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Ill wind

Updated 3.15pm 17.7.14.

Here's some encouraging news (except for the installers and the subsidy farmers). TM.

[Two posts amalgamated in error. Last paragraph of this one now deleted. TM.] 



"A paltry $250"

Is this justice? Who can explain why Mann's emails need not be released by the University of Virginia, but those of Pat Michaels could be? Does the size of the award make any difference to the principle?


Renewable optimism

Hope springs eternal in Bloomberg's breast over the future of renewables, but how accurate is their forecast? Ten years to stop "global Co2 emissions? And what cost reductions might there be- removing the extravagant subsidies?

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Doom-laden Deben

The latest report of the actions of the Committee on Climate Change has been published today. This is how it finishes....

Lord Deben, Chairman of the Committee on Climate Change, said: “Climate Change demands urgent action. We have started on the road and we are being joined by much of the rest of the world. However, despite our success, the UK is still not on track to meet our statutory commitment to cut emissions by 80 per cent. The longer we leave it, the costlier it becomes. This report shows the best and most cost-effective ways to ensure we meet our targets. There is no time to lose.”

It is all going really well, except for the parts that aren't.

Today's Moderator.


BH favourites in the Lords

BH regular Ed Hawkins and commenters' favourite Chris Rapley are appearing in the House of Lords today, addressing the Arctic Committee. Also appearing is oceanographer Ed Bacon.

The session starts at 10:30 if anyone fancies adding a comment telling us if it's worth a look (no video link at time of writing, but it should be easy enough to find on the day). Given Rapley's deep green credentials, it could be fun.


Should we take the Grantham Institutes seriously?

Steve McIntyre has dipped his toe into the murky waters of the ongoing furore about the Lawson/Hoskins interview and the BBC's decision that Lawson's position on last winter's floods was not (allegedly) supported by the scientific evidence. Amusingly, McIntyre finds that Lawson's views on the UK floods is entirely supported by Hoskins' prior statements on the subject.

In respect to the linkage between the floods and global warming, [BBC editorial complaints guy] Fraser Steel’s views are unequivocally wrong. Even IPCC – surely the most fervent advocate of climate models imaginable – stated that GCMs did not provide useful information on precipitation extremes (and, a fortiori, floods)...

The conclusion is clear:

If Hoskins and the Grantham institutes want to persuade more people of the seriousness of the issues, Hoskins’ obligation is to do a better job, rather than have Lawson silenced by a Grantham apparatchik. I think that Hoskins should write to the BBC Complaints Unit, separating himself from Ward’s complaint and, at a minimum, conceding that Lawson’s position on the (lack of) linkage of floods and global warming is either correct or one that can be reasonably argued.

It is, of course, vanishingly unlikely that Hoskins would do anything so gracious. Hoskins was the go-to person for the University of East Anglia when the Royal Society laundered the list of articles for the Oxburgh inquiry: although Hoskins himself had no informed knowledge of the literature, he immediately endorsed the UEA. Later, he acted as a supporting authority for refusing FOI requests.


Soft on greens, soft on greenery

Paul Homewood points us to this incredibly soft BBC interview with Al Gore, who is in Australia promoting his pet climate project. The powers that be at the corporation seem to have decided that they want to put their considerable weight behind Mr Gore's campaign and interviewer Paul Donnison is right on message, apparently viewing his role as providing the maximum PR opportunity for Mr Gore:  most questions are along the lines of "are your opponents dishonest or irresponsible" and there is litte by way of challenge to the great man.

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Expert commission

I'm back at my desk for a couple of days...

The Scottish Government has published the findings of an expert commission into how the energy market north of the border would work post-independence. Unlikely as that result might seem at the present time, the report makes for amusing reading.

The commission itself seems to be one of those bodies like the Russell or Stern reviews that was put together to lend credence to a pre-ordained result. If you take a look at the panel members you can see what I mean:

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Things to come by Fenbeagle

Another brilliant cartoon extravaganza by Fenbeagle Posted by Josh

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Thought for the day, Stern edition

If the BBC thinks that non-mainstream or non-expert views need to be flagged as such, will Lord Stern's future appearances on the airwaves be so caveated? Will his funding by the Mr Grantham warrant a mention?

