Since I read about it a few years back, I've been intrigued by Ian Plimer's suggestion that subsea volcanoes may be emitting very large quantities of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, thus being responsible for a (presumably) significant proportion of the rise in atmospheric concentrations. This idea has been broadly poo-poohed by mainstream scientivists because of lack of evidence, although the idea that one should assume a figure close to zero because we didn't know what was going on at the bottom of the oceans was never one that gave me a warm feeling.
Gordon Hughes explains to the readers of the Glasgow Herald why their electricity bills are soaring out of control. His assessment is sober, starkly critical of government policy, and really rather scary:
Stripping away the complexity, the net effect of subsidies for renewables and taxes on CO2 emissions is to offer an average price for electricity generated from the main sources of renewable energy - wind and wood chips - that is at least double the equivalent pool price of electricity which is determined by the cost of running gas-fired generating plants. The incentive is somewhat lower for new plants but the margin is sufficient to sustain long term costs of wind and wood generation that are 60-80% higher than for the most efficient gas plants. The cost differentials are much greater for offshore wind (at least 150%) and solar photovoltaic panels.
Is that a shift in the climate change ground I feel? Japan has backed away from its renewables targets. Rich countries seem to be on the verge of reneging on their climate change promises to poor countries. The Science and Technology Committee Energy and Climate Change Committee is to undertake an inquiry into the scientific integrity of the Fifth Assessment Report. And they have invited Donna Laframboise (and to my certain knowledge some other sceptics) to give evidence.
Wishful thinking? We shall see.
Update 12.17pm, 17.11.13 Donna has clarified her post to make it clear that she has been invited to give written evidence.
David Rose is back in the global warming groove, pointing out some of the absurdities of the reactions to hurricane Haiyan, including the one by our own David Cameron:
Listeners to Radio 4's Today programme were given an unmistakable but totally bogus message last week: that catastrophic storms such as Typhoon Haiyan are linked to global warming – and are set to increase.
The same claim, which has no scientific basis, was echoed by David Cameron, who said there was 'growing evidence' that warming was responsible for storms.
Interviewing Jim Yong Kim, president of the World Bank, presenter Evan Davis announced that climate change has made the Philippine islands 'one of the most fragile parts of the planet' and asked what would the world do if more frequent storms forced its population to abandon them.
'That's a great question,' Kim replied. In his view, rising seas caused by global warming would make not just islands but the Thai capital Bangkok uninhabitable 'within the next 20 to 30 years'.
'The predictions the scientists are making are that the severity and frequency of these extreme weather events are going to go up,' he said
Matt Ridley gave a lecture in Australia a couple of days ago. Matt is always worth a listen, so here it is for your delectation.
Matt was on the Andrew Bolt show as well, talking about Haiyan and global warming. There's a transcript here.
Monckton getting done over by greens in Australia, Chris Heaton-Harris getting done over by Greenpeace, the long sorry trail of deceit of Brendan Montague - the list of instances of dishonesty by environmentalists when interviewing people with whom they disagree is extraordinary.
Today James Verdon describes how he was tricked in similar fashion by someone called Marco Jackson, who turns out to be associated with the Frack Off group.
Nigel Lawson and Ed Davey were both on BBC Question Time last night (from 34 mins), and the conversation inevitably turned to hurricane Haiyan. At first, Davey was somewhat less belligerent than normal, offering qualified agreement with Lawson's suggestion that there was no connection between global warming and hurricanes. His qualification was, however, significant. He said in essence that while global warming was not affecting hurricane frequency, it was increasing their intensity.
This is not true.
Once again, the IPCC says there is low confidence in any global change in intense hurricane activity and low confidence in any human contribution to what changes there have been. Hurricane activity has been very low for the best part of 20 years.
And as if to underline the point, Paul Homewood has reviewed the data for the most intense typhoons and found that we have spent most of the last 20 years almost completely free of any such storms.
The green side of the climate debate is getting terribly excited about a paper by Kevin Cowtan, a chemist from the university of York, and Robert G. Way, a geographer from the university of Ottawa. They claim to have discovered that the pause is illusory and due to incorrect estimates of temperatures at the poles. With their new whizz-bang method of making up data they claim to have magicked the missing data into existence and, surprise suprise, actually the poles are warming very quickly and the pause doesn't exist.
Judith Curry is having fun with the paper, noting that the methods they use to estimate the missing data are not exactly suited in the particular circumstances of polar temperatures:
- the statistical infilling technique of kriging 'makes no physical sense' when applied across land/ocean/sea ice boundaries
- satellite data is 'not useful' when applied to the polar regions
- data reanalyses are 'not useful' because of temporal inhomogeneities in the datasets that are assimilated.
It will be interesting to see how much traction it gets outside the green ghetto.
Underlining the UK's growing isolation on the carbon reduction front, Japan has announced a dramatic slashing of its carbon reduction target.
