This is a continuation of a remarkable thread that has now received 10,000 comments running to well over a million words. Unfortunately its size has become a problem and this is the reason for the move.

The history of the New Statesman thread goes back to December 2007 when Dr David Whitehouse wrote a very influential article for that publication posing the question Has Global Warming Stopped? Later, Mark Lynas, the magazine’s environment correspondent, wrote a furious reply, Has Global Warming Really Stopped?

By the time the New Statesman closed the blogs associated with these articles they had received just over 3000 comments, many from people who had become regular contributors to a wide-ranging discussion of the evidence for anthropogenic climate change, its implications for public policy and the economy. At that stage I provided a new home for the discussion at Harmless Sky.

Comments are now closed on the old thread. If you want to refer to comments there then it is easy to do so by left-clicking on the comment number, selecting ‘Copy Link Location’ and then setting up a link in the normal way.

Here’s to the next 10,000 comments.

Useful links:

Dr David Whitehouse’s article can be found here with 1289 comments.

Mark Lynas’ attempted refutation can be found here with 1715 comments.

The original Continuation of the New Statesman Whitehouse/Lynas blogs thread is here with 10,000 comments.

4,543 Responses to “Continuation of the New Statesman Whitehouse/Lynas blogs: Number 2”

Pages: « 181 82 83 84 85 86 87 88 [89] 90 91 » Show All

  1. 4401
    tonyb Says:

    Peter

    This should be a good time to assert your scepticism. Do you believe UHI has a cooling effect because some eminent scientists says so? Or do you believe the evidence of your real world experiences and say ‘thats nonsense-wonder if I can trust their other material?’

    On this point you said to me that warming started from 1900 according to Mann. I have consistently pointed out it started in the 1600′s and Giss et al merely plugged into an existing 300 year trend.

    How do you reconcile your belief in the all round excellence of the Berkley paper, which shows rising temperatures since 1800, with that of Mann-who endorsed a slightly cooling world until 1900 when CAGW kicked in?
    tonyb

  2. 4402
    tempterrain Says:

    TonyB

    There is no contradiction between the BEST findings and Mann’s hockey stick. As you can see from this superposition of their graph with various other hockey stick graphs. BEST is the red trace:

    http://climateaudit.files.wordpress.com/2011/10/muller_plus_wilson.png

    Note that this is from none other than Steve McIntyre’s site.

    Furthermore its important to note that the UHI findings are relative to a 1950-1980 baseline. So its quite possible that the UHI effect measures less now that it did then. It doesn’t mean that it is absolutely negative. Increased Urban vegetation in many cities is a possible reason, but there are others too.

    Your heroine Judith Curry is second author on this paper. Surely you aren’t rubbishing her work?

  3. 4403
    manacker Says:

    TT

    The graph with all the “copy spaghetti hockey sticks” and BEST superimposed is pretty hard to glean much info from.

    As BEST have indicated, their work is “work in progress”. Let’s see what subsequent reports show.

    The HadCRUT3 record alone tells us more: since 1850 there have been 3 multi-decadal warming cycles with two multi-decadal cycles of slight cooling in between, all with a half-cycle time of about 30 years. These cycles had an amplitude of around ±0.25°C. All of this was superimposed on a gradual warming trend of around 0.6°C per century.

    The CET record goes back much further, as Tony writes.

    It showed similar swings including a much sharper warming cycle from around 1700 to 1730, all on a gentle warming slope similar to that seen in the past century.

    We all know (or do you?) that there was a cold period from around 1790 to 1830 called the Dalton minimum and an earlier even sharper one called the Maunder Minimum from around 1645 to 1715. Since this time our planet’s temperature has been gradually increasing as we are emerging from the period called the “Little Ice Age”, with the many multi-decadal cycles as indicated.

    Historical records (see Lamb) as well as physical evidence uncovered under retreating glaciers today tell us that there was a warmer period from around 900 to 1400 AD, called the “Medieval Warm Period”.

    Several independent studies from all over the world, using different paleo-climate methodologies, have confirmed the existence of the MWP.

    Mann’s phony tree-ring study missed most of this, but it has been discredited for everyone except IPCC, who still cling to the myth of “unusual 20th century warmth for 1,300 years”.

    Do you?

    Max

  4. 4404
    tonyb Says:

    Peter

    So we can agree that Manns original hockey stick- which was largely responsible for creating the scare and broadcasting it widely- was wrong, even though it is still widely used?http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Hockey_stick_chart_ipcc_large.jpg

    Further graphs that appear to contradict the first graph are therefore right. Is that correct?. How many bites does he get at the cherry?

    As usual you have taken a graph and tried to use it out of context. Here is the full article in which the graph appeared. Nice to see the curve continues down to the sort of date that I stated signified the start of the 4 centuries long warming trend

    http://climateaudit.org/2011/10/22/first-thoughts-on-best/

    This is equally interesting

    http://hidethedecline.eu/pages/posts/ruti-global-land-temperatures-1880-2010-part-1-244.php

    My next article is called ‘the long slow thaw-a reconstruction of temperatures to 1607′ Sounds just about the right title.especially as it shows the fine detail that statistical techniques miss.

    Having said all that the notion of a global temperature is nonsensical let alone that we know it to fractions of a degree- (my usual disclaimer)

    Judith Curry is a very interesting scientist, but I have no heroines or heroes-except for you obviously once you start thinking for yourself in such subjects as UHI. Do you believe that it COOLS in built up environments?.

    tonyb.

  5. 4405
    tempterrain Says:

    Mann’s graph is actually included in the link I sent you. MBH 1999 Although the colour coding isn’t too clear. Since then there have been several similar temperature reconstructions which all show the same hockey stick type pattern.

    I’m surprised that Steve McIntyre , in the link you posted, above was quite so positive about the BEST papers. He’s apparently a person friend of Rich Muller. He’s posted up Mann’s graph and other hockey sticks too. Many he’s finally coming around too!

    Yes, the UHI effect is almost certainly positive IMO. However it could be less positive now than it was 30 or 40 years ago which is what the BEST group is saying. Surprising but possible. Its also quite small, so although the BEST group say that their results are statistically different from previous studies, which did show positive relative trends, they are not large enough to affect the good overall agreement with previous studies.

  6. 4406
    tonyb Says:

    Peter

    Please put your glasses on and look at MBH1999, it bears little relationship to Berekely. I know it very well as I have recently reread every paper of Manns in preparation for writing mine. In my opinion his work was pretty good as was Hansens but they are ultimately flawed. The Lamb type version in 1991for the IPCC is much closer to the reality although recent evidence shows he didn’t get everything right.

    We are clearly on a low gentle rise with glaciers melting from 1750. The decades from 1900 or so show the effects of uhi on those places that had a therrnometer-ie a great percentage are historic ones which are in cities that have greatly increased in size. Averaging it over the whole planet where there arent any stations in order to fill in the squares is a mathematical artifice.

    We have known about the enormous effects of UHI since Roman times and every time the modern tv weather forecaster mentions the temperature it will be three or four degrees warmer. This is uhi in action. I personally believe there is a limit as a city centre can only warm up to a certain point. The warmth then spreads through the construction of suburbs but it doesnt concentrate.
    tonyb

  7. 4407
    tempterrain Says:

    TonyB,

    You might say that Mann’s graph is out of line with the BEST findings. Saying is one thing, showing why is another. The main difference of course is that Mann was looking at the temperature record of the last millenium whereas Berkeley was looking at the last 200 years. Within the limits of reported accuracy, for this time period, there isn’t any disagreement.

    All temperature records show a sharp rise at the end of the 20th century. The CET (Central England Temperature) record is another example of a ‘hockey stick’.

    http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4101/4817095720_661c445d43.jpg

  8. 4408
    Alex Cull Says:

    Dr David Whitehouse has an interesting article (on the GWPF website here) contesting Prof Muller’s conclusions re the global temperature standstill of the last decade. He refers to the BBC interview with Prof Muller, of which I’ve now written up the full transcript here.

  9. 4409
    manacker Says:

    tempterrain

    On Judith’s site a blogger named Colin asked me the following question:

    Do you think governments of the world will do what you say they must do in order to prevent further climate change?

    This was my response:

    YES/NO plus % of total emissions 2001-2010 and estimated % of total emissions 2011-2100 (based on estimated GDP and population growth):

    EU (including UK, but maybe with back-out of newer member states): YES , 15.0%, 3.2%
    AUS NZ: YES, 1.2%, 0.9%
    Total voting “YES” = 16.2% of today’s emissions, 4.1% of future emissions

    Canada: undecided, 2.7%, 1.0%
    Japan: undecided (unless China joins in): 4.0%, 1.2%
    Total undecided = 6.7% of today’s emissions, 2.2% of future emissions

    USA: NO, 21.3%, 6.5%
    China: NO, 20.3%, 31.0%
    India: NO, 4.2%, 13.2%
    Russia: NO, 8.1%, 2.0%
    Brazil: NO, 4.0%, 4.0%
    Rest of World: NO, 19.2%, 37.0%
    Total voting “NO” = 77.1% of today’s emissions, 93.7% of future emissions

    So, in summary, the answer to your question is “NO”.

    As Professor Richard Muller has pointed out, what counts is the future CO2 emissions from today on. These will be dominated by China, India and other developing economies. He also points out that China plus India, etc. have a right to develop their economies in order to improve the lot of their citizens. They have large reserves of inexpensive coal.

    They will not stop economic growth to help solve what they consider to be a “rich white man’s” problem unless alternates are developed that are economically competitive with their local coal. This does not include schemes such as “carbon capture and sequestration”, which are much too costly for these nations to even consider.

    Obviously this also does not include agreeing to a global “carbon tax” to artificially make coal less competitive.

    This is the dilemma for those few nations that would like to set carbon limits and implement a direct or indirect carbon tax. They represent such a small part of the world’s human CO2 emissions that, no matter how much they cut them back, they will have no impact on theoretically estimated warming by year 2100.

