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« Diary date: Murry Salby | Main | Light blogging »

Monday open thread

In my absence, here is an open thread for any climate and energy news today.

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Reader Comments (40)

Oh the joy of watching, on the BBC, a rain-soaked anti-nuclear Energy Secretary Ed Davey trying to justify Hinkley B being built by the French and part-funded by the Chinese. Gordon Brown has a lot to answer for. Not only did he bankrupt the country, but he sold off Westinghouse to the Japanese for a song. We could be having a fleet of the advanced passive AP1000s, instead of which we get two French EPRs, which are very expensive clones of a Westinghouse reactor designed in the 1960s.

If only we'd had one decent Energy Minister in the last 15 years, instead of a string (about 15) of ministers who haven't a clue about energy.

Oct 21, 2013 at 7:33 AM | Registered CommenterPhillip Bratby

BBC Radio 2 news reporting that Hinkley Point C has been given the go-ahead to built by EDF (French) with Chinese investment. However, they had a audio quote from some scientist (didn't catch his name) who said that the reason UK dropped nuclear is that it is not economic and given that renewable power systems are coming down in cost so quickly, doing this nuclear deal is not economic.

Oct 21, 2013 at 7:58 AM | Unregistered CommenterRob Schneider

Dieter Helm on R4 making reasonable sense. Summary: if you think nuclear is expensive take a look at offshore wind.

Oct 21, 2013 at 7:58 AM | Registered CommenterJonathan Jones

@ Poptech, at the CRU I'm sure they find our lack of faith... disturbing.

Oct 21, 2013 at 8:13 AM | Unregistered CommenterAlex Cull

My mistake, I meant Hinkley C. The electricity from Hinkley C will be comparable in price to that of an onshore wind farm, but it will be reliable and will last for 60 years, not 15 to 20. It will be about 2/3 the cost of offshore electricity, which will have a strike price of about £150.

Oct 21, 2013 at 8:15 AM | Registered CommenterPhillip Bratby

While things are quiet here, I recommend that anyone who needs a good laugh go over to Geoff Chambers' blog and read "Carry On Up the Amazon", about fashion maven and warmista Vivienne Westwood and hangers on visiting the Amazon to Show That They Care. It's a hoot.

Oct 21, 2013 at 8:16 AM | Registered Commenterjohanna

Me too. In connection to the reports of a new nuclear power station being built (which I applaud), another Bishop, the Archbishop of Canterbury, hopes that energy firms will not try to screw everybody with excessive prices.

When his prayers fall on deaf ears, then it really should be a Homer Simpson "D'oh" moment for government. An open, competitive energy market is the best defence against profiteering (price-gouging). But we are lumbered with foolish legislation like the Climate Change Act which is designed to distort the energy market and it more expensive. You get what you select for.

And if you handcuff yourself over a barrel, then you should not be surprised when someone treats you like a gimp.

Oct 21, 2013 at 8:35 AM | Unregistered Commentermichael hart

Oct 21, 2013 at 8:16 AM | johanna

Thanks for that. It is one of the, unintentionally, funniest things I have ever read. As Geoff says, it demonstrates the impossibility of satire and vacuous doesn't even come close.

How far up your own backside do you have to be not to find behaviour like that terminally embarrassing?

Oct 21, 2013 at 8:38 AM | Unregistered CommenterSteve Jones

Thanks for the plug Johanna.
What’s so annoying is that I thought I’d made rather a good job of parodying this stuff in
only to find many of my jokes outdone by reality.

I’ve taken advantage of the publicity to put up the final chapter of Apocalypse Close at

Oct 21, 2013 at 9:35 AM | Registered Commentergeoffchambers

Dr. Richard North has observations, worthy of note.

Oct 21, 2013 at 9:42 AM | Registered Commenterperry

perry: Very interesting. I reckoned that about 80% of the cost of Sizewell B was the regulatory burden, most of it unnecessary safety requirements. It not only adds to the initial costs, but it continues right throught the life of the plant, with every activity being regulated far beyond a sensible level.

Oct 21, 2013 at 9:50 AM | Registered CommenterPhillip Bratby

And now German energy supplier npower has put up its prices by 10.4%. It's a good job we have people like Mr Ed and the Camoron telling us to switch energy suppliers.

Oct 21, 2013 at 9:58 AM | Registered CommenterPhillip Bratby

Switch energy suppliers - possibly every conservative public schoolboy's sadomachistic dream.
Have they got hold of the wrong end of the stick!

Oct 21, 2013 at 10:21 AM | Unregistered Commenterroger

@ Rob Schneider, the scientist on BBC Radio 2 News at 6am was Steve Thomas, Professor of Energy Studies at Greenwich University. On nuclear power, this morning he said:

If you contrast that with the renewables, where the cost curve is going down very steeply - solar panels are getting much cheaper, wind farms are getting cheaper - nuclear seems a very expensive option. And, in the past, we've decided against pursuing nuclear power, and that's really why we lost our capability, because the fundamental economics weren't very good.

Oct 21, 2013 at 10:27 AM | Unregistered CommenterAlex Cull

As this is an open thread, I cannot go off-topic, so will merely change the direction of conversation, as it also relates to the BBC news this morning:

This article shows the aftermath of the “devastating” bush fires in Australia. Note the burned-out cars in the headline photo – truly a tragedy for the owners, and any buildings nearby will surely be similarly affected (for example, the lowest of the four pictures in the side bar). However, does anyone notice any anomaly?

Right: for such a tragedy, the trees look remarkably unaffected. Could this be because fires are a natural cycle in the ecology of eucalypt forests? If fire is a natural part of this environment, why do “environmentalists” wish to prevent it?

Bush fires are not unknown in Australia; surely, it would be common sense (oh, such a misnomer! “common” sense is rapidly becoming a rarity) to ensure that your beautiful, timber-built (and expensive?) house is not close to trees and shrubs.

Oct 21, 2013 at 10:43 AM | Unregistered CommenterRadical Rodent

RR, I'm pretty sure they are not eucalypts. They certainly don't look like them. Because of the high volatile oil content of their leaves, they burn much more easily than buildings and cars, and can literally explode in the face of a very hot fire before the flames even reach them.

But your broader point is correct, and there have been severe bushfires, to which the ecology is adapted, for many thousands of years at least. And, one of the unfortunate consequences of the green movement that began in the 1970s is city people wanting to live "close to nature" without realising (or refusing to accept) the consequences. Add to this the infiltration of greenies into local councils, which ban vegetation clearing even around houses in many cases - and that's what you get.

It's a tragedy. Last time something like the current potential catastrophe in the Blue Mountains happened, 193 people died horrible deaths (in Victoria). Yet we still have the greenie diehards claiming that it is all the fault of lack of government action on climate. They really are despicable.

Oct 21, 2013 at 11:00 AM | Registered Commenterjohanna

Copy and paste this link Barbican Battle of Ideas yesterday mentioned it during the Ben Pile Mark Lynas debate

Oct 21, 2013 at 11:27 AM | Unregistered Commenterjamspid

@jamspid Wow the Sun's scrap green taxes petition .
How does that square with Sky TV's deal to massive promotion for the multinational green-lobby group WWF ?
(It's Fairfax who part-owns Earth Hour corporation...not Murdoch)
(the petition has 2 last boxes to tick to avoid them spamming you)

Oct 21, 2013 at 11:47 AM | Registered Commenterstewgreen

Apologies for my taxonomic errors, Johanna; as an inhabitant of the more extreme southern counties of Britain, you will be more able to identify the trees than I.

As many others are finding around the world, those who choose to live in known high-risk areas without taking precautions against those risks surely have only themselves to blame. One good example occurred in California, parts of which are also prone to bush fires; that those parts happen to be places that many of the Hollywood glitterati live makes any untoward event there a disaster. However, one well-known actor surrounded his home with “ice trees” (I have no idea what they are); when the inevitable happened, his was the only untouched house in the valley.

Oct 21, 2013 at 11:57 AM | Unregistered CommenterRadical Rodent

RR, your point about personal responsibility is fair enough. But in the case of the Victorian fires I mentioned above, long-standing residents of rural areas who had always maintained firebreaks around their homes suddenly found themselves in the grip of green-dominated councils who banned the practice. One family who defied them were fined more than $3,000. Their house, unlike many in their area, survived the fires BTW.

The innocent suffer along with the gormless and the guilty, unfortunately.

Oct 21, 2013 at 12:42 PM | Registered Commenterjohanna

Murdock only partly owns Sky

Murdock isn't a Climate Skeptic but hes not an Environmentalist either Small cost to cuddle a few Pandas .
Rupert goes with what best suits the interests of his readers because that is what best suits the interests of him and getting hammered with unjustified Green Taxes does not best suit the interests of any newspaper reader and neither does press regulation.

Spending 17 billion on Windmills Medieval Technology (we are not fighting the Taliban with Sword and Spears) that only produces 6 percent of our electricity that only last 15 years .Build a couple of extra Nukes last 60 years produce 60 percent of our electricity and don't kill birds.

Cut those Turbines down and cart them of to the Scrap yard.and save everyone a load of money
Read between the lines Energy companies are spinning against Cameron and Milliband.and bringing on Fracking.
Milliband though he could score early by turning the public hatred of bankers against the Energy companies
Its back fired because when the Energy Companies get in front of the Parliamentary Select Energy Committee
they will put Milliband in the frame hopefull take Deben and Tim Yeo with him.

PS im an Npower customer i knew all the Energy companies were putting their prices up in Tandem.

No point Customers shopping around.Its the Energy companies that should be allowed to shop around .
They are being forced to buy useless expensive Windpower .

Climate Skepticism draws a real great mix genders, ages ,classes, nationalities ,Scientific
and lay left right Political and Non
I'm not a Socialist but Socalism does work best when against a common enemy we all stand together .

Oct 21, 2013 at 1:04 PM | Unregistered Commenterjamspid

@jamspid I like that analogy
"switch providers : well if the energy corps were free to switch providers themselves away from the MegaSubsidy intermittent renewables, then prices would be cheaper"

.. PS click the UNTHREADED button on the top menubar sometime

Oct 21, 2013 at 1:29 PM | Registered Commenterstewgreen

I reckoned that about 80% of the cost of Sizewell B was the regulatory burden, most of it unnecessary safety requirements.
Oct 21, 2013 at 9:50 AM Phillip Bratby

Is it true that the consequences of a pressure vessel burst in Sizewell B were never analysed because such an event "was impossible"?

Oct 21, 2013 at 2:02 PM | Registered CommenterMartin A

Good point, Johanna, and a good question to ask the “enviro-mentalists”: which is better, a 3,000AUD fine or saving your home and (possibly) your life?

Can there be any redress against the greenie councils when their policies have destroyed so many homes, so many lives, and caused any deaths?

Oct 21, 2013 at 2:06 PM | Unregistered CommenterRadical Rodent

Martin A: Pressure vessel failure is deemed an 'incredible' event and therefore is outside the design basis. The pressure vessel is designed, manufactured and inspected to a very high standard. The 'leak-before-break' argument is also used. Were the pressure vessel to rupture, then the containment building is designed to hold the contents.

Oct 21, 2013 at 2:19 PM | Registered CommenterPhillip Bratby

@Philip Bratby - forgive my poor memory, but within the last week I read somewhere that poor manufacturing quality has been uncovered in several Japanese nuclear installations. It sounds as if decades of government turning a blind eye has allowed a culture of sloppy behaviour to develop, quite opposite from their traditional standing in the world of industry.

Oct 21, 2013 at 2:52 PM | Unregistered Commenterdave ward

After the avalanche of venal propaganda and years of opprobrium, vicious lies, ad hominem attacks, accusations of [holocaust] denial, calling us right wing God botherers, and fiends who smoke the devils weed and deny the links to anything cancerous [do we?]. Years and years of crap science - more - ever more dodgy statistics released by clowns who can't add up.

All they could say, "we're 95% reasonably maybe it could be whatever - down to some sort of man made influence".


As [most of] the world staggers back from a man made financial Apocalypse - paying for a platinum plated series of unworkable and ineffectual palliatives guaranteed to send the western nations into a economic and industrial death spiral - small wonder the left leaning cognoscenti love the green agenda .

A weasel whispers, pious, nauseous saccharined magnanimity and damn it all - you devils of the anthropomorphic CC heteorodoxy [or the reality as we like to call it] - had better believe it!

Adam Corner, wants to talk.

That's very civilized of you Adam, but then - are you even capable of changing your spots?

I really rather doubt it. Actually we know it - when the besieged begin to wring their hands, beg surrender and assent to dicker - you know well - the game is up.

Oct 21, 2013 at 3:13 PM | Unregistered CommenterAthelstan.

From the Ecclesiastical Uncle, an old retired bureaucrat in a field only remotely related to climate with minimal qualifications and only half a mind.

Philip Bratby,

Yours at 7.33am

Horror of horrors!

Your wish that Energy Ministers should 'have a clue' about energy is surely a recipe for a communist type meritocracy of the type that caused the USSR to disintegrate.

Oct 21, 2013 at 3:39 PM | Unregistered CommenterEcclesiastical Uncle

In comments to the Adam Corner post which Athelstan linked above, we find the following from "GreenAngelChloe":

What government should be telling people unequivocally is "Your grandchildren will die if we do not take action now to fight climate change".

Oct 21, 2013 at 5:30 PM | Registered CommenterHaroldW


I sometimes read such, if I am so minded, but they are a trying bunch and the refrain and tenor stays much the same, as you quoted below:

What government should be telling people unequivocally is "Your grandchildren will die if we do not take action now to fight climate change".

'tick, tock', the hands move and underneath the cogs do whirr but nothing much else is animated.

Certainly, the agitprop has worked its 'charms' rather too well here in Britain - and the anguished cries of those of diminished mind - who are not well acquainted with either the scientific method or, more perplexingly seem to have carelessly mislaid all ability to intellectual reasoning.
Indeed, nor are these Guardianistas - barring something like a super volcano eruption [am I gonna say optimism!?] much optimistic about mankind's ability to look after, defend and better himself whatever the circumstances and in most terrestrial natural occurrences - what a pessimistic gloomy, boring lot they [guardianistas] all are.

"OH, East is East, and West is West, and never the twain shall meet,
Till Earth and Sky stand presently at God’s great Judgment Seat;"

I fear Kipling was right, but I know who I'd back to eventually overcome and succeed in this debate.

Oct 21, 2013 at 6:43 PM | Unregistered CommenterAthelstan.

HaroldW & Athelstan – good grief! You have no need to go further than the first comment to get the gist of where it is all going:


We need to get scared to act, understand the signs of a perfect storm approaching fast, a lethal mix of overpopulation, moral, political and ecological degradation, combined with extreme weather events caused by global heating, distorting food production, lack of water for two billion or so, a financial system that is broke and will collapse on itself, an economy that can only be sustained if it is growing, which it can’t because the ecological and social friction is getting too severe, a production chain that gets interrupted more and more because of floods, droughts, storms and mounting civil unrest. The casino capitalism with its harmful emphasis on ever increasing asset prices through printing money and triggering more material consumption, is the largest Ponzi scheme ever invented. That bill will need to be paid in the years to come, when that house of cards comes down, and is in its last days. About a billion Muslims and a billion or so Westerners hate each other’s guts, both rightfully pointing out their beliefs are broken beyond repair. And no new spiritual, political, economic or ecological answer to the storm that is heading our way, seems to emerge. Meanwhile the population is growing with about two hundred thousand a day, while probably as many get dislocated that same day in China, Myanmar, the Philippines, India, Pakistan, Nepal, Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Egypt, Somalia, Sudan, Niger, Mali, Nigeria, Cameroon, Chad, the Congo, Central African Republic, Zimbabwe, Mexico, the USA, Europe, Guatemala, Peru, Bolivia and Brazil, with many of those countries already in several stages of civil war. All over the planet, millions of simple people are feeling the pressure going up, trying to keep a minimum of decency and dignity going. People in Western Europe and North America, the whole sale owners of the media, seem to live in a bubble. But even a ten thousand dollar a month family with a mortgage, two financed cars and bills to pay for kindergarten, do not seem to get by anymore. The pressure is mounting on almost everyone, every day and something has to give. It will get ugly, it could be the end of dignity. A large part of the damage is already in the pipeline and cannot be avoided. Only a mass awakening to the dangers can prepare us somewhat and mitigate the effects of the storm that is heading our way. We better brace for impact.

What makes it even sadder is that there are people who actually believe this! “robdelaet” is strongly of the opinion that over-population is a key ingredient to this “problem”, and is probably one of the many who wants more, erm …active… depopulation. Show us what you mean, boyo – lead the way!

Oct 21, 2013 at 6:47 PM | Unregistered CommenterRadical Rodent

Re Adam Corner piece. Most commentors online have a higher tendency to be mad! Shit, that must include me! Athelstan you have your moments!! Can't judge a movement based on the online comments!

Oct 21, 2013 at 7:04 PM | Unregistered CommenterDavid

re bush fires in Australia, there's a telling description of eucalypts in Nevil Shute's novel The Far Country, where a flame burns blue because of the amount of evaporated resin in the air.

As for Archbishop Welby, I seem to recall his predecessor, Sharia Williams, strongly advocating the CAGW meme.

Oct 21, 2013 at 7:11 PM | Unregistered Commentermike fowle

RR -
Yes, I noticed that comment (among others), but found the GreenAngelChloe quote to be a more concise expression.

David -
Quite so. I don't think Adam Corner holds such extreme views. [There's a subject for research -- climate change causes (not only climate extremes but) political extremes!] And I normally wouldn't mention mere comments -- it would be a full-time job and then some, covering inane comments on climate topics. [Although one could save time by writing a script to filter by author -- consign X & Y to the "always inane" bin; A&B to the "sensible" bin; and then only need to look at a minority of comments, as the "always inane" ones comprise the vast majority at many sites.]

But (as mentioned above) I found the clarity and brevity of that comment to be appealing.

Oct 21, 2013 at 7:18 PM | Registered CommenterHaroldW

@Michael Hart

"In connection to the reports of a new nuclear power station being built (which I applaud), "...

sadly the governement has screwed us by setting the price at a level which effectively guarantees a doubling of fuel bills.

Oct 21, 2013 at 7:33 PM | Unregistered Commenterdiogenes

The Economist has a new article about how science can go wrong.

Oct 21, 2013 at 7:47 PM | Unregistered Commenterleon0112

Martin A: Pressure vessel failure is deemed an 'incredible' event and therefore is outside the design basis. The pressure vessel is designed, manufactured and inspected to a very high standard. The 'leak-before-break' argument is also used. Were the pressure vessel to rupture, then the containment building is designed to hold the contents.
Oct 21, 2013 at 2:19 PM Phillip Bratby

Phillip - thank you.

The pressure vessel is designed, manufactured and inspected to a very high standard.

Of course.

But so were various systems of one sort or another that failed catastrophically. Reading about quality inspection falsifications in the nuclear industry (UK, Japan) makes me lack confidence that the probability of a catastrophic failure is sufficiently low.

I did a calculation of the amount of energy stored in the water of Sizewell B, from the mass, temperature and pressure of the water involved. It came to around the equivalent of 94 tons of TNT - about five times the yield of the Davy Crocket nuclear weapon. (If 94T seems ludicrously large, tell me and I will re-check my calculation.)

Was any test of the Sizewell-B containment building, involving such an instantaneous energy release, ever conducted? Or is knowledge of its ability to confine dependent on mathematical models?

Ultimately, there seem to be surprising similarities between Sizewell B safety certification and IPCC reports. That is, dependence on models rather than actual tests and dependence on expert opinion to produce probability estimates, rather than statistical calculations.

Oct 21, 2013 at 9:48 PM | Registered CommenterMartin A

Thanks Stu
For all you non Sun Readers brilliant arrticle fromTrevor Kavanagn

If Dellingpole is looking in next page to page 3 great story that
Oprah Winfrey has fallen out with Obamas.She and Harpo TV
were promised an unrestricted tour of the White House if she backed
his campaign and he said no.
Oprah has stopped hanging with Tom Cruise she got the first interview
Katie Holmes and Siri .So no Scientology for Oprah. Think Oprah
might turn Republican as she gets older. and a Hispanic Republican
Sinatra fell out with Peter Lawford Frank dumped The Rat Pack fell in
With Bing Crosby and Bob Hope and backed Ronald Reagan.

Oct 21, 2013 at 10:12 PM | Unregistered Commenterjamspid

HaroldW (Oct 21, 2013 at 5:30 PM)
GreenAgeChloe! That takes me back. A few years ago when I frequented the Graun, she once boasted how at the primary school where she worked she made the children cry with her song “No more snow”.
One of the regular warmist trolls accuse her of being a sceptic mickeytaker, and she went off in a huff. Glad she’s back.

Oct 21, 2013 at 10:43 PM | Registered Commentergeoffchambers

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