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Global governancers' get-together

I missed the occasion of the Earth System Governance conference in Norwich at the start of the month, but it looked as though it was a hoot. Every scientivist in the western hemisphere seems to have flown in for the occasion (#greensgobyair) to hear speakers as varied as, erm, Tony Juniper, Prince Charles and Bob Watson opining about how better "allocation" is the solution to all known environmental ills. No doubt if we take from each according to their ability and give to each according to their need then global temperatures will stop going up and the passenger pigeon will miraculously be found living in a dovecot in Droitwich.

To mark the occasion of the conference, UEA's Heike Schroeder has written an article in the journal Global Environmental Change. Dr Schroeder apparently believes that small-scale organic farming is going to be the solution to the world's problems, so it will not surprise you to learn that her article is a tour de force of economic illiteracy, wide-eyed inanity and bovine stupidity. We learn for example of the horrors of artificial fertiliser:

Modern fertiliser-intensive agriculture is a major threat to the first planetary system, the artificially enhanced nitrogen cycle (Gruber and Galloway, 2008 and Vitousek et al., 1997). Large-scale deployment of synthetic fertilisers enabled the expansion and intensification of agricultural production, resulting in hitherto unprecedented surpluses and a steep decline in food prices that have made agricultural producers in the global North dependent on government subsidies.

Global warming gets a look in too, with Dr Schroeder telling us that the IPCC has got it all wrong:

the global climate system is under threat of significant anthropogenic interference that could cause several potentially irreversible changes, including a collapse of the Atlantic thermohaline circulation, dieback of the Amazon rainforest and decay of the Greenland ice sheet...

But the article does at least demonstrate clearly that taxpayers are being forced to pay for a political programme:

Now is the time to recognise the linkages between poverty, injustice and usurped property rights with current modes of governance. The Earth System Governance Project addresses this mission by promoting innovative and interdisciplinary research on access and allocation of both material resources and non-material values.

Can anyone think of a paper that has packed so much drivel into so few words?

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Reader Comments (130)

Ummm...anything written by Mann? ;)



Jul 23, 2014 at 8:17 AM | Unregistered CommenterMailman

"Now is the time to recognise the linkages between poverty, injustice and usurped property rights with current modes of governance."

This would be when poverty, injustice and usurped property rights are at their absolute minimum in all of history in industrialised countries.

Jul 23, 2014 at 8:24 AM | Registered Commentergeronimo

Its a bit of a 'where to begin?' one, this, isn't it. I wonder if, in her reference to usurped property rights, this person is referring to the dastardly Norman conquest of Britain? Many of us of Celtic/Saxon stock had our property rights seriously usurped by the Normans. Perhaps the author can point us towards one of those progressive lawyers who so often work for free, so we can begin a class action against...someone/some body? Orr perhaps our usurped property rights are not worth cherry picking, there are other ones which are much more politically acceptable and advantageous for their supporters.....

Jul 23, 2014 at 8:28 AM | Unregistered Commenterbill

This is not drivel, it is an full and extremely eloquent statement of the mind set prevailing amongst the greenocracy. Read carefully and you will understand the motivation of your opponents. Their ideal really is a world of 2m hunter gatherers just as it was in the ice age. Forget the 18th century - they want the world restored to 20,000 bc.

Jul 23, 2014 at 8:30 AM | Unregistered Commenterdiogenese2

Diogenese2, forget the "hunter" bit from your hunter gatherers - there will be no eating of meat condoned, at all. So just gathering, and living on pulses, weeds and, er, weed - that's the aim.

Jul 23, 2014 at 8:47 AM | Unregistered CommenterOld Goat

'Large-scale deployment of synthetic fertilisers enabled the expansion and intensification of agricultural production, resulting in hitherto unprecedented surpluses and a steep decline in food prices '

Wait, that's a Bad thing, how?

Jul 23, 2014 at 8:48 AM | Unregistered CommenterOtter


I know its a bit late, but Will Raquel be there ?

Jul 23, 2014 at 8:48 AM | Unregistered Commenterconfused

+1 to confused

Jul 23, 2014 at 9:04 AM | Unregistered CommenterJack Hughes

@Otter: you beat me to it. How is cheap food a problem for the world?

We keep hearing from the same group of numpties that we won't be able to feed the expanding global population so "something must be done!" That something appears to be to cut back farming and starve people much earlier than might be necessary. The mind boggles at the sheer stupidity. It is only matched by their views on energy.

Jul 23, 2014 at 9:05 AM | Unregistered CommenterChris B

As she is from UEA, she's obviously a product of the UEA Creative Writing programme.

