Wednesday, July 2, 2014

"Climate Change and Virtue: An Apologetic" (Mike Hulme)

Mike Hulme is one of the most innovative thinkers in the climate debate. He is a critic of the natural science monoculture that dominated climate discourse for so long; with his work, he has constantly and consistently shifted the center of the debate towards the humanities. In his seminal book "Why we disagree about climate change", he argued that instead of focusing on solutions for the climate problem we should ask what climate change can do for us. This is the starting point for his new article, "Climate change and virtue: an apologetic" (free download).

He takes up a line of arguments from the fringes of the scientific climate debate and develops it further. For example, Sheila Jasanoff pleads in a Nature article for more "humility" in the climate debate, or climate scientist Mike Flannery ends his recent book with the words  "if we do not strive to love one another, and to love our planet as much as we love ourselves, then no further progress is possible here on Earth”. But what do these appeals to love and humility actually mean? When, as Mike Hulme says, "in all the climate models I have examined, used and criticised over 30 years I have not yet come across a variable for love or an equation for calculating humility"? In this article, he provides an answer. Alongside with wisdom, integrity, faith and hope, humility and love are "virtues", and those virtues mark "the most enduring response" to the challenge of climate change.

As a current fellow at the Rachel Carson Center in Munich, Mike Hulme took his time and developed an apologetic of "virtue" in the climate debate. An apologetic is a form of discourse that derives from theology and is "a systematic form of defense (as of a doctrine)", says Merriam-Webster. The choice of this term is only consequent, as Mike Hulme takes it seriously when he argues for a humanistic turn in the climate debate:

"Inspired by the recent “environmental turn” in the humanities (...) I wish to suggest a different, non-programmatic response to climate change: a reacquaintance with the ancient and religious ideas of virtue and its renaissance in the field of virtue ethics. Drawing upon work by Alasdair MacIntyre, Melissa Lane and Tom Wright, I outline an apologetic for why the cultivation of virtue is an appropriate response to the challenges of climate change."

The apologetic is structured along six chapters;  here are just some excerpts and comments. After the introduction, Mike Hulme outlines the limits of current approaches to solve the climate problem with the help of science:
The Plan:
 For more than 25 years the conventional view has been that an international political solution to climate change can be negotiated if driven by the engine of science. That is, if a strong enough scientific consensus on the causes and consequences of anthropogenic climate change could be forged and sustained, then the compelling force of such rationality would over-ride the differences in worldviews, beliefs, values and ideologies which characterise the human world. Such a scientific consensus would bring about the needed policy solutions. This is the “If-then” logic of computer programming, the conviction that the right way to tackle climate change is through what Dan Sarewitz at Arizona State University has called “The Plan” [8]. And there are those who still believe in this project. They excoriate others who obstruct and obscure this pure guiding light of rationality—a position adopted, for example, by Naomi Oreskes and Erik Conway in their recent book Merchants of Doubt.
 At the time it seemed entirely reasonable that with one of the last “enemies” of progressive Enlightenment liberalism having been swept away (i.e., communism), a new irrepressible world order would emerge. And it would be one that would now fully exploit the predictive power of fruitful globalised science. The putative threat that a burgeoning carbon-fuelled humanity—thriving, ironically, through the fruit of this very same Enlightenment—was posing to climatic stability would be defused. This project would demonstrate decisively the force of scientific rationality over the fading and divisive powers of religion and ideology. Scientific consensus would forge political consensus and political consensus would yield victory. And victory would be the Salvation of the planet.

This "salvation project" came to an end with Climategate and the failed 2009 COP 15 summit in Copenhagen. But simultaneoulsy, new forms of critique emerged from Bruno Latour, from the Breakthrough Institute or "by Tom Crompton’s work with the UK environmental NGOs and his strategy document Common Cause: The Case for Working with Values and Frames":

These two reactions to the sterile politics of climate change—to the futility of “The Plan”—adopt different reasoning and language. But they are united in their conviction that scientific knowledge about climate cannot be the primary motivator and driving engine of change. Indeed, the more trenchant critics would now argue that the product of climate science—uncertain predictions presented as a solidified and settled consensus—has perhaps acted as much as an obstacle as it has a spur to policy enactment. Science has done what it can. It has shown us the extent of the interpenetration of the human and the material—“we are without nature” [15]; the Earth’s climate is now a prosthetic to humanity. And yet we remain confronted with the limits of our programmatic responses to climate change, whether they be political, economic, technological or social engineering. Climate change is a condition of late modernity, yet it is a condition which modernity does not know how either to alleviate or to live with.

Mike Hulme argues that we should transcend our thinking about instrumental solutions how to solve the climate problem; instead, we should contemplate virtues such as wisdom, humility, integrity, faith, hope and, above all,  the virtue of love - each one is considered and explained in this article. Civic virtue results from these consideration, "the cultivation of personal habits which can transform the success of the community", as well as a "virtue ethics", which re-connect us to the virtues which arise from the community. His approach takes into consideration that the world is diverse and that we need cosmopolitan approaches to recognize this diversity.
Rather than putting science, economics, politics or the planet at the centre of the story of climate change I am suggesting that we put the humanities—our self-understanding of human purpose and virtue—at the centre. When we talk about climate change we should not start with the latest predictions from the climate models, nor whether we have passed some catastrophic tipping point; nor whether or not the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change should be trusted. We should start by thinking about what it means to be human. What is the good life and what therefore is an adequate response to climate change?

You have to read the full article, of course. Mike Hulme is serious here. Me and colleagues often remarked in conversations that there is "something religious" in his arguments; in this article, Mike Hulme answers those questions and delivers an "apologetic", a structured argument in defense of "virtue".  He starts where even many climate scientists end their lectures with remarks about "values" that have to be considered, too. He takes this up and demonstrates that they don't have to be considered only; for him, climate change first and foremost is about values and virtues.

In the German (blogosphere) debate (and here on Klimazwiebel, too), "Gutmensch" is often used as an insult; appeals to climate as a non-technological issue are seen as non-scientific and ideological, as  are suggestions that we should change our way of life. Seen from the German discussion, this article can be read as a self-confident manifesto of a "Gutmensch". Mike Hulme is fully aware of those critics; he quotes right in the beginning Ian McEwan, the author of "Solar": "Cleverness got us into this problem and I don't think virtue is going to get us out of it". Mike Hulme doesn't think so, quite the contrary. He says "I suggest that virtue may be the most enduring response we have."


Dennis Bray said...

Zen what?

Karl Kuhn said...

As an admirer of J.S.Bach, I may start with a Kontrapunkt.

A couple of weeks ago Gary Becker died.

Upon the Occasion from The Economist:

"At the heart of Mr Becker’s work was the view that “individuals maximise welfare as they conceive it.” Welfare need not mean income; it could derive from the pleasure of altruism or the thrill of deviancy. But critically, this thesis implied that people respond to incentives—a realisation that opened the door to insights across the whole range of human activity...
Mr Becker’s trailblazing earned plenty of criticism. The interdisciplinary adventurism it embodied peeved other social scientists, who doubted that cool-headed analysis played much part in matters of love or larceny. But his work yielded unexpected insights and forced social scientists to rethink their assumptions and sharpen their analyses, the better to learn why people behave as they do and how policy can best help."

Anonymous said...

A minor correction: The author of "Solaris" is Stanislaw Lem. Ian McEwan wrote "Solar".


Werner Krauss said...


Werner Krauss said...

Karl Kuhn,

I am sure that Mike Hulme is not one of those social scientists who oppose the idea that "cool-headed analysis play(s) much part in matters of love or larceny"; quite the contrary, an apologetic is by definition a cool-headed analysis ("a systematic form of defense").

Unfortunately, I am not familiar with Baecker's work. That "people respond to incentives" sounds like the basis of current climate policies, which according to Mike Hulme are not really successful.

Thus, maybe Baecker indeed might serve as a counterpart, as Mike Hulme here seems not to be interested in the economy of love, but in love as a virtue. Obviously, Mike Hulme suggests that we should strengthen the idea of virtue over the idea of economy as the driving force when we talk about people, policy and climate change. (I hope I got that right...). This, of course, indeed implies a radical shift of perspective.

Quentin Quencher said...

