The Conversation

The Conversation is a website where academics comment on their areas of expertise and which has recently extended its reach from Australia and the UK to the USA.

It’s a form of vanity publishing for university lecturers who would rather be journalists – and none the worse for that. I can count on my fingers the number of British journalists I respect for their expert knowledge (Patrick Cockburn, the Independent’s far-left correspondent in Baghdad, Robert Fisk, also of the Independent, Ambrose Evan-Pritchard, the Telegraph’s polyglot economics freak…) If university specialists can provide expertise that today’s journalism can’t, then bring it on.

That said, any journal has its biases, and those of the Conversation are particularly evident when it comes to climate change.

For example, there were complaints about moderation policy on the thread at

which begins:

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John Phillip

Michael, I am baffled as to why Geoff’s original post has been deleted. Is it possible to reinstate it as he raised some valid concerns?

Malcolm Short

I was thinking the same thing. It wasn’t off-topic nor did it contain any ad homs, which was the reason they removed Alice’s comment.

Comment removed by moderator.

This led to a tightening up of moderation policy concerning climate change:

Michael Hopkin (Editor at The Conversation) In reply to Malcolm Short:

Geoff’s original post (and subsequent replies, including mine) have been deleted in line with our policy of moderating against comments that introduce misinformation or distortion. We much prefer commenters to link to sources that are informed by credible, peer-reviewed evidence.”

[My only sin, I think, was to have cited Wattsupwiththat, the world's most popular science blog, on an article about climate science]

Editor Michael Hopkin continued:

For more info have a read of Cory’s blog post about our approach to comments about climate science -”

Where you can read:

As part of our approach to improving comments on The Conversation, we’re paying particular attention to comments on climate change…. we’d like climate change comments to be intelligent and constructive. To help achieve that, we’ll be taking a more involved role on moderation of climate articles and to keep things on track we will take a firm stance on what is on- and off-topic. For example, comments challenging the scientific basis of climate change will be regarded as off-topic unless the article is specifically about this subject (as opposed to articles about climate policy, for example).”

So if, for example, the Conversation carries an article suggesting that climate deniers should be hanged drawn and quartered in public, it will not be permitted to observe:

But climate change isn’t happ… AAAAAAAARGH!!”

(although I suppose it would be ok to point out that hanging drawing and quartering was contrary to UN Resolution number x…)

Despite these limitations to free speech, a number of us have been commenting, with a certain success I believe, for example at:

I‘m talking about you, Robin Guenier, Barry Woods, Paul Matthews, (and others. Apologies to any I’ve forgotten)

But not enough. There are dozens, maybe hundreds, of commenters at Bishop Hill, and maybe thousands at Wattsupwiththat (the Conversation has recently extended its tentacular growth from Australia and the UK to the United States) who could add to the utter destruction of the consensus among the superior university chaps who express such supreme confidence in the superiority of their superior university opinions at this superior university-financed blog

This could have an effect. For example, the third article mentioned above was by a philosopher, Laurence Torcello, and a climate scientist, Michael Mann.

I made several comments, mostly aimed at the philosophical arguments of Torcello in favour of the idea that expressing an opinion opposed to the scientific consensus was “morally condemnable”. But in an aside, I also took a couple of sideswipes at the science, for example when I quoted the article:

At our present pace of fossil fuel burning we will, by 2036, exceed the 2°C limit [...] Currently, at just 0.9°C (1.6°F) warming…”

and commented:

So you’re predicting 1.1°C warming in the next 22 years? Bets anyone? Is there a scientist in the house who would care to support that prediction?”

Soon after, the article was corrected, presumably by author Mann, since author Torcello knows nothing of climate science, and comments were closed, with the excuse:

For ressource reasons, the comments on this article have now been closed”

whereas other articles, e.g.:

are still open for comments.

I hereby claim to be the first person in the history of the universe to have got Michael Mann to have corrected a mistake.

Go there, BishopHill’s Angels and WUWTistas. There’s a battle to be engaged, and won.

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2071: It’s the End of the World Again

After the success of Stephen Emmott’s “Ten Billion” in 2012, Director Katie Mitchell is bringing a new play about climate change to the Royal Court, opening on November 5th at the Jerwood Theatre Downstairs.

It’s by Duncan Macmillan and Chris Rapley, and it’s called 2071. In an interview at

Macmillan explains his thinking:

There’s nothing I can do in my life to compensate for the fact that the world would be better without me in it,” says Duncan Macmillan, smiling over his coffee.

Whereupon the journalist tapped him affectionately on the shoulder and said: “Come, come there old chap. We all have days like that, but you’ll get over it.”

Well, no, actually she didn’t. She (her name is Catherine Love) continues the article:

It’s a bleak statement, but one that the writer and director explains is grounded in climate science. Each of us in the west, with our hefty carbon footprints, is a drain on the planet’s resources.”

Now if Macmillan truly thinks that the world would be better off without him, then he is suffering from severe depression and should seek medical help immediately.

And if Macmillan believes that his suicidal tendencies are “grounded in climate science” then he should consult a climate scientist immediately. Or perhaps not.

2071 is “a new project for the Royal Court that he is co-writing with climate scientist Chris Rapley. For the past six months, the two men have been meeting regularly at University College London, trading their respective expertise in an attempt to bring climate change centre stage.”

