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Future of the Climate Change Act

MPs are currently debating the future of the Climate Change Act. I have just heard it described as "ludicrous" and "the most foolish piece of legislation" MPs are ever likely to hear.

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Reader Comments (93)

Dung, re:

Bryony needs a frontal lobotomy

Please, she's already had that procedure, and surely she cannot spare any more brain cells....

Sep 11, 2013 at 2:45 AM | Registered CommenterSkiphil

What, apart from roads, education, sanitation, peace and safety did the Romans ever do for us?

Sep 11, 2013 at 1:26 AM | Mooloo

If only governments stuck to that limited agenda, although personally I would remove education from the list.

Sep 11, 2013 at 5:13 AM | Unregistered Commenterrichard verney

There were good points made in this debate but these are set piece arguments so I think the MPs should have gone in there with their school bag full of books on the subject. When the MPs were speaking they could have held up the book to the camera or given spoken reference to it for the benefit of anyone from around the world looking at the video. They could have named scientists who think CAGW is unlikely ( e.g Bob Carter, Fred Singer ) and encouraged people to look at their blog ( e.g Judith Curry ). In reply to Helen Lovejoy's " 97% of scientists " claim , David Davies could have referred to Andrew Montford's " Consensus, what consensus ?" article in Thegwpf. They could have mentioned Bishop-hill, WattsUpWithThat, 50 to 1 project, etc We pay these MPs a lot of money so I think we could expect them to raise their game and be more professional. It wasn't even that easy to work out the names of the MPs. Maybe the person operating the tv output could have put subtitles to identify people. You'll note the comment that back in 2008 only one MP asked to see the IPCC Impacts assessment before voting, had they previously seen it on line or do most of them just go round in a dim haze ?

Sep 11, 2013 at 7:13 AM | Unregistered CommenterAlex

David Davies, MP for Monmouth makes some good points on his website about the energy bill and green jobs :

Barry Gardiner MP for Brent North added arms and legs to the IPCC report. Would have thought he might have read argument that says Levees at New Orleans were breached mainly due to poor engineering & unfinished work.Maybe if they'd used some of the $ billions taken by climate research they could have finished the levees and prevented the floods ?
Barry's website says that on 1st Oct 2012 he chaired a Fabian society debate on cheaper energy, it doesn't give a script for what he said but I wonder if it was, " Sun and wind are free " ? To which I would have replied, " Well John Constable of Renewable Energy Foundation points out that gas and coal are a lot more free "

Sep 11, 2013 at 8:05 AM | Unregistered CommenterAlex

Its not that the debate was poor that matters, its that the debate actually occurred that matters. A major blow to Progressives everywhere, of whom warmists are a sub-set.

Sep 11, 2013 at 8:15 AM | Unregistered Commenterbill

I'm on the road and don't have time to watch the debate.

Would someone be kind enough to summarise the debate in a line or two? Has anything changed?

Sep 11, 2013 at 8:15 AM | Registered CommenterMartin A

I watched the first 20 minutes or so of this debate.

One factor that stood out for me was the ability of David Davies to answer questions put and the complete refusal by the other side to answer any of the questions that either he or John Redwood raised. One would have thought that by now a warmist’s weasel word answer to the question, “How do you explain the cause of almost identical warming periods before CO2 could be blamed?” could be trotted out.

No such luck.

Sep 11, 2013 at 8:16 AM | Unregistered CommenterDrJohnGalan

The main speaker was David TC Davies MP (with an 'E' in Davies)

not the other David Davis

The emotional lady at the end was Luciana Berger (Liverpool, Wavertree) (Lab/Co-op). Helen Lovejoy is a fictional character in The Simpsons.

Full Hansard transcript of the debate online here:

Sep 11, 2013 at 8:31 AM | Unregistered CommenterJack Hughes

JH (Sep 11, 2013 at 8:31 AM):

Re: Luciana Berger / Helen Lovejoy; are you sure you have the actual/fictional characters right?

For those like Mooloo, please read my comment again. I did not say governments have not given us anything, I said that no progress has been made by government policy. Perhaps I should have been more specific, and said: “…no scientific, cultural or societal progress…” Most government policies tend to be regressive.