In der Huffingtonpost stellt Mike Hulme sein Buch: «Der große Streitfall Klimawandel vor»

„Obwohl ich mein Leben lang dem Verständnis, den Beschreibungen und den Erfahrungen von Klimawandel verschiedenster Menschen ausgesetzt war, kann ich doch der Befangenheit durch meine eigene Haltung nicht entkommen. Die Leser sind dazu eingeladen, diese Befangenheiten - die am deutlichsten werden in dem Überhang an Beispielen und Literatur aus dem Vereinigten Königreich - nicht nur wahrzunehmen, sondern auch über sie hinaus zu den darunterliegenden Argumenten zu schauen und diese Argumente nochmals entsprechend ihres eigenen Kontexts und ihrer Überzeugungen zu prüfen. Und zu erkennen, dass Widerspruch eine Art des Lernen ist.“

hvw said...

This is quite remarkable. After it has been broadly realized, not the least with the help of Krauss & von Storch, that it is not good to attempt depoliticize what is and ought to be a political problem and a political process that plays out in the fabric of societies and the complex power structures in a globalized world, Hulme just comes up with another variant, probably the most unpolitical to date, of removing the discussion from the political arena to put it squarely into the realm of individual ethics, with conservative and ethnocentric overtones that just stop short of recommending daily prayer.

I bought, read and profited from "Why we disagree". Even then, I felt that there is in important chapter missing in an otherwise quite worthwhile reading. The paper at hand leaves me flabbergasted and Hulme's anticipation of the readers' alienation doesn't help when he argues that pursuing solutions-orientated approaches of any couleur is less efficient than if we all just tried to become wise, humble, integer, faithful, hopeful and loving. Not that this wouldn't be a worthwhile goal though; it certainly goes through as "no regrets measure", as its side-effects include the abolishment of world hunger, war, homicide, and stinky feet.

Karl Kuhn said...


The virtues put forth by Hulme may work against homicide and war, but not solve the problem of world hunger ... or climate change. There is a fundamental difference between these two Problem sets.

Ending violence can be achieved by just everybody not being violent. Thoroughly cultivating the virtue of love would be sufficient to achieve that. Violence is not a fundamental problem of the real world, but rather how humans tend to deal with each other.

But one cannot end hunger in the same way by appealing to virtues, because hunger is a problem of scarcity that affects people irrespective of their individual virtues (particularly during famines). Here it is even more likely that the less virtuous survive. And the virtues Hulme proposes without exception relate to mutual human interaction, not to human interaction with the material world, or have I missed something?

Cultivating individual virtues is a very ineffective way of dealing with world-wide undernutrition and other problems of scarcity. Compassion might instigate sharing food with people, but sharing is much less effective than just producing more food. Otherwise humanity would not have survived the recent growth in population. Virtues do not increase productivity (at least not directly, and particularly not those championed by Hulme). But incentives do, as Adam Smith so nicely put in words: the baker does not produce his bread out of love for his Brothers and Sisters in Christ, but because he wants to make a living. People respond to incentives. Hulme is almost embarassingly falling behind Smith.

As world hunger, climate change is ultimately a problem of scarcity, of more and more humans populating a limited Earth, and such problems have never been solved by humility or love.

MikeR said...

"Ending violence can be achieved by just everybody not being violent. Thoroughly cultivating the virtue of love would be sufficient to achieve that. Violence is not a fundamental problem of the real world, but rather how humans tend to deal with each other."
Rather irrelevant in my opinion. Violence is ended when decent people prevent indecent people from being violent. WWII was not ended by cultivating virtue, but by millions of decent people giving their lives, and killing, millions of other people. It does not seem that it could have been successfully ended in any other way. The same was true of the Cold War, and many others.
Virtue is helpful, and essential, for interpersonal issues in a local community. It is almost useless for any macro problem you can name. Solutions are needed instead.

Let me try a simpler issue than climate change. Say tomorrow that astronomers announced that they have tracked the orbit of an asteroid, and it will hit the earth in 2060. It is big enough to create a Permian Extinction Event. Everyone can see it, and the orbit computations are simple enough for everyone to agree on them. What would happen? I would hope that all decent people and all sane governments would put aside other issues, and try to figure out how to stop the asteroid in time. They would argue about how to do it, but would agree that it must be done.

How is climate change different? It is different because, despite a clear consensus that humanity's CO2 is causing much of the current surface temperature rise, there is no consensus at all on how much temperature will rise, how bad that will be, much less on how effective mitigation could be, how much it would cost both in money and in slowing development in developing country, whether it is politically possible at all - or whether adaptation would work better.
I don't see that virtue plays a role in most of these questions. I just see a lot of supporters of AGW mitigation insisting that anyone who argues with them lacks virtue, and Mike Hulme trying to get them to change their presentation because it isn't working.

Leonard Weinstein said...

The comment by MikeR: "How is climate change different? It is different because, despite a clear consensus that humanity's CO2 is causing much of the current surface temperature rise," has been shown to be misinformation. While a large majority of less informed individuals and groups take that position, the actual scientists and well informed people are much more closely divided on that opinion. In fact, the last 17 years of not increasing temperature with still increasing CO2 , and even predictions by experts that a cooling trend is likely for the next several decades supports the truth that CAGW and even significant AGW is falsified compared to natural variation.

I have no problem attempting to look ahead to when fossil fuel become less available, and other sources of energy are needed, and I clearly thing other forms of pollution such as dirty rivers and smog need to be addressed, but claiming that CO2 is a clear bad thing is over reaching a long way.

Werner Krauss said...


thanks for your intervention, I am glad you made that argument! I had to think about it in this way, too, and didn't come to a conclusion. Anyway, here my current thoughts:

One should do justice to Mike Hulme and read his argument more closely. In his article, virtue does not replace politics; it is about "orthogonal interventions" - like the one by Sheila Jasanoff who asks for more humility in the climate debate. In doing so, she does not replace politics; instead, she warns of hybris and reminds us that we are still only humans.

For Mike Hulme, climate change is not only a technological or management problem (he ridicules the technological fix as "The Plan", as a quasi-religious "salvation project" itself). For him, climate change is also about virtue, and this is different from (or orthogonal to) politics / technology:

"I need to be clear. A focus on human virtue is not a political program. This is not techno-fix for climate change, no system for Earth governance, no exercise in social engineering. (...) those who were disappointed with my earlier book (...) because they interpreted it as evasive, will probably continue to be disappointed."

In my personal understanding, Mike Hulme's "virtue" is about the question of "attitude", about "heart & soul" behind any politics or management plan.

In our book, Hans and I argue that climate change is about the question "how we want to live"; this is the challenge climate change poses. Mike Hulme additionally asks "who we want to be". And he argues that these "orthogonal" questions are as important as the technological / political ones.

I hope I got this right. This apologetic is not an easy text, of course; it is a "structured argument", and as such it deserves close reading. But this does not mean that it does not deserve critique. I had similar thoughts like hvw concerning "ethnocentrism", a bias towards an Anglo-saxon world view (see his definition of "we": "by we I mean knowing politicians, scientists, entrepreneurs, campaigners, citizens" - where are the subsistence farmers, the landless, the unemployed, the "subaltern"); and there is, as Karl Kuhn remarks, a focus too strong on human-human relationships and a neglect of human - non-human relationships.

All in all, the question is not one of the best technological or political fix, but one about the attitude behind it. Consequently, the discussion should be about attitude, and not about another best "Plan" or another "salvation project". I think Mike Hulme is very courageous in addressing these questions, whether we agree with his interpretation or not (and additionally we get a concise, funny (!) and devastating critique of the current positivist science-based policy approach, "The plan").

Karl Kuhn,

I think there is also no "technological fix" for hunger; hunger is not about more food (only), it is about land possession, access to land, ownership of seeds, North and South and so is also a question of how we want to live and who we want to be.

@ReinerGrundmann said...

With this paper Mike Hulme aims to put the humanities on the map of climate change discourse. He does this through an argument which points to the limits of rational approaches, be they economic, political, technological or ethical. His suggestion is to look for the potential of emotions, the hidden intuitions, exemplified in concepts of belief, faith, love, hope. He explores the Ancient Greek notion of virtue for this exercise.

Hulme is absolutely right to point to the flaws of the dominant approach, or The Plan. Science is only one of many elements which underlie mankind’s dealing with the challenge of climate change. Faith, love and hope are powerful ingredients in humans daily lives, which also inform their political views and actions.

But he glosses over some important questions when introducing the Aristotelian virtue based ethics. This directs our attention to questions about the right kind of living, to questions about the good character and the good life, following the seminal work of Alastair Macintyre. Hulme mentions the difference between this view and a liberal (neo-Kantian, duty based ethics):

“Rather than deriving our principles of justice from behind an imagined Rawlsian veil of ignorance, which detaches and abstracts us from our social relationships and cultural commitments, MacIntyre’s virtue ethics commits us to derive our ethics from within these inter-human matrices of meaning and belonging.”

This is too brief to do justice to the Rawlsian theory of justice--one might say it offers no more than a caricature--and it does not tell the reader that there is a vast literature which addresses the issue of abstract principles v cultural embeddedness (since the 1980s there have been countless publications on liberal, republican, communitarian approaches in political philosophy). Prima facie it seems to be more plausible to expect people converging on just procedures (a la Rawls) rather than agreeing on the good life or good character. The complexities of modern societies pose many conflicting demands on its citizens, resulting in a differentiation of roles and the emergence of many role hybrids. Compared to Ancient Greece this makes an appeal to virtues rather abstract. (Maybe I am misreading Hulme here. Perhaps he only wanted to call for more debates about what a “good character” is—but then the question arises to what end we would do this).

End of part I

@ReinerGrundmann said...

Part II

Hulme is ambivalent about the ambition of his apologetic: on the one hand he says climate change cannot be solved, on the other hand he appeals to the virtues as a better way of dealing with the problem, of solving it. Especially telling is the Einstein quote on p307: “We can’t solve
problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when creating them”.

This also begs the question. Why can’t we solve the problems with the same kind of thinking which produced them? This aphorism from a famous authority is nothing more than this: an aphorism. There may be good reasons for believing in it; there are equally strong reasons to believe the opposite (it should be irrelevant that it was Einstein who allegedly said so).

The question comes to this: can the existing order of things (the “world”, “society”…) be changed through immanent critique, or do we need transcendental critique? One of the most powerful blueprints of radical critique, Marx’s theory of historical change, did not rely on transcendental arguments. The criticism of capitalism was based on its own logic. Marx believed in human self-realisiation as a driving force and this was incompatible with a static definition of the good life.

20th century sociologists have made similar arguments. Luhmann said that trying to speak to power in a language which cannot be understood by power is irrelevant to it. Political interventions into the economy are bound to fail if they do not deal with the mechanisms of the economy. The virtue based ethos of social communities will only work if it can make a difference in the realities which they encounter (and not in an alternative imagined world).

I fear that Hulme loses sight of the process in which practical responses are made, that he loses sight of the political. The question for him is one of how to produce good citizens while it should be one about decision making, and the associated questions about who should decide, and on what basis? What matters in this process is the representation of stakeholders in a process which is regarded as fair and just. Calls for more virtue or humility can have a shallow ring and appear idealistic. In the face of power one needs to know how to make a difference.

Putting the humanities on the map is important and we should be discussing the issues raised by this provocative intervention. I am not convinced that the particular approach offered here will carry us very far.

MikeR said...

@Leonard Weinstein "While a large majority of less informed individuals and groups take that position, the actual scientists and well informed people are much more closely divided on that opinion." I do not think so. I think you are projecting your own opinions; every survey I have seen, including Bray and von Storch, makes it clear that my statement is true among climate scientists.

Werner Krauss said...


not sure if you do justice to Mike Hulme: he explicitly says that (his appeal to) virtue does not replace politics. In my understanding, it is not about "producing the good citizen". It is about fighting and making decisions with "love" and "humility" in mind. (my translation of: virtue "orthogonal" to politics).

And, by the way, I doubt that the sociological language of governance - "just representation of stakeholders" or "decision making" - sounds less "shallow" or "idealistic". We are all stakeholders in the case of climate, so who are "we" and how can "we" be represented in a just way?

Thus, I consider it more interesting to discuss the cultural legacy of Christianity and the possible ethnocentrism (and elitism) inherent in Mike's conception of virtues. (And not losing the question of power out of sight, here I agree with you, of course.)

@ReinerGrundmann said...


it is quite possible that I misread his argument as it is not very clear at points. As you are giving a charitable interpretation i would ask you if you can give an example of the following: "It is about fighting and making decisions with "love" and "humility" in mind."

I can see the force of spiritual arguments in debates about stem cells, GMOs, and assisted suicide. Less so with regard to climate change. I am sceptical that a love of nature can inform "good", "wise" or "efficient" policies.

(BTW, much reminds me of Rudolf Bahro's journey from Green environmentalism to spiritualism).

There is perhaps also an ethnocentric bias in Mike's argument, but also a difference in perception from an English and German perspective. The former tends to stress the virtue and character of public figures, the latter the fairness of procedure and representation.

Mike Hulme said...

From Mike Hulme

Thanks to Klimazwiebel for initiating this interesting discussion on my latest article. I have quickly read through some of the comments, which demand a longer response that I can manage today. But a couple of quick comments for now:

- one critique is that my virtue-based argument is giving up on the political. Not so. Read many of my other writings about climate change. Any responses to climate change must be seen as political, before they are technical. But my point here is to argue that climate change (or, if you like, the idea of the Anthropocene) asks not just questions which must be resolved politically, but also raises questions about how we think of ourselves as human beings. This is where the humanities can help and this is why I drew attention to one strand of self-reflective thought which is about virtue and the purpose of Anthropos. Such self-reflection inescapably will affect the way we enter into political life - which we all must do, for sure. Werner is helpful here in emphasising my use of 'orthogonal' - I am *not* saying responding to climate change must be reduced to virtue; I *am* saying that virtue must be an element in framing and understanding our response to climate change.

My other comment for now is to draw attention to a writer I am only now just reading, the anthropologist Arjun Appadurai and his book 'The Future as Cultural Fact' (2013). His Chapter 15 is the key essay for me. Here he argues for anthropologists to explore the role of the imagination, hope (aspiration) and anticipation (risk calculi) in the human engagement with the future. He calls for an ethics of possibility over the calculus of probability. And by this I read a deliberation on the conditions of hope and human flourishing over and above the economics of risk (and disaster capitalism). This hits many of the same buttons I am pushing in my own essay (admittedly mine is an ethnocentric perspective - but we need different cultural narratives to enter into circulation, a plurality, as Arjun also recognises).

Mike Hulme

Werner Krauss said...

Mike, thanks for joining the discussion. I think this clarifies a lot!

@ReinerGrundmann said...


your intervention and clarification is much appreciated.

You refer to your previous work which emphasizes the political aspects. Agreed. But this new paper somehow opens up a new debate, shifting the attention to moral philosophy (or practical ethics).

You are "saying that virtue must be an element in framing and understanding our response to climate change."

To me it is not clear why this "must" be the case. There are other ways of conceptualizing a contribution from the humanities to climate change discourse which do not build on virtue ethics.

Werner Krauss said...


Sheila Jasanoff follows a similar line, I guess; she puts it into more sociological terms, but she also insists on the necessity of "ethics" when framing issues like climate change:

"To move public discussion of science and technology in new directions, I have suggested a need for ‘technologies of humility’, complementing the predictive ‘technologies of hubris’ on which we have lavished so much of our past attention. These social technologies would give combined attention to substance and process, and stress deliberation as well as analysis.
Reversing nearly a century of contrary development, these approaches to decision-making would seek to integrate the ‘can do’ orientation of science and engineering with the ‘should do’ questions of ethical and political
analysis. They would engage the human subject as an active, imaginative agent, as well as a source of knowledge, insight, and memory."

I understand Mike's article as delving deep into the meaning and his understanding of what "ethics" mean for him and in general.

Michael Cunningham said...

Since early childhood, honesty and integrity have been core values for me. For more than 40 years I have worked to develop understanding, compassion and loving kindness, and, through voluntary work, help others to do so. This helps me not only to lead a life which is good for me and good for others, it helps me to see things more clearly. My career as an economic policy adviser in the UK benefitted from these values, except in Queensland, where, I was told, my “honesty, integrity, intellect and analytical rigour” were seen as a threat by heads of departments.

This, plus my economics training and 72 years of widely-travelled life experience, gives me a framework in which to address issues of any kind. Global warming/climate change is one such issue. Unlike Hulme, I would not single it out, but treat it as I would any issue.

Hulme says, "in all the climate models I have examined, used and criticised over 30 years I have not yet come across a variable for love or an equation for calculating humility." Of course not, these things are incalculable and can not be input to equations. Nor should they be. To say that the virtues of wisdom, integrity, faith and hope, humility and love are “mark the most enduring response" to the challenge of climate change is nonsense. They are a basis for being, a basis for all responses, not “an enduring response to a challenge.”

I would also question Hulme’s focus on what he calls “the challenge of climate change.” Climate has always changed, and always will change. The whole nature of existence is change: everything in existence consists of particles arising and passing away with great rapidity, we face change constantly in our daily lives, and our success as a species derives from our capacity to deal well with change.

Too much to address in a short post – perhaps more later.

Michael Cunningham, aka Faustino, aka Genghis Cunn