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« Lewis lands a blow | Main | Developing a consistent message »
Thursday
Mar102016

Barefaced

Professor Catherine Mitchell is one of the those public funded political activists who masquerades as an academic researcher. She has come to the attention of this blog from time to time over the years.

Today's Telegraph carries a letter from the good professor, responding to a Rupert Darwall article about the UK's energy crisis. Here it is:

SIR – Rupert Darwall’s polemic on our energy crunch makes three major mistakes.

First, Britain is not going to see a US-style “shale revolution”; the economics don’t stack up, and British people don’t want fracking.

Secondly, wind and solar do not impose significant “hidden” costs on consumers. The Committee on Climate Change, which advises the Government, calculates the cost at about £10 per year per household.

Thirdly, Mr Darwall assumes that climate change is not a serious issue. It is serious, so a fossil-fuels-as-usual electricity system will not do.

Renewable energy can deliver the market-based electricity system that Mr Darwall wants, but getting there entails some years of transitional support. Renewables will not need the endless subsidies associated with nuclear power and fossil fuels.

Catherine Mitchell
Professor of Energy Policy, University of Exeter
Penryn, Cornwall

Of course, the Committee on Climate Change's estimate on the cost of renewables policies are based on a comparison of renewables against a theoretical world in which fossil fuel prices start high and then get even higher. It's hard to imagine that a "Professor of Energy Policy" is unaware of this.

File under "barefaced".

 

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Reader Comments (187)

I understand Ben Santer can't wait to discuss rights to freedom of speech, with anyone who disagrees with him, down a dark alley of his choosing. Climate science rewards those that punch above their weight, and this Professor will be expecting suitable recognition.

If this error strewn letter is representative of Exeter Professors, then what next?

This error strewn letter is representative of Green Blob funded academics, so presumably more of the same. It seems that only academics can 'police' academic standards.

Mar 10, 2016 at 10:31 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

Salopian, it does appear that advocates of Unreliable power, should not be relied on, for factual advice, and providing them with a title such as Professor, does not improve reliability.

That's all climate science folks!

Mar 10, 2016 at 10:38 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

I read VERY MANY of the Climategate emails. It has taken me a while to remember Dr Alan Kendall's role in them.


http://www.ecowho.com/foia.php?search=Alan+Kendall

Mar 10, 2016 at 11:04 PM | Unregistered Commentermarchesarosa

As a follower and admirer of the Bishop since the early days of 2006-7, and of Steve McIntyre since his first blog in 2003, and as a climate science questioner well before that, I agree with Alan Kendall and feel that the tone and content of this blog has deteriorated of late, There seems to a lot more ad hominem postings, much more name calling and ranting, much less forensic analysis of the kind that was so admirable in The Hockey Stick Illusion days, and much less effective moderation. Of course, there are many easy and laughable targets in modern academia, politics and NGOs and it's good to point these out in an informed way. But an endless echo chamber of 'me too' insults is boring even for the converted and just puts many readers off - which is very unfortunate as one of the most important features of climate sceptic blogs is the conversion of neutrals who come to find out more.

And then there's the double standards and misogyny that seem ever more prevalent. As an example, on a parallel thread there's been much debate about a paper on glaciology and gender. Appropriate criticisms of its academic style, dodgy arguments and assumptions etc all too quickly degenerated into attacks on the very possibility that science and scientists might be influenced by its organisational and science context, or that women or minorities may have different perceptions of the world, and of their scientific work within it. And yet the high priestess of climate scepticism, Prof Judith Curry, has observed re scientific research that "There may be gender differences in the need to conform and get recognition from peers (I hypothesize that females are less interested in conforming and being blessed by their peers :))" (link below). She may or may not be right, and gendered glaciology might be a step too far, but pointing out - as the article did beneath its verbiage - that most glaciology has been done by testerone-fuelled men, and that this may have had some influence on their work, and the implications that they and society have taken from it, is entirely accurate and - for me and I think many others - interesting to consider and deserves more than knee-jerk trashing.

Not throwing out the baby with the bathwater, and avoiding a collective impression of swivel eyed hatred of the modern world and its diversity, will do much more to further the climate sceptic cause I suggest - so how about a return to the balance of biting criticism but civilised tolerance that your blog used to be Bishop? Especially as the gold standard of refined blog discourse, Climate Audit, is now so reduced in scale, alas.

https://judithcurry.com/2011/10/14/on-being-a-radical-scholar/

Mar 10, 2016 at 11:39 PM | Unregistered CommenterTruthseeker

And if it is indeed the same Alan Kendall referred to in the Climategate emails, all the more reason to take his points seriously, given his courage in raising concerns within the heartland of the climate establishment at a time when it was genuinely career threatening. He has earned respect I feel.

