Everywhere in Chains

It’s Sod’s Law, I suppose, that has given us the greyest, wettest day of the summer for the Stony Stratford uprising: the greatest of respect to all those involved for defending our real interests.

Courtesy of Man Widdicombe, Dick Puddlecote has a recording of the local radio interview in which Councillor Paul Bartlett attempts to defend his proposal to ban smoking on the streets of Stony Stratford.

Listening to it is not an edifying experience as Councillor Bartlett is less than clear on his motivation. My interpretation is that Bartlett – who sounds as though he may not be blessed with 20/20 thinking – is either a petty dictator or, more likely, he wants to be liked; looking for approbation, he blindly jumped on the New York smoking ban-dwagon believing he had discovered a sure-fire, PC winner.

He certainly covers all the nanny-state bases – litter, children, health and the environment (he doesn’t go quite as far as saying that smoking causes global warming though he’ll get there soon enough) but there is no commitment, no evidence and no coherence. So lacking are these qualities that if I were of a cynical bent, I’d say his proposal looks like a shoo-in..

Meanwhile, over at Underdogs Bite Upwards, Leg-iron mentions two drug-related deaths – one from a prescribed drug and the other – allegedly – from a recreational drug. As LI points out, the media reaction to each is quite different; the first is treated as a tragic accident, the second is framed as the inevitable result of some silly girly indulging in illegal activity. The truth is that both are equally awful and both may have been avoidable (the death of the clubber may yet prove to have been a natural death).

‘What’s the difference?’ asks Leg-iron. ‘One is state-sanctioned while the other isn’t’, say I – although I suspect Leg-iron knew that already.

But it did set me thinking about how little individual autonomy we really have. We are surrounded by the likes of Councillor Bartlett and his ilk all determined to make us live and die only in ways that meet with their approval; to hell with us determining the course of our own lives.

There is no escaping this nannying: it’s on your cereal packets, cigarette packets, nuts, booze, toy packaging – everything (I haven’t seen it in the UK yet but in France, pre-packed ham even attempts to environmentally guilt-trip you by providing the carbon footprint of the pig); it’s on every train and every station,  it’s in every surgery, it’s on every plastic bag, it’s in every other advertisement, it’s on the BBC, it stops pancake races and it’s now creeping on to every motorway sign.

Do this, don’t do that, Danger of Electrocution!, contains scenes of a disturbing nature, Wet Floor, Cliff Edge, shares may go down..  We’re told to eat 5 fruit and veg a day, drink less than some totally made-up safe quantity of alcohol, limit our red meat intake, cut out sugar, cut out salt (oh, as you were!), drink red wine, don’t drink red wine, diet, eat (you became anorexic on your diet). We’re chided about what we say, what we think, our weight, for watching TV, for spending too much time on the net, for sitting down, for going out when there’s a bit of snow on the ground…

We are being systematically infantilised. We’re being conditioned into believing that we’re stupid, that we’re not responsible, that the state will take better care of us than we can ourselves.

Which – you’ll be pleased to hear – brings me to what prompted this rant..

Daily Telegraph - 16 July 201i

In a barely disguised plug for his new book, Theodore Dalrymple takes up one my pet peeves and asks why Britain has such a litter problem:

An Englishman’s street is now his dining room, and his country ishis litter-bin. When Englishmen – or a sizeable number to judge by the results – arrive at a beauty-spot their first impulse is to chuck at it a vividly coloured empty bottle or tin of revolting drink with which they have recently refreshed themselves.

Drive down the A14 from the M6 to Huntingdon or Cambridge and every verge, every roundabout, is littered by the thousand, or the million. Such filth is not the handiwork of a handful. Until I drove down and saw it flapping in the trees, I hadn’t appreciated how much polythene there was in the world. Where does it come from? Who knows? Even more to the point, who cares? Certainly not the local authorities, that have so many other bigger worries – like how to pay the pensions of staff who took early retirement.

