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Perpetual motion

A new blog on the block - Perpetual Motion is the online home of Colin McInnes, professor of engineering at Strathclyde University, and is focused on engineering, energy and the environment.


Discussion page

I have now added a forum to this site as a home for off topic conversations and anything else people want to talk about.

The link is in the navigation bar.


Rolls Royce minds

A must-hear interview with Jill Duggan, the bureaucrat in charge of Britain's emissions trading scheme. The Australians who are conducting the interview are worried that perhaps an ETS is not such a good idea.

Having heard the interview you will understand why they feel this way - Duggan's performance is truly catastrophic, with our the woman from Whitehall apparently unable to quantify either the costs or the benefits of the scheme she runs. It's hilarious, toe-curling and utterly compelling.

These, ladies and gentlemen, are the Rolls Royce minds that run the UK these days.

Excerpt (2Mb)


Perverse incentives in the ivory tower

From the comments at Judith Curry's blog, a contribution from economist, Curt Doolittle.

The degree to which the academic scientific community in the west, since the 1970s has undermined scientific credibility is not understood in the incestuous circle of academia. To counter this effect: Write books not papers. Falsify your own work. Seek to justify opposing views. Ruthlessly attack others who undermine scientific credibility in the public debate. Reduce the number of graduate students and hide their work unless it is extremely well argued (this is a contrary incentive). It’s not about writing stories. It’s about doing good science. And right now, climate science is insufficiently articulated for human beings to justify paying the huge cost associated with the apocalyptic visions. Human beings are rational. They just need a rational argument and to understand the costs and benefits in relation to all their other costs and benefits.

The whole comment is worth a read.

I wonder where Sir Paul Nurse stands on the perverse incentives of academics?


The wind from Hawaii

Science has obtained statements from Eugene Wahl and Michael Mann regarding recent reports about the "delete all emails" episode. The major point of interest is that, Mann says that, contrary to some reports, he said nothing to Wahl, merely forwarding Jones' request to the AR4 delete emails:

Mann, reached on vacation in Hawaii, said the stories yesterday were "libelous" and false. "They're spreading a lie about me," he said of the Web sites. "This has been known for a year and a half that all I did was forward Phil's e-mail to Eugene." Asked why he sent the e-mail to his colleague, Mann said, "I felt Eugene Wahl had to be aware of this e-mail … it could be used against him. I didn't delete any e-mails and nor did I tell Wahl to delete any e-mails." Why didn't Mann call Wahl to discuss the odd request? "I was so busy. It's much easier to e-mail somebody. No where did I approve of the instruction to destroy e-mails."

Wahl confirms Mann's story in a separate statement.

I must say, I wasn't aware that Mann had added nothing. Does anyone know where this was revealed?


Paul Nurse on sceptics again

Paul Nurse was interviewed by journalist Charlie Rose recently. The video can be seen here, with a transcript on the same page. Much of the conversation is only of indirect relevance to readers here, but there are parts of the interview - when Nurse revisits the subject of scepticism - which are fascinating.

PAUL NURSE:  Science is important because it’s the most reliable way of gaining knowledge about the world and ourselves.  There’s something about science and the way we do it.  It’s to do with respect for observation and experiment.  So you don’t cherry pick data.  Half the problem with all the climate change debate .


Click to read more ...


Josh 85

More cartoons by Josh here.


As if things weren't bad enough

The EU continues its efforts to deindustrialise the entire continent:

Europe's climate chief has beaten off intense lobbying from businesses to secure a key victory in the battle over greenhouse gas targets.

Connie Hedegaard, the EU climate change commissioner, published on Tuesday afternoon her long-awaited report into how the EU can toughen its climate targets in a cost-effective manner, with a proposal that the EU could raise its current targets on emissions cuts from 20% emissions cuts to 25% cuts by 2020.

I think this is going to turn out very badly.



Josh 84

To go with this post at WUWT.


Aiding and abetting

An article by Chris Horner looks at the question of whether Michael Mann was involved in deletion of emails during the aftermath of the IPCC's Fourth Assessment Report. Mann was apparently asked whether he was involved, directly or indirectly, in any such actions. His reply was that he deleted nothing.

Horner's point is that we now know from the investigation of Wahl that Mann was involved. As he helpfully paraphrases:

PSU: This is potentially very grave. We must know: Did you do A or B?

Mann: I did not do A.

PSU: Ah. There we go. It appears there is no evidence he did A or B.



Enviromentalists trashing the environment (again)

A few months back there was a report that the low-energy lightbulbs demanded by environmentalists and served up by a complicit government are causing dangerously high levels of mercury in children's bedrooms. Now, in strangely similar news, it is reported that recycled cardboard is causing some foods to have dangerously high levels of mineral oils.

Researchers found toxic chemicals from recycled newspapers had contaminated food sold in many cardboard cartons.

The chemicals, known as mineral oils, come from printing inks.

Cereal firm Jordans has stopped using recycled cardboard and other firms are to ensure their recycled packaging does not contain any toxic oils.


Ask a Green a question

Questions have been invited for a Green question time at the University of Oxford this Thursday. The panel features Myles Allen amongst others and the theme is on John Beddington's "Perfect Storm" theory, which supposes that if sufficient funds can't be raised from the prospect of global warming then it should be possible to drum up interest from scaremongering on other fronts (I'm paraphrasing here somewhat).

Final Session: Perfect Storm "Question Time Panel" 5.30pm Thursday 10 March 2011

Please send your questions to: by 12pm Wednesday 9 March 2011


  • Professor Myles Allen, Professor-elect of Geosystem Science, SoGE, and Leader, Climate Dynamics, Department of Physics, University of Oxford
  • Professor Jim Hall, Director ECI, Professor of Climate and Environmental Risks, University of Oxford
  • Dr Steve Jennings, Head of Programme Policy Team, Oxfam
  • Professor Chris Leaver CBE, Emeritus Professor, Department of Plant Sciences, University of Oxford
  • Mr Colin Tudge, Author and co-Founder, Campaign for Real Farming



Tim Flannery on Andrew Marr

The BBC is back to full frontal global warming propaganda, with Tim Flannery given the promotional treatment on Start the Week this morning. By happy chance, I switched the radio off this morning before the show started.

Someone recently noted that it doesn't matter how often the Flanneries of the world are wrong, or how wrong (and Flannery has banged on endlessly about drought in Australia). They will always get a sympathetic hearing on the BBC.



I may have a fix for the commenting problem. It's DNS related so may take 24-48 hours to take effect.

Fingers crossed.


Josh 83

Josh writes: "her actual quote was 'If we are to overcome the climate crisis we must move on to the equivalent of a war footing' and she then likened the leadership this would require to Tony Blair's in taking us to war in Iraq"