In the post HEL P! Huhne and £1 per week cost of decarbonisation TonyN mentions an important 360-page document from the Committee on Climate Change: “The Fourth Carbon Budget: Reducing emissions through the 2020s.” After a well-publicised internal struggle between the Treasury and the Department of Energy and Climate Change which even the BBC could not ignore, see here the government accepted the CCC report and agreed to tighten up carbon emissions policy until 2027, with unknown, and probably unknowable effects on the economy for decades to come.

TonyN reports with amazement that the official estimate of the cost of their new targets is nowhere to be found in the document upon which the decision was based. Alex Cull found the probable source of the government’s vague estimates of cost in another document from the same body: “The Renewable Energy Review“. See here.

Both these documents, and much else, can be found on the Committee’s website at . It is also worth looking at the DECC press release dealing with Chris Huhne’s announcement of the new carbon budget in parliament.

The committee reports to the Department of Energy and Climate Change, which is also bursting with information, at:

Governments have always produced policy documents (white papers and green papers) as a basis for future action, and these often incorporate material from outside bodies. The quality of these documents is supposed to be assured by a simple procedure known as democratic accountability. Opposition politicians, political analysts and investigative journalists pore over such documents looking for ways to question and embarrass government ministers.

My own input into such affairs was very long ago and quite trivial – testing government ad campaigns on such subjects as race relations, recruitment to the armed services, and social service benefit take-up. Quality control was simple but effective; it was the civil servants’ fear of the ultimate hiccup – questions in the House.

With climate change, all checks and balances have disappeared. There is almost no questioning of government policy concerning climate change inside or outside Parliament. It is even said that the one well-known parliamentarian associated with climate scepticism – Lord Lawson – shouldn’t be interviewed on the subject in the media. One result can be seen in the quality of reports such as those mentioned above. Assured of a free ride in parliament and the press, they are little more than PR handouts – glossy brochures produced at the public’s expense advertising a policy which has been predetermined on rigid ideological grounds.

Of course, we sceptics are free to amuse ourselves by poking fun at scientists and journalists on blogs, and I for one have used that freedom to the utmost. Now TonyN is suggesting it’s time to get serious. Organising ourselves formally is one such possibility, protesting against such things as wind farms is another.

A third possibility is to take government propaganda seriously, analyse it, criticise it, and publish criticisms in a form where it is readily available when needed. Tonyb refers us to PaulM’s useful catalogue of criticism of the IPCC reports at :

Alex Cull is doing similarly valuable work transcribing radio and TV programmes and interviews at: What people say in the heat of the moment when confronted by a live microphone of camera can be far more revealing than carefully honed statements that get into print.

TonyN asked me if I’d like to coordinate a thread on this site to perform a similar analysis and critique of CCC documents. What does anyone think? I think I’d go mad if I had to tackle 360 pages of CCC-speak on my own, but sharing the task might make it bearable.

23 Responses to “Who scrutinises the advice from government climate change advisers?”

  1. Geoff

    As you know I tend to write on historical accounts of climate change, but also stray into the politics and economics as well. I think I have previously mentioned the thread I ran with a colleague over at Climate Etc. recently that examined the cost of carbon reduction, the impossibility of switching to renewables and the actual end result-the trivial temperature reduction that could be effected through a severe carbon diet.

    Climate science has a number of weaknesses, but I do believe the economic, practicality and pointlessness arguments are all powerful weapons, especially with the public and media.

    After examining all these three aspects I think the wider world needs to know that instead of harping on about the polar bears, such groups as Greenpeace should more honestly be chanting something along these lines at their demonstrations;

    “What do we want?
    A temperature reduction of 30 thusands of a degree costing £30 billion a year
    When do we want it?
    By 2100!”

    Now I do believe that if we can get over the absurdity of what our governments are trying to do, it will resonate with a very large proportion of the population in these cash strapped times.

    The trouble I see with the more formal approach suggested is that, as you yourself say;

    “With climate change, all checks and balances have disappeared. There is almost no questioning of government policy concerning climate change inside or outside Parliament. ”

    Trying to hold them to account in these circumstances is virtually impossible-it is llike trying to nail jelly to a wall. Therefore I ask myself what useful purpose would it serve-other than take up a great deal of our time producing reams of documents that the other side will ignore..