From observation, I know that much of the litter in my own area is caused by our rubbish collection service. On a windy day, a considerable amount of paper escapes the recycling boxes between the lids being removed by one dustman and the bin being emptied by another.

However, it cannot have escaped anybody’s attention that so many people now treat the outside world as one vast rubbish dump:

Britain was not always so filthy. I suspect that it is the result of a toxic mixture of excessive individualism (there is no such thing as society), and of an easily inflamed awareness of inalienable rights (who are you to tell me what to do? I know my rights). What I do is right because it is I who do it; the customer is always right, and life is my supermarket.

Being a fan of individualism, I celebrate many excessive examples who have advanced thought and deed in engineering, science and the arts but if Dalrymple is talking about exclusive individualism – ie, a lack of social commitment – I think he’s probably bang on the money. But what has brought it about?

My preamble was not for nothing, dear Reader..

It seems to me that the carelessness of littering – along with many of our more serious ills such as family breakdown and a general decline in civility – has been brought about as an unintended consequence of the nanny state (not the welfare state which though in need of overhaul, serves a vital purpose in a purportedly civilised country) and nanny’s insistence on living our lives for us.

Nanny has spent decades weaning us away from the notion of personal responsibility: by way of example, we have developed an entire generation of politicians with no apparent understanding of the concept. Until nanny realises that personal responsibility is the key to respect for ourselves and for others, the country’s decline will continue.

Stand down the politicians, stand down the ‘experts’, stand down the social workers, stand down the nutritionists and for pity’s sake, stop telling us to take our belongings with us.

Return to us the responsibility to lead our own lives and the freedom to make our own mistakes. What blessed relief that would be.

 

Posted in Adventures in Time Travel, Big Brother, Environment, Health & Safety, Liberty, Over-regulation, Philosophy, Politics | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Give £85 a month and save the nematode worm

I recently signed up to Google Alerts and in the space of less than 2 days, I have received 26 e-mails, mostly containing multiple ‘news’ items sympathetic to the CO2 consensus meme.

The alarmists’ propaganda machine is admirably tireless…

Al Gore’s new world-saving initiative gets some coverage but there is little detail as yet. Once it’s fleshed out, I hope there will be opportunities to subvert his self-publicising faux-environmentalism. Meanwhile, prepare for Gore-effect snow in September.

There’s also a great deal of self-congratulatory back-slapping for the backstabbing Australian PM, Julia Gillard, who has introduced a carbon tax – despite ruling it out during her pre-election hustings; welsh by nationality, welch by nature.

I’ve yet to receive a Google alert about this story from Watts up with That, though. I wonder why?

However, my main interest was drawn to the story picked up by several news sources:

This refers to ‘research’ conducted by the University of Exeter who, by any stretch of the imagination, cannot be regarded as independent in climate matters. The university has a close relationship with the Met Office and maintains a substantial climate faculty. I’d certainly expect any reputable university to steer well clear of the questionable IPCC but as Exeter’s website proudly informs us;

Recently, it was revealed that seven of the University’s researchers would contribute to the IPCC’s 5th Assessment Report on climate change – more than any other academic institution in the UK. Combined with the eight researchers taking part in the report for the Met Office, this means there are more experts from Exeter taking part in this globally significant report than from any other city in the world.

We’re not actually told what these researchers’ expertise is. My guess would be hegemony.

So what does this press release tell us?

One in 10 species could face extinction by the year 2100 if current climate change impacts continue. This is the result of University of Exeter research, examining studies on the effects of recent climate change on plant and animal species and comparing this with predictions of future declines.

Not that old chestnut again, you’ll be thinking.

And you’d be right; the research paper is no more than a re-fettling of previous studies. Exeter may well list all of the species they regard as threatened (no, I don’t really think so, either) but this press release lists just six by name. Given that it is by no means certain that the six named species will go extinct – and it is certainly not proven that declines in their numbers are the result of anthropogenic global warming/climate change/climate disruption because AGW is unproven – I would venture that the university’s finding is tenuous, to say the least.

