recently.

To summarise, we have a bit less forest than before and the decline of the Amazon rainforest, with its considerable biodiversity, has slowed down a lot. Not a perfect picture, but hardly worthy of being called an ‘emergency’.

Energy consumption has risen sharply, which is surely good news for poorer people, but not much of it is wind or solar power (graph 1h). The situation with air travel (graph 1i) is truly exciting, with the number of passengers carried by plane rising by over 64 per cent per decade. Wow! (Again, this is one of those ‘profoundly troubling’ trends, apparently.) Greenhouse-gas emissions are rising, of course, but that seems a price worth paying for wealthier and healthier lives – especially when global temperature has risen by just 0.183 degrees Celsius per decade over the past 40 years (graph 2d).

Other graphs show that there has been some melting of ice in both the Arctic and Antarctic, though simply putting this down to rising global temperatures is tricky. Ocean ‘acidity’ is increasing, but what that really means is that the oceans are slightly less alkaline than before. The change is not huge at all.

Overall, it is clear that the world is changing. It is different to the way it was before. This raises some problems. But in terms of human welfare, the changes of the past 40 years represent the greatest, fastest leap forward in history.

What really gives the game away is the authors’ mini-manifesto for what we should do about all of this: stop using so much energy, leave fossil fuels in the ground and transfer resources from the greedy developed world to the developing world. They also say we should restore ecosystems (even when they are constantly changing anyway), eat mostly plant-based foods, reorganise the economy away from GDP growth, and control population. This, they claim, ‘promises far greater human wellbeing than does business as usual’.

In truth, most of these ideas are reactionary, a way to ensure the continuation and exacerbation of poverty. Such claims are an insult to the wonderful and profound achievements of science and human ingenuity in increasing human knowledge and improving lives across the world. These so-called scientists should stop taking the name of science in vain.

Rob Lyons is science and technology director at the Academy of Ideas and a spiked columnist.

Picture by: Getty.

To enquire about republishing spiked’s content, a right to reply or to request a correction, please contact the managing editor, Viv Regan.


Dodgy Geezer

6th December 2019 at 2:01 pm

“…..Greenhouse-gas emissions are rising, of course, but that seems a price worth paying…..”

Greenhouse-gas emissions are rising, of course, and that is an added bonus.

There. Fixed that for you.

All people concerned about CO2 levels should be asked what the ‘correct’ level is, and why. It should be noted that the pre-industrial levels of around 300ppm were associated with freezing climates and limited plant growth due to the shortage of their essential ‘breathing’ gas. Between 200 and 300ppm they are struggling to survive.

The level of 400 ppm today has resulted in greatly increased agricultural productivity. I would like to see it at 600ppm – though I recognise that human input, even if we tried very hard, would be pretty insignificant compared to the natural variations.

For those who would like to see it lower, I would point out that plants cannot tolerate much below 200ppm, and will die in these conditions. That would be ALL plants. The death of plants would rapidly result in the death of herbivores, and then the death of all life on this planet. Including us.

Michael Roberts

14th November 2019 at 7:36 pm

The authors and supporters of the Bioscience article don’t deserve to be taken seriously; Rob Lyons’s article provides Ripple et al with a good dose of ridicule.

We are told by Ripple et al that they are profoundly troubled by signs of sustained increases in human populations; population growth, it seems, is ‘among the most important drivers of increases in CO2 emissions’, in response to which ‘bold and drastic transformations regarding population policies’ are needed.

Without saying how humans drive increasing CO2 emissions or how CO2 causes climate change, Ripple et al and the so-called Alliance of World Scientists propose that ‘the world population must be stabilized—and, ideally, gradually reduced—within a framework that ensures social integrity’. This conclusion is arrived at without reference to the ‘correct’ number of humans (and, of course, who decides), the ideal CO2 content of the atmosphere (ditto) or the world’s ‘proper’ temperature (ditto again; but, please not the Alliance of World Scientists).

Lest we should be in any doubt, Ripple et al propose that a reduction in human numbers would be achieved gradually, if circumstances are ideal; otherwise, therefore, our population is to be stabilised and reduced by non-gradual means.

