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« Fighting funding | Main | Wind Energy: to the nearest whole number - Josh 156 »

All change

Further evidence of the decline influence of green extremism in the UK, with two news stories today. The Mail on Sunday reports that a go-ahead appears likely for Cuadrilla to resume shale gas exploration in Lancashire. Work was suspended after some minor earth tremors were reported.

Meanwhile, hot off the presses is the news that the UK will oppose the idea of the EU producing a new renewables target for 2030 - the existing one runs out in 2020. Given the damage that greens - including those in the Conservative, Labour and Liberal Democrat parties -  have done to the UK economy already, this is probably wise, or at least not quite so extraordinarily foolish as previously.

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Reader Comments (42)

Slowly, slowly the Green Terror is receding. Its hard to discern in the hurly burly of day-to-day events, but the Alarmists have had only a few minor victories and many many defeats since those heady days just before Copenhagen two and a bit years ago.

When the history of these manic times gets to be written, the narrator will pinpoint Copenhagen as the turning point. With complete victory almost in their hands, they failed. And its been a gradual downhill slide for them ever since.

We can only give thanks to whatever deity we believe in - or even to Lady Luck - that it snowed so hard that week, that the organisation of the shindig left a lot to be desired, and - of course - that FOIA (may all the blessings be upon him) chose that moment to release Climategate 1.

And of course, great credit to our host here for his fine piece of forensic historical narrative, The Hockey Stick Illusion.

But whoever writes it and however the story is told, Wellington's remark after Waterloo is still most appropriate

'It has been a damned nice thing — the nearest run thing you ever saw in your life'

I see no way back now for the Alarmists. They have no new weapons, They have shot their bolt and it has failed. For them, just the long painful process of decline into irrelevance.

Mar 11, 2012 at 9:37 PM | Unregistered CommenterLatimer Alder

'according to a leaked document seen by the Guardian'

Is that leaked or Gleiked?

Mar 11, 2012 at 10:01 PM | Registered CommenterPharos

I think there has been far too much celebration of success doing the rounds of late. It's premature. In Churchillian terms, it's not even the end of the beginning. It's barely a start.

Sure, if our scepticism is borne out we have inevitability on our side. But do not think for a moment that the fanatics will just accept things. They will fight dirty, because this is their life project. The Empire will strike back and we need to be prepared.

Mar 11, 2012 at 10:07 PM | Unregistered CommenterGixxerboy

Some crazy logic here:

Industry experts and green groups said that nuclear power and the fledgling renewables industry would not compete on a level playing field, because nuclear technology has benefited from more than six decades of public subsidy, while renewable power has had its support slashed.

So what ? This is playground stuff - shouting "UNFAIR" when something is better than something else.

And it's impossible to take anyone seriously when they mention "tidal power".

Mar 11, 2012 at 10:43 PM | Unregistered CommenterJack Hughes

I'm with gixxerboy, it's too early to see a victory, we, who generally speaking spend our lives doing lots of other things, are faced with opponents who believe humans are evil and a blight on the ecosphere and spend their lives campaigning. They won't give up easily, they'll be lobbying hard next week and the week after, and our politicians won't change course easily, unless they're going to lose their jobs. To put this in perspective only three MPs voted against the Climate Change Act. We have a mountain to climb, and the only way we'll get near to climbing it in the short term is to threaten the jobs of the docile numbskulls who went through the lobby to give us this infamous act of agression against the people of Britain. And they won't care if their jobs are secure. And they are because most people aren't interested enough to challenge the "consensus" science. We will win, but I suspect most on this blog won't be around to savour the victory, because it will take at least a decade, probably more.

We will win in the long term, but those who have decided humans are evil will get away scot free.

Mar 11, 2012 at 11:24 PM | Unregistered Commentergeronimo

In the end; whenever that may be, it will be the climate that will be their undoing. The very thing that they thought they could tame. Their biggest mistake was to be seduced by their own advertising and that will be their downfall. The shear audacity, thinking that it was possible to fully understand and manipulate the earth's climate is without doubt the biggest single disaster that has fallen mankind. The terrible waste of resourses which have been redirected from those people and projects in most need of help right now, can never be justified .This period in the history of man will no doubt be erased from the history books because in thirty years time, it will not be believed.

Mar 11, 2012 at 11:29 PM | Unregistered Commenterpesadia

Stealing, er some of your thunder, [if I may] Latimer Alder:

Hard pounding, gentlemen. Let's see who pounds the longest.

Field Marshal Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington.

Mar 12, 2012 at 12:05 AM | Unregistered CommenterAthelstan.

