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Political cracks appear on carbon reduction

Paul Hudson | 11:27 UK time, Friday, 13 May 2011

It's been one of the most remarkable things in British politics for many years: The political consensus, across all the main parties, on the need and the speed at which the UK is to cut its carbon emissions to avoid so called 'dangerous climate change'.

And yet, lurking just beneath the surface, there are MPs who privately either express concern at the cost of going green and how, if other countries don't do the same, it might damage the country's competitiveness; or even voice doubts about man made global warming itself, believing the threat is exaggerated.

That said it still came as a surprise to commentators this week when a prominent member of the Cabinet, the Business Secretary Vince Cable, voiced his concerns that the speed and cost of carbon reductions over the coming years could harm prospects for jobs and growth - concerns that are apparently shared by, among others, the Chancellor George Osborne.

In 2008, three budgets were announced taking the country on a path of carbon reduction to 2023. But the next target that has to be set in the next few days will take the country to 2030.

The government have been told that carbon emissions should be cut by 60% compared to 1990 levels by 2030, by the government's advisory body on climate change.

Lord Turner, who heads this body, met with ministers to try and heal a rift which has pitched Osborne, Cable and others against the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change Chris Huhne.

In a leaked letter, Cable wrote that he feared the Energy Secretary's plan relies on securing a cap on emissions trading across Europe that may never materialise. If this were not achieved, the UK would be left cutting carbon emissions unilaterally, which would risk putting industry at a disadvantage.

A decision will be made by the Prime Minister David Cameron on Monday and will be watched very closely to see if the UK's remarkable political consensus remains in place.

Any watering down of the UK's carbon reduction plan, which is one of the toughest in the world, would be seen as a major blow by green campaigners that could have far reaching ramifications around the world.

Comments

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  • Comment number 1.

    Good old Vince Cable. Is he the only politician with common sense?

  • Comment number 2.

    When will these climate change deniers realise that cutting our reliance on fossil fuels, imported from unstable foreign regimes, is A Good Thing.

    How can it be a bad thing to cut wasted energy use by better insulation? How can it be a bad thing to use natural resources that abound in the UK instead of importing gas and oil? How can it be a bad thing to use and grow the skills in developing these technologies so that the money spent on buying these technologies is spent in the UK supporting UK businesses and UK jobs? How can it be a bad thing to then be able to export these technologies to improve our balance of payments rather than worsening our balance of payments by importing fossil fuels?

    Climate change is here, why not make the most of it?

  • Comment number 3.

    The choices are pretty clear, let's just see if Cameron has the balls to make them.

    We can "set an example" with draconian cuts that even if successful would only reduce global carbon emissions 2% in 50 years - that's 2% against a likely 30% INCREASE from China and other developing economies. This will have a far reaching effect on our own economy, and likely we would be the only ones to do it in the end.

    Or he could just put down the greenwash brush and quietly get on with dealing with our faltering economy rather than pandering to the alarmists, who are now so backed into a corner they call every unusual weather event as proof of their cause - like before 1850 the world was a serene place of fluffy clouds, gentle rains, and light breezes.

  • Comment number 4.

    I really have to laugh when people talk about Global warming by man, even if it was true, the majority of the production is done out of the UK now. I would like to see the UK producing more Carbon emissions, it would mean that our manufacturing bases was expanding. We should always be looking at ways to increase efficiency and do things in a cleaner way. Wake up please.

  • Comment number 5.

    I agree with the theme of EYChris's post. I don't buy the whole CO2 alarmist agenda, but I think we should be using the hysteria to push things that reduce our reliance of fossil fuels. The UK is running low on its own sources, do we really want to be at the mercy of the global energy market. I think if the “greens” used that more in their arguments rather than the Climate Change agenda they’d be on to a winner, and more likely to fulfil their ultimate goals.

  • Comment number 6.

    Its all about money - our money and they want it

    They could quite easily meet their reduction targets by legislating the closure of all the coal burning power stations and replacing them with nuclear - this would GUARANTEE the reduction

    Instead we have this baloney about putting a price on carbion in the HOPE that we will change our consumption habits

    Dishonest clap trap

  • Comment number 7.

    PS well done to Mr Hudson for having the balls and sense to allow his blog to be reactively moderated, wish some his colleagues operating within the same sphere n the BBC would do the same

  • Comment number 8.

    Carbon reduction is all about taxation and phoney jobs. Do things in a positive way, invent new more clean and efficient ways of doing things and we will become the work shop of the world again. Simple.

  • Comment number 9.

    In the interests of finding a compromise for EY Chris and Millennia I propose the following idea - feel free to call it dumb.

    As an AGA owner, I can't help thinking that the thermal heat store concept is breathtakingly elegant for cooking and hot water, but extremely expensive and somewhat polluting when oil fired. So, task James Dyson with re-designing the AGA for optimum efficiency to run off solar panels.

    Next, encourage (force) all developers to install these as a matter of course on all new builds and major domestic re-furbs. Then introduce a low cost purchase scheme to enable all property owning brits to take advantage of the very eco friendly system. This could be in the form of an interest free charge on the mortgage - payable only on future sale of the property.
    Point out that not only will it save substantial £££ on domestic bills from day one, it will also alleviate energy poverty. It will further reduce the demand from the grid, thereby reducing future infrastructure costs. On top of which, there will be significant CO2 emissions to boot.
    A massive, nationwide roll out of the scheme will see installation costs plummet due to enhanced competition and the costs of the equipment itself should fall due to . . er . . . er . . . whatever it is that makes things cheaper when you make more of them.

    This massive industrial effort will provide jobs galore in manufacturing, transport, building etc etc etc... list is endless. All of which can be paid for with theoretical wealth (which is what money is) - no real cash needed. Get the money moving around the system faster and you've got economic growth - tadaaa!

    Millions of homes to do at say, £10,000 a pop. That's £billions if not £trillions of green investment that has a social, economic and environmental benefit.

    Ladies and Gentlemen - I thank you.

  • Comment number 10.

    While we go on bickering about the financial aspect and costs, temperatures continue to rise on average over time.

    This is not 'alarmist'. I am not 'alarmed'.

    It just needs a scientific explanation, that's all.

    It has one, but you guys don't like it, for whatever reason.

  • Comment number 11.

    I think commentators have already lost sight of what this is really about, especially those who deny basic science and evidence.

    I accept the science, so does Vince Cable. This is not about the reality of Anthropogenic Climate Change, which is based on sound science, but the solutions to it, which is purely based on politics and policy.

    Anyone with common sense wants any policies to tackle climate change to be effective and not put people at a disadvantage. When the politics of this pans out I just hope what we end up with is effective. But lets be clear, there is no debate between these politicians about the need, just the implementation.

  • Comment number 12.

    Hi Paul. Great article and kudos for taking on the subject.

    Make sure not to take on the new glitzy format of the Richard Black blog. Juck.

    Yours rocks:)

  • Comment number 13.

    Update to #12: Meant 'YUCK'

  • Comment number 14.

    There was an item on the BBC News about wind farms in Wales and the fact that the huge increase in the number of turbines is going to necessitate the construction of more overhead cables and a new sub-station, in the middle of beautiful countryside. This seems to be turning some people against the wind turbines. I suppose it would have been obvious that this would have been necessary, but was it given any publicity when the decision to build the wind farm was taken? Of course this also has implications for the rest of the country.
    By their very nature, wind farms tend to be in rural areas, so how much of he countryside is going to be ruined with the construction of more sub-stations and pylons?
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-13383917

  • Comment number 15.

    An example of "climate change" bias at the BBC.
    Kate Adie, in an introduction to an item about freshwater River Dolphins, on today's From Our Own Correspondent said:
    "Last year the Amazon region suffered one of it's worst droughts in recorded history. The river reached it's lowest level for half a century. Scientists do not know how much "climate change" played a part. But some computer models project more water shortages across the region as the planet warms."
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b011290j/From_Our_Own_Correspondent_14_05_2011/
    Now, if scientists don't know how much "climate change" played a part, then don't mention it. Of course, this is a subtle attempt to link the predictions of computer models to actual drought, when there is absolutely no evidence.
    Also note the phrases "worst droughts in recorded history" and "lowest levels for 50 years", so apparently "recorded history" only goes back half a century.
    Also, "more water shortages .. as the planet warms", implies that warming is the only cause of water shortages, when it they could equally be due to excessive extraction for industry and a growing population.
    Clearly Ms Adie has been reading the BBCs own propaganda from Richard Black:
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-12356835

  • Comment number 16.

