Lack of Environment

A blog on the politics and psychology underlying the denial of all our environmental problems

History repeats itself because people do not listen

with 28 comments

Thanks to Greenpeace for the inspiration…

Industry has been manufacturing doubt regarding inconvenient science for decades. They have confused the public and paralysed our politicians. All we must do now is deal with the consequences.

Over to Greenpeace for the call to action:

Is this what it would take to get action from the government on climate change?

With a climate change denying environment minister like Owen Paterson in charge, it may well be. But we don’t have to wait to see. Join the call to sack Paterson – and replace him with someone serious about climate change.

What more can I say? 

Written by Martin Lack

13 February 2014 at 18:34

28 Responses

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  1. To answer your initial question, no. I honestly don’t think anything will ever outweigh money, or power, for that matter.


    13 February 2014 at 18:58

    • Then history will indeed repeat itself: This time, sadly, it will not just be tens of thousands that die early due to reduced lung capacity, it will be tens of millions that die early due to reduced ecological carrying capacity.

      Martin Lack

      15 February 2014 at 11:11

    • Money is power. War is power too. When money is used to make war on the 99%, and the 99% finally understand they are under attack, money will lose. In 1789 France, the aristocracy was 2%, and it was helped by the Church.

      Patrice Ayme

      19 February 2014 at 05:11

  2. Reblogged this on Woodford Roberts.


    14 February 2014 at 11:42

  3. Driving to work today BBC Radio Cornwall had a denier on saying it has nothing to do with climate change and he was presented as the voice of reason. It made me feel Like I was in some Orwellian society, Keep Calm and Carry On business as usual, there’s nothing flawed in our economic system, there’s no such thing as climate change – hurry off to work and keep consuming. It’s infuriating to be surrounded by so much orchestrated denial, delusion and distraction. Rant over!


    14 February 2014 at 11:44

  4. The ‘gravitational’ pull of carbon-based energy is very strong. Just read BP’s latest energy report or the export of Canadian tar sands. The only solution is to make carbon-based energy sufficiently expensive, through taxation, for renewables to be the obvious choice for all. A change of a single Minister in the UK Government is irrelevant. CO2 does not recognise political or country boundaries.

    Paul Handover

    14 February 2014 at 14:50

    • That may be true, Paul. However: Climate change denial is perpetrated by right-wing think tanks that exercise mind control over right-wing politicians like Owen Paterson who, in turn, perpetuate delay in effective and timely changes in policy.

      Martin Lack

      15 February 2014 at 11:34

    • Right, Paul.

      Patrice Ayme

      19 February 2014 at 05:15

  5. It would be good to the minister hisself to resign, maybe for the british government as well, making decisions while being wrong about the science isn’t well advised. not sure about the irrelevancy that is. maybe they’ll elect another science denier to the post, but are we sure about that.


    15 February 2014 at 04:02

    • Very probably so. Most of those that accept the science have been de-selected by their constituencies. The Conservative Party in the UK is thus making the same mistake as the Republican Party in the USA. It will only reverse this trend once it is proven to be electoral suicide in 15 months time.

      Martin Lack

      15 February 2014 at 11:37

  6. […] 2014/02/13: LoE: History repeats itself because people do not listen [UK pol] […]

  7. May I suggest that the following essay explains much of what is going on:

    Patrice Ayme

    19 February 2014 at 05:17

    • Thanks for this link, Patrice. Sorry to have been so slow to acknowledge.

      Martin Lack

      22 February 2014 at 18:07

      • Martin: We have been missing you!

        I know that to keep on top of things as you do (or I do) is a full time job. What we need now to save the planet is no less than the greatest revolution that ever was. That’s why the anti-plutocratic revolution in Ukraine is an excellent thing. Even Cameron’s government agrees.

        Patrice Ayme

        22 February 2014 at 19:18

        • Thanks Patrice. Ukraine has been conjoined twins since its birth (joined at the River Dnieper). 20 years ago, far forcing it to undergo radical surgery, the USA, UK and Russia all agreed not to intervene.

          Sadly, however, now that Russia has annexed Crimea, we will all see how worthless that agreement was; and how impotent the international community is. I predict we will soon all be wearing balaklavas (and it will not be because it is cold).

          Martin Lack

          3 March 2014 at 11:20

  8. Hi Martin,

    It’s Schlomo from Australia.
    Congrats on your awesome new endeavour !

    I thought that since we made a bet about 6 months ago (about global air temps staying flat for 3 more years, making it 20 at least) we might as well keep in touch every now and again.
    So still no atmospheric warming, six months later…

    But I have been thinking about another issue that is of concern to both of us (as per this blogpost).

    Why are there ‘Deniers’ of AGW or ‘ACD’ as you now call it ?

    It is not actually that complicated.
    The ‘Science’ is quite (you would say: complicated) weak, I’d say.
    One has to ‘believe’ or not in it. It is not like the science of why bridges stand up or how computers work. That science is solid, one doesn’t have to believe in it. It works.

    Please let me get a free kick here regarding one argument that you proponents use…

    “if 97% of doctors diagnose cancer, would you listen to the 3% who don’t’.. argument

    Well, Climate Science is not Medicine. Climate Scientists are not brain surgeons. If anything, Climate Scientists are like doctors in the 15th century. Prescribing leeches.

    Therefore, one projects onto this ‘climate science’ and ‘solutions’ to it one’s prejudices, beliefs, pre-conceived ideas and what not.

    Because issues at stake are big, really big (retooling global economy, for example). Combined with having to ‘believe’ the science, are you surprised that this whole thing has divided up between Libertarian and Totalitarian points of view ?


    Possibility to control the populace, think Human Race is a cancer on Gaia, Socialist at heart – Love AGW theory.

    Freedom to individual endeavour, Humans have the right to control the environment as they please, (there is a whole Universe to exploit), Humans are the most precious species that has ever evolved in 4.5 bln years (do cows know they exist ?) and so on – Deny AGW.

    Cheers, Schlomo

    Schlomo Wahl

    18 March 2014 at 13:38

    • You still cannot explain the record warmth of the last decade, or the multidecadal warming trend that preceded it, by natural climate forcings alone. Being sceptical means being open to follow the evidence wherever it leads you (like Copernicus and Galileo did). Rejecting all evidence that conflicts with predetermined beliefs is not scepticism.

      Martin Lack

      19 March 2014 at 13:34

      • Hi Martin, I thought I’ll let you know I posted this on your friend’s ‘you know I speak sense”s Troll fearing blog… [snip]… There has not been any atmospheric warming for 17 years despite ‘alarming’ increasing of CO2… [snip]

        Your four arguments are as follows: (1) It ain’t happening; (2) It ain’t us; (3) It ain’t bad; and (4) It ain’t worth fixing. If I disprove one spurious argument, you will simply cite another. However, they have all been repeatedly falsified, so please excuse me if I refuse to play your games anymore. ML

        Schlomo Wahl

        5 April 2014 at 15:37

        • With regret, Schlomo, I have had to start moderating and/or deleting your repeatedly counter-factual comments. This is because, to be blunt, climate change denial is conspiracy theory (see forthcoming post on this blog).

          Martin Lack

          6 April 2014 at 12:00

        • That’s OK Martin, I am really just communicating with you, not so much your blog readers.

          [ No you’re not. You’re wasting my time. So I am now going to waste yours: All your wall-to-wall myths about climate change have been deleted (including ‘all environmentalists are socialists’). If you feel in need of any rebuttals, please see Skeptical Science’s database of them, at – ML ]

          Schlomo Wahl

          8 April 2014 at 13:40

        • Charles Moore (I presume you mean the former editor of the Daily Telegraph newspaper) is probably just another ideologically blinded person who has not noticed that history has repeated itself (i.e. since the tobacco-company-funded denial of health risks from smoking). One thing he is definitely not, however, is a relevantly qualified expert on climate science. If the evidence is so weak, why are the glaciers still melting and the oceans still warming? Please don’t waste your time posting any more counter-factual comments, they will now be deleted without further warning.

          Martin Lack

          8 April 2014 at 15:54

  9. I’ll get in touch with you in about 6 months. We’ll see how the atmospheric temps are panning out then.

    Schlomo Wahl

    9 April 2014 at 04:08

    • Your ideological (and theological?) prejudice will not change the fact that the last time atmospheric CO2 levels reached 400 ppm the Earth was much warmer than it is now (i.e. assuming you accept the Earth is not just 6000 years old). Short-term trends are irrelevant, you need to look at the last six hundred months and – since the Sun, cosmic rays, and/or volcanoes cannot do so – come up with an explanation for such a multi-decadal warming trend.

