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Updated on Apr 24, 2014 by Registered CommenterBishop Hill

Ed Davey has announced a further expansion of the government's renewable energy scheme, with eight new projects unveiled, blanketing the UK's waters with wind turbines. These projects are apparently so enormous that they will, on their own, produce a noticeable rise in household electricity bills of some 2%. The rise in industrial electricity prices that will result and which must also be absorbed by consumers - something like the same amount again - goes unstated.

Interestingly, the argument that renewables are cheap have gone out of the window. Instead, with Ukraine in the news on a daily basis, Davey is emphasising energy security:

Mr Davey defended the cost, arguing that these kind of low-carbon projects were essential to boost energy security and battle climate change.

Click to read more ...



Ian Plimer has a new book on the way, one that seems to take a fairly strong poke at the environmentalist fraternity. Here's the flyer.

The processes required to make a humble stainless steel teaspoon are remarkably complicated and every stage involves risk, coal, energy, capital, international trade and finance. Stainless steel cutlery has taken thousands of years of experimentation and knowledge to evolve and the end result is that we can eat without killing ourselves with bacteria. We are in the best times to have ever lived on planet Earth and the future will only be better. All this we take for granted.

Greens may have started as genuine environmentalists. Much of the green movement has now morphed into an unelected extremist political pressure group accountable to no one. Greens create problems, many of which are concocted, and provide no solutions because of a lack of basic knowledge. This book examines green policies in the light of established knowledge and shows that they are unrealistic. 

Policies by greens adopted by supine governments have resulted in rising costs, increased taxes, political instability, energy poverty, decreased longevity and environmental degradation and they don’t achieve their ideological aims. Wind, solar and biomass energy emit more carbon dioxide than they save and reduction of carbon dioxide emissions does nothing to change climate and only empties the pocket. No stainless steel teaspoon could be made using green “alternative energy”.
This book argues that unless the greens live sustainably in caves in the forest and use no trappings of the modern world, then they should be regarded as hypocrites and treated with the disdain they deserve.


From another age

Sheila Jasanoff is reckoned one of the great thinkers about science and technology and her writings therefore tend to command instant interest. Her latest piece is on societal responses to climate change and can be seen here.

It's hugely disappointing, and not simply because of a rather superficial understanding of the state of climate science:

The causal connection between human activity and the warming of the earth's mean surface temperatures has strengthened from quite tentative to "extremely likely" over a quarter century.

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Pluralism - an explanation for greens

This letter was sent by Steven Landsburg, professor of economics at the University of Rochester and the author of several popular books on the subject, to his daughter's teacher. It concerns the school's attempts to indoctrinate the girl in environmentalism. The letter forms part of an article by Landsburg in which he discusses the need for pluralism and respect for those with different views, noting how these environmentalists seem to fail on both counts. This is also worth a read for those with the time.

Dear Rebecca:

When we lived in Colorado, Cayley was the only Jewish child in her class. There were also a few Moslems. Occasionally, and especially around Christmas time, the teachers forgot about this diversity and made remarks that were appropriate only for the Christian children. These remarks came rarely, and were easily counteracted at home with explanations that different people believe different things, so we chose not to say anything at first. We changed our minds when we overheard a teacher telling a group of children that if Santa didn't come to your house, it meant you were a very bad child; this was within earshot of an Islamic child who certainly was not going to get a visit from Santa. At that point, we decided to share our concerns with the teachers. They were genuinely apologetic and there were no more incidents. I have no doubt that the teachers were good and honest people who had no intent to indoctrinate, only a certain naïveté derived from a provincial upbringing.

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Cue outrage

For those that can get behind the Times paywall, Matt Ridley has a good review of the state of play on the climate debate in the aftermath of the IPCC reports.

These IPCC and OECD reports are telling us clear as a bell that we cannot ruin the climate with carbon dioxide unless we get a lot more numerous and richer. And they are also telling us that if we get an awful lot richer, we are likely to have invented the technologies to adapt, and to reduce our emissions, so we are then less likely to ruin the planet. Go figure.

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Climate Control in the NYT

The Montford/Shade climate control report gets a mention in a New York Times article on climate change education.

In Britain, the Global Warming Policy Foundation, an organization of climate change skeptics, has accused schools of brainwashing students with political indoctrination similar to that in Mao Zedong’s China.

“The education system, subverted by a green political movement, now seeks conformity with environmentalist orthodoxy,” the foundation warned in a report this month. Politicians, it said, are “effectively handing much of the curriculum to green activists.”

The whole article is worth a look, but would be much stronger if it addressed the question of whether "sustainable development", a political (and somewhat nebulous) concept, is the correct starting point for children's education.


A debate!

The Institute of Art and Ideas recently held a debate which was a bit of a shocker in that it included people who are less than convinced that we are about to fry. Bob Carter needs little introduction of course, but alongside him were atmospheric physicist Michael McIntyre and science writer and climatologist Richard Corfield, none of whom would fall into the eco-catastrophe camp. The debate was chaired by Gabrielle Walker, familiar to readers here as co-author of David King's dodgy book on climate. This is really very good stuff. (The embedding doesn't seem to work for me - direct link here).