    Apparently the Government has removed funding from the UK Climate Impact Programme:
    http://www.oxfordmail.co.uk/news/9024312.Climate_change_unit_fears_for_jobs/
    Unfortunately, this doesn't seem to reflect a change in Government policy, since they have decided to award the contract to the Environment Agency instead, so it just looks like a cost saving measure. I suppose it's logical. Why should we pay for an independent body to do something which could just as easily be done by a Government department. On the other hand, maybe this may be the start of a subtle change in policy, since the role of the UKCIP was to advise on a a problem which may not even exist.

  • Comment number 17.

    NeilHamp - an update to keep an eye on for its implications on our temperature prediction table for 2011:

    http://www.weatherbell.com/jb/?p=1833

    So based on this prediction the La Nina looks to gain strength again towards the end of the year, a year with La Nina beginning and end is unlikely to be that warm. Also look at the pool of cold extending over the UK again - oh God. With Centrica warning of energy price hikes later in the year this is going to cause major damage to an already badly wounded economy.

    Yet the coalition look to reinforce their the carbon targets alongside defecit reduction and exacerbate that injury.

    I would say last one out of the country switch off the lights, but it looks like they will already be out.

  • Comment number 18.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2011/may/14/historic-climate-change-deal-agreed-chris-huhne

    and there you go......

    We were never going to get away with this, were we? Between Labour and LibDems hell bent on being world leaders in decarbonising our economy it was down to Cameron to stand up for common sense and in the moment of the country's greatest need he bottled it to Eco-lobbyists and a politician in the shape of Chris Huhne who would probably do anything to get on.

    If the predictions of the model in my previous post are confirmed going forward we will face a 4th cold winter against rocketing energy prices, and the sight of yet more wind turbines standing idle at the time of greatest requirement.

    Now we look to ruin yet more countryside to have yet more ineffectual power generation in colder winters.

    I've never wished more for global warming to be true, because if it isn't Cameron and Huhne will have done more to bring the country to it's knees than any Govt in the last 100 years.

    What a legacy.

  • Comment number 19.

    #10 Lazarus
    It depends what you mean by 'the basic science and evidence'. Which parts of the science do you accept? I have little doubt there is much in common on the 'basic science' between yourself and those you and EYChris (#2) unhelpfully label as 'deniers'.

    But the issue is rather more nuanced.

    It seems to me the surface temps have warmed in the last 40 years. But key questions are whether that warming is significant (potentially catastrophic) in historical terms. A second question is the degree to which that warming is man made.

    As to the first, the issues around the CRU furore cast considerable doubt on the reliability of the 'science' which underlies the assumptions adopted. In cases where significant errors have been shown the response of the scientific 'establishment' eg the University fo East Anglia and CRU seems to have been in 'denial'. In turn that response inevitably undermines confidence in other parts of their 'science'

    What of the extent to which the warming is man made? The climate bible has pronounced. The IPCC thinks it almost certainly is. Alas, the IPCC too has evidenced symptons of denial as, a large number of 'scientific 'facts' which have been challenged have met with a response which has been unhelpful. Just one example of many is Pachauri's response to the Himalayan glaciers issue. Wrongly labelling the correction "voodoo science" neither inspires confidence in the 'science' or the authority of the people involved.

    To say 'climate change is here' (#2 EYChris) is rather ill defined and lacks meaning in this debate.

    Back to Paul's post. Some think Cameron has sided with Huhne:
    http://conservativehome.blogs.com/thetorydiary/2011/05/huhne-and-cameron-over-rule-osborne-and-cable-and-put-green-targets-before-economy.html

  • Comment number 20.

    The consensus isn't that remarkable - it has been managed throughout.

    Even when the conspiracy between politics and fraudulent science was exposed, and continues to be exposed, the spin-meisters continue to work their magic behind the scenes. This should be essential reading for anybody who thinks the politics of climate are in any way clean, open, or transparent:

    http://climateaudit.org/2011/05/09/the-uk-government-tricks-the-scitech-committee/

  • Comment number 21.

    #18 - millennia wrote:
    "We were never going to get away with this, were we? Between Labour and LibDems hell bent on being world leaders in decarbonising our economy it was down to Cameron to stand up for common sense and in the moment of the country's greatest need he bottled it to Eco-lobbyists and a politician in the shape of Chris Huhne who would probably do anything to get on."
    I think it is significant that there was evidently a fight to get this through, so the tide may yet be turning.
    Personally, I think it is all wishful thinking, since we have apparently failed to hit our targets so far, depsite exporting much of our carbon emissions to China.
    I also resent the constant conflation of the reduction of CO2 emissions with "greenness". Some "sustainable" forms of energy are damaging to the environment, and plants may benefit from higher CO2 levels.

  • Comment number 22.

    I've also read the articles that appear to show that Cameron will side with the Eco-lobbyists. Just for a day or two I was optimistic that some common sense was finally permeating through. Would appear that optimism was misplaced.

  • Comment number 23.

    There's no such thing as global warming. It's a scare story cooked up by Watermelons. As for this nonsense about "reducing Britain's carbon emissions by 80%", well it isn't neccessary, would be ruinously expensive and would destroy the country's manufacturing base.

  • Comment number 24.

    Well, yes. Paul Hudson's blog sums it up!

    In a competetive world - and by God, its going to get very competetive indeed for small fry used to easy living -like the UK- in the near future - going fast down the carbon cutting road is going to be hard. If most, or even just a few of our "competetors" behave a less considerately, we are more than likely just going to be pushed into the dirt. And no one will thank us for saving the world - even if we could!

    But that's the world we live in - and indeed have been instrumental in creating and cashing in on in the past. Isn't this one of the great human dilemas? When to draw the line on selfish gain in order to foster the collective good?

    Personally, I don't see much prospect for the common good in a "free market" capitalist world economy such as all our governments have worshipped almost without question for the last 30 years or so. One can't preach minimal state intervention on one hand, yet manipulate the economy with what amounts to unilateral state intervention on the other.

    Either government has a resposibility to control and lead society or it does not. If the latter, then in order to create fair and equitable global conditions (which responding to climate change fundamentally requires) then, if possible, a different sort of world economy based on some sort of collective international agreement and management may need to evolve. However before we cry "socialism may yet live!"; I fear that so long as things continue to favour a powerful few, little will change. (can you even imagine it!).

    Think of the unilateral nuclear disarmament argument; it's rather similar; and that has yet to happen. In my view people are right to view "Greens" as closet socialists - because, facing a possible global crisis demanding universal co operation-that is a rational - albeit idealistic position to take.

  • Comment number 25.

    This is just more of the same. Despite all the talk by governments and businesses around the world, CO2 levels in the atmosphere have continued rising, accelerating even. Supposedly we just let it slide ever upwards and take our eye off that ball.

    This is looking very similar to the financial crisis where in hindsight people say "how could that have been allowed to happen"? At least for climate the government has their own experts warning them of the dangers of the ongoing CO2 rise, so no excuse really, but it seems that a lack of international cooperation prevents anything being done about it.

    We had the bank bailouts, I wonder what the climate bailouts will look like.

  • Comment number 26.

    "Climate bailouts"- where's the Rolleyes smiley when you need him?

    The banking crisis has good parallels with the climate con - the self-styled experts can get it wrong en masse. There are voices saying that the science is wrong, but they aren't listened to as the vested interests are making too much money to care, and investigative journalism is dead.

  • Comment number 27.

    @ millennia

    Depressing isn't it. The only 'silver lining' is that this country has zero chance of meeting those targets, but it'll sure destroy the economy in the process.

    @Quake

    Yet you and all the climate scientists have YET to show the link between co2 and temp- as i've said countless times before- a lab-scale relationship does not extrapolate to a complex system.