    Can I suggest two things that might help to go some way towards your overall objectrives?;

    Firstly, I am doing the rounds of climate scientists in order to try to get them to confirm the extremely minor effect we will have on temperatures by referencing them the ‘futility’ article cited above-there has been some revealing replies already, and it would be useful to collate these as part of a wider effort in due course. It underpins the conclusion I have reached that few climate scientists have ever done the sums themselves concerning the merits of a drastic carbon reduction plan, and those that have don’t like the answer and keep it hidden. Our reduction efforts are tiny and pointless and certainly not worth ruining our economy for, and this is something green zealots don’t like to hear..

    So if anyone has a ready to go email list of climate scientists as well as contact details of the various characters mentioned in the foreword as being involved with the fourth carbon budget report I will contact them.

    Secondly, I think it would be useful to take some high profile action to test the consensus and science. In this respect putting together a case against a specific and damaging wind farm applicaion would be a useful exercise. On the BBC ‘Wind Farm Wars’ the planning inspector said the farm would make a small but significant reduction to carbon. If we can demonstrate at a public enquiry that this difference is so absurdly small that it is irresponsible financially, evironmentally and as part of our declining energy infrastructure to proceed with a wind farm, it would at least put us up against the people we need to engage with. To date its been very difficult to see the whites of their eyes.

    There is a wind farm application some 50 miles from me-and others here might also have ongoing applications they might also like us to tackle as a group. Such an objective would at least give us some short term goals and objectives.

    Sorry I can’t be more directly supportive but there is no point our playing by the rules that the other side has created, and they are past masters at ignoring documentation they don’t like.


  2. Tonyb
    I love your suggested Greenpeace slogan. You should send it to Josh.
    I tend to share your pessimism about “taking up a great deal of our time producing reams of documents that the other side will ignore..”
    On the other hand, what else can one do? I share Alex Cull’s hope that our accumulated dossiers may someday be of use, when the mainstream media start taking an interest.
    As an example of how an unpromisingly dry subject may suddenly take off, have you seen Ben Pile’s guest post at Bishop Hill, which has been taken up by Wattsupwiththat? It’s a tedious trekk through the dense Green undergrowth of NGOs pressure groups, lobbyists and Euro-bureaucracy, and it’s got the commenters in a rage I’ve rarely seen, with many discussing how to take it further, by sending it to their MPs etc.

    I’m under no illusions about the likelihood of changing many minds with this effort. But here’s a little example of how things might work out:

    The 4th Carbon Budget relies on its review of 500 new papers to update the view of the science in its last report..This is the only basis for the change in government policy.Yet this review was not carried out by the Climate Change Committee, but by AVOID.
    “AVOID is a DECC/Defra funded programme and an LWEC (Living with Environmental Change) accredited activity, supported by the Met Office Hadley Centre, the Grantham Institute for Climate Change, the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research and the Walker Institute”.
    I’ve put myself on AVOID’s mailing list. Probably I’m the only person to have done so. Possibly some curious civil servant may trace me back to Harmless Sky and discover who we are and why we’re interested in what they’re up to. Little by little, awareness may spread that their little government-funded green bubble is being pricked. Your approach to climate scientists strikes me as being a very similar strategy.

  3. Geoff

    Have you an address for Avoid-a bit of an ominous name!


  4. Tonyb
    AVOID is at
    their 176 page report, which provides the only scientific basis for the CCC’s recommendation for further government action, can be found at

    As an example of ther thoroughness, here is the whole of their first chapter:

    “1.1.1. The 1000-year temperature record
    “Reconstructions of northern-hemisphere average temperatures over the last 1000 years have been produced independently from a range of direct and indirect data. These include data extracted from tree rings, ice cores and documentary sources as well as a number of instrumental records from the 18th Century onwards. Uncertainty in the temperature record arising from the use of indirect data and the reduced spatial coverage at periods further into the past have been rigorously examined and documented in the production of such temperature reconstructions.

    “The reconstructions show that while there have been some fluctuations in average temperature over the last 1000 years, the impact of human activities during the last century remains clear and without precedent in at least the last 1000 years.

    “While research to improve the accuracy of past temperature reconstructions is ongoing, there is a consensus in the scientific community that the predominant features of the temperature record are robust. This consensus is supported by the conclusions of the recent Muir Russell inquiry (Muir Russell et al., 2010). It finds no basis for any claims of scientific impropriety by the University of East Anglia (UEA) Climatic Research Unit or grounds to doubt its contribution to the development of the 1000-year temperature record”.

    So the only document to add to our knowledge of the millenial temperature record since AR4 is Muir Russell et al., 2010? And has anyone really claimed that “The reconstructions show that … the impact of human activities during the last century remains clear and without precedent in at least the last 1000 years”?

    Note that the authors are from the Tyndall centre, the Walker Institute, and the UEA.
    And so the word goes round…

  5. Geoff

    Thanks for the adress-You can see from the chapter you cited why I think it so important to write articles on historic instances of climate change because that remains at the core of the arguments.

    The phrase ‘The reconstructions show that while there have been some fluctuations in average temperature over the last 1000 years, the impact of human activities during the last century remains clear and without precedent in at least the last 1000 years’ is one that I have challenged the Met office about three times as they make the same reference. To date no reply from them.


  6. Geoff:

    By chance I came across an interesting cutting in a pile of stuff I was filing this afternoon. You can find it here

    Also by chance, I came across one of the people mentioned last night. Deitz has found a safe place in the Grantham scare machine not a million miles from the likes of Lord Stern, Sir Martin Parry, Sir Brian Hoskins, and of course that exemplar of all that is moderate in climate discourse, Bob Ward.

  7. TonyN Thanks for the article. It’s by the inimitable Booker, and can be found at
    The situation he uncovered in 2009 is reproduced faithfully in the CCC report, with incredible figures emerging from a maze of Chinese boxes.
    I hope everyone is following the current IPCC scandal which was revealed at Climate Audit, and has received very interesting coverage from Judith Curry, Ben Pile at BishopHIll, and Mark Lynas, among others.

  8. tonyb says in his #1 above:

    Trying to hold them [activists and policy makers] to account in these circumstances is virtually impossible – it is like trying to nail jelly to a wall. Therefore I ask myself what useful purpose would it serve – other than take up a great deal of our time producing reams of documents that the other side will ignore.

    I think that he is mistaken about this.

    In a recent post, Judith Curry recalls that:

    Shortly after I started Climate Etc., I received this email message from a colleague’

    ‘A few years ago, I started interacting with a skeptic who somehow passed through my “ignore skeptics” filter. He has an engineering degree and is quite knowledgeable. My rationale that “all skeptics are troglodytes” has been tattered, and my view of the climate debate has irreversibly changed.’

    It is true that those who we would particularly like to influence are most eager to find reasons to ignore sceptics. The scientist quoted by Curry admits to this attitude in the past, and the Climategate correspondents wandered into a minefield because they thought they could ignore sceptic’s representations indefinitely. Their group response was to pretend that these people were ignorant, stupid amateurs, but that is a characterisation of McIntyre, Holland and Keenan that I do not recognise. It should be evident to anyone who has had dealings with them that all three are very well informed, highly motivated and intelligent.

    Unfortunately, spending much time constructing detailed and lengthy analyses without funding, or the kind of research facilities that our opponents can call on, is probably one of the most useful thing that sceptics can do at the moment. It is essential that the warmist lobby should be confronted with well thought out and compelling arguments that are backed up with evidence.

    Yes, many will continue to find excuses not to listen, but some, like Judith Curry’s colleague, will react more reasonably, and every time that this happens a bridgehead is opened. Put another way, we have to prove that we can think as well as shout.

  9. I’m ready to do some digging in the CCC coalmines, time and other stuff permitting…

  10. Thanks Alex, I look forward to hearing your comments. I’ve only looked at chapter 1 in any detail. The rest would require a knowledge of mitigation, Stern etc which I don’t have. It’s interesting to look at the summary of key findings at the end of each chapter, which are often not findings at all, but descriptions of the work done, recommendations, etc. My general impression is that the document has a laxity about it which wouldn’t be allowed in a civil service document , white paper, etc.
    I’m busy this week, but will be back at the coalface next weekend. Cheers.

  11. Bishop HIll has been following closely Mark Lynas’s outing himself as a “denier” over the IPCC’s recent renewables report. The latest of Lynas’s three articles is here:
    the following comment from pointman has appeared at:

    I’m beginning to think we should take a chapter each of the report, find out the contributor, find out where they make their dosh from, do a text search for their contribution against campaigning/industry organisations and document the trail. Woodward & Bernstein watch out!

    and His Grace has set up a couple of threads devoted to individual chapters, with others possibly to follow.
    It’s no criticism of TonyN or the commenters here to point out that the widely different styles of the various blogs undoubtedly influence the responses to appeals to collective effort. His Grace tends to comment little, merely pointing out subjects of interest. His commenters swarm like mayflies and then move on, whereas TonyN’s longer, more thoughtful posts require reflection, elicit fewer immediate resposes, but the discussion tends to develop slowly but surely.

    Meanwhile, over at Climate Resistance, Ben Pile has started a collective effort at digging out recipients of European Union funds, and Alex Cull and Shub have already come up with some interesting stuff.
    That’s three independent efforts on three very different blogs, all aiming to create a collective effort of deconstruction of the billion dollar/pound/euro AGW propaganda machine.
    I’m very conscious of Tonb’s observation that it’s like trying to nail jelly to the wall. Well, sometimes jelly sticks, and sometimes walls come a-tumbling down.

  12. Geoff

    We all spread ourselves very thinly and it would certainly help if there is a collective effort which really unearths damaging information. I think the time to talk about the science is long past and the battleground needs to move onto a field of our choosing where we can really damage the arrogant elite.

    I think that battleground is an economic, one so the idea of searching out the costs-apparent and hidden-of this vast enterprise set up to shave a fraction of a degree off our temperatrure-assuming we had anything to do with the rise in the first place-is a sound one.

    By the way, there is a second worthwhile battleground which ironically is an environmental one as it is linked to energy. When people realise that our energy policy depends on covering our countryside with windmills which often don’t work when needed AND cost a fortune you have a powerful focus of dis-satisaction.


  13. tonyb, #12:

    I have long suspected that generating electricity is one of the less important roles of onshore wind turbines so far a policy makers are concerned. They carry a very clear message that action on climate change is an established necessity and their vast bulk and flailing blades, sited on elevations that ensure maximum visibility, ensure that the message reaches the maximum number of people and cannot be ignored. They also tell all those who see them that their government is taking care of the problem. If that was not the case, then why would they be built?

    From a warmist point of view, all this makes perfect sense, just so long as belief in the credo of AGW is well established or on the increase. Even if the public are indifferent, the turbines do no harm to to the cause. But as the tide turns, and a growing proportion of the public become sceptical and worried about their household bills, what message do the turbines convey then? And of course these monsters are not suddenly going to become invisible. It will still be impossible to ignore them even though they will be conveying a very different kind of message, and just as powerfully.

  14. TonyN

    I see Wind turbines as a metaphor for the ideological nonsense that is pervading this country in the name of climate change and its close cousin green energy.

    As i mentioned before I am keen to attend a public enquiry on wind farms as they are high profile in all senses of the world.

    If we can get over that a 50MW wind farm -such as the one proposed at Bodmin- will only save 10 millionths of a degree, and relate that to the cost for achiveing this and the environmental damage caused, that could easily gain national publictiy if it were handled right.

    I see very few other avenues for gaining attention and escalating all this into a public arena.


