Everyone’s Entitled to their Opinion

Yes, indeed they are. Everyone is entitled to hold their own particular opinion. In this democracy of ideas, every longshot, wingnut, bonehead, rogue, charlatan, conspiracy theorist, crank, crony and astroturfer should be permitted access to the microphone on the stage. If we hold a public meeting about immigration, we should, of course, invite a white supremicist, a member of the British National Party, and a Daily Mail journalist to offer us their wise words. If we hold a sociological symposium on the Second World War, we should of course invite a Holocaust-denier. If an engineering conference, a cold fusion-in-a-test-tube enthusiast. Of course we should provide balance, as much balance as possible, and offer wisdom, insight and rant from all ends of all spectra. It’s only reasonable.

It therefore goes without question that somebody from the Global Warming Policy Foundation “think tank”, so copiously and generously sponsored by a person or persons unknown, should be invited to speak on the platform, or in a panel, at a well-funded quasi-establishment meeting on Climate Change. Regardless of a complete lack of training in atmospheric physics, or even knowledge of the span of the last five years in the science of global warming, naturally, a GWPF man must be invited by GovToday to a presitigious conference to be held on 29th November 2011 in the City of London grandly entitled “2011 Carbon Reduction : The Transition to a Low Carbon Economy”.

Continue reading Everyone’s Entitled to their Opinion

The Problem of Powerlessness #2

On Wednesday, I received a telephone call from an Information Technology recruitment consultancy. They wanted to know if I would be prepared to provide computer systems programming services for NATO.

Detecting that I was speaking with a native French-speaker, I slipped into my rather unpracticed second language to explain that I could not countenance working with the militaries, because I disagree with their strategy of repeated aggression.

I explained I was critical of the possibility that the air strikes in Libya were being conducted in order to establish an occupation of North Africa by Western forces, to protect oil and gas interests in the region. The recruitment agent agreed with me that the Americans were the driving force behind NATO, and that they were being too warlike.

Whoops, there goes another great opportunity to make a huge pile of cash, contracting for warmongers ! Sometimes you just have to kiss a career goodbye. IT consultancy has many ethical pitfalls. Time to reinvent myself.

I’ve been “back to school” for the second university degree, and now I’m supposed to submit myself to the “third degree” – go out and get me a job. The paucity of available positions due to the poor economic climate notwithstanding, the possibility of ending up in an unsuitable role fills me with dread. One of these days I might try to write about my experiences of having to endure several kinds of abuse whilst engaged in paid employment : suffice it to say, workplace inhumanity can be unbearable, some people don’t know what ethical behaviour means, and Human Resources departments always take sides, especially with vindictive, manipulative, micro-managers. I know what it’s like to be powerless.

Continue reading The Problem of Powerlessness #2

Steve McIntyre : Plan Beak

[ UPDATE : SKEPTICALSCIENCE HAVE DEBUNKED STEVE McINTYRE. ]

Steve McIntyre, probably the only person on the planet who might grumble about the cost of Barack Obama’s suit rather than his all-American wars, has suddenly become an expert energy engineer, it seems.

This month, he’s taking aim at the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, or IPCC, regarding their special report on Renewable Energy, questioning the contributions of an engineer, Sven Teske, and basing his objections on the fact that Teske works for Greenpeace :-

http://climateaudit.org/2011/06/14/ipcc-wg3-and-the-greenpeace-karaoke/
http://climateaudit.org/2011/06/16/responses-from-ipcc-srren/
http://climateaudit.org/2011/06/18/lynas-questions/
http://climateaudit.org/2011/06/20/the-carbon-brief-a-first-coat-of-whitewash/

Flinging any kind of pseudo-mud he can construe at the IPCC is not Steve’s newest of tricks, but it still seems to be effective, going by the dance of the close cohort of the very few remaining loyal climate change “sceptics” who get published in widely-read media :-

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2011/06/18/lynas_greenpeace_ipcc_money_go_round/
http://www.theregister.co.uk/2011/06/18/lynas_greenpeace_ipcc_money_go_round/page2.html
http://www.nationalpost.com/opinion/columnists/Lost+desmog/4968296/story.html
http://thegwpf.org/the-climate-record/3231-ipcc-used-greenpeace-campaigner-to-write-impartial-report-on-renewable-energy.html
http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/jamesdelingpole/100092809/greenpeace-and-the-ipcc-time-surely-for-a-climate-masada/

He even pulled the turtleneck over Andrew Revkin’s eyes for a while :-
http://dotearth.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/06/15/a-deeper-look-at-an-energy-analysis-raises-big-questions/

And Mark Lynas has been joining in, in his own nit-picky way :-
http://www.marklynas.org/2011/06/new-ipcc-error-renewables-report-conclusion-was-dictated-by-greenpeace/
http://www.marklynas.org/2011/06/questions-the-ipcc-must-now-urgently-answer/
http://www.marklynas.org/2011/06/new-allegation-of-ipcc-renewables-report-bias/
http://www.marklynas.org/2011/06/the-ipcc-renewables-controversy-where-have-we-got-to/

The few comebacks have been bordering on the satirical, or briefly factual, with the exception of Carbon Brief’s very measured analysis of the IPCC’s communication expertise :-
http://www.carbonbrief.org/blog/2011/06/the-ipcc-and-the-srren-report
http://www.jeremyleggett.net/2011/06/mark-lynas-questions-hether-greenpeace-expert-should-be-an-ipcc-author/
http://thinkprogress.org/romm/2011/06/16/246665/ipcc-renewables-2/

Leo Hickman’s being bravely evenhanded :-
http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/blog/2011/jun/21/peace-talks-climate-change-sceptics

It’s not a total surprise that New Scientist and The Economist wade in deep :-
http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn20583-conflict-of-interest-claimed-for-ipcc-energy-report.html
http://www.economist.com/blogs/babbage/2011/06/ipcc-and-greenpeace

Sven Teske’s explanation has not been accepted by Mark Lynas, although it seems really OK to me :-
http://www.greenpeace.org/international/en/news/Blogs/climate/the-ipccs-renewables-report-finds-a-clean-ene/blog/35322

The Daily Mail digs out the usual emotive terms :-
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2004440/Leading-climate-change-group-used-Greenpeace-campaigner-write-impartial-report-renewable-energy.html?ito=feeds-newsxml

Steve McIntyre is playing out the “Princess and the Pea” narrative, complaining about a few wrunkles in a process of international collaboration, and distracting us from looking at the actual report, which I would encourage you most warmly to do :-

http://srren.ipcc-wg3.de/
http://srren.ipcc-wg3.de/report

It is full of the most incredible case studies and intriguing engineering discoveries. It makes cautious, conservative calculations, and looks at conditions and caveats in a very transparent manner. For a work that relied on the contributions of over 120 people and managed to compose a document so helpful and illuminating, I’d say it’s a work of profound achievement, and should be read in every school and university. Four scenarios from a collection of 164 are studied in depth to compare their strengths and weaknesses – and the conclusion of the SRREN team is that :-

http://srren.ipcc-wg3.de/press/content/potential-of-renewable-energy-outlined-report-by-the-intergovernmental-panel-on-climate-change

“Close to 80 percent of the world‘s energy supply could be met by renewables by mid-century if backed by the right enabling public policies…”

Somehow, though, Steve McIntyre believes otherwise. I suppose it’s not completely fair to berate him, because he might be suffering from a delusion, given that he seems to believe his opinion trumps that of over a hundred of the world’s authorities on what is possible in Renewable Energy technologies; and I’m the last person who would criticise somebody for having a mental illness.

I’m wondering, however, since he often sticks his nose up at IPCC matters, and since the world is suffering from stress in the supply of fossil fuels, whether he has a “Plan Beak” for the world’s energy crisis ?

Come on Steve McIntyre, tell us what your plan is to provide energy for humanity. Don’t tell me you believe that Nuclear Power is the way forward. I just won’t believe you, and a large number of the citizens of the UK, France, Germany, Japan, Italy and help us all, even Switzerland, would share my doubts.

As everybody can clearly see from the Columbia University graph at the top of this post, the IPCC are right about emissions, and the global warming data shows they’re right about that too. Why should they be wrong about Renewable Energy ?

I mean, I detect there are a few issues with the way the IPCC organises itself, and the style of its reports, but hey, where’s the viable alternative ? I don’t see one, anywhere. And don’t go pointing me to groups with pretensions.

We may just have to get used to complex international bodies, formed of complex, intelligent people, and learn how to read their complex, intricate reports with care and attention. And not get distracted by grumpy semi-retired mining consultants.

Mark Lynas : Turn Turtle

from : Jo Abbess
to : Mark Lynas
cc : George Monbiot
date : Thu, Jun 16, 2011 at 8:07 PM
subject : You may not have properly understood Germany’s energy plan

Dear Mark,

From where I’m sitting, you appear not to have understood Germany’s energy plan, which centres on ramping up and rolling out as much renewable energy as possible.

You are quoted, and write :-

http://us.arevablog.com/2011/06/16/quote-of-the-day-42/
http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/blog/2011/jun/15/italy-nuclear-referendum

“If the German greens really took climate change seriously, they would instead be pushing for a phase-out of coal – which generates by far the largest proportion of the country’s power and consequent carbon emissions – from Germany’s electricity grid. Instead, the new nuclear phase-out plan will see a hefty 11GW of new coal plants built in years to come, with an additional 5GW of new gas. The only way emissions from these plants could be controlled would be through “carbon capture and storage” (CCS) – yet Greenpeace in Germany has already mounted a successful scaremongering campaign against this new technology, helping to ensure that future fossil emissions will go into the atmosphere unabated.”

How does having strong renewable energy ambition sit with commissioning new coal power plants ?

Well, as you probably know, the wind does not always blow and the sun does not always shine – hence back up is required. Nuclear power cannot back up wind power or solar power because it is not very flexible.

Coal and gas are easily stored, and coal and gas power plants can be kept awaiting use as and when required by renewable lulls.

There is no point in fitting Carbon Capture (and eventually Storage) to coal fired power plants if they’re only going to be used for occasional wind back up – too expensive. And the tests are showing problems. And even though it’s claimed that CCS can take away 90% of the emissions, it’s more like 85% because CCS uses more coal fuel.

It would be better if Germany opted totally for new gas plant for their wind back up, but they appear to not want to be big importers of fossil fuels, so they’ve gone mostly for coal which they can mine, at a pinch, at home. In the UK we’re going for gas, because we believe in continued good relations with Qatar (via the House of Saud ?) and Russia (via BP ?)

The amount of time that coal and gas plants will be in use when renewable energy is fully developed in Gemany will be days per year in total. So in 20 years time when they’ve built all their wind and solar, they get to meet their carbon targets and still have operational coal and gas plant for when necessary.

How is it that you’ve missed this central plank of their policy ?

On the one hand, I could be asked to excuse this lapse of reasoning on your part – as far as I know you haven’t trained as an energy engineer, so how could you be expected to understand load balancing and load following in the real world ?

On the other hand, you’ve just written a book extolling the virtue of nuclear engineering, in effect dismissing the sensible decisions that Germany and other countries have taken, so I cannot let this pass by without commenting.

Sorry to report it, but you’ve just made it into my Little Book of The World’s Most Annoying Men because you appear to have no idea about the pitfalls of nuclear power, you do not seem to understand other approaches to the energy crisis; and in addition, you have built a generalist argument concocted from stereotypes to make the green movement the punch bag for your position. When I read a similar irrational rant in Anthony Giddens’ book “The Politics of Climate Change”, I became so angry, my reptile-inherited brain took over, and I threw the book across the room.

Why, I ask myself, are you following in Giddens’ footsteps and becoming so reactionary ? Are you adopting the position of George Monbiot, who seems to be evolving into a curmudgeon ?

I shall not be buying your new book, because your arguments are, to my mind, faulty.

