Paris climate conference has failed before it has begun: No “treaty” and no legally binding emission limits to be set

November 28, 2015

My opinion (here and here for example) is that the UN’s Paris conference on global warming  (since climate change which is not global warming is not even being considered) has no purpose and is a waste of time. No matter what is agreed or not, global fossil fuel use will double in the next 20 years or so. And it will have no significant impact on “global temperature”.

The EU (Holy European Empire – blessed be its name) in the shape of France, which is to chair the conference, has been adamant that Paris must come up with legally binding emission limits to be more than just hot air. Well, France has now caved in to the US position that no legally binding limits are practical and that any agreement must not be given the status of a treaty.

Why bother then?

The Financial Times (paywalled), has just reported that France has given in. Laurent Fabius will chair the conference and he has, according to the FT, made a major climbdown and accepted that signatories will not commit to any legally binding emission limits.

France bows to Obama and backs down on climate ‘treaty’

My view that this is all a massive and pointless conference is further strengthened by the confirmation that Canada has joined the US in wanting no legally binding agreements from Paris. France- as Conference Chair and representing the EU –  has been one of the strongest proponents of legally binding agreements (which is easy for them with their recourse to nuclear power). Just two weeks ago, the EU warned the US:

Paris climate deal must be legally binding, EU tells John Kerry

Earlier today, the French foreign minister, Laurent Fabius , had said it was obvious that any agreement in Paris would contain lawful elements, and suggested that Kerry was “confused” about the point. 

But now, with France also accepting that any Paris agreement will not be given the status of a treaty and will not require any legally binding emission limits, there seems little point in all the world’s leaders flying in at the end of next week to put their names to an empty document. Don’t expect any legally binding agreement on the provision of funds either.

The only legally binding agreements that Paris may now produce are agreements to meet again and to continue to waste money.

The Hindu Business LineCanada backs US: climate deal should not be legally binding

Canada on Friday backed the US approach to major climate change talks in Paris, saying any carbon reduction targets agreed at the negotiations should not be legally binding. The announcement by Environment Minister Catherine McKenna could irritate host nation France, which wants any deal to be enforceable.

That would be politically impossible for the administration of US President Barack Obama, however, since it is clear the Republican-dominated Congress would not ratify any treaty imposing legally binding cuts on the US.

“Everyone wants to see the US be part of this treaty,” McKenna told reporters on a conference call before flying to Paris. “There are political realities in the US … they cannot have legally binding targets. We don’t expect that the targets will be internationally legally binding,” she said.

Signatories to a Paris agreement should agree to update their climate change goals every five years, she added.

US Secretary of State John Kerry told the Financial Times this month that any deal reached in Paris was “definitively not going to be a treaty”. His remarks drew a stern response from French President Francois Hollande.

The Paris conference might as well not take place. It is certainly time-consuming, expensive and completely irrelevant as far as any man-made global warming is concerned.


The inspiration for Da’esh comes from Saudi Arabia

November 28, 2015

Saudi Arabia is the current Chairman of the UN Human Rights Council.

Believe it or not.

And Saudi Arabia is proving to be the role-model for the region.

A 45 year old Sri Lankan married woman, working as a maid in Saudi Arabia has been found guilty of adultery with another Sri Lankan man and has been sentenced to death by stoning. He, in true keeping with the Saudi tradition of equitable treatment, has been sentenced to receive 100 lashes.

The Saudis are also planning a mass execution of 52 “terrorists” and under this guise have included a few Shia in their execution list. They too have been convicted of “terrorism” because they demonstrated for  human rights.

Of course Saudi Arabia has the “right” to be as barbaric as it wishes to be in its sovereign territory. Naturally it would be unthinkable for other “sovereign” nations to interfere with their behaviour. And if other nations choose to allow distinguished members of Saudi society to behave with impunity even in their own countries, that is surely their sovereign “right”. And if Saudi Arabia then allows such friendly nations advantageous oil deals and buys weapons at inflated prices from them, it is clearly not the business of anybody else. And what is wrong then if workers from developing countries freely enter into contracts of slavery with Saudi Arabian masters. These workers are very well aware that the job description of “maid” includes full sexual exploitation rights for the master/employer.

