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Are we the zealots of a new religion; an environmental Taliban that is silencing dissent? Not really



In three years of publishing Blue & Green Tomorrow and seven looking into the economic, environmental and investment potential of clean technology, the language of those who deny human-caused climate change has morphed into something more aggressive; and their effort to spread disinformation and doubt more desperate, elaborate and pernicious.

It is vital in a functioning democracy that those with power or in positions of influence, especially those with a platform to inform and advise the public, should use their status responsibly. They should choose words carefully, focus on the evidence and avoid inflaming the debate.

Instead, there is a small group of politicians, newspaper columnists, business leaders and others who use non-peer reviewed myths, spread disinformation and launch personal attacks on scientists and those of us who accept the scientific consensus. They mislead, throw the first stones but then scream murder if they themselves are even mildly criticised.

Science is the “intellectual and practical activity encompassing the systematic study of the structure and behaviour of the physical and natural”.  A consensus is “general agreement”.

Therefore, a scientific consensus is “the general agreement, collective judgment, position, and opinion of the community of scientists in a particular field of systematic study.”

Can 97% of climate scientists really be wrong?

Independent research on the peer-reviewed literature has shown that 97.1% of scientists agree that humans are, in part, causing and certainly accelerating climate change through carbon emissions specifically and other activities such as deforestation more generally.

Science arrives at a consensus through peer-review of other scientists’ work. The process actively encourages open dissent by peers. Scientific understanding of complexity improves incrementally in this gradual process.

“Peer review is the evaluation of work by one or more people of similar competence to the producers of the work (peers). It constitutes a form of self-regulation by qualified members of a profession within the relevant field. Peer review methods are employed to maintain standards of quality, improve performance, and provide credibility. In academia peer review is often used to determine an academic paper’s suitability for publication.”

The scientific consensus is that humans are, in part, causing and certainly accelerating climate change through carbon emissions specifically and other activities such as deforestation more generally.

Accepting this is not being a zealot: “a person who is fanatical and uncompromising in pursuit of their religious, political, or other ideals.”

We do not know any gravity zealots, so why are those who accept climate science called zealots?

Nor is it belonging to a religion: “The belief in and worship of a superhuman controlling power, esp. a personal God or gods.”

We don’t know of a Church of Gravity, so we’re not sure why climate science has to have one.

It cannot be called a Taliban – “a fundamentalist movement” – unless you take the etymological root of the word, which is the Arabic talib or student. If George Osborne, who coined the ‘environmental Taliban’ insult, is calling us environmental students, he is right. Those who accept the consensus have climate professors too, whom we respect and learn from.

It is called science, Mr Osborne. It’s how science works.

Those who side with the science cannot be accused of ‘silencing dissent’. As environmental scientist Dana Nuccitelli told Al Jazeera“There is a false balance of media coverage where 2-3% of sceptics get close to 50% of the media coverage because the media feels that they have to show a balance where they are showing both sides of the issue.

But in the process, they are giving that 2-3% 50% of the coverage and actually creating a false balance and false perception that there is a big divide among climate experts about the cause of global warming.”

We have written ourselves, “Far from silenced, they [the sceptics] are given equal billing in the broadcast media and are overwhelmingly disseminated in the climate sceptic press. If this is silenced, we can’t imagine how cacophonous they would be if they were given free rein.”

We should all be uncomfortable with this equal or more prominent billing given to the opinion of non-scientists and non-climate scientists. You can judge for yourselves if they are qualified to comment on the complexities of climate science.

James Delingpole

Climate science credentials: BA English literature, Oxford: the study of a challenging and diverse range of literature written in English, including poems, fiction, plays and essays.

Censured by the Australian Press Council, Delingpole admitted he had not read any climate science literature in an interview with Nobel Prize winner and Royal Society president Sir Paul Nurse. You can watch the exchange here, and see more of his contributions to the debate here.

Christopher Monckton

Climate science credentials: BA classics, Cambridge: the study of the ancient Greek and Roman cultures in their broadest sense; Greek and Latin language, literature, philosophy, ancient history, art and archaeology.

The House of Lords authorities unusually issued Monckton with a cease and desist order for persistently claiming he was a member of that place. You can find more economies with the truth here.

Nigel Lawson

Climate science credentials: BA politics, philosophy, economics, Oxford: the study of some of the most important approaches to understanding the social and human world around us.

Nigel Lawson founded and chairs the thinktank, the Global Warming Policy Foundation, but is coy about its funding. Here’s his DeSmogBlog profile.

George Osborne

Climate science credentials: BA modern history, Oxford: the study of British, European and world history in the present day.

Chancellor of the exchequer who in October 2012 described parliamentary climate change campaigners as an “environmental Taliban.

Matt Ridley

Climate science credentials: PhD Zoology,Oxford: research centred on the four themes of behaviour, disease, ecology and evolution.

