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Thursday 10 November 2011

Climate Change For Libertarians

The latest word has come from the International Energy Agency (IEA): the world is headed, they reckon, for “irreversible” climate change within just five years, unless the existing energy infrastructure changes. Its chief economist has used the ominous phrase “the door is closing” to point up the rapidly diminishing window of opportunity for mankind to take action.

This, it might be thought, would serve as a call to any and all interested parties to get real about the situation, but that would be to misunderstand the denialist lobby, for whom any restriction on seeking out, extracting and burning fossil fuel resources is held to be an assault on their fundamental freedoms, and moreover can only come not from rational human beings, but mere rotten lefties.

Also, anyone also thinking that the denial lobby could not sink lower that the welter of sneering abuse routinely hurled at anyone opposing him by James “saviour of Western civilisation” Delingpole” should wise up: some out there in Libertarian La-La land have dispensed with Del Boy’s wordiness and have instead resorted to effing and blinding as their favoured intellectual weapon.

None in this field is more expert at liberally (but only classically, folks) scattering the original and genuine F-word around his writings than Chris Mounsey, wisely no longer the face of the Libertarian Party UK, but still sounding off at the Devil’s Kitchen blog, despite the unfavourable reception of its contents last year by Andrew “Brillo Pad” Neil on the Beeb’s Daily Politics.

So when the arguments started over Cuadrilla Resources and their use of hydraulic fracturing (aka fracking) at a test site near Blackpool, Mounsey linked to a suitably slanted analysis – asserting that an earth tremor of 2.3 magnitude is in itself no big deal (true) while managing to miss the fact that there has only been a test well bored so far – and then let loose against campaign group Frack Off.

Those folks are characterised as having “absolutely f*** all idea about science or economics ... stupidity [twice]”, being “arseholes ... stupidity [again] ... pig-ignorant”, although Mounsey does not tell what his own qualifications are, rather like Del Boy and his pal Christopher Booker, who rubbish the expertise of anyone they dislike, while having no scientific background themselves.

Hopefully for Mounsey, his scientific and economic expertise is better than his grasp of geography: on Twitter recently he asserted that I was “in the area”. Very good Chris – Crewe and Blackpool are around 70 miles apart. For those in the south-east, that’s like saying Northampton is in the Central London area. And that won’t do the “humble devil’s” credibility any favours.

Which is probably as well, given the cluelessness of his insights.


Neil said...

Google site:devilskitchen.me.uk "abiotic oil"

You'll enjoy it.

J said...

I particularly liked the quote from the Cuadrilla CEO, first explaining that it wasn't a big deal because they'd made plenty of small tremors people hadn't noticed, then, within the breath, that quakes from fracking were rare.

M2.3 isn't big compared to the largest quakes in history, but it's pretty freaking big for an area that isn't currently subject to much tectonic activity. Hence the fuss about it in the first place.