  15. Tonyb #12
    I agree entirely that the economic argument is the one which will spread the questioning of the consensus out of our small world of reasoning sceptics to the bigger political domain, where tax rises and heating costs count for more than science.
    I also agree wih TonyN’s point about the meaning of windmills, and how it will inevitably change as the economic wind turns. It seems quixotic (!) to insist on an aesthetic point like that, but it’s precisely on the symbolic level that political change is experienced. Think of 1989, when the communist régimes lost control of their populations. Everyone visualises it as the collapse of the Berlin Wall, a purely symbolic event. Overnight, the meaning of this inert object changed, and the world changed with it.
    One of the first things that made me think of AGW in aesthetic terms was something you wrote about 19th century whalers and their accounts of Arctic Sea ice melt. You could treat it in purely formal terms – as a simple question – “who’s right, the whaler or the palaeoclimatologist?” But you can also ask wider questions, like: “What sort of a world are we living in, when those in authority prefer to believe the statistical manipulations of fossilised tree ring data over the written word of someone who was there?” It’s a world where anything spat out by a computer has an authority which we humans have forfeited. Where political decisions are based on the bullet point summaries of glossy brochures written by think tanks paid by governments to produce the evidence to justify the decisions they’ve already made.
    There’s something deeply wrong with this. You may be right that there are more efficient ways of mustering support. I suppose everyone in the end follows their own gut feeling.
    My favourite anecdote on political campaigning is about Karl Kraus who, in Austria between the wars, kept up a relentless campaign to maintain the purity of the German language. When a friend objected: “The Japanese are massacring people in Manchuria, and you’re worried about where people put their commas”, he replied: “If people put their commas in the right place, the Japanese wouldn’t be massacring people in Manchuria”.
    Quixotic, or what?

  16. TonyN #13 and tonyb #14 What perceptive thoughts. I agree entirely. I haven’t posted of late, been rather busy and so many things are changing that you are likely to be wrong before posting. Has everyone noted that the scientific augment over AGW has all but disappeared back into those places that research the fundamentals, and has been replaced by arguments over policy response?

    Now this is where it is getting interesting and very confused; if we just take wind turbines I may argue from a pure engineering point of view that they don’t deliver and are not cost effective and the wrong solution, or from a sceptical point of view in that we don’t need them at all as CO2 is not a problem, or from an environmental point of view in that they are destroying that which they seek to protect. I could in fact believe in AGW but accept the practical and economic arguments that they are the wrong response.

    This is going to be a real problem for the true AGW believers as they see their support fade away and fragment. It is also a problem for the Government who seemed impervious to any scientific argument, but seem very sensitive to the economic argument given that it’s all going wrong at present.

    On the other hand it all makes perfect sense when you think that the electorate will only come to its senses when it has no money left. And the train smash continues to gather pace. Our EU brothers continue to change the rules and pretend that Greece is not bust. They continue to pretend that the current Greek government is capable of governing its people, whilst bowing to the wishes of the European Central Bank. This is the Bank that has no rules and will be insolvent when Greece defaults. That is why they want the private banks to accept a turnover of the debt so they can call it a restructuring. However this is only pushing the problem down the road and allowing the train to gather more pace so that the eventual crash is all the more horrific.

    Why is it that Politic attracts some of the dumbest dimwits in the world? Tonyb I think you are right in that now has come the time for action. At these public enquiries and other meeting we need to present not only the environmental case, but the economic case, the engineering case and the “CO2 is not an issue” case. No stone should be left unturned. We also need some volunteers with time which could be a problem for many of us.

    By the way; heard a whisper that the high speed rail may not go ahead! This is the scheme that call me Dave sold to us as an economic imperative, but in reality there is no organic demand for this and it is all part of Europe’s grand plan for banning aircraft for intra-European travel and using trains instead and also banning all but electric cars from cities by 2050. This is akin to reinstating the cannels but using speed boats rather than barges.

  17. As Financial Times news stories tend to vanish behind a pay-wall I’m posting this in full:

    June 30, 2011 6:53 am
    Panel says UK risks missing carbon targets

    By Pilita Clark, Environment Correspondent

    The UK has failed to cut greenhouse gas emissions across a range of areas and would risk missing its first set of carbon targets if it were not for the recession, the government’s climate watchdog has found.

    The number of loft and cavity wall insulation installations slid 30 per cent in 2010 from the previous year, according to the Committee on Climate Change’s third annual progress report.

