Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Scottish Carbon Capture Bombs

Longannet Power Station (Wikipedia)
The flagship £1bn Carbon Capture and Storage experiment at Longannet Power Station in Fife has been abandoned.  The UK government are maintaining that they will use the £1bn to fund other CCS projects under a new bidding process.

This Reuters report points out
"CCS is still a commercially unproven technology . . . "
Well obviously it is commercially unproven if you can't even begin to make the books balance on the project even with £1bn of subsidy.

The project is an example of rational thinking which has been subverted by an irrational expectation of catastrophe.  That expectation is based on poor science, bad politics and, above all, exaggerated and ill founded fear.   Cue Scotland's First Minister Alex Salmond:
"At a time when North Sea revenues are coming in at record levels, it was surely not too much to expect that the Treasury would make the necessary funding commitment for Longannet to go forward," said Scotland's First Minister Alex Salmond, who supported the Longannet CCS project.
The BBC report can be found here.   The side bar analysis comments in this BBC report suggest CCS public policy has been influenced by Sir David King, Prime Minister Tony Blair's scientific advisor for 7 years.  As I said, poor science, bad politics and exaggerated and ill founded fear.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

New book questions role of Edinburgh IPCC scientist

Book argues the 2500
number is not what it seems
In a book published last week analysing the processes and procedures of the IPCC, a leading University of Edinburgh climate scientist comes in for some trenchant criticism.  Gabriele Hegerl is Professor of Climate System Science at the School of GeoSciences based at King's Buildings in Edinburgh.

After relating how Hegerl and the IPCC refused to allow the data underlying her paper to be subjected to external scrutiny,Canadian journalist Donna Laframboise summarises the story:
'Hegerl isn't just anyone.  Rather, she served in seven distinct capacities with regard to the 2007 Climate Bible.  Significantly, she was one of the two most senior people in charge of the attribution chapter - the section that decides the degree to which human influence versus natural causes are at work.
'In other words, the IPCC entrusted the most central question of all to the judgement of a person it was fully aware had declined to share her data with one of its own expert reviewers. 
Laframboise highlights malpractices at the heart of the IPCC process, noting that publication cut off dates for the publication of scientific papers to be relied upon in the 2007 report were in many cases ignored -preventing proper scrutiny:
'The IPCC says that its reports are based on already-published scientific literature'  Yet in this case a group of IPCC authors appears to have favoured a particular conclusion regardless  of what the scientific literature actually said.  The fact that necessary information had not been published posed no impediment.  They simply wrote the IPCC chapter they desired and arranged for the necessary papers to be published after the fact.
'. . . in a particular section of the report, the IPCC was basing its arguments on two research papers that hadn't been published.  In itself, this should ring alarm bells. Since the wider scientific community had been given no opportunity to scrutinise them, it was surely premature to consider them solid pieces of evidence.'
Indeed, she notes, the underlying data for the two reports was refused to an IPCC appointed external reviewer.  Laframboise continues:
'It's worth noting that the author who refused outright to make her data available prior to her paper's final publication was Gabriele Hegerl.
There is much, much, more of interest in the book which can be found at Amazon here.  It is entitled 'The Delinquent Teenager Who Was Mistaken for the World's Top Climate Expert.' PDF version can be purchased here.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Flagship green project on brink

The past week saw reports that the 'ground breaking' carbon capture and storage (CCS) project at Longannet in Fife is on the brink of being abandoned.   From the BBC report:

"ScottishPower is bidding for £1bn in funding from the UK government to help pay for the project.   Both ScottishPower and the Department of Energy and Climate Change insist negotiations are continuing.   But sources have told BBC Scotland the future of the scheme is now in serious doubt.   They said there were question marks over the UK government's commitment to an "as-yet unproven technology".

The last few words in (my) bold sum it up.

The funding is public money and derives from a number of public policy assumptions about carbon and its relationship to global warming.   These assumptions are also unproven - at the very least in respect of the catastrophic effects which Al Gore portrayed a couple of weeks ago in his fear-fest with the Scottish Government.

Tuesday, October 04, 2011

Move to form sceptic group

Cartoons by Josh caricature
 the exaggerated claims
This is a re-post of a call to interested parties.

I draw your attention to the call to challenge the exaggerated claims in the public arena associated with global warming.  Those interested in forming an association to co-ordinate the work might like to attend a meeting later this week.

The meeting will be held on 8th October near Stirling and details can be found on Scottish Sceptic's website

If the science is settled why do some respected scientists still disagree?

Last week I asked Al Gore that question (in a slightly different form).

His lengthy reply included the analogy that if you had chest pains you would take the health advice of 98 doctors and ignore the other two that said there was nothing to worry about.

Ignoring the logical fallacy that being in a majority equates to truth, the "100 doctors" argument is worth examination.  In Mr Gore's world the problem is that there is a world of other doctors out there who are not invited to the table.

There are many top class scientists who are deliberately ignored or are kept away from the table.  One of the top class scientists who seems rather appalled by the conduct of the debate is Professor Judith Curry    She is  Chair of the School of Earth Sciences at Georgia Tech in the USA and has broken ranks with the so called consensus.   In this post on her blog yesterday she draws attention to a book review by Fred Pearce, a Guardian journalist. Pearce noted that the book huffs and puffs against 'deniers', but simply does not address the views of respected climate scientists such as Judith Curry herself, Professor Roger Pielke Jnr of the University of Colorado or Professor John Christy of the University of Alabama.    One could add Professor Richard Lindzen of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a good number of others.

But there is a second (and related) reason why Al Gore is wrong with his analogy of a 98:2 ratio.  And that is because of gate keeping. I find the evidence compelling of a sustained attempt to keep people away from the table by gerrymandering the rules of engagement.   The Climategate emails contain significant evidence of gate keeping and there is much more in the excellent and well researched book, the Hockey Stick Illusion by Andrew Montford.

All of which is another reason why I will be attending this meeting to explore the setting up of a Scottish grouping to be a rallying point for realism in climate science and consequential public policy.  And perhaps we will in due course uncover a few scientists in Scotland who should be at the table.