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A little phrase to look out for

The Times Saturday magazine features the latest of its series of quick interviews in which a famous person tells the readers “What I’ve learnt”. This one is with that fine actor, Jared Harris. Among the things that Mr Harris has learned and wants to pass on to the reader is that,

“We don’t have another planet. This is it. We’ve nowhere else to go. We’re going through a crisis of denial over climate science. A very small group of people are frustrating the political will to tackle it head on. But when people’s homes become uninhabitable, they will move somewhere else. If you think it’s awkward with tens of thousands of people at the southern border of the US or with a couple of hundred thousand at the borders of the EU, what are you going to do when a couple of hundred million are on the move?”

Very stirring. But I could not help noticing that the little potted biography of Mr Harris at the top of the page says this:

The British actor Jared Harris, 57, played Lane Pryce in Mad Men, King George VI in The Crown and Valery Legasov in Chernobyl, for which he has been nominated for an Emmy. He is one of three sons by the notorious hell-raiser Richard Harris and his wife Elizabeth Rees-Williams. He splits his time between New York and Los Angeles with his third wife, Allegra.

New York and Los Angeles are 2,790 miles apart by road, and 2,450 miles apart by air. It’s a fifty-hour drive, so I think we can safely assume that Mr Harris travels between his two bases by air. Compared to most people’s, his personal carbon footprint is more like a personal carbon Tunguska crater. It must be hard to juggle the claims of a far-flung family and a demanding acting career, so I do not begrudge Mr Harris his air miles. But going from what he said, he begrudges me mine.

When reading the views of celebrities on the environment it is always worth looking out for the words “splits his time” or “divides her time” or equivalents thereof. I first saw this pointed out on a Biased BBC post back in November 2009, about a model called Helena Christensen who held an exhibition of pictures she had taken to document climate change and divided her time between Copenhagen and New York, with occasional side trips to Essex to see her agent.

15 comments to A little phrase to look out for

  • Gavin Longmuir

    “A very small group of people are frustrating the political will to tackle it head on.”

    Oh Jared! You are just saying that to make me feel special.

  • Mr. Caligari

    I fear you miss the point.

    Its not the aim to prohibit CO2 for all people. Its just the modest goal to make it more frustrating for normal people. The jetsetter should be able to tell of his oder hers wonderfuel life between LA, New York and London but the regular worker should be glad to make a family hollyday in the own country.
    The lesser the standard of the worker is, the better in points of clima change it would be.

    Many people feel this pain and this is, in simple words, the reason for the gilets jaunes.

  • Stonyground

    Who are these people, this small group and how come they are so influential as to be able to scotch the will of the majority? I don’t see any major political party that is not obsessed with climate change and if I am part of this tiny minority my vote will make no difference anyway. It couldn’t be that the vast majority have actually wised up after three decades of failed doomsday predictions could it?

  • Penseivat

    Harris is just one of many people who make a very lucrative living from saying words written by someone else. He is, of course, as entitled to his opinion as anyone else, but that opinion is no more important than that of Joe the plumber, Fred the builder, or Tarquin the investment banker. In fact, the last three’s opinions are probably more relevant as they live in the real world.

  • Runcie Balspune

    After the plastic straw ban, which was a vanity exercise led by celebrities in the full knowledge it would not affect their own lives one iota, frustrate millions, and have a minuscule effect on the problem of plastic marine pollution, I would have proposed a “millionaire air ban” and make it illegal for anyone with a personal income of more than one million (currency) to depart or arrive by air in the country, subject to a fine equivalent to the value of the aircraft used or a spell in a detention center, on the same grounds that this would “make people sit up and listen” whilst not having to bother myself with the consequences (because there wont be any – to me).

  • Jared Harris writes, as quoted by Natalie:

    We’re going through a crisis of denial over climate science. A very small group of people are frustrating the political will to tackle it head on.

    and he writes

    But when people’s homes become uninhabitable, they will move somewhere else. If you think it’s awkward with tens of thousands of people at the southern border of the US or with a couple of hundred thousand at the borders of the EU, what are you going to do when a couple of hundred million are on the move?

    Three things:

    Those doubting Catastrophic Anthropogenic Global Warming (CAGW) are not a “very small group of people”. There is considerable doubt as to what is actually happening (anything, and the extent) and considerable doubt as to its cause or causes. Aside, I note that previously global warming morphed into climate change – all the while blamed on the burning of fossil fuels. Very recently the hobgoblin has morphed again – from fossil fuel burning to forest clearance and wetland clearance. I suppose that is understandable if you want to jet all over the world! But it seems a little strange if all that CAGW nagging has got us burning wood chips in preference to burning coal – and now burning wood chips is as bad or worse than burning coal. [Aside: I am reminded that, not long ago and across the world, governments were extolling car diesel fuel as having lower pollution than petrol – we must all change – and suddenly the opposite is true!??]

    It is indeed true that people’s homes must be habitable for the people to stay put. That is a definite problem for those in Syria. Is it really a problem for those in El Salvador and Honduras? Likewise, we should ask is there a real problem underlying (most of) the emigration through Libya, Tunisia and Morocco? Or is it that people have heard that a better life is available elsewhere (true in absolute terms) and that they have heard that they are invited to stay if they succeed in getting two feet on the better ground. In other words, much migration is motivated by easier economic improvement than raising the game in your country of origin; this rather than homes becoming uninhabitable or life becoming unliveable through war, other conflict or natural disaster.

    People live all over most of the world, and most of them are sufficiently content with where they live that they stay there. This applies to countries with typical high temperatures above +40C and to countries with typical low temperatures well below 0C. If human societies can form and survive in that wide range, why should any global warming that MIGHT arise from CO2 cause hundreds of millions of people to undertake population movements to lower their typical high temperatures by 15C to 20C (note that is roughly the temperature change involved in moving from Central Africa to Mediterranean Europe). Would people not move less distance – to where the new temperature is around the same as their old temperature (all other factors being similar). Thus by general population movements somewhat towards the poles: in the northern hemisphere, Canada and Siberia might end up being more occupied, and equatorial South America and Central Africa might end up being less occupied. It would be extremely unlikely that the new (largely habitable) land area between the lows below 0C to highs above +40C would be markedly different. And this all assumes that catastrophic (or at least large) levels of global warming are actually occurring – which is currently being disputed, on both extent and likely causation.

    Best regards

  • John B

    ‘“We don’t have another planet. This is it. We’ve nowhere else to go. ’

    Didn’t they say something like that about Europe until the 15th Century?

    Meanwhile when you are one of only 0,0000000001% of 7 billion people, who ‘believe’ in climate change doom, could it just be you are the ones that are wrong?

    As the proud Mum proclaimed at her soldier son’s passing out parade, ‘Look my Jamie is the only one marching in step!’

  • Denial is not just a river in Egypt.

    As for Mr. Jared Harris, I have enjoyed his acting and will not hold his personal views on Climate Change against him, despite the fact that he clearly knows nothing about it other than the government fed propaganda.

    What I will charge him with is hypocrisy, but this tends to be true of the vast majority of ‘slebs pushing climate change catastrophism from the leather upholstered seats of luxury jets.

    In the words of Woody from Toy Story “YOU ARE JUST A TOY”.

    Hear endeth the lesson.

  • John B

    @Nigel Sedgwick ‘… global warming morphed into climate change…’

    Reason for that:

    Temperature is a datum, can be observed measured and compared. Using the Global Mean Temperature record, the positive variation from the mean was plotted on a graph showing an upward trend which ‘proved’ global warming.

    After 1996 the curve of that graph flat-lined and after a decade started to regress in fact ‘disproving’ global warming.

    So climate change, an abstract not a datum which cannot be observed, measured, compared.

    To ‘prove’ it, proxies are used like Polar bear population, Arctic Sea ice extent, hot weather, etc and future predicted catastrophe. The chosen proxies are variable influenced by multiple factors, so in fact cannot be attributed to any particular influence, but of course the public is expected not to know that, so can be conned.

    So whereas global warming was falsifiable by observing and comparing the data, climate change cannot be falsified because there is no data to observe and compare. Just what the High Priests tell us.

  • So whereas global warming was falsifiable by observing and comparing the data, climate change cannot be falsified because there is no data to observe and compare. Just what the High Priests tell us.

    It also effectively switches sides, since the catastrophic cry of “Warble Gloaming!” can be (and in fact, has been) proven to be bollocks by a significant period of “Not Warming”, the more nebulous Climate Change is more difficult to counter, therefore funding to Climate Science can continue forever unabated.

    The argument made against both Warble Gloaming and Climate Change that “The climate has always been changing” is being effectively hidden by selective use of graphs which ignore early 20th Century warm spells, the Maunder Minimum (because of course climate change is caused by human activity, not the huge ball of fusing hydrogen at the centre of our solar system), major volcanic activity, etc., etc.,

    The only way to end this façade is to reinstitute the apolitical scientific establishment that has been cast by the wayside in search of climate change funding.

    Because to get rid of the Dane you need to first remove the Danegeld.

  • Gavin Longmuir

    To be serious for a moment, the interesting thing about “Climate Change” is that no-one has ever presented a scientific hypothesis linking CO2 emissions to “Climate Change”. No-one!

    There is a scientific hypothesis linking CO2 emissions to Global Warming, based on the observation that CO2 is a Radiatively Active Gas. That hypothesis predicts the temperature of Planet Earth will increase, must increase — Global Warming. Being a scientific hypothesis, it is testable; it has been tested; and it has failed.

    The science is settled, as some obscure rich guy once said.

  • chip

    It’s curious that a rich person unwilling to forego a frivolous flight thinks a poor person in India, China or Africa should forego the benefits of a gas-fired power plant, and yet it’s the rich person who is celebrated for his virtue.

  • Well said, chip (August 6, 2019 at 12:30 am)! It would indeed be curious – if the signalling of virtue betokened the presence of virtue, or indeed of mere actual belief in the particular signal used.

  • Tim Worstall

    “But my brothers and I were at boarding school and away from home for eight months of the year. Prisoner of war movies were our favourite films – we all identified with them.”

    Oh come on Jared, Downside wasn’t that damn bad….after all, it introduced you to Peter Morgan rather to your benefit….

  • Oh come on Jared, Downside wasn’t that damn bad….after all, it introduced you to Peter Morgan rather to your benefit

    Which is, after all, the real value of a decent public school.

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