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« Sober, scary | Main | No Mr Cameron, no. »

Ground shifting

Is that a shift in the climate change ground I feel? Japan has backed away from its renewables targets. Rich countries seem to be on the verge of reneging on their climate change promises to poor countries. The Science and Technology Committee Energy and Climate Change Committee is to undertake an inquiry into the scientific integrity of the Fifth Assessment Report. And they have invited Donna Laframboise (and to my certain knowledge some other sceptics) to give evidence.

Wishful thinking? We shall see.

Update 12.17pm, 17.11.13 Donna has clarified her post to make it clear that she has been invited to give written evidence.

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Reader Comments (50)

They've learned that they need to speak to a skeptic or two, it makes the whitewash stick a little better.

Nov 17, 2013 at 9:22 AM | Unregistered Commenterjaffa

The Science and Technology Committee will say it has consulted all sides before pronouncing that the scientific integrity of the Fifth Assessment Report remains intact.

Nov 17, 2013 at 9:33 AM | Registered CommenterPhillip Bratby

It's got to end sometime. The crusades did. The tulip mania did. The dot-com bubble did.

But I would give the CO2 delusion many decades yet. If I'm wrong, so much the better.

Nov 17, 2013 at 9:38 AM | Registered CommenterMartin A

The fact they have invited people with more sceptical views does not mean they will listen to them. People like Ed Davey and Ed Miliband have blind faith in CAGW. They only accept views which are devout CAGW.

The rest of this decade will prove interesting when all wheeles of the CAGW cart fall off.

Nov 17, 2013 at 9:48 AM | Unregistered CommenterConfusedPhoton

Small error: it is not the Science and Technology Committee, but the Energy and Climate Change Committee. [Thanks. Corrected. BH]

Nov 17, 2013 at 9:51 AM | Unregistered CommenterSara Chan

Japan's backed away, because they've realised that after closing their nuclear power stations, they've no other way of keeping industry going, other than through fossil fuels.
I suspect elsewhere, the idea that CO2 and climate change aren't so closely linked is penetrating a few minds, but they've got to keep that link in the public's eye, so as to keep the taxes flowing.
First Western country to break ranks, will be a virtual pariah in the eyes of the rest!

Nov 17, 2013 at 10:05 AM | Unregistered CommenterAdam Gallon

Well, it's progress of a sort. The BBC still claims to not be able to find any sceptics.

They should re-read Professor Steve Jones report to the BBC trust. He was actually very critical of their ability to use electronic tools of scientific databases. Perhaps the BBC should have spent a bit less time giving ostensibly free airtime to Twitter corporation, to whom I now heartily extend my congratulations for their recent successful $30 Billion stock market flotation.

Nov 17, 2013 at 10:16 AM | Unregistered Commentermichael hart

Mmm I can't decide if there's real movement or as others have suggested, they want to pantomime fairness before mixing their whitewash. Not that I'm knocking it, every voice heard is like a drop of water on a stone, eventually it wears away.

If I was being positive I'd hope that they'd reached the point where they realise that to defeat scepticism they have to find out more about it. Most sceptics are really reasonable people and come across that way when speaking. We're not loonies, rabid right wingers or paid oil cronies.

As for the integrity of the Fifth Assessment Report, why bother since everyone seems to be making up their own versions of it? eg Tessa Jowell on Andrew Marr's show this morning and Ed Davey and Stella Creasy on Question Time. If politicians would stick to the official line it would be a huge step towards scepticism.

Nov 17, 2013 at 10:25 AM | Unregistered CommenterTinyCO2

Adam Gallon:
Japan's backed away, because . . .

I thought the short essay by Euan Mearns on just that topic was useful. See:

Nov 17, 2013 at 10:29 AM | Unregistered CommenterDaveB

Japan has extenuating circumstances for abandoning emissions targets. Germany likewise will get a pass for abandoning nuclear power. Campaigners will not afford the UK and similar nations the same flexibility, and the desire for UK politicians to be seen leading the world in carbon emission reduction efforts is still evident in what comes out of the mouth of Ministers.

