Reality Checkpoint 2014
News from previous year

I often get emails telling me that fossil fuels in the UK are subsidised.

This is incorrect. Fossil fuels are not subsidised; they receive certain tax breaks.

- A subsidy means money goes from the government to the company.
- A tax break means that money goes from the company to the government.

The money flows in different directions.

15 Dec 14

I notice that anti-diesel propaganda is starting to spread, no doubt encouraged by car manufacturers. One way of increasing the sales of cars enormously is to find a reason for outlawing those which are already on the road. To be effective, a propaganda campaign has to target a minority ... so it seems that diesel drivers have been chosen, along with the drivers of older vehicles.

So: expect cherry-picked medical 'reports', articles about diesel pollution in cities, particulates, diesel surcharges, etc; coming soon to the BBC and to newspapers. The progaganda will be spread by journalists parroting press releases and by politicians with no knowledge of science.

What won't get mentioned is the toxic nature of petrol engine emissions. Unleaded petrol contains a significant amount of aromatics; compounds based on benzene. They are carcinogenic, and are released unburnt, through the exhaust, when a petrol engine is cold or works inefficiently.

10 Dec 14

Leicestershire County Council has approved the building of an anaerobic digester plant to compost 3,000 tons of food per year, much of it still in its wrappings, from the stores of a supermarket chain, to produce electricity.

This extremely inefficient process is made profitable because government policy pays the plant double the value of the electricity it produces, in subsidies.

Meanwhile some local people are having to use food banks.

10 Dec 14

Prominent politicians' families in the UK have interests in renewables. David Cameron's father-in-law rents land to wind farms, Miliband's wife is a lawyer to renewables; Clegg's wife is a director of a renewables company. Of use to lexicographers, perhaps, in explaining the term "conflict of interest".

07 Dec 14

India's environment minister said at the Lima climate talks (5 Dec) that India will not sign any deal to cut carbon dioxide emissions which threatens industrial growth or undermines India's fight against poverty. He said that poverty need to be eradicated and that no one should dispute the right of the poor to have access to energy.

06 Dec 14

Australia has refused to pay into the UN’s Green Climate Fund. This is a fund designed to pay for climate change adaptations for developing nations. The Aussies have decided to cut out the middle-man and finance the initiatives directly. The Foreign Minister, Julie Bisjop, said that Australia is already assisting developing countries build resilience to climate change, and that they prefer to give the help directly rather than through a third party.

Joanne Nova, climate blogger, summed up the situation succinctly when she said that funding UN agencies is like hand-feeding sharks.

She added that paying for environmental aid directly rather than through the self-interested UN green gravy train might result in something useful being achieved.

05 Dec 14

It seems now to be a prerequisite for a senior post in the public or voluntary sector that appointees must devote time to platitudes on climate change if they want to remain employed.

This reveals an insidious culture in government. When organisations from the Parole Board to the Department for Culture, Media and Sport are required to have a climate change plan, something has gone seriously wrong. Ministries are devoting much of their time and effort to policy initiatives which have nothing to do with their stated purpose.

04 Dec 14

Wind farms have been paid a record £43 million to stand idle so far this year. The payments, funded through householders' electricity bills, are made to suppliers when the National Grid is unable to use the electricity.

Constraint payments have shown a rapid rise in recent years:
2013 £23 million
2012 £6 million
2010 £0.2 million

15 Nov 14


Summarised from a letter from heraldscotland.com

I note with interest your recent coverage of the renewable energy debate: "Country could be powered by wind, says WWF".

I live in a small village just north of Dunblane and my living room window looks out over the hills, the Braes of Doune. There are 36 wind turbines on the hills and as I write, the sky is blue, there is hardly a cloud and not a breath of wind. Not one blade is turning. The ambient temperature is of the order of 6C, pretty nippy but not unusual for the time of year. I would not be surprised if these atmospheric conditions were prevalent throughout Scotland today, in which case few of the numerous wind farms will be producing much electricity.

We are fortunate that we still have a few nuclear and fossil-fuelled power stations which are energising my lighting, electric kettle, TV and so on.

The Scottish Government continues to pursue a very unwise policy: all energy to be provided by renewables-only. On a day like today electrical appliances would not be able to operate, and there would be no street lighting. Think of the chaos occurring if the lights went out in our cities.

The privatisation of the electrical industry was a big mistake; we have been very badly let down. If the industry had remained nationalised, plans to renew or replace the existing nuclear and fossil-fuelled power stations would have been up-to-date and implemented long before now.

WM, Dunblane

8 Nov 14

Man-made global warming theory has no basis in fact, in spite of what the latest IPCC document may say. Every story about anthropogenic global warming/climate change/climate disruption or whatever they call it to to make it palatable to the impressionable is based on could, would, should, might, may, perhaps, assuming, probably, shouldda, wouldda, couldda...or any of the other weasel words used to hedge all bets. There are no firm estimates, just wild guesses.

There is no warming based on observation...just hysterics based on computer models. Those having the courage and temerity to challenge the experts of AGW are subject to catcalls and their credentials questioned. There are shouts of 'denier' and the subsidies continue.

The "97% consensus" of scientists saying they believe in AGW are, in the main, those who receive the handouts.

The level of hysteria and the level of vituperation on the side of the AGW followers indicates there is something more afoot than just plain old "science." Those of us who see this nonsense for what it is are obviously becoming a serious problem for those promoting global warming propaganda and the policies which follow it.

8 Nov 14

It is now 6 years to the day since the House of Commons voted for the Climate Change Bill at Third Reading, by a majority of 465 to 5. The five of us have seen nothing in the intervening 6 years to change our view that the Climate Change Act was a profound mistake. It is time to bring to an end the pointless damage being inflicted on British households, British industry and the British economy by the unilateral commitment to unnecessarily expensive energy, and to suspend the Climate Change Act's unilateral targets until such time as a binding global agreement has been secured.

Christopher Chope MP,
Phillip Davies MP,
Peter Lilley MP,
Andrew Tyrie MP,
Ann Widdecombe (MP 1987 - 2010)

28 Oct 14

    From an article by Ann Widdecombe.

    This week Ann joined the other four people who voted against the Climate Change Act for an anniversary dinner. "Andrew Tyrie, Peter Lilley, Christopher Chope and Philip Davies are still there fighting the nonsense but I have simply joined the ranks of the long-suffering British public who view the increasing “lights will go out” stories with grim foreboding."

    "The wretched Bill committed us, at huge expense, to reduce the UK’s carbon emissions by a staggering 80 per cent. Yet that was supposed to be part of a global agreement and, as was easily foreseeable, there has been no such agreement but we have soldiered on despite accounting for about 2 per cent of all the world’s emissions. We have shunned the obvious answer of nuclear power in favour of vast, ugly, inefficient, bird-mashing wind farms which benefit none but those who take the subsidies from them. The phrase “political correctness gone mad” could have been invented for this stupidity alone. "

    Meanwhile the science of climate change is robustly disputed where once it was regarded as having all the authority of Holy Writ. So much was this the case that Nigel Lawson, whose book An Appeal To Reason is still the best refutation of the doom mongers, found it difficult to get published. In 1930s Germany they burned books that challenged state orthodoxy: here we just try to bury them.

    Full article at www.express.co.uk

    5 Nov 14

The EU has surprisingly abandoned its plan to describe tar sands oil as highly polluting. A proposal recently published by the European Commission removes an obstacle to Canada exporting tar sands crude to Europe. This is good news at a time when the future of fuel supplies (oil and gas) from Russia looks uncertain.

28 Oct 14

Polish Prime Minister Ewa Kopacz has told the European Council president in Brussels that Poland would not accept new EU climate change policies if they caused a rise in energy prices. She said that Poland could use a veto on any proposal causing electricity prices to rise for consumers. (........from Polish Radio)

7 Oct 14

Near Wargrave in Berkshire there is a new solar farm floating on a reservoir. Its area is about an acre and it consists of an 800-panel array. The panels are mounted on plastic floats to form a giant pontoon. The project cost £250,000.

As for the output: My back-of-envelope calculation goes like this:

UK insolation level in summer: about 400W/m² on a sunny day.

One acre is 4840 sq. yards, which is about 4100 sq metres.

So total insolation is 0.4 x 4100, or 1640 kW.

Working area of solar panels is a bit less than this because space between panels, connections and other non-PV surfaces; perhaps 10% of the total.

So effective insolation level is about 1480 kW

Typical efficiency of solar panels I have worked with is about 8%.

So whilst the sun is out, output will be about 0.08 x 1480 = 118 kW.

The figure given in the newspaper report is 200kW; optimistic to say the least.

Kilowatt-hours (electrical) produced in this half-year will be 118 x 30 x 24 x 6 = 509760

In the autumn / winter the sun is lower and the days are shorter; 'cold season' output will be about half that of the spring / summer; say another 250,000 kWh.

So total output is about 750,000 kWh or 750 MWh.

The value of this depends on which side of the fence you are standing.

I do not know what the guaranteed price for this scheme will be, but I guess it will be around 20p per unit, guaranteed for 20 years. At this price, which is much higher than the market rate for electricity from coal or nuclear, the return would be

750,000 x 20 / 100 = £150,000 per year.

It's no way to run a country's energy policy because those without solar panels are effectively subsidising those who have them through increased electricity bills.

Nevertheless for the people involved it is an excellent investment. This particular scheme also doesn't use up agricultural land.

29 Sep 14

President Obama recently challenged China at the UN to reduce CO2 emissions in line with American propaganda on climate change. China refused.

China, the world’s largest CO2 producer, says that the responsibility rests with the U.S. and other developed countries.

China will only cooperate if those countries provide adequate finance and technology.

Against this one should remember that there is no evidence whatever that man-made CO2 is affecting the world's climate.

Watch out for more newspaper headlines in Europe and the US on 'carbon footprint' and 'global warming'. This means "Taxpayers, we want your money".

26 Sep 14

Germany's flagship green energy policy is no longer sustainable. A new report by the consultancy firm McKinsey says that many of its goals are no longer realistic. Angela Merkel was described at the Climate Chancellor in 2010 when her government promoted climate propaganda strongly, and announced plans to increase dependency on renewables.

The McKinsey report says Germany is way behind its key commitment to cut CO2 emissions.

Mrs Merkel's government has said it will cut CO2 emissions by 40 per cent by 2020, compared to 1990. However, cuts have been running at 0.7 percent a year compared to the 3.5% required to hit the target.

The report also makes the point that a country failing to meet its own targets cannot be a credible advocate for stricter CO2 cuts in other countries.

Germany has recently increased its use of lignite, to make up for the shortfall in power generation caused by its decision to switch off its nuclear power by 2022. The switch to renewables has left Germans with very high electricity bills; 46% above the European average and rising.

25 Sep 14

I was interested to read recently of a scam which occurred in Spain several years ago. Solar energy installations were investigated after supplying electricity generated at night. The Spanish government called on the National Energy Commission to look into it after El Mundo, a newspaper, found that between November and January, 4500 megawatt hours of solar energy were sold to the electricity grid between midnight and seven in the morning.

Apparently, some plants in Castilla-La-Mancha, Canarias and Andalucía were using diesel generators connected to their solar panel arrays to benefit from government subsidies. Effectively they were generating electricity at (my guess) 10p a unit and selling it to the Grid for (again my guess) around 40p a unit.

24 Sep 14


Professor Ross McKitrick, edited slightly for clarity:" .........the important thing to understand about wind turbines is that they don’t run on wind, they run on subsidies.

All the arguments that they’ve put forward for the Green Energy turned out to be phoney once we looked at them closely. They said that it would improve the economy, reduce air pollution emissions and replace coal-fired power.

.... it is not going to improve the economy because what you are doing is replacing power costing 3 to 5 cents per kilowatt hour with power costing 13½ cents per kilowatt hour. So you’re raising the cost of doing business. It will drive down the rate of return in manufacturing and mining and that will translate into job losses and reduced investment and shrinking the economy."

The system used to fund wind energy in many places around the world is called a Feed-In-Tariff (FIT).

"....that means if you build a bank of wind turbines, and you get the contract, you get a guarantee of 20 years being paid 13½ cents per kilowatt-hour for the electricity, while the wholesale rate in Ontario is typically between 2 – 4 cents per kilowatt hour".

More from Prof. McKitrick

31 Aug 14

The Obama administration is devising an international climate change agreement for which it has no mandate. It plans to compel nations to cut carbon dioxide emissions without ratification from Congress; in effect, ignoring it.

In preparation for this agreement, to be signed at a United Nations summit meeting in 2015 in Paris, the negotiators are meeting with diplomats from other countries to work out a deal committing some of the world’s largest economies to impose new laws to reduce carbon dioxide production.

This contravenes the Constitution. A president may enter into a legally binding treaty only if it is approved by a two-thirds majority of the Senate.

To give the impression that new laws are the only sensible course of action, Obama uses the term "carbon pollution". George Orwell would be proud; the US government's Environment Protection Agency defined carbon dioxide as a pollutant (it isn't) about five years ago!

29 Aug 14

The USA's Environment Protection Agency is continuing its campaign to shut down coal-fired power stations, claiming that this will help fight global warming. In a recent teleconference call with environmental activists, the agency's chief, Gina McCarthy, said that these regulations are not just about stopping global warming; they are also about justice for "communities of colour".

She claimed that the carbon dioxide reductions occurring as coal plants are shut down would also reduce the incidence of asthma on African-American children.

In the face of these assertions, it is interesting that the tenuous link between temperature and carbon dioxide levels is getting very close to fictitious. In the last fifteen years, carbon dioxide concentrations have increased to approximately 400ppm, and yet global temperatures have failed to rise.

The teleconference was hosted by a group called Green for All, whose website says “Green For All acknowledges the need to disrupt the current economy, because we understand that our current economy was based upon human trafficking, the exploitation of labor, and violent racism."

The EPA is a government agency. One wonders why it is behaving like a pressure group.

More on this at dailycaller.com

28 Aug 14

On taking office last September, Tony Abbott commissioned a report into Australia's commitment to the Renewable Energy Target (RET). The committee was headed by a person unsympathetic to the climate propaganda dominating the mainstream media. The report has just been handed over; it urges the government to water down the renewables target or do away with it completely, on the grounds that it is harming the economy.

28 Aug 14

The Australian Bureau of Meteorology has been caught altering temperature data to show man-made global warming where none actually exists.

At Amberley, Queensland, for example, the data at a weather station showing 1 degree Celsius cooling per century was adjusted by the Bureau so that it showed a 2.5 degrees warming. At Rutherglen, Victoria, a cooling trend of -0.35 degrees C per century was altered into a warming trend of 1.73 degrees.

The alterations were done by making the early temperature readings cooler, so that recent temperatures are hotter in comparison.

26 Aug 14

Boris Johnson has been talking about a diesel-vehicle pollution surcharge for London, which would have to be paid on each occasion that the vehicle enters the city. There are indications that other cities might impose a similar charge.

His reason is that diesel vehicles emit more particulates (ie soot particles) than petrol vehicles.

What he omits to say is that unleaded petrol car emissions are high in benzene compounds (aromatics), which are extremely carcinogenic. The proportion of aromatics had to be increased when petrol was de-leaded to maintain the correct burning characteristics. His claim that diesel is dirtier than petrol is therefore probably untrue.

It seems to me that his proposed surcharge is another illustration of using propaganda to extract more money from the public.

6 Aug 14

Green MP Caroline Lucas has written to Labour leader Ed Miliband to protest that one of his MPs, Graham Stringer, has been telling the truth about climate change.

The letter, an apparent attempt to get Stringer sacked from his position on the Energy and Climate Change Select Committee, begins:

    ....I'm writing with regard to yesterday's report from the Energy and Climate Change Select Committee on climate science and the 5th assessment report from the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

    I'm sure that we will both welcome the Committee's unambiguous endorsement of the integrity of the science and the compelling case for urgent action to cut carbon emissions and secure a global climate deal.

    However, in light of your criticism of the Prime Minister for having climate deniers in his Cabinet, and your comments about the harm caused to our country by delay and dither on climate change, it was especially disappointing to see Graham Stringer, a senior Labour MP, join forces with Conservative MP Peter Lilley in an attempt to undermine the findings.

    (Summarised from yesterday's piece by James Delingpole on www.breitbart.com)

habitat21 comment.....Peter Lilley and Graham Stringer are the only MPS on the Energy and Climate Change Committee with science degrees. They are the only members who properly understand the science. Why does Caroline Lucas want to ignore their expertise?

1 Aug 14

summarised from Anthony Watts' website, 31 Jul 2014.
Scientists largely removed from the consideration of science - from Tom Barr.

The U.K.’s Energy and Climate Change Committee has endorsed the IPCC’s 2014 opinion that humans are the dominant cause of global warming.

In a 9 to 2 vote it was decided, yet again, that the science was settled; but not by scientists. Of the 9 MPs who voted in favour, six have degrees. Only one is qualified in science: Human Biology.

The two MPs who do not believe that man is the dominant cause of global warming have degrees in Chemistry and Natural Sciences.

More on this at http://wattsupwiththat.com

31 Jul 14

Summarised from an article by Emily Gosden, DT, 23 Jul 14.

Centrica says that Britain should stop building offshore wind farms, since they are far too expensive. Sam Laidlaw has given the Centrica view of what our energy policy should be, and the cost would be approximately one-third of the route which the government is currently following.

His report, which blames the government for backing expensive green technologies, offers a more affordable pathway to a lower-carbon future. It advocates building no more offshore wind farms, stopping solar panel deployment since it generates no output at times of peak demand, and restricting the use of expensive solid wall insulation for homes.

It backs gas, nuclear and carbon capture and storage (CCS) plants. It says that the plan would save consumers £100 a year by 2030, compared with the Government’s strategy, whilst still meeting 2050 carbon diioxide targets.

The energy department said that it was working to ensure the UK’s energy security. However, readers of this website will be aware that if present policies continue, the opposite effect will be achieved.

there were some interesting comments on the blog which followed. I have summarised two of them below, editing for clarity where necessary:

    This just goes to show the way the governing classes and their civil service operate. They who craft a situation by signing up to targets they do not understand and which they have no idea how to meet. Then they throw out any discussion on other possible options because they don't fit in with the bureaucratic nightmare they have created.

    A big problem is the maths-science-engineering-any-difficult-subject-free education of many politicians, along with a proliferation of lawyers.

    Engineers know that the only two energy sources that can power a western civilisation are hydrocarbon fuels and nuclear fission. That has been the case since the 1950s and remains so today.

    There is simply not enough energy in wind, waves and the UK sun to make the effort of extracting it for national power generation worth while.

    Furthermore, the intermittent nature of all of the renewable sources requires backup from powered up spinning thermal power stations. Therefore, since we have to have the thermal power stations anyway, we don't need the renewable systems at all.

    However, the politicians thought they knew better than the engineers, and after wasting billions of pounds have succeeded in proving that the engineers were right all along, as they always are about engineering matters.

    The biggest problem, though, is the total lack of any real evidence that changes to the concentration of atmospheric CO2 have ever had any effect on the climate.

    There is no empirical evidence at all that changes to the concentration of atmospheric CO2 have ever affected the climate.

    Citing the output of computer models as evidence is a dishonest circular argument, since computers only produce what they are configured to.

    habitat21 adds:
    CCS is a white elephant; engineers working in the energy sector know that it doesn't work. Otherwise, Laidlaw's comments are accurate.

    ....and on a different blog, cheshire-red made an interesing point:
    The internet has revolutionised just about everything, including the previously almost-untouchable ability of our superiors to lie, deceive and misinform the general public.

28 Jul 14

The sea view from Brighton is about to be ruined by the building of an enormous wind farm.

As a person on the Telegraph blog pointed out, it could be argued that Brighton deserves every wind turbine it gets after electing a Green Party MP. The town should be circled with them: it's what they voted for.

The people I feel sympathy for are those living in the area who did not vote 'green'.

21 Jul 14

I am indebted to "jmw999" on the Telegraph blog for the following piece, which I have edited slightly for clarity.

The danger of smart meters is that they will report individual electricity use. Not simply how much is used but when and what for.

There will come a time when the brown-outs which would normally result from the scandalously bad energy scheme we have now will be avoided by selective isolation of appliances.

So, for example, in the half time interval in the world cup when everyone races to put the kettle on, and the utilities cannot meet demand, they will simply shut down all the kettles. Or if you have the air conditioning or the heating on full, don't be surprised if the settings are remotely adjusted to conserve energy.

Those who less careful with the use of water, gas or electricity may find themselves receiving rather more "Nanny State" leaflets about conservation, CO2 etc, than their neighbours. Or they may be fined for anti-social utility usage and the money automatically deducted from their bank accounts.

That is the direction we are headed.

So I'd rather not have a smart meter for anything; nor a smart junction box. No apps to control my fridge, washing machine, or anything else. If these can control applicances then so can the utilities or the government. If they can, they eventually will.

21 Jul 14

Benny Peiser, interviewed at http://iainews.iai.tv/articles/climate-change-and-the-rhetoric-of-risk-auid-388
Extract from the interview:
In the press, the argument has been put forward quite regularly that sceptics or critics are already over-represented in media coverage, which is said to be misleading the public. Is that a fact? Or do you think the BBC should give more air time to climate change critics/ sceptics?

Well they haven’t in the past. Take Lord Lawson. That was the first time ever that he’s been interviewed on climate change....

Climate sceptics are definitely not under-represented, but simply absent when it comes to a number of media outlets. However, because there is that bias in the BBC and other news organisations, they are finding their own outlets. The climate-sceptical bloggers are increasingly popular and have huge readerships, and a number of newspapers can see that there is a real market for more balanced views.

21 Jul 14

Good news from Australia: Tony Abbott, Australia's Prime Minister, finally honoured his pre-election pledge and repealed the carbon tax introduced by his Labor predecessor Julia Gillard. In his words: "A useless, destructive tax which damaged jobs, which hurt families' cost of living and which didn't actually help the environment is finally gone."

The tax was almost unique in that it generated virtually no revenue for the Australian Treasury because to its negative impact on productivity. It raised costs for industry and essentially helped to bring down Ms Gillard's former Government. The tax will be replaced by a scheme offering companies grants to help Australia reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 5pc by 2020.

David Cameron has so far resisted calls to expand tax on carbon emissions in the UK. However, the bill for green policies is rising. Households and businesses paid £43bn in green taxes in Britain last year. The green tax revenues for 2013 were the equivalent of £1,629 per household.

Those that believe that Green taxation will allow the human race to select the climate it wants are having their belief system being challenged by academics and others in increasing numbers. To my surprise, EU Climate Commissar Connie Hedegaard recently came out with the slogan ‘A world you like. With a climate you like’. This is delusional thinking even by 15th Century standards, and is frankly bizarre in the 21st Century.

18 Jul 14

It seems that wind turbines catch fire more frequently than is reported. A new paper by Imperial College, published in the journal Fire Safety Science, says that there were 1500 wind turbine fires verified by Renewable UK in Britain between 2006 and 2010, but only 142 were reported. The fires tend to be catastrophic, with the turbine concerned (£2 million or so each time) being written off.

It is not difficult to work out why the incidents go unreported.

17 Jul 14

The BBC’s behaviour grows ever more bizarre. Committed by charter to balanced reporting, it has now decided formally that it was wrong to allow balance in a debate between rival guesses about the future. After interviewing Nigel Lawson on the Today programme about man-made climate change earlier this year, it issued a statement saying: “Lord Lawson’s views are not supported by the evidence from computer modelling and scientific research.”

The evidence from computer modelling? A model cannot provide evidence. It can only provide a prediction to test against evidence. (summarized from an article by Matt Ridley, writing in The Times, 7 July 2014 - ND)

12 Jun 14

    The powers that be at the BBC seem to have decided that they want to put their considerable weight behind Mr Gore’s campaign. Gore was left free to propagate some wholly new errors, declaring that we have seen nothing like recent Australian droughts before.

    We can now begin to see how the BBC’s editorial policy is going to pan out.

    Sceptics are wrong even when they are right; politicians who question alarmism will therefore be introduced as being “wrong” and will be challenged on everything they say.

    Greens are right even when they are lying; they will be given a free pass and no challenge of their views is to be permitted.

    --Andrew Montford, Bishop Hill website, 13 July 2014

      ...and comments by NIGEL LAWSON, in The Daily Mail, summarized by ND:

      .... I was asked on to discuss the recent bad weather, which had caused widespread flooding in parts of England, the extent to which this may have been connected with man-made climate change, and what should be done about it. My opposite number was the scientist Sir Brian Hoskins....he is chairman of the Grantham Institute for Climate Change, an alarmist pressure group, and a member of the Government-appointed Climate Change Committee, which exists chiefly to promote the abandonment of fossil fuels by the UK.

      Following the programme, on February 13, all hell broke loose. The BBC was overwhelmed by a well-organised deluge of complaints — many of them, inevitably, from those with a commercial interest in renewable energy, as well as from the Green Party.

      During the discussion, I made two principal points.

      First, that rather than spending untold millions on subsidies for wind farms and solar panels, which provide unreliable energy at exorbitant cost, we would do better to spend more money on protecting the country from whatever nature throws at us, e.g. improved flood defences.

      Second, that forecasts of global temperatures over the next 100 years are highly uncertain.

      The first is a matter of judgment. The second is a matter of fact, which Sir Brian did not contest.

      I might have suggested, too, that if there is to be a ban on non-scientists discussing climate change issues (which I do not, of course, support), this should in the best BBC tradition be an even-handed one. That is to say, they should also ban non-scientists such as Energy Secretary Ed Davey, Ed Miliband, Lord Deben (chairman of the Government’s Climate Advisory Committee), Lord Stern (former adviser to the Government on the Economics of Climate Change and Development) and all the others who are regularly invited to appear.

      The truth is that the BBC’s outrageous behaviour is nothing whatever to do with whether I am a climate scientist or not. Indeed, it is not about me at all.

      Matt Ridley, for example, is arguably this country’s — indeed, the English-speaking world’s — leading science writer who has researched the climate change issue and reached a conclusion which is very close to my own. Not once has he been invited to discuss any aspect of the issue on Radio 4’s Today programme.

      The fact is that, on this issue, the BBC has its own party line (indistinguishable from that of the Green Party) which it imposes with quasi-Stalinist thoroughness. This amounts to a policy of outright political censorship.

      It is hard to imagine a more blatant breach of its charter, which commits it to political balance, or a more blatant betrayal of the people’s trust, on which the continuation of its licence fee depends.

      14 Jul 14

The head of NATO, Mr. Rasmussen, says that Russian intelligence agencies are funding European environmental groups (Greenpeace, Friends of the Earth, etc - Ed) to campaign against fracking. This will help ensure that the EU remains dependent on imported Russian gas. ( FT, 19 Jun 14)

So far, it is working; moves to start fracking in the UK have been disrupted by a campaign by environmentalists creating fears about its impact.

    Comment from a scientist friend:
    Green groups spreading unscientific propaganda undermining our economy are getting funding from foreign governments. In contrast, sceptics like me speaking out on this issue are have to fund ourselves. Then we get insulted by ignorant politicians, chief scientists or the head of the Royal Society calling us "deniers"or worse.

20 Jun 14

Stats from 2011, per MWh:
Coal fired power station $81
Gas fired power station $97
Wind power $150-214 – about 3 times the cost of coal power
Solar power $400-473 – about 6 times the cost of coal power

19 Jun 14

Dr. Leslie Woodcock, emeritus professor at the University of Manchester and a former NASA scientist, has recently described climate man-made change as nonsense and a money-making industry for the green lobby.

In an interview he spelled out arguments which will be well-known to our regular readers; that the theory of ‘man-made climate change’ is unproved; that climate changes anyway, and that water is a much more powerful greenhouse gas and there is 20 times more of it in the atmosphere than CO2. The effect of 'carbon emissions' on temperature is therefore so small as to be negligible.

18 Jun 14

The Ministry of Home Affairs has taken action against Greenpeace India, serving a show cause notice asking it to explain why its permission to get foreign funding under the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act, 2010 should not be withdrawn.

Greenpeace has been in the centre of controversy recently. An Intelligence Bureau report has indicted it for fuelling anti-nuclear activity and adversely affecting the Indian economy. (Summarised from Economic Times of India, 14 June)

16 Jun 14

Plans for a wind turbine at a Powys beauty spot have been overturned after a businessman challenged a council decision in the High Court. Graham Williams, 70, who runs a horse-riding business near Hay-on-Wye, said the turbine in the Radnor Hills would damage the landscape and the local economy. His is one of dozens of very small businesses in the hills which depends almost solely on the quality of the landscape for its revenue.

He challenged the Powys council decision successfully in a judicial review at the High Court in Cardiff. The council said it would re-consider the application on a date to be fixed.

The council approved plans for a 40-metre high wind turbine in Upper Pengarth in the Radnor Hills, near the village of Clyro, in December 2013.

15 Jun 14

Matthew Corrigan's first novel, Osprey, has just been published as a paperback and e-book. It's an amusing tale about an unscrupulous city councillor who stumbles across a crazy scheme to harness energy from floating wind turbines placed high in the sky. The story is set in Manchester in the aftermath of the last election and pokes fun at everything from the phone hacking scandal to MPs' expenses. Naturally, there's a fair amount of scorn heaped on the media's hysterical take on Global Warming and he's not too polite about the renewable energy industry.

The novel can be ordered from bookshops or via his website, which links directly to the publisher.

The Amazon page is here: Osprey .

One more thing - he's quite rude about Tony Blair, so fans of his might be advised to give it a miss.

14 Jun 14

The political leaders of Canada and Australia said recently (on 9 Jun) that they will not follow climate change policies which harm the national economy or threaten jobs. Prime Ministers Stephen Harper and Tony Abbott said this following a meeting on Parliament Hill. Both leaders stressed that they will not be pushed into spending large sums of money on strategies which they judge to be unwise.

Europe is still spending large sums of money on 'climate change mitigation'. Its climate strategy is founded on two fears. The first is that global warming is an urgent threat needing to be prevented no matter what the cost. The second is that the world is running out of fossil fuels, meaning that oil and gas would become ever more expensive. Both conjectures have turned out to be untrue. The result is a costly shambles undercutting Europe’s economic and political position in a world which is refusing to follow suit.

There are plenty of reasons for finding cost-effective ways to generate electricity without using fossil fuel, but none of them have anything to do with climate.

11 Jun 14

The National Grid is recruiting businesses which will be paid to participate in an electricity switch-off scheme. They will be paid if they agree to participate, and they will receive extra payments when they stop drawing power from the Grid. This will normally be at times of peak demand, to avoid domestic power cuts. The situation has arises because recent governments have proved incapable of devising an effective long-term energy policy.

The thousands of wind turbines we have erected cannot meet peak demand when the windspeed is low.

No surprise there.

9 Jun 14

Summarised by ND from 'The Times', May 2014:

Mike Hulme, a former member of the UN's climate change advisory body, has criticised scientists for harassing Lennard Bengtsson.

LB resigned from the advisory board of the GWPF after being subjected to McCarthy-style pressure from academics who objected to his refusal to go along with global warming alarmism..

Mike Hulme condemned the climate scientists who believe that it is their job to pass judgement on the politics of the science upon which they are working. He said that it is not acceptable to harass a scientist until he falls into line.

He said that the episode illustrated how politicised science has become, and how some scientists remain blind to their own biases.

The journal 'Environmental Research Letters' has just rejected a paper suggesting that climate change might be much less sensitive to greenhouse gases than previously thought. Lennard Bengtsson was one of the co-authors.

An anonymous reviewer working for the journal recommended that the paper be rejected because climate sceptics might have used it to argue their case.

The editorial director said, predictably, that this was not why the paper was rejected.

Joanna Haigh of Imperial College said that it is regrettable that perceived political stances seem to be affecting academic activity.

Lennard Bengtsson said that he is worried that science is being influenced by political views.

20 May 14

For the recently announced offshore windfarms the subsidy is to be £155/MWh for 2015, falling to £150 in 2016-17 and £140 in 2018-19.

This is the price of the subsidy.

The Royal Academy of Engineering estimated the price of electricity production from onshore wind a few years ago as £50-£70/MWh (5p-7p per unit), and offshore wind about double. This has to be added to the subsidy above to work out the full price.

For nuclear (a 24-hour 50-year reliable supply), the government has guaranteed EDF a price of £92.50 /MWh for the proposed new nuclear reactors at Hinkley Point in Somerset. If the market price of electricity falls below this, the government will make sure EDF receives the difference between the two prices.

The £92.50 figure is known as the 'strike price'.

The government has said that it will not provide any public subsidies to the nuclear industry. It would not actually be illegal to do so, but EU permission would be required.

The wholesale price of electricity at present is about £45/MWh. If it remains at this level, EDF will receive an additional £47.50/MWh. In practice, this money will not come from taxpayers (which would count as a subsidy), but from consumers of electricity.

The strike price also works the other way around; EDF must refund the difference if the price of electricity rises above £92.50/MWh. For example, if the wholesale price was £110 it would have to refund £18.50. Again, such money goes back to bill payers, not the government.

The strike price will be reduced from £92.50 to £89.50 if EDF agrees to develop another station in Sizewell, Suffolk. This is because EDF's costs would be lower, per station, if it built two.

13 May 14

Interesting poll on wind energy: "would you buy a house near a wind turbine"? Click on the small picture for the detail.

The reason for the 87% 'no' vote is becoming fairly clear; significant value can be removed from a property if wind turbines are built nearby. Some houses become very difficult or impossible to sell. The 12% decrease in value quoted on the BBC webpage compares with 30% reductions in parts of Ayrshire.

countryfile bbc wind turbine poll

12 Apr 14

    UPDATE..... the eventual poll result, of 6,000 respondents, was 70% 'no', 29% 'yes', and 1% undecided.

The gas price in the UK and the USA is shown in the graph below. Until 2010 the prices in the two countries were fairly close. Fracking has resulted in much cheaper gas in the USA since then. The effect of this on Europe's industries, raw materials prices, and energy costs, is becoming evident.

gas price in USA and UK before and after 2010

10 Apr 14

A survey of about 1,000 climbers and hill walkers has been carried out by the Mountaineering Council of Scotland. The findings:

68% say that parts of Scotland are now less attractive for visitors because of wind farms.
67% say wind farms are making Scotland as a whole a less appealing place to visit.
66% have been put off from visiting areas which have wind farms.
80% of respondents said there must be protection for National Parks, Scenic Areas and Core Areas of wild land.
66% want buffer zones so that wind farm developers cannot spoil these special areas by placing wind turbines around their perimeters.

David Gibson of the Mountaineering Council said that the survey gives a warning - that badly sited wind farms are a serious threat to Scotland as a tourism destination.

20 Mar 14

COMMUNITY ENERGY SCHEMES - WHAT'S HOLDING LOCAL PEOPLE BACK? This headline appeared recently in 'The Guardian'. JC, engineer, explains why it isn't catching on....

When electricity was first developed for our use it was first done on an ad hoc basis for individual locations, using different voltages and frequencies, including DC. As the use of electrical power increased, it became far more economical to have a centralised system using a common voltage and frequency supply.

These community energy proposals are simply going back to the historical beginnings and are doomed to failure unless supported by subsidy.

Stand-alone systems are only justified in special circumstances such as remote locations or in developing countries where there is no grid.

17 Mar 14


Scientists James Lovelock and David Bellamy (above) have both said publicly that wind farms are not an effective way of solving our energy problems.

MPs Ed Davey and Caroline Lucas are strong supporters of wind power.

Last year, my electricity bill had a 15% 'green levy' largely accounted for by wind power, but the amount of energy supplied by wind was only 2%. To my way of thinking, this means that wind energy is about 7 times the price of conventional energy. Lovelock and Bellamy are right.

14 Mar 14

The Environment Agency responding to a consultation on 'key issues' in October 2009. This illustrates what can happen when routine maintenance of waterways and watercourses is neglected in favour of short-term cost cutting.

14 Mar 14

From a briefing in the Strasbourg parliament: German chemicals business BASF is halving its European investment plans. It is expanding elsewhere, including Asia. (see Financial Times link, which confirms the general direction, without giving the precise figures: http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/c0c9b448-9e2c-11e3-95fe-00144feab7de.html)

INEOS, another chemicals major, which owns the Grangemouth facility in Scotland, has seen profits halve in Europe, whilst they have tripled in the USA.

The link between the two snippets of news is EU climate / energy policy. Uncompetitive energy prices are destroying the European economy.

12 Mar 14

There has been a Parliamentary investigation into the social and economic effects of wind-driven power stations.

The Regional Communities Consultative Council, an independent body appointed by Government to speak for regional South Australians, told the inquiry that farmers near the power stations were facing lower profits and falling land values.

The Australian Energy Market Operator revealed a large discrepancy between the installed capacity of wind-driven turbines and the actual power they could reliably or consistently deliver.

David Ridgway, the inquiry chairman, pointed out the possible economic loss in primary production, government subsidies to the wind industry, and wind’s inability to cope with periods of peak demand.

6 Mar 14

The Scottish Cabinet secretary for culture and external affairs Fiona Hyslop told the BBC on 24 February that Scotland could supply 25 per cent of Europe’s energy from renewables.

However, Scottish energy minister Fergus Ewing recently said that England could not import enough electricity from France because the cross-channel inter-connector capacity is only 2.5 gigawatts.

At a very rough estimate Ms Hyslop’s 25 per cent of Europe’s generating capacity would be near 70 times that figure.

The energy Ms Hyslop proposes to generate for Europe would require about 160,000 on-shore wind turbines, or two Scotlands covered to capacity. Even Mr Salmond couldn’t produce that much wind.

Summarized from a letter by A.M, Dumfries, published in 'The Scotsman'.

28 Feb 14

Ed Davey has announced that Scotland will be the site of a new £100 million energy plant.

A gas-fired carbon capture and storage (CCS) plant will, apparently, be built in Peterhead, with plans to bury carbon dioxide under the North Sea.

If you listen to the greens and politicians you might think that CCS systems are well on their way to becoming a commercial reality. They are not, and engineers suggest they never will be.

Five separate engineering studies have showed that the average capital cost of a CCS-equipped coal or gas plant would be 76 per cent higher than a conventional plant.

The US Department of Energy estimates that CCS reduces the plant’s electrical output by 20 to 30 per cent and another study suggests a 40 per cent reduction.

The reduced electricity output means higher prices for the consumer.

Pilot CCS projects in Canada, the USA and around the world have already been cancelled.

Paraphrased from a letter in by CC, Linlithgow, which appeared in 'The Scotsman', Feb 2014.

    Comment from GL, engineer.....
    Latest farce is the £100m from Ed Davey for CCS at Peterhead. This is nonsense - Peterhead is a GAS fired power station and we have very little indigenous gas but loads of coal. Even if CCS was viable (it isn't) then it should be applied to a coal fired generator - or even a wood burner - since wood emits 25% more carbon dioxide than coal.

    Our electricity generation system is getting worse by the day, not to mention more expensive. It's not energy companies which are increasing costs; it is government. See the graph for 2010-2014.... the blue is government policy and regulation and the orange is 'transport' - the added costs being mostly due to the Grid expansion required by wind turbines.

27 Feb 14

Materials requirements of a modern wind turbine have been reviewed by the United States Geological Survey. On average 1 MW of rated wind capacity requires:

103 tonnes of stainless steel
402 tonnes of concrete
6.8 tonnes of fiberglass
3 tonnes of copper
20 tonnes of cast iron.

The blades are made of fiberglass, the tower of steel, and the base of concrete.

...Thanks to my engineer friend, JG.

26 Feb 14

A group of advisers appointed by the Bundestag is recommending the removal of the Renewable Energy Sources Act. The Expert Commission on Research and Innovation says that the Green Energy Law is not a cost-effective tool for climate protection and that it has no effect on Innovation. Therefore there is no reason to continue with it.

25 Feb 14

A 250-page agency document issued in 2008 shows that not carrying out dredging is part of a policy to increase flooding in the areas now worst affected.

The policy was revealed on 8 Feb. In a 250-page document on flood risk the Environment Agency describes how it plans to increase flooding in the areas now worst affected, appearing to prioritise animals above people.

Britain’s Communities Secretary Eric Pickles says the government made a mistake and should have dredged the flood-hit Somerset Levels. He told the Andrew Marr Show that it may have relied too much on the Environment Agency's advice and it now recognises that the area should have been dredged.

He added: "I apologise unreservedly and I'm really sorry that we took the advice; we thought we were dealing with experts." [as reported on BBC News, 9 Feb 14]

9 Feb 14

Global warming is the stated the reason for building wind turbines. Here's the most recent temperature graph I could find. Comment is superfluous.

31 Jan 14

The National Grid is embarking on an enormous expansion programme. More energy is coming from wind turbines, and these are often sited in remote locations, so cabling and pylons and new infrastructure are needed to couple them to the Grid.

At present, the cost of doing this is not debited to the wind industry. This makes wind energy seem cheaper than it really is. A cynic might say that omitting an important part of the balance sheet is fraudulent.

There are examples, all over the country, of Grid expansion. Perhaps you have noticed trenches for turbine cables being made in your area; across farmland or under roads.

Here are just two examples of what it costs:

(1) - The money spent on the Beauly Denny, projected for the Western Isles connection:
£400-£700 million.

(2) - The Shetland Isles, reliant on the connection to the Beatrice (Moray Firth) field:
£600 million and rising.

26 Jan 14

A study has been carried out by the London School of Economics to see how wind farms affect property prices.

The report examined a million property sales close to wind farm sites over a 12-year period.

The study is still in draft form but will be published in Feb 2014. It looked at 150 wind-farm sites across England and Wales. It compared house-price changes in areas which either had wind farms, were about to have one built, or where an application for a wind farm had been rejected by the local authority.

One finding was that values of homes within 1.2 miles of large wind farms were reduced by about 11 per cent.

The report did not mention (or include) houses which have become unsaleable.

The average property price in the UK is now £250,000. An 11% reduction is about £27,000.

Prof Gibbons, director of the LSE’s Spatial Economics Research Centre, said that property prices are going up in places where turbines are not visible and down in the places where they are.

