A busy couple of weeks

The Christiansborg Palace in Copenhagen

I’m afraid I’ve been away from the blog for a bit, largely because I’ve been doing too much other stuff.  By way of explanation, if not apology, let me run you by it.

W/c October 22nd was the exceptional five-day Straz week.  As a ploy to cut the twelve trips to Straz each year, the parliament decided to have two “sessions” in one week.  The first Monday/Tuesday; the second Thursday/Friday.  This was a wheeze promoted by Ashley Fox MEP (well done him), but is likely to be overturned by the ECJ (European Court of Justice), which of course has nothing at all to do with Justice, and everything to do with promoting the European project.  Expect them to rule that the parliament has to do twelve separate weeks anyway.  The travelling circus is alive and well.

On the Friday, I flew to Copenhagen (via Amsterdam), at the invitation of my good EFD colleague, Danish MEP Morten Messerschmidt.   He’s been organising a forum in Denmark between several euro-critical political groups, and had set up a meeting in the Christiansborg building (above), which houses both the Danish Parliament and the Danish royal palace.  We met on Saturday in the former upper house of the parliament — vacant since Denmark moved to a unicameral system in the fifties.  I was speaking, and the other key speaker was none other than Danish EU Environment Commissioner Connie Heddegard.

Now the Commissioner knows very well that I disagree with her profoundly, both on climate change and on Europe, so top marks to her for agreeing to share a platform with me.  We were in fact debating the EU and Barroso’s “State of the Union” address.      But she gets a D minus for pleading “diary pressure” and heading off after her speech, but before mine.  I may say that though her remarks were heard with courtesy and attention, I felt that mine were greeted with rather more enthusiasm.

Arriving back home around tea-time on Sunday (not too many flights from Copenhagen to Birmingham), I set off some fifteen hours later, on Monday morning, for Brussels.  On Monday evening, I flew to Dublin as the EFD member in a delegation of the parliament’s Industry & Energy committee.  We were going to Ireland ahead of that country’s up-coming six-month Presidency of the EU, commencing in January.

We had meetings with Sustainable Energy Ireland; the Industrial Development Authority; IBEC (the employers’ federation); the Google HQ; the “Digital Hub” project.  And with two government ministers: Richard Bruton, Minister for Jobs, and the agreeably-named Energy Minister Pat Rabbitte.  Amusingly, several members of the delegation peeled off during the second day of the two-day visit, and by the time we got to Minister Rabbitte, there only remained an Irish MEP, a Spanish MEP, and myself.  So I had the opportunity to present, in rather robust terms, a counter-consensual view on the EU’s renewables policies.  I was heard with courtesy, if not with total agreement.

I took the opportunity to raise the issue of nuclear power.  The Energy Minister replied that Ireland, for its part, rejected nuclear power, but he seemed to imply that during his presidency he would keep and open mind on nuclear in Europe.

Returning home late on Wednesday, I was ready to start out early on Thursday to drive down to Exeter University, where I addressed their Freedom Society on climate and energy.  A 450 mile round trip, so best part of twenty gallons of petrol burned in the day.  In Exeter, I bumped into Ashley Fox (see above) who as chance would have it was addressing an unrelated event at Exeter University.

On the Friday, I participated in a confrontation set up by the BBC.  They had me visiting the new department of Landscape and Climate Change (odd mixture) at Leicester University.  Their piece based on the ensuing debate will be broadcast on the East Midlands Politics Show on Nov 11th.  Since they have perhaps 45 minutes of film, and the piece will be less than ten minutes, the tone of the outcome will depend critically on the editing.  The journalist assured me that this would be done to the highest standards of BBC impartiality.

On Saturday, I was on the road again — to UKIP’s North-West Conference in Liverpool, at the invitation of Deputy Leader Paul Nuttall MEP.  This was a lively affair with an audience of over 300, and I made my pitch on climate and energy, which was well received.  I also had a discussion on industrial policy and education with a former Tory councillor who has recently joined UKIP — a matter I plan to revert to in a subsequent blog.

A ridiculously busy fortnight, so today (Sunday) I have a well-deserved day off (apart from e-mails & blogging).  Brux tomorrow.

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31 Responses to A busy couple of weeks

  1. mrsircharles says:

    You belong to a minority of die-hard climate change deniers, Mr Helmer. 97% of all climate scientists agree that our planet is warming due to human activity. Europe doesn’t need illiterate MEPs who are holding up a sane process of developing renewable energy sources for a secure and safe future.

  2. Mr Helmer, it seems the Irish Energy Minister does not think along the same lines as you. By the way, did you get any opportunity to discuss shale gas?

