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« Chronique du climat | Main | Quote of the day: can't trust Greenpeace edition »

Diary dates, intellectual incuriousity edition

The Royal Society of the Arts is going to do one of those interminably dull events in which a bunch of pseudo-academics and green activists preach to the converted. The flyer is reproduced below, but note that the first sentence is completely untrue.

In a bid to generate a new dialogue that sparks enduring change, the RSA is embarking on a series of climate change events with a difference. 

The 2015 Paris climate conference is looming, and there’s widespread consensus that it is our final chance for a truly international, multilateral resolution to the planet’s most pressing challenge. But why is it so hard to find a way forward?

For the second event in our brand-new series, we are adopting a 'Question Time' format, gathering expert representatives in each of what we feel are the seven main dimensions of the climate problem: science, behaviour, democracy, law, technology, economy and culture.

Our panel will provide expert insights into the competing priorities, responsibility voids and overlapping areas of jurisdiction that make climate change such a difficult issue to resolve. But above all, we are keen to hear what you, our audience, consider the key barriers to progress.

Panellists to include: Economist, LSE, Lord Nicholas Stern; climate scientist, UCL, Chris Rapley CBE; Green Party member of the London Assembly, Baroness Jenny Jones; Co-founder, Futerra, Solitaire Townsend; green-energy entrepreneur and founder of Solarcentury, Jeremy Leggett; psychoanalytic psychotherapist, Rosemary Randall


Details here.

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Reader Comments (62)

No, they distinctly don't want to hear what are the key barriers to progress. Their hands have been over their ears for years.

Feb 4, 2015 at 9:33 AM | Unregistered Commenterkim

OK, so the leading sentence might not be true.

By contrast, the second one simply HAS to be true. I have heard it repeated for years, nay decades now:

The 2015 Paris climate conference is looming, and there’s widespread consensus that it is our final chance for a truly international, multilateral resolution to the planet’s most pressing challenge.

Feb 4, 2015 at 9:36 AM | Unregistered CommenterGeckko

I wanted to go, but it has been sold out for a while (am on the wait list)

would have been interesting, would love to see what Jenny Jones has to say (especially as my sister in law used to be her press officer)

but of course, group of people talking to themselves, organised by COIN (George [Earthfirst, RainforestFoundation, Rising Tide, Greenpeace] Marshall and Dr Adam Corner, and Alex Randall, Kiribati's representative at Cop15) Alex's mum is one of the speakers..

though I thought Alex's mum wrote a very good article about involving children (ie not to)

Feb 4, 2015 at 9:39 AM | Unregistered CommenterBarry Woods

No Bob Ward?

Feb 4, 2015 at 9:44 AM | Unregistered CommenterSwiss Bob

But why is it so hard to find a way forward?

Perhaps if they stopped calling people who disagree with them racists and white supremacists, evil deniers who are ripe for beheading, gassing and branding, they might find a way forward opening up.

But they won't. Hate is too much an integral part of their worldview.

Feb 4, 2015 at 9:45 AM | Unregistered CommenterRick Bradford

What does the RSA know about climate change? Do they get Government funding to spread the propaganda?

Chris Rapley is not a climate scientist, he has never studied or researched the science of the climate.

Feb 4, 2015 at 9:45 AM | Registered CommenterPhillip Bratby

If the science is borked the other 6 'dimensions' are also.

Feb 4, 2015 at 9:48 AM | Unregistered CommenterHenry Galt

I have seen the light. If these self-styled saviours of the world were a bit less po-faced and pompous, this is what their meetings would be like: Holy Ghost Revival Meeting:

Feb 4, 2015 at 9:53 AM | Registered CommenterJohn Shade

Ah, the fragrant Solitaire. I see she's branched out into quangodom -- inevitable I suppose, for some reason belief in climate disaster qualifies one for such non-jobs. I can't remember why I distrust her Futerra company so much, there are so many snouts, so many troughs, so many piggies that I can't keep up with them all. Maybe it was my suspicion that the true believers who infest the comment columns of the BBC, Guardian etc are marching to her drum.

Nice work if you can get it -- quangos, conferences, tax deductible flights to the exotic spots where climate conferences are held. I'm convinced, I believe in CAGW, where do I sign? Bali, I'd like to go to Bali....

And meanwhile the old and the poor and the sick choose between decent food or heating their homes. How do these people sleep at night?


Feb 4, 2015 at 10:05 AM | Unregistered CommenterJulian Flood

Julian; They sleep in the warm glow of righteousness.

Feb 4, 2015 at 10:11 AM | Unregistered CommenterIvor Ward

The phrase "In a bid to generate a new dialogue that sparks enduring change ...." sounds reminiscent of the various extreme left factions (Maoists, Marxists, Gramscists, Trotskyists etc) that used to inhabit the UK body politic. In fact these people want neither a dialogue, nor any change to the "consensus". Perhaps they will endorse the enforced sterilisation of plebs and deniers to tackle global warming by population reduction (so much more civilised than beheading, old chap), and then the enlightened may inherit the Earth.

Feb 4, 2015 at 10:21 AM | Unregistered CommenterBudgie

Given the strength of the consensus claimed, is it possible for the environmental guardians to provide the definitive date after which there is no going back. Following said date, when nothing happens, they can then reap the ridicule these doomsday cultists deserve.

Feb 4, 2015 at 10:22 AM | Unregistered CommenterSteve Jones

They sleep in the warm glow of righteousness.
Assisted by having enough money in the bank not to be forced into the decisions that Julian mentions. I first used the expression "heat or eat" in an early blog posting of mine in December 2010. I've seen nothing since to convince me that the "usual suspects" would take a very different view of the world if they were obliged even to consider the need to make that choice.

Feb 4, 2015 at 10:22 AM | Registered CommenterMike Jackson

'there’s widespread consensus that it is our final chance for a truly international, multilateral resolution to the planet’s most pressing challenge.'

that is until the next 'green' jamboree which creates minin CO 2 mountain , where once again it will be claimed to be the 'last chance' has it has been many times before .

Feb 4, 2015 at 10:23 AM | Unregistered CommenterKnR

...psychoanalytic psychotherapist, Rosemary Randall

So is this about brainwashing or merely medicalising dissent?

And who on the panel is meant to be an ethicist?

Feb 4, 2015 at 10:23 AM | Unregistered CommenterMCourtney

"we are keen to hear what you, our audience, consider the key barriers to progress"

I don't think they mean us.

Feb 4, 2015 at 10:24 AM | Registered Commenterjamesp

I think this really tells us everything we need to know:

Feb 4, 2015 at 10:24 AM | Unregistered CommenterOld Goat

Yet another body with no connection to climate science skimming off public money to pursue a political activist agenda. I want my arts money spent on paint brushes not on political propaganda, my famine relief money spent on relieving famine, my TV licence money spent on ... etc.

Feb 4, 2015 at 10:47 AM | Unregistered CommenterMikky

Is there an actual serious climate scientist in the list? It just looks like a collection of eco loons and people profiteering from so called global warming to me. Surprised Al Gore hasn't been invited.

Feb 4, 2015 at 10:51 AM | Unregistered CommenterStu

It's ironic to see Chris Rapley's name attached to a “bid to generate a new dialogue”. When I put up a transcript of his recent one man Royal Court doomfest on my blog his lawyers ordered me to take it down. When I pointed out that it was a bit odd to announce Armageddon and then stifle debate, they put it up for free at the Royal Court site.
Rapley is also involved with the psychoanalyst listed as a speaker. There's a book of articles by psychoanalysts, published with the blessing of the International Psychoanalytical Association with an introduction by Rapley, (and a glowing Amazon review by Rapley) in which they say they see their job as making their patients more aware of impending doom, and hence more depressed than they already are. It would be interesting to see what kind of Hippocratic oath they sign at the International Psychoanalytic Association. They have a blog article on climate change at

Feb 4, 2015 at 10:52 AM | Registered Commentergeoffchambers

Jeremy Leggett is a long-time Greenpeace'er, and a former oilman.

So this is the list:
Green Party
Psychoanalytic Psychotherapist

Feb 4, 2015 at 11:06 AM | Registered Commentershub

They have provided themselves with a mechanism with which they can, to some extent, choose their preferred audience:

This event calls for even more audience engagement than usual! In order to book your ticket, you will need to provide us with your question for our experts, which you must be willing to ask during the event. We will contact you via email to let you know if your question has been chosen. Click on the 'Book Now' link and follow the instructions.

Source: scroll to the bottom

So, you will need to 'provide your question' in order to be considered for a ticket.

Feb 4, 2015 at 11:07 AM | Registered CommenterJohn Shade

The first part of that first sentence actually makes very little sense. What is “a new dialogue that sparks enduring change”? What is “enduring change”? How is it “sparked”?

Amendment to my first sentence: The first part of that first sentence actually makes no sense, whatsoever.

