Posted By: David Waywell
26th April 2019
Some claim the sudden arrival of Greta Thunberg in the spotlight is part of a PR campaign for her mothers book, on which cover she features. Not sure that it really matters to those of us that haven’t bought into her but it is patently obvious that there is now a very professional team in the background. It has totally freaked my cat out as she is called Greta too.
Many years ago I was the recipient of a generous NERC grant and was inhabiting the same department and computer rooms as people who were doing climate change work. My particular area was flooding, and I spent most of the time working with buggered up models and was guessing a lot. From what I could gather It is fair to say I wasn’t alone in this. It’s no surprise therefore that the predicted apocalypse is not yet upon us.
I can’t say as I blame the climate change scientists for being alarmist, nobody bothers listening if they aren’t but long term it has probably hurt their credibility. I think being realistic, while human activity is obviously having an effect on the climate, calculating the true magnitude of this is beyond where science is at this point in time. Admitting to that however will get the people concerned nowhere fast. Acknowledging that part of the warming cycle may be down to natural phenomena will get them nowhere even faster so I can understand them rubbishing historical climate change events too.
I do think that it is better safe than sorry when it comes to acting on the environment. The government has probably moved about a quickly as public opinion will allow it when it has come down to strengthening pollution legislation. It is the individual who is reluctant to change their ways as far as I can see.
It is interesting how much we laud ourselves for our superior attitude compared to the 1970’s and we certainly are a more tolerant and equal society than back then. However in the UK our personal behaviour in the environmental arena is one thing that is regressive compared to the 1970’s. More car ownership, longer commutes, way more flights, more stuff consumed. Nothing now gets mended, it just gets chucked. Food miles, clothes miles. Anyone even heard of bottle deposits?
I saw a cartoon I liked the other day. Bloke standing up at a Climate Summit shouting “But what if it’s a great big hoax and we make the world a better place to live in for no reason?” Wish I’d thought of it. Better even than Pascal’s Wager.
Regarding Greta: I got a newsletter from The Times the day after we recorded the podcast which I wish I’d got earlier. It said, in a very matter of fact way, that their reporter had “been granted an interview” with Greta. It’s human nature to put their faith in people who claim to offer answers but, as I wrote over on Reaction last week, it’s still just a faith. Wish we could take the science more seriously and stop basing these issues on the personalities involved. As I keep saying: this problem isn’t political but social.
A couple of things related to Podcast 26:
As Hans Asperger was Austrian ‘Asperger’s’ should be pronounced with a hard g as in iceberg. The only people who pronounce it with a soft g are the Americans.
Opinions differ about the cause of the lead poisoning that doomed the Franklin expedition to find the Northwest Passage. Some say that it was the canned food but others point towards the lead water pipes that were fitted to both vessels. Either way, it’s a horrible way to die.
I rarely have to pronounce it so I have no idea. You’re probably right. We northerners just speak weird. Having said that, the hard ‘g’ does make it sound more like “ass burgers”… 😉
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