Let us hope that we see a lot more of David TC Davies.

Sep 11, 2013 at 9:35 AM | Unregistered CommenterRadical Rodent

Former lorry driver David Davies is one of the most interesting politicians in the UK. When he was an AM in the Welsh Assembly he learned Welsh fluently in a few months and was taking part in debates in that language. His ability to master his brief is impressive and the way he swatted away the poor attempts by the clueless minister and 97% consensus barbs was clear and decisive. He will go a long way.

Sep 11, 2013 at 9:57 AM | Unregistered CommenterTrefjon

According to the Labour wonk, the personification of 'Knowledge without wisdom or understanding', we need to spend a piffling amount of our money, around £110 billion in the next 10 years, on deindustralising, sorry decarbonising, Britain because our school children are so worried about the threat of Global Warming.

An infinite loop, me thinks!

Sep 11, 2013 at 10:52 AM | Registered CommenterRobert Christopher

If only governments stuck to that limited agenda, although personally I would remove education from the list.
I'll give you a +1 on that, Richard!

Sep 11, 2013 at 10:56 AM | Registered CommenterMike Jackson

Trefjon on Sep 11, 2013 at 9:57 AM

I was also impressed with David Davies. His contribution was not far off a precis of Bishop Hill's main findings?

He covered so many pertinent points, with just the amount of 'attitude', and in the heat of battle too!

Sep 11, 2013 at 11:00 AM | Registered CommenterRobert Christopher

I gave up after some old foggy got up and asked the Honourable Gentleman if he accepted the findings of the Hadley Center and their discovery of AGW from round the world.

I am afraid the Hadley Center has lost its way and now grasping at straws.

Sep 11, 2013 at 12:15 PM | Unregistered CommenterJohn Marshall

I liked the incredulity with which it was asked whether the proponents actually thought the Met Office was part of some great conspiracy, eh, given its world class blah blah blah. Well it is perfectly possible for a significant organisation, moreover one with a world class reputation, to be part of a conspiracy, whilst after the event staunchly denying it ever was, eg the dear old Wehrmacht. In the post war period its apologists staunchly argued that the W was simply a collection of noble folk serving their country & all this unpleasant stuff re Jews etc was nothing to do with them, that was all down to the SS and other equally beastly blighters: claims that no-one can take seriously now, the Wehrmacht having been proved again and again to have been enthusiastic slaughterers of the innocents. Which is a round about way of saying it may seem a bit daft now to think Sligo and chums are part of a racket, but maybe not seem such a silly idea in 5 or 10 years time.

Sep 11, 2013 at 12:27 PM | Unregistered Commenterbill

bill: Also worth asking what the point of a conspiracy would be if it never managed to infiltrate a significant organisation. Infiltration would not mean all employees or even a majority were an active part. The Wehrmacht's an interesting example in that a reasonably large proportion conspired against Hitler. But what you say about the role of many in the murder of the Jews and the lack of honesty about this afterwards is also true.

Sep 11, 2013 at 12:52 PM | Registered CommenterRichard Drake

Ah, Luciana, a vision of comely femininity but what's to like?

Labour blow-in Luciana Berger has been in a spat with one of the local councillors in her Liverpool constituency ("They've found me a safe seat in Liverpool? Where's that? Wasn't that where the Beatles came from?") before she's even been able to remember the major street-names.

Berger of course is the poster-girl for the new breed of political class who are driving voters away from the Labour and Tory parties in droves. Like most of her contemporaries, she was privately educated (Haberdasher Aske's) and from a Labour political dynasty. And no, she's never had a proper job or done a single day's proper work in her life. It was student politics, then a bit of expenses-experience with a health quango before Parliament.

She was screwed into one of Labour's safe Liverpool seats for the 2010 election by the party's London HQ against local opposition. As Wiki records "In the run-up to the General Election, the Liverpool Echo tested Berger with a four-question quiz on Liverpool life and history. She scored two out of four, not knowing who performed Ferry Cross the Mersey and not recognising the name of former Liverpool F.C. manager, Bill Shankly."

Raedwald blog.

What the 'eck is she going to know about aught of value? On climate change - mark it down - as "much, much, too difficult" for Luci.

