The worse form of defence is attack

The Leverson Inquiry into media ethics in the United Kingdom is an occasion for the press to justify their actions (both ethically and legally) and for those who complain about the behaviour of the press. An interesting development has arisen because the press, not content with making their arguments to the Inquiry and submitting evidence to it, have in some cases gone on the attack against the witnesses who have given evidence. Continue reading

The Loss of Summer Sea Ice in the Arctic

If you were to place Genersys solar panels in direct sunlight at the North Pole in the middle of the Arctic summer, they would receive more energy that the area of sunlight strike the panel emits. They would receive energy bouncing off the ice and snow, so that the “solar fraction” would not be a fraction at all, but a whole number and a fraction. The reason for this is the higher albedo for ice and snow, which are white. This albedo reflects light (which you can think of as energy or as heat) back into the atmosphere and is an important factor in keeping the atmospheric temperature of the earth benign enough to support life as we know it. Continue reading

Oil spillages: prevention is better than cure

A few years ago oil was discovered under the sea off the coast of Brazil and there was, of course, a rush to exploit the discovery. Chevron (amongst others) built wells to drill into the oil reserves and started to produce the crude but two weeks ago something went wrong, as it often seems to go wrong when drilling oil under the sea. Continue reading

What is the true carbon footprint of wind turbines?

There has been a great deal of taxpayer’s money pumped into subsidising wind turbines and a great deal of electricity consumers’ money spent on the same source of renewable energy. Generally, most environmentalists who think that climate change is a serious threat are in favour of wind turbines but many environmentalists oppose them on aesthetic grounds. Beauty is often in the eye of the beholder and we have many structures around us that are uglier than wind turbines. However on their carbon footprint most climate changers believe that wind turbines reduce the emissions and therefore help prevent greenhouse gas emissions. After all, if you produce electricity from wind, instead of coal, oil or gas there are fewer emissions, they argue, but things are not what they may seem at first sight. Continue reading

Isn’t it a blooming shame?

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has warned that most, but not all, extreme weather events will become more frequent and more intense. In fact they have already become more intense in my lifetime. Continue reading

Bailing Out the Banks –What Happened

People glibly talk of bailing out the banks, but what actually happened when the banks were saved? Who was actually bailed out and who paid for the bailing out. The usual answer is that the banks were bailed out by the tax payer. I don’t see it quite like that. Continue reading

Air Passenger Tax

Making flying cheaper does have some economic advantages but it also has many environmental disadvantages. The emissions created by flying are significant, uncontrolled and potentially very dangerous. These emissions are uncontrolled by any international treaty. Continue reading