Sunday, January 24, 2010

The usual Warmist love of partial data

A recent Warmist paper in the Journal of Geophysical Research purports to disprove claims that U.S. temperature-measuring sites are poorly located and thus lead to a "warm bias" in their measurements:
On the reliability of the U.S. Surface Temperature Record

By Matthew J. Menne, Claude N. Williams, Jr., and Michael A. Palecki


Recent photographic documentation of poor siting conditions at stations in the U.S. Historical Climatology Network (USHCN) has led to questions regarding the reliability of surface temperature trends over the conterminous U.S. (CONUS). To evaluate the potential impact of poor siting/instrument exposure on CONUS temperatures, trends derived from poor and well-sited USHCN stations were compared.

Results indicate that there is a mean bias associated with poor exposure sites relative to good exposure sites; however, this bias is consistent with previously documented changes associated with the widespread conversion to electronic sensors in the USHCN during the last 25 years. Moreover, the sign of the bias is counterintuitive to photographic documentation of poor exposure because associated instrument changes have led to an artificial negative ("cool") bias in maximum temperatures and only a slight positive ("warm") bias in minimum temperatures.

These results underscore the need to consider all changes in observation practice when determining the impacts of siting irregularities. Further, the influence of non-standard siting on temperature trends can only be quantified through an analysis of the data. Adjustments applied to USHCN Version 2 data largely account for the impact of instrument and siting changes, although a small overall residual negative ("cool") bias appears to remain in the adjusted maximum temperature series.

Nevertheless, the adjusted USHCN temperatures are extremely well aligned with recent measurements from instruments whose exposure characteristics meet the highest standards for climate monitoring. In summary, we find no evidence that the CONUS temperature trends are inflated due to poor station siting.

So how do they arrive at that conclusion? Anybody who has seen pictures of the temperature-measuring sites located right beside artificial heat sources would have to be amazed.

Easy, Peasy! The old warmist trick of using only part of the data. They took their data from a preliminary list of sites published by the skeptical blog But that list included less than 50% of the actual temperature-measuring sites. The list is presently up to 82% but the authors of the blog are waiting for it to reach 100% so that they can publish a full analysis. Some temperature stations are easier to get at than others so there is no reason to believe that the preliminary list is representative of the whole. Another problem with the preliminary list is that the categorization of stations as "good" or "bad" was also preliminary and hence wrong in some instances. The number of temperature-measuring sites that conform to official guidelines about where they should be located is actually quite small so the preliminary list was too optimistic about that. I hear informally that the nearly-complete data is showing a very different picture from that described above.

Amusing, though, that scientific journals are now accepting skeptical blogs as a source of data. The worm certainly is turning. I might also mention something that only academics would know: The publication of the above paper gives the skeptical scientists an excellent "hook" to hang their own paper on and more or less ensures that their paper will be accepted for publication in the same journal. Given the general resistance to publishing skeptical papers, that is very handy. It is a rare case of the crooks making it easier for honest men.

And when I say "crooks" I mean it quite literally. It is generally regarded in scientific circles as highly unethical to "jump the gun" -- i.e. to publish analyses of someone else's data before they have had a chance to publish it themselves. But who expects ethics of Warmists?

UN climate change "expert": there could be more errors in report

The Indian head of the UN climate change panel defended his position yesterday even as further errors were identified in the panel's assessment of Himalayan glaciers. Dr Rajendra Pachauri dismissed calls for him to resign over the Inter-governmental Panel on Climate Change’s retraction of a prediction that Himalayan glaciers could disappear by 2035.

But he admitted that there may have been other errors in the same section of the report, and said that he was considering whether to take action against those responsible. “I know a lot of climate sceptics are after my blood, but I’m in no mood to oblige them,” he told The Times in an interview. “It was a collective failure by a number of people,” he said. “I need to consider what action to take, but that will take several weeks. It’s best to think with a cool head, rather than shoot from the hip.”

The IPCC’s 2007 report, which won it the Nobel Peace Prize, said that the probability of Himalayan glaciers “disappearing by the year 2035 and perhaps sooner is very high”.

But it emerged last week that the forecast was based not on a consensus among climate change experts, but on a media interview with a single Indian glaciologist in 1999. The IPCC admitted on Thursday that the prediction was “poorly substantiated” in the latest of a series of blows to the panel’s credibility.

Dr Pachauri said that the IPCC’s report was the responsibility of the panel’s Co-Chairs at the time, both of whom have since moved on.

They were Dr Martin Parry, a British scientist now at Imperial College London, and Dr Osvaldo Canziani , an Argentine meteorologist. Neither was immediately available for comment.

“I don’t want to blame them, but typically the working group reports are managed by the Co-Chairs,” Dr Pachauri said. “Of course the Chair is there to facilitate things, but we have substantial amounts of delegation.”

He declined to blame the 25 authors and editors of the erroneous part of the report , who included a Filipino, a Mongolian, a Malaysian, an Indonesian, an Iranian, an Australian and two Vietnamese.


UN wrongly linked global warming to natural disasters

An article from Leaky Jonathan below. Another worm that is slowly turning?

THE United Nations climate science panel faces new controversy for wrongly linking global warming to an increase in the number and severity of natural disasters such as hurricanes and floods. It based the claims on an unpublished report that had not been subjected to routine scientific scrutiny - and ignored warnings from scientific advisers that the evidence supporting the link too weak. The report's own authors later withdrew the claim because they felt the evidence was not strong enough.

The claim by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), that global warming is already affecting the severity and frequency of global disasters, has since become embedded in political and public debate. It was central to discussions at last month's Copenhagen climate summit, including a demand by developing countries for compensation of $100 billion (£62 billion) from the rich nations blamed for creating the most emissions. Ed Miliband, the energy and climate change minister, has suggested British and overseas floods - such as those in Bangladesh in 2007 - could be linked to global warming. Barack Obama, the US president, said last autumn: "More powerful storms and floods threaten every continent." Last month Gordon Brown, the prime minister, told the Commons that the financial agreement at Copenhagen "must address the great injustice that . . . those hit first and hardest by climate change are those that have done least harm".

The latest criticism of the IPCC comes a week after reports in The Sunday Times forced it to retract claims in its benchmark 2007 report that the Himalayan glaciers would be largely melted by 2035. It turned out that the bogus claim had been lifted from a news report published in 1999 by New Scientist magazine.

The new controversy also goes back to the IPCC's 2007 report in which a separate section warned that the world had "suffered rapidly rising costs due to extreme weather-related events since the 1970s". It suggested a part of this increase was due to global warming and cited the unpublished report, saying: "One study has found that while the dominant signal remains that of the significant increases in the values of exposure at risk, once losses are normalised for exposure, there still remains an underlying rising trend." The Sunday Times has since found that the scientific paper on which the IPCC based its claim had not been peer reviewed, nor published, at the time the climate body issued its report.

When the paper was eventually published, in 2008, it had a new caveat. It said: "We find insufficient evidence to claim a statistical relationship between global temperature increase and catastrophe losses." [i.e. it reversed its conclusions]

Despite this change the IPCC did not issue a clarification ahead of the Copenhagen climate summit last month. It has also emerged that at least two scientific reviewers who checked drafts of the IPCC report urged greater caution in proposing a link between climate change and disaster impacts - but were ignored.

The claim will now be re-examined and could be withdrawn. Professor Jean-Pascal van Ypersele, a climatologist at the Universite Catholique de Louvain in Belgium, who is vice-chair of the IPCC, said: "We are reassessing the evidence and will publish a report on natural disasters and extreme weather with the latest findings. Despite recent events the IPCC process is still very rigorous and scientific."

The academic paper at the centre of the latest questions was written in 2006 by Robert Muir-Wood, head of research at Risk Management Solutions, a London consultancy, who later became a contributing author to the section of the IPCC's 2007 report dealing with climate change impacts. He is widely respected as an expert on disaster impacts. Muir-Wood wanted to find out if the 8% year-on-year increase in global losses caused by weather-related disasters since the 1960s was larger than could be explained by the impact of social changes like growth in population and infrastructure. Such an increase, coinciding with rising temperatures, might suggest that global warming was to blame. If proven this would be highly significant, both politically and scientifically, because it would confirm the many predictions that global warming will increase the frequency and severity of natural hazards.

