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« The OK coral | Main | To an incredible degree - Josh 162 »
Saturday
Apr142012

Scruton on HSI

Roger Scruton's new book, How to Think Seriously About the Planet cites The Hockey Stick Illusion.

...the notorious `hockey stick' graph of global temperature change has been subjected to devastating criticism in Andrew Montford, The Hockey Stick Illusion...

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Reader Comments (47)

... but you're not going to like it. He advocates a carbon tax. See http://www.bryanappleyard.com/scruton-the-right-wing-green/

Apr 14, 2012 at 1:57 AM | Registered CommenterWilliam Morris

A flat carbon tax, sold as a tax and not a way to cure the world, should not be dismissed out of hand. Provided, naturally, that it replaces other taxes and is not traded. I don't see that a carbon tax is that much different to a petrol excise extended to include items made from petroleum as well.

Apr 14, 2012 at 3:05 AM | Unregistered CommenterMooloo

I do like Roger Scruton but not sure about his ideas on tax - I will have to get the book

Much prefer Henry George and his ideas on a land tax. read progress and poverty

Apr 14, 2012 at 3:28 AM | Unregistered Commentersankara

A tax of £1 per kg CO2 could pay for all UK government spending. This is equal to about £1 for every 6km in an average car. But think - no other taxes! Trouble is CO2 emissions would fall like a stone and the government would have to find other sources of tax. But this is a better way to get revenue than taxing employment - which naturally reduces the amount of employment. A better system would tax resource usage: all forms of pollution (including carbon emissions), refuse, noise, water, land, extractive industries (mining, quarrying, primary forest use), and financial transactions.

Apr 14, 2012 at 4:16 AM | Registered CommenterWilliam Morris

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-17692025

Bish just got in from nightshift and this was on BBC News 24

There are now over half a million Ppppp penguins
Double the number previously though in the Antartic some bod on there said

So can they use the Body Heat Signature to count Polar Bears now by SatelIte (they,re white and they cant see them Penguins are black and snow is white)
And does Ice on Land ( Antartic ) melt quicker or slower or the same than Ice Floating on and under sea water (Artic)

Apr 14, 2012 at 6:25 AM | Unregistered CommenterJamspid

"A better system would tax resource usage: all forms of pollution (including carbon emissions),"

If by carbon emissions you mean CO2 emissions, then you should be aware that by any definition CO2 isn't a pollutant, it's as essential to life on earth as water, sunshine and oxygen and without it we would all die. In this crazy mass hysteria it has somehow become a "bad thing".

Apr 14, 2012 at 6:58 AM | Unregistered Commentergeronimo

Obviously, a government needs to raise money to pay for all the things that government does but I do not think enough time has been spent on the fairest way to tax people. The idea of a carbon tax does not sound right to me.

far better the ideas of Henry George

I would be interested in what people on this site think about his ideas

A link to the UK branch of the Henry George foundation is here (btw - I am not a member, it is just that I think his ideas are good!)

http://www.henrygeorgefoundation.org/about-the-foundation/about-us.html

However, I will definitely buy this book as Scruton is basically a good guy and worth listening to/reading

Apr 14, 2012 at 7:35 AM | Unregistered Commentersankara

William Morris (nice durries BTW), wow! We're having a monumental whinge about a $23/tonne "carbon pollooshn" tax in Oz. $1.50 a kilo or $1,500/tonne would probably see the Army take over.

I was intrigued on a previous thread by Frank's idea of a tax levied on foreign imports at a rate of the original price times some sort of ratio of CO2 emitted in their country divided by their GDP. I'm sure it's been done before but from Wiki for 2010 for the top 19 "CO2 polluters" in descending order, I calculate the ratios as (kilo-tonnes CO2/$ millions GDP) -

China 1.40
United States 0.38
India 1.27
Russia 1.14
Japan 0.21
Germany 0.23
Iran 1.41
South Korea 0.56
Canada 0.33
Saudi Arabia 1.10
United Kingdom 0.22
Indonesia 0.67
Mexico 0.45
South Africa 1.24
Brazil 0.20
Italy 0.20
Australia 0.30
France 0.14
Poland 0.66

I don't think the Chinese or Indians would go for this and Airbus sales might drop further. However the French would love it. What is it about France? Do they have some method of power generation that the rest of the world hasn't yet discovered?

