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Candidate Stocker?

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

Click to read more ...


Climate change by numbers

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.


Sturgeon cries for help

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.

Click to read more ...


The Oz guide to climate change

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.

Click to read more ...


Happy Mr Farage

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".


The Guardian apologises

The Guardian has apologised for its behaviour over the Bluecloud affair, in which a Greenpeace activist and sometime Guardian writer named Gary Evans discussed beheading Matt Ridley.

The web and particularly the threads are a robust environment but I think we should have taken the beheading comment down as soon as it was reported, even though I agree with the moderators that it was an attempt at a joke rather than anything else. I think the “Bluecloud” comment falls squarely within rule 3 of the Community guidelines: “We understand that people often feel strongly about issues debated on the site, but we will consider removing any content that others might find extremely offensive or threatening.”

When beheadings have been such a tragic part of the news agenda for so many months the choice of a severed head as the accompanying photograph was an error. It seems unlikely to me that the offending comments would have been made had the picture not been what it was. For that reason and the length of time it took to remove the comments, I think Lord Ridley deserves an apology, which I am happy to give on behalf of the Guardian.



Climate Impossible - Josh 314

Updated on Feb 18, 2015 by Registered CommenterJosh

Here are the cartoon notes of a riveting talk given by Dr Christopher Essex, Chairman, Permanent Monitoring Panel on Climate, World Federation of Scientists, and Professor and Associate Chair, Department of Applied Mathematics, University of Western Ontario, Canada.

Click to read more ...


The Utopia Experiment

From the review in the FT, this new book looks like great fun for those wanting an insight into just the mindset of the environmentalist.

Here's the blurb.

Imagine you have survived an apocalypse. Civilization as you knew it is no more. What will life be like and how will you cope?

In 2006, Dylan Evans set out to answer these questions. He left his job in a high-tech robotics lab, moved to the Scottish Highlands and founded a community called The Utopia Experiment. There, together with an eclectic assortment of volunteers, he tried to live out a scenario of global collapse, free from modern technology and comforts.

Within a year, Evans found himself detained in a psychiatric hospital, shattered and depressed, trying to figure out what had gone wrong. In The Utopia Experiment he tells his own extraordinary story: his frenzied early enthusiasm for this unusual project, the many challenges of post-apocalyptic living, his descent into madness and his gradual recovery. In the process, he learns some hard lessons about himself and about life, and comes to see the modern world he abandoned in a new light.

You can buy it here.


A weapons-grade fruitcake

A couple of days ago, there was one of those science communication thingies where a bunch of greens and their fellow travellers in the media get together to chew the fat on how better to keep the climate gravy train on the rails. The panel was chaired by Jon Snow and featured Tom Clarke, the Channel Four science chap, Zoe Williams from the Guardian, someone from Greenpeace and Tom Chivers, now of Buzzfeed. As far as anyone could tell the audience was made up entirely of fellow travellers, including Bob Ward.

I can't say it was terribly interesting, and it was marred by technical glitches,

Click to read more ...


Official report of the Scotland fracking conference

The Scotsman has published its official version of events at the shale gas conference earlier this week. It can be downloaded here. All the slides can be seen here, for a few days at least.


Diary dates, intellectual conformity edition

The Energy and Climate Change Committee are holding an end of session public event to chew the fat over the policy quagmire into which Westminster has driven energy policy. Although that's not exactly how they put it themselves.

To launch its final report of this Parliament, Fuelling the debate: ECC Committee successes and future challenges, the Energy and Climate Change Committee is to host a morning conference in the City of London on 12 March for energy investors, specialists and campaigners to discuss future challenges and opportunities in energy and climate change policy.

Energy and Climate Change Committee Chair, Tim Yeo MP, said: 

Click to read more ...


Competitive insanity

If you think that the government's deal for Hinckley point was the ultimate in state insanity, think again. A week or so ago, the FT reported on a bid by a Gloucester company to create a massive tidal power station in Swansea bay. A similar report appeared in the Telegraph on Monday.

The interesting detail that the FT got, but which the Telegraph overlooked, was this:

The company wants a “strike price” of £168 per megawatt hour, compared with the £92.50 offered to EDF for Hinkley Point.

Words simply fail me.


The Royal Society's latest green campaign

As I think I've mentioned before, when I wrote my Nullius in Verba report on the Royal Society's curiously unscientific approach to the climate change question, there was apparently outrage in the upper echelon's of the organisation at my suggestion that they had now been reduced to the lowly status of a left-wing campaigning organisation.

What then to make of this post on the Royal Society's "In Verba" blog on the "sustainable development" agenda:

One of the things that makes 2015 so important is the Sustainable Development Goals, or SDGs, a new set of globally-applicable goals that will be agreed at a UN summit in September. Their aim? To be sustainable development’s zeitgeist, addressing the most pressing global challenges of our time – from climate change to healthcare to food security.

Sustainable development is of course an overtly political idea, if one that is so lacking in definition that it manages to take in the whole range of state-planned idiocy from morally repugnant to completely illogical. Doesn't this make my point for me?


A puppet show?

Richard Dixon of Friends of the Earth is heavily referenced in this article from Sputnik News, poo-poohing the idea that INEOS are serious about closing Grangemouth if shale gas development in the UK doesn't go ahead.

The arguments are typically Dixonian, and I don't intend to spend any time on them, but I was interested in Sputnik itself, an organisation I'd never come across. Its Wikipedia page says it "replaces the RIA Novosti news agency and the Voice of Russia international radio broadcaster". It also quotes a Russian human rights activist as saying it is "a tool of Russian state propaganda distribution abroad".

Which is interesting when one recalls the words of Anders Fogh Rasmussen, the former secretary general of NATO, who said that Russia was working with environmental groups to maintain Western Europe's energy dependence.


Paul Matthews on sceptics

Paul Matthews has had a paper published in the journal Environmental Communication looking at global warming sceptics and their backgrounds:

Surveys of public opinion show that a significant minority of the population are skeptical about climate change, and many suggest that doubt is increasing. The Internet, in particular the blogosphere, provides a vast and relatively untapped resource of data on the thinking of climate skeptics. This paper focuses on one particular example where over 150 climate skeptics provide information on their background, opinion on climate change, and reasons for their skepticism. Although these data cannot be regarded as representative of the general public, it provides a useful insight into the reasoning of those who publicly question climate science on the Web. Points of note include the high level of educational background, the significant numbers who appear to have been converted from a position of climate concern to one of skepticism, and the influence of blogs on both sides of the climate debate.

There is a preprint here and Paul's blogpost on the subject is here.