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Friday
Jun182010

Spain suspends solar subsidy

Andrew Orlowski reports that the Spanish government is reining back hard on the payments it makes to solar power companies - who are in essence subsidy farmers.

Spanish economist Professor Gabriel Calzada, at the University of Madrid estimated that each green job had cost the country $774,000.

Worse, a "green" job costs 2.2 jobs that might otherwise have been created - a figure Calzada derived by dividing the average subsidy per worker by the average productivity per worker. Industry, which can't afford to pay the higher fuel bills, simply moves elsewhere.

 

 

Thursday
Jun172010

MPs learn science

Newly elected MPs are to be given advice on science. This is because most of them can't tell a test tube from an experimental railway.

And who is going to teach them about this science stuff? Some familiar names:

1. Phil Willis (or Lord Willis as we must now call him) the man who ran applied the first coat of whitewash to CRU.

2. Lord Oxburgh, the man who applied the second coat of whitewash to CRU.

3. John Beddington (soon to be Sir John) the man who chose Lord Oxburgh to gloss over scientific matters

There were some others too - Lord Winston and David Willetts being the two best known names. Muir Russell was said to be otherwise engaged.*

[*I made this last bit up]

Thursday
Jun172010

New...scientist, did you say?

What can you say about New Scientist? 

There's a bit in the Rational Optimist which discusses coral reefs and the greek chorus that claims they are all going to disappear because of ocean acidification. Acidification is not really the issue says our Optimist - there are much bigger problems:

Coral reefs... are suffering horribly from pollution, silt, nutrient run-off and fishing - especially the harvesting of herbivorous fishes that otherwise keep reefs clean of algae.

And what has New Scientist writer Liz Else got to say about this? Well, she accuses the Optimist of failing `to recognize that there is more to the health of corals than the amount of bicarbonate [i.e. acidification].

Standards are not what they were at New Scientist, are they?

 

 

Wednesday
Jun162010

Russell review due July 7

An announcement has gone up on the Russell review website.

The publication date for the Independent Climate Change E-mails Review report has been set for 7 July. Full details of publication arrangements will be given nearer the time.

Wednesday
Jun162010

On consensus

Some days ago I posted a short quote from a forthcoming paper by Mike Hulme. This is it:

Claims such as ‘2,500 of the world’s leading scientists have reached a consensus that human activities are having a significant influence on the climate’ are disingenuous. That particular consensus judgement, as are many others in the IPCC reports, is reached by only a few dozen experts in the specific field of detection and attribution studies; other IPCC authors are experts in other fields.

Click to read more ...

Wednesday
Jun162010

Andy Russell on the Hockey Stick

Andy Russell, a climatologist from Manchester, has written a brief history of the Hockey Stick. He says he hasn't read the Hockey Stick Illusion, which is a pity because he hasn't really moved things forward at all. There are many things he gets wrong that are covered in the book.

I've suggested he gets hold of a copy.

(Andy's piece is not inflamatory and I hope anyone commenting there will reply in the same vein).

Tuesday
Jun152010

When Trevor tricked John

Among the extra information released by Professor Beddington's office today, there were also some attachments to a message sent to him by Professor Trevor Davies of UEA. The message itself was released last time round, sans attachments, so I wrote back requesting the missing detail. They have apologised that the attachments "had become disconnected from the IT record".

The message concerned was the one in which Davies invited Beddington to "warm up" certain panel members before they received their official invitations to take part in the Oxburgh inquiry. Having made this request of Beddington, and explained the need for speed, Davies continued as follows:

For background I attach (1) a draft letter which will be sent to David [Hand, one of the panellists] by Ron [Oxburgh] (2) a list of papers we anticipate will be examined.

The letter is essentially just the invitation. I don't see anything of interest. The list of papers meanwhile is more intriguing. It can be seen here. While the papers mentioned appear to be identical to the versions seen previously (although I've not checked them in detail), at the bottom there are some words I hadn't seen before:

These key publications have been selected because of their pertinence to the specific criticisms which have been levelled against CRU's research findings as a result of the theft of emails.

Oh dear.

