December 14, 2015

Ireland may yet warm to climate change

Posted in Sunday Business Post · 124 comments ·

“If the Dutch lived in Ireland, they’d feed the world; if the Irish lived in Holland, they’d drown.”

Have you heard this one? How true is it? What is wrong with this country? Every time there is a short, sharp spell of rain, the place fills up to the brim and then floods. What would the Dutch, snug, warm and dry behind their man-made polders, farming their fertile, desalinated land, think of us?

I’m sure every Japp, Johan, Henrik, Thys and Joost are simply laughing their big toothy Dutch grins at the fact that every year the same thing happens and every year the Paddies sink.

The straight-up Dutchmen on their flat, sea-sodden bit of northern Europe are not only prepared – they are thriving. Do you know that the Dutch are the second largest agricultural exporters in the world? Yes, in the world – second only to the Americans. Their land mass is smaller than Munster and they export $70 billion worth of food and we export close to three times less ($25 billion), with three times more land.

It’s worth thinking about.

But enough of this Holland-envy or else the Billies up North will think we are going soft on the eve of our big centenary. Let’s instead think about the gift mother nature has bestowed on the Gaels by virtue of being stuck up here in the north Atlantic.

In the decades ahead, global warming is going to make this a very attractive place to live. While global warming might give us a bit more rain and may cause the seas to swell, the Gael may well get lucky.

Global warming is a man-made catastrophe and it is going to affect the hot, densely populated and already dry regions much more than it will us. In fact, while Miami and Bangladesh may disappear, we might end up in the finest piece of real estate on the globe.

The weather has always had enormous influence on economics and ultimately on human destiny – and humans have regularly thought that we don’t need to be aware of the sensitive ecosystem that is the earth. History is full of such hubris.

Let me give you an example. A few years ago I was in Honduras while filming a documentary for Australian TV. I headed to Copan, one of the finest examples of Mayan civilisation, which disappeared overnight.

Amazingly, this hidden city in the jungle was discovered in 1834 by an Irish bloke called John Gallagher. He was fighting as a mercenary for the Honduran independence movement. In the early part of the 19th century, Latin America was full of Irish adventurers; many fought in the Latin American wars for independence and most of them stayed on (if you are interested in this fascinating part of our history, visit

Gallagher was one such privateer, fighting in Central America. He was posted with a raggle-taggle regiment to the far north-west of this beautiful country. When he heard the locals talking about the lost city in the jungle, he decided to find out what they were talking about, probably in the hope of finding the buried treasure of the ancient civilisation, the Mayans.

Instead of gold, Gallagher discovered, deep in the rainforest, the most striking city-state of the Mayans. It was almost totally preserved and was the capital of the southern part of the vast, pre-Colombian Maya empire. Gallagher was spellbound by what he saw – the huge pyramids, the enormous acropolis and no fewer than 28 palaces – all hidden deep in the jungle. In 1835, he began telling the world about his vast discovery.

The story of the lost cities in the jungle, which had sustained the Spaniard conquistadors for centuries, grabbed the public imagination.

Gallagher, hardly heard of in his own country, became a hero in Central America, and he is the only non-Mayan to be buried in the city-state and the first to be buried there since the day when the people rose up, burned their own kings and evacuated the great Mayan cities, leaving them to the jungle.

The collapse of the Mayan civilisation has fascinated scholars for years. Why did this vast empire disappear? When I was there, looking at the distinctly Mongol faces of the kings and their ornate statues adorned with hieroglyphics, the question begged: what happened?

This society was the most advanced in the world 1,100 years ago. The Mayans possessed knowledge of mathematics and astronomy far surpassing anything in Europe’s Dark Ages at the time. Their farming methods could sustain much larger urban populations than we could, despite the fact that they did not locate their cities beside freshwater. Their systems of canals and storage allowed them to feed huge populations relying on rainwater alone.

For example, Copan in Honduras had an urban population of 27,000 in the seventh century, when most major European centres hadn’t even been founded. Whatever cities we had contained populations that were fractions of the size of the Mayan metropolises.

Their alphabet was phonetic, and their system of trade linked an empire that stretched more than 1,000 miles over what is now Honduras, Mexico and Guatemala. They had created an intricate financial system based on the valuable feathers of the wonderfully colourful macaw. The hieroglyphics tell of this system being abandoned during the decline.

This empire lasted for more than 1,000 years and thrived, peerlessly, for 500 years. Then it disappeared.

The last that was seen of the Mayan kings and temples was a huge pyre, upon which the peasants burned the noblemen because they believed that the noblemen and priests could no longer hold any sway over the gods. How could they, when children were starving?

The Mayans simply ran out of resources. They cut down all the trees to transport rocks from the quarries to make their ornate temples.

Competing nobility, with each chief trying to show he was the biggest, got involved in what could only be described as an arms race to build the most splendid palace. This involved huge amounts of labour, which were taken from the farms and massively reduced the number of farmers available to keep their agriculture going.

They also cut down huge amounts of wood, causing massive soil erosion and flooding. The mad dash to build the most ornate palace used up enormous quantities of materials. To support this madness, the cities needed to produce enormous amounts of food and water, and they needed to pay for it.

In the end, mother nature struck back violently and definitively. The Mayans’ soil turned fallow and they couldn’t support themselves. Over-consumption killed them.

Ancient Copan is a microcosm of what is happening now with global warming. We are destroying the planet by using up its finite resources for our own gratification, and the place is heating up.

But think about this from the Paddy point of view.

When the world heats up and people move to avoid ecological catastrophe, who will win? The winners will be countries that are already temperate, with lots of freshwater, where the population is small and the land fertile and empty. Being an island helps too. Guess where fits that description?

If we figure out polders or import a few Joosts, Johans and Japps to keep us warm and dry, Ireland could reap a massive ecological harvest. It’s not that I don’t care about the planet, I do, but there will be winners and losers and we may be winners.

That wouldn’t be a bad result, would it?

  1. ex_pat_northerner

    David, if this wasn’t in the same week when ‘cute hoorism’ was shown to be rife in politics I might have some belief. Lets be clear, the Mayans died because of overconsumption. Ireland agriculture is the biggest emitter.. and recent events in the IFA show there’s cute hoorism there too. As a global population if we all lived like Paddy, then we’d need three planets – that’s how wasteful we are. The world passes resource overshoot earlier every year- we’re now passing it in August. The Story of Stuff is well worth a look.
    We’re in for some interesting times, but its very clear that large corporations were able to ‘consult’ with the Governments at COP21 and they had a bearing on some of the wording.
    Lets face it while we may think we ‘own’ the natural resources and the country, effectively its ‘owned’ by large corporations in so far as any produce goes through a system where monopolies or cartels exist. (eg Beef production).

    • joe sod

      This thing about saying Irish agriculture is a big carbon emitter is not really true, but it is correct to say that world agriculture is a big emitter. As David pointed out Ireland has a small population on a very temperate fertile island. Therefore we produce far more food than we need so most is exported to countries that have too little land for the size of their populations. Therefore they in effect are outsourcing their carbon emissions to us because we are producing their food. Another thing the Dutch agricultural system is way more carbon intensive than Ireland’s so if the Dutch were running Ireland our carbon emissions from agriculture would be much higher. The whole carbon debate is also not being truthful because the focus is on producers not consumers. The more consumers in.the world the higher the the carbon production but nobody is talking about population control. Indeed countries are being openly scolded if their populations are falling and are being threatened with mass migration to solve this. So their is a lot of hypocrisy about environmentalism because some parts of it we are not allowed to discuss

    • EugeneN

      This kind of “over-consumption” is sociology greenism at it’s worst. Also seems to me most Irish farmers are independent and they see to farmer owned co-ops. You’ve adopted that corporation rhetoric from the US.

      As Joe points out if we take the Monbiots type claim that the west is passing it’s carbon emissions to China ( as if China didn’t make money from manufacturing) then Ireland should be able to blame consumers for its beef emissions.

      • ex_pat_northerner

        Its externalisation of the costs. Its only when true costs come home to roost that people wake up. Farmers are independent, but the price of their beef is set by a cartel and there are ingenious practices (like control of the offal disposal) which are used to keep the cartel in the manner to which they become accustomed.
        Farmers in many areas would not survive as independent businesses were it not for EU payments.
        So if you are to discuss sociology greenism, lets also look at subventions/subsidies/incentives/tax-breaks which are in effect. Also its clear that ‘the market’ is inefficient; overconsumption is an outward sign of inefficiency, and only makes sense when costs are not wholly encapsulated.

        • EugeneN

          What cartel are you complaining about specifically in Ireland? Is this just cribbed from an American sociology dept? How does this cartel exist, and where is it set? How name organizations are in the cartel?

          I knew a girl who refused to eat beef because of the cost of feeding cattle with corn, soya, or other feed — she got that from a green american text book, and there was no convincing her that Irish cows eat grass ( and generally sillage, in winter, which is stored grass). Its December and grass is still growing.

          Other subsidies for farmers do indeed exist, but good luck with passing the externalities onto farmers, and if they are passed onto consumers the effect on Irish cattle production would be fairly significant. The best thing is to try solve these issues ( which in cows in Ireland is basically cattle methane production).

        • EugeneN

          (Answering the post up to the right)

          Ok, so in 2014 Irish farmers were not happy with beef prices. However you are unhappy with the externalities not being passed on to producers or consumers of beef. That means that somewhere along the production-consumption line the cost must be born by somebody ( fobbing it off onto the tax payer won’t effect consumption and therefore won’t change the carbon cost).

          If the cost is passed to the consumer ( who could be anywhere in the world) then it should reduce the total production of all cattle worldwide, particularly in Ireland. If passed to the farmers there will be farmer protests, and very few governments can stop that. Or work against it.

          Furthermore it seems unfair to charge the same carbon costs to grass fed beef as to grain fed beef, as the carbon costs of the latter also include the production of the grain or other feedstock. Even more than that, colder environments need cattle to be heated indoors during long winters. Thats another carbon cost.

          So rather than go off on a rant about cute-hoorism, and ignore that the consumption of Irish beef isn’t primarily in Ireland, it might be better to try and solve the issue with some decent attempt at working out exactly how we would fairly add the carbon tax along the consumption/production line, and how we would add these carbon taxes to non-grass fed beef more emphatically than grass fed beef. If we don’t then grass fed production in Ireland will fall foul to American industrialized farming, which is the exact opposite of what we want, either for Ireland or the global environment.

          • ex_pat_northerner

            First of all whether its farming or consumer electronics etc.. the external costs are not being captured in the price of the product at the moment.
            If that were done, then consumers, producers, suppliers of raw materials, employers, recyclers (circular economy)etc would have to pay a portion towards those costs. Ultimately those would be passed on to the consumer. I don’t know your age, but I’m not 50 yet and I can still remember growing up in rural ireland with a small farm, but very little meat being eaten by us. Its clear that Irish people over consume by the obesity epidemic. Meat and dairy are large emitters. ( it matters little whether grass/grain fed : grass fed cattle produce more methane / but there are CO2 implications with grain fed etc..) Reality is that Meat/dairy is a ‘western’ diet. The fact that a billion chinese want to partake in a western diet means huge rise in land needed for beef/dairy. This has knock on consequences for habitat and carbon sinks. In particular in Ireland we already have seen removal of trees and shrubs and ditches to make larger fields leading to increased run off, In UK (including Northern Ireland) EU payments are done on active acreage so upland scrub and woodland and hedges are being cleared and encouraged by Government policy. Ireland would do well not to go down the same route. Effectively if we are to see meat and dairy become a global diet, then we’re going to see huge demands on all available land. Fact is meat certainly is not necessary for health and certainly not in the current quantities the Irish eat. Interestingly the Dutch are the biggest dairy eaters, and also the leanest and tallest in Europe, and it seems to be diet related as immigrants also show gains in height and exhibit same leanness.

