This is actually possible

The “Little Ice Age” of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries was triggered by the genocide of indigenous people in the Americas by European settlers, new research shows.

Scientists have long wondered what caused the drop in temperatures so severe it sometimes caused the River Thames to freeze over.

Now, new analysis by University College London (UCL) argues that so many people were slaughtered or died of disease that the amount of agricultural land dramatically reduced, in turn sucking carbon dioxide (CO²) from the atmosphere.

Known as the “Great Dying”, the upheavals following the first contact with Europeans in 1492 is thought to have slashed the population of 60 million living across the…

Whether it’s true or not is another matter. Can’t say I’m entirely sold on it. For I’m pretty sure that we generally start it off, the little ice age, before 1492.

However, entirely willing to believe it contributed…..

A problem with battery powered civilisation

There’s one thing we’d dearly like to know, one thing that doesn’t even get discussed here:

Ion age: why the future will be battery powered

The variable nature of wind and solar power means storing energy is a huge part of the fight to mitigate climate change

Our iiportant question being, what’s the total CO2-e emissions from the entire lifecycle when we’ve a renewables and battery powered system? Are those emissions lower or higher than a coal fired system? Than a natural gas one?

It would be reasonable enough to conclude less than coal I’d guess. But than natural gas? Do recall that the Severn Barrage didn’t quite manage that….

Umm, why?

Parliament must “seriously consider” levying a tax on meat to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and help to render the farming industry carbon neutral, the Green party MP, Caroline Lucas, is urging.

She will say on Friday that a meat tax in the UK could be offset for more sustainable meat producers, such as organic livestock farmers, through more money for sustainable agriculture schemes.

Don’t organic cows burp just as much?

Ghastly, horrible, nonsense

I have changed what I eat because of the now overwhelming evidence of global environmental damage caused by meat and dairy production. It produces more climate-warming emissions than all cars, trains, ships and planes combined. If the world’s diet doesn’t change, we simply can’t beat climate change.


This is an invention of those who would change our diets anyway. Look back to the basic emissions pathways underlying everything. Standard technological advance and economic growth – the A1T scenario – leave climate change as a trivial problem to be ignored. We really don’t need radical anything – and we’ve already done more than enough to bump technology over to this pathway anyway.

They’re lying obviously

A report based on science from the Met Office and around the world sets out a range of climate scenarios over the next century to help homes and businesses plan for the future.

Even in the lowest-emission scenario, average annual temperatures are expected to be up to 2.3 degrees Celsius (36.14°F) higher by the end of the century.

In the highest-emissions scenario, summer temperatures could be up to 5.4C (41.72°F) higher by 2070 and winters up to 4.2C (39.56°F) higher.

36 oF? I think not.

But also that higher estimate depends upon the idea that RCP 8.5 will happen. Which it won’t. For we really do know this one thing about climate change, that RCP 8.5 will not happen. We’ve already done the work to make sure that it won’t.

Yes, I know, you’ll tell me that I shouldn’t be taking any of it seriously. But still, it does annoy that people continue to alarm us with something we know, absolutely, isn’t going to happen.

Yes, a carbon tax

Efficiency isn’t just some economists’, or accountants’, insistence on doing things cheaply. As Stern himself notes, if we do this inefficiently then we’ll avert less of that warming. The more resources we devote to growing mushrooms the fewer we’ll be able to expend upon the real problem. The more you worry about global warming the more you should be pushing for the most efficient solution — market forces properly incentivised — and the further you’d like politicians from the subject.

That, unfortunately, is not how things have worked out. The biggest problem with the climate change debate is that those most insistent that something must be done are those most insistent that the wrong something is done. That isn’t quite the way we’d hope to deal with the greatest threat to our civilisation. Or even the manner we’d like to deal with any problem at all.

Now that we’ve made the mistake of trying those centralised plans, can we get on with solving that climate change problem? Stick on the carbon tax and allow market forces to chew through the problem? As Hayek would have told us to, as Stern actually did insist, as the manner we’ve splashed the cash so far tells us we should have done.

Well, not really Larry, no

The biggest beneficiaries of Saudi output curbs today would be solar and wind producers. The unit cost of renewables has already fallen sharply as a result of technological advances, and each ratcheting up of oil prices will make solar and wind more competitive.

