Parish backs Kyoto

Hot on the heels of Vladimir Putin, Ken Parish throws his weight behind Kyoto. As Ken says, the evidence of the last few years leads to a very strong presumption that the world is warming, at least at the surface[1].

There are still a lot of uncertainties to be resolved. But it’s better to take the low-cost measures required by Kyoto now, and prepare for more substantive action if current trends continue, than to do nothing and hope that things will turn out to be better than we now expect.

Since Ken and I are now in fairly close agreement, our long debate on this issue seems to be at an end. I enjoyed it and learnt a lot, and, although we both got bad-tempered on occasion, I think this was, in general, an example where blog debate worked the way we might hope. Certainly Ken has shown the kind of willingness to change his mind in response to new evidence that we should all seek to emulate.

fn1. In addition to climatic evidence, Ken cites superstitious fear as a reason for his change in position.

27 thoughts on “Parish backs Kyoto

  1. Mark, forgive me, but you do rant a bit when you get off the strictly scientific questions. You’ve introduced a bit of static, so let’s deal with that first.

    The frog is just a metaphor and, as with language and communication generally, it depends on every-one assigning the same meanings. So if we’re all wrong about how frogs behave in hot water it doesn’t matter except to the scientific purists, and, may I say, pedants. We all know what he meant, don’t we? He was just trying to liven his presentation up a bit, but, as often happens with such attempts, perhaps succeeded in introducing a distraction.

    Nevertheless there is a problem with how the Prof used his frog metaphor. To me the problem was in implying that there was somewhere outside the bucket, whereas climatalogically speaking the only place outside the bucket is another planet.

    Secondly your notion that right = good and left = bad just doesn’t cut it IMO. Prof Muller wrote as follows:

    “But there’s a deeper problem – an ideological aversion in current politics to Governments leading a reshaping of the economy – even though our future is at stake and even though the technologies, institutions and infrastructure that need changing are themselves the products of earlier nation building led by Governments.”

    I thought that was one of the more cogent statements he made. You will find plenty of thinkers worrying that the American version of capitalism based so strongly on individualism is part of the problem at present. If we don’t sign up to that, then Mao’s China is not the only alternative. I could recommend to you Will Hutton’s The world we’re in as an antidote to the ‘America is best’ syndrome. Hutton argues cogently for the social democratic form of political economy found in Continental Europe as superior to the US and the UK for livability and even in pure economic terms. And before horse laughs break out consider their performance over the past 6 decades as a whole and maybe have another think.

    I would declare myself as a social democrat believing in a mixed economy where the economic serves the social and the possibility of democratically derived government action in the pulic interest remains readily available. What I’m saying to you now is that we could have a discussion about this (maybe) but not in the form of anti-left or anti-right rants.

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