The Guardian article says the following: "Recent decisions by the governments of Australia, Japan and Canada to downgrade their efforts over climate change have caused panic among those states most affected by global warming, who fear others will follow as they rearrange their priorities during the downturn."

"Those most affected by global warming" that would be??? Whatever nations those are poverty is likely to be a bigger threat than global warming.

Nov 17, 2013 at 10:35 AM | Unregistered CommenterGareth

@michael hart - I too was critical of BBC giving free business to Twatter & Freakbook, but it turns out there is reason
cos it's 3rd party the BBC (thinks they) can disclaim all responsibility
- The paranoid moderating on the old BBC messageboards was due partially to fear they would be held legally accountable if someone called a German a Geri etc.
- and Tw & F provide a forum where the level of criticism of BBC staff/policy can be higher than staff would tolerate on the BBC's internal web.

But they would have been sensible in making a deal with 3rd party corps and thus subsidising the licence fee

Nov 17, 2013 at 10:43 AM | Registered Commenterstewgreen


There lies the problem, the impression given by the environmentalists is that the populations of poorer nations have chosen to live their lives in poverty and it's our priority to protect their life style choice.
In reality raising populations out of poverty would be a lot more beneficial than maintaining the status quo but providing protection from nature.

Nov 17, 2013 at 10:51 AM | Unregistered CommenterLord Beaverbrook

WRITTEN not in person : Laframboise

I’ve been invited to make a written submission to the committee. [ Afterward, I may be invited to make one in person.
- Aha so they can claim we listened to a skeptic or 2. Then when it comes to live on TV, they'll have their usual NGO activist mates & useful idiot scientists from their dinner party circuit (who have never actually worked with anything to do with any aspect of the climate topic)

[Thanks. Post amended. BH]

Nov 17, 2013 at 10:52 AM | Registered Commenterstewgreen

The E&CC Ctte is more likely to achieve a more balanced consideration of the issue, if only because its membership includes Peter Lilley and Graham Stringer, among others. I see that Tim Yeo is still listed as Chairman.

The notes on its investigation of AR5 includes these remarks:
"The report concluded that, ‘it is extremely likely that human influence has been the dominant cause of the observed warming since the mid-20th century.’ But it reduced the lower bound for likely climate sensitivity and for the first time did not publish a best estimate of it because of lack of agreement

The IPCC has been influential in providing the justification for national and international action to prevent dangerous climate change. It has however, come under criticism that it is overly influenced by national political agendas and that it has not satisfactorily addressed the recent pause in global warming nor the InterAcademy criticisms of AR4 and other issues.

This inquiry will explore the latest conclusions of the IPCC, the extent to which the conclusions are robust, and their impact on national and international policy making."

It should be worth watching, especially if the Committee concludes that the letters SPM really stand for Spin for Policy Makers and that the published SPM is not an objective assessment of the scientific uncertainties.

Nov 17, 2013 at 11:11 AM | Unregistered Commenteroldtimer

I have long believed that three things have to happen before you will see change in climate change policy. First realisation amongst the general public of the cost of green policies - this is starting to happen. Second, widespread and frequent power cuts, and third some well publicised deaths of old and frail people from cold. What we need is a VERY cold winter. Then watch for the speed of U turns. I know this sounds callous and cynical but the sad fact is that the AGW believers are so widespread and well dug into the establishment that it will need a mighty disaster to winkle them out.

Nov 17, 2013 at 11:14 AM | Unregistered Commentermitcheltj

If claiming that cyclones are AGW driven in a warming world with less cyclones can stand largely unchallenged then they can dismiss anything inconvenient to their church.

The Energy and Climate Change Inquisition more likely: Donna, take painkillers.

Nov 17, 2013 at 11:19 AM | Unregistered Commenterssat

"Those most affected by global warming" that would be??? Whatever nations those are poverty is likely to be a bigger threat than global warming.
And that, Gareth, is the point that needs to be hammered home again and again and again!
Global warming is becoming less of a problem by the day as even a fairly cursory reading of AR5 shows. But it's now almost impossible to convince the poor nations of the world of this when they have been told that it is the rich that are causing it and the rich must be made to pay for making their lives worse while the eco-activists continue to ride the gravy train of AGW.
It is also becoming clear that a similar disinformation campaign was at work with regard to AIDS where that syndrome was blamed for an uncounted number of deaths that were in reality attributable to the diseases of endemic poverty in countries that the rich west with support — sometimes conscious, sometimes not — of the NGOs was keeping in that state.
At least slavery was open and above-board!

Nov 17, 2013 at 11:21 AM | Registered CommenterMike Jackson

What the "Committee" really need to be careful of is "exposure" of Climate facts to the undecided or less committed members of the committee. They might actually start to question the dogma and even one more individual in government is another dissenting voice to be heard.
As reported by the GWPF the Sunday Mail has a good article by David Rose destroying the latest claims of Climate Change driven Typhoons.

Nov 17, 2013 at 11:52 AM | Unregistered CommenterA C Osborn

Sorry, I see you have already reported the David Rose article.

Nov 17, 2013 at 11:53 AM | Unregistered CommenterA C Osborn

What expertise does the committee have that would allow it to judge the integrity of the report?

Nov 17, 2013 at 12:00 PM | Unregistered CommenterChandra

What you said has got me thinking, my sons now all in their mid-20s early 30s can remember, the eldest two at least, heavy snowfalls in winter, to the extent that one year the works childrens Christmas Party was cancelled. All three can remember Granny being snowed in on several occasions (she lived near Crieff). All three can remember winters in Derby without snow. All three have experienced winters in Derby being colder in the last few years. Apart from me, they have the evidence of their own experience to tell them the climate hasn't really changed since they were small children 20 or more years ago. Two work for manufacturing related companies (not Royces or Toyota) and they are aware of the costs of energy on their employers and their customers.

Hopefully that generation will start asking each other what Climate Change/Global Warming/Disruption? Especially difficult for their peers who are believers to answer.

Nov 17, 2013 at 12:13 PM | Unregistered CommenterSandyS

Excellent question, do you have an answer? I for one would really like to know if they have experience in anything which would allow them to judge technical and scientific input.

Nov 17, 2013 at 12:15 PM | Unregistered CommenterSandyS

Professor Gordon Hughes has a very good article in The Herald on why energy bills are set to continue rising above inflation because of the Governement's climate change policies and their implications.

"In the longer term it is policy decisions that are the major source of increases in the prices paid by households in the UK."

If just more papers would print more articles about the Climate Change Act implications for energy costs there will eventually be public pressure on the political parties to retract from wind turbines, wood pellets and solar power.

Nov 17, 2013 at 12:33 PM | Unregistered CommenterJohn Peter

"What expertise does the committee have that would allow it to judge the integrity of the report?"

They,re MPs that have been democratically elected.

Nov 17, 2013 at 12:48 PM | Unregistered Commenterjamspid

There have been no fatalities linked to short term overexposure to radiation reported due to the Fukushima accident, while approximately 18,500 people died due to the earthquake and tsunami. People in the area worst affected by Japan's Fukushima nuclear accident have a slightly higher risk of developing certain cancers.

In psychology, cognitive dissonance is the discomfort experienced when simultaneously holding two or more conflicting cognitions: ideas, beliefs, values or emotional reactions. In a state of dissonance, people may sometimes feel "disequilibrium": frustration, hunger, dread, guilt, anger, embarrassment, anxiety, etc.
[ ... ]
Cognitive dissonance theory explains human behavior by positing that people have a bias to seek consonance between their expectations and reality. According to Festinger, people engage in a process he termed "dissonance reduction," which can be achieved in one of three ways: lowering the importance of one of the discordant factors, adding consonant elements, or changing one of the dissonant factors. This bias sheds light on otherwise puzzling, irrational, and even destructive behavior.

Which is greater, the risks of nuclear power, the risks of carbon caused global warming or the risks of living and working in a tsunami flood plain? Japan has decided that nuclear power is the riskiest.

For perspective, the total number of people killed in automobile accidents in Japan between 2008 and 2011 (inclusive) is greater than the number killed by the Fukushima tsunami and in 2011, 67,751 people died from lung cancer.

Nov 17, 2013 at 12:49 PM | Unregistered CommenterSpeed

Preface; Tehachapi is a mountain pass through the Southern Sierra Nevada connecting the San Joaquin Valley with the Mojave desert.
With the possible exception of Altamont, Tehachapi is the oldest and definitely the largest wind farm complex in California.
A year before Al Gore's movie came out the town of Altamont had already bought in totally, even installing wind turbines to power vital municipal services, like the waste water treatment plant.
So you'll understand the magnitude of this local news blurb.

City-owned wind turbines to be sold

Nov 17, 2013 at 12:51 PM | Unregistered Commenterpapertiger

Heh, pt, one for my Museum of Climate Ironies: Chris Kirk, "Sustainability is always a great idea".

Nov 17, 2013 at 1:17 PM | Unregistered Commenterkim

I was mildly encouraged by the content of some of the questions posed in the Terms of Reference, and the extent to which the existence of skeptic concerns are implicitly acknowledged. In particular:

Have the IPCC adequately addresses (sic) criticisms of previous reports? How much scope is there to question of (sic) the report’s conclusions?

To what extent does AR5 reflect the range of views among climate scientists?

Can any of the areas of the science now be considered settled as a result of AR5’s publication, if so which? What areas need further effort to reduce the levels of uncertainty?

How effective is AR5 and the summary for policymakers in conveying what is meant by uncertainty in scientific terms ?

Has AR5 sufficiently explained the reasons behind the widely reported hiatus in the global surface temperature record?

To what extent did political intervention influence the final conclusions of the AR5 Physical Science Basis summary?

That there are now at least two knowledgeable MPs (Stringer and Lilley) on this committee is also mildly encouraging, IMHO.

Nov 17, 2013 at 1:24 PM | Registered CommenterHilary Ostrov


Thanks for the link, which I recommend to others as a little light relief - e.g.

"Kirk said city staff worked with representatives of Southern California Edison and the wind industry to try to gauge the energy savings reaped from the turbines. Staff concluded that the information was "not readily discernible due to a lack of useful generation monitoring equipment."

Kirk said staff conducted an informal test of the cost-savings, comparing a month when the turbines did not operate to the same month from the prior year when they were operational.

"The savings were negligible," Kirk said"

Nov 17, 2013 at 1:26 PM | Unregistered Commenterartwest

"People like Ed Davey and Ed Miliband have blind faith in CAGW. They only accept views which are devout CAGW."

This is why I regard these people as negligent rather than merely incompetent.

Nov 17, 2013 at 1:36 PM | Unregistered CommenterDaveS

Your post stating that the committee is to "undertake an inquiry into the scientific integrity of the Fifth Assessment Report" is not true - you have created the 'scientific integrity' bit.

Why tell lies that are easily checked?

Nov 17, 2013 at 1:36 PM | Unregistered CommenterLouise

> What expertise does the committee have that would allow it to judge the integrity of the report?

You are confusing integrity with content.

As an example, it would be fair to judge Peter Gleick as lacking in integrity. The judgement on Gleick's integrity means that you can not take any of his work product at face value and any use or reliance on his work product should take this into account.

Similarly, if the committee finds that the IPCC report was largely drawn up by those involved with the green taliban then any use or reliance on the report should take this into account.

Nov 17, 2013 at 1:42 PM | Unregistered CommenterTerryS

SandyS, they are politicians, who as a whole are not noted for their scientific literacy. My guess is that few of them have read or could understand any of the hundreds of scientific papers upon which AR5 was based and none knows enough to put any paper they did read into its proper context. So in short, their opinion of AR5 and any conclusions they reach are likely to based on their private prejudice rather than any understanding of the science. Just like the rest of us.

Jamspid, I asked about expertise. Being elected does not suddenly endow MPs with expertise they lacked before.

Nov 17, 2013 at 1:49 PM | Unregistered CommenterChandra

In this life, one thing counts
In the bank, large amounts
I'm afraid these don't grow on trees,
You've got to pick-a-sceptic or two

You've got to pick-a-sceptic or two, boys,
You've got to pick-a-sceptic or two. ........

Nov 17, 2013 at 2:07 PM | Unregistered CommenterAlecM

Try not to be too sceptical.

The balance of views in the energy and climate change committee is changing. The chair, Yeo, remains out of the picture whilst investigations are ongoing. Sceptic Graham Stringer has just replaced warmist Barry Gardiner and of course Peter Lilley is making a big impression after joining a year ago.

We should encourage more changes and regard the request for sceptic views as encouraging. This could be a direct benefit of the opening up of the membership of the committee and more searching internal questions coming from the Treasury.

Nov 17, 2013 at 2:09 PM | Unregistered CommenterChairman Al


Please calm down. The terms of reference refer to the question of whether the report's conclusions are robust.

Nov 17, 2013 at 2:17 PM | Registered CommenterBishop Hill


It's just never anyones fault is it? A weather disaster and up goes the shout - CAGW!

Then, deny responsibility, blame God, blame the devil, blame the weather and finally blame the west.

Hurricane turned super storm 'Sandy' killed people in multiples of ten, 'Haiyan' caused deaths numbered in the 1000's, cyclone 'Nargis' hit Burma and killed up to 140,000 a cyclone caused a storm surge and Hurricane rising from the bay of Bengal killed people in the 100's of 000's in Bangladesh.

There is a common denominator.

Third world disasters.

It has been alluded to before on these pages and the difference is in development. In that, those third world nations are underdeveloped, usually they are run by corrupt regimes who do not give a fig for the conditions under which their peoples and population exist.

They, the governments of the newly liberated peoples of the old colonies used to blame the imperialists - Britain usually and Russia and China played the game too but the US was their main target. It was a 'cover all bases' option if anything went wrong, no matter and oblivious to the fact, when the imperialists where there the country was better run.
That hoary old excuse - 'imperialism' was running a bit thin, lets face it, in many third world 7**t holes it's been three generations ago since the evil imperialists were 'robbing them blind'. Scavenging around, for a new pretext - anything but blame the real culprits [ie - themselves].

Then the UN found a new reason to rub the noses of the west in chagrin, envy and culpability. Finally, it was the west, YES the hated west who were the problem all along [again]! The USA, Britain, Germany pouring their filthy gaseous emissions of CO2 into the atmosphere and thus deliberately causing 'more storms' and suffering.

Third world despots, Brics had a new excuse, notwithstanding the democratically elected government of the Philippines has not learned from previous disasters, yes Haiyan was a big storm but in the Philippines their infrastructure is poor, building standards are not enforced even if they exist, everywhere looks like third world standard.

Is it really the west and by implication its CO2 emissions which is to blame or, is it the asset strippers, corporate and international leviathans - ie mining companies and the countries - the new imperialists which back them. Plus of course, the endemic corruption of national governments running said underdeveloped nations and their money hoovering elites of these poor countries?

All out of proportion of course, the left never had any sense of proportion and still don't - global warming their vehicle for damning us here in Britain and calling us out 'over there',

"mea maxima culpa".

Nov 17, 2013 at 2:18 PM | Unregistered CommenterAthelstan.

Barmy Ky Moon has today declared that "we must stop climate change" if we are to have no more hurricanes like Hiayan.

Now for crying out loud will someone influential stand up and tell this man that he is a complete idiot.

Nov 17, 2013 at 3:00 PM | Unregistered CommenterStephen Richards

They've learned that they need to speak to a skeptic or two, it makes the whitewash stick a little better.

Nov 17, 2013 at 9:22 AM | Unregistered Commenterjaffa

No disrepect to Donna but they are always very careful not to invite the well known skeptic scientists like Joe B, Ryan Maue, Pielke snr etc.

Nov 17, 2013 at 3:03 PM | Unregistered Commenterstephen Richards

It's a pity Donna won't be there in person simply because her written evidence will no be twice as easy to dismiss.


Nov 17, 2013 at 3:43 PM | Unregistered CommenterMailman

Does that mean you agree with the opinion that all our Ministers of The Environment since the time of Ed Milliband have no ability to make a decent decision based on knowledge and understanding? As we know nothing about their advisors qualifications and experience we must assume they too are taking us up the creek whilst leaving the paddles at home,

Nov 17, 2013 at 4:06 PM | Unregistered CommentersandyS

SandyS, why single out Environment? It is, as far as I am aware, unusual for MPs to have direct experience of the activities of departments in which they work. The wise ones presumably take advice from people who have such experience. In the case of the climate change dept. the relevant people would be the IPCC and the hundreds of scientists whose work they represent.

Nov 17, 2013 at 5:01 PM | Unregistered CommenterChandra

Energy and Climate Change Committee whose leader is a full on warmest and whose members have lots sticky fingers in renewable pies.
I really wish I could find a bookies that would give odd on how this 'report ' will come out :)

Meanwhile the Catholic churches investigation shows there is a god.

Nov 17, 2013 at 5:17 PM | Unregistered CommenterKnR

@ Stephen Richards. Under the terms of reference for the committee consultation there is no reason why “well known skeptic scientists like Joe B, Ryan Maue, Pielke snr etc” cannot submit responses. I for one, will be highly disappointed if they do not get involved. In fact, I am slightly surprised that there has been no campaign to encourage a good response.

Details can be found here and it is worth noting the following:

The Committee normally, though not always, chooses to publish the written submissions it receives, either by publishing it on the internet or by making it publicly available through the Parliamentary Archives. If there is any information you believe to be sensitive you should highlight it and explain what harm you believe would result from its disclosure; the Committee will take this into account in deciding whether to publish or further disclose the evidence.

As Hilary Ostrov pointed out earlier, the questions structured in a way that provides a rare opportunity to publicise sceptical arguments. The publication of this will in turn provide plenty of ammo for MSM and social media coverage.

I do hope the Bishop can find time to respond.

Nov 17, 2013 at 6:02 PM | Unregistered CommenterChairman Al

Judith Curry- our country needs you! Lend-lease and all that!

Seriously, Judith has a formidible knowledge of scientific research and its uncertainties and grasp of the issues summarised to policymakers in the AR5 report. Her post on 'A standard for policy-relevant science', also refers

She is, as obviously demonstrated by her blog, (and Josh persona) a fearless crusader for integrity, a highly prolific writer and an articulate speaker.

Nov 17, 2013 at 8:42 PM | Registered CommenterPharos

Athelsten, @ 2:18

Compare New Orleans, USA's sole Caribbean city, even now a continuing 3rd World casualty:
"Third world disasters.

It has been alluded to before on these pages and the difference is in development. In that, those third world nations are underdeveloped, usually they are run by corrupt regimes who do not give a fig for the conditions under which their peoples and population exist."

Recent stats at

Nov 17, 2013 at 9:04 PM | Unregistered CommenterJohn R T

Chairman Al / Pharos: I very much agree about the importance of scientists (and other specialists) with a different and more sceptical perspective from that of the IPCC being encouraged to respond to these quite interesting questions. And to do so soon - responses have to be in by 10th December. Only 3,000 words are permitted and that, I think, means it's best to focus on only one or two questions. In any case, that's no bad thing: I believe it essential that respondents deal exclusively with areas where they have good, specialist knowledge.

I hope it may be possible to spread the word internationally - and urgently. Bish: can you help?

Nov 17, 2013 at 9:17 PM | Registered CommenterRobin Guenier

I'm concentrating on the environment as it is the subject of this discussion. There are plenty of blogs elsewhere if you want to discuss the gambit with others; I'm quite happy with what I discuss and read here and elsewhere thank you.

Nov 18, 2013 at 8:01 AM | Unregistered CommentersandyS

I have a question. If the UK fails to meet its 'legally binding' targets as defined by the Climate Change Act 2008 - what's the government going to do..?

Fine itself..?

Nov 18, 2013 at 1:37 PM | Unregistered CommenterSherlock1

Stick it to 'em, Donna..!

Nov 18, 2013 at 1:48 PM | Unregistered CommenterSherlock1

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