Public Meeting in London

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Battlescarred
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May 9 2007 11:49
Public Meeting in London

May 24th - Public meeting on Social Change Not Climate Change-:Ecology, Environment and Anarchism. Marchmont Community Centre, Marchmont Street, London WC1. Nearest tube Russell Square. Convened by Anarchist Federation (London) Free. 7pm
info@afed.org.uk

capricorn
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May 22 2007 19:34

On page 7 of the AF pamphlet "Ecology and Class" the claim is made "global warming will expand ocean water and raise sea levels by two feet by the year 2010". The pamphlet seems to have been published in 2003 or 2004 (even though the claim appears to be based on something from a book by Colin Ward, published in 1997 and so presumably written in 1995 or 1996).
With only 3 years to go sea levels have hardly risen noticeably and quite simply won't have risen by 2 feet by 2010.
This is either a question of bad editing or a giving a hostage to fortune. In any event, the lesson must surely be not to cry "wolf".
I hope the speaker doesn't have to face an embarrassing question on this, but I'd be interested in how he or she might reply if this does happen.

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Bubbles
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May 22 2007 19:38

what does it take for a pamhplet to be changed in A.F.?

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little_brother
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May 23 2007 22:56

If a need for a change in a pamphlet is identified, a regular AF meeting will discuss this and in general agree for designated member(s) to work on modifying it. Quite often this will be the original author(s) or editor. Unless it's a minor update, the amended pamphlet or section will be circulated for approval by the members.

As for the point about sea level rises, I don't know about the figure used in the pamphlet or what the rise is likely to be in 2010, but renewed consensus on sea level rise has shown it to have been underestimated over the past 6 years and IPCC predictions have now been revised in 2007 compared to 2001. I don't know about 2010, but it looks pretty bad over the century (when some libcomers might expect to still be alive scratching for roots and gathering nuts or seaweed). In any case it will take a lot less than 2 feet rise to be a serious problem in some parts of the world, or coastal area of these islands.

A(C)F's Ecology and Class has been an important bridge between class struggle anarchism which might have previously been perceived to be ignoring ecology (certainly not the case for A(C)F) and the wider anarchist movement involved in environmental activism, and I expect we'll decide to revise it at some point. In fact we've thought about it already.

Battlescarred
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May 24 2007 09:53

Meeting is tonight!

capricorn
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May 25 2007 20:11

What happened at the meeting? Did anyone ask about the exaggerated claim that sea levels would rise by by two feet by 2100? If so, what was the answer why this wasn't going to happen after all?

Battlescarred
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May 29 2007 10:27

No, no one asked that question. We had a well attended meeting, a good talk and fruitful discussion
Your previous query has been dealt with already by a poster above

coffeemachine
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May 29 2007 11:02

capricorn, you never did say where you were coming from politically did you, or whether you had a background in journalism.

You certainly don't have the journalistic discipline in quoting your sources. 'My mate down the pub said sea levels have hardly risen at all' doesn't make for good copy does it?

capricorn
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May 29 2007 12:35

Yes, I do have a background in journalism, so what? And it's not just my mate down the pub who's saying sea levels haven't yet risen enough to reach 2 feet by 2010. It's my correspondant in Norwich who's not reporting that East Anglia has begun to be flooded.

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888
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May 30 2007 05:04

http://www.atse.org.au/index.php?sectionid=323

Doesn't include temporary surges which are much greater.

capricorn
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May 30 2007 08:29

Thanks, mate. I owe you a drink. I was going to quote from a report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change too but couldn't work out how.
A foot is 0.306 of a metre. So two feet is about 0.6m or 60cm, a rise in the sea level by which, according to this graph, would not be reached, on the IPCC's 2000 worst case scenario, until near the end of the 2070s. On most of the other scenarios it wouldn't be reached by 2110 let alone 2010.
The latest IPCC Report, the 4th assessment report that came out in February, revised the figures upwards a bit, but except on AIFI (which is basically what would happen if nothing is done to restrict carbon dioxide emissions from burning fossil fuels, a not very likely scenario) a 2-foot rise is not considered likely before 2100 (see www.ipc.ch/SPM2feb.07.pdf).
Incidentally, I want to make it clear that I'm not getting at the AF in particular or at all, just warning of the dangers of crying wolf. There is a problem of too rapid global warming but if various predicted dire consequences don't happen then people won't take the problem seriously.

knightrose
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May 30 2007 09:47

But what are we expected to do. We made a mistake in a long pamphlet. Do we junk the lot?

coffeemachine
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May 30 2007 10:14

i don't think you should be apologising knightrose especially to a punch drunk journo.

Indeed in the link above that the journalist relies on states in its summary

Quote:
"Since the Second Assessment Report of the IPCC, significant progress in understanding the processes controlling sea-level rise has been made. However, significant uncertainties remain. Model results for the 20th century rate of sea-level rise encompass the observed range but uncertainties of all of the components (particularly the terrestrial storage terms) means that the modeled error bounds are broader than the observational range. Also, the central estimates from the models are biased low compared to the observations. The use of general circulation models has allowed estimates of the regional distribution of sea- level rise. However, confidence in these distributions remains low."

so their assessment is as just as accurate and reliable as colin ward's.

Maybe to put it in real world context both the state of maine and the state of honolulu are planning for a 2ft rise in the sea level, based on the figures projected above.

Not so much "crying wolf" as ensuring peoples safety, regardless of the pretty maps.

knightrose
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May 30 2007 10:21

Don't worry, I'm not apologising. The ecology pamphlet does not represent an AF line. It's a series of texts on the question of ecology and class, written from within our political framework. It is not, however, a series of cast iron predictions about the future. Indeed much of it deals with struggles around the environment. One mistake has been found. That's a shame, but not the end of the world sad. It doesn't invalidate the rest of it.

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little_brother
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May 30 2007 13:27

Before commenting further, some pedant could check Colin Ward's book and see if it was a typo or not. I would happily do it but I don't have a copy.

I agree about not crying wolf but I don't think we do that in AF, not knowingly anyway. On the otherhand, it's also important not to just believe governmental consensus figures like the IPCC's without a critical view especially as sea level modelling has not correctly predicted observations over the last 6 years. We live in a world full of expert risk predictions and safe levels of this, that and the other, and sometimes (perhaps most times) they will be reasonably good predictions within the limits of scientific knowledge, but there is also a very strong case for the precautionary principle and so taking more account of worst case scenarios, especially as the causes of global warming/icecap melting are not being dealt with in any meaningful way.

In any case, what's more important for anarchists is that currently working class people have little say in this insane system that is producing climate change. Worse still our governments are starting to make us feel individually responsible for something that is being fueled by a capitalist system that relies on continuous growth. That's what Ecology and Class is really about.

Addition: Independent 6 June 2007, By Steve Connor, Science Editor .
In Antarctica, proof that action on climate change is more urgent than ever.
"Fears that global sea levels this century may rise faster and further than expected are supported by a study showing that 300 glaciers in Antarctica have begun to move more quickly into the ocean."
http://environment.independent.co.uk/climate_change/article2617440.ece