..and Thanks for the Fish

Thanks to all commenters at my antepenultimate post for their kind words. As you can see, my final curtain call was about as final as that of any “Grande Dame du théatre”.
Three things persuaded me that I couldn’t go on like this. First, a symptom of our success is that it is impossible to comment intelligently on the climate sceptic scene at the moment without first consulting the ever-growing number of intelligent climate sceptic sites, which takes an enormous amount of time.

Secondly, as a result of my promise to act as an ambassador between the French and English-speaking sites, I found myself consulting even more sites than before. And commenting in French (which I’ve been doing on all sorts of subjects) costs me no little intellectual effort.

Thirdly, and most importantly, I find myself more and more in disagreement with the sceptical consensus, which seems to be that we’re winning the scientific argument, and we only have to wait for our opponents to acknowledge the fact and roll over and die. Unlike many of the hard scientists and engineers in the sceptic camp, I believe in the importance (and validity) of the social sciences. Society moves in mysterious ways, and they’re not always rational.

Catweazle’s comment above can serve as an example of what I mean. I feel honoured to have readers like Catweazle, who is obviously infinitely more intelligent than Cameron, Hollande, or Obama. But intelligence butters no parsnips when the planet is in danger.
And of course, the ecological danger facing the planet tends to obscure certain other things happening. Has anyone noticed that one European democracy (Russia) has just invaded another European democracy (Ukraine)? (Putin, like it or not, was elected). Remember Fukuyama and the End of History?

Has anyone noticed that two thousand bonkers bandits just routed the 200,000 strong Iraqi army last June, while everyone was watching the football? The only journalist to my knowledge to give a rational explanation of events in Iraq is the Independent’s Patrick Cockburn. His father Claud Cockburn edited a communist scandal sheet in the thirties, and was resurrected by Private Eye in the seventies. His brother, the recently deceased Alexander Cockburn, was one of the founders of the American leftwing blog Counterpunch, who dared to defy the global warming consensus in a number of articles, before being silenced by George Monbiot.

Which brings me to a fourth reason why I’m going to have less time for blogging. I’ve taken to political activism for the first time in several decades, and I’ll be campaigning for our local communist candidate in the coming weeks in the election for the “Conseils Générals” (= County Councils).

The communists locally have allied themselves with the socialists, but not with the Greens. Our département (= county) has been socialist for 16 years, providing a county-wide bus service for a flat fare of one euro, and a wide range of financing for the handicapped, the young unemployed, etc. It’s a toss up whether the département gets taken over by the right (which has already taken over two thirds of the département’s communes, privatising and selling off all they can to their wives, concubines and associates) or by the far right – the Front National, whose President Jean Marie le Pen used to boast about having torturing Arabs, until it became a crime, whereupon he claimed he’d been lying and denied having tortured Arabs.

But there’s a fifth reason. I used to be an illustrator, drawing polar bears for children’s comics (oh the irony), images of Christ, Buddha and various Hindu Gods (and, dare I say it, Muhammad?) for school text books on religious instruction, and even the odd (and I mean odd) illustration for gay contact magazines.

I’ve got this ambition to illustrate the Orlando Furioso of Ludovico Ariosto, and even the Orlando Innamorato of Matteo Boiardo. Others have done it before me, (and by others I mean Fragonard, Gustave Doré and Fabrizio Clerici, not to mention Rubens and Delacroix) but no one’s got it quite right. There’s an 80-year-old guy in Marseille who’s had a good try, a couple of twins in California who’ve done some wonderful stuff, and a German lady into bondage at http://www.janthor.com/ who’s got to the heart of the problem with some witty collages. I’ve got a lot of ideas on the subject, and I really think I can do better than any of them.

The Orlando epic starts In the corner of the south of France where I happen to live, where (according to the Orlando epics) Charlemagne’s paladins fought the son of the Emperor of China, and lost.

