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Dave Summers on everything

BH reader Dave Summers, a Professor emeritus of mining engineering, is interviewed by CNBC on just about everything to do with energy and climate. There's caution on shale, pessimism on the economy and a healthy dose of scepticism on climate:

As long as journalists are advocates rather than reporters the true story will not emerge. The lack of journalistic challenge in the mainstream media to the deliberate deception employed in hiding the decline in temperature prediction accuracy with the tree rings which dropped just as temperatures were rising, thus invalidating the "hockey stick," was an early indication that media manipulation was going to be a critical factor in this debate.

How long must global temperatures remain relatively stable before someone brings this up as a front page story? The amount of money involved with those who espouse anthropogenic causes of climate change dwarfs the funding that has gone to those who raise questions when so many papers so this "may" happen, and that "might" occur. And those who pay the bills . . .

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Reader Comments (32)

DS: ... But to make progress requires political will, and that is sadly lacking, and will remain so until energy demand rubs the noses of the body politic in the reality that there is no ideal, only the viable.

Unfortunately, I think he's right. The political will to do what's needed will only materialise after the train has hit the buffers.

Mar 3, 2013 at 5:58 PM | Registered CommenterMartin A

In the meanwhile Kloor pontificates on how there is no slant in climate change reporting...

Mar 3, 2013 at 6:25 PM | Registered Commenteromnologos

It is good news when CNBC features someone who takes seriously criticism of "climate disruption" and who is willing to speak truth to the power that is the biased media. It is sad that, because of PC, one has to be emeritus before undertaking such risks. I hope that CNBC will report on the blowback that it receives.

Mar 3, 2013 at 6:28 PM | Unregistered CommenterTheo Goodwin

Well, gosh! A professor thinking for himself, and being insightful and beholden to nothing but the sharing of his ideas. This is just like the old days! Hurray! Scheming manipulators like Nurse, like Houghton, like Hansen, go eat your hearts out.

Mar 3, 2013 at 7:12 PM | Unregistered CommenterJohn Shade

DS: Um! Nuclear fusion has been the next great thing in energy production for the full extent of my professional life. It is likely to continue to be so through the professional lives of my children, and likely grandchildren.

As I have said before here, I don't really see this attitude as being altogether fair on those who are working (and have worked) in this field. It seems to me to be a field where, although 'the dream' has been alive for a long time, it is only recently that many of the technologies required have become feasible.

I once wrote (WUWT IIRC) that I would like to live just long enough to see Drax demolished. Then, while the Taliban were still celebrating victory, move in the bulldozers and start building Western Europe's biggest Fusion Reactor. Don't take that dream from me.

Mar 3, 2013 at 7:20 PM | Unregistered Commenter3x2

Let's hope that the fusion dream takes less time than it took between Daedelus and Icarus to Frank and Orville!

I guess real progress will have to wait until the situation is desperate. The way that natural resources or new methods of exploitation come along then it may be some time before it is actually required or cost effective.

Mar 3, 2013 at 7:39 PM | Unregistered CommenterSandyS

Orville and Frank Lloyd Wright? Wilbur is the name you seek.

Mar 3, 2013 at 7:45 PM | Unregistered Commenterrhoda

Last week : - Peak Oil ? World oil production last year was at record levels memories-of-peak-oil
& also last week the oil expert on The BBC Today prog said "By 2017 UK production will rise to 2 million barrels/day from the current 1.5 million." (That doesn't include shale gas) and I hear of new gas projects all the time
- Yet the CNBC piece begins with "This is where we stand, and it's a fairly bleak view: "Peak oil" -- the concept that the globe's oil supplies are finite and will, perhaps sooner rather than later, run out entirely -- is almost here"
.. should I bother to read the rest of the 3 pages ?

Mar 3, 2013 at 7:50 PM | Registered Commenterstewgreen

Mar 3, 2013 at 7:45 PM | rhoda

"Orville and Frank Lloyd Wright? Wilbur is the name you seek."

