So… what are you advocating, exactly?

There was a meeting of scientists in Copenhagen this week, ahead of a meeting of politicians, ngos and several thousand well-paid lobbyists this December.

They basically said our situation is Very Very Serious. As they’ve been saying for a wee while now.

And then Mike Hulme, former top bod of the Tyndall Centre, made another of his very useful (not) interventions, which you can read here. Normally I’d say don’t bother, but it drew this response (posted below) from a mate of PED called Leo Murray (you may recognise him from this or that)

Hi Mike,

Leo Murray here, of Plane Stupid and so on. I thought you made a very good point about the key messages statement issued by the conference organisers last week in your BBC article. I couldn’t help but wonder what you sought to achieve by writing it though. I would urge you to read through the comments that have accreted beneath your piece, so you can appreciate the actual effect of such critiques of calls to action on climate change.

What do you think you’re doing, exactly? This is not a rhetorical question. I ask because I am interested in the answer. You’re no fool; the exception you took to the disingenuous nature of the Copenhagen statement is extremely reasonable. When we met you made a convincing case that your over-arching ethical consideration is to the principle of justice, although there remained some unresolved questions over how this relates to your disdain for any and all proposed practical responses to the ethical question posed by climate change.

This latest article is genuinely puzzling to me, as it appears to be a vivid continuation of an ongoing crusade to deliberately sabotage any attempts to formulate a political response to the challenge we face as a consequence of anthropogenic climate change. Whilst the rigour of the internal logic of your critique is not in question, the purpose of this public intervention most certainly is. These outbursts have a real and eminently predictable effect, and it is to militate against our chances of avoiding extremely severe adverse consequences for human welfare and prosperity – and against ‘justice’, for the myriad innocent victims of dangerous anthropogenic interference in the climate systems, both in the global south and in generations to come.

Can this really be your intention? If not, you’re not as clever as you seem, as this is a fairly obvious and concrete outcome of using your expert status to speak out against ‘urgency’ and ‘action’ of any sort to prevent such outcomes. But I don’t believe you are stupid.

So… what are you advocating, exactly? Is criticising ‘action’ endorsing inaction, as it is universally read? Or do you have some other ‘action’ in mind that you haven’t told us about? Something non-urgent perhaps? Can you really be being obstructive just to make a point? Really?

I’m not stupid either Mike, but try as I might, I just don’t get what you’re about. If you’re trying to help – stop it. You’re not helping.

Leo Murray

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