On the Horizon

by | Sep 15, 2008

1) Battle of Ideas, 1-2 November, Royal College of Art, London

If last year’s event is anything to go by, it will be very good indeed. Here’s Professor Mike Hulme, School of Environmental Sciences at the University of East Anglia (UEA) and founding Director (2000-2007) of the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research, speaking at last year’s Battle at the session The Science and Politics of Climate Change, ten days after Al Gore and the IPCC got their Nobel Peace Prize:

To me it seems implicit that good science, as represented by the IPCC, plus good communication, as represented by Al Gore, will deliver peace on Earth. [But] it is not the case that, we have the scientific debate, then once we agree what the scientific evidence is, we simply have to communicate it, peace will break out, the world will act, and the problem would be solved. That is not what science’s role is; it’s not how most public political issues are resolved; and it’s certainly not the way climate change is going to be tackled […] The real issues are why we disagree about what to do about climate change. And science cannot provide us with the script that we all read from.

And if you have a spare 10 minutes, the rest is good, too:

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As are the other three speakers (90 minutes)

A couple of events jump out at us from the 2008 programme: Is our behaviour determined by our evolution?

Is the renewed interest in the evolutionary, genetic and psychological basis of human behaviour inspired by new evidence, or a diminished view of the human condition? Are social and cultural phenomena beyond the proper scope of natural science, or have we just become less hysterical about turning the microscope on ourselves?

Which makes us think of Andreas Ernst, Steven Moffic and Richard Louv. They aren’t on the panel. But the excellent Raymond Tallis is.

And for anybody intrigued by the uncanny similarities between environmentalism and the War on Terror, there’s Eco-imperialism?:

… Environmental concerns have joined terrorism and nuclear proliferation as key preoccupations in international affairs since the end of the Cold War. Free from the political constraints of the ‘old world order’, UN officials, Western politicians and NGOs frequently argue that the ‘international community’ has a responsibility to intervene in the affairs of ‘rogue’ sovereign states.Should industrial pollution and the destruction of natural habitats be seen as ‘crimes against nature’ (ecocide), justifying ecological interventions similar to humanitarian ones? Is the use of force to prevent serious and immediate environmental harm something we should now seriously consider? Or would this amount to ‘eco-imperialism’, transgressing international legal and political norms and state sovereignty?

2) Beyond the Pole, at a cinema near you, maybe, one day:

the first carbon-neutral, organic, and vegetarian option… er… expedition to make the pole

Perhaps satire isn’t dead after all. Although real life did beat them to it.

1 Comment

  1. Maream

    I agree that his [Steig’s] behaviour is alaerpntpy duplicitous, but of no particular import IMO. ================curryja | February 9, 2011 at 7:05 am Nick, i haven’t been following this one too closely, i view it as a blogospheric tempest in a teapot. that kind of blogospheric coverage can definitely make you frosty, I personally succumbed a bit during “heretic.” In terms of who wins for politeness on this one, i don’t think either side can claim many points. I don’t really see any meta issues on this one (O’Donnell got a tough review, AMS journals are known for that, the editor was somewhat lax in making the authors jump through hoops based on comments by a reviewer with a conflict of interest, but the paper got published). I mainly found this one of interest in terms of the vehemence of the dispute over not very much, really. Personalities from the chiefdoms of the two tribes having a clash.===============RobB | February 9, 2011 at 7:11 am Fair enough, Judith, but what about the accusation that Steig anonymously insisted on changes to O’Donnell et al that he later used to disparage the paper? That must contravene professional standards (if they exist?) Or is the matter also just part of the tribal hurley burley?=======================curryja | February 9, 2011 at 7:17 am I agree that his behaviour is alaerpntpy duplicitous, but of no particular import IMO.========================dhogaza | February 9, 2011 at 4:12 pm I agree that his behaviour is alaerpntpy duplicitous, but of no particular import IMO. Without even bothering to hear Eric’s side of the story …Nice.BTW over at bart’s there’s a fair chunk of the review-response chain reproduced there, and my quick read is that it doesn’t support the claim of duplicity.Eric has stated he’ll post a response soon over at RC.I gotta love how quickly you jump to conclusions without having even read the review-response chain.



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