Click images for more details



Recent posts
Recent comments

A few sites I've stumbled across recently....

Powered by Squarespace
« AR5 open thread | Main | Steve Jewson on Bayesian statistics »

Diary date: Keeping the lights on edition

This is a sponsored post

Let's just imagine that the IPCC really has backed itself into a corner over what it is going to say about the extent of future global warming, and that they are forced to say something much closer to "dunno" than "we're all going to fry". What if, as Fraser Nelson suggested in his leader article last week, sanity really is starting to return to the climate change debate? 

If he's right, then our attentions need to be turning to how we get out of the appalling pickle we have got ourselves into, a pickle that Ed Miliband's prognostications earlier in the week seem to have made infinitely worse. This being the case, the Spectator conference on energy futures looks like it will be a useful step in the right direction.

Appealingly entitled, "How do we stop the lights going out", the conference is described as follows:

The UK´s coal-fired and nuclear power stations are being closed down — but plans for new electricity generating capacity to replace remain tied up in political argument and inertia.

At best, the margin of reliable supply over peak demand will be squeezed to a bare minimum, heavily dependent on imported gas, and energy bills will soar.

At worst, sometime in the next decade, the lights really will go out. How should ministers address this crisis now?

The cast of speakers is stellar, with Ed Davey, Paul Stephens and Tom Burke from the green side of the debate and Benny Peiser, Ian Fells, Nick Butler, and Nick Grealy representing those who actually worry about, you know, keeping the lights on. I gather there are other prominent speakers still to be confirmed.

The timing of the conference is amusing too. Although it's about energy, you can't help wonder if the Fifth Assessment Report will rear its (no doubt) ugly head - the whole focus on renewables presupposes, after all, that scientists understand the climate and that future warming is going to be high. It will be fun watching the green contingent having either to explain away why the IPCC now doesn't understand the pause in warming, or alternatively dealing with the laughter when they try to explain away a sudden discovery of an explanation at some point in the last few weeks.

Details here.

PrintView Printer Friendly Version

Reader Comments (19)

Going by what I have seen on the "meeja" this morning the IPCC and their hordes are still going full on with the man made warming effecting the climate DOOM, DOOM, DOOM, but in fifty years time or er umm so ,sort of errr thing.
However SKY news did point out the recent plateu in temperature.
That plateau looks more like the apex of a wave to me.
We are soon to be heading for "a trough", I think a bit like the IPCC.
If the global temperature now decreases they are going to have a job explaining that one away.

Sep 27, 2013 at 6:31 AM | Unregistered Commenterc777

Ed Davey will repeat all the very expensive methods he has puit in place in an attempt to keep the lights on and then he will be gone before he gets to hear the truth.

Sep 27, 2013 at 6:37 AM | Registered CommenterPhillip Bratby

We begin by offering our forgiveness for their foibles and remind them that the road to redemption is paved with contrite confession.

Sep 27, 2013 at 6:47 AM | Unregistered Commenterdp

The one thing that none of them will say is what practical methods can be implemented to make the electricity we need cheaper.

Sep 27, 2013 at 7:19 AM | Unregistered Commentertom0mason

BBC this morning: catastrophe is all our fault, say the IPPC and the media, and the end of the world is undoubtedly going to happen unless we decarbonise by next week, otherwise we shall be overwhelmed by melting glaciers, rising seas and all the rest of it. It will be colder in some places.

However this momentous gloom-filled news was placed third in order of importance on the news bulletin. Funny, that.

Sep 27, 2013 at 7:25 AM | Unregistered CommenterMessenger

Given the outright denial in some quarters that there is any kind of "pause", "plateau", "hiatus" etc. a downward temperature trend would probably get the same fudged, fuddled, obfuscated, "I see no trend".... look the other way.

Sep 27, 2013 at 7:27 AM | Unregistered CommenterNiff

Though it doesn't get a lot of attention STOR is actually quite a large addition to the nations generating reserve. A rather bizarre addition but an addition none the less.

Sep 27, 2013 at 7:36 AM | Unregistered CommenterEddy

Radio 5 had Myles Allen in full flow predicting disaster and impacts on UK house prices from floods. Not a single difficult question from Nicky Campbell who used the denier word to label critics.
Time for the licence fee to be scrapped.

Sep 27, 2013 at 8:01 AM | Unregistered CommenterG. Watkins

The BBC World Service (you know that one, the worlds radio station - NOT) seemed to have a metric running to ensure that every sentence blurted out contained the term 'climate change' at least twice.

In a saner version of UK I would have called that brain washing/indoctrination. It was bollox anyway as with most of the silly WS stuff.

Sep 27, 2013 at 8:19 AM | Unregistered Commenterex - Expat Colin

Reaching the climax of his sermon about the day of judgement, the preacher declared the fate of those who fail to meet the standards of God’s Kingdom: ‘They will be thrown into the furnace of fire, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth’. At which point an old woman put up her hand and said “But Rector, I have no teeth”, to which the hell-fire preacher, without missing a beat, replied “Madam, teeth will be provided”.

Sep 27, 2013 at 8:30 AM | Unregistered CommenterManniac

Just read the link to Fraser Nelson who says that global warming is 'still' a 'monumental problem' having spent the whole article saying there is no evidence for the predicted monumental problem. He says the scientific process should be followed to determine the case, not driven by the hyperbole of non-scientists with their misuse of part of the scientific facts... then goes on to do just that.

This is the problem: the worm has burrowed so deep into the minds of many in places of power, influence, authority and the media that even when the evidence shows the problem is not there, to them it 'still' MUST be, just temporarily dormant.

Sep 27, 2013 at 8:30 AM | Unregistered CommenterJohn B

Radio 3 this morning just blandly reported the newspapers impressions of the report. Every newspaper took a different line from the report. Guardian - it's getting worse. Mail - it hasn't followed predictions. There is one paper apparently that gleans that the UK will now be cooling by 1 degree due to a gulf stream shift fom global warming. Well this nonsense keeps coming back like the bad penny. Richard Seager explodes the myth here:

Yet it still appears in IPCC rreports, presumably written by the usual suspect scientists who just like to make stuff up rather than do real science or actually read stuff..

Carl Wunch wrote to the economist magazine during the last appearence of the myth and exasperatingly explained to them that the gulf stream will only shift if the Earth stops rotating. In truth you can't blame the media; it is a large portion of US and UK oceanographers who just don't seem to know their own subject.

I guess the authors of that particular piece of IPCC-speak realised that UK people have always been looking forward to some warming. Or as spiked magazine put it "shock, horror, UK to be like Provence". So they tell us global warming will bring UK cooling. I'm pretty certain a global cooling scenario would not be projected as giving the UK warming though now would it?

Sep 27, 2013 at 8:33 AM | Unregistered CommenterJamesG

Sorry, instead of sanity, it's total insanity: full scale geoengineering.

Let's rewrite Kubricks film "Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb"
to "Dr. Hansen or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Geoengineering"

Sep 27, 2013 at 8:46 AM | Unregistered CommenterJohn Silver

So long as Connie Hedegaard and the other muppets in the EU commission and all the EU governments persist with the silly 20% energy from renewable energy by 2020 directive it will be business as usual for the crooks selling wind power, electric cars and biofuels, no matter what the IPCC report says. (Apologies to Jim Henson's furry creations.)

Sep 27, 2013 at 9:14 AM | Unregistered CommenterUlick Stafford

Sounds like an important discussion and not before time. Two important issues should be raised.

The first is to do with vulnerability to external disruptions eg strikes, epidemics, extreme weather or, as dramatised by Channel 4, a cyber attack. The system hasn’t been tested seriously by any of those things in recent years but they aren’t just possible they’re quite probable eg the last major flu epidemic was about 1990.

Even ignoring a particularly bad seasonal flu, there are two major contenders for a severe outbreak of disease, MERS and H7N9. They don’t have to go full pandemic to put a strain on the power industries and obviously the health services too. Key people in all industries and governmental departments could be unavailable to make snap decisions in a power emergency.

Targeted strikes too could cause major problems for power supply. Already stressed, the power companies are possible sources of industrial action but as we saw in 2000 a few fuel protesters can not only disrupt the normal operation of the country but could have major consequences for a power infrastructure that is relying on fuel being transported in a timely fashion. One of the ways the power industry killed Arthur Scargill’s leverage was by stockpiling huge amounts of coal. The CEGB was determined not to be caught short again… a plan that has long since been scrapped.

The possibilities for disruptions that have a knock on effect on power supply are extensive. Each would need to be planned for and the more vulnerable the grid, the less able it is to deal with the ‘unexpected’.

The second issue that needs addressing is the vulnerable in society. Already care homes are struggling to supply the everyday needs of their charges, what is the likelihood they will crumble altogether in a major disruption like rolling blackouts? Those institutions were advised to procure backup power generators because they would not be protected from rolling blackouts, but how many have complied and how many could safely operate them even if they were purchased? Even if the government has considered the plight of care home residents, have they spared a thought for the level of power reliance of those elderly living at home?

Key people have to stop thinking of a blackout as a jolly little interlude during which they’d have a walk in the park or work by battery back up on their laptop.

Sep 27, 2013 at 9:20 AM | Unregistered CommenterTinyCO2

At the next general election we will have the following choices. When do you want the lights to go out?

a) As soon as possible - vote Green
b) Very soon - vote Lib Dem
c) Soon but let's all pretend they won't go out - vote Labour
d) After we retire to well-paid jobs in the City and let the other lot take the blame - vote Conservative

On the subject of the Conservatives, the Daily Mail yesterday said that Tim Rice might not vote for the Conservatives in future because of their support for wind farms which he described as one of the most dishonest scams perpetuated by any organisation ever.

Sep 27, 2013 at 9:50 AM | Unregistered CommenterRoy

One BBC reporter commenting on the recent temperatures said that, over the last 15 years, the rate of warming had slowed down somewhat !

Sep 27, 2013 at 10:21 AM | Unregistered CommenterIan E

It costs £150.00 to attend. Does anyone know if the proceedings will be published?

Sep 27, 2013 at 11:17 AM | Unregistered Commenterpeter2108

One thing is for certain, none of the greenies will stand up and take responsibility for the damage that has been done to the environment in the name of preventing cagw. When the last Indonesian orangutan is killed to make way for another palm oil plantation, Ed Davey can take satisfaction that his work is complete.

Sep 27, 2013 at 11:46 AM | Unregistered CommenterBloke down the pub

PostPost a New Comment

Enter your information below to add a new comment.

My response is on my own website »
Author Email (optional):
Author URL (optional):
Some HTML allowed: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <code> <em> <i> <strike> <strong>