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.

OK.

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.”

Hmm.

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?

Second order effects, second order effects

Plus Chesterton’s Fence:

Moths are thriving because of a growing energy efficient trend which has seen people wash clothes at 30C, a pest firm has claimed.

Rentokil said callouts to moth infestations had increased by more than 110 per cent from April to May and by 60 per cent over the last four years.

A survey by the company found that 54 per cent of people said they wash their clothes at 30C but didn’t five years ago. Rentokil warned that 55C was the temperature required to kill moth larvae.

Yeah, yeah, sure, pest control firm. Except they’re advising people to do something which precludes the use of their services.

So, why did we use high temps, that’s Chesterton. And what’s the cost of moths as opposed to higher washing temps? That’s the second order stuff.

And as we can see, yet again, those who would tell us how to live seem to ignore both crucial points, don’t they?

Significantly stupid climate change idea

Using mustard seed to power aeroplanes:

A Qantas plane powered partly by mustard seeds has become the world’s first biofuel flight between Australia and the United States, after landing in Melbourne on Tuesday.

The 15-hour flight used a blended fuel that was 10% derived from the brassica carinata, an industrial type of mustard seed that functions as a fallow crop – meaning it can be grown by farmers in between regular crop cycles.

The world-first used a Boeing Dreamliner 787-9 on a scheduled passenger service, QF96, and reduced carbon emissions by 7% compared with the airline’s usual flight over the same LA to Melbourne route. Compared pound for pound with jet fuel, carinata biofuel reduces emissions by 80% over the fuel’s life cycle.

Daniel Tan, an agriculture expert from the University of Sydney, said mustard seed could double as a valuable crop and a source of sustainable fuel for farmers.

“Almost within a day after harvesting, they can press the oil out in their own shed and use it straight into their tractors,” he said.

“Basically it’s good for growing, and also farmers can also use it. If they grow wheat every year it’s not good for the soil. They can grow mustard seed in between the wheat crops, every second or third year, press the oil and use it locally or export it for use in aviation fuel.

“A lot of the biodiesel now being processed is actually from waste oil from places like fish and chip shops. A lot of these oils can be processed, but the problem is that they can’t get consistent supply. The big problem with the biodisel industry in Australia is mainly the continuity of supply.”

OK. Mustard produces some 1 to 3 tonnes of seed per hectare (according to GOOG). This produces 400 litres of oil apparently, according to these peeps. A 747 uses 4 litres per second of fuel (obvs, an average).

Roughly speaking, we get a minute and a half of flight per hectare.

There are some 100,000 (a guess, but a reasonable one) flights a day. Of 90 minutes (another guess, but again a reasonable one) duration and not all are 747s but let’s just try to get a sense of scale here. So, we need 100,000 x 60 x 365 hectares of mustard to power ‘planes. 2.2 billion hectares of land.

This is more than current total cropped land.

Not a solution then.

Please do check my numbers. I can easily lose orders of magnitude……

What a surprise!

Earth’s surface will almost certainly not warm up four or five degrees Celsius by 2100, according to a study which, if correct, voids worst-case UN climate change predictions.

A revised calculation of how greenhouse gases drive up the planet’s temperature reduces the range of possible end-of-century outcomes by more than half, researchers said in the report, published in the journal Nature.

“Our study all but rules out very low and very high climate sensitivities,” said lead author Peter Cox, a professor at the University of Exeter.

Won’t stop people claiming that Flipper will be boiled in the remains of the last ice floe by 2100 of course.

Very silly indeed

Microwaves in Britain generate as much carbon dioxide as more than one million cars, scientists have concluded as they call on people to use the ovens more efficiently.

Sigh.

Over and above the mistake already pointed out (comparing total life emissions for microwave ovens to cars only in direct use) two more.

1) How much CO2 they produce in use, the thing that we are told we should be more careful about, depends upon the inputs into the electricity generation system. As is true of electric cars or electric trains.

2) What’s the opportunity cost? Or in this case, perhaps opportunity benefit? What would be the emissions from having hot and or cooked food – a pretty reasonable human desire – without microwave ovens?

Oh Lord, forgive them for they are idiots

France’s parliament has passed into law a ban on producing oil and gas by 2040, a largely symbolic gesture as the country is 99% dependent on hydrocarbon imports.

In Tuesday’s vote by show of hands, only the rightwing Republicans party opposed, while leftwing lawmakers abstained.

No new permits will be granted to extract fossil fuels and no existing licences will be renewed beyond 2040, when all production in mainland France and its overseas territories will stop.

Socialist lawmaker Delphine Batho said she hoped the ban would be “contagious”, inspiring bigger producers to follow suit.

France extracts the equivalent of about 815,000 tonnes of oil per year – an amount produced in a few hours by Saudi Arabia.

But centrist president Emmanuel Macron has said he wants France to take the lead as a major world economy switching away from fossil fuels – and the nuclear industry – into renewable sources.

If as and when renewables are cheaper then no one will drill for oil or gas. If they’re not going to be cheaper by 2040 then what the fuck are you doing banning drilling?