Environmentalism in action

In Douglas Adams’s Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy an insane bunch of people starting out on a new planet try to get a money system going and decide that leaves will do as banknotes. Unfortunately, because there are so many leaves on the new planet, they decide to instigate a massive programme of deflation and burn all the forests down. This is a bit like environmentalists chopping trees down to build a solar plant because climate change is damaging the environment. But who’s ever heard of that happening?

Well, Natural Resources Wales have. In January, far out in the unfashionable end of a small unregarded town in South Wales, near an insignificant region called Croespenmaen, 200 ancient beech trees were felled to make way for exactly that: a new solar farm. Illegally. However, while Natural Resources Wales knew what was going on, the rest of us were kept in the dark. Consider this ITV News report from January. There is no mention of who might be behind the destruction:

screen-shot-2017-03-03-at-12-36-45


I only discovered this story when, driving along the Manmoel Road, I was surprised to discover a solar farm slowly taking shape across several fields either side of me. Apparently there has since been an effort to postpone the construction of the farm until a thorough investigation of the crime is carried out, and a petition was launched here to this effect. But as you can see, the petition hasn’t exactly gone nuts. I can’t help thinking that if the trees had been chopped down by a fracking company, things would be different somehow. There just might have been a teensy, tiny bit more news, a slightly higher count on the petition following it, and who knows, possibly even a comment from George Monbiot. As it is, we just have to put up with environmentalism in action. Wha – what do you mean, “why has it got to be built?” It’s a solar farm! You’ve got to build solar farms!

Here are a few pictures I took near sunny Croespenmaen:

 

152 thoughts on “Environmentalism in action

  1. I keep thinking that there will be one helluva backlash at some point but there’s nothing.

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  2. Good scoop Ian. The mystery of the illegally felled trees was reported by The Telegraph.

    The planning application for the solar farm is here. The applicant is

    Pearmat Solar 4 Limited
    Ms Y Qin
    55 Baker Street
    London
    W1U 7EU

    The planning application says that
    “The proposal will include the coppicing of two defunct hedges and removal of nine trees at the entrance of the site and one in the centre of the site.”
    Pearmat Solar seem to be rather economical with the truth.

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  3. Paul, thanks for that. Yes, 9 trees is a bit short of 200. I see our solar lord has a London address. Renewables are great for communities if those communities are 130 miles away from them.

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  4. “As a leading renewable energy company, environmental responsibility and sustainability are core elements of CSUN’s business philosophy and are implemented at every company level.”

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  5. The Pen-Y-Fan Farm solar subsidy farm was pushed through by TÜV SÜD, one of only ~30 companies worldwide allowed to grant Forest Stewardship Council certifications. That’s because they really love trees. From one of their in-house magazines:

    Forests are the world’s green lung! They are essential for the survival of humans and animals. They store carbon dioxide and produce oxygen, regulate water supplies and influence the climate. They also serve as oases of rest and relaxation. Strolling under the trees, collecting berries and mushrooms and watching animals – forests are places where we can recharge our batteries. [Arf!] Forests are also our treasure chest! [Double arf!]

    They were also behind a solar farm in South Derbyshire. This too involved cutting down mature trees separating fields.

    (Incidentally, Ms Y. Qin’s legal name is ‘Yuan Qin’. Does she sometimes go by ‘Yolanda’? Dunno, but that might be a sensible choice when living in a country full of people like me who don’t know the proper pronunciation of Chinese names – apparently it’s closer to ‘When Chin’ than ‘Wan Kin’.)

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  6. In a cloudy Northern climate like Britain I would imagine the economics of solar power are pretty bad. Certainly desert regions are vastly better suited. So in the US, the desert Southwest is at least discussing as a site for solar power.

    The Pacific Northwest, further South than Wales, is just completely unsuited. Bear in mind, during December, percentage of possible sunshine in Seattle is 27%. And the average solar daytime insulation (daytime is roughly 9 hours omg), even with out clouds is probably around 80 W/m2 because the sun is quite low in the sky most of the time. So effective insulation is perhaps 20 W/m2. Averaged over the 24 hour day, that’s about 8 W/m2. Solar installations are just a terrible idea in these climates.

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  7. @DPY6629

    The primary objective is not to harvest sunlight; it’s to harvest subsidies!

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  8. “I keep thinking that there will be one helluva backlash at some point but there’s nothing.”

    I share your frustration Tiny. Actually, no, frustration is too tame: anger, fury, indignation, contempt. What is wrong with people? The environment is being trashed in front of our very eyes in order . . . . . to save the environment. The ‘science’ which says the environment needs saving is a house of cards built on a piece of flotsam floating down the Swannee. Trees are dying, birds/bats are dying, pristine landscapes are being industrialised, renewables companies are raking it in. Meanwhile, the elderly, the poor and the vulnerable are being pushed into extreme poverty and they will soon be dying in ever greater numbers.

    http://notrickszone.com/2017/03/03/germanys-silent-catastrophe-330000-households-see-power-turned-off-in-one-year/#sthash.gVLc2STP.dpbs

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  9. I appreciate that everyone seems very upset about what they see to be happening in the name of environmentalism – my own view is that policy makers can use all sorts of justifications for making stupid decisions. However, can people here at least consider the possibility that there really are risks associated with continuing to emit CO2 into the atmosphere and that doing too little now could mean that what we do end up doing – if it does become clear that we need to act – could have severe negative impacts (i.e., if we realise that emission reductions are needed and are needed to be done quickly, then we may end up doing things that we would rather not do and – hence – that starting sooner is better than leaving it till later)?

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  10. @ATTP – care to hazard a guess at the furore anti-frackers would create if Cuadrilla had illegally chopped down that amount of firewood?

    There are risks associated with everything – including using the power solar panels generate.

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  11. care to hazard a guess at the furore anti-frackers would create if Cuadrilla had illegally chopped down that amount of firewood?

    Quite possibly, and I’m not arguing against being annoyed by illegal activity. I’m asking whether or not you’re capable of thinking about the implications of you being wrong about the risks associated with continuing to emit CO2 into the atmosphere.

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  12. IF the risks merit significant reductions in CO2 emissions, then a sane approach would have been to have instigated years ago a nationwide nuclear power generation strategy. Instead, what we have are parasitic renewables companies sucking subsidies from bill payers, erecting low energy density, inefficient, expensive ‘wind farms’ willy nilly, here, there and everywhere. We have solar energy companies taking valuable farmland out of action in order to erect rows of solar panels which work only during the day, only really well in summer, and only very effectively when the sun is shining – which isn’t that often in the rain-swept Welsh hills and valleys. And what do we have to thank for with this latest hare-brained, idiotic, wasteful project? The solar panels probably won’t fry any birds on the 20 or 30 really hot sunny days per year during which they operate at full theoretical capacity. Why? Because the bastard company which erected the panels chopped down all the birds’ homes.

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  13. Jaime,

    IF the risks merit significant reductions in CO2 emissions, then a sane approach would have been to have instigated years ago a nationwide nuclear power generation strategy.

    Quite possibly, but we can’t go back in time and this doesn’t really answer my question. Also, that policy makers have made a number of stupid decisions along the way does not somehow mean that there aren’t risks associated with emitting CO2 into the atmosphere.

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  14. Ken,

    ‘Oh dear, we opted for the insane option. No point going back now. We might as well continue on the path to ruin and hope that the end justifies the barking mad means – i.e that it will be a tad less ruinous than wrecking the future climate.’

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  15. What other interpretation of your attitude is there ATTP? Every pound frittered on wind and solar isn’t spent on nuclear. Saying that the past doesn’t matter, means that the future won’t be any different. Crying over spilt milk is useful when someone is still throwing bottles on the floor. Where is the movement from your side to say that this vandalism isn’t the way to say anything? I really don’t care what effect CO2 will have if the solutions don’t solve the problem anyway.

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  16. Ken,

    “…. but we can’t go back in time……Also, that policy makers have made a number of stupid decisions along the way does not somehow mean that there aren’t risks associated with emitting CO2 into the atmosphere.”

    “…..since you seem to be doing your utmost to misinterpret what I’m saying (why I’m surprised is, of course, silly) I’ll leave it at that.”

    I think what I said was a fairly accurate and reasonable interpretation of your words. I’ll leave it up to other readers to decide which of us is in the wrong.

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  17. Jaime,
    Just to clarify (mostly for others, I suspect) all I was suggesting is that we can’t go back in time to change the decisions we made in the past. We can, however, make different decisions for the future. It wasn’t really relevant to what I was getting at, but you seem determined to not get it, so I won’t bother explaining it again.

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  18. But who is pressing for these sorts of things to stop? Where is Monbiot, where is the Guardian, where is your article on it?

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  19. ATTP, although there are some who would argue there are not significant risks associated with industrial scale CO2 emissions, they are few in number. You are more likely to encounter skeptics who believe that those risks we are able to foresee are eminently manageable, and lukewarmers who believe that we are well-positioned as a society to commit the resources necessary to mitigate where we can and adapt where we cannot.

    Paving paradise to put up a parking lot used to an environmentalist song, rather than a blueprint. It is the latest in such a long series of blunders that… well, words fail and I don’t want to relitigate the past.

    I used to call (well, agitate) for the climate science community to police its own, for scientists to call out the most extreme foolishness and, yes, fools. You never did and we are where we are.

    If we cannot ask the climate community to at least police the free-riders such as Ms. Yuan and stop them from committing climate crimes in the name of saving the climate, what hope is there? From cutting down palm forests to create biofuels to relocating indigenous inhabitants of rain forest as part of REDD programmes, from turning a blind eye when the mafia takes over the wind power industry in Italy to ignoring the VAT carousel fraud that ruined Europe’s emissions programme, your mistaken sense of solidarity has made your cause vulnerable to the popular disgust that people like Trump so easily turn to their advantage.

    I get it that you’re too (Cautious? Collegial? Another word that begins with C?) to confront the handful of scientists who have tarnished the reputation of climate scientist. But these profiteers are not scientists.

    Instead of grudgingly admitting that skeptics (and lukewarmers) are right to be annoyed by this, you should be leadiing the charge. After all–Ms. Yuan and those like her are guilty of perhaps the most serious offence of the modern age. They are shitting on your brand.

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  20. More stalking. I’m not 100% sure about all of the following, which was written mostly from memory.

    The Pen-Y-Fan Farm solar subsidy farm’s nominal developer is a company called Pearmat 4, whose first sole director was the mysterious Yuan Qin. She quickly passed the directorship on to an Italian who runs a Swiss-based eco-investment company called Green Capital. This Italian resigned in December, presumably because the planning stages had been completed and a major slice of the project could be sold on to a new middleman as a going concern. There are two current directors: the managing director and the head of projects at Gildemeister Energy Solutions, a German company that’ll oversee the construction.

    TÜV SÜD says it has been a major player in the project right from the start but I’m not sure exactly what its role has been. Perhaps it was brought in by Green Capital to do the actual work of getting the project through the planning process.

    So far, so dull.

    But what of Pearmat 4?

    Pearmat 4 is one of five UK ‘Pearmat’ companies set up by the mysterious Ms Qin in June 2014. Three months later, she resigned from them all and the boss of Green Capital took over. With his arrival, 100% ownership of all five passed to a Cyprus-registered company called Pearmat Limited. This company has three directors: a Czech, a Greek Cypriot and a Cypriot secretarial company that is wholly owned by a Czech company specialising in ‘asset protection and international tax management’ – in tax avoidance. The Czech director presumably hired the Czech company to set up Pearmat Limited and the Greek Cypriot is there to make things legal, take his cut and open the mail.

    Who is the Czech director of Pearmat Limited?

    Well, he/she (first name René, but she, I reckon) manages a small Bohemian glass-blowing company that, about a decade ago, was lured by subsidies into running solar farms on the side, possibly at the urging of a family member (a son?) called Michael. Collaborating closely with Green Capital, at first this family of glass-blowers operated mostly in Czechia and Slovakia but, following reductions in those countries’ solar subsidies (and perhaps also influenced by involvement in a Slovakian tax scandal), they started operating further afield – in Italy, Romania and, two or three years ago, the UK.

    They say they have built 9.1 MW of solar in the UK so far. A solar subsidy farm in South Derbyshire (Pearmat 2/Short Hazel) accounts for about half of that and the one in Caerphilly would nearly take it to that total but Caerphilly (Pearmat 4/Pen-Y-Fan Farm) hasn’t been built yet and Pearmats 1, 3, and 5 seem to have gone nowhere, so perhaps the glass-blowers are blowing bubbles a bit.

    Which all means what?

    Perhaps not a lot.

    (Looks like the middle of a limerick. Don’t hold back.)

    I reckon it shows that UK solar subsidies are still too high. If a small family firm of glass-blowers in rural Bohemia still thinks it worthwhile to invest in UK solar, and if any number of tax-dodgy (note: dodgy, not dodging) middlemen can take a cut and yet everyone* can still come out smiling, then the subsidies are still too high.

    ===
    *Except the trees, natch. And those who pay for regressive solar bollocks subsidies sans choice – i.e. almost all of us.

    [Thanks for this research Vinny. That really fills it in. I’ll contact the petition organisers and point them here – IW]

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  21. Yes, Thomas we do need more self policing by climate scientists and less concensus enforcement in defense of questionable science or even ethical people. The climate science literature I would assert is of pretty low quality with large error bars and low statical power in many cases. That’s understandable as the data is noisy and the changes small compared to the overall levels of energy for example. The problem here is that the scientific establishment is mostly committed to the cause and so will deny any significant problems or resort to ATTP’s favorite denial tactic: “Well it doesn’t affect any of the basics.” Which is true to a large extent, but ignores that the important effects go well beyond the “basics.” Convection and clouds are two where we are largely ignorant of the important effects.

    In any case, climate science will only be further harmed by these denial tactics. Medicine is vastly more open perhaps because its a vastly larger field with far more diversity among its senior people. And medicine is taking steps to improve itself.

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  22. Ian Woolley 04 Mar 17 at 4:29 pm

    +1. I think of warmists whenever I see that clip but Jamie and I are beginning to doubt the warmist have the self awareness needed to see that what they’re doing is bad. It’s the kind of mindset of those in earlier eras would see a follower of a man who said ‘love thy neighbour’ translate that into ‘love thy neighbour unless he follows me in a slightly different way in which case go Old Testament on his ass.’

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  23. So to prevent a far future low evidence risk in the future the climate concerned are willing to not only squander tax payer money, hobble the future, but also are OK with wrecking the environment. All to fund big green with projects, like high latitude solar plants in rainy cloudy regions that cannot work as advertised.
    ATTP, your specialty is to hide the trees in a forest of weeds and now we see that you are ok with cutting them down once they are hidden….even as you go through the motions of condemning it.
    The plant you are giving soft defense to will do absolutely nothing of any significance at all to solve the crisis you believe is so real despite the amazing lack of evidence. And by declining to state a level of risk you make it clear that you are not even trying to be reasonable. Reasonable requires putting risks into perspective- cost/benefit, prioritization, full disclosure, testable claims, willingness to debate. All largely lacking in the climate consensus culture.

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  24. What I find difficult to understand is the misunderstanding that many commenting here have about climate scientists. Climate scientists believe their science is correct and “deniers’ ” science is wrong, suspect and dangerous. It should be opposed as strongly as possible and with all possible means. Up to now they occupy the high ground and have the biggest guns. Why should they give way? They do not admit to being wrong and do not accept contrary evidence as being significant. I do not believe you will find many (or any) who feel they need to act as policemen.

    Over the years I spent many hours discussing climate change with one of the main CRU brethren. He was convinced he and his colleagues were doing good science that was important. When pushed very hard they might admit to some weaknesses, but only grudgingly. I recall only gaining one outright victory – on the poor documentation for the Himalayas glaciers fiasco.

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  25. The climate change bandwagon is wider than the scientists and believing in AGW doesn’t prevent you from evaluating solar panels as pretty pointless.

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  26. Alan, It does seem to be true that climate science is a more ideologically monolithic field than lots of others like medicine. It is also true that activist climate scientists often hide or explain away information that might cast doubt on that monolithic thinking. That issue may take care of itself over the next 20 years as real world data on climate becomes available. There are lots of climate scientists who do maintain professional standards though. We don’t hear from them as much, so we can tend to get a biased picture of the field.

    I still believe that there is a strong constituency for professionalism as advocated by the Progressives such as Teddy Roosevelt. Professional ethics hold up objectivity and non partisanship as ideals. The idea was to replace a government staffed by partisan hacks with a non partisan professional cadre who would place the public’s interests first.

    Since science tends to hold itself up as more authoritative than other sources of information, they need to take professionalism seriously or risk losing their privileged status in Western thinking.

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  27. ATTP “However, can people here at least consider the possibility …?” Indeed – we should – particularly if we haven’t already. Likewise, you should consider whether the chance of useful results from cutting carbon emissions justifies the enormous expense.

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  28. Alan, you’re right of course.

    Logically, it ought to be possible to believe in the science behind climate change alarmism, whilst understanding that the policy prescriptions put in place by way of response are all mad – damaging to economies and environment alike, while doing nothing useful to address the perceived problem. A clever alarmist (if that isn’t an oxymoron) should be annoyed by what is being done in the name of alarmism, especially if – as so many claim (falsely) – they are real environmentalists.

    But those who are signed up to the alarmist cause seem unable to split the two. If you’re a believer, you believe in it all – not just the science, but the crazy policy response too. Criticise the policies, and you’re a heretic. And any damage caused to the environment along the way is irrelevant – apparently the end justifies the means. Except that the end isn’t going to be achieved, certainly not with the policies they’re all happy about.

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  29. Mark Hodgson. Absolutely.

    One of the clearest signs that this is a faith based thing rather than a fact based endeavour is the total lack of professionalism when solutions are considered. There really isn’t any urgency for nuclear, which is the only half viable answer to cut CO2.

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  30. Alan, the climategate emails show that privately at least some climate consensus scientists are quite aware of the presence of problems in what they publicly claim is “settled science”.

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  31. Mark, climate scientists have no shortage of clever. Their shortage as a group seems to cluster around integrity.

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  32. Hunter
    Indeed they were, but I think they thought those problems were minor matters or could be easily fixed. Those in CRU thought they were on the right track. They became irritated by opposition by those they considered unqualified to offer criticism, and very much resented the time they had to spend dealing with those people. Read Jone’s email, which complained about a request for data in order to prove it wrong, in this light and it reveals a different interpretation. Phil didn’t wish to have to spend even more time in the future putting to rights misinterpretations of the data by people he judged incompetent. I believe they came to live in a bubble. New hires were rapidly enclosed, outside influences were repelled by all possible means and the conflict became progressively more strident. Don’t blame them alone, blame those who came to dominate the scene – especially the politicians, renewable energy entrepreneurs and academicians. It became a self-supporting system.

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  33. Mark

    You are also correct (so much agreement could get boring).

    The problem is with the true believers that occupy positions of power. The real believer, believes it all. They believe climate change is the biggest problem that faces us. They don’t think the problem through, and common sense goes to the wall. Why? I think it is because they believe we must tackle climate change come what may. I don’t understand why commonly this doesn’t require changes in their own life styles. Others, of course use climate change for their own ends. It has been repeatedly documented that many use the threat of climate Armageddon to push for changes that would destroy capitalism or the hegemony of the West. These are powerful forces.

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  34. DPY6629. I have thought long about your post and must be honest and report that I am far more pessimistic than you. I don’t believe there is a large reservoir of climate scientists out there who will rise up and overthrow those currently abusing climate science. My opinions are naturally biased by what I experienced and observed at UEA, and need not be typical – but I believe they are: the Currys of this world are few and far between. If you have contrary views you don’t get hired, your research doesn’t get funded, you don’t get to work on cooperative projects, you don’t get your research published and if by chance you do, you are immediately attacked for your intransigence. This I think is worldwide, so where are the ranks of “professional” scientists to come from? Not from climate scientists.

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  35. Mark, ” Logically, it ought to be possible to believe in the science behind climate change alarmism, whilst understanding that the policy prescriptions put in place by way of response are all mad…”

    Replacing mad with suboptimal, yes. Do you really think that those you might call warmists agree with every policy prescription, wind turbine or felled tree?

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  36. Alan,
    “If you have contrary views you don’t get hired, your research doesn’t get funded, you don’t get to work on cooperative projects, you don’t get your research published and if by chance you do, you are immediately attacked for your intransigence. ”

    Do you have any real life examples of each of these?

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  37. William. I suggest you read the Climategate e-mails for some examples. As for not getting hired, my experience comes from two sources, sitting in or hearing later from those on appointment committees and secondly from the characters of ALL those hires, particularly their unmitigated zeal. Overheard conversations in the staff room included those discussions about who not to collaborate with. Several times I and some others suggested collaboration with Steve McIntyre only to be met with abuse and derision.
    I’ll return the question – do you know of any case where a sceptic has been appointed (you can’t use me because my scepticism developed after I was hired), where a sceptic has been recruited to collaborate with a group of climate scientists or where funds have been given to a sceptic to pursue sceptical research? Even if you come up with an example you will have to admit that it would be a rare occurrence.

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  38. Alan,

    Several times I and some others suggested collaboration with Steve McIntyre only to be met with abuse and derision.

    Why should people collaborate with Steve McIntyre? He has a very modest publication record and runs a blog.

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  39. Attp. Why waste time asking the obvious? Don’t you have anything better to do with your time? Don’t waste mine.

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  40. Alan Kendall, I think you misinterpreted ATTP’s comment. He was being waggishly self-deprecating.

    No, it wasn’t very funny but his self-awareness deserves a bit of credit, no?

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  41. Alan,

    Why waste time asking the obvious? Don’t you have anything better to do with your time? Don’t waste mine.

    Fair enough, the answer to me seems obvious. On the other hand, you seem confused as to why your suggestion was met with abuse and derision, so I was interested in your answer, as it appears that it might not be the same as mine.

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  42. Yes Alan, Steve McIntyre is an accomplished statistician and would make an excellent addition to any climate science team.

    ATTP sneers at this perhaps because he denies the obvious fact, which medicine recognized a long time ago, viz., that having professional statisticians on the team is critical to having credibility. Climate science of course uses a lot of noisy data so statistical analysis is critical. There is a track record of incorrect studies due to bad statistical practice, such as the use of uniform priors.

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  43. DPY,
    If you could avoid misrepresenting me, that would be appreciated – oh, sorry, what a silly thing to ask; you clearly can’t, forget I even asked.

    Alan,
    My question was serious, even if it didn’t seem that way. I had read some of your comments and had thought you were maybe a cut above the norm on this site. It seems I was wrong (which is not a huge surprise).

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  44. Attp. Dpy6629 gave one part of the obvious answer, the other part is, I would have thought, also blindingly obvious. Good science commonly proceeds by reconciling differences and it is not uncommon in other sciences for those who have criticized the other to get together. A combined publication involving Steve would have been well received by all concerned.

    Flattery sometimes gets you somewhere Ken, but not this time. All too brief and you have shown no evidence of any “respect” in the past when we have clashed in other places. Memory causing you problems?

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  45. Alan,

    DY’s answer was nowhere near obvious. A self-professed expert is not necessarily actually an expert, which should be obvious. Also, there are plenty of very skilled statisticians already involved in climate research, so there’s no obvious reason why one should involve Steve McIntyre specifically. This isn’t an argument against doing so, simply a suggesting that there is nothing special about Steve McIntyre.

    All too brief and you have shown no evidence of any “respect” in the past when we have clashed in other places.

    I don’t actually remember us clashing (although I think I do remember you appearing to get upset about something, but I couldn’t quite work out what the issue was). On the other hand, I’m not sure why you should expect any respect since you seem to show little yourself.

    I agree that people sometimes get together to resolve differences. However, not only does it take two to do so (there’s nothing stopping Steve McIntyre from initiating a collaboration), Steve McIntyre has published so little that it’s hard to know what difference you think should be resolved. I certainly don’t think people should worry about resolving issues that are primarily highlighted on blogs. If someone can’t be bothered to publish it, then it’s probably not worth considering.

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  46. ATTP, I am trying to focus on the technical point here. It is a good idea for climate scientists to involve professional statisticians in their studies from the beginning. In the past, Alan is right, they have resisted doing so. I’m surprised you didn’t respond to that point.

    This issue of the hockey stick and paleo-climate was NOT addressed in the climate science literature because of gate keeping. It was dealt with in Annals of Statistics in a more open and transparent way. Alan is correct that climate science stonewalled the issues in an unprofessional way.

    Can you say anything about the point at issue here?

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  47. In general, most people give McIntyre’s technical work a lot of credence. He has some very definite views about paleo-climate that are worth considering.

    Its disingenuous to point to his lack of a big publication record. He has tried to publish a lot of this work, and was treated very shabbily. He still gets no respect from you and other “team” members.

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  48. Attp. As I suspected a complete waste of my time. You didn’t even notice the deliberate use of scare quotation marks around the word respect. Irony also misses you by as well, doesn’t it?

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  49. Ken. Apology accepted. Perhaps we can start again on some other topic sometime soon?

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  50. Attp. What an utterly pointless and stupid act. Don’t you have better things to do with your life, or is this the best you can muster. And someone pays you to do research and teach? You display the very worst aspects of an academic. You have made me an enemy (whereas I wasn’t before), so maybe I do fit in here – an unexpected compliment from you.

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  51. Alan,

    You have made me an enemy (whereas I wasn’t before)

    So your earlier insulting responses was you being friendly?

    And someone pays you to do research and teach? You display the very worst aspects of an academic.

    And you think my response was undeserved? If it wasn’t then, it is now.

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  52. Attp. I have little but contempt for you, but I must admit to a morbid interest in learning why someone like you with a profession involving scientific research (a search for truth) and teaching (imparting truth) would act as you have done, and to a former academic. I will resist the “urge”* to find out.

    * please don’t ignore the scare quotation marks this time. You have a history of ignoring the obvious.

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  53. Re ATTP, it’s always all about him. For some reason, he has hitched his waggon to the cause of the climate enforcers but is totally blind to the hysterically funny impression they make on most people. He is unable to debate science nor policy, probably because he is intellectually deficient. He spends most of his time whining about being misunderstood while being totally unable to rebut any argument or demonstrate his true meaning. He reminds me of the character “Cry baby Booby” in Peanuts. All he can do is moan about the intellects of people who dare to present reasoned arguments against his belief system, which he doesn’t actually understand at any more than a shallow emotional level. He does not present a great advertisement for the UK higher educational establishment.

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  54. Alan,

    to a former academic.

    So, it’s okay for you to insult an academic, but me not acting appropriately to a former academic is somehow unacceptable? I must admit to not understanding the logic of that. However, I don’t wish to continue this. I apologise (genuinely this time) for my earlier comment.

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  55. Attp. Once bitten…. you must really think me stupid. If you think asking you not to waste my time was an insult, then you’re either overly sensitive or a lying yet again and attempting yet another insult. Now throw up your hands in mock protest.

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  56. Alan Kendall 07 Mar 17 at 1:48 pm

    “I have thought long about your post and must be honest and report that I am far more pessimistic than you. I don’t believe there is a large reservoir of climate scientists out there who will rise up and overthrow those currently abusing climate science.”

    It probably won’t work out that way. There will come a point where they’ll have to dial back the alarm or be left in the wrong camp. The beginning will be subtle and then there will be a rush. A few will fight it to the end. Some will swear that they were lukewarmers all along. Jaime’s article on Wally Broecker looks very like a trickle.

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  57. Alan,
    You could always try reading some of your more recent comments, but this appears to have degenerated to the point where you can live safe in the knowledge that I won’t bother wasting your time again.

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  58. Tiny CO2 you may be right but even if the alarmism by academics decreases I doubt if parliament or industry will backtrack as quickly. Also I cannot see the “science” being rejected. However, I am now well out of touch and have no special information or insight. My memory is that Broecker was never a strong alarmist and questioned much.

