Saturday, October 27, 2018

BBC Misleading The Public Again About Wind Energy

Don’t Link Extreme Weather To Climate Change, Met Office Tells Forecasters

In this newsletter:

1) BBC Misleading The Public Again About Wind Energy
Paul Homewood, Not A Lot Of People Know That, 25 October 2018
2) Don’t Link Extreme Weather To Climate Change, Met Office Tells Forecasters
The Times, 19 October 2018

3) EU Spends $500 Million On CCS With Nothing To Show For It
Akshat Rathi, Quartz, 23 October 2018
4) US Vetoes $100 Million Climate Fund For China
EurActiv, 23 October 2018 
5) Lesley Riddoch: Why Fake News Is Harming The Arctic
The Scotsman, 22 October 2018 
6) Why So-Called ‘Earthquakes’ Shouldn’t Stop Fracking In Lancashire
Andrew Montford, The Spectator, 24 October 2019 
7) David Henderson, Head Of Economics At The OECD Who Criticised 'Corporate Social Responsibility' And Climate Alarmism: Obituary
The Daily Telegraph, 25 October 2018

Full details:

1) BBC Misleading The Public Again About Wind Energy
Paul Homewood, Not A Lot Of People Know That, 25 October 2018

Another highly misleading BBC report:

Green Party MP Caroline Lucas has said that energy generated from onshore wind is cheaper than other forms of renewable energy.

What are the figures behind the claim?

Renewable, or ‘green’ energy is generated from natural resources like the sun, wind and water, so they are restored and never run out – unlike fossil fuels.

The government’s Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) has published projections on costs for projects starting in 2020.

These include a breakdown of how much it could cost to generate a megawatt hour (MWh) of electricity according to different energy types.

The estimates by BEIS show that it will cost £63 to generate a megawatt hour of electricity using onshore wind energy, reinforcing Caroline Lucas’s claim.
It’s the cheapest renewable power source listed, in comparison with £106 for offshore wind.

These figures do account for construction costs and the fact that wind and solar power are intermittent.

I don’t have an issue with the claim that onshore wind is the cheapest renewable source. Not that that is saying an awful lot!

However, the BBC report contains three seriously misleading statements:

1) Caroline Lucas claims that the government has “virtually banned onshore wind”. As the BBC Complaints Dept has already been forced to categorically confirm, there is simply no truth in this.

The government has simply ended subsidies and (shock, horror!!) allowed local communities to decide whether they want new wind farms or not.

2) These figures do account for construction costs and the fact that wind and solar power are intermittent

This is typical of the lazy, slovenly writing we see so much of at the BBC, where climate change is concerned. The BEIS shows quite clearly that intermittency costs are not included in their costings.

Nor, for that matter, are “Whole System Impacts”, such as new transmission lines.

If the BBC are going to quote the BEIS report, should they at least take the time to read it properly?

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See Also: BBC Finds Lord Deben Guilty Of Misleading The Public On Wind Farms

2) Don’t Link Extreme Weather To Climate Change, Met Office Tells Forecasters
The Times, 19 October 2018

Staff at Met √Čireann [the Irish Met Office] have been told to be noncommittal if asked whether specific extreme weather events in Ireland could be linked to global warning.

The advice is contained in a guidance document on what to do when hurricanes, droughts, heatwaves and snow storms are being blamed directly on climate change. In its “climate attribution statement” Met √Čireann said questions linking these specific events to global warming were to be expected.

“There is no simple yes or no answer to the question,” the guide says. “It is a fact that a current weather event is occurring in a climate that is approximately one degree celsius warmer than pre-industrial times.

“But that alone does not mean that the event would not have occurred if the climate were colder by one degree.” The guide says extreme weather events are more likely to occur because of global warming but that linking it to specific events is a problem.

“A comment along the lines of ‘we can’t say if the event is a result of climate change, but it is the type of event that is projected to occur more frequently in a changed climate’ can be used if the question arises,” it says.

The guide was much clearer on what to say when asked about the link between human activity and climate change. It says the fifth assessment report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change had concluded that “human influence on the climate system is clear”.

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3) EU Spends $500 Million On CCS With Nothing To Show For It
Akshat Rathi, Quartz, 23 October 2018

In a report to be published later today, the European Court of Auditors will say that the EU spent more than €424 million ($486 million) over the past decade fruitlessly trying to establish carbon-capture technology.

The EU considers the technology crucial to hit its climate goals, which will require the union’s member states to reach net-zero emissions within decades.
Carbon capture traps emissions from power plants and chemical industries and buries them deep underground.

The technology has been in commercial use since the 1970s, when oil companies used carbon dioxide to extract oil from depleting oilfields. Later, in the 1990s, Norway established a way to use the technology as a means to fight climate change, by burying carbon dioxide into saline aquifers, where it can remain for thousands of years. Carbon capture remains the only working technology that can be used to eliminate emissions from certain types of emitters, such as the cement industry. (Last year, Quartz published an award-winning series on the technology’s challenges and opportunities.)

The auditors’ report investigated two EU programs: the European Energy Programme for Recovery (EEPR), with a budget of €4 billion, and the New Entrants’ Reserve 300 (NER300), with a budget of €2.1 billion. Both were launched in 2009 after the financial crisis to aid economic recovery and move the needle on climate action. Their goals were specifically to support the deployment of carbon capture and storage (CCS) and new types of renewable energy. (This article will focus on CCS spending. The report has details about the other investments.)

To date, the EEPR has spent €424 million on six CCS projects in Germany, Poland, Italy, the Netherlands, the UK, and Spain. “Four out of these six co-funded projects had ended after the grant agreement was terminated, and one project ended without being completed. The only completed project did not represent a commercial size CCS demonstration project,” the report concludes. Though some CCS projects were awarded NER300 grants, none were completed and thus the grant money was never spent.

“We conclude that neither of the programmes succeeded to deploy CCS in the EU,” the auditors write. The reasons for failure are tied to uncertain regulations and tight project requirements. In other words, the auditors conclude, the EU underestimated the hurdles in commercializing a nascent climate technology.

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4) US Vetoes $100 Million Climate Fund For China
EurActiv, 23 October 2018 

A global fund originally set up in 2010 under the aegis of the UNFCCC to assist developing countries fight global warming got back on track with a $1 billion splurge, but the US vetoed a project that would have loaned $100 million to China. 

The first Chinese bid for finance from the Green Climate Fund (GCF) was deferred on Saturday (20 October), after the US board member blocked it.

In a sign of US-China tensions spilling into the climate finance arena, Mathew Haarsager, a special assistant to the US president, vetoed a $100 million loan for green development in Shandong province.

He and Japan’s Hiroshi Matsuura raised concerns about the accountability of sub-projects and potential use of funds for research and development of commercial products.

The $1.5 billion programme also already had enough sources of cash, Haarsager argued: “We don’t see a compelling case for GCF financing being additional here.” The Asian Development Bank, French and German development banks, Shandong local governments and the private sector are named as co-financers.

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5) Lesley Riddoch: Why Fake News Is Harming The Arctic
The Scotsman, 22 October 2018 

Is it time that people – and not polar bears – were the face of the Arctic

The issue of “Arctic animal porn” was raised at the weekend’s Arctic Circle conference in Reykjavik, where climate change was the main theme and Inuit people strongly represented. For decades, campaigners, documentary makers and photo-journalists have used images of stricken, starving polar bears to sum up everything that’s wrong with our gas-guzzling, global warming planet. There’s no doubt the sight of these powerful animals in distress has prompted many to campaign for change and donate to environmental charities. The only snag is that some of the most emotive images fail to make cast-iron links with climate change.

In December 2017, National Geographic published a video of a young bear on Somerset Island, near Baffin Island, in Canadian Nunavut filmed in August of that year by members of an activist conservation organisation called Sea Legacy.

Soon the world press was full of headlines such as: “‘I filmed with tears rolling down my cheeks’: Heartbreaking footage shows a starving polar bear on its deathbed struggling to walk on iceless land”. This prompted an immediate but un-reported outcry among Inuit people, High North bloggers and Arctic academics who claimed there was no evidence the starving bear was indeed a “victim” of sea ice loss. One blogger observed that, in August, bears would just have left the sea ice and should therefore be at their fattest. He added: “If sea ice loss due to man-made global warming was the culprit, the landscape would be littered with carcasses.”

Fair point. But still the video circulated.

Susan Crockford, a zoologist and adjunct professor of anthropology at the University of Victoria in British Columbia, also disputed the automatic connection between the terrible state of the bear and climate change, pointing out: “There are at least 11 natural causes of body condition loss for polar bears, including lack of experience hunting, competition from stronger bears, broken or rotting teeth, injuries from fighting, hunting and falls, illnesses (including cancers which cause muscle wastage), thick spring ice (fewer seals to hunt), thick snow over spring ice (seals hard to find) and not enough food for seals, meaning less food for polar bears the following spring.”

Now this may seem like a fuss about nothing. After all, there’s no doubt that sea ice is in decline and that will eventually affect all polar bear habitats. The journalists behind the video were well-motivated climate change activists – but so is Crockford, who has had to endure angry suggestions from not a few green activists that her corrections to their stories suggest she’s in denial about climate change.

The puzzle is that scientifically verifiable facts about climate change and its impact on animal and human life exist in abundance, so why are campaigners still constructing emotionally powerful white lies which may actually weaken belief in man-made climate change when exposed?

As Terence Corcoran of the Canadian Financial Post put it: “We take you now deep out onto the frozen floes of Arctic science and polar bears, where the most dangerous threat to man and bear alike is lurking among the icebergs: junk science.”

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6) Why So-Called ‘Earthquakes’ Shouldn’t Stop Fracking In Lancashire
Andrew Montford, The Spectator, 24 October 2019 

So, just a week after starting work on releasing the gas trapped in the shales beneath Lancashire, energy company Cuadrilla Resources decided to stop work, at least for the rest of the day. Soon after they had started pumping water into the rocks a mile below the surface, there were a series of microseismic events – tiny earth tremors. The green blob and their friends in the mainstream media were waiting, and quickly launched their habitual barrage of moral indignation.

The Metro, for example, breathlessly reported that nearby Blackpool had been ‘hit by four earthquakes’. The Guardian was likewise certain that these were ‘earthquakes’. Watching seismologists were much amused at all the huffing and puffing, wondering whether these were the smallest tremors ever to be reported in multiple news outlets.

And small they certainly were. The one that prompted Cuadrilla to halt work for the day was just magnitude 0.4, and the others were considerably smaller than that. To put this in perspective, a tremor of this size has an energy release approaching that of a hand grenade. But because the energy is released a mile below ground, it is never felt at the surface.

In fact, you would need a much larger tremor before people would feel anything. A magnitude 3 tremor is the energy equivalent of the ‘Mother of All Bombs’, the largest non-nuclear weapon in the US arsenal, which was famously dropped onto Islamic State forces last year. Nevertheless, at the surface, a tremor of this size would only be felt as a distant rumbling – something like a lorry driving past your house. The possibility of it causing damage would be very small.

So why then did a tremor, thousands of times smaller cause Cuadrilla stop work? The reason is that they are having to work with a regulatory regime that is quite mindbogglingly absurd. Ministers have decided that if there are any tremors of magnitude 0.5 or above, the company must stop work entirely until given permission to restart. This is, not to put too fine a point on it, completely bonkers.

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7) David Henderson, Head Of Economics At The OECD Who Criticised 'Corporate Social Responsibility' And Climate Alarmism: Obituary
The Daily Telegraph, 25 October 2018

David Henderson, who has died aged 91, served as head of the Economics and Statistics Department of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) in Paris from 1983 to 1992; a Keynesian turned free market liberal, he became an outspoken critic of the type of sloppy policymaking in which “virtue signalling” is prized over economic efficiency.

He set the stage for his emergence as the outspoken scourge of bien pensant thinking in 1985 when he gave the BBC Reith Lectures under the title “Innocence and Design”. He used the platform to tear into the lazy “DIY economics” of policymakers who fail to think through the likely consequences of their interventionism. Too often, he argued, under pressure from interest groups and lobbyists, a “soap operatic” approach is adopted whereby some aspects of economic reality are highlighted and caricatured, giving issues a spurious simplicity and leading to wrong conclusions being drawn.

Examples of this approach included the Franco-British project to build Concorde and the Central Electricity Generating Board’s investment in the advanced gas-cooled reactor – which he described as the most wasteful such project ever undertaken. Other examples of flawed thinking included the persistent belief that manufacturing should be assigned a leading role in the economy as if it were somehow more honourable to make things than provide services.

