Skip to content

Telegraph Publish Professor Mitchell’s Lies

March 11, 2016
tags: ,

By Paul Homewood  




In yesterday’s Letters Column in the Telegraph, Prof Catherine Mitchell was allowed to get away with this astonishing piece of grossly misleading propaganda. I immediately fired off a reply correcting her second assertion, but as the Telegraph has chosen not to print it, it is time to make a much fuller response.




1) Whether the economics of shale gas stack up or not is utterly irrelevant. Private capital will take all the risk, and if it does not pay they will be the ones who lose.

As to whether people want fracking or not is a matter of opinion, and she is entitled to hers. But as a supposed expert in energy matters, she should be providing the public with the facts, on which they can then decide themselves, rather than making emotive claims.


2) Although I believe the figure of £10 per household did come from the Committee on Climate Change, that does not make it right, or mean that it was not just propaganda.

Again,as a supposed expert, Mitchell must be aware of the very real and substantial costs being incurred by the public, which are solely due to subsidised renewable energy.

If she does not know, I suggest she checks out what the Office for Budget Responsibility says about the matter:




If we take Feed in Tariffs, Renewables Obligation, Contracts for Difference and Capacity Market (which all relate solely to renewables), the budgeted cost for 2016/17 is £6.3 billion, about £240 per household.

This figure is set to double by 2020.


3) Is climate change a serious issue? Again, a matter of opinion. But what is indisputable is that the Paris Agreement itself acknowledges that GHG emission will continue to grow at a global level until at least 2030.

Any small reductions we make are irrelevant.

Again, as a supposed expert, why has she not told us that we are already making, and committed to making, much bigger GHG cuts than the rest of the EU?


4) She offers no evidence of how renewable energy can deliver the market-based electricity system that Mr Darwall wants.

5) She repeats the false claim often made that fossil fuels are subsidised, and ignores the reality that we would not need to be subsidising nuclear power if we were not committed to shutting down efficient fossil fuel plants.




It needs pointing out that Mitchell is, as the Bishop reminds us, one of the those public funded political activists who masquerades as an academic researcher. She has no background in energy from an engineering point of view,  her degree was in history and her MA in Energy and Environmental Studies, whatever that means.

Most of her career has been spent in academia, and her CV is full of memberships of various publically funded advisory boards, going back at least to 2001. The full list is here.

One of her current positions is Advisory Board Member of the Energy and Climate Intelligence Unit, which you may recall is the global warming propaganda unit run by Richard Black, ex BBC, and funded by the Who’s Who of the Green Blob.


Everybody is entitled to their opinion, and it is right that the Telegraph allows the full range of views onto its letters page. However, if they are going to publish letters from people such as Mitchell, who claim to speak from a position of authority, they must ensure that any “facts” stated are fully backed up.

On this occasion, they have failed miserably.

  1. Joe Public permalink
    March 11, 2016 12:56 pm

    I’m surprised Prof Mitchell was unaware of (or hoped other readers would be unaware of) DECC’s “Review of the Feed-in Tariffs Scheme”

    “There are a wide range of definitions of what constitutes a fossil fuel subsidy. The UK, like the EU and the IEA, excludes tax treatment from its definition of what is meant by a fossil fuel subsidy, using international market price as a benchmark. The UK therefore has no fossil fuel subsidies”

    [My bold]

    Click to access FITs_Review_Govt__response_Final.pdf

    • March 11, 2016 3:47 pm

      OK joe,
      what are the high-light facts from that doc ??
      we don’t all have time to read 115 pages to find out (;~))

  2. rwoollaston permalink
    March 11, 2016 1:02 pm

    It always frustrates me when I read this kind of thing. Would it be worth contacting her directly, asking for a detailed response? Can you suggest ways in which readers of this blog could help?

  3. March 11, 2016 1:26 pm

    A more accurate title for her would be Professor of Promotion of Renewable Energy, she is a regular go-to “expert” on the BBC, where the listener is easily fooled by her official title (Prof of Energy Policy) into thinking that she is impartial.

    • March 11, 2016 3:52 pm

      “the listener is easily fooled by her official title (Prof of Energy Policy) into thinking that she is impartial”

      Or, as an historian, knowledgeable about energy!

  4. Sara Hall permalink
    March 11, 2016 2:15 pm

    Having just forced myself to watch a couple of her rather unfortunate public presentations on Youtube, I have to say that I am seriously underwhelmed by her “expertise” in any areas of climate science and would equate her depth of genuine knowledge on the subject with that of another so called expert in her chosen field (diet), the ever-so-slightly infamous (and thankfully now ex) Dr.Gillian McKeith.

  5. March 11, 2016 2:30 pm

    The figure of £10 per household could be about right – if you add ‘every two weeks’.

  6. John F. Hultquist permalink
    March 11, 2016 3:05 pm

    Such folks are not generally aware of current issues and problems. In the same way that I do not bother to read or watch Bill McKibben, Bill Nye, or Al Gore – these folks are not going to follow the science and economic issues. Sometimes this is called “myside bias.”
    They have an accepted set of talking points, for examples see 97%, fossil fuel subsidies, and green energy is as cheap as …
    Beyond these things – they just make stuff up.

  7. Edmonton Al permalink
    March 11, 2016 3:53 pm

    These “lefties” are such hypocrites.
    They [in the younger years] are against “bullying” ; demand equal rights; equal pay; demand this, demand that, ad nauseam … and then become emotional dictators that never follow logic; reality; or truth.

  8. ralfellis permalink
    March 11, 2016 4:03 pm

    Regards those strongly opposed to fracking, I invite them to turn off their gas supply, because I would hate for them to become hypocrites. And if they think that getting our future gas supplies from Algeria, Libya and Russia is a viable option, there is an online shop that sells jackets that do up at the back, and have chords to hold the arms secure.

  9. March 11, 2016 5:05 pm

    Oddly disconnected from reality. The favorable economics of fracking are well established, hence the Saudi price war. The unviable economics of renewables are also well esatblished, hence their eternal subsidies. Except in places like Venezuela and Iran, there are no fossil fuel subsidies; warmunists claiming lack of carbon taxes as ‘subsidies’ turns the notion completely upside down.
    In a sense, good that the letter got published, because it shows how out of touch with reality she and hers are. Any sentient adult can see it ever more easily. The sillier warmunists become, the sooner their charade collapses.

  10. AndyG55 permalink
    March 11, 2016 6:46 pm

    The University of Exeter is a HIVE of climate alarmism.

    They even have “special” departments to cover it.

    Richard Betts is one of the many climate troughers from Exeter Uni.

    Close to CRU, isn’t it? (sorry, forgotten my UK geography)

    • March 11, 2016 9:08 pm

      The Met Office is in Exeter, but the CRU is in Norwich, Andy

      • AndyG55 permalink
        March 12, 2016 12:41 am

        Told ya that I’d forgotten my UK geography 🙂

  11. March 13, 2016 5:30 am

    We have had fracking in the region where I live for almost fifty years. It has created thousands of high paying jobs and generated at least ten billion dollars in tax revenue for the regional authority not counting sales taxes and income taxes. (Both of which are significant here)

    The area is very popular for non a urban life style because of the clean air, lack of pollution and outdoor recreational activities. .

    Anyone who says that the economics of fracking is dicey presents their credentials as someone who knows very little about the energy field. It is true that economical, productive fracking is highly dependent on the local geology but it is clear that the author of this letter is referring to the general notion of fracking not the results of test drilling in certain sites. It is so economical that, even though we have abundant hydro developed and plenty in reserve, we still use a great of natural gas domestically and export the rest.

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: