Yale to greens: “abandon climate change, focus on energy”

Al Gore's latest book uses hurricanes to scare

This may be perhaps the first time I’ve embraced an article from the Yale Environment 360 forum, the opener reads:

Environmentalists have long sought to use the threat of catastrophic global warming to persuade the public to embrace a low-carbon economy. But recent events, including the tainting of some climate research, have shown the risks of trying to link energy policy to climate science.

Al Gore’s latest book where he had to photoshop in some hurricanes comes to mind.

The NCDC sponsored climate change report where they photoshopped in a flooded house also comes to mind.

And, yes even the snowstorms reportedly caused by global warming this winter are also reminders of how common this bogus linkage to weather is.

From:

THE  HILL

Green think tank tells environmentalists: Leave climate change science behind

By Ben Geman

Leaders of a contrarian environmental think tank, The Breakthrough Institute, have a way to get beyond the climate science wars: Break the link between global warming research and the push for low-carbon energy.

Ted Nordhaus and Michael Shellenberger, in a new essay in Yale Environment 360,  [Titled: Freeing Energy Policy From The Climate Change Debate] argue that environmentalists are too eager to link natural disasters and dangerous weather to man-made climate change.


They write:

Climate science, even at its most uncontroversial, could never motivate the remaking of the entire global energy economy. Efforts to use climate science to threaten an apocalyptic future should we fail to embrace green proposals, and to characterize present-day natural disasters as terrifying previews of an impending day of reckoning, have only served to undermine the credibility of both climate science and progressive energy policy.

The essay also suggests that climate advocacy and research have become too intertwined, with environmentalists seeking to represent the science as “apocalyptic, imminent, and certain.” The science has been harmed as a result, they argue, stating:

Greens pushed climate scientists to become outspoken advocates of action to address global warming. Captivated by the notion that their voices and expertise were singularly necessary to save the world, some climate scientists attempted to oblige. The result is that the use, and misuse, of climate science by advocates began to wash back into the science itself.

The Yale Environment 360 website has a comments section below the articles. Look for a lively response to their new piece.

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shared h/t to John Goetz and Dr. Leif Svalgaard, whose emails arrived almost simultaneously.
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190 thoughts on “Yale to greens: “abandon climate change, focus on energy”

  1. Have to agree Anthony, pretty level headed story. Sure wish more environmentalists were not so over the top and full of…………..HOT AIR
    Sincerely,
    John

  2. There’s no reason for environmentalists to have any say on energy anyway, especially when they don’t know one thing about science and oppose nuclear. Our energy use has been decarbonising for generations as explained by many scientists and writers from Dr Patrick Moore to Michael Crichton.

    Whenever environmentalists do get involved, it is to try to steal credit for what is happening anyway or to do the dirty work of western governments in persuading poor nations, especially black people, not to develop or to bribe the political elite of those nations to keep their people in a state of backwardness. They also purchase land for cheap in the name of conservation to prevent productive use of those lands, then after a while sell them on to favourable corporations.

    Apart from Patrick Moore’s Greenspirit I can’t think of any environmental organisation which isn’t damn dirty.

  3. I definitely agree. Energy conservation, sustainability, minimizing pollution, etc are good things, but the repeated tying of these things to global warming messes things up royally.

    I was trying to explain how CAGW is, at best, a possible hypothesis that is doubtful and he countered with something like – well cutting back on fossil fuels is a good thing. Of course it is (my wife works in a lab working on alternative energy…I don’t know how he could think I didn’t realize this)! I tried to explain to him how the two are very different and shouldn’t be linked (CAGW demands immediate/crazy action, whereas sustainable solutions will likely creep slowly over decades), but I don’t know if he got it.

    I’m glad more people are starting to discern between the two.

    -Scott

  4. I agree with the message of this particular essay. However, after reading the authors’ 2004 article, The Death Of Environmentalism, it appears they simply blow in the political winds. My kingdom for a progressive who is capable of critical thought.

  5. Well if it smells like a duck, and sheds feathers like a duck; it’s a duck !

    So what’s with this LOW CARBON ENERGY GIMMIC; if it is supposed to be divorced from “Climate Science” or “Climate Change”.

    The very words LOW CARBON mean they haven’t got the message.

    It isn’t the carbon;IT’S THE WATER; STUPID !

  6. So let me understand, they were using climate change nee’ global warming merely as a ploy to get an environmentalist agenda through? In other words, THEY are not even certain whether it’s true, they were using it only to get their agenda through.

    What next, the threat of cute polar bears starving to death?

    Oh wait, they already used that one.

  7. So, essentially: The fraud isn’t working, time to throw in the towel, and just admit the real motive..>…… an irrational hatred of hydrocarbon fuels…. oh, and a death wish to shut down all civilization.

    … the first in a 12 step process?

  8. “George E. Smith (16:55:28) :
    [...]
    It isn’t the carbon;IT’S THE WATER; STUPID !”

    Yeah. We need a low water economy. Dewaterize the economy! No Evian for you.

  9. The irony of all this is if you understand economics there is nothing to focus on, free markets will take care of our energy needs. All government does is increase costs and delay technological innovation. If they want to see a transition to clean energy, then they need to get out of the way.

  10. Interesting, they are going back to their original ‘green’ idea. But how will civilisation change to their will when there is no doom to avoid? Are these people a bunch of wingers that cannot accept that progress means destroying old ideas like the sun revolving around the earth or that the earth is flat. In order to make an omelette you must break some eggs – releasing a little bit of plant food into the atmosphere is a good thing :-)

  11. Getting the most out of fossil fuels: Globlal Trade should mean exchange of goods for goods, not pure transfer of wealth at the greatest expenditure of energy.
    Excessive importation is the epitomy of energy inefficiency. That stuff doesn’t travel on sailboats, it requires lots of bunker oil to get it here.
    Internal transportation should rely most on rail, which is far more energy efficient than semi. It’s out-of-balance.

  12. “Poptech (17:13:02) :

    The irony of all this is if you understand economics there is nothing to focus on, free markets will take care of our energy needs. All government does is increase costs and delay technological innovation. If they want to see a transition to clean energy, then they need to get out of the way.”

    Actually, no. Energy companies would go for the cheapest energy, and that is hydrocarbons for at least the next 500 years or so (oil, coal, gas, and now huge amounts of shale gas becoming economical).

    If you want clean, you have to regulate. (Personally, with clean i don’t mean CO2-free but other people have different ideas of clean; in both cases, the same applies: without regulation, no company will do it – it harms their competitiveness)

  13. If one notes trends, one will observe that expanding energy use correlates to HUGELY expanding energy reserves.

    (This is one case where correlation may indeed equal causation.)

  14. We now have a climate caste system. The enlightened
    progressives and their fear mongering minions.

    This is fun; more popcorn please!

  15. One might even ask if carbon-based energy use cannot be convincingly connected with AGW why there is a particularly pressing imperative to reduce use of carbon-based energy in the first place . . .

  16. This is a major step in the right direction. I think the concept of the intertwining of advocacy & science has fired up many of the scientific types on this blog because the degradation of science in general was apparent. This is a good 1st step in separating politics & science & restoring the credibility of science.

    To those who still seem offended by the term “low carbon” energy, it is perfectly acceptable to use that term & not imply a global warming link. The other way to interpret it is “high efficiency” energy (ie more work per btu is equivalent to more work per net carbon molecule). Higher efficiency is always better- both personally & societally – regardless of your personal politics.

  17. Well the trouble with that Yale site is they don’t have somebody like Chasmod who is awake at the switch.

    When it comes to placing a comment on that site; their moderator process is about as slow as postal chess.

    If they ever post my short comment; it will be into its second or third half life.

    [Hey! ~dbs, mod]

  18. Uhmm, subtext reads, “change tactic” not common goal. There’s nothing wrong with “carbon free” energy. Except that it won’t happen in my lifetime nor yours. Neither, is there anything wrong with carbon based energy. Yes, we’ll probably run out, eventually. But, again, not in my lifetime nor yours, nor your children’s. I would like to say that I don’t understand the obsession with carbon based energy, but it seems clear to me, that there are too many humanists hell bent on taking humanity out of the human race. Like it or not, human progress and standard of living can still be measured in terms of carbon emissions. Call me strange, but I see upward movement in both as a good thing. Further, I see that the laws of energy/physics/nature still apply to mankind. As far as I know, we still cannot create energy. Find the “perpetual motion machine”, and we should all be living in a utopia soon. Until then, there’s no need to rush efficiency, it’s man’s nature to strive for it. It continually happens regardless of the tactic employed.

    My take anyway.

  19. Don’t ethanol and biodiesel have carbon in them … how does their use equate with a low carbon economy? And if we are able to synthesise transport fuel from hydrogen (produced from off-peak nuclear generated electricy) and CO, produced by pyrolysis of biomass, would that count as part of a low carbon economy.

    Methinks, if they want to focus on alternative fuel sources – good idea. But they need to forget this nonsense about carbon.

  20. Layne Blanchard (17:02:24) : “So, essentially: The fraud isn’t working, time to throw in the towel, and just admit the real motive..>…… an irrational hatred of hydrocarbon fuels…. oh, and a death wish to shut down all civilization. … the first in a 12 step process?”

    Step 1: “Admitted we wanted the world to be powerless
    —that we were trying to make everyone’s lives unmanageable….”

  21. It’s a shame the environmental movement has been taken over by such a shoddy argument. There are plenty of real reasons to do many (not all) of the things the AGW preachers want us to do. If the whole environmental movement is discredited, bad things will result.

    And then there’s this:

    Don’t overreact; this doesn’t prove we’ll have a big recovery in the summer minimum, but it’s a nice start. The facts are “inconvenient” for the AGW faithful right now.

    Predicting the end of the world always works well for a while. But when the world doesn’t end as predicted, the preacher’s following melts away.

  22. evanmjones (17:29:45) : “…if carbon-based energy use cannot be convincingly connected with AGW why there is a particularly pressing imperative to reduce use of carbon-based energy in the first place . . .”

    Good question. Answer: The United States has the largest reserves of coal in the entire world. China covets these reserves and would like to buy them at 5 cents on the dollar. OPEC would like to increase our dependence on foreign oil and gas. By making coal illegal, our enemies can ruin the US in one fell swoop. US allies (if there are any) will be over-run. Obama will bow.

  23. Looks like the ‘greens’ are going into retreat.

    We have plenty of fossil fuels for the foreseeable future and, if industry is left to it’s own devices, alternative sources of energy will be discovered and commercialised.

    CAGW and ‘peak oil’ are both false memes.

  24. “evanmjones (17:27:09) :

    If one notes trends, one will observe that expanding energy use correlates to HUGELY expanding energy reserves.

    (This is one case where correlation may indeed equal causation.)”

    It surely does. Expanding energy use leads to a fall in reserves expressed in yearly consumption. This triggers a price rise and an increase in exploration activities and development of new technologies, making previously unviable reserves economically viable.

  25. So is it finally time to put into the dustbin of history one of my pet peeve expressions ” carbon footprint ” ?
    I will be happy never to hear that term again!
    Lets face it, the truth is finally now out there, and the population are getting it. We have been scammed.
    Too many people get caught up in the hype, including scientists and other professional folks, including journalists.
    Think about it, the planet is 70 % water , 25 % desert ,mountain, ranges, and ice covered poles..Which leaves 5 % of the planet for all civilization, the most of which live along the coastal regions of the planet, including people , animals , and other aspects of all civilization. Lets also not forget that all of the earths inhabitants could easily fit in the smallest state in the USA. ( tight squeeze albiet ) . Doesn’t matter, it is just an example of how small we are.
    The point is, man is an inconsequential presence on this planet. We have zero impact on its climate, but we do inpact local environments with pollution etc. That is something we can affect.
    The Global footprint expression parlayed by many in the green movement ( including Al Gore gag me ) always left me with a sick feeling in my gut…….I knew it was wrong, and now finally I am proved right. Its time to put that puppy into historys dustbin.
    Thanks for the opportunity to speak my piece.
    Ian

  26. ya, this is coming from the guy who said he invited the internet……….i call B.S.
    look AL i see were u are going but its just not going to happen, and if it does i will personally kiss your ass……seriously im that confident that your theory is not just flawed but totally wrong. oh btw that volcano in Iceland……..u might want to throw that into the equation.

  27. The other myth that has yet to be exposed, like AGW, is what our carbon based energy situation really is. Supposedly we are running out, while ridiculous alternatives like wind and solar are explored.

    This is doubtful. Why?

    First some background. The Oil industry is essentially a cartel. Opec is of course the visible face which is the producing cartel. However, they rely on the support and distrubution cartel (formerly called the 7 sisters, Exxon, BP, etc, otherwise known as Big Oil) to get their oil and gas from the ground to the consumer. In effect, the controlling cartel is not the producers, and they have a symbiotic relationship, and may be considered one and the same.

    So all we know about reserves comes from this cartel. By claiming shortages, and dwindling reserves, and in effect ensuring supplies just meet demand, they ensure high prices (used to be 3 dollars a barrel 35 years ago) . There is interlocking directorships in Oil and Investment Banking (David Rockefeller says hi) so the financial arm helps drive market prices up with speculation in futures (they also make money shorting these futures when they bring prices down from unsustainable increases)

    Big Oil (not using any specific company name) does not pay market price for oil, having entered into long term contracts with producers. However, their refineries pay market price. Profits get hidden in the tax havens (ever wonder why the tankers are registered in places like Pananama?). The off shore company where the tanker is registered buys the oil for say 50% of market price from the oil producer (who is dependent on them for hardware needed to get the oil from the ground, store it and ship it). Then sells it to the refinery in the US at somewhat less than market price (locking up the profits elsewhere, hence less tax in the US). US oil production is problematic in this regard.

    In any event, 35 years ago we were supposed to be running out of oil globally, and today have reserves double what they were 35 years ago (of course consumption has also doubled).

    One curious thing which proves my point that we have far more oil than Big Oil would like us to know is their obvious reluctance to search for oil in the US. Leased land goes undrilled. Some will mention environmental concerns inhibiting their ability to search for oil. Ask yourself this.

    In the aftermath of 9/11, with Arab oil producing nations looked upon as a threat, and this country dependent on oil, not to mention our military which uses more oil than most countries, how could Bush and Cheney, Big Oils biggest buddies, not be able to open up the drilling, especially along the coast. Even if Congress would not go along (it was a Republican Congress), he could have used an Executive Order siting National Security concerns and he would have had the full support of most Americans. He didn’t. Why?

    The answer is that Big Oil does not want to increase supplies. Things are doing very well as is thank you.

    There is also Thomas Golds abiogenic theory of oil in the deep hot biosphere. He claims some oil wells thought to be depleted are being refilled (although not at the rate in which it was depleted), and that fossil fuels are not of biogenic orgins, but are upwelling from the deep earth, even in areas not thought to have oil do to the lack of sediments (just have to drill deeper). As an astro-physicist at NASA he claimed most planets have plenty of hydrocarbons, and that these compounds exist naturally throughout the universe from the beginning and did not require carbon based life to form them.

    Obviously, nobody can prove this but Big Oil. The Russian scientists know, informing Thomas Gold that they developed this theory first, and have implemented their knowledge to increase Russian oil production despite having been thought to be running out of oil 20 years ago . They have no motivation to speak out publicly as this would depress oil prices, a commodity their economy depends on.

    This takes us to nuclear energy. An accident at TMI that many say was sabotage cooled Americas interest in nuclear power. At the same time, double digit interest rates caused by the Fed, the banking industries lackey (remember the interlocking interests) made the financing cost for nuclear power plants so high the venture would be unprofitable. In addition, the US refusal to recycle spent nuclear power rods means waste is accumulating (recycle rates can be as high as 97% , and new generation power plants can use the spent power rods from older plants as is), and is used by environmentalists as the key argument against nuclear power.

    Thus the biggest threat to Big Oil was removed. Since then, Big Oil through other companies and with the cooperation of the US and European nations and Australia have been acquiring land containing uranium oxide supplies and uranium enrichment plants. Once the cartel for this energy source is ready, there will be a push for nuclear power. Energy prices will of course be kept high since the supplier will be a cartel. In the meantime, those countries seeking to develop enrichment plants will meet with threats and sanctions.

    The banking industry will be in a position to make a pile by loaning money to finance nuclear power plant development. This will probably happen when oil prices test 150 dollars a barrel again. Double digit inflation will likely be on the horizon, and the banks making such loans to these nations will need to be bailed out, and in return more resources from these nations will be promised to cover the loan in default. In the meantime, more loans will be available for them to buy oil if needed. Maybe at that time loans will be in the form of carbon credits and payments in carbon dollars.

  28. Richard North,
    The claim is that ethanol and biodiesel cause less carbon emissions than the equivalent natural hydrocarbons. Or… that they might eventually. The “cleaner” argument is much stronger when it isn’t focused on the carbon emissions but other emissions – the sulfur content is dramatically lower.

