Posts Tagged ‘carbon cult’

Tories promise to prop up carbon price

Sunday, March 21st, 2010

The UK faces at least two years of peak-time power cuts in five years, despite the Conservatives’ pledge to revive nuclear power.

The Tories’ energy policy was published Friday, and while a revived nuclear commitment provides some of the promised “energy security”, it won’t come in time. And, amazingly, the party has committed to propping up the carbon price.

By 2015 the high cost of complying with EU environmental compliance will have taken out a third of the UK’s coal capacity – the power companies would rather close than comply – followed by two thirds of its oil powered generating capacity by 2020. Nuclear provides 14 per cent of UK electricity today, but all but one of the current generators are due to close by 2022.

That means cuts – or in the ministry’s jargon “expected energy unserved” – in just five years’ time.

Ad industry: You write the cheques, we’ll drown the puppies

Monday, March 15th, 2010

The UK advertising industry has bravely decided it can continue to accept millions of pounds from the state to create alarming climate advertisements, despite inaccuracies and a storm of complaints from parents. The principled decision, from the admen’s self-regulatory body the ASA, follows 939 complaints about the UK energy ministry DECC’s “Drowning Dog” prime time TV and cinema ad (aka “Bedtime Story”) , which cost £6m, and four related posters.

Critics aren’t happy, and point out that the chair of the ASA, Lord Chris Smith of Finsbury, also chairs the Environment Agency, and is currently working closely with DECC.

UK Physicists on Climategate

Monday, March 1st, 2010

The body representing 36,000 UK physicists has called for a wider enquiry into the Climategate affair, saying it raises issues of scientific corruption. The Institute of Physics doesn’t pull any punches in the submission, one of around 50 presented to the Commons Select Committee enquiry into the Climategate archive. The committee holds its only oral hearing later today.

The IOP says the enquiry should be broadened to examine possible “departure from objective scientific practice, for example, manipulation of the publication and peer review system or allowing pre-formed conclusions to override scientific objectivity.”

It deplores the climate scientists’ “intolerance to challenge” and the “suppression of proxy results for recent decades that do not agree with contemporary instrumental temperature measurements.”

Gonzo science and the Hockey Stick

Monday, February 8th, 2010

An interview with Andrew Montford. Choice quote:

“You can throw away the bits that don’t give you the right answer. It’s an advantage ‘unique to climatalogy’”

Read more at The Register

Luvvies spill tears on precious glacier

Wednesday, January 20th, 2010


As celebrities met at the top of Mount Kilimanjaro last week to weep for Gaia’s disappearing ice, NASA has quietly scrubbed the claim that the world’s second largest ice mass in the Himalayas will have disappeared in 25 years.

The Google cache still shows the bogus NASA claim:


On Climategate

Monday, November 30th, 2009

at The Register

This piece originally had a much longer section summing up the state of climate “science” – which the CRU leak has verified. The peculiar nature of the problem is why anecdote and modelling play such an important part in the persuasion business.

Scientific theories fall by the wayside when they fail to be the give us the most convincing explanation of the evidence. The onus is therefore on the supporters of the theory to make the demonstrations, not for opponents to ‘trump’ them, and come up with one better. Otherwise we’d still be discussing the distribution of phlogiston, or the particular qualities of ectoplasm.

Prior to 1980, the dominant factor influencing modulations in climate was thought to be the sun. This makes sense, since our primary energy source (unless you happen to live by a volcano vent) is the sun. If the current vogue for greenhouse gases loses favour, the result will not be a dangerous unstable rip in the fabric of space time. It’s simply likely that the consensus will, in the absence of a more compelling explanation, revert to solar influences.

(Ironically Hubert Lamb, the father of climatology who left the Met Office to found CRU in 1972, remained sceptical of the greenhouse gas theory until the end).

Now every scientific challenges is unique, but the manmade global warming hypothesis poses several specific problems for even the most honest scientist. The real battleground is over aspects of the ‘energy budget’ model – and convincing people means overcoming a number of challenges. The theory posits that small increases in CO2 concentrations (advocates prefer the phrase ‘well-mixed greenhouse gases’) have significant amplification effects. It’s accepted that a doubling of CO2 introduces very little warmth into the system – less than a degree centigrade, which is quite toasty and leaves us someway short of Thermageddon. Increasing the CO2 concentration doesn’t make an appreciable difference; since absorption is logarithmic, it doesn’t matter after a certain point.

