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Monday
Jun152015

Official sceptics go gambling

The Committee for Skeptical Inquiry have issued a challenge to the Heartland Institute - one of those climate bets that come along to enliven things for us from time to time. I must say, I think it would have helped if they had got someone who spoke English to write the text for them, because I'm not entirely clear what the bet is.

The Committee for Skeptical Inquiry (CSI) hereby presents to the Heartland Institute a challenge as to whether the Earth’s climate will set a new record high temperature this year. The challenge will be settled using the NASA GISS mean global land surface temperatures for the conventional climate averaging period (defined by the World Meteorological Organization as 30 years) ending on December 31, 2015.  If the global average temperature does not exceed the mean temperature for an equal period ending on the same date in any previous year for which complete data exist, CSI will donate $25,000 to a nonprofit to be designated by Heartland. Otherwise, Heartland will be asked to donate $25,000 to a science education nonprofit designated by CSI. It is CSI’s intent to repeat this challenge every year for the next 30 years.

I think they are saying that they expect the 30 year mean to be higher each year than any other 30 year mean on record. If so then the bet is obviously piffle. The annual temperature could fall dramatically this year and the 30-year mean would still increase.

Monday
Jun152015

The encyclical leaked

A copy of the encyclical has been leaked to the Italian press. A copy can be seen here, for those who speak Italian. Maurizio advises that his impression is very much that this is going to be seen as a damp squib. He points in particular to this paragraph (translated mostly by Mr Google):

Click to read more ...

Monday
Jun152015

Cancelled Curry

Andrew Neil was due to record an interview with Judy Curry today. I gather on the grapevine that because of time restrictions this will not now happen.

Which is a pity, but I guess it couldn't be helped.

Monday
Jun152015

Birthday honours?

The Queen's birthday honours list was out a couple of days ago and as I always I have scanned it looking for familiar names. There are no climatologists this year, but two names in particular stood out.

David Warrilow is the UK's long-term representative on the IPCC and has come to the attention of BH from time to time, although as I have noted in the past he is someone who operates very much in the shadows. BH readers did some research on him in the comments here, including Doug Keenan's recollection of a meeting between the two of them. Warrilow gets himself an OBE.

The other was Anne Glover, the former chief scientist at the EU, whose gradual descent into climate alarmism I have followed with interest. She becomes Dame Anne.

The only other one that struck me as being of interest was someone called David Surplus, the director of a renewable energy group in Northern Ireland, who is awarded an OBE. What a strange world, I thought, where it is considered honourable to achieve success through vigorous sucking at the taxpayer's teat.

 

Friday
Jun122015

The state of independence

The Independent is nothing if not independent. Their article on shale gas today is a case in point. It seems that the government is going remove the requirement for public consultation ahead of exploration drilling. A fairly unexceptionable proposal you might have thought, but not for the Indy, which ploughs its very own furrow, steering well clear of the real world. So we have the usual litany of innuendo from the usual dismal suspects - Greenpeace, Friends of the Earth and our old friend Robert Gross from Imperial - as well as the casual repetition of long-since-debunked green propaganda: earthquakes and water contamination and the like. 

You would have thought in the very week that the US EPA announced that it had been unable to identify any inherent risks from unconventional oil and gas drilling the Indy might have been a little more cautious. But no, they have always been Independent and independent they will remain.

Independent of science, independent of reason, independent of integrity.

Thursday
Jun112015

Le spin! Cartoon notes by Josh

Click the image for a larger version

Last night some of us attended the Walker Institute Annual Lecture given by Sir David King and which was titled "The Paris Climate Summit - hopes and expectations". I must thank the Walker Institute for the opportunity to be there and for the excellent refreshments afterwards.

The lecture itself was something of a gruelling series of alarmist doom and gloom factoids followed by an upbeat assessment of what will actually happen at the Paris summit - and the answer is... well, you can read for yourself and, if you were there, please do add your own recollections.

Cartoons by Josh

Thursday
Jun112015

A disgrace to the profession

You really don't want to mess about with Mark Steyn, who is nothing if not a guy who is prepared to stick up for himself. In response to Michael Mann's libel suit, Steyn has not only countersued but now has written a book about the great climatologist.

The defamation suit against Steyn by Michael E Mann, inventor of the global-warming "hockey stick", is about to enter its fourth year at the DC Superior Court - which means Mark has a lot of case research lying around and he can't wait forever for the trial to start. So he figured he'd put some of it in a new book, now available for pre-order exclusively from SteynOnline.

In the fall of 2014, not a single amicus brief was filed on Dr Mann's behalf, not one. He claims he's "taking a stand for science", but evidently science is disinclined to take a stand for him.

That got Mark curious as to what actual scientists think of Mann, his famous hockey stick, and his other work. So he started looking - and the result is a rollicking collection of insights into Big Climate's chief enforcer by scientists from around the world, from Harvard to Helsinki, Prague to Princeton, with commentary from Steyn telling the story of the rise to global celebrity of one Mann and his stick.