    There are a variety of problems with the ‘lower carbon emissions’ position, some crippling. But they keep getting included in the environmentalists lists because the do have the virtue of being “sustainable”. (Or… nearly sustainable. A breakthrough or three on enzymatic of catalytic formation methods would be quite helpful to their argument.)

  29. OT, but related to the eco-zealots desires, our “beloved” (10% approval rating) Congress is emboldened by illegally passing an illegal law to work on passing another illegal law based on this “science”. Here is the link.

    http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/a28df5a6-3b71-11df-b622-00144feabdc0.html

    This just shows that even with climategate, even with colder winters, even with the house of cards falling, and even with the discredited scientists, our Congress still doesn’t care about the true science, just political goals. You can write your representative 200 times a day and it won’t matter. It didn’t matter when people marched en masse at Washington. It didn’t matter when people called so often to their representative, the phone lines were overloaded. They still voted for a bill despite the will of their representatives. You should write anyway and tell them to back the truth by voting against any carbon tax. But it is clear how our Congress has become drunk with power. If carbon taxes passes, along with the implementation of the 2700+ page health care bill, this country will dream of having living conditions found in North Korea. (Obvious hyperbole.)

    (By the way, federal health care controls are illegal because of the 10th Amendment to the US Constitution which prohibits the federal government from taking rights not specifically given to it in the Constitution. The idea is to concentrate power in the states. Managing health care or controlling CO2 emissions is not a power given to the federal government in the Constitution.)

  30. Poptech (17:13:02) :
    The irony of all this is if you understand economics there is nothing to focus on, free markets will take care of our energy needs. All government does is increase costs and delay technological innovation. If they want to see a transition to clean energy, then they need to get out of the way.

    Have you seen the many tax incentives to suppress any new innovation by keeping the current inefficient crap going?
    Free markets want to sell more junk energy technology than look at anything that could really make power as it sells more parts and turbines and keeps the price of power high.

  31. So stop scary stories for kids and focus on getting more energy and energy independence. Sounds like the right approach for our country with the highest fossil fuel reserves on the planet.

    No? What, that’s not what he means?

  32. I’m sorry, but I don’t see the objectivity of an essay who’s intent is still to de-carbonize our economy, and that the revenues raised would be solely used to develop low carbon industry. It looks like the Precautionary Principle, only now done without a basis to do so.

    Clean energy as they described it includes reducing carbon.

  33. Too bad the Green’s ideas for energy are just as wrong as their ideas on the climate.

    We had windmills. We got rid of them. Why? Because they suck as a power source.

    Solar is just as bad, probably worse because it’s even more expensive than wind.

  34. “Green think tank tells environmentalists: Leave climate change science behind”

    Wow. The first major crack from within.

  35. pft (17:59:37) :

    Look at the USGS surveys. By the U.S’ own reports, we have more and more recoverable oil and natural gas, seemingly, every year, in this nation. That verifies your assertions except that the real information is out there, but no one cares to look. Given man’s natural propensity for efficiency in all things. There is absolutely no reason for any concern for us running out. (Natural gas, the coal derivative, is NOT a finite resource, but then, I don’t believe oil is either.)
    I digress, money makers will continue to make money. It’s their nature. Of course, they feign shortage. Policy makers usurp power. It’s their nature. Our nature should be to ensure they don’t get too carried away. Sadly, too many of our ‘brotherhood of man’ are only too eager to believe people shouldn’t make money and the policy makers have our interests at heart. Liberty and freedoms, apparently are passe ideas.

  36. Doug Badgero,
    If “The Death of Environmentalism” is by the same guy I think it is – sorry I don’t have his name handy – he was the rising young star of the environmental movement when he wrote that… almost in a fit of rage about how unyielding, uncompromising, and ineffecive the Green Movement had become. He now works, of all places, with Wal Mart and is making potentially thousad of times more difference with them then he was “fighting the good fight”. If I recall I ran across him on an episode of Penn and Teller’s “BS” (real name of the show is Penn and Teller’s Bullshit but mods feel free to snip)

    I was a Boy Scout when I was a kid and me favorite, albeit inconsistent, pastime is going to National Parks… hiking, and photographing nature. I cannot stand for the political advocacy and outright scam groups like the Sierra Club have become. I’d rather burn my money than let a cent of it go their way – they are not about nature, they are anti-humanity.

    Kudos to these kids for realizing that reason trumps extremism, and that hitching their wagon to a f…. (not the four letter F-word but the five letter one) will only backfire in the end. I wish them all the best!

  37. This article in this context is a health sign, but I find it confused in 2 ways.

    Firstly, if we remove the (phoney) Climate Science argument for low-carbon economy, then why would we continue to work for low carbon economy? Their argument would make sense if it were saying that the CAGW argument should be abandoned as a way of persuade the public to embrace a shift to arenewable energy economy – and I would applaud that!

    Secondly, they are too easy on the science advocates of catastrophic global warming when they say:

    The result has been an ever-escalating set of demands on climate science, with greens and their allies often attempting to represent climate science as apocalyptic, imminent, and certain, in no small part so that they could characterize all resistance as corrupt, anti-scientific, short-sighted, or ignorant. Greens pushed climate scientists to become outspoken advocates of action to address global warming. Captivated by the notion that their voices and expertise were singularly necessary to save the world, some climate scientists attempted to oblige.

    Having allowed the demands of advocacy efforts to wash back into the production of climate science

    In 1981 Hansen was already telling the New York Times of 6 – 9F temp rises and 15-20 feet sea level rise in next century. As soon as the 1970s cooling was over, Schneider and Hansen pushed hard with the alarmism, against a background of disapproval from climate scientists still debating the net effect of human caused cooling (aerosol) and warming and all the complex uncertainties surrounding the assessment of these effects. In 1988 Hansen told congress he was 99% certain. These scientist alarmists only slowly won over the support of the environment movement during the course of the 1990s with alarmist rhetoric.

    It was these scientists who used their apocalyptic senarios to capture the attention of the environmentalists, not the other way around. And it was these scientists who first characterize all resistance as corrupt (Big Oil), anti-scientific, short-sighted, or ignorant.

  38. ENDGAME by Alex Jones investigates & attempts to join the dots & explain the powerful agendas behind CLIMATEGATE. Greens & Climate Scientists don’t have the power to orchestrate the UN, National Governments, Corporations, Banksters, Media & Science. [SNIP. Aargh! Post the "truther" (and worse) conspiracy theories elsewhere. We don't do those here! ~ Evan]

    It is most recently being employed to demonise the truth & libertarian/tea party movements in the US.
    Greens & Scientists were just the patsies for what our prime minister loves to refer to as the NEW WORLD ORDER.
    Know your opponent. Join the dots. Take back your power. Love & Truth.

  39. Translation-Let’s stop trying to justify inferior energy sources on their benefits to improving the weather, since they don’t, and start propounding their merits, which are non-existent.

    Yeah, that’s the ticket.

  40. “rickM (18:29:51) :

    I’m sorry, but I don’t see the objectivity of an essay who’s intent is still to de-carbonize our economy, and that the revenues raised would be solely used to develop low carbon industry. ”

    Maybe they are Malthusians and see limited resources as a principal problem. As i said, we would have at least 500 years to solve it but some people, especially people paid for, just want to rush it. The German solar industry has a very well-oiled (oops!) lobby, for instance.

  41. evanmjones (17:29:45) :

    One might even ask if carbon-based energy use cannot be convincingly connected with AGW why there is a particularly pressing imperative to reduce use of carbon-based energy in the first place . . .

    ………………………………………………………………………………………………

    Class…….class……..I have an announcement:

    today’s gold star for making the most sense goes to Evan M Jones.

  42. DirkH (17:02:38) :

    Yeah. We need a low water economy. Dewaterize the economy! No Evian for you.”

    If you spell “Evian” backwards you get “naivE”. That’s what I consider environmentalists to be.

  43. “The irony of all this is if you understand economics there is nothing to focus on, free markets will take care of our energy needs. All government does is increase costs and delay technological innovation. If they want to see a transition to clean energy, then they need to get out of the way.”

    Yeah but that does not help expand the government and destroy the middle class. No communism no deal.


  44. Hm. Problem is that when you “Break the link between global warming research and the push for low-carbon energy,” there’s no reason to suffer the prohibitive costs of “low-carbon energy.”

    The combustion of fossil and non-fossil hydrocarbons for the generation of energy obtains not because of collusion or conspiracy or corporate plotting, but because, ceteris paribus, it is the most cost-efficient way to power vehicles, drive railroad transport, fuel aircraft, and power commercial maritime and riverine shipping.

    The “low-carbon energy” alternatives – except for light water moderated nuclear reactors in the generation of baseload electrical power – simply aren’t workable. Petrochemicals beat the hell out of everything else.

    No global warming scare, no “low-carbon energy” requirement, and that leaves the ‘viros standing there in the street with their pudenda hanging out and no idea how to fumble their zippers up.

  45. reuters has a piece on this, but only MSM coverage is NYT Blog. quite a big story really given who the traders are:

    30 March: NYT Blog: James Kanter: HSBC Ejects Carbon Traders From Index
    The banking giant HSBC removed two companies involved in carbon trading from its Climate Change Index on Monday because they had lost too much value.
    Analysts from HSBC said the cause was mainly that governments had failed to come up with a timetable for a global climate deal at the United Nations summit in Copenhagen in December.
    “Carbon trading was the major loser from Copenhagen,” HSBC analysts said in their March 21010 Quarterly Index Review. “Cap and trade needs hard targets and binding rules – and Copenhagen delivered neither,” HSBC said.
    The two companies ejected were Climate Exchange and Trading Emissions. Both companies are based in the Isle of Man and listed on the London Stock Exchange.
    Climate Exchange owns the European Climate Exchange, the Chicago Climate Exchange and the Chicago Climate Futures Exchange. The chairman of Trading Emissions, Neil Eckert, is also the chief executive of Climate Exchange….
    the companies HSBC removed from the index had failed to reach the minimum market capitalization of $400 million..

    http://greeninc.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/03/29/hsbc-ejects-carbon-traders-from-index/

  46. You better sit down for this one…

    Alan S Blue,

    The claim to bio fuel is not at all that they produced less carbon at the tailpipe, but rather that it “recycles” what is already out there.

    Consider the lifecycle involved in producing a gallon of bio fuel. First it must grow. Canola oil, grown from rapeseed, is a feedstock for bio diesel. In order to grow rapeseed, CO2 is consumed from the air. It is stored in the plant as it grows. Also, by-products are produced from rapeseed, mainly the stock of the plant. This stock can be burned to create fuel to diminish the use of fossil fuel in the production of the fuel.

    Now think about fossil fuel. When dealing with fossil fuel, carbon that has been isolated from the atmosphere for thousands of years is released. IE You pull it out and burn it, releasing it into the atmosphere.

    Bio-fuel at the tailpipe of a car or in an electrical generation system generates more equivalent CO2 emissions at virtually every step of the life cycle of a fuel (Feedstock extraction, land changes, feedstock transport, production, distribution, dispensing, operation of vehicle, vehicle assembly and decommissioning). Still bio fuel has approximately a fifth of the equivalent CO2 emissions due to Carbon in end use fuel from CO2 in air and emissions displayed by by-products.

    That is not to say that bio-fuel does not come with challenges. Very few cars can run smoothly on 100% bio-fuel, as it is very viscous (thick) and does not perform well in extreme temperatures. There is also a humanitarian aspect to it; how can we justify using farm land to produce fuel to power our SUV’s and minivans, when that land could be used to grow corn for the millions of starving people in the world.

    To address the overall tone of this message board, I would like to say that I am completely depressed by the majority of your comments. You really want to challenge that we are ruining our environment? Really? Talk to any one from New Orleans. True, global warming was not the culprit there, but the rather the destroying of wetlands for profit. (Note, historically, the wetlands surrounding New Orleans have protected the area from massive damage due to storms as they have acted to slow and minimize swells before they reached the in land areas. Not only that but the minerals provided by these regions have kept the soil rich and healthy, and now that the wetlands have been depleted, these minerals are being wash out to sea). While I do agree that Green Issues have become a political statement lately, this sudden push against all things green is equally political. As stated in this article, the green industry has been growing for the past 20 years. Why the recent push back? What has changed?

    Being environmentally friendly is expensive. Green energy costs more and there is no way around it. When the economy was booming, politicians, industries and corporations were happy to have an enemy (global warming) to throw money at to increase their approval ratings. But now that they are counting every cent, don’t think for a second that they are not pressuring scientists to say “Oh we don’t need to worry about global warming, it was just a fad”.

    I am not claiming to know all the facts, but I AM BEGGING YOU TO THINK CRITICALLY about what you are agreeing with here. Over the past hundred years we have changed our environment more rapidly than ever in the course of human history. Not to say that this is the fastest the world has ever changed, but you must agree that we are doing some serious damage. Historically, rapid changes have not bode well for the earth’s inhabitants of the time. If we continue down this swiftly accelerating path of change, I cannot help but draw the conclusion that we are heading for a similar fate.

    * Note I am NOT an Environmentalist. I am an engineer in the Oil and Gas industry, which I would think would make me bias in the opposite direction of my opinions stated above.

  47. DirkH,
    I have always thought that the Greens, if they really wanted to pursue it, should pursue a “decarbonization” of energy on its own merits – particulate pollution (haze) is a bit of a downer, for example, when I go to places like the Grand Canyon or Big Bend National Park (Big Sky Country as we call it)

    If they can convince people on the real merits then more power to them. Just don’t make crap up and – worst of all in my book – try and scare monger little kids with “ZOMG we’re all gonna die” scenarios that are at best worst case scenarios (at worst complete and intentional scams).

    TBH, I don’t think it would even come close to working but hey, be honest about it. That I can support.

  48. I have spent my whole working life in nuclear power. I can assure you that the accident at TMI was not sabotage. It was a combination of design deficiencies and operator error, as these things usually are, e.g. Exxon Valdez, etc. Also, since we generate essentially none of our electricity in the USA from oil, the expansion of nuclear will have little or no effect on our demand for oil.

    Peak oil theory is idiotic The price of oil, or anything else, is largely determined by monetary policy, in particular the growth of the money supply. Money supply growth has been high since the beginnings of the housing crisis. All you have to do is look at the price of other commodities. Are we also running out of gold, silver, sugar, copper, etc?

  49. [quote openunatedgirl (19:05:59) :]
    Talk to any one from New Orleans.
    [/quote]

    Hurricane Katrina was a category 3 storm, which makes it middle of the road. Katrina was an unprecedented political failure, not an unprecedented natural force.

    [quote openunatedgirl (19:05:59) :]
    I am not claiming to know all the facts
    [/quote]

    Good thing, since your entire post is nothing more than repeating the gossip you’ve seen on TV. I simply don’t have the time to go through it and explain why you’re wrong on basically everything you say.

    But if you want the public to be educated, start with yourself.

  50. I guess the conclusions of this “Green Think tank is a kind of breakthrough but I simply don’t agree with the entire focus on a low carbon economy.

    We simply need carbon fuels, not only to produce steel, aluminum, glass, concrete and other construction materials.
    We need oil to produce plastics, clothing, pesticides, fertilizer, medicine, resins, paints, you name it.

    For the current and next generation we don’t need to focus on energy at all and we certainly don’t need the climate gang on our shoulders meddling with the very basis of our economies.

    Energy in fact is a non item because we have plenty of it.
    We have cheap shale gas available to power highly efficient natural gas fueled power plants for a very long time.
    We have plenty of oil available, we can generate gasoline from coal and sulfa free diesel from natural gas.
    We already know how to handle and burn these fuels without negative effects for the environment and our health. We only need to apply those technologies world wide and further optimize efficiency.

    Even if we don’t further optimize efficiency rates, there won’t be a peak oil situation for a long time.

    We have all the time in the world available to further develop real innovating technologies that is not only able to replace fossil fuels, fulfill our energy needs, but also our need for raw materials and food production and help humanity through the onset of the next ice age.

    The best way is to invest in new propulsion technology for space exploration and power generation.
    In terms of time we are at the brink of real quantum jumps in development that are currently underway.

    Future technology will enable us to manipulate matter on a molecular level and it will enable us to produce any material we need in any required quantity.
    Power and energy will be a spin off of such a process so we will also have sufficient energy available for fresh water production from sea water where ever we need it and hydrogen for transportation.

    Within a few decades from now we will look back and laugh about this period in time especially about those who are prepared to role back our civilization for individual profits, power and the desperate attempts to “save the planet” that needs no saving.

    I see a bright future for all of us only threatened by wacko politicians, politicized science and a frightened public putting their trust and faith into the hands of the wrong people.

  51. These folks have nothing better to do than stir up $#!t, in order to satisfy their own paranoia and greed. If they can’t do it in the political arena, they will do it in legal arena. Nuisance lawsuits such as those being brought (below) are the stock in trade. Of course their logic is absurd, since the end point of their argument would be that “man-made global warming” (by definition “man-made”) is the result of human existence and therefore everyone on the planet is guilty of being a public nuisance. I wonder if they could get a volume discount on lengthy stays at the Padded Walls Hotel if they went thru Orbitz?

