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How to live life, by RK Pachauri

Interviewed on the BBC, lifestyle guru RK Pachauri had this to say:

I think my vision of a good life is one where you spend enough time on friendship, on time with family, on exercising a certain level of restraint, by which you don't consume for the sake of consuming. Before the Nobel Peace Prize in 2007, I was interviewed by Kevin Spacey and he asked me a whole lot of questions about whether I had done my holiday shopping and I said, well, I have no plans because I only buy what I need. But that's exactly what I do - I never buy something unless I feel I need it.

Like the house in India's millionaires row for example.

(Audio here - segment on lifestyles starts at 19:45)



Times withdraws green adverts

New Scientist reports that The Times has withdrawn adverts claiming that climate change had caused the opening of the North-east passage. They also cancelled a second advert that claimed that the world's oceans would be denuded of fish by 2048.

The mainstream media may well be the first climate change casualties.



Curlers thumb noses at bureaucracy

Round these 'ere parts there is much excitement over the possibility of a Grand Match, when Scottish lochs freeze over to a sufficient extent to allow for a curling tournament. There have only been three of these since the war, but the ice on some of the likely lochs are now within a whisker of the seven inches required to mount the tournament. Unfortunately, it looks like there may be too much snow sitting on the ice here at Loch Leven, but the Lake of Menteith is apparently looking good.

Meanwhile, culled from this curling blog is a rather wonderful snippet about curling in Lochmaben that tells us so much about modern Britain without even trying:

Apparently it was quite a day in Lochmaben. The ice had been checked by the local council and was 7-8 inches, and solid. However, someone phoned the police to say there were lots of people on the ice and they didn't think it was safe. Anne tells the story, "Six police officers arrived but they couldn't go on ice to warn people because of health and safety so they passed the buck to the Nith rescue who came with a rescue boat but because of heath and safety they couldn't go on ice either. So the Coast Guard arrived, lights flashing! But guess what? Because of health and safety he couldn't go on the ice either! A great day was had by all.




The IPCC Climategate investigation

There has been some interest expressed in the comments to the last posting as to when and where the IPCC will get around to completing their investigation into Climategate. A correspondent had sent me an interesting link that seemed to suggest that in fact there was to be no investigation - at least not into the actions of the Hockey Team:

Today Pachauri reversed course and instead launched a defense of the climate scientists that have been accused of collusion, modification and deletion of data and a host of other offenses. He said that he felt the scientists “are being unfairly targeted.” Pachauri said, “The persons who have worked on this report, and those who unfortunately have been victims of this terrible and illegal act, are outstanding scientists, and have contributed enormously over the 20, 21 years of the existence of the IPCC.”

Pachauri stated that his only concern was finding out who was behind it, not if there are any problems with the science behind the manmade climate change theory or the scientists that formulated it. "I think this is an illegal act. The only issue that has to be dealt with as far as this occurrence is concerned is to find out who is behind it," he said.

In regards to a potential investigation, the climate chief said the agency would look at the event, “just to see if there are any lessons for us that we might want to take onboard. We are determining how best to do that. But I want to clarify that this is not an investigation.”

On the face of it this does seem to suggest that the IPCC is not going to look at what its advisors have been getting up to, but I don't rule out someone having got the wrong end of the stick here.



Pachauri protests his innocence

Over at Comment is Free.  I think that critical comments may may be severely curtailed. I've posted a simple link to EUReferendum's Pachauri category. It will be interesting to see if it gets through.

[Update: Currently no comments seem to be getting through at all. This is turning into a habit on global warming threads at CiF]



IJoC to institute new data policy

Progess is glacial, but is nevertheless in the right direction - this in today from Professor Hardaker at the Royal Meterological Society in response to my query as to how the RMS publications committee had decided to address the issue of availability of data and code.

The Scientific Publications Committee did agree that the Society should formalise its policy for all of its journals on this and that the spirit of the policy should be to make available supporting information and data where possible within the licensing and copyright rules – we think this follows best practice.  The Committee have asked me to finalise a draft policy for their approval at the next meeting.

The devil will be in the detail of course, but at first sight "supporting information and data" might well be construed as covering data, intermediate results and code. Let's hope so. It will also be interesting to see if they adopt a policy of demanding all this information up front, or if they go for the normal physical science journal approach of making information "available upon request". I hope they don't choose the latter, a sure recipe for conflict in the future, but we will have to wait and see.



Disturbing news from Oz

Australian government ruins farmers in name of global warming. They're blocking protestors too, it seems.


New Year starts badly for Mann

James Delingpole has the scoop

Michael Mann – creator of the incredible Hockey Stick curve and one of the scientists most heavily implicated in the Climategate scandal – is about to get a very nasty shock. When he turns up to work on Monday, he’ll find that all 27 of his colleagues at the Earth System Science Center at Penn State University have received a rather tempting email inviting them to blow the whistle on anyone they know who may have been fraudulently misusing federal grant funds for climate research.

Read the whole thing.



Good and bad charities

Just occasionally you start to read a book and within minutes you know you are on to an absolute winner. This is one such book:

James Tooley grabs your attention right from the very start with a deeply personal story of how he went to India to study private schools for the few and discovered a vast and virtually hidden network of private schools for the poor.

Taken aback by the sheer number of these backstreet schools, he reported what he had seen to his colleagues at the World Bank and was met with a mixture of disdain and bemusement. These schools were "ripping off the poor" it seems, despite the fact that poor parents were scrimping and saving to afford the fees they could have avoided by simply sending their children to the free state schools. Why would they do this? The answer was very simple - a survey of state schools found that "in only half was there any teaching activity at all".

Another excuse was that these schools were creaming off the elite, an story I heard just the other day about schools in the UK. Poor parents were criticised for increasing inequality - another story that will be familiar to UK readers.

What was even more amazing was Tooley's discovery that the success of the private education sector had been noted by luminaries like development economist Amartya Sen, and had been reported upon by Oxfam. And both the economist and the charity had then concluded that universal state provision was the correct way forward.

Staggering isn't it?

It is hard to escape the conclusion that development gurus like Sen and mega-charities like Oxfam are part of the problem here. The incentive of the charity workers is to keep the people poor so that the problem never goes away. This is the bad charity of the title of this post.

And the good charity? There's plenty of it in evidence in the book. Here's Tooley:

Ten-year-old Farath Sultana also attended Peace High School. Her father works as a cleaner in a mosque and earned a monthly salary of 700 rupees ($15.55), which he admitted was not enough to feed his four family members. The family lived rent free with relatives who helped them get through each month by providing food. Both the mother and the father were illiterate, but they wanted their chidren to be educated. Peace High School provided both Farath and her six-year-old brother free tuition because of their critical financial position. link link




A climategate snippet on urban heat islands

While reading the Climategate emails, I chanced upon a message to Phil Jones from a Chinese researcher, Yan ZhongWei inquiring if the great man would like to be a co-author on a forthcoming paper.

Hi, Phil,

Attached please find a draft paper about site-changes and urbanization at Beijing. It may be regarded as an extension of our early work (Yan et al 2001 AAS) and therefore I would be happy to ask you to join as a co-author.

Regarding your recent paper about UHI effect in China (no doubt upon a large-scale warming in the region), I hope the Beijing case may serve as a helpful rather than a contradictory (as it may appear so) reference.

The urbanization-bias at BJ was considerable but could hardly be quantified. I suspect it was somehow overestimated by a recent work (Ren et al 2007). Please feel free to comment and revise.

