Disclaiming Environmentalism

Another interesting disclaimer from the front cover of expensive reports commissioned by the Committee on Climate Change… This one looks at the future of wind energy in the UK.

While Pöyry Energy (Oxford) Ltd (“Pöyry”) considers that the information and opinions given in this work are sound, all parties must rely upon their own skill and judgement when making use of it. Pöyry does not make any representation or warranty, expressed or implied, as to the accuracy or completeness of the information contained in this report and assumes no responsibility for the accuracy or completeness of such information. Pöyry will not assume any liability to anyone for any loss or damage arising out of the provision of this report. The report contains projections that are based on assumptions that are subject to uncertainties and contingencies. Because of the subjective judgements and inherent uncertainties of projections, and because events frequently do not occur as expected, there can be no assurance that the projections contained herein will be realised and actual results may be different from projected results. Hence the projections supplied are not to be regarded as firm predictions of the future, but rather as illustrations of what might happen. Parties are advised to base their actions on an awareness of the range of such projections, and to note that the range necessarily broadens in the latter years of the projections.

Most interesting in my view is the line that ‘The report contains projections that are based on assumptions that are subject to uncertainties and contingencies.’

Isn’t that true of the environmentalists’ entire argument?

6 thoughts on “Disclaiming Environmentalism”

  1. I left a comment on your other posting entitled “Forecasting Ambivalence”. In that instance, the caveat was bog-standard legalese from consultants.

    This caveat, however, is entirely different.

    If I was in the Committee on Climate Change, and I read that caveat, I would be wondering what on earth I had paid for. The caveat reads: “Pöyry does not make any representation or warranty, expressed or implied, as to the accuracy or completeness of the information contained in this report and assumes no responsibility for the accuracy or completeness of such information. Pöyry will not assume any liability to anyone for any loss or damage arising out of the provision of this report. ”

    What is the CCC paying for? Pöyry have essentially stated that the report could be incomplete and/or inaccurate. WTF?! And that if it is, no one can sue them for it.

    At the very least, Pöyry should be liable to the CCC for their work.

    In any event, there’s a second point here that is far more interesting. It’s highlighted by Pöyry leaving itself room for errors. This looks like a new trend. It’s almost as if they’ve anticipated that things are going to go wrong, and they’re giving themselves a Get Out Of Jail Free card.

    When the AGW house of cards starts to fall, there’s going to be a lot of blame going on, and I don’t think the buck will ever stop being passed. Politicians will say they voted for legislation because of their science advisors. The science advisors will say they gave their advice based on consultants. The consultants will say they got their information from the IPCC. The IPCC will say it got its information from scientists. Scientists will say they got their information from peer-reviewed journals. The editors of the journals will say they published the articles because it passed peer-review. The peer-reviewers will say they had no obligation to check the accuracy of the work. And finally the authors of the work will say ‘oops. sorry’

    Can you punish a scientist for publishing false information (whether knowingly of not)? What will that do to science generally? Will it lead to scientist no longer publishing for fear of legal action?

    We live in a complex world. And there may not be much we can do (retribution-wise) once the AGW house of cards falls. Except make sure it never happens again.

  2. Ben Pile asks:

    Most interesting in my view is the line that ‘The report contains projections that are based on assumptions that are subject to uncertainties and contingencies.’

    Isn’t that true of the environmentalists’ entire argument?

    Most certainly.

    Examples abound, but my favourite is the species-area relation/mass extinction rubbish.

    We’ve all heard plenty about the ‘sixth mass extinction’ allegedly being caused by human destruction of natural habitats. This claim is based on E. O. Wilson’s ‘species-area relation’, which supposedly correlates habitat size with species numbers.

    But as conservation biologist Vernon Heywood observes, the species-area relation in a mainland context is simply self-evident: the larger the area, the more species it will encompass. And shrinking habitats like rainforests do not lose species at the rate dictated by running the species-area relation in reverse. Wilson was wrong.

    That’s why predictions of mass extinction are wrong.

    For example, in 1992, Wilson wrote: ‘the number of species doomed [to extinction] each year is 27,000. Each day it is 74, and each hour 3’.

    That’s 486,000 species gone in 18 years. Where is the evidence that this massive extinction has occurred?

    Welcome to the virtual world of environmental ‘science’.

  3. Dominic, I’ve been looking for some good answers to the specious species-extinction arguments, so thanks for your comment. Do you have any links/books that I might find useful?

    We’ve posted stuff in the past about the modelling of species’ sensitivity to climate, and how it is transparent BS, but it would be good to give this some technical underpinning.

  4. Ben

    Sorry for the slow response.

    The best book I have read that covers the subject is Aynsley Kellow’s Science and Public Policy which is pricey but worth it.

    Then there’s Stephen Budiansky’s Nature’s Keepers: The New Science of Nature Management (1995) if you can find a copy. For a quick start though, he has several excellent posts on his blog:

    http://budiansky.blogspot.com/2010/09/teflon-doomsayers.html

    http://budiansky.blogspot.com/2010/11/beating-dead-passenger-pigeon.html

    http://budiansky.blogspot.com/2010/10/species-extinctions-and-question.html

    You may well already be aware of this but Donna Laframboise shows the way in which the extinction meme has penetrated the IPCC, and exactly who is involved and how:

    http://nofrakkingconsensus.wordpress.com/2010/10/09/extinction-fiction/

    I hope this is helpful.

  5. Thanks Dominic, I’ll pick my way through these. By the way, your message got held up by the spam filter because it contained many links. Unfortunately, I don’t get to find out about this unless I remember to look for unapproved comments (and I usually forget). If this happens again, please let me know.

  6. Ben

    No problem. I did wonder, and I did suspect the links might have been the sticking point. So long as you got the information in the end there’s no harm done. If I get sectioned again I will whinge…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *