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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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UN To Make Millions Of Africans Homeless To Fight Global Warming

February 5, 2016

By Paul Homewood  




The United Nations global warming deal could make another five million people homeless in the world’s poorest countries, for the express purpose of setting forest land aside to slow global warming through conservation.

Millions who live in and depend on forests for their livelihoods could be evicted from their wooded homes, according to new study which will be released later this month.

The new study by the Rights and Resources Initiative shows implementation of the U.N.’s agenda in Liberia and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) could displace up to 4.1 million living in the heavily inhabited ecologically “protected” areas and another 0.9 million who depend on the region for their economic well-being. The intended goal of this mass displacement is to set aside local forest land to fight global warming.

“Governments have targets to expand their protected areas, and now with new climate funding being available the risk is they will use this to expand in a way that doesn’t respect local rights. It could result in the displacement of millions of people,” Andy White, from the Rights and Resources Initiative, told the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC).

Previous analysis shows that as many as 17 million people have already been displaced from newly “ecologically protected” areas in the DRC alone by the local government and “international conservation organisations.” That’s almost a quarter of the DRC’s population. The new study suggests that the impacts on displaced people would be extremely difficult to mitigate.

“Our new masters … like the animals more than humans and do not mind that people suffer as long as the animals are happy,” a local Mbuti tribal leader in the DRC said.

The new analysis used data from Oak Ridge National Laboratory to calculate how many people would be forced to migrate after their livelihoods were destroyed by ecological protection. Since the DRC is the world’s second poorest country, any economic disruption can be devastating to the people involved. The average person in DRC earned an annual income of just $380 in 2014.

Both the local governments of Liberia and the DRC and the United Nations have repeatedly displaced residents in the name of fighting global warming. The DRC, funded by Germany and environmental non-profit groups, plans to set aside 12 to 15 percent of its forested land as ecologically protected areas. Liberia will turn 30 percent of its forests into ecologically protected areas in exchange for $150 million in developmental aid from Norway.




The figures quoted in the Daily Caller are at the top end of the scale. As the draft report states:


We estimate that the population currently living in protected areas comes to over 4.1 million people. So an expansion from 12% to 15% of land could easily affect a million people. The top and bottom ends of this range therefore seems unlikely. But the median estimate may be on the conservative side of representative. As we see in the next section, compensating this number of people for economic, let alone physical, displacement would be expensive.




Either way, an awful lot of people are going to be affected one way or another, either through physical displacement or from having their livelihoods severely affected. And this is just the DRC we are talking about.

With commitment of $100 billion a year in aid to fight climate change, how many more millions in other countries will end up paying the price?

January 2016 Rainfall Data

February 5, 2016

By Paul Homewood  


January 2016 Rainfall 1981 - 2010 anomaly


It was certainly unusually wet last month, particularly in the North East.






However, it still ended well below the record for January of 205mm set in 1928.









The longer running England & Wales series ranks last month as 8th wettest:



How the Cold Blob In The Atlantic Is Affecting UK Weather

February 4, 2016
tags: ,

By Paul Homewood 




As I have repeatedly emphasised, the root cause of the wet and windy weather experienced this winter in the UK has been the position and strength of the jet stream. For most of the time, it has been sat further south than we have been used to seeing it, and consequently successive depressions have hit Britain, almost as if they were on a conveyor belt.

Below is the forecast jet stream for Saturday, when the next lot of heavy rain is due to hit.





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World’s Biggest Wind Farm Gets Go Ahead

February 4, 2016

By Paul Homewood 




Compare and contrast these two announcements made on the same day:







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Going to Extremes: Federal Climatologist Slams Alarmist Federal Climate Report

February 4, 2016

By Paul Homewood 





The Met Office frequently try to persuade us that extreme rainfall is getting worse because of global warming. It comes as no surprise to learn that the same arguments are taking place in the US.

Unfortunately for the alarmists, a study led by NOAA’s own expert, Dr Martin Hoerling, finds little evidence that this is the case, and instead that extreme rainfall trends are largely dominated by naturally reoccurring ocean cycles.


Cato report:


Second only to incidences of high temperature, supporters of government action to restrict energy choice like to say “extreme” precipitation events–be they in the form of rain, sleet, snow, or hail falling from tropical cyclones, mid-latitude extratropical storms, or summer thunderstorm complexes–are evidence that greenhouse gas emissions from human activities make our climate and daily weather worse.

The federal government encourages and promotes such associations. Take, for example, the opening stanzas of its 2014 National Climate Assessment: Climate Change Impacts in the United States, a document regularly cited by President Obama in support of his climatic perseverations:

This National Climate Assessment concludes that the evidence of human-induced climate change continues to strengthen and that impacts are increasing across the country.

Americans are noticing changes all around them. Summers are longer and hotter, and extended periods of unusual heat last longer than any living American has ever experienced. Winters are generally shorter and warmer. Rain comes in heavier downpours.

President Obama often calls out the extreme rain meme when he is running through his list of climate change evils. His Executive Order “Preparing for the Impacts of Climate Change,” includes:

The impacts of climate change – including…more heavy downpours… – are already affecting communities, natural resources, ecosystems, economies, and public health across the Nation.

So, certainly the science must be settled demonstrating a strong greenhouse-gas altered climate signal in the observed patterns of extreme precipitation trends and variability across the United States in recent decades, right?


Here are the conclusions of a freshly minted study, titled “Characterizing Recent Trends in U.S. Heavy Precipitation” from a group of scientists led by Dr. Martin Hoerling from the NOAA’s System Research Laboratory in Boulder, Colorado:

Analysis of the seasonality in heavy daily precipitation trends supports physical arguments that their changes during 1979-2013 have been intimately linked to internal decadal ocean variability, and less to human-induced climate change…Analysis of model ensemble spread reveals that appreciable 35-yr trends in heavy daily precipitation can occur in the absence of forcing, thereby limiting detection of the weak anthropogenic influence at regional scales [emphasis added].

Basically, after reviewing observations of heavy rains across the country and comparing them to climate model explanations/expectations, Hoerling and colleagues determined that natural variability acting through variations in sea surface temperature patterns, not global warming, is the main driver of the observed changes in heavy precipitation.

UK energy crisis deepens as SSE plans early plant closure

February 3, 2016

By Paul Homewood 




The Telegraph reports:


SSE has announced plans to shut most of its Fiddler’s Ferry coal-fired power plant in April, wiping 1.5 gigawatts of power capacity from the UK grid and worsening the looming energy crisis next winter.

The energy giant said it intended to shut three out of four units at the loss-making Cheshire power station, reneging on a Government subsidy contract to keep them running until 2018-19 and putting 213 jobs at risk.

The move, which the Telegraph revealed SSE was considering last week, was condemned as "extremely disappointing" by the Government, which sought to reassure households the lights would stay on.

"We will continue to work alongside National Grid and Ofgem to take whatever additional steps are necessary to protect our energy supply," a spokesman for the Department of Energy and Climate Change said.


Burning coal at Fiddler’s Ferry is increasingly uneconomic due to low power prices and the UK carbon tax.


UK energy supplies were already forecast to fall to dangerously low levels next winter due to the closure of several other old plants.

Emergency measures have been brought in to bolster supplies after official analysis suggested there could be zero spare capacity in the market, and insufficient power to keep the lights on on a windless day.

John Musk, analyst at RBC Capital Markets, warned UK margins would now be “critically tight for next winter” and forecast this would lead to "extremely volatile" spot power prices.

SSE will face a £33m penalty for pulling out of its Government contract but said the alternative was to incur "unsustainable losses" which would "undermine SSE’s ability to invest in modern generation plant in the UK".

Fiddler’s Ferry had already racked up "substantial" losses in recent years and this was expected to continue through to 2020, even with the subsidy contract, it said. Analysts estimate annual losses of £30m-£50m.

SSE said coal plants were running less often than they used to as they were pushed out by "cheaper alternatives, namely low carbon and gas-fired generation".

This trend was only forecast to continue, it said, citing energy secretary Amber Rudd’s announcement last year that all coal plants would close by 2025.

Fiddler’s Ferry, which was opened in 1971, would also require "significant levels of expenditure to maintain safe operations and adequate levels of reliability", it said.

In 2014 SSE secured a subsidy contract, estimated to be worth £27m, through the Government’s capacity market, which was supposed to guarantee the three units would be available to help keep the lights on in 2018-19.

SSE said that the economic outlook in the generation market had "changed substantially" since then and the plant was "projected to incur unsustainable losses even with this contract".