Mar 10, 2016 at 11:47 PM | Unregistered CommenterTruthseeker

Truthseeker:

If you really are so interested in "seeking the truth", why don't you question "Professor" Mitchell as to why she thinks she is competent to comment of energy policy (given she is patently unqualified to do so) and why the University of Exeter gave her a chair?

Mar 11, 2016 at 12:25 AM | Registered CommenterSalopian

Alan Kendall:

Dr Alan Kendall is a senior lecturer in geology at the University of East Anglia who teaches a class in fossil fuels and climate change. He has vigorously opposed the Royal Society and George Monbiot's denunciation of research that is funded by oil companies.

The Royal Society is using the power of authority rather than reason and judgement when they condemn the research funded by oil companies. Science never used to have a consensus. I hope I teach my students to exercise their own judgement. There are schools of thought in different subjects but as far as possible they should be given free rein to reach their own conclusions.

Indeed.

People say that if we continue to increase carbon dioxide in the atmosphere then that will mean global warming is far worse off. But suppose they're wrong and in fact we're heading for a new glacial period, as some Russian scientists believe. That would be much more devastating. Perhaps we should be pumping more carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.

People are running scare stories about doubling carbon dioxide values. I find it difficult to see why they have these extreme views when the earth has survived much more extreme conditions than this. When chalk was forming carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere were 10 times as high as they are now.

Were any human beings alive? No, but we went through a glacial period before. The temperature dropped by 4-5 degrees and going colder is more of an extreme climate change. But it made us evolve into the species we are. Yes, many people must have died, but as a species we became more adaptable.

Now, even such as myself, I can't argue with that.

Ah Geologists........sober overall analysis and time rich, consumed, permeated, petrified, paced glacial, - at that.

Mar 11, 2016 at 12:28 AM | Unregistered CommenterAthelstan.

marchesarosa, useful link and a good reminder of devious antics in climate science. Alan Kendall does indeed come over as a victim of his own honesty.

Ben Santer and Prof Peter Wadhams appear to exhibit the tendencies of unreliability, now known to many outside climate science.

David Viner was being thrown under a bus on this site in the last few weeks, as not representing consensus views, by global warming alarmists, seeking to distance themselves from his predictions. David Viner comes over as one of the gang in these Emails.

It is great that Alan Kendall should post here, but given the context of those Climategate Emails, I am bemused as to why he seeks to defend such a blatant abuse of 'science', by someone with such a poor grip of reality, and science, outside academia.

Mar 11, 2016 at 12:38 AM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

Be bemused not, young golf charlie, confused you be.

I do not seek to defend the Professor, how can you have come to this conclusion? Reread my contributions and you will find no support for your interpretation (save a suspicion that she might be able to defend her position on British shale gas). I also do not understand how commentators can have misread her cv. In my estimation she might well be a formidable opponent well versed in energy policy matters. The fact that you might oppose her viewpoint is not pertinent.
To dismiss her as a lightweight or a shill would be, in my view, a mistake. The (dark) force may well be strong in that one.

To express one's opposition without any substance is counterproductive. It's like sending cannon fodder to attack a near impregnable castle gate. Does the enemy even know you're there? Far better to burrow under the defences and attack the underpinnings of her falsehoods as Paul Homewood has done than exhaust oneself offering pinpricks.

On another matter, I'm not certain that the tone of some contributions has got worse. I well remember the spitfulness of many posts on this site when, in my first attempt in the blogosphere, I tried to defend my institution (UEA) as a whole and chose not to contribute to my then colleagues' distress by attacking them. I would do the same today.

Mar 11, 2016 at 7:29 AM | Unregistered CommenterAlan Kendall

I was hoping it was the Alan Kendall with Bee Gee associations rather than this one

Mar 11, 2016 at 7:57 AM | Unregistered CommenterSandyS

I do wish the Alan Kendalls and the Truthseekers would stop prattling on about the tone of sites such as this. Compared to SSkeptical SScience this place is a veritable fountain of virtue! Perhaps Alan might like to post an opposing view over there and see how long he lasts?

Secondly, and trying to get back on point. The great beauty of shale is that NOT ONE SINGLE PENNY OF PUBLIC MONEY is required to extract and exploit it! Let the Cudrella's invest their own money to get the gas out of the ground and to benefit from that extraction (or go under if they can't turn a profit).

You see, unlike Windmills and Ground Unicorn Horn power stations, Shale is a real form of energy that can produce real usable reliable forms of energy for commercial and domestic use.

Another great benefit of shale gas, since it does not require one single penny of tax payers money, is that all those BILLIONS OF POUNDS of government subsidies that are literally p1ssed away in to the wind propping up green companies (as they have no other form of income) could be spent on hospitals and schools and police and the armed forces!

Sadly, that is not the case and to be honest I don't see anything really changing any time soon to allow companies to get shale gas out of the ground.

Mailman

Mar 11, 2016 at 8:32 AM | Unregistered Commentermailman

Alan Kendall:

Thank you for your response. I appreciate and methods used with your students, I hope they will learn to understand what a useful education they had with you.

