Coffee House

In Doha, a big green rent-seeking machine

9 December 2012

6:34 PM

9 December 2012

6:34 PM

A couple of weeks ago the great global warming bandwagon coughed and spluttered to a halt in Doha, the latest stop on its never-ending world tour. The annual UN climate conference COP18 is no small affair. This is a bandwagon whose riders number in the thousands: motorcades of politicians, buses full of technocrats and policy wonks and jumbo-jets full of hippies travelling half way round the world, (ostensibly) to save the planet from the (allegedly) pressing problem of climate change

This is despite the fact that nobody seems able to point to any great problems caused by the modest warming of the globe at the end of the last century — with global flood and hurricane levels plumbing levels rarely seen in the historical record, global sea ice levels at around their long-term average, new research suggesting that claims of increased levels of drought have been overstated, oh yes, and a distinct absence of any warming — there has been precious little for the delegates to get alarmed about.

The lack of any unpleasant climate change impacts will no doubt have entered the conciousness of the delegates — not least when UKIP’s Lord Monckton hijacked the conference microphone and pointedly explained some of these uncomfortable facts to them — but this knowledge will not have affected their thinking much. The ability of UN conference delegates to ignore empirical facts can at times border on the heroic.


A thick skin is necessary when there are millions of pounds of funding at stake. The vast majority of those present in Doha depend for their livelihood on the perception of global warming as an existential threat. Their jobs are quite simply going to disappear if they come up with the wrong answer about climate change. Any statement that comes out of the UN climate machine — the UNFCC, the COPs, UNEP or the IPCC — has to be seen through this prism. When did you ever hear a bureaucracy announce that it was no longer required?

So faced with a certain unwillingness by some delegations to take the unhinged policy steps that many at the conference advocated, but mindful of the need to keep the bandwagon rolling, COP18 did what UN conferences usually do, agreeing to take drastic (but unspecified) steps in coming years. This seems to have fooled few people, but fooling people is not really the game. Not rocking the boat is. So long as taxpayers continue to fund activist and technocrat alike, so long as there is a COP19 next year, and so long as politicians continue to play along with the charade, everyone is happy. Except the taxpayer, that is.

But while greens have been protecting their rents in Doha, the real action has been taking place in Blackpool. The news that the Bowland Shale, a humungous beast of a gas field under Lancashire, is actually 50 per cent bigger than previously thought, points clearly to a shale gas-dominated future for the UK. This is an outcome that should in theory please everyone since plentiful gas will unequivocally reduce carbon emissions as well as energy prices. But of course, in reality some parts of the climate debate will not be pleased at all, for the simple reason that the beast from Blackpool puts a fairly hefty spanner in the works of the big green rent-seeking machine. If gas gives you cheap energy and lower carbon emissions, why do you need windfarms? If anyone in DECC had any sense, an immediate halt would be called a halt to the Energy Bill right now.

In reality, however, there is little sign of anything changing. Politicians of all stripes, but particularly Lib Dems, are wary of the green lobby that was built up by Labour and that continues to operate within the civil service. Those who would speak out against the folly of the path we are on must watch their backs. So while new gas-fired power stations will be built and the lights will stay on, greens will be bought off by the continued expansion of the renewables programme. The costs will be astronomical – we are talking about a hundred-billion pound face-saving measure — but the big green rent-seeking machine will roll on.

Andrew Montford writes on energy and climate change issues at His history of the scientific establishment’s cover up of the Climategate affair has just been published.

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Show comments
  • Charlotte

    “The truth is, we just don’t know yet.”

    If we don’t know yet, why are we spending billions to mitigate it?

  • JohnM

    Nothing is more guaranteed to slow something down than the establishment of a department with sole responsibility for one thing.
    With one swoop shale gas has been consigned to a committee future of agonising slothfulness.

  • Phil Ford

    Fantastic piece, Andrew – right on the money. I’d only add that as long as ‘common purpose’ organisations like the CAGW-happy BBC continue to shamelessly promote the falsehoods of CAGW (whilst simultaneously screening out climate critics) it is going to be very difficult indeed to see a return to common sense, truth and observable science in climate science. The left have quietly got on with the business of insidiously inserting their fraudulent CAGW manifesto into all areas of public life, via Agenda 21 (and taxpayer funding). It’s been going on for decades now. I’m not entirely sure what it will take to bring whole rotten edifice crashing down, but down it must surely come…

    • Daniel Maris

      Are you seriously suggested it’s just public broadcasters who are advocates of AGW. How do you explain this from Sky News then? –

      “The competition has been launched as the countdown to the UN’s crucial Climate
      Conference in Copenhagen in December gets underway. Despite ad campaigns from
      organisations ranging from Greenpeace through to the Government, using
      approaches from scare tactics to more positive encouraging messages on relieving
      CO2 emissions, Sky News believes that the general public in the UK still isn’t
      properly engaged in the global warming debate.

      Sky’s Environment Correspondent, Catherine Jacob, who launched the competition on Sky News
      explained: ‘Here at Sky News we want people’s best ideas. There are just months
      to go now until the crucial climate meeting in Copenhagen where the world’s leaders’
      could sign up to a new climate treaty, and we fear that the public are not fully
      on board. To try to change that, we want to harness the creative ideas of those
      people out there who are already engaged in this vital debate, and in turn, hope
      that they inspire others to care enough to act.”

      • the viceroy’s gin

        Are you still down here rocking your hobby horse, son?

        Give it up now. It’s over.

