Tom Heap : Panoramic Nonsensity

Date: 9 November 2011
From: tim b
To: jo abbess

Hi Jo,

Just picked up on your blog following leads on Tom Heap – I’m writing a piece for my website (www.biggreenbang.co.uk) on the panorama / KPMG saga – just wanted to say what a great blog it is~!! Don’t find so many to-the-point sites in the UK – have picked up on guys like Joe Romm in the States but you seem to have your finger right on the pulse in the UK!

…Should explain that my site has been initiated by a load of IT techie nerds who are already working in telecoms and are about to launch a zero carbon mobile phone company (by a combination of using low carbon technology, buying into renewable power and carbon offsetting) They are committed to putting part of their profits into green projects and are setting up BGB in the hopes that it will be a vehicle for making sustainability issues available to a wider public – they have ambitions to develop it as a community resource too – They obviously hope to get spin-off business for their mobile phone network but I believe their motives are genuinely good and they seem to be giving me a fairly free rein!

look forward to hearing from you

=x=x=x=x=x=x=x=x=x=x=x=x=x=x=x=x=x=x=x=

Date: 10 November 2011
From: jo abbess
To: tim b

Hi Tim,

Good luck with the Panorama research.

Another person to follow on this is Christian Hunt at Carbon Brief :-

http://www.carbonbrief.org/blog/2011/11/looking-into-panoramas-sources
http://www.carbonbrief.org/blog/2011/11/kpmg-not-sure-if-written-report
http://www.carbonbrief.org/blog/2011/11/another-correction-from-the-mail-group-on-energy-bills

…Keep the green flag flying !

=x=x=x=x=x=x=x=x=x=x=x=x=x=x=x=x=x=x=x=

Date: 11 November 2011
From: tim b
To: jo abbess

Hi Jo,

Thanks for getting back,

I would like to send you a link to the article but for some strange reason its not been published yet – not so much research on Panorama as a general review of Knowns and Unknowns that a report based on figures from and unpublished draught press release throws up!! – It was a Carbon Brief piece that made me take the tack i took.

What I was really interested in was the cut of Tom Heap’s jib – I picked up on your site because I Googled his name – and lo and behold you critiqued the Beeb’s Climategate coverage saying, “some of the mistakes made by the reporter, Tom Heap, were laughable”.

My deeply sceptical mind started to wonder – especially given his Countryfile role, if he’s not one of the “farmer boy climate sceptics” (living in rural XXXXXXXXX with lots of Telegraph reading Hooray Henrys – I meet lots of them!) That is pure speculation on my part but even if it’s just a case of a young ambitious journalist trying to make a name for himself (and aware that good sceptic record will be a great career move for anyone wanting to work for Murdoch, The Mail, The Express… its a long and tragic list!) – he’s hardly generous with information!

…We are still sticking the nuts and bolts of the site together at the moment – my responsibility is writing relevant stories – and my background in environmental issues goes right back to the early days of the Sullom Voe oil terminal in the Shetland Islands (1970’s) I’ve been immersed in this stuff most of my adult life – starting out as a “back to the land idealistic greeny” and ending up a cynical old man – but still believing that this is the most improtant issue we have ever faced!

best wishes

=x=x=x=x=x=x=x=x=x=x=x=x=x=x=x=x=x=x=x=

Date: 11 November 2011
From: jo abbess
To: tim b

Hi Tim,

Don’t grow old and cynical. Instead, grow wise and excited about the prospects for positive change.

It won’t be your generation that fixes climate change with renewable energy, sustainable agriculture and a steady-state economy. It won’t be my generation, either – I’m older than many of the “senior” figures in the UK Government.

We owe it to the next generations to share our hope, knowledge and encouragement; and believe in them.

Scotland will have wind and marine power to replace the oil and gas economic compromise with the English. Wales and Ireland can become energy-independent and shake off Westminster. There will be more sanity, more loft insulation and peace.

I would suggest caution in trusting the BBC for energy news. The BBC people that actually know anything about energy appear to be sidelined by those rolling with the “national interest” programme, supporting UK energy companies and their tainted arguments; not realising that it’s in the interests of the energy business to transition out of carbon. I am looking forward to work by Fair Pensions and other organisations on how companies, and banks, can only survive by investing in renewable energy.

…Stay in touch,

=x=x=x=x=x=x=x=x=x=x=x=x=x=x=x=x=x=x=x=

Date: 15 November 2011
From: tim b
To: jo abbess

Hi Jo,

Fear not – Old and Cynical is a bit of a pose – having reached 60 this year I feel entitled to a degree of curmudgeonlyness – I am indeed excited by the positives, but I’m aware of the extent of change that is needed and the scale of resistance. I suppose the old cynical bit comes from an acute awareness of the political trickery and media manipulation being used by the energy industry in particular – The ST/Panorama thing is a case in point – they’ve sucessfully run a well publicised negative story with a headline figure of £34 billion savings on a report that still (as far as I know today) remains unpublished. The manipulation of media, astroturfing and funding of front organisations in the USA by the likes of Koch and Exxon has led to a political fantasy world over there – with climate denial held as orthodoxy by the right. There’s evidence this ultra neo-con agenda is influential in the current [UK] government.

