David Thompson
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December 17, 2007

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Vitruvius

I have to question how important Mr. Hillman really is.

Last week, everybody at the Bali conference agreed to do *nothing* (other than keep their jobs, that is, have another conference). Of course every party blamed some other party as the cause of the inaction. And also as one would expect, almost every media outlet is reporting their spin on what happened, even though it didn't happen.

In the first episode of Yes Minister, "Open Government", Sir Arnold (then Cabinet Secretary) notes that: "The less you intend to do about something, the more you need to keep talking about it."

Yet the question remains, why do they intend to do nothing about it? My conjecture is that the mandarins working behind the scenes know danm well the prospectus is not tractable, and the rest of this three-ring circus is all just a convenient distraction for the masses, employer for the trough-feeders, and cover for the oligarchs and plutocrats.

China, India, and the developing countries said, nope, we can't do that. Australia, Canada, Japan, and the U.S. said, nope, we can't do that. And so they didn't.

In another episode of Yes Prime Minister, the following dialogue occurs:

"Humphrey: We had to break the whole thing up, so we had to get inside. We tried to break it up from the outside, but that wouldn't work. Now that we're inside, we can make a complete pigs breakfast out of the whole thing.

"Humphrey: It's just like the United Nations, in fact, the more members it has, the more arguments it can stir up. The more futile and impotent it becomes.

"Hacker: What appalling cynicism.

"Humphrey: Yes, we call it diplomacy."

Some people don't like that this is how our species works. Sorry, nothing I can do about that. Besides, it works quite well: the Bali conference was a success exactly because they agreed to do nothing. Is it really possible that all the assembled wise men are wrong, and Mr. Hillman isn't wrong.

OMMAG

Hillman's credentials and authority to speak on matters of science are as sound as those of Al Gore or Stephan Dion.
A "Social Scientist" he is perpetual bandwagon jumper and media sponge.
He has taken up issues on child rearing, public safety and education sometimes even using facts to blow darts into the inflated balloons of other would be social engineers and nurse nanny groups who promote interference based on flimsy evidence. Now it seems to promote his own book is becoming more outspoken from the privilege pulpit.

Looks to me like a fraud and charlatan who sees an easy pay day for himself.

Vitruvius

I'm sorry, that was rather rude of me. Here are the links to the Yes Minister & Yes Prime Minister episodes I referred to above.

British Diplomacy:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RZUOkGxGUVs

Open Government:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EBDNlAuMVBU - Part 1
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i9qt-_-glpY - Part 2
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jwCzEd4z7EM - Part 3
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yhpT7CIotKY - Part 4
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-_CxUKSNrug - Part 5

I do apologize.

TG

Bali was a holiday beach party for like minded well connected ivory-tower con-flab experts.

Meanwhile a little practicality takes place in the EU with no Bali input whatsoever. . .

EU Clean Air

Finally the European Parliament has passed a new directive, called *Air quality,* which creates a plan to improve the air Europeans breathe. The plan is a very promising piece of legislation, albeit complex: it has gathered four previous directives into a single bit of legislation.

Basically, the directive defines maximum pollution levels and a timeframe for its implementation. Which type of pollutants? A lot of them, but the focus has been set on microparticulates PM 2.5, which are considered dangerous for human health as they cause respiratory problems. However, these particulates don't come only from diesel vehicles tailpipes.

Estimates say that diesel cars are responsible for 20 percent of these emissions but the new EURO V rule will practically ban particulates from such vehicles, thanks to the installation of Diesel Particulate Filters (already standard in vehicles such as the Fiat 500 pictured above).
================= AutoblogGreen.com
Not in Canada you say? Pity!

= TG

David

Like many of his associates, Hillman seems suspiciously keen to have us surrender yet more control to the state, or to some transnational entity, including control over how far and how often we may travel (and, apparently, how many people should be living in our homes). And when he says, “This has got to be imposed on people whether they like it or not,” I’m inclined to wonder who will be doing this “imposing” and how. If such measures are rejected by the electorate, which seems likely, what exactly is Hillman suggesting? And is he touching himself when he suggests it?

