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More laughs from the Cabot Institute

The famous..erm...Maldives dykes, keeping the sea at bayAccording to one of Stephan Lewandowsky's colleagues at the Cabot Institute, more than 80% of the Maldives lie below sea level.

Although ~30 to 100 cm of sea level rise may seem insignificant, it is worth considering what this means for other regions. For example, more than 80% of the Maldives lie one metre below sea level. In this region, sea level rise has the potential to impact up to 360,000 citizens and lead to widespread migration.

I would suggest that the author, Dr Gordon Inglis, has got a bit confused here, particularly as his source says something rather different.


Wadhams fails

Peter Wadhams is something of a favourite at BH, his researches into the paranormal, his physics-free sea-ice predictions and his concerns about assassination having provided readers with much entertainment over the years. The last of these claims led to an official complaint to the Press Regulator, but it seems that Prof Wadhams' complaint has been no more successful than his doom-laden predictions about the Arctic (£).

A Cambridge professor who claimed that assassins may have murdered three British scientists investigating the impact of global warming has had a complaint against The Times dismissed by the press regulator.

Prof Wadhams is an advisor to Pope Francis.



Great Evans above

Jo Nova carries a rather interesting piece today about some work done by her husband David Evans, who thinks he has uncovered a rather major flaw in the mathematics at the core of the basic model of the climate.

The climate models, it turns out, have 95% certainty but are based on partial derivatives of dependent variables with 0% certitude, and that’s a No No. Let me explain: effectively climate models model a hypothetical world where all things freeze in a constant state while one factor doubles. But in the real world, many variables are changing simultaneously and the rules are  different.

Partial differentials of dependent variables is a wildcard — it may produce an OK estimate sometimes, but other times it produces nonsense, and ominously, there is effectively no way to test. If the climate models predicted the climate, we’d know they got away with it. They didn’t, but we can’t say if they failed because of a partial derivative. It could have been something else. We just know it’s bad practice.

This sounds plausible to me. What do readers here think?


Quote of the day, goofy edition

This moment requires we the people to rethink democracy as a global mechanism for enacting policy for and by the planet.

Environmentalist Daphne Muller goes all Che Guevara


Fiddle me this - Josh 346

Volkswagen has been found cheating on US emissions tests. But with the Green Blob fiddling everything from Renewables to Global Temperatures, it's no wonder they thought this was ok. Some like Stephen Glover blame green zealots directly.

Cartoons by Josh


The fading dream of CCS 

The pretence that carbon capture and storage can ever be a viable technology is looking increasingly hard to maintain, with the news that Drax will pull out of the White Rose CCS project in Yorkshire once the current phase is complete.

It's amusing to recall Ambrose Evans-Pritchard in the Telegraph just three weeks ago, telling us that the UK had "hit the jackpot" on the CCS front:

Britain is poised to take the lead in Europe, approving two CCS projects later this year with a £1bn grant. One will be a retro-fit on SSE's gas-fired plant at Peterhead in Scotland. The CO2 will be sent through the Golden Eye pipeline to storage sites in deep rock formations below the North Sea.

The other will be Drax's White Rose plant in Yorkshire, a purpose-built 448 MW "oxyfuel" plant for coal. With biomass, it promises negative carbon emissions.

Oh dear.


Malaria maths

Bjorn Lomborg's article in the New York post riffs on his traditional theme of prioritising spending on areas where the greatest benefits can be gained. It's not rocket science of course, although perhaps on the tricky side for your typical environmentalist.

As ever, Lomborg is fully accepting of mainstream climate science, as well as some of the wilder claims that are made about the impacts. Take malaria, for example. Lomborg accepts claims that malaria will be a bigger problem in a warming world, but does not accept that this is an argument for spending money on climate mitigation:

Click to read more ...


Kelly on Stern

Mike Kelly has a long piece in Standpoint magazine looking at Lord Stern's magnum opus and some of the big questions of the climate debate:

Those building the biblical Tower of Babel, intending to reach heaven, did not know where heaven was and hence when the project would be finished, or at what cost. Those setting out to solve the climate change problem now are in the same position. If we were to spend 10 or even 100 trillion dollars mitigating carbon dioxide emissions, what would happen to the climate? If we can’t evaluate whether reversing climate change would be value for money, why should we bother, when we can clearly identify many and better investments for such huge resources? The forthcoming Paris meeting on climate change will be setting out to build a modern Tower of Babel.

Well worth a read.


Environmentalism may not be perfect!

The Today programme picked up the current ecomodernism meme, with a segment in which Owen Paterson faced off against Greenpeace's Doug Parr on the subject of technology.

I can't recall a previous occasion on which someone has been permitted to take a potshot at environmentalists, so it will have been a surprise for the average Radio 4 listener, who has previously been led to believe that greenery is beyond reproach.

A three-minute segment on a news programme is just a gesture of course; we await (with no great sense of expectation) a three-part critique of environmentalism analogous to critiques the BBC has commissioned on, say, climate sceptics and libertarianism.

But nevertheless, credit where credit is due.

Audio below.

Paterson Ecomodernism


Joe Biden, ambulance chaser

Despite the fact that the Sahel has experienced relatively benign weather conditions for many years now and despite the fact that there has been a striking and well-documented greening of the region, attempts to link the wars and strife that still bedevil the region to the climate are still being made.

And the people spinning these yarns are often those who should know better. Last weekend US vice-president Joe Biden claimed that the Darfur conflict, which started more than ten years ago, is "all about" climate.

You think there’s a migration problem in Syria? Watch what happens when hundreds of millions of people in the south, south Asia are displaced trying to find new territory to live. Look what’s happened with Darfur. Darfur is all about climate change. It’s about arable land being evaporating, figuratively and literally, and warring over land.”

Unfortunately for Mr Biden's hypothesis, this review of Sahelian climate by UEA's Nick Brooks takes a different view:

  • 20th century changes in climate probably not unusual...
  • Darfur conflict from 2003 at time of climatic improvement
  • Earlier droughts may have helped set stage, but no climate change “trigger”

I think we can conclude that Mr Biden is engaging in a bit of ambulance chasing. How low the office of VPOTUS has fallen!


Diary dates, Walport edition

On Friday, Mark Walport is giving a talk at the Natural History Museum in London on the UK's energy future.

We rely on energy to run our homes and power our cars, but the way we get this energy is changing. Sir Mark Walport, the UK Government's Chief Scientific Advisor, talks us through everything you need to know about how we could power the UK in the future as part of Science Uncovered.

You'll also have the chance to ask Sir Walport about energy in the UK during a question and answer section that follows his presentation, hosted by the Museum's Head of Earth Sciences, Professor Richard Herrington.

Details here.


A rare outbreak of civility

The climate debate is not exactly renowned for civility and good manners, so it's interesting to see that the Associated Press is making an attempt to up its game on this front.

We have reviewed our entry on global warming as part of our efforts to continually update the Stylebook to reflect language usage and accuracy.

We are adding a brief description of those who don’t accept climate science or dispute the world is warming from man-made forces:

Our guidance is to use climate change doubters or those who reject mainstream climate science and to avoid the use of skeptics or deniers.

Click to read more ...


Why the poor should pay higher rate tax

In the crazy world of the environmentalist, the following logic holds:

Oil companies are subject to a supertax on top of corporation tax.

Oil companies operating West of Shetland do not have to pay this supertax.

Therefore oil companies operating West of Shetland are subsidised.

Therefore we should apply the supertax to all oil companies.

One can apply this logic elsewhere:

Rich people pay income tax at 40%.

Poor people pay income tax at 25%.

Therefore poor people are subsidised.

Therefore we should tax poor people at 40%.

I'm not sure our environmentalist friends have thought this through.


Shameless, shameless, shameless

Having been hanging round the energy and climate debate for a long time now, it's not often I am taken aback by the Green Blob. But this article by Carbon Tracker's Anthony Hobley really made me gasp. The whole thing is amazing, but this in particular took the biscuit.

Investors are paying dearly for the inactions of the energy incumbents who have seemingly ignored and laughed off the impact of renewables. In the last five years 26 coal companies have gone bankrupt and US coal equities are down over 76%[1].

The suggestion that the pain being felt by coal companies is caused by anything other than the shale gas revolution and the surge in production from OPEC is astonishing. Non-hydro renewables are just 7% of US energy generation. Their impact is therefore nugatory, and there is simply no way Hobley cannot know it.

Shameless, shameless, shameless.




The Lords on fusion

Back in July, the House of Lords Science and Technology Committee took evidence on prospects for commercial nuclear fusion in the UK, hearing from Steven Cowley of the Culham fission research centre and David Kingham of Tokamak Energy Ltd.

Reading the transcript, it's hard to avoid the impression that in the UK at least fusion research is something of a white elephant, but one that is being sustained by climate change alarm. As has always been the case with fusion, the timescales discussed run to decades and project managers try to justify themselves with talk of spin-off benefits. However, Lord Peston noted that there is something of a problem with trying to use global warming as justification for the vast expenditure:

Lord Peston: I am a bit lost again—as you can tell, I get lost all the time. How can technology that will be available in 40 to 80 years possibly influence climate change? If we have to save the planet in the next 40 years, we are doomed anyway. You cannot use the climate change argument.
It's interesting to wonder just how far spending decisions are being distorted by climate change alarm.

Click to read more ...