All change, climate change?

 

          Defra has recently published a large amount of material on climate change. It needed to do so under the last government’s  legislation, to produce a “risk assessment”. I went along to hear about it from the Chief Scientist and Secretary of State, and have read more about it on their website.

          The fascinating thing is how uncertain the scientists are about their predictions. By the 2080s they forecast an increase in temperature in the UK of somewhere between 1 degree and 8 degrees.  They think summer rainfall may have increased a bit, or may have fallen sharply. They think winter rainfall may have stayed the same, or may go up a lot.

            They are not even sure what is happening to emissions of carbon dioxide. They say “It is too early to establish whether actual emissions are pursuing any particular emissions scenario”.

               Their historical graphs show that there was no warming between 1860 and 1970 overall.  This was despite a very intensive coal burning phase to global industrialisation. There was a warming pattern between 1920 and 1940, but cooling ones from  1900 to 1920 and from 1940 to 1970.  They then extrapolate warming since 1970 and project more to come.

               Their resulting risk assessments conclude that we will spared a substantial number of deaths from the cold in winter, which will far exceed the extra deaths from heat in summer. They reckon there will be more extreme weather, overheating of some buildings, and greater water scarcity. When I asked wasn’t it good news that fewer people will die of cold in the winter, I was told that global warming does have some good effects.

                My view is we will be short of water because the population growth is outpacing new water provision. It would be a good idea to put in some more capacity. I also suspect there will be more flooding, largely because there has been too much development on floodplain. It would be a good idea to improve drainage and strengthen flood defences where there are large settlements. This morning on the radio a Minister assured us they would seek to do that.

                 Defra’s risk assessment needs to concentrate on the here and now and the eminently forecastable. We do need more  water and we do need to protect ourselves from floods. Let’s just get on with it.

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181 Comments

  1. Posted January 31, 2012 at 7:03 am | Permalink

    The politics of climate change is the politics of fear. And the keenest exponents of this type of politics are socialists. In fact, scratch wamist and you will find a socialist. This is the watermelon phenomenon – green on the outside but red on the inside.
    The watermelon philosophy is: “the world is a terrifying place, full of evil people with cruel intentions doing terrible things to the planet – but have no fear, the state will protect you”.
    Notice how, as the evidence for man-induced global warming has been challenged, the watermelons are now saying that the threat is not just climate change but climatic instability. This, of course is much harder to prove or dis-prove but even more frightening – every time there is a severe hurricane or flood it now can be blamed on the evils of industrialisation.
    Thankfully, the watermelon argument has another characteristic – it is both wet and easily crushed.

    • Posted January 31, 2012 at 9:52 am | Permalink

      Indeed the politics of fear mixed with the commercial interests of governments (justifying ever more taxes), departments, quangos, charities, pressure bodies and self interested industry and the new religion TV evangelists.

      We have seen it all before with the Millennium computer bug, bird flu, swine flu, the ice age, global warming …………… It must be nice for them to claim to have solved a problem, that was not a problem in the first place.

      • Posted January 31, 2012 at 9:15 pm | Permalink

        “We have seen it all before with the Millennium computer bug”

        Having been lumbered, as a contractor, with the job of sorting out a major composite’s pensions systems for 2K, I can assure you that you totally incorrect. The ‘bug’ did not strike because it was disinfected before the end of 1999.

        • Posted February 1, 2012 at 10:19 am | Permalink

          Clearly their was some truth in the basic premise, but it was hugely exaggerated to sell more stuff, set up government departments and worry people for little reason. Just the same as global warming.

          • Posted February 1, 2012 at 12:07 pm | Permalink

            “Clearly their was some truth in the basic premise”

            No. It would have been a very major problem if it had not been attended to, the likelihood of which would have been zilch, so the atmosphere of hysteria engendered by government and the media was totally unjustified. As to package manufacturers, they were not going to patch zillions of systems in preference to selling ‘upgrades’.

    • Posted January 31, 2012 at 1:57 pm | Permalink

      Touche!

    • Posted January 31, 2012 at 2:19 pm | Permalink

      What I find remarkable is that Government policy and taxation can be founded on NO evidence! CO2 is 0.036% of the Earths atmosphere and is a naturally occurring trace gas and a food for all plant life. It is essential for photosynthesis (the green bits). Most comes from volcanoes, our oceans and animal life. Man made CO2 is negligable. Originally the climate religion/movement called it “global warming” but as there has been no warming for at least 15 years (See NASA study) changed it to climate change. Many studies (Several reported in the Telegraph)have suggested that the Sun’s activity including sun spots cause changes in the jet stream which in turn alters weather. But our leaders cannot tax the Sun. How on earth can we turn our economy back to the dark ages and send our industry abroad based on such rubbish. My electric bill came last week and we are all now paying a 10% green tax for windmills/solar panels etc This Goverment has introduced a flight tax that will be the highest in the world later this year. I’ll just go to France/Holland for long haul flights! Present company excluded I cannot believe we have such numpties with no life skills or experience in charge. Then more u turns on the EU……….This really makes me want to weep.

      • Posted January 31, 2012 at 7:12 pm | Permalink

        Couldn’t have put it better myself.

      • Posted February 1, 2012 at 12:22 am | Permalink

        The fact that you couldn’t name the NASA study which is supposed to back up your argument indicates that it doesn’t exist.

        I wonder why the Telegraph didn’t mention that NASA had found that the sun’s activity, including sun spots, was much lower than predicted but that global warming was still occurring? Maybe because it proved that the sun wasn’t behind global warming.

      • Posted February 1, 2012 at 6:30 pm | Permalink

        You say “I find remarkable is that Government policy and taxation can be founded on NO evidence”

        Why are you surprised – so much else that government does has no evidence – HS2, absurdly high tax rates and complex tax systems, fiscal bias for trains, buses and bikes, the Millennium dome, Blair’s wars, the EU, most overseas aid, aircraft carriers with no planes, the pursuit of equality of outcome, enterprise zones – just in selective arbitrary areas ………. It is usually based on what will benefit those in power or enlarge their power, buy votes (or they think will buy votes).

    • Posted January 31, 2012 at 2:33 pm | Permalink

      You will find (an example-ed) on http://www.scottishcommunists.org.uk/
      He is Green MSP Patrick Harvie.

    • Posted January 31, 2012 at 7:48 pm | Permalink

      “the world is a terrifying place, full of evil people with cruel intentions doing terrible things to the planet – but have no fear, the state will protect you if you just put you cash here”.

      Just like all religions:

      “The world is a terrifying place, full of evil people with cruel intentions doing terrible things – but have no fear, god will protect you and reward you in the afterlife if you just put some coins in this dish and do as we say”. But where is God? Where he always is is my son at the centre of everything ………………… The true scientists or “evil sceptics” (as we in the church call them) will be punished in the afterlife and will not get any research grants in the current one either.

    • Posted February 1, 2012 at 12:24 am | Permalink

      “Thankfully, the watermelon argument has another characteristic – it is both wet and easily crushed.”

      Yet you couldn’t ‘crush’ any of their arguments and instead resorted to scaremongering. Most likely because you don’t have any evidence to back up your claims.

  2. Posted January 31, 2012 at 7:04 am | Permalink

    It is hardy surprising they do not have a clue, as they cannot predict the weather a week on Tuesday (and clearly they cannot) why would anyone think they can predict it in 100 years. These people are largely, modern day quack soothsayers. Release them to do something useful like digging a few more reservoirs, or building a few modern nuclear power plants.

    Why would anyone think they can predict the weather in 100 years when the system has huge numbers of variables and vast complexity (and many variables are not even knowable like volcanoes, populations, future genetic or engineering changes, and the future suns activity). Predicting the lottery balls, given their start state, is a rather easier problem with far fewer variables. If they are real scientists they must know this but I suppose it is not in their interests to admit it.

    It seems to me, the pushers of the global warming exaggerations, must be either too stupid to see this, or are totally dishonest I cannot see any other explanation.

    Still no statistically significant warming since about 1998 I understand.

    • Posted January 31, 2012 at 7:09 am | Permalink

      Anyway:

      All the evidence suggest that, slightly warmer, is rather better than slightly colder and anyway windfarms, PV, wave and tidal clearly do not really work (with current technology) in economic or engineer terms. At least not without the absurd Huhne’s fiscal and subsidy market distortions.

      • Posted January 31, 2012 at 1:49 pm | Permalink

        Couldn’t agree more. Since water is 800 times more dense than air why not put a series of water turbines in rivers? They would be far more efficient than the pathetic output from wind turbines.

        • Posted January 31, 2012 at 8:27 pm | Permalink

          The flow of most British rivers is not fast enough for a viable turbine added to the fact that water turbines would be more expensive to install maintain and would dam many rivers. What are you are a Dr of? I proudly hold the titles of ‘Man In The Pub’ and ‘Bar Room Lawyer’

      • Posted February 1, 2012 at 12:26 am | Permalink

        Unless you live in most of Africa, where warmer means your crops and animals die due to droughts.

    • Posted January 31, 2012 at 10:26 am | Permalink

      Were the 1953 North Sea floods of 31 January – 1 February 1953 were to happen again you can be sure the BBC and Huhne types would go into absurd overdrive on the AGW issue. Just as they did for the recent floods Cheltenham & Gloucester.

      From Wiki
      North Sea Floods 1953
      Fatalities: 2,551 killed
      Damages: 9% of total Dutch farmland flooded, 30,000 animals drowned, 47,300 buildings damaged of which 10,000 destroyed
      Areas affected: Netherlands, Belgium, United Kingdom

    • Posted January 31, 2012 at 1:58 pm | Permalink

      “These people are largely, modern day quack soothsayers.” Or. Snake Oil Salesman…

    • Posted February 1, 2012 at 12:25 am | Permalink

      The fact that you don’t know the difference between climate and weather undermines your argument.

      • Posted February 1, 2012 at 10:22 am | Permalink

        Climate is weather over a longer time scale or “average weather” as I have said before.

  3. Posted January 31, 2012 at 7:05 am | Permalink

    Well, with your workload you obviously cannot be exceedingly well informed on such issues as climate change, and you have to rely on what ‘officials’ and your assistants tell you. Sadly, DEFRA as well as the BBC have been following the agenda of the climate doomsayers. You might like to have someone look at this impartially, i.e. someone who is not a member of Greenpeace or the WWF or ‘renewables’. Let them start with finding out about Climategate 1 and 2.

    While looking after water and looking after our sea defences is necessary, it is not necessary to tie this to climate change.

    Getting started to look after our electricity generation capabilities is far more important. A brown-out is definitely on the cards in the near future. We need to build more power stations.
    When your colleague Mr Huhne talks about those wonderful wind turbines, ask him why we would want to spend extra money, which we don’t have, on building them, seeing that these wind turbines need back-up power stations because, as anybody knows, wind doesn’t blow all the time.
    You might also ask him about the very close ties between his department and NGOs – which get support from our taxes directly and via the EU.
    And then we can talk about uncontrolled immigration …

    • Posted January 31, 2012 at 9:37 am | Permalink

      You do not need to be that well informed to see that anyone, who predicts the weather for 100 year time, but cannot tell you it in three weeks time is not really to be taken seriously. Which is the simpler task and millions of times simpler in fact?

      • Posted January 31, 2012 at 10:06 am | Permalink

        To be fair, longer range forecasting at lower resolutions can be simpler: I can’t be sure whether it will rain or not today (the forecast suggests snow), but I can be fairly sure it will rain sometime next week. I’m pretty sure it will be warmer overall a month from now (because we’re nearing the end of winter), but can’t rely on the forecast that Friday will be two degrees colder than today.

