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The cost of green

Matthew Sinclair was on the Daily Politics today, talking about the cost of the government's mad energy policies.

Word on Twitter is that he was extremely effective in the subsequent studio debate. I'll let you know when it's available.


An unexpected citation

Who would have thunk it? The Hockey Stick Illusion is cited in a paper in the Journal of Thermal Analysis and Calorimetry. I'm reference [19] in the excerpt below.

Confirming published conclusions

Reliability of experimental data is an essential foundation in all scientific research. (As I was taught when starting research, though the importance of reproducibility is stressed less often in recent reports.) Accordingly, based on best scientific practice [19], L’vov identifies, for scrutiny, all relevant aspects of his formulation, development and testing of CDV theory [1–4]: literature sources, relevant theory, methodology, experimental data, calculations, interpretations and conclusions. Further, careful re-examinations of published data for selected rate processes would either confirm and strengthen the theory as presented [1] or identify inconsistencies, thereby opening a debate, which could lead to new understanding and insights into the reactions concerned. Such tests of this potentially influential theory are required to confirm its reliability before its application, development and acceptance.


The Gorathon

In honour of Al Gore's latest 24 hours to save the planet, Bishop Hill is proud to present...the Gorathon, a 24-hour extravaganza of Josh cartoons inspired by the great Goracle himself!

Click on the image for more toons, and keep coming back, because Josh will be adding more throughout the day. (If you click on the first image in the gallery, you'll get a lightbox thingy)


Political Paul

Sir Paul Nurse appears to have decided that he hasn't been nearly political enough yet. Something must be done!

Nurse wants the society to have a stronger voice on the big policy questions of the day. "The Royal Society has a responsibility to provide advice on difficult issues, even if they are contentious," he says.

He hopes to boost the society's role in government decision-making by fostering greater involvement of its roughly 1,500 fellows and foreign members in preparing reports, potentially with the help of more policy staff. Nurse also wants to expand the number of authoritative and influential reports on key issues, such as nuclear power, climate change and the definition of life.

Interestingly, he also wants to extend the terms of officeholders. I wonder why? In my experience, this kind of step is rarely done for good reasons. I think I'm right in saying the officeholders currently have 5-year terms (certainly the president does). Why would they need more?


ICO calls to extend FOI-case time-limits

The Information Commissioner's Office has just tweeted that the Commissioner himself has just told the parliamentary Justice Committee that the time limit for s77 prosecutions should be extended - this was what let UEA officials off the hook for their Climategate-related FOI breaches.

The commissioner also called for custodial sentences for breaches of the Data Protection Act. In fact, I think custodial sentences should be required for breaches of FOI too. At the moment public bodies don't take the Act very seriously.



Richard B at the BBC

Richard Betts has an article up at the BBC, which I'm sure readers here will find of great interest:

Climate "sceptics" accuse climate scientists of exaggerating the evidence for human-caused climate change in order to secure their own funding; but actually I think that any vested interests in talking up the problem lie elsewhere.

The focus on climate change is now so huge that everybody seems to need to have some link to climate change if they are to attract attention and funding.

Hence the increasing tendency to link everything to climate change - whether scientifically proven or not.

The question is: do climate scientists do enough to counter this? Or are we guilty of turning a blind eye to these things because we think they are on "our side" against the climate sceptics?


Windy-day power

A reader asked how the windfarms did yesterday in the UK - we caught the tail end of a hurricane so there was plenty of puff around.

The answer is, not desperately well, but well enough that one can almost feel the money being sucked out of one's pockets:

With many thanks to Rob Schneider for the data from his iPhone app.


All in a Davies' work

Last year George Avery of Purdue University wrote an article in World Medical and Science Policy about politics perverting scientific conduct and raising the ugly spectre of Climategate (paywalled here).

Science is increasingly being manipulated by those who try to use it to justify political choices based on their ethical preferences, and who are willing to act to suppress evidence of conflict between those preferences and the underlying reality. This problem is clearly seen in two policy domains, healthcare and climate policy. In the area of climate policy, recent revelations of emails from the government-sponsored Climate Research Unit at the University of East Anglia reveal a pattern of data suppression, manipulation of results, and efforts to intimidate journal editors to suppress contradictory studies and indicate that scientific misconduct has been used intentionally to manipulate a social consensus to support the researchers’ advocacy of addressing a problem that may or may not exist.