I’m generally not in favour of pushing elderly gentlemen down stairs, but I think in this instance an exception could be made. For the greater good.

TDK

David: "If such measures are rejected by the electorate, which seems likely, what exactly is Hillman suggesting?"

Be fair David he is quite explicit: "When the chips are down I think democracy is a less important goal than is the protection of the planet..."

David

It’s time to start loosening that stair carpet.

Brendan

"And is he touching himself when he suggests it?"

I sense he is more of a sadomasochistic flagellation type. He's sounds too mean, in the cheapskate sense, to derive true pleasure from his wild suggestions.

TG

Hillman is dead in the water. Unenforceable policy is no policy at all.

The new flood of Zero emission has started here in BC.

http://www2.news.gov.bc.ca/news_releases_2005-2009/2007TRAN0054-001543.htm

This allows the sales in BC of Quebec made Zenn NEVs and made in Delta Dynasty NEVs. All battery, no tailpipe vehicles.

Hydrogen Buses and fleets are on the march here in BC as well. Liquid hydrogen will be shipped from a plant in Quebec for a fleet of buses that will run *shake down* mode in Victoria before going into service at Whistler.

http://www.greencarcongress.com/2007/12/bc-finalizes-hy.html#comments

Hydrogen seems painfully expensive at first, but the number crunchers have proven economy of scale so governments in most countries are feeding in the seed money. Seems to make sense for heavy bus and truck fleets at least. = TG

David

TG,

Thanks for the links.

“Hillman is dead in the water. Unenforceable policy is no policy at all.”

Agreed. I guess it’s a kind of posturing and emotional masturbation. Heady stuff. But Hillman is far from alone in the unrealism and extremity of his views. Over at Open Democracy there’s an ongoing, and fairly typical, discussion peppered with claims that those who question anthropogenic global warming or apocalyptic scenarios are “like Holocaust deniers, only worse” and that “being sceptical is not an option.”

http://www.opendemocracy.net/forum/2007/12/03/19_000_american_scientists_refute_global_warming?page=1

There is, it seems, a great deal of typing with one hand taking place.

I’m not the first to notice the number of environmental activists who embrace such unyielding rhetoric and claim that the world can only be saved from impending doom by making it “more equal”. As, for instance, when Emma Brindal, a “climate justice campaign coordinator” for Friends of the Earth Australia, said: “A climate change response must have at its heart a redistribution of wealth and resources.”

http://proteinwisdom.com/?p=10447

In light of such claims, and the intolerance of scepticism, and the much broader green-red overlap, it’s reasonable to wonder whether the motivation of many such people is in fact a desire for a cleaner or environmentally “stable” world, or simply that old egalitarian urge to punish, control and redistribute by force.

TG

My pleasure. Your links were good too.

Saving face for Bali?

President Bush Signs 35 mpg CAFE into law.

December 19, 2007
Now it's pen-on-paper official:

Bendgovernment.blogspot.com/

= TG

David

TG,

I can’t claim any great technical expertise in this matter, but the critiques linked below are comprehensible to a non-specialist audience. They’re also, rightly, damning of what often passes for “settled science”. Like many others, Hillman makes outlandish assertions based on assumptions and models that are short on hard data, fiercely contested, or simply unsound. It seems to me that catastrophism and grandiose, authoritarian claims are a matter of routine, despite inadequate evidence and questionable, even absurd, methodology. I’ve seen several activists argue that we “don’t need to know for certain” whether AGW is actually occurring at all. Given the tolerance of these rather fundamental shortcomings and the hostility that often meets questioning or dissent, one has to wonder whether less high-minded motives may also be in play.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FOLkze-9GcI

http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-2827010454587416316&hl=en

Brendan

Indeed, I notice a correlation between people of devout belief, be it AGW or Islam. When questions are asked that point to a possible contradiction in these deeply held beliefs, the response is evasion or even personal attack. It is undoubtedly the "deeply held" aspect that generates such a reaction, the question is, can this affliction be medicated?

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