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July 16, 2023

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littlereddot

Absolutely agree. The impact of the way Global Warming / Climate Change is being portrayed will impact all our lives greatly.

I note that the research behind Climate Change is mostly public or at least easily available to be reviewed and verified should anyone be interested. Despite this availability of reliable info, the BBC stance is only 50% accurate.

Would you agree that the BBC stance is typical of the MSM reports available?

Mark Bahner

"If you had to put a percentage figure to it, how accurate is the BBC depiction of the issue? Would it be 100% accurate? or 90%? or 50%?"

It seems like any figure would be meaningless, because it's not just the number of statements that are right or wrong, but also the importance of them.

But I'd say it's maybe a little over 50%.

But wrong things like advising individuals that they can make a difference on climate change can have a really big impact on people's lives, without having any impact at all on climate change. For example, here in the U.S. there's a whole lot of talk about maybe preventing people from buying stoves using natural gas...to require stoves that are electric stoves. That's going to have no effect on climate change, and some cooks are big fans of natural gas stoves. That sort of thing really bothers me.

littlereddot

If you had to put a percentage figure to it, how accurate is the BBC depiction of the issue? Would it be 100% accurate? or 90%? or 50%?

Mark Bahner

"Now would you say that the BBC has taken something that has some truth in it, but exaggerated the level of threat it has to humanity, and also what the ordinary individual can do about it?"

In a word: "Exactly." :-)

littlereddot

Thanks, your opinions on this matter hold weight as you have familiarity with it from your long study of it. I have certainly I benefited from hearing your opinions.

Now would you say that the BBC has taken something that has some truth in it, but exaggerated the level of threat it has to humanity, and also what the ordinary individual can do about it?

Mark Bahner

"I have been perusing your site and found that you have an interest in climate studies. What is your opinion of the BBC's stance on Global Warming?"

Yes, I worked for 25+ years for RTI, International (formerly Research Triangle Institute) as a Research Environmental Engineer doing research to support the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). A fair amount of that was for the U.S. EPA's Office of Research and Development (ORD...the U.S. federal government loves abbreviations).

Much of my work for EPA ORD was related to climate change. Most of it was in the form of helping them with their MARKAL (MARKet ALlocation) model, which basically analyzes the energy use and greenhouse gas and other pollutant emissions, based on economic modeling. Hardly any of that stuff got published, but I also did some work that was published.

Anyway...I don't know what the BBC's stance on global warming is, so I'll just go by this web page, and respond to each statement:

https://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-24021772

"Global temperatures are rising as a result of human activity." --> Agreed.

"People around the world are already experiencing the consequences, from more intense heatwaves to rising sea levels." --> More intense heat waves, yes, but a bigger impact is warmer winters, and substantial warming in the higher latitudes, both north and south of the equator. Sea level rise from climate change...sure, a little bit. But sea level is rising close to linearly at about 3.5 mm/year.

"Things are likely to worsen in the coming decades, but scientists argue that urgent action can still avoid the most dangerous effects of climate change." --> "Worsen" compared to no change in climate, or "worsen" meaning become worse and worse than they are now? If the first case is what they meant, I agree slightly. If the second case is what they meant, I emphatically disagree. The world of the future is likely to be much more wealthy and long-lived than the present. (And if it *isn't*, that won't be the fault of climate change. It will be because of nuclear war, biological terrorism or war, or other awful possibilities.)

"But scientists say that there is no doubt that the particularly rapid climate change seen over the past century is caused by humans." -->Caused *mostly* by humans.

"People's lives are already changing as a result. For example, the ongoing East African drought has put more than 20 million people at risk of severe hunger. The 2022 European heatwaves led to an abnormal increase in deaths." --> I think it's very bad to ascribe particular weather events to climate change.

"Extreme weather events have caused trillions of dollars of economic damage in recent decades, but the death toll has actually fallen as early warning systems have improved, according to the World Meteorological Organisation." --> Not only has the death toll fallen, I'm not even sure the economic damage as a percent of the total economy has increased. Roger Pielke Jr. is a researcher who has done very solid research on the subject of extreme weather events, and whether they're increasing or not, and whether the economic damage from them has increased or not.

"Scientists say limiting temperature rise to 1.5C is crucial to avoid the most dangerous impacts of climate change - although these increase with every extra increment of warming." --> Well, it doesn't matter if it's "crucial" to limit the temperature rise to 1.5C...we are most emphatically NOT going to be able to do that.

"Major changes need to come from governments and businesses, but scientists say small changes from individuals can also make a difference:" --> Individuals can make no significant difference. What we need is new technologies that produce energy with fewer carbon dioxide, methane, and black carbon emissions, and that use either less energy or use more energy without creating more carbon emissions. New technologies are the key...not government mandates to businesses or individuals, or voluntary individual actions.

I hope that's enough. :-) (Actually, I don't mind discussing it at length sometime after the next few weeks...)

Mark

littlereddot

You wrote: First...you're in...Singapore, right?
My response: Yes, I am in the little red dot on the map

Looking all the issues, and that they would be impossible to discuss at one go. I was wondering which one to start with, so I decided,...to hell with it, I will just get the bull by the horns and start on item 6. Once that is done with, all other 5 will fall into place. So here goes:

I have been perusing your site and found that you have an interest in climate studies. What is your opinion of the BBC's stance on Global Warming?

Please forgive this slight apparent digression, it will all tie together almost immediately.

Mark Bahner

Hi littlereddot,

Welcome!

First...you're in...Singapore, right?

As for your questions:

1. I don't think the government of the PRC is fulfilling its obligations to *any* of its citizens...so it's not just Uighurs. I generally judge how well a government is fulfilling its obligations to its citizens by the Cato Institute's Human Freedom Index:

https://www.cato.org/human-freedom-index/2022

The PRC appears to have fallen from 122nd best in the world in 2004, to 152nd best in the world in 2020. In other words, near the bottom of the world, and actually falling towards the bottom. Freedom of religion is among the places is worst in fulfilling its obligations to its citizens, but press freedom is very bad, too. (The former "One Child" policy was awful, too.)

But in particular with the Uighurs, it appears that there are forced sterilizations, forced labor, and detentions without people having committed crimes. (That's what I've heard in Durham, North Carolina, USA, anyway. ;-))

2. Yes, as far as I know, the Uighurs are discriminated against by the majority Han. But one additional point I think I'd make is that in some areas of the Tarim Basin, aren't Uighurs actually the majority of citizens?

3. Yes, I think the PRC government doesn't govern with the consent of the governed.

4. I brought up self determination / independence only as a possibility. The problem with splitting off would be the possibility that Uighurs would turn around and oppress the Han Chinese, and/or might set up a government that fulfills its obligations to citizens within the area this hypothetical new government would control even worse than the PRC government does. That is, the hypothetical new area might produce a government that's even lower on the Cato Human Freedom Index than the PRC government.

5. It looks to me like nobody in that area of China is living under "good" conditions. But forced sterilization, forced labor, and detaining people who have not committed crimes are particularly bad.

5.

littlereddot

Hi Mark,
I am honoured to be invited here. :)

Firstly let me say that I am not inclined to persuade anyone to my point of view. I do it because I enjoy learning new ideas, and friendly discussions are a great way to do that. As far as I am concerned, what another person thinks is entirely his business. Whether or not my aversion to persuading others to my point of view is part of my cultural predisposition, I can only speculate that it is so.

But one thing I am certain of, is that culture plays a big part in the way we view the world around us. I happen to live in place where there is a confluence of civilisations, so I am keenly aware that different peoples simply will view the same thing in different ways.

So in this context I am engaging with you over the topic of the Uighurs in Xinjiang. It is a huge topic and certainly will not be covered in a single post. If you will allow me, I will take a conversational, back and forth style in our discussion.

You bring up several points, let me list them for my own clarity:
1. The Chinese government is not fulfilling its obligations to the Uighurs
2. The Uighurs are discriminated against by the majority Han
3. The Chinese government is not legitmate because it does not have the consent of the governed
4. The Uighurs should be granted self determination / independence
5. The Uighurs live in terrible conditions
6. The sources of the info for the above 5 points are reliable (my own inference, and IMHO the most important of the 6 points).

Have I understood you correctly?

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