In December it attempted but failed to secure a similar contract for the plant for 2019-20.

The fourth unit of the plant is expected to remain running this winter, having secured an emergency contract from National Grid.

SSE said it could not rule out compulsory redundancies among the staff at the station.

Paul Smith, SSE managing director for generation, said: "The reality is that the plant at the station is aging, its method of generating electricity is being rendered out of date and it has been, and is expected, to continue to be loss-making.

"The fact it makes more sense for SSE to contemplate making a substantial payment in lieu of the capacity agreement relating to Fiddler’s Ferry in 2018/19 demonstrates just how economically challenged Fiddler’s Ferry has become." 


The writing has been on the wall for sometime, as I reported last week.

But let’s be clear about one thing. This comment “SSE said coal plants were running less often than they used to as they were pushed out by "cheaper alternatives, namely low carbon and gas-fired generation" is total bunkum. “Low carbon alternatives” are not cheaper, but they can undercut coal because of the obscene subsidies they receive. Gas certainly is coming down in cost, but still faces exactly the same problems that coal does. The only reason SSE are lying is because they are reliant on those very subsidies.

It says a lot about the ability of our journalists these days, such as dear little Emily, that they have not yet worked this out yet.


As for DECC’s pathetic statement that “We will continue to work alongside National Grid and Ofgem to take whatever additional steps are necessary to protect our energy supply”, there is one very simple step they can take to ensure that – scrap the Climate Change Act, abolish carbon taxes and put a stop to all further renewable subsidies.


The World According To St George Monbiot

February 3, 2016

By Paul Homewood 




Poor old George Monbiot is having a big rant in the Guardian, about how the taxpayer is propping up big oil. According to poor George:


Already, according to the International Monetary Fund, more money is spent, directly and indirectly, on subsidising fossil fuels than on funding health services.

Now, you would have been entitled to think that taxpayers are forking out billions to send to wicked oil companies, which could otherwise be spent on the NHS. But as usual with George, the truth is the diagonal opposite. This is the IMF report he refers to:





The first thing to note is that these are all consumer subsidies, and not producer subsidies. In other words, nobody is suggesting that billions are being paid to Exxon. What they are saying is that the price for energy paid by consumers is subsidised by governments, ie when consumer prices are below supply costs. As most energy is fossil fuel based, most of these subsidies will be as well.

(These are initially calculated on a pre-tax basis, and I will come back to the post-tax chunk later.)

In contrast, producer subsidies are when the cost of production is higher than the market price, as with renewables.


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Monthly Rainfall Becoming Less Extreme In South West

February 3, 2016

By Paul Homewood 



SOMERSET FLOODING: To dredge or not to dredge - battle lines drawn ...



Yesterday I looked at claims that “carbon emissions” had made the extreme rainfall seen during January 2014 in southern England more likely.

Today I am going to zoom in on the South West, where flooding was most acute.

We can see from the Met Office data below that it was indeed the wettest January on record since 1910, albeit only 4mm more than 1948.





But January is only month, and it is easy to cherry pick records for just one month, and in one particular region. Climatologically, such claims are meaningless.

If we want to detect trends in extreme rainfall, it makes much more sense to look at all of the traditionally wet months of the year, which in the South West’s case are October, November, December and January. In terms of averages, there is very little difference between the four.





If we analyse the wettest of these four months since 1910, we find a drastically different picture to the one painted by those who wish to persuade us that extreme rain is on the increase.




January 2014 received 250mm of rain, but this pales into insignificance against some earlier years, notably November 1929 (327 mm) and December 1934 (307 mm).

Again, notice the clustering.

Now maybe global warming can explain how Januaries are getting wetter, but Novembers and Decembers are going in the opposite direction. But I somehow doubt it.

What is clear, is that rainfall in the South West was far more extreme in the past.

Record Warmth In January (1916!)

February 3, 2016

By Paul Homewood 


There was an awful lot of fuss a month ago, when it was announced that December 2015 was the warmest on record in the UK. Even though the previous record had stood since 1934, it did not stop the usual suspects from screaming global warming.


Well they’re a lot quieter this month, and not just because last month only ranks tied 21st warmest since 1910.

Much more notable, however, is the fact that the warmest January on record was in 1916. I don’t remember there being much global warming around then!