Boris Johnson is a tosser

I haven’t had a tosser for a while, the last was Quentin Letts, so it seems appropriate that this year’s winner should be another joke Tory pol, Boris the Clown. For whom Satirists can’t f*cking type quick enough seems to have been written.

Having joined “Leave” purely for his own stupid selfish political gain, the bozo has taken fright at what’s happened and ducked out of the Tory leadership race like the pathetic low-grade coward he is. I suppose he was a useful idiot to head the Leave campaign… but, really, what was the point?

He wasn’t in “Leave” from conviction, he was in it for his own ends, which could only have been the PM job. Which he’s now wimped out of. Much in the same way that many Leave supporters would now like to wimp out of actually leaving. Unlike them, he can change his mind.

[Via JR Nigel Farage resigns as Ukip leader: ‘I have done my bit. Now I want my life back’ (archive). Hmmm, shades of Boris’s running away.]

[Update: for my favourite conspiracy theory around all this, see #4. Meanwhile Gove turned out to have no chance and has indeed lost, which makes him an utter wazzock.]

Refs

* BoJo in the bunker.
* Sir Alan Duncan: Boris Johnson didn’t want Brexit win – Beeb, 2016 / 09 / 22. Have they only just realised?
* Late update: Boris was a tosser in 2010, too.

Post-referendum thoughts

Just as I wrote down my thoughts pre-vote, and advised against leaving, I’ll write down my thoughts a day or so after, for posterity. Doubtless it will be grateful. First off I like my son am already bored with the Diana-esque levels of news clogging that the vote has caused, so I apologise for adding to it. Feel free to comment at ATTP or Sou if you like. Or here.

DSC_5601

But before all that, a picture of a rose, otherwise everything would be somewhat depressing. Fittingly, it is slightly downcast and perhaps past its finest bloom. But it’s a brand-new forward looking Perse rose.

Anyway, just as the pre-vote news was full of drivel, so is the post-vote ([Update: an example courtesy of Timmy). Despite the dire warnings of financial disaster, and the apparently-huge falls on the day, that’s mostly froth. The rate fell steeply on the Friday from 1.31 to 1.23, but over a 5-year period that’s unexciting. Only a rather longer time will tell. With a bit of luck house prices might fall but I’m not counting on that either. On the Moody’s downgrade, I’m with Timmy. [Update: I should have thought more carefully before I graphed. Pound-vs-Euro is interesting, but of course the vote affected the Euro too. So pound-vs-dollar would have been better. For that, meh. We dropped from ~1.45 to 1.35, which isn’t chicken feed, but its unlarge in comparison to longer term trends.]

More interestingly, I was proved a better seer than NB, in that I correctly predicted that if he lost, Cameron would resign and leave his successor to sort out the mess steer the ship of state to the exit. I think cameron was correct to do that. There’s a slight downside2, in that it adds some uncertainty at a time we could do without same (or not. We do at least have certainty he will resign, and that he’ll stay till October, which tides us over for the next few months. Had he not resigned there would certainly have been months of speculation about whether he would or not or be forced out or not). Having argued strongly for Remain, he could hardly lead the negotiations of Leave. On a personal level I’m sure he’s heartily sick of the whole thing. There’s also the upside that this plausibly delays our formal invocation of article 50 until the next PM is chosen, probably in October, and who knows we may have seen sense by then. For my foreign readers – and, it seems, for the benefit of some EU leaders – I should point out that the next PM will be chosen by Tory MPs, not by the country [Update: sigh, would you believe it, I got that half wrong. What actually happens is that Tory MPs select two candidates, which are then voted on by the party membership.]. And that the referendum was advisory, and doesn’t of itself invoke article 50; indeed the exact mechanism by which we do that is unclear: most likely, a vote in the House of Commons, probably after the new PM is chosen (I [Cameron] think it’s right that this new prime minister takes the decision about when to trigger Article 50 and start the formal and legal process of leaving the EU). The upside of that delay is that just possibly we might see sense and change our minds; though I’m doubtful about that. For example, a majority of MPs could choose to vote against the article 50 bill; but it’s unlikely. There’s a petition with (at present) 1.5 M signatures to retrospectively change the rules and require a 60% threshold on a 75% turnout – very unlikely to be enacted – but the Beeb article on that does contain the intriguing However, there is talk around Westminster – in the wake of a plunging currency and falling share prices – of whether any deal on Brexit negotiated with the EU should then put to a referendum further down the line. That could just be a way out, but only if a large number of people end up agreeing that Brexit is a clear mistake.

