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Monday
Nov012010

Congress and Parliament

Over the weekend, the Guardian had a worried-sounding report about the possibility of there being a Republican-dominated Congress in the USA after the midterm elections.

Republican leaders have begun gathering evidence for sweeping investigations of Barack Obama's environmental agenda, from climate science to the BP oil spill, if as expected, they take control of the House of Representatives in the 2 November mid-term elections, the Guardian has learned.

I'm sure this is right, and it looks as if one of their targets will be the Hockey Team:

Republican leaders have also said they are looking for ways to revisit last year's climate science controversy, sparked by hacked emails from the Climate Research Unit at East Anglia.

There can be little doubt that any Congressional inquiry would be conducted in gory detail, by legislators who are keen to get to the bottom of the affair and who have been thoroughly briefed on the details. This may be a consideration for the Science and Technology Committee as they consider how to respond to the recent hearings.

Monday
Nov012010

UEA Literary Festival

The University of East Anglia is holding a literary festival in November. Strangely, they haven't invited me to speak, but there is at least one event that should prove interesting:

Sir John Houghton, Phil Jones and Sir David King - Friday 12 November 2010.

If anyone is going, a report would be welcome.

 

Sunday
Oct312010

Load factors

Rob Schneider has been looking at published figures for the amount of electricity generated by windfarms in the UK. He has then compared this to the installed capacity to get a feel for the true average load factor for wind power in the UK.

The figures are...well...take a look yourself.

Sunday
Oct312010

Gwyn Prins on Climategate

Prof Gwyn Prins, best known to readers here as one of the authors of the Hartwell paper, was discussing Wikileaks and related issues on BBC Radio's The Moral Maze (audio here).  At one point the conversation turns to Climategate (about 34 mins in).

Portillo: There was an interesting case recently where climate change scientists found that their emails had come into the public domain and these emails appeared to cast doubt on the way in whcih had been arriving at their conclusions and, now, I understand that people have a right to privacy and I understand that normally an email between one person and another is a private matter but it seemed to me that where these emails between scientists touched upon something which they had been making claims about which had enormous consequences for our fiscal arrangements and for our behavioural arrangements and so on, that these were a matter of geniune public interest.

Gwyn Prins: I agree, and this is an area on which you and I will have no difficulty in seeing eye to eye, because we are now into a different area. The leaks from the University of East Anglia Climatic Research Unit are exceptionally interesting and exceptionally worrying and what is also worrying is that the inquiries that have been held so far have not resolved the fundamental problems about them. But what made them of public importance and interest was that it appeared that people with expert knowledge were allowing themselves to cross the line into advocacy and that is where it becomes a political issue.

It is interesting to see the failure of the Climategate inquiries discussed so openly on the BBC. I wonder if any Science and Technology Committee members were listening?

Saturday
Oct302010

Josh 52

Saturday
Oct302010

Josh 51

Friday
Oct292010

More workers sacrificed to green god

Chris Huhne's extrarodinary mishandling of the UK's energy policy continues apace. It appears that users of virgin wood are being priced out of the market for their raw materials because of subsidies to bioenergy companies who compete for supply.

Mike McKenna, director of Kronospan's Chirk factory, said the subsidies for electricity generators which use biomass encouraged them to take "the easy option" of burning freshly felled timber.

He told BBC Radio Wales: "The easy option for them is cutting down trees and burning them for electricity generation.

"That's because the subsidies are worth more than twice the value of the wood.

Quite, quite mad.

Friday
Oct292010

Ministerial meetings

The government now publishes details of meetings between ministers and outside bodies. They are published separately on each department's website. I thought I'd take a look at the DECC one and see who has been bending Howlin' Mad Huhne's ear.

In essence it's simple: with very few exceptions, Huhne gets to meet only:

  • energy companies asking for subsidies
  • environmentalists.

I think this could explain a lot about government energy policy, don't you?

Click to read more ...

Friday
Oct292010

Vaclav Klaus video

This is the video of Vaclav Klaus's GWPF lecture last week.

Thursday
Oct282010

From the archives...

Sir John Houghton and George Monbiot discuss global warming with Melvyn Bragg at the start of the Millennium.

Listen to all the carefully expressed statements of uncertainty...:-)

Thursday
Oct282010

Pamela Nash and peer review

Steve M has already wondered how the Russell panel came up with the three instances of (alleged) subversion of the peer review process that they decided to investigate, a question that was put to the panel by Pamela Nash.

Muir Russell spoke of a footnote in my report that says it was unclear, in one instance, what the particular allegation was. The footnote concerned relates to the McIntyre & McKitrick paper in GRL. Anyone who has read the Hockey Stick Illusion will know the story, but briefly, climate scientists are seen discussing getting rid of the editor in charge of McIntyre's paper. The only slight confusion is over what happened to Saiers - it has been claimed by some that Jones et al were innocent of the charge because Saiers remained at the journal for some time after these events. As I pointed out in the GWPF report, the allegation is that these threats seem to have led to Saiers being removed as editor responsible for the M&M paper, not that he was removed completely from the journal. 

Click to read more ...

Wednesday
Oct272010

The timing of Acton's eleven

When Graham Stringer quizzed Davies, he probed the UEA man on the question Stephen Metcalfe had failed to pin Davies down on, namely whether the papers went to the panel before or after approval by the Royal Society.

Having been forced to admit that they went out two days before Royal Society approval, Davies made an interesting defence. He introduced the idea of a conversation between himself and Martin Rees, in which it was apparently indicated that the Royal Society would approve the UEA list of papers for use in the Oxburgh panel's work.

Click to read more ...

Wednesday
Oct272010

Metcalfe on Acton's eleven

Stephen Metcalfe noted that Oxburgh had told the panel that the papers examined came via the university.

Acton said that they were in the UEA evidence to the old committee, and said that it would be "odd" to draw Oxburgh's attention away from this list, which he said were "bang on the issues". Obviously, we know that this is not true. Acton went on to say that it is impossible for a university to steer two independent (independent!) inquries in this way. Says he wanted to know the truth. Acton says Davies consulted on the list, which was a starting point. Davies says he was responsible for consulting with the Royal Society and the papers were selected to address the criticism of CRU at the time.

Click to read more ...

Wednesday
Oct272010

Oxburgh's terms of reference

I'm going to go through the video again and make a more considered analysis of what was said. This first post relates to the initial exchanges between the committee chairman, Andrew Miller, and Edward Acton.

Miller asks Acton about the terms of reference for Lord Oxburgh's report and asks if these were changed. He notes that the old committee were told that Oxburgh would assess the science ("an external appraisal of the science itself") but that Oxburgh subsequently said this was not the case, citing the UEA press release of 22 March ("an independent assessment of CRU’s key publications"). The question rather seems to miss the point, since neither UEA's evidence or the press release make it clear that the committee was only looking for evidence of deliberate wrongdoing.

Click to read more ...

Wednesday
Oct272010

S&TC recording

Updated on Oct 27, 2010 by Registered CommenterBishop Hill

This is the full recording of the hearings this morning.

Click to read more ...