      • joe sod

        Very true there is alot of economics jargon that camouflage s what’s really happening. For example that the west is decarbonising and has post industrial clean industries like IT and services. The reality is that the west is consuming even more dirty products than it did before the only difference is that the dirty part of the production process is done by the Chinese and indians. In fact the production is probably dirtier than it would be if done in the west. The products are cheaper than ever before, we like to think because of technological advancement but a huge part is that we are not being charged the correct price because the dirty part has been discounted. The Chinese do not charge us for polluting their water and air. They know that if they did production would just move to poorer countries that don’t care about their environment.

        • EugeneN

          We can’t have it both ways. If the West is to be blamed for the carbon costs of Chinese manufacturing, then Ireland can’t be blamed for its agricultural production largely sold overseas ( we produce enough to feed 30+ million, and the government want to increase that to 50M).. And yet agriculture is, we are told, a major Irish polluter.

  2. Original-Ed

    The Dutch were an imperial power and have no problem with exploiting poorer countries. They and the Chinese are raping the fertile lands of Africa, harvesting multiple crops each year without allowing any rest or adding any form of replenishment. When the fertility runs out, they’re away leaving nothing but a desert for the locals. I wouldn’t use the Dutch as a standard for agricultural production. Most of the food produced in Holland,is forced and is tasteless – it’s almost synthetic.
    On climate change – whether we like it or not, nuclear power is going to be the answer. All our fossil fuels are simply a store of energy that originated in the sun, anyway – that giant nuclear furnace.

  3. michaelcoughlan


    An excellent an thought provoking article. Its like tony brogan wrote it. Tony and Adam Live on small islands David.

    On a technical note the dutch are a nation of market Gardner’s. We are farmers; grain, beef, milk.
    Three things fucked the mayans;

    Lackmof morals, vanity and greed.

    • michaelcoughlan

      I’ll bet the rot started when the money for building the temples was borrowed against future Taxes instead of out of current savings leading to misallocation of capital.

      I will make a prediction by paraphrasing you David when you described Anglo in the he early oughties;

      The US federal reserve is a one way bet leaveraged hedge fund on US treasuries which will bring about the same fate which befell the Mayans when it deflates which is imminent.

  4. StephenKenny

    As with Easter Island, I’ve often wondered what the last person to leave thought, as they were packing up. Probably something rather prosaic, such as ‘shame all the shops are shut’.

    One year there were 27,000 people partying like it was 1999, and the next is was almost quiet. Just as in nature, social things don’t tend to happen slowly – they don’t happen at all, and then all at once. Like wars. One day there’s state backed terrorism, the next there’s a war.

  5. EugeneN

    Theres always a kind of anti_Irish rhetoric behind that Dutch phrase. I don’t think you could replace Irish with Nigerians and get away with it.

    In any case the two are not comparable, the dutch are protecting themselves from the sea while Ireland gets a lot or rain, land gets water logged, and rivers flood, something that happens anywhere there is an extraordinary amount of rain. Like Cumbria. Or China. Or anywhere with rain over the norm.

    Neither the easter Island or the Mayans can tell us too much about global economies, you could argue that they died out because they affected their environment, or you could argue that they weren’t connected enough, or technological enough to survive their environmental changes ( the latter used to be the generally held consensus — see The Ascent of Man by Bronowski).

    And the comparison of European dark ages to other societies tends to annoy me because Europe had a major decline in civilization, and the dark ages were it’s worst era. Not caused by climate change though. A few hundred years earlier and Europe had a city of 1M.

    • pablos

      Exactly, you have to wonder if Irish people like sloshing around in pools of water when a fix would not be out of the question, there is probably a bit of the masochist in the Irish DNA. We really enjoy criticizing ourselves. The expression was no doubt also composed by one of our own. Global warning will be exactly that, global, although with a bit of luck the worst of it might pass us by which would be grand, if it weren’t for all the climate migrants who would also flood to our shores;)

    • joe sod

      I saw “the ascent of man” about 15 years ago on tv. Interestingly I havn’t heard of it since. Maybe it is no longer acceptable in our political y correct times. Although I never saw anything in it that was wrong. Maybe we are as bad at historical revisionism as some totalitarian systems of the past.

      • EugeneN

        It’s too optimistic by today’s standards, and probably too euro-centric.

        • joe sod

          Maybe because it was made in the early 70s, a very optimistic time. Maybe we are too negative today and revel in negativity. Even in cultural things films have to be more negative and more violent and apocalyptic to sell.

  6. Onda

    The Dutch agricultural system is much more intensive for total green house gases. The Nitrogen for N fertilizer is produced by cracking natural gas and 8% of global natural gas is used to manufacture N fertiliser producing 3,6 kg CO2 eqv per kg nitrogen (a significant of Irelands Kinsale gas was used to produce fertiliser), N20 Nitrogen Oxide is produced when N fertilisers and spread on the land and is 300 times as powerful in contributing to global warming as CO2.
    Methane gas generated by the livestock industry worldwide, Methane is 23 times more potent than CO2 and traps up to 100 times more heat in the atmosphere than carbon dioxide within a 5 year period, and 72 times more within a 20 year period. If Irish agriculture is to be expanded as the government plans then we will have to make significant greenhouse gas reductions somewhere else and significant investment in Anaerobic Digestion will also be needed. A recent SEAI report shows only 53% of Irish citizens are convinced that climate change is a serious problem. This combined with the Taoiseach’s performance in Paris shows that Ireland is not taking this as seriously as we need to. Maybe the current flooding will make us think. But then again,- Ah sure were only a small island country what difference will it make?

  7. padser

    “Global warming is a man-made catastrophe” – rather ‘accelerated’ (disproportionately) by man – otherwise naturally occurring! Anthropogenic activity accounts for ~ (only) 3% of all carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.
    Just sayin!

    • ex_pat_northerner

      Ah next you’ll be telling us the CO2 is plant food, and its a great thing altogether. What has happened is that in last 200yrs CO2 has increased from about 280ppm to 400ppm in the atmostsphere Worryingly we’re also seeing methane levels rise significantly, as a result of agriculture, fugitive emissions from oil and gas, and recently as a result of melting tundra. We’re about to become a smaller island (or islands).

      • “about to” ….you mean in a few hundreds years or do you mean next year?

        Pure rubbish in fairness. It’s always been raining here, climate is as cyclical as day and night are just over longer periods. Man’s influence is negligable. Consider how much CO2 is put into the atmosphere when there is a volcanic eruption…I think that dwarfs anything we can produce.

    • ex_pat_northerner

      3% must be looked at in terms of the Carbon Cycle. If 2% of that can be absorbed by forests etc.. but 1% must exist outside the cycle (ie remain in the atmosphere) then we’re building up the concentration.
      Think about a long loan with a 0.25 to 0.5 percent interest rate and its effectively compound interest( because we are also removing carbon sinks) over 200 years the ‘interest’ soon tots up, leaving in some cases a totally unserviceable debt.

      That may be a better phrasing of the problem.

  8. DB4545

    The Paddies have exploited the benefits of global warming for a long time and without its effects we wouldn’t be living here.We’d be freezing our arses off under a glacier. An Ice shelf covered most of Ireland 20,000 years ago and the only fertile part of the Island covered a line south from Wexford to Kerry.Our Northern chums would have had to content themselves with ice skating rather than marching down the Queen’s highway.

    The question is how do continue to exploit our vast resources for our benefit rather than just hand them over to global corporations? Drilling was recently completed on a deep bore hole near Newcastle in County Dublin to assess geothermal potential in the area.They found a supply that could heat 4000 homes in the area.Ireland being Ireland we’ll see who reaps the benefit of that resource.

    • ross81

      “Our Northern chums would have had to content themselves with ice skating rather than marching down the Queen’s highway.”

      Wish this site had up arrows cos that gave me a good chuckle. Great comment overall too.

      • DB4545


        Given their fixation with religion they’d probably need to know if you were a protestant polar bear or a catholic polar bear. I know they’re suspicious about batchelor priests but I”m puzzled by the obsession of grown men to “teach” teenage boys how to bang drums and play with their flutes. Gives them something to do and keeps them off street corners I suppose.

  9. McCawber

    Only problem David is a lot of that “Land” is flooded at the moment.
    Which leads me nicely into flood prevention and flood relief.
    The two are not the same although they are linked.
    The solution in coastal ares is usually flood defence ie prevention.
    The solution for the Shannon is much more likely to require flood relief with some prevention.
    Essentially the Shannon needs a bypass route from “somewhere” above Lough Derg to the Shannon Estuary “somewhere” below Limerick, where the estuary starts to widen.
    So imagine a 50 mile (I’m guessing, I haven’t done my homework, I’m not paid to) canal starting above Lough Derg and routed to the Shannon estuary at a point where it is starting to widen.
    Why not just dredge the Shannon?
    Answer – Up river to Lough Derg a section of basin of the river is GRANITE so unless you want to blast a channel along the floor of the Shannon to deepen it then forget it.
    In any event even if this relief the flooding upstream the water still has to pass through the lower lying Limerick area.
    So the solution is to excavate a new channel and blast only where necessary (A very significant section would not require blasting).
    This won’t come cheap but as Billy Murray said to the Mayor of New York in Ghostbusters. “Lenny think of all those happy voters out there” or words to that effect.
    At the very least the OPW needs to look at this options because there is one thing for sure.
    Global warming for Ireland means warmer wetter winters and as a result more flooding.
    Staying with theme of David’s article – The “Putting a finger in the dyke” approach adopted to date could prove to be a lot more expensive a solution than building a proper relief scheme.
    The silver lining might be a whole new tourist attraction in the West and if it’s really planned well the beginning of a new Metropolis in the West to counteract the imbalance that is Dublin.
    Sometime a nation needs to think big and gave a vision.
    Global warming could be the stimulus for that dream to become a reality.

  10. SMOKEY

    Global Warming is a Sham. Bogus. There is no such thing. You will look back in 15 years and say, fuck, nothing has changed except Im not aloud to have my fire or stove anymore and there will not be any birds as they will have been chopped up like chicken liver from the windmills that will blight the lanscape of the country north to south. Your ESB bill will be out of sight, those electric cars will have you broke. Remember peak oil?????Dont be so fucking stupid please. All made up scaremonger bullshit backed by junk science. What a load of shite. Global Lameing on the other hand…………….

    • McCawber

      It’s not a sham it’s a fact.
      How this fact is being addressed or used or abused or whatever may well be a sham. I’d certainly be open to a discussion on it.

    • McCawber

      Explain Wake the fuck up.
      Oil at $35 is telling you what exactly.
      To mean it suggests a price war which is certainly good for the consumer in the short term.
      Question for anyone who cares to address it.
      What range should a barrel of oil be trading in over the next five years say.
      Is it the case, that if OPEC throttled back oil output, that the shale oilers would be back into production when the price reaches about $50 and that this then constrains the price from increasing much more.

  11. Irish PI

    All very well if you buy into the latest religion of climate change and global warming.I remember growing up int he 1870s being assured by the alarmists that by now Ireland would be under 50 foot of ice and glaciers would be covering Dublin. Then in the 1980s it was Acid rain burning us all and turning Europe into a barren desert. Then in 2005 with the biggest profiteer of Climate change and major carbon footprint man Al G[B]ore assuring us that we would be growing grapes in Munster and paddling gondolas around Dublin while paying 15usd per gallon of petrol in the US.Im sorry if I take these “the sky is falling” alarmist statements from a bunch of political clowns who contributed more carbon and hot air in Paris than we did with 2thousand farting cows.Have they never heard of SKYPE??Its what most companies use these days rather than flying people all over the place. Biggest problem is Islam and terrorism,but as Bernie Saunders a US presidential canditate [more like space cadet] assured us,ISIL is caused by global warming!! We live in intresting times!

    • DB4545

      Irish Pi

      Are you insane? Why would politicians use skype when they can stay in top hotels eat in michelin star restaurants and use whatever other services Paris offers and charge it to the taxpayer? They were in Paris to talk shite and line their pockets which is the main activity of all politicians.

  12. Onda

    Regarding current oil prices we are living in the eye of the storm. Oil companies are not making money, they are taking production off line, laying off people and cancelling investment in exploration. When or If global growth increases significantly, demand will increase so there will be a supply shortage, prices will increase dramatically, (similar to the current state of the Irish housing market). Supply will take time to increase, and this will blow the debt bubble.

  13. goldbug









  14. EugeneN

    Global warming is definitely happening and human caused, though.

  15. Grzegorz Kolodziej

    A propos what would have happened had the Dutch the Dutch left an imprint on the Irish agriculture, this might be of interest to some (how Dutch immigrants to Poland influenced Polish agriculture).

    One correction – the website says “Unfortunately, they didn’t leave any monuments of the literature” – but there is one village in Poland where the locals cultivate the very old version of Dutch and I think they might have some poetry in that language.

    As a historical curiosity, the Poles under the command of gen. Maczek liberated the Dutch town of Breda with a successful outflanking maneuver and without any civilian casualties (they frightened the Germans – who prior to that, as it was the German custom started on mass scale in 1939, and which was emulated with terrifying results by the Allies in Dresden, bombed the civilians in the provincial capital Middelburg for not surrendering – the Germans called the Polish troops from 1st Armoured Division “Black Devils”)

  16. Interesting article David, though it’s sad to see the number of commentators who still cannot take well-established science on board.
    I doubt if there will be any winners on this issue in the long term. Such talk ignores the global scale of the problem. For example, we can expect migration of whole nations that will have to be accommodated by regions not affected by flooding or drought. We have recently seen the global effect of regional instability in one or two nations – image what that will be like for a whole continent. There is also the problem of a marked increase in regional conflicts as precious resources dwindle, conflicts that can be expected to have a major effect on world markets.
    I’m afraid no nation will escape unscathed..

  17. Sideshow Bob

    What the opening section of this article highlights is the pointlessness of two Irish Public bodies;

    Enterprise Ireland and Irish Water.

    These are examples non-productive, not fit for purpose public sector entities. Enterprise Ireland and Irish Water are set up for supposedly political or economic reasons but mainly exist just to forward their own interests and the salaries of the people employed there, nothing more and nothing less.

    Irish Water.

    The exercise in pointless double taxation, rent seeking in effect, that Irish Water is should be blindingly obvious to anybody who walks outside this front door at the moment, or even if house bound just looks at the news. And the idea of paying for water use should be particularly ironic for anybody has been flooded recently. It is clear that there is loads of the stuff is landing on us and that after simple harvesting and treatment it we should have more than sufficient left over to even cope with an inefficient national system, and for a long way into the future in the face of whatever changes in population may occur.

    This water tax Stephen Donnelly makes the case very, very succinctly and clearly in the second half of this short video interview:

    Enterprise Ireland.

    This semi-state body is primarily about organizing yearly junkets for Ministers and justifying its own existence with a series of reports that claim credit and responsibility for market opening work and exports usually done entirely by multi-nationals or some larger Irish companies and for initiatives of foreign Governments who want to send money our way ( e.g. national study abroad 3rd level student programs ).

    Significant Irish companies looking at breaking into or expanding into foreign markets, e.g. Ryanair, actually avoid using Enterprise Ireland. EI also leave any smaller domestic companies looking to export in the lurch with little no support and frankly useless levels of advice, guidance and interaction. They don[t sell Irish companies generally and they inform no-one about what we can do. They almost work against exportation from Ireland, by handicapping any Irish company who naively approaches them, so poor are they at their supposed job. They even use the ah-gets-all-go down-a-nice-pub-and-have-a-few-scoops-on-the-taxpayer-and-a-bit-of-a-chat method for official monthly business meetups. A is a prime example of a cover your own behind-first Irish bureaucracy if ever one existed. This is a far cry from the intelligent Dutch approach to export, which I have seen in action in two of the BRICS in recent years and in stark opposition to the clueless Irish Government approach. The Dutch know how to identify actual Dutch industries and services, across a variety of sectors, to promote and sell themselves and how to cultivate a culturally-savvy and active ex-pat population to help deliver the exports and represent the country on the ground, i.e. real invested educated Dutch people to meet and where distance and trust is involved this can be critical. They are intelligently pro-active about exporting with regard to the width of their entire economy while Enterprise Ireland lives off the fat of a few multi-nationals efforts (and tax to pay their inflated salaries and expense accounts) while are busy pretending to be useful while simultaneously cover their behinds.

    David McWilliams posted a link to the the Dutch export agency site here and I will repost it here to give an idea of the approach:

    • DB4545

      Sideshow Bob

      That just about says it all Sideshow Bob. The Dutch are about as savvy as they come. I was in Reykjavik a few weeks ago and got talking to one of the bar staff in the hotel. Turns out he was Dutch. What was a Dutchman doing in Iceland? The crisis in Iceland has resulted in an explosion in tourism. They don’t have farmland to service that market so it has to be imported. He’s there to learn and immerse himself in the language and culture of his future customers and build contacts in the tourism sector in order to sell products for the Dutch agricultural sector. Practical people the Dutch.

      Meanwhile Irish farmers and Irish taxpayers pay stupid money to a clique in quangos who are robbing them blind instead of representing their interests. They only suitable analogy I can think of is a prostitute paying her clients for the privilege of being f**ked.

  18. coldblow

    Padser, Irish PI, Smokey and Goldbug (I always think Goldbug is a sideline of Tony’s for some reason, y’know, because of the gold), they have got this right. As far as I can tell, and I have to say it is pretty clear, the whole thing is yet another mass delusion.

    The leading player in this is the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change), which is yet another blessing given to us by the UN. Reading about them in Christopher Booker’s The Real Global Warming Disaster and on Donna Laframboise’s blog.

    In a recent post, for example, Laframboise (a Canadian) describes a publication to mark the occasion that has been been inflicted on passengers by Air France:

    ‘Embrace the Earth, watch over its fragile splendour, tend to its melancholia and its joys; and then strive, little by little, to change the course of destiny. Cast aside our doubts. Transform ourselves, to transform our lives. And rethink the future to reinvent the world.’

    All that’s missing is ‘Embrace Change’. This alone should earn Le Pen office for the next twenty years.

    Laframboise has written a book about the IPCC, who seem to be the environmental version of Blatter’s FIFA. Let’s hold a World Cup in Quatar!

    Here’s one article from her blog taken at random:

    Booker’s book makes you want to throw up and be alarmed in equal measure, though most of all it wants you to laugh. At the heart of the delusion (I won’t call it a scam because scams are devised by people who set out to fool others rather than themselves) is a small, close-knit group of scientists who are convinced that on them alone rests the fate of the planet. This is what Frederick Seitz, former President of the US Academy of Natural Science, wrote in the WSJ in June 1996 about an IPCC report:

    ‘But this report is not what it appears to be, it is not the version approved by the contributing scientists listed on the title page. [He is referring to the way the IPCC rewrote the crucial summary chapter once the scientists involved had finished.] In my more than 60 years as a member of the American scientific community… I have never witnessed a more disturbing corruption of the peer-review process than the events which led up to this IPCC report.’

    The hockey stick graph, written by an unknown young scientist, Michael Mann, which shows temperatures soaring into the ozone layer, is another example. Booker’s index sums up its history:

    ”Hockey Stick’ 82-86 (graph), made icon by IPCC 84-85; 97-98; flaws in exposed, 99-105; use of in Gore film, 141-142; 144-145; US Congressional enquiries uphold criticism of, 151-158; battle to ‘save’ for IPCC, 189-194; new bid to ‘save’, 345-346; BBC continues to promote 246, 320-323; 344-348.=

    Mann pre-selected his data very carefully so as to minimize earlier well-documented instances of global warming (in particular the Mediaeval Warm Period) and to exaggerate the trend into the future (which didn’t last long, as we have seen from 2008 onwards). He relied basically on (as I recall) to contentious studies (one of which, involving tree rings, was originally carried out for quite different purposes) and, like John West, rejected the scores of studies which didn’t support his case. He refused to show his data to a Congressional Committee. He was forced to publish a grudging Corrigendum in Nature, the magazine which had originally enthusiastically seized on the study.

    It goes on and on and on.

    AGW is an excellent example of a modern mass delusion and indeed this is how Booker had treated it in an earlier book (this time co-authored) before deciding that it deserved a book of its own.

    Of course the EU saw this as a great opportunity to find a role and save the world and it’s one more good reason for Ireland to leave. While others have rejected the nonsense and at best pretended to play along (China, India, Russia), and others within the EU (like Germany) have found ways to make the ‘decarbonizing’ (God help us) work for them, the English have emerged as the prime candidates for the psychiatric ward, knocking down their last decent coal power stations (while China builds one or two new ones every week) and will be wholly dependent on energy imports while the countryside fills up with useless windmills.

    There is more and more stupidity in the world, more strange and deranged political and social beliefs, and this fits in beautifully.

    There’s an interesting side-note involving my General Theory (work in progress) and one Al Gore, if anyone is interested in hearing about it.

    • ex_pat_northerner

      Yeah because science and opinion are the same thing! I think you need to look up #exxonknew

      • coldblow

        I looked up Exxon Knew but didn’t have the time to work out where the story was leading. Is it that they knew about climate change forty years ago? What does this mean, AGW or climate change?

        ‘Yeah because science and opinion are the same thing!’

        Again, I don’t know exactly what you are trying to say as you haven’t spent much time or effort making it clear. I think you are implying that it’s the untutored opinion of the like of me against the informed pronouncements of science.

        It’s late and I have to get up in the morning so just a few numbered points (to save time) in no particular order:

        1 Wearing a white coat does not make scientists any more immune to irrationality than anyone else. Regarding educated, professional people in general (not specifically scientist) Richard Webster points out that they are prone to Good Cause Syndrome: they can display extreme gullibility and lack of judgement in encouraging child abuse witch hunts and adoslescent fantasists have run rings around lots of them.

        2 Wearing a white coat does not make scientists any more immune to social pressure than anyone else. Rupert Sheldrake claims that they are very reluctant to risk the ridicule of their colleagues by challenging scientific materialism. Booker records instances of scientists privately doubting AGW but saying nothing in public for fear of losing funding.

        3 AGM has to be taken in the context of a number of other mass delusions of recent years.

        4 The Olympic deceit of the IPCC should of itself throw serious doubt on this theory.

        5 Consider why the hackneyed phrase ‘the science is settled’ has become a mantra. Why are they afraid of free speech. Can you think of other areas where public debate is shut down? Immigration, religion, abortion, innovative social and moral policy?

        6 Be careful with statistics. There is a gulf between experts in the climate (and its history) and biologists or psychologists pontificating about climate change. Most of it seems to come from computer models. These lads seem to work out in advance what they want (an upward temp. graph) and fiddle the data to get it. If the computer modellers were all taken into custody overnight, as with lawyers, we’d probably be much better off.