Chris Rapley chaired a conference of psychoanalysts back in 2010 devoted to the question of how to make their patients more depressed and dysfunctional than they already were by getting them to face the truth about global warming, I took a look at this at

Rapley went on to write the introduction to the book of the conference, and an Amazon review of the book. I look forward to his reviews of his play.

It’s called 2071 because: 2071 is the year my oldest grandchild will be the age I am now.’ says Chris Rapley, Climate Scientist.”

Director Katie Mitchell also had an article in the Guardian last month, in praise of continental night trains:

I’m fighting to save night trains – the ticket to my daughter’s future” is the rather grand title, and there’s a lot about carbon emissions and the pain and suffering involved in having a job which obliges you to ponce about Europe.

I stopped flying in 2011. At the time, I was working with the scientist Stephen Emmott, developing a show, Ten Billion, about population growth, climate change and the environmental changes taking place as a result of human activity. The project made me realise that if I wanted to change the way the world worked, I had to change something about how I lived. Specifically, I had to change the way I travelled: I was in the middle of a period of intense work in theatres and opera houses across mainland Europe, taking more than 40 flights a year. [...] carbon dioxide emissions from a one-way London-Paris trip amount to 3.2kg by train, 74.6 kilograms by car and 72.1 kilograms by plane.”

Well yes dear. But that depends on the train being full of passengers. If there’s just you and your daughter, it’s not paying, which means it’s got to be subsidised by other people who aren’t forever crisscrossing Europe from one damned opera house to another, and your personal carbon emissions are horrendous – far worse than mine on Ryanair.

The link to her daughter’s future is made thus:

I was travelling with my eight-year-old daughter when I found out about the end of the City Night Line, which made the situation even more delicate for me. She was one of the reasons I had resolved to reduce my carbon footprint in the first place. I wanted to do something to help her future, so I had made an effort to show her night train travel early and it had become a favourite treat.”

Can we see a pattern emerging here? The play’s name is the year the play’s co-author’s granddaughter will be the age he is now. The director’s daughter is the reason she worries about her carbon footprint and pesters the European Commissioner with petitions to allow her to continue to flounce around Europe at night in old trains. The other author has already written a play about guilt about having children, and now thinks the world would be better off if he didn’t exist – all because of climate change.

As Ben Pile has pointed out, environmentalists’ concern about the future of the planet is really all about me, me, me.

I too have grandchildren who will be the age I am now some time later this century. Not being a climate scientist, I’ve never worked out which year exactly this momentous event will occur. (I have enough difficulty remembering their birthdays). I used to take the kids on cross-European night trains. Not being a world famous director, I did it to get from A to B, not in order to assuage some guilt about existing.

We can all do simple arithmetic, and we all realise that our grandchildren will be the age we are now at some point in the distant future when we have long since popped our clogs. Let’s just decide to leave the place nice and tidy when we go, and let them get on with it.

You can book tickets for 2071 at

Duncan Macmillan, Chris Rapley and Katie Mitchell wil be present in conversation
 on Tuesday 11 November, post-show.

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Out of the Mouths of Malnourished Babes and Sucklings

My search for a serious analysis of the new French law on Energy Transition and Green Growth in the last post

began and ended with this article from le Monde

which, as I pointed out, is written not by a journalist but by two employees of climate think tanks, the European Climate Foundation and Agora Energiewende, and I said I’d come back and have a look at them later.

In a comment Paul Matthews points out that Ben Pile at

had already spotted the European Climate Foundation as one of the funders of Richard Black’s Energy and Climate Intelligence Unit, which has been set up apparently as a counter to the Global Warming Policy Foundation. Their other funders are the Grantham Foundation for the Protection of the Environment, and the Tellus Mater Foundation.

The ECIU is a modest affair, with a team of four: Director Richard Black, ex-BBC environment correspondent; Peter Chalkley Head of Policy and Engagement, who is a communications consultant; George Smeeton, Head of Communications, who was media relations manager for WWF-UK; and Helena Wright, Principal Analyst, who is described as “a consultant” and who is currently finishing her PhD on climate change adaptation. You can see them strutting their stuff (and you can comment) at

Of the three Foundations which fund the ECIU, the Grantham Foundation is well known as the overflow conduit for Jeremy Grantham’s vast hedge fund wealth, which spills over into two prestigious British Universities, and, via the journalism of PR man Bob Ward, into the press whenever climate scepticism rears its ugly big oily head, for example here:

The Tellus Mater Foundation, as Ben Pile notes, is a mysterious organisation, and I’ll be coming back to it. It seems to have just two employees, both young, an ex-banker and a chartered accountant, and its home page hasn’t been updated for over a year.

The European Climate Foundation, on the other hand, is big and active, with an annual budget of €25 million, a supervisory board of eight,(who are also currently running, among other things, Deutsche Bank, the investment arm of Pamoja Capital, and Duke Yale and Oxford Universities in their spare time); a leadership team of fourteen, (who are aided by four “fellows”, one of whom is the Princess Laurentien van Oranje-Nassau) and a staff of 46, spread between the Hague, Brussels, Berlin, London, Warsaw and Turkey.

