Buy

Books
Click images for more details

Twitter
Support

 

Recent comments
Recent posts
Currently discussing
Links

A few sites I've stumbled across recently....

Powered by Squarespace
Friday
Jan292016

FoE to get its comeuppance?

Things may be about to get a bit more tricky for the doughty campaigners at Friends of the Earth. According to the Times' Ben Webster, the Charities Commissioners have taken a dim view of an FoE leaflet that claimed that silica - that's sand to you or me - used in fracking fluid was a known carcinogen.

They were only able to get away with this by claiming that the claims were made by their wholly owned subsidiary FoE Limited, which is not bound by laws about fundraising by deception. 

It's anyone's guess what the Commission is going to do about it. They could crack down on campaigning by charities or they could make the subsidiaries abide by the same rules as their parent charities. Everyone is going to watch with interest, including GWPF, who now have their own campaigning arm, albeit one that operates by much better ethical standards than FoE.

 

Friday
Jan292016

Another one to bite the dust

Well if you are supposed to live in interesting times then it looks as though the next few winters could border on completely fascinating. I say this because of the news last night that SSE are thinking of shutting down another conventional power station.

Energy giant SSE is considering shutting its Fiddler's Ferry coal-fired power plant early, threatening to blow a hole in the Government’s plans to keep the lights on, the Telegraph has learnt.

The 2GW power plant in Cheshire produces enough electricity to power two million homes and in 2014 secured a subsidy contract with the Government to guarantee three of the plant’s four units would be available to generate in 2018-19.

Is it to early to describe the capacity market as an unmitigated disaster?

Thursday
Jan282016

Behind the scenes at the Guardian

Many thanks to reader Stewgreen for pointing me to this fascinating look behind the scenes at the Guardian...

Thursday
Jan282016

It pays not to be green

The latest opinion polls seem to show that greenery is slipping right off the political agenda. In fact there may even be a correlation between the direction of a party's poll ratings movement and the strength of its eco-urge.

The Greens and the LibDems are going hand-in-hand over the precipice, while Labour is hanging on by its fingertips. Meanwhile uber-baddies UKIP are on the up, as are the Conservatives, now that they are stepping back from the ecobrink.

Watch and enjoy.

Thursday
Jan282016

Misson possible?

Just days after getting planning permission to drill 12 monitoring boreholes at its prospective shale pad in Misson, Nottinghamshire, IGas have started installing equipment.

Separate planning applications would be required to drill a well and again to frack it, so it's fair to say that there is a long road ahead.

Wednesday
Jan272016

A haszelnut in every bite

As I think I've mentioned before, I now  assume that most gongs are handed out to people, not for public service, but for "going the extra mile" in the furtherance of a cause dear to ministers' hearts. I was reminded of this when I read James Verdon's devastating take down of an article by our old friend Stuart Haszeldine OBE, professor of carbon capture and storage at the University of Edinburgh.

I first came across the good professor when I appeared at a Spectator debate on windfarms, and he spent a section of his talk bad-mouthing The Hockey Stick Illusion, before admitting that he hadn't actually read it. I'm therefore always on the lookout for his latest utterances. Earlier this week, he and colleagues from his group at Edinburgh wrote an article for the Energy and Carbon blog about waste water disposal in the oil and gas industry, with a particular focus shale gas fields. Unconventional oil and gas is not obviously where their expertise lies, and so one might have expected a few errors to have crept in to their text, but as James Verdon points out in his response, the level of incorrectness is...a bit of a worry.

Click to read more ...

Tuesday
Jan262016

A not-so-cunning plan

Just as the coalbed methane industry in Scotland looked as though it was going to become viable the SNP administration in Holyrood moved with considerable speed to kill it off. Shale gas looks as though it has gone the same way. 

Now, these same bright sparks have decided that the way forward is to set up some "schemes" for the offshore oil and gas industry, while calling on Westminster to deliver taxcuts. None of this will help an industry in which production costs are too high for the current marketplace. 

So to summarise, the SNP's strategy is to throw tidbits to the parts of the Scottish oil and gas industry that are not cost competitive and to close the bits that might just be able to spin a profit.

I have to say, I'm slightly unconvinced that this is going to work.

