Saturday, March 16, 2013

Wind farms on peat don't save emissions

More than half of UK onshore wind farms are built on peat land.  But they don't save emissions, according to research published in Nature recently.

The researchers, based at Aberdeen University, and substantially funded by the Scottish Government, published last autumn and their conclusions have been recently given exposure by various media outlets including  the Telegraph here.

A contradiction at the heart of the Scottish Government policy

Murdo Fraser exposes a key contradiction in Scottish Government policy in an aside in his article on oil and gas in Think Scotland today.  He analyses the two reports emanating from the SG this week giving wildly differing prospects and impact of oil  a future independent Scotland.
"Incidentally, how does building an economic future on exploiting hydrocarbons square with 'the world's most ambitious climate change targets', Mr Salmond?  Or should we ask your partner in the Yes Campaign, Patrick Harvie?"

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Climategate 3.0: Edinburgh scientist first up

Comments in 2001 from Edinburgh scientist Professor Simon Tett about work of Michael Mann (Hockey Stick) seem to be the first published extract from the newly unlocked batch of Climategate emails:
". . . (I don't think we can say we didn't do Mann et al because we think it is crap!). . . "
See here for more context.

Update: I note the email above was also in the 2.0 release.

Climategate 3.0 is out there

And now Climategate 3.0
It looks like Climategate 3.0 is out there - not released like the first two installments, but in the form of a password giving access to the rather extensive remaining data to a limited number of people.  And there is a commentary signed by FOIA:
It's time to tie up loose ends and dispel some of the speculation surrounding the Climategate affair.

Indeed, it's singular "I" this time.  After certain career developments I can no longer use the papal plural ;-)

If this email seems slightly disjointed it's probably my linguistic background and the problem of trying to address both the wider audience (I expect this will be partially reproduced sooner or later) and the email recipients (whom I haven't decided yet on).

The "all.7z" password is [redacted]

DO NOT PUBLISH THE PASSWORD.  Quote other parts if you like.

Releasing the encrypted archive was a mere practicality.  I didn't want to keep the emails lying around.

I prepared CG1 & 2 alone.  Even skimming through all 220.000 emails would have taken several more months of work in an increasingly unfavorable environment.

Dumping them all into the public domain would be the last resort.  Majority of the emails are irrelevant, some of them probably sensitive and socially damaging.

To get the remaining scientifically (or otherwise) relevant emails out,  I ask you to pass this on to any motivated and responsible individuals who could volunteer some time to sift through the material for eventual release.

Filtering\redacting personally sensitive emails doesn't require special expertise.

I'm not entirely comfortable sending the password around unsolicited, but haven't got better ideas at the moment.  If you feel this makes you seemingly "complicit" in a way you don't like, don't take action.

I don't expect these remaining emails to hold big surprises.  Yet it's possible that the most important pieces are among them.  Nobody on the planet has held the archive in plaintext since CG2.

That's right; no conspiracy, no paid hackers, no Big Oil.  The Republicans didn't plot this.  USA politics is alien to me, neither am I from the UK.  There is life outside the Anglo-American sphere.

If someone is still wondering why anyone would take these risks, or sees only a breach of privacy here, a few words...

The first glimpses I got behind the scenes did little to  garner my trust in the state of climate science -- on the contrary.  I found myself in front of a choice that just might have a global impact.

Briefly put, when I had to balance the interests of my own safety, privacy\career of a few scientists, and the well-being of billions of people living in the coming several decades, the first two weren't the decisive concern.

It was me or nobody, now or never.  Combination of several rather improbable prerequisites just wouldn't occur again for anyone else in the foreseeable future.  The circus was about to arrive in Copenhagen.  Later on it could be too late.

Most would agree that climate science has already directed where humanity puts its capability, innovation, mental and material "might".  The scale will grow ever grander in the coming decades if things go according to script.  We're dealing with $trillions and potentially drastic influence on practically everyone.

Wealth of the surrounding society tends to draw the major brushstrokes of a newborn's future life.  It makes a huge difference whether humanity uses its assets to achieve progress, or whether it strives to stop and reverse it, essentially sacrificing the less fortunate to the climate gods.

We can't pour trillions in this massive hole-digging-and-filling-up endeavor and pretend it's not away from something and someone else.

If the economy of a region, a country, a city, etc.  deteriorates, what happens among the poorest? Does that usually improve their prospects? No, they will take the hardest hit.  No amount of magical climate thinking can turn this one upside-down.

It's easy for many of us in the western world to accept a tiny green inconvenience and then wallow in that righteous feeling, surrounded by our "clean" technology and energy that is only slightly more expensive if adequately subsidized.

Those millions and billions already struggling with malnutrition, sickness, violence, illiteracy, etc.  don't have that luxury.  The price of "climate protection" with its cumulative and collateral effects is bound to destroy and debilitate in great numbers, for decades and generations.

Conversely, a "game-changer" could have a beneficial effect encompassing a similar scope.

If I had a chance to accomplish even a fraction of that, I'd have to try.  I couldn't morally afford inaction.  Even if I risked everything, would never get personal compensation, and could probably never talk about it with anyone.

I took what I deemed the most defensible course of action, and would do it again (although with slight alterations -- trying to publish something truthful on RealClimate was clearly too grandiose of a plan ;-).

Even if I have it all wrong and these scientists had some good reason to mislead us (instead of making a strong case with real data) I think disseminating the truth is still the safest bet by far.

Big thanks to Steve and Anthony and many others.  My contribution would never have happened without your work (whether or not you agree with the views stated).

Oh, one more thing.  I was surprised to learn from a "progressive" blog, corroborated by a renowned "scientist", that the releases were part of a coordinated campaign receiving vast amounts of secret funding from shady energy industry groups.

I wasn't aware of the arrangement but warmly welcome their decision to support my project.  For that end I opened a bitcoin address: 1HHQ36qbsgGZWLPmiUjYHxQUPJ6EQXVJFS.

More seriously speaking, I accept, with gratitude, modest donations to support The (other) Cause.  The address can also serve as a digital signature to ward off those identity thefts which are part of climate scientists' repertoire of tricks these days.

Keep on the good work.  I won't be able to use this email address for long so if you reply, I can't guarantee reading or answering.  I will several batches, to anyone I can think of.

Over and out.

Details at Bishop Hill and, doubtless, many other places.

Edinburgh Council explores 'urban turbines'

Edinburgh Council has a policy of promoting and supporting community renewables.  It is also keen to find a way of setting up an energy co-operative.   A body has been set up (The Edinburgh Community Energy Co-operative) which will have a meeting in April which will have a range of council staff present.  The following is from the text of an answer to a council question on the order paper for tomorrow's meeting of Edinburgh Council:
The purpose of this meeting will be to identify specific opportunities for the Council to facilitate the development and expansion of community energy projects across the city and to share information.. . . an important context for this meeting is (amongst three other bullet points) . . 

•  Community-scale renewable electricity generating projects (e.g. urban wind turbines)
Any urban wind turbine in Edinburgh is unlikely to be feasible.  Of course it might benefit from feed in tariffs and other public funding. A significant proportion of feed in tariffs currently take money from the poor and redistribute to land owners and large companies.   A sort if Robin Hood in reverse.

In this policy, Council staff and resources are now being invested in exploring an outcome which is harebrained.   The evidence is that at the best of times wind turbines are not economic and save little by way of emissions.

Now how could the council staff be used to save public money - not throw it away.