Somehow I think not.


Destroying DECC

Some wags in the Conservative party have presented a private members bill to abolish DECC.

Mr Peter Bone, supported by Mr Christopher Chope, Mr Philip Hollobone, David T. C. Davies, Mr Graham Brady, Mr Aidan Burley, Mr Stewart Jackson and Philip Davies, presented a Bill to make provision for the abolition of the Department of Energy and Climate Change and for its functions to be absorbed into the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills.

It's fun, but of course it's more a case of shuffling the deckchairs than anything else. Ed Davey would still be a madman if he worked out of BIS.


Quote of the day, alarm edition

Every profession has its bad apples, but most try to discipline them. The Royal Society purports to oversee British science, but where is it when its members clearly cross the boundary between dispassionate research and commercial interest? The truth is that the one disease to which there is no known antidote is panic. It is a disease that politicians and professionals (including journalists) have a vested interest in propagating.

Simon Jenkins considers alarmism in science


Light blogging

I'm off on my travels today, so blogging will be light for a few weeks. I may be able to check in once or twice and Josh and Messenger are going to mind the fort in my absence and post links to topical stories if they get the chance.

In the meantime you could do much worse than taking a look at Richard North's must-read review of the EU's recent publication of grants to outside organisations.

The database is a goldmine of information, telling us, for instance, that the EU paid the BBC €6,100,987 last year, Friends of the Earth (in all its incarnations) €4,188,230, WWF €5,344,641 and the RSPB €3,802,544. What is also of very great interest is that the EU subsidised UN institutions to the tune of nearly €140 million.


The little green book

There are those on the internet who take me to task from time to time for having the temerity to mention James Delingpole in approving tones. I should not ever discuss James it seems, because that makes me a bad person.

Being someone of broadly classical liberal views I am used to being considered a bad person by those of a more authoritarian worldview - socialists, environmentalists, BBC interviewers and the like - so I can't say this bothers me very much. That being the case, here is the latest illicit mention of the great man.

James sent me The Little Green Book of Ecofascism many months ago and I promised that I would write a review of it. After an unforgiveably long delay I have finally managed to take a read and it's great fun. Perfect to take to the beach in fact.

It's a sort of a devil's dictionary of the green movement, covering everything from the spotted owl (if it didn't exist the evironmental movement would have had to invent it) to Sir David King (whose qualifications apparently make him no more expert on climate science than if he'd read media studies) to clean energy (for which we should read "expensive, environmentally destructive, heavily taxpayer subsidised, and fuel poverty generating"). You get the drift.

It's knockabout stuff of course, but James rarely gets credit for the research he puts into his work and underneath all the entertainment and banter there is much to inform and educate too. This is perhaps unsurprising because, as James is happy to inform us, his qualifications in climate science are the equal of those sported by Prince Charles, David Attenborough and Paul Nurse. So we can appreciate little digressions into statistics, radiative physics, economics and the like, and the clever way James educates as well as informs.

Buy here.



The BBC's internal contradictions

The reverberations of the BBC's recent announcements on how to deal with the climate change issue continue unabated. Radio 4's Feedback programme recently considered two separate instances related to the corporation's coverage of climate change (audio below). The first of these a "tidal wave" of complaints they had received in relation to Bob Carter's appearance at the time of the IPCC's Fifth Assessment Report. Interestingly these complaints seem to have been rejected, except in that Carter's funding arrangements were not made sufficiently clear.

Then there was the Lawson/Hoskins event and, as for the previous case, we had some vox pops to illustrate the complaint. Firstly we had someone called Liz Mandeville from Lewes, who turns out to be part of the Transition Towns movement and a director of a community renewables company. Then there was Neil Spencer from Ashreigney in Devon, who turns out to be a former director of a company called Renewable Futures Ltd. Amusingly, the show featured an interview with Alison Hasting, the chairman of the BBC Trust editorial standards committee, who reckoned that:

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