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Greenshirt thuggery condemned

While I was busy yesterday, several people pointed me to another shot in the ongoing battle between advocates for indigenous peoples and the environmentalists who are trampling roughshod over them. 

Survival International has apparently issued a formal complaint to the OECD about WWF, whose hired hands have been involved in violent abuse of the Baka people of Cameroon.

This is the first time a conservation organization has been the subject of a complaint to the OECD (Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development), using a procedure more normally invoked against multinational corporations.

The complaint charges WWF with involvement in violent abuse and land theft against Baka “Pygmies” in Cameroon, carried out by anti-poaching squads which it in part funds and equips.

I would have thought the Charities Commissioner might take an interest too.


Tail wind

I once faced off against Paul Williams of Reading University in a radio debate. He came across as a pretty rational kind of guy and we had a nice exchange of emails afterwards. But I have to say that his most recent paper is one of those ones that make you despair with their sheer futility. Here's the BBC take on it.

Flights from the UK to the US could take longer due to the changes in the climate, according to a new study.

Global warming is likely to speed up the jet stream, say researchers, and slow down aeroplanes heading for the US.

While eastbound flights from the US will be quicker, roundtrip journeys will "significantly lengthen".

It's published in Environmental Research Letters, which is usually not a good sign. The authors apparently fed "synthetic atmospheric wind fields generated from climate model simulations into a routing algorithm of the type used operationally by flight planners" and deduced that westbound transatlantic flights were going to take longer while eastbound flights will be faster. But, almost inevitably, the losses are expected to outweight the gains.

I wonder what evidence there is that GCMs can predict, or even hindcast, changes in wind speeds in a warming world? 


Greens blighting communities

There was an interesting report on the Sky website yesterday about recycling firms who are going out of business, leaving piles of festering waste for others to clear up.

More than 60 rotting waste piles are blighting communities in areas including Wiltshire, Kent, the West Midlands, Yorkshire and Fife.

The Environment Agency said in 2014-2015 it was dealing with 50 abandoned sites in England, 10 of which contain more than 5,000 tons.

The Scottish Environment Protection Agency said it was handling the clearance of another 14 sites of varying sizes.

All follow the same pattern of recycling firms starting-up business on private land then going into liquidation and leaving the waste mounds for landowners or the authorities to clean up at a cost millions of pounds.

Insolvency on that scale looks more like design than accident. When you set this against what we already know about recycling plants - the daily fires and the stories of fraud that already blight the "industry", the sheer scale of the corruption that environmental policy is supporting becomes clear.

It's hard to credit the idea that anyone would think that mandatory recycling was a good idea. But the gentlemen pictured above apparently do.




Shale fights back?

Do I detect a new, more aggressive approach toward the greens from the shale gas industry? An article in the Times today (£) implies that Cuadrilla were behind a complaint to the Charities Commission about the way in which Friends of the Earth (the charity) seemed to be engaged in campaigning activity:

The charity said: “Cuadrilla seem to be trying to silence their opposition. They should stop changing the subject from the real issues at stake and join us in engaging in democratic debate on fracking and climate change. Our campaign against fracking will continue.”

And this morning, Greenpeace - which also seems quite happy for its charitable arm to get involved in political campaigning and media stunts - has launched an occupation of Parliament Square, with a mockup of a shale drilling rig, complete with flaring. Which prompted a rather-more-cutting-than-usual response from the Onshore Operators' Group

You have to say that it's about time the shale gas industry stopped lying back and hoping that the greens were going to adopt a more honest approach.

It's not what they do.


Less science, more comms

Barry Woods points us to today's webcast of the IPCC discussing its future communications strategy. I've just heard someone say that the IPCC reports need to have less of that complicated and very dull science stuff and much more simple messaging. Apparently science writers need to be involved from the front.

Unfortunately I can't spend all day watching this, but if anyone can bear it do let us know if they say anything new.


Energy policy isn't working

When oil and gas prices were high, DECC used to publish an annual Energy Statement, which included an assessment of the impact of policy measures on prices. 

John Constable notes that now that fossil fuel prices have crashed, DECC has decided that the statement is no longer necessary. It's hard to see this as anything other than an attempt to hide the disastrous impact of the government's approach.

Apparently, in the last assessment it was said that in a "low-price" scenario, policy measures would be increasing prices by up to 77% for some users. Given that fossil fuel prices are far below those assumed in that scenario, that could easily be more than double.



The bonkers emanations of Prof Hugh

Professor Hugh Montgomery is much given to making wild unsubstantiated comments about the terrors of climate change so it's no surprise to see him given pride of place in the ECIU's expensively produced report on the Paris conference.

Get a load of this:



Yessiree, human life on this planet is threatened this decade.



A cartoon week - Josh 361

It's been a fun week.

First there was a survey of 17 countries showing the people of Britain ranking 15th in its concern over climate change. H/t GWPF

Click to read more ...


