Archive for the ‘intemperateness’ Category

Wannabe planetary saviour goes to jail

Posted on timeMarch 11th, 2013 by userPali Gap    flagNo Comments


Chris Huhne  is the UK’s former minister for Energy and Climate Change. He may be going to jail, having been sentenced to eight months for ‘perverting the course of justice’.  But, for folks like me, he remains unconvicted of a much greater crime of “perverting the course of reason” on the climate debate. Repentant he is not:

Chris Huhne, talking to The Guardian hours before his sentence, said he felt “awful that people I love have been dragged into this gruelling experience“. He added: “I am sorry. I want to say that to family, to friends, to constituents and to colleagues, and more broadly to everybody who cares passionately about the causes I care about, including saving the planet for our children and our grandchildren”.

“Saving the planet” – Oh, the hubris! Lord preserve us…

 

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A bit of distortion from environment journalist Louise Gray

Posted on timeFebruary 21st, 2013 by userPali Gap    flagNo Comments


In the Daily Telegraph (February 9th 2013) Louise Gray said this about wind turbines:

“Already there are 4,366 turbines in operation in the UK providing 8.2GW of power, enough to power 4.5 million homes for a year” (source)

That sounds impressive, no? But is this claim a reasonable one? Quite definitely NOT!

If she is referring to the installed capacity. then the figure of 8.2GW is about right. When I check at Wikipedia (which in turn is based on this), I see the following:

“At the beginning of 2013, the installed capacity of wind power in the United Kingdom was 8,445 megawatts (MW), with 362 operational wind farms and 4,158 wind turbines in the United Kingdom.” (source. 8,445 MW is 8.445GW)

Yet it should be plain as day that installed capacity is not the same as the actual power generated!

Immediately on reading her article I checked at the UK National Grid web site and found that although current demand in the UK was 43.8GW, wind power was only contributing 0.29GW (admittedly it was a calm morning). It’s surely a “tell” that the the designers of the UK National Grid web site have not seen fit to set a maximum reading of their virtual wind energy meter greater than 5GW…

I don’t believe Louise Gray can be unaware of the difference between installed capacity and actual power generated. In fact I know she understands it, because later on in her article she says this:

“In the last year the industry has hit new heights, providing 10 per cent of the UK’s electricity needs – when the wind is blowing. “

This caveat –  “when the wind is blowing” – makes some difference! So, given that she understands this big, big difference, how can she allow herself to NOT qualify in a similar way her original statement? Without that caveat it vastly overstates the success of wind power in the UK. One is left to conclude that this is EITHER very sloppy journalism OR deliberately biased reporting on her part.

The way Louise Gray plays fast and loose with installed versus actual wind power capacity puts me in mind of the infamous way telecoms companies exaggerate broadband speed in their marketing literature. This is where they will make claims of, say, “up to 12Mbit/s” to sell their wares. The reality is that next to no one will ever actually obtain the advertised speeds. Fortunately they have come under pressure to be more honest. In 2010, the industry regulator Ofcom said that to combat ISP sleight of hand, they planned to get them to sign up to a new code of practice, so that customers get more information about the true performance they can expect. See  “UK broadband ads are a bloody disgrace” for a robust rant on the subject.

Do we need journalists such as Louise Gray to sign up to something similar to stop them using sleight of hand to promote wind power?

 

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A cool head on eco-concerned shoulders

Posted on timeOctober 22nd, 2006 by userPali Gap    flagNo Comments


I likes this article today from ecoworld.com:

Greenland’s Ice Melting Slowly

Coming from a web site that you would expect to be firmly on the non-sceptical side of the debate, it is an excellent attempt to expose and correct climate change hype and hysteria.

Ecoworld put NASA scientists in the dock for over-egging a conjectured net loss to the Greenland ice sheet. As Ecoworld puts it: “a net loss of 27 cubic miles per year. Does that sound like a lot? It isn’t.”

It seems NASA scientist Scott Luthcke noted that Greenland’s ice melt now constitutes ”an annual net loss of ice equal to nearly six years of average water flow from the Colorado River.” To which Ecoworld respond:

“Need we add that at an annual flow of 4.5 cubic miles of water, by volume, the Colorado is a relatively small river?”

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New Scientist reporter moderates language (an incy, tincy bit)

Posted on timeFebruary 2nd, 2006 by userPali Gap    flagNo Comments


A while back there was an article published in the New Scientist titled “Silencing the climate sceptics” (4 June 2005 issue 2502 p.14). Now, when I visit the online archive I see that this has been altered to “New probe may silence climate sceptics” (here).

Now why would that happen? I think I know!

The original title was something of a fraud. The article (by Duncan Graham-Rowe) was actually about a proposed method to increase the accuracy of satellite data. No new data had yet arrived. Obviously no open-minded person would presume to know a priori how that data would turn out.

Not so in the case of Mr Duncan-Rowe!

Those who deny global warming is happening often rely on somewhat error-prone satellite information about our planet…a proposed probe could put an end to the climate change debate

Well yes – if the data comes out in the wash the way he approves. If it doesn’t then I guess Duncan-Rowe will once again come over all a priori and assume we need yet even more accurate data (until he gets the result he wants).

Anyhoo, feeling not a little incensed when I read the original article, I put pen to paper and wrote to New Scientist. I have always felt that the magazine is soft on global warming, so I was pleased and a little surprised to see my letter published:

Satellite data has failed so far to deliver the results that advocates of global warming would like. Presumably there is something wrong with the data. So it was good to read the article by Duncan Graham-Rowe about a proposed method to increase the accuracy of the instruments (4 June, p 14). But before giving the article the title “Silencing the climate sceptics” shouldn’t he have waited for the new and improved data to come in?” (18 June 2005)

Now, praise be, it seems Duncan-Rowe has moderated his language and altered the title of his article! Could that be because of my letter? Well maybe, who knows. But is Duncan-Rowe (issue 2) really so very much more reasonable and objective than Duncan-Rowe (issue 1)? I think not.

Why for goodness sake must he insist on prefacing a perfectly sensible and interesting article about the difficulties of satellite measurement with such a prejudicial title? After all consider these three candidates for the title:

  1. New probe may silence climate sceptics
  2. New probe may refute claims of global warming
  3. New probe may provide better data to test global warming claim

So which title would be appropriate – especially for a scientific magazine? Well if science means anything it surely means that you maintain an open mind ahead of the facts. I would think that makes the choice of title a bit of a no-brainer!

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Global warming implicated in undersea quakes

Posted on timeJanuary 26th, 2006 by userPali Gap    flagNo Comments


In his review in the British Sunday Times of James Lovelock’s new book (“The Revenge Of Gaia“), Richard Mabey writes:

“We give generously to the victims of climate-change-driven disasters such as famines and tsumani, and do nothing to stop them happening again”

Yes you read that right: Tsunami are climate driven disasters!

The zealots will see the hand of global warming everywhere

Take the other week when the big news in London was the unfortunate whale that had strayed into the Thames. The whale got to be the top story on Channel 4 news one evening. They wheeled on an expert (from the Natural History Museum as I recall). No sooner had his interview begun than Jon Snow tried to steer the conversation towards the possibility that this rare event might be evidence for climate change. I think the guest scientist was a bit embarrased by such glib thinking and to his great credit he politely but firmly refused to be drawn on the subject

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