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Greens suspend Viv

Vivienne Westwood has been suspended by the Green Party, say the Telegraph this morning. Not, it seems, because of her promotion of assaults of academics but because of her - rather hypocritical but considerably less blameworthy - tendency to tax avoidance.

O tempora! O mores!


Words and deeds

The Daily Caller is reporting that President Obama may just have bought himself a beachfront mansion in Hawaii. This is very nice for him, but a bit unfortunate since for several years the great man has been warning  that the USA is in imminent danger from sea-level rises.

In his 2015 State of the Union speech, Obama said “we’ll continue to see rising oceans, longer, hotter heat waves, dangerous droughts and floods.”

In 2013, Obama said that “seas will slowly keep rising and storms will get more severe, based on the science” — one of the reasons why he’s imposing regulations on carbon dioxide emissions from coal plants.

It's like Al Gore all over again. The words says one thing and the deeds say something else entirely.


Greens incite violence against academics

James Verdon points us to what appears to be a clear case of anti-fracking activists inciting assault against academics whose results are inconvenient to Gaia's cause.

As James notes, since throwing things at people (even water) is potentially assault it's hard not to construe this as incitement.

Talk Fracking is funded by Vivienne Westwood and Lush Pharmaceuticals.


The IPCC versus Stevens

I've updated Nic Lewis's graph of his new climate sensitivity estimates by adding the IPCC's likely range of 1.5°C–4.5°C as a grey box. Something of a contrast here I would say.

The situation for TCR is only marginally better.


Climate sensitivity takes another tumble

Over at Climate Audit, Nic Lewis reports on the publication of a very important paper in Journal of Climate.

Bjorn Stevens has created a new estimate of the cooling effects of pollution ("aerosols") on the climate. Readers will no doubt recall that to the extent that aerosol cooling is small the warming effect of carbon dioxide must also be small so that the two cancel out to match the observed temperature record. Only if aerosol cooling is large can the effect of carbon dioxide be large.

Stevens' results suggest that the aerosol effect is even lower than the IPCC's best estimates in AR5, which were themselves much lower than the numbers that were coming out of the climate models. He also suggests that the number is less uncertain than previously thought. This is therefore pretty important stuff. 

Click to read more ...


Hague's chosen fruitloop

While he was in post as Special Adviser on Climate Change at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, John Ashton kept a relatively low profile. For someone of such (how to put this politely?) eccentric views, this was probably a wise move, and helpful to his boss, William Hague.

However, Ashton has now moved on, and is positively flaunting his intellectual weirdness. Just take a look at the diatribe he launched at the head of Shell recently:

Click to read more ...


Lord Deben and the bureaucratic mindset

Experts (it says here) at the University of Leeds have declared that the UK is not really cutting its carbon emissions; it is merely exporting them to China.

The analysis shows that CO2 emissions produced within the UK fell 194 million tonnes in 2012 compared with 1990.

But the cuts were outweighed by a rise of 280m tonnes created abroad during the manufacture of goods imported to Britain.

So it seems that these experts have discovered what Nigel Lawson has been saying for nearly ten years (H/T Paul Matthews). As he put it in An Appeal to Reason (2008):

Click to read more ...


Walport: energy security is paramount

Launching the Institute of Chemical Engineers' new energy centre this morning, Sir Mark Walport has apparently said that: of energy supply is paramount.

It was just a year ago that I noted that Walport had described the climate/energy policy as needing to be viewed through multiple lenses - of energy security, climate change, pricing and fuel poverty, and so on. Security was the first of these, but I wonder if we are now seeing a further subtle shift.


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.