We are developing the social individualist meta-context for the future. From the very serious to the extremely frivolous... lets see what is on the mind of the Samizdata people.

Samizdata, derived from Samizdat /n. - a system of clandestine publication of banned literature in the USSR [Russ.,= self-publishing house]

The doctor will talk to you now. About climate change.

The Telegraph reports that “Doctors should talk to patients about climate change, say health leaders”:

A new green toolkit produced by the Royal College of Physicians tells its members they are “uniquely placed” to raise the issue in consultations and that they should “repeat it often”.

The guidance, which is can be found on the royal college’s website, also tells doctors to work from home on non-clinical shifts and offer remote consultations “where clinically appropriate” to cut emissions from commuting.

They should remain alert to “eco-distress”, depression or anxiety a patient may be suffering because of the changing climate, the document adds.

Critics branded the guidance, which is 11 pages long, “virtue signalling” and warned it could lead to diagnoses being missed.

The comment most recommended by Telegraph readers is this:

Mark Smith
Utterly utterly mad. When guidance like this is issued you know the current system is beyond repair. When patient get 10minutes with a GP, there’s little time to get a proper diagnosis and 5 of those minutes will be to receive a sermon. While the NHS is falling to bits we get this.

closely followed by this:

Andrew Bunting
Speaking as a doctor I find this diabolical.
Who has time on their hands to come up with such tosh?

Pssst, wanna used car?

Some good stuff in the Telegraph today. “The electric car carnage has only just begun”, writes Matthew Lynn.

As with so much of the legislation passed during the last five years, setting a quota for the percentage of EVs companies had to sell probably seemed like a good idea at the time. Manufacturers now have to ensure that 22pc of the cars they shift off the forecourt are battery powered, rising steadily to 80pc by the end of this decade, and 100pc by 2035. If they don’t hit their quota, the senior executives will get ten years hard labour in Siberia (well, actually it is a fine of up to £15,000 per vehicle, but it nonetheless feels extremely draconian). Like Soviet planners in the 1950s, the architects of this legislation presumably assumed that all you had to do was set a target and everything would fall into place.

The trouble is, quotas don’t work any better in Britain than they did in communist Russia. EVs have some serious problems: the range is not good enough, we have not built enough charging points to power them, the repair bills are expensive, the insurance ruinous, and second hand prices are plummeting. Once all raw materials and transport costs are factored in, they may not be much better for the environment.

Yet the masterminds foisting this legislation on businesses don’t appear to have given much thought to what will happen if the quota isn’t met. Now Ford, one of the biggest auto giants in the world, and still a major manufacturer in Europe, has provided an answer. “We can’t push EVs into the market against demand,” said Martin Sander, the General Manager of Ford Model eEurope, at a conference this week. “We’re not going to pay penalties… The only alternative is to take our shipments of [engine] vehicles to the UK down and sell these vehicles somewhere else.”

In effect, Ford will limit its sales of cars in the UK. If you had your eye on a new model, forget it. You will have to put your name on a waiting list, just as East Germans had to wait years for a Trabant. Heck, we may even see a black market in off-the-books Transit vans. Ford is the first to spell it out in public, but we can be confident all the other manufacturers are thinking the same thing. They can’t absorb huge fines. The only alternative is to limit the sales of petrol cars.

Samizdata quote of the day – Another day, another fatuous ‘fact’ check from Reuters

Another day, another fatuous ‘fact’ check from Reuters. This time the news agency accuses the Daily Sceptic of “cherry-picking” Arctic sea ice extent data to provide a “misleading” story. Being accused of “cherry picking” by an outfit that funds a course for journalists that encourages them to pick a fruit such as a mango and discuss why it isn’t as tasty as the year before due to climate change is beyond ridicule. Taking lectures on responsible journalism from a Net Zero-obsessed operation that has promoted a course speaker who has suggested “fines and imprisonments” for expressing scepticism about “well supported” science is laughable, if also a tad sinister.