Now what were those arguments against shale gas again?

Next week, the long-awaited public inquiry into Cuadrilla's planned shale gas developments in Lancashire kicks off. Witnesses from Cuadrilla will face off with representatives of green groups and protestors. Weeks of fun will ensue.

Readers at BH will no doubt be looking forwards to Friends of the Earth trying to convince m'learned friends that builder's sand is a dangerous carcinogen.


Hiding your light

Some of the more "politically aware" climate scientists have been keen that nobody should publish anything that might work against the green agenda. Michael Mann's infamous comments are a case in point. There is plenty of anecdotal evidence that climate scientists moderate their behaviour accordingly, withholding anything that might give "fodder" - in Mann's words to the sceptics. They either do this willingly, because they share Mann's political outlook, or unwillingly, because they fear the consequences.

A new paper in the journal Public Understanding of Science attempts to put some flesh on these bones, finding that scientists are less likely to publish if their findings on climate change are "less", rather than "more" of it. 

A representative survey of 123 German climate scientists (42%) finds that although most climate scientists think that uncertainties about climate change should be made clearer in public they do not actively communicate this to journalists. Moreover, the climate scientists fear that their results could be misinterpreted in public or exploited by interest groups. Asking scientists about their readiness to publish one of two versions of a fictitious research finding shows that their concerns weigh heavier when a result implies that climate change will proceed slowly than when it implies that climate change will proceed fast.

It's fair to conclude that the scientivists have so completely corrupted the field that it is now largely unreliable.


Settled science bites

Sceptics have often pointed out that if the science of global warming is "settled" then it's clearly not necessary to spend a fortune researching it. The government down under now seems to have taken this message on, announcing that jobs in the ocean/atmosphere divisions at CSIRO are to be slashed. Their reasoning could have come straight from the pages of this blog:

The cuts were flagged in November, just a week before the Paris climate summit began, with key divisions told to prepare lists of job cuts or to find new ways to raise revenue.

"Climate will be all gone, basically," one senior scientist said before the announcement.

In the email sent out to staff on Thursday morning, CSIRO's chief executive Larry Marshall indicated that, since climate change had been established, further work in the area would be a reduced priority. 

It was Lord May who said to Roger Harrabin "I'm the President of the Royal Society and I'm telling you that the science is settled". I wonder if he is reconsidering the wisdom of those remarks.



A clean bill of health for shale?

Environmentalists like to claim that unconventional gas developments are going to cause us all to die of cancer or asthma. It's fair to say that few of these claims are quite as bonkers as Friends of the Earth saying that the sand used in fracks is a dangerous carcinogen. However, while the other claims are not quite that absurd, they are not exactly grounded in good science.

A paper published today in a journal called Science of the Total Environment describes a review of the evidence for actual health impacts from unconventional gas and conclude there is little evidence of adverse health effects that you would want to describe as "firm". Of the 1000 articles the authors reviewed, fewer than 100 were considered worthy of further attention based on the quality of evidence presented. Only 7 could be considered "highly relevant". Health impacts were mostly "inferred rather than evidenced".

So you can understand why they would conclude:

Current scientific evidence for [unconventional natural gas development] that demonstrates associations between adverse health outcomes directly with environmental health hazards resulting from UNGD activities generally lacks methodological rigour. 

But I think you could guess that anyway.




Fun with Flannery

A firm tip of the hat to reader Stewgreen for flagging up to us this radio programme from Australia in which host Alan Jones and Liberal MP Craig Kelly discuss some of the predictions made by Professor Tim Flannery back in 2006. 

It's very amusing to set out just how badly wrong "Australian of the Year 2007" Flannery has proved, but as the show makes clear, Australians are paying a very high price for heeding his augury.


Monbiot's audit trail

What is that old saying about repeating a lie often enough? George Monbiot is having a bit of rant in the Guardian today on the subject of (alleged) fossil fuels subsidies. It's the usual nonsense that redefines everything that greens are against as a "subsidy".

In his support, our George cites the IMF:

Already, according to the International Monetary Fund, more money is spent, directly and indirectly, on subsidising fossil fuels than on funding health services. 

If you follow the trail through his link you end up at the IMF's website and a working paper by Coady et al. However, before you read it, it's hard not to notice the disclaimer, in bold, which reads:

This Working Paper should not be reported as representing the views of the IMF.


FOI: Coyne ridiculous

As many readers are aware, our old friend Stephan Lewandowsky has recently published a paper in Nature that sets out his views on the circumstances in which scientists should release their data to others - the thrust of the piece being that he thinks that a favourable answer need only be given to his mates.

I had rather rolled my eyes at this and wondered if I actually wanted to give him the attention that a rebuttal might bring, so I had resolved to ignore it. However, a post by Professor James Coyne, a psychologist who works in Groningen in the Netherlands, suggests that Lewandowsky's article is just part of a wider trend in academia.

Click to read more ...

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