Well, we knew this was going to happen, didn’t we?

Household fridges and freezers will need to be automatically switched off at times when Britain’s electricity demand is high, in order to keep the lights on as Britain becomes more reliant on wind energy, experts say.

The current electricity grid will struggle to cope with the number of wind farms expected to be built by the early 2020s because the power they produce is so intermittent, according to a report from the Royal Academy of Engineering.

A radical overhaul of the way the electricity system is managed – including a “smart grid” that can control household appliances to reduce demand when power supply is inadequate – will be needed, it finds.

Seems entirely logical from an engineering point of view. Rather less so from a political one. God knows what the bastards will do if they can reach into your house and control your electronics….and don’t forget, today’s bastards might not be so bad as those we get tomorrow.

What a most glorious correction

I wrote: “David Evans has stated in a number of articles published in leading Australian newspapers that climate change is a hoax perpetrated by Jewish bankers and the Rothschild family who are secretly running the New World Order.”. In fact:

The articles by David Evans in leading Australian newspapers and on the ABC website are (see the Science Speak website):
The Australian, July 2008
ABC Drum, December 2008
ABC Drum, July 2009
The Telegraph News, December 2009
The Age, August 2012.
None of those articles say that climate change is a “hoax”.
None of those articles say anything about Jews, religion, banking, the Rothschilds, secrets, or the New World Order.
Evans has never said anything about Jews, religion, or the New World Order in any article, radio or television interview, or speaking engagement.
Evans has mentioned the Rothschilds in public only once, in this 15,000 word article on page 27, where he is talking about the history of banking and the concentration of wealth. That article makes no mentions of Jews, religion, or the New World Order. His economic views are similar to Austrian economist Ludwig von Mises (who happens to be Jewish).
Evans does not believe, and has never believed, that climate change is a hoax perpetrated by Jewish bankers and the Rothschild family who are secretly running the New World Order.

That’s only about a quarter of it…..

On AR5

Excellent, so we’ve the latest stage in the report that is on the subject of consummate importance for the human species. WTF do we do about climate change?

And the silly bastards can’t actually run a server with enough capacity for the people who want to have a look at the document.

On the .pdf for the summary I get a “503″. And the main page of the working group is entirely offline.

Seriously folks, we’ve put the future into the hands of incompetents.

The Royal Society rather needs to get its act together

Sir Paul Nurse tells us all about a new Royal Society report:

That is why two of the world’s premier science academies, the National Academy of Sciences in the US and the Royal Society in the UK, recently got together to produce a balanced and accessible account of the science of climate change.

Excellent.

So, the link is to this holding page at the web hosting site.

Not good lads.

Is Seumas Milne simply stupid or is he actually a cretin?

But climate change denial is also about ideology. Many deniers have come to the conclusion that climate change is some kind of leftwing conspiracy – because the scale of the international public intervention necessary to cut carbon emissions in the time demanded by the science simply cannot be accommodated within the market-first, private enterprise framework they revere. As Joseph Bast, the president of the conservative US Heartland Institute told the writer and campaigner Naomi Klein: for the left, climate change is “the perfect thing”, a justification for doing everything it “wanted to do anyway”.

When it comes to the incompatibility of effective action of averting climate disaster with their own neoliberal ideology, the deniers are absolutely right. In the words of Nicholas Stern’s 2006 report, climate change is “the greatest market failure the world has ever seen”.

The intervention, regulation, taxation, social ownership, redistribution and global co-operation needed to slash carbon emissions and build a sustainable economy for the future is clearly incompatible with a broken economic model based on untrammelled self-interest and the corporate free-for-all that created the crisis in the first place. Given the scale of the threat, the choice for the rest of us could not be more obvious.

Sigh.

If you actually bother to read the Stern Review you find that he recommends an intervention into market pricing, that carbon tax, and then leaving well alone as that works through the system. He does not recommend “intervention, regulation, …., social ownership, redistribution and global co-operation”. Nor does he recommend the abolition of capitalism, nor think that we have a broken economic model.

