The Independent View: Will Liberal Democrats remain the greenest party?

Since 2010 it has been clear that energy and the environment are policy areas where the Liberal Democrats and Conservatives have distinct views and voices within the coalition. The recent reshuffle of blue ministers, removing one of the Tories’ few true renewable energy supporters in Greg Barker, gave further evidence of this differentiation.

Now, as we look to the next five years, it is time for the parties to be clear on their commitment to a greener economy. The major renewable energy trade associations – representing wind, solar, biogas, hydropower and more – have launched a series of manifesto tests which will determine whether the parties are committed to decarbonising our energy system.

The six points of this test are as follows:

  1. Support the Climate Change Act to keep us on course to meet our carbon commitments and back global efforts to tackle climate change
  2. Set a new renewables target for 2030 of 30 per cent of UK energy
  3. Back the independent Committee on Climate Change’s recommendation to set a binding target for low and no carbon electricity by 2030
  4. Fund the Renewable Heat Incentive for new applications after 2016
  5. Boost the UK’s Renewable Transport Fuel Obligation to reach the 10 per cent renewable energy target for transport by 2020
  6. Reform the EU emissions trading scheme to ensure the market takes account of all sectors’ polluting cost of carbon emissions

For more details about the campaign, and to add your voice, head to

Then good news for the Lib Dems is that this list is extremely close to party policy. Lib Dem ministers also have for the most part an excellent record in supporting renewable energy, in the face of an often sceptical Chancellor. The bad news is that Labour are also competing for this ground.

To remain the party most committed to a stronger, greener economy, the Lib Dems should make their support for these six points clearly and strongly. Renewables are popular with the electorate, and are already delivering jobs and growth as well as clean power, heat, fuel and air. They are good politics and good policy.

To continue to build the industries we have now established, we need the clear framework which these six commitments would help provide. They are key tests for every party, which we hope the Lib Dems will pass.

The Independent View‘ is a slot on Lib Dem Voice which allows those from beyond the party to contribute to debates we believe are of interest to LDV’s readers. Please email [email protected] if you are interested in contributing.

* Matt Hindle is Policy Manager for the Anaerobic Digestion and Biogas Association. He previously worked for the Liberal Democrats in the House of Lords, and as a researcher to David Laws MP.

Read more by or more about or .
This entry was posted in Op-eds and The Independent View.


  • Daft question — because of Hinkley C and fracking any claim to being green would not be credible.
    Claiming to be greenest even with very little competition from the Tory and Labour and UKIP consensus on energy is just not on.

    And why is the target for renewables a mere 30 per cent of UK energy by 2030 ???
    Germany’s much more ambitious target is already in motion.
    Denmark achieved 100% electricity production from wind turbines in November last year.
    Why such a pathetically small target set fifteen years from now?

  • 4.04 pm?

  • Unilateral decarbonisation by this country will make a negligible difference to the global atmospheric concentration of carbon dioxide.

    It will make a huge difference to this country, driving many industries to relocate to countries that have not burdened themselves with unnecessary and massive energy costs. It will make the remaining industries very uncompetitive. Both of these factors will degrade our economy.

    Consumers will face tough decisions about how to heat their homes with more and more families entering fuel poverty and a significant rise in cold related deaths. Cold is the real killer, not warming.

    The renewable energy is not just hugely expensive to produce, the technology is not robust, maintenance costs are prohibitive and the energy is unreliable and intermittent.
    The government has rigged the market so that get rich quick businessmen are keen to invest. Without the bribes, the market would not exist because as a national energy policy it is just insane.

    All of this is being done in the name of climate change. To remind you, it was previously called global warming but after 20 years of zero warming, it was becoming an embarrassment. The climate models predicted more severe weather, such as hurricanes, tropical storms, rainfall, in fact, everything would be more extreme, so climate change became the new catastrophe.

    These are the same models that predicted the global warming, so it is not surprising that the observational data shows that the opposite has happened. Almost all extreme weather events are in decline with many categories showing record low levels. Even the famous flooding of the West Country was due to the decline in flood management measures and the Southerly position of the jet stream. There is no connection with climate change.

    So what about these models? The global circulation models attempt to use knowledge of the climate to simulate the atmosphere and oceans over a time period to see how future climate will develop. Modelling is widely used throughout science.

