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Holyrood smothers another new industry at birth

Cluff Natural Resources has stopped all work on its plans for underground coal gasification in the Firth of Forth. There seems to be a strong hint that the are turning their backs on the development for good.

The Holyrood administration's moratorium has killed off coalbed methane development north of the border completely. It now looks as if they have done for UCG as well.

It's hard to imagine any unsubsidised industrial business wanting to invest in Scotland when the administration is at the beck and call of the greens.


The BBC and the chief scientist

Ben Pile highlights a fascinating comment at Guido's blog:

In 2010, I was on a research trip to an area north of Svalbard. We were lucky enough to have a So-Called BBC journalist along for the ride. Unfortunately, my cabin was very close to his which meant that I had to listen to him editing his riveting reports about Climate Change™ before they were broadcast on BBC Climate Change 24. He'd just interviewed a Danish glaciologist that we had with us who explained a process with the sea ice that was "a negative feedback" (contrary to climate change bollox). I heard Mr X, the journalist, rewind and replay the tape about 5 times before he finally rang the chief scientist for advice because "I'm not sure this is putting out the right message...."

This raises a few questions: is this the government chief scientist that is referred to? And who was the BBC journalist? I'm struggling to find a BBC article about Svalbard around that time.

It would be extraordinary if the BBC was contacting the GCSA for "lines to take".


Teaching values

There is a rather interesting article in Times Higher Education about Joanna Williams, an academic who has taken it upon herself to criticise the close-mindedness of the academy. She has this to say about global warming and environmentalism.

I am not a climate-change denier, but I think it should be discussed and not placed beyond discussion – and I certainly don’t think that the response we have as a society is beyond discussion,” she says. “Sustainability is one solution, but there might also be more technological solutions. But, within higher education, sustainability has become a major topic and is taught as a moral value. You assess ‘Are your students demonstrating sustainability?’ rather than ‘Is sustainability the only response?’…You can see even in the titles of some courses that sustainability is the answer…As soon as you present something as a value and assess students on that value, you are putting things beyond debate.



Sticking one's neck out

Updated on Jan 7, 2016 by Registered CommenterBishop Hill

I avoid making predictions about the evolution of surface temperatures over the period of a few years. Those who choose to do so are frequently get themselves into trouble. James Annan lost his bet with GWPF's David Whitehouse and it looks as if GWPF's Sir Alan Rudge will lose out to Chris Hope on another wager.

Click to read more ...


The inner Duce

My review of Liberal Fascism the other day provoked a very long comments thread and lots of strong views. I was therefore interested to see this article by Joel Kotkin - a Democrat, albeit a conservative one.

Today climate change has become the killer app for expanding state control, for example, helping Jerry Brown find his inner Duce. But the authoritarian urge is hardly limited to climate-related issues. It can be seen on college campuses, where uniformity of belief is increasingly mandated. In Europe, the other democratic bastion, the continental bureaucracy now controls ever more of daily life on the continent. You don’t want thousands of Syrian refugees in your town, but the EU knows better. You will take them and like it, or be labeled a racist.


Quote of the day, El Nino edition

In the UK, [El Nino's] impact is likely to be subdued, although past experience suggests that a colder winter could result.

Bill McGuire, Professor Emeritus in Geophysical & Climate Hazards at UCL


Flood prevention

I recently chanced upon the website of the Flood Prevention Society, a voluntary organisation that tries to shape public policy on flooding. Their website has a long and detailed report on some of the floods in recent years and, for those with less time on their hands, a snappy "Urban myths about flooding" page. They seem less than impressed with the Environment Agency, and indeed with George Monbiot's ideas about grouse moors and flooding. I reproduce the whole thing here.

1. “Increased flooding is because of more land drainage”.

The opposite is true.  During the last Great War and for years after to produce more food and later help the balance of payments, farmers were given a 50% capital grant by Governments to clean ditches, brooks and land drainage.  This grant ceased over 30 years ago – so while flooding is on the increase, land drainage is on the decrease.

2. “Modern farming with heavy tractors and machinery causes a plough pan seal (compaction) in the land preventing it soaking up rain, so the rain runs straight into rivers”.

Modern farmers also use subsoilers that break up any plough pan letting air and moisture penetrate up and down – so no change.

3. “Rainfall running off moorland causes urban flooding”.

Click to read more ...


Harrabin on Facebook

Roger Harrabin has launched a new personal Facebook page for 2016, adorned with a picture of him taking on board the words of wisdom of climate guru Arnold Schwartzenegger.

The first post asks "Are the BBC climate deniers?". To which the answer is probably "Isn't everyone these days?"


