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« Models vs observations: the troposphere | Main | Not answering the question »
Wednesday
Apr172013

The ASI wants a royal commission on climate

Miles Saltiel, writing at the Adam Smith Institute blog, has called for a royal commission on climate. In a post discussing Ed Hawkins' now famous graph of model predictions and observations, he suggests that climatologists' predictions are now falling apart.

So let the Prime Minister launch a Royal Commission to revisit the evidence, modelling and consequent policy. The composition of such a Commission would have to be carefully chosen to ensure balance. The public interest needs statisticians and scientists from outside the hermetic world of “climate science” to challenge insiders robustly and in full view. Also in the interests of transparency, the DPP should seize data such as papers from the Climate Research Unit of the University of East Anglia for examination by forensic statisticians. The Commission should be given ample time to get it right - five years at least.

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Reader Comments (49)

"Five years at least" FIVE?? at least??? Just how much damage can be done in that time?

Apr 17, 2013 at 6:53 PM | Unregistered CommenterSnotrocket

I think it is an excellent idea. Finding unbiased and highly competent scientists and statisticians willing to do the work for a few years ought to be feasible.

Those who have already come out on the side of panic over CO2 rule themselves out twice - once for being biased and twice for being incompetent.

Apr 17, 2013 at 6:55 PM | Registered CommenterJohn Shade

6 months would be more than enough for the house of cards that is AGW.

Apr 17, 2013 at 7:04 PM | Unregistered CommenterDon Keiller

John Shade
I wish I had your faith.
There are certainly unbiased and highly competent statisticians and scientists around but given the success that the AGW exponents and the Green lobby have had over the years in effectively ensuring their voices are not heard and given the outcome of the Leveson enquiry, not to even think about mentioning the various Climategate whitewashes, more "blinders played" is a highly likely outcome and then the last state will be considerably worse than the first.
The great and the good will grasp every opportunity to "pack" any such Commission.
I mean "Yeo's a good chap and all that. Makes a fair fist of chairing that Committee. And then there's Deben of course. Knows a lot about this climate stuff ....................."

Apr 17, 2013 at 7:12 PM | Registered CommenterMike Jackson

Royal Commission followed by a Public Enquiry followed by confiscation of all ill-gotten gains and a bit of porridge for a goodly few?

Whats not to like.

Apr 17, 2013 at 7:13 PM | Unregistered CommenternTropywins

And if fraud is suspected, then prosecutions must follow.

However, it must be noted that UEA/CRU's local constabulary does not exactly have a great track record of investigating "Climate" related crime.

Apr 17, 2013 at 7:23 PM | Unregistered CommenterJoe Public

What is more likely that AGW will wither on the vine in the next 5 years as the economics of mitigating "climate change" becomes apparant. This seems to be already happening in Germany, Spain and the EU parliament has voted against underpinning the price of carbon credits.

A royal commission on climate change would be helpful but it would be incredibly difficult to set its terms of reference. During its deliberations, politicians are likely to back off from their extreme views and its conclusions would probably support this.

One absolute requirement is that the royal commission should not be chaired by a lawyer. But which scientist would be suitable, Nurse, Beddington,...?

Apr 17, 2013 at 7:32 PM | Unregistered CommenterRC Saumarez

Roy Spencer has posted a comparison of satellite temperatures against 44 models - similar to Ed Hawkins graph - see http://www.drroyspencer.com/2013/04/global-warming-slowdown-the-view-from-space/#comments

Apr 17, 2013 at 7:46 PM | Unregistered CommenternTropywins

Never mind a Royal Commission; we need the Royal Society to get it's collective head out of the sand and tell everyone what is really going on. Their reputation is in jeopardy; It will save a lot of egg on faces later on.

Apr 17, 2013 at 7:47 PM | Unregistered CommenterJack Thompson

I can't see this happening until the CAGW scare has fallen apart, after being wrecked on the rocks of reality, and then I see it as a post mortem to decide how we were drawn into falling for such a con.

Apr 17, 2013 at 7:48 PM | Unregistered Commentercosmic

Good idea in principle, but in practice such a Commission would consist of vested interests and people with pre-conceived ideas, much likes all those supposedly impartial and independent investigations post-Climategate. Then afterwards when the Commission had discovered the sky really is falling, alarmists would point to it in perpetuity as yet another example of incontrovertible evidence ignored by "deniers".

Although I do hope RC Saumarez is correct in thinking there isn't another five years of mileage in the AGW scare.

Apr 17, 2013 at 7:50 PM | Unregistered CommenterTurning Tide

A Royal Commission on climate science was included UKIP's 2010 manifesto In their words

'Establish a Royal Commission under a High Court Judge that will allow scientists to reach a conclusion about the facts and economic implications of global warming.'

Roger Helmer has recently revamped and updated their energy policy. Its not immediately obvious whether the Royal Commission idea is still current.

Apr 17, 2013 at 8:06 PM | Registered CommenterPharos

Can I claim I've been missold & misled CO2 emissions and have been taxed unfairly on my road tax.
Perhaps I could contact Citizens Advice consumers service and start a case for compensation similar to PPI

Apr 17, 2013 at 8:08 PM | Unregistered CommenterBLACK PEARL

Roy Spencer has posted a comparison of satellite temperatures against 44 models - similar to Ed Hawkins graph - see http://www.drroyspencer.com/2013/04/global-warming-slowdown-the-view-from-space/#comments
Apr 17, 2013 at 7:46 PM nTropywins

One of the many ways in which Climate Science™ differs from other branches of physics-based science (and engineering, for that matter) is that models are assessed by seeing if they agree with other models, rather than by seeing if they agree with reality.

Apr 17, 2013 at 8:14 PM | Registered CommenterMartin A

Cosmic:
"I can't see this happening until the CAGW scare has fallen apart, after being wrecked on the rocks of reality, and then I see it as a post mortem to decide how we were drawn into falling for such a con."

I see this as by far the most likely outcome of the whole mess. Previous scares have simply fallen off the radar. As the terrible predictions failed to happen, the media lost interest and moved on, and the scare du jour was simply forgotten about. This one is different, it has gone on for far longer than usual and the inevitable but pointless government action has caused infinitely more harm than has usually been the case. As a consequence of all this, I think that there will be a certain amount of hand-wringing and soul searching once the whole thing has, as you say, been wrecked on the rocks of reality.

OT but two new windfarms have been put up in my area. At present there is a stiff wind blowing so presumably the windmills are reasonably productive just now. Can anybody tell me why there are nearly always two or three windmills not turning?

Apr 17, 2013 at 8:27 PM | Unregistered CommenterStonyground

Scientist jailed for faking test results:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-edinburgh-east-fife-22186220

Sadly, he was a pharmaceutical not climate researcher.

Apr 17, 2013 at 8:31 PM | Unregistered CommenterJoe Public

I share the scepticism that even a well-appointed R.C. would change things very much, especially over a 5 year period, but I still left a comment at ASI supporting them, Every little helps.
Perhaps Saltiel is hoping that in 5 years the scare will be over and little damage will have been done if they heed his call for a freeze on 'green energy initiatives'. Some chance.

Apr 17, 2013 at 8:38 PM | Unregistered CommenterG.Watkins

There should be two inquires, first a Royal Commission and then a police criminal investigation.

Apr 17, 2013 at 8:42 PM | Unregistered CommenterDocMartyn

Stonyground,

Can anybody tell me why there are nearly always two or three windmills not turning?
=================================================================

They are being paid not to produce or there has been a mechanical failure such the bearings.

I gather that the MTBF on these things is less than a year.

Apr 17, 2013 at 9:20 PM | Unregistered Commentercosmic

@ Apr 17, 2013 at 8:27 PM | Stonyground

"Can anybody tell me why there are nearly always two or three windmills not turning?"

They are broken.