It is not so surprising, as far as barbarism, oil deals and weapons purchases are concerned, that the inspiration and example for Da’esh (ISIS) lies rooted deep in the traditions of, and current practices in, Saudi Arabia. Saudi Arabia may theoretically be a part of the coalition against the Islamic State (Da’esh) but this is a political opposition and not an opposition to their methods and practices.

UK Labour Party entertains more than expected

November 27, 2015

I expected the US Presidential elections to provide the next years political entertainment, and, to some little extent, Donald Trump is providing this. The UK general election also provided some entertainment and especially in how wrong the polls were. That was already more than expected. But I did not expect the UK to continue providing amusement for so long after their election.

Of course after David Miliband’s loss in the UK election, he had no choice but to resign. That St. Jeremy Corbyn was elected as party leader by such a large margin can be put down, I think, to

  1. the mismatch between Labour Party voters (c. 10 million) and Labour Party membership (c. 400,000),
  2. the packing of the Party membership with new membership from the loony-left, and
  3. a disillusion with the Blairite line as being heretical, from the unions.

And ever since he became “leader” it has been a continuing, old-fashioned farce. The Great names of the labour Party through history are whirling in their graves. St. Jeremy has never held down a productive job in his life and knows only how to agitate and protest and rebel. He hasn’t a clue when it comes to running an Opposition and how to “lead”. Fortunately – in the entertainment stakes – his ego is large enough, and his cronies are loony enough, that the farce is fast-paced and non-stop. It is becoming heretical among them to go against the gospel according to St. Jeremy. His ego leads him to believe that the Shadow Cabinet is of little consequence as a body and that he can dictate what they stand for. He and his cronies are living in the 1960s and are trying to infuse the debate(?) with the thoughts of Chairman Mao. John McDonnell is now given to quoting from Mao’s Little Red Book. Diane Abbott believes Mao did more good than harm. Ken Livingstone thinks the London bombers are somehow admirable in that they died for “their cause” and the 52 who were killed were just a little bit of collateral damage. The cult of St. Jeremy, and it has become a cult rather than a political party with any semblance of democracy, has become the sad inheritor of the Labour Party’s traditions.

There is a by-election due in Oldham next week but St. Jeremy is avoiding that. He may have realised that those of the loony-left who voted him into power are not representative of the voters who usually support Labour. This is a bit of a disappointment for entertainment value. It would have been amusing to hear St. Jeremy propounding his “peacenik” views to normal people. Instead he is spending the weekend trying to figure out, not how to persuade and carry his Shadow Cabinet with him as a “leader might, but how, instead, to bypass or coerce them. That process would also be entertaining in its own right, but unfortunately it is not so visible. His cronies (Graeme Morris and others) are busy trying to twist arms in darkened rooms among the Labour parliamentarians. But ultimately the Labour Party is a creature of the unions. The loony-left are living in the hope that they can manage to keep control of the Party till the next election. But I think it depends on how long the unions are prepared to put up with them.

It should be an interesting week before the Syria vote. That St. Jeremy’s ego and the arm twisting by his cronies can hijack the Labour party is a real possibility. But whether they succeed depends on the courage of the more centrist parliamentarians and their resolve to challenge the lunatics. If they do, the New Religion could be quite short-lived and the temple could come tumbling down. In either event, it should be quite entertaining. How long the entertainment can continue is uncertain, but it would be quite a remarkable achievement if it continues throughout 2016.

“For our children’s children …” is not to be trusted

November 27, 2015

I never met either of my grandfathers or my paternal grandmother, who all died before I was born. However I did “know” my maternal grandmother and even my maternal great-grandmother. It is a bit of a stretch to actually claim to have “known” them. I met them as a child when they were already past their primes. But I was too young and our interactions too infrequent, that I ever built up any kind of an opinion of them or of their values or their politics or their characters.

Did they, I wonder, ever do anything “for their children’s children”? They may have taken some life-decisions which they rationalised as being “for their children’s children”. But there is nothing in my life now that I either thank them for or criticise them for. Whatever they did or did not do are no longer of any relevance as an excuse or a reason for the state of my life or the state of the world I live in.

“For our children’s children” is invariably used to excuse or justify actions which have no immediate benefit. Doing things, now, “for our children’s children” is meaningless and, I would claim, an invalid reason for actions which are not of any apparent benefit. It is also invalid to claim that, unknown to us, decisions made, “for their children’s children”, by our grandparents or earlier ancestors have actually achieved their visionary aims. My parents (both deceased) could not have foreseen the world I live in today, but their decisions have surely made me whatever I am. They made their decisions about my education and upbringing to fit the world they knew of, not of the world as it was going to be. My grandparents surely did the same for my parents but they too, could not have imagined the world my parents lived in at the end of their lives. We have made decisions for the upbringing and education of our children, and no doubt we have influenced their opportunities and their lives, but I don’t think we have ever taken any actions, against our interests or the interests of our children, “for the sake of our children’s children”.

The one purpose of life that most can probably agree on is “to make a difference”. No doubt, in our own little ways, and no matter how small, we all do. No doubt also that the human race is where it is because of what our ancestors did or did not do. The Germans of today are where they are because of what Hitler did but not because of what Hitler did “for his children’s children”. Henry VIII’s actions certainly impacted his daughter but not because his decisions were ever against his own interests first. Genghis Khan may have done some things for the “sake of his descendants”, but they had lost their intended effects already with his grandson and certainly after Kublai Khan. The Khans surely made a difference. But neither Genghis Khan or Kublai Khan ever took any decisions “for their children’s children” which did not have tangible, realisable benefits or was against their own interests.

It would be unthinkable, and quite unacceptable, to blame our grandparents for the state of the world today or for the people in it. In some societies, but only in some general way, we do thank our ancestors for what we have today. But this gratitude is only felt by those who are in a position of some privilege. Whoever heard of ancestor worship for the purpose of blaming them for current misfortune. You can use your parents as an excuse for a deprived or depraved childhood and even as a defence in a court of law, but you would get short shrift if you blamed your grandparents for your condition or your sins. The Nazis could not, and cannot, pass off their acts as being due to the faults of their ancestors.

So what’s the point of all this? It is individuals who act. Any individual in any generation acts, and must act, for the interests and benefits of that generation. “For our children’s children” is not just an empty phrase. it is a part of a deception. It is just a last-resort excuse for actions which have no demonstrable benefits, cannot otherwise be justified and probably should not be taken. It is a phrase not to be trusted. Actions against your interest, “for the sake of your children’s children”, are a mirage.

So when a politician, or an environmentalist, or a social “scientist” or a priest makes a proposal for the sake of your children’s children, be very suspicious. Don’t listen.

Åsa Romson and “the tears of a Green”

November 26, 2015

Åsa Romson’s “tears” for taking the decisions she took have received much attention. But it is not about the decisions this post is concerned with. It is about the behaviour of a politician who wishes to escape responsibility when making unprincipled decisions. It is about crying for a credit where none is due.

The Independent: Sweden’s Deputy Prime Minister broke down into tears as she announced the Government’s U-turn over the refugee crisis to reduce the number of people fleeing war and persecution from seeking asylum in Sweden. ……

“In the last couple of weeks, I’ve been convinced that this is the best way to help the local green party politicians actually do something,” she went on, before bursting into tears.

I note today that she gets some sympathy for taking a decision which goes stick and stone against what the Green party is supposed to stand for. As if the tears wash away her responsibility for her own decisions. As if the tears somehow mean that her principles are uncompromised or excuse her remaining in government. Doing something “wrong” by her own standards and then crying about it does not make it any the less wrong or alter the fact that she took the “wrong” decision.

