Monthly Archives: February 2007

Secure Energy and a Stable Climate?

Prof. Jim Skea OBE gave a remarkable overview of the links between energy generation and greenhouse gas emissions at Birkbeck College last night.

When I asked him about statistics relating to industry and business rather than individual households, he suggested that different measures would be required.

That’s why I now put the link to 3D Metrics on the side. For my ‘3dM’ software designs can help! They can contribute to the analysis and interpretation of

  • — data describing complex systems
  • — relating to short, medium and long time intervals
  • — by ‘layering’ multi-dimensional data and
  • — by using innovative forecasting mechanisms.

This series of six lectures on Conservation and Sustainability has been organised by the Ecology and Conservation Studies Society.

My Journey into Democracy

My journey into democracy began when Prof. Dr. Margrit Kennedy gave me five booklets (in German) by the Japanese author Yoshito Otani. They were published in 1978 and covered land, capitalism, money, marxism and democracy. My conclusion was that we may have political but certainly don’t have economic democracy.

Since then I learned more and more about the creation of money and the money supply which is not taught in economics, however. In fact, I know a student who had serious problems at the London School of Economics when she wanted to write her PhD on the subject.

As the organiser of the Forum for Stable Currencies, I attended a seminar of the Environmental Law Foundation on the legal and economic challenge of climate change. There I met a ‘campaigning lawyer’ who used to work for Friends of the Earth. For him I wrote “Sovereignty & Seignorage” as the UK legal framework to match “Contraction & Convergence” as the global framework for climate change.

Both boil down to using per head metrics rather than GDP and inflation. These I discovered to be very flawed indeed after having visited the on-line data bases of the Bank of England, the Treasury and the Office of National Statistics.

The results of our legal advice were:

Ø letters to the Bank of England under the Freedom of Information Act,

Ø the recommendation to go for ‘parliamentary scrutiny’ via the Treasury Select Committee

Ø and the formulation of our objective: to change the cash : credit ratio in the UK money supply.

Thus I was well equipped when the Treasury Select Committee launched its inquiry into climate change and the Stern review.

Then I found out that there were over 30 submissions, that the Committee members may or may not receive a personal copy and, in any case, it would be in black and white. Hence our Chairman, Austin Mitchell MP, sent individual copies so that the charts can be seen in colour. I also handed a personal copy to the Chairman John McFall MP and attended four meetings to watch parliamentary scrutiny in action.

Now I am waiting to see whether the Committee will respond to our request for an oral hearing and whether our submission will be published. Previously, I made three submissions to the Economic Affairs Committee of the House of Lords. The first was published on paper, the second on CD and the third not at all!

To raise awareness among everybody who wants to make a difference but is unaware of our issue, I created this site with

Ø a one-page wake-up call

Ø Austin Mitchell MP’s passionate cover letter

Ø The 4-page executive summary with recommendations for action

Ø And the full 17-page submission.

It so happens that my ‘3d metric‘ software methods offer solutions to complex systems such as the ones that society needs to address now. Hence I am keen to find those people in Government who would benefit from them for their analysis. For they make correlations visible and quantifiable that can not be shown with conventional graphs and charts.

Will climate change offer us a road to economic democracy?

Lobbying and Campaigning

It’s ‘missionarising’ in either case: you want others to hear you, to understand you, to think the way you do – if not follow your thinking, directives or even orders.

Submissions to the Treasury Select Committee ask for ‘recommendations for action’. But what will it take for action to be taken?

First, it seems to take influence and authority: the authority of an institution or of expertise.

Second, it seems to take a process of approval: debate and agreement or voting for that matter.

In any case I know that I’m in the right place when I’m attending Treasury Select Committee meetings and I spoke to the right person when I handed my documents to the Chairman John McFall MP. Does he take his job of ‘parliamentary scrutiny’ seriously! And does he put people into their place! It’s a joy to watch him and his Committee in action.

At this stage, my question is: how influential are the resulting reports?

An Obvious Link between Money and Climate Change

Scientists Offered Cash to Dispute Climate Study
By Ian Sample
The Guardian UK

Friday 02 February 2007

Scientists and economists have been offered $10,000 each by a lobby group funded by one of the world’s largest oil companies to undermine a major climate change report due to be published today.

Letters sent by the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), an ExxonMobil-funded thinktank with close links to the Bush administration, offered the payments for articles that emphasise the shortcomings of a report from the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

Travel expenses and additional payments were also offered.

The UN report was written by international experts and is widely regarded as the most comprehensive review yet of climate change science. It will underpin international negotiations on new emissions targets to succeed the Kyoto agreement, the first phase of which expires in 2012. World governments were given a draft last year and invited to comment.

The AEI has received more than $1.6m from ExxonMobil and more than 20 of its staff have worked as consultants to the Bush administration. Lee Raymond, a former head of ExxonMobil, is the vice-chairman of AEI’s board of trustees.

The letters, sent to scientists in Britain, the US and elsewhere, attack the UN’s panel as “resistant to reasonable criticism and dissent and prone to summary conclusions that are poorly supported by the analytical work” and ask for essays that “thoughtfully explore the limitations of climate model outputs”.

Climate scientists described the move yesterday as an attempt to cast doubt over the “overwhelming scientific evidence” on global warming. “It’s a desperate attempt by an organisation who wants to distort science for their own political aims,” said David Viner of the Climatic Research Unit at the University of East Anglia.

“The IPCC process is probably the most thorough and open review undertaken in any discipline. This undermines the confidence of the public in the scientific community and the ability of governments to take on sound scientific advice,” he said.

The letters were sent by Kenneth Green, a visiting scholar at AEI, who confirmed that the organisation had approached scientists, economists and policy analysts to write articles for an independent review that would highlight the strengths and weaknesses of the IPCC report.

“Right now, the whole debate is polarised,” he said. “One group says that anyone with any doubts whatsoever are deniers and the other group is saying that anyone who wants to take action is alarmist. We don’t think that approach has a lot of utility for intelligent policy.”

One American scientist turned down the offer, citing fears that the report could easily be misused for political gain. “You wouldn’t know if some of the other authors might say nothing’s going to happen, that we should ignore it, or that it’s not our fault,” said Steve Schroeder, a professor at Texas A&M university.

The contents of the IPCC report have been an open secret since the Bush administration posted its draft copy on the internet in April. It says there is a 90% chance that human activity is warming the planet, and that global average temperatures will rise by another 1.5 to 5.8C this century, depending on emissions.

Lord Rees of Ludlow, the president of the Royal Society, Britain’s most prestigious scientific institute, said: “The IPCC is the world’s leading authority on climate change and its latest report will provide a comprehensive picture of the latest scientific understanding on the issue. It is expected to stress, more convincingly than ever before, that our planet is already warming due to human actions, and that ‘business as usual’ would lead to unacceptable risks, underscoring the urgent need for concerted international action to reduce the worst impacts of climate change. However, yet again, there will be a vocal minority with their own agendas who will try to suggest otherwise.”

Ben Stewart of Greenpeace said: “The AEI is more than just a thinktank, it functions as the Bush administration’s intellectual Cosa Nostra. They are White House surrogates in the last throes of their campaign of climate change denial. They lost on the science; they lost on the moral case for action. All they’ve got left is a suitcase full of cash.”

On Monday, another Exxon-funded organisation based in Canada will launch a review in London which casts doubt on the IPCC report. Among its authors are Tad Murty, a former scientist who believes human activity makes no contribution to global warming. Confirmed VIPs attending include Nigel Lawson and David Bellamy, who believes there is no link between burning fossil fuels and global warming.