Should the allegedly imminent climate catastrophe (alleged) will not await the ideal, gradual reduction in the world’s human population, it seems clear that an expedited version will be imposed. Meanwhile, a framework that ensures social integrity will be introduced, which sounds like a policy to keep hoi polloi from doing anything rash that would disrupt the Ripple Troop’s plans for a climate utopia.

The ideal version of population stabilisation is outlined: fertility rates are to be lowered by the introduction of ‘proven and effective policies’. Population control policies promoted by a group that is unable to distinguish between a cartoon mouse, a fictional wizard and a World Scientist? — the mind boggles!

Another innovative thought promoted by Ripple et al and the Alliance of World Scientists, sounds less like a crime against humanity, but is equally sinister and inhuman:
‘ Most public discussions on climate change are based on global surface temperature only, an inadequate measure to capture the breadth of human activities and the real dangers stemming from a warming planet. Policymakers and the public now urgently need access to a set of indicators that convey the effects of human activities on GHG emissions and the consequent impacts on climate, our environment, and society. Building on prior work, we present a suite of graphical vital signs of climate change over the last 40 years for human activities that can affect GHG emissions and change the climate, as well as actual climatic impacts’.

Because I didn’t get that memo, I continue to believe that rising global surface temperature is still the reason that climate hysteria continues to be encouraged. Never mind, Ripple et al are proposing an expanded list of hysteria triggers, or, ‘a suite of graphical vital signs of climate change … for human activities that can … change the climate’. To avoid wasting time on the laborious task of linking cause (human activities) and effect (climate change) via the suite of vital signs, Ripple et al do the job in advance, noting, incidentally, that the targeted global human activities are mere indicators that are linked at least in part to climate change. This is puzzling, because such tenuous and partial links cannot seriously be proposed as the basis for ‘bold and drastic transformations regarding population policies’.

This failure to link cause and effect is consistent with the warmist obsession with CO2 emissions, which continue to increase while average global temperatures have remained stubbornly resistant to alleged human forcing for about 20 years. The solution seems to be that CO2 emissions are to be buried in the suite of vital signs!

steve moxon

14th November 2019 at 8:09 pm

Furthermore, the non-, indeed anti-scientific anthropogenic global warming ‘groupthink’ mob is ignorant also of demography: all demographers point to a massive reduction in global population likely beginning circa 2050, albeit they don’t understand the cause: it would seem to be biological (see my paper on this).

Mike Oliver

14th November 2019 at 4:36 pm

I identify as a climate scientist and my pronouns are Holier/Than/Thou

Timothée Cook

14th November 2019 at 3:05 pm

A reply to STEVE MOXON

14th November 2019 at 2:31 pm – STEVE MOXON: “False. Totally debunked nonsense, as you must well know. The figure is laughable. You will look very silly over the next few years as even the usual extreme chicanery cannot hide the impact on earth temperatures of the latest grand solar minimum, just as it has always done in the past. Climate change is continuous and cyclical, with negligible if any anthropogenic contribution.”

REPLY: Steve Maxon, you will find here an article by NASA that explains how long and short-term variations in solar activity play only a very small role in Earth’s climate, contrary to your conspiracy theory, for which you provide no source:

steve moxon

14th November 2019 at 6:52 pm

Straw man argument.
It is NOT variation in the sun’s heat that has any significant impact on earth’s climate: it s the changes in the sun’s magnetic field that in turn impacts on far shorter wavelength radiation (‘cosmic rays’), both from the sun itself and from all other extra-solar (cosmic) sources, which determine the rate of cloud seeding, and hence indirectly impacting very significantly on the impact of the light radiation from the sun. This has been ignored entirely by the political project that is the anthropogenic warming lobby, notwithstanding the beautiful correlations with all past observations of temperature in relation to solar cycles! The excuse was that no mechanism of cloud seeding had been demonstrated. Even that excuse is no longer available: mechanism has been demonstrated — and don’t pretend not to know, it’s two years ago now.
With no anthropogenic climate change model fitting the data (however manipulated), with the underpinning notion of CO2 causing warming shown comprehensively to be not only false but the inverse of what happens, and with all the data from the past revealing some sort of solar driver, then it takes determined anti-science to persist with the idea of anthropogenic climate change. That this persists is yet further confirmation of its entirely poliical and not scientific basis.