    However, there is a difference. Normally in science, if the model cannot simulate the past without a great deal of tweaking and cannot accurately predict the future then it is not validated. Such models are either discarded or go back to the drawing board.

    Climate scientists persist in clinging to the same wrong models even though all of them still show and predict massive warming where 20 years of reality shows no warming.

    The justification for the terrible energy policy is the terrible science. The scientists just do not understand the climate, they have no explanation for the lack of warming and they have no idea what the climate will do next.

    It is a bad policy based on bad science.

  • I would suggest rather than waxing lyrical about your green credentials, the party should spend the next couple of months praying for an indian winter. Your support for green policies has brought this country to the edge of power cuts, which an early winter cold snap would probably tip us over the edge.

    This is what you get when gullible politicians are taken in by what is increasingly looking like climate research that has been fiddled to the point where it has lost any shred of credibility. In the event of power cuts, you could of course take advantage of the situation, and do some serious door to door campaigning for the next election, I’m sure you would find an attentive shivering audience on the doorstep willing to discuss your ideas for a greener world.

  • @Peter – “Consumers will face tough decisions about how to heat their homes”
    And the problem with that is what exactly?

    ” The scientists just do not understand the climate”
    Which means that job public, including the climate sceptics have no understanding either!

  • A Social Liberal 8th Sep '14 - 8:07pm


    So the chronic lack of power generation has nothing to do with governments over three decades refusing to grasp the nettle of replacing our decrepit nuclear stations? If Tories and Labour had endured the pain of decommissioning our nuclear stations then we would not be in the position we are in now.
    I suggest you take note of the fact that Sellafield will cost millions to decommission – we are paying for that and not the power generating companies. I suggest that you cast your mind back to just a year or so ago when company after company turned their backs on building a new nuclear station. We couldn’t get anyone to take on the costs until we guarenteed a ridiculous price for nuclear generated electricity. Finally, I urge you to note that there is talk of us importing electricity from Iceland – electricity generated by renewables!

  • A Social Liberal 8th Sep '14 - 8:09pm

    I would further John Tilleys points by reminding everyone of our failure to implement our green airport taxes.

  • @Peter “Unilateral decarbonisation by this country will make a negligible difference to the global atmospheric concentration of carbon dioxide.” You do have a point.
    But that is not the whole point of our energy and the environment policies or Matt’s article. You pose a negative critique with no positive solutions.
    For example ” Consumers will face tough decisions about how to heat their homes with more and more families entering fuel poverty and a significant rise in cold related deaths. Cold is the real killer, not warming.” Is your solution more Russian gas or better insulation ? We choose better insulation. Reduces over heating of homes as well !
    You views are extremely short term. Are you pinning your hopes on a second UK natural gas bonus ? How long will that last ?
    In 50-100 years when oil and uranium are running down and even more expensive which of our perspectives will be judged to have been in the national interest ? Not your I would suggest.

  • @Roland: People who cannot afford to pay the huge cost of renewable energy will die from cold this winter. What did you not understand about that? The sceptics realise that the climate scientists got it wrong. The climate scientists took a short period of fast warming and assumed that it was 100% due to CO2 and ignored ocean oscillations and solar activity. They programmed their models accordingly. They got it wrong.

    @Hugh: You agree that unilateral decarbonisation will not achieve anything. It is this pointless policy that is increasing energy costs leading to likely fuel poverty. The solution is not to continue with the policy.

    With regard to longer term, yes there is a problem, brought about by a several governments not addressing the problem. Yes, insulation is important. We squandered away our leading expertise in nuclear, so now we are dependent on hugely costly deals with foreign suppliers. Obviously nuclear has other problems too.

    I do not hold out much hope for carbon capture. It is a glib phrase but there is no known technical solution of any commercial merit. Beware that it is a great opportunity for the unscrupulous to milk the public purse with claims of jam tomorrow.

    Given the massive exaggeration of global warming, there is time to develop longer term sources of energy, possibly more efficient, lower cost renewables. The short term solution is to go back to fossil fuel in order to keep the lights on and the poor from dying of cold. There is scope to clean up the dirtier fuels like coal. Longer term, fusion should be the goal.

    This short term decarbonisation policy is not just madness, it is unnecessary. The climate sensitivity to carbon dioxide has been greatly exaggerated. Even the IPCC, an organisation only concerned with greenhouse warming, has admitted the alarmism is not justified. The IPCC summary for policymakers is written by politicians and gives the opposite impression, which is why the IPCC has no credibility with serious people.

