Commenter Lord Beaverbrook has asked if we can have a thread to discuss solutions to the power cuts that so many are predicting now that successive governments appear to have saddled us with a power generation system that will not provide sufficient power.
I think we should consider two issues - firstly whether there is a genuine need for households to get back up power supplies and secondly, if backup power is required, what form it should take.
There are quite a few climate-related stories doing the rounds today, so here is something of a New Year's roundup.
Der Spiegel looks at the failures of scaremongering tactics and wonders if maybe the environmental groups shouldn't adopt the quiet tactics of Amnesty international. Similar thoughts, including some academic research on the subject, are discussed at Collide-a-Scape.
Politico notes that contrary to common perceptions, Republicans are much keener on global warming than they are letting on.
The cost of CFL (low-energy) lightbulbs is set to soar, as subsidies designed to soften the blow of their introduction are removed.
Tropospheric temperatures are dropping sharply, with the current anomaly only 0.180 degrees above its long-term average.
Matt Briggs has been much amused by his elevation to "villain of the day" by the Global Warming Superheroes site. One of his commenters, writing from Spain, notes that the Iberian Peninsula has a similar group called Ecoheroes.es, whose antics included getting college students to generate electricity from static bicycles hooked up to generators. As Briggs puts it:
The only point of bringing this up is to offer one more (minor) piece of evidence that the fight about “climate chance” is an ideological and not a scientific one. Evidence has little to do with it, belief is everything.
Some frightening stuff from Germany. First Haunting the Library discusses a climate change conference at which putting an end to democratic government is once again proposed as part of a solution to global warming. Almost as bad is the news from P Gosselin that Germany appears to have put in place legislation that will permit energy rationing as a means to save the planet. This is apparently a response to an EU directive, so similar legislation will be coming the way of all readers in the EU soon.
And lastly, as an antidote to all this pessimism, Matt Ridley looks at reasons to be cheerful.
The Mail has a story that the Met Office told the cabinet to expect a cold winter. This was back in October apparently. However, as we know, the public were not told of this, apparently because the Met Office's research had suggested that there was no demand for seasonal forecasts. I'm sure most readers think their reticence was more to do with the fiasco over 2009's barbeque summer.
The story, which was sourced from Roger Harrabin at the BBC, seems to tally with the claim in the Quarmby audit that a Met Office forecast about the cold winter was issued at the end of October. However, as we also know, the Met Office website at the time seemed to be suggesting a warm winter, and nobody has actually seen the cold forecast.
All very intriguing.
In related news, RP Jnr considers the Met Office's attempts to make assessment of its forecasting ability harder.
Autonomous Mind has further thoughts.
In the same issue of Quadrant as the Walter Starck article I mentioned in the last post comes a piece from Bob Carter on the Australian government's hopes for a carbon tax. Bob is not impressed.
Bob has also sent me the following letter, which he submitted for publication in the Australian. It wasn't published.
Combet's hot air tax: no seasonal break for the climate commissars
To the degree that statements such as those made by BMO’s Dr. Sligo represent the views of the professional meteorological community, that community has now moved beyond parody and demands to be ridiculed. Can it really be the case that amidst the hurricane of Green spin about global warming, not a single bureaucrat or government politician in Canberra has retained a functioning bullshit detector?
Remarkably, in enunciating their “eleven principles”, the Canberra MCCC managed to evade entirely any mention of the underpinning scientific justification for introducing a tax on carbon dioxide. That is, of course, because there is none (which is doubtless why only one, tame, scientist was included as a member of the committee in the first place).
As the government will discover from its focus groups over the next few months, no matter how hard Mr. Combet tries to spin it as beneficial, they will introduce a carbon dioxide tax at their considerable electoral peril.
For where global warming alarmism is concerned, the good news is that the bullshit detectors of the Australian electorate are both alive and activated.
Walter Starck surveys the global economy and wonders about the focus on climate change.
All over the developed world, governments have committed to unfunded liabilities and fostered a proliferation of bureaucracy which their increasingly uncompetitive productive sectors cannot sustain. Most are now running on empty with no credit left, no plan B and no apparent recognition that the path they are on leads only to the edge of a cliff.
I have covered the ongoing back and forth between the University of Virginia and VA Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, as the latter tries to obtain Michael Mann's emails to further the investigation into grant applications made by the hockey stick maestro.
I'm slightly confused by all this toing and froing. Last I heard, Cuccinelli had applied for the release of the emails once again - this was back at the end of September - with the university applying to have the demand set aside in mid-October.
Apparently the Times has a story on the continuing failure of windmills to deliver sufficient energy. It's not online, but this looks like the key excerpt (H/T Philip Bratby)
Concern over huge fluctuations in the supply of electricity from Britain’s 3,000 wind turbines has prompted National Grid to begin detailed forecasts of wind strength.
The turbines have delivered well below their usual output this winter and in the 24 hours to 5pm yesterday contributed only 0.5 per cent of the country’s power. Parts of the day were so still that wind power’s contribution fell below 0.2 per cent. On the windiest days, the turbines deliver about 8 per cent. A record of 10 per cent over a 24-hour period was set on September 6 last year.
But since the beginning of December, turbines have been operating at only 20 per cent of their maximum capacity compared with an annual average of about 30 per cent.
Autonomous Mind has interviewed Joe Bastardi and Piers Corbyn about the use of supercomputers in long-range weather forecasting. I liked Joe's last word on the subject:
It’s not the computer, it’s the limits of the computer in trying to adjust to what only men can understand and use. I dont think you need more money to arrive at the wrong answer faster. Should put it into fighting hunger, or giving men a chance to be free enough to dream and pursue that dream… much better causes in my opinion.
The leading Scottish environmental group, the John Muir Trust, have described wind power as a scandal and called for an urgent review. The story is on the front page of today's Sunday Times. More details are available from Rob Schneider.
Two excerpts from posts at Haunting the Library.
First, Michael Oppenheimer, the enviroscientist:
‘I bought a sled in ’96 for my daughter,” said Dr. Michael Oppenheimer, a scientist at the nonprofit Environmental Defense Fund. ”It’s been sitting in the stairwell, and hasn’t been used. I used to go sledding all the time. It’s one of my most vivid and pleasant memories as a kid, hauling the sled out to Cunningham Park in Queens.”
Next Edward Gibbon, from the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire:
The great rivers which covered the Roman provinces, the Rhine and the Danube, were frequently frozen over, and capable of supporting the most enormous weights. The barbarians, who often chose that severe season for their inroads, transported, without apprehension or danger, their numerous armies, their cavalry, and their heavy wagons, over a vast and solid bridge of ice. Modern ages have not presented an instance of a like phenomenon.
Matt Briggs has been reading that Fox piece on doommongers and is charmed by Messrs Erlich, Viner et al.
In a way, Erlich’s, Viner’s, and the other gentlemen’s bald assertions of faultlessness in the face of adverse actuality is charming. You have to love a guy who is never right but sticks to his guns. He does so because his core beliefs—the theories and hypotheses that drive his predictions—are just too pretty to give up. He cherishes his theories, he pets them and speaks softly to them, he lavishes gifts on them and upon others who can appreciate the same beauty he sees—and he savages those who would call them ugly.
Two letters to the Telegraph from familiar faces today. First Bob Ward takes a pot-shot at Booker for questioning the integrity of the Climatic Research Unit.
SIR – Christopher Booker (December 26) claims that emails from the University of East Anglia “showed how the little group of scientists at the heart of the IPCC had been prepared to bend their data and to suppress any dissent from warming orthodoxy”.
Independent inquiries led by the Commons Science and Technology Committee, Sir Muir Russell, Lord Oxburgh, and the US Environmental Protection Agency found such allegations to be untrue.
Mr Booker stated that “much of the northern hemisphere” in 2007 suffered “the winter from hell”. In fact, according to the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the average temperature in the northern hemisphere for the boreal winter in 2007-8 was the 14th highest since records began, and 0.36C above the standard reference average for 1961-90.
He also claimed that the boreal winters in the northern hemisphere in 2008-9 and 2009-10 were “colder still”, when they were, respectively, the 8th and 9th warmest on record.
Grantham Research Institute
London School of Economics
Then Tim Worstall considers yet another piece of government lunacy, this time centred around the recommendations of the Stern report.
SIR – Having read the Stern Review, the various IPCC reports and multitudes of economic papers on what to do about the entire problem, assuming we accept that there is such a problem, it is clear that the policies being recommended by those experts are: a carbon tax, or a cap-and-trade system, or subsidies to new technologies.
All of the economists say the same thing. Any one of the three are viable and whole solutions.
Cap-and-trade limits emissions; a carbon tax provides the incentive to reduce them to the needed level; and subsidies will replace emitting with non-emitting sources of energy.
So now my question: having hired Lord Stern at some expense, having analysed his recommendations at presumably greater, why is the Government now insisting at gargantuan expense in doing what Lord Stern said we should not do?
We only need to choose one of the three – rather than be charged thrice to do all of them.
Climatologist George Kukla finds evidence of an impending ice age in 1974:
When Climatologist George J. Kukla of Columbia University's Lamont-Doherty Geological Observatory and his wife Helena analyzed satellite weather data for the Northern Hemisphere, they found that the area of the ice and snow cover had suddenly increased by 12% in 1971 and the increase has persisted ever since. Areas of Baffin Island in the Canadian Arctic, for example, were once totally free of any snow in summer; now they are covered year round.
Climatologist George Kukla finds evidence for global warming in 1981
They found that the typical summer ice pack had decreased about 35 percent, by 2.5 million square kilometers, or about 1 million square miles from 1973 to 1980. The Antarctic ice cover was also found to be considerably lighter than shown in atlases published in 1957 and 1966 and in the ship reports from the 1930's. This was taken as an indirect measure of higher temperatures.
(H/T Glyn Ferguson)