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The big green rent-seeking machine

I have a piece up at the Spectator - a reaction to the Doha climate conference.

A couple of weeks ago the great global warming bandwagon coughed and spluttered to a halt in Doha, the latest stop on its never-ending world tour. The annual UN climate conference COP18 is no small affair. This is a bandwagon whose riders number in the thousands: motorcades of politicians, buses full of technocrats and policy wonks and jumbo-jets full of hippies travelling half way round the world, (ostensibly) to save the planet from the (allegedly) pressing problem of climate change

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Reader Comments (28)

surely the money is being well spent, bish:

9 Dec: Daily Mail: Britain gives millions in ‘climate aid’ to tackle flatulent Colombian cows… plus £31m to Turkish wind farms and funding for talks with Kenyan ‘rain-makers’
Tory MP Jacob Rees-Mogg said: ‘After an Autumn Statement where people are making significant cuts, to have a £2.9billion budget for a random collection of projects which have questions hanging over them as to whether or not they are corrupt is just an extraordinary waste of money.
‘The Government does not exist to make charitable donations – that’s something people should do privately. We’re looking for a further £10billion of cuts and this seems to me the easiest place to start.’…–plus-31m-Turkish-wind-farms-funding-talks-Kenyan-rain-makers.html

Dec 9, 2012 at 9:02 PM | Unregistered Commenterpat

Thanks to the tireless efforts of yourself and others, this monolithic beast may eventually be put down. It's sure not dyeing easy, facts be damned.

I suppose this whole affair has been a good insight into the frailties of the human psych. We are a pack creature, we need to believe in something mystical, and when bad things happen it’s our fault.

Dec 9, 2012 at 9:07 PM | Unregistered CommenterGreg Cavanagh

An excellent piece. How apposite that the article highlights the lone voice of reason from rebel Lord Monckton and also in the footref below sports a highly Churchillian portrait of the rebellious UKIP 'fruitcake and closet racist' the late Sir Patrick Moore, refused full fellowship of the Royal Society (I wonder why) but later awarding an honorary one. And with that, I take the liberty of referring to my Unthreaded comment just posted on that extra- ordinary man, and his political frustration with wet Conservatives driving him to support UKIP.

Dec 9, 2012 at 9:14 PM | Registered CommenterPharos

Good article, Andrew.
I see the usual suspects are lining up pretty quickly for their weekly whinge but I think we can see most of them off in fairly short order.

Dec 9, 2012 at 9:24 PM | Registered CommenterMike Jackson

Once again, thanks Bish. Succinct and to the point.

Dec 9, 2012 at 10:16 PM | Unregistered Commentercolin maclean

Well written Andrew.The word will continue to spread and, hopefully, a couple of hard winters will make the politicians examine the facts before it's too late for our electricity supply.

Dec 9, 2012 at 10:55 PM | Unregistered CommenterG.Watkins

Forget the flatulent Colombian cows! Were you aware that termites present a far greater combined biomass than all the cattle on the planet and that these little critters pump out far more methane than what is attributed to cattle! YIKES!

Dec 10, 2012 at 12:44 AM | Unregistered CommenterAndrew M. Campbell

Thanks for a brief Jeremiad on the rent seeking church of "climate caused extreme weather." That church is just one more in the mad politics of this time. Fortunately, the climate church feels the pain of well reasoned criticisms based on scientific method. If only something similar were true for the other political churches then we could be optimistic about the near future. The debt we owe to Galileo and Newton is incalculable.

Dec 10, 2012 at 1:45 AM | Unregistered CommenterTheo Goodwin

Andrew M. Campbell (12.44 AM): "Were you aware that termites present a far greater combined biomass than all the cattle on the planet..."
     Ah... but were you aware they pay their way, Andrew?

ANT and termite mounds have gone from pesky to gold mines.
     The CSIRO says the insects are stockpiling gold in their mounds, becoming Australia's smallest and most numerous mining prospectors.
     They carry the gold from underground up into their mounds and also accumulate metals in their bodies.
     The CSIRO's Dr Aaron Stewart said the mounds could hold the clue to uncovering new gold deposits.

Dec 10, 2012 at 3:16 AM | Unregistered CommenterRoger Carr

Excellent article your grace. Anybody know off hand who reads The Spectator these days and what the circulation is?

Dec 10, 2012 at 7:20 AM | Unregistered CommenterPhillip Bratby

The circulation is 60,000 or so. Don't know how many read via an app though.

Dec 10, 2012 at 8:13 AM | Registered CommenterBishop Hill

Davey, Clegg, Cameron etc. are spending our taxes currying international political favour so their careers don't end in ignominy here. They should be arraigned on charges of malfeasance in public office.

Dec 10, 2012 at 9:33 AM | Unregistered CommenterAlecM

Pat wrote:

surely the money is being well spent, bish:

9 Dec: Daily Mail: Britain gives millions in ‘climate aid’ to tackle flatulent Colombian cows… plus £31m to Turkish wind farms and funding for talks with Kenyan ‘rain-makers’

Is there anything that can be done to tackle flatulent politicians? As for the Kenyan "rain-makers" after the floods we have had in this country recently our Civil Service probably does think we can teach them something about rain.

Dec 10, 2012 at 10:02 AM | Unregistered CommenterRoy

Bish, did you submit this blind, or was it solicited by the Spectator? If the latter, this is significant of a shift in the political class. If the former, I hope it will promote such a shift.

Dec 10, 2012 at 10:53 AM | Unregistered Commenterrhoda



I don't have a citation, having read or heard this long ago, but I suspect it's alarming-but-true: Invertebrates count for 80% of animal life, measured by weight.

Anyone who had been to Australia would probably concur...

Dec 10, 2012 at 11:18 AM | Registered Commenterjamesp

What they never tell you about cow methane: While the grass eaten by cows is turned into methane by bacteria in their many stomachs, the grass the cows don't eat dies, goes rotten and is turned into methane by bacteria outside their stomachs. It makes little difference to the methane levels.

Dec 10, 2012 at 11:23 AM | Unregistered Commenterrhoda

Perhaps a numerate Green (if such exists) could calculate the amount of CO2 generated by this junket? Like the Great Moonbat, they do seem to have a blind spot where their own travel and hospitality is concerned...

Dec 10, 2012 at 11:23 AM | Registered Commenterjamesp


Does that mean that Greens should abandon their compost heaps? Or perhaps it doesn't make any difference...

Dec 10, 2012 at 11:26 AM | Registered Commenterjamesp

Can't recall the exact date but I think I've been reading this blog pretty much daily for about 4 years, maybe 5. This site and WUWT have lead me to many others and I read widely on both "sides". I dont have scientific credentials.

But, do you agree that reading around in recent times there has been a shift. Blogs, both science and political, now seem to be reflecting the fact that the empirical science is on balance against the original consensus, that very little catastrophe has in fact occurred or is anticipated, and that "warmist" bloggers, commentators, and indeed scientists are now defending their position rather than telling us how it is or will be?

Obviously economic realities as well as the developing science have both contributed.

My question though, is how long do you think it will take for the political classes to catch up and for the entire gargantuan construct that is government departments, NGOs, charities, public sector "climate change" departments, etc. to be dismantled?

Dec 10, 2012 at 11:36 AM | Unregistered CommenterRB


As a pessimist, I think it will be a very l-o-n-g time - but as a pessimist, life is full of pleasant surprises, so there's hope !

Dec 10, 2012 at 12:03 PM | Unregistered CommenterHuhneToTheSlammer

RB asked, "My question though, is how long do you think it will take for the political classes to catch up and for the entire gargantuan construct that is government departments, NGOs, charities, public sector "climate change" departments, etc. to be dismantled?"

The answer is a day after the first really serious blackouts happen!

Dec 10, 2012 at 12:07 PM | Unregistered CommenterDavid Bailey


There's a huge amount of political capital been invested and we are only seeing the first signs of doubt in some parts of the government. Barker's performance at Doha should be born in mind. Also, there's a huge machine with taxes, jobs, rake offs and influence. It's never easy to shrink the state. Also, this stretches beyong the UK to the EU.

I think some bits of it will go fairly quickly, other parts will have their names changed and continue. There'll be an attempt to change the subject to biodiversity or climate justice or something. Some bits of it will be there for many years.

There may be milestones in the catching up process but it will be drawn out and messy. I doubt the HoC will one day wake up and admit they were wrong, then start to dismantle it all systematically.

Dec 10, 2012 at 12:30 PM | Unregistered Commentercosmic

My concern over the coverage of Doha is that the UN itself through Ban Ki-Moon has said it does not need any more treaties. That it can use its unappreciated hold over education globally, K-12 and higher ed, to change Mindsets. That's why it pushes a Basic Skills plus social and emotional learning program all over the West now. And Michael Barber has the UK at the forefront of this process.

It's largely a values curriculum based on Constructivism and experiential learning with the values being collaboration and the importance of promoting the Common Good. With the rational mind and your own set of facts to build your own Conceptual Framework as exactly what is being targeted for extinction in the West, the UN knows it is just a few years all over the West from having a majority of voters guided by emotion. Frequently at an unconscious level.

Literally putty in the hands of officials of the Predator State. From Europe to Hong Kong. Australia to Canada. US to South Africa. Anywhere freedom and personal liberty were ever cherished culturally.

So while these expensive partyfests produce nothing real, the UN's Decade of Education for Sustainability winds on. And Sustainability and Metropolitanism and the "Low Carbon Economy" and Big Data all become an excuse for 21st century state planning of the economy. Corporatism with Cronies this time instead of nationalizing with its bad onus.

So keep writing such great pieces of the uselessness of these events but let's keep our eyes on where the real Transformations are taking place. Daily.

Dec 10, 2012 at 12:50 PM | Registered Commenteresquirerobin

Great piece! Well said.

Dec 10, 2012 at 1:37 PM | Unregistered CommenterKevin

I subscribe to The Spectator and they often carry pro-sceptic articles by, for example, Matt Ridley, James Delingpole and Nigel Lawson.

I would highly recommend readers of this blog to subscribe to this interesting and very enjoyable magazine.

Dec 10, 2012 at 3:36 PM | Unregistered CommenterGeoff Shorten

The Spectator was first suggested to me by a very left-wing emeritus professor of law friend of mine because of its "fine writing". Now is a great time to buy a year's subscription since there is a Christmas offer: Annual subscription (52 issues) costs £67.50 - which saves £114.50 off the annual cover price.

Dec 10, 2012 at 4:01 PM | Unregistered CommenterMike Post

Well done, Bish.
As an aside (but related) - is the Great Lightbulb Fiasco not a prime example of what can happen when government gets involved in something it knows absolutely nothing about. So-called 'low energy' lightbulbs - in other words, wound-up fluorescent tubes with mercury in them - were so much the answer to the 'dreadful' incandescent lamp that supermarkets and energy companies finished up giving them away - because LEDs were ACTUALLY the answer...

Dec 10, 2012 at 6:44 PM | Unregistered CommenterDavid

Outstanding, Yer Grace! I particularly liked the line about bureaucracies never declaring themselves irrelevant. So true, so true... only when an even larger bureaucracy backed by even more venal rent-seekers supersedes them does that ever happen.

Dec 10, 2012 at 10:11 PM | Unregistered CommenterJBirks

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