On Cars, Pollution and Common Sense

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(Neil's Note: This is a monster of an article, not far short of 5,000 words. It has cost me many weeks of work. But the issue is both important and complex, and I don't think it can be put any more concisely. Enjoy! ).



June 2018 was a good month for those of us on the side of truth and common sense in environmental matters. In the Daily Telegraph, Charles Moore has written of the decline of media interest in the mantra of “saving the planet.” In the Wall Street Journal, Steven F. Hayward has gone further. He tells us of “the descent of climate change into the abyss of social-justice identity politics,” and says “climate change is no longer a pre-eminent policy issue.” Meanwhile, a so-called wind drought has caused the UK media to wake up at last to the fact that wind power is useless for generating the base load energy that is vital to our civilization. And even the government are talking of bringing nuclear power back into the mix.


But in at least one other area the greens’ assault on our lifestyles and freedoms is still growing. I refer, specifically, to their attacks on cars and car drivers. Not only is the mayor of London already making it impossibly expensive for all but the very rich to drive their cars in London. Not only is he seeking to widen further the range of his plundering schemes. But the anti-car lobby in the UK are seeking to restrict, and eventually to ban, car use on a national scale. And in this effort they are using a particular kind of pollution, called PM2.5, as their poster child.


The anti-car movement


There has been an anti-car movement in the UK since at least the 1970s. But it was in about 1993 that the anti-car propaganda machine really got going. Our TV screens showed staged pictures of rural roads chock-a-block with cars. Of traffic jams in foggy weather, complete with smoking exhaust pipes. Of the aftermaths of accidents. It was hard, even back then, to avoid thinking that we drivers were being set up. Moreover, organizations that should have defended us, like the Automobile Association, looked the other way, or even added their voices to the witch-hunt. Since then, we have suffered creeping speed limits, chicanes, speed bumps, bus and cycle lanes, new housing without adequate parking, ever rising fuel taxes, and extortionate schemes like the London congestion charge and ultra-low emissions zone.


Why have we car drivers been treated like witches, scapegoats or milch cows? I think much of it is because the car is a strong and visible symbol of individuality and independence. Those that hate the human individual – be they socialists, closet fascists, greens or supporters of other bad political ideologies – find car drivers an irresistible target. And this is all tied up with an agenda of control over and micro-managing of every aspect of our lives, that green activists and others like them have being pushing for decades. One recent study in Scotland, for example, advocated “a combined strategy of radical change in travel patterns, mode and vehicle choice, vehicle occupancy and on-road driving behaviour with high electrification and phasing out of conventional petrol and diesel road vehicles.” That’s typical of what we’re up against.


The accusation


So, what is the accusation being levelled against us over PM2.5? Here’s how the Guardian put it in an article last October: “Every person in the capital is breathing air that exceeds global guidelines for one of the most dangerous toxic particles... Every area in the capital exceeds World Health Organization (WHO) limits for a damaging type of particle known as PM2.5... Nearly 95% of the capital’s population live in areas that exceed the limit by 50% or more. In central London the average annual levels are almost double the WHO limit of 10 μg/m3 [micrograms per cubic metre].” And the article quotes clean air campaigners saying things like, “Toxic air is poisoning our children,” and calling on the mayor of London to “take more urgent, immediate action in light of the scale of the crisis.”


Sounds like a real and serious problem, eh? But this is typical Grauniad reporting. Facts are presented to support only the alarmist side, and tweaked to show it in the best possible light. And as usual with such reporting, what they don’t say matters far more than what they do say.


The WHO and the UN


First, about the World Health Organization. The WHO is a United Nations agency. And the UN is the primary force pushing the world-wide green agenda, which has been a cause of so much pain to all of us over the last 30 years and more.


All this is a matter of public record. You can trace UN involvement right back to the first Earth Day in 1970. You can learn about the UN’s 1982 World Charter for Nature resolution. You can read the 1987 UN report Our Common Future, which set the scene for the 1992 Rio summit and everything that has followed from it. You can read the WHO’s fact sheet on outdoor air quality and health, which promotes policies like “prioritizing rapid urban transit, walking and cycling networks in cities as well as rail interurban freight and passenger travel.”


You can read about Maurice Strong, first director of the UN Environment Programme, with his scandal-ridden business career as well as his many UN projects and his deep green activism. You will probably be horrified by Strong’s 1997 quote: “Frankly, we may get to the point where the only way of saving the world will be for industrial civilization to collapse.” On environmental matters, you may well conclude, the UN and its agency the WHO are extremist organizations, enemies of our civilization, and not to be trusted in any way.




Next, what exactly is PM2.5? PM stands for “particulate matter.” That is, small particles in the air we breathe. The “2.5” means particles less than 2.5 micrometres in diameter. These are considered the most toxic kind of particulate matter, because they are small enough to get through the body’s defences into the lungs. They can also carry chemical poisons, like salts of nickel or arsenic.


And PM2.5 has characteristics, that make it a perfect weapon for globalist control freaks to use to further their goal of a totalitarian world government. For the small particles, which make up PM2.5, tend to remain in the air for quite a long time. And so, PM2.5 pollution can travel far from its source, even across national borders. This helps the UN and the European Union in their claims for international control over these emissions. (Never mind that the worst PM2.5 episodes in London and south-east England usually occur in calm weather with winds from the south-east; and in these conditions, a lot of the pollution comes from the European continent!)


To add to all this, PM2.5 is very hard to measure with any confidence. A 2012 report from the Air Quality Expert Group says: “the metric does not correspond to a definite physical or chemical component of the air but is in effect defined by the measurement method itself.” And this is a consequence of “the metric featuring in legislation before a good scientific understanding of airborne particles was available.” In other words, it was politicians that got us into this mess.


Concentrations versus emissions


To understand air pollution issues, it’s important to distinguish between concentrations and emissions. The concentration of something is how much of it there is in a given volume. It’s measured in mass per volume of air. For PM2.5, this is usually given in micrograms per cubic metre. Emissions, on the other hand – that is, air pollution that is attributable to human civilization – are measured in units like thousands of tons per year. Absent sinks or other sources of the same pollution, emissions of a pollutant by human activities will cause a proportionate increase in its concentration. But in the real world the relation is, to say the least, indirect.




The long term health effects of pollution – whatever they might or might not be – depend on concentrations, not emissions. Therefore, initially the focus on PM2.5 was on concentrations. An EU directive issued in 2008 set targets and limits on these concentrations. The EU set a maximum for PM2.5, averaged over a year, of 25 micrograms per cubic metre; for brevity, I’ll call this 25 units. This started off in 2010 as a “target,” which is defined as “to be attained by taking all necessary, cost-effective measures.” In 2015, it was hardened into a “limit,” any breach of which is likely to result in prosecution by the EU.


On the other hand, back in 2005 the WHO issued its “guideline” figure for PM2.5 of only 10 units. This is an amazing difference; the WHO’s number is just two-fifths of the EU limit! And it’s actually worse than that. For there’s a background level of PM2.5 in the air, which would be there even if there was no human industrial civilization. I’ve heard this stated, by a UK expert, to be 7 units. (Though I think it might actually be less, because both Australia and New Zealand report average PM2.5 lower than 6 units). But if we accept this expert’s view, then compared to the EU limit, to meet the WHO guideline would require humans to reduce our contribution to PM2.5 levels from 18 to 3 units, a factor of 6. That isn’t going to happen without the breakdown of civilization as we know it; which, I suspect, was Maurice Strong’s aim all along.


Now, where are we today in terms of actual, measured concentrations in the UK? The average in London is about 14 units. A few sites in central London are above 20; but as of 2015, there was no place in London at which the EU limit was broken. And the averages in urban areas and at roadside sites throughout the UK in 2017 were 9.6 and 9.9 units – very close both to each other and to the WHO guideline.




So, what are the main sources of PM2.5 emissions? Diesel engines are one. (Petrol engines emit very little PM2.5). However, emissions from diesel car engines have been cut by an order of magnitude in the last two decades. Diesel cars built since 2010 emit only a tenth as much PM2.5 as those built in 2001 or before.


Note that this is a different issue from nitrogen oxide pollution from diesels, which has become a problem in the UK for two reasons. First, Blair and Brown’s 2001 decision – aided and abetted by their scientific advisor, David King – to encourage people to buy, and manufacturers to make, diesels ahead of petrol cars. Second, the manufacturers’ failure to make diesel engines that keep, under real world driving conditions, to the standards they can meet in the laboratory.


To return to PM2.5. There are claims that cars cause significant emissions of PM2.5 in other ways, too: tyre wear, brake wear and road surface abrasion. Extremists are using these claims to argue for eventual bans on petrol cars and even electric cars, as well as diesels. However, it isn’t at all clear how significant these PM2.5 emissions actually are. DEFRA, the UK government agency tasked with providing statistics on pollution, seem to think that most of the emissions of PM from these causes are probably particles larger than, and so less toxic than, PM2.5.


There is, however, one source of PM2.5 in the UK air, which has become very significant over the last four years or so. That is, the burning of wood. It’s estimated that this source produces more than twice as much PM2.5 as all road traffic put together. And yet, the government are actively encouraging and even subsidizing people to burn wood! Madness.


And there’s more madness yet. Efforts to control PM2.5 pollution, up to the early 2000s, had been quite successful. By 2002, emissions had been cut almost to a quarter of their 1970 level. Yet, in 1999, Blair’s government went further, and signed the Gothenburg Protocol. They agreed to set, for the first time, strict controls on emissions of a number of pollutants, including PM2.5. Then in 2012, Cameron and the Coalition agreed to extend this protocol. This extension not only set specific limits on PM2.5 emissions, but also committed to further reductions in the future. This led to the 2016 EU “National Emission Ceilings” directive, which required the UK to cut PM2.5 emissions to 30 per cent below 2005 levels by 2020, and no less than 54 per cent below by 2030.


But by 2005, all the low hanging fruit – all the emissions reductions which could be achieved without causing a lot of pain to millions of people – had been picked. Since then, PM2.5 emissions in the UK have been going down only slightly, and today they are pretty much static from year to year. 2020 is now fast approaching, and there isn’t a hope in hell of meeting the 30 per cent reduction Cameron and co agreed to in 2012. That’s why this is a hot issue today.


The case for the car


There is no doubt that cars are a blessing to those who drive them and ride in them. The car is comfortable, smooth, quiet and private. It keeps you warm and dry. It goes when and where you want it to. It is good at carrying loads – including children. And for most UK journeys outside city centres, it is faster than the alternatives.


Contrast the other means of transport, which the car-haters tell us we should be using rather than our cars. Walking is far too slow for all but the shortest journeys. Public transport, on the other hand, is often slow, indirect, uncomfortable and crowded. It goes according to a schedule which probably doesn’t suit you; and it may not be practical, or even available at all, for your journey. Or it may fail to turn up on time. Moreover, you have to wait for it out in the cold and wet. As to the bicycle, it’s a fine means of transport in its place. I know this, because I once bicycled 4,500 miles from Nova Scotia to California! But now I’m 65, live at the top of a hill, suffer from gout and play the tuba, cycling simply isn’t a practical way for me to get around.


Can we quantify how much benefit cars provide to their drivers and passengers? In 2017, the Daily Express calculated the lifetime cost of running a car in the UK as £169,000. Over 50 years, that’s almost £3,400 per year. That doesn’t include the capital costs of buying the car in the first place – for a £12,000 car which lasts 8 years, that’s another £1,500 per year. Thus, the more than 25 million car owners in the UK are each shelling out every year around £5,000 on average. So, their perception of the benefit from their cars must be at least that large! Anyone that wants to take away that benefit, or even to restrict it, has to put forward a very strong case. Don’t they?


Social cost


So, how does the cost of the pollution that cars emit, or otherwise cause, compare with the huge benefit they provide? Last year, I wrote a paper called “The Social Costs of Air Pollution from Cars in the UK.” That paper is available on the Internet; but it’s very long, and quite technical. One of the things I did was calculate the social cost – that is, the total cost to all those affected – of PM2.5 emissions from diesel cars, in pounds per car per year. I used figures from government reports produced in 2009 and 2010, based on data from 2008. And the social cost I calculated was £183 per car per year.


Now £183 per car per year is significant, even if it is way less than the £5,000+ benefit per year to the driver. But since 2008, PM2.5 emissions from diesel cars have been cut by an order of magnitude. For diesel cars built since 2010, I calculated the social cost of PM2.5 emissions as just £21 per car per year. In comparison to the benefit, that is peanuts; and for petrol cars, the cost is zero! Even if we throw in an allowance for PM2.5 emissions from brakes and tyres – an estimate I’ve seen is that these may be around two-thirds of the emissions from engines – we are looking at a social cost for PM2.5 of only £14 per car per year for petrol cars and £35 for diesels. In a world of common sense, that would offer no justification at all for any restrictions.


“Polluter pays”


There is a principle called “polluter pays,” which is widely accepted and has been incorporated into environmental law in many countries. This is an application of the common sense principle that each individual bears responsibility for the effects on others of his or her own voluntary actions. In the case of air pollution, which arises as a side effect of other human activities such as driving cars, it implies that polluters should pay according to the amount and the toxicity of the pollution they cause.


To apply the “polluter pays” principle rightly, therefore, the social cost of the pollution must first be quantified, objectively and accurately. Then polluters should each be made to pay their own share of that cost, according to the fraction of the pollution for which they are responsible. In a common sense world, that payment should then be routed as compensation to the people who suffer the negative effects of that pollution – for example, those who live close to main roads.


In schemes like the London ultra low emissions zone, however, the charges bear no relation at all to social cost. For example, new diesel cars are not charged at all, although they have a higher social cost than petrol cars, even 15 year old ones. But diesels built between 2010 and 2015 (like mine), which emit no more PM2.5 than a brand new diesel car and only slightly more nitrogen oxides, are charged full whack! Moreover, the scheme doesn’t give anything to the people impacted by the pollution. It is merely a rip-off, through which the mayor of London seeks to rake in vast sums of money to use on his pet projects.


