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Entries by Bishop Hill (6690)


It's the greens, stupid

With the cold weather finally upon us, albeit in rather halfhearted fashion, has put out a press release reporting that old folk are going to be switching off the heating rather than switching it up. This has been widely reported

More than 60 per cent of elderly people will ration their heating this winter amid fears over high energy bills, according to a new survey.

As many as two in five (42 per cent) said they would also consider cutting back on food in order to meet the cost of heating their homes, comparison website said.

Hat tip then to Fenbeagle for pointing me to this report by the Competitions and Markets Authority, which found that much of the blame can be laid at the feet of environmentalists and their friends in high places:

...for electricity, the main drivers of 7 domestic price increases from 2009 to 2013 were the costs of social and environmental obligations and network costs...For gas, there has been a broadly even percentage increase in wholesale costs, network costs, obligation costs and indirect costs...



"Nothing in it is correct"

The eminent statistician (and occasional BH reader) Radford Neal has been writing a series of posts on global temperature data at his blog. There are three so far:

What can global temperature data tell us?

Has there been a pause in global warming?

and finally

Critique of "Debunking the climate hiatus", by Rajaratnam, Romano, Tsiang and Diffenbaugh.

Click to read more ...


Wanna bet?

A blog called "Professional Conflict Resolution" is calling for the two sides of the climate debate to resolve their differences by means of a positive spree of gambling. The author says that "What the climate community needs are objectively verifiable predictions", which is, I think, a position that few people on this site would disagree with.

The climate community is losing the battle because it has failed to put out objective measurable changes.  The climate community requires something akin to the Simon-Ehrlich wager. I myself see the argument as whether climate change is happening (it is) or whether the earth’s temperature is rising (it is).

The debate – indeed, the whole debate in Paris was about this – is about whether the effects of climate change will be beyond the ability of humans to adapt.  To quote a presentation by Mark Boslough, is global warming “inconvenient or catastrophic?” The future can only be projected.  We have no empirical observational data about 2025.  Or even about tomorrow.

Whether climate change is inconvenient or catastrophic must be demonstrated with predictions ahead of time

Thus I maintain that in order to obtain credibility, the climate community must provide objective benchmark predictions.  These predictions must not be subject to interpretation.  They must also be indicative of a trend and cannot be individual events like storms or droughts.

One caution: do not place bets on global temperature. This must not be about whether the world is warming. It must instead focus solely on impacts.  In order to demonstrate that there will be catastrophic things, there must be demonstrated that there was predicted these events.

The reaction should be interesting.


Green blob in control at Environment Agency

I can't help feeling that the resignation of Environment Agency chairman Sir Philip Dilley was all a bit overdone. As chairman, he doesn't presumably actually involve himself in the day-to-day running of the place; that's the job of the chief executive. The chairman is supposed to set the strategic direction, which is not something you even really want to be thinking about in the middle of a major crisis. Frankly a beach in Barbados was probably the best place for him while there were major floods around.

Now you can certainly take potshots at Sir Philip for the general state of the Environment Agency, which appears to be both thoroughly incompetent and riddled with corruption, but he was at least an engineer by background. Take a look at who has stepped into his shoes, at least on a temporary basis: the green blob personified. Emma Howard Boyd appears to have made a career in "corporate social responsibility" and is a director of a green investment fund as well as having roles in any number of green NGOs.

It will be interesting to see if they keep her on.


AEP and the GLCL*

Ambrose Evans-Pritchard has an article in the Telegraph boldly declaring that the UK is backing away from wind power just as they become competitive with fossil fuels. The story seems to be that if only wind turbines could be made really, really huge, then everything would be OK.

Cue a barrage of graphs to support the (alleged) case.

Click to read more ...


How can the BBC help you advertise your wares better, Mr Green Blob?

BBC preparations for the arrival of the Green BlobMy thanks to Stewgreen for pointing me to this excerpt from Jeremy Leggett's new book, describing a meeting with Roger Harrabin:

In the headquarters of the Britsh Broadcasting Corporation, I sit talking with veteran environment correspondent, Roger Harrabin. I am accompanied by my Solarcentury colleagues Frans van den Heuvel and Sarah Allison. We want to explore with Roger whether there are ways that solar energy can be better covered on television.

Click to read more ...


Captain Marvel comes unstuck

While everyone else was out partying on Hogmanay, Bob Ward was hard at work writing tweets about global warming. Let noone say he is not a strangely obsessive personality.

This was a bit of a silly thing for Bob to say though because I had written a post about the said paper, by Marvel et al, some two weeks earlier, noting that it looked a bit unphysical in places.

Click to read more ...


