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Cameron's ruddy duck

So David Cameron won himself a majority and the chance to return some sanity to the UK's energy policy after the disastrous tenures of Ed Davey and, before him, Ed Milliband. All it was going to take was the gumption to face down the green blob and put the consumer interest ahead of the vested interest.

Unfortunately, Mr Cameron may well have ducked this particular challenge, as it has now emerged that the DECC portfolio is being handed to Amber Rudd, formerly a junior minister in the department, who is seen as a green friendly appointment. In an interview last year she had this to say:

The main purpose for me [here] is to get up to speed with the relationships and the issues to do with delivering one of the most important things we're ever going to do, which is limiting global warming to under 2°C.

I don't think you could get a cigarette paper between me and Labour on our commitment to getting a deal in Paris.

Lucky old vested interests.


Rebecca Roache's potty time

Readers may remember a paper I wrote about a few years back which considered whether the human race shouldn't biomedically modify itself to have a smaller impact on Gaia. This tinkering with a kind of eco-eugenics was the stuff of 15-minute headlines, and was quickly forgotten, but one of the paper's author's came to my attention again over the weekend when Maurizio tweeted about her ramblings in the wake of the election result. Here's her considered view of Cameron's victory, published at the Practical Ethics blog of the University of Oxford:

One of the first things I did after seeing the depressing election news this morning was check to see which of my Facebook friends ‘like’ the pages of the Conservatives or David Cameron, and unfriend them. (Thankfully, none of my friends ‘like’ the UKIP page.) Life is too short, I thought, to hang out with people who hold abhorrent political views, even if it’s just online...

I don’t want to be friends with racists, sexists, or homophobes. And I don’t want to be friends with Conservatives either.

There is some interesting discussion in the comments as to whether her astonishing bigotry makes it impossible for anyone of right-wing political views to attend Ms Roache's course. Last week, someone helpfully pointed out to me that something like 90% of UK academics have left-wing views of one kind or another. That being the case, and in the light of the kind of behaviour described above, what future is there for the universities?


BBC metropolitan elite, moi?

Result confirms my suspicion about uncaring ignorant Britain the moment you step outside of London.

Gaia Vince is not amused





Lomborg axed

The Australian media reports:

The University of Western Australia has cancelled the contract for a policy centre that was to be headed up by controversial academic Bjorn Lomborg after a "passionate emotional reaction" to the plan.

The Federal Government had pledged to contribute $4 million to the Consensus Centre, a think tank that was to use methods similar to those used by Dr Lomberg's Copenhagen Centre.

If you are an academic, dissent on climate change or climate change policy will lead to a loss of your livelihood.

You have been warned.


DECCline and fall?

I was half-jokingly suggesting that we should start a campaign to have Owen Paterson made the next energy and climate change minister - in reality I can't see Cameron having the gumption to stand up to the green blob for even five minutes. However, Jonathan Jones points me to an interesting post at Ruth Dixon's blog, which raises an interesting possibility:

For what it’s worth (and based entirely on gut feeling) I don’t think the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) will survive to the end of the forthcoming 5-year parliament. I predict that its functions will be returned to their original departments (out of which DECC was carved in 2008). Energy will go back to Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) and Climate Change will go to the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA).

If energy were to be transferred to BIS, it would at least give the country a chance of dealing with the energy supply crisis without having any practical policies choked off at source by the blob. It's a good idea.

Which probably means it will not happen.


Give us this day our Davey toast

So there was an election yesterday, an event that has been occupying other people rather more than it has me. I'm increasingly of the opinion that the government always gets in.

Still, it's worth surveying the results so far as regards prominent parliamentary participants in the climate change debate. The good news is that Ed Davey is history, while prominent questioners of the climate consensus such as Graham Stringer, Peter Lilley, Owen Paterson and Douglas Carswell have all retained their seats. Caroline Lucas remains, as do fellow members of the climate-very-concerned contingent Zac Goldsmith and Barry Gardiner.



A good day to bury bad science

The University of Bristol has a high tolerance for hoary old tosh, but you have to wonder if they have not been just a bit embarrassed by Stefan Lewandowsky, whose oeuvre could best be described as "Goebbels with graphs". How else do we explain the fact that they have elected to do the press release for the great man's latest psychological petard on the day of the general election? A good day to bury bad science?

Professor Stephan Lewandowsky, from Bristol’s School of Experimental Psychology and the Cabot Institute, and colleagues from Harvard University and three institutions in Australia show how the language used by people who oppose the scientific consensus on climate change has seeped into scientists’ discussion of the alleged recent ‘hiatus’ or ‘pause’ in global warming, and has thereby unwittingly reinforced a misleading message.

What insight! What erudition!

What a waste of money.


There's something about Bristol

There is a really violent undercurrent to this election:

Vandals targeted a Conservative MP days before the election by deliberately flooding her garden with 1,300 litres of sticky oil.

Last week cars belonging to Ms Leslie and her elderly father Ian, 70, were daubed with paint and the words 'Tory Scum' were scrawled along the bodywork.

Charlotte Leslie has written about her shock at finding that vandals had punctured the oil tank in her garden, causing her parents' entire heating supply for the year to seep into the ground.

The thuggery seems to have been prompted by Ms Leslie's support for unconventional oil and gas development. In other words it's the environmentalists again.


What goes around...

Environmentalists have two main features to their modus operandi.

  • Making up tall stories
  • Trying to suppress dissenting views

One of the ways in which they try to achieve the second of these aims has been through complaints to media and advertising "regulators", bodies that they have tended to wholeheartedly support.

Until, that is, those bodies start coming up with the wrong answers. Or, worse still, when their opponents adopt the same approach. Given the other part of the green MO noted above, environmentalists are of couse wide open to retaliation and today brings the satisfying news that Greenpeace have been well and truly hoist with their own petard:

Click to read more ...


The academic highlands

There's a new professor at the University of Queensland...


Hedge funds snap up free money from UK poor

From a correspondent in the world of big finance (edited for clarity).

The current appetite from US hedge funds is for UK solar. Indeed most asset managers want to get their hands on these assets. In a low-yield world, they offer >15% returns for the risk (which is mainly regulatory). The UK has little development risk, so as you well know, it's a redistribution of taxpayer money into the hands of hedge funds under the guise of climate change mitigation. Given that Ed Milliband created the DECC and with the likely failure of the Tories to gain a majority, they see little regulatory risk after the election. What we find appalling is the lack of awareness in the MSM over these transactions and the flow of money from poor to rich.

[To my correspondent: I tried to respond to your email, but the message bounced.]


Fracking chemicals found in space

The New York Times is reporting today that fracking chemicals have been found in drinking water in Pennsylvania.

Fracking chemicals detected in Pennsylvania drinking water

An analysis of drinking water sampled from three homes in Bradford County, Pa., revealed traces of a compound commonly found in Marcellus Shale drilling fluids, according to a study published on Monday.

The paper, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, addresses a longstanding question about potential risks to underground drinking water from the drilling technique known as hydraulic fracturing, or fracking. The authors suggested a chain of events by which the drilling chemical ended up in a homeowner’s water supply.

In related news, BH learns that health food stores are selling fracking chemicals to unsuspecting customers! Housewives have been washing their children's clothes in fracking chemicals! And fracking chemicals have been detected in deep space, worrying evidence that the oil industry is taking over the universe.



Turning our backs on the poor - Josh 325

It is extraordinary to think that Bjorn Lomborg first published The Sceptical Environmentalist in 1998 - that's as long as The Pause!

However there has been no pause in some people ignoring his message as we have, rather depressingly, read on this very blog over the weekend.

It is really simple: the money we spend on Climate Change mitigation can be better spent on health, education and cheap energy. Why is this hard to understand? Do they think climate science is done in a moral vacuum? Can they not see that divesting from fossil fuels hurts the poor the most?


Cartoons by Josh

Click the image for a larger version


Your money or your lights

Keith Anderson, the head of Scottish Power has an article in the Herald in which he reveals that his company is willing to take steps to keep the lights on. But only if a large enough bung is sent Scottish Power's way.

One thing that remains constant in this period of change is security of supply. To help achieve this, ScottishPower is investing around £8 billion over the next five years, mainly in renewables and networks. But with renewables, the wind doesn't always blow, so having sufficient flexible back-up generation is vital. We plan to invest in further gas-fired generation to do exactly that. And 50 years after our Cruachan pumped storage plant first provided the benefit of instant generation to meet demand peaks, we intend to double its capacity if it proves economic to do so with appropriate incentives.

The next 12 months are going to be rather interesting.


Who would have guessed it? Green studies indoctrinate not educate

I would have loved to be there when Brown University environmental studies student Jaqueline Ho suddenly realised that the course she had (presumably) forked out oodles of cash for was not actually an education at all. It turned out to be just a very expensive brainwashing exercise. Can you imagine the look on her face?

At Brown, ideas first planted by [Bill] McKibben were reinforced in courses where she read classics by Aldo Leopold and Garrett Hardin, along with recent books by Van Jones and Elizabeth Kolbert.

With these authors anchoring her understanding, it was easy for Ho to believe about climate change “that fossil fuel corporations were to blame, that we had a suite of low-carbon technologies we could deploy immediately, and that grassroots solutions held promise,” she recalls.

Click to read more ...