One of the activists called to admonish the Daily Sceptic with a ‘straw man’ argument was Walt Meier, a research scientist at the National Snow and Ice Data Centre, who said: “Comparing two specific years is not an indicator for or against long-term changes”. The Daily Sceptic did not do that. Interestingly, this would appear to be the same Walt Meier whose comments on ”mind blowing” low winter levels of Antarctica sea ice last year made headlines around the world. Meier claimed at the time that it was “outside anything we have seen”. Happily, the Daily Sceptic was able to remind Meier that he had been part of a team a decade ago that cracked open the secrets of early Nimbus weather satellites and found a similar sea ice low in 1966. At the time, Meier commented that the Nimbus data show there is variability in Antarctica sea ice “that’s larger than any we have seen” since 1979.

Chris Morrison

It gets cold in rural Scotland and there are often power cuts. Tough.

Andy Wightman describes himself as a vegan who drives an electric car, does not fly, and lives much of the time off-grid using solar power and wood fuel. In this article in the Scottish current affairs magazine Holyrood, bearing the title “Why the ‘ban’ on wood-burning stoves ignores the needs of rural Scotland”, he writes,

Since 1 April, it is no longer permissible to install a direct-emission heating system (one which produces more than a negligible level of greenhouse-gas emissions) in a new-build house or conversion. This is a ban on oil, coal, gas and wood-based heating systems.

But in response to a fair degree of upset from across rural Scotland in recent weeks at this apparent ban – however partial – on wood-burning stoves, ministers were at pains to point out that this was not, in fact, a ban. Why?

Because, according to the Scottish Government, they can still be installed in new homes to provide emergency heating. The government claims that this concession “recognises the unique needs of Scotland’s rural communities”. The problem with this sophistry is that the Building (Scotland) Amendment Regulations 2023 define emergency heating as an installation to be used only in the event of the failure of the main heating system.

So people can install wood-burning stoves at a cost of anything between £5,000 and £10,000 to be used for a few days per year and, therefore, it’s not a ban.

He then discusses some of the reasons why even very environmentally conscious people who live in the remoter areas of Scotland might want to heat their houses using wood-burning stoves, and continues,

It is, in fact, how I want to heat a house I am in the process of building myself. After a lot of careful consideration, I decided to install a log-gasification boiler as the main heating system. Such boilers are more than 90 per cent efficient, they feed a very large accumulator tank of hot water, and only need to be fired up every two to four days.

The wood will come from thinning from a forest that I manage locally, cut with a solar-powered chainsaw. There is no market for this kind of low-quality timber from small woods. If I cannot use it for heat, it will lie and rot – and produce carbon emissions – on the forest floor. The fuel wood will emit two per cent of the carbon being absorbed annually by the forest from which it is sourced.

The house design is rated B for energy efficiency (falling short of A by only two points) and is rated A for carbon emissions. I have planning consent and I even have a grant and loan offer from the Scottish Government to install the boiler.

Due to technical issues, however, I have yet to submit the final application for a building warrant. This will now as a matter of law be refused and I will incur the expense of revising the planning permission, commissioning new engineering assessments, and preparing a revised building-warrant application. I will also need to reject the grant and loan offer.

If you live in Edinburgh or Glasgow, however, you can still install a wood-burning stove even where you don’t need one and even when it contributes to significant levels of particulate matter pollution. In rural Scotland, you can live in or near a forest, perhaps off grid, but you are not allowed to use what is still a renewable low-carbon fuel when appropriately sourced and combusted.

The placard was right

When I saw the headline of this article in the Independent, “Sending climate protesters to prison shows the law is an ass”, which you can also read on MSN here, I put the ignition key in the snark machine.

I read the strapline “A pensioner is facing two years in jail for holding a placard outside a court. It is a worrying case that casts a shadow over our jury system of justice”, said, “Yeah, right”, and turned the key.

I saw that it was by Alan Rusbridger, former editor of the Guardian, and powered up the mighty engines.

