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Entries by Bishop Hill (6688)

Friday
May262017

A very bad boy

It seems that Lord Stern is a very bad boy.

Very bad indeed.

Take a look at this.

Tuesday
May092017

Spirit of inquiry

I've been taking a look at the BEIS committee's report on the effects of Brexit on climate and energy policy, and in particular the section on investor confidence, which struck me as likely to be the most interesting. The section opens thus.

The decision to leave the EU should not distract from the Government’s policies to provide secure and affordable energy supply and to seek ambitious plans to decarbonise our energy system.203

The citation is to the submission from, erm, 38 Degrees. Which does rather make it look as if they are dictating the text. 

Reading on, I find that:

Click to read more ...

Wednesday
May032017

Chris Essex at GWPF - cartoon notes

Chris Essex was at GWPF last night to lecture on "The Great Climate Change Fervour". Josh sends his cartoon notes.


Wednesday
May032017

Thanks

Thanks to everyone who has sent good wishes for my new role at GWPF, or passed them on in person at Chris Essex's lecture last night. 

Who knows, maybe I'll even write something from time to time...

Thursday
Jan192017

A sin of omission

The BBC was worried about primates this morning. Apparently loss of forest habitat means that our hairy cousins are facing the threat of extinction. Professor Jo Setchell is quoted in the piece as the woman with the answer though:

"...don't buy tropical timber, don't eat palm oil"

But burning palm oil to create energy seems to be fine with the good professor (and presumably the BBC's journalist, Victoria Gill) because it doesn't even warrant a mention.

Greens trashing the environment. Again.

Monday
Jan092017

Peter Melchett's potty time

This is a guest post by Charlie Flindt.

I can’t see what all the fuss is about; I loved 2016. The Left spent much of the year deafening us with its whining, and flooding us with its bitter tears, the Brexit vote has done marvels for my farm's bank balance after a mediocre but easy harvest, and, best of all, the Soil Association has gone completely potty. 

We conventional farmers have always loved our organic brethren. We love anyone who deliberately grows less than they could be growing – it’s good for the wheat supply-and-demand, even if it is slightly morally questionable when much of the world is still hungry.  We marvel at their carefully cultivated image of ‘pesticide-free’, when the truth is not quite as clear-cut as that. So when the leading lights of the Soil Association start sounding a bit bonkers in front of the media – well, it’s time to get the popcorn and enjoy the show.

Back in May, yet another report came out stating that GM food was safe. After a brief chat with a world-weary-looking pro-GM scientist, the BBC interviewed Lord Peter Melchett, the Soil Association’s policy director, who, not surprisingly, took a different view on GM’s dangers. “Just because there’s no evidence,” he said solemnly, “doesn’t mean that nothing’s happening. Now, in the country where most GM food has been eaten, there is a huge developing diet-related health crisis – in North America. I’m not saying that’s because of GM food – but you can’t tell me it’s not.” 

This is remarkable and (I would suggest) somewhat contradictory logic from a man who read Law at Cambridge. I would refer M’Lud to some of the finest cover stories of the Sunday Sport in its 80s heyday: ‘B-52 Bomber Found on Moon!’ ‘Lord Lucan Seen on Shergar!’ ‘I was a nine-inch sex slave!’ ‘B-52 Bomber Now GONE From Moon!’ All must be true, according to the Soil Association’s finest legal mind, because of a lack of evidence that they’re not. I rest my case.

In July, the herbicide glyphosate (Roundup) came under attack again, and this time it was the Soil Association’s Helen Browning’s turn to be given the kid-glove treatment by the BBC. Countryfile allowed her free rein to demand that this vital herbicide should be banned simply because there are suggestions that it might be carcinogenic, and that the public would be happy to pay more to compensate the farmer for drying costs if pre-harvest desiccation were banned. The hilarity (and hypocrisy) of this interview stemmed from the fact that much of it was carried out over the bonnet of an aged diesel-powered Land Rover Defender. When it comes to carcinogenic emissions, there’s only one way to beat a diesel-fuelled grain dryer: you drive one of Solihull’s finest.

And then, late in the year, we had SA's astonishing Tweet. ‘Millions of farm animals are abused in the pursuit of cheap food, but there is another way...’ said the Soil Association on its Twitter feed. The resulting (and perfectly justified) outrage from non-organic livestock boys and girls was enough to prompt a letter of apology. But even that seemed to stop being an apology halfway through, and drifted off into the realms of comedic praise for Greenpeace’s intimidation of companies by staking out their HQs dressed as gorillas.  Really, Ms Browning? I mean – really?

Yup, it has been a vintage year for entertainment, courtesy of the Soil Association. It’s the organic gift that goes on giving. Let’s hope they keep it up for 2017.

Thursday
Jan052017

WWF on human rights abuse charges

The charity Survival International is reporting that the OECD is going to investigate allegations that WWF has been funding human rights abuses in Cameroon.

Survival submitted the complaint in February 2016, citing numerous examples of violent abuse and harassment against Baka “Pygmies” in Cameroon by WWF-funded anti-poaching squads. Survival also alleges that WWF failed to seek communities’ free, prior and informed consent for conservation projects on their ancestral land.

This is the first time a non-profit organization has been scrutinized in this way. The acceptance of the complaint indicates that the OECD will hold WWF to the same human rights standards as profit-making
corporations.

WWF funds anti-poaching squads in Cameroon and elsewhere in the Congo Basin. Baka and other rainforest tribes have reported systematic abuse at the hands of these squads, including arrest and beatings, torture
and even death, for well over 20 years.

Wednesday
Jan042017

FoE in full flight

The Advertising Standards Authority has been conducting an investigation into Friends of the Earth's wild stories about unconventional oil and gas in recent weeks. Today it was announced that our green friends have decided that a hasty retreat is in order. Rather than fighting the allegations against them they have decided to promise to stop telling said porkie pies rather than wait for an official ruling that they are, in fact, wholesale purveyors of baked meat products.

 

 

Monday
Dec122016

Use and abuse of climate simulations

Some of you may be interested in Gavin's Schmidt's forthcoming talk  at Exeter University. It's hard to deny his expertise in the area.

Climate change is now a constant presence in the media with many stories about the latest records in global heat, Arctic ice loss, sea level rise, or the potential for changes in extreme weather. But many people still have questions about how scientists study the Earth system, where the dramatic predictions of future change come from, and how credible they are.

In this talk Dr Schmidt will discuss the use and abuse of climate simulations, how they are used to attribute changes in the past and what they suggest for the future. He will specifically discuss how global society now has to choose its own adventure and what the implications of these choices will be.

Details here.

Monday
Nov282016

Decorative diesel

From the Guardian

South Pacific island ditches fossil fuels to run entirely on solar power

Using more than 5,000 solar panels and 60 Tesla power packs the tiny island of Ta’u in American Samoa is now entirely self-sufficient for its electricity supply – though the process of converting has been tough and pitted with delays.

From the website of the government of  American Samoa

The project description lists 1,410 kW of Solar panels and 6,000 kWh of battery storage.  Also, three new 275KW Cummins Diesel Generators...

The latter presumably for decoration.

Friday
Jun032016

What New Scientist wouldn't print

A couple of weeks back, New Scientist published an article trying to up the ante on climate sensitivity. 

One headline-making 2013 study had concluded that the immediate warming that would result froma doubling of CO2 in the atmosphere would be around 1.3°C - significantly less than most previous estimates. But this was before global temperatures shot past 1°C above pre-industrial levels last year, as predicted by New Scientist in July 2015. If the 2013 study was repeated using that value, it would give an estimate for the immediate warming of 1.6°C, says Piers Forster...

It also claimed that Forster and Lewis's 2013 paper had got its estimates of aerosol forcing wrong:

[Other studies] suggested that Forster's team underestimated how much warming has been masked by the cooling effect of other pollutants, such as sulphur aerosols, that we pump out alongside CO2. 

Quite why anyone would want to estimate TCR from a single year's temperature figure is anyone's guess. This observation prompted Nic Lewis to write a letter to the editor, which, needless to say, has not been published. So you can read it here.

Letter to the Editor concerning New Scientist article in the 28 May 2016  issue, Vol 230, No 3075, page 8: 'Earth's sensitive side'

The claim in your 28 May article 'Earth's sensitive side' that the strong warming over the last few years means we can now rule out low estimates of climate sensitivity is wrong. You quote Piers Forster, a co-author (along with myself) of one 2013 study that concluded near-term warming from a doubling of CO2 in the atmosphere would only be around 1.3°C. I have also been sole or lead author of three different studies published since then, all of which support that conclusion. One of those studies used the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change 2014 assessment report's estimates for the effects on the Earth's radiation balance of both warming agents such as CO2 and of cooling agents such as sulphur aerosols. I have extended these estimates to 2015 and recomputed the warming from a doubling of CO2. It is unchanged at 1.3 °C, averaging over 1995-2015 data. It remains 1.3 °C when using data just for the last ten, or five, years. Use of a shorter period gives a less reliable estimate; using a single year's temperature is unsound.

The suggestion that the team Forster and I were part of underestimated how much warming had been masked by the cooling effects of sulphur aerosols and other pollutants is mistaken. Our team's method is unaffected by the arguments on this point raised by the Shindell and Schmidt team studies referred to. The latter study anyway contained several errors.  The corrected version fixed two of the errors I had pointed out, and shows that near term warming from a doubling of CO2 is correctly estimated from the historical mix of warming and cooling agents, including sulphur aerosols. Moreover, the findings by the Storelvmo team relied on a relationship existing between solar radiation at the surface and sulphur emissions, but over their full data period that relationship is statistically insignificant. Furthermore, two recent studies (Stevens 2015 and Kirkby et al. 2016) conclude that sulphur aerosols have had less effect on radiation than previously thought, implying that estimates of the warming from a doubling of CO2 are actually too high.

 

Monday
May232016

Yorkshire goes unconventional

Well this was enough to lull me from my blogging stupor:

Fracking given green light in North Yorkshire

Protesters booed and jeered as councillors gave the go-ahead for the first fracking operation in the UK for five years.

The problem the greens are going to have now is that when the sky doesn't actually fall in, they are going to be left looking pretty dishonest. 

Again.

Saturday
May212016

Still going slow

As readers can probably tell, I'm still struggling to get back in the blogging groove - a combination of being busy earning a living and a distinct lack of anything to say.

No idea whether the situation will change any time soon. I survey the news every morning and can't think of anything to talk about. Perhaps I just need a break.

Friday
May132016

How low can ECS go?

A new paper in a journal called Earth and Space Science says that effective climate sensititivity could be as low as 1°C. Here's the abstract.
Estimates of 2xCO2 equilibrium climate sensitivity (EqCS) derive from running global climate models (GCMs) to equilibrium. Estimates of effective climate sensitivity (EfCS) are the corresponding quantities obtained using transient GCM output or observations. The EfCS approach uses an accompanying energy balance model (EBM), the zero-dimensional model (ZDM) being standard. GCM values of EqCS and EfCS vary widely [IPCC range: (1.5, 4.5)°C] and have failed to converge over the past 35 years. Recently, attempts have been made to refine the EfCS approach by using two-zone (tropical/extratropical) EBMs. When applied using satellite radiation data, these give low and tightly-constrained EfCS values, in the neighbourhood of 1°C. These low observational EfCS/two-zone EBM values have been questioned because (a) they disagree with higher observational EfCS/ZDM values, and (b) the EfCS/two-zone EBM values given by GCMs are poorly correlated with the standard GCM sensitivity estimates. The validity of the low observational EfCS/two-zone EBM values is here explored, with focus on the limitations of the observational EfCS/ZDM approach, the disagreement between the GCM and observational radiative responses to surface temperature perturbations in the tropics, and on the modified EfCS values provided by an extended twozone EBM that includes an explicit parameterization of dynamical heat transport. The results support the low observational EfCS/two-zone EBM values, indicating that objections (a) and (b) to these values both need to be reconsidered. It is shown that in the EBM with explicit dynamical heat transport the traditional formulism of climate feedbacks can break down because of lack of additivity.

Predictably, our scientivist friends don't like it, but it's interesting to see that there are still a few hardy souls who are willing to say what they think.

Wednesday
May112016

Drought links

In the aftermath of my GWPF paper on drought the other day, ECIU has published a piece on the same subject. Entitled "Syria and climate change - did the media get it right?" it looks at the execrable Kelley et al paper that I have been so critical of over the last year or so. The author, Alex Randall, describes the paper as "measured and robust", which is a surprising thing to say about research that blamed a long-term, but slight decline in rainfall in Iran for social unrest in Syria, but as someone once said "Hey, it's climate science". 

His case is that the media have been misleading the public, hyping Kelley's paper and creating illusory links to the unrest. No doubt he is thinking of people like the ECIU.

In a companion piece, Randall claims that

 the media reporting and the Kelley paper were also broadly consistent with research exploring the impacts of drought on migration and displacement across the world. Specifically, there is strong evidence linking climate change impacts such as drought with patterns of rural to urban migration.

But if you read his links you find only support for the hypothesis that drought causes migration. With no evidence that climate change causes droughts to become more intense or more prevalent, our green friends are left to insert the word "climate change" whereever they can, and to hope that nobody notices what they are up to.