    Quote:
    Environmentalists, unable to squeeze “cap and trade” rules through the U.S. Senate, have a new strategy for combating what they believe is man-made global warming:

    They’re going to sue.

    They’re revving up their briefs and getting ready to shop for judges who will be sympathetic to their novel claim that the companies they believe contribute to global warming are a “public nuisance.”

    The environmentalists allege that individual companies are responsible for climate change because they have emitted greenhouse gases during the course of their operations. Those gases, they say, have “harmed” them by fostering Hurricane Katrina, eroding the shorelines of America’s coasts and causing global warming.

    http://www.foxnews.com/scitech/2010/03/29/global-warming-advocates-threaten-blizzard-lawsuits/

  52. Scott (16:46:37) :

    I definitely agree. Energy conservation, sustainability, minimizing pollution, etc are good things, but the repeated tying of these things to global warming messes things up royally.

    I gotta disagree with you Scotta.

    1. Energy conservation only makes sense in economic terms. Buying twisty bulbs is uneconomic given the light output and energy savings, over their lifetime.

    2. Sustainability is unsustainable. The Earth, even the Solar system, is NOT sustainable. The Sun will grow to red Giant size in a few billion (5-15?) years time. It’s not even clear the universe is “sustainable”.

    3. Minimize pollution is good, but only up to a point, and at what level is it pollution rather than natural environment. For example, it was good to get rid of the London smogs. But, there is a natural level of organic compounds in the atmosphere; or arsenic in lakes; or lead or uranium in the soil, or radon in the basement. It is folly to attempt to reduce “pollution” to, or even below, natural levels. Just because we can measure it to parts per billion and we know if we give mega-doses to rats for a year, they die, doesn’t make it pollution.

  53. openunatedgirl (19:05:59) :

    “You really want to challenge that we are ruining our environment? Really? Talk to any one from New Orleans. True, global warming was not the culprit there, but the rather the destroying of wetlands for profit.”

    We were warned for two generations about what would happen in New Orleans if a major hurricane came ashore there. The levees were designed for a fast moving category 3 hurricane and Katrina was a slow moving storm. The city had to be constantly dewatered to keep it from flooding when it wasn’t even raining. Much of it is below sea level for goodness sake. Storm surge did not damage that city, flooding beyond the design capabilities of the levees did.

  54. openunatedgirl,
    Couldn’t agree more – and I think Anthony might say the same thing. Out of all the ways we could spend our time, effort and money regarding environmental issues… “decarbonization” of the economy might just be the absolute worst way we can spend it.

    For me at least, I am not applauding their goals, just their apparent intent to have the conversation on honest terms.

  55. openunatedgirl (19:05:59) :

    New Orleans was built below sea level and the levees weren’t rebuilt – opposed by enviromentalists. Go drown in your crypto-socialist misanthropy.

  56. I remember saying back in late November (and in this forum, I believe), that I give AGW another nine months of momentum. That was based on the time between Nixon’s “I am not a crook” speach and his resignation. This latest news , methinks, is right on schedule!

  57. “openunatedgirl (19:05:59) :
    [...]
    To address the overall tone of this message board, I would like to say that I am completely depressed by the majority of your comments. You really want to challenge that we are ruining our environment? Really?”

    You shouldn’t be that depressed, openunatedgirl. I’ve lived through the 70ies in Germany. We had lead paint, leaded gasoline, lots of carbon monoxide and SO2 from the smoke stacks, acid rain, all kinds of funny chemicals for cleaning and other purposes that have lots of C atoms forming funny rings, asbestos in the school buildings i learned in (funnily one day they were cordoned off), in the army i used a cleaning chemical on tanks that was verboten a few weeks later (cancer causing it was they found out after we had exhausted the stuff) and on and on and on it goes… Birds of prey were nearly extinct because DDT made their eggs crack more easily.

    All these problems have been solved, long before any wind turbine or PC panel was erected. Car catalysts, prohibition of lead in paint and gasoline, prohibition of asbestos, DDT, desulfurisation of power plant chimney exhaust.

    Nothing to do with renewable energy. Germany has become a rather clean country and the only awful smell you get in some places is when you’re downwind from a brewery. And that is probably not even toxic.

    Just install some filters on your power plants and you should be done. If you don’t already have that. Doesn’t cost that much.

  58. Monique (18:34:38) :

    “Green think tank tells environmentalists: Leave climate change science behind”

    Wow. The first major crack from within.
    ————————–
    Reply:
    Yup. Who’d want the albatros of “climate change science” around their neck? Now, not even the AGWers!

  59. This quote….is worth repeating again….and again. The true CRUX of the matter.

    “Climate science, even at its most uncontroversial, could never motivate the remaking of the entire global energy economy. Efforts to use climate science to threaten an apocalyptic future should we fail to embrace green proposals, and to characterize present-day natural disasters as terrifying previews of an impending day of reckoning, have only served to undermine the credibility of both climate science and progressive energy policy.”

    And it also has served to undermine legitimate environmental concerns, such as pollution, habitat destruction, and the disastrous overfishing of the world’s oceans.

    One day soon…it will be a matter of historical record…as to the scam of CAGW and thus Al Gore…for the duration of his life…will never, EVER be taken seriously…again.

    No loss! And good riddance!

    Chris
    Norfolk, VA, USA

  60. “Greens pushed climate scientists….”

    So Greens are now pushing their Trial Lawyers along with their EPA comrades and activist judges… they don’t need college kids anymore.

    The day climategate happened they knew they lost the science battle, the day glaciergate happened and the world actually read IPCC AR4, they knew they lost their momentum and the battle for the worlds collective mindset.

    So now they’re going to see if they can win the money battle. Watch out everyone, just when you least expect it, someone will walk up to you and say, “Smile, you’ve been sued by a Greenie!”

  61. Maybe I was just agreeing to part of openunatedwhatshername.. on second read at least

    The important part here is *oppurtunity cost*, for each dollar we spend on X we do not spend it on Y (unless, of course, the government has gone completely out of control and just printing money with no thought to its repurcussion… but that would never happen amirite? :P )

    That’s what I was trying to get at. To reclaim the wetlands around New Orleans we’d need to shut down the dredged out deep shipping lanes of the Mississippi River – what effect do you think that might have? As others have pointed out, New Orelans had its own economic equation when it came to the levee system, which in hindsight was a complete miss. The wetlands had nothing to do with the storm surge overtaling the levee system through Lake Ponchetrain.

    As DirkH mentioned, there are many *very* effective ways by which money can be spent on environmental issues… but they should be debated openly and honestly.

  62. I see no breakthrough. All I see is certain folks distancing themselves from a theory they were only too happy to blindly embrace, defend and use to the max for their own ends until such time as that theory fell on hard times. I find it telling that these mental giants only began their retreat when it became clear that Ma and Pa Kettle were no longer buying that crap.

  63. “NickB. (19:14:47) :

    DirkH,
    I have always thought that the Greens, if they really wanted to pursue it, should pursue a “decarbonization” of energy on its own merits – particulate pollution (haze) is a bit of a downer, for example, when I go to places like the Grand Canyon or Big Bend National Park (Big Sky Country as we call it)”

    Probably you mean sulfate and black carbon particles. As i said in my comment to openunatedgirl, both can be filtered. The sulfur can be filtered with flue gas desulfurization, PM10 and other black carbon particles can be removed with catalysts. In Germany, Diesel is cheaper than gasoline due to less tax – don’t ask me why the tax is lower but it is so – that’s why german carmakers all have a lot of Diesel cars to offer. They now get equipped with catalysts that filter the carbon particles out and when the filter is full they burn the collected particles to CO2. I guess similar filters are used in power plants as these particles are cancerogenous, the smaller the worse.

    We have a cogeneration plant near the city center of Braunschweig, my home town. All that you see coming from the smoke stack is some condensed water vapour. You get a little industry snow from it in winter. The plant runs on coal and gas, i think.

  64. magicjava (19:15:52) :
    [quote openunatedgirl (19:05:59) :]
    “Talk to any one from New Orleans.”

    “Hurricane Katrina was a category 3 storm, which makes it middle of the road. Katrina was an unprecedented political failure, not an unprecedented natural force.”

    I certainly agree about the unprecedented political failure part, magicjava. However, even though Katrina was technically downgraded to a three by the time it made landfall, it was no ordinary three.

    It carried with it the energy (especially storm surge and battering wave action) of its recent past, as a strong category five.

    The weaknesses of the Saffir-Simpson scale are coming to light. Case in point, in 2008, Ike was a technically a two when it hit Texas, but it carried with it the storm surge energy of a strong four. And the extreme damage on the Bolivar peninsula bears this out.

    Also, back to Katrina, the person citing New Orleans was off, as you said, but more than the reason there was political and infrastructure failure in New Orleans. The REAL damage was to the east of New Orleans, on the Mississippi coast, which was obliterated by the worst storm surge since Camille (and in some cases worse) in 1969.

    Chris
    Norfolk, VA, USA

  65. Quoting DirkH (17:26:25) :
    “Actually, no. Energy companies would go for the cheapest energy, and that is hydrocarbons for at least the next 500 years or so (oil, coal, gas, and now huge amounts of shale gas becoming economical).”
    Commenting:
    First off, you have to be British to use such condescending phrases as “actually, no”. But I digress.
    Natural Gas has always been the cleanest fuel of all. Now, we find that we can extract it directly from the gas bearing shale that everyone knew was the Source Rock of the gas they drilled in natural traps above said shale. They never thought they could extract that gas because the shale is impermeable. (i.e., it won’t give up the gas).
    Now, with new technology, researched and developed at great (private) expense in North Texas, it is not only possible, but feasible and economical. There are some people (are you one?) that would stand in the way of this huge clean cheap energy that we have in the US (and you Lymies have in your little islands, too, it seems) in abundance.
    Or would you rather have those windmills that by all accounts are (besides being inefficient and unreliable) noisy to the point of lunacy for those forced to live near them? Perhaps solar panels would be of more interest in the London fog?

  66. encouraging:

    29 March: BusinessGreen: James Murray: “Climategate” blow fragments corporate response to global warming
    Survey reveals more than half of respondents believe “jury is still out” on the urgent need to tackle climate change
    That is the conclusion of a major new survey from the Economist Intelligence Unit, which polled more than 540 senior executives…
    The survey, which was sponsored by the Carbon Trust, IBM, Hitachi and software company 1E, found that just over half of respondents believe the “jury is still out” on the urgent need to tackle climate change, while 32 per cent of companies polled said they do not yet have a coherent strategy in place to address energy use, an increase of seven percentage points on last year.
    Moreover, just 12 per cent of businesses said they were introducing new green products to keep up with rivals, and seven out of 10 respondents said that carbon reduction policies are primarily driven by public relations issues…
    But report co-editor Chenoa Marquis said that the findings represented “good news for GE, Siemens and those companies that are moving ahead with low-carbon products as they have an opportunity to open up a gap on their competitors.”

    http://www.businessgreen.com/business-green/news/2260372/climategate-blow-fragments

  67. Are you comforted by the “Yale to Greens” essay? I am not. The article can be summarized as; “the greens lied and global warming died”. Now that the “cats out of the bag” they say that we only did this to save the planet from carbon pollution. And we are to say, OK all’s forgiven. Not me. Their agenda is still clear and has been stated over and over. They want to create a new society that depends on governmental control, that is devoid of capitalistic ventures, and in which wealth is redistributed by taxing the rich. Oil and coal companies are obstacles to their destroying our free enterprise economy. Yet oil and coal are the only way wealth can be created in underdeveloped countries. The rich politicians want to control small countries by giving carbon credits to the leaders of small countries who will steal all the money from their poor. How does one justify trusting a group that collectively lied to us for 20 years by fabricating a global warming hoax that we are all going to die from exhaling a few parts per million of CO2 to the atmosphere and who are intentionally undermining the development of wealth in underdeveloped portions of the planet? Their “mea culpa” hides their real intensions to control the world’s economy. I won’t buy it!

  68. “openunatedgirl (19:05:59) :

    You really want to challenge that we are ruining our environment? Really? Talk to any one from New Orleans. True, global warming was not the culprit there, but the rather the destroying of wetlands for profit.”

    Katrina was a category 3 storm. Most of the damage to property (Flooding, not wind) was largely due to poorly built and maintained levees, mostly it appears, in some of the poorest neighbourhoods there. The rest of the damage being attributed to climate change/environmental damage which was pure popaganda.

    When you build a city below sea level, in a basin, on a flood plain and don’t maintain your defenses, nature will strike and win out in the end.

  69. @Ian (17:57:31) notes that all of humanity could fit into our smallest state.

    Yeah, but only in Manhattan-sized apartments. You could, however, put all of humanity into typical suburbia — dad, mom, 2.3 kids on a sixth of an acre — in an area roughly the size of Texas. It would never work, though; it’d be a couple of hundred miles to the nearest strip mall.
    ===

    This whole “renewable energy” nonsense drives me up the wall. For nearly all of its history, humanity has depended on “renewable energy”; as a result, for example, the entire US east of the Mississippi was basically denuded of forest by the turn of the 20th century. The total remaining whitetail deer herd was estimated at the time at a quarter-million. Then the US went to a fossil-fuel economy and now the East is reforested (just look down while flying over it some time) and the states of Alabama, Wisconsin, and Michigan (the only ones I know off the top of my head) have deer herds of around three million EACH.

    But now, of course, we have to fix that by devastating vast swaths of countryside and wildlife habitat with utterly useless turbine monstrosities, which generate nothing actually useful except subsidies and tax breaks for fat cats on Wall Street. Criminal lunacy.

    Friends, we next have to save the environment from the environmentalists. Go figure.

  70. The lefties will never pursue the energy angle, it is too obvious. Sure, for a short time they can claim an energy shortage, but most people will wonder why they don’t create more energy. The energy crisis didn’t work for Carter, it won’t work now. For their scheme to work, they must label the user of the energy as the problem. It’s politics.

  71. For kicks and giggles I went to a “Green” precinct meeting once in the Minneapolis area (and believe me, this is a socialist state). There were about eight shaggy, unshaven individuals there – and they were the women. The Green’s don’t have the same political steam in America that they seem to have in Europe. I can’t see them having any substantial leverage with our Congress or with our culture for that matter. I’ll tell you what does though. The UN and the EU. The UN and the EU have strategically used global warming as the principle attack engine in its endless and relentless campaign for global socialism. It’s the same old bunch, Baby. The usual suspects and their intellectual surrogates in government, media and finance. AGW = social control.

  72. “West Houston (20:19:12) :
    [...]
    There are some people (are you one?) that would stand in the way of this huge clean cheap energy that we have in the US (and you Lymies have in your little islands, too, it seems) in abundance.
    Or would you rather have those windmills that by all accounts are (besides being inefficient and unreliable) noisy to the point of lunacy for those forced to live near them? Perhaps solar panels would be of more interest in the London fog?”

    I’m a Kraut, mein bester. I’m coming from Lower Saxony, i hear that we have a lot of shale here and i actually enjoy the prospect of some home-grown fossil fuel production.

    When i said that industry by itself wouldn’t make energy production clean i had in mind the fact that flue gas desulfurization or filtering out black carbon simply adds cost. If you don’t force industry to install filters they won’t do it. That’s where environmental regulation makes sense, and that’s where lawmakers fulfill a useful role.

    And i wish the US all the best with their own projects in this regard.

  73. Robert of Ottawa (19:28:57) :

    That type of move (lawsuit your recovery efforts into the dirt) is exactly the m.o. that has ruined much of California’s forests after fires. They go cherry-pick a judge and get an injunction to stop all salvage.
    Lawsuiting energy and manufacturing in the US is their next planned move.
    The have 3 test cases already in motion.

  74. Pressed Rat: I’ve always wanted to ask, how does Minnesota believe in global warming? How is it possible for people in the coldest state believe that 1. the earth is warming and 2. it is better to be cold?

    I am in Washington state and our experienced fraud team made a special trip to Minnesota to ensure that Al Franken is your senator, so I have much to apologize over.

  75. Still don’t understand what they mean by “low carbon economy”. It’s as vague as “carbon emissions” or “carbon footprint”. I get the impression that in the popular imagination carbon is associated with blackness and dirt, a superficial take on the problem that has been encouraged by a plethora of clumsily Photoshopped images of water vapour belching from cooling towers and chimneys. Surely the aim of any development in prime movers (because that is essentially what we are talking about) from James Watt onwards has always been to obtain maximum efficiency. What has changed here? – Well the fact that over the last forty years or so this has been coupled to an increasing demand for the minimum of environmental contamination in the extraction and exploitation of energy sources and the treatment of waste. In all these fields it seems to me that there is still room for improvement and still the need to exercise constant vigilance. But judging by the changes I have seen in my lifetime we’re we’re well on the way towards achieving that goal.

