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back to article Secret UN 'ZOD' climate deliberations: UK battles to suppress details

Can the Internet help climate scientists? Not everyone thinks so. "The Internet is a double-edged sword," Met Office scientist Peter Stott told a London courtroom last week. "There's a whole cacophony of voices on blogs, people with different opinions and people very motivated to dig around. But not in the 'big picture' details …

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Coat

Would have been a hell of a lot more interesting if...

ZOD had stood for Zone of death.

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Re: Would have been a hell of a lot more interesting if...

I was kinda hoping General Zod was involved somewhere.

But no. Just more shady IPCC bullshit, alas.

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Bottom line?

How many people are making how much money doing absolutely nothing useful?

And how much am I (are you!) paying into it?

Humans. We need to regain the thingie known as "perspective".

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Coat

Re: Bottom line?

Perspective? No doubt.

The Anthropogenic Climate Change or not, I'm much more concerned with the die-off of the honey bees. They do far more than churn out honey! Without them we'll bloody starve.

Mine's the one with the bacon sarnie.

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Holmes

And yet the warmologists will defend them

Despite the High Church of Warmology being nothing more than a self elected certified bunch of self-interested pocket-stuffers with an agenda likely so far removed from what people generally assume they do that they need a paranoid shroud of secrecy which it looks like they're almost trying to get mandated into policy in the same way media co's want their right to profit enshrined into law.

The apologists for these clowns make fanbois look utterly rational. Every thumb down is simple confirmation of that, so I thank the downvoting faithful in advance.

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FAIL

Re: And yet the warmologists will defend them

Just to let you know that I've downvoted you because you're being as arrogant as the people you're decrying.

For more details, please contact my solicitors, Messers Pott and Kettle-Black...

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Anonymous Coward

Re: And yet the warmologists will defend them

"Every thumb down is simple confirmation of that, so I thank the downvoting faithful in advance."

Well, one might agree with your underlying sentiment, but yet still offer a thumb down on account of you acting like a smug git. The thumb system does not allow much in the way of nuance after all.

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Stop

Kneel before Zod

That is all.

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"Training document" my a**e

For most official committees there is some kind of rule book about submissions. The judge is right to be asking why the DECC bureaucrat is not defending their position.

When you're asking a country to swallow (literally) billions in costs for this your evidence should be rock solid and fully visible.

Well done to David Holland for pursuing this.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: billions in costs, evidence should be rock solid and fully visible.

Surely here (and in many other policy cases), the evidence either way - and it is often more than just a binary choice - is neither rock solid or fully visible. Innumerable social policy or criminal justice issues spring to mind here. So we have to go on balance of probabilities, irrespective of an idealistic desire for a somehow perfectly reliable solution. With these climate science issues, we have to decide which set of scientific experts to follow ... because it is highly unlikely anyone here has any expertise in climate science, and so is unqualified to judge what evidence is "rock solid", wouldn't know whether some "fully visible" evidence was of any use, and is unaware of the subtleties involved in analysing any of the sources of raw data reliably.

It well mightcost an indeterminate amount of billions either way - perhaps on unnecessary precautions, perhaps on coping with environmental catastrophe. Do you feel cautious, or lucky? How do your advisors rate the odds?

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Science or reliance on authorities

About 2000 years ago, Aulus Cornelius Celsus gathered together literature about medicine from the authorities in the field. Some of the treatments in his book 'De Medicina' are beneficial, some are survivable, and others are just plain silly. At the time, there was no commonly accepted way to tell the difference. There was no need to because 'the authorities in the subject knew better' and 'some knowledge is lost as it is passed down through the generations, so your ancestors must have known far more than you ever could'. Hippocrates and Galen relied on the authorities and came up with balancing the four humours and blood letting.

About 500 years ago, Philippus Aureolus Theophrastus Bombastus von Hohenheim (aka Paracelus) had the radical idea of learning by observing nature rather than blindly relying on texts written by the authorities. His medical theories were bat-shit crazy, but the idea that modern generations could know more than the ancients was a huge step in the right direction. Paracelus's medicine involved prescribing herbs and minerals and looking to see this did any good. (Double blind trials and proper statistical tests came much later.)

