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Owen Paterson's GWPF lecture continues to make waves, with further supportive comment appearing today in the Times and the Telegraph.
Meanwhile, there's another attempt at a rebuttal, this time by Professor Gordon McKerron of Sussex University. The green blob has certainly been stamping its feet a great deal at Paterson stepping out of line, and who can blame them when their jobs and rents are on the line? However, as a reader points out to me by email, it's quite revealing to consider the areas of Paterson's speech that have not yet been attacked. This is, presumably, a partial list, formulated as direct quotes from Paterson's words:
The latest chapter in the saga of Peter Wadhams attempts to bully and threaten those who ridiculed his ridiculous Arctic ice predictions at a Royal Society meeting a few weeks ago has just been made public. Wadhams, it seems, has written to the meeting's organisers and to senior officials once again. Once again the response has been to make the good professor's missive public so that everyone can laugh at him. The letter is vastly enlivened by the annotations that have been added. I particularly enjoyed number 7, commenting on Wadhams assertion that the proper place for criticism of his work is in a scientific journal:
First Prof Wadhams cannot tell people where and how to debate science. Secondly the irony of Prof Wadhams using graphs from uncredited blog pages in his RS presentation and yet calling for discussion only in journals seems to have escaped him.
There is also a strong hint that Wadhams makes a habit of this sort of behaviour.
The Telegraph is reporting that the nuclear reactors at Heysham and Hartlepool that were taken offline because of cracking in their boilers are to stay out of commission for slightly longer than expected. However, more worryingly, when they do come back online they will not be running at full capacity.
The two twin-reactor plants at Heysham 1 and Hartlepool have been shut down since August amid safety fears following the discovery of cracks in one boiler structure at Heysham.
The ageing reactors are likely to be restarted in coming months at just 75pc-80pc of their usual output in order to prevent high temperatures causing further cracks, EDF said on Friday.
Both stations are in the 1GW capacity range, so we are looking at the loss of another 0.5GW of output, which could be as much as 1% of peak winter demand. Margins for winter 2015/16 were already expected to be as low as 2.5%.
I think National Grid are going to have to step up their efforts to get additional reserve capacity available.
The House of Lords Science and Technology Committee is taking a look at whether the UK's lights are going to go out in the next few years and has just published the written evidence. I don't hold out much hope for an inquiry headed by an advisor to Richard Black's ECIU, namely the Earl of Selborne, and the presence of Lord Willis of Climategate notoriety and Lord Rees of, erm, Climategate notoriety too, is hardly encouraging. Matt Ridley is the only member who might be expected to ask awkward questions.
I have skimmed the evidence and there are some quite interesting submissions, not least that of the Scientific Alliance, which got some headlines last week after they predicted huge increases in energy bills. I was also interested in comments (p. 26) by the City of London Corporation:
The City Corporation is concerned that a possible “black start” - where supply is suddenly unavailable across the whole of a network and needs to be restored - would severely affect the Square Mile and its ability to continue to operate as a business centre. We are also gravely concerned about the effect that such an event would have on London’s reputation.
There is too much for me to go through in detail. Do post anything interesting in the comments.
An energy policy that has the Hinkley Point C contract and off-shore wind as its two flagship achievements must eventually collapse under the weight of its own idiocy.
The capital markets consider energy policy after Paterson's speech.
Lord Deben and his team have issued a response to Owen Paterson's speech last night. There's plenty to take issue with. For example, readers will recall my amusement over their scientific travails over future rainfall, so it's fun to see that they are having similar problems with the temperature trends: they are touting a 0.05 degrees per decade rise as showing that surface temperatures have not stopped. Given that the error in the record appears to be considerably larger than 0.05 degrees in a single year, I think it's fair to say that the trend is indistinguishable from zero.
But perhaps of greater interest is the CCC's response to Paterson's central point, namely that we face a risk that the lights will go out. Here's what Lord D has come up with:
A a new Climate Dialogue has just begun, this time looking at the effects of the sun on the climate. Here's the introduction:
According to the latest IPCC report, AR5, the influence of the sun on our climate since pre-industrial times, in terms of radiative forcing, is very small compared to the effect of greenhouse gases.
According to some more skeptical scientists such a small solar influence is counterintuitive. The Little Ice Age, the period roughly from 1350 to 1850, in which winters on the Northern Hemisphere could be severe and glaciers advanced, coincided with the so-called Maunder Minimum, a period of supposedly low solar activity. In their eyes, the sun therefore still is a serious candidate to also explain a substantial part of the warming since pre-industrial times.
Updated on Oct 16, 2014 by Bishop Hill
I was away from my desk yesterday, as I headed south for Owen Paterson's GWPF lecture (full text here). The cat was already out of the bag as far as what was going to be said, but it was an interesting trip nevertheless, with plenty of networking opportunities and the chance to renew some old acquaintances.
I was intrigued to learn that Brendan Montague was lurking outside the venue beforehand, taking photographs of those who were attending and handing out leaflets. I arrived so early that I didn't see this myself, but it did mean that everyone had an inkling of what Paterson was talking about when he referred to "bullying" by the green blob.
It has been observed many times in the past that there are many aspects of the global warming debate that reasonable people should be able to agree on: carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas, the temperature has gone up a bit, that sort of thing.
I think we can now add to the list the idea that Naomi Oreskes and Erik Conway are a few cherries short of the full Bakewell, right down there with Peter Wadhams as representatives of the full-on-bonkers wing of the green scientivist academy. I say this after reading a review of their latest opus by Martin Lewis, a confirmed global warming believer. Here's an excerpt:
A new paper in PNAS has been getting quite a bit of media play today, which is slightly surprising because the overall theme is "it's better than we thought". The original paper is here and there is a rather helpful "Significance" section alongside the abstract.
Understanding and accurately predicting how global terrestrial primary production responds to rising atmospheric CO2 concentrations is a prerequisite for reliably assessing the long-term climate impact of anthropogenic fossil CO2 emissions. Here we demonstrate that current carbon cycle models underestimate the long-term responsiveness of global terrestrial productivity to CO2 fertilization. This underestimation of CO2 fertilization is caused by an inherent model structural deficiency related to lack of explicit representation of CO2 diffusion inside leaves, which results in an overestimation of CO2 available at the carboxylation site. The magnitude of CO2 fertilization underestimation matches the long-term positive growth bias in the historical atmospheric CO2 predicted by Earth system models. Our study will lead to improved understanding and modeling of carbon–climate feedbacks.
The green blob has, after a short pause, issued its response to the news that Owen Paterson is about to issue a call for the Climate Change Act to be scrapped. In an article in the Guardian, Adam Vaughan has been around the usual suspects and has got the usual responses.
Bryony Worthington, for example says that Paterson's ideas are "bonkers", a position she reinforces with her normal battery of pseudoscience.
At the current time, when all the evidence is that climate change is getting worse and we need urgent action, I can’t see any desire to repeal this act. It’s the desire of a small group of fanatics who don’t even know what the act does.
She is clearly a "pause denialist" it seems.
The Royal Society is to hold a meeting on climate feedbacks at the start of December:
The response of Earth’s climate system to a perturbation depends on the sign and strength of several feedback processes. This meeting will present critical assessments of major feedbacks, including those (such as ice sheets and the carbon cycle) operating over long timescales. For each, their role in past and present climate change, and their expected future effects will be discussed.
Details here, including a detailed programme.
I have a computer model, which I use for predicting the weather. The algorithm is fairly straightforward and goes something like this:
It will rain tomorrow.
(Round where I live that's likely to be a pretty effective prediction.)
Anyway, if I run my computer model repeatedly, I find that 100% of the runs give the same result - "It will rain tomorrow". I conclude, therefore, that we can say with 100% confidence that it will rain tomorrow.
The Governor of the Bank of England, Mark Carney first came to the attention of BH readers when, at the time of his appointment, it was noted that his wife Diana was (and is) a fervent supporter of the green movement (and redistribution as well as being against conspicuous consumption).
It's therefore interesting to read today that Mr Carney has told a World Bank seminar that fossil fuels must remain unused:
Mark Carney has re-emphasised his support for the idea that oil companies’ reserves could be stranded assets – still valued by investors, but ultimately going to embody losses. “The vast majority of reserves are unburnable,” the Bank of England governor said – if the world is to avoid catastrophic climate change. Thinking of hydrocarbon deposits as stranded assets has gained prominence in recent years, helped by movements like the US student drive to persuade university endowments to disinvest from fossil fuel companies. Apparently Mr Carney wants companies to report more holistically on their business strategy and "how it relates to stakeholders of all kinds, now and in the future...[so that] all groups can express their view, and influence the allocation of capital and credit today". Given Mrs Carney's views on equality, and Mr Carney's views on outsiders giving their opinions on allocation of private assets, could the Carney family please allocate some of their (considerable) capital to mine?
Mark Carney has re-emphasised his support for the idea that oil companies’ reserves could be stranded assets – still valued by investors, but ultimately going to embody losses.
“The vast majority of reserves are unburnable,” the Bank of England governor said – if the world is to avoid catastrophic climate change.
Thinking of hydrocarbon deposits as stranded assets has gained prominence in recent years, helped by movements like the US student drive to persuade university endowments to disinvest from fossil fuel companies.
Apparently Mr Carney wants companies to report more holistically on their business strategy and "how it relates to stakeholders of all kinds, now and in the future...[so that] all groups can express their view, and influence the allocation of capital and credit today".
Given Mrs Carney's views on equality, and Mr Carney's views on outsiders giving their opinions on allocation of private assets, could the Carney family please allocate some of their (considerable) capital to mine?