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.
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:
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.
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...
Updated on Jun 24, 2014 by Bishop Hill
Updated on Jun 24, 2014 by Bishop 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.
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.
Updated on Jun 23, 2014 by Bishop Hill
Updated on Jun 23, 2014 by Bishop 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.
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.
The Geological Society is having a conference today on "Communicating Contested Geoscience", featuring sessions on carbon capture and storage and shale gas, and hearing from people like Iain Stewart and David Mackay.
I was interested by some tweets about Professor David Manning, the Geolsoc President, who was giving a keynote address at the start of the conference:
The news that is rocking the world this morning is that the head of NATO has said that the Russians are funding a sophisticated plot to undermine shale gas development in the west.
Russian agents are secretly working with environmental campaigners to halt fracking operations in the UK and the rest of Europe, the head of Nato warned yesterday.
Vladimir Putin’s government has ‘engaged actively’ with green groups and protesters in a sophisticated operation aimed at maintaining Europe’s reliance on energy exports from Moscow, said Nato Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen.
He said the Russians had mounted a highly developed disinformation campaign to undermine attempts to exploit alternative energy sources such as shale gas.
When you think about it, it's pretty unlikely that Putin wouldn't be doing everything he could to undermine shale gas development in the West, given the centrality of oil and gas to the Russian economy. Nevertheless it's surprising that NATO have come right out and said so.
I wonder what Vangel has to say about it?
Matt Ridley has an excellent article in the Financial Post, looking at the IPCC's greenhouse gas concentration pathways. He finds that some of them are a trifle odd and that it's rather hard to produce predictions of catastrophe from them:
...even if you pile crazy assumption upon crazy assumption till you have an edifice of vanishingly small probability, you cannot even manage to make climate change cause minor damage in the time of our grandchildren, let alone catastrophe. That’s not me saying this – it’s the IPCC itself.
This video, of Matt speaking in Canada is also well worth a look.
Caleb Rossiter, the scientist blacklisted by a Washington thinktank for his temerity in asking awkward questions over global warming is interviewed by a website entitled The College Fix. This is amazing stuff.
“So there is really two big statistical questions: what caused the little warming, and what effect did the warming have on these other climate variables?” he said. “I am a pretty decent statistician, I have taught for many, many years. The data that support the headlines are very, very weak, very, very notional, and simply not logical.”
Or what about this?
"I have had students who are very strongly pro-the global warming movement in my classes, of course, because most young people have heard this already,” he said. “And when I have them actually do the study, and take apart an IPCC [International Panel on Climate Change] claim, sometimes they break into tears, and they say ‘I can’t believe this is the only class I’ve ever been in in which anyone has ever told me there is even an issue.’”