James Delingpole compares wind-farms to paedophilia


by Sunny Hundal    
10:20 am - September 19th 2012

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The Daily Telegraph has a long reputation as a paper of repute.

These days however its opinion columns are full of people from the tinfoil-hat-wearing nutjob fringe.

James Delingpole is one common example. Delingpole is published not because he has anything new or interesting to say, or because he posseses intimate knowledge of the topic he writes about (even by his own admission) – but because he appeals so well to climate-change-deniers.

On Monday he was in the Telegraph explaining why he’s standing as an independent candidate in the Corby by-election.

He is a single-issue candidate, summing up his position as: “I believe that wind farms are a cancer: one of the worst crimes ever perpetrated against the country by Westminster.”

He then goes on to say:

The wind industry is so wrong in every way that to be against it ought to be no more contentious than being against paedophilia.

That’s not him joking around – that is exactly what he wants.

And this is a guy the BBC happily invite on and regularly interview as a serious commentator.

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About the author
Sunny Hundal is editor of LC. Also: on Twitter, at Pickled Politics and Guardian CIF.
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Reader comments


1. Richard Thomas

Why is that Tory MPs (and presumably their fellow travellers like the preposterous Dellingpole) object to wind turbines when they are the most effective way yet designed by central government to pour money into the pockets of the landed classes?

Telegraph blogs is a rest home for all manner of right-wing loonery. The people who leave comments are probably the worst I’ve seen on any bulletin board or forum.

Of course, Delingpole isn’t the only rabid right-winger. Hannan is now rewriting history and referring to Black Wednesday as “White Wednesday”.

I imagine Delingpole is actually published because he generates ‘hits’ to the telegraphs website. In much the same way that the Daily Mail became the world’s most popular news website by focusing on publishing pictures of barely dressed z-list American celebrities.
The guardian could do worse than give a column to Andrew Kadir Buxton if it wants to have someone left-wing ish of similar intellectual rigour to up circulation.

Instead of playing the man, you lot, how about the ball?

“Normally in politics there are two sides to every argument. What’s unique about this one is that proponents of wind simply haven’t a leg to stand on.

It’s bad enough that a handful of wealthy landowners, mostly foreign-owned energy companies and their hangers on, are getting vastly rich at the expense of the British public by building monstrosities that drive up fuel bills, kill wildlife, blight views, destroy property prices, hurt the economy and make people sick with their low-frequency noise.

But the real scandal is that it’s being done with the connivance and encouragement of our elected representatives.”

Tell me why he’s wrong…..

There’s a Don Quixote joke in here somewhere but I can’t be arsed.

Instead of playing the man, you lot, how about the ball?

I think when he’s already resorted to argumentum ad pedophilum there’s no point trying to engage him with evidence or logic.

I don’t care what the guy in the news paper had to say how ever:

“climate-change-denying lunatics”

If the case for man made climate change was that solid, one would not have to term its opposition as the above, evidence speaks for its self & when the evidence is water tight those who oppose insult them selves by doing so, one does not need to throw around childish insults when one has watertight evidence.

there’s no point trying to engage him with evidence or logic

Is that because you don’t have the evidence or you can’t be bothered to produce it?

Or a bit of both?

It,s difficult to take someone seriously when they use rape and torture of innocent children to make a political point. I know paedophilia happens ( statutory social worker) and have witnessed first hand the consequences. The man destroys his credibility by juxtaposing hate crime for his own ends. Pretty ugly and abusive stuff. Vis a vis arguement,climate change arguement is won but I,m not an expert in alternatives so rely on others for reasoned and political (not the same) arguement. This is an example of how not to. However it could also be the case that Delingpole is both a climate denier and a paedophile and it,s only his opinion he,s sharing with us,in which case he,s seriously deluded in both categories.

@7 Blah

If the case for man made climate change was that solid, one would not have to term its opposition as the above.

The evidence IS solid.

Which is why the epithet is accurate and it sticks.

The people who deny climate change are not lunatics.

They are calculating and manipulative liars.

In many cases they are funded in their research by polluting companies and industries with the most to lose by a shift to green technology.

In other cases they are profiting from nimby-ism and use climate change denying nonsense to support and cash in on such sentiment.

The left really does need to wake up some times and realise that these people are not just wrong or stupid – but vile people who are corrupt in their choices, not misled.

That this particular “nutjob” makes many many thousands of pounds from denying climate change and opposing one of the solutions to it – suggests his motive is not stupidity or a sincerely held but false belief. It suggests he is making the rational choice to lie and make money.

12. Chaise Guevara

@ Shatterface

“There’s a Don Quixote joke in here somewhere but I can’t be arsed.”

It’s been done, sort of: http://xkcd.com/556/

“The evidence IS solid.

Which is why the epithet is accurate and it sticks.”

At this point I can view your conclusion, conclude that you have formed it using the best of your abilities and be respectful that you as an individual have bothered to form a view on such an issue.

“The people who deny climate change are not lunatics.

They are calculating and manipulative liars.”

This on the other hand is unapproachable.

Pagar

“Normally in politics there are two sides to every argument.”

And what is normal is absolute? Obviously not.

“What’s unique about this one is that proponents of wind simply haven’t a leg to stand on.”

Except of course reems and reems of data and research generated thanks to the existing production of many gigawats of energy from wind turbines already taking place around the world and in the UK. (His ignorance of this is presumably deliberate as it doesn’t back his case).

“It’s bad enough that a handful of wealthy landowners, mostly foreign-owned energy companies and their hangers on”

Since when? What makes him think our wind energy sector in the UK enriches mostly foreign owned energy companies. Also, is wind energy electricity production more foreign owned than nuclear, coal fired, or gas power plants? If not, it is sapping money from those randomly selected bogeymen in his arguement by denying them money from the electricity generation they do own more of.

“are getting vastly rich at the expense of the British public”

Not if the alternative is fossil fuels they are not. Even if they are getting vastly rich, and he’s not evidenced that, British workers producing turbines in sunderland are not unemployed, and so save the taxpayer money. And that’s before we factor in the huge taxpayer cost to be faced as climate change impacts on our coastal areas and floodplains.

“by building monstrosities”

Or graceful landmarks? Nothing but opinion here…

“that drive up fuel bills”

That drive down fuel bills long term by reducing the cost of wind energy production (compared to expensive off-shore wind production) and by bridging some of the energy gap that is upon us and will create shortages that drive up energy bills, and by reducing our long term dependence on fossil fuels, the costs of which will continue to rise dramatically as more and more of the world is industrialised and so demands electricity production at industrialised levels from the same finite resources.

“kill wildlife”

Doesn’t kill wildlife – according to recent studies.

“blight views”

enhances views – Nothing but opinion here…

“destroy property prices”

Though less so than building a nuclear plant or waste facility near those properties, or indeed a gas power station or coal fired power station and so on.

“hurt the economy”

Completely unevidenced – and almost certainly not true given the impact of jobs in Sunderland resulting from companies setting up there to build wind turbines.

“and make people sick with their low-frequency noise”

Nope – No medical evidence of this at all – and again, shall we compare to the health impact of a local coal-fired power plant and its chimneys?

“But the real scandal is that it’s being done with the connivance and encouragement of our elected representatives.”

Heaven forbid as a democracy that our democratically elected government does something deliberately?

Hope this helps rational thought.

Blah

Keep in mind I’m talking about the proponents of climate change denying. Most people are just thoughtless one way or another. The proponents tend to be profit driven (either as companies or individuals).

15. Understood.

most everything in this post is correct, apart from “James Delingpole compares wind-farms to paedophilia”

That implies he’s saying wind-farms as as bad as paedophilia. This dumb reaction is, unhappily, common. OMG! so and so compared X to Y! Because they constructed an argument which uses Y as an extreme example of whatever it as about X they are talking about.

if I say, you ought to know writing dumb things about your political opponents is bad just like you ought to know murder is bad, this does not mean I think writing dumb things about your political opponents is comparable to murder, is similar to murder, or as bad as murder.

m4e @14

Thank you for your attempt to play the ball which nobody else on this thread has tried to do.

Here’s another pass.

“wind turbines don’t reduce our CO2 emissions or increase our energy security because wind is so intermittent and unreliable that it needs constant fossil-fuel-powered back?up. In other words, even the wind industry’s claims for the environmental benefits of turbines are a lie.”

Luis – yes and no. Sometimes “construct[ing] an argument which uses Y as an extreme example of whatever it as about X they are talking about” is legitimate, and “OMG he compared X to Y” is a wildly unfair reaction.

But Delingpole’s comment does not fall under that banner. In this case X (=windfarms) and Y (=paedophilia) have nothing whatsoever in common, except that Delingpole doesn’t like them. He is not advancing some serious argument about windfarms using paedophilia as an extreme example, he’s needlessly bringing up paedophilia, which is entirely irrelevant to the discussion in every respect, for one-reason alone: he’s a shit-stirring troll doing his best to cause offence by implicitly likening his political opponents to kiddie-fiddlers.

It’s perfectly legitimate to call him out on it.

20. Chaise Guevara

@ Luis and Larry

You’re both right. He’s not comparing the two things in any meaningful sense, but he obviously went out of his way to get them both into the same sentence.

In the same way Sunny likes to get UKIP and BNP in the same sentence every once in a while?

22. Northern Worker

The only evidence I need to doubt that wind farms in the UK will save the planet is the support of Tim Yeo and Lord Deben for their proliferation.

@13 – it’s usually spelled “unimpeachable”….

I wonder if he’s discussed this with his colleague Chris Booker, who alternates his flat earth denialism with bizarre defences of the rights of parents to abuse their children.

The comparison between wind-farms and child abusers, like Catholic priests, is not one that lept to my mind but I’m willing to keep an open mind about this.

A more immediate concern is that security is now being increased at France’s interests abroad after a French satirical magazine published obscene cartoons of the Prophet.

French government ministers voiced concern at the Charlie Hebdo cartoons but defended the freedom of the press.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-19646748

“We are not like animals of Pavlov to react at each insult.” Dalil Boubakeur Rector of the Paris Grand Mosque

Wuff. Wuff

It’s an old joke but still true: on the internet no one knows if you’re a dog.

In the same way Sunny likes to get UKIP and BNP in the same sentence every once in a while?

They are – arguably – in the same spectrum.

Delingpole is making a complete non sequiter and that makes him as much an idiot as domeone who likens climate change skeptics to Holocaust deniers. Neither comparison is exaggerating the oponent’s opinion for rhetorical effect, they are simply pissing in the pool.

28. Chaise Guevara

@ 21 Blah

“In the same way Sunny likes to get UKIP and BNP in the same sentence every once in a while?”

Wot Shatterface sez. Although I agree that a lot of people on the left try to imply equivalence between the two, which isn’t reasonable.

“Wot Shatterface sez”

Why you getting all gangsta bling on us? :P

30. Luis Enrique

ChaiseLarry,

he is making a meaningful (but wrong) “comparison” – he is claiming they do have something in common – he’s claiming they are both members of the set of things for which opposition to them should be uncontroversial. The television program Vexed and genocide have something in common – I dislike them. Television programs are not like genocide. It’s not a non sequitur to use a daft example like this, it’s a common rhetorical move, a bit like reductio ad absurdum. Charlie Brooker does it all the time, for example. You could imagine him writing, I dunno, that a sensible resolution to a debate in blog comments is only marginally less likely than the Israelis and Palestinians sorting everything out over a nice cup of tea, and you’d see no need to react: OMG!! he’s comparing a conflict in which thousands have died to people arguing on the internet!

Although if he did write that on CIF, some idiot would doubtless write that in the comments section.

31. Luis Enrique

that said, the choice of paedophilia is clearly the choice of an idiot trying to be provocative.

Of course if your not going to have a wind farm on your doorstep it’s easy to state they are needed, I suspect if your living on a hill in a windy area of Wales and England decides to build a wind farm you may argue take it somewhere else.

These things are noisy, they are horrible to look at, they make money for the land owners, and do not even allow me cheaper electricity, why I’m I annoyed, well I have a wind farm near me and they are horrendous, I would rather have a dam power station at least it would give us some work.

33. Chaise Guevara

@ 29 Blah

“Why you getting all gangsta bling on us?”

Coz I iz with it, innit!

34. Robin Levett

@Blah #24:

I stopped reading that article at

Since 1998, more than 31,000 American scientists from diverse climate-related disciplines, including more than 9,000 with Ph.D.s, have signed a public petition announcing their belief that “…there is no convincing scientific evidence that human release of carbon dioxide, methane, or other greenhouse gases is causing or will, in the foreseeable future, cause catastrophic heating of the Earth’s atmosphere and disruption of the Earth’s climate.” Included are atmospheric physicists, botanists, geologists, oceanographers, and meteorologists.

Anyone that can take the Oregon petition seriously has no business commenting on any scientific issue. There are any number of reasons why the Petition is better used as toilet paper than to support an argument against the scientific consensus on AGW, but here’s a couple of web pages to be going on with:

It ain’t 31,000 scientists:

http://www.skepticalscience.com/news.php?n=158

The petition was deliberately misleading (and the list of signatures contains such well-known scientists as Drs Geri Halliwell and Frank Burns):

http://www.desmogblog.com/oregon-petition

35. Chaise Guevara

@ 30 Luis

“that said, the choice of paedophilia is clearly the choice of an idiot trying to be provocative.”

That’s my point. I agree that the comparison is cogent.

Um Delingpoles comment has garnered over 830 responses thus far. This posting, about 35. Delingpole wins.

cheers

LOOK AT ME LOOK AT ME HEY GUYS PAY ME SOME ATTENTION I JUST CALLED YOU A NONCE PLEASE WRITE ME ANGRY LETTERS IT MAKES ME HAPPY IN MY HAPPY PLACE

I am a serious commenter on serious issues

@ 1. Richard Thomas

If by “landed classes” you mean ordinary farmers, then yes they could benefit from wind turbines on their property.

Why do you think that is less desirable than sending billions of £s off to Russian and Middle East billionaires for fossil fuels, or French and Chinese corporations for nukes?

Unless you are a climate science denier, there is no reason to support use of fossil fuels. And unless you are unaware that nukes are not economically viable then there is no reason to support nukes. So where do you think our energy is going to come from?

39. Chaise Guevara

@ 35 klem

“Um Delingpoles comment has garnered over 830 responses thus far. This posting, about 35. Delingpole wins.”

Wins what? Bizarre.

“Unless you are a climate science denier, there is no reason to support use of fossil fuels. And unless you are unaware that nukes are not economically viable then there is no reason to support nukes. So where do you think our energy is going to come from?”

100% wind farms!

” I suspect if your living on a hill in a windy area of Wales and England decides to build a wind farm you may argue take it somewhere else”

Not referring to Glyncorrwg are you?

42. Chaise Guevara

@ 32 Robert

“Of course if your not going to have a wind farm on your doorstep it’s easy to state they are needed, I suspect if your living on a hill in a windy area of Wales and England decides to build a wind farm you may argue take it somewhere else.”

“England”? Does Britain get renamed to exclude Wales when it does something you disapprove of?

“These things are noisy, they are horrible to look at, they make money for the land owners, and do not even allow me cheaper electricity, why I’m I annoyed, well I have a wind farm near me and they are horrendous, I would rather have a dam power station at least it would give us some work.”

They’re not meant to be pretty (although I think they’re ok, it’s an opinion thing), generating money for land owners is no bad thing, and it’s not about giving you cheaper electricity, it’s about giving future generations an inhabitable planet with some fuel sources that haven’t been burned up. It’s not always about you, you know.

Noise could be an issue. If you can regularly hear them in your home or workplace, then that might justify getting rid of them. That should have been addressed at the planning-permission stage, though.

““England”? Does Britain get renamed to exclude Wales when it does something you disapprove of?”

Chaise – this is one of those issues where sometimes it really is an English decision over-ruling welsh politicians – hence why I asked whether Robert was referring to Glyncorrwg. I’l elaborate further if he was.

Agree about the The Daily Telegraph. It was obvious a few years ago that they were pursuing a conscious strategy of trying to attract traffic to their site from the U.S. fringe Right. I would call it the Daily Mailification of the London dead tree media, and the Guardian are just as guilty as the Telegraph.

There is nothing wrong with bias in a newspaper and looking at issues from a Conservative or leftwing perspective. When the two of them do journalism well they do it really well. However, the vast majority of the op-eds are simply awful where every so-called fact is distorted to pander to the prejudices of the reader and tell them what they want to hear. Certain keywords are inserted to provoke a conditioned reaction from the performing seals in the comment section. Ranting being the preferred response. Neo-liberalism, corporations, Tories, EU, immigration, Muslims, gays usually does the trick.

Delingpole is there to be controversial and there is nothing wrong with saying controversial things per se. He is like a court jester for the swivel-eyed and obsessed. Attracting traffic to the site is the whole point of him.

The Telegraph blogs does have some good bloggers who write some write interesting stuff. Brendan O’Neill is usually right about most things and he is a Marxist. However, the comments sections vary between an outtake from One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest to care in the community in action. Anyone who thinks the commenters at the Guardian CiF are far superior is deluding themselves. Slightly better but there is not much in it.

Wind turbines are such a strange thing to get obsessed about. It is like getting obsessed about street lights. Not too keen on the subsidies but they are rather majestically attractive. Paint them brown and green and they may look just like an unusually shaped tree.

These exchanges are becoming so depressing, with loons who stick to entrenched, indefensible positions based on what they think their political camp’s dogma should be. Righties say there isn’t a problem apart from some Conspiracy, greens say no to nukes and each is as mad as the other.

We need to put huge efforts into combating the damage we are doing to our environment and arses like Delingpole dominate the media coverage? If it wasn’t so tragic it would be laughable.

A quick look over the Atlantic, where the mad right wing ideology of Delingpole and his Tory chums comes from, shows a country unable to deal with its problems because of the loss of bipartisanship in government and the possibility of truly mad people achieving the highest political office. We really should avoid allowing such stuff to come over here.

46. Chaise Guevara

@ Planeshift

OK, I’ll await clarification.

@ Cherub

“Righties say there isn’t a problem apart from some Conspiracy, greens say no to nukes and each is as mad as the other.”

Yup. Lumping nuclear in with traditional fossil fuels always seems like the sign of a zealot to me. And I don’t see how people can possibly believe there’s no problem with fossil fuels – even if there were no such thing as AGW, that still leaves pollution and the simple fact that these resources are finite.

47. Northern Worker

I notice it didn’t take long for name-calling by the warmists. Clearly James Delingpole is bang out of order, but it doesn’t make his arguments any less valid.

The fact is that whether man-made global warming (or whatever it’s called this week) is fact or fiction, it’s pretty well irrelevant while China and India move themselves into pole position as CO2 emitters (if that’s the cause, and who knows). The UK accounts for (what?) 2% of global CO2, so we’ll make no difference at all to anything unless China and India toe the line, and I can tell you from recent visits they don’t intend to do anything. They think we’re barking. And here I’m talking about Indian and Chinese engineering types like me who know a thing or two about this stuff.

I, for one, am totally fed up with being ripped off by the so-called green lobby, which seems to consist of rich people loading our energy bills so they can swell their bank accounts. And for what? Nothing. Never mind the bio-fuel scandal where we save the planet by starving poor people to death.

Of course you could argue that ‘every bit helps’ and the UK does matter. Well, if that’s your view, tell me: If we close down everything and left this island, what difference would it make? The answer is near enough nothing.

Oh and Chaise @ 41 (… it’s about giving future generations an inhabitable planet with some fuel sources that haven’t been burned up), here in the UK we have plenty of energy available for hundreds of years in the form of coal and shale gas. Well before scarcity becomes a problem, we will have sorted out other sources.

Besides, all the evidence suggests that windmills create more CO2 than they save (think of all the metal and cement and gas power stations running on stand-by), and you want to see what the Chinese are doing to make solar panels, batteries for electric cars and magnetcs for windmills. They are creating the biggest mess of our planet ever with pollution which will be there for hundreds of years. Pollution is a far bigger threat to man (and woman) than CO2 and a couple of degrees of warming – if it is warming and there seems to be some saying it’s now cooling and we could have an ice age. Perhaps that’s our fault too.

he is making a meaningful (but wrong) “comparison” – he is claiming they do have something in common – he’s claiming they are both members of the set of things for which opposition to them should be uncontroversial. The television program Vexed and genocide have something in common – I dislike them. Television programs are not like genocide. It’s not a non sequitur to use a daft example like this, it’s a common rhetorical move, a bit like reductio ad absurdum. Charlie Brooker does it all the time, for example.

Reduction absurdim exaggerates something to extremes for rhetorical effect: its a slippery slope falacy with a comic punchline.

When Brooker is funny – say, with A Touch of Cloth – it’s because he’s exaggerating elements of something he is mocking; in that instance cliched dialogue, clunky exposition, graphic forensic sequences, quirky but irrelevant personal relationships, etc. It wouldn’t have been funny if the protagonists had suddenly and inexplicably turned into lobsters because that would be a non sequiter.

Just saying ‘I don’t like police procedurals and I don’t like crustaceans’ wouldn’t bridge the gulf between the target of his humour and the symbol he uses for it.

When I made my Don Quiote comment earlier it was a reference to a deluded fool attacking windmills: it wasn’t a simple non sequiter about, say, Hannibal Lector eating his census taker.

Northern Worker ++++++

I suppose the fact that China is moving towards a green economy as fast as they can doesn’t enter into Northern Worker’s blinkered idiocy. Facts? Who needs ‘em?

Leave poor James alone. He’s very disturbed and inadequate young man who, when faced with anyone quietly countering his ‘arguments’, pleads depression and goes off to drug himself up.

52. Chaise Guevara

@ 46 Northern Worker

“Of course you could argue that ‘every bit helps’ and the UK does matter. Well, if that’s your view, tell me: If we close down everything and left this island, what difference would it make? The answer is near enough nothing.”

The difference it would make is 2%, based on your figures. We can deal with what we’re responsible for, instead of refusing to do so while blaming the Chinese. You can apply your argument to any global problem, because if you divvy up responsibility into small enough parcels (first countries, and failing that, individual people), then eventually you’re going to come up with a small-sounding percentage. It’s an argument for never doing anything, and the reason we have the phrase “tragedy of the commons”.

“Oh and Chaise @ 41 (… it’s about giving future generations an inhabitable planet with some fuel sources that haven’t been burned up), here in the UK we have plenty of energy available for hundreds of years in the form of coal and shale gas.”

It will run out eventually. This is inescapable; the supply is finite. Every year, we have one less year left. And given the human cost of pollution (mainly on the poor), why wait?

“Well before scarcity becomes a problem, we will have sorted out other sources.”

I’m sorry, but this is ridiculously irresponsible. What other sources? If we knew about them now, we’d be using them already. To the best of my knowledge, we are not finalising any great discovery that would make renewables redundant. So you’re guessing. You’re jeopardising future generations with a shrug and a statement to the effect of “Sod it, it’ll probably sort itself out”.

“Besides, all the evidence suggests that windmills create more CO2 than they save (think of all the metal and cement and gas power stations running on stand-by), and you want to see what the Chinese are doing to make solar panels, batteries for electric cars and magnetcs for windmills. ”

IIRC, people say that this info is based on misleading data, mainly due to being based on old tech. And as solar etc. are real, developing technologies, unlike your “new sources”, we can expect them to become more efficient as R&D continues, because that’s what tends to happen. Even if it turns out to be a dead end, it’s worth a shot. I’ll let someone else step in on the technical side; not my field.

53. Robin Levett

@Northern Worker:

Are you up to date with Chinese investment in wind farms?

“What other sources? If we knew about them now, we’d be using them already.”

I think he means, over the coming century’s , there will most certainly be enough of a technical advance to address our energy needs in ways yet unimagined.

Climate change is just another emotive issue for the left to bitch about, along with the rich the poor inequality and what ever else.

When are the left actually going to produce something or at least approach issues from some other angle than the super whining bitching victim-hood?

( Not you specifically )

55. Robin Levett

@Blah #54:

Climate change is just another emotive issue for the left to bitch about, along with the rich the poor inequality and what ever else.

It’s only a political issue to the extent that those on the right with a vested interest in preservation of the status quo want to make it so. In the case of wind power, particularly, you’re so far off the mark it’s not funny.

Take pagar – who admittedly is sometimes as much as three orders of magnitude off when decrying the necessity for reducing reliance on fossil fuel, so you have take his analysis with a pinch of salt. He makes the claim that all wind power does is put money in the pockets of rich landowners; now if that were the case, surely “the left” would be against it? It is not, after all, the case that the left is historically friendly toward rich landowners.

56. Northern Worker

Cherub @49 and Robin @ 52

You must be joking. Don’t you remember the Beijing Olympics? The air pollution was so bad they had to reduce car use in the capital. And that’s my experience of both India and China – unbelievable amounts of pollution from both cars and coal-fired power stations. And what makes you think the Chinese are working towards a green economy? Is it the new coal-fired power station they open every week?

Chaise @ 51

You suggest we have to do our bit. I reckon our 2% will make no difference to global temperatures even if man-made actions are the problem. And I think apart from the idiots in Australia (is Gillard really Labour?), we’ll be on our own. I think we’ll just have to differ on this.

I’m not suggesting “jeopardising future generations with a shrug”; I’ve got four grandchildren so obviously I’m concerned. But as an engineer I know the human race is infinitely creative (thanks Blah @ 53) and yes, it will sort itself out. If it hadn’t in the past, we’d still be cutting down trees to burn on our living room floors. As for “other sources” that we would know about already, when I was born we had only just discovered nuclear and the first plant hadn’t been built in the UK (Calder Hall opened in 1956 if memory serves). Nobody in the general UK populous knew about nuclear power in the 40s. We do have other potential sources right now: shale gas and thorium (plentiful and far less dangerous than uranium) nuclear, but our stupid Tory government seems determined to ignore the potential. The French have banned shale gas exploration. Obviously none of these numpties have noticed how much cheaper gas is in the US compared to here – and why.

On the technical side I’ll tell you what the Chinese are doing. Thanks to the demand for windmills and solar (and EVs – electric vehicles) they have created open cast mines for rare earths so large they can be seen from space. The processing is poisoning the land and the people.

More technical stuff: windmills do take massive amounts of energy to produce from the mining through to installation. While second and third generation versions might be better, the life expectancy is 20 years or so. Then you have to start again. And because the wind doesn’t blow all the time (or it’s dark at once every 24 hours for solar), we have to have 100% back-up fossil fuel generation on stand-by. It’s grossly inefficient to run coal or gas power stations at less than high load. It’s uneconomical and it produces more CO2.

The latest from Germany is they are looking at emergency laws to stop generators closing down unprofitable coal-fired power stations. That’s because their grid has to take green sources first and their coal-fired sources are running at a loss on stand-by. They are finding out the hard way that green means the possibility of brown-outs (low voltage) or full-blown blackouts. And industry coming to a grinding halt never mind people freezing and sitting in the dark

I’ve seen an awful lot of fads and panics in my life. Mark my words: in five year’s time we’ll wonder why we let this fad get to the point of wrecking our economy.

I live within a few miles of both a fossil fuel power station and a large windfarm. Guess which one is more obtrusive

a. Windfarm, containing a few dozen large windmills
b. Drax power station

Guess what, it’s Drax. It is visible from near Penistone to the Humber Bridge, it dominates the horizon either way. Even painted white, those windmills disappear into the landscape! Personally, I don’t see them as ugly, merely functional and aerodynamic.

I am curious why functional and aerodynamic is classed as ugly? It is a bit like an obsessive control freak kind of gardener branding dandelions ugly, just because those dandelions have a habit of germinating in his lawn!

59. margin4error

Pagar

For what it is worth – the line you offered is more nonsense.

“wind turbines don’t reduce our CO2 emissions”

Yes they do. Though intermintent, the energy they do produce need not be produced from burning fossil fuels. So that intermitent cut in CO2 is still a cut in CO2.

“or increase our energy security”

Yes it does – because even its intermittent energy production substitutes for other energy production intermitently – thus reducing our need for fossil fuels to burn – thus reducing our need to secure energy from abroad.

Also – worth noting – intermitency is somewhat over-played. Hydro-power offers a good example of energy storage (use surplus energy when the wind blows to pump water up to a lake – when the wind stops blowing, let the water descent through turbines that generate electricity).

And that’s before one considers the development of the North European network that will see energy transfered more widely and thus less intermittently.

61. Robin Levett

@Northern Worker #56:

<blockquote.You must be joking. Don’t you remember the Beijing Olympics? The air pollution was so bad they had to reduce car use in the capital. And that’s my experience of both India and China – unbelievable amounts of pollution from both cars and coal-fired power stations. And what makes you think the Chinese are working towards a green economy? Is it the new coal-fired power station they open every week?

Quick question; who has more installed wind power generation capacity – the PRC or the USA? And which country (ignoring Turkey and Romania) has been increasing their wind power generation capacity the fastest, six times as fast as the EU as a whole, and nearly three times as fast as the USA?

The Telegraph did not feel it right to put on the front page the result of the Hillsborough inquiry. It was hidden away on page 6.

We can take from this that the Telegraph is pro police corruption,. And not ashamed to admit it. It also does not want to draw attention to the fact that their beloved Thatcher behaved like the worst form of jackboot fascist. Protecting the police and their mates at all costs. Quite something from a batty woman who used to drone on about how much she hated the state. Not, apparently when she was the state. As for the wing nuts that now write for the Torygraph, they are just the same loons that have infested the Republican party in the US.

63. Chaise Guevara

@ 53 blah

“I think he means, over the coming century’s , there will most certainly be enough of a technical advance to address our energy needs in ways yet unimagined.”

If that’s what he means, he’s wrong. It’s a black swan. We can assume that current tech will improve – but other technological advances may mean more energy demand, so we don’t know it’ll work in our favour. But we don’t know, by definition, which technologies we’ve not thought of yet will emerge.

“Climate change is just another emotive issue for the left to bitch about, along with the rich the poor inequality and what ever else.

When are the left actually going to produce something or at least approach issues from some other angle than the super whining bitching victim-hood?”

Well, you seem to have defined “whining” as “talking about any issue from a left-wing perspective”. So for you: never. For the rest of us: already do, every day.

64. Robin Levett

@Blah #58:

I think you’ll find these are more typical:

http://spectrum.ieee.org/image/32204

65. Chaise Guevara

@ Northern Worker

“You suggest we have to do our bit. I reckon our 2% will make no difference to global temperatures even if man-made actions are the problem.”

Why are you only talking about global temperature? If we stopped using fossil fuel tomorrow, that would definitely have a positive impact on pollution and sustainability.

But you’re missing the point of “we all have to do our bit”. It’s one of those issues that needs a lot of people to do the right thing. You want to sit around refusing to do the right thing because someone else will probably do the wrong thing. Like I said, tragedy of the commons.

“I’m not suggesting “jeopardising future generations with a shrug”; I’ve got four grandchildren so obviously I’m concerned.”

That doesn’t mean you’re rational about it. Humans naturally underestimate costs that are far off in the future.

“But as an engineer I know the human race is infinitely creative (thanks Blah @ 53) and yes, it will sort itself out.”

You keep saying this, but unless you’re Nostradamus you don’t know it’s the case. And you’re back to shrugging off the needs of our descendants, I’m afraid.

“If it hadn’t in the past, we’d still be cutting down trees to burn on our living room floors.”

If it had in the past, we’d have an infinite supply of clean energy already.

Yes, technology progresses. That doesn’t mean it’s going to hand you a panacea free of charge. In fact, you’re demanding that we stop progress by ignoring renewables.

“As for “other sources” that we would know about already, when I was born we had only just discovered nuclear and the first plant hadn’t been built in the UK (Calder Hall opened in 1956 if memory serves). Nobody in the general UK populous knew about nuclear power in the 40s.”

So? The fact that you can now predict that nuclear would emerge in the 50s with the benefit of 20:20 hindsight does not mean you can see the future.

“We do have other potential sources right now: shale gas and thorium (plentiful and far less dangerous than uranium) nuclear, but our stupid Tory government seems determined to ignore the potential.”

They’re both fossil. At best they put the problem off for awhile.

“On the technical side I’ll tell you what the Chinese are doing. Thanks to the demand for windmills and solar (and EVs – electric vehicles) they have created open cast mines for rare earths so large they can be seen from space. The processing is poisoning the land and the people.”

Solution: stop buying this stuff from China.

“More technical stuff: windmills do take massive amounts of energy to produce from the mining through to installation. While second and third generation versions might be better, the life expectancy is 20 years or so. Then you have to start again. And because the wind doesn’t blow all the time (or it’s dark at once every 24 hours for solar), we have to have 100% back-up fossil fuel generation on stand-by. It’s grossly inefficient to run coal or gas power stations at less than high load. It’s uneconomical and it produces more CO2.”

More CO2 per KWh, I assume. But less KWh from the coal stations so less CO2 overall.

“The latest from Germany is they are looking at emergency laws to stop generators closing down unprofitable coal-fired power stations. That’s because their grid has to take green sources first and their coal-fired sources are running at a loss on stand-by. They are finding out the hard way that green means the possibility of brown-outs (low voltage) or full-blown blackouts. And industry coming to a grinding halt never mind people freezing and sitting in the dark”

Sure: people tried to make themselves dependent on the tech before it could handle it. I’m not saying that every proponent of renewables is perfect.

“I’ve seen an awful lot of fads and panics in my life. Mark my words: in five year’s time we’ll wonder why we let this fad get to the point of wrecking our economy.”

In 500 years time they’ll be cursing our names as they fight with sticks and stones over the last battery. Or some other scenario, but with ongoing reliance on a polluting and horribly finite resource, none of them are good. CF my point about underestimating future costs.

66. Northern Worker

Robin Levett @ 60

Perhaps in relative terms the PRC has installed a large amount of windmills compared to others. But it’s a country of 1.5 billion people, and the amount is a drop in the ocean compared to its consumption of energy.

Your point is, in any case, a diversion from the fact that China is increasing its coal-fired capacity at a massive rate. I’ve seen it; I’ve seen the hundreds of trucks transporting coal; and I’ve breathed the pollution, which reminded me of Manchester in the early 60s.

The Tory’s continuing policy of lining the pockets of rich friends by robing the poor simply cannot go on. I bet we’ll be having another debate this winter about fuel poverty! Come back to me then about windmills and solar and explain why these are the solution to fuel poverty and all our energy problems!

Right now I’m off for dinner and a nice glass of wine.

Tories had no problem with windmills when they were in Camberwick Green and Windy Miller was living there. Because it was all part of the country as a heritage museum. No doubt Roger Scruton could be dragged off his horse to wax lyrical about them. Staunch, English Yeoman milling flower. It was only when they became industrial that the NIMBYS rejected them.

Who here carbon offsets there life style?

69. Northern Worker

Chaise @64, very quickly as I’m off out to a lecture about South Africa …..

Your first, second and third paragraphs – As I said, we aren’t going to agree on this. I put our economy and the prosperity of our population first. Otherwise, we won’t have anything to sustain with our sustainability.

“That doesn’t mean you’re rational about it.” I’m an engineer and so totally rational. Rationality, logic, joined up thinking and creativity are the foundations of engineering. Otherwise bridges fall down and stuff doesn’t work.

“Nostradamus” etc. Was it Harold Wilson who said: “A week is a long time in politics”? Well, I take the same view about scientific and engineering progress. My thesis involved computer-modelling a dynamic system, which was then tested against actual, physical results. Back then nobody could have predicted the advances we have made in computing and its applications. I see the future in the same way. We really don’t know until we get there.

“In fact, you’re demanding that we stop progress by ignoring renewables.” The renewables we have aren’t progress. They cannot supply the needs of our economy when the wind doesn’t blow or it’s night-time. We have to have a parallel system of fossil fuel power stations as back-up. QED, it’s not progress.

Your comments about ‘other sources’. I didn’t predict nuclear; I was seven years old in 1956! Shale gas is fossil and we could have 300 year’s supply, but thanks to our government we aren’t presently exploring the possibilities. Thorium is not fossil. It’s a much safer nuclear alternative, and a Thorium power station would cost one-fifth of the cost of a conventional nuclear. I don’t know why it’s hardly mentioned. Perhaps because conventional nuclear power stations can enrich Uranium for nuclear weapons and Thorium can’t. Just a thought.

“Solution: stop buying this stuff from China.” They’re pretty well the only country producing competitive wind turbines, solar panels and batteries for EVs.

“More CO2 per KWh, I assume. But less KWh from the coal stations so less CO2 overall.” I don’t know the relative figures, however it limits the CO2 saved if you have to keep your coal and gas power stations running. They can’t be switched off because you have to constantly have the grid in balance.

“Sure: people tried to make themselves dependent on the tech before it could handle it. I’m not saying that every proponent of renewables is perfect.” Renewables are not the future, which is why Germany is also building new coal-powered stations – eight, I believe. And their coal is nasty stuff compared to ours.

“In 500 years time … “ I watched the moon landings with my Dad and said to him how much progress we were now making. He reminded me that he was born in 1902 and he had seen an awful lot of progress too. He said he never imagined even half the progress made in his life from hardly ever seeing a car to guys walking on the moon.

@56. Dissident: “Guess what, it’s Drax. It is visible from near Penistone to the Humber Bridge, it dominates the horizon either way.”

Drax, which can produce 7% of UK electricity is an extreme example. Anything that produces that much power from a single site is going to be ugly.

@55 Northern Worker: “But as an engineer I know the human race is infinitely creative (thanks Blah @ 53) and yes, it will sort itself out.”

I no more believe in an undefined technical fix to resolve our energy problems than in wind farms. The argument for continued (but reducing) use of fossil fuels is that it buys time to create wealth, and that wealth should be used to mitigate the effects of pollution and to develop a more sustainable future. But we still need to start changing what we do.

Wind energy is part of that sustainable future but current forms* do not provide a solution. The energy is too expensive and is not dependable. The generation after next of wind turbines may give us something that works, but if we kid ourselves that they are a solution we deceive ourselves in the same way as believers of a technical fix.

The argument in favour of sustainable energy becomes clearer if we strip out AGW considerations. UK history provides enough reasons why dependence on fossil fuels is a bad idea — pea-souper fogs, supply reliance on other countries, economic effects of price fluctuations from overseas suppliers — that changing our behaviour is common sense. Oil, coal and gas are too useful industrial ingredients to toss into a furnace. What we are doing now is daft even if AGW is a fantasy

* all puns are incidental

@68. Northern Worker: “Thorium is not fossil. It’s a much safer nuclear alternative, and a Thorium power station would cost one-fifth of the cost of a conventional nuclear. I don’t know why it’s hardly mentioned. Perhaps because conventional nuclear power stations can enrich Uranium for nuclear weapons and Thorium can’t.”

Thorium looks good on paper and it can be used for much smaller generators. There were stories recently that some of the benefits of Thorium reactors have been overstated — not as efficient, still nasty residue — but with those reservations, it remains a good prospect.

@ 55. Northern Worker

You are conflating a whole load of different issues into one by suggesting that China is doing little in the field of wind energy. No one least of all the Chinese would doubt that they have serious emission and pollution problems. Just a quick look at Wiki gives an indication of the scale of their installed wind generation capacity. Moreover, some of the mega projects planned for Mongolia are huge. So wind energy can’t just be about rich landowners in this country. China would not be installing any capacity if they were not obtaining energy.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wind_power_in_the_People%27s_Republic_of_China

No one disputes the amount of coal power stations that they are building in parallel with renewables. High oil prices actually increase the use of coal for energy. The relative and real cost of coal has been in decline for some time because supplies are abundant. We tend to think of coal as an old fashioned energy source. In fact, coal and not oil is the world’s primary energy source. Coal is such a good energy source because it is dense energy, easily transportable and easily storable. For those reasons it is difficult for countries with plentiful supplies to get away from using coal even though it causes such pollution. Some dreamy environmentalists appeared to have the idea that high oil prices would lead to mass substitution of renewables for energy. That has happened to only a limited extent globally. The major substitution has been from hydrocarbons to pure carbon as the world turned to coal. Moreover, U.S. shale gas has led to a glut of U.S. coal leading to falls in prices on world markets as the excess coal is exported. The U.S. shale gas boom has reduced U.S. emissions and increased them elsewhere.

So the world including us have some serious energy problems. We can’t get away from the fact that after having a surplus for decades we now have an energy deficit in the UK. We use more than we generate and that makes us dependent on others. The UK energy intensity is not too bad, so the incremental benefits we could get through energy efficiency will not be as great in the UK as elsewhere. We require less energy to generate GDP than most comparable states. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Energy_intensity
Therefore, energy security and reduction in emissions is really going to have to come from using different energy sources. I can’t see wind doing the job without nuclear. Wind is by definition dispersed energy. Therefore, it is never going to be cheap energy because most of it is harvested far from population centres and will have significant transmission costs. Moreover, wind has diseconomies of scale because the best and most productive sites are used first. None of that means I am anti-wind energy. We should as part of an energy mix develop it as one section of our energy security infrastructure. Acknowledging that wind is unlikely to ever be cheap energy.

If shale gas is viable in the UK beyond the hype we should develop it for the same energy security reasons. Most of the anti-shale stuff is just scaremongering tripe because it changes the economics of some renewables. We are not going to stop using gas if we do not develop shale. All that will happen is we still use gas but import it from elsewhere. Anyone who does not believe nuclear is going to play a big part in the UK energy future is really not being serious. We definitely need more electricity capacity before we can even tackle reducing the amount of oil we use for transport. It is in transport where most of the UK oil use is consumed.

@66. sally: “Tories had no problem with windmills when they were in Camberwick Green and Windy Miller was living there. Because it was all part of the country as a heritage museum.”

Funnily enough, Sally, Victorian grandees dragged George Green (mathematician and physicist) from his windmill in Sneinton to attend university at Cambridge. Green’s windmill was an industrial enterprise — it still grinds wheat flour for visitors to buy. George Green’s lifestyle suggests an independent spirit rather than a conservative man.

74. Chaise Guevara

@ Northern Worker

“I’m an engineer and so totally rational. Rationality, logic, joined up thinking and creativity are the foundations of engineering. Otherwise bridges fall down and stuff doesn’t work.”

You’re not. Neither am I; nobody is. Humans are naturally irrational and if you try to compensate for that it’s a constant struggle. You may have a great head for maths and physics, but that doesn’t make you immune to the thousand cognitive biases that your brain is wired up to process.

““Nostradamus” etc. [snip] We really don’t know until we get there.”

Which is exactly my point. We don’t know until we get there, but you’re resting on your laurels in the certain “knowledge” that our problems will be solved by some technological development that’s just over the hill. That technology may never exist. That level of faith simply isn’t rational. If you’re sure about a black swan, you simply can’t have properly examined your beliefs.

“The renewables we have aren’t progress. They cannot supply the needs of our economy when the wind doesn’t blow or it’s night-time. We have to have a parallel system of fossil fuel power stations as back-up. QED, it’s not progress.”

You see, this is what I don’t get. You have so much faith in technological progress, but you want to dump an entire wing of potential research because the beta models aren’t so great. You want huge amounts of clean power? Well, we can do clean power now, construction processes aside. So the obvious thing to do is to work on those clean power sources and see if we can get over the efficiency problems (including construction). Unlike imaginary future tech, improved efficiency does arise quite reliably when people put work into existing concepts.

“Your comments about ‘other sources’. I didn’t predict nuclear; I was seven years old in 1956!”

I know. My point is that you can’t say “we had an emerging technology back then and it turned out to be amazing, therefore a technology that’s emerging right now will also be a game-changer”. It’s generalising from too few examples.

“Shale gas is fossil and we could have 300 year’s supply, but thanks to our government we aren’t presently exploring the possibilities.”

What happens after that?

“Thorium is not fossil. It’s a much safer nuclear alternative, and a Thorium power station would cost one-fifth of the cost of a conventional nuclear. I don’t know why it’s hardly mentioned. Perhaps because conventional nuclear power stations can enrich Uranium for nuclear weapons and Thorium can’t. Just a thought.”

You’re right, it’s not fossil. Can we produce it from sustainable resources, though? If not it has the same problem. If so then we should totally go for it.

“They’re pretty well the only country producing competitive wind turbines, solar panels and batteries for EVs.”

Solution: don’t go for the lowest bidder, incorporate some responsibility into the buying process. It’s actually a bit silly to criticise China if we’re simultaneously cooing over their wonderfully low prices.

“I don’t know the relative figures, however it limits the CO2 saved if you have to keep your coal and gas power stations running. They can’t be switched off because you have to constantly have the grid in balance.”

Sure. But I assume that a renewable plant with fossil support generates less CO2 overall (with both plants taken into account) that a bigger fossil plant producing the same KWh as the combined system. If not, using the combined system would be stupid unless it was for research purposes, or had some other benefit I’m not thinking of.

“Renewables are not the future, which is why Germany is also building new coal-powered stations – eight, I believe. And their coal is nasty stuff compared to ours.”

How are you going to find out whether it’s the future if you abandon it in the early stages in favour of tech that is obviously not fit for purpose?

“I watched the moon landings with my Dad and said to him how much progress we were now making. He reminded me that he was born in 1902 and he had seen an awful lot of progress too. He said he never imagined even half the progress made in his life from hardly ever seeing a car to guys walking on the moon.”

