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Thursday
Mar262015

The green blob and its double standards

I'm grateful to Ben Pile and Barry Woods for these observations about the latest edition of Nature Climate Change, a special with a focus on climate change and the media.

Barry noted that it featured articles by Leo Hickman, now of Carbon Brief, and Richard Black, now of the Energy and Climate Change Information Unit. By strange coincidence, both of these organisations are funded by the European Climate Foundation (ECF), a conduit for funding sent by green billionaires.

Ben then pointed out that the author of another article - James Painter of the Reuters School of Journalism - was not only the son in law of Crispin Tickell but also the beneficiary of considerable funding from the self-same ECF. Another coincidence, no doubt, but one that meant that no fewer than three of the five articles in the special feature were written by ECF-funded authors.

Click to read more ...

Thursday
Mar262015

Quote of the day, unconvincing edition

In a remarkably clear-sighted article at The Federalist, David Harsanyi seems to put is finger on why the illiberal left have failed quite so badly to convince anyone that they are right on climate change.

By declaring the conversation over, you’re done trying to convince anyone.

Thursday
Mar262015

A question for David Spiegelhalter

Updated on Mar 26, 2015 by Registered CommenterBishop Hill

I have a lot of time for David Spiegelhalter, the Cambridge University statistician who has become something of a go-to guy for the media on matters statistical. You certainly warm towards him when he sticks his head above the parapet to throttle a media health scare at source, as he did yesterday, responding to an article in the Telegraph that claimed that three alcoholic drinks a day could cause liver cancer.

There's no doubt that excessive drinking is bad for you and those around you. But does this justify exaggerated and misleading claims? They got their publicity, but perhaps the WCRF should value its scientific credibility a bit more.

Click to read more ...

Wednesday
Mar252015

Quote of the day, political power edition

I believe that climate moralists are impervious to the adverse impact of their policies because their morality is closely interwoven with misunderstanding of economics, distaste for capitalism, lack of interest in history and the overwhelming desire of their psychic elephants to dictate how other people should live.

The climate issue has to be seen as the latest chapter in the two century long battle to use the alleged moral shortcomings of capitalism to justify political power.

Peter Foster places the climate debate in its historical context

Wednesday
Mar252015

Why is Lord Deben against "food waste"?

Lord Deben has been a busy boy again in recent days, making the keynote speech at a conference about waste management in the food industry.

Former farm minister and environment secretary, Lord Deben (pictured), has called for a ban on food waste to landfill while speaking at Waste-Works today (23 March)...

The Rt Hon. John Gummer, Chairman of the UK’s Committee on Climate Change and sustainability consultancy Sancroft International, chaired the event’s keynote session and took part in a discussion on changing attitudes to food waste and sustainable procurement.

Click to read more ...

Wednesday
Mar252015

Peter Foster on morality, evolution and me

The text of Peter Foster's talk at the House of Lords yesterday has been published by the GWPF and it's a fascinating read, taking in subjects as diverse as evolutionary psychology, economics (particularly of the DIY kind), Climategate, and the books of AW Montford.

It can be seen here.

Wednesday
Mar252015

The Institute of Physics is corrupt

Richard Tol has posted up a review of the strange affair of the "97% consensus", as the second anniversary of Cook's infamous paper draws near. An edited version has apparently been published in the Australian.

The sample was padded with irrelevant papers. An article about TV coverage on global warming was taken as evidence for global warming. In fact, about three-quarters of the papers counted as endorsements had nothing to say about the subject matter.

Requests for the data were met with evasion and foot-dragging, a clear breach of the publisher’s policy on validation and reproduction, yet defended by an editorial board member of the journal as “exemplary scientific conduct”.

Click to read more ...

Tuesday
Mar242015

Did Catherine duck?

Today's New Scientist article by Catherine Brahic on the subject of climate change and healthcare is a bit odd. Under a headline about "the rising threat of climate change", Brahic begins by describing the single-degree rise in temperatures since the 1960s....

Average UK temperatures have been rising by about 0.25 °C a decade since the 1960s

...although skipping over the fall in the average since the end of the last century. She then elides straight into the obligatory, uncaveated scaremongering about what GCMs say is going to happen in the future before moving swiftly on to "death rates go up in heatwaves" and the obligatory failure to mention what happens to cold-related deaths.

Click to read more ...

Tuesday
Mar242015

The climate scare overturning circulation

Anthony is having lots of fun with the latest scare paper that is doing the rounds of the media, which tries to breathe life into the somewhat hackneyed "ocean currents are about to halt" scare.