In the local university where I used to teach there are two thousand Chinese students who are way ahead of the local French students in terms of motivation and in terms of their level of English. One of them recently murdered the secretary of the sociology department, who happened to be the mother of a student he fancied. He is currently interned in a psychiatric hospital in France. The university invited us to provide any evidence we might have as to his psychological state. I didn’t reply. His English is excellent. He told me he wanted to go to Paris to see the tennis at the Paris Open. My evidence as to his evident intelligence and sanity could have led to him being repatriated and executed.

It’s also the corner of France where a half a million Spanish anarchists arrived in 1939 in what Nancy Mitford described in her comic novel “the Pursuit of Love” as “the greatest displacement of population in history” (There have been greater since) and where they were interned in concentration camps. It’s also where the great Spanish poet Antonio Machado and the great German communist journalist Walter Benjamin both died within months of each other, one having escaped from Spain, the other having tried in vain to escape there.

Ariosto’s Orlando epic moves swiftly from the south of France to St Andrew’s in Scotland (where my daughter did her Erasmus year) before circumnavigating the globe (several years before Magellan) moving on to the Moon and back, via Japan, the Middle East and Africa.

It’s taken me a certain effort to understand sixteenth century Italian, especially the Padano dialect of Matteo Baiardo. Believe me, it’s much more difficult, (and more interesting) than the temperature records of this or that 12’X12′ squared portion of the globe. Things happened in 16th century Europe. (Macchiavelli, Erasmus.. and then there was Giordano Bruno, who wrote to his friend, our own Sir Philip Sidney, warning him of the whiles of women, before being burned at the stake for heresy…)

It’s possible (although we’ll never know for certain) that word came to the tiny state of Ferrara of Columbus’s voyages, as well of who-knows-what voyage to the East via Venice. Whatever, it’s sure that the delicious JanThor and her images from Japanese porn sites have more to tell us about the mindset of Renaissance courtiers like Boiardo and Ariosto than the witterings of academics in a hundred Italian Literature departments.

Do enjoy the images of the very fit Jan Thor, and of the Californian brothers whose names escape me. Go to the National Gallery and appreciate their collection of paintings of the Ferrarese school – the best outside Italy. And expect something soon from me on WordPress.

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‘Allo ‘Allo

Hello again. Just to let you know about the launch of an “Association Francophone des Climato-Optimistes” (AFCO). You can read about it at
http://www.skyfall.fr/?p=1490
and their manifesto is at
http://www.climat-optimistes.com/
Membership costs 50 euros, which I find a bit steep. The founder is one Christian Gerondeau, author of “Écologie, la grande arnaque” (Ecology – the Big Scam) and “CO2: un mythe planétaire”. As President Chirac’s “Monsieur Sécurité” he reduced road deaths from third world levels to a level comparable to that of the UK. As a defender of nuclear power and the automobile industry, he’s treated in the media as a cross between Jeremy Clarkson and Matt Ridley. That’s what you get for saving thousands of French lives.
I’ll keep you updated on developments.
* * * * * * * * * * * * *
Meanwhile our President Hollande is currently in the Philippines drumming up support for the Paris Conference on the Climate. He gave a speech in which he attributed the recent typhoon which caused 4,000 deaths (and which he correctly identified as a “catastrophe naturelle”) to global warming (or “dérèglement climatique”) citing the IPCC as his authority. He took two actresses with him, which does seem rather daring considering there are important local elections in three weeks’ time in which the socialists are expected to be wiped out. Is this his message to the electors? “Hey guys! Remember me? I’m the socialist president, the one who visits actresses at 2am on a moped. And I’ve got two of them here with me”.
I caught a political chat programme this evening on which a Green senator claimed that there were 1.2 million climate refugees in Syria, and that 60% of current conflicts in the world were due to global warming. The other participants – people with intelligent things to say about Sunnis, Shiites, Ukrainians and Russians, didn’t contradict her. How could they? It would be like disputing the interpretation of the Koran with an Imam.
One guy (a blog owner who’s become a frequent participant in TV discussions (Montford where art thou?) did say something interesting. One of the actresses accompanying Hollande to sell the catastrophic global warming message apparently believes that the 9/11 attack was a conspiracy. She also believes that the moon landing was a hoax. Should we tell Lew?

