UK: outgoing minister slams the ‘Green Blob’


Our very own Green Blob (© Bill Leak)

Our very own Green Blob (© Bill Leak)

Owen Paterson, who has been moved on from his post as the UK’s Environment Secretary, unloads:

I leave the post with great misgivings about the power and irresponsibility of – to coin a phrase – the Green Blob.

By this I mean the mutually supportive network of environmental pressure groups, renewable energy companies and some public officials who keep each other well supplied with lavish funds, scare stories and green tape. This tangled triangle of unelected busybodies claims to have the interests of the planet and the countryside at heart, but it is increasingly clear that it is focusing on the wrong issues and doing real harm while profiting handsomely.

Local conservationists on the ground do wonderful work to protect and improve wild landscapes, as do farmers, rural businesses and ordinary people. They are a world away from the highly paid globe-trotters of the Green Blob who besieged me with their self-serving demands, many of which would have harmed the natural environment.

I soon realised that the greens and their industrial and bureaucratic allies are used to getting things their own way. I received more death threats in a few months at Defra than I ever did as secretary of state for Northern Ireland. My home address was circulated worldwide with an incitement to trash it; I was burnt in effigy by Greenpeace as I was recovering from an operation to save my eyesight. But I did not set out to be popular with lobbyists and I never forgot that they were not the people I was elected to serve.

Indeed, I am proud that my departure was greeted with such gloating by spokespeople for the Green Party and Friends of the Earth.

It was not my job to do the bidding of two organisations that are little more than anti-capitalist agitprop groups most of whose leaders could not tell a snakeshead fritillary from a silver-washed fritillary. I saw my task as improving both the environment and the rural economy; many in the green movement believed in neither.

Their goal was to enhance their own income streams and influence by myth making and lobbying. Would they have been as determined to blacken my name if I was not challenging them rather effectively?

Every country has its own Green Blob. I think ours is Christine Milne…

UK: Committee on Climate Change smears critics


Matt Ridley (from rationaloptimist.com)

Matt Ridley (from rationaloptimist.com)

Just like the Climate Change Authority here in Australia, the UK’s Committee on Climate Change is packed with warmists. It is also led by a zealot, Lord Deben (see here), who has interests in big green and is massively conflicted.

Despite all that, Deben has no problem in smearing critics of his propaganda mouthpiece, as this article by rational optimist Matt Ridley at Bishop Hill evidences:

Lord Deben is chairman of the Committee on Climate Change, a body funded by the British taxpayer. He draws a salary of more than £35,000 from you and me. On the masthead of its website the committee claims to give “a balanced response to the risks of climate change” and “independent, evidence-based advice to the UK government and Parliament”.

Yet the committee consists entirely of people who think climate change will be dangerous; no sceptics or lukewarmers are on it, even though most hold views that are well within the “consensus” of climate science. Under Deben’s chairmanship since 2012 its pronouncements have become increasingly one-sided. Deben himself is frequently highly critical of any sceptics, often mischaracterizing them as “deniers” or “dismissers”, but has never to my knowledge been heard to criticize anybody for exaggerating climate alarm and the harm it can do to disadvantaged people. These are not the actions of an impartial chairman.

In the past year, as I shall detail, Lord Deben has three times launched sharp criticisms of me for arguing that some climate change projections are exaggerated. In each case, I have replied with detailed rebuttals based on peer-reviewed scientific literature to show that his criticisms were wrong, but my replies have been dismissed or ignored by Lord Deben. I suppose I should be flattered that this vendetta against me indicates that he clearly feels that my arguments threaten some part of his agenda. But on this third occasion he has sunk to a new low. (source)

The similarities to the Australian equivalent are striking. Read the whole thing.

Climate apathy ‘a cause for celebration’


Climate sense

Climate sense

Brendan O’Neill, writing in the UK Telegraph makes the valid point that environmentalism is diametrically opposed to the ordinary human desires for wealth, health and happiness, and the rejection by the public at large of climate hysteria and alarmism is worthy of celebration:

But has the public really tuned out from eco matters because it doesn’t understand them, because it is perplexed by “expert discourse”? I don’t think so. I think the reason people are switching off from the enviro-agenda is because they disagree with it. They just don’t buy the idea that capping carbon emissions is the most important thing in the world, more important than growing the economy, increasing wealth, and being free to choose to live in a big house with the heaters permanently switched on and Tesco just a short 4×4 drive away. They see the mean-minded, sacrifice-demanding politics of being green as a challenge to the thing that has motored human communities for millennia – the desire to create a world of plenty, an overflowing “land of milk and honey”, a utopia filled with stuff and comfort – and they don’t like it.

Environmentalism is, by its own admission, a campaign against the public and our historic desire for more things and freedom. George Monbiot has stated this baldly. Environmentalism is “a campaign not for abundance but for austerity”, he says. “It is a campaign not for more freedom but for less… it is a campaign not just against other people, but against ourselves.” And that is precisely how most people experience environmentalism – as an extraordinarily elitist drive to reprimand and possibly even punish the people for daring to want more; as a top-down, hectoring effort to make us acclimatise to austerity and give up on that age-old dream of a “great production that will supply all, and more than all the people can consume” (Sylvia Pankhurst). If environmentalism is a “campaign against people”, then it makes perfect sense that the people bristle at it, even hate it and deny its “truths”. (source)

And just to be clear, this does not mean ‘denying’ the existence of climate change, or the contribution that man has made to it. It is about denying the environmentalists the free rein they desire to dictate the response.

ACM’s sharp words for Lord Deben: sling your hook, mate


Isn't this the most punchable face you've ever seen?

Isn’t this the most punchable face you’ve ever seen?

Lord Deben, formerly John (Selwyn) Gummer, is a climate change evangelist who happens to be chairman of a company (which he formed) to advise other corporates on ‘environmental responsibility’.

But he’s also the chairman of the UK’s Climate Change Committee. So on the one hand he’s driving government policy towards tougher environmental and sustainability requirements, whilst on the other providing advice, at huge cost no doubt, to companies on how to manage those additional requirements. Anyone not able to spot the conflict of interest there?

He also likes spending other people’s money – like when he claimed £36,000 (AU$67,000) on MPs expenses for gardening at his house. Nice work if you can get it, right?

Anyway, along with all the other climate zealots, Gummer likes to lecture others on the folly of their ways, and disparage those who disagree with him – even elected Prime Ministers of other countries – as reported in the FT’s article ‘Lord Deben’s sharp words for Australia’s approach to climate change’:

Lord Deben said he had discussed climate change at length with Mr Abbott before last year’s Australian election, “and I got five different views during that period of time”.

Five? Really?

He said he had a similar conversation with Mr Abbott’s mentor, former Australian prime minister John Howard, whom he said was also “absolutely unscientific about it”, and appeared to have read only one book on the subject, by the former UK chancellor Lord Lawson, who says there is great uncertainty about the potential risk of climate change.

Gummer and his ilk are the only ones being unscientific.

“I have high hopes that people in Australia will recognise that the rest of the world is going in the opposite direction,” said Lord Deben, adding that not every Abbott government minister shared Mr Abbott’s views.

More lies – the world is rapidly retreating from action on climate change (much to Gummer’s disappointment, no doubt). What planet is he on?

“It’s a joy to go and listen to some others, like [communications minister] Malcolm Turnbull who clearly seems to take a more sensible view,” he said. (source)

I just sprayed coffee all over my keyboard – thanks for that.

Well I have a few sharp words for you, pal: mind your own damn business.

The FT has more here.

UK sanity: Govt slashes climate budget by 41%


Cheers!

Cheers!

And shills for The Cause can see the wheels falling off the gravy train, attack ‘scepticism’ – yawn. The ultra-green Independent reports:

Owen Paterson has been accused of “incredible complacency” over climate change after new figures showed his department has slashed spending on helping Britain cope with global warming.

The Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (Defra) will spend just £17.2m on domestic “climate change initiatives” this financial year, a 41 per cent decline on the previous 12 months, according to its response to a freedom of information request.

The figures will fuel fears that the Environment Secretary’s personal climate-change scepticism could be exposing the UK to a higher risk of flooding and other global warming consequences.

Bob Ward, policy director at the London School of Economics’ Grantham Research Institute, said: “These shocking figures should worry everyone in the UK. Defra is the lead government department for climate change adaptation and is primarily responsible for making the UK resilient to the impacts of global warming, such as increased flood risk,”

Maria Eagle, shadow Environment Secretary, said such a steep drop in domestic climate change initiatives “reveals an incredible level of complacency about the threat to the UK from climate change”.

She added: “This is further evidence that Owen Paterson’s unwillingness to accept the science on climate change is leading him to make the wrong choices on spending cuts within his department.” (source)

It’s still £17.2m too much, of course. And if that weren’t enough, the editorial weighs in, linking recent floods to climate change in highly emotional terms:

These are desperate times for parts of the South-west of England, where monsoon-like rains have left villages stranded by floodwater for the best part of a month. Nor has Somerset been the only part of the country to experience the full force of what to many seems an increasingly volatile and spiteful climate. After the largest tidal surge in 60 years hit the east coast last week, parts of East Anglia may have to be abandoned to the sea for good.

As the weather does its worst, David Cameron’s government – the same one that once boasted of its green credentials – seems bent on ignoring the implications of climate change. New figures show that the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs under Owen Paterson will spend only £17m on “domestic climate change initiatives” this financial year, a fall of more than 40 per cent on the previous year. Spending on this vital issue will now account for only 0.7 per cent of total departmental spending. (source)

Either the opinion writers are incredibly stupid, or have incredibly short memories – it has to be one or the other. This nonsensical belief that extreme weather didn’t happen before 1980 is ludicrous. Even the IPCC refuses to link extreme weather to climate change, but that doesn’t stop the headbangers at the Independent.

But at least the UK is following Australia’s lead, and cutting pointless waste of taxpayer money on “climate” initiatives.

UK heading for “mini Ice Age”?


Brass monkeys

Brass monkeys

From the It’s the sun, stupid Department. Michael Mann to tweet #KochMachine in 3, 2, 1…

According to Professor Lockwood the late 20th century was a period when the sun was unusually active and a so called ‘grand maximum’ occurred around 1985Since then the sun has been getting quieter.

By looking back at certain isotopes in ice cores, he has been able to determine how active the sun has been over thousands of years.

Following analysis of the data, Professor Lockwood believes solar activity is now falling more rapidly than at any time in the last 10,000 years.

He found 24 different occasions in the last 10,000 years when the sun was in exactly the same state as it is now – and the present decline is faster than any of those 24.

Based on his findings he’s raised the risk of a new Maunder minimum from less than 10% just a few years ago to 25-30%.

And a repeat of the Dalton solar minimum which occurred in the early 1800s, which also had its fair share of cold winters and poor summers, is, according to him, ‘more likely than not’ to happen.

He believes that we are already beginning to see a change in our climate – witness the colder winters and poor summers of recent years – and that over the next few decades there could be a slide to a new Maunder minimum.

But don’t worry, warming from CO2 will save the alarmists’ careers:

Any global cooling caused by this natural phenomenon would ultimately be temporary, and if projections are correct, the long term warming caused by carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases would eventually swamp this solar-driven cooling.

Phew.

Source.

UK: Tim Yeo steps down amid corruption claims


source: Cartoons by Josh

source: Cartoons by Josh

Conflict of Interest Alert as Tim Yeo, who is alleged to have £1,000,000 (AU$1.65m) in Green interests, and who chairs the UK parliament’s Energy and Climate Select Committee, was caught in a Sunday Times sting, offering to lobby government figures in exchange for payment (allegedly).

The Telegraph reports:

The Conservative MP who scrutinises energy policy has been filmed boasting that he can be paid to introduce businessman to members of the Government.

Tim Yeo, the chairman of the Commons Energy and Climate Change Committee, also said he had coached John Smith, managing director of GB Railfreight, before the executive gave evidence to the committee last month. Yeo is a paid director and shareholder of Eurotunnel — the firm’s parent company.

Mr Yeo was filmed by undercover reporters working for The Sunday Times saying: “I told him [Mr Smith] in advance what to say. Ha-ha.”

When asked if he would be interested in a £7,000-a-day consultancy contract with a solar company, the MP said: “If you want to meet the right people, I can facilitate all those introductions and I use the knowledge I get from what is quite an active network of connections.”

The reporters queried if this included Government figures. Mr Yeo replied “Yes”.

The House of Commons’ code of conduct forbids MPs from acting as paid advocates, including by lobbying ministers. (source)

For those with their snouts in the trough (allegedly), the green economy is a nice little earner.

See also James Delingpole here, and plenty on Guido here.

UK: Energy policy dominated by “Green lobby”


Just like the 70s

Just like the 70s

In the UK, the forced transition to highly expensive “green” energy is sowing the seeds for a major crisis. I recall the power cuts of the early 1970s (just), where my family had a collection of oil lamps and candles for when the lights went out, but there’s no excuse in 2013.

However there is a glimmer of hope in the darkness:

Britain must abandon its bias towards green policies or face an energy crisis, a key parliamentary adviser has warned.

Peter Lilley, a member of the Prime Minister’s Parliamentary Advisory board, has warned that the UK’s hesitance to embrace shale gas comes at great expense to the country.

He cites decreasing gas prices in American as an example, where gas is a third of the price of what it is in Europe, and questions why Britain is “dragging its feet”.

The UK is potentially sitting on enough shale gas reserves to heat all homes in Britain for at least 100 years, experts at the British Geological Survey claimed in April this year.

However, there has been resistance to excavate the fossil fuel amid concerns about the possibility of earthquakes and water contamination if gases are leaked into the water table while the “fracking” process is carried out.

In an article for The Spectator, the Conservative MP accuses the Department for Energy and Climate Change as being “in disarray” over the issue, with some ministers now beginning to question the direction green policies have been heading.

He claims that the green lobby is in control of the Department for Energy, dominates the EU and is institutionalised in Whitehall via the Climate Change Committee. He also accuses them of deploying “scare stories with reckless disregard for the truth” on a scale comparable to the MMR scare.

“Whatever the power of Big Oil in the past, it has been eclipsed by Big Green,” he said.

(source)

UK: Chief Scientist exits in a blaze of hysteria


Head scratch moment?

Head scratch moment?

Sir John Beddington is the outgoing Chief Scientific Adviser to the UK government, and, like our own Sir Ian Chubb, appears to take leave of his senses when it comes to climate.

In a final whirlwind of alarmism, Beddington exits stage left, hopefully never to be seen or heard of again. As the Telegraph breathlessly reports:

The world faces decades of turbulent weather even if it takes drastic action to tackle climate change, the Government’s chief scientific adviser said today in a final stark warning as he prepares to step down.

Professor Sir John Beddington said that time lags in the climate system meant that accumulations of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere now will determine the weather we experience for the next 25 years.

Climate change is already manifesting itself in huge variations in the weather, clearly illustrated by the way Britain experienced both drought and extreme rainfall last year, he said.

The scientist said that the international community’s failure to agree binding targets for cutting carbon emissions meant problems were being stored up for the future.

“They may reach agreement, and they may start to reduce greenhouse gases in the next five years, or it may be a little longer,” he told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme.

“But they are still climbing, and when that increase is reversed, we will be left with the weather and the climate for the next 25 years from whenever that happens.”

What’s missing from this picture? Any acknowledgement that there has been a pause in warming which was not expected or predicted by the climate models, despite the headbangers claiming that warming is accelerating.*

Sir Ian Chubb falls into the same trap as Beddington – toeing a politically-correct line rather than responding to the evidence in an impartial, free-thinking manner.

More reaction here:

*They do this by suddenly ignoring global temperatures and, like street magicians, using diversionary techniques to shift focus on to something else

UK: Climate indoctrination removed from schools


"Recite after me: In the beginning, Labor created the Climate Commission..."

“Recite after me: In the beginning, Labor created the Climate Commission and the carbon tax…”

Cue the headbangers going ape in 3, 2, 1… Because it had become impossible to have any kind of sensible teaching of climate change in schools, the UK government is proposing to cut climate change from the syllabus for children up to the age of 14. Huzzah and hooray.

And the headbangers are indeed steamed up, complaining that such a cut is “political interference”, oblivious to the fact that it was their relentless propaganda campaign to indoctrinate climate dogma in the classroom that forced this action in the first place.

The Guardian, naturally, gets hot under the collar:

Debate about climate change has been cut out of the national curriculum for children under 14, prompting claims of political interference in the syllabus by the government that has failed “our duty to future generations”.

The latest draft guidelines for children in key stages 1 to 3 have no mention of climate change under geography teaching and a single reference to how carbon dioxide produced by humans impacts on the climate in the chemistry section. There is also no reference to sustainable development, only to the “efficacy of recycling”, again as a chemistry subject.

The move has caused alarm among climate campaigners and scientists [!] who say teaching about climate change in schools has helped mobilise young people to be the most vociferous advocates of action by governments, business and society to tackle the issue. [!!!]

“What you seem to have is a major political interference with the geography syllabus,” said the government’s former science adviser Prof Sir David King. He said climate change should be taught alongside the history of – successful – past attempts to curb chlorofluorocarbon (CFC), which is blamed for the depletion of the ozone layer, and air pollution caused by coal fires and cars.

The comparison with CFCs is facile, because while there are alternatives to CFCs, there are no genuinely affordable alternatives to burning fossil fuels, especially for the poor and developing countries of the world.

Note that it is the “climate campaigners” who are complaining the most, because they won’t be able to fill impressionable young minds with their environmental propaganda, and they won’t then go home and badger their parents into installing solar panels or recycling tea bags or switching their lights out for Earth Hour (fast approaching once again – stay tuned). See here for more.

In a way, this is a classic own goal, since students should understand the interaction between humanity and the environment, but since such interaction is inevitably portrayed as a one way street (ie. wailing that we’re destroying the planet), the only option was to remove it entirely.

There’s something called balance, and it’s sadly lacking from the climate debate.

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