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Monday
Nov242014

Debating the IPCC

Last week MPs were given the chance to debate the Commons Energy and Climate Change Committee report on the Fifth Assessment. I haven't the time to read the whole thing at the moment , but it looks at least as if some pertinent points were made, with Yeo furiously stoking the engine of the gravy train and Graham Stringer and Peter Lilley briskly hosing it down with a few facts.

Read it here.

(H/T Barry Woods)

Monday
Nov242014

Green charades

On Wednesday, the House of Commons Energy and Climate Change Committee is to hold a one-day inquiry into a report published by Lord Stern's New Climate Economy project (NCE) and will take evidence from Stern himself, as well as Jeremy Oppenheim, an economist from McKinsey and Co who is involved in the project.

According to its website, NCE is a joint initiative of the governments of seven countries, including the UK - no doubt this is Mr Davey's work then. A glance at the people involved suggests that it is one of those charades in which a panel of green activists selected from universities around the world  pretends that they have taken an objective look at the subject at hand before faithfully delivering up the required message.

Click to read more ...

Saturday
Nov222014

Finger puppets - Josh 302

As was noted here in the comments, by our host, maybe we should be

referring to Roger Harrabin as "Green blob spokesman Harrabin"

I think we can include Bob Ward too.

Cartoons by Josh


Saturday
Nov222014

Diary dates, cafe culture edition

The Dundee Cafe Science has an event on renewables on Monday:

Dr David Rodley from the University of Dundee Centre for Renewable Energy will speculate on how the energy landscape in Scotland and the wider UK might look in the future. Will carbon become the new currency as extreme targets for limiting greenhouse gas emissions begin to bite? Can Scotland achieve its goal for 100% equivalent renewable electricity, and how might smart metering help keep the lights on, and affordable?

Details here.

Saturday
Nov222014

Is it all over?

Further to yesterday's post on whether UKIP's success was due in part to their position on climate change, Eric Worrall, writing at WUWT, wonders if green politics isn't in full retreat right across the world. Noting the travails of green tinged political leaders like Obama, Merkel and Hollande he asks

The question – could here and now really be the last show of strength by green politicians, before voters back home sweep them and their policies into the dustbin of history? Will green politics soon be a thing of the past?

My gut feel is that there is probably a retreat going on, but that "soon" is far too optimistic. It will take many years to undo the network of vested interests and to defeat the armies of troughers who are filling their pockets from the public purse.

Friday
Nov212014

Google: renewables "simply won't work"

Via The Register we learn that some of Google's top engineers have been tasked with making renewable energy cheaper than fossil fuels. We also learn that they have given up.

At the start...we had shared the attitude of many stalwart environmentalists: We felt that with steady improvements to today’s renewable energy technologies, our society could stave off catastrophic climate change. We now know that to be a false hope ...

Renewable energy technologies simply won’t work; we need a fundamentally different approach.

There's lots of kowtowing to Gaia in the article ("scientists have definitively shown that the buildup of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere poses a looming danger"), but on renewables they seem to have done their homework.

(H/T El Reg)

Friday
Nov212014

Quote of the day, precaution edition

[There has been] a drift of interpretation of the precautionary principle from what was, in effect, a holding position pending further evidence, to what is now effectively a stop sign.

Mark Walport comes over all real worldly

Friday
Nov212014

RP Jr on disasters

Readers at BH probably don't need to be reminded that the official science on extreme weather and climate change is not nearly as scary as the popular perception of it is. In some ways then, Roger Pielke Jr's slim tome about disasters and climate change might be seen as entirely superfluous to requirements, but in fact it would be a mistake to overlook a book that goes well beyond a simple expounding of the science, but looks also at the political and social background to it. 

Click to read more ...

Friday
Nov212014

UKIP's second MP

So UKIP, the only political party in Britain that seems willing to question the sanity of energy or climate change policy, has got itself a second MP. How much has their stance on these issues played a part in their recent success?