In the research Muir-Wood looked at a wide range of hazards, including tropical cyclones, thunder and hail storms, and wildfires as well as floods and hurricanes. He found from 1950 to 2005 there was no increase in the impact of disasters once growth was accounted for. For 1970-2005, however, he found a 2% annual increase which "corresponded with a period of rising global temperatures,"

Muir-Wood was, however, careful to point out that almost all this increase could be accounted for by the exceptionally strong hurricane seasons in 2004 and 2005. There were also other more technical factors that could cause bias, such as exchange rates which meant that disasters hitting the US would appear to cost proportionately more in insurance payouts. Despite such caveats, the IPCC report used the study in its section on disasters and hazards, but cited only the 1970-2005 results. The IPCC report said: "Once the data were normalised, a small statistically significant trend was found for an increase in annual catastrophe loss since 1970 of 2% a year." It added: "Once losses are normalised for exposure, there still remains an underlying rising trend."

Muir-Wood's paper was originally commissioned by Roger Pielke, professor of environmental studies at Colorado University, also an expert on disaster impacts, for a workshop on disaster losses in 2006. The researchers who attended that workshop published a statement agreeing that so far there was no evidence to link global warming with any increase in the severity or frequency of disasters. Pielke has also told the IPCC that citing one section of Muir-Wood's paper in preference to the rest of his work, and all the other peer-reviewed literature, was wrong.

He said: "All the literature published before and since the IPCC report shows that rising disaster losses can be explained entirely by social change. People have looked hard for evidence that global warming plays a part but can't find it. Muir-Wood's study actually confirmed that."

Mike Hulme, professor of climate change at the Tyndall Centre, which advises the UK government on global warming, said there was no real evidence that natural disasters were already being made worse by climate change. He said: "A proper analysis shows that these claims are usually superficial"

Such warnings may prove uncomfortable for Miliband whose recent speeches have often linked climate change with disasters such as the floods that recently hit Bangladesh and Cumbria. Last month he said: "We must not let the sceptics pass off political opinion as scientific fact. Events in Cumbria give a foretaste of the kind of weather runaway climate change could bring. Abroad, the melting of the Himalayan glaciers that feed the great rivers of South Asia could put hundreds of millions of people at risk of drought. Our security is at stake."

Muir-Wood himself is more cautious. He said: "The idea that catastrophes are rising in cost partly because of climate change is completely misleading. "We could not tell if it was just an association or cause and effect. Also, our study included 2004 and 2005 which was when there were some major hurricanes. If you took those years away then the significance of climate change vanished."

Some researchers have argued that it is unfair to attack the IPCC too strongly, pointing out that some errors are inevitable in a report as long and technical as the IPCC's round-up of climate science. "Part of the problem could simply be that expectations are too high," said one researcher. "We have been seen as a scientific gold standard and that's hard to live up to."

Professor Christopher Field,director of the Department of Global Ecology at the Carnegie Institution in California, who is the new co-chairman of the IPCC working group overseeing the climate impacts report, said the 2007 report had been broadly accurate at the time it was written. He said: "The 2007 study should be seen as "a snapshot of what was known then. Science is progressive. If something turns out to be wrong we can fix it next time around." However he confirmed he would be introducing rigorous new review procedures for future reports to ensure errors were kept to a minimum.


Glaciergate threatens confidence in climate change

GRAHAM Cogley, the Canadian scientist who trekked a decade-old paper trail to expose the Glaciergate error in a crucial UN-backed document on climate change, says there is one certainty about what will happen next. An expert on glaciers at Trent University in Ontario, Cogley is an instinctively cautious scientist who opposes any leaps to unproven conclusions but he is prepared to bet that climate change sceptics and deniers will pore over the report of the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change more closely than ever to try to find more errors. "Sceptics have already started using this incident for their own purposes by saying that somehow the whole IPCC document is now in doubt," he tells Focus in a telephone interview from Canada.

It was Cogley's meticulous attention to detail and his resistance to "sexing up" research that exposed the wildly exaggerated claim in the IPCC's most recent assessment of climate change that Himalayan glaciers were likely to melt away as soon as 2035. "I'm confident that the document as a whole is authoritative and the reliance placed on it by policy makers is not misplaced but I suppose you always had to expect that people would try to use this to shoot down the overall evidence on climate change."

Fred Pearce, a British environmental journalist who has found himself at the centre of the Glaciergate row, agrees with Cogley's prediction and says the stakes are now dangerously high for Rajendra Pachauri, the head of the Nobel Prize-winning IPCC. "People who want to undermine the science on climate change will be crawling over the report looking for another mistake like this and if they do find another one it will be curtains for Pachauri," Pearce says. "The way he has handled this glacier issue means he's now a sitting duck if anything else turns up."

