RWE Atlantic Array to gain GBP169m in Windfall Profits

I have worked in management accounts in manufacturing industry for over 25 years. In that time I have learnt that audit controls are imposed to stop the potential for fraud, by eliminating any scope for fraud. In Britain climate change arena, conflicts of interest are huge, but not considered important. This is an example of why truly independent oversight is required.

In July there was ministerial sign-off of a proposed to change the Renewables Obligation (RO) with respect to offshore wind power. Assuming that this proposal is enacted and the Atlantic Array gets the green light, I calculate will give a £169m (US$262m) windfall profit to the scheme in the first ten years of operation.

The numbers behind this are eye-watering.

The revenue from a wind farm is from selling the electricity produced to the grid. This is currently 4.7p per kwh. I will assume that this will remain constant for until 2025. This might be a heroic assumption given that under current policies Britain will be producing far less electricity than demanded, but it is beside the point of this posting. What is relevant is the subsidy from electricity bills. The RO currently gives renewables a subsidy of £41.38 per megawatt hour. This is the rate for onshore wind. However, to encourage offshore wind power, this currently attracts a factor of 2.0 times the standard rate. In 2009 this was planned to reduce to 1.5 times the standard rate from 2014*. The new proposals are to give a more gradual and delayed decrease to 1.9 in 2015/16 and 1.8 in 2016/17. I have assumed that this will continue until the 1.5 level is reached.

In Germany the average output from the wind farms is just 16.3%. However, Britain is somewhat more exposed, especially the Bristol Channel. It is reasonable to assume to that average output will be 25% of capacity. Then I have assumed that RWE will choose to build the maximum proposed capacity of 1390MW. The lower end is 1000MW.

Calculations over a 10 year period are

The difference will mean an extra £168,572,951 windfall for RWE.

There is however a potential flaw in my analysis. If the Renewables Obligation works like the solar panels for houses, then the rate is fixed at the time of application. In other words, a scheme coming on stream in 2015 would now attract 2.0 ROC, instead of 1.5 for every year for 10 years.

If my analysis is correct, the difference will mean an extra £684,633,697 windfall for RWE over a 10 year period. That is $1.07 bn dollars. This from (the largest) of a number of similar projects.

This post by Steven Goddard brings together a number of pieces of evidence that “real world” data has been systematically adjusted to fit the theory.

This is only the second time I have reblogged somebody else’s work in the four years my blog has been running. The reason is that I often observe lots of pieces of evidence that suggest bias, but rarely are some of the pieces of evidence put together to corroborate each other.
Other bits of evidence (from memory)
1. The Darwen, Australia temperature record.
2. The temperature record for New Zealand.
3. The temperature record for Australia – which has recently be replaced to evade an external audit.
4. The HADCRUT temperature series being brought into line with GISTEMP to save having to hide the divergence.

It is not just ex-post adjustments of individual temperature series that creates an artificially large warming trend. There are also the statistical methods used to determine the “average” reading.

Real Science

There wasn’t any hockey stick prior to the year 2000.

The 1990 IPCC report showed that temperatures were much cooler than 800 years ago.

Briffa’s trees showed a sharp decline in temperatures after 1940

The 1975 National Academy Of Sciences report also showed a sharp decline in temperatures after 1940

NCAR reported a sharp drop in temperatures after 1940

The USHCN daily temperature data showed a sharp decline in temperatures after 1940

GISS graphs from the eastern Arctic showed a sharp decline in temperatures after 1940

Data.GISS: GISS Surface Temperature Analysis

GISS US temperature graphs showed a sharp drop in temperatures after 1940

NASA GISS: Science Briefs: Whither U.S. Climate?

The Directors of CRU and NCAR forecast a continuing drop in temperatures.

Hubert Lamb CRU Director : “The last twenty years of this century will be progressively colder

John Firor NCAR director : “it appears…

View original post 322 more words

Gergis 2012 Mark 2 – Hurdles to overcome

BishopHill reported yesterday on the withdrawn Gergis paper that

The authors are currently reviewing the data and methods. The revised paper will be re-submitted to the Journal of Climate by the end of July and it will be sent out for peer review again.

It is worth listing the long list of criticisms that have been made of the paper. There are a lot of hurdles to overcome before Gergis et al 2012 should qualify for the status of a scientific paper.

My own, quite basic, points are:-

  1. Too few proxies for such a large area. Just 27 for > 5% of the globe.
  2. Even then, 6 are well outside the area.
  3. Of these six, Gergis’s table makes it appear 3 are inside the area. My analysis is below.

  4. Despite huge area, there are significant clusters – with massive differences between proxies at the same or nearby sites.
  5. There are no proxies from the sub-continental land mass of Australia.
  6. Need to remove the Palmyra Proxy because (a) it has errant readings (b) fails the ‘t’ test (c) > 2000km outside of the area, in the Northern Hemisphere.
  7. Without Palmyra the medieval period becomes the warmest of the millennium. But with just two tree ring proxies, one at 42 O South and the other at 43 O S representing an range from 0 to 50O S, this is hardly reliable. See the sum of proxies by year. Palmyra is the coral proxy in the 12th, 14th and 15th centuries.

On top of this are Steve McIntyre’s (with assistance from JeanS and RomanM) more fundamental criticisms:-

  1. The filtering method of Gergis excluded the high quality Law Dome series, but included the lower quality Vostok data, and the Oroko tree ring proxy. McIntyre notes that Jones and Mann 2003 rejected Oroko, but included Law Dome on different criteria.
  2. Gergis screening correlations were incorrectly calculated. JeanS calculated properly. Only 6 out of 27 proxies passed. (NB none of the six proxies outside the area passed)

  3. The Gergis initially screened 62 proxies. Given that the screening included proxies that should not have included 21 proxies, but should it have included some of the 35 excluded proxies. We do not know, as Gergis has refused to reveal these excluded proxies.
  4. Screening creates a bias in the results in favour of the desired result if that correlation is with a short period of the data. RomanM states the issues succinctly here. My, more colloquial take, is that if the proxies (to some extent) randomly show C20th warming or not, then you will accept proxies with a C20th uptick. If proxies show previous fluctuations (to some extent) randomly and (to some extent) independently of the C20th uptick, then those previous fluctuations will be understated. There only has to be a minor amount of randomness to show bias given that a major conclusion was

    The average reconstructed temperature anomaly in Australasia during A.D. 1238-1267, the warmest 30-year pre-instrumental period, is 0.09°C (±0.19°C) below 1961-1990 levels.

UPDATE 03/08/12

The end of July submissions date seems to have slipped to the end of September.

How Gergis Suppressed The Medieval Warm Period

The now withdrawn Gergis paper proudly proclaimed in the abstract

The average reconstructed temperature anomaly in Australasia during A.D. 1238-1267, the warmest 30-year pre-instrumental period, is 0.09°C (±0.19°C) below 1961-1990 levels.

On this basis, Gergis was able to say

A preliminary assessment of the roles of solar, volcanic, and anthropogenic forcings and natural ocean–atmosphere variability is performed using CSIRO Mk3L model simulations and independent palaeoclimate records. Solar and volcanic forcing does not have a marked influence on reconstructed Australasian temperature variations, which appear to be masked by internal variability.

This conclusion is from a single rogue proxy – the coral proxy from Palmyra Atoll.

There were only three temperature proxies covering this medieval peak period. Both Mt. Read in Tasmania and Oroko in New Zealand are tree ring proxies that cover the entire millennium. The Palymyra Atoll coral proxy data covers just 398 years over 4 periods. These are 1151-1221, 1319-1465, 1637-1704 and 1888-1999. Following Gergis, I have calculated the decadal averages. Below is the plot from my pivot table for the three proxies.

I contend that Palmyra is distinctly “odd” due to the following.

  1. Nowhere in the world am I aware of a single instance of massive cooling during the early 13th Century. If not rogue data, the it must be a purely local phenomena.
  2. Nowhere in the world am I aware of a single instance of massive cooling during the 17th Century. Nor was I aware the early 17th century had significant warm period. If not rogue data, it must be a purely local phenomena.
  3. The Hadcrut3 global temperature set has slight cooling at the end of the 19th century / start of the 20th Century, and a warming period from 1910 to 1940 almost as large as the warming period from 1975 to 1998. If not rogue data, it must be a purely local phenomena.
  4. The post 1960 warming trend is phenomenal. In fact it makes the twentieth century warming trend the largest of all the 27 proxies. (See table “Analysis of the Proxies in Gergis et al. 2012” below)

For these three reasons it would appear to be an outlier. So what is the impact?

I looked at the decadal average of the two tree-ring proxies and ranked the hundred decades from 1 for the highest to 100 for the lowest. I then took the decadal average of the three tree-ring proxies and similarly ranked the results.

The change is the decadal ranking was as follows:-

The medieval warm period is suppressed, and the twentieth century is “enhanced”.

Now let us be clear. There were 24 other proxies in the data set. However, none of the others were prior to 1430. Therefore the impact on the overall ranking will not be quite so marked. However, the fact remains that the conclusion that last decade of the 20th century is the warmest of the millennium is based on this one rogue data set.

But there are two more reasons that the Palmyra data set should not have been included in the reconstruction.

Firstly, the Gergis paper was withdrawn upon the publication of the JeanS ‘Gergis Significance’ t-values. Unsurprisingly, Palmyra was one of the proxies that failed the t-test, so is a rogue data set. See table below.

Secondly, is geography. The study is a “temperature reconstruction for the combined land and oceanic region of Australasia (0°S-50°S, 110°E-180°E)“. Palmyra Atoll is located at 5°52′ N, 162°06′ W, or over 2100Km (1300 miles) outside the study area.


The Palmyra Atoll coral proxy study is clearly an outlier statistically and geographically. In no way can it be considered a suitable proxy for the Australasia region, yet the major, headline, conclusion of the Gergis et al 2012 temperature reconstruction relied upon it.

Mid-Pacific Coral temperature proxies from Gergis et al. 2012

How odd is the Palmyra Atoll Coral Proxy?

In the last post I noted that there was something odd about the Palmyra proxy used in the Gergis paper, particularly in the late 20th century. This is at 5°52′ N, 162°06′ W.

There are four other coral proxies in the Mid-Pacific area. There are two proxy studies from
Rarotonga in the Cook Islands at 21° 14′ 0″ S, 159° 47′ 0″ W and two from the Fiji. For all five proxies I calculated a nine year centred moving average.

Palmyra shows a late 20th century warming trend more than twice that of the other series. Unless there is a locally recorded temperature anomaly on the atoll, then this is clearly wrong. If there is a local temperature spike, then it one should question why it is included in a reconstruction for which it is over 2000km outside the boundary. Either way it should be deleted from the study.

So how reliable are coral proxies. Here we have two pairs. If they are a good proxy for temperature, then they should be a good proxy for each other. On Fiji, they studies be less than 150km apart and on Rarotonga less than 10km apart, meaning they should be near identical. So I have plotted the differences between the moving averages.

It is not a statistically sound method, but indicative of the real issues with the proxy data sets. It also seems that the further back, the greater the consistency. The Palmyra study has four sections, the oldest of which starts in the 12th Century. Although Gergis claims to have done a series of tests for robustness, there is no correlation test over the known temperature record. Given that a central conclusion is:-

The average reconstructed temperature anomaly in Australasia during A.D. 1238-1267, the warmest 30-year pre-instrumental period, is 0.09°C (±0.19°C) below 1961-1990 levels.

Given that there is some question of the selection of the ice core studies at Vostok in preference for the closer and more robust studies at Ice Dome, then central conclusion of the study is not credible on such a small number of proxies.

Forcings – Hansen et al 2000 v UNIPCC 2007

Two months ago I did an analysis of aerosols in the UNIPCC AR4 report, observing that

  1. That the IPCC can’t add up.
  2. The figures appear contrived to show that only CO2 was the problem.

Anthony Watts has a posting today “Shocker: The Hansen/GISS team paper that says: “we argue that rapid warming in recent decades has been driven mainly by non-CO2 greenhouse gases“. This is based on the James Hansen (and others) paper analysing natural forcings, with the following graphic.

Hansen et al Figure 1: Estimated climate forcings between 1850 and 2000.

I thought that I would do a quick the comparison between what the IPCC were saying in 2007, with what Hansen et al. were saying in 2000.

