Wednesday, August 01, 2012

Richard Muller & his delusions‏

An email from Ed Johnson, Ph.D, Physics below:

Thought you might like a clear-cut example of Professor Muller's irrationality. In recent years, he published two books popularizing Physics:

* "Physics for Future Presidents" (PffP, 2008)

* "The Instant Physicist" (TIP, 2011)

In both, he discusses commercial solar power.

Chapter 6 of PffP is illustrative of Muller's lack of contact with reality. The first section of this Chapter (p. 77), titled "An Anecdote" tells the quaint story of a dinner conversation between Liz, a former student, and an LLNL fusion physicist. In this tale, Muller (through Liz) compares a square kilometer of sunshine with a nuclear power plant.

Liz stuns the LLNL dude with the fact that one square kilometer of sunshine has 1,000 megawatts of power. Muller fails to inform the reader that this is true only on clear summer days and then only for a few hours around solar noon -- no power each night, low power each morning and afternoon and during overcast periods. He also ignores the realities of practical solar power plants.

What's ironic is that in Chapter 5, Muller warns the reader not to confuse power with energy. Yet that's the very error Muller is committing in his tale of Liz and the doofous physicist.

Almost nothing Muller says in Chapter 6 is accurate. He even screws up the history of NASA's Solar Airplanes (last section).

I sent him a comparison of Liz's square kilometer of sunshine with an actual 1,000 MW solar power plant, approved for construction in California's deserts:

.............................. Liz's ........ Solar Millennium

Power (MWp) ... 1,000 ......... 1,000

Area .............. 1.0 sq km ...... 28.5 sq km (7,025 acres)

A practical 1,000 MW solar power plant covers 28 times the area of Liz's square kilometer array. And 11 times your square mile array (TIP, p. 34).

A solar power plant produces no electricity at night and reduced output each morning, each afternoon and on stormy days. In fact, a 1,000 MW solar power plant will be lucky to realize the same annual energy output as conventional 250 MW peaker plant. (Remember your warning in PffP about confusing Power and Energy!! See PffP, pp. 71 - 73.)

According to the developer, the Solar Millennium plant will cost "north of $6 billion". A 1,000 MW nuke could be built for that amount, resulting in four times the annual energy output. And no interruption when a cloud comes over!

His reply essentially was that research would improve this serious discrepancy. I finally told him that I'd tried to be diplomatic, but that he was wrong about solar power. He replied that he was right, and I was wrong.

This man is seriously delusional.

Inhofe's reply to Sanders in Congress

He lays on the soft soap in the best politician style and sabotages the usual appeals to authority by cataloguing a whole lot of authorities who disagreee with the Warmist claims

My friend was talking about the National Academy of Sciences. I think it is kind of interesting because let's remember it was the National Academy of Sciences that came out with a report in 1975 warning of a coming ice age. Keep in mind we are all going to die whether it is global warming or another ice age. That is the National Academy of Sciences, the same group. According to a lot of people, they have turned themselves into an advocacy group.

I will quote MIT's Dr. Richard Lindzen, who was a former U.N. IPCC reviewer. He was talking about Ralph Cicerone, who is the president of the NAS. He said:
Cicerone of NAS is saying that regardless of evidence the answer is predetermined, if gov't wants carbon control, that is the answer-- That is what the NAS will provide. If you control carbon, you control life.

So we have had a lot of differing and varying interpretations of availing science over the years. I can recall one of my first introductions to this. Of course, this came way back during the Kyoto Convention. Some people have forgotten that Kyoto was a convention that was going to get everyone to get together under the leadership of the United Nations and we were all going to reduce our carbon, and so they had this big meeting down there. I will always remember it. This is the famous Al Gore meeting that was called the Earth Summit of 1992. So they came out with this and said this is going to happen. The United Nations said it is, and so they thought everything was fine. Everyone believed it.

It was shortly after that I remember hearing someone talk about it. We can go back and look at this. This is not something I am just saying. There were statements that were made in the 30-year period--let's take the 30-year period from 1895 to 1925. That is 30 years. During that time everyone feared that another ice age was coming. They talked about another ice age, and that the world was coming to an end. They provided all of this documentation during that 30-year period that that is what was happening.

Well, from 1925 to 1945, that 20-year period was a global warming. In fact, the first time we heard of global warming was in that 20-year period from 1925 to 1945. So the world was going to come to an end again, and it was going to be during that period of time due to global warming.

Then came the 30-year period from 1945 to 1975. During that time they said it is a cold spell, and that is when all of these companies came in--the Senator from Vermont is right. I have given probably 30 talks well in excess of an hour each talking about these things. During that time, I remember holding up the cover of Time magazine where they talked about how another ice age was coming. Then I held up a cover of the Time magazine 20 years later, and they said, no, it is global warming. They had the last polar bear stepping on the last cube of ice, and saying we are going to die.

We went through a period of 1945 to 1975 where they declared it a period of another ice age. Then 1975 to the turn of the century--so that was another 30-year period of time--when it was global warming. So we have gone back and forth.

Here is the interesting thing about that. The assertion is always made that we are having catastrophic global warming because of manmade gases, CO2, anthropogenic gases, and methane. Yet the greatest surge of CO 2 came right after World War II starting in 1945, and that precipitated not a warming period but a cooling period. So when you look at these things, sometimes--by the way, the only disagreement I would have with my friend from Vermont is that he has quoted me as saying some things.

Actually, unlike Al Gore and some of these other people, I recognize I am not an expert. I am not a scientist, but I read what the scientists say. I get my phone calls, I look at it, and I try to apply logic to it and come to my conclusions.

So that is what has been happening over the last--oh, it has been now 12 years, I guess, since all this started.

I wish to mention a couple of other things that were said. For example, on the idea of the science--here it is, right here. As far as scientists are concerned, I can remember quoting from the Harvard-Smithsonian study. The study examined results of more than 240 peer-reviewed-- "peer-reviewed" is the term used by my friend from Vermont--the Harvard-Smithsonian study examined the results of more than 240 peer-reviewed papers published by thousands of researchers over the past four decades. The study covers a multitude of geophysical and biological climate indicators. They came to the conclusion that "climate change is not real. The science is not accurate."

Then we have another quote from a former President of the National Academy of Sciences. He is Dr. Fred Seitz. He said:
There is no convincing scientific evidence that human release of carbon dioxide, methane, or other greenhouse gases is causing or will in the foreseeable future cause catastrophic heating of the Earth's atmosphere and disruption of the Earth's climate.

Again, he is a former President of the National Academy of Sciences.

Then we had a study from not long ago done by George Mason University. This is one my friend from Vermont may not have seen. It was called to my attention, and I missed it somehow in the media. It was a survey of 430 weather forecasters by the university, and it found that only 19 percent of the weather forecasters believed that the climate is changing and if so, that it is due to manmade gases--only 19 percent. That means 81 percent of them think it is not.

Dr. Robert Laughlin is a Nobel Prize winner and a Stanford University physicist. He said--this is kind of good. I enjoyed this one. He said:
Please remain calm: The earth will heal itself. Climate is beyond our power to control. The earth doesn't care about governments or their legislation. Climate change is a matter of geologic time, something that the earth routinely does on its own without asking anyone's permission or explaining itself.

It is happening. I think it is kind of arrogant for people to think we can change this. I am recalling one of the statements made by my good friend that we have all of these--we must provide the leadership.

We have watched these great big annual parties the United Nations has in these exotic places around the world. I can remember going to a few of them. I remember one of them in Milan, Italy. It would have been 2003. I went there. They had "wanted" posters on all the telephone polls with my picture and quoted me when I first came out with the hoax statement. These big parties are kind of interesting. I have only gone to three of them, but they have people invited from all over the world. The only price to pay to come to this is to believe that catastrophic warming is taking place and that it is the fault of bad old man and anthropogenic gases.

Anyway, the last one was an interesting one--not the last one, the most enjoyable one in Copenhagen. At that time--I am going from memory, but I believe President Obama had been there, Secretary Clinton had been there, Nancy Pelosi had been there, and several others. There were five different people--I can't remember the other two--and they were there to assure the other countries--keep in mind, 192 countries--they assured them that we were going to pass some type of cap-and-trade legislation. So I went. Right before I went over, I announced myself as a self-described--I don't mean it in an arrogant way--as a self-proclaimed, one-man truth squad. I went over to tell them the truth, that it wasn't going to happen.

But right before it happened--talk about poetic justice, I say to my friend from Vermont--right before that happened was a hearing we had with the director of the EPA, Lisa Jackson, whom I love dearly. She is one of my three favorite liberals whom I often talk about, and she came out and said--I looked at her and I said: I am going to Copenhagen tomorrow. I have a feeling that when I leave to go to Copenhagen, you are going to have a declaration that will declare that it is a hazard and all this and give the bureaucracy justification to do through regulation what they could not do and have not been successful in doing through legislation.

I saw a smile on her face. I said: In the event you make that finding, it has to be based on science. What science do you think it will be based on?

She said: Well, primarily the IPCC--the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

It is a branch of the United Nations. It was all started by the United Nations.

By the way, I would not mention my book; however, I checked before I came down, and if somebody else mentions my book, which is "The Greatest Hoax," then it is all right for me to mention it. I see my friend from Vermont nodding in agreement. So I want people to read the longest chapter, which is the chapter on the United Nations. It goes back and tells what the motives were for this. It goes back to 1972. We were in the midst of an ice age at that time, if my colleague remembers. It talks about the meeting that was going to be held at the Earth Summit in 1992, what the motivation was, and then it goes forward from there.

Here is what is interesting. I was going to mention this in a hearing we will both be attending tomorrow. They had the Earth Summit Plus 20 just a month ago in Rio de Janeiro, the same place it was held 20 years before that when George Bush was President of the United States. He went down there even though he didn't really agree with the stuff that was going on. In this case, President Obama didn't even go down. In fact, it has been conspicuous.

I was glad to see my friend from Vermont coming to the floor and talking about an issue that hasn't been talked about now for years. I am glad it is coming up again. I am glad people realize the cost it is going to be to the American people. By the way, the $300 billion to $400 billion originated from a study that was done by scientists--I am sorry--by economists from the Wharton School, and they came up with that figure. Later on, MIT and several universities said: Well, that is the $300 billion to $400 billion, what it will cost. So that has been pretty much agreed to. Yet I am sure there is a dissenting view. But this is the first time I have heard on the floor of this Senate a denial of that assertion that was made. Everyone knows what it will cost.

I remember the McCain-Lieberman bill when Senator Lieberman said: Yes, it will cost billions of dollars. There is no question about it. Cap and trade will cost billions of dollars. The question is, What do we gain from it?

Well, that is a pretty good question.

Getting back to Lisa Jackson, I asked the question--this was in a live hearing. I think the Senator from Vermont may have been there; I don't know for sure. It was live on TV.

I said: The assertion has been made that global warming is--that if we pass something, we are going to be able to stop this horrible thing that is going on right now. Let me ask you for the record, live on TV, in a committee hearing, if we were to pass the cap-and-trade bill--I think it was the Markey bill at that time; I am not sure. Cap and trade is cap and trade--pretty much the same. If we were to pass that, would that lower worldwide emissions of CO2? She said: No, it wouldn't. Wait a minute. This is the Obama-appointed director of the Environmental Protection Agency who said: No, it wouldn't, because the problem isn't here. The problem is in other countries.

I don't remember what countries she named--probably China, India, Mexico. It could be other countries; I am not sure. But nonetheless, she said: No, it really wouldn't do that.

So what we are talking about is this tax on the American people of $300 billion to $400 billion. I remember--and I think the Senator from Vermont remembers this also--way back in 1993, during the first of the Clinton-Gore administration, they had the Clinton-Gore tax increase of 1993. That was an increase of marginal rates, the death tax, capital gains, and I believe it was the largest tax increase in three decades at that time. That was a $32 billion tax increase. This would be a tax increase ten times that rate.

