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« Splitters, deniers, and circular firing squads | Main | The greens and the fascists »

Gong with the wind

The New Year's honours list was published last night and as usual I have scanned it looking for familiar names. Strangely, yours truly has been overlooked again.

The sense of shock is almost palpable. 

Still, it has been suggested that the majority of gongs go to failed politicians, to celebs and to civil servants who have merely been doing their jobs. So a knighthood for David Mackay was probably inevitable, although I don't suppose anyone will begrudge him: he was certainly the most level-headed occupant of the chief scientist's office at DECC for many a year. Ed Davey's knighthood was just a case of the normal gongs for failure that politicians expect.

More interesting was the award of an OBE to Emily Shuckburgh for services to science communication. I must say this rather took me aback. I've met Emily and she's bright and charming, but I watch the climate scene as closely as anyone and she has only attracted my notice on a handful of occasions. I can think of at least a dozen people who have been more active in the area and who have done more to advance public understanding of climate science. Perhaps Emily's contribution has been more behind the scenes than front of stage, or perhaps it's just that her work has been done in Whitehall rather than out there in the wild west of England, like Richard or Tamsin.

Congratulations to both though.

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Reader Comments (23)

Are you forgetting Emilie's appearance before the Energy and Climate Change Committee when she was questioned by Peter Lilley? I'd put her on par with Baronness Worthington for vacuity.

McKay is worth the gong, but was somewhat ignored.

Dec 31, 2015 at 9:48 AM | Unregistered CommenterCapell

Arise Sir "Potato" Ed Davey.....Gah!

Dec 31, 2015 at 9:49 AM | Unregistered CommenterJack Savage

I spotted a couple more on the climateer side or rather Guardian types who roll with it
- Damehood for Professor Georgina Mace
(Chair of the Royal Society Working Group on Human Resilience to Climate Change and Disaster)
..I guess for services to predicting floods and other doommongering.
In BH item about her warning against sci-activism a comments said this "From what Ruth Dixon has pointed out of Georgina Mace, she does in fact follow the ecological herd, with her normative science full of unquestioned assumptions of goodness."

- Dame Henrietta Moore was on the honours list, I don't know her as an activist, but her July Guardian article seems to me an unevidenced conspiracy theory against big business.. and she goes along with the climate change caused refugees line
..more detail over on Unthreaded

BTW The Wikipedia 2016 honours list has it nicely laid out

Dec 31, 2015 at 9:57 AM | Registered Commenterstewgreen

Mackay's defining moment was in 2014 when he wrote to Davey that the only way windmills could lower fossil fuel use in the Power Grid was to build massive pump storage. Davey decided to let loose the hidden diesel generator parks in old quarries to give the false impression to the Public that windmills generate free electricity.

It's a con. Davey is a con., now to be called Sir Con. Davey..

Dec 31, 2015 at 10:06 AM | Unregistered CommenterNCC 1701E

Correction: Mackay wrote to Davey in Spring 2012.

Dec 31, 2015 at 10:10 AM | Unregistered CommenterNCC 1701E

Sustainability...type awards
- Dr Vivienne Cox — for services to the UK Economy and Sustainability. Chairman, Pearson PLC (keep in with the media/publish eh DC ?)
- Rowan Malcolm Douglas — for services to the Economy through Risk, Insurance and Sustainable Growth
- Professor David Sigsworth — for services to the Environment and Sustainable Futures.
..mentioned here on BH " a ned of Flexitricity (amongst others), wherein STOR is the operating cash cow"

- Jaz Rabadia — for services to Sustainability in the Energy Management Sector and Diversity in the STEM Sectors energy buyer at corporates like sainsbury's, Debenhams, Starbucks etc.
..Maybe she greenwashes corps and being young woman is a young star of the EI Energy Institute ?

Dec 31, 2015 at 10:32 AM | Registered Commenterstewgreen

Never one to hide his achievements under a bushel, perhaps David MacKay's Twitter handle will now become "Sir David MacKay FRS"

Dec 31, 2015 at 10:46 AM | Unregistered CommenterJoe Public

Renewables guys awards
- Philip Rowland Wolfe — for services to Renewable Energy and the Energy Sector
..Director General of the Renewable Energy Association 2003-9
- Afsheen Kabir Rashid — for services to Renewable Energy Projects in Deprived London Communities
..Young Asian lady - Co-founder Director of Repowering London, Chair of Brixton Energy
- Dr Nina Maria Skorupska — for services to Renewables and Equality in the Energy Industry.
Chief executive, Renewable Energy Association and non-executive director, WISE Campaign
- Barbara Caroline Green Senior Executive Officer DECC For services to the Development of Energy Policy and voluntary (and putting up with Ed Davey ?)

