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Huhne's damaging legacy

With serious allegations about Climate Change Secretary Chris Huhne's driving licence, the last thing our favourite politician needed was this:

Even if Chris Huhne does lose his job over allegedly persuading his ex-wife to take his penalty points for a speeding offence, he will have been in office long enough to leave a damaging legacy – last week’s Carbon Budget, which commits the UK to halving emissions of carbon dioxide by 2025.

Breezily insisting that this would set the country on a path towards ‘green growth’, Mr Huhne told the Commons that the cuts in emissions, which can be achieved only by a radical and hugely expensive reconstruction of the energy industry, would not only protect the climate, but ensure prosperity.

Others are less optimistic. According to Tata, the Indian multinational that owns the great steelworks at Newport and Port Talbot, Mr Huhne’s Budget is likely to drive much of British industry abroad – to countries including the United States, China, India, Japan and everywhere else in Europe, which have made no binding CO2 commitments, and where energy will thus remain much cheaper.

Read the whole thing (scroll down the page to find the top of the story). The article also looks at the Cambridge conference and Svensmark.

(H/T to lots of people for this one - and sorry I keep forgetting to hat-tip people. I've got one or two rather big things on at the moment. Getting snowed under.)


Paul Nurse on trust in science

This interview with Paul Nurse appears to have been recorded in January, although I haven't seen it before. The interesting bit is at the start, with Nurse discussing the role of the blogs in science.

Watch the full episode. See more The Open Mind.



Oreskes and Dr Karl Part 2

Here is the second part of the BBC's show featuring Naomi Oreskes and Dr Karl.  This is extremely disreputable stuff - you will hear Naomi Oreskes say that the Medieval Warm Period was restricted to Europe (don't think so) and the current warming is greater in magnitude. You will also hear Oreskes engage in a particularly grubby smear of Henrik Svensmark and then, to add insult to injury, you will hear Dr Karl say that Svensmark's work was debunked a decade ago (in the week that it was experimentally confirmed!).

Even more remarkably, Dr Karl claims that the worst finding the CRU inquiries made was that scientists were not nice to each other - really!! Maybe he thinks a finding that "hide the decline" was "misleading" is just not serious at all. Amazing stuff. Do people in Australia find Dr Karl a credible source of information?

Oreskes & Karl Part 2


Antarctic fox


Antarctic fox

I think I've mentioned that there was a certain amount of fraternisation across party lines at the reception after the Cambridge Conference. Josh and I had a nice chat to Dr Emily Shuckburgh, who is works at the British Antarctic Survey as well as being a scientific adviser to the Department of Energy and Climate Change.

Since that time we've exchanged a few emails and, with my recent blog posts touching on the issue of ocean heat mixing, Dr Shuckburgh thought one of her video diary entries from the Southern Ocean might be of interest.

Click to read more ...


Repeal the Climate Change Act

There is a petition afoot to repeal the UK's Crazy Climate Change Act.

Sign here.


Oreskes and Dr Karl

BBC Radio Five Live had a propaganda piece on global warming last week, with Naomi Oreskes and an Australian called "Dr Karl" vigorously agreeing with each other on absolutely everything and knocking down the telephone callers like flies. The interviewer, Rhod Sharp was clearly inclined to question things - he'd even been to see The Heretic - but without anyone to question what Oreskes and Karl were saying you were left with something of a fib-fest.

The interview was spread out over four hours, so I've split it into several posts, which will appear over the next few days. In this first one you can hear Naomi Oreskes trying to link floods in Australia and the UK and Pakistan to global warming and Dr Karl saying that Australia is going to get drier. The apparent contradiction between their positions seems to have been lost on them.

A warning needs to be issued before you listen - breakable objects should probably be removed from the vicinity of your computer first.

(H/T Retephslaw)


Oreskes & Karl Pt1


Optimum carbon dioxide levels

Princeton physicist Will Happer wonders what the optimum level of carbon dioxide is:

We conclude that atmospheric CO2 levels should be above 150 ppm to avoid harming green plants and below about 5000 ppm to avoid harming people. That is a very wide range, and our atmosphere is much closer to the lower end than to the upper end. The current rate of burning fossil fuels adds about 2 ppm per year to the atmosphere, so that getting from the current level to 1000 ppm would take about 300 years—and 1000 ppm is still less than what most plants would prefer, and much less than either the nasa or the Navy limit for human beings.

The Hockey Stick Illusion is mentioned too:

The IPCC and its worshipful supporters did their best to promote the hockey-stick temperature curve. But as John Adams remarked, “Facts are stubborn things, and whatever may be our wishes, our inclinations, or the dictates of our passion, they cannot alter the state of facts and evidence.” The hockey-stick curve caught the attention of two Canadians, Steve McIntyre, a mining consultant, and an academic statistician, Ross McKitrick. As they began to look more carefully at the original data—much of it from tree rings—and at the analysis that led to the hockey stick, they became more and more puzzled. By hard, remarkably detailed, and persistent work over many years, consistently frustrated in their efforts to obtain original data and data-analysis methods, they showed that the hockey stick was not supported by observational data. An excellent, recent history of this episode is A. W. Montford’s The Hockey Stick Illusion.


Childish games from UEA

On Monday, the deadline passed for a request I had made for financial information relating to the Climategate inquiries. This was for (1) a report, at invoice level, of monies expended re the Climategate inquiries and (2) Copies of invoices and other documentation to go with them.

I chased the university today and received a response as follows: has come to my attention that, in order to provide a response as requested to question 2 of your request, the amount of time and money required to locate and extract the requested information will exceed the statutory appropriate limit as mandated in section 12(1) of the Act and described in the Freedom of Information and Data Protection (Fees and Appropriate Limit) Regulations 2004. Providing a response to this question alone would likely exceed the appropriate limit. However, pursuant to s.16 of the Act, I would ask whether you would be satisfied with just a response to question 1 of your request? We anticipate that we could provide a response to that question within the statutory appropriate limit.

So, after the deadline passes, they ask for clarification. They claim in their letter that this allows them to restart the clock, but unfortunately they forgot to tell me that within the deadline, so they breached the law anyway - you know, the one they made a formal undertaking to comply with.

I've asked for the part 1 - the invoice listing - immediately, and will assess what to do after that.



Congratulations to Professor Bob Watson, who has just been elected a fellow of the Royal Society.


Quote of the day

Welcome to the neo-medieval world of Britain’s energy policy. It is a world in which Highland glens are buzzing with bulldozers damming streams for miniature hydro plants, in which the Dogger Bank is to be dotted with windmills at Brobdingnagian expense, in which Heathrow is to burn wood trucked in from Surrey, and Yorkshire wheat is being turned into motor fuel. We are going back to using the landscape to generate our energy. Bad news for the landscape.

Matt Ridley


Roy Spencer on Svensmark

Roy Spencer blogs about Svensmark's cosmic ray theory of climate change:

While I have been skeptical of Svensmark’s cosmic ray theory up until now, it looks like the evidence is becoming too strong for me to ignore. The following results will surely be controversial, and the reader should remember that what follows is not peer reviewed, and is only a preliminary estimate.

Read the whole thing.

(H/T Chris, by email)


Diary date for Cambridge

Readers in the Cambridge area may be interested in this meeting, which features two familiar names, in the shape of Lord Oxburgh and Mike Kelly. Lord O is described as

...well known for his work as a public advocate in both academia and the business world in addressing the need to reduce carbon dioxide emissions and develop alternative energy sources.

Just the man to run an inquiry into allegations of misconduct against climate scientists then.

The subject of the meeting is the energy gap:

The UK Government has a Herculean task – in both maintaining electricity supplies against obsolescent generating capacity, and in meeting very challenging carbon reduction targets, and moreover in achieving this through market mechanisms.

I wonder if Lord O will be arguing for extensive investment in wind power?


A response to Cox and Stockwell

Retired geophysicist Geoff Davies has responded to the Cox and Stockwell article (discussed here) about Hansen's new paper on climate model representation of ocean heat uptake and mixing. He accuses them of misrepresenting Hansen.

The article contains basic misrepresentations of Hansen and of the substance and implications of a draft paper by Hansen.

The Hansen paper does not weaken the case that humans are the main cause of global warming. On the contrary, it suggests we have unwittingly and temporarily shielded ourselves from the full effects of our activities.

I've only whizzed through both the Cox/Stockwell and the Davies articles, but I think the difference is over the credibility of Hansen's explanation. Hansen is saying that ocean heat uptake has been overestimated, and therefore the reason we haven't seen much warming is that we must have got aerosols wrong too, with the two errors effectively having balanced each other out. Cox and Stockwell are saying that maybe the effect of CO2 is not as strong as previously thought.

Is that right?


Hansen the hopeful - Josh 98