If climate scientists are partially responsible for beating they have taken over the last two and a half years, how much are they themselves to blame? Two academics from the University of East Anglia - at the heart of the storm since thousands of emails were leaked in November 2009- give very different answers.
Mike Hulme, professor of climate science, believes that scientists ascribed too much certainty to their findings and went beyond the constraints of their discipline to make value judgements and recommendations for action. Rupert Read, reader, in philosophy, says that , on the contrary, they have not been courageous enough and should be bolder about issuing warnings about its consequences. After a vigorous debate, a show of hands showed that the audience overwhelmingly sided with Read.
The fact that UEA reader Read, "who works closely with environmentalist scientists, in eco-philosophy" won the debate is of course no surprise; people attending this kind of festivals and debates are mostly leftist and "progressive" supporters of the climate change orthodoxy.
However, It may be interesting to look a little bit closer at what kind of an academic the debate "winner" is:
Rupert Read, who also is "the Eastern Region Green party coordinator" in the UK - does not think much of the current democratic system in the UK (or elsewhere), which in his view is
"rule by an arbitrary subsection of the people: an elective dictatorship of
present people over future people."
This "dictatorship" should, according to a Green House think tank report , written by Read, be replaced by a "third Parliamentary House with specific reference to care for future generations, which would comprise":
- a number of individuals chosen by lot
- trained and supported by relevant experts (see Appendix B, below);
- serving for a specified non-renewable term;
Read´s third Parliamentary House, "The council of Guardians of Future Generations", would of course have extensive - in reality dictatorial - powers:
a) To veto in whole or in part new
legislation that threatened the
basic needs and fundamental
interests of future people.
b) To force a review, on petitioning, if
appropriate and merited, of any
existing legislation that threatens the
basic needs and fundamental
interests of future people
one might give the Guardians the right to
review major administrative
decisions which substantially
affected future people
You might of course ask, how these people, arbitrarily chosen by lot, would be able to make all the difficult decisions on behalf of the "future generations".
Reader Read has an (not very surprising) answer also to that: The "Guardians" would be trained, brainwashed and supervised by a number of (enviro-fundamentalist) "experts":
a year in which
to ‘train up’ for the role, including an
intensive programme of civic learning,
basic law, educational options, some
time spent encountering ‘out in the
field’ the so-called ‘ecosystem
services’ that need preserving if the
future well-being of humanity is to be
protected and whose fate is at present
in the balance, etc..
The Guardians would be supported
both in their training and in their day
to day roles as Guardians by a highlevel and diverse support staff of
administrators, facilitators and experts
Guardians would have access to the
cream of the country’s and indeed
much of the world’s expertise, in every
sense of the word ‘expertise’. (One
would expect them to consult NGOs,
And Rupert Read´s "Guardians" would not only be installed in London:
We needn’t just imagine national
Guardians. There is no reason why
there shouldn’t be Guardians presiding
over local council decisions too (and
also internationally, for example at the
EU, and perhaps the UN.
Good luck, Dr. Read with your project! You will certainly find a handful of enviro-fundamentalist supporters also outside the tenth in Hay, but fortunately the rest of us will be spared your "Guardians of Future Generations".