        It sounds a positive development that DEFRA now admit the temperature increase over the next 68 years might be a single degree (essentially no change), rainfall could go either up or down (or presumably stay the same) – a far cry from the “Thermageddon” predictions that we will all be incinerated in our beds tomorrow lunchtime unless we destroy all our industry and prostrate ourselves before idols of Gaia.

        • Posted January 31, 2012 at 7:35 pm | Permalink

          Predicting “average weather” can be slightly easier but for them to claim that by 2080s an increase in temperature in the UK of somewhere between 1 degree and 8 degrees. Is clearly absurd how do they know their will not be a huge volcano that will cool the planet that year, how do they know that mankind will not have invented nuclear fusion systems, how do they know the sun activity, how do they know what insects, viruses, bacteria and plants will have evolved, how do they know the population, the engineering and science in use?

          Also the weather is a cumulative & chaotic system – the weather today depends on the weather yesterday and the day before. A volcano in 2020 could completely change the weather in 2100. Just as a tiny speck of grit, falling from a flies, could completely change the outcome of a game of snooker. One shot affect the next one and so on.

          • Posted February 1, 2012 at 8:12 pm | Permalink

            You think that burning trillions of tons of fossil fuel will in no way effect the climate or the atmosphere in the future? Common sense tells us different. Where will all this co2 and products from the combustion go? Why do you assume it will have no effect or do you think nothing can be done? We are all doomed anyway? Because of these uncertainties and you see it as ‘sensible’ to just carry on until something or nothing happens? The uncertainty will somehow help us? Brings us back to doing nothing and regulating regulations like in the financial markets.

          • Posted February 2, 2012 at 4:36 am | Permalink

            Clearly CO2 will have some effect on climate, as will thousands of other variables. What I am saying is we cannot predict with any certainty – the system as it is clearly far too complex and chaotic. Warmer is on balance generally better anyway but we do not know that the climate will not cool due to for example reduced sun activity anyway.

            Doing positive things for people’s health (that we know will work) and just adjusting to any climate change such as comes locally is the rational, better for humanity and far more cost effective action to take. Reducing C02 emissions may well prove to be a totally negative thing to do to the world anyway if other factors are cooling it and slightly warmer is probably better on average.

      • Posted January 31, 2012 at 1:46 pm | Permalink

        How very true. Even looking out of the window can be a better indicator. No words about the effect of Nitrogen in the atmosphere let alone that great atomic reactor up there which gives us our energy and controls our weather. We also need some atmospheric CO2 to stimulate our breathing!

  4. Posted January 31, 2012 at 7:28 am | Permalink

    This message which you report is utterly different from the scaremongering which we are used to. I have got to read James Delingpole’s “Watermelons”.
    Please will someone talk some sense into all this dangerous stuff about windmills providing our future energy. If electricity fails nowadays, we are DOOMED. and it is going to do unless we do something fast.
    And – I know – how about talking some sense into immigration too? What is needed is a sharp drop in the number of people squashing into this tiny little area of a small island (the South East) to get freebies on the taxes. Oh, I forgot, it is now demanded by the EU. silly me!

    • Posted January 31, 2012 at 2:21 pm | Permalink

      I think the message is different because it doesn’t engage with global warming at all Mike.

      It does accept that populations are growing so there will be shortages of water which we need to plan for and that we are building on flood plains so there will be more floods which we also need to plan for. I agree with both with all this and I also agree that it is worthwhile to separate these issues from the issue of global warming, because the latter is so emotive it can prevent engagement with the former.

      But the issues of global warming remains. The earth, with a substantially urban population of 7bn and rising is now very different to the earth as it has been historically. We cannot afford to bury our heads and pretend global warming is not happening.

      • Posted January 31, 2012 at 9:25 pm | Permalink

        We do not need to “pretend it is not happening” we just need to wait and see and deal with such changes as they happen. Since 1998 there has been no significant warming anyway and the atmospheric temperature measurements do not really support the theory and exaggerations being pedalled.

        • Posted February 1, 2012 at 1:10 pm | Permalink

          So you’re against pragmatic measures to reduce CO2 emissions lifelogic?

          • Posted February 2, 2012 at 4:46 am | Permalink

            Yes they are not pragmatic measures they are irrational. We do not know that the world will warm – the system is chaotic and there are too many variables, many that are not even knowable like sun activity, volcanic activity, feed back mechanisms, changes in technology, new genetic variations in vegetation …

            We do however know that basic health care, food, clean water, inoculations saves many lives. Far better and cheaper to do that and adjust to any climate change in any direction as and if needed.

          • Posted February 2, 2012 at 10:13 am | Permalink

            Could you provide some figures to justify your claims lifelogic?

            The figures for the destruction of the ozone layer, CO2 emissions and the melting of the polar ice caps are clear.

          • Posted February 2, 2012 at 5:25 pm | Permalink

            Rebbeca,

            Figures on this are all over the place in many scientific reportss http://wattsupwiththat.com/ is a good start for links.

            But you do not need this to see it is mad. We clearly do not have all the information for the next 100 years anyway not even the suns output or volcanic activity or even populations.

            Even if we had them we could not predict it. Try predicting the positions the lottery balls after three minutes rotation of the box even with all the start information. One tiny bit of grit could change it all.

            Now is the world weather system for 100 years easier or harder to predict, indeed is the suns output variations easier to predict? Can we predict earth quaques or volcanoes? One genetic variation in say one sea weed plant might change it all.

        • Posted February 1, 2012 at 7:06 pm | Permalink

          What would you see as acceptable evidence of global warming lifelogic? I suspect the answer is nothing. You will just pretend to yourself that it is all the fault of the BBC. Even if conclusive proof were to be found.
          The United States Navy is making plans for less ice.
          The Navy’s Arctic Roadmap written by the recently launched Navy Task Force Climate Change (TFCC), opens with an acknowledgment that worldwide temperatures are on the rise — especially up north. “The Arctic is warming twice as fast as the rest of the globe. While significant uncertainty exists in projections for Arctic ice extent, the current scientific consensus indicates the Arctic may experience nearly ice-free summers sometime in the 2030s,” the document notes.
          Ice melts due to heat I suspect.

          • Posted February 2, 2012 at 4:52 am | Permalink

            I certainly do not see “no statistically significant warming since 1998” as much proof nor the lack of upper atmosphere warming that the C02 models suggest should have occurred. Do you?

            Just because something is fashionable with government, the gullible religious, charities, the “Arts” and celebs does not make it true.

      • Posted January 31, 2012 at 10:12 pm | Permalink

        Rebecca, Global Warming has been happening since the end of the last Ice Age and is recovering from its dip caused by the Little Ice Age. Even Phil Jones has admitted that there has been no statically significant warming over the last 10>12 years.

        CO2 released by mankind is very small compared to natural emissions, and CO2 has been vilified as a poisonous gas by ‘watermelons’ which is bonkers when plant require it for growth.

        The AGW story has been an over hyped scare; just follow the money!

        • Posted February 1, 2012 at 1:11 pm | Permalink

          “CO2 released by mankind is very small compared to natural emissions”. Could you link to the figures which justify this claim please Bickers

          • Posted February 2, 2012 at 9:14 pm | Permalink

            NOAA summary from IPCC 2001 data here – http://www.esrl.noaa.gov/research/themes/carbon/.

            This puts industrial CO2 at about 3.5% of global CO2 generation (8/215 Kt) and the UK contribution is how much – 2%?

            Given such a very small proportion of the contribution why are we imposing such a ridiculously damaging penalty on ourselves when others do nothing?

            I agree we need to mitigate climate effects on this country, effective water management and distributi0n is sensible, but the idea that we must turn back the tide of a natural global climate trend is ludicrous. UK HMG must make sure our people are safe and secure first, if someone wants to give a higher priority to others then that is what charities or personal action are for.

  5. Posted January 31, 2012 at 7:31 am | Permalink

    If there is such uncertainty as to the scale of climate change and to how dangerous it may be why are we pouring so much money into combating it? If we continue current green policies we can predict with much more certainty that it will wreak our economy much more effectively and much more quickly than climate change will.

    • Posted January 31, 2012 at 1:44 pm | Permalink

      Indeed meanwhile things that we know, for sure, do indeed save many lives (like clean water, inoculations, basic food, basic heath care, good maternity care, anti mosquito measures and similar) are not done for the sake of fairly small sums of money needed.

      Other than by Bill Gates (as penance for his annoying, time wasting software, one assumes).

      • Posted February 1, 2012 at 8:22 pm | Permalink

        Good point, but each of these could be made worse by unfavorable changes due to the climate. The jury is still out on how much if any of climate change is due to man made activity. Much evidence of a changing climate is present. If you choose to argue nothing is changing, cannot change, change is natural and normal, will change back, natural equilibrium. Change for the better. etc. Then this is a conclusion drawn up by unscientific principles. A religious belief system no less implying that man has no free will and mankind will all be safe no matter what.

        • Posted February 2, 2012 at 4:58 am | Permalink

          I agree they “could be made worse by unfavorable changes due to the climate”. But far too much much uncertainty to sensibly take action against C02 emissions, we cannot even be certain that we would not be doing harm by reducing them. C02 is just one factor in a chaotic system with countless variables and feedbacks.

          • Posted February 2, 2012 at 7:12 pm | Permalink

            All we can do is hope that the impact of man made sources of CO2 has been massively overstated. There are many reasons to be optomistic it is just another scare story.

            1.There are many vested interests from sceintists, lobbysits, and politicians whose whole existence is owed to the the global warming scare.

            2. It is an excuse to implement global government and high taxation.

            3.Global warming perfectly fits the mainstream liberal politically correct agenda – that the powerfull West is indirectly oppressing the weak developing world with it’s CO2 emissions.

            3. If the politicians were really concerned about the environment they would be calling for stabilisation of the global population. It is the prospect of too many people (i include the US, most of the third world and the Uk) that is the driver of environmental distruction but it is unpolitically correct to talk about it. It is absurd that the politicians suggest we can all just cut back a little bit to stabilise emissions faced with a backdrop of an expanding population.

            4. Global warming has it’s most rapid supporters on the left of the political spectrum. It is these same people that have got it spectacularly wrong on education reform, family, our relationship with the EU law and order…

            4. George Monbiot is an advocate of the man made global warming theory.

  6. Posted January 31, 2012 at 7:41 am | Permalink

    According to NASA there has been no rise in temperature in the last 15 years despite the increase in CO2.
    There is a 50/50 chance the world will have another mini ice age. The whole climate change industry is being exposed for the tax raising sham it really is. With that clown buff huhne in charge of energy policy we are doomed to many deaths caused by power cuts in the not too distant future.
    When will your party have a credible energy plan rather than the stupid 32,000 windmills scenario as at present.
    One spokesperson said it was government policy to export shale gas if it becomes viable. What nonesense os that?

    • Posted January 31, 2012 at 11:15 am | Permalink

      Who has declared that we have a 50/50 chance of a mini ice age? Would they not accept that we have a chance of a full ice age instead? Then what would we do?

  7. Posted January 31, 2012 at 7:46 am | Permalink

    Dear Mr Redwood

    Good to know that you are on the case of Defra and ‘climate change’. As you have noted, the supporting evidence behind this collective fit of knicker -wetting is flimsy in the extreme. Immediate practical measures to solve today’s problems, however caused, are what is needed, not imposing but completely impossible plans to save the world in 100 years.

    Next, please turn your attention to the Department of Energy and Climate Change, and its insanely expensive and self-destructive promotion of ‘renewable’ energy technologies.

    The net effect of these policies seems to be nothing more than providing yet further opportunities for China to use cheap energy to manufacture things for us to buy to make our energy more expensive and our industries less competitive.

    And they do nothing at all to reduce CO2 emissions – even if that were proven to be a desirable goal.

    I’m sure you read them daily, but others here may not know of Lord Lawson et al’s fine institution ‘The Global Warming Policy Foundation’, who try to bring some sanity to a field full of charlatans, scaremongers and snake-oil salesmen.

    http://www.thegwpf.org/

    Best wishes….

    • Posted January 31, 2012 at 5:24 pm | Permalink

      Kudos for linking to GWPF!

      PerhapsJohn would like to have a little meeting with Lord Lawson, who ought to be known to him. Lord Lawson might provide John with some pertinent information about the economics entailed by submitting to the climate change doom mongers, especially those in the BBC and the MET Office …

      Reply: Why do you assume we have not discussed this on several occasions at great length!

      • Posted January 31, 2012 at 7:39 pm | Permalink

        Mr. Redwood, you do not know how pleased your intimation concerning late night discussions with Lord Lawson makes me. If I felt that Mr. Cameron had followed your example then I really would be happy but his actions do not suggest that he has.

      • Posted February 1, 2012 at 6:11 pm | Permalink

        Did you mention the absurdity of giving advance notice of getting rid of multiple MIRAS mortgage tax relief or ask him if he thought, with hindsight, that Alan Walters was right all along?

        Still he is sound on climate change – as indeed are most numerate and logical people.

  8. Posted January 31, 2012 at 7:52 am | Permalink

    Basically they’re guessing. My guess is their predictions err of the side of where they will get the most grants and burserys. I am certain my prediction is more accurate than theirs.

  9. Posted January 31, 2012 at 7:57 am | Permalink

    “The eminently forecastable” eh? What, exactly, is that? What area of life is so incredibly stable that there is no uncertainty about looking into the future?

    I am intrigued though – how much faith do you put in your party’s economic forecasters? More or less than these guys?

    Do you put more faith in a forecast you agree with, or one that might be inconvenient for you?

    Reply: The party does not do economic forecasts. There are official OBR government forecasts, which I often criticise for being too optimistic. I do think it very likely that growth in population leads to increased water demand, and building on floodplain very visibly increases the numbers of houses at risk of flood, as I can show you in my own constituency.

    • Posted January 31, 2012 at 12:37 pm | Permalink

      JR, and a number of other bloggers, have corectly predicted the long period of high inflation, the low growth and have demonstrated the continued high Govt spending. He has offered numerous solutions, and asked for contributions from readers. i don not agree with him all the time, but he is one of the few MPs prepared to engage and debate with the public on serious issues.

      You are an economics academic. What observations and solutions do you offer? All I read are anti-Tory rants?

    • Posted January 31, 2012 at 2:56 pm | Permalink

      Dear Mr Reade,
      You are right about uncertainty. Its proper counterpart is the precautionary principle and that, I think, is what Mr Redwood is suggesting.

      For instance, our whole defence policy is (or should be) based on the precautionary principle. We do not know if, when or by whom we shall be attacked or, more likely, blackmailed. So we guard against the threats we can think of as best we can within our means, starting with the most likely.
      If we devote our entire priority to defence it is likely to be counterproductive because we shall wreck our economy, as in the USSR, or impoverish and starve ourselves, as in North Korea. If there is an imminent known threat, as in 1939, we may have to wreck our economy in the short run to ensure our survival but that cannot be a viable long-term policy.

      The same applies to the uncertain, generalised threat of climate change.

      • Posted January 31, 2012 at 10:18 pm | Permalink

        Oh dear! If we’d followed the precautionary principle we’d still be living, at best, in caves, or more likely have been wiped out by another more ‘adventurous’ species.

        • Posted February 2, 2012 at 5:05 am | Permalink

          Indeed – precautions have costs and often the cost exceeds any benefit.

  10. Posted January 31, 2012 at 7:57 am | Permalink

    The Met Office forecast extreme cold this winter, that turned out well didn’t it? If they are unable to get a forecast for a few months ahead correct why does anyone take these ludicrous idiots forecasting decades ahead seriously?
    The truth is nobody has the slightest clue what the climate will be like in 2080, though my guess would be pretty much the same as now.
    Also forecasting population by current trends is a doubtful business. Lots of things can alter. Immigration policies, economic decline, resource shortages etc, etc.
    The best policy would be not building on flood plains and repair existing water infrastructure.

  11. Posted January 31, 2012 at 8:10 am | Permalink

    It is generally agreed that new developments need to be built to the highest standards of energy efficiency and water conservation and their is a huge amount of hype which suggests that new build is meeting all these requirements.

    It isn’t.

    I am aware of a huge new development locally with a large number of “affordable homes” and the involvement of a housing association.

    The housing association buys the homes off the builder and sells them on to the owner/tenant. Although the owner tenant has a fractional equity they are contractually liable for all repairs.

    The housing association offers owner/tenants a one year guarantee.

    What this means is that the new occupiers of these homes do not have the benefit of a ten year guarantee against defects caused by shoddy builders and are left liable for the repairs themselves which they cannot of course afford. The builders, knowing that they will not be liable for the cost of remedying any defects over a ten year period, do extremely shoddy work.

    Their has been no attempt to conserve water by fitting dual flush toilets; everything is as cheap as possible. Central heating pipes are poorly lagged and the control systems are primitive. Toilets and sinks leak.

    I know of a case where an impoverished occupier was forced to pay out £200+ to have her floor lifted and a central heating leak repaired. The leak was due to a defective joint and was very obviously the result of poor workmanship.

    I live in the East of England where there is very low rainfall. I do not know if anyone has even asked our local water company for their thoughts on supplying water for the 20,000 odd new homes we are to have inflicted on us. The last I saw was the speculative assumption that decline in industry would provide spare water capacity for the new homes, but we do not have any industries which use a lot of water, and industry locally isn’t dying anyway.

    We are obviously heading for a large scale water shortage and thousands of shoddily built houses rapidly falling into disrepair. Sink estates in the making.

  12. Posted January 31, 2012 at 8:44 am | Permalink

    In the future, “we’re not sure when”. It may get drier, hotter, colder, wetter, and drier again…… or we are not too sure all bases covered there lads’n’lasses.

    The only possibility not mentioned, is one which as the sun DOES go into a deep hibernation – a return to a small ice age could be high probability.

    Ah DEFRA, the forgotten department, why does it still exist? More pertinently why do we still pay for it. After all, the EU does all that stuff these days does it not? We pay twice then – alas then why am I not surprised?

    All its [Defra] civil servants seem to do, when not visiting Brussels, is ‘pen’ assinine predictions based on nothing more than the divinations of the gypsey palm reader and the shaman bones thrower. This latest report based on unscientific musings, is schoolboyish and comprehensively bog standard at that.

    “Water, water, everywhere
    And all the boards did shrink
    Water, water everywhere
    Nor any drop to drink.”

    For Gawds sake, we’re an island.

    So desalinate, pipe water from areas of greater precipitation and ‘batter’ water companies into making greater and more urgent the facilitation of immediate mains repairs and faster replenishment of old and leaking mains piping.

    And memo to brain, ignore all emanations from Defra.

    • Posted January 31, 2012 at 10:11 am | Permalink

      Edward ,

      Desalination plants must be the most expensive solution to the problem .

      Any expenditure on desalination plants must be viewed with the utmost suspicion that it could be yet another scheme to direct public money into MP’s mates pockets in the consultancy and construction industries .

  13. Posted January 31, 2012 at 8:47 am | Permalink

    asinine spelling too.

  14. Posted January 31, 2012 at 8:47 am | Permalink

    If (a big if) we can believe the data sets, the world hasn’t warmed over the past 10 years yet we are taxed to pay for policies which assume it did. It didn’t.

    Indeed, if we can expect cooling, a lot of scientists and MPs are going to look criminally stupid.

    • Posted January 31, 2012 at 9:30 am | Permalink

      You say “If we can expect cooling, a lot of scientists and MPs are going to look criminally stupid.”

      Surely a lot do already do look “criminally stupid” and clearly are. Worse still many, clearly must know, they not telling the truth and are wasting vast sums of taxpayers money on what they know to be nonsense.

      How many Kilo Watt Hours have Huhne and Cameron got out of their home turbines why on earth are they pushing them on others with taxpayer subsidies?

      • Posted January 31, 2012 at 2:23 pm | Permalink

        And they have the cheek to say CEOs are paid too much. When will these be held personally accountable for their monumental cock-ups? Pervasive corruption and greed still not addressed at Westminster. When are MPs pensions going to change?? Right to recall please. There must be a mechanism to get rid of these incompetent fools, we should not have to endure this calamity for five years. Ministers should be recalled if their department fails to deliver services competently, just like a CEO.

  15. Posted January 31, 2012 at 8:53 am | Permalink

    Obama’s address to Congress last week clearly showed a U turn on his position leaving the Uk and Europe in an isolated fantasy world of their own. A fantasy that is costing us a fortune through our energy bills to keep Chris Huhne in wind farms and one that will help make the country less competitive. All the rhetoric about the budget and growth being a top priority is a lot of hot air without any substance. Time and again we see so many examples of ministerial departments acting in contrast that no sensible person could believe a word the Coalition says. Money wasted hand over fist time and time again.

    We are taxed to pay for infrastructure projects in European countries when the money could be used in the UK. We do not have a say how our money is wasted in Europe by the unelected dictators. Socialist control of Europe means that it is ideologically opposed to most of the UKs values. Only a minority activist party like the LibDems want Europe to control the UK, its budget, its laws, wide open immigration etc etc.

    Still vast numbers of immigrants use our free World health service that the taxpayer is robbed to pay for. I have now come to the conclusion that our health service should not be free because it is not limited to UK citizens.

    Two years on and this bunch of incompetents have not improved anything or set in train any strategy that will have a long term benefit for the people of this country and that includes the ridiculous energy policy. Labour kicked the issue down the road and this lot are in cuckoo land with wind farms that are 22 times more expensive to build, 33% less efficient and will not repay the carbon footprint from its build in its 25 year life span. Supporters want to talk about capacity because they know it cannot ever be achieved because there will always be situations where there is too much wind when they cannot operate or too little wind when they cannot operate. Additionally, the planning permission in some cases did not consider the removal of the wind machines at the end of their life which are a blot on the landscape. The position is worse for wind machines sited at sea.

    Time for Eurosceptics to wake up and get rid of Cameron and his cast iron U turns.

    • Posted January 31, 2012 at 1:16 pm | Permalink

      Obama is (economical with the truth-ed). Be very careful to read his words and the inbetween the lines script 🙂

    • Posted January 31, 2012 at 6:35 pm | Permalink

      Disaffected – Could not agree more! Even though the people are fed up with the EU the fact remains that the political class love it.
      Granted there are a few Tories (like Mr Redwood) who are standing up against this tyranny and I have seen no evidence of anyone in this group with the spine to remove this traitor from NO.10.
      At some point down the line we are going to get another Labour or Lib/Lab goverment and then that will be the final nail in the coffin of Great Britain as they sign over what is left of our once great country to Brussels.

      • Posted January 31, 2012 at 7:38 pm | Permalink

        Phil, It has not stopped under the Coalition. Look at all the main policy areas and tell me which one is better now than under Labour?

        John, writes daily about all the issues, but it still does not seem to hit a note that the UK is in a worse position now than when this lot took over. A lot of false promises but no action. Spending and borrowing more, more integration with the EU, mass immigration more than under Labour, Soft on Crime Ken is letting out anyone he can, more HRA to stop terrorist leaving the country when our military are so called in Afghanistan to prevent it, energy policy is disastrous, education is renaming schools as academy in the hope we think they are better, the NHS has become the WHS as everyone around the world uses it. Despite all this, they think building a fast railway for multi billions of pounds will help the country!!!! Parliament is more corrupt now than at the height of the scandal, so a press review is underway to let the state suppress free speech against politicians. UKIP for me, Tories are not going to get another chance from me while school boy Cameron is in charge.

    • Posted February 1, 2012 at 12:46 am | Permalink

      “We do not have a say how our money is wasted in Europe by the unelected dictators.”

      The UK’s Prime Minister is one of the ‘unelected dictators’ in the EU.

      “Socialist control of Europe means that it is ideologically opposed to most of the UKs values.”

      Given that the UK created the NHS and a welfare system before joining the EU it’s clear the UK had a long history of socialism. Unfortunately most MPs have forgotten about the UK’s socialist roots, fortunately the Lords have not.

      “Still vast numbers of immigrants use our free World health service that the taxpayer is robbed to pay for.”

      If the Government’s didn’t let in hundreds of thousands of non-EU immigrants each year then this wouldn’t happen.

      “Labour kicked the issue down the road and this lot are in cuckoo land with wind farms that are 22 times more expensive to build, 33% less efficient and will not repay the carbon footprint from its build in its 25 year life span.”

      What exactly are wind farms 22 times more expensive to build than? Also as their only carbon footprint comes from being built wind farms they can repay it by working for 2 weeks at full capacity.

  16. Posted January 31, 2012 at 8:53 am | Permalink

    John,

    Here is a good Elephant-in-room issue in the climate debate:

    If you really want to see the scientists shuffle their feet then ask them what caused the most major climatic events of recent times, namely the ice-ages. You could go on to ask them whether their computer climate models would have predicted either the onset of the cold phases (we have had many over the last million or so years) or the rapid termination of these into the inter-glacials (like the one we are living in now).

    In both cases you may be surprised to know that these major events are neither well understood nor even modelled. Yet these scientists persist in stating ‘certainty’ to law-makers about their understanding of the climate.

    In good science, if your models cannot capture the major properties of a system then it is time to go back to the drawing board and think again.

    • Posted January 31, 2012 at 9:13 am | Permalink

      Even supposedly simple things are often far from fully understood .

      Take a twist-drill bit , they have no right to work as well as they do in practice .

      • Posted January 31, 2012 at 8:19 pm | Permalink

        As a person who sharpens drills quite often by hand you are complicating the simple. A Tory trick used in reverse to say the ‘market’ is like a town market. The drill is simply ground to the correct angles to form a chisel edge on each angle. The optimum angle would be mathematically challenging to determine for sure. As many people cannot sharpen drills by hand to even drill, its just pants…

        • Posted February 2, 2012 at 9:34 am | Permalink

          Bazman

          Ah yes (drill sharpening) reminds me of my apprenticeship period (50 years ago) when learning the art, very difficult at first, but then very simple/natural once you understand how a drill works, what material it has to cut, and the hand action/motion needed to perform such a task.

          Did you have to hand file a metal block into a cube as well, so that it was square on all sides, a task many found impossible.

          Teaches you how to file properly, once learned, never forgotten.

    • Posted January 31, 2012 at 11:01 am | Permalink

      There are so many elephants in the “Global Warming Scare” room it is a wonder anyone can get through the door with all those elephant deposits everywhere.

    • Posted January 31, 2012 at 1:19 pm | Permalink

      “If you really want to see the scientists shuffle their feet then ask them ” to make public the data and code used to produce their ‘projections’.

      Also, might be nice to ask if they’d cease wasting their work time (largely tax-payer funded) working out ever more convoluted ways to subvert FOI legislation.

      Good luck with both.

    • Posted January 31, 2012 at 10:24 pm | Permalink

      Well said Atlas; it’s a well known scientific that in a dynamic non linear system (our climate) if you don’t know the initial state of the system its impossible to predict its future state.

      Follow the money!

      • Posted February 1, 2012 at 10:26 am | Permalink

        Especially as you cannot not know about the future sun’s activity, volcanic activity and endless other things needed.

  17. Posted January 31, 2012 at 9:03 am | Permalink

    So:
    – We have risk of flooding and water shortages.
    Solution: spend £32 billion on HS2

    – Welfare handouts at all time highs, and immigration continues apace.
    Solution: increase speeding fines

    – High taxation and a shrinking economy.
    Solution: increase foreign aid

    Aren’t you glad the country is being run by career politicians?

    • Posted January 31, 2012 at 8:08 pm | Permalink

      It is deeply worrying that, at best, the country is run by people who know the margin (to them) of everything and the value of nothing. Moreso even that I don’t believe I could trust a single one of them to sit the correct way on a lavatory seat. A generation of us slept while a set of terminally stupid, venal and self serving imbeciles put themselves in power over us. We should be ashamed.

  18. Posted January 31, 2012 at 9:04 am | Permalink

    The biggest threat to the World is its growing population.

    At least we are all aware of the reasons, and that is something that is within our control.

    Meanwhile in this Country, we encourage people to have even more children by paying out unlimited child benefit.

    Far better to limit it to one each, if you must pay it at all.

    Climate change has so many variabes used within its so called calculations, that quite honestly you could make up any result that suits your end needs/ideals, and in my view that is exactly what has happened.

    Its also a convenient tax scam policy idea.

    • Posted January 31, 2012 at 9:54 am | Permalink

      As I understand it, the indigenous population (us English) have about 2 children per couple. Let us set the child benefit payouts at that level.

      • Posted January 31, 2012 at 9:10 pm | Permalink

        backofanenvelope

        Agreed two per couple, but if you make it only one per adult, for every adult, then unmarried couples cannot complain about married couples having an advantage, it also limits payments to unmarried mothers to only one, and unmarried fathers to only one. Thus it should help to discourage having children for benefits sake.

        Thus payment only to replace yourself.
        If indeed we have payment at all.

    • Posted January 31, 2012 at 8:33 pm | Permalink

      A global warming scare story in itself that you believe.
      The population in the west is actually falling and aging. We need replacements.

      • Posted February 1, 2012 at 10:09 am | Permalink

        Bazman

        The World population is growing, and I was talking in World terms, not Country by Country.

      • Posted February 1, 2012 at 1:34 pm | Permalink

        “The population in the west is actually falling and aging. We need replacements.”

        Two questions on that statement:

        A) Why was mass immigration never put in any election manifesto ?

        B) Why no points system ? Do we have to accept everyone that turns up here ? Including violent criminals ?

  19. Posted January 31, 2012 at 9:14 am | Permalink

    I read recently that we face a new mini ice age. I don’t suppose that was mentioned as it doesn’t go with the global warming script. They clearly have no idea what is going to happen but are happy to continue to peddle the alarmist line and give Huhne more nonsense to spout.

  20. Posted January 31, 2012 at 9:32 am | Permalink

    Climate change forecast models take account of World human population growth, for which different scenarios can be modelled. The scenarios do not seem to take account of the fact that “third world” populations will aspire to become “first world”, and there by their impact will be appropriately different: it is not just the numbers.

    Also, there is no scenario for zero population growth. Rather than more and more of us doing less and less and having correspondingly less fun, I would like the option for fewer living a more rewarding and expansive lifestyle. There would then be more room for other lifeforms.

    • Posted January 31, 2012 at 3:43 pm | Permalink

      Nobody is asking you – or me. Making love is the poor man’s opera, the poor man’s pub, the poor man’s tv.
      The white race that once dominated the entire planet has simply put its feet up and stopped producing children throughout the world, sucking in the children of every other race.
      That is the Zeitgeist. Get used to it.

      • Posted February 1, 2012 at 1:36 pm | Permalink

        Mike – You mean the Baby Boomers have put their feet up !

        • Posted February 1, 2012 at 1:40 pm | Permalink

          Clarification: I’m not suggesting that the Baby Boomers get breeding again – Lord no ! I’m just saying that they’ve made such a hash of things that few hard working young people can afford to breed here now – nor want to because of the mess we’re in.

  21. Posted January 31, 2012 at 9:32 am | Permalink

    You are absolutely right – we need to focus on solving environmental problems, of the type you mention, in the here and now. Having spent a significant part of my career in academia working with computer models of molecular structure I am surprised at the faith shown by many policymakers in the reliability of the predictions of computer models of climate change. If one was being charitable one might argue they were motivated by a genuine desire to mitigate a supposedly apocalyptic future, a more cynical view might be that be that the predictions provide the perfect moral cover for unpopular tax rises.

    It is interesting that this faith in the computer modelling of climate change does not extend to other areas, if we consider, for example, the Treasury Economic Model – imagine the reaction to an inflation forecast for 2050 or 2080. My guess is that such predictions would attract derision, so why do we suspend what should be healthy scepticism when it come to climate modelling?

  22. Posted January 31, 2012 at 9:35 am | Permalink

    With rising sea levels there is clearly not a water shortage; there is ample water, it is just the wrong type in the wrong place. Step forward the inventors, engineers and entrepreneurs.

    • Posted January 31, 2012 at 9:58 am | Permalink

      Indeed if you have energy you have no shortage of water through desalination plants not that the UK even needs that at all we have plenty of fresh water anyway just not enough storage and transfers.

      • Posted January 31, 2012 at 8:10 pm | Permalink

        Have you seen the You Tube video of the teenage girl in the car seriously pondering why global warming could not be controlled by having massive air con units all over the place? This is on par with that idea.

        • Posted February 1, 2012 at 10:32 am | Permalink

          Not at all similar if you have energy you can desalinate and use grey water for some uses – at the moment it is usually cheaper in most places to use rain. It is just economics.

        • Posted February 1, 2012 at 1:05 pm | Permalink

          Her idea is more sense than you suppose. In fact, nature provides just such a system in the form of clouds that reflect the sun’s radiation and convective atmospheric cells (the weather!) that take heat away from the surface and allow it to be radiated back into space from the thinner higher atmosphere. If that were not so, surface temperatures would be much higher than they are.

    • Posted January 31, 2012 at 3:40 pm | Permalink

      What evidence do you have of sea levels rising?

    • Posted January 31, 2012 at 8:19 pm | Permalink

      Mr Wheatley – I thought the privatised water companies were meant to provide us with entrepreneurs.

      Surely the Government kept them informed of the intended rise in population ?

  23. Posted January 31, 2012 at 9:38 am | Permalink

    I’m glad you touched on “shortage of water supply” as it appears to be the next scam dreamt up by the elite as a means of controlling the rest of us .

    Everyone in the World over is being conditioned to expect a shortage of water supply . Kid’s in school are being brainwashed to accept that there will be .

    There is some ulterior motive here but I have not yet sussed out what it is .

    Man only contributes somewhere between 2 and 3% of total carbon dioxide emissions and nature will ensure there is not a cumulative build up in the atmosphere .

    Just look which companies supervise trading of “carbon credits” , it’s the same ones which :-
    – appoint the Chairman of the New York Federal Reserve
    – appoint the Secretary of the US Treasury
    – appoint members of the Bank of England Monetry Policy Committee
    – appoint prime ministers of Italy and Greece
    – hand Huhne , Cameron and Clegg their orders via Brussels

    When you see who is ultimately behind it what more do you need to know ?

    Supposed Anthropogenic Climate Change is just a tool to introduce supra-national taxation without representation to hasten a one world govt .

    • Posted January 31, 2012 at 10:02 am | Permalink

      “Supposed Anthropogenic Climate Change is just a tool to introduce supra-national taxation without representation to hasten a one world govt.”

      Yes probably right with one taxation rate of about 90% slavery I assume (other than for government officials).

    • Posted January 31, 2012 at 10:06 am | Permalink

      I gather there is going to be a water shortage with a requirement for investment to increase capacity. Yet when you ask why this need for an increase in capacity you find out its the result of the British establishments strategy to increase our population.

      Its all very odd, we are supposed to be worried about climate change, but not the unsustainable increase in our population.

      • Posted January 31, 2012 at 7:44 pm | Permalink

        That would explain why our establishment is keen on getting the infrastructure ready for the next wave of mass immigration .

        However , the concept of a shortage of water is not restricted to the UK , the idea is being planted in peoples heads around the globe .

        Eventually we will find out why .

        Forewarned is foreamed !

    • Posted January 31, 2012 at 11:29 am | Permalink

      All the above is possible. I suspect the drive to increase our population upwards by immigration has been a policy for decades, this will not have been dealt with openly or documented. (Hence even, talking about policies which impinge tangentially on race,religion,family,sex are a tabboo never mind actions).

      Why? In support of Economic policy supporting current degenerate Western Capitalism seeking to keep the current bubble assets of the rich safe from loss (this includes any middle class remaining).

      More people increases demand for basics, power,water,food,housing,jobs, some can then position and may make money on that trend. After all fierce labour competition, helps to reduce labour cost push inflation to counteract cost push associated with devaluation. Increased population and current laws around housing all help to support the delicate Ponzi debtbased economy based on housing/financial assets at decade highs of multiples of earnings.

      I suspect this has been a strategic policy set in motion decades ago. There is absolutely no chance of Swiss style governance, people might choose a more balanced way of life than the promises of snake oil sellers.

      But we do need water its something which must be delivered in times of drought and i mean specifically urban areas of the South East.Otherwise the ”uncontrolled” immigration/population policy immediately becomes revolutionary stuff.

    • Posted January 31, 2012 at 6:52 pm | Permalink

      ‘Carbon Trading’ is concerned with transfering industry from (rich western countries-ed) to more vibrant nations whilst rewarding banksters for their congenital deviousness. The net intended effect is the destruction of Western Civilisation with its turbo-charged replacement in the Orient. This is not the only destruction, from within, being pursued; add Cultural Marxism and massive third world immigration.

      What does, “”“It is too early to establish whether actual emissions are pursuing any particular emissions scenario”.” mean? Is it compatible with confidently extrapolating global warming from 1970? How confident is that extrapolation if there is a seven degree variance over the period?

      There have been attempts to stigmatise those who have not yet been convinced by the overwhelming case in favour of highly toxic anthropomorphic carbon dioxide being the sole modulator of global temperatures (even though it does appear slightly more translucent than cloud) as ‘deniers’ or purveyors of thoughtcrime. This may be the modern way: laws on futurology to complement those on historicity. There need be no doubt when it is good for banksters and their plans for humanity.

  24. Posted January 31, 2012 at 9:45 am | Permalink

    Flood alleviation schemes must take a very broad view. Flood defences that keep the water off one flood plain but cause flooding elsewhere are not a solution – the water has to have somewhere to go.

    It might actually be more sensible, and cheaper, to move people off a tradition flood plane and allow it to flood again.

    Also, I would like to think that planning laws will be changed, if they have not been so already, to stop the folly of building on flood plains.

  25. Posted January 31, 2012 at 9:50 am | Permalink

    There is considerable evidence that the earth’s climate is affected by the sunspot cycles rather than CO2 emissions, and if this is so, there is are good reasons to believe that we are heading for another mini ice-age, as in the late 1600’s. One thing that the government should be doing is to ensure that we have plenty of spare generating capacity so that we are able to cope with a long cold period, particularly as our present capacity is almost fully utilised during cold spells.
    But no-one ever seems to discuss energy resources. Why?

    • Posted February 1, 2012 at 12:52 am | Permalink

      Given that the sunspots cycle is currently low activity but temperatures continue to rise it’s clear that the two are not related.

      As for a mini ice-age given that the Little Ice Age lasted for 300 years we will have plenty of warning.

  26. Posted January 31, 2012 at 9:53 am | Permalink

    People living outside Europe looking in must think its inhabitants are barking mad. First they, or the political class that runs Europe`s affairs, have signed up to an hypothesis that fails the tests of serious scientific and statistical scrutiny; indeed the beneficiaries of the substantial, tax funded largesse go out of their way to frustrate and prevent such scrutiny. Then they adopt energy policies (wind farms, solar farms) that fail to deliver the reduced CO2 emisions they claim are necessary, in their arrogance, to control the climate! We are witnessing a fools errand. Even worse, the Prime Minister is now leading the charge started by Blair, Brown and Miliband, supported by Clegg and egged on by the green lobby.

  27. Posted January 31, 2012 at 9:54 am | Permalink

    The global warming charlatans, fashioned their science to suit their own agenda. A bit like political charlatans lying about how being in the EU is good for Britain. They’re all desperate for ill-gotten money, power and fame. Cynical? Absolutely!

  28. Posted January 31, 2012 at 9:57 am | Permalink

    John, you are in a position to make a difference. I believe that we should commission a report on the reality or not of Made made climate change. It seems to me that the ideal institution to undertake a detailed scientific study, would be Cranfeild University.

    I know a lot of folk on the right are dismissive of climate change, this is a myopic stance to take. Until we are absolutely certain that the climate change nobody denies is happening, is not the result of Human activity.

  29. Posted January 31, 2012 at 10:45 am | Permalink

    We need to stop lumping weather, climate change and electricity generation together.
    Weather is short term, local and variable from hour to hour, day to day and year to year.
    Climate change happens over many years and one of the effects is on the weather, but it also affects sea levels, average temperature and many other things.
    Electricity generation using wind, tides, water flow etc. has numerous effects of which climate change is only one and not necessarily the most important. It reduces our dependence on resources like oil, gas and coal that we are increasingly having to import, compete for with the growing Asian countries, and for which we rely on unstable areas of the world.

    Thus we cannot simply because DEFRA and a group of scientists question the effects of carbon dioxide on climate change stop most of the actions that we are currently pursuing. There are major problems with pollution that must be solved. Some of this comes from power generation both from carbon and nuclear resources. However probably more worrying are the effects of our dependence on plastics and other man made materials on our environment. Many of these are now entering the food chain via the oceans and will in the next few years be the subject of the next mass panic.

  30. Posted January 31, 2012 at 10:47 am | Permalink

    Whatever the truth about climate change, the difficulties will be made very much worse as the population heads north of 70 million. This is only inevitable because of the dereliction of duty of our MP’s in protecting our borders and their failure to even discuss population growth. Sorry political correctness old boy, it would be unwise to raise the issue is their response.
    Why does the Uk despite being a relatively small island, have a rapidly increasing population when our neighbours in other EU countries have a population falling to more manageble levels ?. It is a shame that Mr Redwood’s concern about ‘The Death of Britain’ isn’t extended to this most vital of issues.

    “My view is we will be short of water because the population growth is outpacing new water provision”

    Mr Redwood identifies the problem but advocates the wrong long term solution – no resource whether it be fuel, water or free space can go on increasing exponentially. One of the greatest failing of government is it’s failure to understand the consequences of some basic mathematics most notably the exponential growth function.

    Consider that Britain’s population is increasing at 0.7% per year.
    As the Americans say,if you do the maths a 0.7% increase gives you a doubling of the population in 100 years. How is it possible that in the next 100 years we will manage to double our supplies of fresh drinking water ?. It’s almost impossible ofcourse and would be extremely expensive so why aren’t we talking about limiting population increase NOW.

    Ofcourse we could go on adding, road, rail , housing and water storage capacity up to 70 or 80 milllion population is reached…but by then the problem will be very much more unmaneagable.

    Reply: I also support cutting immigration.

  31. Posted January 31, 2012 at 10:48 am | Permalink

    What a site this is for those denying evidence. Read some of the science and stop thinking its all a conspiracy theory by watermelons.

    NASA say “The current warming trend is of particular significance because most of it is very likely human-induced and proceeding at a rate that is unprecedented in the past 1,300 years.” http://climate.nasa.gov/evidence/

    “Despite the fact it’s been warmer and cooler at different times in the last 10 years, there’s no part of the last 10 years that isn’t warmer than the temperatures we saw 100 years ago.” http://www.nasa.gov/topics/earth/features/upsDownsGlobalWarming.html

    • Posted February 1, 2012 at 12:55 am | Permalink

      Good to see someone with some sense posting evidence from scientists.

    • Posted February 1, 2012 at 10:46 am | Permalink

      How can you predict the outcome of a chaotic system for 100 years when no one fully understands it fully, when events like volcano’s, new inventions, genetic evolution, the sun’s activity and random chance can clearly change the whole progress. Predicting the outcome and all the ball positions in a snooker game is a synch in comparison to the world weather. What about meteorite impacts and volcanoes for example. Have they put those in to the models is so please can they tell us where and when just to save a few lives? If not what is the point of the forecast?

  32. Posted January 31, 2012 at 11:16 am | Permalink

    Little credit was given to Boris for reversing his predecessors decision on the Beckton desalination scheme which can now supply 1million homes as required. It represents British engineering at its very best and I am pleased that the Chinese have recently secured their place on the board of Thames Water so that we may share our ideas and build more desalination units for the south east.

    Boris has also written suggesting a water grid (canals and the like) bringing water from the north to the south. This idea has been well developed by Prof Roger Falconer and other engineers.

    I cannot see why if we are to go to the expense and disruption of HS2 that the construction should not also allow provision for laying a new water carrying capacity along the route. Others have mentioned imbalances in our electric grid and again this could be provided for in the HS2 designs.

  33. Posted January 31, 2012 at 11:21 am | Permalink

    John

    Firstly I would point out that DEFRA were mentioned in the “Climategate” emails as being a government department who were firmly behind the AGW agenda and were pushing scientists to be stronger, the message said “the DI cannot overstate the HUGE amount of political interest in the project as a message that the government can give on climate change to help them tell their story”. If you care to read the first and second release of Climategate emails, which are on many sites around the web, you will be shocked and concerned at the politicisation of science and the amount of mis-information and FUD that is spread by the ‘Warmistas’, which include DECC & DEFRA.
    I have been in correspondence with Gregory Barker at DECC and from his responses they steadfastly refuse to acknowledge that dissenting scientific voices are being blocked from the debate and the information they are pushing out is massively exaggerated with huge uncertainties. In an attempt to push out more propoganda they are trying to link extreme weather conditions whereas the evidence for this is totally the opposite. Look at the increase (NOT) in hurricanes as spun by the greenies.
    The point is that our energy bills are rising due to massive subsidies given to inefficient and environmentally damaging wind turbines and with DECC, IPCC etc colluding with Greenpeace, WWF etc (look at the register of Huhne’s meetings) the ‘green lobby’ and their spin doctors are pushing for yet more taxes and subsidies.

    • Posted February 1, 2012 at 1:00 am | Permalink

      The “Climategate” emails are little more than quotes taken out of context but people promoting their own agenda.

      It these ‘dissenting scientific voices’ have real evidence then let them post it in a reputable, peer reviewed scientific journal. If they have no evidence then let them get back to their tin hats.