I read the following, “Trudi Warner is, in many ways, an unlikely rebel. The 69-year-old former child mental health social worker is, in her retirement, a keen organic grower, and last year spent part of the year looking after sheep on the Isle of Eigg” and, toes twitching with anticipation, moved my foot over the go-pedal. Far from being an “unlikely rebel” Trudi Warner is as conventional a rebel as ever picked a caterpillar off an organic lettuce and took it out to start a new life in the garden. I was about to push the pedal to the metal when…

I realised that Alan Rushbridger was right.

I had been waiting for the half-line in the eleventh paragraph where this “lovable pensioner” was revealed to have harassed travellers or vandalised a work of art. It never came. Trudi Warner really is being prosecuted solely for standing outside a court and holding up a placard saying,



That’s it. That’s all she did; hold up that placard near a courtroom. And as Mr Rushbridger says, the statement on her placard correctly states a precedent that goes back to a famous case of 1670, in which a jury stubbornly refused to convict two Quaker preachers of preaching to an unlawful assembly despite being imprisoned for two days without food.

One may or may not agree with Trudi Warner’s opinions on the “climate crisis” (I do not), but it is bizarre that reminding jurors of what was once a revered legal principle should become a crime merely because the reminder took place near a courtroom, the very place where such a reminder is most necessary.

Since a reminder evidently is necessary to the legal authorities, here is a picture of the plaque in the Old Bailey commemorating that case:

Photo credit: Paul Clarke, Wikimedia Commons

The plaque says,

Near this Site WILLIAM PENN and WILLIAM MEAD were tried in 1670 for preaching to an unlawful assembly in Grace Church Street This tablet Commemorates The courage and endurance of the Jury Thos Vere, Edward Bushell and ten others who refused to give a verdict against them, although locked up without food for two nights, and were fined for their final verdict of Not Guilty The case of these Jurymen was reviewed on a writ of Habeas Corpus and Chief Justice Vaughan delivered the opinion of the Court which established The Right of Juries to give their Verdict according to their Convictions

Bankers are retreating from decarbonisation as reality sinks in

From a Bloomberg article entitled UBS Banker’s Frustration Exposes Cracks in World of Climate Finance

The article makes it clear that banks are struggling to deliver on credible “decarbonisation” financial policy and remain profitable concerns. Considering how Western taxpayers spent billions bailing out banks more than a decade ago, it would be extraordinary if banks were to deliberately restrict their earnings streams through going full “dark green”.


“Banks are living and lending on planet earth, not planet NGFS,” Berkey told the group in an impassioned speech, alluding to the Network for Greening the Financial System, a collection of central bankers that creates model scenarios for how the energy transition may evolve. Details of what transpired at the meeting hosted by the Financial Stability Board — a coordinator of global regulations — came from people who were in the room but asked not to be named discussing private talks. Berkey confirmed his participation, declining to say more.

The UBS banker’s outburst, which got little pushback from those present, exposes the cracks emerging in a multitrillion-dollar transition finance project, and taps into what’s rapidly becoming one of the most contentious issues in the global banking industry. In private, senior bankers in sustainable finance divisions in London, New York, Toronto and Paris grumble about unrealistic expectations from regulators, civil society and climate activists around the industry’s role in getting the planet to net zero.

“Outburst” – translation – telling it like it is.

The standoff that’s brewing is setting the stage for a showdown at the heart of the ESG movement, where environmental, social and governance considerations are being pitted against old-fashioned capitalism.

Not really “old fashioned capitalism”. Just “capitalism”. We had more than a decade of ultra-low interest rates via quantitative easing. During this period, the business case for eliminating fossil fuels and powering a modern economy via solar, wind and happy thoughts appeared viable. With interest rates at their more normal long-term levels, some of the more fanciful projections don’t add up. This is called “reality”. Capitalism, which hinges around private property rights, voluntary exchange, and the desire to maximise the use of scarce resources that have alternative uses, is based on reality. Elsewhere, the article alludes to how capitalism produces “negative externalities” (carbon emissions) that must be controlled. What the article doesn’t stop to consider is that there are “positive externalities” from a prosperous world: more resources to fix problems, more wealth, higher living standards, more resilience, etc. (This is the broad thesis of the excellent book by Alex Epstein, Fossil Future, which totally debunks the alarmist case. See this video also featuring Epstein and Bryan Caplan, among others.)

Banks that had enthusiastically committed to align their entire operations with net zero goals are having second thoughts as the real-world ramifications of acting on those pledges become painfully apparent.

That’s what happens when you sign up to something that appears fashionable. Ditto with DEI (diversity, equity and inclusion, or, as I read the other day, “Didn’t earn it”).

Some of the world’s biggest lenders, including Deutsche Bank AG, HSBC Holdings Plc and Bank of America Corp., are adding caveats to their restrictions on financing coal, the planet’s most-polluting energy source.

Very wise.

BlackRock Inc. Chief Executive Officer Larry Fink says he has stopped using the term ESG and emphasized the world’s largest asset manager’s work with energy firms in a letter to investors this week. The firm has scaled back its participation in international climate investing alliances.

Fink is now more likely to focus on the imminent retirement crisis of the US and the developed world. Some of that has been brought around as birthrates have fallen. But hang on a minute, I thought having kids was bad for the Earth?

It is tough being green, isn’t it?

Climate: the Movie – now shadow banned by YouTube, so…

… here it is on BitChute, just in case they take the final step and delete it 😉

Samizdata quote of the day – weaponising Net Zero against the West edition

“Net zero has turned into a Chinese weapon aimed right at the heart of Western competitiveness. If we don’t wake up and recognise soon that we have to figure out a better way of combating climate change our industries are about to get wiped out.”

Matthew Lynn, Daily Telegraph (£).

Samizdata quote of the day – unfortunately the high-status fraudster won

A Washington, D.C. jury has found that conservative writers Mark Steyn and Rand Simberg defamed climate scientist Michael Mann.

The jury deliberated for close to a full day before reaching its decision.

At issue were two blog posts, one by Steyn and one by Simberg, comparing the investigation into alleged academic misconduct by Mann, then a Penn State professor, to Penn State’s handling of Jerry Sandusky, the school’s former head of athletics who raped and molested children.

“If an institution is prepared to cover up systemic statutory rape of minors, what won’t it cover up?” Steyn wrote in his post, which quoted Simberg’s.

Andrew Lawton

The Hockey Stick on trial

I think it’s about time we mentioned that the Steyn v Mann defamation trial is currently taking place in Washington D.C.. For those who have forgotten – or never knew in the first place – this concerns articles that Mark Steyn and his co-defendent blogger Rand Simburg wrote twelve years ago accusing university employee Michael Mann of fraud in scientific research.

This is the first time the Hockey Stick graph – which suggested a dramatic and unprecedented rise in global temperatures – has been subject to judicial examination.

If you want to follow daily proceedings you might like to check out the Climate Science on Trial podcast hosted by Phelim McAleer and Ann McIlhenny.

A climactic climax every time

It looks like we all missed a major story:

After tense and protracted negotiations, delegates at the United Nations climate conference COP28 have agreed on a deal that calls on countries to transition away from fossil fuels. It is the first time that nations have agreed to such a transition, and marks a major step forward in climate ambitions.

Wired magazine, referring to the 28th UN climate conference, held in Dubai in December 2023. These conferences are officially known as the “Conference of the Parties”, hence the abbreviation “COP”. COP28 was also the subject of this BBC story:

Once the gavel came down in Dubai, the warm words flowed – but will it really have an impact on climate change?

The agreement reached in this glitzy metropolis for the first time nails the role of fossil fuel emissions in driving up temperatures and outlines a future decline for coal, oil and gas.

In UN terms that is historic, and the biggest step forward on climate since the Paris agreement in 2015.

This comment came from someone calling themselves “D1703020689244”:

It’s the same recipe every time.

