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Monday
Nov172014

Green disinformation: worse than we thought

The other day, I mentioned a report by a pair of NGOs on the subject of fossil fuel subsidies, noting that the usual suspects in the mainstream media had failed to mention that in the UK oil companies are subject to a supertax on top of the Corporation Tax to which all companies in the country are subject.

It now seems that the report was even more misleading than we thought.

The report by Oil Change International is a complete distortion of facts. The authors have described as “subsidies” normal deductions of expenses and capital costs from revenues for calculation of taxable income. These are procedures which are followed in all fiscal systems in all countries for all forms of business and investment endeavors. Under normal definitions of “subsidy” the United States has no subsidies for the oil and gas industry which is why Obama has taken no steps to reduce them.

I wonder if Roger Harrabin is going to investigate?

Monday
Nov172014

Why does Lord Deben misreport the science of extreme weather?

Updated on Nov 17, 2014 by Registered CommenterBishop Hill

The appointment of Lord Deben as the government's chief adviser on climate change matters was always something of a nonsense. As somebody who knows little or nothing of science, let alone climatology, his appointment was always more about sending out messages to target voters than the provision of meaningful or useful information. As if to underline the point, the noble lord has sent out a tweet today on the subject of extreme weather:

Pity it takes American to tell truth about Australia. Climate change makes extreme weather worse & is a cause.

Click to read more ...

Monday
Nov172014

Energiesuspende

GWPF have some pretty amazing news from Germany. It seems that the powers that be in Berlin have finally recognised that their energy policies are a busted flush. If the story in Der Spiegel is correct then the country is going to cancel its decarbonisation targets forthwith.

Saturday
Nov152014

Climate change and the left

This comment on why the left has fallen head over heels in love with global warming ideology was left on the discussion board by Lord Donoughue. I thought it worth of promotion to a full post.

The issue of why the political left is overwhelmingly supportive of the climate change alarmist ideology/faith, and hence there are relatively few left wing sceptics, is quite complex and would take more space and time than I intend to impose on you here. But may I, as a lifelong Labour supporter, offer a couple of broad observations. They are by no means comprehensive and omit many nuances. But they are major general factors which I have observed in the party for 61 years, and in Parliament for almost 30 years.

Click to read more ...

Saturday
Nov152014

Anonymity in the ivory tower

Times Higher Education has an interesting article that touches on several subjects much beloved of the BH community, including post-publication peer review and anonymous commenters.

Moriarty concedes that having to reveal their identities even to a moderator could put off vulnerable early career researchers, and he suspects that PubPeer’s popularity – in contrast to some previous experiments in post-publication review – is down to the possibility of anonymity. But he suggests that finding a way to make comments citeable – and, hence, count towards scientific prestige – might warm up some cold young feet.

 

Saturday
Nov152014

Diary date, charade edition

The House of Lords Science and Technology Committee is going to take evidence on an inquiry into the cost of renewable energy next week. As usual the witnesses are largely going to be delivering the message that Parliamentarians want to hear, namely that everything is fine and dandy with renewables. This is, however, one of those racy occasions on which they allow someone who is a critic to show their face and so Gordon Hughes is to appear as well. As is normal on these occasions they make sure that the critic appears opposite plenty of people likely to take the opposite view, so on the same panel there is Richard Green, who wrote a rebuttal to Hughes' paper on the decline of wind turbine performance over time and the head of the Renewable Energy Association.

Witnesses

Tuesday 18 November, Committee Room 4A, Palace of Westminster

At 10.40am:

  • Dr Nina Skorupska, CEO, Renewable Energy Association;
  • Professor Richard Green, Professor of Sustainable Energy Business, Imperial College London; and
  • Professor Gordon Hughes, Professor of Economics, University of Edinburgh

At 11.40am:

  • Professor Jon Gibbins, Professor of Power Plant Engineering and Carbon Capture, University of Edinburgh;
  • Dr Keith MacLean, Honorary Fellow of Energy Policy, University of Exeter; and
  • Professor William Nuttall, Professor of Energy, Open University

More details here.

Friday
Nov142014

Diary dates, navel gazing edition

The Guardian has organised one of those Guardianesque events at which they get a lot of greens together to discuss how green things should be:

Are the media contributing to the problem of climate change through apocalyptic stories, or by giving equal airtime to sceptics despite the scientific consensus? Could better reporting help us feel less hopeless and helpless?

  • Anne Karpf is Reader at London Metropolitan University and a freelance journalist

  • John Vidal is environment editor of The Guardian

  • James Painter, of the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism in Oxford, is author of 'Climate Change and the Media'

  • Sally Weintrobe is a psychoanalyst and editor of 'Engaging with Climate Change'.

 It's on the 18th November in London. Details here.

 

Friday
Nov142014

The cost of greenery

In a footnote to the government's energy prices report the other day, was a link to something rather important: the fossil fuel price assumptions that the government uses. These were published back in September, but it's fair to say they are a long way out of date already.

  • The 2014 prices for oil were given as (low, medium, high) $: 90.0 105.0 120.0 while the current price for oil is actually $80 (Brent crude).
  • The 2014 prices for gas in pence per therm were: 47.5 55.8 64. Although not quite so bad as oil, these are not looking particularly clever against the current price of 51 pence per therm.

Click to read more ...

Thursday
Nov132014

Quote of the day, rake's progress edition

Rumor has it that the Earl of Deben, the most notorious rake in London and in need of an heir, has set aside his penchant for married mistresses and turned his skilled hand to seducing innocents!

But if Lord Deben expects Henrietta Gibson to respond to the click of his fingers he can think again. For she knows perfectly well why she should avoid gentlemen of his bad repute:

1. One touch of his lips and he'll ruin her for every other man.

2. One glide of his skillful fingers to the neckline of her dress will leave her molten in his arms.

3. And if even one in a thousand rumors is true, it's enough for her to know she can never, ever trust a rake….

From the blurb to Never Trust a Rake, by Annie Burrows

Golly. He doesn't look the type to me.

Thursday
Nov132014

A worrying tendency in Mark Lynas's work

Last week Mark Lynas accused Matt Ridley of climate denial. This appears to have been an allegation that popped unannounced into Lynas's head and found its way from there to his blog post without even a thought, let alone a cursory attempt at checking to see whether it was true or not. Shortly afterwards, Lynas was forced to retract the allegation and apologise.

And just in case anyone should think that this was just ignorance about the climate debate on Lynas's part, readers should be aware that he has known what a lukewarmer is for a long time.

Click to read more ...

Thursday
Nov132014

Deben admits the pause

Readers may recall that when Matt Ridley mentioned the IPCC's recognition of the hiatus in surface temperature rises, Lord Deben responded by issuing a rebuttal on the website of the Committee on Climate Change in which he disputed that there was a pause. It was only a slowdown, he said:

IPCC has always showed and discussed charts of up-to-date global annual average temperature records. In 2007, at the time of the IPCC’s last assessment, discussion of a pause since 1998 would have been irrelevant as this is much too short a period to measure any meaningful climate trend. In the latest assessment, it notes that the trend since 1998 has been lower, but still cautions against interpreting this as being significant in terms of climate.

Now it seems, the noble Lord has finally had to back down, sneaking what I believe is his first public recognition of the pause into a column (£) he has written for the Times.

The hiatus in surface temperature rise is real, but misleading. Warming and acidification of the ocean continues; so does the rise in sea levels and the melting of mountain glaciers.

A slow learner, it seems.

Thursday
Nov132014

The EU dispenses with its CSA

The European Union has decided that it is going to abolish the role of chief scientific adviser. The usual suspects are outraged but in reality I can't see why this should be a problem for policymakers. There is no particular reason why the advice of a cell biologist like Anne Glover - the last incumbent of the role at the EU - should be important in the debate over, say, climate change. Many readers of this blog could lay claim to as much or more expertise than the good professor, brilliant individual though she may be in her own field.

Moreover, much of the demand for CSAs in government is driven by a wish to keep pressure on policymakers to fund science and scientists. CSAs end up as public-funded shop stewards, a shameful thing.

If policymakers want advice on particular subjects, let them go to experts in the area concerned.

Thursday
Nov132014

The murky past of the German greens

Pierre Gosselin points us to an appalling story about the German Green party:

The Green Party on Wednesday apologized to victims of sexual abuse for its support of paedophilic groups in the 1980s.

"We deeply regret these events that are included in our early party history," Green co-president Simone Peter said at the presentation of a report on the party's past.

An election platform from the Alternative Green Initiative List (AGIL), the Green party's predecessor, took on the interests of paedophiles by suggesting that sex with minors should be decriminalised, providing the sex was free from violence or the threat of violence.

I'll leave the comments open, but please watch your step if you do contribute. I will be moderating tightly.

Wednesday
Nov122014

Public relations, not research

The UK Energy Research Centre - a proud member of the green blob, and a taxpayer funded one to boot - has launched a pair of reports into shale gas today, with a big bash to be held at the Royal Institution. As far as I can see the reports themselves have not been made public, and everybody is reporting the press release. This is usually a sure sign that something dicky is going on.

The headline is that shale gas development in the UK will not make a difference to prices. I assume this meanst that they are just channelling previous reports on the subject, but without the reports it's hard to say. I very much get the impression this is PR rather than research.

Tuesday
Nov112014

Cartoons by Josh Calendar 2015

There's been no pause in Climate Science entertainment this year so remind yourself all through 2015 with a 'Cartoons by Josh Calendar'. It is the best blogging present you can buy anyone this Christmas and at £14.50 a copy it's a bargain!

You can pre-order here and the Calendar will be available, I hope, in the next couple of weeks.

Cartoons by Josh