The backstory


As if all this wasn’t enough, there are very great uncertainties in the government figures I used to calculate the social costs per car. And there’s a backstory, too. Those familiar with the backstory on global warming will, I’m sure, recognize a lot of similarities between the two.


In the early 1990s, two major studies were carried out on the association between PM2.5 and death rates in the USA. One was the Harvard “Six Cities” study of 1993, the other was the American Cancer Society’s “Cancer Prevention Study II,” published in 1995. Both were based on data collected in the 1980s, and both concluded that there was a strong correlation between PM2.5 concentrations and mortality rates.


However, the raw data used in these studies was not made publicly available. In 2013, the US House of Representatives issued a subpoena to the Environmental Protection Agency for the data; but it was not complied with. Only recently, with the change of administration, have some other scientists been allowed access to versions of this data.


There were enough criticisms of these studies, that in 2000 a team from the Health Effects Institute were allowed special access to the data in order to do a re-analysis of the work. They declared: “Overall, the reanalyses assured the quality of the original data, replicated the original results, and tested those results against alternative risk models and analytic approaches without substantively altering the original findings of an association between indicators of particulate matter air pollution and mortality.” But the review did say: “No single epidemiologic study can be the basis for determining a causal relation between air pollution and mortality.”


The 1995 ACS study, updated in 2002, was used by the UK government when, in 2009, they tried to work out how big a problem PM2.5 was in the UK. They accepted the “risk coefficient” (6 per cent) from this study as being applicable to the UK also; though it isn’t clear on what scientific basis they did this. And they tried a novel way of estimating the uncertainty, which amounted in essence to seven experts each waving a wet finger in the air, and pooling the results. The result was a factor of 12 between their upper and lower bounds!


In a follow-up report in 2010, they concluded that in 2008 PM2.5 had caused nearly 29,000 deaths in the UK, with an average loss of life for the individuals affected of 11.7 years. My sanity checker finds this figure rather implausible; it means that more than 5 per cent of all deaths of people aged over 30 in the UK in 2008 were caused by PM2.5! However, it’s the best figure I have, so it’s the one on which I based my own calculations.


According to their “75% plausibility interval,” though, the actual number of deaths could have been anywhere between 4,700 and 51,000. So my figure of £21 per diesel car per year for the social cost of PM2.5 emissions could have been anywhere from £37 down to £3.40. For anyone to suggest yet more heavy taxes on cars, or restricting or even banning them, for the sake of such a tiny impact and in the presence of such huge uncertainties, is lunacy, if not also bad faith.


James Enstrom


Just as with global warming, there have been scientists who don’t follow the “consensus” narrative. And just as with global warming, these scientists have been victimized and treated as pariahs by the establishment. Prominent among them is James Enstrom, an epidemiologist from Los Angeles. Enstrom used to work on ACS projects; but they terminated his funding in 1994. In 2006, the ACS accused Enstrom of (in the words of Wikipedia) “misrepresenting scientific evidence to deny that passive smoking was harmful.” And in 2010 his university, UCLA, tried to fire him, and he had to take the case to court.


Enstrom’s view on PM2.5, as far as I can make it out, is as follows. First, the correlation between PM2.5 and mortality in the ACS study was far too high. Indeed, he accuses the study’s authors of making “selective use” of the data. Second, a non-smoker (like me) only inhales about 5 grams of PM2.5 in a lifetime. That’s a calculation I checked myself; my result was 4.6 grams in the expected lifetime of an average Londoner. Third, to be sure that PM2.5 is as toxic as is claimed, we need a good understanding of how, chemically and biologically, it causes its toxic effects – as we do indeed have for other highly toxic substances, like arsenic. But what, exactly, are these mechanisms for PM2.5? And fourth, other studies, notably in California, have shown no evidence even of correlation between PM2.5 and mortality, let alone causation.


The precautionary principle


There’s one more detail I must cover; the perversion of the precautionary principle. I have written in depth about the subject elsewhere, so this will be only a summary. In its original form the principle, whose name translates literally from the German as “fore-care principle,” can be put as “Look before you leap.” It can also be thought of as “First, do no harm.”


But environmentalists have cleverly re-interpreted and perverted it. One step in that direction was article 15 of the Rio Declaration of 1992: “In order to protect the environment, the precautionary approach shall be widely applied by States according to their capabilities. Where there are threats of serious or irreversible damage, lack of full scientific certainty shall not be used as a reason for postponing cost-effective measures to prevent environmental degradation.”


This makes no sense. For you need a very high degree of scientific certainty indeed, in order to be able to estimate costs and benefits accurately enough to decide whether a proposed action will be cost-effective or not. A factor of 12 between upper and lower bounds is no good! You need something more like plus or minus 10 per cent. And even that won’t be good enough if the margin between costs and benefits is close.


But it’s worse than that. For in 2002, the UK government perverted the principle even further. “The purpose of the precautionary principle,” they wrote, “is to create an impetus to take a decision notwithstanding scientific uncertainty about the nature and extent of the risk.” This says, in effect, that you must make a decision to “do something,” even if the data you have isn’t good enough to make any decision at all! It gives their take on the precautionary principle almost exactly the opposite effect to its true meaning.


Some common sense


It’s time, at last, to apply some good, old-fashioned common sense to this issue.


For governments, the precautionary principle, in its true form, says that you must not take any action – and most of all, any action which harms or may harm innocent people – until you’re confident the benefits will be greater than the costs. After all, isn’t government supposed to be for the benefit of the governed? All the governed? And doesn’t that mean that governments should never, ever make a commitment on behalf of the governed, unless it’s absolutely clear that it can be met without causing pain to the people they are supposed to be serving?


And yet, on this issue the UK government has, again and again, put their own green virtue signalling ahead of the interests of the people. Major and co, if they had rightly applied the precautionary principle, should never have signed up to Rio. Blair and co were anti-car right from the start; one of the very first things they did was the Road Traffic Reduction Act 1997! They signed up to Gothenburg. They encouraged diesel engines rather than petrol, thereby causing huge amounts of PM2.5 and nitrogen oxide pollution which need not have happened. And they aided and abetted the perversion of the precautionary principle.


Cameron and co, when they got power, compounded the felony. They signed up to the 2012 extension of Gothenburg, when it should have been damn obvious that the commitments they were making on PM2.5 would be impossible to meet. And they subsidized the burning of wood – yet more government-caused pollution which need never have happened.


Now, what of the business case for and against the car? The benefits of cars, to all those who use them, are orders of magnitude greater than the social costs caused by pollution from those cars. And that’s using the government’s own figures. For control freaks to try to use PM2.5 as an excuse to impose an anti-car agenda is not only deranged, but also extremely dishonest. Besides which, our freedom to choose the mode of travel which best suits us is more important than opportunities for selfish politicians to flaunt their green credentials. And all this is exactly the kind of crap that so many of us voted for Brexit in order to get away from!


