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Monday
Apr072014

More Lewdness

The Lewandowsky affair shows no signs of dying down. Following Frontiers' decision to kill off the 'Recursive Fury' paper once and for all, Lewandowsky has responded by setting out his thoughts in a post at his own blog.

In this version of events the original retraction notice was agreed between the legal teams of Frontiers and the authors (is it normal to get the lawyers involved for this kind of thing?) and Lewandowsky is highlighting discrepancies between what was said in that document and what Frontiers claimed in its subsequent clarification notice.

Click to read more ...

Sunday
Apr062014

The closed archive

While looking for something else I chanced upon the Royal Society's webpage documenting its official records. On a whim I looked at the record for the minutes of the Science Policy Advisory Group and was surprised to see this:

Although the society's archives are not public - it is a private organisation, at least in form - the statutes give the Fellows a right of access.

Click to read more ...

Sunday
Apr062014

The climate mob targets Tol

David Rose has another stunning piece in the Mail on Sunday, this time describing the smear campaign against Richard Tol, whose temerity in trying to distance himself from the sexing up of the WGII Summary for Policymakers has incurred the wrath of the climate mob.

The spread also features a useful analysis of the changes wrought by the political intervention into the SPM drafting process and documents some cynical and entirely predictable dishonesty from Bob Ward.

Read it here.

Saturday
Apr052014

The Lew letters

Steve McIntyre and Barry Woods have published their correspondence relating to Lewandowsky's paper- Steve's complaint to Frontiers in Psychology and the University of Western Australia about breaches of the various ethical codes and Barry's attempts to get hold of the underlying data from the University of Western Australia.

This correspondence and the failure of the university to act upon any of it suggests that the problem at UWA is not restricted to one rogue researcher. The ethical failures seem to go right to the top.

 

Saturday
Apr052014

Ed Davey leads the charge to nowhere - Josh 269

H/t Richard Drake and Robin Guenier for describing Ed Davey, our lost and confused Energy & Climate Change Secretary, as a Solitary Lemming - see here. Ed has been saying that "Britain must lead the international battle against global warming". It's not been a good week for the Lib Dems has it.

Cartoons by Josh

Friday
Apr042014

The final Frontiers

Frontiers, the journal that published and subsequently retracted Lewandowsky's notorious 'Recursive Fury' paper has issued a statement in an apparent attempt to draw a line under the affair. It at least seems to have put an end to suggestions that threats of libel action had anything to do with their decision. In fact the statement could be construed as "throwing Lewandowsky under the bus".

Retraction of Recursive Fury: A Statement

(Lausanne, Switzerland) – There has been a series of media reports concerning the recent retraction of the paper Recursive Fury: Conspiracist ideation in the blogosphere in response to research on conspiracist ideation, originally published on 18 March 2013 in Frontiers in Psychology. Until now, our policy has been to handle this matter with discretion out of consideration for all those concerned. But given the extent of the media coverage – largely based on misunderstanding – Frontiers would now like to better clarify the context behind the retraction.

Click to read more ...

Thursday
Apr032014

The Economist goes all lukewarm and pragmatic

In a must-read article, the Economist has decided that climate is no longer the only problem in the world and that decarbonising the economy in a futile attempt to stop climate change is a fool's errand.

Until now, many of them have thought of the climate as a problem like no other: its severity determined by meteorological factors, such as the interaction between clouds, winds and oceans; not much influenced by “lesser” problems, like rural development; and best dealt with by trying to stop it (by reducing greenhouse-gas emissions). The new report breaks with this approach. It sees the climate as one problem among many, the severity of which is often determined by its interaction with those other problems. And the right policies frequently try to lessen the burden—to adapt to change, rather than attempting to stop it. In that respect, then, this report marks the end of climate exceptionalism and the beginning of realism.

On the policy front at least, we seem to be getting somewhere.

Read the whole thing.

Thursday
Apr032014

The Lords on Working Group II

There was an amusing exchange in the Lords this morning, when Matt Ridley questioned Baroness Verma about the Working Group II report (from 24 mins)

Click to read more ...

Thursday
Apr032014

Who are the deniers now?

In the Spectator this week, Matt Ridley looks at the Working Group II report and notes the similarities between the IPCC's new line and that advocated by frontlines sceptic like Nigel Lawson.

Nigel Lawson was right after all. Ever since the Centre for Policy Studies lecture in 2006 that launched the former chancellor on his late career as a critic of global warming policy, Lord Lawson has been stressing the need to adapt to climate change, rather than throw public money at futile attempts to prevent it. Until now, the official line has been largely to ignore adaptation and focus instead on ‘mitigation’ — the misleading term for preventing carbon dioxide emissions.

That has now changed. The received wisdom on global warming, published by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, was updated this week. The newspapers were, as always, full of stories about scientists being even more certain of environmental Armageddon. But the document itself revealed a far more striking story: it emphasised, again and again, the need to adapt to climate change. Even in the main text of the press release that accompanied the report, the word ‘adaptation’ occurred ten times, the word ‘mitigation’ not at all.

Amazing. Read the whole thing.

Thursday
Apr032014

Ward versus Tol

I am somewhat in awe of Channel Four news. I mean, Bob Ward writes a post criticising Richard Tol on an obscure page on the LSE website and Jon Snow, Cathy Newman et al leap into action to interrogate Tol on air. Not only that, but Ward is invited on to put his own case to Tol and Newman repeatedly accuses Tol of "having an agenda" because he is an unpaid adviser to GWPF while Ward, the paid mouthpiece for a wealthy environmentalist, is given a free ride. All that from a blog post!

I must say, the interview was distinctly uninformative, with Newman and Ward apparently trying to suggest that because Tol's paper is the only one showing benefits from warming (there are only two that have examined the case of warming of 1°C), his allegation of scaremongering by the IPCC is wrong. If ever there was a non-sequitur this is it. As Tol points out, the other studies for warming of a few degrees show net harm that is indistinguishable from zero. Calls for panic are indeed over the top.

Wednesday
Apr022014

Oversensitive.org

Nic Lewis and Marcel Crok have just launched Oversensitive.org, a new website to document the responses to their GWPF report of the same name. Of particular interest is a post outlining Jonathan Gregory's claim that he had shown that the method used by Lewis underestimates climate sensitivity.

It seems that (surprise, surprise!) Gregory's case is based on the output of a climate model, although he neglects to say so. To put forward a hypothesis and to claim it as a proof is shoddy stuff, but all too predictable in the world of climate science.

Reading between the lines it looks as if Gregory has misunderstood the Lewis method and is now rather stubbornly refusing to admit that his mistake.

 

Wednesday
Apr022014

Crossroads

I've gone on record in the past as saying that the Royal Society is little more than a political campaigning body, a criticism that I understand has not gone down too well at Carlton House Gardens. I was therefore interested to see the SciTech Committee's reminder that the Royal benefits from considerable quantities of public funding, and a suggestion that it might like to pull its weight on the public relations front (although Sir Paul Nurse's considerable campaigning efforts are noted approvingly):

89. The Royal Society receives the majority of its funding, £47.1 million a year, from the Government. Block 2 of its delivery plan up to 2015 is for Science Communication and  Education but, of the £515,000 a year allocated to science communication since 2011, very little appears to have been spent on communicating on climate science. The public profile the Society has on this issue is due to the ongoing debate about climate science taking place directly between Sir Paul Nurse, President of the Royal Society, and Lord Lawson from the Global Warming Policy foundation. This debate has been widely reported in the press.

90. Sir Paul Nurse has very publicly engaged with prominent climate sceptics in the past. But the same is not true of the Royal Society as a whole. The launch of its joint report with the US National Academy of Sciences could have been used better to promote and communicate accurately the most up-to-date science to a non-specialist audience.

Click to read more ...

Wednesday
Apr022014

Losing hearts and minds

One of the issues that has been exercising the minds of both pro- and anti-shale gas sides is the possibility that the law of trespass might be used to prevent drilling under private property. It seems that the government is to move to extend the get out clause used by coal miners:

The reform of the law would extend the existing rights of water, gas and coal mining firms, set out in the Coal Act 1998, to go under people’s land without permission.

Compensation of around £100 is likely to be offered to landowners.

The revamp would also apply to the geothermal wells that harness heat from deep in the earth.

Hmm. I'm not sure that £100 is going to change the perception that people are being forced to accept drilling under their land and potentially their homes as well. Of course the risks are minute - the wells have a tiny cross-section and are miles below the surface - but the perception of coercion will remain. Hearts and minds will be lost. This is a recipe for years of protest and struggle.

I maintain that a better approach would be to repeal the Petroleum Production Act 1934 and return the oil and gas resources to landowners. But what do I know?

Wednesday
Apr022014

Dealing with DECC

Alex Henney sends me a 2012 article from the journal New Power, in which he and Fred Udo examine electricity grids in several countries around the world and assess how the use of wind turbines has affected the carbon intensity of the power generated. Suffice it to say that it's not quite what the environmentalists intended.

What is particularly interesting is that the article prompted a response from DECC, whose ability to misunderstand the arguments presented is something to behold, and the resulting correspondence is appended to the end of the file.

 

Henney and Udo

Wednesday
Apr022014

What the IPCC left out

Rupert Darwall has a smashing post in the National Review examining the IPCC's cherrypicking and its failure to report the benefits of global warming:

...the summary speaks of rapid price increases following climate extremes since the 2007 report. This negligence amounts to downright dishonesty, as the summary omits mention of one of the principal causes of the 2007–08 spike in food prices, which is highlighted in the main body of the report. It was not climate change that increased food costs, but climate policies in the form of increased use of food crops in biofuel production, exacerbated by higher oil prices and government embargoes on food exports.

Read the whole thing.