Please read up on the scientific method (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scientific_method), especially the bits about replication, external review, data recording and sharing. Without those things, you end up with balancing the humours, huge wind farm subsidies, carbon emissions trading and blood letting. If you still insist on trusting authorities, I recommend a tried and tested cure: leeches applied 50 at a time.

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MJI
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ZOD

I remember him a little Alien who worked for QBS software and was drawn by the brother of the B in QBS, the same person who drew Percy the Parkkeeper.

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Anonymous Coward

as a scientist

I would like to advise you all that reading any of the early drafts of anything I write is unlikely to help understanding, unless you happen to be some sort of science-process archaeologist or suchlike. However, if you'd like to try to discredit or embarrass me, there's bound to be all kinds of typos, syntax errors, mistakes in calculations, apparent physical misconceptions, speculative nonsense, omissions, and utterly redundant cut&paste stuff from other papers used for temporary filler, etc.

For purposes of selected out-of-context hostile propaganda, it'd do _just_ fine; the fact that as it progresses through later drafts it get incrementally fixed up until its final publishable state could be conveniently ignored.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: as a scientist

"there's bound to be all kinds of ... mistakes in calculations, apparent physical misconceptions, speculative nonsense"

@AC - And there lays the problem. Papers should not be planned or written until the results of any research are final and set in concrete. By this point the calculations MUST be accurate, even in a draft report, if they can't get these right, then how can anybody have confidence in it.

Don't get me wrong, I'm the worst culprit for having mistakes and errors in my documentation, but critical areas such as calculations etc, I re-read then dozens of times to ensure they are accurate before moving on the next section of the documentation.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Papers should not be planned or written until ...

Most of my papers evolve out of a soup of ideas which get toyed with and improved, dropped or turned upside down, and eventually get to the stage when there is potential enough for a paper; and then I start turning the notes/draft into more publishable state - or shelve it as a dead end, or a revisit-later project. A distinction between "notes" and "draft" is not always that clear. What counts is the final result, and its reliability, not the preferred research or drafting process of the author(s). Submitting to a journal (or even arxiv) is a big & public step.; and requires careful and continual auditing & re-auditing.

I'd hate to have to self-censor during a drafting process because of worries about how it might be used against me. This is not a problem in my uncontentious field, and I actively solicit any and all possible criticisms from colleagues. However, in climate science there is a rather vicious and unscientific (on both sides) propaganda war going on in the public and media sphere, and so keeping this war out of report or paper drafting is more problematic (and, imo, more necessary, if the scientific conclusions are to be preserved intact).

Sometimes, even during a near-final stage, a new result or insight will occur leading to significant changes in a paper to improve it. If you're lucky, this might even happen twice :-)

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Boffin

Re: as a scientist

...I would like to advise you all that reading any of the early drafts of anything I write is unlikely to help understanding, unless you happen to be some sort of science-process archaeologist or suchlike....

Depends what kind of understanding we are looking for.

No one would be surprised at typos and incorrect statements in a draft. However, the IPCC now have a track record of producing drafts which gain agreement from the world's scientists, and which are then changed on final draft to reverse the original meaning. This has been noticed before.

They get away with this by claiming that it would be too cumbersome to circulate the final draft to everybody for comment, and that all earlier drafts (the only ones that are fully agreed) must be kept secret.

I suggest that, if you had a similar track record, people might be interested in pinning you down on some of the earlier drafts that you wrote.

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Pint

Re: AC's

Remember, we're talking about a literature review here, not a real scientific paper. Just about every sentence gets plenty of supporting references to actual papers. The problems with IPCC reports in the past have typically been that they have left out relevant (and published-paper-supported) views; getting more eyeballs reviewing earlier in the process can only help reduce such errors.

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Re: as a scientist

"However, the IPCC now have a track record of producing drafts which gain agreement from the world's scientists, and which are then changed on final draft to reverse the original meaning."

Only among the paranoid. Climate skeptics have a track record of blowing molehills into mountains. The final draft changes to the IPCC reports are minor. The reports are so big that minor changes cannot possibly alter the meaning of the report. But given climate skeptics are looking for any small change they can blow into a scandal they take what they can get.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: as a scientist

@nom

Is the supporter of the 'we all gonna die from just co2' claiming skeptics blow things out of proportion?

