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« Environmentalism brings you forest clear-cutting | Main | Tom Chivers on climate sensitivity »
Tuesday
May282013

Hope and change

The prime minister's new parliamentary adviser on climate change, George Eustice MP, has committed the hanging offence of suggesting that global warming sceptics should be heard in public:

Science questioning climate change should not be "rubbished or ridiculed", a Westcountry MP charged with devising energy policy for David Cameron has said.

George Eustice, Conservative MP for Camborne and Redruth, says he believes there is a link between carbon emissions and warming the planet, but argues "all perspectives" should be heard.

On its own, the statement doesn't amount to very much, but as another sign of a gradual change, it's all to the good.

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Reader Comments (34)

He's getting into position early - looking ahead to the next election.

May 28, 2013 at 12:43 PM | Unregistered CommenterJimmy Haigh.

They probably know they are going to loose the debate.

May 28, 2013 at 12:46 PM | Unregistered Commenteroebele bruinsma

Cornwall is being totally trashed by wind turbines and solar farms as a result of the climate change policy. All MPs in this part of the world are in danger of losing their seats if they go along with the Government policy on climate change and renewable energy. Watch the gradual change turn into an avalanche.

May 28, 2013 at 12:57 PM | Unregistered CommenterPhillip Bratby

Is anyone keeping 'score' of output from the Biased BBC?

May 28, 2013 at 1:13 PM | Unregistered CommenterJoe Public

Apropos of what Phillip writes, but also because it really moved me, did everybody see what Griff Rhys Jones wrote in reply to a piece by Jeremy Leggett in the Guardian a week ago?

This is not really a nimby issue. I have recently protested against badly-sited wind-farms in Wales and Scotland too, so I am afraid I am an interfering busybody as well, but I do get out to see that sort of installation and the pristine landscapes they despoil. Have you been to Argyll and Bute, Pembrokeshire, the Inner Hebrides, Howarth, Skye, Clacton and the Black Mountains recently? I have. Some farms are well-sited. Some are terrible. But they are everywhere.

The development of these renewables (now enshrined in legislation) should surely be decided in accordance with properly thought-through local plans and better organised central directives, so that government has to take the blame if things go wrong. At the moment government is hiding behind subsidy-hunting free enterprise. The result of this has been and is random desecration, with little or no accountability.

Not sure how prominent that was in The Grauniad itself. Sorry if it's old news around here.

May 28, 2013 at 1:26 PM | Registered CommenterRichard Drake

The journey of a thousand old lies will be retraced by a few new truths.

May 28, 2013 at 1:29 PM | Unregistered Commenterpesadia

That's going to annoy of a lot of people. Stand by for much wailing and gnashing of teeth.

Since Franny Armstrong of 10:10 video fame suggests that the solution to global warming may be killing yourself and your kids....

“Should we stockpile cyanide? You think I’m exaggerating, but a close friend of mine, who has four children, said she plans to kill herself and them when it comes to it.”

http://www.spannerfilms.net/400ppm

...I wonder if this will tip her into a more pragmatic mode?

May 28, 2013 at 1:36 PM | Unregistered CommenterBill

Bill -

That question should more properly be addressed to DECC.

(Please keep us updated as to their response.)

May 28, 2013 at 1:54 PM | Registered Commentermatthu

Among the Green organisations, rent-seekers and ideological supporters, I detect the odour of couche-culottes being filled.......

May 28, 2013 at 2:29 PM | Unregistered CommenterRick Bradford

But, but..the science is settled. There is no need for debate.
No other authorities than DECC, the Royal Society, the IPCC, the BBC and the world-famous Dr John Cook have said so.
It must be true!

May 28, 2013 at 2:33 PM | Unregistered CommenterDon Keiller

Good to see this comment.

"George Eustice, Conservative MP for Camborne and Redruth, says he BELIEVES there is a link between carbon emissions and warming the planet.." (my emphasis). Once again, it appears that this is a belief issue, as opposed to a considered opnion based upon consideration of the underlying facts.

But if he has an open mind, once he has heard the underlying facts and given due consideration to them, I suspect that his belief may be shattered.