    Hope this has answered your question.

    Peter, how would you have answered Colin’s question?

    Max

  10. 4410
    geoffchambers Says:

    Alex #4408
    Congratulations on getting the transcript up so fast. I reposted the link at Bishop Hill for Shub, who hadn’t seen your first post there.
    The day climate change makes it into the mainstream media in a big way, your transcript box is going to be a most valuable tool. I’ll be available for transcribing next week, if the BEST story gets the coverage it deserves.

  11. 4411
    Alex Cull Says:

    Thanks, Geoff! Actually, would have got the transcript done a little sooner, had it not been for pesky work commitments getting in the way. Will keep an eye on the media, Beeb and others, next week to see what emerges next re BEST.

  12. 4412
    peter geany Says:

    Just as an aside, who saw the inaugural Indian Grand Prix today? I mention this not for the Motor racing but because to my eyes you could barely see from one end of the track to the other. The “smog” a combination of Nitrogen Oxides from combustion and particulate matter rendered the atmosphere opaque. This is what much of Europe was like even as late as the 70′s and perhaps into the 80′s. It reinforces in my mind the stupidity of our current position trying to force countries like India and China to reduce emissions of CO2 when we make no mention of the chronic pollution that exists in these countries that we know is not only a health hazard to the locals but can spread around the world and is why we have huge regulatory cost to eliminate it.

  13. 4413
    Brute Says:

    Thank you, Matt Ridley

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2011/11/01/thank-you-matt-ridley/#more-50468

  14. 4414
    manacker Says:

    Brute

    Excellent article by Matt Ridley.

    Every climatologist in this world should have a printed copy hanging on the wall above their computers.

    I hope PeterM reads it (with an open mind).

    Max

  15. 4415
    tonyb Says:

    Max and Brute

    Its not often that I quote George Monbiot, but his take on Matt Ridley should introduce some sanity to the praise being heaped on him for reasons that completely elude me.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/cif-green/2010/jun/18/matt-ridley-rational-optimist-errors

    Matt Ridley was a reckless adventurer who squandered £27 Billion of British taxpayers money and arguaby precipitated the financial crisis. He has shown no intellectual rigour in his previous life and the article he wrote is that of a second rate hack. He is not the person to hitch yourself to and should not be taken as seriously as others seem to be doing over at WUWT and Bishop Hill.

    tonyb

    [TonyN says: Congratulations on your own intellectual rigour as exhibited at WUWT the other day, but I strongly recommend the 400-odd-pages of intellectual rigour, including 50 pages of notes and references, published under the title of 'The Rational Optimist' las year. Matt Rigley is not unique in being a very bight spark who has screwed up royally over money; I seem to remember that Monbiot is married to a Rothschild, so that handicap would seem not to apply to him. Anyway, what does financial competence have to do with climate change?]

  16. 4416
    peter geany Says:

    Ridley was non-executive chairman. So in other words an overseer and not responsible for its running and as long as the bank was obeying the regulators then it was OK. That the money market dried up was not really his remit. I hope George is not being serious here. And his characterisation of Northern Rocks failure ignores the fact that they were doing exactly what Clinton and Blair wanted them to do. Hell Clinton even passed a law forcing all US banks to lend to those who could not pay.

    Northern Rocks Collapse can be firmly put at the front door of Gordon Brown, who engineered it for his own purposes to nationalise all banking. We will never get to the bottom of our banking issues which are political until the public realise this. It is Politicians that are responsible for the mess we are in first and last. This is now becoming the defining issue of our time. The Climate issues that we have fought have just been an appetiser for the main battle but the root cause is the same, and bankers just like some climate scientists, think they are calling the shots but are just pawns in a larger game. But at the core are a small number of bankers deep into the Politics, just as in Climate science.

  17. 4417
    tonyb Says:

    Peter Geany

    Mat Ridley was non executive CHAIRMAN. This is an important and responsible position, not just someone sitting on the board to make up numbers.

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/7052828.stm

    I’m not disagreeing at all that Gordon Briwn was resposible for the general climate of the time but Ridley was reckless and improvident.
    tonyb

  18. 4418
    peter geany Says:

    Tonyb There is much to come out about the banking situation that is currently not being reported. As the Chairman Ridley just did what any Honourable chairman would do and accept responsibility. He was accountable, the buck stopped with him. But A non exec Chairman is not in charge of any business, but rather a figurehead. Some get more involved than others. He bears some responsibility for not being aware enough, but he was clearly not appointed for his financial prowess or experience, but like most chairman is there to lead the Board. He strikes me as a strange choice for the Job, but banking has always been seen as safe.