Feb 4, 2015 at 11:10 AM | Registered CommenterRadical Rodent


Latest up-date of method statement on how to put lipstick on a pig.

"new rules: new game"

Communications tactics for climate change.
The game is changing behaviours;
the rules will help us win it

Here is a recent outpouring from that clown Davey:

"Edward Davey speech on the prospects for a global deal at the UNFCC climate conference in Paris, December 2015."

They never give up.

Read it and weep.

Feb 4, 2015 at 11:13 AM | Unregistered CommenterBrownedoff

From the announcement at the RSA website:

“In order to book your ticket, you will need to provide us with your question for our experts”.
This requirement goes to the heart of three of the “seven main dimensions of the climate problem” which they identify, namely: behaviour, democracy, and culture.
An open discussion in which participants are handpicked according to the questions they ask is not part of our culture, it's anti-democratic, and a form of behaviour more suited to politics in North Korea.

Feb 4, 2015 at 11:13 AM | Registered Commentergeoffchambers

Bish says the first sentence is completely untrue. I can see two false statements in the sentence.
(a) "In a bid to generate a new dialogue". As Geoff points out, Rapley et al are not remotely interested in dialogue, only in promoting their own monologue.
(b) "climate change events with a difference." This event is no different from numerous other green-activist get-togethers that have been reported on these pages.

There is something rather fundamental about the format of "Question Time" that the great intellectuals at the RSA seem to have missed completely.

Feb 4, 2015 at 11:18 AM | Registered CommenterPaul Matthews

It reads like textbook abnormal psychology.

Feb 4, 2015 at 11:19 AM | Unregistered CommenterBrute

I think the "what we feel" say it all! Having a psychohoojamaflip on board reminds me of that wacky conference they had a few years ago in Exeter, deciding that being a "climate denier" was a mental illness that should be treated! Shades of Stalin's Russia where dissenters where either sent to Siberia or locked up in mental hospitals or both!

Feb 4, 2015 at 11:25 AM | Unregistered CommenterAlan the Brit

Psychoanalytic pyschotherapist ........ what???

Is this someone who only exists, to make sense, of why no one else has a clue, what he is on about? (but wants to make money out of talking irrelevent nonsense)

Feb 4, 2015 at 11:34 AM | Unregistered CommenterGolf Charlie

I have referred to this before, but people forget....a reprint of the paper in which the quotes below appear can be read here: "Global Warming – The Social Construction Of A Quasi-Reality", It was originally published in Energy & Environment,

"Tyndall Working Paper 58
The Social Simulation of the Public Perception of Weather Events and their Effect upon the Development of Belief in Anthropogenic Climate Change Dennis Bray and Simon Shackley, (September 2004. Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research).

Here are some pertinent extracts:
This paper….. presents a quantitative dynamic simulation model of the social construction of a quasi-reality. By quasi-reality we mean a reality that thus far is defined by expert knowledge and is surrounded by uncertainty.

Global warming (or climate change) is, without elaboration, a much debated and contested issue. Not only is it contested among scientists, but also among all those with vested interests.

We suggest that, in the realm of the public, forces act to maintain or denounce a perceived reality which has already been constructed. That is, an issue introduced by science (or media for that matter) needs continual expression of confirmation if it is to be maintained as an issue.

Science, of course, has framed the issue of climate change/global warming. In this paper, we explore under what conditions belief in global warming or climate change, as identified and defined by experience, science and the media, can be maintained in the public’s perception.

Science in the last few decades has popularized the issue of climate change and/or global warming. The issue itself has the potential of significant ramification not only in the expression of weather events but also in changes in socio-economic policy concerning either or both of adaptation and mitigation strategies.

As the science itself is contested, needless to say, so are the potential policy changes. So how then do people make sense or construct a reality of something that they can never experience in its totality (climate) and a reality that has not yet manifest (i.e. climate change)?

To endorse policy change people must ‘believe’ that global warming will become a reality some time in the future.

Only the experience of positive temperature anomalies will be registered as indication of change if the issue is framed as global warming.

Both positive and negative temperature anomalies will be registered in experience as indication of change if the issue is framed as climate change.

We propose that in those countries where climate change has become the predominant popular term for the phenomenon, unseasonably cold temperatures, for example, are also interpreted to reflect climate change/global warming."

For more on the "Psychology of Deniers", read "We Are Thinking The Wrong Thoughts"

Feb 4, 2015 at 11:35 AM | Registered Commenterdennisa

It is true that Paris will be the green last chance. That's why the massive effort recently. The hottest year, great floods etc. They are absolutely desperate.