Despite the position I need to take on this particular issue, I’m extremely excitable about scientific progress, and well aware that it’s going to happen in ways I’ve never imagined. However, that’s not an excuse to assume that we don’t need to work on problems because someone 50 years from now will solve it. In 50 years they might be thinking the same thing. And if you actively avoid research because you’re relying on progress that comes from research… well, that’s madness.

@Charlieman #70:

Drax, which can produce 7% of UK electricity is an extreme example. Anything that produces that much power from a single site is going to be ugly.

Drax, Ferrybridge, Pontefract and at least one other (Eggborough?) are all highly visible – and ugly – from the same stretch of road. I’ve driven it a number of times.

@Northern Worker #66:

Perhaps in relative terms the PRC has installed a large amount of windmills compared to others. But it’s a country of 1.5 billion people, and the amount is a drop in the ocean compared to its consumption of energy.

In 2020, the projections for Chinese windpower run from 230-300GW installed; that’s an extra 170-240GW, or between 43 and 60 Draxes. Drax is several times the size of the average Chinese power station (it’s Western Europe’s largest); so let’s say between 100 and 150 Chinese power stations. That’s hardly incomparable to the 290 coal-fired stations the Chinese would build on the one every 10 days figure in that period; and even that 290 takes no account of the fact that as newer super-critical stations are coming on-line, older kit is being decommissioned.

77. Northern Worker

Chaise @74

“I’m extremely excitable about scientific progress, and well aware that it’s going to happen in ways I’ve never imagined.”

You say it so much more eloquently (can writing be eloquent?) than me. Your one single sentence says what my hundreds of words were trying to say.

78. Northern Worker

Robin @76

But, but, the Chinese like everyone else will still have to back up renewables with coal or gas. The wind doesn’t blow all the time and you can’t run an economy like theirs with variable energy supply.

@Northern Worker:

Thank your for finally conceding (albeit only by implication) that even the Chinese are making very substantial investment in wind energy that cannot be dismissed as a “drop in the ocean”.

So when all these wind farms are up and running the population wont be pestered about a carbon foot print any longer?

Plus Lady’s & Gentlemen, who here carbon offsets there life style?

@75. Robin Levett: “Drax, Ferrybridge, Pontefract and at least one other (Eggborough?) are all highly visible – and ugly – from the same stretch of road. I’ve driven it a number of times.”

The point is that we have to accommodate old fart industry before we enter a new world (if it exists).

82. Robin Levett

@Charlieman #81:

The point is that we have to accommodate old fart industry before we enter a new world (if it exists).

My point and, I believe, Dissident’s is that anyone who objects to windfarms on aesthetic grounds while advocating the continued or increased use of thermally generated electricity has a lot of explaining to do.

83. Chaise Guevara

@ 77 Northern Worker

Nah, man, you’ve been championing that theme very well for the whole thread! But thanks :)

84. Chaise Guevara

@ 80 Blah

” Lady’s & Gentlemen, who here carbon offsets there life style?”

I’m guilty of not doing so. I’m not sure how one goes about it. So you can call that not putting my money where my mouth is if you like. To be honest, I’m currently finding myself in financial difficulties each month, and my “being a good person” budget is already used up by other things, like buying fair trade and free range where possible. I do try to get environmentally friendly options where they’re available, though.

85. Man on Clapham Omnibus

OK, if say you accept that the climate is changing( ie. that global warming is happening), where is the evidence that its man made as opposed to a natural variation in the earths (or suns) behaviour?

86. Man on Clapham Omnibus

@85

Don’t eat meat,it’ll be good for you too!

@ 80 Blah

Lady’s & Gentlemen, who here carbon offsets there life style?

I don’t – certainly not to the full extent. I have though tried to reduce my carbon footprint by;

1 Running a smaller-engined, more fuel-economical car;
2 Installing solar PV panels that have produced almost 2MWh since they were installed in February;
3 Installing a solar water-heating panel capable of heating most of the hot water we need for around half the year;
4 Using public transport, walking and cycling more than I used to;
5 Using carbon offsets where they are offered.
6 Supporting increased use of renewable energy sources generally

Relevance? This seem to be just a variant of the “Algore is fat” argument; it doesn’t go to the scientific argument at all, it just means we’re all human.

@MoCO #85:

OK, if say you accept that the climate is changing( ie. that global warming is happening), where is the evidence that its man made as opposed to a natural variation in the earths (or suns) behaviour?

1. We know from applying thermodynamics that the Earth’s average surface temperature is up to 30K higher than it should be based simply upon the quantity of incoming electromagnetic energy and the Earth’s ability to radiate that energy away.

2. We have known for a century and a half that injecting carbon dioxide into a planetary atmosphere will slow radiation from that planet until it reaches a sufficiently higher temperature that a new radiative equilibrium is reached; and that mechanism is capable of making the difference in surface temperature described in 1.

3. We know that the CO2 content of the atmosphere has increased since pre-industrial times; and (from various strands of evidence) that the increased CO2 has come about because of mankind burning fossil-fuels.

4. There is no reason to believe that the increase in CO2 has not had the effect expected from 2; and the magnitude of the increase in temperature is well within the range of outcomes from that mechanism.

If, therefore, mankind has not caused the warming that we have seen, and that expected to come (because we have not yet reached a new equilibrium), then we must posit two new mechanism.

Firstly, we must posit a mechanism, as yet unknown to science, that is masking the warming that we should be seeing from human activity.

Secondly, we must posit a separate mechanism that is causing the warming we are seeing. Solar isn’t it – TSI has scarcely budged since 1950 (and for an unknown period before then)

We must then be prepared to place our heads between our knees and kiss our backsides goodbye; because if that first unidentified mechanism for some reason ceases to operate, we will then see the CO2-induced warming that it has been masking as well as the warming arising from unknown mechanism number 2.

“Don’t eat meat,it’ll be good for you too!”

Um, meat is high in carnosine. Without carnosine you’re dead.

Eat meat, its good for you.

cheers

90. Chaise Guevara

@ MoCO

“Don’t eat meat,it’ll be good for you too!”

As Klem points out, the best balanced diet would include some meat. Avoiding meat altogether isn’t great from a health perspective. Although most of us could probably stand to eat less meat. I’ve cut my consumption down and replaced red meat with chicken where possible, but I should probably reduce it more to be perfectly healthy.

That said, I’m not sure perfect health is worth the cost of a near-veggie diet, and there are more important things I should fix first (fat intake, alcohol intake, smoking etc).

It was not to see if your money if where your mouth is as such, more just to suggest doing so. I don’t actually believe in man made global warming but I like the idea of planting trees so:

http://www.carbonfootprint.com/uktrees.aspx

With an organization like the above we may do so ~ my life to date has not been focused on sustainable energy, self produced sustainable food how ever has long been a passion of mine.

Get your trees planted people even if its only one a year.

92. Robin Levett

@Blah =91:

I don’t actually believe in man made global warming

“Belief” is not of course the issue. What is the obvious flaw in the scientific argument?

blah it is fairly easy to test whether increasing CO2 concentrations would increase the ammount of heat trapped. All you have to do is repeat Tyndall’s experiment, which he performed in 1850′s with technology that is decidedly on the primitive side compared to your average 21st century kitchen! You don’t need a gigabucks supercomputer either…

I am willing to bet you will confirm for yourself at the very least that CO2 does trap heat, and increasing the concentration more heat. It is simple physics really, even an A level student could do it!

94. So Much For Subtlety

88. Robin Levett

2. We have known for a century and a half that injecting carbon dioxide into a planetary atmosphere will slow radiation from that planet until it reaches a sufficiently higher temperature that a new radiative equilibrium is reached; and that mechanism is capable of making the difference in surface temperature described in 1.

No we do not. Some of us assume that what happens in a laboratory is replicated in the atmosphere, but we do not know. The atmosphere is vastly more complex than a test tube. The claim about an equilibrium is new – why do you think that?

4. There is no reason to believe that the increase in CO2 has not had the effect expected from 2; and the magnitude of the increase in temperature is well within the range of outcomes from that mechanism.

Yes there is every reason. The atmosphere is not behaving as it should. The magnitude of increase is well within the margin of error. We have no reason to think there has been much increase – if any. But even if there has, that does not mean much because we cannot rule out a natural cycle.

Secondly, we must posit a separate mechanism that is causing the warming we are seeing. Solar isn’t it – TSI has scarcely budged since 1950 (and for an unknown period before then)

We may not even be seeing any warming – that is the point of the “hide the decline” graph. Our proxies for the past may be out. But Solar is looking very promising as the main cause of what climate fluctuation we are seeing. You cannot rule it out.

““Belief” is not of course the issue. What is the obvious flaw in the scientific argument?”

Aye, belief cant be that much of a big issue, considering the only carbon off-setter in this thread is a non believer :lol:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qkMibYLDhDU

96. So Much For Subtlety

59. margin4error

Yes they do. Though intermintent, the energy they do produce need not be produced from burning fossil fuels. So that intermitent cut in CO2 is still a cut in CO2.

No they do not. Because they need carbon to build – wind uses more concrete per kilowatt than nuclear which is saying something. They also need thermal power stations on stand by in case the wind drops. If that is coal, it means you have to keep a plant hot and the turbines spinning just in case you need it. Massively wasteful. People have looked. Wind does not save CO2.

Also – worth noting – intermitency is somewhat over-played. Hydro-power offers a good example of energy storage (use surplus energy when the wind blows to pump water up to a lake – when the wind stops blowing, let the water descent through turbines that generate electricity).

No it is not. Intermittency is the entire problem. And cost. Hydro sites that can be used in this way are in short supply. We use most of them already. So if you want to take a hydro power station off line to use as a battery, you need to replace it with something. That means more CO2. George Monbiot looked into this. His plan was to dam pretty much every river valley in Scotland. Still not enough storage capacity. Not to mention the incredible environmental damage it would do.

And that’s before one considers the development of the North European network that will see energy transfered more widely and thus less intermittently.

Which means we depend on the Germans and their coal fired power stations. Great.

@SMFS #94:

2. We have known for a century and a half that injecting carbon dioxide into a planetary atmosphere will slow radiation from that planet until it reaches a sufficiently higher temperature that a new radiative equilibrium is reached; and that mechanism is capable of making the difference in surface temperature described in 1.

No we do not. Some of us assume that what happens in a laboratory is replicated in the atmosphere, but we do not know.

How do carbon dioxide molecules know that they are in a laboratory, where the effect of interaction with a long-wave infrared photon is first to cause an electron to jump to a higher energy level, followed by falling back to the original level with emission of an infra-red photon in a random direction; or in the atmosphere, where they can do what the hell they like if struck by a long wave infra-red photon?

The atmosphere is vastly more complex than a test tube.

True but irrelevant.

The claim about an equilibrium is new – why do you think that?

No it is not; it is basic thermodynamics.

The Sun is continually bathing the Earth in electromagnetic energy. What is not absorbed by the atmosphere, directly heating it, reaches the surface of the Earth and heats that. The Earth as a system has only one means of getting rid of that energy – by re-radiation into interplanetary space. Conduction can’t do the job – there’s effectively no material out there to conduct the heat to; and convection only works within a body of fluid. The energy re-radiated depends on the surface temperature of the body radiating. If it doesn’t get rid of the energy provided by the Sun, the Earth system will continue to heat up to the point where it’s radiative output is in equilibrium with the Sun’s input.