Which is, of course, why we neoliberals so despise people like Milne and Naomi Klein. Precisely because they are taking the science of what we should do about climate change and twisting it so that they do indeed get to impose their perversion of socialism onto the rest of us.

This is interesting

The contentious “pause” in global warming over the past decade is largely due to unusually strong trade winds in the Pacific ocean that have buried surface heat deep underwater, new research has found.

A joint Australian and US study analysed why the rise in the Earth’s global average surface temperature has slowed since 2001, after rapidly increasing from the 1970s.

The research shows that sharply accelerating trade winds in central and eastern areas of the Pacific have driven warm surface water to the ocean’s depths, reducing the amount of heat that flows into the atmosphere.

In turn, the lowering of sea surface temperatures in the Pacific triggers further cooling in other regions.

The study, which is published in the journal Nature Climate Change, calculated the net cooling effect on global average surface temperatures as between 0.1C and 0.2C, accounting for much of the hiatus in surface warming. The study’s authors said there has been a 0.2C gap between models used to predict warming and actual observed warming since 2001.

The findings should provide fresh certainty about the reasons behind the warming hiatus, which has been claimed by critics of mainstream climate science as evidence that the models are flawed and predictions of rising temperatures have been exaggerated.

No, it doesn’t mean that the whole climate change thing is bollocks. But nor does it mean that the more adventurous catastrophists are correct either. Assume, for the sake of argument, that this finding is correct, entirely ticketty boo.

What that tells us is that the whole thing is still more complex than we understand it at present. If we’ve got this one process that cools by 0.2 oC a year then we obviously don’t know enough yet about climate sensitivity to be sure about anything.

And do recall the truth at the heart of of the whole argument. Climate sensitivity is the most important single number in the whole game. If there’s no positive feedback then a doubling of CO2 gives us a temperature rise of 1 oF (or is it oC?). Which really isn’t something to worry about. All of the higher estimates of temperature change come from the existence of positive feedbacks: or more precisely, from the balance of positive and negative feedbacks.

And, here, we’ve got people telling us that there is this huge and previously unknown negative feedback. So, we don’t know enough yet about that climate sensitivity to know what it is that we should be doing. Panicking or just mooching along as normal?

There’s a problem with this Mr. Huhne

The science also opens up the possibility that the victims of climate change could begin to take international legal action against the countries responsible, particularly the early industrialisers, such as Britain, Belgium and Germany, whose carbon continues to warm the planet a century after it was emitted. Legal action is not a substitute for politics, but it could highlight the evidence in an uncomfortable way.

There is no international tort law. And countries aren’t responsible for emissions either. Individuals are. By consuming things that have had emissions embedded in their production.

Imagine, just as an example, that my little stove keeping my office warm this morning were coal or oil fired, instead of wood. And further that the emissions from it caused a Bangladeshi farmer’s land to sink beneath the waves. Get over all of the idea that we can’t trace it so accurately.

So, who is responsible for those emissions? The coal or oil company that sold me the fuel? Nope. The country, Portugal, in which I am burning it? Nope. My country of origin, the UK? Nope. I suppose we could try blaming the dogs sharing the heat with me but in reality it is me that is responsible for those emissions. And thus it is me that should be sued.

And there is no legal system at all that provides a manner of suing me for this tort, assuming that it exists.

Now, it is I suppose possible that we could say that governments are responsible for the private actions of citizens or residents. But that’s the point at which we also give governments the power to control those private actions of citizens or residents. And that’s also the point at which you all get told to fuck off I’m afraid.

Hmm, wonder if they’ve thought this through?

Meat should be taxed to encourage people to eat less of it, so reducing the production of global warming gases from sheep, cattle and goats, according to a group of scientists.

Several high-profile figures, from the chief of the UN’s climate science panel to the economist Lord Stern, have previously advocated eating less meat to tackle global warming.

