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« What New Scientist wouldn't print | Main | Still going slow »

Yorkshire goes unconventional

Well this was enough to lull me from my blogging stupor:

Fracking given green light in North Yorkshire

Protesters booed and jeered as councillors gave the go-ahead for the first fracking operation in the UK for five years.

The problem the greens are going to have now is that when the sky doesn't actually fall in, they are going to be left looking pretty dishonest. 


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Reader Comments (487)

Alan Kendal,
Please re-read my comment at Jun 3, 2016 at 10:12 AM.

Do you rally think I believe Black is White?

Jun 3, 2016 at 7:12 PM | Registered CommenterM Courtney

M. Courtney. To be perfectly honest I don't know what the hell you were talking about and chose to ignore your "thought experiment". I saw no relevance between it and definitions of subsidy, and now you are discussing black and white. Life's too short to fathom the intricacies of other people's logic all the time. All I recognized was a final sentence from you that suggested you thought both types of subsidy could be considered similar (I now wonder if that was sarcasm). Hence my follow up.

Either ignore my slow wittedness or put this to my shame. My fate is in your hands.

Jun 3, 2016 at 7:35 PM | Unregistered CommenterAlan Kendall

I thought I was being witty.
Actually my thought experiment proved that Black is White.
Well, it did if you accept that something that doesn't happen could behave as something else, if it did happen.

It was logically analogous to Phil Clarke's argument about subsidies for unreliable renewables.
And I hoped my example was laughingly ridiculous.

Sometimes, I'm so far up my own backside that I'm obscure.

Jun 3, 2016 at 9:01 PM | Registered CommenterM Courtney

M Courtney. You never specified the spectrum of light you were shining. Why should I believe it was white light? You only specified the reflectivities of your objects. Sorry to be so picky.

Jun 3, 2016 at 10:41 PM | Unregistered CommenterAlan Kendall

Were I a Gentleman I would graciously concede the point.
But I am actually a poor Cheltonian so instead I will rebut with a quote from my initial witticism.

Consider this: Two object have equal reflectivity in all wavelengths of the visible spectrum.

visible spectrum.

Apologies for my pettiness but it's been a long week.

Jun 3, 2016 at 11:19 PM | Registered CommenterM Courtney

M. Courtney.

If I were less a pedant I would concede you victory.
But I am, and a soured retired academic.

As thinkscientist recently wrote " I don't like leaving obvious and non-controversial facts uncorrected uncorrected - that's the way ever more nonsense gets promulgated as memes across the internet". So...

You wrote (Jun 3, 10.12am) "Two objects(s) have equal reflectivity at all wavelengths of the visible spectrum". This clearly and unambiguously defines a property of the object, not the light. The only thing you tell us about the light is that it has "great intensity". How is any reasonable person to conclude that the light was a white light?

Now let us examine your use of the thought experiment as a simile for differing types of subsidy. You refer only to what is similar about the two objects - their reflectivity - but draw attention to differences in the objects' appearances when subject to different conditions. I drew attention to differences in the concept of subsidy (analogous to your reflectivity), comparing it with the similarity in the term used to describe them (= appearance). Doesn't really work as a simile does it?

I wonder if Phil C knew what you were on about, but then realized you were hardly likely to be agreeing with him?

Sorry, but it's been a hard week for me also.

Jun 4, 2016 at 6:30 AM | Unregistered CommenterAlan Kendall

PC says that he does not want to get dragged into discussion of what is or isn't a subsidy. Which is smart on his part since it is clear he either has no idea what a subsidy is or has no intention of honestly discussing the issue.

Jun 4, 2016 at 12:28 PM | Unregistered Commenterhunter


It's actually worse than that. It's pure, unadulterated intellectual laziness on Phil Clarke's behalf.

I believe he is actually intelligent enough to understand the real world meaning of such a simple word but his religious belief in Mann Made Global Warning (tm) stops him from being honest with himself simply because the corrupted academic meaning supports his views on climate science.

This is the level academia has sunk too...selling out to political activism instead of the truth.

Just another 2 bit, for rent, substandard academic who needs to get out in to the real world to see the damage being wrought on the public thanks to his belief in ground unicorn horn power generation.


Jun 4, 2016 at 1:06 PM | Unregistered Commentermailman

If I may make a comment in support of M Courtney;
I have always found him to be logical, clear thinking and polite, all this despite being on the left of the political spectrum hehe.

Jun 4, 2016 at 1:07 PM | Registered CommenterDung

Phil C,
If some guy stops me in a dark alleyway and decides not to mug me for my wallet does that means he's subsidised me? Cos, it sure seems that way in your weirdly twisted economic world.

Oh, and we don't need to stop using fossill fuels as the anthropogenic part of global warming is negligble to the point of un-measurable. Prove me wrong.

Jun 4, 2016 at 1:36 PM | Unregistered Commenterdavid smith

Mailman. Please don't pre-judge all academics on the basis of what you would consider as bad apples like PhilC. Some even have outside experience (like hens' teeth they are).

"Ground unicorn-horn power generation"
I've not heard of that one before. Do the power plants need to be operated by tender young virgins? If true, I would expect operating staff and fuel supplies to be equally scarce. Where's it being researched - Xanadu U.?
But yet another case of an energy source based on wasting resources (virgins, not unicorns). Use of carbon-based unicorn horns will not make the technology acceptable to Greenpi$$, nor to WWF.

Jun 4, 2016 at 2:03 PM | Unregistered CommenterAlan Kendall


Phil C would insist that the tender virgins are vegan, of course. Additionally, the unicorn-horn would have to be ethically sourced. Any hunting of wild unicorns would be strictly verboten.

Jun 4, 2016 at 2:24 PM | Unregistered CommenterDavid Smith

David Smith
Virginal and veganal as well? Out go my visions of scantily clad virgins with blood dripping from their pearly whites, pulling phallic levers. Operators will be even more difficult to source and the task made near impossible with post-Brexit immigration controls.

The breeding of GM unicorns with deciduous horns will solve fuel problems and counter hunting bans. If only Xanadu U. would provide us with a breeding pair. Attempts to trade using shamrocks and all-British pixie dust have met with intransigence. Efforts at espionage, posing as North Koreans offering dragon's teeth, similarly meet with failure. Britain's magic energy future hangs in the balance.

Your country needs you Peter Pan and Tinkerbell.

Jun 4, 2016 at 3:07 PM | Unregistered CommenterAlan Kendall

David smith

The guy didn't attack you because you persuaded him he had the wrong economic model.

Jun 4, 2016 at 4:13 PM | Unregistered CommenterAlan Kendall

PC says :-

"That said, every economic cost benefit analysis, starting with the Stern Report, then the Garnaut report in Australia, even the report from Bjorn Lomborg's Copenhagen project concludes that adaptation and mitigation measures have a positive benefit cost ratio"

Of course they say that - they would would they not?

If you cost enough adverse effects speculated to arise as a result of a speculative degree of warming - none of which are either certain to occur nor are the costs of their effects known - merely speculated to arise - and then you omit all the known and relatively easily costable benefits of using fossil fuels and then apply a risibly low discount rate you are fairly certain to get something like the number you first thought of - and if you don't you just change the inputs until you do.

Just like GCM climate models - a load of bullshxt.!

Jun 4, 2016 at 4:55 PM | Unregistered CommenterGlebekinvara

Alan Kendal,

My humble and most sincere apologies to those academics who have not sold themselves out like our dear friend.

Additionally, my bad for not realising that even the world of ground unicorn horn power generation was not quite as straight forward as I first thought. Having said that I believe the food generating parts of the world not ripped up for Palm oil plantations and virgin forests cleared to make way for renewable biofuel production are at this very moment being clear felled to make way for grazing grounds for GM free range organic unicorn feed lots.



Jun 4, 2016 at 5:29 PM | Unregistered CommenterMailman

" The guy didn't attack you because you persuaded him he had the wrong economic model."
You owe me a new keyboard and coffee cup refill.

Jun 4, 2016 at 5:58 PM | Unregistered Commenterdavid smith

PC is an academic? In plant psychology, I presume?

Jun 4, 2016 at 6:09 PM | Unregistered CommenterCapell

david smith.
Wish I could claim it as all my own, but I think it was a partial memory from someone else.
Sorry for your losses.

Jun 4, 2016 at 6:16 PM | Unregistered CommenterAlan Kendall

Unicorns come in for a lot of blame. We only have ourselves to blame for the fact they are so elusive and hard to find.

Jun 4, 2016 at 8:48 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie


"Unicorns come in for a lot of blame"

Do unicorns stay outside if we don't have any of this "blame" stuff? Is it like a unicorn catnip? Just how much blame is "a lot"? Perhaps we can divert some climate change monies to do this essential research.

Jun 4, 2016 at 10:07 PM | Unregistered CommenterAlan Kendall

Alan Kendall, if Unicorns could achieve the same cuddly wuddly status as Polar Bears, they would require culling within a decade.

The power of their devastating flatulence is the stuff of numerous legends, and this will continue, without subsidy, until an enterprising Green works out how to tax it.

As no Green has ever worked out how to be enterprising, without a subsidy or tax incentive, these equine sized arses will need to be corked. Unicorn rear ends may also need to be bunged up.

Jun 4, 2016 at 11:11 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

gC. No tender young virgin would ever consort with a flatulant unicorn. It must be long time since you were close to a unicorn, (and even longer to a virgin?). Wiki mentions no unicorn flatulence, you are perhaps confusing unicorns with narwhales that let off something rotten. Wouldn't be surprised if this major cause of arctic ice loss is absent from even the most recent climate model.

Jun 5, 2016 at 8:35 AM | Unregistered CommenterAlan Kendall

Alan Kendall, are you saying that Narwhals with their pointy tusky things are the cause of ice sheets breaking up? This is an area of polar research that Greenpeace have not been promoting, presumably fearing a cull of narwhals will be required.

If traditional Chinese medical practicioners could be persuaded that Narwhal tusk had virility improving properties, better even than Rhino horn, Chinese scientific research vessels would 'research' the narwhale to extinction in no-time at all, for free, and the rhino would be saved.

Would the reduction in polar narwhal emissions be a good or bad thing for the ozone hole? Refrigeration gases were all changed to save the ozone layer, but no studies were carried out on warm mammalian exhaust emissions in freezing places.

Jun 5, 2016 at 11:23 AM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

golf Charlie. You are, I'm sorry to say, once again behind the cueball (sometimes made from a narwhal's toothy bits). Chinese medical practitioners have long been persuaded, nay hoodwinked, to believe ground narwhal tusks were from unicorns. They think rhino horns are more efficacious than fishy unicorn powder.

Jun 5, 2016 at 1:29 PM | Unregistered CommenterAlan Kendall

Alan Kendall

Being behind the cue ball is the preferred position for a successful strike against your opponent, being behind the eight ball is where you should be putting your opponent ^.^

Jun 5, 2016 at 3:23 PM | Registered CommenterDung

Silly person. Eight-balls would never be made from narwhal, and I don't consider gC an opponent. Anyway we both play keep-uppy until we grow tired and move on to some other diversion. I dread to think what gC will do with your 8 balls. I certainly wouldn't have gone there. Perhaps you will be lucky and he'll lose interest; this has been a long, long thread.

Jun 5, 2016 at 4:21 PM | Unregistered CommenterAlan Kendall

If it is two balls per pair of legs, is Dung an octopus?

I do not know whether Unicorns feature in Chinese mythology, as they do in Western Climate Science Mythology, but if the Chinese were seeking a creature with a single horn, when might they have settled on Rhino horn as a substitute? There are Indian Rhinos of course, that Marco Polo could have ridden to China, and Junk sailing could have taken the Chinese to Sumatra.

Rhino horn is keratin (?) the stuff of hair and finger nails, as are the antlers of deer and antelope, so presumably Unicorn horn is similar. As Alan Kendall notes, Narwhal horn is a tooth, like an elephants tusk. Scrimshaw was the name given to carved/engraved bits of bone and ivory, much of it carried out by sailors, presumably using the unwanted bits of whale carcasses. Whether whalers evaluated whales on the maximum size or number of snooker balls they might produce, history does not relate.

In modern economics, the availability of viagara does not seem to have reduced demand for rhino horn in China. Is it possible that the Chinese see no climate science in Mann's Hockey Stick, but just see a priapic role model?

Jun 5, 2016 at 11:13 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

The declining numbers of unicorns IS directly linked to Mann Made Global Warming (tm)!!!!

Won't someone just think of the children...and all that lovely subsidy money one could take in on the back of this!!!


Jun 6, 2016 at 8:09 AM | Unregistered Commentermailman

Hot air and flatulence.