Apr 17, 2013 at 9:39 PM | Registered CommenterAlbert Stienstra

No chance of a royal commission. Are Miliband and Cameron going to allow anything that might show they were completely misguided in their support for CO2 reduction policies and taxes? Of course not. My guess is that estimates of climate sensitivity will continue to fall, and once they have settled down not far above zero, a new Stern report will be proposed and the conclusion will be that it's not economically sensible to do anything except mitigate bad weather. Then all the warmists won't have to admit they were wrong, and more of our taxes can be used to pay big business to build sea walls and flood defences etc, and to decommission those expensive windmills that will no longer be necessary after the science has been 'improved', and to pay bribes to the elite in poor countries.

Apr 17, 2013 at 9:40 PM | Unregistered CommenterDavid C

David C,

I certainly can't see a straight admission that the entire political and administrative establishments have lead us off down a blind alley at enormous cost, and then all the jobs that depend on the scam being terminated. I agree that some sort of soft landing is more likely. Repositioning it as biodiversity or energy security, and changing the names of the makework organisations. There's so much inertia, so much invested in it and so many hangers on, it's hard to see a Damascene conversion to rationality.

I'm surprised that we haven't seen more moves towards that already.

Of course, if this ends in rolling blackouts, or manages to cause a grid outage taking days to recover, all bets are off.

Apr 17, 2013 at 10:09 PM | Unregistered Commentercosmic

Here's something a Royal Commission might want to investigate - http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2310001/Npower-admitting-paid-ANY-corporation-tax-UK-years-blames-spending-wind-farms.html

Looks like quite a wheeze. Subsidies for the power produced and tax breaks for building the useless things.

I feel another metaphorical rage coming on.

Apr 17, 2013 at 10:20 PM | Unregistered CommenternTropywins

"I gather that the MTBF on these things is less than a year."

Do you have any kind of source for that? In the interest of public science couldn't they have made them put monitoring stations into every turbine put up and some websites to monitor every individual turbine if you want to. We would have learnt a lot more about their performance if that was the case and wouldn't have cost much.

Apr 17, 2013 at 10:58 PM | Unregistered CommenterRob Burton

Rob Burton,

It came from an electrical engineer iinvolved with the grid for some years, who posts on the DT site as Itzman

He's produced this

http://www.gridwatch.templar.co.uk/

and a pdf on renewables

http://www.templar.co.uk/downloads/Renewable%20Energy%20Limitations.pdf

He said that the his attempts to find out the MTBF figures had not been fruitful, because they are not readily available, but he estimated it as less than a year. Something which tended to confirm his view was sales literature for a new wind turbine which claimed an MTBF of 15 months, as if this was a break through.

Apr 17, 2013 at 11:19 PM | Unregistered Commentercosmic

What if Prince Chuckles wants to muscle in? Be hard to stop him!

Apr 18, 2013 at 12:05 AM | Unregistered CommenterJames P

"...[I]t's hard to see a Damascene conversion to rationality..." --cosmic

You are probably correct, cosmic. If I recall, the Damascene conversion involved a horse. In 5 years of following the climate science situation, despite ample evidence of the recent presence of horses, I have yet to see an entire horse in the UK government.

"...it must be noted that UEA/CRU's local constabulary does not exactly have a great track record of investigating "Climate" related crime." --Joe Public

To the contrary, in their only relevant investigation to date there was no crime involved and no one charged. I'd say that's a perfect record.

Apr 18, 2013 at 12:09 AM | Unregistered Commenterjorgekafkazar

Rob Burton,

It came from a poster on the DT website called Itzman. He's an electrical engineer who's been involved with the grid for some years and has produced this.

http://www.gridwatch.templar.co.uk/

and this

http://www.templar.co.uk/downloads/Renewable%20Energy%20Limitations.pdf


He said he'd tried to find MTBF figures but they weren't readily available, implying that they were poor. He had seen the sales litereature for a new turbine which claimed 15 months MTBF as if it was a huge break through. It was his estimate that they were less than a year.

See here from 2010 where they are talking about aiming for an MTBF of 750 hours as an ultimate goal

http://www.clipperwind.com/pdf/PDF_MTBF.pdf

The article notes that the industry is reluctant to talk about MTBF.

Apr 18, 2013 at 12:14 AM | Unregistered Commentercosmic

I am with Mike Jackson and others on this one. The powers that be will not allow a royal commission to be put together without making sure it was stuffed with eco-freaks who would produce the "correct" result.
The coalition is totally shameless, the new carbon tax is totally out of step with anything going on in the rest of the world, it does not bother them.
Cameron is a Liberal Democrat not a Conservative, he is a bleeding heart do-good er on a mission to save the planet from a non existent threat.

Apr 18, 2013 at 1:31 AM | Registered CommenterDung

Apr 17, 2013 at 7:47 PM | Jack Thompson
----------------------------

Futile exercise ;)

RSreputation ~ 0
Y x 0 = 0
RSreputation x Y = 0

there's nothing to rescue.

Apr 18, 2013 at 2:52 AM | Unregistered CommenterStreetcred

I do not believe that a RC can "settle science" in a dynamic field such as climate, and nor do I believe that it is an appropriate mechanism for attempting to do so.

A RC is essentially a lawyerfest, with loaded questions in the Terms of Reference and carefully picked personnel to avoid embarrassing the Government that commissions it. To think otherwise is politically naive.

The CAGW movement has always been politically driven. As others have mentioned, it is the political process, spurred on by harsh economic reality, that both created it and is now destroying it.

A five year RC (which will inevitably be extended - they always are) is just a way of putting off decisions and transferring even more money from taxpayers to lawyers, bureaucrats and other hangers-on.

Apr 18, 2013 at 8:04 AM | Registered Commenterjohanna

Even if 'Climate Science' is discredited, why will that impact on policy decisions? Don''t forget that UK energy policy is a function of EU decisions and in Europe, because of proportional representation and other historical anomalies, Green groups have far more clout than in this country and will insist on the 'decarbonisation' agenda NOT being abandoned. And Europe has a lot more socialists than in the UK, who are still up for capitalism-bashing of which decarbonisation can be seen as an aspect.

Apr 18, 2013 at 8:19 AM | Unregistered Commenterbill

Stonyground makes the case though he doesn't take it to its ultimate conclusion.
The scares that we have endured over the last 30 years — from salmonella in eggs and SARS and bird flu to BSE and a whole range of medical "findings" that have proved groundless or exaggerated — have not required the deployment of the full force of government action. Consequently they have left nothing that requires to be undone.
To complete the death of the global warming scare will require the repeal of the Climate Change Act and a whole raft of policy changes and adjustments to the business plans of hundreds of companies.
In other words the status quo will continue until such time as politicians and businesses make positive decisions to change their way of thinking and behaving. Since to do so will imply an admission of error or will incur a certain financial penalty in the short term, don't expect them to be implemented any time soon.

Apr 18, 2013 at 10:53 AM | Registered CommenterMike Jackson

Sounds like a brilliant idea!

"...The public interest needs statisticians and scientists from outside the hermetic world of “climate science” to challenge insiders robustly and in full view. Also in the interests of transparency, the DPP should seize data such as papers from the Climate Research Unit of the University of East Anglia for examination by forensic statisticians..."

Is there a way to buy futures or corral the market in clean pants around the East Anglia area?

Apr 18, 2013 at 11:03 AM | Unregistered CommenterATheoK

"..I gather that the MTBF on these things [wind turbines] is less than a year."

Apr 17, 2013 at 9:20 PM | cosmic
//////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////

Given that, could any reasonable person consider that it would be a good thing to site these off-shore where the demands of the elements impose a much greater toll on machinery and equipment, and where adverse weather conditions will make it far harder to carry out maintenance (whether routine or emergency), and where standby charges incidental to having supply vessels 9and the like) on site for longer than expected due to the interference of adverse weather will render maintenance charges far more expensive.

Off shore wind is mad. There is no other word to describe the proposal.