  • @William Hobhouse: Why?

  • A Social Liberal 8th Sep '14 - 10:22pm

    Peter said

    “I do not hold out much hope for carbon capture. It is a glib phrase but there is no known technical solution of any commercial merit. Beware that it is a great opportunity for the unscrupulous to milk the public purse with claims of jam tomorrow.”

    Funny that – Drax power station is building one as we speak

  • @Peter – The ability or not to afford to pay for energy ie. heating, is more about ‘when’ to heat rather than on the ‘how’ to heat, although it may have a bearing on the choice of ‘how’, including turning the thermostat down and putting on a jersey or similar.

  • Peter Chivall 9th Sep '14 - 11:33am

    By the glibness of his dismissal of climate change evidence and his claim that, in effect “all the scientisits are wrong” your correspondent ‘Peter’ is dismissing the profound and tested views of 97% of climate scientists, tested by peer review in study after study over more than 2 decades. Even a lay person, like myself, can see that the very pattern of our weather is unlike any I can remember in my lifetime, i.e. since the 1950s.
    Presumably, ‘Peter’ would like us to continue burning fossil fuels, including gas obtained by fracking, regardless of its potential for long term environmental degradation, because, if he is right and there is no global warming, then we can just ‘burn baby burn’.
    @ A social liberal. I just want to correct one point about the cost of cleaning up after nuclear power. The cleanup cost for Sellafield are Billions, not just millions and the overall decommissioning and cleanup costs for nuclear power stations and reprocessing plants is confidently now put at 80 billions and rising – a whole ‘banking cisis’ all on its own!

  • I agree that we need to be ambitious with renewables (and nuclear), but I am a little wary of an industry body being the arbiter of whether our policies are the ‘greenest’ or not.

  • Duncan Brack 9th Sep '14 - 4:31pm

    It’s a shame that much of the discussion on an interesting piece from outside the party has been hijacked by the climate-change-denying nonsense from Peter and Raddiy. Fortunately their views are not even slightly representative of the opinions of Liberal Democrat members or (as far as we can tell) voters.

    Just in case anyone might be taken in by their arguments, the ’20 years of reality shows no warming’ is based on cherry-picking the data to choose an exceptionally warm year as the start date against which further warming is measured. Global warming (which of course is still used as a term, whatever Peter claims) does not proceed in a linear fashion; it imposes significant extra variability on top of natural climate variability. 1998, for example – a year often used by climate deniers – was an unusually hot year, the third hottest on record, so if you choose it as a start date, ignoring everything that happened before, unsurprisingly the rate of warming since has not been exceptional. Starting at 2006 (second hottest) would give you a similar picture. Choose an unusually cool year, and you get the opposite outcome.

    Analysing the data using decade-long averages, which helps to smooth out the variability, gives an unambiguous answer: global temperatures have been rising since the 1880s. There has been roughly 0.75°C warming since the beginning of the 20th century, and the period 2000-10 is the hottest decade on record. True, there seems to have been a slow-down in the rate of warming over the last decade: while the average temperature has risen at about 0.16-0.17 degrees per decade since the late 1970s, the temperature rise through the 2000s has been between 0.05-0.13 degrees per decade. This is probably natural variability, but the overall picture is very clear – and, happily, has been recognised by Liberal Democrats for many years.

  • @Peter. No I did not agree with you that “unilateral decarbonisation will not achieve anything”. On the contrary I believe it will achieve a lot. It will help recreate the lead in energy policy and implementation that you feel we have lost.

    In your second post you do make your energy policy clear. It is the same as the policy implemented by Tony Benn while he was Minster for Energy in the 1970s. The country tried that and ended up back in the same place, except now we are burning imported coal and gas. Tony Benn built the AGR Nuclear Reactors and abandon research and development of renewables. One of the reasons I joined the Liberals.

    @William. If we want air travel in the future it will have to be electricity for everything else.

  • @ A Social Liberal

    I am not opposed to carbon capture. It was coined as a perfectly logical phrase when no such technology existed. Many green organisations and politicians seized upon the phrase a solution.

    I am simply pointing out that a cost effective industrial scale carbon capture solution does not, and may never, exist.