The Royal Society celebrates a hoaxer

The Royal Society has doubled down in its support for notorious scientific hoaxer Stefan Lewandowsky, inviting him to speak at the Royal Society at the end of February.

Following the recent Paris Climate Summit, countries from around the world have backed climate science and committed to reducing emissions. But for years, public and political uncertainty has delayed cooperation and action. Why has uncertainty had such a powerful psychological effect on us and why is it so damaging?
Join cognitive scientist Professor Stephan Lewandowsky to explore where climate change and human cognition collide and discover the science behind uncertainty.

Details here.

Rumours that the Royal intends to awarding a Queen's medal to Hwang Woo-Suk are said to be unfounded.


The greens' next deception

Just before the end of the year, Oxfam put out a press release about the impacts of El Niño on developing countries, which they said is happening at a time when the humanitarian system is under unprecedented strain.

The press release went on to note that niños are not climate phenomena:

Click to read more ...


Not so simples

One of the more interesting suggestions about the reasons for the impact of the floods in the UK in recent weeks has been the suggestion that land use may be a factor. George Monbiot has been sounding off on this subject although it's difficult to take him seriously because he keeps drifting off into class-warrior mode, linking the floods to grouse moors and the like.

Today his green colleague Geoffrey Lean takes up the baton, with an article in the Independent which claims that the North Yorkshire town of Pickering avoided being flooded because of preventative measures taken by the locals:

Click to read more ...


Environmentalists trashing the environment, part 729

As greens steadily persuade governments to intervene more and more often in energy markets, the unintended consequences flow ever thicker and faster. In a delightful example today, we read that chemical companies are trying to deal with the steadily increasing price of energy by installing their own power generation facilities, burning ultra-dirty but dirt-cheap lignite.

For example, a power plant operated by Allessa Chemie using pulverized lignite recently entered service at Fechenheim east of Frankfurt, Germany. A similar facility will be completed next year by the WeylChem chemical company in nearby Griesheim. This plant will be capable of firing lignite, natural gas, or “white powder”, an inexpensive biomass substitute. Three truckloads of finely pulverized lignite per day will be supplied from the Rhineland about 200 km northwest near Cologne, with ash returned for mining reclamation.

And if you thought that green hurdles would be put in their way, you would be quite wrong:

An electronic capacity control limits both plants to 19.5 MW operation, alleviating the need to purchase EU Allowances (EUA) for emissions trading. Public hearings are also required only for capacities exceeding 50 MW, and environmental impact assessments per Directive 2014/52/EU above 300 MW.

Well done greens.



Suppressing the good news

Just before Christmas, Steve Milloy reported on his successful bid to get the email correspondence relating to an op-ed in the New York Times, ostensibly by Richard Spinrad of NOAA and Ian Boyd, the chief scientist at Defra. this was on the subject of ocean acidification and carried a fairly scary paragraph about what scientists were said to be observing:

Ocean acidification is weakening coral structures in the Caribbean and in cold-water coral reefs found in the deep waters off Scotland and Norway. In the past three decades, the number of living corals covering the Great Barrier Reef has been cut in half, reducing critical habitat for fish and the resilience of the entire reef system. Dramatic change is also apparent in the Arctic, where the frigid waters can hold so much carbon dioxide that nearby shelled creatures can dissolve in the corrosive conditions, affecting food sources for indigenous people, fish, birds and marine mammals. Clear pictures of the magnitude of changes in such remote ocean regions are sparse. To better understand these and other hotspots, more regions must be studied

Click to read more ...


Holthaus thoroughly maued and knappenburgered

With all the stories of unprecedented weather in recent weeks it's important to observe that none of these claims ever seem to be accompanied by any historical context.

One of these stories has of course revolved around the warm weather at the North Pole. While much amusement was had at the hapless journalist from Time magazine who mistook the settlement of North Pole, Alaska for the actual North Pole, there is no doubt that the pole proper did experience a short burst of unseasonably warm temperatures, bringing the inevitable claims of impending apocalypse from the usual suspects. 

Kudos then to Ryan Maue of Weatherbell for making available his dataset of estimated temperatures for the Pole and to Chip Knappenburger of Cato, who has published the figures as the graph below.

Apocalypse cancelled.



Splitters, deniers, and circular firing squads

A couple of weeks ago, we were treated to the sight of Naomi Oreskes badmouthing a variety of climate scientists for having the temerity to support the expansion of nuclear power. Her use of the d-word caused shock among some parts of the green fraternity, who like to reserve it for people who disagree about the value of climate sensitivity. Oreskes' great contribution to uncivil society has been to apply this unpleasant term of abuse to those who disagree on policy measures too. Splitters, I tell you! Splitters!

Click to read more ...

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