Apr 18, 2013 at 11:12 AM | Unregistered Commenterrichard verney

"Even if 'Climate Science' is discredited, why will that impact on policy decisions? Don''t forget that UK energy policy is a function of EU decisions..." Apr 18, 2013 at 8:19 AM | bill
//////////////////////////////////////////

The UK does not have an energy policy. It only has a green policy.

The UK has just introduced a floor price for carbon credits which will adversely hit not only the energy sector but all businesses, especially those industries that are high energy users. There is a EU carbon credit market and the UK government could have allowed industries to buy their credits on that market. The price per tonne on this market is less than £3 (and falling) and yet UK energy suppliers and industry has to pay a minimum of £20 (and rsising).

This is needlessly hammering industry (which is becoming increasingly uncompetitive) that will inevitably pass the costs on to consumers. many industries will be so squeezed that they will lay off staff (adding to the welfare budget and reduce IT and NI tax takes), or relocate completely (even worse for the exchequer). Energy prices are set to rocket, and more and more will be sucked into fuel poverty.

Due to the green policy, energy is at least twice as expensive as it needs to be. Where I am in Spain, my bill tells me that the cost of supply is just under 48% of the bill total and the costs of taxes and subsidies etc just over 52% of the bill. That demonstartes how needlessly high energy prices have become.

There was no need for the UK to decommission any coal fired power station. Indeed, some coal mines could have been kept open just to supply UK coal powered generators (like Drax which is built on the edge of a coal field - what a sensible design point) . Coal is the cheapest from of energy production and that would have kept energy costs down.

The UK has plentiful supplies of shale. In the US there is presently a glut of shale gas which means that the spot price for gas is some 4 or even 5 times lower than the UK pays for the gas it imports. Obviously due to the over supply, gas prices in the US are weak. When demand picks up, prices will rise but even if they double in price in the medium to long term (and they may go up only by about 60 or so percent0 they will still be about 1/2 the price that the UK pays for gas. Once again, it is clear that energy prices in the UK could be substantially lower if there were only the political will to exploit this.

Energy policy should be simple. To provide a reliable source of energy (ie., not intermittent supply) at the cheapest price possible. That is the only consideration. It also makes good economic sense since it helps make industry competitive and puts more money in the hands of the consumer. Both have long term benefit to the exchequer.

However, it is because the UK does not have an energy policy, but rather a green policy/an environmental policy that rather than seeking to achieve the goal of prudent energy policy, instead, the Uk government is seeking to hike conventional energy supply out of the market and to roll out intermittent renewable energy that cannot possibly cope with demand. Just sheer madness, not to mention incompetence.

Apr 18, 2013 at 11:32 AM | Unregistered Commenterrichard verney

Rather than a Royal Commission I would like to propose an International Commission that can look into all aspects of this fiasco. Thus Britain would not have to bear the costs alone.

It could combine the knowledge of the top 2500 scientists from around the world and collate all of the latest peer reviewed literature. Every 4 years or so it could then report to Governments all around the world and would be assured of containing the latest knowledge on the subject.

We could call such a commission the International Panel on Climate Change.

Oh, wait a minute.....

Apr 18, 2013 at 11:55 AM | Unregistered CommenterJantar

richard verney,

When I saw it suggested that the reason so many windmills were standing still on windy days was that they had probably failed, that the MTBF figures were remarkably poor as far as could be gauged, but that the industry was secretive about them, I thought it was an anti-renewables jibe based on nothing. No one popped up and said it was nonsense and the actual figures were much higher and quoted a source.

I'd guess there's a fundamental trade-off. Make them more durable and the efficiency collapses or the range of usable wind speeds becomes more restricted. Maybe someone with a better grasp of the engineering of windmills can come and quote chapter and verse.

If they were not heavily subsidised, if they were not required on ideological and box ticking grounds, we wouldn't have them, or at least on nothing like the scale we have now.

I'd say the interest in offshore turbines is because the political pressures of spoiling the countryside and putting money into the pockets of wealthy landowners is mounting. Out of sight, out of mind and the boxes can continue to be ticked. The problems of running and maintaining them in a hostile environment have to be far worse than having them on land.