Further: The science on the toxicity of PM2.5 is dubious. The original data, on which that science was based, has been kept hidden for decades. The uncertainties are huge. The social costs of pollution from cars may turn out, when examined objectively and without political bias, to be lower yet than the figures I gave here. And even if the claimed PM2.5 problem was a real one, how can you regulate something that you can’t even measure with confidence or accuracy?


Earlier, I referenced the “polluter pays” principle. And I agreed with it – provided individuals are required to pay only for the social cost of the pollution they cause, and no more. I wonder if, perhaps, we should make a companion principle, which I’ll call “politicker pays?” Should we not hold politicians and others, that have promoted or supported bad policies like the green agenda, individually responsible for their share of the damage done to us by those policies? Wouldn’t everyone in politics or government (or even science!) then be forced to use, in everything they do on our behalf, the precautionary principle? In its true form: “First, do no harm?”


Dino Manalis Added Jul 1, 2018 - 7:52am
 We won't go back to horseback riding, we have to research and develop all energies to protect the environment; save/create jobs; and keep energy costs down.  Fossil fuels need to be made cleaner as well.  In addition to cleaner cars, people will likely fly in passenger drones to avoid traffic and airport regulations.
Bill H. Added Jul 1, 2018 - 11:24am
Common sense is continuing to make efforts to make vehicles and other sources of pollution cleaner. This will pay in the long run with both jobs, better health, lower insurance, costs, and the list goes on.
What is stupid is to do what is now being done in the US such as reversing pollution standards, backing out of international research and efforts, appointing an EPA director who's job assignments include essentially unbinding all of the advances and protections we have established for clean air and water. Essentially a short-term profits over long-term damage move.
When people like this are being appointed as science advisors for the Trump administration, things can only get worse.
Paul Discher Added Jul 1, 2018 - 11:41am
There are some environmental issues where we can all agree the government needs to exert its power and others where the government has over stepped its power.  This article only does a great job of highlighting the latter.  Because of that, despite its length it’s seems very incomplete.
Ian Thorpe Added Jul 1, 2018 - 4:00pm
Neil, there are a few things I'll have to check before I can add anything constructive to this thread, so for now a question that is totally irrelevant but amusing I hope.