So positive feedbacks play a central role in the hypothesis, which suggests that with more clouds, more energy is ‘trapped’, permafrost melts, methane is released, and so on, all increasing temperatures further. Global Warming theory rests on these strong positive feedbacks. If the earth absorbs larger amounts of CO2 than predicted – then the theory fails. If the earth radiates more out to space, then it fails. If the negative feedbacks outweigh the positive feedbacks, then the theory fails. As you may tell by now, demonstrating that greenhouse gases play some kind of role in the climate is not difficult. Demonstrating that they play the dominant role is.

Additionally, and to the perennial amazement of newcomers to the field, there is no ‘fingerprint’ or telltale signal that anthropogenically produced gases are the primary forcing factor. A few candidates have briefly starred in the role – C-14 isotopes, or signs of a ‘hotspot’ under the stratosphere – but these are rarely cited now. The ‘smoking pistols’ have proved to be ambiguous, or missing in action. With the human component just a small part (5 per cent) of CO2, and CO2 a small (5 per cent) part of the overall greenhouse gas mix, the challenge is clear.

Hence the increasing dependence, since 1980, of a range of anecdotal evidence, and computer modelling. In instances where simple empirical tests are sufficient to provide a theory, neither is needed. But science has now moved into what critics call a ‘post modern’ phase. In 2001, the IPCC published its Third Assessment Report and observed:

“Our knowledge about the processes, and feedback mechanisms determining them, must be significantly improved in order to extract early signs of such changes from model simulations and observations.”

So, while expressing quite frankly the state of the science, the IPCC was giving increasing weight to computer models as it was to observations. Modelling was beginning to eclipse empirical evidence.

So reasonable doubt exists whether something as significant as clouds are a positive or negative feedback. The Fourth Annual Assessment acknowledged that the “Level of scientific understandings” of non-Greenhouse forcings was low. That was charitable, the science hasn’t really been done yet.

Now it’s clear from the CRU exchanges – particularly between the Wigley and Trenberth “Where did the Warming go?” dialog – that the energy budget isn’t scientifically understood at all.

Not Proven is a reasonable verdict.

Global Warming ate my data

Friday, August 14th, 2009

The dog did it

The world’s source for global temperature record admits it’s lost or destroyed all the original data that would allow a third party to construct a global temperature record. The destruction (or loss) of the data comes at a convenient time for the Climatic Research Unit (CRU) in East Anglia – permitting it to snub FoIA requests to see the data.

The CRU has refused to release the raw weather station data and its processing methods for inspection – except to hand-picked academics – for several years. Instead, it releases a processed version, in gridded form. NASA maintains its own (GISSTEMP), but the CRU Global Climate Dataset, is the most cited surface temperature record by the UN IPCC. So any errors in CRU cascade around the world, and become part of “the science”.

Professor Phil Jones, the activist-scientist who maintains the data set, has cited various reasons for refusing to release the raw data. Most famously, Jones told an Australian climate scientist in 2004:

Even if WMO agrees, I will still not pass on the data. We have 25 or so years invested in the work. Why should I make the data available to you, when your aim is to try and find something wrong with it.

In 2007, in response to Freedom of Information Act requests, CRU initially said it didn’t have to fulfil the requests because “Information accessible to applicant via other means Some information is publicly available on external websites”.

Now it’s citing confidentiality agreements with Denmark, Spain, Bahrain and our own Mystic Met Office. Others may exist, CRU says in a statement, but it might have lost them because it moved offices. Or they were made verbally, and nobody at CRU wrote them down.

Read more at The Register.

The bogus logic of 'sustainability'

Saturday, July 11th, 2009

NEF co-author Saamah Abadallah

Did you know people in Haiti, Burma and Armenia are all better off than in Britain? And the Congo is happier than the USA? That’s what the London think-tank New Economic Foundation reckons in its second “Happy Planet” rankings. But even NEF admits that its “happiness” rating or HPI doesn’t really measure human happiness, and that it’s sacrificing truthiness for the publicity its reports can generate.

Like the notorious Carbon Calculator, the Happy Planet Index is an advocacy tool for limiting, rather than promoting, human health and happiness, and it too is based on the idea of an ecological “footprint”. This Neo-Malthusian concept was developed by population-control advocate William Rees, a professor at British Columbia University, and his splendidly-named pupil Mathis Wackernagel. The latter has since turned it into a successful consultancy business.

NEF uses older surveys where people expressed happiness, multiplies it by life expectancy, and divides it by the “footprint”. Factors such as crime, freedom, or infant mortality rates are not considered.

So not surprisingly, given this skew, the “Happiness Index” produces some very odd results. The last survey was topped by the Republic of Vanautu. The south sea nation has a population of just over 200,000 and an infant mortality rate of one in 20 – about 10 times that of the UK.

The authors urge industrialised economies urgently need to become more like the underdeveloped. In human terms, that would mean over 300,000 unnecessary child deaths in the UK each year. Such is the price of happiness, NEF argues.

NEF also frowns on India and China for improving the material welfare of their people. Accompanying the report is a spreadsheet which hindcasts the NEF “happiness” figure retrospectively. It tells us that since 1990, China and India’s “HPI rating” has fallen.

In the latest survey Costa Rica tops the poll, and Vanautu has dropped out completely. Jamaica ranks third, Columbia is at six, Bhutan (with 74 deaths per 1,000 live births) and Laos (89 per 1,000) is in the Top 20 – far higher than any OECD country.

It’s too bizarre even for some anti-capitalist environmentalists. Writing on his blog, the activist Derek Wall, author of Babylon and Beyond: The Economics of Anti-capitalist, Anti-globalist and Radical Green Movements observes that:

“Colombia comes in at number six on the index out of 143 countries… yet death squads commonly clear peasants from the land for biofuels. Doesn’t sound that good a place to me.”

“But maybe I am just one of those old fashioned left greens who worries about little things like human rights and the environment?”

Meet the Carbon Cult, Derek.


Decarbonising Britain won't work

Wednesday, May 27th, 2009

The UK’s climate act is “all but certain to fail” and alternative approaches should be considered, according to a new study. The act commits the UK to cut its CO2 emissions by a third in just 13 years, and by 80 per cent by 2050.

Roger Pielke Jr is a professor at the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences and a visiting professor at University of Oxford’s Said Business School who has accepted the case for cutting carbon emissions. However, in a new journal article he says the Act is unrealistic, setting symbolic and therefore meaningless targets instead of practical policy.

A projected UK population of 82 million by 2050 would produce 80 per cent more than the CC Act’s target. Assuming modest growth of 1.3 per cent over the period, the goal becomes even more unrealistic.

“This level of growth would add another 440 Mt of carbon dioxide to the 2050 total, for a total of about 1,200 Mt – ten times the 2050 target. And in 2022 this rate of growth would add about another 135 Mt of carbon dioxide emissions, for a total of 738 Mt, approaching twice the 2022 target.” Pielke writes.

BBC's science: 'Evangelical, shallow and sparse'

Friday, May 22nd, 2009

The BBC’s environmental coverage has come under fire from a former science correspondent. Award-winning author and journalist David Whitehouse says the corporation risks public ridicule – or worse – with what he calls “an evangelical, inconsistent climate change reporting and its narrow, shallow and sparse reporting on other scientific issues.”

Whitehouse relates how he was ticked off for taking a cautious approach to apocalyptic predictions when a link between BSE in cattle (“Mad Cow Disease”) and vCJD in humans was accepted by government officials in 1996. Those predictions “…rested on a cascade of debateable assumptions being fed into a computer model that had been tweaked to hindcast previous data,” he writes.

“My approach was not favoured by the BBC at the time and I was severely criticised in 1998 and told I was wrong and not reporting the BSE/vCJD story correctly.”

The Beeb wasn’t alone. With bloodthirsty glee, the Observer newspaper at the time predicted millions infected, crematoria full of smoking human remains – and the government handing out suicide pills to the public. Whitehouse feels his caution is now vindicated. The number of cases traced to vCJD in the UK is now 163 – and the only suicides were farmers who had feared their livelihoods destroyed.

Writes Whitehouse:

“Reporting the consensus about climate change…is not synonymous with good science reporting. The BBC is at an important point. It has been narrow minded about climate change for many years and they have become at the very least a cliché and at worst lampooned as being predictable and biased by a public that doesn’t believe them anymore.”