The scientists’ analysis, published in the journal Nature Climate Change, takes the contentious step of suggesting methane emissions be cut by pushing up the price of meat through a tax or emissions trading scheme.

“Influencing human behaviour is one of the most challenging aspects of any large-scale policy, and it is unlikely that a large-scale dietary change will happen voluntarily without incentives,” they say. “Implementing a tax or emission trading scheme on livestock’s greenhouse gas emissions could be an economically sound policy that would modify consumer prices and affect consumption patterns.”

Y’see, the thing is…..pasture locks up huge amounts of carbon in the soil. Much more, over time, than forests. And yes, having the cows out there eating the grass then defecating on it does indeed lead to more carbon sequestration in pasture.

Meaning that what we actually want to know is the net emissions from grazed pasture, not the gross emissions from ruminants.

Anyone know that answer?

The problem with Pigou Taxes

Is that politicians cannot leave well alone and keep them as Pigou Taxes.

Air Passenger Duty is a good tax, in that it does indeed correct for the externality of the emissions from planes. That rate has been pushed too high of course, because that’s what people who get to levy taxes do with them. And this problem is encapsulated here:

“However, it is important that the aviation sector plays a part in helping to bring down the deficit.”

No, a Pigou Tax is not there to raise revenue. It’s a nice side effect but that’s all. The rate must be at the cost of the externality.

And that of course is what is wrong with Pigou Taxes. That they’re open to being misused in this manner.

Still better than regulation or banning of course, but not perfect for the usual political reasons.

Complete and total bollocks here

The climate crisis of the 21st century has been caused largely by just 90 companies, which between them produced nearly two-thirds of the greenhouse gas emissions generated since the dawning of the industrial age, new research suggests.

The companies range from investor-owned firms – household names such as Chevron, Exxon and BP – to state-owned and government-run firms.

Gargantually stupid pissantry.

The fault is not in the companies but in us the consumers. Not one single one of the fuckers would have dug up or pumped a single kilo of carbon if we hadn’t wanted to use it.

We have been warm, well fed and mobile for a century because of fossil fuels. We wanted it, we enjoyed it and if there is any blame to be passed around then it is to us, the people who enjoyed the products of which the emissions are a by product.

The analysis, which was welcomed by the former vice-president Al Gore as a “crucial step forward”

Wonder if Occidental oil is on the list. That company that Gore used to have a decent stake in?

Chris Huhne really is a liar, isn’t he?

A convicted one even:

If you were told that your house was virtually certain to burn down, you would think that an insurance premium costing 2% of your income in 2050 – Lord Stern’s economic estimate of the cost of sorting carbon emissions – looked like a steal.

I can’t speak for everyone else and we’ll ignore the specifics of how that number was reached. But 2% does sound OK: the problem is that you fuckers are spending vastly more than that.

For example:

Solar panels are a quarter of their cost in 2008. Industry estimates suggests that solar will be cheaper (without subsidy) than other ways of generating electricity almost everywhere by 2020, and onshore wind even earlier.

That’s the perfect argument for not subsidising the damn things now but for waiting until 2020 and people will then install them unsubsidised. So, why are you pissing away our money on them now?

Only 35% of Tory MPs are gibbering idiots

Dods, a political publishing house, interviewed more than 100 MPs and found that only 35 per cent of Tories in Westminster believe green energy programmes are good for the economy.

Of the Labour MPs surveyed, 86 per cent believed that renewable energy programmes are good for the UK’s finances.

For of course the green energy schemes are not good for the economy. They make energy more expensive than it otherwise would be and thus reduce the size of the economy: we lose the other things we could have had instead of the expensive energy.

Do note that this has absolutely nothing at all to do with whether these schemes are a good idea in totality or not. That would depend upon your views about climate change, carbon emissions and so on. It’s entirely possible to say that these schemes are bad for our current economy but that they will be beneficial to us all at some point in the future. Which is roughly what M’Lord Stern said to us for example.