The wavelength of radiated energy is dependent upon the temperature of the radiating body. At Earth surface temperatures, much of the radiated energy is in the long-wave infra-red; which is where the greenhouse gasses come in (they all work similarly to CO2).

The effect of the absorption of IR by GHGs and re-radiation by them in a random direction is that the path-length of a given packet of energy on its way to interplanetary space is increased; because as much of the energy is re-radiated downward as upwards. That increased path length means there is more energy, ie more heat, in the atmosphere.

Increasing the proportion of GHGs in the atmosphere will increase the number of times LWIR photons interact with GHG molecules, increasing the path-length further (slowing the packets of energy as they leave the system) and increasing the heat content – hence temperature – of the atmosphere; and that will continue until a new equilibrium is reached.

4. There is no reason to believe that the increase in CO2 has not had the effect expected from 2; and the magnitude of the increase in temperature is well within the range of outcomes from that mechanism.

Yes there is every reason. The atmosphere is not behaving as it should.

Naughty atmosphere! I hope someone has sent it to bed without supper.

Or: Perhaps you could elaborate on this? So far as I am aware, the atmosphere is still doing exactly what Svante worked out it should be doing a century or more ago.

The magnitude of increase is well within the margin of error.

Figures, and backing for them, please. Those whose job it is to measure temperatures consider that there has been statistically significant warming, continuing up to date.

We have no reason to think there has been much increase – if any. But even if there has, that does not mean much because we cannot rule out a natural cycle.

Natural cycles don’t just happen; they arise from physical causes. Posit your cause.

Secondly, we must posit a separate mechanism that is causing the warming we are seeing. Solar isn’t it – TSI has scarcely budged since 1950 (and for an unknown period before then)

We may not even be seeing any warming – that is the point of the “hide the decline” graph.

Explain what you mean by the “hide the decline” graph. Bonus points for including the expression “trick to hide the decline”, and explaining where the expression comes from (hint – not the stolen UEA emails)

Our proxies for the past may be out. But Solar is looking very promising as the main cause of what climate fluctuation we are seeing. You cannot rule it out.

TSI hasn’t budged since 1950. The globe has warmed since 1950. How can solar look “very promising as the main cause of” the warming?

98. So Much For Subtlety

97. Robin Levett

How do carbon dioxide molecules know that they are in a laboratory, where the effect of interaction with a long-wave infrared photon is first to cause an electron to jump to a higher energy level, followed by falling back to the original level with emission of an infra-red photon in a random direction; or in the atmosphere, where they can do what the hell they like if struck by a long wave infra-red photon?

Are you trying to be stupid or do I really have to spell it out for you? A CO2 molecule will behave the same way. But in the real world, outside the lab, there will be a lot of other factors at work. Which means the end result will not be the same as in the lab.

True but irrelevant.

How on Earth can it be irrelevant? Your experiment has just got messed with by a massive large, impossibly complex, real world. Which means little you do in the lab is likely to be properly replicated in the real world. In the actual atmosphere we have feedback. CO2 does not behave in isolation. Some of those feedbacks may be positive, but we know that a lot of them are negative. Which means whatever the extra CO2 is doing, other things are doing other things which counter it. The exact balance between them being a matter of further study and considerable importance. You simply cannot say that what happens in a test tube will result in the same outcome in the real world.

No it is not; it is basic thermodynamics.

It looks new to me. And perhaps you have not properly understood the science here.

The Sun is continually bathing the Earth in electromagnetic energy. What is not absorbed by the atmosphere, directly heating it, reaches the surface of the Earth and heats that.

Apart from the proportion of it that is reflected off the cloud layer, back out into space. We do not have a fixed amount of cloud cover.

and that will continue until a new equilibrium is reached.

Unless we have a run-away Greenhouse effect, but I suppose even that will eventually reach a new equilibrium.

Or: Perhaps you could elaborate on this? So far as I am aware, the atmosphere is still doing exactly what Svante worked out it should be doing a century or more ago.

Not really. The data we have does not seem to show much in the way of warming in recent years – as it should. What is more, the past record may be wrong and so the Earth may be about as warming as it ever was.

Figures, and backing for them, please. Those whose job it is to measure temperatures consider that there has been statistically significant warming, continuing up to date.

That depends on who you are asking. Different groups have produced different results. And given the dishonesty of some of them there is no reason to consider their views. Especially given their funding depends on it. We are talking about something like a 1.4 C variation in a system where daily variation can be 20 C. You really think they do not have a problem with errors?

Natural cycles don’t just happen; they arise from physical causes. Posit your cause.

Actually by definition natural cycles just happen. The problem being that we do not know what causes them. The field being a very poorly studied one. That cycles exist is undeniable. El Nino for instance. What causes it? No one knows. But it is an act of God not of man.

Secondly, we must posit a separate mechanism that is causing the warming we are seeing. Solar isn’t it – TSI has scarcely budged since 1950 (and for an unknown period before then)

TSI has been poorly measured until very recently. You can’t make that claim. You do not know what was going on in the 1950s. What is more TSI may be the wrong measure. You may have to look at UV or long wave radiation alone. We have long known that sun spot activity has had an influence on the Earths’ climate. And so far sun spots are looking interesting.

Explain what you mean by the “hide the decline” graph. Bonus points for including the expression “trick to hide the decline”, and explaining where the expression comes from (hint – not the stolen UEA emails)

Actually it does a very good impersonation of being from the UEA e-mails. You cannot call them stolen. They are public property. Stolen from whom? What I mean is simple. They were looking at tree ring proxies for past temperatures. The problem was that around 1960 they also got proper instrument readings – but they diverged. The tree rings showed the world to be cooler than the modern instruments. So they simply cut off that series around 1960 so they didn’t have to show it. However the proxies must agree with the modern instruments – the modern readings must be right and if the proxies are proxies, they must agree with it. If they don’t it means the proxies have been calibrated incorrectly. If they showed the 1960s as cooler than it was, it follows that they must show the 1860s as cooler than it was as well. Which means that actually the past was probably warmer and we have had no real warming at all.

TSI hasn’t budged since 1950. The globe has warmed since 1950. How can solar look “very promising as the main cause of” the warming?

Because you are only looking at one very flawed measure of solar activity. It looks promising because it also seems to work in the lab – go on, tell me lab work is useless. And because the climate does seem to track some forms of solar activity.

@SMFS

They were looking at tree ring proxies for past temperatures. The problem was that around 1960 they also got proper instrument readings – but they diverged. The tree rings showed the world to be cooler than the modern instruments. So they simply cut off that series around 1960 so they didn’t have to show it. However the proxies must agree with the modern instruments – the modern readings must be right and if the proxies are proxies, they must agree with it. If they don’t it means the proxies have been calibrated incorrectly.

This is the key point.

Logically, the conclusion would be that if the proxies diverged from the measured readings the proxies are probably worthless. But that would blow the whole global warming theory out of the water and the hockey stick would look like …….a stick. So the warmists have concluded that the divergence must be caused by some other factor- though they can’t say that is far less prove it.

Evidence, if it were needed, of their blind desperation to prop up their discredited theory.

@ SMFS & pagar.

Just out of curiosity, are either of you aware that just about all the world’s glaciers are melting, that Arctic sea ice extent this September is at yet another record breaking low, that more and more Antarctic ice shelves are destabilising, that there was a record breaking amount of melting on the Greenland ice cap, that this August was one of the warmest ever in the northern hemisphere, etc.

All in la Nina conditions, where the Pacific switches to heatsink mode. Next year is gearing up for el Nino, where the Pacific no longer absorbs heat. What records will be broken then?

It isn’t AGW that is discredited to me.

101. tigerdarwin

@ 18 pagar

Hasn’t Margin shut you up with his witty explanation of why you are wrong.

No I thought not

Wind power is about providing power on windy days, which is pretty usual in the UK.

You don’t know too much about power production do you. Wind power can be turned on and off quickly which means it replaces gas generation on the many many windy days in the UK. It also saves gas and reduces CO2 emissions.

Further it is an excellent power source in small to medium sized towns away from built up areas. These are expensive to supply due to power loss in transmission.

102. tigerdarwin

@98 SMS

”We are talking about something like a 1.4 C variation in a system where daily variation can be 20 C”

Total rubbish.

Its not the diurnal variation that counts. That can be far more than 20 deg C.

Life exists between about 0 deg C to 40 deg C. A 1.4 deg C warming is a significant increase.
It only took a 4 deg C decrease in global mean temp to plunge us into an ice age, a 3 deg C increase would take the global temp to Ipswichian levels.

Did study Geology at school- no thought not

@ Dissident

Just out of curiosity, are either of you aware that just about all the world’s glaciers are melting……

Ah yes. The “polar bears are cuddly” argument.

@ Tigerdarwin

Amongst all the offensive drivel and claims to scientific competence you forgot to mention why it is that tree rings have proved to be an unreliable proxy since temperature could actually be measured.

Why is that?

104. Robin Levett

@SMFS #98 (and pagar at #99 could probably stand reading this as well):

Quick response for now – more to follow:

hey were looking at tree ring proxies for past temperatures. The problem was that around 1960 they also got proper instrument readings – but they diverged. The tree rings showed the world to be cooler than the modern instruments. So they simply cut off that series around 1960 so they didn’t have to show it. However the proxies must agree with the modern instruments – the modern readings must be right and if the proxies are proxies, they must agree with it. If they don’t it means the proxies have been calibrated incorrectly. If they showed the 1960s as cooler than it was, it follows that they must show the 1860s as cooler than it was as well. Which means that actually the past was probably warmer and we have had no real warming at all.

That’s all very well, but it is incorrect.

With one exception, examination of every proxy demonstrates warming since 1960.

That exception is tree-ring proxies (which don’t show as much warming); and not even all tree-ring proxies, but a specific subset of high-latitude tree-ring proxies. There are a number of hypotheses as to why, and those hypotheses are being investigated.

So you want to argue, cherry-picking a very small part of the proxy evidence available, evidence that is inconsistent with all the other evidence, that the world isn’t warming?

@103 Pagar

Firstly you didn’t appear to deal with the rather salient point I made.

Instead you tried to get personal and doubt my science cred.

A 25 year old life science degree + postgrad. Not great I know but I suspect more informed than Dog and Duck info you.

Tree ring data yep inconsistencies, but there are those in quantum physics, we don’t however doubt it is a credible theory.

Remember GH gases are only one of the factors that contribute to global climate change.

I specialised in pollen analysis – how about you.

Plenty of debate on tree ring data.

http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn22040-tree-rings-suggest-roman-world-was-warmer-than-thought.html

@pagar

Much as I hate to demolish your sneering, polar bears are one of the apex predators of the Arctic sea ice, along with walrusses and beluga whales. All are showing evidence of decline, because the biome they depend on is literally melting away. Bad though that is, it is not my concern. The positive feedback of melting ice is making the Arctic warm faster than anywhere else on the planet. That is making the northern hemisphere’s jet stream sluggish, and like a sluggish river nearing the sea, it tends to meander more. That in turn traregions of the temperate zone either to the north or south of it for months on end. In Britain and northern Europe this year, to the north, with endless rain, flooding, and a reduced harvest. In America, to the south of another meander, endless drought, reducing harvest. Are you having to pay more for food by any chance? Not only that, how many will starve if that continues?

