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« Spot the climate spiv | Main | Greens trashing the environment part 527 »

Rhubarb to save us from global warming

Ambrose Evans Pritchard's latest effort in the Telegraph is very long but rather amusing in the way that it repeats every utterance of the greens without question.

An astonishing report - blandly titled "How Large Are Global Energy Subsidies" - alleges that the fossil nexus enjoys hidden support worth 6.5pc of world GDP.

This will amount to $5.7 trillion in 2015, mostly due to environmental costs and damage to health, and mostly stemming from coal. The World Health Organisation - also on cue - has sharply revised up its estimates of early deaths from fine particulates and sulphur dioxide from coal plants.

Right on cue indeed! One wonders whether the possibility that he was merely a conduit for a political PR campaign ever crossed AEP's mind. Then again, as you read all the garbage he has introduced into his article, you have to wonder if it is not a role that he is wholeheartedly embracing. Elon Musk! Four degrees! Rhubarb powered batteries! It's mindblowing.

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Reader Comments (66)

AEP is not a person with any deep insight. His previous articles on solar energy and just simply hilarious.

Perhaps he gets his information from the Guardian comic.

Oil and coal are here to stay for a good while yet!

May 28, 2015 at 10:10 AM | Unregistered Commentercharmingquark

But I grow lots of rhubarb for food; it's much better as food for people that food for batteries. Will the insanity ever end?

May 28, 2015 at 10:10 AM | Registered CommenterPhillip Bratby

As the saying goes, Geoffrey Boycott's grandmother could knock his economics to the boundary with a stick of rhubarb.

China and India will choose Coal&Electricity over poverty. He needs to wake up and smell the custard.

May 28, 2015 at 10:23 AM | Unregistered Commentermichael hart

AEP has engaged on Twitter with Richard Tol, Shub' and David Rose, amongst others.

Ambrose........@shubclimate @RichardTol
'You climate sceptics have had a good run for a decade, but failed to clinch argument. Now slipping away from you'

How can sceptics have 'failed to clinch the argument' these last 10 years when there hasn't been ANY global warming this past decade? (or for over 18 years, either, come to that)
Answer: because it's in the minds of people who aren't interested in what observed science says, that's how.

Incredible fail from a journo' who many thought was balanced and objective. A disastrous piece.

May 28, 2015 at 10:29 AM | Unregistered Commentercheshirered


I think this indicates that our opponents' arguments are not reliant on facts.

May 28, 2015 at 10:34 AM | Registered CommenterBishop Hill

Are these people unaware that even in the G7 Germany and Japan are building new coal fired power stations having abandoned nuclear.

May 28, 2015 at 10:48 AM | Unregistered Commenterspen

'Failed to clinch the argument' and 'nullius in verba', at best, create a colloid, and that is only after 'vigorous shaking', though a few acid comments might create a solution.

May 28, 2015 at 10:50 AM | Registered CommenterRobert Christopher

I fear the IMF is correct, as the US Government agrees with them. :)

May 28, 2015 at 10:53 AM | Registered CommenterRobert Christopher

Pritchard is short for Ap Richard, 'Son of'. Consequently, his writings on other subjects than Economics are Aptly named Rhubarb.

May 28, 2015 at 11:03 AM | Unregistered CommenterNCC 1701E

The Telegraph has declined as apaper ever since its excellent coverage of the expenses scandal. I took to its online version when James Delingpole and other polemicists were allowed to stir some very heated debates in the comments version. Now it is a pale simulacrum, mostly cut and paste, short on original thinking, lifting human interest stories a day later from the DM, not worth reading.

May 28, 2015 at 11:03 AM | Unregistered CommenterLjh

The Telegraphs lazy journalists have no more issue with being little more reproduction machines for any green PR they are feed than the Guardians have been .

The difference is that the The Telegraph may have other views as well , while the Guardian see itself as a guardian ,not of truth, but of unquestioning belief in 'the cause ' and its dogma.

