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CSAs at the Energy and Climate Change Committee

Mark Walport and David Mackay are up in front of the Commons Energy and Climate Change Committee in an hour's time. A second panel will feature Greg Barker and David Warrilow. The latter is the very long-standing UK representative on the IPCC and someone who keeps himself very much in the backgrounds, so it will be interesting to see what he has to say.

Watch here.

Direct link here.

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Reader Comments (30)

Greg Barker, the DECC Minister who thnks it is a good idea to cover about 300 square miles of the UK countryside with solar panels. No wonder he is known as Barking Mad. The best you can say for him is that he didn't study PPE. No, he studied history, economic history and politics, so he is as well qualified as Davey to be a DECC Minister.

Mar 11, 2014 at 8:48 AM | Registered CommenterPhillip Bratby

How depressing. I think I'll skip watching it, thanks.

Mar 11, 2014 at 8:55 AM | Unregistered CommenterSchrodinger's Cat

Also, the transcript of the last session is now available (the one in which Emily Shuckburgh failed to answer Peter Lilley's question, and Lilley described Chairman Yeo's intervention as 'disgraceful').

Mar 11, 2014 at 9:01 AM | Registered CommenterPaul Matthews

Warrilow seems connected to this bloke.

"Henry Derwent
President and CEO of the International Emissions Trading Association"
A man who sells thin air?

Oink oink and out.

Mar 11, 2014 at 9:07 AM | Unregistered Commenterc777

Blackout Britain?

Why is there a perception that the UK faces an ongoing risk of electricity grid failures? The answer is not what many may presume it to be.

At present, understanding the blackout risk in Britain boils down to understanding the security of future gas supplies and that is not a simple task.

Mar 11, 2014 at 9:09 AM | Registered CommenterEuan Mearns

Slightly off-message but relevant all the same; did anyone catch The Big Bang Theory on BBC1 last night?

Anyone tuning-in late would be forgiven for thinking that the BBC is now 'on message' in raising awareness of the stupidity which poses as Government energy policy.

However, when watched from the start it exposes the BBC as hypocritical on a biblical scale, it having supported the wilder ranting of the green lobby for the last 15 years!

Mar 11, 2014 at 10:00 AM | Unregistered CommenterYertizz

Can anyone find a non-silverlight version? It does not seem to be on BBC parliament or democracylive.

Mar 11, 2014 at 10:02 AM | Registered CommenterPaul Matthews

Walport and MacKay are clearly unable to think in terms of the absolute science. Walport thinks the planet is still absorbing energy and it's being stored in the oceans. MacKay thinks that it's the aerosols. They are both dorks because the planet is controlled by a classical control system which makes OLR = SW thermalised.

Now we have MacKay thinking of a spring and damper model for ice ages with the ice system oscillating up and down. This is stupid. However, he has admitted that the Sun is a driver of climate change; a first?

Mar 11, 2014 at 10:05 AM | Unregistered CommenterSpartacusisfree

I wish someone would ask these two characters a simple question;

Temperatures in the UK have dropped sharply over the las6 decade.

The Govt energy policy is deliberately forcing up prices to consumers, businesses will be uncompetitive and energy will become less available.

So, why should the hard pressed British taxpayer be expected to pick up the tab to our considerable detriment when those causing the current warming -such as China-are throwing out co2 as if there is no tomorrow.?


Mar 11, 2014 at 10:07 AM | Unregistered Commentertonyb

Both of these actors on this stage are unable to comprehend that 'Forcing' is not an energy flux, but a Radiation Field, being a potential energy flux, a RF cannot by itself do thermodynamic work, basic radiative physics.

Mar 11, 2014 at 10:13 AM | Unregistered CommenterSpartacusisfree

Mackay says sea level rise rate has increased signficantly during the past 50 years. Not in the graphs I've seen.

Mar 11, 2014 at 10:19 AM | Unregistered Commenteroakwood

Mackay says sea level rise rate has increased significantly during the past 50 years. Not in the graphs I've seen.
So why is nobody challenging him on it? Either he's right or he's wrong. Either he is being fed duff information (or we are) or he is lying. Or he has gone out of his way not to find out in which case he is an environmental activist who has no business to be advising government.
The answer of course is that in England deference is not as dead as you might imagine and MPs are no more immune to kow-towing to the alleged experts than the rest of us.

Mar 11, 2014 at 10:30 AM | Registered CommenterMike Jackson

Yertizz at 10:00am

EUReferendum has a few interesting things to say about the BBC Big Bang Theory coverage of the grid.

Mar 11, 2014 at 10:33 AM | Unregistered CommenterSchrodinger's Cat

Mike Jackson

I don't quite read your tone. But as is well known, the story that statistics tell you is highly dependent on how you plot them and draw your trend lines. When I look at full 20th C graphs, like the link below, I see a long term steady trend with short term fluctuations. Drawing in short term trends near the end allows you to adjust the trend in different ways. We have seen various headlies claiming sea level rise rate is increasing, including those of the IPCC. He admits he is not a climate scientists, and I suspect he is following the headlines rather than checking the data himself.

If we all agreed on what climate data told us, it would all be very easy.

Mar 11, 2014 at 10:45 AM | Unregistered Commenteroakwood

Yertizz and Schrodinger's Cat

John Redwood has a new column on the BBC programme also

Mar 11, 2014 at 11:27 AM | Registered CommenterPharos

Despite having been told that Stringer would give him the source, Barker asked Stringer 7 times to substantiate the latter's statistic about the American Meteorological Society (54% agreed there had been AGW, 46% said no).

Lilley then asked Barker to tell the Committee the names of anyone who had appeared on the media who had been termed a 'denier' by DECC Ministers with the claim that should not be allowed so to speak. Barjker repeatedly refused to state any name. Therefore, he is arguably a hypocrite.

Mar 11, 2014 at 11:29 AM | Unregistered CommenterSpartacusisfree

You have to hand it to Rory Bremner that is the best impression of a shit Minister I have ever seen,

Mar 11, 2014 at 11:44 AM | Unregistered Commenterdayday

BBC Big Bang Theory did you mean BBC Bang Goes The Theory, if so there are some comments on the BBC Bias thread under the Discussion tab.

Mar 11, 2014 at 11:50 AM | Unregistered CommentersandyS

Spartacusisfree - Yes, Peter Lilley came across well.

Mar 11, 2014 at 12:00 PM | Unregistered Commenteroakwood

It's very simple. Mackay is quoting the figures that support his alarmist stance. As you say, there are equally (arguably more) robust figures that contradict him. Government is supposed to make decisions on the best available information which is to say all the information relevant and available.
Scientific advisers and others can get away with murder because MPs are (a) too naive to believe they might be ..... shall we say 'dissembling', even though they do more than enough of that themselves, and (b) are still over-awed by the word "scientist" as if that gave anyone some sort of status equivalent to "priest" or "bishop" in a religious context.

Mar 11, 2014 at 1:07 PM | Registered CommenterMike Jackson

The IPCC line from the AR5 final draft:

Based on proxy data, the magnitude of centennial-scale global mean sea level variations did not exceed 0.25 m over the past few millennia (medium confidence). The current rate of global mean sea level change, starting in the late 19th-early 20th century, is, with medium confidence, unusually high in the context of centennial-scale variations of the last two millennia. Tide gauge data also indicate a likely acceleration during the last two centuries. Based on proxy and instrumental data, it is virtually certain that the rate of global mean sea level rise has accelerated during the last two centuries, marking the transition from relatively low rates of change during the late Holocene (order tenths of mm yr–1) to modern rates (order mm yr–1).

Global mean sea level has risen by 0.19 [0.17 to 0.21] m, estimated from a linear trend over the period 1901–2010, based on tide gauge records and additionally on satellite data since 1993. It is very likely that the mean rate of sea level rise was 1.7 [1.5 to 1.9] mm yr–1 between 1901 and 2010. Between 1993 and 2010, the rate was very likely higher at 3.2 [2.8 to 3.6] mm yr–1; similarly high rates likely occurred between 1930 and 1950.

The rate of global mean sea level rise has likely increased since the early 1900 with estimates ranging from 0.000 to 0.013 [–0.002 to 0.019] mm yr–2.

They don't make it plain English, but the 20th century rate is 1.7 mm/yr, which includes pre-global warming before 1950. The last 30 years may have a higher rate of 3.2 mm/yr (although it should be noted there is a data change in this period, to satellites). But the IPCC also notes similar high rates occured between 1930 and 1950 ie pre-global warming from CO2 and during the ealry 20th Century warming (that the models can't model).

The reality is even the IPCC cannot make an alarmist case out of sea level. The modern changes look just the natural changes.

Mar 11, 2014 at 10:50 PM | Registered Commenterthinkingscientist

I just hope that Quentin Letts was watching Greg Barker's pathetic performance. It's delectable material for a QL sketch in the Daily Mail.

Mar 12, 2014 at 2:00 AM | Unregistered CommenterKen MacLean

On sea level rise, I suggest looking at this graph, so you can see the last 100 years in the context of the last 300 years. . (Source: IPCC AR5 WG1 Technical Summary page 49.)
Could people who say things like this - "Mackay is quoting the figures that support his alarmist stance. As you say, there are equally (arguably more) robust figures that contradict him." - please give sources for the "robust figures", instead of just asserting that they exist, and throwing mud? Thank you :-)

Mar 12, 2014 at 10:40 AM | Unregistered CommenterDavid MacKay

Looks a fair question to me Dr MacKay - and thanks for popping by. Over to you, Mike Jackson (and oakwood) on producing those '(arguably more) robust figures'! Did WG1 of AR5 do its job fairly in this area? I would assume so, given how even-handed it was on extreme events. Yet the opposite would not be a total shock. Standing ready to learn.

Mar 12, 2014 at 11:12 AM | Registered CommenterRichard Drake

David Mackay

There's no suggestion that the acceleration post-1850 is anthropogenic is there? The alarm is all in the models?

Mar 12, 2014 at 11:37 AM | Registered CommenterBishop Hill

Quite so Bish - but, before getting onto that, it's fair to ask whether the AR5 graph fairly reflects current science. I've not seen any substantive criticisms of WG1 in this area but I sure don't read everything. It's a fair question from the CSA for those who already felt confident to claim he was 'quoting the figures that support his alarmist stance'. Are there in fact credible alternative figures? But, certainly, proof of attribution to man's CO2 emissions ain't in the graph!

Mar 12, 2014 at 11:56 AM | Registered CommenterRichard Drake

David Mackay, at the risk of stating the obvious, we have virtually no idea at all what the rate of sea level rise was back to 1700.
Here is what the text of chapter 3 says:

"The sea level observing system has evolved over time. There are intermittent records of sea level at four sites in Northern Europe starting in the 1700s. By the late 1800s, there were more tide gauges were being operated in Northern Europe, on both North American coasts, and in Australia and New Zealand in the Southern Hemisphere (Appendix 3.A). Tide gauges began to be placed on islands far from continental coasts starting in the early 20th century, but a a majority of deep-ocean islands did not have an operating tide gauge suitable for climate studies until the early 1970s."

Your presentation of that graph, out of context, is misleading.

Mar 12, 2014 at 1:30 PM | Registered CommenterPaul Matthews

Thanks Paul - for the context.

Mar 12, 2014 at 1:34 PM | Registered CommenterRichard Drake

Paul Matthews said;

'There are intermittent records of sea level at four sites in Northern Europe starting in the 1700s.'

Intermittent is the right word and none of them have been from sites that have remained in the same places. It should also be borne in mind that there was a change over from tidal gauges to Satellites, the latter of which provides a different reading as they don't record coastal depth, which of course is the prime purpose of tidal gauges. So its comparing Apples and oranges.

Just in case David Mackay calls back, here is an article I wrote on sea level change from the Holocene to The Romans

here is the much longer version together with numerous references;

In particular it would be instructive for David Mackay to look at the graphs at the end of this latter document. It is accepted that sea levels were higher than today in both Roman and MWP times. Current sea levels are still some 30cm below that of the past, although land changes complicate things.

In case David Mackay does not know how SST's were constructed or how past recorded land temperatures have been 'cooled' or how arctic ice was in fact similar in the 1920-1940 period to today, please let me know and I will send you the articles. BTW did you know that the two warmest consecutive decades in Greenland (according to Phil Jones) are 1920-1940 NOT the present period?


Mar 12, 2014 at 4:15 PM | Unregistered Commentertonyb

Here is some real data which suggests the IPCC's graph is suspect:

and a blink graph which Steven Goddard created to show a recent adjustment to Envisat Sea level data:

Halfway up a duck's back...

Mar 12, 2014 at 5:10 PM | Registered Commenterlapogus

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