According to the UNIPCC

  1. Hansen underestimated CO2 component.
  2. Hansen overestimated the CH4 component.
  3. Hansen overestimated the impact of the sun.

However, Hanson could counter that the UNIPCC have completely forgotten about the impact of volcanoes.

It could be completely coincidental, that further analysis by climate scientists gives a greater role to CO2, and therefore even stronger justification for constraining CO2 emissions. However, although they became more certain on positive forcings, they are less certain than Hansen on aerosols. It gives even greater credence to the cynical view that the climate science community are exaggerating the influence of anthropogenic forcings on climate. Given the billions of dollars annually being poured into research one could reasonably expect a reduction in the uncertainties over time.

Aerosols – The UNIPCC AR4 adjustment factor

Scientific effort should be dedicated towards resolving the biggest unknowns. After feedbacks, the largest area of uncertainty in forecasting future global warming is the measurement of radiative forcing components.

A quick analysis of the radiative forcing components table in the 2007 AR4 Summary Figure 2.4, page 17 (4.1MB pdf) , would suggest a number of fudge factors have been used to arrive at the results.

I have summarised the table below, less the fancy bars, but with the uncertainty spreads and some check totals.

Radiative Forcing Components
Derived from AR4 (accessed March 2012)

RF Effect (W m-2)

Forcing Component Mid-point



Spread %

Carbon Dioxide










Nitrous Oxide










Ozone – Stratospheric





Ozone – Tropospheric





Stratospheric water vapour from CH4





Surface Albedo – Land Use





Surface Albedo – Black Carbon on Snow





Aerosol – Direct effect





Aerosol – Cloud lbedo effect





Linear Contrails





Net total





Of which:-
Positive Forcings





Negative Forcings





Assymetric Summing





Total per the Report





If these were financial figures, an external auditor might ask the following questions.

  1. Why do the columns not add up? The difference of 0.12 is the same as the figure for solar irradiance. I would guess that the error in the mid-point is due to someone having deducted this figure from the total, erroneously believing that they had previously included it.
  2. Given the breadth of uncertainty, is it more than a coincidence that the negative forcings almost exactly offset all the positive forcings with the exception of CO2? This conveniently reduces the language of the debate from discussing “anthropogenic greenhouse gases”, to “rising CO2”.
  3. Given the breadth of uncertainty, is it more than a coincidence that the range of negative forcings are exactly equal to 200% of the sum of the mid-points?
  4. Given the breadth of uncertainty, is it more than a coincidence that the range of postive forcings are almost exactly equal to 40% of the sum of the mid-points? Adjust any of the figures by .01, and the result becomes less exact.

This is an important issue, as this situation doubly increases the influence of CO2 on future warming. Firstly, it is the anthropogenic greenhouse gas that is consistently increasing. Others, like methane, levels, have stablised. Secondly, aerosols are likely to decrease in the future as countries develop and clean air legislation is enacted. Given the huge uncertainties in the other forcings, and possible fudge factors employed, it is possible that the significance of CO2 could be over-estimated a number of times. This is before water vapour feedbacks are considered.

Update June 3rd 2012.

Comparing with a paper published by James Hansen et al. in 2000, gives further circumstantial support to the fudge factors being employed.

John Redwood lights the “Global Warming” fuse again

John Redwood bravely touched on the global warming subject again in “Challenging establishment orthodoxies“.

One of the strange features of global warming theory is the reaction of its leading protagonists. They say it is scientifically derived, but then go on to say the science is proven and established. I thought the essence of scientific method was to reach a hypothesis that seemed to fit the facts, and then to keep trying to improve or destroy it by further testing or experiment. This seems to be a thesis where the aim is always to buttress it rather than test it. For many years scientists thought Newton had said the last word on planetary motion, but the twentieth century did not rest until they had replaced or improved on the Newtonian universe in a dramatic way.”