Vote out your greens when you can and as soon as possible.

Feb 4, 2015 at 11:36 AM | Unregistered CommenterStephen Richards

Like Geckko, if the 2015 Paris climate conference is truly "our final chance", then I shall be truly grateful. For then we shall all be spared the irritation of refusing it again.

But I have a sneaking suspicion that we are going to be offered many more 'last chances' yet. Possibly with a bargain price attached. Then, like Sainsbury's, maybe they'll start offering us 3 last chances for the price of 2.

Feb 4, 2015 at 11:45 AM | Unregistered Commentermichael hart

there’s widespread consensus that it is our final chance for a truly international, multilateral resolution to the planet’s most pressing challenge.

These warmmongers have totally ruined the perfectly normal word consensus for me...
Whenever I hear that word now I start to itch and flake in weird places.

Feb 4, 2015 at 11:50 AM | Unregistered CommenterWijnand

Clouds rising up, a foetid stink to poison us all and out of the miasma of swampy green slime, no less at the RSA - wot no science? [RSA who the hell are they?].

Nicholas Stern Lord of the flies with a bunch of minion eco demons peddling their wares........

climate scientist, UCL, Chris Rapley CBE; Green Party member of the London Assembly, Baroness Jenny Jones; Co-founder, Futerra, Solitaire Townsend; green-energy entrepreneur and founder of Solarcentury, Jeremy Leggett; psychoanalytic psychotherapist, Rosemary Randall

Hells teeth and WTF?:

Solitaire Townsend is a British businesswoman, focused on the application of marketing principles to the cause of sustainability and climate change solutions.

Wiki here.

" focused on the application of marketing principles to the cause of sustainability and climate change solutions."

Good Lord, the anticipation is too much....................... I can't wait.

A psycho-analytic whatchamacallit?

Oh no! not again, just another marketeer of eco BS supposition.

In the EU, but especially here in Britain and all over the western world........It is a production line of faux 'green' experts, like invasive Cane Toads - do they creep out from, though a trail of slime marks it and isn't it time we shut off and dried it all out, by severing the TAXPAYER FUNDED money hose feeding and filling this swampland of misinformation and lies?

Feb 4, 2015 at 12:09 PM | Unregistered CommenterAthelstan.

Bob Ward has already spoken on the same platform as Randall

Bob's bit starts at 24.00 don't be drinking or eating anything when you get to the part where he describes himself as a "researcher."

Feb 4, 2015 at 12:20 PM | Unregistered CommenterHeknows

"No Bob Ward?"
No Greenblob Bob doesn't need to be there, cos BigGreen Hedgefund Grantham has sent one of his other PR team : Nicolas Stern

- If I had time I would imagine a BigOil conspiracy and flesh it out with some characters : a large PR agency who had a long a well paid relationship, some big money people : hedgefund & spivboy corporations types, maybe a young entrepreneur to add some cool, some paid of scientific names to give it credibility, including psychologist, a couple of tame politicians.
- Then I can imagine the evil BigOil conspiracy would organise a rigged debate at a bought off old institution to try to give a shroud of credibility to their game. A veritable wolf in sheeps clothing.
What a useful tool to further their aims. The rigged debate could come to the exact conclusion that the BigOil conspirators wanted all along. The politicians would help the results get fed into the political machine. There'd be some media pals on the guestlist to also make aure the message is spread outside.

- But hang on having created my scenario I can see I can plug in the same names on the list above to make a similar model about that !

BTW Mr Harrabin will you be covering any rigged debates soon ?..perhaps there is a slot already reserved for an item on the Today prog.

Feb 4, 2015 at 12:22 PM | Registered Commenterstewgreen

Someone at the Royal Society of Arts will no doubt point out that analysis of cave paintings reveals no portrayal of severe weather events. Since the arrival of simple and affordable video equipment, portrayal of severe weather events has shot up.

The conclusion being, that severe weather events, have increased, only because of mankinds technological advances.

Feb 4, 2015 at 12:28 PM | Unregistered CommenterGolf Charlie

But why is it so hard to find a way forward?

No need for a dialogue of the deaf to answer that. It just isn't easy to replace fossil fuels without doing more harm than good and it's a hard sell anyway if the climate hasn't actually changed for nearly 2 decades.

