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Tuesday
Jun302015

Why science is not enough

There's an excellent take-down of the "evidence-based policy" movement at SciDevNet. Author Erik Millstone seems to have a pretty firm grasp of things:

...the relevance of...models is more often assumed than it is demonstrated. In the case of climate change, some computer models of the impact of greenhouse gases on climate might usefully approximate to global realities.

Science advisers often ignore or conceal key uncertainties when offering judgements, perhaps catering to policymakers’ preference for reassuring oversimplifications

...some stakeholders might claim a uniquely authoritative understanding of an issue based on evidence

Tuesday
Jun302015

The madness of Lord Deben

Lord Deben was on the Today programme promoting the Committee on Climate Change's 2015 progress report, which I shall read at my leisure. However Lord D's performance was amazing: he sounds more and more like Paul Ehrlich every day. No doubt the writing in capital letters will follow in due course.

This was completely swivel-eyed stuff, a full-on regurgitation of every bit of environmentalist disinformation that he could conjure up in three minutes with barely a pause for breath. For example, we had a bogeyman tale about Bangladesh facing doom, although Lord D was rather vague about what precisely it was that was going to be causing this crisis:

Click to read more ...

Tuesday
Jun302015

White wrong

President Obama's energy adviser [Stephen Chu] has suggested all the world's roofs should be painted white as part of efforts to slow global warming.

Telegraph, 27 May 2009

By using white roofing materials, [architects] could earn a point for helping a city like Philly stay cooler and therefore lower air-conditioning demand and natural-resource consumption for electricity generation. But the fact that they would spend more on heating costs was not always factored into the equation.

Philly.com, 29 June 2015

Monday
Jun292015

More votes

A few weeks back I asked readers to vote for my local hockey club on the Mars Milk Fund website. The club is running a campaign to raise funds for a badly needed new pitch, and the fund could potentially give us £1000. With 24 hours still to go we are in third place, so if anyone didn't quite get round to doing it last time, now is your moment! And your spouse's moment! And your children's moment!

You see where I'm coming from.

The link is here.

Thanks to everyone who can help, or helped last time round.

Monday
Jun292015

Quiet satisfaction abounds

Lancashire county councillors have decided to reject Cuadrilla's Little Plumpton shale well planning application, throwing out the advice of their own planning officials. A second Cuadrilla application in the area fell at the first hurdle and never reached the councillors.

I assume there is scope for the government to step in and overrule, but I don't suppose that David Cameron has the parliamentary support to do anything like that, even if he had the gumption.

There will be quiet satisfaction in many places around the world tonight: at the BBC, in Saudi Arabia and in the corridors of the Kremlin.

Monday
Jun292015

Venting and venting

Robert Wilson is nothing if not grumpy, and his grumpiness can lead him occasionally to a kind of foolishness that he might have avoided if he had taken a deep breath before clicking on the publish button.

Today's post is a case in point. Entitled  Dear climate change deniers, please spare me your faux concern for the poor it is something of a rant at "right wing climate change deniers/skeptics/lukewarmers" (he forgot "eeevil" and "big-oil-funded"). According to Wilson, BH readers and people like that are actually cold, callous, heartless bad people who are unconcerned about our fellow human beings unless they are, like us, bloated plutocrats. What seems to have pushed him over the edge was a tweet from Junkscience's Stephen Milloy, which had a poverty-stricken Indian lady asking "Who exactly is 'the Pope' and why doesn't he want me to have electricity?". It does look rather as if Wilson's ire has been prompted more by the fact that these are difficult questions for global warming adherents to answer rather than anything else. Certainly it's a crashing logical fallacy to respond as Wilson does:

Click to read more ...

Monday
Jun292015

More alarmist than thou

A new paper on sea-level rise by Grinsted et al is currently doing the rounds, with horror stories about what the future holds in store being touted to newspapers across Europe. The authors have provided a list of the "probable" levels of sea-level rise in major European capitals, a step that editors no doubt find extremely helpful.

The University of Delft, home to some of the paper's authors, has a blog post on the findings. It's typical of the genre, reporting a rise of 0.83m for The Hague and generally trying to drum up a bit of excitement. The paper itself is entitled `Sea level rise projections for northern Europe under RCP8.5', so it's fairly clear that it's exploring outlier scenarios. As if to emphasise the point, there's this quote from Grinsted himself:

Click to read more ...

Friday
Jun262015

The GISS graph mystery

There are lots of people getting excited by a new animation put out by Bloomberg, which seeks to persuade people that only carbon dioxide can explain the temperature history of the last century or more. It's nothing new - just a prettier version of arguments that have been put forward in the past. I have to say I am greatly amused by the fact that the models stop in 2005. I wonder why that could be?

The simulation was put together by Gavin Schmidt and Kate Marvell of GISS, using GISS Model E2, a climate simulator with a relatively low TCR of 1.5 but a rather strong aerosol forcing of -1.65 Wm-2. However, the IPCC's best estimate of aerosol forcing is only -0.9 Wm-2 and the recent Bjorn Stevens paper put the figure at just -0.5 Wm-2. What this means is that had the GISS model had an aerosol forcing in line with recent best estimates, it would have warmed much too quickly. The resulting embarrassment would have been greater still had the model data not ended ten years ago. I really would like to know why this is.

Still, it's a pretty graph.

 

 

Friday
Jun262015

A prayer for our times by Dominic Lawson

A very PC prayer for our times by Dominic Lawson. And a cartoon by Josh.

Click to read more ...

Thursday
Jun252015

Government admits benefits of green policy less than cost

Updated on Jun 25, 2015 by Registered CommenterBishop Hill

There was a wonderful comedy answer from Lord Bourne to a question from Matt Ridley in the Lords yesterday. Ridley was inquiring about the abatement costs of various renewable energy technologies and was told this:

...based on support provided through the renewables obligation, the estimated abatement cost in 2014 was £65 per tonne of carbon dioxide for onshore wind, £121 for offshore wind and £110 for solar PV.

Click to read more ...

Wednesday
Jun242015

What a difference a week makes

Deniers continue to say science is disputed when it isn't and suggest the Pope has been misled when he hasn't been.

Lord Deben, 17 June 2015

When people know they've lost the argument they get desperate & rude.

Lord Deben, 24 June 2015

Wednesday
Jun242015

Green Deal: a waste of precious resources

I've always had my suspicions about the way that energy efficiency is presented as an easy way of reducing carbon emissions. For a start there's the Jevons paradox: the observation that efficiency gains tend to lead consumers towards enhanced performance. In other words, as houses become more efficient we tend to keep them much warmer. Being someone who lives in a cool (or even cold house) and wears jumpers all the time, I find modern houses stiflingly hot, but most people are much happier to wear shorts and t-shirts indoors.

But even leaving this kind of thing aside, whenever I have done the sums on my own house I've always come to the conclusion that investment in energy efficiency is not going to provide a good return. It's therefore interesting to see that my back-of-a-fag-packet calculations seem valid across the board. A new, and by the looks of it carefully controlled study of homes in the USA has found that the much touted gains from energy efficiency measures are actually relatively small and certainly less than the cost of installation

Click to read more ...

Tuesday
Jun232015

Mont Doom - Josh 333

Hilarious transcript as per post below. I'm not sure a cartoon could ever be quite as entertaining so I went for more of a portrait.

Cartoons by Josh

Tuesday
Jun232015

Is this a joke?

Readers will enjoy this transcript of an interview between the BBC's Adrian Goldberg and Professor Hugh Montgomery of the Lancet's health and climate thingy.

"Tell us just how how bad things are Professor".

"Well it's really, really bad Adrian. We're probably all going to die".

"I think listeners would like to know just how painful their deaths are going to be, Professor, or can I call you `sir'."

"Well, Adrian, I think it's going to be like purgatory, only more so"...

Sheesh.

Tuesday
Jun232015

The Lancet goes all Andrew Wakefield again

Updated on Jun 23, 2015 by Registered CommenterBishop Hill

Updated on Jun 23, 2015 by Registered CommenterBishop Hill

The Lancet - the medical journal that brought you Andrew Wakefield and the return of mumps, measles and rubella - has a grandly named Commission on Climate Change and Health, which has announced its findings today. We are facing a crisis apparently.

Wake up at the back there.

This is fairly transparent politicking from a group of authors who might best be described as "the usual suspects" - Anthony Costello, Hugh Montgomery and Paul Ekins are all very familiar names round these parts and the lines they recite are familiar ones too. There is absolutely no pretence that the commission's report is anything other than an attempt to influence the political agenda ahead of the Paris conference, just as its previous report was an attempt to influence the result at Copenhagen. Here's the executive summary:

Click to read more ...

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