Einar Du Rietz

Author Archives

  • The Political Market

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    The new draft for a EU tobacco directive is due in time for christmas. Seldom has the political, and lobbying game been so obvious, and ridiculous.

    Smokers are already harassed in most of the Union. The argument being both paternalistic and the so-called “Environmental Tobacco Smoke”, or Second Hand Smoking. As for the former, the health hazards of smoking are unquestionable. The latter is scientifically most questionable. Possibly, the most tangible health effect of chasing people outdoors for a smoke is the risk of pneumonia in this horrid winter.

  • Welcome All

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    Welcome back from the desert, north European delegates and activists. You certainly picked the right spot and time, as mostly half of the continent has been suffering from the sudden winter attack and ensuing traffic chaos. Interested people have thus been spending days in frozen airports reading about your courageous battle against warming.

  • How About Taking a Holiday

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    Today’s Brussels news consists of the regular traffic jam, especially at Place Luxembourg, because of another tractor manifestation by European farmers.

    Really not news. Rather regular, by an interest group worried that the current budget process wont allow for the continuation of the economically, environmentally and inhumane Common Agricultural Policy, already accounting for close to half the budget.

  • The Gray Hair Index

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    Soon, the Comission is due to wrap up the current debate on energy efficiency measures, introducing a GDP based paneuropan standard, somehow intended to be applicable all over the continent. Quite a daunting task, and not surprisingly, both business, Green NGO’s and national governments are rather sceptical. This article sums up a lot of the debate.

  • Meanwhile in Europe

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    It’s quite natural that all attention is focused on the American elections. In Europe, the focus seems to be two-fold; continuous focus on politics we can’t afford and reluctant, though desperate in rhetorics, on what is a real crisis.

    Italy and Spain seem to have at least survived the first shock of the Euro crisis, while Greece is still  hanging on a limb with riots in the streets. Eurocrats look concerned while turning a blind eye, focusing instead on protecting their own interests in the ongoing – long-term – budget process.

  • Peace please

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    As military war is possibly the worst threat to humanity and the environment, alongside with famine caused by socialised economies, the Nobel Peace Price, is indeed one of of top events of the year. And constantly debated. This year, as well as previous. The usual questions are: Should it really go to an organisation, and […]

  • Hit the road

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    My esteemed colleague Teresa Küchler at SvD in Brussels, draw my attention to the rather awkward debate in the budget negotiations in the European Parliament, concerning the, apparently, no less awkward Copenhagen based, EU financed, European Environment Agency. The EEA, in their own words, have a noble cause: “Our task is to provide sound, independent […]

  • They still sing

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    About 50 years ago, the book Silent Spring, by Rachel Carson was published, and triggered an environmental debate that has been going on since then. Lot’s of articles are written about this these days, and, Cato Institute, among others, has published an essay collection. Carson passed away in 1964, and I do not for a […]

  • New Concepts – Constructive Ideas

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    Some years ago, my esteemed colleague and friend Edgar Gärtner coined the concept Eco Nihilism, describing it as the worst threat to common sense in the environmental debate, and consequently to the environment.

    I somehow love innovative, conclusive expressions.

    This is a new one Noble Cause Corruption, coined by Anthony Watts. (Too noble to take credit, however.)

    Read the article to get the whole picture, but let me give you some highlights:

    ANTHONY WATTS: There’s a term that was used to describe this. It’s called noble cause corruption. And actually I was a victim of that at one time, where you’re so fervent you’re in your belief that you have to do something. You’re saving the planet, you’re making a difference, you’re making things better that you’re so focused on this goal of fixing it or changing it that you kind of forget to look along the path to make sure that you haven’t missed some things.

  • The Fat Lady Doesn’t Sing – Yet

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    by Einar Du Rietz

    You get Tosca instead. It’s a pity I could not use the brilliant headline from this article: Apocalypse Not, by Matt Ridley, in Wired Science. It sums up a lot.

