Tuesday, January 25, 2011

You couldn't make it up

"Green" vehicle
For those of you who missed an article in Monday's Scotsman, the SNP government is not doing too well with its target of 100% use of alternative fuels by public sector vehicles by 2020.  The article can be found here.  I've extracted the bit which stands out to me.
Last year, the Scottish Government's Low Carbon Vehicle Procurement Support Scheme pledged £3.6 million to "bridge the gap" between the cost of a normal and a low carbon vehicle. But at an additional cost of £20,000 for a car and £40,000 for a van, the funding would allow public-sector organisations to invest in a total of just 180 new green cars or 90 low- carbon vans.

Crying wolf again?

Beddington: Latter day Malthus
Yesterday morning I listened to Today on  Radio 4 as it carried a peak time interview with Professor Sir John Beddington on population. He is the chief scientific advisor to the UK Government and one of his claimed specialisms is population studies. Today he has published his Foresight Report with dire warnings of hunger and over population.  

Of course, climate change is one of the factors making the danger more acute.  Professor Beddington has also been a prominent and outspoken commenter on climate change.  Listen again here (2hrs 10mins into the programme).

The interview qualifies Sir  John Beddington to become the latest in a long line of heirs of Rev Thomas Malthus.  Malthus's key characteristic was that he was wrong.  In 1797 he predicted catastrophe because we would not be able to feed the growing world population.  Malthus was a fellow of the Royal Society - as is Beddington.

It is difficult to know where to start in challenging the assertions on this piece. Although population was the focus, global warming was clearly one of the causes for alarm.  Here are just a  few problems from the beginning:
  • David Loin in introducing the piece claimed 2 billion people are short of food 'mainly in Africa'.  Last time I looked, the UN figure for the population for Africa was 1bn - and many of them are well fed.
  • 'We are on the brink of global hunger'.  Arguably, the number of people going hungry has not reduced in the last 5 years as it certainly did before that.
  • 'The world has ducked global warming'.  Note the assumption embedded in the thinking that global warming is a problem - not even that it could become a problem
  •  'This report was aimed at influencing government departments.'  A report, whose purpose is to influence government policy.  The context is propagandist.
  • 'This report is very comprehensive.  It is from 400 scientists from 35 countries.'  Since when did an appeal to numbers have an authoritative bearing on scientific accuracy?  We have heard that before in relation to the IPCC.  Spuriously.
  • If I recall correctly the IPCC (FAR) prediction was that a warming of between 1C and 4C would lead to increased agricultural yields.  And that did not include an allowance for improvements in technology and husbandry.
It was particularly of interest to note that scientists, who a few years ago were predicting a world population of 17 billion unless their instructions were followed, are now (apparently) agreed for the first time that it is more likely to peak at just over 9 billion. Now we won't know for a few years whether the the 17 billion figure was Malthusian (wrong).

But it does give us cause to doubt the accuracy of the current crop of alarmist scientists led by the campaigning Professor Beddington and his latest report - which is intended to manipulate our behaviour.  

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Scientists and evidence

A low level, sporadic correspondence is playing out in the Edinburgh Evening News on climate change issues.

In yesterday's installment, Mick Greggus pointed out to his adversary that the Internet was not a reliable place to source evidence against man made climate change:
". . . such searches can find outlandish evidence for just about any scientific theory you care to think of.  Some scientists no doubt claim the world is flat."
This amounts to an unhelpful attempt to associate his adversary with outlandish and 'flat earth' views.  I have replied and await publication.   Update 19.1.11:  Published here (click link then scroll down).

Encounter between environmentalists!!

However the occasion gives the opportunity to point out that there are many well qualified scientists who contest what has become the orthodoxy on which public policy is now generally founded.  Professor Richard Lindzen is one such impeccably qualified scientist.

In 2009 he gave a synopsis of why he contests the orthodoxy.  It merits renewed consideration, not least for his comments on the oft repeated assertion that recent years show the hottest global mean temperatures on record.  But the document would be worthy of careful consideration by Mick Greggus and is reproduced below in full.

A Case Against Precipitous Climate Action

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Salmond - & the Great Green God

In the UK, wind doesn't blow much during cold spells
Back in November I reported on a broadside from Rupert Soames, CEO of Aggreko, a Glasgow based international energy company.  These words sum up the thrust of his warning:
Mr Salmond’s policies fail to recognise “the cold realities” of financing and engineering expensive new forms of green technology.
This was in his speech to the Holyrood Parliament in which he suggested current energy policies are akin to saying Kumbaya to the Great Green God.

It is an interesting exercise to go back and read his views and then compare them with the latest post by the doyen of the BBC's weather correspondents, Paul Hudson.  Paul plies his trade in Yorkshire and yesterday in his excellent blog he mused over some energy statistics noted over the recent cold spell.  Do read his post "Coal takes the strain . . . again".

But in only 9 years time, the UK will legally have to generate around 30% of its electricity from renewable sources, of which 25% is expected to come from wind farms alone, as it is seen as a clean, carbon free energy source.
So what will happen then, when the wind doesn't blow?
There is something amiss with the state of Scotland's energy policy.  It seems to have genuflected rather too much to the Great Green God for the good of our children.

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

Edinburgh climate scientist apologises

Prof Tom Crowley
A senior and influential Edinburgh scientist has apologised, admitting that allegations he made in the newspaper of a respected scientific society were not true. 

This is not simply a correction of a mistake, but an admission which touches on issues at the heart of the science over which the climate wars are being fought.

The apology concerns a blogger who challenges aspects of the scientific basis for man made global warming, and it is also related to concerns over peer review and 'gatekeeping' in climate science. 

Professor Tom Crowley is

  • Director of the Scottish Alliance for Geoscience, Environment and Society (SAGES)
  • based at the King's Buildings in Edinburgh.   
  • the author of important work used by the International Panel of Climate Change to justify its assertion that global warming has a dangerous, human induced component
In the last few days he has apologised:
  • "I now (also) know that what I said was not true."
  • "I was shocked when the mails did not reveal what I had come to believe.  ."
  • ". . . for the record I now apologize. . . "

Saturday, January 01, 2011

Happy New Year

Happy New Year

from Edinburgh
And thank you for reading this climate blog