Seen elsewhere

Click to get the Josh 2016 calendar.

Click images for more details



Recent comments
Recent posts

A few sites I've stumbled across recently....

Powered by Squarespace

BBC: "To hell with your charter obligations"

This morning the Today programme welcomed Professor Paul Ekins onto the airwaves to discuss what he saw as the problems with government energy policy (audio below). Professor Ekins came over as a highly media-trained green activist, which is perhaps entirely unsurprising because that is what he is - as a former co-chair of the UK green party and the author of tomes such as "A New World Order: Grassroots Movements for Global Change", he has been in the forefront of green politics for 20 years.

It's just that the Today programme didn't want you to know that, and Professor Ekins was presented as just some disinterested academic brought in to provide some rigour to proceedings. Coming so soon after the episode in which the Today programme accidentally forgot to mention Jeremy Leggett's financial interests this is starting to look like policy rather than oversight.

And when you also take into account the decision of presenter Sarah Montague to let Ekins expound at length, with barely a word of challenge, the impression you got was that this was simply the BBC trying once again to fight battles on behalf of the green movement.

The message from the Corporation is, once again, "To hell with your charter obligations, we're on a mission from Gaia".

Ekins Today


Alarmism in a Huff - Josh 351

Breibart reports on an extraordinary Huffington Post article arguing that the response to the terrorism in Paris should be "a successful Climate Change Conference". Gosh.

Cartoons by Josh


Mackay bashes EU energy policy

David Mackay is in the headlines this morning, having described the EU Green Energy Directive as "scientifically illiterate" in a forthcoming episode of Costing the Earth.  He takes a potshot Ed Miliband for the foolishness of his policy decisions. Excerpts were included in the Today programme this morning, alongside a response from Ed Davey, who comes over very badly in my opinion.

Inevitably a BBC journalist - Tom Feilden - has tried to spin Mackay's comments as an attack on the government. Fortunately Mackay has corrected him - given that the current government was not mentioned at all in the Today programme, Feilden was not even allowing himself a level of plausible deniability, which was a bit daft, even by BBC standards of shamelessness. The offending tweet has now been removed.



The Today programme piece is well worth a listen. It's here.


Mackay Today


Eaten: A novel

Susan Crockford has written a novel about people being eaten by polar bears. Here's what she has to say about it.

This is a polar bear attack thriller. What Jaws did for the beaches of New England, Eaten does for northern Newfoundland. Terror and carnage abound as hungry polar bears come ashore in droves seeking any food available, including human prey.

Set in the year 2025 at the edge of the Arctic, the story considers future possibilities no one has yet contemplated. In this tale, the occupants of hundreds of small towns and isolated outports spread across northern Newfoundland are quite unprepared for an early spring onslaught of hungry polar bears. People haven’t just been killed, they’ve been eaten. As the attacks multiply, people find they are not safe even in their own homes.

Local residents, Mounties, and biologists struggle with a disturbing new reality: they have a huge polar bear problem on their hands, and if they don’t find a solution quickly, dozens more people will die gruesome deaths, and hundreds more polar bears will be shot.

A Newfoundland seal biologist gets help from an expat Alaskan carnivore specialist as they team up with officers of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police to address the threat. Stopping the carnage and the relentless terror will be the biggest challenge they’ve ever faced as they struggle to prevent this from being the most horrifying disaster in Newfoundland's history.

From science to science fiction?

I'm a scientist but I grew up in a family of storytellers and avid fiction readers. When it was clear the time had come to try my hand at writing a novel, it felt like a logical progression from science writing, not a leap. Starting with polar bears just felt right.

And here’s why: for years, polar bear specialists have being playing “what-if”. They’ve used computer models to predict polar bear responses to computer-predicted sea ice conditions 25-90 years into the future and insist their prophecies will become reality unless human behaviour changes. They like to call their "what-if" science.

I decided to play too – except I call my “what-if” a novel.

Arguably climate science fiction with a twist, some call this genre “speculative fiction” or “technothriller.” I’ve included a “recommended reading” list at the end of the book for those who want to follow up on the science background but the book is primarily for readers who prefer their science “lite” and those who love a good story.

See the YouTube book trailer.   

More detail and links here.

The paperback is ready to order and will ship as soon as the books are printed; the ebooks are available for pre-order and will download November 30, 2015. Price for the paperback is US$14.49; for the ebooks US$6.99

Here's where to buy it:

(Temporary Kindle links, until Amazon gets it linked to the paperback)

  • ePub version (via Smashwords, which ships to Apple, Barnes & Noble, and Kobo), see 

LIMITED TIME OFFER for the ePub version: November 30, 2015 until December 3, 2015 only

FREE with promotion code GW98Q (not case-sensitive)



Changing climate open thread

I have to go out shortly, so no time to write anything about Roger Harrabin's climate change programme.

Feel free to add your comments below.


RICO repercussions

The RICO affair, in which a group of green-minded academics tried to get the full force of the law used against those who disagree with them, continues to have repercussions. This is the latest.

CEI Files FOIA Lawsuit Against George Mason University for Denying Existence of Records Related to RICO-20 Letter

George Mason University (GMU) faculty claimed "no records" existed in response to a Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI) FOIA request regarding the involvement of Professor Ed Maibach in the RICO-20 campaign seeking prosecution of opponents of his view of climate policy.  Yet, CEI has evidence of such records. This prompted CEI to sue GMU over the FOIA dispute, which aims to inform the public about the role of Maibach in organizing the campaign led by GMU Professor Jagadish Shukla calling for prosecution of their political opponents. 

Emails the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI) obtained under the Washington State and Florida open records acts show Professor Maibach, a taxpayer-funded instructor of “how to mobilize populations to adopt behaviors and support public policies that reduce greenhouse gas emissions,” used his University title, position and email account in the RICO-20 effort.  Numerous records provided by other state universities notwithstanding, GMU informed CEI that Prof. Maibach insisted he had no records responsive to the same request to that school.

The full press release is here.


An analysis of the energy crunch

Over the weekend, Jonathan Leake wrote a trailer for Amber Rudd's speech on energy later this week, in which she is apparently going to signal something of a change in direction in government policy, with a shift of the focus from decarbonisation to consumer bills. As Matt Ridley pointed out in the Times a few days earlier, the government is running a real risk of getting landed with the blame if and when the energy grid goes pearshaped, so it's nice to think that the message might be sinking in.

And the risk of chaos still looms large, as the power price spike last week made clear. There is some very interesting, if rather technical, analysis of those events at the blog of Timera Energy, a firm of energy consultants, and one that carries a fairly firm warning for Ms Rudd:

Click to read more ...


Misconceptions and mislabellings

So, some minor brouhaha this morning over Roger Harrabin's piece about Richard Tol this morning. In it, Richard is quoted as follows:

Prof Richard Tol predicts the downsides of warming will outweigh the advantages with a global warming of 1.1C - which has nearly been reached already.

This is contrasted with Matt Ridley, quoted as follows:

Matt Ridley, the influential Conservative science writer, said he believed the world would probably benefit from a temperature rise of up to 2C.

And if you refer to the transcript, which Roger has helpfully made available at Joe Smith's Climate Creativity site (!) you can read this:

Click to read more ...


Looney green tunes

Just when you thought our environmentalist friends couldn't become any more absurd, they have to go and outdo themselves. The editor of the Ecologist, Westminster and Oxford educated Oliver Tickell, son of the equally silly and equally posh Crispin Tickell (also Westminster and Oxford), has just written a post arguing that the Paris terrorist attacks were intended to disrupt the COP21 climate talks, driving up oil prices and putting petrodollars in the pockets of ISIS. Oh yes, and western oil interests were probably in on it too.

So, assuming - as seems probable at this stage - that the Paris outrage was carried out by or for ISIS, was it in any way motivated by a desire to scupper a strong climate agreement at COP21? And so maintain high demand for oil long into the future, together with a high oil price?

Let's just say that it could have been a factor, one of several, in the choice of target and of their timing. And of course ISIS was not necessarily acting entirely on its own. While not alleging direct collusion between ISIS and other oil producing nations and companies, it's not hard to see a coincidence of interests.

Blimey, he's so bonkers you half expect Paul Nurse to try to squeeze him into the Royal Society alongside Ehrlich.



Indy disappears legendary climate quote

Anthony Watts has the extraordinary information that the Independent has disappeared the now legendary "children won't know what snow is" article.

You've heard of something called a newspaper of record? I guess the Independent is whatever the opposite of that is.


An outbreak of sanity

The Australian is reporting that the New South Wales government has suddenly come over all sensible on the subject of sea-level rise.

The NSW government will today unveil sweeping changes to how the state’s coastline is managed, building on its insistence that local councils look at the science and evidence of individual beaches rather than blindly adopting UN predictions of climate change...The initiatives mark the second phase of the Coalition government’s demolition of the previous Labor government’s policy, which among other things directed local councils on the coast to enforce the climate change and sea level rise predictions of the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

Click to read more ...


Some weapons-grade sophistry

Take a look at Mark Lynas's latest piece in the Guardian, in which he tries to absolve the wind fleet of any part in the close call the electricity grid suffered last week. This is pretty remarkable, given that at the time - as readers will no doubt recall - the wind fleet was becalmed and delivering just 3% of its installed capacity. Meanwhile the ageing coal fleet was only delivering 65% of capacity because of breakdowns.

Lynas's position is that this was fine and dandy because the near-total failure of the wind fleet was predicted.

Click to read more ...


Science (it says here)

Roger Harrabin has a new three part series on the science of climate change starting next week on Radio 4.

Climate talks typically end in disenchantment and disarray, so will this year's summit in Paris be any different? In this three part series Roger Harrabin examines the science, politics and solutions of climate. In the first of this series he looks at the science behind climate change. Predicting the future climate is a pretty tricky business and over the last twenty five years or so its had a chequered history. Roger talks to the scientists about their models and asks if they are accurate enough or should they just be consigned to the dustbin. He takes tea with the leading US politician who simply won't be convinced of man-made climate change. He meets the "luke-warmers" who believe in climate change but don't think the planet will warm as much as predicted. He will also examine the current predictions and how confident we should be.

Expectations are set to low.


Schools: not activist enough

Another day, another environmental activist pretending to be a serious researcher. Diego Román of the Southern Methodist University in Dallas has a paper in that well-known organ of cutting edge science, Environmental Education Research. It reports the results of an analysis of middle school science textbooks and their coverage of climate change. His headline finding is that they are terribly bad:

Our findings showed that these text-books framed climate change as uncertain in the scientific community – both about whether it is occurring as well as about its human-causation.

Román's activism is fairly obvious, even from that brief excerpt: he gives the game away by failing to define what he means by "climate change", a trick that is Lesson One of all "how to be a hippie" courses. Of course in reality, few people on would argue with the twin propositions:

Click to read more ...


The size of the prize Lomborg has a new paper out today in the journal Global Policy. Taking a leaf out of Christopher Monckton's book he assesses the effect that all the policy measures promised at Paris are going to have on global temperatures. As the press release explains this effect is small/tiny/minute/barely discernable:


  • ...if we measure the impact of every nation fulfilling every promise by 2030, the total temperature reduction will be 0.048°C (0.086°F) by 2100.
  • Even if we assume that these promises would be extended for another 70 years, there is still little impact: if every nation fulfills every promise by 2030, and continues to fulfill these promises faithfully until the end of the century, and there is no ‘CO₂ leakage’ to non-committed nations, the entirety of the Paris promises will reduce temperature rises by just 0.17°C (0.306°F) by 2100.
  • US climate policies, in the most optimistic circumstances, fully achieved and adhered to throughout the century, will reduce global temperatures by 0.031°C (0.057°F) by 2100.
  • EU climate policies, in the most optimistic circumstances, fully achieved and adhered to throughout the century, will reduce global temperatures by 0.053°C (0.096°F) by 2100.
  • China climate policies, in the most optimistic circumstances, fully achieved and adhered to throughout the century, will reduce global temperatures by 0.048°C (0.086°F) by 2100.
  • The rest of the world’s climate policies, in the most optimistic circumstances, fully achieved and adhered to throughout the century, will reduce global temperatures by 0.036°C (0.064°F) by 2100.

Is that another bout of Lomborg derangement syndrome I hear from our green friends?

The paper should appear here.