Tuesday
Jan262016

Hunky dory

The Institute of Mechanical Engineers has a report out today which looks at the UK's energy situation. It seems that we have a bit of a crisis ahead.

The loss of coal by 2025, along with growth in demand and the closure of the majority of our nuclear power stations will therefore be significant, leaving a potential supply gap of 40%–55%, depending on wind levels.

To bridge this gap, the Institute sees no option but new gas=fired power stations and UK shale gas. As they explain though, there are some slight problems with this strategy. If there is no increase in demand then we are only (only!) going to need 30 new CCGT power stations. Unfortunately we don't enough skilled people to build them. And demand actually looks set to go up. And the greens are going to prevent UK shale going ahead. 

Apart from that it's all hunky dory.

Tuesday
Jan262016

Crooked briefs

Yesterday a magistrate handed down a guilty verdict to the loons from the Plane Stupid group who went airside at Heathrow airport last year and disrupted operations for several hours. A jail sentence is, apparently, "almost inevitable". Many of the perps seem to have form for this sort of thing. Kara Moses, for example, has previous form relating to fracking and Didcot power station; Sheila Menon was involved at Balcombe.

Perhaps the most interesting one though is Melanie Strickland, who turns out to be a solicitor and author for the Law Society Gazette. 

Can't she be struck off for this kind of thing?

Monday
Jan252016

How is this not fraud?

I'm not a great one for shouting fraud, but I can't see that there is any other conclusion that one can draw.

Somebody on Kickstarter is trying to raise funds for a film about Kiribati, the coral atoll that all BH readers know is not getting smaller

Yet the promoters of this film are saying this (click for larger):

That to me looks distinctly like a false statement being used to raise money. A fraud, in other words.

Monday
Jan252016

Recollections of Bob Carter

This is a guest post by Professor David Henderson.

I became involved with climate change issues, entirely by accident, at the end of 2002. A year or so after this event, as my acquaintance with the subject broadened, I became aware of Bob Carter’s writings, and I was impressed. I marked him down as an author to be followed.

It was not until 2006 that we met, through an initiative on my part. At the end of 2005 the Stern Review was published. I felt that it deserved a comprehensive critique, and so far as the economic aspects were concerned a team of potential authors was already to hand. Well before the Review appeared, Sir Nicholas Stern (as he then was) had given a public lecture the text of which was published (together with an annex on climate science). I put together a team of nine economists, and we published in the journal World Economics (June 2006} a short critical article entitled ‘Climate Change: The Stern Review “Oxonia Papers”’.  Alongside our piece there also appeared a reply by Stern.

Click to read more ...

Monday
Jan252016

A "substantial" error in GISS Model E

Over the weekend Nic Lewis posted a brief update to his latest posting on the Marvel et al paper. In it, he described something he had unearthed in a paper by Chandler et al. I've reproduced it here.

I have just discovered (from Chandler et al 2013) that there was an error in the ocean model in the version of GISS-E2-R used to run the CMIP5 simulations. The single forcing simulations were part of the CMIP5 design, although it is possible that some or all of them were run after the correction was implemented.

Chandler et al write:

Click to read more ...

Friday
Jan222016

Probable cause - Josh 358

Where does one start with a topic like "The Hottest Year Evah"? Probably with a climate expert - happily we have one right here

Cartoons by Josh

Friday
Jan222016

The daft and the non-daft climate model runs

Nic Lewis has published another fascinating article about the Marvel et al paper over at Climate Audit. I was particularly taken by the discussion of the GCM runs that lay behind Marvel et al's assessment of the effect of land-use changes.

In essence, the authors did five runs of the model, with only land-use forcing changes. This tends to produce a cooling, and four of the runs gave similar results, with their average looking like this:

But one looked entirely different; like this:

Click to read more ...

Friday
Jan222016

What's up with El Reg?

A few days back The Conversation published a moderately dull article about paleoclimate, written by a couple of postdocs at Bristol. Its title kind of gave the game away up front:

The last time Earth was this hot hippos lived in Britain (that’s 130,000 years ago)

This introduced a temperature reconstruction that had been bodged together by an author at Wikimedia. It all seemed fairly pitiful to me, and hardly worth the bother, although I wondered for a time about whether I could get an easy laugh by noting that the authors had cited approvingly Michael Mann's 2008 carcrash paper:

Click to read more ...