This seems to have been followed by a rebuttal from Trevor Davies of UEA (paywalled here) and then a response from Avery in the current issue (paywalled here).

I gather that Davies' position was that the article should be retracted, citing the Deutsche Bank report (!) as evidence that nothing untowards happened.  Apparently the editors are dutifully going to re-review the paper. Expect them to resign shortly ;-)

(H/T Ross McKitrick)


FOI fail

Much amusement at this response to a (non-climate-related) FOI request: the government department involved inadvertently copied their internal discussion about how to respond to the requester:

There is another, wide-ranging FOI request for all unpublished reports. I have provided Peter Parr with a list of relevant documents from across the Directorate, with the exception of the Bill Team where Georgina has said that it would take in excess of the time limit to conduct a search. Peter is putting up a draft response to Ministers on that basis.

I'm not sure if I'm comfortable with the idea of responses to FOI requests being run past ministers. Should ministers be involved in legal compliance matters?


Why energy taxes will fail

Tim Worstall writes at the Adam Smith Insitute blog:

What the DEC is really saying is that energy demand is highly elastic to price: change the price and you'll get quite large changes in behaviour and demand. What Moxham is really saying is that this is tosh, energy has a low elasticity. We don't change our behaviour much when energy prices change. So, who is right?

Find out here.


The power of laughter

I was gently taken to task by a commenter for my levity in linking to the Newsbiscuit story yesterday. I think this is wrong. The importance of having people laugh at one's opponents cannot by underestimated in my view, which is why I'm grateful to Jane Coles for this image of the latest fashion accessory for "right-on" kids everywhere.

Click to read more ...


'Let's Kick Climate Change Denial Out of Football' campaign

Football fans who make offensive chants about wind turbines could face stiff jail sentences under plans by the government and the Football Association to ‘get tough’ with climate change deniers.

Read the whole thing here.


What's all this then?

The blogospheric dissection of the papers by Spencer and Braswell and by Dessler continue apace. In fact the pace is a bit of a problem, as I have been left rather behind - radiative physics is an area I need to get up to speed on. This is a pity because it looks as though today's excitement is all going to be focused the effect of clouds on the earth's energy budget.

Firstly there is this comment by Bart at CA. Then there's this post by Tallbloke, which is essentially just a reposting of a comment by Bill Illis at WUWT.

The Bill Illis/Tallbloke piece seems rather more straightforward to me - if I understand it correctly, it shows that the variability in the amount of heat escaping the earth is driven to a large extent by changes in cloud cover. As one commenter puts it:

But the [climate models] only assign a single, constant value for all clouds, at all latitudes, for all periods of day and night, for all seasons of the year, across all elevations for all values of humidity and rainfall and percent CO2.


I can see that this is a problem, although perhaps I haven't quite got my head around the implications yet.

The Bart comment at CA is, however, more tricky and I haven't made head or tail of it yet. Given that there seems to be general agreement that it may be significant, maybe readers here can explain.


Maths do better - Josh 118

H/t Chuckles who, on the Make haste more slowly post, wrote:

"Does this mean that John Abrahams comments, reported in the Guardian and Daily Climate, about Dr. Spencer constantly having to correct errors and revise work, are in fact correct?

Just not in the way Abrahams originally intended?"


Cartoons by Josh


New paper supports Svensmark hypothesis

Nigel Calder reports on a paper by Dragić et al.. The paper considers the effects of Forbush decreases - when solar flares cause reductions in the number of galactic cosmic rays reaching the Earth. According to the Svensmark hypothesis, this should cause a reduction in cloudiness.

Dragić and his co-authors have looked at the diurnal temperature range - the difference between daytime maxima and nighttime minima after Forbush increases. If clouds are indeed reduced, then the diurnal temperature range should increase, ie colder nights and warmer days.

The results look good for Svensmark's ideas.

The results [are] hard (impossible?) to explain by any mechanism except an influence of cosmic rays on cloud formation.

(H/T Pharos in Unthreaded)