You are right, Rhoda. But I cannot stop laughing. Didn't Dali have a masterpiece based on Orville and Frank Lloyd Wright? What was the title?

Mar 3, 2013 at 7:57 PM | Unregistered CommenterTheo Goodwin

Sorry posted on wrong thread!

Mar 3, 2013 at 8:29 PM | Registered CommenterFoxgoose

BTW - brainwashing from PBS (the BBC of the USA) they have a page "Here are profiles of five of the most famous skeptics"
it ends with links to 3 sites
- (really Greenpeace)
- "A blog maintained by scientists" .. actually outrageous propaganda site
- "article about the global warming disinformation campaign for the May 2006 edition of Vanity Fair."

Mar 3, 2013 at 8:39 PM | Registered Commenterstewgreen

Are we sure that instead of 'Orville and Frank Lloyd Wright', Sandy wasn't groping towards Rod Hull and Emu?

Mar 3, 2013 at 8:44 PM | Unregistered CommenterLatimer Alder

Let's hope that the fusion dream takes less time than it took between Daedelus and Icarus to Frank and Orville!

I guess real progress will have to wait until the situation is desperate. The way that natural resources or new methods of exploitation come along then it may be some time before it is actually required or cost effective.

Sorry SandyS, had visions of Greeks with wax wings and a man with his hand up a Duck's a**e.

I don't think that 'flight' was really about a 'desperate situation' more perhaps about an age where experimentation of all kinds was, yet again, 'the norm'. We often think of our own age as somehow different but try to take oneself back to the 1900's. Electricity, Flight, moving pictures and a gazillion other things that were though impossible a few years earlier.

I'm a great fan of Industrial History. Pumping the water out of your Coal Mine and using it to build an artificial river to your customers front door or throwing a lump of 'gubbins' onto the surface of Mars. Proud to be here now and would have been just as proud to have been around in the 1700's.

My fight, living in these times, is with the Taliban. Should I die, seeing Western Europe's largest Fusion Reactor build in N. Yorkshire, I will die a happy man knowing that my children have a better future than the one I could only partially dream for them.

Mar 3, 2013 at 9:12 PM | Unregistered Commenter3x2

Here's an upbeat sentence if ever I heard one. And from an unexpected source. The Department of Energy and Climate Change!

'The United Kingdom is well placed within Europe in having large reserves of indigenous coal both onshore and offshore in the southern North Sea. These reserves have the potential to provide security of future energy supplies long after oil and natural gas are exhausted.'

Mar 3, 2013 at 10:08 PM | Registered CommenterPharos

Speaking of mining engineering... Steve McIntyre is back.

Mar 3, 2013 at 10:12 PM | Unregistered CommenterJeff Norman

I'm sure that's not Wright either. I think its Pearse (

Mar 3, 2013 at 10:33 PM | Unregistered CommenterHAS


I'm sure that's not Wright either.
I think its Pearse (

How about William Frost?

Frost was a Welshman who is said to have made a flight in a heavier-than-air machine in September 1896. Furthermore, unlike the Wright brothers and Richard Pearse, he had a surname that is relevant to the subject of climate change!

Mar 3, 2013 at 11:12 PM | Unregistered CommenterRoy

First 'heavier than air' flight - 1804 (George Cayley model - designed 1799)
First heavier-than-air man-carrying flight - around 1845 (George Cayley)
First heavier-than-air motorised flight - 1848 (Stringfellow model)
First heavier-than-air man carrying motorised flight - 1874 (Felix du Temple)
First heavier-than-air man-carrying controlled flight - 1891 ( Lilienthal)

The issue of who produced the first heavier-than-air man-carrying motorised controlled flight is a matter of some discussion - several people produced powered aircraft capable of reasonable flight lengths around 1890-1900. Control and power were always marginal, however. The Wright's first attempts were similar to these others. However, they had access to a particularly powerful motor, and advanced methodologically. Their 'Flyer 3' of 1905 was the first reliable and consistent heavier-than-air man-carrying motorised controlled flying machine. They immediately tried to patent this and exert effective control over all aerial machinery.