Timothée Cook

15th November 2019 at 9:04 am

Wow! That really does sound like a conspiracy theory you know? Any sources to support this ‘hypothesis’?

BTW, the world is flat and every person who thinks otherwise is manipulated by of a group of scientists who have a secret agenda – they collude with NASA and are able to change all footage taken from satellites to make it seem like the Earth is round, when it is in fact… flat. Some day the truth will be known…

Timothée Cook

14th November 2019 at 10:55 am

A reply to ‘Can anyone identify as a climate scientist?’ by Rob Lyons

With this post, Rob Lyons is working hard to discredit an article written by respectable scientists with proven track records, an article furthermore published in a high profile international scientific journal after complete and rigorous peer-review.

His first argument is that amongst the 11,000 scientists who signed the paper, many are not climate scientists. The whole point of having scientists outside of this field is that climate change is affecting so many facets of the Earth system that climate specialists alone cannot anticipate all its effects. This is why scientists collaborate. For example, it is necessary to work with social scientists to understand how climate change will affect societies. Biologists can tell us how increasing temperatures will influence human health, wildlife, or crop yields, etc.

I pass on the many subsequent fallacious arguments used by Rob Lyons to make it sound like the effects of climate change are not as bad as they seem (e.g. “forest gain is not involved in the calculation of tree cover loss”, although a quick survey of the literature shows that the net gain of forested areas in developing countries is negative). Many of his reflexions on the effects of climate change demonstrate a poor understanding of the basic principles underlying science or ecology and of the links which exist between climate and human well-being. This is all the more worrying as he presents himself as a science and technology director.

The author then proceeds to explain that the benefits of ‘business as usual’ – presented in his text as akin to ‘progress’ – are greater to mankind than the costs generated by this form of economy. Using the pretext that any form of change to the current system would be a greater weight to be shouldered by the poor compared to the rich is demagogic, as it is common knowledge that climate change is already having dramatic effects on the poorer nations (droughts, crop failures, floods, dwindling fish stocks, social unrest). Thus, climate change will only exacerbate the divide between the poor and the rich.

Rob Lyons confuses progress with technology and suggests that there is only one way forward, the one already written by our technological past. Naturally, scientists are well aware that alternatives exist to a fossil-fuel based economy (which the author seems to ignore), as they are aware that facts can be twisted to serve an ideological agenda. At the end, Rob Lyons suggests that, with this article on climate emergency, scientists are insulting “the wonderful and profound achievements of science”. How could they do that, since they use science to reach their conclusions? I think Rob Lyons might need to engage in a doctoral programme before writing ‘in the name of science’.

To conclude, there is no scientist conspiracy colluding with a ‘green’ conspiracy. Scientists provide facts, which they use to describe reality. Reality does not seem to be fitting very well with Rob Lyons’ view of the current situation. Let’s twist reality a bit, shall we?

steve moxon

14th November 2019 at 12:08 pm

There is nothing but politics upholding the non-scientific conclusion of anthropogenic climate change.
* The historic data shows that changes in atmospheric CO2 LAGS climate change: it does not drive it.
* The recent data, even heavily massaged, and even from bogus comparisons with past recordings, inappropriate siting of recording apparatus, and cherry picking recording sites, is not in line with any of the projections.
^ There is no coherent theory.
* No theory has been tested.
* There IS coherent non-anthropogenic theory, and it accounts for all of the historic data, on all time-scales.

Timothée Cook

14th November 2019 at 1:49 pm

Nearly all publishing climate scientists (98%) support the consensus on anthropogenic climate change, and the remaining 2% of contrarian studies either cannot be replicated or contain errors (Benestad et al. 2016. Learning from mistakes in climate research. Theoretical and Applied Climatology).

But you seem to know better. Any sources you would like to share? (aside from the conspiracy theory ones)

steve moxon

14th November 2019 at 2:31 pm

Totally debunked nonsense, as you must well know. The figure is laughable.
You will look very silly over the next few years as even the usual extreme chicanery cannot hide the impact on earth temperatures of the latest grand solar minimum, just as it has always done in the past. Climate change is continuous and cyclical, with negligible if any anthropogenic contribution.

