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Ladies of misrule

The Lords Grand Committee on the Energy Bill met again yesterday and there were a couple of bits that were well worth watching, both revolving around Bryony Worthington, who seems to be in danger of losing the plot.

There's a bit of a catfight between her and Baroness Verma (16:48 onwards) which is lots of fun. Look out for Worthington's reaction at 16:53 when she realises that her amendment is going to be rejected.

It's impossible to see the noble baronesses' performances as anything other than a pair of incompetents steering the country towards disaster. I wonder if this is what Worthington is starting to realise. A couple of years ago, she implied that the reductions in carbon intensity produced by the switch to gas in the 1990s were somehow invalid because they were not a function of government policy. At the time she described how she had helped get government onto a path of decarbonisation through explicit policy measures.

Now, she seems to be realising that politics is hard to control and that explicit policy measures have unintended consequences. Perhaps she would have been better just letting the dash for gas take place.

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Reader Comments (42)

both revolving around Bryony Worthington, who seems to be in danger of losing the plot.

"Losing the plot", in so far as any scientific expertise is concerned - she's barely conscious. Thus, for dear Bryony to lose the plot is an impossibility, because the original synopsis - of basic comprehension of climate science for her could never be drawn. She is lost though, lost in a sea of muddle, meddle and malevolent fiddling.

Jul 24, 2013 at 2:36 PM | Unregistered CommenterAthelstan.

She's right about the carbon floor price though, presumably. Fascinating interaction. Was that Gummer and Ridley in the same shot (or very nearly) as Jenkin took off from where Worthington left off?

Jul 24, 2013 at 2:39 PM | Registered CommenterRichard Drake

Baroness Worthington is an English graduate (aren't they all?) who is a self proclaimed "numbers geek" (whatever that means).

She lost the plot long ago and at last her stupidity is rebounding on her. Why anyone should pay attention to this ignorant woman is beyond me.

Jul 24, 2013 at 2:42 PM | Unregistered CommenterRC Saumarez

What is this emotional, young person doing amongst older, battle-hardened Lords?

Jul 24, 2013 at 2:46 PM | Registered Commentershub

Looking up Bryony Worthington on Wkipedia you get some details of her.

English Literature graduate (what else would a Green advocate be), worked for Friends of the Earth; then the DOE; and then worked for SSE. Then left to form Sandbag. Not exactly a long and brilliant career.

Why on Earth was this nondescript raised to a life-time peer?

Jul 24, 2013 at 2:57 PM | Unregistered Commenterconfusedphoton

Actually, I tend to support the Eng Lit graduate here.

Worthington being the less stupid of the two has been used to finesse against DECC.

Because the windmills can't produce the power, coal and gas is being kept in place to provide extra tax revenue from the poor yet Red Ed can't attack it as a principle!

Jul 24, 2013 at 3:07 PM | Unregistered CommenterAlecM

In her defence, I think she may be reformable, once she's calmed down a bit. I understand that she does at least now support development of some form of nuclear power, even if her reasons are not well grounded.

Add in some Physics, Chemistry & Biology and her journey from the dark side will be, not complete, but well under-way.

Jul 24, 2013 at 3:11 PM | Unregistered Commentermichael hart

I was gob-smacked to realise that Verma is determined that the current (today) 12Gw of coal power being generated should be reduced to between 1Gw and 2Gw (she stated that coal should not produce more than 3% of our power requirements by 2020)! And if she doesn't want gas, where will the shortfall come from?

Note: I appreciate she actually said 'unabated' coal generation - but that assumes CCS will work, and if it does (ha!!) it will require a third more power - at least - in order to make it work.

Verma v Worthington: a hard choice to make: they're as bad as each other.

Jul 24, 2013 at 3:23 PM | Registered CommenterHarry Passfield


Why on Earth was this nondescript raised to a life-time peer?
It's her reward from Ed Miliband for drafting the Climate Change Act.
If you can find the relevant link, you can actually read her surprise when she was allowed to get away with as much as she did at DECC. You can hardly blame her; a wet-behind-the-ears 24-year-old being allowed to write her own parliamentary Bill on her pet subject! Which of us would refuse?
Tells you all you need to know about DECC and Millivolt, though.

PS I shall have to pass on the joys of watching these two. I have Windows Media Center installed and Windows Media Player and Real Player and Quicktime. I will not install another one just to please Microsoft!

Jul 24, 2013 at 3:31 PM | Registered CommenterMike Jackson

Where is Guy Fawkes when you need him?

Jul 24, 2013 at 3:34 PM | Unregistered CommenterDisko Troop

Baroness Worthington is the member for Friends of the Earth. If ever the term ‘entryism' was applicable to anything it is to her.

She was ennobled for drafting the 2008 Climate Change Act. Which is akin to a fox being ennobled by the farmer for the 2008 Access to Chicken Coop Act.

What you're witnessing in that debate is one of our unaccountable rulers, who is used to unfettered access and control at the very highest levels of government, being confronted by democracy. Her entire professional existence (pressure group, civil servant, professional politician) is about an accountability: the exertion of power without answering to anyone.

The video shows reality catching up with her.

However, in the context of the lunacy that is being discussed, she is right when she says, “if you want to decarbonise, the quickest way is to move from coal to gas," not renewables.

But agreeing with her in this context is a bit like saying that you have a preference for dog poo over cat poo.

Jul 24, 2013 at 3:46 PM | Unregistered CommenterStuck-Record

Mike Jackson
Re: Real Player and Quicktime
I have been using Realplayer Alternative and Quicktime Alternative for ages. I'm no computer wiz but they are open source and seem to work just as well and completely unobtrusively.
Certainly the former doesn't try to take over my whole ****ing computer the way the original Realplayer did.

Jul 24, 2013 at 4:02 PM | Unregistered Commenterartwest

"...a wet-behind-the-ears 24-year-old being allowed to write her own parliamentary Bill on her pet subject!
...Tells you all you need to know about DECC and Millivolt, though."
Jul 24, 2013 at 3:31 PM | Registered CommenterMike Jackson
Yes. He doesn't have much potential.

Jul 24, 2013 at 4:04 PM | Unregistered Commentermichael hart


"And if she doesn't want gas, where will the shortfall come from?"

Thousands of diesel engines reciprocating away like crazy producing millions of tons of excellent plant food in the process perhaps. Just wonder if Gridwatch will be able to include STOR data in the future?

Jul 24, 2013 at 4:35 PM | Unregistered CommenterMartin Reed

Caught the trailer for this on Newsnight few night ago .

Copied this from the BBC Web page

Watch part one of Stephen Sackur's HARDtalk on the Road (climate change) on Thursday 25 July 2013 at 10:30 BST on BBC Two
Part two of HARDtalk on the Road (salmon and mining) is broadcast on Tuesday 30 July 2013 at 10:35 BST on BBC Two

Usual BBC Climate Change propaganda drive (The ice is thinning in the Arctic conveniently don't mention the Antarctic filmed it in summer etc) . Worth checking out on BBC Iplayer tomorrow.

Jul 24, 2013 at 5:14 PM | Unregistered Commenterjamspid

Is there supposed to be a link to a video somewhere??

Jul 24, 2013 at 5:25 PM | Unregistered CommenterGeckko

"Losing th eplot" implies she had the plot to begin with; an extravagent assumption in this case, as her ealier Youtube performance shows.

Jul 24, 2013 at 5:30 PM | Unregistered CommenterGeckko

Halfheartedly, I caught some of Sackur's latest Arctic jaunt and propaganda broadcast.

The programme was halfway in maybe, I think he was on the Alaskan coast, in somewhere like Shishmaref - and fallaciously pontificating, thus testing the patience of all sane and reasonable human beings with the old canard about, "melting permafrost causes coastal erosion" BS.

Sackur, no 'O' level geography student is he - otherwise he'd be aware that, coastlines subject to marine erosion - permafrosted or not - you cannot halt one of the primal forces of nature.

Therein lies the real truth and learn some lesson - Stephen, slip down from your high horse Jackass climate change kak.

Jul 24, 2013 at 5:53 PM | Unregistered CommenterAthelstan.

michael hart (4:04 PM)
+1 for that!
I'm shocked that nobody else has chuckled at that.

Jul 24, 2013 at 6:48 PM | Registered CommenterHaroldW


I did too.

Jul 24, 2013 at 7:24 PM | Unregistered Commentermike fowle

Harold - Me too, but I didn't die laughing; it's the volts that jolts, but the mils that kills. ;)

Jul 24, 2013 at 7:36 PM | Registered Commenterlapogus

Bryony Worthington is overly emotional and unpersuasive for that reason.
But arguing that gas is a lower CO2 emitting fuel than coal for practical energy generation is correct.

Now I don't agree that her aim is worthwhile. My CO2-phobia is long overcome. But if she is sincere (and her emotional performance does, at least, speak well to her lack of hypocrisy) then her proposed policy is practical and justifiable, from her viewpoint.
She is unskilled and inexperienced but not over-promoted.

Baroness Verma: ?
Nope, I can not explain how she got there.

Jul 24, 2013 at 8:25 PM | Unregistered CommenterM Courtney

The thing that struck me about this debate was how surreal it was. They really are living on another planet, suggesting to me the sort of meeting that must have taken place in Moscow, when considering the next 5 Year Plan.

Mind you, the message is starting to get through. It's months since I saw any hand-wringing article by (Labour especially) MPs bemoaning fuel poverty. They must be realising that the word's getting out that it's all a result of deliberate policy.

Jul 24, 2013 at 8:58 PM | Unregistered CommenterIan_UK

There is only one glimmer of hope for the nation in this execrable bill- that someone in authority or with legal nous has the foresight to draft in a crafty escape clause, for on the face of it the zealots, seemingly the vast majority, are determined to lock us in to draconian targets and long term contracts, using the excuse that investment will not be forthcoming otherwise.

Jul 24, 2013 at 9:06 PM | Registered CommenterPharos

Watching this depressing charade and putting all the climatological & economic minutiae to one side for a moment, I suddenly harked back to why I ever got interested in "climate change" in the first place.

I vaguely remember seeing a temperature graph showing an alarming exponential increase in global temperatures in my own lifetime. The accompanying narrative explained, convincingly, that such a development would inevitably result in major adaptation difficulties for mankind including extreme weather, agriculture, disease migration etc. etc.

I was quite concerned and started to read climate blogs - leading on to the well trodden "pilgrims progress" to scepticism. I trudged into the mainstream media's Slough of Despair, fought through Real Climate's Valley of the Shadow of Death and eventually made it to the Bish's Celestial City.

What I'm asking myself now is - if that graph had shown a virtually horizontal line accompanied by a narrative explaining that a few scientists had a theory that the last hundred years of burning fossil fuels had increased temperatures in the deep ocean by less than 0.1C - would I have even bothered to think about it?

Would anybody other than the few scientists concerned have bothered to report it?

Would the editor of the Guardian have recruited a team of journalists to agonise about it?

Would eager young mizzes like Franny Armstrong & Bryony Worthington have bothered to stop at the Friends of the Earth table at their freshers' fair and put their names down?

It seems to me that the "it's hiding in the ocean" theory just relegated climate change to one of those entertaining scientific curiosities that might just make National Geographic mag in a slow news month.

Another way of looking at it is - if the deep oceans are such a brilliant heat sink that they can swallow up a decade's worth of CO2 warming without any perceptible change in the temperature of the environment we all actually live in - why would we even begin to worry about using fossil fuels until something more convenient comes along?

Seems to me that "hiding in the ocean" equals complete capitulation of the whole climate scam.

I want my money back please.

Jul 24, 2013 at 9:45 PM | Registered CommenterFoxgoose

I remember Baroness Worthington giving Dieter Helm a REALLY HARD time at the IPPR event when he was saying switch from coal to gas - including you know that Lawson (and Osborne) bloke type smear.

now she is basically agreeing with him..

Progress, I guess... but it leaves a bitter taste in the mouth.

My thoughts at the time ( I attended)

Jul 24, 2013 at 9:58 PM | Unregistered CommenterBarry Woods

Foxgoose says "if that graph had shown a virtually horizontal line".
I reckon we need some good graphs to win over the public. I'd like to see a graph with that 100 year "virtually horizontal line" on it, together with graphs of the 24 hour temperatures at half a dozen places around the world, varying from say minus 20 degrees to plus 40. Can somebody do that, please? My new computer doesn't have the software that I am used to using.
So, I want all graphs on top of each other with a range of -20 to 40 C, one has 100 years of global temperature and the others have 24 hours of temperature only, i.e. just one day, with no averaging.

Jul 25, 2013 at 12:15 AM | Unregistered Commenterjaymam

Foxgoose- Your pilgrimage resembles mine, but I was sidetracked for some time at the WUWT Vanity Fair, until I noticed the executions.

Jul 25, 2013 at 12:16 AM | Unregistered CommenterGeoff Cruickshank

- To those expressing sympathy for * Bryony Worthington (enobled at 39 !) it is to OUR shame that WE let these CLUELESS emotion driven people with no understanding of real world maths, physics & engineering get control of government energy policy and direct it in such a mad mad way (both Labour & Liberal/Conservative coalition)
* even a stopped clock is right twice a day etc.

Jul 25, 2013 at 11:36 AM | Registered Commenterstewgreen

Those progs @jamspid mentioned : BBC Hardtalk Climate Change in Alaska
- BBC News Report : The bitter battle over Alaska's salmon
- Alaska: Part 1 "Stephen Sackur explores whether the United States is getting serious about climate change" surely a strange subtitle ? when they have spent hundreds of $billions so far
- Thu 30th edition - page still blank, but given the news story it's appears to be Copper Mine vs Local Salmon Industry story.. And the BBC tone based on an mining activist groups press release "John Shively believes a giant copper mine generating billions of tons of potentially toxic waste is exactly what this wilderness needs."
mine value : upto half a trillion dollars.
"But the salmon harvest is also a billion-dollar business. .. tens of millions of fish between June and September.".. are local people in one river system really earning $1billion/year from salmon ?

Jul 25, 2013 at 11:55 AM | Registered Commenterstewgreen

Ahh yes, now, Pacific well with the dichotomy between AGW and natural causes.
The long term collapse in numbers followed by a recent return to normality can be correlated to the sine curve of the PDO and a paper to that effect was published in 1993 if I remember correctly.
The paper forecast the massive decline that ensued up to the early part of the 21C as the Pacific warmed and the subsequent burgeoning in numbers from 2010 on as it cooled by analysing past catch records and recording the folk memories of native people.
Real scientists doing real research twenty years ago - what happened to science for us to be where we are today?

Jul 25, 2013 at 2:18 PM | Unregistered Commenterroger

For the architect of The Climate Change Act to criticise A N Other (Baroness Verma) for implementing the carbon price floor comes firmly under the heading of: Pot Kettle Black....

Jul 25, 2013 at 2:44 PM | Unregistered Commentersherlock1


"a virtually horizontal line"

Which is what a CO2 graph would look like, plotted from 0-100%. It might be indistinguishable from the X-axis, though!

Jul 25, 2013 at 3:57 PM | Registered Commenterjamesp

Better idea.
Why not a graph calibrated to 0-300 Kelvin and see how much variation you get on the line then?!

Jul 25, 2013 at 4:56 PM | Registered CommenterMike Jackson

Isn't that Matt Ridley at 15:53:30?

Jul 25, 2013 at 6:53 PM | Unregistered CommenterDABbio

good god no wonder some fall asleep at these, far to polite (my lord/my lady/noble friends guff),
get some engineers in there FFS & get real world people in this process (will never happen, Bish, posters could help assist you on )

ps. to be fair, some lords raised good points (no need to name them as i'm sure you watch the whole thing:-)

Jul 26, 2013 at 12:16 AM | Unregistered Commenterdougieh

jamesp, Mike Jackson

With my inadequate software I have painfully cobbled up the kind of graph that I want to see:

No I don't want the axes to extend past the temperature range where people and plants actually live, so no Arctic or deserts please, and no 300 K or 100 C. We don't need to exaggerate to show that the mean global temperature for over 130 years is almost a horizontal line.

Jul 26, 2013 at 6:50 AM | Unregistered Commenterjaymam

I meant to acknowledge that most of the graph above came from

I am having great difficulty using a different operating system and image editor.

Jul 26, 2013 at 7:03 AM | Unregistered Commenterjaymam

I've only watched the highlighted segment from around 16.45.00 onwards.

FWIW I would certainly like to see the Carbon Floor Price getting some scrutiny.

Jul 26, 2013 at 11:37 AM | Unregistered Commenternot banned yet

Is there a non-silverlight version? I have just trashed my last microsoft powered pc...

Jul 28, 2013 at 5:27 PM | Unregistered CommenterClovis Man

At 17:11:34 , " Close off gaming opportunities " ? Well how about ending the subsidies for wind turbines?

I would recommend that members of the House read, " When will the lights go out ? " by Grid control engineer Derek Birkett. Also speech to Holyrood 12 Nov 2010 by Rupert Soames, grandson of Winston Churchill and chief of Aggreko generators. Mr Soames recommended that they build more gas & nuclear power stations and less wind turbines.

See Scottish Wild Land Group magazine 2013 in which engineer Jack Ponton notes that even if the wind industry figures for CO2 reduction were correct the UK wind farms would only yield a 1/5000th reduction in global CO2 emissions = insignificant and what is the point of the UK taking unilateral action. See also John Constable of Renewable Energy Foundation

Also see Robert Bryce's book , " Power Hungry "
Also see George S. Taylor PhD of American Tradition Institute article, " Does wind generation deserve special treatment " and " The hidden cost of wind electricity, why the full cost of wind generation is unlikely to match the cost of natural gas, coal or nuclear generation " He says that we need to look at the whole system. Wind and its back up spinning reserve conventional power stations need to be seen as a unit with the cost of the reserve and the CO2 of the reserve being attributed to the wind turbines.

Aug 9, 2013 at 4:40 PM | Unregistered CommenterAlex

Really interesting: Burt Rutan's demolition of the claim that CO2 from burning fossil fuels will lead to climate catastrophe ( AGW ) :


To claim that the entire system of atmospheric temperature moderation has been described by the fluctuations of atmospheric CO2 content while excluding the other obvious factors such as atmospheric water vapour content, solar flux and orbital mechanics is just nonsense.

The whole point of modelling when done correctly is that it links accurately measured input of the main factors and accurately measure target output. Where you have major input factors that are not considered and poor and uncertain measurement of all factors then all you have is a joke or more seriously Public Fraud based on science.You do not have science.

CO2 is not a pollutant. When the Dinosaurs roamed, the CO2 content was 6 to 9 times current and the planet was green from pole to pole; almost no deserts. If we doubled the atmospheric content of CO2, young pine trees would grow at twice the rate and nearly every crop yield would go up 30 to 40%. We, the animals and all land plant life would be healthier if CO2 content were to increase.

In my background of 46 years in aerospace flight testing and design I have seen many examples of data presentation fraud. That is what prompted my interest in seeing how the scientists have processed the climate data, presented it and promoted their theories to policy makers and the media.
What I found shocked me and prompted me to do further research. I researched data presentation fraud in climate science from 1999 to 2010.

Also see :

or watch " Burt Rutan global warming " on Youtube (Preview)

Also interesting article by William Happer, Professor of physics at Princeton Uni. " The truth about green house gases ",

From page 4

We conclude that atmospheric CO2 levels should be above about 150
ppm to avoid harming green plants and below about 5000 ppm to avoid
harming people. That is a big range, and our atmosphere is much closer
to the lower end than the upper end. We were not that far from CO2
anorexia when massive burning of fossil fuels began. At the current rate
of burning fossil fuels, we are adding about 2 ppm of CO2 per year to the
atmosphere, so getting from our current level to 1000 ppm would take
about 300 years—and 1000 ppm is still less than what most plants would
prefer, and much less than either the NASA or the Navy limit.

Aug 23, 2013 at 8:23 AM | Unregistered CommenterAlex

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