        7 The effects on the Irish and world economy of imposing use of renewable energy are staggering. They are literally idiotic and totally impracticable. The existence of hordes of young people who take this nonsense seriously (only a small amount of reading would disabuse them) supports rather than challenges my viewpoint.

  19. McCawber

    I know we are all into our conspiracy theories, most of which are based on greed.
    There is no doubt that Global Warming is a fact.
    If you disagree with that statement then you are not living on this planet.
    We are all well aware that global warming is a license for the unscrupulous to entertain our conspiracies.
    David’s article is about the natural winners and losers in this scenario.
    So perhaps that’s where some of you great minds (I say that with sincerity) might direct your attention.
    One thing is for sure, if you don’t bring that mental fire power to bare, the lessor intellects that are the government and civil service and speculators and charlatans will be exercising theirs.
    And we all know what that means.
    In Gold we Trust!

    • coldblow

      Why do you believe there is no doubt when hundreds of reputable scientist have stuck their necks out and risked their reputations and funding to challenge it? What do you think is their motivation?

      • McCawber

        Average global temperatures have been rising for quite some time now, ergo there is Global Warming.
        However that is not the same thing as saying that humans are the cause of this trend.
        If that is what you are asking then my answer would be along the lines that I’m not sure if human activity is contributing but I’d be surprised if it wasn’t.
        The question then becomes “Is human activity sufficient to make a difference”
        The figure of 3% was mentioned by someone. That could be enough to make a difference and I’m inclined to believe it is making a difference.
        I don’t believe in coincidences and therefore I would recommend caution.
        Then lets round up all the usual suspects.
        Who’s for it and who’s against it.
        Is it idealism or is it greed.
        Bottom line it appears to me to be prudent to hedge our bets and move to non carbon based fuelsas quickly as possible while minimising the economic damage in the process.
        Footnote – Given what is happening in the middle east, is anyone really that happy to leave the fuel supply status quo in place. It has nothing to do with Global Warming but if our politicians want a fig leaf to move us away from that situation then who am I to argue given that I would agree with that policy.

        • coldblow

          I’m no expert. All right, what I mean is I don’t have a clue. I’d agree with you that human activity might have a small effect and 3% wouldn’t seem unreasonable. The idea of clean energy seems nice, but I don’t know if it’s possible.

          The problem is that the response to AGW isn’t prudent. The likes of China, India and Russia can either reject it outright or play along, but without the belief. Germany seems to be (or at least was) doing ok out of trading carbon credits. But the British seem to want to lead by example. Reducing your emissions by 80% and demolishing power stations is economic suicide. I read that the American pledge to reduce by 80% would bring them back to 1867. All this and the impact of their action, of their economic suicide, is on 3% of rising temperature (probably zero) AND the developing countries increase their own emissions anyway. They talk about Einstein’s definition of insanity but this is in a league of its own.

          The problem for Ireland, apart from the possibility of stupid politicians following the British lead, is that there are strict EU rules about this. Remember that all the trouble with water charges and Irish Water arise from EU diktat. This will be worse. We really have to get out of the EU.

          • McCawber

            Carbon credits first – Trading systems like that are designed by financial experts for the benefit of financial experts. Excuse my cynicism.
            Clean Energy not impossible but not in my lifetime (I’m 60) might just about sum it up. The main caveats to that would be an economic storage system and/or Fusion.
            PV and Wind are not orders of magnitude more expensive than gas say although the pricing schemes dreamt up by our regulators would give the lie to that. On top of that the cost gap is closing all the time.
            China et al. As an example the air pollution in Beiging must be a concern. That surely will force them into some kind of action. India will experience similar problems.
            Russia would be a different ball game and they’ll do their own thing anyway.
            The opportunity than both India and China do have is that they could avoid building some of the expensive electrical infrastructure if they had local rooftop distributed power supplies installed. There is some kind of a trade off race involved here if you get my drift.
            America has a huge land mass with a relatively small population and they already have the infrastructure built.
            So they can take a totally different approach. They can build the solar and wind in different locations and transmit the power elsewhere and they can do the local distributed thingee as well. I would not misunderestimate America’s ability to do a lot in a fairly short time.
            Britain, Europe and Ireland.
            Security of supply has to be a huge issue. (Russian gas for example).
            Ireland to date has taken the easy option.
            Build wind turbines, design a market that is as expensive as it possibly can be (for the consumer) and waste a lot of money subsidising wind only instead of looking to subsidise Solar as well.
            Not just subsidise but encourage it by changing the planning regulations to make it easy to connect a solar system to the network. (This has been touched on eleswhere)
            Ireland needs to get it’s act together, cut out the smart hoorism on this one. Pigs might fly too.
            We’ll pay no matter what.
            Irish Water – A great idea but it just shows you what a bunch of dicks our politicans and civil servants are.
            I’ve always been of the opinion that the inept design of these sorts of boards is deliberate.
            The ESB had the access, the billing systems and let’s be fair a proven track record so why were they not commissioned to set up the Water Board as a subsidiary with a view to separation after five years. Part of their remit could have been to recruit the appropriate staff from the County Councils. Instead the politicians played politics with it.

            Apologies for the lack of brevity

  20. McCawber

    The price of oil is an interesting one.
    Something perhaps David could do an update on for us.
    The current price $40 (approx), as has been pointed out, is not sustainable.
    Neither is a price much above $60.
    So the new normal range for oil prices is probably somewhere between $50 and $60.
    That is a far cry from the Lehman’s manipulated $120 peak.
    The issue for oil producers is not peak oil, it’s peak demand.
    Peak demand for oil has been reached and demand will decline.
    And that is both good and bad for the Global Warming problem.
    Very interestingly, 70% of global oil use is in the transport industry.
    In fact oil is not the biggest problem, Coal is, it’s dirty.
    Sorry for the ramble.

    • ps200306

      Peak demand is nonsense. I invite you to check the actual figures. Global oil demand has increased continually, including every year but one of the last decade (that being the year of the global financial crash). Typical increases are well over one million barrels per day each year — 1.4m for 2014, similar to forecasts for 2015 and 2016.

      • McCawber

        The figures are being distorted by the current price of oil.
        For example – Oil fired electricity power plant in Tarbert was run this this year for the first time in a couple of years simply because it was economic to do so based on the price of oil.

  21. “If the Dutch lived in Ireland, they’d feed the world; if the Irish lived in Holland, they’d drown.”
    If I were a bar of chocolate, I’d eat myself.
    The Dutch don’t live in Ireland. What they did do to us is give us William Of Orange, however.

    • Bamboo

      There are quite some Dutch farmers who’ve moved to Ireland after WW2 and settled in north county Dublin. They’ve cultivated the area into the biggest agricultural producer of this country.

    • Bamboo

      FYI : There are lots of Dutch farmers who have settled in north county Dublin after the WW2. Hence the numbers of Dutch surnames in this region. They’ve cultivated the land into the biggest fruit and vedge producers of this island country.

      • DB4545


        I do a bit of rough shooting in the north county and I can’t say I”ve come across too many Dutch farmers.Most of the north county seems to be engaged in market gardening operations or tillage you don’t see that many dairy or beef farms.There appears to be 3-5 crop rotations a year with the bigger operators and most of the silage is heading north.I recall reading some stats a few years ago stating that Dublin is the most productive farming county and the only county that wasn’t dependant on subsidies.It might therefore reflect the Dutch model with a strong focus on it’s local customer base and high inputs and outputs.

        • Bamboo

          I guess that generation of Dutch farmers are dead and gone. The names are pronounced in an un-Dutch way and of course none of them speak Dutch.

          • DB4545


            While I admire the work ethic and industry of Dutch farmers I think any large scale immigration of the Dutch farming community may cause some consternation among the locals. That seemed to be the case on the last occasion they moved here in large numbers which I understand was in 1690. I’m led to believe it took some time for things to settle down.

  22. SMOKEY

    Excuse me, there have been warming periods, cooling periods for thousands of years, and all of them before man burned fossil fuels. Its a sham, it doesnt exist and the sooner you realize that the mean average of rainfall, floods, fires and “weather events” is just about average, the sooner you will wake up to the the charlatans like Boner who are laughing at you for being a moron. Wake up. Peaks and valleys. Warmer, cooler, wetter, drier. Fuck me, Global Warming. Ha ha ha. Fuck off.

    • McCawber

      But right now things are hotting up and we have to deal with it. Our CO2 production is a contributing factor and will tend to accelerate natural Global warming.
      If we do nothing two things will happen, temperatures will continue to rise and we’ll run out of oil.

      • ex_pat_northerner

        We won’t run out of oil. To explain think about the resource triangle. Small amount of easy to get stuff on top, loads of hard to get stuff on the bottom. There’s loads of methane whether bio-methane, or in methane hydrates.
        What we do “run out of” is EROEI and EROI. Energy return on energy invested .. eg at the moment huge amounts of methane is being burned to create steam to free up tar sands (probably not so much right now given the price of oil). Its about 1:1 EROEI or at best 2:1 for Tar sands. The oil in the 50/60′s was about 100:1, conventional oil in Saudi is about 20:1 now. unconventional oil is about 6:1.
        EROI is a measure of energy with price considerations. I would suggest that there are very few profitable oil and gas projects at the moment.. and remember that even if the oil is profitable, it may have been already accounted for at a higher price so impairment charges may be needed on balance sheets.
        The world is swimming in carbon fuels – its just all the easy to get, cleanest burning, less risky fuel has been mined/drilled. We’re now off to Arctic and deep sea regions to look for the fossil fuel fix.
        The alternative is coming – BMW have stated they will not produce a wholly internal combustion engined car after 2022. – It will either be a hybrid or a full electric machine. The gigabattery factory is to get started next year. Indeed rather than use gas for backup/peaking power, Northern Ireland is looking at AES battery storage and possibly the biggest battery storage in Europe. The former head of the national grid in UK has said that the idea of large generation stations is now passed and that local grid level storage in batteries and super capacitors along with the use of renewables to actually balance the grid will be the shape of things to come.
        We will still need oil – for lubrication of bearings etc..possibly for making tyres.. but new plant based plastics are being developed.
        We just need to stop burning carbon based fuels.

        • McCawber

          “We just need to stop burning carbon based fuels” I laughed at that.
          I’m sure your southern brethren are looking forward to the prospect of the phone call telling them there’s a problem with your battery storage system and you’re going to be 1300MW short for your winter’s evening peak.
          You are a regulator for sure.
          In any event battery systems are only part of the solution. How will you recharge your batteries when the wind isn’t blowing or the sun isn’t shining or both.
          Hello Dublin we’ve a problem could you send up a few more bottles of Southern Comfort please.
          I’ve no doubt the former head of National Grid will be quite right, some day. But he’ll be long gone before that day arrives and it’s quite a trite and meaningless statement for him to make.
          I digress as they say.
          There are many technical obstacles to eliminating the use of carbon fuels.
          The two main ones being alternative sources of “clean” energy and much more problematical an economical means of storing that energy.
          The solution to large scale and economical electricity storage isn’t exactly on the horizon but a lot of research money is being thrown at it.
          There will be more than one solution and in fact there will need to be more than one solution.
          We may all ultimately have PV panels on our roofs, once a safe and reliable storage system becomes available.
          People rubbish this idea but apparently one of the major costs associated with solar panels is the real estate cost. That’s effectively zero if it’s on the roof of ones house.
          But until we solve the storage problem we will have no choice to keep burning carbon based fuels.
          And the oil producers know, that there is a day of reckoning coming and maybe that’s why they are sweating the assets.
          The invention of an economic storage system would be a chaotic event for the oil and coal industries with the gas industry bringing up the rear.
          And that’s without even mentioning the potential impact a breakthrough in Nuclear Fusion could have.
          None of the above will make the slightest bit of difference to the flooding along the Shannon river basin however.

        • joe sod

          I think what companies like bmw or national grid say should be heavily discounted after all talk is cheap. These guys are in the PR game and anything got to do with renewables is good PR so of course they are going to talk up their game. BMW could easily produce a car with a small hybrid component by 2022 and still say that they have met their target. Or maybe they will do a VW on it, pretend the car is running on electric but really there is petrol engine running underneath. Bill gates has said the biggest obstacle to renewables is batteries and storage and we are decades away from any big breakthrough there.

          • joe sod

            I had a quick look at that link nothing too exciting about it. It’s just a consumer product for wealthy environmental y aware Australians. That’s the market tesla has been targeting wealthy people that want to show their environmental credentials. What Bill gates is talking about is batteries or storage that could store huge amounts of energy on an industrial scale. In other words to be ground breaking it would need to be able to store the total power produced by a moneypoint for days on end. There is nothing like that on the horizon for decades. Therefore we will always need big central power stations because renewables may not be available for weeks on end as we have seen during prolonged cold spells.

          • McCawber

            You got it in one.
            Batteries, Super Capacitors, Fuel Cells, Compressed air, Superconductors, fly wheels and Gas synthesis are all means of storage.
            Gas synthesis appears to me to be the only viable large capacity (ie high energy density and covers those many days when there is no renewable energy available) energy storage option. At the end of the day it’s the energy density of the various storage options that is the limiting factor + maintainability etc.
            Hopefully Fusion will make the grade in time to provide long term base load generation but that is said more in hope than conviction.

          • ex_pat_northerner

            I don’t think its feasible to make a car ‘a bit hybrid’ as the market won’t buy it.
            The grid will become more and more distributed. Liquid metal batteries are under development and in developmental use in Hawaii. Zinc air flow batteries/fuel cells being developed. Also Ammonia being relooked at again. Hydrogen fuel cells for backup of largescale Computing/Telco warehouses now becoming commonplace eg.
            Hydrogen itself can be produced from oversupply zero marginal cost electricity. The grid will be built with large capacity, same as the fibre rollout of the telco networks for the internet. (there will be a bubble and winners and losers also so the Market will be happy) Hydrogen can also be cracked from natural gas -leaving pure carbon as distinct from CO2 – although the process needs some further work. There are also other more ‘mundane’ methods such as pump storage or compressed air storage which can be used.

            Bottom line – change when it happens will be sudden. its only 20 years ago the first digital mobile technology was starting to become widespread (2G GSM). and 10 years since the Iphone.

  23. Bamboo

    David, fully agree. You are a well travelled man – only through traveling around the world you can understand the situation as it is. You talk to many people and their experiences. I can say that I’ve lived and worked in many continents and cultures and have come to the same conclusion many years ago when I met a couple of Indonesian students in their early 20s. They live in Bandung on the Indonesian island of Java. They said it wasn’t that hot when they were younger and they struggle every day to cope with the heat. Can you imagine – these are lads barely out of their teenage years. They’ve to the mountains of kota Kinabalu to enjoy the mild climate.

    So, yes fully agree.

    • coldblow

      There’s a funny bit near the start of Booker’s book about the staging of a press conference in Washington back in about 1996 or 7 to publicize AGW (not natural warming but man made).

      By the admission of one of the organizer’s the air con. was switched off to make everyone sweat and it had been booked for what was expected to be (and was) the hottest day in the year (and at the peak of the temperature spike – in recent years the temperature has cooled).

      • coldblow

        It was 1988 and the organizer was Senator Tim Wirth who had asked Dr John Hansen to testify to the Senate:

        ‘We called the Weather Bureau and found out what was historically the hottest day of the summer. Well, it was June 6th or June 9th or whatever it was. So we scheduled the hearing that day…’

        What really strikes me about the AGW crowd is the deceit. It is a common thread running all the way through.

        This televized appearance appearance apparently put AGW on the world map.

  24. Bamboo

    It will help if the town planning department of this country are more informed about our world.
    It will help if they read up what is going on with our environment, our new way of living in houses, our need to have daylight.
    It will help if common sense is a simple attribute to implement in their regulations.
    It to will help if the planning department understand that we are now l living in the modern age. In fact for the last 20 years or so.
    It will help if the planning department use an ordinary paper calendar on their desks. A calendar with just the year on it as a constant reminder that they are and in fact all of us are living in modern times.

  25. coldblow

    Ex Pat Northener

    Reply here to your post above.

    ‘It cuts both ways’

    Which means? AGW is either true or it’s not.

    I notice that you have addressed none of my points. There are seven of them. Go on, have a go. There’s more where they came from when you have finished.

    This guest post on Watts Up With That? gives an opinion of Skeptical Science. I don’t read these blogs much as it would be a full time job trying to cover anything. However, every now and then I go into greater detail on one particular thing just to be sure.

    Merchants of Doubt’s home page has this as its title: ‘The disturbing story of how a cadre of influential scientists have clouded public understanding of scientific facts to advance a political and economic agenda’

    This is exactly how one could describe the IPCC. One big difference between the IPCC and Blatt’s FIFA is that the former have the ear of the media and the political establishment. The BBC was and remains a tireless cheer leader of AGW. When Channel 4 broadcast a sceptical documentary back in around 2007 there was a deluge of complaints, many of them originating in the IPCC. All of the serious complaints were (two minor ones, including the fact that they didn’t give the IPCC more than a week before broadcast to comment, were upheld) yet the BBC and the other media gave the exact opposite impression. (I imagine RTE would be like the BBC but more craven still.) A year or two later the IPCC, who had been outraged by the Channel 4 programme, got their revenge with a documentary which was little more than a propganda film for AGW. They responded to criticism of this bias by pointing out (as I recall – read Booker to get the ins and outs, which are highly entertaining) that equal weight doesn’t mean 50-50 (the same as your Merchants of Doubt FAQ). This is a political and media creation. Constant assurances that the science is settled and that there is consensus don’t make it so. And why (I ask the question again) do they keep on repeating these mantras?

    Of course one of the big problems is that the AGW lobby have successfully closed down debate by claiming that there is ‘consensus’ and that ‘the science is settled’. The success of the latter is demonstrated by the way it has passed into everyday language (see elsewhere on this blog for an example or two). There is certainly nothing like consensus among scientists who are expert in the relevant fields though I acknowledge that this isn’t easy to work it out. How do you do this? Whose word do you take? U would agree that there is much more of a consensus among the publoic and probably among scientists in unrelated fields. But here we are entering the area of mass behaviour and such unanimity is absolutely useless. (Gustave Le Bon in his 1885 The Psychology of Crowds pointed out that even if you are more intelligent and educated than others (his word, I recall, is supérieur) once you are in a crowd (including a dispersed mass) you are no better than the rest, and that the individual is always ‘supérieur’ to the mass, even though crowds can display a far higher level of virtue than individuals, while of course also doing far worse things.)

    You are going to have to look at this critically. Who is behind Merchants of Doom and Skeptical Science and who funds them? Trace the story back to the orgins, as far as you can go. Look at the key role of the IPCC who involved reputable scientists and then rewrote crucial parts of their report (the parts that got the publicity) later, sometimes using inexperienced and barely qualified young enthusiasts. Why was Seitz so scathing about the peer review in the IPCC? Where does Climategate come in? What would have been the public response had the climate sceptics been caught in such flagrant dishonesty? Why does so much depend on computer models? Can you shoehorn such a complex thing as the climate into crude programmes, even assuming that the modellers are not biased a priori?

    Mass delusions

    When I use this term I think mainly of Richard Webster (Sceptical Essays) – he was a genuine sceptic, by the way. I am pretty sure he was brought up as a non-conformist christian and turned atheist, yet he retained a sense of fairness, justice and objectivity that few others manage. The child abuse witch hunts are the best example of such mass delusions because they are so obviously hysterical and deranged. One reason they get out of hand might be (but again might not) that sceptics are diffident about touching such depraved issues with a barge pole, so the field is clear for the True Believers. Look at his website. There was a series of high profile cases which swept North America and Europe (and probably Australia too). We haven’t really had one in Ireland (yet) but we have our own version, which Webster touches upon (see his article ‘States of Fear, the redress board and Ireland’s folly’).

    The Skeptical Science website brings to mind Webster’s intriguing long article (which I linke to here before) about Nick Davies’s Flat Earth News, which ‘exposes falsehood, distortion and propaganda in the global media’. Of course, Davies is himself by no means immune to this himself seeing as journalism, as Webster, is not about finding the facts but rather about changing the world. Journalism, since the days of WT Stead and the rise of journalism for the same masses that Le Bon was concerned with, was a crusading vocation. This is why, according to Webster, it is so dangerous. Webster doesn’t (to my knowledge) mention AGW but he would surely have recognized the signs.

    Irish mass delusions are concerned almost exclusively with the Catholic Church and the replacement of the old crude history with an even cruder one of anti-clerical cliche. What’s the latest on the 800 babies buried in a septic tank in Tuam (originally a common grave, then a ‘mass grave’)? Look up Nora Wall on Wiki (I think that is one of the rarer cases where the wikipedes haven’t enforced the party line – perhaps the editors haven’t noticed). Then the hysteria around States of Fear. The ‘Savita’ case is related, though slightly (only) more tangential to Catholicism. (How exactly was abortion related to her death?) The wild rumours about Church interference in the extradition of Brendan Smyth led to the fall of the Reynolds govt, no less. Remember, Rabbitte spoke of a document that ‘would rock the foundations of the state’. No such document, but I think it involved Opus Dei. Cue Dan Browne, Spivey and the cast of headers.

    There are smaller scares, in the scale of things, in the shape of the Millenium (my spelling) Bug and other scares, but these are different. I think in many cases, such as recently with ebola, there is reasonable ground for fear, or at least caution. Webster took an interest in the conspiracy theory surrounding the death of scientist David Kelly. Then there’s hysteria. There was the mass hysteria on both sides of the EU border after the drowning of the little Kurdish boy. There was mass hysteria in Ireland with the Greatest Day in Irish History in May with the passing of same-sex marriage (marriage, in this day and age I ask you!). And let’s not forget Prime Time’s Mission to Prey where the moralizing got in the way of even the most basis journalistic practice.

    Mass delusions take it a step or two beyond the reasonable and it becomes a self-sustaining thing (a bit like the death of Diana Spencer) until it just fizzles out. And then nobody mentions it and it is forgotten, until the next one comes along. This will happen with AGM and we’ll forget it all ever happened.

    • coldblow

      I didn’t mean to say ‘U’ above instead of ‘You’. That is definitely a typing mistake.

    • ex_pat_northerner

      You do know that Anthony Watts gets funding from the Heartland Institute and he has no formal scientific background. Cook who runs Skeptical Science has at least a scientific background (physicist).
      The tricks used in statistics are well known to me – I’ve a maths degree and various postgrad work which would give me a fairly good understanding of the use of various analysis techniques. I’ve also got a good knowledge of SEO and ‘astro turfing’ and one can see how the fossil fuel industry (for its they who are funding the climate deniers) use this to boost search results. — they even bought “josh fox” and “gasland” when his movie became a threat.
      The UK at the moment is seeing a PM under the cosh from his right wing neo liberal back benchers. This is a party that allows one to stop offshore and onshore windfarms (visual degradation) yet just today agreed to fracking under national parks.
      To any media bias one should add Rupert Murdoch, Fox news, Sun, SKY, Washington Post and recently acquired National Geographic. With regular commentary from Quentin Letts Delingpole and Lord Lawson in the telegraph and times and with Environment correspondents being fired or taking on multiple roles in other media organisations then I believe the media to be firmly tilted against true reporting on climate change matters.
      What I see from those who refute man made climate change is that they tend to be the ones that choose an invalid statistical approach. Powell states that only 24/14000 peer-reviewed abstracts explicitly reject climate change – Cook reviewed that and stated 97% agreed climate change was man made as he discounted no opinions and implicit rejections.
      Therefore one can say the Science among scientists is settled. Where is the climate scientists peer reviewed research that suggests otherwise ? The consensus is real and is valid. How about stating what you accept as the statisically significant number? Exxon knew about the effects of burning fossil fuels and how that added CO2 to the air. The science is proven that adding CO2 causes greater warming (that can be proved in a lab).
      The modelling of our climate is hugely complex. And yes the world is warming.
      As regards the ‘merchants of doubt’ you could read about your favorite blogger and this and search for March 2015 – Tobacco Chemical and Oil and Gas industry links. Given the IMF (hardly a left wing organisation) stated Oil and Gas was effectively subsidised by 5 trillion dollars annually (greater than all healthcare spending in the world) its clear that this industry holds great influence. The fact that climate change denial is so small among scientist is a testament to the scientific approach.
      Merchant of Doubt links this science scepticism with the start of the Reagan era – quite remarkable turn around given Nixon actually created the EPA only a decade or so earlier. Thatcher for all her faults had a science degree and actually recognised climate change (albeit with the added advantage of downgrading coal use).

      Look I’m not going to convince you – better people eminently more qualified have already made the argument and failed

      • coldblow

        Ex Pat

        Yes, I think you are wasting your time here.

        It’s a question of who one believes and some will set out with an inclination to accepting the conventional wisdom (‘the science is settled’) while others won’t.

        Booker’s book is an excellent history of this phenomenon from its beginning until it was finally discredited about six years ago.

        ‘Better people eminently more qualified’ – I don’t think there is anyone anywhere, not matter what his qualifications may be, who understands this. Stephen Hawking is said to be a genius yet he comes out with some prize stupidity. A maths degree doesn’t count for much in this I’m afraid.

        ‘The fact that climate change denial is so small among scientists is a testament to the scientific approach.’

        Firstly, this isn’t true. 97% of scientists don’t believe it. See point no. 4:

        Once again they are playing with the statistics.

        The use of the word ‘denial’ is absurd.

        I gave a couple of good examples, from an ocean of contenders. The hockey stick graph and the Seitz’s condemnation of the IPCC’s peer review.

        I’ll have a look some time at the claims that the oil industry (etc) are financing a propaganda campaign with massive funds, when I get a chance. My strong suspicion is this is baseless. There is no mistaking the AGW’s movement’s propaganda campaign.

        I’ll look up Watts too.

        I don’t know what point you are trying to make about neo-liberal Tories and fracking, but once again this is probably just rhetoric.

        I’ll check the papers you mentioned (again, when I have time) but doubt once again this claim holds water. It is now expected for liberals to decry the Daily Mail, for example, yet I find it differs little in its sympathies from the other papers.

        The evidence against the BBC is incontrovertible and in keeping with their views in other areas. Their coverage of the issue has been always uncritical in the extreme: polar bears drowning, arctic melting, bits of Antartica falling into the sea (that was Channel 4 though). I would be amazed and dumbfounded if RTE are any better.

        The world isn’t warming. Where are you getting your information? Let me guess.

        Finally (I have to go to bed or this oculd go on for ever) what is the sense in wrecking western economies for a fashionable cause which isn’t true and which is fuelled only by emotion, if this were to have absolutely no effect on the the warming (which it wouldn’t) as the developing countries are increasing their emissions and this will more than offset any silly cuts here?

        Ireland should be playing a clever game here. Instead in true Paddy Last fashion it follows the herd.


    The 26 counties can’t cope with > 3.5 million people. Recession, emigration, housing boom, flooding follow each other in a continual loop. 55 million people live in England with a land mass just 50% more.

    • DB4545


      We don’t have the population density to finance those type of large scale projects.Instead of expecting the government and therefore the taxpayer to provide solutions why not get the small things sorted.

      1.If you live in or want to build on an area prone to flooding build on post foundations that are above the waterline.
      2.Use all that water energy which is currently heading towards the sea in small scale hydro projects on our rivers it’s what mill owners did in the 18th century.
      3. Insist that building codes have rainwater harvesting, solar PV,and solar heating or other useful renewable systems as a prerequisite to obtain planning permission.

      We don’t need huge white elephant projects,just get the small things done and we can avoid most of this bullshit.

    • StephenKenny

      Just showing your age SlickMick – UK population was 55 million in the 80s. Now it’s more like 66 million.
      The UK is a poster person for immigration, the Blair Labour government using it to ‘rub the noses of the English in multiculturalism’ and the Cameron Conservative government using it to keep constant pressure on the property market (aka, the economy).


        Had you read my comment carefully, I said that England’s population is 55 million. I didn’t mention the UK figure of 65.7 million. Fading near sight is a classic symptom of middle age. Time to get the grecian 2020 out. LOL.

  27. McCawber

    Ireland’s winters are going to continue to be wetter than heretofore.
    Therefore regardless of the cause of Global Warming we have to deal with it’s effects.
    The introduction of re-newables is a good thing which has nothing to do with Global Warm. It introduces competition into the energy market.
    And it improves security of supply.

  28. cooldude

    Seems the Earth’s temperature hasn’t risen for the last 19 years. That is why they changed the name of the scam from global warming to climate change. Many scientists now forecasting a cooling period next. Nobody really knows except that the climate has always changed and always will. The fact that climate credits were invented by Goldman Suchs leads me to the conclusion that this is another elite scam invented by one of their many think tanks the Club of Rome. Google it up lots of the usual suspects who want to reduce the human population such as Prince Philip. Here is some real science on this and not just religous voodoo

  29. Deco

    The Dutch benefit from agricultural subsidies also.

    That being said, they are not living off subsidies in terms of horticultural production. There is no comparison with NI and the NL.

    Agriculture in Ireland, is banjaxed by a certain industry model.

    It consists of one large player, dominating an industry and sucking the profit margins out of everybody else.

    It applies also in beer/ale production, in the print media, in cement production. Until recently, it was the case with whiskey production, resulting in massive underperformance in Ireland compared with Scotland, Kentucky/Tennessee, and even Japan.

    And in banking, there were two firms dominating.

    In Ireland, the state body responsible for competition regulation, is behaving like as if the staff are getting free stuff every Christmas.

  30. Deco

    I was a believer in Global Warming. Then the three hard winters occurred. And this was repeated simultaneously in North America, and Asia, at the same time.

    I would consider myself to be somebody who keeps an open mind on the matter.

    Everytime, I hear Eamon Ryan (the liar who promised to sort of the Rossport debacle, and who bailed out the banks) going into hysterics on the media, I get very sceptical about the entire thing.

    It is probably because he has already been caught out to be lying so many times before. I simply cannot take him seriously.

    However, many people have forgiven him for being a fibber, and he almost got sent to the European Parlaiment (loadsamoney) last year.

    It seems that there is a market for hysterical rants, and dishonesty.

    • coldblow

      ‘I was a believer in Global Warming’

      I suppose we all were or nearly all – blessed are those who never believed. When you see the wider pattern then it is easy to see through it. And then when you trace its history so much of it sounds so familiar. As I wrote above, in reply to Bamboo, it was officially launched with the Senate hearings in Washington in 1988, on a day which Sen. Tim Wirth chose (having asked their weather service) as likely to be the hottest day of the year, having asked the most outspoken academic supporter of AGW(Jim Hansen) to testify before a Senate Committee, in vivid and alarmist layman’s language (he had already appeared once before, but that time his testimony was wrapped up in impenetrable scientific jargon), wearing a suit and tie and sweating profusely (Wirth had arranged the previous evening for the windows to be opened so as to make the air con. useless), with the cameras rolling to catch it all. Wirth in a later interview boasted about his ‘stagecraft’.

      That’s how the mass delusion was born and it has grown since, bouyed up in sea of lies and propaganda. Ireland should have nothing to do with it – try to profit from AGW in that sense, play along if needs must (as some are surely doing), but of course our own crowd always believe the fashionable story, so there is no hope there.

      I can’t remember who it was who described the carbon credits scheme as a dream for the like of Bernie Madoff.

    • ex_pat_northerner

      So do you believe that three hard winters in one spot on the Earth offset all the warming that took part in the other 80 percent of the World for those years ? The Science would say no. Basing your conviction on like or dislike of a Politician seems unscientific to me.

  31. Deco

    If the current demographic trend continues in the Atlantic counties of Ireland, then there will be no need for any concern concerning carbon emissions.

    It will all be one large forest, with no people under 60, few cars, and no economic activity.

    Loads of superficial tax clearing houses will be able to use it as a means of boosting their green credentials. And the Irish people can be removed out of their way.

    FG will be able to proclaim the entire project a “success”.

    • coldblow

      Desmond Fennell had a sudden vision thirty years ago. It came to him suddenly, he said, what our establishment wanted Ireland to become (because she certainly could not be tolerated to remain as she had been). An empty playground for rich foreigners with a small elite rump left in Dublin completely dependent on European funds.

  32. Deco

    The farmers can claim that the farm animals are producing food.

    What are the yummy mummies in Terenure tractos producing ?

    From my observations, they are producing brats who cannot pronounce the letter “r” properly, and whose career ambitions amount to living off the state, via a role in the institutional complex that predominates south county Dublin.

    Give me a 12 inch pizza, anyday !!

  33. DB4545

    This is purely a competition for,access to and control of resources on a local and global level.The climate change and global warming arguments are bogus. Business wants control over resources make a buck, politicians want to tax them because that’s the nature of parasites.

    Fortunately we’ve won on the global level because we’re in a part of the world that will do very nicely. Switzerland has mountains to keep the third world at bay.We have the sea. I had a walk around the city centre having listened to the discussion at the hist David.A really nice bunch of clued-in kids and if those kids are our future we’re on the right track.

    The city could be any thriving prosperous city in Europe and it is. I drove through the docklands to collect my daughter from the 3 arena. The quays are utterly transformed from the decay that was there in the 80′s. We just need to tidy up on a local level now by clearing out the local business and political cartels.

    You can do the former by using your wallet effectively every day and the latter by voting out the big parties and voting in fresh faces. It’ll take them longer to learn how to steal from us and that’s progress.Happy Christmas.

    • coldblow

      ‘to keep the Third World at bay’

      But we don’t want to keep them at bay. The sea is no barrier now as we are sending the LÉ Eithne to pick them up and save them the trouble of finding a back way in. And with Schengen there is free movement within the EU.

    • coldblow

      Forgot to add:

      ‘this is purely a competition for access to, and control of, resources…’

      There is definitely that element too, but all of the players on this side of the world give every appearance of believing it.

      I am nearing the end of Booker’s The Great Climate Disaster (I think he’d have called it ‘Deception’ but he has already used the word for his book about the origins of the EU). Last night it was a bit about a vote in the Australian Senate (around 2009 I think) after the PM, Rudd, had a change of mind and converted to AGW. The deciding vote was to be in the Senate and it was exactly evens between those for and those against. It was all down to an Independent Senator by the name of Fielding who took expert advice to know which way to vote. Basically he was asking himself if there was anything to it. (It reminds me of a story from the Venerable Bede where one of the last remaining pagan Anglo-Saxon kingdoms was converted by their King and the chief priest offered to demolish the idols; after all, he said, he had tendend them for years and got nothing while others had ignored them and done well.) Fielding, with a couple of sceptical experts or briefed by them, then met with the Minister for the Climate, Wong, whose arguments were demolished one by one.

      The vote to introduce tough measures to deal with AGW was lost 42 to 35 in the end. The reason for the bigger margin in the end was that the five Green senators joined the no vote because the measures weren’t *tough* enough for them.

      There was probably a rerun of the vote later but I haven’t got that far yet. And the above details are from memory so there might be small errors.

      But there is an interesting alignment between belief and self-initerest in these cases. In AGM, for example, Al Gore has the satisfaction on the one side of being the saviour of the world while on the other side he aims to make millions out of his business activities in carbon credits – a scheme that seems to outdo even the EU’s own schemes in massive incomptence and astronomical wastage. Similarly, the bien pensant political and media elite in the western world can both indulge in moralizing about our duty to accept unrestrained immigration and at the same time profit from the lower wages, cheap and willing domestic staff and interesting ethnic restaurants. Everyone’s a winner.

  34. Mike Lucey

    Here is the solution to our methane problem and at the same time lessen our reliance on fuel imports. I also would like to strap one of these to Simon Coveney ;-)

    As regards our Shannon basin flooding! Widen / reengineer the existing canal system (instead of letting it go to rake and ruin) and at the same time provide Dublin with the water it needs. Also create a world class tourist attraction.

  35. coldblow

    About the Shannon, what I don’t understand is who in the ESB makes the decision to open the safety valve and let water escape down the old course of the river. I’d also like to know if there any dangling strings available for politicians, perhaps local ones in Clare and Limerick, to pull on.

    Last time, in 2009, memory tells me that the flood on the Strand in Athlone only receded after the gates were opened at Parteen Weir.

    Why do they wait so long before doing this?

    Why don’t they release water in anticipation of a storm? I assumed last time (this is all guesswork) that they kept the levels in Lough Derg high as this would presumably be the optimum level for the power station at Ardnacrusha. This would be commercial considerations coming first. So if the river is hight to begin with then it doesn’t take an awful lot of rain to flood it.

    I stress this is pure speculation on my part.

    Listening to RTE’s reporting last week I got the impression that there was something political going on in the background. In the same report, last Wednesday or Thursday, I seem to remember them saying that the flow of water at Parteen was being ‘held’ at the existing level, then the commentator adding ‘which is still a very high level’. Whey did they add this comment? They also predicted that it was very nearly certain that a hundred houses in Athlone were going to be flooded. I took this as a test of public opinion: if it caused a wave of protest then they’d lean on the ESB to open the gate wider. Otherwise they’d hold the line and sacrifice Athlone for the places down-river.

    Maybe that is unreasonably suspicious of me, maybe I have been living in Ireland too long, but I felt I was parsing the RTE reports in the same way as a Muscovite in the days of the Soviet Union would parse Pravda.

    • McCawber

      ESB – You are being unreasonably suspicious I suspect.
      I say this because because if the solution to the flooding along the Shannon was an easy thing to fix, it would have happened a long time ago.
      Nobody is jumping up and down with a solution.
      Nobody is even jumping up and down with an obvious solution that will cost a barrow load of money.
      Instead everyone is blaming everyone else.
      The ESB is an obvious target so lock and load.
      When the ESB spill water via Parteen Weir, locations downstream are put at risk of flooding. Then there are the tidal factors to take into account.
      I suspect it’s quite a difficult balancing act.
      My own solution (well actually a man of the Shannon told me this was the solution over 30 years ago) proffered earlier in the thread was to build a bypass upstream of Lough Derg to the Shannon Estuary where it starts to widen out. I suspect the cost of doing something like this would be horrendous but we should at least find out if it is feasible and put a number on it.
      Unfortunately however, once an exercise like that is done then it becomes the “Solution” and all the cute hoors (the politicians, the plain people and all other interested parties) start playing silly buggers with it.
      Don’t for one minute underestimate all the other interested parties, fisheries and farmers to name but two.
      Opening Parteen Weir may well have resulted in reducing the flooding in Athlone (I don’t know) but I doubt very much that it is as simple as that or even close.
      ESB – The minister of Energy would be hanging the ESB out to dry if he could lay the blame on their doorstep, don’t doubt that for one minute.
      At the end of the day, the best way to sum up the Shannon or solutions to the Shannon is “One man’s optimum level is another man’s flood”.

    • DB4545


      It’s this simple. We know the places that have been flooded the question we need to ask is what areas managed to escape the flooding? Dublin 4 is on a low lying flood plain close to tidal waters with several river systems such as the dodder flowing into it. Dublin 4 also happens to contain the most expensive real estate in the Country. Approximately three years ago major upgrading of flood defences and drainage were completed in the area (funded by general taxation) in the middle of the greatest recession we’ve faced in the history of the State. That’s why we had cutbacks in many vital services throughout the State.In fairness it’s a fairly small playground but it’s one that is very well funded with education,transport and other services from the public purse. And of course good drains.You’d be surprised at the type of people who live there who could talk green for Ireland..or..maybe not. Money talks and bullshit walks and that is the way of the world Coldblow.

      • McCawber

        Nice soundbite but irrelevant.
        The amount of money required to sort out D4′s little problem pales into insignificance when compared to the Shannon.
        If you don’t believe me, get out a map of Ireland and do your own little comparison.

        • DB4545


          It wasn’t intended as a soundbite and I have a reasonable grasp of geography and geology. The reason the Dutch are nice and dry is the same reason D4 is dry, planning, allocation of resources and population density.

          We don’t have the population density to justify using the level of resources required for flood relief measures. That means sensible planning in flood prone areas and building above the flood line. What did the good people in the West do in times past when they didn’t have electric pumps? I’m sure they didn’t build on flood prone areas.

          The West will have every politician who comes knocking promising to drain the Shannon or build polders from Athlone to Mayo in order to get elected but like I said money talks and bullshit walks.

        • coldblow


          As you say it’s probably not the ESB’s fault and I wouldn’t want to be the man who has to make the decision. Just out of interest (I don’t know myself) why would the Min. for Energy want to hang the ESB CEO out to dry?

          The media (at least RTE) give us very little information about this, as you would expect.

          My guess (as with the information available it’s all guesswork) is that they stick to some technical guideline that when a certain level in L. Derg is reached they open the gate at Parteen Weir. If this has the case then it has the huge value of keeping out political interference. On the other hand, though, why isn’t the gate opened from the start, even at a lower level. Perhaps it would still lead to flooding on the old lower course of the river (around the Falls of Doonas – I know Cloonlara very well as well as Athlone). And, as I said, the flooding upriver only seems to abate when they open the gate.

          DB’s point is of course very valid. There is no more chance of flooding in D4 than them opening a giant new temporary halting site.

          • coldblow

            Just to clarify: sticking rigidly and blindly to some technical regulation (if that’s the case, of course, which I don’t have a clue about) stops political interference and makes life bearable for the ESB but at the price of causing unnecessary flooding upriver.

  36. McCawber

    Global Warming or Climate Change.
    The consequences are the same.
    And there you have it. The consequences.
    Does anyone actually know with any certainty what the consequences will be.
    Take Ireland for example.
    We are “promised” warmer and wetter winters and guess what more flooding.
    BUT it has also been suggested that the gulf stream which gives us our temperate climate could be shut off or even just abated by GW.
    If that happens our winters will be colder and dryer.

    A few items of interest maybe.
    The angle of tilt of the earths axis changes cyclically over a 41,000 year period (not that long really). This affects the Global Climate.
    Sunspot activity is on an eleven year cycle but there is also an 11 x 11 cycle.
    I once read that the Mediterranean was dry and that the straits of Gibraltar was once a land bridge between Africa and Europe.
    Now the Mediterranean is a sea. That’s a hell of a lot of water.
    There was also a land bridge between Cornwall and Ireland. More water.
    The point being sea levels have been trending higher over a very long period of time.
    This suggests that temperatures having been trending higher also.
    Bottom line Global Warming has been going on for a long time.
    Cause and effect, Climate Change is a consequence of Global Warming.
    It’s inevitable if “history” is anything to go by.
    So David is right, we need to embrace it and benefit from that embrace.

  37. I think the whole debate needs to be re-framed.

    The word ‘pollution’ only gets one mention on this page – David’s article – plus 109 comments so far.

    Likewise on the Telegraph article that coldblow posted – only one mention of the word pollution by a commenter at the bottom of the page (both posters invoke the severe pollution in Beijing, China, as it happens).

    We may or may not agree that ‘global warming’ or ‘climate change’ do or do not exist.

    But who wants to live next door to a neighbour burning coal all day or dumping mixed rubbish, or raw sewage on their lawn?

    Or likewise close to a factory spewing out untreated industrial waste into the surrounding land, air and water?

    Ban pollution through the use of negative incentives, with postive incentives for innovation and development in renewable energies, including nuclear power (very important). If a business can’t adjust over a reasonable period of time – then it goes out of business, simple as that. Individuals get fined into poverty or prison if they can’t adjust.

    Then all the other tiresome arguments become irrelevant – and we all live in a cleaner, healthier environment and world.

    • Mike Lucey

      Couldn’t agree with you more Adam. Waste is waste anyway you look at it.

      On a side rant! I see we are about to have a new law passed which prohibits drivers smoking with children on board. While I agree that drivers should not smoke with children on board I think it’s going overboard introducing a law which will be difficult to enforce. I think appealing to common sense would achieve the aim.

      Surely there are more pressing legislation that needs to be addressed like the Troika recommendations for the legal profession.

    • coldblow

      Silly comment Adam. It’s not about pollution. The issue is AGW and the insane energy policies that are being introduced, not least by the EU who will enforce them.

      • What does the A in AGW stand for? I don’t even know. Nor do I care (see below).

        Once the politicians got involved with the global warming and climate change debate, you could be sure that 1. the amount of lies being told would increase exponentially and 2. nothing would ever get done that would hurt the power and wealth of said politicians and their backers.

        Insane energy policies add to pollution – working on that premise they should be stood down.

        No one believes a word the media says about climate change now, nothing is going to change that. People are fed up and weary with it all. It’s too late, it needs to be re-framed – try a different approach.

        The Paris conference was a total sham, they are not going to stick to any of the empty promises made.

        Failing all that, some kind of technological solution will probably emerge in terms of carbon capture and even geo-engineering in the longer term, but hopefully not involving politicians. The best thing that could have happened a couple of weeks ago would have if all 200 world ‘leaders’ had been incinerated when they lined up for that obsese photo shoot. Iw would have glady refunded the carbon credits for that out of my own pocket.

  38. Mike Lucey

    The 26 Counties appear not to be in the top ten countries effected by ‘global warming’ whereas the 6 Counties are. Maybe the Shannon flooding and regular West Coast gale devastation puts The 26 in the second tier!

  39. coldblow

    Ex Pat Northerner

    I said above that you are wasting my time trying to convince me with your arguments. Well, you really are wasting my time. I looked up Murdoch first and got a stock article from the Guardian about how alarming it is that he is not a scientists and ‘doesn’t understand’. Then I looked up National Geographic from your list of AGW ‘deniers’. The very *first* one was National Geographic as it didn’t seem the kind of publication that would go against the fashionable grain. I searced for National Georgraphic Global Warming and got this:

    The first two articles date from 16 and 15th Dec. and are standard warmist fare.

    I am going to follow up some of your other claims, including those about the funding of the Watts Up website, which I only saw for the first time when I mentioned it a day or two ago here, by the way.

    If this goes according to well-established pattern then I don’t anticipate any serious, or even half-serious, challenge to what I said.

    The rhetoric about non-scientists not being able to understand the issues is meaningless.

