People’s Climate March

I thought I’d temporarily hijack AndThen’s blog to write a quick guest post about the upcoming people’s climate march.

There are going to be a series of climate marches around the world on the 21st of September which is this Sunday. Every significant social movement in history has involved ordinary people marching on the streets. We need to show our politicians that we want action on this issue for our children and our grandchildren.

A film has been produced as a sort of prelude to this march. It is very good and begins with 1968 footage of the Earth from Apollo 8.

Here’s a quote I liked from the film:

It’s not about a few more droughts and a few more storms, it’s about a catastrophic shift in our fragile biosphere that threatens everything we love

You can find an event near you here:

If there isn’t an event in your area, then organise one!

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91 Responses to People’s Climate March

  1. Hopefully this march convinces some members of Congress that climate science denial is a political liability.

    Disruption nitpick: at 32:34, Ricken Patel mentions the Arctic ice cap, but they show a map of Antarctica.

  2. The bit before the Arctic/Antarctic error is interesting as it makes the point that those who will (and are) suffering the most are those who’ve benefited least. As I understand it, that is a reasonably well accepted outcome and yet is really not stressed enough. It makes rather a mockery of the claim that any attempt to mitigate climate change will be particularly harmful for the poor.

  3. That reminds me of how rich people investing in 1990s car phones hurt the poor by… umm… making cheap cell phones ubiquitous. But my snark pales in comparison to the way groups like Solar Sister have made a mockery of that claim for real in rural Africa.

  4. Rachel M says:

    I didn’t notice the Arctic mistake. I don’t think I’d be able to tell the difference if I saw just an outline of the icecaps which was which.

    I really like listening to Bill McKibben. He’s got a great voice. He also reminds me a bit of Hugo Weaving. Naomi Oreskes is good in it too and Naomi Klein and a number of other people who I’m not sure who they are.

    I get so cross when Skeptics use the argument that it will hurt the poor. It just seems so fake to me: an excuse to justify their own self-interest. If people were really concerned for the poor then they’d be advocating for the giving away of their own carbon budget to poor nations.

  5. That raises my blood pressure too. Maybe after years of helping delay action, they’re subconsciously justifying their own self-image instead of consciously faking concern for more material forms of self-interest.

  6. ligne says:

    “I get so cross when Skeptics use the argument that it will hurt the poor. It just seems so fake to me: an excuse to justify their own self-interest.”

    and that’s only when it’s not just a UN ploy to destroy the West and redistribute wealth to the Developing World….

  7. matt says:

    Thanks Rachel. Hope others will highlight this event.

  8. Rachel M says:


    and that’s only when it’s not just a UN ploy to destroy the West and redistribute wealth to the Developing World….

    … or to further someone’s career.


    Thanks Rachel. Hope others will highlight this event.

    Me too. I’m definitely planning to go to the Auckland event. It would be great to see some photos posted here if people do manage to get to a march in their local area.

  9. Patrick says:

    Hi Rachel! I wonder what is meant by “catastrophic shift in our biosphere” in the quote from the film? What precisely is catastrophic? What precisely is shifting? Any specifics? I haven’t watched the film, I will when I get time. But it would be nice to hear an ‘elevator speech’ on what exactly is so scary about the potential climate change of the next century or two which could/might/will happen as a consequence of increased concentrations of CO2. Or perhaps its just ‘change’ that people are afraid of? A little reactionary I guess…Thanks.

  10. Rachel M says:

    One example of an impending catastrophe is ocean acidification. Marine organisms are threatened by the changing pH of the ocean:

    These effects are already being documented in many marine organisms, particularly in tropical and deep-sea corals, which exhibit slower calcification rates under more acidic conditions. The impact on corals is of great concern because they produce massive calcium carbonate structures called reefs that provide habitat for many marine animals, including commercially important fish and shellfish species that use the reefs as nursery grounds. Coral reefs are vital to humans as sources of food and medicine, protection from storms, and the focus of eco-tourism. In addition to corals, studies have shown that acidification impairs the ability of some calcifying plankton, tiny floating plants and animals at the base of the food web, to build and maintain their shells. Scientists have also observed increased larval mortality rates of several commercially important fish and shellfish.

    Losing something like the Great Barrier Reef just from a purely aesthetic point of view would be a catastrophe in my opinion, even without the economic and ecological losses.

    Do you think the collapse of ocean ecosystems is catastrophic?