May 28, 2013 at 2:34 PM | Unregistered Commenterrichard verney

Richard,

just like the thousands of research papers and grant applications that had to tip the hat to Global Warming in order to get past the thought-police - all of the current position-changing is going to be accompanied by the caveat "Climate Change is still real but...."

Just watch. At some point, this will be dismantled. When the last windmill gets taken down, the company doing it will have as the first line of their press release "Climate Change is still real but...."

May 28, 2013 at 2:54 PM | Unregistered CommenterTheBigYinJames

Of course the science questioning climate change should be rubbished or ridiculed as indeed, likewise, the science putting forward the hypothesis of climate change. Ridicule and rubbish away, if you can.

However it's egg on your face if facts based on observation don't support your attack. I note that most people commenting on this blog have heartily supported the recent rubbishing and ridiculing of the Met Office and Julia Slingo in particular.

May 28, 2013 at 3:13 PM | Unregistered Commenteralleagra

This is all over the local papers (This is Cornwall and Western Morning News). He's getting there, but still doesn't understand it all:

George Eustice, Conservative MP for Camborne and Redruth, is to join David Cameron's new eight-strong team led by fellow Conservative MP Jo Johnson – brother of London Mayor Boris.
It has emerged Mr Eustice, a former Press aide to the Prime Minister who was elected in 2010, will cover energy and climate change issues on the Number 10 policy board.

The MP, who hails from a West Cornwall farming family, has championed the Wave Hub energy terminal off the coast of Hayle in his constituency, which is poised to be the world's biggest commercial project of its kind.
He was also central to ensuring wave power – seen as vital to harnessing green jobs in the region – was lavished with the same level of subsidy in England as it is in Scotland.

The former Truro School pupil has also raised concern over the effectiveness and visual impact of wind turbines, which cause deep divisions across Devon and Cornwall.

He has called for a planning clampdown to block the march of wind turbines and – latterly – large solar farms.
He wrote on his website: "The sudden proliferation of random, single turbines is starting to blight the Cornish countryside. There is no uniformity.

"Some turbines are tall, some short. Some have two blades, some three. Some are black, some are white. And they are everywhere."
As well as his support for marine energy, Mr Eustice recently backed Friends of the Earth's Bee Cause campaign – which urged the government to help stem the rapid decline of bee populations in the UK.

More than 100 wind turbines cover the rural Westcountry, which has been targeted by developers and prompted criticism over their visual impact.

But there is deep unease among the Conservative ranks of the Government over the rise of wind farms.

Last year, then Tory Energy Minister John Hayes said turbines had been "peppered around the country" with little or no regard for local opinion – he said existing sites and those in the pipeline would be enough to meet green commitments with no need for more. But his views clashed with Liberal Democrat Secretary of State Ed Davey – a proponent of the technology.

It remains to be seen how influential the policy body will be. Mr Eustice said at the time of his appointment: "I am looking forward to getting to work on the new No 10 policy board. This Government has implemented some important reforms in areas such as education and welfare and we need to build on what has been started."

George Eustice, Tory MP for Camborne and Redruth, will advise the Prime Minister on energy policy. He is against the proliferation of wind farms but keen on marine energy – he has championed the Wave Hub off the coast of Hayle.

May 28, 2013 at 3:14 PM | Registered CommenterPhillip Bratby

'Hope and Change' has gotten a little scary for some of us.
=============

May 28, 2013 at 3:24 PM | Unregistered Commenterkim

I expect dead windmills to be a lesson for a long time. War memorials, every one of them.
================

May 28, 2013 at 3:29 PM | Unregistered Commenterkim

Phillip, thanks very much for that. He's not your MP I take it? Out of interest (and this might be an interesting basis for a discussion) how would you approach such a representative of the people, given that you yourself doubt so-called greenhouse physics at a pretty deep level? There are many levels of the problem, are there not?

I've been meaning to say this for a while - that I'd love to see a discussion specifically around the Phillip Bratby view, from top to bottom of the climate debate. You may not wish to indulge me but there it is.