    @ Pual Hudson

    Please tell me you're not going to adopt the new BBC blog-look? It's already killed a few other people's blogs- limiting characters is not the way forward- unless you're wanting to stifle debate that is (at BBC in general-not yourself).

  • Comment number 28.

    Apparently the details of the "carbon reduction programme" will be announced tomorrow. That should be interesting.
    Meanwhile, two small islands in the Gulf of Mannar have apparently sunk beneath the waves, NOT as a result of sea level rise, but because of the illegal mining of coral reefs.
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-13383182
    No doubt however, that it will still be blamed on sea level rise by the proponents of "climate change".

  • Comment number 29.

    Hang on- can anyone tell me how increasing the numbers of electric cars on the roads, with their highly toxic batteries (and lots of them too) and their extra demand on an already stretched grid will do anything to combat climate change???

  • Comment number 30.

    #29 - LabMunkey wrote:
    "Hang on- can anyone tell me how increasing the numbers of electric cars on the roads, with their highly toxic batteries (and lots of them too) and their extra demand on an already stretched grid will do anything to combat climate change???"
    I suppose that the logic is that electric cars emit less CO2 as well as other pollutants than petrol/diesel cars when they are on the roads.
    However, that does ignore CO2 emissions in the generation of the electricity they use and other forms of pollution from the manufacture
    of the batteries, and the generation of the batteries.
    I wonder if anyone has worked out how much additional generation capacity will be required to support any given level of replacement of conventional cars
    with electric ones. It is possible that a large proportion of any growth in generation capacity will be taken up by electric cars.
    I also wonder how long the batteries in cars will last, before they have to be replaced, and what the cost will be.
    From my experience of re-chargeable batteries in other equipment, they don't last forever, so the financial and environmental cost of replacement
    will have to be factored in at some stage.
    In theory, electric cars sound like a good idea, but often such good ideas have unexpected consequences. For example, the main reason that internal combustion engines
    now emit CO2, rather than CO, was the introduction of the catalytic converter. I like the way that Wikipedia states that they result in the conversion of 90% of engine emissions into "less harmful" gases, such as CO2.

  • Comment number 31.

    27. LabMunkey:

    "...the climate scientists have YET to show the link between co2 and temp..."

    Satellites directly measure IR radiation escaping to space. Less and less IR energy is escaping to space at the wavelengths that CO2 and other greenhouse gases absorb IR: http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v410/n6826/abs/410355a0.html

    Ground instruments have directly measured increasing levels of IR radiation returning to the surface from the atmosphere. The spectrum of this radiation indicates how much each greenhouse gas is contributing: http://ams.confex.com/ams/Annual2006/techprogram/paper_100737.htm

    The above provide direct observational evidence that increased levels of IR radiation are being absorbed in the atmosphere and re-radiated by greenhouse gases. Numerous observations show that greenhouse gas concentrations, particularly CO2, are accumulating in the atmosphere. Numerous observations show that the bulk of this is C-12, and therefore produced from the combustion of fossil fuels by humans.

    So since the late 1970s we have 'observed' reduced heat energy escaping to space at the frequencies at which it is absorbed by CO2; we have 'measured' increased re-radiation of heat energy from the atmosphere to the surface at the frequencies at which it is absorbed by CO2; we have 'measured' increased CO2 concentrations in the atmosphere; and we have 'measured' increasing surface temperatures.

    We can't explain this heat in terms of solar or orbital forcings, and it does not appear to readily fit any discernible ocean circulation pattern.

    You say there is no demonstrable link between CO2 and global temperatures, most scientists disagree with you.

  • Comment number 32.

    Re 27. At 09:00am 16th May 2011, LabMunkey wrote:
    "Yet you and all the climate scientists have YET to show the link between co2 and temp"
    I echo newdwr54's response, but I also add that temperature is only half the problem, or perhaps even less. The problem really is the CO2 rise itself being so fast compared to natural CO2 changes in Earth's history, and so it raises the prospect of the knock on effects being largely unprecedented too. To put it another way, we can't draw on the past to allay concerns about rising CO2, because we don't know of a case like the current rise. Meanwhile uncertainty in modelling and experimentation also prevent us from allaying concerns - even though in complete topsy-turvy logic that uncertainty is often cited to argue the CO2 rise is safe!

    Temperature is just one of the knock on effect of rising CO2. There's ocean acidification too and of course increased plant fertilization. The problem really is about sudden change system wide. In the latter case some plants will benefit from additional CO2 and others not so much, so do the winners spread and wipe out the losers? How will insect species that feed or otherwise rely on those plants change? how in turn will changes in insect populations affect the plants? How will both be affected by temperture and precipiation changes? And so on. There's a whole web of interactions that can go wrong here. With shaking up a system like this there can't be new species made (at least not on relevant timescales) but there can be species lost.

  • Comment number 33.

    newdwr54 @31
    If the proof you refer to was as certain as you suggest, there really wouldn't be much wriggle room for skeptics. Since you link to the Harries Letter as evidence, I assume that you are familiar with both the contents of the paper itself and at least some of the criticisms of it.

    www.john-daly.com/smoking.htm

    This piece by John Daly seems to chuck the Harries letter in the bin. I haven't come across the Harries paper before, so I assume that its impact on the scientific community was short lived, perhaps because it was considerably weaker than you think.

  • Comment number 34.

    and Quake . . .
    you worry too much I think. Natural variation of Climate is the norm for this planet and there is little evidence that current temperature trends are significantly unnatural.

    The additional CO2 from fossil fuels is neither here nor there when you consider how much has apparently been in the atmospheric mix before we turned up. Your last post reveals something of an alarmist mentality, in that whilst you acknowledge that we don't know what will happen in the future, you assume its going to be bad.

    I would generally agree that adding large quantities of anything to our atmosphere is not particularly desirable.

  • Comment number 35.

    I'm posting this here as well as in the previous topic, in case anyone doesn't see it there:

    The NCDC/NOAA global anomaly for April was 0.585c, up from 0.510c in March, although that March figure has itself been revised upwards from the
    previously published figure of 0.483c. After adjustment to 1961-90, the April figure is equivalent to a HadCRUT3 figure of about 0.447c.
    HOWEVER, it appears that ALL of the previous monthly anomaly figures have been adjusted retrospectively, so it is quite possible that the figure I am using
    to adjust the NCDC/NOAA anomaly to 1961-90 requires revision.
    In general, the monthly anomaly figures appear to have been increased between 1880 and 1900, reduced between 1900 and 1955 and increased again between 1955 and the present day. The most recent increases are of the order of 0.02c per month. NCDC/NOAA seem to have a habit of retrospectively revising the monthly anomaly figures and it is very confusing. They made some similar adjustments between October and November 2010, which was apparently due to a change in the base period for the land based grid points. I haven't yet found any explanation for the latest adjustments on the website.
    After adjustment, the latest NCDC/NOAA anomaly is almost identical to the adjusted NASA/GISS anomaly.

  • Comment number 36.

    33. lateintheday:

    The 'Harries Letter' is of course a published article in a peer reviewed journal (Nature 410, 355-357). It is therefore peer reviewed scientific literature. Calling it 'the Harries letter' makes it sound like a 'letter to the editor' - it isn't. (Re John Daly: scientific rebuttals come in the form of peer reviewed papers, not from blogs. If Daly can cite a scientific rebuttal of Harries et al, I'll read it. He doesn't.)

    Furthermore the paper has no fewer than 80 citations. From a cursory inspection, most if not all of these occur in papers published by reputable peer reviewed journals: http://scholar.google.co.uk/scholar?cites=8352931607960765738&as_sdt=2005&sciodt=0,5&hl=en

    So you cannot dismiss this paper as one with a 'short lived' impact on the scientific community.

  • Comment number 37.

    34. lateintheday wrote:

    "...there is little evidence that current temperature trends are significantly unnatural..."

    There is much evidence, and this is the view held by every national scientific academy; also of every scientific organisation of national or international standing.

    lateintheday wrote:

    "The additional CO2 from fossil fuels is neither here nor there when you consider how much has apparently been in the atmospheric mix before we turned up."

    May I emphasis the phrase *before we turned up*? Quake pointed out that certain climatic states favour the flourishing or extinction of certain species. This current geological period, which is relatively cold in geological terms, has favoured the flourishing of our species. "Before we turned up" climate conditions were very different.

