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Friday
Dec112015

Greens lining the pockets of farmers

This excerpt is from Farmer's Weekly, (paywalled here).

I’ve been spotted rummaging through the hedges and tracks than border my farm, searching high and low for, would you believe, an electricity substation. It turns out that if you are lucky enough to find one on or near your farm, and it’s over 33kV, you’re blessed: you can now go ‘generator farming’.

On a concrete pad (hmm, carbon footprint?), surrounded by a massive earth bund, an array of diesel-powered (yes, diesel) generators are installed and linked to the grid. Their sole purpose is to switch on and provide back-up power when the national grid is found wanting. They are known as ‘short term operating reserves’, or Stors.

The figures (as supplied by Strutt and Parker) are astonishing. The average Stor will supply 20MW, and so will need 50 400kW generators. The rents are even more mind blowing. The rule of thumb is £1,000-£2,500/MW capacity, so for a 20MW Stor – well, do the sums yourself. The other good news (assuming you yourself don’t live in earshot) is they tend to only work at night – probably something to do with the inherent night-time uselessness of solar farms. And if you do live nearby, fifty grand a year will pay for some serious double-glazing, or even a new house at the far end of the farm.

 

Friday
Dec112015

The Lewandowsky concoction

The Social Psychology of Morality, a forthcoming book from the Psychology Press, has a chapter on the interaction between "high moral purpose" and scientific integrity, and takes a brief look at the work of Stephan Lewandowsky, including this summary of the great man's work:

Understanding when people are and are not persuaded by science is an interesting and important area of research. But this curious case highlights the threat to scientific integrity that can stem from high moral missions. The notion that skeptics believed something so silly as the faking of the moon landing is yet another myth essentially concocted by the researchers.

 

 

Friday
Dec112015

The world the greens created

While the energy and climate punters are concentrating on Paris, the results of the government's latest capacity auction are out. The market cleared at £18/kW which means that no new CCGT power stations will be built. Instead, the gap is going to be filled with diesel generators and OCGT.

 

Friday
Dec112015

A little gem

The BBC's Inside Science strand had a brief section on the floods in Cumbria, with Nick Reynard of the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology interviewed on the subject.

During the interview he mentioned the startling fact that the average record length for river flow in the UK is 36 years.

Remember that next time you hear about the 100-year flood.

Friday
Dec112015

More problems for the climate models

As I noted in my Spectator piece yesterday, the Met Office is really, really desperate to attribute floods and rainfall to global warming, particularly at this time of year when they can usually rely on taking advantage of a bit of human misery.

Unfortunately, some toad at the Lawrence Livermore laboratories in the US has rather gone and pooped the party by publishing a paper that shows that climate models are overestimating growth in rainfall (report here).

Lawrence Livermore researchers and collaborators have found that most climate models overestimate the increase in global precipitation due to climate change.

Specifically, the team looked at 25 models and found they underestimate the increase in absorption of sunlight by water vapor as the atmosphere becomes moister, and therefore overestimate increases in global precipitation.

The team found global precipitation increase per degree of global warming at the end of the 21st century may be about 40 percent smaller than what the models, on average, currently predict.

They are not the first to notice how bad climate models are, but it's good to be reminded of these things, particularly when there's rain - and the odd chief scientist - in the air.

Friday
Dec112015

Thoughts on Naomi Klein

It's fair to say that people on the sceptic side of the climate debate think that Naomi Klein is a weapons grade noodle. But it's not just us. Plenty of serious commentators on the other side of the debate feel the same way. Take these examples.

Ms Klein's harshest critics must allow that, for an angry adolescent, she writes rather well. It takes journalistic skill of a high order to write page after page of engaging blather, so totally devoid of substance. What a pity she has turned her talents as a writer to a cause that can only harm the people she claims to care most about. But perhaps it is just a phase.

The Economist

 

 Or what about this?

The most fascinating thing about This Changes Everything is how much factual refutation of Klein’s thesis is contained within the book itself.

Jonathan Chait

And this is how John Humphrys introduced Ms Klein this morning on the Today programme:

One of the most respected voices in [the climate] debate.

Thursday
Dec102015

Me on the floods

I have a post up at the Spectator blog about the Cumbria floods.

Read it here.

Thursday
Dec102015

The amazing Sarah Montague

Quite astonishingly bad journalism from Sarah Montague on the Today programme this morning, inviting the president of Kiribati to hold forth about how his country was about to disappear beneath the waves. Not even a hint of a challenge to anything he said, and certainly not a mention of the fact that Kiribati is growing.

The BBC's tsunami of disinformation shows no signs of abating.

Audio below.

Kiribas

Wednesday
Dec092015

All Trussed up - Josh 355

There is a bit of a furore about the money spent on Flood Defences, by the UK Gov, being less than half the amount spent on tackling climate change abroad. Not only that but Liz Truss says this is to help defend us from ISIS. Gosh.