Tuesday
Jun152010

The boy played a blinder

Professor John Beddington, or Sir John as we must start learning to call him soon, was the man who suggested Lord Oxburgh as the head of the inquiry into UEA's scientific oeuvre (or at least those parts that were likely to be uncontroversial.

As readers here know, I have previously obtained some of Professor Beddington's emails under FoI and I've now obtained one more.

It's pretty interesting.

It was sent on the afternoon after the publication of the Oxburgh report.

Click to enlarge

This is the text:

Dear Ron


Much appreciated the hard work put into the review, general view is a blinder played. As we discussed at HoL, clearly the drinks are on me!

Best wishes, John

Tuesday
Jun152010

Fred Pearce at the RI

Here is a fuller report on Fred Pearce's lecture at the Royal Institution, courtesy of reader, Atomic Hairdryer.

The Climate Files; The battle for the truth about global warming

Royal Institute 14th June

Audio archive here.

Speakers: Fred Pearce, Dr Myles Allen, Dr Adam Corner
Host: Damian Carrington of The Guardian


A smaller audience than for the Pielke lecture, with the theatre roughly half full with what looked to be a lot of journalists. The event was also filmed.

Click to read more ...

Tuesday
Jun152010

Murray-Rust on Pearce

Peter Murray-Rust, a Cambridge chemist who is also a bigwig in the Open Knowledge Foundation, has written a report on Fred Pearce's presentation at the Royal Institution last night.

As far as I can tell, Fred's book is going to conclude that CRU scientists didn't do anything bad, and he certainly seems to have persuaded Peter of his case:

I would agree from his analysis that there is no “smoking gun” and that many of the emails were unfortunate rather than malicious.

However, Peter concludes also that there are serious issues over data availability. I particularly liked this:

Climate research appears to have generated a priesthood which controls the release of information. For a science with global implications this is not acceptable.

Some common ground at least then.

This was interesting too:

My superficial analysis is that the CR community has retreated into defensive mode and has not changed its communication methods or interaction with the community. This is perhaps understandable given the hostility and publicity of much of the media coverage and further comment (and UEA has put a ban on staff speaking on the issue). Such bans can recoil, as it is then easier to believe there is something to hide. It may be difficult, but it seems essential to radically overhaul the governance and communication.

I think this would explain why my emails to UEA's Paul Dennis have gone unanswered.

Tuesday
Jun152010

M&M honoured by CEI

Steve McIntyre and Ross McKitrick have been honoured with this year's Julian Simon Memorial Award by the Competitive Enterprise Institute. The Hockey Stick Illusion gets a mention in the press release too.

Anthony Watts has the story.

Monday
Jun142010

Ring-fenced spending

SIR – The British embassy in Bangkok is advertising in the local press for a climate change officer, which involves working with colleagues in other British embassies in south-east Asia, and reporting to a team leader based in Singapore.

It is comforting to know that such vital positions have escaped the spending cuts.

Letter in the Telegraph

Sunday
Jun132010

HoC Climate change committee

Politics.co.uk notes the appointment of chairmen to the select committees of the UK's House of Commons. This one is striking...

Energy and climate change committee - Tim Yeo (Con)

Yeo has easily made the transition from the environmental audit committee, which he chaired in the last parliament, after that committee's chair passed to Labour hands. He beat Philip Hollobone despite declaring an impressive range of interests, including a non-executive directorship of Groupe Eurotunnel, a non-executive chairmanship of AFC Energy and a consultant role for Regenesis.

It is very hard to look an anything that goes on at Westminster without getting a faint whiff of something unpleasant.

Sunday
Jun132010

Josh 22

Saturday
Jun122010

Gongs for greens

Congratulations are due to Professor John Beddington, the government's chief scientist and the man who put forward Lord Oxburgh as the "best candidate" to chair the inquiry into UEA. Professor Beddington has been awarded a knighthood in the Queen's birthday honours list.

Other climatological gongs are:

  • Professor John Shepherd of Southampton (OBE)
  • Peter Betts, Director of International Climate Change, DECC (OBE)
  • Kirsty Schneeberger, Co-ordinator, UK Youth Climate Coalition (MBE)

(The UK Youth Climate Coalition is an organisation I came across recently. It was founded in 2008).