Feb 4, 2015 at 12:55 PM | Unregistered CommenterJamesG

'The 2015 Paris climate conference is looming, and there's widespread concensus that this is our FINAL CHANCE (my capitals) for a truly international, multilateral resolution to the planet's most pressing challenge...'

Hmm...... I think its about that time that I really must sort out my sock drawer...

Feb 4, 2015 at 12:55 PM | Unregistered Commentersherlock1

Thanks Heknows (12:20 PM) for finding the videos of the “Beyond the Couch” sessions (chaired by Chris Rapley) which have disappeared from the website of the Institute of Psychoanalysis.
I wrote this up at
quoting Ms Randall's assertion “For each tonne of carbon dioxide I’m responsible for, someone else, somewhere loses a year of their lives”.
I really must go back and see what else she has to say.

Feb 4, 2015 at 1:37 PM | Registered Commentergeoffchambers

Golf Charlie: perhaps it is even simpler than that – perhaps severe weather events are increasing because of the increase in video equipment! Weather can be a camera-hungry as so many others, therefore, as the number of cameras rise, so the weather gets more theatrical. Forget reducing CO2; reduce the number of cameras – Simples!

Feb 4, 2015 at 1:44 PM | Registered CommenterRadical Rodent

I wonder if the great Thomas Sowell would get into this meeting with this question on his application form:

Meteorology has many facts and many scientific principles but, at this stage of its development, weather forecasts just a week ahead are still iffy. Why then should we let ourselves be stampeded into crippling the American economy with unending restrictions created by bureaucrats who pay no price for being wrong?

Certainly neither China nor India will do that, and the amount of greenhouse gasses they put into the air will overwhelm any reductions we might achieve, even with draconian restrictions at astronomical costs.

Source: a new article by Sowell -
Hat-tip: Greenie Watch

Feb 4, 2015 at 1:46 PM | Registered CommenterJohn Shade

Rosemary Randall has a book out (214p, full colour) recommended by Naomi Klein and George Marshall, and a book launch this month with signings in Oxford, Cambridge and Edinburgh.
It offers “... empathy, encouragement and a practical path to anyone who is concerned about climate change, but can feel lost, angry or powerless … [it] will help you minimise your impact, confront everyday denial, and give you the courage to speak out.”
The advantage of a book signing is that, in contrast with the RSA event, you can speak out without being vetted beforehand. She seems a nice lady from the video, but deluded. I just don't know what I'd say to her if I met her in Blackwells. Any suggestions?

Feb 4, 2015 at 2:10 PM | Registered Commentergeoffchambers

Is not "psychoanalytic psychotherapist" an oxymoron - as well as a waste of space?

Feb 4, 2015 at 2:16 PM | Registered Commenterdavidchappell

No. anyone can call themselves a psychotherapist, whereas a psychoanalyst has to be trained by the Institute of Psycholanalysts, Since most of them are medical doctors, this poses a huge ethical problem when they start telling us there's something wrong with us if we're not depressed about the state of the planet. It's their job to make us feel better.

Feb 4, 2015 at 2:20 PM | Registered Commentergeoffchambers
Feb 4, 2015 at 2:43 PM | Registered Commenterstewgreen

Radical Rodent, you may well be right, but, the important thing is that the electorate don't know that.

The BBC (and others) love to introduce news stories with "..... and here, with dramatic footage of ....... (insert genuine footage of bad weather) is ..... (cut to footage of telegenic reporter, staringly glumly at damage) to tell us why this is another clear indicator of man's impact on severe weather events.

It is all a bit cut and paste, or should it be cut and splice?

Feb 4, 2015 at 4:32 PM | Unregistered CommenterGolf Charlie

stewgreen, are you suggesting that Chris Rapley is what you get, having scraped the barrel, for anything to pad out a slanted approach, even if he has no relevent experience?

If so, you are probably right.

Feb 4, 2015 at 4:45 PM | Unregistered CommenterGolf Charlie

Lord Stern has just forecast that the Titanic will arrive in New York on Friday at tea time. The accuracy of his forecasts, has never been questioned before, so there is no need to start now.

Feb 4, 2015 at 4:57 PM | Unregistered CommenterGolf Charlie

According to her website:

"Rosemary Randall and Andy Brown offer empathy, encouragement and a practical path to anyone who is concerned about climate change, but can feel lost, angry or powerless. "

WTF, is there no end to how far these bloody charlatans will go to screw as many bucks as they can out of non-existent climate change?

Feb 4, 2015 at 5:00 PM | Registered CommenterSalopian

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