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« King of carbon emissions | Main | The FT does solar »
Saturday
Aug102013

The mind of the Royal

Canada's Financial Post has taken a look at the Royal Society, and in particular some of the strange epistles written by Paul Nurse to Nigel Lawson and the even stranger award of a research fellowship to Stephan Lewandowsky. Writing on the opinion pages, Peter Foster seems barely able to believe what is going on:

The Royal Society, the U.K.’s once-venerable academy of science, has arguably lost its collective mind over the theory of projected catastrophic man-made global warming. Recently, its president, Paul Nurse, in seeking to avoid a meeting with skeptical experts from the Global Warming Policy Foundation, GWPF — the think tank set up by former Chancellor of the Exchequer Lord Nigel Lawson — linked skeptics with those who reject evolution and believe that the weather might be changed by prayer. Whatever kind of argument that is, it isn’t scientific, but it certainly invites analysis of the mindset that made it.

Foster might well have added the appointment of Paul Erlich as an overseas fellow, which I believe is essentially in the gift of the President. It all adds up to a pretty sad state of affairs.

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Reader Comments (46)

Recently I watching a clip of Nurse and Delingdole possibly 'debating' CAGW in Delingpole's kitchen. The cosmic scale of the clap-trap spouted by Nurse was undeniable. He likened the 'consensus' approach of climate scientists to AGW with the 'consensus' approach of oncologists to a hypothetical case of cancer, for which Delingpole was seeking treatment in a London hospital.

Unfortunately, Delingpole appeared unable to respond. Fair enough. He wouldn't necessarily understand what was entailed in the exercise of evidence based best practice either. It was nonetheless an extraordinary display of ignorance around the meaning of consensus and its dependence on context and structure for meaning. Don't hold your collective breath for the clinical oncologists to make a rebuttal statement though.......

Aug 10, 2013 at 10:41 PM | Unregistered CommenterManfred

Sir Paul Nurse is a massive disappointment both in terms of him as a man and as a scientist.

The question is, how far will he drag down the Royal Society before sanity returns?

Aug 10, 2013 at 10:47 PM | Unregistered CommenterConfusedPhoton

It's all quite fascinating to watch really because the whole facade is crumbling and will continue to do so to it's inevitable conclusion....(i.e. lots of red faces and stuttering...'we were misled by those who REALLY knew what was going on' etc etc.....'IT WAS HIM THAT DONE IT'!).

It is, however, very difficult to see that a man of his stature CANNOT see the fallacy and yet?.......


Fascinating.

Aug 10, 2013 at 11:09 PM | Unregistered Commenterjones

Michael Mann, FRS.

Sorry, but I'm not paying for all the keyboards and screens just ruined from spewed drink.

Aug 10, 2013 at 11:22 PM | Unregistered Commentercui bono

The Royal Society is not an independent body since it relies on cash from the government, I am told. On this issue every government sponsored organisation seems to be "onside". Can anyone name one that is not? If just one were to break ranks it would be a start. Thank goodness there are independent scientists some with unimpeachable credentials, though I cannot name any working in the UK. This is the so-called consensus. It is held together by fear - fear of loss of cash and fear of ridicule. Fear of being on the outside with loss of status.

Aug 10, 2013 at 11:30 PM | Unregistered CommenterDerek

cui bono

"Michael Mann, FRS."

No worries, given the RS stated selection process, he is a shoe in!

"Fellows are elected through a peer review process......."

http://royalsociety.org/about-us/fellowship/

Aug 10, 2013 at 11:37 PM | Registered CommenterGreen Sand

This really is a very worrying situation. The Royal Society was, to myself, a government scientist, the very pinnacle of the scientific community. mNow we have a President who has turned his back on the scientific method for, seemingly, political reasons. And a Society that has accepted one side of a scientific argument, without proper debate. What hope is there of persuading scientifically illiterate politicians of anything other than the proposals of the IPCC? A very dangerous situation.

Aug 10, 2013 at 11:54 PM | Unregistered CommenterPeter Stroud

Peter Stroud

"A very dangerous situation."

Yes, the 21st Century Dark Age! We have been in it for a decade or two, will need another generation at least before "we" will see the light. Could get very interesting, history shows that this species does not react well when its development is constrained!

