Of #Manchester City Council and despair

I have been writing the following blog post for years. “Manchester City Council promised to do x by [date]. They refused to say if they had or not, so I submitted a FoIA. They haven’t done x. Isn’t that awful.”
I have about a dozen FOIAs I haven’t even bothered to open and then turn into blog posts and letters to the MEN. Because nobody gives a shit. (Footnote). Probably rightly, I don’t know any more. Friends of the Earth disappeared up the Council’s backside almost a decade ago, and loves it, warm and dark in there. Manchester Green Party is complaining about potholes and litter in Moss Side, and not it seems doing much of anything else (‘target to win’, donchaknow). The anarchists of Manchester Climate Action gave up when their leader left (no, that isn’t a typo). And as for the rest of them… well…

So, that combined with reading a newspaper and seeing emissions surging, concentrations matching them, and the scientists performing percussive maintenance on their climate models and finding that these models have low-balled the speed and scale of the coming impacts, well, a man could get a little despairing. And he could write something like this on the Book of Faces

Facebook, please supply reasons I am wrong – “give it a few million years, and, unless we push the planet into a Venus-like condition, all this will be forgotten, and other life forms will have evolved. We will be a very thin nasty layer in the fossil record. I used to think that was very cold comfort, but it’s the only comfort I’ve got left. This species has been a grotesque evolutionary dead-end.”

This was a good thing to do, because there were many wise (and some of course not so wise) comments.  And the point of this whole saggy post is this – y’all should go read this, by my anarcha friend fleabite.


i wrote this quickly as a comment to a post re climate change. i’ve been thinking about this for a few months, and have had a few chats with people about it, but i’m still working things through. it seems almost blasphemous amongst activist circles, and probably mainstream, to talk about grief re climate change. like that is just accepting the status quo rather than acting to avert it.
06-770x425but i don’t think we have a choice. i think we need to let ourselves grieve, support each other in doing that, and recognise that we do have a major loss – the loss of the future we thought we had.
that is important to do because we are all human, all precious and special and deserving of care.
additionally, we need to be functional for the months and years and decades ahead. not still attached to our non-existant shiney future, like someone never moving on from a relationship breakup or bereavement. we need to accept that loss, and carry it with us as we take care of ourselves, our communities, all humanity, all life on this planet. we are at the beginning of a roller coaster ride and it is frightening and will require….



* Actually, I suspect a lot of people give a shit. But the work (and it is work) of sustaining morale and focus for the long slog is beyond me. And I’d rather not waste the time on that in the last few ‘good’ (everything is relative) years that we have left. So, toss a little completely contemptible self-loathing on the pyre while you’re at it.

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Upcoming Event: Kevin Anderson speaking, 23 January. #Manchester

There is a free event (you have to book – here) on Tuesday 23 January 2018 at the Friends Meeting House. The speaker is Professor Kevin Anderson, who will presumably be familiar to all readers of Manchester Climate Monthly.

Kevin Anderson holds the Zennström professorship at Uppsala University and is Chair of energy and climate change at the School of Mechanical, Aerospace and Civil Engineering (MACE) at the University of Manchester. He is deputy director of the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research and a non-executive director of Greenstone Carbon Management. Kevin is research active with recent publications in Science, Nature and Nature Geosciences.

Professor Anderson engages widely across all tiers of government (UK and Sweden) on issues ranging from shale gas, aviation and shipping to the role of climate modeling (IAMs), carbon budgets and ‘negative emission technologies’. His analysis previously contributed to the framing of the UK’s Climate Change Act and the development of national carbon budgets.

He has a decade’s industrial experience, principally in the petrochemical industry and is a chartered engineer and a fellow of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers.

Climate change is a major issue for our future energy use, health, our towns and cities but it will also have a dramatic impact on our countryside, too. In this event we will begin to highlight those impacts and explore how in the North West we can help to build the resilience of our natural environment.

The Tyndall Centre is a network of universities and researchers from relevant disciplines considering more sustainable responses to climate change. It works with leaders in both the public and private sectors to promote informed decisions on mitigating and adapting to climate change.

Its cutting edge, interdisciplinary research, provides a much needed conduit between scientists and policymakers. With nearly 200 members ranging from PhD researchers to Professors, the Tyndall Centre represents a substantial body of the UK’s climate change expertise from across the scientific, engineering, social science and economic communities.