Unfortunately, their patented wing-warping control technology would not scale well, and the independent aeronautical development in Europe (Santos Dumont) of the hinged control surface was the way ahead. Santos-Dumont did not patent his technology - offering it to humanity for free, and by 1908 there was an aircraft factory in France turning out his Demoiselle design.

While European aviation advanced rapidly, American development was frozen by a series of patent battles with the Wrights. The main result of this was that, when WW1 started, the US had not developed any ability to make aircraft, and had to buy them from the French...

Mar 4, 2013 at 12:00 AM | Unregistered CommenterDodgy Geezer

I'm glad to find someone else showing "caution on shale"

Mar 4, 2013 at 12:17 AM | Unregistered CommenterEntropic man

While I'm a countryman of Richard Pearse and am amazed by what he did in isolation, the Wright brothers deserve their prominence.

It's a shame about the litigation and Dodgy Geezer is correct that there was a lot of significant history before that famous December 1903 hop, but for me what is significant is the flying that came AFTER it, not before.

A lot of people did hops and they may or may not have done one before the Wright brothers, but the Wrights quickly extended to far more ambitious flights and their lead actually increased. In September 1904 they flew a 1200m circle; in November several flights of over 5 minutes; and in September and October 1905 flew six long flights of 17 to 38 minutes covering up to 39 km. All of those were indisputably world firsts and by the end of 1905 they were at least 5 years ahead of any competitor.

Mar 4, 2013 at 4:28 AM | Unregistered CommenterBruce Hoult

I have followed Dave Summers in the past on and which is I believe his most current web site. You will find his discussions worthwhile.

During the Deepwater Horizon oil spill he was the best source of info and knowledge I could find. He tagged/commented as "Heading Out"

Mar 4, 2013 at 7:00 AM | Unregistered Commentereyesonu

Journalists as advocates, surely not at the BBC! Here is the latest pathetic offering from Oberwarm-meister Harrabin:

Roger old chap, you seem to have missed Pachauri's recent confession about flat-lined temperatures. Although, interestingly, the article says we will have to adapt as temperatures change 'slowly'.

That the green activist cell that runs the Environment propaganda dept hasn't been called out by the BBC management is proof that either the rot runs deep or none of their colleagues read this dross. Until it is shown otherwise, I go with the former.

Mar 4, 2013 at 7:57 AM | Unregistered CommenterSteve Jones

"How long must global temperatures remain relatively stable before someone brings this up as a front page story?"

Look, I may not have got this on page one of the Mail on Sunday. But I have managed to report it repeatedly and prominently, most recently as part of a two page spread just a week ago. Someone tell that man to buy our paper!

Mar 4, 2013 at 8:50 AM | Unregistered CommenterDavid Rose

David Rose: Well done for a good article. It's getting the message on the BBC that matters, and that won't happen any time soon.

Mar 4, 2013 at 9:04 AM | Registered CommenterPhillip Bratby


For my money - that is by far the best article on the subject that has appeared in the popular press.

I hope you can keep it up - and persuade your editors to give the subject the prominence it deserves.

No doubt the first "green blackouts" will concentrate their minds wonderfully.

Mar 4, 2013 at 9:13 AM | Registered CommenterFoxgoose

Look, I may not have got this on page one of the Mail on Sunday. But I have managed to report it repeatedly and prominently, most recently as part of a two page spread just a week ago. Someone tell that man to buy our paper!

Mar 4, 2013 at 8:50 AM | David Rose

David Rose: Well done for a good article. It's getting the message on the BBC that matters, and that won't happen any time soon.

