Lomborg on climate catastrophe

It became clear from the very first paragraphs of False Alarm by Bjorn Lomborg that I was going to have to start revising my prejudices about its author. If, later in this book, Lomborg ever tries to downplay the centrality to the climate argument of the claim that our planet is heading for a climate catastrophe, as opposed merely for a dose of mere climate change, and to deny the centrality of climate science to the climate debate, instead banging only entirely about mere economics, he certainly doesn’t start his book by doing anything like that. Quite the opposite (pp. 3-4):

WE LIVE IN AN AGE OF FEAR – particularly a fear of climate change. One picture summarizes this age for me. It is of a girl holding a sign saying:

YOU’LL DIE OF OLD AGE
I’LL DIE OF CLIMATE CHANGE

This is the message that the media is drilling into our heads: climate change is destroying our planet and threatens to kill us all. The language is of apocalypse. News outlets refer to the “planet’s imminent incineration” and analysts suggest that global warming could make humanity extinct in a few decades. Recently, the media has informed us that humanity has just a decade left to rescue the planet, making 2030 the deadline to save civilization. And therefore we must radically transform every major economy to end fossil fuel use, reduce carbon emissions to zero and establish a totally renewable basis for all economic activity.

Children live in fear and line the streets in protest. Activists are cordoning off cities and airports to raise awareness that the entire population of the planet is facing “slaughter, death, and starvation”.

Influential books reinforce this understanding. In 2017, journalist David Wallace-Wells wrote a lengthy and terrifying description of global warming impacts for New York magazine. Although the article was generally panned by scientists as exaggerated and misleading, he went on to publish the same argument in book form in The Uninhabitable Earth, which became a bestseller. The book revels in unabashed alarmism: “It is worse, much worse, than you think.” Likewise, in his 2019 book, Falter, naturalist Bill McKibben warned that global warming is the greatest threat to human civilization, worse even than nuclear war. It could finish off humanity not with an explosion but “with the burble of a rising ocean.” A bookshelf would groan under the weight of recent books with deliberately terrifying titles and messages: Field Notes from a Catastrophe: Man, Nature, and Climate Change; Storms of My Grandchildren: The Truth About the Coming Climate Catastrophe and Our Last Chance to Save Humanity; The Great Derangement: Climate Change and the Unthinkable; and This Is the Way the World Ends: How Droughts and Die-offs, Heat Waves and Hurricanes Are Converging on America.

Media outlets reinforce the extreme language by giving ample space to environmental campaigners, and by engaging in their own activism. The New York Times warns that “across the globe climate change is happening faster than scientists predicted.” The cover of Time magazine tells us: “Be worried. Be very worried.” The British newspaper the Guardian has gone further, updating its style guidelines so reporters must now use the terms “climate emergency,” “climate crisis,” or “climate breakdown.” Global warming should be “global heating.” The newspaper’s editor believes “climate change” just isn’t scary enough, arguing that it “sounds rather passive and gentle when what scientists are talking about is a catastrophe for humanity.”

Unsurprisingly, the result is that most of us are very worried. A 2016 poll found that across countries as diverse as the United Arab Emirates and Denmark, a majority of people believe that the world is getting worse, not better. In the United Kingdom and the United States, two of the most prosperous countries on the planet, an astonishing 65 percent of people are pessimistic about the future. A 2019 poll found that almost half of the world’s population believes climate change likely will end the human race. In the United States, four of ten people believe global warming will lead to mankind’s extinction.”

You can read the first twenty five pages of this book, including the above quote, here.

How to work with Indians

Michael Jennings:

The ability to talk endlessly about cricket is a tremendously useful skill when the prospect of working with Indians comes up.

There are more Indian cricket fans in India than there are people in Europe.

Quotulatiousness quotes Dorothy Sayers quotation criticising quotation

Dorothy Sayers, Gaudy Night, 1935:

A facility for quotation covers the absence of original thought.

Quotulated.

I think there is a distinction to be made here between noticing a striking thing that some other person has written and then copying and pasting it into your own website, and on the other hand memorising something that another person is often frequently quoted by others as having said and declaiming that quotation in conversation, because you can think of nothing else pertinent to say. It sounds to me like Sayers was thinking of the latter. If so, I think she had a point. But only a point, because the trick often fails to work and merely irritates, especially if the same quotations are recycled again and again.

My piece on Democrat electoral cheating gets Quotulated

It always cheers me up when something I write gets Quotulated. So I am very happy to discover that the piece I did here entitled Why Democrat electoral cheating is no longer okay was thus recognised. This certainly did seem to get an above averagely healthy trickle of readers, and that would presumably be why. That one intelligent human being, not a robot at all, thought that something I wrote was worth going to that bit of trouble for is very good for the morale. Thank you Mr Quotulator. And sorry it took me so long to notice.

How construction work suits the archaeologists

They’ve just given the go-ahead for the tunnel “under” Stonehenge that they’ve been arguing about for the last few decades. My ignorant and uninvolved take is that “under” is in inverted commas, because actually, it won’t be. But, tell me I’m wrong and you might very well persuade me.

So, not being that involved, I rather liked this:

They should never have built Stonehenge so close to the A303 in the first place.

To which another tweeter attached this:

Would have thought the builders of Windsor Castle would have learned and not built near Heathrow.

Other tweeters pointed out that having the road near Stonehenge must have made it a lot easier to get those big stones there. And, Heathrow is convenient for visits by foreign heads of state to see the Queen.

More seriously, I think I see something else happening, based on a cursory and univolved scan of this archaeologist lady’s twitter feed. A few years back, I found myself exploring London Gateway and surrounding parts. (Although I promise nothing, there’s more postings at the old blog that need transferring.) And that part of the world is also where a great big sewage pipe that they’ve recently built spews its contents. It also spewed a vast amount of earth that they dug out out of it while making it, and with that vast amount of earth, they constructed … a wildlife park! This park is run by and patronised by the local Greenies, and this surely got the local Greenies onside with the big sewer, and with all the Gateway cranes, on a “look on the bright side” basis. Opposition to the Big Scheme is fatally divided, and ahead it duly goes.

Something similar seems to be happening at Stonehenge, and indeed at several of these big and seemingly environmentally-hostile construction projects, only this time it’s not exactly Greenies, it’s their (I assume) ideological confreres the Archaeologists. The Archies don’t like it when you dig up their precious archaeological sites and build horrid motorways and tunnels and such all over them. But then again, they do rather like it, because before construction proceeds, they get to rootle around in all the earth that’s been dug up, a process they couldn’t normally come near to affording, but which the developers now bestow upon them for free. Again, the opposition is divided. Whenever ancient soil is dug up, the archaeologists have first dibs on it. If they find anything seriously significant, the plan that got the digging started will have to be changed.

No more construction work, and the archaeologists would be in quite severe trouble.

Sparklingly witty BMNB QotD: On when clever banter can be called “repartee”

Yes, a champagne Twitter moment from Dan Hannan:

Clever banter can only be called “repartee” if it’s from the Repartée region of France. Otherwise it’s just sparkling wit.

We can all drink to that.

Driving away from poverty

Helen Dale, in the course of a review of Matt Ridley’s How Innovation Works:

It is telling that Soviet authorities allowed the 1940 film Grapes of Wrath to be released in the country as a propaganda exercise. However, cinemagoers were amazed how in America people fled poverty in a car. In Soviet Russia, you hoofed it. The movie was withdrawn.

The point being that a lot of innovation happens when less educated people have just enough affluence, which includes having just enough time, to tinker with stuff, and thereby accomplish things that the educated people all agreed couldn’t be done.

Dan Hannan on why Twitter is so left wing

Yes, here’s what Hannan … er, tweets about Twitter’s lefty bias:

Why is Twitter so much more Left-wing that the population at large? Here’s a theory: it lends itself to angry, self-righteous and emotive statements. Conservative arguments are generally too nuanced to fit into 280 characters.

But not that argument, it would seem.

I note with interest that Samizdata supremo Perry de Havilland found this tweet to be of interest too.

I have heard it said that Trump and Trumpists have done very well with Facebook, and that this is a source of deep embarrassment to the people who run Facebook. But Trump has done famously well with Twitter too. He is the master of the short, sharp verbal missile hurled at his enemies in a way that again and again seems to enrage them.

Trump is very self-righteous and sometimes very emotive, but seldom angry. He knows that being angry is a sign of weakness, that you’re out of control. Angry is what the people on the receiving end of his tweets more commonly feel.

Time for me to stop this. It’s is getting far too nuanced.

One final point, though. I think that the social media, Twitter especially, have done a great job of showing how very nasty and destructive so many lefties are. They used to be thought of as people who meant well, but were a bit dim – aka “idealistic” – about how the real world worked. Now, they are more and more regarded as evil, as people who simply hate the real world and want it smashed to pieces.

LATER: This Thomas Sowell book, which I read a long time ago and must take another look at, seems pertinent to the above.

Vote for us to get you out of the mess we made for you!

Victory Girls:

The Democrat Party survives because it builds a hopeless world, then tells voters that the only escape is through them.

This seems to have worked in the Democrat-ruled bits of America, ever since Lyndon Johnson declared War on Poverty and Poverty won. Trump’s achievement includes that even this may now start seriously to change.

Kappa Alpha Theta supplies an unbecoming BMNB QotD

Quoted in this report, the following unbecoming opinion from Candace Owens:

Black Lives Matter is an organization of white men, using the faces of dead Black people to raise millions of dollars toward electing White Democrats into positions of power.

It is the most flagrantly racist organization in America.

Streisand strikes again, assisted by Glenn Reynolds.

Katherine Lauer should find herself a different sorority.