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Pulp Fiction

February 9, 2016

By Paul Homewood 




The EU is currently reviewing UK subsidies for biomass power, but mainly in respect of business and economic impacts. As we already know, there are much wider and potentially damaging ecological and environmental impacts.

However, one issue that seem to be totally ignored is the question of whether biomass even reduces GHG emissions.

Climate Central, an outfit that thinks we are going to fry, put together this far reaching report last October, which goes to the heart of the nonsense that is biomass:


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Updated Coal Power Capacity

February 9, 2016

By Paul Homewood 


Following yesterday’s announcement that the Rugeley coal fired power station will close this year, I have updated the current capacity situation for coal power.



  Capacity MW MW to close
in 2016
Ratcliffe 2000    
Cottam 2008    
West Burton 2012    
Eggborough 1960 1960  
Rugeley 1006 1006  
Lynemouth 420   Conv to bio
Aberthaw 1586    
Longannett 2260 2260  
Drax 3870   50% to bio
Fiddlers Ferry 1960 1500  
Ferrybridge 980 980  
Kilroot 520    
TOTAL 20582 7703  



By the end of this year, therefore, we will be left with less than 13GW.



One of the problems facing both coal power and CCGT is the cost of intermittency. According to official DECC statistics, capacity loading for conventional thermal power plant dropped from 55% in 2010 to 42% in 2014, as subsidised renewables are given preferential access to the market.

Coal has faced particular problems in the last year as gas prices fell, along with the impact of the carbon tax.

Sea Level Sanity

February 8, 2016

By Paul Homewood 




Ron Clutz offers a bit of sanity:


Post Paris sea level alarms are ramping up:

As global temperatures rise, scientists know that sea levels will follow suit. Today, global sea level is the topic of two new papers, both published in Nature Climate Change. Source: Carbon Brief, today’s date.

Fortunately, antidotes for this feverish reporting are available. Some recent research reports published this year update our knowledge of sea ice and sea level dynamics.  Two papers below are by Australians  A.Parker and C. D. Ollier. They obviously are not employed by CSIRO, since they are working hard on understanding how the climate system actually works.

Full story here.

Another Coal Plant To Shut Down This Year

February 8, 2016

By Paul Homewood 




Tallbloke has news of the latest coal fired power plant to announce closure this year:



Another 1000MW needs to be found from somewhere else. It’s making for a long list: Fiddler’s Ferry (reported here on February 4th) Longannet, Ferrybridge and Eggborough. 150 jobs are also at risk.


The full news release is here, and repeats the same problems behind the other closures, operational losses in the face subsidised renewables and carbon taxes.



What must be doubling concerning for DECC is that Rugeley was one of the coal plants which had committed to comply with the EU’s Industrial Emissions Directive, and would therefore have been assumed to be operational after 2023.

I suspect that Amber Rudd’s promise to shut all coal power stations by 2025 has played a big part in this decision, though it is not referred to. After all, the French owners, ENGIE (formerly GDF Suez) may well have accepted some short term losses if they could have banked on a longer term future.


I’ll try and put out a summary of the latest grid capacity position tomorrow.

Met Office Confirm Imogen Due To Jet Stream Moving South

February 8, 2016

By Paul Homewood  




When Slingo is wheeled out in a few weeks time to blame this winter’s storms on global warming, just remember this tweet from the Met Office.

As I have been pointing out all winter, this shift is connected to a large pool of unusually cold water in the North Atlantic.

Telegraph’s Record Breaking Claims For Imogen Are Nonsense

February 8, 2016

By Paul Homewood 




I’m not sure where the Telegraph gets “record breaking winds” from. According to the Met Office, we have a figure of 96 mph for the Needles, which generally gives wind speeds well above land based stations, whenever storms head that way. (The weather station there is actually on the headland, overlooking the Needles themselves. At 80m above sea level, any wind speeds there are totally unrepresentative).


ScreenHunter_3609 Feb. 08 17.25^tfw



According to the Met Office, the Needles set a record for the south of England in 1998, with 115 mph.


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Why Do They Pay Attention To Monbiot?

February 8, 2016

By Paul Homewood  




Following the deferential treatment handed out to George Monbiot by the Environmental Audit Committee last week, I have to ask why anybody pays the slightest attention to the hack?

After all, it was back in 2002 that he claimed:


This is why biotechnology – whose promoters claim that it will feed the world – has been deployed to produce not food but feed: it allows farmers to switch from grains which keep people alive to the production of more lucrative crops for livestock. Within as little as 10 years, the world will be faced with a choice: arable farming either continues to feed the world’s animals or it continues to feed the world’s people. It cannot do both.


And the reality?


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Latest Decadal Forecast From The Met Office

February 7, 2016

By Paul Homewood 








The Met Office has published its latest decadal forecast of global temperatures, commenting:


During the five-year period 2016-2020, global average temperature (see blue shading in Figure 3 below) is expected to remain between 0.28°C and 0.77°C (90% confidence range) above the long-term 1981-2010 mean (0.88°C to 1.37°C relative to pre-industrial conditions represented by the period 1850 to 1900). The warmest individual year in the 160-year Met Office Hadley Centre global temperature record is 2015 with a temperature of 0.44 ± 0.1 °C above the 1981-2010 mean. Averaged over the whole five-year period 2016-2020, global average temperature is expected to be between 0.42°C and 0.67°C above the 1981-2010 mean (1.02°C to 1.27°C relative to pre-industrial conditions).

The forecast is for continued global warming largely driven by continued high levels of greenhouse gases. However, other changes in the climate system, including the largest El Niño since 1997 and longer term shifts in both the Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO) and Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation (AMO), are also contributing. Near record temperatures are predicted for the coming five years, consistent with the Met Office annual global temperature forecast. However, the recent run of consecutive record years is likely to end in 2017 as El Niño declines. The forecast remains towards the mid to upper end of the range simulated by CMIP5 models that have not been initialised with observations (green shading in Figure 3). Barring a large volcanic eruption or a very sudden return to La Niña or negative AMO conditions which could temporarily cool climate, ten year global average warming rates are likely to return to late 20th century levels within the next two years. Nevertheless, the recent slowdown in surface warming is still an active research topic and trends over a longer (15 year) period will take longer to respond. For further discussion on the surface warming slowdown see the Met Office reports on the recent pause in warming and on big changes underway in the climate system



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Monbiot Grandstands At Environmental Committee, But Expert Witness Is Banned

February 7, 2016

By Paul Homewood  


Booker reports on some shameful goings on at the Environmental Audit Committee this week:  



The Great Moonbat comes up with two impossible theories in a day

Last Wednesday was quite a day for that grand “environmental” campaigner George Monbiot. He began by regaling Guardian readers yet again with that IMF paper which last year startled the world by revealing that fossil fuels receive far larger subsidies than “renewables”.

The paper argued that we should take account of the true cost of all the damage fossil fuels are doing to us all, by causing global warming, air pollution, traffic congestion and deaths from traffic accidents. That the producers of coal, oil and gas can get away with not being charged for all this damage amounts to a “subsidy” worth $5.3 trillion a year, more than the entire global cost of health care. And if we were sensible enough to tax them for it, this would make the subsidies paid to windmills and solar panels look like peanuts.

One can see why this theory would appeal to someone like Monbiot. But to call it a “subsidy” may remind the rest of us of Humpty Dumpty’s dictum that, “When I use a word, it means just what I choose it to mean.”

Later that day the great environmentalist was deferentially invited by the Commons Environmental Audit committee, to explain his theory that the way to stop floods is not to dredge rivers but to plant trees, to slow the flow of excessive rainfall from higher up in the catchment area that causes them.

On the 2014 floods in my county of Somerset, Monbiot then went out of his way to rubbish by name those, including me, who revealed how those floods had been made much worse by the deliberate flooding of a key area of land to provide water for wildlife (because the Met Office had predicted a dry winter). To support his point he triumphantly cited a report by the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology.

In fact that report didn’t properly address this issue at all. It made no mention of how the flow of the Somerset Levels’ main “flood relief scheme”, the Sowy, was deliberately reversed, to flood Natural England’s Southlake Moor, thus blocking the drainage of a much larger area of the Somerset Moors to the east.

But nor did the Great Moonbat tell the MPs that the same report had trenchantly rejected his theory about tree-planting on the hills, by finding that this does nothing to halt the downward flow of excessive rainfall (and if he had looked at the relevant hills in Somerset, he would have seen that they are covered in trees anyway).

What made all this even odder was that an expert witness, who had been invited to follow him to point all this out, was then told that he could not appear before the committee after all, because of “allegations” (unspecified) that he had written something “offensive” online.

So the MPs were only allowed to hear one side of the story. It will be interesting to see how this is reflected in their report.


It turns out that the expert witness, who Booker was not allowed to name and who was banned by the committee, was Dr Richard North, who reports on his blog:


000a EAC-003.jpg

Having been asked several times by the Environmental Audit Committee in the House of Commons to give oral evidence to them on flooding, I travelled to London yesterday, at my own expense, prepared for the session.

Because of the Prime Minister’s statement on the EU, the session was late starting but, before the first witness was heard, I was called out by a clerk. In a nearby corridor, he told me there had been "allegations" against me, relating to my online activities, as a result of which, the committee had decided that my evidence would not be called.
That my evidence would have completely contradicted the evidence of the first witness, George Monbiot, is neither here nor there – one assumes. 

Who actually chaired the committee on this session I do not know, mainly because I don’t care enough to find out. Such is the incompetence of the the committee that, until late this morning, it was recording on its website the chairman as Labour’s Huw Irranca-Davies, even though he stood down on 25 January. Suffice to note that this is obviously the way our masters do business now, and how they treat us lowly serfs.

I would mind so much had I not been specifically called by the committee to give evidence. I had not asked to give it, and had not contacted the committee in any way, until they had invited me. And, in anticipation of giving evidence, I had to spend most of the weekend preparing a written report for the MPs, to their deadline of Monday.
But, to add insult to injury, the clerk who yesterday conveyed the news that the Irranca-Davies surrogate didn’t have the guts or courtesy to tell me to my face, told me that, "if I wished", I could submit written evidence to the committee. I have to say that my response was what one might describe as "robust".
I need, however, to place on record this cowardly behaviour by a
committee of MPs who obviously lack both manners and the courage to address me personally, and skulk behind their staff, getting them to do their dirty work. It is a measure of these loathsome creatures, however, that they don’t even have the self-awareness to be ashamed of their own behaviour.

A Climate Of Change In Calabria

February 6, 2016

By Paul Homewood 



Calabria, Italy


The work of HH Lamb and his contemporaries has done a lot to help us understand how climate has changed in the last few thousand years, despite more recent attempts to remove such changes.

But it seems that observers have long known about these matters.


Niall Allsop lives in Calabria, the toe of Italy’s boot, and has written several books with Italian and Calabrian themes; he is currently working on a book specifically about Calabria to be published in the spring.

‘Calabria: Travels in the toe of Italy’ is a fusion of Niall’s experiences as a resident in today’s Calabria and those of the other thirteen British diarists and travellers who came to the region since the end of the 18th century and subsequently wrote about their experiences.

The book has a thematic format with chapters on, for example, Calabria’s history, its earthquakes, its brigands and its mafia … and its climate. The latter demonstrates how travellers in the past understood and wrote about changes in climate and were able to look back with clarity and authority at earlier historical periods when the climate was clearly different.


Below are extracts from the chapter on climate:

(Dates in brackets refer to the year of travel. Quotations retain the punctuation and spelling of the original; text in square brackets with quotes are as clarification)


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