  11. AnOilMan says:

    Rachel: While not caused by Global Warming, I always like to use the example of Eastern US/Canada over fishing. The fisheries collapsed, and despite claims that the fish would come back if we stopped fishing, they never did.

    The result is a permanent loss of jobs, and food. The fishermen involved are now forced to seek work elsewhere or go on welfare. (Intensify job markets, or drain the social network.)

    On topic with Global Warming, in Canada the pine beetles are on a march for the arctic circle. (Pine beetles are only killed by cold weather, and Canada is no longer cold enough.) This has resulted the permanent loss of jobs and closing towns. Liquidating the livelihoods of people in those towns, generating Global Warming migrants, and shutting down mills.

    With the oceans all data indicates ever increasing mortality for sea life.

  12. Rachel M says:

    Those are good examples too. Thanks, AnOilMan. I think sometimes people find it hard to understand the implications of something unless they are personally affected. Unless you’ve experienced something first hand, or are likely to, then it’s easy to dismiss.

  13. andrew adams says:


    There is an interesting paper here on the potential for shifts in the Earth’s biosphere (not just due to AGW)

  14. I thought I might make a comment about the whole catastrophic theme. Firstly, it is typically a pseudo-skeptic construct. In other words, it is automatically appended to the term AGW even though AGW isn’t definitively catastrophic. The issue is that there are scenarios under which the consequences could be severe and would be regarded by most as potentially catastrophic. Considering, and minimising, the risks associated with these scenarios seems sensible. I will add that Craig Loehle made a comment on Judith Curry’s blog in which he disagreed with this and which made me wonder if we’re not all living in the same universe.

    So, to a large extent whether or not it is catastrophic depends on what we choose to do (our future emissions) and whether or not our climate is very sensitive to changes in anthropogenic forcings (i.e., how much we warm). There are some caveats. Ocean acidification could have severe consequences even if we follow a low emission pathway. There have also already been some unexpected things happening. Arctic sea ice appears to be declining faster than we think. The WAIS may have already crossed a tipping point. So, there are potentially severe outcomes even if we follow a low emission pathway.

    Now, there is a possibility that some unexpected things could be good for us, but in a sense that isn’t all that relevant. In any sensible risk analysis you want to minimise the risk of severe outcomes and it seems clear that the risks associated with climate change are far greater than any other risk we typically accept (for example, a better than 1% chance that we could warm by 5 degrees by 2100 if we follow a high emission pathway). So, there is a real potential for catastrophe but whether or not that this is the outcome is largely up to us and depends on what we choose to do in the future.

  15. Marco says:

    ATTP, Craig Loehle’s comment shows a disregard for human nature that is almost shocking, if I had not encountered such thinking before.

    Loehle should have a talk with refugees, and ask them how easy it is to involuntarily leave your normal life behind. His idea that you can just give people some money to move (where?! Why there, and who says the proposed host country and its people want them?) is so preposterous, he really should get out of his ivory tower.

    There are already conflicts when people are asked to move to another place in their own country, because the land they live on is to be used for a road or flood protection. Several studies have shown adverse psychological effects of such forced relocation. One example is the Three Gorges dam in China

    Heck, we even know of adverse effects of forced relocation between nursing homes

    Now imagine someone from the Maldives being told he has to leave, here is some money, maybe the Russian tundra is to your liking, plenty of space…

    I would also not be surprised if Loehle is the first to complain when these people move in next door to him. C’mon guys, you can just move! But, uhm, NIMBY…

  16. Marco,
    Indeed, as you say, it is essentially arguing that it’s perfectly acceptable to do something that has significant impact on others as long as you can afford to pay those people compensation (the value of which, I suspect, he would argue that he gets to determine). IMO, it goes against the most fundamental aspects of human rights.

  17. Rachel M says:

    I know a bit about being forced to move due to a natural disaster and I wouldn’t wish it upon anyone. I don’t feel like I have a home anymore and have been searching for one these past few years.

  18. Marco says:


    now try to imagine you have to move to a different country with a different culture and different laws, and where you are a minority and not exactly invited by the local people.

    Maybe Loehle should be forced to relocate for a few years, and preferably to some kind of place where he is really out of his comfort zone (maybe the middle of Delhi). Let’s see what he says after that.

  19. Joshua says:

    Rachel –

    ==> ” … or to further someone’s career.”

    I notice that Judith is making this one of the main planks of her advocacy. Assuming motivation is bad, and then compounded by the illogic of assuming that career motivation would only be applicable to those scientists who are more concerned about the risks posed by ACO2 emissions than she.

    Anders –

    It is interesting how non of the “skeptics” over at Judy’s took Craig to task for equating consideration of the worst potential impact from ACO2 with “phobia.” So much for “uncertainty,” eh?

  20. Joshua,
    Indeed, and Mosher had the good grace to call Dikran a “prick” when he tried.

  21. JCH says:

    The residents of Iwo Jima were evacuated to Japan around year before the battle, and they have never been allowed to return to their island.

  22. Considering Judy’s own advancement into the limelight after she met Mr. T, network analysis may be monstrously suboptimal. But then then she can say that all this had a negative impact on her career. And that people were rude to her.

    My own elevator speech can be reduced to one word: krill. Or since I’m a James Bond and a Duran Duran fan (don’t laugh):

  23. anoilman says:

    Its Catastrophic to America’s first Global Warming Refugees;
    (There are other villages.. this is just one.)

    Note that the American plan of action for Americans having their homes and lively hoods destroyed by global warming is; “Move, and we aren’t helping!”.

    Currently, 1 foot of ocean rise is attributed to global warming, and in 100 years, that’s another 3 feet. If there was no global warming, those people wouldn’t loose everything they own, and need to move, for, oh, at least a century.

    Do you really think Judith Curry, or Craig Loehle or anyone else over there would actually lift a finger? Offer up billions to relocate the small island nations? I don’t. What about helping their fellow Americans? No huh?

  24. anoilman says:

    Here’s another good article on the impacts for Global Warming;

    But I think “Years of Living Dangerously” more clearly talked about all this. Global Warming contributes, or tips the balance in a bad way.

    The Arab Spring started with food riots in Cairo. They ran out of wheat because the US was in drought, Canada was flooded, and I think Russia was on fire that year.

    Syria was enduring an intense drought (4 years?) when civil war broke out. They interviewed families who were essentially tortured for complaining at the time. They are now freedom fighters there. (We won’t be helping them… as Assad is helping us fight ISIS in Iraq.)

    Anders, Rachel, I noticed more papers discussing the impacts of global warming on weather, like so;

    Click to access Tang_nclimate2065_pub.pdf

    Have you guys looked into this?

  25. Steve Bloom says:

    I can’t recall if it’s been blogged about here, aom, but lots of people are watching that research area closely. There are several more recent papers, including a review by most of the principals (which I have but haven’t read carefully yet), plus an RC article.

  26. Rachel M says:


    I have written about that a couple of times. Robert Scribbler has also written a fair bit about it and posted some good videos. Here’s one:

    And the post he wrote to go with it:

  27. Rachel M says:

    Willard’s link sent me to The Conversation where I saw this – Could worldwide climate protests make a difference?

    It is set to be one of the largest ever co-ordinated protests. The People’s Climate March is due to take place in cities all over the world this weekend to try and influence the UN climate summit that follows on September 23. The marches promise to be a major global event, billed by organisers as an “unprecedented mobilisation”.

  28. Steve Bloom says:

    Loehle is an extractive industry guy, forestry branch, IIRC having devoted much of his research career to painting lipstick on black liquor (essentially the poop of the wood pulp process). Even if the fresh work showing that we can have a economically free-ish ride to a sustainable climate turns out to be correct (I haven’t read either paper yet), that will assuredly not be true for lots of extractive industries, and not just the fossil fuel ones. Wood pulp will still be produced, but not like it is now. (Actually I think there’s a very bright future for production of wood-based biodegradable plastics and similar, but people like Loehle seem incapable of the ideological shift necessary to see that as a good thing.)

  29. Steve Bloom says:

    A really good NPR Science Friday interview with Bill McKibben and climate scientist Peter deMenocal aired just a few minutes ago (link, to audio already up). Peter quotes Mike Mann (“if you see something, say something”) on the need for climate scientists to get involved.

  30. AnOilMan says:

    Thanks guys. That was a good video Rachel.

    Steve I’m familiar with Craig’s work. It’s surprisingly vacuous. One paper claimed that with oceans going down that global warming should be questioned. He didn’t seem to consider the severity of the rain fall that year. (Easy to do when you have blinders on.)

    Weren’t you supposed to drop me a line?

  31. Rachel M says:

    Weren’t you supposed to drop me a line?

    Have you still not done that, Steve? That was ages ago 🙂

  32. Just a little head’s up, but it looks like the status quo and the denialati have found their new head spokesman – Steven E. Koonin, former chief scientist of BP and Director of the Center for Urban Science and Progress at New York University. They must be getting desperate and the Judy and Roger show was getting too lame. So, they’ve pulled out the big gun. I wonder how much money that took?

  33. Since I am not and never will be a Wall Street Journal subscriber, perhaps I can be allowed to make my response to this op-ed here.

    With no due respect, Mr. Koonin, we are looking at a top of the atmosphere global planetary energy imbalance of at least 0.5 Watts per square meter, possibly higher, and rising, most of which is now being transported into our ocean reservoirs. No Wall Street Journal opinion pieces by former British Petroleum chief scientists is going to make that fact go away, nor is it going to garner you the respect of your scientific peers. You asked for it, and now you’ve got it. I can’t think of anyone more responsible for this debacle than you. The future will judge you harshly.

  34. Steve Bloom says:

    No harassment on the blog, please. Ganging up, even. 🙂

  35. Karan Richardson says:

    Looking forward to being in NYC on Sunday with my daughter and grandson. We’ll begin marching from the Museum of Natural History, with a fair number of other scientists who are ready to demand action.

    I hope the MSM gives it the same amount of coverage that they normally reserve for disgraced football players.

  36. anoilman says:

    TLE: Hilarious. To better understand BP and Steve Koonin’s scientific and technical expertise I offer this video;

    (Personally I think it would be better if BP studied oil wells more. As of 4 years ago, they didn’t know much about them.)

    More than likely BP needs to fight back against the risk of carbon bubble and disinvestment. Stock value is something BP would know a lot about, and would aggressively defend.

    They want the public to think they have no asset risks. What do you think?

  37. Say WHUT ?

    #climatemarch Timed for the March this Sunday, announcing a breakthrough in making accurate El Nino predictions –— WHUT (@WHUT) September 19, 2014

    WHUT’s up wid dat? check in and find out.

  38. BBD says:

    That’s a shameless plug, Web!

    But looking forward to the results 🙂

  39. Rachel M says:

    A pic from the Auckland climate march:

  40. Here it is BBD:

    Dedication to the People’s Climate March at the bottom. Keep it lit !

  41. Steve Bloom says:

    Any idea of crowd size, Rachel?

  42. Rachel M says:

    It was a bit depressing actually, Steve. My guess is only a few hundred. I put some more pics and wrote a bit about it on my blog:

  43. BBD says:


    I’ze confused again. I thought you were in Scotland. I hope the recent debate over the Union didn’t put you off?

  44. BBD says:

    Here it is BBD

    Thanks, Web.

  45. verytallguy says:


    Don’t be depressed. You were part of a really big global event for what are essentially purely altruistic reasons. I think that’s something to be proud of.

    Here’s some of the others.

  46. BBD says:

    BBC News report on PCM.

  47. Rachel M says:


    I’ze confused again. I thought you were in Scotland. I hope the recent debate over the Union didn’t put you off?

    I’m not going to let a healthy debate put me off moving to Scotland! We’re leaving on the 30th which is just over a week away so if I get a bit short-tempered in the next week then this is why. Sure, I was a bit more in favour of yes than no but this is probably because I’ve seen too many films and I read George Monbiot’s blog 🙂 I’m happy either way and I don’t want people to think that I’m anti-England at all. I love, love, love England. I lived in York for 6 months last year and would happily have made it my home.


    Don’t be depressed. You were part of a really big global event for what are essentially purely altruistic reasons. I think that’s something to be proud of.

    Yes, that’s a good point. The weather here yesterday was also really miserable. There was even hail at one point although this was before the march rather than during but I’m sure it put some people off. Then there was also the election on Saturday which everyone is obsessed with, including the media, and for which there was a disappointing result (in my view anyway).

    The only media report I could find of the Auckland march in this whole country is on the RadioNZ site:

    I’ve also heard it said that New Zealanders are the passionless people:

  48. Rachel M says:

    Wow, 20,000 people in Melbourne! That’s fantastic. The population in Melbourne is about 4 million. In Auckland it’s just under 1.5 million. I think this demonstrates how pathetic the turnout was here. Get me out of this city!!!