My comment (following from previous comments made on this blog) was

You will notice that whenever you mention “Global Warming” that you are guaranteed to get a greater number of comments compared to practically any other issue. Further the views are probably more polarized and politicized than any other issue.
However, the way to proceed might not be one of hypothesis testing. The data is complex and most of the science is about future events. Rather, it might be worth using the experience with which you are more familiar.
1. In business, a new investment proposal will just be assessed on the theoretical profits, but on the capacity to see that proposal through to actual success. The Stern Review allegedly gave the theory, but there was nothing on public policy issues of controlling policy costs, and maximizing policy benefits (CO2 benefits). Whatever the policy, this failure to focus and project management is a sure guarantee of policy disaster.
2. In politics, the greatest threat to extremist and untenable viewpoints has been from the majority who are able to compare these viewpoints to their other perspectives. That is why authoritarian regimes only can exist in an environment where they silence criticism. There is growing evidence of excluding contrary views without a fair hearing in our scientific institutions, in research funding, and in the mainstream media.
3. Science at the frontiers about making bold hypotheses that can be falsified by later testing. Similarly, the police in a crime investigation make conjectures and then gather evidence. Established science (on which policy should be based) is like a successful prosecution in a criminal case. It is about presenting the evidence and under-going a cross examination by the opponents. This to convince a randomly-selected group of people. My contention would be that the strongest evidence of catastrophic global warming is the most trivial, whilst the most alarming aspects of climate change are based on weak, circumstantial and hearsay evidence.

Two relevant references

Did Wivenhoe dam operators SEQwater swallow the CAGW hype on Australian Droughts?

The Australian “The Climate Sceptics Blog” takes a look at the Wivenhoe dam’s involvement in the catastrophic Queensland flood. I disagreed with the opinion that it might be sufficient to show that operators SEQwater did not undertake a proper, impartial risk assessment.

The question of having to prove the “AGW is not true” in the Wivenhoe case may be a little extreme.

Rather, they would need to show that the operators had a revised policy that gave due weighting to the Australian Government’s Report. I have only read the results. It says here quite clearly

“Observed trends in exceptionally low rainfall years are highly dependent on the period of analysis due to large variability between decades.”

In other words the results are not robust. This is not surprising. The report only looked at period of 40 years, so could say little about the frequency of once-in-a-generation extreme events. It does not say that floods will never occur again, like they have in the area since time immemorial.

If the authorities did not undertake a proper risk assessment of future scenarios based upon a balance of existing knowledge, and the report, then the change of purpose from flood management to reserve storage facility is flawed. This is unless there is near certainty that a climatic shift has occurred in a definite way. This was because

  1. The Report clearly stated that its results were not robust, AND did not predict that extreme rainfall would never happen again.
  2. There is a further complication that may hold. If there is not an extreme climatic shift (or only a partial one, or are in a slow transition from one state to another), then an area with extreme floods in the past will still likely have extreme floods in the future.
  3. Further, the lack of extreme floods for an extended period might pose a greater risk of extreme flooding in the immediate future.

This whole thing becomes a complex matter of balance of risks. That is why they should have solicited expert opinion on risk management from different perspectives, and tried to eliminate any corporate or individual biases. Furthermore, a risk management body should have publicly stated this change of use of the Wivenhoe Dam, so that householders could make adjustments to their risk portfolios.

These conclusions are based analysis of unfolding news reports hype on droughts and floods; the hype that exists for Catastrophic Anthropogenic Global Warming; and my developing analysis of Climate Change (see here, here and here) This comment is not intended as a legal opinion on the case, nor should it be taken as such.

Climate Change Impacts in AR5 – It is better than we thought

BishopHill has a screen shot of Climate change impacts for the new IPCC report. He notes the similarity to the AR4.

The differences are noticeable and demonstrate a subtle dilution of AR4.

First, the disappearing Himalayan Glaciers have disappeared – to be replaced by disappearing glaciers in Latin America.

Second, the potential disappearing Amazon forest has disappeared, to be replaced by tree species extinction.

Third, no mention of potential catastrophic losses of Antarctic sea ice or land ice. So that means that sea level rises are less of a problem.

Fourth, there is no mention of coastal storm damage. Roger Pielke Jnr has won the argument on hurricanes?

Fifth, species extinction is much more localised.

Sixth, global loss of wetlands reduced, to more seasonal coastal flooding in Asia. So that means that sea level rises are less of a problem.

Check out for yourselves.

2007 AR4

Which was developed from the Stern Review.