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Saturday
Jun282014

Nigel Calder

I was sad to hear of the passing of Nigel Calder, one of the founders of New Scientist and a doughty fighter against establishment science. He was one of those figures whose standing as a man of reason was unassailable and who was therefore much harder to ignore. His championing of Henrik Svensmark helped ensure that fascinating work was not crushed by mainstream climatology.

I never met him, but he was kind enough to send me some nice words for the cover of The Hockey Stick Illusion and we corresponded from time to time.

There is an obituary in the Independent.

Friday
Jun272014

Royal Society has lost the argument, cannot be trusted

Readers will remember Paul Nurse's infamous speech in Melbourne, in which he issued a fairly spectacular attack at Nigel Lawson:

We saw that, for example, in Britain with a politician, Nigel Lawson, who would go on the television and talk about the scientific case, and he was trained as a politician; you made whatever case you can to convince the audience. So he would choose two points and say, look, no warming is taking place, knowing that all the other points you chose in the 20 years around it would not support his case, but he was just wanting to win that debate on television. And that is of course over-spilling political views into your science.

As Lawson pointed out in a subsequent letter this statement was entirely untrue:

Click to read more ...

Friday
Jun272014

Lord Smith on Owen Paterson

Leo Hickman pointed this morning to an interview with Lord Smith, the head of the Environment Agency, in the Guardian this morning saying that Smith had said that "Owen Paterson does not accept that global warming is due to CO2".

As I have noted in the past, Paterson seems quite clear that carbon dioxide emissions can affect the climate, so this is a bit of a surprise. However, although the article itself repeats the allegation, the words it quotes Smith as saying about Paterson are actually about something slightly different:

He recognises weather patterns are changing and that something is happening to the climate. But he doesn’t necessarily accept that it’s down to the CO2 we are throwing into the atmosphere. I wish he had a better view on that.

Click to read more ...

Thursday
Jun262014

New BBC policy: right is wrong, wrong is right

News that the BBC continues to sing from the greens' hymnsheet is never hard to come by and so we can turn to the latest news with a sense of weary inevitability rather than any great surprise. The Today programme interview with Brian Hoskins and Nigel Lawson on the subject of the winter floods was, as readers no doubt recall, the subject of a concerted campaign from green activists and, with a certain predictability, a formal complaint or two. Anyone who has ever dealt with the BBC Editorial Standards unit will know that it can take months to get a response and years to get a ruling, but wheels seems to have been oiled to a remarkable extent for this green-tinged complaint and the Guardian now seems to have got hold of the findings, just months after the offending programme appeared:

Reviewing the broadcast, the BBC's head of editorial complaints, Fraser Steel, took a dim view. "Lord Lawson's views are not supported by the evidence from computer modelling and scientific research," Steel says, "and I don't believe this was made sufficiently clear to the audience … Furthermore the implication was that Lord Lawson's views on climate change were on an equal footing with those of Sir Brian." And they aren't. Sceptics have their place in the debate, Steel says in his provisional finding, but "it is important to ensure that such views are put into the appropriate context and given due (rather than equal) weight." Chong is only partially satisfied. He'd like a right of reply and perhaps a balancing programme. And others say "due weight" should mean not having Lawson on at all.

Click to read more ...

Thursday
Jun262014

Enviro-mental - Josh 279

Lots of stories (here and here) about Greens flying round the globe and generally living it large - they have no shame really do they.

Cartoons by Josh

Wednesday
Jun252014

Fracking off target

Updated on Jun 26, 2014 by Registered CommenterBishop Hill

Earlier today I came across a tweet from Frack Off, referring to a new site they had occupied at Davyhulme, just 1 km or so away from the Barton Moss site.

 

Click to read more ...

Wednesday
Jun252014

The greens and government

Further to the Greenpeace-go-by-air story this week, Richard North looks at the infiltration of environmentalists into our political governance. This is eye-opening stuff:

As we see the march of globalisation progress, the Green 10 (all of them funded by the EU, except Greenpeace - the WWT between 2007-2012 having grabbed a massive €53,813,343 for its services to itself and the EU empire), are supporting their paymaster, "promoting EU environmental leadership in the global political arena", helping it act at a global level.

Wednesday
Jun252014

Scenes from an ERCfest

The UK Energy Research Centre is a kind of retirement home for greens, where environmentalists go to spend their declining years writing political pamphlets at your expense. Back in March you paid for them and some of their colleagues in green NGOs to hold a conference entitled "Breaking the Deadlock", about how better communication of climate change can help win political battles for the eco-movement. There were some familiar names involved - Chris Rapley and Adam Corner for example - plus representatives of organisations like COIN and the Transition Towns and with a cast of that nature it's not surprising that there was much of interest; notes of what went on have now been published.

I was much amused by Adam Corner's apparently being upset that media people and scientists didn't invent enough spurious links between last winter's floods and climate change:

Click to read more ...

Tuesday
Jun242014

A Very Important Commission

University College London has set up a grandly-named "Policy Commission on the Communication of Climate Science" and today the team, led by Professor Chris Rapley, has issued its much anticipated report.

Having scanned a few pages, it comes over as just what you'd expect: we learn that GWPF is a "right-wing think tank" and that "Riley Dunlap and Peter Jacques, based on a study of over 100 climate-change-dismissive books, identify strong links to conservative think-tanks".  (The latter paper was covered at BH here, where I noted its bonkers allegation that my publisher is "overtly conservative"). There is also an approving link to Suzanne Goldenberg's specious claim that we sceptics have a billion dollars a year to spend and another to Skeptical Science. Still, this sort of idiocy is no doubt good enough for a Very Important Policy Commission.

Click to read more ...

Tuesday
Jun242014

Watts reasons with Goddard

Over at Reason magazine, Anthony Watts is very critical of "Stephen Goddard" over claims he made that US temperature records have been fiddled.

Some segments of the Internet are abuzz with the claim by climate change skeptic Steven Goddard (Tony Heller) over at his Real Science blog that NASA/NOAA have been jiggering the numbers so that they can claim that warmest years in the continental United States occurred recently, not back in the 1930s. Folks, please watch out for confirmation bias.

Via email, I asked Anthony Watts, proprietor of WattsUpWithThat, what he thinks of Goddard's claims. He responded...

Read the whole thing.

 

Tuesday
Jun242014

Parliamentary links day

Updated on Jun 24, 2014 by Registered CommenterBishop Hill

Updated on Jun 24, 2014 by Registered CommenterBishop Hill

The House of Commons is having a "links day" in which MPs will get together with scientists to discuss the issue of trust in science. Mark Walport and Paul Nurse will be speaking. I've been following the tweets on the #linksday2014 hashtag and they are a mixed bunch so far.

For example, we learn that Nicola Gulley, the editorial director of the Institute of Physics opined that:

...peer review key to maintaining trust in science. No crisis but a lack of understanding of this process. 

You can see why someone working in the peer-reviewed journal sector might be keen on peer reviewed science, but for many readers at BH and many others uninvolved with the climate debate, peer review - its ineffectiveness, the superficial aura of "correctness" it gives, and the problem of gatekeeping - are the source of mistrust in science not a solution to it.

Click to read more ...

Monday
Jun232014

Help needed

This is a guest post by David Holland

Readers may be aware that after WGI’s AR5 Report was released last year, I requested the Review Editors’ Reports from DECC, and from the Universities of Reading and Cambridge. The officials at DECC, who had moved across from Defra, followed their custom of making sure they do not to hold anything they might have to disclose. They took no steps to possess them and denied holding them. Reading appeared to have learnt from its AR4 experience and released the ones it held without a fuss. But Cambridge refused. I did not choose the title, “Regulator Capture”, in the Bishop Hill post on this matter, but now as I deal with my Tribunal written submission on Cambridge, it looks appropriate. The University of Cambridge claim that Professor Peter Wadhams’ records were not held to any extent for its own purposes because he had served the IPCC in a private capacity - just as Met Office Chief Scientist, John Mitchell, and others had claimed, unsuccessfully, in 2008. For this excuse Cambridge are relying on a relatively new Advice Note that I hope to convince the Tribunal has no basis in law.

Click to read more ...

Monday
Jun232014

Inhumanity again

A Madagasy student named Navid Rakotofala has had a great deal of fun inventing outrageous anti-GMO posters and watching environmentalists uncritically reproduce them, regardless of how inhuman and unfeeling the thoughts expressed. Here's an example of his work:

Click to read more ...

Monday
Jun232014

Greenpeace: incompetence and hypocrisy

Updated on Jun 23, 2014 by Registered CommenterBishop Hill

Updated on Jun 23, 2014 by Registered CommenterBishop Hill

The Guardian has an astonishing splash on Greenpeace. Based on documents leaked from the activists' HQ, it appears that the finance department has been in chaos for years.

The handling of Greenpeace International’s £58m budget has been in disarray for years, with its finance team beset by personnel problems and a lack of rigorous processes, leading to errors, substandard work and a souring of relationships between its Amsterdam HQ and offices around the world, documents and emails leaked to the Guardian show.

A board minute is quoted that suggests that the internal financial controls are just a bit on the weak side:

[the board] is particularly troubled by...the lack of strong, coherent processes and controls that prevent the possibility that contracts can be entered into without due authorisation.

Click to read more ...

Monday
Jun232014

Falling prices, falling windfarms

The FT notes an interesting side effect of falling wholesale electricity prices in the UK: as prices come down the subsidy paid to windfarms increases. Now at first sight this would appear to represent something of a dark cloud for the consumer, but in fact there is a substantial silver lining. Because the total amount of subsidy has been capped, there is effectively a limited pot of money and if the analysis of prices coming down faster than predicted is correct then that pot is going to be eaten up faster than expected:

This could have worrying implications for many big offshore wind projects in development, which are heavily reliant on state incentives.

The UK needs such projects to go ahead if it is to meet its legally binding target of generating 15 per cent of energy from renewable sources by 2020.

Signs have emerged that concerns about the size of the subsidy are already having a chilling effect.

So if they carry on in their current vein, the Westminster geniuses may achieve the remarkable feat of fixing the market in such a way that nobody is willing to build any new power plant of any kind.

Astonishing, when you think about it.

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