Aug 11, 2013 at 12:08 AM | Registered CommenterGreen Sand

“People are stupid; given proper motivation, almost anyone will believe almost anything. Because people are stupid, they will believe a lie because they want to believe it's true, or because they are afraid it might be true. People’s heads are full of knowledge, facts, and beliefs, and most of it is false, yet they think it all true. People are stupid; they can only rarely tell the difference between a lie and the truth, and yet they are confident they can, and so are all the easier to fool.”
― Terry Goodkind, Wizard's First Rule

Aug 11, 2013 at 1:36 AM | Unregistered CommenterDrcrinum

From the Ecclesiastical Uncle, an old retired bureaucrat in a field only remotely related to climate with minimal qualifications and only half a mind.

It is a great shame that this sort of analysis has to come from foreign parts. Is no part of the UK's main stream media free of contamination by CAGW, the pressure of the consensus or the lure, perhaps indirectly, of government money or favour?

Aug 11, 2013 at 6:13 AM | Unregistered CommenterEcclesiastical Uncle

Vladimir Lenin, Joseph Stalin, Nikita Khrushchev and Leonid Brezhnev are all travelling together in a railway carriage. Unexpectedly the train stops. Lenin suggests: "Perhaps, we should call a subbotnik, so that workers and peasants fix the problem." Stalin puts his head out of the window and shouts, "If the train does not start moving, the driver will be shot!". But the train doesn't start moving. Khrushchev then shouts, "Let's take the rails behind the train and use them to construct the tracks in the front". But it still doesn't move. Brezhnev then says, "Comrades, Comrades, let's draw the curtains, turn on the gramophone and pretend we're moving!".

It appears Comrade Nurse agrees with Comrade Brezhnev...

Aug 11, 2013 at 7:22 AM | Unregistered CommenterManniac

Nurse is a Marxist apparatchik promoted because of his political beliefs. If he were a true scientist he would either investigate and approve all the logical steps in the CAGW hypothesis, impossible because it is based on incorrect physics from Sagan and Arrhenius, or he would refer to someone else with the physics to understand this science and who would be willing to accept that responsibility.

As it is, no professional physicist or engineer can accept these false premises and I suspect Nurse now realises just what size hole he has dug. Won't someone in the RS tell him firmly to stop digging or resign and be honest about hi politics over-riding objective science.

Aug 11, 2013 at 7:38 AM | Unregistered CommenterAlecM

Paul Nurse is nothing short of a coward. His movement is one of collective cowardice.

Aug 11, 2013 at 8:12 AM | Unregistered CommenterStreetcred

The appearance of Nurse fronting a BBC programe against sceptical views on CAGW immediately after being elected struck me as odd. Was it a condition of his appointment and if not, why get so immediately involved in a subject so far removed from his speciality in such a high profile manner? Having placed (or been placed) himself as an authority on the correctness of 'the science' he wandered from one vested interest to another in awe while missing mistakes obvious to others.

A political appointment, not a meritorious one.

Aug 11, 2013 at 8:16 AM | Unregistered Commenterssat

I'm no scientist. Apparently, if one judges these things by the scientific method, neither is the President of the Royal Society. What a shame.

Aug 11, 2013 at 8:19 AM | Unregistered CommenterJohn J

This is what is called a false dichotomy. Science vs beyond the fringe right wing crazies.

The reason it was created is that 99% of cat owners who express a preference will feed their cats science rather than the mental case free market insanity that is universally agreed to have caused the global economic collapse.

The living dinosaurs of the GWPF have a lot less public credibility than creationists.

Aug 11, 2013 at 8:41 AM | Unregistered CommentereSmiff

These are the people who are pushing global warming politics. In the global food chain, scientists and greens are no higher than voles.


International Emissions Trading Association (IETA)

The biggest lobbying group at Copenhagen was the International Emissions Trading Association which was created to promote carbon trading more than ten years ago.

Its members include :-

BP, Conoco Philips, Shell, E.ON (coal power stations owner), EDF (one of the largest participants in the global coal market), Gazprom (Russian oil and gas), Goldman Sachs, Barclays, JP Morgan Chase, Morgan Stanley..

http://www.ieta.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&catid=19%3Adefault&id=168%3Aour-members&Itemid=82


This is why


Carbon trading could be worth twice that of oil in next decade

The carbon market could become double the size of the vast oil market, according to the new breed of City players who trade greenhouse gas emissions through the EU's emissions trading scheme.

The ETS market may see $3tn (£1.8tn) worth of transactions a year in the next decade or two, according to Andrew Ager, head of emissions trading at Bache Commodities in London, with it even being used as a hedge against falling equities or rising inflation. "It is still a relatively new industry with annual trades of around €300bn every year. But this could grow to around $3tn compared to the $1.5tn market there is for oil," says Ager, who used to be a foreign currencies trader.

The speed of that growth will depend on whether the Copenhagen summit gives a go-ahead for a low-carbon economy, but Ager says whatever happens schemes such as the ETS will expand around the globe.


http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2009/nov/29/carbon-trading-market-copenhagen-summit

Aug 11, 2013 at 8:48 AM | Unregistered CommentereSmiff

Paul Nurse - President of the Royal Society
Julia Slingo - Chief Scientist of the Met Office
Edward Davey - Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change

Leadership for the future.

Aug 11, 2013 at 8:50 AM | Registered CommenterMartin A

I emailed, twice,the Royal Society Liberation Front (formally The Tooting Liberation Front) requesting that they corrected the falsehood that man made CO2 emissions were seven times natural emissions, as promulgated by Nurse's nauseating BBC programme. No acknowledgement and no response says it all really.

Aug 11, 2013 at 8:53 AM | Unregistered CommenterStacey

Stacey

Why do you think Sir Paul Nurse, PRS, PhD, distinguished President of the Royal Society is lying like Pinnochio ? What do you believe is his motivation ?

Aug 11, 2013 at 9:05 AM | Unregistered CommentereSmiff

Over many years I've delved into RS past Presidents because one was a namesake. They are impressive people, in the main, especially when they allow deeper glimpses of the mind through autobiographies.
Sir Paul Nurse is hard to fit into the pattern. Maybe public expectations of performance are changing, maybe he was an unusual choice as is showing in recent accounts of his conduct.

So, if 'consensus' is an in word, Sir Paul is saying one thing about it as in Dellingpole's oncologists; but he is not himself conforming to the consensus view that RS Presidents can be respected for their wisdom. Lack of consistency by prominent scientists creates a great deal more of later, unrewarding work by other scientists correcting the record. I was a reasonably capable scientist in my career, certainly part of a top level team for some decades, so it hurts me personally and professionally to see a high post being damaged from the inside.

The namesake Sir Charles Sherrington was an RS President in the 1920s and died in 1952. His entry in 'Who's Who' was the longest written to that date. It is notable that he dealt capably with a diverse range of topics before and after his Presidency. Personally, I like consensus if the outcome gives us Presidents like he was.

Aug 11, 2013 at 9:13 AM | Unregistered CommenterGeoff Sherrington

The Royal Society's Simpleton in Residence

Aug 11, 2013 at 10:01 AM | Unregistered CommenterSteve

Manfred
Delingpole was ambushed. Like many of us at the time he presumed that Nurse, being a Nobel laureate and president of the RS, was at least a reasonably honest man and not a shill for a corrupt BBC that had evidently determined to set up a relatively high-profile sceptic. (Unlike Ball and Bellamy, whom they could just cut off at the knees, Delingpole was not dependent on the BBC so it was necessary to make him look foolish.)
Anyone with approaching the requisite number of brain cells (which you would think ought to include Nurse) knows that the question posed about who you would want to treat you if you had some serious illness is on a par with "have you stopped beating your wife?"
The correct answer in this context is "When climate scientists know 10% as much about the climate as cancer specialists know about cancer I might start listening to them."
I don't think anyone is going to fall into Nurse's grubby little trap again any time soon.

Aug 11, 2013 at 10:15 AM | Registered CommenterMike Jackson

Manfred
"DELINGPOLE SEEMED UNABLE TO RESPOND"
What is not generally realised that this was part of 3 hours of filming.
Ostensibly Nurse, on behalf of BBC wanted JD's views on 'why scientists are no longer trusted'.
Nurse had the loaded "have you stopped beating your wife" type question ready at a psychological moment and was delighted when Delingpole hesitated.
The rest of the film was never used. The BBC/Guardian/UEA had got what they wanted !

Aug 11, 2013 at 10:21 AM | Unregistered Commentertoad

Mike Jackson
Snap !

Aug 11, 2013 at 10:29 AM | Unregistered Commentertoad

It's a shame for Nurse that Al Gore also has a Nobel prize. That must devalue it somewhat.

Aug 11, 2013 at 10:34 AM | Unregistered CommenterJames P

ESmiff, I am not convinced he is lying so much as too closed minded to consider alternative scenarios to carbonogeddon.
iAN

Aug 11, 2013 at 10:43 AM | Unregistered Commenterian sykes

The fact is that it IS a pretty sad state of affairs. Paul Nurse is doing his best and this is not very much at all whatsoever. It's not evil at work, people, it's simple incompetence.

Aug 11, 2013 at 11:03 AM | Unregistered CommenterBrute

The National Enquirer couldn't make something like this up.

Science debate between Nobel Prize winner President of the Royal Society vs Alan Bastard MP wannabe comedian James Delingpole.

Delingpole is a (Flashman style) comedy writer who created his blogger persona from his undergraduate minor public school at Oxford venom spitting reality . He used a photo of himself at that age.

This is what he did before he got involved in global warming.

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Coward-Bridge-Dick-James-Delingpole/dp/1847393861/ref=sr_1_4?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1376214483&sr=1-4

In reality, he is a herbal tea drinking, acupuncturist visiting, NLP believing, OCD suffering, extreme depressive, extreme hypochondriac petit bourgeois.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/home/you/article-1296796/James-Delingpoles-talks-struggle-depression.html

Aug 11, 2013 at 11:05 AM | Unregistered CommentereSmiff

Smiffy
You probably won't like my saying this but Delingpole's description of the hardcore activist as a 'watermelon' is accurate.
I'm not tarring everyone of a left-of-centre persuasion with that brush but the Cold War orphans of the Trotskyite wing (SWP, Labour party 'entryists' of the 80s) wasted no time in morphing (correction: segueing seamlessly) from hard-line left wing fascists into environmental fascists.
The techniques and attitudes are identical because the philosophy is identical.
They have also benefited from finding a cause which allows them to suborn (they think) capitalism by enlisting the energy companies who have found the perfect route to greater profits — play on governments' gullibility (as the watermelons are doing) to demand subsidies for an untried technology which, in their honest moments, they admit they would never be pursuing without subsidies while continuing with their traditional pursuits which themselves then require subsidy to make them profitable in the face of the support being given to other forms of generation.
Nurse is either a willing participant in this scam or a useful idiot. Hard to tell which.

Aug 11, 2013 at 11:12 AM | Registered CommenterMike Jackson

Mike Jackson

Delingpole is a comedian. That is his job. There is nothing left wing about AGW. Nurse is a useful idiot, so was the last president. So will the next one be.

If something knocked down your house. Would you believe it was an elephant or a mouse ? Who paid for Obama to be president? Was it Goldman Sachs or Fidel Castro ?


Once again.

James Hansen wrote this in the Guardian.

Governments today, instead, talk of "cap-and-trade with offsets", a system rigged by big banks and fossil fuel interests. Cap-and-trade invites corruption. Worse, it is ineffectual, assuring continued fossil fuel addiction to the last drop and environmental catastrophe.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/cif-green/2010/aug/26/james-hansen-climate-change

Aug 11, 2013 at 11:28 AM | Unregistered CommentereSmiff

When NICE (the National Institute of Clinical Excellence) was set up to examine the data and recommend best clinical practice, Paul Nurse commented that there are a million papers out there and 98% of them are boll*cks".

It is a pity he doesn't extend this insight to climate science

Aug 11, 2013 at 11:33 AM | Unregistered CommenterRC Saumarez

@Mike Jackson: to assess whether Nurse is a willing participant or a useful idiot, look at his reported past association with the Galton Institute, until 1989 the Eugenics' Society. The reports I have had is that the Institute has now been transformed away from the eugenics' mindset.

The implication is that we are in a rerun of the 1930s with the windmills the way for the insiders to get rich whilst shafting then accelerating the death of the untermenschen. This has apparently been orchestrated from UEA, Nurse's post-grad alma mater and the centre of Common Purpose.

In this World, political titles are misleading: http://www.express.co.uk/news/uk/421223/Peer-s-wind-farm-empire. It's may be about the development of a new fascism.

[BH Update 11/11/13 The claim re Nurse appears to be false]

Aug 11, 2013 at 12:03 PM | Unregistered CommenterAlecM

The BBC and Nurse acted in bad faith;
http://wattsupwiththat.com/2011/02/03/has-the-bbc-has-broken-faith-with-the-general-public/

The BBC email invitation to James Delingpole


From: “Emma” [email address removed by author]

Date: 3 August 2010 19:25:08 GMT+01:00

To: James [email address removed by author]

Subject: BBC Horizon

Dear James

I hope you don’t mind me contacting you on this email address but I was given it by Louise Gray at the Telegraph.

I am making a film for BBC’s Horizon on public trust in science and I was hoping you may be able to help.

The film will explore our current relationship with science, whether we as a society do and should trust it. It is being presented by the nominated President of the Royal Society, Sir Paul Nurse. If he is voted in later this summer he will be taking over the at RS at the end of the year at around the same time the film will be transmitted so it would very much launch his presidency. The premise will be ‘This is a turbulent time for science. After the debacles of Climate-gate, GM products and MMR, I want to explore why science isn’t trusted and whether we as scientists are largely to blame’. By looking at these different areas he will dig into the difficult questions of how to deal with uncertainty in science, the communication of this uncertainty, and the difficulties when science meets policy and the media.

The tone of the film is very questioning but with no preconceptions. On the issue of who is to blame no-one will be left unscathed, whether that is science sceptics, the media or most particularly scientists themselves. Sir Paul is very aware of the culpability of scientists and that will come across in the film. They will not be portrayed as white coated magicians who should be left to work in their ivory towers – their failings will be dealt with in detail.

Now obviously one of the other great areas of contention is when science meets the media. Much as most scientists would like their papers to be published unedited in the mainstream media that obviously does not work. We will be visiting the newsroom of a national newspaper (most likely the Times although we have also been talking to the Telegraph) to explore the realities of where science fits in the news agenda, but I also want to explore the equally important role of the online world.

As an influential blogger on climate change, among other subjects, I’d really like Paul to meet you and chat to you about your views – how you see your role and that more generally the influence of the internet in changing the debate; your views on climate-gate and how that was handled by the media; the failings or otherwise of scientists in communicating the science.

Filming would be on the afternoon of 18 August ideally.

If you are interested please drop me a line or give me a call.

Kind regards

Emma [removed by author]

Producer/Director
BBC Vision Productions

Aug 11, 2013 at 12:16 PM | Unregistered CommenterBarry Woods

Smiffy
You want to believe there is "nothing left wing" about AGW, fine; you keep on thinking that.
You start getting high blood pressure at the mention of Delingpole, fine; keep taking the beta blockers.
Note I was careful to differentiate between left-of-centre democratic socialism and the rabid ultra-left that doesn't have a democratic bone in its collective body.
It has used the same tricks to take over the environmental movement as it has tried, with mixed success, elsewhere. AGW, if not the brainchild of the ultra-left, is at the very least a godsend for its totalitarian, anti-development, anti-capitalist, anti-just about everything that modern civilisation stands for programme.
Sorry if you don't agree.

Aug 11, 2013 at 1:45 PM | Registered CommenterMike Jackson

Senior management salaries at the RS have been rocketing upwards in the last few years, funded of course by higher govt grants.

For instance, the number earning >£140K has risen from one to four in the last year.

http://notalotofpeopleknowthat.wordpress.com/2013/05/28/royal-society-gravy-train/

Aug 11, 2013 at 2:40 PM | Unregistered CommenterPaul Homewood

Paul Homewood

The RS, like the BBC are pwned by the government. It really is that simple.


BTW

Last weeks rough, tough macho, meat eating UKIP member now reveals (to no one's surprise) .


@JamesDelingpole


Kids very upset about my Tadzio Moment confession in today's Stella magazine. They think I was lame enough already without being a Gay Dad.

Aug 11, 2013 at 2:52 PM | Unregistered CommentereSmiff

Aug 10, 2013 at 10:41 PM | Manfred
AND
Aug 11, 2013 at 10:15 AM | Mike Jackson

I saw the programme and was unimpressed by both Nurse and by Dellingpole, but the comment made by toad (Aug 11, 2013 at 10:21 AM) may if that be the case excuse Dellingpole.

Nurse's example was silly since there is no direct comparison between medicine and climate science, and one woukld not therefore expect a similar answer on the role of consensus, and in particular whether one should give some weight to the consensus view..

Medicine is only a quasi science since for a large part it is little more than the ongoing clinical study of trial and error. It is more a matter of practice held to account by the application of scientific principle. In this consensus has, in principle, a legitimate role to play if it is based upon the rigorous scrutiny of ongoing clinical studies.

A procedure/a cure is found to 'work' and at that moment of time it represents the best available approach to treatment, ie., continued clinical stuidies show it possesses the best current success rate (however success is measured, eg., complete cure, partial cure, or perhaps extending life, least adverse side effects etc). It is constantly compared with old procedures/cures to confirm its efficiency, and of course, research into other procedures/cures is ongoing, and when that research leads to a more successful procedure/cure, it replaces what was the consensus mode of treatment. That new procedure/cure itself throughout its lifetime is clinicallly studied and new research is also being pursued which in time results in an even better procedure/cure making the previous one redundant. This is an ongoing process so of course, the consensus view of what is at that moment of time the best/most effective procedure/cure is of relevance. But nobody is claming that the existing best procedure/cure is definitive and that a better procedure/cure will not become available in future. Medicine is never settled and is in constant evolution.

This is far removed from what is a pure science. Climate science ought to be a pure science but it is not, it is a pseudo science little better than astrology.

Perhaps the most obvious example of the difference between medicine and climate science is the use of models rather than real life data. The models are never tried and tested (validated against reality) and bad models are never thrown out, with the best performing models developed.

All the models should each be compared to reality, ie., with real observational data. Those which perform the worst should be discarded with perhaps just the best 6 performing models kept. Those models should then be worked on so as to improve their performance and re-tested, and again the worst performing onces discarded and say just the best 4 kept. Those should then be worked on and the procedure should be ongoing until just 1 model is left which model represents our best to date model. At the same time there can be ongoing model research to see whether a new model can perform better than that and if so achieved, the new model would replace the existing model. .

But climate science is a joke. I cannot think of another head of science which bases most of its work on the wrong scientific metric. What is the point of air temperature measurements? They tell one nothing about energy and energy imbalance. If climate science was a genuine science, the first thing to get in order would be a proper scientific system of assess energy balance and imbalance and the proper quality measurement and compilation of that data set.

Of course, due to the vastness of the heat capacity of the oceans, it would have been in order to base climate science predominantly on a study of the oceans and temperature measurements of those. There is quite a sensible case for completely discarding land based air temperature measurements, especially as these are inevitavbly polluted by UHI (and that is before one gets into other biases such as station drop outs, screen and equipment maintenance, equipment changes, measurement errors etc). But if one was going to additionaly consider land based air temperature than 24hour measurement should be made coupled with humidity.

Aug 11, 2013 at 2:53 PM | Unregistered Commenterrichard verney

The Royal Society have sold themselves down the river to man-made global warming ideology and all the baggage that goes with it.
Sir Paul Nurse has been well chosen to front the The Royal Society. His politics are left wing, and he was always likely to swallow hook, line, and sinker the great solutions to the supposed man made climate problem as they come straight out of the commies handbook.

Aug 11, 2013 at 3:16 PM | Unregistered Commentercicero666

cicero666

Yes, they sold themselves down the river. So did Greenpeace, FOE, The Guardian, the BBC, the Torygraph, every science organisation on earth, (almost) every corporation on earth, (almost) every politician on earth. When Goldman Sachs does something, it does it well.

They didn't realise how much James Hansen was lying to them, they never expected temperatures to flatline. They didn't expect the biggest fossil fuel boom in American history.

The following is why it was so important to the banks. It was designed to replace the mortgage derivatives market that collapsed.


Carbon Capitalists Warming to Climate Market Using Derivatives

As a young London banker in the early 1990s, Blythe Masters of JPMorgan Chase was part of JPMorgan’s team developing ideas for transferring risk to third parties. She went on to manage credit risk for JPMorgan’s investment bank.

Among the credit derivatives that grew from the bank’s early efforts was the credit-default swap. A CDS is a contract that functions like insurance by protecting debt holders against default. In 2008, after U.S. home prices plunged, the cost of protection against subprime-mortgage bond defaults jumped. Insurer American International Group Inc., which had sold billions in CDSs, was forced into government ownership, roiling markets and helping trigger the worst global recession since the 1930s.

http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601086&sid=aXRBOxU5KT5M


Could Cap and Trade Cause Another Market Meltdown?


You've heard of credit default swaps and subprime mortgages. Are carbon default swaps and subprime offsets next? If the Waxman-Markey climate bill is signed into law, it will generate, almost as an afterthought, a new market for carbon derivatives. That market will be vast, complicated, and dauntingly difficult to monitor. And if Washington doesn't get the rules right, it will be vulnerable to speculation and manipulation by the very same players who brought us the financial meltdown.

Cap and trade would create what Commodity Futures Trading commissioner Bart Chilton anticipates as a $2 trillion market, "the biggest of any [commodities] derivatives product in the next five years."


http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2009/06/could-cap-and-trade-cause-another-market-meltdown?page=1

Aug 11, 2013 at 3:32 PM | Unregistered CommentereSmiff

Smiffy

Are carbon default swaps and subprime offsets next?
Almost certainly. My on-off love affair with the free market does not blind me to its criminal aspects. you'll be pleased to learn! And I'm also happy to lay some of the blame for this state of affairs at Margaret Thatcher's 'big bang' though I believe she acted with the best of intentions and on some pretty poor advice. (As with climate change; Tickell has a lot to answer for!).
I lost faith in the UK banking system when my bank started flooding me with details about various "products". Up till then money, as far as I was concerned, was money. You earned it; paid tax on it; saved/spent it and your bank looked after it for you.
Simples? Apparently not.

Aug 11, 2013 at 5:14 PM | Registered CommenterMike Jackson

I want to add that I do like Delingpole's AGW articles . I read a lot of them. I thought they were very funny and incisive.

However, he's absolutely the wrong guy to debate with a Nobel laureate. That's why the BBC chose him.

Aug 11, 2013 at 5:46 PM | Unregistered CommentereSmiff

It's been mentioned before but the name says it all: "P Nurse" !

Aug 11, 2013 at 10:52 PM | Unregistered Commenter52

@ esmiff
"Stacey

Why do you think Sir Paul Nurse, PRS, PhD, distinguished President of the Royal Society is lying like Pinnochio ? What do you believe is his motivation ?"
You should be more careful with your words and not place them in my mouth, I never said I thought he was lying but for the avoidance of doubt I know he was.

Aug 12, 2013 at 2:17 AM | Unregistered CommenterStacey

Stacey

Perhaps someone should tell Paul Nurse (and his predecessor, Martin Rees) that the phrase “Nullius in Verba” is supposed to be the Royal Society's motto, not a disclaimer.

Aug 12, 2013 at 10:24 AM | Unregistered Commenterandymc

Mike Jackson,

You are correct , the movement of hard left communists into the green movement is personified by http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joschka_Fischer. By the early 80s many of the Red Army Faction/ Baider Meinhof and Revolutionary Cells moved into the German Green Party.

Within the UK , there are many Trotskyist groups - Militant Tendency, SWP, Socialist Action: some former members have moved into the Labour Party. K Livingstone helped to set up SA whose members were largely employed in middle to senior levels of London councils-read Nick Cohen. The website "Bob from Brockley"said he left the Green Party because of the entry of Trotskyists. The Iraq War of 2003 resulted in many hard left Labour/Trotskyists leaving the party and enter the Green and Liberal Parties. Paul Mason Newsnight economics Editoes wasa former member of the SWP.

The post 1967-68 Trotsyists / Cultural Marxists graduates largely went into the public sector / BBC/media.

The anti industrial policies of the deep Green have merged with the anti-capitalism of the Trots/Cultural Marxist and those who jumped on the green technology bandwagon. Coinciding with these political changes are the changes from private partnerships to public companies by merchant/investment banks : this means there are no partners who lose money, only shareholders. Cap and trade is just another way of bank employees making money and risking share holders and taxpayers assets.

Aug 13, 2013 at 11:52 AM | Unregistered CommenterCharlie

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