This forum is about wrong numbers in science, politics and the media. It respects good science and good English.
On the subject of "political grandstanding" it is fairly straightforward to see what the campaigners and the politicians of a given country think they get out of it. The campaigners get a government to lobby for and sign up to various daft international agreements, introduce daft legislation, and commit shedloads of taxpayer's money to politically correct projects. The political class think that they and their country acquire some magical quality called "soft power" (greater influence in the world without the expense of being a military superpower) out of such things as being a climate change leader or an international development aid leader. Holding an Olympic Games is another apparent method of acquiring this so-called soft power.
However there was one consequence of the climate change grandstanding (along with development aid grandstanding) that the Blair government indulged in when the UK hosted the 2005 G8 Conference that I had not previously appreciated. According to the former BBC man Richard Black, talking at some climate change symposium held in 2012, it substantially raised the whole profile of environmental journalism in the UK for a few years until it was knocked back again in the pecking order by Climategate:
"Richard spoke of the difficulty environment correspondents often have convincing editors of the importance of their stories, particularly when headlines are dominated by what appear to be more pressing matters, like the economy or terrorism.
Richard said: “In most organisations there is a hierarchy of correspondents. On top are home affairs matters; crime, justice, the economy, then Westminster, health and education, with science at the bottom of the bulletin. What changed that for environment correspondents was Tony Blair at Gleneagles, when he made Africa and climate change priorities for the UK presidency of the G8. What Tony Blair did was get Westminster correspondents interested in climate change.”
Richard says this renewed interest was damaged by what became known as ‘climategate’ – allegations of manipulated data – and the impact of the Copenhagen Climate Change conference in December 2009. The public struggled to understand a concept, still referred to widely as ‘global warming’, against a backdrop of world leaders shivering through a Scandinavian winter.
Richard said: “What we saw after that was a number of editors convinced climate change was a ‘scam’. One member of the press talks about being cold-shouldered by editors and being accused of wasting time and resources to get on air. We were back at the end of the bulletin, if at all.”"
For anybody who is wondering what happened to Richard Black, he left the BBC and is now Director of Communications at a new Green organisation called "The Global Ocean Commission" (http://www.globaloceancommission.org/) which has David Miliband as one of its co-chairmen. In the thread "The next Green scam", I eventually came to the view that "the oceans" were likely to be the focus of the next big Green project.
I'm not at all sure that the oceans will be the next scam.
The sudden emergence of David Attenborough with his "Humans are a plague" pronouncement suggests population is still in the running as then next big scam.
It was interesting that Louise Grey at the Telegraph published this bit of propaganda (she is often credited as a simple conduit between the greenies and the public as publishing whatever is sent to her as received - journalism is a great job to have, so undemanding).
Her articles, even on climate change, often get mostly negative comments in the few hundreds, if that. Within hours of the Attenborough article, there were over a thousand responses, largely supportive before the "deniers" had even had their first coffee. It seemed to me as if a concerted campaign was prepared so that ll the activists were sitting and waiting for the artilce and then piled in. A consequence is of course that if they can boost the article on the DT through the comments, it also then gets better coverage on twitter and Facebook.
Of course, there is nothing to prevent the activists from multi-tasking. Running population and oceans together.
Oceans is a bit of a problem. They are largely out of sight. One of the advantages of this is that no one seems nearly as concerned about offshore windfarms as they are about onshore farms in Bronte country yet they are vastly more expensive and potentially just as harmful without any pretence of being any more useful. But people can't see them.
Climate and too many people we all experience every day and these are thus much more suitable as scare projects.
In reply to JMW, my view is that population control is definitely the next big Green project that is favoured by Green-leaning academics. (Project might be a better word than scam as it isn't entirely obvious how money is to be made out of these activities, though I'm confident that Green entrepreneurs would be able to find some way) The fact that over a hundred national science academies released a joint statement on the need for the world's politicians to do something about population and consumption last year (mentioned in 'The next Green scam' thread) confirms that. Attenborough could be regarded as another Green-leaning academic, so his promotion of the issue is expected.
But the way I see it, the Green movement consists of something like three factions - Green NGOs, Green-leaning politicians and Green-leaning academics. Green-leaning politicians and Green NGOs seem at present to be much less interested in population control than the Green-leaning academics, and appear to be more interested in gaining greater control over the oceans. Green-leaning academics are certainly influential, and are the main providers of the 'evidence' for any Green policy, but I think they have less clout than the other two factions.
The 'Competitive Enterprise Institute' (CEI) US thinktank recently published an article expressing some concern over the interest in the oceans of the newly appointed Secretary of State (US equivalent of a foreign secretary or foreign minister) John Kerry:
"When Secretary of State John Kerry gave a speech at the Ross Sea Conservation Reception on March 19, he suggested that we should have called our planet Ocean rather than Earth. He went on to outline an international environmental agenda centered around the oceans that we can expect to be the hallmark of his time in office. Saving the oceans will be the new rallying cry of the green movement and their political and corporate allies. We can therefore expect a new attempt soon to ratify the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS). This would be a disaster for America."
There is a considerable overlap between 'concern' over the oceans and the AGW scam, as pointed out in the CEI article: "...anyone who knows the tactics of the environmental movement should realize that this would be manna from heaven for global warming alarmists. The release of carbon dioxide from fossil fuels has been blamed for ocean acidification, coral bleaching, species loss, ice melt and virtually every other ill that greens have claimed is befalling the oceans."
Another advantage for the Greens in gaining control over the oceans is that it could mess up the exploitation of oil and natural gas, including methane hydrates, from the sea bed, possibly speeding up the onset of 'peak oil'. The Green NGOs, particularly Greenpeace, are currently trying to stop drilling in the Arctic region as an example of this.
Population links to food.
One you cut population.
Two you try to feed the population you get.
Oh, and let's not forget the power of food prices to bring down governments. The "Arab Spring", the domino ;like coillapse of so many hardline regimes in the Middle east is as much to do with rising food prices as anything else, something the activists intent on a new world order will not have neglected to note. If you can bring down even totalitarian states this way, how hard can it be in a western economy? You just have to force things to the tipping point. Westerners can probably afford to pay a lot more for food before they reach for their burning torches and farmyard implements and march on parliament to clean house.
One money maker will be GM crops though it is hard to predict which side of the debate that will end up as the Greenies have been rather anti-GM.
I guess, given the popularity of GM with politicians (all those campaign contributions?) the GM crop people are as natural a target for the greenies as Big Oil.
But if we have a big population and pressure on food resources (ironically, much from bio-fuels)they ought perhaps to support GM crops - rather like the Bird Watcher people supporting, initially, bird dicing wind farms.
But there will be lots of grant money on GM and agricultural research, that's for sure.
So the "smart money" will probably be invested in buying up land. Any land. Even deserts. Yes, there will be reclamation schemes and the like. The scope for "academics" is pretty much on par with climate change. It will just be a different set of academics figuring out which side their bread is buttered on and we'll pretty soon get an idea of whether science is just as corruptible here as with climate (though the "deniers" will have learned some lessons too).
Oceans, (food) and population. I'm pretty sure we can come up with lots of money making scams/projects if we put our minds to it but perhaps the easiest thing to do is keep an eye on where the BBC pension fund and the WWF money is going.
But I think I may have to dig out my Club Of Rome paperback and see what other doomsday scenarios they have listed. I'd not like to get caught off base if they suddenly decide on some other "project".