However, the wide world 'out there' is not populated by keen and clever students wanting to suck up knowledge and skills.

The 'man in the street' has little time or ability to appreciate the finely balanced arguments put from each side in this debate.

It comes down to opinion pieces (as at the top of this thread) which get pushed onto the public, both none thinking and thinking, without any caveats, error bars and the like.

It gets referenced and adds to the general 'consensus view' - that if so many Doctors, professors and other professionals who should 'know these things' then if its not completely right, there must be something in it.

We need to divorce ourselves from the concept of professional discourse. This is dirty politics, no more no less.

It is not a debating chamber with rules that enable a 'fair fight' with pleasantness enforce, where we all shake hands afterwards and look forward to the next debate next week.

It is not a professional debate. This is ably demonstrated when the latest testimony in congressional hearing in the states, a few weeks ago, when an idiotic US politician effectively called black - white when 'conversing' with an extremely polite, professional professor of impeccable standing and knowledge.

This not polite, the stakes are very high, the warmists point blank lie.

Alan, I hope you continue to contribute here. It is important to get as many balanced voices as possible.

Mar 11, 2016 at 9:06 AM | Unregistered CommenterSteve Richards

Just as you shouldn't treat an entire institution by some of it's staff it is equally unwise to judge blog commenters by the most extreme commenters. There are quite a few of us who try to correct reactionary opinions with opposing facts, not for the sake of convincing the original commenter but to presenting balance to the casual reader.

The biggest problem in the fearmongers versus realism debate is that it slips into partisan squabbling. There are a number of ways that people could agree on an endpoint without agreeing on the argumentation used to reach that point. But there are a few things certain;

.There are too many academics presenting biased opinion or even barefaced lies as 'facts' with zero tolerance for alternative views and too little experience of real life outside academia. None of them have ever predicted anything correctly but they are never taken to task for this by the media.

.Gas by whatever means is required whether we like it or not; 85% of homes are heated by it and nuclear & coal will continue to suffer from regulatory ratchet which makes them increasingly unviable.

.Warming is not a-priori a bad thing - especially gradual warming. The planet has been demonstrably greening. The only potential problem is the prospect of a sudden climate shift - which has occurred naturally in the past. This is the only legitimate argument the fearmongers have left thanks to the abject failure of their models.

.Renewables cannot replace fossil fuels any time in the near future because we cannot just avoid the arithmetic and costs associated with it. Whilst the climate may be uncertain it is a stone cold certainty that closing down fossil fuel plants without adequate replacements will do far more harm than good.

.This debate (or lack of it) has shown us just how poor our educative, scientific, journalistic and governmental systems really are. Despite the ever-increasing availability of information, the sheeple seem to actively deny themselves this opportunity for self-education. Instead, they make special efforts to avoid thinking for themselves by preferring secondary sources to primary ones and forming cultish cliques which demonise all alternative viewpoints, even those reasonably presented.

Bitter experience tells me that nothing will change until we have an actual catastrophe but we live in hope.

Mar 11, 2016 at 10:00 AM | Unregistered CommenterJamesG

Alan Kendall:

I well remember the spitfulness of many posts on this site
Ahh...those would have been when teh Zed from Torquay used to appear and slime us as d*niers of her truth.

Mar 11, 2016 at 10:28 AM | Unregistered CommenterHarry Passfield

Respectful as one must be to Dr. Kendall's past, I feel his concern for the opprobrium being heaped on Prof. Mitchell's head is misplaced.

She was not taking part in an academic debate. She was not presenting new scientific research - how could she, not being a scientist? She was nakedly trying to influence public opinion and thus sway government policy and she did so by engaging in sleight of hand.

Having voluntarily entered the bear pit of politics, she deserves no more deference than any other political creature and if she is caught out mishandling the facts, she deserves all she gets - all the more so for having used the authority of her title to pass off questionable figures.

As for Exeter, organisations are judged by the utterances of their staff and I fail to see why a university should be specially exempt from this common sense rule. In fact, as it is supported by tax payers' money, I suggest it should be all the more careful to ensure that its employees behave in an appropriate manner.

Mar 11, 2016 at 10:55 AM | Unregistered CommenterUncle Badger

Dr Kendall

"I tried to defend my institution (UEA) as a whole and chose not to contribute to my then colleagues' distress"

As any loyal employee would, but they weren't our colleagues and the distress was largely of their own making.

If you think the dialogue here gets tetchy, it's probably the result of years banging our heads on desks. At least the Bishop allows proper debate - you should try SkS or Thinkprogress or Realclimate, where contrary views are constantly deleted to preserve the 'message', which tells you rather more about them than the contributors...

Mar 11, 2016 at 11:07 AM | Registered Commenterjamesp

Perhaps Mr Kendall might like to try posting an opposing view over at the Guardian and see how long or how much respect he gets there?

The thing is, when you throw a rock in a glass house one shouldn't be surprised when there are lots of loud sudden sounds all around him.

Mailman

Mar 11, 2016 at 11:16 AM | Unregistered Commentermailman

As for making leavened bread with cultured yeast, that would be Rank Hovis stupidity.

Mar 10, 2016 at 1:46 PM |golf charlie
============================================================================

I've been baking my own sourdough for some time now (and very good it is too). The small pop of escaping CO2 wahen I open the lid of the Kilner jar containing the start is hugely satisfying. Indeed, when I pour our evening Gin & Tonic, I raise the Schweppes bottle, and we intone

"To CO2"

Mar 11, 2016 at 11:28 AM | Unregistered CommenterJeremy Poynton

I think Uncle Badger has it right. She is either deluded or dishonest and since she is a professor I think we should do her the credit of assuming the latter. Why did she write the letter? Because she believed, probably rightly, that a few paragraphs containing some half-truths would influence some people to her point of view. I nevertheless agree that the best way to counter her is by refuting her politely even if that is more than she deserves.

Incidentally, she has a record of handing out vulgar invective herself. In an article in the Guardian last July lamenting the abolition of subsidies for onshore wind she referred to "Government support for ideological 'blue crap' over rationality".

All in all I do find it something of a struggle to give her any respect.

Mar 11, 2016 at 11:34 AM | Unregistered CommenterKestrel27

Uncle Badger, please oh please try to put yourself in your opponent's shoes and also follow the logic of your own viewpoint. Academics in universities will defend their ability to publish what they can. (I note with some amusement that no-one has yet chastised The Telegraph for agreeing to publish the offending letter) and would resist any attempt to muzzle them by university authorities. I certainly wouldn't send any of my grandchildren to any institution that followed any such practice.

If university authorities were allowed to control their employee's freedom, then they could prevent publications favourable to your own causes. I wouldn't, for instance, have been able to publish my letters criticizing the Royal Society and Monbiot, because those.certainly were not favourable to UEA's preferred position. This was recognized by some in the CRU mafia and an attempt was made (informally) to prevent my use of my UEA affiliation in any future correspondence - which I chose to ignore. Their were no recognized comebacks.

The freedom of academics to speak their minds is a cherished right and should be defended here and elsewhere, even if this upsets.

I take the point of those who point out that the blogosphere is more of a rough and tumble that academic debates. However, one can dream of a more perfect world.

Mar 11, 2016 at 11:35 AM | Unregistered CommenterAlan Kendall

Alan Kendall:

I note with some amusement that no-one has yet chastised The Telegraph for agreeing to publish the offending letter
You obviously didn't bother to read the Disqus comments in the online edition of the letters page. But, in any case, we on here are pro freedom of speech, and with that, you have to accept a freedom to oppose (which, as many have pointed out, is sadly lacking on some of the 'warmer' blogs and newspapers).

Mar 11, 2016 at 11:58 AM | Unregistered CommenterHarry Passfield

Dr. Kendall, I do understand the point you are making but it is not academic research that is being defended, it is naked politicking.

Had Prof. Mitchell been revealing new research which advanced her cause then one would, indeed, go to the stake to defend her right to do so, but she was not. She was using dodgy figures to influence a government policy which is of inestimable importance to the future of this country and she was using her position as an academic to give weight to her argument. You might wish that debates were more civilised, but I would suggest that civilised behaviour in such a perfect world would not include distorting the facts for political ends.

No one in his right mind is going to attack the freedom of academics to do their jobs but what is done with that work and, indeed, whether that work should be done at all (in Prof. Mitchell's case) are, I would suggest, quite different matters.

I think we are unlikely to agree about this.

Mar 11, 2016 at 12:03 PM | Unregistered CommenterUncle Badger

Bell bottoms.

That's all I have to say about the woman and the uni.

They were very fashionable once upon a time, but now I cringe when my old photies come out of the cupboard.
I stopped being a follower of fashion when I was 19 but it seems that some people never learn

Mar 11, 2016 at 12:23 PM | Unregistered CommenterEternalOptimist

The (modern version) professor has at least drawn further attention to Rupert Darwall's lively article. It is well worth reading (the Bish gives the link above, but here it is again for convenience). The article begins with this paragraph:


Before the election, high electricity prices made the Big Six energy companies everyone’s favourite whipping boys. A report by the competition watchdog exonerated them. Government-driven social, environmental and network costs were the main drivers of rising electricity bills, the Competition and Markets Authority found. Now the Big Six have put themselves squarely back in the frame. A 125-page report by the electricity industry lobby group, Energy UK, supports phasing out cheap coal power and demands more subsidies for wind and solar.

and it ends with these ones:


Energy UK’s chief, Lawrence Slade, goes out on a limb in advocating a British equivalent of Germany’s disastrous Energiewende (Energy Transition). In 2004, the Green energy minister, Jürgen Trittin, claimed that the extra cost of renewable energy on monthly bills was equivalent to the cost of a scoop of ice cream. Nine years later, CDU minister Peter Altmaier said Energiewende could cost around €1 trillion by the end of the 2030s. The cost of feed-in tariffs and other subsidies is currently €21.8bn a year; €20bn is being spent on a new north-south high voltage line and investment in other grid infrastructure is likely to double that number.
Thanks to the high volatility of wind and solar output, 25pc of Germany’s green energy is dumped on other countries at low or negative prices, destabilising the grid of Germany’s neighbours. At home, the situation is just as serious. In 2013, 345,000 households could not pay their electricity bills. In January 2014, Deutsche Bank warned that Germany’s energy cost penalty was already eroding its industrial base. In a 2013 survey by the German Chambers of Commerce, over half of industrial companies reported that Energiewende was having a negative or very negative impact on their competitiveness.
To see a successful energy transformation, you have to look across the Atlantic. In the most telling indication of the Big Six surrender to the green lobby, there is not a single mention of fracking and the US shale revolution. But, as the report states, it is assumed that the UK remains part of the European Union and continues to try to meet its legally binding renewable energy targets for 2020 under the 2009 renewable energy directive. The underlying message from the Big Six is clear: if you want lower electricity bills, vote leave.


NoTricksZone has had many posts on the disastrous 'transition to renewable energy' (to which 'Energiewende' alludes). Here is the latest: http://notrickszone.com/2016/03/10/energiewende-shatters-german-power-sector-europes-largest-power-company-e-on-loses-whopping-10-2-billion-euros/

Mar 11, 2016 at 12:42 PM | Registered CommenterJohn Shade

Another candidate for the post of Mars Pioneer "B Ark" telephone sanitising committee non executive chairperson.

Mar 11, 2016 at 12:46 PM | Registered Commentertomo

"...the CRU mafia ..." says it all.

Mar 11, 2016 at 1:35 PM | Unregistered CommenterJamesG

Here's a "Friday Quiz" for anyone who's interested:

Do you understand the greenhouse effect?

Mar 11, 2016 at 1:59 PM | Registered CommenterMikeHaseler

Tomo 12:46 Yes!

JamesG 1:35, interestjing, my thoughts too!

Alan Kendall, I may not be quite as young as you imply!

Is their anything else you would like to share with the world about the mysterious goings-on at UEA CRU? I stand by my earlier comment about believing that CRU were bullied into a position, though it does seem they were comfortable using similar tactics on their own.

This thread, demonstrates the "Instant Climate Science Expert. Just add Green Blob Cheque" attitude so carefully maintained in climate science. This is propaganda, and manipulation via the media. She might as well be promoting Brand X Catfood, washes your cat whiter than blue whiteness.

Mar 11, 2016 at 2:22 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

Kestrel27
My own explanation for her article is that the Warmists simply dare not let it go. Hence the reason that Fastfingers Ward has developed such fast fingers!
Eventually it becomes self-defeating as they try to chase down every comment that deviates from the Faith thereby providing ever more evidence that Faith is what it is all about.
Analyse the letter:
"... the economics don’t stack up, and British people don’t want fracking." — There is no justification for either of these statements; the industry will decide and the British people (by and large) don't really care. They would rather it was on someone else's doorstep but "cheap and reliable energy supplies" is not a hard sell once the situation is understood.
VERDICT: we hope that the economics don't stack up and we are relying on green blob activists to continue lying to the British public.

wind and solar do not impose significant “hidden” costs on consumers. — well, yes they do. For a start they impose the cost of having traditional power stations on standby and the way in which the CCC has been finessing the figures would get a company accountant jailed! As she goes on to admit with her "getting there entails some yeas of transitional support."
VERDICT: the green blob is committed to expensive energy for political reasons but we need to dress them up as essential for "saving the planet". Since the average householder is easily misled he's likely to fall for any figure we throw at him to justify our ca(u)se.

"Mr Darwall assumes that climate change is not a serious issue. It is serious ..." increasingly, doubt is being cast on the "seriousness" of climate change. The "catastrophic" element is less to the fore and the scientific evidence is becoming more nuanced. Which explains why the Warmists get hyper-excited at temperature anomalies smaller than the error bars or than a thermometer is capable of measuring accurately.
VERDICT: there is too much riding on our being right to allow any backsliding now. Any suggestion that we might not need wind and solar will be firmly squashed.

"Renewable energy can deliver the market-based electricity system that Mr Darwall wants. No it can't. By its nature it can never provide an electricity system as cheap or as reliable as fossil fuel or nuclear. Any idea that it can is akin to suggesting fairy dust as a fuel.
VERDICT: there is too much riding on our being right to allow any backsliding now. Any suggestion that we might not need wind and solar will be firmly squashed.

"Renewables will not need the endless subsidies associated with nuclear power and fossil fuels." — there is no reason to assume that renewables will ever be free of subsidy unless a government is elected prepared to face down the troughers and tell them to get lost! It would be nice to say the rest of the sentence is a lie but regrettably the UK government has got itself into a situation where nobody is any longer prepared to invest in UK energy unless they have their mouths stuffed with gold.
VERDICT: there is too much riding on our being right to allow any backsliding now. Any suggestion that we might not need wind and solar will be firmly squashed.

Blind Faith — from beginning to end. And nobody cares either for facts or truth or other people and nor are they prepared to modify their views by a smidgin. And when this generation of climate scientists has finally admitted that it was natural causes what done it, maybe with a bit of human help round the edges, the Professor and her tribe will still be spouting the same old mantras!

Mar 11, 2016 at 3:14 PM | Registered CommenterMike Jackson

The problem is not so much of "not having a US style shale revolution".
The real problem is being forced to live under a windmill revolution led by ignorati who cannot distinguish fantasies about energy from reality.

Mar 11, 2016 at 6:06 PM | Unregistered Commenterhunter

Golf charlie. I'm afraid I cannot enlighten you much. CRU were in a quite separate building and apart from Keith Briffa, who I very much admire as a colleague and as a decent person, I knew very few of the CRU crowd then. When climategate broke all of us in the environmental science school met together and were all strongly encouraged to hold the line and not discuss anything with the press, nor with parents of prospective students. This was to be maintained until the various enquiries were conducted and published. We were promised a full accounting [how trusting I was then!]. I never stayed for the end of that meeting, walking out in disgust at the way dissenters from the AGW creed were referred to (which clearly included me).

What further disgusted me was the fact that CRU faculty and supporters then almost immediately started speaking to the media, totally ignoring promises extracted from the rest of us. I am still very annoyed that we never were given any assurances that the substance of the emails were incorrect (but then how could these be given). Explanations for CRU's behaviour were never, to my knowledge, given to anyone in UEA. No apologies were ever tendered to those of us that gave them limited and, in my case, grudging support (and later of course I discovered just how much contempt they held me - with the exception of Briffa who supported me at that first meeting and later.

I cannot provide any support for your belief that CRU was pressured by foreign influences. Although I would not be surprised given that all the research was financed by soft money much of it from the USA. Sorry.

Mar 11, 2016 at 6:17 PM | Unregistered CommenterAlan Kendall

As of right now the wind fleet of 6,680 turbines is producing 1.73 giga watts out of a requirement of 46 gigawatts. The sun is going down so no solar power. There are 25,000 smaller unmetered turbines reducing the demand by anybodies guess up to about 1 gigawatt maybe. We have saturation as far as hydro is concerned as there is nowhere else to build dams and, quite frankly, tidal lagoons and water/wave turbines are super expensive pie in the sky.

So to replace fossil fuels with renewables we would have to build another 177,618 large turbines in the uk. Each one takes 1000 tonnes of concrete, 40 tonnes of carbon fibre, 60 tonnes of steel etc. We would need about 177,000 kilometers of hard access road capable of carrying heavy cranes etc. Miles of high tension cables into remote highland locations. A whole new control system to avoid blackouts etc etc.

All this depends on the wind actually blowing. When it stops as it frequently does the whole charade is utterly useless scrap metal on poles.

""Renewable energy can deliver the market-based electricity system that Mr Darwall wants, but getting there entails some years of transitional support. ""

No Ms Mitchell it cannot not even with infinite subsidies until the third coming of Christ. Why a so-called professor has so much difficulty in working that out when it has taken me 5 minutes I fail to understand.

Mar 11, 2016 at 6:39 PM | Unregistered CommenterIvor Ward

Lilith basically it's called Fuel Poverty because basically it's called General Poverty

Now I'm sure you can afford to feed and cloth your kids and pay your mortgage or your rent and pay your bills and get your weekly shopping then find an extra £250 a year to pay for a bunch of stupid windmills and solar panels that don't [snip] work.

Mar 11, 2016 at 6:50 PM | Unregistered CommenterJamspid

Alan Kendall:

This was to be maintained until the various enquiries were conducted and published.
I know you have made and answered many comments on this thread, but may I ask you one more? Given your description of your time at CRU and how they treated you, I wondered what your take on the various enquiries was: do you think the CRU and others were 'exonerated', in your mind? (Of course, I will understand if you do not want to share those thoughts with the world).

Mar 11, 2016 at 7:11 PM | Unregistered CommenterHarry Passfield

AK: "So the opinions of non-geologists are perhaps just as much valid."

With respect and in context, validity and weight are not the same thing.

Mar 11, 2016 at 8:38 PM | Unregistered CommenterManfred

‘Britain is not going to see a US-style “shale revolution” …’.
======================================================
In the US oil and gas rights are owned by the landowner while in the UK ownership is vested in the Crown.
I believe the US is unique in that respect which may explain why fracking got cracking so quickly there, although I read somewhere the federal government through its agencies is now trying to muscle in.

Mar 11, 2016 at 9:08 PM | Unregistered CommenterChris Hanley

@IvorWard

<I>So to replace fossil fuels with renewables we would have to build another 177,618 large turbines in the uk.</I>

Don't forget, Ivor, that our green friends would have us in a gas free future. This means that household gas boilers would have to be replaced with some sort of electrical heating/water system, resulting in even more demand over and above the gap you have filled. There is something of the order of 23 million households with gas-fired boilers.

Mar 11, 2016 at 9:43 PM | Unregistered CommenterCB

CB, 9:43pm:

Add to that, in most rural areas, such as Powys most households rely on oil or LGP as their main source of heating/water and cooking. If you are going to replace these with "renewable" electricity then most of the rural low voltage power lines consisting of three wires on top of wooden poles, will have to be replaced with more expensive higher output conduits.

I wonder if the good professor took this into account when firing off her rebuke?

Mar 11, 2016 at 10:02 PM | Registered CommenterSalopian

Alan Kendall says he's impressed with Mitchell's CV.

I'm impressed that she's a history graduate who has managed to enjoy a career in energy matters. However, I'm not impressed that she's a professor of energy policy any more than I would be if I was elected to be the Professor of English Literature or Music at her university. And I'm not impressed with her knowledge of the literature coming out of the CCC, if knowledge was the right word to use here.

We 'enjoy' a fair crop of scientists and economists who, out of discipline, have performed well here. David McKay and Dieter Helm are outstanding examples. But sufficient unto the day are the historians thereof. And no more PPEs for goodness sake. Let's have at least a few engineers and professionals from the generation industry providing some input into the discussion of where we go in energy for the UK.

Mar 11, 2016 at 10:18 PM | Unregistered CommenterCapell

A historian should be fairly well versed in the many prior social passions that ignited a self-selected elite to obsess on some new interpretation of value, or good breeding, or "fairness", terrible failed movements have foisted endless suffering on many people before finally failing.

Mar 11, 2016 at 10:36 PM | Unregistered Commenterhunter

Capell, 10:18pm:

Totally agree with you. I wonder if Alan Kendall would be so impressed with her CV and so supportive if the University of Exeter had given her a chair in Neurology or Paediatric Surgery; given that she is as unqualified in these disciplines as she is in energy policy?

Mar 11, 2016 at 10:43 PM | Registered CommenterSalopian

Chris Hanley
"In the US oil and gas rights are owned by the landowner while in the UK ownership is vested in the Crown".

ONSHORE Oil and gas rights in the USA are indeed owned by the surface land owner unless they have previously been severed - which frequently happens when the surface rights change ownership. However the largest and owner in the USA ( lower 48 States) is the Federal government and are administered by the Bureau of Land Management. Other large areas of mineral and hydrocarbon rights are owned by individual States, by the Department of Defence and other State and Federal Agencies. In Alaska a large proportion of non Federally owned rights are owned by the State of Alaska.Offshore rights are the Perquisite of the Federal Government and access to them is via a process of leasing

There are transparent and easily followed processes by which individuals and corporate entities can obtain access via, lease or claim to most of the onshore rights and in most cases it is quick and simple to obtain permission to conduct exploratory drilling operations and there is no requirement for a lengthy, onerous and slow process to obtain local Planning Permission. There are clear rules for the management of waste water and drilling sludge and strict (and strictly enforced) requirements to preserve the integrity of all aquifers which may be intersected in drilling.

The idea that in the USA frakking is carried out by unsupervised and unregulated cowboys is another unfounded myth propagated by the anti frakking ( read anti/energy/anti capitalist/ anti humanist ) "Green"?? lobby.

Mar 11, 2016 at 10:57 PM | Unregistered CommenterSpectator

Alan Kendall:

I'm a bit late to this thread, but Steve Richards's point is nearest my own view. I agree with you that the sceptical side has had the high ground on the evidence and that strident sceptics have tended to hinder rather than help. We shouldn't squander our advantage.

However, as you pointed out yourself, it is not simply an academic debate. It's more like "Twelve Angry Men" and, just as in that play, the balance is shifting. Will those who have not yet been convinced by the evidence ever be convinced by the evidence? Getting those last few jurors to come across was not an exercise in cool reason; bringing the alarmist holdouts across may require a bit of heat too.

Mar 11, 2016 at 11:00 PM | Unregistered CommenterRobert Swan

Alan Kendall, thank you for your response. I am one of those that just accepted the Hockey Stick, because it was prepared by experts etc etc. My work and experience of farming, gardening, sailing, military family, history etc made me have some doubts, but I did not express my concerns, as it seemed to go against the grain of accepted 'fact'. I first came across Bishop Hill, WUWT and Climate Audit prior to Climategate, just browsing the Internet, but quickly returned.

