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Another 1% off grid margin

The Telegraph is reporting that the nuclear reactors at Heysham and Hartlepool that were taken offline because of cracking in their boilers are to stay out of commission for slightly longer than expected. However, more worryingly, when they do come back online they will not be running at full capacity.

The two twin-reactor plants at Heysham 1 and Hartlepool have been shut down since August amid safety fears following the discovery of cracks in one boiler structure at Heysham.

The ageing reactors are likely to be restarted in coming months at just 75pc-80pc of their usual output in order to prevent high temperatures causing further cracks, EDF said on Friday.

Both stations are in the 1GW capacity range, so we are looking at the loss of another 0.5GW of output, which could be as much as 1% of peak winter demand. Margins for winter 2015/16 were already expected to be as low as 2.5%.

I think National Grid are going to have to step up their efforts to get additional reserve capacity available.


Another parliamentary whitewash?

The House of Lords Science and Technology Committee is taking a look at whether the UK's lights are going to go out in the next few years and has just published the written evidence. I don't hold out much hope for an inquiry headed by an advisor to Richard Black's ECIU, namely the Earl of Selborne, and the presence of Lord Willis of Climategate notoriety and Lord Rees of, erm, Climategate notoriety too, is hardly encouraging. Matt Ridley is the only member who might be expected to ask awkward questions.

I have skimmed the evidence and there are some quite interesting submissions, not least that of the Scientific Alliance, which got some headlines last week after they predicted huge increases in energy bills. I was also interested in comments (p. 26) by the City of London Corporation:

The City Corporation is concerned that a possible “black start” - where supply is suddenly unavailable across the whole of a network and needs to be restored - would severely affect the Square Mile and its ability to continue to operate as a business centre. We are also gravely concerned about the effect that such an event would have on London’s reputation.

There is too much for me to go through in detail. Do post anything interesting in the comments.



Quote of the day, joined up policy edition

An energy policy that has the Hinkley Point C contract and off-shore wind as its two flagship achievements must eventually collapse under the weight of its own idiocy.

The capital markets consider energy policy after Paterson's speech.


Failure to deny

Lord Deben and his team have issued a response to Owen Paterson's speech last night. There's plenty to take issue with. For example, readers will recall my amusement over their scientific travails over future rainfall, so it's fun to see that they are having similar problems with the temperature trends: they are touting a 0.05 degrees per decade rise as showing that surface temperatures have not stopped. Given that the error in the record appears to be considerably larger than 0.05 degrees in a single year, I think it's fair to say that the trend is indistinguishable from zero.

But perhaps of greater interest is the CCC's response to Paterson's central point, namely that we face a risk that the lights will go out. Here's what Lord D has come up with:

Click to read more ...


The Sun says

A a new Climate Dialogue has just begun, this time looking at the effects of the sun on the climate. Here's the introduction:

According to the latest IPCC report, AR5, the influence of the sun on our climate since pre-industrial times, in terms of radiative forcing, is very small compared to the effect of greenhouse gases.

According to some more skeptical scientists such a small solar influence is counterintuitive. The Little Ice Age, the period roughly from 1350 to 1850, in which winters on the Northern Hemisphere could be severe and glaciers advanced, coincided with the so-called Maunder Minimum, a period of supposedly low solar activity. In their eyes, the sun therefore still is a serious candidate to also explain a substantial part of the warming since pre-industrial times.

Click to read more ...


Paterson at the GWPF

Updated on Oct 16, 2014 by Registered CommenterBishop Hill

I was away from my desk yesterday, as I headed south for Owen Paterson's GWPF lecture (full text here). The cat was already out of the bag as far as what was going to be said, but it was an interesting trip nevertheless, with plenty of networking opportunities and the chance to renew some old acquaintances.

I was intrigued to learn that Brendan Montague was lurking outside the venue beforehand, taking photographs of those who were attending and handing out leaflets. I arrived so early that I didn't see this myself, but it did mean that everyone had an inkling of what Paterson was talking about when he referred to "bullying" by the green blob.

Click to read more ...


The great cat catastrophe

It has been observed many times in the past that there are many aspects of the global warming debate that reasonable people should be able to agree on: carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas, the temperature has gone up a bit, that sort of thing.

I think we can now add to the list the idea that Naomi Oreskes and Erik Conway are a few cherries short of the full Bakewell, right down there with Peter Wadhams as representatives of the full-on-bonkers wing of the green scientivist academy. I say this after reading a review of their latest opus by Martin Lewis, a confirmed global warming believer. Here's an excerpt:

Click to read more ...


Carbon cycle: better than we thought

A new paper in PNAS has been getting quite a bit of media play today, which is slightly surprising because the overall theme is "it's better than we thought". The original paper is here and there is a rather helpful "Significance" section alongside the abstract.

Understanding and accurately predicting how global terrestrial primary production responds to rising atmospheric CO2 concentrations is a prerequisite for reliably assessing the long-term climate impact of anthropogenic fossil CO2 emissions. Here we demonstrate that current carbon cycle models underestimate the long-term responsiveness of global terrestrial productivity to CO2 fertilization. This underestimation of CO2 fertilization is caused by an inherent model structural deficiency related to lack of explicit representation of CO2 diffusion inside leaves, which results in an overestimation of CO2 available at the carboxylation site. The magnitude of CO2 fertilization underestimation matches the long-term positive growth bias in the historical atmospheric CO2 predicted by Earth system models. Our study will lead to improved understanding and modeling of carbon–climate feedbacks.

