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The Royal Society Gets Radical


When the word “radical” is used four times in two sentences, something is amiss.


The Royal Society was founded back in the 1660s and serves as the “national Academy of science in the UK.” Last year, Andrew Montford wrote a sobering report about its recent capture by environmental activists (see my post here).

Since then, cooler heads have not prevailed. In December, the Royal Society will host a conference organized by the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research called The Radical Emission Reduction Conference. The conference webpage declares:

Today, in 2013, we face an unavoidably radical future. We either continue with rising emissions and reap the radical repercussions of severe climate change, or we acknowledge that we have a choice and pursue radical emission reductions: No longer is there a non-radical option.

Golly, that must be some kind of record – four uses of the words “radical” in two sentences. Might these people be a tad overwrought?

The webpage also quotes someone declaring:

The current state of affairs is unacceptable.

One needs to consult a footnote to discover that the person uttering these words is Maria van der Hoeven, the executive director of the International Energy Agency (IEA).

The IEA is a body to which nations belong. Founded back in the 1970s in response to the oil crisis, its website says it currently “works to ensure reliable, affordable and clean energy for its 28 member countries.”

So why is the personal opinion of one of its employees – an unelected bureaucrat – being highlighted by a Royal Society-sponsored conference?

Let us be blunt: in which universe does a single individual get to decide what is – or is not – acceptable?

I mean, who writes this stuff? Are any grownups involved?

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