Henderson’s willingness to court controversy seemed to intensify after his retirement from the OECD. In 2001, in a booklet for the Institute of Economic Affairs entitled Misguided Virtue, he took issue with the fashion among politicians and business leaders to urge companies to be “good corporate citizens”, attending to the needs of “stakeholders” and contributing to “sustainable development” and other environmental and social goals.

Henderson argued that advocates of “corporate responsibility” suffer from a basic failure to understand why capitalism works, advocating policies that have an adverse impact on the sort of public welfare they are supposed to promote. Applying principles of corporate social and environmental responsibility does harm by raising costs and prices and displacing attention and effort from the firm’s real business, which is making money for shareholders who are perfectly capable of making charitable decisions for themselves.

Moreover, in encouraging companies to seek a level regulatory playing-field based on their ethical insights, rich-country “good global citizens” limit competition, worsening the performance of the global economy as a whole and putting developing countries at a disadvantage.

The following year, in a paper written with Ian Castles, former head of the Australian Bureau of Statistics, in the journal Energy and the Environment, Henderson examined predictions by the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), in its massive Third Assessment Review of 2001, which reported that the Earth’s average “surface temperature is projected to increase by 1.4 to 5.8C over the period 1990 to 2100” based on a combination of climate change modelling and economic forecasting. The figures became the most cited in environmental politics and served as a basis for the Kyoto Convention on reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

But, according to Henderson and Castles, the IPCC got it wrong by assuming that the US (and most of the developed world) would stop growing by 2030, while the rest of the developing world would catch up in terms of per capita income, then surge ahead so that, by 2100, such economic tigers as Algeria, Argentina, South Africa, Libya, and North Korea would have surpassed the US in terms of standards of living.

Moreover by using market rate methods to convert currencies for the purpose of comparison, the IPCC assumed a much higher amount of economic growth (and thus higher levels of carbon emissions) needed by developing countries to catch up than would be justified by the more realistic purchasing power parity conversion approach. Once these questionable economic predictions were fed into climate change models, they had exaggerated the likely rate of output growth and greenhouse-gas predictions by a factor of three or four.

In a lecture delivered in 2000, Henderson identified a dangerous counterattack against free-market reforms, led by NGOs which had co-opted both corporations and governments in what he called a “new millennium collectivism”.

An “alarmist consensus” on the environment, plus the portrayal of developing countries as “victims” of globalisation (when the real problem is their non-participation) had been embraced by broad swathes of the Establishment. Under the triple banner of human rights, corporate social responsibility and sustainable development, these forces had effectively won the public relations battle.

Patrick David Henderson was born in Sheffield on April 10 1927. His father died when he was three and his mother when he was nine, so he was brought up by aunts and uncles. Educated at Ellesmere College, Shropshire, he went up to Corpus Christi, Oxford, where he took a First in PPE. After graduation, he was appointed a tutorial fellow at Lincoln College Oxford and a Proctor of the University – in which capacity he was instrumental in bringing the Danish architect Arne Jacobsen to Oxford in the building of St Catherine’s College.

In the 1950s he became an economic adviser at the Treasury and in the 1960s he served as chief economist at the Ministry of Aviation. From 1969 he worked as an economist at the World Bank, directing its economics department from 1971 to 1972 when he resigned the position after falling out with the bank’s president Robert McNamara.

In 1975 he returned to London to take up a chair in Political Economy at University College London.
Henderson’s growing scepticism about the value of interventionism brought him to the attention of Mrs Thatcher’s Conservative Party and in 1983 her government was instrumental in his appointment to the OECD.

During his nine years in Paris, he spearheaded the organisation’s shift to an evangelical role in urging an end to discriminatory trade policies and promoting the potential prosperity gains accruing from more liberal trade and investment rules.

After leaving the OECD in 1992, Henderson became an independent author and consultant, and was a visiting fellow or professor at many institutions, including the Royal Institute of International Affairs and the Institute for Economic Affairs.

From 2001 to 2009 he was a visiting professor at the Westminster Business School, London. He also served as a member of the academic advisory council of the Global Warming Policy Foundation founded by Nigel (Lord) Lawson.

He was appointed CMG in 1992.

In 1960 he married Marcella Kodicek, who died in 2011. He is survived by their son and daughter.

David Henderson, born April 10 1927, died 30 September 2018.

The London-based Global Warming Policy Forum is a world leading think tank on global warming policy issues. The GWPF newsletter is prepared by Director Dr Benny Peiser - for more information, please visit the website at

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