Published by Nature and with a team including Mann and Rutherford, you know the paper's entertainment value is going to be high and the authors certainly don't let us down, declaring on the basis of a proxy study (!) that ocean currents in the Atlantic are slowing down and everything is worse than we thought. But as Anthony points out, this is a stark contrast with an earlier observational paper by Rossby et al that found no evidence of any slowing at all. In fact there's a bit of a mystery here:

Click to read more ...

Tuesday
Mar242015

Guardian mob attacks: reports were accurate

The BBC has interviewed an eyewitness to the Guardian mob attack on Nigel Farage and has confirmed the accuracy of the original reports:

There was lots of noise and kerfuffle. It was harassment, there was no reasoning with them.

Enough to frighten the living daylights out of a ten-year old I would have thought.

Monday
Mar232015

Longannet to close

The BBC reports that the Longannet power station is to close in 2016.

Scottish Power has announced plans to close its huge coal-fired power station at Longannet in Fife early next year.

The move comes after the energy firm failed to win a crucial contract from National Grid.

Scottish Power said it was "extremely disappointed" at National Grid's decision.

The Greens are celebrating.

Gina Hanrahan, from WWF Scotland, said National Grid's announcement was "another important step in Scotland's energy transition".

The correspondent who pointed the story out to me (to whom many thanks are due) adds this:

National Grid have given a £15million contract to maintain grid voltage to [the gas-fired station in] Peterhead, but that is for only 385MW of the station's potential 1.2GW. 

Longannet is 1.8GW (2.4 in theory but they don't like to crank it up nowadays).  So a net loss of 1.4GW capacity and a significant loss of grid inertia.  It's maybe not the best analogy, but National Grid are now sailing very close to the wind.

Monday
Mar232015

National Trust wants to clearcut North American forests

Dame Helen Ghosh, the former Whitehall bureaucrat who now runs the National Trust, was on the Today programme this morning explaining why climate change is the biggest threat to the Trust's work.

Pressed to explain herself, Dame Helen had almost nothing to justify her position, apart from a suggestion that the Trust likes to address the issues of the day. This came across to me as saying "we just jump on any passing bandwagon, it's good for business".

She did mumble something about declines in house sparrow and hedgehog populations. Unfortunately for this case, the fall in sparrow numbers appears to be due to changes in farming practices, to cats, and to pesticides, and in hedgehog numbers because of habitat loss. Dame Helen is therefore engaging in some pretty misleading scaremongering on the climate front.

When pressed on whether people should stop burning fossil fuels she again waffled, before saying that the Trust was going to be getting most of its energy from renewables. Interestingly, she didn't mention windfarms, no doubt because she might have been hammered on the "desecration of the uplands" front (although on the BBC she would presumably have been safe enough). Instead she spoke of hydro schemes and biomass boilers.

Given that wood pellets are being imported from North American forests that are clearcut for the purpose, this does seem quite a strange policy for the National Trust to adopt. Is this really what the National Trust wants to see happening?

Monday
Mar232015

Ringberg

Climate sensitivity experts from around the world are spending the next week at a castle in Germany. The Ringberg conference features a stellar cast of speakers who will look at the latest developments in the area.

For readers who are on Twitter, highlights of the discussions can be seen on the Ringberg15 hashtag. Some BH regulars will be interested in one of the first tweets, from Gavin Schmidt:

Knutti and Gregory giving lots of examples of how simple assumptions in forcing/feedback paradigm break down.

 

Sunday
Mar222015

Farage mob leader is Guardian writer

The news that UKIP leader Nigel Farage and his family were attacked in a pub this afternoon would be interesting enough at the best of times, but for BH readers there are many other angles that attract attention besides the thuggery.

If early reports are to be believed, the mob was organised by a guy called Dan Glass, a former leader of the Student Union at the University of Sussex, but who was also involved with the green group Plane Stupid. They too had a dubious relationship with the concept of law and order.

He is also a "Guardian Youth Climate Leader" and an occasional Guardian columnist. One can't help but wonder why so many writers at the Graun seem to be mixed up with violence and thuggery these days.

Sunday
Mar222015

Greens suspend Viv

Vivienne Westwood has been suspended by the Green Party, say the Telegraph this morning. Not, it seems, because of her promotion of assaults of academics but because of her - rather hypocritical but considerably less blameworthy - tendency to tax avoidance.

O tempora! O mores!

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