For a start – and as I’ve mentioned before here and here – we do not know just how many species we have on the planet; more than 1000 new species have been discovered in the last decade alone and, therefore, absolutely no confidence can be placed in any claim given in terms of a percentage of species numbers.

Another problem that we face is that we cannot know with any certainty that a species has gone extinct: the coelacanth famously reappeared in rather large numbers after it had been posted as missing since the Cretaceous period and just last week, a mushroom reappeared having last been seen 170 years ago. Only today, this beautiful little fellow came back from the dead almost 90 years after it had been written off.

It may be the fault of the press release but it really does appear as though the university did no more than to collate existing studies of species decline and then attribute those declines to climate change (with the implication that the change was due to human activity). There is no evidence that the university thoroughly investigated alternative causes for declining populations – or even that they checked some of the more longstanding conclusions – but even assuming that they did, we are still left to wonder how the university and its contributors define ‘climate change’?

It’s a phrase we hear constantly and it usually implies an increase in global temperature. Lately though – as the warming has gone into reverse –  there have been less than convincing efforts to redefine the original (settled science!) warming model in terms of a ragbag of climatic changes such as heavy snow, floods, droughts, ocean acidification and hurricane frequency. Any form of weather is now ‘proof’ of climate disruption (try getting any of them to tell you what ‘normal’ weather is).

Regardless of the validity of the CO2 model, the definition of its outputs and the accuracy of the data supporting it – we cannot escape the fact that the construct is made in global terms. To clarify, the Central England Temperature (CET) record shows that our own climate has not warmed at all and many of the data points around the world (long dropped from the ‘approved’ datasets) similarly show no long-term variation; for the claimed increase in global temperatures (and it’s important to remember that the increase peaked at just 0.7ºC after 150 years), other parts of the world need to have increased at above the average rate. Because all the climate measurements are aggregated, ‘adjusted’, smoothed and averaged from a variety of sources, it must follow that climate change does not affect all of the planet in the same way – to talk of it as a global effect is actually meaningless in real world terms.

Nevertheless, based on this report, species all over the world are said to be declining in the face of a single threat to their various local climates – warming. This might suggest that Exeter has applied a uniform warming model to all of these studies regardless of local conditions – there are no suggestions of extinctions due to cooling although in the non-average real world, such a possibility must exist, surely?

And of course, everything is worse than we expected;

Many studies have predicted that future climate change will threaten a range of plants and animals with extinction. Some of these studies have been treated with caution because of uncertainty about how species will respond to climate change. But widely published research showing how animals and plants are already responding to climate change gave the Exeter team the opportunity to check whether the predictions were wide of the mark. By producing the largest review ever of such studies, they show that predictions have, on average, been accurate, or even slightly too cautious.

Lead author Dr Ilya Maclean of the University of Exeter said: “Our study is a wake-up call for action. The many species that are already declining could become extinct if things continue as they are. It is time to stop using the uncertainties as an excuse for not acting. Our research shows that the harmful effects of climate change are already happening and, if anything, exceed predictions.”

(my highlighting)

The following are the examples given of this phenomenon (bear in mind these are likely to be the most dramatic examples that the authors can provide!);

Decreased ice cover in the Bering Sea reduced the abundance of bivalve molluscs from about 12 to three per square metre over a very short period of time (1999-2001). These shells are the main food source for species higher up the food chain, such as Spectacled Eider.

Not a good start for the alarmists. If their findings are true (we’ll give them the benefit of the doubt when the author describes bivalves as shells), it would certainly represent a dramatic decline. However, it is well known that bivalves are heavily fished by the Russians: they are also extremely common throughout the world and it seems rather strange that populations elsewhere – including those in areas not noted for sea ice – appear to be unthreatened. There is no suggestion that the Bering Sea bivalves are a unique species.

We need to ask, too, why the evaluation period was so short and what efforts were made by Exeter to update the data during their ‘research’ and prediction-checking. Might they have avoided such a course because of this?