      Is the Green lobby more power than the Oil lobby, who are worried about a fall in profits due to being linked to rising CO2 levels?#

      Reply: Why do you think the official figures show no warming 1900-1970?

      • Posted February 1, 2012 at 10:17 am | Permalink

        Obviously you really are in the ‘Warmista’ camp and have drunk the AGW FUD coolaid. The old canard “out of context” or “stolen” despite the fact there are hundres of examples of dodgy scientifc practice and political skullduggery.

        Do some research and don’t listen to the spin……even the UEA scientists (who are at the centre of the disputes) feel that promouncements some other “climate” scientists are dangerous nonsense and unsupportable. Read the emails its all in there.

  34. Posted January 31, 2012 at 11:24 am | Permalink

    (I’m sure everyone will have found it, but just incase;

    http://www.defra.gov.uk/environment/climate/government/risk-assessment )

    page, clicked on the link to the

    As a sceptic (neither denier or believer) I am not particularly surprised by the uncertainty. The additional factor in the equilibrium temperature balance between the black body radiator and the heat from the sun is not surprisingly hard, just look at the complexity of it.

    As a sceptic I agree with a risk-hazard approach with evidential weighting that defra appear to have taken. Moreover given the uncertainties I think that approaches that develop flexibility of response at a national level are important.

    My thoughts:

    (i) Water infrastructure – storage to buffer supply volatility (a lesson from gas?)
    (ii) Drip irrigation know-how
    (iii) Potable and non-potable supply
    (iv) Greening of urban spaces (for stabilising microclimates and limiting local flooding. Another reason I favour more urban sprawl, to remove the tarmac density). Any sums on greening vs leakage?
    (v) Energy plan around desalination once Becton knowledge in (- don’t know if this has already been carried out)
    (vi) On energy demand for building cooling – can this be offset by eating a few less calories, hence needing to grow/transport a little less food. I don’t really know how to say this but could tackling the obesity/weight epidemic offset quite a few of the problems?

  35. Posted January 31, 2012 at 11:24 am | Permalink

    I have never been convinced by the global warming/AGW lobbies so thought to look at historical weather data for a range of locations across the world where detailed records have been kept for many decades and in some cases a century or more. Using an on-line research engine I looked at the recorded temperature change trend (rising or falling over the years) and the projected number of years for the temperature to increase by 1oC. At the end of the exercise I concluded that, yes, things are changing but to what extent it is impossible to say because there is no obvious pattern to the changes one would expect to see if the whole globe is undergoing AGW.

    For example, in Australia, in Perth (31o 57”S 115o 51” E) the linear trend = +0.011oC/Yr and the years to rise +1oC = 87, but in Adelaide (34o 52”S 138W) the linear trend = +0.0016oC/Yr and the years to rise +1oC = 630. Both cities are near the coast, separated by around 1340 miles and 3o in latitude, but one is predicted to warm 543 years before the other. Why might that be – population densities? Oceanic conditions? Geophysical differences? Who knows?

    In the South Atlantic Ocean, at Port Stanley in the Falkland Is. (51o 42”S 57o.49”W) the linear trend is actually negative (- 0.072oC/Yr) and the ambient temperature gradually reducing, whereas 4000 miles north and further west at Ascension Island (7o 56”S 14o.21”W) the linear trend is +0.0036oC/Yr and it will take 270 years for the ambient temperature to rise by +1oC. Port Stanley is of course much closer to Antarctica, but Ascension Island is in the South Atlantic 1500 miles from Africa and 1700 miles from S America. No sign of significant warming in either case, is there?

    At Jersey in the Channel (or should that be La Manche?) Islands the linear trend is +0.0014oC/Yr and it will be 720 years before its ambient rises by +1oC. Lastly, further north (and notwithstanding tales of polar bears dying and Arctic ice melting) at Reykjavik (64o 8”N 21o.53”W) the linear trend is +0.0067oC/Yr, so it will take 150 years for its ambient temperature to rise by +1oC.

    I suppose that all that this proves is that by being very selective with data sources one can prove almost anything to suit one’s argument. But to my mind those driving forward the AGW agenda with their madcap windmill and other renewable schemes all funded by the taxpayer, not to mention the most gigantic scam ever – carbon trading units – has far more to do with political mind and population control than reality. Stop the world; I want to get off…..

  36. Posted January 31, 2012 at 11:29 am | Permalink

    Sorry….I forgot to point to this in the Wall Street Journal from eminent scientists who disagree with the AGW propaganda.

    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970204301404577171531838421366.html?mod=WSJ_Opinion_LEADTop

  37. Posted January 31, 2012 at 12:23 pm | Permalink

    Suppose, for the sake of argument, that we accept the Defra projections at face value. It’s hard to say what the face value is because they are so vague. Bear in mind this is a global problem. How effective are the measures being put in place in the UK to deal with it? It is doubtful that viewed end-to-end wind turbines and PV panels decrease CO2 emissions over their life, considering manufacture, installation and maintenance and the need for spinning gas-powered back up.

    CCS appears to be a none starter.

    Driving energy intensive industries off-shore to more compliant places, may enable the UK to tick a box, but it doesn’t decrease global emissions and probably increases them.

    All we are doing is making life more difficult and expensive for ourselves by taking measures that can have no impact on the problem. We’re getting to the stage where’s there’s a distinct possibility of rolling blackouts and enormous damage to the economy for no benefit at all. The UK is estimated to produce less than 2% of human CO2 emissions.

    However, taking Defra at face value is a huge assumption. There are good reasons to doubt the worth of their views on the matter.

    It’s a case of the cure being worse than the illness and the illness almost certainly being imaginary anyway.

  38. Posted January 31, 2012 at 12:29 pm | Permalink

    I’ve spent half of my life using exceedingly complex numerical models running on the fastest computers available to predict the recovery from oil and gas fields. It doesn’t much matter whether you are modelling the flow of multiphase fluids through porous media (my forte), or a nuclear explosion, or the weather forecast for the next week, or climate change for the next century, the methods we use are basically the same, and so are the uncertainties. The maths is complex but reasonably precise, and the sources of uncertainty arise from two main areas:

    1) Our comprehension of the physics of the system we are modelling. Our climate is astonishingly complex, and we really have little understanding of the interaction of various phenomena, let alone any genuine ability to model their impact on the climate. On top of this, solar activity may be a far greater dictator of our climate than CO2, and no model used by the IPCC or the Met Office includes this, as we have only the most rudimentary understanding of the physics involved.

    2) Any model that is used to predict the future must be history-matched against the available data, firstly to provide an accurate starting point for predictions, and secondly to demonstrate that it more or less has the physics right. Given the often poor and limited quality of most of the historical global temperature and rainfall data used for history matching, the error bands on the forecasts will be enormous.

    It’s great fun for people to run these models and try to tell us that in 2050 Kent will be a desert, or that Aberdeenshire will be a tropical rain forest, but such predictions have zero credibility. If any of them is correct, it will be by luck and coincidence, not due to our so-called understanding of the processes involved. Please, take it from someone who knows from hard experience how difficult it is to predict with much accuracy where small oil rims might be in oil reservoirs with an excellent data set available, that all of these long-term climate change forecasts are not worth the paper they are printed on.

    Half the time the forecasters can’t even get the weather right a week ahead, when they have satellite photos and all of the latest accurate meteorological data to hand, and the process being modeled is at least an order of magnitude simpler than climate change. Anyone who believes the climate change forecasts clearly has no understanding of the limitations of the predictive process. Treat them as fun, by all means, but don’t do anything based on them as they are worthless.

  39. Posted January 31, 2012 at 1:07 pm | Permalink

    Please can you ask them when they will start to support investment in shale gas? Could you have them at least set out their arguments and analysis for or against?

    As with socialist policy always and everywhere, the greatest costs are the opportunities missed. My understanding is that the (fools-ed) at DECC have managed to construct a brilliantly perverse rationale for not enabling investment in shale gas.

    Apparently, enabling lots of cheap energy production would make the other subsidised sources of energy appear to be bad value. This would make CO2 reduction relatively more expensive and so cheap shale gas must be stopped or at least kicked into the long grass (protracted public enquiries about fracking and earthquakes? yes – that’ll do nicely).

    This idiocy must be challenged in Parliament. I think sclerotic growth and inflation is making the public much more ready to listen to hard-headed analysis of our economic interests. Time to pop the green subsidy bubble for good.

    • Posted January 31, 2012 at 7:54 pm | Permalink

      It’s not just the Department, but the Parliamentary Committee, whose report on shale gas last May (conveniently BEFORE Cuadrilla announced the discovery of 200Tcf of gas) contains exactly that logic:

      Shale gas has the potential to shift the balance in the energy markets that the Department of Energy and Climate Change has tried to create away from low carbon electricity generation. The UK needs to manage this risk if its aim is to increase the proportion of the UK’s energy from renewable sources.

      http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201012/cmselect/cmenergy/795/795.pdf

      You’ll note that the report considers the maximum potential availability – potential reserves – to be just 150bcm, or 4.2Tcf. Just last week there was another discovery at Ince in Cheshire that was reported as 4.6Tcf.

      http://www.naturalgaseurope.com/igas-finds-shale-gas-potential-4620

      • Posted February 1, 2012 at 4:41 pm | Permalink

        You can see why Huhne is so desperate to handicap shale with demands that it can only be used for electricity generation if the CO2 is sequestered underground .

        Personally I think using shale gas to generate electricity is a bit of a waste .

        They won’t be happy till they’ve moved all real industry and enterprise offshore .

    • Posted February 1, 2012 at 1:03 am | Permalink

      Causing earthquakes isn’t a perverse rationale it’s a serious problem.

      • Posted February 1, 2012 at 10:09 am | Permalink

        I’m afraid you are listening to yet more ‘Warmista’ nonsense

  40. Posted January 31, 2012 at 2:02 pm | Permalink

    One way to reduce water usage would be to ensure all new houses with rainwater gutters and downpipes have underground rainwater tanks which can be used for non drinking purposes. This is standard practice in potentially drought stricken parts of Australia.

    Obviously there would need to be mains water as well, and electricity to pump the water from the tank, but it is ridiculous to let rain water disappear into the sewers (even if it is recycled, at a cost) or into soakaway pits in the garden.

  41. Posted January 31, 2012 at 2:03 pm | Permalink

    Several contributors have made excellent points that I agree with, so rather than reiterate – a question.

    Why have MPs elected a Climate Change/Energy Committee whose members have almost no training in science or economics of energy?

  42. Posted January 31, 2012 at 2:52 pm | Permalink

    When man-made climate change is shown to be a figment of the climate change scientists’ minds will they be more or less culpable that those who forced the Euro on Europe with equally disastrous economic affects?

  43. Posted January 31, 2012 at 2:55 pm | Permalink

    There is not a shortage of water, there is an overabundance of humanity concentrated in the south-east of our island. In the 1970s we were being exhorted by the same “warmist” types to have smaller families because of the human population explosion. Deathly silence on that subject now. I wonder why?
    Climate Change is just another expression which has been hijacked by the Left and used to the point of meaninglessness as has “progressive” and other such hackneyed words. Its just a trendy piece of moral blackmail to extort more money from us and make us feel guilty and apologetic. There always has been climate change and there always will be climate change. It is a conceit to ascribe it to our activities. We do not control it. We are of this planet, not superior to it.

  44. Posted January 31, 2012 at 2:55 pm | Permalink

    I have related this story before,but will do so again.
    In 2006 I was living in Cape Town,Greenpeace in conjunction with the WWF had a major
    fundraising display in the main hall of Canal Walk shopping centre [about TWICE the size
    of Blue water centre near Dartford].The main part of it was about Anthropomorphic man made CO2 and a rise in sea level of 1 metre [YES ONE metre],they had a map of the earth
    showing the effect of this rise.I had a good look [I have a first class hons. in Geography from
    1968] and then LOUDLY pointed out in front of a crowd of at least 200 people, that they showed parts of the planet under water after this ONE METRE rise, that at that time were
    many metres ABOVE sea level,in one case in South Africa they showed a part of the country as being under water that was actually 1000 metres ABOVE sea level,I DEMANDED to know WHERE they got the EXTRA 999 metres from, RESULT UPROAR.I then went to a large bookstore and bought a Sunday times Atlas and brought it back as proof.The people manning the clearly LYING PROPAGANDA stand then called security who ejected me,BUT not before my wife took a photograph of me being escorted away with the crowd
    cheering,which then appeared in the Cape Times. I don’t think I need to say any more.
    This kind of action is needed when this lie is propagated and where ever

  45. Posted January 31, 2012 at 2:56 pm | Permalink

    John,

    Everything you have said is spot on.

    Now if we only had an electoral system that gave your common sense views a chance of running the country…

    Cheers

  46. Posted January 31, 2012 at 3:04 pm | Permalink

    The risk is from rent-seeking advisers and “scientists” who actually do not know, but pretend they do and advise policy actions that biddable and largely ignorant Government ministers accept without curiosity, question or critical analysis.

    If you John Redwood can see that these clowns do not know, why is it that the Cleggameron is allowing the landscape to be festooned with Huhnemills at vast expense to the common purse and common good, for no actual benefit either as a means of reducing CO2 emissions or providing a viable alternative base load to the grid in place of the soon to close fossil fuel and nuclear generators.

    If the answer is you are far smarter than the current crop of Ministers of the Crown, why are you not Prime Minister?

    How exactly do they and the Luhne get away with this – what actually are MPs doing?

  47. Posted January 31, 2012 at 3:20 pm | Permalink

    BofE publishes largest ever monthly drop in broad M4 since the 1980s.

    http://www.bankofengland.co.uk/statistics/fm4/2011/dec/index.htm

    This validates my prediction that the only way out of this mess is to either (A) cause a drastic fall in house prices so we all have more cash in our pockets to help the economy, or (B) live with high inflation for years until wage inflations catches up with house prices.

    The danger with route (B) that wage inflation is no where near price inflation so wages will fall relative to prices and we will all be a lot poorer. So whilst our wages catch up with house prices our standard of living will be falling. A generation of stagflation.

    Best to bring house prices down fast and boost the economy.

    • Posted January 31, 2012 at 7:33 pm | Permalink

      Unlikely without benefit cuts and I mean far deeper than £26k (£35k in earnings) per year.

      The unemployed are more able to compete for scarce housing stock than workers are in many areas.

    • Posted January 31, 2012 at 7:40 pm | Permalink

      I agree with your sentiments. I note the the M4 decline was more than accounted for by falls for non-intermediate other financial corporations. Perhaps the QE auction holiday over Christmas had an effect.

    • Posted February 1, 2012 at 12:06 am | Permalink

      Forget it, the one thing that would bring the middle classes out on the streets with pitchforks is a government trying to make house prices go down.

      ‘Affordable housing’ just means ‘make bigger loans at lower interest rates’ to the home-owner-ists.

      • Posted February 1, 2012 at 12:53 pm | Permalink

        To me affordable housing means lower prices, with many more smaller loans rather than a few big ones. The average loan granted is about £140,000, against an average house price of just over £160,000.

  48. Posted January 31, 2012 at 3:49 pm | Permalink

    Apart from the obvious limitations of wind generation, there is doubt that the turbines will remain serviceable for their design life. It would be a daunting task to replace large components 300 feet above ground level. Imagine changing a gearbox 300 feet above the sea on the Thames Array!
    I would be interested to know if the contract lays the cost on the turbine owners or if the idiots who signed up on our behalf accepted the costs of such work. If a windmill ceases to generate, do we still pay for its notional output?

    • Posted February 1, 2012 at 1:08 am | Permalink

      “It would be a daunting task to replace large components 300 feet above ground level.”

      There never seems to be a problem fixing electricity pylons, tall buildings, or oil rigs.

      “If a windmill ceases to generate, do we still pay for its notional output?”

      If they’re pay per kilowatts generated then no one.

      Reply: Wind farm owners are in some cases paid not to generate power

      • Posted February 3, 2012 at 3:29 am | Permalink

        As they generate so little electricity and it is low value electricity (not being available on demand) the repairs are often not worth doing. Sometimes they even use more energy to install and maintain than they will ever produce.

  49. Posted January 31, 2012 at 3:57 pm | Permalink

    John,
    and what about Milankovitch’s 100,000 year cycle, it seems to have happened 7 or 8 times quite regularly before, any view on whether it will happen again.
    My tongue is in my cheek.

  50. Posted January 31, 2012 at 4:34 pm | Permalink

    The climate IS changing

    Man probably played a part in it. The Ozone issue (CFCs) is indisputible. Extinctions are certainly indisputible.

    The grown up question is not about the climate. It’s about whether unilateral action on it will be futile or not.

    And that the impact on Chris Huhne, Al Gore and Sting’s standard of living ought to be devastating for them before they lecture the rest of us on how to live.

    • Posted February 3, 2012 at 3:35 am | Permalink

      Do not forget Prince Charles. Still at lease the Duke of Edinburgh seem to have some sense of balance on the green issue.

  51. Posted January 31, 2012 at 4:52 pm | Permalink

    At least DEFRA exhited less of the “premature certainty” exhibited in the past (and still by many with vested interests) by those arrogant and ignorant souls who believe that they can produce a computer model of one of the largest, most complex and least understood systems imagineable — our global climate.
    The interaction of the enormous number of variables is not understood and even if it was the error bars on the available data are large. A classic example of GIGO (carbage in garbage out!).
    Atmospheric CO2 concentration does not consistently correlate with temperature and the present trace quantities are less than one tenth of levels seen during ancient ice ages as shown by ice core masurements and a hundred years is but the blinking of an eye in climate timescales.
    The billions of tonnes of this weak greenhouse gas which mankind has released are insignificant as carbon isotope checks show that mankind is responsible for less than 4% of all present emissions, 96% being of natural origin. Water vapour has a massively dominant effect both molecularly and by quantity.
    Clearly man cannot materially affect overall global climate and should stop imposing ruinous “carbon taxes” to promote unrealistic alternatives to oil sources such as ugly wind turbines. Certainly we need to have control of our own energy sources and should have started building new nuclear power stations more than ten years ago (we have none of Japan’s geographic or tectonic plate problems).
    We could even use some of our vast reserves of coal with no need for the impractical claptrap of carbon capture. Increased CO2 levels will promote plant growth to feed growing populations.
    Similarly we must ensure that we have adequate essential supplies of water which can be accomplished by storing far greater quantities and implementing the long proposed national water grid.
    As John Redwood says lets have a dose of reality and get on with what needs to be done!

  52. Posted January 31, 2012 at 5:37 pm | Permalink

    Did DEFRA not mention the vital importance of government ‘investment’ aka taxpayer’s wealth to build a lean, green, low-carbon future full of lean, green, low-carbon jobs? Or the importance of ‘investing’ in ‘renewable’ energy so that we can all look forward to expensive, unreliable and intermittent electricity?

  53. Posted January 31, 2012 at 6:00 pm | Permalink

    This is largely a problem of work. For the past ten years if you wanted a grant it was best to link your research to climate change. That almost garanteed funding.
    Also the number of jobs linked to carbon control, mostly by councils, means that it can’t be denied or else all those jobs would vanish.
    Finally windmills and the money invested is staggering when you realise that the UK is sitting on at least 400 years of coal supplies.
    For the above reasons the real truth cannot be told. So they predict 2080 knowing that it won’t be their problem by then.

    • Posted February 1, 2012 at 1:12 am | Permalink

      “For the past ten years if you wanted a grant it was best to link your research to climate change.”

      Unless you lived in the USA when George W Bush was president. Care to explain scientists told George W Bush that he was wrong even though it would not get them a grant?

      “UK is sitting on at least 400 years of coal supplies.”

      Given how expensive this coal will be to extract it’s cheaper to build wind farms.

      • Posted February 2, 2012 at 12:35 pm | Permalink

        No wind farm are absurdly expensive but it is far cheaper to import the coal.

  54. Posted January 31, 2012 at 6:34 pm | Permalink

    Thames water have just announced high risk of drought during olympics

    You couldn’t make it up

    • Posted January 31, 2012 at 7:36 pm | Permalink

      Will they cancel the rowing and sailing?

    • Posted January 31, 2012 at 8:42 pm | Permalink

      We should boycott this company by refusing to use their product a free market choice. I often boycott Tesco until I need to go because I have ran out off beer and are curious to have a look as to whats new, but you know how hard core I am.

  55. Posted January 31, 2012 at 6:41 pm | Permalink

    It makes you want to cry that a clueless (other pejoratives deleted-ed) Europhile like Chris Huhne is in charge of our energy policy.
    Dave Cameron – son of Heath.

    • Posted February 1, 2012 at 8:26 am | Permalink

      Take heart, all ministerial careers come to an end sooner or later. Some sooner, some later.

      The significant question now is who will be the next energy secretary, whenever Mr Huhne leaves his post? David Laws if newspaper speculation is to be believed. I leave it to others to decide if this is better or worse.

  56. Posted January 31, 2012 at 7:03 pm | Permalink

    The way to look at anthropogenic climate change is this: first of all, state your assumptions. For climate change it goes something like:

    Assuming that the output of the sun stays functionally constant or if it changes, does so in ways that do not affect the temperature of the earth, and assuming that carbon dioxide forces climate change in the way our models say it does, assuming correctness on the part of the models and assuming that we can make any difference to CO2 output…

    That there is an awful lot of very, very big assumptions and not even the models look to be correct. Climate change science is looking more and more like a synonym for complete bunk tainted with wishful thinking, greed and watermelon pseudo-socialism.

  57. Posted January 31, 2012 at 7:16 pm | Permalink

    Re Flooding – beware of spending lots of money chasing last years remote event. Perhaps it might be cheaper to subsidise flood insurance for property owners.

    Re Water supply – is it practical to build a pipeline from the NW Highlands to SE England to balance out the water supply disparity in this island?

    Re Power Supply – do we have a policy? Nuclear, wind, shale gas or hope?

  58. Posted January 31, 2012 at 7:20 pm | Permalink

    Whatever the truth about climate change, the difficulties will be made very much worse as the population heads north of 70 million. This is only inevitable because of the failure to have an open an honest discussion about population growth.

    Why does the Uk despite being a relatively small island, have a rapidly increasing population when our neighbours in other EU countries have a population falling to more manageble levels ?.

    “My view is we will be short of water because the population growth is outpacing new water provision”

    Mr Redwood identifies the problem but advocates the wrong long term solution in my view – no resource whether it be fuel, water or free space can go on increasing exponentially. One of the greatest failings of our time is to understand the consequences of some basic mathematics – most notably the exponential growth function.

    Consider that Britain’s population is increasing at 0.7% per year.
    As the Americans say,if you do the maths a 0.7% annual increase gives you a doubling of the population in 100 years. How is it possible that in the next 100 years we will manage to double our supplies of fresh drinking water ?. It’s almost impossible and would be extremely expensive so why aren’t we talking about limiting population increase NOW.

    Ofcourse we could go on adding, road, rail , housing and water storage capacity to accomodate a population of 70 or 80 milllion population …but by then the problem will be very much more difficult to control.

    Reply: I support reducing migration as part of the answer.

    • Posted February 2, 2012 at 12:46 pm | Permalink

      You ask “How is it possible that in the next 100 years we will manage to double our supplies of fresh drinking water ?”

      No problem doing this at all – you just need to to re-use grey water to flush loos with water saving appliances and put up the price of water so people use less and a bit of investment here and there in reservoirs and pumping stations.

  59. Posted January 31, 2012 at 7:56 pm | Permalink

    If we are indeed moving towards a mini ice age or even a major ice age the only weapon we have available is a large surplus of energy. As for whether this will protect us I cannot say other than make the comment that a shortage of energy means that we will be doomed.

  60. Posted January 31, 2012 at 8:06 pm | Permalink

    “Go on! Have a fag. You could be run over by a bus tomorrow.” Falls down on the point that I have no intentions of being run down by a bus.
    It’s interesting to note that a successful man made artificial climate has not ever been created. The idea that burning unlimited amounts of fossil fuels in particular dirty coal for decades to come will have no effect and if it does cannot be controlled as everything is preordained and we are all doomed is a dangerous ideology. Hiding behind the complexities the planets weather and claiming this complexity is the reason why no change is occurring or could concur is another piece of wishful thinking often associated by right wing religious and political thinking again based on everything being preordained and man having no free will.
    I have not made a case for or against climate change, but the scientific consensus of the vast majority of the worlds scientist says something is happening. I’m sure you would take the medical consensus and not a few crackpots as many right wing people call anyone with a off beam view. Or ‘sensible’ as they often say. This analysis is sensible. James Delingpole is just a right wing journalist who in his own word interprets other peoples interpretations. Which makes him like a priest, explaining his attraction to many right wing people. His ideas like many right wing financial ideas or about doing nothing as a course of action. The fittest survive. Usually a belief held by those not on the receiving end of the negative side and climate change politics is no exception to this rule. Doing nothing is doing something.
    A water grid would be a good idea as would coming up with a pollution free cheap power source and burning fossil fuels and using nuclear and other alternative expensive power sources in the meantime.
    The insurance market has come up with a good idea for homes prone to flooding. Don’t insure them and let the taxpayer pay for this. There’s a surprise! I’m sure you will find this ‘sensible’ as it will disincentivise houses being built on flood planes, reduce insurance costs for anyone ‘sensible enough not to buy on a flood plane and lower the cost of houses already on them by causing the governments adding this cost onto their council tax. You don’t? Is this because you live in one by any chance?

    Reply: NO I do not live in a house subject to flooding.

  61. Posted January 31, 2012 at 8:31 pm | Permalink

    The canal system is starting to suffer from water shortages. Around Tring the canal is closed to conserve water. Unfortunately the low water levels encourages the sealing clays to dry out and crack. Millions of litres of water are being lost.

    Over the past few years the directors of British Waterways have been increasing their pay, bonuses and pension contributions to eye watering amounts. Equally they have been involved in promoting property developments, marinas and pub chains which have lost large sums of money. This has diverted money away from maintenance and dredging.

    This lack of maintenance and the lack of rainfall will probably shut down large sections of the canal system this summer, affecting thousands of people and jobs.

    British Waterways is due to become a charity later in the year. I doubt they will have the income to properly maintain the system and invest in future new reservoirs. One has to remember that the canals are also used to move water around the country to supply drinking water plants.

    I think the current interest in gas fracking will lead to problems over water supply and potential damage to underground water quality. It appears to me that large quantities of water will be required, where is it going to come from.

    I have thought of a use for those otherwise useless windmills. Couple them directly to desalination plants. On the days the wind is not blowing the plant would not be produce any water but equally when there’s too much wind the plant would be highly productive.

    Similarly one could couple windmills directly to hydrogen producing plants.

  62. Posted January 31, 2012 at 8:32 pm | Permalink

    John, the whole AGW scam it just that – total nonsense. The amount of CO2 released by man has doubled in the last 50 years, WITH NO INCREASE IN TEMPERATURE!
    Did you know that the temperature has not increased since 1997?

    CO2 is necessary for life on earth, but makes up just 0.04% of the entire atmosphere, and most of that — at least 95% — is naturally occurring (decaying plants, forest fires, volcanoes, releases from the oceans). So 5% of the carbon dioxide in the air comes from human sources such as power plants, cars, oilsands, etc. Of that 5%, the UK produces around 2% of man-made CO2. Therefore the UK produces about .01 of man-made CO2, which is about 0.0004 of the CO2 in the atmosphere. And any proper scientist will tell you CO2 is GOOD for the earth, it makes plants grow faster.

    Please John, check the web, look for scientific articles, not from the BBC, but from MIT or someone trustworthy. And ask yourself, is this worth destroying our economy over?

    Reply: I have often written and spoken for cheaper energy, using shale gas, ordinary gas and other least cost solutions.

    • Posted February 1, 2012 at 10:45 am | Permalink

      Yes CO2 is a small percentage of the atmosphere but the large percentage gases (N2 and O2) are not infrared absorbers. (I am a climate change sceptic, neither denier nor believer.)

  63. Posted January 31, 2012 at 8:51 pm | Permalink

    I have just watched on Discovery Science Channel what appears to be the end of the current windmills. A Chicago based engineer has developed a working and in place successor already on tall buildings. It is cylindrical in shape, smaller, more efficient, more robust, can be used vertically and horizontally and has some of the properties of a gyroscope – the faster it goes the more stable it is. It looks a very practical piece of kit unlike the current C16 updates.

  64. Posted January 31, 2012 at 10:10 pm | Permalink

    Mr Redwood, any chance you’ll be blogging about the veto tomorrow?

    Reply: Yes

  65. Posted February 1, 2012 at 12:04 am | Permalink

    John the reason why scientists cannot predict what will happen in 2080 is because it depends upon what will happen between 2012 and 2080. If CO2 level increase then the effects will be more extreme and if they decrease the effects will be lesser. Thus there is a range of possible outcomes.

    John firstly the ‘cooling period’ between 1940 to 1970 did not return temperature levels to 1860 levels and secondly the temperature during 1940 to 1970 was mostly static. So claiming that there was no overall warming between 1860 and 1970 is a deliberate lie. Also John numerous scientist have measured global temperatures since the 1970’s and found that on average it has increased significantly. Odd that you didn’t mention that and implied that everything after the 1970’s was guess work. Science isn’t something people can be mislead on.

    Assuming that the number of deaths in the UK due to freezing are less than those who die from overheating this does not automatically make global warming good. In most countries that have higher temperatures than the UK the number who will die from overheating far outweighs those who die from freezing. It also reduces the ability of countries near the equator to grow food by turning their land into a desert.

    I would recommend implementing additional water supplies and flood defences sooner rather than later, as reservoirs continue to be lower than the previous year and floods are becoming more common.

    Reply: Try looking at the graphs the government has supplied – I did not lie in my description of them.

    • Posted February 1, 2012 at 3:47 pm | Permalink

      Here’s a good example of the dubious alarmism propogated by vested interests, the UN no less. Then, see how they attempt to hide their mistakes. Anybody believing all the climate change/global warming propoganda is, either, very naive or a socialist.

      http://wattsupwiththat.com/climate-fail-files/

    • Posted February 1, 2012 at 4:51 pm | Permalink

      I find it rather remarkable that the Government has a graph showing that all global warming between 1860 and 1970 has been offset by two cooling periods between 1900 to 1920 and 1940 to 1970. I find it even more remarkable that the Government decides to stop updating these graphs in 1970 and decided to guess what the average temperature would be.

      Can you please provide a link to the website with these graphs.

  66. Posted February 1, 2012 at 9:52 am | Permalink

    I’ve sceptical then worried then sceptical again etc.
    The only thing is the ice fields in both the artic and antarctic do seem to be breaking up. Of course that could be just part of a natural cycle. But if they have been melting why is the sea level not rising?

    • Posted February 1, 2012 at 10:34 am | Permalink

      Floating freshwater ice in freshwater when it melts will not raise water level. Freshwater ice melting in salt water would raise level since the freshwater is less dense than the saltwater. Presumably this wouldn’t be much of an effect looking at all the ocean without sea ice. I think the sealevel rising argument comes from (i) the water that is trapped as ice on dry land and perhaps (ii) expansion.

      • Posted February 1, 2012 at 11:44 am | Permalink

        I am not a global warmist, but don’t they mean that it is the expansion of the existing sea/water that creates the effect, not the melting of the ice?

        Reply: Melting sea ice does not change the sea level. Only melting land ice flowing into the sea raises levels.

        • Posted February 2, 2012 at 9:59 am | Permalink

          Reply to Reply

          Exactly.

          If you want an example everyone ca understand ice cubes in a glass of water (or a gin and tonic) providing the ice is floating. the level remains the same when the ice has melted (assuming none has been drunk) !!!.

        • Posted February 3, 2012 at 12:17 pm | Permalink

          No I agree, there is no increase in sea-level due to floating ice melting. However, when water warms up, it expands, i.e. an increase in the oceans’ volumes. Hence the alleged increase in sea-levels.

  67. Posted February 1, 2012 at 10:49 am | Permalink

    If global warming is seemingly unquantifiable the contribution that human beings make to it is even more so.The ever grasping politicians have yet again based their money grab on a lie. I am all in favour of husbanding our resources where it is financially viable and using those we have sensibly. I would submit that a national water grid would be more useful than any high speed link. What about a pipeline from Keilder Resevoir to the Midlands or Southeast. It could be run down the North Sea so impacting the environment very little. It does not quite have the glamour of a 200MPH train but it could answer a more pressing need and allow many dried up rivers to return to health.

  68. Posted February 1, 2012 at 2:27 pm | Permalink

    There has been a warming of the planet over the last hundred years, it is said to be about 1 degree centigrade.
    The problem is in proving if mankind is responsible for this rise all on its own.
    The next problem is deciding what power mankind has to reverse the warming and even if we were to succeed in this task, could we manage the climate like a demi-god for ever more, keeping the climate at some pre-decided temperature level by repeatedly adjusting our CO2 output up and down?
    What caused the huge variations in temperature on Earth way before mankind even existed?
    People who believe AGW always say “the vast majority of scientists agree…” But that isnt a very good argument because history is littered with examples of scientists “group think” being hopelessly wrong until new discoveries proves the old beliefs wrong.
    EG flat earth, planets rotations, pre Einstein physics etc
    CO2 is said to be the main cause, yet man only develops a few percentage points of the total and CO2 is itself only one of a large number of greenhouse gases.
    And the UK only produces a very small percentage of the total global CO2

    We have spent billions so far on global warming and are likely to spend billions more which could be better spent on clean water projects, irrigation projects, better farming techniques, elimination of deadly diseases and many other improvements which could improve the standards of living of millions and save millions more lives, partiicularly in poorer countries.
    Sadly the UN’s high priority is to spend money tackling global warming and its funding is biased towards that objective so other projects are currently suffering lower funding.

  • About John Redwood


    John Redwood won a free place at Kent College, Canterbury, and graduated from Magdalen College Oxford. He is a Distinguished fellow of All Souls, Oxford. A businessman by background, he has set up an investment management business, was both executive and non executive chairman of a quoted industrial PLC, and chaired a manufacturing company with factories in Birmingham, Chicago, India and China. He is the MP for Wokingham, first elected in 1987.

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