Is playing the tuba a symptom of having gout or is having gout a result of playing the tuba?
opher goodwin Added Jul 1, 2018 - 5:28pm
Having a friend who died of lung cancer due to passive smoking I would certainly take issue with the denials of fools like James Enstrom. Perhaps he can come and explain to my friend Tony's widow that he isn't really dead.
Likewise we can refute global warming, species extinction and claim the rainforests are not being chopped down. Except I have personally witnessed the coral bleaching, swathes of rainforest logging and seen the reduction in wildlife.
I love my car and driving. I will be sorry to see it go. But common sense, backed up by expert evidence, shows that the pollution is too great. We either have to do away with combustion engines or greatly clean them up. 
Driverless technology will cause a huge change as will cities banning all but electric cars. The revolution is coming whether we like it or not.
The environment should be the number one concern. The changes we have created in the last hundred years are simply frightening. Only a stupid person would claim otherwise.
BTW - I don't know where you get your figures for wind power but they are doing just great - Renewable electricity capacity was 40.5 GW at the end of 2017, a 13.3 per cent increase (4.8 GW) on a year earlier.
Neil Lock Added Jul 2, 2018 - 2:39am
Dino: Surely, we should R&D all sources of energy that show the potential to deliver the power we need reliably and cost effectively.
And fossil fuels have been made cleaner - a lot cleaner - in recent decades. We got rid of lead in petrol - remember that? Today's petrol cars emit orders of magnitude less pollution than the cars of 50 or 30 years ago. And it's still going down! - except when government interferes and tries to force the market instead of just letting things happen. Blair, Brown and co decided to parade their greener-than-thou convictions, and promoted diesels because they emit less carbon dioxide! The result - NOx pollution got worse, not better. And people like me landed up not being able to find a petrol example of the car we wanted, and having to settle for a diesel. All the fault of Blair, Brown and their cronies.
Neil Lock Added Jul 2, 2018 - 2:52am
Bill H: Yes, common sense will do the job if not interfered with. The nature of the market and innovation is to do things better, quicker and cheaper. And if cleaner is cheaper - and it is - then in the long run it will do things cleaner.
As to US party politics, there has got to be something wrong when the EPA fails to comply with a subpoena to release data, no? Shouldn't it be a requirement of all government funded science that the raw data is made publicly available, so anyone with the right abilities can check the work it is based on? And what if the science, on which your "advances and protections for clean air and water" have been based, turns out to have been flawed or even fraudulent? Don't the people deserve, at the least, a refund? Trump may be an idiot in some ways, but on green issues I think that (probably for the wrong reasons) he is moving in the right direction.
Neil Lock Added Jul 2, 2018 - 3:03am
Paul: The problem with dealing with green activists and their politician friends is that they never let up. Let them have half an inch, and they'll take a mile, and then next year (or decade) they'll recycle the same scare and take another five miles. Look at the commitments that idiot Cameron made on PM2.5, for example.
That said, in fact I have put forward a way in which the power of government can be used to resolve issues like this one objectively and justly - my approach of "polluter pays the social cost." You need good, honest, objective, accurate science first, though. And that's the last thing the activists and the pseudo-"scientists" and the politicians and the bureaucrats want - because, more than likely, good science on these issues would expose them as the bullshitters they are.
Neil Lock Added Jul 2, 2018 - 3:10am
Ian: I can conceive of a potentially plausible hypothesis "playing the tuba causes gout." Perhaps it may have something to do with very small particles of brass (less than 2.5 micrometres in diameter, forsooth!) being dislodged from the tuba, finding their way into the joints and acting as seeds for the formation of crystals of brass urate? If you'll fund my research grant... :-)
Flying Junior Added Jul 2, 2018 - 3:29am
Climate science has been developed by the finest minds on the face of the Earth for the last eighty years.
Neil Lock Added Jul 2, 2018 - 3:35am
Opher: Back in the 1960s, my then best friend's father died of lung cancer. He had been a chain smoker for decades. But passive smoking is a different matter. I'm inclined to be skeptical about any "science" that is used or mooted as a lever for policy action. Because politics is dishonest, real science is honest, and the two cannot mix.
That said, I don't have enough information to make a judgement on the validity of Enstrom's work. Having read a couple of his recent papers, he strikes me as somewhat curmudgeonly, but certainly not deranged. But on the basis that there's no smoke without fire, I tend to expect that anyone, who gets the kind of treatment from the establishment that he has had, probably has something to say, that the establishment don't want brought into the open.
On cars, you say "common sense, backed up by expert evidence, shows that the pollution is too great." I disagree 100%, and that is the entire thrust of my article. My common sense tells me that a mountain has been made out of a molehill, and they probably killed the mole in the process.
But when you say, "The environment should be the number one concern," I ask - as I have many times - "Whose environment?" For me, it's the environment for human beings that matters. What I care about is things like truth, honesty, good science, peace, individual freedom and objective justice. And I don't think of the planet as some Gaia-goddess who must be obeyed, or as some ecological system which must be frozen in time as it was at a particular moment, but as a place we human beings have the opportunity to make into a home and a garden fit for a civilized species.
As to wind power, try 
https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-06-05/wind-disappears-in-britain-leaving-turbines-at-a-standstill. That article was one of the things that started me writing this one.
opher goodwin Added Jul 2, 2018 - 8:10am
Neil - my father and mother both died from smoking. My father died at the age of 58 from lung cancer that had progressed to his liver. My mum lived into her seventies and suffered strokes, heat attacks and finally died of cancer - all from smoking. I helped nurse them to the end and it wasn't pleasant.
My friend Tony, who was not a smoker, died of a rare form of lung cancer that is caused by passive smoking. He died in his sixties. His disease stemmed from his teenage years living in his home with his mother and sisters all smoking.
The pollution created by particles, nitrogenous and sulphurous pollutants from car and lorry exhausts is well documented. It creates asthma, circulation problems, heart disease and cancers. This needs addressing as it is adversely affecting the health of millions of people. I lived in LA for a year and saw the smog, created by cars, trapped in that inversion layer. I breathed it, tasted it and coughed a lot. I now live in the countryside and when I go to London I can taste the air. 
This can be addressed by improving cars so that the pollution is cut down or by introducing non-polluting cars (electric). I am all in favour of it.
As a biologist I can tell you that we are part of the environment. We live in an ecosystem. We are part of that ecosystem. There is not a special environment for human beings. We are dependant on the whole thing.
Right now we are destroying that ecosystem at a terrifying pace. 
I personally would hate to see the demise of hedgehogs, frogs, toads, lizards and slowworms. I would hate not to see swifts and swallows wheeling in the air or not hear the chorus of songbirds.
I would hate to find we had slaughtered all the rhinos, chimps, gorillas, elephants, tigers, lions and tens of thousands of other wonderful creatures. And we are killing them all.
That loss would make our lives all the poorer.
But what will affect us just as much is the alteration to our climate, our weather, the water, food and atmosphere. We are degrading and losing soil, fresh water and fish. We are dramatically altering the planet.
Now you might not care about it; you might selfishly say that it won't affect you much, but it sure as hell will affect your children and grandchildren and it affects all of us in terms of impoverishment of our lives. Nature is life affirming and renews the spirit. We're making the world more sterile, plastic and uniform. That is a huge loss.
Neil Lock Added Jul 3, 2018 - 3:14am
Flying Junior: There have indeed been some fine minds investigating the science of climate. Svante Arrhenius, who started the CO2 debate more than 120 years ago, was one such. Hubert Lamb was another. Unfortunately, those who have followed them haven't always kept to the rules of honest science. Rather than follow truth wherever it leads, they have chosen to focus on searching for "evidence" to support a particular narrative.
opher goodwin Added Jul 3, 2018 - 3:59am
Neil - are you really suggesting that all the work carried out on the greenhouse effect and the monitoring of the current warming of the planet is all poor science?
I can't really believe you are saying that. The evidence is overwhelming. It is only a small rump of flat-earthers who believe otherwise.
Neil Lock Added Jul 3, 2018 - 4:03am
Opher: There is a huge divide between us on this subject. Yes, smog has been - and to an extent still is - a problem in LA, because of particular local conditions. I experienced it myself on a trip there back in 1983. And yes, smoking can cause lung cancer. The question is not whether there is a problem that, in your words, "needs addressing." Rather, it is how far people, who are merely going about their daily lives, should be forced to suffer restrictions for the sake of some "solution," devised by extremists like Maurice Strong, which is to be imposed on them by the political class.