Alaska Weather and Climate Highlights - March 2008

Climatic warming and droughts are causing severe declines in once-common amphibian species native to Yellowstone National Park in the United States of America. Between 1992-1993 and 2006- 2008, the number of blotched tiger salamander populations fell by nearly half, the number of spotted frog populations by 68 per cent, and the number of chorus frog populations by 75 per cent.

More very short-term studies with – frankly – unbelievable outcomes. These species certainly require wetlands and will be affected by drought. However, reference to the paper “Annual precipitation in the Yellowstone National Park region since AD 1173″ (Stephen T. Gray, Lisa J. Graumlich, Julio L. Betancourt) 2006 shows no significant long-term variance in precipitation and concludes, “Extreme wet and dry years during the instrumental period all fall within the range of past variability, and both the duration and magnitude of the worst case droughts of the 20th century AD (i.e. 1930s and 1950s)
were likely equaled or exceeded on numerous occasions in the pre-instrumental era.”

Assuming these species survived the worst 20th Century droughts in the 30s and 50s, it seems they would have been less likely to succumb to any lesser drought thereafter. Besides, none of them are solely represented by their Yellowstone Park populations which would suggest that talk of their extinction at the hands of the climate is no more than alarmist hyperbole.

Additionally, the Park authorities are not above manipulating the local ecosystem; they recently successfully reintroduced the wolf to re-balance the wildlife population. I’m sure it would not be beyond them to reintroduce any other species should they feel it necessary.

By the way, you’re in luck if you want to know what happened after 2008:

Yellowstone Park entrance - 12 April 2011

In Antarctica, few animals exist on land, but one of the most abundant, a nematode worm living in the soil in dry, cold valleys experienced a 65 per cent decline between 1993 and 2005 as a result of climate change.

Minus 59º instead of minus 60? Nematode worms are one of the most diverse of all animals which “have successfully adapted to nearly every ecosystem from marine to fresh water, from the polar regions to the tropics, as well as the highest to the lowest of elevations. They are ubiquitous in freshwater, marine, and terrestrial environments, where they often outnumber other animals in both individual and species counts, and are found in locations as diverse as mountains, deserts, oceanic trenches, and within the earth’s lithosphere. They represent, for example, 90% of all life forms on the ocean floor. Their many parasitic forms include pathogens in most plants and animals (including humans).” (Wikipedia)

On Tenerife, an endemic plant, the Caňadas rockrose has a 74 to 83 per cent chance of going extinct in the next 100 years as a result of climate change related droughts.

The Caňadas rockrose is peculiar to the Teide National Park. This is what their website tells us; “Even in a habitat as dry as this, there are springs and moist zones where water loving species grow, like the aromatic mint (Mentha longifolia) and the Canary island hair grass. Some of these species are endemic species found exclusively in the National Park, where their populations barely reach a hundred specimens. Thus, several of these species are undergoing genetic recovery trials to guarantee their survival, as is the case of the Cañadas rockrose (Helianthemum juliae)..”

So the rockrose has always had a tenuous grasp on its habitat but here’s an interesting little titbit from what appears to be the summary of the study that Exeter considered (“Population viability of the narrow endemic Helianthemum juliae (CISTACEAE) in relation to climate variability” – Marrero-Gomez Manuel V,  Oostermeijer J. Gerard B, Carquk-Jilamo Eduardo, Bafiares-Baudet Angel – 2007): “Most of the mortality in the population seemed drought-related, and no other threats were identified… This plant is likely to be at risk under scenarios of global warming.”

I love that last sentence.

Clearly, Exeter has decided, contrary to many alarmists, that precipitation will diminish as a result of warming. Until the next (cyclical!) flood, of course.

In Madagascar, climate warming is predicted to cause endemic reptiles and amphibians, often found in mountain ranges, to retreat towards the summit of the mounts. With a warming of just two degrees Celsius, well within current projections, three species are predicted to lose all of their habitat.