If methane is 'harvested' from living creatures, either in the sea, or on dry land, it is ok.

If methane is harvested from dead creatures, below ground level, it is bad.

If I cause the death of an actively tunnelling mole beneath a lawn, will the Green Blob ban me from excavating the carcase and placing it in a biodigester to harvest any combustible gases, or will they only get upset if I allow the carcase to fossilise first? Would the Green Blob prefer me to catch them alive, and to launch them with a steam powered catapult through the blades of a windturbine, so they could die a noble and honourable death approved by the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds and Airborne Rodents?

Jun 6, 2016 at 9:20 AM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

gC. You raise a difficult moral and scientific problem - when does subterranean organic matter fossilize and thus become verboten as defined by climate scientists? The question is much greater than little velvet gentlemen. It involves earthworms, burrowing owls (ahhh) and tree roots. I hardly think your mole disposal method could be employed for 600--year old oak tree roots. Chucking roots at wind turbines could cause widespread splinter injuries to everyone involved.

Jun 6, 2016 at 10:12 AM | Unregistered CommenterAlan Kendall

The decline in unicorn numbers may be another measurement artefact. Uniicorns can only approached by tender young virgins and their age has steadily declined over the years. This, coupled with declining numeracy, means unicorns can only now be approached by young girls who cannot count past the number of their fingers. Unicorn estimates are accordingly as poor as CO2 sensitivity guesses.

So yet another scare story linked with AGW.

Jun 6, 2016 at 10:29 AM | Unregistered CommenterAlan Kendall

Alan Kendall, so launching tree roots by steam catapult (from a safe distance) at wind turbines could be an environmentally friendly way of creating woodchips in the UK for combustion in powerstations.

If the windturbines destroy themselves in the process, they will have achieved something useful.

A traditional Trebuchet might be more Green and Renewable than a steam catapult, and could be used to relaunch some climate scientist's careers into the stratosphere, complete with their hockey sticks, and paper records of 97% of their colleagues.

Some previously peaceful country villages could build their own trebuchets, mount them on tractor trailers and have it as a novelty mobile attraction at the Village Fete. People would fly in from around the world with useless specimens of Green fabrication to use as windturbine destroying projectiles. Jeremy Clarkson could host televised shows and competitions, though the BBC might not want to be involved, especially if some of their experts and Directors were the projectiles.

Bookmakers would love people gambling on how far forward a computer generated climate model could be projected, without loss of accuracy or predictive ability.

Jun 6, 2016 at 11:47 AM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

golf Charlie, On further reflection I believe wind turbines wouldn't last long when pitted against trebucket-launched oak tree roots. The splinters are more likely to be metallic shards from the turbine blades. One root and then it would be curtains for the turbines (bad poetry!). Costs of trebucket manufacture would not be recouped and there would be no tourism dividend. Typical outcome for green energy planning.

Roots would have to be classified as biofuel and so would accrue massive subsidies. Subsidies will be necessary because more energy will be expended removing the roots from the ground than is contained within the wood. Unscrupulous entrepreneurs would take the subsidies and simply bury the roots. Would you expect anything different?

Jun 6, 2016 at 7:35 PM | Unregistered CommenterAlan Kendall

Jun 2, 2016 at 6:33 PM,
"Two object have equal reflectivity in all wavelengths of the visible spectrum. However, one has a great intensity of light falling on it and the other none. Surely, if they have equal reflectivity in all wavelengths of the visible spectrum they must be the same colour?

M Courtney"

Do you turn green when the lights go out ?

Jun 6, 2016 at 8:19 PM | Unregistered CommenterRussell

Russell. If the object reflects all wavelenths of light equally, then when red light is shone it is red, with green light it becomes green. It has no intrinsic colour, it reflects what is shone onto it, it acts as a mirror. Furthermore if very low intensity light of any wavelength is shone, it shows no colour, only grey. This demonstrates that an object's colour is what our brains perceive it to be. If we see nothing, it has no colour.

Thus if you perceive M Courtney in the dark to be green with envy at your cleverness, then he will be.

Jun 7, 2016 at 11:23 AM | Unregistered CommenterAlan Kendall

"PC is an academic? In plant psychology, I presume?" --Capell

No, no. Plant parapsychology, of course.

Jan 16, 2017 at 11:48 PM | Unregistered Commenterjorgekafkazar

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