2C: ‘An ivory-tower view of life’

Oliver Geden‘s bold article on 2C in Nature continues in the line Richard Tol highlighted many months ago: the make-believe world of international climate negotiations is running headlong toward the terrain of the impossible.

As expected, scientivist and activist ‘communities’ wasted no time exploding in disbelief and Scientific American wasted no time collecting the reactions. Here is one of them:

Others, like Tom Burke, founding director of U.K.-based environmental group E3G, dismissed the Nature piece as “an ivory-tower view of life” that focuses on what is being said in academic literature rather than what is happening on the ground …

E3G is a climate activist organization founded by the physicist-turned-diplomat-turned-climate preacher John Ashton. (some of whose Yeats-influenced climate poetry can be seen here).

E3G celebrated its 10th anniversary in existence recently. Here are some pictures:

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Here are their sponsors…


Here are their partners…


Here is a full listing of sponsors:

  1. Climateworks  Foundation
  2. The Energy Foundation
  3. Greenpeace
  4. Avaaz
  5. DECC UK
  6. Planet Heritage Foundation
  8. WWF
  9. EDF
  10. Esmee Fairbairn Foundation
  11. ECF
  12. Kudos
  13. NRDC
  14. Germanwatch
  15. Stiftung Mercator
  16. Rockefeller Brothers Fund
  17. Shell Foundation
  18. Zennstrom Philanthropies
  19. The Climate Group
  20. Norden
  21. Climate Strategies
  22. Arcadia
  23. Barrow Cadbury Trust
  24. RAP
  25. The Children’s Investment Fund Foundation
  26. Ecofin Research Foundation
  27. IDDRI
  28. Doris Duke Foundation
  29. The Greens in the European Parliament
  30. Trust For London
  31. Foreign and Commonwealth Office UK
  32. Oak Foundation
  33. ADB
  34. Climate and Development Knowledge Network
  35. The European Commission

The mind reels at contemplating how Tom Burke of E3G could think anyone to be dwelling in ivory-towers. E3G produces no goods, provides no services and lives on donations – academics do much, much better.

Don’t underestimate E3G though – it has housed or churned out a steady stream of climate activists who are adept in applying pressure on individuals and countries. In their colourful brochures they take credit for everything from the Kyoto Protocol to banning coal-plants in the UK.

There you have it – 2C in a nutshell – people living ivory towers and rooftop champagne-party bubbles, fighting with each other to impose costs on the rest of the world.



  1. manicbeancounter

    I have just read Oliver Geden’s article. It might be bold in the context of climatology, but in the real world it is waffle. As a beancounter, I believe in properly breaking down the figures and devising budgets.

    The IPCC Synthesis report page 10 gives the real context of the 2C of warming.
    “The 2C of warming comes from cumulative emissions since 1870 of 2900 GtCO2 (with a range of 2550 to 3150 GtCO2 depending on non-CO2 drivers). About 1900 GtCO2 had already been emitted by 2011.”

    Annual GHG emissions are about 50 GtCO2 (page 5), increasing by 2-3% a year. Assuming a mega agreement in Paris in December, the target is to cap cumulative future emissions (i.e. from Jan 2016) to between 6.7 and 18.3 years of forecast 2015 emissions (or 400-1000 GtCO2). China, on pure CO2 emissions, produces about 10 GtCO2 a year and that is growing. It has said that growth will stop by by 2030, by which time it will have emitted 200 GtCO2 from 2016. India has no such firm targets, preferring economic growth based on fossil fuels. By 2030 India will have emitted 60 GtCO2. USA on current (reducing) trends 70 GtCO2; the rest of the OECD 75 GtCO2; ex Warsaw Pact countries 55 GtCO2; Africa 25 GtCO2; Rest of Asia 95 GtCO2; and ROW (mostly Central & South America) 35 GtCO2. Other GHG emissions (if unchanged) would be 225 GtCO2.
    Total emissions by 2030 are 840 GtCO2
    Lowering these forecasts to country level, you can start create proper planning by giving each country its budgeted share of cumulative emissions as a basis for negotiation for the climate talks. If any country does not play ball, then it is up to the others to make up the difference. The precautionary principle of course dictates that that talks should aim for the 400GtCO2 cumulative emissions figure. Naturally Britain will lead the way, so this is the last year of fossil fuel emissions. 2016 is the first year zero.

    This might be why Geden is talking about future negative emissions.

  2. Graeme

    I counted 3 Government departments among the sponsors, DEFRA and DECC! Why are taxpayers’ funds supporting activist organisations? Perhaps letters should be written to MPs .

  3. Shub Niggurath

    manic, Paris will come into force, if any agreement is reached, by 2020. That will be the starting year.

    Graeme, it is a well-known fact of environmental activism that governments pay out non-governmental organizations to lobby them back.