Ridley compared climate scientists to eugenicists: a verbal sleight-of-hand associating climate scientists with Nazis, who famously used eugenics to justify the extermination of large groups of people. He has also called climate science a cult: “a system of religious veneration and devotion directed toward a particular figure or object.” By using that word, he not only insults his scientific peers but associates them with more famous and discredited cults. Clever. More here at DeSmogBlog.

This motley crew of climate sceptics does not include a single climate scientist, nor can they call upon any peer-reviewed science to support their claims.We should hold their views in contempt – but still the mainstream and irresponsible media gives them a platform.

Michael Mann, director of Penn State University’s Earth System Science Centre, i.e. a climate scientist, gives us cause for hope.

“The disinformation campaign can only survive for so long. We saw, as in the case of tobacco, there was a similar disinformation campaign decades ago to obscure the science and the scientific link between the use of tobacco products and lung cancer.

But eventually the truth of what the science had to say became accepted. There are some positive signs that we are moving in that direction; the rest of the world is moving increasingly towards renewable energy […]We [the US] are lagging behind but we are slowly making progress ourselves.”

Sceptics or deniers spread disinformation and throw wild accusations at those who accept the consensus. While the mainstream media gives them equal billing and the public repeat the myths, we must remain vigilant and point out the weaknesses and lack of evidence in the sceptics and deniers’ arguments.

Further reading:

How denial works: from geocentrism to tobacco to climate change

Pick-and-mix dogma is unethical and intellectually dishonest

The four horsemen of the climate apocalypse

Honesty, subtlety and complexity in science reporting

Simon Leadbetter is the founder and publisher of Blue & Green Tomorrow. He has held senior roles at Northcliffe, The Daily Telegraph, Santander, Barclaycard, AXA, Prudential and Fidelity. In 2004, he founded a marketing agency that worked amongst others with The Guardian, Vodafone, E.On and Liverpool Victoria. He sold this agency in 2006 and as Chief Marketing Officer for two VC-backed start-ups launched the online platform Cleantech Intelligence (which underpinned the The Guardian’s Cleantech 100) and StrategyEye Cleantech. Most recently, he was Marketing Director of Emap, the UK’s largest B2B publisher, and the founder of Blue & Green Communications Limited.


How Going Green Can Save A Company Money



going green can save company money
Shutterstock Licensed Photot - By GOLFX

What is going green?

Going green means to live life in a way that is environmentally friendly for an entire population. It is the conservation of energy, water, and air. Going green means using products and resources that will not contaminate or pollute the air. It means being educated and well informed about the surroundings, and how to best protect them. It means recycling products that may not be biodegradable. Companies, as well as people, that adhere to going green can help to ensure a safer life for humanity.

The first step in going green

There are actually no step by step instructions for going green. The only requirement needed is making the decision to become environmentally conscious. It takes a caring attitude, and a willingness to make the change. It has been found that companies have improved their profit margins by going green. They have saved money on many of the frivolous things they they thought were a necessity. Besides saving money, companies are operating more efficiently than before going green. Companies have become aware of their ecological responsibility by pursuing the knowledge needed to make decisions that would change lifestyles and help sustain the earth’s natural resources for present and future generations.

Making needed changes within the company

After making the decision to go green, there are several things that can be changed in the workplace. A good place to start would be conserving energy used by electrical appliances. First, turning off the computer will save over the long run. Just letting it sleep still uses energy overnight. Turn off all other appliances like coffee maker, or anything that plugs in. Pull the socket from the outlet to stop unnecessary energy loss. Appliances continue to use electricity although they are switched off, and not unplugged. Get in the habit of turning off the lights whenever you leave a room. Change to fluorescent light bulbs, and lighting throughout the building. Have any leaks sealed on the premises to avoid the escape of heat or air.

Reducing the common paper waste

paper waste

Shutterstock Licensed Photo – By Yury Zap

Modern technologies and state of the art equipment, and tools have almost eliminated the use of paper in the office. Instead of sending out newsletters, brochures, written memos and reminders, you can now do all of these and more by technology while saving on the use of paper. Send out digital documents and emails to communicate with staff and other employees. By using this virtual bookkeeping technique, you will save a bundle on paper. When it is necessary to use paper for printing purposes or other services, choose the already recycled paper. It is smartly labeled and easy to find in any office supply store. It is called the Post Consumer Waste paper, or PCW paper. This will show that your company is dedicated to the preservation of natural resources. By using PCW paper, everyone helps to save the trees which provides and emits many important nutrients into the atmosphere.

Make money by spreading the word

Companies realize that consumers like to buy, or invest in whatever the latest trend may be. They also cater to companies that are doing great things for the quality of life of all people. People want to know that the companies that they cater to are doing their part for the environment and ecology. By going green, you can tell consumers of your experiences with helping them and communities be eco-friendly. This is a sound public relations technique to bring revenue to your brand. Boost the impact that your company makes on the environment. Go green, save and make money while essentially preserving what is normally taken for granted. The benefits of having a green company are enormous for consumers as well as the companies that engage in the process.