Or indeed you might not take that view.

But it is absolutely bleedin’ obvious that the current green schemes are damaging our economy now. Thus only 35% of Tory MPs appear to be complete gibbering idiots but 86% of Labour ones are.

Chris Huhne is a lying little toad

Overall, the government’s policies – backed until recently by three-party consensus – are forecast by Whitehall economists to cut energy bills, not increase them. They will save consumers about £166 a year (or 11%) by 2020 thanks to energy saving and diversification from fossil fuels.

Sigh. This is based on assuming that gas prices rise to 80 p a therm. Whereas if we go fracking then gas prices will stay around where they are, at 40 p a therm.

One excellent economist reviewing another

Here.

Paul Krugman reviews William Nordhaus on climate change.

Can’t really see anything that I disagree with: but then that’s because my views on the subject have been formed by having read Nordhaus in the first place. As Krugman notes, it really is all Econ 101. Carbon tax or cap and trade and we’re done.

The one area where I do disagree (not so much with this piece, but with the generally held views) is that I think that it’s all going to cost a great deal less to deal with than people think. Assuming one thing: that we try to do this over 30-50 years, not in a decade. There’s nothing I could point to to prove this, it’s just a side effect of my being rather Julian Simonesque about technological advance. Added to a bit of my worm’s eye view of the renewables business through the lens of the weird metals used to build such renewables.

I really do think that we’re not that far away from renewables which are cheaper than coal fired ‘leccie. And at that point the whole damn problem simply goes away. For we’ll naturally and happily install these new cheaper energy sources and drop the older more expensive ones.

As I say, I cannot prove this although I could put forward some pretty decent arguments at length*.

I end up thinking that it’s all going to turn out like Y2k. We’ll have done vast amounts of expensive things for no good reason.

(* OK, not at length, apply the same cost curve to 40% efficient multi-junction solar cells and solid oxide fuel cells as has happened to silicon PV over the past 30 years and we’re there, with electrolysis of water for H2 as the storage method. Done and dusted.)

What parallel universe does Clegg inhabit?

Speaking after addressing a group of young people in a business start-up centre in central London, Mr Clegg warned that it was wrong-headed of people to think that by scrapping levies it would be a case of “with one bound we are free”.

He told The Daily Telegraph: “Like everyone else I want us to strain every sinew to keep those bills down – but I don’t think anyone should think that by scrapping all the levies that exist suddenly with one bound we are free. We won’t.

“Actually what will happen is that you will have less investment, probably higher bills over time and an increase in fuel poverty. That cannot be the right answer.”

Actually, I know the answer to this. It’s that world in which no one in Europe fracks for shale and thus gas prices go from the current 40 p a therm to 80 p a therm.

All of the DECC numbers depend upon this assumption. However, if fracking does go ahead then gas prices will not double (the Poyry report states this quite clearly).

In the spreadsheet world they have constructed energy bills do become cheaper with greenery. But it all relies upon that not shale. If we do have shale then greenery will not make bills cheaper: greenery will make bills more expensive.

And that is, I’m afraid, the trick they are relying upon.

In which my old professor loses his marbles over solar power

To make non-carbon energy become competitive is a major scientific challenge, not unlike the challenge of developing the atom bomb or sending a man to the moon. Science rose to those challenges because a clear goal and timetable were set and enough public money was provided for the research. These programmes had high political profile and public visibility. They attracted many of the best minds of the age.

The issue of climate change and energy is even more important and it needs the same treatment. In most countries, there is at present too little public spending on non-carbon energy research. Instead, we need a major international research effort, with a clear goal and a clear timetable.

What should it focus on? There will always be many sources of non-carbon energy – nuclear fission, hydropower, geothermal, wind, nuclear fusion (possibly) and solar. But nuclear fission and hydropower have been around for many years. Nuclear is essential but faces political obstacles and there are physical limits to hydropower. Nuclear fusion remains uncertain. And, while wind can play a big role in the UK, in many countries its application is limited. So there is no hope of completely replacing fossil fuel without a major contribution from the power of the sun.