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Goodbye to All That

I intend to give this blog a rest for several months. I may be back before the Paris conference in December. (I may be back tomorrow if something gets me going, but that’s not my intention). I may drop the whole thing, in which case I’ll let you know.
I’m extremely depressed by the way the debate over the science of climate change has developed. I’ve never been more than a footblogger in the climate wars, though sometimes, accidentally, I’ve found myself in the thick of the combat. Despite the title of this post, I identify more with the Good Soldier Schweik than with Lt. Robert Graves, though unlike Schweik, I care about the outcome.
Robert Graves, after writing his account of the trench warfare in 1914-18 from which I borrowed the title for this post, had the luck to return to sanity and study classics under T.E. Lawrence. I won’t have such luck, though I hope to return to sanity and read a lot of history and social science and poetry. I may even take up Lewis Deane’s suggestion in a comment at
https://geoffchambers.wordpress.com/2013/12/12/amelia-sharman-the-sociologist-and-the-horseleech/
and read Hugh Kenner on Ezra Pound. [I found the comment when I came back to this blog for the first time in a fortnight and found that was one of the articles people had been looking at. Which brings me to another reason for stopping blogging:- I forget what I’ve written, even a year ago.]
But the main reason is that I’m depressed because I see no evidence of a positive outcome for climate scepticism. As the consensus hardens and the possibilities for rational debate are reduced, we sceptics are becoming less and less relevant. At the same time, the majority of sceptic blogs become more and more confident, as they see that the global surface temperatures are refusing to rise in line with model predictions and that the sceptical argument is being confirmed in numerous scientific papers, and sceptical blogs are becoming more numerous, and more popular, with more and more adherents in the comment columns of WattsUpWithThat and BishopHill.
But the debate has ceased to exist where it counts – in the mainstream media. In 2007, when my interest began, Lindzen or Lomborg could still be cited in the pages of the Independent or the Guardian. Since then a conscious decision has been taken to “move on” from debating the science to debating what to do, or rather how fast and how expensively to do it, and to leave us sceptics (that is, rational human beings with a respect for the principles of scientific enquiry and rational debate) by the wayside.
And the manner of debating has changed radically; witness the BlueCloud affair, as described at
http://bishophill.squarespace.com/blog/2015/2/13/the-guardian-apologises.html
A Guardian commenter (and one time contributor) posted comments at that once respected liberal newspaper joking about beheading Mat Ridley, a British politician, journalist, and “lukewarmer”, and suggesting that his death would be no loss. The Guardian moderators (who banned me long ago, along with almost all rational sceptics) took two days to remove his comments which were a clear incitement to murder. The Guardian has since apologised – sort of.
Incitements to behead members of parliament are rare these days. [For the benefit of colonials, Ridley is a Viscount, and because his father has died, he’s eligible for election by his peers to our Upper House according to the revolutionary new rules for choosing our rulers. Personally, as an unrepentant Old Leftist, I prefer this system of hereditary aristocrats choosing the least senile amongst their number to the modern system of members of the Upper House being nominated directly by party leaders, a system which has led to the teenage Baroness Worthington of Friends of the Earth being appointed a
lifelong legislator of the world’s oldest democracy on the basis of her fervent belief in the non-existent warming of the planet. But that’s just me. End of digression].
I’m depressed by the level of debate, which hasn’t progressed in the years I’ve been following it. I’m depressed by the willingness of the best of the British bloggers to waste their time on the debate on name-calling – e.g. Andrew Montford, Paul Matthews and Kevin Marshall at
http://theconversation.com/deniers-vs-alarmists-its-time-to-lose-the-climate-debate-labels-37765
and Ben Pile at
http://www.climate-resistance.org/2015/02/about-denying-deniers-denial-and-denialism.html
But there are positive signs. Besides the big blogs (CA, WUWT, BH, JoNova, Donna) and old hands like Ben and Hilary, there are dozens of unmissable new blogs on the block (you know who I mean) and some dormant volcanoes like Maurizio at Omnologos and Tony Newbery at Harmless Sky are showing renewed signs of activity.
One of my reasons for taking a sabbatical is the proliferation of new blogs, which is a great encouragement, but means that a growing part of any blogger’s time is taken up with following what other bloggers are up to. It’s encouraging to see Paul Homewood’s revelations about temperature revisionism and Paul Matthews’ perr-reviewed article about the nature of sceptics making waves. As one minor thread in the seamless web of things, I feel I can safely tie a knot in it without the great tapestry of climate scepticism unravelling.
So – with a warp and a woof – I’m off.

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Mortality and Climate Change

It’s commonplace to observe that climate catastrophism has many of the characteristics of an apocalyptic religion or doomsday cult. I’ve noted the weirdness of the authors of the Macmillan / Rapley epic “2071” – how Macmillan began an interview by stating that the world would be a better place if he had never been born, and how Rapley chose as the title the date at which his granddaughter would be the age he is now. I’m about the same age as Rapley and I know the funny things intimations of mortality can do to the mind. But all the same, you can’t help feeling these guys should be running an oddball cult on a mountain top somewhere, not influencing the energy policy of the planet.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-hJQ18S6aag

There’s an article at

http://theconversation.com/live-long-die-green-and-leave-a-biodegradable-corpse-37072  

which illustrates perfectly how climate change can become integrated into the innermost psychology of an intelligent educated person, affecting every aspect of their behaviour. For obvious reasons I refrained from commenting there. Instead I read it carefully several times, thinking about the mechanism by which so many Greek-educated citizens of the Roman Empire adopted the obscure religion of a sub-sect of an oppressed and despised race – a religion that overnight became the official creed of half the civilised world.

Once you’ve transformed a hypothesis about future temperature rise into an intimate part of your personality in this way, it’s easy to see how mere facts are not going to make a difference. I reproduce the article in full. Please be respectful in comments.

Live long, die green and leave a biodegradable corpse

by Robert John Young Professor of Wildlife Conservation at University of Salford

My mother died recently and at the funeral home I was asked if I had any ideas what kind of coffin she would like. For some reason I said something environmentally friendly. These words came out of my mouth more out of nervousness than anything previously discussed with my mother. Duly the undertaker showed us a catalogue of wicker coffins and we chose one made of banana leaves.

I often think of my carbon footprint – I have not owned a car in more than 15 years, for example – but I had never thought about my “green obligations” in death.

My mother may not have requested an environmentally friendly coffin, but she did state she wished to be cremated. Due to the lack of space in the UK around 80% of people request cremation – and if we think about green space being at a premium this makes ecological sense.

However the energy required to cremate a single person is equal to the energy they would use in a month if they were alive. In the UK this translates to a yearly energy consumption of a town of 16,000 people. In Asian countries where cremation is very popular there is considerable interest in using solar power to reduce such energy consumption.

Another problem with cremation is air pollution, which obviously depends on the filtering system being employed. Until recent times cremations were one of the major sources of mercury pollution in the UK due to the amalgam fillings in people’s teeth. A group of environmental NGOs recently called on the EU to curb mercury emissions from human cremation. Furthermore, the clothes worn and use of embalming fluids may also increase air pollution.

Humans have buried their dead for at least 100,000 years. Therefore, not wishing to throw the baby out with the bathwater, I looked into different burial options. A woodland burial initially appealed to me. However, I would only really approve of this if it resulted in the maintenance of a high-quality conservation area and wildlife refuge. And I wonder if it became popular enough if it could result in major reforestation of the UK. But bodies would still be rotting in the ground releasing globally warming methane gas.