    Perhaps reproducing climatic conditions that last prevailed naturally long before we 'turned up' is an unwise experiment?

  • Comment number 38.

    35. QuaesoVeritas:

    Let's hope you're not suggesting that skulduggery is afoot?!

    You may know that adjustment to all the data bases is ongoing and that all of the published data sets are provisional; people make mistakes and instruments pack it in.

    Recall that by far the biggest adjustment to any of the major global climate data bases occurred to Spencer and Christy's UAH satellite data, which had to be completely revised upwards after mistakes were discovered in the processing programmes. Several years of continuous temperature data was proven to have be erroneously lower than temperatures in reality.

    Is it a coincidence that this data was being compiled by two scientists who, for whatever reason, consistently insist that AGW theory is over stated? I think so. I don't believe in conspiracy theories; not without strong evidence at least.

  • Comment number 39.

    I was also curious why the Harris paper was not referred to at every opportunity. I found this -

    http://www.americanthinker.com/printpage/?url=http://www.americanthinker.com/2010/02/the_agw_smoking_gun.html

    It refers to three papers including the one cited by newdwr54 as evidence. The conclusion drawn was ....

    So the results of three different peer-reviewed papers show that over a period of 36 years, there is no reduction of OLR emissions in wavelengths that CO2 absorb.

    The papers are linked in the document. Assuming the conclusion drawn from the the three papers is correct you could see why the Harris document might not be used heavily as empirical evidence.

  • Comment number 40.

    39. nibor25 wrote:

    "Assuming the conclusion drawn from the the three papers is correct you could see why the Harris document might not be used heavily as empirical evidence."

    This 'conclusion' is drawn by a politically motivated blog. Put the emphasis on 'blog'.

    Scientific debate is not conducted on the blogosphere (much as certain commentators wish that it were).

    If these people have a case to mount, then they should do so *in the scientific literature*. Anyone can say anything on a blog and make it sound convincing; especially to people who have no formal education in a particular area. That applies to all fields, not just climate science.

    For instance there are very professional looking websites with ostensibly 'clear' evidence that the world is less than 7,000 years old.

    At the end of the day we have to trust the scientific method - the system by which science continuously corrects itself. If AGW theory is wrong, then it will be demonstrated in the scientific literature, not in politically influenced blogs.

  • Comment number 41.

    #38. - newdwr54 wrote:
    "Let's hope you're not suggesting that skulduggery is afoot?!"
    No, just stating facts.
    On the other hand, you seem to be implying that about the UAH figures.

    "You may know that adjustment to all the data bases is ongoing and that all of the published data sets are provisional; people make mistakes and instruments pack it in. "
    From my experience, NCDC/NOAA seem to revise their figures more than others.
    Normally any revisions are limited to the last 1-2 years.
    This doesn't seem to be just the normal late data. There seems to have been a systematic revision of virtually every month's figures since 1890. There are no doubt valid reasons for doing this, but I find it difficult to understand why, for example the anomaly for March 1882 has to be increased by 0.0892c, and that for February 1895 has to be reduced by 0.0789c. There's provisional and there's provisional. The revisions to individual months are relatively small but by the time there have been several minor revisions, the overall result could be significant.

  • Comment number 42.

    # 40

    This 'conclusion' is drawn by a politically motivated blog. Put the emphasis on 'blog'.

    Thanks for teaching me to suck eggs that one was really tasty... but there are three peer reviewed papers. From your comments I assume you have "formal education" would you like to sum up the three papers and give us your conclusion then please.

  • Comment number 43.

    42. nibor25:

    The three papers cited by American Thinker summarise themselves:

    1. "By comparing spectrally resolved observations .... we have identified clear signatures due to long term changes in trace gas amounts."

    2. "[The spectrally resolved observations provide] direct experimental evidence for a significant increase in the Earth's greenhouse effect."

    3. "[Spectrally resolved observations between 1970 and 2006] confirm changing spectral signatures in CH4, CO2, and H2O.... with the difference signal in the CO2 matching well between observations and modelled spectra."

    In other words the data from the satellite instruments confirm that increased IR radiation is being absorbed over time by greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, especially CO2, and that this is exactly what the computer models predicted would happen. You can draw your own conclusions from that.

  • Comment number 44.

    41. QuaesoVeritas:

    I've already said that I think Spencer and Christy made a genuine mistake. If they were guilty of anything, then it was their failure to act quickly enough once others began questioning their data. That probably had more to do with professional pride than any desire to deliberatley skew their results.

    The point I wish to make is that if 'conspiracy theories' are to be invented then they can just as easily be invented to fit the 'sceptical' side of the argument. As I mentioned before, I don't believe in conspiracy theories; not without evidence.

    Richard Muller of Berkeley is a prominent critic of the behaviour of the CRU in the so called 'climategate' incident. He and a team from his university are currently reassessing all the data used by NASA, NOAA and CRU to compile their respective global temperature data bases. Muller's preliminary report described the work of all three of these bodies to be 'excellent'. If they discover anything underhand, they will no doubt reveal it in due course.

  • Comment number 45.

    Speaking of conspiracy theories and dodgy evidence, has anyone seen this?

    http://arstechnica.com/science/news/2011/05/climate-science-critic-sees-paper-retracted-due-to-plagiarism.ars

  • Comment number 46.

    #45 - newdwr54 wrote:
    "Speaking of conspiracy theories and dodgy evidence, has anyone seen this?"
    This is just "smoke and mirrors" on behalf of the author.
    As the article points out, the fact that the work may or may not have been partially plagiarized, does not invalidate it's findings.
    It also makes no difference to whether or not the "hocky stick" graph is accurate or not. The author tries to imply that because Wegman's work may have been plagiarized, that somehow invalidates the criticism of the graph.


  • Comment number 47.

    @47 QuaesoVeritas

    It contains plagiarized text, end off. If the paper had been by Phil Jones, how do you think the blogs would of reacted? The blogs are demanding transparency, access to source code, 100% accuracy of the scientists, etc. Doesn't it go 2 ways?

    The Himalayas glacier melting in 30 years instead of 300 mistake was held up as a sign of why the IPCC was completely wrong, yet we are now supposed ignore plagiarism?

    Also the paper was on how a small group of scientists could subvert the peer review system...a plagiarized paper that was peer reviewed by a friend of the author who edited the publication it went in...thus subverting the peer review system.... couldn't make it up really!

  • Comment number 48.

    #44 - newdwr54 wrote:
    "The point I wish to make is that if 'conspiracy theories' are to be invented then they can just as easily be invented to fit the 'sceptical' side of the argument. As I mentioned before, I don't believe in conspiracy theories; not without evidence."
    To an extent, this discussion of conspiracy theories is taking attention away from the point I was trying to make, which was that constant retrospective revision of figures makes it more difficult to get an understanding of the real changes in temperature. As a result of this, I am going to have to make some comparisons between past month's historical data and the most recent one, to assess how much they have changed. You may argue that because the changes are minor, there is no need to do this, but how do you know that the changes are minor, unless you do the comparison? The changes will also undoubtedly make it necessary to re-calculate the adjustment figure for converting the 1901-2000 anomaly to the 1961-90 anomaly.
    The NCDC/NOAA website includes the following note which presumably explains the differences in the figures from last month:
    "Note: Effective May 2, 2011, the GHCN-M version 3 dataset of monthly mean temperature replaced the GHCN-M version 2 monthly mean temperature dataset. Beginning with the April 2011 Global monthly State of the Climate Report, GHCN-M version 3 is used for NCDC climate monitoring activities, including calculation of global land surface temperature anomalies and trends.
    For more information about this newest version, please see the Summary of Recent Changes in the GHCN-M Temperature Dataset and Merged Land-Ocean Surface Temperature Analyses."
    The article then links to the following pdf file, which explains the changes:
    http://www1.ncdc.noaa.gov/pub/data/cmb/ghcnm/ghcnm-v3.pdf
    However, as far as I can tell, the only mention of the effect this has on the data is as follows:
    "These improvements have enhanced the overall quality of the dataset; nonetheless, conclusions regarding global land surface temperature change are little affected by this release."
    No doubt that is true, but I like to check for myself. I would have liked to have seen some summary figures and even some graphs in the document, to avoid the necessity of doing the analysis myself.
    Incidentally, the NCDC/NOAA NH anomaly for April was 0.7345c, compared to the revised March anomaly of 0.619c (previously 0.5697c). The SH anomaly was 0.4412c, compared to a revised March figure of 0.4067c (previoiusly 0.4019c).
    After adjustment to 1961-90, this b

  • Comment number 49.