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5 Easy Things You Can Do to Make Your Home More Sustainable




sustainable homes
Shutterstock Licensed Photot - By Diyana Dimitrova

Increasing your home’s energy efficiency is one of the smartest moves you can make as a homeowner. It will lower your bills, increase the resale value of your property, and help minimize our planet’s fast-approaching climate crisis. While major home retrofits can seem daunting, there are plenty of quick and cost-effective ways to start reducing your carbon footprint today. Here are five easy projects to make your home more sustainable.

1. Weather stripping

If you’re looking to make your home more energy efficient, an energy audit is a highly recommended first step. This will reveal where your home is lacking in regards to sustainability suggests the best plan of attack.

Some form of weather stripping is nearly always advised because it is so easy and inexpensive yet can yield such transformative results. The audit will provide information about air leaks which you can couple with your own knowledge of your home’s ventilation needs to develop a strategic plan.

Make sure you choose the appropriate type of weather stripping for each location in your home. Areas that receive a lot of wear and tear, like popular doorways, are best served by slightly more expensive vinyl or metal options. Immobile cracks or infrequently opened windows can be treated with inexpensive foams or caulking. Depending on the age and quality of your home, the resulting energy savings can be as much as 20 percent.

2. Programmable thermostats

Programmable thermostats

Shutterstock Licensed Photo – By Olivier Le Moal

Programmable thermostats have tremendous potential to save money and minimize unnecessary energy usage. About 45 percent of a home’s energy is earmarked for heating and cooling needs with a large fraction of that wasted on unoccupied spaces. Programmable thermostats can automatically lower the heat overnight or shut off the air conditioning when you go to work.

Every degree Fahrenheit you lower the thermostat equates to 1 percent less energy use, which amounts to considerable savings over the course of a year. When used correctly, programmable thermostats reduce heating and cooling bills by 10 to 30 percent. Of course, the same result can be achieved by manually adjusting your thermostats to coincide with your activities, just make sure you remember to do it!

3. Low-flow water hardware

With the current focus on carbon emissions and climate change, we typically equate environmental stability to lower energy use, but fresh water shortage is an equal threat. Installing low-flow hardware for toilets and showers, particularly in drought prone areas, is an inexpensive and easy way to cut water consumption by 50 percent and save as much as $145 per year.

Older toilets use up to 6 gallons of water per flush, the equivalent of an astounding 20.1 gallons per person each day. This makes them the biggest consumer of indoor water. New low-flow toilets are standardized at 1.6 gallons per flush and can save more than 20,000 gallons a year in a 4-member household.

Similarly, low-flow shower heads can decrease water consumption by 40 percent or more while also lowering water heating bills and reducing CO2 emissions. Unlike early versions, new low-flow models are equipped with excellent pressure technology so your shower will be no less satisfying.

4. Energy efficient light bulbs

An average household dedicates about 5 percent of its energy use to lighting, but this value is dropping thanks to new lighting technology. Incandescent bulbs are quickly becoming a thing of the past. These inefficient light sources give off 90 percent of their energy as heat which is not only impractical from a lighting standpoint, but also raises energy bills even further during hot weather.

New LED and compact fluorescent options are far more efficient and longer lasting. Though the upfront costs are higher, the long term environmental and financial benefits are well worth it. Energy efficient light bulbs use as much as 80 percent less energy than traditional incandescent and last 3 to 25 times longer producing savings of about $6 per year per bulb.

5. Installing solar panels

Adding solar panels may not be the easiest, or least expensive, sustainability upgrade for your home, but it will certainly have the greatest impact on both your energy bills and your environmental footprint. Installing solar panels can run about $15,000 – $20,000 upfront, though a number of government incentives are bringing these numbers down. Alternatively, panels can also be leased for a much lower initial investment.

Once operational, a solar system saves about $600 per year over the course of its 25 to 30-year lifespan, and this figure will grow as energy prices rise. Solar installations require little to no maintenance and increase the value of your home.

From an environmental standpoint, the average five-kilowatt residential system can reduce household CO2 emissions by 15,000 pounds every year. Using your solar system to power an electric vehicle is the ultimate sustainable solution serving to reduce total CO2 emissions by as much as 70%!

These days, being environmentally responsible is the hallmark of a good global citizen and it need not require major sacrifices in regards to your lifestyle or your wallet. In fact, increasing your home’s sustainability is apt to make your residence more livable and save you money in the long run. The five projects listed here are just a few of the easy ways to reduce both your environmental footprint and your energy bills. So, give one or more of them a try; with a small budget and a little know-how, there is no reason you can’t start today.

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