    The Model that Northern rock was built on was quite sound, but went awry in the last 18 months or so. Business was hard to come by and competition was stiff amongst lenders. Northern Rock was finding it hard to find customers that met their own leading criteria. But institutions such as Lehman’s were so desperate for mortgages that they were willing to underwrite any loan, in other words they did not require any status checks, as they were making so much money out of turning them into CDO’s and other instruments. So rather than being driven by customer demand we had the market being driven by oversupply. If you were making widgets and made more than the customer demanded you would go bust. With banking we have regulators that monitor these things, but they were asleep at the wheel. I have some sympathy for Ridley over Northern Rock as they were hung out to dry, where as the real Villains soldered on for another year or more and were then bailed out. Except for Lehman’s. And Goldman would have gone the same way but turned themselves into an ordinary Bank with seconds to go before the deadline set in the US and were then eligible for bailout money. This was extraordinary and completely against all the principals of capitalism.

    Northern Rock was a viable business ruined by Gordon Brown. It was sacrificed as it was of no consequence. But it set the scene so that when the 2 big Scottish banks who really had engaged in ludicrous practise could then be effectively Nationalised, taking the perfectly good Lloyd’s with them. And all our other small building societies were sacrificed in order to get the big banks to agree to all the measures Brown forced on them.

    All this activity is called abuse of Capitalism. At the end of the decade we don’t have democracy and capitalism, we have Socialism and Corporatism running the western word and this is why its going wrong. At present every time the market tries to make a correction, Politicians interfere. Its impossible to start a small business today because compliance costs are so high, so more and more small business sell out to corporates, who know they don’t have to worry about the market and is why they can award themselves 49% execs pay increases You don’t have to to be anything other than last in class to realise that its not based on improved productivity or profits at the present time.

    I better stop my rant and get back to reading the ‘The Rational Optimist’

  19. 4419
    tempterrain Says:

    TonyN,

    You ask “Anyway, what does financial competence have to do with climate change?”

    Are they linked? In a way they are – but in inverse proportions. Generally speaking those who are most concerned that the ‘world-as-we-know-it’ is all coming to a crashing end due to recent financial problems in world markets, have the least concern that climate change might bring about much greater problems in decades to come.

    The world still has tremendous productive capacity. The factories are still there to make more than enough widgets for us all to use, agriculture produces enough food for everyone, more governments can be classed as democratic than ever before – so what’s the immediate problem? Surely its not beyond our collective wit to come up with a solution to what are very minor problems.

  20. 4420
    tempterrain Says:

    Peter Geany,

    “Northern Rocks Collapse can be firmly put at the front door of Gordon Brown, who engineered it for his own purposes to nationalise all banking.”

    The Labor Parties in Australia and the UK, may have talked about nationalising the banks, the means of production and exchange etc, at one time, but not in recent years. Even in post war Britain when the UK Labour party were nationalising anything and everything, the banks were somehow left untouched.

    The simple fact is that Banks were nationalised everywhere, (except perhaps Australia!) in 2008 not for any ideological reasons but simply to keep them going. True, they could have been left to collapse. Then, you’d have lost your savings and pension like everyone else who relied on the financial sector. There are those, both on the extreme right and left of the political spectrum, who are of the opinion that is exactly what should have been allowed to happen. There may be something in that argument, but the decision was made, even by George Bush, that the consequences would have been even worse than nationalisation. I think they were probably right.

  21. 4421
    peter geany Says:

    PeterM #4420 You are mostly right in what you say. However Northern Rock was an insignificant Bank, really only a specialist Mortgage lender, so any failure of it was only going to impact its customers and not the economy. But Gordon Brown could not have been unaware of what was coming down the road in August 2007. If he was then he should be in Jail now. It was his incompetence that allowed first a leak, deliberate I would say, that Northern rock had asked the Bank of England for a loan, as the money markets had dried up. Then he professed that the Government was not going to “Bail out the Banks” which was not what was being asked for, which further compounded the problem. This precipitated a run on the bank that was totally unnecessary sparking many other issues the end game which was we now have 5 banks in the UK not 20 as in 2007, and the government had to Bail the Banks out.
    Northern Rock could have been kept operating normally, until such time as clear heads had mapped a way forward. That its business model was not going to work until other issue had been resolved was not the direct fault of Northern Rock. That their underwriters (Lehman’s and others) were cavalier and Northern rock felt they should do nothing is another matter. But this tiny part of the worlds (Western) Banking system contains all the elements of how ordinary banks got taken down by political and regulatory incompetence.

    This is unacceptable. This is our government forcing what they accuse the banks of doing and then regulate to try and undo. It is nothing shot of bonkers thinking. But I’m sure it will be argued about till the cows come home before it finally dawns on everyone what has happened.

    I don’t profess to know economics and banking to any real level of competence, but when my own organisation was the first to pull out of a small sub-prime fund in the US stating that it could no longer value it, it was the start we had all been waiting for. Nothing since has been a surprise. I sat down with an Aussie mate of mine that week and over a beer at the Blue Post pub near the Ritz and we discussed how long before the total collapse came, and how many false starts there world be along the way. I’m off there tonight to carry on the conversation and take stock. Come along if you want.

