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  • Newsnight : Complain to the BBC

    Posted on August 24th, 2010 Jo 86 comments

    I don’t expect much from it in terms of any kind of sensible, relevant reply, but here’s my two eurocents’ worth, as loaded at :-

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/complaints/forms/

    The BBC are undergoing a review on balance in Science reporting. They need to get Climate Change right, and that could start by one of their programme editors actually trying to understand what programmes like this do to an unprepared or semi-prepared audience.

    The Newsnight audience have been left with the view that “maybe Climate Change is not so bad after all”, which is the worst take-home message they could be given.

    See further down the post for e-mail traffic related to the Newsnight broadcast of 23rd August 2010.


    Dear BBC,

    I wish to point out to you that certain comments made by Andrew Montford on BBC Newsnight on 23rd August 2010 were inaccurate. I viewed the part of the programme where he was interviewd on iPlayer, but this now appears to have been cut from the online show for that date :-

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/newsnight/

    One comment in particular will, I believe, require an apology from BBC Newsnight. The segment of the show in which Andrew Montford appeared closed with a question directed to him specifically from the presenter Kirsty Wark, on the subject of Climate Change evidence, to which Andrew Montford replied “we just don’t know”.

    This is inaccurate. We have report after report on the clear incontrovertible evidence of Climate Change and its significant impact on the Earth’s biosphere.

    The question is not “does Climate Change have any impact or does it have some impact ?” The Science has moved beyond that kind of question, as Kirsty Wark should know and should have reflected in her presentation of the show.

    The question is not even, “is Climate Change going to affect us all somewhat or is it going to affect a lot of people quite badly (while the rest of us will be OK) ?”

    The real question at the frontline of Science about Climate Change should be “is Climate Change bad or is it really serious ?”, the answer to which is “it’s probably going to get really quite bad indeed”.

    I would also like to complain about Kirsty Wark’s introduction to the segment on Climate Change when she smirked at the camera and said “but is is true ?”

    Is Kirsty Wark a Climate Change Scientist ? Does she know anything about Climate Change Science ? Can she possibly dare to offer an opinion about it or question what the Scientists have said ?

    I think BBC Newsnight was irresponsible in broadcasting this interview without caveats. The last word should have been given to the Science, not the denier Andrew Montford who has no credentials, and now, no credibility whatsoever.

    My opinion is that denying the clear, well-documented evidence of significantly damaging changes in the Earth system is as bad as denying the Holocaust, or that HIV infections lead to AIDS, or that smoking gives people cancer.

    Climate Change and its damages are not somewhere off in the future, as Andrew Montford asserts. Climate Change is real and it’s happening now, and the overwhelming majority of the world’s Science academics and institutions have produced reports and research articles detailing this fact.

    Why Newsnight thought they should invite somebody with views so completely opposed to the facts on to the show to pronounce on Climate Change is beyond my understanding.

    There is no debate in Climate Change. There is only one position, and that position is that it’s serious and getting worse, although at the moment we just don’t know whether that’s going to turn out as “horribly bad” or “incredibly dangerous”.

    Andrew Montford’s view simply does not count and he should not have been invited, not even in the name of so-called “balance”. The “balance” you should have sought would lie between those Scientists who feel that Climate Change is “abrupt and dangerous” and those who feel that it is “catastrophic”.

    I demand an apology from BBC Newsnight and from Kirsty Wark for their biased, inaccurate reporting on Climate Change.

    jo.
    http://www.joabbess.com


    Look, it’s not a brilliant, erudite complaint. There’s no room for citations, references and discussion of the actual Science.

    Kirsty Wark messed up. It’s time for her to admit that she now seems a lot like the “Bridget Jones” of Science reporting – embarrassed and embarrassing.

    You won’t catch me talking to BBC Newsnight, ever. Such mistreatment of the Science deserves being given a very wide berth.

    Here follows some e-mail traffic related to the broadcast.


    Here’s what Bob Ward, Policy and Communications Director of the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment at the London School of Economics and Political Science had to say about the Newsnight programme :-

    “Subject: ‘Newsnight’ losing the plot? : Andrew Montford has pointed out on his blog that he is due to appear on ‘Newsnight’ this evening about the link between the floods in Pakistan and climate change. I had heard rumours that the Newsnight editor now thinks all climate change coverage should include a ‘sceptic’ and this seems to be confirmation. I’ve left the comment below on the ‘Newsnight’ blog. I see that Andrew Montford is bragging on his Bishop Hill blog that he is an interviewee on this evening’s programme about the link between the floods in Pakistan. His only contribution to the climate change debate so far has been a controversial book about palaeoclimatology, so it is not clear what his expertise on climate change and extreme weather is meant to be. Or perhaps he will be representing Lord Lawson’s group, the Global Warming Policy Foundation, which now regularly provides the ‘balancing’ voice of dissent every time a scientist is interviewed about climate change on ‘Newsnight’. If so, this is presumably evidence of the commitment of ‘Newsnight’ to impartiality rather than accuracy? And can I look forward to further instances of this balance by for instance, including comments from a creationist every time there is a story about evolution?”


    George Marshall of the Climate Outreach Information Network responded, “Dear Bob and all, I believe that it is entirely appropriate (and important) to call a news programme directly and complain about their coverage- all calls are logged and recognised (if not heeded) by editorial staff. Here are the numbers for standard complaints, though I find that it is usually much more effective to ask for the programme office and speak to the desk staff (or better still the editor involved with the problem piece) directly rather than being fobbed off with someone in a call centre. I have done this myself many times and enjoy putting them on the spot and I think a good grilling from you, Bob, would teach them a lesson!”

    MEDIA COMPLAINTS

    Channel Four and ITV News -0207 833 3000 and ask for liaison line (recorded messages checked hourly)

    BBC TV and Radio Complaints Line-08700 100 222 (someone staffing the line 24 hours day)

    Channel Five Complaints Line – 0845 7050505

    “And if you want to be more personal, you can usually ask for any programme news editor or a specific journalist through the switchboard.”

    BBC Radio Switchboard 0207 580 4468
    ITN Switchboard 0207 833 3000
    Channel Five Switchboard 0207 550 5555
    BBC TV Switchboard 0208 743 8000


    Chris Keene, green politician wrote in reaction, “I suspect that the editors genuinely believe there is scientific controversy, and thanks to the UEA email theft (I won’t dignify it with the term ‘climategate’ since it implies wrongdoing by UEA) they suspect there is a conspiracy by scientists to exaggerate climate change to get more money for research into it”


    Christopher Shaw wrote, “Dear all, I have been following the work of Medialens (one of the editors being…David Cromwell) since the inception of that project. The work of Medialens has shown repeatedly that the BBC is the voice of the establishment on certain areas, such as economics, foreign policy, the wonders of Western democracy etc etc. However, I think the BBC has also tried to ensure that its coverage is accurate (I think a separate thing from bias). Thus I really struggle to make sense of why they insist on airing the opinions of contrarians as science, when of course they are simply value statements, grounded in particular attitudes to risk. What issues are deemed by the BBC to be in need of impartiality is very revealing of the BBC’s relationship to power – for example dead British soldiers are invariably described as heroes, with no perceived need to balance this opinion.”


    A reply from John Nissen, “Hi Chris, I think you are dignifying the BBC editors! They really should know better. Any questioning around climate scientists would have put them right. The scientists are not exaggerating global warming or its affects. Indeed, in the program they asked whether the UEA business had made scientists more reticent. So the editors must realise that scientists are liable to understate the dangers, not overstate them. The program asked a simple question – about influence of AGW (anthropogenic global warming) on the floods – and managed to give credibility to the “don’t know” answer, thus giving the oxygen of publicity to climate sceptics. The program was a disgrace. But the BBC is not alone. It seems that, as the effects of global warming become more and more apparent, the media will more and more downplay them. Wishful thinking has become editorial policy. However, there is the occasional glimmer of reality breaking through, from none other than the normally sceptic Daily Mail


     

    86 responses to “Newsnight : Complain to the BBC”

    1. matthu

      @Jo
      You say “The European heatwave of 2003 was one of a series of extreme heating events that have occurred in the last 40 years – too closely spaced to be statistically irrelevant.”

      I have enjoyed this debate, but if you combine the very wide variety of events that can be classified as extreme (floods, hurricanes, drought, extremes of temperature, duration of heat waves) with the very large number of locations at which these can occur and the relatively short instrumental record that you appear to be comparing these extremes against (i.e. 40 years in the last example) then it is mathematically certain that you will get more and more extreme events over the next 40 years.

      And most impartial observers would probably agree that there must have been significantly more extreme temperatures being recorded each and every year during the Medieval Warm Period than have occured during the past 10 years. Furthermore, these extremes were being recorded right across the world from Antartica and South America to Europe,North America and Asia. http://www.co2science.org/data/mwp/mwpp.php

      One final thought: are the record cold winters across Europe last year and the record cold winters in South America this year broadly CONSISTENT or INCONSISTENT with Climate Science projections? And if the cold winters were to be repeated again this year?

    2. Jo

      @MatthewPearce

      You write, “I have enjoyed this debate, but if you combine the very wide variety of events that can be classified as extreme (floods, hurricanes, drought, extremes of temperature, duration of heat waves) with the very large number of locations at which these can occur and the relatively short instrumental record that you appear to be comparing these extremes against (i.e. 40 years in the last example) then it is mathematically certain that you will get more and more extreme events over the next 40 years.”

