Wednesday, 21 March 2007

Great Climate Change Swindle

To anybody who didn't watch the Great Climate Change Swindle program two weeks ago you may be thinking the title of todays blog relates to the meagre green budget. If you did watch the program though, it may have come as a suprise to you that anthropogenic climate change doesn't actually exist. To anybody that reads the Canada Post, it will not have come as a suprise at all. For years we have been told that Climate Change isn't happening, but very few people know why, and now thanks to a Marxist the light has been revealed to us, in the same way we were enlightened to get Breast Implants (I know i have mine).

Okay, this really kicked off in the media, there wasn't a day last week when i wasn't woken up in the morning by John Humphries (Today Program on Radio 4), talking about the Great Climate Change Swindle. One morning I believe it was the Producer of the program (Hamish Mykura) who woke me, proclaiming that the program was a mere polemic that represented the minority of scientists, although after trawling through the net, i couldn't find any evidence of Channel 4 advertising it as such, nor any mention of its polemical status in the program. Instead i would refer to the programin the same way that one of its participants Carl Wunsch (Professor of Physical Oceanography, MIT) did;

"Channel 4 now says they were making a film in a series of "polemics". There is nothing in the communication we had (much of it on the telephone or with the film crew on the day they were in Boston) that suggested they were making a film that was one-sided, anti-educational, and misleading. I took them at face value---clearly a great error. I knew I had no control over the actual content, but it never occurred to me that I was dealing with people who already had a reputation for distortion and exaggeration."

The whole letter can be found here

Anyway, I thought this would be a great chance to put an overview out, giving you many of the debunkings of the debunking. I can't tell you how sad it makes me hearing people at work telling me climate change doesn't exist because of evidence put forward by old papers that have since been proven wrong by peer reviewed papers.

First up is the George Monbiot's article in the Guardian yesterday (if you haven't read his book yet, i can recommend it), i like the point about cherry-picking results, and feel like writing a paper on how i am the worlds greatest athlete. Hamish Mykura, has written a response to this in todays Guardian , i will write more on this at the weekend, when i have time to take a look at the papers cited.

Secondly, we are back to which is science news tastic, the particular article of relevance is Swindled!

This is a direct response to the program;

This is what the majority of climate change scientists believe about Solar Flaring (difficult to read, but worth it);

This is how to counter arguments about climate change;

And this is where the agenda should be;

The others are the articles published in the broadsheets, the Guardian here, the Independent here and the Times here.

So what can you do about it? Complain to these guys , seriously, the program was totally biased and irresponsible, in fact send this email to everyone that has watched this program.

Enjoy reading and/or complaining, and remember, next time you run a stall, you will most likely be asked these questions, do you have the rhetoric?

Phil Burrows

Birmingham Climate Change Strategy

Birmingham Strategic Partnership's public consultation on the draft Birmingham Climate Change Strategy and Action Plan ends on 31st March 2007 - next week!!

You can view a pdf of the draft Strategy document and complete the electronic questionnaire - or just pledge your support for the principle of a climate change strategy for the city - at the BSP website, Alternatively, you can send your comments to:

James Botham
Birmingham Strategic Partnership
26 Waterloo Street
B2 5TJ

Fax: 0121 303 9492 E-mail:


Monday, 19 March 2007

Urban wind turbine for Kings Norton

I was really pleased to go to Primrose Hill Primary School in Kings Norton last Thursday where they unveiled their new very fancy wind turbine.

Primrose Hill School is within the Three Estates area of Kings Norton and its intake generally goes not have a privileged intake, although to go that school, I reckon the school makes up for it. I would have loved to have spent my primary school days there.

This is no toy wind turbine - this is pretty big: 50 feet tall (15 metres in new money?) and 8 foot blades (2.5 metres) in length. It is enough to provide a third of all the school's energy needs and is connected to the national grid so no electricity generated at night, for example, is lost.

What's so impressive though is not that some Government officer went to the school and told them they want to put a turbine there. It was the School's own staff, Head Teacher and Chair of Governors (Birmingham Friends of the Earth's own Nigel Baker) who pushed this forward. With the help of Phil Beardmore, Mandy Ross and others from the Birmingham Sustainable Energy Partnership, Primrose Hill got a 50% grant from the Government. This left some serious fundraising to do at the school. Despite not being in a wealthy area, the school managed it. All credit to them.

On the launch day itself, teacher Eleanor Hoad organised a fantastic energy bazaar with various organisations coming along and lots of interactive activities set up to capture children's imagingation and teach them about the environment at the same time. To be honest, our stall, manned by myself, was pretty lost when other people had fancy light boxes, free chocolate, paddling pools and bikes to power machines. It was still worthwhile though and engaged people in an area we generally don't go to with street stalls. The bazaar glamourised renewable energy as it should be.

Local MP Lynne Jones, who has often supported Birmingham FoE in the past, gave a great speech about the importance of developing energy efficient schools as they are the foundations of the future and renewable energy is an essential part of that! She urged the school to go further and become carbon neutral. It just happens that the school is already looking into getting solar photovoltaics!

This school has cut carbon emissions by around 33% in one year. Suddenly makes Friends of the Earth's "Big Ask" for 3% cuts in emissions per year on a national basis seem very possible!

All credit has to go to Primrose Hill for their initiative, leadership and creating such a prominent and positive symbol that the Three Estates area and school children can be proud of.

Chris Williams

Thursday, 1 March 2007

Prising me off the sofa

I've recently started attending Monday night Meetings at the Birmingham FOE Warehouse although I've been paid up member for at least 10 years. The one thing that's prised me off the sofa is you guessed it , Climate Change, and whilst I'm aware that BFOE gets involved with a number of other good (and related) causes, local Railway lines , Bus lanes , recycling to name a few this is the subject that most motivates me.

In the wake of last year's Stern Report on the economics of climate change and the more recent IPCC (International Panel on Climate Change) scientific analysis of how far gone we are, it appears that denial is no longer an option for all but the most hardened Climate Change refuseniks, they won't act till the Thames is lapping up to the Houses of Parliament .

But by then it'll be too late !

There seem to be 2 divergent views of the world . One you can see anytime you watch a holiday program with its globe trotting presenters happily describing the latest fantastic secluded beach or resort. No mention of what we're doing to the planet with our lifestyles , it's business as usual. Contrast this with the future as seen by author James Lovelock where by the end of century (with a 6.4C deg rise in temperature) he envisages the end of Life on Earth outside the polar regions !

The Stern report which says that action to prevent Climate Change is far cheaper than remedial action post change destroys the Bush argument for refusing to ratify the Kyoto protocol on economic grounds ; doing nothing will hurt far more ! The IPCC report's similarly uncompromising findings leave little room for complacency .

Yet it seems to me that if people and government have the will humanity can change its ways . New technologies, recycling, energy-saving measures, insulation, efficiency, Councils and Governments leading by example and providing stick and carrot incentives to both the individual and companies. Green politics are now more mainstream than they have ever been and Greenies are no longer considered eccentric . If the will is there things can change , a good example of this being the way ecomomies transform themselves at time of war . But the will has to be there !

On an individual level some things are comparitively easy. Walk more or use the bike, turn things off when they're not in use, switch to a Green Energy provider (but a genuine one !!) , insulate your home, try wearing a jumper if you're cold. Perhaps harder for us to countenance consider holidaying without flying, change an old boiler for a more efficient system, use the car less !

On the broader level bringing about change is probably harder , pressuring the Council, Government and Industry for change ! This is fairly new to me and I confess I find it daunting but I think it's a challenge worth facing !

Andy Welch