Apr 14, 2012 at 8:25 AM | Unregistered CommenterGrantB

A "carbon" tax, or more sensibly, a set of taxes on energy are already in place as far as I know. Taxes on "excessive" ( and we can have some great arguments about what would constitute excessive!) use of domestic and personal energy seem to me as good a way as any to raise revenue.
Crushing our economy and pushing me further into fuel poverty is something else entirely. As is bulldozing them through on the basis we are all going to fry otherwise!

Apr 14, 2012 at 8:46 AM | Unregistered CommenterJack Savage

I think some of us are missing the big news here, where is that Roger Scruton says that in HSI "the notorious `hockey stick' graph of global temperature change has been subjected to devastating criticism". Appleyard counts Scruton and John Gray as the two finest present-day UK philosophers and I'm in no mood to differ. This is a tremendous feather in the cap, Bish, another indication that you are making deep inroads in the thinking population. We can always find fault. There's always an alternative tax. But the compliment from Scruton would mean a lot to me. Congratulations.

Apr 14, 2012 at 9:05 AM | Unregistered CommenterRichard Drake

As mooloo says a carbon tax, and as I understand Tim Worstall outlines with it largely replacing other existing taxes, seems an interesting prospect that is not ideologically obnoxious as an idea to me either. Hypothetically even if the burden ended up being the same as now it still would mean anyone who can actually find ways of reducing carbon dependency would be then benefit from reducing that burden and would naturally be motivated to find something truly innovative rather than as now, depend on a slack jawed appeal to government for a handout.

Obviously there are thousands of other issues before that could happen, and hyping alarm isn't going to make it more likely there would have to be some other way.

Of course once we achieve the Nirvana of the eventual Utopian world - 100 reliance on renewables - taxing CO2 use will seem as aribitrary as taxing windows ;)

Apr 14, 2012 at 9:13 AM | Unregistered CommenterThe Leopard In The Basement

Agree with Richard Drake, the big news is the hints of a burgeoning mainstream re-assessment of the Hockey Stick, and the endorsement of the HSI. I hope it really annoys the believers that works like the HSI are far more appealing to independent minds with its straightforward detail than the spinning likes of Manns work. I would also love to hear Scrutons assessment of Michael Manns work in contrast I hardly expect he would be impressed ;)

I think now the Bish has let the cat out of the bag on his blog about this more mainstream negative critcism of the HS it will require some sort of believer rebuttal to try and nip this kind of thing in the bud. Dangerous having philosphers saying this! No doubt the SkS star chamber are organising something even as I type, I would expect some ad-hominem coming Scruton's way soon ;)

Apr 14, 2012 at 9:29 AM | Unregistered CommenterThe Leopard In The Basement

BTW by "Michael Manns work" I meant his awful "Climate Wars" book - yes I've read it ;)

Apr 14, 2012 at 9:31 AM | Unregistered CommenterThe Leopard In The Basement

When has a new tax ever replaced an existing one? As far as I can find out each and every new tax has been in addition to it's replacement. In many cases they change the name of the original to hide it.

Apr 14, 2012 at 9:34 AM | Unregistered CommenterDisko Troop

GrantB at 8.25am - France has a lot of nuclear power. Also has hydro on the Rhone, but nuclear is their biggest power producer.

Apr 14, 2012 at 10:02 AM | Unregistered CommenterBiddyb

Very good news. Scruton has always come across to me as an independent and deep thinker, and of course a 'conservative' in at least one sense of that word. I suppose for all three of these attributes he would not be well-suited to life inside the 'BBC/Guardian/Independent/Politicians/Establishment' bubble whose outer skin seems very resistant to inward diffusion of ideas. Thus his popular impact will be constrained. But he is extremely articulate, writes superbly, and has obviously been devoting a lot of time to environmental matters for this new book. His giving due recognition to the HSI will therefore, I suppose, be the result of careful study and reflection.

This extract from his Wikipedia entry is enough to win my admiration, not least because I too was unimpressed by the student 'troubles' of that era - when I was an undergraduate myself - but not enough to jolt me out of my lazy left-wing views. That took me quite a few more years.

'Scruton first embraced conservatism during the student protests of May 1968 in France. Nicholas Wroe wrote in The Guardian that Scruton was in the Latin Quarter in Paris at the time, watching students overturning cars to erect barricades, and tearing up cobblestones to throw at the police. "I suddenly realized I was on the other side. What I saw was an unruly mob of self-indulgent middle-class hooligans. When I asked my friends what they wanted, what were they trying to achieve, all I got back was this ludicrous Marxist gobbledegook. I was disgusted by it, and thought there must be a way back to the defence of western civilization against these things. That's when I became a conservative. I knew I wanted to conserve things rather than pull them down."'

Apr 14, 2012 at 10:04 AM | Registered CommenterJohn Shade

Leopard says: "...would mean anyone who can actually find ways of reducing carbon dependency would be then benefit from reducing that burden and would naturally be motivated to find something truly innovative..."

But Leopard, wouldn't this fall into the same category of the idea that, if you could invent an ICE that ran on something as cheap and plentiful as water, the government would just tax it to death - or the big bad oil companies would kill it off?

Governments don't want a tax where the rate of payment is in the hands of the tax-payer; they want to keep tight control of the rate of payment.

Apr 14, 2012 at 10:45 AM | Unregistered CommenterSnotrocket

The Leopard at 9.29

...I would expect some ad-hominem coming Scruton's way soon...

Didn't he hunt foxes? That will do for starters.

Apr 14, 2012 at 11:19 AM | Registered CommenterDreadnought

Snotrocket

Governments don't want a tax where the rate of payment is in the hands of the tax-payer; they want to keep tight control of the rate of payment.

Yes I see that but my expression of interest is to show I like the CO2 tax at the level of hypothetical ideal, the problems may indeed be insurmountable. However, for the time being, we are left with the only people who can reduce their tax burden, and the Government being happy about it, being the kind of wealthy people who are buddies with Cameron and get nice "green growth" incentives for unproductive bullshit technologies.

Apr 14, 2012 at 12:20 PM | Unregistered CommenterThe Leopard In The Basement

While it’s good news that a writer like Scruton has read the HSI and takes it seriously, there doesn’t seem to be any sign that he has understood its implications. No hockeystick, no unusual warming, and therefore nothing to worry about. Being Green is therefore reduced to cycling to the bottle bank and not leaving gates open on footpaths.
From the intro to his book, on his website:

The problems of the environment seem so far beyond our reach that we lurch from opinion to opinion and policy to policy with nothing to cling to, save the thread of our shared concern. We believe the scaremongers, since no one can be as gloomy as that without a reason. We believe the sceptics, since they offer hope, and remind us that the scaremongers have made an emotional investment in their gloom. And we watch as governments, NGOs and pressure groups both exploit our anxieties and offer to assuage them.
Without the resources of government it is hard to address such problems as climate change, oil spills, plastic pollution, and the loss of bio-diversity...
He wants to place himself in the reasonable middle ground, without annoying anyone. Sounds like pabulum to me. This is philosophy only in the saloon bar discussion sense of “my personal philosophy is...”

Apr 14, 2012 at 12:23 PM | Unregistered Commentergeoffchambers

There is a long interview with Scruton in today's Wall Street Journal in which one finds the following quote from him:

"On climate scientists:" 'Many of the people who brand themselves as climatologists are not in the first rank of scientific minds, you know? I'm not really entitled to say that. But you do have a sense that these are guys who are not particularly good at mathematical modeling, they're not particularly good at computer science, they're not particularly good at physics, not particularly good at chemistry, but who put all those together ... (and) become an expert.'

I don't know if that is in his book or not. But that is an absolutely devastating observation. It seems to me that he has been reading rather widely on the blogs; here and, perhaps, McIntyre. He has apparently looked at the Climategate stuff also. Did he pick up Jones' apparent inabilities with computers from the e-mails?

.'

Apr 14, 2012 at 3:00 PM | Unregistered CommenterPhilH

If you have to pay tax on CO2 emissions, does it not follow that the government would have to pay the people who own CO2 sinks? Would an inspector come around and count you house plants and then give you a cheque? The big landholders would make out like bandits.

Apr 14, 2012 at 3:54 PM | Unregistered CommenterDocmartyn

Worry when the talk is of 'energy footprint' rather than of 'carbon footprint'.
===============

Apr 14, 2012 at 4:17 PM | Unregistered Commenterkim

Fomr the Update:

Does this mean Bob is now endorsing The Hockey Stick Illusion? :-)

That's the way I read it :)

There may still be further bumps along the road but some of these chaps are looking for the exit. HSI is a very good one - it doesn't say the whole of IPPC WG1 is crap but is meticulous in taking apart (thanks to McIntyre) one iconic part of it in 2001. I see this as Bob walking towards that exit ... and even if it's not, that's the kind of things that's going to happen before long.

Apr 14, 2012 at 4:39 PM | Unregistered CommenterRichard Drake

PhilH: devastating quote from the WSJ, thank you. As you say, this author's done his background reading.

Apr 14, 2012 at 4:42 PM | Unregistered CommenterRichard Drake

In the article referred to in Bob Ward’s tweet, Scruton says:

There is a tendency on the libertarian right to dismiss the entire environmental agenda, and to give credence to those scientists who argue either that global warming is a myth, or that it is not caused by human action and therefore not curable by human action. I don't go along with that ... It stands to reason that the Earth will get warmer if the quantity of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere is constantly rising. So how do we change?
That doesn’t sound to me like someone who “has been reading rather widely on the blogs”.
Scruton’s kind words about the HSI show a welcome open-mindedness, or at least demonstrate that he knows a well-argued demonstration when he sees one. But the fact that he apparently still accepts the CAGW thesis shows that his vision of science is of the butterfly-collection variety - that it doesn’t matter if a few of your peer-reviewed specimens get blown away, there are still plenty more where they came from.

Apr 14, 2012 at 5:21 PM | Unregistered Commentergeoffchambers

Carbon taxes and unintended consequences.

1 The government should be REDUCING taxes not driving then up. The last 50 years of economic destruction perpetrated in the West should be a warning that if you give money to a government, it will be wasted.

2 The bedrock of the success of the West is access to cheap energy NOT expensive energy especially based on taxing CO2, a non toxic gas essential to human life. Look at the impact of shale gas in the
US

3 Will the wind farms and solar panel scams be taxed at the true rate of their CO2 footprint?

4 How much tax should human's pay for daring to breath out CO2?

5 How much tax will the state pay? An example, to reduce it's CO2 footprint, the EU could stop the
farce of the monthly calvalcade between Brussels and Strasbourg transporting 100s of tonnes of EU
sh*te. Ah but of course they can make you and me pay.

6 When all the businesses start fleeing as they already are from the UK, Germany and California, the rest of us pay more.

I could go on.

Remember, Income Tax was a temporary measure to pay for the Napoleonic Wars.

Cheers

Paul

Apr 14, 2012 at 5:27 PM | Unregistered CommenterPaul Maynard

geoffchambers, you omitted something significant with your ellipsis. Here's the full paragraph from The Guardian, with that omission highlighted:

There is a tendency on the libertarian right to dismiss the entire environmental agenda, and to give credence to those scientists who argue either that global warming is a myth, or that it is not caused by human action and therefore not curable by human action. I don't go along with that – although, like most people who consider these questions, I am a mere amateur when it comes to the science. It stands to reason that the Earth will get warmer if the quantity of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere is constantly rising. So how do we change? To penalise the use of fossil fuels when these are the principal – or the only – source of energy is impossible. People will not accept using less energy than they need; and in any case, large-scale political initiatives always need more energy, not less.

That's quite an important qualification you left out. More generally Scruton is someone it makes sense to quote in full, because he writes with care. And with this book and the articles to accompany it he's surely become a very important ally in the climate policy area.

Apr 14, 2012 at 5:32 PM | Unregistered CommenterRichard Drake

Paul Maynard:

Remember, Income Tax was a temporary measure to pay for the Napoleonic Wars.

I do remember - indeed I was taught it at school - the strange thing being that that knowledge hasn't led to the end of income tax during the intervening forty years.

We are going to be taxed, one way or the other. My only question about a carbon tax is how regressive it is compared to alternatives - how much it penalises the poor compared to the rich. There may be better options for that reason. With Lindzen, and contra Scruton, I don't think increased atmospheric CO2 is a problem based either on the evidence of the last 150 years or the last 4 billion. But tax policy needs to take account of a broad swathe of public opinion and a flat carbon tax has to be fairer than the get-rich-on-the-backs-of-the-poor schemes currently in operation.

Apr 14, 2012 at 5:44 PM | Unregistered CommenterRichard Drake

Richard Drake
With or wihout the bit I left out, the Scruton quote is a standard straw man argument: that sceptics either don’t believe in GW or don’t believe in AGW. That’s an excluded middle you could drive a jumbo jet through.
Yes he writes carefully - like someone who is constantly reminding you that he is a Philosopher with a capital Phi.
Socrates gave us his views about the relative merits of town and country life without having to invent fancy Greek neologisms to do it. He preferred the town, basically because he preferred real people to abstractions like Nature or the Gods. (Not that he denied their existence of course. Socrates was as CofE as they come).

Apr 14, 2012 at 5:55 PM | Unregistered Commentergeoffchambers

I don't think Scruton is indulging in a standard straw man argument. He probably trusts 'the experts' more than you or I do. But how much does he really trust them?

Many of the people who brand themselves as climatologists are not in the first rank of scientific minds, you know? I'm not really entitled to say that. But you do have a sense that these are guys who are not particularly good at mathematical modeling, they're not particularly good at computer science, they're not particularly good at physics, not particularly good at chemistry, but who put all those together ... (and) become an expert.

That's the place to drive our jumbo jet through. We have a potent new ally. Let's not write him off before he's barely begun.

Apr 14, 2012 at 6:37 PM | Unregistered CommenterRichard Drake

Richard Drake

Yes we may need to be taxed (less) but we certainly do not wish to encourage the AGW scam, chief perpetrators HMG by agreeing that a carbon tax would be a good idea. Once there it will never go. Of course, it may never happen if we watch the total corruption of the EU cap and trade scheme and the flailing going on over the tax on airlines. Btw, ironic that Indonesia signed up for Airbuses during Cameron’s silly trip. How long before they follow the Chinese and Indians?

What we need to do is reduce the cost of energy, especially for the third world and for Western manufacturers. See this quote from the excellent Carpe Diem (http://mjperry.blogspot.co.uk/)

“Cheap domestic energy is also good news for the manufacturing sector.”The discovery and development of North America's shale resources has the potential to be the most remarkable source of economic growth and prosperity that any of us are likely to encounter in our lifetimes," U.S. Steel CEO John Surma told the Congressional Steel Caucus in a late March hearing. “It's a virtuous cycle: More drilling requires more steel, and lower energy costs give U.S. steel producers a cost edge. This at a time when the Department of Energy reports that the energy intensity of U.S. steel companies is now among the lowest in the world."

Scruton, as quoted by Geoff Chambers above

“The problems of the environment seem so far beyond our reach that we lurch from opinion to opinion and policy to policy with nothing to cling to, save the thread of our shared concern. We believe the scaremongers, since no one can be as gloomy as that without a reason. We believe the sceptics, since they offer hope, and remind us that the scaremongers have made an emotional investment in their gloom. And we watch as governments, NGOs and pressure groups both exploit our anxieties and offer to assuage them”.

What I don’t understand about someone as apparently educated and well read as Scruton is that he has not spotted the common theme of all environmental alarmism. It’s 100% wrong yet it has captured the whole of Western government and bureaucracy. It has created a fantasy about some ideal climate and sustainability when the actual reality will be far greater state control, poverty and a return to the Stone Age.

I repeat a carbon tax is a bad idea and must be resisted as much as the rest of the AGW propaganda.

Paul

Apr 14, 2012 at 7:11 PM | Unregistered CommenterPaul Maynard

But would you being to like a carbon tax if it replaced all other subsidies, such a wind and solar? We're not starting from 'Year Zero'. Those subsidies already exist. My point - and Scruton's, I think - is that a flat carbon tax would be a step in the right direction from where we are. Outrage is easy on Bishop Hill. How do we turn it into true reform?

Apr 14, 2012 at 7:25 PM | Unregistered CommenterRichard Drake

Richard Drake
Sorry to be so insistent, but it really is a straw man argument (which is probably why Bob Ward quotes it with such glee).
He says we sceptics have a tendency:

to dismiss the entire environmental agenda, and to give credence to those scientists who argue either that global warming is a myth, or that it is not caused by human action and therefore not curable by human action.
Now neither you nor I nor His Grace fall into either of his categories. He’s wrong about sceptics, which suggests he hasn’t given the matter as much thought as some here believe.
He’s read the HSI and gives it credit. For that he can be counted as a lucid potential ally, I grant you. But in his statement about climatologists, he really goes out on a limb with no evidence, and waving a machete.
As a non-scientist myself who does not hesitate to be rude when rudeness is due, I would hesitate to say that “these are guys who are not particularly good at mathematical modeling, they're not particularly good at computer science,...” etc. I just don’t know. The allies I’d count on are those who do know, and not those who make the odd daring remark, however high up they may be in the intellectual hierarchy.

Apr 14, 2012 at 7:27 PM | Unregistered Commentergeoffchambers

Geoff, I'm not saying that you haven't got a point about that passage - what I am keen on is that we drive our jumbo jet through the weakest spot in the defences of those advocating climate policies (so called - as Lawson says, let's shorten DECC to DE while we're at it). Scruton has identified a crucial weak spot in climate scientists themselves. The full implications of that insight may come to him after it's dawned on us - because he may be thinking about issues that we're not. But some humility doesn't go amiss either. None of us is omniscient, least of all about this extraordinary system that affects each of us every day of our lives, exhibiting spatio-temporal chaos yet showing such stability over four billion years that we are here on the planet to wonder at it and argue about it. Men like Scruton will notice that humility and be much more convinced by it than by our arrogance. So it helps to have it. :)

Apr 14, 2012 at 7:39 PM | Unregistered CommenterRichard Drake

Richard Drake
It’s probably arrogant of me to say so, but I couldn’t give a toss whether Scruton notices my humility. Anyway, my humility is loads better than Scruton’s humility, because I don’t go round saying things like “I’m no scientist, but this lot aren’t very good” without citing evidence. I’m not saying he’s wrong, of course, but simply that this is the weak part of his argument, and not something to get worked up about.
Sorry if I sound huffy, but this is a dispute I get into too often for my own good. I’m delighted to see signs of openness from the Betts and Tamsin Edwards and from Scruton and all the other people we need to convince, because they’re intelligent and influential and don’t call us scumbags. That doesn’t mean that I have to adopt a respectful tone of voice just in case one of them happens to be listening in.

Apr 14, 2012 at 8:02 PM | Unregistered Commentergeoffchambers

Scuton says that the German Wind Farm Industry relys on tapping into the next door French nuclear power industry

Funny that so does England

3 Miles down the road from Dungerness ( god forsaken place good for fly tipping dogging and sea fishing) is a terminal with a massive power cable from under the Channel from the Nuclear power stations in Normany )

Roger there are 2 things about Cliame change noboby can tell us
How much and when

Dont you think you should know that first before you start tearing every thing and starting all over again

Apr 14, 2012 at 8:07 PM | Unregistered CommenterjAMSPID

There is a tendency on the libertarian right to dismiss the entire environmental agenda, and to give credence to those scientists who argue either that global warming is a myth, or that it is not caused by human action and therefore not curable by human action. I don't go along with that

The same is true of their opposition to country sports.

Apr 14, 2012 at 9:02 PM | Unregistered CommenterRussell

You can listen to Roger Scruton's views on the Environment in a "Start the Week" podcast, broadcast on the 5th Dec 2011, here:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/podcasts/series/stw/all

Apr 14, 2012 at 10:01 PM | Unregistered CommenterRod

geoffchambers: the humility I was advocating was not a matter of adopting a respectful tone of voice to Roger Scruton or anyone else but of acknowledging the depths of our ignorance about the climate system, one of the most complex ever studied by man. That I said Scruton would notice. And we should have it by the bucket load anyway.

On whether Scruton would notice such a thing, try the last two pages, p4-5, of the Preface to The Uses of Pessimism (available on Look Inside on Amazon), which he published in 2010. He speaks well of Christopher Booker and Richard North and dismissively of Al Gore but ends with some beautiful reflections on the relationship between the virtues of hope and love (agape). Such a person will notice the quality of our thinking and our attitudes. I'm glad to say.

Apr 15, 2012 at 4:53 AM | Unregistered CommenterRichard Drake

Richard Drake
I am humbled, but not humiliated. In future I shall try to be polite in the presence of my betters, I promise you.
On Amazon I can only get p2 of Scruton’s book, so I’ve got no further than his references to Hesiod, Homer, and the Old Testament
My problem is not with Scruton, but with an intellectual climate which elevates someone to the level of an important thinker because he says oikophilos and agape when he means “feeling nice and comfy in rural Wiltshire”. He may be a lovely chap and profound to boot, but he’s riding a cultural wave which elevates experts, because they can make up Greek words and funny graphs, while the rest of us are supposed to ooh and aah and get our dumbed down information from Brief Introductions and Dummies Guides, (some of them written by Scruton) and tug our intellectual forelocks.
Climate hysteria is one of the symptoms of this cultural degeneration, giving privatised utilities poncey Latin names is another, and exaggerated respect for people who can quote Hesiod is a third.