They say about themselves: The European Climate Foundation “was established in early 2008 as a major philanthropic initiative to promote climate and energy policies that greatly reduce Europe’s greenhouse gas emissions and to help Europe play an even stronger international leadership role to mitigate climate change. The group of philanthropists who founded the ECF were deeply concerned over the lack of political action and the lack of general public awareness around the devastating future consequences implied by climate change. They formed the ECF – a ‘foundation of foundations’ – to collaborate in ensuring the necessary transformation from a high-carbon to a low-carbon economy.”

Ben Pile quotes from their website: The majority of our funds are re-granted to NGOs and think tanks engaged in bringing about meaningful policy change [...] In 2012, we made 181 grants to 102 organisations.”

Clearly, the ECF is a big deal, so where does this “Foundation of Foundations” get its funding?


Children’s Investment Fund Foundation

Climate Works Foundation

McCall MacBain Foundation

National Postcode Loterij

Oak Foundation and

Velux Fonden

(among additional supporters for specific projects they also mention the Tellus Mater Foundation).

Let’s just look at the first one. The home page of The Children’s Investment Fund Foundation‘s site has articles about reducing under-five mortality in Uganda and the $7.5 million they’ve just disbursed to fight Ebola. CIFF is clearly doing wonderful work with their investments of $106 million.

On their page

they say: We are clear about our desired impact: transformational change to development approaches that will dramatically improve child survival, learning gains and nutritional outcomes. […] Within this framework, we have identified the following exceptionally high potential opportunities: - Neonatal survival - Prevention of mother-to-child HIV transmission - Early learning - Severe acute malnutrition - Deworming”

Brilliant. So what are they doing handing out money to the sixty-odd men in suits (plus the Princess Laurentien van Oranje-Nassau) of the European Climate Foundation? Do they need de-worming?

The answer is in the small print: … in 2013 we invested $106 million for children and climate.”  and they enlarge at

CIFF’s climate programme uses a sound evidence base to demonstrate that ambitious attempts to tackle climate change are politically and economically feasible and desirable […] Our focus is on geographies where there is already some political leadership on climate change. So far, this is in Europe, China and Latin America…”

One wonders how they go about deciding how much to disburse for their programmes to counter mother-to-child HIV transmission, and how much to give to the think tank wonks in the Hague, Brussels and Berlin. And, remembering the obsession of environmental correspondents with discovering whether the GWPF received money from Big Oil, how do Richard Black and his merry band of consultants and communicators feel about accepting dosh that should by rights have gone to fighting Ebola and reducing infant mortality in Uganda?

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French take Leave of their Senses

The Lower House of the French Parliament has just passed a law on the Energy Transition to Green Growth, which is going to the Senate for rubber stamping before being passed into law under a special accelerated procedure. You can read the current state of the law in the three tomes devoted to the deliberations of the special commission which has been examining the law, tome one of which is at

but I warn you, it’s over 700 pages.

The press dutifully reported the key proposals, the most interesting ones being an “energy cheque” for people on modest incomes that they could use to pay their fuel bills or save towards loft insulation, and the banning of non-re-usable plastic bags and plastic picnic plates. The ministress* objected to the last amendment, on the grounds that the poor might want to wash them and use them again, (let them eat off Sèvres, I say) but she was overruled.

Less widely reported were the proposals for actually dealing with climate change. These included

- reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 40% by 2030, and by 75% by 2050

- reducing the share of nuclear in the production of electricity from 75% to 50% by 2025

- increasing the proportion of renewables in the energy mix to 23% in 2020, and 32% in 2030

- reducing the country’s total energy consumption by 50% by 2050.

- reducing the use of fossil fuels by 30% by 2030.

Yes, you read that right. (Actually, you probably didn’t. You probably skipped over it – I would have.) In 2050 the French will be using half as much energy as they do now – by law.

One can imagine several ways this might be done, e.g.:

- thirty five years of continuous economic depression

- a radical reduction in the birth rate à la China or Italy, coupled with a complete ban on immigration à la Front National

- banning paper napkins, non-recyclable sanitary towels, air conditioning, central heating, and air travel (Air France has already made a stab at that).

The French government thinks this can be done by giving people tax breaks to insulate their houses and exempting employers from paying social security contributions on the money they disburse to compensate their workers for coming to work on a bike.

No, really.

I’ver been combing through the French press over the past 24 hours looking for some reaction – a savage Voltairean barb, or a loud Rabelaisian fart in the direction of these numbskulls – nothing.

I had a glance at the 770 page Tome I referenced above, and discovered a few gems which have escaped the attention of the entire Parisian press corps, for instance:

- The ministress* of Energy and Ecology Ségolène Royal, who announced loudly recently that there would be no fracking for gas while she was ministress*, announced quietly to the parliamentary commission that there would be fracking for petrol. What would happen if the prospectors struck gas instead of, or together with, liquid she didn’t say. Presumably they would just ignore it, like a bad smell. (We may yet get that Rabelaisian riposte).

- She began her address to the Commission by insisting on the seriousness of the challenge of climate change, pointing out that there were currently more refugees from climate change than from wars (is she counting British holidaymakers on the Côte d’Azur?)

- Six million recharging terminals for electric vehicles are to be installed. France is the main European market for electric vehicles, with 200,000 (including buses, roadsweeping trucks etc) but still, thirty terminals for each vehicle seems a bit much. Wouldn’t it be cheaper to have each electric vehicle followed round by a lorry full of batteries?

- One member of the commission successfully proposed an amendment that gaseous emanations from farm animals should not be counted in the country’s greenhouse gas emissions. IPCC be warned. France has a different definition of what constitutes a gas from the rest of the world. (O Rabelais, where art thou?).

I could go on wading through this tripe, but what’s the point?

I thought I might have found a critical point of view, someone who dared question the “pensée unique” when I found

French fantasy and German reality” – at last! Is there someone in the French press willing to compare the fantasy embodied in the French intention to replace their efficient nuclear energy with wind and solar with the reality in Germany, where ruinously expensive solar is being dropped in favour of coal in its most polluting form of cheap lignite?


In France one finds the same beliefs about the German energy transition: a cost running into the trillions, companies relocating abroad, risks of general black-outs, inevitable importation of electricity from nuclear, an inevitable return to coal, with the huge rise in emissions that that entails. But the Energiewende is by no means doomed to failure. It’s a complex energy paradigm shift which is not without problems, but which has to be judged in the long term.”

And so on. Certainly, energy is more expensive in Germany, but they use less of it. (Yeah, they take cold showers, and they don’t eat their Sauerkraut and Bratwurst on plastic plates, I’ll bet)

The means for a true energy transition exist, at once a motor for competitivity for enterpises, of growth for the country, and of construction for the Franco-German relationship and for Europe. And France possesses numerous trump cards for meeting these challenges. It must assume fully its predominant role, both nationally and at the level of the European community, and cease to project its own worries on Germany.”

Apologies for the quality of the above translation, but I refuse to spend more time on translating this drivel, which apparently represents the opinion of France’s most respected newspaper. Though the article isn’t written by a le Monde journalist, but by Stephen Boucher (Directeur de programme, European Climate Foundation) and Dimitri Pescia (Agora Energiewende)

By the sacred paps of bounteous Gaia, not more bleeding climate foundations. They’re breeding like rabbits, and they’re employing Europe’s entire population of sentient polyglots, each one with their own website, each one devoted to producing on-line articles noting the latest reports from all the others.

While the élite minds of the US are devoting their energies to becoming billionaires, and the élites of China and India are preparing to explore Mars, the best minds of the European establishment are forming foundations devoted to persuading each other of the necessity of conducting an energy transition which nobody wants, nobody’s voted for, and nobody’s got the foggiest idea how or why it might come into being.

I’ll leave an analysis of who European Climate Foundation and Agora Energiewende are and why, and who pays their salaries to another time. It’s not difficult – just a question of lots of obsessive clicking.

Mary Robinson is there. And John Ashton. He’s the bloke who, when he lectures trade unionists in Newcastle on climate change, mentions his grandfather who was a miner, and when he lectures businessmen in Beijing on climate change, mentions his grandfather who helped the communist rebellion in Shanghai in the thirties – and delivers his speech in Chinese. (How many grandfathers has this supercilious smartarse fucker got?)

I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by madness, starving hysterical naked, dragging themselves through the negro streets at dawn looking for an angry fix…”

Allen Ginsberg said that. He wasn’t maybe the greatest poet of the twentieth century, but he meant something to a certain generation who thought there was more to life than the consumer society and the dreary routine of nine-to-five office work, who rejected capitalism and yearned for a more honest relationship between man and his environment.

He didn’t live to see the best minds of his generation on their knees before – not Mammon – but the bountiful foundations that Mammon finances – forming an ever widening circle, their fingers on their I-phones and their heads up each other’s arses, blindly scratching statistics in the dust demonstrating that we must, we must, we must …

Do what?

Well, forego plastic picnic plates, for starters. That’s obvious. 97% of scientists say so. For the rest, it all depends on you.

I’ll come back to the European Climate Foundation and Agora Energiewende when I’ve calmed down a bit.


A Member of Parliament was recently censured for repeatedly addressing a female member of the Government as “Madame le ministre” instead of “Madame la ministre”. He was undoubtedly doing it to annoy, but the dictionaries and tradition are on his side, which didn’t stop him from being fined a week’s salary. If they can do that to an elected member of the people, free and sovereign, what might they not do to a foreigner who happens to live in France? Hence I shall be addressing Mme Segolène Royal as “the ministress” instead of “the barmy old cow”.

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Trust Me, I’m a Climatologist / Cosmologist

In my last post on Velikovsky’s historical and cosmological theories I linked to the site of what might be termed the post Velikovskian cosmo-catastrophists. I haven’t been back there for about ten years, but they seem as bright and chipper as ever. For newcomers to Electric Universe theory I recommend their daily updates at

where you normally have a photo of some planetary body, plus an explanation of the features shown which conventional science either glosses over or seeks to explain with increasingly unconvincing ad hoc hypotheses. (Those round things on every object in the solar system? They’re volcanic craters when we think the interior was hot, and impact craters when we think it wasn’t.)

Here, in two paragraphs, is my resumé of the electric universe theory as I think I understood it ten years ago:

Space is not a vacuum, but an extremely weak plasma. Plasmas conduct electricity. The sun (and everything else in the cosmos) is heated by Birkeland currents which traverse the universe, like the anode of a battery. Craters observed on practically all bodies in space were formed by electric arcing. Note how small craters cluster round the edges of large craters, an effect which would be impossible if due to the random impacts of incoming meteors.

Electricity in a plasma produces strange visual geometric effects – for example a column with symmetrical emanations, which can be found in ancient rock art in the Sahara, and also in the iconography of Greek mythology, for instance in the thunderbolt of Zeus, and in images of Artemis the tamer of animals, (an image which is found also in the Babylonian seals representing Gilgamesh).

The significance for the impossible Velikovskian hypothesis of planets bouncing off each other is this: electrically charged bodies in a plasma do not obey classical laws of Newtonian mechanics. What Velikovsky interpreted as collisions of bodies in the solar system may have been close encounters accompanied by spectacular electromagnetic effects. Nobody in the Thunderbolts crowd is willing to date these effects to the moment of the Exodus or the Iliad, as Velikovsky tried to, but the nineteenth century insight that mythology, and particularly prehistoric iconography, can be useful in cosmological research is re-established.

The Thunderbolt crowd also espouse the positions of the astronomer Halton Arp, author of the classic “Atlas of Unusual Galaxies”. For Arp, qasars – objects unimaginably far away, and inexplicably powerful sources of radio emissions – tend to appear in pairs in the sky. Arp’s explanation is that Hubble’s hypothesis that red shift equals distance is not true for young cosmic objects, and that qasars, far from being big and far away, are young galaxies being born, ejected symmetrically from existing galaxies.

The one time I found a reference to Arp in a popular science book, this theory was dismissed with the comment that Arp had been accused of falsifying his data. Note that the author did not say outright that Arp had falsified his data. Merely that he had been accused of doing so. [It's as if I published a refutation of Cook and Lewandowsky claiming that some authorities had accused them of being liars and frauds. That, dear readers, is not at all my position]

For more on the theories of Arp, see

or the Wikipaedia article at

Next month the European Space Agency is hoping to land on a comet which resembles a rubber duck. Except that it doesn’t, not in my iconography. But calling it a rubber duck is a helpful jokey way of hiding the embarrassment of cosmologists who don’t want to admit that they haven’t the foggiest idea about comets or the solar system or anything else. On the one hand they want to make the subject interesting enough to the public to justify the hundreds of millions that taxpayers contribute to the ESA. On the other hand, they don’t like to admit their ignorance.

Sounds familiar?

Next post: bad weather alert at Troy

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Velikovsky and the Weather

Around 1960, I read Velikovsky’s “Worlds in Collision”, republished by a book club which my dad subscribed to. The message had a great appeal to a rebellious geekish adolescent: the Bible was wrong, the history books were wrong, the scientists were wrong. What was not to like?

Unfortunately, an awful lot of what Velikovsky wrote was wrong too – but not all.

Velikovsky was a polymath chased out of Europe in the thirties by Hitler, a psychoanalyst excluded from the world of orthodox psychoanalysis for having dared to criticise Freud, who found himself in the forties in the US, correspondent for the New York Times on Palestine affairs, and joint editor with Albert Einstein of the Studia Hebraica.

One of his points of disagreement with Freud was over his last book “Moses and Monotheism” which attributed the invention of monotheism to the heretic Pharaoh Akhnaton. While researching Egyptian history looking for evidence of the Exodus, he came upon the Ipuwer papyrus, a fragmentary text which can be read as describing something like the plagues of Egypt, as described in the Old Testament. The problem was that, according to the accepted chronology, it was several centuries out.

Velikovsky devoted himself to an intense study of comparative mythology, and, like many before him, was astounded by the similarities in myths of people that can have had no physical contact before modern times. His conclusion was that they must have witnessed the same events, and that these events must have been celestial, with a catastrophic world-wide impact.

Specifically, he posited that the planets Mars and Venus were newcomers to the planetary system, and that their arrival and interactions circa 1300 B.C. and 800 B.C. are recorded in numerous myths and legends, including the Exodus and the Iliad.

This theory has been roundly disproved on grounds of planetary physics, and Velikovsky has been largely consigned to the junk heap of weirdo crackpot theorists alongside Eric von Daniken with his pyramid building extraterrestrials – which is a pity, because there is much more to Velikovsky than a false theory of planetary formation. (You can judge for yourself by visiting the site

or browsing through the “esoterica” shelves of any secondhand bookshop.)

He followed up with “Earth in Upheaval” a book criticising the geological dogma of slow non-catastrophic change to the earth’s surface. Following the acceptance of tectonic plates and the Great Extinctions, there is nothing absurd about Velikovsky’s critique, but at the time he was just another screwball sceptic with no peer-reviewed articles to his name – you get the idea.

