Articles Tagged "Christopher Booker"
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Saturday, October 6th 2012, 6:12 PM EDT
Two weeks ago I described one of this year’s A-level General Studies papers which asked candidates to discuss various “source materials” on climate change. Drawn from propaganda documents wholly biased in favour of climate alarmism, these contained a plethora of scientific errors. I suggested that, if any clued-up students tore these “sources” apart as they deserved, they might have been given a “fail”.
Sure enough, an email from the mother of just such a student confirmed my fears. Her son is “an excellent scientist” who got “straight As” on his other science papers, but he is also “very knowledgeable about climate change and very sceptical about man-made global warming”. His questioning of the sources earned an “E”, the lowest possible score. His mother then paid £60 for his paper to be re-marked. It was judged to be “articulate, well-structured” and clearly well-informed, but again he was marked down with “E” for fail.
This young man’s experience speaks volumes about the way the official global-warming religion has so corrupted our education system that it has parted company with proper scientific principles. In his efforts to reform our dysfunctional exam system, Michael Gove should ask for this bizarre episode to be investigated.
Original Article below
Saturday, September 29th 2012, 3:05 PM EDT
There's a nasty shock in store for the British householder when a new 'carbon' tax comes into force
Fast approaching, if largely unnoticed, is yet another massive shock the Government has in store for us with its weirdly distorted energy policy. It is surprising to see what an abnormally high proportion of the electricity needed to keep our lights on has lately been coming from coal-fired power stations. Last Wednesday evening, for instance, this was over 50 per cent, with only 1.3 per cent coming from wind power. Yet by next March, we learn, five of our largest coal-fired plants, capable of supplying a fifth of our average power needs, are to be shut down, much earlier than expected, under an EU anti-pollution directive.
One reason why these plants are being hammered through their remaining quota of hours allowed by the EU is that a new UK tax comes into force next April, which aims to make fossil-fuel power significantly more expensive. In 2010, George Osborne announced his intention to impose, from April 2013, a “carbon floor price” of £16 on every tonne of CO2 emitted by British industry, rising to £30 a tonne by 2020 and £70 a tonne by 2030.
Saturday, September 22nd 2012, 7:47 PM EDT
Germany has gone further down the 'renewables' path than any country in the world, and now it's paying the price.
On Friday, September 14, just before 10am, Britain’s 3,500 wind turbines broke all records by briefly supplying just over four gigawatts (GW) of electricity to the national grid. Three hours later, in Germany, that country’s 23,000 wind turbines and millions of solar panels similarly achieved an unprecedented output of 31GW. But the responses to these events in the two countries could not have been in starker contrast.
In Britain, the wind industry proclaimed a triumph. Maria McCaffery, the CEO of RenewableUK, crowed that “this record high shows that wind energy is providing a reliable, secure supply of electricity to an ever-growing number of British homes and businesses” and that “this bountiful free resource will help drive down energy bills”. But in Germany, the news was greeted with dismay, for reasons which merit serious attention here in Britain.
Germany is way ahead of us on the very path our politicians want us to follow – and the problems it has encountered as a result are big news there. In fact, Germany is being horribly caught out by precisely the same delusion about renewable energy that our own politicians have fallen for. Like all enthusiasts for “free, clean, renewable electricity”, they overlook the fatal implications of the fact that wind speeds and sunlight constantly vary. They are taken in by the wind industry’s trick of vastly exaggerating the usefulness of wind farms by talking in terms of their “capacity”, hiding the fact that their actual output will waver between 100 per cent of capacity and zero. In Britain it averages around 25 per cent; in Germany it is lower, just 17 per cent.
Saturday, September 15th 2012, 3:37 PM EDT
Green lobby groups have been defeated, as energy minister favours massive investment in gas generation
Last week saw a truly momentous defeat for the green lobby groups which, in the past decade, have exercised almost complete control over Britain’s future energy policy. The fact that this took the form of a mighty slapdown for Lord Deben (formerly John Gummer), newly confirmed chairman of the Climate Change Committee, makes it all the more telling.
As his first act on being appointed to head this committee, set up to advise the Government under the 2008 Climate Change Act, Lord Deben wrote an extraordinary open letter to Ed Davey, the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change. This expressed his committee’s “great concern” over a statement by Mr Davey in July that indicated that Britain must continue to rely heavily on gas to produce electricity. Although Mr Davey is still proposing to build 30,000 inefficient and unreliable wind turbines, he was implicitly recognising that these could only help to keep Britain’s lights on if they are supplemented by a massive new “dash for gas”.
As I wrote at the time, this drives a coach and horses through Britain’s legal commitment under the Climate Change Act to reduce CO2 emissions by four fifths in less than 40 years. Lord Deben’s letter made exactly the same point. In the letter, signed by seven members of his committee, all unquestioning believers in the need for renewables to combat global warming, he and his colleagues went even further. Astoundingly, they called on Mr Davey to issue a statutory instrument banning the use of fossil fuels to provide electricity. Of course, they did not put it like that. They urged him to impose a maximum emissions limit on power generation of 50 grams of CO2 per kilowatt hour (kWh). But since only nuclear and renewables are below that threshold, while gas emits 400 grams per kWh and coal 700, what in effect they were calling for was an end to any further use of the fuels that currently supply some 75 per cent of our electricity.
Saturday, September 1st 2012, 4:54 PM EDT
Tim Yeo is urging ministers to assist British firms in doing 'low-carbon' business in China, but has failed to mention that he is chairman of one such firm.
Ever more entangled become the political and business interests of Tim Yeo MP, chairman of the Commons select committee on energy and climate change. Last Tuesday, Mr Yeo rose to the top of the news agenda by demanding to know whether David Cameron was going to be “a man or a mouse” in handling the issue of a third runway at Heathrow.
Yeo cited as his main reason for supporting this cause that it would help British businesses to open up more trade links with China. But it was then pointed out that a company of which he is chairman, TMO Renewables (which last year paid him £60,000, at up to £1,000 an hour), has just signed a memorandum of understanding with the largest farming corporation in China to supply it with feedstocks for biofuels. TMO’s latest annual report states that doing business with China has become a “key focus” of its activities.
What everyone missed, however, was that the following day Yeo’s committee published a major report, “Low carbon links with China”, urging that “assisting China in low-carbon development should be at the heart of Government plans to tackle climate change and secure high-value business opportunities for UK firms”. The report was issued in the name of the committee, but most of the long press release that accompanied it consisted of three separate statements calling on ministers to promote those business opportunities, each prominently headed with the name of Mr Yeo.
Saturday, August 25th 2012, 4:25 PM EDT
A proposal for the biggest infrastructure project in British history has shaky foundations but some powerful friends
An extraordinary picture of the state of our public life has come to light in recent days, in accounts of the involvement of some of our most senior politicians in the vast, lucrative and expanding industry of “renewable energy”.
At the centre of the picture is David Cameron, who last month nominated Lord Deben (formerly John Gummer) as the new chairman of the influential and supposedly “independent” Committee on Climate Change, set up to advise government on energy policy under the Climate Change Act. This is despite the fact that Lord Deben’s array of environmental business interests includes chairmanship of Forewind Ltd, a consortium of four energy firms planning the world’s largest, and most heavily subsidised, offshore wind farm in the North Sea.
Lord Deben’s suitability will be assessed on September 4, when he is interviewed by the Commons select committee on energy and climate change, chaired by Tim Yeo MP. Yeo was a junior environment minister under Lord Deben when the latter was environment secretary in the 1990s.
Saturday, August 11th 2012, 3:47 PM EDT
Britain would have to build 10 turbines a day every day for eight years to meet its EU renewables target
The command of Britain's electricity supply has fallen into dangerous hands
Anyone impressed by the efficient way in which Britain has organised the Olympic Games might consider the stark contrast provided by the shambles of our national energy policy – wholly focused as it is on the belief that we can somehow keep our lights on by building tens of thousands more wind turbines within eight years. At one point last week, Britain’s 3,500 turbines were contributing 12 megawatts (MW) to the 38,000MW of electricity we were using. (The Neta website, which carries official electricity statistics, registered this as “0.0 per cent”).
It is 10 years since I first pointed out here how crazy it is to centre our energy policy on wind. It was pure wishful thinking then and is even more obviously so now, when the Government in its latest energy statement talks of providing, on average, 12,300MW of power from “renewables” by 2020.
Saturday, July 28th 2012, 5:40 PM EDT
Politicians are finally admitting that our 'carbon' targets and our energy needs are incompatible
It is not often our Government lets on that it is intending to commit a very serious breach of the law – even if it does so in such opaque fashion that it hopes no one will notice. But that is what we can read between the lines of last week’s statement by Ed Davey, Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, which revealed just what a catastrophic shambles he is making of Britain’s energy policy.
The headlines that greeted this document were all that the spin doctors of the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) could have wished for. They focused on the “victory” of Mr Davey over George Osborne, in managing to preserve the subsidy given to onshore wind turbines (currently 100 per cent) at 90 per cent, rather than the 75 per cent the Treasury supposedly wanted. The reports dutifully echoed DECC’s claim that this would bring “£25 billion of investment into the UK economy”, while Mr Davey was allowed by the Today programme to get away with the risible claim that this would “create hundreds of thousands of green jobs”.
Everything about this statement betrayed that Mr Davey and his officials have begun to realise that they are impaled on two wholly irreconcilable hooks. On one hand, they are under two legal obligations: a commitment to the EU that we will generate 32 per cent of our electricity from “renewables” by 2020; and, under the Climate Change Act, that we will cut our “carbon emissions” by 80 per cent within 40 years. On the other hand, it is their duty to ensure that we produce enough electricity to keep our lights on.
Saturday, July 21st 2012, 7:58 PM EDT
They passed it almost unanimously, but MPs still can't grasp the consequences of the most expensive legislation in British history
While Nick Clegg prattles about his plans to reform the House of Lords, attention might more usefully be focused on the rather greater need to reform the House of Commons. Nothing could give a more alarming picture of the state of our elected representatives than the letters from more than 60 MPs, sent on to me by readers, in answer to inquiries as to how they think we can meet our obligations under the Climate Change Act, the most expensive law ever passed by Parliament.
I am hugely grateful to all those readers who responded to my suggestion that they ask their MPs how, in practice, we can cut our “carbon” emissions by 80 per cent in less than 40 years, without closing down almost all of our fossil-fuel dependent economy. This quixotic quest is pursued in the name of saving the planet from global warming, though the UK’s contribution to global man-made CO2 emissions is only 1.6 per cent. China’s emissions increase every year by more than this amount. Many readers pointed out in their letters that the target cannot be met by building more windmills: these currently supply barely 3 per cent of our electricity, and more than once last week they were providing only 0.5 per cent.
I read the MPs’ replies with dismay. Not one showed any sign of understanding the question put to them. Most of the later replies merely passed on a form letter from Ed Davey, Chris Huhne’s successor at the Department of Energy and Climate Change, which makes no attempt to answer the question and is pure departmental gobbledygook.
Saturday, July 14th 2012, 4:47 PM EDT
If, as this wettest summer on record continues, you Google for “hotter, drier summers, warmer, wetter winters”, you will find more than 4,000 entries. Look more closely and you will find these words on the website of almost every local authority in Britain. They all continue to predict that this is the weather we can expect, because this is what they were told in 2007 by the Met Office’s Hadley Centre for Climate Prediction. Since then, they clearly haven’t looked out of the window to see that the climate has indeed changed.
As the global warming scare continues to crumble, its true believers thresh around ever more wildly to claim every “extreme weather event” as proof that their Old Time Religion is still alive and kicking. They seized on the Russian heatwave of 2010 (which weather experts told them was “within the bounds of natural variability”), the Pakistan floods of the same year (though there had been floods just as serious in 1929), Hurricane Katrina in 2005 (since when hurricane activity has been at a historic low), the recent US heatwave (though four years in the 1930s were even hotter), and heaven knows what else. Floods, droughts, heatwaves, the record cold winter of 2010/11 – all are hailed as evidence that we live in a time of unprecedented “climate disruption” (even though the computer models failed to predict any of them).
I was reminiscing the other day about some of the “extreme weather events” I experienced before global warming was invented, such as the record 11in of rain that fell in one day in Dorset in July 1955, or the record 6.74in that fell in 40 minutes on Hampstead, where I lived, in August 1975. Further back, I recalled the Lynmouth flood disaster killing 34 people in August 1952, followed only five months later by the great North Sea flood of 1953 which killed 307 people in England alone. All the poor old warmists can go on now is a washed-out spring and midsummer – when every local council in the land is still telling us that we can expect “hotter, drier summers”. I am sure they were predicting much the same in Noah’s time.
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