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« Extreme weather | Main | Homogenisation is the root of all evil »

Your life in their hands

The House of Commons Energy and Climate Change Committee began its inquiry into the economics of wind power last week, taking its first oral evidence. It was a fairly typical set of witnesses, with the panels constructed to ensure that the desired answer was received. The only dissenting voice among the nine witnesses was Gordon Hughes, author of the GWPF report on the same subject.

It is strangely compelling viewing, with something of the air of a disaster movie. The idea that UK energy policy is influenced by a forum like this is quite terrifying. It's interesting to see, however, how the tone of the inquiry moves from the platitudes of David Kennedy of the Climate Change Committee, to the zealotry of Robert Gross of Imperial, before everybody rather seems to give way to Hughes' authority.

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Reader Comments (17)

Has anyone sent them Bastiat's Parable of the Broken window?

Jul 17, 2012 at 10:17 PM | Unregistered CommenterAC1

Ed Davey was before the committee today:

By the way, does anyone know if Hansard are writing these up?

Jul 17, 2012 at 10:44 PM | Unregistered CommenterAlex Cull

Transcripts of evidence should appear on the inquiry page in a few days:

or on the committee's publications page

Jul 17, 2012 at 10:59 PM | Registered CommenterDR

"oral evidence."

no oath

I don't 'swallow' but 'spit' with contempt

Jul 17, 2012 at 11:06 PM | Unregistered CommenterAnoneumous

So far I've watched this about halfway through.
I agree that Gordon Hughes, although in the minority more than holds his own. Nevertheless, I do get the feeling that he's considerably watering down his wine in order to be able to establish some sort of common debating point. He mostly restricts himself to questions of economics and social acceptance.

By happy coincidence today I stumbled upon Viv Forbes' latest article on his Carbon Sense Coalition site - from which I quote the following:

The seeds of public concern were sewn with Penny Wong’s Machiavellian linking of 'carbon' and 'pollution'. She was assisted by the gross stupidity of the coal industry leadership in promoting nonsense like carbon sequestration as a 'clean coal' option. The public naturally assumed “if they need to spend billions to produce 'clean coal', obviously we are now using 'dirty coal'. This generation of coal industry leaders is more culpable than the greens – they should have known better – they have betrayed their shareholders, their employees and the nation.
The whole 'dirty coal' program was assisted by the continual portrayal by alarmist media and government propagandists of power station cooling towers belching 'pollution'. As carbon dioxide is an invisible gas, this is clearly a lie. What is seen are clouds of water vapour with no more pollution potential than wispy white cumulus clouds or boiling dark nimbus thunderheads.

This is not OT, as I notice that from the beginning of the debate Robert Gross repeatedly parrots, not "carbon pollution" but "carbon emissions" which to my mind is equally misleading and I am shocked that nobody challenged him on that as it distorts the whole debate. They could have at least obliged him to define the epithet.

Jul 18, 2012 at 5:23 AM | Unregistered CommenterJohn in France

It's an acquired taste, but I listen to Andrew Bolt with Steve Price on 2GB at 1100 BST Monday to Thursday and watch the Bolt Report on Sundays, on his blog. He is very unpopular with the watermelons.

The Aussie Labour Party will almost certainly pass into oblivion at the next election in about a year and with it will go most of the climate change legislation. I might be overly optimistic, but I see the CAGW scam having very severe consequences for its promoters. Punish the guilty. How delicious!

Jul 18, 2012 at 6:57 AM | Registered Commenterperry

The problem faced by Hughes, as with any objective individual, is the sheer immensity of the IPCC 'consensus' fraud. If you tell a layman the facts they recoil, thinking 'But I have been told this by scientists such as the Royal Society'.

1. The models pluck 40% extra energy out of the air than is put in. This is done by assuming incorrect boundary conditions, expressed in Houghton's highly-flawed treatise. The net effect is to increase IR warming by ~400%, biasing heat transfer to radiative hence exaggerating dramatically the effect of additional trace CO2. In reality, from fundamental physics, there can be no CO2-AGW. Yes, I've said it.

