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We ♥ fracking

Ben Webster in the Times is having a lot of fun at the expense of Greenpeace, whose poll on public attitudes to unconventional oil and gas rather rebounded when it emerged that more people were in favour of developing a shale gas industry than were against.

Paywalled here.


Not tired of climate change

As readers here are aware, Joe Smith's chief claim to fame is that in the first years of the 21st century he managed to pervert the BBC's environmental output, ensuring that the green political agenda was adhered to across the corporation's output, from comedy to current affairs.

During today's BBC World Service show  Are We Tired of Talking About Climate Change?, Smith seemed to admit that this had been a "tactical error" with the narrative of gloom and doom apparently switching the public away from the desired political programme and inducing little more than an extreme case of apathy. You have to admire his chutzpah.

Click to read more ...


Graunocrisy -Josh 319

Well £600 million is a lot of money, you have to act responsible and stuff.

Cartoons by Josh


A lack of self-awareness

I caught most of Costing the Earth today, in which some of the problems with mainstream climate science were discussed. It featured a bunch of alarmists and ex-alarmists discussing aspects of the science that they had until quite recently decried sceptics for mentioning. Towards the end they wondered whether sceptics shouldn't perhaps be admitted to the debate. I'm not sure that they quite grasped the irony of this position and certainly, when the presenter asked about sceptics being presented as crackpots, nobody deigned to answer.

It's definitely worth a listen.


The Guardian backs big oil

Barry Woods points us to the transcript of a most amusing Guardian podcast on the subject of that organ's latest bit of posturing. It seems that the divestment campaign has yet to actually have any impact on the Guardian's own investments:

Amanda Michel: You know, there are big questions about asking people to do something that we ourselves have not done.

Aleks Krotoski: What Amanda is talking about is sorting out the Guardian's own pots of money, their investments.

Amanda Michel: It will seem like hypocrisy.

Alan Rusbridger: We have about £600 million invested at the moment, and I don't think our fund managers could say exactly how much was invested in fossil fuel. But it is there, we haven't said that it shouldn't be, so we have got money invested. And so, if we're going to be calling on people to divest, people are bound to ask "Well, is that what the Guardian's going to do?"

I have to say I agree with Ms Michel: it will indeed seem like hypocrisy for the Guardian to keep backing big oil in this way.


The perils of over-promotion

Prominent anti-fracking campaigner and prospective parliamentary candidate Mike Hill has been very good at promoting himself in recent years. But media attention can be a double-edged sword, as Mr Hill has found to his cost in recent days. Last week he was the subject of a two stories at Guido Fawkes blog, when it emerged that he had once applied for a job at Cuadrilla, that he had pretended spun things so as to present himself as an adviser to the European Union, the Royal Society and DECC, when his role had been little more than to be involved in discussions with them.

Today he is in the Times, which reveals that Mr Hill helped produce a report on fracking that persuaded a doctors' organisation to take a stand against fracking. However, Mr Hill's anti-fracking background was not revealed and with his colourful background now revealed to all it could be argued that the doctors' statement is now a dead letter.

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Simon's Caribbean climate capers

The BBC really is ramping up the pressure on climate change. Having made my way back to the episcopal palace late yesterday afternoon I collapsed in a corner to catch up on my reading. Meanwhile, on the TV in the corner was Simon Reeve's Caribbean, a travelogue show which this week featured visits to Venezuela and Colombia.

I wasn't paying any attention until, towards the end, I was forced to sit up by the (perhaps inevitable) introduction of the climate debate. This centred upon Reeve's visit to the Sierra Nevada mountains of Columbia and an Amerindian tribe called the Kogi. You got a hint of what was coming when the first Kogi interviewed told the camera that her people did not damage the Earth (from 51:00). But it really kicked off from 54:30 when the same interviewee asked:

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An unbalanced panel

I'm in Bath at the moment, appearing on BBC The Big Questions. The show was broadcast live at 10am here, but we are asked not to mention our involvement ahead of time. It should be on iPlayer in due course.

The subject is:

Are we right to impose environmental costs on future generations?

The show's panel also features Tony Juniper, Ben Harris-Quinney of the Bow Group and Hannah Martin of Christian Climate Action. This is what Helen Czerski would refer to as an "unbalanced" panel, no doubt.


In which a BBC presenter reveals what balance means

Hat tip to Barry Woods for pointing me to this Twitter exchange, in which the BBC's Helen Czerski reveals what the corporation understands "balance" to mean in the context of the climate debate:


Bob spurned

Bob Ward's latest attempt to silence dissenters from the climate consensus has ended, once again, in ignominious defeat, with the Independent Press Standards people telling him that his complaint against David Rose necessitated his taking a running jump.


17. The complaint was not upheld.

As I have noted previously, as far as Ward is concerned the process is the punishment, so I think it's likely that he will try this line again in the future, regardless of his failure this time round.


No false balance at the BBC

Sometimes you just have to laugh at the BBC and the Guardianista types who take it seriously.

The Today programme's piece this morning on the 2-degree temperature target was a case in point: a hilarious example of the corporation's attitude to balance in the climate debate.

The discussion centred around the ideas of Petra Tschakert, an expert in the relationship between climate change and gender, and in particular her view that the 2-degree target should be reduced to 1.5°C.

And to counter this view, the corporation decided to invite none other than Lord Deben, trougher extraordinaire and a man whose tangled relationship with the concept of accuracy is a constant source of stories for this blog.

Too funny.


The Global Warming War

Some sceptics have made a movie, it seems. I must say, from the trailer it looks like lots of fun.


Diary dates, sea ice edition

The BBC's Costing the Earth show is going to look at the sea ice next week in show that will feature Mike Hulme, Helen Czerski and Mark Lynas. I'm not entirely sure that this is a group of people that will shed a lot of light on the matter. Expect lots of hypothesis dressed up as "fact" and speculation flouncing around the place pretending to be probability.

I'm sure it will be entertaining though.

With arctic sea ice shrinking and Antarctic sea ice growing, Tom Heap asks what is happening to the climate.

Click to read more ...


Lew paper shredded

BH regulars Jonathan Jones and Ruth Dixon have published a much-needed response to Lewandowsky's "Conspiracist Ideation" paper. Appearing in the journal Psychological Science, their study seems to lay to rest the idea that the Lew paper was anything other than a smear-job.

This analysis highlights the fact that a skewed sample can easily mask a nonlinear relationship and lead to serious misinterpretation of modeled relationships (Berk, 1983; Groves, 2006; MacCallum & Mar, 1995). Techniques such as SEM should not be used as a “black box” without thorough initial exploration of the data set to check for nonlinearities (Bentler & Chou, 1987; Cumming, 2014). The curvilinear relationship identified in both the panel-survey data of Lewandowsky, Gignac, and Oberauer (2013) and the blogs-survey data of Lewandowsky, Oberauer, and Gignac (2013) suggests that both respondents convinced of anthropogenic climate change and respondents skeptical about such change were less likely to accept conspiracy theories than were those who were less decided about climate change.

There is an accompanying blog post by Jonathan and Ruth here, which alludes to the long and painful process of getting the paper published as well as linking to Lew's response. It also contains this summary of the Lew paper:

All the data really shows is that people who have no opinion about one fairly technical matter (conspiracy theories) also have no opinion about another fairly technical matter (climate change). Complex models mask this obvious (and trivial) finding.


Quote of the day, hidden truths edition

"Just being anti-fracking is nonsense to me and always has been. It's purely a reaction and not a positive one. Often in response to utter gibberish news stories or propaganda set off by Frack-Off and co. I am up to the eyeballs with it. They want me to add professional credence to this utter nonsense."

Antifracking campaigner Mike Hill's job application to Cuadrilla. Seriously.

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