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Entries in Media (267)


The liberal society and its publicly funded enemies

In my absence, readers will no doubt have been aware of the attempt by several noble peers of the realm to silence dissenting voices on climate change. Headed by Lord Krebs, they wrote to a letter to the Times with the normal mealy-mouthed line of "we are in favour of free speech but you shouldn't publish people who disagree with us".

Today, the Times publishes another letter from Lord Krebs:


Sir, Matt Ridley (”Climate change lobby wants to kill free speech”, Opinion, Apr 25) misses the point of the personal letter to the Editor of The Times that we signed with 11 other peers. The letter was not an attack on free speech and we clearly stated that a free press is essential for a healthy democracy.
Our point is that misleading stories on the science of climate change undermine the credibility of The Times. We expressed particular concern that the views of the Global Warming Policy Foundation appear to be unduly influential. That it was an adviser to GWPF who criticised us in your pages adds to our concern. 
The letter was discussed with several people, including the Energy and Climate Intelligence Unit, but it was from the 13 peers and not from anyone else. 
The admission of the involvement of the ECIU in the letter really does stink. Krebs is the chairman of the Adaptation Subcommittee of the Commmittee on Climate Change, and is therefore a paid government adviser. Lord Krebs and his gang of environmentalist chums are therefore doing their anti-liberal-society dirty work on the public payroll.
It seems to me that his position is entirely untenable. Amber Rudd should sack him.



Investigative journalism isn't dead

Public domain

Left-wing investigative journalism site Political Scrapbook has been doing some, erm, investigation. This is the kind of stuff that only the sharpest minds can get their heads round. You will be amazed.

Snuffling round records of government expenditure they have come up with an extraordinary finding.

Despite floods, the government is paying 100 times more to chop a tree than plant one

The British government is willing to pay people £144 per tree to chop it down and dispose of it.

Meanwhile, how much do you get paid if you plant one? £1.28 per tree.

So big, dangerous jobs cost much more than small safe ones. Who would have guessed?



Further to yesterday's post, it seems that the Independent will be ending its print editions in just a few weeks' time. Leo Hickman helpfully reminds us what we'll be missing.


Talking of comedians

If you thought the antics of the greens at the Cuadrilla inquiry were silly, take a look at Bob the Blether's latest in the Independent, outlining a vast right-wing conspiracy centred on, erm, 55 Tufton Street, Westminster. 

And they call us conspiracy theorists!

In related news, the owners of the Independent are considering closing it down.


Monbiot's audit trail

What is that old saying about repeating a lie often enough? George Monbiot is having a bit of rant in the Guardian today on the subject of (alleged) fossil fuels subsidies. It's the usual nonsense that redefines everything that greens are against as a "subsidy".

In his support, our George cites the IMF:

Already, according to the International Monetary Fund, more money is spent, directly and indirectly, on subsidising fossil fuels than on funding health services. 

If you follow the trail through his link you end up at the IMF's website and a working paper by Coady et al. However, before you read it, it's hard not to notice the disclaimer, in bold, which reads:

This Working Paper should not be reported as representing the views of the IMF.


Behind the scenes at the Guardian

Many thanks to reader Stewgreen for pointing me to this fascinating look behind the scenes at the Guardian...


What's up with El Reg?

A few days back The Conversation published a moderately dull article about paleoclimate, written by a couple of postdocs at Bristol. Its title kind of gave the game away up front:

The last time Earth was this hot hippos lived in Britain (that’s 130,000 years ago)

This introduced a temperature reconstruction that had been bodged together by an author at Wikimedia. It all seemed fairly pitiful to me, and hardly worth the bother, although I wondered for a time about whether I could get an easy laugh by noting that the authors had cited approvingly Michael Mann's 2008 carcrash paper:

Click to read more ...


Greens running scared of debate

Scaredy cat photo by Iris under CC. have never been keen on being challenged on their views and with the spotlight on Paris at the moment they are even more keen that they only get soft interviews. I did a BBC interview a while ago and was told when the booking was made that I was up against Lord Deben. However, shortly beforehand I was told that the great man was "no longer available", no doubt not wanting to have anything he'd said about his business interests to the Energy and Climate Change Commmittee mentioned on air.

Prince Charles is a case in point too. According to the Guardian he has said that he will only appear on Channel Four news if he is allowed to vet the questions beforehand and has full editorial control. Channel Four has told him where to go of course, although the article hints that Sky News may have agreed to the same terms in a recent interview with HRH.

