Archive for December, 2009

Ravi Kanbur, a professor of economics at Cornell, tries to explain a contradiction in poverty statistics in an article in Finance & Development. Although the official statistics show that poverty is falling there is a widespread perception that the opposite is the case: “Setting aside the effects of the crises of the late 2000s and […]

A characteristically cranky article in The Ecologist but one that points to a dangerous trend. It seems that increasing credence is being given to the supposed rights of the unborn and the related concept of inter-generational justice. Of course the unborn are not in any position to exercise their rights. What this means in practice […]

An interesting cover story by Martin Cohen, an environmental activist and the editor of The Philosopher, in Times Higher Education challenging climate change orthodoxy. I do not agree with all of his arguments but the piece makes many astute points.

False prophet

In: Uncategorized

10 Dec 2009

Dennis Meadows, on of the authors of the landmark 1972 report on The Limits to Growth, tells Der Spiegel in an interview that personal sacrifice is the only way to tackle climate change: “I don’t ask for it but I say if we don’t change our behavior then we will be in serious trouble. People […]

The opening film to the Copenhagen summit, featuring a girl having a nightmare about catastrophic climate change, unwittingly reveals the pervasiveness of contemporary social pessimism. It assumes that our irresponsible actions today will cause devastating problems for our children in the future. The opposite possibility, that human action could improve our lives and those of […]

A paper by Ha-Joon Chang (PDF), a development economist at Cambridge University, makes a valuable point about the redefinition of development: “the currently dominant discourse on ‘development’ really lacks any real notion of development in the sense of transformation of productive capabilities and structure (and the accompanying social changes”. However, to my mind he still […]

Geoff Mulgan, the director of the Young Foundation and a former senior adviser to Tony Blair, has a comment piece in the Times (London) arguing that poverty should be redefined in psychological and psychosocial terms. In relation to the former he argues: “Most of the arguments about poverty in the past have focused on material […]

Der Spiegel, a leading German newsmagazine, has recanted three weeks after attacking Barack Obama’s record on climate change (see 17 November post). According to an editorial by Thomas Kleine-Brockhoff argues: “Obama has done all that a single person can possibly do. He has become the greenest president his country has ever seen.” However, it maintains […]

What’s happened to Jared Diamond? Back in 1987 the professor of geography at the University of California at Los Angeles wrote a notorious essay arguing that the agricultural revolution was the worst mistake in human history (see 1 August 2006 post). Yet in yesterday’s New York Times he wrote an op-ed piece saying that he […]

When I first came across Denialism by Michael Specter the title almost put me off. The term “denial” is often used by climate change alarmists to close down debate on the topic. But when I looked more closely at the content of the book I was pleasantly surprised. Specter, a staff writer on the New […]