Kevin Neil

13th November 2019 at 6:53 pm

Meanwhile, an Arctic Ice Blast is about to bring unseasonably low temperatures to much of the USA and is expected to break numerous lowest November temperature records in a host of States; and this morning the BBC weather forecasts included the admission that temperatures in the UK over the next week or so are expected to be somewhat below average for this time of year!

jan mozelewski

13th November 2019 at 8:42 pm

I remember a few years back when we had a hot summer and every forecast was fronted by a miserable doom-monger who behaved like one of those scientists in a 50’s sci-fi movie when he realised the earth had shifted its orbit and was going to collide with the sun. instead of which, the sensible message would have been: ‘ rejoice! It’s a wonderful day for sitting in a deck chair and eating ice cream! Make the most of it because it will piss down soon enough.’ (Which it did.)
Nope.The inexorable kill-joy message was that this wasn’t just a few days good weather… was evidence of Climate Change,
A few months later and we were all freezing our bits off. Colder than average and people out sledging. Someone clearly had been moved to point this out to the soothsaying weatherman.
He gave a small smirk …in a superior Michael Fish kind of way….and said : ‘What you are seeing now …the snow, ice etc…is weather. You must not confuse it with climate.’
But then, inconsistency, contradiction , and cherry picking ‘evidence’ have always been part and parcel of religious zealotry.

Jim Lawrie

13th November 2019 at 11:31 pm

There has now been 40yrs of drilling for core samples in Lake Baikal whose sediment is 7,000m deep and goes back 30 million years sample. I know that drawing a negative inference is not an argument but if there were anything coming out of there that even remotely supported the cherry picking approach of the climate merchants of doom then they would be all over it.

Jerry Owen

13th November 2019 at 10:48 pm

Ah .. but that will be called ‘weather’! It’s only climate change if it gets warmer!

James Knight

13th November 2019 at 5:54 pm

The alliance of scientists was what the term “fake news” was invented to describe. It was dutifully reported by the mainstream media in headlines around the world.

The irony is that even “real” climate scientists are barely worthy of the name. They are the ones who have re-written the climate record, dissing what other scientists said. They are, in fact, the true “climate deniers”.

woweco6974 woweco6974

13th November 2019 at 5:41 pm

Single mom makes $89844/yr in her spare time without selling or buying any thing. I got inspired and start work now within a month i am making $175 per day. Its too easy to do this no experience or skill required just join the link and earning start form very next moment of joining. Here is link…………

Jerry Owen

13th November 2019 at 12:10 pm

I see Branson is in Australia telling the Aussies to stop using coal and to stop selling coal to the Chinese.
He’s in Australia to promote his new cruise liner !

Jerry Owen

13th November 2019 at 11:24 am

The one thing I find telling about XR and AGW goofs is that they never EVER mention the yellow orb in the skies.
The sun controls our climate, climate change is caused by the sun and its particular cycle of solar activity which has cycles we are still learning about (science settled anyone !), our orbit around the sun which isn’t constant, the position of the moon, and of course our orbit in the solar system.
We then have various cycles of earth activity which are extremely complex. When you link all of these non constants together we get the theory of hard to figure out chaos more than ‘settled science’.
Is it any wonder they don’t do science, even those that come here that parrot on about the science being settled without even giving us any. They have to prove their case and they can’t.

Jim Lawrie

13th November 2019 at 10:31 am

One trait of a scientist is someone who wants to figure things out, invent and make.
This cabal of 11,000 offer only the unravelling of scientific achievement.

I’d like to know their views on inoculation. How many mile they fly/drive each year.
I have as much interest in their eating habits as I do in their bowel movements, and all the other shite they produce.

Willie Penwright

13th November 2019 at 9:50 am

The term ‘scientist’ is used here in much the same way as ‘model’ was used back in the Tory sex scandals of the Profumo era. Like ‘journalist’ it is a self-identifying title.
You can trust me on this as I’m a well-respected media analyst and environmental commentator.

Winston Stanley

13th November 2019 at 9:22 am

As I said, all the best trance pretends itself as psy-trance these days. All “trance” is descended from psy-trance, even the massive money-making, completely and utterly boring mega labels.