Jul 23, 2014 at 9:08 AM | Registered CommenterPhillip Bratby

Agree with diogenese2, it is not drivel, but dangerous eco-facism, wrapped up in alarmist junk science in an attempt to give it some respectability. I have two problems with Schroeder's article:

1. her unquestioning promotion of the 'Age of the Anthropocene' and that the recent 1C rise in temperatures from the end of the Little Ice Age has apparently ended the last 13,000 years of "climatological stability" - [aye, right].

2. This bollocks seems to have been published by a science journal, and it is very likely that most if not all these 'academics' attended this greenfest conference on the public purse. If these people want to fly around the world in a delusional and vain attempt to save it from a little extra atmospheric CO2, then fine, but they should pay for the flights and hotels themselves.

Jul 23, 2014 at 9:13 AM | Registered Commenterlapogus

Jul 23, 2014 at 8:48 AM | Unregistered Commenterconfused

I commend your taste.

Jul 23, 2014 at 9:13 AM | Unregistered CommenterSteve Jones

Confused - yes but she'll be in her seventies and the fur bikini will have moth damage.

Jul 23, 2014 at 9:16 AM | Unregistered CommenterTinyCO2

Nice to see the Greens have the planet at heart, after all the:

Effectively banned DDT allowing millions of people to die from malaria
Help push renewables and significantly increasing fuel poverty
Anti shale demonstrations helping Uncle Putin with Russia gas
Ed Miliband with the help of an English graduate, gave us the Climate Change Act which helps to damage our economy
Pushed indigenous people of land to make way for reserves where they can sell fluffy toys ro rich tourists
Help spend billions of Euros of public money doing naff research and having expensive conferences

So little time to save the planet

Jul 23, 2014 at 9:18 AM | Unregistered CommenterCharmingQuark

If Rachel Welch is ruling their Brave New World, I'm in.

Jul 23, 2014 at 9:26 AM | Unregistered Commenterivor ward

What the hell does she mean by "first planetary system"? Does she mean Earth? Then why not say so?

Reminds me of the episode of Friends when Joey uses a Thesaurus on every work to make himself sound intelligent and rewrites the sentence "They're warm, nice people with big hearts." as "They're humid, pre-possessing homosapiens with full-sized aortic pumps."

Jul 23, 2014 at 9:30 AM | Unregistered Commentertimheyes

Sums it all up very nicely. Completely delusional, & we know exactly what delusional politics produces from our European experiences from 1933 through to 1945!

It has already been calculated by saner & more rational people, that the Earth can sustain around 9-10 billion people. We already produce enough food in the World to feed around 9 billion, so clearly the issues are ones of distribution, not production. The World Food Organisation has clearly stated that there is plenty of scrub land that can be brought under the plough with negligible encroachment onto wild areas! So what is her beef (sorry) about food surpluses? Clearly she is some demented eco Nazi out to have slaughtered billions of Human beings to satiate her blood lusts, as I have stated before, the dilemma they must face, conventional gas or shale gas, how many low-carbon death camps do they have to build to achieve this indirectly implied objective? Barking, completely barking!

Jul 23, 2014 at 9:44 AM | Unregistered CommenterAlan the Brit


Jul 23, 2014 at 9:50 AM | Registered Commenteromnologos

Have you never noticed that you can always tell when you are being lectured by an eco-loon?
They never talk of "Earth"; it's always "The Planet".
"First planetary system" suggests to me she's been reading too much bad science fiction. But would that that were all. Lapogus is right; these people are Dangerous and the more so because on the surface a lot of what they say makes a kind of spurious sense.
To take one example, we have succeeded in missing a vital point on the subject of cheap food. We ask (reasonably) "what is the problem with cheap food?". She answers that question, quite plausibly, by saying that the result has been to make "agricultural producers in the global North dependent on government subsidies".
For any vital industry to be dependent on subsidy is bad news.
The rest of it may well be drivel but it's dangerous drivel especially if governments are listening to it.

Jul 23, 2014 at 9:54 AM | Registered CommenterMike Jackson


I'd take Rachel in her 70's in a moth eaten bikini any day of the week - the woman is still a goddess

Jul 23, 2014 at 9:57 AM | Registered Commentermangochutney

So lets see their key policy points are

1) Reduce agricultural yields to create a scarcity of food this raising prices

2) Slash energy production to create higher prices and shortages

3) Place all production and distribution under bureaucratic global control

Doubtless they are amazed by the lack of public support !

Jul 23, 2014 at 10:01 AM | Unregistered CommenterKeith Willshaw

'They want the World restored to 20,000 bc'

Can I have Raquel Welch, pullleeeeeeze......;o)

Jul 23, 2014 at 10:02 AM | Unregistered Commenterturnedoutnice

These idiots going on about nitrogen (fertiliser) need to read some history - only pre WW2.

Prior to modern nitrogen fertilisers, nitrogen shortage was the most common reason for poor crops or crop failures (and all the organics in the world won't magically get more out of the air).