      Martin Lack

      9 April 2014 at 12:56

      • Thanks for that argument Martin. Love it! I am not religious.

        If the only explanation you can find for climate variability is human influence, then keep searching because there is actually no need to explain it at all, it just happens. Roman warm period +2 degrees, Dark Ages -2 degrees, Medieval Optimum + 2 degrees, Little Ice age – 2 degrees. Currently we are on the up from Little Ice age. Why do you need to blame humans for natural variability?

        Also, I am a little bit annoyed that you think I am wasting your time. Besides the fact… [Snip – repetitious “you people” bullsh!t deleted along with poor grammar and spelling. – ML]

        Schlomo Wahl

        11 April 2014 at 15:14

        • Sorry for the heavy-handed moderation of that last comment but I am tired of you ignoring inconvenient facts. Facts such as:
          1. There is no “you people”, there is just the settled opinion of the vast majority of relevant experts (i.e. unless you are a conspiracy theorist);
          2. Neither the MWP nor the LIA were global events and we are not still coming out of the latter;
          3. Multiple proxy data sets show that it is now warmer than any time since the last Ice Age; and
          4. We are now headed for climatic conditions life on Earth has not had to deal with for millions of years; from which the Earth will take 100k years to recover.

          As the Dalai Lama has once famously remarked, “If you think small things cannot have a big impact, try sleeping with a mosquito”. The truth is that humans have been having an adverse impact upon the environment for about 7k years (since we invented started modifying it to grow food). However, we hit the jackpot with the Industrial Revolution; and are now well on the way to pumping 300 million years worth of fossilised sunlight back into the atmosphere a million times faster than it was laid down. To suggest that we could do this and not affect the Earth’s climate is to deny the validity of the basic laws of physics (such as the Law of Conservation of Energy).

          What is truly sad, however, is that one of the main reasons the warming has only been 0.8 Celsius (so far) is that a large proportion of the added CO2 has ended up in the oceans, causing a 30% increase in acidity (i.e. just a few tenths of a pH point), which is enough – in combination with ocean warming – to begin to make life very difficult for a whole range of sea creatures.

          Any further repetition of scientifically-illiterate, entirely discredited, talking points will be deleted.

          Martin Lack

          12 April 2014 at 15:36

        • Don’t worry about ‘heavy-handedness’, Martin, I totally understand. As an aside, please let me use ‘you people’. I just can’t think of any other nice term at the moment. Also, I am happy to embrace ‘denier. So, please… Your point number 4 is why we have this whole dilemma. ‘You people’ have started to believe your own prophecies… [Snip – As promised, I have deleted further repetition of conspiracy theory based rejection of: (1) the scientific consensus that climate change is now predominantly human caused; (2) multiple lines of evidence for accelerating change over recent decades (e.g. shrinking glaciers, melting sea ice, thawing permafrost, ocean warming and pH reduction); (3) the economic consensus that substitution of fossil fuel use wherever possible will preserve a habitable planet long enough for most species to adapt and/or move away from areas that will be inundated by rising sea levels over the next few centuries. – ML]

          Schlomo Wahl

          13 April 2014 at 14:28

        • I did not say you could not use the term “you people”, I was simply making the point that it is meaningless: If you think the vast majority of relevantly qualified experts (or their opinions) are being used as part of some UN/IPCC Agenda 21 conspiracy, to foist environmental alarmism on a credulous world – and thereby choose to ignore the track record that big business has for denying its responsibility for the adverse health and/or environmental impacts of its products and/or operations – you are are choosing to believe a bedtime story (rather than accept the simplest explanation consistent with science and history). As such, there is nothing I can do or say to convince you of the nature of reality because every piece of evidence of this reality is, in your mind, evidence of conspiracy. Your position is just as unassailable as that of the Christian fundamentalists who will not accept any geological evidence for the age of the Earth because fossils are the work of the devil (etc). Sorry for deleting most of your comment but, if I have begun to repeat myself it is because you did so first…

          Martin Lack

          14 April 2014 at 16:02

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