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Monday
Dec152014

Ross McKitrick succeeds Henderson

GWPF have announced that Ross McKitrick is to take over from David Henderson as chairman of the GWPF Academic Advisory Council.

Dr McKitrick is Professor of Economics at the University of Guelph, Canada, specialising in environmental economics, and has been a foundation member of the Council since November 2009. He succeeds Professor David Henderson, who has held the chairmanship with great distinction since its inception in 2009. Professor Henderson is stepping down from the chairmanship at his own request, but will remain an active member of the Council. Nigel Lawson, Chairman of the Global Warming Policy Foundation, said:

“I am extremely grateful to David, whose contribution to the work of the AAC and the success of the GWPF over the past five years has been immeasurable”.

Monday
Dec152014

BH endorsed by Skeptical Science

Barry Woods points me to this Skeptical Science thread (reproduced at Brandon's site), in which yours truly is discussed.

Dana: The Bishop Hill crowd is interesting. A few reasonably intelligent commenters. Several who attack John, SkS, and myself. Bishop Hill has now twice asked people to stay on topic.

John Cook: Thanks Dana for stepping in - deflected some of the hate :-)

I don't read the site (apart from posts where he criticises SkS) but my impression is he's a pretty reasonable, civil guy. His critiques of SkS were all civil and some of the criticisms were reasonable. What's his story?

Click to read more ...

Monday
Dec152014

Celebrating Hurst

Readers may be interested in this presentation by Cohn, Lins, Koutsoyiannis and Montanari about the life and work of Harold Hurst, the scientist who discovered the phenomenon of long-term persistence (LTP) while examining records of the flooding of the Nile. The presentation seems to date from the end of last year.

Many of you will know that LTP is pervasive in geoscience datasets, so you will no doubt be amused by this bit about the IPCC's consideration of the phenomenon:

...the SPM does not mention LTP, although it speaks about the internal climate variability, e.g.: “Internal variability will continue to be a major influence on climate, particularly in the near-term and at the regional scale.”

Click to read more ...

Monday
Dec152014

The ice holds up

Perhaps it's because it's the season of goodwill. Or perhaps because Greenpeace's vandalism of the Nazca lines has put Corporation noses out of joint. Whatever the reason, the BBC's decision to highlight the recovery in Arctic sea ice levels in the last few years represents a rare excursion out of its "OMG we're all about to fry" comfort zone.

Yes, the sea ice is going to disappear, we are told, but on much longer timescales than previously advised.

While global warming seems to have set the polar north on a path to floe-free summers, the latest data from Europe's Cryosat mission suggests it may take a while yet to reach those conditions.

The spacecraft observed 7,500 cu km of ice cover in October when the Arctic traditionally starts its post-summer freeze-up.

This was only slightly down on 2013 when 8,800 cu km were recorded.

Two cool summers in a row have now allowed the pack to increase and then hold on to a good deal of its volume.

Thursday
Dec112014

Climate elevations - Josh 304

 

There's an excellent post over at Climate Audit on Sheep Mountain, mentioned here too.

Regular readers will recognise the familiar outline of the landscape (in the IPCC's First Assessment Report) and there's a great 2009 post to fill in the details at WUWT

Cartoons by Josh

H/t Messenger for the helpful comma

Thursday
Dec112014

A prices and income policy

Douglas Carswell, fresh from his defection from the Conservatives to UKIP, recently won time to debate energy costs in Parliament yesterday. The transcript is here. It's not terribly exciting, but there was one rather delicious moment where the minister, Matthew Hancock felt obliged to respond to Carwell's taunts about Conservative policy on energy, namely that it was a "prices and incomes" policy:

...a prices and incomes policy for energy in 2015 will no more work than a prices and incomes policy has worked for anything in the past. Prices and incomes policies do not work.

As Hancock put it

By switching from a regime in which...subsidy is given out to whatever renewable technology was brought forward to a regime in which a controlled pot of subsidy is auctioned to ensure that we get the best possible value for money, we have made a change towards a market-oriented system.

So it's still a prices and income policy, but a different one.

Thursday
Dec112014

Hide the incline

The Royal Society has issued a new guide called A Short Guide to Climate Science, the latest in a long series of publications, beginning with Bob Ward's magnum opus, Facts and Fictions About Climate Change, that attempt to guide the public away from any awkward questions on the subject of global warming. It's a slim tome - just 8 pages long - but the Royal has managed to pack a great deal of public relations effort into it.

As one would expect, there is barely a caveat in sight, with the credibility of the models not mentioned at all and all kinds of tricks on display. For example, the "2000s were warmer than 1990s" line is dusted off and given an airing once again, as if this somehow contradicted the pause. The rise in Antarctic sea ice is tiptoed round in brilliant fashion, with an insinuation that scientists understand why their models are wrong in this area. I was also amused to see the dry areas becoming drier thing being aired again. I thought this had been thoroughly debunked?

Click to read more ...

Wednesday
Dec102014

Betts off

Richard Betts has kicked off a small Twitter kerfuffle today, taking umbrage at Matt Ridley's Times piece yesterday.

Matt has responded on his own blog today and I'm taking the liberty of reproducing his comment here.

After this article was published an extraordinary series of tweets appeared under the name of Richard Betts, a scientist at the UK Met Office and somebody who is normally polite even when critical. He called me “paranoid and rude” and made a series of assertions about what I had written that were either inaccurate or stretched interpretations to say the least. He then advanced the doctrine that politicians should not criticize civil servants. The particular sentence he objected to was:

Click to read more ...

Wednesday
Dec102014

Greens in sight - Josh 303

 

Kevin Anderson, Prof of Energy & Climate Change in Manchester and recently Director of the Tyndall Centre, can be seen being questioned by The House of Lords Science and Technology Committee in the video posted below. Fun to watch.

Cartoons by Josh

Wednesday
Dec102014

Significance doing the rounds

I'd like to commend to readers a couple of postings on the subject of statistical significance in the temperature records.

Last week a little visited website called Real Climate had an article by climatologist Stefan Rahmstorf, which addressed many of the issues discussed here in recent months. What I found interesting was that there was a measure of agreement:

...the confidence intervals (and claims of statistical significance) do not tell us whether a real warming has taken place, rather they tell us whether the warming that has taken place is outside of what might have happened by chance.

Click to read more ...

Tuesday
Dec092014

Their lordships bestir themselves

The House of Lords Science and Technology Committee were taking evidence on the subject of the resilience of the electricity grid, hearing from Kevin Anderson among others.

Some of the exchanges seemed rather significant to me.

At around 10:44 Anderson suggested that future temperature rises could increase demand for airconditioning, producing a doubling of the load on the grid. Demand from electric cars could produce a similar increase and demand for heat would produce the same increase again.

This was all heard in respectful silence by their lordships, but then at 11:00 Matt Ridley asked a simple question that seemed to launch something of a rebellion by the committee, who did the absolutely unthinkable and started challenging the good professor. Who didn't seem to like it.

I can't remember such a hostile reception for a green in Parliament before.

Tuesday
Dec092014

Systematic deception

Friends of the Earth Scotland are at it again (or should that be "still"), issuing a letter to Fife Council about the possibility of unconventional fossil fuels being extracted in the county.

Here are a few of the highlights:

There is also alarming evidence about the potentially devastating public health impacts for communities living in and near gas fields. Communities living near gas fields in Australia complain of respiratory problems, rashes and irritated eyes.iv An investigation by a concerned GP in early 2013 of 38 households in close proximity to coal seam gas wells in Tara, Queensland, found that 58% of residents reported definite adverse health effects related to gas drilling and a further 19% were uncertain.v Symptoms include breathing difficulties, rashes, joint and muscle pains, nausea and vomiting, and spontaneous nosebleeds.

Click to read more ...

Tuesday
Dec092014

Windfarm boss funds antifracking challenge

Via commenter Tomo, we learn that windfarm millionaire Dale Vince was funding Frack-free Balcombe's application for judicial review of West Sussex County Council's decision to grant planning permission to Cuadrilla.

Great news – we now have all the money we need for our judicial review. Last week we explained how we needed to have £10,000 available in the event of our losing the judicial review and having to pay WSCC’s costs. Ecotricity has kindly stepped forward and sent us £10,000. FFBRA will hold this in our bank account ring fenced to either return in the event we win our judicial review or to use to pay any costs awarded against us if we lose. This is tremendous news.

Click to read more ...

Tuesday
Dec092014

Science or public relations?

I was amused by this new paper out of the Met Office which describes a computer model study of the likelihood of future heatwaves. The title reads like something out of the Daily Mirror rather than a learned scientific paper:

Dramatically increasing chance of extremely hot summers since the 2003 European heatwave

The abstract that follows is equally odd. Take the first sentence:

Socio-economic stress from the unequivocal warming of the global climate system could be mostly felt by societies through weather and climate extremes.

Click to read more ...

Monday
Dec082014

Judge: rule of law challenged by greens

The tactics of the less reputable members of the environmental fraternity has long been to prevent any sort of industrial activity by making the cost of policing their protests so high as to wear public opinion into submission. One has to say that this approach has not been entirely unsuccessful.

It was interesting then to see the comments of Mr Justice Gilbart in rejecting FrackFree Balcombe's application for judicial review of West Sussex Council's decision to allow planning permission to the Cuadrilla project. There is a BBC report of the hearing here, but strangely the news of its rejection doesn't seem to have made the cut.

Click to read more ...