The UNREAL climate change thread

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Re: The UNREAL climate change thread

Post  eddie on Sat Jul 09, 2011 6:14 pm

For as long as I can remember we've almost always had rain in London over the Summer months, but over the past few years it's been a different kind of rain:

Short, violent, 'tropical' downpours.

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Re: The UNREAL climate change thread

Post  eddie on Sat Jul 23, 2011 4:14 pm

The God Species by Mark Lynas - review

A brave look at the environment

Peter Forbes guardian.co.uk, Wednesday 20 July 2011 10.00 BST


Drought-hit northern Kenya. Photograph: Stephen Morrison/EPA

The political and environmental profile of climate change has been dramatically reconfigured in the past two years. A wave of activism has dissipated and a broad consensus on the necessary measures broken thanks to the failed Copenhagen summit and the anti-global-warming lobby's apparent triumph in the Climategate emails affair. Mark Lynas is one of a growing band of influential figures, along with James Lovelock, Stewart Brand and George Monbiot, who now argue that the approach of most Greens to climate change needs to change.


The God Species: How the Planet Can Survive the Age of Humans by Mark Lynas

Lynas puts it briskly in this new book. "Gobal warming is not about overconsumption, morality, ideology or capitalism. It is largely the result of human beings generating energy by burning hydrocarbons and coal." Inevitably, the beliefs of most environmentalists involve a cluster of other goals and ideological imperatives but if some of these are inimical to the need to reduce carbon emissions then, Lynas believes, a decoupling is necessary.

Environmentalists, of course, do want to address global warming: Lynas's other target is the rather large constituency who feel the need to deny it altogether. I'm sure he's right when he divines a reason for the deniers' PR successes: "They tap into a powerful cultural undercurrent that insists we are small and the planet is big, ergo nothing we do – not even in our collective billions – can have a planet-scale impact." Later in the book he gives an excellent refutation of this in the example of Thomas Midgley, who single-handedly almost roasted the entire human race and rendered them brain-damaged. Midgley invented the refrigerants and aerosol propellants (CFCs) that began to eat the ozone layer and was also (this isn't mentioned in The God Species) a key developer of the lead tetraethyl additive for petrol. Lynas goes on to commend the 1987 Montreal Protocol on CFCs as an exemplar of the kind of international action we need on climate change.

He is level-headed about issues that have become intensely emotive, and recognises that the debate around climate change has become polarised on political grounds: libertarians with little understanding of science don't want to acknowledge that there are natural limits to human activity. They then feel free to equate the climate agenda with "socialism by the backdoor". But of course there really are natural limits, in the form of the great natural cycles: carbon, nitrogen, water, and so on.

Many human problems have too many contributory factors to allow cause to be unambiguously linked to effect, but Lynas is surely right that global warming is not one of them. The complexities only emerge in deciding exactly what mix of energy sources will best meet the target of reduced CO2 emissions, and how to fund it. Lynas's first wake-up call came when he became adviser on climate change to the low-lying Maldive Islands. As Dr Johnson might have put it: "When the Maldive Islands are sinking beneath the waves, it concentrates a man's mind wonderfully."

A second wake-up call came at a meeting in Sweden in 2009 when he encountered the Planetary Boundaries Group. This is a body of experts that is campaigning for the recognition that there are nine critical planetary limits. Lynas's purpose in this book is to explain and popularise this concept.

The nine boundaries are: climate change, biodiversity loss, biogeochemical cycles (such as nitrogen and phosphorous), ocean acidification, water consumption, land use, ozone depletion, atmospheric particulate pollution, and chemical pollution. Of these, the group believes that the first three have already passed the planet's limit, the next four haven't, and the last two have not yet been quantified.