Another Climate one is :
Charles David Randell non-executive director, DECC and Bank of England Prudential Regulation Authority (Finance Lawyer). For services to financial stability and climate change policy.

Dec 31, 2015 at 11:10 AM | Registered Commenterstewgreen

@Joe Public not just him mate I check thru the list most Twitter accounts and Wikipedia pages have already been changed.
... Maybe it's PR industry advice ?

Dec 31, 2015 at 11:13 AM | Registered Commenterstewgreen

I did say years ago that David MacKay would have to forget everything he wrote about renewable energy in his book if he wanted to collect the gong that went with the job of chief scientific advisor. It looks like he just toed the line enough to get his payback for not letting Sir Ed Potato down.

Dec 31, 2015 at 12:00 PM | Registered CommenterPhillip Bratby

More Greens awarded ?
Linda Conlon - Director Newcastle LIFE centre also given award
Despite or because of its alarmist displays about extreme weather etc

David Robert Jordan. Formerly executive director of operations, Environment Agency For services to the environment and international environmental protection.

Dec 31, 2015 at 12:14 PM | Registered Commenterstewgreen

Some time ago the political class decided they were going to make the honours system a laughing stock. This year they've excelled themselves, and how. Perhaps one day we may have a government of substance. Not only would such a government immediately rescind thousands of political honours but actively prosecute the many who have worked so hard to feather their nests and do this nation down. Not going to happen though is it?

Dec 31, 2015 at 12:50 PM | Unregistered CommenterMartin Reed

Dear Lord, I am given to wonder.

If ever, there was a gimp given to making inane and ill considered, straight off the greenpi88 sound bite - idiot prompt sheet, and in the face of some extremely stern competition up at the HoC, Potato Ed deserves this well earned accolade..

Indeed, is not the great British public astonished in the way of it?

Those honest injuns jus doin' their best earnin' a crust. In their monumental chagrin at the unfairness of it all and railing at life's vicissitudes, that, how Dave and his buddies Nick Clegg and Timbo Farron have held off - in endless mortification, that they are unable to bestow a gong on 'lord' Chris Huhne because of some trifling infraction - um like perjury.

Truly, does it not - make your heart bleed?

We're all with you bro'.

Dec 31, 2015 at 12:53 PM | Unregistered CommenterAthelstan.

Critics of David Mackay should check out his health problem, e.g. via wikipedia.

Dec 31, 2015 at 1:02 PM | Unregistered CommenterMikky

@Mikky: truly very sad to see such a comparatively young scientist facing that illness.

He is one of the good guys in that he told Davey the windmills could not work, defined as saving fossil fuel use.

Dec 31, 2015 at 1:18 PM | Unregistered CommenterNCC 1701E

Surprised Dale Vince hasn't been honoured - for something like - 'Services to lining his pockets'........

Still, there's always the Queen's (90th) Birthday Honours List to look forward to...

Dec 31, 2015 at 1:29 PM | Unregistered Commentersherlock1

or Dale Vince ex wife who took him for his half his fortune

Dec 31, 2015 at 2:21 PM | Unregistered Commenterjamspid

Emily - for services to pseudo-science.

Dec 31, 2015 at 2:40 PM | Unregistered CommenterSteve Borodin

It really is time to put this out dated madness to rest. Who will rid us of these pestilent lords, the porn mongers, crooks and potato heads that populate the honours list? The word "honour" takes its place alongside "hero" as one of the most misused and, dare I say, dishonoured words in the English language.

With the prospect of King Charles the plant whisperer at the head of a gaggle of crooks and thieves in the not too distant future, even Lewis Carroll would have trouble creating any scenario so outlandish.

'But I don't want to go among mad people,' said Alice. 'Oh, you can't help that,' said the cat. 'We're all mad here.'
Lewis Carroll

Dec 31, 2015 at 10:00 PM | Unregistered CommenterIvor Ward

By 2018, maybe they'll be handing these out to the people who can most quickly build some new coal fired electricity generating plants.

Dec 31, 2015 at 10:47 PM | Unregistered CommenterMickey Reno

@ Joe Public

Sir David Mackay FRS?


Sir David Mackay FFS?

I don't prescribe with handing out awards for people simply doing what they're paid to do. That's what their wages are for.

Dec 31, 2015 at 11:22 PM | Unregistered CommenterDave_G

Don't forget that a man has to be twice as distinguished as a woman to get the same honours. And some of the woman who do get honours are spectacularly incompetent or worse - think of 'Dame' Lin Homer and Camila Batmanghelidjh 'CBE'.

Jan 1, 2016 at 10:27 AM | Unregistered CommenterDavid

Cameron probably meant to give the award "for services to science communication" to Jimmy Chuckle Brother and the name got misheard

Jan 2, 2016 at 10:09 AM | Registered Commenterstewgreen

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