Is Delingpole’s comparison any worse than George Monbiot’s claim that flying he Atlantic is on a par with child abuse?

http://www.monbiot.com/1999/07/29/meltdown/

He bullied a relation in his sordid Telegraph blogging column, just as my aunt was very seriously ill. Just bullying! Why dress up as a soldier, James? Your bullying is frankly disgusting and your blogs poison.

With one exception, examination of every proxy demonstrates warming since 1960.

The earth is warming and has been since the end of the last MIA and before that it was cooling and had been since the MWP. Nobody is denying our climate changes but the tree ring proxies have been used to create the current man made global warming scare and are vital to it.

That is why you will not say they are a busted flush as a proxy but instead that “there are a number of hypotheses as to why, and those hypotheses are being investigated.” Usually when a scientific theory is shown not to match the facts it is rejected.

Meanwhile our scientist mate Tigerdarwin is citing articles saying that the Roman Empire fell because of climate change.

Presumably because the Picts burned too much peat……

111. Dorian Loveday

well, George Monbiot once compared flying with child abuse:

http://www.monbiot.com/1999/07/29/meltdown/

Besides, I hate to admit it, but Delingpole is right (though for the wrong reasons). The problem with renewables – wind included – is that they’re incredibly diffuse, and what’s more, they’re intermittent (unless you spend huge amounts on storage).

A far better option would be to use GE PRISM-type nuclear reactors to eat up the UK’s existing nuclear waste, while researching and implementing LFTR-type thorium reactors in the future.

112. Robin Levett

@pagar #110:

The earth is warming and has been since the end of the last MIA and before that it was cooling and had been since the MWP. Nobody is denying our climate changes but the tree ring proxies have been used to create the current man made global warming scare and are vital to it.

That is why you will not say they are a busted flush as a proxy but instead that “there are a number of hypotheses as to why, and those hypotheses are being investigated.” Usually when a scientific theory is shown not to match the facts it is rejected.

Will you please cease demonstrating your ignorance by referring to “the tree-ring proxies”; there are many tree-ring proxies, and it is only a subset of a subset that exhibit divergence. On the overwhelming balance of the evidence from both tree-ring proxies generally, and from other proxies, the Earth has been warming since pre-industrial times, and anomalously over the last 100 years or so in a way that can only be explained by GHG emissions. That theory matches the overwhelming majority of the facts. Those who cling to the equivocal evidence of a very small subset of those facts are the ones who are acting unscientifically.

By MIA I take it you mean LIA?

@ Robin

Of course there is another possibility.

Maybe the tree ring proxies are correct and the instrumental readings are wrong, due to the heat island effect.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Urban_heat_island

Anyway.

You’re a long way from convincing me I need to turn down the heating and walk to work to save the planet.

Anyone who believes that will work is…frankly….. a fool.

114. Robin Levett

@pagar #113:

Maybe the subset of tree ring proxies that i want to rely on are correct and all the other proxies and the instrumental readings are wrong, due to the heat island effect.

Corrected that for you.

Since the highest temperature increases are coming from the Arctic (you know, where we are setting new records for summer melts) that seems unlikely.

That there is a UHI effect on individual stations is tritely correct. That there is a UHI effect on the trend of such individual stations is less correct. That there is a UHI effect affecting the overall temperature measurements is simply wrong. Studies have shown that removing the urban stations from the data has no effect on the trend exhibited by that data.

And we always come back to the question; if you are correct, and if the Earth’s surface is not yet warming, despite the physical indications that it is, from changes in growing seasons to Arctic sea-ice melting: where is the extra heat generated by increased GHGs going?

115. So Much For Subtlety

112. Robin Levett

Will you please cease demonstrating your ignorance by referring to “the tree-ring proxies”; there are many tree-ring proxies, and it is only a subset of a subset that exhibit divergence.

This is an interesting defence. But no. It was, from memory, a compilation of tree ring proxies. Are you confusing Yamal?

On the overwhelming balance of the evidence from both tree-ring proxies generally, and from other proxies, the Earth has been warming since pre-industrial times, and anomalously over the last 100 years or so in a way that can only be explained by GHG emissions.

Well no. Even the IPCC does not go that far. They say that the probability is that humans are influencing the climate. They do not say we can say so with absolute certainty. Which is still one step further removed from claiming it must be GHGs.

That theory matches the overwhelming majority of the facts.

What facts? You mean when the data is massages by GISS?

116. So Much For Subtlety

100. Dissident

Just out of curiosity, are either of you aware that just about all the world’s glaciers are melting, that Arctic sea ice extent this September is at yet another record breaking low, that more and more Antarctic ice shelves are destabilising, that there was a record breaking amount of melting on the Greenland ice cap, that this August was one of the warmest ever in the northern hemisphere, etc.

No. Because at least some of those claims are not true – Antarctica is putting on ice for instance – and the rest are not proof of much.

All in la Nina conditions, where the Pacific switches to heatsink mode. Next year is gearing up for el Nino, where the Pacific no longer absorbs heat. What records will be broken then?

Well let’s wait and see. Then we can have this conversation again. So far we have no real evidence for MMGW.

It isn’t AGW that is discredited to me.

The majority of the world’s population does not agree with you. As you can see in the American election and in the UK, it has fallen off the political radar.

101. tigerdarwin

You don’t know too much about power production do you. Wind power can be turned on and off quickly which means it replaces gas generation on the many many windy days in the UK. It also saves gas and reduces CO2 emissions.

Oh FFS. The whole freakin’ point about wind is that it cannot be turned on or off. Either the wind blows or it does not. End of story. It does not replace gas because that intermittency means that you have to keep thermal power stations spun up – hot, turbines spinning – in order to take over should the wind suddenly drop. That’s ignoring the huge amount of steel and concrete that goes into making the turbines. They do not reduce CO2 emissions.

Further it is an excellent power source in small to medium sized towns away from built up areas. These are expensive to supply due to power loss in transmission.

Solar is cost effective if you factor in transmission over surprisingly small distances. But we do not. That is covered by our socialised electricity system. The problem with small and medium sized towns is that they cannot rely on the grid for back up unless they are connected to the grid. In which case, wind is irrelevant.

The technology is old. Engineers are not morons. There is a reason we do not use it.

@116 SMS

”End of story. It does not replace gas because that intermittency means that you have to keep thermal power stations spun up – hot, turbines spinning –”

Yes, but far less so than coal,m oil or nuclear. Weather forecasts are also accurate up to five days so so planning is possible.

Further we are talking about currently 5% , soon to be 15% ( NFFO) of UK production. Keeping gas turbines on what is in effect is stand by is better than having them going at full production. It saves over a larger number of power plants and over the long term.

Of course it is also about CO2 emission reduction- something you clearly do not think is important.

”That is covered by our socialised electricity system”

ideological wiffle

Solar no problem with that

@ 62 sally
”As for the wing nuts that now write for the Torygraph, they are just the same loons that have infested the Republican party in the US.”

too right

@ 110 Pagar

”Meanwhile our scientist mate Tigerdarwin is citing articles saying that the Roman Empire fell because of climate change.

Presumably because the Picts burned too much peat…”

It was purely to indicate the amount of research going into tree ring data.

The problem with tree ring growth data is that it is affected by far more than temp. Aridity, insolation, soil fertility all play a part. It is very hard to control for all events.

Further climate is very local. A set of sunny summers in Scotland for example would lead to a misinterpretation of the climate for the whole of the UK. Indeed the North of Scotland had a drought this year.
Peat burning and deforestation in pre industrial times did affect CO2 levels though only slightly- you appear to be arguing against yourself .

There are plenty of unknowns in science mate, and using an unreliable source of data is unacceptable methodologically.

As for me being a scientist. I’m not but I did a life science degree.

You have not responded to the point about increase in temp. I suspect that is about as far as you can get down the pub with your pub bore mates driving their Audis

@ Tigerdarwin

I don’t think pagar is in with Audi driving pub bores, he is probably too feckless & libertarian for an Audi, a 2 tonne chelsea tractor or worse yet 3 tonne hummer is more his style! To drive him 20 yards to the shops!!

@ SMFS

you state that snowfall is increasing in Antarctica. Interesting, have you ever heard of the saying ‘too cold to snow’? as things warm in Antarctica, I would expect more snowfall, given the average temperatures there. Ice sheets are disappearing in Antarctica, especially along the west Antarctic peninsula. A recent example is Larsen b, behind that former ice shelf is a glacier that the shelf dammed up. It is now accelerating downslope, and dumping more ice into the southern ocean. Hopefully, the Ross ice shelf won’t start to disintergrate, as that helps to keep the West Antarctic ice cap dammed up… Oh and the Arctic sea ice is melting at a far faster rate than the inherently conservative assumptions in the IPCC report. Because that report disregarded the positive feedbacks emerging in the meltdown.

Yo also state that the meltdown of the Arctic sea ice doesn’t amount to much. Oh dear. a loss of more than 50% of it is not much? The warming associated with it has already disturbed the flowing of the northern jet stream, with all that it implies for temperate weather patterns, which we are seeing in our harvests…

Do you really think that people are rejecting the evidence of AGW? The only ones who really are, as an example, are the Fox News watching, Republican voting patsies of the USA’s superich takers. The ones who choose to be ignorant…

121. Robin Levett

@SMFS & pagar:

“D’Arrigo, R. et al. On the ‘Divergence Problem’ in Northern Forests: A review of the tree-ring evidence and possible causes. Glob. Planet. Change (2007), doi:10.1016/j.gloplacha.2007.03.004″

It’s even linked from Wikipedia… – and it’s online at:

http://www.ldeo.columbia.edu/~liepert/pdf/DArrigo_etal.pdf

Knock yourselves out.

@ Robin @121

From the article.

The causes, however, are not well understood and are difficult to test due to the existence of a number of
covarying environmental factors that may potentially impact recent tree growth.

These possible causes include temperature-induced drought stress, nonlinear thresholds or time-dependent responses to recent warming, delayed snowmelt and related changes in seasonality, and differential growth/climate relationships inferred for maximum, minimum and mean temperatures.

Another possible cause of the divergence described briefly herein is ‘global dimming’, a phenomenon that has appeared, in recent decades,to decrease the amount of solar radiation available for photosynthesis and plant growth on a large scale.

Great stuff.

However the question to be answered is why there is an assumption that such “covarying environmental factors” have not been in play over the previous 2000 years.

Anyway, got to go and fire up the hummer. I’m out of milk.

123. Robin Levett

@pagar #122:

However the question to be answered is why there is an assumption that such “covarying environmental factors” have not been in play over the previous 2000 years.

There isn’t. Next question?

There isn’t. Next question?

So if you accept that tree rings are susceptible to all those “covarying environmental factors” and always have been, how on earth do you maintain they are a reliable proxy?

125. tigerdarwin

”So if you accept that tree rings are susceptible to all those “covarying environmental factors” and always have been, how on earth do you maintain they are a reliable proxy?”

the is a good example of proxy data use on wiki;

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:2000_Year_Temperature_Comparison.png

Tree ring data has a lot of noise in it and it takes some good science make sense of it. But that that the growth has occurred in a tree cannot be denied. That makes it reliable. But it is not the only source. There is foramnifera, beetles, pollen, ice core, varves etc.

The cheer complexity of the analysis of tree rings means you using it instead of driving you hummer ( I stand corrected) is a waste of breathing time; I suspect you do not have a PHD in any science subject whatsoever.

But that that the growth has occurred in a tree cannot be denied.

Err no.

But the question is what affected it’s rate of growth.

Since the only data that exists that compares rate of growth with known temperatures shows no correlation between the two why on earth should we suppose it existed in the past?

If we do a study which shows that the bird population of Arizona has borne no correlation to the price of cheese for the last 50 years, is there any reason to suppose it might have done in previous centuries?

127. Robin Levett

@pagar #124:

There was no assumption “that such “covarying environmental factors” have not been in play over the previous 2000 years”. There is instead no evidence that they did, and the fact that taking tree-ring data out of multi-source analysis makes no difference is good evidence that they haven’t.

And this:

Since the only data that exists that compares rate of growth with known temperatures shows no correlation between the two

is quite simply untrue.

128. Robin Levett

@pagar:

…and once again – it is not “the tree ring proxies” that exhibit divergence; it is specific datasets taken from high-latitude northern forests (and a Swiss subalpine forest) that exhibit it. No southern tree-ring datasets exhibit it. Did you read the paper?

129. tigerdarwin

@ 126

”Since the only data that exists that compares rate of growth with known temperatures shows no correlation”

That is simply not true, there is a correlation. as indicated in the link above. Further that link is related to a Science publication , the world’s leading peer reviewed science journal. Have alook below.

http://www.sciencemag.org/content/295/5563/2250

Its is not as good however as other data sets.

Further as indicated that is probably explainable by local factors, eg increased warming cooling in high latitudes.

Cheese production and bird pops have no obvious relationship. Tree ring growth and past climate change obviously have.

Robin& Tiger

We’re obviously not going to agree on this

So you too keep switching the central heating off and I’ll keep driving the hummer.

Can we agree not to try to compel the other to amend their behaviour?

Hmm. Thought not…..

131. Robin Levett

@pagar #130:

Your freedom to swing your fists (drive your hummer) ends at the end of my nose (my child’s future).

Those arguing against the reality of AGW and advocating business as usual want to continue to conduct an experiment that could very easily end in a collapse of our civilisation if the outcome is the worst scenario. It simply would not be able to adapt enough quickly enough to the changed world climate and ecology.

@ Robin

Ah. So you are proposing to try to compel me to amend my behaviour using the illusion of global warming as your excuse.

Then fuck you.

133. tigerdarwin

@ 132 pagar

Its not just AGW, its deforestation, oceanic pollution , lacustrine pollution, riverine pollution, coral reef loss etc

all these are very serious problems.

You are a Jeremy Clarkson type, was it he who said he didn’t care if the tiger became extinct.

The Tories have become nothing more than the TEA party.

Electoral oblivion awaits I hope.

I despair

134. Robin Levett

@pagar #132:

Ah. So you are proposing to try to compel me to amend my behaviour using the illusion of global warming as your excuse.

Nope.

I am proposing that you should change your behaviour using the reality of global warming as a reason. You want to carry on experimenting with my child’s future; as a good libertarian, you would know that you don’t have that right.

I am proposing that you should change your behaviour using the reality of global warming as a reason. You want to carry on experimenting with my child’s future; as a good libertarian, you would know that you don’t have that right.

Ah, that’s better. I withdraw my previous comment.

You are correct to say that libertarians believe in personal responsibility and are scrupulously mindful of the rights of others. If I agreed with you that GW was the apocalyptic problem you suppose then I would, of course, change my light bulbs for the sake of your children.

In fact, I am convinced that it is a temporary scare caused by an over enthusiastic impulse to use computer models to extrapolate from poor quality data.

However, regardless of which of us is correct, I am pleased to confirm that I do not, in fact, drive a hummer.

136. Robin Levett

@pagar #135:

In fact, I am convinced that it is a temporary scare caused by an over enthusiastic impulse to use computer models to extrapolate from poor quality data.

Then you really need to learn the science behind it. Try looking at the work on and linked from realclimate.org:

http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2007/05/start-here/
and
http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2004/12/index/

137. Robin Levett

@pagar:

…and I did assume that the Hummer was inserted for dramatic effect – to add verisimilitude.


Reactions: Twitter, blogs
  1. Roy Grubb

    Nutjob James Delingpole compares wind-farms to paedophilia http://t.co/4sgNsHTO

  2. Michael E. Mann

    Nutjob James Delingpole compares wind-farms to paedophilia http://t.co/4sgNsHTO

  3. David Aldridge

    MT @roybrub: Nutjob, and regular BBC commentator, James Delingpole compares wind-farms to paedophilia http://t.co/DVhNyMFa

  4. Richard

    Proper wanker! RT @libcon Nutjob James Delingpole compares wind-farms to paedophilia http://t.co/NrPbb1Q2

  5. Peter Clarke

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  6. Roger Davies

    Nutjob James Delingpole compares wind-farms to paedophilia http://t.co/4sgNsHTO

  7. Ken Rice

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  8. ellispritchard

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  9. Christopher Wright

    Nutjob James Delingpole compares wind-farms to paedophilia http://t.co/4sgNsHTO

  10. Chris Townsend

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  11. Ronald King

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  12. Crorys Banbridge

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  13. Tory anti-wind-farms fundraiser with Donald Trump collapses | Liberal Conspiracy

    [...] Tory MP Chris Heaton-Harris (Daventry) really hates wind farms. Really hates, perhaps on the scale of James Delingpole idiocy. [...]

  14. YG

    James Delingpole compares wind-farms to paedophilia | Liberal Conspiracy http://t.co/pU02vdCP via @libcon

  15. Green Power Plan

    James Delingpole of the UK's Daily Telegraph, compares wind-farms to paedophilia. http://t.co/UYcdyzmh

  16. Kiteman

    Good grief! http://t.co/jZXCR4Yv @BBCBreakfast

  17. Matt Learmouth

    Here is James Delingpole comparing wind-farms to paedophilia. The BBC regularly invite him on a 'serious' commentator http://t.co/U8CcRKsm

  18. Dan Benson

    Here is James Delingpole comparing wind-farms to paedophilia. The BBC regularly invite him on a 'serious' commentator http://t.co/U8CcRKsm

  19. jono andrews

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  20. CAHA Inc

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  21. Georgina Lansbury

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  22. Carl G

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  23. Joanna Hoare

    Here is James Delingpole comparing wind-farms to paedophilia. The BBC regularly invite him on a 'serious' commentator http://t.co/U8CcRKsm

  24. Eldred J Coke

    Here is James Delingpole comparing wind-farms to paedophilia. The BBC regularly invite him on a 'serious' commentator http://t.co/U8CcRKsm

  25. Grumpy Postman

    Here is James Delingpole comparing wind-farms to paedophilia. The BBC regularly invite him on a 'serious' commentator http://t.co/U8CcRKsm

  26. haynesc

    Here is James Delingpole comparing wind-farms to paedophilia. The BBC regularly invite him on a 'serious' commentator http://t.co/U8CcRKsm

  27. Monika Neall

    Here is James Delingpole comparing wind-farms to paedophilia. The BBC regularly invite him on a 'serious' commentator http://t.co/U8CcRKsm

  28. Sue Truslove

    Here is James Delingpole comparing wind-farms to paedophilia. The BBC regularly invite him on a 'serious' commentator http://t.co/U8CcRKsm

  29. Peter

    @iamamro Just read this: http://t.co/5ooUqy7J

  30. Joshua Atkins

    Just some background on @JamesDelingpole; he genuinely compares windfarms with paedophillia: http://t.co/8GB9P8MR #Corbyshambles #energygate

  31. Josh Newton

    Just some background on @JamesDelingpole; he genuinely compares windfarms with paedophillia: http://t.co/8GB9P8MR #Corbyshambles #energygate

  32. Matthew Todd

    Just some background on @JamesDelingpole; he genuinely compares windfarms with paedophillia: http://t.co/8GB9P8MR #Corbyshambles #energygate

  33. Tim Ireland

    Just some background on @JamesDelingpole; he genuinely compares windfarms with paedophillia: http://t.co/8GB9P8MR #Corbyshambles #energygate

  34. Monkey

    Just some background on @JamesDelingpole; he genuinely compares windfarms with paedophillia: http://t.co/8GB9P8MR #Corbyshambles #energygate

  35. Sunny Hundal

    Just some background on @JamesDelingpole; he genuinely compares windfarms with paedophillia: http://t.co/8GB9P8MR #Corbyshambles #energygate

  36. Matthew Pearson

    Just some background on @JamesDelingpole; he genuinely compares windfarms with paedophillia: http://t.co/8GB9P8MR #Corbyshambles #energygate

  37. Mitch Sullivan

    Just some background on @JamesDelingpole; he genuinely compares windfarms with paedophillia: http://t.co/8GB9P8MR #Corbyshambles #energygate

  38. pam lorenz

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  39. illinois cook

    Just some background on @JamesDelingpole; he genuinely compares windfarms with paedophillia: http://t.co/8GB9P8MR #Corbyshambles #energygate

  40. Francis Francis

    James Delingpole compares wind-farms to paedophilia | Liberal Conspiracy http://t.co/LHeB4RH0 via @libcon

  41. Tony Kennick

    Just some background on @JamesDelingpole; he genuinely compares windfarms with paedophillia: http://t.co/8GB9P8MR #Corbyshambles #energygate

  42. Bohemian Rapcity

    Just some background on @JamesDelingpole; he genuinely compares windfarms with paedophillia: http://t.co/8GB9P8MR #Corbyshambles #energygate

  43. Dino Goldie

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  44. Peter

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  45. Maryann O'Connor

    Just some background on @JamesDelingpole; he genuinely compares windfarms with paedophillia: http://t.co/8GB9P8MR #Corbyshambles #energygate

  46. Stewart Lochhead

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  47. Curt Burridge

    Just some background on @JamesDelingpole; he genuinely compares windfarms with paedophillia: http://t.co/8GB9P8MR #Corbyshambles #energygate

  48. Curt Burridge

    “@Josh__Atkins: Just some background on @JamesDelingpole; he genuinely compares windfarms with paedophillia: http://t.co/4JBpQxQd&quot; @MSmithUK

  49. Mitchell Torok

    Just some background on @JamesDelingpole; he genuinely compares windfarms with paedophillia: http://t.co/8GB9P8MR #Corbyshambles #energygate

  50. Gregory Norminton

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  51. Jess Worth

    So @JamesDelingpole, the stooge at the heart of #energygate, genuinely claims windfarms are as bad as paedophilia: http://t.co/nmLMF1GD

  52. @franziska_g

    So @JamesDelingpole, the stooge at the heart of #energygate, genuinely claims windfarms are as bad as paedophilia: http://t.co/nmLMF1GD

  53. John Pearson

    So @JamesDelingpole, the stooge at the heart of #energygate, genuinely claims windfarms are as bad as paedophilia: http://t.co/nmLMF1GD

  54. punkscience

    Just some background on @JamesDelingpole; he genuinely compares windfarms with paedophillia: http://t.co/8GB9P8MR #Corbyshambles #energygate

  55. mark pryke

    So @JamesDelingpole, the stooge at the heart of #energygate, genuinely claims windfarms are as bad as paedophilia: http://t.co/nmLMF1GD

  56. Judith Webb

    Just some background on @JamesDelingpole; he genuinely compares windfarms with paedophillia: http://t.co/8GB9P8MR #Corbyshambles #energygate

  57. jackie schneider

    Here is James Delingpole comparing wind-farms to paedophilia. The BBC regularly invite him on a 'serious' commentator http://t.co/U8CcRKsm

  58. Michaela

    Here is James Delingpole comparing wind-farms to paedophilia. The BBC regularly invite him on a 'serious' commentator http://t.co/U8CcRKsm





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