It is a trick that politicians should remember and bring out whenever they need to take an unprincipled decision but avoid the consequences. A few tears can then absolve them of any feelings of guilt for violating their own principles. It is having the meal and bursting into tears when the bill is presented.

I am reminded of “Tears of a Clown” by Smokey Robinson.

Well ther’e some sad things known to man

But ain’t too much sadder than

The tears of a Green

who, to pay the bill, is not too keen

with apologies to Smokey Robinson

Poland downgrades the EU

November 26, 2015

The EU has probably never before been subject to as much internal dissent as it is today. And that’s even without the frustration and anger at the chaos within the EU about the flood of refugees at its borders. The Schengen agreement is effectively suspended if not yet in its death throes. The concept of the “Holy European Empire” is fundamentally flawed and member states are rebelling against the interfering hand of Brussels.

Poland’s new government has decided that it will no longer display the EU flag at its weekly government press conferences.

October 2015:

Polish govt weekly press conference October 2015 photo AP

Polish govt weekly press conference October 2015 photo AP

The new Polish government was quick to demonstrate its dissatisfaction with the EU. There could not be a clearer statement that the Polish cabinet does not intend to be bullied by the EU.


“We have adopted the principle that the statements made after the meeting of the Polish cabinet will be held against the background of the most beautiful, white-and-red flags,” Ms Szydlo, who was sworn in as prime minister last week, said in response to a question asking where the EU flags, which had previously featured alongside Polish flags, had disappeared to.

Szydlo’s Law and Justice party (PiS) won the majority of votes of last month’s election. This was the first time a party won the elections with a majority of votes in Poland since the collapse of communism.

November 2015

Polish govt press conference Beata Szydło November 2015 photo via Lodzpost-com

Polish govt press conference Beata Szydło November 2015 photo via Lodzpost-com


Corbyn and his shadow Chancellor are stuck in the 60s and haven’t grown up

November 26, 2015

Attending a British University in the late 1960s, we, as new entrants, were courted assiduously by the various University clubs and societies. SocSoc (Socialist Society) was by far the largest on campus and had some good speakers. But they turned out to be rather boring and they couldn’t match the Fine Arts Society for the attractiveness of the membership. SocSoc never quite managed to con a subscription out of me but many of my friends were members and I did attend some of their meetings. It was the year of the student riots in Paris and Berlin and even in London but they were somewhat watered down by the time they reached the Midlands. Copies of the Red Book were carried by the more ardent members of SocSoc, but more as a badge, than out of any ideological convictions. But this was 1968 and the time of flowered shirts, bell bottom trousers, long hair, beads, conch shells and shaggy beards. A dirty hair band was also de rigeur.

John Lennon’s Revolution had just come out:

…. But if you go carrying pictures of Chairman Mao
You ain’t going to make it with anyone anyhow ….

But The Little Red Book was already past its best-by date. Mao was losing his lustre by then. Waving it around was no longer recommended as a way to “pull the birds” and tended to be counter-productive. And, after all, “pulling the birds” had a very much higher priority than anything else. At my University the barricades – in solidarity with Paris – were erected by the faithful one morning, but they had all come down by the the time for morning coffee. (I may have been one of those from the Engineering Faculty involved in tearing down the barricades, but memory fails. Probably I just watched). I recall that SocSoc had a meeting that afternoon which I attended just to gloat. But the meeting resembled a wake and gloating was no fun.

Now almost 50 years later, memories of that time and faces are blurred, and I can’t remember many of the names and views of those I knew then. But it is the mood and the smells and the feelings that do remain fixed in memory. The distinctive, slightly unsavoury, flavour of the SocSoc of the 60s is what now comes to mind again, after seeing the rather childish antics of the Labour Shadow Chancellor, John McDonnell, in Parliament today. He quoted from The Little Red Book and chucked it at the Chancellor. He may have meant it as a brilliant, devastating riposte and a sure-fire way of deflating George Osborne, but it was reminiscent of a spoilt child and backfired very badly.