May 28, 2013 at 3:40 PM | Registered CommenterRichard Drake

kim: Yes, come the day that birds are making their nests there and hopping along the stationary blades, we should I think have at least one celebratory picnic - perhaps a short distance away :)

May 28, 2013 at 3:42 PM | Registered CommenterRichard Drake

May 28, 2013 at 3:14 PM | Phillip Bratby

He is against the proliferation of wind farms but keen on marine energy – he has championed the Wave Hub off the coast of Hayle.

From Wiki:

The project is financed by the South West of England Regional Development Agency (£12.5 million), the European Regional Development Fund Convergence Programme (£20 million) and the UK government (£9.5 million).[2]

Wave Hub could generate £76 million over 25 years for the regional economy. It would create at least 170 jobs and possibly hundreds more by creating a new wave power industry in South West England.

Wave Hub could generate 13,800 megawatt hours of electricity annually, enough for 7,500 homes, saving 24,300 tonnes of carbon dioxide every year when displacing fossil fuels. This would support South West England’s target for generating 15% of the region’s power from renewable sources by 2010.

Progress so far. They've used up more than 10% of their 25 year lease and have yet to connect any wave power generator to their grid-connected socket on the sea bed. The first device to be so connected is expected to be a 1MW buoy 'later this year'. A 6MW floating wind generator project demonstrator may also be connected 'as early as 2015.'

It would appear that the development of renewables is about as efficient as the devices themselves.

May 28, 2013 at 4:39 PM | Unregistered CommenterBilly Liar

With reference to my post above, here is an extract from a report detailing wave and current information for the Wave Hub project area:

This interim report summarises the data collected during the fourth deployment,
which covers the period between 10 August 2009 and 27 January 2010. This fourth deployment was longer than intended, due to stormy conditions during December 2009 and January 2010.

Bodes well for servicing missions to malfunctioning wave/wind power devices at sea doesn't it?

May 28, 2013 at 4:54 PM | Unregistered CommenterBilly Liar

[Raise the tone please]

May 28, 2013 at 5:04 PM | Unregistered CommenterLatimer Alder

Latimer 5:04 PM

I volunteer to press the button .......

May 28, 2013 at 5:19 PM | Unregistered CommenterGummerMustGo

Sir Dave Brailsford was the UK cycling team coach for Team GB at the London Olympics. One of his key strategies (Hate that term; 'key', sooo pretentious, but nonetheless applicable here) was the principle of 'Marginal Gains'. As an example, he reduced the number of coats of paint on each cycle to reduce weight, and even insisted riders didn't touch public toilet door handles while they were out in case they increased their chances of contracting a physically-weakening virus. On their own each marginal gain would be unlikely to have an impact, but together....well they may just add up to the difference between a Gold medal or nowhere.

What happened to Team GB? Ah, yes.

I believe we're seeing something similar now with the ridiculous 'battle against climate change'.

Eustice in his new position. Osborne looking to restrict our renewables targets. Owen Paterson at DEFRA. Peter Lilley in his more prominent role and being given a broader, more prominent public profile. The UK is (slowly) looking at shale. All this is happening on the QT so as not to frighten investors, but it IS happening. (It was only ever going to be slow under a part Lib-Dim coalition) in order to save face of the idiots who bought into this farce. Nuclear is openly spoken of, while gas is now simply a must-have.

Even the EU is revisiting it's 'low carbon' strategy and Germany is going for coal. As for the UN-driven Kyoto...it's dead in the water.

Politicians are seeing with their own eyes that renewables are simply unsuitable to power modern economies, no matter how much they wish they were. As temperatures continue to defy the models, the climate clock is indeed ticking, but not in a manner enviro-loons would have wanted. The only question is how much damage do they wreak between now and sanity being restored?

However the signs are clear; foundations for a managed retreat are everywhere.

May 28, 2013 at 6:53 PM | Unregistered Commentercheshirered

Great summary, cheshirered. I last heard something similar about Brailsford from a church leader who was suggesting we apply the same principles to all of life. Not sure how far I am with that but yes, managed retreat is what we're seeing here.

One of the important ironies is that because we begin to see progress we also become aware of how much there is to recover. And that can lead to explosive anger - I don't think there's any other word for it. Yet, like Team GB, to achieve the most we have to keep our discipline. I don't think all anger should be suppressed, I think it's natural and right to feel it. But whether and how we express it is a very different thing. Discarding a pseudonym and adopting your real name before expressing fury - and observing how this modifies what you wish others to hear - might be an interesting strategy for some.

May 28, 2013 at 7:16 PM | Registered CommenterRichard Drake

May 28, 2013 at 3:40 PM Richard Drake:

No he's not my MP as I am in Devon. My MP certainly knows my opinions, but I don't go into any depth with him - he certainly hasn't the ability to understand the science.
I don't have the time to get deeply involved in the climate debate; I am up to the neck and nearly drowning in wind turbine opposition, trying to prevent Devon becoming as ruined as Cornwall.

May 28, 2013 at 4:39 PM Billy Liar:

The wave hub project keeps getting mentioned on the local BBC news programme, as do all things renewable. The wave hub comes across as a complete waste of money, but the "manager" is ever hopeful (no doubt she gets well-rewarded). The BBC local news is very much for all things renewable, but occasionally allows critical voices.

May 28, 2013 at 7:30 PM | Registered CommenterPhillip Bratby

Documentation of environmental destruction by a wind farm: Cefn Croes.
http://www.users.globalnet.co.uk/~hills/cc/gallery/index.htm#photos

May 28, 2013 at 8:22 PM | Unregistered CommenterSleepalot

On the subject of decommissioning windmills - I dont think they'll be there long once out of use. Ironically they will be "recycled" PDQ - by the gipsies if no one else. Theres a lot of valuable steel there....

May 29, 2013 at 10:11 AM | Unregistered Commenterduncan

On the subject of decommissioning windmills - I dont think they'll be there long once out of use. Ironically they will be "recycled" PDQ - by the gipsies if no one else. Theres a lot of valuable steel there....
May 29, 2013 at 10:11 AM duncan

And the concrete foundations and the access roads?

May 29, 2013 at 10:23 AM | Registered CommenterMartin A

Sleepalot; Thanks for that link. As well as the desecration of the landscape, enough time has now passed to see what has happened to the local wildlife. Also the actual performance of the farm might be available. It would make a good subject for a documentary......if only.

On decommissioning windmills; the real value will be in the Neodymium (?) etc used in the generators. The biggest ones use about a ton of the stuff per generator.

May 29, 2013 at 11:36 AM | Registered Commentermikeh

Campaigners against windfarms might be interested in this assertion:

In reality, wind energy may well be the least sustainable and least eco-friendly of all electricity options.

The post goes on: Its shortcomings are legion, but the biggest ones can be grouped into eight categories.

See: Driessen 2011

May 29, 2013 at 12:03 PM | Registered CommenterJohn Shade

And the concrete foundations and the access roads?

May 29, 2013 at 10:23 AM | Martin A

Martin - I dont know - but less fugly I would think even if they stay. We can still call it a victory if thats all we're left with!

May 29, 2013 at 12:29 PM | Unregistered Commenterduncan

George Eustace may be supportive of the proposed wave generation scheme, but he needs to be careful what he wishes for.
In the same way that it has now been proven that large wind farms actually DECREASE the amount of wind available (due to wind 'shadow') then wave farms will, inevitably (and probably more quickly, due to being concentrated in a smaller area) reduce the amount of energy available from the waves in that location.
There is, as they say, no such thing as a free lunch - and 'renewables' are not 'free' for ever...

May 29, 2013 at 1:51 PM | Unregistered Commentersherlock1

Re the concern over the proliferation of wind farms; here's how it works:

Developer applies to council to erect wind farm

Local council turns it down (cue cheers from anti-wind-farm campaigners)

Developer appeals against the decision

Planning inspector (located in cosy office in Central London) overturns original planning decision

Wind farm gets built to the dismay of local residents.

Its called 'Localism'. MP Eric Pickles will explain how its supposed to work..

May 29, 2013 at 2:19 PM | Unregistered Commentersherlock1

Re Cornish Wind Farms, have just come back from visiting my Father-In-Law in Falmouth and drove past the army of large Windmills on the side of the A30 just 10 miles N of Truro. We drove down on 23 May and back on 28th and on neither occasion were they working. I gather the money still rolls in regardless if the site is large enough.

May 29, 2013 at 11:35 PM | Unregistered Commenterjohnbuk

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