While we’re on “timing” I’ll notice that several EU leaders have said oh get on with it then, leave quickly if you’re going” (h/t Timmy) but as Timmy points out, that’s not something they are in charge of, at least not formally; we get to decide when to put our notice in. Perhaps that gives us some leverage in the negotiations? But perhaps not much.

inout The In vs Out map is striking (I’ve cropped Scotland since it was all In). Apart from London, the Home Counties, Cambridge and Shire, Oxford, Norwich, the Welsh Foreshore and some misc other places, its a sea of Out. Which reflects I think the division between Us and Them. The most common theme of “them” I’ve seen on the news is that it’s those who’ve done badly over the last few decades who voted Out, apparently under the impression that Out, being a change, would be better. It might be; but I’m dubious it will be, for them. If there’s an economic downturn they’re the most likely to get shafted. The other theme was “them” sticking one to the “metropolitan elite” but the same comment applies.

Scotland looks entirely likely to have a second referendum on independence. Without thinking it out too carefully I think – assuming we don’t reconsider our exit – that they’re likely to have it, and to vote to Leave the UK and Remain in the EU, and the EU will be happy to keep them. Oh what a tangle that will create. Leave itself will create a considerable legal tangle. That has a benefit – it will tie up a lot of idiots who might otherwise go around creating new laws – but a cost: we’ll have to pay all their salaries, and they will inevitably get many things wrong, and the courts will be snarled up with cases of whose law applies to what. I’m not sure how big all these frictional costs are. [Update: Timmy points out that Scotland would have problems meeting the entry criteria without sever austerity; not sure how they’d get round that, but people can be creative.]

One thing curiously unremarked, to me, is the way misc EU folk have said “well, if you’re going to leave, we’re certainly going to give you bad terms to try to discourage everyone else” (e.g. Wolfgang Schäuble1; with Angela Merkel a notable exception). That very strongly puts forward the view that the only reason countries would stay, is because they’ll stomp on your faces if you leave. In other words, its close to an admission that they too think the EU is a bad thing. I would far rather see them confident; have them say “of course we’ll do our best to negotiate fair terms for all that will make both sides as prosperous as possible”; making the point that people stay in the EU because they want to be in. There’s no sane economic reason for the EU to put up trade barriers with the UK (errm, or with anyone else in fact; as various but to me most obviously Timmy have pointed out, the correct action is to reduce all import tariffs to zero immeadiately without negotiation. But Merchantilists Rool, no matter how stupid that is).

Update: via CIP I realise I’ve forgotten to note how disappointing it is that the EU appear to have learnt nothing from this. Almost everyone I know that wanted Remain – which is to say, nearly everyone I know – says “Remain, even though the EU has many unattractive features”. And yet our Leave seems to stir nothing in them but to make the exit as painful as possible – see previous paragraph. That’s their only solution.

I leave you with more roses.

DSC_5603

Refs

* Researchers reeling as UK votes to leave EU – Future of science uncertain after referendum result. Nature. But then again, “This is going to be very damaging,” says Jonathan Butterworth, a physicist at University College London who works on the ATLAS experiment at the Large Hadron Collider near Geneva, Switzerland is a hint at how it might get solved.
* Brexit: Emotions Trumped Facts During UK’s Referendum – Real Skeptic.
* Oh my! Looks like Scotland and Northern Ireland may have a veto on #Brexit process – Twitter
* Boris explained
* wittily, we’re due the presidency in 2017
* Brian largely agrees with me which is nice, because he is sensible.
* JA sounds genuinely angry, and he’s normally so detatched.
* Churchill on Europe
* James on the already-visible impacts on science collaboration.

Notes

1. See VV’s comment. I am no longer sure I can find a good source for anyone actually saying this, as opposed to one of their opponents saying that they’ve said it.

2. Actually there turned out to be a major downside, in that we got that useless twat May as PM. But I couldn’t have been expected to predict that.

#exxonlied

rightsaidfred Pah, another el-cheapo clickbait post, spawned by Twitter. The conversation went something like this:

mt: Exxon knew, of course. Every decent geophysicist has known about climate problem for decades. How could they not know? All oil majors know.
me: Errm, this is what I’ve been saying for some time. I didn’t get traction, though. All govts knew, too, of course.
Gavin: I am too sexy for this conversation The issue is not that #ExxonKnew, but that #Exxonknewthenliedaboutit (possibly in contravention of securities law). At some point, Exxon went from standard industry bias to funding & putting out denialism that their folk knew was BS.
me: Yes, #Exxonlied is the correct tag. But I can’t get excited by securities law.
Eli: Not planning to retire, are you?
me: Yes but hope my pensions aren’t dumb enough to rely on company disclosures & instead do their jobs.

Before Exxon sue me to death, I should point out that I doubt that they actually lied about anything very much, and possibly nothing at all, directly. See What I said about Exxon sample 1 for how that kind of stuff pans out, though. But deliberately misleading people, and spreading FUD, and indirectly paying other people to lie for you isn’t morally distinguishable.

However, the #Exxonknew stuff is still bullshit. Just like that twat Boris it is popular bullshit, but that’s no reason I should like it, and no reason you should either.

The legalese argument – “oh dear, SC rules say that maybe Exxon should have said more in their annual filings” – is in my opinion only an argument you’d use if you’ve lost every other way. In practical, real-world terms, it is stupid. For two obvious reasons. Firstly, because no-one with any degree of sanity – certainly nothing as large as a pension fund – should have been relying on any company for full disclosure in their annual filings. That’s what these people have analysts for. If your pension fund is too rubbish to do due diligence, fire them and get another one. Secondly, because (as we all know) #Exxonknew is bullshit: because #Everyoneknew. It was full public knowledge, everything that Exxon knew, none of it was secret.

There, I feel better now. Rip me to shreds.

Gavin’s At some point, Exxon went from standard industry bias to funding & putting out denialism that their folk knew was BS is essentially correct, but I don’t think there’s any great mystery: the answer is Lee Raymond. No?s

coolfuturesfundsmanagement

Bored with force X from outer space? Was Force F just too fuckwitted, and part 22 just too dull? Then why not play “hedge funds”? Hedge funds do lots of complex maths and make lots of money (only not so much recently); they also have the advantage of being opaque. So play today, with Jo Nova and her band of performing marsupials. Yes, I know, its a picture of a monkey with an arrow up it’s bum, and a monkey is not a marsupial. But no known mediaeval manuscripts feature marsupials.

Context, context: I forget the context in my obsession with primate posteriors. coolfuturesfundsmanagement is, like, a hedge fund. Run by Jo Nova! And some others. Or perhaps better, a wannabe hedge fund with a severe shortage of moolah. And its going to hedge against cooling, maan. Tagline: “Are we preparing for catastrophic warming when we should be preparing for cooling?”

[Update: via RS’s “Zombies of the Stratosphere” I found a great B-movie review site; you should read their review of Absolute Zero, not my maunderings.]

Who were those masked men?

Suppose you had some spare money to invest and wanted to turn it over to a hedge fund. You’d want to see some kind of track record, no? If the fund was new, as this one is, you’d want to see some kind of heavyweight with relevant experience. Does CFFM have such? There’s an about, so we can find out. Their people are:

* David Evans, chief pusher of force X. Um. He can do fourier analysis with a following wind.
* Jo Nova, assistant chief pusher of force X. She can do… PR?
* Stephen Farish. Who? “He built the SES model used to determine funding schemas in Australian Government health and education programs”. He appears to be an assistant prof at the Uni of Melbourne, and associated in some way with Michigan, but I couldn’t find any papers post-2013. Not an obvious member for the board of a hedge fund.
* Chris Dawson “is an entrepreneur and manager” – ooh, exciting, tell me more – “having founded and run numerous innovative enterprises” – oh. Could you be more specific? “His current roles include CEO of the Lord Monckton Foundation”. Oh. Oh dear. CD, and SF, are remarkably google-light; as though they weren’t heavyweights.
* Andrew Vallner “is an external consultant to the fund. He is an experienced asset consultant”. He does appear to exist, currently running CPG a small-looking investment advice group. Looks like the only one with any kind of investment credibility, and that is thin. Curiously the bio mentions CUNA but not CPG; and I find no news of his time at CUNA. There’s a (self)bio here.

And don’t get me started on all their website photos being freebies, the cheapskates.

Enough ad-hom. What’s the plan?

If we pretend to take this seriously as an investment plan, we can do what no sane investor would do and disregard the credentials of the people running this thing, and instead look at their plan for Making Money, which is what hedge funding is all about.

They have a three-step spiel: one: DE has brilliantly shown that current climate science is all wrong; two: solar theory is right, and strongly suggests cooling; and three: As we approach this period of global cooling, and the leading indicators are evident, we will better refine the timing, magnitude and investment strategy. Ah: could you explain again how you’re going to make money out of that? Citizens of the West are watching the miscalculation of value and massive misallocations of their pension funds and long term prosperity. Our plan is to stop this mindless waste. Very nice, do go on: With a self funded, highly profitable due diligence process and cost benefit analysis on the science, economics and finance of climate change, we will literally hedge our bets on climate change and on changing climate change policy. Still a touch opaque, no? Fortunately, they ask themselves a Penetrating Question: What and how should we invest, if we know that carbon dioxide is ‘innocent’ of being the main cause of catastrophic global warming*; and that the timing (soon), magnitude (significant) and sign (cooling) of the next major climate shift will have an impact on many markets and economies? But: do they answer it?

cffm Under “what can you do?” they have two options. “Larger sophisticated investors” can, effectively, talk to CFFM, how nice for them. For the plebs, there’s crowd funding mechanism. This has a nice “donate” button, which would appear to be an odd way to “invest” your money; but $250 buys you errm, a gold badge and some “collectable” share certificates, somewhat like cigarette cards I suppose. Oh oh hold on: from the “plan”: The hanging of your Cool Futures Funds Management share certificate on your wall will be a small but empowering action you can take representing the start of something big and something ultimately positive and beneficial and scientific. Oh come on, can anyone but the Faithful possibly fall for that?

So, I should be reading The Plan. Kewl. Let’s go:

We believe the Cool Futures Hedge Fund will publicly, economically, politically, scientifically and financially challenge and – on so many levels destroy – the catastrophic anthropogenic [man-made] global warming (CAGW) paradigm and draw attention to all the weaknesses in the myth that ‘human emissions of carbon dioxide is the dominant cause of dangerous, unprecedented, runaway, unstoppable global warming’. Our aim is to create a self funding high profile vehicle designed to inform the world of carbon dioxide’s innocence, extract significant value from the collapse of the CAGW paradigm and to help prepare the world properly (with prosperity) for natural climate change, whether in the form of global warming or cooling.

That reads to me like someone has forgotten they’re supposed to be a hedge fund, not a pol or a blog. Then we move over the Yet More Plan (this has weird echoes of force X, where one page would tantalisingly almost reveal the answer, only to push you onto the next page, repeat ad nauseam). One part of the Yet More Plan has already failed:

A number of alternate strategies will be further refined and revised to ensure the red team media take the bait and attack Cool Futures, providing it with global media exposure in the lead up to Paris.

They weren’t attacked, they were ignored. But – oh noes! – Now I’ve fallen for their cunning plan and attacked them. Damn, they’ye clever than I though.

Jo Nova now has a blog post pushing this stuff – so I suppose I’m in a race with Sou, has she got there yet? No, good – in which even more plan is revealed, by CD no less:

Like in the movie the Big Short (which was based on a true story…

Yes, that’s right, the plan is to work by analogy with movies. How could that possibly fail? To be fair, as in the end I suppose I have to be, they do say

The vast sums of money diverted and misallocated to reducing carbon dioxide emissions by solar panels, wind farms, electric cars, ‘carbon trading’ and so on, will inevitably lead to a collapse of these schemes through sheer economic waste. This collapse will produce numerous opportunities for profit.

And that’s not entirely ridiculous. There are indeed vast misallocations of money in subsidies (because we don’t have a Carbon Tax). However, the existing market knows this; it isn’t clear CFFM has any special advantage. I’ll spare you phase 2, because it is vacuous, but phase 3 isn’t much better:

As it becomes obvious we are entering a period of natural global cooling, we will have timed the taking of various profitable positions for maximum return, especially in agricultural and energy commodities. The current low price regime that has emerged provides fertile ground for good value selection of long positions.

This is a long-term strategy and is, again, competing against all the other players with no special advantage. They don’t have a hope.

Are these people serious?

Who knows? I did run across I’m putting my money where my mouth is and betting against climate change – “I’ve invested in a fund that will aim to short-sell overvalued renewable energy stocks” by… wait for it… James Delingpole! As you’d expect from Dellers, it’s a disappointment: he’s spent1 $75 on a bronze badge. Which means he doesn’t believe in it.

FWIW, these people have a Fb page. You should go troll them: I did.

Notes

1. Sou points out that the list of donors doesn’t obviously include D, so it is entirely possible that he is lying about the $75; it would be unsurprising.

Refs

* THE NORTHERN ROCK OF THE CAYMAN ISLANDS ICECAP: HE HAS A CUNNING PLAN.
* dailykos
* Update from HotWhopper 2017/02: it isn’t looking any better.
* The Most-Hated Bear in Solar Isn’t Backing Down by Brian Eckhouse, February 16, 2017.

The sea ice post!

People have been asking for the sea ice post, so here it is. I’ve been putting it off, obviously. The $10k bet comes due this year but its looking like a bad year; and secondly I don’t really have all that much to say. Just to remind you, the terms are

If both NSIDC and IARC-JAXA September 2016 monthly average sea ice extent report are above 4.80 million km^2, RD pays WMC US$ 10,000. If both are below 3.10 million km^2, WMC pays RD US$ 10,000. In all other cases the bet is null and void.

You should also read the argument that Rob presented in that post. That bet was arranged in 2011. 5 years is not long for climatological changes, unless they’re huge, and the bet was a compromise. Now, let’s look at the current ice:

vishop_sic_extent

That’s from https://ads.nipr.ac.jp/vishop/vishop-extent.html?N. That’s still at an all-time low for the time of year, but only just, which is better than its been for the last few months. And of course its been, globally, ridiculously hot for the first few months of this year – even if its been a cold spring in the UK. The other thing to remember is that winter or early spring isn’t a terribly good predictor of summer minimum. Nonetheless I find it hard to believe, at this moment, that I’m likely to win – ice going below 4.8 seems really rather likely – so the question becomes whether I’m likely to lose, which in a sense is a moral victory for Rob already.

This is a good point to mention that Rob and I were betting with each other because the blowhard nutters wouldn’t put up. In his case, the denialists (and I had a go, too); in my case, people like Wadhams who is still predicting essentially no Arctic sea ice this year. Or possibly next year. At any rate, real soon now, for reason that are never very clearly explained.

Note: I’m completely hopeless at remembering where I had, so forgive me if I’ve forgotten some stuff. CR threw in the towel last year, so I’m clear with him.