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  59. Tiny CO2. You might also consider that if there are many with morals like ATTP , then the retreat will be longer and more bloody than you might suppose.

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  60. Alan,

    You might also consider that if there are many with morals like ATTP

    Wow, I truly have misjudged you spectacularly. I should have known better, so it’s probably my own fault. Anyway, live and learn.

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  61. ATTP, one struggles to understand why you continue to come here if you continually think you are being abused. You do have your own blog and have managed to ban enough skeptics that you certainly don’t get the same type of feedback as you do here.

    I personally do not understand why you ignore legitimate responses (such as mine above at https://cliscep.com/2017/03/03/environmentalism-in-action/#comment-11818) and take umbrage at those who criticize.

    You have given as much umbrage as you have taken, as I’m sure you’re aware. If you’re here to discuss climate and how it is changing, do so.

    Quit whining.

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  62. Its always the same. ATTP shows up and a personal insult fest ensues. ATTP has established a pattern that would lead to an implication of cause and effect.

    Thomas, It is indeed odd that ATTP keeps showing up merely to have his prejudice confirmed that he has never had an interesting conversation with a skeptic. It’s all very distressing and alarming. He’s the master of the self-fulfilling prophecy.

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  63. Alan: “…do you know of any case where a sceptic has been appointed (you can’t use me because my scepticism developed after I was hired), where a sceptic has been recruited to collaborate with a group of climate scientists or where funds have been given to a sceptic to pursue sceptical research?”

    Well there are the well known sceptics like Lindzen, Curry, Spencer, Christy etc. I’d look up a better list if I thought it might hold some weight with you, but I imagine you’d object that they were appointed before they became sceptical. There’s the CERN CLOUD guy and his research on cosmic ray influence on clouds. That seems pretty big. And there’s always the folks at BEST, but I’ll hazard a guess that most here don’t want to mention BEST and maybe you follow their lead.

    “Even if you come up with an example you will have to admit that it would be a rare occurrence.”

    I don’t think I’m competent to judge, but you might be right.

    As for things being biased against sceptics, tell me which of these candidates (for reseach, jobs etc) you’d want to be taken seriously:

    – one who thought that all global temperature indices were all worthless;
    – one who thought that global temperature as a concept was invalid;
    – one who subscribed to Salby’s (forgot him in my list above) ideas of CO2;
    – one who thought the very idea of the greenhouse effect was tosh;

    These are all common sceptical propositions, shared by some here indeed. Is this what you have in mind, or something else?

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  64. William, You are selecting the skeptical “positions” you can easily dismiss while ignoring the positions that are credible and deserve to be considered. That’s classical selection bias. One could list a whole raft of “skeptics” whose science is credible.

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  65. If you want to see “environmentalism in action,” read the SA blog post that basically calls skeptics “deniers” for 1000 words or so.

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  66. Tom, ATTP can’t engage honestly. We are heathen who have declined to baptized even though he came here multiple times and told us to. We are non-muslims but refuse to pay the infidel tax. We are not to be reasoned with. We are to be despised. And ATTP’s shtick of using numbers to hide the simple effin’ truth is not really different than someone answering questions by way of bible or Koran verses.

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  67. ATTP comes here because warmists are so disinterested in climate that they have nothing much to say about it. They certainly never seem to discuss what they’ve done or would do about it. The majority of their output is moaning about us, while ignoring the overwhelming numbers of people who, irrespective of their position on AGW, do nothing about it. They like to blame that on us too but the real reason is their own side’s lack of convincing arguments. They can see governments fall out of love with acting on CO2 and refuse to blame the money pits that are renewables. It turns out cutting CO2 is very expensive and difficult… just like sceptics said so. Their side exaggerated so much initially that reality seems very tame in comparison. Al Gore’s 2nd movie was a damp squib because he couldn’t even repeat the lies told in the first movie. almost every stunt since has crashed and burnt. Smart people might decide they needed a new direction. Emphasis on the word ‘smart’.

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  68. William. What a load of own goals. As you suspected I would discount your short list for the reason you give. Curry is a spectacular example of someone who switched “sides” and paid for it. You think the BEST people are sceptics? Well I never.

    As to who I might employ, well anyone sufficiently qualified who held the first two of your suggested views. However, I would rewrite them to be less biased, thus –
    – one who thought that global temperature indices were suspect and might be improved ;
    – one who thought that global temperature as a concept was probably invalid and would emphasize regional variations

    But there’s the rub, to get an academic appointment these days a candidate usually has to show a publication record and (if possible) an ability to capture research funding. These attributes are nigh impossible for a sceptic. This bias does not only apply to climate science s.str. Many other scientists have realized that research funding is more easily obtain by linking their interest to climate change. Thus the bias propagates and the rot set in. I was almost guilty of this myself. I wanted funding to do a study of the relationship between the Nazca Lines of Peru and the drainage (sometimes the lines cross the drainage, at other times the drainage cuts across the lines). I tried to enhance my chances of success by including a section on the possible susceptibility of the lines to climate changes. I was prepared to dilute my intended study by incorporating an entirely spurious climate connection.

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  69. William: “Replacing mad with suboptimal, yes. Do you really think that those you might call warmists agree with every policy prescription, wind turbine or felled tree?”

    First of all, thank you for continuing to engage here in a more reasonable, civilised and polite manner than some alarmists who appear here all too regularly.

    I would largely stick with my use of the word “mad” rather than replacing it with “sub-optimal”.

    Driving (because of higher”renewable” energy prices and taxes) industry from western countries with (relatively) higher environmental standards, to other countries, like China and India with (relatively) lower environmental standards.is mad (not sub-optimal) for at least 2 reasons:

    1. It almost certainly has the effect of increasing, not reducing, CO2 emissions (which may or may not be a bad thing, depending on your point of view), but of increasing other, real, pollution too (which surely is a bad thing, regardless of your point of view).

    2. It reduces the wealth of the west, yet it is the west which is supposed to come up with the climate fund to subsidise CO2 mitigation efforts in the developing world.

    Blighting our beautiful visual environment with industrial scale structures which produce intermittent and unreliable energy a long way from the end-users isn’t merely sub-optimal either. As one who cares about the environment, I regard that as an act of environmental vandalism, not an act of environmentalism.

    As one vaguely on the left of society I, like the Green Party and many climate alarmists, wish to see more fairness in society and less imbalance in wealth. By and large the subsidies offered to those behind “renewable” energy are paid for out of taxes and energy costs. Generally speaking those enjoying those subsidies are land-owners and large industrial conglomerates. Those paying higher energy bills are often the poorest in society. The net result of the renewables subsidies policy is to redistribute money from the poor to the rich. Personally I regard that as thoroughly objectionable, not sub-optimal.

    Do I really think that those you might call warmists agree with every policy prescription, wind turbine or felled tree? I don’t know, but I’ve not yet seen any (least of all any of those who turn up at fracking sites etc at the drop of a hat) complain about any of those things – that always seems to be left to sceptics. Personally, I think that if alarmists (or warmists, call them what you will) did object to acts of environmental sabotage being done supposedly in the name of their greater policy objective, it would restore some credibility to them, and they would do themselves a favour. I can’t see it happening, though, and the silence of “environmentalists” on the damage done to the environment by “environmentalists” is one of the reasons why I can no longer take them seriously.

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  70. Hmmmm… How about a scientist who wants to study why climate consensus pushed policies on, say, CO2 emissions don’t actually work? Or to study the failed predictions of climate consensus. Or why in the name of climate it is ok to turn the environment into a giant industrial park of wind mills? How would those topics of research do for funding? Yet Cook and Lewandowsky earn praise for transparently corrupt studies. And that clown at Scientific American gets to publish a blog that simply calls skeptics names over and over for a long winded post.

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  71. Alan, BEST was led by a sceptic, contained Curry (and Mosher) and was funded by sceptics. It is interesting that you mention regional variation. I’m seeing that more often recently (also with relation to models) which makes me think that the somewhat wiser sceptics realize their game of questioning whether temperatures really are rising significantly (or whether models capture that warming) is up and are switching tack. So anyway, what sceptical positions have you seen cause rejection for appointments or grants or whatever?

    Mark, back to economics? Good, I like that.

    “Driving (because of higher”renewable” energy prices and taxes) industry from western countries with (relatively) higher environmental standards, to other countries, like China and India with (relatively) lower environmental standards.is mad (not sub-optimal) for at least 2 reasons:”

    That has been going on since well before renewables took hold. It is environmentally bad but has done great things to reduce 3rd world poverty. It may well increase CO2 and other emissions. But I don’t think the answer is to reduce our standards to match theirs on CO2 or any other pollutant. Do you? Would you like a return to smog and burning rivers?

    As for whether it “reduces the wealth of the west”, I think you’ll find economists dispute that.

    You didn’t respond to my questions on the other thread so I’ll repeat them here:

    You don’t answer either [why, as John said, tackling climate change should wreck the economy], except with your “it’s basic economics”.

    But it is nether obvious, nor basic economics. Energy is one cost of many. It is not obvious to me that an economy that relies on carbon and other resource taxes for government revenue rather than punishing (taxing) companies for employing people should necessarily perform worse. It might have a different balance of industries and services, but so what? Is there any reason to think that the UK has, or must have, a comparative advantage in steel production or energy-heavy industry? Or that a successful economy *has* to produce such products even if it lacks comparative advantage?

