The future of Climate Science and related Energy Policy

It’s now pretty much inevitable that the global warming scam is coming to an end, and so (in a few years) we will be in a position where common sense prevails. So what would be an acceptable end to the scam?


Some people are simply so emerged in the scam that the public simply will not have confidence if they remain in place. The following clearly fall into this catagory:

  • Nurse (of the Royal society)
  • Head of the Met Office
  • Lord Oxburgh – who was tasked with looking at the science and did not
  • Jones – someone out of his depth, but he must take the blame
  • The vice chancellor of UEA who failed to impose proper standards (my favourite!)
  • The chairs of the parliamentary committees who actively promoted the interests of the wind developers.
  • The minister for climate change (they take ultimate responsibility whoever happens to be in that position at the time)
  • Head of the BBC – for singularly failing to adhere to its legal obligation for balance.

Return of confidence to science

There’s no doubt that the reputation of all science particularly in the UK will be severely damaged by this scandal. The resignation of a figurehead like Nurse will be a symbolic gesture, but one which few people will believe goes anywhere near far enough to ensure that this kind of despicable behaviour is not common place in science.
Obviously there will be inquiries, obviously these will find that there is “nothing to see here”, and obviously like the WMD inquiries, it just won’t wash with the public.
I suspect that the biggest harm will be done to those most reliant on public confidence: medicine and hard sciences which pride themselves on “being right”. It may be this results in a split of science, even a new “UK society” for the “pure” sciences, but that is just speculation and it’s really up to science to do something (if anything) to improve its dirty reputation following the global warming scandal.

Climate Science

Paradoxically, I would put a lot more money into climate science. Half the problem was that we had third rate individuals who were trying to measure world temperature on a shoestring and who hadn’t the gumption to ask for proper money because their instrumentation was so useless. Clearly I wouldn’t let either the Met Office, the UEA or anyone else who had any dealings with the global warming scam anywhere near this funding. But, if we are to prevent this happening again, we simply cannot afford not to have an accurate measure of the world climate: particularly temperature.

Energy Science

Likewise, we simply cannot afford to enter a peak oil crisis because we lack information on world oil supplies – we cannot continue to walk blindly into a potential WWIII type scenario because we lack the basic information to have confidence in the future. We need accurate data, and if that data requires active drilling to determine the extent of reserves, then even if it billions of pounds, that money has to be spent, otherwise we are trying to create energy policy in the dark – a dark that will let all kinds of imaginary hysterical demons free to terrorise us all.

Global warming

The best estimates of CO2 impacts are probably around 0.5-1C by the time (50years) when energy supplies are likely to be so problematic that even if we wanted to do anything to help the environment, we simply wouldn’t have the economic means to sacrifice people’s livelihood and undoubtedly lives for the sake of a few polar bears.
It’s no more inconceivable that global warming may cause problems within the next 50 years than it is obvious that many people will benefit if it does warm.
Even if there were warming that benefited us, it would do no harm whatsoever to understand those impacts. So, I’ve no problem with good scientific research to underpin government policy (I said good – not the present hysteria gravy train). But obviously an awful lot of those who have been involved have blotched their copybooks and I would be entirely dubious that any of those could gain public confidence if they had future dealings in this area. But then again — after WWII Nazi rocket scientists were integrated to “peaceful” projects. So perhaps it is a matter of degree.

UK Energy Policy

Now for the really contentious area. Personally I’d lock up most of the wind lobbyists for contempt of the truth, for fraudulently abusing the systems of government to line their own pockets. But that’s just a personal opinion, and whilst he grieves me to have to say this, until we know more about the extent of future energy, we shouldn’t just throw out the baby with the bathwater. Neither should we continue needlessly to sacrifice the UK economy on the altar of pagan Gaia worship.
It has been long accepted that at around 16% of electricity, wind will make the electricity supply network unstable. So, leaving a comfortable margin of safety, we could continue with around todays level of wind power without huge risk to the electricity supply network. And, whilst I personally hate the bird mincers, like pylons and nuclear power stations, we have to put up with some sacrifices in order to sustain the economy. Wind may not be necessary now, and no sensible person would now embark on a program of wind power, but in ten years there could be a subtantial shortfall in energy,  and it is easier to add to a present power base than to start totally afresh. So, sorry everyone who has these planning blights – realitically, whilst they were the wrong decision to put up, it would be senseless to pull (most) down. However, the present subsidy arrangement is simply bizarre and I’ve heard, the costliest way to achieve wind in Europe. So, clearly we’ve got to change that. Nationalisation would be a simple solution – in would hide the politicians embarrassment, pay off the money grabber investors, and maintain a base of engineering skill which could be expanded if or when required. And we still have the option to pull them down!
Nuclear … I’ve no particular expertise. I’ve no more wish to live near a nuclear power station than a windmill … but needs must, so I would build nuclear in Scotland.
Coal … obviously scrap the useless CO2 sequestration as they just lower efficiency and there’s no point paying people to pump CO2 into the ground when everyone knows it will just find ways out with absolutely no incentive to plug the leaks.
Oil … it’ll be worth a lot more in a few decades, so I think it is senseless to pump it dry at what may be the “bottom” of the market. But you can’t stop and start an industry – so pretty much steady as we go … and get ready to have to pull in the belt as it runs out.
Oil shale … I strongly suspect it isn’t anywhere near as economic as suggested … but as in so much in this area, common sense doesn’t seem to play a part.
Wave … we’ve got more chance to sending a Scotsman to the moon than creating an economic wave industry. It could be done … I could do it! But it wouldn’t be cheap and a lot of people would be extremely upset because I wouldn’t be doling money out to the usual academics who use this kind of thing to line their research grant pockets.
Solar PV … a joke in Scotland!
Solar hot water … worthwhile, particularly in new build.
Heat and power … need political will, but worthwhile
Transport … present policy is a laughing stock, run by people with fertile imaginations and a perverted attraction to Hydrogen.
Heating … insulation works … but not when you get builders like the ones that did our extension. All good in theory, but a complete waste of time if no one checks what they are doing.

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6 Responses to The future of Climate Science and related Energy Policy

  1. Well written. Well done.

  2. PaulM says:

    “It’s now pretty much inevitable that the global warming scam is coming to an end”
    Mike, I hope you are right but I fear you are a bit overconfident.
    The “scam” is so firmly entrenched in the mainstream media, in politics and in schools.
    The problem is that 95% of the population have no understanding the basic principles of science and just believe what they are told.
    Then, of the 5% who do know something about science, the vast majority start from the default position that what most climate scientists are telling us is correct, and they don’t have the time or the inclination to look into it in the detail required. This is the situation that you and I were in a few years ago before we started investigating carefully and questioningly.
    There will not be any sackings. The best we can hope for, I think, is a slow, gradual, unadmitted climb-down, in which history is gradually re-written in a quite Orwellian way.
    We are already starting to see this in the spin from ‘global warming’ to ‘climate change’ to ‘climate disruption’ or ‘global change’.
    Soon they will be denying that scientists were behind the scare, in the same way that they are denying the ice-age scare that some of us can remember clearly from our youth.

    • PaulM, The sackings are what I think “ought” to happen, not necessarily what I think will happen.
      The rest is simply assessing what the evidence shows and seeing this as the “natural” state to which public opinion will eventually coalesce. The next stage is monitoring press coverage. I’ve been keeping a close eye on how the press are covering global warming and there has been a dramatic change in interest since 2007, but a very marked change in attitude and type of story since the beginning of this year.
      The other key measure is the lack of Press Releases from academics. The majority of stories used to based on academic PRs, that source of stories has literally all but dried up. I’m assuming this is symptomatic of “not wishing to be associated with this subject” … or to put it another way, I see this as showing that global warming no longer adds kudos if your research is linked to it.
      Another measure is the “run” on any stories. At one time, any one story would be taken up by a succession of other media outlets. This was a type of “feeding frenzy”, where the press were hyping other press reports. That showed the press were eager to develop the story.
      These days, the stories are not being taken up by the media – indeed a substantial number are just blogs commenting on global warming. Those media stories that do run, are predominantly from the “obvious candidates” and are for the large part ignored by other news outlets.
      I can tell you that this lack of media interest has not yet affected the civil service nor politicians, but on past experience the civil service and politicians simply follow public opinion albeit with a delay of perhaps one to five years because policy change happens slowly.
      The fact is that people get employed to do certain jobs, they then actively push the agenda for which they were employed, until they either leave or get transferred to another task. Typically people stay in these jobs and/or projects run for a few years. So, decision on where to put effort only really gets decided every few years. The result is that public appointments and effort usually reflect the public mood a few years before. So, the fact that global warming is something like 23 out of 24 in terms of priority for government action, most likely will not be fully reflected for a few years.

  3. PaulH from Barcelona says:

    My personal view; one that I came to recently as a result of a discussion on another thread here, is that the market will sort it out.
    In times of austerity, people will makes decisions on expensive renewables subsidies vs. schools & healthcare.
    And of course, much of the developed world is coming to the same conclusion. Canada is having a AGW bonfire, Australia is revolting over the carbon tax, Germany is building new coal-fired power stations and the US is backtracking rapidly.
    Crazy, job-killing, economy-destroying energy policy is where all the AGW nonsense hits the road.
    Nobody wants scarce, expensive, intermittant power when they can get plentiful, cheap, reliable power.
    I agree with you that unwinding it all is going to take some time, as senior careers are quietly re-directed and harm to egos is minimised.
    But it is going to happen. The tide HAS turned.

  4. David Bailey says:

    As an old fashioned Green person, I am still wary of nuclear power (unless perhaps it was Thorium or fusion based). The radioactive waste is still a real problem, as is the possibility of terrorism.
    I’d go for gas powered power stations and put a lot of money into research on Thorium reactors.
    I do agree, we need some quality climate research. I sometimes post on Judith Curry’s blog. She clearly knows that something has gone wrong with climate research, but she doesn’t seem to get the fact that once there is serious, concealed dishonesty in the scientific process, it simply has to be removed before normal business can resume.

    • I’ve still got the anti-nuclear sticker on my guitar and I’d no more trust the nuclear industry than the wind industry. But as Japan’s nuclear disaster shows, energy is essential to our economy, and it would be a mistake to underestimate the life threatening effects (to economy and people) of power cuts if we don’t have the right mix of power sources.
      On fusion I tend to agree with someone senior I know in the electricity generating industry who tells me they are no further forward now than they were a few decades ago. I suspect that such projects get caught in the “research cycle” which focuses on “understanding” the science rather than making the blasted thing work reliably.
      That is why the UK failed abysmally to develop wind power, that now appears to be the reason we can’t develop fusion.

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