Friday 27 September 2013

Climate crisis: the weather will change!

It's amazing, today the new Climate change study will come out and announce, that in future in the UK the weather will be changeable.

Now, having lived in this country a few years I can definitely attest to the concept that we have seasons which only last a few months or even weeks each and the weather is indeed changeable, often by over 40C in the course of a year.

So the new measurements saying that we can expect 1.8% warmer climate and a similar decline due to the slowing of the Gulf Stream suggests some increased variability. How this is meant to shock everyone into action I don't know. Also seeing as we have variable weather in any case this strikes me as a tautological argument, if it gets hot it will be cliamte change, if it cools down, if anything basically.

How this squares with trashing our whole electricity system and going for wind-buffoonery I don't know. What I can see is that even if you accept the climate scientists claims about the future and accept the inherent unpredictability of their models, there is not much for the UK to worry about in the round. perhaps the greatest threat would be immigration but we have managed to inflict that challenge on ourselves in any event.


dearieme said...

Only a cynic could wonder whether, having discovered that the British wouldn't mind a spot of warming, it has been thought more promising to threaten them with cooling.

Anyhoo, all this has nothing much to do with science in any meaningful sense of that word.

Scan said...

It doesn't matter whether the arguments for "Climate Change" are correct or not, when you have to have a conference with representatives from world governments two weeks before you publish a report, it makes the report totally worthless.
Also, there's a lot of talk that even though the climate has changed far, far less than predicted, the models are still generally correct. As Richard Feynman correctly stated regarding hypothesis: "If it disagree with experiment, it's wrong...It doesn't matter how beautiful your guess is; it doesn't matter how smart you are; who made the guess; what his name is. If it disagrees with experiement, it's wrong."

Imagine if the people who got man to the moon told the world that they were about to blast the spacecraft off into space knowing that their calculations were wrong but generally heading in the right direction.

Elby the Beserk said...

It's been cooling in the UK for some time. Over 0.5 degrees C since 2005, and a one degree C fall in winter temperatures since 2000.

The Met and co are keeping very quiet about this. Oddly. Or maybe not so.

Bill Quango MP said...

What I'd really like is a comparative impact study.
Its all very well telling me that the temperatures might rise, and crops fail and we'll all be hungry by 2099 unless we windmill our way out of carbon. {assuming the windmills can be produced and installed for less carbon than a power plant..etc}.

But where is the second dossier?
The one that tells us what a 1000% increase in energy prices will be?
What the impact on developing nations is of using expensive green energy technology to build their nation?

What effect will high energy bills have on death rates from cold in the Uk? Or what will the costs be on farming,transport, distribution, globalisation?
Would some economies be almost cut off from world markets? Would the catch up nations of China and South America and India have to continue to depress their wages to remain competitive? Or leave their governments without funds to invest in medicine, welfare, education infrastructure...?

Will more people be worse off by attempting to end carbon than by attempting to limit its effects?
Would it not be cheaper to try and prepare for rising temperatures and those effects than in banning all our vehicles and having to all grow our own food and setting the clock back 300 years?

It may be that it is better to try and stop the emissions as if we don't the consequences would be catastrophic.

but it would be nice to know what it will cost..and what the alternatives strategies might be.

Anonymous said...

It seems strange that UK plc's CEO of Windmills - G Barker Esp - one worked for Russian energy companies.

"Barker also developed strong links to the Russian oil companies, being Head of Communications at the Anglo Siberian Oil Company from 1998–2000 and also worked in Russia for the Sibneft Oil Group, owned by Roman Abramovich."

On at lunchtime taking up the IPCC "it's going to be a disaster" report.


Blue Eyes said...

I'm with BQ, except I want to know what the potential gains from warming might be, too. When we had a warmer climate in Britain in the medieval period, we had wine growing on this island. How awful that must have been! Might we get oranges too? Ha, maybe with a bit more warming we might not need to burn so much gas to heat our homes?

I do think we need to be more sensible and sustainable. I think we could do with reducing urban pollution quite a bit. But why not do it over time so we don't have a huge economic shock?

I can think of a really simple way of achieving this that would not lead to spikes in prices and energy crises and economic ruin. Cripes, it might even level the playing field between local and Chinese manufacturers. But then it's far too simple ever to be implemented by Whitehall so it will never happen.

Blue Eyes said...

OK not wine literally. Wine doesn't grow on trees. Nor do grapes suitable for wine. You know what I meant.

Nick Drew said...

geo-engineering ...

whisper it softly

Clive said...

Don't agree with everything C&W has to say, but you're right on the money with climate-change scepticism. And I'm wondering now, when do the newspeak "climate change" get allowed to worm it's way unchallenged into every day vocabulary ? It was supposed to be global warming, until we ended up in a mini trend of colder than average winters.

Given real problems which are facing us right now, replete with copious amounts of human suffering ("everything but a fire in the orphanage"), to spend so much -- in such a regressive way too, I can afford a £2,000 p.a. energy bill but my mother-in-law on a pension worries about every few hundred a year extra to find with good reason as she's on a fixed income -- is a scandal.

Visceral said...

ND: I do so love added Aluminium & Barium in the air I breathe without my consent - but for my own good of course,

lilith said...

It's going to get colder I am certain..for all of us who find paying for central heating a challenge these days. Ebay is full of bargain fur coats..the real thing. Get 'em whilst they are cheap and Game of Thrones is hot. Everything has a fur trim this year I'm told.

Electro-Kevin said...

Beans are the answer.

You can have them for dinner and spend the rest of the evening lighting your own farts with a fire-striker.

Cheap, entertaining, nutritional and warm.

Timbo614 said...

@BQ Going back 300 years is just a sceptics scare story and you know it! We have vastly better technology and science now.

CU talks of trashing our "whole electricity system" which is set up the way it is to do what? In my opinion that is to extract the maximum amount of cash from the populace that it can and enrich a few mega corps. In fact most of our systems seem set up to do that.. See parking fees and fines recently - I have been spouting that one for years!

The (energy) corps are of course the very lobby group that is against any form of localised or personal renewable energy scheme for the very obvious reason that it prevents them sending everyone a nice bill at the end of each period with the unspoken threat attached that if you can't pay you will be cut-off. And today the cut-off does not just relate to power, it means the ability to even apply for the jobs offered by those same corps! Without electrical power today a person is effectively removed from society, they should not have that ability.

These corporations know the technology exists to almost wipe them out financially and climate change prevention or even mitigation is a move in that direction because they know the real solutions involve their extinction.

Your scepticism encourages them to continue polluting the planet and continue the repression and persecution of people worldwide.

Capitalism is (I think) the best system we can currently conceive of to handle our financial and consumer needs and interactions, the problem is that the mega-corps are both inside and outside the system, immune to capitalism's fundamental rules of competition and failure. What would any government do we do if just one mega-supermarket or mega-energy corp failed, the same as they did with the banks "systemic importance" would be the get-out clause. Because it supplies circa 30% of our food I see no effective difference between Tesco and the state, if it got into difficulty the state would have to rescue it short term.

When analysed what is the major reason for doing nothing on the climate and environment? Money! Money? "What is money", to coin a famous phrase, in the context of a ruined planet? In the context of a ruined banking system it is something we can just magic up by typing on a keyboard, we only have one planet but we can create as many banks as we wish, so where is the logic in that?

As for 300 scientists getting the world's countries to agree on a method for reduction, I suggest they pop out of their scientific world and look around them. World wide we can't even agree that every person has a right to live without belief in a "god" that they can't see, smell or touch. How the heck are they going to get people to understand that something they can't see, smell or touch is a threat to our existence?

Bill Quango MP said...

timbo - Take away fuel and pesticides.
Now plough your fields and grow your crops. You can't - except by using the methods of pre industrialised Britain. admittedly vaster superior tech.
- the curved, smooth, John Deere steel plough designed in the mid of the 1800's made the American prairies the largest food source on earth. Up until then they had been too difficult farm.

But how do you make steel? As ND posited in comments some while back, and not really picked up as we were talking about the Tudor wood crisis,
the industrial revolution almost never got going as there was not the energy available to power the machinery. Coal was the saviour.
You can't run a blast furnace on wood.
And you can't on wind. or solar. And you can't fly an aircraft on hemp.

So..with our energy..we cannot ever windmill our society. we could nuclear it. or gas. But not green energy.

And seeing as green energy subsidy and the 25% devaluation of the £ vs the $ is the principle cause of our fuel bill hikes, why is Miliband addressing the profit end of the problem?

Apart from obvious popularity..its only the banker bashing meme moved one notch down the focus group testing... I expect its because he knows that he personally bears some responsibility for the rise in energy prices.
I think the knowledgeable Mr Drew might suggest vertical integration is the cause of some profiteering from the energy companies...but i do not really know.

And..I don't believe if Tesco went bust anyone would come in to rescue.

no one bailed out Woolworths.Or Zavvi Or Comet.Or MFi..Or any retailers.Only in the US with the car giants can I think of a non bank bailed out. And the US only bailed the car giants as they are effectively pension providers.

If you mean Tesco as a generic for all supermarkets, i still think you are wrong. If all the big 7-8 fell overnight, even then within a few days, the non-multiples would be supplying your needs. Choice would be minimal. A sort of 1960's experience initially. But your garage..corner shop..newsagent would all have milk-bread-tins and more once they could get the chillers fitted.

The Supermarkets and the suppliers and the distributors and the non-chains would all have to fail at once for HMG to step in.

The banks were saved because they control the commerce. As we said when looking at the Brown delusion - IF the people cannot access their money then the entire system- everything - halts. we are faced with barter.Barter and then anger..then theft and martial law.

Timbo614 said...

BQ: Thanks for the reply. But your second para tries to put me in a group that I don't belong to. So some of your arguments and reasoning are accepted, but where do they leave us in the future and where do they leave our descendants? There is a limit to oil & gas, whether fracking or drilling or tar sands or whatever I'm not going to teach egg sucking on EROEI. We just keep going until it just runs out one day? (I know that day is a long way off but..) Where does it leave us versus the environmental destruction of things like the tar sands?

I dis-agree on holding energy prices DOWN too because the drillers, sand diggers and frackers don't cost in restoration work post-production. I know there is some, but it is usually inadequate/cheapest solution and of course we still subsidise them massively.

IF we can't afford the full price of this electricity, then we simply can't afford it. Pricing it properly would drive down consumption, encourage proper buildings, buildings that we already know how to design and or change the times of day that people use it to when it is available cheaply or simply available! As an aside The reason we don't do that is for the same reason as my previous comment - there's no profit in building houses that last for 500 years and use virtually no power!

In addition, from personal experience - its a sort of hobby activity of mine with a serious side:), if you have ever tried to produce & store a reasonable amount of electricity yourself, you realise how cheap the grid is. It's dirt cheap but that's because we are not paying the real price of it. My hobby on the other hand is expensive (but not really if I had say a classic car hobby instead) but on the other hand, as briefly alluded to the other day, I would have limited power for a couple of weeks when everyone else would be in darkness trying to eat raw food from a melting freezer :)

I dis-agree too on the ability of corner shops to provide for the nation in the event of a total supermarket failure, maybe in the countryside, maybe, but not in large towns and cities where the corner shops have been decimated. At peak times you have to queue at one of 30 plus supermarket checkouts to get served, and there are probably three more not too far away where that is repeated, how is Mr Corner Shop going to cope with that? Empty in 30 mins.

"The banks were saved because they control the commerce" no they don't, they facilitate it, make it easier (or are supposed to), but they would be replaced pretty quickly with another form of facilitation. I also disagree on barter - Adam Smith was wrong - it never existed except in limited circumstances. We wouldn't barter, we would write down who owed who what - we would, err, be trading on credit - personal credit and alternate money would get re-invented pronto:) If it was Booze & Tobacco, then people would not smoke or drink it, they would store it as it would have "value".

The world is changing, technology is changing it rapidly. New things are on the horizon that may well save us from ourselves. The populations of the world, or at least some of the western parts are realising their own folly in chasing satisfaction and content through consumerism. Some parts never started on that route and probably will not now.

I think localisms will turn out to be one of the answers, it's only because we value everything in money terms that localism seems to fall down. The value of a loaf of bread is one thing in a supermarket but another thing on your kitchen table...

I won't go on, it takes me too long to compose these posts, and its too long already. but I think you get the gist.

Blue Eyes said...

"The Supermarkets and the suppliers and the distributors and the non-chains would all have to fail at once"

Which would most likely only happen if the power went off for an extended period.

Timbo, I agree that we have to factor in the external costs of all of this stuff, which is why I support carbon taxation and strict pollution controls. I don't think anyone would go back to the late 19th/early 20th century no controls situation. But the flip-side is that by pushing it too hard when the technology doesn't yet properly exist (or at least is far too expensive) we risk trashing the rest of the economy by high prices for everything (energy drives everything else) or by driving industry and commerce overseas where the energy climate might be easier. As many sensible greens have pointed out, shifting all our mass production to China has meant less energy efficiency and more pollution (for the Chinese). There is no button that any government can press marked "decarbonise the electricity system easily and cheaply".

Germany has gone quite far in renewablising the electricity system and their retail prices are nearly double ours.

So while the fossil fuels will inevitably run out, we don't need to panic that it is going to happen tomorrow and that we need carbon-free energy by yesterday.

We need to take a longer-term view, creating sensible free-market incentives to ensure that the technology is developed over time so that eventually it makes sound financial sense to build the stuff.

The EU tried a complicated cap-and-trade system. I prefer a simple carbon tax (with a mechanism for dealing with imported goods) which would start low and rise steadily so that everyone knew where they stood.

Simple. And not a geeky former Energy Secretary in sight.

Nick Drew said...

BQ, Timbo - I think another post might be called for to address yr many interesting points, maybe next week ...