@Gixxerboy Mar 11, 2012 at 10:07 PM

But do not think for a moment that the fanatics will just accept things. They will fight dirty, because this is their life project. The Empire will strike back and we need to be prepared.

Gixxer, I don't disagree. And in Gleickgate as well as the shoddy "scholarship" seen in the recent Portrait of the Artist as an Aggrieved Mann we have already seen some examples of them "fighting dirty". The lionization of both Gleick and Mann (not to mention the recent highly inappropriate rehabilitation/reincarnation of Gleick as a mere "water expert" - instead of water, climate and "integrity of science" expert) in the MSM suggests that we still have an uphill battle.

But ... consider what's happened in the years since CG1. With each new scandal on the alarmist side, I think that probably more and more people are doing their own "due diligence" which is leading them to more rational conclusions than the alarmists and activists/advocates would like.

As Fred Pearce had noted as early as December 2009:

I have been speaking to a PR operator for one of the world’s leading environmental organizations. Most unusually, he didn’t want to be quoted. But his message is clear. The facts of the e-mails barely matter any more. It has always been hard to persuade the public that invisible gases could somehow warm the planet, and that they had to make sacrifices to prevent that from happening. It seemed, on the verge of Copenhagen, as if that might be about to be achieved.

But he says all that ended on Nov. 20. “The e-mails represented a seminal moment in the climate debate of the last five years, and it was a moment that broke decisively against us. I think the CRU leak is nothing less than catastrophic.” [emphasis added -hro]

In the intervening years, can you think of any "successes" that they've had?! From where I'm sitting, they seem to go from bad to worse.

And perhaps the clearest sign of this descent is their latest "high level" volley: Sustainia mania!

Gore seems to have been dumped as the figurehead of choice in favour of Schwarzenneger! And behind him there's a triumvirate consisting of so-called "sustainability leaders":

The EU’s Hedegaard,

The many-hatted Pachauri

“Ms. Sustainability” Brundtland (whose public profile has been somewhat muted for quite some time)

Meanwhile, the UNFCCC's Figueres is echoing and amplifying the UN's "The Report of the High-level Panel on Global Sustainability" - as well as "Sustania" mania - by throwing temper tantrums because no countries have coughed up any money for the Durban initiative's "Green Climate Fund":

(Reuters) - Ordinary people are not putting enough pressure on governments to deliver a legally binding deal on cutting greenhouse gas emissions, the U.N.'s climate chief said.

"There is not enough well up from the bottom up. I don't see millions of citizens demanding climate action," Christiana Figueres, executive secretary of the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change, said at a lecture on Friday.

"The reality we have to deal with is the process is very slow and the urgency is every day growing. The only way out is to continue to push on the government side but we can't depend 100 percent on governments because they can't deliver the 100 percent."

This could be construed as a "dog whistle" to the UN's ever-increasing kennel of NGOs with accredited "consultative status" to unleash the footsoldiers of "civil society".

Yes, they're ramping up, but they seem to be more and more divorced from reality (i.e. there's NO MONEY in the kitty!) with each passing day!

IMHO, they've already over-played the rhetoric card for far too long ... Certainly "the science" isn't helping them. Seems to me that rhetoric is all they've got left in their arsenal. And their "Sustainia" rhetoric is, well, not sustainable :-)

Mar 12, 2012 at 1:15 AM | Unregistered CommenterHilary Ostrov


Thanks for introducing me to the mania of Sustainia! They really are barking, aren't they? I would have hoped for better from Arnie but maybe he overdid the 'roids.

Oh well. Box on....

Mar 12, 2012 at 1:55 AM | Unregistered CommenterGixxerboy

I can think of some.
The Australian government implemented into law a Carbon Tax. It's yet to be implemented, but it is on the books.
I'm sure there are some laws which England and other countries created since Copenhagen, but it is a dying trend now at least.

Sustainability however, is alive and well.

Mar 12, 2012 at 4:56 AM | Unregistered CommenterGreg Cavanagh

first sign Europe might have to back off:

11 March Financial Times: Delay EU carbon levy, says air industry
By Peter Marsh in London, Joshua Chaffin in Brussels and Simon Rabinovitch in Beijing
A spokesman for Connie Hedegaard, Europe’s climate commissioner, reiterated the bloc’s determination to press ahead with the scheme next year, but added the EU was “keen on exploring the different possibilities and flexibility that the legislation allows”…

11 March: Reuters: French aerospace firms want help on China -report
(Reporting by Lionel Laurent; Editing by Christian Plumb)
European plane-maker Airbus has teamed up with French flag-carrier Air France and supplier Safran to call for France’s help in resolving tensions with China over the European Union’s controversial carbon emissions tax, which they say is threatening orders, French daily Les Echos said.

Mar 12, 2012 at 5:08 AM | Unregistered Commenterpat

What I don't quite follow is how can the news that the UK will oppose the idea of the EU producing a new renewables target for 2030 fit in with the fact that Poland was apparently the only 1 of 27 European countries to reject the EU’s climate roadmap at a conference of Environment Ministers in Brussels on Friday?

Is this another case of the government wanting you believe one thing (i.e. that they are opposed to strengthening the renewables target) while in fact not having the balls to stand up to the EU?

Or are we talking about something completely different here?

Mar 12, 2012 at 6:22 AM | Registered Commentermatthu

I'm sure the government can 'oppose' as much as it likes. Much good that will do it.

Mar 12, 2012 at 7:30 AM | Unregistered Commenterbill

The BBC is still full-on in supporting the climate change mantra. Yesterday we had the final sentences of the programme "Orbit: Earth's Extarordinary Journey" telling us that the Arctic had warmed up very quickly over the last 20 years and that it would never be the same again due to man-made climate change. Also we had John Craven on Countryfile prattling on about our carbon footprint and how we could reduce it to stop global warming. He even had some "expert" in carbon footprint telling us how we should change our lifestyle to save the planet. The BBC is still in full alarmism mode, despite the odd chink of realism that slips through (Andrew Marr for example yesterday questioned Ed Davey on the uselessness of wind turbines). For the BBC, clearly the science is settled and green extremism still reigns supreme..

Mar 12, 2012 at 7:35 AM | Unregistered CommenterPhillip Bratby

An excellent article by Gerald Warner in Scotland on Sunday, which shows its worth by attracting, in spades, the usual trolls.

Mar 12, 2012 at 7:46 AM | Unregistered CommenterHuhneToTheSlammer

Latimer Alder:

I see no way back now for the Alarmists. They have no new weapons, They have shot their bolt and it has failed. For them, just the long painful process of decline into irrelevance.

I agree - although the process will also be long and painful for their many victims.

Another sign of the times is that, when a good sample of "climate scientists" recently took part in a reasonably well constructed and conducted and quite searching opinion survey (see my recent posts at "Unthreaded"), well under 30% said they thought global warming is happening and is man-made and serious. I suspect, however, that a proper survey - unlike the daft Doran [98% of climate scientists believe ...] survey - would, had it been conducted before, have had a similar result.

Mar 12, 2012 at 7:49 AM | Registered CommenterRobin Guenier


(...) Poland was apparently the only 1 of 27 European countries to reject the EU’s climate roadmap at a conference of Environment Ministers in Brussels on Friday?

Poland seems to be well on the way to becoming the most prosperous of the 27. That will give them clout.

Mar 12, 2012 at 7:58 AM | Unregistered CommenterJohn in France

Mar 11, 2012 at 10:07 PM Gixxerboy

I think there has been far too much celebration of success doing the rounds of late. It's premature.

It has many, many True Believers who are not going to renounce their Faith and belief in The Science. Plus many, many people whose comfortable living depens on its perpetuation. Add in a generation of indoctrinated schoolchild and don't forget the many rich and powerful who benefit from its perpetuation.

I think The Great Delusion will still be going strong long after most who post here are no longer around. The fact that climate catastrophe has not happened be taken as proof of how essential the meaures were.

Mar 12, 2012 at 8:23 AM | Unregistered CommenterMartin A

GE are still sucking on the teat of AGW, once on the subsidy train its difficult to get off until it chases.

GE rejects Republicans’ climate change doubts

“We found enough data there to have a company like GE respond and we have responded,” said Mark Vachon, head of the “ecomagination” sustainable business initiative GE launched in that year. He said revenues generated by operations in his portfolio now totalled $100bn and were growing at more than twice the rate of those in the rest of the company.

Mar 12, 2012 at 8:52 AM | Registered CommenterBreath of Fresh Air

We all know what this government means when it says it will oppose some new EU measure. Would anyone buy a used veto from David Cameron?

Mar 12, 2012 at 9:55 AM | Unregistered CommenterRoy

BoFA it would be interesting to know how much of these $100 billion "ecoimagination" revenues are true sales at market price and how much comes from subsidies or other taxpayer-funded market distortions. From Enron onwards these people have been quick to spot the rents that can be generated from green posturing.

Mar 12, 2012 at 10:17 AM | Unregistered CommenterDavid S

The sad part about the shale gas tremors is the way the boss of Cuadrilla talks about the problem in the Daily Mail:

"Chief executive Mark Miller has said Cuadrilla is ready to put in place a ‘traffic light’ system to prevent a repeat of the two small earthquakes that shook the area last year"
Since when has a tremor that can hardly be detected on seismographs become an 'earthquake'?

And Philip Bratby: You beat me to it about the BBC's new 'science' program, Orbit. If it wasn't for the fact that I was looking forward to watching MOTD2, which followed, Kate Humble and the TV would have been out the window! And I've given up watching Countryfile because of the egregious John Craven - who seems to think he is still talking to children.

Mar 12, 2012 at 10:24 AM | Registered CommenterHarry Passfield

In the Cuadrilla article the British Geological Survey says there is only 18 months supply of shale gas in the UK, whilst the US says we have 56 years. My point is that I was recently doing some research into coal supply and back in the NCB days they estimated we had tens of billions of tonnes of coal reserves, where as when the Conservative government was trying to close the mines the British Geological Survey said there were only a few millions tonnes available. It seems the BGS say what the government want them to say and the message changes to suit the prevailing view.

Mar 12, 2012 at 10:51 AM | Unregistered CommenterMactheknife

I wonder if Cuadrilla's neighbours would describe the earth tremors as minor.

Mar 12, 2012 at 10:56 AM | Unregistered CommenterHengist McStone

Re the Cuadrilla earth tremors, the first measured 2.3 on the Richter scale and the second was 1.5. Wikipedia tells us that there are an estimated 1,300,000 tremors per year measuring 2.0 - 2.9, and describes them as being "generally not felt but recorded". As for tremors measuring less than 2.00, these are described as "not felt" and "continual".

To put this in perspective, the big earthquake last year in north-eastern Japan measured 8.9 on the Richter scale. In Japan, I imagine the news that some people in Britain are worried about earth tremors of magnitude 2.3 or 1.5 might be met with wry amusement.

The British Geological Survey has a record of the earthquakes that have been recorded over the last 50 days in the UK - it shows 23 of them, ranging from 3.2 down to 0.9. It looks like a tremor measuring 2.3 would be pretty routine for some parts of the UK.

Mar 12, 2012 at 11:39 AM | Unregistered CommenterAlex Cull

The only game changer I can foresee is when blackouts have people shivering in the dark.
Not long to wait, now.
Of course, we can rely on the Thermageddonists to claim that they are caused by global warming.
But the accurate perception that windmills are useless is now quite widespread. And people looking forward to watching Coronhorror or Strictly Come X Factor won't be amused when the power goes off and they can see the whirligigs standing idle.

Mar 12, 2012 at 12:47 PM | Unregistered CommenterMartin Brumby

If you want to see how long it takes for a truly daft idea to die....I was going to say, take a look at Comprehensive 'Education', except of course its still not dead, just re-branded, still denying life-chances to children in the name of 'fairness' or whatever this week's Lefty buzzword is. So yes, AGW has taken a few knocks of late, but don't even begin to think its all over, and don't underestimate its ability to restore itself with a bit of rebranding. When Leftyism meets money, powerful forces are put into play.

Mar 12, 2012 at 1:56 PM | Unregistered CommenterBill

Read Alex Cull's post under yours. Nobody gives a rat's ass what you "wonder" and Cuadrilla's "neighbours" have put up with that level of seismic activity for generations without worrying. If you really want an answer to your question why don't you take a wander round the Vale of Bowland and ask.
I'm sure we'd all be happy to see your research results — peer-reviewed, of course.

Mar 12, 2012 at 4:53 PM | Registered CommenterMike Jackson

Since a 2.3 level tremor is about the same level as the vibration caused by a truck or bus driving past a house, I'd imagine their neighbours know just what it feels like. i.e. nothing.

Mar 12, 2012 at 5:56 PM | Unregistered CommenterChuckles

Level 2.3? That's about as bad as the night mail crossing the border.

In the farm she passes no one wakes,
But a jug in the bedroom gently shakes.

Mar 12, 2012 at 7:19 PM | Registered CommenterDreadnought

Wasn't a 2.3 first recorded in "For Whom the Bell Tolls" ?

Mar 12, 2012 at 7:33 PM | Unregistered Commenterj ferguson

Every week when Monday comes round, off to the Fylde I go.
Where there’s gas lying deep underground. Just where to drill I know.
Far beneath the daisy roots, in my hardhat and a pair of boots
In my little bed of Blackpool Rock, I have plenty of gas for all.
It may get tricky but I never complain, I whip out my drill string and I try it again.
Under the hill, wherever I drill, the folks all round me flock.

