Friday , August 7 2020
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Crackpot Cummings

Economist John Maynard Keynes argued that it was better to pay an unemployed person to dig a hole and then fill it in again than it was to leave them idle and needing public and charitable support.  On the one hand, the “work” – albeit unnecessary to the wider economy …

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Is this sustainable?

Sunday’s Guardian editorial is no doubt correct when it says that: “It’s too soon to say with any confidence what impact coronavirus will have on the climate emergency. The brakes placed on economic activities of many kinds, worldwide, have led to carbon emission cuts that would previously have been unthinkable: …

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Because the economy, stupid!

In a piece for the Guardian today, columnist and rent-an-activist Owen Jones naively asks “Why don’t we treat the climate crisis with the same urgency as coronavirus?”  It isn’t even an original thought.  There are memes all over social media just now comparing the current death rate from CORVID-19 (around …

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The disaster after the disaster

Thirty years ago today, Britain experienced a severe storm not dissimilar to the ones that have swept across us in the last fortnight.  The North Wales coast was particularly badly hit, with a combination of a high spring tide, a north westerly wind and a strong storm surge driving the …

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Let’s be done with these tired old gods

Waking this morning to the sound of a storm that seems to have been raging for a fortnight, my duvet is too warm to want to get up to see what time it is.  Instead, I tentatively extend an arm into the cold morning air and reach for the radio …

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The make believe future

US President John F. Kennedy began the political fad of setting targets for the future when, on 25 May 1961, he persuaded the Congress to agree to the goal of landing men on the moon by the end of the decade.  On 12 September 1962 he made his more famous …

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The science is settled; the politics not so much

Outside the USA there is a broad consensus that climate change is real and is a consequence of successive generations of humans burning fossil fuels.  There is far less unity, though, when it comes to doing something about it.  As Larry Elliott at the Guardian explains: “For those perched at …

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Ireland’s hypocrisy shames us all

Section 18 of Ireland’s Electricity Regulation Act 1999 forbids the building of nuclear power stations.  This apparently “environmental” measure hides a multitude of sins.  Most notably, as Germany has recently discovered, banning a low-carbon source of electricity without dramatically lowering demand tends to result in the use of high-carbon electricity …

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An early warning of cascade

This morning’s news was a perfect example of media reporting priorities. War – or at least the rather unlikely prospect of a war between Iran and the USA – has always been the media’s favourite topic.  Not least because they no longer need to pretend that they are not engaged …

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What Extinction Rebellion is getting wrong

In many ways, this month’s Extinction Rebellion protests – which have brought city centres around the world to a standstill – are to be welcomed and supported; not least because they have made a huge contribution to raising public awareness of what they call the “climate emergency” (or what I …

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