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Marotzke's mischief

Readers may recall Jochem Marotzke as the IPCC bigwig who promised that the IPCC would not duck the question of the hiatus in surface temperature rises and then promptly ensured that it did no such thing.

Yesterday, Marotzke and Piers Forster came up with a new paper that seeks to explain away the pause entirely, putting it all down to natural variability. There is a nice layman's explanation at Carbon Brief.

For each 15-year period, the authors compared the temperature change we've seen in the real world with what the climate models suggest should have happened.

Over the 112-year record, the authors find no obvious pattern in whether real-world temperature trends are closer to the upper end of what model project, or the lower end.

In other words, while the models  aren't capable of capturing all the "wiggles" along the path of rising temperatures, they are slightly too cool just as often as they're slightly too warm.

And because the observed trend over the full instrumental record is roughly the same as the model one we are cordially invited to conclude that there's actually no problem.

If Carbon Brief is reporting this correctly then it's hilariously bad stuff. Everybody knows that the twentieth century is hindcast roughly correctly because the models are "tuned", usually via the aerosol forcing. So fast-warming/big aerosol cooling models hindcast correctly and so do slow-warming/small aerosol cooling models. The problem is that the trick of fudging the aerosol data so as to give a correct hindcast can't be applied to forecasts. Reality will be what reality will be. The fact is we have models with a wide range of TCRs and they have all been fudged. Some might turn out to be roughly correct. But it it just as possible that they are all wrong. Given the experience with out of sample verification and the output of energy budget studies, it may well be that it is more likely than not that they are all wrong.


No sucker like a green sucker

The Truth About Cars is a website that I haven't come across before, but its article on ownership costs of a Tesla EV is well worth a look. It seems that the aluminium bodywork, used to reduce weight, makes it startlingly expensive.

Reported estimates from Tesla’s certified shops include:

  • $10,000 to repair a “minor but long” scratch
  • $45,000 for “minor front-end damage”
  • $7,000 for repair of a small dent and scratch that required no replacement of parts
  • $30,000 for “minor fender and door damage”
  • $11,000 for a minor scrape on the rear panel, including a $155 charge to “ensure battery remains charged” during the repair

But there are also strong hints that Tesla is ripping customers off. There's no sucker like a green sucker I suppose.


Diluting the truth

The first [concern about fracking is that it] uses huge amounts of water that must be transported to the fracking site, at significant environmental cost.

BBC on water requirements for shale gas operations

Estimates indicate that the amount needed to operate a hydraulically fractured shale gas well for a decade may be equivalent to the amount needed to water a golf course for a month; the amount needed to run a 1,000 MW coal-fired power plant for 12 hours; and the amount lost to leaks in United Utilities’ region in north west England every hour (Moore 2012).

The Royal Society on water requirements for shale gas operations

Truck movements could be minimised where water supply can be obtained from the public water mains, or by a licensed abstraction from a nearby waterbody.

Scottish Government expert panel on water requirements for shale gas operations


The long grass

The Scottish Government has announced a moratorium on new unconventional oil and gas operations, pending a public consultation, a public health impact assessment, and changes to the regulatory regime.

This reeks of the political classes kicking an awkward political football into the long grass, at least until the election is over. It is also of note that the moratorium seems not to cover fracking for geothermal energy.

Remarkably, the UKOOG, the industry body for the onshore oil and gas industry, has welcomed the move. I wonder if the time for emollience has passed. Shipping gas in from overseas rather than producing it locally is foolish in the extreme. The Scottish Government is actively damaging the economy and the environment.

Why not just say so?


Tol on radical greens

Richard Tol's article on radical greens is a must-read:

There are now elements in the environmental movement who are so worried about the state of the planet that they have lost all sense of proportion. This is alarming for those at the receiving end of their mindless wrath. It does not help to protect the environment either. Just like Boko Haram does not endear anyone to Muslims, green radicals taint all environmentalists. But whereas Islamic leaders immediately distance themselves from any new outrage, environmental leaders pretend nothing happened.

This really deserves a wider audience.


Trouble in Eden

In a shock announcement, the Eden Project has revealed that it is going to start hydraulically fracturing rocks beneath its site in a bid to extract geothermal energy. They are keen to emphasise the differences between what they are going to be doing and shale gas operations but a glance suggests these are largely distinctions without a difference.

Fracking the rock to create a geothermal heat exchanger is not the same as fracking for shale gas. We will not be releasing fossil fuels for burning. Geothermal developments are much deeper and in granite so there is much less chance of surface damage or contamination to the water table. We have no plans to use proppants or associated viscous chemical fluids to keep the circulation open. France encourages geothermal development but has a moratorium on fracking for gas.

The bit about the developments being "much deeper" than shale is not true. The image on the Eden project puts the depth at something like 4 or 5 km, which is pretty much the same depth at which the Bowland shale sites will be operating. Non-use of proppants - i.e. sand - seems to me to be a diversion rather than a meaningful distinction.

I also wonder if the planners are going to be presented with a dilemma over the noise levels:

Rigs are hired from the oil industry, so drilling will take place 24 hours a day to minimise the cost. It will take around 20 weeks per well. The rig will be one specifically for use in a populated area and heavily soundproofed, producing up to 45dBA at 200m. During operation, the generator will make a constant noise: a maximum of 30dBA at a distance of 200m. But because buildings are low, the noise can be tempered by landscaping.

Readers will recall that similar noise levels were deemed entirely unacceptable for shale gas operations.


Antifracking: the Russian connection

Via Instapundit comes an article from the Washington Free Beacon which reports that money is being funnelled to anti-fracking activists by a mysterious company in Bermuda with links to the Russian oil business:

A shadowy Bermudan company that has funneled tens of millions of dollars to anti-fracking environmentalist groups in the United States is run by executives with deep ties to Russian oil interests and offshore money laundering schemes involving members of President Vladimir Putin’s inner circle.

One of those executives, Nicholas Hoskins, is a director at a hedge fund management firm that has invested heavily in Russian oil and gas. He is also senior counsel at the Bermudan law firm Wakefield Quin and the vice president of a London-based investment firm whose president until recently chaired the board of the state-owned Russian oil company Rosneft.

The findings are based on a report by the US Environmental Policy Alliance. I don't think a fire has been found yet, but the quantities of smoke are prodigious.


The old fabulist of Fleet Street

Sometimes the sheer brazenness of the Guardian can take you completely aback. Having spent the last five years hyping every tall story from the environmentalists to high heaven and back again the old fabulist of Fleet Street has come up with a portentous editorial saying that the government is ignoring "genuine anxieties" that people have about this "novel" process.

Bribes and bullying are no way of dealing with genuine anxieties about a novel process

To the extent that the anxieties are genuine this is simply because environment correspondents across the media, but particularly at the Guardian, have been systematically misleading the public. As if to provide support for this view, the suggestion that fracking - a process that has been used for half a century without anyone noticing - is "novel" is simply untrue.

A glance at the rest of the article brings further examples, such as the endless repeated canard that warming above 2°C is somehow dangerous. No it isn't. No it isn't. No it isn't. No it isn't.



Climate Change Predictions is a new blog on the climate block, which introduces itself thus:

We are a small group who have followed the global warming/ climate change issue for some years. Initially we didn’t know which version was correct but we noticed several things. One was the frequent use of predictions, often scary, that seemed on the surface to be believable. We wondered whether anyone ever went back to see if the predictions turned out to be true.

This blog presents predictions that have been made over the past 40 years or so and we leave it to you to make up your own mind about them.

Jo Nova points out that the post category of "hardest hit" is hilarious. Take a look.



A big day for shale gas

Today sees Parliament consider an amendment to the Infrastructure Bill that would introduce a moratorium on unconventional gas wells in the UK. To coincide with the vote, the Environmental Audit Committee has produced one of its normal sham reports saying that industrial activity will all end in disaster, based as always on a series of interviews with environmentalists and pretty much nobody else. In fact, as Emily Gosden in the Telegraph amusingly notes, they have outdone themselves today:

The EAC also cites evidence from Paul Mobbs, a self-described “freelance campaigner, activist, environmental consultant, author, lecturer and engineer” and former “electrohippie”, who runs a “dysorganisation” called the ‘Free Range Activism Website’.

It's good to know that the views of the electrohippies are not being overlooked.

I gather that the commmittee's chairman Joan Whalley has been all over the BBC this morning, no doubt given the usual free pass by the eco-nutters who present programmes for the corporation.

I'll update this page throughout the day as news comes in.



Green-not-so-peaceful - Josh 310


More Greenpeace death threats

Updated on Jan 23, 2015 by Registered CommenterBishop Hill

Who can forget the infamous threat from Greenpeace's Gene Hasmi?

We know who you are. We know where you live. We know where you work.

And we be many, but you be few.

But was this a one-off? The evidence is suggesting otherwise. In the comments thread to a particularly sick Guardian post, which was adorned with a photo of a severed head, and which I will not therefore dignify with a link, comes this from commenter Bluecloud:

Click to read more ...


A shameful lecture in St Andrews

Anthony leads this morning with a report about a new study from the University of Minnesota, which shows that a third of crop yield variability is down to changes in climate, although it's not clear to me if they really mean climate or if they actually mean weather.

By coincidence I was in St Andrews last night for a lecture on the subject of climate change and food security given by David Battisti of the University of Washington, currently on a sabbatical in Scotland funded by the Carnegie Trust. A part of his duties appears to be to travel around Scottish universities doing public relations for the green movement by talking about food security. As far as I can see from his publications, this is not actually Prof Battisti's specialism, so the description as PR is not unwarranted.

There was a good turnout for the event last night - with the lecture theatre almost all full with a mixture of green-minded students and green-minded townsfolk. The principal did the introduction, suggesting a degree of importance was attached to the occasion.

Click to read more ...


Climate policy is harming the poor

Roger Pielke Jr's post on the PhD thesis of Eija-Riitta Korhola is a must-read. Korhola is the wife of Atte Korhola, some of whose thoughts on climate science form the epigraph to Chapter 15 of The Hockey Stick Illusion.

As an MEP, Dr (as I assume we must call her now) Korhola has an insider's view on mainstream climate policy, which she views as a failure so monumental that it is actively harmful.

I agree with those who regard the UN’s strategy – and the EU’s follow-up strategy – not only as ineffective but also harmful.

And the greens must carry much of the blame.

The environmental movement regards economic growth as an enemy of the environment although practice has proven that in precisely those quarters of the world where economic well-being prevails and basic needs are satisfied, people are more interested in taking care of their environment. Poverty, in its turn, is the biggest environmental threat,although it has been romanticised in environmentalist rhetoric.

[I note that The Hockey Stick Illusion is cited in the thesis]


Live Earth 2

The news from Davos is that Al Gore is going to have another go at doing a Live Earth global telethon event.

A Live Earth music event to demand action on climate change will take place on June 18 across seven continents, including Antarctica, former US vice-president Al Gore and pop star Pharrell Williams announced on Wednesday.

Concerts will be staged in six cities - Paris, New York, Rio de Janeiro, Beijing, Sydney and Cape Town - in what will be the largest event of its type ever staged. The final Antarctic gig will be played by a band of scientists at a research station, Gore said.

It will be interesting to see if the BBC decides to get involved. Last time round the green fraternity with in the corporation moved heaven and earth to get the weight of the BBC behind it (see the Propaganda Bureau). However, there was something of an uproar and the corporation backed down. Ten years on, and with the CMEP scandal out in the open, one assumes that they will steer clear. But with bureaucracies you never can tell.