As I said to Paul above, what I'm trying to do here is set an objective and honest basis on which such issues can be addressed. If you read again what I've written, and think about the backstory, you'll see that greens and their politician cohorts always push harder and harder and harder, and they never stop. Look at the way PM2.5 "targets" and "limits" have been tightened again, and again, and again - and that's right after people in the UK had just cut those emissions by 75 per cent in only thirty years! In a sane world, once the "problem" had been shown to be real and accurately quantified, there would have been one, eminently achievable, target set - say, an acceptable level of X, to be reached in Y years by a package of measures Z that cost no more than the social cost of the pollution which is eliminated. And, once achieved, that would have been the end of it. Problem solved!
But greens don't work like that. Nothing is ever acceptable to them. Everything has to be reduced, reduced, reduced, forever. People's rights and freedoms are of no importance to them. And they don't care a damn about the costs of their policies to others. It really irks me that people like you, particularly with your scientific training, don't seem to be able to appreciate that green policies, if taken to their logical conclusion (as they will be, if we good people don't stop them) will inevitably end up killing our civilization. For the sake of "cleaning up the bathwater," they will kill the baby. And you even seem to want to support their mischievous schemes!
As to the ecosystem and species bit, who are you talking of when you say wehave never knowingly killed a rhino, or a chimp, or a gorilla, or a song-bird, or even a slow-worm. The way I see things, I accept personal responsibility for the effects of my actions on others; and I regard killing any kind of animals as inelegant, and only to be done at need (for example, for food, or to get rid of pests). But I don't go with all this "we are doing terrible things to the planet" guff that you seem to find so attractive. My response is, if you think you're doing terrible things to the planet, stop doing those things!
opher goodwin Added Jul 3, 2018 - 4:25am
Neil - I do not promote a policy of strangulation - merely compromises that reduce harm. If it wasn't for the clean air act and similar legislation we'd still be having smogs and millions dying. We have cleaned up air and water because it needed cleaning up for all our good. The same with lead.
As science progresses we find out more about the dangers and carcinogens. That is why life expectancy has increased.
Our huge population is having an enormous impact on the natural world. We are wiping out habitat, removing insects, and driving tens of thousands of species to extinction. Just by living we are all doing that. I greatly value those species and mourn their loss. I am also aware that we are part of that ecosystem and not apart from it. The damage we are wreaking will come back at us.
I find it sad that you do not value this at all and deny that we are doing great harm. I have stood on desolate landscapes all over the world that used to be teeming with life and are now sterile. I have witnessed huge pollution. I find that extremely distressing.
Sam Nowaczynski Added Jul 3, 2018 - 8:02am
Requiring polluters to pay the social cost is an impossible requirement.  For starters, social cost is a figure which cannot be converted into a dollar amount.  What will you have me pay if I choose not to recycle or drive a suv instead of a bike.  Second, you have no ability to enforce a penalty should the polluter happen to reside where you can’t get them.  
As for forcing the politicker to pay for unnecessary regulations, that would be impossible too.  Few if any individuals have the kind of money to pay for the cost of unnecessary green regulations. Even if you could fine them or something, I’m sure  he or she would disagree their proposed regulation was a bad idea.  They would simply say point to global warming or something and continue to claim the regulation was worth the cost.
opher goodwin Added Jul 3, 2018 - 8:30am
Sam - so what do you call unnecessary green regulations?? Those that protect peoples health? Those that protect the environment from pollutants? Those that curb things that contribute to global warming? Which exactly are unnecessary?
I personally would press for sensible regulations that protect health, the environment and stop global warming. I would fine people who break those regulations.
We saw what happens with BP in the Gulf when short-cuts are taken. Or do you want to do away with those regulations too?
I've lived in both LA and London and seen the immense harm done by pollutants to people's health. Or do you prefer lots of deaths and illness and a free for all?
I've travelled the world and seen garbage trucks unloading onto beaches outside Lima and a sea full of garbage and toxic waste. You wouldn't put a stop to that?
I've seen a great brown slick of sewage washing round the coast from untreated sewage from townships in Cape Town. That's alright too?
The world temperature is rising and sea levels are following, corals are bleaching, hurricanes are building and cities are flooding. That's OK too?
Gold mining on the Amazon with arsenic, strip mining in the rainforests, unrestricted logging in Asia, Australia, Tasmania, South America and Vietnam - no problem.
Air quality, water quality, food quality and a world where nature can prosper are priorities with me. I don't want my grandchildren eating and drinking things stuffed with carcinogens, breathing air that will make them ill and not being able to appreciate the wonders of nature in the wild.
Neil Lock Added Jul 4, 2018 - 4:22am
Sam: No, that's exactly what I'm trying to do here - estimate the social cost in terms of a dollar (or, in this case, pound) amount. If an SUV causes (say) 10 times as much pollution as a bike, and you choose the SUV, you will land up paying 10 times as much. As to enforcement, cross-border pollution aside, a decent government could do it, for example, simply by means of a per-litre or per-gallon levy on the polluting fuels, to be used for the particular purpose of compensating those affected by the pollution. (Replacing existing taxes, of course, not adding to them).
As to how "politicker pays" can be achieved, that's a downstream issue and depends on a change in political winds. Some form of class action suit springs to mind, but I haven't thought through any details.
Neil Lock Added Jul 4, 2018 - 4:36am
Opher: It isn't that I don't value environmental improvement. It's that I don't put an all but infinite value on it, like the greens seem to - a value which is so high that it overrides everything else, like other people's freedom and convenience.
There has to be a point at which we can say, woah, now the air quality is acceptable considering all the other things we need and want to do. Besides which, the "polluter pays social cost" principle will ensure that no-one gets away with polluting the air (or water, or other common resources) without paying full compensation to those affected.
As to your grandchildren not being able to appreciate nature in the wild, I've told you the solution before: get together with like minded people, and create a reservation or reservations for whatever species (singular or plural) you are interested in. If you like gnats, for example, you can create "Opher's Gnat Park" - and even charge for admission, if you think there are enough of your fellow gnatterers!
opher goodwin Added Jul 4, 2018 - 5:47am
Neil - I would agree with you that there have to be reasonable limits. There is no need to go to extremes. It is a system of diminishing returns. What is required are a reasonable set of standards.
Unfortunately, as regards the grandchildren, there is no way that any group of people (short of the elite 1% of multibillionaires working in consort) can deal with the demolition of our rainforests, ivory poaching and the extinctions of our apes, rhinos, elephants and giraffes. Setting up a gnat farm simply doesn't do it. This is the province of governments and legislation.
Ian Thorpe Added Jul 4, 2018 - 10:12am
"Climate science has been developed by the finest minds on the face of the Earth for the last eighty years."
Are you having a laugh?
Climate science, apart from being yet another abuse of the word science, is the work of idiots. The Prime example of this is Prof. Michael Mann, of hockey stick graph fame, who tried to sue several people who exposed his graph as a fraud.
In the cases that got to court (most were kicked out at an earlier stage because Mann refused to provide any evidence to refute his critics claims (in other words when asked how the court could decide whether his graph was correct or not, his answer could be summarised as, "Because I said so and I'm a scientist, nobody can agrue with facts like that."
Whatever Happened To Michael Mann's Defamation Suit - Washington Post
Court dismisses Michael Mann lawsuit against National Review - Climate Depot
Mann vs Steyn, the trial of the century - Real Clear Politics (this one is well worth reading for the links to independent research which shows the extent of Mann's fraudulent manipulation of data.
Fatal Courtroom Act Ruins Hockey Stick Mann - Principia Scientifica
A snippet from this 2017 report tells us, " Penn State climate scientist, Michael ‘hockey stick’ Mann commits contempt of court in the ‘climate science trial of the century.’ Prominent alarmist shockingly defies judge and refuses to surrender data for open court examination. Only possible outcome: Mann’s humiliation, defeat and likely criminal investigation in the U.S."
So the question raised by the above is "What kind of idiot would launch a defamation law suit then go into court thinking he could refuse to produce any evidence to show that the defendants claims against him were untrue?"
And the answer is "The kind of idiot who calls himself a climate scientist."
I don't see any need to go further in showing how the climate change sacremongering is based on pseudo science and political agendas, all the claims, including the one about arctic sea ice having disappeared by 2013 are being debunked one by one. Currently, as the Barents Observer reports, unprecedented levels of sea ice in midsummer are interfering with shipping in the Arctic Circle.

