No sooner do we learn of the BBC's Climate by Numbers, than climate change makes another appearance on the airwaves, this time Philomena Cunk's short slot in the Charlie Brooker show. Climate scientists on Twitter seem to like it. See what you think (from 25 mins).
I wonder if this is the start of the BBC's big push for Paris.
Tamsin Edwards has posted some more details about the Climate by Numbers show at the start of next month. Of particular interest is the official blurb for the show:
In a special film for BBC Four, three mathematicians will explore three key statistics linked to climate change.
In Climate Change by Numbers, Dr Hannah Fry, Prof Norman Fenton and Prof David Spiegelhalter hone in on three numbers that lie at the heart of science’s current struggle to get a handle on the precise processes and impact of climate global climate change.
Prof Norman Fenton said: “My work on this programme has revealed the massive complexity of climate models and the novel challenges this poses for making statistical predictions from them.”
Having eschewed climate change and greenery to a large extent in recent years, the Edinburgh Science Festival has clearly found the lure of Paris too much for them and this year devotes a whole strand to energy and climate issues. Here's what they have to say about it.
We are merely the caretakers of our extraordinary planet; it does not belong to us but its future health depends directly on our current actions. Since the industrial revolution our demands for energy, largely from fossil fuels, have increased continuously, however our ideas about what is plentiful are now altering and we have to deal with the concept of changing our approach to energy while simultaneously dealing with the consequences of our past actions.
Hot on the heels of their paper on labels in the climate debate, Candace Howarth and Amelia Sharman have a piece up at the Conversation:
We need new ways of framing and talking about climate change. We need to remember that science “does not provide us with convenient yes/no answers” and being sceptical is part of the scientific process.
Removing these antagonistic labels from the debate could encourage all those engaged in this area to think of it less as a polarised debate and move towards a more nuanced and constructive discussion about specific issues of disagreement.
The current academic focus on categorising labels about climate change diverts attention away from much-needed research on underlying rationales. Scientists can play an important role in informing and legitimising new policies, therefore it is vital that climate researchers pay attention to their choices of language.
Well worth a read.
In a bid to show how careful it is with taxpayer's cash, DECC has decided to launch a climate change photography competition.
Run by the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC), the #BackClimateAction 2015 competition opens on Friday 20 February.
Entries must be entered on Instagram or via Twitter.
Organisers say they are seeking an image that ‘challenges us to re-imagine climate change in the most original and engaging way’, by addressing one or more of the following: What do you most want to protect? (this could be your own or your family’s health); What feeling does climate change provoke? (e.g. loss, challenge, change or action); and What can tackling climate change lead to? (this could include changing technology, new ways of living, or new energy sources).
Yes folks, you are working your fingers to the bone so that "civil" "servants" can spend their time looking at pretty snapshots.
Updated on Feb 18, 2015 by Bishop Hill
Via GWPF, we learn that Canadian police are worried about violent extremists in the environmental movement:
The RCMP has labelled the “anti-petroleum” movement as a growing and violent threat to Canada’s security, raising fears among environmentalists that they face increased surveillance, and possibly worse, under the Harper government’s new terrorism legislation.
In highly charged language that reflects the government’s hostility toward environmental activists, an RCMP intelligence assessment warns that foreign-funded groups are bent on blocking oil sands expansion and pipeline construction, and that the extremists in the movement are willing to resort to violence.
I am hearing on the grapevine that a senior IPCC official has been accused of sexual harassment and that a police investigation has been commenced. The official denies everything and has also issued a complaint to police, alleging a hacking attack.
You have to pity the poor energy companies trying to deal with someone quite as erratic as Ed Davey. As he lurches from ridiculous policy measure to preposterous policy statement, people's livelihoods are trashed and trampled with the occupant of DECC apparently careless of what he is doing.
The Guardian has obtained a letter written by the head of Oil and Gas UK to Davey, essentially inquiring if he has thought through the implications of what he is doing and saying:
Webb wrote to Davey a few days later: “[Newspaper] articles reported you backing moves that would encourage investors to think about moving their money out of ‘risky’ fossil fuel assets, suggesting global emissions limits could make hydrocarbon reserves unburnable, therefore stranding assets and rendering them worthless.”
The Register has a fascinating story regarding a complaint to the BBC about its coverage of a scientific issue. Could We Survive A Mega Tsunami? was:
dramatised the effects of a giant ocean wave ("starting at one kilometre high"), far greater than the tsunamis created by earthquakes, and illustrated by (in the BBC's own words) "Hollywood-style graphics". The film showed havoc being unleashed upon European and North American seaboards.
Unfortunately, the mega tsunami theory appears to be viewed as comical among geophysicists, and has apparently been comprehensively debunked in the scientific literature. This, you might have thought, would therefore be an open and shut case, since the BBC has repeatedly said that they must follow the scientific consensus. A backdown and apology is surely in order?
I have heard rumours that Thomas Stocker might be a candidate to take over from ‘Pachy’ as the next Chairman of the IPCC. This now seems more likely than not (H/T Judith Curry). I’m not sure how many decision makers will see this but perhaps some letters to MPs might be in order.
For some of us Stocker first came to our notice in Climategate 2009. In May 2009, Phil Jones told Peter Thorne at the Met Office:
I did send an email to Thomas Stocker alerting him up to comment #17.[on ClimateAudit] These are all about who changed what in various chapters of AR4. I expect these to get worse with AR5.
Then, in July 2009, Tim Osborn asked Stocker for a letter to convince the Information Commissioner to refuse my information requests. Several letters were sent to the UEA and Met Office referring to an “overarching principle of confidentiality” and a vague threat to UK institutions. These resulted in their refusal to disclose critically important information and the notorious statement in the evidence of Universities UK to the Justice Committee
Tamsin Edwards points us to the BBC's latest efforts on the climate change front, to be broadcast on 2 March at 9pm. Details are remarkably thin on the ground, but here's what they are willing to tell us:
Presented by 3 mathematicians, this programme gives a unique perspective on climate change by taking 3 key numbers to tell the story of our climate's past, present and future.
I gather from the comments at WUWT that the mathematicians involved are Hannah Fry of UCL, Norman Fenton of QMUL and David Spiegelhalter of Cambridge. Tamsin says she was involved as a consultant and I gather that Doug McNeall was on board too.
Not the usual suspects then.
Here's a (somewhat rough and ready) rip of the TV trailer.
Having gone hell for leather to make wind power the centrepiece of Scottish energy policy, having fought tooth and nail to prevent new nuclear and coal-fired capacity and at best only lukewarm on gas, the Scottish National Party are now having to face the consequences of what they have done. It looks like a case of a cry for help:
Firstly, we have demands that Westminster do something about the perilous security of Scotland's electricity supply:
The First Minister has written to David Cameron urging the UK Government to review the security of Scotland's electricity supply.
Nicola Sturgeon said UK energy policy was compromising energy security north of the border and called on the Prime Minister to act.
In the wake of the Royal Society's recent quick guide to climate change, the Australian Academy has produced their own newbies' guide which can be seen here.
It contains some interesting bits and bobs, for example this bit on extreme rainfall.
Heavy rainfall events have intensified over most land areas and will likely continue to do so, but changes are expected to vary by region.
There will be much happiness in UKIP circles today, with the announcement that Messrs Cameron, Miliband and Clegg are to sign a joint declaration on climate change, a move which has been brokered by green NGOs.
The prime minister, deputy prime minister and leader of the opposition have all clashed over green issues, but the joint declaration states: “Climate change is one of the most serious threats facing the world today. It is not just a threat to the environment, but also to our national and global security, to poverty eradication and economic prosperity.”
“Acting on climate change is also an opportunity for the UK to grow a stronger economy, which is more efficient and more resilient to the risks ahead,” the joint statement says. “It is in our national interest to act and ensure others act with us.” A senior UK military commander has warned previously that climate change poses as grave a threat to the UK’s security and economic resilience as terrorism.
A better way of making their parties look as if they are completely out of touch and/or working to NGOs' agendas is hard to imagine. That said, one of the pledges they make is to do away with coal-fired electricity generation. This may actually mean that the underlying message is "frack baby, frack".