Then came the two volumes of “Ages in Chaos”, an attempt to sort out the chronology of Egyptian history. The second volume, entitled “Peoples of the Sea”, contains an appendix entitled “Astronomy and Chronology”, the first chapter of which: “The foundations of Egyptian Chronology” explains with great precision why we should never ever trust the opinions of experts. The chronology of Egyptian civilisation hasn’t advanced since the time of Abraham (whenever that was). The pseudo-scientific speculations of nineteenth century egyptologists, supposedly based on the astronomical calculations of third century AD Greek commenters on ancient Egyptian methods of calculating adjustments to a 360 day year, miraculously resulted in Abraham landing in the right century, according to biblical tradition. The official chronology of Egypt has no scientific basis.

Many researchers followed Velikovsky’s example and tried to reconcile the official version of an Egyptian civilisation which remained petrified for three thousand years with the evidence from all other ancient cultures of a clear development over time, so that – say – Greek pottery of the sixth century can be clearly distinguished from that of the fifth, whereas Egyptian art is considered to be “timeless” – which is usually meant as a compliment – but means no more than that we haven’t the foggiest idea of the chronology of Egyptian civilisation.

[The boldest neo-Velikovskian revision of Egyptian chronology is probably that of Professor Gunnar Heinsohn in “Wann Lebten die Pharaonen?” in which he suggests that the Old, Middle and New Kingdoms were not separated by three millennia but were contemporary. The iron tools found in the pyramids were not dropped by some burglar two thousand years after their construction, but were used in their construction. If Homer doesn't mention the pyramids in his account of Menelaus's visit to Egypt, it's because they hadn't been built yet. If early Greek statues resemble strikingly Egyptian models, it's because they were nearly contemporary, and not separated by thousands of years, and so on...]

Velikovsky’s “Worlds in Collision” received huge publicity on its publication in 1950, including a whole issue of the New Yorker devoted to it. Then two funny things happened:

1)The editors Macmillan were threatened by the scientific establishment with a boycott of their scientific textbooks if they continued to publish it. Macmillan caved in, and an editor left and formed Doubleday in order to escape this official censorship and publish the offending text.

2) Three new discoveries about the solar system: the existence of a magnetosphere around the planet Jupiter, and the retrograde spin and the high temperature of the planet Venus, were proposed as confirmations of Velikovsky’s theories. [This was in the epoch, dear readers, when empirical evidence was considered to trump the opinions of scientists...]

Here, one Carl Sagan came to the rescue, invoking the little known greenhouse effect, re-baptised the “runaway greenhouse effect”, in order to explain the anomalous 600°C surface temperature of Venus, and the honour of orthodox science was saved.

But once you’ve evoked a new scientific principle, the genie is out of the bottle, as it were. Something as potentially powerful as the runaway greenhouse effect can hardly be allowed to go to waste. If it can be used to silence the supporters of a marginal amateur cosmologist, surely it can be used for the greater benefit of mankind?

Which is where we find ourselves today.

* * * * * * *

I’ll be coming back to Velikovsky, and particularly to his most interesting acolytes at

together with some research I did on weather in the Iliad (It was rotten – you could believe yourself at Wimbledon fortnight, except that the Iliad doesn’t last as long…)

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A Dissident Voice

A radical leftwing site called dissidentvoice just published an article at

which I reproduce in full below. It’s rather long and boring, so I’ve emphasised the relevant parts, so you don’t have to read it all

America’s Radical, Underground Climate Change Countermovement

by Robert Hunziker / September 27th, 2014

The year is 2050; rising seas have inundated Miami, America’s most recent ghost city, since Detroit. A deadly heat wave scorches Chicago, killing thousands of elderly, and a mega-drought has farmers in the Southwest on their knees, praying for relief, as a dreadful dust bowl blankets the fields. America goes hungry.

A flickering television screen in an abandoned home in Miami, its mangled window shutters flapping in the breeze, shows a real live news story of desperadoes breaking down the gates to the DuPont estate and the Mellon estate, both overlooking Nantucket Sound. The properties are owned by the children/grandchildren of Mr. William Koch, whose brothers, David and Charles, infamously led the “Countermovement” against climate science many years ago.

As far back as 2014, Mr. William Koch personally spent millions to block Cape Wind, a vast wind farm once proposed for Nantucket Sound. He opposed the “visual pollution,” as a “spoiler” of his family compound, which includes ownership of the DuPont and Mellon estates.

In the real world today, based upon an actual climate model for the year 2050 by The Weather Channel and by the UN’s World Meteorological Association, the scenario described above is not out of question, except, of course, for desperadoes “crashing the gates.” That’s totally fiction. Besides, The Weather Channel does not speculate about how desperate people will react to climatic cataclysms.

But still, one has to wonder how the future will play out, assuming America’s radical, underground climate change counter-movement prevails, especially considering how they bully Congress, blocking any semblance of a national renewable energy policy.  After all, in their eyes: The “visual pollution” of wind turbines and solar panels lowers property values!

It’s not new news that a well-funded effort to destroy the sanctity of scientific evidence of climate change has persisted in America for many, many years. It is out in the open and written about in countless articles, the Koch brothers and too many others to name, highjack the news and plant stories wherever and whenever possible, all funded by deep pocket billionaires. It’s a blatant right-wing sell-out of everything democracy ever stood for. And, it’s remarkable that everybody knows all about it! It’s absolutely remarkable, but caution is in order because it’s the unknowns behind their intentions that’s most threatening.