It's certainly a useful concept for the kind of planetary management that Lynas believes is now necessary. He is wonderfully sane and cogent on difficult issues, explaining why organic farming is not an option globally and why we need genetically engineered crops. The natural limit to food production is set by nitrogen which, in a form usable by plants, is rare in nature. We owe our present 6.9bn population to the 100-year-old Haber-Bosch process of nitrogen fixation to produce fertilisers. Take that away and the current population is already twice the Earth's carrying capacity. Our best hope for the future is to genetically engineer a nitrogen-fixing plant (the green kind) to replace nitrogen-fixing plant (the heavy industrial kind).

Lynas bravely recounts how, as recently as 2008, he took part in anti-GM activism, which he now attributes to "mass hysteria". He had read not a single scientific paper on the subject until, following negative comments made online after an article he had written in this newspaper, he looked at the evidence and changed his mind. He has written the clearest exposition so far of the choices facing us. We may wince at the book's title (it derives from Stewart Brand's remark: "We are as gods and have to get good at it"), but Lynas is not playing God, simply making a passionate pitch for good global resource management.

Peter Forbes's Dazzled and Deceived: Mimicry and Camouflage (Yale) won the 2011 Warwick prize for writing.
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Re: The UNREAL climate change thread

Post  eddie on Fri Nov 04, 2011 11:34 pm

Today's METRO informs me that an iceberg the size of a small country is about to detach itself from the Antarctic ice-cap. Is this something I should be concerned about?
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Re: The UNREAL climate change thread

Post  eddie on Sat Nov 05, 2011 12:20 am

^

Just a red cross in a box, then. Nothing too alarming.
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Re: The UNREAL climate change thread

Post  Guest on Thu Dec 01, 2011 12:38 am


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Re: The UNREAL climate change thread

Post  eddie on Tue Dec 06, 2011 6:11 pm

pinhedz wrote:No polar bear? scratch


Steve Bell. The Guardian.
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Re: The UNREAL climate change thread

Post  Andy on Wed Dec 07, 2011 7:26 am

Source: http://www.giss.nasa.gov/research/briefs/hansen_15/

Earth's Climate History: Implications for Tomorrow

By James E. Hansen and Makiko Sato — July 2011


Humans lived in a rather different world during the last ice age, which peaked 20,000 years ago. An ice sheet covered Canada and parts of the United States, including Seattle, Minneapolis and New York City. The ice sheet, more than a mile thick on average, would have towered over today's tallest buildings. Glacial-interglacial climate oscillations were driven by climate forcings much smaller than the human-made forcing due to increasing atmospheric CO2 — but those weak natural forcings had a long time to operate, which allowed slow climate feedbacks such as melting or growing ice sheets to come into play

The past is the key to the future. Contrary to popular belief, climate models are not the principal basis for assessing human-made climate effects. Our most precise knowledge comes from Earth's paleoclimate, its ancient climate, and how it responded to past changes of climate forcings, including atmospheric composition. Our second essential source of information is provided by global observations today, especially satellite observations. which reveal how the climate system is responding to rapid human-made changes of atmospheric composition, especially atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2). Models help us interpret past and present climate changes, and, in so far as they succeed in simulating past changes, they provide a tool to help evaluate the impacts of alternative policies that affect climate.

Paleoclimate data yield our best assessment of climate sensitivity, which is the eventual global temperature change in response to a specified climate forcing. A climate forcing is an imposed change of Earth's energy balance, as may be caused, for example, by a change of the sun's brightness or a human-made change of atmospheric CO2. For convenience scientists often consider a standard forcing, doubled atmospheric CO2, because that is a level of forcing that humans will impose this century if fossil fuel use continues unabated.

We show from paleoclimate data that the eventual global warming due to doubled CO2 will be about 3°C (5.4°F) when only so-called fast feedbacks have responded to the forcing. Fast feedbacks are changes of quantities such as atmospheric water vapor and clouds, which change as climate changes, thus amplifying or diminishing climate change. Fast feedbacks come into play as global temperature changes, so their full effect is delayed several centuries by the thermal inertia of the ocean, which slows full climate response. However, about half of the fast-feedback climate response is expected to occur within a few decades. Climate response time is one of the important 'details' that climate models help to elucidate.



Figure 1: Global temperature relative to peak Holocene temperature, based on ocean cores. (View PDF of figure)

We also show that slow feedbacks amplify the global response to a climate forcing. The principal slow feedback is the area of Earth covered by ice sheets. It is easy to see why this feedback amplifies the climate change, because reduction of ice sheet size due to warming exposes a darker surface, which absorbs more sunlight, thus causing more warming. However, it is difficult for us to say how long it will take ice sheets to respond to human-made climate forcing because there are no documented past changes of atmospheric CO2 nearly as rapid as the current human-made change.

Ice sheet response to climate change is a problem where satellite observations may help. Also ice sheets models, as they become more realistic and are tested against observed ice sheet changes, may aid our understanding. But first let us obtain broad guidance from climate changes in the 'recent' past: the Pliocene and Pleistocene, the past 5.3 million years.

Figure 1 shows global surface temperature for the past 5.3 million years as inferred from cores of ocean sediments taken all around the global ocean. The last 800,000 years are expanded in the lower half of the figure. Assumptions are required to estimate global surface temperature change from deep ocean changes, but we argue and present evidence that the ocean core record yields a better measure of global mean change than that provided by polar ice cores.

Civilization developed during the Holocene, the interglacial period of the past 10,000 years during which global temperature and sea level have been unusually stable. Figure 1 shows two prior interglacial periods that were warmer than the Holocene: the Eemian (about 130,000 years ago) and the Holsteinian (about 400,000 years ago). In both periods sea level reached heights at least 4-6 meters (13-20 feet) greater than today. In the early Pliocene global temperature was no more than 1-2°C warmer than today, yet sea level was 15-25 meters (50-80 feet) higher.

The paleoclimate record makes it clear that a target to keep human made global warming less than 2°C, as proposed in some international discussions, is not sufficient — it is a prescription for disaster. Assessment of the dangerous level of CO2, and the dangerous level of warming, is made difficult by the inertia of the climate system. The inertia, especially of the ocean and ice sheets, allows us to introduce powerful climate forcings such as atmospheric CO2 with only moderate initial response. But that inertia is not our friend — it means that we are building in changes for future generations that will be difficult, if not impossible, to avoid.



Figure 2: Greenland (a) and Antarctic (b) mass change deduced from gravitational field measurements by Velicogna (2009) and best-fits with 5-year and 10-year mass loss doubling times. (View PDF of figure)

One big uncertainty is how fast ice sheets can respond to warming. Our best assessment will probably be from precise measurements of changes of the mass of the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets, which can be monitored via measurements of Earth's gravitational field by satellites.

Figure 2 shows that both Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets are now losing mass at significant rates, as much as a few hundred cubic kilometers per year. We suggest that mass loss from disintegrating ice sheets probably can be approximated better by exponential mass loss than by linear mass loss. If either ice sheet were to lose mass at a rate with doubling time of 10 years or less, multi-meter sea level rise would occur this century.

The available record (Fig. 2) is too brief to provide an indication of the shape of future ice mass loss, but the data will become extremely useful as the record lengthens. Continuation of these satellite measurements should have high priority.

A copy of this web page is also available as a PDF document.

References

Hansen, J.E., and Mki. Sato, 2011: Paleoclimate implications for human-made climate change. In Climate Change at the Eve of the Second Decade of the Century: Inferences from Paleoclimate and Regional Aspects: Proceedings of the Milutin Milankovitch 130th Anniversary Symposium. A. Berger, F. Mesinger, and D. Šijači, Eds. Springer, submitted.

Velicogna, I., 2009: Increasing rates of ice mass loss from the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets revealed by GRACE. Geophys. Res. Lett., 36, L19503, doi:10.1029/2009GL040222.

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Re: The UNREAL climate change thread

Post  Andy on Wed Dec 07, 2011 8:15 am

I just knew that posting here would elucidate the matter quickly.
Thank, Pinz!

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Re: The UNREAL climate change thread

Post  eddie on Wed Dec 07, 2011 11:00 am

Ice and easy: Henry Raeburn's Skating Minister

Throughout December, Jonathan Jones is selecting his top wintry artworks. Here, he admires Henry Raeburn's Reverend Robert Walker Skating on Duddingston Loch, a picture of perfect control on the slippery ice.

Jonathan Jones

guardian.co.uk, Tuesday 6 December 2011 10.41 GMT



Winter is freedom in Henry Raeburn’s portrait of a minister in black hat, coat and stockings skating on Duddingston Loch in about 1795. The confident grace of the Reverend Robert Walker as he slides with perfect control across a slippery sheet of frozen water is infectious; he makes it look so easy. He is a hero of the Scottish Enlightenment, expressing through his wintry flight what economists and historians were achieving in the Edinburgh of his day: the triumph of reason. The mountains beyond look truly bleak and terrible. But the skating minister floats in joy, taking his rational exercise

Photographer: Scottish National Gallery/Scottish National Gallery
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Re: The UNREAL climate change thread

Post  eddie on Mon Dec 12, 2011 8:53 am

Global Approval For Roadmap To Climate Pact
Sky News


Global Approval For Roadmap To Climate Pact

The world's nations have agreed to push for a new climate treaty which would deliver a legally-binding global deal to cut emissions - but environmentalists say it does not go far enough.

The deal came after two-and-a-half days of round-the-clock wrangling among 194 nations in Durban, South Africa, under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

European Climate Commissioner Connie Hedegaard said the agreement marked the shift that had occurred over the last 20 years, when the world first set out to tackle climate change and tied only rich countries to carbon constraints.

"The BASIC countries took some significant new steps in acknowledging that the world of the 21st century is not the same as the 20th century," she said referring to the four big emerging economies - Brazil, South Africa, India and China.

UNFCCC chief Christiana Figueres cited the words of Nelson Mandela when she tweeted: "In honour of Mandela: It always seems impossible until it is done. And it is done."

The UK's Climate Change Secretary Chris Huhne hailed the deal as a "significant step forward".

He said it also it sent a strong signal to businesses and investors about moving to a low carbon economy.

But environmental groups said negotiators had failed to show the ambition necessary to cut emissions by levels that would limit global temperature rises to no more than 2C and avoid "dangerous" climate change.

Keith Allott, head of climate change at WWF-UK, said: "Governments have salvaged a path forward for negotiations, but we must be under no illusion - the outcome of Durban leaves us with the prospect of being legally bound to a world of 4C warming.

"This would be catastrophic for people and the natural world. Governments have spent crucial days focused on a handful of specific words in the negotiating text, but have paid little heed to repeated warnings from the scientific community that much stronger, urgent action is needed to cut emissions."

He welcomed the EU's role in a "high ambition coalition" of countries including the small island states and some of the poorest nations in the world, but urged Europe to show leadership by increasing its promise to cut emissions by 20% by 2020 to 30%.

The treaty will be negotiated by 2015 and coming into force from 2020.

Also agreed at the Durban talks was the establishment of a green climate fund to channel billions of pounds to poor countries to help them cope with impacts of global warming such as floods and drought - but no sources of money were found.

Rich countries have pledged \$100bn (£64bn) a year by 2020 for developing countries to deal with climate change and develop without polluting.
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Re: The UNREAL climate change thread

Post  eddie on Mon Dec 12, 2011 8:35 pm

A question, Pinz.

Beattie & Geiger's "Frozen in Time" is an enthralling account of exhumation of bodies from Sir John Franklin's disastrous late 19th c expedition to find the North-West passage:



My question is: given the rate of calving of the Antarctic Ross Ice Shelf since 1912, is it possible that the bodies of Evans, Scott, Oates, Wilson and Bowers might be recovered?

The crucial difference between the two expeditions is that the Franklin remains were buried on land while the Scott party perished on the sea ice. Since Evans died first (i.e. furthest south) the recovery of his body would be most probable, I suppose.
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Re: The UNREAL climate change thread

Post  eddie on Mon Dec 12, 2011 10:43 pm

pinhedz wrote:he might be found like Ötzi the alpine ice man.

Yes, I'd considered posting this on the Otzi thread.

But the difference is that Otzi was discovered in the Austria-Italian Alps- i.e. on terra firma, like the Franklin expedition remains.

Scott and his men died on the Great Ice Barrier (aka the Ross Ice Shelf)- i.e. on floating sea ice.

[Actually, I can't remember whether Evans, the first fatality, made it down the Beardmore glacier and onto the sea ice. Someone will put me right on this.]

My question is about the rate of erosion of this sea ice. Would ice at the foot of the Beardmore glacier in 1912 have long since floated out to sea by 2011?

Another factor, of course, is that the northward drift of the polar party's bodies would have been impeded by Ross island (home to the volcanoes Erebus and Terror) on which Scott established his base at Mc Murdo Sound.



Last edited by eddie on Tue Dec 13, 2011 4:40 am; edited 1 time in total
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Re: The UNREAL climate change thread

Post  eddie on Tue Dec 13, 2011 4:35 am

This map makes things a bit clearer:



How much of the 1912 Ross Ice shelf (shaded area) still exists?

BTW- Evans does appear from the map to have died on terra firma.
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Re: The UNREAL climate change thread

Post  eddie on Sun Dec 25, 2011 1:10 am

^^

Thanks for the research, Pinz. Inconclusive, but interesting.
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Re: The UNREAL climate change thread

Post  Constance on Sun Dec 25, 2011 2:18 am

I'm not drawing any conclusion about climate change, but we've had a very unseasonably mild Oct, Nov and Dec. It's been just wonderful! I've been taking my dog for a walk every day. We go for about a mile, it takes me about an hour. Is that slow?

What's the weather been like where you are Pinz? I bet it's been mild, too.
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Re: The UNREAL climate change thread

Post  eddie on Sun Dec 25, 2011 10:39 pm


Steven Appleby.
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Re: The UNREAL climate change thread

Post  Andy on Mon Jan 09, 2012 6:32 pm

Carbon emissions 'will defer Ice Age'
By Richard Black

Environment correspondent, BBC News

The climate, if not species, of an Ice Age "ought" to return within 1,500 years
Continue reading the main story
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Human emissions of carbon dioxide will defer the next Ice Age, say scientists.

The last Ice Age ended about 11,500 years ago, and when the next one should begin has not been entirely clear.

Researchers used data on the Earth's orbit and other things to find the historical warm interglacial period that looks most like the current one.

In the journal Nature Geoscience, they write that the next Ice Age would begin within 1,500 years - but emissions have been so high that it will not.

Continue reading the main story

Start Quote
I don't think it's realistic to think that we'll see the next glaciation on the [natural] timescale”
End Quote
Prof Lawrence Mysak

McGill University
"At current levels of CO2, even if emissions stopped now we'd probably have a long interglacial duration determined by whatever long-term processes could kick in and bring [atmospheric] CO2 down," said Luke Skinner from Cambridge University.

Dr Skinner's group - which also included scientists from University College London, the University of Florida and Norway's Bergen University - calculates that the atmospheric concentration of CO2 would have to fall below about 240 parts per million (ppm) before the glaciation could begin.

The current level is around 390ppm, and other research groups have shown that even if emissions were shut off instantly, concentrations would remain elevated for at least 1,000 years, with enough heat stored in the oceans potentially to cause significant melting of polar ice and sea level rise.

Orbital wobbles

The root causes of the transitions from Ice Age to interglacial and back again are the subtle variations in the Earth's orbit known as the Milankovitch cycles, after the Serbian scientist Milutin Milankovic who described the effect nearly 100 years ago.

The variations include the eccentricity of the Earth's orbit around the Sun, the degree to which its axis is inclined, and the slow rotation of its axis.


Glaciation and its reverse are related to cycles discovered by Milutin Milankovic These all take place on timescales of tens of thousands of years.

The precise way in which they change the climate of the Earth from warm interglacial to cold Ice Age and back every 100,000 years or so is not known.

On their own, they are not enough to cause the global temperature difference of about 10C between Ice Age and interglacial. The initial small changes are amplified by various factors including the release of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere as warming begins, and absorption of the gas by the oceans as the ice re-forms.

It is also clear that each transition is different from previous ones, because the precise combination of orbital factors does not repeat exactly - though very similar conditions come around every 400,000 years.

The differences from one cycle to the next are thought to be the reason why interglacial periods are not all the same length.

Using analysis of orbital data as well as samples from rock cores drilled in the ocean floor, Dr Skinner's team identified an episode called Marine Isotope Stage 19c (or MIS19c), dating from about 780,000 years ago, as the one most closely resembling the present.

The transition to the Ice Age was signalled, they believe, by a period when cooling and warming seesawed between the northern and southern hemispheres, triggered by disruptions to the global circulation of ocean currents.

If the analogy to MIS19c holds up, this transition ought to begin within 1,500 years, the researchers say, if CO2 concentrations were at "natural" levels.

As things stand, they believe, it will not.

Loving CO2

The broad conclusions of the team were endorsed by Lawrence Mysak, emeritus professor of atmospheric and oceanic sciences at McGill University in Montreal, Canada, who has also investigated the transitions between Ice Ages and warm interglacials.

Continue reading the main story Climate change glossary
Select a term to learn more:
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Action that helps cope with the effects of climate change - for example construction of barriers to protect against rising sea levels, or conversion to crops capable of surviving high temperatures and drought.
Glossary in full "The key thing is they're looking about 800,000 years back, and that's twice the 400,000-year cycle, so they're looking at the right period in terms of what could happen in the absence of anthropogenic forcing," he told BBC News.

He suggested that the value of 240ppm CO2 needed to trigger the next glaciation might however be too low - other studies suggested the value could be 20 or even 30ppm higher.

"But in any case, the problem is how do we get down to 240, 250, or whatever it is? Absorption by the oceans takes thousands or tens of thousands of years - so I don't think it's realistic to think that we'll see the next glaciation on the [natural] timescale," Prof Mysak explained.

Groups opposed to limiting greenhouse gas emissions are already citing the study as a reason for embracing humankind's CO2 emissions.

The UK lobby group the Global Warming Policy Foundation, for example, has flagged up a 1999 essay by astronomers Sir Fred Hoyle and Chandra Wickramasinghe, who argued that: "The renewal of ice-age conditions would render a large fraction of the world's major food-growing areas inoperable, and so would inevitably lead to the extinction of most of the present human population.

"We must look to a sustained greenhouse effect to maintain the present advantageous world climate. This implies the ability to inject effective greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, the opposite of what environmentalists are erroneously advocating."

Luke Skinner said his group had anticipated this kind of reception.

"It's an interesting philosophical discussion - 'would we better off in a warm [interglacial-type] world rather than a glaciation?' and probably we would," he said.

"But it's missing the point, because where we're going is not maintaining our currently warm climate but heating it much further, and adding CO2 to a warm climate is very different from adding it to a cold climate.

"The rate of change with CO2 is basically unprecedented, and there are huge consequences if we can't cope with that."

Source: BBC news-site

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Re: The UNREAL climate change thread

Post  eddie on Fri Feb 03, 2012 1:29 am

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dNhqNCO6hQc&feature=related
Howlin' Wind- Graham Parker & the Rumour.
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Re: The UNREAL climate change thread

Post  eddie on Sat Feb 04, 2012 6:23 am

Chris Huhne has resigned as energy secretary after the director of public prosecutions announced he would face a criminal charge in connection with allegedly dodging a speeding offence.

He will be replaced at the Department for Energy and Climate Change by Ed Davey, the business minister.



In a televised announcement on Friday morning, the DPP, Keir Starmer, said Huhne's former wife, Vicky Pryce, would also be prosecuted over allegations she took speeding penalty points on his behalf in 2003.

Huhne is to be charged with perverting the course of justice, Starmer said. Huhne said the decision to charge him was "deeply regrettable", adding: "I am innocent of these charges and I intend to fight this in the courts."

Pryce, who divorced Huhne in January last year, is to be charged with perverting the course of justice. Huhne and Pryce were told of the decision an hour before Starmer made his announcement.

They are due to appear before Westminster magistrates court on 16 February.

Pryce said in a statement released by her lawyers: "As the CPS [Crown Prosecution Service] have decided to prosecute it would not be appropriate to comment further at this stage. Obviously I hope for a quick resolution of the case. In the meantime I will be taking a little time off over the next few days to be with my family."

Huhne travelled from a Liberal Democrat awayday in Eastbourne on Thursday and was in London at the time Starmer made the announcement at 10am.

It is the second enforced departure of a Lib Dem minister since the coalition came to power. David Laws resigned as Treasury chief secretary over expenses allegations.

Davey's promotion maintains the agreed proportion of Conservatives and Liberal Democrats around the cabinet table fixed in the 2010 coalition negotiations.

The deputy prime minister, Nick Clegg, said he had told Huhne he would like to see him "back in government in a key position" if he cleared his name.

The Lib Dem leader's parliamentary aide Norman Lamb was promoted to Davey's former position in the Department for Business, while the Lib Dem MP for Cardiff Central, Jenny Willott, becomes an assistant government whip.

Huhne said he felt it necessary to resign because the battle to clear his name would be too much of a distraction to continue in office.

The charge relates to a speeding offence committed on 12 March 2003. Essex police have been investigating whether Huhne asked Pryce to take the points on her licence on his behalf.

The alleged offence is said to have taken place while Huhne was driving back from Stansted airport after flying in from the European parliament, where he was an MEP at the time. Since he already had points on his licence, Huhne would have faced a driving ban had any further penalties been imposed, it is alleged.

Last week, Essex police – who began their inquiry in May last year – took possession of emails and other material from the Sunday Times, who published an interview with Pryce, a successful economist, in which she first made the allegations.

Detectives also have access to a tape in which Pryce allegedly discusses the issue with Huhne.

The former energy secretary left Pryce, his wife of 27 years, in 2010.
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eddie
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Re: The UNREAL climate change thread

Post  eddie on Mon Apr 23, 2012 2:18 am

The talking penguin's guide to climate change

Darryl Cunningham is using the graphic novel format to address the most serious issues in science and to fight disinformation

Killian Fox

The Observer, Sunday 22 April 2012


Scenes from the climate change chapter of Science Tales, by Darryl Cunningham. Illustration: Darryl Cunningham/Myriad Editions

"The argument for human-driven climate change is as follows…" says the talking penguin to the man in the red jacket in the middle of the Arctic ice field. If this sounds like the beginning of a joke, hold on for the punchline.


Science Tales
by Darryl Cunningham

The quantity of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere has increased sharply since the industrial revolution, the penguin goes on.

"But isn't it true that a growing number of eminent scientists now believe climate change to be wrong?" asks the man. "It's a tiny sliver of fringe opinion," says the penguin, explaining how oil and gas companies are bankrolling climate-change denial while the media supply the doubters with the oxygen of publicity. "The future looks bleak," the penguin concludes.

And the punchline? Drought, hunger, disease and the extinction of a fourth of the world's species, if we don't act soon.

It's a familiar story. What's unusual is the way it's told. Science Tales, in which this conversation appears, deals with some of the most urgent debates in science using pictures, speech bubbles and comic-strip layouts, as well as the penguin.

The man in the red jacket is the cartoon version of the author, Darryl Cunningham, who takes a view on such knotty issues as homeopathy and the MMR vaccine, sorting facts from fiction and presenting complex information in a highly accessible way.

An art-school graduate from Keighley, west Yorkshire, Cunningham dabbled with comics in the early 80s before switching to a career in mental health. He drew on the experience to write Psychiatric Tales (2010). "Each chapter looks at a different psychiatric illness and tries to explain it from the point of view of the sufferer and then looks at the biology of it. At the end, I wrap it up with my experience of depression and what that was like."

The new book begins on similar ground with a chapter on electroconvulsive therapy, before broadening out to tackle everything from evolution to moon landing conspiracy theories. He doesn't claim to be an expert but he brings extensive research, as the list of sources demonstrates, and no small amount of passion to the subject.

What compelled him to write it? "It was the amount of disinformation and anti-science stuff around," he tells me. The danger with alternative therapies such as homeopathy is "apart from the fact that you spend a lot of money on them, they could delay you from getting real treatment for something such as cancer where a week or a month could mean the difference between life and death".

There is a prejudice, usually held by people who haven't read one, that the graphic format is unsuited to tackling weighty subjects, but the form abounds with examples to the contrary: see Joe Sacco's pictorial reports from conflicts in Bosnia and Palestine or David B's unbearably moving account of a family illness in Epileptic. Far from being a frivolous medium, the graphic book is a great way of getting to grips with serious issues, Cunningham says. "It summarises things very quickly and you can plough through a lot of information. I love the simplicity of it."

There are downsides, he admits: "You can't go into massive detail, but in the end it's for a general reader so I'm not going to go too much into the nuts and bolts."

When scientists publish research, it is subjected to peer review, in which other scientists in the field put their methods and conclusions to the test. Cunningham put his work through a kind of peer-review process of his own. Each time he completed a chapter, he put it up on his blog so online readers could tell him what they made of it.

"The evolution chapter generated the most comments. I had people chipping in telling me, 'You've got that wrong', so I was able to make corrections for the published version. It was very useful feedback for me."

Not all criticism was constructive. "The alternative therapies chapters upset people the most, while some people were not happy with me because of the moon hoax chapter. But the responses that really made me think were about climate change. I had to step back and think about that, because the science is so complex."

He has done a good job of representing the subject in all its ambiguities, but ultimately it is a snapshot of how we understand climate change at this time. As new information emerges, that understanding will be expanded and refined. As his Afterword says: "Good science is testable, reproducible and stands the test of time. What doesn't work in science falls away and what remains is the truth."
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Re: The UNREAL climate change thread

Post  eddie on Tue Apr 24, 2012 4:23 pm


Steve Bell
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Re: The UNREAL climate change thread

Post  eddie on Wed Apr 25, 2012 7:52 pm


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Re: The UNREAL climate change thread

Post  eddie on Mon Sep 17, 2012 10:05 pm

pinhedz wrote:Discuss bom

If you like.

I haven't been following this thread too closely, so I'm only going by recent UK press headlines/articles.

It appears that we're looking at the lowest level of Arctic polar ice for...I dunno...ages.

Problem is said to be that this represents a tipping point. Ice is white. It reflects back the Sun's rays. No ice, no reflection, Earth warms more rapidly...

Thoughts?
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Re: The UNREAL climate change thread

Post  eddie on Tue Sep 18, 2012 7:49 pm

Is not the problem we face today that Erik the Red's Greenland colony- or any other human or methane-producing cow/bear habitation back then- was incapable of altering the Earth's geography/atmosphere/population to the same degree as the post-industrial/agrarian revolutions since the 18th c?
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Re: The UNREAL climate change thread

Post  senorita on Sat Oct 27, 2012 3:24 pm

pinhedz wrote:I like the way the "Arctic Sea Ice Extent" graph (5 posts before this one) updates itself daily.

It looks like the Arctic ice cap is making a remarkable recovery from it's historic low a few months ago.




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