Apr 15, 2012 at 8:22 AM | Unregistered Commentergeoffchambers

The climate system, gc, not exaggerated respect for anyone, not even the maker of a gcm. Something about HSI commended the message to Scruton. The author's ironic but irenic style would be my guess.

Apr 15, 2012 at 12:24 PM | Unregistered CommenterRichard Drake

Richard Drake

I did try to post a reply last night but suffered from fat finger syndrome.

My answer remains the same. No. All government subsidies should be removed. Look at the fiasco that is solar in Germany and the US and Obama is still hosing US taxpayers’ dollars at this fraud. Do I need to mention the State theft that is wind power in the UK?

A carbon tax in any manifestation, flat, cap & trade, is wrong because it is based upon the entirely false premise that CO2 is affecting the climate. It is not to any discernible degree.

What the government needs to do is reduce spending so that it can reduce tax.

Scruton

I tend to sympathise with Geoff. My admittedly limited study of philosophy has left me with the impression that philosophers spend a great deal of time worry about things that don’t matter and do it in an incomprehensible way or are just plain wrong. On learning the Popper theory of falsification, I actually bought the relevant book. After struggling through the introduction and the first chapter I realised that I simply could not make sense of any of it. It was a bit like reading the posts by William Morris and anivegemin on the other thread about corals.

It is good that Scruton has identified the flaws in the scam but he needs to travel further.

Russell

The tendency on the libertarian side of the argument is not to dismiss everything on the environmental agenda. You will find many that support sensible conservation. What we do not support is the outright fraud in the science, e.g. the latest Shakun nonsense published by the ex Journal of record Nature. We do not support the theft that is subsidies to wind, solar, tide and all the other scams. We do not support the fascist agenda of the global environmental movement which always knows better than mere mortals and which is supported by fossil fuel money unlike the sceptics.

Global warming is a myth because this expression is always in the context of man made GW. There is virtually no one on the libertarian side of the argument that disagrees that there has been some warming since the LIA. What we dispute is the rate, the amount and the cause. We also dispute the scientific honesty of the taxpayer funded institutions that are the custodians of the temperature record.

Regards Paul

Apr 15, 2012 at 12:57 PM | Unregistered CommenterPaul Maynard

Gosh Geoff, I don't know that my respect for anyone who can quote Hesiod (if off the top of his head) could be exaggerated.
On Scruton's dismissal of the horsepower of climatologists, i have a hard time believing that many (some?) of them are very bright, well studied, and doing their damnedest to develop serious science. I suspect that many of us here know who some of them are.

Apr 15, 2012 at 1:19 PM | Unregistered Commenterj ferguson

GrantB said:

What is it about France? Do they have some method of power generation that the rest of the world hasn't yet discovered?

I think it is called nuclear power.

Apr 15, 2012 at 9:15 PM | Unregistered CommenterRoy

'Does this mean Bob is now endorsing The Hockey Stick Illusion? :-)'

Bob 'fast fingers 'Ward doe whatever his pay master tells him to do , he is after all nothing more than professional BS artist .

Apr 15, 2012 at 11:32 PM | Unregistered CommenterKnR

Scruton fails as a philosopher. He starts with a huge assumption that there is "an environment" beset with problems including

"...climate change, oil spills, plastic pollution, and the loss of biodiversity."

presumably this is the same "environment" that gets grumpy when I print off an email and weeps when a rare snail dies in Bolivia.

These things are only linked in his head - the fact that other people also link them in their own heads does not mean there really is any link.


Strange that his love of the English countryside has brought him to this point. The English countryside is beautiful but it is entirely man-made. You could even frame it as a list of "environmental" problems:
* Loss of species (eg wolves)
* Introduced species (eg beech trees)
* Pressure on biodiversity (Roger out hunting on Boxing Day)
* Fear of climate change causing desecration of natural views (windmills).

Apr 16, 2012 at 1:59 AM | Unregistered CommenterJack Hughes

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