The Koch brothers likely have the most recognized name in America, similar to Hollywood movie stars, but in contrast, the Kochs bought their name recognition, albeit not intentionally. Hollywood movie stars “earn it,” intentionally. And, while one is infamous, the other is famous.

But, this story is much deeper than the selfish interests and infamy of the Kochs and much deeper than what appears on the surface. For example, the climate deniers are so paranoid that they go so far as to intimidate scientific journals that publish relatively innocuous articles vis a vis their countermovement, and on occasion, successfully, by way of threatening legal action, they cause retractions of peer-review scientific papers that they find offensive. This is symptomatic of a paranoia-plus personality type, very similar to the mentality of terrorists cell members found throughout Al-Qaeda’s network.

As for one example among many of what appears as a relatively harmless peer-reviewed article in Frontiers in Psychology, “Recursive Fury: Conspiracist Ideation in the Blogosphere in Response to Research on Conspiracist Ideation,” by Stephan Lewandowsky, et al, the study linked climate denial with conspiracist thinking.  Almost immediately, threats of litigation commenced from the very conspiracists ideologues the article referenced.

At the end of the day, and even though the science was rechecked and found to be thoroughly accurate, and scientifically credible, the threats of libel lawsuits had a chilling impact on the scientific research. The paper was retracted by Frontiers in Psychology.

But, more significantly than torpedoing articles, America’s radical, underground climate change countermovement has gone deep underground ever since they discovered Donors Trust a few years ago.

Nowadays, the Kochs, with their billionaire accomplices, secretly donate funds to their countermovement lackeys whilst operating in the shadows, like Al-Qaeda, operating out of caves, and, similar to how the Weathermen operated, aka: the Weather Underground Organization, circa 1970s, whose goal was the overthrow of the U.S. government.

Ever since the Kochs, in concert with their billionaire comrades, went underground, hiding from public view their most sensitive operations, they carry out elaborate schemes of radical plans to destroy climate change science by obfuscation, and their covert machinations scorn the theory of a government “by and for the people.” As to their liking, democracy is dead!

At first blush, their surreptitious behavior, which is remarkably identical to how worldwide terrorists’ networks conduct operations,  “may be construed as a threat to national security.” More on that later.

In that regard, Robert J. Brulle, PhD, professor of sociology and environmental science at Drexel University, submitted the first-ever peer-reviewed comprehensive analysis of funding for America’s climate change countermovement.1

Dr. Brulle’s scholarly study conducted an “analysis of the financial resource mobilization of the organizations that make up the climate change counter-movement (CCCM) in the United States,” Ibid.

He discovered ninety-one (91) CCCMs with average resources of just over $900 million. As such, almost $1 billion is available to these CCCMs to radicalize and obfuscate the climate change issue, as well as other issues, thereby, similar to Weathermen Underground operations, artificially creating confusion and consternation from coast to coast.

Over the past decade, a lot of adverse publicity about billionaires funding: (a) imitation institutions, (b) making up phony orgs, and (c) covertly paying ghostwriters, forced them underground. Yes, like the Weathermen and very, very similar to Al-Qaeda, the CCCM is underground with their henchmen in darkened caves; they’re radical; they’ll do whatever’s necessary to protect their propertied interests.

In point of fact, they may eventually be classified as white-collar terrorists, but they have every appearance of honest, upstanding citizenship. On any given Sunday, you’d probably exchange a smile with them at church without suspecting in the least that you are acknowledging a terrorist.

In that regard, by definition, and according to NSA standards, any group that clandestinely goes underground to sub-rosa disrupt America’s pivotal national interests is labeled a terrorist group.

Is America’s radical, underground climate change countermovement threatening the nation’s pivotal national interests? Is this debatable? Or, is their behavior prima facie evidence of a radical terrorist threat?

According to Brulle:

A number of analyses… clearly shows that a number of conservative think tanks, trade associations, and advocacy organizations are the key organizational components of a well-organized climate change countermovement (CCCM) that has not only played a major role in confounding public understanding of climate science, but also successfully delayed meaningful governmental policy actions to address the issue.

As it goes, they have furtively succeeded in compromising America’s point of view about the threat of climate change; e.g., a Pew Research Center Poll in October 2012 asked: “Do scientists believe that earth is getting warmer because of human activity?” Fifty-five percent (55%) replied “no” or they “didn’t know.” The ‘no” vote registered 45%. As Brulle states, “This reflects a broad misunderstanding of climate science by the general public.” How did this happen?

Here’s how it happened: CCCM operates similar to how Hollywood produces a film or a play on Broadway: “The countermovement has stars in the spotlight [similar to ISIS’s British-accented, knife-wielding man dressed in black] – often prominent contrarian scientists or conservative politicians – but behind the stars is an organizational structure [like Al-Qaeda cells] of directors, script writers and producers, in the form of conservative foundations [same as Al-Qaeda “mainstream fronts” in the UK and France]. If you want to understand what’s driving this movement, you have to look at what’s going on behind the scenes,”

Nowadays, the executive producers (equivalent in rank to Al-Qaeda’s Ayman al-Zawahiri) for the countermovement are concealing their most discrete activities. Since 2008, the counter-movement’s heavyweight executive producers no longer make publicly traceable contributions through their labyrinth of networks whenever extreme levels of deviousness commands a safer course of action.

Over the years, the countermovement’s principal financial operatives shifted much of their funding to Donors Trust, which is a donor-directed foundation whose funders cannot be traced, cannot be traced, cannot be traced, cannot be traced… similar to the secretive cells for movement of funds of radical terrorists groups throughout Europe and the Middle East, which also cannot be traced.

As a result, “…only a fraction of the hundreds of millions in contributions to climate change countermovement organizations can be specifically accounted for from public records. Approximately 75% of the income of these organizations comes from unidentifiable sources.”  Again, similar to Al-Qaeda, the funding sources for the counter-movement come out of darkened shadows within a maze of serpentine alleyways.

That is exactly how groups like Al-Qaeda and ISIS operate to covertly move money. Otherwise, the world would catch on to their antics very quickly. The old rule of “follow the money” would lead right to them.

Why else would any group, including CCCM, follow such courses of action?

As such, America’s radical climate change countermovement terrorist organization is free to spend as much as they want without any public disclosure, no possibility of tracing back to individual donors. Thus, as it happens, the functionality of the world of climate change denial, “the countermovement,” must operate deep underground and in the shadows.

A few years ago and with no fanfare, a sea change in CCCM’s methodologies for undermining the science of climate change/global warming took place, and now nobody knows when, where, why, or how they’ll strike, same as Al-Qaeda.

But, dissimilar to the pursuit of Al-Qaeda, drones won’t help smoke’em out.


Terrorism is a psychological warfare. Terrorists try to manipulate us and change our behavior by creating fear, uncertainty, and division in society.

Patrick J. Kennedy (D-RI), American politician, former U.S. Representative, 1995-2011.

  1. Robert J. Brulle, Institutionalizing Delay: Foundation Funding and the Creation of U.S. Climate Change Counter-Movement Organizations, Climate Change, DOI 10.1007/s10584-013-1018-7, Nov. 19, 2013 []

Robert Hunziker (MA, economic history, DePaul University) is a freelance writer and environmental journalist whose articles have been translated into foreign languages and appeared in over 50 journals, magazines, and sites worldwide, like Z magazine, European Project on Ocean Acidification, Ecosocialism Canada, Climate Himalaya, Counterpunch, Dissident Voice, Comite Valmy, and UK Progressive. He has been interviewed about climaæte change on Pacifica Radio, KPFK, FM90.7, Indymedia On Air and World View Show/UK. He can be contacted at: Read other articles by Robert.

This article was posted on Saturday, September 27th, 2014 at 7:30pm and is filed under Climate Change, Energy, Environment.

* * * *

DissidentVoice, rather strangely for a radical website, doesn’t allow comments. I therefore replied to them as follows:

Dear DissidentVoice

Much as I find to agree with your general positions on the totalitarian tendencies of modern capitalist society, I must take objection to your article at

which states:

the climate deniers are so paranoid that they go so far as to intimidate scientific journals that publish relatively innocuous articles vis a vis their countermovement, and on occasion, successfully, by way of threatening legal action, they cause retractions of peer-review scientific papers that they find offensive. This is symptomatic of a paranoia-plus personality type, very similar to the mentality of terrorists cell members found throughout Al-Qaeda’s network.

As for one example among many of what appears as a relatively harmless peer-reviewed article in Frontiers in Psychology, “Recursive Fury: Conspiracist Ideation in the Blogosphere in Response to Research on Conspiracist Ideation,” by Stephan Lewandowsky, et al, the study linked climate denial with conspiracist thinking.  Almost immediately, threats of litigation commenced from the very conspiracists ideologues the article referenced.

At the end of the day, and even though the science was rechecked and found to be thoroughly accurate, and scientifically credible, the threats of libel lawsuits had a chilling impact on the scientific research. The paper was retracted by Frontiers in Psychology.”

The paper was withdrawn because the editors found that it failed to protect the rights of its subjects. The science was not “rechecked and found to be thoroughly accurate, and scientifically credible”. There were nothreats of libel lawsuits” which “had a chilling impact on the scientific research”. Lewandowsky and his co-author John Cook are liars and charlatans, a fact that I have pointed out on numerous websites, from Chris Mooney’s to the New Yorker to Huffington Post.

Your article suggests that Lewandowsky’s article was retracted because of “threats of litigation” from “the very conspiracists ideologues the article referenced”.

Four people (Steve McIntyre, Anthony Watts, Joanne Nova and myself) were referenced in the article as instigators of “recursive” conspiracy theories. None of us issued threats of litigation. Your reference to “paranoid climate deniers” who are “..the very conspiracists ideologues the article referenced” is therefore defamatory, as is the comparison with al-Qaeda and the Weathermen.

I invite you to withdraw these accusations and issue an apology on your site.

I note that it is not possible to reply to articles on your site (rather strange for a dissident voice) and so I have taken the liberty of reproducing Mr Hunsiker’s article in full on my site, where comments are permitted and not moderated. I note further that you state:

Unless otherwise specified, all DissidentVoice articles are copyrighted by the respective author. For permission to reprint, post, or redistribute an article, please contact either the author or the editor.”

to which I reply, in the immortal words of Pressdram v Arkell (adapted for an American audience)

go fuck yourselves.

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