Archive for the ‘Climate change’ Category

Yesterday, dramatic new targets to reduce the UK’s greenhouse gas emissions by at least one-fifth from today’s levels in just over a decade were proposed by the government’s Climate Change Committee.

Why is the UK continuing with its self-flagellation over energy policy? Do the government not realise there is a recession, and people are going to be hard pressed enough to meet their current rising energy costs at a time when they are losing their jobs and their ability to pay. It’s not even as if this will have any sort of measurable effect in global terms when China is busy building one coal fired power station a week over the next five years. Are the Chinese worried about not building in carbon capture technology? Ask them that and they’d laugh at you.

So why is the UK saddling itself with this nonsense, and making what’s left of our industry uncompetitive. Have the government got a death wish or is it part of a deliberate scorched earth policy to give another incoming administration a huge problem?

And why, when other countries are rowing back on these sorts of daft ideas, are we rushing headlong to self-destruction. I’m struck by the following quotes, the juxtaposition with UK current policy is instructive.

Italy will veto ambitious European Union plans to tackle climate change unless changes are made to make the package less costly to industry and consumers, a minister warned Monday. “We think the package is a mistake. As it stands, it penalises our industry, increases costs for citizens, threatens jobs and makes Italy poorer.”
–AFP, 1 December 2008

European Union negotiators eased planned caps on carbon dioxide from cars by excluding part of the fleet for three years to reduce costs for automakers such as Daimler AG and Porsche SE.
–Jonathan Stearns, Bloomberg, 2 December 2008

United Nations talks that began today to devise a new global-warming treaty for limiting carbon- dioxide emissions probably won’t yield concrete results, German environment minister Sigmar Gabriel said.
–Jeremy van Loon, Bloomberg, 1 December 2008

We enter the Poznan conference with the European Union’s climate policy holed and sinking, but with the emergence elsewhere than in Europe of the principles of what a viable climate policy might actually look like.
–Gwyn Prins, London School of Economics, 1 December 2008


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In the Times newspaper on 20th October, there was a full page advert placed by the WWF organisation.

The advert starts, Dear Mr Miliband, Which direction will you choose? At the top of the advertisement is a large graphic of a directional road sign which says:

7 metre sea level rise.

The overall subject matter is climate change and the reduction of greenhouse gases and a low carbon future. The sign is clearly intended to lead the reader to assume that sea levels will rise to 7 metres unless global warming is reduced.

This is blatant and inaccurate propaganda. The UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (the IPCC) show in their  latest Fourth Assessment  report, in Table SPM1 of the Summary for Policy Makers, that the worst case scenario for sea level rise by the year 2099 is for a rise of between 0.26 to 0.59 metres (less than 23 inches) relative to the decade 1980-1999.


 It is totally irresponsible to have a banner headline suggesting we’ll all be under 7 metres of water when the IPCC themselves project no more than 23 inches. The WWF have exaggerated by a factor  of nearly 12.

 The WWF advert actually cites the IPCC elsewhere in the advert, so clearly they have seen the same table that I can see. Yet they have still chosen to publish this misleading advert. It is one thing to unintentionally mislead, yet here we have a case where the WWF clearly have an intention to mislead and are ignoring the evidence that they themselves have presumably seen.


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In 2009 the European Commission are intent on framing a directive to phase out the sale by 2012, of the traditional incandescent tungsten filament light bulbs. The sort of bulbs that have been around since Thomas Alva Eddison invented them 130 years ago.

In typical fashion, and wanting to display their eco credentials, the UK government are intent on gold-plating this directive, and bringing forward the dates when various wattages will be banned from the shops.

Most of the population have not yet caught up with this legislation, and I suspect this is a time-bomb waiting to explode. As usual there are unintended consequences to this legislation.

Low energy light bulbs contain mercury which will need to be handled carefully, and no doubt at significant cost, when they fail and go to land fill. Not only that but how long will it be before a child accidentally comes into contact with a broken bulb in the home.

Low energy bulbs are dimmer, by definition and are dangerous in places such as staircases and landings where good light is needed to avoid tripping.

But in the UK, where for large parts of the year central heating systems are in use, the science put forward for justifying low energy bulbs is completely flawed. The case in favour of low energy bulbs is founded entirely on the claim that they will reduce energy usage. Since the vast majority homes in the UK are heated by some form of central heating, when central heating systems are operative there will be no saving from the use of low energy bulbs. The reason is quite simple. Standard tungsten filament bulbs emit a small amount of heat energy. As a consequence central heating systems use correspondingly less energy since thermostats cut in when a fixed temperature is reached. That temperature is dependent on the sum total of all heat inputs, including that from tungsten filament bulbs. When low energy bulbs are used, central heating boilers will have to work that little bit harder and use more energy to replace the lost heat from standard bulbs, in achieving the same domestic temperature. It is a ‘zero sum’ calculation and hence in this situation there is no saving whatsoever from the use of low energy bulbs.

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I’m getting a little sick and tired of politicians jumping on the global warming bandwagon, and claiming it’s all due to our burning of CO2. In the UK it’s being used to inflict ever more taxes, fines and laws on us.

When no one can forecast the weather more than five days hence with any certainty, I totally fail to understand the credence given to climate change models which look forward to the end of the century. I was therefore interested to read the following from the Wall Street Journal.

Scientists have no clear knowledge of the cause of the Little Ice Age and of the subsequent rebound; or of the Big Ice Age; or of a warm period when the Arctic Ocean had no ice; or of the medieval warming period. In fact, IPCC scientists do not understand the causes of the rapid increase of temperature from 1910 to 1945; or the decrease from 1945 to 1975, when CO2 levels were rising. Without understanding these recent changes, it is premature for the IPCC to jump to the conclusion that CO2 is the main cause of the last 30 years of global warming.

–Syun-Ichi Akasofu, The Wall Street Journal, 12 September 2007

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Since the late 1960s, much of the North Atlantic Ocean has become less salty, in part due to increases in fresh water runoff induced by global warming, scientists say.
–Michael Schirber, LiveScience, 29 June 2005

The surface waters of the North Atlantic are getting saltier, suggests a new study of records spanning over 50 years. They found that during this time, the layer of water that makes up the top 400 metres has gradually become saltier. The seawater is probably becoming saltier due to global warming, Boyer says.
–Catherine Brahic, New Scientist, 23 August 2007

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What’s up with journalists in the mainstream media? In most cases, they tend to be unconditional supporters of free expression and strive to report on controversial views. However, reporting on issues relating to global warming has become strikingly one-sided.
–Christopher Lingle, Japan Times, 27 August 2007

Whatever happened to liberals? One thing I have learned by writing columns on global warming the past two weeks is that liberals are less interested in free expression of ideas than in total compliance with their ideas, less interested in critical thinking than in being critical, and less interested in the truth than in their truth. It wasn’t always so.
–Frank Miele, Daily Inter Lake, 26 August 2007

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