      I don’t think you can claim that – so please can you give me a more in-depth explanation of your reasoning ?

      You write, “And most impartial observers would probably agree that there must have been significantly more extreme temperatures being recorded each and every year during the Medieval Warm Period than have occured during the past 10 years. Furthermore, these extremes were being recorded right across the world from Antartica and South America to Europe,North America and Asia. http://www.co2science.org/data/mwp/mwpp.php

      I could not agree less. The “Medieval Warm Period” now appears to have been a chimera of regional changes that was not reflected worldwide, and anyway, wasn’t that consistently “warmer than normal” anyway.

      The record cold winter across Europe, the American Eastern Seaboard, extending through Asia the other way, was probably due to changes with the normal pattern of weather around the Arctic, which can probably be pinned to Global Warming.

      Weather is not the same as Climate, and Global Warming means that winters are less likely to be cold in future, but it does not rule out cold winters, at least for the meantime.

      “Climate Chaos” is sometimes used to describe the changes going on – some record temperature lows will be recorded – but many more record highs will emerge.

      My projection for this winter is based on my conjecture that the problems in the Arctic region will have been more in evidence this Northern Summer than they will this coming Northern Winter. I project a very wet Northern Winter for much of Northern Europe, Central Europe and the American Eastern Seaboard. I think the Typhoon season (which unlike the Hurricane Season has seen increased activity) will be stronger for longer this year than in the last decade. Also, I think there will be a lot of unusually strong rainfall in places you would not normally expect it, like parts of Italy, Greece and Turkey and Northern Africa. But that is pure conjecture, so feel free to correct me. I think it is very likely that the parts of North West England that suffered so much rain last year will receive more this year, and also parts of Scotland, particularly the West :-

      http://www.bbc.co.uk/cumbria/content/image_galleries/cockermouth_floods_gallery.shtml?45
      http://www.visitcumbria.com/cmfloods.htm

      I am calling 2010 the “Year of Unceasing Rain”. Floods in the United States, China, Pakistan, and just about everywhere simply confirm my position.

    3. Dennis

      Oh dear.

      “It’s unfortunate that you think I’m behaving in a patronising manner. I thought I was being rather educational.”

      Let me correct you then, you were not.

      “My view is that the Oil and Gas and Coal companies are holding out for a universal “bailout” to pay for their conversion to Renewable Energy.”

      So we agree on that then?

      Next,

      “What needs to happen, in my view, is that the Oil and Gas and Coal companies accept that they need to pay for their own de-Carbonisation, and tell their shareholders to forget dividends for a couple of years until Renewable Energy investments start to pay off.”

      Apart from the fact that ‘renewable energy investments’ is an oxymoron, why would they unless it is for the reasons I posted above? It makes no sense.

      And finally,

      “A recession is a great time to do this, as the return on savings is almost universally rock-bottom at present, so most people will not feel the change”

      I’ll translate that for you shall I?
      People who own shares in oil companies deserve to get shafted. There, FTFY.

    4. Jo

      @Dennis

      I am not suggesting that shareholders should lose out. I am suggesting that while the recession is draining the ability of investments to create returns, that people should accept a slightly longer “recovery” phase in order to get capital flowing to the right project for the future – green energy.

      Green energy will create jobs and wealth lasting far into the future. Green energy infrastructure can be a genuine asset, and be truly sustainable, not requiring further heavy investment, even when, for example, repowering of wind farms is required :-

      http://www.offshorevaluation.org/

      http://www.pcs.org.uk/en/resources/green_workplaces/green_campaigns/one-million-climate-jobs-now.cfm

      People who have shares in oil companies are seeing trouble anyway. I was talking with a retired clergyman only the other week and he was reflecting on the fact that he had placed a large amount of his retirement cash in BP shares and was intensely regretting it. No doubt, further problems will arise from the Fossil Fuel industry in the coming years, and more investment will be lost.

      It’s good to put your money into the future, not the past.

      Fossil Fuels and Nuclear Power are failing us, so people need to put their money into Renewable Energy to guarantee future returns on investment, I think.

    5. Dennis

      Jo, I clicked on your first link, parsed it for a few seconds and then saw that it would create 145,000 new jobs.

      That’s just ridiculous. As is your assertion that

      ‘Green energy will create jobs and wealth lasting far into the future. Green energy infrastructure can be a genuine asset, and be truly sustainable, not requiring further heavy investment’.

      You lost me with that comment, how? no further heavy investment? How can this be so? Have you discovered perpetual motion or an alloy that never wears out? I think we we should be told.

      h/t again for engaging, bedtime now.

    6. matthu

      @Jo
      Randomly, it is unlikely that you will walk into a lift with only one other person and that he or she will have the same birthday as you. But if there are 23 or more (randomly selected) people in a room, the chances of two sharing the same birthday is actually better than even. This is because of the far greater number of possible “events” that would constitute a sharing of birthdays.

      http://mathforum.org/dr.math/faq/faq.birthdayprob.html

      The same maths applies in climatology because of the large undefined number of events that could be considered to be extreme and the large number of locations at which these events could occur.

      Whether the Medieval Warm Period is considered to have been be regional or global in nature either case would have given rise to regional extremes of temperature, which is after all what the European summer of 2003 must be considered as being.

      I happen to think the MWP would have been just as “global” in nature as temperatures today. After all, how globally warm is it today if we are experiencing cold extremes in South America at the same time as we are having warm extremes in Europe?

    7. Jo

      @Dennis

      One of the basic design criteria for Renewable Energy technologies is that they are “sustainable”, in other words that their components do not wear out in the same timescales as combustion technologies or nuclear reactors.

      This is to compensate for the well-known fact that Renewable Energy sources are “diffuse” meaning that they pack a lower punch over the same area as a combustion technology.

      In addition, many components of Renewable Energy technologies can be recycled easily – for example glass and steel in solar mirrors and wind turbines.

      And yet further, most Renewable Energy technologies have less of an environmental impact than “conventional” sources. Wind turbines, for example, don’t take up much land space, and don’t pollute rivers and soils with any residues – unlike Coal.

      So, in addition to having a low impact on the Climate, Renewable Energy technologies have a lower impact on the local environment and a lower impact on investment over the usual timeframe.

      What’s not to like ? Plus, it creates new jobs.

    8. Dung

      JO your disaster graph comes from EM-DAT the International Diaster Dtabase.
      According to its website it was founded in the 1970s and currently has a staff of five.
      Can you explain how these five people got information about natural disasters back in 1900. Particularly those disasters that happened in the large part of the planet that had not then heard of insurance?

    9. Dung

      Jo
      If you have a degree in Physics then my name is Albert Einstein .

    10. Jo

      @MatthewPearce

      I cannot possibly comment on the shared birthdays problem. All I know is, I’ve met thousands and thousands of people in my life, and only one (or possibly two) that share my birthday. I didn’t ask everybody for their birthdate, however, so that argument probably falls down. And I met them all consecutively, rather than collectively. Anyway…the key point is that, given that the data is only ever going to be patchy on global Climate events, we have to look for patterns in the solid datasets that we do have. The “Medieval Warm Period” was probably just a Northern phenomenon, but we can’t be absolutely certain because there were no significant series of temperature measurements taken in the Southern Hemisphere. I don’t think that even the borehole research has been able to help on this, nor the Antarctica ice cores. I might be wrong. Perhaps I better check that again. However, studies into ocean sediments should resolve this question once and for all (about whether the “Medieval Warm Period” was global or not) and I am looking forward to a couple of papers I think are in the pipeline. The reasons for the cold extremes in South America at the present time have been explained as far as I know – they are record lows in the instrumental record but they constitute a very, very small area compared to the rest of the world which is experiencing a great number of record high temperatures this year.

    11. Jo

      @Dung

      Welcome to my world, Albert. Einstein.

    12. Jo

      @Dung

      Interesting question. I guess it must be all the research these five people have read over the years that is the source of their data.

    13. Dung

      Seriously Jo I think you must have the kind of sense of humour that is tweaked by talking nonsense to people and relying on them to remain polite in their response.
      Sustainability? Solar panels and electric/hybrid cars need rare earth elements and although these are currently available, the largest producer is China.
      Also trying to recycle solar panels is somewhat more dangetrous than removing asbestos from old buildings.

    14. Jo

      @Dung

      Never underestimate the power of recycling. The Chinese are also the world’s dumping ground for much ageing equipment, from which they are scavenging much-needed metals. New solar cells will be designed not to use Rare Earth Elements and batteries will evolve, too. No need to worry on that score. Pardon ? I don’t follow your argument that recycling solar panels might be “more dangerous than removing asbestos from old buildings”.

      Humour ? When I think you’re being entertaining, I shall let you know.

    15. Dung

      I object to your sensorship! Dung is a naturaly occuring substance which is eco friendly and which you obviously approve of since you have spread so much of it around today. Nonsense does not even come close as a substitute 🙂

    16. Dung

      One of the basic design criteria for Renewable Energy technologies is that they are “sustainable”, in other words that their components do not wear out in the same timescales as combustion technologies or nuclear reactors.

      This is to compensate for the well-known fact that Renewable Energy sources are “diffuse” meaning that they pack a lower punch over the same area as a combustion technology.

      In addition, many components of Renewable Energy technologies can be recycled easily – for example glass and steel in solar mirrors and wind turbines.