Argument, confected fury, conference schedule delayed for last minute negotiations, text issued at midnight, gavel comes down, handshakes and cheers.

Who are they fooling other than themselves.

They have a point. The gavel does not always come down literally at midnight, but a pattern can be observed. Who could forget that nailbiter of a finish in Glasgow for COP26 in 2021:

The deal was reached with nearly 200 countries at 7.40pm – more than 24 hours after the two-week summit was scheduled to finish.

It was rivalled in drama only by the the Paris climate change talks of 2015:

In the final meeting of the Paris talks on climate change on Saturday night, the debating chamber was full and the atmosphere tense. Ministers from 196 countries sat behind their country nameplates, aides flocking them, with observers packed into the overflowing hall.

(Spoiler: there was a deal. Not just “a” deal but the world’s greatest diplomatic success. Ever.)

That last-minute deal was rivalled in drama only by – wait, am I allowed two “rivalled onlies”? Probably not. OK, Paris was non-rivalrously rivalled in drama by the “last-minute deal” that saved COP15 in 2009:

The United Nations climate talks that seemed headed for sure disaster were saved from utter collapse late Friday night in Copenhagen, after leaders from the U.S., India, Brazil, South Africa and China came to an agreement to combat global warming.

COP13, Bali, 2007:

Late-night drama pushes US into climate deal

The conference had overrun by a day, despite several night-time sessions. As the wrangling continued, and with no palpable signs of progress, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, who had already left Bali for East Timor, was forced to return to rescue the deal from disaster. In a tearful address to delegates, he pleaded: ‘The hour is late. It’s time to make a decision. You have in your hands the ability to deliver to the people of the world a successful outcome to this conference.’

COP11, Montreal 2005:

Weary negotiators finally agreed the revised statement as the talks dragged on into the small hours. They also agreed an action plan among Kyoto members to extend the protocol when its first phase expires in 2012.

COP7, Marrakech, 2001:

They negotiated the terms of a new climate change agreement through the night, and at dawn the exhausted delegates achieved success.

COP3, Kyoto, 1997:

The Kyoto Climate Change Conference has just ended in agreement. Industrialised nations have agreed to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions by a total of 5.2% under a differentiated target scheme. This has been one of the most complex international negotiations that has taken place and the governments of the world took it down to the wire.

Kyoto was another all-nighter, apparently. I tried to find some equivalent drama about COP2 (Geneva) and COP1 (Berlin), but that was before they were famous.

And now it’s after they were famous. The plots got too samey. Not even the magnificent opening speech to the COP26 delegates in Glasgow given by Boris Johnson (as documented by the late Niall Kilmartin) was enough to revive interest.

P.S. My apologies to any readers misled by the title of this post. If you want to know where you can be sure of experiencing a satisfying climax, try Azerbaijan.

Samizdata quote of the day – why the Tories need to burn to ash

Almost half the Conservative Party’s backbench MPs in the British Parliament belong to a Caucus promoting extreme Net Zero ideas that is funded by a small group of green billionaire foundations. The Conservative Environment Network (CEN), which acts mostly as a lobby group, receives over 80% of its funding from the European Climate Foundation, Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisers, Oak Foundation, WWF-UK and Clean Air Fund. As regular readers will recall, these paymasters crop up regularly whenever anyone of influence, be they journalists, academics or politicians, requires help and guidance in promoting the insanity of removing hydrocarbon energy from industrial societies within less than 30 years.


It is noted by CEN that when Russia invaded Ukraine “we helped promote the narrative that reducing dependency on fossil fuels through renewable energy and insulation would help defeat Putin”. Quite how fossil fuel dependency is reduced by intermittent renewables that rely on back-up hydrocarbons is not immediately clear. It’s unlikely that Putin quaked in his boots at the thought of the widespread mobilisation of loft insulators in the U.K.

Chris Morrison

I made it clear to my very marginal Tory MP (150 vote majority last election) that her membership in CEN guarantees I will be voting Reform.