  3. charles wardrop says:

    To comment on the first Comment above, it is very important to distinguish between those, if any, who deny climate change (and prob. deny other phenomena like tidal motion also?) and the growing numbers of those sceptical re the CO2-role hypotheses, which are unprovable and unproven.
    The CO2 story has been uncritically accepted by luminaries such as Ed Milliband and Nick Clegg and, evidently, David Cameron, with disastrous consequences and to no public benefit.
    Best to wait and see, over a long time, if there’s any truth, but, meanwhile, waste no more money on it, and repeal the Climate Change Acts (2008,9)

    • mrsircharles says:

      Please take a look at the definition of climate change denial:

      “Climate change denial is a set of organized attempts to downplay, deny or dismiss the scientific consensus on the extent of global warming, its significance, and its connection to human behavior, especially for commercial or ideological reasons. Typically, these attempts take the rhetorical form of legitimate scientific debate, while not adhering to the actual principles of that debate. Climate change denial has been associated with the energy lobby, industry advocates and free market think tanks, often in the United States. Some commentators describe climate change denial as a particular form of denialism.”

      Explains it all, doesn’t it?

      • John Hancon says:

        Looking beyond the insults and usual smear campaign put forward by the “Climate change brigade”, perhaps some facts may be useful.
        A Graph was produced in 1988 by Hansen and others projecting the increase in atmospheric carbon dioxide at various levels against temperature over time.
        http://www.thegwpf.org/hansens-climate-forecast-vs-reality/

        The prediction was woefully wrong.

        A professor at the UK Climate Research Unit broadcast a piece on BBC radio saying that people would have to tell their children what snow looked like in the year 2010,
        as it would be such a very rare event.

        For the previous five years, snow has been on the ground for a week or more during each winter where I live, about 50 feet above sea level in the English Midlands.

        There was another prediction from the Met Office in 2007 saying that three of the five years from 2009 will exceed the record year of 1997 global temperature.

        That prediction has also been missed. There has been no increase in average temperature for the last 15 years.

        If the climate argument was purely academic between scholars it would not matter. It is however far from academic as it is costing a huge amount of money
        and risks the stability of the National Grid (electricity). Let us hope and pray that the power stays on through the next couple of winters.

      • mrsircharles says:

        “… insults and usual smear campaign” That’s all you can say when confronted with facts.

        The “Global Warming Policy Foundation” is falsifying facts for political and ideological reasons. E.g. their webpage banner image sports a short-term (2001-2010) temperature graph giving the appearance that the world is not warming.More => http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php/Global_Warming_Policy_Foundation.

        If you take a detailed look at Hansen’s 1988 projections you will find that he projected the spatial distribution of the warming with a high level of accuracy! Jan-Erik Solheim was simply wrong.

        The statement that “there has been no increase in average temperature for the last 15 years” is statistically irrelevant and another example for cherry-picking of the deniers. If you go just one year back you will clearly see that the planet is still warming. The last decade was the hottest on record.

        => The Escalator

  4. mrsircharles says:

    “… insults and usual smear campaign” That’s all you can say when confronted with facts.

    The “Global Warming Policy Foundation” is falsifying facts for political and ideological reasons. E.g. their webpage banner image sports a short-term (2001-2010) temperature graph giving the appearance that the world is not warming.More => http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php/Global_Warming_Policy_Foundation.

    If you take a detailed look at Hansen’s 1988 projections you will find that he projected the spatial distribution of the warming with a high level of accuracy! Jan-Erik Solheim was simply wrong.

    The statement that “there has been no increase in average temperature for the last 15 years” is statistically irrelevant and another example for cherry-picking of the deniers. If you go just one year back you will clearly see that the planet is still warming. The last decade was the hottest on record.

    => The Escalator

  5. Kimb says:

    As much as it irritates me that the EU exists I just imagined it as if we were not a member, in that scenario, much like America’s re-elected Socialist president, I give a wry smile at the thought of somebody elses misfortune, it’s a trait mine which I think must be genetic, so there’s not much I can do about it (if it feels good…).

    One day I know we’ll be out and get to watch everybody sink, we will get sucked in to be sure, but not in the same binding way they have been, that will be a good day, by my standards.

    P.S. Domestically it has been thoroughly proven how useless female MPs are, as for that “diary pressure” nonsense it’s good to see one’s prejudices are robustly accurate around the world.

  6. John Hancon says:

    I do not think that anyone is denying that there was global warming from a low point in the mid 1970’s to around 1997. It is the last 15 years that cause me to question what the main stream science is saying.