      And yet further, most Renewable Energy technologies have less of an environmental impact than “conventional” sources. Wind turbines, for example, don’t take up much land space, and don’t pollute rivers and soils with any residues – unlike Coal.

      So, in addition to having a low impact on the Climate, Renewable Energy technologies have a lower impact on the local environment and a lower impact on investment over the usual timeframe.

      What’s not to like ? Plus, it creates new jobs.

      Never in the history of the climate change debate have so few (thats you) written so much
      (drivle) that says so little to so many.

      You really are not worth arguing with Jo so goodbye and good luck 🙂

    17. Latimer Alder

      I asked you to

      ‘Please supply some evidence that these extreme events are a. occurring more frequently and b. that the only cause for their increase in frequency (if indeed there is such an increase is unequivocally higher overall temperatures’

      So far – you have provided a partial answer to a.

      You present a graph that shows more events ‘reported’. You have not provided any evidence that this means that more have actually occurred and that the increase in reportage is not a function of improved monitoring, technology and record keeping. And of more people looking for things to record in a more organised way.

      You have not addressed point b. at all. Perhaps you expect me to automagically arrive at the conclusion that ‘it must be global warming’ because there are some dodgy graphs from Michael Mann with a very small rising trend over about the same time period.

      Well.. that sort of correlation may be good enough to provide ‘evidence’ in the social sciences, but it doesn’t cut the mustard for ‘hard science’. It is no better than primitive man sacrificing a goat each night to make the sun rise in the morning.

      Once started on this track, it never failed to work. And so became a religion…everything he saw was consistent with his belief that it was the goat’s death that was the important thing. And who would dare not to make the sacrifice, just in case the sun didn’t come back? Here was born the ‘precautionary principle’. Great news for the High Priests..pretty bad news for the poor goats.

      I find your ‘evidence’ very weak, and am genuinely surprised that you (with a degree in Physics???) are so easily persuaded.

      But I have got a hot tip for the 3:30 at Lingfield…straight from the horses mouth..honest. Just slip me a tenner and I’ll tell you………

    18. “most Renewable Energy technologies have less of an environmental impact than “conventional” sources. Wind turbines, for example, don’t take up much land space, and don’t pollute rivers and soils with any residues – unlike Coal.”

      Are you really suggesting that sufficient wind turbines to produce as much electricity as an average coal-fired power station will occupy less land than the coal-fired station? If so … I was going to say you are plainly mistaken, but the truth is you must be bonkers.

      And what about the back-up supply fired by coal/gas/nuclear that is required for the times the windmills aren’t turning? They will take up just as much land as they occupy now and we will need just as many of them if continuous supply is to be guaranteed.

      And what about the “emissions” created by the manufacture of windmills, their transport one-by-one to their working site, the tons of concrete needed to provide a stable bed for each one, the miles of cable that must be laid to link each one to the grid, the carriage of humans and parts for constant maintenance required over a wide geographical area (compared to maintenance on the contained site of a conventional power station) and their shorter lifespan compared to conventional power stations? How do these figure in your assessment of the “greenness” of wind turbines?

      Wind turbines are patently absurd as a replacement for existing generating capabilities. The key is the need for back-up supplies for when the wind is either too little to turn the blades or too much for the blades to turn safely. The more windmills you have, the more irregularly the back-up supply will be used and the less efficiently it will operate. It’s like a car, you get better mileage running at a constant speed over a long distance than by continually stopping and starting around town. The more windmills you have the more the back-up stations are stopping and starting, the more they suffer from wear-and-tear (requiring more maintenance and reducing their lifespan) and the more energy they waste in firing-up and slowing-down.

      There is no such thing as efficient “green” electricity production. Maybe there will be one day but there is no sign of that day appearing soon.

    19. Adam Gallon

      “One of the basic design criteria for Renewable Energy technologies is that they are “sustainable”, in other words that their components do not wear out in the same timescales as combustion technologies or nuclear reactors.”
      What a load of twaddle!
      What is the lifespan of a wind-subsidy farm’s turbine bearings compared to those in fossil fuel or nuclear installations?
      If this is the best you can do, it’s no wonder that the pro-renewable argument is getting laughed out of town.
      You may like to look at this post by Professor Pielke Jnr on Disaster losses & climate change.
      http://rogerpielkejr.blogspot.com/2010/08/disaster-losses-and-climate-change.html

      “The analysis of twenty-two disaster loss studies shows that economic losses from various weather related natural hazards, such as storms, tropical cyclones, floods, and small-scale weather events such as wildfires and hailstorms, have increased around the globe. The studies show no trends in losses, corrected for changes (increases) in population and capital at risk, that could be attributed to anthropogenic climate change. Therefore it can be concluded that anthropogenic climate change so far has not had a significant impact on losses from natural disasters.”

