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Waiting for a Guardian outcry

So, in the wake of Pielke Jr's comment yesterday, we know that Kerry Emanuel has been citing a paper without disclosing that he had been involved in its preparation. We know that the paper was commissioned and paid for by green billionaire Tom Steyer. The question that now springs to mind is whether Emanuel has disclosed this activist cash in his academic work; in the wake of the recent rumpus over Willie Soon's papers, readers will recall that environmentalists are very keen that such disclosures are made.

Emanuel has disclosed in one of his papers that his own business, WindRiskTech, is involved in the same line of work:

Conflict of interest statement: The technique used here to estimate the level of tropical cyclone activity in CMIP5-generation climate models is also used by a firm, WindRiskTech LLC, in which the author has a financial interest. That firm applies the technique to estimate tropical cyclone risk for various clients.

However, the argument made about Willie Soon's COI disclosures was that all of his papers should disclose his funding from an oil company, whether directly connected or not. So in this case I feel certain that environmental activists will be loudly condemning Emanuel's failure to disclose Emanuel's income stream from a green billionaire.

No? Why ever not?


Golly, a biologist and not a warmist

When I first speculated about who might replace Paul Nurse at the helm of the Royal Society at the end of the year it was pointed out that the next man at the top should be from the physical sciences. Traditionally the Presidency alternates between the physical and biological wings. However, it was also noted that there was something of a dearth of suitably qualified physical scientists on hand - the society likes to have a Nobel prizewinner at the helm and we seem to be better at producing biologists than physicists.

It has now been announced that Nurse will be replaced by Professor Venki Ramakrishnan, a chemist who works in the medical sciences, but who has a degree in physics too.  According to the Royal Society, he was elected by a ballot of the members yesterday. One assumes that this featured the Soviet-style single-name ballot paper that saw Nurse and Prince Andrew elected, but it would be amusing to have confirmation.

Encouragingly a quick Google suggests that he has been admirably reticent to advance any views on global warming, the need for world government, or the merits of Nigel Lawson.


Osborne cuts the supertax

George Osborne has announced that he is to cut the Supplementary Charge - the supertax on UK oilfields - from 30% to 20%. He has also come up with a few other tweaks to the system that will allegedly encourage investment.

With oil prices apparently set to remain low for some time to come, I can't imagine that the North Sea is going to become price-competitive any time soon. If that's the case then there aren't going to be any profits to tax, so the difference between 20% and 30% is essentially nil. Onshore operators are not yet in a position to take advantage either.

Still, the move has annoyed the greens, so I suppose we should be grateful.



Me and Kaye

I was on BBC Radio Scotland's Kaye Adams programme this morning, discussing unconventional oil and gas and INEOS's recently announced charm initiative. Audio is available here. The fracking slot was right from the top of the show.

I came in after ten minutes or so, facing off against an American green called Joshua Brown who came out fighting and left abruptly, apparently with his tail between his legs. I fear that between us Kaye and I may have left his reputation a little the worse for wear.


Lock up your daughters

A new entry for the now-legendary warmlist is brought to us today. You may have thought that climate change was just going to make the weather warmer, but according to the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the world is going to be awash with teenage prostitutes if we carry on the way we are:

While recent research shows that women and children deserve special attention in climate change legislation, “girls often fall out between both camps,” according to Kanwal Ahluwalia, a co-author of the study and an expert in gender-equality policy with Plan UK, a children’s charity.

In many countries, women’s relatively stifled freedoms put them in harm’s way when it comes to climate change, she said.

Climate change “very clearly exacerbates those inequalities,” Ahluwalia said. “We’ve seen time after time how women and girls are affected disproportionately.”

Lock up your daughters, here comes the climate change.


A comment by Roger Pielke Jr

Roger Pielke Jr left this comment in the thread below one of his own posts. I have taken the liberty of reproducing it in full.

Over at Real Climate, Kerry Emanuel of MIT, has a post up with his views on tropical cyclones and climate change. Emanuel doesn't cite the IPCC, but what he reports is pretty much consistent with the AR5 (trends inconclusive, expected changes in the future, etc.).

Here I am not discussing the science presented by Kerry, but instead, I note this passage:

"When a 100-year event becomes a 50-year event, it may take a few destructive hits before we adapt to the new reality. This is of particular concern with tropical cyclones, where the application of existing damage models to projected changes in tropical cyclone activity predict large increases in damage, as documented, for example, in the recent Risky Business report commissioned by Michael Bloomberg, Hank Paulson, and Thomas Steyer."

What Emanuel does not say is that he was in fact the one commissioned by Steyer et al. to produce the scary scenarios in the report (which are completely at odds with IPCC AR5 and KE's own published academic work - I've explored this is some detail).

Thus, Emanuel is (a) self-citing in stealth fashion, and (b) failing to disclose a big COI.

Two big non-nos in science, but which in the climate world get a free pass if you are perceived to be on the "right side." Another day in climate science.


Renewables "most expensive policy disaster in modern British history"

The Centre for Policy Studies has been taking a look at Britain's energy policies and has concluded that they're not actually very good.

In fact, they are a disaster.

The true cost of wind farms and other green power projects is far higher than ministers have admitted, a new Centre for Policy Studies report claims, claiming renewable energy will be "the most expensive policy disaster in modern British history".

This is not news to BH readers, but it never hurts to reiterate these things.


Hot news, evolution cools - Josh 318

Steve McIntyre has the scoop:

According to the University of Victoria, Andrew Weaver says:

the next generation of his climate model will address the influence of climate on human evolution—much like it’s now being used to examine the influence of humans on climate evolution”.   

In breaking news, Climate Audit has obtained exclusive information on output from the first runs of Weaver’s “next generation” climate model. These are the first known climate model predictions of the future of human evolution. The results are worrying: take a look.

Click image for a larger version

Cartoons by Josh

PS Idea H/t Steve ;-)


IPCC runners and riders

With the election of a new chairman of the IPCC to take place shortly, I was interested to be reminded of this article at American Thinker about one of the candidates for the role, Jan-Pascal van Ypersele.

Back in 2011, it seems that Dr van Ypersele was being commissioned to write papers by Greenpeace. Not to mention trying to blacklist dissenting scientists. I imagine from an environmental activist point of view he's the ideal candidate.

That said, the competition to be the green's guy at the helm of the IPCC is very hot. Chris "The world is staring down the barrel of climate change" Field and Thomas "the international community has to act now" Stocker are among the leading candidates and Ottmar "climate policy is about distribution of the world’s resources" Edenhofer waiting in the wings.

Oh yes, you see, the IPCC is about scientific advice, not policy prescriptions.



Top weatherman slams partisanship among scientists

William Hooke, an associate executive director the American Meteorological Society has written an excoriating critique of his colleagues in Eos magazine, taking aim at scientists' constant demands for funding, the nannying of the public that pays their wages, and the jettisoning of political non-partisanship.

The complexity and costs of science have been growing. Urgent societal challenges (in education, environmental protection, foreign relations, maintenance of aging critical infrastructure, national security, public health, and more) demand quick fixes even as they compete with the funding for science. Society has asked scientists for more help, even as research budgets have remained relatively constant. Relations have been strained on both sides.

How have we faced these new stresses? Unfortunately, many scientists have responded by resorting to advocacy. Worse, we’ve too often dumbed down our lobbying until it’s little more than simplistic, orchestrated, self-serving pleas for increased research funding, accompanied at times by the merest smidgen of supporting argument.

At the same time, particularly in Earth OSS, as we’ve observed and studied emerging natural resource shortages, environmental degradation, and vulnerability to hazards, we’ve allowed ourselves to turn into scolds. Worse, we’ve chosen sides politically, largely abandoning any pretense at nonpartisanship.

When people like Mark Maslin are telling the public that their research shows that collectivism is right, it's hard to argue with Dr Hooke.


In which computer models collide with the real world

Updated on Mar 17, 2015 by Registered CommenterBishop Hill

Yesterday's post on the trade-off between the need to expand use of fossil fuels in Africa and the wish to restrict carbon dioxide emissions seems to have stirred up a bit of a rumpus. Most commenters from the other side of the debate apparently deemed my question over the wisdom of access restrictions as entirely illegitimate, although the reasons why are somewhat unclear to me.

Firstly, as Roger Pielke Jr pointed out, in the real world there are trade-offs that have to be made.

The first of the papers contains this:

Click to read more ...


A blast of the 12-Gore

No geek or tech shindig is complete without an address from a more or less completely bonkers environmentalist and the South-by South West festival in Austin Texas has gone the full 12-Gore this year.

It's always interesting to see what scattergun wildness emerges from the top of Mr Gore's head. Is the Arctic going to look like the Bahamas by next Tuesday? Are hurricanes about to sweep us off to the land of Oz? Are polar bears about to sprout flippers and swim off to Clacton?

Click to read more ...


Silent economics

Updated on Mar 16, 2015 by Registered CommenterBishop Hill

Updated on Mar 16, 2015 by Registered CommenterBishop Hill

Gavin Schmidt, a climate scientist at NASA's Goddard Institute, is up in arms today about an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal by the Conservative peer Matt Ridley. Ridley's article, which extolled the virtues of fossil fuels, attracted Schmidt's ire because of one sentence in particular:

The next time that somebody at a rally against fossil fuels lectures you about her concern for the fate of her grandchildren, show her a picture of an African child dying today from inhaling the dense muck of a smoky fire.

Schmidt has variously described this statement as "totally abhorrent" and "asinine".

Click to read more ...


An early leaving present

As Paul Nurse heads towards the exit door of the Royal Society later this year, Mike Kelly has sent him an early leaving present, a withering attack on the society's handling of the climate change issue.

...Human-sourced carbon dioxide is at best one of many factors in causing climate change, and humility in front of this complexity is the appropriate stance.

Yet the Society continues to produce a stream of reports which reveal little sign of this. The latest example is the pre-Christmas booklet A Short Guide To Climate Science. Last year also saw the joint publication with the US National Academy of Sciences (NAS) of Climate Change: Evidence And Causes, and a report called Resilience. Through these documents, the Society has lent its name to claims – such as trends towards increasing extreme weather and climate casualties – that simply do not match real-world facts.

Both the joint report with the NAS and the Short Guide answer 20 questions on temperatures, sea-level rises and ocean acidification. But a report today by the academic council of the Global Warming Policy Foundation, which includes several Society Fellows and other eminent scientists, states the Society has ‘left out’ parts of the science, so the answers to many of the questions ought to be different.

I have personal experience of this selectivity. Last year, at the request of the president, I produced a paper that urged the Society’s council to distance itself from the levels of certainty being expressed about future warming.

I said it ought at least to have a ‘plan B’ if the pause should last much longer, so calling the models into still more serious question. I got a polite brush-off.

Click to read more ...


Saving the world with fossil fuels

The must read article this morning is Matt Ridley in the Wall Street Journal, who points out that little-mentioned but rather critical point about fossil fuels - we can't do without them.

As a teenager’s bedroom generally illustrates, left to its own devices, everything in the world becomes less ordered, more chaotic, tending toward “entropy,” or thermodynamic equilibrium. To reverse this tendency and make something complex, ordered and functional requires work. It requires energy.

The more energy you have, the more intricate, powerful and complex you can make a system. Just as human bodies need energy to be ordered and functional, so do societies. In that sense, fossil fuels were a unique advance because they allowed human beings to create extraordinary patterns of order and complexity—machines and buildings—with which to improve their lives.

The result of this great boost in energy is what the economic historian and philosopher Deirdre McCloskey calls the Great Enrichment. In the case of the U.S., there has been a roughly 9,000% increase in the value of goods and services available to the average American since 1800, almost all of which are made with, made of, powered by or propelled by fossil fuels.

I don't think the greens are going to like it.