I chanced upon the (unrevised) transcript of an evidence session in front of the House of Lords Science and Technology Committee on the subject of nuclear power.
I found myself with a vague feeling of unease having read it. This may have been something to do with the fact that the session involved evidence from Sir John Beddington, who appears to have coordinated the Climategate whitewashes. He was speaking to, among others, Lord Oxburgh, the head of one of the whitewashes in question, and Lord Willis, who headed another.
An amusing quote about two members of the House of Commons SciTech committee that looked (sort of) at Climategate.
Within our own party's recent history both Evan Harris and Phil Willis were much talked up because of their previous lives as a GP and headteacher respectively. But, though they are both good eggs, when the former was health spokesperson and the latter education spokesperson, I had the uncomfortable feeling that Lib Dem policy on health was being dicatated by the BMA on the one hand and the NUT on the other.
It's not obvious to me that Harris and Willis were working for the BMA (British Medical Association) and the NUT (National Union of Teachers) during the Climategate inquiry, but they were certainly not working on behalf of the public.
Mike Kelly has a letter in his hometown newspaper. This appears to be a response to a critique of some kind and makes some interesting points.
Can I plead for temperate language in this debate as trillions of dollars are at risk of being misinvested?
I am involved in another area of controversy, namely nanotechnology, and when you add in controversies in biomedicine, there is enough around to suggest that the scientific process is being corrupted, and is in need of reining in. You will see my views on this when the Royal Society publishes the evidence it receives in its study of ‘Science as a Public Enterprise‘.
Engineers take legal liability for their work, and can be sued if they are wrong. This should also apply more widely to those who pronounce in the public domain on matters of policy. This would then confine statements to a more measured and nuanced standard.
Christopher Booker reports on an official inquiry into the dangers of white asbestos - a subject on which CB has been writing for many years.
An all-too-familiar trick when the establishment faces awkward questions on some controversial matter is to set up a committee packed with people who can be relied on to avoid the real points at issue and come up with the answer it wants. The Climategate inquiries were all examples of this technique. Another was the recent inquiry, headed by the Government’s chief scientific adviser, Sir John Beddington, into the claim that thousands of people die every year from exposure to white asbestos.
I wonder if CB realises just how central Sir John was to the Climategate whitewashes?
Updated on Jun 4, 2011 by Bishop Hill
Phelim McAleer has an interesting post about the movie Gasland, in which residents of a US town are famously shown igniting their tap water. The insinuation is that this is something to do with fracking activitiy in the shales thousands of feet below the ground.
Murray Goot of Macquarie University reviews papers on the scientific "consensus" on climate change. This is a reasonably balanced piece and not just because it mentions The Hockey Stick Illusion a couple of times.
In essence Goot's papers looks at the Oreskes and Anderegg papers as well as considering the polls of climatological opinion run by von Storch and Bray and concludes that there is a consensus that the majority of recent warming is down to CO2.
Tickets are now available (free) for the Royal Society's Townhall Meeting on openness in science featuring Paul Nurse and Geoffrey Boulton.
This will be at the Southbank Centre in London on 8 June at 2:30pm.
H/T to Patagon for pointing us to an English translation of the WGBU report and for making these excerpts from it.
Sustainable strategies and concepts must be developed for this in order to embed sustainable global development in transnational democratic structures, to formulate answers to the 21st century questions regarding global equity and distribution of resources, and, not least, to be able to claim world-wide legitimacy.
H/T Decaux for this story from the Scotsman:
SCOTLAND'S oldest university is hoping to become the first higher education institution in the country to generate all its power through its own wind farm.
After a three-year investigation and scientific study of wind levels in Fife, St Andrews University yesterday submitted an application for planning permission for the farm, which would be built on farmland six miles from the town.
...The university sees the proposal as a key part of its strategy to offset what it described as the "punitive" national costs of energy.
Still more feed-in-tariffs you and I have to pay for.
A few days ago we looked at Julia Slingo's climate change paper, which she circulated in the wake of Climategate. A reader recently pointed me to this article in the journal Science and Public Affairs - a publication of the British Association for the Advancement of Science (as the BSA was called at that time). It's by William Waldegrave, a science minister in the last Conservative government in the UK, and is entitled "When scientists advise politicians - how to avoid the pitfalls".
Here's another set of proposals being made under the green banner that might give decent liberal-minded people a few sleepless nights: a new crime of "ecocide".
Among the ideas currently gaining currency is adding a crime of ecocide to the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court (ICC). If this idea is accepted, ecocide would join war crimes, aggression, crimes against humanity and genocide as a fifth crime against peace.
The rationale behind the campaign for a crime of ecocide is similar to that of other ecological legal initiatives; namely, that addressing environmental imperatives requires a seismic shift in attitudes, practices and culture, in both the corporate and political spheres. Catastrophes such as Deepwater Horizon highlight the failure of existing mechanisms to ensure that the commercial world’s financial and economic prowess is matched by a duty of care for the planet on which it operates, and the rights of both its current inhabitants and those yet to come.
I think we can safely file 1 Crown Office Row Chambers under "rent-seekers".
Earlier today I tweeted a link to my Peter Phelps story:
#phelps right to warn of dangers of scientific influence. Doesn't make scientists bad people though.
And received this reply from Bob Ward.
Spreading more hatred of climate scientists, I see!
Updated on Jun 2, 2011 by Bishop Hill
Updated on Jun 2, 2011 by Bishop Hill
Australian politician Peter Phelps has, in that quiet underspoken way that Australian politicians have, compared climatologists to scientists working for the Nazis.
At the heart of many scientists—but not all scientists—lies the heart of a totalitarian planner. One can see them now, beavering away, alone, unknown, in their laboratories. And now, through the great global warming swindle they can influence policy, they can set agendas, they can reach into everyone's lives; they can, like Lenin, proclaim "what must be done". While the humanities had a sort of warm-hearted, muddle-headed leftism, the sciences carry with them no such feeling for humanity. And it is not a new phenomenon. We should not forget that some of the strongest supporters of totalitarian regimes in the last century have been scientists and, in return, the State lavishes praise, money and respectability on them.