  76. “DirkH (20:47:22) :
    [...]
    And i wish the US all the best with their own projects in this regard.”

    Not to be misunderstood: The best of luck for the shale projects, not for Cap&Trade “projects” which i find rather detrimental.

  77. I object to the use of environmentalists when the correct term is AGWer or the neutral climate concerned. Many environmentalists, especially those old enough to have sought an energy transformation since before climate became an issue, hold contrarian views on climate. Many of us believe the focus on CO2 is actually hindering that transformation.

  78. pft:

    Further to your oil cartel comment, look what happens to people who were off the grid for their natural gas. The Ontario government shut down a small natural gas well dug in 1931, and being privately operated by an elderly Ontario couple to heat their house (and formerly 3 neighbours’ houses too) ostensibly for health and safety reasons. The couple was forced to pay to have the well capped (to the tune of at least $15,000) out of their private savings.

    See http://news.therecord.com/article/649750

    Governments are definitely part of the energy cartel. Anyone who thinks, in this day of global conglomerates, that either privatization OR nationalization of energy will solve the problem of the little people being squeezed for all we’ve got has got bats in his or her belfry. N.B. the last observation is just a general comment, not a response to anybody here. Nor are any of these organizations truly interested in developing more efficient means to utilize energy, so long as there is money to be made the old fashioned way.

    What I’ve found most infuriating about the green eco-fascists is their eagerness to help the governments and energy cartels drive up the cost of energy, with no regard to the suffering this will cause many ordinary people, and especially the poor. If only they would be hoist by their own petard on this! But even more infuriating is how many people in urban centres seem to think that raising the price of gas and oil will be just fine – they’ll just continue to ride their bikes and take the subway thank you very much. For the rest of us wood stoves will be the answer to home heating (that’ll put paid to the greenhouse gas problem, eh?), if the ‘green’ scenario comes to pass, but won’t solve the problem of high food and commodity prices. Yikes!

  79. Nordhaus and Shellenberger: “In recent years, bipartisan agreement has grown on the need to decarbonize our energy supply through the expansion of renewables, nuclear power, and natural gas. . .”

    Last I heard, natural gas was made of carbon and hydrogen, and when burned produces CO2 and H2O. So you won’t ‘decarbonize’ our economy by using it.

    But so what? If not for putative ‘climate change’, why do the greens want to ‘decarbonize’ the economy at all? It is nice to see these two authors admitting that the alarmist warnings of dire catastrophes from imminent ‘global warming’ caused by CO2 are so much poppycock. Clearly they are admitting that most of this vaunted ‘climate science’ was not science at all, but scientism in the service of a political agenda.

    Is that agenda the ‘decarbonization’ of the economy? Or is that aim really an excuse for something else, something having to do with control, with an end to the values that have driven our civilization to ever-new heights of prosperity, abundance, and freedom?

    Having them retreat from the alarmist tactic is a battle worth winning, and certainly worth posting here. But it’s not winning the war, not yet.

    We’ll win when they throw in the towel and admit, ‘carbon’ is good and vital for the continued progress of mankind.

    /Mr Lynn

  80. “Greens pushed climate scientists to become outspoken advocates,,, some climate scientists attempted to oblige. The result is that the use, and misuse, of climate science by advocates began to wash back into the science itself”

    “the use, and misuse, of climate science by advocates”?

    Let’s get to it.
    We have been witnessing crimes.
    Publicly funded elected officials, bureaucrats and academia, (independently and in many cases in chorus) have been deliberately distorting and fabricating science to advance their causes and self interests.

    Their agendas, their careers, their positions and salaries, their departments and institutions all stood to gain and did benefit from their deceit.

    It wasn’t non-criminal cheerleading or innocent worry and confusion.
    It is calculated and the fraud is still underway.

    I have no doubt their are millions of people around the globe who are angered by the deceit and will demand consequences for the perpetrators.

    AND,,, CO2 emissions are not pollution and we need the abundant supplies of coal, oil and natural gas for decades to come.

  81. @DirkH (17:26:25) :

    “Poptech (17:13:02) :

    The irony of all this is if you understand economics there is nothing to focus on, free markets will take care of our energy needs. All government does is increase costs and delay technological innovation. If they want to see a transition to clean energy, then they need to get out of the way.”

    Actually, no. Energy companies would go for the cheapest energy, and that is hydrocarbons for at least the next 500 years or so (oil, coal, gas, and now huge amounts of shale gas becoming economical).

    – – – – – – –

    Dirk, you’re only half right. Your figure of 500 years is easily off by more than factor of 10 (I initially thought that “500 years” was a typo, but you repeated that figure again in a later post, so I guess not). In less than 50 years, other alternative sources of energy, including solar panels, solar sterling engines, wind turbines, and solid hydrogen will be cheaper than hydrocarbons. If you doubt that, take a look at the price of gasoline, heating oil, diesel fuel, and natural gas vs. the CPI over the past 50 years, the divergence is striking, and it will only continue to worsen. At some point, certainly during the first half of the 21st century, alternative sources of energy will begin to compete with hydrocarbons. (As for shale gas becoming economical, it is only due to the increased price of natural gas as it continues to diverge from the CPI.)
    One example of an alternative energy scheme which is already less expensive than hydrocarbon fuels is passive solar. I was involved with passive solar energy research almost 30 years ago. People have been utilizing passive solar heating ( I use it myself as an auxiliary), at less than 1/10th the cost of heating with natural gas, heating oil or electricity. Granted passive solar is not a panacea, but it is also acutely under-utilized.
    The efficiency of solar panels continues to increase, and the price will continue to decrease as economies of scale begin to affect the price, but that’s a few decades off into the future. If wind turbine manufacturers would get their act together and shift their model to microgeneration, the wind energy industry will thrive. There are numerous alternative energy souces being researched. One is here:

    http://web.mit.edu/newsoffice/2008/oxygen-0731.html

    Another is a solid hydrogen fuel:

    “The US Air Force finances a project using ammonia borane (H3NBH3) to pack hydrogen gas for using it in fuel cells
    . Jadoo Power Systems was given a contract this week to develop ammonia borane pellets for hydrogen generation.”

    http://www.greenoptimistic.com/2009/02/04/ammonia-borane-hydrogen-storage/

  82. What every person on the planet should know!
    Access to cheap and safe energy should be a human right!

    1. Anthropogenic Global Warming or Climate Change is a political induced scam!
    CO2 is not a climate driver, temperatures show no significant up or down trend.
    Much warmer periods have happened before and each of them saw the rise of great civilizations.
    The past ten thousand years we saw the Minoan, the Roman and the Medieval warmth period when it was much warmer than today and the Little Ice Age with much lower temperatures that happened without our current CO2 emissions.
    Warming never has been a problem, what we must fear is cold!
    See: http://jonova.s3.amazonaws.com/graphs/lappi/gisp-last-10000-new.png
    The science behind AGW/Climate Change presented by the United Nations IPCC AR-4 report is corrupted! and everything that has been told about melting ice caps and rising sea levels is a lie.
    http://wattsupwiththat.com http://www.icecap.us and http://scienceandpublicpolicy.org/

    2. The potential and the benefits of the so called “Green Renewable Energy”, wind, solar and bio fuels is hyped!
    It is relative expensive, it can’t deliver the promised output we need to maintain a healthy economy and it certainly can’t replace coal oil and gas.
    Bio fuels in terms of land use and prize compete with food production and topical forests (palm oil) promoting famine in the Third World and destruction of our remaining tropical forest.
    Bio fuels also consume large amounts of water.
    Production requires considerable amounts of fossil fuel.
    That’s why renewable fuels and energy at the current level of development are at best niche market solution.
    Most Green Renewable Energy is not “Green” at all!

    3. The demonizing of carbon fuels is a foolish!
    Fossil fuels can be burned safe without harmful emissions.
    CO2 is the gas of life, it makes plants and algae grow and it is certainly not a dangerous pollutant.
    Without fossil fuels we can not maintain high yield harvests to feed the world
    (1 unit of food takes 4 units of oil to produce!), no medicine, no fertilizers, no pesticides, no plastics, no transport and distribution, no steel, no aluminum, no glass, no clothing, paints, resins and no wind mills or solar panels.
    To demonize fossil fuels is not only dangerous, it is also plain stupid!
    Without fossil fuels our current civilization, standard of living and life expectancy would not be possible.

    4. Peak Oil is an illusion!
    Oil Companies and the big banks manipulate oil prices based on the popular notion that we are at the end of the oil age and stocks are running low!
    This is not the case and current stocks will serve generations to come.
    Socialist Governments and the United Nations (IPCC AR-4) use the Peak Oil argument in support of their “Green Agenda” http://green-agenda.com
    Their policy is to tax the CO2 emissions released by burning fossil fuels and deny the Third World the opportunity of development.
    This is pure fraud.

    5. Cheap energy is now available for all of humanity as energy dependence and peak oil NO LONGER EXIST!

    THIS CHEAP ENERGY SOURCE IS SHALE GAS AND IT IS FOUND IN ABUNDANCE ALL OVER THE WORLD IN 75% OF THE WORLDS SEDIMENTS!!!!!!!!!!
    Shale gas is a clean burning fuel suitable for high efficiency gas power plants to generate cheap electricity, to heat our homes, offices and factories and power trucks, trains and busses.

    Some US producers have declared they can make a profit at $1 MMBTU or below, especially considering how close new supplies are to population centers.
    This is not only important for the USA where shale gas extraction was invented and immense deposits will serve several generations but it is also important for Europe and especially for the Third World because they now have the opportunity to develop efficient and affordable electrical grids, key for any economic development.

    Is Shale gas a peace maker?
    On a geopolitical level shale gas is a major game changer as it eliminates potential conflict between Nations over energy resources and makes countries and populations free and independent.

    All people have to fear is Government Control and propaganda based rule that limits or even denies access to cheap energy in pursuit of Global Power and Domination.
    Governments currently pose the biggest threat to our freedom, prosperity and future as they no longer support the vital interests of their populations.
    This goes for all current Governments in power, especially the EU Government and her Member States, the US Obama Administration, the Government of Canada, Australia, New Sealand and Japan and all other Nations that signed the United Nations Copenhagen Accord and the United Nations Chapter 21. See: http//green-agenda.com

    This in short is the message that has to go out now.

    Energy independence for generations to come and the technology to secure it is the real revolution of our time threatened only by “LACK OF INFORMATION”.

    Only elect those politicians who support this vision and reject deny any power or support to any politician, Government or policy that intends you to think otherwise or takes advantage of the fact that we live on a carbon planet, with a carbon based life cycle and a carbon fueled society.

  83. I have to disagree Mr. Watts.

    Their goal is still to remake the “entire global energy economy.” They only claim that they can’t do it with the soft climate science any longer. They still want to send us back to the caves.

    I wish I was as smart as they are. I wonder if they are as smart as Mao and Stalin, their heros. Get ready to slaughter another hundred million souls, in your name, if they are.

    I wish I could dictate the perfect solution, legislate that the Earth will be at the perfect temperature, like they can. Are we to believe that if we cut our carbon emissions there will be no more bad weather? Obama oversaw the worst winter in decades on the east coast. I thought he could control the weather, or have we not done enough to limit our carbon footprint?

    Their stated mission remains to decarbonize the blah, blah blah to save us from ourselves.

    If we decarbonize like they want us to, we trash all of our fridges, microwaves, stoves, cars, computers, cell phones and light bulbs.

    These environmentalists have realized they can’t waste any more time trying to justify their goals with climate science because it is viewed as fraudulent.

    What will be the new threat? Meat diets? Dairy products? Ocean acidification? Tundra thaw? Future famine due to droughts and floods? The next doomsday scenario will rear its ugly head very soon, I am sure.

    I hope to debate a young Yale environmental evangelist someday.

    EJ

  84. Refreshing news.

    Now maybe we can get some greens back to doing REAL green things (instead of FAKE climate-catastrophe nonsense)?

    Recently a major commercial development was permitted in a public park locally. Years ago there would have been a massive protest, but it seems none of the greens give a sh*t about parks & trees anymore – they just want to run around freaking out about FAKE climate “problems”.

    Shame on you fake greens. Protect the parks & natural forests and oppose toxic pollution. Stop wasting your time misrepresenting nature — natural climate variations are a part of nature – show some respect for nature.

    Paul Vaughan,
    Ecologist, Parks & Natural Forests Advocate

  85. I have to agree with what a lot of other commenters already said. The article is very clear that the climate propoganda has discredited itself, and thus “new” reasons for a “low carbon” economy must be found:

    ————-
    understood in its proper role, as one of many reasons why we should decarbonize the global economy, climate science can even help contribute to the case for taking such action.
    ————-

    They don’t say what those “many reasons” are, and the wording suggests that they simply assume that “high carbon” is bad and should be obvious to everyone that it is. Here lies the ultimate fallacy that somehow a return to “simpler times” and a less industrialized economy is “obviously” better than what we have now. Having read a thing or two about history, this doesn’t seem that obvious to me.

  86. Yes, shale assures that the world will never, ever run out of (or even remotely short of) fossil fuels. It’s purely a matter of cost of extraction, a cost which dramatically declines in the face of hands-on experience and technological progress.

    The AGW advocates may be wrong, but we would have to plunge into the heart of the next glacial period in the next five years for them to be as wrong as the Club of Rome (and the various other resource panicmongers). It’s very, very difficult to be as sublimely wrong as the Club of Rome.

    Global warming is mere exaggeration and irresponsible, uninformed, damaging speculation. But the Resource Scarcity premise is the third biggest lie in history.

    (Number two is that the rich get richer and the poor get poorer, and number one is that wars never solve anything.) But, then, any honest liberal knows that. (Well, half a brain also required.)

  87. Thatcher, while not the mother of AGW, was certainly the wet nurse. I admire the Iron Lady but she did a lot of damage in her madcap scheme to disembowel the coal mining unions and promote nuclear power. The rest of Europe climbed on board because, jealous of America’s strength based on free enterprise and cheap carbon energy, they saw their chance to take her down. Canada and the US should be standing shoulder to shoulder to push back on AGW nonsense. Instead, Obama starting drinking the kool-aid and appears set to help Europe push America down the same dead-end path of socialism. I had such high hopes for him but now I’m somewhere between alarmed and disillusioned.

  88. “Not Completely Off Topic” – from UNIVERSITY of EAST ANGLIA

    Breakthrough Producing Hydrogen from Water + Sunlight

    Sunday, March 07, 2010
    solar hydrogen breakthrough image Image: Angewandte Chemie, Wiley Sunlight + Water = Hydrogen Gas Scientists at the UNIVERSITY of EAST ANGLIA, led by Dr. Thomas Nann, report a breakthrough in the production of hydrogen from water using the energy of sunlight. Amidst all the hype about a potential hydrogen economy, which would rely upon the highly energetic and clean burning hydrogen atom, one of the big questions has been whether sufficient hydrogen…Read the full story on TreeHugger

  89. EJ: EJ (21:33:32) : “What will be the new threat? Meat diets? Dairy products? Ocean acidification? Tundra thaw? Future famine due to droughts and floods? The next doomsday scenario will rear its ugly head very soon, I am sure.

    It already has: Ocean Acidification.

    As a close half-sister to the CO2 scare, this one follows the same farudulent premise: Reduce manmade CO2 or the world will end.

    Unfortunately, sham policies based upon scientific scams [ the spuedo-religion of CAGW] does nothing whatsoever to advance cleaning up the Earth from man-made pollution, habitat destruction, and overfishing.

    Rather…it throws all of of those legitimate concerns, under the bus.

    Where was Al Gore when he could have spoken up for the wholesale elimination of large sharks in the world’s oceans who have ruled the deep for hundreds of millions of years?

    Where was Al Gore when he could have championed finding a solution to the disastrous gigantic Pacific trash gyre?

    Where is Al Gore speaking up for 1/4 of the world’s population who does not have electricity, and their chances are even more dire now given that hydrocarbons have been demonized by he and Hansen and others?

    The world’s first poised carbon billionaire was conveniently silent…because he KNEW he could not make any money on any of the foregoing.

    It is for THAT reason, and for the millions of third world women and children who will die due to some “green” experiment gone bad, that Al Gore’s name will always be a well-deserved curse word on my lips!

    Chris
    Norfolk, VA, USA

  90. The more I think about it…the more I see red…and lightning bolts start to shoot from my eyes:

    Al Gore [forgive me but he really is culpable here] can not make money on real and legitimate environmental causes…so, curiously, you never hear him using his platform to speak out on such.

    But he CAN make a lot of money…on telling and propagating a lie and a fraud.

    That is royally *****d up!

    Chris
    Norfolk, VA, USA

  91. Any fool knows that the so called “Climate Scientists” need their funding cut, and the key cards disabled.

    However, I am all for Sensible Science developing new energy forms and conservation.

    I am not for 66 year paybacks as unsubsidized PV systems require – and of course the maximum panel life is 20-30 years – and Anything that requires a subsidy is non-economic.