Thursday
Nov202014

Roger throws down the gauntlet

This morning Roger Harrabin has written something about the Green Climate Fund, the latest wheeze for moving money from the pockets of poor people in rich countries to those of rich people in poor countries, while allowing environmentalists to take their cut. No surprise there.

What was interesting was the way he describes the GWPF:

Benny Peiser from the fossil fuel lobby group GWPF said international climate finance for low carbon development was "a detrimental use of aid money".

A couple of days ago I wrote to Roger about his coverage of the ODI report into fossil fuel subsidies, pointing out that it was essentially a work of fiction. He was apparently too busy to look into the problems with it.

Go figure.

Thursday
Nov202014

Movie Mann

Updated on Nov 20, 2014 by Registered CommenterBishop Hill

The new film Interstellar has been generating quite a lot of column inches in recent weeks, with many people noting that it features a data-falsifying scientist named Dr Mann. I was intrigued to note that the film's scientist adviser was Kip Thorne, a physicist from Caltech, and wondered what he and Richard Muller discussed at the coffee machine of a morning.

Anyway, while some people have pooh-poohed the idea that there is any connection between the fictional Dr Mann and the real one, it seems that the film's director Christopher Nolan is quite clear that there is:

Click to read more ...

Wednesday
Nov192014

Diary dates, short commons edition

It's very late notice, but Sir John Beddington is speaking in Edinburgh tonight.

Legacies of the 20th century and challenges for the 21st: our changing world enlightenment lecture.

Professor Sir John Beddington will discuss Climate Change and Food Security.  6.30 (doors open 6.15) – 8pm, McEwan Hall, Teviot Place, University of Edinburgh. Free tickets can be booked via eventbrite.

Wednesday
Nov192014

Schwartz on climate sensitivity

Stephen Schwartz et al have published a paper in a journal called Earth's Future that reviews and considers the recent low estimates of climate sensitivity, wondering what the divergence of the different estimates might mean:

Earth's equilibrium climate sensitivity (ECS) and forcing of Earth's climate system over the industrial era have been re-examined in two new assessments: the Fifth Assessment Report (AR5) of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), and a study by A. Otto and others (Nature Geosci., 2013). The ranges of these quantities given in these assessments and also in the Fourth (2007) IPCC Assessment are analyzed here within the framework of a planetary energy balance model, taking into account the observed increase in global mean surface temperature over the instrumental record together with best estimates of the rate of increase of planetary heat content. This analysis shows systematic differences among the several assessments and apparent inconsistencies within individual assessments. Importantly, the likely range of ECS to doubled CO2 given in AR5, 1.5 to 4.5 K/(3.7 W m-2) exceeds the range inferred from the assessed likely range of forcing, 1.2 to 2.9 K/(3.7 W m−2), where 3.7 W m−2 denotes the forcing for doubled CO2. Such differences underscore the need to identify their causes and reduce the underlying uncertainties. Explanations might involve underestimated negative aerosol forcing, overestimated total forcing, overestimated climate sensitivity, poorly constrained ocean heating, limitations of the energy balance model, or a combination of effects.

Summary: Recent assessments of Earth's climate sensitivity and forcings over the industrial period, taking into account the observed increase in global mean surface temperature and rate of increase of planetary heat content, exhibit differences and apparent inconsistencies.

 

Wednesday
Nov192014

A panel debate

I was in St Andrews yesterday, appearing at a discussion/debate for third year students in the Earth Sciences department. We were discussing the usefulness of climate models as policy tools (a subject I had suggested, as it involved the least work for me!) The event was hosted by Dr Tim Hill and putting a more mainstream view was Rob Wilson, although I think our views were probably too close to really create any fireworks. Rob's nuanced views on the climate debate also seemed to have rubbed off on his students, as although there was some close questioning at the end there was none of the outright hostility that one sometimes gets on these occasions.

Thanks to Rob and Tim for lunch and an interesting afternoon.

Tuesday
Nov182014

Tip drive November 2014

It's a long time since I've done a tip drive, so I think it's time to dust off the tip box again. It's over there in the right-hand column.

Help keep the BH show on the road!