Alex Henney Memo To The CCC
Alex Henney wrote to the Committee on Climate Change, pointing out some of the fallacies behind their latest Progress Report to Parliament. John Gummer has presumably forgotten who pays his wages, as he has not yet bothered to reply.
The scientific flaws of the Committee on Climate Change and the expensive consequences,
The Committee on Climate Change (CCC) has just published “Reducing emissions and preparing for climate change: 2015 Progress Report to Parliament”. The report reviews a range of low carbon policies with the electric industry centre stage in some of them, notably deployment of renewable electricity generating capacity.
The CCC treats the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) as a source of serious science. It is not – its remit is to identify “man’s impact on climate change”, not to study the issue in a broad and scientific manner. Over the years it has included a great deal of junk politicised “science” which has been retracted. Furthermore it is a political body. Its Summaries for Policymakers are signed off by government representatives and on various critical points do not represent the science but spins and evades issues. Climate models are critical to the work of the IPCC including both its (rigged) predictions of future temperature and its attribution of the effect of CO2. Yet for a whole variety of reasons climate models do not (and will not) reflect reality – the climate is too complex, the models too crude.
To substantiate its belief in the need to decarbonise the economy in general – and the electric industry in particular – the CCC makes a number of claims which are either incorrect or exaggerated and presented as though they are a problem. In doing so the CCC frequently exaggerates the figures of the IPCC. The CCC:-
- Neglects to mention that there has been no increase in global temperature for 16-18 years
- Exaggerates the past sea rise round Britain
- Claims without any foundation that “Hundreds of millions of people from small islands to large coastal cities are currently projected to be living in areas that could be submerged”
- States “Ocean acidity will rise which will pose substantial risks to marine ecosystems” – a claim which is based on an ignorance of chemistry and the oceans
- States that “the Arctic sea will become nearly free of summer ice at some point this century”. This is a very unwise forecast to make. Arctic sea ice is variable and over the last three years has recovered much of its recent decline
- Claims that “continual warming increases the likelihood of severe, widespread damage”, a claim in which the IPCC has “low confidence”
- Claims “Average global temperature could rise between 20C and 5.50C by 2100 compared to the late 1800s”. Anything beyond 20C is a scare story with no foundation. A number of solar physicists are forecasting another Little Ice Age
This factually frail rationale (along with the quest by academics for grants and renewables developers for subsidies) is the group think which has driven the British government’s generation policies, which consist of:-
- Building the most expensive nuclear plant in the world
- Subsidising very expensive offshore wind farms which do not achieve what they claim on the tin by way of CO2 mitigation
- Subsidising the largest and most expensive scheme in the world to burn wood chips from new cut trees in the US which actually increases CO2 emissions
- Subsidising residential solar panels in our gloomy climate
- Spending more than any other country researching the unproven prospects of Carbon Capture and Sequestration (CCS)
In reality what we do has no effect on the climate even supposing CO2 has any impact. The Germans and Dutch have just completed 10 large new coal plants. Chinese emissions are now twice US emissions and India’s are 70% of the EU’s and both countries (along with other developing countries) are going hell for leather to build more coal plants.
Going on as we are is not only vastly expensive – effectively a regressive tax on electricity consumers; a burden on energy consuming industry; and a burden on the balance of payments – but unless we build more CCGTs we risk brown-outs if not black-outs in the not too distant future. We are pursuing the politics of illusion and delusion at the expense of an ill-informed public who have to pay for the political caprice.
1 I was on the board of London Electricity 1981-84. My report “Privatise Power” published by the Centre for Policy Studies in February 1987 was the first to propose a competitive restructuring of the electric industry with a pool. After the election in June I was involved with Rt. Hon. Cecil Parkinson and officials in the early days of restructuring, and wrote a paper “The operation of a power market” which had an influence on the course of events. Subsequently I have advised on electric markets from Norway to New Zealand.
The full memo is here.