It's behind a paywall, but we gather from the Herald that the Beauly-Denny power line, designed to bring all that wind power from the highlands down to the central belt of Scotland where it is needed, is scarring the landscape to an extent not envisaged and on a permanent basis.
Conservationists have raised concerns that tracks cut into hills to build a controversial power line, which were supposed to be temporary, are becoming permanent scars on the landscape. They say that, although the Scottish Government's planning permission for the 137-mile Beauly/Denny line was on the basis these "temporary tracks be removed", all landowners need to do to make them permanent is to apply to the local council.
Yet again, we see that environmentalism ends up damaging the environment. I hope Friends of the Earth are very proud of themselves.
Readers may be interested in the report of Kathryn Hudson, the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards, into the allegations against Tim Yeo.
I'm particularly interested in the Commissioner's acceptance that Yeo saying he had coached a witness who appeared in front of his committee was a joke. Having reviewed the video, I have to say that this meek acceptance does Ms Hudson no credit.
I gather that that she has
raised concerns about whether the public viewed lawmakers who chair...committees as acting impartially when examining policy in a subject area in which they were also involved commercially.
Click image for a larger version
Murry Salby was in the UK a couple of weeks ago. He gave an interesting and technical lecture which was fun to draw notes for. I will update with lecture notes if I can get hold of any - they might help with some of the more obscure scribings.
There are some useful slides from Murry's lecture posted up at WUWT here.
BBC Radio 4 has a programme tonight called Energy Prices - The Truth. It's due to go out at 8pm.
Hannah Barnes asks where the money from your energy bills goes. Do the energy companies have anything to hide, and are customers are being ripped off?
I wonder if we will hear anything about levelised costs, about the trick of reporting costs to consumers only to the extent that they appear on bills, or about not including the cost of grid connections for all those wind farms?
The show seems to feature a lot of greens so my guess would be not.
Writing in Nature yesterday, David Spiegelhalter and two other eminent scientists tried to explain to ministers how to understand the advice they get from scientists. It ranges from the worthy (No measurement is exact; Bigger is usually better for sample size) to the much racier (Bias is rife; Scientists are human). It's hard to disagree with any of this although I'm not sure that it really portrays the problems with academia as a reliable source of advice for policymakers.
For example, when the authors tell the reader that scientists are human and that peer review is fallible, you get no sense of the failings uncovered by controlled studies of peer review (as described in The Hockey Stick Illusion), which suggest that it is nearly useless for ensuring that the conclusions of a paper are correct (although that obviously doesn't prevent peer review being useful as a way of improving a paper).
The papers this morning are full of the story that David Cameron has called on aides to "cut the green crap", in other words to strip away all the environmental costs from energy bills.
Which is a bit odd when you think about it. His aides have no power to cut the green crap and in fact Cameron himself has no power to do so because he has an agreement with the Liberal Democrats about what energy policy will be. And nobody is in any doubt that the Liberal Democrats are so enamoured of green crap that they see keeping the lights on as of secondary importance.
Perhaps he is referring to the next Conservative manifesto. That's possible, but having gone into the last election with the intention of being the greenest government ever, what should we make of a party that now declares that greenery is 'crap'?
Readers who watched yesterday's questions in the Lords will have noted the noble and learned Baroness Worthington asking a question about what the government are doing about learning from the Poles on the shale gas front.
Interestingly, today we learn that the Polish prime minister has sacked his environment minister Marcin Korolec and is to bring in someone who is going to work a bit harder to accelerate the pace of shale gas development:
"It is about radical acceleration of shale gas operations. Mr Korolec will remain the government's plenipotentiary for the climate negotiations," Tusk told a news conference.
The Met Office has refused to release the Zero Order Drafts of the Fourth Assessment Report (yes, that's Fourth, not Fifth). This is quite interesting, because a the Information Commissioners have recently suggested that once the assessments have passed into history, the related drafts should be published.
Andrew Orlowski has the full story at El Reg.
The House of Lords questioned Baroness Verma on shale gas developments yesterday. The formal question came from Baron Renton and was on safety and regulation of shale gas, but there were a series of follow-ups from other peers, mostly from the pro-shale side. The only voices against were a rather vacuous contribution from Baroness Worthington and a bizarre one from the Liberal Democrat Lord Teverson, who seemed to suggest that a successful shale gas industry would use 10% of the UK water supply.
Thought for the Day, the BBC Today Programme's faith spot is usually characterised by a lot of faith and not a lot of thought, particularly where matters of global warming are concerned. It was therefore particularly interesting this morning to hear someone put forward the radical idea that when projects turn out to be foolish or misguided it mightn't be a bad idea to put a stop to them. Indeed there was praise for the Japanese retreat from renewables.
Environmentalists will not be amused.
The audio file is below.
(H/T Roddy Campbell)
I think the big talking point this morning is going to be Ted Nield's article in the Telegraph. Nield is the editor of Geoscientist magazine and is very green, so it's no surprise to see that his article this morning, bemoaning Bob Carter's appearance on the BBC a few weeks ago and trying to dissociate the geological profession from this upstart dissenter, gets pretty much everything wrong.
We learn for example that the ice caps are melting (both of them?) and that the IPCC is 95% certain that the science is right (what, all of it?). We are told that the BBC couldn't find a British scientist to challenge the IPCC's conclusions, when of course we know that the actual criterion the BBC applied was "actively publishing climatologist working in the UK university sector". So a statistician saying that the studies cited by the IPCC are statistical junk (which in places they are) would not have been considered acceptable. We know for a fact that they spurned the chance to talk to Nic Lewis, who has published in the key area of climate sensitivity and who had expressed a willingness to explain his concerns to the BBC. So Nield's statement is not true.
Nield then descends into name-calling (deniers!) and smears (tobacco!), before an extended riff about how geology is right behind the IPCC.
Readers will no doubt draw their own conclusions.
The word on the street is that BBC Newsnight is to dispense with the role of science editor, putting long-term occupant Susan Watts out of a job. I never saw her as the identikit BBC green (she invited me to appear on the programme after all) so I don't particularly view her departure as a step forward.
The imperatives of the bureaucratic enterprise lead to some very interesting decisions. In these hard times, it's fascinating to see what and who the BBC sees as important and worthy of retention, and what and who is seen as dispensable.