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  72. William

    Sorry I didn’t answer your query on the other thread – I’ve been busy and not on-line much lately, and simply hadn’t seen it. We’re both expanding our points, so there’s a danger of my missing something – please bear with me and accept that it’s down to inadvertence, and not deliberate, if I do.

    You say: “It is environmentally bad but has done great things to reduce 3rd world poverty. It may well increase CO2 and other emissions. But I don’t think the answer is to reduce our standards to match theirs on CO2 or any other pollutant. Do you? Would you like a return to smog and burning rivers?”

    First of all, thank you for acknowledging a truth that many alarmists won’t admit – that it is environmentally bad. I give you great credit for that. My response would be one which turns on our different views on the “badness” or otherwise of CO2 emissions. I don’t have a problem with not reducing our CO2 emissions. So to that extent I don’t agree with you. But I don’t have to make that admission, I think, to make the argument. I think your point, as expressed, is inherently self-contradictory. You graciously and decently admit that our policy of reducing CO2 emissions may well increase CO2 and other [noxious, I infer] omissions. Then you say that you don’t think that the answer is to reduce our standards to match theirs, on CO2 or on any other pollutant. But nobody, so afar as I am aware, is saying we should reduce our standards on non-CO2 pollutants (I refrain from describing CO2 as a pollutant, because I don’t regard it as such). I certainly don’t advocate that – I repeat that I consider myself to be an environmentalist. The problem is that in driving industry abroad to India, China et al, you do increase both CO2 emissions and noxious pollutants. Very much an own goal in my book.

    An additional part of the problem, it seems to me, is the way the rules are framed. Because the EU has loftily determined that burning wood pellets doesn’t emit CO2 (or something of that sort) we now chop down forests in the USA, transport the wood pellets to the UK, and burn them at Drax, netting the owners of Drax a nice subsidy into the bargain. That makes no sense to me. I would argue that it means we HAVE reduced our standards, in the name of raising them – we now inhabit an Orwellian 1984 world of Doublethink.

    As for your other point, I do accept that energy costs are only one part of an economy’s competitive mix. Of course labour costs are also a major part of that mix, and we in the west are largely at a significant disadvantage there. But that is why, it seems to me, it is madness voluntarily to disadvantage ourselves further by choosing to increase our energy costs whilst exempting (as the Paris agreement does) competitor countries like China and India from doing the same. A good friend of mine is a director of a steel company. He assures me that, because of the tight margins they work to, high energy costs are the biggest single threat to their viability.

    It may be that a differently-balanced economy could work, as you suggest, but I am nervous about such an idea. A balanced economy strikes me as eminently sensible. One that relies almost entirely on service industries, whilst disregarding manufacturing, strikes me as unbalanced and exposed to unnecessary risks. Look at the damage we sustained (and from which we have still not recovered) as a result of being over-reliant on the financial sector.

    There is also a follow-up point. which is a repetition, I suppose of my main point. Drive manufacturing to far-away countries with lower environmental standards, and you inevitably increase CO2 emissions and pollution, both during the manufacturing process, and as a result of having to transport the products half-way round the world to the countries that need or want the manufactured goods, but no longer make them. I don’t think that’s a good idea – do you?

    By the way, are you left or right of centre? (Obviously, please don’t answer if I intrude too much). Do you think redistributing wealth from the poor in society to the wealthy is a good idea? It’s one of the effects of “green” policies aimed at reducing CO2 emissions. Personally I think that is a very bad idea. I cannot understand why the Green Party and Labour Party (and LibDems to the extent that they claim to be left-of-centre) seem happy with that.

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  73. Thanks for putting the link on the petition website. Feel like I’m a bit off-topic now having got to the end of this busy thread and apologies if the questions I ask are a bit basic and obvious. The info about Pearmat is interesting (worrying) – wish media would pick up on this sort of thing, throw spotlight on it and ask more questions – would imagine people would want to know this sort of thing?

    Can anyone help fill in the blanks with regard to requirements for ‘balancing’? There’s a planning application for diesel generators in Croespenmaen (a mile or so from the site of the felled trees) that will burn half a million litres of diesel a year and are required to ‘balance’ the intermittency of the renewable supply. I have no background in this sort of thing but that doesn’t seem at all right?!? If they are required why isn’t the overall impact/efficiency/pollution of the renewables taken into account in making planning decisions? I’ve asked the council about the bigger picture and have received no response, beyond each application being taken on its own merits and applications being required to meet planning requirements – but as long as they are satisfied, nothing else seems to matter.

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  74. William

    As a follow-up, may I refer you to this piece on No Tricks Zone, picking up on an interview in the Basler Zeitung. Basically it says much of what I think:

    http://notrickszone.com/2017/03/05/leading-renewable-energy-expert-says-germany-sacrificing-nature-for-green-energies/#sthash.eIdXbEs6.dpbs

    The difference is that the views expressed there aren’t those of a bumbling amateur such as myself; rather they are the views of a “Leading Renewable Energy Expert” who “Says Germany Sacrificing Nature For “Green” Energies”.

    Not that you’ll see this interview being picked up by the Green Propaganda Department of the BBC, aka Roger Harrabin, Matt McGrath et al.

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  75. Ditto what Paul wrote.

    There is a serious need for proper CO2 accounting where are the pros and cons of renewables and their back ups are added up. Like wood burning, the real emissions cost should be made clear. I’ll bet the diesel generators are added to the fossil fuel side rather than where they belong. I sent a link to the DM in the hope they do a follow up story to their original one condemning the destruction of the trees.

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  76. Mark, the exodus of manufacturing started decades ago, long before renewables put up electricity prices. Given the new possibilities of workers for-free companies couldn’t wait to sell their souls and give away their intellectual property to China.

    If users want cheap electricity above all else they should go to China, no question. We’re never going to compete directly on leccy pricing, renewables or not. If we really want to support high demand manufacturing we need to change the pricing structure so that industry is protected/subsidized, as they do in Germany.

    Politically, I’m somewhere in the center – gut to the right, brain to the left.

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  77. Plutus Powergen, the company behind the Croespenmaen generators, is in trouble. Its share price fell off a cliff last week when Ofgem announced plans to drastically reduce peak-demand ‘triad’ payments to small standby generating plants. If Ofgem confirms the decision in May, Plutus is probably doomed. It’s carrying a lot of debt and apparently would suffer big financial penalties if it didn’t go ahead with building Croespenmaen and half a dozen other standby plants, all of which are now much less profitable propositions.

    Here’s Plutus’s boss a couple of weeks before the Ofgem announcement:

    What’s nice is that the unknown unknowns are getting smaller in number… The only unknowns are how fast do we grow… I’m hard-pressed to think of any negatives about the business and I think the only issues which are outstanding or unknown are just a question of how fast we are executing our business plan and how big our profits are going to be in the medium and long term.

    Clueless? Wishful puffery?

    I do feel a little bit sorry for him, though. Yet another sudden change to the UK’s thoroughly messed up electricity sector.

    (I think I’ll go back to doing all of my heating and cooking with coal. As someone has just said on the radio, you always know what you’re getting with coal. Soot everywhere, yes, but no blackouts.)

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  78. William

    Thanks for the response. I do give you great credit for recognising that there are issues around the policy prescriptions relating to reducing (supposedly) CO2 emissions, and also for being prepared to discuss them. Many warmists concentrate on the science, and run a mile from discussing the implications of the policies that climate activists often advocate. For me, although I continue to think there are issues with the science, and I doubt that we are facing an alarming problem stemming from CO2 emissions, the big issue has been and remains that activists look for solutions that don’t work.

    When a “climate scientist” (or more probably, in fairness, an activist, since these are political issues more than they are scientific ones, I think) seeks to discuss the problems arising from policy prescriptions, acknowledges that many are problematic in their own right, and opens up a discussion about what can be done intelligently to deal with said issues, then I will be impressed. Until then, I watch with a degree of despair while we all roll down a cul-de-sac at great expense.

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  79. Mark,
    I realise I should probably stay away, but I am somewhat of a glutton for punishment. So, a couple of comments for you to ponder.

    1. Maybe consider that some (myself, for example) focus on the science because it is what they think they understand sufficiently to discuss. The reason I don’t discuss solutions very often is because I don’t think it is something I understand well enough to contribute much to a discussion. That doesn’t mean I don’t read what others have to say and doesn’t mean I don’t think about what they say (including what is said here), it just means that I choose not to discuss it. I certainly don’t think that those who discuss the science should be required to also discuss solutions; they are somewhat independent.

    2. Consider inverting your issue. What would impress me is to see a skeptic who is concerned about the issues associated with many of the solutions, at least acknowledging the science. What I often see are skeptics not only presenting concerns about some of the solutions (concerns that may well be justified) but also dismissing the science. This makes it seem as though objecting to these solution also requires dismissing the science. If an argument against some of the solutions also requires dismissing the science, then that would suggest that the argument might not be very strong.

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  80. ATTP, the higher the stakes, the higher the bar for the evidence. CAGW is not just about the science, it is a multidimensional problem.

    The common argument is that because the consequences on CAGW are so high, we have to act even though the science is unclear. Well so are the consequences of a massive meteorite strike or a severe strain of flu or other swifly transmitted fatal disease. A short period of thought might come up with a long list of disasters as severe as CAGW or worse to the human race and/or everything else. Even an ice age will be pretty dire. So do we prioritise all of them? No, we do most for the problem that is most urgent and/or most clear.

