Britain’s Lessons From The Winter of 2008-2009

Guest post by Steven Goddard

The UK has been experiencing the coldest winter in several decades, and hopefully policymakers have learned a few basic lessons from this.  Here is my wish list, which seem painfully obvious.
  1. Britain can’t rely on global warming to stay warm in the winter.
  2. Britain can’t rely on solar power to stay warm in the winter.  There just isn’t enough sun (which is why it is cold in the winter.)
  3. Britain can’t rely on wind power to stay warm in the winter.   During the coldest weather the winds were calm (which is one reason why the air temperatures were so low.)
  4. Britain can’t rely on Russian natural gas to stay warm.  The gas supply was cut off for weeks due to politics.
The only large scale energy supplies the UK can rely on in the near future are coal, oil and a small amount of nuclear.  So next time you see a “coal train of life” remember to wave at the driver.  And I hate those ugly, motionless windmills popping up all over the countryside.

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155 thoughts on “Britain’s Lessons From The Winter of 2008-2009

  1. The British once ruled the world. Now they are the puppets of European climate busybodies and their own homegrown climate ideologues. Maybe it’s time for a revolution. Or maybe the once great nation will lay down in the snow and die.

  2. It’ll be a pretty ironic day when the “Greenies” in Britain have to admit that they’ve used coal to keep warm during the winter, because their “sustainable energy” was so “sustainable” that it didn’t provide enough energy and Global Warming’s “faster than we ever dreamed in our wildest imagining” acceleration didn’t bring enough “catastrophic and apocalyptic” warming.

  3. For some reason, those windmills remind me of Easter Island.

    OT:

    AP Interview: EPA near ruling on greenhouse gases

    WASHINGTON – EPA administrator Lisa Jackson says the agency is moving toward regulating the gases blamed for global warming.

    In an interview Tuesday with The Associated Press, Jackson said the agency will decide whether greenhouse gases are a danger to human health and welfare, the legal trigger for regulation under federal law.

    Jackson said the Environmental Protection Agency owes the American people an opinion, after years of the Bush administration not taking a position on the matter — a track record that she referred to as a deafening silence.

    “We are going to be making a fairly significant finding about what these gases mean for public health and the welfare of our country,” Jackson said.

    Recent EPA decisions have hinted that the agency was leaning toward using the Clean Air Act to regulate the gases, a step the Bush administration refused to take despite prodding from the Supreme Court.
    _____________________________________________________________________

    I think a legal fund needs to be set up to block / postpone this action.
    Any ideas?

  4. The next time some greenie complains about coal-fired heat sources, tell them to travel to the hinterlands of China and try to stay warm on electric heaters plugged into a windmill.

  5. Will the last person to leave the UK please turn out the lights?

    Oh. My bad. They’ll all be turned off long before the last person leaves if Steven’s points aren’t heeded.

    Heads up, US of A!

  6. Those ‘ugly, motionless windmills popping up all over the countryside’ will be lasting monuments to the stupidity of the current British government.

    The only pleasure they give me is knowing they’ll be around for years… their rotting hulks reminding those responsible of their own incompetence.

  7. I wonder how much of the lack of solar/wind apply to US in the winter. We seem to have a lot of wind in many parts of the country. But I heard they fling ice chunks.

    I am still living on fossil fuel.

  8. “…ugly, motionless windmills …”

    Drive the highway between Mojave, CA and Bakersfield, CA through the Tehachapi wind turbine farm and see acres of motionless windmills. They have been there for years, presumably destroying the raptor population.

  9. Steve says; “The UK has been experiencing the coldest winter in several decades, and hopefully policymakers have learned a few basic lessons from this.”

    As your friendly policymaker I hope so too.

    Here’s my list;

    1/ I suspect this is weather not climate.

    2/ I agree with your points 1-4.

    3/ Insulating homes against extreme weather saves 50 times the CO2 per pound spent that energy from wind does and 300 times that of Solar (photovoltaic). Subsidising insulation for all would be a sound policy which ever way the climate changes.

    4/ As we run out of our own oil we must find alternatives for the same reasons we can not rely on overseas gas.

    Don’t give up on us Steve.

  10. And in the future there will be great towers that harvest
    the wind! and then….and then….wooden shoes!

  11. Ed Scott,

    California has some unique circumstances which produce a lot of wind at the boundary between the cold, wet Pacific air and the hot, dry desert air. (Ideal bird chopping conditions.) And I’ve never been in Wyoming when it wasn’t windy.

    England also tends to be breezy, but not during Arctic cold snaps – when electricity is needed the most. That was my point.

  12. The sad thing happening in the UK is that excess cold related deaths have gone up 7% in 2007. There will be more when the counting is done for 2008. Why? The cap and trade has made fuel and electricity too expensive for many people so they die of cold. It’s called fuel poverty and a more deaths to add to the greenies death toll. Soon to be seen in the US and Canada.

  13. The BBC is at it again – another front page story about global warming from a mathematics professor whom they describe as a “top scientist.”

    The battle against climate change can only be won “in the hands of the many, not the few”, a top scientist has said.

    Jacqueline McGlade, head of the European Environment Agency (EEA), warned the current approach left the public sidelined as “silent observers”.

    Political and business leaders were not able to tackle the problem without help from ordinary people, she added.

    Professor McGlade said environmental policies would also benefit from data based on public observations.

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/7892992.stm

    Just don’t report it if you are cold.

  14. Phil’s Dad,

    I have heard politically correct politicians state that they did not need _______ because of global warming. This fill in the blank statement included things such as:

    Road Salt
    Snow Fences
    Snow Plows
    Cold Weather Clothing for various departments
    Natural Gas Contracts
    Winterizing Various Buildings
    New Furnaces
    Snow Days Built into a School Calendar
    and many others.

    Unfortunately, many of these people think that they are doing the public a service by saving resources. The results of the naive policies have cost us more than just money, many are injured and killed by such myopia challenged people. Too bad it is those they try to serve that suffer.

  15. “For some reason, those windmills remind me of Easter Island.”

    Tom in Texas (18:26:51) : Your words may prove all too prophetic. The phrases “Motionless idols to unknown Gods” and “Collective insanity” also have some synergy here.

  16. The UK’s weather is highly dependent on the Gulf Stream which is approximated by the AMO index (SSTs in the North Atlantic).

    The AMO in January has gone negative for the first time in 7 years and the overall trend indicates it is cycling down now. These trends last decades so I’m it seems colder weather is in store now.

  17. Richard P,

    Agreed.

    It is pretty embarrassing how badly we coped with a few days of snow, particularly in the south. The cost to the economy far outweighed a goodly supply of any of the items in your list.

    In any event I would not use global warming as an excuse for any of it. Even the most strident warming alarmist would claim that extreme weather events are more likely not less. We should have been and should be prepared.

  18. Steven, are you aware this cold winter was called by the webmaster at (the currently broken) http://www.wacv.co.uk? A Hale Cycle winter, occur every 22/23 years for the UK based on the solar cycle. Makes you wonder why the Met Office can’t spot such a simple pattern. I’ll contact him to see if he will post here. We are most predisposed to colder winters when ENSO conditions are neutral or slightly negative. I wonder where the Met got their warm signal from, or whether they were just forecasting by trends and statistics rather than employing any actual meteorology. It wouldn’t surprise me.

  19. “In any event I would not use global warming as an excuse for any of it. Even the most strident warming alarmist would claim that extreme weather events are more likely not less. ”

    I have heard about this winter
    1) It would have been even colder without global warming
    AND
    2) Global warming makes extreme weather more likely so this is consistent with warming.

    It is incredibly bizarre what sort of logical contortions AGWers get themselves into when doublethinking about climate.

  20. Phil’s Dad (18:54:50) :

    Since the earth has been in a cooling trend for years you could safely stop calling these harsh winters “weather”.

    Global warming is not happening. Please check the data. The earth is in a cooling trend.

    I’m not going to ask you to check the science on co2 and if it has the power to change climate. My side has been asking your side to do that for years. We can see these admonitions aren’t being heard.

  21. UKIP

    I have heard similar.

    My point of course is that, which ever path climate takes, these things will happen and we must be ready for them. This is, I think, what Mr Goddard says in wish list number 1. (Either way)

  22. Ed Scott (18:53:48) :

    Drive the highway between Mojave, CA and Bakersfield, CA through the Tehachapi wind turbine farm and see acres of motionless windmills. They have been there for years, presumably destroying the raptor population.

    Yep, been through there in the winters of 2004 and 2005. Not all were motionless, but most were. Beautiful country, but the windmills seemed pretty pointless.

  23. If this sunspot cycle trend line is systemic (likely to last through cycle 24), and the connection between cooling and lack of sunspots is valid, then this winter was just a picnic compared to the winters ahead for the next 9-13 years.

    On a side note, an AGW follower on our floor was talking today about the “extreme” heat wave in Australia. Of course, this is already being blamed on AGW. It’s funny how if there is a cold snap the AGW people say you’re not allowed to cherry pick a particular weather event. But then, if it happens to be a warm spell, well then it’s OK to cite that as a symptom of warming. I decided to look up some information on this and came across this web site:

    http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/NaturalHazards/view.php?id=36900

    It contains a map of the temperature departure from the mean values. Of interest is that the web site is labeled as “Exceptional Australian Heat Wave” yet it is obvious from the graph that it could just as easily have been labeled as “Exceptional Australian Cold Wave” since half the country is under anomalously cold temperature deviations as extreme as the warm trend in the south. The fact that most Australians live in the southeast corner of the country is really the only reason why this hysterical type reaction was drawn. If the trend had been reversed would anyone have noticed?

  24. Just want truth,

    Agree about the cooling trend but this was the worst snowfall for nearly two decades so maybe it’s a bit of both. (Unintended irony)

    Up until now recent winters haven’t been all that harsh. This year could be a point on a downward curve or an outlier. I don’t know.

    My side has been asking your side…?

    Which side would that be? In truth I am too ignorant to take sides on this one. The only position I take is that there is a very real, life-threatening, risk in getting it wrong in either direction.

    It would be recklessly irresponsible to risk the well being of both our own people and those of the developing nations on attempts to control just one climate factor – CO2 – when there is every indication of more powerful influences at work. There is a pressing need to identify and quantify those influences. That is why I am here listening to you.

    In the end I may make policy you don’t agree with – but you will have been heard.

  25. Jeff Alberts — Yep, been through there in the winters of 2004 and 2005. Not all were motionless, but most were. Beautiful country, but the windmills seemed pretty pointless.

    These things were there from the mid/late 80’s and were mimicing silent sentinels even then.

  26. “just one climate factor – CO2”

    But this is essentially an irrelevant factor

    I can see you using something like the precautionary principle.

    “Which side would that be? In truth I am too ignorant to take sides on this one. The only position I take is that there is a very real, life-threatening, risk in getting it wrong in either direction.”

    It sounds like you are asserting disasters are coming.

  27. Phil’s Dad

    “Up until now recent winters haven’t been all that harsh.”

    Maybe in the UK they have not. But in the US it’s two years now, and in South America it’s been 3 years. Again, the data shows a cooling trend in the earth.

    This is the one factor that matters above any theories–the data.

    The global warming hypothesis says that as manmade co2 goes up temperatures go up. Co2 levels have been rising faster than predicted but all the while the earth has been cooling.

    This is my point, let’s look at the data.

  28. Dave T (20:58:25) :

    If this sunspot cycle trend line is systemic (likely to last through cycle 24), and the connection between cooling and lack of sunspots is valid, then this winter was just a picnic compared to the winters ahead for the next 9-13 years.

    On a side note, an AGW follower on our floor was talking today about the “extreme” heat wave in Australia. Of course, this is already being blamed on AGW. It’s funny how if there is a cold snap the AGW people say you’re not allowed to cherry pick a particular weather event. But then, if it happens to be a warm spell, well then it’s OK to cite that as a symptom of warming. I decided to look up some information on this and came across this web site:

    http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/NaturalHazards/view.php?id=36900

    It contains a map of the temperature departure from the mean values. Of interest is that the web site is labeled as “Exceptional Australian Heat Wave” yet it is obvious from the graph that it could just as easily have been labeled as “Exceptional Australian Cold Wave” since half the country is under anomalously cold temperature deviations as extreme as the warm trend in the south. The fact that most Australians live in the southeast corner of the country is really the only reason why this hysterical type reaction was drawn. If the trend had been reversed would anyone have noticed?

    Apart from the heat wave in SE Australia from Mid January to Feb 10th – This Summer has been mild across the nation and on the whole very WET – except in SE Oz – which has been very DRY.

    Anyone could draw any conclusion that they like from the diversity of weather experienced in Australia this summer.

    The conclusions that are being drawn in support of AGW related to the Victorian bushfires are a sick joke and really point to the political lust of those making them.

  29. Phil’s Dad

    “It would be recklessly irresponsible to risk the well being of both our own people and those of the developing nations on attempts to control just one climate factor – CO2”

    Really, at this point, there is no proof we can do anything about any factor in climate. It will happen regardless of what we will do.

    But I do agree, trying to control any factor would only be harmful and a needless expense of money.

    You mentioned insulation in houses. I can see some sort of one time tax break for those who would take the initiative to insulate their houses better. Insulation in not done well enough. This would not just make for lower heating bills but also more comfortable living conditions. But it wouldn’t be for reasons of global warming.

  30. @ Robert Wood (18:09:45) :

    Coal is 100% organic.
    Coal is 100% natural.
    Coal is 100% good.

    You left out an important point:

    Coal is green.

    It appears that due to increasing levels of CO2, the biosphere is becoming more vibrant and is expanding. And it’s changing — and change seems to be one thing the anti-industrialists fear most.

  31. Phil’s Dad

    “There is a pressing need to identify and quantify those influences.”

    I can’t see why it’s a pressing need.

    I can see that it is a pressing need to cut taxes and cut government spending to help the world pull out of this recession it is in. That I see is pressing.

    But the only reason anyone feels pressure to do something about climate, if man indeed could, is because of Al Gore’s movie. Then of course since he was awarded an Oscar, Emmy, Grammy, and the Nobel Peace Prize Al Gore has more power over people’s perception of his message. But none of these awards are scientific awards. If not for Al Gore’s movie we wouldn’t find a pressing need to try to do something about climate.

  32. Phil’s Dad (21:12:10) :


    Which side would that be? In truth I am too ignorant to take sides on this one. The only position I take is that there is a very real, life-threatening, risk in getting it wrong in either direction.

    The internet is a good place to start learning about what is being pushed as global warming.

    I am a particle physicist, and therefore not ignorant on matters scientific. Up to November 2007, I would get my information from generalized scientific articles and was not disagreeing with the “consensus” that there was a problem of anthropogenic global warming. I trusted on the scientific integrity of all those involved in the matter, and did not question them, as I would not expect them to question me about the quark model and my data.

    Then I read that there was not medieval warm period (the famous hockey stick). That raised my generalized BS antena. It was not long before that the mummy was found at a pass in the Alps, and you have no need of scientific training to realize that the temperatures must have been higher than the current ones to have hunters on these passes. I was intrigued and started searching. I came to the Chrichton novel that a scientist friend lent me, where there are extensive plots of individualcity heat records and how the temperatures are biased ( I did not read the novel, just looked at the plots).

    Then I downloaded the TAR IPCC and read it, and then the AR4 came, and I read all the 800 pages of physics etc studies in support.

    Most of the time I was walking around pulling at my hair for what was offered as “science” in these reports. I was shocked out of complacency and started responding in blogs. I said it before in one of the previous threads, that the IPCC report is pseudoscience. I base my accusation in the following.

    They run numerous models of the earth evolution of climate quantities with unstated parameters and unstated gridding and then present “spaghetti graphs” of the outputs of these models, without error bars around them. They treat this fan of models as if they are data, taking averages and making predictions, which they call projections, but they are predictions. This is absolutely unscientific. Each model should have come with a 1 sigma statistical error bar, i.e. where the line would go if the parameters were perturbed by 1 sigma.

    This was not done for a simple reason. Even one parameter, the albedo, which is the percentage of sun light reflected before it reaches the ground, will change the “projection” by 1 degree centigrade, making it worthless.(Mind you, before I retired I had been working for 30 years fitting models to data in various ways, so I know about fits). With a one sigma change in albedo, each carefully adjusted model would no longer fit the past data, so certainly it could not project the future. With four parameters one can fit anything, with five an elephant as I think Von Neumann has said. It is the error bands that validate a fit/no-fit.

    So I am on the skeptics side , insisting that the science is not settled and a lot more thought should be given to modeling than video type games.

  33. Phil’s Dad,

    I think I understand the “pressing need ” comment, but not from any point of view concerning advocacy. To assume that CO2 is causing climate “change” in the way that is being so strongly portrayed is ludicrous – simply because we know so little about our climate system. If there is a “pressing need” it’s to simply remove the advocacy and politics from the current scientific endeavor, and get back to the basics of trying to develop a more fundamental understanding of our climate and all of it’s factors.

    Playing it safe in policy making has the unintended consequence of allowing the politically motivated agenda of AGW advocates to advance their cause. So, whether you “choose” a side or not, the language you use suggests that you are playing it safe, and therefore are supporting the AGW position that CO2 is the main driver and cause of “warming”. There is no hair-splitting here, and unfortunately no middle ground.

    Windmills are not commerically viable without the tax credits given them. They are useless if you consider what happens to their customers when the winds are insufficient to produce electricity. They can’t be relied on to provide a baseload. Solar is also not commercially viable and neither address the need for constant power, or rapid increases in power demand in extreme weather. At best they are a supplement, at worst they are still a novelty.

    Insulating a home is all well and good, but this journey we seem to be embarked on to limit the availability of electricity is ill conceived and will prove tragic, if not just costly in terms of economic growth.

    I dont think that 2 consecutive harsh winters in the US can be construed as weather. If it wasnt for abundant fossil fuels, where I call home would be untenable with solar and wind for power.

  34. Now let us treat the IPCC outputs as we would treat any prophecy of the future. Assume that they have metaphysical inspiration and errors and sigmas are not necessary.

    Do these prophecies agree with the data after their publication?

    No on several counts.
    A model/theory/prophecy even, falls even if one datums disproves it.

    The Anthropogenic Global Warming (AGW) hypothesis’ only justification comes from the computer models, General Circulation Models (GCM), used extensively in the AR report of IPCC. ( http://www.ipcc.ch)

    1)temperatures do not follow IPCC projections. Here is a plot to remind us of this:

    2) The fingerprint of CO2 in the tropical troposphere as set out in the AR4 report is absent in the data. Here are the links
    for models:
    http://www.ipcc.ch/pdf/assessment-report/ar4/wg1/ar4-wg1-chapter9.pdf
    data:

    3) The oceans are cooling instead of warming and setting off a feedback loop of greenhouse warming: http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=88520025
    The spin in the article is: global warming missing heat. The truth is, nature does not follow the GCM IPCC models.
    http://www.pmel.noaa.gov/people/lyman/Pdf/heat_2006.pdf

    4) the specific humidity is not rising as it should in order to create the runaway feedback loop predicated in the models:
    http://www.cdc.noaa.gov/cgi-bin/Timeseries/timeseries.pl?ntype=1&var=Specific+Humidity+(up+to+300mb+only)&level=300&lat1=90&lat2=-90&lon1=-180&lon2=180&iseas=1&mon1=0&mon2=11&iarea=0&typeout=2&Submit=Create+Timeseries

    The basic premise of the models, that the tiny, (anthropogenic CO2 is a tiny fraction of the CO2) in the atmosphere is the straw that breaks the camel’s back and starts runaway greenhouse warming is absolutely NOT SUPPORTED BY THE DATA.

    I do not see any driving correlation between the rise in CO2 and global temperatures in this plot: http://icecap.us/images/uploads/Correlation_of_Carbon_Dioxide_with_Temperatures_Negative_Again.pdf

  35. In the UK there are currently 201 groups campaigning against these useless wind turbines (they are called wind farms because that sounds better than calling them wind power stations, particularly as most are sited in the most beautiful parts of the countryside). See http://www.countryguardian.net/

    If the UK government has its way, the whole of the countryside will be covered with these useless monstrosities (most are now planned to be 100 to 150 metres tall).

    The resistance to wnd farms and the huge subsidies that they need is also growing across Europe. The newly formed (October 2008) European Platform Against Windfarms (EPAW, see http://www.epaw.org/) already has 264 affiliated organisations in 13 countries and is lobbying the EU, its commissioners and members of parliament for a moratorium on building wind farms.

    I fear the bureaucracy will continue to ignore the voice of the people and the voice of reason. Reason has no place in the modern world.

  36. Whether this winter is an aberration, the start of a sequence of chilly seasons or just plain winter, one thing is certain. No matter what Dr Hansen’s computer games say about the years to come, winter will be either cold or very cold.

    Cold causes death. Death from cold. There is no easy way to say it, but some people struggle to afford the fuel they need to keep them alive and they die from cold. More die when it is very cold than when it is just cold.

    One of the first duties of any government is to ensure its people can stay alive during normal weather. This winter is normal weather. On any view of it, it is normal weather. If it is not an aberration caused by human activity it is naturally cold, if it is caused by human activity it is the new unnatural cold. Either way, it is cold. If it is natural it might happen again next year. If it is the result of human activity it might happen next year. Either way it is cold.

    I suggest we forget punitive surcharges on electricity and gas because they create too much heat in the atmosphere. I suggest we concentrate on how to create real heat in real living rooms at a price the poorest can afford.

    If that means coal then it’s coal and let the doomsayers invent the means of preventing the coal boiling the arctic (if they really think it will do anything of the sort). If it means nuclear then it’s nuclear and let the doomsayers invent something better.

    And while the doomsayers are inventing something better, remind them of the rural Chinese and Russians who die in droves each winter through sheer cold. Until they have completed their invention, I say more strength to coal and gas power stations to provide the vulnerable with the heat that most of us are lucky enough to be able to take for granted. We expect to survive, the vulnerable only hope. I want them to expect.

  37. p.s. in my point 4 above the plots are not working. there is a statement when one searches for specific humidity that some pages are missing and they are working on it.

    I guess one should be copying hot everything that shows disagreement with the AGW models for it to not disappear. The data are there
    http://www.cdc.noaa.gov/cgi-bin/db_search/DBSearch.pl?Variable=Specific+Humidity&Dataset=CDC+Derived+NCEP+Reanalysis+Products+Pressure+Level

    as maps, not as histograms; one has to plot them and I am not up to the new tools for plotting.

  38. Peter S: “Those ‘ugly, motionless windmills popping up all over the countryside’ will be lasting monuments to the stupidity of the current British government. The only pleasure they give me is knowing they’ll be around for years… their rotting hulks reminding those responsible of their own incompetence.”

    Sort of like the Dome! :-D

  39. I sometimes wonder if there’s no hidden agenda somewhere around here.

    This must be the 5th or 6th post on the “incredible” British winter, which was incredible in the sense that it was the usual (20th century like) type of winter.

    Now how comes there’s absolutely nothing said about the Australian heat wave, the numerous temperature, drought factor and low humidity records which were broken? What about the power outages, the deaths related to that heat wave – not even counting fire-related problems? And what about the droughts in South America?

    These phenomena are much more intense and are quite rare (they take place once in a century, typically), so I wonder why…

  40. Anna V; your story exactly parallels mine. I have a degree in experimental physics, and have done a lot of work with critical fluids. I know modelling and their limitations.

    As far as I can see between all the hyperbole there are a few things supporting the CO2 driver hypothesis:

    1) the well known greenhouse effect of CO2 in laboratory settings.
    2) the simultaneous rise of atmospheric CO2 and average global temperature in the 20th century.
    3) GCM outputs supporting the conclusion
    4) long term correlations (among other things the Vostok ice core).

    The way I understand it, the lag between CO2 and temperature in the Vostok ice core is ca 800 year, strongly suggesting that the only reason for the correlation is CO2 dissolving in warmer or colder oceans. This in my opinion discards reason 4) and weakens the whole plausibility of a strong CO2 driver effect.

    The GCM’s in my opinion attempt to do something that is unrealistic given the current knowledge of the whole climate. Solar input into them is limited to the solar constant and that of course is not enough to explain Maunder minima and such. This in itself shows their limits. So point 3) is meaningless as far as I’m concerned.

    Remains 1) and 2) Point 1 is undisputed. However the Vostok core measurements seem to me to be indicating that the effect is not so important in the actual atmosphere, and is probably being masked by for instance biology caused albedo changes, or changes in atmospheric moisture content, or something else. If 1) was very important, one would not see the 800 year Vostok lag.

    Point 2) is therefore in my opinion a correlation, no more, no less. Looking at details in global average measurements we actually don’t see a strong correlation between the continuously rising CO2 and the temperature. The temperature rise has a plateau between ca. 1940 and ’75 whereas the CO2 level was rising all the time. Looking at a correlation between sunspot numbers (averaged over 30 years, a few solar cycles) we see a correlation that is just as good.
    We know from historic data a strong correlation between sunspots and climate (Dalton minimum, Maunder minimum, and all the other minima posted earlier in this thread).

    For these reasons, I am not convinced that CO2 is as important as we’re supposed to believe.

  41. Phil’s Dad, first of all, good on you for checking out what the ‘other side’ has to say. Our ‘Energy Czar’ is on record saying ‘the science is settled’, ‘the evidence is overwhelming’, the ‘tiny number of scientist who disagree’ are a bunch of reactionary old hasbeens etc etc. Hopefully, you will get the message that he is wrong on all counts and let him know he needs to revisit his opinions and reassess the ‘facts’ he based them on.

    It’s understandable that busy policy makers and high officials generally trust the mainstream outlets of public knowledge such as the BBC, IPCC, Journals etc. It’s understandable that they don’t have the time to spend sifting and evaluating all the conflicting information out there on the internet.

    But they need to differentiate between rant-sites, one sided ‘info-sites’, and blogs such as this run by scientifically educated people who want the truth. http://www.climateaudit.org is the premier ‘properly done stats’ site, this site is the science blog of the year site. OK, it has a majority of sceptics, but both sides are heard with the minimum of cat-calling, due to it’s good moderation.

    Sceptics admit mankind doesn’t know enough about climate to rush to judgement. One of the benefits of that is that we are actively investigating all the possibilities, and so have a better chance of working out what’s really going on than those who believe ‘the science is settled’. One of the disbenefits is that we are unable to supply policy makers with neat soundbite packages which have a ring of certainty about them. I have a degree in the history and philosophy of science, and have many case studies of ‘definitely known science’ which has foundered on the rocks of ongoing, changing reality. I also have a HNC in mechanical engineering, and I’m able to see the inadequacies of the systems we currently use to provide the data we interpret.

    Climate science is in it’s infancy, and climate science is far too important to leave to a clique of climatologists who justify their hefty grants by ‘being certain’.

    If climate science is an everest expedition, we’re are still in the internet cafe in Katmandhu, planning the expedition after a couple of failed reconnaissances.

    Stick around and travel the winding path to scientific truth with us.

  42. To answer Steven’s points in order: We don’t, that’s obvious and we don’t, obvious and we don’t, obvious and we don’t.

    What we, the UK (but it applies everywhere I guess) need in a mix of energy sources. That’s what we have. We don’t and wont rely on any one source. Various renewable energy resources add to that mix. I fail to understand the visceral dislike that many here clearly have for what is a obviously sensible way forward.

    Are coal fired power stations beautiful? No, they are dirty, huge and ugly. Are nuclear power stations easy to build? Is dealing with the waste they produce child’s play? No and no. Ok, if we had a command economy we might be able to throw a few new nuclear power stations up in years – but I don’t think anyone want a command economy ‘cos that would be ….socialist (uugghh).

    As to windmills not working if it’s calm, well, what can one do? Show surprise at such a revelation? Is any energy source 100% reliable? Haven’t we had nuclear power stations shut down recently? Do coal fired power station have 100% reliability?

  43. The UK is littered with these monstrous wind turbines many lying idle even when the wind is blowing. Beats me? I have seen the same in northern France when on holiday there. (They seem even bigger but that’s probably an illusion, a bit like AGW).

    To Phil’s Dad, it is all very well hearing another opinion, the issue however is whether one has listened to that viewpoint rather than it merely being heard!!!!!!! Don’t forget the mind is like a parachute, it only works when it is open!

    A trace element in our atmosphere that has (sorry to say again) increased by 1/10000 part of it over 200 years (allegedly) cannot have a significant effect upon that atmosphere, it’s a trace gas & the IPCC acknowledge it. As was pointed out on Joe D’Aleo’s ICECAP who in their right minds produce a “scientific” summary well before the “science” has been completed. It just doesn’t work like that I’m sorry to say! One does the “science” first, then summarise ones conclusion afterwards, that is how ALL good science works. The Danes have found 9500 YO plant matter that when examined contained up to 330ppm atmospheric C02. There are some 90,000 accurate samples of atmospheric C02 taken over 150 years that show levels way above 280ppm. Also the losses incurred when producing ice-cores seem to have been ignored by IPCC. Again it comes down to a certain arrogance to casually dismiss these as insignificant because they don’t fit the picture. I understand that the IPCC looked at a mere 10% of these before dismissing them all, although someone correct me if this is not the case.

    I find it rather arrogant of post-Victorian mankind to think of our ancestors & current primitive cultures that worshipped the Sun, probably for good reason, as ignorant, as it gave warmth & hence life to everything on the planet. I suspect they knew a little more than we dare credit them with. Time & again we see some history programme or such revealing that our ancestors weren’t quite the ignorant peoples we take/took them for, after all they survived long enough to get mankind this far, I wonder what they would make of us?

    BTW & slightly OT, whilst pausing for some tasty cheese on toast for lunch the other day I see the UK History Channel is re-running that brilliant & wonderful programme, Earth Story, with Aubrey Manning. It seems it is unacceptable to re-run it on mainstream channels, although anything produced by Sir David Attenborough highlighting the plight of the planet can be. Can’t wait for the final episode when Mr Manning bangs on about Carbon Dioxide & the Carbon Cycle, & how lifeless this lump of rock would be without its abundance!!!!!!!!!

    Oh & please reassure me that BS stands for Bad Science as I was beginning to worry that standards were dropping!

  44. Peter Hearnden (01:49:16) :
    Is any energy source 100% reliable?

    No, but some are a lot closer to it than others will ever be, until we get a world grid online using superconducting cable.

  45. Steven Goddard (19:24:48) :

    The BBC is at it again – another front page story about global warming from a mathematics professor whom they describe as a “top scientist.”

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/7892992.stm

    This article is at least semi-newsworthy.
    Well just.

    The BBC are desperate for any story about the environment. Anything which can have an alarmist undertone. This headline news article was in the news yesterday afternoon. I could not believe what I was hearing. There was a slight debate at what could have caused this unusual behaviour, but in our hearts we really knew that we were the cause. I felt so guilty.

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/scotland/highlands_and_islands/7894680.stm

    “The incident involving the lamb and the bird of prey was recorded”

    “Other unusual behaviour included an immature golden eagle running along the ground chasing after rabbits. ”

    The incident was recorded!!
    What alarmist twaddle is this?
    Come off it. Sounds like the lamb is going to be arrested.
    The web page displays a picture of the lamb, so if you see it please report it.
    It is easily recognised it has a white fleece and a silly smile.

    Other unusual behaviour!!
    Eagles aren’t stupid; if they are on the ground and there is a free meal about why waste energy and take off.

    Have these people from Scottish Natural Heritage, ever been outside a city?

    I’ve had a Golden Eagle swoop down on my car.
    Now that was unusual behaviour. Yes by me as I was screaming as I had only had the car three weeks.

    I’ve seen Eagles walking/jumping on the ground. Wow!!
    I never reported these incidents.

    Who at the BBC checked this out and thought it newsworthy?

    The BBC has lost it.

  46. Minor point: The UK is very well suited for wave power, it would take far less area than wind (water density is higher..) and waves are much more reliable. While I’m generally in favor of some wind power, the ‘reasonable’ percentage has to stay small since it is not ‘dispatchable’ (fancy word for ‘no wind, no power’ when you need it). Were I the UK energy czar, I’d do about 50% baseload nuke, 35% wave, 25% baseload fossil (coal), and 15% wind / solar. I’d also hold a 25% dispatchable fossil (gas turbine, for example) on cold standby. Yes, that adds to more than 100%. You need excess for unscheduled downtime, scheduled downtime, and lack of dispatch… Add in Russian politics on natural gas and you need a large excess.

    On the subject of models:

    It’s not just the input data in that are ‘cooked’, the models are run ‘on juice’. There is nothing that needs doing for at least 50 years even if CO2 is doing bad things. They deliberately run the models with a ‘too fast’ feedback to get sensational results:

    From “The Skeptical Environmentalist” by Bjorn Lomborg; page 279 discussing the GHG growth rate expressed as CO2 equivalents:

    In the 1980’s the growth rate peaked at 0.76 percent, but since 1990 it has been down to just 0.58 percent. (2292) And again, this is not just pedantic, since an increase of 0.85% doubles the effective CO2 in just 82 years, compared with the 120 years needed by the measured current growth rate. (2293)
    Yet most standard computer simulations use an even higher value for the CO2 increase, namely 1%. (2294) This is done for simplicity and convenience, though the IPCC admit it is “arbitrary” and “on the high side”. (2295) Again, this makes the doubling time of CO2 just below 70 years, compared to the empirical estimate of 120 years.

    Page 280

    The consequence is that the models run way too fast, predicting warming coming almost twice as fast (70 vs 120 years) or, equivalently, predicting much more warming in a given time. (2397) Typically, the models that we are presented with in the press are exactly these sorts of models that run much faster than the IPCC scenario, itself running faster than the observations.

    So you can see that there is no ‘pressing need’. The only thing pressing is the the foot on the electronic ‘go fast’ pedal…

    The Sun: Still snoozing…. no spots again today…

    Finally, per Australia, there is another thread devoted to that topic. It has not been ignored. The scope of the problem has nothing to do with warming and everything to do with poor fuel management behaviours and ‘green’ laws against sane structure protection.

    Heat doesn’t make fires, fuel does. (Wyoming is not exactly a warm climate and Yellowstone still burned.) I fully expect California to burn this summer too. It has every summer for 1/2 century that I personally can attest to… All you need to do is let the people who live there do the things they know how to do to stop the fires from killing them. Don’t expect that politics and laws can change the laws of nature. Clear fuel back from structures and don’t let 25 tons / acre of fuel build up for decades, clear it out. Get the government out of the way of the people.

  47. [i] Robert Wood (18:09:45) :

    Coal is 100% organic.
    Coal is 100% natural.
    Coal is 100% good.[/i]

    And all the shleep stay silent as the lambs, particular on the latter point. Care to tell Robert Wood what poisons are being reintroduced into the active biosphere… such as http://www.sciam.com/article.cfm?id=coal-ash-is-more-radioactive-than-nuclear-waste

    Yes, a few cold winters in the UK and those there still thinking England is the universe declare global cooling. Oddly, as someone noted a whopping drop in 12 months from 2007 to 2008 of 0.6C, inconveniently there was in the following 12 month a rewarming of 0.4C… during a decade of supposed stagnating warming even lowering of the temps… how sad Steve Goddard and his pose is. So what evidence is there that the CO2 pipeline temp signal is not building strength within the weather noise?

  48. “Mike Bryant (18:16:35) :

    The British once ruled the world. Now they are the puppets of European climate busybodies and their own homegrown climate ideologues. Maybe it’s time for a revolution. Or maybe the once great nation will lay down in the snow and die.”

    The reason the ruled the world was they were the first to solve the puzzle of determining accurately their position at sea by developing a time piece that was accurate enough.

    Ironically, perhaps they need more ATOMIC clocks today? ;)

    “PHil’s Dad:
    Which side would that be? In truth I am too ignorant to take sides on this one. The only position I take is that there is a very real, life-threatening, risk in getting it wrong in either direction.”

    This seems to be a common statement these days. Could you explain the “very real, life-threatening, risk” ? We’ve been TOLD about that risk, but I’ve not seen any scientific proof of that risk anywhere, and I believe THAT is the issue?

    JimB

  49. Peter S (18:42:10) :

    Those ‘ugly, motionless windmills popping up all over the countryside’ will be lasting monuments to the stupidity of the current British government.

    I am not too sure if they will be lasting monuments?

    I understand that windmills have a design life of “about twenty five years”.
    So what happens when the twenty five years are up?

    I have looked through a number of documents about wind farms, there is no mention of what is to happen to the windmill at the end of its active life.
    I wonder why?

    Living in southern Scotland we have our share of wind farms with more planned. How nice.

    A close friend of mine is a hill farmer. He and his father were approached about to having wind turbines erected on their farm. There are a number of farms around them with wind turbines. For 25 years they would receive a payment for land use. After the 25 years the turbines would have to come down!!

    Question
    1. Who was responsible for taking the wind turbines down?

    2. Who would clear the site?

    3. Would the rubble be put into land fill?
    If so who would pay?

    As far as my friend was concerned he would be responsible for the clean up.
    I am not sure if he is 100% correct. I am sure that I read that legally windmills need to be removed after twenty five years. I would look forward to any clarification or any references.

  50. “The UK has been experiencing the coldest winter in several decades”

    That’s simply a lie. Of course, ~snip~ do not question claims that fit in with their beliefs. That is one of the ways to spot a ~snip~.

  51. Sekerob (02:51:16) :
    So what evidence is there that the CO2 pipeline temp signal is not building strength within the weather noise?

    What evidence is there that intergalactic firebreathing dragons aren’t going to swoop in from planet zorg next year and toast us all?

    A co2 doubling may lift temps 1.85C or so. We’ve had 0.8C from 260ppm to 380ppm so far. Lets see whether the rate of increase of atmospheric co2, which has dropped recently, is sustained while natural variation overpowers the enhanced greenhouse effect. Before we start getting alarmed.

  52. britain has a large coast line, could we use wave power or tidal power? we need a mix of choices here, not just coal or oil,or gas,or nuclear. Think of it like a diet; if you eat just chocolate, you miss the spinach eventually.I think.(goes to eat more chocolate)

  53. Phil’s Dad-

    I’ve been feeding in to UK energy policy (at times on behalf of another government agency to what was the DETR) for over twenty years, monitoring all the consultation documents and their results in government policy. Since the Royal Commission report ‘Energy and Climate’ our policy has been driven by the IPCC dogma – without a single decent critical review (as for example, the US National Academy of Sciences did in 2001). Its hard to find the words to describe the ineptitude. Firstly, the policy has been ‘supply side’ oriented on the assumption that energy demand will for ever increase, and ‘demand side’ policies avoided -presumably because some very large energy businesses would suffer.

    A single act of reducing motorway speed limits to 65mph and enforcing them, and 55mph on all other roads, with a 50mph enforced limit on trucks and vans, would have saved more than all the wind turbines combined. The Royal Commission recommended micro-generation and a decentralised grid – yet these technologies are not being furthered. Instead a 2000MW gas plant is scheduled for Pembroke and a series of new 1000+ GW nukes.

    Wind is being pushed – despite the need for subsidies – it is about 3x the cost of gas or coal, but solar is 10x, wave would be similarly expensive. We lose a landscape, divide communities and give people the impression something is being done – and so they simply use more ‘renewable’ energy.

    Further – when companies that have both wind and coal/gas stations get the credits for wind, they can sell them on the European market, thus allowing more carbon dioxide to be emitted elsewhere by dirty companies eager not to have the expense of curbing their emisisons!!!

    The policy is destructive of crucial elements of sustainability – rural life, biodiversity, landscape beauty – but these do not count when measured against the bureaucratic policy targets of the EU (and IPCC).

    The really sad thing is that NONE of these renewable energy or other carbon reduction strategies can have ANY effect on climate (even within the IPCC model) until well-past 2050. And if IPCC are wrong (which they surely are) then they will be all for nothing in terms of making the world a safer place.

    What we do need is a steady transition to a future of increasing population stress on resources, especially food, higher oil costs and depleting supply, and a climate that may cool just as much as it may warm. We need to build resilience.

    This is standard thinking in ecological policy areas but it does not penetrate the wonkers in energy policy who are technology oriented and overly influenced by the interests of big energy corporations.

    Its great that you are listening to the debate we are having on climate mechanisms, but sensible policy assumes uncertainty and looks for no-regrets options – things that will be of benefit whichever way the climate turns.

    And for all you coal freaks….some stations in the UK burn about 4 million tonnes a year. Lead, cadmium, mercury, uranium, thorium….occur in parts per million in coal and a lot gets past the filters – that’s tonnes of highly toxic metals into the atmosphere. It mostly drifts and rains down on the sea, where it is absorbed by the sea surface microlayer. Pipette a few square metres of this oily layer into your tropical fish tank and watch the fish die.

    Coal is not clean or green. Gas and oil will run out. Nuclear generates waste – and look again at Harrisburg – if the containment had fractured, Pennsylvania would be a nature reserve just like the vast area downwind of Chernobyl. Biofuels – there isn’t enough land, unless you do what Chinese sovereign funds are doing and buy it from peasants elsewhere – like 1.3 million acres of Madagascar.

    The answer is to lower consumption and accept a contracting physical economy. Nobody knows how to do that and maintain stability and a decent cooperative lifestyle. Maybe that will come only after a prolonged economic downturn has set the collective mind onto another track.

  54. What I would like to see is an audited account of the role of wind power here in the UK in the winter months of 2008-2009.

    Specifically the installed capacity on Dec 1 2008
    The available capacity on Dec 1 2008
    The percentage of installed capacity that the windmills contributed for Dec 2008, Jan 2009 and Feb 2009.
    The percentage of total power use contributed by wind this winter
    The available capacity on Mar 1 2009
    The true cost per unit of wind power delivered this winter.
    Comparison costs of Coal, UK Nuclear, imported French Nuclear, Oil and Gas per unit delivered.

    I believe that these figures would go a long way towards demonstrating the usefulness, (or lack thereof), of wind power as a supplement to UK power generation.

    If anyone here is internet savvy enough and politically/economically connected enough to dig out these figures, it would be a very useful exercise.

    The Energy providers can sell Carbon Credits on the basis of the amount of CO2 ‘saved’ by providing ‘renewable’ energy, so the figures should be available.

  55. Similar to the UK, here in Michigan as well as much of the Great Lakes area, along with the Northern Plains and Northern New England states, have experienced one of the coldest January’s in decades.

    Along this subject, I came across something very interesting to note with regards to the Arbor Day Foundation’s new “global warming adjusted” tree planting zones. It is highly possible, that due to these changes, the Arbor Day Foundation could actually be killing trees.

    If people used the updated “global warming adjusted” planting zones issued in 2006 to select varieties of trees to plant here in the Northern USA, chances are pretty high, that many of those trees could have winter killed this winter. So its possible that the Arbor Day Foundation, might actually be killing trees with its “global warming propaganda”.

    “New arborday.org Hardiness Zone Map reflects warmer climate
    Latest hardiness zones, based on most current temperature data available, suggest up-to-date choices for best trees to plant

    “Nebraska City, Neb. – Much of the United States has been warmer in recent years, and that affects which trees are right for planting.

    “Based on the latest comprehensive weather station data, The Arbor Day Foundation has just released a new 2006 arborday.org Hardiness Zone Map which separates the country into ten different temperature zones to help people select the right trees to plant where they live.

    The new map reflects that many areas have become warmer since 1990 when the last USDA hardiness zone map was published.

    The new 2006 arborday.org Hardiness Zone Map is consistent with the consensus of climate scientists that global warming is underway.

    In response to requests for up-to-date information, the Arbor Day Foundation developed the new zones based on the most recent 15 years’ data available from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s 5,000 National Climatic Data Center cooperative stations across the United States. Hardiness zones are based on average annual low temperatures using 10 degree increments.

    http://www.arborday.org/media/zonechanges2006.cfm

    http://www.arborday.org/media/map_change.cfm

    P.S. Anthony, this might make a great story for your website. Feel free to use it if you want.

  56. “Just want truth… (21:32:49) :
    and in South America it’s been 3 years.”
    correction, 2, not 3

  57. Rachel (03:29:48) :
    “The UK has been experiencing the coldest winter in several decades”
    That’s simply a lie. Of course, ~snip~ do not question claims that fit in with their beliefs. That is one of the ways to spot a ~snip~.

    It most simply is not a lie Rachel, what are you basing your claim on? Even the Met Office accept that it has been the coldest winter for at least a decade (and that was at the beginning of February)
    http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/corporate/pressoffice/2009/pr20090130.html

  58. Peter Taylor,

    what you are advocating is a return to middle age and the elimination of half the world population. hrard that plan before but is not so popular, expecially with those who will have to go.

    “Nuclear generates waste – and look again at Harrisburg – if the containment had fractured, Pennsylvania would be a nature reserve just like the vast area downwind of Chernobyl”
    do you know the amount of high level radioactive waste produced by a 1 GW nuclear power station in one year, after reprocessing? do you know the pro capita amount of high level radioactive waste if all energy was produced with nuclear? do the maths, you will be surprised.

    it is true that coal is not clean. i would surely go for nuclear on a large scale; is cheap, safe, and virtually unlimited, using the right technology. chernobyl cannot be used to demonstrate nuclear is unsafe, the same as a brakeless bus driven by a drunk monkry can be used to demonstrate the dangers of transport.
    nuke dont produce CO2 (not that i believe CO2 is a problem) so why environmentalists dont wont it?

  59. E.M.Smith makes a good point about wave power. As we’re a small island, we’re surrounded by sea water and it would make good sense to harness it.

    IIRC, we have companies working on developing viable wave solutions, but our government doesn’t seem to be engaging with them. The last I heard (a good year or more back) was that Spain had bought into the UK companies’ technology, but the UK gov were dragging their heals. Maybe the tech isn’t ready yet? I don’t know. I would like to hear more about it though.

    Insulation is also a very good, cheap way of keeping warm and saving energy. Why waste it? It saves money!

  60. Oh NO! Harsh winter means more climate change than expected. We are all spinning out of control. Now you will have Hurricanes in the Atlantic and Typhoons in the Pacific! You may even have some of them strike land. Buffalo will get snow and next thing you are going to tell me is the sun will shine 250+ days a year in south florida! Oh NO!

  61. We often get prolongued periods of cold, foggy & windless weather here, making these damned windmills less than useless.
    Their optimum windspeed is 33mph, upland UK average is 22mph, lowland a mere 11mph.
    Looking out of my window today, shows a view of a cool, damp, cloudy Lincolnshire day, with scarcely a breath of wind.
    The stats for windpower’s contribution to the UK’s power output are out there somewhere.
    One letter published in The Daily Telegraph, noted a mere 0.5% contribution during the cold period at the start of January.
    With respect to wave power, one supposes that the issue is where to put these generators so that they won’t interfere with shipping and how to prevent marine growth fouling them, if this is shown to significantly reduce their efficiency.
    There is a 1.4% increase in mortality, for every 1C reduction in temperature below 18C, each 1C reduction in winter average air temperature leads to 5,000 excess deaths nationally.
    http://www.networks.nhs.uk/uploads/cold%20illness%20admission%20and%20winter%20mortality%20W%20Yorks%20presentation.ppt
    Cold costs us too, another Telegraph article noted a £1.5 billion cost to the UK’s economy due to the unusually cold period we’ve experienced as of late.
    We certainly do need to insulate our houses better, whether it is to keep warm in winter (The period between about September & July!) or cool in Summer (Occurs for a week in May, then a few days in July and August).

  62. Flanagan,

    Are you suggesting that a spell of hot summer weather in South Australia and New South Wales would somehow be helpful in keeping England warm, or that it negates the Met Office’s incorrect above average winter forecast for the UK? Interesting seeing your thought process in action. It would be helpful if you tried reading my articles with an open mind and actually thought about what I am saying.

    Rachel,

    You might want to read today’s paper before making accusations.

    UK NEWS
    GLOBAL WARMING? ITS THE COLDEST WINTER IN DECADES

    http://www.express.co.uk/posts/view/35266/Global-warming-It-s-the-coldest-winter-in-decades

  63. Paul S “Rachel, also reports out of China for their coldest winter in 100 years…” that article is from last year.

  64. Good article from Australia today

    Melbourne did in fact have a hotter day before, four years before the Bureau of Meteorology started officially recording temperatures.

    As the Argus newspaper reported at the time, the temperature on February 6, 1851, soared to 47.2C, helping to superheat the fires that then roared across 10 times more land than was burned last week.

    AND despite claims that global warming is now heating this land like never before, Victoria’s highest recorded temperature is still the 50.7C measured in Mildura 103 years ago.

    South Australia’s is also 50.7C, recorded 49 years ago. NSW’s is the 50C of 70 years ago. Queensland’s is the 49.5C of 37 years ago. Not much recent warming obvious there.

    That’s the problem with this cherrypicking of one day of weather

    in one place. It proves nothing except the desperation of the preachers who try to fool you.

    In fact, Melbourne started this summer with snow in the mountains, and January’s average temperatures were the coolest for the month in five years.

    Meanwhile the US state of Maine has just recorded its coldest ever temperature, and Britain is suffering a winter so unusually severe that its National Pensioners Conference has fears one in 12 pensioners could die.

    What counts is not some local freak of weather but the global trend — and what NASA’s Aqua satellites have detected is that the world has not warmed for a decade.

    http://www.news.com.au/heraldsun/story/0,21985,25070103-5000117,00.html

  65. Thank you one and all – keep it coming

    Lots of these comments deserve answers but I will limit myself to one for now.

    JimB: asks
    Could you explain the “very real, life-threatening, risk” ?

    There are risks to both sides but for now I will concentrate on the risk of limiting energy in order to slow the growth in CO2.

    Until aneutronic fusion or some other clean technology can provide cheap, unlimited, fine grain, distributed power; “life as we know it” depends on hydrocarbon combustion. This will be increasingly so for the people of developing countries who do not currently enjoy “life as we know it”.

    Africa for example is home to getting on for a billion people. Only 10% have regular energy supplies. Nor is it evenly distributed. In some African countries 95% go without.

    Instead many spend their time gathering grass, dung and, where available, wood for cooking and heating. Four million die each year from the lung infections that result. W.H.O. figures indicate that this is forty times higher than the number of smoking-related deaths. The greatest effect is felt by women and children.

    Without the power to pump clean water, what can be found is carried home, often from distant lakes and rivers. Tainted water and spoiled, unrefrigerated, food cause intestinal diseases that kill another two million annually. These things alone are killing numbers equivalent to the population of London or New York, every year, as a direct result of the absence of practical, affordable energy. Right now “practical, affordable” means hydrocarbons.

    To set this in context; the most major of the world wide environmental initiatives to date, the Kyoto Protocol, would apparently keep two million people from going hungry by the end of the century. A third of the number that will die, this year, from lack of energy.

    Other environmental initiatives have actually made matters worse. In recent years the colossal increase in bio-fuel crops, which effectively put food into cars, drove up food prices. The World Bank states that this has driven at least 30 million more people into hunger.

    I am very much aware that politics is in large part responsible for what I have described above. As such I am clear that we must not make matters worse still with more politics. To those who say we must reduce world energy consumption as a route to reducing CO2; I would ask them to consider that unnecessarily limiting or withholding energy damages peoples’ lives and, in some cases, takes those lives away. By all means let us develop low carbon, high energy economies but please not low carbon, low energy.

    By all means secure energy supplies by developing local alternatives to imported oil and gas. Do not under any circumstances waste resources. But before suggesting that developed nations reduce their energy usage – please take a long hard look at countries that are low energy today.

    It is not sufficient to say “we will do this because of what might happen in the future if we don’t” when we know full well ‘what will happen if we do’ could be every bit as bad or even worse.

    To put it harshly, do we let someone die now on the off chance we might save someone later? You need to be very sure of your ground before making that sort of decision. You can’t just accept the consensus.

    So I am listening, with an open mind, to both sides and adjusting policy as I learn more. But I am by no means able to say “one side is 100% wrong and the other 100% right”. I hope I never am because that would be when I stop listening.

  66. Peter Hearnden (05:58:22) :
    Paul S “Rachel, also reports out of China for their coldest winter in 100 years…” that article is from last year.

    Rachels blatent dismissal of facts had frustrated me. I didn’t read the date on this one, my apologies. However, I think it is still relevant in that it is reflecting recent cooler temperatures in other parts of the world.

  67. I think home backup power generators are a great investment opportunity for the coming years. As the USA blunders away from cheap, reliable sources of power to expensive, unreliable and experimental sources, people are going to want to have some way to keep the lights on.

  68. If water vapor is so important to the co2 positive forcing cycle how could a temperature increase in a dry area like southern Australia be caused by AGW?
    I have an image of the sun beating down on the Australian bush where little water exists to provide evaporative cooling. This is the classic desert model.

    If the world is warming from the Little Ice Age even without AGW wouldn’t we expect high temperature records to be set each year?

  69. I read comments concerning Australia’s heat wave, and at least one person pointed out that it was indeed a “heat wave.”

    My observation for Summer ’08 in the Northern Hemisphere was that it was the mildest and most pleasant Summer I can remember. My wife and I had a deck built that Spring which required a new door that faces West. I had concerns about a West facing door. We live in Arkansas (USA) and all of the nastiest storms come from the West due to the jet stream. Well, we left that door open for most of the year and only ran the AC for a few hours per day. Y’all I can’t remember ever doing that before. And the breeze! The fresh breeze that blew all through the house with windows and doors open.

    Why say all this? Well, during that Summer we also had a “heat wave” where the temperatures flirted with three digits. It lasted for almost 2 weeks. The humidity shot sky high, too. We shut the doors, closed the windows and cranked up the AC. I remember saying to my wife, “Well, we had it good while it lasted but Summer is finally here.” Then the heat wave ended, the temperature dropped back down, the doors and windows opened back up, and the AC was shut off for nearly 20 hours a day. Sure, we had some hot days ever now and again, but it was mostly pleasant.

    One heat wave does not a Hades make.

  70. For all the energy efficency supporters out there… “Save Energy, insulate your Attic!, Energy Star Compliant Appliances save you Money!, Replace those leaky Windows and Doors that are taking money right out of your pocket”

    Does any of this sound familiar?

    It should they are from the 1970s and early eighties. The notion that most homes are not insulated is green myth number 172. I worked as a home energy consultant and insulation installer in the early eighties, we retrofitted thousands of homes in that period with new windows and insulation.

    The company I worked for is still in business today, doing the same thing with newer technologies, the notion that people do not update their homes is rather irritating to me because of the giant industry it represents, fully mature, and there is not a NEW GREEN JOB doing this work because it is a mature sector of the economy, it is NOT NEW!. Propaganda, plain and simple!

  71. Phil’s Dad:
    “In any event I would not use global warming as an excuse for any of it. Even the most strident warming alarmist would claim that extreme weather events are more likely not less. ”

    Of course they would. Increasingly, the only method left to keep up the myth of warming is to combine

    older short-term warming data,
    recent rectal-data warming claims, and
    current obvious cooling trends into

    “see, weather is getting more extreme (and will continue to get more so), that’s the man-made climate change”. That’s the new line of propaganda from full-time alarmists through media to politicians.

    Thus, with all due respect, with the above quote, you actually sound a bit like a semi-Kool-aid drinker.

  72. In recent years the colossal increase in bio-fuel crops, which effectively put food into cars, drove up food prices. The World Bank states that this has driven at least 30 million more people into hunger.

    The World Bank has not a clue what it is talking about. The rising cost of food was driven by energy costs for transportation and packaging, and speculation in commodities as money ran away from other markets like mortgaged backed securities and a sliding stock market as the world economy began to crater following the huge jumps in energy costs. (by the way in real terms grain was more expensive in the 1970’s than it was at the peak of the recent price spike).

    The actual cost of the corn in a box of corn flakes was at the time about 5 cents a box, which cost $3.89 a box, even if you doubled the cost of corn the cost of the product due to the grain content would only go up about 1%.
    The rising cost of rice and other grains was also driven by growth in china, which encouraged Asian countries to plant rubber trees in place of rice to feed its industrial growth.

    Even in the case of corn to ethanol, the corn used is not the same corn used for human consumption, it is feed corn raised to feed animals and for other industrial uses. The ethanol production process only uses the starch component of the corn and leaves all the nutrients and protein untouched in the Dried Distillers Grain and Solubles by product, which is in turn still fed to live stock as a high protein feed supplement. (The DDGS actually has more nutritional value than the original corn due to the supplementation provided by the yeast used in producing the alcohol).
    In short ethanol from grain actually produces more food value than the original grain if properly used in a sustainable partnership with livestock growers.

    Food for fuel was an intentional disinformation program to use bioenergy as a scape goat to hide price gouging and attempts to force feed grain prices down to subsidized prices instead of fair market value.

    Larry

  73. Tom in Texas “For some reason, those windmills remind me of Easter Island”…A sad feeling indeed!: Lonely faces uselessly watching the horizon searching for lost friendly faces…
    Hope not these windmills will be find by an archeologist of the future studying the Global Warming “Cargo-Cult”in that remote island once called Britain.

  74. 3) Britain can’t rely on wind power to stay warm in the winter. During the coldest weather the winds were calm (which is one reason why the air temperatures were so low.)

    I would add.

    5) Britain can’t rely on wind power to stay cool in the summer. During the hottest weather the winds are calm (which is one reason why the air temperatures are so high.)

    Talking of wind turbines, we have a few near where I live.

    I was driving past early last week & one was turning despite there being no wind. The blades were aligned with the plane of the disc & it was being driven by the motor/generator as they have to do to stop distortion of shafts.

    I wonder how much power they consume as opposed to generate!

    DaveE.

  75. hotrod (08:34:03) :
    “In short ethanol from grain actually produces more food value than the original grain if properly used in a sustainable partnership with livestock growers.”
    …unless of course the livestock growers, which are necessarily separate entities from the corn growers due to a stupid law (a subsisdy requirement?), can get subsidized regular corn for their livestock cheaper than the ethanol leftovers. How does this work? Are these people, or are they not, in a “sustainable partnership “?

    More importantly, it still drives up (Diesel and thus transported goods) prices when you take a gallon of Diesel fuel out of the general supply and use a pile of corn and subsidies to turn it into little more than a gallon’s worth of gasoline substitute.

  76. I bet they can count on warming a lot of their interiors with heat energy saved by fixing up those godawful drafty places that are found everywhere in the UK!

  77. Hi steven,

    no, what I’m suggesting is that you tend to have a natural emphasis toward “cold news”, whatever their intrinsic interest or frequency. And after that, people here are shocked when hearing that the global temperature anomaly is going up month after month. And why is the “coldest winter in several decades” now becoming “the coldest winter of the last decade”?

    I understand that NH is something more “interesting” to you, but I can’t see how you jump from “this winter has been cold” to “we have to abandon sustainable energies”.

  78. MartinGAtkins (08:15:53) :
    Central England January temps 1979-2009 graph.

    This pretty much confirms what the Met Office were saying, coolest in 13 years.

  79. Flanagan,

    Who said anything about “we have to abandon sustainable energies?” That was your comment.

    I meant exactly what I said in the article. Nothing more and nothing less.

  80. Come on, now.
    Coal is terrible for the environment. All along its life cylce, it is damaging to the environment, from extraction to transport to burning to dealing with the residual.
    Look past the overblown GHG nonsense and witness the environmental toxification coal power causes. Any way you burn it, coal is bad for ecology and health.

  81. “In short ethanol from grain actually produces more food value than the original grain if properly used in a sustainable partnership with livestock growers.”

    Jive. Ethanol is burnable filler in our Otto engines. Mileage decreases in direct proportion to ethanol content. I’ve proven this with multiple vehicles and fuel grades for myself.

    Moreover, the corn belt will see decreased degree days over the coming 30 years with PDO and soon AMO negative. It was a short-lived farm subsidy scam. Originally, they called it adding oxygen to the fuel as a green marketing ploy.

    Aldehyde pollution in areas prone to thermal inversion, like LA, will blow even this putative benefit away.

  82. According to the MET Office, this past winter in the UK was actually much warmer than an average winter of Charles Dicken’s childhood. They inadvertantly made the case that it could get much worse.

  83. >Britain can’t rely on global warming to stay warm in the winter.

    Britain is a cold place in winter. It will take a good 10C of warming before it has warm winters. By then sea level will be near 70m higher or nearly so, the tropics will be uninhabitable and we will be fighting between us for real estate in the Arctic and Antarctic.

    Also.. lets not get carried away with England. It not been particularly cold (it more that previous winters have been unusually warm http://ds.data.jma.go.jp/tcc/tcc/products/climate/monthly/TanmMIn0901.gif ), and the northern hemisphere has been very warm overall (http://junkscience.com/MSU_Temps/NHeman.html) and http://junkscience.com/MSU_Temps/Warming_Look.html .

  84. 1. The place for wind energy generation is where it is WINDY. Those places are;
    a. Western Scotland and the Western Isles
    b. The Lake District.
    c. North Wales.

    Even there it’s not windy ALL the time, but when the weather is foul (and August – February is fairly windy most years) this can be useful in provided a significant part of energy needs for those parts of the country.

    2. Coal – we have masses of it and masses of unemployed people. Seems a no-brainer, doesn’t it?

    3. Hydro-electric is also justifiable where it RAINS A LOT and there are MOUNTAINS. We’ve already got quite a bit of that in Wales and Scotland.

    4. Wave could work in the Bristol channel, but it’ll be a while before it’s economic.

    However, building houses properly is the key. I’ve lived in Europe where it is colder in winter and hotter in summer and they know how to build houses properly. We don’t. Or if we do, we won’t. The next 50 years should be about replacing poor quality housing stock with high quality energy-efficient houses.

    In the meantime, I agree that insulation is the key.

  85. Ethanol is a mixed bad. As hotrod mentioned the statements blaming the food shortage on ethanol are way overstated. Whether ethanol is a “good” choice for energy is a separate question.

    I don’t like any subsidies and that is the only thing making ethanol viable. Hopefully, future bio-fuels, like algae, will be able to exist on their own. I still like the idea of trapping coal plant emissions and feeding the CO2 to vertical algae farms. All that is is basic recycling.

    I believe improved recycling and continued technological improvements make coal a good energy source. It appears some people think we can’t reduce emissions or do anything other than shut them down. That idea is essentially anti-scientific as we’ve always improved these kind of things in the past.

    This is kind of a common theme among warmers. Ignore the potential for technology to solve any problems.

  86. Again, to soothe the troubled of mind….

    According to Met Office data, during the last 100 years January temperatures in the UK declined for the first 50 years, and then recovered for the last 50 years. Recent warm winters were no warmer than they were 100 years ago. The warmest January on Record in the UK was 1916.
    http://spreadsheets.google.com/ccc?key=pj0h2MODqj3jEcwSEOBk-PA&hl=en
    http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/climate/uk/seriesstatistics/uktemp.txt

    At current rates, it will take about 21,000 years for sea level to rise 70 meters, which is considerably less than it rose over the last 21,000 years.

  87. So what evidence is there that the CO2 pipeline temp signal is not building strength within the weather noise?

    So once again we are asked to prove a negative. Nice try.

    What evidence is there that “the CO2 pipeline temp signal is …building strength within the weather noise?”

  88. There are two serious sources of energy that IMHO are capable of being harvested very economically and are highly suited to the UK – kite wind power and tidal power. We’ve got material on this on the rest of our website, and would have developed a lot more last year but I was so mad at the unseen hijacking of Climate Science, that I did a skeptics primer instead – click my name.

    Kite Jetstream Wind Power – this reaches right up into the constant jetstream, is FAR more efficient than windmills, is far less visible too, and is apparently highly suitable for UK and Holland. Watch the video.

    Tidal power – there are many different forms being developed now; of especial interest to us are the tidal reef (Bristol Channel) and the tidal flow turbine (needs strong local current, not Bristol Channel)

  89. DJ (12:19:42) :

    >Britain can’t rely on global warming to stay warm in the winter.

    “Britain is a cold place in winter. It will take a good 10C of warming before it has warm winters. By then sea level will be near 70m higher or nearly so, the tropics will be uninhabitable and we will be fighting between us for real estate in the Arctic and Antarctic”.

    DJ,
    You will not live the day for this scenario to happen.
    It’s filed under F = Fantasy

  90. JP (11:53:07) :
    According to the MET Office, this past winter in the UK was actually much warmer than an average winter of Charles Dicken’s childhood. They inadvertantly made the case that it could get much worse.

    Charles Dickens, 7 February 1812 – 9 June 1870. Didn’t he live during the LIA? (1450 AD to about 1850 AD) Another quantitative statement made by the Met Office!

  91. Flanagan (09:33:56) :
    no, what I’m suggesting is that you tend to have a natural emphasis toward “cold news”, whatever their intrinsic interest or frequency.

    I suspect that it is because the whole premise behind AGW is that the world is warming, caused by man, CO2 is cited as the primary driver behind the warming, catastrophically, BUT there is a lot of real world evidence that suggests CO2 is not the primary driver, but it looks like natural influence is. When cold events go against the “warming” then I think there is more of a tendency to publish them than warming events, which is covered by the MSM.

    Know I know your response will be something along the lines of “weather events are not climate” but given the above reasoning, I would hope that you will understand why these cold events are more published here than warming events.

  92. The first claim made in the article is a lie. The one attempt to argue that point seemed to think that the weather in China was relevant to the claim, and that ‘at least a decade’ was the same thing as ‘several decades’. Sorry, but that isn’t going to win any arguments.

    The claim is an outright lie, and this obviously makes the rest of the article quite worthless.

    Reply: As noted above, the article is a year old. Let’s all tone down the anger please ~ charles the moderator

  93. Sorry to correct those of you who think England has traditionally cold winters – Only on Christmas cards!

    England has mostly mild winters where temps rarely go below freezing – due to the effects of the big old ocean which you are never very far away from.

    This year we recorded the lowest ever temp in my fathers greenhouse -12C. The thermometer has been there for 30 years.
    Not only that but my shop bought antifreeze can (the stuff you defrost your windows with) froze solid (supposedly good to -15) and that was weeks before the recent snowfalls.

    I am in my mid 40s and the only time I remember a weather as severe as this was in my teens when we had blizzards – but we had nothing like the low temps that we have seen this winter.

    Scotland has lower temps and snow regularly but South West England – nope!

  94. Rachel (13:52:35) :
    The one attempt to argue that point seemed to think that the weather in China was relevant to the claim

    Granted. I have already conceded that point.

    and that ‘at least a decade’ was the same thing as ’several decades’.

    My point here is that event the MET office, aka the Hadley Centre, prominent advocates of AGW conceded that this winter has been the coolest in at least 13 years. I was actually being conservative with this in that I didn’t choose reports from newspapers claiming decades when the UK’s most prominent climate centre is being more cautious in its reporting.

    The claim is an outright lie

    Once again, this is not an outright lie. What are you basing your claim on?

  95. Rachel,

    There is no discussion in the article about China. Someone else posted a link about China in the comment section. A bit bizarre of you to offer that as evidence the article is incorrect.

    Take a deep breath. I think you are hyperventilating.

  96. Rachel,

    You might want to read today’s paper before making accusations.

    UK NEWS
    GLOBAL WARMING? ITS THE COLDEST WINTER IN DECADES

    http://www.express.co.uk/posts/view/35266/Global-warming-It-s-the-coldest-winter-in-decades

    This looks to be an article from 2008 – not this year.

    The 2008/09 winter (Dec-Jan-Feb) in the UK will likely end up the coldest since 1995/96 (i.e. 13 years). Winter in the NH, in general, has not been cold. On the contrary it’s been warmer than normal.

  97. It makes no difference if the UK winter was the coldest in 13, 20 or 30 years. We won’t know for a few weeks and it has absolutely no bearing on the conclusions of the article. Those who feel the need to distract with irrelevant drivel are not doing a service to anyone. Read again.

    1. Britain can’t rely on global warming to stay warm in the winter.
    2. Britain can’t rely on solar power to stay warm in the winter. There just isn’t enough sun (which is why it is cold in the winter.)
    3. Britain can’t rely on wind power to stay warm in the winter. During the coldest weather the winds were calm (which is one reason why the air temperatures were so low.)
    4. Britain can’t rely on Russian natural gas to stay warm. The gas supply was cut off for weeks due to politics.

  98. And I again add…

    5) Britain can’t rely on wind power to stay cool in the summer. During the warmest weather the winds are calm (which is one reason why the air temperatures are so high.)

    Dave.

  99. Phil’s Dad (06:13:17) :

    I may have misunderstood where you are coming from. I may have got off on the wrong foot. The reason I did is because of your use of the word “weather” in reference to what is happening recently in the UK. My apologies.

    You may not be aware but the word “weather” has been used by those on one side of this issue every time an event in weather anywhere in the world isn’t aligned with “global warming”. For example, the record cold in the US four weeks ago, where record cold temperatures were broken by 6 degrees (F) in some cities is called “weather” by them. Another example, the record heat (which, apparently, isn’t a record (thanks Steve)) in Australia with the terrible fires is “climate” and not “weather” for them.

    So when you used the word “weather” it set off a red flag for me–a premature red flag, as it turns out.

    Please consider that manmade carbon may not need to be reduced at all. I absolutely agree that pollution should always be reduced. But co2 is not a pollutant.

    Also, new trees don’t need to be planted anywhere in the world to absorb “excess” co2 man is producing. Existing plant life is more than capable of using up any co2 man could possibly produce–and would thrive for doing so.

    By the way, THANK YOU for caring what is happening in Africa!

  100. Flanagan (00:16:50) :

    Now how comes there’s absolutely nothing said about the Australian heat wave, the numerous temperature, drought factor and low humidity records which were broken?

    I think you need to spend more time reading here and less time posting.

  101. I follow the heating-degree days for the U.S., primarily because it is readily available and posted weekly from NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center.

    From those data, thus far the winter 08-09 has been 4.6 percent colder than last year, and 1.9 percent warmer than the long-term normal, which is 1971-2000 I believe.

    But the cold / warm is not evenly distributed, as the southwest states are warmer (California is about 10 percent warmer than normal), and the midwest states are colder. Even Alaska is colder than normal by 3.6 percent, and 9.8 percent colder than last winter.

    Regarding windmills:

    U.K. has a relatively small land mass, and has the inherent problem with windmills – a large area is needed so that the wind is blowing somewhere all the time. Wave power systems do work, as can be found from the eere website. They are still expensive, though. It might be better in the U.K. to investigate power from ocean currents; these are slow but very powerful. Ocean currents appear to have very little care about air temperature or wind speeds.

    California windmills do indeed generate power, on average about 5 to 6 hours per day. Data is available from the California Energy Commission website.

    For those who advocate nuclear power, one might first want to consider the price per kwh for such power. Recent cost studies and published cost estimates show construction costs of $7 to $8 billion U.S. per 1,000 MW. Plus, the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission yesterday announced that it has increased the design strength required for new nuclear plants, such that the plant can withstand an impact from a large commercial aircraft. And not just the containment dome, but also the reactor cooling system, and the spent fuel storage area. This change likely will increase construction costs by 10 to 20 percent, perhaps much more if the cooling tower is required to withstand such an impact. The required price for nuclear-generated power from a new plant is now approximately $0.28 to $0.35 per kwh. That level of price can be absorbed over a large population if nuclear power is a small fraction of the total power. It gets expensive in a hurry over small populations and large fractions of the total power.

    Finally, I attended our monthly meeting of chemical engineers last night, and the subject of global warming came up. No surprise! To a man, and there were roughly 20 there, every one declared the AGW due to CO2 and the other Kyoto Protocol gases to be a complete fabrication. These are not idiots, but highly educated and intelligent men with decades of experience. The level of data acquisition, manipulation, modeling, conclusions drawn, and other such maneuvering in the AGW world are well-known to them and are dismissed as rubbish. They used rather more colorful language.

    As Dr. Pierre Latour showed in his recent letters to Hydrocarbon Processing, there is no way CO2 can be the cause of either warming or cooling. None. These are the men who design, run, and operate the refineries and chemical plants that make modern life possible. If there were betting odds on the IPCC or the chemical engineers being right, my money would be on the chemical engineers.

  102. Roger Sowell (19:32:30) :

    “As Dr. Pierre Latour showed in his recent letters to Hydrocarbon Processing, there is no way CO2 can be the cause of either warming or cooling. None.”

    This is astonishing!

  103. Just want truth,

    Thank you for your kind words. I have a few raw nerves myself, mainly around democracy and the EU but that is not for this blog.

    Thanks also to tallbloke for understanding and to the many who provided useful snippets of information.

    In particular I will follow up on wave, tidal, current power. I feel a song coming on. Something about Britain and Waves!

  104. Steven Goddard (08:52:25) :

    Your graph of UK January temperatures was carefully cherry picked.

    Please don’t accuse me of doing anything so amateurish. All my graphs start at the time that satellite data became available, for comparative reasons.

    If a particular time span was being discussed then I would have posted the relevant graph.

  105. As Dr. Pierre Latour showed in his recent letters to Hydrocarbon Processing, there is no way CO2 can be the cause of either warming or cooling. None.

    Is there is a online link to these letters?

  106. Phil’s Dad (20:46:58) :

    Thanks also to tallbloke for understanding and to the many who provided useful snippets of information.

    In particular I will follow up on wave, tidal, current power. I feel a song coming on. Something about Britain and Waves!

    For tidal power google strangford lough turbine.

    Just because I understand why policy makers haven’t cottoned onto the Club of Rome UN/IPCC fraud doesn’t mean I won’t come tossing bricks through parliament’s windows if they don’t wise up. ;-)

    Key facts to take away:
    1) Rises and falls in atmospheric co2 follow rises and falls in temperature at all timescales. Rises and falls in co2 levels are therefore an effect, not a cause of climate change. Climate change? The climate has always changed!
    2) The Sahara was green and lush 6000 years ago when temperatures and co2 levels were higher than now. We are near a 500 million year low in co2 levels and plants like it higher.
    3) The IPCC report’s executive summaries are selective, and were not reviewed by scientists. Many IPCC reviewers have jumped ship. One had to threaten legal action to get his name removed.
    4) Stephen Schneider (lead IPCC author) and Tony Blair are both Club of Rome members. http://www.green-agenda.org
    5) There will be something like 30,000 excess deaths due to cold in the UK this winter. Next winter will probably be colder still. If it turns out the sun is the main climate driver, the next several decades will be much colder as a series of lower cycles takes effect. Get that power generation sorted out!

  107. 6) The carbon trading market is a multi trillion dollar pyramid scheme run by Al Gore and many IPCC members which will make the credit crunch frauds look like a squabble over a game of monopoly. Vested interests! Do we never learn? The australian govt is having second thoughts, so is NZ. E.U. pres knows it’s all B.S.

    7) James Hansen and the other computer catastrophe cowboys haven’t been right once yet. Temperatures have been falling on average for 4 years now. Did they predict that?
    Surface – air – sea temps since 2005:
    http://www.woodfortrees.org/plot/hadcrut3vgl/from:2005/plot/rss/from:2005/plot/hadsst2gl/from:2005


  108. Robert Wood (18:09:45) :

    Coal is 100% organic.
    Coal is 100% natural.
    Coal is 100% good.

    Fine, BUT: is the best use of this to burn it? What if the 23rd century world totally agrees with you, but at the same time regrets that the best thing the 21st century world could think of for this wonderful stuff was to BURN it? The same goes for oil and gas. Just a thought.

  109. MartinGAtkins,

    There is no climatological significance to the date when satellite data became available. The 1970s was a well documented cold period, and that has tended to skew all satellite data towards showing an exaggerated warming trend.

    The UK in particular has a good long term temperature record which shows January no warmer in the past decade than it was 100 years ago.
    http://spreadsheets.google.com/pub?key=pj0h2MODqj3jEcwSEOBk-PA
    http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/climate/uk/seriesstatistics/uktemp.txt

    Note that January, 1979 was the third coldest January on record in the UK, and that was also the first January in the satellite record.. In fact, from the beginning of the Met Office record in 1914 through 1979, January temperatures in the UK dropped at a rate of 1.2 degrees per century.
    http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/climate/uk/seriesstatistics/uktemp.txt

    There is no valid scientific reason to start your time series in 1979.

  110. Dear All and especially ‘Phil’s Dad’:

    I write for two reasons.

    1.

    A Special Edition of Energy&Environment (E&E) is to be published on the subject of ‘renewables’ and I have been asked to be the Guest Editor for that Special Edition.

    I would be extremely grateful for papers that advocate use of ‘renewables’ (especially wind or wave) being submitted to me for peer reviewed publication in that Special Edition. To date, I have failed in my attempts to obtain submission of any pro-renewables papers.

    2.

    I had the honour of being asked to present an ‘Annual Prestigious Lecture’ a couple of years ago, and its title is self-explanatory: i.e.
    “A suggestion for meeting the UK Government’s renewable energy target because the adopted use of windfarms cannot meet it.”

    Its sysnopsis is at
    http://scienceandpublicpolicy.org/reprint/richard_courtney_2006_lecture.html
    and it can be accessed in full from there.

    It includes an overview of all existing and possible ‘renewable’ energy sources.

    All the best

    Richard

  111. John Finn: re a link to Dr. Latour’s letters in Hydrocarbon Processing,

    Link is Here. Click on *January*, at Past Letters to the Editor, then scroll down to Author Replies.

    There is another exchange of letters in the *February* letters.

  112. Richard S Courtney (05:32:49) :

    Dear All and especially ‘Phil’s Dad’:

    Are you the Richard S Courtney who co-wrote this:
    http://www.canadafreepress.com/index.php/article/794

    Eli Rabett has been saying some nasty things about you if so.

    Welcome. :-)

    I’ll write an article for the Energyand Environment if you like. Not about renewables, but about wasted opportunities in the field of power generation by the pyrocombustion of waste materials and products with minimal emissions.

  113. Steven Goddard (04:26:41) :

    There is no climatological significance to the date when satellite data became available. The 1970s was a well documented cold period, and that has tended to skew all satellite data towards showing an exaggerated warming trend.

    You have misunderstood my reply. There was no intention to make a point about the trend in the graph I posted. That’s why I made no comment. It was just one I had handy that would allow participants to eyeball this Januaries temps compared with the resent past.

    There is no valid scientific reason to start your time series in 1979.

    I compare surface data with satellite data. Whether that is a “valid scientific reason” to start many of my graphs at 1979, I don’t know and don’t care. It’s what I do.

  114. gary gulrud,

    Every time I see “Eli Rabett” — an alarmist more panicked than RC — I have to laugh, because it reminds me of the comments his students make about him on “Rate My Professors.com”: click

  115. This seems a very overblown and ill-considered analysis if I may say so!

    As a Brit living in the UK, one can draw some rather more first-hand conclusions I think.

    1. It hasn’t been very cold. We had two cold spells; one at the start of the winter, and one during Jan. Right now (it’s still winter just) it’s pretty mild. We had a period that gave us some of the coldest weather for the last 13 years. Otherwise not really thayt cold. Less cold than the long term average in fact.

    2. Global warming has focussed the quandary that has always been associated with our peely-wally winters. It get’s cold but not that cold. To what extent do we maintain an infrastructure of recruitable snowploughs, gritting and salting facilities and such-like? The answer seems increasingly that we can reduce this right down, because we’re progressively unlikely to need it….cost-benefit analysis.

    3. Why has the snow been so newsworthy? Because it’s increasingly rare…because health and safety proscriptions make closing of schools pretty inevitable once minimal “dangers” arise, especially in view of the reduced infrastructure for maintaining adequate transport (see #2).

    4. How are we Brits going to keep ourselves warm in the winter in the future? Natural gas, coal, nuclear in the short term, increasingly replaced by non-fossil-fuel sources. That has to happen in the future. The sooner the better.

    5. What might be the main “lesson” to be learned from the winter we’re presently waving goodbye to? Two things I would say:

    (i) The world is warming and the UK is warming faster than the average. Despite the fact that 2008 had a strong La Nina episode, had rather negative PDO indices and was smack at the bottom of the solar cycle, it was still a pretty warm year. 2009 is likely to be a good bit warmer. We need to prepare for increasingly warmer and wetter years, address the very serious issues associated with the increased flooding expected in a warming world, and in the longer term the problems associated with sea level rise (and post-glacial “sinking” in the South). Already, some locations are being effectively “given up to the sea”.

    (ii) Probably the most effective measure we in the UK can take with respect to a warming world and the imperative to reduce greenhouse gas emissions is to strengthen and enforce building regulations. The UK has a very mild climate and doesn’t (at present) need that much in the way of heating or air conditioning. A massive inroad into greenhouse gas emissions could be made by properly insulating our old housing stock.

    That would be my number one lesson to be learned from the current situation, whether or not one considers the coolish 08/9 winter specifically.

    6. A note about people dying in winter. This is really a bit of a red herring. People die….that’s a rather annoying fact of life. They generally die in line with the age-adjusted life-expectancy of a particular country, and according to social hierarchy. On average there tends to be excess deaths during weather extremes. So more deaths in the winter…and more deaths in extreme heatwaves. But people do die. The fact that there are excess winter deaths amongst old people is not an argument that “warmer is better”. It isn’t necessarily…

  116. foinavon,

    You wrote a long winded criticism without disputing (or even addressing) a single point of the article. Again:

    Britain can’t rely on global warming to stay warm in the winter.

    Britain can’t rely on solar power to stay warm in the winter. There just isn’t enough sun (which is why it is cold in the winter.)

    Britain can’t rely on wind power to stay warm in the winter. During the coldest weather the winds were calm (which is one reason why the air temperatures were so low.)

    Britain can’t rely on Russian natural gas to stay warm. The gas supply was cut off for weeks due to politics.

  117. foinavon (12:23:52) :

    “6. A note about people dying in winter. This is really a bit of a red herring. People die….that’s a rather annoying fact of life. They generally die in line with the age-adjusted life-expectancy of a particular country, and according to social hierarchy. On average there tends to be excess deaths during weather extremes. So more deaths in the winter…and more deaths in extreme heatwaves. But people do die. The fact that there are excess winter deaths amongst old people is not an argument that “warmer is better”. It isn’t necessarily…”

    Really? I hope you personally find the answer to this one because just about everyone else already knows which they prefer. Open your fridge and get a feel.

  118. They generally die in line with the age-adjusted life-expectancy of a particular country, and according to social hierarchy.

    The majority die because they are too poor to run the heating. That’s not a fact of life I’m prepared to tolerate because smug well heeled people think it’s a red herring.

  119. tallbloke (13:10:17)

    The majority die because they are too poor to run the heating. That’s not a fact of life I’m prepared to tolerate because smug well heeled people think it’s a red herring.

    Not really tallbloke. We know that people die (even you one day) and that there is a slightly greater tendence to die in the winter. It’s not just due to the cold. There are more suicides in the winter too. There is an emotional as well as a sociopolitical, as well as a physical, relationship to the time at which people die.

    Some of the countries with the highest life expectancy are the coldest countries (Sweden, Iceland, Norway). Cold Canada has a higher life expectancy than the warmer US. So there’s nothing inherently deleterious about cold rather than warm with respect to dying/living.

    I agree exacly that it would be excellent if all countries had the outstanding social structures as Iceland, Sweden and Norway and properly looked after the elderly. I also agree with you that old people shouldn’t die because they can’t afford heating. The UK (since we’re discussing the UK on this thread) has cold weather financial heating supplements for the elderly and vulnerable that are activated when temperatures drop below a certain levels for certain periods.

    However, that’s not going to stop old people from having an increasing likleihood to die in the winter. That’s a fact of life. As the world warms it’s not going to stop people dying tallbloke…on average they’ll (we’ll) have a slightly greater likelihood of dying in the winter…

  120. I live in a former mining district on the north east coast of England.

    There are many old people here as a lot of younger people moved away to find work.

    I know it’s purely anecdotal, but these older people remember the 20s to the 40s. They remember those days as being much like now and some are saying it’s getting back to the late 40s & so are expecting cold weather ahead.

    As I say, purely anecdotal evidence of a cyclic weather pattern.

    Unfortunately, many of these old people will die before this AGW farce is knocked on the head.

    I also added the other case when the wind doesn’t blow. The case of extreme heat, that makes wind untenable for winter cold or summer heatwaves.

    DaveE.

  121. foinavon (13:44:37) :
    “However, that’s not going to stop old people from having an increasing likleihood to die in the winter. That’s a fact of life. As the world warms it’s not going to stop people dying tallbloke…on average they’ll (we’ll) have a slightly greater likelihood of dying in the winter…”

    Yes foinavon, we confront the elderly living on a smal pension with a 35% rise in energy prices and when they freeze to death, you call it a fact of life.

    I call it “GREEN DEATH”.

    And why do I call it “GREEN DEATH”?

    Because without the completely ineffective caps & trade and the lunatic eco-taxes sending the price of carbon fuels and electric power through the roof, these people would have been alive today.

    Green policies kill people.

  122. Ron de Haan (14:48:20) :

    foinavon (13:44:37) :
    “However, that’s not going to stop old people from having an increasing likleihood to die in the winter. That’s a fact of life. As the world warms it’s not going to stop people dying tallbloke…on average they’ll (we’ll) have a slightly greater likelihood of dying in the winter…”

    Yes foinavon, we confront the elderly living on a smal pension with a 35% rise in energy prices and when they freeze to death, you call it a fact of life.

    I call it “GREEN DEATH”……………..

    It looks like we agree that it’s appropriate that our social structures encompass ensuring that the elderly are able to keep warm in the winter. I couldn’t agree more. If the UK had the social structures of colder countries like Iceland, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland…, the UK’s age-adjusted life-expectancy would be a tad higher.

    Still, life expectancy in the UK is pretty good. Old people generally keep going through the winter to look forward to a revitalising Spring. Fuel prices have risen…however winter fuel payments for the elderly and vulnerable help the elderly keep warm in the winter, and there’s a decent amount of public information about keeping a look out for one’s elderly relatives and neighbours. In general we’re still pretty good at that.

    As oil begins to run out fuel prices will surely rise. We need to make provision for that. We should recognise truisms that addressing the UK’s ageing housing stock would make a massive inroad into reducing fuel use, emissions and maintaining more snug homes for everyone, and that global warming induced impacts will also be deleterious to well-being (we can see some of the potential consequences in the marked warming of 2003).

    Those that consider that warm/hot is excellent for the elderly might want to consider the location of the 50 countries with the lowest life expectancy. See here for example:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_life_expectancy

    Clearly, simplistic analyses (cold=bad; warm=good) needs a more considered insight.

  123. Roger Sowell (19:32:30) :

    Thank you for informing everyone about the the Dr. Pierre Latour letter.

    I can only shake my head when I see how far off base the “science” for AGW is.

  124. foinavon

    “Clearly, simplistic analyses (cold=bad; warm=good) needs a more considered insight.”

    You are underestimating humans if you think they think this way. You may need “a more considered insight” into human nature.

    “Some of the countries with the highest life expectancy are the coldest countries (Sweden, Iceland, Norway).”

    Are you comparing them to Africa, for one? If you are, this would be because of electricity in these cold countries, and medicines, not climate. Also, if Africa used more DDT, and had more clean water supplies, their life expectancy age would rise. Maybe you could donate money to charities that drill water wells in African villages. This would help save lives. Reducing co2 will not.

    “Cold Canada has a higher life expectancy than the warmer US.”

    This is due to nutrition not climate.

    You do not see the total picture. “…needs a more considered insight” — this would be true of you.

    I could comment more to what you’ve said. But I need to get back to work.

  125. Foinavon

    From the very Wikipedia page you cite comes this comment:-

    “Many of the countries with the lowest life expectancies, namely Swaziland, Botswana, Lesotho, Zimbabwe, South Africa, Namibia, Zambia, Malawi, Central African Republic, Mozambique and Guinea-Bissau, are suffering from very high rates of HIV/AIDS infection, with adult prevalence rates ranging from 10 to 38.8 percent ”

    I see Zimbabwe is on that list, the country with, now, probably the lowest life expectancy in the world. The social and economic woes there are widely known. So, in addition to the fact that you appear to be blaming HIV/AIDS on AGW, are you now suggesting that AGW also causes Robert Mugabe’s ethnic cleansing policies? I should love to see the justification for that one.

    And, just so you know, I also live in the UK. Much of your brief analysis is far too over simplistic and appears to place rather too much reliance on government propaganda, particularly with comments like “winter fuel payments for the elderly and vulnerable help the elderly keep warm in the winter”. Life is harsher in the cold than the AGW religion allows you to admit.

  126. Tallbloke:

    Thankyou for the offer of a paper.

    Please submit it directly to me at
    RichardSCourtney@aol.com

    I can then assess it prior to distributing it for peer review.

    Similarly, to anybody else who reads this and wants to submit a paper.

    I repeat that I am especially interested in obtaining pro-renewables papers because the organisations that promote renewables are not answering my requests for such papers. Energy and Environment (E&E) attempts to provide all ‘sides’ of such matters so readers can obtain a full provision of information for them to assess. Also, getting authors of papers promoting different ‘sides’ to peer review each others’ papers avoids criticism of the ‘Wegman’ type. At present, the Special Edition of E&E on renewables seems likely to only obtain anti-renewables papers for possible publication (and I am starting to obtain the cynical impression that failure to submit pro-renewables papers may be an attempt to inhibit publication of the Special Edition).

    Also, yes, Eli Rabbit has been telling lies about me on his blog. I cannot sue for damages unless I can prove the identity of this character, and Yahoo has a confidentiality policy that prevents them telling me who it is. I wrote to Josh Halpern in attempt to determine if he is Eli Rabbit but he has not replied. I would appreciate evidence of his identity that would stand up in a court of law.

    Richard

  127. Just want truth… (20:06:39)

    Mr Green Genes (22:21:50)

    Your points about life expectancy in Africa are correct of course. That’s the point I’m making. One can’t make simplistic interpretations about life expectancy, morbidity, seasonal mortality etc. without addressing the physical, emotional and sociopolitical aspects. However the fact that some of the coldest countries have the highest life expectancies whereas some of the warmest/hottest countries have the lowest life expectancies might cause one to consider whether the simplistic nostrum (cool/cold=bad; warm/hot=good) might not be very helpful!

  128. foinavon (05:01:09) :
    “However the fact that some of the coldest countries have the highest life expectancies whereas some of the warmest/hottest countries have the lowest life expectancies might cause one to consider whether the simplistic nostrum (cool/cold=bad; warm/hot=good) might not be very helpful!”

    foinavan
    Do you ever read the BS you are writing.

    The original concept about cold versus warm climates is that civilizations flourish during warm periods and suffer (decline) during extreme cold periods.

    Just tell me how many people live on the North Pole?
    To compare mortality rates with modern societies and development countries suffering from over-population, epidemics, lack of clean water and food is a joke.
    Still trying to revive the dead horse don’t you?

  129. Foinavon

    I’m sorry but it seems to me that by simply posting a link to a Wiki page which contains a lot of ‘information’ which is totally unrelated to the point at issue, you are actually doing precisely what you claim shouldn’t be done i.e. making “simplistic interpretations about life expectancy, morbidity, seasonal mortality etc. without addressing the physical, emotional and sociopolitical aspects.

    I think you are trying to prove guilt by association – here is a list of hot countries where the life expectancy is low (with a bit of luck the gullible out there will believe there is a connection between the heat and the low life expectancy and Al the High Priest will be pleased about gaining a few more converts to the religion).

    I think you would probably find that with the same level of HIV/AIDS, the same total lack of drugs, or even a health service of any description whatsoever and a dictator with the same murderous mindset as Zimbabwe has got, Scandinavia would be in your little list as well.

  130. Foinavon

    Even during the little ice age we had weather as warm as today. These are CET back to 1660
    http://cadenzapress.co.uk/download/mencken_hobgoblin.xls

    We have records going back to the Bronze age, The Romans, Venerable Bede Anglo Saxon Chronicles, Domesday Book, Chaucer, Pepys, then CET, all indicating the huge variability of our climate. Temperatures in the MWP, Roman Maximums and Bronze age were all warmer than today.

    Our recovery from the LIA is very feeble. We are NOT warming faster than ‘average’-where is your proof? To this day our warmest winters are 1733 1868 and 1833

    This is what has happened to our climate since instrumental records started in 1660-there is absolutely no sign whatsoever of the rapid rise in temperatures you believe is happening.

    My comments below refer back to the start of the graph in the 1660s

    January
    Generally past years are cooler than the 1990’s which was just 0.10C warmer than 1730’s and 1920’s
    Overall the monthly figures are dragged right down by the very cold little ice age which covers most of the period from the 1660’s to around 1880

    February
    As above with 1730 cooler by .10 1860 by .2 1870 by .3 and 1920 by .2

    March
    As above but 1730 cooler by .6 1920 by .8 and 1930 by .9 i.e. one of the greatest changes in any month (other than winter Dec-February inc)

    April
    1990s cooler than 1940 by 0.7 1860 by .3 and 1730 by .2 otherwise broadly similar

    May. 1990s cooler than 1660 by 0.3 same as 1720 and 1730 cooler than 1800 by 0.3 same as 1820 and 1830 cooler than 1830 by .10 and 1910 by .3 otherwise broadly the same

    June
    1990 same as 1980 1970 and 1960
    Cooler than 1960 by .4 1950 by .2 1940 by .3 1930 by .4 1890 by .4 1870 by .1 1860 by .1 1850 by .3 1840 by .3 1830 by .6 1820 by.4 1800 by .2 1790 by .2 1780 by .8 1770 by .7 1760 by .1 1750 by .4 same as 1740 cooler than 1730 by .7 1720 by .9 1710 by .3 same as 1700 and 1680 cooler than 1670 by .3 and 1660 by .3
    Overall June has become a much cooler month

    July 1990 cooler than 1730 by .4 1750 by .5 1760 by .4 1770 by .4 1780 by .4 1790 by .4 1800 by .4 1870 by .5 1930 by .4
    Overall July has become a rather cooler month

    August
    1990 was cooler than 1930 by .3 1770 by .5 and 1700 by .3
    Overall August has become a little warmer.

    September
    1990s cooler than 1720 and 1730 by .2 and 1740 by .1 It was the same as 1930 and cooler than 1940 by .2
    Overall there was little difference

    October
    1990 cooler than 1960 by .4 and .4 warmer than 1900 1850 1830 1820 1730 1660
    Overall October has become a little warmer

    November
    1990s cooler than 1970 by .2
    Overall this month has become distinctly milder

    December
    1990 cooler than 1980 by .5 1970 by .6 1950 by .2 1940 by .1 1860 by .1 1820 by .3 1730 by .3
    The month has become a little milder

    Temperatures have fluctuated considerably throughout the period with months often changing their ‘traditional’ characteristics.
    Generally modern winter months have become milder than the winters of the little ice age period (not surprising!) which brought the overall averages for the year sharply down. November has also become distinctly milder and March much milder. July has become rather cooler whilst June is distinctly cooler, other months show limited difference either way.

    The early 1700’s were remarkably similar to the current period but the warmth was over a more extended period and came from a lower base. In this respect average temperatures have barely changed in nearly 300 years from pre industrial times. Many other periods have been fairly close in warmth to the modern era but again the little ice age winters knocked the annual averages down somewhat. The 1820’s 1900’s 1920’s and 1930’s were also notably warm.

    We have very extensive climate records and places-such as Dartmoor-where you can see to this day previous habitation from the Bronze age and MWP-which gradually moved down the contour line as the climate cooled.

    Please tell me where you are getting your information from that makes you believe the opposite to the facts?

    TonyB

  131. Paul Green (05:20:04) : IIRC, we have companies working on developing viable wave solutions, but our government doesn’t seem to be engaging with them.

    Development is done. They are into early field work / deployment. The company is traded on the LSE but their projects page says they are deploying in Hawaii and Spain …

    http://www.oceanpowertechnologies.com/projects.htm

    From time to time I own a couple of hundred shares of them (OPTT on the Nasdaq) as a trade vehicle. (Disclosure, not recomendation…)

    The last I heard (a good year or more back) was that Spain had bought into the UK companies’ technology, but the UK gov were dragging their heals. Maybe the tech isn’t ready yet? I don’t know. I would like to hear more about it though.

    Yes, Spain is bought in, as is the U.S. Navy. Tech is ready and working. Their web page has nice pictures 8-) Enjoy!

    There is another company in the UK but it’s not publicly traded so I don’t follow it much.

    Try:
    http://www.pelamiswave.com/ (Brits doing project in Portugal IIRC)
    http://www.wavegen.co.uk/ (a subsidiary of Siemans)
    http://www.mech.ed.ac.uk/research/wavepower/

  132. John Galt (06:48:41) : I think home backup power generators are a great investment opportunity for the coming years. As the USA blunders away from cheap, reliable sources of power to expensive, unreliable and experimental sources, people are going to want to have some way to keep the lights on.

    All ready lived through it here in California under Governor Gray(out) Davis. We had regular rolling blackouts. For some reason Democrats really seem to like messing about with electrical supply (and messing it up…) They just didn’t seem to ‘get it’ about how markets work. Best description I heard was Dennis Miller saying their spot price mandate was “Like buying our electricity at mini-bar prices”. That’s technically accurate. They mandated no long term contracts and only spot purchases. Shear insanity or idiocy.

    I now own 2 generators. A really nice Honda 1kw that runs all the essentials – TV, Satellite Dish, Lights, Fridge (what’s telly without cool beer?!), computer and communications; and a big noisy one (Briggs & Stratton something or other 4kW with 5kW surge) used for occasionally running the dishwasher, AC, clothes washer/dryer and one or two neighbors houses if needed ;-) It no longer gets used much…

    Honda makes the best, quietest, most fuel efficient out there. I expect them to sell a lot in coming years… I get about 8 hours / litre off the 1kW job. At 56 db you can’t hardly hear it.

  133. othercoast (09:11:31) : …unless of course the livestock growers, which are necessarily separate entities from the corn growers due to a stupid law (a subsisdy requirement?), can get subsidized regular corn for their livestock cheaper than the ethanol leftovers.

    Never heard of that one before. DDG (not ‘leftovers’, a nutrient enhanced feed additive) is widely blended into feed stocks. It commands a premium price because of the premium nutrition in it (more protein, less starch, plus vitamins).

    There is also a combined closed cycle plant (Arizona IIRC?) where corn from the farm has oil extracted (for the farm equipment), the grain fermented, the wet DG is fed to cattle on premises AND the cow poo is fermented to make methane for the process heat. Very high efficiency since several of the transport steps are cut out and the whole place is powered via corn. There are many folks with corn fields and cows on the same farm.

    More importantly, it still drives up (Diesel and thus transported goods) prices when you take a gallon of Diesel fuel out of the general supply and use a pile of corn and subsidies to turn it into little more than a gallon’s worth of gasoline substitute.

    This makes no sense at all. No Diesel is ‘taken out of the general supply’ anywhere. Corn uses nitrogen fertilizer (made from natural gas most of the time and presently selling near multi decade lows) and has about a 1.3 :1 or 1.6 : 1 net energy gain. (Much more than that in the combined operations). This, BTW, ignores a lot of the energy value in the DDG and cow poo so the total available to the society is even higher. (Higher still if you capture the leaves and stalks as ‘silage’ fed to the same cows.)

    The only Diesel used is in the tractors, harvesters, and 18 wheelers hauling the corn and that is very small compared to the tonnage of corn produced (and even that can be covered with bioDiesel from the corn oil if you mill and press the corn prior to fermentation…)

    I’m sorry, but you are just spouting someone’s slogans and have no clue about the energetics of farms or biofuel production.

    (FWIW, I think the better thing to do is cellulosic rather than grain based ethanol; but that does not change the fact that the ‘corn ethanol loses energy’ line is a crock cooked up by ‘researchers’ with a political agenda who have never worked a farm.)

    Sidebar: The rice shortage had nothing to do with biofuel and everything to do with Bayer contaminating the foundation seed stocks for midwest rice with a GM experimental grain. This blocked our exports to many rice consuming nations who did not want frankenseeds polluting their stocks. Knock a major exporter out of the world market and “PRESTO!” instant rice shortage (but not here in the USA where we were up to our eyeballs in the stuff).

    http://www.gmcontaminationregister.org/index.php?content=nw_detail2

    or just pick one:

    http://www.google.com/search?client=safari&rls=en&q=Bayer+rice+GM+suit+contamination&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8

  134. gary gulrud (11:26:55) : Ethanol is burnable filler in our Otto engines. Mileage decreases in direct proportion to ethanol content. I’ve proven this with multiple vehicles and fuel grades for myself.

    Highly dependent on specific engines. See your local dragstrip or NASCAR for counter examples. I’ve run engines on straight ethanol via a simple fuel mix change, and the E85 cars are not getting 15% of their gasoline milage… Also, my old Ford F350 Crew Cab 4×4 got about the same (terrible!) milage on gasoline or E10 (though it didn’t start worth a damn cold on E10… and in cold weather was about 5% less milage on 10% ethanol) My Honda positively loved the stuff but it has a funny lean burn 3 valve design anyway.

    Yes, dedicated ethanol engines are much more efficient with ethanol, but the idea that it’s just ‘filler’ is not accurate (though some individual vehicles can ‘have issues’ especially if not E85 designed.)

    Moreover, the corn belt will see decreased degree days over the coming 30 years with PDO and soon AMO negative. It was a short-lived farm subsidy scam.

    This I agree with completely. If you wanted to make fuel, you would be using a crop like Poplar with a 30 to 40 ton/acre yield and cellulosic ethanol processes; not bushels / acre feed corn.

    Aldehyde pollution in areas prone to thermal inversion, like LA, will blow even this putative benefit away.

    The cat converter eats the aldehydes (once hot..). It’s the azeotrope vapors at fuel fillup time that cause problems in the LA basin… Ethanol makes the vapor pressure higher so you get more VOC in the air so more smog. That’s why CARB wanted MTBE (and we all saw how well that worked out…)

    While I’d really rather they just let oil companies make gasoline (lawyers generally do not make good fuel engineers… and government lawyers even worse ones…) I’d also be happy if they had straight ethanol cars like in Brazil. Give the vehicle the fuel it was designed for, but sell me a car that takes ethanol if I want one. Let engineers do the engineering!

  135. E.M. Smith:
    Let engineers do the engineering!

    hear hear! It’s similar to LPG converted cars. They do less mileage and accelerate slower. However, LPG is a higher octane fuel, and if you advance the ignition timing and up the compression, you can actually get around 10% more horsepower out of the engine. I planed the head on a volvo estate and used to cruise from Leeds to Edinburgh (200miles) on 26 litres of LPG at less than half the cost of gasoline.

    Saab used to have a nice little PCB in their turbo cars before GM took them over which would measure the ionisation in the upper cylinder and set the ignition advance just below pinking value. A simple LPG conversion on this engine done by SAAB yielded a 10% gain in horsepower with no further mods.

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