Of course it’s well within current projections. The current projections are all well in excess of reality. For some reason, the ‘settled science’ failed to account for the cyclical quiet sun that we’re experiencing..

Birds living in northern Boreal Forests in Europe are expected to decline as a result of global warming. Species such as Dotterel are predicted to decline by 97 per cent by 2100 and species such as Two-barred Crossbill and Pine Grosbeak could lose their entire range within Fenno-Scandia. Wombles will relocate to Iceland.

Not all of this last paragraph is as originally written. Note, this exercise in idle speculation does not speak of extinctions. It talks of birds relocating. Most of them are past masters at that.

There are serious questions to arise from all this. Let’s for a moment make the daft assumption that the planet will significantly warm as a result of human activities and that these species face extinction as a result.

Is it really worth while returning to the pre-industrial age to preserve them? Do we not have to take a more pragmatic approach and accept that our position as the dominant species inevitably means that some other species will suffer as a result? Isn’t that an immutable law of nature?

Above all, is the precautionary approach to save a handful of species really worth £1,000 a year to every household, especially when the rest of the world is producing far more additional CO2 than we can ever save?

It only costs £2 a month to save a child.

Posted in Adventures in Time Travel, Big Brother, Climate, Credulous journalism, Environment, Over-regulation, Politics | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

The Freedom Fighters of Stony Stratford

I am not a smoker and have never been a smoker.

However, as somebody who places liberty above most else, I’ve never believed that the world should be fashioned entirely in one image – as such, I abhor the petty vindictiveness of the blanket pub smoking ban.

Before the ban, I always had the choice of whether to go to the pub or not. Since the ban, I’ve retained the choice but lost the will to exercise it; the ‘cleaner’ air has made for a less convivial atmosphere – my freedom of association has been diminished.

But the zealots are not done. They are coming for you smokers in your cars, in your homes…  and now they are coming for you on the street as well. Town Councillor Paul Bartlett is seeking to ban smoking on the streets of Stony Stratford, 10 miles or so from Milton Keynes.

And unless you’ve been totally divorced from reality, you’ll already know that the zealots have others in their sights – you drinkers, you drivers, you chubbies.. you’re we’re next.

But for once there is good news – and if you’ve been an industrious reader of the sites on my blogroll you will already be aware that Dick Puddlecote has organised a good humoured act of rebellion. If you’ve not peviously visited DP’s site (for shame!), you can arm yourself with the details here.

For reasons of poverty (the story of my life – but no regrets), I’m unable to be there on the day. If you or yours are able to lend support to the beleaguered libertarians of Stony Stratford, I’m sure you’ll be made very welcome.

Stony Stratford… it even has the ring of legend, don’t you think?

Posted in Adventures in Time Travel, Big Brother, Liberty, Over-regulation, Politics | Tagged , , , , , | 3 Comments

A strange togetherness, this is

Do you think there might be any link between stories like this…

Daily Telegraph - 13 July 2011

…and this?

Daily Mail - 13 July 2011

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When arriving at your answer over your value pack cornflakes, you may wish to reflect on that £20,000 bonus figure: it is close to the average salary for the likes of us who foot the bill. 

You’ll probably want to admire a typical civil servant’s sense of proportion and restraint;

The Permanent Secretary at the Home Office, Dame Helen Ghosh is paid around £180,000 a year.

Earlier this year, Dame Helen defended £10,000 bonuses for her staff as “not exactly big bucks”.

You might also pause to consider the fact that the rising costs of food, fuel, energy and those hidden energy subsidies are applied to us all equally – regardless of our income and  whether we receive a bonus or not.

Finally, you may wish to ponder on the knowledge that our pampered, handsomely rewarded politicians and civil servants are so lacking in competence that they spend £1.8 billion per annum on management consultants to deliver this state of affairs.

When it comes to pain, we’re most definitely not ‘all in it together‘.

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in Adventures in Time Travel, Politics | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

Another day, another ban

Police are hoping to stop a group of off-licences in Leicester city centre selling the strong and notoriously cheap alcohol favoured by street drinkers.

Eight shops have been identified as regular destinations for alcoholics attracted by booze on sale for as little as 99p.

Now, police are hoping to prevent these shops, all in the Granby Street and London Road area, from selling any bottled or canned beers, lagers or ciders stronger than 5.5 per cent alcohol volume.

Granby Street resident Lee Pickering, a former Neighbourhood Watch co-ordinator for the area, said: “We’ve been asking for this step to reduce sales of strong, cheap alcohol for a long time.

“You can see people begging for a few minutes and then wandering into the shops to buy a bottle of cider for less than a pound.

In April, city police launched the latest phase of their ongoing efforts to reduce street drinking, including enlisting the help of homelessness and addiction specialists.

At the time, health workers estimated there were between 30 and 40 regular street drinkers in the city centre.

About a dozen of those have been identified as particularly problematic because of their aggressive and intimidating behaviour.

Police will make the case for the restriction during individual hearings for each of the shops in the next few weeks.

It seems a reasonable assumption that a relatively small constituency of 30-40 drinkers – who have to resort to begging to buy their booze – is unlikely to represent sufficient trade for off-licences to justify the stocking of ranges solely for street-drinkers’ benefit.

It follows, then, that this proposal will not just inconvenience the alleged target group.

Typically in our free and democratic land, rather than use the already draconian regulations that are applied to the rest of us when we’re quietly picnicking in parks or on the beach – and forcibly remove alcohol (in line with the local bye-law) from what appears to be about 12 troublemakers – the police prefer to enact a supply ban affecting all Leicester’s residents, no matter how responsible and law-abiding they may be.

In addition, their favoured course of (in)action will further threaten the viability of legitimate businesses in an already harsh economy.

The question arises; what happens when the ban merely encourages street-drinkers to drink something else? And to what lengths will they go to fund the increased cost?

The police already have too much law in this respect and they are paid to enforce it. It’s about time they fulfilled their responsibility instead of transferring it to us at the cost of our businesses and liberties.

In other news:

    • Astra tops stolen car list – police demand that Vauxhall dealers stock Fords.
    • Yobs graffiti city centre – paint sales ban mooted by police.
    • Small hours crime wave –  police impose city-wide night-time curfew.
    • Growing incidence of marriages of convenience – police ban banns.
    • Rise in bicycle thefts – Halfords razed to the ground following police swoop.
    • Some story about some publicity-seeking bimbo – allegations ‘completely without foundation’ says Chief Constable.
    • Dog-handler policeman leaves dogs to die in unventilated car – ..err….
    • Leicester Mercury to shut on advice of police.

10 years ago today

    • Coppers caught parking on yellow line outside McDonalds – photography in public places banned
Posted in Adventures in Time Travel, Big Brother, Justice system, Liberty, Over-regulation, Politics | Tagged , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Unscientific American

At last! Alertnet brings us the news we’ve all been waiting for!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My, that dried up river channel looks pretty bad, eh?

Not to worry – this is how it looked a couple of weeks later..

 

Now back in the olden days when the level of our ignorance could be measured in terms of pig excrement, we would have understood from these pictures that China had had a bit of a dry spell – and that the bit of a dry spell had been followed by a bit of heavy rain that ran off the dry surface of the land to cause a bit of flooding.

We might also have believed some lunatic nonsense about flooding being caused by building on flood plains or failures of maintenance and investment. We would have quietly intoned the words ‘el Niño’ or ‘la Niña’ to explain weather that we might have thought a little unusual. ‘Nature is red in tooth and claw’ we used to say, understanding our insignificant place in the scheme of things and quietly dealing with our adversities.

How stupid were we?

Because, of course, now we know that we have an entitlement to government-approved levels of weather: it’s our right! All deviations of weather outside the government-approved norms are the acts of evil men and must be punished with tithes.

If it doesn’t rain for a couple of days, it’s a drought caused by man and it kills all the crops – farmers’ lives are ruined. If it rains for a couple of days, it’s a flood caused by man and it kills all the crops – farmers’ lives are ruined. If the sun shines warmly for a couple of days, it’s a heatwave caused by man and it kills all the crops.  Not only are farmers’ lives ruined, they’re also suffering from sunstroke.

“But Time Traveller” I hear you say, “how can it be that all these things we once thought of as natural and part of life’s rich tapestry are suddenly our fault? We’re mystified.”

Well of course you are and that’s because you don’t understand science like the clever greenies do – so thank goodness for Arlertnet’s demystification news!

Stand by for the enlightenment..

Scientists tackled the highly debated, and somewhat perplexing, relationship between climate change and weather disasters at the recent launch of a U.S. magazine series on the subject, concluding that an indisputable connection exists between the two.

Indisputable eh? You’re feeling assured already aren’t you?

“The link between climate change and extreme weather is not so much theoretical as observational,” Fred Guterl, executive editor of monthly magazine Scientific American, told reporters on a conference call late last month. “It’s possible to look at this and really begin to see, in a way that you can measure, that this is not really just business as usual in terms of weather. There really is a climate signal.”

This is what we’ve been waiting for. A little less modelled theory and some proper observational science – measurements even! I can’t wait to find out about that ‘climate signal’.

Gulledge explained to journalists that much of the confusion surrounding global warming and extreme weather events – including floods, droughts and heat waves – stems from the public’s desire for definitive cause-and-effect answers and scientists’ unwillingness to provide them.

Uh-huh…

At least we now have an explanation for why climate scientists shy away from public discussion; it’s because we foolish members of the non-scientific community are constrained by our desire for proof. But why our requests for proof should cause confusion, I’m less clear about.

“The question, ‘Did climate change cause this event?’ is just a scientifically illogical question. It doesn’t comport with the definition of climate because that is an average over time,” he said.

Err… Hang on a minute!

Didn’t you say that you had a measurable, observational link between extreme weather events and climate?

And now you’re telling us that such a connection is scientifically illogical?!

Don’t get me wrong, I’ve always thought the whole damned climate ‘debate’ was illogical but you lot keep telling us that floods, hot weather, drought, snow and heavy rain are the result of global warming – and I’ve promised my readers that you were going to provide a scientific explanation of why that was so.

A few paragraphs ago you said there was an indisputable link and then you said there was a climate signal to prove it – so get on and tell us about them.

Because the word “climate” refers to a mean value, one cannot draw a straight line between global warming and a certain hurricane, for instance, he explained.

No, no, we so-called deniers always told you that but you said you knew better: you remember that no-more-snow thing? How we laughed..

The paper puts it like this: if the norm used to be one hurricane per year and then after global warming started, there were two hurricanes per year, scientists cannot determine which was caused by climate change because the two are indistinguishable. The effect of climate change is the increase in the average number of hurricanes.

Blimey! You’ve got a start date for global warming? When was it then?

And on a point of order, these additional hurricanes can’t be indistinguishable; you told us they were signified by a climate signal. Such contradictions aren’t doing a lot for your promised demystification claims…

“The upshot is that one event doesn’t actually have information about climate change and vice versa,” Gulledge said. “So it becomes this question that people focus on that science fundamentally has no answer for.”

I’m starting to get a bad feeling about this. If weather events don’t contain any information about climate change, there isn’t a climate signal, is there? You’re surely not suggesting something as stupid as more hurricanes being the signal that proves climate change, are you?

But that does not mean extreme weather events in the recent past are not, at least partially, the product of global warming.

“What matters is that there is a statistical record of these events occurring with increasing frequency and/or intensity over time, that this trend is consistent with expectations from global warming, and that our understanding of climate physics indicates that this trend should continue into the future as the world continues to warm,” the report says.

Good grief, you are saying something that stupid: our models predicted more hurricanes and so more hurricanes means there’s global warming. A bit circular don’t you think?

More to the point, you’re even lying about the increased frequency of hurricanes. Don’t you have any evidence for your assertions about the indisputable connection between weather and climate?

Rather than trying to predict the details of specific catastrophic events, policymakers should collaborate with scientists to understand these evolving trends in weather patterns, which will undoubtedly play a role in future disasters as global warming continues, the researchers recommend.

I’ll take that as a ‘no’, then..

.. …as well as a demand for more taxpayers’ money to fund this level of dazzling, scientific insight.

“The signal of climate change is emerging from the noise of immense variability of weather,” Scientific American’s Carey said. “If you look at an individual event, it wasn’t caused by climate change, but the intensity, the size, whatever, was caused by climate change.”

Just savour the total imbecility contained in that last sentence…

Any cloud, any drop of rain, any ray of sunshine, any flake of snow is caused by climate change. And despite what we were promised at the outset of the Alertnet article, it’s not because of some identifiable and measurable ‘climate signal’…  It’s because weather varies. And because they say so.

Are you feeling demystified?

 

PS If you go to the Alertnet article, you’ll get a link to the three articles in Scientific American. I couldn’t find any evidence for a climate signal there, either.

 

Posted in Adventures in Time Travel, Big Brother, Credulous journalism, Environment, Over-regulation, Politics | Tagged , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Private profits, public risk again

 

 

This headline is not quite as it seems as the 30% increase is the projected increase over the next 20 years.

But it does apply to yet another subsidy for the ‘private’ energy companies that we are going to be asked to pay in addition to the subsidies – renewables obligations and feed-in tariffs – that we’re already paying. And despite investing so heavily in renewables, they are not actually producing significant quantities of energy (surprise, surprise); accordingly, we are still largely dependent on imported energy and so we’ll continue to see massive price rises – such as the near 20% increases recently announced by Scottish Power and British Gas – because our suppliers only buy wholesale when energy prices are at their highest…  or so they tell us.

The Telegraph reports,

Mr Huhne is expected to announce on Tuesday that energy companies, such as Centrica and EDF, will get a fixed price for electricity generated from nuclear power and wind farms, which will be higher than the market price.

Mr Huhne admitted in an interview with The Sunday Telegraph last year that there was no money available for direct state subsidies for a new generation of nuclear plants, so this week’s announcement sets out how consumers will shoulder the cost of incentives directly.

The changes to be outlined by Mr Huhne this week will hand billions of pounds in subsidies to the energy companies and kick-start a construction programme creating thousands of jobs.

It is understood the Government will not set the exact level of the subsidies on Tuesday. But it will confirm the mechanism is likely to be a “contract for difference” model which effectively imposes a surcharge on bills to make market prices attractive for new investment in wind and nuclear power.

Given that energy companies appear to be largely untroubled by OFGEM when it comes to their pricing structures, I’d be surprised if this measure could encourage investment in new generating capacity: why get involved in the compexities and responsibilities of building nuclear power stations for a percentage point or two when lax regulation of import pricing enables similar or larger increases with the stroke of an algorithm?

Even assuming that Huhne’s ‘plan’ will work, we will end up paying foreign workers (probably) to build some extremely costly assets that will end up in the hands of predominantly foreign owners. Wasn’t the security of energy supplies meant to be one of the key objectives in our brave new green world?

Rather than sending all our money abroad, let the taxpayer fund construction (by indigenous workers) and thereby retain control of the resultant assets. That way, we’ll maintain some control over our energy policy (such as it is) and there’ll be no need for more subsidies.

More subsidies; didn’t you know?

It is also understood that Mr Huhne’s long-awaited announcement on energy policy will delay a separate subsidy for power station owners, known as capacity payments, while there is further consultation.

Remind me; what was the purpose of privatising the UK’s energy industries?

 

Update – It’s not about this issue specifically but if you read nothing more today, go and read this over at Max Farquar’s blog. It’s an eloquent summary of all that is wrong with Britain today.

Posted in Adventures in Time Travel, Environment, Politics, State v private | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment