All posts tagged: climate change

WATCH: Robert Newman’s History of Oil

Philip Roddis The best comedians are the cleverest people on the planet. I’m grateful to a BTL comment on OffGuardian, below a piece of mine on Venezuela, for linking to this forty-five minute video. It has Robert Newman saying exactly what I try to say, but with vastly greater wit and panache, on the history of oil and, more generally, a materialist perspective on history. Performed in 2006, it could have been yesterday given the clueless way we insist on viewing each “pro-democracy” intervention – Iraq, Libya, Syria and now Venezuela – on a case by case basis. Given too the criminal way ‘our’ media ignore the material drivers of war. In both my two posts this week on Venezuela, I described corporate media as having “abdicated a core duty in their refusal to explore motives that cast a very different light on Western interventions sold to us as humanitarian”. Newman treads the same ground but here too – damn the man – he does it better.

Capitalist Agriculture: Putting Soil on a Diet of Snake Oil and Doughnuts

Colin Todhunter In their rush to readily promote neoliberal dogma and corporate-inspired PR, many government officials, scientists and journalists take as given that profit-driven transnational corporations have a legitimate claim to be custodians of natural assets. The premise is that under capitalism water, food, soil and agriculture should be handed over to powerful and wholly corrupt transnational corporations to milk for profit, under the pretence these entities are somehow serving the needs of humanity. These natural assets (‘the commons’) belong to everyone and any stewardship should be carried out in the common interest by local people assisted by public institutions and governments acting on their behalf, not by private transnational corporations driven by self-interest and the maximization of profit by any means possible. Concerns about what is in the public interest or what is best for the environment lies beyond the scope of hard-headed commercial interests and should ideally be the remit of elected governments and civil organisations. However, the best-case scenario for private corporations is to have supine, co-opted agencies or governments. And if …

Red And Green Should Never Be Seen

David Lindsay “I also look forward to meeting with Chairman Kim who realizes so well that North Korea possesses great economic potential!” So tweets Donald Trump. This is why we must promote the exploitation of the vast reserves of coal in this country. That, and the extension of civil nuclear power, are the means of delivering highly paid, highly skilled, high status, unionised jobs while securing independence from Arab oil, from Russian gas, and from coal that has been mined using child and slave labour. From North Korea, Trump intends his dynasty to supply a dependent world with the coal of the Kim dynasty deep into the twenty-second century. Yet we have our own, right here under our feet. Horror stories about how coal was burned or mined in the Britain of the twentieth century have no relevance to the Britain of the twenty-first. This is part of a wider battle. We must reject out of hand the notion that the problem with the world is that it has people in it. Instead, we must …

“People hold opinions I don’t share, we should stop them.”

Kit Knightly Sixty percent of us believe in “conspiracy theories”, and we shouldn’t. At least according to Hugo Drochon, Professor of Politics at Nottingham University. He doesn’t raise the question of whether or not some “conspiracy theories” may be true, his blanket assumption is that all of them are not. His article is not about WHAT people think, WHY they think it, or IF they’re wrong. The article is about rationalizing social control – specifically steps the state can take to assert control over the political opinions of the electorate. Indeed the entire premise of the article is right there in the headline: Britons are swallowing conspiracy theories. Here’s how to stop the rot British people think things they shouldn’t, and here’s how we can stop them. The flawed logic is aggressive. The patronising tone nauseating. It’s the terrifying smiling face of a Brave New World. The article deals only in absolutes. There are “conspiracy theories”, and they are all wrong. Even such vague concepts as the idea the government might publish misleading statistics or …

a look at the “97.4% of climate scientists” meme?

by Sapere Aude as part of our “dissident denial” series On 4 February, 2017 the Daily Mail published an article entitled: “World Leaders Duped by Manipulated Global Warming Data”. “…The Mail on Sunday today reveals astonishing evidence that the organisation that is the world’s leading source of climate data rushed to publish a landmark paper that exaggerated global warming and was timed to influence the historic Paris Agreement on climate change. A high-level whistleblower has told this newspaper that America’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) breached its own rules on scientific integrity when it published the sensational but flawed report, aimed at making the maximum possible impact on world leaders including Barack Obama and David Cameron at the UN climate conference in Paris in 2015. The report claimed that the ‘pause’ or ‘slowdown’ in global warming in the period since 1998 – revealed by UN scientists in 2013 – never existed, and that world temperatures had been rising faster than scientists expected. Launched by NOAA with a public relations fanfare, it was splashed across …

Free speech, censorship & the right to be wrong…

Do we have a responsibility to silence views we consider morally repugnant or simply untrue? Claims that the Holocaust didn’t happen are insane and revolting. Should we prevent people from airing those views? Refuse to debate with them? Should we declare that some opinions do not deserve to be heard?