National energy security, proper well thought out energy policy strategy? Then, perhaps cheaper energy for domestic customers, saving the taxpayers of Britain £billions by binning the CCA?

Oh no - not a bit of it, Luciana just wants to score political points and get in Ed's good books.

Sep 11, 2013 at 1:57 PM | Unregistered CommenterAthelstan.

I see John Redwood is present...
Just an observation - are the 'Againsts' on David Davies' side - and the 'For's' on the opposite side..? If so - there aren't many of them..!
Just heard a lady speaker (on the 'For' side) trot out the '97% of climate scientists' bilge - but unfortunately David Davies did not take the opportunity to demolish that particular piece of rubbish..
The point about the government making policy based on the last three centimetres of a ten-kilometre-long graph is well made..!

Sep 11, 2013 at 2:11 PM | Unregistered Commentersherlock1

I thought David Davies was excellent. Just first class. I had almost given up expecting to hear downright common sense any more.

Sep 11, 2013 at 3:34 PM | Unregistered Commentermike fowle

I read the transcript in its entriety and saved it for posterity. Its very good, both with the sound views of Davies, Lilley, Stringer, Redwood etc and for the trotting out of the "consensus" nonsense by the others.

Does anyone know who the "famous five" MP's are who voted against the act?

Sep 11, 2013 at 4:15 PM | Unregistered CommenterThinkingScientist

Famous Five:

1. Peter Lilley MP
2. Andrew Tyrie MP
3. Philip Davies MP
4. Christopher Chope MP
5. former MP Anne Widdecombe

Sep 11, 2013 at 4:43 PM | Unregistered CommenterFay Tuncay

Is there a quick way of knowing which MP's were present at tbe debate? Hansard can be used for those who spoke, but not those who were present but did not actually participate.


Sep 11, 2013 at 4:51 PM | Unregistered CommenterSteven Whalley

Fay - thanks a lot!

Sep 11, 2013 at 4:54 PM | Unregistered CommenterThinkingScientist

Re David Davies, I sent him the following email with an analogy I picked up here:

"Congratulations on your rousing performance last night, it gave hope to those of us that thought this country was bent on suicide. When the Minister trotted out that the last decade was hotter than the previous which was hotter than the previous to that ( They always use the decade comparison to hide the pause), you could have replied “ I was taller in my thirties than I was in my twenties and taller then than in my teens, but the fact remains I stopped growing in my thirties!”

He replied promptly:
"That would have been a good response. I was trying to think of something similar to debunk the notion that doubling the amount of co2 would double the effect that the existing co2 has. (If you follow me)"

Can anybody help him?

Sep 11, 2013 at 5:33 PM | Unregistered CommenterAnthony Hanwell

""That would have been a good response. I was trying to think of something similar to debunk the notion that doubling the amount of co2 would double the effect that the existing co2 has. (If you follow me)"//

Doubling, quintupling, it's not the point.

How about....

The sun drives the climate, not CO2.

Levels of CO2 rise after [not before] the sun warms the world's climate up - then, warming seas, microbiological and other biological processes in warming soils release greater amounts of CO2 - that is how it works.

Mankind's input is ±5-7% of total atmospheric CO2 - is one gas among many in the earth's atmosphere but by far the major GHG - is H2O.
Sifting for a needle in a haystack, is a relatively easy and achievable task given some dedicated searching. Pursuing fingerprint of man made warming is insane but it keeps many thousands of people occupied in well paid sinecures around the world, not least those shills and pedlars of climate discombobulation down in Exeter at the Hadley centre.
Identifying the specificity of climate sensitivity, thus calibrating mankind's 'fingerprint' in overall natural warming. Not only is a false premise [see above] it is akin to sieving through all of the dunes in the Sahara looking for one grain of mica. We say, enough, we've spent $£€billions seeking the [CAGW] holy grail and it doesn't exist, it never did........But what a task it is, you can spend an eternity proving a chimera! Wow - there's years of work in it for universities and all manner of academic institutions, NGOs, Quangos and civil servants and global warming officers by the division - so long as the poor bloody taxpayer has to cough up.

Then there's the banks and insurance industry and their commissions.

That's why CAGW-CC is the new holy grail and don't forget to, follow the money.