Click to read more ...


The green blob speaks

The green blob has, after a short pause, issued its response to the news that Owen Paterson is about to issue a call for the Climate Change Act to be scrapped. In an article in the Guardian, Adam Vaughan has been around the usual suspects and has got the usual responses.

Bryony Worthington, for example says that Paterson's ideas are "bonkers", a position she reinforces with her normal battery of pseudoscience.

At the current time, when all the evidence is that climate change is getting worse and we need urgent action, I can’t see any desire to repeal this act. It’s the desire of a small group of fanatics who don’t even know what the act does.

She is clearly a "pause denialist" it seems.

Click to read more ...


Diary dates, feedback edition

The Royal Society is to hold a meeting on climate feedbacks at the start of December:

The response of Earth’s climate system to a perturbation depends on the sign and strength of several feedback processes. This meeting will present critical assessments of major feedbacks, including those (such as ice sheets and the carbon cycle) operating over long timescales. For each, their role in past and present climate change, and their expected future effects will be discussed.

Details here, including a detailed programme.


I have a computer model

I have a computer model, which I use for predicting the weather. The algorithm is fairly straightforward and goes something like this:

It will rain tomorrow.

(Round where I live that's likely to be a pretty effective prediction.)

Anyway, if I run my computer model repeatedly, I find that 100% of the runs give the same result - "It will rain tomorrow". I conclude, therefore, that we can say with 100% confidence that it will rain tomorrow.

Click to read more ...


The Old Lady of Eco Street

The Governor of the Bank of England, Mark Carney first came to the attention of BH readers when, at the time of his appointment, it was noted that his wife Diana was (and is) a fervent supporter of the green movement (and redistribution as well as being against conspicuous consumption).

It's therefore interesting to read today that Mr Carney has told a World Bank seminar that fossil fuels must remain unused:

Mark Carney has re-emphasised his support for the idea that oil companies’ reserves could be stranded assets – still valued by investors, but ultimately going to embody losses.

“The vast majority of reserves are unburnable,” the Bank of England governor said – if the world is to avoid catastrophic climate change.

Thinking of hydrocarbon deposits as stranded assets has gained prominence in recent years, helped by movements like the US student drive to persuade university endowments to disinvest from fossil fuel companies.

Apparently Mr Carney wants companies to report more holistically on their business strategy and "how it relates to stakeholders of all kinds, now and in the future...[so that] all groups can express their view, and influence the allocation of capital and credit today".

Given Mrs Carney's views on equality, and Mr Carney's views on outsiders giving their opinions on allocation of private assets, could the Carney family please allocate some of their (considerable) capital to mine?


Paterson urges pause for thought

Today is fraught with family athletic fixtures, so I don't have a lot of time to write anything. In the meantime, there is plenty going on, not least the splurge in the Sunday Telegraph about Owen Paterson's GWPF lecture this week.

Britain will struggle to “keep the lights on” unless the Government changes its green energy policies, the former environment secretary will warn this week.

He will argue that the 2008 Climate Change Act, which ties Britain into stringent targets to reduce the use of fossil fuels, should be suspended until other countries agree to take similar measures. If they refuse, the legislation should be scrapped altogether, he will say.

Owen Paterson will say that the Government’s plan to slash carbon emissions and rely more heavily on wind farms and other renewable energy sources is fatally flawed.

That should set the cat among the pigeons.


The Pause changes everything - Josh 296

One of the phrases alarmists like to use is to "just look out of the window" to see Global Warming aka 'Climate Change' happening right now. Presumably when they have looked out of the window these past 18 years they have seen the pause in temperatures - which should 'change everything' but I am guessing this might just be a pipe dream. Oh well, here's hoping.

Cartoons by Josh


Climate models and rainfall

I have a new briefing paper out at GWPF looking at the question of rainfall, flood and global warming. Here's the press release:

London, 10 October: A new briefing paper from the Global Warming Policy Foundation reviews the scientific literature on rainfall and floods and finds little evidence that there have been significant changes in recent years and little support for claims that they will become worse in future.

Despite claims to the contrary, there has been no significant change in rainfall trends in recent years both at global and UK levels. It remains very difficult to make strong claims about any changes there have been because of high natural variability in rainfall patterns, particularly in the UK.

Rainfall is a particularly difficult area for climate models, which have limited ability to recreate what is seen in the real world. Since these climate models are the main basis of claims that extreme rainfall and flooding events are being adversely affected by man-made global warming and that rainfall will become worse in the future, policymakers should treat such modelling with extreme caution.

Author Andrew Montford said, “We are constantly bombarded with insinuations that storms and floods are caused by or ‘linked to’ climate change.”

“In reality these claims are usually based on climate models, which have a demonstrable inability to tell us anything reliable about rainfall. The scientific evidence shows that a simple extrapolation of rainfall averages over time can give better rainfall predictions than climate models,” he added.

Here's the paper.

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