Professor Robert Watson and Cassandra

Targets are a hit and miss affair and governmental and international targets more than most. The problem is that once a target is set the underlying reason for the target is forgotten and the target becomes a means in itself.

This seems to apply in everything which has a government target. In education in the UK the last labour government set a target that 40% of the school children should go to University. Presumably the rationale for this target was to produce a well education population. In order to go to university several subsidiary targets had to be created- such as the examination results that each cohort being educated should achieve. Teachers and schools were given targets too.

In the end the object of the exercise became fulfilling the targets regardless of the rationale of the targets. We had grade inflation, easier examinations more forgivingly marked and children studying subjects at University which were neither academic nor practitcal. As a result the children were not well education and often were more badly educated than prior to the imposition of targets, but as the targets were achieved no one seemed to examine whether the target was apt for achieving the end result, which was not the target but an objective.

An objective is different from a target. You can have an objective – say to win a war – and a series of targets to help you do this, such as killing so many enemy soldiers, sinking so many tonnes of enemy shipping, downing so many enemy aircraft. In the end the targets become fiddled and great lists are published of successes in achieving targets while the war is lost. This is exactly what happened to Germany in the Second World War.

Unfortunately targets not objectives are fashionable and nowhere more so than in the politics of climate change. Here there is an almost universally accepted target of restricting global warming to a temperature rise of no more than 2°Celsius. Hooray, we have a target which if achieved will make life on this planet reasonably comfortable.

Then came the ancillary targets. In the United Kingdom, which eagerly adopted the 2°Celsius target, we created targets for renewable energy, including renewable heat, as though using renewable energy will create fewer greenhouse gas emissions. We now have biomass power stations, electric cars, all of which create more emissions than gas power stations and petrol cars. We seem to have lost our way on home insulation and renewable heat, while there are plenty of targets, there are almost no measures to create clean renewable heat.

Professor Robert Watson is Chief Scientist at the Department for Food and Rural Affairs. This in itself is rather odd, because Professor Watson’s qualifications make him much more suited to advise the Department of Energy and Climate Change. Nevertheless he is a distinguished scientist who now advises that any hope of achieving the 2°Celsius target is as dead as the Dodo, and it is now likely that a 3°Celsius increase will be with us before long, with temperatures going even higher quite likely.

Professor Watson is trying to convince the Chancellor of the Exchequer that the fears about global warming are prophesies which will come true, but the good professor may have offended the Sun God Apollo because the Chancellor does not believe the prophesies, leaving Watson in the role of Cassandra. There are many Cassandras in the world today and many leaders who hear what is prophesied but do not believe it. The cold comfort of being right is all that may be left:

“What if no man believe me? ‘Tis all one.

The thing which must be shall be; aye, and soon

Thou too shalt sorrow for these things, and here

Standing confess me all too true a seer.”

One Response

  1. Those who fail to prepare, prepare to fail, if they are being sold a series of lies by the people who they fund to tell them what they want them to hear, yet another form of ‘indirect violence’.

    Wars in any shape or form are always funded, funded firstly by the labours of the people themselves, using a catylist normally called money, once backed by the true physical called gold, for this and other ellements like land, and with a certain amount of brain washing one can get the people to do almost anything to each other.

    To stop a war there are two things one can do, starve the energy in raw materials and money or fund one side longer with the illusionary, they will litterally kill for it.
    The paradigm as we see it today has been farmed out, unless one hasn’t noticed, academia alone cannot fund a paradigm, we need to be making things, the age old trouble signs became noticeable, when job advertisements called for workers, “No experience needed training will be given” our skills, livelyhood and future wealth has farmed out and redistributed for profit, and the education also designed to suit the profiteers and those who own the factories that were once the peoples who built them with others ideas and labour.

    Then we need to see what is happening in the annals of the nations information gatherers and procrasinators and all there is not scientists and a vested interest, guess who is funding these people, people like Mr Steve Jones for instance, what kind of scientist is he???

    Remember it’s already a done deal, the jockey has opened his own stable door, let out the horse and then closed the door again on AGW, or we can continue to pay to watch over biased opinions from someone who is not a climate scientist, but paid and dressed to look like one perhaps.

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