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The Old Lady of Eco Street

The Governor of the Bank of England, Mark Carney first came to the attention of BH readers when, at the time of his appointment, it was noted that his wife Diana was (and is) a fervent supporter of the green movement (and redistribution as well as being against conspicuous consumption).

It's therefore interesting to read today that Mr Carney has told a World Bank seminar that fossil fuels must remain unused:

Mark Carney has re-emphasised his support for the idea that oil companies’ reserves could be stranded assets – still valued by investors, but ultimately going to embody losses.

“The vast majority of reserves are unburnable,” the Bank of England governor said – if the world is to avoid catastrophic climate change.

Thinking of hydrocarbon deposits as stranded assets has gained prominence in recent years, helped by movements like the US student drive to persuade university endowments to disinvest from fossil fuel companies.

Apparently Mr Carney wants companies to report more holistically on their business strategy and "how it relates to stakeholders of all kinds, now and in the future...[so that] all groups can express their view, and influence the allocation of capital and credit today".

Given Mrs Carney's views on equality, and Mr Carney's views on outsiders giving their opinions on allocation of private assets, could the Carney family please allocate some of their (considerable) capital to mine?


Paterson urges pause for thought

Today is fraught with family athletic fixtures, so I don't have a lot of time to write anything. In the meantime, there is plenty going on, not least the splurge in the Sunday Telegraph about Owen Paterson's GWPF lecture this week.

Britain will struggle to “keep the lights on” unless the Government changes its green energy policies, the former environment secretary will warn this week.

He will argue that the 2008 Climate Change Act, which ties Britain into stringent targets to reduce the use of fossil fuels, should be suspended until other countries agree to take similar measures. If they refuse, the legislation should be scrapped altogether, he will say.

Owen Paterson will say that the Government’s plan to slash carbon emissions and rely more heavily on wind farms and other renewable energy sources is fatally flawed.

That should set the cat among the pigeons.


The Pause changes everything - Josh 296

One of the phrases alarmists like to use is to "just look out of the window" to see Global Warming aka 'Climate Change' happening right now. Presumably when they have looked out of the window these past 18 years they have seen the pause in temperatures - which should 'change everything' but I am guessing this might just be a pipe dream. Oh well, here's hoping.

Cartoons by Josh


Climate models and rainfall

I have a new briefing paper out at GWPF looking at the question of rainfall, flood and global warming. Here's the press release:

London, 10 October: A new briefing paper from the Global Warming Policy Foundation reviews the scientific literature on rainfall and floods and finds little evidence that there have been significant changes in recent years and little support for claims that they will become worse in future.

Despite claims to the contrary, there has been no significant change in rainfall trends in recent years both at global and UK levels. It remains very difficult to make strong claims about any changes there have been because of high natural variability in rainfall patterns, particularly in the UK.

Rainfall is a particularly difficult area for climate models, which have limited ability to recreate what is seen in the real world. Since these climate models are the main basis of claims that extreme rainfall and flooding events are being adversely affected by man-made global warming and that rainfall will become worse in the future, policymakers should treat such modelling with extreme caution.

Author Andrew Montford said, “We are constantly bombarded with insinuations that storms and floods are caused by or ‘linked to’ climate change.”

“In reality these claims are usually based on climate models, which have a demonstrable inability to tell us anything reliable about rainfall. The scientific evidence shows that a simple extrapolation of rainfall averages over time can give better rainfall predictions than climate models,” he added.

Here's the paper.


Ecoaudit does the sea ice

Karl Mathieson, the journalist who replaced Leo Hickman on the Guardian's ecoaudit thread seems to be doing a good job of raising interesting questions. I'm not sure the readership are quite living up to the premise of the thread, namely that they should provide scientific insights into the questions asked, but you can't say that Mathieson isn't trying.

Yesterday he raised the irritating - for climate modellers at least - question of the Antarctic sea ice and his article has several interesting points. Not least of which was this:

Dr Claire Parkinson, a senior scientist at Nasa’s Goddard Space Flight Centre, says increasing Antarctic ice does not contradict the general warming trend. Overall the Earth is losing sea ice at a rate of 35,000 sq km per year (13,514 sq miles).

If one looks at the graph of global sea ice area, I can imagine that a straight line fit through the record might have a weeny bit of a downwards trend. A loss of 35000 km2 out of something like 19 million km2 is, however, only a loss of 0.1% per year; and given that sea ice is currently above its long term average, it would be presumptious to suggest that this is anything other than natural variability. I would say that therefore that it does contradict the general warming trend.


Qui pacat?

A little flurry of stories of divestment and public distancing has caught my eye in recent days.

Glasgow University has announced that it is to sell off all the parts of its £128 million endowment that are invested in fossil-fuel-related businesses. Other universities are expected to follow suit. Meanwhile Lego has announced that it is to end its association with Shell, following a campaign by Greenpeace.

Click to read more ...


Technology issues

A few days ago I wrote about the reactions to a talk given by polar ice specialist Peter Wadhams, whose utterances at a Royal Society conference had elicited a mixture of amusement and amazement because of their lack of scientific rigour.