H McLean

13th November 2019 at 10:20 am

It’s hard to go past the old sk00l stuff…


H McLean

13th November 2019 at 10:21 am

steve moxon

13th November 2019 at 9:21 am

The eco-loon desperation is going exponential as we enter a grand solar minimum and temperatures are now starting to decline and will do so markedly; as the gross data fraud continues to compound, as their daft CO2 theory completely unravels, and heliocentric (cosmic ray) theory of cyclical climate change gathers ground.
It is a great time to be alive as every part of the ‘identity politics’ great fraud is set to implode.
Which will go first: eco-loonism or femacism? Or multiculti?

Jerry Owen

13th November 2019 at 11:09 am

Steve Moxon
I couldn’t agree more .. however my caution is that they have in the past changed from ‘global cooling’ to ‘global warming’ to climate change’ to ‘climate catastrophe’. Perhaps people will cotton on eventually though.

Puddy Cat

13th November 2019 at 9:19 am

It is hit on here, the down-grading of expectation, the utter frustration of having to drag along the reluctant (ignorant) working classes. There is a reluctance in government to oppose outrageously disruptive direct action, there is little active countering of errant ‘facts’ and a total blanking out of developments in the the third and second world where whatever we give up they institute and on a scale. This is the political crises of the poverty of ideas and speaks in some ways of the attachment to the EU where there would be a shared debt and an emphasis on procedural bureaucracy that promised nothing except that you would be safe, that the system would survive while individuals would see no material gain, we would all be in the same boat. The political class in their sinecures, their protective bubble, complain about the hoi polloi using strong language to describe them. This is the evidence of exasperation. The working class have ceased to be grateful for their guardianship and the trifles handed to them in exchange for the supposed sway they have and instead they actually have decided that they want to take control of their own lives and participate in a society of choice, one that can offer a sense of achievement. Politics is totally impoverished. Boris offers small tax concessions, the opposition want to go back to herding the masses with the same old bribes. Little is said of enterprise. The more that politics retreats into environmental issues (although covering the land in houses and wind farms seems counter intuitive if that is the aim) the harder it will be for any sort of industrial leap forward and a real opportunity for the majority to know self-satisfaction, opportunity and understanding. The best indicator is falling birth rate and it speaks of a dread for the children to come that they will be in the same hole as their parents. If you cannot offer a better life then what is the point? We hand out bromide in th e form of housing estates and yet drive people into a dark impenetrable forest of culture deprived deprivation. We are all numbers and their successes and yet we are due no sensitivity or expectation.

Jerry Owen

13th November 2019 at 12:52 pm

Hear hear !
I watched the tory election broadcast last night, we got to learn what Boris’s dog does first thing in the morning when taken for a walk. I thought that’s funny, that’s what our politicians produce.
Boris’s dog for PM at least it’s honest about what it does.

H McLean

13th November 2019 at 8:36 am

In 2013 when Obama Tweeted, “Ninety-seven percent of scientists agree: #climate change is real, man-made and dangerous”, it was pure politics and essentially, made-up. That people still quote that number as if it’s set in stone reflects the willing stupidity of the climate change cultists.

The reason “most scientists” appear to back the theory climate change is that when Bill Clinton won power in 1993 Al Gore immediately set about firing NASA scientists who were not fully on board with his climate change agenda, no matter who highly regarded and respected they were. It immediately became clear, to continue working in any government-funded organisation meant two things – shut-up and keep nodding. Of course, Al Gore’s predictions were completely wrong, just like every climate change scare story of the last 100 years.

NASA and NOAA have been discounting raw data for years to crowbar their ideology into their trending forecasts. The trouble is no matter how much they claim the temperature readings for the heatwaves of the 1930s and 40s were inaccurate, scores of newspaper reports from the time can still be found in archives across the world showing that extreme weather was indeed very real and effected people far more than it does now.

These days the only person I trust when it comes to the climate change debate is Tony Heller.

Jerry Owen

13th November 2019 at 8:43 am

Tony Heller is the guy to go to for for historical records which as you rightly say, is in print and verifiable.
The American midwest has had it’s coldest last few winters for decades, we now learn that the eastern side of America is set for one of it’s longest coldest winters for some thirty years.
Of course it could just be the weather as we all know that warming equals climate change and cold equals weather !
What is it they say about the left and double standards !