  49. BBD says:


    Hope it goes smoothly. Welcome back to the other rainy island… 😉

  50. BBD says:

    …which is covered with bloody sheep (grrr. See Monbiot).

  51. Rachel M says:

    I think Auckland beats most parts of Britain (except for maybe parts of the west, I haven’t actually checked everywhere) in terms of annual rainfall. We get 1240mm a year here which is much more than either York or Aberdeen – I’ve looked!

    But I think we’ve got about the same number of sheep. And yeah, I’m definitely in favour of rewilding.

  52. verytallguy says:

    Welcome (back) to blighty. 

    Auckland sounds a bit soggy – I think only Glasgow is wetter of main UK cities. 

    The thing about the UK is that the best places are also the wettest eg.

    Aberdeen is pretty dry but has the North Sea to influence the climate.   I dare you to swim in it. 

    Oh,  and beware the haar. 

  53. Rachel M says:

    I dare you to swim in it

    For some reason I bought myself a pair of bathers today. I have no idea why. I’m very busy right now, I don’t need bathers, I’m moving to Aberdeen, and it’ll be winter there soon. Perhaps my subconscious was preparing for this dare. It’ll definitely happen at some stage. I might even put my head under. We Aussies are good swimmers. 🙂

  54. anoilman says:

    Rachel M: You’re gonna need a thicker wet suit.

  55. Andrew Dodds says:

    AOM : And a CommonSenseEctomy

  56. Steve Bloom says:

    Vtg, does Scotland count as part of blighty? I had thought that was just England (sans Wales too).

  57. Steve Bloom says:

    Don’t be depressed about the turnout, Rachel. The global event was an unprecedented success, and every little bit counts. NZers feeling isolated from the situation makes for a tough nut to crack, but at a quick google glance there seems to be no shortage of people there working on it.

  58. Steve Bloom says:

    As water can’t get any colder than 32C, a couple minutes immersion isn’t harmful to an adult in good health. Polar bear plunges attest to that!

    Here’s a nice spread of photos from yesterday, Rachel.

  59. AnOilMan says:

    My son went to Vancouver, and thought the water looked really inviting, especially after being to Hawaii. So he asked the life guard if he could go in, and the life guard said sure. My son waded in about 10 feet, and ran out crying. “K-k-cold!” Personally I wonder why there are life guards there.

  60. Andrew Dodds says:

    Steve Bloom –

    Ummm.. 32F?

    Or were you confusing water with 1-Ethyl-4-piperidone ? Which would explain why your cup of tea tastes funny..


  61. Steve Bloom says:

    Sorry about the brain fart. Had it only been -40 I’d have been right!

  62. verytallguy says:


    blighty apparently comes from Urdu(!) and has been used for both Britain and England.

    Rachel – re guest posts – are you interested in something on Judith Curry’s latest widely disseminated views? If yes – how to email you?

  63. andrew adams says:

    Ooh, yes please 😉

  64. Pingback: Climate economics | …and Then There's Physics

  65. Vinny Burgoo says:

    Poverty. Last week some people here said it’s wrong/selfish/annoying to claim that CC mitigation could harm the world’s poorest people, but it might. It depends how it’s done.

    Weather disasters disproportionately harm poor people mostly because poor people are poor. (Only ‘mostly’ because some of the world’s poorest regions are more prone to such disasters than richer regions, and that’s also a factor.) If fossil-fuelled electricity and transport could provide the fastest way to lift people out of absolute poverty – and they probably could in parts of the world – then it’d be legitimate to argue that banning or drastically curbing fossil fuels would harm the poor. Would it be better to be richer in a land experiencing more powerful cyclones and more frequent droughts? There’s a real possibility that it would be, especially as vulnerability to bad weather is only one of numerous hardships faced by the poor. If you want to reduce the suffering of the world’s poorest – and who doesn’t? – then it’s bizarre to, er, deny the existence of a factor (CC mitigation) that has the potential to prolong that suffering.

    Somehow you have to strike the right balance between reducing poverty now and reducing the future harm done by climate change. Science can’t dictate what that balance should be. That’s a job for messy, imprecise politics – which, alas, has got things wrong in the UK. This winter some of the UK’s poor will shiver because of power cuts and high energy prices, both problems stemming partly from UK and EU climate change mitigation policies. It won’t be anything like the suffering or hardship endured by those who live in absolute poverty, of course. Our poor are rich by world standards. But they are our poor and I predict that, comparatively minor or not, their suffering will cause a big stink locally and will lead to some angry questioning of our mitigation policies.