May 28, 2015 at 11:05 AM | Unregistered Commenterknr

One almost gets the impression that the Scarists are deeply worried that Paris is their last chance. Hence all the PR about fossil fuels becoming 'uncompetitive' (translation: banned).

Fossil fuels are now 'uncompetitive' in the same way that voting was 'uncompetitive' for coloured people in the deep South. The sheriff and a gang on shotgun-toting rednecks stood outside the voting booth and threatened to lynch any coloured person who dared vote.

Then they could turn around and say, "Look! They can't even be bothered to vote."

May 28, 2015 at 11:06 AM | Unregistered CommenterStuck-Record

Just a thought: has the green Louise person cut and paste slot fallen to AEP, now they've shrunk the newsroom?

May 28, 2015 at 11:07 AM | Unregistered CommenterLjh

I put this on Unthreaded in response to a Telegraph article predicting Hull joining Atlantis. But it fits here too.

My news comes from the Guardian and the Telegraph - I like to seek a broad view.
If the Telegraph is going to start mimicking the Guardian then there's really no need for me to go there anymore.

May 28, 2015 at 11:07 AM | Registered CommenterM Courtney

Bishop Hill

I think this indicates that our opponents' arguments on not reliant on facts.

May 28, 2015 at 10:34 AM


Exactly so - just as sceptics have been stating for years.

We present observed facts and allow them to lie where they fall, concluding as per the evidence, while alarmists revise and refine their story and data to suit their desired outcome.

If a supposed sentient chap like AEP has been climate-lobotomised there can no longer be any doubt: It's a belief system, a displacement religion. Facts are not welcome in the House of Alarmism.

May 28, 2015 at 11:23 AM | Unregistered Commentercheshirered


Now it is a pale simulacrum, mostly cut and paste, short on original thinking, lifting human interest stories a day later from the DM, not worth reading.
Agreed. Matt and the Crosswords and forget the rest. It has turned itself into a cheap red top.

May 28, 2015 at 11:25 AM | Registered CommenterMike Jackson

When the Left worry about 'uncompetitive', it has changed it meaning.

May 28, 2015 at 11:26 AM | Registered CommenterRobert Christopher

What I have to admire in the Telegraph is that alone amongst any newspaper it is the only one that both prints sceptic views AND prints the insane dribble of the alarmists.

Perversely whilst I mockingly call it the "Torygraph" it is in reality far less biased that the Biased Broadcasting Company who don't let any non-BBC views be heard in full without a court order pending.

May 28, 2015 at 11:51 AM | Registered CommenterMikeHaseler

I have no time for A.E.P. but you have to accept some of what he says before trashing the whole article :P
The efficiency of the latest solar panels in the US is really improving rapidly and new battery technology is making storage a reality but why are we even interested?

Remove the current imperative of reducing carbon emissions, remove all subsidies and taxes, include geographical issues (I do not want the green spaces in the UK plastered all over with solar panels) and then look at it again.

We also need to remove misleading tripe from the article; the agreement between the USA and China involved China saying that it would not START to look at reducing CO2 emissions until 2030. In light of all the announcements about the urgency for action NOW in order to save the planet; 2030 is a joke.

May 28, 2015 at 11:57 AM | Registered CommenterDung

"One almost gets the impression that the Scarists are deeply worried that Paris is their last chance."

That bird has already flown.

There is absolutely no reason whatsoever for any government to be more interested in global warming alarmism than they have been for the last 6 years since they dropped plans for action at Jokenhagen.

All they do now, is to go through the motions of doing something - because that keeps the green groups happy.

But surely you might say: "even these completely gormless gullible and illogical anti-science greens will someday cotton on that these talks are preplanned to come to a dramatic ending when they nearly get an agreement which is just within reach if the gullible greens just hang in with the process till next time."

How many climate conferences does it take for greens to change the world?

... so far it looks like these conferences and "nearly" agreements are a permanent fixture.