The short version is the best though [see top].

Sep 11, 2013 at 6:45 PM | Unregistered CommenterAthelstan.

Radical Rodent,

"For those like Mooloo, please read my comment again. I did not say governments have not given us anything, I said that no progress has been made by government policy. Perhaps I should have been more specific, and said: '…no scientific, cultural or societal progress…' Most government policies tend to be regressive."

The policy of fighting the Nazis in WW2?

Sep 11, 2013 at 7:07 PM | Unregistered CommenterJames Evans

Sep 11, 2013 at 5:33 PM | Unregistered Commenter Anthony Hanwell

Layers of black paint on a window - first does most, second adds some extra darkness(fun intended), subsequent ones.... not so much.

Quilts on your bed. Same as that.

From 11 to 22ppmv is the most effective doubling. Downhill all the way after that one.

/begin belief system

Climate Sensitivity will be found to be equal to, or less than 0.0C

/end belief system

Sep 11, 2013 at 7:39 PM | Unregistered CommenterHenry Galt

One of the MPs suggested that Germany was 'full steam ahead' on renewable energy (and another speaker mentioned coal!!!), so this is an interesting article on Germany's energy situation:

Romantic Germany risks economic decline as green dream spoils
Germany is committing slow economic suicide. It has staked its future on heavy industry and manufacturing, yet has no energy policy to back this up.

Sep 11, 2013 at 9:22 PM | Registered CommenterRobert Christopher

in the comments on this piece and elsewhere, there's seems to be a view that it's almost over. How deluded can you get? Anybody coming in off the street to get out of the rain and sitting through this debate, is absolutely going to believe that the Science is Settled, the right steps are being taken by HMG and the opponents are "Flat Earthers" and "Deniers".

Look, for instance, at the "Famous Five" listed above. They've all (or most of them) been labelled as nutters for one thing or another and their credibility is thus easy to sneer at. People like Graham Stringer are a better reference, I'd say.

Sep 11, 2013 at 9:32 PM | Unregistered CommenterIan_UK


Anybody coming in off the street to get out of the rain and sitting through this debate

is not likely to understand the background to the debate. However as someone said above, the amazing fact that real sense was talked IN PARLIAMENT by MPs is itself worth shouting about (and also of course celebrating with a little tipple hic)

Sep 11, 2013 at 10:54 PM | Registered CommenterDung

The lady wants the UK to commit economic suicide. The U of Colorado is nowhere near an ocean. Wind mills have killed at least 67 eagles in the US. They aren't green and they don't have a hope of meeting energy needs. She wants to put England back to living like medieval peasants. I like flush toilets and I don't want to freeze. Is that the future she wants to give the children of England? Thatcher got sold a bill of goods but she did hard numbers and found they were not there on climate change before she died and made no secret about it. Betting the farm on faux science is not smart. If it can't be validated it is not science. The governments of the world aren't going here and the science when looked at hard is guess work with no real probability of being right. Much of the lamb crop last year died in snow storms that the MET off a few years earlier said wasn't going to happen. How many times do these people have to be completely wrong before these religious true believers get a clue?

Sep 12, 2013 at 12:58 AM | Unregistered CommenterDwight E. Howell

The writing is on the wall and politicians can see it. David Davies pointed out that he regrets voting for the climate change act and now would not do so. More politicians will follow suit. Farage has been very clever to not challenge the science but to challenge the "science is settled" meme and politicians did the same in this debate. They are introducing other natural causes, not challenging CO2 radiative physics.

They are going to win in the long run becuase:

1. Its becoming bleeding obvious the actual measurements are not following the predictions from as short a time ago as 2007 by the Met Office. And they never will in my lifetime because climate is a chaotic double coupled Navier-Stokes equation problem and climate is way more complex that the simple minded world view of climate scientists fixated on the one cause CO2. They have been shafted by their own hubris.
2. Its becoming bleeding obvious that the climate change act targets can never be achieved
3. Its becoming bleeding obvious that meeting the targets of the climate change act would be economic suicide
4. Its becoming bleeding obvious that meeting the targets of the climate change act are pointless because of emissions growth in China and India etc.
5. Its becoming bleeding obvious that following the current energy policies is impoverishing voters (that's going to give the Conservatives a huge stick to beat Labour with, whilst Labour clings to the "saving the planet" line)
6. Its becoming bleeding obvious that following the current energy policies on renewables may lead to the very real possibility of blackouts. The voters are going to notice that incompetence from their MPs and Government and they will get VERY angry
7. Its becoming bleeding obvious that shale gas is a game changer and offers a lower emissions "get out/escape clause" for politicians wedded to "CO2 causes global warming"

The writing is on the wall and the politicians can see it. Next the newspapers are going to see the story, where the money has been going, the banckrupt "green" companies, the MPs at the trough. When it reaches the front page of The Sun, its going to be all over. I always said it will be the sun wot dunnit.

Sep 12, 2013 at 8:09 AM | Unregistered CommenterThinkingScientist

Have any of the mainstream newspapers reported on this debate about the 2008 climate change act ? I wonder if journalists ask themselves which book or blog did that MP find that idea in, who told him that piece of information, what were his references, who else shares that opinion, is that a new idea ? Would journalists comment that David Davies said climate has always been changing, this has also been said by articles at the Global Warming Policy Foundation. Why do MPs not have a list of links to websites such as Bishop-hill demonstrates ? Do MPs like to keep anonymous & vague so that it is more difficult for anyone to pin something on them? Do they shrink from recommending a book or website because there might be ideas there that they don't agree with or might be politically damaging ? Are they being politically shrewd with their vagueness or just dim ?

As a quick response to Luciana Berger's " 97% of scientists " remark Davies could have said well how many people does that 97% refer to, how big was the survey? Perhaps they were only agreeing with the lowest common denominator. What will happen if we get to 2020 with only 0.08 C rise ? How many scientists will then come out of the woodwork and say that they were never in the 97% poll ? Maybe by then 97% of scientists will be defending themselves by waving Andrew Montford's " Consensus ? " report and saying " We never agreed with the dangerous AGW idea, just that there might be some warming.

While it was good that Gregory Barker welcomed the debate it is also interesting that he never acknowledged the disputes about the 2001 MM hockey stick graph. Neither did Luciana Berger, Barry Gardiner or Alan Whitehead acknowledge the public disputes about the IPCC reports. I think either side should be able to give a summary of the history of the debate so far eg Report A gave these criticisms while Report B gave these defences. To pretend that Report A never existed is being eco with the truth.

Fritz Vahrenholt gives an interesting talk at thegwpf

Sep 12, 2013 at 8:39 AM | Unregistered CommenterAlex

Dung - noted, but how many people have the time and the inclination to take note of what's being said by a small minority of politicians? Here's what we're up against, seen in a WUWT post just now:

"Today, 193 of 194 national heads of state say they believe humans are causing dangerous climate change. The IPCC of the United Nations has been remarkably successful in convincing the majority of the world that greenhouse gas emissions must be drastically curtailed for humanity to prosper"

Steve McIntyre, has just posted. He bemoans the inclusion, even promotion, of scientists in Climategate, who will perpetuate the myth.

Judith Curry:

"... mentioned that a young scientist of her acquaintance had complained of the tension in AR5 between incoming scientists with a fresh perspective and holdovers who were primarily concerned with vindicating/protecting AR4.

See what I mean?

Sep 12, 2013 at 8:41 AM | Unregistered CommenterIan_UK

There is another Agenda, and that's no Conspiracy Theory.

It is Conspiracy FACT !

Neither is it all about climate change, that is just one part of it.

Folks, please see the hundreds of full feature length videos,
including favourites, such as Michael Crichton, Fred Singer, Bob Carter, Ian Plimer, Lord Monckton, Idso Family, Alex Jones, Nils Axel Morner, Tim Ball, Martin Durkin, Don Easterbrook, Habibullo Abdussamatov, Christopher Horner, Alan Watt, Bill Cooper, David Icke, Nick Begich, John Coleman, Steve Goreham , Joe D'Aleo, Piers Corbyn, Václav Klaus, Sean Hannity, Glen Beck, Harrison Schmitt, John Theon, Brian Gerrish, John Perkins, Jesse Ventura, Dimitri Khalezov, Vincent Courtillot, Roy Spencer, and dozens more.

Many are the reasons why Governments and others, will try to push the green agenda, in preference to other forms of energy, available on this planet, right now, but mostly it is because of The Fraudulent Climate of Hokum Science. Our website exists to show you the video evidence from disparate sources, then You Decide what's true and what isn't.

Click the name "Axel" above to go to the website (link)

I thank you for having read this far.

Sep 12, 2013 at 10:05 AM | Unregistered CommenterAxel

Is there not a parallel with HS2 here..? Politicians are desperate to 'sell' it to us (cue new 'study' funded by - ha! quel surpris - HS2 Ltd) - yet to quote (as I often do) Basil Fawlty - that it is bleedin' obvious that the 'benefits' are doubtful and the budget is simply going to multiply.
Must be a case of 'follow the money'...

Sep 12, 2013 at 2:03 PM | Unregistered Commentersherlock1

They work for you .com , Keeping tab's on the U.K's parliaments and assemblies has quite a good lay out of the 2008 climate change act debate

It has links through to wikipedia. The live link about CO2 goes to the bit where it says CO2 is required for photosynthesis.

Maybe there needs to be more live links e.g for Graham Stringer's comment on the Oxburgh report. However on the other hand maybe it is silly to think people need to be spoon fed like that. Any one with a computer could google to see who else agrees with the comment or where is originates.

Maybe these government debates should have a computer doing live google searches on the speech and projecting up on the wall the history of the debate, who has said / written the same thing in the past. Maybe the MPs should go in with a big dossier of the history of the debate since 1990 with all the reasons for and against itemized & indexed ?

Maybe the MPs need an iphone on so that Anthony Watts or Philip Bratby can text them a clever answer before they reply ? They could make it like who wants to be a millionaire where you get to phone a friend. Or maybe like Family Fortunes where they see what the survey said - then the MPs would see if they were reinventing the wheel.

Luciana Berger mentioned " The age of stupid " but that was set in 2055. Do any of the IPCC reports predict climate disaster by 2055 ? I don't think so. Maybe Luciana should ask herself what if by 2055 the average global temperatures have fallen and the carbon taxes, wind & solar farms in Northern Europe are seen to have mostly been a disadvantage to society ?

Sep 12, 2013 at 3:45 PM | Unregistered CommenterAlex

Fay Duncan:

Actually only three MPs voted against the bill.

Davies & Widdecombe were tellers.

Sep 12, 2013 at 10:59 PM | Unregistered CommenterLetmethink

Letmethink, I don't know about Widdecombe, but Davies has made it very clear that he would have voted against it.

Sep 13, 2013 at 5:50 PM | Registered Commenterjohanna

In effect both Davies and Widdecombe made their opposition clear.
Each side needs two tellers in the Division Lobby; these will come from those supporting or opposing the motion.
By acting as tellers for the 'noes' they were stating their position though they could not vote (as indeed neither could the two tellers for the 'ayes').

Sep 13, 2013 at 6:12 PM | Registered CommenterMike Jackson

Thanks, Mike. The arcania of the UK Parliament are beyond the ken of most locals, let alone me. Another useful thing learned courtesy of BH!

Sep 14, 2013 at 5:50 AM | Registered Commenterjohanna

There's an article by George Monbiot on this debate here.

Sep 17, 2013 at 9:18 AM | Registered CommenterRuth Dixon

I have transcribed, as best as I can, what Graham Stringer (Labour MP for Blackley and Broughton, Greater Manchester) said, at 15:39:54 in the clip:

As a member of the Science and Technology Committee, I had a very close look at what was happening at the University of East Anglia and the two studies ... the two enquiries that went into it ... at the time.

And, what those inquires ... looking at it closely, there wasn't science going on there.

There was a group of enthusiasts who were pretending to be Scientists, because what they were doing was not testable in terms of the critical things that were in the public domain

nor Russell's Report didn't ask the basic question about whether emails had been deleted at the University of East Anglia

and the Oxburgh report, which was supposed to look at the science, didn't, but it did turn up the fact that they weren't using the best statistical methods of analysis and they couldn't reproduce their work.

Oct 24, 2013 at 5:43 PM | Registered CommenterRobert Christopher

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