Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Greenie-inspired nuisances never stop

EU regulations are now disabling iconic British stoves -- in pusuit of some will-o-the-wisp. Why is producing more soot a good thing? An Aga is more than a stove, of course. It is also a domestic heating system

It’s a story of traditional British pluck in the face of an assault from across the Channel: the nation’s Aga owners are uniting in the face of a Brussels directive that they believe is playing havoc with their pilot lights. Thanks to European Union insistence on lower sulphur levels in domestic kerosine, oil-fired Agas are said to be caking up with soot, and in some cases conking out. It’s been a particular problem in the recent cold weather, when many people rely on these iconic ranges to heat their homes.

“We have to literally drill out the carbon build-up from the burner every six to eight weeks, and relight the Aga,” complains Catherine Lewis, who runs a thatching business in Hertfordshire.

“Our oven either just tails off, or else fails to respond,” complains fellow sufferer Richard Sowerbutts, of London. “When you look inside, it’s completely clogged up with gunge.”

Nor are these just teething problems with new ovens. “For 20 years, our Aga worked perfectly, then it started to splutter and cut out completely,” laments long-time Aga owner Janet Strode, of Halton, in Lancashire. “Eventually, our engineer resorted to putting in a complete new burner and controller, which has at least stopped it from cutting out, but the temperature still veers wildly, and we still get the smell of oil. This after spending £800 trying to solve the issue.”

And with engineers charging £80 a time to fix the ovens, many other afflicted Aga folk are clocking up similarly sized bills. The full extent of the problem only became clear when Peter Anslow, director of the 19,000-strong Listed Property Owners Club, recently sent an email to members, asking if they were having the same oven problems as him. “The response has been instant and sizeable,” he reports. “Agas are going out all over the country, causing disputes between our members and their heating engineers and oil suppliers.”

In which latter category comes John Weedon, director of Cornish-based oil distributors Mitchell and Webber: “Every week, at least one of our customers’ Agas goes wrong. I hate to think of the number of hours I’ve spent trying to sort it out.” His company has now conducted a chemical analysis of the oil it is supplying. “Because of the new EU requirement for lower sulphur levels, the oil is being subjected to a treatment which increases what’s known as its 'char value’,” he says. This is a figure that refers to the level of sooting up that occurs, once the oil has been vaporised and burned.

“The oil still meets the relevant British Standard,” says Bob Hall, whose firm Fuel Additive Science Technologies did the analysis. “The trouble is, the increased char value seems to cause problems for Agas.”

The extent of those problems is, however, questioned by Aga. “There has been a new oil recipe that has caused difficulties, although my own Aga engineer in Norfolk says he hasn’t come across any,” says Laura James, Aga “ambassador” and spokeswoman for the company. “Sometimes, problems can be down to people having their oven serviced by someone who’s not an accredited Aga engineer. Sometimes, too, the Agas can be a little old. After all, a car from the Thirties wouldn’t run on today’s fuel.”

Celebrated chef Mary Berry, author of many an Aga cookbook, says she’s only heard of one case of oven-malfunction: “A friend rang the other day to say she was having problems. There again, in my experience, the temperature can suddenly drop on an oil-fired Aga. Mine runs on gas.”

And fellow celebrity chef Antony Worrall Thompson’s runs on electricity. According to the Aga website, his cat Nigel loves to lie in front of it, and there’s a long list of other A-list Aga-users quoted on the same site who are equally passionate about their cooking ranges.

“We had an Aga when I was growing up,” says food writer Tom Parker Bowles. “My mother won’t cook on anything else.”

“There’s something about an Aga that makes it like a best friend,” purrs actress Susan Hampshire, and her feelings are echoed by many fellow Aga lovers who feel their oven is the heart of their home.

“An Aga is so much more than an oven,” says Mary Berry. “That’s what people should bear in mind when they’re moaning about the cost.”

Indeed, many owners do seem prepared to dig deep, rather than abandon their oven: “My Aga has dried out sodden rugs, shivering ducks and damp dogs on numerous occasions,” says architectural salvage dealer Amanda Garrett, from Oxfordshire. “I’m having to get it serviced at least four times a year now, but I’m still prepared to persevere. A true Aga owner never gives up.”

It remains to be seen, though, if this latest test of Aga owners’ loyalty – and their bank balances – will prove too much for others in this cold spell of weather.


Climategate III: The Search for Peer Review

Peer Review. Ha.
Two years ago the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) issued a benchmark report that was claimed to incorporate the latest and most detailed research into the impact of global warming. A central claim was the world’s glaciers were melting so fast that those in the Himalayas could vanish by 2035.