CPRE is strongly supports knowledge based on robust evidence and advocates best practices relating to sustainable development. This commitment led to the invitation to the Tyndall Centre, and we are delighted that Professor Anderson will update CPRE on the current science relevant to climate change and sustainable development.

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Batshit crazy #climate denial letter in #Manchester Evening News #gishgallops

So, some nameless Einstein has recycled a whole bunch of conspiracy theories, fake science and sprinkled them with inaccuracies. And, naturlich, it’s the lead letter in the Manchester Evening News today  For no good reason beyond procrastination, I’ve decided to go through it painful paragraph by painful paragraph….

It’s responding to this one which went in on Tuesday, btw-

letter tuesday

The letter is thirteen paragraphs long, which is extraordinary by MEN standards (usually you’re told to keep it under 200 words.  The rules are, it seems, flexible).  Here’s a refutation.  Bear in mind that the letter is a classic gish gallop

Gish gallop is a term for a debating method that focuses on overwhelming one’s opponent with as many arguments as possible, without regard for accuracy or strength of the arguments; it is considered a fallacious technique.[1] The term was coined by Eugenie C. Scott and named after the creationist Duane T. Gish.[2][3]

The Gish gallop allows a debater to hit their opponent with a rapid series of many specious arguments, half-truths and misrepresentations in a short space of time, which makes it impossible for the opponent to refute all of them within the format of a formal debate.

See also this video-

Was this a good use of my time?  Nope.  Was it a good use of yours in reading this?  You have to be the judge, no?

letter today

  1. “They were very pessimistic about now and in [sic] the future.”

Perhaps because they are woke?!  So are climate scientists.

boat our end

  1. “Facts about climate change and many untruths.”

Indeed, none of the former and plenty of the latter present in this letter. Classic attempt to claim high moral ground. #Fail.

  1. Climate change has happened.

Old tactic: set up a strawman and pretend that some people don’t know it/agree with it.  Tedious and sad.

  1. “Claim man’s influence unprecedented… patently not true.”

Great Acceleration?


Anthropocene, much?

  1. Ice ages had C02 levels 14 times higher than todays”

No google search has found this claim anywhere. Just made up? The “best” I’ve found is a claim they were ‘800 percent’ (i.e. 8 x higher)


Meanwhile, read Scripps on this.  And skeptical science on the whole ‘lag’ nonsense.

5a. C02 “only” at 385ppm.  Nope, 410ppm and counting. If you can’t even get this right, what does this say about your respect for evidence and your basic, um, competence?

And of course, the rate of increase is higher.  In the 50s and 60s we were going up at 0.7 to 1ppm each year.  Nowadays its 2 or 3ppm per year.

“That growth rate was 50 percent faster than the average over the past decade, driving CO2 levels 45 percent above pre-industrial levels and further outside the range of 180-280 ppm seen in recent cycles of ice ages and warmer periods.”


  1. Environmental movement has long sought…

Well, on its own parameters, it’s failed, hasn’t it?!  Also, don’t ALL movements try to ‘dictate’ how the world is run?

  1. United Nations. Agenda 21. [Black helicopters. Sovereignty. Whatevers]

Conspiracy theories about New World Orders

Before the early 1990s, New World Order conspiracism was limited to two American countercultures, primarily the militantly anti-government right and secondarily that part offundamentalist Christianity concerned with the end-time emergence of the Antichrist.[8] Skeptics such as Michael Barkun and Chip Berlet observed that right-wing populist conspiracy theories about a New World Order had not only been embraced by many seekers of stigmatized knowledge but had seeped into popular culture, thereby inaugurating a period during the late 20th and early 21st centuries in the United States where people are actively preparing forapocalyptic millenarian scenarios.[4][6] Those political scientists are concerned that mass hysteriaover New World Order conspiracy theories could eventually have devastating effects on American political life, ranging from escalating lone-wolf terrorism to the rise to power of authoritarian ultranationalist demagogues.[4][6][9]

  1. “Surprise surprise it’s the UN who organise the world’s climate summits!”

This would be in green ink with CAPITALS if they let that happen in newspaper. Who else?  The League of Nations? The Holy Roman Empire?

  1. Democracy  I am sure the writer believes very strongly in democracy, and has been out there protesting about all the various coups launched to install the ‘right kinds of government’… oh yes.
  2. The US GAO has “revealed the staggering amounts of more than $10bn per year invested in climate change propaganda and funding to US Universities”

Um? Source?  Can’t find nowt on google.  Just made up??

  1. “Mostly about money and tax”.. “makes us all poorer through higher taxation on cars”

Um, negative externalities much?  More cars is more wealth? Seriously?  Air quality in Manchester is appalling already. For example.

  1. Less money to look after our children and our children’s futures

Riiiiiiiiiiiight.  Because trashing the planet, acidifying its oceans, wrecking its habitats is exactly how we should be looking after our children’s futures. Oh yes.

Posted in Letters to the MEN | 2 Comments

Upcoming event: “Supporting #climate adaptation in Tanzania” 23 November, #Manchester

Tyndall Manchester would like to invite you to attend the next talk in our seminar series “Supporting climate change adaptation in rural Tanzania: is promoting resilience in transitional communities sufficient?” by Dr. Susannah Sallu  on Thursday 23rd November (room C21, Pariser Building, Sackville Street) at 1.00pm. 


Supporting climate change adaptation in rural Tanzania: is promoting resilience in transitional communities sufficient?

Dr. Susannah Sallu, University of Leeds

In this talk Susannah will draw on current research she is leading in collaboration with NGO partners in Tanzania, which focuses on the design and evaluation of integrated approaches to climate change adaptation. Susannah will academically reflect on the design and early implementation of a European Union funded adaptation programme that sets out to build resilience and increase the adaptive capacity of rural communities in the East Usambara mountains of Tanzania. She will ask to what extent the approach taken to date provides opportunities to promote adaptation pathways that are sufficient, fair and desirable for all.


Speaker bio

Susannah is an Associate Professor of Environment & Development based at the Sustainability Research Institute, University of Leeds. She is a member of the ESRC Centre for Climate Change Economics and Policy and Priestley International Centre for Climate. Her research focusses on the interactions between, and governance of, human development and environmental change. Over the past 17 years Susannah’s work has focused on rural livelihood dynamics, governance and resilience in the context of environmental change.


The seminar will take place in room C21, in the Pariser Building on Sackville Street– number 12 on the map here http://www.manchester.ac.uk/discover/maps/interactive-map/?id=9

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Communicating #climate graphically – Kevin Pluck interview #Manchester

A little while ago a startling graphic which showed sea ice decline. It got retweeted by the UN, Al Gore started using it and even the Daily Mail wrote an article

It turns out the creator of this animation, and others, lives right here in Manchester. His name is Kevin Pluck, and he kindly agreed to an email interview with Manchester Climate Monthly.

1. Could you say a little bit about your background, and how you came to have the skills to be making these graphics?
I’m originally from NZ and have lived in the UK for 16 years now. I have over 17 years professional software development but have only started making animations in the last couple of years.

2.  Can you remember when you first understood about climate change?  Was it a sudden or gradual process? Was it related to a book, film, individual, event?
I recall as a teenager in the late 80’s discussing with an adult that it’s their generation’s fault about, I think, the ozone hole as it was a big deal in NZ at the time. It was also a time of anti-nuclear sentiment especially with nuclear free NZ in which US nuclear war ships were not allowed to enter NZ waters.

3. When did you decide to start making graphics?  Did the first one(s) take longer?
I started about two years ago making mathematical videos as I was fiddling with prime numbers and seeing if I could find patterns

I watched this video about spiral galaxies:

I was intrigued as to what the star motion would look like so made this animation which was quite satisfying:

Which was quite popular, even the professor in the original video liked it.

In January of this year I stumbled across this graph of sea ice.


I figured I could use the techniques developed in the above animations to bring it to life. Earlier I had admired Professor Ed Hawkins climate spiral animation; https://www.climate-lab-book.ac.uk/2016/spiralling-global-temperatures/

and thought that format would work well with this data.

The animation I produced: https://twitter.com/kevpluck/status/817126011435446273

This was very popular on reddit and on twitter where it got retweeted by the UNFCCC, Greenpeace and I got an email from the office of Al Gore asking for permission to use it in his talks. Even the DailyMail wrote a piece:

I steadily improved that animation with each monthly update adding rings for the Arctic and Antarctic and incorporated global temperature as a colour https://twitter.com/kevpluck/status/928031882427682816

After a discussion about the possible distortions a spiral graph could have, I animated a barrel graph which, much to my surprise, I seem to have invented. I got the idea from thinking about seismic drum recorders. They are really good at showing seasonal data as here:


and also for showing that the data doesn’t have a seasonal pattern as in the co2 and global temperature animation

4.  What has the been reaction to the graphics?  What has surprised you, gratified you?
The reaction has been very positive with only a handful of deniers raising their head above the parapet. (Perhaps I’m in a lefty green echo chamber) but it was certainly a surprise when the UN retweets you and emails from Al Gore etc! Also a surprise to have invented a new form of graph! It’s the reaction from the climate scientists that is the most gratifying, I have hundreds of academics following me that have been making suggestions and using my animations in their talks.

5. Any advice for anyone trying to communicate climate change?
Be polite and relentless.

6. What next?  Any plans to increase/decrease/change output?
No plans to decrease at all! I have a few ideas up my sleeve, next one is a way to show how much CO2 is in the atmosphere and how much it has changed in a way that’s easy to grasp. I’m also working on a project that will try to centralise climate data and produce it in a standard format so that obtaining data is far simpler.

7. Anything else you’d like to say?
Keep it in the ground!

Posted in Communicating Climate Change, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Upcoming event: Communicating #climate. Nov 22nd #Manchester

So, this is coming up.

Event to be held at the following time, date and location:

Wednesday, 22 November 2017 from 10:00 to 16:00 (GMT)

Partisan Collective
19 Cheetham Hill Rd,
M4 4FY Manchester M4 4FY
United Kingdom

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It’s challenging to communicate climate change at a community level. How can we find ways to alert people to climate change when there are so many other things to worry about? How can we make the solutions to climate change feel positive and empowering? And, especially, how can we reach beyond the limited core audience of dedicated environmentalists to the wider and sometimes sceptical population?

Led by international climate change communications expert George Marshall, in this fast moving and interactive workshop, participants will explore and understand the key components of effective communications and the complex ways that people make sense of climate change. We will draw on a wide range of research and practical experience, looking in detail at case studies of what works and, just as importantly, what does not work.

Who is this masterclass for?

This session is designed for anyone engaging directly with the wider public on climate change, especially as a grassroots community level. Participants will range from community level activists through to local authorities and educational organisations interested in reaching a wider public. This masterclass will be suitable for a non-specialist, and will be presented in a highly engaging and non-technical manner. At the same time it will contain much essential information for seasoned professional communicators drawing on the latest research and practical evidence.

What will participants learn?

Participants will gain a set of principles that they can apply directly to their communications, asking whether their communications speak effectively to their target audiences. They will be encouraged to look through the eyes of different people, understanding how different values and identity shape perceptions, and what is required to engage with new audiences. The workshop will also provide a set of ideas for testing language and communications and supporting new peer communicators.

Participants will learn the typical mistakes made by climate change communicators and look critically at communications case studies. They will explore how to make communications and campaigns more effective at reaching centre-right audiences, and discuss means to incorporate this into strategy development.

The event will be interactive and participatory, with participants invited to share their own experience and insights and propose creative solutions. It will adhere to Chatham House rules.

The course agenda

This 5 hour masterclass will explore the following topics:

  • The cultural and psychological obstacles to communicating climate change
  • Values and worldview – the importance of political values in forming attitudes to climate change
  • Core values – understanding people’s core values and what motivates them
  • Case studies – a critical analysis of 20 years of communication from science, media and campaigns
  • The role of the communicator – why we need to find new people to talk about climate change
    Different media: what works best

About George Marshall

George Marshall and the organisation he co-founded, Climate Outreach, are the leading European specialists in climate communications. George has advised the Scottish and Welsh governments, the United Nations and international NGOs in engaging new audiences in climate change, including youth, trade unions, people of faith and people with conservative values. His book, Don’t Even Think About It, is widely regarded as one of the most important books published on climate change conversations.

Take a look at George Marshall’s TEDx talk here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wBlTu9Tpvvo

Supported by


The ‘Don’t Talk About Climate Change’ poster is the work of Canadian artist, Franke James www.frankejames.com, read more about the remarkable story behind the artwork and her battle with the Canadian government here: https://www.frankejames.com/ottawa-citizen-artist-accuses-government-of-misusing-its-censorship-powers-to-silence-her/

Posted in Upcoming Events | 1 Comment

Upcoming event: Growing a Greener #Salford Mon 13 Nov. #Manchester #climate

Please pass on to anyone who lives works or studies in Salford…

growing greener salford

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