Surely having the process more open is a good thing to ease the minds of those who want to know what is going on and not just the claimed 'facts'? Maybe less dodgy claims and outright bull will be claimed in future reports. Or at least seen coming.

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Re: as a scientist

"there's bound to be all kinds of typos, syntax errors, mistakes in calculations, apparent physical misconceptions, speculative nonsense, omissions, and utterly redundant cut&paste stuff from other papers used for temporary filler, etc." And you get paid for this?

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Re: as a scientist

The first draft as you describe =/= the first draft from WG1 of IPCC

Their first draft is akin to your published paper.

And frankly even as you described it, if I were looking for nefarious inputs into YOUR process, I'd want the whole thing. If there are mistakes and irrelevancies in it and the process by which they are removed is documented in your updates (Dr. Smith pointed to a faulty assumption for ..., Dr Samms corrected my math in ...) you will remain in good standing. But if I find a branch of your hypothesis is suddenly dropped at the same time you received funding from someone with a contrary opinion with no evidence pointing to a valid change in the research path... Yeah, I'll want you to lose not only the grant but that good standing too.

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FAIL

Re: as a scientist

wrong

the ZOD is a COLLATION of ALREADY WRITTEN PAPERS.

That have suposed;y been through peer review

The ZOD is NOT a hodge podge of random ideas waiting to gell into inspiration.

The ZOD is a collection of (let me bore you with repitition) ALREADY PUBLISHED PAPERS

So what we should see in the ZOD is WHY certain papers were excluded; and why other papers were included. It helps to stop pall review; and Lead AUthors from cherry picking papers that only support one view.

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Re: as a scientist

"Is the supporter of the 'we all gonna die from just co2' claiming skeptics blow things out of proportion?"

Yes skeptics blow things out of proportion. Just like you did there with your 'we all gonna die' strawman!

"Surely having the process more open is a good thing to ease the minds of those who want to know what is going on and not just the claimed 'facts'?"

The process IS open. Anyone can sign up to be a reviewer and receive and comment on the drafts. The comments are later made public.

"Maybe less dodgy claims and outright bull will be claimed in future reports."

No I am sure skeptics will continue making dodgy claims and outright bull about the reports (as well as deliberately leaking them) whether or not they are made public.

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Re: as a scientist

You say "So what we should see in the ZOD is WHY certain papers were excluded".

If you want to know that, why can't you sign up as a reviewer and ask that question in a comment on the ZOD? Do you have an example where that information could not be obtained from the existing review system?

And how would making the ZOD public achieve it anyway? Making the ZOD public does not magically lead to the ZOD saying why certain papers were excluded.

Makes no sense.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Their first draft is akin to your published paper.

No; otherwise it'd not be called a draft. Presumably you mean that their "draft" is a reasonably complete report,

and not a rough skeleton and/or set of notes. Fair enough.

If it was akin to a published paper, then it wouldn't be being circulated for revision (except in the case of necessary corrections due to error). In case of scientific disputes, the paper stays as it is, and you get comment/reply followup articles instead.

A draft of any kind is not akin to a published paper.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: "And you get paid for this?"

I believe you just proved the point made about out of context quoting and its use in hostile propaganda.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: as a scientist

@nom

"Yes skeptics blow things out of proportion. Just like you did there with your 'we all gonna die' strawman!"

So by skeptic you mean anyone not 100% believing the crud being spoon fed? You have in previous discussions shown your devotion to the MMCC co2 theory. So yes I am a skeptic, I am waiting for our understanding to catch up instead of joining either cult of the certain. Both of you blow things out of proportion and while one is a kettle the other is a pot.

"The process IS open. Anyone can sign up to be a reviewer and receive and comment on the drafts. The comments are later made public."

So stop complaining about making it easier to access if it is ment to be open anyway. You have just explained why there is no problem with opening this up. What you may need to explain is why you disagree with opening it up if you claim it is already ment to be.

"No I am sure skeptics will continue making dodgy claims and outright bull about the reports (as well as deliberately leaking them) whether or not they are made public."

So again you explain why there is no problem opening this up to public access. Which you claim it is ment to be. And again both your cult and the other make dodgy claims and outright bull. The problem is the leaders of your cult demanding high prices from the population to build statues to your deities. If the skeptics were costing money and lives then I would be mocking them too.

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Re: as a scientist

>>>>"The process IS open. Anyone can sign up to be a reviewer and receive and comment on the drafts. The comments are later made public."

>>"So stop complaining about making it easier to access if it is ment to be open anyway. You have just explained why there is no problem with opening this up. What you may need to explain is why you disagree with opening it up if you claim it is already ment to be."

I CAN see a problem with publishing the draft report.

The public (inc journalists) will treat "draft" as "version 1".

It effectively means the IPCC publish the report without any accountability for what it says. Any errors in the report the IPCC can just say it's draft so errors are expected and no-one is to blame. Meanwhile journalists are running headlines on the material.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: as a scientist

@nom

"I CAN see a problem with publishing the draft report.

The public (inc journalists) will treat "draft" as "version 1".

It effectively means the IPCC publish the report without any accountability for what it says. Any errors in the report the IPCC can just say it's draft so errors are expected and no-one is to blame. Meanwhile journalists are running headlines on the material."

I can see why that would worry you. When a scientist makes an off the cuff comment he doesnt support and is completely incorrect it will be in this draft. Although didnt such a mistake come out a while ago anyway? And of course the contributions from the WWF and any other biased sources.

I can see why you wouldnt want people to see the information coming into the report from biased sources making claims they have yet to consider backing up. We will be able to see the conclusions and then the process to back up those conclusions (it is ment to be the other way around).

Dont worry so much. If its already ment to be open then this will do it no harm. If it is ment to be behind closed doors then we will see what they really do.

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The current process allows anyone to sign up to receive and comment on the drafts. It just disallows the drafts being made public. I don't see what problem is really being solved by making the drafts fully public, but I do see the problem that if the drafts are made officially public the media and others will start dipping into them and making headlines based on non-finalized statements.

Fine go ahead with it, but please climate skeptics don't blame the scientists when the media start producing headlines based on incorrect statements in unfinalized drafts. If you want drafts with errors to be handed to the media then don't complain about what will inevitably happen and don't you dare blame the scientists who wrote the errors when it does. If you want drafts public then you have to accept the errors.

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Holmes

A nice turn of the "the public is too dumb, needs protection and selective info for its own good" argument.

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Anonymous Coward

"given enough eyeballs, all bugs are shallow"

In this case I think that they are not bugs but intended features. If they were found out and corrected that might affect the desired conclusions and we couldn't have that ;-)

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Holmes

Can I have the same de-roaching by daylight...

...on the European Central Bank policy decisions, please?

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Business as usual

"Fine go ahead with it, but please climate skeptics don't blame the scientists when the media start producing headlines based on incorrect statements in unfinalized drafts."

That's the whole point of the exercise: accentuate the uncertainty and doubt, so that it remains politically impossible to take action to curb greenhouse gas emissions.

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Re: Business as usual

Politically impossible to take action? Not judging by the green tax on my monthly energy bill, the number of houses with pointless (in the UK) PV roofs, grotesque wind farms, etc etc.

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Holmes

Re: Business as usual

"it remains politically impossible to take action to curb greenhouse gas emissions."

Remain impossible? hell where have you been the last ten years? Action - hundred billion dollar action - has been taken without any evidence at all. The planet is awash with green tech that will do everything from powering your laptop to giving you a cosmic orgasm to rival the Big Bang. Or so we are told.

The fact that none of it has worked to peg back emissions, and the world hasn't actually suffered as much from climate change as it has from the supposed remedies to it, is not germane to the point that action has been and continues to be taken DAILY.

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Re: Business as usual

"Remain impossible? hell where have you been the last ten years?"

Observing from the sidelines, where it is obvious that the biggest culprit has blocked every proposal to legislate to reduce GHG emissions. Until the US leads the way, the rest of the world is reduced to making token gestures. However, the effectiveness of corporate lobbing of Congress means they're not going to move until public opinion forces them, hence all the propaganda to spread doubt and uncertainty about the science.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Business as usual

He means killing people.

There are 7 billion people on the planet and it is a well known view of many AGW advocates that this is too many. Action needs to be taken quickly, according to these people, and we can't have the birth rate drop by much. So we need to start rounding people up and pushing them off a cliff. Eventually any greenie will get back to this or have to concede massive contradictions in their beliefs.

Or we could start ploughing as much money into getting off the planet as we do building Wind Turbines and vastly improve our chances of survival and rate of technological development.

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Re: Business as usual

Whats the difference between a grotesque wind farm and a grotesque nuclear power plant of coal burining power station... I know which one i'd rather live beside!

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Business as usual

@Captain Caveman

No kidding. Give me the much smaller coal/nuclear plant which will actually provide power and stop destroying the country with statues to some deity to fix a theoretical and very unproven problem.

And of course there is little benefit of the wind farm as it also requires a gas power station to support it. I feel sorry for whoever lives in the middle of all that mess.

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Re: "biggest culprit"

For a number of years now, that's been China. In fact, in recent years, the USA has significantly reduced its carbon-equivalent emissions -- much more so than the EU. Frack much?

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Re: Frack much?

No he doesn't. He's seen the movie Gasland and he knows its true. It says so on the internets.

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Re: Business as usual

actually you need China and India to lead the way - do keep uup with who makes the most CO2/Plant food

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Re: Business as usual @ Captain Caveman

I'll take the nuclear, gas, or clean-coal power station, thanks. They are less visually intrusive and actually quite beautiful. I was driving around the area last weekend and came round a corner to see the Torness nuclear power station - it was like the couple of times I've been driving in other countries and suddenly had a magnificent castle appear over a brow, or round a bend.

Aesthetics aside - nuclear and fossil stations actually do what we need whether the climate is getting hotter or cooler - producing lots of energy. The answers to a change either way in climate are to going to be energy intensive if we are to maintain civilisation at the current level, and keep advancing. However, your nom de plume perhaps suggests that isn't what you want ;-)

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So the bottom line of this article is

. . . that all these IPCC "experts" don't know how to write a document.

Really ? And these people are supposed to be experts ? I thought experts in their field were recognized because of the mass of papers that they had published. So writing a report shouldn't be that much of an issue for them, should it ? And if we're talking about some internal policy or another, how long can it take these supposedly intelligent people to learn ? How about an afternoon of training, instead of wasting judges' time and taxpayer money ?

Oh, sorry, I forgot : actually doing something useful is not the goal here.

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Meh

...No intelligent person should have to waste his own time, or anyone else's time, defending the indefensible...

I fully agree with the general tone of the piece - Climate Change IS a scam perpetrated by activists masquerading as scientists, and the IPCC needs to be exposed for what it is.

But, given the essentially bureaucratic processes that go on in our current society, and the principle of collective responsibility,. I wonder if anyone can devise a method of living a modern life which does not require, on occasions, intelligent people to defend the indefensible?

After all, people still support QPR...

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Thumb Down

I do hope .....

..... that those of you who have expressed an ideological opposition to renewable energy are fully prepared, if the rising price of fossil-fuel generated electricity outstrips the falling price of non-fossil fuel generated electricity within your lifetimes, either to continue paying the extra for fossil-fuel generated electricity or to stop using electricity altogether if it is all coming from renewable sources.

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Re: I do hope .....

I have never heard anyone express such ideological opposition. If renewable sources could effectively meet our energy needs at a competitive price, I for one would joyously embrace them singing 'Glory, Hallelujah'. There's precious little sign, however, that such a contingency will arise in the lifetime of anyone now living.

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Devil

Re: I do hope .....

Amen. If a power source delivers then have at it. Wind farms do not deliver, not even close, yet require HUGE tracts of land, and gigantic encroachment onto the countryside - to get nothing but very high cost power available only when the wind blows properly. Imagine your dismay of you flicked the light switch on 5 times and the lights only came on once. It is the ideology that is forcing such schemes upon us all, despite the very real problems with cost and more importantly consistent, reliable, predictable and dependable power.

As for the dismay over the draft being made public, I do not believe it has to do with the fear of finding errors in calculations and all that rot. I believe the real reason is so the public will not see how this "science" is being conducted.... ERGO - we have the answer that we want to confirm already, now how do we go about asking the question?

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