  • Cis

    Strongly recommend the Spiegel article at message 1 in this Discussion. Compare and contrast the German approach to energy security with recent UK Climate Change and Energy Acts/Bills.

    • Daniel Maris

      So you are saying that if that prediction in the interview from Herr Kohler does not come true, the efficacy of a green energy approach will have been demonstrated? I’d just like to establish what you think is the import of that article. You can’t have it both ways, that the prediction is both of vital importance and not at all important if it does not come to pass.

      Bear in mind his prediction of grid meltdown in 2012 didn’t happen.

      • the viceroy’s gin

        Perhaps even an ignorant, uneducated dolt like you might take a lesson from that Kohler guy. His message is still significantly beyond your ability to understand, no doubt, but give it a shot.

  • Gina Dean

    I only hope that if shale gas is harvested that it stays in UK hands and is not allowed to be taken by an overseas company. The utilities should never have been allowed to go to companies outside of the UK.

  • Skeptic

    P.S. For those who want to see what the future of renewables looks like, see here:

    • Daniel Maris

      I think this prediction of German grid meltdown could run and run – like the “imminent demise of the Eurozone” prediction so beloved of Speccie journos and Coffeehouse posters here over the last 3 years.

      Personally I have more faith in the abilities of Herr Kohler’s fellow countrymen to resolve the transitional difficulties of moving to a green energy generation.

      • the viceroy’s gin

        Well, “faith” is all you have, because you’re ignorant and uneducated, and incapable of evaluating it by any technical means.

  • Skeptic

    Love your blog and commentary here, so a quibble. I do not know that carbon emissions are actually what you mean – don’t you mean carbon dioxide. The use of the term carbon emissions is a ploy to make carbon dioxide sound like something dirty/sooty, and is a propoganda too. Otherwise, great piece.

    • Cogito Ergosum

      There is also confusion between silicon, used in electronics, and silicones as used in breast implants etc.

      There is the further absurdity of quoting CO2 emissions per mile for cars, rather than traditional miles per gallon of petrol. Anyone with chemistry O-level can tell you there is a quantitative relation between the two; that is what chemical equations are for. So there was no need for the CO2 statistic.

      Ah me, such is the ignorance about science among the essay writing arts graduates who go through the motions of governing this country.

      • the viceroy’s gin

        Yes, it is disappointing that so many are technically illiterate. And that ignorance is costly to prosperity and economic livelihood.

        • Daniel Maris

          Yes, that’s why backward countries like Denmark, Germany and Iceland, with such uneducated populations, are so in favour of green energy solutions.

          • the viceroy’s gin

            Well, they may or may not be uneducated populations.

            It’s far more certain with you, however. You’re ignorant and uneducated, re all of these issues.

            • Daniel Maris

              Yes, Viceroy – everyone knows the Germans have the most technically illiterate population in Europe.

              • the viceroy’s gin

                Well, no, not “everyone” knows that. It’s an open issue right now.

                On the other hand, your own ignorance and void of education is not an open issue. It’s well settled.

  • Chris Alcock

    All this conference has done is agreed an amendment to consider at the next talks which cannot possibly come into legal force until 2015 or more likely 2017 which cover CO2 reduction for a bunch of idiotic countries amounting to just 15% of global emissions.

    85% of the world is looking at the 15% and thinking: “If you want to destroy your economies – we are very happy to take them off your hands” (as China has been doing for years).

    Doha the longest suicide note in history.

  • Ravenscar.

    Bowland shales in Britain, around the world shale gas and oil aplenty and when these deposits run dry, lo and behold!…… There are the trillions x trillions of cubic metres of methane clathrates to keep us all warm in the forthcoming global COOLING.

    All it needs, is a politician to say Foxtrot Oscar to the green lobby.

    Thing is, the Westminster claque; the Tory office boys, the yellow tea ladies and the toilet attendants of Labour – answer to a higher power and the Brussels Mafia really call the tune in Britain. So it is that – unilateral green emissions targets more ambitious [than the world put together] and certainly totally useless are “the thing” [religion] and plus with billions ‘invested’ in bird mincers and photo voltaic cells [at 50+ degrees north for goodness sake!].

    And so onwards – to industrial oblivion and economic suicide we march.

  • Hexhamgeezer

    ‘As for UK shale gas, the truth is we have absolutely no idea yet of the economics of shale gas extraction in our country’

    And that is exactly how you want things to remain.

    Get out of the way – otherwise the shale juggernaut is going to flatten you.

    • Daniel Maris

      Not at all. I believe gas has an important role to play for decades to come in transition to a fully green energy system. If we can extract shale gas in the UK economically and without excessive environmental damage then I favour that as it will improve our energy independence and provide a stimulus to our economy.

      However, I think some people here have been fooled into thinking it is going to be an easy eldorado. I remain a bit sceptical about the economics because we haven’t moved into commercial production yet. The gas may be there – but we know there is plenty of coal as well…we have got a coal mining industry to speak of any more.

  • emiller7

    Support British engineering, build British nuclear power plants. Horses to spare!

    • Daniel Maris

      Support French industry: go nuclear in the UK.

      • emiller7

        Given proper focus and good direction, the British would outproduce the French and indeed anyone else in the nuclear industry. But I understand what you mean. Buy British!

  • G.Watkins

    Well said, Andrew.
    It is truly extraordinary that our politicians are basing our future energy policies on the IPPC summary. All the relevant information is easily accessible from original sources and competent persons can see for themselves that the catastrophic global warming predictions are total nonsense.
    MPs of all parties wake up and read before it’s too late. One does not need to be a ‘climate scientist’ to read a graph.

  • Bug Hunter

    dear Mr Montford. Excellent article, thank you. More please. We really do need to balance the BBC output which seems to be totally one-sided.

  • John_Page
  • Hippo

    A well written and concise summary of the state of things. Especially the involvement of the politically motivated, NGO supported green agenda is revealing. No more windfarms, start fracking!

  • John_Page

    What Andrew describes is an excellent example of the Westminster village’s separation from most of the rest of the country. Apart from a very few, the Westminster village are evidently craven, brain dead, or plain lazy.

    • Daniel Maris

      I think only a fool would say that human-caused global warming is not taking place.

      Andrew Montford, chartered accountant, seems just the sort of person to make that sort of assertion.

      The truth is, we just don’t know yet.

      The political motivation behind this piece is pretty obvious. No mention of David Cameron’s “hug a husky” period. Or is Montford just saying the greenery was for election purposes only and totally insincere?

      As for UK shale gas, the truth is we have absolutely no idea yet of the economics of shale gas extraction in our country. It seems unlikely it’s going to be as cheap as in the USA, or that we will be able to wave away the envirionmental costs as easily as they can in the underpopulated mid West of America, but we will see.

      Incidentally, why does Montford rain fire only on the greens? Why not the nuclear power industry? Nuclear is far more costly than UK shale gas and is also subsidised.

      • the viceroy’s gin

        I think only a fool would say that human-caused global warming is not taking place.


        Actually, only a fool would make that statement.

        • Daniel Maris

          Well if you are going to say for sure that no human-caused global warming is taking place, you are in combat with about 90% of the relevant specialists. You, Viceroy, are always very keen on listening to the experts in the field aren’t you? So I don’t know why you are making an exception in this case.

          • HooksLaw

            Total misrepresentation of the facts.

            The tale comes from a 2009 American Geophysical Union (AGU) survey consisting of a brief two-minute, two question online survey sent to 10,257 earth scientists by two researchers at the University of Illinois. Of the about 3.000 who responded, 82% answered “yes” to the second question, which like the first, most people would also have agreed with.
            Then of those, only a small subset, just 77 who had been successful
            in getting more than half of their papers recently accepted by
            peer-reviewed climate science journals, were considered in their survey statistic. In other words the “98% all scientists” constantly referred to is a laughably small number of 75 of those 77 who answered “yes”.

            Over 7,000 earth scientists were so energised by the issue they could not bother with a reply. So out of 10,000 scientists 77 agree with your hypothesis and from this you get your over 90% figure. Some might argue that only 77 whose pay-cheque depended on the answer ‘yes’ answered ‘yes. I could not possibly comment.

            I do not expect you to be swayed by the facts of course, because you are a thick bigot.

            • dalai guevara

              Can I divert your attention from the seemingly irrelevant question of whether climate change is an occuring phenomenon or not, to the more relevant question of how to achieve gradual energy independence?

              • the viceroy’s gin

                Well, diverting attention seems to be your stock in trade, so have at it.

                But as for directing attention to anything, it’s unlikely you’ll be able to make much contribution, because, well, you’re stupid.

              • Eric Cartman

                Read the article: shale gas. Nuclear also helps.

                • dalai guevara

                  Yes nuclear also helps, and then every twenty years –bbooOOmm. Can you calculate the risk?

                  Shale gas is a fossil resource, so by definition finite (and not cheap). Do not waste that opportunity, but also bear in mind the UK (population density of 1000+) is not North Dakota (population density of 10). Now, why are you not shaking up Altrincham, George? Safe, is it?

                • the viceroy’s gin

                  Well, it’s kitten safe, as far as you know or can judge.

                • dalai guevara


                • RealTory


                • HooksLaw

                  Of course shale is a fossil fuel and comes from plants breathing in vast quantities of CO2. So by definition it is infinite. Meantime Blackpool shales alone can keep the UK going for 50 years. And of course nuclear power is well known, overwhelmingly reliable and safe and clean.
                  There have been no nuclear ‘booms’.

                • dalai guevara


                • Latimer Alder

                  Examples of the booooOOOmms please?

                • dalai guevara



                • Latimer Alder

                  Fuku did not go ‘booooommm’ – despite the best efforts of an earthquake and a tsunami. There was no explosion.

                  Chernobyl did not go ‘boooommm’. It caught fire when the operators – in a fit of insanity or stupidity – turned off all the safety systems. There was no explosion.

                  That both incidents – about as major a set of challenging circumstances as it is possible to imagine – did not lead to ”boooooms’ should tell you something about the risks of the technology.

                  And that is that it is very hard work to make a nuclear reactor go bang. So hard that nobody has yet managed it.

                • dalai guevara

                  You have no idea what you are talking about – of course it is true that Chernobyl went ‘boom’. Some of the kids affected spent time in my home at the time. Was I hallucinating?

                  Care to research ‘fukushima reactor explosion video’ and let me know how you got on.

                  Are you viceroy’s brother, another nuclear door salesman?

                • Craig King

                  By boooOOOoomm . . you mean what exactly? The absence of any nuclear explosions makes your statement a bit of a puzzle.

                • dalai guevara

                  Beyond design basis events. Surely you are familiar with this more accurate description – I am amazed Speccie readers need to be reminded of what that is.


                • Latimer Alder

                  dalai guevara

                  Sorry pal…your OTT rhetoric reduces your case considerably. If you wish to state that something went ‘bbboooooommmm’., then you;d better have some evidence that it did.

                  Chernobyl caught fire. But did not go ‘bbbbooooommm’. Buncefield went boom.

                  As an only child I have no brother and I have no connections with the nuclear industry.

                  But I do object to people making daft statements that they cannot back up with any evidence. There seem to be a great many of those in the ‘environmental’ movement.

                  PS If you want me to watch a video, please post a link directly to it. You are trying to persuade the rest of us that there was a big ‘bbboooooommmm’. You do the work to provide the evidence. That you ask us to do it suggests to me that you can’t find it yourself.

                • dalai guevara

                  I do not know where you are heading with your insistance that there were no EXPLOSIONS. We have clear video footage of that in Japan. Pretending that we are talking about controlled environments here is just incredibly…OTT.

                  As to the consequences, you seem to willingly underestimate the impact it has on the societies in the immediate surroundings of the BLASTS.

                  When confronted with a choice of what to go for (UK nuclear <25%) and in the knowledge that nuclear development is equally in foreign hands, then I would opt of 'dying by the blade', thank you very much.

                • the viceroy’s gin

                  Yes, well, all fine and good, except, well, you’re too stupid to understand these matters.

                • dalai guevara

                  In the meantime, I have joined the local energy producers. Cha-ching

                • the viceroy’s gin

                  …a rather queer post. The stupid must be progressing.

                • Latimer Alder

                  There were no nuclear explosions at either incident you cite

                  Simple as that.

                  And it is ‘mendacious’ (= polite word for lying) to suggest that there were.

                  It is possible that you could make a sensible case that nuclear is a bad thing. But daft remarks like

                  ‘Yes nuclear also helps, and then every twenty years –bbooOOmm’

                  doesn’t do so and IMO shows that you do not have an actual grasp of the facts…only succumbing to your emotions.

                  We will not fix our energy problems by emotional rhetoric.

                • dalai guevara

                  I never claimed there was a ‘nuclear’ explosion. Simple as that.

                  When we see several hydogen explosions on a nuclear site, then this is enough to send contaminated particles flying anywhere – in Finland, entire herds of rein deer were taken out of the food chain when the winds did not work in their favour.

                  My rhetoric is the opposite of emotional, it is looking at the fact based risks (every.twenty.years) and coming to the conclusion that if Denmark and Germany can put up rotors to soon cover more than half of their demands, so could we. Once the blades are up, they will virtually run forever (of course the plant will require a service), at no risk to my and your heath AT ALL.

                  This cannot be said for nuclear, and in a society with a density of 660+ and rising, why go for plan ‘boom’ if you can go for plan ‘hunky-dory’?

                • Latimer Alder

                  See…you can put together an argument that doesn’t rely on emotionalism like

                  ‘Yes nuclear also helps, and then every twenty years –bbooOOmm’

                  But your remarks about wind power in Germany and Denmark

                  ‘to soon cover more than half of their demands’ is pretty disingenuous too. In UK we have an installed capacity (technical reports refer to this as ‘cover’) of about 5100 MW of wind power. But yesterday afternoon it managed no more than 74MW – less than 2% of ‘cover’, and only 0.14% of the total national electricity demand.

                  Nuclear power – unlike wind – does not give up the ghost on cold calm days such as we frequently get in the winter – exactly when we need reliable power.

                  I’m happy to confirm that, beyond the composition of standard FTSE100 based pension plans which presumably invest a small part of their assets in this sector as in many other sectors, I have no connections with any energy companies. And all my posts are made ‘pro bono publico’.

                  Are you connected in some way to windpower organisations?

                • dalai guevara

                  Not connected – I have visited the continent this weekend to find that the turbine installations have progressed hugely since I last went (in May), and that the motorways continue to be busy with HGVs loaded with turbine technology.

                  We also have days where the output is 8% – you are right to point out that wind is abundant, but not always available. That is why:

                  1- our grid needs investment to take the expected change in peaks/ supply routes etc.

                  2- we need efficient back-up power generation with low start up times to make it a sensible enterprise

                  3- we should develop storage mechanisms (power cables to Norway pumping up water for hydro generation in low-wind scenarios? Flood a glen? etc.)

                  Nuclear provides less than 25% of our total energy requirements. It could be rendered completely obsolete (we are not France) within 15 years, if we got our head round it. This is a unique opportunity to get rid of this monster, some economies see sense and are doing it. Others will continue to run on old and obsolete tech. I am reliably informed that some Third World countries burn their tyres – it’s all about standards, and I would like to get my inspiration from the first not the third.

                • Latimer Alder

                  Some thoughts:

                  ‘we need efficient back-up power generation with low start up times to make it a sensible enterprise’

                  And your proposal to provide this what? Note that given the pathetic performance of wind on cold calm days, the backup needs to be installed GW for GW. So we need to pay twice…once for the windmill and again for the backup. Why bother with the windmills at all?

                  And if the windpower is such a brilliant and sensible (and free-fuel) idea, why do we need to pay 25 year subsidies (FiTs etc) for production?

                  We already have power cables (interconnectors) to Ireland, France and The Netherlands. Another one to Norway may be a good idea, but will not make a huge difference.

                  Pumped storage may also have a role to play, but where will you put it? There have only ever been two built in UK afaik -Ffestiniog and Dinorwig. And between them they only supply 2GW for a few hours….less than 1/25 of peak national demand

                  Finally you didn’t answer my question about your connections to windpower organisations. You have suggested twice that I am somehow connected to the nuclear industry..suggestions I have been happy to deny each time. But there is a strange silence on your own position……..

                • dalai guevara

                  Wind does not perform ‘pathetically’ – it is there to be harvested with ever-increasing efficiency, just like rays from the sun or geothermal and hydro.

                  The back up is required to reduce the amplitude, that will lead to no longer burning say 100 fossil units (as we are now) but 50 units by 2020 or even just 10 units by 2050 – who knows what our exact figures could be.

                  You have a point when you highlight subsidies paid to kickstart industries. But do they not also apply to fracking (Osborne’s tax break) or to a much larger extent to nuclear? The reference to the grid is a general one, a network with increased capacity is what’s required, as we are moving from centralised to localised production.

                  It is the gradual reduction of external energy sources (so please note shale will help here) that MUST be the long term goal.
                  Once you get to the point of theoretical oversupply (Schleswig Holstein are on track to producing 300% of their theoretical electricity consumption by 2020), then the obvious oversupply on windy days should be stored. Flood a glen and run hydro when it’s calm?

                  Disclosure: I have stated before I am *not connected* to any form from wind turbine manufacturing/ installation or subsidy.

                • Latimer Alder

                  ‘ I am *not connected* to any form from wind turbine manufacturing/ installation or subsidy’. Leaves quite a large margin for things you *could* be connected with though.

                  1.. Where is this ‘ever increasing efficiency’ going to come from?

                  There are only two things you can do to improve efficiency…capture more wind (blade design) and/or turn more of it into electricity (generator design).

                  Windmills were invented 900 years ago, turbine blades have had huge resources invested to optimise their design since the invention of the propeller in steam ships, and the use of aircraft and jet engines. We have known how to build electricity generators from the time of Faraday (1850s).

                  So where will you get the efficiencies from?

                  2. ‘The back up is required to reduce the amplitude,’ Regret that I do not understand the statement. Amplitude of what? Please clarify.

                  The backup is needed to generate the power that we need. The wind is neither predictable nor reliable.. and we cannot switch it on or off when we need to. We have to have a reliable and despatchable source.

                  3. A tax break (deferred payment set against future profits) is not a subsidy and it is disingenuous to claim it is. In a subsidy real money changes hands from the people to the producer. The producer gains income…the public lose it. That is what happens today with wind power. There is no suggestion of a similar scheme for fracking

                  4. ‘Flood a glen and run hydro when it’s calm?’

                  Or maybe flood 100 glens and run hydro for just a few hours with awful overall efficiency. Good luck on the engineering, politics and economics of that. That’s why we still only have two such schemes in UK. And if Scotland leaves the UK we wouldn’t have any glens at all to play with.

                  5. ‘Schleswig Holstein are on track to producing 300% of their theoretical electricity consumption by 2020’.

                  And 0% of their demand when the wind doesn’t blow. The backup has to be somewhere. Since S-H is only about the size of Yorkshire and has about 2/3 of the population, your example is not reproducible across an entire nation.

                • dalai guevara

                  A- *connected* I do not know what else you want me to confirm.

                  1- *efficiency* mainly by not losing the electricy produced, multiple options spring to mind:
                  1a- storage by pumping water (up)
                  1b- storage by heating water in below-ground tanks, as used in fully developed systems available off-the-shelf for Austrian/German new builds for example.

                  2- *Amplitude* of max/min levels of real time supply.

                  3- see 1. How come Austria make much more use of this? Higher natural level differencials? In general, different regions benefit to different levels from exposure to wind, geothermal sources, solar gains, hydro capabilities, tidal energy (not yet discussed here) – take your geographically relevant pick

                  4- Glens are not flooded as that back up requirement never occured to anyone. Once electricity production is abundant, that might change.

                  5- *SH is only the size of Yorkshire*, yes only that the entire UK is like SH with regard to exposure to wind…

                • Latimer Alder

                  dalai guevara

                  A simple declaration ‘I have no personal nor professional connection with any aspect of the wind power industry’ would suffice.

                  1. Increased storage (not harvesting) efficiency is not a quality of wind power. It can be applied to any from of electricity, however generated..coal, nuclear or rubbing an activist’s knees together.

                  It is ‘disingenuous’ (at best) to state

                  ‘Wind does not perform ‘pathetically’ – it is there to be harvested with ever-increasing efficiency’ when it is energy *storage* that has the efficiency, not the harvesting.

                  2.’*Amplitude* of max/min levels of real time supply..

                  Still no idea what you mean.

                  3. ???

                  My remarks were about subsidies and tax breaks. Yours are about the geography of Austria. Their relevance escapes me.

                  4. Which glens in particular are you planning to flood?

                  5. So?

                • Latimer Alder

                  When was the last bboo00mm?

                  How many people were killed as a direct result?

                  Eight people have died as a direct result of windfarms in the UK.

                • dalai guevara

                  Go eat the fish from Matsukawa-ura bay
                  Go eat the chanterelles from the Ukraine.
                  Bon appetit!

                • Latimer Alder

                  I didn’t hear the bbooooOOOOmmm you mentioned.

                  Avoiding a few mushrooms (if indeed that is needed and I have seen no evidence that it is) is not quite the same thing as a huge explosion.

                • dalai guevara

                  George, the Speccie readers unanimously wish to get fracking in your constituency. Happy days!

              • Daniel Maris

                I agree that’s more important. I am actually an AGW sceptic myself.

              • Time Traveller

                A combination of shale, nuclear and coal in British hands is the obvious answer. Windmills, solar panels and bio-fuels largely depend on imports and will continue to leave us severely energy-dependent. Additionally, our own miserly production of bio-fuel is about to make us a net importer of wheat and – worldwide – bio-fuel production has resulted in increasing grain prices at the expense of the poor in the developing world.

                Is this what socialism was meant to look like?

              • Warren T

                excellent question! my idea for wind power isn’t getting built though…sorry!


          • the viceroy’s gin

            Son, it’s best if you just step away from your fetish, and let it go. You’re ignorant and uneducated, and have no basis to judge who is expert and who is not.

          • theduke

            “The truth is, we just don’t know yet.”

            If we don’t know yet, why are we spending billions to mitigate it? The fact is that we’ve got a government created industry based on dubious science that is eating tax dollars and people’s income voraciously and not one of the beneficiaries can prove that we are facing even a minor problem.

            • Daniel Maris

              It’s the precautionary principle. It’s the same reason why we shouldn’t be introducing novel chemicals into food supply or compromising the water supply through pollutants.

              If your worry is expenditure per se, then why not get upset about expenditure on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, or shoring up the banks (c£100 billion) – far more than has been spent on this precautionary principle.

              • Nick500

                The precautionary principle? None of the proposed solutions amount to a pimple on a gnats back.

              • Jeremy Poynton

                On that basis then we should be building asteroid defences, spending billions annually to combat all possible plagues – the list goes on. As many have warned, the cost of attacking “climate change” is almost certain to be hugely more than mitigating whatever it might be with practical measures. Such as not building on flood plains. Such as demanding that all climate projections are built on real world data rather than hugely flawed models which ignore many of the factors which build “climate”. And which have real figures for sensitivity, not made up ones which fit the required results

                FFS – the science of clouds is such that as yet we don’t know exactly how they form, whether they keep heat in or out. We can’t even model natural variability – Phil Jones has said as much, yet we are told that we know what the temperature will be in 90 years. Bollocks do we.

                This is not about science – it is about politics and control, and ultimatley (viz. Agenda 21) crashing the industrial nations. Oh, and preventing the developing world form having all we have. Development depends on energy. And guess what – the more developed a nation, the lower the birth rate.

                ERGO – it makes sense to ensure the 3rd world has cheap and easy access to fossil fuel, from which all our wordly comforts issue, and of which it seems we have enough for some centuries, allowing us time to develop real alternatives, unlike the idiocy of solar powetr (local yes – national grid – no)

                • Daniel Maris

                  So you’re saying we should have no asteroid defence plan, no co-ordinated measures against super-viruses?

          • Nick500

            There has been no warming for the last 16 years.

            • Daniel Maris

              Says who ?

              • luther_wu

                The IPCC’s own numbers say so… so does the UEA/CRU.

                • Daniel Maris

                  Er – that’s not a link…that’s an assertion.

          • Baron

            Daniel, many, many years ago it was just one man called Galileo who said after his trial ‘eppur su muove’. And you now what? He was right. .

            • Daniel Maris

              Viceroy, in case you haven’t noticed, is the one who is always telling us to listen to expert technical opinion…except in this case. It’s his problem not mine. I always say you should weigh technical opinion in the balance.

              • the viceroy’s gin

                You wouldn’t know how to weigh technical opinion, son, because you’re ignorant and uneducated.

      • Curnonsky

        “I think only a fool would say that human-caused global warming is not taking place.”

        “The truth is, we just don’t know yet.”

        Well, which is it?

        • Daniel Maris

          Curnosky –

          What do you mean: which is it?

          If we don’t know whether or not something is A, only a fool would say something is A. Surely that follows.

          • Fergus Pickering

            Only a fool would say that the earth will not be destroyed by a meteor in the next fifty years. Only a fool would say that Bacon did not write the plays of Shakespeare. You make up your own sentence.

      • Ravenscar.

        Nuclear power, is reliable and constant base load electricity – bird mincers do not guarantee anything but paltry voltage, doubtful outcomes, nothing if the wind does not blow and endless maintenance costs with a shelf life of 7-10 years in marine locations.

        • Daniel Maris

          Nuclear is not reliable! France has to import electricity during hot summers because its nuclear reactors can’t operate properly. We have all seen what happened in Japan. And there has been plenty of down time at British nuclear reactors as well.

          • Latimer Alder

            I did not know of Fance importing electricity.

            Where does it get it from, and what makes their reactors not operate properly in hot summers?

            Is it the same problem that makes windmills stop working on cold still winter days…just when the power is needed most?

            • SandyS

              I think he’s referring to the French drought of a few years ago when the flow in some of France’s major rivers were greatly reduced. There are a number of French nuclear power stations inland using river water for cooling purposes. I think that as a precaution to prevent “over heating” the rivers output was reduced. In an average summer I think things are fine. Almost everytime I looked at www-bmreports-com over this summer the French were exporting electricity to us.

              If the UK ever gets the long dry summers so often predicted by the MO then power stations like Ratcliffe-on-Soar will face the same problem.

              • Daniel Maris

                Yes, that’s right. But it is a serious problem and they are not being “over cautious” – it is an absolutely necessary safety measure. The result is they can’t themselves generate enough electricity. They imported 2GW of electricity peak in 2009 – but they are well connected I believe in all directions – including the UK, so it was not a critical issue as such.

                • the viceroy’s gin

                  No, it’s not a serious problem. And it’s not an “absolutely necessary safety measure”, it’s more of a water temperature issue, made in an abundance of caution regarding aquatic life.

                  But then, you don’t have the experience, knowledge or education to adjudge any of that, on any side of it.

                • Daniel Maris

                  Cooling is an absolutely necessary safety measure. If cooling water is not available then you have to shut down the plant or you risk a meltdown. Unless you are saying the nuclear industry should have the right to despoil the flora and fauna around them, then I don’t know what point you are making. The reason they can’t operate is because in a very hot summer cooling water is not available.

                • the viceroy’s gin

                  Cooling water is available, but then, you’re too ignorant and uneducated to understand any of this.

                • Daniel Maris

                  No, the cooling water was not available. Unless you wish to say that

                  the nuclear industry should be allowed to extract as much water as it likes and heat it up as much as it likes. Is that what you are saying? It’s best to be open about these things.

                • the viceroy’s gin

                  I don’t wish to say anything other than what I’ve previously said, which implies not arguing with an ignorant, uneducated dolt such as yourself, one who has not a clue about these subjects.

                • Daniel Maris

                  Yep, as I thought, you don’t wish to admit that those nuclear power stations could only be cooled by allowing unrestricted water extraction and no limits on heating of local waters.

                • the viceroy’s gin

                  I don’t wish to discuss these matters with an ignorant, uneducated dolt who can barely breathe without instruction.

                • Daniel Maris

                  As long as you act on your desire that’s fine by me.

                • the viceroy’s gin

                  Don’t worry, I will, and I’ll also continue to point out that you’re an ignorant, uneducated dolt, whenever you attempt to play engineer.

      • Jeremy Poynton

        “I think only a fool would say that human-caused global warming is not taking place.

        The truth is, we just don’t know yet.”

        Well, covered both ends then. You seem unaware that the huge majority of skeptics do not deny that co2 has helped warm the planet. We believe however that the effect of man made co2 has had a tiny effect at most, we believe that all that is happening is well within the boundaries of natural variabity, that to talk of “records” that in often gfo back no more than 30 years, or at most, the 150 years past which have shown minimal warming (now reversed) is disingenous at best, lying at work, on a planet in which in geological terms, 100,000 years is a very short period.

        Of the past 400,000 years, 80% of those have been Ice Ages. What we have now is a period of huge fortune for mankind, with perhaps the most clement weather ever experienced, maybe with the exception of the Mediaeval, Roman and Minoan warming periods.

        Warming is not the problem we should be worried about. The next Ice Ages is. And they can start very quickly indeed.

      • harbinger

        “the greenery was for election purposes only and totally insincere?” You have it in one.

  • dalai guevara

    Yes, once we realise that UK installed wind turbines are artificially THROTTLED to sit just below the 500kW threshold to receive maximised subsidies, we realise that the 8% of total electrical requirement produced today could have easily been 12%.

    And then we further realise that our grid system is hopelessly outdated -designed for centralised production and distribution, not the increased localised capacity- we begin to understand the nature of the sophisticated diversion tactic played out here, designed to slow down change.

    • the viceroy’s gin

      Is that in your expert power engineering opinion, again?

      Or is it that you’re just blowing off again, similar to the UN dopes?

      • newminster

        You should get out more, and perhaps leave the gin bottle behind.
        I can’t comment on the state of the grid though there seems little doubt that it was never designed to cope with the sort of random feed-in it would experience if the level of wind-power were increased much further and engineers (who know more about these things than I do) seem convinced that above a certain threshold wind-power has the potential to de-stabilise the grid.
        On the other point there have been more than enough reports in the press in recent days giving credence to the revelation that the subsidy for 500kW and that least is a fact. Whether firms have been throttling back I couldn’t say but 1. manufacturers have been highlighting in their literature those turbines where such throttling is easily carried out, and b) I would be surprised if the subsidy-junkies who build and run wind farms didn’t also find any other possible excuse to play the system and screw the taxpayer.

        • the viceroy’s gin

          I get out plenty, and as one of those engineers who know more about these things than you do.

          If your point is that wind power is uneconomical and absurd, welcome to the club. Not that you have any basis to make that judgement, mind you, as you acknowledge. But if you’ve made it, even by accident, you’re on the right track.

          • dalai guevara


            • the viceroy’s gin

              You remind me of an amoeba, except you’re stupider.

          • Daniel Maris

            Yes, never forget that Viceroy knows better than the Danish and German governments, the 300,000 Germans employed in the green energy sector, the vast majority of the world’s climatologists and anyone else who has the temerity to disagree with this illustrious engineer. Pomposity inflated to the girth of the globe.

            • the viceroy’s gin

              Well, I know more than you, not that that’s saying much.

              You’re ignorant and uneducated, afterall.

    • HooksLaw

      I draw your attention to a response by ‘Windprof’ in the Spectators original desperate tabloid splash…

      ‘It sounds like you need to check your facts. 500kW is tiny as far as
      serious wind developers are concerned; maybe a couple of farmers are
      dealing in projects of this scale but the wind industry doesn’t
      generally put up turbines of less than 1.5 megaWatts (and more usually 2
      – 3 MW). It may well be true that at the margin some wind turbine
      owners have done the calculation and would be better off ‘de-rating’ but
      the numbers involved must be pretty small.’

      For the record … I am opposed to wind farms which only operate at 30% stated capacity anyway.

      • Daniel Maris

        HooksLaw –

        No one in the wind industry has ever claimed the average is better than 30% of capacity. The rating is the maximum they produce. So the “only” in your final sentence is otiose.

      • dalai guevara

        Surely, we could get more reliable sales figures for installed plant room tech from the manufacturers rather than the hearsay of Windpoof?

    • Latimer Alder

      Last week it was 0.3%

  • Steve Ellis

    The money paid to run these events would go a long way to feeding the poor, educating the masses and healing the sick.

    • Latimer Alder

      And would save oodles of carbon emissions from holidaymaking delegates jetting in from around the globe.

    • Jeremy Poynton

      And the trillions pissed away on “global warming” could have been used to bring clean water to the third world, and cheap electricity. The fact is that the neo-Greens (i.e. that part of the Left which grabbed the Green movement for its own ends) are to all intents and purposes genocidal against the Third World. You can’t keep a good Fabian down, it would seem.

  • Steve Ellis

    I thinik it’s time to disband the UN and get rid of all the fatcats who take part in these waste of time conferences.

  • Cogito Ergoswum

    Sometimes in summer our roads are under flood water. Comes another year, another summer, the tarmac is melting under the hot sun.

    The variability of our climate is far more important than any small trend (if such a trend exists). We should be spending our taxes on coping with that variablity; if we do that we can take any small trend (if it exists) in our stride.

    • Augustus

      Well, we are well past the time when the next ice age is due, mini (small trend), or not, and if all the global warming charlatans are right, we can actually thank heightened levels of carbon dioxide for delaying it. However, the truth is that higher or lower levels of carbon dioxide show up centuries after any shift in the Earth’s temperature. And it’s not just in the Northern hemisphere that we will need to bundle up, Southern hemisphere polar sea ice expanded in September 2012 to its greatest extent since satellites began measuring the Antarctic ice cap. Governments and conferences can’t save the global warming hoax, because the Earth’s climate has a mind of its own.

      • SandyS

        Well, we are well past the time when the next ice age is due

        How do you know that for certain?

        • HooksLaw

          The journal Nature Geoscience, write that the next Ice Age should begin within 1,500 years.
          There is no reason to deny however that it will come. The future is that the climate will get colder.

          With no warming in 16 years and low sunspot activity we could indeed be heading foe the kind of mini ice age that saw the Thames ice over at the time of the Restoration.

          • Daniel Maris

            You’d have to stop 10 million Londoners having a sh*t every day for that to happen.

          • SandyS

            As I said to Augustus how do you know for sure? Nobody does it’s all conjecture from the history of a chaotic system, even that history shows that interglacials are unreliable and variable length. Statements like “overdue” and “the next 1500 years” are guesses.

            There’s nothing are/can do to change things; unless you believe that carbon capture on a global scale is possible and that CO2 is the only climate driver. In that case we’ll have 100% control over the climate by storing or releasing CO2. If you believe that then I’m the sole owner of the Tower of London and am in need of some cash if you want to buy it.

            • Jeremy Poynton

              regular as clockwork in terms of geological time (in which 1500 years is just a droplet)

              See here


              and here


              Augustus is right; and heading away from the Little Ice Age, warming is what we should expect (and happily that has been what has happened); now we have had no movement for some 12 years and a fall the past two years. The very quiet solar period 24 in which we are in makes it colder, and the next solar period may well be even quieter. This is the sort of solar behaviour that prefaced the LIA. In which one third of the population of Northern Europe died.

              Warm is good. co2 is good – the biosphere loves it and we get more rain AND plants need less water when co2 is higher.

              Cold is horrid. Read Brian Fagan’s “The Little Ice Age” and repeat after me, 100 times

              Warm is better for the planet and humanity
              More co2 is better for the planet and vegetation
              Cold is horrid and worse for humanity.
              Ecofanatics have a lot to answer for, and the young me would add to this, in this respest

              Up against the wall, mofos.

              By the way, can anyone tell me of another science apart from climate science which is predicated on the results of models and not on real world data? Is this what is meant be “post-modern” science? Ille est – the results which best meet your world view are the ones to be propagated, even though they are wildly wrong – as ALL the climate models have proved to be.

              • Daniel Maris


        • Augustus

          Ok, I’ll rephrase that: There is ample geological evidence that a mini ice age may be overdue, because we are now about 11,500 years into a warmer cycle of a climate epoch in which long periods of cold (lasting roughly 100,000 years) have been seperated by shorter periods of considerably warmer times lasting about 10,000 years. Therefore, although it is obviously only conjecture, from the Earth’s point of view, our current warmer period should be no different at all from other brief warm intervals. But you are right that the science is not exact. However,
          if the current cooling cycle continues and gets colder, it does point to the strong probability that we are knocking on the door of the next ice age.

  • HooksLaw

    Nice work if you can get it.

    Apparently the UK Met Office report that the UK has just had its coldest autumn for
    nineteen years, leaving 2012 on course to be second coldest year since

    • telemachus

      Stats like that you should be writing the thread rather than the weak unevidenced diatribe above
      Still he did draw attention to the stupidity if Monckton and his party of crackpots

      • Colonel Mustard

        The resident lefty troll telemachus believes in the Great Climate Change Scam. Quelle surprise.

        Anything for power over people.

      • HooksLaw
      • Colonel Mustard

        Eco-loon or ego-loon – or both?

        • Hexhamgeezer

          re tele – I prefer the all encompassing, factual, and concise


      • Jeremy Poynton

        What a pretty pass things have come to when to speak the truth is “stupid”.

        Of course, for the Left, truth is what they want it to be, so we have “Post-modern science” – which is not science; and I guess – “Post-modern truth” – which is not the truth.

  • Sania

    Well done, the more it is said the sooner politicians will lift their heads out of the sand.