“Listen to the answer I am giving you..”

With the World Economic Forum issuing recommendations to G8 leaders, including the UK, on global warming on the basis of “the scientific rationale for urgent action presented in the IPCC Fourth Assessment Report” [full statement here PDF file], it might help any local conversation if the new Environment Minister, the DUP’s Sammy Wilson, would provide some detail of the evidence on which he bases his beliefs – rather than general, and pejorative, comments about the environmental lobby’s “industry”, problems being created in order to seek funding, that the IPCC is “very very political”, that they “suppressed a lot of evidence”, ostracised objectors, etc. There are criticisms of the IPCC out there, but they include the point that it is “remarkably conservative”. Of course, the Environment Minister is at pains to point out that the various programmes concerning energy diversification, conservation, and security, and by extension climate change, will continue – just not for the reasons which he claims are unfounded. Taken with the scheduled re-review of environmental governance in 2011 and, along with his support for nuclear energy, his suspicion that there wouldn’t be very many locations here with suitable geological conditions for storing nuclear waste – although he admits his ignorance about those conditions – it would appear that as far as the Environment Minister is concerned, whilst he’s grabbing headlines with his cynicism scepticism, these things are Somebody Else’s Problem.
From the wikipedia entry

“An SEP is something we can’t see, or don’t see, or our brain doesn’t let us see, because we think that it’s somebody else’s problem…. The brain just edits it out, it’s like a blind spot. If you look at it directly you won’t see it unless you know precisely what it is. Your only hope is to catch it by surprise out of the corner of your eye.”

Btw that’s a Douglas Adams quote. As is this on why Somebody Else’s Problem Fields require very little energy.

“This is because it relies on people’s natural predisposition not to see anything they don’t want to, weren’t expecting, or can’t explain.”

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  • newton emerson’s publicity machine

    Fun article by Newton Emerson in yesterday’s Irish News.


    Wishful thinking maybe.

  • joeCanuck

    This clip won’t play for me. But I did see Sammy’s outside interview last week. There were quite a few things that made me shake my head but the worst was were he said that we only account for 3% of UK emissions and the UK is only responsible for 3% of world emissions so we don’t need to do anything since it wouldn’t make much of a difference.

  • michael


    …we only account for 3% of UK emissions and the UK is only responsible for 3% of world emissions so we don’t need to do anything since it wouldn’t make much of a difference.

    Obviously its debatable, but it seems about right. The only way that we can meaningfully reduce (or even stop the increase) CO2 emissions is by tackling the big hitters. Think USA, China, etc. Thats really just retoric, but you get my point.

    Alas, all our our efforts simply act to participate in the pain of beginning to head in this direction. That is, well take a hit if China agrees to as well! It would be unfair otherwise, kind of.

    Newho, my main point (and i suspect this is what sammy thinks) is that piecemeal change wont make enough of a difference to avoid the worst of what could happen. But we need to do that stuff in order that the really effective stuff will get done!

  • joeCanuck

    No, I don’t get your point at all. If every small country does its bit, it will add up. Maybe even shame some of the bigger polluters.

  • Pete Baker


    “my main point (and i suspect this is what sammy thinks) is that piecemeal change wont make enough of a difference to avoid the worst of what could happen.”

    Sammy problem is that he’s gone way beyond that point.

    He’s wandered off the ‘sceptical’ area into ‘conspiracy theory’ territory.

    And the tin-foil doesn’t work.

  • aquifer

    Sammy has decided he cannot make much of a difference to the world.

    On the plus side, he is not teaching children any more, and over 18s know how to take a joke.

    By his mustache.

  • Pete Baker


    Could you try to keep to the actual topic.

  • Belfast Gonzo


    I’d just like to congratulate you on the longest sentence in a Slugger blog entry ever!

    An incredible 103 words – the first three-figure word count in an intro (that I am aware of anyway), beating even Maurice O’Neill in the Ballymena Guardian, and, of course, your good self in previous attempts at the record.


  • Pete Baker

    Get back to me when you understand the point made, Gonzo.

    There’s a good chap. ;op

  • michael

    I dunno pete. Considering the various ‘beliefs’ coming from the dup at the moment, I’m becoming more and more convinced its a really drawn out joke at our expense. Is that not what ‘no to power sharing’ was?

    But speaking of tin hats, has anyone pointed out to sammy the irony of his ‘politisised’ green lobby vs. The completly impartial climate change groupings. There was an interesting article in New Scientist last week about shaping public opinion by use of doubt. It was called the uncertainty principle. But ofcourse that wouldn’t fit in with the dup and sammy’s apparent pro-developer agenda.


    You know when I heard the news of sammy’s ministerial appointment, not to mention the first ladies comments about the gays, I decided that when I graduate I’m leaving ni for good. What a shit hole. Controlled by flat/ young earth holocaust deniers and psychopathic ( but at least now he’s only killing fish, or does he throw them back) over the hill revolutionaries.

  • Pete Baker


    “There was an interesting article in New Scientist last week about shaping public opinion by use of doubt.”

    There you have an interesting point.

    One worth focussing on, and possibly linking to.

  • joeCanuck

    Some of the New Scientists articles (or at least parts of them) are available on line (newscientist.com). I’m a subsciber to the print magazine. It’s a helluva deal for first time subscription – I’ve given a few gift ones.
    Sorry, Pete, a bit off-topic.

  • Greagoir O Frainclin

    Sammy and Greg are the leading lights at the mo in NI politics. NI should go totally nuclear too! Nuclear energy could power the new Windsor Park floodlights as well as the proposed recreated Titanic disneyland thing (BTW who cares about the drowned dead in this instance).
    DUP supporters should be very, very proud. These boys keep the great tradition going. God Save The Queen, Ulster is British! Keep the Union flag flying, coz it is what it means to you!

  • Belfast Gonzo


    Here’s a point; Sammy is interested in headlines rather than facts and has a strange fixation with muesli munching, sandal wearing ‘Guardianistas’.


    If I were Sammy, I’d probably be inclined to also take a keen interest in that underwater turbine in Strangford lough – not only does it seem to have some potential at meaningful power generation, but if they were being built by Harland & Wolff, with export potential, it might be good for local industry (even if Sammy is resigning his council seat in east Belfast) and the DUP electorally.

    Just a thought.

  • USA

    A better performance by Noel Thompson. He actually listened to his guest for sustained periods of time.

  • oh dear

    The first sentence of this blog entry is 102 words long.

    Another unreadable Baker effort.

    Can we have somebody perhaps give a reabable summary of Baker’s rambling blogs. Perhaps with one or two ‘relevant’ links.

  • ggn

    Anyone want to bet that these areas where is is geologically ‘safe’ to dump Nucleur waste will not turn out to be majority Unionist areas?

  • mickd

    Followed the Newton Emerson thread in the Irish News. While the critique of Sammy Wilson is sound IMO (frankly, there are only a dwindling few banging on about the unrepresentative and unqualified IPCC, and I can’t think of any who are Ministers of the Environment)the main thrust of his article is much more dangerous and deluded.

    Dangerous, because while it gives a passing nod to the alarming science, it provides no analysis of the structural reasons for the inaction we see before us; rather the slow pace of change is wholly attributed to lack of foresight, petty grievances or the NIMBY concerns of sandal wearers, anglers or opportunist leftists looking for a home.

    It is deluded because there is not a snowball’s chance in Hell of stopping the juggernaut of climate change without such an analysis, and that includes understanding the problems of business driven, top-down solutions.

    Sammy Wilson is pathetic and laughable IMO; Emerson is not, which makes him more of a problem.

  • Quaysider

    Can you post the article? It’s subscription only.