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A debate!

The Institute of Art and Ideas recently held a debate which was a bit of a shocker in that it included people who are less than convinced that we are about to fry. Bob Carter needs little introduction of course, but alongside him were atmospheric physicist Michael McIntyre and science writer and climatologist Richard Corfield, none of whom would fall into the eco-catastrophe camp. The debate was chaired by Gabrielle Walker, familiar to readers here as co-author of David King's dodgy book on climate. This is really very good stuff. (The embedding doesn't seem to work for me - direct link here).



Celebrating bad science

When the House of Commons Energy and Climate Change Committee considered the Fifth Assessment Report a few months ago I was surprised when chairman Tim Yeo asked witnesses about the Hockey Stick. Although central to the Third Assessment and still relevant to the Fourth, I was of the view that its importance had now waned as all but the activist parts of the climatological community seem to have quietly accepted its methodological...ahem...peculiarities.

Like so many of his colleagues, Brian Hoskins seemed unable to say clearly that the Hockey Stick was wrong but, with a wonderful sirhumphreyish circumlocution, allowed the committee to understand that this was in fact the case:

Click to read more ...


Order of battle

Anthony has a interesting discussion thread, asking whether sceptics in the US need an organisation - like GWPF here in the UK - that can be the first port of call for those looking for a sceptic point of view.

People like Lewandowsky were able to make their claims stick because with climate skepticsm, it is all about that personal journey, there’s no organization, no policy statement, no cohesiveness of opinion that anyone can point to and say “this is what climate skeptics endorse”. While there’s strength in that heterogeneity, there’s also a weakness in that it allows people like Lewandowsky to brand climate skeptics as he sees fit.

So after some years of thinking about this, I’d like to ask this simple question:

Is it time for an “official” climate skeptics organization, one that produces a policy statement, issues press releases, and provides educational guidance?

Do we need a proper order of battle, or should we persist with guerilla warfare?


Greens turn violent

It was really just a matter of time before the violence that has always been latent in the environmentalist movement spilled out into open view. Last night it seems that one of the "usual suspects" at the anti-fracking protests could no longer maintain the pretence of "peaceful protest". The following press release was issued on behalf of Dart Energy a couple of hours ago.


19 April 2014

Violent protest at Daneshill Road drill site Nottinghamshire

Dart Energy's site manager was this morning assaulted by a protestor as he attempted to gain access to the site. This violent act followed a night of masked protestors circling the drilling site screaming and shouting abuse, throwing objects at Security Personnel and causing criminal damage.

Click to read more ...


The BBC's great confidence trick

The Australian Attorney General George Brandis, a confirmed upholder of the climate change consensus, has lashed out at the large numbers of his fellow-travellers who seek to silence dissenters.

He said one of the main motivators for his passionate defence of free speech has been the “deplorable” way climate change has been debated and he was “really shocked by the sheer authoritarianism of those who would have excluded from the debate the point of view of people who were climate-change deniers”.

“One side [has] the orthodoxy on its side and delegitimises the views of those who disagree, rather than engaging with them intellectually and showing them why they are wrong,” he said.

He referred to [Opposition leader Penny Wong] as standing up in the Senate and saying the science is settled as an example of climate change believers trying to shut down the debate.

“In other words, ‘I am not even going to engage in a debate with you.’ It was ignorant, it was medieval, the approach of these true believers in climate change,” he said.

Click to read more ...


Tol tiff

Brandon Shollenberger and Richard Tol are having an interesting tiff over some late changes to Tol's chapter of the Working Group II report. Shollenberger accuses Tol of promoting his own work and of changing the tenor of the chapter after the final review had taken place.

On Twitter, Tol says that Shollenberger has it all wrong:

the SOD figure has 7 studies (Tol 1/7), the FGD one has 18 (Tol 2/18): 1/9 < 1/7

that's not true: section was changed in response to comments and extensively re-reviewed after.

This should all make for a pretty good dust-up in coming days. If nothing else it suggests that despite the Interacademy Council's review of the IPCC's procedures, the way Pachauri et al go about their work is still wide open to criticism.



Goodbye to all that - Josh 272

Click for a larger image

As many know I have a bit of a 'glass half full' opinion on the state of climate science and with the recent IPCC offerings along with activist mutterings of 'we are all heading for a cliff' type alarmism and calls for Climate Scientist strike action, I imagined this view of where we/they are at.

Happy Easter!

Cartoons by Josh


Sinnickal critique

Talking of publicly funded political activism in universities, Talking Climate, an activist blog that receives funds from the University of Nottingham, has issued a response to the Climate Control report on green education in schools,  authored by a biology teacher named Luke Sinnick. I can't say I'm very impressed. Take this, for example:

[Montford and Shade] start with the sug­ges­tion that pro­moting envir­on­mental aware­ness entails “the cor­rup­tion of the cur­riculum in schools in sup­port of a rad­ical world­view that is almost cer­tainly at odds with the majority view in our society”. However, there are repeated polls showing that the ‘majority view’ is that human activity is affecting the cli­mate and that levels of con­cern about the effects of cli­mate change remain high.

Click to read more ...


The hand that feeds bites back

From time to time I make the observation that many university lecturers are little more than public-funded left-wing political activists, their teaching time devoted to making left-wing activists out of their students, their research devoted to finding ever more dubious reasons for state intervention in the economy and the lives of the people who pay their salaries.

