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Showing posts from May, 2017

Aiming for operational excellence: An interview with David Swindin of Cubico Sustainable Investments

As mentioned previously in Renewable Energy Magazine, Cubico Sustainable Investments has acquired a portfolio of 18 Italian PV plants (109 MW) from Silver Ridge Power Italia, a Joint Venture between Riverstone and SunEdison. Cubico employs a unique business model where they invest in and then manage renewable assets for the long-term – typically 30-35 years. Cubico is backed by two leading Canadian pension funds and has very ambitious plans, aiming to expand rapidly and become one of the world’s leading renewable energy companies in terms of operational excellence.

REM talked to David Swindin, Head of EMEA at Cubico, to find out more about the company and its vision for the future.

H&M joins EP100 in order to enhance its energy efficiency

International fashion retailer H&M has joined global collaborative initiative EP100 in order to enhance its energy productivity and transition to a net zero carbon company.

Whitbread powers its operations with 100 percent renewable energy

The UK’s largest hospitality company, Whitbread, has begun powering its entire UK operations from 100 percent renewable energy sources.

Queensland leads the Australian national drive towards large-scale solar power

Queensland is capitalising on its national reputation as the Sunshine State by leading the Australian drive towards large-scale solar power, the Clean Energy Council has announced.

Antwerp scientists discover how to generate power from polluted air

Researchers from the University of Antwerp and KU Leuven (University of Leuven), Belgium, have a process that purifies air while at the same time generating power.

"Appealing to Authority": Legitimate approach or not?

In my various debates with climate change deniers, I have often been accused of "appealing to authority", i.e. judging the worthiness of an opinion based on the credentials of the person and/or organisation that presented it. This, to me, is a sensible and logical thing to do, since no-one would really expect an artist to have a good working knowledge of passenger jetliner mechanics, or actually be unleased on a jetliner if it required some maintenance, for the simple reason that this task is properly the job of a qualified aircraft mechanic, not an artist.

Oh but how they moan. Interestingly though, I've just seen this comment on a blog piece about appealing to authority which explains the deniers tactics in this area very well:

"...climate change deniers seem to use the illegitimacy of arguments from authority to dismiss the validity of the scientific consensus that is arrayed against them. That is to say, they invoke the 'marketplace of ideas' fallacy …

Wales’s largest onshore wind farm begins generating energy

The largest onshore wind farm in Wales, constructed by Vattenfall, started operating at full power for the first time late on Sunday 7th May 2017.

Online trolls and climate science: The latest attempted lie by Anthony Watts

I posted on Twitter last night that Kevin Grandia in 2009 had referred to the folks posting on Watts Up With That as a 'bunch of online trolls with precious little science'. Well, that isn't the remark but it's pretty close. Grandia was posting in The Huffington Post and he was absolutely right about them in my view, judging from my own experience.

I could carry on countering the comments on Willis Eschenbach's piece, but it's actually pretty monotonous really, so time to move on. Well, in a fashion.

The comments, or some of them, are fairly good examples of the standard myths put out by deniers, so its worth countering them in a way, but really only as 'case studies' and opportunities to present the truth of what's going on with climate change. On a wider scale, it's worth watching WUWT generally, as more blogs appear on there every day, and of course these lies have to be countered. However, there are other things to do as well. For that reaso…

Maize is not to blame!

Maize has been wrongly blamed for soil erosion. My article in Bioenergy insight has just been published and you can see a brief summary here:

In February 2014, just after the serious winter floods that hit the UK in that year and in 2013, Guardian columnist George Monbiot went on the war path against maize, claiming that the crop is a major cause of soil erosion and run off. 

But it's not quite as simple as that, and blaming maize in isolation, rather than inappropriate farming practices generally is a major error. It's just not true that maize is the culprit, yet maize farmers have still got the blame. It's time to set the record straight.

Fortum Charge & Drive enters UK e-mobility market with new charging infrastructure agreement

Fortum Charge & Drive has signed a cooperation agreement to provide Franklin Energy in the United Kingdom with the Charge & Drive cloud solution.

The agreement will enable Franklin Energy to offer e-mobility solutions to electric vehicle drivers across the UK and operate its growing electric vehicle charging infrastructure. The company has ambitious plans to use the Fortum Charge & Drive solution to further expand its charging infrastructure in the United Kingdom and develop its service, thereby providing the most user-friendly EV charging solutions in the UK. This agreement will enable the introduction of the Fortum Charge & Drive cloud solution to operate Franklin’s existing EV charging stations as well as new chargers to be installed in the future.

Franklin, based in Liverpool, currently offers charging services in multiple locations in the …

ADBA slams food waste levels in England

The Anaerobic Digestion & Bioresources Association (ADBA) has joined the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (EFRA) Select Committee in calling food waste levels in England a ‘scandal’.

EFRA’s final report into the costs of food waste in England has been described by ADBA and EFRA as a ‘wake-up call' for the next Government. The report, published this week, examines what Committee Chair Neil Parish has called the ‘grotesque economic, environmental and social costs’ of food waste in England, estimated at over £10 billion a year excluding the disposal costs to Local Authorities.

It makes a series of recommendations on how food waste levels could be reduced and explicitly recognises the role that anaerobic digestion (AD) plays in recycling inedible food waste into low-carbon heat and power, green transport fuel, and organic biofertiliser, helping to recover valuable resources f…

Tropospheric Warming

Another comment on Eschenbach's blog:

"does not a tropospheric record of warming over the past 35 years that is less then 1/3 of the projected computer model mean for the troposphere, ( note, not just the missing hotspot) cause you to question the deeply adjusted surface record.

At any rate, whatever the cause of the surface warming, ( real warming, UHI, one way adjustments, etc…) Per CAGW theory, the surface warming CANNOT be from CO2, as that surface warming must occur as a result of prior tropospheric warming."

To answer the first question, according to Sherwood et al (2008), there was indeed some controversy about tropospheric warming, with some scientists observing changes that are inconsistent with modelling.  However, this was due to errors in the recording mechanisms that have now been corrected.

Turning to Skeptical Science again, modern satellite data does now "show warming in the troposphere that is consistent with the surface temperature record&quo…

Hansen 1988

I am now going to divert away from the Eschenbach blog again and address one of the comments to this blog instead, this one concerning Hansen's 1988 paper. The comment (or at least the relevant bits) is as follows:

"...why not focus on measuring the accuracy of the forecasts based on the models.

Let's start with the Hansen paper of 1988:"

Which is this one:

"Figure 1, shows a forecast of a surface temperature rise of c. 1.1 deg C from 1980 to 2016 under scenario A"

Oh really? I wonder if he is talking about a different paper? Although the URL seems to be correct. The Fig 1 on my paper is this:

Actually, the correct graph (having looked at the Skeptical Science entry for Hansen 1988) is this one:

"Plate 4 and section 5.2.3 predicts even faster warming of the troposphere, particularly the tropical troposphere. Indeed, the troposphere warming is cited as an 'useful diagnostic' for the…

CO2 as the driver of climate change

Moving forward a little bit on Eschenbach's blog comments to another statement by Chimp, he says:

"That is, if CO2 indeed be the predominant driver of “climate change”"

More utter nonsense. That carbon dioxide (CO2) is the driver of man-made climate change is basic science. The warming potential of CO2 has been known about since 1859 when John Tyndall conducted laboratory experiments to identify gases in the atmosphere that trap heat. He identified water vapour (H2O) and carbon dioxide (CO2) as two of the most important ( The warming potential of CO2 remains true even though it is only present in the atmosphere in small quantities, i.e. a few parts in ten thousand. Tyndall's conclusions were supported by other scientists, such as Svante Arrhenius and Arvid Högbom, and many others afterwards.

There is also this question of whether CO2 lags (i.e. fails to keep up with) temperature. However, the science confirms that 90 percent of…

Ah, the 1930's temperature record...

Next up on Eschenbach's blog, a comment by Steve Case about the 1930's temperature record:

"Wow, the cooling of the 1930’s temperature record has hit new lows"

The New Scientist has this to say:

"After rising rapidly during the first part of the 20th century, global average temperatures did cool by about 0.2°C after 1940 and remained low until 1970, after which they began to climb rapidly again.

The mid-century cooling appears to have been largely due to a high concentration of sulphate aerosols in the atmosphere, emitted by industrial activities and volcanic eruptions. Sulphate aerosols have a cooling effect on the climate because they scatter light from the Sun, reflecting its energy back into space.

The rise in sulphate aerosols was largely due to the increase in industrial activities at the end of the second world war. In addition, the large eruption of Mount Agung in 1963 produced aerosols which cooled the lower atmosphere by about 0.5 degrees C whi…

Tampering of data by NASA? Oh please, really...

Next up on Eschenbach's blog is this comment by A C Osborn:

"Don't - massive tampering of the data by NASA & NAOO – give you slight pause?"

I am unsure of whether Osborn is supporting or criticising this 'tampering of data' claim here, but it gives me an opportunity to squash the claim anyway.

NASA - the organisation that sent man to the moon...really? Brian Cox had said something to say about this:

So I covered this just now, but let's go over it again:

More comments on Eschenbach's blog

'Really Sceptical' responds to a denier with a few succinct words:

"Three years in a row record temps" he says. True, but of course temperatures have been rising since the industrial revolution in reaction to humans putting loads of greenhouse gases, particularly carbon, up there. These few words were enough to make Eschenbach respond:

"Oh, please. We know that temperatures have been generally rising for three centuries. So … where will we find the highest temperatures? Oh, the most recent years? Gosh, that’s shocking news … not.
If you think that is significant, think about it a bit more deeply."

This response by Eschenbach is of course nonsense. He's trying to suggest that the temperature rise is entirely natural, but of course it isn't. Yes, climate scientists have to distinguish between what is natural climate variation and what is man-made climate change, but the evidence for human-caused climate change is incontrovertible.

Next we have some…