Inconvenient information: Page not found

Post-war, Inter-war posters, 1947 (catalogue reference: NSC 5/243)

Inconvenient information: Page not found

Have you found that interesting page on a UK government website is missing? Do you suspect that it contained information inconvenient to present government?

Looking up a previous post on the effect of climate change on the safety of coastal nuclear power stations, I found :

Missing climate feedbacks

The report relies on the HadRM3 Regional Climate Model. This may underestimate or omit the effects of certain climate feedbacks which are mentioned on the NERC website:

– reduced sea ice cover – reflecting less of the sun’s heat back out to space, changing ocean circulation patterns
– less carbon dioxide absorption by the oceans
– increased soil respiration
– more forest fires
– melting permafrost
– increased decomposition of wetlands

I thought I might refresh my memory but the NERC link gives

Following the link to the National Archives gives:

254 instances. Lost interest? I did.

Inconvenient information: Page not found

(Changing the record in Hansard.)

Now look at this page in Hansard, the record of the UK Parliament:

Aviation: Carbon Emissions

Mr. Peter Ainsworth: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what the most recent estimate is of the percentage contribution of aviation, based on emissions by all aircraft departing from UK airports, and including the radiative forcing effect, to UK climate change emissions. [134036]

Gillian Merron [holding answer 26 April 2007]: International aviation is not included in the UK’s climate change inventory as there is no internationally agreed method for allocating such emissions among states. In 2005 aviation represented 6.3 per cent. of UK emissions, calculated as a proportion of emissions in the UK inventory plus emissions from international aviation and shipping departing the UK. Detailed data may be viewed at:

Following the link gets:

Following the link to the Government Web Archive gives “e-Digest of Environmental Statistics”. Could diligent searching find anything about the radiative forcing of aviation. I don’t think I’ll live long enough to find out.

But it’s worse than that. I remember the original link in Hansard, that actually go to some useful information on radiative forcing. I remember complaining to Hansard when the original link stopped working. It was replaced by a generic find-it-yourself link.

It worried me that information in Hansard could be changed in this way.

Inconvenient information: Page not found

In Can Defra be trusted with climate I wrote

The UK Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) commissioned some work on the carbon footprints of beef, lamb and other animal products from Dr Adrian Williams at Cranfield University. This work is hard to find on the DEFRA website unless the key code “IS0205” is first obtained from Dr William’s site.

Dr William’s research finds that 1 kg Beef (dead-weight) has a carbon footprint equal to14 kg CO2e (or 25 kg CO2e if greenhouse gasses are measured over 20 years). Some details can be found in the resources section of the Green Ration Book. The Green Ration Book compares carbon footprints with governement targets and estimates a 12oz beef steak to be 5 days’ of your ration for consumables!

Using the “IS0205” code it is also possible to find a later publication “The Environmental Impact of Livestock Production, a review of research and literature”. This waters down the impact of Dr William’s findings. The Executive summary starts

“The main domestic livestock sectors produce a wide range of products (food, leather, wool etc) and public services, such as employment, landscape and cultural heritage. However livestock production impacts on the environment in a variety of ways, both positive and negative, but there are some systems where there is greater potential for the environment to be compromised in order to achieve efficient production. The key is to minimise negative impacts in the most cost-effective way.”

Dr williams work can still be found – if you know the “IS0205” code – but the article that criticised the “IS0205” work, “The Environmental Impact of Livestock Production, a review of research and literature”, seems to have vanished.

Perhaps that is now too embarrassing.

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