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David Henderson on Deutsche Bank

I'd forgotten to post this up a week or so back - David Henderson's article in the Financial Post about Deutsche Bank getting into the political activism game and the questions this should raise for their investors.

For any organization of standing, not least a leading multinational company such as Deutsche Bank, an obvious aspect of responsible conduct is a demonstrated concern for accuracy and the truth. The bank’s management board could now manifest such a concern, first, by commissioning an independent and informed review of this report, and second, by withdrawing and repudiating the report if the review supports McKitrick’s analysis.

There is also Terence Corcoran's take on the same affair.

As Mr. Henderson puts it, the Deutsche report on climate skeptics has been rendered worthless as a guide to the science and for investors. It also betrays a larger issue, which is a corporate role on the part of Deutsche Bank that makes Exxon look like a Boy Scout.


Standpoint on green energy

A timely piece about Britain's mad, mad energy policies.

In private, the best-informed analysts now agree that Britain's environmental policies have put the country on track to have the world's most expensive electricity. This is mainly because our competitors are almost certain to choose cheaper routes to emissions reductions, such as natural gas, or to shun emissions reductions altogether. The Coalition's own Annual Energy Statement for 2010 concedes that by the year 2020, nearly one third of the average domestic electricity bill will consist of green energy charges imposed by law (£160 out of £512, or 31 per cent). Business will be hit even harder, with environmental charges for the average medium-sized non-domestic user accounting for £404,000 out of £1.224 million, or 33 per cent.

 Read the whole thing.


In which I ban a commenter

I can't recall ever banning a commenter before, but Macsporan just stepped over the limit.

There has to be a first time for everything I suppose.


Josh 63


Iain Stewart and the MWP

Remember Climate Wars - the BBC hit piece on global warming sceptics? Look at the first few seconds of this excerpt - is that the "hide the decline" graph, with the instrumental records spliced onto the proxy measurements, that Iain Stewart is pointing at?

Remember, Prof Brian Cox reckons this is the epitome of a science documentary!



Martin Rosenbaum of the excellent Open Secrets blog at the BBC has been looking at some information extracted from the Met Office under FoI.

The documents we requested show that scientists within the Met Office were uneasy about the language of [the barbeque summer] prediction. One internal report states:

"The strapline 'odds on for a barbeque summer' was created by the operations and communications teams to reflect the probability of a good summer. Concern over the use of the strapline and its relationship to the scientific information available was expressed by the scientific community, who were not consulted prior to the media release."

The Met Office then resolved to use "more conservative terminology" in future. But its seasonal prediction for last winter was also awry, failing to signal sufficiently the long and severe cold spell.


Acton and UEA in the pillory

The Information Commissioner has required the University of East Anglia to sign a written undertaking to obey the Freedom of Information laws in future.

The University shall, as from the date of this Undertaking and for so long as similar standards are required by the Act, the Regulations or other successor legislation, ensure that requests for information are handled in accordance with Section 1 of the Act and regulations 5 and 11 of the Regulations. Internal reviews are to be handled in accordance with part VI of the section 45 Code of Practice, or regulation 11 of the Regulations as appropriate.

They go on to state that proper training and IT procedures must be put in place.

Because FoI laws don't allow in practice for the punishment of civil servants who flout them, this kind of public humiliation is the only option available to the Commissioner. But at the end of the day, civil servants are not held responsible for their misdeeds.



Climate skeptic shop

Slightly late for Christmas, but once you get the urge to start spending in the new year,  Michael Cejnar's Climate Skeptic Shop looks like the perfect place to get equipped with the look of the moment.


Tip jar live again

...if anyone fancies it...


The Quarmby audit

I am grateful to commenter "hmc" for pointing out that David Quarmby has also produced an audit on the country's response to the start of the cold weather a month or so ago. This includes some further interesting information about the Met Office's advice to government:

The Met Office gave ‘early indications of the onset of a cold spell from late November’ at the end of October, but detailed forecasts of snow were not possible until a few days before the first precipitation. The amounts of snow were generally well captured, although in some areas were considerably underestimated by some weather forecast providers.

I find the quotation marks at the start of this excerpt particularly interesting. What this suggests to me is that Dr Quarmby was advised that such an "early indication" was given, but that he didn't see it himself.

I've emailed to check if this surmise is correct.


GWPF calls for inquiry into Met Office

From Benny Peiser

LONDON, 21 December 2010: The Global Warming Policy Foundation has called on the Government to set up an independent inquiry into the winter advice it received by the Met Office and the renewed failure to prepare the UK for the third severe winter in a row.

"The current winter fiasco is no longer a joke as the economic damage to the British economy as a result of the country's ill-preparedness is running at £1bn a day and could reach more than £15 billion," said Dr Benny Peiser, the GWPF's Director.

"It would appear that the Met Office provided government with rather poor if not misleading advice and we need to find out what went wrong. Lessons have to be learned well in advance of the start of next year's winter so that we are much better prepared if it is severe again," Dr Peiser said.


Winter resilience

Updated on Dec 21, 2010 by Registered CommenterBishop Hill

With the whole of the UK apparently grinding to a halt with the cold and snow, it was interesting to be pointed to an official review of the UK's winter resilience capabilities (H/T John B).

A small team was set up under the leadership of Dr David Quarmby, a member of the "great and good" with background in transport. The team published its terms of reference here; an interim report was published last summer, and the final report appeared just a couple of months ago.

For our purposes the interim report is more interesting since it has a whole section entitled "Weather forecasting and climate change". All emphasis below is added by me.

12.7 The science of forecasting up to 30 days ahead and beyond has made great progress in recent years and will continue to develop; comparison of outturns against probabilistic predictions out to 30 days suggests that the information is of increasing value for winter service resourcing and planning.

Click to read more ...


Quote of the day

How can aviation be operated to minimise the impacts of emissions...? routing it through Heathrow.

Commenter tty


New New Zealand temperature records - no warming

Via Scoop, sceptics in New Zealand have persuaded the country's weather bureau to revise their temperature records.

NIWA has abandoned the official national temperature record and created a new one following sustained pressure from the NZ Climate Science Coalition and the Climate Conversation Group.

Spokesman for the joint temperature project, Richard Treadgold, Convenor of the CCG, said today: “We congratulate NIWA for producing their review of the NZ temperature record — more than a year after we challenged it — and we think it’s great that NIWA have produced a graph with full details behind it.

“But we note that, after 12 months of futile attempts to persuade the public, misleading answers to questions in the Parliament from ACT and reluctant but gradual capitulation from NIWA, their relentless defence of the old temperature series has simply evaporated. They’ve finally given in, but without our efforts the faulty graph would still be there.”

Congratulations to everyone involved in this effort.  What a triumph for citizen science.

And the punchline is this:

“NIWA makes the huge admission that New Zealand has experienced hardly any warming during the last half-century. For all their talk about warming, for all their rushed invention of the “Eleven-Station Series” to prove warming, this new series shows that no warming has occurred here since about 1960.

Read the full story here.

(H/T Messenger)


More evidence of climate change

Hat tip to several readers who sent this list of questions and responses from last night's University Challenge programme.

1 Which New York City borough gives name to declaration that a scientific consensus on climate change does not exist? Queens. No, Manhattan.

2. Author of Cool It? Bjorn Lomborg, correct

3. Which former Conservative chancellor wrote An Appeal to Reason? Don't know.