I'll check and complete the reference list, while you may also add in new references



Well if the paper appeared contradictory, showing a substantial UHI, then I wanted to know about it. This appears to be it. Here's the abstract:

During 1977-1981 the Beijing (BJ) meteorological station was at a suburban location. In 1981 it was moved to a more urban location, but in 1997 it was subsequently moved back to the same suburban location. The daily BJ temperature series, together with those from 18 nearby stations, form a unique database for studying how site-change and possible urbanisation influences affect climate changes at a local scale. The site-change-induced biases were quantified, between 0.43 and 0.95°C, based on comparisons between multi-year-mean seasonal temperature anomalies at BJ and the mean of those from a cluster of nearby stations. The annual mean urban-suburban difference was 0.81°C around 1981 and 0.69°C around 1997, indicating a growing urbanisation effect in the suburban compared to the downtown area. The linear warming trend in the adjusted (for site moves only) BJ temperature series during 1977-2006 was 0.78 °C/decade. Comparing with several rural and less-urban sites, we suggest that the BJ records include an urbanisation-related warming bias between 0.20 and 0.54°C/decade, likely about 0.30°C/decade, for the recent few decades. The climatic warming at BJ between 1977 and 2006 is likely, therefore, to be about 0.48°C/decade. Caveats for using these estimates were discussed.



Tony N on the New Year

I thoroughly recommend the thoughtful essay by Tony N at Harmless Sky for a review of where we stand on climate change at present.


Is it actually Tata?

A happy new year to all my readers.

I awaken this morning to a mystery - who is it that's threatening Richard North and Christopher Booker? The obvious candidate is Rajendra Pachauri, who has been on the receiving end of many pointed critiques from the two men, mainly as a result of his multiple conflicts of interest.

But perhaps not. North links to this document, a photoessay about big business misbehaving in the mining industry in India. (The download is large - I've extracted the two relevant pages here). This doesn't mention Pachauri or TERI at all. The pages North refers to mention a Tata group steelworks, where the local population was moved from their homes, without compensation, to make way for the new plant, and a list of "People’s struggles against mining projects in the eastern states of Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand & Orissa". The latter again refers to several Tata projects.

Reading between the lines then, there appears to be a real possibility that it is Tata doing the threatening and not Pachauri.


Leaning on North

It looks as though Pachauri may be getting nasty over North and Booker's revelations of his conflicting interests in the Telegraph. There is a very mysterious posting up at his blog now.

Spread the word.


North in the comments to his posting gives some clues to the contents of the lawyer's letter he has received:

An entertaining, four-page missive. The last paragraph reads: "Please do not mistake our client's resolve to take whatever action is necessary to protect their reputations. If we do not hear from you in the timeframe indicated, proceedings will be issued."

Ho hum! The letter is barking mad but it still needs hours of constructing a careful response, the net effect of which will be the same as two Anglo Saxon words.



Who would be in Professor Hardaker's shoes?

As the Climategate analysis starts to flow from Steve McIntyre's keyboard, it's interesting to note the theme of "climategatekeeping" emerging from the first few posts. It seems clear that there have been multiple instances of attempts to suppress or delay sceptic papers and just as many examples of warmist papers being rushed through to print on the nod. This angle to the climategate affair has been given added impetus in recent days by the extraordinary revelations of Spenser and Christy in their American Thinker article, showing how the journal editor at the International Journal of Climatology (IJoC) conspired with Hockey Team members to delay the appearance in print of a sceptic paper (Douglass et al).

IJoC, which is a journal of the Royal Meteorological Society of the UK,

Click to read more ...


Mann in the WSJ

Michael Mann has an article in the Wall Street Journal in which he describes the accusation that he plotted to keep sceptics out of the scientific literature as "false".

Society relies upon the integrity of the scientific literature to inform sound policy. It is thus a serious offense to compromise the peer-review system in such a way as to allow anyone—including proponents of climate change science—to promote unsubstantiated claims and distortions. The good news is that it is not happening today in relation to either climate scientists or the deniers of climate science.

His case is seriously undermined by his failure to explain the contradictory evidence in the emails.