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« Today on Met Office models | Main | A trip to the big smoke »
Tuesday
Jan082013

The Archers on subsidies

The Archers, the BBC's ultra-long-running farming soap opera covered renewables subsidies in one of its story lines the other day (H/T Guy). The writers were somewhat off message (link below).

I wonder if this signifies anything.

Archers

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Reader Comments (31)

It's worse than we thought. The dialogue, that is.

Jan 8, 2013 at 9:24 AM | Unregistered CommenterJack Hughes

Mrs B told me I should listen to it, but I have so far declined.

Jan 8, 2013 at 9:42 AM | Registered CommenterPhillip Bratby

With the #28Gate people off their desks, perhaps the whale is finally turning

Jan 8, 2013 at 9:49 AM | Registered Commenteromnologos

As you listen you will realise that the job of the BBC is a PR corporation whose remit is to publicise government schemes. However the subtle PR is "green good ... anything smacking of industry is bad". Where e.g. is the factory in the archers? Where are the workers in the offices? Where is there anything that makes money (farming being subsidised).

The real truth is that the archers represent the kind of countryside that the BBC staff think used to exist in their commuter villages before these publicly funded and over-paid guardian readers invaded the countryside and pushed out anyone who did any real work.

Jan 8, 2013 at 9:59 AM | Unregistered CommenterMikeHaseler

Oh dear,. I'm sorry, I can't, I just can't, bear to listen. Could anyone give a brief synopsis?

Jan 8, 2013 at 10:10 AM | Unregistered CommenterIan E

Never mind the bloody Archers - am I the only person who heard the announcement on the 8 o'clock news on Today that the Met Office has said that 'global warming' has been interrupted (or 'masked' or similar) by natural cycles (though of course it will return and will be just as bad at some undefined point in the future - hahah) ? Was it a dream? I certainly cut myself shaving in astonishment. There were no further discussions on it, not even the oleaginous Harrabin to quiver his little lip.

Jan 8, 2013 at 10:24 AM | Unregistered CommenterRichieP

"No Pressure, then."

Heard that before somewhere.

Jan 8, 2013 at 10:29 AM | Registered CommenterMartin A

...am I the only person who heard the announcement on the 8 o'clock news on Today that the Met Office has said that 'global warming' has been interrupted (or 'masked' or similar) by natural cycles (though of course it will return and will be just as bad at some undefined point in the future (...)
Jan 8, 2013 at 10:24 AM RichieP

Years back now I heard a similar announcement that some German researchers had found that the recent lack of warming was due to the oceans - but that in due course it would be back as dreadful as ever.

That was the first time the thought struck me: "They are making it up as they go along". Nothing has changed since then.

Jan 8, 2013 at 10:34 AM | Registered CommenterMartin A

Richie P: See unthreaded. Roger Harrabin was doing his best to put some positive spin on it.

Jan 8, 2013 at 10:37 AM | Registered CommenterPhillip Bratby

Today's 'Today' is now up on iPlayer: the announcement of the Met Office's climbdown (through Harrabin's gritted teeth) runs from 2.05 onwards. Even mentions not only natural cycles but the sun ....

http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b01pp565/Today_08_01_2013/

Jan 8, 2013 at 10:43 AM | Unregistered CommenterRichieP

Phillip
My French wife's a bit of an Archers fan too. At least it keeps her Loamshire (sorry, Borsetshire) English up to scratch.
I sort of listen to it distractedly over dinner and have long had the impression they were not 100% on message.
Time for a reshuffle of script writers and producer no doubt...

Jan 8, 2013 at 10:54 AM | Unregistered CommenterJohn in France

The real truth is that the archers represent the kind of countryside that the BBC staff think used to exist in their commuter villages before these publicly funded and over-paid guardian readers invaded the countryside and pushed out anyone who did any real work.

Jan 8, 2013 at 9:59 AM | Unregistered Commenter MikeHaseler


I'm not sure Mike. I live in one of these villages and the local farmers could easily fit into an episode of the Archers - especially when they crowd the pub after a shoot - all tweed and plus fours!

They are useful to me though, for first hand accounts of government policy on agriculture. For example, one of them told me that the local river used to be cleared of debris, fallen trees etc, by the environment agency, but as a cost saving they no longer bother, exacerbating flooding following spells of high rainfall (all caused solely by extraordinary weather according to the Met Office).

He just runs his business to get the best return possible from his assets, as any of us would, for example he has recently converted most of his crops to oil seed rape, which he sells to Germany for biofuels productions, because he makes more money this way than by doing what he used to do which was growing and selling Canadian wheat to Hovis for bread. But again, according to the media high food prices are apparently due to problems caused by the weather...

Jan 8, 2013 at 11:05 AM | Unregistered CommenterBuck

High winds and record temperatures fanned fires in south-east Australia, after the prime minister warned of a "very dangerous day".

More than 130 fires are currently burning in New South Wales, 40 of which have not been contained.

An uncontrolled fire is burning by the Tasman peninsula, near areas already hit by blazes over the weekend.

Teams in Victoria are also fighting a blaze, as Australia's heat wave continues.
Continue reading the main story
“Start Quote

We have still got many hours of hot, dry, difficult conditions ahead of us”

Shane Fitzsimmons New South Wales Rural Fire Service Commissioner

Four areas in New South Wales have been given a "catastrophic" fire danger rating, meaning that if fires break out they will be uncontrollable and fast-moving, so residents should leave.

Prime Minister Julia Gillard said residents had to stay alert.

"The word catastrophic is being used for good reason," she said. "So it is very important that people keep themselves safe, that they listen to local authorities and local warnings.

"This is a very dangerous day."
Record heat

The fires and warnings follow days of searing heat. In a statement, Australia's Bureau of Meteorology revealed that for each of the first six days of 2013, the "national area-average" temperature had been in the top 20 hottest days on record.

It was also the first time that average national top temperatures over 39C had been recorded on five consecutive days, the bureau said.

A change in wind direction across New South Wales will see a 20C drop in temperatures in Sydney this week, bringing some relief

Bans on lighting fires are in place across New South Wales, Canberra, Tasmania and Victoria.

In New South Wales, temperatures had passed 40C by midday at the coast. Winds of up to 80kph (50mph) have also been forecast.

Fires are burning along the New South Wales coast, and also in the north-west of the state, but the largest concentration is in the south-east, around the Canberra area.

The four areas given a "catastrophic" fire danger rating - Illawarra, Shoalhaven, Southern Ranges and Riverina - are in this region.

A big fire is also burning in Yarrabin, 100km (60 miles) south of Canberra. The fire service says it is out of control and have advised residents to seek shelter, saying it is too late to leave.

All national parks, state forests and reserves have been closed to the public and many tourists are reported to be leaving campsites.

At a news conference, State Rural Fire Service (RFS) Commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons warned that several dangerous hours lay ahead.

"We have still got many hours of hot, dry, difficult conditions ahead of us, right across different parts of New South Wales," he said.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-20937509

Jan 8, 2013 at 11:17 AM | Unregistered CommenterCarter

Buck, I know exactly what you mean. We farmers gather in the Jolly Flowerpots or the Tichborne Arms after a shoot, and the subject nearly always turns to the Environment Agency and its wacky ideas. My neighbour farms a lot of watermeadows and puts them into the 'HLS' - Higher Level Scheme, where he gets points (ie prizes, ie cash) for doing things the 'right' way. For instance, the cattle had to be kept out of the water's edge, because experts with clipboards, hi-viz jackets and degrees in mud-colouring from the University of Western Wolverhampton decided the damage done by their hooves was a bad thing. And then after a couple of years, different experts, with bigger clipboards, brighter hi-viz jackets and a masters degree in environmental and media studies from the University of Central Clapham noticed that the lesser-spotted wibblewurt toad's habitat (hoof-damaged water's edge) was vanishing. So he had to rip up the fence, and allow the cattle back in. Ah, the joys of modern farming....


And don't start me on the Archers - or Farming Today. Thank goodness for the city commuters of central Hampshire who listen to the latter and fill me in on what they've heard. My claim to fame is that I was once so rude to the Farming Today Beeboid who rang me up demanding an interview that she hung up on me! Result!!!!

Jan 8, 2013 at 11:27 AM | Unregistered CommenterCharlie Flindt

Carter: what's the point of your post? Compare this.

Jan 8, 2013 at 11:33 AM | Registered CommenterRobin Guenier

Didn't the Greens in some Australian states try to prevent people felling trees near their houses in order to create a firebreak? WUWT had a post three years ago which told the story of someone who was fined for doing so, and then found his was the only house in the neighbourhood to survive intact in a bush fire. See:

http://wattsupwiththat.com/2009/02/11/weve-lost-two-people-in-my-family-because-you-dickheads-wont-cut-trees-down/

Not sure if that is still the Green rule there.

Jan 8, 2013 at 11:37 AM | Unregistered CommenterMessenger

Charlie Flindt can be relied upon to brighten our day. Happy New Year, Charlie.

Jan 8, 2013 at 11:42 AM | Unregistered CommenterMike Fowle

@RichieP - can't find it at 2.05 - are you sure ?

Jan 8, 2013 at 11:49 AM | Unregistered CommenterMorph

Morph;

It's at 2 hours 5 minutes 30 seconds.

The numbers Harrabin mentions don't jive with the new graph the MO put up or the one it replaced . . .

Jan 8, 2013 at 11:58 AM | Unregistered CommenterFergalR

'@RichieP - can't find it at 2.05 - are you sure ?'
Jan 8, 2013 at 11:49 AM | Unregistered CommenterMorph

Yes, I've just listened to it at 2 hours 5 mins in. A very short announcement which I think they were rather embarrassed having to make.

Jan 8, 2013 at 12:04 PM | Unregistered CommenterG.W.

Carter is a CACC troll.....

Jan 8, 2013 at 12:22 PM | Unregistered CommenterAlecM

A bit OT Carter. Blue Hills (antipodean Archers) ended years ago. In five years in the UK I don't think I made it through a whole episode of the Archers.

Jan 8, 2013 at 12:24 PM | Unregistered CommenterBozo

RichieP, FergalR et al: To help folks like Morph we can make the iPlayer start at exactly the spot we want by adding ?t=2h05m30s. So that's www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b01pp565/Today_08_01_2013/?t=2h05m30s.

Not bad at all, compared to nothing, which many of us were expecting. The thing that struck me most was the way the main newsreader used the term "climate sceptics" and ascribed something reasonably sensible to us. We're not quite in from the cold but not far off. As Jonathan Jones said in the pub in Oxford, give it till 2020: if there's no further significant warming in that time it'll be the old catastrophists being roasted by Humphrys and co.

Jan 8, 2013 at 12:36 PM | Registered CommenterRichard Drake

Here's a transcript of the 8:05:30 news report, Radio 4, Jan 9 2013:

“The Met Office has revised downwards its projection for Climate Change through to 2017. The new figure suggests that although global temperatures will be forced above their long-term average because of greenhouse gases the recent slowdown in warming will continue. More details from our environment analyst Roger Harrabin”.

“Last year the Met Office projected that as greenhouse gases increase the world’s temperature would be 0.54 degrees warmer than the long-term average by 2016. The new experimental Met Office computer model looking a year further ahead projects that the earth will continue to warm but the increase will be about 20% less than the previous calculation. If the new number proves accurate there will have been little additional warming for two decades. The Met Office says natural cycles have caused the recent slowdown in warming including maybe changes in the sun and ocean currents. Mainstream climate scientists say that when the natural cooling factors change again temperatures will be driven up further by greenhouse gases.”

Jan 8, 2013 at 12:39 PM | Unregistered Commenteranon

Sorry, Jan 8th!

Jan 8, 2013 at 12:43 PM | Unregistered Commenteranon

Thanks anon. I was thinking of the headline piece at 31m52s, which ends:

Climate change sceptics argue that the Met Office previously exaggerated the level of future warming.

I think we're in violent agreement with the Met itself there! But it's the thought (from the Beeb) that counts. The equivalent segment at 6am however didn't mention the sceptics. The other four results I leave to the interested reader.

Jan 8, 2013 at 12:50 PM | Registered CommenterRichard Drake

The Met Office says natural cycles have caused the recent slowdown in warming including maybe changes in the sun and ocean currents. Mainstream climate scientists say that when the natural cooling factors change again temperatures will be driven up further by greenhouse gases

Students of economic forecasters wil recognise this as a classice "soft landing" fallacy.

In economics as predictions start to look like that are to optomistic, the prognosticators invariably follow their first instinct to defend their views and posit that the is only a temporary "slowdown" in prospect, or a "soft landing".

For more the 2 decades that has become my bellweather for an onciming recession.

Jan 8, 2013 at 1:04 PM | Unregistered CommenterGeckko

@Geckko

Nicely put. I would guess that the Soft Landing fallacy occurs where the desire for self promotion outweighs a commitment to the scientific method, assuming the latter existed at all.

Jan 8, 2013 at 3:21 PM | Unregistered Commenterdread0

Anon's transcript (above, 12:39) has Harrabin saying, "The new experimental Met Office computer model looking a year further ahead projects that the earth will continue to warm but the increase will be about 20% less than the previous calculation."

The mean new projection has an average anomaly in 2013-2017 of 0.43 °C (relative to baseline 1971-2000); the prior one put the average over 2011-2015 as 0.51 °C. Which *sounds* like about a 20% decrease. But one should compare things rightly, to the temperatures at the start of the projection, not to the baseline.

New projection (reading from the graphs with the aid of magnification and (virtual) rulers, taking just the "mean" line): Increase of ~0.05°C [0.36 to 0.41] over 2013-2017. Old projection: Increase of ~0.15°C [0.55 to 0.70] over 2013-2017. This is a reduction by 2/3 (67%).

Alternatively, taking the start anomaly of the earlier prediction as 0.3 °C, by 2017 the increase of the original prediction was 0.4 °C (as it predicted an anomaly of 0.70 °C); the increase of the new prediction is 0.11 °C (as it predicts an anomaly of 0.41 °C). This is a 70% reduction.

In neither case is the reduction anywhere near 20% as Harrabin makes it out to be, it is far larger.

Jan 8, 2013 at 5:07 PM | Registered CommenterHaroldW

Carter where did the all the CO2 that made all trees that burned in Australia come from in the very very first place.

Jan 8, 2013 at 6:30 PM | Unregistered Commenterjamspid

For those concerned about the fires in NSW yesterday - I live in rural NSW about 300 ks west of Sydney, right in the "catastrophic fire zone" (yes, we were told to leave). It was hot yesterday and the wind was very strong, which was the real problem. Most of the fires were under control. Our location didn't see a glimpse of them. Today it's blinkin' freezing - earlier only 16 C - and the wind has dropped to pretty well nothing. Australia is perfectly fine and the Prime Minister can panic all she wants to - I suppose it's a good show and follows the warming meme.

As for the Archers, sorry, I don't follow them. Is their message still "Green" or is that what's changing? I figure this is a story for a reason, hopefully a positive change. :)

Cheers to all. :)

Jan 9, 2013 at 3:26 AM | Unregistered CommenterA.D. Everard

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