….Hasnain has since admitted that the claim was “speculation” and was not supported by any formal research. If confirmed it would be one of the most serious failures yet seen in climate research. The IPCC was set up precisely to ensure that world leaders had the best possible scientific advice on climate change.

Peer Review. Heh heh.
The New Scientist report was apparently forgotten until 2005 when WWF cited it in a report called An Overview of Glaciers, Glacier Retreat, and Subsequent Impacts in Nepal, India and China. The report credited Hasnain’s 1999 interview with the New Scientist. But it was a campaigning report rather than an academic paper so it was not subjected to any formal scientific review. Despite this it rapidly became a key source for the IPCC when Lal and his colleagues came to write the section on the Himalayas.

Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha.
Some scientists have questioned how the IPCC could have allowed such a mistake into print. Perhaps the most likely reason was lack of expertise. Lal himself admits he knows little about glaciers. “I am not an expert on glaciers.and I have not visited the region so I have to rely on credible published research. The comments in the WWF report were made by a respected Indian scientist and it was reasonable to assume he knew what he was talking about,” he said.

I’m sorry, I’m laughing so hard I can’t see the screen. I keep thinking of all the times I’ve been assured that the IPCC and related organizations use only the finest peer-reviewed research, and that we should trust its major publications because its work is by experts in the field. So forgive the lack of in-depth analysis here.

Peer Review: The new punchline.


'AGW? I refute it THUS!': Central England Temperatures 1659 to 2009

James Delingpole (below) has discovered the Central England temperature dataset and rightly sees it as a huge poke in the eye to the Warmists. Warmists generally rely on tree rings for their highly dubious conclusions about climate history but with this dataset we have actual thermometer readings. The raw dataset concerned is graphed immediately below. It is clearly a random walk and any trend up or down is statistical jiggery pokery rather than anything real -- JR

If there’s anyone left you know who STILL believes in Anthropogenic Global Warming, you might want to show them this chart.

The Central England Temperature dataset is the oldest in the world – with 351 years of temperature records drawn from “multiple weather stations located both in urban and rural areas of England, which is considered a decent proxy for Northern Hemisphere temperatures – not perfect, but decent.” Climate Cycles Change provides the analysis.
The first characteristic of the graph to note is the green trend line. That line indicates an overall warming of 0.26°C per century rate since 1659. So, for some 350 years central England, and the world, have been warming. No big surprise there since Earth has been continuously warming since the end of the Little Ice Age; and, at the end of that 350 year trend line of warming is the first decade of the 21st century.

The second characteristic of the graph is that temperatures just seem to have this habit of going up and down, for extended periods. What’s really amazing is that they did this consistently before the large increase of human CO2 emissions, pre-1946. Okay, maybe that’s not so amazing since this is called temperature variability and represents the natural, dynamic nature of our climate….That variability, as displayed by the CET data in the graph, has experienced temperature changes as much as 2.5°C from one year to the next. A change of 2.5°C in a single year! Keep that figure in mind as we further analyze the dataset. Please note, the graph also reveals very similar temperature variability post-1946, after the huge atmospheric input of human CO2 emissions.

The Climate Cycles Change post was inspired by an analysis of CET done earlier this month by Czech physicist Lubos Motl, which is well worth reading. Because Climate Fear Promoters make such a big deal of warming trends in the last 30 years, Motl applied the same technique to the full dataset. Was the recent warming trend, as we’re so often told, dramatic and unprecedented?

Not at all. Here’s what Motl found:
In the late 17th and early 18th century, there was clearly a much longer period when the 30-year trends were higher than the recent ones. There is nothing exceptional about the recent era. Because I don’t want to waste time with the creation of confusing descriptions of the x-axis, let me list the ten 30-year intervals with the fastest warming trends:

1691 – 1720, 5.039 °C/century
1978 – 2007, 5.038 °C/century
1977 – 2006, 4.95 °C/century
1690 – 1719, 4.754 °C/century
1979 – 2008, 4.705 °C/century
1688 – 1717, 4.7 °C/century
1692 – 1721, 4.642 °C/century
1694 – 1723, 4.524 °C/century
1689 – 1718, 4.446 °C/century
1687 – 1716, 4.333 °C/century

You see, the early 18th century actually wins: even when you calculate the trends over the “sufficient” 30 years, the trend was faster than it is in the most recent 30 years.

Climate Cycles Change confirms this with some charts of its own. They all show that, far from being dramatic, dangerous and unprecedented, Central England Temperature changes in the late 20th and 21st Century have in fact been quite tediously uneventful.
What about all the 40 and 50-year temperature change periods, which have been influenced by all those human-made CO2 emissions since 1946? Glad you asked. The ten largest 40-year period temperature changes did include year 2002 in 8th place. But alas, the largest 50-year temperature changes did not include any years from the ‘oughts’ decade. (See below the years with the largest 40-year and 50-year changes.)