    The schedule also slipped for the carbon capture and storage demonstration projects deemed critical to decarbonise power generation.

    Teaching people about “eco-driving”, or fuel saving measures such as not carrying excess weight, had only “very limited success”, with 10,000 drivers trained in 2010 compared with the 350,000 required annually by 2020.

    Overall, emissions increased by 3 per cent in 2010, mainly because of colder winter months.

    After adjusting for the weather, emissions were broadly flat, even though 3 per cent annual average reductions are needed to meet the first of the four carbon budgets set under the UK’s 2008 Climate Act, one of the most ambitious environmental legislations in the world.

    Emissions in 2010 were still within the limits of the first carbon budget because the impact of the recession helped them fall 9 per cent in 2009 from 2008.

    “Massive” emission cuts were never expected early in the first carbon budget period of 2008-2012, said the committee’s chief executive, David Kennedy.

    “The focus was always going to be on getting the policies in place, such as electricity market reform and the Green Deal (household energy efficiency programme),” he said, adding there had been some areas of important improvement.

    Replacing old, inefficient boilers through the “boiler scrappage scheme” was ahead of schedule.

    New car emissions fell on average from 150g per carbon dioxide per kilometre in 2009 to 144g per carbon dioxide per kilometre in 2010, in part because of high fuel prices.

    But ministers needed to take several important steps to drive down emissions, Mr Kennedy said.

    Electricity market reforms to be announced in July should include long term contracts, such as so-called contracts-for-difference, and must allow a smooth transition from current renewable measures, so there is no “investment hiatus”.

    The committee said the government must commit to insulate all lofts and cavity walls by 2015. It noted that only 13,000 walls were insulated in 2010. By 2020, 2m solid walls should be insulated. The use of renewable heat in homes and offices was also still very low at 2 per cent compared with the 12 per cent required by 2020.

    The committee’s criticism was echoed by the CBI employers’ group, which said the government has to clarify a number of “grey policy areas”, such as the Green Deal, electricity market reform and the Green Investment Bank.

    Under the 2008 Climate Act, the government is legally bound to meet a series of five-yearly carbon budgets, which cap the levels of greenhouse gases that can be emitted.

    The first three budgets run from 2008-12, 2013-17 and 2018-22.

    The government recently agreed the fourth carbon budget of 1,950 metric tonne of carbon dioxide for 2023-27. It will require an emission reduction of 50 per cent against 1990 levels.

    “Recent policy shifts have also dented investor confidence, such as the sudden removal of the incentive behind the Carbon Reduction Commitment (a carbon emissions reporting and pricing scheme),” said Rhian Kelly, CBI director for business environment.

    A report by the Prince of Wales’s UK Corporate Leaders Group on Climate Change, which includes companies such as Tesco and Lloyds, said current government efforts were overly complex and inadequate.

    Para. 5 seems to be the most interesting, and a masterly piece of spin. Apparently UK Co2 emissions have risen 3% because of a cold snap. No mention that this was during what is supposed to be one of the warmest years on record, or that a recession might have been expected to produce a significant fall in emissions.

    I wonder what the real trend is? To follow the ludicrous habit of extrapolating from short datasets so loved by warmists, UK emissions are set to double by 2035, provided we have a permanent recession and cold winters. And what about that lovely new Climate Act and all those windmills ……?

  18. Thanks TonyN #17
    This is priceless:

    Overall, emissions increased by 3 per cent in 2010, mainly because of colder winter months. After adjusting for the weather, emissions were broadly flat …

    So, if you adjust the emissions to what they would have been if the weather had been as warm as we said it was going to be, the increase in emissions which are making it warmer would have been the same as before. Or to put it another way, the colder it gets, the more difficult it is to take the measures necessary to stop it getting warmer.
    It took only one university professor to write “Alice in Wonderland”. Just look what a whole committee of them can do.