      As I mentioned previously, global tropicasl cyclone rates are at a 30-year low.
      http://rogerpielkejr.blogspot.com/2010/08/imagine-if.html

    20. Evelyn

      Are you quite with it?

      When I last looked it wasn’t April Fool’s day

    21. Timm

      “Global Warming has indefinitely, perhaps permanently, postponed the next ice age.”

      coffee meet keyboard

    22. Dave

      Jo, I was going to comment generally, but this little gem may illustrate to you that you’re not quite as clever as you think:

      “I cannot possibly comment on the shared birthdays problem. All I know is, I’ve met thousands and thousands of people in my life, and only one (or possibly two) that share my birthday. I didn’t ask everybody for their birthdate, however, so that argument probably falls down. And I met them all consecutively, rather than collectively.”

      That you think the last sentence is relevant shows that you are incapable of understanding basic maths – which would seem to call into question the rest of your rather unique theories. This perhaps explains how you can claim graphs show the exact opposite of what they plainly show.

      It’s interesting, given the ‘toe-the-line’ nature of the arguments coming from people who sound like you, that each one of them has a different, contradictory set of theories, none of which really correspond to the ‘absolutely settled science’.

      Anyway, stipulating for a moment that everything you have posited is true, there’s a major, show-stopping problem in your argument: you haven’t shown that warming of the climate through increased CO2 is a bad thing in any way. Basically, your argument seems to be that we should prevent changes that would feed an extra billion people so as to prolong the lives of a few thousand per year and prevent property damage in the rich West. Care to comment?

    23. Craig Goodrich

      “Wind turbines, for example, don’t take up much land space, and don’t pollute rivers and soils with any residues – unlike Coal.”

      Just a moment, Jo. Wind turbines are beyond any question the most environmentally destructive industrial energy source ever invented. Enormous swaths of countryside and wildlife habitat have already been utterly destroyed by these useless monstrosities. Farmers’ fields are chopped up by industrial-strength access roads (the turbines weigh upwards of 60 tons, and each 140-foot blade weighs around ten tons). High-tension transmission tower right-of-ways have to be constructed to get the pitiful amount of electricity the things actually produce to the population centers where it will ostensibly be used.

      All wildlife typically clears out for several miles in all directions due to the maddening low-frequency noise. Humans and livestock can’t clear out, so they are forced to live with the increased stress. Dairy cattle become less productive and miscarriages increase. Offshore turbines — the vibration from which carries much further underwater — are causing baby seals to be born dead or abandoned by their overstressed mothers at their Yorkshire breeding grounds.

      Digging and blasting for the 40-foot-deep concrete footings required is disturbing and polluting underground aquifers. Wilderness streams have been essentially destroyed by construction waste. Google Cefn Croes to see what your “clean energy” has done to Welsh moorland, or “Mars Hill” to view the wreckage of rural life in the New England mountains.

      And the electricity actually produced is negligible and basically useless because of its unreliability and skittering voltage levels. Fossil plants have to be kept on spinning standby to fill in the gaps, burning more fuel and producing more emissions than if they were simply running continuously at full power.

      Millions of acres worldwide have already been sacrificed so industrialist fat cats can collect the generous taxpayer subsidies being handed out by idiot politicians. Since when are wilderness, breathtaking natural scenery, and peaceful country lifestyle “renewable resources”?

      Wind turbine plants are not clean, anti-green, and produce no energy. Faith in them is totally delusional.

    24. Woolfe

      Oh dear,

      I admit I only read the opening remarks of your complaint. Clearly you cannot expect to be taken seriously in a discussion such as this if you cannot even get the most basic of things correct. Climate change is a given, it happens, has always happened and will continue to happen. Climate change affects absolutely everything, it always has, it always will.

      Please if you are going to try to argue scientific matters at least get the very very basic issues correct.

      Dr P Woolfe

    25. Apache

      Dear God, why do you insist on doing this Jo? are you aware that you are talking half understood garbage and making yourself look exceedingly foolish. MMGW morphed into CC some time ago to fit the ever diminishing evidence that Man had anything whatsoever to do with GW. The planet is indeed warming, no one disputes that and would be hard to dismiss the evidence that shows we are in the final stages of a post ice age warming period. It has happened many times and even many more before man appeared. There has not and never will be any evidence to show any visible human signal.
      So please, do us all a favour, find another campaign to champion that has a little more evidence of proof, like Alien kidnapping for instance

    26. John Whitman

      Jo,

      If your lead post above and all your comments are correct, why are you so energetically posting and commenting that the so-called consensus climate scientists are correct and those who disagree with you are somehow deficient in something (like morals or educational level or intelligence or basic humanity)?