    I have now done some analysis of the effect of the revisions to NCDC/NOAA monthly figures on annual anomalies.
    While the revisions to individual months vary considerably, the overall effect has been to increase annual anomalies prior to 1900 by about 0.005c, reduce them between 1901 and 1955 by about 0.117c and increase them between 1956 and 2010 by about 0.146c. Of course, this emphasises the rise in temperatures over the 20th century.
    The upward revision is greatest between 1980 and 2010 and this has had some effect on annual record comparisons.
    Prior to this revision, the annual anomaly for 2005 was 0.6181c and that for 2010 was 0.6131c, making 2005 slightly warmer than 2010.
    However, after the revision, the figures are 0.6366c for 2005 and 0.6387c for 2010, making 2010 slightly warmer, although in effect they are still statistically identical, but both much warmer than previously stated. It is interesting that after rounding to two decimal places, 2010 was previously 0.01c lower than 2005 and now they are identical.
    No doubt NCDC/NOAA will say that these revisions reflect the fact that recent warming has been slightly higher than previously thought.

  • Comment number 50.

    QV - Pat Frank has an interesting take on how some of the minor adjustments to historical temp data has affected trend comparisons. I find it fascinating how these minor adjustments (up earlier and down later), can also provide new evidence for AGW.

    noconsensus.wordpress.com/2011/05/08/delta-t/

  • Comment number 51.

    My post #48 appears to have been cut short. The last few sentences should have read:

    "After adjustment to 1961-90, this brings the NCDC/NOAA NH anomaly very close to the GISS figure, and about 0.13c above UAH. The SH anomaly is very close to both GISS and UAH but about 0.13c above RSS."

    I should also point out in relation to #49, that while the annual NCDC/NOAA annual anomalies have been increased, particularly over the period 1980-2010, that does not necessarily mean that they have increased after adjustment to the same time base as HadCRUT3. This is because the adjustment factor will also have changed, depending on the individual monthly changes between 1961 and 1990, and I haven't yet had a chance to calculate the revised figures.

    If there is a limit to the number of characters which can be posted, can we not be given some sort of warning or running count?

  • Comment number 52.

    #50 - lateintheday wrote:
    "QV - Pat Frank has an interesting take on how some of the minor adjustments to historical temp data has affected trend comparisons. I find it fascinating how these minor adjustments (up earlier and down later), can also provide new evidence for AGW."
    I am sure that the revisions are genuine, but I have to ask myself whether or not they would have been published IF they had increased past temperatures and reduced recent ones? Would we have even seen the revisions if they had been the other way round? Oh dear, that is beginning to sound like a conspiracy theory!
    (slaps own wrist).
    I will have to read your link a few times before I understand it!


  • Comment number 53.

    #47 john_cogger wrote:
    "It contains plagiarized text, end off. If the paper had been by Phil Jones, how do you think the blogs would of reacted? The blogs are demanding transparency, access to source code, 100% accuracy of the scientists, etc. Doesn't it go 2 ways?
    The Himalayas glacier melting in 30 years instead of 300 mistake was held up as a sign of why the IPCC was completely wrong, yet we are now supposed ignore plagiarism?"
    Of course, it works both ways, but surely there is a crucial difference between plagiarized but ACCURATE work and original but INACCURATE work? I may be wrong but I don't think that the peer review process is designed to identify plagiarizm, or even deliberate falsification, but no doubt someone will correct me.


  • Comment number 54.

    in response to John Cogger and newdwr54

    For some reason my earlier post didn't make it past the moderator so I'll try again.

    Generally agree that Wegman has made his own bed on this and shouldn't try to shove the blame elsewhere. My understanding is that his original report to congress was written under different rules and is therefore untouched by this action other than by reputation/association. He's been pursued by a particularly persistent antagonist over this who apparently has more interest in scoring points than challenging the conclusions of the paper. This is playing the man, not the ball in my opinion.

    Both sides of the AGW fence use this tactic and it really doesn't help to advance the science. The Steig/O'Donell business last year was equally demoralising and neither side came out of that with any honours.

  • Comment number 55.

    @53 QuaesoVeritas

    'plagiarized but ACCURATE'?

    Really? Which bits where accurate?

    To quote an expert in Social Network analysis the paper was - “more of an opinion piece” that would have required “major revision” to render it fit for publication in an SNA journal.

    That's nothing to do with the plagiarism.

    Quote - 'Compared to many journal articles in the network area the description of the data is quite poor. That is the way the data was collected, the total number of papers, the time span, the method used for selecting articles and so on is not well described.'

    So a paper that contains plagiarism, did not go through a correct peer review before publishing and is panned by experts.

    http://content.usatoday.com/communities/sciencefair/post/2011/05/retracted-climate-critics-study-panned-by-expert-/1

  • Comment number 56.

    The vitriol that comes out of the blogs makes complaints regarding playing the man not the ball hard to take. Read the comments to see how many question the integrity of scientists, accuse them of lying, being on the take, etc etc.

  • Comment number 57.

    It is becoming more and more evident, that Weapons of Mass destruction in Iraq were a lie. I knew that was the case as soon as Robin Cooke walked like a gentlemen. As far as I am concerned I discovered the same about Global warming in 2006 and walked away from the Carbon Management company I was working for. Ever since I am becoming more and more certain, that Global warming by man is false and that the temperature of the earth and orbit of the earth around the sun is the main cause. I see Carbon Management, as another way to tax us and create false jobs. Let us dwell in the positive and produce more efficient energy, cleaner and cheaper energy. Real pollution is carrying on, while we focus on CO2.

  • Comment number 58.

    John Cogger @56
    I've only been following this subject with any real interest for about 18 months. I agree that there are some very angry people out there who should watch what they say. Mostly though, these are the people who comment rather than post the blog articles. I find this is true whichever blog I visit. Even though a skeptic myself, I find that Skeptical Science has a rather well behaved audience, generally quite courteous to those with different views.
    Tamino's blog on the other hand is a back slapping, 'high-fivin' den of vitriol much as you describe.

    This blog it seems, is well moderated most of the time. It's easy to go over the top on occasion though when trying to make a point.

    My point about Wegman making his own bed applies equally to the consensus climate scientists at the top of the pyramid. If they have behaved inappropriately, they should expect to be criticised. Now as chance would have it, the Climategate story did raise some serious questions and the subsequent inquiries failed to address those questions adequately in many peoples eyes. I trust we can agree on that at least.

  • Comment number 59.

    Government policy on Energy, or lack of it as we rely on more and more wind power, is formulated in consultation with the IPCC. This UN organization's raison d'etre to stay in existence is to prove that atmospheric CO2 drives climate change which will be bad for the planet. (never mind that climate change has existed since the planet formed without us actually being here). It has made several wild claims in the past few years all of which have been proved false. It is a discredited organization.

    Then there is the real observable science non of which shows CO2 driving climate. Claims by the Hadley Center that we are causing all sorts of climatic problems are all based on model input. In fact a Met Office scientist claimed a couple of days ago that scientific observations 'were not very helpful' and models 'were better for formulation of theory'. Claims that 20 years ago would have had him seeking his P45. Not today, it would seem, when models are the in way to formulate theory, fact and government policy as well.

    And Paul, please stop the use of the term, carbon, since this is an element that exists in three allotropic forms not the natural gas feared by politicians but the reason that we have life on this planet.

  • Comment number 60.

    @ 31 newdwr54

    Apologies for the late response-

    I'm slightly confused over the methodology for your second link- they state that they used the cloud base as a target area for their measurements- however this would seem to allow for the 'height' of the clouds interferring with the results, it also skews the results towards 'water' spectra and i'm not 100% convinced that the equipment they used has the sensitivity required to seperate the wavelengths while being used in the field.

    I'm really going to have to dig into this one further, but i'ts raised more questions than it's answered on first pass.

    Similar objections relate to the first link as it implicitly assumes that radiative IR is the only method of cooling and ignores any other factors that could affect the result (interestingly the second link uses clouds to mask incoming IR, which begs the question- how cloudy was it in 1997 when they established the lower IF result??)

    "We can't explain this heat in terms of solar or orbital forcings, and it does not appear to readily fit any discernible ocean circulation pattern."

    When only applied to IR, yes you're probably right- however you, i and the cat in the corner know that the suns influence on climate extends past IR. Shame the IPCC et al don't really consider this...

    You say there is no demonstrable link between CO2 and global temperatures, most scientists disagree with you."

    I still say you haven't demonstrated it. There are too many questions rasied.

  • Comment number 61.

    @ quake # 32

    While i defended your position that you cannot discount the rapid rate of co2 release as a cause for concern i DID qualify that by saying it is no evidence FOR the concern either.

    We know the co2 sinks are lag-based, we also know that the human contriibution (while large) is dwarfed by natural emissions (though that's not to say the man-made contribution is not triggering more natural release- if you follow).

    Your further points are just unsupported supposition.

  • Comment number 62.

    timawells
    whilst it may be the case that some decisions and policies are steered or directed by a select few, I prefer to give the benefit of the doubt and think of these things more in the sense of emergent properties that some people subsequently take advantage of.
    The politically astute in any field have a knack for career progression irrespective of their other qualities.
    In a previous position (a Local Authority) I was occasionally asked to present the views of the organisation to the public. Those views were often not shared by myself but it was a job and it paid the bills. I suspect that many engineers, planners and perhaps even environmental scientists working on windpower projects simply do their jobs as prescribed and keep their heads down. Why? - everyone else does.

  • Comment number 63.

    LabMunkey
    newdwr54 didn't accept the Daly response since it was not a peer reviewed paper - that's fine. I also stumbled across this at WUWT which seems related.

    Greenhouse molecules, their spectra and function in the atmosphere
    (Energy & Environment, Volume 16, Number 6, pp. 1037-1045, November 2005)
    - Jack Barrett

    Sorry if this is a goose chase - it's all beyond me I'm afraid.

  • Comment number 64.

    #55 - john_cogger wrote:
    "'plagiarized but ACCURATE'?
    Really? Which bits where accurate?"

    I have read the article again and I can find several references to plagiarism, but no reference to inaccuracy. In fact the article is entitled:
    "Climate science critic sees paper retracted due to PLAGIARISM".
    Even based on the article there appears to be some doubt regarding even whether plagiarism was involved:
    "Given the overlap between the paper and the Congressional report, IF the paper contained plagiarized material, the report almost certainly does as well."
    Finally, the article itself states that:
    "At the moment, the sloppy scholarship done by Wegman DOESN'T APPEAR to invalidate his statistical criticisms of Mann's work."
    There MAY have been inaccuracies in paper, but based on the article, I can't identify them. So perhaps you can tell me which bit's were inaccurate?
    On the other hand, I am sure that you will accept that the story about the Himalyan glacier WAS inaccurate, although I believe it wasn't based on a peer reviewed paper, so should never have been used by the IPCC.




  • Comment number 65.

  • Comment number 66.

    @ 65.... linking dellingpole and not expecting anything but rampant hyperbole is like standing under a waterfall and expecting to stay dry... :-)

  • Comment number 67.

    Further to my posts #48 and #51, I now realise that the adjustment factor, to align the NCDC/NOAA anomaly to HadCRUT3 base period of 1961-90,
    will not need to be recalculated due to the retrospective revision of the NCDC/NOAA anomalies. This is because I calculate the adjustment based on
    the HadCRUT3 figures for 1901 to 2000, and the NCDC/NOAA figures don't enter into it. Of course, if the HadCRUT3 figures were revised retrospectively, the
    adjustment figure would have to be recalculated.

    By the way, the increase in the monthly NCDC/NOAA between March and April, and the apparent upward revision of both figures, doesn't affect the direction of the 10 year linear trend for this series, which remains negative. In fact the trend has gone from -0.174c/century, to -0.180c/century.

  • Comment number 68.

    #65. - Lazarus wrote:
    "Looks like the Political cracks have been filled in;"
    Personally I think that this is all wishful thinking and I don't know how they
    are going to achieve this aim.
    Also, I am trying to work out what "an emissions cut of 50% - based on 1990 levels - by 2025" actually means. Does this mean that emissions will be cut BY 50% of the 1990 levels, but still higher than 1990, or cut TO 50% of 1990 levels?
    There was similar confusion at the Copenhagen conference, where every country seemed to have it's own definition of what a cut was. So much so that the Chinese "cuts" were only a cut in the rate of increase.

  • Comment number 69.

    63. lateintheday wrote:

    "newdwr54 didn't accept the Daly response since it was not a peer reviewed paper"

    Just to clarify what I meant: if Daly's response is right, then there is nothing to prevent him from submitting a rebuttal to Harries et al in the peer reviewed literature.

    The fact that he doesn't do this suggests that his criticisms of the paper would not withstand the process of critical examination by experts in the field. It might get away with these views on an internet blog whilst 'singing to the choir' though.

  • Comment number 70.

    68. QuaesoVeritas:

    As far as I know it means 50% less than the volume of CO2 emissions in 1990. As of 2006 (my latest figures alas) UK was about 12% below its 1990 CO2 output; one of the few Annex II countries to meet its targets.

    A further reduction to 50% below 1990 output is a big ask though. We can't do it without nuclear.

  • Comment number 71.

    @69
    well the fact that he's dead might have something to do with his reluctance to submit a rebuttal.

  • Comment number 72.

    65. Lazarus:

    From link 1:

    "Chris Huhne is to set out plans to cut carbon emissions in half by 2027 and change the way Britain produces energy."

    And if we exceed that target we can always pretend it was somebody else...?

  • Comment number 73.

    71. lateintheday wrote:

    "well the fact that he's dead might have something to do with his reluctance to submit a rebuttal"

    Sorry, I'd never heard of him to be honest.

    Yes, death certainly cuts down on your blogging output.

  • Comment number 74.

    @70
    I've heard some speculate that this impending announcement is quietly, but specifically aimed at easing the passage of new nuclear. To get a clearer picture, we'll have to wait until we see how the Localism Bill and new Planning Bill combine to constrain the development of renewables. Since the nation is now flat broke, I expect that the Treasury may soon decide that the current ROC system is far too generous.
    This would be good news all round.

  • Comment number 75.

    Oops, accidentally posted this in the June 2007 blog - why is that still open????

    #66 - LabMunkey wrote:
    "@ 65.... linking dellingpole and not expecting anything but rampant hyperbole is like standing under a waterfall and expecting to stay dry... :-)"
    But we need people putting the opposite point of view, in the interests of democracy.

  • Comment number 76.

    #73. - newdwr54 wrote:
    "Yes, death certainly cuts down on your blogging output. "

    Haven't they got the internet yet in Heaven (or the other place) yet?

  • Comment number 77.

    Late in the day. We don't live in a very democratic system, otherwise more feedback would be allowed up the hierachy to change the system. Who would run a central heating system without a thermostat, but that is how government runs. I started selling Carbon Management surveys in April 2006 and sold £90K of business, I watched the alternate view of Global warming, that had a statement by Nigel Lawson. By July of 2007 I could no longer sell the Global warming myth and had to leave the organisation I was working for.

  • Comment number 78.

    QV@75 2007 . . .blog open

    perhaps they're simply making adjustments to historical comments!

  • Comment number 79.

    #70. - newdwr54 wrote:
    "As far as I know it means 50% less than the volume of CO2 emissions in 1990. As of 2006 (my latest figures alas) UK was about 12% below its 1990 CO2 output; one of the few Annex II countries to meet its targets."
    Thanks, I am sure that I read somewhere that we have failed to hit our targets for 2010. Presumably the figures are out there somewhere, but I don't even know how they calculate them.

    "A further reduction to 50% below 1990 output is a big ask though. We can't do it without nuclear."
    Or without exporting more of our emissions to China!

  • Comment number 80.

    I have been given a link to a page on the NCDC/NOAA website which allows comparison between the GHCN-M version 2 and version 3 figures.
    http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/ghcnm/time-series/index.php?surface=land_ocean&region=90S.90N&month=1#time-series

    The problem is that it seems to suggest that the anomalies have gone down slightly, not up, and I am still trying to get my head round that.

    I don't know how the GHCN-M anomalies relate to the official anomalies, but the v2 GHCN-M anomalies seem to tie in exactly with the latest official anomalies and not the previous ones. I had expected that v3 woud tie in with the latest (higher) anomalies but they are lower and I can't identify what they relate to.

    If none of this makes any sense to you, it doesn't to me either. I am going to have a lie down in a darkened room.

  • Comment number 81.

    QV - have you tried banging your head against a solid object - a wall perhaps?
    You'll find that the room darkens all by itself - not sure of the precise physics but it works. Alternatively, try drinking anything with a picture of Scotland on it.

  • Comment number 82.

    #81 - lateintheday wrote:
    "QV - have you tried banging your head against a solid object - a wall perhaps?
    You'll find that the room darkens all by itself - not sure of the precise physics but it works. Alternatively, try drinking anything with a picture of Scotland on it."
    I haven't resorted to head banging yet, but I admit there is a small amount of Dalwhinnie involved!

  • Comment number 83.

  • Comment number 84.

    Still awaiting the publication of the April HadCRUT3 figure, which I believe is usually published about the same time as NCDC/NOAA.
    Meanwhile, I had a look at the latest AMSU-A NOAA-15 trends for May on the discover website.
    After starting the month about normal, the AQUA CH5 anomaly rapidly rose above normal, but has now fallen below normal again. The cumulative figure at the 15th was +0.071c, which based on past experience should be equivalent to a UAH anomaly of about +0.13c (last month's final figure +0.12c). However, last month's estimate turned out to be a bit low.
    The Near Surface Layer CH4 data is now being published again and so far this month, the pattern is similar to CH5. Although I don't have a NSL "normal" figure for 1981-2010, I have calculated one for 1999-2010 and so far, the May 2011 anomaly is +0.173c, which based on past years, is equivalent to a UAH of about +0.2c, although I haven't had much experience of using NSL to estimate UAH and from past figures, this seems a less reliable method of estimation than CH5.
    So it looks like this May's UAH anomal is above that for April, but it is currently heading downward.

  • Comment number 85.

    QV,

    As has been pointed out a cut in emissions by 50% is just that. So we will still be emitting and CO2 levels will still be going up, unless other things reduce them, but at a greatly reduced rate.

    What I find confusing is that some countries (China and America I believe are examples) talk of cuts in relation to goods produced. So their cut of 50% would mean that any goods produced would be done so with only half the emissions. So if each item produced is done with less CO2 but many more items are produced then emissions will still increase in real terms and perhaps at an even higher rate than present.

    Since this thread is more abut policy and politics it is interesting to note that the US Senate has just failed to stop tax breaks to Oil companies;

    http://www.csmonitor.com/USA/Politics/2011/0517/Bill-to-chop-Big-Oil-s-tax-breaks-falls-short-but-makes-its-point

    One of the arguments against government investment into non fossil fuel derived energy is that it is more expensive and requires us all to pay more in subsidies but this link suggests in the US at least that Big Oil are getting off with paying $21 billion in Tax over 10 years. I'm fairly sure that something similar happens here as well as the price we pay at the pumps being mostly tax.

    But imagine what over 2 Billion dollars a year for the next decade would do if investigated into low carbon technologies.

    Lazarus
    http://lazarus-on.blogspot.com/

  • Comment number 86.

    #85 - Lazarus wrote:
    "As has been pointed out a cut in emissions by 50% is just that. So we will still be emitting and CO2 levels will still be going up, unless other things reduce them, but at a greatly reduced rate."
    Not sure if that is how I understand it. I thought it meant that actual emissions would be 50% lower than 1990 in 2025. In any case, I think I saw that the policy will be reviewed in 2014, so if by then it is more obvious that temperatures aren't rising as quickly as currently predicted by the IPCC, all of this may be forgotten. Come to think of it, I think AR5 is due to be published in 2014, so maybe that is what they are waiting to see. The report will HAVE to recalculate the temperature projections in that report, since most of them are clearly too high.

    "What I find confusing is that some countries (China and America I believe are examples) talk of cuts in relation to goods produced. So their cut of 50% would mean that any goods produced would be done so with only half the emissions. So if each item produced is done with less CO2 but many more items are produced then emissions will still increase in real terms and perhaps at an even higher rate than present. "
    I noticed that at the time of the Copenhagen conference, although I am not sure if many campaigners did. I did a projection based on information available at the time and I worked out that based on the projected Chinese economic growth, their CO2 emissions would continue to rise until 2015 and by 2019 they would still be about 50% higher than in 2005.

  • Comment number 87.

    #77 - timawells wrote:
    "I started selling Carbon Management surveys in April 2006 and sold £90K of business, I watched the alternate view of Global warming, that had a statement by Nigel Lawson. By July of 2007 I could no longer sell the Global warming myth and had to leave the organisation I was working for. "
    That was very principled of you, and I hope you don't live to regret it.
    I wish more people would admit that one of the reasons they support anti
    "climate change" policy is that they have a vested interest in it and will gain financially from it. Naturally the manufacturers of wind turbines will say they believe in "climate change", but I wonder if they really do, or if they are just cashing in on it while the going is good. In a few years time, when the country is festooned with useless turbines, these people will have to answer for their actions, but they will just say that they believed what the "experts" told us.

  • Comment number 88.

    On the news yesterday, David Cameron stated that the 2014 review would be in terms of how other Euro countries had responded to this UK lead on cutting CO2 emissions.
    Essentially, it is an economic 'common sense' clause. If other euro countries don't commit to the same deal then they will naturally gain a competitive edge, in which case, the UK emissions commitment will no longer be binding.
    It's a tightrope walk. He needs to show some commitment both for political reasons. He also wants to encourage inward investment (anything will do) on renewables but he can't afford to walk the plank alone.

  • Comment number 89.

    PPS 22 needs ripping up. The most one-sided piece of planning legislation I've ever read. Had the distinct impression that when this policy was out for consultation, the government simply asked the wind energy groups to draft it themselves.

  • Comment number 90.

    Paul Hudson is indeed correct with his headline 'Political cracks appear on carbon reduction'

    This is not however on the part of PM David Cameron who is fully behind the provisions of the 2008 Climate Change Act and the carbon emissions reduction programme until 2050 and with the Energy Secretary on this. I made the point of contacting my Keighley MP this week to clarify the issue. David Cameron answered a question in the House of Commons last week on this very point so we know it to be correct.

    Lord Turbull, former Cabinet Secretary and Head of the Home Civil Service, 2002-05 has written a paper about the UN IPCC and asserts that the IPCC is useless.

    The paper is entitled 'The Really Inconvenient Truth - or it Ain't Necessarily so' under the aegis of the Global Warming Policy Foundation.

    The Daily Telegraph website, under James Delingpole's Blog page, contains more specific information about the misleading statistics published by the IPCC and circulated to member states. This particular blog contains a graph that refutes the IPCC claims in diagramatic from. It is worth a look.

    Britain is the only nation on Earth with the onerous provisions for CO2 emissions reductions linked to high and increasing taxation levels. I believe that the time has come for this coalition government to produce the substantive and authoritative scientific facts behind the hypotheses. Put up or shut up!

    In the USA The House of Representatives in Washington, DC voted in favour by a 244-179 majority on 19 February 2011, to halt further funding of the UN IPCC by the US government. They have rejected the misleading and false data produced by this body.

    How do we challenge Mr Cameron and the British coalition government on this deep and troubling issue? The position is also supported by many Labour MPs including Ed Miliband.

    We have the interesting prospect of the majority of the population disbelieving in
    much, if not all of the theory surrounding AGW climate change hypotheses when, publicly at least, the majority of our elected representatives in Westminster i.e. our MPs, appear to accept it.

  • Comment number 91.