    Thank you for the link to the Hansen projections. It looks as though the Solheim actual temperature was taken from the satellite record of the University of Alabama Huntsville. The 1988 projections use Hadley Centre/Climate Research Unit (University of East Anglia) data, HADCRUT3. Both graphs show the divergence of scenario B and C after around the year 2000, with the HADCRUT3 below that, despite atmospheric carbon dioxide rising at the same rate, or slightly accelerating from around 1995.

    Fifteen years is only half the normal climate period and is, as you say, statistically irrelevant, but climate drivers such as ocean temperature oscillations and the problem with the current sunspot cycle will tend to negate any effect caused by the increase in CO2 over a prolonged period. The Pacific Decadal Osc has been cold for the last two years and will turn warm again around 2040. The Atlantic Mean Osc. is due to turn cold in the next two years and will not turn warm for around 60 years. The sunspot cycle SC24 has probably peaked in its 11 year cycle but has barely risen from the normal lows. This effect is similar to SC5, which heralded the start of the Dalton Grand Minimum. The Dalton minimum lasted for around 50 years and brought cold winters and wet summers to the Northern hemisphere. With the reduction of ocean temperatures CO2 will be re-absorbed, thus slowing or reversing the increase.

    In many ways I hope the Global Warming theory is correct, because a warmer climate has in the past brought prosperity to the peoples of the world. I fear however, that over the next 15 years that the climate, especially in the Northern Hemisphere will turn much colder. We will see.

    • mrsircharles says:

      First of all, you seemingly haven’t a clue what rapid global warming means. It means we are carrying ourselves to a tipping point of no return. Global climate change has already shown its face: Severe droughts, lethal floods, increasing occurrences of extreme weather events.

      Secondly, You are saying that earth wouldn’t have warmed in the last 15 years. Why not 14 years? Why not 16 years? Why cherry-picking an extraordinarily warm year 1998 as starting point? Following the temperature graphs we can clearly see increasing warming for the last 160 years. BTW, you need to follow at least 30 years for declaring a trend in climate/temperatures. 15 years are statistically insignificant.

      Last not least, here again the definition of climate change denial => http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Climate_change_denial

      “Climate change denial is a set of organized attempts to downplay, deny or dismiss the scientific consensus on the extent of global warming, its significance, and its connection to human behavior, especially for commercial or ideological reasons. Typically, these attempts take the rhetorical form of legitimate scientific debate, while not adhering to the actual principles of that debate. Climate change denial has been associated with the energy lobby, industry advocates and free market think tanks, often in the United States. Some commentators describe climate change denial as a particular form of denialism.”

      If you don’t “believe” the mainstream science you must have just a strong agenda. There is no sane reason not to believe what 97% of climatologists are concluding: Planet earth is warming due to human activity; this rapid global warming is causing unprecedented global climate change.

      “If increases in CO2 are not causing modern day global warming then two things must be true:

      1) Something unknown is suppressing the well-understood greenhouse effect (and doing so during massive increases in greenhouse gases).

      2) Something unknown is causing the warming that mirrors the greenhouse effect.

      So we can accept what we know to be true (anthropogenic global warming) or we accept two unknowns.” (Powell, 2010)

      • Harry Stotyl says:

        Every point of your argument mrsircharles, is a logical fallacy, as was described by Aristotle in his seminal work of the subject. You appear to simply make quotations which are out of context from the full documents from hence they came, and without even understanding what they mean, and indeed whether what is said has any basis in empirical science or not. When making a point, or refuting the points of some other correspondent, then one ought to pay due regard to the logical errors pointed out by Aristotle in his book, “On Sophistical Refutations”. Read it free of charge by clicking the name “Harry Stotyl” above (courtesy Adelaide University).

  7. John Hancon says:

    Mrsircharles,

    The reason to look at 1998 as a starting point is because rapid global warming stopped. After that the trend has flattened to the point that even Prof Phil Jones of the CRU (Not renowned for AGW scepticism) has said that there has been no statistically significant warming since that date.

    I agree that there has been warming over the last 160 years. The earth has been recovering from the Maunder sunspot Grand Minimum. You have reinforced my point, that the sun is the main climate driver and CO2 is insignificant wrt the influence of the sun. To repeat myself, it seems probable that we are entering another period of sunspot grand minima. It is therefore very likely that we shall not see global warming resume until after 2040.

    The point you raise about deniers is a strange one. Scientists from Galileo to Einstein have been ridiculed or worse by their respective scientific establishments. Consensus does not prove anything. It only takes one experiment or observation to disprove a long held establishment theory.

    To sum up:-

    Global warming ceased in 1998.

    The next 15 years will probably see no resumption. A period of 30 years overall.

    Science is not conducted by consensus, but by experiment and observation.

    John

    • mrsircharles says:

      “Global warming ceased in 1998. The next 15 years will probably see no resumption. A period of 30 years overall.”

      No serious scientist would agree with that myth.

      => What has global warming done since 1998?

      “Even if we ignore long term trends and just look at the record-breakers, that wasn’t the hottest year ever. Different reports show that, overall, 2005 was hotter than 1998. What’s more, globally, the hottest 12-month period ever recorded was from June 2009 to May 2010.

      Though humans love record-breakers, they don’t, on their own, tell us a much about trends — and it’s trends that matter when monitoring Climate Change. Trends only appear by looking at all the data, globally, and taking into account other variables — like the effects of the El Nino ocean current or sunspot activity — not by cherry-picking single points.

      There’s also a tendency for some people just to concentrate on air temperatures when there are other, more useful, indicators that can perhaps give us a better idea how rapidly the world is warming. Oceans for instance — due to their immense size and heat storing capability (called ‘thermal mass’) — tend to give a much more ‘steady’ indication of the warming that is happening. Here records show that the Earth has been warming at a steady rate before and since 1998 and there’s no signs of it slowing any time soon.”

      Also => The Escalator

  8. John Hancon says:

    mrsircharles

    There is a useful discussion on sea temperatures here http://www.thegwpf.org/ocean-warms-vey-wrong-time/

    I have done a summary of most of the global temperature datasets. The absolute figures are different because the base periods are not the same, but the trends are visible. Looking at your link “What has global warming done since 1998”, it is rather old.

    For the UAH satellite anomaly 1998 was the warmest at 0.42. The highest ever monthly anomaly was in April of 1998 when it reached 0.66. The 2010 value is 0.026 lower than 1998. See http://www.drroyspencer.com/wp-content/uploads/UAH_LT_1979_thru_Oct_2012_v5.5.png

    With the GISS surface anomaly 2010 was the warmest at 0.63. The highest ever monthly anomalies were in March of 2002 and January of 2007 when it reached 0.88. See http://data.giss.nasa.gov/gistemp/graphs_v3/Fig.C.pdf

    With the Hadcrut3 land and sea surface anomaly 1998 was the warmest at 0.548. The highest ever monthly anomaly was in February of 1998 when it reached 0.756. See http://www.cru.uea.ac.uk/cru/info/warming/gtc.pdf

    With the sea surface anomaly 1998 was the warmest at 0.451. The highest ever monthly anomaly was in August of 1998 when it reached 0.555.

    With the RSS satellite anomaly 1998 was the warmest at 0.55. The highest ever monthly anomaly was in April of 1998 when it reached 0.857. See http://www.climate4you.com/GlobalTemperatures.htm#RSS%20MSU%20TempDiagram

    With the Hadcrut4 anomaly 2010 was the warmest at 0.54. The highest ever monthly anomaly was in January of 2007 when it reached 0.818. See here for a discussion of Hadcrut3 and 4

    All datasets show at least a flattening after 1998. The relatively steep rise before that has ceased for now. Let us see how long it lasts.

    John

  9. John Hancon says:

    Sorry, lost the link for Hadcrut4 discussion. Here it is http://www.skepticalscience.com/hadcrut4_a_detailed_look.html

  10. mrsircharles says:

    How people view global warming – “skeptics” vs realists

  11. John Hancon says:

    Mrsircharles

    The ocean heat content has indeed risen sharply since 1998, but the graph flattens from around 2004. The oceans act as a heat sync which reacts to surface temperature with a delay built in. Sea surface temperature remains fairly constant year on year. The main climate drivers are the Ocean oscillations, as I mentioned before, the Pacific Decadal Oscillation in the northern pacific has turned cold and will probably remain so for 30 years. El Nino Southern Oscillation, between Australia and South America is at present on the warm side of neutral. Please see
    http://www.drroyspencer.com/global-warming-background-articles/the-pacific-decadal-oscillation/ for a full explanation.

    The graph you show reinforces my point in that the last trend bar is down. That is no increase since 1998.

    I should like to reiterate my original points to try and round this exchange up. The graph produced in 1988 by Dr Hansen and others projecting the increase in atmospheric carbon dioxide at various levels against temperature over time, shows actual temperature diverging below the best case scenario C.

    A professor at the UK Climate Research Unit broadcast a piece on BBC radio in the year 2000, saying that people would have to tell their children what snow looked like by the year 2010, as it would be such a very rare event. Plainly wrong.

    There was another prediction from the Met Office in 2007 saying that three of the five years from 2009 will exceed the record year of 1998 global temperature. Again with this year looking as though no record will be broken; wrong. It only takes one experiment or observation to disprove a long held establishment theory. Perhaps they should refrain from making predictions, as the UK Met Office did with their long range forecasts a couple of years ago, after barbecue summers and mild winters forecasts were turned on their head by actual weather.

    John

  12. mrsircharles says:

    The CIA and the US Military see that mitigation of anthropogenic global warming is more helpful than just adapting…

    => Climate Change Report Outlines Perils for U.S. Military (today’s NYT)

  13. mrsircharles says:

    Climate Change: Arctic warming pushes winter weather further south

    ” Uploaded on Feb 22, 2011

    Meteorologist Dave Eichorn explains how warming in the Arctic associated with climate change has resulted in colder temperatures and snowy weather much further south in segment two of a meteorologist’s view on climate change.

    About A meteorologist’s view on climate change video series: 30 year veteran meteorologist Dave Eichorn explains climate science, climate change, and regional to national weather events through an environmental meteorological perspective.

    Other videos include: A meteorologist on climate change — http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e8o3lf-oQEc

    ESF Climate Literacy Project: The video series is part of a NASA supported Global Climate Change Education project at the College of Environmental Science and Forestry in Syracuse, NY to increase climate science literacy. In addition to the free YouTube video series there is a 6 week 1 credit lower level undergraduate online course and a full semester 3 credit upper level undergraduate online course if you wish to pursue climate science in more depth and earn college credits — http://www.esf.edu/esfonline .”

    • mrsircharles says:

      Dave Eichorn: “The notion that climate change is a good thing and we’re all going to be basking in warmer weather in the coming decades is most certainly a misunderstanding. As the world continues to warm so unevenly it seems very likely there’s going to be additionsl disruptions in storm tracks and percipitation across the northern hemisphere. Put simply: It probably means that most of us are going to end up what used to be somebody else’s weather.”

  14. mrsircharles says:

    Is it cheaper to mitigate global warming than just adapt? History is telling us: Yes.

    Climate Change: Lessons From Ronald Reagan (today’s NYT)

    “THE re-election of President Obama, preceded by the extraordinary damage done by Hurricane Sandy, raises a critical question: In the coming years, might it be possible for the United States to take significant steps to reduce the risks associated with climate change?

    A crucial decision during Ronald Reagan’s second term suggests that the answer may well be yes. The Reagan administration was generally skeptical about costly environmental rules, but with respect to protection of the ozone layer, Reagan was an environmentalist hero. Under his leadership, the United States became the prime mover behind the Montreal Protocol, which required the phasing out of ozone-depleting chemicals.

    There is a real irony here. Republicans and conservatives had ridiculed scientists who expressed concern about the destruction of the ozone layer. How did Ronald Reagan, of all people, come to favor aggressive regulatory steps and lead the world toward a strong and historic international agreement?

    A large part of the answer lies in a tool disliked by many progressives but embraced by Reagan (and Mr. Obama): cost-benefit analysis. Reagan’s economists found that the costs of phasing out ozone-depleting chemicals were a lot lower than the costs of not doing so — largely measured in terms of avoiding cancers that would otherwise occur. Presented with that analysis, Reagan decided that the issue was pretty clear.

    Much the same can be said about climate change. Recent reports suggest that the economic cost of Hurricane Sandy could reach $50 billion and that in the current quarter, the hurricane could remove as much as half a percentage point from the nation’s economic growth. The cost of that single hurricane may well be more than five times greater than that of a usual full year’s worth of the most expensive regulations, which ordinarily cost well under $10 billion annually. True, scientists cannot attribute any particular hurricane to greenhouse gas emissions, but climate change is increasing the risk of costly harm from hurricanes and other natural disasters. Economists of diverse viewpoints concur that if the international community entered into a sensible agreement to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, the economic benefits would greatly outweigh the costs.

  15. Harry Stotyl says:

    mrsircharles, you are becoming a bit rabid here, even replying to your own posts, and again continually simply quoting the opinions of others, and without any real empirical evidence for what you keep repeating. I advise to to read the whole of Aristotle’s book, On Sophistical Refutations, and then perhaps you need to re-examine all you have read on these matters in the past few years, and just see if whether the information you have relied upon, is itself reliable and empirically based. After the lessons of Aristotle, then you will see the logical flaws in those dissertations as clearly as some other correspondents in here. Why go on fooling yourself that everything you see on the internet which agrees with your own preset ideas and prejudices is in fact true and reliable? Use your own brain and Aristotle’s logic to question those bald assertions, and for goodness sake, stop panicking and raving.

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