    The other factor is what can we do about the problem and how much does it cost? Maybe in your world those things don’t matter but they really do affect what decisions are made. So if you fritter your allotted portion of public cash and goodwill on solutions that barely work, you don’t get more money unless the evidence shows a more urgent need. The science cannot be considered without measuring it against everything else. The science isn’t good enough to avoid that process. Nobody should give it a free pass just because it’s important. If you want your problem to get to the top of the queue and get the effort you think it requires you need to be asking all the time how you can improve it.

    Instead of demanding that people believe, ask them how the science could be improved. What bits are problematic? etc. Climate science even has an articulate audience that tells them for free what’s wrong with it.

    What is so complicated about these issues that warmists can’t grasp them?

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  81. Tiny, your response is very reasoned and excellent. I agree.

    attp says:

    What would impress me is to see a skeptic who is concerned about the issues associated with many of the solutions, at least acknowledging the science.

    .

    If that were true, it would be a landmark changing of the spots on the hyena. I for one acknowledge the science and so do many others such as Judith Curry and Richard Tol. That hasn’t stopped you from viscously attacking, proclaiming your disrespect, and personalizing the issues in a totally unprofessional way. As Tiny points out, climate scientists should be soliciting ways to improve rather than trying to discredit anyone with a concern.

    I would suggest that a higher degree of emotional control would prevent the gratuitous attacks and slanders. Your wife and kids would like you better and you would be happier too. Giving respect to your fellow human beings will be a beneficial change for all concerned.

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  82. Tiny CO2, DPY6629. Admittedly I am now highly prejudiced, but how can you take anything written by ATTP seriously? The man is a self-confessed liar; how can you believe anything he ventures an opinion upon to be his real position? At any time he could turn 180 degrees.

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  83. Alan,
    Wow, I have to say that I really did misjudge you spectacularly. You’ve gone from being someone who I really did think was reasonable and worth having a discussion with, to someone I will endeavour to avoid. Given your recent comments about me I find it utterly bizarre that you would complain how I treated you, a former academic. Nothing I have ever said to you, or about you, is remotely comparable to what you’ve said about me in your recent comments. And, no, I am clearly not a self-confessed liar; what a bizarre thing to say. I won’t ask you to correct it, because you obviously will not.

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  84. ATTP. “someone who I really did think was reasonable and worth having a discussion with”
    Either yet another lie or an admission that you abuse people’s trust. Given your 07 Mar 17 at 7:57 pm and 07 Mar 17 at 8:23 pm posts on this thread, the designation “self-professed liar” seems especially apt. You have indeed misjudged me.

    Perhaps you should change your identifier to ATTL = and then there’s lies.

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  85. ATTP

    I have no problems with your first point at all. Your second point is slightly less straightforward, for the reasons pointed out by Tiny CO2 and DPY6629, though I can live with it too.

    It’s good to have a civilised and reasonable discussion about such things. The problem with emails, and with commenting on websites is that one’s tone can often be damaging, even if not intended, and it’s easy for comments to escalate thereafter. Your recent spat with Alan Kendall is a case in point. I have interacted with both you and Alan Kendall for a while now, and find Alan’s normal MO to be considerably more civilised than yours. Personally, however, I am prepared to let bygones be bygones, and if your most recent comment is representative of your current approach, then I welcome it greatly.

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  86. ATTP, I should clarify – by “your most recent comment” I meant the one addressed to me, not the one addressed to Alan Kendall.

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  87. Alan,
    I really did think that you were someone reasonable who it might be possible to have a discussion with. I don’t anymore.

    Mark,

    Alan’s normal MO to be considerably more civilised than yours.

    Indeed, which was why I had regarded him as someone who might worth trying to have a discussion with. It seems that I was wrong. Possibly bear in mind that my MO is somewhat influenced by how I expect to be treated. Chicken and egg, of course, but still….

    It’s good to have a civilised and reasonable discussion about such things.

    Indeed, but it does appear as though it is virtually impossible.

    Your second point is slightly less straightforward, for the reasons pointed out by Tiny CO2 and DPY6629, though I can live with it too.

    It’s never straightforward, but there is still a difference between accepting our current scientific understanding and then arguing against various solutions, and arguing against various solutions, partly because you think the science is wrong.

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  88. ATTP, I imagine you feel like we do when we’re accused of something we don’t think we’ve done.

    Whether my comments will find a spot in ATTP’s mind and grow a thought I don’t know. History suggests not but the seeds are there for anyone who reads the words. For some reason people like him want to turn CAGW into a black and white problem. It’s either true or false. Ignore the solutions, just accept or reject the science. This is not how the world works and not remotely appropriate to the issue. Or issues. Climate change is not just one question. So sure, we could agree that some time and money be spent on the problem, but that’s happened and the likes of ATTP are not satisfied. The evidence doesn’t buy them a blank cheque. Just because they haven’t seriously reduced CO2, they don’t automatically get more money, especially if they’ve wasted the first lot they were given.

    If the evidence of climate catastrophe had got stronger, Al Gore’s second movie would have been a fire cracker instead of a damp sqib. Many of the most persuasive arguments of the first movie are now known to be wrong, partly wrong or being questioned. There are more uncertainties now than there were 10/20 years ago. Instead of solving some of the most important questions, all the science has done is spread the research money over more and more side issues. Like an idiot lottery winner they’ve splashed the cash on any shiny piece of junk that’s caught their eye.

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  89. Tiny,

    For some reason people like him want to turn CAGW into a black and white problem.

    I don’t identify with CAGW and I don’t think the AGW issue is a black and white problem. You would have more saying things that I might think about if it didn’t involve misrepresenting my views.

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  90. So if there’s no catastrophe and you agree with us that there still a lot to understand and you don’t have an opinion on how we tackle CO2, why are you on the other side? Why do you care how many scientists agree with a consensus that is so vague as to be ok by most sceptics? Why do you dislike Steve McIntyre so much when his main thrust has been against shoddy bits of the science? Why do you balk at the idea that the science needs to improve?

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  91. Tiny CO2, DPY6629. My question earlier today (at 7:25 am) was genuine, not just a provocation to ATTL (although it satisfactorily achieved that aim). I have watched him (and a few others) spin a line, but on becoming enmeshed in it, twist away claiming they were only joking or “being ironic”. Sometimes I can anticipate it, but sometimes not. My question was to see if you have anything that you use to determine the veracity of what you are being fed on sites such as this. Prior experience is the obvious reply, but I got caught hook, line and sinker and I am nearly a decade into my retirement. I obviously irritated ATTL when I asked him not to waste my time answering his question that had an obvious answer, and he was determined to enact his revenge.

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  92. Tiny,

    So if there’s no catastrophe and you agree with us that there still a lot to understand and you don’t have an opinion on how we tackle CO2, why are you on the other side?

    The point is that there are a range of possible outcomes that depend on – amongst other things – climate sensitivity (which we don’t, and probably can’t, know precisely) and how much we end up emitting (which we can’t know, but can at least influence). Maybe try watching this talk by Tim Palmer.

    Why do you care how many scientists agree with a consensus that is so vague as to be ok by most sceptics?

    The consensus isn’t really vague. It’s “humans are causing global warming” or – if you want the formal IPCC definition – “it’s extremely likely that more than 50% of the warming since 1950 was anthropogenic”. Understanding the level of agreement can be important. You can dispute the consensus position, but claiming there isn’t one (when there is) just seems a little odd.

    Why do you dislike Steve McIntyre so much when his main thrust has been against shoddy bits of the science?

    I don’t dislike Steve McIntyre. I just don’t think he’s the arbitrer of what is, or is not, shoddy research. He’s welcome to go around pointing it out, but science mainly progresses by actually doing better research, not harping on and on about examples of shoddy research (especially if not everyone agrees with the assessment).

    Why do you balk at the idea that the science needs to improve?

    I don’t. I think science should always be striving to improve, I just don’t think it’s nearly as broken as some people claim (or, as broken as they appear to want it to be).

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  93. I just deal with each comment as it appeals to me at the time. The audience I’m aiming at isn’t always the person who sparked the comment. I’m sometimes just arranging my thoughts for myself. There are a few people who don’t deserve any response because of the nature of their reply. A guy who calls himself Cedric is one.

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  94. Alan,

    I obviously irritated ATTL when I asked him not to waste my time answering his question

    Indeed.

    that had an obvious answer

    I disagree that it has an obvious answer. Is it wrong to disagree with you?

    , and he was determined to enact his revenge.

    Seems a bit melodramatic – also, my response to you was not based on an attempt to enact revenge, it was based entirely on responding in a manner similar to the manner in which you were responding to me. If you can’t bother being polite, I see no reason to be polite in response. Also, given your subsequent conduct, my response to you now seems remarkably mild.

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  95. Another self-contradiction from Ken: “I don’t think the AGW issue is a black and white problem.”
    Yet just a few comments earlier he’s talking about “acknowledging the science” versus “dismissing the science”. This was the point Tiny was making (“just accept or reject the science”). As if there is this fantasy called “the science” which you either “accept” or “dismiss”. Yet Tiny is falsely accused of misrepresenting Ken’s position.

    I’m often tempted to delete his stupid and off-topic comments. But so often he makes a complete fool of himself that it’s better to leave them.

    Liked by 1 person

  96. Paul,
    I realise that this is probably a waste of time, but I was meaning acknowledging all the science, including all the uncertainties. Doing so doesn’t suddenly make it a black and white issue – it means that you don’t give undue credence to possibilities that the evidence suggests are very unlikely.

    I appreciate that your goal is to interpet anything I say in the worst possible way, but maybe there will be others who are more charitable. Maybe not, though.

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  97. ATTP, to deal with your last points first. In some ways it doesn’t matter if YOU don’t think the science is shoddy or not, it only matters what the unpersuaded think. All the evidence points to belief in climate change (which is a dumb thing to call it) is weak. If it wasn’t, then you could ignore Steve McIntyre. If CO2 is to be cut then belief or trust has to be high. That’s why the cost matters. If it was cheap to solve, we’d say ‘oh just do it and work out if we needed to after the event’. But it’s not cheap, not in money or pain. So actually it’s very very important to work out how much CO2 reduction is necessary. It’s important to know what the value of sensitivity is. The documentation has to be excellent. The data has to be free from controversy. There have to be people tasked with trying to break the shiny products because if they don’t the public will. It’s important to look to other fields and ask ‘what do you do to persuade the public on issues that are complicated?’ It’s no accident that many sceptics are egineers. We have to worry about those things.

    Do you understand these concepts? Do you understand why they’re relevant and important?

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  98. Paul, in some way’s ATTP’s attitude is on topic. Why don’t people like him care about what’s done in the name of climate change? Why does he think that the science should be considered in isolation? Others use the sacrosanctity of the science to justify any kind of vandalism to save the planet. That ATTP isn’t sure needs saving.

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  99. Tiny,
    A few comments, but since you seem incapable of not misrepresenting my views, I will keep it short. Firstly, scientists aren’t salespeople; their job isn’t really to convince you, it’s to provide information about whatever it is that they’re studying. How persuaded, or not, you are is entirely your responsibility. It isn’t going to determine the veracity of the scientific evidence. Secondly, there are some things that we are unlikely to determine any more precisely than we currently can, simply because it is very difficult (maybe impossible) to do so. If you’re going to demand absolutely certainty and perfection in all things before you think we should make any decisions, then you’re essentially arguing that we can always avoid making inconvenient decisions. Of course we can choose to do so, but physical reality doesn’t really care – the outcome doesn’t really depend on how inconvenient, or not, it is to do something.

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  100. Everyone in work is a salesman unless their output sells itself. You persuade your boss to let you do what you do. You persuade them to employ you in the first place. You persude the funding bodies that you deserve their money. Since climate scientists don’t feel the need to sell their work to the reluctant customer, the public and politicians, who will? The science isn’t selling itself.

    Yes, we can avoid making inconvenient decisions unless the rest of society makes us. That’s how our society works. Yay! Free will.

    If I misrepresent you it’s because you never answer a straight question.

    Liked by 1 person

  101. As for getting a better grip on climate sensitivity – time will tell. I’m ok with waiting, what about you?

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  102. Well done ATTP. Pick the least significant part of what I wrote and reply to it. What conclusion SHOULD I draw from that?

    A final point – no matter how real or urgent or catastrophic we think AGW is, it doesn’t mean we should do things we know have almost no positive effect, like cutting down old trees and sticking up heavily subsidised solar panels in rainy Wales.

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  103. Seriously, I can’t see why you can’t answer those reasonable questions other than you have no answers to give. Potentially there is a fundamental difference in how we think. A bit like men are from Mars, women are from Venus. But either way, you’re wasting your time and ours, if you can’t get your head round those issues.

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  104. Tiny CO2. Your discussion with ATTL seems to be going the same way that mine did, reasonableness on one side, insults, innuendo and casting blame on the other. It really is a total waste of time continuing a discussion where your opponent fails to address points you make, then blames you for his inadequacies. I’ll read his stuff, he often has some interesting things to say (sometimes), but I will never debate again.
    I wonder if astrophysics is dominated by people like him. I don’t know any. I did know, quite well a solar physicist and (s)he* was the exact opposite – willing to discuss their science and its impact on climate to an ignoramus like me, who knew the Sun was important but not exactly how.

    * I am deliberately removing any clue as to their identity. They operate in an alarmist venue.

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  105. Tiny,

    Seriously, I can’t see why you can’t answer those reasonable questions other than you have no answers to give.

    Because I don’t see why answering your questions is all that relevant. I’ve expressed my view. You’ve expressed yours. We disagree about some things. That’s fine. Whether or not I answer your questions doesn’t really change anything.

    FWIW, I don’t think waiting and doing nothing until we have a more precise estimate for climate sensitivity is a good idea. However, I don’t have strong views as to what it is that we should be doing. Mostly, I think we should be able to discuss it without people throwing around insults and accusations, but that seems virtually impossible. Also, I don’t think that that scientists are there to convince the public. Whether or not the public should be convinced is not for scientists to decide, nor is it for them to actually do.

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  106. ATTP “Mostly, I think we should be able to discuss it without people throwing around insults and accusations, but that seems virtually impossible.”

    Pots and kettles spring to mind.

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  107. Tiny,

    Pots and kettles spring to mind.

    I don’t claim that I necessarily achieve it. On the other hand, I get the impression that our understanding of what constitutes an insult may not be quite the same. Anyway, I tried to answer some of your questions, but that appears to not have been good enough. Quelle surprise.

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  108. Alan Kendall, I used to visit ATTP’s site but I concluded there was no point continuing as they can’t let go of their preconceptions. Amusingly the views he’s expressed here would be drummed out of his own site by certain guard dogs that hang out there.

    ATTP our understand on almost everything seems to be different. Accept it.

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  109. Tiny CO2, Mark Hodgson Some people always have to have the last word no matter how petty. I suffer from this affliction myself and over the past year have striven to stop doing it (twice this week alone).

    I have been most interested in the thesis that you and Mark have promulgated – namely differentiating “the science” from measures needed to offset possible implications and the costs involved. Intuitively I have always known of this, but your combined recent posts have given it more focus. I have long thought that the weight of scientific evidence available is insufficient to support the magnitude of the remedies proposed. My emphasis, however, has always been on the science, but I begin to see that the way to convince the broader public is to go after the ineffectiveness and the social costs of the proposed activities to offset climate change (as if we could – such hubris). I look forward to reading more of this from you both. If this was spurned by ATTP, then at least he did some good.

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  110. Wow, what an anti-ATTP bacchanal you’ve all indulged in today. Such vitriol, especially from Alan, for no obvious reason. I guess you’re all so giddy with the expectation of Trump wiping out environmental regulation that you need to let of steam. When we are free of Europe, you doubtless tell yourself, we’ll be able to pollute our environment to our (British) hearts’ content, polluting the air, gunking up rivers, spreading shit all over the beaches again without any effing European trampling on our rights to pollute… Roll on Brexit!

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  111. William, a curious comment on an article decrying the decimation of ancient trees. Unlike them, ATTP can look after himself.

    AK, I tend to think that there’s no right way to present scepticism other than go with what feels right at the time. Some only feel comfortable debating the science, others know more about the political, etc. The public tend to be generalists but they know more than warmists give them credit for. The way most sceptics were born is by comparing what they knew to be true with the carefully crafted half truths or total porkies that warmists wanted to present. Once a person knows that they’ve been conned or just pressured, they start to see the other issues for themselves. Things like sticking solar panels in a soggy Welsh field with the rotting stumps of venerable beech trees.

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  112. Alan Kendall (and others), there are a raft of projects that are worthy of undertaking that have as one effect the reduction of CO2 or adaptation to potential climate change. These range from moving towards renewable energy, which can reduce dependence on imports and our tolerance of autocratic regimes in oil-rich countries all the way to improving flood defences where appropriate.

    Let’s not throw the baby out with the bathwater.

    William, there are other advocates of the consensus who are not treated as harshly here as ATTP. You might spend a moment wondering why that is. Having been called an idiot by ATTP and banned from his blog for no reason I can fathom, I am not predisposed to treat him more kindly than his remarks deserve.

    He asks the same questions of us but never reads the answers. Then he says he struggles to understand.

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  113. ATTP, you write (and quite correctly), “Also, I don’t think that that scientists are there to convince the public. Whether or not the public should be convinced is not for scientists to decide, nor is it for them to actually do.”

    I think you may be writing this to give an explanation of why you don’t address a number of topics. However, I wish you would notify people like Trenberth, Mann, et al, of this.

    Because I agree with you 100%. And I also believe that is the most efficient way to defuse the rancor that characterizes the climate conversation.

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  114. THOMASWFULLER

    You are quite correct, there are many projects and policies we can adopt that both climate alarmists and sceptics can agree to. Those you mention are win-win propositions and should be adopted by all. Unfortunately some are overly promoted and so distorted that they become loss-win or even loss-loss propositions. I would put wind and solar energy in these categories. Eventually we will need all the energy sources we can get, but adding subsidies destroys possible benefits. Unreasoned opposition to fossil fuels (especially gas) is nonsensical, as is growing grain as a fuel (both nonsensical and morally wrong).
    When living in California we added passive solar water heating and never regretted it. I do not understand those who seem to be almost religiously opposed to all forms of renewable energy. The joy of getting “free” hot water was unmitigated.

    Liked by 1 person

  115. To all who have commented, I think this discussion is moving in a helpful and interesting way. There can be a middle way. I’m not opposed to all renewables, nor do I think knee-jerk opposition to them is wise. As Alan says, we’ll need all the energy we can get. IF some renewables can provide relatively cheap, unsubsidised and reliable energy without damaging the physical/visual environment in the process and causing massive issues for the National Grid arising from sudden surges or outages , then I will be all in favour. By the same token, knee-jerk opposition to fuel sources such as gas, which display all those desirable attributes,strikes me as not very wise.

    William at 4.13pm, I think you’ve rather let yourself down with that comment. Much of the thrust of this article and the comments on it are to complain about damage to the environment caused by people who claim to care about the environment. If you think “greens” are more concerned about the environment than most of us commenting on here, then I think you could scarcely be more wrong.

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  116. Mark, I think greens do care about the environment. But I think too many of them are similar to the curmudgeon who said ‘I love humanity–it’s people I can’t stand.’

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  117. Thomas

    I would like to believe that you are correct. I just can’t help noticing that they rarely – if ever – seem to be bothered by things like the destruction of the trees, which prompted this article. That always seems to fall to sceptics.

    Liked by 1 person

  118. Mark, yes I was just letting off steam. But I do find it ironic that people here write so negatively about environmentalism while claiming to be environmentalists, and equally that they wont admit to being Trump supporters while rooting for him withdrawing from climate agreements and casually wiping out the EPA along the way (along with the other bad stuff). It’s a package deal.

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  119. William

    Again, thanks for your candour. FWIW I think the EPA’s categorisation of CO2 as a pollutant was a big mistake; but I am certainly not a Trump supporter, and I am concerned at the prospect that he might dismantle the EPA. The environment needs to be protected.

    I should add that if Trump walked away from the Paris agreement I wouldn’t be concerned, and would be happy if the UK did too. That is because I don’t see it doing anything to help the environment.

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  120. “You don’t think electrifying land transportation would help the environment?”

    Possibly, to an extent, but not inevitably, no. It depends on how its done. The electricity has to come from somewhere. If that somewhere is, e.g. wind turbines sat on huge concrete foundations in what used to be a pristine peat bog in remotest Scotland, but which now has an industrial infrastructure including (say) 10 mile access roads slashed through forest and peat bog, then I would regard that as counter-productive.

    Then there’s the questions of how electrified transport is to work. Fine (possibly) in big cities, but not much use (on current technology) elsewhere. Does said electrified transport rely on huge battery banks, which involve e.g. much mining of lithium? How are said batteries disposed off after life? What about the scrapping of existing cars (if not done sensibly and gradually as they come to the end of their lives) to replace them with electric ones?

    Little in this area can be said to be straightforward and black & white.

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  121. SAM H 08 Mar 17 at 10:31 pm mentioned about a planning application for diesel generators in the area.
    I thought I would have a look. Permission was granted on 07/03/2017 for 20MW of diesel generators for a Flexible Generation Facility. There were two previous approvals for 9.9MW, though I think the latest is a resubmission. Post code is NP11 3BT, 3 miles by car (from Google Maps) from the NP12 0HZ, Manmoel, Blackwood – site of the solar development.
    The diesel generators cannot operate between 23.30 and 07.00 and are restricted to 200 hours of operation per year. So not much backup for solar then.
    Comparing the two projects is interesting. The solar development has a 4.1MW capacity. With around 10% utilisation that would produce 3600 MwH of electricity per annum, as against 4000 MwH in 200 hours by the generators. But the solar panels use 30 times the land area (10.6 v 0.36 hectares). What is more, the diesel facility will not involve any tree felling or coppicing.
    Of course, diesel generators produce CO2 emissions. 20MW of diesel engines will consume about 5200 litres per hour, producing about 14 tonnes of CO2 at 2.68kg of CO2 per litre of diesel. The diesel engines produce more CO2 per megawatt hour than a modern coal-fired power station at 600kg or less per megawatt hour.

    Liked by 1 person

  122. The Solar development submitted a retrospective planning application on 22.02.2017, listed as 17/0140/NCC. There are a lot of useful documents attached, including plans of the replanting. Included is a SUPPLEMENTARY LANDSCAPE AND VISUAL IMPACT ASSESSMENT. This states

    8. LANDSCAPE MITIGATION
    8.1 It is proposed to replant the internal hedgerows and trees that were removed,
    with similar species in order to re-establish the landscape character of the site
    and create the small-medium sized fields within the immediate site area.
    Landscape Elements
    8.2 135 items were removed from the interior of the site. The proposals to replace
    these features seek to restore the internal landscape elements to the site. Once
    the planting has been established, there would be a negligible effect on the site
    as a whole as the intention is to replace the lost features. However, the improved
    planting around the site boundaries will bring about a minor (beneficial) effect
    to the landscape elements associated with the site overall.

    Later on in the summary it states that the restoration will take fifteen years to reach maturity. Hopefully the planning committee will insist on more substantial replanting to produce the restoration in a shorter time period. Even if accepted, this restoration work will eat into the stream of subsidies for the intermittent electricity generated.

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  123. Mark, if I can walk through town without breathing exhaust fumes, I’d consider that a positive. Existing cars have issues with manufacture and disposal too – such concerns are a red herring; it’s not as if we’re going to replace all cars tomorrow.

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  124. William

    Can I remind you that the reason we currently, apparently, have issues with vehicle fumes is largely because we were encouraged to buy diesel cars on the basis that they emit less CO2 than petrol cars, ignoring the fact that they emit more real pollutants. A classic example of the complaint I and others have made about “green” policies being counter-productive in environmental terms.

    As I said, nothing in this area is straightforward or black and white.

    Liked by 1 person

  125. Does anyone know what the ‘trial is over’ trigger means in the rules about ending reporting restrictions for UK court cases? Does the trial end with the verdict or with the sentencing?

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  126. Vinny

    I’m a retired solicitor, but this isn’t my specialist area. Firstly, the rules may be different north and south of the Scottish border (different legal systems). Secondly, the extent of the ban may depend on the terms used by the Judge when imposing it, and the reasons for the ban. For instance, I believe that a ban on identifying minors will remain in force after both the end of the trial and sentencing. I stress, however, not my area of expertise.

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  127. Thanks, MH.

    My question was about about case T20137576 at Southwark Crown Court, which is currently in a seemingly grey area between verdict and sentencing, reporting-wise.

    Not that I have anything to report, legally or otherwise. I’m just puzzled why the convictions haven’t been reported in the national press – and some of the five defendants must have been convicted, else why the scheduled date for sentencing? (May 4th.)

    (I’m sorry if I have broken any rules, Your Honour, by divulging the meagre info provided above. I intended no malfeasance. But may I suggest that your published rules on reporting restrictions are wholly effing inadequate, Your Worship.)

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  128. Vinnie

    It does seem to have gone on for a long time. From the Court’s website I can’t find out anything of the substance about it. I guess you’ll just have to wait another couple of months…

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  129. Wow.

    can people here at least consider the possibility that there really are risks associated with continuing to emit CO2 into the atmosphere and that doing too little now could mean that what we do end up doing – if it does become clear that we need to act – could have severe negative impacts

    Can some people admit that they eat toast for breakfast?

    Will anybody confess to drinking either tea or coffee at the same meal?

    Will anybody here own up to preferring orange juice to hot beverages?

    Only when these acts of self-denunciation are complete will any progress be made.

    Rice does two things here: first, he pretends that the lines of the debate are simple: those who deny that there are risks, and those who have detected them with science. Second, he pretends that it is dogma that precludes awareness of the risks.

    In fact it is the other way around. Contemporary dogma is preoccupied with ‘risk’. It is the basis on which policies and political institutions are formed, each promising to mitigate risk.

    ‘Risk’ is a movable feast — for the risk-mongers, everyone else has to pick up the tab. Notice that Rice does not demand that somebody acknowledge that the risk of ‘severe negative impacts’ is 1 in N. The issue in fact arises because Rice cannot tell us what N is. We must therefore act as if it were 1, even if it is 100, or 1000. He is precisely ambiguous, but demands unambiguous precision. This is the precautionary principle, of course.

    He could point it out, and leave it at that… His contribution being just that: a defence of the precautionary principle. But like a dog with a bone, he won’t let go. We MUST, give a figure on what he categorically refuses to enumerate, and which if he could enumerate, would undermine his own argument for action. He says failure to provide him with an answer is a personal, moral failure.

    Liked by 2 people

  130. I am just a person in the street who is unfortunate to live close to the three solar parks in the area one of which is where the trees were illegally felled. Having now had cause to look into renewables the whole thing is a farce all about one thing, money. Money that is not going to the community whose beautiful unspoilt area is now blighted by obscure foreign businesses miles away. Wales is responsible for a minute percentage of CO2 emissions, the capacity factor of both wind and solar is pathetic so however many renewable developments Wales installs will be no more effective of reducing CO2 than peeing to put a forest fire out. CO2 emissions are a world wide problem not confined to Wales’s corner of the world. We have had our area ruined by solar parks and wind turbines for absolutely nothing.

    Now we are having balancing diesel generators foisted upon us by a totally incompetent planning department. These apparently are the new money spinner for bleeding the UK consumer dry via subsidies. We now have planning applications in for two each one using half a million litres of diesel. So much for green energy. Oh and this is a very short distance from what has been proven to be the most polluted road outside London. So bad that the useless Caerphilly Council are considering, I have been told, buying the houses of the poor ill people who live there. INSANE!!!!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  131. June, I am sorry you are being impacted directly by big green’s greedy parasitic blight. Consider this: why should the so-called climate concerned who with nearly unlimited resources consistently cone up with environmentally destructive “solutions” that fail to work be considered credible in their claims about the underlying danger of CO2?

    Like

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