Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Professor Philip Stott On Global Warming and Politics

I've been reading some of the entrys on Professor Philip Stott's blog and find them refreshing and enlightening. He has a unique perspective on the issue of global warming. I recommend everyone have a look. Here is a sample quotation:
Emeritus Professor Philip Stott writes:
“‘Global warming’ has become the grand political narrative of the age, replacing
Marxism as a dominant force for controlling liberty and human choices. In this
blog, I hope to be able to deconstruct the ‘myth’ in order to reveal its
more dangerous and humorous foibles and follies. I shall focus as much on the
politics as on the science.”


His blog is here:

Philip Stott
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
This article is about the British biogeographer. Philip Stott is a professor emeritus of biogeography at the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London, and a former editor (1987-2004) of the Journal of Biogeography [1] [2].

He appeared on "The Great Global Warming Swindle" on Channel 4.

[edit] Global warming
Stott regards himself as a Humeian 'mitigated sceptic' [14] on the subject of global warming. He has not published scholarly articles in the field of climate change, although he has published books on the subject. Also, he has researched on the construction of environmental knowledge, including global warming as a Barthesian myth, for over thirty years.
Stott has been critical of terms like 'climate sceptic' and 'climate-change denier'; he believes in a distinction between the science of climate change and what he asserts is the Barthesian myth [15] of global warming [16], saying,
"... the global warming myth harks back to a lost Golden Age of climate stability, or, to employ a more modern term, climate 'sustainability'. Sadly, the idea of a sustainable climate is an oxymoron. The fact that we have rediscovered climate change at the turn of the Millennium tells us more about ourselves, and about our devices and desires, than about climate. Opponents of global warming are often snidely referred to as 'climate change deniers'; precisely the opposite is true. Those who question the myth of global warming are passionate believers in climate change - it is the global warmers who deny that climate change is the norm." [17] (see also his essay on environmental change and La Brea [18].)
Stott is also critical of organizations like the IPCC.
His attitude to climate change is best summed up in a central passage from a letter published recently in The Daily Telegraph (June 10, 2005) [19]:
"Climate change has to be broken down into three questions: 'Is climate changing and in what direction?' 'Are humans influencing climate change, and to what degree?' And: 'Are humans able to manage climate change predictably by adjusting one or two factors out of the thousands involved?' The most fundamental question is: 'Can humans manipulate climate predictably?' Or, more scientifically: 'Will cutting carbon dioxide emissions at the margin produce a linear, predictable change in climate?' The answer is 'No'. In so complex a coupled, non-linear, chaotic system as climate, not doing something at the margins is as unpredictable as doing something. This is the cautious science; the rest is dogma." For his views more generally on climate change, see [20].

[edit] Energy policy
Stott's "alternative Charter for a sound energy policy" begins with (what) we need are strong economies that can adapt to climate change and he proposes that the Kyoto Protocol be dropped because of "[I]ts ‘command-and-control’ economics which have no chance of working in the face of world economic growth, especially in the developing world." [21]. He believes that the Kyoto Protocol is moribund politically [22]. Stott is concerned that the UK is failing to address its core energy needs, which must involve a mix of clean coal, gas, and probably nuclear power [23]. Stott also encourages development of energy infrastructure in the developing world. He sees the alleviation of energy poverty, along with the need for clean water, as two of the most urgent world issues [24] He regards most renewables as helpful (although he is critical of wind power), but only marginal to the core requirements of an advanced society. [25].

[edit] Deforestation in the Amazon
Stott contested the research of a report in 2001 that predicted that by 2020 the forest would be 42% deforested.
"New research in Brazil suggests that around 87.5% of the previously mapped area of the Amazon remains largely intact and, of the 12.5% that has been deforested, one-third to one-half is fallow or in the process of regeneration," he said [26].
"This lungs of the earth business is nonsense; the daftest of all theories"
Stott teamed up with Patrick Moore in 2000 and made several appearances deposing deforestation research.
"One of the simple, but very important, facts is that the rainforests have only been around for between 12,000 and 16,000 years. That sounds like a very long time but, in terms of the history of the earth, it's hardly a pinprick. Before then, there were hardly any rainforests. They are very young. It is just a big mistake that people are making." [27]

[edit] External links
Global Warming Politics Philip Stott's weblog covering global warming issues.
EnviroSpin Watch Philip Stott's discontinued weblog monitoring coverage of environmental issues and science in the UK media.
A Parliament of Things His main Web Site.
Philip Stott's Music Box His music site, from where you can download some of his compositions.
Journal of Biogeography final editorial. (this site requires cookies)
LobbyWatch article on Stott
Comment to Probiotech website, 2002
[28] Global Warming Is Not a Crisis - Opinion article on ABC News
Retrieved from ""


Anonymous said...

Good one, Peter! I've been reading Professor Stott for years. I love his droll sense of humour which he uses to apply pinpricks to deflate the environmentalists balloons. Interestingly, he is a leftist, politically, so it's best that the AGW Believers stop calling every realist they come across Rightwingers. As for me, I vote Conservative now, but I've always been more of a 'swing' voter.

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