May 28, 2015 at 11:58 AM | Registered CommenterMikeHaseler

And now Hull might vanish under the waves...

May 28, 2015 at 12:11 PM | Unregistered CommenterDaveS

AEP has been predicting financial armageddon for several years now, and that hasn't happened either .....

May 28, 2015 at 12:20 PM | Unregistered Commenterbill

Unfortunately many politicians and senior civil servants actually believe the scarists predictions which they then use to influence the general population.

On a recent cruise in the Black Sea one of the on-board lecturers, Sir Tony Brenton, the recently retired UK Ambassador to Moscow who had previously been heavily involved in the UK involvement in Climate Change Policy produced the following picture He informed his well educated audience that this would be the situation in 2050 without drastic action on climate change.

The audience accepted this without demur as the voice of authority

May 28, 2015 at 12:25 PM | Unregistered CommenterArthur Dent

Slip, slippin' away;
When will the day
Come what may
Be the way?

May 28, 2015 at 12:27 PM | Unregistered Commenterkim

"An astonishing report", too right might mate. "Unbelievable" would be another word for it.

May 28, 2015 at 12:33 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

The prospect of Hull slipping gently beneath the waves fills with an unexpected emotion; GLEE!

Unfortunately, as we head into the new Little Ice Age (notice the cold European Spring - it's back to Victorian weather), sea levels will start to fall and that damned city, the source of the ignorant Common purpose oaf, Prescott, who has single-handedly destroyed our electrical power generation system, will survive!

May 28, 2015 at 12:58 PM | Unregistered CommenterNCC 1701E

I read AEP's post as well and could not believe it. He has not bothered to check one iota of facts. I have come to the conclusion that nothing will change until one or more of the following will happen. Inhofe gets his investigation going into homogenization by NOAA/GISS concurrent with GWPF's investigation and Australia, and they all demonstrate "Mann made global warming". USA gets a republican president & maintain republican control over Congress. The lights go out in UK and industry is closed down to provide domestic energy during heat wave/winter high pressure with permanent frost like 1995 concurrent with no wind. Only very drastic events will change the powerful drift towards disaster as we are seeing now. I am concerned about an authoritarian US president, lack of effective response to Putin and here is Scotland a very autocratic resurgent National Socialistic party to mention but a few concerns.

May 28, 2015 at 1:06 PM | Unregistered CommenterJohn Peter

The events in Switzerland involving FIFA, set a wonderful precedent for the IPCC in Paris.

Who would have thought that an international body, with so much respect could be riddled with fraud and corruption? Mainstream journalists simply supported it.

May 28, 2015 at 1:11 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

NCC1701E, Prescott's ability to float to the top, is, judging by appearances and track record, designed in. A healthy appetite, and a healthy diet, are easily confused.

May 28, 2015 at 1:26 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

I watched Amber Rudd, prattling on about some Parliamentary opening day speech or other. In that televised interview, I was watching the person not listening to the egress of emanating drivel,. Rudd is forthright, PR through and through very much like Dave - all mouth and front with little or no intellect to back it up. She is, quite a clear speaker, prone as they all are too often falling back into cliched argot, "let me be clear on one thing".

And, "the Conservative government is committed to reducing the deficit".............

"reducing the deficit" is it?

Well not really Amber me old thing.

One thing immediately seemed clear to me and in my summation I wasn't far wrong either. That, the Tories in planting Mz Rudd in the chair at the DECC - that is nigh on as full moon March hare mad as handing over the state controls of North Korea to a mentally unbalanced baby faced killer, whose only - though hardly unconcealed desire is world domination.
As quick as a flash, Amber was doing the work of the Liberal Democrats Cons - busily burying Britain via the green agenda.

As this perceptive piece illustrates,

Today, the price for power stations across the EU is just £5.30 per tonne of CO2 emitted, but British coal-power plants pay £23.38 per tonne emitted. The Chancellor's tax top-up is £18.08. Clearly, this makes running a power plant like Ferrybridge or Longannet grossly uneconomic, irrespective of low coal prices that should allow coal plants to generate cheaper electricity.

Unilateral suicide by George Osborne's self imposed carbon floor price tax [a part of the 2008 CC ACT it should be noted] and with Amber Rudd doing the necessary "shut it down!". In the UK, the enemy of the people quite clearly are the governing power - be it Miliband, Benn, Miliband, Huhne, Davey or, Rudd - the green crap is what where its at - a Tory majority was hailed by some as a sort of sea change and back to common sense no nonsense government - er no.

Why worry about Paris - by 2008 we'd already signed up a new CO² emissions limitation treaty and Amber is just carrying the flag and moving on the work of the green blob. Brown outs soon and then total black outs to come, hooray for the green agenda - running Britain.

May 28, 2015 at 1:28 PM | Unregistered CommenterAthelstan.

Did you say "running" Britain or "ruining" Britain.
Either way ...

May 28, 2015 at 1:48 PM | Registered CommenterMike Jackson

My analysis:

May 28, 2015 at 1:53 PM | Unregistered CommenterPaul Homewood

" Now it is a pale simulacrum, mostly cut and paste, short on original thinking, "

The Telegraph has never reallly recovered from the loss of their most Pythonesque leader-writer to the shirtmaking business.

May 28, 2015 at 1:56 PM | Unregistered CommenterRussell


I think I must have watched the same newscast as you did and I came to exactly the same conclusions. However I am genuinely puzzled by this new Tory government. Osborne is no idiot so what exactly is his angle on the climate/energy issue? He must see that the lights are going to go out, he must see that when consumers understand what smart meters will do, they will be in uproar. Osborne surely must see that our economy will be flushed down the toilet if we shut all our coal and gas plants, what exactly is going on???

May 28, 2015 at 2:00 PM | Registered CommenterDung

Another dogs' breakfast on the Telegraph science sideboard:

While charming, Evans-Pritchard's invocation of rhubarb as a special sauce ingredient for flow batteries is at variance with what the Harvard researchers say in the paper he cites.

As the spelling of 'Anthraquinones' suggests, they are produced industrially from coal-tar anthracene rather than leftover custard.

Nor do rare earth metals figure in most inorganic superbattery schemes.

May 28, 2015 at 2:18 PM | Unregistered CommenterRussell

"Did you say "running" Britain or "ruining" Britain.
Either way ..."

Mike, 'ruining' is a better fit.


A good point, as you are probably aware, I am not much in awe of his economic prowess, still less of George's as yet rumoured intellectual capabilities.

I will hazard a guess at, is it that, so overwhelmed is he by his own marvellous financial wizardry and with the praises echoing loud from the Westminster and corporate City bubble - that seeing the bigger picture is quite beyond his ken. Or perhaps, it may be that, the Treasury are not be allowed to meddle in the roll out of the full implementation of the CCA boondoggles - aka green agenda. Hands tied perhaps - but smiling at the tax revenues.............................

May 28, 2015 at 2:37 PM | Unregistered CommenterAthelstan.

" And now Hull might vanish under the waves..."

Is this one of the obvious true benefits of global warming......

Actually, I quite like Hull and it's very handy ferry facilities to the continent.

May 28, 2015 at 3:05 PM | Unregistered CommenterRob Burton

@ Athelstan

Thanks for the clue mate:

George Osborne attended St Paul's School, London and then received a 'Demyship (half scholarship) at Magdalene College Oxford. Apparently a Demyship is awarded to POOR BOYS OF GOOD STANDING, Osborne was heir to the baronetcy of Ballentaylor and to a wallpaper company worth £15M.
At Oxford he achieved a 2.1 in MODERN HISTORY so what exactly qualified him for the job of Chancellor? Could it have been membership of the Bullingdon Club?

May 28, 2015 at 3:32 PM | Registered CommenterDung


Pritchard is short for Ap Richard, 'Son of'
I knew it! He's a Dick!

May 28, 2015 at 3:59 PM | Unregistered CommenterHarry Passfield

AEP is a catastrophist - it doesn't matter what subject (financial meltdown or CAGW). His articles during the financial crash were almost euphoric because he thought he might just be proved correct for once. Haven't bother to read anything with his by-line since.

May 28, 2015 at 4:05 PM | Unregistered CommenterRob

Arthur Dent:

I guess Brenton never got down to the Sea of Azov. Perhaps he had nightmares about the River Moscow overflowing its banks during the spring melt and lapping the steps of the Residence: it was just Nashi thugs.

May 28, 2015 at 4:37 PM | Unregistered CommenterIt doesn't add up...

What we have to remember is that both Kerry and Obama are matey with Gore and that however idiotic their views may be the IMF is their tool and will feel obliged to go along with it.

The snag with saying that compensation should be paid by the generators for damages from CO2 emissions is that until the rise in global temperatures exceeds 2 degrees (which it is most unlikely it ever will) these emissions are a net benefit.

How on earth can so many otherwise rational human beings give credence and be prepared to squander so much money on this kind of nonsense?

May 28, 2015 at 6:33 PM | Unregistered Commenterdave

Ambrose Evans-Pritchard used to be a combative, genuinely investigative journalist, way back, when he was based in Brussels, or Washington. Recently, he has endlessly predicted the fall of the euro, to the extent that, even if it eventually occurs, he is, by now, hopelessly discredited as a commentator with a fixation: the Captain Ahab of scribblers.

(He is also terribly fond of quoting chunks of stuff in foreign languages, but doesn't notice when he spells them incorrectly.)

May 28, 2015 at 6:36 PM | Unregistered CommenterOwen Morgan

Cheshired: AEP balanced and objective?

What have you been smoking? AEP is a shock Jock. He makes a living telling disaster stories all the time. If its not economic meltdown, its environmental meltdown.

He realised that bad news sells better than good news and so he tells his readers bad news. He's been telling us China is about to implode for 6 years. As the S&P 500 rose to new heights, he predicted economic dooom

May 28, 2015 at 7:47 PM | Unregistered CommenterKeith

chesire, for some long forgotten reason I thought AEP was OK, from reading him way back via Richard North. Initially shocked at the purple prose, I learnt from Ben Pile that he's been like this for a while. Sure enough, you can see he's been writing basically the same article on solar power for about two years now.

Look at this stuff:

With luck, we will overcome the curse of solar intermittency before the end of the decade. Mass production will follow by the mid-2020s. The switch to solar will by then be unstoppable.

He's like the journalist version of John Ashton.

May 28, 2015 at 8:00 PM | Registered Commentershub

More bad news for warmists: The RAPID measurements prove oceans make climate, and it looks like cooling in the future.

A new study, by scientists from the University of Southampton and National Oceanography Centre (NOC), implies that the global climate is on the verge of broad-scale change that could last for a number of decades. This new climatic phase could be half a degree cooler.

May 28, 2015 at 8:04 PM | Unregistered CommenterRon C.

Ron C

With our interglacial due to end sometime in the near future; half a degree could be enough to tip us over into ice age. Our current average global temp is already bouncing along the bottom of non glacial records.

May 28, 2015 at 8:15 PM | Registered CommenterDung

Extraordinary article in the unlikely bedfellow of the LT. I suspect the IMF has its hands quite full with the current state of low growth economies, negative bond yields and a colossus of debt. A FIFA-esque charade around the UNFCCC? Now wouldn't that have considerably greater entertainment value.

May 28, 2015 at 8:59 PM | Unregistered CommenterManfred

Ron C.

Thanks. Very interesting.

May 28, 2015 at 9:21 PM | Unregistered Commenteresmiff

Ron C It seems like another dose of common sense from Southampton University. Everywhere else, researchers seem to be getting higher and higher, with matching temperatures in their forecasts.

May 28, 2015 at 10:16 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

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