I wish you climate science wailers and gnashers of teeth would understand science is about observable, demonstrable evidence, not emotions.
Ian Thorpe Added Jul 4, 2018 - 10:31am
Neil, I was planning to write something on the progress of what might be called "the future is electric" lobby on personal transport, discussing Tesla, flagship of the EVs campaign and the cars' tendency to barbecue their occupants, but as has happened before the antics of the con man Musk preempted me.
Last weekend the attention was on Tesla's bizarre antics in trying to hit production targets (a production line in a tent and an asembly process similar to that Ford used to produce the Model T,), but it turned or that rather than the promised 5000 cars being produced, that number had been "factory gated" whatever that means.

While  we scratched our heads and tried to work out what the marketability of a factory gated car is and whether the cars have passed quality tests and are roadworthy,  Business Insider provided confirmation backed up by evidence that Musk's quality control transgressions in the scramble to meet that target and avoid more adverse publicity were more than usually dishonest: according to the report, which was based on internal Tesla documents provided to Business Insider by what appears to be a whistleblower (coincidentally Tesla's chief engineer quit over the weekend), "Musk appears to have asked engineers at his Fremont, California factory to remove a standard brake test, called the brake and roll test, from the tests Model 3 cars must undergo in order to move through production."
Tesla model 3 cars are target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer nofollow">known to have braking problems. Hmmmm.
Now who would be fool enough to drive one of these highly inflammabe, almost unstoppable death traps. Well in view of my comments on "climate science" above, may I venture that climate scientists and those who believe their pseudo science might be among potential Tesla customers.
Ian Thorpe Added Jul 4, 2018 - 11:59am
BTW Neil, I love the picture of the Moggy up top, the most quintessentially English of cars but it's little 1000cc engine (just over 60 cubic inches for US petrolheads) would have been many times dirtier than my modern 2200cc Honda Accord sport.
opher goodwin Added Jul 4, 2018 - 1:59pm
Ian - as a scientist who has spent time looking at the evidence for climate change I find it completely irrefutable. A shame that it has been politicised and subject to fake news.
opher goodwin Added Jul 4, 2018 - 2:00pm
Ian - I used to have one of those moggies. Loved it. But it is great the way science moves to make things so much more efficient and less polluting.
Ian Thorpe Added Jul 4, 2018 - 4:26pm
Opher, you are a biologist not a statistician. I am not a statistician either but I do have a qualification in statistics (a subject which is more akin to the dark arts than any modern science,) and I will gove you two words which demolish the case for climate change.
Ian Thorpe Added Jul 4, 2018 - 4:33pm
Also Opher I put it to you that the difference between your old Moggy (or my old Ford Anglia) and my 140 mph Honda Accord is not science but engineering.
The physics is the same for both but the engineering has moved on vastly.
Neil Lock Added Jul 4, 2018 - 5:49pm
Opher: It is a system of diminishing returns. What is required are a reasonable set of standards.
Do you, then, take back what you said earlier: the pollution is too great. We either have to do away with combustion engines or greatly clean them up. Do you understand where I'm coming from? To seek to forcibly take away something which is very important to other people, without even trying to prove your case beyond reasonable doubt, isn't kindness, empathy, love or any of the other good things we talked about in your other thread. It's aggression and disrespect for rights. Then, when pressed, to walk your argument back to a system of diminishing returns, is dishonest. You are the one that said the pollution is too great. It's up to you to prove it.
The way the UN, the EU, the politicians and their green cronies act is like putting a noose round our necks and gradually, inexorably tightening it. But we have never deserved any of this! And we have never had any chance to say No. Was there a referendum on the Rio agreement or the Paris agreement? (Cue hollow laughter).
I hope you will take away from this thread the realization that on issues like this one, people like me aren't just trying to be selfish and do whatever we want regardless of cost to others. In fact, it's exactly the opposite. All we are trying to do is defend ourselves, and others like us, against a green-fascist-communist agenda that is seeking to destroy our civilization. And ranting about overpopulation or endangered species doesn't help, either. I say this as friend to friend: Opher, you need to decide whether you want to be part of the solution, or to remain, as you are today, part of the problem.
Neil Lock Added Jul 4, 2018 - 6:11pm
Ian: Many thanks for your contributions to this thread. It may have slipped some people's minds that back in February I wrote a substantial article about global warming on this very forum: http://writerbeat.com/articles/20436-On-Global-Warming.
I wish you climate science wailers and gnashers of teeth would understand science is about observable, demonstrable evidence, not emotions. Well said, sir.
As to electric cars, I couldn't buy one. I live in a block of flats with parking underneath the building. (55 steps down from my door!) To supply charging points down there would be a major, and very expensive, undertaking. Either those that promote electric cars don't understand the scale of the problem for those who live in such places. Or - more likely, in my view - they really don't care. "Promoting" electric cars in place of petrol or diesel is merely a strategy like Opher's walk-back above on pollution standards. What the deep greens really want is to get rid of personal mobility altogether. Except for themselves, of course.
As to the Morris Minor, it is owned by a young friend and fellow tuba player. The car is three times as old as he is!
Neil Lock Added Jul 4, 2018 - 6:22pm
Ian to Opher: I will give you two words which demolish the case for climate change: ADJUSTED DATA.
I can give both of you a few more:
WITHHOLDING DATA (that's an issue with PM2.5 too)
...and those are just on the scientific aspects of the issue!
opher goodwin Added Jul 4, 2018 - 7:29pm
Neil - no I do not take that back. At present the pollution from combustion engines is too great. We have to either clean them up or ban them from city centres. I am not pressing for completely clean air though. We have to find a balance.
I love my car. But I know that it is a health hazard. I've driven for fifty years and I'd be sad to give that up. 
Prove it - just read the stats on air pollution. It is there at the push of a button.
As for adjusted data - baloney. The effects are there to see. As a biologist I see species coming north as a result of warming. I've swum over bleached coral. I've seen documentaries of islands disappearing. I've seen the global charts of temperatures. It's all there. Surely you are intelligent enough to realise something big is going on?
Neil the solution is to do something about these horrendous things. Nature is being destroyed. It is your denial that is the problem. How can you not understand the enormity of what is going on? I have been around the world and studied it. In our lifetime all the apes might well be wiped out! Are you really OK with that?
Neil Lock Added Jul 5, 2018 - 4:09am
Opher on cars: We have to either clean them up or ban them from city centres.
But we HAVE cleaned them up, Opher! As I said in the article, diesel engines made since 2011 only emit a tenth of the PM2.5 that those made before 2001 did. And for petrol engines, PM2.5 has never been a problem. Lead used to be a problem, but that has been dealt with. The issue is not that pollution from cars is a big problem; it isn't. (£21 or even £35 per car per year isn't enough to justify any kind of restrictions at all). The issue is that the UN, the EU and the greens - including you - keep on trying to move the goalposts. Moving the goalposts is a sure sign of bad faith. (The ruckus about emissions from tyres and brakes is an example of this; it's merely a new excuse to try to move the goalposts again).
Neil the solution is to do something about these horrendous things. You need to read again what I said in the article about the precautionary principle. In a world of "First, do no harm," you would not "do something" until you were pretty damn certain that it wouldn't end up doing more harm than good. Look at what happened when Blair, Brown and King decided to do something without a good scientific justification - it resulted in more pollution, not less. Or when the current lot subsidized the burning of wood - again, more pollution, not less.
Whenever government does something, it almost always gets it wrong. That's why the only sane way forward in matters such as preservation of species is for people of like mind to get together and to create or preserve a particular habitat and environment. If it works, well and good. If it doesn't, they are the ones who suffer the resulting problems, not everyone else.
Ian Thorpe Added Jul 5, 2018 - 9:53am
Neil, all you points on the dishonesty of climate science are true and documented, but when I was young boxing was my best sport, so I was trying to use the tactic of landing a big punch early. It's pointless against greens and socialist of course, they are impervious to logic and evidence so no matter how many times they are knocked down they just bounce up again with the same vacuous, emotive arguments.
Ian Thorpe Added Jul 5, 2018 - 10:42am
Opher, I've had garden plants from warmer regions in my garden, cistus (a Mediterranean species) and common mallows native to north America. Both are adapted to survive in poor soil and through long try periods and when we had a run of mild winters they lasted a few years.
The original plantings of both did not survive the first had winter frosts which in I think it was 2010 or 2012 struck suddenly after unusually mild autums.
You're a biologist so you don't need me to tell you what happens with plant life evolved for warmer, drier climates. For the benefit of others however, these plants, though broad leafed, stay green through the winter in areas where frosts are a rarity.
When the temperature drops below about -3 or -4 c (around 25 f) the sap in these warm climate plants freezes. As sap is mostly water, this expands causing the cells to burst. RIP warm climate plant. Likewise with animal (usually bird) species. A few years ago, due to unusual winds, a small number of Sandpipers arrived on England's north west coast (and entertained us all by chirruping Guantanamera.) Ornithologists enthused about them becoming a permanent colony.
They survived the first winter which was mild, but not the second, which was one of the harshest on record in this region.
The reality often tells us a very different story to the one cherry picking scientists would have us believe. And talking of cherry picking, the cherry trees in my garden look as if they might produce edible cherries this year when a winter of record frosts and snowfalls has given way to a long hot summer. The trees, which are native to temperate zones have no problem surviving at 54 degrees north, but we are 400 feet above sea level and a couple of degrees colder that down near the coast, so cherry pie with home grown cherries is not often on the menu.
Nature is indeed a wonderful thing, but far to complex and varied to be fitted to the generalisations of scientists. 
opher goodwin Added Jul 5, 2018 - 1:02pm
Neil - yes there has been a great deal of improvement but not enough. You obviously set your standards different to me. I want a level that, while not being draconian, makes the air breathable. In our cities it isn't yet.
The evidence on climate change, species extinction, rainforest deforestation, sea-level rises, ice-cap reduction, fall in numbers of insects, mammals, reptiles, amphibians and fish and pollution levels are conclusive. Citing a minority of examples of poor science does not alter that.
We need to clean up our act and stop this destruction.
opher goodwin Added Jul 5, 2018 - 1:12pm
Ian - that is simply not true. The problem with looking at weather in Britain is that it is by no means predictable or subject to normal predictions for larger land masses.
The reason for colder winters is due to alterations in the Gulf Stream and Jet Stream. 
What we are experiencing is a situation where species are moving further north because of climate changes. I have been seeing some of the blues (butterflies) in Hull for the first time ever. Climate is not weather.
In the future we are looking as if we might well be a lot cooler if the Gulf Stream moves or dries up. That is what gives us our mild winters. On the continent temperatures fall much lower than we ever get.
Scientists are not cherry picking. The evidence I have looked at is global and irrefutable. There is no doubt that we have global warming and sea level rises. Looking at isolated instances of poor science is clutching at straws. There is far too much good science out there.
opher goodwin Added Jul 5, 2018 - 1:16pm
Neil - I share your cynicism about a lot of things that governments get wrong. However they also get a lot of things right. Without legislation on air, water and food quality we would be breathing smog, drinking water full of lead and pesticides, and having food full of no end of carcinogens. You cannot be cynical about everything. There has been much excellent legislation protecting rivers, seas, farmland and national parks. Without that we'd be swimming in sewage and there wouldn't be any wildlife at all. Sometimes they get it wrong but by nowhere near as much as you make out.
Ian Thorpe Added Jul 5, 2018 - 2:59pm
Opher, your problem is that like most water melons (green on the outside, deep red on the inside) you have closed your mind to anything that challenges your prejudices.