Celebrating bad science

When the House of Commons Energy and Climate Change Committee considered the Fifth Assessment Report a few months ago I was surprised when chairman Tim Yeo asked witnesses about the Hockey Stick. Although central to the Third Assessment and still relevant to the Fourth, I was of the view that its importance had now waned as all but the activist parts of the climatological community seem to have quietly accepted its methodological...ahem...peculiarities.

Like so many of his colleagues, Brian Hoskins seemed unable to say clearly that the Hockey Stick was wrong but, with a wonderful sirhumphreyish circumlocution, allowed the committee to understand that this was in fact the case:

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Order of battle

Anthony has a interesting discussion thread, asking whether sceptics in the US need an organisation - like GWPF here in the UK - that can be the first port of call for those looking for a sceptic point of view.

People like Lewandowsky were able to make their claims stick because with climate skepticsm, it is all about that personal journey, there’s no organization, no policy statement, no cohesiveness of opinion that anyone can point to and say “this is what climate skeptics endorse”. While there’s strength in that heterogeneity, there’s also a weakness in that it allows people like Lewandowsky to brand climate skeptics as he sees fit.

So after some years of thinking about this, I’d like to ask this simple question:

Is it time for an “official” climate skeptics organization, one that produces a policy statement, issues press releases, and provides educational guidance?

Do we need a proper order of battle, or should we persist with guerilla warfare?


Greens turn violent

It was really just a matter of time before the violence that has always been latent in the environmentalist movement spilled out into open view. Last night it seems that one of the "usual suspects" at the anti-fracking protests could no longer maintain the pretence of "peaceful protest". The following press release was issued on behalf of Dart Energy a couple of hours ago.


19 April 2014

Violent protest at Daneshill Road drill site Nottinghamshire

Dart Energy's site manager was this morning assaulted by a protestor as he attempted to gain access to the site. This violent act followed a night of masked protestors circling the drilling site screaming and shouting abuse, throwing objects at Security Personnel and causing criminal damage.

Click to read more ...


The BBC's great confidence trick

The Australian Attorney General George Brandis, a confirmed upholder of the climate change consensus, has lashed out at the large numbers of his fellow-travellers who seek to silence dissenters.

He said one of the main motivators for his passionate defence of free speech has been the “deplorable” way climate change has been debated and he was “really shocked by the sheer authoritarianism of those who would have excluded from the debate the point of view of people who were climate-change deniers”.

“One side [has] the orthodoxy on its side and delegitimises the views of those who disagree, rather than engaging with them intellectually and showing them why they are wrong,” he said.

He referred to [Opposition leader Penny Wong] as standing up in the Senate and saying the science is settled as an example of climate change believers trying to shut down the debate.

“In other words, ‘I am not even going to engage in a debate with you.’ It was ignorant, it was medieval, the approach of these true believers in climate change,” he said.

Click to read more ...


Tol tiff

Brandon Shollenberger and Richard Tol are having an interesting tiff over some late changes to Tol's chapter of the Working Group II report. Shollenberger accuses Tol of promoting his own work and of changing the tenor of the chapter after the final review had taken place.

On Twitter, Tol says that Shollenberger has it all wrong:

the SOD figure has 7 studies (Tol 1/7), the FGD one has 18 (Tol 2/18): 1/9 < 1/7

that's not true: section was changed in response to comments and extensively re-reviewed after.

This should all make for a pretty good dust-up in coming days. If nothing else it suggests that despite the Interacademy Council's review of the IPCC's procedures, the way Pachauri et al go about their work is still wide open to criticism.



Goodbye to all that - Josh 272

Click for a larger image

As many know I have a bit of a 'glass half full' opinion on the state of climate science and with the recent IPCC offerings along with activist mutterings of 'we are all heading for a cliff' type alarmism and calls for Climate Scientist strike action, I imagined this view of where we/they are at.

Happy Easter!

Cartoons by Josh


Sinnickal critique

Talking of publicly funded political activism in universities, Talking Climate, an activist blog that receives funds from the University of Nottingham, has issued a response to the Climate Control report on green education in schools,  authored by a biology teacher named Luke Sinnick. I can't say I'm very impressed. Take this, for example:

[Montford and Shade] start with the sug­ges­tion that pro­moting envir­on­mental aware­ness entails “the cor­rup­tion of the cur­riculum in schools in sup­port of a rad­ical world­view that is almost cer­tainly at odds with the majority view in our society”. However, there are repeated polls showing that the ‘majority view’ is that human activity is affecting the cli­mate and that levels of con­cern about the effects of cli­mate change remain high.

Click to read more ...


The hand that feeds bites back

From time to time I make the observation that many university lecturers are little more than public-funded left-wing political activists, their teaching time devoted to making left-wing activists out of their students, their research devoted to finding ever more dubious reasons for state intervention in the economy and the lives of the people who pay their salaries.

It's the same everywhere of course, and in the USA the Republicans seem to have decided to do something about it.

The Frontiers in Innovation, Research, Science, and Technology Act would cut National Science Foundation funding for research in the social, behavioral and economic sciences by roughly 22 percent.

The measure was introduced by House Science, Space and Technology Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas) and Rep. Larry Bucshon (R-Ind.) in March.

I struggle to think of any other way in which you could prevent the political corruption of universities. I'm not even sure that a wholly privatised university sector that raised its funding solely from the private sector would be entirely immune.