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The Times does climate

Respected professor, or international laughing stock?The Times has a trio of articles on climate this morning, from Mark Lynas, from Matt Ridley, and from science editor Tom Whipple. Matt Ridley is doing the good news on global warming, Lynas is doing the "right wing people must do as I say" thing. But it was Whipple's piece that caught my eye. This was because he opened by shooting himself smack bang in the middle of his foot. As a way of getting attention this is hard to beat.

He achieved this feat of public relations when he described a Royal Society meeting and

...a talk by a respected professor who expected the summer collapse of Arctic ice before 2020. The problem, for those listening, was that this same professor had previously given different dates — 2012, 2013, 2015 and 2016.

Yes folks, he means Peter Wadhams, who I think it's fair to say is not actually much respected at all - he is actually seen by both sides of the climate debate as a bit of a noodle. Whipple does seem to have cottoned on to the fact that Wadhams was wildly wrong, but he seems to be under the impression that he will be right in the near future. I'm not sure how convincing this is.

Whipple also schools us all about extreme weather, and in particular about typhoons:

In 2013, Typhoon Haiyan devastated the Philippines — less because of the strength of its winds, than its storm surge. Before the industrial revolution a storm of precisely the same scale as Haiyan would have hit with the same speed, but that surge would have been 20cm lower.

This is anecdote rather than data of course, and the data is fairly clear that there has been a decline in tropical hurricanes in recent decades. But if it's anecodotes being traded, perhaps it would be better to think about Typhoon Hyphong in 1881, which killed 20,000 people at a time when the poplulation of the Philippines was less than 5 million; Typhoon Haiyan killed less than a third of that number when the population was 100 million.

Whipple then does the full hockey stick, by claiming that:

...human civilisation developed in a period with a temperature range that we have just breached.

Which rather seems to finish the article where it began, discussing science so shonky that only the most politicised find it convincing.

Ho hum.



Our biggest problem is poverty

This is a guest post by Ralf Bodelier, translated from an original in Dutch.

Indur M. Goklany is one of the most influential climate analysts in the world. 'If we want a better world, we must continue using the cheapest form of energy.  For the time being that is the burning of oil, coal and gas'. Last month he published ‘Carbon Dioxide. The Good News’.

He was part of the climate negotiations for the United States in the run-up to the UNFCCC, and he was there at the birth of the mighty IPCC - the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. He participated in several of the five assessment reports of the same IPCC. But two decades ago, Goklany (70) distanced himself from the 'climate alarmists'. He was one of the earliest champions of adaptation, arguing that it made more sense than mitigation (or emissions reduction). He developed the notion of “focused adaptation”, whereby you address current day problems that would/could be exacerbated by climate change.  Early this October he published "Carbon Dioxide. The Good News', a long article about the benefits of more CO2 in our atmosphere, including a plea to the world to not decarbonize too fast. ‘Since the 1980s, we’ve been hoping that clean solar and wind energy will break through', Goklany says.  ‘However, their share of energy worldwide still doesn’t exceed one and a half percent.’

Click to read more ...


Yeo investigated for perjury

The Times is reporting (£) that Tim Yeo is being investigated for perjury, after his libel case against the Sunday Times was thrown out last week.

Good week at the office Tim?



Cartoons by Josh Calendar 2016

Buy it here!

The Calendar has cartoons from the past year, mostly on Energy, Environment and Climate Change topics. 
This year there are also political cartoons and caricatures.

The price of the Calendar is £19.50 and includes postage in the UK. 
If you are ordering from outside the UK I will email you any additional postage when you order.

The calendar is 28 x 44 cms (A3) in size, spiral bound with a hanger, and beautifully printed on 170gsm silk paper.

Please note: The calendars will be printed next week and deliveries will start the week beginning 8th December.

Finally, many thanks to all the readers and commenters at BishopHill and especially to our host - most of the cartoons would not have been drawn without you!

Cartoons by Josh


UN body: IPCC talking out of hat

The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation has made an announcement on extreme weather this morning, which is sure to attract a lot of attention:

Drought, floods and other extremes of weather have become more frequent and severe in the past 30 years and pose a rising threat to food security in developing countries, the United Nations food agency said on Thursday...It said they were occurring almost twice as often as in the 1980s, hampering efforts to eradicate hunger and poverty.

This is a pretty major leap for the FAO, because it directly contradicts the IPCC, which says there is low confidence in there being any global change in droughts and hurricanes and makes only the mildest statements about extreme rainfall (it is silent on floods). The alleged doubling in extreme weather events is nowhere to be found in the IPCC report.

It's rather remarkable to see one arm of the United Nations effectively saying that another one is talking out of its collective hat, particularly just before the Paris Summit begins.


COP this - Josh 353

H/t Stewgreen for the BBC article "COP21: Public support for tough climate deal 'declines'"

Reading the article it looks like the decline in support is pretty much worldwide - see their graphic below.

Next up: the Calendar!

Cartoons by Josh

[Image updated: many thanks to our host for a much better (and funnier) Chinese translation.]



Osborn jumps the gun - and gets deleted

Guest post by David Holland

By chance I happened upon a guest blog post by Tim Osborn a few days ago.   Its not the way I found it, but if you google "david holland" it is at the top of list today.   If you click on the link you get an error message but, as I write this, if you click the down arrow after the link you see the cached version, as of 15 November, which apart from my comment copied below is, I think, how it was when I last saw it.

Tim was reporting on the fact the First Tier Tribunal had upheld the Met Office refusal to disclose any and all historic Zero Order Drafts of any IPCC assessment.   I will let BH Readers comment upon the post, but I did not object to it, as I thought Tim came off second best.   Perhaps someone leant upon Ed and maybe on balance it could have been wise to snip any comments that were inappropriate.   However, to remove without trace of it, a published controversial blog is emblematic of the concerns I have with climate science.   Only squeaky-clean consensus views get, or remain, published.  