I have seen you rail against religion here, but with your dogma on green issues you out yourself as no different to fundamentalist Christians or Muslims?
I've given a few pieces of evidence above to show that all the predictions of the climate science lobby have failed to materialise. You say you have SEEN evidence of climate change but I'm sure you saw news reports of record snowfalls last winter yet a decade ago one of the high priests of climate science said with all the swivel eyed certainty of a zealot that snow would be unknown by 2012.
I could offer a thousand such items of evidence against global warming but they will be ignored by any believers who prefer the ancient texts of the prophet Mann, bearer of the sacred hockey stick.

Here's an item published in Scientific American that gave the credibility of the climate change scaremongers a big knock earlier this year. The essay, is written by John Horgan, director for Science Writings at the Stevens Institute of Technology
Should we chill out about global warming?
opher goodwin Added Jul 5, 2018 - 3:54pm
Hi Ian - no I do not agree. I like the water melon analogy though but I am green all the way through and red all the way through too.
I am a biologist who is very concerned with the destruction of nature. In my lifetime I has witnessed an enormous decline in nature. As I travel around the world I have witnessed the problems first-hand. My position is based on both personal observation and the statistics that affirm my own observations. I am a scientist and I am not easily fooled. This is not any faith. It is not equated with a religion. That is a false supposition.
I love animals and I love nature. As a child I  spent my life up trees, in streams and ponds, fields and hedgerows collecting animals. I had a big pit in my garden in which I kept a huge number of newts, frogs, toads, slowworms, grass snakes, voles and lizards. I loved them. I kept caterpillars and hatched them into moths and butterflies. My life was studying them, feeding them and enjoying them. I had pet crows, mine, hamsters, guinea pigs, rabbits, boa constrictors and dogs. I loved animals.
Back then the fields were full of insects. The streams were full of stickle-backs, minnows, pond skaters, water fleas and dragon fly nymphs. 
All that has gone. The streams are culvetted or empty. The fields no longer buzz. The hedgehogs, voles, newts and rest are gone. I look for them and they aren't there - or at least nowhere near the numbers. The butterflies have gone and so have the bees.
I go to Australia, South America, Africa, Vietnam and Cambodia and see devastation, rainforest being chopped down and animals slaughtered - either through hunting or habitat destruction. I see massive pollution everywhere and overcrowded cities, urbanisation and massive hunting clearing all wildlife. I see huge plantations of crops taking out natural habitat.
I am a biologist and a nature lover. It distresses me and upsets me greatly. I've seen the bleached corals and the rising seas. Then I have people telling me it is not happening and I tell you that makes me mad. I have seen it. It is happening. It is a disaster and we are directly causing it. It is not scaremongering. That shit is fake news.
Bill H. Added Jul 5, 2018 - 10:30pm
Opher - The ones who are saying it is not happening are the ones who don't care. They are simply here for the "ride", and just want everything to be easy, available, and convenient until their ride is over and they finally become "Earth Friendly", essentially as fertilizer.
For those who see exactly what you have been witnessing (as I certainly do), it is frustrating to see fellow humans with blinders on, ignoring anything that might indicate that things are not going well, thanks to human ignorance.
opher goodwin Added Jul 6, 2018 - 5:35am
Bill - yes you are right. I find it incredibly frustrating and it fills me with dismay. I can see what we are ruining and the cruelty of it. It upsets me greatly.
opher goodwin Added Jul 6, 2018 - 5:37am
Ian/Neil - didn't you ever have pets that you became attached to? How would you feel if your pets were being put through the hell so many of our wild animals are experiencing? 
Ian Thorpe Added Jul 6, 2018 - 2:14pm
Opher, you say:
"I had a big pit in my garden in which I kept a huge number of newts, frogs, toads, slowworms, grass snakes, voles and lizards. I loved them. I kept caterpillars and hatched them into moths and butterflies. My life was studying them, feeding them and enjoying them. I had pet crows, mine, hamsters, guinea pigs, rabbits, boa constrictors and dogs."
So you admit you are a serial animal molester?
opher goodwin Added Jul 7, 2018 - 6:13pm
Ian - oh yes. I molested many animals!