It was found that a good source of nitrogen was bones. Hence the rag and bone man, and blood-n-bone fertislier. Bones were in terribly short supply, and at one time there was a spate of grave robbing so that human remains could be ground up and used on the fields.

I suppose these fools would like a return to such times?

Jul 23, 2014 at 10:07 AM | Unregistered CommenterWally

Plainly, she's a nutcase.

Jul 23, 2014 at 10:08 AM | Unregistered CommenterCheshirered

finally some use for the Huff Po

Jul 23, 2014 at 10:30 AM | Registered Commenteromnologos

The means of food production so beloved by the residents of Totnes - organic, community supported agriculture, allotments etc - have such enormous fully accounted GHG emissions per kilo of procude compared to industrial farming methods that they are detested by the residents of Totnes whose beloved means of food production ... (continues into infinite circle jerk)

Jul 23, 2014 at 10:31 AM | Unregistered CommenterVictoria Sponge

Looks like I am last in the queue for Raquel then.

Maybe the names of all interested parties could be written up on slips of paper, placed in the Bishop’s mitre and he will draw out the winner?


Jul 23, 2014 at 10:32 AM | Unregistered CommenterPeter Walsh

Isn't the subsidy thing back to front? If they took the subsidies away the prices would go up. Also prices can only be below the cost of production if there is an over-supply, which of course has been exacerbated by EU meddling in markets. As you say, Bish, the whole thing is completely economically illiterate.

Jul 23, 2014 at 10:41 AM | Unregistered CommenterDavid S

Does Prince Charles really want to give his name to all of this?

Jul 23, 2014 at 10:46 AM | Unregistered CommenterDerek

Anything written by a people hating Marxist, but then all Marxists are people haters.

Jul 23, 2014 at 11:07 AM | Unregistered CommenterThe PrangWizard of Engalnd

How does one access and allocate non-material values? Indeed, what are they? I'll make a guess it's things like truth, honesty, integrity - values that seem to be missing from the greenies credo.

Jul 23, 2014 at 11:09 AM | Registered Commenterdavidchappell

Dr Schroeder in her article, starts by informing us that:
"In just the last few centuries of the Earth's 4.5 plus billion year history humans have interfered with the Earth's biology,.."
I seem to remember learning that by about 2,000 BC, a great majority of the trees in Britain had been either cut down or burnt down to make way for farming.
So I suppose, according to her, that did not in any way interfere with our islands biology?

Is she not aware that there are now thought to be around 100% more trees on our island than there were 100 years ago, the same as in many parts of the US, and all soaking up Co2!
"There's none so blind etc..."

Jul 23, 2014 at 11:13 AM | Unregistered CommenterM. Stevens

Alan the Brit,
Sorry we have a problem! The EU has a CAP that is intended to stop all surplus production of food. It must be working because I cannot get any decent, waxy salad is the quota system that does it.

Jul 23, 2014 at 11:15 AM | Unregistered CommenterDerek Buxton

"Plainly, she's a nutcase."

Well, yes. But until we have a thorough reform of our university system, nutcases like this woman will continue to be handsomely paid out of the public purse and to wield huge influence on the people they 'educate' to rule us.

Jul 23, 2014 at 11:16 AM | Unregistered CommenterUncle Badger

The self importance of these people is beyond parody.

Jul 23, 2014 at 11:26 AM | Unregistered Commentermike fowle

On the subject of fringe eco-lunacy, those who have ever ventured into climate-cult central at AndThenThere'sPhysics blog might be amused to pop in and read the latest thread "Community-driven Solutions".

Since Anders (the artist previously known as Wotty) has gone on hols and left his acolytes to play among themselves - a strange change in atmosphere has taken place.

The elaborate obeissance to "peereviewedscience", with all the invocations of subtle statistical and scientific truths, too complex for the stunted denier brain, has been abandoned.

In its place we have stirring tales of Community Action, Transition Movements, banning cars, compulsory insulation, solar panels and cycling for all.

We learn that "verytallguy" is an avid member of the pooh-composting Transition Network as well as a two-wheeled-taliban.

Moderator Rachel runs her kids around in a plastic bubble on a funny tricycle ( although she also manages to fly around the globe at least once a year).

Ex BH commentator (and one time sceptic) BBD predictably demands more government enforcement of everything he holds dear.

Cars with pedals are discussed ad a serious mode on transport.

Stirring slogans like "Ban All Cars", "Twenty(mph)'s Plenty" and "Solar is Freedom" are bandied about breathlessly.

In other words, we were all wasting our time trying to argue science with these folk.

They are standard-issue eco-lunatics first, foremost & always and the debate is a matter of religious belief for them.

By their composting toilets and strange bicycles shall ye know them.