Holyrood smothers another new industry at birth

Cluff Natural Resources has stopped all work on its plans for underground coal gasification in the Firth of Forth. There seems to be a strong hint that the are turning their backs on the development for good.

The Holyrood administration's moratorium has killed off coalbed methane development north of the border completely. It now looks as if they have done for UCG as well.

It's hard to imagine any unsubsidised industrial business wanting to invest in Scotland when the administration is at the beck and call of the greens.


The BBC and the chief scientist

Ben Pile highlights a fascinating comment at Guido's blog:

In 2010, I was on a research trip to an area north of Svalbard. We were lucky enough to have a So-Called BBC journalist along for the ride. Unfortunately, my cabin was very close to his which meant that I had to listen to him editing his riveting reports about Climate Change™ before they were broadcast on BBC Climate Change 24. He'd just interviewed a Danish glaciologist that we had with us who explained a process with the sea ice that was "a negative feedback" (contrary to climate change bollox). I heard Mr X, the journalist, rewind and replay the tape about 5 times before he finally rang the chief scientist for advice because "I'm not sure this is putting out the right message...."

This raises a few questions: is this the government chief scientist that is referred to? And who was the BBC journalist? I'm struggling to find a BBC article about Svalbard around that time.

It would be extraordinary if the BBC was contacting the GCSA for "lines to take".


Teaching values

There is a rather interesting article in Times Higher Education about Joanna Williams, an academic who has taken it upon herself to criticise the close-mindedness of the academy. She has this to say about global warming and environmentalism.

I am not a climate-change denier, but I think it should be discussed and not placed beyond discussion – and I certainly don’t think that the response we have as a society is beyond discussion,” she says. “Sustainability is one solution, but there might also be more technological solutions. But, within higher education, sustainability has become a major topic and is taught as a moral value. You assess ‘Are your students demonstrating sustainability?’ rather than ‘Is sustainability the only response?’…You can see even in the titles of some courses that sustainability is the answer…As soon as you present something as a value and assess students on that value, you are putting things beyond debate.



Sticking one's neck out

Updated on Jan 7, 2016 by Registered CommenterBishop Hill

I avoid making predictions about the evolution of surface temperatures over the period of a few years. Those who choose to do so are frequently get themselves into trouble. James Annan lost his bet with GWPF's David Whitehouse and it looks as if GWPF's Sir Alan Rudge will lose out to Chris Hope on another wager.

Click to read more ...


The inner Duce

My review of Liberal Fascism the other day provoked a very long comments thread and lots of strong views. I was therefore interested to see this article by Joel Kotkin - a Democrat, albeit a conservative one.

Today climate change has become the killer app for expanding state control, for example, helping Jerry Brown find his inner Duce. But the authoritarian urge is hardly limited to climate-related issues. It can be seen on college campuses, where uniformity of belief is increasingly mandated. In Europe, the other democratic bastion, the continental bureaucracy now controls ever more of daily life on the continent. You don’t want thousands of Syrian refugees in your town, but the EU knows better. You will take them and like it, or be labeled a racist.


Quote of the day, El Nino edition

In the UK, [El Nino's] impact is likely to be subdued, although past experience suggests that a colder winter could result.

Bill McGuire, Professor Emeritus in Geophysical & Climate Hazards at UCL


Flood prevention

I recently chanced upon the website of the Flood Prevention Society, a voluntary organisation that tries to shape public policy on flooding. Their website has a long and detailed report on some of the floods in recent years and, for those with less time on their hands, a snappy "Urban myths about flooding" page. They seem less than impressed with the Environment Agency, and indeed with George Monbiot's ideas about grouse moors and flooding. I reproduce the whole thing here.

1. “Increased flooding is because of more land drainage”.

The opposite is true.  During the last Great War and for years after to produce more food and later help the balance of payments, farmers were given a 50% capital grant by Governments to clean ditches, brooks and land drainage.  This grant ceased over 30 years ago – so while flooding is on the increase, land drainage is on the decrease.

2. “Modern farming with heavy tractors and machinery causes a plough pan seal (compaction) in the land preventing it soaking up rain, so the rain runs straight into rivers”.

Modern farmers also use subsoilers that break up any plough pan letting air and moisture penetrate up and down – so no change.

3. “Rainfall running off moorland causes urban flooding”.

Click to read more ...


Harrabin on Facebook

Roger Harrabin has launched a new personal Facebook page for 2016, adorned with a picture of him taking on board the words of wisdom of climate guru Arnold Schwartzenegger.

The first post asks "Are the BBC climate deniers?". To which the answer is probably "Isn't everyone these days?"