    90. Paul Latham:

    The graph on Delingpole's blog does not represent any of the IPCC projections which are given here: http://www.ipcc.ch/publications_and_data/ar4/wg1/en/figure-spm-5.html

    You can see from the graph on JD's blog that they have deliberately cut out the lower range from the multi-model estimates used by the IPCC (indicated by the pink shading). This is typically dishonest, and what one comes to expect from organisations like the GWPF.

    In fact the IPCC predictions are on course, albeit at the lower end of the model estimates at present.

  • Comment number 92.

    #90. - Paul Latham wrote:
    "How do we challenge Mr Cameron and the British coalition government on this deep and troubling issue? The position is also supported by many Labour MPs including Ed Miliband."
    Since this Government has been (un)democratically elected and has voted themselves the right to stay in office for 5 years, I doubt if there is anything that we can do about this.
    Another thing, albeit off topic, is this Gorvernment's decision to ring fence foreign "development aid" and give away £10 billon of taxpayers money each year to "poor" countries, including China and India. This is equivalent to about £160 for every U.K. citizen of our money, at a time when there are cuts to our police force, the health service, and council services etc, for which we have paid our taxes. I don't doubt that there is a lot of poverty in these countries, but I don't know why the U.K. taxpayer is responsible for it. There are also a lot of wealth in those countries and they are self-governing, so it looks to me as if the wealthy of those countries should be paying more taxes. I believe that the Government has got away with this disgrace so far, because people aren't aware of it, but when people find out, there should be a revolution.

  • Comment number 93.

    « Previous | Main
    Political cracks appear on carbon reduction
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    28ShareFacebookTwitter.Paul Hudson | 11:27 UK time, Friday, 13 May 2011
    It's been one of the most remarkable things in British politics for many years: The political consensus, across all the main parties, on the need and the speed at which the UK is to cut its carbon emissions to avoid so called 'dangerous climate change'.

    And yet, lurking just beneath the surface, there are MPs who privately either express concern at the cost of going green and how, if other countries don't do the same, it might damage the country's competitiveness; or even voice doubts about man made global warming itself, believing the threat is exaggerated.

    That said it still came as a surprise to commentators this week when a prominent member of the Cabinet, the Business Secretary Vince Cable, voiced his concerns that the speed and cost of carbon reductions over the coming years could harm prospects for jobs and growth - concerns that are apparently shared by, among others, the Chancellor George Osborne.

    In 2008, three budgets were announced taking the country on a path of carbon reduction to 2023. But the next target that has to be set in the next few days will take the country to 2030.

    The government have been told that carbon emissions should be cut by 60% compared to 1990 levels by 2030, by the government's advisory body on climate change.

    Lord Turner, who heads this body, met with ministers to try and heal a rift which has pitched Osborne, Cable and others against the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change Chris Huhne.

    In a leaked letter, Cable wrote that he feared the Energy Secretary's plan relies on securing a cap on emissions trading across Europe that may never materialise. If this were not achieved, the UK would be left cutting carbon emissions unilaterally, which would risk putting industry at a disadvantage.

    A decision will be made by the Prime Minister David Cameron on Monday and will be watched very closely to see if the UK's remarkable political consensus remains in place.

    Any watering down of the UK's carbon reduction plan, which is one of the toughest in the world, would be seen as a major blow by green campaigners that could have far reaching ramifications around the world.


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  • Comment number 94.

    #91. - newdwr54 wrote:
    "You can see from the graph on JD's blog that they have deliberately cut out the lower range from the multi-model estimates used by the IPCC (indicated by the pink shading). This is typically dishonest, and what one comes to expect from organisations like the GWPF."
    I don't know why Delingpole and the GWPF use dubious graphs to demonstrate their point, when the real situation is damning enough.

    "In fact the IPCC predictions are on course, albeit at the lower end of the model estimates at present."
    I don't know how the projections can be at the same time "on course", and "at the lower end of estimates". In my view, to be "on course" the actual temperature would have to be in the middle of the predicted range. As I have pointed out before, actual temperatures are lower than 88% of the A2 scenario model predictions and below the "commitment scenario", which was based on ZERO growth in greenhouse gasses from 2000 onwards (the orange line in the graph for which you posted the link). Any aircraft which was so far "off course" would have have to change direction pretty quickly. I notice that you use the term "at present", in the vain expectation that actual temperatures will catch up with the predictions, but in reality the predictions will probably pull further away from actual temperatures as each year passes.

  • Comment number 95.

    # 90 I made the point of contacting my Keighley MP this week to clarify the issue.

    Couple of points. One, I assume you communicated your displeasure, what was your MP's reaction? Two, can we actually believe anything they say anyway? I strongly suspect they only turned green because it got them votes. At some point some party will pick up on the mood of the people and shift their position. AGW is a fashion, it's been in vogue for a while but it will not be popular forever.

    Any politicians reading? Might be some political capital in coming out against the AGW crowd - go on... you know you want to.

  • Comment number 96.

    #90 - Paul Latham wrote:
    "I made the point of contacting my Keighley MP this week to clarify the issue. David Cameron answered a question in the House of Commons last week on this very point so we know it to be correct."
    Incidentally, which party is your MP from?
    Mine is Labour, but while he will obviously be anti-Cameron, he is more than likely going to be pro-AGW, added to which, he is unlikely to have any influence with the Government, so there doesn't seem to be a great deal of point in contacting him.
    I doubt if there are many "sceptical" MPs yet.


  • Comment number 97.

    newdwr54

    Are you actually supporting the IPCC statistics?

    These are now widely open to question, and about time too in my opinion.

    You pass no comment about the majority decision made by the House of Representatives in the US to halt further US funding of the IPCC and for the reasons given.

    I suggest reading the paper by Lord Turnbull about the disputed IPCC estimates may prove to be illuminating.

    Also, why do you reject James Delingpole's blog about the IPCC as being dishonest?

  • Comment number 98.

    The HadCRUT3 anomaly figures for April have been published.
    The global anomaly is 0.405c, up from a revised 0.322c in March.
    This puts it below NCDC/NOAA AND NASA/GISS, but above UAH.
    The 12 month average is down from 0.413c to 0.399c, and the rolling 2011 average is up from 0.264c to 0.299c. The 10 year linear trend is down from -0.672c/century to -0.738c/century. The 50 year linear trend is up from 1.395c/century to 1.396c/century, but the rate of increase in the trend continues to fall, pointing to a possible decrease in the actual trend within the next 2-3 months.
    The NH anomaly is 0.516c, up from 0.350c last month, and the SH anomal is 0.294c, almost unchanged since last month. That makes the NH anomaly below both NCDC/NOAA AND NASA/GISS and almost identical to UAH.
    The SH anomaly remains the highest of the 5 main datasets.
    If the HadCRUT3 global anomaly were to stay at this level for the remainder of the year, the final average would be 0.37c.
    It is beginning to look like the March UAH and RSS anomalies were out of step with the general trend for the first few months of the year.

  • Comment number 99.

    Quaeso verita wrote

    That was very principled of you, and I hope you don't live to regret it.
    I wish more people would admit that one of the reasons they support anti
    "climate change" policy is that they have a vested interest in it and will gain financially from it. Naturally the manufacturers of wind turbines will say they believe in "climate change", but I wonder if they really do, or if they are just cashing in on it while the going is good. In a few years time, when the country is festooned with useless turbines, these people will have to answer for their actions, but they will just say that they believed what the "experts" told us.


    I had to live with myself and if I had carried on selling Carbon Management because of Global warming, once I new it to be a false truth, then I would have felt as though I was nothing but a con artist. I would rather starve than make money under false pretences.


    I have supposed to have made comment 93, but I can assure you I didn't and the system must have blipped or I was in a trance. But then again people are hypnotised into believing false truths.

  • Comment number 100.

    My MP is someone called N Clegg. I have exchanged correspondence with him with regard to climate change. The frightening thing is how gullible he is. He quotes nonsense like putting his trust in 'the 2500 IPCC scientists'. I dont know whether he is too thick to see through the BS or is just wedded to the ideology. Either way a waste of space. Glad I don't vote. Would not want to be responsible for any of the noodles who ruin (sic) the country.

    Smoke me a kipper

 

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