JoNova

A science presenter, writer, speaker & former TV host; author of The Skeptic's Handbook (over 200,000 copies distributed & available in 15 languages).


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The Skeptics Handbook II

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US Republicans vote to spend more on hard science, less on social-climatey type stuff

US Republicans have passed a bill through the House (but not the Senate yet) aiming to get back some control over the 7 billion dollar science budget. Previously the National Science Foundation (or NSF) had all the fun in dishing out the dough, but the Republicans have had enough. Their wish list includes cutting social sciences by 55%, climate science by 8%, and putting extra money into biology, computers, engineering and hard sciences. It can’t come soon enough.

Critics are howling that this will politicize science, but it’s just the opposite. Science was already politicized, and thanks in no small part to the NSF itself. This would put control of the funding back slightly closer to the voters. The NSF is almost unaccountable to the taxpayer, and if the NSF had not wasted money on so many one-sided pointless extravaganza’s (like $5m for “climate games”) and tipped so much money into “behavioural” studies, the elected members would not be knocking at their door. The NSF has only itself to blame.

Ultimately, elected representatives have to be accountable for public spending, but they like to hand over control to a committee of experts. Said committee grows on the gravy train, and after decades of big-government-dependence, why would anyone be surprised if it transforms into a fan of big-government, boosting projects that promote the big-government agenda? The incentives are all wrong. Our ARC suffers from the same big-governmentitis. (Send a memo to Australian politicians.) ARC grants often seem to be a form of government advertising disguised as research.

h/t GWPF

Republicans Vote to Restrict Climate Funding

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Most Australians are skeptical: mankind is not main driver of the climate

The IPCC has told us in letters of fire for twenty years that humans are the dominant cause of climate change. But despite the unending propaganda 60% of Australians are not convinced. This fits with other better designed and much larger surveys by CSIRO showing that 53% of the population are skeptical, and a UK study which showed that 63% of British people were skeptical that storms and floods are probably man-made.

The IPSOS polls have been running for years, and are unashamedly pro-IPCC in leaning, but despite that obvious bias, and loaded, ambiguous questions, most Australians don’t agree that it is mainly our fault. The climate is changing but it is mainly or partly natural. IPSOS gloss over that, but if humans are responsible for less than half of “climate change” that makes Direct Action twice as useless. If natural forces caused more of the recent warming, that also reduces the scary projections.

The IPSOS Climate Change Report 2015 (Online poll, 1,063 people)

Q3: Which best describes your opinion about the causes of climate change?

Poll Australians, Climate change, 2015, belief,

Only 40% of Australians accept the IPCC position that mankind is the main cause of climate change (orange and red). | Click to enlarge. See p 5 of the report.

Like nearly all polls, this one suffers from using the loaded and confounded term “climate change”. To the person filling out the form  it could mean either “man-made global warming” or “the climate… changes“. What were those survey designers and journalists thinking?  Not about accurate English, that’s for sure.

Three percent say “there is no such thing as climate change”. But given the abuse of the term and double meaning, it could be just a protest at being asked a silly question. Are there ice-ages? Has the worlds climate been stable for 4.5 billion years?

Meaningless and loaded questions

Question 8: Who should be mainly responsible for action on climate change?

Is that the government, businesses, or Mr Sun? Seriously,  for the 60% of respondents who don’t think humans are the main driving cause of climate change, how do they answer these questions? I think the state government should hold back the tides,  the NGO’s can deal with cosmic rays, and the local council can fix the magnetic field, right?

extinction of plants and animals, koala symbolQuestion 7: “In how many years, if at all, do you think climate change will cause the following in Australia”. The list of  coming disasters was fire and brimstone 101. IPSOS were not just wondering when the reef will get damaged, but looking for the “Destruction of the Great Barrier Reef.” Then there was the extinction of plants and animals with a little symbol of a Koala head socked in the eyes.

Most of the population said that climate change is mainly or partly natural. But if we substitute the word natural in front of climate change it all gets inane.  How many years will it take for natural climate change to destroy the Barrier Reef? ANS: It hasn’t done it yet in the last 20,000 years, why should 2050 be any different?

Let’s guess what the survey designers were thinking when they wrote this? 1/ Al Gore is right and these disasters are coming. or 2/ We need the best guess long range forecasts from the punters about what the natural climate is going to do this century: droughts, floods, fire and extinctions. What do they reckon?

Push polling anyone?

Question 7 is just a measure of the success of propaganda. (See the results below). When will the “decline in farming production” occur? 51% think that’s already happening.  But what is happening (scientifically at least) is “an increase in farming production“, and a “greening of the deserts“, which are recorded in hundreds of publications, but not an option for respondents. The future on offer are all modeled projections, or events that have been occurring since time began.

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Maurice Newman knows more about climate models than the BOM’s Dr Rob Vertessy

In the topsy turvy world of modern science, big-government has strangled science to the point where bright outsiders know more than the fully trained “experts”.

Maurice Newman, the chairman of the P.M’s business advisory council, daringly wrote in The Australian:

“It’s a well-kept secret, but 95 per cent of the climate models we are told prove the link between human CO2 emissions and catastrophic global warming have been found, after nearly two decades of temperature stasis, to be in error.”

In Senate estimates, a Greens spokesperson asked Dr Rob Vertessy, Director of the Australian Bureau of Meteorology (BoM) on his view of this. “That is incorrect,” he said, showing how little he knows about climate models, where everyone (even the IPCC) is trying to figure out excuses for their failures. Some even invent time-travelling climate models that can finally “predict” today’s climate correctly a decade after it happened.

If Maurice Newman was wrong, he was far too generous to the climate modelers. Instead of a 95% failure rate, it’s well up over 98%. Hans von Storch et al published a paper nearly two years ago comparing models and observations of a 15 year long pause. Statistically von Storch could find no justification for people saying the models matched the observations — there was a less than 2% chance of that. Last year Ross McKitrick estimated the pause was really 19 years long, so the odds are now less than 0.5%.  Newman was being kind, suggesting that 5% of models might be called “right”.

Some will try to weasel out of it, saying the pause isn’t a pause because the missing heat went into the oceans. Aside from the fact that we can’t possibly measure the ocean heat accurately enough to know, there is the problem that the models are supposed to model the ocean too. They are called “global coupled ocean-atmosphere general circulation models”. Those models predicted the heat would be in the atmosphere, not the ocean, and it isn’t. Does that kind of failure matter? Only if you live on land.

The models not only fail on global decadal scales, but on regional, local, short term, [1] [2], polar[3], and upper tropospheric scales[4] [5] too. They fail on humidity[6], rainfall[7], drought [8] and they fail on clouds [9]. The hot spot is missing, the major feedbacks are not amplifying the effect of CO2 as assumed.

The IPCC’s favourite models were 100% wrong in 1990. The IPCC prediction in 1990, the oldest prediction they cannot weasel out of, was a best estimate of 0.3°C per decade with a  range of 0.2°C – 0.5°C. Even with the most generous overestimate of current trends, the temperature trend has fallen below their lowest estimate, at the same time as CO2 emissions were higher than expected. Prof Matthew England, and the ABC still owe Nick Minchin an apology. Rob Vertessy owes one to Maurice Newman as well now.

Dr Rob Vertessy‘s expertise is in “fluvial geomorphology and physical hydrology“. Water catchment. That doesn’t mean he can’t understand climate models, just that he needs to start reading as widely on the climate as investment bankers do.

The warmists just love a good model,
Not those on the catwalk who waddle,
But the ones that forecast,
That the warming would last,
Being wrong,were 99% twaddle.

– Ruairi

REFERENCES

Hans von Storch, Armineh Barkhordarian, Klaus Hasselmann and Eduardo Zorita (2013)  Can climate models explain the recent stagnation in global warming? Academia

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Unthreaded Weekend

Kalbarri, Western Australia, about 600km North of Perth….(Click to enlarge)

The colors are glorious in the land of iron oxide.

Though I pitied any poor shipwrecked soul staggering ashore here at the wrong time of year. How forbidding, dry and vast that landscape.

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No one has engaged the deniers! Says Graham Richardson. Oh really? says Jo Nova.

Labor vacated the arena of argument. The sceptics and deniers have turned the 70 per cent-plus belief in climate change into a minority because no one has engaged them.

— Graham Richardson, Friday May 22nd, 2015

No one has engaged them?

That’s right Graham, we unfunded bloggers and the few surviving skeptical scientists not evicted and blackballed from our universities (yet) have tricked 20% of the population because no one has put forward the climate change arguments except for:  The Climate Commission, CSIRO, Deutsche Bank, Citigroup, Royal Dutch Shell, GE, Panasonic, The ABC, The BBC, The Guardian, Fairfax, The Australian government, most universities, The EU, The UN, The World Bank, and the IMF.

With a budget of nothing we’re winning. Why? We have nature on our side.* The world isn’t warming, the models can’t predict the real climate, and half the population have wised up to the propaganda. The main arguments of those who would control CO2 are not scientific, but insults and bluster, shutting up and disqualifying critics rather than answering politely, and producing the evidence. The University of Queensland offers a whole course in namecalling to train people to “engage” deniers. But the public know that the endless drought ended, the dams filled, the predictions were wrong and that “denier” is not science. Namecalling isn’t working anymore (so keep it coming Graham, it helps the skeptics :-) ).

No one will debate skeptics

Obviously it’s a David versus Goliath battle. If Richardson means that no one will debate the skeptical arguments, he’s right.

Dear Graham, why don’t you invite one of Prof Sherwood, Prof Pitman or Will Steffen to debate Dr David Evans on your Skyshow? That’s when you’ll find out how they run scared of real debate. You are welcome to argue your case here too.

Others have tried to arrange these debates. On behalf of the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Western Australia, Bill Crabtree invited Prof Pitman and anyone he cared to nominate to debate David Evans and Bill Kinnimonth a couple of years ago. Pitman refused, saying he wouldn’t debate “someone who denies gravity”. David Evans: PhD, M.S. (E.E.), M.S. (Stats) [Stanford Uni], B.Eng, M.A., B.Sc., University Medal, [Syd Uni].  Bill Kininmonth: Headed the National Climate Centre at the Bureau of Meteorology from 1986 to 1998. Andy Pitmans: BSc (Hons) PhD (1988) Liverpool Uni. UK Postgraduate Certificate in Educational Leadership (2000) Macquarie Uni.

Andy Pitman isn’t stupid; he knows what would happen if he debated Dr David Evans. He knows that their 95% certainty rests on broken models, and iteratively homogenized, reanalyzed, and readjusted data.

Andy Pitman and I debated each other in emails back in 2008 before I even published the Skeptics Handbook. I wanted to make all those emails public. Andy Pitman refused.

I debated Prof Glikson in 2010, through five rounds of to and fro, but he clearly had no idea the models depend on assumptions about water vapor that we know are wrong. The offer remains open for him to send in his reply, which he asked to be published on my site. I welcomed it (like all the other replies), but he didn’t send anything.

Graham Richardson, The Australian    “Silence of the political lambs”

Here’s the relevant paragraph in context:

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New satellite analysis fails to find the hot spot, agrees with millions of weather balloons

Here I go, harping on about the missing hot spot again.

Roy Spencer has been hunting for the famous missing hot spot (like half the climate world) but he’s been looking in the UAH satellite temperature data. Last week Sherwood et al claimed they finally found it (again!) in an iteratively reiterated homogenized and adjusted version of radiosondes. Spencer was not impressed with the black box statistics approach. As I pointed out here, the Sherwood results was adjusted so much it did not look like the original data, and they somehow found the hotspot by adding in data from years when a hot spot shouldn’t occur. They mushed the data to fit one part of their model, but it broke in other parts.

Roy Spencer has used new methods to improve the satellite signal of the hot spot, and is “increasingly convinced” the all important mysterious hot spot is really not there, which fits with 28 million weather balloons and humidity data too.  Satellites are not particularly good at finding the hot spot because it is a very thin layer over the tropics and satellites peering down from on high find it difficult to measure signals from 10km up and separate them from signals, say 8km up. Radiosondes are much better at resolving the different layers, which is really what matters — only the uppermost layer of water vapor counts, not the total column. Having said that, satellites are pretty handy over the oceans where not many weather balloons get released, and it would be good if we could use them.

See my last post on the missing hot spot if you can’t figure out why I go on and on about this mythical zone. It’s the key flaw in the models that amplifies the effects of CO2, but which study after study, and millions of measurements, show is probably just a bad guess that ought to have died properly long ago.

What Roy Spencer found was confirmation for the twentieth time that the models are wrong about this their major, most important feedback.

“…what is really striking in the above plot is how strong the climate models’ average warming trend over the tropical oceans is in the upper troposphere (+0.35 C/decade, dark red), which I calculate to be about 1.89 times the models’ average surface trend (+0.19 C/decade, dark green). This ratio of 1.89 is based upon the UT weighting function applied to the model average temperature trend profile from the surface to 100 mb (16 km) altitude.

So, what we see is that the models are off by about a factor of 2 on surface warming, but maybe by a factor of 5 (!) for upper tropospheric warming.

hot spot, satellites, UAH, water vapor,

This is “preliminary” so needs confirmation, but the results are pretty stark.

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Study on 74 million deaths: Cold weather kills 20 times more than heat does.

Of seventy four million deaths (that is quite some study) 7.7% of all deaths could be blamed on “non-optimal” temperatures according to Gasparrini et al in the Lancet. But look closely, and 7.3% of deaths were due to the cold and only 0.4% were due to the heat.

This may be part of the reason people retire to Florida, and not so much to Barrow, Alaska.

The biggest killers were not the heat waves that score the headlines, but the the moderate cold. Winter kills. (Time to ban winter?)

Cold weather kills far more people than hot weather

Cold weather kills 20 times as many people as hot weather, according to an international study analyzing over 74 million deaths in 384 locations across 13 countries. The findings, published in The Lancet, also reveal that deaths due to moderately hot or cold weather substantially exceed those resulting from extreme heat waves or cold spells.

“It’s often assumed that extreme weather causes the majority of deaths, with most previous research focusing on the effects of extreme heat waves,” says lead author Dr Antonio Gasparrini from the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine in the UK. “Our findings, from an analysis of the largest dataset of temperature-related deaths ever collected, show that the majority of these deaths actually happen on moderately hot and cold days, with most deaths caused by moderately cold temperatures.”

The study analysed over 74 million (74,225,200) deaths between 1985 and 2012 in 13 countries with a wide range of climates, from cold to subtropical. Data on daily average temperature, death rates, and confounding variables (eg, humidity and air pollution) were used to calculate the temperature of minimum mortality (the optimal temperature), and to quantify total deaths due to non-optimal ambient temperature in each location. The researchers then estimated the relative contributions of heat and cold, from moderate to extreme temperatures.

What I found really curious was that the death rates due to cold were so low in Sweden, but so high in Italy and Japan?

Around 7.71% of all deaths were caused by non-optimal temperatures, with substantial differences between countries, ranging from around 3% in Thailand, Brazil, and Sweden to about 11% in China, Italy, and Japan. Cold was responsible for the majority of these deaths (7.29% of all deaths), while just 0.42% of all deaths were attributable to heat.

The study also found that extreme temperatures were responsible for less than 1% of all deaths, while mildly sub-optimal temperatures accounted for around 7% of all deaths — with most (6.66% of all deaths) related to moderate cold.

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Thank you UWA — The spectacular collapse of the Lomborg centre was good for skeptics

UWA logo, passionis non causa - Latin for: Passion. Not Reason.

The new UWA logo?

The UWA debacle has been the best thing to happen to skeptics for years. People who have never mentioned the climate debate to me are now approaching me to talk about it — aghast that something so tame was treated like an outbreak of Ebola. The over-reaction to Lomborg’s Consensus Centre is priceless — it has exposed just how much the pro-climate-crisis team are scared of even the tiniest deviation from their religious doctrine. They depend so entirely on their unchallenged “university” authority that the threat of any official dissent could cause the collapse of the whole facade. (What a disaster.)

Figure just how innocuous and banal their target was: The Consensus Centre at UWA  wasn’t even going to discuss the climate. Lomborg wasn’t going to work there, he wasn’t going to be paid a salary, and he completely accepts the IPCC scientific position, wild exaggerations and all. He’s not a climate scientist and doesn’t pretend to be one. He is a political scientist who discusses economics. On other campuses and in other contexts, Lomborg tries to find ways to help the environment with smarter spending. Oh the crime, twice removed, to seed an errant thought that doubts the power of windmills and solar panels to stop floods and storms?!

UWA is sending a message to skeptical scientists everywhere that they dare not speak their mind. But this message is too clumsy and public, the world can read between the lines, and the message they see is that this is not a science debate. They might have thought a 97% consensus mattered, now they know that the skeptics at universities can’t speak up.

UWA — reap what ye sow

Years of propaganda have gone into creating the idea that academic pronouncements are the Word of God, that climate change is “settled”, and that people who question it are sub-human leeches paid by big-oil. All that poison just came back to sting the Big-Scare-Campaign. UWA had not trained its own staff or students in the scientific method, or free speech, or to be skeptical — and they paid for it. The intellectual vacuum at UWA was put on show for all to see (and how it sucks). The students and staff did exactly what their UWA training had taught them: protest with passion, but without rational reason. There was no argument given, other than the emotional reaction. Hence the new logo ;- ). Passionis non causa — everything the post-modern uni aims to be.

Global Worriers have overplayed their hand again, and it’s woken up a new layer of people. If the Centre had gone ahead, it would have been crippled in the climate debate anyhow (they weren’t planning to discuss the topic anyhow), yet it would have been cited as proof “deniers” got millions in funding. The illusion that our universities were esteemed places of reason, could have been maintained.

On the night the banishment was announced, the ABC News told Australia that Lomborg was a “controversial academic” (which is code for not respected, not popular, and not eminent). Most curiously he was also described incorrectly as a “scientist” and “dubbed a climate contrarian”. Getting his career wrong is embarrassing for national prime time news. Was it sloppy research, blinded by their devotion to the faith, or was the intention to hide that even climate economics is a sacred taboo? Was the ABC trying to cloak the fact that even climate believers get evicted if they don’t believe enough?

Bjorn Lomborg needs to stay out of the science debate

Meanwhile, Lomborg himself has reminded us how little he knows about science (which makes him qualified for UWA :-) ).  “We should listen to scientists” Lomborg says in the National Post, not meaning “scientists” as people who follow the scientific method, but “scientists” who are government-approved and hold mainstream views on any complex, unproven topic that happens to be politically correct. Bizarrely, his life’s work is to point out that economists and policy-makers ought be questioned, but here he is saying that consensus-scientists are gods who are always right. Are scientists not human too?

It’s hard to say if he is just saying this to appease the global-bullies, or if this is his genuine belief. So much of what the rational economist says is rational, so it makes no sense that he holds such a simplistic and contradictory notion that most professions need auditing but one profession is “perfect”.

Since he knows so little about science, and the attack dogs hate him no matter what he says, he would be wise to say nothing on the science debate. It’s a realistic thing for him to say he believes the IPCC, he’s not a scientist — and leave it at that.

Skeptical scientists have been his strongest supporters, so his pandering and illogical argument for authority achieves nothing but to burn off the people who are listening to him. As I said, the Consensus Centre was already crippled — it wasn’t going to publish on climate-economics anyway. Instead, it’s gone down in a flaming heap, leaving a blazing message across the sky.  We need to be relentless in keeping this case study of the fall of academia in the public conversation. Shame about the reputation of my old alma mater, but then Lewandowsky had already trashed it and the Lomborg assault-team could hardly outdo that.

h/t to an emailer — thank you — that I can’t find. I wish I could…

——————————————-

What next?

Having said it was a brilliant PR coup that it was axed, it would be another brilliant PR coup if it could be reinstated or set up somewhere else. To that end, a lot of good people are working to fix this ridiculous situation.

Nick Cater wrote  a column in The Australian last week: ” It must have been something of a shock for Johnson to discover that despite what it says on his business card, he doesn’t actually run the university.”

The Menzies Research Centre is planning to host a symposium on academic freedom on the UWA campus in August. They’re seeking funds to fly in national and international speakers for this important event. Find out how to make a tax deductible donation  to the Menzies Research Centre’s Public Fund by clicking here.

From the Australian Taxpayers Alliance wants to run full page adverts supporting academic freedom:

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Nobel Chutzpah Prize 2015: UN, World Bank need “$89 Trillion” to fix climate

Grey elephant with dollar bill for skinThe ambit claims know no bounds. Who else would ask for $89,000,000,000,000? If the evil “more developed” nations pay for their carbon sins, the bill for those 1.3 billion people works out at $70,000 per person by 2030 (babies included).*  When the target is 89,000 billion dollars, anything the Global Saviours get, can be painted as “not enough”. (It’s never enough). A trillion in funds is a “tiny”, “insufficient” amount that is “barely adequate”. Compliant journalists will print those headlines. The crowd will pay the money and feel guilty they are not paying more.

Speaking of the loot, the world’s GDP is currently $70 trillion, so asking for $89 trillion is a claim on 8% of all the money turned over in the world economy for a decade and a half. Handsome!

There is a grand array of climate junkets for Global Worriers this year. A gala of red-carpet events culminating in Paris, from November 30 to December 11. The wheeling and dealing is on right now, months ahead — and though they talk about the importance of Paris, I expect that Paris is mostly the cabaret show (like UNFCCC event in Bali that I went to), and it’s the deals being hammered out right now that matter (so write to your Austrlian M.P. today. And can we get links to lists for the politicians of the US, UK, EU, NZ…) h/t Rereke

This is a gambit by the highest orders of bureaucratic power in the West for more power, more money, and virtually no accountability — they’re trying to change the global weather fergoodnesssake. There will always be storms, floods and droughts somewhere in the world. This is not so much about renewable energy as about a renewable cash cow. For people who don’t want to compete in the world of hard business but quite like to be treated as if they were a glorious CEO, this is not bad in the global gravy stakes. There are ego-massaging press conferences, tax deductible trips to Rio, five star hotels, and a “hero” status among the passionate flock of useful idiots.

Part of the trick for such a grand grab is the invisibility of the bill. The bureaucrats sneak silently into bank accounts around the world, a dollar here and a dollar there. Funds come from taxpayers and then through higher electricity, fuel and grocery bills, the money flows from seniors, retired folk, children and the unemployed. Through loans issued by governments and central banks, the payments come through silent inflation, as the value of purchasing power and  currencies fall. The payments are almost never labeled. No product is ever produced that needs to be delivered.  No one gets a bill in the mail to change the weather.

If they did, there would be riots in the streets.

Ban-Ki-Moon, IMF and World Bank leaders and other UN representative for the climate ministerial, April 2015.

Send more money, $89 trillion more.

Mobilizing the Billions and Trillions for Climate Finance

April 18, 2015:

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Wind farms only 80% effective at CO2 reduction (0% effective at temp reduction). UK to allow homes to stop turbines!

Wind power, cost, renewable energy, efficiencyIn the latest news about wind-generators, The Australian reports that a new Australian study estimates we wasted $70m on RET* certificates last year because of losses the wind turbines put on the rest of the grid. About a fifth of the CO2 supposedly cut by wind-farms was emitted by the rest of the grid as it ramped up and down trying to cope with the erratic supply from the on-and-off whirly-gigs.

If we double our wind-farms the losses are proportionally even greater (every extra wind farm is even more useless than the one before). With twice as many, all of the wind towers would only be 70% effective. But this is all a wild fantasy overestimate, since the point of wind towers is not to reduce CO2, but to reduce global temperatures, stop storms, and hold back the tides. The 3.5% reduction in total Australian electricity emissions changed global temperatures by 0.00C, hence RET on wind is 100.00% useless, accurate to two decimal places. The Clean Energy Council said they had no answer at all, and wouldn’t talk about it, except to say that Australians like “renewables”.

In other news in from the UK, the new majority conservative government says local residents will soon be able to block new wind farms (which they should have been able to do all along). That will mean no new wind-farms on land in the UK. Hallelujah. Praise be to UKIP for shifting the political landscape there back to something more sane.

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