26 Jan 14

EOn is to shut one gas-fired power station (Stoke-on-Trent) and reduce output at three others (Castleford, Sandbach and Thornhill) despite the capacity crunch facing National Grid and the growing risk of power cuts.

25 Jan 14

The EU has altered rules on renewable energy targets, removing demands that Britain build more wind and solar farms. Britain will still have to provide 15 per cent of its energy from renewable power by 2020, but after that there will be no target. From that time the EU as a whole will have to produce 27 per cent of its energy from renewables by 2030.

23 Jan 14

Brandon Canevari, writing in the Manchester Journal, USA (www.manchesterjournal.com) quotes a study on property values carried out in Lee County, Illinois.

The average price per square foot for a home more than 2 miles away than the closest wind turbine was $104.72. For those closer to the turbines the average sale price was $78.84. This represents a devaluation of approximately 25 percent.

20 Jan 14


    As reported by Jon Snow, Channel 4 News, 20 Jan 2014.
    This weekend I found myself in another part of Europe attending a conference on the future of our collective energy needs. The discussion presented an extraordinarily shocking, and terrifying vision for our future prospects. The sum total of our deliberations was that European energy police and practice are in chaos and we collectively face dangerously expensive supplies, as well as the increasing threat of grave shortages. There was a frightening enthusiasm to terminate all green levies. What will come hardest to those campaigning on climate change will be the abandoning of sustainability targets in the energy sector. I left the conference downhearted.

Decoded, this means that sanity may be returning. Green levies will soon be scaled back, and in the foreseeable future, will probably come to an end. Let us hope that this occurs sooner rather than later.

14 Jan 14

Large numbers of houses are now being devalued by nearby wind turbines which dominate the landscape. My own neighbour was involved in a property 'chain' which collapsed when one of the prospective buyers found that the house he wanted to buy would soon have a wind farm built a quarter of a mile away. He backed out.

Mainstream media sources are still asserting that there is no evidence for wind farms affecting property values. However, these are the same media sources which fail to report the appalling performance of wind turbines built south of Hadrian's Wall.

It would be helpful if more of them ceased printing Greenpeace press releases and returned to investigative journalism.

A person from the West Country writes, in the Exeter Express and Echo, 30 Dec 2013:

I was told that my home was worth 30% less because of a wind farm 2km away and in full view. That is a reduction of £90,000 so an offer of compensation for £8,000 is an insult. Homes in our area have lost £100,000 and some cannot sell.

More on this at Express & Echo.

1 Jan 14

Reported to me by LH, a friend in Ayrshire:

Local estate agents are advising those in the vicinity of wind turbines wanting to sell their homes to lower the price by 30%.

8 Oct 13

Imagine a car going from A to B at an average of 30 mph but doing it like this........accelerate to 60, then slow down to a halt, then accelerate to 60 again, slow down to a halt, and so on. Imagine what that would do to fuel consumption.

Now consider - this is exactly what happens to the turbines at gas fired power stations every time wind energy or solar energy is fed into the grid, or when it stops being fed in.

That's why the carbon emissions argument for wind turbines is nonsense.

7 Oct 13

An artist has found that plans for a 260-foot wind turbine overlooking her cottage in the Scottish countryside devalued her home by £45,000.

Sue Arbor, 59, who lives near Huntly, Aberdeenshire, put her home up for sale in 2011 after learning of a proposed wind farm about 500 yards from her back garden. The cottage was valued at £130,000, but after two years she was still unable to find a buyer. She suspected the turbine was to blame. Her suspicion was confirmed in June when a woman making an offer for the cottage withdrew it after being informed of the wind turbine by a person at Aberdeenshire Council.

Eventually Sue put her home up for auction with Glasgow Property Agency, with a fresh valuation of £100,000 and a reserve price of £70,000. This resulted in another firm offer but the man pulled out after learning of the turbine.

Eventually a cash buyer turned up on the doorstep. He and his girlfriend got it for £85,000.

9 Sep 13

My friend in Hawkchurch, Devon, reports on the construction of a 'solar farm' outside the village. The proposal to build it was rejected by the villagers but the views of locals were ignored and it was erected anyway.

The components were made in Germany, and were delivered by German lorries, which were accompanied by workers from eastern Europe who carried out the erection and installation.

Not one local job was created.

The solar farm is now earning subsidies, paid for by the taxpayer. It will produce less energy in its lifetime than it took to extract the silicon to make the solar panels in the first place.

Most photovoltaic cells are net consumers of energy. This means that if carbon dioxide reduction is the objective, solar cells are not fit for purpose.

10 May 13

On 20 Mar, Ian Marchant, head of SSE, said that Britain is facing black-outs within the next three years because of a lack of electricity generation.

Today, Didcot power station was switched off, permanently. That's another 2GW gone out of a UK requirement of about 50 GW.

No replacement capacity has been built.

22 Mar 13

    UPDATE, 1 Jan 2014....EGGBOROUGH is next; due to close within a year as reported by the Times, it supplies 4% of the UK's energy. Ministers have said that they won't be negotiating with the EU for exemptions from the Large Combustion Plant Directive.

The tax-payer funded Green Investment Bank has loaned £100 million to convert the Drax coal-burning power station in Yorkshire to burning wood. This is part of a financial package of one billion pounds to get green approval and renewable energy subsidies and avoid the need to buy carbon credits.

Each year 7.5 million tonnes of wood chips will be imported from North American forests to replace 4.5 million tonnes of coal. This will consume about three million acres of forest per year. The wood will be cut, hauled, chipped, dried, trucked, shipped and then trucked again to Drax.

As a result, Drax will produce a fraction of its former output at several times the price.

You couldn't make it up.

To put this in perspective - under ideal growing conditions, a square mile of 'sustainable woodland' can give up to 1MW continuous of electrical power. So a 2000MW conventional power station would need a plot of about 45miles x 45 miles.

There was a project in England to generate power from wood about a decade ago, called Project ARBRE, based on willow plantations. It was abandoned because harvesting the wood was problematic; doing it by hand was too expensive, and machines couldn't do it adequately because they kept getting stuck in mud and scrub.

25 Jan 13

The South Gippsland Shire Council has said that the Bald Hills wind farm, currently in the planning stage, has affected the value of nearby properties.

The rates for these houses have been reduced.

15 Jan 13

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