In an interesting development it seems that Wadhams has retaliated by attacking the conference organisers - Gavin Schmidt, Mark Brandon and Sheldon Bacon - for the latter two, writing letters of complaint directly to senior officials at their universities. The response of the organisers is here, and it's quite amusing, as it seems that Wadhams is even holding them responsible for things tweeted by people outside the meeting.



The BMJ's supersleuth

You have to laugh. Having been on the receiving end of some mild GWPF criticism for its eccentric decision to devote a large chunk of one of its issues to global warming, the British Medical Journal has retaliated. Ooh er!

The august journal has wheeled out its investigations editor, one Deborah Cohen, who has doggedly unearthed the truth behind the wicked people who have dared to challenge it. And being a highly skilled investigations editor, she has been able to get to all those hidden facts that normal people would just have missed.

Actually, she seems to have stuck "GWPF" into Google and has found her way to DeSmog.

Click to read more ...


Corruption, calamity and silliness

Richard North has been doing some interesting analysis of the new carbon capture and storage project in Saskatchewan, which was widely reported in a few days ago. Here's what the Guardian had to say at the time:

Canada has switched on the first large-scale coal-fired power plant fitted with a technology that proponents say enables the burning of fossil fuels without tipping the world into a climate catastrophe.

The project, the first commercial-scale plant equipped with carbon capture and storage technology, was held up by the coal industry as a real life example that it is possible to go on burning the dirtiest of fossil fuels while avoiding dangerous global warming.

Click to read more ...


RealClimate on Lewis and Curry

RealClimate has emerged from its latest bout of torpor to publish an article commenting on the recent Lewis and Curry climate sensitivity paper. It's written by Richard Millar, one of Myles Allen's post-docs, and the author seems to have adopted a much more businesslike tone than is normal at RC. Unfortunately, according to the first comment, which comes from Lewis himself, he hasn't got his facts right.

Richard Millar, you write

“They use the latest IPCC numbers for radiative forcing and global temperature changes, but not the latest IPCC ocean heat content data”.

The statement that Lewis and Curry (2014) does not use the latest IPCC ocean heat content data is simply untrue.

Click to read more ...


The inhumanity of the environmentalist, part 234

From time to time, I have observed that the BBC has never broadcast a programme the focus of which was criticism of environmentalism or environmentalists. It is simply not allowed. It is this kind of mindset that allows the sort of evil uncovered in this article to continue:

Survival International, the global movement for tribal peoples’ rights, has uncovered serious abuses of Baka “Pygmies” in southeast Cameroon, at the hands of anti-poaching squads supported and funded by the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF).

The Baka are being illegally forced from their ancestral homelands in the name of “conservation” because much of their land has been turned into “protected areas” – including safari-hunting zones.

Rather than target the powerful individuals behind organized poaching, wildlife officers and soldiers pursue Baka who hunt only to feed their families.


Another capacity crunch in 2018/19?

The last 48 hours has brought news of yet more pressure on the electricity grid. The good news is that the year that is currently looking most likely to bring power cuts - the winter of 2015/16 - is unaffected. The bad news is that a second capacity crunch may well be looming in 2018/19.

The first piece of bad news came when the operators of the massive Longannet coal-fired power station in Fife suggested that they will not be bidding to supply electricity in 2018/19:

Scottish Power has decided not to enter the contest to supply energy generating capacity in 2018/19, arguing financial changes are needed to avert the threat of closure.

The National Grid said it had been working closely with the industry and Ofgem to review the charging regime.

Click to read more ...


That dinner

The dinner at Nic Lewis's house the other day, at which sceptics and mainstream scientists got together to chew the fat, has already been reported by Anthony Watts. (I was invited, but unable to attend). There's now a fuller report at the Responding to Climate Change site here:

It was one of science’s strangest social events to date.

Some of the best known names in the climate debate – including Mail on Sunday journalist David Rose, blogger Anthony Watts, and Met Office scientist Richard Betts – shared salmon and civilities at a dinner party last month.

Hosted by the sceptical scientist Nicholas Lewis at his house in Bath in September, the group discussed their similarities, differences, and how they might calm the debate that rages across the pathologically provocative medium of Twitter.

“Both sides are really fed up with the outrageous alarmists who are not representing science properly. Both don’t like those who shout about it and call people names and take a polarised point of view,” says David Whitehouse from the sceptic think-tank The Global Warming Policy Foundation.

I gather that Tamsin's account will appear shortly.


Walrus inconsistencies

Updated on Oct 3, 2014 by Registered CommenterBishop Hill

The story of the Point Lay walrus haulout continues to provoke a great deal of interest. Today the reins have been taken up by Climate Progress, who have got hold of walrus expert Tony Fischbach, who wants us all to know that what we are seeing is new:

Under historical conditions, there has always been sea ice over the Chukchi Sea over the summer...This is a real change that we see thousands and tens of thousands of animals coming to shore and resting together in these large haul-outs.

Click to read more ...


Quote of the day, consumer care edition

The Department allowed inflation indexation [of contracts] because consumers are thought to be better placed to absorb the impact of high inflation than generators.

DECC explains its approach to looking after energy consumers


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