  19. TonyN, words fail me when comes to describing how empty headed some of these correspondents are. But then again we have recently seen two of them spectacularly exposed for the “cut and paste” merchants they are. And of course our legislators should be exposed as well along with all their so call experts and civil servants. In fact if I were in charge I would enshrine in Law that civil servers and any consultants had to be “qualified” to give advice in areas of science and technology, and further they be held accountable (loss of job) for agreeing legislation or civil/military projects where the uncertainties are high and the risk of failure high without these facts being made public prior to the project or legislations implementation.

    An example of this is Carbon Capture and Sequestration. Not only have there not been any industrial scale plants built anywhere, they haven’t demonstrated that this technology is viable yet. There is a huge difference between being able to capture CO2 as part of chemical process in a chemical plant, and actually building a scrubber that will be capable of cleaning the exhaust of a coal or gas plant. Yet our political class talk as if it works, has no adverse impact on fuel consumption, and is only a matter of money and implementation. And we don’t know where it’s all going yet! Priceless stupidity.

    I predict CCS’s will never be built. I will publically, in front of the regular forum members eat my hat if we have an industrial scale CCS plant built within 10 years. It is impossible to fathom how those in government, especially the civil servants whose job it is to make sure minister don’t talk “bollocks” don’t know this. Given that we are being asked to stump up huge sums of money in taxes they have a duty to blow the whistle or quit.

    As someone who has had direct responsibility for improving fuel economy in commercial vehicles I find the notion that teaching the nations drivers eco-driving is going to make any difference laughable. We have even had a TV program where they tried to change the driving habits of drivers and failed. And these were peopling who knew they were on TV and who were trying! If only the eco loons and establishment nut-heads would engage with those who know what they are talking about. But I guess they would all be far too sensitive to engage with the like of me.

    Only 2 things work when it comes to driving and saving fuel. Technology and skill combined with incentive. 90% of car drivers lack the skill to realise the full fuel saving potential of their vehicles. It’s exactly the same in heavy Trucks, but employers here can offer incentives that overtime will and do change driving habits.

    The “boiler scrappage scheme” has been another great con job. In many instances the new condensing boilers do not save any gas, and are only significantly more efficient under certain ideal conditions. These new and complicated boilers are proving to be less reliable and have a much shorter service life. They may be marginally better in operational economy, but they are more expensive in maintenance and capital costs. This is what happens when regulators decide what we need rather than the market. Regulators have banned the traditional boiler or mandated the condensing boiler, so manufacturers get a free ride and don’t have to compete.

    Lastly I love this bit. “Under the 2008 Climate Act, the government is legally bound to meet a series of five-yearly carbon budgets, which cap the levels of greenhouse gases that can be emitted.” Wow what exactly are they going to do? Beat us all with a stick until we switch everything off? Every single parliamentarian that voted for this ludicrous piece of legislation should be barred from holding any public office again. They would have more chance of changing the orbit of the moon.

    There is one bit or the whole sham not in the times article but is worth mentioning whist I’m on a rant. The Generators, or one of them at least had a meeting with the government last week sometime, asking……wait for it…….a subsidy to build Gas fired power stations to back up the wind turbines when the wind was not blowing. I think this is the point at which we can declare the world has gone official mad.

  20. Peter Geany

    For many years I have resisted the siren calls of the (mostly untrained) cavity wall insulation operatives. In many circumstances this stuff can cause actual harm to a house. For those of us living in a coastal area-likely to be wetter/windier they are a positve no no

    Modern houses filled with slab wall insulation at the time of building may be a different issue and having effective insulation is obviously sensible.

    However, 60% of the houses that will be around in 2050 have already been built and what with structural/damp/solid wall/listed building issues it is silly to go round trying to meet targets that may be positively detrimental to the unwitting home owner.


  21. Looking through Chapter 1 of the CCC’s Fourth Carbon Budget report, it’s clear that much of it is based on IPCC’s AR4, so any criticisms of AR4 would also apply here. However, some of it is based on something called the AVOID review (see page 70). While AVOID has suggested no major changes to the climate impacts projected by AR4 and also the CCC’s 2008 report, there are some additions, e.g.,:

    There is also increasing evidence to support the IPCC AR4 conclusion that 20-30% of plant and animal species are at increasingly high risk of extinction as global warming exceeds

    The role of recent climate change in incidences of malaria may also be greater than previously expected.

    The assertion about high rates of extinction is of interest, in the light of Willis Eschenbach’s thought-provoking 2010 post “Where are the corpses?” on WUWT here:
    It would be also fascinating to see what AVOID has to say about malaria, given that the link between global warming and malaria also has its controversial aspects.

    The AVOID review is a product of the AVOID consortium, and the report is meant to be on the CCC website under Technical Appendices, but all the page says at the moment is that it is “coming soon”.

    Who are the AVOID consortium? They are: the Met Office, the Walker Institute (University of Reading), the Tyndall Centre and the Grantham Institute :

    AVOID is a research programme that provides key advice to the UK Government on avoiding dangerous climate change brought on by greenhouse gas emissions.

    Whilst a rise in global temperature is inevitable, we can still have an influence on how much the temperature rises in the foreseeable future but only if we reduce emissions immediately.

    (No mention about uncertainties!)

    Hopefully CCC will update its website soon and we can have a look at what sort of new evidence AVOID has provided.

  22. Alex
    The AVOID report is on the CCC site at

    When the authors of the Fourth Carbon Budget Report assert that they have read 500 new papers, they mean that the authors of the AVOID report have read 500 new papers, and of course, their conclusion is that it’s worse than AR4 thought. The AVOID report has it has its lighter moments, though.
    This, from the executive summary, caught my eye:

    Post-AR4 analyses of internal climate variability indicate that the recent apparent slowdown in global warming is not inconsistent with a continued warming trend of around 0.2°C per decade.

    But since the current warming trend (average of 3 cited figures, p29) is 0.08°C, it’s presumably consistent with a cooling trend? And if we ever did experience a warming trend of 0.2°C per decade (something which has never happened) that would presumably be consistent with a “real” trend of less than half that? Is anything under the sun inconsistent with coming catastrophe?
    Then there’s this sobering thought from p.123

    New research shows that in a 2°C warmer world, globally there would be 4 million extra heat-related deaths and around 6 million less cold-related deaths relative to present

    So if Huhne gets his way and manages to head off that 2°C warming, he will be responsible for an additional 2 million temperature related deaths. Is that per year? How many tens of millions of avoidable deaths is the CCC willing to contemplate in it’s determination to avoid catastrophe?
    Last example from this monument of scientific research: p.28: The 1000-year temperature record:

    Reconstructions of northern-hemisphere average temperatures over the last 1000 years have been produced independently from a range of direct and indirect data. These include data extracted from tree rings, ice cores and documentary sources as well as a number of instrumental records from the 18th Century onwards. ..The reconstructions show that while there have been some fluctuations in average temperature over the last 1000 years, the impact of human activities during the last century remains clear and without precedent in at least the last 1000 years.
    While research to improve the accuracy of past temperature reconstructions is ongoing, there is a consensus in the scientific community that the predominant features of the temperature record are robust. This consensus is supported by the conclusions of the recent Muir Russell inquiry (Muir Russell et al., 2010). It finds no basis for any claims of scientific impropriety by the University of East Anglia (UEA) Climatic Research Unit or grounds to doubt its contribution to the development of the 1000-year temperature record.

    That’s right, the only post-AR4 source quoted on the 1000-year temperature record is Muir Russell. The rise of the hockeystick, its disappearance from AR4, Wegman, McIntyre & McKitrick, and Climategate never happened.

  23. Thanks, Geoff, for the link – and I can add NERA and AEA to my collection of acronyms, along with AVOID.

    “Is anything under the sun inconsistent with coming catastrophe?” Well, they don’t call it climate chaos for nothing! :)

    Re the “6 million less cold-related deaths”, I think page 26 has the answer:

    Globally, 4 million extra heat-deaths and around 6 million less cold-related deaths in the year 2100 relative to present – hence thermal stress reduces by around 2 million deaths due to warmer winters.

    Presumably the 2 million lives saved by global warming would be offset by various other forms of climate related doom, later in the century, such as dengue fever, stress and cannibalism.

    Interesting, re the reference to the Muir Russell report – I wonder, would it be classed as “grey literature”?

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