Surely, there must be greener options than a standard burial or cremation? Coming from a family of fishermen I thought about burial at sea, as the fish could recycle my body quickly. But there are only three registered places in the UK and only around 50 such burials per year. As a biologist, I find the idea of becoming fish food strangely appealing. This is not a new idea: I remember reading of man who macabrely wished the meat from his body fed to the residents at Battersea Dogs Home. Not surprisingly this strange offer was declined.

As a conservationist the idea of recycling my body after death appeals: some Asian cultures have what are called sky burials, where a dead human body is laid out on a mountain top for scavenging animals such as birds of prey to feed on.

From a biological point of view I cannot see anything wrong with this, providing deceased people do not have contagious diseases. Burials in the ground are more to do with people not wishing the body disturbed by animals than hygiene considerations – hence being buried six feet. Unfortunately, as much as I like to imagine my deceased body on the top of Ben Nevis being recycled by golden eagles, I can never see it being allowed in the UK.

I suppose what really appeals to me is being fully recycled in a short time-frame. The problem is that cremation does not fully recycle the body and burials can take years for the recycling process to occur. Thus, if my body could be fully recycled quickly into the nutrient cycles, thereby allowing the burial plot to be constantly reused then I may have found a biologically acceptable method to dispose of my body when the time comes.

A company in Sweden has tested a concept of eco-burial on dead pigs (pigs are good models for the human body), whereby the animal is frozen in liquid nitrogen at -196℃, which makes the body become brittle and disintegrate. In the case of a human, the disintegrated body would be filtered for metals (such as tooth fillings) and then buried in a shallow grave.

In tests with pigs the remains become rich compost in six to twelve months. Plus this sort of eco-burial does not release greenhouse gases such as methane (from traditional burials) or carbon (from cremations) into the atmosphere. The only problem being it is still in development.

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Rapley Redux

From:

http://www.royalcourttheatre.com/whats-on/2071

DUE TO OVERWHELMING DEMAND THE ACCLAIMED 2071 RETURNS TO JERWOOD THEATRE DOWNSTAIRS FOR THREE SHOWS ONLY – 23 & 24 JANUARY 2015.
Writer Duncan Macmillan has been talking to one of the world’s most influential Climate Scientists Chris Rapley. Working with internationally renowned director, Katie Mitchell, a new piece of theatre has been created where the science is centre stage.
Climate change is a matter of importance to everyone, but what to do about it is mired in controversy. What’s needed is a conversation. What do we owe future generations? How can we protect our children and grandchildren?
Chris Rapley CBE is the Chair of the London Climate Change Partnership and Professor of Climate Science at University College London.
After Ten Billion, Katie Mitchell’s collaboration with the scientist Stephen Emmott in 2012, and directing the German language production of Duncan Macmillan’s Lungs, Katie continues her commitment to exploring the future of life on earth and climate change through theatre.
……………………………………………………………………………………………………
I hope the Royal Court won’t institute legal proceedings because I’ve reproduced their publicity blurb in full without permission. Its imperious tone recalls the tone of those Shakespearian actors the King and the Duke in Huckleberry Finn chapter 21. And we all know how their performance ended.
There are three sentences I’d like to take issue with. First: “Writer Duncan Macmillan has been talking to one of the world’s most influential Climate Scientists Chris Rapley.”
What does that mean? According to Rapley, Macmillan is largely responsible for the text. But it’s entirely written in the first person and recited by Rapley, including anecdotes about his childhood and his experience in the Antarctic. So who wrote it? And who says that Rapley is “one of the world’s most influential Climate Scientists”? As far as one can gather from his autobiography in the play, his scientific career has been limited to devising scientific measuring devices – an honourable and useful career no doubt, but not that of a climate scientist. Unless you think that a manufacturer of protractors is one of the world’s most influential geometricians…
Second sentence: “Climate change is a matter of importance to everyone, but what to do about it is mired in controversy.”
Wrong on both counts. Most people don’t give a flying hundredth of a degree of warming per annum about it. (Or might that be two hundredths of a degree some time in the future? Nothing in the current temperature record suggests it, but might it? Oh woe!) Try persuading the average voter that a rise of 2°C in 2100 is a reason to cut back on their foreign holidays and accept power cuts for the good of humanity – just try it.
“What to do about it” is not “mired in controversy” since all major parties are determined to cover the countryside with useless windmills till Kingdom come. They won’t succeed because democracy will stop them. Rapmillan (or Macley, or whoever finally admits to writing this pile of farm animal emissions) will by then be long forgotten. But I shall continue to try to keep the flame of their memory alive, if only for Chris Rapley’s granddaughter’s sake, so she can sleep at nights, while waiting for 2071. With a grandfather like that, she deserves our support.
* * *
A good friend of mine, who is also a work associate of Katie Mitchell – the director of the Antarctic Thespian Rapley and the serial liar not-quite Cambridge-Professor Stephen Emmott – asked me recently what I hoped to achieve by my obsessive criticism of these two individuals? I admit that I was at a loss for an answer. He took it for granted that I couldn’t possibly claim to know more about global warming than the professor Rapley, which of course I don’t. I know just enough to know that I’m right and he’s wrong.
In the course of our discussion it emerged that my friend, an intelligent educated person and a regular reader of the Guardian, had never heard of the eighteen year pause in temperature rise.
The many intelligent readers of BishopHill and the GWPF and a hundred other well-informed blogs have no idea of the nature of the task before us. Mitchell and Rapley and their acolytes are there in place for twenty years at least. Nothing except a spectacular global cooling can dislodge them. We have no more reason to predict such an event than our opponents have to predict the contrary.

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My Thing with the Royal Court

I’ve just replied to the Royal Court’s executive producer. I promise I’ll keep the discussion polite from now on. Thanks to those who have offered their advice, and to Barry Woods and Paul Matthews who alerted me to a tweet in which Rapley says it’s “nothing to do with freedom of speech – straightforward breach of copyright.”
I try to counter this argument in my letter, without referring to the law, but merely to the fact that rational discussion of the points made by Rapley require that his text be in the public domain. Of course, if he doesn’t want rational discussion of the points he makes, or claims that 2071 is a work of fiction largely written by Macmillan, then I don’t have a leg to stand on. Here’s my reply:

Dear Ms Davies
On receipt of your letter I wrote a very rude reply on my blog, for which I apologise. I have since revised it, while leaving the original rudeness visible. I realise it was quite unforgivable to address you publicly in this fashion. As you know, here in France the Charlie Hebdo affair has resulted in a week of extremely fraught and often aggressive discussion about free speech and its limits. I overstepped those limits.

To reply directly to your point:
Yes, I have published an unauthorised transcription of the text by Macmillan and Rapley.
I appreciate that the authors hold a copyright on any work they publish, but since this work doesn’t exist anywhere at the moment except on my site, I don’t see how I can be infringing their copyright. The day they publish this work I will indeed take it down.

I am surprised that the authors are bothered about this. Apart from two anecdotes about professor Rapley’s boyhood atlas and the ice melting in his hand, there’s nothing in this text which couldn’t be found on Wikipaedia or in the IPCC’s Fifth Assessment Report. I’ll take those two anecdotes out if you like and rewrite the piece, using those two sources, and putting it in the third person.

More seriously, there is a strong public interest defence for keeping the text in the public domain. Apart from the personal anecdotes and the potted autobiography, the text is a political tract aimed at changing the behaviour of the whole world by reorganising the political and economic structure of society. A political tract is open to criticism, and to be criticised it must be cited. (Marx and Engels could no doubt have claimed copyright to the Communist Manifesto, but they’d have looked pretty silly if they tried to prevent people from reading it.)