    Insulation, Orientation, Thermal Mass, Daylighting, Stack Ventilation, Sensible Planning, Xeriscape, Telecommuting, etc., and more CO2 (for the plants)

  92. UGH….I write too fast. Fire that editor [me].

    “Where was Al Gore when he could have spoken up for the wholesale elimination of large sharks in the world’s oceans who have ruled the deep for hundreds of millions of years?”

    SHOULD have said:

    Where was Al Gore when he could have spoken up AGAINST the wholesale elimination of large sharks, who have ruled the deep for hundreds of millions of years, in the world’s oceans?

    Sorry for having to keep correcting.

    To err is human.

    And IPCC.

  93. Marlene Anderson
    Canada and the US should be standing shoulder to shoulder to push back on AGW nonsense. Instead, Obama starting drinking the kool-aid>>

    Canada will stand “shoulder to shoulder” with the US, only in that our economy is so intertwined with the US that we must adopt the same basic regulations or see our products stopped at the boarder. That said, Obama and Clinton seem more interested in slapping allies like Canada around while apologising to and appeasing enemies. A lot of Canadians were swept up in Obamamania. I wonder how they will feel about being p****ed on for trying to get a converation going between the countries that border the arctic on how to administer it:

    http://www.nationalpost.com/news/story.html?id=2740472

    The arrogance of being told how we should be dealing with our native peoples (the US having such a stirling record on that), and being told that countries like China and India and others who don’t border on the Arctic should have had a seat at the meeting? Is that the whole list now Hillary? Are you sure you don’t want Al Queda invited too, they’be been complaining about climate change as well. How about Khadaffy and Chavez while we’re at it? Ar are you just ticked that some tiny insignificant country actually took a leadership position on something without you? I thought that the end of the Bush era was no more bullying the planet. Well turns out that meant no more bullying enemies, just allies instead.

  94. The Yale article shows more than it states by its context to a broader issue that surrounds it.

    NOTE-doing this on my Blackberry so spell & grammar checking is out the window : )

    1) The part of world that is modern is energy intensive.
    2) The more wealthy societies in the modern world are the most free.
    3) Within that wealth and freedom exist the ability to have a greater ability to promote imtellectual systems (ideaologies).
    4) Not all of those ideaologies are compatible with sustaining the production of energy or the freedom.
    5) The militant/political green ideaology (activist environmentalism) is one of those that are not compatible with the energetic modern free societies.
    6) The more commonsense individualistic approach to living-in-a-healthy-place is compatible with the energetic modern free societies.
    7) A tactical retreat by militant/political green ideaology as shown in the Yale is not a strategic defeat for them.
    8) Stay vigilant

    The more important topic of what is the basis of the militant/political green ideaology is another topic. It is a very important & intriging topic.

    John

  95. I still laugh everytime I see that southern hemisphere cyclone off the coast of Mexico on the cover of Al’s book. It’s all about marketing. The science be damned!

  96. Anthony,

    I welcome your acknowledgement of this issue and this first signal of open mindedness. I hope you can take it forward.

    Best.

  97. You know the tide has turned when President Clinton made jokes about it.

    Tide turned you note. Not tide fully in.

  98. Greens pushed climate scientists to become outspoken advocates of action to address global warming. Captivated by the notion that their voices and expertise were singularly necessary to save the world, some climate scientists attempted to oblige. The result is that the use, and misuse, of climate science by advocates began to wash back into the science itself.

    What a breath of fresh air! But I strongly doubt that Obama would pay any attention to it.

  99. The truth is that all climate scientists have been silenced by the corrupt and shameful actions of their role models. They have become aware of a massive army of interested observers who will take apart any paper or pronouncement they make and expose every flaw to a world-wide audience.

    Let’s face it, they’re scared and their work is now largely pointless.

    The politicians ,who have been so ready to seize every doom-laden word of the scientists, helpfully distorted and ratcheted up into a barely-controlled hysteria by the media, find themselves without a product to use for an alibi. What are they to do? They change the argument into one of social justice, energy supplies, and healthier living.

    Politicians also rely on the public having a short attention span and short memories. Eventually, when they judge the time is right, “global warming” will come back onto their agenda, minus all the current crop of tainted climate science and discredited climate scientists.

  100. davidmhoffer (23:06:26) :

    David, you forgot Robert Mugabe.

    I think this post remind us why this solar minimum should be called “The Gored Minimum”. If it develops.

    Because 40 years from now no one will remember the AGW scam. Just like almost everyone today have forgotten the Ice Age scam of the seventhies. (except a few)

    But “The Gored Minimum” ….will forever remind the coming genererations about that one man who was such a clever advocate for the AGW scam.

  101. @ pft:

    One very good reason the US does not look for oil in the US is that it is foolish to use up a resource when it will only get more expensive. Use the resource as sold by others while it is cheap – when it is expensive, develop your own resource potential to cover local demand, and even make a profit of those with less foresight.

    It is what I would do, and as I understand from my father’s girlfriend who has a well in Texas (as many there do), the govt puts strict limits on production in the US. It makes sound economic sense to me.

  102. openunatedgirl (19:05:59) :

    To address the overall tone of this message board, I would like to say that I am completely depressed by the majority of your comments. You really want to challenge that we are ruining our environment? Really? Talk to any one from New Orleans. True, global warming was not the culprit there, but the rather the destroying of wetlands for profit. (Note, historically, the wetlands surrounding New Orleans have protected the area from massive damage due to storms as they have acted to slow and minimize swells before they reached the in land areas. Not only that but the minerals provided by these regions have kept the soil rich and healthy, and now that the wetlands have been depleted, these minerals are being wash out to sea).

    Certainly there are problems caused by our abuse of the environment, and even our foolish town planning and useless response to emergencies.

    Unfortunately the current misplaced obsession with demonising CO2 is causing most environmental efforts to be misdirected to preventing the addition of just one more molecule of CO2 for every 10,000 molecules of air.

    We can address real issues properly and move to a renewable energy cycle, without crippling the western world’s economy, and without imposing massive restrictions on developing counties and enforcing continued poverty on them. But we can only do this if we accept that burning fossil fuels has not changed anything perceptibly, and probably will not in the future, and certainly not more than we can cope with given the expected state of our technology in half a century (assuming we don’t cripple our economy, etc, etc, etc).

  103. Well, I guess it’s time to put these out there again:

    http://chiefio.wordpress.com/2009/03/20/there-is-no-energy-shortage/

    We have a functionally unlimited supply of ALREADY DEVELOPED energy technologies. All that matters is what is cheapest and how stupid the various governments can be.

    We run out of energy when there are no longer eroding mountains on the earth and the oceans are gone:

    http://chiefio.wordpress.com/2009/05/29/ulum-ultra-large-uranium-miner-ship/

    And we never run out of resources to use to make things:

    http://chiefio.wordpress.com/2009/05/08/there-is-no-shortage-of-stuff/

    The comment about The Club Of Rome being very wrong is “spot on”. The Club Of Rome “running out panic” is horridly and spectacularly wrong. I’ve also seen references that assert they are among the early folks pushing the AGW broken meme as well.

    The reality is that we have no need to “conserve” resources. We ought to conserve species and forests as they can be extinguished, but things like copper and iron don’t leave the planet and things like coal just turn into CO2 that goes into limestone that gets cooked back into oil per one of the demonstrated abiotic oil chemical pathways.

    So yes, we ought to clean up the trash (it is the treasure from which we can recover resources, like oil and copper) and keep crap out of the air. But ‘decarbonizing’ makes about as much sense as ‘dewatering’ your bathroom or ‘defooding’ your kitchen. I’m all for efficiency improvements where it makes sense, but mandating that I put a mercury filled device prone to breakage in food preparation areas is just crazy. Especially when we have at least 10,000 years of proven energy supply at low costs.

  104. DirkH (19:35:20) :

    Nothing to do with renewable energy. Germany has become a rather clean country and the only awful smell you get in some places is when you’re downwind from a brewery. And that is probably not even toxic.

    ‘Ere! There is nothing wrong with the smell from a brewery! All of the smells are awesome, even the heavy yeasty one. An in Germany the laws dictate no chemicals too, so it will definitely not be toxic! Drinking it is, of course, but it is enjoyable, so that’s OK.

    For gods’ sake, don’t tell the greenies about the CO2 produced or they’ll tax or ban the stuff!

    (speaking as an ex-brewer and current full-time amateur ‘quality control officer’)

  105. More than thirty years ago I was convinced that looking after the global environment was what the Green movement was all about and I approved of the movement in general terms. Then I noticed that various individuals of my acquaintance who had joined Green organisations were beginning to display many of the slightly odd mannerisms of other old acquaintances who had become Charismatic Christians.
    It was no great cognitive leap to realise the Green movement had, sadly, become a religion and one that was seeking world domination. I put them to one side, in my mind, until Climategate arrived and my personal bull**** detector went into full alert mode. I am grateful that I was steered to this site in my search for information and I am cheered that this group from Yale are at least beginning to distance themselves from CAGW, CC or any of the permutations of doom. But in their pursuit of ‘low carbon energy’ they have missed the very relevant fact that Man continually refines technology; as an example, in the late 1950s I owned a 650cc 4stroke British motorcycle which was grossly unreliable, drank copious quantities of petrol and oil and was generally an exciting beast. My son now rides, among other machines, a 1200cc Yamaha which uses a fraction of the petrol my old 500cc bike did, uses no oil between services and is not only utterly reliable but is increadibly fast compared with my old beast. And sounds about as exciting as a sewing machine. The error many who are clueless about machinery of any kind is that they do not realise just how powerful and dramatic changes in established technology and machinery can be; most Greens shudder when they see a fast car, but Porsche is one manufacturer which has refined current design to the point where they now have built a very fast sports car which uses a fraction of the energy that a Toyota Prius does and yet the Prius with it’s enormous carbon footprint (silly term, I know, but the Greens love their mantras) will no doubt remain a religious icon to the Green movement..

  106. Sorry for a typo; I have referred to the same bike as both 650cc and 500cc – it was a 650cc machine, in fact. And despite its myriad faults, I loved it with a passion only other enthusiasts can understand!

  107. ””””Kate (01:29:35) :

    The truth is that all climate scientists have been silenced by the corrupt and shameful actions of their role models. They have become aware of a massive army of interested observers who will take apart any paper or pronouncement they make and expose every flaw to a world-wide audience.

    Let’s face it, they’re scared and their work is now largely pointless.

    The politicians ,who have been so ready to seize every doom-laden word of the scientists, helpfully distorted and ratcheted up into a barely-controlled hysteria by the media, find themselves without a product to use for an alibi. What are they to do? They change the argument into one of social justice, energy supplies, and healthier living.

    Politicians also rely on the public having a short attention span and short memories. Eventually, when they judge the time is right, “global warming” will come back onto their agenda, minus all the current crop of tainted climate science and discredited climate scientists.”””””’

    Kate,

    Your excellent points I concur with, but your tone I think should be more hopeful.

    Not only do politicians have long memories, the blogosphere has even longer memories . . . . . . and there are a hell of a lot more of us. : ) And people like Watts, M & M, etc etc, too numberous to mention here.

    Cheer up.

    John

  108. “in the late 1950s I owned a 650cc 4stroke British motorcycle which was grossly unreliable, drank copious quantities of petrol and oil and was generally an exciting beast.” Twenty bucks says it was a Norton Commando. Was my favorite machine also. When it ran.

  109. R. de Haan (21:29:14) :
    What every person on the planet should know!
    Access to cheap and safe energy should be a human right! . . .

    Point of clarification: Let’s not make the mistake that the socialists do with ‘healthcare': access to goods and services produced by others is never a ‘right’. It may be eminently desirable, a wish devoutly to be achieved, but not a right.

    “True rights,” says Walter E. Williams, “such as those in our Constitution, or those considered to be natural or human rights, exist simultaneously among people. That means exercise of a right by one person does not diminish those held by another.” The government cannot provide goods and services as ‘rights’, because the government has no resources of its own; it must first take in order to give. See Prof. Williams’s illuminating essay here:

    http://www.creators.com/opinion/walter-williams/is-health-care-a-right.html

    That said, the rest of R. de Haan’s contribution is right on the money! I recommend you all print it out and post it prominently for all the alarmists, warmers, doomsayers, Luddites, Marxists, and faux-environmentalists to see and contemplate.

    And also read and re-read E.M.Smith’s (03:20:24) seminal “There is no shortage. . .” posts, linked in his comment above.

    /Mr Lynn

  110. Come on all you well meaning green folk — there are real problems to address before you lose all your credibility: how about the pollution of the oceans and the depletion of the global fisheries, for example?

  111. I am not sure if this will work. AGW theory has cost many billions in direct and indirect costs, and an accounting should be demanded.
    AGW true believers dearly love their apocalypse, and actually believe.
    AGW profiteers, like Gore, windmill salesmen, and the industrial groups pushing for cap-n-trade smell trillions in trading revenues.
    This is not going to go away easily.
    And promoting the idea that non-carbon based energy will work without nuke power is a delusion.

  112. All the talk about wind and solar replacing conventional sources because economy of scale will make those technologies’ economically viable in the future is pure fantasy. The numbers cannot possibly EVER pencil out because of horrendous capital cost that can never be brought to heel due to:

    1) Pathetic energy density. It simply requires too much manufactured hardware to product too few kilowatts, even if you assume absurdly optimistic conversion efficiency.
    2) Pitiful capacity factor. All that hardware lies idle “when the sun don’t shine and the wind don’t blow”.
    3) Huge power plant footprint. As a result of the pathetic energy density, wind and solar have an enormous physical footprint that makes them all but impossible to thread through the U.S. environmental review process where many of the same folks who say they want renewables stand waiting to stop it. T. Boon Pickenss learned this one the hard way; think “Texas Prairie Chickens”.

  113. Do they still count as a think tank when their conclusion is a decade late and patently obvious?

    I’m going to start a real estate think tank and issue a report that states that federally fueled real estate speculation is a bad idea.

  114. This is just more of stage 3 in the grief process (a la Judith Curry); bargaining. They’re essentially saying, “see, we’re willing to throw the greenies under the bus, for mucking things up, so please let us CAGW/CC PNS “scientists” continue, OK?” Well, sorry, but no, it’s not OK. It’s way, way past too late. That ship has sailed and reached another continent. The damage is done, and the “climate wars” will continue. This fight is far from over. The fat lady hasn’t even begun to warm up her pipes.

  115. First of all I agree with those who regard the Yale Environment 360 article positively. For too long here has been a concerted effort to link every environmental ill to climate change. (A recent link was between whaling and CO2 emissions). The downside has been that many urgent dangers, hunting, habitat encroachment, etc. have been ignored. There are also good reasons for the long-term future of the planet to develop safe renewable energy sources. The next ice is due in a few centuries time; imagine trying to survive if we’d all used our fossil fuels for long-haul holidays.

    openunatedgirl
    My understanding is that for the US or Europe to replace 10% of its petrol with ethanol would require 40% of its agricultural land. If these facts are correct then biofuel can only be a small part of the solution.

  116. If we could just divert all this “greenie” energy into building another set of pyramids out in the desert somewhere… all done with hand labor, all funded by their own pockets with no outside contributions whatsoever, and all workers fed with their own organic gardens, maybe we’d be able to contain the envionmental hysteria gripping the gullible masses for the next 40 years.

    Just a fanciful wish.

  117. “toyotawhizguy (21:24:04) :
    [...]
    Dirk, you’re only half right. Your figure of 500 years is easily off by more than factor of 10 (I initially thought that “500 years” was a typo, but you repeated that figure again in a later post, so I guess not)”

    You *could* be right. I was thinking about known reserves here. As soon as some other technology is cheaper it will overtake the market. But it needs to become cheaper first! This is more difficult than it seems to be – as Roger Sowell points out, the guys with the oil wells will try to counter any pretender technology by lowering their prizes. Their technology is proven, they can exploit a huge existing infrastructure and economies of scale.

    A lot of the shiny new technologies will fall by the wayside.

    I (and a lot of other people) place my bet on microcogeneration in individual households, using gas as the fuel (synthesized from wind/solar power if you want or the fossil variant), a fuel cell, producing heat and electricity.

    Hydrocarbons are just the best way to carry hydrogene with you.

