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Tuesday
Jan122016

Green blob in control at Environment Agency

I can't help feeling that the resignation of Environment Agency chairman Sir Philip Dilley was all a bit overdone. As chairman, he doesn't presumably actually involve himself in the day-to-day running of the place; that's the job of the chief executive. The chairman is supposed to set the strategic direction, which is not something you even really want to be thinking about in the middle of a major crisis. Frankly a beach in Barbados was probably the best place for him while there were major floods around.

Now you can certainly take potshots at Sir Philip for the general state of the Environment Agency, which appears to be both thoroughly incompetent and riddled with corruption, but he was at least an engineer by background. Take a look at who has stepped into his shoes, at least on a temporary basis: the green blob personified. Emma Howard Boyd appears to have made a career in "corporate social responsibility" and is a director of a green investment fund as well as having roles in any number of green NGOs.

It will be interesting to see if they keep her on.

Monday
Jan112016

AEP and the GLCL*

Ambrose Evans-Pritchard has an article in the Telegraph boldly declaring that the UK is backing away from wind power just as they become competitive with fossil fuels. The story seems to be that if only wind turbines could be made really, really huge, then everything would be OK.

Cue a barrage of graphs to support the (alleged) case.

Click to read more ...

Monday
Jan112016

How can the BBC help you advertise your wares better, Mr Green Blob?

BBC preparations for the arrival of the Green BlobMy thanks to Stewgreen for pointing me to this excerpt from Jeremy Leggett's new book, describing a meeting with Roger Harrabin:

In the headquarters of the Britsh Broadcasting Corporation, I sit talking with veteran environment correspondent, Roger Harrabin. I am accompanied by my Solarcentury colleagues Frans van den Heuvel and Sarah Allison. We want to explore with Roger whether there are ways that solar energy can be better covered on television.

Click to read more ...

Friday
Jan082016

Captain Marvel comes unstuck

While everyone else was out partying on Hogmanay, Bob Ward was hard at work writing tweets about global warming. Let noone say he is not a strangely obsessive personality.

This was a bit of a silly thing for Bob to say though because I had written a post about the said paper, by Marvel et al, some two weeks earlier, noting that it looked a bit unphysical in places.

Click to read more ...

Friday
Jan082016

Sustainable science - Josh 356

New Year is always a time to resolve to do better and maybe recycle stuff from 2015 that's lying around doing nothing useful. Happy 2016!

H/t to golf charlie for the inspiration ;-)

Posted by Josh

Friday
Jan082016

Holyrood smothers another new industry at birth

Cluff Natural Resources has stopped all work on its plans for underground coal gasification in the Firth of Forth. There seems to be a strong hint that the are turning their backs on the development for good.

The Holyrood administration's moratorium has killed off coalbed methane development north of the border completely. It now looks as if they have done for UCG as well.

It's hard to imagine any unsubsidised industrial business wanting to invest in Scotland when the administration is at the beck and call of the greens.

Friday
Jan082016

The BBC and the chief scientist

Ben Pile highlights a fascinating comment at Guido's blog:

In 2010, I was on a research trip to an area north of Svalbard. We were lucky enough to have a So-Called BBC journalist along for the ride. Unfortunately, my cabin was very close to his which meant that I had to listen to him editing his riveting reports about Climate Change™ before they were broadcast on BBC Climate Change 24. He'd just interviewed a Danish glaciologist that we had with us who explained a process with the sea ice that was "a negative feedback" (contrary to climate change bollox). I heard Mr X, the journalist, rewind and replay the tape about 5 times before he finally rang the chief scientist for advice because "I'm not sure this is putting out the right message...."

This raises a few questions: is this the government chief scientist that is referred to? And who was the BBC journalist? I'm struggling to find a BBC article about Svalbard around that time.

It would be extraordinary if the BBC was contacting the GCSA for "lines to take".

Thursday
Jan072016

Teaching values

There is a rather interesting article in Times Higher Education about Joanna Williams, an academic who has taken it upon herself to criticise the close-mindedness of the academy. She has this to say about global warming and environmentalism.