I know there are people--their heads swim when they hear these numbers. It doesn't mean anything to them. I will tell my colleagues what I do. In Oklahoma, I get the number of families who file a tax return, and then I do the math every time somebody comes up. In the case of that increase, of the $300 billion to $400 billion, we are talking about a $3,000 tax increase for each family in my State of Oklahoma that files a tax return. So, fine, if they want to do that, they can try to do it, but let's not say something good will come from it when the director of the EPA herself said no, it is not going to reduce emissions.

Much more HERE

Tom Chivers on trust

Tom Chivers, the Telegraph's science blogger, has written his take on the Muller paper. Coming a day after the initial furore it's somewhat more considered than many of the initial reactions, although not so considered that he has noticed all the argy-bargy going on as to just how sceptical Muller really was in the past. But that aside, there are some interesting questions raised, not least on the questions of authority and trust:
As a non-climate scientist, I have to accept certain things on authority, as I do with all expert knowledge. This is an argument from authority, but we all do it, and it's vital: if I had cancer, I'd accept the authority of the oncologist and the body of knowledge of the oncology community, rather than try to guide my own treatment with information I'd found on the internet. As Ben Goldacre said long ago in a different context: "you have only two choices: you can either learn to interpret data yourself and come to your own informed conclusions; or you decide who to trust".

This is quite true; we all have to rely on people we trust. I therefore see nothing particularly objectionable in this position. And Tom is clear about who he is going to trust.
I've decided who to trust, and it's mainstream scientific opinion: the Royal Society, the Royal Institution, Nasa, the US National Academy of Sciences, the US Geological Survey, the IPCC, the national science bodies of 30 or so other countries. And that gives me a possible route out of the confirmation-bias trap: I have, in advance, outsourced my judgment to expert bodies. If several of them changed their position, I would change mine. It's far from perfect, but short of becoming a climate scientist myself, it's the only option I have; otherwise my reasonable belief that the climate is changing due to human behaviour becomes an article of faith. As it is, although it is mediated through authority, it's still, I hope, based on empirical data, on the scientific method.

You have to laugh at that list. I'm not sure if Tom noticed there has been a bit of a rumpus over the IPCC in the last few years - something to do with some emails I think. The whole point of Climategate was that it showed that the IPCC is not to be trusted - dissenting authors excluded from the report, fabricated claims that dissenting findings were statistically insignficant, that sort of thing.

Perhaps he thinks the CRU scientists were exonerated? I can only assume that if this is indeed the case, since he still trusts the IPCC and wants others to do so too. I can only assume therefore that he is also taking the integrity of the inquiries on trust rather than having actually examined any of the facts - a pity because this is a simple matter of procedure rather than an area of science requiring months of research and study. Even a relatively cursory look at what the inquiries did would demonstrate to a moderately intelligent twelve-year old that no meaningful investigation had taken place. Even as eco-friendly a writer as Roger Harrabin describes the inquiries as "inadequate", which I think is just a diplomatic way of saying "thorough floor-to-ceiling whitewash".

Then again, there were all those other problems with the IPCC report - the claim that Himalayan glaciers would be gone by 2035, for example, a claim that had been touted by environmentalists long before the IPCC report, had been incorporated in the final text in the face of dissenting review comments, and had then been defended to the hilt by the chairman of the IPCC himself when it was exposed as a preposterous and cynical exaggeration.

Or what about the IPCC's decision to restate an important study of climate sensitivity by Forster and Gregory, putting it on a Bayesian basis and then imposing an inappropriate uniform prior that biased the results so as to increase climate sensitivity from 1.6°C to 2.3°C per doubling of CO2?

And Tom C wants us to trust these guys?

But what about the others - the NAS, the Royal Society and so on? The thing that has to be remembered here is that the reports issued by these august bodies are not representative of the fellows. They are put together mostly by politically minded insiders and a handful of climatologists - the same people who have caused all the trouble at the IPCC. It took a rebellion of dissenting fellows at the Royal Society to get its prognostications on climate to even have the appearance of a scientific rather than a political document. And if you look at the society's post-rebellion climate statement it still carries visible signs that its authors are taking things on trust. Here's what they say on climate sensitivity:
Climate models indicate that the overall climate sensitivity (for a hypothetical doubling of CO2 in the atmosphere) is likely to lie in the range 2°C to 4.5°C; this range is mainly due to the difficulties in simulating the overall effect of the response of clouds to climate change mentioned earlier.

Not a word of the observational study by Forster and Gregory, the one that found that climate sensitivity was only 1.6°C, at least until the IPCC rewrote the story. I don't see this as deception - they probably just took the IPCC report on trust and were therefore probably unaware that Forster and Gregory was based on observations rather than climate models and found a lower climate sensitivity.

So the NAS, the Royal Society and all the other academies are simply conduits for the received wisdom coming from the IPCC - whom we know cannot be trusted. There is only the IPCC that assesses the climate literature from beginning to end. That is the dilemma we face: we are being invited to a game of poker by a bunch of known cardsharps.

Tom thinks we should play.


Corn for Food, Not Fuel

The very sensible article below is from the NYT, surprisingly. The point must be pretty obvious if even the NYT "gets" it

IT is not often that a stroke of a pen can quickly undo the ravages of nature, but federal regulators now have an opportunity to do just that. Americans’ food budgets will be hit hard by the ongoing Midwestern drought, the worst since 1956. Food bills will rise and many farmers will go bust.

An act of God, right? Well, the drought itself may be, but a human remedy for some of the fallout is at hand — if only the federal authorities would act. By suspending renewable-fuel standards that were unwise from the start, the Environmental Protection Agency could divert vast amounts of corn from inefficient ethanol production back into the food chain, where market forces and common sense dictate it should go.

The drought has now parched about 60 percent of the contiguous 48 states. As a result, global food prices are rising steeply. Corn futures prices on the Chicago exchange have risen about 60 percent since mid-June, hitting record levels, and other grains such as wheat and soybeans are also sharply higher. Livestock and dairy product prices will inevitably follow.

More than one-third of our corn crop is used to feed livestock. Another 13 percent is exported, much of it to feed livestock as well. Another 40 percent is used to produce ethanol. The remainder goes toward food and beverage production.

Previous droughts in the Midwest (most recently in 1988) also resulted in higher food prices, but misguided energy policies are magnifying the effects of the current one. Federal renewable-fuel standards require the blending of 13.2 billion gallons of corn ethanol with gasoline this year. This will require 4.7 billion bushels of corn, 40 percent of this year’s crop.

Other countries seem to have a better grasp of market forces and common sense. Brazil, another large ethanol producer, uses sugar instead of corn to make ethanol. It has flexible policies that allow the market to determine whether sugar should be sold on the sugar market or be converted to fuel. Our government could learn from the Brazilian approach and direct the E.P.A. to waive a portion of the renewable-fuel standards, thereby directing corn back to the marketplace. Under the law, the E.P.A. would first have to determine that the program was causing economic harm. That’s a no-brainer, given the effects of sharply higher grain prices that are already rippling through the economy.

The price of corn is a critical variable in the world food equation, and food markets are on edge because American corn supplies are plummeting. The combination of the drought and American ethanol policy will lead in many parts of the world to widespread inflation, more hunger, less food security, slower economic growth and political instability, especially in poor countries.

If the E.P.A. were to waive the rules for this year and next, the ethanol industry and corn farmers, who have experienced a years-long windfall, would lose out. Wheat and soybean farmers would also lose, because the prices of those crops have also been driven up: corn competes with soybeans for acreage and is substituted for wheat in some feed rations.

Any defense of the ethanol policy rests on fallacies, primarily these: that ethanol produced from corn makes the United States less dependent on fossil fuels; that ethanol lowers the price of gasoline; that an increase in the percentage of ethanol blended into gasoline increases the overall supply of gasoline; and that ethanol is environmentally friendly and lowers global carbon dioxide emissions.

The ethanol lobby promotes these claims, and many politicians seem intoxicated by them. Corn is indeed a renewable resource, but it has a far lower yield relative to the energy used to produce it than either biodiesel (such as soybean oil) or ethanol from other plants. Ethanol yields about 30 percent less energy per gallon than gasoline, so mileage drops off significantly. Finally, adding ethanol actually raises the price of blended fuel because it is more expensive to transport and handle than gasoline.

As the summer drags on, the drought is only worsening. Last week the International Grains Council lowered its estimate of this year’s American corn harvest to 11.8 billion bushels from 13.8 billion. Reducing the renewable-fuel standard by a mere 20 percent — equivalent to about a billion bushels of corn — would offset nearly half of the expected crop loss due to the drought.

All it would take is the stroke of a pen — and, of course, the savvy and the will to do the right thing.


U.S. Navy declares war on fossil fuel

Biofuel fiasco has high price

If America had a Spend Like a Drunken Sailor Award, Navy Secretary Ray Mabus would win hands-down for blowing $12 million on biofuel for Navy ships.

Even as the armed services face drastic budget cuts under automatic sequestration and other proposals undermining our national security, Mr. Mabus and President Obama clearly believe “it’s only taxpayer money.”

In fairness, Mr. Mabus‘ Great Green Fleet of ships and fighter jets performed well during recent military exercises off Hawaii, burning blends of 50 percent biofuels and 50 percent conventional fuels. But the price tag makes the fleet a poster child for wasteful government spending.

The exercises cost the Navy nearly $27 per gallon for 450,000 gallons of biofuels produced from algae, waste grease and animal fat — versus around $3.50 for standard petroleum fuels.

The only way the Navy looks good in this fiasco is in comparison to the Air Force, which spent $59 a gallon for alcohol-based jet fuel and $67 per gallon for camelina-based F-22 Raptor fuel. The Navy, however, also purchased of 20,000 gallons of renewable diesel fuel in 2009 for $424 a gallon.

If Mr. Mabus achieves his goal and persuades the Navy to make half of its fuel “green” by 2020, the higher-cost biofuels could add $1.9 billion annually to Navy’s fuel bill, according to a Defense Department study. That extra outlay would pay for a new DDG-51 destroyer and comes as the Defense Department budget faces $13 billion in cuts for Navy shipbuilding over the next four years.

Add to that boatloads of additional taxpayer dollars that would be wasted if the Army, Air Force and Marines also switch from abundant, affordable, reliable, proven petroleum fuels to unaffordable and unsustainable biofuels. The Pentagon’s green-spending spree makes the General Services Administration binge on lavish travel, conferences and entertainment look like chump change. Maybe the Navy ought to replace its “Beat Army” football battle cry with “Beat GSA.”

Worse, on top of paying these enormous sums for biofuels, the Navy and Departments of Agriculture and Energy agreed last summer that each would “invest $170 million directly in biorefineries to kick-start the flagging industry,” Wired magazine reported. The $510 million total equals the Solyndra solar-panel loan guarantee debacle.

What’s next in the drive to end Defense Department fossil fuel use? Using fuel efficiency to justify “slimming down” armor and armament for personnel vehicles, tanks, fighter jets, aircraft carriers and missile cruisers? Or shrinking the U.S. military to the size and capability of its French, German or Greek counterparts?

The Navy biofuels program doesn’t turn 40 percent of the U.S. corn crop into ethanol. However, the entire United States does not have enough chicken fat and waste grease to fuel the Navy — and collecting and refining it would be a budget-busting logistical nightmare. Moreover, camelina and other nonfood crops still require vast amounts of land, water, energy, fertilizer and pesticides.

Growing sufficient quantities of algae to meet the Mabus-Obama green-fuel pipe dreams would require enormous onshore and offshore algae ponds, sending environmentalists storming into courthouses.

Protecting the military from oil price spikes is equally specious. If every $1 in higher oil prices costs the military $30 million, as White House climate czar Heather Zichal claims, a $23- to $63-per-gallon price differential between conventional and biofuel will cost it $690 million to $1.9 billion.

As for enhancing supply lines and national security, does Mr. Mabus intend to build enough biofuel refineries to equal the conventional refineries and fleet-servicing ports worldwide that safeguard supplies? Or to commission specialized ships that strain algae from seawater like baleen whales, convert it to fuel onboard and store it in tankers?

Even ignoring the absence of empirical evidence that carbon dioxide is driving catastrophic global warming, it beggars belief that the White House, Congress or the Defense Department would even consider compromising military preparedness, missions and safety to promote climate-change ideology. Moreover, any net carbon-dioxide reductions resulting from the use of biofuels would be more than offset by increases from China, India and other rapidly developing countries.

Fortunately, many in Congress understand that “adopting a ‘green agenda’ for national defense is a terrible misplacement of priorities,” as Sen. John McCain, Arizona Republican and former Navy pilot, aptly put it. House-passed legislation would bar the Defense Department from buying biofuels that cost more than conventional fuels, and Sen. James M. Inhofe, Oklahoma Republican, has proposed similar action in the Senate.


Fish lovers versus bird lovers in Britain

Anglers have infuriated the bird watching community by calling for a cull of cormorants. They are calling for a mass campaign against the birds – nicknamed the Black Death - which they say are demolishing fish stocks.

But bird watchers say fishermen’s ‘single minded’ pursuit of the birds is unnecessary and are fighting to retain protection for them.

Britain’s cormorants are said to consume 23,000 pounds of fish a day, including young salmon, silver fish, eels and trout.

The Angling Trust, which has three million affiliated members, say some fisheries have been virtually destroyed and tackle shops have been forced to close due to the menace.

It launched the Action on Cormorants campaign yesterday calling for them to be generally licenced for culling, like magpies and crows, which can be killed if they threaten agriculture or public health.

No general licences have ever been granted to protect fishing and the RSPB say cormorant numbers are not big enough to withstand an ‘open season’ on them by anglers.

The simmering row wratcheted up yesterday (Mon) as the Angling Trust handed out 80,000 postcards for members to send to their MPs to try and get fisheries minister Richard Benyon to agree a cull.

Angling Trust chief executive Mark Lloyd said ‘This is an opportunity for thousands of anglers to stand up and be counted.

‘We’re letting MPs know that we care passionately about protecting our fish stocks and that we want action on cormorants now.
Fisheries Minister Richard Benyon is under pressure to agree a cull of cormorants

Fisheries Minister Richard Benyon is under pressure to agree a cull of cormorants. ‘We want a new system that will give fishery managers the opportunity to control these birds responsibly without expensive and unnecessary bureaucracy.’

George Hollingbery, vice-chairman of the All Party Parliamentary group on angling said: ‘I’ve witnessed first-hand the damage that squadrons of cormorants have done to my local waters, where, in some cases fish stocks have been so badly depleted that they are no longer functioning fisheries.’

On the river Lee in London anglers claim to have spent £40,000 on re-stocking fish but in a recent match the biggest fish caught was just 13 ounces.

At Holme Pierrpoint near Nottingham, anglers say only 25 per cent of the fish are left. In Kent, where up to 60 birds a day visit a trout fishery the owner is only allowed a licence to kill four of them in a year.

Anglers say the current measures - whereby they can apply for a specific licence for their own use - are too complicated.

The campaign is backed by celebrity anglers including TV presenter Chris Tarrant. He said: ‘It’s taken absurdly long for people to realise the damage to fish populations, other wildlife and the whole environment that cormorants have been doing for too many years.

‘Many of our finest, most beautiful and most famous waterways have been skinned by these predatory birds. Some of the flocks are enormous and the current regulations are hopelessly inadequate to control them.’

However Grahame Madge of the RSPB said there are already provisions to control cormorants – 2,000 were culled with special licences in 2010.

He said: ‘There are already provisions to control cormorants which are already higher than we would comfortably agree with and they don’t seem to have any increasing evidence of cormorant predation on fish.

‘We appreciate they can be a problem at certain fisheries but are non-lethal steps they can take to protect their stock such as underwater reefs which give young fish protection from predators.

‘If they were put on licence, there would be no limit on the numbers killed and no proper monitoring to ensure they are not taking more than the population could withstand and see their numbers substantially reduced.

‘We have been talking to anglers about this for year and investing in research which shows there are measures they can take. But the angling fraternity seem to want to turn their back on all that dialogue held in good faith and go out and kill cormorants which we think is unacceptable.’



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1 comment:

Joseph said...

If windmills kill birds and birds kill fish then windmills will increase the fish supply. They might be worthwhile for reasons other than generating energy.