If engineers had been consulted on any of this, rather than environmental zealots being allowed to run the show, we'd at least have been nowhere near so far down this road.

Apr 18, 2013 at 11:57 AM | Unregistered Commentercosmic

I note the general lack of enthusiasm for an RC on the climate fiasco, but it has not moved me from my belief that it would be (or at least, could be) a great thing, and I do have in mind something lead by a legal expert such as a QC or a judge. For a contribution largely supporting the side of the angels about the odious IPCC, by a professor of law, Prof Johnston of the University of Virginia, get his report downloadable from here: http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=1612851

Here is the abstract, with my boldening of one sentence:


Legal scholarship has come to accept as true the various pronouncements of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and other scientists who have been active in the movement for greenhouse gas (ghg) emission reductions to combat global warming. The only criticism that legal scholars have had of the story told by this group of activist scientists – what may be called the climate establishment – is that it is too conservative in not paying enough attention to possible catastrophic harm from potentially very high temperature increases.

This paper departs from such faith in the climate establishment by comparing the picture of climate science presented by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and other global warming scientist advocates with the peer-edited scientific literature on climate change. A review of the peer-edited literature reveals a systematic tendency of the climate establishment to engage in a variety of stylized rhetorical techniques that seem to oversell what is actually known about climate change while concealing fundamental uncertainties and open questions regarding many of the key processes involved in climate change. Fundamental open questions include not only the size but the direction of feedback effects that are responsible for the bulk of the temperature increase predicted to result from atmospheric greenhouse gas increases: while climate models all presume that such feedback effects are on balance strongly positive, more and more peer-edited scientific papers seem to suggest that feedback effects may be small or even negative. The cross-examination conducted in this paper reveals many additional areas where the peer-edited literature seems to conflict with the picture painted by establishment climate science, ranging from the magnitude of 20th century surface temperature increases and their relation to past temperatures; the possibility that inherent variability in the earth’s non-linear climate system, and not
increases in CO2, may explain observed late 20th century warming; the ability of climate models to actually explain past temperatures; and, finally, substantial doubt about the methodological validity of models used to make highly publicized predictions of global warming impacts such as species loss.

Now it seems to me that a chap like that could do a decent job of organising a suitable team to conduct an RC, and help with evidence gathering and interviews on the record.

It does not seem plausible that the political/scientific establishments in the UK would entertain such an investigation. The pantomime-level investigations conducted after Climategate do not inspire confidence. And nor, of course, would anything from the UN and other international bodies that have either been supine in the face of climate alarmism, or actively engaged in promoting it.

Perhaps then in another country, perhaps supra-nationally by some collaboration of recognised scholars and legal experts, agreeing to put in the work required for a few years. One immediate benefit might be realised if such an effort was recognised widely enough to allow politicians to defer or even suspend climate-alarm-related legislation until the report was received and discussed for another year or two. Say until 2020.

Apr 18, 2013 at 12:21 PM | Registered CommenterJohn Shade

JS,

I don't these public investigations are capable of doing much more than endorse the establishment position. The terms of reference are skilfully selected to appear to answer the question, the director is carefully selected to be a safe pair of hands. They are not set up to embarrass the establishment, especially in something in which as much has been invested as climate change policy.

That's why I think the establishment has to be forced to change by unfolding reality, then there will be things such as RCs to explain how the new viewpoint has come about and justify it. An RC, or similar, isn't going to cause the establishment to change direction, that will be brought about by something such as rolling blackouts.

Apr 18, 2013 at 12:48 PM | Unregistered Commentercosmic

Richard V

"a good thing to site these off-shore"

It is if you're a maintenance man. They get ferried out and collected by boat (hazardous, but conditions are monitored and transfers don't happen if it's too rough), they whizz up the tower and do their stuff, then whizz back down and wait for the pickup, which may be some time. On sunny days, they are often to be found fishing off the perimeter deck, while pocketing a very healthy hourly rate...

Apr 18, 2013 at 1:20 PM | Registered Commenterjamesp

A 'Royal Commission', eh..?
What is it they say about such things: 'Never comission one unless you know the outcome..'
Don't forget, chaps: 'The science is settled..'

Apr 18, 2013 at 2:18 PM | Unregistered Commentersherlock1

And on this subject - "it's in the ocean" doesn't cut it. They didn't just discover the ocean 10 years ago, it was there when the models were created and they should have incorporated uncertainty due to ocean uptake into their surface forecasts.

Apr 18, 2013 at 2:44 PM | Unregistered CommenterDaveA

This "its in the ocean" line is even feebler than "it must be CO2 because it can't be anything else". Climate scientists prate on about all the physics they know, but they don;t seem to know much about logic. How do they suppose they are going to convince anyone with an untestable hypothesis? I suppose the next step in this 'argument' will be to produce some reason why its not possible to measure the lack of warming in the ocean.

Apr 18, 2013 at 4:45 PM | Unregistered Commenterbill

It strikes me that the IPCC was set up to assess the risks of human induced climate change. IOW it was already assumed that human induced climate change was a risk.

They should set up a scientific body whose mission is to refute the poor science of CAGW as well as possible benefits of greater CO2. If the new commission is unable to produce results then we will know that CAGW is a problem.

It would seem a good investment given that the consequnces of any action or non-action would be many trillions of dollars.

Apr 18, 2013 at 5:37 PM | Unregistered Commenterhum

Offshore in general:

"...[T]he demands of the elements...on machinery and equipment, and...adverse weather conditions...and...standby charges...will render maintenance...far more expensive." --richard verney

I use 5 to 1 for estimating offshore to onshore cost. That doesn't cover cases where the major piece of equipment goes "SPLOOSH" due to less-than-perfect crane operation.

"...(hazardous, but conditions are monitored and transfers don't happen if it's too rough)..." --jamesp

Define 'too rough.' Please include error bars. "Moderate chop" (as told you at the pier) can result in your suddenly dangling in the air a dozen feet above the transfer vessel, praying that the next crest isn't going to be a dozen feet above you. As they say, "Nothing is impossible to the man who doesn't have to do it himself." : )

Apr 18, 2013 at 7:29 PM | Unregistered Commenterjorgekafkazar

Regarding "broken" windmills. The array that yesterday had about a third not turning was today fully operational. If the windmills that were not turning yesterday were indeed broken, this suggests that there is a pretty impressive maintenance program in place. Meanwhile, another windfarm several miles away, was today only about fifty percent operational.

@Mike Jackson
Yes, the point that I was trying to make was that this scare is different because it has gone on for so long and, as a result, so many fools have invested both their material wealth and their credibility in it. However, as Cosmic said, their ship must inevitably come to grief on the rocks of reality. Those who catch on soonest will lose the least. Those who hang on to the bitter end will be the ones who are thrown to the wolves.

Apr 18, 2013 at 8:29 PM | Unregistered CommenterStonyground

The 'science' grows increasingly implausible, yet policy marches on. Curious, unless one takes the view that science was never more than one of a number of props for the pre-determined policy. So by whom was the policy determined, and why, and how come in so many countries at similar times? Is there a worthwhile comparison with Gay Marriage, which I notice has come to the fore in a disparate group of countries, all at once - Uruaguy, France, New Zealand, UK, USA are among those I have lately spotted being active in this area. Ascribing the involvement of disparate legislatures with marginal, if not bonkers, topics, all at once invites the insane person's explanation of a powerful international government string pulling body. As I'm not insane I can't accept that, and anyway the prospect of a secretive cabal of green perverts ruling the world is too grim to contemplate, but the coincidence is curious, nonetheless. Anyone got any ideas?

Apr 19, 2013 at 10:25 AM | Unregistered Commenterbill

Stonyground,

There are a few possible explanations.

The windmills were broken.

The wind wasn't blowing in that particular part of the array.

The owners decided to put the brakes on and stop them because:

They felt like it.

The wind was blowing too hard (in that part of the array?).

There were generally windy conditions and they were paid not to produce.

Apr 19, 2013 at 11:36 AM | Unregistered Commentercosmic

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