      I think you are doing it because you know that now a significant growing trend of more than half of society have lost trust with those scientists and also with the bloggers like you who apologize for them. The blatant political advocacy, confirmation bias, and doomsday exaggerations of those scientists has become common knowledge across varied levels of society. This happened despite highly dominant MSM support (until recently) of those consensus scientists. Trust lost in this manner cannot be recovered. A new group of scientists will and are right now replacing them . . . ones with better more trustworthy track records. Most of the replacements will be those who were in the past publically more skeptical.

      The way forward is going to be open – open – open and skeptical – sceptical – skeptical. If the former so-called consensus climate scientists continue to close ranks and fight off the skeptics, it just accelerates their replacement by skeptics.

      John

    27. Michael Larkin

      Jo,

      Regarding birthday coincidence, see:

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Birthday_problem

      Counter-intuitively, in any random group:

      “99% probability [of a matching birthdate] is reached with a mere 57 people, and 50% probability with 23 people.”

      This is something I have been aware of for a long time, though to be frank, I have never fully grasped the maths behind it. But even so, I could if I wished test it empirically.

      There are many other fascinating odds and sods I am aware of, but even though they may be true, I can’t claim that I *know* them to be true, simply because of my own lack of expertise.

      Anyone with a fair memory for bits of information can construct all sorts of seemingly logical arguments based on relating these bits. However, even if the arguments are in and of themselves irrefutable, that will be to no avail if the bits of information, i.e. the premises, are incorrect, and the thing may be empirically untestable at the individual level.

      We all need to cultivate the general habit of questioning everything we are told, not because of a priori hostility to it, but as a habit of mind that develops the ability to think critically.

    28. Arthur Dent

      I think from Jo’s original response to the “birthday” issue that she confused the issues of “someone in the group having the same birthday as herself” with the actual example of “two people in the group having the same birthday”

    29. Jo

      @MichaelLarkin

      Why should anybody with an enquiring mind and a good knowledge show any resistance (you call it “a priori hostility”) to a genuinely novel, interesting piece of information ?

      Thank you for point me towards the “birthday problem” link. I hadn’t considered this for years.

      For me to follow your argument, I think it is important for you to determine for me if there is a difference in probabilities of the following two events :-

      a. Meeting in a room with 366 people and finding a person who has the same birthdate as I do (as long as I were not born on a 29th February) ?

      b. Meeting one person a day over the next year and finding one of them has the same birthdate as I do ?

      Is the following example similar or different in nature ?

      c. I reach into a bag where the twenty-six letters of the alphabet are represented once by a Scrabble tile. I pull one out. Then I put it back. I do this 26 times. Will I be certain of picking a “Z” ?

      d. I reach into a bad where the twenty-six Scrabble tiles are. I pull one out. I leave it out. I do this 26 times. Will I be certain of picking a “Z” ?

    30. Barry Woods

      Jo it is simple statistics, you are being ego centric..

      It is NOT that you will share a birthday, if you are part of a group of 23 people, but that ANY 2 peole may share the same birtday, of that group that includes you!!

    31. Latimer Alder

      Jo

      Slam dunk I am afraid. The problems you set are all solved in introductory O level probability theory.

      If you do not already know how to do these, then I just do not believe that you ever achieved a degree from any institution anywhere in Physics. For example you cannot begin to understand quantum theory without a good knowledge of probability theory.

      And I have grave doubts about your likelihood of passing your MSC, even if it is in Climate Science, and the required answer to answer to every question is ‘Carbon Dioxide, funded by evil deniers, may God spit upon them for ever’

    32. Craig Goodrich

      Jo,

      Both of your examples are completely different from the “birthday” business because in both cases you are looking for the probability of some specific value.

      For a question more like the birthday thing, take your “c” and change the question to, “How many times would I have to do this before it is virtually certain that I pull one out that I’ve pulled out before?”

    33. “Why should anybody with an enquiring mind and a good knowledge show any resistance to a genuinely novel, interesting piece occurred information?”

      Anyone with an enquiring mind would make enquiries about novel and interesting information. Not showing any resistance implies blind belief, which is not very enquiring.

      As for a, b, c, and d:

      In b you could meet the same person more than once, so b is analogous to c. But a is not analogous to d.

      The “birthday problem” is analogous to: start with ax bag of thousands of Scrabble tiles, with an equal number of tiles of each letter, a to z. How many tiles would you have to pull out of the bag before you had a greater than 50% chance of holding two tiles of the same letter?

      I suppose each letter could represent a different kind of weather. Z might be a heat wave. Sometimes you might pull out a lot of zs in a row. This would become more likely thedc longer you continued pulling letters out of the bag. It would not he evidence for climate change.

      Of course, if someone were sneaking extra zs into your bag when you were not looking, you should be able to detect these anthropogenic zs if you keep pulling letters out for long enough.

    34. Jo

      @RobFisher

      Hmmm. Interesting.

      Somebody is definitely sticking extra Z’s into the bag – and A’s and B’s, C’s and so on, as the world’s population is increasing exponentially (correct me if that’s changed recently).

      This doesn’t change the odds, of course, because the distribution of letters remains the same, because there are so many letters, but it does mean the bag is getting fatter.

      If I meet one person a day, how many people would I need to meet before one of them had the same birthday as another (or me) ? That’s almost the same as the birthday problem, but only because the total number of people is very large.

      I say “almost the same” because in the set of the world’s population the odds are accepted as being that any one person selected will have the same probability of having a particular birthday.

      But when you pick a bunch of 23, say, every new person you pick for the bunch is coming from a world set that is one smaller and so biased just a fraction.

      (Also, note : in the case that I meet one person a day, umless it’s me who meets my birthday twin, the two people who share the birthday won’t meet each other.)

      A key question in Climate Change is : at what point does the time series of experienced weather events become unable to give the same distribution profile as before ? At what point is it no longer possible to infer the same profile of weather events as previously ?

      Part of the answer to that lies in the return frequencies of certain events, such as major flooding in any one area.

      It’s like somebody’s putting only new Z’s, Y’s and X’s into the bag, but not extra A’s, B’s or C’s.

      How long do you need to sample for in seasons or months to know that the system has been loaded ?

      Think about it another way : how many countries/regions do you need to have natural diasters in, all at the same time, to know you’ve left the “normal” pattern ?

    35. Michael Larkin

      Jo,

      I mentioned the birthday problem merely as a hook to link into points I made in my earlier posting. I found an explanation of the problem (excluding birthdays on 29th Feb, which trickier) in a video from the excellent Khan academy – see:

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9G0w61pZPig

      This is the first time I have understood how to compute the solution. Simple when you know how.

      The real issue I used this as a hook for is an epistemological one: what can you or I say we *know*? When I sit down and think about this, most of what I know for sure is what I don’t know.

      If someone comes along with a new idea, it may, as you intimate, be very interesting. But first, I want to know if it’s true. If I am able to personally verify it is so, as now in the example of the birthday problem, then it gets added to the list of things I know.

      If not, I neither accept nor reject it. It remains indeterminate, something I know I don’t know. But if it’s sufficiently interesting, I may try to ascertain the opinions of those who reject it. I will then have opinions pro- and anti-, and I may be able to spot personal biases on either side even if I still can’t say I fully understand all the ins and outs.

      I know I don’t know how CAGW can be deemed a done deal. I can’t see how anyone else can, either. Still, it may be right, but if so, I don’t think anyone knows it, otherwise they’d put it out there with crystal clarity, like the excellent Mr. Khan, and they would defend their arguments with equanimity without ever feeling the need to attack the man rather than the ball.

      It is peculiarly hard to convince many CAGW proponents not so much that they are wrong, but that they *might* be wrong that any anthropogenic element of warming in the recent past is a significant problem. That they’ll have to do a lot more convincing on that score, and that in doing so, they’ll have to actually engage with their critics rather than indulging in ad hominems.

      Why have they made their minds up? Why are they so resistant to counter-arguments? Personally, I’d feel more inclined to give them the benefit of the doubt if they acknowledged the uncertainties. But the more stridently they attack contrary opinions, the more they claim inerrancy, the more my religion detectors buzz. We spent centuries as a society trying to isolate religion from science, but here we appear to have what may be science dressed in a chasuable.

      To be fair, it isn’t restricted to CAGW. There are areas of cosmology, particularly Big Bang theory, which are barely disguised metaphysics; where mathematical models of the universe have been mistaken for what’s actually out there. If an observation gainsays the model, then some ad-hoc adjustment will be made to it – such as inflation, dark matter and energy, whatever is needed to keep the model rather than reject theory and start again. Cosmologists are taking us into fantasy realms, and my suspicion is that climate scientists are doing the same thing. If so, it’s just the latest episode in the Ptolemaic epicycle saga.

    36. David L

      “My projection for this winter is based on my conjecture that the problems in the Arctic region will have been more in evidence this Northern Summer than they will this coming Northern Winter. I project a very wet Northern Winter for much of Northern Europe, Central Europe and the American Eastern Seaboard. I think the Typhoon season (which unlike the Hurricane Season has seen increased activity) will be stronger for longer this year than in the last decade. Also, I think there will be a lot of unusually strong rainfall in places you would not normally expect it, like parts of Italy, Greece and Turkey and Northern Africa. But that is pure conjecture, so feel free to correct me. I think it is very likely that the parts of North West England that suffered so much rain last year will receive more this year, and also parts of Scotland, particularly the West :-”

      Epic fail or what!!!

      Why don’t you try reading up about the effects of the sun on our systems. Nature, unlike climate scientists, does not ignore this particular input.

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