Reuters: Mao’s Little Red Book makes surprise appearance in UK parliament chamber

McDonnell came across as an immature teenager. Put this together with St. Jeremy Corbyns “peacenik” gyrations and it seems like the behaviour of the current labour party leadership is a throwback to the student protests of the 60s. McDonnell did not attend University (Brunel) till 1974, so he probably feels he missed out on the fun and games of the 60s, and is trying to make up for that. St Jeremy dropped out after just one year at North London Polytechnic and never completed his degree. But he is very much a child of the trade union movement of the 60s. He seems to have been parachuted into a number of union and party posts, but does not seem to have ever done any real, productive work.

 Corbyn …. spent two years doing Voluntary Service Overseas in Jamaica before becoming a full-time official for the National Union of Public Employees and Amalgamated Engineering and Electrical Union, while briefly pursuing a degree in Trade Union Studies at North London Polytechnic, which he left after his first year without completing his undergraduate studies.

Corbyn later worked as an Official of the National Union of Tailors and Garment Workers, was appointed a member of a district health authority and in 1974 was elected to Haringey Council, representing Harringay Ward as Councillor until 1983. Corbyn worked on Tony Benn’s unsuccessful 1981 campaign to become Deputy Leader of the Labour Party and was elected Secretary of the Islington Borough Labour Group.

The entire Labour party leadership seems to be caught in a 1960s time warp and haven’t grown up.

Trump’s got his music right and his words don’t matter

November 25, 2015

Trump has got his music right and as long as the beguilement of the music holds, his words don’t matter.

How else to explain Trump’s position? He seems to be immune to the rational consequences of what he says.

The only conclusion I come to is that it is the mood he evokes that people are responding to rather than what he actually says. It is the almost abstract notions of being for less government rather than more, for common sense rather than political correctness, for pragmatism rather than high ideology and for being untarnished by “sponsors” or the establishment which are keeping Trump going.

It is becoming difficult to see how anybody else could overtake him now to the GOP nomination. And that is not something that was even worthy of contemplation 6 months ago.

Trump 25Nov2015 RCP Poll of Polls

Trump 25Nov2015 RCP Poll of Polls

So far, Trump is not penetrating much beyond disaffected Republicans. But he is capturing a mood and riding feelings and emotions in a way not seen since Obama’s first campaign against Hillary Clinton. But Obama had the words too. (It’s just that Obama has not been able to match his actions to the mood he evoked).

If now Trump can get his words right and continues to sustain the right music, then who knows what happens next November.

A comment on the conservation of the Galapagos turtle

November 25, 2015

A reader commented on the About page about an old post where comments are closed.

Galapagos conservation project prevents the evolution of ninja turtles

Archie G Says:

Hello, I wanted to comment on a post but couldn’t find where to do it, so I’ll just do it here. About the Galapagos conservation project. I know your post was intended to be humurous but it think it is important to make this clear anyway: it was not a way to protect a charismatic species above an “ugly” species. Even if rats were there before Darwin arrived, they were an introduced european species (Rattus rattus) that had limited the perpetuation of Galapagos turtles since its introduction to the Island. The rats ate 100% of the hatchlings that had no predators before. It is not “specism”, rodents are not bad, but introduced species in general damage ecosystems, whether they are a pretty animal or not. Conservation is not a matter of some animalistic fan group, it takes years of research and effort to understand its mechanics.

But I beg to differ.

(The Galapagos turtle is itself an invasive species and how it got there is not known. And it is interesting to consider all the humans who were “introduced” to Australia and the New World as invasive species who – for the conservation of the indigenous peoples – should now be rooted out).

“Conservationists” are effectively making value judgements which are unjustified. When “general damage to an ecosystem” is quoted, a judgement has already been made as to which ecosystem is “good” and which is “bad”. But all these judgements always penalise the successful species and protect the unfit species. 

I think the Galapagos turtles are fantastically “charismatic” too, but they are fundamentally an unfit species. In evolutionary terms they are ripe for extinction. So are tigers. But they are being “saved” for the aesthetic sensibilities and the entertainment of humans – not for finding or creating an adapted neo-tiger or neo-turtle species which can find a real place in the world, rather than for surviving in a zoo. Protected reserves – as some of the Galapagos islands are – are little more than large zoos and their purpose is just for the entertainment and edification of humans.

“Conservation” as it is practiced today seeks to maintain a past, or an unviable status quo. Such “conservation” is flawed. In the name of “conservation”, reserves and zoos are used to create big cats for “canned hunting”. By default, a “huntable lion”, no good for anything other than being hunted, is now being bred. Far better to help a species to adapt to real, possible futures. Far better if species were helped (by genetic engineering perhaps) to adjust to the new realities and find a new place. What’s the point of saving a species, that is unfit for a current habitat, and freezing it in this unsuccessful form for a habitat which is no longer viable?

As the dominant species on this planet, humans will never allow some other species to become so successful as to be a threat. There is no moral reason they should. And species which cannot adapt to the dominant species are unfit and deserve to become extinct. After all, 99% of all species that have ever lived are now extinct.


Genetic adaptation – not stagnating conservation – is the way to help threatened species

New Nature paper: Polar ice melt would only raise sea level by 10cm (4″) by 2100

November 25, 2015

I am surprised first that Nature, given its blatant bias, accepted such a paper for publication, and second that it was published so close to the Paris conference (end of this week). Perhaps they felt it would just get lost among the massive propaganda blitz that is currently going on.

  • Catherine Ritz, Tamsin L. Edwards, Gaël Durand, Antony J. Payne, Vincent Peyaud, Richard C. A. Hindmarsh. Potential sea-level rise from Antarctic ice-sheet instability constrained by observations. Nature, 2015; DOI: 10.1038/nature16147

Right now the ice cover at the poles (Antarctic and Arctic) are each within one SD of the long-term average. So is the global ice cover. If now any future excess melt, if it occurs, can only cause a rise of sea level of 4 inches by 2100, one wonders what the IPCC and the Paris conference are actually trying to prevent.

Global ice cover 22Nov2015  From sunshinehours

Global ice cover 22Nov2015 From sunshinehours 

It is not the first time that the IPCC has exaggerated (and it won’t be the last). But their scare scenarios of 1 metre sea level rise are themselves plain rubbish; which make the doomsday scenarios put out by the global warming “enthusiasts”, of upto 10 metres (30 feet) or more of sea level rise by 2100 just religious fantasy.

Four inches of seal level rise is what is at stake.


The risk of the Antarctic ice sheet collapsing and flooding coasts around the world has been exaggerated, according to researchers.

Previous studies had claimed that melting Antarctic ice could contribute one metre to the rising sea levels by the end of the century, flooding the homes of 150 million people and threatening dozens of coastal cities.

However, a team of British and French scientists has found that the collapse in the ice sheet is likely to raise sea levels by 10cm by 2100. An increase in sea levels from the ice sheet becoming unstable is “extremely unlikely to be higher than 30cm” this century, they say, describing previous, more apocalyptic predictions, as implausible.

The study, published in the journal Nature, found that there was a one in 20 chance that parts of the ice sheet breaking off could contribute more than 30cm to the sea level by the end of the century and more than 72cm by 2200.

The sea level has already risen by 19cm since 1901 and the annual rate has almost doubled since then to about 3.2mm a year, according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

The UN agency predicted in 2013 that sea levels would rise by about another 60cm by 2100. The panel was unable to calculate, and did not include in its prediction, the risk of substantial parts of the Antarctic ice sheet collapsing.

Some studies suggested that the risk was high and that the overall increase in the sea level would be well over a metre by 2100 once the collapse of the ice sheet was included.

Tamsin Edwards, an author of the new study — which involved scientists from the University of Bristol and Grenoble Alpes University — said that earlier reports were likely to be wrong because they were based on simpler computer models which contained many uncertainties.


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