  118. I’ve commented before on this website, mostly at the very start of Climategate regarding the legal aspects of the FOIL applications. I’ve had 40+ years of interest in climate and technology, but I do not have a professional technical backround, so I read WUWT far more than I comment. But 2 things about this article and the comments. First, the Skeptics have won the debate; CO2 is not proven to be a “climate changer” and it probably is NOT a material climate forcing– this article shows how the AGW true believers are eating their own and using new propaganda. Second, 2 commenters to this article show the stark philosophical difference between Skeptics and AGW true believers– openunated girl and DirkH. ‘Girl’ feels like we should get rid of evil carbon and ‘those evil corporations’ should be forced to do, but since she’s true believer, she assumes no consequences for herself, because in her rainbow and unicorn AGW world, cheap endless wind power will work for her if those evil corporations get out of the way. Total divorce from reality. DirkH on the other hand, looks at the world objectively and clearheadly and offers specific value judgments — he proposes that we should let free people and markets implement an even cleaner world. You can debate details with DirkH, challenge his assumptions, maybe improve on his ideas. You can’t do that with ‘Girl’ –she believes what she believes, and she won’t let reality intrude. DirkH and Girl show the divide between Skeptics and True Believers. There is a third group — the AGW rent seekers. The scientists (Mann, Hansen et al), trading speculators ( Deutsche Bank, ENRON), the politicians (the EU, Obama et al) and propagandists (Gore) who all ride the gravy train of government and foundation funding and who are scamming AGW for profit and political power. They of course are far worse and more dangerous than Girl, and they use people like Girl to further their greed for money and power.

  119. D. King (20:14:04) :

    “R. de Haan (19:17:07) :
    Good post Ron.”

    Thanks for your kind remark, you’re welcome.

  120. When I hear a greenie weenie mention a “low carbon economy” he has fishished convincing me he doesn’t know what he is talking about. even Immelt the Chairman of GE mentioned doing without carbon. If he hangs turbines on tall Sequoia trees, the trees are still made of carbon.

    Then they add, “do away with carbon”. Has anyone ever done that? I know of people that move carbon but none that eliminated it.
    If they mean a carbon combustion influenced economy, then they are not so bad off. Most of the drive toward electric cars is the theory that electricity generated elswhere by use of carbon to build the plant or build the tower is like the Carbon and CO2 doesn’t exist.
    Where are the pictures of the natural gas fired generators to back up the wind turbines?

    Now the fetish is for rail transportation. In my area, rail is Amtrak and it stops once a day at 3 in the morning. It means I have to drive my family and luggage 90 miles round trip to a train depot in a gas guzzling Chevy. Of course the urban legendary economists don’t realize travel by rail over a couple hundred miles increases the need for an overnight stay.
    Is there a requirement for the “doo gooders” to not think about what they claim solves problems?

  121. toyotawhizguy (21:24:04) :
    In less than 50 years, other alternative sources of energy, including solar panels, solar sterling engines, wind turbines, and solid hydrogen will be cheaper than hydrocarbons. If you doubt that, take a look at the price of gasoline, heating oil, diesel fuel, and natural gas vs. the CPI over the past 50 years, the divergence is striking, and it will only continue to worsen. At some point, certainly during the first half of the 21st century, alternative sources of energy will begin to compete with hydrocarbons. (As for shale gas becoming economical, it is only due to the increased price of natural gas as it continues to diverge from the CPI.)

    If you’re using the government derived numbers for CPI, then you are off by a factor of at least 4.

  122. Let it be clear the Greens have done their job.
    We now have a totally infected political establishment that is determined to push through their concept of a centralized World Government.

    A new bi-partisan climate/energy bill is prepared by US Senators as we speak and the G7 are on a similar course.

    The power of the electorate is undermined on any possible level as are civil rights and individual freedom.

    The only way to stop the current course of events is to confront the political establishment.

    For this the window of opportunity is closing fast.

    That is the reality.

  123. Pressed Rat (04:52:30) :

    I was thinking Triumph Bonneville. You’re probably right though as the Triumph engine was better than the Norton.

    On the other hand, the Norton frame was better than the Triumph which is why so many put the Triumph engine in the Norton frame to get the Triton.

    DaveE.

  124. Kate, I am so with you. Scientists are not the problem here! Politicians twist whatever the current environmental hot topic is to meet their own political agenda.

    To address all the comments on hurricane Katrina, I didn’t really mean to open that can of worms and I apologize. But to be clear, I am not defending environmentalists. I am defending scientists. If you have doubts that the severity of the damage done by Katrina was not in part due to the depletion of the wetlands, you need to give your head a shake, and talk to an ecologist. I know a great one if you want some contact info.

  125. Did anyone actually read the article in the Yale Journal? How do you square that with the headline here? Yale said NOTHING to the greens. Two guys, who are generally reviled, wrote an OPINION piece. That’s the kind of misrepresentation Climate Depot does takes to an art form.

    And yet, at the end of the article the authors say:

    “Climate science can still usefully inform us about the possible trajectories of the global climate and help us prepare for extreme weather and natural disasters, whether climate change ultimately results in their intensification or not. And understood in its proper role, as one of many reasons why we should decarbonize the global economy, climate science can even help contribute to the case for taking such action. “

  126. When knowledge becomes institutionalized it turns into politics. This began more than two thousand years ago when some chose knowledge should be officially transmitted through an intitution, the Church, so it involved power and money making, thus the new church was to choose who were the official sages/saints, the knowledge bearers. Then the two currents divided: gnosticism (today´s climate skeptics, among others) and agnosticism (official scientists, settled science, climate change believers, the Neo-pagan-Club of Rome-Gaia Church).
    However real knowledge, understanding, not needing institutions, was the work individuals who strive for knowledge, and institutions like the church, and, after the american and french revolutions, the state/government/politicians, missed it and invented fake knowledge, fake philosophy, fake ethics. Pagan churches were founded, like francmasonry which, btw, recognizes what they call the “verbum dismissum”, the lost word, the lost “logos”, the lost knowledge.
    If anybody thinks he/she knows and thinks to institutionalize such a knowledge, then he/she simply does not know, as knowledge is everywhere.

  127. spitthedog

    My understanding is that Nuclear produced electricity is the cheapest source of electrical energy, with coal the next cheapest but still a lot more expensive. France has predominantly nuclear produced electricity which is divorced from the world price of hydrocarbons. Why have the rest of the higher technology economies not followed this cheaper energy route? Perhaps the market economy is distorted by polital and environmentalist ideology, but apparently not in France. There can be no economic reason for not going nuclear with electricity production. Coal and oil will find plenty of opportunity in the chemical industry.
    Cliff

  128. I’m still in shock because I can’t figure out the combo environment+yale, after all yale hasn’t produced an intelligent environmentalist for, well, ever, but now suddenly they get it together. It’s prolly a trick.

  129. Pressed Rat and Anthony Allan Evans – nearly right, it was a Norton Domiracer.
    Cost me a small fortune to rebuild immediately after I bought it in a very shabby state as the front end had been through a small fire which had cooked the front tyre, the paint and the chrome. Looked and sounded marvellous when it ran, but tended to vomit oil on/in my shoes, but only if I was wearing good ones. The electrics were by Joseph ‘Prince of Darkness’ Lucas, which meant lots of walking/pushing in dark and/or rain, but I still loved it immoderately and have been passionate about bikes ever since.

  130. “”” Ed Shearon (07:55:03) :

    Did anyone actually read the article in the Yale Journal? How do you square that with the headline here? Yale said NOTHING to the greens. Two guys, who are generally reviled, wrote an OPINION piece. That’s the kind of misrepresentation Climate Depot does takes to an art form. “””

    I believe that Anthony’s citation was to the Yale Environment-360 forum article; not to the Yale Journal article. So I read what the 360 forum article said; and that is what I commented on.

    I’ll leave it to the Yale Journal to demand a retraction from those two authors, if they have misrepresented the Journal paper; they are the ones who know what they meant in their forum article.

  131. “”” Ed Shearon (07:55:03) :

    Did anyone actually read the article in the Yale Journal? How do you square that with the headline here? Yale said NOTHING to the greens. Two guys, who are generally reviled, wrote an OPINION piece. That’s the kind of misrepresentation Climate Depot does takes to an art form. “””

    Let’s see; so we start at about 1kWatt/m^2 maximum, and we go down from there via conversion efficiency (think of the Carnot efficiency of a wind turbine).

    I don’t think you can even cover the ground with Saran wrap for the cost you have to have for an economical green energy plant.

  132. “”” Claude Harvey (06:01:45) :

    All the talk about wind and solar replacing conventional sources because economy of scale will make those technologies’ economically viable in the future is pure fantasy. The numbers cannot possibly EVER pencil out because of horrendous capital cost that can never be brought to heel due to: “””

    If you substitute Claude Harvey for Ed Shearon above; you might end up with a combination that makes sense; If you can figure out what I did wrong; please keep it to yourself; it’s embarrassing enough, as it is.

  133. “”” Big Al (22:21:43) :

    “Not Completely Off Topic” – from UNIVERSITY of EAST ANGLIA

    Breakthrough Producing Hydrogen from Water + Sunlight

    Sunday, March 07, 2010
    solar hydrogen breakthrough image Image: Angewandte Chemie, Wiley Sunlight + Water = Hydrogen Gas Scientists at the UNIVERSITY of EAST ANGLIA, led by Dr. Thomas Nann, report a breakthrough in the production of hydrogen from water using the energy of sunlight. Amidst all the hype about a potential hydrogen economy, which would rely upon the highly energetic and clean burning hydrogen atom, one of the big questions has been whether sufficient hydrogen…Read the full story on TreeHugger “””

    Simply wunnerful ! So now we are back to about 1 kW/m^2 max; not counting conversion efficiency. So what makes this better than any other solar clean green free renewable energy scheme.

    I bet you can use solar energy to get carbon out of carbon dioxide too; that would give us an endless supply of clean carbon energy so we don’t have to use dirty fossil carbon.

  134. There are so many reasons to become better stewards of our beautiful earth. Picking global warming and pointing fingers only served to push people who are not being over the top recyclers further toward a fringe. Hence comments I have seen on here before that say forget the environment, I will let my hummer idol all day, I left my lights on during earth hour for the fun of it. When you ask the same people if they think we should be more energy independent, they agree. When given the option that lowers their monthly bills by 15%, they agree. I just purchased an energy efficient washer not because I buy into global warming, but because it saves energy, it uses less water, and frankly, it lowers my drying time. Doing these things is logical for me personally. FYI, newegg.com has a sale on “green” energy savers. I might just buy a solar panel for my house that would run my fridge and another 2 outlets during a power outage.

  135. Roger Sowell (10:42:09) said:

    Cliff (08:50:02) : you have been badly mis-informed on the price of nuclear-based electric power. It is the most expensive of coal, gas, nuclear, geothermal, and hydroelectric, and is more expensive than some forms of solar and wind.

    see http://sowellslawblog.blogspot.com/2009/04/nuclear-nuts.html

    I will go read the article, but I wonder if this is the same in China, and whether it’s because some players in the energy marked decided to make life difficult for other players in the energy market and used their tame politicians and certain ‘environmental groups’ and their hysteria to cause this to come about.

  136. NK (06:34:24) :

    Thanks for the kind words. You should know that my hobby is trading. I have to keep my eyes open. It’s an ideology in its own right if you will.

  137. NK (06:34:24) :

    But don’t be so hard on “girl”… she’s right when she says the New Orleans disaster is partly due to the deterioration of the wetlands. You take water for irrigation out of a river and it will deliver less sediment to its delta, and the land in the delta slowly sinks, everybody knows that, the same thing is happening in Bangladesh.

    Her only mistake is that she seems to think that “decarbonizing the economy” will somehow help. I blame this mistake on a lack of information on her part, not on ignorance.

  138. As DirkH has pointed out above , we can clean up fossil fuel emissions . Indeed , we’ve done a good job here in the US . We’ve done such a good job , in fact , that about the only major effluent left from burning fossil fuels is co2 . Unfortunately , the greenies have obsessed on fossil fuels for decades , so they had to find something hideous about co2 emissions . Hence the advancement of the AGW theory . Fortunately , the wheels seem to finally be falling off that one .

  139. DirkH–
    you are very welcome.

    PS: I am not criticizing openunatedgirl, I am just pointing out that her comments show an adherance to a fixed ideology, carbon AGW, to the exclusion of rational analysis. my criticism is for the third group I detest, the rent seekers who want treasure and power from controlling the rest of our free choice of energy supply.

    cheers

  140. “Cliff (08:50:02) : you have been badly mis-informed on the price of nuclear-based electric power. It is the most expensive of coal, gas, nuclear, geothermal, and hydroelectric, and is more expensive than some forms of solar and wind.”

    Not so.
    EIA – 2016 Levelized Cost of New Generation Resources from the Annual Energy Outlook 2010
    Nuclear is slightly cheaper than hydroelectric, and significantly cheaper than any form of wind, let alone solar power. Nuclear is even cheaper than a couple of forms of natural gas, and one form of coal. On the other hand, it is more expensive than several forms of coal and natural gas, and slightly more expensive than biomass and geothermal.

    As for New Orleans, best everyone do a little historical research. There is no good location for a city at the mouth of the Mississippi, not when the city was founded in 1716, and not today. The geology and hydrology are terrible.

    However, the Mississippi’s flow of water and volume of sediment is such that the river extends its delta into the Gulf and fills its embayment, even as it sinks. A cross-view of a section of the delta from east to west would reveal pre-glacial bedrocks filled with layers of deltaic material–i.e., silt, clay, sand, and a large bulk of soupy organic matter produce by rotting swamp and marsh vegetation. The bedrock itself is not really “rock,” but instead is a varied mix of semi-compacted clay, silt and silty sand. This Pleistocene bedrock lies seventy to one hundred feet beneath New Orleans (explaining why, until recently, it was a chancy and expensive business to build skyscrapers; requiring pilings to be driven down to at least seventy feet), runs below Lake Pontchartrain, and crops out on the north side of the lake, where it forms a low bluff that gives way to low hills covered with spindly pines. A cross section, then, resembles a shallow saucer filled with layers of jello.

  141. Mr Sowell,

    I have worked my entire career at a nuclear plant and you are in part correct about the costs. Nuclear is expensive to build and cheap to operate. Currently constructed nuclear plants are the cheapest base load generation available save hydro. This is, of course, because coal and gas pay much higher fuel costs and those costs vary significantly year to year and month to month.

    I am also skeptical of anyone who claims to know how much it costs to build a nuclear plant in the USA today. We have not attempted to build one in 30 years so in my opinion any estimate is a complete WAG. Although I certainly would agree it will be more than a similar sized coal or gas plant. What you get is more price certainty for the future. Nat gas is currently about 4.00, even at that relatively low price it is easily twice as expensive to operate a nat gas plant today than it is a nuke. That is why they are always some of the last resources dispatched as load rises.

    Wind and solar don’t even get to play in this discussion because they are not dispatchable and never pay off their capitol cost absent subsidies and mandates. If we build these facilities then we will use them when they are producing power – which we have no control over.

  142. The fact is that GREEN arguments touch the feeling hearts of many people, though the majority of them ignore some simple things as the more you recycle the more uses will have any item, so hurting production economy and decreasing jobs
    Or CO2 it is NOT BLACK SOOT or it is what we exhale
    , etc.

  143. You’ve been had by the nuke folks. The cost of nuclear that you usually see are the variable costs: fuel and operations and maintenance. They do not include capital recovery, which can be enormous. Unless, of course, your utility is an investor owned one and sold its nuclear plants for cents on the dollar. The new owners have virtually no capital recovery costs. But did the unrecovered costs disappear? Nope. You have a neat little item in your bill with some innocuous title where you’re still paying. They spread it out over 20 or 30 years to minimize it, but these sales of nuclear generation happened in the mid-90’s.

    As to new nuclear costs, well the two that Southern Company are going to install with federal loan guarantees, cost about $7,000 per installed kilowatt of capacity. Each unit is 1,200,000 kw so do the math. When you figure in the cost of capital for these guys along with variable costs you get a very different picture.

    Now, Southern California Edison is installing two solar thermal units, each of 750,000 kw at a cost of $4,000 per kilowatt. Since they have thermal storage, these units operate 24/7, not just when the sun is shining.

    And if you care, while the operation of nuclear is relatively emission free, mining the ore, converting it to UF6, enriching it (using enormous amounts of TVA coal power), fabrication, spent fuel storage and ultimate disposal are by no means emissions free.

  144. Paul (11:03:05) :

    There are so many reasons to become better stewards of our beautiful earth… I just purchased an energy efficient washer not because I buy into global warming, but because it saves energy, it uses less water, and frankly, it lowers my drying time. Doing these things is logical for me personally. FYI, newegg.com has a sale on “green” energy savers. I might just buy a solar panel for my house that would run my fridge and another 2 outlets during a power outage.

    I’ve been on a few recent large appliance quests, most notably one to replace a 30-year-old G.E. top-load washer. An awful lot of stuff out there is designed to make the casual shopper feel good about how “green” they are. But I’d argue that a low-flow toilet with a faulty flush mechanism (another story) looks no prettier than a tradional one sitting on a mound of trash in a landfill. And I’d guess a trashed Energy-saving washer is about as green as an older model. A big question is: which lasted longer?

    It seems many of the washers may deliver on the promise to use less water and less electricity using just the right settings, but their durability, thanks to sensers and easily-fried electronic elements, appears to be a very big question. Most of the salesmen I talked to just shook their heads at the notion of a 30-year-old washer; they just aren’t designed to last that long, and the “consumer advising” agencies many of us have come to rely on are not reliable. See, here, on the recent Energy Star Fraud:

  145. I have posted to Yale 360 several times and often they have either edited my posts dramatically or simply didn’t post them. It is obviously an organization funded with our tax money dedicated to keeping the flow of “green” coming.

    Okay, the “Greens” have given up trying to support manmade warming and instead are trying to convince us that spending hundereds of billions on power that is the world’s most expensive, requires tax credits and grants to build and is wildly variable requiring 100% back-up from fossil fuel plants, cannot measurably clean the air or reduce carbon dioxide either…..and to top it off treats birds (mostly raptors and bats, many endangered) as if they were milk shakes in a Hamilton Beach mixer.

    A truly Piriac victory.

  146. Mr Shearon,

    I am most definitely including levelized capitol cost in total nuke cost. As does the EIA report referenced by Larry D.

    Regarding solar thermal generation you are factually incorrect. There are two ways to make electricity from the sun. PV cells take sunlight and turn it directly to DC current and solar thermal focuses the sun’s rays on a body filled with a fluid (can be water) to create steam. The steam is then used to drive a turbine to make electricity. This is thermal solar energy and it most definitely only works when the sun is shining. Even if you could “store” the energy of the sun for later use, you can not store more energy than has been incident upon your particular part of the globe.

  147. Well scrub that Yale site. Nothing more boring than looking in a mirror that feeds back only one’s own reflection.

    Too bad they have the same disease that “Real Climate” has.

    Hey chaps, censorship automatically brands you as a bunch of losers; incapable of taking part in a debate.

  148. Layne Blanchard (17:02:24) :

    “So, essentially: The fraud isn’t working, time to throw in the towel, and just admit the real motive..>…… an irrational hatred of hydrocarbon fuels…. oh, and a death wish to shut down all civilization.

    … the first in a 12 step process?”

    I though it was the first in a Ten step process –

    Ten Steps to Dictatorship by Naomi Wolf

    1. Invoke a terrifying internal and external threat. check –  CAGW and world Financial meltdown

    2. Create a secret prison system – a gulag – where torture takes place that is outside the rule of law, perhaps employing military tribunals. Start by targeting people outside the mainstream of society. As the line blurs, more and more ordinary citizens get caught up in the noose. It’s always the same cast of characters: journalists, editors, opposition leaders, labor leaders and outspoken clergy.  check – reports of military torture of prisoners and rumors of military type trials being considered on mainland USA

    3. Create a paramilitary force – a thug caste. You can’t close down a democracy without one. You can send that paramilitary force to intimidate civilians. Then it doesn’t matter if you still have the essential institutions of a democracy functioning, because people are too intimidated to push back. check – Blackwater

    4. Create an internal surveillance apparatus aimed at ordinary citizens. You don’t need to surveil everyone. If everyone thinks they are being surveilled, that’s inhibiting. check – cars with Ron Paul  bumper stickers are stop by police check points as Terrorists

    5. Infiltrate and harass citizens’ groups. That helps ensure citizens won’t have the trust level to work effectively together. Boy are we seeing this. Food and Water Watch, Organic Consumers all have ties to Rockefeller and the UN so they SUPPORT corporate take over of our food supply.

    6. Arbitrarily detain and release citizens. This will frighten them. check  farmers/co-ops targeted and all those roadblocks and license checks as well. And do not forget the torture and deaths by tazer of innocent people.

    7. Target key individuals: lawyers, people in the press, academics, people in the media, performers, even civil servants, so people see there are repercussions if they stand up against you. Again Ron Paul, Bob Barr, Chuck Baldwin supporters are on the terrorist watch list. 

    8. Restrict the press. Investigate, intimidate and imprison reporters. Accuse them for treason.. Start using the words of a closing society: terrorist, enemy of the people, sabotage, espionage, treason. Over time, replace the real news with fake news.  Derry Brownfield kicked off the air and two Florida reporters fired, not to mention John Munsfield’s story about e-coli contamination at Con Agri being pulled at the last minute. Reporters knocked down and tazered at political demos. Also Wiki leaks is supposed to have a video of reporters being murdered????

    9. Expand the definitions of espionage and treason so more and more people are included. Recast criticism as espionage and dissent as treason.
    The list is now over a million and that doesn’t include bumper stickers. I was just told by an ex-secret service guy that ALL ex-military, ex-CIA, ex-FBI…. are now on the “Homegrown terrorist” possibles list

    10. Suspend the rule of law. Subvert it by decree and/or declare martial law.  Is that what the tea parties are about, to start a major confrontation?

    Boy can’t you have lots of fun with this list and the scuttle butt drifting around on the internet….

  149. “”” Ed Shearon (15:14:50) :

    You’ve been had by the nuke folks. The cost of nuclear that you usually see are the variable costs: fuel and operations and maintenance. They do not include capital recovery, which can be enormous. …..
    …..
    Now, Southern California Edison is installing two solar thermal units, each of 750,000 kw at a cost of $4,000 per kilowatt. Since they have thermal storage, these units operate 24/7, not just when the sun is shining……

    And if you care, while the operation of nuclear is relatively emission free, mining the ore, converting it to UF6, enriching it (using enormous amounts of TVA coal power), fabrication, spent fuel storage and ultimate disposal are by no means emissions free……

    So presumably (as judged by your arguments) SoCal Edison, is building these two solar plants entirely using free green clean renewable (solar) energy, sicne you didn’t mention anything about the energy capital costs of their plants.

    One thing we know for sure is, that we started off with nothing but free clean green renewable solar energy; it was even quantized and came in chunks called “figs”. But it barely served to sustain just a few of our ancestors; and they didn’t become successful, until they discovered stored chemical energy; and eventually the fossil fuel form of stored chemical energy.

    So no matter how you want to cut it, and jigger with the economics calculations; along with the pollution and other environmental costs; we can say assuredly that fossil fuel worked; it got us to where we are; whereas free clean green renewable solar energydid not and could not.

    And if you want to figure out the per capita costs of the energy and pollution clean up and other environmental factors, and then compare that to all the damage our few ancestors did to the fig trees; I have no doubt that we are way out in front of their achievements.

    If you want your grandchildren to go back to clambering around in fig trees for renewable energy; be my guest.

    Do you have any idea what the total pollutant output of a silicon production factory is; not to mention the noxious materials that must be obtained and controlled in the fabrication of free clean green renewable PV solar energy; at a rate of maybe 10 Watts per Square foot (tops).

    I’m waiting with bated breath to see the first solar energy plant replicate itself using its own energy output; and have something left over to sell on the open market against its competition.

    Of course if you have some other non-solar free clean green renewable energy source that I haven’t heard about yet; well maybe that could be a winner; sell you house and bet on it.

  150. Mr Lynn (05:26:56) :

    R. de Haan (21:29:14) :
    What every person on the planet should know!
    Access to cheap and safe energy should be a human right! . . .

    “Point of clarification: Let’s not make the mistake that the socialists do with ‘healthcare’: access to goods and services produced by others is never a ‘right’. It may be eminently desirable, a wish devoutly to be achieved, but not a right”.

    Mr. Lynn,
    I have made this point to prevent Government from enslaving it’s populations by charging excessive energy taxes and “Cap” policies.

    I did not state energy should be made available for free! I only said it should be available to everybody on the planet at an affordable price!

    In the case of shale gas, available in 75% of the world’s sediments we have the opportunity to generate affordable electricity all over the world with explortion companies and distributors still making good profits.

    I don’t agree with your “Health Care” example because in this case Government is forcing Americans to buy Health Care. If they refuse they will be fined, if they can’t pay the fine, they go to prison and they will have a criminal record!

    Besides that, if Government is in a position to force people to buy health care, what will be next? Will they be forced to buy a car from Government Motors?

    Anyhow, thanks for your support for the remaining content of my posting.

  151. R. de Haan (17:10:51) said:

    [snip snip snip]
    I don’t agree with your “Health Care” example because in this case Government is forcing Americans to buy Health Care. If they refuse they will be fined, if they can’t pay the fine, they go to prison and they will have a criminal record!

    Hmmm, the words I have seen suggest that the IRS does not have the power to enforce the fines associated with not buying health care … possibly an oversight on the part of the Democrats, but who could possibly have figured that out given that the bill was some 2000+ pages.

  152. ““”” Ed Shearon (15:14:50) :

    You’ve been had by the nuke folks. The cost of nuclear that you usually see are the variable costs: fuel and operations and maintenance. They do not include capital recovery, which can be enormous. …”

    The capital cost of wind is 1 1/2 times that of nuclear. The cost of manpower for wind is also 1 1/2 times nuclear. The cost of solar is higher.

    The arguement that nuclear fuel is energy intensive is provably false. The fuel is a very minor cost. the cost of producing kilowatt hour of nuclear energy is the lowest cost of any power except water power and is a fraction of wind or solar. Another major cost of wind or solar is the requirement to run high power lines to remote locations which, in many cases, doubles the capital cost. Nuclear plants have to be constructed near water sources which coincindentally is where most people live and work. ……..and, of course, nuclear fuel can be recycled as it is for France at the Hague in the Netherlands. A concern is the by-product plutonium which Carter outlawed as being to easy to convert to weapon grade material.

    There is no logical reason not to utilize nuclear. We could also continue to utlize coal and clean it by desulphurization and with flyash precipitators. We could burn nutural gas which is pretty clean. I agree there is no economic or ecological reason to build wind and solar. They are pork projects. They clean no air by any measurable amount and they cannot shut down one fossil fuel plant.

    Pork, pure and simple.


  153. R. de Haan (17:10:51)
    Re: Energy as a ‘right’ [R. de Haan (21:29:14) and Mr Lynn (05:26:56)]

    I have made this point to prevent Government from enslaving its populations by charging excessive energy taxes and “Cap” policies.

    I did not state energy should be made available for free! I only said it should be available to everybody on the planet at an affordable price! . . .

    I understand, and agree with, your reasons. And I understand that you did not say energy should be free to all.

    My point is that it is common today, especially on the Left, to assert that human needs create ‘rights’ which can be met only by government: the right to food, to shelter, to a job, to healthcare—and energy? What’s next? A good car? An LCD TV? And I wanted to emphasis that this conception is alien to the concepts that inform the American Experiment.

    Our system of restricted and republican (small ‘r’) government is based on the notion of ‘natural rights’, to “Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness,” which, as Prof. Walter E. Williams points out, are inherent in our natures and cannot be given by other citizens or government (though government can prevent us from exercising them).

    Human needs for goods and services can be satisfied by individual and group endeavor, but not by government, unless the government takes from some and gives to others, because government creates nothing on its own. So a ‘right’ to something enforced by government inevitably becomes a strait-jacket of rules and penalties imposed in the name of ‘fairness’ (hence the ‘mandate’ to buy health insurance).

    It ought to be the policy of our government to encourage private industry to provide cheap and plentiful energy for everyone, and the government can best do so by getting out of the way and giving the markets and entrepreneurship free rein. The world has coal, natural gas, uranium, thorium, and other resources in abundance, and the technologies for utilizing these are improving every day.

    While no one has a ‘right’ to cheap, abundant energy, no government should have the right to curtail our production of it. It is the key to the continued progress of human civilization, and to the development of the third word. The trick, in this Republic make sure we elect people who understand this imperative, and will not seek to curtail human freedom and enterprise in the name of providing for its citizens what they should be providing for themselves.

    We don’t disagree.

    /Mr Lynn

  154. Correction (last sentence of penultimate paragraph): The trick, in this Republic, is to make sure we elect people who understand this imperative, and a government that will not seek to curtail human freedom and enterprise in the name of providing for its citizens what they should be providing for themselves. /Mr L

  155. Mr Sowell,

    I provided no figures to check. I referred you to an Energy Information Administration report that LarryD referenced. It shows quite clearly that all in costs for nuclear are competitive with other power sources. Especially when you consider future price uncertainty with coal and gas. That said, it would be foolish to build nuclear for anything but base load generation. They must operate at near full capacity to pay for their fixed capitol costs. That is the unavoidable fault of wind and solar. They cost a fortune to build but cannot operate above about a 35% capability factor. That is the mistake Mr Shearon makes for wind and solar – capitol costs must be adjusted for both capability factor AND the cost to build backup power sources for when the wind doesn’t blow and the sun doesn’t shine (probably gas). The EIA report does not make the capability adjustment mistake. However, it only mentions the non-dispatchable nature of wind and solar in passing.

    Note that EIA estimates the all in cost of NEW nuclear generation at about 11cents per Kwh. It is very easy to play with these numbers by simply adjusting the cost of capitol (interest rate assumptions) or future predictions for the cost of coal and oil to make one source look better or worse than another. That is why different studies from different ideological viewpoints come to very different conclusions. There is risk associated with any choice.

  156. openunatedgirl (19:05:59) wrote:
    “To address the overall tone of this message board, I would like to say that I am completely depressed by the majority of your comments. You really want to challenge that we are ruining our environment? Really?”

    It’s much easier to fault the other person’s tin gods than to admit that one’s own tin gods are melting. That would partially account for the Libertarian perspective of many commentators here at WUWT, since from that Weltanschauung, it’s not difficult to be skeptical about ‘problems’ that require Big Government as a ‘solution’.

    Take AGW-abandonment . This particular kind of disillusionment is a much bigger step for Lefties, most of whom were educated to believe that truth is a linear combination of ‘expert’ opinions.

    I agree that there are genuine environmental concerns–like overfishing in the world’s oceans. I also think that the mythology of the Flying CO2 Monster is a major distraction from this and other real problems. And I don’t view governmental regulations as bad in their own right, if there’s full public access to the data and reasoning–if any–behind them. Sometimes the Greenies get it right, and sometimes they don’t.

    If you haven’t seen it already, please check out jennifermarohasy.com. Jennifer is a biologist and a proponent of evidence-based environmental policy, with an emphasis on issues that affect Australians. However she’s writing a novel at the moment, and there hasn’t been much current stuff on her blog for the last several months. When it was more active, I regarded Jennifer’s blog as the very best on environmental issues other than climate change, even though I’m not an Aussie.

    Given your engineering background, I think that you can make a real contribution here. Please don’t feel like the Lone Ranger.

  157. There is nothing mystical about doing levelized cost of electricity calculations. It is a rather straightforward formula.

    I suspect that, as is the case with climate, ideology is getting in the way of understanding.

    Taking into consideration the availability factors of the various forms of generation, and especially the intermittent forms, new nuclear (the kind you can actually buy today with commercial terms) is the most expensive form of base generation known to man. It is also, by the way, the most subsidized form of ANY kind of generation.

    Comparing solar thermal to nuclear is appropriate because both can be base loaded. And solar thermal wins hands down by any metric.

    People who try to compare wind or photovoltaics to nuclear are just shouting “I don’t know what I am talking about!” These are intermittent forms that today enter the grid when the power is produced. They compete with whatever other forms of generation are economic at the time they are produced (almost all grids do economic dispatch on at least an hourly basis- as demand rises more expensive units are called). Wind farms with storage – and this is going to happen within 2 to 3 years – using flow batteries or other technologies that are just about commercial will become very competitive as base load generation.

    Finally, getting back to ideology, it mystifies me that the right is so pro-nuclear. Nuclear only works at very large scale and in centrally planned electricity grids. That’s why big coal and big nuclear plants are referred to as “central generation.” In fact, you can’t think of a better form of generation for a socialist society. We have huge problems today with the enormous inefficiencies in a grid network that was great for 1935 but makes no sense today. When you plop in a 1 GW nuclear unit in the transmission network it literally has no place to go unless you build a lot more lines. With central generation there are huge losses to get to the end user. Power reliability and quality suffers and gets worse as more customers are added at the distribution end. Distributed sources of power avoid all of these inefficiencies, increase quality and reliability, and put the power in the hands of the end users. The technologies are there, now.

  158. The future US electric power generation will be based on Natural Gas.
    Here you find some of the arguments.

    http://www.naturalgas.org/overview/uses_eletrical.asp

    For the price of five Nuclear power plant we can build the entire US future energy
    requirements based on Natural Gas power plants!

    That is if we let free market principles do their work in a free energy market!

    Any other energy policies driven by Government grants, semi science and ideology are nothing more but a kind of robbery of the American consumer.

  159. The ignorance, and dogma, on this thread are getting tiresome. Solar of any kind can not be base loaded – period. Go read the company website about how these plants work and then research what base loaded means. They generate power only when the sun is shining on the focusing mirrors. That means, by definition, they can not be dispatched OR base loaded.

    You are correct, there is nothing mystical about levelized capitol cost calculations. However, if you assume a 12% weighted cost of capitol you get a very different result than if you assume a 6% cost of capitol. It’s math no mystery involved.

    Finally, production subsidies by generation type are found here – http://www.eia.doe.gov/oiaf/servicerpt/subsidy2/pdf/execsum.pdf:

    solar and wind – 23-24 dollars per MwHr mostly direct tax credits
    nuclear – $1.59 per MwHr mostly R&D

    Subsidies for other generation sources are available at the same link and all of this data I have provided is EASILY verified in this report.