I never even took history 'O' level, but have always enjoyed learning more about the history of subjects that interested me. Attempts to rewrite history to match a modern view of past climate, are ridiculous. Whether the LIA, MWP or even biblical descriptions of Israel being 'the promised land' accepted by Jews Christians and Moslems, whereas modern Israel seems to bear no resemblance, without modern irrigation.

The doubts you expressed about the consensus, are evident in the Climategate emails linked to earlier. I am sure others would like to know what caused you to buck the consensus!

My actual qualifications are surveying and engineering, but work has taken me into using those qualifications in some mainstream, and some very non mainstream areas, including 'troubleshooting' and 'why things went wrong'. I know that cock-up, is more common, than conspiracy, however, conspiracies are commonly developed to cover up the original cock-up.

Climate science since Climategate seems to be a series of cocked-up conspiracies, to cover-up some historical cock-ups, and substantial assumptions. Actual science, and scientific methods seem to have been forgotten, or at least sidelined.

Mar 12, 2016 at 12:57 AM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

@Alan-Kendall O/T comment on commenting style
Personally I like it this way on BH :
#1 PersonX comments their opinion
#2 PersonY disagrees so comments contesting X's arguments

but I note on the Guardian it can be like this
#3 PersonY comments telling X 'he shouldn't have made the comment in the first place and that the comment damages this blogs credibility, blah, blah, blah'
That is wrong cos commenters should not INTIMIDATE other commenters into not posting honestly held opinions.
I think here on BH trolls are happy to see the comments driven off topic and have often used such style attacks to break up the comment thread.

@Alan-Kendall after beginning with style #3 against other commenters, now you just seemed to agree that people should be free to speak their minds
"The freedom of academics to speak their minds is a cherished right and should be defended here and elsewhere, even if this upsets."

I agree, I wish people would state their own opinions, let others state their own and together move the debate forward by staying ON TOPIC.

Mar 12, 2016 at 4:54 AM | Registered Commenterstewgreen

On topic, Alan began by saying "dared to write something that offends?"
No it wasn't about BHers being offended, it was Prof Mitchell saying thing that were CLEARLY misleading and EASILY contestable.
And @Justice4Rinka summed it up well in a comment at 9:52 AM 9 minutes after the first comment
@Alan's comment warning of kneejerk trashing of Exeter came 30 minutes later

He may not have been aware of the previous times Exeter has cropped here on BH, with its alarmist conferences and Climate education brainwashing programmes

wacky conference they had a few years ago in Exeter, deciding that being a "climate denier" was a mental illness that should be treated! Shades of Stalin's Russia where dissenters where either sent to Siberia or locked up in mental hospitals or both!
Exeter was a sponsor of the Ship Of Fools , Cli-Tanic expedition which went to Antarctic to prove ice was disappearing but ended up stuck for weeks in 'unexpected ice'

Mar 12, 2016 at 5:14 AM | Registered Commenterstewgreen

Stewgreen. I find your post relevant and I was interested enough to look up the survey you quoted. Although completely off the thread topic I feel compelled to comment on the basis of the survey. I was disappointed to find UEA was red listed but then noted the quality of institutions green listed and wasn't impressed. Looking at the reasons for condemnation I found a mixed bag. I would agree that policies such as academic restrictions on contacts with Israel should be condemned, but condemning offensive behaviour and utterances (as defined in law) come on.

Then I remembered my own undergraduate days at Queen Mary London and an absolutely passionate Union debate about whether a political group should be allowed to invite Moseley to speak at the university. Given that the invitation would have involved a political march of his fascist supporters through neighbouring East London streets, the inhabitants of whi had suffered at the hands of his farther, the Union thought it would be bad manners to insult our neighbours and banned the speech. I voted for banning and would do so again today. Yet this free speech survey would condemn Queen Mary.

Free speech is such a nuanced issue that the crude. criteria adopted by the survey give, in my opinion, unreliable results. I'm not sure I approve of the green posted institutions - don't they care enough about their students or staff that any abusive behaviour is tolerated on the ground of free speech? With freedom comes responsibilities, and with responsibilities comes judgement.

Thus I do not necessarily accept the amber status of Exeter as evidence for its condemnation but thank you for bringing the survey to my attention.

Mar 12, 2016 at 7:46 AM | Unregistered CommenterAlan Kendall

Agreed of all the things I unearthed that survey data may well be the least robust but the writer felt enough to write in strong terms about Exeter maybe from other experience.

The right to offend is part of free speech.

Mar 12, 2016 at 8:29 AM | Registered Commenterstewgreen

You cannot truly offend. You can only choose to be offended.
Although "being offended" feels for many people as if it's something beyond their control, this is an illusion caused by their own lack of self-control. It's effectively emotional incontinence.

Mar 12, 2016 at 10:20 AM | Unregistered CommenterIvor Ward

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