Jul 23, 2014 at 11:29 AM | Registered CommenterFoxgoose

So skeptics, who pointed out that enviro-extremists have a political agenda that is extremely left leaning are proven right.
And the cynical ignorance of those extremists is annoying. How do they ignore the genocidal impact of earlier pastoralist left wing governments, not to mention that the worst environmental disasters in the world have been in leftist countries.
Why do they seek out xenocidal solutions time after time?
How ignorant of basic farming can they be?

Jul 23, 2014 at 11:34 AM | Unregistered Commenterhunter

"Does Prince Charles really want to give his name to all of this?" (Derek)

You bet he does. He's in the thick of it. The talk of "usurped property rights" is probably him and his cronies pining for the feudal system.

Jul 23, 2014 at 11:40 AM | Unregistered CommenterAllan M

When we were obligate locavores, malnutrition was the norm by spring. And God help you if there was a crop destroying weather event, because no one else could.

Jul 23, 2014 at 11:44 AM | Unregistered Commenterkim

Blue-blooded and green - It's no coincidence that many leading greens are privileged: the upper classes have long harboured a fear and loathing of modern society...

"So, the handbook tells us that we should live in small houses rather than McMansions; we should switch off our central heating and wear jumpers to keep ourselves warm; and we should avoid travelling by plane or car and ride a bike instead"

Who wrote this call for individual austerity? None other than David de Rothschild, a member of the mind-blowingly wealthy Rothschild banking family and heir to a rather spectacular fortune.

Jul 23, 2014 at 11:59 AM | Unregistered Commenteresmiff

Prince Philip, co-founder of the WWF wrote

In the event that I am reincarnated, I would like to return as a deadly virus, in order to contribute something to solve overpopulation (in his Foreward to If I Were an Animal; United Kingdom, Robin Clark Ltd., 1986)

Prince Philip has broken a 60-year public silence about his family's links with the Nazis.

In a frank interview, he said they found Hitler's attempts to restore Germany's power and prestige 'attractive' and admitted they had 'inhibitions about the Jews'.

The revelations come in a book about German royalty kowtowing to the Nazis, which features photographs never published in the UK.

They include one of Philip aged 16 at the 1937 funeral of his elder sister Cecile, flanked by relatives in SS and Brownshirt uniforms.

One row back in the cortege in Darmstadt, western Germany, was his uncle, Lord Mountbatten, wearing a Royal Navy bicorn hat.

Jul 23, 2014 at 12:03 PM | Unregistered Commenteresmiff

Calm down about "first planetary system", the previous paragraph announced that she would be ennumerating three planetary systems, which the nitrogen cycle is one.

Other than It's unfiskable.

Jul 23, 2014 at 12:21 PM | Unregistered CommenterRob Fisher

"Does Prince Charles really want to give his name to all of this?"

How would he know?

Jul 23, 2014 at 12:24 PM | Unregistered CommenterVictoria Sponge

…usurped property rights…
Agenda 21?

Jul 23, 2014 at 12:26 PM | Registered CommenterRadical Rodent

How do such nutters get to be in positions of 'authority', from where they can spout such bollox..?

Jul 23, 2014 at 12:55 PM | Unregistered Commentersherlock1

Jul 23, 2014 at 12:03 PM | esmiff

The purpose of that contribtion being what, exactly?

Out of interest, and how many Arctic convoys did you serve on during WW2?

Jul 23, 2014 at 1:16 PM | Unregistered CommenterDaveS

With views like that she'll soon be a regular on BBC question time. Given the amount the BBC wasted on television centre I'm sure they must have some parking for the ambulance and men in white coats.

Sorry end part amended to comply with current values " parking for the ambulance and men, women, transexual, gay , disabled, vertically challenged in white coats"

Jul 23, 2014 at 1:18 PM | Unregistered CommenterStacey

The UAE gang are rank amateurs compare to this crew

There's much much more of it going on than y'all realise

Jul 23, 2014 at 1:30 PM | Unregistered CommenterVictoria Sponge

DaveS: you have to take into account esmiff’s mind-set: you may have been a radical lefty student in your earlier days, but have since seen the error of your ways, and adjusted your thinking – however, should you be one of the “privileged” classes, what you thought 75 years ago has to be what you think now, as your position is irreversible. (There might be an element of truth in that, as many of the “privileged” are not overly-bright, and their thinking might rely upon what is being fed to them by their “advisors”.)

Jul 23, 2014 at 1:36 PM | Registered CommenterRadical Rodent

Jul 23, 2014 at 8:47 AM Old Goat

No endocannabinoid enhancers eh? I guess cancer should just run rampant. For population control. Because it kills off mostly old people. Especially those that can't afford current methods of treatment.

Jul 23, 2014 at 1:58 PM | Unregistered CommenterMSimon

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