    So some of you are probably going to hear a lot more this winter and spring about how mitigation harms the poor. As the poverty won’t be picturesquely drastic and the harm will fall somewhat short of death, disease and destruction (well, perhaps a few deaths) and because climate change is such a noble cause, one that is supposed to trump every other concern, I expect some of you will find it very annoying indeed (possibly even more annoying than this comment). May I humbly suggest that you stick your fingers in your ears from January onwards.

  66. anoilman says:

    Vinny… That is a load of bunk.

    Poor areas of New York waited 6 months for power to be restored. They lost their jobs. They lost their homes. They lost everything.

    I note that none of the people involved with the so called “Copenhagen Consensus” are lifting a finger to help people being harmed (and being harmed now) by climate change. But at least Bjorn Lomborg got his millions.

    The reason Bill Gates funded BEST and spoke about climate change is simple and obvious. His philanthropy is a wasted effort if the people he helps are harmed by climate change.

  67. Rachel M says:

    If fossil-fuelled electricity and transport could provide the fastest way to lift people out of absolute poverty – and they probably could in parts of the world – then it’d be legitimate to argue that banning or drastically curbing fossil fuels would harm the poor.

    The problem I have with this Vinny is the logical conclusion to this view, is that rich countries should be handing over their carbon budget to poor countries. We have a carbon budget which is an amount of carbon we can still emit and remain within 2C warming. But who gets to use up the remaining allowance? If someone is concerned that the world’s poor might not have access to fossil fuels to lift them out of poverty, then they should be arguing for the world’s poor to have a greater share of the remaining budget. But I have never heard a Skeptic argue for this.

  68. anoilman says:

    Rachel its often overlooked that poor countries frequently leapfrog technologies. In rural India they they got cellphones before phone lines.

    Many of us forget what it was like even 40 years ago, or even 100 years ago. We had plenty of inefficient light bulbs burning all over the place. Now we have efficient bulbs, and so on.

    There’s no reason to think that poorer countries need exactly what we have now, or as is usually described what we had 40 years ago. (That is a fallacious assumption Vinny.)

    There is no reason they can’t make do with clean technologies, and oh say, good architecture.

  69. What AoM says is my issue with this whole “mitigation will harm the poor” argument. the fundamental issue is about energy and technology. Assuming that fossil fuels are the only viable way to provide energy for areas of the planet that are currently developing just assumes that alternatives will never be viable. If these areas are developing why lock them into past technology rather than considering that alternatives may be perfectly viable in some cases. Also, as AoM points out, I’ve also encountered areas that would be regarded as poor that were using cellphones well before areas that were regarded as affluent. Why? Because people kept stealing the copper in the phone lines.

  70. Rachel M says:

    Yes, I definitely agree that it seems counterproductive for developing countries to become dependent on old technologies and we’d be much better off investing in renewables. I just wanted to make the point that it’s inconsistent to argue that the poor world needs fossil fuels while also arguing against mitigation by rich countries. If there’s a limited amount left, and the poor countries need it (and I’m not saying that they do), then they should get a greater share of the remaining budget.

  71. Rachel M says:

    I think what I’m try to say is (and not very well) that it seems wrong to say that “poor people need fossil fuels therefore the rest of us can use as much as we want!”

  72. Vinny Burgoo says:

    I agree.

  73. andrew adams says:


    Yes, I don’t doubt that there will be many people in the UK struggling to pay their fuel bills this winter, but climate change policies have only accounted for a small proportion of the rise in fuel costs in recent years. What’s more there are various other factors which have put a strain on family budgets – the economic crisis, falling real wages, benefit cuts, rising food prices, and the previous government enacted policies specifically to mitigate the effect of rising fuel prices on the poor. And it is hardly a problem which has suddenly materialised in the short time that we have actually had climate mitigation policies, it goes back many years.

    So while it’s right fair to say that we should be aware of the potential for climate change policies to have an adverse impact on less well off people and take this into account when formulating policy, it is by no means inevitable that such polices must hurt the poor, nor is the fact that people are struggling to pay their fuel bills in itself evidence that they are doing so.

  74. Steve Bloom says:

    I point to this.

    I point to that.

    Yep, a libertarian paradise in the making.