Moreover, the sun sends energy to the Earth equal to about 5,000 times our total energy needs. It is inconceivable that we cannot collect enough of this energy for our needs, at a reasonable cost. The price of photovoltaic energy is falling at 10% a year, and in Germany a serious amount of unsubsidised, solar electricity is already being added to the grid. In California, forward contracts for solar energy are becoming competitive with other fuels and they will become more so, as technology progresses.

But time is desperately short and there are two even bigger scientific challenges. The first is to make solar power available on a 24-hour basis, when the sun shines only part of the day and can be obscured by cloud. This requires a major breakthrough in the storage of electricity.

All of this is entirely true. Indeed I write a piece saying much the same earlier this week.

But then they lose their minds.

So here is our proposal. There should be a world sunpower programme of research, development and demonstration. The goal would be by 2025 to deliver solar electricity at scale to the grid at a cost below the cost of fossil fuel. All countries would be invited to participate. Those who did would commit, in their own countries, to major new programmes of research, internationally co-ordinated, and to share their findings for the benefit of the world.

Each country would have the goal of demonstrating bulk supply of unsubsidised solar electricity in scale to the grid by 2025. At the world level, the target would be for solar electricity to be at least 10% of total energy supply by 2025 and 25% by 2030. Countries’ contributions to this target would be closely watched.

Yes, they want another traveling circus of bureaucrats. And the reason why they have lost their minds is there in their own evidence:

Moreover, the sun sends energy to the Earth equal to about 5,000 times our total energy needs. It is inconceivable that we cannot collect enough of this energy for our needs, at a reasonable cost. The price of photovoltaic energy is falling at 10% a year, and in Germany a serious amount of unsubsidised, solar electricity is already being added to the grid. In California, forward contracts for solar energy are becoming competitive with other fuels and they will become more so, as technology progresses.

You can look at this in two ways and I don’t particularly mind which way you do. Either that the market has already started to do what was necessary, produce reasonably priced solar power, or that the market needed help, which we’ve given it, and now we’re getting reasonably priced, or will very soon, solar power.

But the point is still the same. It is their own evidence which tells us that we’ve already done whatever it is that we needed to do to get reasonably priced solar power. It’s falling in price by 10% a year, it’s already price competitive in some areas and we’ve absolutely no reason at all to think that it won’t keep falling in price at that rate (or faster) and thus become ever more competitive.

In such circumstances why the fuck do we need to piss money away on another Manhattan Project?

Can we get this straight about the IPCC climate change report please?

No Mr. Lean, you are incorrect here.

Yesterday’s giant climate report

We didn’t get a giant climate report yesterday. What we got was the summary for policy makers.

We get the report on Monday. And it’s in that report that it is necessary to go looking for what they’ve done.

Personally I’m going to be fascinated to see what they’ve done (if anything) with the emissions scenarios and families. It’s my understanding (a very vague one it is true) is that the A1 family has pretty much been dropped from the process. Which is something of a pity as that was the straight line projection from the 20th cent and as we all know, straight line projections do often turn out to be true.

It’s also the projection that said that we could indeed have lots of global economic growth and if we did a bit of greening of the energy production system then we’d be fine. Dropping that family of scenarios therefore rules out that sort of solution according to the “scientific consensus”.

So I’ll be interested to read the report: but not the propaganda part of it that is being discussed this weekend.

So that’s green energy dead then

Via, this:

Renewable target now untenable: The Labour Party has implicitly abandoned its commitment to the 2020
renewable target and probably the 2030 green house gas reduction target. We assume that Labour could
not be so staggeringly naive / stupid / miss-informed as to believe that an arbitrary price cap is compatibile
with the threefold (£100bn plus) increase in investment required from next year to hit the renewable target.
Therefore we can only conclude that Labour have now abandoned their environmental targets.

Won’t Caroline Lucas be happy.