I am not a climate-change denier, but I think it should be discussed and not placed beyond discussion – and I certainly don’t think that the response we have as a society is beyond discussion,” she says. “Sustainability is one solution, but there might also be more technological solutions. But, within higher education, sustainability has become a major topic and is taught as a moral value. You assess ‘Are your students demonstrating sustainability?’ rather than ‘Is sustainability the only response?’…You can see even in the titles of some courses that sustainability is the answer…As soon as you present something as a value and assess students on that value, you are putting things beyond debate.

Yup.

Thursday
Jan072016

Sticking one's neck out

Updated on Jan 7, 2016 by Registered CommenterBishop Hill

I avoid making predictions about the evolution of surface temperatures over the period of a few years. Those who choose to do so are frequently get themselves into trouble. James Annan lost his bet with GWPF's David Whitehouse and it looks as if GWPF's Sir Alan Rudge will lose out to Chris Hope on another wager.

Click to read more ...

Tuesday
Jan052016

The inner Duce

My review of Liberal Fascism the other day provoked a very long comments thread and lots of strong views. I was therefore interested to see this article by Joel Kotkin - a Democrat, albeit a conservative one.

Today climate change has become the killer app for expanding state control, for example, helping Jerry Brown find his inner Duce. But the authoritarian urge is hardly limited to climate-related issues. It can be seen on college campuses, where uniformity of belief is increasingly mandated. In Europe, the other democratic bastion, the continental bureaucracy now controls ever more of daily life on the continent. You don’t want thousands of Syrian refugees in your town, but the EU knows better. You will take them and like it, or be labeled a racist.

Monday
Jan042016

Quote of the day, El Nino edition

In the UK, [El Nino's] impact is likely to be subdued, although past experience suggests that a colder winter could result.

Bill McGuire, Professor Emeritus in Geophysical & Climate Hazards at UCL

Monday
Jan042016

Flood prevention

I recently chanced upon the website of the Flood Prevention Society, a voluntary organisation that tries to shape public policy on flooding. Their website has a long and detailed report on some of the floods in recent years and, for those with less time on their hands, a snappy "Urban myths about flooding" page. They seem less than impressed with the Environment Agency, and indeed with George Monbiot's ideas about grouse moors and flooding. I reproduce the whole thing here.

1. “Increased flooding is because of more land drainage”.

The opposite is true.  During the last Great War and for years after to produce more food and later help the balance of payments, farmers were given a 50% capital grant by Governments to clean ditches, brooks and land drainage.  This grant ceased over 30 years ago – so while flooding is on the increase, land drainage is on the decrease.

2. “Modern farming with heavy tractors and machinery causes a plough pan seal (compaction) in the land preventing it soaking up rain, so the rain runs straight into rivers”.

Modern farmers also use subsoilers that break up any plough pan letting air and moisture penetrate up and down – so no change.

3. “Rainfall running off moorland causes urban flooding”.

Click to read more ...

Monday
Jan042016

Harrabin on Facebook

Roger Harrabin has launched a new personal Facebook page for 2016, adorned with a picture of him taking on board the words of wisdom of climate guru Arnold Schwartzenegger.

The first post asks "Are the BBC climate deniers?". To which the answer is probably "Isn't everyone these days?"

Monday
Jan042016

The Royal Society celebrates a hoaxer

The Royal Society has doubled down in its support for notorious scientific hoaxer Stefan Lewandowsky, inviting him to speak at the Royal Society at the end of February.

Following the recent Paris Climate Summit, countries from around the world have backed climate science and committed to reducing emissions. But for years, public and political uncertainty has delayed cooperation and action. Why has uncertainty had such a powerful psychological effect on us and why is it so damaging?
 
Join cognitive scientist Professor Stephan Lewandowsky to explore where climate change and human cognition collide and discover the science behind uncertainty.

Details here.

Rumours that the Royal intends to awarding a Queen's medal to Hwang Woo-Suk are said to be unfounded.

Monday
Jan042016

The greens' next deception

Just before the end of the year, Oxfam put out a press release about the impacts of El Niño on developing countries, which they said is happening at a time when the humanitarian system is under unprecedented strain.

The press release went on to note that niños are not climate phenomena:

Click to read more ...

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