    This is not a political argument. As a technical guy, one of my red lines is that I cannot bear seeing non technical people being sold lies. With regards to carbon capture, it is technically very difficult. It may be possible. Many have tried. A huge amount of investment has failed. The huge sums set available means that many will claim a solution. Someone may succeed. Let us see.

    But it should not be seen as a viable component of existing or short term energy policy.

  • A Social Liberal 9th Sep '14 - 11:39pm

    I don’t understand the context of your reply. Are you saying that Drax is not building a carbon capture unit?

  • @Peter Chivall : “the profound and tested views of 97% of climate scientists, tested by peer review in study after study”

    Sorry, Peter, I really cannot remain silent when you quote the 97% of climate scientists garbage. Yes, I know you are in good company because Obama was ill advised enough to make the same reference. The paper you refer to is by Cook et al and was designed to produce a PR sound bite. It worked with you and Obama’s advisors, so well done.

    Unfortunately, reality has moved on and the paper has now been widely debunked with a number of challenges claiming that it is fraudulent. Please be careful about what you promote as fact.

    However, I do not disagree with the rest of your comments. There are difficult decisions.

    There are financial, industrial, social and environmental issues to be resolved. These will require decisions that include a good knowledge of all of these factors and more.

    The Green agenda sticks rigidly to a belief that increasingly is being falsified by reality. There are very many political and funding influences that can and do corrupt honest positions on climate change.

    I do not gain from any position on climate change, but I do have a few motivators. I am a scientist and understand the scientific issues, I keep up to date with climate change developments, I despise political groups who politicise and corrupt scientific truth for political or financial gain. I hate to see well meaning members of the public being duped.

  • Peter, if you are a scientist, you will no doubt understand the need to make references. You say that climate scientists don’t believe in climate change anymore. I can only respond to that with the statements – ‘not in my experience’, and, ‘citation needed’.

    I would love to be able to just take you at your word. It would surely make science far easier to write if one could simply make a statement and cite as ‘it is known’. But, that would also make science completely useless. Can I see some of these studies refuting the climate science consensus? Could I view the data that shows what you claim? And can I know how you or your sources gathered and processed it?

  • Peter says x, so x must be true, even if Peter provides no evidence! Duncan provides evidence. Peter says evidence is fraudulent. He sounds like no science I have ever met, but there we go.

    Just to note, actually, the criticisms of that study came from people who ‘misunderstood’ it. It was 97% of scientists whose papers had a conclusion on whether climate change was occurring, or not. They asked for all climate based research, which meant that 64% of the papers did not actually look at whether climate change was occurring, or not. These papers were, therefore, disregarded. Of the remaining 36%, which did have a conclusion on this issue, 97% supported the theory (heck, it is not even a theory anymore, it is fact) that climate change was real, happening and mostly caused by mankind.

    Some deniers said that these disregarded papers prove that most scientists do not know if it is happening, or not. The publishers, therefore, explained that these papers were not inconclusive papers, but papers looking at different issues. The deniers in their normal disparate way, said it must all be a big fraud.

    However, as the old joke goes, “What if climate change is not happening, and is not caused by mankind? Does that we are making a better world for nothing?”

    Sustainable energies, not based on non-reusable, inefficient, global price bound carbon fuels sounds good to me. Spending just 2% of our Global GDP now to safe guard 16-20% in the future sounds smart to me.

    Boosting an industry worth 14 billion and that has created about 100,000 jobs in the past year seems like a no-brainier to me.

    Reusing and maximising the life-span of our finite resources seems like a good present for our future generations.

    Getting rid of much of the pollution caused by carbon does not seem so bad to me.

    Making a world without the tankers that cause oil spills is A-OK in my mind.

    Ensuring our finance sector can face up to challenges of much more risky business climates is one safe-guard for my money, I want.

    Building up a circular-based economy is the future I wish to see.

    So, yes, even if all of us are wrong and the completely not-bias carbon lobby is just misunderstood and being bullied by those powerful, super-rich and ever-so-vest in their interests scientists, I am still quite happy to push for a greener tomorrow.

  • @ Duncan Brack : I’m sorry, Duncan, but I really do not understand your point. There are a number of temperature databases. I do not know whether you favour GISS, NOAA, HADCRUT, RSS or UAH but all of them confirm that global warming has stopped since about 1998.

    Are you challenging the official global temperature databases? You seem to imply that there is a Liberal Democratic Global Temperature Metric that the scientists have not been aware off. If so, then I’m afraid I cannot comment further on your particular argument that warming continues unabated.


  • Peter, can you reference a publication where any of those august bodies confirm this alleged cessation of climate change? Please?

    Because I find it stretches credibility just a little thin to suppose that they have this information, but rather than communicate it to the world and win acclaim, nobel prizes and oil money for their revolutionary discovery, they’ve told you and only you. Now, OK, we can be all conspiracy minded, but if any of those were true they’d never have told you in the first place because you’d pass it on, as you are now doing.

    So, a reference, if you please.

  • @ T-J

    Are you serious?

  • Quite serious. A peer reviewed published piece demonstrating with reference to the data described above that the climate science consensus as expressed in successive IPCC reports should be and/or has been widely abandoned, if you please.

  • Actually folks, it seems to me Peter (and his few fellow climate change deniers) are a bit like what us Lib Dem activists would call “Tory time wasters” when canvassing on the doorstep. If we take time out from the useful work we are doing to argue with him on the spurious, weak, and baseless points he makes, that actually stops / delays real action towards delaying / mitigating climate change which could be life-saving, and will certainly be helpful for mankind.

  • @ T-J: The pause or hiatus in global warming has been published and debated for at least a decade, not just in the scientific press but in newspapers, radio and TV. I am very surprised that you didn’t know about it.

    Here is a paper from last month. It claims that statistically the pause may have lasted for up to 26 years.

  • It has been pointed out I don’t write clearly so here is my amended comments re Green issue.

    Climate change out of our powers to stop, we should plan for results of climate change.
    You wish to argue that? Are we the biggest or 2ed or 3rd biggest polluter, NO we are way down list producing 1.47% of worlds pollution. Are China USA Russia Japan Germany all higher polluters punishing their population with tax’s etc. for green issues like the UK is. NO so why should we be punished for the big polluters our pollution is nothing on a global stage.
    All I say is be realistic and think of our people first not ideology.

  • @Tim13 : I am not going to trade terms of abuse with you, but I would just like make a few important points.

    The term “climate change denier” is meaningless. our climate is always changing.

    Our energy policy is very important and we must get it right.

    Rapid warming did take place between about 1976 and 1998. Scientists at that time believed that carbon dioxide was 100% responsible and believed that the warming would continue in a relentless manner. They were wrong because there has been no warming since 1998. The implication is that natural climate factors have somehow negated the warming and if that is the case, natural factors may have caused some or all of it in the first place.

    As you can imagine, climate science has been rocked by these events. Some scientists believe that the warming will resume. Some believe that much of the warming can be attributed to ocean cycles and solar effects. The debate is extremely polarised because there is much at stake.

    Many scientists are beginning to think that carbon dioxide causes a modest level of warming and that drastic policies are not necessary and may cause more problems than the low level of warming.

    I am simply trying to inject a bit of scientific awareness and caution into the debate when I see political objectives to be the Greenest party. We need to make informed decisions, not blindly follow green rhetoric.

  • Picking up on the main thrust of the original article, which really focuses on “decarbonising our energy system”. I suggest caution is needed as there is a real risk of overselling the LibDem ‘green credentials’ and totally miss representing what a ‘green economy’ is.

  • @Tim13, whilst you are most certainly not wrong in your assessment of his actions, my fear is that as we have seen with the immigration non-debate and EU non-debate, when we ignore these people on grounds that their arguments are so wrong as to be basically just trolling, a sizable minority of ordinary voters do listen to them.

    One of the problems of modern politics is that many people will never realise that a good thing is a good thing unless someone tells it is a good thing. The reason for this is not because they are stupid, but because the real impacts of such things are often indirect and hard to see, whilst the problems these people face can be easily – if erroneously – linked to these things, if we are not actively setting the record straight.

    Yes, it is a waste of resources to debate something that should be a resolved issue, but sadly those with vested interests (or other reasons) make use do it for their own ends, knowing that if we do not, they win anyway.

  • Well, Peter, I am pleased that you have bothered to cite your opinion at last. I was hoping for something big from a climate scientist, but your economist with his background in creationism / intelligent design hypothesising will just have to do.

    I am disappointed with the quality of said reference and with its total reliance on the trick of arbitrarily picking a single anomalous starting year to base grand conclusions from, though. That statistical trick really should be beneath a serious scientist and I wonder that you missed it. To explain the point, we use rolling averages to smooth out anomalous peaks and troughs and enable robust comparisons between decades. When this is done, the conclusions of both my and McKitrick’s key reference, the IPCC 2014 Report and its 2013 Physical Science Basis work stand unchallenged. The hiatus you allege is present in the form of a 2005-2010 reduction in the rate of change seen, linked to the ENSO events (for laymen, ocean circulation. The ocean’s thermal capacity dwarfs that of the atmosphere and allows long term storage of input heat at depth) and the solar output minimum over those years.

    Your reference’s main problem though is that it focusses exclusively on the tropospheric and near surface temperature changes. With no reference to the ocean heat sink or any of its systems that cycle heat there. This oversight is worrying, as the oceans’ role in moderating world climate is huge. The most recent work discussing this that I’ve seen is Chen & Tung in Science vol 345 (also Aug 2014, coincidentally).

    Long story short, I don’t think you’ve succeeded in finding a reference that demonstrates that the IPCC conclusions should be or have been widely abandoned. Not when your reference concludes itself with the statement that it confirms the IPCC findings.

  • T-J, It is probably a fruitless task (for both of us) to waste time debating whether or not a temperature hiatus exists. The hiatus is not in dispute. Its length can be calculated to be anywhere between 15 and 26 years depending on the dataset and statistical methods selected. I suggest you use Google to find millions of references.

    The thermal capacity of the oceans does indeed completely dwarf the atmosphere. Trenberth has claimed that the missing heat is in the ocean depths (there are currently another 28 different ideas to explain the pause). The problem with this idea is that IR radiation from greenhouse gases cannot penetrate water, which is opaque to IR, the sea surface measurements do not show warming, Trenberth cannot explain how the heat passes through the surface waters without being detected or why the heating decided to switch from the troposphere to the sea depths. The global Argo buoy network which measures sea temperatures down to 2000m is showing slight cooling. There is no evidence to support Tenberth’s claim and several papers that show it is not happening.

    Whilst writing, it is interesting to note that at 08:00 this morning the grid had a demand of 36 gigawatts. Due to the high pressure over the UK, wind power was delivering just 400 MW. We were importing much more than that. Can you imagine the same situation at the same time on a winter morning? The demand would be much higher, the solar supply would be zero and of course high pressure in the winter causes freezing temperatures.

  • Peter – Can you imagine the same situation at the same time on a winter morning?

    Don’t need to, it happened in the winter of 09/10 and 10/11, when there were days of high demand (due to snow) and the nation’s wind farms stood idle due to the lack of wind. I seem to remember that part of the problem is that due to climate change, Britain is potentially becoming less windy…

  • Peter, the oceans are not fully understood and nobody is trying to hide that, but again I’m getting from you an argument that ‘you’re wrong and many studies show this’. I am not talking about sea surface temperature, but temperature at depth. To use your favourite tactic, this is increasing and many studies show this while exploring potential mechanisms for it. Like the one I mentioned earlier.

    You can throw in the odd article from creationist economists and thats all well and good, but you haven’t overturned the IPCC conclusions and so the only sane political position is to take effective action in the present to reduce dependence on fossil fuels.

    And if your 3% chance comes in after all, oh no, we’d have weaned ourselves off of a finite politically volatile fuel source controlled by Russia and Saudi Arabia, all for nothing. Surely a disaster of epic proportions…

  • T-J, I don’t quite follow your point. As far as I am aware, the oceans at depth are not warming. However, it is a very messy picture for a number of reasons. The main technical reason is lack of data. Also, with the oceans all showing multidecadal oscillations, care has to be taken that warming (or cooling) is not attributed to the wrong reason.

    More politically, there is huge pressure to explain the pause. Claiming that the “missing heat” is hiding in the deep oceans is almost impossible to prove or disprove because the temperature rise would be too small to measure and the data does not exist. The resolution of measurement is about 1 reading every 300,000 cubic kilometres if I remember correctly.

    Trenberth is the one who claims that is where the heat has gone and Curry of Georgia Tech is one of the ones who thinks it is nonsense. I tend to agree with Curry.

    Leaving all of that aside (because it may not be addressing your point) I also agree with you that the oceans drive temperature. The oscillations are poorly understood and only in recent years (in fact since the pause intervened) have they moved up the research agenda. It is ludicrous to think that the atmosphere warms the oceans, but sadly, many people believe that because they misunderstand the greenhouse effect. I think that the oceans are responsible for much of our climate variability or alleged change.

    I don’t think the IPCC has an up to date view on this. Don’t believe anything in their summary report, it is rewritten by politicians and disagrees with the content of the main report.

  • T-J, I’ve not read this but in a quick look suggests it concerns the sea surface temperatures. There is obviously more data for surface temperatures. Hadssts is a Met Office Hadley Centre dataset.

  • A final comment.

    I believe in AGW. I think man will warm the planet by about 1.2 degrees if we double CO2 and we are about halfway there. I also think that there are many more negative feedbacks than positive feedbacks. These could negate the warming totally, for decades, or moderate it or some such combination. I cannot give you references to papers that say this, but my belief is based on the assessment of lots of papers.

    Also, taking into account the history of planet temperatures, CO2 levels and the like, I do not see any evidence of strong positive feedbacks, only negative ones, so I do not believe in the alarmist hype.

    So, you can label me as a denier or a lukewarmer or whatever, but the bottom line is that I do not see warming at a level that would require drastic action.

    I define drastic action as energy policies that lead to loss of industry, competitive costs, energy security, energy poverty, and so on. I believe that LD policy leads to all of these.

    That does not mean that I am complacent or negative about sensible initiatives. Energy conservation and climate adaption are important.

    Green issues have the ability to become some sort of religious cult doctrine whereby dissenters are akin to holocaust deniers and legislation should be used to silence them. This is the reality. Politicians regard Green as vote winning. Most of them haven’t got a clue about the technical complexities and in particular, the uncertainties.

    Add to that, climate science alarmism is now a trillion dollar industry. It gives politicians freedom to tax almost everything. It gives fast money makers huge opportunities to exploit feed in tariffs. I gives the insurance industry the opportunity to jack up premiums, the academics involved in climate science have increased exponentially.

    In order to get a grant, you must show that carbon dioxide is an environmental menace. Climate models, which generally exaggerate the warming by a factor of 3 to 8 compared with actual observation, allows academics to write ludicrous papers alleging all sorts of disasters involving toads, coral reefs, drought, flooding, transfer of disease, mental health, you name it, in order to justify funding.

    You just try getting funding, keeping your job or avoiding peer abuse if you discover that global warming is over rated.

    So, in a nutshell, you have my position. I try always to be truthful and fair in what I say. I am not an expert in anything, and where I sound assertive, I think I have evidence on my side. Where I think opinion is divided, I try to say so.

    Ed Davey, I understand, grew up seeing Friends of the Earth as his heroes and I think it clouds his judgement. Green rhetoric has to be resisted and judgements made on scientific reality. That involves taking into account scientific uncertainty, something politicians are not good at.

    Finally, on a personal note, this thread is fast disappearing down the plughole of LDV. Thank you for your engagement in interesting discussion and I’m sure we will disagree again when a new opportunity arises!

  • Jenny Barnes 6th Oct '14 - 3:13pm

    When commenting on the internet, don’t feed the trolls.

Post a Comment

Lib Dem Voice welcomes comments from everyone but we ask you to be polite, to be on topic and to be who you say you are. You can read our comments policy in full here. Please respect it and all readers of the site.

To have your photo next to your comment please signup your email address with Gravatar.

Your email is never published. Required fields are marked *

Please complete the name of this site, Liberal Democrat ...?


Recent Comments

  • Martin
    There is very little mechanism for removing a Prime Minister or any Minister who has Lied or acted corruptly. With FPTP and an absolute majority it depends ult...
  • Jeff
    Malcolm Todd 24th May '22 - 6:55pm: The difference between “avoid” and “endeavour to avoid” can’t just be swept under the carpet… ...
  • Barry Lofty
    It is a sad reality that Johnson will probably survive Sue Gray,s inquiry but what a terrible situation our country faces in the midst of another crisis, left...
  • Roger Lake
    May I add a comment slightly off the point, made a few days ago in response to the call by Humphrey Hawksley on LDV for Weds 11th May, for a Lib Dem 'Big Idea'...
  • Jeff
    Roland 24th May '22 - 7:42pm: The UK government has been funding HS2 directly since 2010, it didn’t need to leave the EU to do this… That ...