Greens decline Whitehouse invitation…

Looks like one of Northern Ireland’s political parties will not be joining the annual junket St Patrick’s celebrations in Washington. The Green’s (newly arrived as political players), have been invited, but have declined their invitation in protest at the Iraq war and the US administrations lack of commitment to tackling climate change.From the Green Party:

“Green Partiy colleagues in the US and across the world have been consistent in their opposition to President Bush’s illegal war in Iraq. Moreover, if the Green Party is to be true to its commitment to combat climate change, we must walk the talk. The Party has decided that a two-way trip across the Atlantic to celebrate St Patrick’s Day in the Whitehouse is not a compelling reason, morally or practically, for emitting half a tonne of CO2.”

Citing the lack of leadership shown by the Bush Adminstration on climate change Dr. Barry explained: “Our decision to decline this invitation should not be read as a criticism of the American people,
but of the Bush Adminstration. Despite the Bush adminstration’s lack of commitment to tackling climate change, there are many positive signs of grassroots leadership on the issue in the United States – in California, for example. Dozens of Mayors representing some 25 million Americans have signed up to an initiative to get American cities to meet the US’s Kyoto environmental target which George Bush repudiated: cutting greenhouse gas emissions by 7% by 2010.”

  • Hula Whoop

    The Greens should be called the Preaching Party of the Essenes. But, then, they do like to keep it dim, don’t they.

  • Yokel

    Principles eh. These Green boys and girls won’t get far with that attitude.

    Did any other local parties oppose the Iraq war or indeed condemn the US administration over its environmental policy?

  • eranu

    did anyone see dispatches on channel 4 a week or 2 ago about climate change? seems carbon dioxide is less than 1% of the atmosphere and man has contributed a tiny fraction of that. the earth has been heating up for the last 150 years but man made carbon dioxide has only been on the rise since the 1940s. add to that the fact that the earth has been much hotter than now for long periods over the last few thousand years, without mans help.
    lots of facts were pointed out that make nonsense out of present CO2 worries.
    having watched it i now doubt very much that man made CO2 is to blame.

    so fly across the atlantic as much as you want it wont make any difference to global warming…

  • Light Green

    Eranu – that was one small group of scientists disputing what the overwhelming majority of their peers say.

    George Monbiot’s rebuttal, among amany others.,,2032575,00.html

  • mook

    The fact that carbon dioxide is less than 1% (0.0383% according to wikipedia) is the reddest of herrings. It’s the % change that matters. Misinformation and misdirection like this are a disgrace to “science” and the “scientists” who peddle them.

  • George

    Evidence if evidence was needed about how far the Greens north of the border are from the levers of power.

    I couldn’t see the Republic’s Greens taking such a “stand” so close to a Dáil election.

  • mickhall

    Well done to the Green party, if only SF and the SDLP had showed the same principles over Iraq. (not sure what the PUP position on Iraq is]

    How anyone who claims to oppose this war could break bread with Bush, whilst the slaughter in Iraq continues and he is about to light the blue touch paper on Iran is a mystery to me. If Martin McGuinness believes leaking to a Guardian journalist that SF whispered in Blairs ear that he was wrong on Iraq will exonerate his own Parties craven political cowardice over Iraq, when they gave Bush political cover by attending a White House party, then he has missed the point entirely.

  • Ian McCartney

    The Greens are to be commended for their stance.
    It is very rare to find a party which acts on a matter of principle when most of the others seem to say “if you don’t like this principle don’t worry we have plenty of others”

  • Damien Okado-Gough

    An excellent move by the Greens. They are showing a considerable talent for making the right noises. The cheek of them! Brilliant.

  • Glensman

    As an SF member I must say fair play to the Greens, I agree with many of their basic policies in the Free State as well.

  • Nevin

    Sargent on St Patrick’s Day jaunts

    “It is also somewhat contradictory that 29 government members, who will travel 300,000 kilometres by air for St Patrick’s Day and whose transport will emit 180 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions – the equivalent of driving a car for a million kilometres – have been asked to highlight global warming. This is not a credible message, when the Government is doing so little at home to help individuals and businesses to become more carbon-efficient,” concluded Deputy Sargent.

  • Henry94

    A stance more suited to a Students Union than to a party which aspires to seriousness.

  • ming the merciless

    the greatest greenhouse gas is WATER VAPOUR (some 70% of the gases responible for the greenhouse effect) C02 is minor compared to this and will make little change to climate


    Typical. Just when Ulster eventually says “Yes” along comes some new boy on the block and says “No!”

    BTW…how much electricity does a black and decker drill use to do someone’s knees in?

  • circles

    Henry “A stance more suited to a Students Union than to a party which aspires to seriousness.”

    Just interested in what your definition of a serious party would be then Henry. Would it include a basic lack of principles and a lick of any half-washed arse that might get you a rung up the ladder of poltiical power? Fair play to the greens for this – the only sad thing about it being that if they were ever to make it into government that there principles would most likely evaporate in the heat of the cauldron of power. Just look at what happened to the german Greens opnce Joschka Fischer and co. got in.

  • Julian Robertson

    I note Dr Barry said all this.

    Just hope Brian didn’t have his taxi to the airport ordered!

  • Yokel

    14. Is it a rechargaebale or purely mains powered?

  • mook

    A rise in CO2 will raise temperature, evaporate more water from the sea, which will mean more water vapour, more temperature rise – see a pattern yet?

    BTW, I wonder how much CO2 our politicians are pointlessly dumping into the air to have their faces seen at the White House?

  • Did any other local parties oppose the Iraq war or indeed condemn the US administration over its environmental policy?

    Alliance have done both.

  • ming the merciless

    The Sun is responible for heating the earth , not CO2!!! C02 is a extremely minute gas in the atmosphere!

    for crying out loud MARS and the other planets are experiencing climate change! The sahara desert used to be a bloody oasis , all that changed without mans help

  • mook

    The Sun heats the earth, green house effect keeps the heat in. Your bed is warmer with a blanket, it doesn’t provide the heat.

  • eranu

    “A rise in CO2 will raise temperature”

    thats what the masses believe. the dispatches programme showed that CO2 is a tiny fraction of the atmosphere and is a tiny green house gas. as was said above, water vapour is by far the biggest green house gas. they showed that sun activity affecting the ocean which in turn affects cloud cover is what drives the temperature up.
    to put things in perspective, volcanos produce more CO2 than all mans efforts put together.

    there were loads of facts that are never mentioned by ‘global warming’ scientists because so many people have built a job out of the belief that we have caused global warming. if we had, then the temperature graph for the last 150 years would be fairly flat with a sharp increase in the last 50 years or so. but its not. temp has been rising steadily for the last 150 years.

    if its on again definately watch it.

    im off to fill the car up 🙂

  • ming the merciless

    Mook, so how come other planets are heating up ?
    What caused the Sahara to turn from oasis to desert?

    If CO2 is to blame, why did the earths temperature DECREASE from 1940-1970 even those man made CO2 emessions were greater then than at any other time in history?

    CO2 follows temperature rises.

    The UK was a much warmer place a millenium ago without the help of CO2 emissions from cars or planes.
    The earth, thanks to the Sun and solar activity, willheat up and cool down and theres little man can do about it.

  • ming the merciless

    and while we`re at it, the sea, trees and animals produce around 99% of all co2 emissions in the world, so man made emissions are so small any change will be neglible

  • mook

    I don’t disagree that the climate itself changes over long periods and will continue to do so no matter what we do. However, it has got to the stage where human activity is having a global impact on the planet like never before, and not just with CO2. I just think we’re throwing many spanners into the works without enough thought for the consequences.

  • DK

    “The Sun is responible for heating the earth , not CO2!!!”

    I heard about this, so I got the sunspot data that the graph is based on and did my own version of it. It is a very good match except for the most recent years where temperature increases more, suggesting that there is another factor at play, and this could very well be CO2.

    Try it yourself – it’s easy with Excel.

    Sadly, as the sun operates on 11 year cycles we will have to wait a few more years to be sure. But remember that the despatches program was designed to attract audience figures, not for scientific debate.

  • mook

    ming, where do you get 99% from?

  • ming the merciless

    Dk, the problem with CO2 is that between 1940 – 1970 the earth cooled and cooled so much that scientists were predicting an ice age even though (at that point) man made co2 emissions wre at their higheset

  • Dk

    “ming, where do you get 99% from?”

    He pulled it out of his ass:

    “Volcanic eruptions can enhance global warming by adding CO2 to the atmosphere. However, a far greater amount of CO2 is contributed to the atmosphere by human activities each year than by volcanic eruptions. Volcanoes contribute about 110 million tons/year, whereas other sources contribute about 10 billion tons/year.” Source:
    And also:

  • ming the merciless

    try the IPCC which shows that natural emissions are over 150 billion tonnes, some 35 TIMES man made emissons (around 4 billion tonnes) prob closer to 98% but there u go

  • jp

    The difference in the S.F. and the greens in their opposition to the Iraq war is the difference between the populist and the principled.

  • ming the merciless

    methane is actually more powerful greenhouse gas than CO2 and is caused by farting animals.
    Cant wait to see how thats solved

  • andy

    I didn’t seee the docu on channel 4 last week…. but I’m going to comment anyway.

    I was chatting to a friend of mine who is a TV documentary producer and has done a fair bit of work on the climate thing change.

    According to her the producer of this doc has a history of being sued, and indeed some of the scientists quoted on this programme are considering legal action for misrepresentation.

    Having said all that, the link between human activity and climate change is yet to be absolutely proven (Like evolution and atomic theory).

  • Crataegus

    On the subject, if the Greens were invited it was done as a matter of courtesy. When you receive such your reply should be equally courteous.

    Travelling to Washington for St Patrick’s Day does seem a bit esoteric to me, but it is bad form to reply in quite the manner they did. This probably came upon them unexpected and a pity they could not have sent a letter from say the Green Group in the European parliament saying yes we would like to meet to put these views, or drafted a good letter for others to support. It would have carried a lot more clout.

    The counter argument to the channel 4 programme is linked in 4 on page 1. It would appear the credentials of the programme are questioned and many of the quotes of those interviewed were taken out of context. Some of the people quoted are requesting apologies from Channel 4. Unfortunately this sort of programme helps no one as this is a subject that really does need impartial and open debate. Because Dispatches puts an argument does not mean that it is either correct or impartial. It would seem balance was not the remit of that programme.

    I am one of those that believe the question of global warning should be seen from a slightly different angle;
    1 We are experiencing global warming and we need to take precautions against the likely outcome such as sea level rises (more to do with expansion than melting of Greenland’s ice) increased rain fall etc.
    2 What causes global warming is something that needs continued research. It involves three elements which we know pathetically little about, the sun, our atmosphere and our oceans. We just don’t know with absolute certainty how these elements inter relate though many are drawing conclusions. There is a growing body of opinion that believe that man is playing a role, my own view is that we need to retain an open mind, fund research, but we need to prepare for some of the consequences.
    3 We should be moving to renewable forms of energy for other reasons than climate change. They are cleaner, they would create employment opportunity here, they reduce imports and for reasons of long term security of supply.
    4 We should aim to reduce energy consumption for the very obvious reason that wasting it costs us and our economy money. Recently there have been some changes in the Building Regulations aimed to achieve savings. Some of the recommendations are deeply flawed and a more flexible approach is perhaps required. The accredited details simply do not work in our wetter climate (than England) and some of the recommendations show a distinct lack of understanding of the construction process. Could have been done a lot better and likely to be more costly to implement that necessary. We need less panic measures and fewer measures that are the consequence of gesture politics.

    I note Dr Barry said all this.

    Indeed you are right, well spotted. I would put Brian Wilson down as a practical realist whose sights are set on things that are achievable. A Realist.

    By contract others in that party seem to be experts at gesture politics. As someone else said, such people are more at home in the Students Union or perhaps in the unreality that is often academia. I hope that Mr Wilson has the wisdom to plough his own furrow and help establish a much needed practical alternative that people can vote for. Yes let us have ideals in politics, but let us anchor them in reality and let us keep a sense of dignity.

    As in other threads there seems to be a distinct lack of Greens in this case defending their Leaders pronouncements.

  • Red Mist

    Evidence if evidence was needed about how far the Greens north of the border are from the levers of power.

    I couldn’t see the Republic’s Greens taking such a “stand” so close to a Dáil election.

    Posted by George on Mar 16, 2007 @ 11:21 AM

    A stance more suited to a Students Union than to a party which aspires to seriousness.

    Posted by Henry94 on Mar 16, 2007 @ 11:47 AM

    I think these two posts say it all in relation to where SF really stand on matters such as the illegal war unleashed on Iraq.

    For once, a party, albeit a small one, in Ireland has taken a pricipled stand on life or death issues for millions of people and they are derided by SF types.

    The SF stand on these topics is a lot less like a student union and more akin to a second car sales man.

    SF have been talking out of both sides of their mouth on issues like this in recent years and I think these posts are merely people lashing out at others that are going to show SF up a very shallow party when it comes to taking radical stands.

  • JohnT

    Mild winters are estimated to save 20,000 lives per year in the UK. Bring on warmer weather. Is there anything I can do to speed it up?

    Forgive me for not falling for the Green gibberish. Read the articles from the 1970’s, when again the ‘scientific community’ was united about climate change – except it was global cooling then. How stupid are we going to look 30 years from now?

    Yes, climate is changing. When you’re shown footage of glaciers receding, try to recall that Ireland was once covered in glaciers. I don’t think air travel and industrialisation were a big factor in ending the last ice age.

    I’m not a scientist, so maybe I’m wrong. Maybe we are causing global warming. So what? Rather than spend billions on imaginary problems, why not end hunger and disease in the third world? There is a real problem that could be ended at a fraction of the cost we are being lectured about by the Greens (and now unfortunately all the other bandwagon members, including Tories, Labour and the Liberals).

    God, I would love just one elected mainstream politician to just say about global warming ‘I don’t know what’s causing it, and don’t care either’.

  • joeCanuck

    All very interesting, but to address the main point of the posting, Are you better off on the inside trying to effect change or standing outside shouting at the voluntary deaf.

  • mook

    Were governments and organisations around the world putting as much effort into stopping global cooling in the 70’s? That argument seems like a bit of a straw man to me.

  • SuperStoopy

    SDLP have been consistently against the war in Iraq and all three MPs voted against it at Westminster, and several members protested at at Blair & Bush using Hillsborough to plan further prosoquetion of their illegal war.

  • JohnT

    Inside, trying to effect change.

    Its just self-indulgent politics from a party which can afford to ignore and be ignored. They have this luxury, in common with all these single-issue parties.

    They hopefully won’t ever be in a position where they have to deal with the real world, with all it’s compromises and least worst options. It would be enough to drive them to drink – organic Duchy of Cornwall Ale of course!

  • JohnT


    Thankfully most people, governments included, had more sense in the 1970’s, than to take any notice of this scaremongering.

    They also had the helpful spectre of communism to keep the population cowed.

    A lot of this is traditional lefty-liberal self-hate of their own species. Thank God our ancestors didn’t worry about Co2 emissions and their carbon footprints, or we’d still be dying at 30 and living 10 to a mud room having sex with our sisters. As it is, we have so many good things: Medicine, cars, aeroplanes, nuclear weapons, electricity, TV, etc. etc.

    Cheer up everyone. Malthus was telling us we were doomed 200 years ago. We’ll always have these doomsayers. Don’t panic. We will survive, and if not, we will at least be able to fly somewhere nice to die!

  • Damien Okado-Gough

    JohnT said:

    [i]A lot of this is traditional lefty-liberal self-hate of their own species.[/i]

    Actually when I hear many of those concerned about issues such as global warming I’m struck by their concern for their own species.

    JohnT, shooting from the hip might look cool, but you’ll find it harder to hit the target.

  • George

    Red Mist,
    “I think these two posts say it all in relation to where SF really stand on matters such as the illegal war unleashed on Iraq.”

    What on earth does me saying I couldn’t see the Republic’s Greens taking such a “stand” so close to a Dáil election as it would affect their chances of getting their mitts on the levers of power have to do with Sinn Féin?

    “For once, a party, albeit a small one, in Ireland has taken a pricipled stand on life or death issues for millions of people and they are derided by SF types.”

    And on what do you base your claim that I am a “Sinn Féin type”? I’m genuinely interested.

  • bootman


    we have many good things………nuclear weapons


  • Crataegus

    As a matter of interest do SF elected types accept invitations to Hillsborough to see the Royals who drop in every now and again?

    Should they go for the photo opportunity, opportunity to meet people, shake hands and bow and scrape? Should SF take the seats in Westminster they are entitled to?

    If not what is the difference between that abstention and the Greens deciding to decline such an invitation?

  • JohnT


    I can certainly mount a defence of nuclear weapons. Do you think the cold war would have stayed (mostly) cold if it weren’t for the horror of mutually assured destruction? Ironically the existance of the most powerful weapons ever, ensured that they would never be used.

    Yes, yes, I know…hiroshima etc. Those weapons weren’t a patch on the h-bomb which came later. Different scale of destruction. The planet survived the use of the a-bomb, it wouldn’t have survived the h-bomb, and the superpowers knew this.

    I did add in nuclear weapons to my list slightly tongue-in-cheek, but I have convinced myself now!

    Damien Okado-Gough

    I think if they were concerned about their own species, they would want the third world to have the economic development that has enable us the luxury of these debates, rather than worrying about nonsense like the climate. OK, maybe the climate is changing. Its the height of arrogance and stupidity to think that we can do something about, or even should try. We should rather adjust to the changed climate, as we always have done. Some areas will suffer, some will benefit (siberia for instance). Lets be optimistic. The lefty-liberal clique’s concern for the human race never seems to factor in any belief in human adaptability or ingenuity. Their worldview is rooted in a pessimistic belief that whatever we do to advance the human race must be wrong, and one can’t help get the impression that they regret the industrial revolution and all that flowed from it.

  • merrie

    Can anyone tell me the DUP’s and the UUP’s policies on:

    1. Global warming

    2. The war in Iraq

  • JohnT


    does it matter?

  • mickhall

    Seems there might be a few guilty conceonces swiping at the Greens here, I doubt it would matter if an election was due, as the Greens not going to Bush’s shindig over Iraq would be a vote winner imo, so I expect they would have refused whatever the date.

    After all as Sammy wrote, the Alliance were against the war and their vote went up on 7/3.

    The Greens are only a single issue party if you consider destroying the planet a single issue, and of course it is not, thus like most parties they have a host of policies. Although having watched Mr Adams performance recently when asked to explain SF economic strategy, it made me feel the Greens were particularly articulate and rounded when for example explaining their economic policy 😉

    I feel the issue which has been made here of politicians flying around the world to junkets will increasingly gain legs, especially as they clearly intend to tax us ordinary mortals out of the sky to some degree.

    Many of these conferences, etc, could be equally conducted by video phone, saving the environment and economic cost to tax payers. What are these Irish politicians doing trooping over to Washington to be part of a photo opportunity, so that the US President can brown nose the Irish American electorate.

    It is not student politics to refuse to go, but both principled and practical politics. Surly it is within the wit of these politicos to turn down the invite with politeness..that few do is because they see the invitation as the Emperor demands your presence, in other words they see it is a summons, which they refuse at their peril. The replies of some shinners here, but not all, almost prove this point.

  • merrie

    Yes it does. This list is going through the policies of other parties, and I’d like to know what the unionist parties’ policies are.

    NI may end up being the only spot in these offshore European islands not to reduce carbon and other emissions.

  • Crataegus


    The replies of some shinners here, but not all, almost prove this point.

    The replies of the shinners may have more to do with the next election in the South than any heart felt opinion.

  • Ondine

    In response to JohnT: methane is definitely a big climate-change gas. What we can do about that is abolish mass factory-farming of cows and sheep. And how is it “hatred of my own species” to want to ensure that my species survives? Climate change will *destroy* that industrial society that you keep talking about. Famine, disruption of trade routes, terrible wars over water and unpolluted farmland, etc. That will destroy the globalised economy almost overnight – which is why even your old pal Tony Blair has stopped being a climate denier.

    The really scary thing is people like JohnT have adopted a totally nihilist reaction to global warming – that “it doesn’t matter” if the whole species dies, as long as we can fly somewhere nice to die. That is the most concentrated expression of hatred and contempt for humanity I’ve ever seen. I want to live, and I want my descendents to inherent a planet with clean water and clean air. And they accuse *me* of hating humanity?

  • micktvd

    I have read many comments by critics of the theory of anthropogenic climate change on many right wing blog sites. Their scientific arguments are thin, designed to sew confusion rather than seriously challenge the mounting consensus. They tend to be regularly repeated in spite of regular and patient rebuttal (by people, unlike myself, involved in the science).

    One of their main arguments, that the scientific consensus, as presented by the IPCC is based on a self interested “industry” addicted to government funding, is ímplausible to say the least.

    Their arguments about the medieval warming period, about the effect of variations in solar radiation and the complexity of climate prediction etc. all have some merit. Some real scientists have reservations about the predictions, but the vast majority have concluded, that given all that we know about all of the factors that we have a bloody big problem and we have only a short time to do something about it. All of the serious counter-arguments have been factored in or rejected. If this is not as scientifically certain as ‘the periodic table, then it’s good enough for me.

    Because their scientific cover is so thin, I have noticed that they resort to a kind of bravado I have elsewhere witnessed in adolescent males when challenged to look at some anti-social aspect of their behaviour. It also sometimes involves breathtakingly viscious personal attacks on ”enemies”. I have also noticed a striking resemblance to 9/11 conspiracy theorists on the left, who argue that the CIA or somebody orchestrated the attacks on the WTC- they are infuriated by the political reality created by a given set of facts- so quite obviously the facts have to go!

  • micktvd

    Oh, by the way, the invasion of Iraq was self serving, illegal, designed to control the ”greatest strategic prize in history” and is both murderous and farcical. Bush an Blair are major war criminals.

    But quite clearly political realities mean that the closer to real centres of power you get the greater the constraints on your actions. That’s why many social change activists think parliamentarism is a dead end. I commend the Greens for their actions, but I won’t condemn SF and others for meeting Bush or Blair if on balance ”they had to.”

  • heck

    I see comments on the political party’s positions on the Iraq war. I don’t know where the NI parties stand. What was their position at the start of the war, have they policies that would help the ordinary iraqi people, how do they think it can be ended, how do they think Honest Tony and his new labour crew can be held to account for their crimes, have the forcefully spoken out against the war rather than wisper in bush’s ear hole?

    being the cynic that I am I would think unionists support the illegal invasion and the war because they are opposed to violence. SF would oppose it because they are opposed to militarism. The DUP would want to have a kick the pope march in bagdad and anyway the war was all trimbles fault. Alliance would want iraqi catholics and iraqi protestants to just get along and the PUP would want to build a social club in bagdad and think the british government sould pay them millions and millions because fenians got some money.

    The SDLP will get back to us.

  • Spinster

    Carbon Dioxide is known to reflect heat back into the earth, and we are producing enough of it to increase its concentration in the air. In fact the rate of increase of this concentration (about 400 parts per million I think) took a little tilt upwards recently, suggesting that ‘runaway’ effects could be kicking in. Not so bad for us in these latitudes, but warming can destroy agriculture in dryer and warmer places, and can flood low lying areas such as Bangladesh or the Nile Delta, displacing millions. India is building a high fence around Bangladesh to keep people in already.

    I can understand a willingness to deny that anything should be done to avert the risk of climate change. It will cost money, and worst of all we will have be told what to do by a load of geeks. Journalists and editors will have to understand the science to make head or tail of it all.

    Jeremy Clarkson could be made redundant.

    Roll on the degrees, roll on the day.

  • prolefodder

    A question to those of you on this thread who’ve gone off on some ‘climate change skeptism’ : are you suggesting that the likes of the Stern Report (commissioned by the UK Treaury not DEFRA significantly) the IPCC Report released in Paris last month, and finally, Swiss Re (world’s largest re-insurance company) all of whom accept the reality of human-created climate change – are all part of a global green conspiracy?