Jonathan Adler has some interesting thoughts on scepticism at everyone's favourite US law blog, the Volokh Conspiracy. His article was prompted by the decision of New Jersey governor Chris Christie to first veto some green legislation (on the grounds that it wouldn't work) but to simultaneously acknowledge that greenhouse gases affect the climate, a position that has led to much criticism from his own side.
Those attacking Christie are suggesting there is only one politically acceptable position on climate science — that one’s ideological bona fides are to be determined by one’s scientific beliefs, and not simply one’s policy preferences. This is a problem on multiple levels. Among other things, it leads conservatives to embrace an anti-scientific know-nothingism whereby scientific claims are to be evaluated not by scientific evidence but their political implications. Thus climate science must be attacked because it provides a too ready justification for government regulation. This is the same reason some conservatives attack evolution — they fear it undermines religious belief — and it is just as wrong.
UEA has responded to the request by the mysterious Mr/Ms Tuppen for Paul Dennis's emails.
The University does not hold any copies of correspondence between Mr. Paul Dennis and Stephen McIntyre, Anthony Watts, Jeff Id (aka. Patrick Condon and Jeff Condon), Steven Mosher, or Thomas W. Fuller for the period 2006 to date.
For FOI geeks like me this is not unexpected. Paul Dennis indicated that he has deleted his local copy of the emails so the only copy will be on a backup server. IIRC someone (perhaps the ICO) has said that if the information is only on a backup server then it is not "held", although whether this is something that would stand up in court is another question. My guess is therefore that there may be more to the university's refusal than meets the eye.
Tony at Harmless Sky has penned further thoughts about Steve Jones' BBC report. Tony doesn't sound too amused to me, particularly in relation to this part:
A submission made to this Review by Andrew Montford and Tony Newbery (both active in the anti‐global‐warming movement, and the former the author of The Hockey Stick Illusion: Climategate and the Corruption of Science) devotes much of its content to criticising not the data on temperatures but the membership of a BBC seminar on the topic in 2006, and to a lengthy discussion as to whether its Environment Analyst was carrying out BBC duties or acting as a freelance during an environment programme at Cambridge University. The factual argument, even for activists, appears to be largely over but parts of the BBC are taking a long time to notice.
The United Nations Environment Programme is holding a congress next year. The object seems to be to have national legal systems work to the UN's agenda rather than the public's:
The World Congress is aimed at contributing to the Rio+20 process by promoting global consensus among relevant stakeholders such as those engaged in the development of law, Chief Justices and senior judges, Attorneys-General and Public Prosecutors involved in the interpretation and enforcement of law and Auditors-General whose work will focus on governance and accountability issues on the role of law in promoting the goals of sustainable development.
If politicians tried to influence judges there would be an outcry. Why is it OK for the United Nations?
Another day, another full exoneration for the Hockey Team. This time it's the National Science Foundation who have cleared Mann on all charges following a review of the Penn State inquiry by the NSF's sleuths.
This bit made me laugh:
...no specific allegation or evidence of data fabrication or falsification was made to the University; rather, the University developed its allegation of data falsification based on a reading of publicly released emails...
We just, kinda, investigated some stuff...
Today I went to a debate at the Edinburgh book festival. It was called "Energy is Power" and was ostensibly about nuclear energy. The panel was made up of Tim Radford, the former Guardian science editor, a engineer who worked on wave power and an English lecturer from St Andrews. I chatted to some of them beforehand and they were very charming.
I'm really struggling to put into words just how insane this government is:
Figures from Utilyx, the energy consultants and traders, forecast a 58pc rise in the cost of power by 2020, largely driven by the impending avalanche of green taxes due to come into force over the next 10 years.
The consultants estimate that 18pc of the current electricity price relates to climate change policies – or £15 per megawatt-hour out of a £82 per megawatt-hour average.
There seems to be a quaint theory in government circles that their policy decisions do not actually have any consequences - they are just part of the ongoing public relations effort.
When is reality going to bite?
There was no tip drive in July, so here, after a short intermission, is the latest attempt to fill the episcopal coffers. As always all contributions are gratefully received.
I am keen to get more subscriptions going, because subscriptions enable me to set aside a block of time each day/week/month for global warming activities. To that end I am going to offer an enticement - I'm going to start putting out an email newsletter to subscribers (and major donors), which will give early insights into (some of) the things I'm working on. Subscriptions are at a set level of £5 per month. The subscribe button is on the right-hand side.
Really, that's the only conclusion that sane people can reach after reading Christopher Booker's latest in the Sunday Telegraph.
In a sane world, no one would dream of building power sources whose cost is 22 times greater than that of vastly more efficient competitors. But the Government feels compelled to do just this because it sees it as the only way to meet our commitment to the EU that within nine years Britain must generate nearly a third of its electricity from “renewable” sources, six times more than we do at present.
Richard North reckons Booker has got his numbers wrong and the actual figure should be 40 times rather than 22.
Tony at Harmless Sky has noticed that the BBC has published a correction to Professor Steve Jones' report on scientific impartiality at the BBC. It seems that remarks apparently attributed by Professor Jones to Lords Lawson and Monckton never passed the two peers' lips.
With the false attribution removed, Professor Jones is in the awkward position of not actually attributing the remarks at all.
With RC's (putative) reappearance on the scene, I think we need an alternative handle for the guy. "RC" is just going to get confused with RealClimate. "The hacker" or "the leaker" assumes we know more than we do.
Can we think of some snappy alternative along the lines of Watergate's "Deep Throat"? Deep Climate is already taken, of course, but I would have thought we could come up with something else. Perhaps still with the initials "RC"?
The news that David Leigh had admitted to involvement in phone hacking left the Guardian's reputation looking a little less white than they might have hoped. Today the colour is more black than grey, as Guido reports:
... today a 51 year old police officer, working on the phone-hacking inquiry named Operation Weeting, was arrested and suspended for leaking to the Guardian. Given that David Leigh has already confessed to phone-hacking, the Guardian’s squeaky clean reputation is collapsing at a rapid speed. Was this blatant police corruption of integrity sanctioned?