2. They offset it by exaggerating cooling. Heavy lifting assumes optical depth of low level clouds is twice reality. They fine tune by a variable ‘aerosol indirect effect’ supposed to give extra cloud albedo exactly offsetting AGW. The physics, a subset of Carl Sagan’s aerosol physics, is patently wrong,

3. There is a well-organised deception on sites like this in which politically-committed scientists deflect criticism of the false science by portraying genuine enquirers as either ill-informed, politically-motivated or intrinsically evil – the ‘denier’ epithet, devised in 1989 by Al Gore as a political ploy.

So, this conflict is immensely difficult for proponents of truth because the carbon-traders, banks. energy majors and their captive politicians are fighting for big money and can buy anyone they like.

Jul 18, 2012 at 7:03 AM | Unregistered Commenterspartacusisfree

@ DR - excellent, thanks!

Jul 18, 2012 at 8:21 AM | Unregistered CommenterAlex Cull

Now you've let the idiot troll back in and we are going to have to wait till the Bishop disinfects the thread.
Meanwhile, would I be out of place if I suggested that — under whichever nom de guerre you choose or whichever media outlet is your pick of the day — that you are becoming just a tad tedious a complete pain in the backside?
You may well be right about the physics but repeating the same stuff time and time again without producing any evidence or any support at all (as far as I can discern) from anyone with any serious qualifications in the subject just gets up people's noses.
The scientists on this thread obviously don't agree with you (though it would be nice if some of them would explain precisely why you're wrong) and the non-scientists don't understand.
Please, either write and publish or give us all a rest!

Jul 18, 2012 at 9:38 AM | Registered CommenterMike Jackson

Jul 17, 2012 at 10:17 PM | AC1

Bastiat's broken window, a favourite of mine.

Jul 18, 2012 at 9:57 AM | Unregistered CommenterSandyS

The mind-set of Bastiat's Broken Window has for many years been exemplified in the UK housing market. Too many people are still content with repeatedly buying and selling the same houses to each other, and then counting up the 'riches' they think they [or we] have accumulated due to rising prices.

As far as energy policy goes, I think the nation has effectively not had one for several decades.

Many people [several of them working at the BBC] treat energy as being akin to organic-carrots or some other commodity. They appear to think that 'something else' can be substituted at little or no cost.

In reality, comparing the economy's need for cheap energy to our need for oxygen would be a better analogy. If someone asked you to live using half as much oxygen, the consequences would quickly become apparent, even though it may not kill you.

Jul 18, 2012 at 5:52 PM | Unregistered Commentermichael hart

Mike Jackson,
My short answer: I too, wish Spartacus would at least get himself a blog-site that he can reference so we can go there and discuss it. That way he would reach more people, and not irritate those who might agree with him.

It would not surprise me if the models really did "dramatically exaggerate" the effect of the radiative physics. But without annotated code readily available it is difficult to know how they actually implement this aspect of the "science", which is not my strongest suit. I suspect that many of the contributors to the models don't really know either. There are no "super genius" Climate-Scientists capable of integrating the complete understanding in one person's mind. They are all just individual physicists, meteorologists, chemists, programmers etc. who have spent time working on "climate".

Many of the engineers and scientists on this blog probably have experience of the difficulties of modelling far simpler systems than the worlds climate. Like myself, some are more than a little incredulous of claims to the IPCC to have constructed an adequate working model of such a complex system [by the 1980's or earlier!]. It would be deserving of more than one Nobel Prize.

Jul 18, 2012 at 7:23 PM | Unregistered Commentermichael hart

@ C10:10

"Can I play the role of the sentient?"

Uh? What the hell does that mean?

Jul 18, 2012 at 9:22 PM | Unregistered CommenterJeremy Poynton

"I agree that Gordon Hughes, although in the minority more than holds his own. Nevertheless, I do get the feeling that he's considerably watering down his wine in order to be able to establish some sort of common debating point. He mostly restricts himself to questions of economics and social acceptance."

At the start, all his jiggling around, and his arched eyeborws, said to me "How the hell can these people keep a straight face when they open their mouths."

Jul 19, 2012 at 2:43 AM | Unregistered CommenterClunking Fist

With Tim Yeo as chairman and also President of the Renewable Energy Association, director of Low Carbon Vehicles, involvement in bio-fuels etc, we can surely count on an objective report.

In June, Ed Davey was shouting from the rooftops about offshore wind. "Ed Davey proclaims Britain world leader in offshore wind power " (14 June 2012) at the Global Offshore Wind Power conference.

On July 6th, 2012, it was announced that Lord Deben, John Gummer, would take over as Chairman of the Climate Change Committee from Lord Adair Turner, who announced in December last year that he was leaving to focus on his other job as as Head of the FSA. He obviously didn't keep enough of a weather eye on the banks.

Secretary of state for energy and climate change, Ed Davey, welcomed the appointment by saying: "The Committee on Climate Change plays an absolutely critical role in advising the government on the direction and progress of its energy and climate change policies.

Lord Deben is Chairman of the Windfarm Consortium, Forewind, which comprises RWE npower, SSE, Statkraft and Statoil. They are currently involved in a massive wind farm project for the Dogger Bank. RWE npower are also involved in the proposal for an Atlantic Array in the Bristol Channel. Ironically, Deben is also a former chairman of the Marine Stewardship Council, which seeks to create marine reserves to protect fisheries from harm. Dogger is now a marine protected area.

Lord Deben and Dr Fankhauser, Co-Director of LSE Grantham Centre, a member of the CCC and its Mitigation sub-committee, carbon trading advisor to Idea Carbon, (along with Lord Stern, Chairman of LSE Grantham and climate advisor to HSBC), will not be strangers when Deben takes over his new duties as CCC chairman, because Fankhauser is also the Chief Economist at London based Globe International, where Deben is President. Previous incumbents were Elliot Morley and "cabbie" Stephen Byers. It has strong connections to the Club of Rome.

GLOBE was the subject of a Telegraph investigation in April last year, which showed that Jeremy Grantham is a major sponsor, along with direct funding from the Department of Energy and the Department of International Development (DfID). including a grant of £91,240 provided by DfID in 2010-11.

"More cash from DfID is filtered through the Complus Alliance - a "sustainable development communications alliance" of broadcasters based in Costa Rica which is also supported by the BBC World Service Trust, the Corporation's independent charity. James Delingpole exposed them even earlier, in March 2010, in "Climategate: The Parliamentary Cover-up".

Coalition Members of the UK "Chapter" of Globe are Greg Barker, Kenneth Clarke, Lord Fowler, Charles Hendry, Nick Hurd, Graham Stuart, Tim Yeo, Malcolm Bruce, Chris Huhne and Simon Hughes. Barry Gardner of the H of C Climate Committee is also a former vice president and is Ed Miliband's "Special Envoy for the Environment".

Lord Deben, John Gummer was at Rio+20, in his role as President of this supra-national group of politicians, which includes representatives from the US, China and developing nations. He spoke in December 2011 about the forthcoming GLOBE Summit of Legislators that was to take place in Rio prior to the main event:

"it is essential that Rio+20 is a success for Brazil and President Dilma. Brazil has the potential to re-ignite the vision of the original Rio Summit that met there twenty years ago. Under President Dilma an ambitious agenda could be forged that would bring world leaders together in Rio next year not to talk – but to commit."

GLOBE Secretary General, Adam Matthews, said: "This will be the first time a World Summit of Legislators will have taken place. This GLOBE event will add a new and important dynamic to the international process that will both drive international commitments into national legislation and also serve to scrutinise the delivery of the commitments that governments make." See what Adam Mathews is talking about and to who, on Twitter:

Gummer was prominent at Kyoto in 1997, as was John Prescott, now on the climate gravy train for the EU.

How do these people continue to get away with it? When was "conflict of interest" re-defined to make it compulsory for someone on a government committee to have a financial interest in the outcome of that committee's deliberations?

Jul 19, 2012 at 11:30 AM | Unregistered CommenterDennisA

michael hart; you don't need annotated code to understand what the climate models are doing. What you need is common sense. The models create 40% more energy than comes in from the Sun then hide it by exaggerated cooling by clouds. This is a confidence trick, pure and simple, with the details of the modelling as chaff to divert the gaze of the common man.

Jul 20, 2012 at 1:24 PM | Unregistered Commenterspartacusisfree

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