Mays: end of an era

I first started watching the Mays in 2011, when Caius went head, bumping Pembroke and First & Third along the way. So I selected Caius as my college-to-support, even though we then rowed out of Peterhouse and now row out of Queens, and know people in King’s and Christ’s. In 2013 they were outstanding; in 2014 good and in 2015 they only survived the last day due to a regrettable Pembroke crab.

But this year, whilst they survived Pembroke on Wednesday and LMBC on Thursday and Friday, they finally fell to Maggie on Saturday half way down the reach:

Anyway, this post is for me to collect the videos that I took over this bumps, so I can find them again in years to come:

Saturday: M1, W1, M2, W2, M3
Friday: M1 (part 1) and part 2, W1, M2
Thursday: M1, W1
Wednesday: M1, W1, M2 (and re-row)

If you prefer carnage, there’s a nice example from M2 on Wednesday. Fear not, no one was permanently harmed.

The message boards photos thread contains stuff; and the “predictions” thread contains… errm, well, it is a mixed bag shall we say.

Comments on the headship: coming into bumps, the top three were considered roughly comparable. Maggie had won Press Head, but only by three seconds over Caius; and Caius had beaten LMBC by 3/4 of a length in Nines regatta, though that’s a short course. And Pembroke had beaten both of them by a small margin at Champs eights head. In the end what turned out to matter was the long course. On day 1, Pembroke got to nearly-overlap at Ditton but faded to a 3/4 of a length by the railway bridge, with LMBC what looked like two lengths down; at which point it was so obvious that nothing would happen that I stopped to watch the rest of the division. And yet, astonishingly, LMBC did catch Pembroke; top finish is a long way off. On Thursday I fully expected the “clearly” faster over a shorter distance Pembroke to catch LMBC, but they didn’t get within half a length, and Maggie didn’t trouble a serene looking Caius, who “clearly” had more in them if needed. On Friday I stopped at First Post when it looked like a repeat of Thursday, so I don’t know how the second half went. On Saturday I expected Pembroke to kill themselves trying to get Maggie and fail, and Caius to row over. The first bit happened: Pembroke got within half a length, perhaps a canvas, by the Plough and then died (safely; Jesus at four were bumped by Clare for their blades). Maggie came out of Ditton perhaps a canvas off Caius and bravely (but probably sensibly) steered out of their puddles. Caius were still rowing cleanly, but were overpowered by Maggie (all those winter evenings going at it like jack-rabbits on the ergs paid off), and were caught half way down the reach.

(ps: if you were waiting for the sea ice post, now you know why I was too busy to write it. But hold on, it is coming)

FT: UK ports look beyond fading coal imports

UK ports look beyond fading coal imports says the FT:

Ports from south-west England to central Scotland have been taken aback by the speed at which demand has evaporated for what had been one of their most dependable cargoes — coal. As coal-fired power stations across the country shut, ports have been hit by a sharp drop in imports… At the Port of Tyne — located on a river that has shipped coal since the 14th century — coal imports are expected to dive from a record 5m tonnes in 2013 to zero this year… In recent decades, imports have been boosted by the contraction of UK coal mining and the need for low sulphur coal to meet rising environmental standards. But last month a historic “zero coal” milestone was reached when on seven separate occasions in one week Britain was powered without any coal-power station burning. As a consequence imports of coal to the UK are plummeting.

Which is interesting. As is Danish pension scheme threatens to blacklist coal companies (also in the FT; really, its the only place for real news) featuring

Businesses that rely on coal for at least a quarter of their revenues face being blacklisted by one of Europe’s largest pension funds amid fears that high-carbon investments could end up being worthless… “We certainly believe there is a financial risk [when it comes to investing in coal companies], otherwise we wouldn’t have taken [these] steps. At the end of the day, we are here to provide the best possible returns for investors.”

Ah, those are the kind of people you want to hear saying things like that.

See also

* Divestment campaigns: Fight the power?
* Investors warn of ‘carbon bubble’ as Shell predicts climate regulation will hit profits?
* The Carbon Bubble: All we have to do is decide to not commit civilizational suicide – and the markets crash?