  75. Steve Bloom says:

    Continuing my trawling through recent science press releases I find “Like my body odor, like my politics: People are attracted to the body odor of others with similar political beliefs”. Not totally surprising based on my personal experience, but I’d never considered the large-scale implications before.

    Manhattan sure must have been in good odor Sunday! 🙂

  76. anoilman says:


    If you’re confused about all this, you really should read up on it. Maybe you could start a complaint letter or something;

    “The shadow minister for the natural environment said the former chancellor’s “militant privatization” played a key role in increasing energy prices for millions of hard working families when the Tory was in power.

    Lawson helped double gas prices over three years shortly before privatizing British Gas. Gardiner added Lawson was rarely “troubled by misfortunes more likely to affect others than himself”. ”

    In the mean time I suggest you make some plans for Nigel.

    [Mod: Sentence removed by the moderator]

  77. Kevin O'Neill says:

    AOM – apropos XTC, if there’s a Scissors Man I’d be more than happy to make a couple suggestions for his Book of Names.

  78. AnOilMan says:

    [Mod: This comment has been removed by the moderator]

  79. Steve Bloom says:

    [Mod: This comment has been removed by the moderator]

  80. Rachel M says:

    Ok, this is getting a bit out of hand and is beginning to look like the comment stream on a Skeptic blog. Let’s not pick song titles for others unless they can be respectful.

  81. Rachel M says:

    I should add here that complimentary song titles are perfectly fine. For instance, I wouldn’t object at all to having this one for myself 😉

  82. BBD says:

    Vinny says:

    So some of you are probably going to hear a lot more this winter and spring about how mitigation harms the poor.

    Yes, it will be all over the Daily Mail, which is where Lawson’s GWPF routinely inserts this lie.

    The large increase in domestic gas prices over the last decade was predominantly down to wholesale price increases. Climate policy has very little to do with it. So what do we get?

    “Climate policy kills the poooor”.

    Words are barely adequate. Sickening hypocrisy doesn’t really convey just how vile this really is.

  83. Vinny Burgoo says:

    BBD, man does not live on gas alone. Four million households can’t get mains gas. They (we) use electricity, LPG, oil, wood and coal for heating. I can’t find figures but most probably use electricity, especially in poorer non-rural households, and the Committee on Climate Change reckoned that 28% of the inflation-adjusted increase in electricity bills between 2004 and 2011 (up by 79%) was due to climate change mitigation policies. Wholesale costs were responsible for a greater share – 54% – but policy costs aren’t insignificant.

    And then there’s power cuts. They’ll be partly (mostly?) due to strong lobbying against new nuclear by the likes of Greenpeace and to the EU forcing the closure of coal-fired power stations like Kingsnorth.

    Add it all up and mitigation policies will indeed be a factor in the shivering of poorer people this winter. (Me? I wear a hat indoors in the winter, plus I’ve got a generator, so I’ll be OK, thanks.)

  84. anoilman says:

    On the other hand Vinny, you propose to raise taxes to adapt, at least for the first 100 years. After that you plan to, oh say, leave the poor in the dark as it were.

    You also want to raise taxes way way more to help the third world, right? The alternative is to send the poor off to all the nascent wars are are going to be breaking out, right? (We just saw the Arab Spring which was touched off over food shortages which were in part brought on by Global Warming.)

  85. Vinny Burgoo says:

    anoilman, what are you on about? As I have said several times here, I favour a national revenue-neutral mitigation tax. If every country in the world adopted such a tax, we might be able to knock climate change on the head.

    But even if they don’t, or they do but the taxes don’t work, it’d be unlikely that Britain would need to raise taxes to adapt to CC because CC is expected to be a net benefit to Britain for the next 100 years or so.

    As for your provocations about the t̶h̶i̶r̶d̶ ̶w̶o̶r̶l̶d̶d̶e̶v̶e̶l̶o̶p̶i̶n̶g̶ ̶w̶o̶r̶l̶d̶global south…

    1) We throw plenty of money their way already. It’s not always used wisely, indeed some global southers argue that it does more harm than good. (I think I read recently that DfID’s moolah scored top for effectiveness in an international survey of such handouts. Top in a class of dunces? If so, that’s still something to be proud of, I suppose. The sun might have set on the empire, but by god our men in khaki shorts can still be proud of themselves, what what.) Even so we’ll probably keep giving it away at the current level for a while yet because it makes our pols feel good about themselves – and then, one by one, the countries of the global south will follow India’s example and say, ‘Excuse me, kind sirs, but we really, really don’t need this any more.’