My main criticisms of the text are 1) that it is extraordinarily boring, and 2) that it is grossly misleading in what it chooses to leave out. Both criticisms can only be justified by quoting the whole text. The first criticism is of course subjective, but important, given that professor Rapley, in an interview on your site, insists that it was written largely by Duncan Macmillan, who is a professional playwright.

The second criticism is far more serious. This is not the place to discuss the science of climate change, but Professor Rapley (or Mr Macmillan) admits that there is much we don’t know and will probably never know about the climate. (I know he said that because it’s in the transcript. It’s clearly important to know that an eminent scientist whose advice is sought by government bodies has admitted the ignorance surrounding the science.)
There is nothing in the text about the uncertainty surrounding climate sensitivity (the likely temperature rise resulting from a doubling of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere); nothing about the fact that predictions of future temperature rise are based on computer models, not on science; nothing about the failure of models to predict recent temperatures, or the fact that average atmospheric temperatures have not risen at all for the past eighteen years. There is nothing about the fact that climate related disasters have not risen over the past sixty odd years during which atmospheric CO2 has been rising. The causal connection between CO2 and temperature in the geological past is mentioned, but the fact that it is the temperature rise which causes increased CO2, and not vice versa, is glossed over.
The consistent choice of facts which support the climate catastrophe position and the absence of any expression of facts which argue against that position is the act of an activist, not of a scientist. For example, Rapley nowhere refers to the current eighteen year pause in temperature rise, but states that “each of the last three decades has been successively warmer … than any preceding decade since 1850.” which may be true, just as it’s true that in each of the last three decades we have become successively richer. But anyone who made that statement without mentioning the economic crisis of 2007 would be accused of being grossly misleading.

Both the text and the wide public discussion about the play in the media have emphasised the authority of science and of Rapley as a scientist. In giving such a partial, one-sided history of the current climate and of current climate science, this text gives a distorted view of the science. If you don’t believe me, you can read the text to check. The only way to demonstrate what it leaves out is to quote the text, the whole text, and nothing but the text. If I take the text down, we’ll have no way of knowing who’s right, but simply the word of Rapley (and Macmillan) and the memory of the few hundred people who saw the show.

Yours
Geoff Chambers

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Legal Advice Required Urgently

[In the cold light of day, and no longer pissed out of my mind, I’ve changed the first paragraph of my reply to Lucy Davies.]

I’d got a lot to say here about two important affairs
1) the thorough demolition of Lewandowsky by José Duarté at

http://www.joseduarte.com/blog/how-one-paleo-participant-can-change-the-outcome-of-a-study

ably commented by JoNova at

http://joannenova.com.au/2015/01/lewandowsky-peer-reviewed-study-includes-someone-32757-years-old/

2) The recent events in Paris, and their implications for free speech.
But I’ve just received this email, which refers to my article here:

https://geoffchambers.wordpress.com/2014/12/02/2071-script-by-duncan-macmillan-and-chris-rapley/

Dear Mr Chambers,
I am the Executive Producer at the Royal Court Theatre, which recently commissioned and produced 2071, written by Duncan Macmillan and Chris Rapley. It has been brought to my attention that you have made an unauthorised recording of the production, transcribed the playtext, and published it in full online. As this is a breach of both our trust and the writers’ legal copyright, I kindly request its removal from your site.
We chose not to produce a playtext as there is a publishing deal in process which your publishing of the text also prejudices.
I will let the copyright holders / writers and their representatives know about this communication. I trust you will agree to respect their legal rights and take down the text immediately.
In anticipation of your understanding and co-operation.
Kind regards
Lucy Davies
Executive Producer
Royal Court Theatre
Sloane Square
London
SW1W 8AS
020 7565 5050
07545 915182