Meanwhile Natalie Bennet, the leader of the Green party has refused to appear on the Week in Westminster opposite Nigel Lawson.

Not that this will make any difference. The greens have so many supporters in the mainstream media that they will always be able to line up some more soft interviews.


Solving the Uruguay mystery

According to Wikipedia, in 2013, Uruguay had 10MW of wind power capacity out of a total electricity generating capacity of 2337MW. That's 0.4%. Fully 1538MW or 66% was hydro. It suggests wind as a percentage of generating capacity would hit 30% by 2016.

Six months ago, Bloomberg reported that wind capacity was due to hit 800MW this year.

But today, according Jonathan Watts in the Guardian, Uruguay has made a "dramatic shift to nearly 95% electricity from clean energy". The picture at the top of the article is, of course, of a wind turbine and we learn that:

Uruguay gets 94.5% of its electricity from renewables. In addition to old hydropower plants, a hefty investment in wind, biomass and solar in recent years has raised the share of these sources in the total energy mix to 55%, compared with a global average of 12%, and about 20% in Europe.

Click to read more ...


More science with Guardian characteristics

From today's business pages:

This week, as we near the end of a year expected to have been the warmest on record, more than 130 governments and 25,000 officials will meet in Paris to discuss how the rise in temperature can be limited to 2% above pre-industrial levels.

As Stern said, the risks of pushing past 2% to a roasting 4% or 5% are now that much greater and more needs to be done in the coming decades than he expected.

Coming so soon after last week's centrigrade/farenheit debacle, this seems to be turning into something of a specialism for Guardian hacks.


Lean times for the green blob

Some years back I was discussing the state of environmental coverage in the media with someone from the Telegraph. I commented that I thought it was very strange that the Tele had taken Geoffrey Lean on as a correspondent given that his views were pretty much anathema to most of its readers.

"Ah, that's simple" I was told. "He's not there for the benefit of the readers but because green advertisers want him". This made perfect sense at the time.

Click to read more ...


Hugo's howler, Harrabin's howler

Updated on Nov 26, 2015 by Registered CommenterBishop Hill

The Spectator doesn't do a great deal on the climate front, but when it does, it does it very well. At the moment they have a long piece (£, but you may get a free look) by David Rose on Judy Curry, which although containing little that will be new to BH readers will be informative for many.

If it's pure entertainment you want, they also have a preview of Paris from Hugo Rifkind (£), a man with a wonderful facility for words, but also one who is just a moderately loud repeater of metroliberal certainties on the state of the climate. His effort this week is rather more thoughtful than usual, but he still retains some odd notions. Observing, quite correctly, that everyone in the UK is backing off green policy, he says that as a country we are starting to look a bit provincial:

Germany’s big push for renewables (which was admittedly predicated on an hysterical and frankly stupid post-Fukushima fear of nuclear) is surging ahead, in precisely the manner that Scotland’s could be if anybody still gave a damn.

Click to read more ...


Indy disappears legendary climate quote

Anthony Watts has the extraordinary information that the Independent has disappeared the now legendary "children won't know what snow is" article.

You've heard of something called a newspaper of record? I guess the Independent is whatever the opposite of that is.


Yeo sueshi

The BBC is reporting that Tim Yeo is going to sue the Sunday Times over its 2013 allegation that he was influence peddling for green companies.

I can't see this ending well.




A gallery of rogues, spivs and wideboys

There's an article at the Guardian today that really takes one aback. Taking into account the author, the author of the underlying report, and those it quotes, it's quite a gallery of rogues.

Guardian energy editor Terry Macalister writes that wind energy is now the cheapest technology for electricity generation in the UK. Yes, folks this is the Great Levelised Cost Lie in action again. Here's how Macalister explains it:

The numbers drawn up by Bloomberg are a “levelised cost of energy” (LCOE) which takes into account financing, intermittency and other issues, so that different technologies can be fairly compared. However LCOE does not account for the cost of managing intermittent power in the national grid electricity system.

Everybody, but everybody in the energy policy debate knows that levelised costs are grossly misleading because the cost is only one half of the equation. The value of the output matters just as much, and the value of intermittent renewables is only a fraction of the value of dispatchable technologies. So when Macalister - or Doug Parr of Greenpeace, or Seb Henbest of BNEF - tell you that LCOE is a way to "fairly" compare different technologies it's not true. And when they tell you that wind is "fully competitive" with other technologies it's not true either.

They are behaving like the worst kind of city spiv, the most shameful dealer in dodgy share schemes.