    2) The whole ‘climate change will cause wars’ thing is thinly supported. I’d put it more strongly than that but I haven’t read any of those papers for a while and don’t feel like revisiting them.

  86. BBD says:


    If you think that low income households in the UK should be given greater rebates on winter energy bills, then lobby your MP to that effect. As opposed to, say, trying to pin a disproportionate amount of the blame on climate policy for rhetorical effect.

    If you think that climate change won’t cause political tension and probably conflict later this century, you are entitled to your opinion. But don’t expect most rational and well-informed observers to share it.

  87. anoilman says:

    Vinny Burgoo: You don’t need every country all at once on mass to do it. Where did you get that idea from? Carbon tax internally, and revenue neutral in and out. (Tax high carbon goods coming in, and give back what you can for exports.)

    Anyways… BC Canada, known for cold weather and lumber jacks has done fine with its carbon tax. Notice that the tax is used to reduce other taxes and fees people have to pay. Can you say “low income tax break”?

    Emissions are 18.8% down;

    Economy Outperforming the rest of Canada;

    They do all that, and spurn oil from Alberta. They’ve done all that while existing next door to low regulation US of A.

  88. Vinny Burgoo says:

    anoilman, carbon taxes would have to be implemented around the world to have a significant effect on emissions. BC’s tax is a good first step, no more.


    Nitpick time: BC’s emissions aren’t 18.8% down. That rather strange document from says per capita consumption of petroleum fuels that are subject to the carbon tax (most fossil fuels except natural gas and aviation fuel) fell by 17.4% between 2008 and 2012. This, it says, compared with a rise of 1.5% in per cap use of such fuels elsewhere in Canada. 17.4% + 1.5% – rounding –> such per cap consumption ‘declined 18.8 percent more than in the rest of Canada during this four year period – a remarkably large difference’. Which it is, but what does it actually mean in terms of emissions?

    Elsewhere the doc shows per cap changes in GHG emissions from fuels covered by the tax: -10.0% for BC, -1.1% rest of Canada. The small print, however, says that these estimates exclude GHGs from electricity and heat generation, so they’re pretty much worthless.

    Nowhere in the document is there an estimate of actual GHG emissions. It’s all about per capita percentages. To find actual emissions, you have to go here:

    Click to access pir-2012-full-report.pdf

    BC’s emissions fell by 4% between 2008 and 2012. Much more believable. The tax is supposed to have a gradual effect. That’s one of its strengths. Gradual changes mean less disruption. It’s likely that it has had very little overall effect so far – eyeballing the graph on p19 suggests that emissions dropped as fast or faster in the 4 years prior to the tax’s introduction; and the financial crisis must surely be responsible for some of the modest drop since 2008.

    Nothing to be ashamed of, my dear colonials. These things take time. You’ll only see real progress ten or twenty years from now, (when, with luck, BC’s per cap emissions might have shrunk to the mother country’s current levels).

    (I haven’t read enough of the inventory doc to know why there’s such a huge implied disparity between sustainableprosperity’s per capita drop in taxed fuel use and the official drop in all emissions. Forestry? Agriculture? An unfeasibly large increase in flying and/or BC’s population?)

  89. anoilman says:

    Vinny… I don’t really feel like going through your nits. Last time you did that, you hadn’t read the document you posted, and instead you substantiated that Climate Change was a serious threat to Bangladesh. (Thanks for proving our point by the way.)

    I do appreciate you taking the time to read the weakest document I linked to. If you’d looked for the more rigorous one it mentioned, you’d much of what you just talked about;
    “This paper presents the first rigorous empirical evaluation of an actual carbon tax within a
    North American context. Through a wide-range of econometric specifications, we demonstrate
    that the carbon tax introduced by the Canadian province of BC is more salient than equivalent
    changes in price. A five cent increase in the carbon tax, all else constant, causes gasoline
    demand to decline by 12.5% whereas an identical five cent increase in the market price of
    gasoline leads to a 1.8% reduction in litres consumed. At $25/tCO2e, the carbon tax is 7.1 times
    more salient than the market price of gasoline. Finally, over the first four years of the policy, the
    BC carbon tax led to a total reduction in emissions from gasoline consumption of over 3.5
    million tCO2e when compared with a counterfactual scenario of no tax.”

    The point is that Carbon Taxes work, and they don’t damage the economy.

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