Posts Tagged ‘climate change’

Trump has got a point on NATO, Russia and climate change

15/02/2017, 10:19:43 PM

by Julian Glassford

Winston Churchill is widely regarded as the greatest Briton in history. Here was a larger than life, notoriously brash and uncompromising Western leader, and one who allied himself with a Russian tyrant. 70 years on, and the political mainstream finds itself consumed with juxtaposed vexation. The source of all this consternation: a similarly bold and irrepressible, if relatively uncultured, rabble-rousing “Russophile”.

Granted, Donald Trump is no Churchill, but rather than jumping the gun in mourning the presumed death of American exceptionalism and Pax Americana, perhaps we ought to take the opportunity to pause, contemplate, and culture our concerns.

The cry that “democracy has lost its champion” smacks of selective amnesia regarding a string of less than illustrious foreign adventures from Vietnam to Iraq. It is also as if certain commentators skipped classes on the role of European ‘soft power’ and complex interdependence. It should be clear to any learned, objective analyst that increased stability and human flourishing has in many instances occurred not because, but in spite, of US-led interventions and initiatives.

Clearly, there is much to be said for the exercise of high minded influence by major players on the world stage – no-one wants to see a return to the dark days of American isolationism – but beware the false dichotomy. Notwithstanding the solipsistic antics of a certain “dangerous vulgarian” i.e. widely condemned neo-mercantile Trumponomics and discriminatory migration policy, a United States of Anarchy is not a realistic prospect.

Precarious as the present international order may be, it is unwise to presuppose that an unfiltered US President – or British foreign secretary, for that matter – will send the house of cards crashing down; that is, so long as the UN Security Council remains united in their opposition to nuclear proliferation, and the East-West arms-race in prospect confined to peaceful competition. (more…)

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The right attack on Cameron’s handling of the floods isn’t about cuts or climate change, but competence

18/02/2014, 09:22:27 AM

by Jonathan Todd

Number 10 has long wished to minimise media coverage of backbench rebellions to maximise airtime on economic recovery. Hence, Cameron’s concessions to his backbenches. But members of the government have needlessly distracted media focus from economic recovery. For example, Michael Gove picking another fight with Ofsted and the failure of government whips to have any women on the frontbench for PMQs.

These own goals confirm that Labour is not up against a crack operation. The floods, in contrast, are a crisis that Cameron’s government would have had to confront even if he’d run a tighter ship. They are, obviously, a crisis for the people whose homes are underwater. The nature of the political crisis that they represent for Cameron and what they reveal about his government is more contested.

By announcing that ‘money is no object’, according to Jonathan Freedland, the prime minister has performed the last rites on the notion of inevitable austerity. The prime minister’s words constitute an incredible hostage to fortune and a risk that he didn’t need to take. The careless political slips of his government begin at the top.

Reflecting on his time near the top of the last government, Patrick Diamond recently noted: “Policy is increasingly about resolving trade-offs accentuated by financial constraints and fiscal austerity”. Cameron, though, leaves no room for trade-offs. No matter how bad the floods get, irrespective of whatever ill-considered building decisions may have been made, in spite of whomever may be at fault, public money is still supposedly no object.

In a world of scarcity, as this world inevitably is, the prime minister’s remark is vulgarly illogical. It’s not – pace Freedland – that there is money when Cameron previously said there isn’t. It’s that this money has limits. Resources are finite. Governments must, consequently, decide how to allocate these resources to best effect. In this sense, trade-offs are even more fundamental than Diamond argues.


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We don’t need to blow people up to win the argument on climate change, says ffinlo Costain

05/10/2010, 12:28:44 PM

This week the 10:10 campaign (getting people to cut their carbon emissions by ten per cent in 2010) presented a nasty little film, which they hoped would help wake people up to the perils of global climate change. It was an error of judgement, and the 10:10 director acted quickly when she saw the offence the film had caused, withdrew it and apologised.

Her fast response is laudable.  But climate campaigners must be more careful.

When I was a student in the early 1990s I was passionate about social justice, angrily in favour of peace, and Michael Portillo – at the time a hard-right Thatcherite instead of the late night teddy-bear Tory he’s become – was the Devil incarnate.

But then one night something happened. (more…)

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Nuclear power is the lesser of two evils, argues ffinlo Costain

16/07/2010, 05:00:59 PM

Energy security and climate change policies must be clear, effective and long-term. If we don’t adapt quickly to reduce our reliance on fossil fuels the lights will go off and Britain will stop producing. If we don’t cut global CO2 emissions dramatically we risk climate chaos. Right now it’s hard to see how Britain’s future can be secured without a new generation of nuclear power.

Peak oil may have already come, although the world recession has reduced demand and so far softened the blow. Peak oil has the greatest potential to destabilise our economy because of the sheer volume of processes oil is used for, from food and fuel to clothes and packaging, but other fossil fuels are running out as well. North Sea gas peaked in 2000. Our coal reserves are finite and should only be burned if we can develop foolproof carbon capture and storage capacity.


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