IF YOU believe what the media tell you, you would think so. But you would be wrong. As the chart below for 1980 to 2022 shows, there is no obvious trend in the frequency of major hurricanes worldwide during the satellite era. EDITOR’S NOTE: Gremlins have got into this graphic and while the bars are all correct, some of the years have been rearranged. We’ll fix it as soon as we can.
The IPCC, the UN climate panel, can also find no evidence either, stating in their latest climate assessment: ‘There is low confidence in most reported long-term (multi-decadal to centennial) trends in Tropical Cyclone frequency- or intensity-based metrics due to changes in the technology used to collect the best-track data.’
The US National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration says the same about Atlantic hurricanes: ‘There is no strong evidence of century-scale increasing trends in US landfalling hurricanes or major hurricanes. Similarly for Atlantic basin-wide hurricane frequency (after adjusting for observing capabilities), there is not strong evidence for an increase since the late 1800s in hurricanes, major hurricanes, or the proportion of hurricanes that reach major hurricane intensity.’
But facts don’t matter to the climate warriors at the BBC, who published a ‘Reality Check‘ following Hurricane Ian last summer, which claimed that there was evidence that hurricanes were getting more powerful.
I fired off a complaint to the BBC at the time, which their Executive Complaints Unit (ECU) have now rejected. They presented no real data to counter any of the evidence I have outlined above. Instead they relied almost entirely on computer modelled projections of what might happen in future.
Their dismissal of my complaint sums it up better than I can: ‘The evidence would therefore appear to indicate climate scientists who have studied hurricanes and the effect of human-induced climate change agree the proportion of tropical cyclones which develop into hurricanes or major hurricanes is expected to increase, and those hurricanes are expected to have higher peak wind speeds ‘
Of course, it was not what could happen in the future which I was complaining about. It was their claim that such changes are already happening. In short, they created a straw man and knocked it down, while ignoring the actual complaint!
The real problem, of course, is that the ECU is part of the BBC, and will always back them up even when the evidence against them is overwhelming. The BBC will never be properly held to account until a truly independent complaints unit is set up.
Energy users to pay for government’s hydrogen obsession
DO THE Tories have a death wish? Conservative MPs are rebelling against plans to add a hydrogen levy to householders’ energy bills. The levy will be used to subsidise the cost of producing hydrogen, which is estimated to be at least 70 per cent more than the cost of natural gas.
The government wants to replace gas with hydrogen because it is supposedly ‘green’. The plan was announced this week by the newly formed Department of Energy Security & Net Zero, headed by Grant Shapps. The idea of a department run by eco-zealots and devoted to Net Zero is a frightening one, and will inevitably lead to many other crazy policies to the detriment of the economy, business and the public.
The ridiculous aspect about this latest decision is that the hydrogen will be made from natural gas for decades to come, in an extremely inefficient process which wastes half of the gas used. Far from reducing our reliance on fossil fuels, it will increase it. The process also emits lots of carbon dioxide. In other words, it is an utterly pointless exercise.
We can, by the way, ignore electrolysis in any meaningful quantities for many years. It is too expensive, difficult to scale up, and would rely anyway on electricity generated in gas power stations, as wind and solar power are already maximised on the grid.
As usual, the Labour Party object to adding the levy to bills at the same time supporting the switch to hydrogen. They don’t tell us where they will get the money from instead, though.
It is ironic then that it was the same Labour Party that set up the Renewables Obligation subsidy system, paid for through household energy bills, in Tony Blair’s days. The cost of this subsidy is expected to amount to more than £7billion this year, equivalent to £260 per household.
Thanks, Sir Tony!
Wind power is dearer than gas power (again!)
YOU may recall stories a few months ago claiming that offshore wind power is now nine times cheaper than gas power. The assertion was made by an outfit called Carbon Brief, and has been much repeated since.
Carbon Brief are often referred to as ‘energy experts’ but they are nothing of the sort. They are merely a PR outfit, set up to push an alarmist climate agenda and wholly funded by the far-left European Climate Foundation. The latter is mainly funded by progressive US foundations.
The ‘nine times’ claim was always a con because it was based on a temporary spike in gas prices for a few days last August, after which prices fell rapidly back again:
In fact since August, gas prices have fallen so much they are back to 2021 levels. As a consequence, wholesale electricity prices, which are normally determined by the cost of gas-fired power, have also dropped rapidly, and in January averaged £121/MWh. This is well below the average price of offshore wind power, which stands at £167/MWh for those projects subsidised by Contracts for Difference. As a consequence, energy users paid £89million last month in subsidies to offshore wind farms.
The original ‘nine times’ claim was always a nonsense, as it did not allow for all of the other costs incurred because of the intermittency of wind power – the billions spent each year on standby generation, upgrading the transmission network and so on. Only this week, the National Grid told us that it had spent £4.2billion last year on balancing payments taking actions such as importing power from abroad, ramping up gas stations or turning off wind turbines, to make sure supply always matches demand. Although there have always been balancing payments, they have shot up in the last few years, thanks to wind and solar power. They have doubled in the last three years alone. But I don’t expect we will hear any of this from Carbon Brief!