New contest for writing a skeptical essay

From the Spectator:

Announcing the Matt Ridley Prize for Environmental Heresy

by Fraser Nelson

Matt Ridley has long deplored the wind farm delusion, and was appalled when a family trust was paid by a wind farm company in compensation for mineral rights on land on which it wanted to build a turbine. The trust would be paid £8,500 a year for it, and Matt couldn’t abide the idea of profiting — even in part — from this. So he is donating £8,500 (about $13,500 USD) in an annual prize to be given to the best essay exposing environmental fallacies. Entries open today.

The rules are simple. We invite pieces from 1,000 to 2,000 words in length, to gore one of the sacred cows of the environmentalist movement.

Matt says more in his cover essay for the new Spectator (which you can also read on Facebook) : ‘There are many to choose from: the idea that wind power is good for the climate, or that biofuels are good for the rain forest or that organic farming is good for the planet or that climate change is a bigger extinction threat than invasive species.’ A shortlist of six will be put to a panel of judges and the winning entry will be published in the magazine in July.

Entries, please, to ridleyprize “at” and they close on 30 June 2012. And will do every year from now on. I’ll leave the final word to Matt: ‘The real enemy is not wind farms per se, but the groupthink and hysteria which allowed such a flawed idea to progress with a minimum of intellectual opposition. I shall donate the money as long as the wind-gelt flows — so the quicker Dave cancels the subsidy altogether, the sooner he will have me and the prizewinners off his back.’


I emailed to ask if it was UK only or global in scope – it is global, you don’t have to live in the UK to enter. This one I wrote tonight might qualify 😉 You can’t make this stuff up.

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Anything is possible
March 5, 2012 9:59 pm

Missing comma alert :
Should read “Gore, one of the sacred cows of the environmentalist movement.”

Jim D
March 5, 2012 10:03 pm

Isn’t that what is meant by a windfall?

March 5, 2012 10:41 pm

Last I saw, about 20% of the UK energy budget went to wind, and produced about .019% of the energy. A single new coal power plant would have eliminated the need for over 2,000 of these monstrosities, that never seem to be where liberals live.
Essay ended.

Roger Carr
March 5, 2012 11:04 pm

This fact is worth noting relative to this story (and enhances admiration of Matt’s actions).
Matt Ridley: “I will not get the money.”
“I will not get the money, because I am not a beneficiary of the trust. Nonetheless, the idea of any part of my family receiving ‘wind-gelt’ is so abhorrent that I have decided to act.”

March 5, 2012 11:05 pm

The Tamino thread points me in the direction of an essay that Arctic sea ice melt rather than being ‘proof’ of global warming, is in fact proof of global cooling.
Shooting sacred cows is one of my favourite sports.

March 5, 2012 11:21 pm

Ahhhh’ I’d best not comment or I’d risk permanent banning so I won’t.

March 5, 2012 11:24 pm

Reblogged this on The Storyteller.

March 5, 2012 11:51 pm

I left a comment on Sea Ice News Volume 3 that should have gone here….

March 6, 2012 12:03 am

I volunteer to proof read any entries from our WUWT group. We don’t want your stunning essays misunderstood because of typos or misplaced commas 😉

Pamela Gray
March 6, 2012 2:42 am

If a picture is worth a thousand words, I know of an old homestead that has an old rickety windmill, barely upright, sitting next to a power pole.

March 6, 2012 3:27 am

If we could cow the sacred gore, that would be a real achievement!

Roger Knights
March 6, 2012 5:35 am

Speaking of goring, here’s a nifty phrase I coined; the Spectator may use it as an epigraph:
Your ox is not a sacred cow.

Michael J. Bentley
March 6, 2012 6:07 am

Good to hear from Pendleton, Oregon! But if I may amplify, those old windmills were/are used to pump water from wells, not produce electricity. They did a wonderful job at that on demand work, when the wind blew. Grand Coolie Dam and the rest of the group on the Columbia River helped to put them out to pasture.

March 6, 2012 8:39 am

Hi All,
A request for help in debunking the the following link.
I’m looking for a solid debunking of Mr Colose’ argument that “Skeptical Science has previously discussed the topic of feedbacks and why the existence of positive feedbacks (i.e., those feedbacks that amplify a forcing) do not necessarily lead to runaway warming, or even to an inherently “unstable” climate system….”
BTW I’m not trying to up the hit rate at SKS, I’m personally bothered by the warmist idea that +ve feedbacks dominate the climate which seems to me to be the UN IPCC position (i.e. 1.1C of warming for a doubling of CO2 becomes 3C or even more due to +ve feedbacks), whereas it seems to me that it would be logically intuitive that the climate system would be dominated by -ve feedbacks to provide dynamic stability over long time periods and would like a pointer to something that will give me a solid basis wrt the link above.

March 6, 2012 9:23 am

To paraphrase Al Gore himself: “Release the chakras!”

March 6, 2012 10:25 am

polistra says:
March 6, 2012 at 3:27 am
If we could cow the sacred Gore, that would be a real achievement!

[G capitalized]
Thread winner!
/Mr Lynn

Disko Troop
March 6, 2012 2:57 pm

Ex warmist…You are wasting your time. As soon as you get close to dis-proving the junk on SKS they will just stop posting your comments . Been there-done that..

Doug Badgero
March 6, 2012 4:53 pm

Ex Warmest,
I agree that it is “intuitively implausible” that climate currently is dominated by positive feedbacks. However, what many on both sides of the debate get wrong IMO is that the linear feedback model applies at all. Nearly all of the processes that control our climate are non-linear. Many have discontinuities in temperature, e.g. huge amounts of energy are moved around the system as latent heat. Given this system, there is no reason to believe that feedbacks are a constant, or even predictable. For example, Gavin once stated that the temperature behavior at end of the last ice age doesn’t work unless there were positive feedbacks. That may be true but we can hardly expect the same dynamic response now as we get from a cold arid climate exiting an ice age. Climate etc. has some good threads on this issue in the past year. IMHO as the earth warms from an ice age water vapor is initially a positive feedback, as most remains in the atmosphere, and then becomes a negative feedback as cloud formation and precipitation dominate. That is just conjecture on my part though.

March 6, 2012 7:37 pm

ExWarmist says
whereas it seems to me that it would be logically intuitive that the climate system would be dominated by -ve feedbacks to provide dynamic stability over long time
Logical and intuitive are in likely contradiction.
And “ain’t necessarily so” seems to be a concept you missed as well.
The problem you have is that Colose is correct. Trying to make simple arguments about complex systems with multiple non-linear feedbacks is a fools game.
No one I can think of in climate skeptic land would go close to understanding this stuff.
Monkton tried to claim the climate system is linear based on what some control system engineer told him. Willis had to point out he was wrong.

March 6, 2012 10:39 pm

Thanks for the feedback guys.
Cheers ExWarmist

March 6, 2012 11:36 pm

the existence of positive feedbacks (i.e., those feedbacks that amplify a forcing) do not necessarily lead to runaway warming, or even to an inherently “unstable” climate system….”
The key word here is ‘necessarily’. My understanding of chaotic systems like the climate can move between more or less stable states as a result of non-linear feedbacks. So its possible that a stable climate state exists say 5C warmer than today.
The counter argument is that there is no evidence that such a state exists. It never happened in the Holocene or Quaternary. But then there is no real evidence +ve feedbacks of sufficient size exist to get the climate 3C to 5C warmer than today. These feedbacks only exist as fiddle-factors in the climate models.

March 7, 2012 12:55 pm

By digital data being transmitted to receiving stations on Earth by radio waves. NASA has had three receiving stations that can cover the whole sky for more than fifty years. One receiving station is at Goldstone , California, one at Canberra. Australia, and I think the other receiving station is in Spain or the Canary Islands – yep, Madrid, Spain. There was a receiving station that is technically in Norman, OK (Although it’s really in McClain county, OK) for more than 5 years, but I’ve been by there at least times in the last five months. It’s CLOSED. I had a six month internship there the last half of 1998.

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