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Societies are too divided to combat climate change

Divided societies

In the early weeks of the Second World War the British government produced a poster that was supposed to raise the morale of the public.  The poster proclaimed that “Your sacrifice will bring us victory” (my emphasis).  Unconsciously, the authorities had given away the class-based nature of what they believed …

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The hopium of the people

Industrial fans

If it sounds too good to be true, it almost certainly is.  That, at least, is the approach I’m taking to the flurry of crowd-funder videos currently doing the rounds on social media, promoting technologies that suck carbon out of the atmosphere.  As with a raft of other faux-green technologies …

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Climate change is not a political issue

Climate politics

One of the biggest threats behind an increasingly likely human extinction is our tendency to compartmentalise (in order to ignore) information.  Each one of us does this unconsciously in a process that psychologist Norman Dixon referred to as “trading safety for peace of mind.”  According to Dixon, when faced with …

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Doing the right thing for the wrong reason

EV charging

Every now and then a government will do the right thing for an entirely wrong reason.  A case in point is the UK government’s decision to cut the grants on electric car sales.  Environmental groups jumped on the cuts (quite correctly) as further evidence that the UK government is increasingly …

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Could Trump and a hard Brexit be better for the environment?

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has urged a change of pace of governmental attempts to keep global temperatures within manageable bounds.  Thus far, of course, governments have done little more than pay lip service to the need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions while doing nothing to actually halt …

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Corbyn more important than the end of the world

Corbyn: more important than the end of the world

These days a tinfoil hat is essential headwear when listening to BBC news.  Conspiracy theories of the Trump-Russia and Corbyn-antisemitism type are the order of the day; while government propaganda is largely regurgitated without question. One result is that the BBC’s flagship Radio 4 Today programme has lost more than …

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Nobody invests in future savings

Flooding

One of the most seductive flaws in modern thinking is that we can persuade people to do something unpleasant today in order to avoid something even more unpleasant in the future.  The trouble is, humans are not wired that way.  As the “marshmallow experiment” has shown time and again, around …

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The real climate change scam

Private Jet interior

There is a Faragesque/Trumpian line of reasoning that goes something like this: you can tell climate change is a hoax because the establishment/deep state is doing nothing about it. Sure, they’ve closed down the coal mines and steelworks that used to provide working people with well-paid jobs.  And they’ve bunged …

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The plastic trap

Plastic waste

David Attenborough’s Blue Planet II is one of those popular science documentaries that occasionally capture the public imagination.  Among the various harms documented, examples of the impact of plastic on the marine environment have helped spur a wave of public indignation of the “something must be done” type.  Among the …

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Exxon to sue public bodies over climate denial

Exxon climate counterclaim

Last year saw public authorities and environmental groups heading for the courts in an attempt to hold oil companies accountable for climate change.  The law suits allege that – like big tobacco and big sugar – before it, big oil deliberately hid research that pointed to the impact of its …

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