    By the way we wonder if those driving past in their Rollers and Bentleys even notice what is going on, as one thing is obvious they never have to change their behaviour in these tough times.

  22. 4422
    Alex Cull Says:

    Just to say there’s a transcript here of Rob Nikolewski’s recent interview with Dr Richard Muller at the Santa Fe Conference on Global and Regional Climate, video is on YouTube here and here. There’s quite a bit of background noise, and I haven’t managed to get everything, but hopefully most of it is there. (H/T Tom Nelson.)

  23. 4423
    Brute Says:

    Oh well Pete……..another failed socialist program. Another few hundred billion dollars (Euros) of taxpayer’s money down the toilet.

    I guess I’ll throw another log into the Brute Woodstove®……..…I feel a chill from the east. How much is the Greek socialist’s bailout?

    Who’s next?

    Italy? Portugal? Spain?

    “The market for carbon capture and storage is dead”

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2011/11/04/ceo-the-market-for-carbon-capture-and-storage-is-dead/#more-50579

  24. 4424
    Brute Says:

    Beacon Power bankrupt; had U.S. backing like Solyndra

    http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/10/31/us-beaconpower-bankruptcy-idUSTRE79T39320111031

  25. 4425
    tempterrain Says:

    Neat Graph!

    http://www.skepticalscience.com/pics/SkepticsvRealistsv3.gif

  26. 4426
    James P Says:

    Brute

    A Greek, and Italian and a Spaniard go into a bar and order 3 beers. The barman looks them up and down, and asks who’s paying.

    In chorus, they reply “The Germans!”…

    Tonyb

    Matt Ridley wrote a pretty effective response (IMO) to Monbiot’s witterings here:

    http://www.rationaloptimist.com/blog/monbiots-errors

  27. 4427
    Brute Says:

    That’s great Tony. Here’s another good one……..

    EU’s Debts: Who owns WHO!

    http://www.francescolanza.com/2010/06/19/eu-debts-who-owns-who/

  28. 4428
    Brute Says:

    http://moonbattery.com/lunch-money-obama.jpg

  29. 4429
    James P Says:

    Brute

    It was me, actually. Serves me right for trying to answer two posts at once!

    James

  30. 4430
    manacker Says:

    tempterrain

    I like the SkepticalScience graph of intermittent cooling periods.

    I noticed that they ere all of shorter duration than the latest one, which seems to have started January 2001 and is still going strong.

    Let’s see how it develops and how SkepticalScience will rationalize it if it continues another 4-5 years,

    Max

  31. 4431
    manacker Says:

    Brute

    Thanks for interesting 4423 blurb on collapse of Carbon Capture + Storage Ponzi scheme. Looks like these scams all eventually collapse.

    I hope the really smart investors, like George Soros, made a some pocket change shorting CCS (like he did back in 1992 shorting the Pound).

    Max

  32. 4432
    Alex Cull Says:

    Just watched Panorama this evening on BBC1: “What’s Fuelling Your Energy Bill?” “Panorama investigates the inconvenient truth behind the UK’s rocketing energy bills.”

    Rather interesting, in fact. In the programme, rising energy prices are squarely attributed to the tremendous costs of renewables, plus the costs of new pylons and replacing older power stations. No blaming of evil/greedy energy companies. Chris Huhne is in the frame as a gambler with our energy supplies, also Tony Blair as the man who committed us to an EU target of 20% energy from renewables by 2020 (total energy, not just electricity supply) – a possible “gaffe” in the eyes of Sir David King, who has in the past expressed doubts as to whether EU leaders actually understood what they were committing themselves to.

    And in the last part of the programme, the BBC’s Tom Heap describes the UK’s energy situation as the gamble on renewables/nuclear vs a new dash for gas (Prof Dieter Helm mentioning the possibility that gas prices could fall, and the new KPMG report getting a mention.) Unconventional gas wasn’t mentioned (well, we can’t have everything) but – put it this way, this was not exactly the BBC cheerleading on behalf of DECC and renewables. Well worth watching on iPlayer, if/when it becomes available and if you have access.

  33. 4433
    Brute Says:

    Alex,

    20% of the commercial electric bill in the US is the utility billing for things that have nothing to do with electrical consumption.

    Line items cutely labeled “sustainable energy trust fund” and “residential aid discount surcharge” (translation: my company paying for people who don’t feel like paying their electric bill).

    “Capacity and Transmission Surcharge” is another scam wherein the local government mandates that a portion of the electricity sold within its jurisdiction be created by means of “green” power generation.

    Of course the local power companies don’t own the hundreds and hundreds of square miles of property required to build a wind farm or solar farm of any consequence………so they steal money from the consumer and return a small portion to local solar/wind companies to create a cottage solar/wind industry (using private property) incorporating these inefficient micro power plants into their renewable energy portfolios.

    They purchase the power from these unsuspecting dupes for the price of “dirty” power and then resell the “clean” power on the market for twice the price.

    These “surcharges” are government mandated theft…….governments impose these fees on utilities who in turn add these line items to their bills.