I would greatly appreciate it if anyone reading this who can provide legal advice would contact me in the comments.
I’m not ready to become a martyr to climate catastrophism over the burblings of a depressive playwright who thinks the world would be a better place if he’d never been born; a director who drags her daughter round Europe on night trains in order to avoid adding to the greenhouse gasses emitted by Ryanair; and a second-rate scientist who licked the arse of a minister (Ed Milliband) by hiring a PR agency to put on a show in the Science Museum of which he was director in order to help the minister’s party to win an election, and who wrote a glowing review on Amazon of a book to which he had written the preface (a book in which a number of psychoanalysts and psychotherapists describe their efforts to make their patients more unhappy than they were before); and who loses no opportunity to describe those who disagree about the exact figure for the climate sensitivity to CO2 as “denialists”.
On the other hand, this mail suggests that I am legally obliged to censor a post on my blog. I am unwilling to do this for the following reasons:
I’ve spent the best part of the last four days following the news here in France about the most terrible attack on humanist values that we’ve seen in Europe since the second world war. I know the attacks in London (I was there) and Madrid killed more people, but the difference is in the fact that the Paris attack was targeted on a particular group (and I’ll have a lot to say at another time about Charlie Hebdo).
My feelings about censorship are complicated, as they must be for anyone who is capable of a moment’s reflection. Like many millions, I imagine, I have been affected by the recent events in Paris, and, as a foreigner living in France for the past thirty-odd years, I’ve been forced to revise my opinions about “les valeurs de la République”. [My first request for a “Carte de Séjour” was refused – illegally – thirty years ago by someone at the Paris Palais de Justice where I stood in line with a load of Cambodian and African “demandeurs d’asile politiques”. Once married to a French citizen, I made my first “demande de citoyenneté française. Then, because I moved house, I found that I would have to start all over again, and let it drop.]
End of autobiography.
Recent events in France provide a useful platform for defending the idea of freedom of speech with respect to the question of climate change.
I have frequently expressed my opinion on the censorship of opinion on the subject of climate change, as expressed in the report to the BBC Trust by Professor Steve Jones, or by the editor of Guardian Environment when he declared that “Global Warming was “Official Guardian Policy” (independently of whether temperatures rose or fell?) – that this was anti-science, irrational, and therefore should not be supported by those who believe in free speech.
In the mean time, let me reply to the email from Lucy Davies, Executive Producer at the Royal Court Theatre, Sloane Square:

Dear Lucy,

Go fuck yourself.

I don’t quite understand. Is the text of Messrs Rapley and Macmillan a warning to the world that the human race is in danger? (in which case I have performed a service to mankind in bringing it to the notice of the billions who weren’t privileged to hear it recited at the Royal Court.) Or is it the most boring load of nonsense ever uttered on stage cobbled together by a couple of ignorant tossers out to make a fast buck? (In which case I will limit myself to quoting the most boring 15% and leave it to others to quote the rest.)

The recent production to which you refer is clearly designed to change the habits of the entire world, as was the previous performance at the Royal Court written by Stephen Emmott and directed by the same Katie Mitchell.

Both shows were performed before audiences of a few thousand spectators at most. Both performers (Emmott and Rapley) expressed the desire to change the politics of the western world with their performances. Emmott suggested that this would be done by people teaching their children how to kill people. Professor Rapley didn’t go so far, but he seemed to suggest that far-reaching changes would be necessary in our behaviour, without explaining exactly how these changes would come about. The Royal Court normally publishes the scripts of their plays. The Emmott script eventually emerged as a Penguin book. The on-line blurb suggesting that readers teach their children how to kill people was withdrawn, (possibly due to my criticisms).
When Rapley deigns to publish his burbling, I will be happy to reply in a civilised fashion. In the meantime, I will maintain my transcript of his nonsense at
https://geoffchambers.wordpress.com/2014/12/02/2071-script-by-duncan-macmillan-and-chris-rapley/
yours truly
geoff chambers

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