    Why don’t you address my points (there are several of them) rather than drag up the usual stuff about fossil fuel companies buying up some film I’ve never heard of? How exactly does this challenge my arguments?

    Look at the IPCC (as bad as Blatter’s FIFA in terms of openness and honesty) and the infamous ‘Hockey Team’ (named after Michael Mann’s ‘iconic’ alarmist graph showing temperatures going off the wall).

    You say you are qualified in maths and stats but where exactly are you getting your stats? How trustworthy are they? (If they are researched as badly as your posts then you are being misled.) Why don’t the warmist statisticians like to release their details and information about their computer models? What about Climategate?

    You can believe what you like but if you want to make claims you should be able to back them up and you should also answer the points made by sceptics rather than dredging up windy and off-topic counter claims that don’t prove anything.

    This is a psychological thing and no amount of scientific training will change that.

  40. coldblow

    Ex Pat Northerner

    More on your last post.

    ‘You do know that Anthony Watts gets funding from the Heartland Institute and has no formal scientific background.’

    Who are Heartland? Why should I care if he got funding from them? Wiki calls it ‘the primary American supporter of climate change denial.’ (There’s that word again.) Wiki is biased of course, but even so what is the problem? AGW denier is funded by AGW denying body.

    Now, what exactly is this funding?

    ‘They do not regularly fund me or my WUWT website, I take no salary from them of any kind.’

    Watts says Heartland helped him find a donor for funding for a special project. He mentions that Gore had a $300m advertizing budget. Watts describes this as David and Goliath. What do you think?

    Wiki on Watts: ‘Watts rejects the scientific consensus on climate change.’ I know next to nothing about the man but surely this should read, ‘rejects that there is a scientific consensus’? I couldn’t find a reference to the fact that his weblog won the 2013 Bloggies Award. I am not spending time trawling everything but I understand he won earlier awards, perhaps a lot of them. Why no reference in Wiki? (I assume you got your information from Wiki; please correct me if I am wrong and tell me where you did get it, if not – Skeptical Science?)

    No formal scientific background: again so what? This provides no immunity to mass delusion.

    I have no formal scientific background myself and don’t regret it. In my O levels year (not class but year) at grammar school in 1974 I won the prize for physics. I was, as I recall, 12% clear of the next boy (from my own class) who in turn was 9% clear of the third placed (also in our class, although both classes were supposed to be equal). I was fortunate in that a friend who was expelled from another local Catholic grammar gave me his physics textbook, which was excellent and I studied it myself. Years later I was surprised while going through my loft to find that I had won the Chemistry prize too. Perhaps it was for the 4th year. Chemistry? That didn’t even figure on the radar and I must have forgotten that prize as soon as I got it. After all I’d won 6 of the prizes at O level. We had to choose between arts and science so there was no competition. There was something about the culture of science, the technology fetish and the authoritarian know-all-ness that repelled me. Actually, funnily enough, what I decided to do at that age (and regretted) was to be a psychologist – there was no requirement for science A levels, at least not then. I understand the principles of statistics myself.

    ‘and one can see how the fossil fuel industry (for it is they who are funding the climate deniers) use this [analysis techniques] to boost search results.- they even bought ‘josh fox’ and ‘gasland’ when his movie became a threat.’

    You might provide details of this funding. I’m a climate denier and I haven’t seen any of it, although I wouldn’t say no. I’d be surprised if Christopher Booker has either. As I went to some length to explain earlier the skewed statistics, pre-selected data, corrupted peer review process, refusals to release for inspection data and details of models (as well, of course, as well-funded propaganda and smear campaigns, cheered on by a gullible and enthusiastic media) are all on the IPCC side. But tell me about this funding anyway, in particular where you got your information. I am so confident I have nothing to fear that I am beginning to enjoy this.

    To conclude this session in response to your last post, I did this word search, seeing as you have included the Sun on your list of influential deniers:

    the sun newspaper global warming articles

    The first page of results yielded one article, entitled: ‘Fatties Cause Global Warming’

    Are you seriously suggesting that this can compete with the BBC and nearly everyone else?

    ‘I believe the media to be firmly tilted againt true reporting on climate change matters.’

    It seems you are capable of believing anything.

    To be contd. (possibly)

  41. DB4545

    Ex Pat Northerner

    “The science is largely settled among the scientists”. I beg to differ.Science can never be settled among scientists or anyone else.That’s what defines it as science and not faith I would suggest. Science is only consensus based on the available evidence until new evidence emerges to change that consensus.

    In the 1950′s scientists thought it safe for workers to sweep up radiactive waste in nuclear facilities with sweeping brushes without wearing protective equipment. In the 1960′s scientists produced reams of “evidence” that thalidomide was a safe product. The list goes on.

    Science is not infallible and it”s always open to question.If I have one abiding respect in a characteristic of my fellow Citizens it’s that we have absolutely no respect for authority in all it’s forms borne of long and painfull experience. That scepticism can be harnessed in a positive way and to our credit that’s been the Irish way in what has been a very turbulent century since indepence.It’ll serve us well in the future too.

    We need to pollute less and manage and develop and therefore make efficient and effective use of our finite resources to minimise waste.But we don’t need to buy into the arguments of people who are out to make a buck and living with scaremongering or getting us to buy into a guilt trip so they sell an ideology on the back of it.

    • ex_pat_northerner

      Ok point taken re consensus but ponder this.. Science on greenhouse effect is well known and first postulated in 1820s, and shown by experiment to be true in 1850s from memory. The Science that CO2 is produced by Fossil fuels in indisputable as its measurable and observable. The Science that CO2 is rising in the atmosphere is indisputable as its measurable and observable. The science that the oceans are acidifying is indisputable as its measurable and observable. The science that CO2 dissolves in oceans and causes them to acidify is proven. So if you’re worried about Pollution then you should be worried about CO2 in the atmosphere, and the burning of fossil fuels that puts it there. The effects of extra CO2 and other greenhouse gases are proven by small scale experiment. The models used by the scientists are added to as more data and more computing power is applied. Overwhelmingly the models and papers show that the recent changes in temperature (I know the climate deniers keep saying its not getting hotter – but global temperatures are rising) are correlated with CO2 and other greenhouse gases rather than any cyclical or solar phenomena. Scientists are a conservative lot…and that’s why I would worry because politicians dither.

      The explanation on the flooding is quite simple. more heat = more energy = stronger storms. More heat also = more water vapour in the air = more rain.

      Thalidomide : That saga was due to the fact that no strict drug controls were in place, and an incomplete battery of tests were performed. That’s regulation. In the US the drug wasn’t permitted when the battery of tests were applied. In Germany in particular it was over the counter.

      who is out to make a buck?. Is it not more likely that its the corporations like the oil and gas corporations that actually may be out to make a buck. The tobacco companies sat on studies that showed a link between smoking and cancer. Exxon Mobil it is now alleged own studies showed links between burning fossil fuels and CO2 emissions and postulated climate change. Its alleged they buried the research, and more over funded deniers to protect their bottom line. There are now calls for a wide ranging investigation of Exxon and other Oil and Gas companies.

      What is the ideology being sold here ? surely its the empowerment of communities and individuals to solve some of their own energy needs. Lets be clear renewables are disruptive technology. When the wind blows hard, wholesale electricity prices go negative on the continent in particular. The community and personal empowerment in my particular case harks back to before rural electrification – my Grandfather had his own small hydroelectric generator in the river by his house, along with battery storage to light a few incandescent bulbs.

      Fossil fuels are a fantastic source of energy, but they have a downside. Moving away from fossil fuels and controlling emissions is a must. While Ireland is well placed I certainly don’t agree with your assertion that “If I have one abiding respect in a characteristic of my fellow Citizens it’s that we have absolutely no respect for authority in all it’s forms borne of long and painfull experience.” My experience is we’d sell our own mothers if we thought it would agrandise us with the ‘in crowd’

  42. coldblow

    Ex Pat

    Just finishing your list of media publications or broadcasters who you claim are biased against AGW.

    Washington Post
    Google search: washington post global warming

    From first page:


    ‘For a second straight year, the Arctic is warming faster than any other place in the world, and walrus populations… are thinning along with the ice sheets’

    It goes on to quote NOAA chief scientist Richard Spinrad.

    I understand that NOAA are behind controversial attempts to overstate temperatures and are in the warmist camp.

    Sky News
    Google search: sky news global warming

    First headings thown up by search:

    Global Warming ’95% Certain’ say scientists (Sept 2013)
    Poll: Growing Doubts Over Climate Change (Nov 2015)
    Weather Balloons Trap Global Warming ‘Blanket’ (Dec 2015)
    PM: Global Climate Deal ‘Huge Step Forward’ (Dec 2015)
    Climate deal will limit warming to below 2C (Dec 2015)
    The Prince of Wales speaks out on global… (Nov 2015)
    Winter warmth could break weather records (one day ago)

    Fox News was the only one of your sources which is sceptical. Well done Fox News.

    Ex Pat, did your degree in maths and knowledge of statistics and all the rest come in handy in researching your dingbat of a post? It reminds me of the IPCC and the AGW camp in general.


    Keeping interest rates up with global warming.

    Anthropomorphic Global Warming is a paper chase to keep us occupied while the real issues go unattended. This is David dangling us on a string, while we blow in the wind.

    Contamination by the myriad number of chemicals infused into our daily lives is not mentioned. How about plastics, herbicides, pesticides, fungicides, etc is not mentioned other than by a couple of enlightened souls.

    For an intelligent man the statements from David re the causes of global climate change are a disgrace.

    I have read books on climate, geology and the changing shape of the earth over millions of years ever since a child. All the information was scientific and peer reviewed for what ever that is worth.

    There are many cycles overlapping, from 40 year, 400 year and many others. They include that not understood yet observed. Sun radiation, elliptical orbit of the earth around the sun, polar oscillation, geothermal activity etc. mountain building, plate tectonics etc etc.

    All combine in an intricate pattern that is vaguely understood.

    It is why the predictions of the IPCC predictions have ALL FAILED. The computer modeling is simply garbage in = garbage out.

    Carbon credits are a control mechanism from the elites and another tax grab we will all pay for that produce no benefit. Credits from one country to another is a zero sum game with no change in emissions overall.

    Most people I talk to these days scoff at The IPCC. Even it’s chairma resigned as he said he had to re-evaluate his programs as non of the projections came true.

    AGW is BULLSHIT pure and simple. BTW this is not to deny that climate changes, as is always has and always will.

    Seasons greeting to all from a cooler than average, for the season, New Zealand.

  44. E. Kavanagh

    Since when does “three times less” mean one-third?

    Next thing you’ll be spelling MC as “emcee”.

  45. McCawber

    you are quite right the operating levels in the Shannon need to be reviewed on a regular basis, say every 10 years.
    For example what impact has the removal of a large amount of peat had on the Shannon. Those peat bogs acted as huge sponges in the past.
    And that’s just one of the more obviously changes that have occurred since the Ardnacrusha dam was built over 80? years ago.
    The only issue is whose responsibility is it to do the new surveys and set new target levels (if required) or confirm the existing tarbets levels. And perhaps given the technology now available more electronic monitoring at many more points would now be appropriate.
    There also needs to be a bit of honesty in all of this.
    Houseing built on flood planes is an issue that nobody seems to be prepared to take responsibility for. And nobody seems to want to accept lost causes either.
    Even going into the future you’ll still get the “We’ve taken best practice measures to ensure there will be no flooding” which actually usually means we’ve taken the cheapest possible option with our heads firmly stuck in the sand so that the range of those measures is limited to the piece of land we are building on.
    If the problem surfaces elsewhere then it is someone else’s problem and the county council’s are far from blameless on this issue.
    The Government has to make this call.

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