Mar 4, 2013 at 9:04 AM | Phillip Bratby

Phillip is right to thank David for his worthwhile efforts and is right that what really matters is getting the message on TV during peak viewing hours. It needs to be on BBC1 or ITV between 7 to 9pm, on a number of differenct occassions, when I wide audience will se it. It also needs to be front page of the Sun.

It is only after MSM has carried the story a number of times will Joe Public be aware of the fact that there has been no warming these past 17 years or so. Joe Public neeeds also to be informed that the IPCC's own report into extreme climate events has concluded that there is no evidence supporting an increase in extreme climatic events or otherwise linking these events with an increase in CO2 emissiosns.

Finally, and not least, there needs to be many many articles giving a realsistic appraisal of the effectiveness of wind and solar in the UK (and Northern Europe) and how much CO2 has been saved by these, the number of conventional power generation plants which solar and wind have replaced and made reduntant etc, what reduction in global temperatures would be brought about by the UK's rush for wind, and how much extra this is costing and wil cost the UK consumer, before public perception will change and before they will force their political masters top reconsider policy..

Mar 4, 2013 at 10:56 AM | Unregistered Commenterrichard verney

There are cracks appearing in the MSM, especially in Germany, not surprising given their recent winters.

Just this morning on the Today program there was a bit about flooding and where the blame lies. The guy from the Environment Dept. was careful to say that 'the scientists' were telling us that the recent anomalous weather, months of drought followed by months of rain (I know, anomalous only to them!) are the result of anthropogenic CC and that they MIGHT be right, although they might not as well.

Mar 4, 2013 at 11:19 AM | Unregistered CommenterPeter C

Admission of not being able to read or write is socially embarrassing, as well as career-limiting. But, along with occasional Members of Parliament, some media 'personalities' will happily parade their own innumeracy as a badge of honour when confronted with high school mathematics tests.

I think if said media were forced to link either their tax bill or their wages to recent global temperatures and "projections" then they would start to understand very quickly.

Mar 4, 2013 at 1:49 PM | Unregistered Commentermichael hart

Entropic man "I'm glad to find someone else showing "caution on shale"

I'm not clear as to your problem.

A private company using private capital believes that it can make money by exploiting a potential Gas reserve.

a) Company is deluded and private shareholders are sad.
b) Company makes money and private shareholders are happy.

At no point do you (or HMG) loose anything. Either 'Shale' works or 'Shale' doesn't.

Unless, of course, your opposition to 'Shale' has other, political, motivations. Sounds to me as though you are afraid that that the venture might actually pay off.

Mar 4, 2013 at 6:59 PM | Unregistered Commenter3x2

Easy, rhoda; a house with a couple of attached windmills.

Mar 4, 2013 at 7:56 PM | Unregistered Commenterkim

3 x 2
"I'm not clear as to your problem."

My problem is threefold.

1) In the US shale gas was marginally profitable when the new " dash for gas" started. Overproduction has triggered a slump in gas prices there as a gas surplus built up, with no infrastructure to export it.
Many of the wells are now unprofitable and have stopped production until the price improves. This suggests that cheap gas from shale is going to be a mirage, rather than a reality.

2) The people telling us about the benefits of shale gas are the same ones asking us to pay for them to drill wells. They have strong financial incentives to sound optimistic.

3) We are in a recession.Until the case for shale gas is demonstrated beyond reasonable doubt, do we really want to use scarce capital drilling for it?

Am I afraid it will work? No. Environmentally, it looks relatively benign. This is one issue on which I would be happy to be proved wrong.

My concern is economic. It has the same overhyped feel of the dotcom and biotech bubbles in their growth phase.

Mar 6, 2013 at 1:08 AM | Unregistered CommenterEntropic man

Haha, still laughing at E-man's response. Those were SHAREMARKET bubbles, not bubbles in the production of biotechnology or computing stuff. Think of it more like the electronics industry, where things have advanced so fast, things have got so cheap, that consumers/customers heads are still spinning with excitement.

Mar 30, 2013 at 6:08 AM | Unregistered CommenterClunking Fist

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