Japan has warned that it will fall short of an ambitious greenhouse-gas reduction target it set for itself four years ago, saying that under the most extreme scenario – involving an immediate and permanent shutdown of its nuclear industry – emissions would rise slightly rather than fall by 25 per cent as promised.
Yoshihide Suga, the chief cabinet secretary, said on Friday that the government had committed to a new target of cutting carbon dioxide emissions by 3.8 per cent over the 15 years ending in 2020. That would represent a rise of 3 per cent over the longer span covered by its previous commitment, which used 1990 as its base year.
Everywhere you look, the involvement of politicians in the energy market bring nothing but wild policy lurches from one extreme to another. This lurch is in the right direction, but who knows what the next one will bring. Politics is the problem, not the solution.
David Rose has a an article in the Spectator this morning, looking at politicians' evasions on the energy crisis. This bit struck a chord.
The total renewable subsidy which UK consumers will have paid via higher energy bills for the ten years to 2020 will be an almighty £46 billion. Even this eye-watering figure is a massive underestimate. This week, the National Audit Office said bills were likely to rise above inflation for at least 17 years, with the cost of government commitments likely to be at least £700 per household. According to the energy experts Professor Gordon Hughes of Edinburgh University and Peter Atherton of Liberum Capital, the Energy Bill figure does not factor in the enormous cost of connecting wind turbines to the National Grid, nor the complicated switching mechanisms needed to deal with the fact that no turbine will actually produce power for more than a third of the time. They say the true green bill by 2020 could be more than £100 billion, with households paying around £400 more per household for electricity alone.
The persistent dishonesty of DECC ministers and officials in pretending that grid connections are nothing to do with the renewables industry is something that can and should be held against them. They know they are misleading the public and their political colleagues simply give them a free pass.
Today's big green unvalidated computer model seems to be the one that tells us that the oceans are all shortly going to be devoid of life due to acidification by man. The story gets an outing on the BBC (where else) along with several other media outlets.
The world's oceans are becoming acidic at an "unprecedented rate" and may be souring more rapidly than at any time in the past 300 million years.
In their strongest statement yet on this issue, scientists say acidification could increase by 170% by 2100.
Probably time to wheel out Matt Ridley's review of the literature on the subject again.
The International Broadcasting Trust is an environmentalist-funded group that has tried, mostly successfully, to encourage broadcasters to become advocates for the green movement. It is best known as one of the co-hosts of the 28gate seminar. It recently issued a report on the state of green TV which can be seen here. Along the way they interviewed a number of people involved in the climate debate, including many of the usual suspects - Joe Smith, Nick Pigeon, Steve Jones, John Beddington. However, in what looks to me like a change in tack, they have also included a couple of sceptics - David Whitehouse of GWPF and Martin Durkin of Great Global Warming Swindle Fame - although the impact of the latter two is hard to discern.
They seem to be worried:
..most concerning, in the light of the importance of non-news TV in helping to inform and educate the audience, is the fact that during our year’s research we found no factual long form programme dealing head on with the issue of climate change or the growing debate about how to mitigate or adapt to it, and none dealing with another major issue, population growth. This finding raises serious questions about broadcasters’ will or ability to reflect some of the most important scientific research and policy decisions we face today.
Today, Fiona Harvey watches from the sidelines as European industry is priced out of existence and concludes that it just can't be helped. Her case seems to be that high energy prices are simply unavoidable, firstly because green energy levies are nugatory and secondly because the shale revolution can't happen here. The second part of this argument is justified with a quote from Fatih Birol, the chief economist at the International Energy Agency.
Europe is unlikely to be able to emulate the US's exploitation of shale gas and oil, partly because it lacks the natural resources and favourable geology, and also because the continent is so much more densely populated.
This seems a bit strange to me. What are these "natural resources" that we lack? There's undoubtedly an enormous resource of oil and gas-bearing shales in Europe, not least here in the UK.
The unfavourable geology argument is also one that has been contradicted by actual shale geologists. It seems that the geology is different in every shale play:
I've skimmed the video, and most of it seems very uninformative, with platitudinous answers from the participants and some not very probing questions from the peers. But Lord May's intervention was interesting (from 16:42). It had a whiff of grandstanding about it, which is always entertaining, and suggests someone who is playing to an audience rather than engaging in truth-seeking behaviour. But it was the pop he took at Cuadrilla's Francis Egan that intrigued me:
Take a look at this peformance by Bryony Worthington at the Rushlight awards, a red-carpet event for greens. While you might get the impression you are listening to a slightly immature schoolgirl, you have to remember that this is the woman who wrote the Climate Change Act, possibly the most far-reaching piece of legislation in living memory. Suddenly, the state we are in all starts to make sense.
The bit where she compares Nigel Lawson to a rat (12:00 mins) is simply astonishing.