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« Antifracking: the Russian connection | Main | Predictions »

The old fabulist of Fleet Street

Sometimes the sheer brazenness of the Guardian can take you completely aback. Having spent the last five years hyping every tall story from the environmentalists to high heaven and back again the old fabulist of Fleet Street has come up with a portentous editorial saying that the government is ignoring "genuine anxieties" that people have about this "novel" process.

Bribes and bullying are no way of dealing with genuine anxieties about a novel process

To the extent that the anxieties are genuine this is simply because environment correspondents across the media, but particularly at the Guardian, have been systematically misleading the public. As if to provide support for this view, the suggestion that fracking - a process that has been used for half a century without anyone noticing - is "novel" is simply untrue.

A glance at the rest of the article brings further examples, such as the endless repeated canard that warming above 2°C is somehow dangerous. No it isn't. No it isn't. No it isn't. No it isn't.

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Reader Comments (50)

I thought it was originally the Manchester Guardian? The Grauniad is a fabulist on nearly every issue, and somehow manages to get the wrong end of the stick with uncanny regularity.

Jan 27, 2015 at 9:40 AM | Unregistered Commentertrefjon

The 2 degree canard is hysterically funny; 2 degrees hotter than what? A theoretical planetary average which cannot be accurately calculated?

Jan 27, 2015 at 9:45 AM | Unregistered CommenterJMT

Normal people who suffer from potential high blood pressure problems should never ever read any of the Grauniad. Normal people like me who don't suffer from high blood pressure problems should also never ever read the Grauniad. Best leave it to someone else to give you a summary of the lies.

Has the Grauniad ever mentioned the genuine anxieties that people have about wind turbines being located within a mile or so of their homes?

Jan 27, 2015 at 9:47 AM | Registered CommenterPhillip Bratby

The reliability of the Grauniad as a Pillar of Independence in Journalism is demonstrated by the zeal with which the Trotskyites who set out to control Komment Macht Frei pursued those who they believed, in their paranoid delusion, were either members of Fascist political groups and/or were funded by Big Fossil Fuel.

To claim you were an independent scientist simply doing a professional job of assessing so-called 'settled science' was/is no protection. Hence they appear now to have decided to join the Islamists in cutting off the heads of 'Klimate Kuffar'.

Jan 27, 2015 at 9:53 AM | Unregistered CommenterNCC 1701E

What I liked about that article was that it said we should take the arguments seriously and illustrated this with a picture of Bianca Jagger. Better than a severed head I suppose.

And again there's the statement that we need to keep global temperatures below 2 degrees C. Brrrr.

Who are the anonymous numpties behind the Guardian eco-nuttery?

Jan 27, 2015 at 9:58 AM | Registered CommenterPaul Matthews

For once, the comments on this Guardian editorial show quite a few people giving them a hard time.

Jan 27, 2015 at 10:05 AM | Unregistered CommenterCapell


Thus, the anxiety.

Jan 27, 2015 at 10:11 AM | Unregistered CommenterBrute

It's a propaganda sheet, nothing less. Hysterics are par for the course and the 2C meme is typical NLP projection. It's a target, something for everyone to speak of, relate to and use as an agreed measurement, by an agreed time. (2100) It quantifies the point of their collective campaign so they're all singing from the same hymn sheet. The 97% is another such media-friendly fantasy. At least that's the theory, but as we're seeing with catastrophic AGW theory itself it's pure unadulterated bunk.

As for their rabid opposition to fracking, the real reason is they're afraid of the humiliation (and termination) it could inflict on 'renewables'.

Jan 27, 2015 at 10:13 AM | Unregistered Commentercheshirered

…keeping global temperatures below the danger level of two degrees celsius…
Sorry, Mr Gaurniad, but you are saying that we are already toast, as global temperatures are presently way above that – around 14 degrees celsius, actually – and have been so for quite some time. Now, if you cannot get that simple, little fact right, then why should we believe any other “fact” you reveal to us?