    “Over the five decades since the success of Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring in 1962 and the four decades since the success of the Club of Rome’s The Limits to Growth in 972, prophecies of doom on a colossal scale have become routine. Indeed, we seem to crave ever-more-frightening redictions—we are now, in writer Gary Alexander’s word, apocaholic. The past half century has brought us arnings of population explosions, global famines, plagues, water wars, oil exhaustion, mineral shortages, falling sperm counts, thinning ozone, acidifying rain, nuclear winters, Y2K bugs, mad cow epidemics, killerbees, sex-change fish, cell-phone-induced brain-cancer epidemics, and climate catastrophes.

    So far all of these specters have turned out to be exaggerated. True, we have encountered obstacles, public-health emergencies, and even mass tragedies. But the promised Armageddons—the thresholds that cannot be uncrossed, the tipping points that cannot be untipped, the existential threats to Life as We Know It—have consistently failed to materialize.”

  • Increasing Resources

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    Oil prices might go up and down, and as for the price of petrol, in most of Europe it’s a matter of taxes. When I was a kid, in the 70′s, I was told there was some sort of Oil Cricis, and then with everything happening in the Middle East and today it’s Syria – and still […]

  • The Summer of Science

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    Where Would You Like To Go

    Unlike other summers, this year is rightfully filled with daily news. The EU, Syria, just to mention a few and disregarding the Olympics. No tabloids with reported aliens or slight nudity in the city.

    For fans of science, and science fiction, however, we get our fair share.

    According to a most ambitious take on Time Travel, this prospect also reveals sociological, and in a way political, patterns.

    No, stop it right right there. Regardless of that particle under the Swiss/French alps, No, it’s not possible. The interesting thing is that conservatives/classical liberals tend to be more inclined to travel to the future, than to the past. The same group of people who normally question Malthus (refuted long ago by reality), and Rachel Carson (same thing).

  • What’s That Buzz

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    You might remember the Back-to-Nature movement of the 70′s. That was a rather harmless way for people, longing for the genuine way of living, to move into the countryside to enjoy the splendor of bad, or no, plumbing.

    Fine with me. A general observation is that most of these people eventually moved back to the cities, naturally with the exception of those who really knew the fine art of running a farm, instead of just manhandling animals. A slight, but just slight, generalisation, is also that they started to apply both standards and politics in their new back yards. Most Green parties in Northern Europe have their majority of supporters in fancy city center neighbourhoods.

    The thing this year is bee keeping. In the city.

    It’s a nice idea for the Hilton to be able to serve fresh honey. Nice idea for anyone, really. Bees, if handled the right way, tend to stay at home. When they wander, no such luck.

  • A Cold Playground

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    Ask me about a Doom Sayer or Dr Killjoy, and I’ll direct you to Greenpeace. First, the problem was that the poles were melting (they are not, in any lasting way) and that the polar beers faced extinction (the population is increasing). Then, the prospect of drilling for gas and oil in the Arctics, possible […]

  • C’est en Septembre

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    A Great Comedy for a Rainy Day

    Al Gore for less than a Euro. Fine with me. It’s been a while since someone mentioned that movie. Incidentally, yesterday, I friend told me that when her daughter had to watch it in class, she gave her a list with the ten worst fallacies in the movie. To her surprise, the public school teacher copied it and distributed for the following discussion.

    Those are the sorts of things that can brighten a rainy summer day. The other thing is to take the time to read all the newspapers, even though really interesting news normally are scarce this time of year. The global warming hysteria really seems to have slowed down and the IPCC people seem busy trying to find their own explanations to the lack of warming the past decade. Still people, especially in the media – on all sides – still hastily interpret any change in the ever changing weather as either a sign that they were right. And then about the weather forecasts not being reliable. They never have been.

    One thing that is fairly predictable, and sometimes devastating – in Russia this year, tragic – is flooding. Right now an emergency in many parts of Northern Europe. Local flooding is fairly possible to predict, and risk areas ought to be rather easy to identify by now. As every year, take precautions, and think twice before building that dream house on that extraordinarily cheap piece of land on the river bank.

  • Honor as Due

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    “Welcome to the United Nations. It’s your world,” reads the top banner.

    Thank you very much, but I’ll stick to the part that belongs to me, while – also – doing my modest share in trying to persuade other people to please not make a mess of the rest of the world.