Climate Cycles Change’s conclusion:
Summary: Unprecedented warming did not occur in central England during the first decade of the 21st century, nor during the last decade of the 20th century. As the CET dataset is considered a decent proxy for Northern Hemisphere temperatures, and since global temperature trends follow a similar pattern to Northern Hemisphere temps, then the same conclusion about recent warming can potentially be inferred globally. Based on the CET dataset, the global warming scare has been totally blown out of proportion by those who can benefit from the fear.

Amen to that.


Greenies think Haiti is a great place to live

Excerpt from a 2008 article below

As global financial markets learn difficult lessons on the consequences of unregulated spending, a new report issued by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) warns of the danger to future prosperity if the reckless over-consumption of the Earth’s natural capital is left unchecked.

WWF’s Living Planet Report 2008, produced with the Zoological Society of London (ZSL) and the Global Footprint Network (GFN), shows more than three quarters of the world’s people now living in nations that are ecological debtors, where national consumption has outstripped their country’s biological capacity. Presently, human demands on the world's natural capital measure nearly a third more than earth can sustain. In addition, global natural wealth and diversity continue to decline, and more and more countries are slipping into a state of permanent or seasonal water stress.

The findings of the Living Planet Report 2008 reinforce WWF-US’s “Greenprint” agenda, a policy road map for the next U.S. administration, which was provided in mid-October to Senators John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Barack Obama (D-Ill) and their U.S. presidential campaign staffs. Commenting on the “Greenprint” at its release, Carter Roberts, president and CEO of WWF-US noted “Global consumption of natural resources far exceeds the Earth’s regenerative capacity. We are borrowing from our natural capital at an entirely unsustainable rate. And, as is evidenced from the current economic crisis, unsustainable borrowing is not without profound consequences. To raise the stakes even further, there can be no bailout if the Earth’s systems collapse.”

“The world is currently struggling with the consequences of over-valuing its financial assets, but a more fundamental crisis looms ahead – an ecological credit crunch caused by under-valuing the environmental assets that are the basis of all life and prosperity,” said WWF International Director-General James Leape, in the foreword to the new report. “Most of us are propping up our current lifestyles, and our economic growth, by drawing - and increasingly overdrawing - on the ecological capital of other parts of the world,” Leape said.

According to the Living Planet Report 2008, the United Arab Emirates, the United States, and Kuwait have the largest national ecological footprints per person. On the other end of the scale are countries such as Haiti and the Congo, with a low ecological footprint per person, but facing a future of degrading biocapacity from deforestation and increased demands from a rising population and export pressures.


Another desperate attempt to blame cooling on warming

The old Gulf stream scare revived. Pesky fact: The research shows that the Gulf Stream's not slowing

THIS winter's prolonged cold spell could be a taste of things to come for Wales - with glaciers a possibility within 40 years. That's the chilly message from a leading Welsh climate expert who has warned that global warming could paradoxically trigger a collapse in temperatures in western Europe. According to the expert, future Welsh winters could be similar to those in Iceland and southern Greenland now.

Environmentalists pounced on the warning as a sign of how vital it is that we reduce emissions of greenhouse gases. The weather's icy grip on Wales since before Christmas is unrelated to global warming or other climate trends - but it shows what life will be like in Wales every winter if the Gulf Stream weakens or moves south.

The Gulf Stream transports warm water from the tropics to the north Atlantic, where the water cools and flows back to the tropics. As global warming melts more of the polar ice cap, more freshwater is entering the north Atlantic. This could impair the Gulf Stream because of the different densities of brine and freshwater. If the northern end of the Gulf Stream moves further south, it will no longer bring the mild temperatures which residents of western Europe take for granted.

Dr Alun Hubbard, a reader at Aberystwyth University's Centre for Glaciology, said it was impossible to predict when this would happen during the next 10,000 years, but there were signs that the system could be changing. "It could start happening next year," he warned. "There are signs that the Gulf Stream is slowing down, but the measurements don't go far enough back. If you've been measuring for 10 years, you can't really extrapolate." Once started, the cooling process could be rapid. In the last glaciation 10,000 years ago - possibly caused by the Gulf Stream responding to melting of North America's ice sheet - took just 30 or 40 years to create glaciers on Ben Nevis and Snowdon.

Dr Hubbard, 40, said: "Within my lifetime we could have glaciers on Snowdon. If I live for another 40 years, it's conceivable." Such a change could lead to temperatures at least 10°C colder than now, with snow and ice all winter, every winter.



From Britain's House of Lords, 14 January 2010. Bernard Donoughue (Labour) was Senior Policy Adviser to the Prime Ministers Harold Wilson and James Callaghan (1974-79)

My Lords, I also thank the noble Lord, Lord Stone, for the opportunity to discuss the Copenhagen conference. Personally, I am not sure whether its failure was a disaster for the future of the planet or a fortunate rescue from dangerous commitments. Time will tell. I want to focus today on global warming, which is allegedly occurring on an unprecedented scale and is allegedly caused by man-made carbon emissions - the majority view is certainly that way.

First, I should declare that I have no training in physical science, although I have in social science from I was when an academic at the LSE, and I am aware of the use and misuse of statistics. I should also emphasise that I believe it is of prime importance to protect our planet from pollution of its earth, skies and oceans. I am also convinced that climate change is, indeed, taking place; it always has. There is nothing new there, although the volatility may now be much greater. However, climate change may not be the same as unprecedented global warming, although there is of course a link.

I am not yet convinced that such warming is, in fact, occurring on an unprecedented and catastrophic scale-although I am aware of the weight of scientific opinion being that way-nor has it, to me, been convincingly forecast to continue in a devastatingly upward curve as the global warming alarmists claim. I am neither a "flat earther" nor a so-called denier-a nasty word, being linked with Nazis denying the Holocaust. The facts of the Holocaust are tragically well established. However, the facts of onward global warming seem less secure. I am not a neo-Nazi but a questioner. It is about those facts of global warming that I wish to ask a few brief questions.

First, on the state of global warming science, would the Government and the preachers of global warming orthodoxy please stop asserting that the scientific evidence is decisively settled and that virtually all scientists support the warming orthodoxy? The science is not yet settled, and some questions are unsettled; nor are all scientists unanimous in support of the orthodoxy or its theology. Five hundred scientists, for instance, gathered recently at a conference in Washington to express their dissent. Their views can be found massively on the internet, although no British media and especially not the BBC reported the conference. Their dissenting views should be addressed, not suppressed.

Secondly, concerning the conclusions of the scientific evidence, specifically, is the global warming of the late 20th century demonstrably different and more threatening than the natural cycles of earlier times? The 300-year long medieval warming period was as hot, or hotter, than our recent experience. Grapes grew on Hadrian's Wall and the Vikings cultivated the green fields of the then green Greenland. Is the recent warming significantly different and sure to rise continuously and catastrophically? Related to this question, what has actually happened in the first decade of the 21st century, when the Met Office constantly forecast mild winters and barbecue summers, which did not materialise, and we currently have the worst winter in at least 30 years? That may be a blip-and I suspect that it is-but it raises questions.

Even more worrying questions have been raised about the integrity of some statistical sources for future global warming forecasts. The University of East Anglia's climatic unit, a major source of the world's global warming forecasts, has been exposed in practices which may not display the best values of objective science. Why did it perform a trick -its description- to "hide the decline in recent temperature"?

It admits using "adjustments" to data, but one man's adjustments can be another's manipulation. It is particularly worrying that it strove to resist freedom of information requests and so have prevented scrutiny of its data.

In relation to the media coverage of this important issue, the BBC should follow its charter and cover global warming impartially, not as a cheerleader for the alarmist side. It is counterproductive and provokes, like manipulation of statistics, the kind of public scepticism which the noble Lord, Lord Giddens, fears. As for the Met Office, it should go back to objective science and try to get its forecasts right and cease blatant campaigning for one side. I note that it has just inevitably forecast that 2010 will be a very hot year-noble Lords should stock up on their long-johns and fur boots.

Why should we be wary of forecasts? One reason is that meteorology is clearly a very difficult science and the data are inevitably imperfect, but there are two other reasons. First, for too many this issue has become more a question of faith than of science. I am wary of zealots. Secondly, the forecasting black boxes are unreliable. We should remember the banks forecasting that their toxic debt had no risk. As a former Minister of Agriculture I recall that the black boxes forecasted thousands of human dead from CJD.

In conclusion, this debate should not be between those who allegedly nobly wish to save the planet by radical decarbonisation and the selfish deniers who do not care for the future of the world. We must continue seeking practical ways to cleanse our environment. Above all, we must seek for objective science to establish what is happening to our ever-changing climate. I hope that we will not rush into panic measures that fatally damage our western economy. We must make sure that we get the scientific facts right and that our policy responses are ones of proportionate adaptation.



For more postings from me, see DISSECTING LEFTISM, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here. For readers in China or for times when blogger.com is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here


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