Liam Fox’s Atlantic Bridge charity had close ties with ALEC – a well funded influence peddling machine that gets its money from similar sources – (check out ALEC Exposed for a bit more insight) – two of its trustees [William] Hague and George Osborne (and especially Osborne) are leaders of the climate denial lobby within the Cabinet (Osborne’s father-in-law – is David Howell – and he’s apparently a prominent Climate Change denier). The gulf between the Government’s promises on carbon targets etc and its actions is growing at a rate – and it doesn’t seem beyond the realms of possibility that a beleaguered David Cameron would offer a withdrawal of support for renewables against a get out of jail card on Europe.

I’m not saying that the Panorama report is deliberate manipulation – but I don’t think it’s a possibility that should be ruled out. The technique of “reporting” on unpublished reports has popped up a few times this year – if memory serves me correctly the [Daily] Mail ran a whole load of spurious headlines on the costs of the new Electricity Reform Bill on pure speculation.

So yes, agreed that we have to be positive and hopeful – but feel we have to keep an eye and a voice on the “rich old white men” who seem to be determined to use no holds barred dirty tricks to stop a move towards a decarbonised world – as for it being future generations that will be the ones who change things – well The [International Energy Agency] IEA are saying we have 5 years to get on top of carbon emissions – not a body exactly renowned for making provocative extravagant claims. One of the things they highlight is that future carbon consumption is locked in by the investments we make today – build a coal power plant and we’re locked into burning coal for the next 40 years etc – I’m sure you are a aware of these issues as I am – so I feel I have to disagree about leaving it to younger generations – we are all in this together and my year old grandson has no voice – I have to speak for him!

Good grief – all this stuff sounds terribly like a conspiracy theory – I’ve fought against believing it but the evidence train is so strong that it has to be taken seriously

best wishes

=x=x=x=x=x=x=x=x=x=x=x=x=x=x=x=x=x=x=x=

Date: 15 November
From: jo abbess
To: tim b

Hi Tim,

As Cameron says, “calm down, dear”. You’re not a conspiracy theorist – you’re just doing some critical thinking.

It is now clear that the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change will be ineffectual in delivering a workable carbon treaty. The International Energy Agency and the US Energy Information Administration are powerless. The G20 Governments are incompetent. Carbon taxation and carbon trading are dead in the water – because they are based on faulty economics. The Climate Finance Fund for mitigation and adaptation will be as poorly funded as the international aid programmes. Deforestation will continue apace.

Stupid old white men do not have an evil agenda – they seriously believe they are doing the right thing (especially if it ups their share price). However, they do have an agenda – business as usual – and this does need to be critiqued.

There is no prospect of “business as usual” for a number of reasons – Peak Oil being one of them. We could discuss different opinions about the causes of Peak Oil for several weeks, but the data is in. The “business as usual” approach to tackling Peak Oil is a ramshackle plan to drill more, in more places, including the Arctic; to do Coal-to-liquids, Gas-to-liquids projects; to try to coax algae to produce biodiesel, a whole range of ethanol and methanol projects. All of these will fail. Where was the Arctic physically during the Permian ? Paleogeography indicates there’s not much oil in the Arctic. Algae breed messily and slowly. Coal is also peaking. Gas is going to peak in 2030 – 2035.

The problem with these problems is that most people are not paid to see them, or they are paid not to see them, which is why you have the climate change denial lobby, and the renewable energy rubbishing lobby.

My view on these matters is that there is no evil, just incompetence. And this needs to be continually shown to the light with sanity and clarity.

Keep on at it (and do keep in touch – although I rarely enter into lengthy correspondence),

=x=x=x=x=x=x=x=x=x=x=x=x=x=x=x=x=x=x=x=

Date: 15 November 2011
From: jo abbess
To: tim b

Hi Jo

…should emphasise that I don’t believe the evidence points to a conspiracy theory. Rather the opposite – its so strong it’s clearly not a conspiracy theory. A year ago I would have thought the notion that corporate power in the [United] States was systematically funding the stuff it funds ridiculous – now I feel a bit silly not knowing it was going on!

As for “not being evil” – Well I guess that depends how evil is defined – in my demonology spreading deliberate lies in order to knowingly pursue a path that will cause harm to others ranks fairly high on “the things I would define as evil” scale. Pursuing a course that gives a favourable balance sheet but putting the global eco-system at risk definitely justifies the tag! Having said that, I’m not concerned with moral judgements so much as trying to explore ways of getting a broader mass of people to recognise the biggest obstacle to the kind of paradigm shifts we need to make are political rather than technological – it’s as if we are fighting against a Goebbels style propaganda campaign but no one even knows its happening. I suppose part of the point of BGB is to try and introduce these notions to the “wanna be green by means of farmers markets and good recycling” to the harder nosed side of the issues in as gentle way as possible.

cheers

=x=x=x=x=x=x=x=x=x=x=x=x=x=x=x=x=x=x=x=

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *