[Strawbale] Straw bale building for cold weather?

Mark Bigland-Pritchard mark at lowenergydesign...
Fri Mar 2 18:58:56 CET 2007

NB:  This is a one-off posting.  Donald McHardy's post (quoted below) 
cannot go unchallenged, but I do not wish to enter into long debate on 
global warming on what is supposed to be a strawbale list.

I'm always curious as to why some people choose to take disproportionate 
notice of the tiny minority of climatologists who doubt climate change 
theory.  And ignore the vast majority of climatologists who endorse the 
theory because they are familiar with the piles and piles of 
painstakingly-accumulated and assessed evidence for it.

So, Donald, what's the reason in your case?  My initial hypothesis is 
that you are basically ignorant on the subject - don't get me wrong, 
that's not an insult - it's a specialist subject, and most people are 
deeply ignorant about it because they have never had the opportunity to 
study the science behind it and don't have enough mathematical skills to 
understand how climate modelling works.  There are very few people who 
are not ignorant in the way I am using the word.  For myself, I have 
experience in a related area of mathematical modelling, and I have a 
reasonable understanding of the underlying science, but I still consider 
myself ignorant because it is not my specialist area.

But you can maybe disprove that hypothesis by answering the following 
questions.  Have you read the IPCC reports which represent the 
scientific consensus on the issue?  Or just the apparently-plausible 
output of the climate change denial industry?  When you have read the 
latter, have your researched it to find out (a) who is funding it, and 
(b) what the credentials of the author are?  Have you attempted to get 
beyond the popular media treatment and learn some of the science?  If 
you have read the IPCC reports, can you present a coherent critique of 
the findings set out in them?  Which parameters in the mainstream 
climate models do you think are being handled inadequately, how would 
you change them, and why?  Which of the historic data used to test and 
refine the mainstream models is unreliable, and why?

Maybe you will demonstrate that you are not as ignorant as I think you 
are, Donald.  But if you are, I have to ask why you think you have a 
right to disagree with the overwhelming weight of expert opinion on the 

I also don't see what being a government employee has to do with this.  
Governments have no vested interest in taking the action required to 
mitigate climate change, as is shown by the lacklustre efforts of 
virtually every government in the world.  Your argument on this issue is 
unclear, Donald - no logical structure to it at all.

But in any case I have never heard of university researchers being 
pressured to take a line in favour of climate change theory.  What I 
have seen is reliable reports of the denial industry attempting to bribe 
them to cast doubt on the consensus, and of pressure by a senior US 
government official to the same end.  The denial industry (just like the 
tobacco and asbestos industries before it) is well-funded, thanks to 
Exxon and a few other companies (and well-connected in US government 
circles).  It is able to buy a few scientists over to its point of view, 
and fund a few others who were outside of the consensus anyway.  It also 
has a highly effective media operation, which has successfully taken 
advantage of the lack of scientific understanding of numerous 
journalists to get carefully-spun stories out in the public domain.  Now 
I think that their scepticism probably does some good in ensuring that 
mainstream theory is even more carefully examined and checked than it 
would otherwise have been.  And as a scientist I am all in favour of 
scepticism, but for goodness sake apply your scepticism to this 
massively funded financially- and ideologically-motivated operation, not 
just to mainstream scientific theory.

I will not post again on this subject on the list, which should be about 
strawbale, and quite honestly I have better things to do with my time 
than argue with climate change deniers.  But, Donald, if you can give 
good answers to my questions above, I will be genuinely interested to 
hear them.

donald mchardy wrote:

>> "Promotion of Straw Bale Building for the Climate Change Mitigation".
> Is this climate change warming or cooling?
> people, people, people...
> We all have to realise that if there is any global warming, it's 
> likely due to the sun, not humans.
> But in any case, the earth may be cooling rather than warming (and 
> those old enough to recall have to remember that the "big threat" 
> 30-40 years ago was global cooling)
> http://www.iceagenow.com/List_of_Expanding_Glaciers.htm
> http://www.predictweather.com/global_warming/index.asp
> http://www.fcpp.org/main/publication_detail.php?PubID=864
> and many, many, many others
> If we are to discuss and talk about thermal properties wrt strabale or 
> anything else, we ought to have a working knowledge of the facts *as 
> they are known*.
> What we do have is imminent peak oil and a global resource grab for 
> what is left. Either government can educate the populace about peak 
> oil and precipitate strong social "activity" or babble about global 
> warming, promote pliability and leave avenues open for even greater 
> population control and erosion of personal freedoms, all in the name 
> of eg "fighting terrorism"?
> Remember any meteorologist/scientist who works for a university is a 
> government emplyee. Any meteorologist/scientist who works for a large 
> media/news organisation is effectively a government employee. ergo 
> they will tow the line for fear of losing their job. It is happening 
> already.
> Straw-bale has great thermal properties, it is beautiful to live in, 
> it's even fun to build and can forever be extended, changed around or 
> whatever. But we are not building these things to prevent global warming.
> </rant>
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