Sometimes up to the drilling site the Missus I’ll take
One night when we were frakking, she felt the ground shake.
I didn’t like to tell her it was just an earthquake
In my little bed of Blackpool Rock.

With apologies to George Formby:

Mar 12, 2012 at 9:23 PM | Unregistered CommenterDreadnought

They've had quite a few very minor earthquakes on Islay (Inner Hebrides) this year; the biggest was 2.8:

Note the conspicuous lack of panic.

Mar 12, 2012 at 9:24 PM | Unregistered CommenterAlex Cull

Probably thought it was the whisky bubbling in the distilleries. ]:<)

Mar 12, 2012 at 9:59 PM | Unregistered CommenterMike Jackson


I have never seen the words 'traffic lights' and 'earthquake' together before. Conjoined as they are here, they reassure me that the shale gas exploration is very much on.

Mar 12, 2012 at 10:15 PM | Unregistered CommenterLuther Bl't

Hengist - they probably did not notice them. Do you notice every time a truck passes your tent?

Mar 13, 2012 at 12:03 AM | Unregistered Commenterdiogenes


A tent! Hengist lives under a stone.

Mar 13, 2012 at 6:51 AM | Unregistered CommenterGixxerboy

@Mike Jackson, reminds me of when I was living in Tokyo some years ago - a few stiff drinks were the perfect antidote to any earthquake, up to about 4.5 magnitude. :o)

Mar 13, 2012 at 7:32 AM | Unregistered CommenterAlex Cull

Alex Cull
I'll bear that in mind should the need for the excuse ever arise!

Mar 13, 2012 at 8:40 AM | Unregistered CommenterMike Jackson

Hilary Ostrov @ Mar 12, 2012 at 1:15 AM

Hilary, there's no doubt of the conversion from bogus CAGW to even more bogus "sustainability," because that's what Al Gore and his Goldman Sachs mentor Peter Blood wrote about in the Wall Street Journal a few months ago. If nothing else, Gore represents a weather vane on the kookier side of self-enrichment through dubious social causes (although I do believe that Al Gore has a missionary zealot streak and may even strongly believe his own social delusions).

In any case, even though the movement may be from unsupportable CAGW alarmism to "sustainability," they will have the disadvantage on this one in that "sustainability" is an extremely vague and indefinable "problem" that few in the general population will ever understand. Oh, OK, zealots will because it offers the promise of salvation against the ineffable, and some really love that angle in lieu of any kind of conventional religion.

But for the vast majority there will be no mention of The Science of "sustainability" and so nothing much with which to scare people (Al Gore's penchant as a missionary is to preach visions of Hell On Earth, allegedly backed by The Science).

So "sustainability" doesn't have much of a chance of ever getting off the ground, except in the conventional way of any NGO/U.N./World Bank boondoggle, designed to enrich an elitist segment of "sustainabilty" consultants and advocates while never really getting out of the box to harm the larger world. While it may certainly victimize the poor of the third-world - as so many of these featherbrained social causes do - it won't ever get the traction of CAGW because it simply doesn't have The Science and the consonant scary propaganda to sustain "sustainabilty." Nothing frightening or doomerish about it at all. It looks like just another obscure little greenie obsession, which no one else can understand. Hence, a big fail for "sustainability."

Good for the U.N. though, they'll never be asked to prove it with another IPCC-like committee. They may have learned their lesson on that one.

Mar 13, 2012 at 4:05 PM | Unregistered CommenterGarry

Speaking as a Kiwi who very recently lived in the UK for almost a decade, I smile whenever I see or hear UK Greenists obsessing about minor vibrations of the earth which they attempt to conflate into 'earthquakes'. Earthquakes are not minor vibrations which may be recorded but not felt. Experiencing a genuine earthquake that registers above a four or thereabouts is truly terrifying; the scariest aspect is that one never knows, during the experience, if this particular 'quake is 'The Big One' that will crush and maim you, or even snuff your life out and remove you from earth without leaving a trace of your passing. And the relief when the shaking and bumping stops, when solid walls, floors and ceilings cease to buckle and groan and you escape, quite undamaged!
Attempting to scare people with the nonsensical idea that frakking can magnify minor and very common tremors into full-blown earthquakes demonstrates a unique combination of evil and stupidity, but that very stupidity will become more and more apparent as truth has a habit of coming to the surface eventually.

Mar 13, 2012 at 7:42 PM | Unregistered CommenterAlexander K

I am so glad to learn that all change can affect to an *individual*.

Mar 14, 2012 at 9:03 AM | Unregistered CommenterCheap Seo Services UK

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