Things fall apart: troubled politics for a warming world

[Still on a break, but posting occasional thoughts] 

Things fall apart, the centre cannot hold… 

Perhaps I’m just seeing patterns there that don’t exist, however for some time I’ve been concerned about the increasingly polarised nature of political debate around the globe.

In France, riots in response to austerity measures:


In Greece, riots in response to austerity measures:

In the US, signs the election is getting ugly with Tea Party supporters assaulting a women protestor:


Just one of many reported incidents of violence and intimidation associated with the “teabaggers”.

In Australia, farmers burn copies of the Murray Darling Authorities “draft” plan 

Troubled politics for a warming planet 

Perhaps it’s premature to call it, but I think 2010 is a watershed year.

It is the year when global warming “crisis” made itself felt.

But it’s not just the rise in temperatures we should fear.

This “climate change” crisis is coalescing with other issues: the aftermath of the Global Financial Crises; the war never-ending “war on terror”; growing environmental emergencies (biodiversity loss, ecosystem collapse); the growing disenchantment with major political parties (viz the hung parliaments in Australia and the UK).

Does anyone else feel it?

And what is “it”?

A growing sense of unease?

Like the deep breath before the plunge?

Increasingly, people across this globalised world are feeling the stress and acting out in a variety of ways.  

Some are withdrawing from the world.

Others are angry and frightened 

Some want to remake the world.

Others are mourning the loss of our civilisation.

Many have lost faith in the institutions of government, science and the media.

Something is stirring.


4 thoughts on “Things fall apart: troubled politics for a warming world

  1. I wouldn’t be surprised if the “conflict” has been encouraged in many ways by a deliberate attack on science. It’s amazing just how much the confidence in environmental science has been lost in the last several years. If you really look at the events, there has been NO REAL REASON to have lost confidence in the science – no massive scandal or corruption.

    Yet, the various non-events, such as Climategate, the paranoia that environmental concern means to harm the modern world, the insistence that personal feelings and free speech are as valid as evidence, the few appalling studies and various characters, such as Monckton, that although baseless, instil doubt; all of this has unjustly pecked away at the general confidence of science.

    You could look even further – at the increasing number of religious schools or the evangelical movement in the US. It seems that there are numerous groups that are out to subdue scientific understanding for various reasons and the resultant noise is sending us on a slippery slope back to our irrational past.

    The more we try to stand up for reason, the more irritated we get at others who just won’t be reasoned with and the more they in turn feel threatened with us challenging they view of the world and beyond – those with an agenda need only to add a little kindling to get things really heated.

    I’ve been worried about the same thing for some time also – when I heard deniers talk of “my side and your side”. It’s very tribal and completely unreasonable and irrational. It’s somewhat scary that the evidence is now largely forgotten and ignored by this group passionate in ignoring environmental degradation. The angry is even more so.

    Hank, over at Ekos squared lead me to that video with the liberal woman getting her head stomped on. It’s disgusting to witness. These same people would be appalled by primitive behaviour that continues, such as stoning, yet stomping on someone’s head?

  2. klem says:

    “the growing disenchantment with major political parties (viz the hung parliaments in Australia and the UK”

    Yea, the public all over the world is moving to the right. This is what always happens during recessions. The left make big inroads during growth periods and the environment becomes important, then recession hits and the environment is tossed out the window along withe parties on the left. Last summer during the G8 and G20 summits, the environmet was hardly brought up. Wait until next year when Britain and Australia have another general election; the public will have made up their minds and they won’t have hung Parliaments, the right will take control. The public has moved to the right and if you are a politician who is still on the left you’ll get the boot. We’ll see the best example of this next week in the Mid-terms. Obama had better start to move to the right very soon, or he could end up a one term president. Cheers!

  3. John R T says:

    ´Some are withdrawing from the world.´
    Light up your joint, and….

    ´Others are angry and frightened.´
    … join the fearful Democrats running for cover.

    ´Some want to remake the world.´
    POTUS: ´Fundamentally change the US.´

    ´Others are mourning the loss of our civilisation.´
    Return of the caliphate.

    ´Many have lost faith in the institutions of government, science and the media.´
    Science is sceptism, NOT faith.
    Faith!¡ in institutions? Where were you while Cronkite, BBC, and media colleagues lied?
    Government? Self-government, first.

    @mothincarnate: ¨ It’s very tribal and completely unreasonable and irrational. ¨
    Check out Judith Curry, Georgia Tech, climateetc blog, to hear about the tribe – oooops – Hockey Stick Team: impeccable logic, but based on false presmises and lies.

    best to all

  4. What a strange little rant John. It’s hard to make head and tails of it.

    I suspect that Mike was talking about the lay audience losing confidence in science unjustly. Sure all scientists are sceptical, but the self-titled “climate sceptics” are not sceptical as a scientist is; they simply refuse new knowledge that challenges their perception of the word. It doesn’t matter how many times you demonstrate that they are wrong, they still adhere to their initial thoughts. Doubt has been deliberately injected into the “public debate” and now we have a bunch of layman cowboys out to reject science. This had lead to the unjust loss of confidence.

    Judith Curry? I only became aware of her through a post by MT. It was actually in her post that I first heard anyone discussing what’s happening more closely resembles tribalism. Previously I’d referred to this nonsense as like a spectator sport of “opposing teams”. Otherwise, as MT explains, she’s obviously a confused person.

    What, are you attacking the hockey stick? lol. That is a straw man argument that refuses to die. Do you think climate science rests on the hockey stick, like a crouch? This is one of the more trivial denial claims. Much like how fossil records are not really required to support evolution because real world data is already overwhelming, palaeo-climate is really not too important to understanding current climate change.

    Mann says as much himself, “Even without my work, or that of the entire sub-field of studying past climates, scientists are in broad agreement on the reality of these changes and their near-certain link to human activity.”

    Now, if palaeo-climate isn’t all together too important or provides too much confidence on it’s own, why on earth would anyone go to the levels that you suggest; “based on false presmises and lies”? It’s a lot of pointless activity. There are a number of people who need to believe that the hockey stick is all important – hell, they’ve made their straw man out of the splinters. That’s the only reason people like yourself bring it up – to continue the illusion of an all important field of science. Simply ludicrous!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: