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This is my interview today on Newsdrive, the BBC Radio Scotland afternoon show, discussing energy and climate. I am preceded by Patrick Harvie of the Green Party.


Newsdrive excerpt

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Reader Comments (44)

Good interview, once we got past the "denier" bit

Jan 29, 2013 at 9:56 PM | Registered CommenterAndy Scrase

"Denier", "Consensus", interruptions that weren't so noticeable during the Green gentleman's interview. Despite all this, Bish, you made your points well.

Jan 29, 2013 at 10:00 PM | Unregistered CommenterJockdownsouth

Well done. But the questions were illogical.

Jan 29, 2013 at 10:15 PM | Unregistered CommenterRob Schneider

It's a shame that journalists don't do their research properly these days. The interviewer seemed unaware that wind turbines need backup from another power source. He seemed a bit confused at the end once you had explained it to him.

Jan 29, 2013 at 10:26 PM | Unregistered Commentermfo

Absolutely fabulous that you didn't simply deny being a "denier" but turned it right back on the host in a question that puts him on the defensive. I am trying ever so hard to get it across to skeptics that the accusations hurled by AGW promoters are a huge weakness since those folks aren't really prepared to defend them. Particularly the one claiming skeptic scientists are on the payroll of the fossil fuel industry.

When somebody spits out that accusation, I'd ask, "Why do you repeat an old talking point that is literally unsupportable? Or, wait, do have specific evidence of industry money given in exchange for demonstratively false, fabricated science papers, reports, assessments or viewpoints? Or can you at the very least disprove the plausible situation that the relatively paltry amounts donated to skeptics and organizations associated with them are simply given because those industry folks agree with what skeptics say?"

Jan 29, 2013 at 10:41 PM | Unregistered CommenterRussell C

I find that rather than getting into the debate about global warming having stopped and cherry picking dates, it's easier simply to say that warming has happened at a fraction of predicted rates.

Trolls can't to defend IPCC, Met Office or Hansen predictions except by doing the "just you wait!" act which gets boring quickly.

Jan 29, 2013 at 10:50 PM | Unregistered CommenterPolitical Junkie

So you deny that you are a denier?

Just kidding, excellent interview. I liked the creating jobs = creating costs reply.

Jan 29, 2013 at 11:11 PM | Unregistered CommenterMarco

Don't feed the troll.


Jan 29, 2013 at 11:26 PM | Unregistered CommenterMailman

Nice interview. The interviewer gave the Bish the space to answer and had the sound of someone who was asking questions out of curiosity which I think contrasted rather well against the first guy from the greens who just droned on with the lobbyists familiar special interest whine about how the troughing wasn't going so well, with his interviewer apparently just nodding along in dull agreement.

Jan 29, 2013 at 11:37 PM | Registered CommenterThe Leopard In The Basement

Blimey - is the Daily Mail broken?

Whats the troll doing back here when he/she/it should be getting its ass kicked over there?

Jan 29, 2013 at 11:39 PM | Unregistered Commenterduncan

I think you could have been alot more dismissive to the greenie as well as the presenter. The only way to fight fire is with fire otherwise one ends up looking defensive but that's just my point of view.
I think it's best to ridicule the warmists as a tactic rather than engage into a reasoned debate. The only winner is the one who the public see as the one who follows the consensus line. This applies to every issue one cares to mention.
As an example you could point to this news snippet I've just come across on googlenews:

Ridicule is the best way.

Jan 29, 2013 at 11:44 PM | Unregistered CommenterPaul

Patrick Harvie ticks all the right-on boxes
(from Wiki)

Harvie is an Honorary Associate of the National Secular Society, Honorary Vice-President of the Gay and Lesbian Humanist Association and a patron of Parents' Enquiry Scotland. He is a board member of the Glasgay! Festival, and a member of Greenpeace, Friends of the Earth, the Equality Network, Stonewall (UK), Amnesty International, Humanist Society of Scotland and the Campaign Against the Arms Trade. From 2003 till 2007, Harvie wrote a weekly column in the Scottish edition of the Big Issue.

Jan 30, 2013 at 12:02 AM | Registered CommenterAndy Scrase

If you want jobs, create a treadmill farm not a wind farm!

Actually, that interview would have been a great time to pull out the story attributed to Milton Friedman where he recommends that a dig site devoted to creating jobs should not use shovels, but instead should use spoons...

Here is a summary of the Friedman story from a site called "quote investigator"

Quote Investigator: This quotation is usually coupled with a colorful anecdote, but the details of the stories vary greatly. Here is an account from the economics writer Stephen Moore that was printed in the Wall Street Journal in 2009. Moore stated that he used to visit Milton Friedman and his wife, and together they would dine at a favorite Chinese restaurant:

"At one of our dinners, Milton recalled traveling to an Asian country in the 1960s and visiting a worksite where a new canal was being built. He was shocked to see that, instead of modern tractors and earth movers, the workers had shovels. He asked why there were so few machines. The government bureaucrat explained: “You don’t understand. This is a jobs program.” To which Milton replied: “Oh, I thought you were trying to build a canal. If it’s jobs you want, then you should give these workers spoons, not shovels.”

Inefficiency is a great job creator...If it's jobs you want, forget about wind farms and bring on a treadmill farm!

Jan 30, 2013 at 12:57 AM | Unregistered CommenterJames

Bishop Hill

Congratulations on an excellent interview. It was a pleasure to hear your viewpoint presented so clearly and rationally.

Jan 30, 2013 at 1:42 AM | Unregistered CommenterEntropic Man

If a troll farts in a forest and no one is around to smell it, does it still stink?
Dunno, but if it don't get fed it'll just pass CO2; a colourless, odourless and invisible gas that cheers the planet but p*sses off the troll!

Jan 30, 2013 at 1:49 AM | Unregistered CommenterRoyFOMR

Good stuff, Bishop. Lots of telling facts at your finger tips, and you sounded very confident. Much more impressive than Harvie.

Jan 30, 2013 at 2:17 AM | Unregistered CommenterMessenger

Your RP accent and professional presentation came over very well. However, you interrupted yourself with a nasty, crashing of gears from 4th into reverse at 6:20. That was the point where you hit the wall of absolute consensus of scientists, politicians and big business that AGW is happening and we need to pay for it.

That's why I almost never discuss the science. You cannot win because they can invent a never ending stream of mendacity to contradict you. Here is a dramatic example.

Extreme Misrepresentation: USGCRP and the Case of Floods

AGW politics is a tens of trillions of dollar Enron created carbon trading scam promoted by the oil industry and the banks. Al Gore, Margaret Thatcher and Rajendra Pachauri are oil industry fronts.

Neither the jokers of the left who support it, nor the clowns of the right who oppose it can admit that. I am stuck in the middle with honest academics James Heartfield and David Noble.

Jan 30, 2013 at 4:02 AM | Unregistered Commenteresmiff


Jan 30, 2013 at 5:10 AM | Unregistered Commenteresmiff

Good job!
Funny how the green dude got to finish every long boring sentence and then some, while you got interrupted every other sentence....
The interviewer even had the audacity to confirm that AGW is real by the fact that the whole scottish parliament says so.....damn....then it must be true...

Jan 30, 2013 at 5:54 AM | Unregistered CommenterWijnand

More of the same.

Advertorial space provided for a Green to spout with no need to justify his arguments. You come on and they talk over you and interrupt you.

And yet again I hear a Green quite clearly link climate policy to a "fairer more equal society" and no peep from the presenter.

A(nother) pretty disgusting performance from "our" BBC.

Jan 30, 2013 at 7:23 AM | Unregistered CommenterGeckko

I thought the interviewer came across rather badly in that interview his disdain for having to interview you was apparent and compared to the easy ride the green guy got it’s ridiculous; you should have been given the same uninterrupted time to make your points as was given to the other side.

Jan 30, 2013 at 8:08 AM | Unregistered CommenterJace

I felt you showed the same open minded willingness to engage which makes this blog so worthwhile compared to the greenie who was spouting political dogma. He may be more fluent and confident but eventually I believe an intelligent uncommitted audience will gradually come round to a more sensible view.

Jan 30, 2013 at 8:21 AM | Unregistered CommenterMike Fowle

I don't mean in relation to this radio interview, but I second Paul's sentiment "ridicule is the best way". I have spent literally hours politely offering evidence and reason to warmists, and received only insults for my efforts. Only when I sniggered at them and told them they were gullible fools (i.e. was rude to them) did they suddenly start to listen to me.

I also agree with esmiff that you could have handled the 'consensus' challenge around 6:00 differently. I would be less ready to concede that the 'consensus' is right about anything. You could have told the interviewer that the 'consensus' is something which is repeatedly claimed by journalists but which longstanding atmospheric physicists like Richard Lindzen and Roy Spencer dissent from. If someone talks about the 'vast number of papers published', I would respond that there is a huge amount of *suggestive* science being funded, which produces evidence from peripheral areas, but very little of it addresses the core claim of strong positive feedbacks, upon which the whole panic depends. Always good to get a mention of feedbacks, and Lindzen and Spencer, into any discussion, as it gives listeners starting points to go away and start finding things out for themselves.

Jan 30, 2013 at 8:35 AM | Unregistered CommenterSJF

Maybe you can ask the Goverments mouth piece why the 'Greenest Gov. Ever' is such a failure:

I will not bore anyone with my politics here.

Jan 30, 2013 at 9:26 AM | Unregistered CommenterShevva

Another way in which the dice are loaded in favour of the warmists lies in having to use the word "backup". In a discussion of the Windmill Plan it often becomes necessary to point out to warmists that installing windmills necessitates installing almost as much conventional capacity in the form of CCGT to backup the windmills. Incomprehension then ensues of course and the discussion is generally steered back to denialism which is a more comfortable concept altogether. The problem I have with having to use "backup" is that word implies that under a Windmill Plan most of the power is supplied by wind and only by conventional when wind occasionally fails. So the word inherently concedes a strong case for at least an element of wind in the generating mix. That is of course far from the truth, not a single windmill is ever needed. In this country within the windmill component of the energy mix three quarters of the energy is supplied conventionally not by wind. That's inescapable. In Germany it's even madder - 83% of the electricity under their Windmill Plan has to be generated conventionally!

The above suggests that it would almost be better to say that wind is the "backup" to CCGT as the latter is the main energy provider. Yet that doesn't work because wind cannot backup anything because it is so utterly impractical - it can't supply on demand and so can never provide backup. So I am left wondering what familiar word can be used instead of "backup", a word which does not in its essence concede that there is some kind of case for wind as the word "backup" does. In McLuhanish terms, it is the medium which is supplying the message - the wrong message.

Jan 30, 2013 at 9:41 AM | Unregistered CommenterMartin Reed

Where can we hear what the minister said when he came on to the show?

Jan 30, 2013 at 9:50 AM | Unregistered CommenterIan_UK

Great stuff. Many good points made in the interview.

As for the interviewer, I think I have felt this before - the sense that they have no substantial thoughts on the matter, just a reservoir of soundbites to be released when various trigger words are heard. Now a reporter/interviewer in a wide-ranging area such as current affairs cannot and need not be an expert in the subject matter of all the guests. But the topic of climate change has become, sad to say, so important in modern politics that Climate Change Acts have been passed (UK and Scotland) which contain enormous and harmful implications for our economy. The previous UK government even took a very assertive position on getting climate alarmism into schools via such shoddy as 'An Inconvenient Truth', and I am not aware of any appropriately vigorous effort to cleanse curricula and school activities of the carry-over from that shameful period. Nor does there seem to have been a suitable effort to do the same in the BBC.

I wish I could have heard just a hint from the interviewer that he was not completely in the dark about the details of the debate over climate variation and its causes. Maybe he isn't and was just too smart to let it show.

When you work for 'The Propaganda Bureau' [ ], you do well to toe the party line.

Jan 30, 2013 at 10:37 AM | Unregistered CommenterJohn Shade

@Martin Reed,
You can describe wind turbines as “redundant”, or “largely redundant”, as we must have alternative conventional plant to supply the electricity when the wind doesn’t blow. They are not quite totally redundant as the wind is always blowing somewhere - I’ve heard 80% of total wind nameplate capacity is what is planned for. Having said that, I know from my own records taken from BM reports that wind output did not exceed 0.1% of national output for two days on 21st and 22nd December 2010.

Putting that another way, you can say that we need to build and maintain a conventional plant “duplicate” (99.9%), or “partial duplicate” (80%) of the entire wind turbine fleet to provide the electricity when the wind doesn’t blow.

Jan 30, 2013 at 10:57 AM | Unregistered Commenterdougscot

While it is good to see the BBC, for once, making a token attempt to show a trace of the "balance" their charter requires their repeated interruptions, and charges of "Denier", an offensive term designed to abort discussion, can be compared with the obsequious - yes Mr Harvie tell us all about it - treatment of Harvie at the same time and that fact that they repeated much of the harvie interview a few minutes later before talking to the minister, shows how corrupt the entire organisation is.

Jan 30, 2013 at 11:00 AM | Unregistered CommenterNeil Craig


The recording left me with the impression that the presenters didn't know that Andrew would be pouring some scepticisim and enquiring light onto the topic and that if they had known in advance he was a "denier" they wouldn't have had him on.

Note he was introduced as a "climate author" and then that thoroughly rude presenter popped out of nowhere, having been silent as a mouse while the Green party representative spoke. His shock and disgust was palpable.

He was the one who should shut up and liusten to others. A media studies graduate lecturing, when he should shut up and let the contributor speak.

I must say I am becoming more and more disgusted by this performance by the BBC. Does anyone have the name of that presenter? I want to pen a complaint to the BBC about him.

Jan 30, 2013 at 11:24 AM | Unregistered CommenterGeckko

I am not going to listen to it because I am sick to death of Patrick Harvie's uninformed opinions on everything under the sun which the Scottish media are determined to give us at every opportunity.

What is nice is that he and his fellow career Greens will be incandescent that you were allowed to appear at all. His good friends on the Herald and elsewhere have the problem that they can't attack you without revealing to their readers that you, this blog and an alternative point of view actually exist.

Jan 30, 2013 at 12:04 PM | Unregistered CommenterNW

@Martin Reed - Best explanation I have seen is you cycle around on a wind powered bike but must have a gas guzzling car following you around to jump in when the wind is blowing to soft or hard.

Just get rid of the bike and make the car run better.

Jan 30, 2013 at 12:35 PM | Unregistered CommenterShevva

The inability of both the interviewer and the green guy to understand economics is truly astounding and frightening.

When are these people going to learn that command economies don't work? How many ruinous examples will they require before they learn this lesson?

Jan 30, 2013 at 1:06 PM | Unregistered CommenterMickey Reno

'Fairer more equal society'...
What twaddle.
So - I should pay twice as much for a loaf of bread as someone who has half as much money - and presumably captains of industry (and gravy-train-career politicians) should pay about £50.00 for a loaf of bread..
Well - isn't that what you meant, laddie..?

Jan 30, 2013 at 1:31 PM | Unregistered CommenterDavid

Excellent. You dealt with the 'd' word brilliantly and demolished the case for wind turbines (without even mentioning their effect on the environment). It seemed that towards the end the interviewer just let you talk and stopped asking you questions, his arguments having been so comprehensively trounced.

Jan 30, 2013 at 1:55 PM | Registered CommenterPaul Matthews

Jan 30, 2013 at 2:41 PM | Unregistered CommenterAndy


Jan 30, 2013 at 2:56 PM | Unregistered CommenterJohn Marshall

Did I hear that ''Green'' person correctly? The scottish Government want to abandon CCS and use the CO2 to help extract more oil. Is that not CCS in disguise?

Jan 30, 2013 at 3:00 PM | Unregistered CommenterJohn Marshall


The interviewer phoned earlier in the day and we discussed what I'd say.

Jan 30, 2013 at 3:45 PM | Registered CommenterBishop Hill

Did Harvie seem to know what you were going to say?

Jan 30, 2013 at 4:16 PM | Unregistered CommenterNW

To me as a listener, it came across as a personal attack, not feigned or faux surprise.

Even so, I judge it to bre an unprofessional piece of interviewing on a public service radio station.

Jan 30, 2013 at 4:55 PM | Unregistered CommenterGeckko

Wealth can only be created by doing things more efficiently. If you deliberately set out to be less efficient, wealth will be destroyed.

Jan 30, 2013 at 5:26 PM | Unregistered CommenterN.Tropywins

Well done, Bish.

I use the analogy of putting a sail on the roof of your car and pretending that it's useful just because you can sometimes coast along in neutral with the engine still running.

Jan 31, 2013 at 12:25 AM | Unregistered CommenterJack Hughes

[Snip O/T]

Jan 31, 2013 at 11:13 AM | Unregistered CommenterJohn Marshall

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