Jan 27, 2015 at 10:21 AM | Registered CommenterRadical Rodent

Here's Vicky Pope of the Met Office, talking about the purported dangers of 2 degrees above something, in a presentation at the Barbican in 2007:

"When we get to 1 degree, we're already seeing some marine ecosystems suffer irreversible change. And there's already been reports of coral reefs being damaged by ocean acidification, so that's a very real danger that's happening now...

So, we would expect, by the time we get to 2 degrees, that the melting of the Greenland ice sheets may become irreversible...

Once you get to 3 degrees, we're looking at the risk of significant loss of the Amazon rain forest. And in fact, in our model, the Amazon rain forest disappears completely..."

Mercifully, the video ends before we are told about the unspeakable planetary horrors of 4 degrees.

Jan 27, 2015 at 10:31 AM | Unregistered CommenterAlex Cull

Four degrees is "Game over for the Climate" but Three Degrees is "When will I see you again?"

Jan 27, 2015 at 11:01 AM | Unregistered CommenterJack Savage

From memory, John Redwood used to describe one of his hobbies as Not reading the Guardian...

Jan 27, 2015 at 11:30 AM | Unregistered Commentermike fowle

The Guardian pretending to be a newspaper again - how sad

Beano 84p Circulation 128, 417 weekly
Guardian £1,60 Circulation 185, 313 daily

Beano - half the price and twice the amount of news. No wonder people are giving up on the Guardian, circulation nosediving!

Jan 27, 2015 at 11:33 AM | Unregistered CommenterCharmingQuark

They're on the back foot.
Intelligent people are beginning to twig that, we desperately need to sort out our energy problems, global warming is Bolleux.
Now that Fracking is to be unleashed, with caveats but nonetheless, expect the protests to get nastier, if that's possible.
They'll be planting bombs soon.

Jan 27, 2015 at 11:47 AM | Unregistered Commenterc777

A couple of stand-out quotes from the editorial:

Fracking will never produce American amounts of shale gas,
Says who? It's not what I have read and understood.


[...]by 2030, the UK intends to have decarbonised electricity supply. Gas will not be needed for power stations
That could make it interesting come Winter 2031.

I suppose that if their Leader writer is gullible enough to believe this he/she will believe the 2 deg C[rap].

Jan 27, 2015 at 11:59 AM | Registered CommenterHarry Passfield

This is apt....

The only thing stopping me getting it is the thought that people might not read the small print.

Jan 27, 2015 at 12:14 PM | Unregistered CommenterNial

The problem with writing fairy stories, designed to inspire impressionable young children, to do noble things, because good triumphs over evil, comes, when most children grow up, and realise that the fairies are in fact, a pack of big, bad, bloodthirsty wolves.

The Grauniad, written by wolves in sheep's clothing, read by a diminishing number of gullible sheep, where everything is baa-d news.

Jan 27, 2015 at 12:34 PM | Unregistered CommenterGolf Charlie

"Bullying and bribing people into accepting fracking is no substitute for winning the argument."
Nor is lying about the process or exaggerating the risks.

Jan 27, 2015 at 12:52 PM | Unregistered CommenterHoward Goodall

BTEX scare in Gloucester, Australia - Greenst/media will be dancing as fracking op voluntary suspended. Doesn't seem that dangerous to me. And I wonder if it's activist sabotage. i just put 2 comments in the other thread see more there by clicking

Jan 27, 2015 at 1:31 PM | Registered Commenterstewgreen


[...]by 2030, the UK intends to have decarbonised electricity supply. Gas will not be needed for power stations
That could make it interesting come Winter 2031.

That's a piddling objective; the Green's manifesto is setting its sights at ALL energy production being 'renewables' (i.e requiring renewing every 20 years) by 2030, with the majority being from wind. Since that's about 320 GW of constant demand, that'll be an interesting exercise, esp. as there's only about 250,000 sq kilometres of the UK to go at!!

Jan 27, 2015 at 1:53 PM | Unregistered CommenterCapell

Sorry heres a better link to my Summary of todays australian fracking scare

Jan 27, 2015 at 2:04 PM | Registered Commenterstewgreen


That's a piddling objective; the Green's manifesto is setting its sights at ALL energy production being 'renewables'
Well, yes, I've read reports of their wet dreams for this country. The difference is that they don't have a snowball's chance in thermogeddon of ever getting their hands on the levers of power to make it happen; but people like Walley and Deben, who do get control are only too happy to give those levers a nudge to satisfy their 'de-carbonisation' objective.

Jan 27, 2015 at 2:33 PM | Registered CommenterHarry Passfield

Jack Savage (11:01 AM) -
Thanks for a big chuckle and a brief trip down Memory Lane. Although I see the group remains popular in the UK, and still tours.

Jan 27, 2015 at 2:40 PM | Registered CommenterHaroldW

Yep - the 'novel' description (or, to give it its usual media decription as being 'new and contraversial') as applied to fracking, is just ridiculous.

Fracking has been in use since the 1940's - and in the UK (without, of course, ANY environmental or other disasters) since 1985.

But - hey - that doesn't make a good newspaper/BBC story, does it..?

Jan 27, 2015 at 2:42 PM | Unregistered Commentersherlock1

Today the Guardian quote Mann and Trenberth saying that this dread cold storm in New York is a sign of Global Warming.

I pointed out that there was some evidence that increased precipitation in that region was a sign of global warming - I even quoted and referenced IPCC AR5 where they predict exactly that. Something that their experts scientists neglected to do.

But I spoilt it a bit by pointing out that the increased precipitation was expected to be due to warmer air carrying more moisture. And then I linked to the air temperature in New York.

Still, it was a well researched and helpful comment that put the article in context, in my opinion.

They deleted it.

Jan 27, 2015 at 2:46 PM | Unregistered CommenterMCourtney

Flatulent leftist drivel, what did you expect - factual reportage?

Further, apart from the odd maverick, McKinstry, Booker, Mark Steyn [now Canada] - what hack scraping his living in the UK Fourth Estate, who hasn't taken the HM .gov/establishment's shilling?

Newspapers - independent my ar*e.

Jan 27, 2015 at 2:47 PM | Unregistered CommenterAthelstan.

MCourtney, could you post a copy of your comment that was deleted at the Guardian? I think it is helpful for others to see where their standards and values really lie.

Jan 27, 2015 at 3:29 PM | Unregistered Commentermichael hart

michael hart, sadly no. I didn't keep a copy of it and it isn't on my Guardian profile - it has been deleted entirely.

It did quote IPCC AR5 Table TS.2
"Monsoon precipitation will shift later in the annual cycle; increased precipitation in extratropical cyclones will lead to large increases in wintertime precipitation over the northern third of the continent; extreme precipitation increases in tropical cyclones making landfall along the western coast of USA and Mexico, the Gulf Mexico, and the eastern coast of USA and Canada."

And I linked to a US weather station for New York, having pointed out that increased precipitation is expected to be due to warmer air carrying more moisture.

The comment was in reply to the first comment that disparaged the linking to AGW. I said that this time they had some justification and provided the quote from Table TS.2.
It was ridiculous to censor the IPCC but as they have done I can't show that my tone wasn't patronising.

In my experience though, just quoting science is considered rude and worthy of censorship by the Guardian.
They prefer ignorant opinion.

Jan 27, 2015 at 3:51 PM | Unregistered CommenterMCourtney

You could Google search that Guardian page and check the cached version to see if Courtney's comment is there.
- I often prepare comments in a text file (or in a Yahoo email as it saves it as you write it), so you have a saved copy if you any problems ..and you have your own wiki for future reference.

Jan 27, 2015 at 4:17 PM | Registered Commenterstewgreen

The difference between OLD fracking and "NEW fracking" is that
- 1949 - first commercial well
- from late 1980's: MASSIVE SLICKWATER hydraulic fracturing treatments to THOUSANDS of horizontally drilled OIL wells
- 1997 applied to shale rock, making uneconomic fields economic
- 2002 : RAPID INCREASE in use due to a A merger between Mitchell Energy and Devon Energy (from history

Jan 27, 2015 at 4:20 PM | Registered Commenterstewgreen

The Guardian can delete our comments - but I don't think it can delete our recommendations? SO remember to up-vote all the comments you like...

Jan 27, 2015 at 4:23 PM | Unregistered Commenterdodgy geezer

dodgy geezer, what's the point?
Mob rule is not necessarily right.

The only point in commenting on public blogs is to put an effective witness as to your viewpoint so as the decision makers are aware of the existence of that view. They may not accept it but they will be aware of the risk in ignoring it.

If lots of people like something unknown - it makes no difference.

Jan 27, 2015 at 4:32 PM | Unregistered CommenterMCourtney

Fracking History part 2
- 2010 Hordes of Marie Antoinettes trash the countryside and annoy everyone with their Anti-Fracking Demos
Motivated by Cooperative Supermarkets and funded by Lush cosmetics They turn up to demonstrate, have a bit of a party and then go home leaving tonnes of products of fossil fuel origin strewn all over the countryside.
2010 - renewunable subsidy milking fatcats start to do all they can to keep anything from competing with their gravy train ..the Guardian helps them

Jan 27, 2015 at 4:59 PM | Registered Commenterstewgreen

If you think the Guardian is not above fiddling the up and down -votes on the comments to support their narrative...

Jan 27, 2015 at 5:22 PM | Unregistered CommenterNW

On claiming the warming above 2°C being dangerous, the Guardian is just repeating the "consensus".
It is the aim of the IPCC AR5 Synthesis report. They have some emissions targets to stop the world crossing the 2°C threshold as well - a 40% to 70% reduction on 2011 emission levels by 2050. I have worked this out to be globally between 1.1 and 2.2 tonnes of CO2 per capita in 2050. Problem is in 2020 globally, average emissions per capita will be over >5tCO2 and climbing. Three quarters of the World's population live countries where emissions controls are necessary to achieve this target.

Following that lead of the IPCC for Paris 2015 are the following
The "Green Alliance" (UK-based Christian Aid, Greenpeace, RSPB, WWF)
The EU

Jan 27, 2015 at 6:14 PM | Unregistered CommenterKevin Marshall

Dodgygeezer: I like your idea of voting up Guardian comments as up-votes can't be deleted.

I also liked your comment in CiF in reply to the person who wanted to stop gas exploration under her house: That she should take the idea further and ban water companies taking ground-water from the aquifers under her house. A good example - though way over their heads - of the law of unintended consequences.

Jan 27, 2015 at 7:06 PM | Unregistered CommenterHarry Passfield


I often wonder how those people feel about mains services being run under their properties. What happens a mile down is of no import to me, as presumably it wasn't for those who lived in coal mining areas.

Jan 27, 2015 at 7:50 PM | Registered Commenterjamesp

@Harry Passfield

Of course votes can be deleted, modified, etc. Do you think they are stored using fairy dust? If you have access to the database, it takes but a moment to turn the voting tallies "renewable".

Jan 27, 2015 at 8:28 PM | Unregistered CommenterBrute

I had the experience of dealing with people like this. When cable first came to Derby the installation down the street where I lived was delayed by a group of locals whipped up by one local resident in particular using similar scare tactics as used by Greenpeace and the fact that some gardens would have to be dug up as services including electricity, gas and water went under them to get to properties further down the walkway. They were supported by the then Labour councillor. The fact that everything else went through the gardens and under the pavements had no impac when pointed out to them.

Strange how things change this is the same Labour council that supported the building of two wind turbines within the city boundary, and within a few hundred metres of dwellings.

Jan 27, 2015 at 8:33 PM | Unregistered CommenterSandyS

Brute: Yep, Up-ticks at the Guardian may well be stored using 'fairy-dust' - so much of it, in fact that I doubt that the mods can be bothered to trawl through the database to delete the offending voters whose comments they have deleted (would they delete all of xyz's votes on all comments just 'cos they deleted one of his comments?). And yes, I do understand that the 'database' looks a lot different to a DB manager than on the screen.
No matter. I guess neither of us know the internal workings of a Guardian Mod and his database. :-)

Jan 27, 2015 at 8:52 PM | Unregistered CommenterHarry Passfield

A masterpiece of kettle logic. "There isn't much gas anyway and if we burn this huge amount of gas the oceans will boil ... and the companies will lose money on their wells and the huge profits will all go overseas..."

Jan 27, 2015 at 10:25 PM | Unregistered CommenterJack Hughes

In the US we call faux movements like the anti-fracking scam, "astroturf"- a phony grassroots movement designed to fool people from a distance that it is a real grassrootsmovement. Fracking is a technique in use successfully and safely all over the world for nearly 60 years.
None of the claims by the anti-fracking faux movement about the risks are authentic. From the burning water scam to the leaking into water suppplies, it is all a thick well funded web of lies.
Tha anti-frackers are astrofurf activists. They are not authentic in their claims or motives. They simply wnat things ended. If they cared at all about the environment, they would be attacking the landscape destorying bird killing undependable windmills that blight landscapes in the western world.

Jan 27, 2015 at 10:47 PM | Unregistered Commenterhunter

Bishop Hill

You links you give for each 'No it isn't' are not arguing that 2 degrees C global warming is not dangerous - myself and the others are arguing that we don't know whether it's dangerous or not, and/or that global mean temperature is not a relevant metric for 'dangerous climate change' or for policy targets.

Jan 27, 2015 at 11:52 PM | Registered CommenterRichard Betts

You links you give for each 'No it isn't' are not arguing that 2 degrees C global warming is not dangerous - myself and the others are arguing that we don't know whether it's dangerous or not, and/or that global mean temperature is not a relevant metric for 'dangerous climate change' or for policy targets.

Ergo, just what are you saying?

Alack, so many double negatives..............would it be also be possible to have that paragraph rephrased in clear, concise and comprehensible English?

Jan 28, 2015 at 12:10 AM | Unregistered CommenterAthelstan.

So, not then.

I saw 81F on my car outside air temp display today. In Texas, of course. Days like this have a big effect on average temps. Don't seem too dangerous to me.

Jan 28, 2015 at 1:14 AM | Unregistered Commenterrhoda

@ Athelstan show some respect
mate to @Richard_Betts, it sounds to me like you've spent time on warmist sites and picked up their bad habits like flippant snarly style.
I think I understand what he is saying about 2C
1. we don't know whether it's dangerous or not,
2 \\global mean temperature is not a relevant metric for 'dangerous climate change'
3..... or for policy targets.//

The most amazing thing is #2 is in direct conflict with all this Warmest Year ever hype and Richard's NASA mate Gavin Schmidt's hyperbolic press conference
Where 'dangerous climate change' and 'climate change' were not differentiated.
I guess Richard is saying that general temperature gives an indication of the general trend in climate, but doesn't prove whether it is dangerous or note.
- Personally I can imagine a climate scenarios where that bottom line number could be the same, but climate on the ground completelty different. Say a big change in a local area complement ed by a different change in another region etc.
But while I might guess that a change of 1C is no big deal then a 6C would be different

Jan 28, 2015 at 2:33 AM | Registered Commenterstewgreen

@Betts statement that A 2C change "is not a relevant metric for policy targets"
OK what is ??
Cos otherwise that sounds like : "You know we said a rising temp proves we have to quit CO2 right now, well when temp is not rising (above the error bars) that makes no difference"
- but as we mentioned in the previous post good predictions come from learning from how yesterday's predictions turned out against reality. Not just stubbornly carrying on.

Jan 28, 2015 at 3:16 AM | Registered Commenterstewgreen

The Guardian is part of GreenBlob's Lord Haw Haw network
along with Roger Haw Haw of the BBC etc.
- Putin was the one that accused the west of infiltrating Russia via NGOs is he doing that with WWF, Greenpeace, and other billion dollar NGOs like Oxfam etc. ?

Jan 28, 2015 at 6:22 AM | Registered Commenterstewgreen

I recently travelled from 2 degr (EU) to 31 degr (SEAsia) Celsius and I'm still ALIVE!

Jan 28, 2015 at 8:48 AM | Unregistered CommenterHoi Polloi

Hoi Polloi, you're just in denial. :)

One of the best points from the recent post about Ms Korhola's PhD thesis is that somehow the debate has been refocused from people's actual experience to a world which is more like Japanese anime than reality. It is surreal.

Jan 28, 2015 at 9:59 AM | Registered Commenterjohanna

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