Saturday, March 14, 2009

More ado about nothing

Not very much more, thankfully. But this nonsense moulders on miserably in a couple of places.

First, some further exchanges have been posted on the JSER web site. I'm not sufficiently interested to attempt a translation, but I have been reliably informed by one of the protagonists that they conclusively support the mainstream view :- )

More amusingly, the National Post (which nation?) has a column which blends Kusano's idiocy with Michael Tobis's recent misquote. And there is also an article in The Australian with some further comments from the Japanese debators. One point that may be of interest is that the debate's organiser seems very keen to emphasise that the various documents do not represent any sort of official position statement of JSER, contrary to the Register's misleading report.


Hank Roberts said...

Wow, they spin their usual direction with the last bit:

"The Japan Society of Energy and Resources is an academic group that promotes co-operation between industry, academic research and government.

Dr Maruyama said many scientists were doubtful about man-made climate-change theory, but did not want to risk their funding from the government or bad publicity from the mass media ...."

So Japanese industry can't intimidate scientists but the government can? industry doesn't own the government over there? That must be refreshing.

bi -- International Journal of Inactivism said...

"I'm not sufficiently interested to attempt a translation,"

James, it'll be great if you can provide a translation of Maruyama's conspiracy theory. :-)

(I can probably try doing that myself, but clearly my Japanese is nowhere near as good as yours...)

-- bi

bi -- International Journal of Inactivism said...

Oops... Maruyama wasn't one of the debaters in the JSER write-up. Ah well. :-|

-- bi

Unknown said...

The National Post was founded by (now imprisoned) media baron Conrad Black about ten years ago, as a conservative alternative to the liberal (in his mind, anyway) Toronto Globe and Mail.

It's never made a dime (Black sold out long ago), and the company that owns it is close to bankrupt.

William Hyde

Unknown said...

JSER is an academic society, though one of engineers rather than pure scientists. The society does publish peer-reviewed academic articles (elsewhere). But the articles of the debate are of a more informal category. The participants of the debate are invited as guests by JSER. Except Itoh (an engineering chemist), they are natural scientists and are probably outsiders to JSER. Maruyama (a geologist) did not submit his essay in time for the January issue, but he said something (very subjective) in the March issue.

I think that the attitude of industry in Japan is much different from that in the USA (or Australia) with respect to the issue of climate change. Japan has no such thing as a fossil fuel lobby. But it has a nuclear power lobby consisting of fractions of industry, government and media. In 2006, a pro-nuclear-power foundation promoted translation of a book by Lovelock ("The Revenge of Gaia", a doom and gloom story of global warming) and gave the copies away to the winners of their lottery. I did not notice a counter-action from the pro-fossil-fuel side.

Since about 2007, the mainstream mass media tend to emphasize that we must go "eco", and the position of the Ministry of Environment within the goverment has become a bit stronger.

From some point of the constellation, the moderate words of the mainstream media, government and scientists are seen in the same direction as that of the nuclear power lobby, and it is difficult to measure the distance. So, though regrettable to me, a conspiracy theory like "the global warming theory was fabricated by the nuclear power lobby" sounds plausible among some liberal-minded non-scientists. But I do not think either that this idea is prevalent. Whether one is a deniers of global warming does not seem to correlate with whether he/she is a promoter, an antagonist or being indifferent of nuclear power.

Of course, the inertia of "business as usual" is probably the strongest factor of the attitude of people. In the countryside, people much depend on automobiles (though much less so than in the USA or Australia), so there may be fear of restriction on fossil fuel use. But in the urban area, what people depend on is electricity, and they do not mind whether it comes from fossil fuel or nuclear power. (To my regret, they do not realize that we cannot keep the current level of total energy resource consumption either way.)

bi -- International Journal of Inactivism said...


Thanks for letting us (well, me) know about the March issue. I see that it mentions Al Gore... :)

-- bi