    Good day

  160. Legitimate reasons for saving energy:
    Make best use of scarce resources
    Reduce our dependence on foreign oil and gas
    Save money on energy bills (for cheapskates like me).

    Illegitimate reason:
    Fight AGW.

  161. Dear Doug:
    As I said before, solar electric is not baseloaded and cannot be compared to nuclear. Neither can any other intermittently generating technology unless it has storage. Solar thermal, however, because it uses liquid heat storage, has an availability factor of 70% and, at the scale SCE is constructing (750 MWe per unit), is very much baseloaded.

    You’re missing the following nuclear subsidies:
    Price Anderson liability limit (anything accident over $1 B the feds cover- TMI cleanup was $1.6 B and was very minor)
    The enrichment facilities were built with defense funds and are not paid for by commercial nuclear.’
    Uranium mill tailings cleanup has been fully funded by the feds.
    There is a measly fund to store nuclear wastes paid into by the utilities that is a pittance relating to what has been spent and will have to be spent to solve the problem.
    All nuclear units are currently paying into a fund for decommissioning at the mandated total of $300 M per unit. Recently one of the original Yankee units was decommissioned – a unit that was about 250 kW – and it cost $600 M. Think of what the realistic costs of a 1200 MW unit will be. Who do you think pays that? Hint: It ain’t in the cost of power today!
    Some nuclear fuel will come from dismantled weapons. This saves enrichment costs, but the buyer will not be paying the actual cost of those weapons in the first place.

    An added thought: nuclear is a net negative energy generator.

    The hallmark of agendas is making apples and oranges comparisons to those who do not understand the differences to support an argument.

    Good Day!

    PS. The second most subsidized form of energy is oil.

  162. Another thought regarding efficiency.

    There is a common fallacy in the anti-AGW dogma: the one that goes something like “investments in renewables and efficiency are only being done to get carbon credits because they are too expensive otherwise.” Or, “the only people who invest in clean energy plan to make a killing via carbon and thats why they support it.”

    No one, and I say again, no one with any business sense develops a project because of carbon. It is icing on the cake if it ever happens, but these projects must stand alone economically. Carbon could be an additional revenue stream but it is way to small to tip the scales one way or the other.

    Efficiency is far more cost effective than new generation, of any type. We could take out 20% inefficiency in the transmission grid alone. Think about that. the US generation base is around 1,000 GW. That’s 200 GW of waste. Or 200 large scale nuclear or coal plants. At far lower costs per kW. That’s where the priority needs to be, not on perpetuating a business and regulatory model that has been outdated since WWII.

  163. “”” Ed Shearon (08:28:50) :
    ……..
    I suspect that, as is the case with climate, ideology is getting in the way of understanding.
    …..
    Comparing solar thermal to nuclear is appropriate because both can be base loaded. And solar thermal wins hands down by any metric….
    …..
    Finally, getting back to ideology, it mystifies me that the right is so pro-nuclear. Nuclear only works at very large scale and in centrally planned electricity grids. “””

    “”” ideology is getting in the way of understanding. “””

    Having a problem reconciling these two statements; if “ideology is getting in the way of understanding.” then why bring it up, in relation to Nuclear energy ? Perhaps the answer lies in a corollary question:- Why is the left so anti-nuclear ?

    Here of course I am using right and left in their usual street public debate connotations; without regard for who or what they actually refer to.

    But I can think of some reason why some people (no idea whether they would be your right, or left, or something else) might be pro-nuclear.

    It seems to me that “Sources” of energy; in so far as they are of interest to humans, can be separated into two categories.

    The first category; which also happens to be the first energy available to “humans” is renewable energy sources. By that I mean that if I consume energy from such a source yesterday, today, or tomorrow (now), I can return (here) say a year from now, and find that source of energy is replaced.

    An example of such would be figs from trees; which our ancestors spent a good part of their waking hours trying to get at. There are many others of course; but they all have one thing in common; such renewable energies are forms of solar renewable energy; without the sun’s radiation, they would not exist.
    The same is true of proposed modern renewable energies; some of them Hi-tech. They too are sun sourced, and without sun energy, they would not exist.

    The second category of energy sources can be loosely described as “Stored energy sources.”

    Now arguably figs are also stored energy sources; but they have a finite life after which they are dissipated and become unavailable; which is why I referred to the idea of returning next year to find replacements.

    Fossil fuels such as natural gas, petroleum, tar-sands, coal and the like, are stored energy sources. Let’s not quibble about whether coal and petroleum and natural gas are renewable on geologic time scales; that is of no use to our children and granchildren.

    Intermediate between renewable and fossil might be things like wood, and peat; which are renewable on longer time scales but shorter than geologic; but also result from sun energy.

    Thej “fossil fuels” are pretty much all “Stored Chemical energy sources.” The energy is essentially available only through chemical combustion with atmospheric Oxygen; producing the essentials for life; namely H2O and CO2, as by-products.

    Renewable energy from the sun, of course is also available in the form of tidal or hydro-electric ; which are only available in relatively rare locations; with sometimes extreme environmental burdens, as to their usability.

    The only thing missing from the list of stored energy sources, turns out to be Nuclear energy; although renewable energy can sometimes be stored by human action in the form of hydroi-electric facilities.

    Stored energies have one great advantage over renewable energies. You flip a switch and the energy release process starts immediately. In the case of Hydro, this feature is achieved by using gravitational storage of solar energy to create an always available instant on energy source. With fossils of course you simply strike a match to get the energy.

    So perhaps the interest (pro if you like) in Nuclear, stems from the fact that it is the only significant stored energy source available in considerable amounts, besides stored chemical energy.

    Stored energy in any form is dangerous; and the greater the energy density the more dangerous it is; which makes nuclear energy quite dangerous. Yet more humans have been killed by hydro-electric energy sources than Nuclear; by far; most often as a result of broken dams; the hydro equivalent of a nuclear containment leak or core melt down. Don’t even start on Nuclear weapons; because “gunpowder” wins that race hands down.

    Petroleum in the form of gasoline seems to be one of the safest high energy density stored energy sources available to us; and it puts electricity to shame for portable applications.

    So I’m not sure what your point is in asking why the right; whoever that is, is so pro nuclear; maybe you can explain the counter position; because I certainly can’t.

    Which gets us back to renewables starting from those figs, and on to today’s hi tech renewables from solar.

    There’s that embarrassing 1 kW/m^2 availability rate that we don’t seem to have any practical solution to. Yes it is renewable; but the rate of renewal is just too damn slow.

    Arguably, the fossil fuels are also stored sunlight; and it is claimed that we have just about exhausted, what has taken the sun some 4.5 billion years to store up for us. So fat chance that it can continue to supply us at the rate we can consume. Well yes there is plenty of solar energy arriving on earth; but it is so dispersed, that we pretty much would have to spend our every waking minute out trying to gather it up to use.

    Seems like we were there once before ; up in those fig trees.

  164. Ed,

    You may continue to believe what you like about the SCE solar thermal plants. I have worked all my adult life in thermal power plants and the only difference between what solar thermal does and what coal, nuke, or nat gas do is in the heat source. When the heat source goes away so does the power output. Your 75% availability defies the laws of thermodynamics unless the turbine-generator is grossly undersized compared to the solar array.

    The PA act liability pool currently stands at approximately 10 billion. This is the amount that has been funded by industry.

    Commercial nuclear power plants pay for their fuel, although can’t own it but that is another issue, that is what pays for the current enrichment facilities.

    We are idiots if in the long term we store high level waste – we should reprocess like the rest of the world does. In any case, much more has been paid into this fund than has been spent to solve the problem.

    I would love to see your numbers supporting net negative energy generation.

    What were my apples and what are your oranges?

    Losses in the HV transmission network are closer to about 8-10%. Distributed generation will in part simply relocate those losses to the distribution network. If distributed generation can be made cost effective based on other issues.

    Business men most assuredly agree to buy wind power in large part because of the 1.8cent per Kwhr tax credit – including the company I work for.

  165. Doug:
    Here’s the story on thermal storage at solar thermal plants:

    http://www.nrel.gov/csp/troughnet/thermal_energy_storage.html#systems

    Price Anderson Act limits commercial insurance coverage to $350 M, sets up a pool with a ceiling of $10.5 B administered by the government, and indemnifies owners from any claim exceeding $10.5 B, You have government artificially reducing the cost of risk management, providing insurance and limiting what people could sue for. That’s a pretty big subsidy. BTW, the Wikipedia discussion of PAA is not accurate.

    Commercial nuclear plants pay for their fuel because they own it. Government ownership of fuel ended in 1968. When you buy U3O8 it is yours. After you convert it to UF6 title gets a little odd while it is in the hands of DOE for enrichment. But title is clearly yours once it comes out of enrichment and stays yours until you turn over title when the feds take custody for storage or disposal. You can put liens on nuclear fuel precisely because you have title, and it makes sense to borrow against it because it is in the pipeline for quite a while during processing.

    We stopped reprocessing in 1975 under the Ford administration. You know why that happened in a Republican administration? Because even then reprocessing made no economic sense and people were looking for a bailout. The public reason was to mitigate nuclear proliferation. I know because I had contracts with the two reprocessors still in business: West Valley and Barnwell. It still makes no economic sense. No one in the world reprocesses to reuse fuel as MOX or to fuel breeders. MOX fuel is ridiculously expensive (not just to buy, but to keep secure from bad guys) and there are no commercial breeders. The Navy reprocesses highly enriched submarine reactor cores, but this is an organization that will fly a $2 part from Norfolk to Scotland to get a boat underway.

    Net negative nuclear energy generatation:

    http://www.mnforsustain.org/nukpwr_tyner_g_net_energy_from_nuclear_power.htm

    http://www.stormsmith.nl/

    Line losses in transmission are between 8% and 10 % but that’s only one very obvious inefficiency. They occur because of simple resistance in wires that span big distances. If they are eliminated they are NOT transferred to the distribution network, nor to they occur with distributed generation (since the path of the electrons is so much shorter, there is little resistance). A problem faced on the distribution side is harmonic distortions. These (and voltage sags and spikes) wrech havoc with computer systems and are endemic in areas with high growth and old infrastructure. Local generation solves that problem.

    If you want to read about other efficiencies possible beyond simple line losses, go to http://www.abb.com/cawp/db0003db002698/145abc3534b16460c12575b300520d8b.aspx and read some of the papers there.

    The tax credits for wind and solar pale in comparison to those provided to nuclear. And regarding business judgments, there’s lots of people building wind and solar, but I only see one utility willing to risk the farm on nuclear, and that’s with all kinds of support and subsidies.

  166. Ed,

    This is my last post on this thread.

    The first link is to a hypothetical plant. It is not the plant SCE is building. Nothing can overcome the limited energy density of solar. To get a continuous 750Mw you would need to install a 3000-4000Mw peak absorption system and store the peak to use at a later time – with loss of efficiency at every step.

    The 10 billion provided by PA is industry funds. To date they have issued a total of 151 million, about half as a result of TMI. These federal insurance schemes are not unique they exist for flooding, agricultural catastrophes, financial failures and maritime accidents. To date it has cost little or nothing to the taxpayers. I do not disagree that like all insurance the protection after the first 10 billion has economic value but to date it has been revenue neutral to the taxpayer. Any value assigned is simply a ledger item. Some of the other federal systems cannot say the same, e.g. financial system failures have cost billions over the years.

    What does France, etc do with their transuranic elements if not “reburn” them?

    If local generation is both more efficient, more economic, and of better quality why do we not use it now? I could install a wind turbine at my house except it would cost about $40,000+ last I checked and never pay for itself. I suspect I will disagree with your answer. I am curious, what power source do you envision for your distributed generation? Wind and solar with storage? Micro-turbines? I do not disagree that distributed generation has the potential to be more efficient but that has always been the case. The downsides have, to date, outweighed this potential advantage.

    I looked at your link regarding negative net energy. It looks like a rather unique calculation and I will have to spend more time reading it to fully understand the author’s assumptions. I did notice one statement describing how if we build out nuclear power plants eventually nuclear plants would have to load follow. This would make them uneconomic based on all of the idle capitol. This is, of course, correct but we would be fools to build out nukes to that point. Any economic asset that has a high capital cost must also have a high utilization. No one I know of is proposing such a plan. For instance, the EIA report assumes a 90 percent capacity factor. About what the industry average is now. Although much better than it was 20 years ago.

    I consider your final paragraph simply unsupported by the facts unless some rather curious assumptions are made – such as those about PA.

  167. Doug:
    My last post as well, and I feel compelled to recite credentials. I received an MS in Nuclear Engineering in the late 70’s. I was in charge of a soup to nuts nuclear fuel procurement division for 3 reactors. We were the first utility to buy ore (even had a few geologists looking for new sources), and separately contract for all of the services necessary to deliver fabricated fuel. I worked for three nuclear organizations in my career with a total of 5 reactors. I have testified in rate proceedings on nuclear fuel cost and have also been in charge of a utility holding company strategic planning division, where we made decisions regarding new generation and transmission options. Currently I am involved in several alternative energy projects, including smart grid options.

    Utilities pay commercial premiums for the first $350 M of an accident. They then pay the government a premium for the next $10.15 B. Under PAA no one can sue beyond $10.5 B in damages. So in the event of a PAA ceiling accident, the utility pays commercial rates on 3.3% of the loss and gets subsidized federal insurance for the other 96.7%. The max payout for any loss in the US was $300 M for TMI, not $151 M like Wikipedia says. The total cost of cleanup at TMI was $1.6 B and that was a) in incomplete job; and b) the core was removed, shipped and stored by the DOE at no cost to the utility. This was for what the NRC would call an “entombment” decommissioning option. Entombment is a generous term. The entire basement and much of the containment vessel concrete is embedded with a soup of isotopes to a depth of a few inches. I know, because I was there.

    We don’t use local generation because we operate in a monopolistic regulatory environment. If you are a utility and your customers start putting in their own generation you have two problems: 1) that generation may be out of synch with you and you are both connected to the same network; adn 2) it amounts to a loss of revenue. Both are rather frightening things to utilities, so what you will see across the country are barriers to distributed generation. Economic barriers, such as silly buy back rates and additional interconnection fees that make local generation uneconomic. And regulatory barriers. In NM, for example, the second best solar resource in the country but a major gas and oil producer, it is illegal to install a solar PV array over 50 kW. That means that commercial sized installations don’t exist. There is a fight going on right now- the utility said it would allow up to a MW, but a month later filed another plea that it had to own all commercial scale solar. NM is 15th in overall solar capacity. Number one is New Jersey, with hundreds of MW.

    Utilities make their money by getting a return on their capital investment. When you put in big wires, big substations, big generation, you add to the “rate base.” You put in a new substation, costing $25 M, sized to meet demand that occurs less than 1% of the year. The incentives are entirely skewed to large centrally planned and centrally operated utilities. Utilities number one core competency is not reliable operations or least cost operations, it is never allow the regulatory rules to change. And they are very good at it.

    I’m afraid you are awash in a sea of what constitute urban myths about how energy works and is valued in this country.

  168. Ed

    As I understand it from several sources the actual amount paid out under PA ever is 151 million. Of this, about 75 million was paid out to various plaintiffs and lawyers as a result of TMI. In addition, the collective industry is obligated to pay the excess damages above the 300 million each utility must carry, up to 10 billion total. Paid as a little less than 100 million per reactor in installment payments of 10 million per year max. Again, this has never cost me as a taxpayer anything. I do not question your assumptions on the cost to put TMI into it’s current state but I suspect it was borne primarily by the utility.

    Utilities are obligated to serve me but I am not obligated to buy from them. Again I ask what is the system you envision? It seems like from your discussion that you want to provide your own power but use the utilities assets to both sell excess at a rate you determine and probably buy from them when your own generation is insufficient to supply your own needs.

    By the way:

    I have a BSE in mechanical design and I am about half way done with an MSEE in power systems (I did not quit, I just started).

    I held an operating license and senior operating license at a nuclear plant for 14 years.

    On paper I guess you win on impressive qualifications but I am sure I could find someone with a PhD who agrees with me. I think we will simply have to agree to disagree.

  169. Yes! I am so happy that you guys have been posting your credentials! I know it can kind of feel like a “my degree/background/opinion is more relevant/important/right than yours” but it can really help to explain some of the bias associated with each argument (not a bad think, just a fact of life :) ) I would really encourage everyone to post their educational and employment industry when making these types of posts, as it can give some great context to the discussions taking place. These discussions are so important to scientific topics, and I hope they continue to happen.

  170. openunatedgirl

    Thanks. You do have to look beyond that also though. My qualifications and experience can provide context but it can never be justification for an opinion by itself. I point this out only because this argument has been used so frequently in the AGW debate. It is possible to have an opinion that is not in your own self interest. For instance, it would be completely self serving of me to line up firmly behind the AGW hypothesis. I am definitely not there.

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