"A Disgrace To The Profession": The World's Scientists In Their Own Words On Michael E Mann, His Hockey Stick, And Their Damage To Science will be published later this summer, but you can make sure you're the first on your block with must-read book by pre-ordering your copy now exclusively from the SteynOnline bookstore. And as always Mark will be happy to autograph it personally for you or your warm-mongering loved one.

 

Thursday
Jun112015

David Davies does climate change

This speech from David TC Davies in the Commons yesterday was quite unusual in that the speaker seemed to have actually studied what the IPCC and other scientists have to say.

Thursday
Jun112015

The desperation of the polar bear scientist

According to New Scientist, some scientists recently discovered a polar bear eating a dolphin. This is not really a surprise since by all accounts polar bears will eat pretty much anything they can lay their paws on. Still, for the polar bear specialist it is a good opportunity to try to push a global warming story, so at the end of the article we get this:

As the climate warms, [polar bear specialist Ian] Stirling believes the sight of polar bears tucking into weird meals could become more common. Polar bears are "willing to take and use anything possible when available", he says.

Which just goes to show how low polar bear scientists will go in their desperation to keep the funds flowing.

Wednesday
Jun102015

Guardian's gargantuan garbage

The Guardian is going full-on bonkers over climate change this morning. Much like most other mornings I suppose.

Today's dose of hysteria is about what climate change is going to do to our weekends, and author Karl Mathiesen insists that beer, chocolate and coffee are all going the way of the dinosaurs and that the weather is going to be rubbish to boot.

OK, pick a claim and fact check it. Let's take the beer:

Click to read more ...

Wednesday
Jun102015

A fracking barney

Take a look at Fox News's interview of anti-fracking campaigner Josh Fox. I'm not sure I've ever seen an interviewer called a liar live on air. I must say, I think you would have to be a bit less shifty-eyed to carry it off.

Tuesday
Jun092015

The proposed Swansea Bay tidal lagoon

These notes from a presentation to the Campaign for the Protection of Rural England (CPRE) at Taunton on 13th January 2015 were taken by Phillip Bratby.

Background

Tidal Lagoon Swansea Bay (TSLB)[1] was founded by its CEO Mark Shorrock in 2012.  He has a long history of involvement in renewable energy (CEO of Shire Oak Energy, Low Carbon Group, Low Carbon Investors Ltd and Wind Energy Ltd).

Finance of the initial phase of tidal lagoon development is being funded by Mark Shorrock to the tune of about £20m.  Thereafter it is expected that institutional investors would fund the construction and would become shareholders.

Click to read more ...

Tuesday
Jun092015

The new man on the ECC

The SNP have, you will recall, been allocated the chairmanship of the Commons Energy and Climate Change Committee and they have now put forward their "candidate" to sit in that role: Western Isles MP Angus MacNeil. His background is interesting: as an engineer he might be expected to have at least a small clue about energy projects, although his support for renewables seems pretty unwavering. That, I suppose, we should put down to pork-barrel politics.

His record on climate is patchy, however, having voted for the Climate Change Act, but having managed to absent himself from several more recent votes that touch on the subject. We will wait and see, if more in hope than expectation.

Tuesday
Jun092015

Andy Microband Burnham

The news that unconventional gas has become an issue in the Labour party leadership campaign is interesting. Andy Burnham is generally seen as something of a moderniser - he has proposed abolishing inheritance tax and tough law and order policies among other things. However, he has also been associated with the Brownite left from time to time and might therefore be best seen as being a man of flexible principles.

It's hard therefore to know what to make of his decision to come out against unconventional gas, apart from observing that his comments on the subject - saying we need stronger evidence of its safety, and that licences are handed out "like confetti" - suggest that he is quite remarkably ill-informed.

Click to read more ...

Monday
Jun082015

IPCC: climate misinformers

Warren Pearce has a new paper out in Nature Climate Change that looks at the 2013 WGI press conference and the pickle that Thomas Stocker got into in trying to rebut questions about the pause.

Here we demonstrate that speakers at the press conference for the publication of the IPCC’s Fifth Assessment Report (Working Group 1; ref. 1) attempted to make the documented level of certainty of anthropogenic global warming (AGW) more meaningful to the public. Speakers attempted to communicate this through reference to short-term temperature increases. However, when journalists enquired about the similarly short ‘pause’2 in global temperature increase, the speakers dismissed the relevance of such timescales, thus becoming incoherent as to ‘what counts’ as scientific evidence for AGW. We call this the ‘IPCC’s certainty trap’. This incoherence led to confusion within the press conference and subsequent condemnation in the media3. The speakers were well intentioned in their attempts to communicate the public implications of the report, but these attempts threatened to erode their scientific credibility. In this instance, the certainty trap was the result of the speakers’ failure to acknowledge the tensions between scientific and public meanings. Avoiding the certainty trap in the future will require a nuanced accommodation of uncertainties and a recognition that rightful demands for scientific credibility need to be balanced with public and political dialogue about the things we value and the actions we take to protect those things.

Click to read more ...

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