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July 07, 2007


Surreptitious Evil

Hence Tim's repeated grinding of the use of academic qualifications as signalling factors as opposed to anything of functional use. I speak as an engineering graduate who used knowledge acquired on his degree, to date, exactly once in a 15+ year engineering career.


Chris - in the light of your views on Live Earth (with which I have a considerable degree of sympathy), what is your solution for dealing with global warming?


Show off!


Chris - "this is just as well"

What's the evidence that symbolic rationality is any better?

Iain Coleman

>> It's purpose is not to achieve a cut in emissions, but rather to make the performers and audience feel self-righteous - to show that they care more than the rest of us.

How awful! But, when you close the loop on this, the distinction you are making vanishes. In a democracy (actually in any system, but most efficiently in a democracy), greater public demand for action on a particular issue leads to greater governmental action on that issue. Thus, signalling "We care a lot about global warming" isn't just self-indulgence - persuading governments that a large proportion of their citizens care about a particular issue makes it more likely that the governments in question will take action on that issue. The self-indulgent display is not an alternative to substantive action, it is a step towards it.

Bob B

A new, really exciting way of reducing carbon footprints can be achieved through progress with ongoing HNS reforms as announced in the Sunday press..

"Specialist centres to replace hospitals"

What this means not too far from where I live is that the NHS is closing a maternity unit and provision for pediatric care in a hospital so pregnant mothers will need to be taken on a 10 mile drive - usually about a 30/40 minutes journey in normal traffic conditions - to reach a hospital staffed and equipped to safely treat the delivery of babies.

This is very wonderful as it means that the hospital - lacking a maternity unit and provision for pediatric care in future - will truly be a more specialist centre, doubtless with a lower carbon footprint as a result, which must be a cause for due celebration.

Better still, it is immensely reassuring to learn that "the reasons for moving the services were not financial – despite a recent announcement [that the hospital trust concerned] must make £41 million of cuts by 2009 – but to address mounting safety issues at the hospitals."

I feel sure that expectant mothers and sick children will be appropriately grateful to know about the accelerating progress in NHS reforms and the prospect of greater safety in treatments.

Btw least any reader thinks the hospital concerned is a poor quality hospital with a daunting history of financial deficits:

"Epsom and St Helier University Hospitals NHS Trust are one of the UK's top 40 performing Hospital Trusts, according to an independent report." [May 2006]

"We were able to issue an unqualified opinion on the Trust’s accounts on 10 July 2006. In our opinion, the accounts give a true and fair view of the Trust’s financial affairs and of the income and expenditure recorded by the Trust during the year. . . The Trust made a surplus of £79,000 in 2005/06. This was achieved through delivery of a £6 million savings programme and performance improvement." [Annual Audit Letter, Audit Commission, November 2006]

"Healthcare in Sutton is facing financial doom as Epsom and St Helier NHS Trust is being forced to make crippling savings of £41million. The trust's continuing deterioration was confirmed at a board meeting on April 13. Epsom and St Helier will have to axe £21million of spending this year and a further £20million next year to comply with Government targets." [April 2007]

Workshy Fop

I don't think it's quite true that the performers were 'preaching to the converted' - I think it's more the case that they were 'performing to the couldn't-care-less'.

No-one was there for the message, and they didn't seem that keen on the music (I bet for the majority, it will be the only gig they attend this year) - it was the spectacle, and that alone.

Workshy Fop

Iain - call me an old cynic, but Live Earth might persuade any Governemnt which happened to be watching that the public had a superficial concern about the issue, which could be bought off with personalities and great big empty spectacles. Something like Live 8 really


The sad thing is that the people that attended the Live Earth concerts will feel that they have done something. That thay have fulfilled an obligation to the planet. When in fact they of course have done nothing. We fill our lives with little actions that make us feel like we are doing something so that we can avoid thinking in a deeper way about whether or not we live our lives in a suitable way. Events like Live Earth just compound this feeling of having done something when they should be promoting the idea that we are not doing anything and need to fundamentally think about our lifestyles.

Matt Munro

persuading governments that a large proportion of their citizens care about a particular issue makes it more likely that the governments in question will take action on that issue. The self-indulgent display is not an alternative to substantive action, it is a step towards it.

Posted by: Iain Coleman | July 08, 2007 at 02:52 AM

But isn't that the whole problem with single issue politics ? Global warming does not exist in isolation and solutions to it will inevitably conflict with other areas of government policy formulated in response to pressure from other concerned citizens. To use a slightly trite example, in response to parental demand, the government introduced "choice" in schools. This in turn has led to more children gattending schools which are some distance from their homes, causing an increase in car journeys, which conflicts with the stated aim of reducing carbon emissions. How do you square opposing "good causes" - it is surely the job of elected politicians but by atomising policy, you produce policy incoherence and the opposite of joined up government. It is anti democratic, government by the loudest minority.


How much energy was used/wasted in all the effort of a global concert? Flying the performers to the venues, cars to get the audience to the concerts, etc? Not to mention that having a performance in Antartica was so contrived - yet raw and refreshing and so very enjoyable - as to be laughable, and in my mind, detracts almost fully from the message they are trying to send.

Firozali A.Mulla  MBA PhD

Sun is not responsible for Global Warming??
On 12th this is the story I read. The sun heats the road, the roofs, evaporates the water from the ocean then mixed with the cigar smoke and the exhausts, fumes and the burning of plastic toxics goes up with the air to form the clouds that pour acid rain. This eats the Tajmahal, Egypt Pyramids, Satutue of Liberty the tall building.
This needs patch so we build factories to create plastics rubber tar nylon and many other materials to sell these cracks paint these damages and more smoke, shock absorbers the building taller then the clouds. Ozone depletes. So is the sun not the cause of the Global warming?
Firozali A.Mulla MBA PhD
P.O.Box 6044
East Africa

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