Having accused the Indian government of peddling "voodoo science" when it criticised the IPCCs glacier claims, Pachauri this week was forced into a humiliating apology and admission that instead of being solid, peer-reviewed science the 2035 claim had actually been "cut and pasted" from a WWF (formerly world wildlife fund) campaign document that, in turn, was based on a single-source news article written by Pearce in 1999. The offending paragraph in the IPCCs 2007 assessment declared that "glaciers in the Himalaya are receding faster than in any other part of the world and, if the present rate continues, the likelihood of them disappearing by the year 2035 and perhaps sooner is very high if the Earth keeps warming at the current rate".

Experts say the paragraph is unproven and it could take 300 years for those glaciers to melt.

An IPCC statement conceded this week the paragraph "refers to poorly substantiated estimates of rate of recession and date for the disappearance of Himalayan glaciers. In drafting the paragraph in question, the clear and well-established standards of evidence, required by the IPCC procedures, were not applied properly. "The IPCC regrets the poor application of well-established IPCC procedures in this instance."

The IPCC, which is charged with bringing together thousands of scientific viewpoints into one credible, shared assessment of climate science, stressed the error did not change its general understanding that the world's glaciers are rapidly melting. It was just one paragraph in a 3000-page report, they argue, and it was not even reproduced in the more widely read summary for policy makers given to governments before Copenhagen.

In that way the Glaciergate affair resembled the leaking of emails from the University of East Anglia's climate-change unit last year, as the leaked emails contained no evidence that climate-change data had been falsified but they did raise questions about the professional conduct and impartiality of the scientists involved. Yvo de Boer, the head of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, conceded the glacier affair was especially damaging because it raised questions about how the voluminous IPCC assessments were put together. "The credibility of the IPCC depends on the thoroughness with which its procedures are adhered to," he said. "The procedures have been violated in this case. That must not be allowed to happen again because the credibility of climate-change policy can only be based on credible science."

Despite their promises of transparency and stricter standards, IPCC officials have refused to name the author of the flawed paragraph and the lead author of the relevant section, Murari Lal, has not accepted any responsibility for the bungle.

Pearce, a freelance reporter for New Scientist and The Guardian, says the incident began in April 1999 when he noticed a report in the Indian magazine Down to Earth quoting an Indian glaciologist, Syed Hasnain, saying the Himalayan glaciers, which help to provide water to two billion people, could be gone by 2035. The Indian magazine quoted Hasnain, who was then vice-chancellor of New Delhi's Jawaharlal Nehru University, as saying the grim prediction came from an academic paper he was about to present to a July 1999 academic conference in Birmingham. "I decided to follow it up so I contacted Hasnain and he told me the same thing, which I reported a couple of months later in the New Scientist," Pearce says.

In 2005 the environmental group WWF used the 2035 warning from the New Scientist article in one of its campaign documents, which somehow became the source of the IPCC paragraph.

Last November, the Indian government released a discussion paper written by retired geologist Vijay Kumar Raina, which said while some Himalayan glaciers were retreating, there was "nothing to suggest as some have said that they will disappear". Instead of re-examining the IPCC's position on the glaciers, Pachauri brushed off the Indian report as "voodoo science", saying that "this guy retired years ago and I find it totally baffling that he comes out and throws out everything that has been established years ago".

The journal Science published a news report on Raina's paper in November and academic Jeffrey S. Kargel of the University of Arizona brought it to the attention of Cogley and some other glacier experts. "That's when I started trying to work out the paper trail to find out where this 2035 date had come from," Cogley tells Focus. "Those glaciers are quite likely losing mass faster now than they were a few decades ago and that is consistent with the acceleration of global warming, but a date as early as 2035 was . . . unsustainable. "There seemed to be some internal political dispute going on among Indian scientists so I wanted to see exactly what it was that Hasnain had said in his original paper back in 1999."

The sponsors of the Birmingham conference, the International Commission on Snow and Ice, had never published Hasnain's paper but Cogley knew Georg Kaser, an Austrian glaciologist who had chaired the conference. "Georg had kept a copy of the paper so I started bugging him to dig it out . . . It turned out that Hasnain had not included any dates at all about the glaciers disappearing, it was all a red herring."

Hasnain told reporters this week that he never put any dates on the melting, claiming he was misquoted by Pearce. Pearce is adamant he reported the scientist's comments accurately, noting the Indian magazine had carried similar quotes. "But the issue is not what Hasnain said and did," Pearce says. "It is about the IPCC screwing up its report. It is scandalous for them to be just cutting and pasting stuff into their reports. "I always thought the 2035 date was dodgy but I even used it again in another story last year because it had been in the IPCC report so I assumed they had verified it. I couldn't believe it when Cogley found I was the original source."

Pearce reported on the tale of the 2035 prediction in New Scientist last week and it was picked up by British newspaper the The Sunday Times and The Australian.

Patrick Michaels, a global warming sceptic from US libertarian think tank the Cato Institute, is now calling for Pachauri to resign as IPCC chief. "I'd like to know how such an absurd statement made it through the review process," Michaels says.

Bob Ward, a geologist and former journalist who has published academic papers on the misrepresentation of climate-change evidence by environmentalists and climate-change sceptics, says the Cato Institute's response is predictable. "People who have an axe to grind are trying to use this incident to undermine the credibility of the whole IPCC," he says. "But in order to do that you have to enormously exaggerate the significance of the paragraph about the Himalayas," says Ward, who is now policy director at the London School of Economics' Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change. "We are talking about one error in a three-year-old 3000-page report that was clearly a rather glaring mistake. Groups who don't want to see any action on climate change are using anything like this they can get their hands on to try to undermine the science. It is happening particularly in Australia and the US where there are political debates going on about domestic legislation related to climate change.

"Cogley exposed this 2035 date as inaccurate not because he disputes the fact that glaciers are receding -- he doesn't -- but because he genuinely wants all the science to be as accurate as possible. But a lot of the people who are leaping on to it just want to raise as many doubts as possible to try to slow the whole process down."

According to Ward, the most concerted opposition to climate-change action "is coming from ideologically driven right-wing groups like the American think tanks that oppose any sort of restrictions on the market" and fossil fuel companies "that are trying to delay any new restrictions on their business for as long as possible". "It is very similar to the way the tobacco industry managed to delay health regulations for years by playing up any element of doubt at all about the medical research on smoking. That is why it's so dangerous and so stupid for the IPCC to let mistakes like this happen."


Congressional Black Caucus, EPA Start "Race Card Tour" to Promote Climate Regulation

An "environmental justice" public relations tour of economically-disadvantaged communities being led by EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson and members of the Congressional Black Caucus is being criticized by Project 21 Fellow Deneen Borelli as a desperate attempt to play the "race card" to bolster the Obama Administration's "cap-and-trade" emissions proposal.

Borelli contends energy limits, such as those in the Waxman/Markey bill approved by the U.S. House last year, would devastate the communities the EPA-CBC tour is highlighting as in need of help.

The tour begins today in Greenville, Mississippi and will stop in Maryland, South Carolina and Georgia.

CBC Chairwoman Barbara Lee (D-CA) played the race card in an EPA press release, saying: "The consequences of global climate change, disastrous trends of environmental degradation, and our nation's perilous dependence on fossil fuels are being felt in communities here in the United States and around the world, especially in communities of color."

Project 21's Borelli counters that there is little to back up Lee's claims, and that more regulation would actually exacerbate problems in communities said to need environmental justice.

"Having lost the climate change argument on popular, economic and scientific grounds, those who want to regulate fossil fuels have stooped to playing the race card," noted Borelli.

Borelli continued: "Environmental justice is supposed to be about jobs and a better quality of life for disadvantaged minority communities. If the Obama EPA had its way, 'cap-and-trade' policy related to energy and emissions would instead likely destroy jobs and lower the quality of life in the very communities they allegedly want to help. It is shocking that the Congressional Black Caucus would willingly promote something that would likely do more harm than good among their constituents."

Borelli continued, "A study of cap-and-trade for the National Black Chamber of Commerce suggests new emissions regulations would destroy 2.5 million American jobs a year and lower the wages of those still working by almost $400 annually. The Congressional Budget Office separately concluded 'most of the cost of meeting a cap on [carbon dioxide] emissions would be borne by consumers,... [and] poorer households would bear a larger burden relative to their income than wealthier households would.'"

Borelli added, "A recent survey of black Americans commissioned by the National Center for Public Policy Research found that 76 percent of blacks surveyed preferred Congress concentrate on economic recovery rather than climate regulation and that 38 percent thought such regulation would hurt black communities most. And 52 percent of those surveyed also did not want to have to pay anything more for electricity or gasoline in order to reduce alleged man-made greenhouse emissions.

"Finally, all of this man-made climate change speculation could be based on irresponsible science. Recently revealed e-mails from the University of East Anglia's Climate Research Unit showed prominent climate scientists expressing uncertainty about their claims, questionable research practices and an unwillingness to consider alternative theories."

Borelli concluded, "For the Congressional Black Caucus to inject race as a means of promoting new emissions regulation is simply wrong. Environmental justice can best be served by looking into reforming regulations that hold communities back and kill jobs."


Britain's windfarm subsidies top £1 billion a year

Britain's energy policy faces new controversy as it can be revealed that electricity customers are paying more than £1 billion a year to subsidise windfarms and other forms of renewable energy. The hidden levy is part of a Government scheme to force energy companies to fund green energy. The companies bear the cost but pass it on to consumers in the form of higher bills. The amount raised has climbed steeply since the introduction of the levy in 2002.

Next month's annual report from Ofgem, the energy regulator, will show that it has risen above £1 billion for the first time, according to analysts at the Renewable Energy Foundation (REF), a green energy think-tank. It means that renewable energy added an an estimated £13.50 to the average household electricity bill last year. An additional burden fell on industrial users of electricity, who in turn passed on costs to their customers.

Critics claimed that the subsidy scheme unfairly penalised consumers and was being used to fund "unrealistic" plans to increase the use of wind power.

Countryside campaigners have expressed concerns at the number of wind farms being built around the country, as the Government tries to meet its target that 30 per cent of the UK's energy should be generated from renewable sources by 2020.

The Ofgem report will show that over the past three years the subsidies have added a total of £32.50 to the average household's electricity bills. The annual cost has steadily risen from £7 in 2007 to £13.50 in 2009. The proceeds of the levy, known as the Renewables Obligation (RO), are divided between the main renewable energy sources, with wind receiving 40 per cent, landfill gas 25 per cent, biomass 20 per cent, hydroelectric 12 per cent and sewage gas 3 per cent.

Dr John Constable, director of policy and research at the REF, said: "The fundamental problem with the RO is that the cost to the consumer is extremely high. "Since the cost of the scheme is passed onto businesses as well as households, there will also be a significant impact on the economy. "The Government's plans for wind are wildly unrealistic. Wind power is going to be very expensive, very difficult and ultimately very costly." The cost to consumers of the RO scheme has risen from £278 million in 2002/3 to £1.04 billion last year, the Ofgem report is expected to say - a total of £4.4 billion over seven years.

The scheme works by requiring energy suppliers to obtain a set percentage of the electricity they provide to consumers from renewable sources. In 2008/9 this figure was 9.1 per cent, compared to 7.9 per cent in 2007/8. For each megawatt hour of renewable energy bought by a supplier from a generator, suppliers must also buy a certificate as proof. If suppliers fail to meet their obligation by presenting enough certificates, they must pay a fine known as a "buy-out". The cost to energy suppliers is passed on to consumers through their bills.

Ofgem predicts that the total cost of the RO to consumers between 2002 and 2027, when the scheme is set to end, will amount to £32 billion. By 2020 it is estimated that the annual cost will be running at over £5 billion.

Prof Ian Fells, emeritus professor of energy conversion at the University of Newcastle upon Tyne, said money that was being invested into wind farms through the RO scheme needed to be diverted elsewhere. He said: "Consumers simply don't realise the cost to them of supporting the renewable energy industry. Not only is there a cost to consumers but there is a cost to businesses as well. "So people will not only see the huge cost of the RO scheme in their household bills but also on the High Street, as they see shops put up prices to meet the rising cost of electricity. "Subsidising wind farms is far too expensive, and the money could be better spent by investing in other forms of power."

A spokeswoman for the Department of Energy and Climate Change said: "To ensure we meet our climate change goals we need a massive increase in low carbon energy and that includes renewables. "The RO is helping that expansion happen with the amount of electricity generated from renewables trebling since 2002. "We also need to make sure we have continued secure energy supplies in the future and renewables are part of that too. There's no high-carbon low-price alternative – we must move to low-carbon sources."

There are currently 270 wind farms with 2,775 turbines in operation, with plans for a further 10,000 on and around Britain's shores. It has raised concerns in communities that hundreds of acres of rural landscapes will have wind farms built on them. Last week The Sunday Telegraph revealed how 14 of the UK's officially-designated beauty spots could soon be blighted by turbines, which can reach more than 400ft in height.



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