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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 ...


Cue violence

The Telegraph is reporting that the cabinet are going to take planning decisions over shale gas developments out of the hands of councils. If correct, it means that planning officers will now be left to their own devices.

I think this probably means that the greens will resort to violence of one kind or another. 

In some ways it could be David Cameron's miners strike moment: the time when he is handed the opportunity to face down an anti-democratic and thuggish minority. I'm not sure DC is any kind of an iron lady though. A jelly gentleman or something like that.


New Era - Josh 360

Thanks to Robert B over at WUWT who thought up a great name for the era of climate science we are currently enduring – The Adjustocene, where no one will ever know what the temperature is.

Cartoons by Josh


Limited Integrity - Josh 359

Lots on the Green Blob's not having to tell the truth, see the post below and at Third Sector, OESG and at Michael Robert's blog which includes Ben Websters Times article.

Cartoons by Josh


FoE to get its comeuppance?

Things may be about to get a bit more tricky for the doughty campaigners at Friends of the Earth. According to the Times' Ben Webster, the Charities Commissioners have taken a dim view of an FoE leaflet that claimed that silica - that's sand to you or me - used in fracking fluid was a known carcinogen.

They were only able to get away with this by claiming that the claims were made by their wholly owned subsidiary FoE Limited, which is not bound by laws about fundraising by deception. 

It's anyone's guess what the Commission is going to do about it. They could crack down on campaigning by charities or they could make the subsidiaries abide by the same rules as their parent charities. Everyone is going to watch with interest, including GWPF, who now have their own campaigning arm, albeit one that operates by much better ethical standards than FoE.



Another one to bite the dust

Well if you are supposed to live in interesting times then it looks as though the next few winters could border on completely fascinating. I say this because of the news last night that SSE are thinking of shutting down another conventional power station.

Energy giant SSE is considering shutting its Fiddler's Ferry coal-fired power plant early, threatening to blow a hole in the Government’s plans to keep the lights on, the Telegraph has learnt.

The 2GW power plant in Cheshire produces enough electricity to power two million homes and in 2014 secured a subsidy contract with the Government to guarantee three of the plant’s four units would be available to generate in 2018-19.

Is it to early to describe the capacity market as an unmitigated disaster?


Behind the scenes at the Guardian

Many thanks to reader Stewgreen for pointing me to this fascinating look behind the scenes at the Guardian...


It pays not to be green

The latest opinion polls seem to show that greenery is slipping right off the political agenda. In fact there may even be a correlation between the direction of a party's poll ratings movement and the strength of its eco-urge.

The Greens and the LibDems are going hand-in-hand over the precipice, while Labour is hanging on by its fingertips. Meanwhile uber-baddies UKIP are on the up, as are the Conservatives, now that they are stepping back from the ecobrink.

Watch and enjoy.


Misson possible?

Just days after getting planning permission to drill 12 monitoring boreholes at its prospective shale pad in Misson, Nottinghamshire, IGas have started installing equipment.

Separate planning applications would be required to drill a well and again to frack it, so it's fair to say that there is a long road ahead.


A haszelnut in every bite

As I think I've mentioned before, I now  assume that most gongs are handed out to people, not for public service, but for "going the extra mile" in the furtherance of a cause dear to ministers' hearts. I was reminded of this when I read James Verdon's devastating take down of an article by our old friend Stuart Haszeldine OBE, professor of carbon capture and storage at the University of Edinburgh.

I first came across the good professor when I appeared at a Spectator debate on windfarms, and he spent a section of his talk bad-mouthing The Hockey Stick Illusion, before admitting that he hadn't actually read it. I'm therefore always on the lookout for his latest utterances. Earlier this week, he and colleagues from his group at Edinburgh wrote an article for the Energy and Carbon blog about waste water disposal in the oil and gas industry, with a particular focus shale gas fields. Unconventional oil and gas is not obviously where their expertise lies, and so one might have expected a few errors to have crept in to their text, but as James Verdon points out in his response, the level of incorrectness is...a bit of a worry.

Click to read more ...


A not-so-cunning plan

Just as the coalbed methane industry in Scotland looked as though it was going to become viable the SNP administration in Holyrood moved with considerable speed to kill it off. Shale gas looks as though it has gone the same way. 

Now, these same bright sparks have decided that the way forward is to set up some "schemes" for the offshore oil and gas industry, while calling on Westminster to deliver taxcuts. None of this will help an industry in which production costs are too high for the current marketplace. 

So to summarise, the SNP's strategy is to throw tidbits to the parts of the Scottish oil and gas industry that are not cost competitive and to close the bits that might just be able to spin a profit.

I have to say, I'm slightly unconvinced that this is going to work.


Hunky dory

The Institute of Mechanical Engineers has a report out today which looks at the UK's energy situation. It seems that we have a bit of a crisis ahead.

The loss of coal by 2025, along with growth in demand and the closure of the majority of our nuclear power stations will therefore be significant, leaving a potential supply gap of 40%–55%, depending on wind levels.

To bridge this gap, the Institute sees no option but new gas=fired power stations and UK shale gas. As they explain though, there are some slight problems with this strategy. If there is no increase in demand then we are only (only!) going to need 30 new CCGT power stations. Unfortunately we don't enough skilled people to build them. And demand actually looks set to go up. And the greens are going to prevent UK shale going ahead. 

Apart from that it's all hunky dory.


Crooked briefs

Yesterday a magistrate handed down a guilty verdict to the loons from the Plane Stupid group who went airside at Heathrow airport last year and disrupted operations for several hours. A jail sentence is, apparently, "almost inevitable". Many of the perps seem to have form for this sort of thing. Kara Moses, for example, has previous form relating to fracking and Didcot power station; Sheila Menon was involved at Balcombe.

Perhaps the most interesting one though is Melanie Strickland, who turns out to be a solicitor and author for the Law Society Gazette. 

Can't she be struck off for this kind of thing?


How is this not fraud?

I'm not a great one for shouting fraud, but I can't see that there is any other conclusion that one can draw.

Somebody on Kickstarter is trying to raise funds for a film about Kiribati, the coral atoll that all BH readers know is not getting smaller

Yet the promoters of this film are saying this (click for larger):

That to me looks distinctly like a false statement being used to raise money. A fraud, in other words.


Recollections of Bob Carter

This is a guest post by Professor David Henderson.

I became involved with climate change issues, entirely by accident, at the end of 2002. A year or so after this event, as my acquaintance with the subject broadened, I became aware of Bob Carter’s writings, and I was impressed. I marked him down as an author to be followed.

It was not until 2006 that we met, through an initiative on my part. At the end of 2005 the Stern Review was published. I felt that it deserved a comprehensive critique, and so far as the economic aspects were concerned a team of potential authors was already to hand. Well before the Review appeared, Sir Nicholas Stern (as he then was) had given a public lecture the text of which was published (together with an annex on climate science). I put together a team of nine economists, and we published in the journal World Economics (June 2006} a short critical article entitled ‘Climate Change: The Stern Review “Oxonia Papers”’.  Alongside our piece there also appeared a reply by Stern.

Click to read more ...

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