It's the same everywhere of course, and in the USA the Republicans seem to have decided to do something about it.

The Frontiers in Innovation, Research, Science, and Technology Act would cut National Science Foundation funding for research in the social, behavioral and economic sciences by roughly 22 percent.

The measure was introduced by House Science, Space and Technology Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas) and Rep. Larry Bucshon (R-Ind.) in March.

I struggle to think of any other way in which you could prevent the political corruption of universities. I'm not even sure that a wholly privatised university sector that raised its funding solely from the private sector would be entirely immune.


Lewis on radiocarbon

Nic Lewis has a very long and rather technical post up at Climate Audit about the Bronk Ramsey radiocarbon dating algorithm and its statistical problems. It's well worth perservering with though, because when he gets on to testing different statistical approaches to the problem - the Bronk Ramsey subjective Bayesian one, an objective Bayesian one, and a frequentist approach too - the failings of the subjective Bayesian approach become startingly clear.

The different approaches are also considered by means of a rather fascinating analogy, namely the recovery of a satellite that has fallen to Earth.

This is the conclusion of Nic's paper:

Click to read more ...


Fire up the document shredder

As expected, the Virginia Supreme Court has today issued its opinion on the Mann emails FOI case. It has decided that the emails of the university are indeed deemed "proprietary" and therefore not subject to disclosure.

130934 American Tradition Inst. v. Rector and Visitors 04/17/2014 The circuit court was correct in denying a request for disclosure of certain documents under the Virginia Freedom of Information Act. The purpose of the higher education research exemption under Code § 2.2-3705.4(4) for "information of a proprietary nature" is to avoid competitive harm, not limited to financial matters.

Click to read more ...


Wind speculation

There was a major power cut in the north of Scotland at 8:30pm yesterday. At one time, as many as 200,000 homes were affected. According to the Scotsman, the current theory is that there may have been a problem in power lines near Inverness.

Teams of engineers are today out checking the thousands of kilometres of power lines across the region.

A spokesman for energy firm SSE said a helicopter was also assisting in the search for the cause.

He said: “Our engineers are still investigating the cause and location of the fault. It is a large geographical areas these guys have to search.

“Some times you really need to go out an inspect the lines by eye.”

It is understood engineers are concentrating their efforts on an area between Moray and Inverness.

However, over at the Scotland Against Spin Facebook page, speculation is rife that it may be something to do with the wind turbine fleet.

...having looked at yesterdays wind data something very strange happened at about 20.27.... that may have been the power cut which triggered it .. but wind dropped sharply.

Seems to me that [National Grid] were expecting a rise in wind speeds (which did come afterwards) and started to ramp down gas & coal in expectation of it, when the sudden lull arrived.



Round the bend - Josh 271

It looks like Lew & crew want to continue to debate the merits of his paper.

H/t and many thanks to Jo Nova for the 'flushes itself' idea.

Cartoons by Josh

P.S. Strange Lew on 'Leakage' video here from WUWT




Paterson's money

Owen Paterson seems to be putting his money where his mouth is, backing plans to develop shale gas in his home county of Shropshire.

The North Shropshire MP said without schemes like the one planned on his own doorstep “the lights will go out”.

Multi-national  Dart Energy has said it will submit plans to drill in Duddleston, near Ellesmere, if Shropshire Council waives the need for an environmental impact assessment.

The proposals have outraged campaigners who say exploratory drilling for coal-bed methane gas could open the door for controversial “fracking”, or hydraulic fracturing, for shale gas in future years. But Mr Paterson said the scheme would bring jobs to Shropshire and help provide energy to the whole of the UK.

Paterson's decision to put his money where his mouth, the task of environmental scaremongers is made much harder. I sense that we could be on the cusp of a change in the debate over shale. With Caroline Lucas distancing herself from most of the scaremongering - she says the debate revolves around climate only - and with the IPCC suggesting that shale has an important role to play, many of the weapons that have been used to prevent development in the UK may be falling away. With the world watching Vladimir Putin with a certain amount of trepidation too, it's hard to see how the greens are going to win this one.


Virginian decision

The Supreme Court of the state of Virginia is currently considering the case of Michael Mann's emails and it may be that an opinion will be offered tomorrow, as this Virginia FOI blog explains:

Later this week, probably on Thursday, April 17th, the Supreme Court of Virginia will release its next batch of opinions.  The Court hears cases in sessions, which happen about every 6-8 weeks.  By tradition, the Court releases all published opinions in cases argued at the previous session on the last day of the next session.  The Court isn’t required to follow that schedule; it can take as long as it wants.  But month in and month out, the Court follows its traditional schedule in all manner of cases, complicated and simple, controversial and not.

It is cause for raised eyebrows therefore that the Court missed its usual timeframe on one case (record no. 130934) argued in January: the entity formerly known as the American Tradition Institute (ATI) and Virginia Delegate (and Congressional candidate) Bob Marshall v. the University of Virginia and former UVA professor Michael Mann.  This is pure speculation, but there may be multiple opinions or close questions where the Court wanted to write carefully.  For our purposes, the key points are that a FOIA case has reached Virginia’s top court, with significant implications for all Virginia citizens.