Philip Humphrey

13th November 2019 at 7:21 am

They are also not really acting as scientists in that they can’t do experiments, the scientific method doesn’t work with climate change because we’ve only got one planet. So we can’t have a control planet and an experimental planet to do comparisons.
And also questionable are the “solutions” they come up with. The biggest threat as far as CO2 goes is the developing world. Western emissions are dropping fast due to the switch from coal to natural gas, more efficient cars and consumer appliances, better insulation of houses and a small but increasing proportion of renewables. But the developing world’s emissions are still rising out of control with the net result that global CO2 emissions are still rising. Yet it’s interesting that all the proposed solutions largely ignore the developing world and concentrate on radical change and extreme austerity for the West, especially western working classes. Which sounds to me more out of the playbook of cultural Marxist critical theory than any sound scientific or rational line of thought.
Naturally there are excuses as to why climate scientists can still jet round the world to conferences.

Jim Lawrie

13th November 2019 at 10:19 am

The emissions of the developing world result from production shifting there.
We cannot simultaneously take credit for reductions by green technology installed here and attribute the energy consumption to the countries of production. Ditto cars, electronics, white goods, clothing, shoes etc …
A global problem needs a global outlook.

Lord Anubis

13th November 2019 at 11:17 am

The biggest driver for emissions growth in the developed world is population growth, and the main driver for that is inward migration.

There really is no point in cutting our emissions by, say, 20% if we then go and blow it all by pursuing policies that will see that all lost after a couple of years because of population growth.
The easiest way the developed world can cut its emissions and reduce its impact on the environment (Both globally and nationally) is to allow its population to fall. and that would take a number of things to make happen but the most important is to break away from the “Infinite Growth” economic model that all first world governments and economists seem obsessed with and one that regards a falling population as an economic disaster.

(Personally, I would like to see the UK population decline to immediate post WW2 levels, and indeed, but for large scale immigration over the last 60 years or so, that is probably where it would be now)

jan mozelewski

13th November 2019 at 9:02 pm

Of course the other factor is that extremely rich people have found it increasingly difficult to make money at the rate they wish in the ‘developed’ world. Be it gold, slaves, spices ….the money has always been found in new areas for exploitation. So finding a wheeze where the developed (and less profitable) world is run down and the advantage given to developing (and therefore exploitable) economies is just the latest reinvention of the same story.
Follow the money…I was taught this at a young age and it has never ever failed me as the real reason why things happen. All the rest is window dressing.

Dominic Straiton

13th November 2019 at 5:51 am

From 96% of all scientist to just a piddly 11000. Thats a catastrophic collapse in support for the eco loons.

Winston Stanley

13th November 2019 at 4:25 am

It is tempting to interpret media-driven greenism as a reflection of the long term and profound decline of the economic base. GDP may be massively up in the developing world but the developed West has been in long-term economic decline since the 1970s and productivity growth and wage growth have collapsed across the developed world since 2008 and with no sign of recovery. Capitalism can no longer promise us the “dream” of a better life, so the state media tries to give us an ideological re-orientation toward the “green virtues” of no economic growth and no better life.

I had the TV news on for 5 minutes tonight and both channels were on about the “climate emergency” and how profoundly “sad” it is. The state is clearly using its media to drive this ideology. Instead of demanding a better life, we are supposed to demand a worse life, to have no aspirations for a material and social better future. We are supposed to be content with our “eco-virtues” and to thank our lucky stars that our wages and our living standards are not increasing – for that would be an “eco-sin” against the planet.

The aspiration for a better life is “selfish” and “greedy”, we should rather be “holy” and “good” – we should be “eco”. If anything we should have less! As I say, it is tempting to interpret this state driven green ideological turn as a cynical ploy to defuse aspiration and to promote contentment so as to firm up the economically degenerate capitalist status quo of collapsed economic growth in the developed world. The capitalist state wants docile, compliant subjects who are content with their lot in one way or another. Green moral ideology serves that purpose for the state.

I call BS on this, we should demand a better life, and if capitalism can no longer provide that then we should be critical of its continuation. If capitalism can no longer develop the material base in “mature” economies then it should give way to an economic system that can. If capitalism has taken us so far and it can take us no further then maybe it is time to give socialism a try. We should not be fobbed off with ideas of “personal holiness” and “virtue” as a substitute for economic growth. Those ideas belong in the Middle Ages and in the bin of history along with feudalism – maybe that is where capitalism now belongs too.