Regards,

jo.

Mark Lynas : Mutant Ninja

Mark Lynas may call himself a “green”, and be a clean-shaven, respectable, politely-spoken Oxford academic type but he appears to be mutating into something very unappealing indeed. He’s written some good books on climate change – every schoolroom and university module should have one – but on energy, he is deep in the political woods, without even a wind-up flashlight.

His latest stunt is to join in with accusations from Steve McIntyre of Climate Audit that the IPCC’s report on Renewable Energy has been partly crafted by people without appropriate independence or expertise. Here, from Andrew Revkin :-

http://dotearth.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/06/15/a-deeper-look-at-an-energy-analysis-raises-big-questions/

“The IPCC must urgently review its policies for hiring lead authors – and I would have thought that not only should biased ‘grey literature’ be rejected, but campaigners from NGOs should not be allowed to join the lead author group and thereby review their own work.”

And who is this nefarious untalented Non-Governmental Organisation ? Greenpeace, it appears, according to Mark Lynas, is not capable of writing about the future of energy (or even the current situation).

Daniel Kammen has weighed in and The Revkin has updated his post :-

“There is no Himalaya-gate here at all. While there are some issues with individual chapters, there is no ‘Greenpeace Scenario.’ The 77% carbon free by 2050 is actually more conservative than some cases. The European Climate Foundation, for example has a 100% carbon neutral scenario and Price Waterhouse has a very low carbon one for North Africa. Further, while the IPCC works from published cases, the scenarios are evaluated and assessed by a team.”

There have been a number of reports written in the last year that back the viability of Renewable Energy technologies in replacing the world’s fossil fuel and nuclear energy systems. Not all of them were crafted by Greenpeace researchers. In fact, virtually none of them. Nuclear…yes…maybe it’s that little word “nuclear” that’s the root cause of Mark Lynas’ problem with Greenpeace.

In the Guardian, he is quoted as saying :-

http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/blog/2011/jun/15/italy-nuclear-referendum
http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2011/jun/13/greenpeace-foe-charles-secrett-criticism

“Many ‘green’ campaigns, like those against nuclear power and GM crops, are not actually scientifically defensible…”

And that’s where you are so wrong, Mark Lynas with the book coming out soon that you seem so desperate to publicise by saying things you know people will find annoying. Nuclear power is a TECHNOLOGY, not a SCIENCE. This is the same basic category error made by Dick Taverne and a number of other public commentators who don’t appear to have an engineering background.

TECHNOLOGY is where people decide that their designs to make something look like they’ll work, build them and don’t foresee flaws with them. SCIENCE is where people study the technology that they’ve built and research the flaws that appear and report on them. Science is what has shown the limitations with the original boasts about genetically modified crops. It turns out that GMOs are a ruse to sell chemicals. And on nuclear fission – the science is in and on the front of your daily newspaper : nuclear power plants pose a number of risks. The advice of the reputable scientists and engineers – old fission nuclear power plants should be withdrawn.

But returning to Renewable Energy, a number of organisations now believe that the demise of fossil fuels needn’t stop humanity from accessing abundant energy. Here is just a very short compilation :-

The Two Marks : Mark A. Delucchi and Mark Z. Jacobson :-
http://www.peopleandplace.net/on_the_wire/2011/2/5/mark_jacobson_and_mark_delucchi_wind_water_and_solar

PriceWaterhouseCooper :-
http://www.pwc.co.uk/eng/publications/100_percent_renewable_electricity.html

CAT Zero Carbon Britain 2030 :-
http://www.zerocarbonbritain.com/

Roadmap 2050 :-
http://www.roadmap2050.eu/

European Renewable Energy Council R[e]volution :-
http://www.erec.org/media/publications/energy-revolution-2010.html

But oh, no, we can’t quote the last one because Greenpeace researchers were involved, and Mark Lynas wouldn’t approve of that. Mark Lynas appears to be living in a world where Greenpeace people can’t have engineering research skills because they have ideals, working for a world that uses safe, clean energy.

The IPCC report on Renewable Energy is here :-
http://srren.ipcc-wg3.de/

Much as I respect turtles, I have to say it – Mark Lynas, you’re a turtle – slow-moving and easy to catch out and turn into soup. You should know by now not to get sucked in by spurious non-arguments from Steve McIntyre. The “cleantech” industry that’s ramping up to provide the world with green energy is worth billions, soon to be trillions of dollars worldwide, and this fact appears to have completely passed you by. The only future for energy is sustainable, renewable, non-nuclear, clean, quiet and safe. There is no other viable, liveable, option.

[ UPDATE : In the Independent newspaper, Mark Lynas is quoted as remarking “Campaigners should not be employed as lead authors in IPCC reports”. So, Mark, it’s really fine for employees of the major oil, gas and mining companies to take a leading role on major IPCC reports; but it’s not fine, according to you, that somebody working for much less money and much higher principles than mere corporate profit should contribute ? Denigrating somebody for being a “campaigner” is a stereotypical insult. Everybody’s got an agenda, campaigners included. What’s your agenda, Mark ? Selling your new book ? Don’t be dismissive about Greenpeace researchers. They may have ideals, but they’re not naive – they also have brains – and with their declared position on getting at the truth they can be trusted to be direct, decent and honest. Where’s your ethical compass, Mark ? ]

Viva Italia !

Adam Curtis : Daft Punk

[ UPDATE : BRILLIANT DECONSTRUCTION OF ADAM CURTIS’ WORK FROM BEN WOODHAMS ]

The final part (I really hope it is the final part) of Adam Curtis’ trilogy on “Evil” Computers and “Devillish” Enviromentalists – “All Watched Over By Machines of Loving Grace” – a title drawn from a poem written by what would appear to be a madman – has now been uploaded to YouTube, allowing me to view it without taking part in the memory-eating public monitoring disappointment that is BBC iPlayer :-

Adam Curtis certainly reveals himself as a little monkeyish in this episode, throwing overarm and underhand javelins at “liberals” of all hues and cries, particularly environmental ones; and throwing in liberal references to primates wherever he can, seemingly to suggest that mankind has un- or de-evolved by adopting computing tools and studying the natural world.

Continue reading Adam Curtis : Daft Punk

Carbon Dioxide – a virtual, negative commodity

http://www.cato.org/event.php?eventid=7999

I found this excellent little CATO Institute debate somewhere in my Twitter stream, and I watched the whole of it, despite the annoying accents and speaking styles of the speakers, and the insider economics references to Pigou and Coase (they’re only theorems, you know).

I thought that Kate Gordon made some excellent rebuttals to Andrew Morriss’ whining, pedantic free marketeering, and I was with her right up until the last few frames when she said that the Center for American Progress, of course, supports a carbon tax, as this is, of course, the best way to prevent Carbon Dioxide emissions.

Such disappointment ! To find that somebody so intelligent cannot see the limitations of carbon pricing is a real let down. I tend to find that American “progressives” on the whole are rather wedded to this notion of environmental taxation, “internalising the externalities” – adding the damages from industrial activities into the cost of the industrial products. I do not see any analysis of the serious flaws in this idea. Just what are they drinking ? What’s in the Kool-Aid ?

Continue reading Carbon Dioxide – a virtual, negative commodity

The spoils of war

See the rest of Gaddafi’s speech to the United Nations here

When did Colonel Muammar Gaddafi learn of threats from the world’s major oil consumer countries against his rule ? Was it in early 2011 ? Or was it several years earlier ? On the public stage, he has been deliberately reduced to a figure of fun, and his message advising non-aggression and protection from aggression is being lost. He is now a desperate man :-

http://www.youtube.com/?v=DTjpdUiILDw

Continue reading The spoils of war

A Fairy Castle of Froth

Well, it would seem the wheels have definitely come off the Climate Change sceptic-denier trolley bus, and the passengers are raving, and metaphorically drowning in their own pus-riddled intellectual bile, judging by the spluttered, splattered comments I am receiving on this web log.

Wegman is going down (the anti-science, anti-Hockey Stick Wegman Report, you understand, not the man himself) – and I mean down; down to the depths of dissmissal and reproach, and scorn mountains will be heaped, and his “strange scholarship” will be ribbed and ridiculed and his assertions and claims fobbed off for ever more, it seems, by those whose opinions really count :-

http://deepclimate.org/2010/11/16/replication-and-due-diligence-wegman-style/

http://deepclimate.org/2010/09/26/strange-scholarship-wegman-report/

http://climatechangepsychology.blogspot.com/2010/11/turns-out-climate-skeptics-favorite.html

“Turns out climate skeptics’ favorite report (the Wegman Report) might not be as scientific as Congressman Joe Barton claims…”

We’re talking pit-wise plumbing here, the nether reaches of the pile of tried-and-rejected hypotheses. We’re talking dearie-dearie-me, what a mess have we got here, then ? :-

http://climateprogress.org/2010/11/21/wegman-exposed-experts-find-shocking-plagiarism-in-2006-climate-report-requested-by-joe-barton-r-tx/

Michael Mann was right. You, dear sceptic-deniers, are wrong. Even the Daily Mail newspaper says so, and don’t retort that, of course, the Daily Maelstrom is not exactly the Source of All Validity, and testily question why I trust the Daily Maul when it agrees with me, and not otherwise :-

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1332347/Influential-climate-change-report-copied-Wikipedia.html?ito=feeds-newsxml

“Influential climate change report ‘was copied from Wikipedia’ : By DAILY MAIL REPORTER : 23rd November 2010 : Research questioning the validity of global warming was copied from Wikipedia and textbooks, it has been claimed. A report by statistician Edward Wegman criticised earlier research led by scientist Michael Mann that said global temperatures were highest in the last century than the previous 1,000 years. But according to plagiarism experts, ‘significant’ sections of the 91-page report were lifted from ‘textbooks, Wikipedia and the writings of one of the scientists criticised in the report’…”

You can take or leave your truth universe, and the Daily Mall certainly does that, but I’ll stick with the data, thanks, the hard-won, carefully-kept, un-fudged, un-compromised actual measurements… Continue reading A Fairy Castle of Froth

We Will Get To You

Video Credit : Brooklyn Space Program

Eventually we will reach you.

Scientists are proverbially poor at communication, but we will eventually be able to explain to you what is happening to the Earth in a way that you will understand.

You need to give some time to the data, to the arguments. You need to read the significant research papers, learn how to read graphs, learn the acronyms, abbreviations, technical terms.

You will need to be able to weigh in your mind the significance of probabilities, the risks of extremes, the trends, the changing patterns.

After a while, you will start to reappraise the evidence, and start looking into the data and see the conclusions for yourself.

You will begin to appreciate the strong line of reasoning, and come to be in awe of the minds of many who work on Climate Change.

I’ve become impressed by the body of scientific evidence, that’s why I will always be aligned with the Climate Change science community.

We’re not going anywhere. We’re here, and we’re right. There has already been significant change in the Earth’s climate due to humankind’s mining-to-burn activities, and the projections are for further, possibly very dangerous change.

The scientists know what the problems are, and what the engineering solutions are. Some companies/corporations, economists and politicans and sadly even some compromised “environmentalists” promote non-solutions like carbon pricing, Carbon Taxation, Carbon Trading, Carbon Capture (and Storage), GM Crops, Nuclear Power, geoengineering – but the academies of scientists are telling you they won’t work, or won’t solve all the problems.

What is needed is wholesale removal of Fossil Fuels from the global economy in order to prevent further deterioration and disruption in the global climatic conditions. Either BP, Shell, Chevron and ExxonMobil hang up their boots forever, or they need to embrace new clean energies (not Nuclear Power) to stay in business.

Oil, gas and coal depletion in the production facilities of those countries that are national players will mean that they will go bust, because a consistently high price for Fossil Fuels is not supportable, because the global economy is so Fossil Fuel-dependent currently. This is both a buyer’s market and a seller’s market, so the price will be governed by the operation of this two-sided cartel, not by the theories of “scarcity economics”.

Either Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Iran, China, Venezuela and so on are on their way to extreme poverty, or they will embrace new clean energies (not Nuclear Power) to stay economically developed.

Meanwhile, the project of empirical scientific enquiry continues apace, and even though rich fossil fuel businesses are financing doubt, even though people with pension funds in mining pour scorn on Climate Change science, and even though the mainstream media can’t recognise uneducated propaganda when they meet it; you need to trust the intellectual community of Climate Change science researchers.

Stop listening to accusations of malpractice, dodgy data, weak methods, poor models. Do you really know what you are talking about when you pass judgement on the scientific community ? Who told you that scientists were wrong ? Can you really trust the people who tell you not to trust the scientific community ? Do you have the right or the authority to lay somebody else’s fabricated blame at the door of those whose whole lives are devoted to discovering the truth ?

Why don’t you do an integrity check on your sources, before replicating myths ?

Read the science journals and not the newspapers, is my advice.

And when it comes to the Internet, search wisely. You can’t believe every website you come across – there are some web loggers who are misled, and there are others seeking to mislead.

If you want to filter out the nonsense, try this :-

True Science

Pete Ridley : Three Strikes

In a spirit of complete transparency, I share with you an e-mail from Peter Ridley CEng MIEE (see below), a moving, rambling feast of what some would call complete irrelevancies.

Pete, if you’ve got something to share that’s positive, productive and progressive, then please do so. However, this recent e-mail from you (see below) ticks none of those boxes and I shall not waste my time by replying to your e-mail or taking it seriously.

You have three more strikes and then you’re out, unless you stick to the subject of this web log in your communications to me.

This web log is about keeping the Climate stable – it’s about the problems already being caused by Global Warming and about efforts to address those.

Yes, it’s also about hearing different views, and about working out what to accept and ignore.

Most of the comments made here by Climate Change sceptic-deniers are pure entertainment for those who know what’s really going on.

It’s rare to read something that’s free from irrational argument from Climate Change sceptic-deniers.

I’m sure you wouldn’t want to have your efforts become ridiculed, so please start being serious about the science of Climate Change instead of complaining about perceived political bias.

Climate Change is not a polarised political argument as you seem to think judging by your web log. Policy thinkers and workaday politicians of all stripes and none are engaged on a common agenda to tackle the root causes of excess Carbon Dioxide emissions.

The reason that politicians and diplomatic missions take part in the United Nations process on Climate Change (UNFCCC), and the reviewing of the IPCC reports, is because the environmental and economic impacts of global warming are likely to have serious consequences.

It’s lazy to dismiss all politicians as selfish, money-grabbing and power-hungry without a moral duty to the truth. There are many politicians who are genuine, upright and want what’s best.

You must be able to work this out – it can’t be that every last Member of Parliament is on the take or working for backhanders, as some commentators continue to insist, can it ?

And what about Climate Change Science ? How could people survive unchallenged in academia if they cut-and-paste or fabricate ? Upholding the good reputation of the academic institutions is why I will not enter into general discussion about my course of study on this web log, so please don’t press me on that issue any further. Surely you could have worked this out ? You’re smart enough.

Please drop the conspiracy theories and start thinking logically about the Science of Climate Change and the implications it holds.

Slightly tangentially, I am currently reading a book by Gwynne Dyer called “Climate Wars”. Although I don’t like some of the attitudes and some of the views of some of the people he mentions in the field of national and international security, at least they take Climate Change scenarios seriously, and are willing to try to navigate the future in the best way.

You would earn my respect if you could do the same.


from Peter Ridley
to Jo Abbess
date Mon, Oct 18, 2010 at 9:38 PM

Jo, please excuse me for contacting you by E-mail uininvited but I wanted to respond privately to one of the comments on your “The Messia: With us …” thread.

Ref. the comment bt “Stormboy” on October 18th at 03:13, the original comment was posted by the real Stormboy (AKA Phil – who runs the evangelical Bloodwoodtree blog at http://bloodwoodtree.org) on 14th February at 08:23:48AM following months of exchanges between us on Australian Senator Steve Fielding’s blog. Despite repeated requests Phil was unprepared to reveal any evidence of having demonstrated scientific expertise regarding global climate processes and drivers, e.g. through peer-reviewed papers. Phil had said that he used a false name because of previous threats against him and his family.

Towards the end of our public exchanges Phil persistently called me a con man, which I did not appreciate, coming as it did from someone who I considered was cowering behind a false name, so I decided to try to track him down. I was astounded that I was able to find out, in only four hours on the Internet using Google, who he was, where he worked, his E-Mil address and details of family and friends. This was from information that he had put into the public domain. One source of much of this information was Facebook, which brought home to me the importance of heeding repeated police warnings of the dangers of the Internet. I immediately warned members of my family about taking great care on Facebook. I also contacted Phil, through Facebook, by E-mail and on his own blog, about how easy it had been to track him down but in the process frightened his wife and of course gave Phil a scare too. He didn’t know what kind of a person I am and was understandably concerned. That was why he posted that comment on Steve Fielding’s blog.

I quickly apologised to Phil for frightening his family and since then we have resolved any differences that we had (other than about the causes of global climate change) and have exchanged numerous friendly E-mails. Phil confirmed to me a few days ago, after that comment of his appeared recently on the Greenfudge blog, that he has only posted the comment once, on Senator Fielding’s blog in February.

That comment of Phil’s has been posted repeatedly by another person who hides behind numerous false names. These include Cooloola, Guess Who, Lord Monkton, Phoenix and JA. She has also pretended to be me and fellow sceptics PeggyB and Colin. Now she has started posing as Stormby himself. She is a thoroughly nasty, dishonest, cowardly, bullying Australian from Queensland who has been hurling vile abuse at any sceptic who upset her on Senator Fielding’s blog. Now that it has closed (he’s no longer a Senator) she is looking for anywhere else to spit her invective. I’ve tried very hard to track her down and expose her but could only get as close as the Maroochidor/Noosa/Cooloola area of Queensland.

If you are interested you can pick up those repeats by Googling “he spent four hours on the net hunting down my last name”. The ones on Steve Fieldings blog are cached versions.

Best regards, Pete


Wind Power : Material Fatigues

Image Credit : Cape Cod Living

James Delingpole follows in a long line of commentators with zero engineering experience in pouring scorn on a technology that could quite possibly save our skins :-

http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/jamesdelingpole/100056158/wind-farms-yet-another-brewing-disaster/

I don’t know what he harbours in his heart against wonderful wind turbines, but he seems to be part of a movement who delight in their failure. Just ask the Internet to show you “exploding wind turbines”.

For example :-

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HKkTUY2slYQ
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7nSB1SdVHqQ
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rkGXoE3RFZ8
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MOfHxINzGeo

Clearly, you need to be in full protective fatigues when battling this kind of bad press…in fact “fatigue” is exactly the right word to come back at Mr Delingpole’s cracked warning (of cracks in wind turbine bases).

Continue reading Wind Power : Material Fatigues

Rajendra Pachauri Must Stay !

Dr Rajendra Pachauri, you know, he’s like everybody’s grandfather.

Some report he’s a bit irritating, awkward, even, but that’s only when he has to respond to deliberately riling Media questions and smear campaigns.

His heart’s in the right place, he’s good at motivating people, he can see the big picture, he’s actually a very good communicator, and he’s done a lot to take the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change forward.

That’s no reason for various voices in the Media to start a new round of calling for his head. “Resign !” cry the so-called “libertarian” commentators, those voices that perversely reason that if Pachauri resigns, or gets tipped out, that it will set the IPCC back five years.

What we desperately need now is stability in the organisation of the IPCC – the Fifth Assessment Report will be monumental enough without the organisation having to adapt to a new leader that needs to learn how to corral everybody into good and productive working relationships.

Continue reading Rajendra Pachauri Must Stay !

Richard Black : Missing Data

[ UPDATE : JOE ROMM OF CLIMATE PROGRESS IS ALMOST CAUSTIC : “Dreadful climate story by BBC’s Richard Black” ]

Richard Black has noticed that the Arctic sea ice is melting – bravo ! But I can’t help thinking there’s something missing in this report of his. I know he probably didn’t write the headline, but he could have included a discussion on record low volumes of sea ice as well as nearly record low extent :-

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-11322310

“16 September 2010 : ‘Rapid’ 2010 melt for Arctic ice – but no record : Ice floating on the Arctic Ocean melted unusually quickly this year, but did not shrink down to the record minimum area seen in 2007. That is the preliminary finding of US scientists who say the summer minimum seems to have passed and the ice has entered its winter growth phase. 2010’s summer Arctic ice minimum is the third smallest in the satellite era…Walt Meier, a researcher at the National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC) in Boulder, Colorado, where the data is collated, said ice had melted unusually fast. “It was a short melt season – the period from the maximum to the minimum was shorter than we’ve had – but the ice was so thin that even so it melted away quickly,” he told BBC News…”

That’s right, Walt. And it should concern us.

The amount of older ice has dropped away – see graph at the top of this post – which suggests that the overall volume of ice could be much reduced as only older ice is thick.

But what does Richard Black focus on ?

“…computer models projecting a disappearance [ of summer Arctic sea ice ] very soon – 2013 was a date cited by one research group just a few years ago – seem to have been too extreme…”

Well that’s alright then. We can relax. The Arctic sea ice will be here for many summers to come. Or not. Who cares, really ? The important thing is that we have established by our cleverness that the whole Global Warming situation is not as bad as those alarmists/warmists say.

The Arctic is melting away and Richard Black needs to deny dire projections ?

The BBC : managing public perception for the benefit of a generally positive state of mind ?

Timewasting Woman ?

Dr Judith Curry will probably be wasting a lot of her valuable time in future, as she has started her own “balanced” web log :-

http://judithcurry.com/

Several commentors appear quite relieved that she has decided to stop (pa)trolling their websites and has gone off to draw all the sceptic hormonally-charged untrained non-scientists beta males to hers.

Phew ! Now perhaps we can get on with the Science and the Data in peace !

http://initforthegold.blogspot.com/2010/09/curry-blogs.html

http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2010/09/about_time.php

It’s a thankless task, engaging in dialogue with the voracious, capacious sceptics. Hopefully she gets paid for her trouble.

Excruciatingly, she’s in store for recurring complaints from Climate Change Scientists.

Continue reading Timewasting Woman ?

Christopher Booker : Reheated Tosh ?

Looks like Christopher Booker may have fallen from the safety net of sanity, judging by his latest output, which appears to be a jumble of trick-of-the-light semantics, plays on words, reheated half-errors and unwarranted accusations :-

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/comment/columnists/christopherbooker/7981979/A-cunning-bid-to-shore-up-the-ruins-of-the-IPCC.html

“A cunning bid to shore up the ruins of the IPCC : The Inter-Academy report into the IPCC, led by Rajendra Pachauri, tiptoes around a mighty elephant in the room, argues Christopher Booker. : By Christopher Booker : Published: 6:38PM BST 04 Sep 2010 : A report on the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, on behalf of the world’s leading scientific academies, last week provoked even some of the more committed believers in man-made global warming to demand the resignation of Dr Rajendra Pachauri as chairman of the IPCC. But is the report all that it seems? Last winter, the progress of this belief – that the world faces catastrophe unless we spend trillions of dollars to halt global warming – suffered an unprecedented reverse. In Copenhagen, the world’s leaders failed to agree a treaty designed to reshape the future of civilisation. This coincided with a series of scandals that blew up around the IPCC’s 2007 report. Since then several inquiries, including three into the leaked “Climategate” emails, have tried to hold the official line, all following a consistent pattern. Each has made a few peripheral criticisms, for plausibility, while deliberately avoiding the main issue. Each has then gone on to put over the required message: that the science of global warming remains unchallenged…”

“…demand the resignation of Dr Rajendra Pachauri…” ? Why ? Just because the world’s media are hounding him ?

“…a series of scandals…” ? What, the non-scandals puffed up into “news” that several newspapers have had to print retractions for ?

And they pay him to write this stuff ?

Clearly, the Daily Telegraph have money to burn.

Why is Christopher Booker’s opinion piece so poor (in my view) ?

For a start, read this web log post from Bart Verheggen :-

http://ourchangingclimate.wordpress.com/2010/09/03/ipcc-troubles-context-media-coverage/

“…most IPCC mistakes were minor or even imaginary, and most were in working group 2 about (regional) effects of climate change; they did not concern the physics of climate and why it is changing…”

He quotes the Dutch newspaper Volkskrant :-

“On the one hand climate scientists are expected to keep themselves to the facts only. At the same time their results and understanding are also arguments in the societal discussions about climate change. But as soon as they participate in this discussion accusations of bias come up. A more professional IPCC should not only work on the internal weaknesses and make and present itself as scientifically solid as possible. It will also have to make clear that its work has political implications, but that that doesn’t mean that it’s engaged in doing politics…”

This shows up the possibility that Christopher Booker’s writing is probably strongly biased as well as likely inaccurate.

How can it be that Christopher Booker (in my humble opinion) portrays the real situation so erroneously ?

Where does he get his views from ?

What is he trying to fight, here ? And why is he using rusty, broken weapons ? How is it that journalists and commentators have become so mistaken about an issue that’s so important to get right ?

Daily Express : Complain to the PCC

Yes, I’m inviting you to complain to the United Kingdom Press Complaints Commission regarding what appears to be a failure of accurate journalism in the Daily Express.

The question is, for you, have they “gone too far this time” ?

Here’s some e-mail traffic :-


from: Bob Ward
sent: 31 August 2010
subject: Express Denial

If you want to have a good chortle, have a look at this ‘Debate’ just launched on the website of the ‘The Daily Express’:

http://www.express.co.uk/posts/view/196681/DEBATE-Is-global-warming-just-a-con-

Apart from its one-sided title (‘Debate: Is ‘global warming’ just a con?’), I particularly enjoyed the illiterate reference to “LOSS OF CREDIBITY”. Well, after all, ‘The Daily Express’ should know about loss of credibility!

Bob Ward

Policy and Communications Director
Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment
London School of Economics and Political Science
Houghton Street
London WC2A 2AE
http://www.lse.ac.uk/grantham


from: James Pavitt
date: 31 August 2010

Have you seen the headline and front page??? This is the worst case of climate misrepresentation I’ve ever seen. I have made a complaint to the Press Complaints Committee, and urge others to do so too.

Continue reading Daily Express : Complain to the PCC

The One-Dimensional James Delingpole

A nod in the direction of Michael Tobis, who alerted me to the fact that James “Jems” Delingpole has been attempting to think his way out of the development box again :-

http://initforthegold.blogspot.com/2010/09/demographic-transition-cause-and-effect.html

http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/jamesdelingpole/100052106/and-your-solution-to-the-us-problem-would-be-what-exactly-boris/

James Delingpole recognises that Boris Johnson has decided to latch onto an easy picking :-

“…Lots of nice, sensible people will have agreed with him, I’m sure. It’s an easy political point to make: like being against chewing gum stuck on pavements or uncleaned up dog poo or boisterous, drunken youths in town centres or battery chickens or bear baiting. Of course we’d all like the world to be less populous…”

After all, those in the world who are busy reproducing are the poor, and it’s easy to promote the idea that they should show more responsibility in fecundity. Because they are over there, and we are over here. And telling other people what to do is always easier than changing ourselves.

Some people even go so far as to base their “overpopulation in developing countries” argument on the notion that all the poor people with their multitudes of poor children are deforesting the tropics for fuel wood – how terrible !

But really, the populous poor have a much smaller impact on the environment than the minority rich. And I’m talking general environmental terms, not just Climate Change.

But if you want to talk Global Warming, it’s the non-multiplying rich people who are causing the significant problem with their unrelenting Greenhouse Gas emissions. For example, the United States with only 400 million people, produces over 25% of global Greenhouse Gas emissions.

Continue reading The One-Dimensional James Delingpole

Northern Anomaly Snow Job

Data Credits : Inverse ENSO, AO Index and NAO Index

Earlier this year, many weather-watchers were theorising that unusual conditions in the Arctic atmospheric pressure patterns could be behind the deeply cold and snowy winter :-

http://www.nasa.gov/topics/earth/features/coldweather-2009.html
http://www.dailykos.com/story/2010/1/6/822520/-Freak-Current-Takes-Gulf-Stream-to-Greenland
http://climatechangepsychology.blogspot.com/2010/01/weakening-of-polar-vortex-in-arctic.html

The anti-science mob just jumped up and down and yelled at it, calling it “global cooling”, but that’s what you’d expect from a one-dimensional crowd trying to “snow job” the truth about Global Warming.

However, it has now been reliably demonstrated that a combination of a moderately strong El Nino and a very low North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO) index locked in cold conditions and higher than usual precipitation leading to general whiteout in medium latitudes :-

http://www.agu.org/pubs/crossref/2010/2010GL043830.shtml

Continue reading Northern Anomaly Snow Job

Cuccinelli : Want Fries With That ?

Virginia Attorney General Kenneth Cuccinelli appears to be permitted to pursue in the law courts his alleged “witch hunt” of everything liberal, free-thinking, freedom-loving, tolerant and open-minded that ever breathed – just because he can – this time kicking at the pit-props of intellectual freedom in research in Climate Change Science :-

http://www.legalnewsline.com/news/228460-ruling-on-global-warming-professor-coming

“24 August 2010 : Ruling on global warming professor coming : BY JESSICA M. KARMASEK : CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (Legal Newsline) – A ruling is expected in a week on a demand by Virginia Attorney General Kenneth Cuccinelli that the University of Virginia release research records of a well-known climate change researcher, according to The New York Times. Cuccinelli has demanded that the university produce information relating to grant applications by Michael E. Mann, who the Times calls a “prominent climate scientist.” It was Mann who produced the widely publicized “hockey stick” graph showing a sharp increase in global average temperatures in the industrial age. Mann worked at UVA from 1999-2005 and has since taught at Penn State University. His work was called into question in the investigations into the so-called Climategate scandal following the unauthorized release of hundreds of e-mails from a British climate center last fall. Several investigations, including an extensive review of his research by PSU, have cleared him of academic misconduct. Cuccinelli, a Republican and climate change skeptic, has already sued the federal Environmental Protection Agency to try to prevent it from imposing regulations on carbon dioxide and other climate-altering gases. Now, the attorney general has demanded that UVA release documents relating to Mann’s grant applications at the university. According to an article published in the Times on Tuesday, Cuccinelli suspects Mann may have violated the state’s Fraud Against Taxpayers Act by manipulating data in applications for more than $450,000 in research grants. But Mann and the university contend the attorney general is engaged in a “witch hunt” and is violating both academic freedom and the First Amendment…”

Virginia Attorney General Kenneth Cuccinelli appears to be wasting a lot of the State’s time and money on this derelict non-scandal. One wonders whether the citizens of Virginia will continue to require the services of Cuccinelli in future – if so, would he be reducd to serving in roadside diners at some point in the future just to make a living ?

Continue reading Cuccinelli : Want Fries With That ?

Thanks for all the great comments, guys

A note of thanks to all my intrepid and well-meaning commentators. Most of you are relatively in control of your emotions, which is so much of an improvement from a couple of years back when I got some nasty, threatening e-mails, and even a few heavy-breathing phonecalls. I did have a policeman in the house for a while with me – but that was only because we were house-sharing, not because I felt paranoid – which I didn’t. Feel paranoid, that is.

I’m hoping that Andrew Montford’s report for the Global Warming Policy Foundation, to be published over or just after this weekend, will show the same level of dignity in reply and opinion as your recent standard of commenting, not the distasteful “free speecher” rants we hear far too much of from American shock-jock-inspired attack “dogs”.

The one thing I don’t want to find on opening “Bishop Hill’s” work is a condemnation of the behaviour and attitudes of working Climate Change Scientists. First, because it is unfounded. And second, because ad hominem dissmisiveness is a pretty poor way to conduct a scientific discussion – just look at the years of suffering that Michael Mann and Ben Santer have had to endure – and now Phil Jones. It’s quite unreasonable.

Inquiry after inquiry, enquiry after enquiry and reading and re-reading of the academic e-mails of Climate Change Scientists has vindicated both their intentions and their approach. Their results speak for themselves, if you care to read them. The accusations of isolationism, dastardly collusion, secretiveness and mean-spiritedness are all baseless, concocted by those who refuse to accept the conclusions of the research.

Let’s see a few academic literature citations in your comments from now on, please. I want to know what research papers you are quoting from so that I can answer your points.

Continue reading Thanks for all the great comments, guys

Flogging a Dead Non-Scandal

Despite the fact that Robin McKie killed off Climategate on 1st August 2010 in his article for The Observer (thankfully, Will Hutton was away, allowing Robin McKie to venge forcefully) :-

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2010/aug/01/climate-change-robin-mckie

it seems that the Climate Change deniers simply cannot let go of the dead story and bury it. Benny Peiser of the adroitly named “Global Warming Policy Foundation” (suggested motto “We want policies to guarantee Climate chaos” ?), is to publish a report at the end of the month written by Andrew Montford, of Bishop Hill web log fame :-

http://www.thegwpf.org/climategate/1204-investigation-into-climategate-inquiries-announced.html

Sorry to say, but this will be a “we told you so” affair :-

1. We told you so here first – it will be roundly criticised by those who are expert in the subjects of Climate Change and environmental policy.

2. We told you so here first – it will contain a number of significant Scientific claims that will not stand up to close scrutiny.

3. We told you so here first – it will sell.

Continue reading Flogging a Dead Non-Scandal

Newsnight : Complain to the BBC

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.

Continue reading Newsnight : Complain to the BBC

We Just Don’t Know

Andrew Montford (Bishop Hill) appears on BBC Newsnight, the flagship British widescreen influential TV show for those who work until super-late o’clock and want to watch something serious after having a few beers, and all he can say is “we just don’t know” to the Kirsty Warkian question of whether Climate Change is (a) happening or (b) problematic.

Come on Andrew ! It’s not “too early to say” or even “too early to call”. It’s in black and white and online. It’s called the IPCC report, and has been followed by American and European government studies, and a mountain of academic research analyses which back it up : the world is warming, the reports are that change is already significant, and the prospects are risky.

There is still something that “we just don’t know” about. We just don’t know if Andrew Montford has read the Science. If he were to put his virtual nose between some of its digital pages he might well learn a thing or two. He seems fairly intelligent. So, here’s hoping.

Oh, and by the way, will he feel he has to disguise himself if he wants to come and talk to the freethinking carbonbusters at Climate Camp ? No need, Andrew. Peace-loving people will welcome you for a vegan curry over at the RBS Royal Bank of Scotland Headquarters, no worries, mate. But can you please take off the earnest brown tweed jacket ? It makes you look so much like Nicholas Stern, love.

On Bishop Hill’s Doorstep

How paranoid is Andrew Montford of Edinburgh, Scotland ? Does he have any reason to be afeard now that the Climate Camp has parked up on his doorstep ?

Don’t worry. This isn’t a threat, Andrew. It’s a invitation. When the rocket stoves have been lit and the canvas staked out, you’re invited to come and talk with real people about the realities of Climate Change instead of being cooped up with your hot laptop at home cooking up hurtful and inaccurate things to say about working Scientists and activists.

By the way, I rocked with laughter at this recent review of your book “The Hockey Stick Illusion” :-

Continue reading On Bishop Hill’s Doorstep