Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Scientists reject Sandy/Climate Link -- Round Up of Hurricane Sandy Reactions

'The 'new normal' for climate activists is their ever shifting claims as they morph the entire AGW argument to focus on extreme weather. They are exploiting any weather event to promote their religion-like cause

NOAA's Martin Hoerling rejects 'Frankenstorm' climate link: 'This is not some spell conjured upon us by great external forces....unless you believe in the monster flicks of Universal Studios fame!' -- Meteorologist Hoerling of NOAA: 'The immediate cause is most likely little more than the coincidental alignment of a tropical storm with an extratropical storm. Both frequent W. Atlantic in Oct....nothing unusual with that'

Frankenscience: 'Sandy doesn't tell us anything about climate change' -- Prof. Pielke Jr.: 'We've done long-term trends with respect to hurricane damage in the United States, and it's very safe to say that regardless of how [Sandy] plays out, there's a century-long time series with no trend in it — and that's in damage, the number of landfalls, or the intensity of storms at landfall. So, if you are looking for signals of long-term climate change, focusing in on any one storm is the wrong way to go about it to begin with'

Sandy caused by global warming? 'The science of climate change & hurricanes does not support this conclusion' -- It's 'just not supported by science at this time' -- Houston Chronicle's Science guy Eric Berger: ' is a big stretch to go from there to blaming Sandy on climate change. It's a stretch that is just not supported by science at this time'

Climatologist Dr. Patrick Michaels on Sandy: 'It's also consistent with a planet with colder temperatures as well as one with warmer ones' -- Michaels: 'More important, events like this are inevitable on a planet that has an ocean with the geography of the Atlantic (meaning a Gulf Stream-like feature), a large north-south continent on its western margin without a transverse mountain range to inhibit the merger of tropical warmth with polar cold, and four seasons in the temperate latitudes'

German Meteorological Expert Says: 'No Evidence Showing Link Between Storms And Global Warming' -- Meteorologist Dr. Karsten Brandt: 'Brandt said that by looking back at the global data available over the last decades, there's 'no indication or evidence showing there's been an increase in storm activity. The data don't show it.' He added: 'Luckily we don't need to worry much about increasing storms in the future'

Prof. Roger Pielke Jr.: 'Remarkably, the U.S. is currently experiencing the longest-ever recorded period with no strikes of a Category 3 or stronger hurricane'

Hurricane Expert Chris Landsea: Any connection between AGW & hurricanes is 'almost certainly undetectable' -- '...and that this view is not particularly controversial among tropical cyclone climatologists. He concluded that hurricanes should not be the 'poster' representing a human influence on climate...Chris responded that asserting such a connection can be easily shown to be incorrect and thus risks some of the trust that the public has in scientists to play things straight'

Prof. Judith Curry on Sandy: 'Kevin Trenberth frequently says that global warming is affecting all of weather' -- Curry: 'Trenberth s probably right, but apart from the relative magnitude of the effect, this begs the question as to whether the effect is good or bad; arguably in terms of Atlantic hurricanes, the warming is resulting in FEWER U.S. landfalls'

More HERE  (See the original for links)

Shale rescues America while Europe sucks its thumb

The wonders of US shale gas continue to amaze. We receive fresh evidence by the day that swathes of American industry have acquired a massive and lasting advantage in energy costs over global rivals, demolishing assumptions about US economic decline.

Royal Dutch Shell is planning an ethane plant in the once-decaying steel valley of Beaver County, near Pittsburg. Dow Chemical is shutting operations in Belgium, Holland, Spain, the UK, and Japan, but pouring money into a propylene venture in Texas where natural gas prices are a fraction of world levels and likely to remain so for the life-cycle of Dow's investments.

Some fifty new projects have been unveiled in the US petrochemical industry. A $30bn investment blitz in underway in ethelyne and fetilizer plants alone.

A study by the American Chemistry Council said the shale gas bonanza has reversed the fortunes of the chemical, plastics, aluminium, iron and steel, rubber, coated metals, and glass industries. "This was virtually unthinkable five years ago," said the body’s president, Cal Dooley.

This is happening just as other clusters of manufacturing - machinery, electrical products, transport equipment, furniture, etc - are "re-shoring" back from from China to the US. A 16pc annual rise in Chinese wages over the last decade has changed the game. PricewaterhouseCoopers calls it the "Homecoming".

The revival of the chemical industry is a spin-off from the greater drama of America’s energy rebound, though a very big one. As many readers will have seen, the US energy department said last week that the country will produce 11.4m barrels a day (b/d) of oil, biofuels, and liquid hydrocarbons next year, almost as much as Saudi Arabia.

America looks poised to become the world’s biggest producer in 2014. It will approach the Holy Grail of "energy independence" before the end of the decade.

This is largely due to hydraulic fracturing - blasting rock with water jets - to extract shale gas and oil, though solar power and onshore wind are playing their part.

Europe is going in the opposite direction, drifting towards energy suicide. So is Japan as it shuts down its nuclear industry after the Fukushima disaster. China is more hard-headed, as it needs to be. The country is adding 20m cars a year. Chinese oil imports are rising by an extra 0.5m b/d annually.

As of last week, US natural gas prices were roughly one third of European levels. The German chemicals group BASF said it had become impossible to match the US on production costs.

Asia is facing an even greater handicap as Japan soaks up supply of liquefied natural gas (LNG) to offset the closure of its nuclear power stations. Prices on the Pacific rim are near $15 per million British thermal units (BTU), compared to $3 in the US.

The US cost of ethane - the raw material for polymers and much of what we use - has collapsed by 70pc since 2008. It is why Exxon and Westlake Chemical are building new ethane plants in America, while loss-making Mitsubishi is closing its unit in Japan, and Mitsui may follow soon. Credit Suisse said ethane production is barely viable in Japan, Korea or Taiwan.

The gas differential with Europe and Asia will narrow gradually over time but there is no genuine global market for gas. Prices are local, dictated by pipelines. In Europe’s case they are dictated by Vladimir Putin’s Gazprom. Germany imports 36pc of its gas from Russia. Dependency rises to 48pc for Poland, 60pc for Hungary, 98pc for Slovakia, and 100pc for the Baltics.

While LNG helps plug shortages, it requires shipping at minus 116 degrees and at great expense in molybdenum alloy hulls. It then needs an elaborate infrastructure at the docking port.

Shale has made the US self-sufficient in gas almost overnight. The new twist of course is shale oil. Output has jumped to 2m b/d from almost nothing eight years ago. The Bakken field in North Dakota is twice as big as the conventional Prudhoe Bay field in Alaska.

America produced 81pc of its total energy needs in the first six months of this year, the highest since 1991. Citigroup thinks US ouput of crude and eqivalents will top 15.6m b/d by 2020, adding up to 3.6m jobs through multiplier effects. North America as a whole will reach 27m b/d - with Canada’s oil sands and Mexico’s deepwater fields - making the region a "new Middle East".

The implications are momentous. America will no longer need a single drop of oil from the Islamic world. The strategic burden will fall on Europe, which is meekly disarming itself to meet Wolfgang Schauble's austerity targets. Russia and China will be pleased to help.

What is staggering is the near total failure of Europe’s leaders to face up to this new world order, or to prepare for their energy crunch ahead. They have spent the last decade wrangling over treaties that nobody wants, endlessly tinkering with institutional structures, and ultimately holding 22 summits to "save" EMU, largely oblivious to the bigger danger ahead.

Germany is to shut down its nuclear plants by 2022, reluctant to admit that this can be replaced only by coal - and even then with great difficulty. It is opting instead for the romantic quest of a politically-correct grid. The goal is to raise the share of renewables from 20pc to 35pc by 2020 at a cost of €200bn, and then to green supremacy by mid-decade for another €600bn.

Germany seems to think it can power Europe’s foremost industrial machine from off-shore wind in the Baltic, without the high-voltage wires running from North to South yet built or on track to be built. "It is a religion, not a policy," said one German official privately, warning that his country is already "very near blackouts". He fears an almighty national disaster.

"There is huge fear about the energy switch," said Volker Treier from the German Chambers of Industry. "We have no realistic plan to replace nuclear power. Electricity costs are already very high. Everybody is complaining about this."

The risk is that Germany will hit its aging crunch later this decade with no viable power system in place, having discovered that the contingent liabilities of EMU rescues are real liabilities - and bigger than German citizens were led to believe. You could scarcely devise a more certain way to ruin a nation. My sympathies to German friends watching this unfold with horror.

France has shale but has imposed a drilling moratorium It will shut down a nuclear plant for good measure to appease the Greens. Italy has banned nuclear power, yet has little else.

Britain has been sauntering slowly towards a debacle for nearly fifteen years. Eight coal plants are to close by 2015 as they burn up their EU carbon allowances. Much of the UK’s nuclear industry is on its last legs. No new plant has yet been commissioned.

What we have is a very big gamble on off-shore wind, a very long way from where most people live. It will supposedly supply 17pc of UK electricity by 2020, equal to all other off-shore wind projects in the world combined. Let us pray that it works.

As the years recede from the credit crash of 2008, it is becoming clearer that America suffered less damage than supposed. The Great Recession was certainly a shock. The debt-load is frightening, but the US can at least hope to outgrow that debt.

What is remarkable is that Euroland is not cutting its combined public and private sector debt any faster than the US - as a share of GDP - by asphyxiating its economy. It is doing so more slowly. That is the difference between growth and recession.

They look only at public debt in Euroland, fixated myopically on one variable, ignoring the lessons of balance sheet recessions. Such is policy architecture of Europe.

Four years on we can seen that the epicentre of destruction has in reality been right here in the Old World. We may look back and realize that the last decade - the Merkel decade, the EMU distraction decade, and in its way the Brown decade - was the turning point when Europe finally lost its global footing.


Ground Breaking Paper Refutes the Greenhouse Gas Theory

International team of researchers confirms peer-reviewed new paper refutes the greenhouse gas theory, the cornerstone of science that claims human emissions of carbon dioxide dangerously warms the Earth. Principia Scientific International (PSI) today issues a press release for Joseph E. Postma’s astonishing game-changing publication  ‘A Discussion on the Absence of a Measurable Greenhouse Effect.’

PSI are adamant that what they have here compellingly debunks what a generation of government climatologists  incorrectly assumed i.e. that the flow of radiation in Earth’s atmosphere is indicative of the flow of heat. They endorse Postma’s findings and confirm that the issue was never really about whether radiation moves freely about in the atmosphere (it does), the  big question should have been whether once it has arrived at the surface: does it get more than one go at generating heat (i.e. “back radiation” heating)?

Along with other critical debunks beside this one, Postma and his colleagues say “no” because a) no such phenomenon as “back radiation heating” is cited in any thermodynamics textbooks and b) nor has any such effect been measured empirically. As the debate has raged in the blogosphere believers in the GHE were shown to be incapable of determining whether  to support the “back radiation” heating or the “delayed cooling” (i.e. “blanket effect”) argument for the GHE. But as Postma’s paper proves,  each of the ideas is a contradiction in terms and may separately be shown to not have any empirically proven basis. The Laws of Thermodynamics probably play a part in this.

Texan engineer, Joe Olson, speaking on behalf of his colleagues said this morning, “This paper has been assessed by a multi-disciplinary group of dedicated and trusted colleagues, we see there is so much original material here to establish a watershed.”   Climatologist Dr. Tim Ball is among those who assisted in developing the paper. Like the other 120 members of PSI (known in the blogosphere as the ‘Slayers’) Ball accepts that his and his colleagues’ credibility are at stake. Nonetheless, Ball and co. are adamant that if Postma’s findings are widely confirmed then future climate researchers may well be discussing the science in terms of “pre-Postma” and “post-Postma” analysis.

Hans Schreuder, who along with Alan Siddons, provided the core science upon which Postma’s paper was built, has laid down a bold challenge to the critics, “If they can demonstrate we are cranks then all power to them.”

Below is Postma’s summary as it appears on Page 54 of his paper:


The surface of albedo is not the ground surface, and so it never was correct to associate the radiative temperature of -180C with the ground surface in the first place when devising GHE equations, since the albedo is what determines the equilibrium temperature and the albedo is not found with the physical surface.


Even as the climate models show, an increase in cloud height causes an increase in temperature at the surface. This is not due to a backradiation GHE but due to the lapse rate of the atmosphere combined with the average surface of equilibrium being risen further off of the surface.


A real greenhouse doesn’t become heated by internal backradiation in any case, but from trapped warm air which is heated by contact with the internal surfaces heated by sunlight, and then physically prevented by a rigid barrier from convecting and cooling. The open atmosphere doesn’t do what a greenhouse doesn’t do in the first place, and the open atmosphere does not function as a rigid barrier either.


The heat flow ordinary differential equation of energy conservation is a fundamental equation of physics. It combines the fundamental mechanics of heat flow together with the most venerated law of science, conservation of energy. This equation predicts what should be observable if backradiation or heat-trapping is introduced to the equation, in accordance with the main idea of the atmospheric GHE, that a higher temperature than the insolation will be achieved. A higher-than-insolation temperature is not achieved in experimental data, and we make it clear how one could test the postulate with even more surety by using the “Bristol Board Experiment”.


An important factor for why the introduction of backradiation into the equation fails to match the real world is because radiation cannot actually increase its own Wien-peak frequency and its own spectral temperature signature; radiation cannot heat up its own source. The Laws of Thermodynamics are real and universal.


The rate of cooling at the surface is enhanced, rather than retarded, relative to the entire atmospheric column, by a factor of 10. Therefore, backradiation doesn’t seem to slow down the rate of cooling at the surface at all. Backradiation neither causes active heating, nor slowed cooling, at the surface. (Given Claes Johnson’s description of radiative heat transfer, radiation from a colder ambient radiative environment should slow down the rate of cooling, and we agree with that. What we didn’t agree with was that “slowed cooling” equated to “higher temperature” because that is obviously sophistic logic. And now in any case, it is apparent that sensible heat transfer from atmospheric contact at the surface dominates the radiative component process anyway, leading to ten times the rate of cooling at the surface relative to the rest of the column.)


Given the amount of latent heat energy actually stored (i.e. trapped) within the system, and that this energy comes from the Sun, and considering the Zero-Energy-Balance (ZEB) plot, it is quite apparent that this energy gets deposited in the equatorial regions and then shed in the polar regions. This trapped latent heat prevents the system from cooling much below 00C, which keeps the global average temperature higher than it would otherwise be and thus leads to an “interpreted appearance” of a GHE caused by “GHG trapping”, when the only trapping of energy is actually only in H2O latent heat.


Subsoil readings prove that a large amount of energy is held at a significant temperature (warmer than the surface) overnight, and because this soil is warmer than the surface, and the surface is warmer than the atmosphere, then the direction of heat flow is from the subsoil to the atmosphere. And as discussed, the atmosphere seems to enhance surface cooling rather than impede it.


The heat flow equation can be modeled to show that the Sun is capable of maintaining large amounts of water under the solar zenith at about 14 degrees C. This is very close to the surface average of +150C. The Sun can maintain a liquid ocean at +140C because it takes a long time for heated water to lose its thermal energy. This is also in combination with the surface of albedo being raised off the surface where the lapse rate will maintain a near-surface average of +150C in any case.


The issue has never been about whether radiation moves freely about in the atmosphere (it does), the question is whether once it has arrived at the surface, does it get more than one go at generating heat (i.e. “back radiation” heating)? We say “no” because a) no such phenomenon as “back radiation heating” is cited in any thermodynamics textbooks and b) nor has any such effect been measured empirically. GHE believers are left not knowing whether to support the “back radiation” heating or the “delayed cooling” (i.e. “blanket effect”) argument for the GHE; this is because each is a contradiction in terms and may separately be shown to not have any empirically proven basis. The Laws of Thermodynamics probably play a part in this.


As Alan Siddon’s has explained [41], it isn’t actually clear, and there seems to be a plain logical contradiction, when we consider the role of non-GHG’s under the atmospheric GHE paradigm. If non-GHG’s such as nitrogen and oxygen don’t radiate, then, aren’t they the ones trapping the thermal energy which they sensibly pick up from the sunlight-heated surface and from GHG’s? If on the other hand they do radiate, then aren’t they also GHG’s? If a GHG radiates, and the others gasses don’t, then doesn’t that mean that GHG’s cause cooling because they provide a means for the atmosphere to shed thermal energy? If the GHE is caused by trapping heat, then aren’t all non-GHG’s contributing to the effect since they can’t radiatively shed the thermal energy they pick up? Isn’t how we think of the GHE therefore completely backwards? In any case, everything with a temperature is holding heat; the only place trapping can be thought to be occurring is in latent heat.


Meghan McCain to GOP after Sandy: Do you still doubt climate change?

Megan and her fellow believers are out of their depth.  How can a storm or anything else be a result of global warming when there has been no warming for 16 years?
Political analyst Meghan McCain, daughter of Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), is challenging widespread GOP skepticism about climate change in the wake of Hurricane Sandy.

“So are we still going to go with climate change not being real fellow republicans [sic]?” McCain wrote, via Twitter, around midnight as the storm was slamming ashore.

McCain’s father has advocated for curbing greenhouse gas emissions and co-sponsored cap-and-trade bills several years ago.

However, substantial numbers of Republicans now dispute widely held scientific views about global warming and the extent of humans’ contribution.

As Sandy menaced the East Coast, some climate activists and scientists used the storm to point out links between climate change and extreme weather.

Scientists urge caution about attributing specific weather events to climate change. But experts warn that warmer ocean waters, greater atmospheric moisture and other factors are fueling the intensity of storms, and that rising sea levels will make coastal impacts worse.

A number of science writers in recent days have pointed to research on Atlantic cyclones published recently in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences by the University of Copenhagen’s Aslak Grinsted.

He concludes that warm years are more active, the largest cyclones are most affected by warmer conditions and that there’s a “statistically significant trend in the frequency of large surge events” over the last 90 years.


British Conservatives' Nightmare: Monster Power Bills Are A Guaranteed Vote-Loser

Consumers are having to bear the cost of big green subsidies. Rising bills are a guaranteed vote-loser, but the government is forging ahead with policies that make them unavoidable

Vincent De Rivaz, chief executive of EDF Energy, hunched over the microphone, nervously thumbing a sheaf of papers.

“We are on the brink of delivering an infrastructure project similar in scale to the London Olympics,” he told the panel of MPs. “But like all investors in capital-intensive infrastructure projects, we need to have a compelling business case . . . We must be honest. We must expect the unit price of electricity to increase.”

It was not the first time de Rivaz had made a pitch for higher household energy bills. His appearance last week before the Commons energy and climate change committee was the latest in a long-running campaign to secure Britain’s first new nuclear plant in more than two decades.

EDF plans to spend £14 billion on two reactors at Hinkley Point, Somerset. The quid pro quo demanded from the government is a guarantee that EDF will be able to charge well over double the current electricity price to ensure it makes money.

Negotiations about the final figure are in their closing stages and there could be an announcement by Christmas.

The nuclear guarantee is one of a raft of new charges being added to household bills. From carbon taxes to solar subsidies, the costs of Britain’s much-vaunted efforts to clean up the energy industry are feeding through to the customer.

It is a point the energy companies, including British Gas and Npower, were at pains to emphasise when they revealed another round of price increases this month. EDF announced a 10.8% rise last week, pushing the average annual dual-fuel bill to £1,334. Cue public outrage.

Seeking to quell the unrest, David Cameron made a rash pledge to force utilities to put households on their lowest-priced deals. John Hayes, the energy minister, quickly softened that stance.

The mixed messages are a sign of the wider conflict in Whitehall. Rising bills are a guaranteed vote-loser, but the government is forging ahead with policies that make them unavoidable.

Consider the case of British Gas. The average annual bill from Britain’s biggest utility rose by £183 between 2007 and 2011. Nearly one-third of that, £56, was a result of green taxes and related government-imposed charges. The rise in low-carbon fees represented a 60% jump — twice the rate of increase in the wholesale gas price, the biggest component of power bills.

That trend is gaining momentum. Andrew Horstead of Utilyx, the energy consultancy, said: “At the moment, about 55% of the bill is the commodity price, while the rest is green taxes and related costs. By 2020, you’ll see those percentages flip as the new charges feed through.”

The government’s controversial solar power subsidy is a good example. Greg Barker, the climate change minister, was forced into an embarrassing U-turn last year after the government was overwhelmed by interest in the feed-in tariff, which guarantees rates for electricity produced by solar panels.

Barker slashed the payout by more than 70% for large installations and by half for the smaller ones found on homes. Several solar panel producers and installers have sued the government over the cut. Even so, tens of thousands of people got in before the change took effect.

The upshot is that the government is locked in to paying hundreds of millions in solar subsidies for the next 25 years. That is the equivalent of an extra £2.19 on the £45 per megawatt hour (MWh) wholesale power price — a charge that did not exist a few years ago.

There are others. In April, the carbon price floor will kick in. This new emissions tax will require industrial plants, manufacturers and power producers to pay at least £15.70 for each ton of carbon dioxide they emit. The levy will rise every year, reaching £30 by 2020.

For householders, the carbon floor will translate into an estimated £2 per MWh of electricity. By 2020, that will rise to at least £14, according to Utilyx.

Next year will also see the main subsidy for pricey renewable technologies such as wind and biomass — renewable obligation certificates — rise slightly to £8.70 per MWh.

All of the above, of course, will be added to bills on top of any additional surge in the gas price, which has risen by a third in the past two years.

The government has done its best to play down the impact. Indeed, the Department of Energy and Climate Change has predicted the measures will actually lead to savings. It argues that widespread implementation of energy efficiency measures will reduce demand and therefore bills.


Blackout Britain is back

Memories of WWII.  Now it's the Green Nazis behind it

Huge swathes of Britain are being plunged into darkness as more and more streetlights are switched off by councils and roads authorities.  Lights are being turned off on motorways and major roads, in town centres and residential streets, and on footpaths and cycle ways, as councils try to save money on energy bills and meet carbon emission targets. The switch-off begins as early as 9pm.

They are making the move despite concerns from safety campaigners and the police that it would lead to an increase in road accidents and crime.

The full extent of the blackout can be disclosed following an investigation by The Sunday Telegraph - which comes on the day that clocks moved back an hour, making it dark earlier in the evening - and found that:

*    3,080 miles of motorways and trunk roads in England are now completely unlit;

*    a further 47 miles of motorway now have no lights between midnight and 5am, including one of Britain’s busiest stretches of the M1, between Luton and Milton Keynes;

*    out of 134 councils which responded to a survey, 73% said they had switched off or dimmed some lights or were planning to;

 *   all of England’s 27 county councils have turned off or dimmed street lamps in their areas.

The vast majority of councils have chosen to turn lights off at night, at times when they say there is less need for them, while others have installed lamps which can be dimmed.

Local authorities say the moves helps reduce energy bills, at a time when energy prices are continuing to rise. Several of the big energy companies have unveiled price hikes in recent weeks, including British Gas, npower and EDF Energy - which this week said it was increasing its standard variable prices for gas and electricity customers by 10%.

Some councils expect to save hundreds of thousands of pounds by turning off lights at night or converting them to dimmer switches.

However some councils admit they may not see savings for another four or five years because of the cost of installing new lights, dimmer switches and complex control systems.

And some councils - as well as the Highways Agency, responsible for motorways and major A roads - say that the lights are being turned off to meet “green” targets to cut carbon emissions, by reducing electricity use.

Critics say that spending money to meet the targets is a poor use of public funds in a time of recession.

The increasing black-out was criticised last night by safety and motoring organisations, who said the economic and environmental benefits were being over-stated and warned that less street lighting would lead to more accidents and more crime.

A spokesman for the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents said: “The presence of lighting not only reduces the risk of traffic accidents but also their severity. Surveys have show that the public are in favour of street lighting as a way of improving road safety and that, if anything, it needs to be improved in some areas.

“There are economic and environmental reasons why some organisations may wish to reduce the amount of lighting. However there are safety reasons why lighting needs to be available.”

Paul McClenaghan, commercial director at Halfords, said: “Poor lighting or none at all can make it very difficult for motorists to see hazards or objects clearly at night. Added to this Government figures show that road accidents increase in the week after the clocks change, so it is clear that extra vigilance is needed at this time of the year, from motorists, cyclists and pedestrians.”

Paul Watters, head of roads policy at the AA, said: “We do know that most accidents happen in the dark, its also comforting for people, especially if they arrive back from somewhere in the night, when they have got a late train. There are also suggestions that it increases crime. So it may save money in terms of energy but then you have to look at the cost in terms of security, safety and accidents, it may actually be more. We have even heard that some milkmen are having more trips and falls, so it has had some implications you might not think about.

“Motorway drivers don’t like changing situations, from light to dark and dark to light, but I don’t think we would argue for no lighting at all. It is extremely comforting for drivers, especially in bad weather.”

The switch-off of motorway lights means that 70 per cent of the network is now unlit at night. Sections of the M1, M2, M27, M4, M48, M5, M54, M58, M6, M65 and M66 are now unlit from midnight.

One of the sections of the M1 is a 15-mile stretch from just north of Luton to the outskirts of Milton Keyns, one of the heaviest-used sections of any british road.

The Highways Agency said the full-switch off had saved it £400,000 last year, while reducing carbon emissions, and said it planned further blackouts.

Meanwhile 98 councils said they have switched off or dimmed lights, or planned to in the future.

In Shropshire, 12,500 - 70 per cent of the area’s lights - are now switched off between midnight and 5.30am, while Derbyshire County Council plans to turn off 40,000 lights at night. In Lincolnshire, some are turned off from as early as 9pm.

Leicestershire County Council expects to save £800,000 a year in energy bills by adapting one third of the country’s 68,000 street lights so that they can be dimmed or turned off at night.

Caerphilly in Wales no longer lights industrial estates overnight and Bradford dims 1,800 of its 58,000 street lights between 9.30pm and 5.30am.

However Worcestershire County Council postponed plans to switch off and dim lights after it found it would cost more money to implement the scheme than it would save. The authority currently pays £2 million a year to run 52,000 street lights but it found that to reduce that bill by £600,000 a year it would need to invest £3.4 million first. It is now running a trial to dim some lights before a final decision is made.

In many areas councils have received complaints from residents.

Caroline Cooney, an actress who complained to Hertfordshire County Council when the lights near her home in Bishop’s Stortford were switched off after midnight, said she faced a “black hole” when she returned home from working in the West End of London.  “My street is completely canopied by large tress and I could not see my hand in front of my face,” she said.

Mrs Cooney, who appeared in Gregory’s Girl and who has also appeared in Casualty, said it was putting people in danger and the council was effectively imposing a “midnight curfew on residents who do not want to take the risk of walking home blind”.

“When I came out of the train station it was just like a black hole,” she said.  “I simply cannot risk walking home in what is effectively pitch blackness.”

However the council told her it could not “provide tailored street lighting for each individual’s particular needs”




Preserving the graphics:  Graphics hotlinked to this site sometimes have only a short life and if I host graphics with blogspot, the graphics sometimes get shrunk down to illegibility.  From January 2011 on, therefore, I have posted a monthly copy of everything on this blog to a separate site where I can host text and graphics together -- which should make the graphics available even if they are no longer coming up on this site.  See  here and here


1 comment: said...

Actually, Sandy was caused by the Russians.

(Or, maybe space aliens)