  34. 4434
    TonyN Says:

    Alex:

    I think that your critique of the Panorama is fair, and as you suggest the programme was much more balanced than one might expect from the BBC. However, three very important, and obviously relevant issues were dodged or fudged:

    1) What is the motivation underlying our current energy policy: scientific,commercial, or political? Initially the idea was to avoid iminent ecological catastrophe. Then we were told (pre-Copenhagen 2009) that a global binding agreement on emissions reduction would open up vast new markets if we were first on the renewable bandwagon. Now, are we apparently just going through the motions because of our political commitments to the EU and the political risks of repealing the Climate Act?

    2) As you noted, the shale gas revolution was bypassed altogether, even when the programme discussed gas imports and the perceived need to avoid energy price volatility. So far as shale gas is concerned, for once that tired old cliché ‘game changer’ really does apply, and having our own secure domestic fuel supplies would once again stabilise prices to a very great extent.

    3) Perhaps the reason for dodging the shale gas issue was to avoid confronting the fact
    that, while home-grown renewable energy will undoubtedly mitigate price volatility, it will do so by ensuring that energy will be permanently extortionately and uncompetitively expensive, without the occasional intervals of moderate or low prices terms.

    The government’s energy nightmare begins when the public start asking these questions, and at least the Panorama programme provides some of the information necessary for people to begin doing so. That, in my view, is a very encouraging sign.

  35. 4435
    Alex Cull Says:

    @ TonyN, Brute, yes as always in Beeb-world it pays to look at what is left out or is downplayed. Mind you, the other side are also focussing on what has been left out, and they’re not happy. Here’s Damian Carrington of the Graun (best quote: ” A total absence of green NGO voices was shocking”.) Tom Heap has now posted his response here.

    The astronomical cost of it all (rebuilding the UK’s energy infrastructure plus meeting CO2 targets plus meeting renewables targets) is the main thing.

    Citigroup’s Peter Atherton said delivering on the overall target will require the current annual investment in infrastructure to triple to £25bn a year.

    He added that, in context, that kind of money would be the equivalent of one and a third Crossrail projects every year, or two and a half Olympic Games, or two and a half times the entire budget of Nasa.

    “In fact we could sort of say goodbye to windmills and launch our own Mars mission if we wanted to for the same amount of money,” he said.

    If the man from Citigroup is correct, and if the economy is meanwhile heading in the direction that many people fear it is, the chances of this actually going according to plan seem to be rather – on the low side…

  36. 4436
    manacker Says:

    Hey, what’s happening to BBC?

    Mixed messages on climate ‘vulnerability’

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-15698183

    But when you get down to specifics, the academic consensus is far less certain.
    There is “low confidence” that tropical cyclones have become more frequent, “limited-to-medium evidence available” to assess whether climatic factors have changed the frequency of floods, and “low confidence” on a global scale even on whether the frequency has risen or fallen.
    In terms of attribution of trends to rising greenhouse gas concentrations, the uncertainties continue.
    While it is “likely” that anthropogenic influences are behind the changes in cold days and warm days, there is only “medium confidence” that they are behind changes in extreme rainfall events, and “low confidence” in attributing any changes in tropical cyclone activity to greenhouse gas emissions or anything else humanity has done.

    Is BBC beginning to see the light?

    Max

  37. 4437
    TonyN Says:

    Max

    It will be very interesting to see whether anyone other than Black of the BBC gets to see a copy of this draft, which will be reviewed and no doubt amended during the Kampala conference. Will quotes like this survive?

    “Uncertainty in the sign of projected changes in climate extremes over the coming two to three decades is relatively large because climate change signals are expected to be relatively small compared to natural climate variability”.

    “Uncertainty in the sign of projected changes in climate extremes over the coming two to three decades is relatively large because climate change signals are expected to be relatively small compared to natural climate variability”.

    And will the recommendations in the IAC report concerning making the assignment of uncertainty a transparent process be implemented?

    And how will the UN spin the report in press releases that will go out before outsiders even have had a chance to see the final version?

  38. 4438
    James P Says:

    “we could sort of say goodbye to windmills and launch our own Mars mission if we wanted to”

    That sounds more useful to me. At least we might learn something, and we’d only have to spend the money once…

  39. 4439
    Alex Cull Says:

    Here’s a link to a very recent interview on ABC’s Science Show (audio is available and they should have a transcript up within a few days) with Robyn Williams talking to Lord Krebs, zoologist, Principal of Jesus College Oxford and member of the CCC.

    How are we going to decarbonise the electricity supply? The answer is there is no one magic bullet. What you need is a portfolio of renewables – particularly, in the UK, offshore wind because we are lucky, we’ve got a very windy shoreline, some onshore wind, although the NIMBYs (the not-in-my-back-yard brigade) tends to slow that down, there’ll be a small amount of wave and tidal power, and nuclear will have a significant role to play.

    No mention about the growing concerns re the cost (a minor detail, it seems – what’s a mere Mars-mission equivalent here or there, after all?) Indeed, what Lord Krebs also appears to be saying is that not only will we have to totally “decarbonise” the economy, but we will need to be persuaded to ditch the idea of economic growth as well (which raises, does it not, a double question mark over how all this massive decarbonisation is to be paid for, at the end of the day.)

    Lord Krebs: …and I think we do need, in the longer term, to get used to the idea of a different model from the model of continuous economic growth for ever and ever. It just isn’t sustainable.

    Robyn Williams: So that’s a question of changing people’s behaviour, which is always a challenge. How do you do that?

    Lord Krebs: It’s a matter of changing politicians’ behaviour. But the politicians, at least in a democratic society, are there because the people put them there. So if the electorate sent a signal to the political classes – “We don’t want a model of forever getting richer, forever using more resources, forever plundering the environment” – then I expect the politicians would change their pitch. So it is, in the end, about changing people’s behaviour and people’s aspirations. And that’s a really difficult nut to crack. When we think of the scientific contribution to problems such as global warming or food security, we tend to think of the technological aspect of science, the biological sciences, physics, engineering, chemistry, and so on. But actually, in my view, the behavioural sciences have got a huge contribution to make, here, in trying to understand how we change people’s norms, people’s expectations, and people’s aspirations.

    Notice how this shifts from changing politicians’ behaviour (we, the electorate, doing this by exerting our democratic rights), seamlessly to changing the electorate’s behaviour (but then there’s a riddle – who will need to change our behaviour, so we can then change the politicians’ behaviour?)

    Lord Krebs: But going back to the fundamental question of “Can we change people’s aspiration and people’s expectation?” I think this is a really interesting area for research. The people who probably know most about it are, of course, the marketing people, because they know how to get us to expect to be able to buy new stuff, whether it’s an iPhone or a new item of clothing, because of this year’s fashion. So we ought to be able to take their skills and their knowledge and turn it to a different purpose, to get people not to expect to have the latest gadget, the latest styles of clothing but to realise they’re perfectly happy with what they’ve got.

    Robyn Williams: Who would pay for that advertising campaign?

    Lord Krebs: That’s a very tricky one, who would pay for it.

    Robyn Williams: If it’s the government, then the old “nanny state” accusation comes in.

    Lord Krebs: There’s always a risk of “nanny state”, and I think that again is really part of the problem, of who ultimately takes responsibility.

    I’m wondering if Lord Krebs might have actually already provided an answer to the riddle. “So we ought to be able to take their skills and their knowledge and turn it to a different purpose, to get people not to expect to have the latest gadget…” etc.

    Who’s this “we”?

  40. 4440
    James P Says:

    Does Lord Krebs even know how much CO2 there is in the atmosphere? Or how it got there?

    I heard him a while back saying how much he loved French unpasteurised cheese – this while head of the FSA which has made life for such producers here all but impossible. He also failed to appreciate (officially) that what people like about organic food is not what’s in it, but what isn’t. He likes the stuff, but it’s too good for the proletariat.

  41. 4441
    Brute Says:

    The truth will out on Labor’s carbon scam

    http://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/news/opinion/the-truth-will-out-on-labors-carbon-scam/story-e6frezz0-1226197176697

  42. 4442
    Brute Says:

    UK Duke: Wind farms ‘absolutely useless’…

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/prince-philip/8901985/Wind-farms-are-useless-says-Duke.html

  43. 4443
    Brute Says:

    I know that from time to time I have posted what some would consider flippant comments laced with a touch of sardonic ridicule……………but this time I am dead serious.

    What is behind this legislation?

    There must be some nefarious intention for a governing body to spend time and effort passing such a law.

    Is this legislation an attempt to regulate the bottled water industry?

    Is this the fabled social conditioning (2 + 2 = 5) presented in Atlas Shrugged?

    I truly do not understand the intent.

    I appreciate any insight into the purpose of this law/decree from my European brethren.

    EU bans claim that water can prevent dehydration

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/eu/8897662/EU-bans-claim-that-water-can-prevent-dehydration.html

  44. 4444
    Alex Cull Says:

    @Brute, re the EU’s bottled water crusade, it’s a bit like the fall of the Roman Empire, probably – one expects these little outbreaks of weirdness before the end.

    Re the Duke of Edinburgh’s comments about useless wind farms, it seems even the BBC are acknowledging that he is not exactly the only person to hold this opinion.

    I happened to catch a few minutes of a TV programme this morning, where Andrew Marr, one of the BBC’s political journalists, said: ” It’s one of those issues where the Duke of Edinburgh – whether he likes being quoted across the front of the newspapers or not – is also speaking for a very, very large number of people.”

  45. 4445
    peter geany Says:

    Hi Brute I echo Alex’s words on the bottled water. What they have done is one of those uselessly unnecessary but technically correct rulings that are not going to alter our lives one iota. Its all part of ensuring they justify their jobs. But in the current highly charged political atmosphere these stupidities are getting a greater airing.

    The Dukes words on wind-farms won’t change anything, that is already set in motion, but his words will help stop the idiots at the BBC ramming wind power down our throats all the time. Wind Turbines will have been knocked on the head by uncertainty now that the UK government suddenly cut the solar feed in tariffs in half. Now all you can do is just about cover your costs. A building maintenance manager of a large housing association I know was telling me they were about to press the green button and cover all their houses in Solar panels. Last week the plan was ditched. They were not doing it to be green but to make money. He by the way was against the plan but his opinion carries no weight. tells you everything you need to know really

  46. 4446
    Brute Says:

    Thanks Alex.

    Because I do not trust the media, I felt best to get “man on the street” viewpoint and who best to ask than my friends across the sea in Europeland?

    So this is simply more mental masturbation by self important political busybodies?

    I see there are fines associated with making claims that water is essential to the human condition………….

    I suppose Europe is that hard up for money?

    As far as the Queen’s husband goes…………..I give 24 hours before kooks such as Peter Martin paint him as a “non-believing heretic” being paid off by “big oil”, “big coal” or otherwise describing him as a befuddled luddite.

  47. 4447
    Brute Says:

    Yes Peter Geany…….here in the US the subsidies for “green” technology have dried up also causing many to abandon plans to install wind/solar whatever.

    These “green” schemes cannot stand on their own and would have never been considered in the first place without the “free” government money to offset the inefficiencies and prohibitive costs.

    In other words, no clearly thinking individual would invest in such a losing proposition with the exception of government bureaucrats (who don’t care because it isn’t their money).

    (“Clearly thinking individual” and “government bureaucrat” are a contradiction of terms……I know)

  48. 4448
    peter geany Says:

    Hi Brute, Today I note that the moneybags men from Beijing are heading for the hills. Wang Quishan, China’s financial commissar, said his country was planning for “a prolonged global recession”, Now just a short while ago they were calling for a change in the US dollars status as the reserve currency……uuummm how things can change.

    The really crucifying thing at present is that there is a complete lack of leadership in the West, both morale and piratical. Governments on both sides of the Atlantic are paralysed and trapped in their liberal left world view of all things Government. They simply can not grasp that it has been their interference that has created our current financial crisis and that the only way out is to set us all free.

    As I see it at this point their are 2 things that will regenerate the West. The easiest is for a New President in the US to strip away 3/4 of the US government machine, reduce taxes and let the economy regenerate. Pass legislation that favours the small business over the corporate, and removal of subsidies for anything other than essential welfare, paving the way for a return to a genuine market economy or capitalism.

    The only option for hope in Europe is the UK. Although Germany is currently strong, her strength is about to go the way of China’s. Germany has too much invested in the EU to be able to see the wood for the trees. The Germany people instinctively know something is wrong but I think they are going to be slower on the uptake than the UK public. The public mood in the UK is starting to turn from frustration to something more demanding. The removal of 2 democratically elected prime ministers by the EU has shocked people out of their complacency. More searching questions are being asked of the UK government as it stumbles 2 steps behind events, events that have been telegraphed to all and sundry but ignored by the political class. I don’t think this government will last another year without the coalition breaking.

    Who will take the lead is not yet apparent, perhaps as is usual the UK will not take the first step, I have a sneaky suspicion it will be France, however involuntary, that precipitates the inevitable breakup of the Euro and by inference the EU. But it will be the UK that will show the way forward out of the mire with a new and more inclusive type of government.

  49. 4449
    Brute Says:

    Peter Geany,

    As you, I see the writing on the wall.

    There is a children’s game titled “hot potato” wherein an object is passed from player to player with music playing. If you hold the object when the music stops……….you’re “out”. There must be a similar game played by British children.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hot_Potato_(game)

    The game is illustrative of the economic situation facing the world today. Greece, Italy, Spain, Portugal, etc are already “out”. The United States and Great Britain will be “out” in due course.

    I used to believe that the United States could rally considering its vast untapped natural resources and manufacturing base…………….however, the manufacturing base is now gone and environmentalist prevent any use of natural resources.

    The debts incurred by the socialist policies of the West have created a mountain of debt so immense that it can never be overcome. Of course these policies were implemented in order to buy votes.

    There will be, very soon, a massive collapse of the world economic system…….no way around it.

    No person or government can spend more than they earn without an eventual (inevitable) collapse.……..the socialists have run out of other people’s money.

    My opinion is to own tangible (as well as portable) stores of wealth.

    I own very little fiat currency.

  50. 4450
    Brute Says:

    Peter Geany,

    By the way, citizens of the west have become addicted to government funded “goodies” (by design). The intention was to perpetuate a ceaseless entitlement class in exchange for re-election.

    Many utilize these handouts without even realizing it…………..if asked to do without they bristle so the voters won’t elect for austerity.

    A cabal of 12 US Congressmen were assembled to cut 1.2 Trillion from the US budget in August. Their deadline was today and they’ve failed.

    Politicians will never cut spending for fear of being ousted from office………….however, now the well has run dry and the cuts will be sudden, unmanageable and catastrophic.

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