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Tuesday 7 August 2012

GWPF – Third Time Unlucky

Despite the very rapid unravelling of Anthony Watts’ attempt to head the media pack off and stop them taking notice of the latest news from the Berkeley Earth Surface Temperature (BEST) project, the climate change denial lobby has today come bouncing back with another “report” by the Global Warming Policy Foundation (GWPF) which as the name suggests is there to rubbish Global Warming.

And this is no ordinary “report”: as the title page of “The Effect Of Wind Power On Household Energy Bills” points out, this is being submitted as evidence to the Commons Energy and Climate Change Committee. The numbers are suitably scary, too, with a figure of £124 billion being pitched. And then the name of the author, Gordon Hughes, starts to ring a bell.

Hughes and the GWPF have come together before, and not just once, but twice. Moreover, there is very little that’s in the newest “report” that wasn’t in both the previous two, except that his assertion on costs for wind power has increased to the current £124 billion from “only” £120 billion previously. So how reliable are his claims for asserting that wind means more in energy bills?

Sadly, there appears to be little in the way of independent corroboration for his claims, the “report” tellingly saying “Source: Author’s Calculations”. Didn’t Hughes have his research checked? Why didn’t he subject it to the peer review process that so many of the denial lobby find easy to talk about and run down, but embarrassingly difficult to do when it comes to their own work?

As with anything coming out of the GWPF, we don’t get to find out about that, and in any case, the usual suspects in the Fourth Estate only want the easy headline, the part that fits in with their agenda. The Express even promoted the story to itsfront page lead, but then, since Richard “Dirty” Desmond’s latest job cuts, anything that can be got for free is in with a chance.

And the Mail also told its readers what to believe, announcing “Energy bills to soar by over £300 a year because of obsession with wind power” before adding “report claims”. Nigel Lawson continues to extract maximum value from taking the legendarily foul mouthed Paul Dacre to lunch. But not even the normally agreeable Telegraph has taken the bait this time.

After all, while Team GB continues to stack up the medals, more bankers are in the mire, and Syria continues to disintegrate, what was news once isn’t going to command attention once the hacks realise it’s on its third outing, although it’s a rare occasion when it’s the Express that got the original and the Mail that did the lifting. It’s usually the other way about.

Perhaps Lawson, Benny Peiser and the rest of the GWPF could take the hint.

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