Ian Wilson

13th November 2019 at 5:28 am

It’s an attempt at control. That’s all it boils down to. Cheap, reliable sources of power are what will continue to enable the poverty levels to drop across the world.

Lord Anubis

13th November 2019 at 9:31 am

Any Star Trek fan will be aware of the long running argument over what sort of society 23rd century Earth operates under.

The general consensus seems to be that it is a form of Communism. (Indeed there is one episode of the TOS where you actually briefly get to see the Federation Flag, and yes, it is red with stars on it) But, As Marx believed. Communism is a philosophy for a wealthy technically sophisticated society, not a poverty stricken peasant one. (Which is why he came to Britain, then the most technically advanced country on the planet, to write his books)

And key to this is cheap and abundant energy. (Which the Star Trek universe has seemingly unlimited access to)

All problems (Pretty much) can be solved with access to cheap reliable energy.

And hardly any problems will be solvable without it

Cheap reliable energy is really the key to everything.

Jim Lawrie

13th November 2019 at 10:44 am

Too true Lord Anubis. No force fields or Warp 5 without nuclear energy.
Meanwhile, back on Earth, we have to make do with Voyager II and I, from way back when Jimmy Carter and Jim Callaghan were running the show.

H McLean

13th November 2019 at 11:43 am


When a source of limitless energy is finally discovered it will be the thing that finally gives mankind the freedom to reach his full potential, and THAT is the thing that frames the future Star Trek takes place in.

Calling it communist isn’t quite right! There are multiple examples of characters talking about things they’ve purchased (that illegal Romulan Ale!), or presents they’ve given each other, such as McCoy giving Kirk a pair of antique glasses on his birthday. The point is they had to buy these things, which implies that they have money, which means even though they seem free to choose a vocation and do something they enjoy (rather than have a career or job out of necessity) – they DO put value on and are paid for their labour.

Trek takes the convenient route of pretending personal economics is not a thing, even though it clearly an impact on the lives of it’s characters. When Picard goes back to earth he visits his brother on the family vineyard, which implies that personal property (and wealth, presumably, if they can own land and the vineyard to go with it) is very much part and parcel of everyday life. Remember, under communism, all property is owned by the state.

The only thing that might indicate communism is the notion that in the Star Trek universe everyone seems equally free to pursue their own path in life. But, that is only the hyperreal Marxist utopian fantasy dream version of communism. We all know what the reality looks like. Under communism there would be a political officer on the bridge and the Enterprise would run on diesel.

I guess it comes back to the energy issue. If a source was found that was so abundant and ubiquitous to the point of being free what would the effect on mankind be? Certainly not communism. The politics of grievance and envy would become meaningless. Working in dead-end jobs would essentially become a thing of the past, leaving people looking for other ways to give their lives meaning. The result would be more freedom, not less.

What better way to enjoy that freedom than to explore the universe and dedicate your life to self-improvement? Oh, there would be a period of endless hedonism, of course, but they’d figure it out in the end.

Jerry Owen

13th November 2019 at 8:53 am

Socialism has been tried and has been an abject disaster wherever it has been tried. Millions of corpses dotted around the globe testify to that.
The problem for capitalism is that it has tried to embrace woke socialist ideology. Much of our institutions that sprung up out of capitalism are now infested with socialists. Capitalism has lost its identity to the left and the left has merged with capitalism.
It’s all about power and wealth, socialists love it just as much as capitalists do.
The clear conclusion is that we need to be rid of socialism in its current form just like all its other forms, it’s a cancer. No socialist model can be shown to be of benefit to man.
Capitalism on the other hand rather that confining man as socialism does ( just look at us now in the era of identity politics and AGW / green ideology ) enables us to be creative. Profits allow for investment , investment means more goods, better goods , cheaper goods, goods that improve the lot of mankind.
The USSR couldn’t even put bread on the shelves.

Lord Anubis

13th November 2019 at 10:55 am

The trouble with most examples of practical socialism is that its proponents place far more emphasis on trying to share the cake out than they do on trying to increase its size in the first place.

There is no point in sharing out a small cake, all you get is lots of poor people!

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