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A brown new deal

Those lucky enough to die of old age often fall into a very peaceful state – not dissimilar to the deep relaxation sought after by meditation practitioners – from which they simply slip away.  Since 1958, though, one of the ways in which modern civilisation has sought to cheat death …

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A little knowledge is a terrible thing

One reason why nationalist populists like Trump are able to get away with calling mainstream media “enemies of the people” is that those outlets all too often fabricate stories.  This has more to do with falling advertising revenues and increased competition for people’s attention than with grand conspiracy (although that, …

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Be careful what you wish for

With the world’s great and good flying off to Davos to lecture the rest of us on lowering our carbon footprints, everyone from tech companies to hedge funds is suddenly keen to go “carbon neutral.”  Could it be that hard-headed billionaires have had their hearts melted by Greta Thunberg’s pleas? …

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Today we’re mostly cooking on gas

It’s the 20th January and southern Britain is experiencing its first full week of winter weather.  Other than a brief cold snap at the beginning of December, the winter has been unusually warm and wet – a consequence of living in the path of the Gulf Stream in a changing …

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Mind the gap

On balmy summer days in medieval times, the miller could often be seen lounging in the shade while the villagers toiled in the fields.  The miller, it seemed, had a cushy deal.  Not only did he get to relax on hot summer days, but he took a percentage of all …

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Energy behind the green façade

The 2020s began with the usual round of happy-clappy greenwash about so-called “green energy.”  Typical was Julia Kollewe’s New Year’s Day Guardian piece proclaiming that “Zero-carbon electricity outstrips fossil fuels in Britain across 2019:” “Following a dramatic decline in coal-fired power and a rise in renewable and low-carbon energy, 2019 …

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A matter of storage

The development of the Universal Serial Bus (USB) for computing has served to lull a generation into believing a fantastical version of what economists call “substitutability.”  According to the economists, when the supply of any input to the economy dries up, “market forces” will cause another input to take its …

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The end of civilisation will be painted green

It is fairly common these days to come across somebody on social media who thinks that leaving the freezer door open or running the air conditioner outside might provide us with a means of halting global warming.  And while engineers and physicists might be tempted to laugh at the suggestion, …

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Narrative shift

In early August, American essayist John Michael Greer made the prediction that climate activism was about to lose a great deal of its lustre: “Well, it’s about to happen all over again. I’ve been wondering how soon a certain marriage of convenience in contemporary cultural politics would come messily apart, …

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UK fracking banned until 13 December

It is rare for the entire spectrum of the British press to agree on something.  But a couple of weeks ago they all agreed that fracking had been banned in the UK.  Pro-fracking outlets like the Telegraph and the Daily Mail reported the news as an unconscionable government cave-in.  Meanwhile …

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