Cartoons by Josh

Wednesday
Dec092015

About that tech solution to climate change...

I can still remember the early days of the internet, reading Junkscience.com and Numberwatch on all the bad things scientists got up to then. They still do.

I was therefore thrilled to see that a familiar name from those days is still fighting the good fight, although I haven't come across him for years, as my interests have been elsewhere. Wade Allison has been trying to point out the preposterous stringency of our nuclear regulations and the scientific idiocy of the linear no threshold model for radiation exposure for decades. He was recently the subject of an article in the Wall Street Journal:

Wade Allison, emeritus professor of physics at Oxford, has a more realistic idea for fighting global warming than any being promoted at this week’s climate summit in Paris: Increase by 1,000-fold the allowable limits for radiation exposure to the public and workers from nuclear power plants.

Click to read more ...

Wednesday
Dec092015

A state ideology

Mark Steyn was breathtakingly good in his Congressional Testimony today.

Wednesday
Dec092015

Environ Mental - Josh 354

I was working on this cartoon yesterday when the story of Greenpeace entrapment broke.

With thanks (or apologies) to Tim Rayment for borrowing his phrase '50 shades of green' from an article in the Sunday Times - it seems a wholly appropriate phrase to describe the torturing of the planet that greens go for.

Cartoons by Josh 

Wednesday
Dec092015

Self-criticism

It's a few days old now, but I have been meaning to mention a rather interesting article at Times Higher Education. It's about a secret dossier government dossier, warning that fraud is rife in biomedical research:

The draft "Confidential dossier on fraud in UK biomedical research" concludes that some research institutes, university administrators, funders, journals and science leaders have been covering up malpractice.

THE has also got hold of a comment on the dossier from somebody at the Royal Society, who thinks that although the dossier may overstate the case, it recognises the twin problems of malpractice and it being covered up by scientific institutions.

Including, presumably, the Royal Society itself.

Tuesday
Dec082015

Happer days

Greenpeace are getting very excited about some of their latest "undercover" reporting. It seems that some of their staff posed as representatives of a coal-mining company and asked Will Happer to write them a report. Happer seems to have said yes, but said that the proceeds should go to his sceptic organisation, the CO2 Alliance.

I think their case is that Happer doesn't actually believe any of the things he says, but that in return for large quantities of money he is willing to say anything required. I'm not sure this is going to fly.

There is also a fairly feeble attempt to involve GWPF in the story, insinuating that Indur Goklany's report was reviewed only by people internal to GWPF. Benny Peiser has said in no uncertain terms that this is not true.

 

Professor Happer made his scientific views clear from the outset, including the need to address pollution problems arising from fossil fuel consumption. Any insinuation against his integrity as a scientist is outrageous and is clearly refuted by the correspondence.

Nor did Professor Happer offer to put a report "commissioned by a fossil fuel company" through the GWPF peer review process. This is a sheer fabrication by Greenpeace. 

The GWPF does not undertake externally-commissioned research and does not accept support of any kind from fossil fuel companies or anyone with a significant interest in the energy industry. The correspondence shows that Professor  Happer explained to the undercover "journalist" that there were several different forms of peer review and that the peer review process used by the GWPF is as rigorous as that for most journals. 

Greenpeace claims with no supporting evidence that the report by Dr Indur Goklany was reviewed exclusively by 25 scientists who are members of the GWPF's Academic Advisory Council (AAC). This is false. Dr Goklany's report, like most of our reports, was also reviewed by outside experts who are not scientific advisers to the GWPF.

The quality of Dr Goklany's report is self-evident to any open-minded reader. As Professor Freeman Dyson said in the foreword, "To any unprejudiced person reading this account, the facts should be obvious: that the non-climatic effects of carbon dioxide as a sustainer of wildlife and crop plants are enormously beneficial, that the possibly harmful climatic effects of carbon dioxide have been greatly exaggerated, and that the benefits clearly outweigh the possible damage."

Professor Colin Prentice of the Grantham Institute concurred even while claiming to be dismayed by the report's publication: "Much of it is quite correct and moreover, well-established in the scientific literature...the various benefits of rising CO2 are actually well established in the scientific literature, even if sometime ignored. They are indeed 'good news'."

The cack-handed attempt by Greenpeace to manufacture a scandal around Dr Goklany's report, and to smear Professor Happer's reputation, only points to the need for the Global Warming Policy Foundation to redouble its efforts to bring balanced, rigorous and apolitical research on climate and energy policy issues to the public's attention, as counter to the misleading noise and activist rhetoric from groups like Greenpeace.

 

 

 

 

Monday
Dec072015

The same old story

 

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