Sure, all three are methods of producing power. But we don’t actually use oil – less than 1% of UK supply last I looked – to produce electricity. The electric car fleet’s not large enough to make any difference as yet and transport is where we use near all the oil. Plastics are largely natural gas these days. So is heating, cooking. Or electric. And as Gazprom has found out gas prices don’t mimic oil any more.

Sure, in the long term they’re all substitutes for each other. But only over decades. A change in the oil price isn’t going to move the dial on wind or solar in anything measured in single digit years.

The more difficult they say it is the less we should do it

It is likely to be the most critical and controversial report on climate change in recent years.

Leading scientists are meeting in South Korea this week to see if global temperatures can be kept from rising by more than 1.5C this century.

The world has already passed one degree of warming as carbon emissions have ballooned since the 1850s.

Many low-lying countries say they may disappear under the sea if the 1.5C limit is breached.

After a week of deliberations in the city of Incheon, the researchers’ new report is likely to say that keeping below this limit will require urgent and dramatic action from governments and individuals alike.

The more expensive it is to meet the 1.5 target the less we should try to meet the 1.5 target. Sadly, the Stern Review is entirely clear upon this and every other bugger has entirely forgotten it.

All a bit Brezhnevite

The prime minister of Samoa has called climate change an “existential threat … for all our Pacific family” and said that any world leader who denied climate change’s existence should be taken to a mental hospital.

In a searing speech delivered on Thursday night during a visit to Sydney, Tuilaepa Sailele berated leaders who fail to take climate change seriously, singling out Australia, as well as India, China and the US, which he said were the “three countries that are responsible for all this disaster”.

“Any leader of those countries who believes that there is no climate change I think he ought to be taken to mental confinement, he is utter[ly] stupid and I say the same thing for any leader here who says there is no climate change.”

If you don’t believe that we’re building True Communism and that we’ll get there then you’re mad and must be sectioned.

Be interesting to see what happens

We are no longer willing to lend our credibility to debates over whether or not climate change is real. It is real. We need to act now or the consequences will be catastrophic. In the interests of “balance”, the media often feels the need to include those who outright deny the reality of human-triggered climate change.

Balance implies equal weight. But this then creates a false equivalence between an overwhelming scientific consensus and a lobby, heavily funded by vested interests, that exists simply to sow doubt to serve those interests. Yes, of course scientific consensus should be open to challenge – but with better science, not with spin and nonsense. We urgently need to move the debate on to how we address the causes and effects of dangerous climate change – because that’s where common sense demands our attention and efforts should be.

Fringe voices will protest about “free speech”. No one should prevent them from expressing their views, whether held cynically or misguidedly. However, no one is obliged to provide them with a platform, much less to appear alongside them to give the misleading impression that there is something substantive to debate. When there is an article on smoking, newspapers and broadcasters no longer include lobbyists claiming there are no links to cancer. When there’s a round-the-world yacht race we don’t hear flat-earthers given airtime: “This is madness; they’ll sail off the edge!”

There’s a workable model for covering fringe views – which is to treat them as such. They don’t need to be ridiculed, just expected to challenge the evidence with better evidence, and otherwise ignored. As campaigners and thinkers who are led by science and the precautionary principle, and who wish to debate the real and vital issues arising from human-triggered climate change, we will not assist in creating the impression that climate denial should be taken seriously by lending credence to its proponents, by entertaining ideas that lack any basis in fact. Therefore we will no longer debate those who deny that human-caused climate change is real. There are plenty of vital debates to be had around climate chaos and what to do about it; this is simply no longer one of them. We urge broadcasters to move on, as we are doing.


1) What’s their working definition of climate change denial? Do I qualify for example?

2) Are they going to complain when the phone stops ringing for their opinions if that’s the way the broadcasters decide to go?

Well, yes, obviously

Areeba Hamid, of Greenpeace’s clean air campaign, said: “Limiting the use of wood-burning stoves will help reduce harmful particulate pollution but it is only one part of solving the air pollution crisis.

“Transport, in particular diesel vehicles, is responsible for the majority of air pollution on our streets and unless they are tackled as a priority, we cannot expect dramatic improvements in the UK’s air quality.”