On 18 November, the Upper Tribunal agreed to hear my application for permission to appeal, which will be heard in London next year and I will let you know date and venue when I have it.   My comment at Climate Lab Book, which was made after the cached copy, is:

David Holland November 22, 2015 at 6:29 pm

It might be a bit soon to signal the end of requests for environmental information on the IPCC assessments. The MO case could end up as marking the end of routine refusals.   As I am sure you know that the First Tier Tribunal decisions are not binding and this case has yet to be heard by the Upper Tribunal, the decision of which is binding upon the parties in the UK, but can considered by the Compliance Committee of the Aarhus Convention, which has previously reprimanded several Parties including the UK

The UK transposition of the Convention and Directive into UK law is in error in some important respects such as the ‘emissions rule’, and the application of the regulations.   There can be no dispute but that the raison d’être of the IPCC is to relate human emissions of CO2 to global temperature.   In its 2012 report to the Council and the European Parliament, the Commission described the ‘emissions rule’ as the “legal presumption that the public interest served by disclosure prevails if the request relates to emissions into the environment”.


BBC still handing free airtime to greens

Readers will be much amused by the BBC's latest antics, launching a whole season of programmes promoting the climate change agenda on the World Service.

I listened to the one from the Philippines. It takes me back a few years to when the BBC was handing over the airwaves to environmental activists without a moment's compunction.

Nothing much has changed by the looks of it.

And funny that it should happen on the watch of Tony Hall, the man whose idea the 28gate seminar was.



Hugo's howler, Harrabin's howler

Updated on Nov 26, 2015 by Registered CommenterBishop Hill

The Spectator doesn't do a great deal on the climate front, but when it does, it does it very well. At the moment they have a long piece (£, but you may get a free look) by David Rose on Judy Curry, which although containing little that will be new to BH readers will be informative for many.

If it's pure entertainment you want, they also have a preview of Paris from Hugo Rifkind (£), a man with a wonderful facility for words, but also one who is just a moderately loud repeater of metroliberal certainties on the state of the climate. His effort this week is rather more thoughtful than usual, but he still retains some odd notions. Observing, quite correctly, that everyone in the UK is backing off green policy, he says that as a country we are starting to look a bit provincial:

Germany’s big push for renewables (which was admittedly predicated on an hysterical and frankly stupid post-Fukushima fear of nuclear) is surging ahead, in precisely the manner that Scotland’s could be if anybody still gave a damn.

Click to read more ...


A few recent headlines

UK climate diplomats face axe after COP21 Paris summit

UK scraps £1bn carbon capture and storage competition

Spending Review: Support for fracking and green energy, DECC budget slashed

You know that austerity is biting deep and hard when we can no longer afford battallions of climate diplomats to arrange showings of An Inconvenient Truth to the natives.


Yeoful fail

Tim Yeo's libel action against the Sunday Times has failed. You will recall that this was over the newspaper's sting operation, in which Yeo was caught on camera offering to be a paid advocate for what he thought were a group of green lobbyists.

According to Guido the Sunday Times has said that Yeo's evidence was dismissed by the judge as:

“implausible”, “unreliable”, “not honest”,”dishonest”, “untruthful”, “untrue” and “unworthy of belief”.

Oh dear. :-)


The perils of being a mouthpiece

One of the problems with being a PR guy for an environmentally minded billionaire is that you sometimes find yourself having to utter complete drivel in public fora. There has been a lovely example of this in recent weeks, when, in a letter to the FT, Lord Stern claimed that 7 million deaths each year were caused by pollution derived from fossil fuels. This was disputed by Matt Ridley, who pointed out in another letter that most of these deaths were actually caused by burning wood and dung.

According to the World Health Organisation, the majority of these estimated deaths (4.3m) are from indoor air pollution, and the vast majority of them are caused by cooking and heating with wood and dung.

Click to read more ...


The Royal Air Farce - Josh 352

Prince Charles famously talks to his plants - nothing wrong with that, of course. Our host suggested a cartoon where we listen in to what he might be saying (H/t Climate Expert James Delingpole). Let's hope His Highness reads Roger Andrews too.

Cartoons by Josh

P.S. Is there any interest in a calendar this year? I am a bit late in getting round to it but do let me know if you would like one - I should be able to get some delivered before Christmas.


Closing minds

The quality of reading out there on the web today is very high indeed. Take a look at Jonathan Haidt's post about his experiences when he spoke at a high school in the the Pacific North West.

But then the discussion began, and it was the most unremittingly hostile questioning I’ve ever had. I don’t mind when people ask hard or critical questions, but I was surprised that I had misread the audience so thoroughly. My talk had little to do with gender, but the second question was “So you think rape is OK?” Like most of the questions, it was backed up by a sea of finger snaps — the sort you can hear in the infamous Yale video, where a student screams at Prof. Christakis to “be quiet” and tells him that he is “disgusting.”

You can't help but think that children would be better off outside the American education system. I'd be interested to know how far down this rather scary path we in the UK are.


Nurse's last hurrah

In a few days time Paul Nurse will be leaving his position at the helm of the Royal Society. I think it's fair to say that his time as President has not exactly been a success.

Evidence of the rot, and Nurse's determination to leave the society as a campaigning left-wing environmentalist organisation continues to emerge. It seems that he has committed it to a ten-year involvement in Future Earth, "a ten year international research platform providing the interdisciplinary knowledge needed to support the transition towards a sustainable and equitable world". It remains unclear to me how such political objectives are connected to the Society's purported role of "improving natural knowledge". Perhaps they should rename themselves the "Royal Society for Promotion of Equality".