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Why electric cars are really coal cars

An interesting look at arguments for electric cars by a Professor of Chemistry:

It is claimed in a Royal Academy of Engineering (RAE) report on electric cars that they are in any case cleaner because 80 - 90% of the energy put into them in terms of electricity is recovered in terms of useful power at the wheels, to be compared with 20 - 30% in a conventional oil-powered car. Well, that sounds good, but the reality is that only about one third of the energy in the coal or gas actually ends-up as electricity because of the Second Law of Thermodynamics and the Carnot Cycle limit - the other two thirds being thrown away as heat. Thus the electric car is harvesting in terms of well-to-wheel miles only about 27% of the original fossil fuel energy, so not that much better than the standard car running on petrol or diesel. The difference is merely whether about the same quantity of waste heat energy is thrown away at source or in the vehicle.


Physician, heal thyself

Sometimes you have to wonder about the shamelessness of people at the top of the civil service:

Doctors must take a leading role in highlighting the dangers of climate change, which will lead to conflict, disease and ill-health, and threatens global security, according to a stark warning from an unusual alliance of physicians and military leaders.

Writing in the British Medical Journal on Tuesday, a group of military and medical experts, including two rear admirals and two professors of health, sent out an urgent message to governments around the world. "Climate change poses an immediate and grave threat, driving ill-health and increasing the risk of conflict, such that each feeds upon the other," said the authors...

The authors are as follows:



I've had the captcha switched off for a week or so which I think has reduced the problems with commenting (although not eliminated them entirely). A new fix is now in place so I'm going to switch it back on again. Let me know how it goes.


Green jobs - Josh 93


Keenan on climate statistics

Doug Keenan has just scored something of a coup by getting an article about statistical significance in temperature records published in the Wall Street Journal. It's a wonderful piece of popular science writing, explaining complex scientific concepts in clear simple English.

For years, some researchers have argued that the evidence for global warming is not nearly as strong as has been officially claimed. The details of the arguments are often technical. As a result, policy makers and other people outside the debate have relied on the pronouncements of a group of climate scientists. I think that is unnecessary. I believe that what is arguably the most important reason to doubt global warming can be explained in terms that most people can understand.

Read the whole thing.


Huppert on CCS

Just watching a recording of Herbert Huppert's Bakerian lecture at the Royal Society. Huppert was a member of the Oxburgh panel - one of the ones that Rees and Davies thought would come to the inquiry with "questioning objectivity".

The subject is carbon capture and storage, but there is also a potted history of the global warming hypothesis. I really had to stop having seen this part as it was so interesting. One of the things that struck me was this curiously truncated surface temperature graph...

There was also this outing for the Hockey Stick...

Not much sign of any questioning going on here.


Echoes of Oxburgh

Nick Cohen in the Guardian writes about the scandal of the London School of Economics' acceptance of funding from the Gaddafi regime and the questions that are being asked over its awarding of a degree to the Libyan leader's son. There is an interesting twist though:

The university has appointed Lord Woolf – a retired lord chief justice, no less – to investigate Giddens, Brahimi and their colleagues. He will find out what happened to the hundreds of thousands of pounds the university took from Gaddafi's son, Saif, and whether it was in return for a Phd and academic support for his crime family's rule of Libya. The "independent inquiry" will establish the "full facts", the university says, as it drops heavy hints that it is time to "move on".

Willing though the amnesiac media always are to jump to the next scandal, this story isn't over yet. No one outside the LSE has noticed that Lord Woolf may face a conflict of interest. Some would argue that if he were still a judge in a court of law, he would have to tell the parties to a case that they had the right to ask him to stand down.

Somebody remind me how the Guardian dealt with the appointment of Oxburgh to deal with the UEA inquiry...


Physics World comes over all sceptic

Physics World, until now a bastion of conventional thinking on AGW, has come over all sceptic, with the Quanta column featuring all manner of AGW unfriendly stuff.


Singh's response to Nelson

Simon Singh has posted his response to Fraser Nelson. It's still amazingly thin gruel for a top writer on scientific matters. Is he unaware of the existence of feedbacks? And what about the error bars on that 0.6C warming figure?



Matt Ridley on solar effects 

Matt Ridley reviews evidence of solar effects on the climate.

Carbon dioxide certainly can affect climate, but so for sure can other things, and in explaining the ups and downs of past climate, before industrialisation, variations in the sun are looking better and better as an explanation. That does not mean the sun causes current climate change, but it certainly suggests that it is at least possible that forcings more powerful than carbon dioxide could be at work.


An uncritical love affair with environmentalism

BBC newsreader Michael Buerk has savaged the corporation in a review of a book by former colleague Peter Sissons.

He accuses the Beeb of being "left-wing", "shallow" and of having "an uncritical love affair with environmentalism".

It's not news is it?


Nature Climate Change launches

Nature's long-awaited climate change journal has finally launched. It looks as though it's all free in this first issue, so why not take a look?

This article about openness in climate change research was interesting, with several familiar faces interviewed. There is something about the tone of the piece that makes me uncomfortable though - perhaps a slightly promotional feel?


Another congressional inquiry

The US Congress has decided to look at climate change again. Here are a few links to stories that journalists and bloggers have found interesting.

Steve McIntyre has taken a pot shot at Kerry Emanuel for being, ahem, less than precise with his evidence on "hide the decline". Chris Mooney describes Emanuel's testimony as "powerful" in an enthusiastic review at Discover magazine.

The New York Times notes Richard Mullers contribution, in which he discussed the preliminary results from the BEST project, which apparently confirm warming. The excitement over the BEST project strikes me as overdone. I certainly don't expect them to disagree wildly with CRU and GISS.

Anthony Watts was less than impressed with Muller, who mentioned some of Anthony's unpublished resuts. Anthony has written to the committee chairman Ralph Hall to put him straight.

Judith Curry has a roundup here, in particular defending Muller against Anthony W's concerns and also pointing to John Christy's insider story of how the Hockey Stick found its way into the Third Assessment Report.



Lots of people are telling me to watch this - I haven't had a chance yet though. What do you reckon?


Nelson on the Spectator debate

There has been some fallout from Tuesday's debate it seems, with Spectator editor Fraser Nelson summarising Simon Singh's contribution as "don’t think – trust the experts".

Full article here.

Singh has tweeted that he will respond tomorrow.