She called for the introduction of clean air zones across the country and the phasing out of the internal combustion engine by 2030.

Instead of minor changes to wood stoves, a minority occupation, we should ban the major form of transport in the country. Much less disruptive, obviously.

Why I don’t believe Michael Mann

The extreme heatwaves and wildfires wreaking havoc around the globe are “the face of climate change”, one of the world’s leading climate scientists has declared, with the impacts of global warming now “playing out in real time”.

Climate change has long been predicted to increase extreme weather incidents, and scientists are now confident these predictions are coming true. Scientists say the global warming has contributed to on the scorching temperatures that have baked the UK and northern Europe for weeks.

The hot spell was made more than twice as likely by climate change, a new analysis found, demonstrating an “unambiguous” link.

Extreme weather has struck across Europe, from the Arctic Circle to Greece, and across the world, from North America to Japan. “This is the face of climate change,” said Prof Michael Mann, at Penn State University, and one the world’s most eminent climate scientists. “We literally would not have seen these extremes in the absence of climate change.”

“The impacts of climate change are no longer subtle,” he told the Guardian. “We are seeing them play out in real time and what is happening this summer is a perfect example of that.”


It is not too late to make the significant cuts needed in greenhouse gas emissions, said Mann, because the impacts progressively worsen as global warming increases.

“It is not going off a cliff, it is like walking out into a minefield,” he said. “So the argument it is too late to do something would be like saying: ‘I’m just going to keep walking’. That would be absurd – you reverse course and get off that minefield as quick as you can. It is really a question of how bad it is going to get.”

I have actually had a run in with Mann before now, directly. He challenged me to produce a better piece of science than a James Hansen estimation of what a carbon tax should be. I did this easily*. He’s not responded since.

But OK, this is climate change then. And we know what the most effective cure for climate change is, every economist on the planet has been shouting it for decades now – a carbon tax. So, Professor Mann is out there shouting we must have a carbon tax, is he?

No, no, he’s not. Thus I don’t take him seriously.

* Mann’s claim was that Hansen had shown that a carbon tax should be $1,000 a tonne. It was trivially easy to show that actually, he’d shown that it could be as much as that. The actual, from Hansen’s own calculation, rate would be not $1,000 but more like $100. Hansen has gone “If every thing goes wrong, if sensitivity is very high etc, then what should he rate be?” which is interesting. But the calculation of the actual rate must be weighted by the probability of that set of things happening. Which Hansen didn’t do.

I thought this was weather, not climate

And that the two aren’t the same?

This heatwave is just the start. Britain has to adapt to climate change, fast
Simon Lewis
Water, housing, farming … almost every aspect of public life needs to change. Why isn’t this top of the political agenda?

Well, what we’d actually have to do, over the next half to full century – if the more apocalyptic warnings are true of course – is adopt the housing, farming, water etc policies of those a few hundred miles south of us. And then we’ll be done.

This is not beyond the wit of man as even the French have already managed to do this.

You’re right, it is

It is a sight as common as fans sipping Pimm’s at Wimbledon; players take a freshly strung racket from their bag and remove the plastic from it, before giving it to a ball-boy or girl to dispose of. But if South Africa’s Kevin Anderson has his way, it is a sight that may not be seen for much longer.

At a time when the image of plastic in the oceans is becoming a global issue, removing the plastic wrappers from rackets might seem like a small step.

Making the electrons move to publish this has done more damage to the environment than anything anyone does to plastic racket covers at Wimbledon will save. Yes, even if they were to specifically and deliberately use each and every plastic racket cover to choke a whale.

Jeez, when will people start to gain a sense of proportion about this?

Seems fair

Hopes of building a £1.3bn “tidal lagoon” in Wales to generate energy by harnessing the power of the tide have been dashed after the Government said project does not offer value for money.

Business Secretary Greg Clark said the scheme – which would have been a world first – would not receive public funding because the power it produced would be three times more expensive than than energy from Hinkley Point nuclear power station.

At today’s prices, the same amount of power from the lagoon over 60 years would cost £400m to be generated from offshore wind farms – the cost of which is expected to fall in the future.

Grossly expensive isn’t the technology to favour really, is it?