In other news…”Ten Reasons Why Fracking is (not) Doomed”

Guest Post by David Middleton

I ran across a really funny story on Real Clear Energy last Friday…

Once you get past all of the nonsense about fracking polluting groundwater and global warming hysteria, the article really gets “interesting.”

Ten Reasons Why Fracking is isn’t Doomed

1. Scientists have found that solar photovoltaic cells could be producing electricity at less 50 cents a watt by 2016, four years earlier than other projections.

The source of reason #1 is this blog post…

Brave new world as solar PV heads to 50c/watt

By Giles Parkinson on 20 July 2012

US Energy Secretary Stephen Chu earlier this year suggested that solar PV without subsidies will be cheaper than both coal and gas if it could get its costs down to around $1/watt by the end of the decade – an event that would trigger a total re-examination of the way electricity was produced in the world’s largest economy.

[...]

The report includes a few notable graphs. The first is the cost path for module – now estimated at around 75c/W and heading down to 50c/W at a rate of knots. GTM, and most others in the industry, believe it will get to the 50c/W mark by 2016 at the latest, most likely 2015

[...]

http://reneweconomy.com.au/2012/brav…-50cwatt-29404

The chart implies that solar PV power plants currently cost ~$1.45/W and will soon fall to ~$0.50/W. However, the chart only covers the CapEx for the solar modules. Even if the module costs are accurate, the CapEx for solar PV power plants currently ranges from $6-7/W ($6-7 million per MW), costing 6-7 times as much as and requiring 8 times as much land area per MW as a natural gas-fired plant.

Even if you factor in fuel,solar PV is still projected to cost 3 times as much per kWh as gas-fired electricity (combined cycle).

Even if the module costs did drop from $1.45 to $0.50 per Watt, that would only lower the full cost from $6-7 million per MW to $5-6 million per MW. Land isn’t free and construction isn’t done by volunteers.

2. Germany is on the verge of producing more solar energy than wind energy, the first major industrialized country to reach that milestone. Germany wants to produce 35 percent of its electricity from renewables by 2020, only 8 years from now.

I didn’t think the second reason could be dumber than the first reason. I was wrong…

3. Researchers at UCLA have created a solar-power-generating window. If all those glass box skyscrapers in southern California could be put to work generating electricity, it would probably power the whole state.

Words escape me… Even if mythical solar windows could power the entire State…

How much would it cost per MW of installed capacity?

How would California keep the lights on when “the Sun don’t shine”?

4. The British government has given the go-ahead for two huge offshore wind farms off the coast of Norfolk (the eastern coast). Together, they will have the capacity to produce over a gigawatt of power (roughly one nuclear power plant’s worth). Britain is the leader in offshore wind energy generation.

“Over a gigawatt of power”! That’s just 1,000 MW and, as can be seen in the previously posted levelized generation cost chart, offshore wind is even more expensive than solar PV.

5. With Japan’s nuclear energy plants being phased out because of public fury over the Fukushima disaster, the country is trying to move quickly to renewables. It is placing a big bet on offshore floating wind platforms.

Maybe I’m missing something here… But I don’t see how Japan’s lack of cheap energy sources dooms fracking.

6. Scientists have concluded that it is perfectly practical to provide 2/3s of US electricity from solar over the next decades. The main problem is not electricity generation or having enough land to put the cells on, it is the poor electrical grid of the US, which will have to be redone.

Reason number 6 seems to be that there is enough surface area on the planet for solar PV (I wonder if there’s enough Windex on the planet). Good to know that there’s enough space. Since natural gas-fired plants take up 1/8 as much space per MW, “space” isn’t likely to doom fracking before it dooms solar PV.

7. Algeria wants to go solar, aiming for 650 megawatts of solar energy by 2015 and a massive 22 gigawatts by 2030. The Desertec Foundation has big projects in Egypt and Morocco, and Algeria, an oil producer, has decided to join in.

It’s been a bit more than a year since I ran the numbers on Desertec; but I doubt they’ve improved. The ultimate goal is 100 GW installed capacity (100,000 MW) at an estimated total cost of $550 billion (~$5.5 million per MW)… Only about 6 times as expensive as coal and natural gas and 2-3 times as expensive as nuclear and wind.

1 TW (Terrawatt) = 1 billion kW (Kilowatts)

At 15 cents per kWh, Desertec will generate an annual gross revenue of $105 billion if it really delivers 700 TWh per year. That’s enough to cover the construction cost principle (pay out) in 35-46 years (30-40 years to build and 5-6 years of operation).

If Desertec really had to compete with nuclear, natural gas and coal, it could only charge 3 to 7 cents per kWh. This would push “pay out” up to about 70 years.

In either case, it’s still an example of multinational mental deficiency.

On top of all of that. These solar arrays would be built across North Africa and the Middle East. I always thought one of selling points for solar was that it would make us less energy-dependent on regions like North Africa and the Middle East…

8. Some 750,000 Australian homes have solar panels on the roof, heading toward 10% of the 8 million households in the sun-drenched country.

Not likely to doom fracking in the USA… We’re a bit less sun-drenched than Oz. And I doubt it will doom fracking in Oz either….

Australian LNG Exports to Triple
11 July 2012

National exports of liquefied natural gas (LNG) could more than triple to 63 million tonnes per annum by 2016-17 as Australia plays a greater role in satisfying global energy demand.

This is the forecast of the inaugural Bureau of Resources and Energy Economics (BREE) Gas Market Report released today by Minister for Resources and Energy, Martin Ferguson AM MP.

[...]

http://minister.ret.gov.au/mediacent…rtstriple.aspx

9. China is going to make a major push for solar energy after 2015, aiming for a mind-bogging (Sic) 50 gigawatts worth by 2020.

I think the author may have meant “mind-boggling,” However, the author’s mind clearly is “bogged.” 50 GW would be less than 5% of China’s generation capacity.

China leads the world in the manufacturing and sales of solar PV cells, but they are in no hurry to build out solar PV infrastructure for themselves…

They manufacture solar cells to sell them to Germany.

China’s push to build 50 GW of solar PV won’t even doom fracking in China, much less in the USA…

July 4, 2012,

Can China Follow U.S. Shift from Coal to Gas?

By ANDREW C. REVKIN

[...]

Second, several years ago, I heard that teams of Chinese engineers were spending months in Oklahoma to learn about hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, as a method for liberating gas and oil from previously untappable shale deposits. More recently, reports showed that China — which was once considered gas poor — now has estimated volumes greater than those of the United States (which are, as you know, enormous). This week China signaled that it may indeed be gearing up for an ambitious gas push. An article in China Daily, “Will China embrace a shale gas boom?,” essentially answers its headline question with a resounding yes.

[...]

http://dotearth.blogs.nytimes.com/20…m-coal-to-gas/

Reason number 10: Blame Israel…

10. The Egyptian gas pipeline through the Sinai to Jordan and Israel has been blown up 15 times since the Jan. 25 revolution. Egyptians are angry that the government of deposed dictator Hosni Mubarak had sold the gas at substantially below-market prices to Israel. Because of the interruptions, Jordan’s government is more eager than ever to move to solar and wind power. A sign of increased international interest in the nascent Jordanian renewables sector is that a Chinese company wants to invest $200 million in a solar project. Jordan has a goal of getting 10% of its electricity from renewables by 2020, though that may be an ambitious timeline. If its government were smart, it would go all out and double that goal, and try to meet it.

I have no doubt that China is eager to sell solar cells to another gullible customer… In the meantime Israel is open for business to natural gas drilling…

Noble Energy has been operating in the Mediterranean Sea, offshore Israel, since 1998. Our 47 percent interest in the Mari-B field, the first offshore natural gas production facility in Israel, is one of our core international assets. Production from Mari-B began in 2004 and sales volumes have increased as Israel’s natural gas infrastructure has developed. Additional pipeline construction and power plant conversion is contributing to the growing natural gas demand in Israel. Significant new exploration discoveries at Tamar and Dalit will help meet Israel’s energy needs and drive new uses for natural gas in the future.

In early 2010, the Company commenced drilling two additional development wells at Mari-B. Combined with additional compression work, these new wells will support near-term gas deliverability and serve as injection wells for storage in the future.

We have a 36 percent operated working interest at Tamar, with gross mean resources of 8.4 trillion cubic feet (Tcf) of natural gas. Tamar was the largest natural gas discovery in the world in 2009 and represents Noble Energy’s largest-ever exploration find. Initial expectations target first production from Tamar in 2012. Contracting for the sale of natural gas from Tamar is underway, and the Company has negotiated a number of multi-year letters of intent to deliver energy supply to customers. Project sanction at Tamar is expected in 2010.

In late 2009, we acquired additional 3D seismic over approximately 1,600 square miles in the region where we have identified a number of new prospects and leads on our significant acreage position offshore Israel and Cyprus. Based on the results of the seismic program, the Company has identified gross unrisked resource potential greater than 30 Tcf. Along with our partners, we are planning to spud Leviathan, a 16 Tcf gross prospect, in the fourth quarter 2010.

Noble Energy

Conclusion

All “Ten Reasons Why Fracking is Doomed” are abject nonsense.

The author of “Ten Reasons Why Fracking is Doomed” is Professor Juan Cole, a history professor at the University of Michigan.

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About David Middleton

I have been a geoscientist in the evil oil and gas industry for almost 30 years. My favorite hobby is debunking the junk science of the radical environmentalists...Particularly the junk science of anthropogenic global warming.
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128 Responses to In other news…”Ten Reasons Why Fracking is (not) Doomed”

  1. Dr Burns says:

    “Brave new world as solar PV heads to 50c/watt ”
    Do all the renewables costs quoted include the costs of backup systems to ensure constant supply ?

  2. I wonder how History will judge the wisdom of Prof Cole – a Historian?

  3. Mike Everts says:

    I read the same article, but unlike you I couldn’t get past the first paragraph’s bold face lie about fracking causing polution of water supplies. I thought about answering all ten like you did here but you did a much better job than I ever could have! As usual Excellent retort to rubbish!

  4. Roger Caiazza says:

    It is amazing me that a history professor feels he has enough of a grasp of energy policy that he can publish such a naïve post on energy. Middleton does a great job of dissecting the inaccuracies and doesn’t even point out what I think is the greatest fallacy of utility scale renewables. In order to make up for its intermittent nature you not only have to build the renewables but you also have to build either a storage system and a heck of a lot of transmission capacity to get the diffuse renewables to load centers or you have to build natural gas backup facilities. On the basis of my wallet alone I prefer to just build the natural gas facilities. I don’t think there is any way utility scale renewables will work but could accept using solar for local scale applications such as hot water heat and personal electricity because that would shave the peak energy use. Because the wind doesn’t blow at peak loads it has no value.

  5. David Larsen says:

    Most of us do NOT have electric vehicles. How can you compare light bulbs (which the history prof has none) to oil and gas used for vehicles and home heating? I do not see the correlation. Wind chimes play mozart on a starry night in Austria. Same analogy and there is none.

  6. Coldlynx says:

    I love fracking.
    But i also love PV panels at right price. I cant see why not use both, and be happy over lower prices for both gas and PV panels.

  7. Jimbo says:

    Pardon my language but there is no No Frakking Consensus
    http://nofrakkingconsensus.com/

  8. A. Scott says:

    You left out – I think – the back up generation for when the sun don’t shine …

    Also – seems the electrical grid does OK at distributing that dirty old coal and NatGas’ electricity …

    “Green” math is always funny …

  9. Jimbo says:

    Compare and contrast:

    The author of “Ten Reasons Why Fracking is Doomed” is Professor Juan Cole, a history professor at the University of Michigan.

    and

    David Middleton
    I have been a geoscientist in the evil oil and gas industry for almost 30 years.

    Now, as for Al Gore the Theologian and Pachauri the railway comptroller……….#$%%^^&

  10. Hi David,

    Your post provides balance to Professor Cole’s article. I would like to add that Real Clear Energy itself is an excellent aggregator, with a good mix of links to technical articles, as well as policy articles with a broad range of viewpoints.

  11. Ally E. says:

    Oh gawd. Will someone wake me when this nightmare of madness is over…

    David? How did you manage to wade through all that garbage? It took me several goes and I still stumbled throughout. Now my brain hurts.

    Good article, by the way.

  12. Smokey says:

    Even the British Royal Engineering Society’s study found that fracking is essentially harmless:

    http://phys.org/news/2012-07-fracking-undertaken-safely-effective.html

  13. GeoLurking says:

    5. With Japan’s nuclear energy plants being phased out because of public fury over the Fukushima disaster, the country is trying to move quickly to renewables. It is placing a big bet on offshore floating wind platforms.

    And they are doing everything they can to keep them shut down. As of about six months ago, the nationwide projection was that there would be about a 4% shortfall in energy production vs demand, even with enhanced conservation measures. Some prefectures were expecting about 13 to 16% shortfall.

    With the restoration of operations of Unit #3 of the Ōi Nuclear plant, some of those enhanced conservation measures were relaxed. The Shika Nuclear plant was in preparation to bring one of it’s units back online. Now, questions are being raised about cracks in the terrain that some are claiming are fault system and further investigation is needed. If the cracks are in fact fault systems, then the restoration of nuclear power is in danger of not occurring. These two plants are well back from the subduction zone fault system that generated the Tōhoku earthquake. The closest major fault system is the convergent margin that cuts across central Japan. (pushes up mountains)

    Meanwhile… in the real world:

    (AGI) Tokyo – Week-end stifling temperatures in Japan have caused 5 deaths by heath stroke and the hospitalization of over 1500 people. The heat wave has hit several provinces. Most victims are located in the central provinces, where the thermometer has reached 35 degree Celsius, with over 70% humidity.

    http://www.agi.it/english-version/world/elenco-notizie/201207290828-cro-ren1011-japan_s_heat_weave_kills_5_and_hospitalizes_1500

  14. Anthony Scalzi says:

    BTW, Fracking processes have been developed that don’t use water for the fracking fluid. They use propane and butane instead. So objections to fracking based on the difficulty of disposing used fracking fluids are now moot-there’s no toxic wastewater to dispose of. The propane is simply recovered as part of the gas production of the well.

    http://insideclimatenews.org/news/20120415/waterless-fracking-method-propane-gasfrac-bypass-new-york-ban-hydraulic-fracturing-tioga-county

    Waterless Fracking Method Could Sidestep NY Gas Drilling Ban

    A plan to extract shale gas and oil from 135,000 acres in Tioga County, N.Y., could break through the state’s hydraulic fracturing moratorium, because the wells would be fracked not with water but with liquefied petroleum gas, or LPG, a mixture of mostly propane.

  15. Photovoltaics is a cheap parlor trick, using one-time, one-way molecular erosion to produce 1.5 watts per sq ft of 1.5 volt direct current. To be useful and transmissionable this needs an inverter to alternating current and a transformer to higher voltage, both causing output reductions. The cost per watt figures are deceptive due to FOSSIL FUEL based production energy and the slave labor, non-OSHA, non-EPA and non property restricted country of origin, the Dear Peoples Republic. Read more on this scam in “Green Prince of Darkness”.

    The reason there is Methane under every rock you frack is that Hydrocarbons are a natural by-product of nuclear fission decay. The Jupiter moon, Titan, has Methane oceans, Methane clouds and frozen Methane polar ice caps. Titan never had a dinosaur. Yesterday’s Guardian had an article on tiny Enceladus, the 310 mile diameter moon of Saturn. It is a billion miles from the Sun, yet has liquid water gysers and pools of surface Propane, Ethane and Acetylene. The real Abiogentic production of petroluem is discussed in “Fossil Fuel is Nuclear Waste” and “Earth’s Elemental Petro Production”. We must be skeptical of every branch of the phoney Carbon sciences.

  16. FergalR says:

    Worthwhile read on the fracking revolution from a optimistic *gasp* lefty:
    http://blogs.the-american-interest.com/wrm/2012/07/28/the-energy-revolution-4-hot-planet/

    Also – peak Windex.

  17. David Middleton says:

    @Mike Everts,

    Hoo-ahh!

    @Dave Rutledge,

    I agree. Real Clear Energy is very good. The entire Real Clear Politics site is an excellent source of news and analysis on a broad range of topics.

  18. TomE says:

    Perhaps the good history professor has a grant of some kind which is dependent on finding a solution to AGW or perhaps it is his intro to applying for a grant. As a history professor I suggest he study the downfall of Detroit or some other great event in human history as did Gibbons.

  19. ChE says:

    Professor Einstein doesn’t seem to grasp the concept that even if the solar panels were free, they’d still be too expensive. Labor… auxiliaries…all that other stuff…

  20. John Garrett says:

    I fear stupidity, co-dependence, gullibility and the madness of crowds more than anything else. The mob is dangerous.

  21. captainfish says:

    Sorry guys, but fairy power will always be cheaper.

  22. Brant Ra says:

    I usually dont comment but I had to on this…
    If fracking doesnt hurt drinking water then what happen to those peoples water to make it catch on fire, turn brown, smell, make animals sick and be generally undrinkable? You must be saying that the peoples water was like that before fracking and they are lying…
    I generally like the comments here but as a energy scientist/miner the comments about fracking not being harmful just dont make sense. Pumping pertroleum into the ground is bound to have side effects. Just like the Gulf accident was essentially harmless.
    From Wikievil…
    “In April 2012, scientists reported finding alarming numbers of mutated crab, shrimp and fish they believe to be the result of chemicals released during the oil spill.[31] Tar balls continue to wash up along the Gulf coast two years after the spill began. Studies show the tar balls contain the deadly bacteria Vibrio vulnificus[32][33] In April 2012, oil was found dotting 200 miles of Louisiana’s coast.[34] ”

    I think AGW is a sham because that viewpoint is supported by science just like the rest of my opinions(I hope). Fracking is inherantly bad and we dont need it as a source of energy. It is the energy companies just trying to make a profit.

    Really even solar and wind power are bloated and passe, and subject to crony capitalism(Solyndra?)…

    But there is something beyond all of that that is cheap, safe and clean.
    Low Energy Nuclear Reactions(LENR) is the next energy source. Look up E-Cat, Defkion or Brillouin.

    Brillouin: “Understanding How LENR Works Will Enable Us to Be First”
    http://pesn.com/2012/04/19/9602078_Brillouin–Understanding_How_LENR_Works_Will_Enable_Us_to_Be_First/

  23. If you want to understand how Professor Cole,a historian, could write about the energy industry and if you also want to understand what is currently taking place today in universities and government regarding the theory of catastrophic anthropogenic global warming (“CAGW”), look no further than Thomas Sowell’s book “Intellectuals and Society”. This book has made me realize that the hysteria about CAGW is anything but new. It’s a narrative that has been played out in different forms many times before with the “intellectual” taking the lead in solving humanity’s problems because they are just smarter than the rest of us. This is the link to an interview with Thomas Sowell of the Hoover Institution with Peter Robinson discussing “Intellectuals and Society”. I think all who read Anthony’s great blog will also thoroughly enjoy the book. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JyufeHJlodE&feature=BFa&list=PL436E13A67DC43B33

  24. Gunga Din says:

    Smokey says:
    July 31, 2012 at 5:24 pm
    Even the British Royal Engineering Society’s study found that fracking is essentially harmless:

    http://phys.org/news/2012-07-fracking-undertaken-safely-effective.html

    ========================================================================
    Fracking isn’t anything new. It’s been going on for 50 years or more. It only became a problem when it showed real promise of breaking our (the US’s) dependence on foreign oil, thus deflating one the “Hot Air” lobby’s arguments for “Green Energy”.
    (Plus, I don’t think Al Gore owns any stock in it.)

  25. ChE says:

    For the benefit of anyone not aware of who this nut case is, this is one and the same Juan Cole who denies that Ahmadinejad threatened to wipe Israel off the face of the earth. He’s a loon of the first order.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mahmoud_Ahmadinejad_and_Israel

  26. Steve from Rockwood says:

    I was hoping the Olympic flame would be solar powered this year (so we could watch them pull out the diesel generators). Great Article DM!

  27. Don Shaw says:

    I will believe the BS on renewables when they stop requiring subsidies and start paying taxes at the level the fossil industry currently pays, which our leaders spend recklessly.
    BTW that will never happen in our lifetimes if ever.
    The history Professor needs to get into the real world after he has taken a course in economics.
    Good post!!

  28. Don Shaw says:

    BTW, has anyone thought that since the EPA is shutting down all those coal plants, the critics who claim this is a risk to the grid may be right in light of the electricity crisis in India?

  29. ChE says:

    The coal plants are mostly shutting down precisely because of fracking. Gas is so cheap, coal can’t compete. This would have happened with the administrations “help”.

    Whether there’s adequate reserve capacity in the Eastern grid is a whole other question.

  30. GeoLurking says:

    Brant Ra says:
    July 31, 2012 at 7:48 pm

    I usually dont comment but I had to on this…
    If fracking doesnt hurt drinking water then what happen to those peoples water to make it catch on fire, turn brown, smell, make animals sick and be generally undrinkable? You must be saying that the peoples water was like that before fracking and they are lying…

    Methane is a flammable gas that is formed in one of two ways. First, it can be produced by bacteria during the decomposition of organic matter. This is the process that creates the methane found in landfills, swamps (called swamp gas), and in the intestines of cattle and other animals.

    The second way methane can be formed is through the thermal decomposition of organic matter under high temperatures and pressures. Methane created by this thermal process is called “thermogenic” methane. Thermogenic methane is created when organic matter is buried deep underground by the accumulation of more and more sediment under the right circumstances.

    Biogenic methane and thermogenic methane molecules are chemically the same, but scientists can tell the difference between the two

    All carbon atoms have the same chemical properties, but a small fraction of carbon atoms have a different number of neutrons in the atomic nucleus than do most carbon atoms. Because the fraction of carbon atoms that have the “odd” number of neutrons is different for thermogenic and biogenic methane, scientists can tell the difference between the two types of methane by using isotopic analysis.

    The methane recovered in natural gas drilling is thermogenic, not biogenic. Thus, the presence of biogenic methane in a water well generally would not be caused by natural gas drilling, whereas the presence of thermogenic methane might be caused by drilling activity (though in some places, thermogenic natural gas naturally seeps to the earth’s surface, so that the presence of thermogenic methane in a water well is not sufficient by itself to prove that oil and gas activity is the cause).

    Gasland discussed three water wells located in Colorado, and also discussed two additional places in Colorado where gas was seeping to the surface in the West Divide Creek area. The Colorado Oil & Gas Conservation Commission, the arm of state government that regulates the oil and gas industry, investigated the contamination and has posted a report of its findings on its website. Through testing, the Commission conclusively established that three of the five locations (two of the water wells and one of the seeps) contained biogenic methane that was unrelated to oil and gas activity.

    Of the remaining two locations, the water well contained both biogenic and thermogenic methane, while the seep contained thermogenic methane. That left the question of what caused thermogenic methane to contaminate the water well and the seep. The Commission concluded that oil and gas activity was the cause, but that the contamination had not been caused by hydraulic fracturing. Rather, the problem had been caused by improper well construction (the casing and cementing of the natural gas wells).

    http://www.oilgaslawbrief.com/hydraulic-fracturing/hydraulic-fracturing-and-gasland-separating-fact-from-fiction/

  31. Alan Clark of Dirty Oil-berta says:

    Obviously, the prof is simply a shill for Big-Windex.

  32. heresy101 says:

    Without trying to refute everything that is posited by Mr. Middleton about the anti-fracking article, we can agree that the only reason fracking may slow down may be the economy not most of the points in the anti-fracking article.

    But, the anti solar diatribe is just that, a diatribe and has no basis in reality. The $.50/watt panel cost figure is from NREL and looks like it will easily be achieved by 2016. Our utility has a customer in 2012 installing an almost 1 MW solar project using $1.10/watt Korean (not Chinese) panels. The total all in cost for this project is about $3.80/watt (Capex costs) yielding a levelized cost of about $.12 per kWh depending on the interest rate utilized. This project is about 50% roof and 50% on carports which add additional costs (factored into the $3.80/watt). Residential rooftop projects are being built for about $4.50-$5.50 all in per watt today and our customers are being quoted around $.12/kWh ($.04/kWh below PG&E average prices) with a small escalator for 15-20 years (these costs do include the investment tax credit). Additionally, local solar projects avoid the $.01-.02/kWh CAISO transmission costs. All the numbers and charts about solar being too costly are just obfustication, or maybe coal industry propaganda?

    Solar will reach a par price with grid electricity because the economy will hopefully grow again and natural gas prices can’t stay below costs indefinitely. Even though gas prices are very low, the current electric market is as low now as it was high about five years ago.

    The CAISO market prices are very low because of low natural gas prices (due to the fracking) and because of the recession which has hugely reduced demand.

    Regarding the solar window film, you can be sure that a future Title 24 standard will mandate its installation on south facing windows much as insulation in walls has been required. No one will complain if the film is based on infrared, doesn’t block vision, and is reasonably priced.

    Wind is a power source that is not as versatile as solar even though it is currently cheaper. It is harder to site and often generates at night which if opposite of the standard load profile.

    There is agreement on nuclear in Japan because wind in Japan won’t impact fracking.
    But Mr. Middleton’s response should have been to raise LFTR (liquid fueled thorium reactor) as a long term solution to electric power needs. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D3rL08J7fDA

    As once through cooling (OTC) and coal plants reach the end of their lives, they will be replaced with natural gas plants (both combined cycle and reciprocating engines) and renewables from biomass, solar, and geothermal. It will be a combination of all sources but will not end fracking as written in Real Clear Energy article. On the other hand, renewables will be a large portion of the electric mix until LFTR is fully developed (hopefully not by the Chinese).

    Finally, congratulations to Anthony and the co-authors on their new paper. As one who plotted the temperatures of the rural Central Valley and found no warming trend and looked at the photos and info from the surface stations project, this writer began to question the global warming religion several years ago.

  33. Mark and two Cats says:

    Dirty Cole

  34. GeoLurking says:

    And while the idea of natural gas seeps is still fresh…

    From: “BTC Pipeline ESIA Azerbajan” (Bold added.)

    Mud volcanoes, which form both onshore and offshore, are a feature of the geology of eastern
    Azerbaijan, producing a potential geolhzard to pipeline construction and operation. Mud
    volcanoes are the points at which pressure within the earth’s cmst (up to 6km deep) is
    released. Mud and larger clasts of rocks, liquids and gases erupt from the ground surface.

    Eruptions can be violent and unexpected, ejecting debris many hundreds of meters into the
    air, and some are associated with pyroclastic flows. A further potential issue is that gases
    discharged by mud volcanoes may be flammable.

    Over 300 mud volcanoes are present in Azerbaijan, the majority of which are associated with
    anticlinal fold structures. Mudflows 10m thick, several hundred meters wide and 5-l0 km in
    length have been recorded in Azerbaijan (Jagubov ef al., 1972).

    Additionally, the text states: “Approximately 40% of eruptions are believed to include associated gases that spontaneously ignite, with flame heights exceeding 100m”

    http://www.bp.com/liveassets/bp_internet/bp_caspian/bp_caspian_en/STAGING/local_assets/downloads_pdfs/xyz/BTC_English_ESIAs_Azerbaijan_Content_Baseline_Reports_BTC_ESIA_Baseli-_Geohazards.pdf

    How that for groundwater contamination?

    On the other side of the Caspian Sea, Derweze in Turkmenistan has it’s “Door to Hell.” Not really a natural “event,” a drilling rig collapsed into a cavern filled with natural gas. Fearing hydrogen sulfide (poisonous.. it’s the part that makes “sour gas” sour) they lit it off. That was 1971. It’s been burning ever since.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Door_to_hell#The_.22Door_to_Hell.22

  35. kadaka (KD Knoebel) says:

    3. Researchers at UCLA have created a solar-power-generating window. If all those glass box skyscrapers in southern California could be put to work generating electricity, it would probably power the whole state.

    Link isn’t responding for me, might be overloaded. Here’s a UCLA link:
    http://newsroom.ucla.edu/portal/ucla/ucla-researchers-create-highly-236698.aspx

    Click on the Related Image on the sidebar, or this picture link:
    http://newsroom.ucla.edu/portal/ucla/artwork/3/6/6/9/8/236698/Transparent_Solar_Cells.jpg

    Wow, they’re about a square inch. Won’t take much longer to scale that up to office window size without defects, eh?

    First major application, maybe they can make them as a screen cover on a cellphone for solar charging. Cellphone materials aren’t affected by UV in bright sunlight, right?

    Says they’re near-infrared sensitive. To generate usable energy, you need different energy levels, with all energy use ultimately ending at the lowest level, long wave infrared. So wouldn’t it make more sense to start with higher-energy ultraviolet, which you generally don’t want in a building anyway, than near-infrared?

    How would California keep the lights on when “the Sun don’t shine”?
    Knowing the People’s Green Republic of Kalifornia, they’ll likely mandate their use anyway, even on office buildings that are in the shade of larger buildings. Try to complain, all you’ll get is those “solar windows” forcefully installed Where The Sun Don’t Shine.

  36. rogerknights says:

    Steve from Rockwood says:
    July 31, 2012 at 8:34 pm

    I was hoping the Olympic flame would be solar powered this year (so we could watch them pull out the diesel generators).

    How about if he carried a child’s whirligig? (I forget the proper name for those.) What a hoot.

  37. JohnM says:

    There may be other reasons why gas is not the panacea that it looks like at first glance:
    http://www.testosteronepit.com/home/2012/7/30/the-coming-unholy-alliance-in-natural-gas.html

  38. David Middleton says:

    @heresy 101,

    If solar PV will cost $0.50/W by 2016, why is the US gov’t heavily subisidizing the construction of $6-7/W solar PV plants in 2012? And why does the DOE forecast that the levellized generation cost will still be $0.21/kWh in 2016?

    As far as thorium reactors and nuclear power in general… I’m all for them. I’m all for coal too. I’m even for wind, to an extent. I’m for whatever power sources that keep my electricity rate less than $0.10/kWh without increasing my tax bill. If economic growth pushes fossil fuels up and technology pushes solar don to the point of price- and reliability-parity, I’ll be all for solar too.

    I focussed on solar and gas because Prof. Cole focussed on solar in his “ten reasons why fracking is doomed.”

  39. A good friend recently changed his roof mounted solar thermal panels, which kept his hot water system at a minimum of 30C throughout the year, for PV. I asked why when he had a good system already and his reason was the ability of selling his excess electricity. I have nothing since which leads me to think that the selling has not been as expected. I still wait for the enthusiastic call about the fortune being made.

  40. David Middleton says:

    @JohnM,

    There are no panaceas in energy… Just thermodynamics and economics.

    While wellhead natural gas prices are unlikely to remain as low as they are forever… Many shale plays are subeconomic at less than $5-6/mcf.  July 2018 Henry Hub gas futures are only in the $4.20-$4.70 range.  The average annual price paid by power plants will likely be less than $10/mcf for a long time to come because they hedge their purchases in advance, at $7/mcf, gas producers will drill and produce as much gas as they can.

    There will be more *proved* reserves of natural gas in the ground 30 years from now… A lot more. The resource potential will also be much greater.

    Proved natural gas reserves in the US have grown by more than 50% since the shale gas boom took off in the late 1990’s.  These are proved reserves…

    US Natural Gas Proved Reserves

    The proved reserves have actually grown as US natural gas production has increased…

    US Natural Gas Production

    Even at $10/mcf, the levellized 30-yr cost of natural gas-fired electricity is only 11-12 cents/kWh.  Solar PV is currently ~21 cents/kWh.  Plus, almost all of the cost of solar is up front.  It not only costs more; but you have to pay for it years before you use it.  Almost all of the cost of gas-fired generation is incurred as the power is generated.  Apply a standard discount rate to the solar cash flow and the economics fail even worse.

    Cold winters, hurricanes, economic booms & busts and other unusual events may trigger short term price spikes {both up and down), but the only way that US natural gas prices are likely to rise to the point of making solar competetive would be through regulatory malfeasance regarding fracking.  And this will likely be the case for at least the next 20-30 years. 

  41. Ceetee says:

    Where have all the smart people gone, long time passing…….(an old Seekers song)

  42. Robert of Ottawa says:

    Ah yes, the mythical solar panel window. Can anyone else see the hole in this idea?

    Well, to work, it must ABSORB light, not let it pass through. So, the more light it absorbs, the more energy must be expended to light the inside of the building. HAHAHA!

  43. UK Sceptic says:

    This is a spoof surely? Who would put their real name to this load of bogus, presumptuous wibble*? Joke documents are signed with joke names like Juan Kerr, Tor-Kÿnn Bøllux or Michael Mannifestly-Wrong.

    * claptrap, nonsense, Met Office forecast.

  44. cba says:

    David,
    nice explanation. I guess we now have a pretty good idea of why the author went into history (or histrionics?) instead of science or engineering. One thing no one talks about with solar is the albedo impact. by fundamental reasoning, solar farms need to be located in areas where there is maximum sunlight reaching the surface and typically where there is minimal quality use of the land – cheap desert or ‘wasteland’ being preferred. From the perspective of albedo, the cheap land tends to have the highest surface albdeo (like sand). Solar panels tend to have extremely low albedo, absorbing most of the incoming power and converting a fraction of it to electrical energy and leaving the rest as heat. For small arrays of panels, this is inconsequential. For massive arrays necessary for commercial power generation, we’re talking about much larger areas and enough added absorbed heat, several times the power generated by the panels, to become a local or regional heat island type problem.

  45. Allan MacRae says:

    26 January 2012

    More angry Greens!

    Yesterday they were furious with Lord Nigel Lawson for stating the fact that there had been no global warming this century, and wanted him banned (!), yes banned (!!!), from the BBC.

    Today President Obama uttered the f-word – fracking (!), yes fracking (!!!) – and he said it more than once (!), on national TV (!!), in the State of the Union Address (!!!).

    A spokesperson for Greenpeace said, “It’s a fracking disgrace! How are we greens going to peddle our worthless wind and solar power scams when the world is awash in fracking natural gas that costs less than $3 per GJ, or less than 20% of the energy-equivalent price of fracking oil?”

    President Obama said that “the cost of fracking natural-gas is so inexpensive that the United States has a fracking competitive advantage in manufacturing, as compared with other parts of the world which are fracking behind the times. Furthermore, this administration takes full fracking credit for this outstanding fracking achievement! ”

    A spokesperson the oil and gas industry explained that “fracking had been a common practice in the energy industry for generations, and although fracking is increasing in both frequency and magnitude, there is no fracking danger and Greenpeace should just cool their fracking rhetoric and give everyone a fracking break”.

  46. Allan MacRae says:

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2012/07/06/from-the-ieee-a-skeptic-looks-at-alternative-energy/#comment-1026266

    The Capacity Factor for land-based wind power is typically ~20-25%, but it is the Substitution Factor that really measures the usefulness of wind power, and that Substitution Factor can be as low as 4% of installed peak capacity.
    See Fig. 7 in http://www.wind-watch.org/documents/wp-content/uploads/eonwindreport2005.pdf

    That is, for every 100 units of installed wind power capacity, you can replace only 4 units of conventional energy generating capacity.

    “Wind Power – It Doesn’t Just Blow, It Sucks!”

    Solar power is even worse than wind power, in that solar requires subsidies (paid by the consumer) many times that of wind power.

    “Solar Power – Stick It Where the Sun Don’t Shine!”

    Wholesale undelivered prices of North American grid-connected electrical generating costs, are approximately:
    4 cents/kWh to generate electricity from natural gas, before distribution costs, at most 5-6 cents;
    13.5¢/kWh for (intermittent and therefore essentially worthless) wind power;
    64.2¢/kWh for (intermittent and therefore essentially worthless) solar power.

  47. Allan MacRae says:

    David Middleton:

    Very good article and comments.

    Thank you, Allan

  48. Allan MacRae says:

    We wrote this article a decade ago, in 2002, in opposition to the Kyoto Protocol:

    See Prediction #8:

    8. The ultimate agenda of pro-Kyoto advocates is to eliminate fossil fuels, but this would result in a catastrophic shortfall in global energy supply – the wasteful, inefficient energy solutions proposed by Kyoto advocates simply cannot replace fossil fuels.

    ____________

    http://www.apegga.org/Members/Publications/peggs/WEB11_02/kyoto_pt.htm

    Kyoto has many fatal flaws, any one of which should cause this treaty to be scrapped.

    1. Climate science does not support the theory of catastrophic human-made global warming – the alleged warming crisis does not exist.

    2. Kyoto focuses primarily on reducing CO2, a relatively harmless gas, and does nothing to control real air pollution like NOx, SO2, and particulates, or serious pollutants in water and soil.

    3. Kyoto wastes enormous resources that are urgently needed to solve real environmental and social problems that exist today. For example, the money spent on Kyoto in one year would provide clean drinking water and sanitation for all the people of the developing world in perpetuity.

    4. Kyoto will destroy hundreds of thousands of jobs and damage the Canadian economy – the U.S., Canada’s biggest trading partner, will not ratify Kyoto, and developing countries are exempt.

    5. Kyoto will actually hurt the global environment – it will cause energy-intensive industries to move to exempted developing countries that do not control even the worst forms of pollution.

    6. Kyoto’s CO2 credit trading scheme punishes the most energy efficient countries and rewards the most wasteful. Due to the strange rules of Kyoto, Canada will pay the former Soviet Union billions of dollars per year for CO2 credits.

    7. Kyoto will be ineffective – even assuming the overstated pro-Kyoto science is correct, Kyoto will reduce projected warming insignificantly, and it would take as many as 40 such treaties to stop alleged global warming.

    8. The ultimate agenda of pro-Kyoto advocates is to eliminate fossil fuels, but this would result in a catastrophic shortfall in global energy supply – the wasteful, inefficient energy solutions proposed by Kyoto advocates simply cannot replace fossil fuels.

  49. wsbriggs says:

    I’m continually amused that Greens who demonize nuclear, are willing to assume that there will be batteries or storage devices capable of storing gigawatts of energy with no risk what so ever. Unless they plan on over-dimensioning the grid to handle unused capacity transmission to distributed storage sites (that will work well with NIMBY), they have to plan on having the energy stored at the generating site. I for one don’t want to be within 100 miles of a 10 gigawatt-hour storage facility.

  50. John Phillips says:

    Germany is squandering their culture driven high productivity on “green” energy production.

  51. David Middleton says:

    @wsbriggs,

    Speaking batteries… The solar advocates say that “technologies like zinc bromine are approaching the $400/kWh price point utilities need to begin widespread deployment of the storage technology.”

    “The zinc/bromine battery can be repeatedly fully discharged without any damage to the battery and has a life of at least one thousand five hundred charge/discharge cycles.”

    With a 1,500 charge/discharge cycles, the break-even electricity rate for a $400/kWh zinc/bromine battery is 27¢/kWh. I’m currently paying about 9¢/kWh (retail).

    27¢/kWh sounds a lot like making “electricity rates skyrocket.”

  52. Bill Tuttle says:

    ChE says:
    July 31, 2012 at 8:18 pm
    For the benefit of anyone not aware of who this nut case is, this is one and the same Juan Cole who denies that Ahmadinejad threatened to wipe Israel off the face of the earth.

    Perfessor Cole’s an unapologetic Persophile — he’s got some good insights into the tribal mentality in the ME and SWA, but lacks a true historian’s objectivity. That said, his knowledge of *anything* unrelated to Islam appears to have solely been gleaned from reading the comments of the Kos Kids and the commenters at RC who haven’t (yet) been banned:

    But volcanic rocks and the oceans wash the CO2 back out of the atmosphere if it isn’t in huge quantities, so in the old days humans could only really cause blips. Still, mass deaths of humans, as during the Black Plague or the European-induced epidemics that killed off most of the Native Americans, probably caused colder temperatures for a while in the aftermath.

    He’s equally clueless when it comes to economics. I guess he was too busy worrying about fracking to notice Solyndragate::

    Massive government-funded research and tax breaks could bring down costs of solar and wind quickly and make geothermal more practical.

    http://www.juancole.com/2012/08/the-collapse-of-the-climate-change-contrarians-and-the-end-of-coal.html

  53. wws says:

    Juan Cole – had to laugh when I saw that name! I guess he’s still embarked on his endless search for relevance.

    A brief history of Prof. Cole’s academic work – he was one of the first to claim that America deserved the 9/11 attacks and that Jews are behind all of the problems in the middle east. His unbridled jew-hatred is legendary, and he uses his academic career as a vehicle to push his own personal and political prejudices.

    and NOW he pretends to know something about oil and gas? This guy is just another far left blogger with an axe to grind. He’s a talking parrot who will repeat any left wing claptrap that drifts into his general vicinity without the trouble of ever trying to think seriously about any of the things he says.

    It’s kind of funny – ever since the administration changed hands, he’s almost completely stopped his criticism of America’s actions in the middle east. (even though they are very little changed) He doesn’t say anything at all about that anymore, unlike his outspokenness before 2009! So I guess that’s why he is searching for a new bandwagon, one that won’t upset any of his political soul mates.

    Solar and Wind are articles of Faith to him, so of course he accepts all of the claims of infallibility without question.

  54. more soylent green! says:

    Coldlynx says:
    July 31, 2012 at 4:57 pm
    I love fracking.
    But i also love PV panels at right price. I cant see why not use both, and be happy over lower prices for both gas and PV panels.

    The reality is solar power, like wind, is intermittent and unreliable. We can’t generate power from either on demand nor can we currently store the electricity effectively/economically when more is generated than we need.

    Denmark is a great example. Denmark frequently has to sell it’s wind-generated electricity below costs and also has to frequently buy electricity from the European grid (mostly from hydroelectric plants in Norway) in order to keep the lights running.

    I’ll start getting excited about cheap solar when the total costs (purchase, installation and upkeep) become affordable without government subsidies and the time to see a positive return on investment is less than the service life of the equipment.

    That’s not to say that a drop in the cost of solar is bad, it just still has a long way to go.

  55. wsbriggs says:

    David Middleton says:
    August 1, 2012 at 6:15 am
    ’27¢/kWh sounds a lot like making “electricity rates skyrocket.”’

    I’m so with you there!

    I locked my e-bill to the NYMEX nat-gas price when it was offered by TXU. Even at $3.50/ MBTU I’m loving it! Like you it’s about 9 cents right now. 27 cents – thats obscene! I was just in Germany visiting friends and family – I’m glad I don’t feel their pain. I’m equally glad I don’t have to think about converting from fuel oil to wood pellets. Talk about being held hostage…

    I support scrubbed coal plants, natural gas generators and Thorium reactors. I would like to see more co-generation facilities using nat gas turbines. Ohio and Pennsylvania manufacturing plants with co-gen could help the NE area a lot.

    I’m still watching the research in low energy nuclear reactions closely. The nuclear active environment within the crystal lattice seems to have been identified, and the physics is consistent with current knowledge of reactions (no miracles necessary). The best part is that most of the research is privately funded so money isn’t being thrown at the problem, just careful thought. There are, however, just like in climate “science,” a lot of hacks trying to become famous, rich or both without regard for scientific integrity. Just like in Climatology progress is slow, but the scientific method winnows out bogus paths over time and leads to understanding. We’ll see. I’m guessing a minimum of 10 years to the first commercial reactors – forgetting the recent questionable quality announcements out of Italy and Australia.

  56. dave ward says:

    “As of about six months ago, the nationwide projection was that there would be about a 4% shortfall in energy production vs demand, even with enhanced conservation measures. Some prefectures were expecting about 13 to 16% shortfall”

    At which point Japan will probably suffer the same major grid outages that India is currently experiencing.

    “The British government has given the go-ahead for two huge offshore wind farms off the coast of Norfolk (the eastern coast)”

    And in yesterdays local paper was news of a second, large, solar farm nearby:
    http://tinyurl.com/cbms5u5
    The article (and comments) once again fail to distinguish between Kw/Mw and Kwh/Mwh, and no one on either side of the discussion says anything about how the grid copes with unreliable & variable supplies, or the lack of any practical way of storing surplus energy to cover low wind & darkness. As someone who knows the area well, they also forget the regular sea fog which can extend several miles inland (further than the existing site mentioned in that link). I can’t think of a less suitable location…

  57. Steve Fletcher says:

    “poor electrical grid of the US, which will have to be redone”
    What a bunch of BS. The multiple grids in the US (Western, Eastern, Texas) are quite possibly the greatest mechanical construction in the history of man. Just think about it, thousands of machines all operating synchronously at 60 Hz moving energy from one point to another thousands of miles away at the speed of light. Our electric grid is not broken, it is the most reliable grid in the world. When was the last major blackout? California when ENRON manipulated generation in order to game the pricing scheme in that state. When the system is working as intended our grid is AMAZING.

  58. David Fogg says:

    If you guys don’t want to be seen as puppets for Oil and Gas, why do you allow yourselves to get dragged in to ANTI-GREEN sentiments as opposed to sticking with ANTI-CAGW discussions?!?

    I mean SERIOUSLY. If people are afraid of contamination of their environment and drinking water from oil/gas drilling, can you blame them??? Macondo, Yellowstone river, Athabasca, Mountain top removal, Valdez… how many examples of corrupt regulation and negligent treatment of our environment do you need to see before their fears are justified??

    CAGW is a farce. Green energy technology is not yet viable. But if you don’t want to LOOK like what you’re accused of being, don’t dress that way.

  59. Bill Tuttle says:

    David Fogg says:
    August 1, 2012 at 8:00 am
    If you guys don’t want to be seen as puppets for Oil and Gas, why do you allow yourselves to get dragged in to ANTI-GREEN sentiments as opposed to sticking with ANTI-CAGW discussions?!?

    Because “Green” and “CAGW” are synonymous, and have been for decades. The radical Left so-opted the legitimate environmental groups decades ago, in case you hadn’t noticed.

  60. Bill Tuttle says:

    $#@! — “co-opted,” not so-opted.” Typing and editing by laptop screen light never works out qiute rgiht…

  61. Brian H says:

    Juan Cole has been uttering arrant nonsense for decades. Not surprised he hasn’t kicked the habit. BTW, as an historian, his credentials are only very slightly better than as a scientist. Which is to say, pretty much delusory.

  62. Brian H says:

    more soylent green! says:
    August 1, 2012 at 7:05 am

    Coldlynx says:
    July 31, 2012 at 4:57 pm
    I love fracking.
    But i also love PV panels at right price. I cant see why not use both, and be happy over lower prices for both gas and PV panels.

    That’s not to say that a drop in the cost of solar is bad, it just still has a long way to go.

    1. For small applications, with supplementary baseload sources (like a homeowner with a solar roof AND a grid connection), it can work. Nowhere else.
    2. If PV panels were free, they would still be horribly overpriced for large scale applications. The real costs are elsewhere, and badly quantified.

  63. Bill Tuttle says:

    Brian H says:
    August 1, 2012 at 11:07 am
    Juan Cole has been uttering arrant nonsense for decades. Not surprised he hasn’t kicked the habit. BTW, as an historian, his credentials are only very slightly better than as a scientist. Which is to say, pretty much delusory.

    Which is why he hammers on the theme that current events are actually “current history” — his blog entries thus become “historical studies.”

  64. Caleb says:

    I love history. It was through the study of history, (both the history of weather and the history of people,) that I was able to recognize Global Warming as a fraud even before Anthony created this excellant website. A true student of history can see certain things, even if he flunked math and can’t go near a computer without causing it to crash.

    This professor, however, gives history a bad name. They once said, “Those who can’t do, teach.” This man elevates it to a new level: “Those who do not learn from the examples of the past are doomed to become history professors.”

  65. jorgekafkazar says:

    Ceetee says: “Where have all the smart people gone, long time passing…”

    I blame it on Agent Mauve, an insecticide sprayed on ivy-covered walls. Exposure gradually destroys the critical faculties of people who spend much of their time therein.

  66. dmacleo says:

    when a tsunami messes up your nuke power its always a good idea to migrate to offshore wind power.
    cause a tsunami will magically swerve to avoid it.

  67. cba says:


    Caleb says:
    August 1, 2012 at 12:29 pm
    I love history. It was through the study of history, (both the history of weather and the history of people,) that I was able to recognize Global Warming as a fraud even before Anthony created this excellant website. A true student of history can see certain things, even if he flunked math and can’t go near a computer without causing it to crash.

    This professor, however, gives history a bad name. They once said, “Those who can’t do, teach.” This man elevates it to a new level: “Those who do not learn from the examples of the past are doomed to become history professors.”

    **********************
    somebody has to be in charge of the Ministry of Truth and its history revisionism (orwell’s 1984).

  68. Gail Combs says:

    Brave new world as solar PV heads to 50c/watt

    By Giles Parkinson on 20 July 2012

    US Energy Secretary Stephen Chu earlier this year suggested that solar PV without subsidies will be cheaper than both coal and gas if it could get its costs down to around $1/watt by the end of the decade…

    Well that is certainly easy to do. Just have Bernancke keep printing US dollars and pretty soon it will take a wheelbarrow full to but a gallon of gas.

  69. Allan MacRae says:

    David Fogg says: August 1, 2012 at 8:00 am

    David, be careful what you believe and what you repeat.

    I know one of your subjects well, and that is the Athabasca River.

    The Athabasca River is one of the most regulated streams on the planet. The radical enviros have tried to claim this river is in terrible danger, and have even alleged that the river is horribly contaminated due to development of the Athabasca oilsands. This is false.

    The Athabasca River naturally cuts through the Athabasca oilsands and is in direct contact with the oilsands deposits. It has been this way for millennia. The river is exposed to some natural contamination from the oilsands and some possible minor industrial contamination, but it is intensely monitored for water quality. Furthermore, Athabasca River water quality monitoring is being intensified.

    One of my favorite alarmist stories is how the water demands of the Athabasca oilsands are “draining the river dry”. One professor even held a conference called “Running Out of Steam”. One would assume that the oilsands industry must drain well over 50% of the Athabasca river’s flow, perhaps even 70%, 80% or even 90%!

    In fact, the entire Athabasca oilsands industry consumes just 1% of annual Athabasca river flow. In comparison, the monthly river flow in a typical high-flow Spring month is ten times (1000%) that of a typical low-flow winter month, and yet the fish survive that huge variation in their natural habitat with apparent ease.

    The truth is the river habitat is materially unaffected by oilsands water withdrawals, especially since these water withdrawals are curtailed during periods of low river flow.

    Another great enviro-fraud was the alleged mutant “two-jawed fish” found in Lake Athabasca – in fact it was a normal dead goldeye, in a normal state of decay.

    One should be very skeptical of the scary claims of the environmental movement – in my experience, the claims of the radical enviros over recent decades have all proven to be wildly overstated and fundamentally false.

  70. chris y says:

    heresey101-

    You say “All the numbers and charts about solar being too costly are just obfustication, or maybe coal industry propaganda?”

    I disagree with your spelling of obfuscation, and your claim that the charts are wrong.

    You claim residential system installed price is $4.5 – $5.5 per W. Lets use $5/W(pk DC). AC production is 80% of DC panel rating (NREL says 77%), so price is $6.25/W(AC), or $6250/kW(AC). Assume a 20 yr loan at 5% gives a total expense of $6250*1.58 = $9900/kW(AC). This does not include O&M costs (inverter won’t last 20 yrs), panel O/P derating of 1%/yr, and utility net metering connection charge, regardless of energy balance. It also assumes every kWh is either used by the owner or is revenue-balanced over the integration period used by the utility.

    The system runs at peak for about 5.5 hrs per day in sunny climates (NREL). The cost for electricity is $9900/(5.5 hr/day*365 days/yr * 20 yrs) = 24.5 cents/kWhr. Any claims of lower costs involve tax credits, REC scams, solar rebates, etc to obfuscate the real cost of the system.

    Solarbuzz, as of March 2012, estimates 29 cents/kWh for a 2 kW residential system in a sunny climate, 63 cents/kWh in cloudy climates.

    Reducing the cost of the panels to *zero* still makes residential solar PV twice the price of US average residential utility rates.

    Utility-scale solar PV must compete with existing generation costs rather than delivered costs. Nuclear is currently the cheapest, at 2 cents/kWhr. Utility-scale solar PV must also include the cost of the reliable backup generation, which of course is never done. It must also include the reduced operating capacity of the backup generator, which suffers increased O&M costs, lower revenue stream to cover capital costs, lower BTU efficiency, and increased CO2 emissions per unit energy delivered when rapidly cycled to source-track the solar PV output variability, which of course is also never done.

    Ironically, if savant-free idiot politicians insist on execrable renewable energy portfolio targets, low natural gas prices and cheap, compact gas turbines actually decrease the total cost of solar PV. Those same politicians should be tripping over themselves to lend their voices to Nancy Pelosi who claims natural gas is a clean, plentiful alternative to fossil fuels. :-)

  71. Khwarizmi says:

    GeoLurking –
    You quote (July 31, 9:00 pm) from an oil and gas article indicating that there are just two ways to produce methane, both dependant on the activity of very special and rare things that we call “living organisms.” But that kind of explanation doesn’t wash on Titan, does it? However, the abiotic method of production, furtively ignored or ridiculed by those with a financial stake in the matter, offers a universal and reproducible explanation rather than a special pleading. Break the taboo, take a look at reality:
    http://oceanexplorer.noaa.gov/explorations/05lostcity/background/serp/serpentinization.html
    Martin Hovland–fomerly of StatOil–has produced a lot of the peer-reviewed work on those mud volcanoes and seeps that you mentioned at 10:21 pm. In his book on Deep Sea Corals, he seems to atttribute those features to serpentinisation.

    ===========
    Our 47 percent interest in the Mari-B field, the first offshore natural gas production facility in Israel, is one of our core international assets.
    Mari B rig sinking faster than expected
    7 March 12
    http://www.globes.co.il/serveen/globes/docview.asp?did=1000731517&fid=1725
    Perhaps the American taxpayer can bail them out, like they always do.
    http://www.google.com/search?q=israel,+US+aid

    ChE says:
    July 31, 2012 at 8:18 pm
    For the benefit of anyone not aware of who this nut case is, this is one and the same Juan Cole who denies that Ahmadinejad threatened to wipe Israel off the face of the earth. He’s a loon of the first order.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mahmoud_Ahmadinejad_and_Israel

    He said the “regime” will come to end. Only a warped mind with a selective-MERI would deliberately go out of their way to misinterpret the actual utterance. Even your wikipedia reference suggests that Cole “regime” interpretation was the correct one. Speaking of references…
    Israeli minister warns of Palestinian ‘holocaust’
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2008/feb/29/israelandthepalestinians1
    cough, cough, cough.
    http://www.google.com/search?q=israel%2C+racist+marriage+law
    cough, cough, kosher, cough.
    Einstein’s letter to the NYT times warning Americans about Israel…
    http://archive.org/details/AlbertEinsteinLetterToTheNewYorkTimes.December41948
    cough, cough, cough

  72. Allan MacRae says:

    Allan MacRae says: August 1, 2012 at 5:29 am

    We wrote this article a decade ago, in 2002, in opposition to the Kyoto Protocol:

    See Prediction #8:

    8. The ultimate agenda of pro-Kyoto advocates is to eliminate fossil fuels, but this would result in a catastrophic shortfall in global energy supply – the wasteful, inefficient energy solutions proposed by Kyoto advocates simply cannot replace fossil fuels.

    http://www.apegga.org/Members/Publications/peggs/WEB11_02/kyoto_pt.htm
    ____________________________

    The four most beautiful words in our common language: “I told you so.”
    – Gore Vidal, October 3, 1925 – July 31, 2012

    :-)

  73. Ed Mertin says:

    “Grenade Fishing Gone Wrong FAIL” 

    Or, how to almost turn yourself into fish chum. That was close!

    When doing a polar plunge thin ice is not good for diving.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FIKDnirGSms&feature=youtube_gdata_player

    Also, does anyone have an educated opinion on Lightbridge Corporation and can they ever make thorium profitably?

  74. Ed Mertin says:

    Those more crazy Russians for GeoLurking.

  75. GeoLurking says:

    Khwarizmi says:
    August 1, 2012 at 9:50 pm

    GeoLurking –
    You quote (July 31, 9:00 pm) from an oil and gas article indicating that there are just two ways to produce methane, both dependant on the activity of very special and rare things that we call “living organisms.” But that kind of explanation doesn’t wash on Titan, does it?

    I fail to see how hydrocarbon presence/production on Saturn’s moon Titan has anything to do with the accusation that Fracking (on Earth) is contaminating ground water.

    I have provided a clear explanation to the GasLand loon accusations that involves reproducible science… provided someone actually wants to go out and collect bonafide samples and conduct the requisite analysis to prove the issue one way or the other.

    I have also provided an example in my follow-up of cases and study in which natural gas makes it’s way to the surface in occasionally violent manners.

    “Abiotic Oil” and Titan have nothing to do with it.

  76. David Middleton says:

    Re: Gasland

    None of the water well methane in the Gasland examples was related to fracking, most of it wasn’t even related to oil & gas wells…

    Gasland features three Weld County landowners, Mike Markham, Renee McClure, and Aimee Ellsworth, whose water wells were allegedly contaminated by oil and gas development. The COGCC investigated complaints from all three landowners in 2008 and 2009, and we issued written reports summarizing our findings on each. We concluded that Aimee Ellsworth’s well contained a mixture of biogenic and thermogenic methane that was in part attributable to oil and gas development, and Mrs. Ellsworth and an operator reached a settlement in that case.

    However, using the same investigative techniques, we concluded that Mike Markham’s and Renee McClure’s wells contained biogenic gas that was not related to oil and gas activity. Unfortunately, Gasland does not mention our McClure finding and dismisses our Markham finding out of hand.

    The Markham and McClure water wells are both located in the Denver-Julesburg Basin in Weld County. They and other water wells in this area draw water from the Laramie-Fox Hills Aquifer, which is composed of interbedded sandstones, shales, and coals. Indeed, the water well completion report for Mr. Markham’s well shows that it penetrated at least four different coal beds. The occurrence of methane in the coals of the Laramie Formation has been well documented in numerous publications by the Colorado Geological Survey, the United States Geological Survey, and the Rocky Mountain Association of Geologists dating back more than 30 years. For example, a 1976 publication by the Colorado Division of Water Resources states that the aquifer contains “troublesome amounts of . . . methane.” A 1983 publication by the United States Geological Survey similarly states that “[m]ethane-rich gas commonly occurs in ground water in the Denver Basin, southern Weld County, Colorado.” And a 2001 report by the Colorado Geological Survey discusses the methane potential of this formation and cites approximately 30 publications on this subject.

    Laboratory analysis confirmed that the Markham and McClure wells contained biogenic methane typical of gas that is naturally found in the coals of the Laramie–Fox Hills Aquifer. This determination was based on a stable isotope analysis, which effectively “finger-printed” the gas as biogenic, as well as a gas composition analysis, which indicated that heavier hydrocarbons associated with thermogenic gas were absent. In addition, water samples from the wells were analyzed for benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene, and xylenes (BTEX), which are constituents of the hydrocarbons produced by oil and gas wells in the area. The absence of any BTEX compounds in these water samples provided additional evidence that oil and gas activity did not contaminate the Markham and McClure wells.

    The COGCC has also reviewed the records for all oil and gas wells located within one-half mile of the Markham and McClure wells, which is more than double the typical hydraulic fracture length in Colorado. This review indicated that: all oil and gas wells near the Markham well were drilled and hydraulically fractured in 1991, except for two wells that were fractured in 2005 and 2006, respectively; and all oil and gas wells near the McClure well were drilled and hydraulically fractured in 2002, except for one well that was hydraulically fractured in 2005. The records do not reflect any pressure failures or other problems associated with these wells that would indicate a loss of fracture fluid or gas from the well bore into the surrounding geologic formations.

    http://cogcc.state.co.us/library/GASLAND%20DOC.pdf

    Frack fluid is not getting into groundwater; nor does fracking bring hyrocarbon reservoirs into communication with freshwater aquifers.  The oil & gas reservoirs being fracked are separated from groundwater reservoirs by thousands of feet of rock.

    Natural gas can “channel” up-hole and contaminate shallower freshwater aquifers if well casing strings are not properly cemented.  Cabot Oil & Gas did agree to “provide permanent water supplies to families whose drinking water has been contaminated by methane from faulty gas wells” even though test results fairly conclusively showed that they didn’t cause the contamination.

    Oil companies routinely pay for damages they didn’t cause.  Settling these disputes is usually a heck of a lot cheaper than fighting them.

    Halliburton developed an essentially “potable” frack fluid, in part due to misplaced fears about fracking…. Fears that have no basis in reality.  Companies like Cabot have to take precautions against mythological risks if the gov’t & public believe those myths to be true.

  77. David Middleton says:

    Re; Mari-B Platform

    The bizarre article from The Globes is even more detached from reality than Gasland

    The Mari-B platform is not “sinking.”  The field is nearing depletion.  The subsidence was expected and accomodated for in the design.

    The Noa gas discovery was tied-back to Mari-B in March and put on production in June.  Noble expects to bring the much larger Leviathan discovery on production in mid-2013.

  78. Mark says:

    Dr Burns says:

    “Brave new world as solar PV heads to 50c/watt ”
    Do all the renewables costs quoted include the costs of backup systems to ensure constant supply ?

    Or any of the other costs associated with building a useful PV power plant.
    Expanding existing power plants is likely to be more cost effective than building new ones. The same is likely to apply to increasing the capacity of existing pipelines and power lines. For one thing NIMBYism is likely to be less of an issue.

  79. Mark says:

    Robert of Ottawa says:

    Ah yes, the mythical solar panel window. Can anyone else see the hole in this idea?

    Well, to work, it must ABSORB light, not let it pass through. So, the more light it absorbs, the more energy must be expended to light the inside of the building. HAHAHA!

    Not quite so silly as it sounds. So long as the window passes visible light then the level of illumination in the building will be unaffected. It isn’t that uncommon for glazing to filter sunlight. Windows are often an important part of HVAC in a building.

  80. Mark says:

    more soylent green! says:

    The reality is solar power, like wind, is intermittent and unreliable. We can’t generate power from either on demand nor can we currently store the electricity effectively/economically when more is generated than we need.

    Shouldn’t a history professor realise the importance of being able to match power supply and demand? Especially in the case of wind, which as a form of power has been around for several thousand years.

  81. Mark says:

    dmacleo says:

    when a tsunami messes up your nuke power its always a good idea to migrate to offshore wind power. cause a tsunami will magically swerve to avoid it.

    So long as the water is deep enough such structures may be immune to damage from a tsunami. They would still by at risk from tropical storms however. Also the power cables connected to these might well not survive a tsunami at or near to the point they came ashore.

  82. David Fogg says:

    @Bill Tuttle: I couldn’t disagree more. Green and CAGW are absolutely NOT the same. Treating this as fact does nothing for any argument against CAGW. We play into their hands when we act as proponents for Oil and Gas. I for one, care deeply about the environment. One of my problems with CAGW as a farce is the fact that it diverts huge amount of resources and research away from things that badly need it… habitat, migration corridors, species restoration, etc etc. I know many people like me who do not buy the bunk, but are no lovers of the energy industry. Just because you feel that green groups are co-opted by the CAGW crowd doesn’t mean we should include them in the battle… by attacking them we will certainly win none of them over from their blind faith. Art of War: Keep the argument on subject.

    @Allan McRae: Athabasca is a mess, and a big one at that. The indigenous people down stream have problems with fish and sickness. Nothing I’ve heard as ridiculous as two jawed fish. Red spots, illnesses, population declines. Sure, it was never tar-free, but it’s gotten worse by most accounts. Regardless, you could remove Athabasca from m(gov’t/energy) to give me anyy point, and my point is still valid. Our government GIVES away our resources to the Energy industry, claiming very little in the way of revenue for it… and then doesn’t even do it’s job of regulation and oversight. As a result, there is NOTHING trustworthy or inherently safe about energy development. I’m not against gas development… or possibly even fracking. But currently I can’t trust anyone involved to give real honest answers. Look at all the BS they gave us when the Macondo blew out. It’s the same colluded garbage we get from gov’t/climate science.

  83. Falstaff says:

    @Parkinson:

    Land isn’t free and construction isn’t done by volunteers.

    Yes, though the PV installation area is sometimes free, i.e. a sunk cost, to the land owner:
    25 acres of warehouse rooftop, 9 MWe peak solar PV array, Camden, NJ, completed this past spring. Cost reported as $42 million ($10 million from the taxpayers), or ~$4/W *installed* in this case.

    http://goo.gl/maps/y5V3a
    http://www.solarbuzz.com/industry-news/gloucester-marine-terminal-construct-9-mw-solar-rooftop

    Also the Germans seem to have forced their installation costs down much lower than those in the US, so there’s some more room for installed price to fall yet in the US
    http://blogs-images.forbes.com/toddwoody/files/2012/07/US-vs-German-Solar-Costs.jpg

  84. David Middleton says:

    @David Fogg,

    If we were acting as “proponents for Oil and Gas,” we wouldn’t be advocating policies geared toward cheaper energy. I’m in favor of coal and nuclear too… And I don’t have much of a problem with wind.

    I work the Gulf of Mexico. Fracking and the shale boom have killed gas exploration in the Gulf. If I was acting in my own interest, I’d be all for killing the shale boom.

    All of the “proponents for Oil and Gas” in my circle of acquaintances also care very deeply about the environment. Most of us are against the green energy agenda because we prefer to pay 8-12¢/kWh, rather than 24-40¢/kWh for electricity and $3-4/gal, rather than $27/gal to fuel our vehicles… And we know that most of the crap published about pollution from US domestic oil & gas drilling & production operations are grossly exaggerated.

  85. Resourceguy says:

    Once again the energy-related post on this site leaves a lot to be desired. Yes fracking will flourish everywhere outside Vermont and some cities and it will do so with some reasonable regulations on cementing the vertical hole properly so gas does not escape up the bore into shallow aquifers. Meanwhile 95 percent of the debaters on both sides will still be far off the mark of these details. As for PV, the usual list of mistakes in thinking apply. It is a niche segment that does not need to cover the lower demand periods (and lower priced) power market of nights. Also, using solar industry averages to spout market calls is an easy way to spot people who don’t know what they’re talking about.

  86. Khwarizmi says:

    GeoLurking,
    I fail to see how hydrocarbon presence/production on Saturn’s moon Titan has anything to do with the accusation that Fracking (on Earth) is contaminating ground water.
    =============
    Your failure results from closing your eyes firmly and not bothering to check the link, or think about the information contained therein.
    The NOAA page on serpentization is actually about the Lost City Hydrothermal vent system here on Earth: you won’t find any reference to Titan. So I did bring the point home, and the point is relevant to your deficient and defective argument about determining the source of methane.
    http://www.google.com/search?&q=lost+city+hydrothermal%2C+methane%2C+carbon+isotope+ratio
    result
    1. “Stable isotopes of carbon are of limited value”
    2. “…For example, the “LostCity” hydrothermal vent field in the Atlantic Ocean did not show a clear isotope…”
    3. “stable isotope ratio measurements in this system are difficult to interpret”

  87. Martin Lack says:

    As a petroleum geologist, David, you should be ashamed of yourself. If even Rex Tillerson can admit (to himself and the World) that the Earth’s climate is primarily changing due to the burning of fossil fuels, so should you.

    Fracking is technically difficult and highly energy-inefficient. It is also financially and potentially environmentally costly; and pursuing it will only benefit the oil companies themselves. Non-renewable fossil fuels will only get more expensive as demand increases and supply decreases; whereas renewable energy will only get cheaper as both demand and supply increase.

    Therefore, if burning fossil fuels is causing the Earth’s climate to change, continuing to do it when we do not have to would not only be unwise – it would be illogical. Albert Einstein’s definition of insanity was… “doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results”. Therefore, pursuing fracking would appear to be more than indicative of collective hypnosis or hysteria – it would appear to be insane.

  88. Martin Lack says:

    more solyent green says: “The reality is solar power, like wind, is intermittent and unreliable.”.

    What a tired old myth this is. For your information, we already have the technology to generate solar-powered electricity 24/7 and tidal electricity for coastal nations is also always available. Similarly, it is a thermodynamic impossibility for there to be no wind everywhere at the same time; therefore if you build enough of them, wind turbines are not unreliable.

    Fossil fuels are destined to be history. Renewables and nuclear are the future; so I suggest you get used to them.

  89. Brian H says:

    chris y says:
    August 1, 2012 at 8:47 pm

    Nancy Pelosi who claims natural gas is a clean, plentiful alternative to fossil fuels. :-)

    Who knew Nancy knew methane is abiotic? Wonders will never cease!

    About the water for and from fracking: check out GasFrac.com — a process using gelled butane from the wells themselves that eliminates the need for water. Interesting …

  90. David Middleton says:

    Martin Lack says:
    August 3, 2012 at 4:26 am
    As a petroleum geologist…

    As a petroleum geologist (really more of an exploration geophysicist), I know that your comment was 100% nonsense.

    Rex Tillerson is not a geologist and that’s not exactly what he said…

    QUESTIONER: Hi, I’m David Fenton (ph).

    Mr. Tillerson, I want to talk about science and risk, and I agree with you that’s the way we must proceed. So, as you know, it’s a basic fact of physics that CO2 traps heat, and too much CO2 will mean it will get too hot, and we will face enormous risks as a result of this not only to our way of life, but to the world economy. It will be devastating: The seas will rise, the coastlines will be unstable for generations, the price of food will go crazy. This is what we face, and we all know it.

    Now — so my question for you is since we all know this knowledge, we’re a little in denial of it. You know, if we burn all these reserves you’ve talked about, you can kiss future generations good-bye. And maybe we’ll find a solution to take it out of the air. But, as you know, we don’t have one. So what are you going to do about this? We need your help to do something about this.

    TILLERSON: Well, let me — let me say that we have studied that issue and continue to study it as well. We are and have been long-time participants in the IPCC panels. We author many of the IPCC subcommittee papers, and we peer-review most of them. So we are very current on the science, our understanding of the science, and importantly — and this is where I’m going to take exception to something you said — the competency of the models to predict the future. We’ve been working with a very good team at MIT now for more than 20 years on this area of modeling the climate, which, since obviously it’s an area of great interest to you, you know and have to know the competencies of the models are not particularly good.

    Now you can plug in assumptions on many elements of the climate system that we cannot model — and you know what they all are. We cannot model aerosols; we cannot model clouds, which are big, big factors in how the CO2 concentrations in the atmosphere affect temperatures at surface level. The models we need — and we are putting a lot of money supporting people and continuing to work on these models, try and become more competent with the models. But our ability to predict, with any accuracy, what the future’s going to be is really pretty limited.

    So our approach is we do look at the range of the outcomes and try and understand the consequences of that, and clearly there’s going to be an impact. So I’m not disputing that increasing CO2 emissions in the atmosphere is going to have an impact. It’ll have a warming impact. The — how large it is is what is very hard for anyone to predict. And depending on how large it is, then projects how dire the consequences are.

    As we have looked at the most recent studies coming — and the IPCC reports, which we — I’ve seen the drafts; I can’t say too much because they’re not out yet. But when you predict things like sea level rise, you get numbers all over the map. If you take a — what I would call a reasonable scientific approach to that, we believe those consequences are manageable. They do require us to begin to exert — or spend more policy effort on adaptation. What do you want to do if we think the future has sea level rising four inches, six inches? Where are the impacted areas, and what do you want to do to adapt to that?

    And as human beings as a — as a — as a species, that’s why we’re all still here. We have spent our entire existence adapting, OK? So we will adapt to this. Changes to weather patterns that move crop production areas around — we’ll adapt to that. It’s an engineering problem, and it has engineering solutions. And so I don’t — the fear factor that people want to throw out there to say we just have to stop this, I do not accept.

    I do believe we have to — we have to be efficient and we have to manage it, but we also need to look at the other side of the engineering solution, which is how are we going to adapt to it. And there are solutions. It’s not a problem that we can’t solve.

    MURRAY: But let’s stick with that for just a second. I mean, Exxon Mobil, before you became CEO, was very aggressive and overt in challenging and mounting a public relations campaign against the sorts of things that Mr. Fenton (sp) just managed. You changed that when you came in. But I guess the question I’d ask — I was at my daughter’s graduation last weekend, and the graduation speaker said that global warming is the great challenge of your generation. Do you agree with that? Would you agree that it’s in — at least one of the top five challenges of the generation, or do you personally think that it’s been way overblown?

    TILLERSON: No, I think it’s — I think it’s a great challenge, but I think it’s a question back to priorities. And I think, as I just described based on our understanding of the system and the models and the science and that there are engineering solutions to adapting, that we think it’s solvable.

    And I think there are much more pressing priorities that we as a — as a human being race and society need to deal with. There are still hundreds of millions, billions of people living in abject poverty around the world. They need electricity. They need electricity they can count on, that they can afford. They need fuel to cook their food on that’s not animal dung. There are more people’s health being dramatically affected because they could — they don’t even have access to fossil fuels to burn. They’d love to burn fossil fuels because their quality of life would rise immeasurably, and their quality of health and the health of their children and their future would rise immeasurably. You’d save millions upon millions of lives by making fossil fuels more available to a lot of the part of the world that doesn’t have it, and do it in the most efficient ways, using the most efficient technologies we have today.

    And we continue, and have for many, many years, talked on our energy outlook about the importance of ongoing energy efficiency, continuing to carry out economic activity with a lower energy intensity. And we’ve been very good as a country at doing that. We’ve been very good globally at doing that. And there’s more potential in it.
    Rex W. Tillerson, Chairman and CEO, Exxon Mobil Corporation, June 27, 2012, Council on Foreign Relations

    Fracking is not “technically difficult.” Even if fracking was “highly energy-inefficient,” we don’t pay our bills in Joules or BTU… We pay our bills with money (AKA capital), not energy. It is not “financially… costly.” If it was, we wouldn’t frack wells. There is absolutely no evidence that fracking harms the environment in any way, shape, fashion or form.

    Fossil fuel supplies aren’t decreasing. They are actually growing as fast as, or faster than demand. Relative to GDP, fossil fuels are actually becoming less expensive.

    There no evidence what-so-ever that the burning of fossil fuels has had a significant impact on the Earth’s climate(s). As a geoscientist, I know for a fact that the observed climate changes over the last 200 years do not deviate at all from the well-established natural variations over the last 10,000 years.

  91. Martin Lack says:

    With the greatest of respect, David, there is mountains of evidence. You have just decided not to take any notice of it. As a geoscientist, you know nothing as a fact; and neither do I. We both deal in probabilities; and the probability that the consensus view of climate science is correct is much greater than the probability that it is not. This is not an argument from authority; it is what it appears to be; a statement of probability.

    As Bill McKibbin recently pointed-out, it is highly likley that we have 5 times more fossil fuel reserves than the majority of climate scientists consider it would be safe to burn. This is not nonsense; this is the settled view of the scientific community. The last time atmospheric CO2 was 400ppm sea levels were tens of metres higher and average global temperatures several degrees higher.

    As I pointed out on my blog recently, the iconic Keeling Curve of CO2 data (that so many people insist on overlaying upon temperature data in such a way to suggest no correlation) is actually the near-vertical end of a J-curve when plotted over the last 1000 years with an origin at zero. In fact, it looks like a (British) hockey stick. This is yet another reason why we did not need BEST to tell us that the MBH98 Hockey Stick was probably signal (not noise)…

  92. Martin Lack says:

    You also sound very sure of yourself when you say fracking is not dangerous? Again, you almost certainly cannot say that with such apparent certainty. Have you seen Josh Fox’s documentary “Is the sky pink?”

    I also wonder what you would make of my response to the appeal for a pragmatic acceptance of shale gas from Professor Peter Styles; on the Letters Page of the website of the Geological Society of London?

  93. Smokey says:

    Martin Lack says:

    “…the probability that the consensus view of climate science is correct is much greater than the probability that it is not.”

    Absolutely correct. What you fail to understand is that the overwhelming consensus rejects CAGW, and all the related nonsense like fracking scares.

    More than 31,400 co-signers to the following statement are the true consensus. Every co-signer has a degree in the hard sciences, and they include more than 9,000 PhD’s:

    The proposed limits on greenhouse gases would harm the environment, hinder the advance of science and technology, and damage the health and welfare of mankind. There is no convincing scientific evidence that human release of carbon dioxide, methane, or other greenhouse gases is causing or will, in the forseeable future, cause catastrophic heating of the Earth’s atmosphere and disruption of the Earth’s climate. Moreover, there is substantial scientific evidence that increases in atmospheric carbon dioxide produce many beneficial effects upon the natural plant and animal environments of the Earth.

    Note that methane [natural gas] is included in the statement.

    I am disgusted by the “consensus” canard. It is a lie. The fact is that the dishonest alarmist crowd has repeatedly tried to circulate petitions contrary to the one above and they have failed miserably, getting only a tiny fraction of the OISM numbers. And the same few names appear on multiple different petitions. Climate alarmists are not any sort of consensus, they are a small minority that hides out from the truth.

    People like you continually try to perpetuate the “consensus” lie. I don’t know why you are a liar. I guess the basic reason is that liars lie. Certainly you know the truth. It has been posted here dozens of times.

    So the next time you appeal to the ‘consensus’, be aware that the true consensus is directly contrary to what you assert. Do us a favor and try honesty for a change. Because we know better here.

  94. Martin Lack says:

    I am experiencing a severe sense of deja-vu, Smokey. 1000s of PhD’s think the WTC collapsed as a result of controlled demolition and, in the context of the US population, the signature of 9000 PhD’s (mostly having nothing whatsoever to do with climate science) on a petition proves absolutely nothing. In any case, I am not interested in opinion polls; but I am concerned with extremely high probability that you are mistaken.

  95. Smokey says:

    Martin Lack says:

    “…I am not interested in opinion polls…”

    Then why your appeal to a fake ‘consensus’?

    You can show that I am wrong by listing more than 31,400 scientists and professionals with degrees in the hard sciences, who disagree with the statement in my post above.

    Go ahead. Show us that the ‘consensus’ supports your belief system. I challenge you.

  96. Bill Tuttle says:

    Martin Lack says:
    August 3, 2012 at 9:35 am
    With the greatest of respect, David, there is mountains
    [sic] of evidence. You have just decided not to take any notice of it. As a geoscientist, you know nothing as a fact…

    Whoa. Popcorn time.

    …and neither do I.

    Then why do you state everything — including your opinions — as established fact?

  97. Martin Lack says:

    Dear Smokey, I have no belief system. That is your terrain. By insisting that the consensus does not exist, you are asking me to accept that the majority of the World’s professional and academic institutions have made a massive error of judgement in endorsing the prevailing understanding of palaeoclimatology and atmospheric physics. That is quite simply not credible and, therefore, I do not have to justify my position. If you wish to assert that the consensus is “fake”; you must have evidence; and no number of opinion polls of the already-sceptical can do that for you.

  98. Martin Lack says:

    With regret, Bill, I don’t recognise the need for the question. Unlike you, I am trying hard to stick to the facts; and I am relying upon probability and logic to identify what humanity should do to avoid unnecessary damage to our environment. To me, this would include choosing not to burn all the Earth’s fossil fuels just because we can (because the consensus view is that this will not be a survivable option for millions of people). Fossil fuels will run out one day; and we already have workable solutions to our energy needs; therefore not maximising their use ASAP is illogical and insane (and a course of action that is only in the interests of people who are already very wealthy).

    Just because I refuse to get embroiled in debates about whose science is junk and whose science is sound; does not negate the fact that the vast majority of peer-reviewed research affirms the conventional view of climate science. Invoking all sorts of contingencies and convoluted explanations to justify the assumption that the majority are wrong (irrespective of motive) is unnecessary, unwarranted and unwise.

    P.S. For the record, my questions were primarily directed to my fellow geologist, David.

  99. David Middleton says:

    Martin Lack says:
    August 3, 2012 at 9:35 am
    With the greatest of respect, David, there is mountains of evidence. You have just decided not to take any notice of it. As a geoscientist, you know nothing as a fact; and neither do I. We both deal in probabilities; and the probability that the consensus view of climate science is correct is much greater than the probability that it is not. This is not an argument from authority; it is what it appears to be; a statement of probability.

    Firstly, an apology for the nonsense remark… It was uncalled for.

    I don’t deal in probabilities based on consensuses or other people’s opinions. And it’s simply a fact that all of the internally consistent Northern Hemisphere climate reconstructions present a picture of non-anomalous warming since ca. 1600 AD.

    Martin Lack says: As Bill McKibbin recently pointed-out, it is highly likley that we have 5 times more fossil fuel reserves than the majority of climate scientists consider it would be safe to burn. This is not nonsense; this is the settled view of the scientific community. The last time atmospheric CO2 was 400ppm sea levels were tens of metres higher and average global temperatures several degrees higher.

    I don’t expect us to burn them all at one time… And, if I were to choose to make an appeal to authority argument, I’d pick an actual authority.

    And the last time CO2 levels were in the 380-400 ppmv range could have been as recently as 400-600 AD (Kouwenberg, 2004). Plant stomata data clearly demonstrate that CO2 levels have routinely risen to 330-360 ppmv during previous Holocene warming periods.

    While, I do think that ~90% of the rise above ~340 ppmv is anthropogenic, the radiative forcing difference between 340 and 400 ppmv is insignificant. I have no doubt at all that when we hit the end of the millennial-scale warming cycle, around the end of this century, much of that CO2 will be quickly sequestered in the oceans, with little notice from marine calcifers.

    When viewed over the entire Neogene, CO2 levels aren’t particularly anomalous.

    Martin Lack says: As I pointed out on my blog recently, the iconic Keeling Curve of CO2 data (that so many people insist on overlaying upon temperature data in such a way to suggest no correlation) is actually the near-vertical end of a J-curve when plotted over the last 1000 years with an origin at zero. In fact, it looks like a (British) hockey stick. This is yet another reason why we did not need BEST to tell us that the MBH98 Hockey Stick was probably signal (not noise)…

    We actually know for a fact that MBH98 was neither signal nor noise… It was a combination of flawed data interpretation (N. Cal. Bristlecone pines) and flawed methodology (the hockey stick blades are processing artifacts). Dr. Mann’s much- improved M08 avoided the pitfalls of MBH98 by substituting instrumental for proxy data (Mike’s Nature Trick).

  100. Smokey says:

    Martin Lack says:

    “If you wish to assert that the consensus is ‘fake'; you must have evidence; and no number of opinion polls of the already-sceptical can do that for you.”

    Here is irrefutable evidence that at least 31,400 professionals in the hard sciences have co-signed the OISM statement, asserting that CO2 is harmless and beneficial, and also that methane is not a problem. You have done nothing except bluster and lie.

    Either post more names than the 31,400, and provide proof, or everyone here will know that the true scientific consensus rejects your climate alarmism. Your bluff is called, chump.

  101. David Middleton says:

    Martin Lack says:
    August 3, 2012 at 9:53 am
    You also sound very sure of yourself when you say fracking is not dangerous? Again, you almost certainly cannot say that with such apparent certainty. Have you seen Josh Fox’s documentary “Is the sky pink?”

    I’m sure that I know a lot more about geology, geophysics and the engineering principles involved in drilling and completing oil & gas wells (which would include fracking), than Josh Fox does. Although, since I am not an engineer by education or trade, I don’t know nearly as much about reservoir and drilling engineering as our engineers do. When I have an engineering question, I pop down the hall to visit with them. Although, it is good to know that if they can’t answer a question of mine, I can hop on over to the nearest video store and pick up a copy of Michael Moore’s Josh Fox’s latest crackhead conspiracy movie.

    Martin Lack says:
    I also wonder what you would make of my response to the appeal for a pragmatic acceptance of shale gas from Professor Peter Styles; on the Letters Page of the website of the Geological Society of London?

    Never heard of him… What does he know about drilling and production operations?

  102. richardscourtney says:

    Martin Lack:

    Your posts in this thread display the basic techniques of professional trolls; i.e. make false statements which are mutually contradictory, and when one of them is refuted then change the subject and pretend you were saying something else while ‘snowing’ the thread with several posts.

    I cite some examples of this deplorable behaviour so your posts do not distract onlookers. And I suggest that everybody then ignore your distractions by ignoring all your posts in this thread both past and future.

    Martin Lack wrote at August 3, 2012 at 4:26 am:

    As a geoscientist, you know nothing as a fact; and neither do I. We both deal in probabilities; and the probability that the consensus view of climate science is correct is much greater than the probability that it is not.

    This quotation is three assertions:
    (a) Geoscientists know nothing as a fact.
    (b) Geoscientists deal in probabilities.
    (c) It is much more probable that the consensus view of climate science is correct than that it is not.

    I address each of these assertions as examples, but all your posts are similar.

    Assertion (a)

    It is true that scientists know nothing as a fact, but at August 3, 2012 at 11:18 am you say;

    I am trying hard to stick to the facts; and I am relying upon probability and logic to identify what humanity should do to avoid unnecessary damage to our environment.

    So, either you are denying your previous statement that “As a geoscientist, you know nothing as a fact; and neither do I”, or you are admitting you are not arguing as a scientist. In either case, your comments are irrelevant blather.
    Assertion (b)

    It is true that all sensible people – including geoscientists – try to “deal in probabilities”. And you do “deal in probabilities” at August 3, 2012 at 9:35 am when you write:

    As Bill McKibbin recently pointed-out, it is highly likley (sic) that we have 5 times more fossil fuel reserves than the majority of climate scientists consider it would be safe to burn.

    OK if it is “highly likely” that fossil fuels are that available then it is hard to understand your assertion at August 3, 2012 at 4:36 am which says;
    “Fossil fuels are destined to be history. Renewables and nuclear are the future; so I suggest you get used to them.”

    Your two statements do not equate because ‘renewables’ cost more than fossil fuels so will not replace fossil fuels. Unless, of course, you only “deal in probabilities” when it suites your assertions.

    Assertion (c)

    Either there is a “consensus view of climate science” or there is not. And a consensus view cannot be a minority view. But when Smokey pointed out (at August 3, 2012 at 9:54 am) that an overwhelming number of credentialed scientists (i.e. 34,100) have voluntarily signed a petition which rejects AGW you replied at August 3, 2012 at 10:06 am saying;

    I am not interested in opinion polls; but I am concerned with extremely high probability that you are mistaken.

    (Incidentally, I add that a poll of scientists who support the view of AGW is a problem found that they total 75.)

    So, you said;

    the probability that the consensus view of climate science is correct is much greater than the probability that it is not.

    And when you were shown that the consensus denies your view you said you are

    not interested in opinion polls

    and tried to change the subject to whether Smokey is “mistaken”.

    So, I repeat, I suggest everybody should ignore your distractions by ignoring all your posts in this thread both past and future. In other words, don’t feed the troll.

    Richard

  103. Bill Tuttle says:

    Martin Lack says:
    August 3, 2012 at 11:18 am
    With regret, Bill, I don’t recognise the need for the question. Unlike you, I am trying hard to stick to the facts…

    I regret you fail to recognize that people keep asking you to back up your unsupported assertions, which you keep proclaiming are facts despite being confronted with evidence to the contrary.

    Just because I refuse to get embroiled in debates about whose science is junk and whose science is sound; does not negate the fact that the vast majority of peer-reviewed research affirms the conventional view of climate science.

    The fact is that the peer-review process does not confirm the veracity of the content of a paper, it only serves to insure that the author(s) have not made any egregious errors in their methodology – and there are numerous posts here at WUWT exposing just how many severely flawed papers make it through peer review.

    P.S. For the record, my questions were primarily directed to my fellow geologist, David.

    For the record, this is an open forum.

    Also for the record, I think supercilious twits who insult people I respect deserve to be called on it.

  104. Martin Lack says:

    Smokey – The only chumps in this world are those that think 31,400 signatures validate their prejudiced opinions.

    Richard – Is/was this you? If so, I am indeed flattered that you would take the time to try and find fault in my supposed trolling behahviour (actually just an appeal to reason by me). However, since you clearly do not expect a detailed response (or at least you intend to ignore it) I will not waste my time making it (unless you ask me to).

    Bill – I hope you can see the beautiful irony in your saying “…I think supercilious twits who insult people…” This may well be an open forum but I was hoping to get (and got) a response from someone who might know what they are talking about – so please forgive me for ignoring you.

  105. Martin Lack says:

    Apology accepted, David. However, with respect, when you say, “if I were to choose to make an appeal to authority argument, I’d pick an actual authority.”, I think it would be more accurate if you had said “…I’d cherry-pick a study that backs-up a minority opinion”.

    As with the World Climate Widget and Richard Lindzen’s misinformation campaign, the cherry-picked graph you link-to relies upon the extremely dodgy practice of distorting y-axes of overlaid graphs in order to make two things that correlate appear to not do so.

    I know what Mike’s Nature Trick was, thanks. And the blade of the MBH98 Hockey Stick is a reflection of the Hockey Stick David MacKay has highlighted exists in CO2 levels plotted over the last 1000 years. At very least, you are ignoring the unprecedented speed at which current change is occurring (i.e. because the anthropogenic climate forcing is greater than any previous natural forcing).

    Peter Styles probably knows more about the subjects you mention than you do – and he agrees with you – so I really do not understand why you would be so dismissive of him. However, that does not mean that either of you is correct (or even asking the right questions)… If anyone thinks fracking is the answer to our energy problems they are not asking the right question; and if anyone thinks we need shale gas they are planning to use too much non-renewable centrally-generated electricity.

  106. richardscourtney says:

    Martin Lack:

    I am writing to answer your question addressed to me (at August 4, 2012 at 2:26 am) solely to demonstrate that I am not avoiding it.
    Yes, that was me.

    And I state that I stand by what I wrote in my previous post addressed to you so I shall not respond to anything else you address to me whether or not it applies to me personally unless and until you modify your behaviour..

    Richard

  107. David Middleton says:

    @Martin Lack,

    I don’t think you understand the concept of argumentum ad verecundiam.

    As far as Mann’s Hockey Stick being a “reflection” of the CO2 “Hockey Stick”… That’s correct (just not in the manner you imagine).  The blades of both hockey sticks reflect the effect of resolution and amplitude attenuation due to loss of high frequency signal in proxy relative to instrumental data.

    And there is nothing “unprecedented” about the rate or magnitude of recent climate changes.

    1911-1944 and 1977-2010, 0.0013C/month

    863-967 and 1976-2010, 0.02C/year

  108. Bill Tuttle says:

    Martin Lack says:
    August 4, 2012 at 2:26 am

    Smokey – The only chumps in this world are those that think 31,400 signatures validate their prejudiced opinions.

    As opposed, of course, to those who think 75 “yes” answers on a selection-biased two-question survey validate their prejudiced opinions.

    Bill – I hope you can see the beautiful irony in your saying “…I think supercilious twits who insult people…” This may well be an open forum but I was hoping to get (and got) a response from someone who might know what they are talking about – so please forgive me for ignoring you.

    Since you ignore anyone who asks you to justify your assertions by providing some actual proof, that puts me in some pretty good company. I hope you can see the beautiful irony of your hubris resulting in a misinterpretation of David’s request for an apology at August 3, 2012 at 12:34 pm

    “Firstly, an apology for the nonsense remark… It was uncalled for.”

    as an apology to you for having had the temerity to rebut your aspersion on his professional knowledge.

  109. Martin Lack says:

    I am in some difficulty here, David. The things I would like to say or link-to would probably not be allowed by Moderators. So I will have to choose my words carefully. Despite what Richard says, I was trying to engage you in rational discussion; to get you to stop asserting your opinions as facts; and trying to avoid the junk/sound science trap. When I myself talk about “facts” – I do so in the context of historical or observable reality (if that were not the case I would not have tied myself up in knots talking about probabilities).

    In a Rough Guide to Climate Change, Robert Henson suggests that there are a number of common arguments made by those that claim global warming is a false alarm: Namely that it is not happening; it is not man-made; it is not significant; it is not necessarily bad; it is not a problem; and/or that it is not worth fixing. With this in mind, I was hoping that I could get you to admit, as has Richard Muller and the BEST team, that something significant is at least happening. That is to say, that the MBH98 hockey stick is signal not noise; that CO2 levels have increased super-exponentially since the Industrial Revolution; and that this is not just a coincidence. However, given that you do not seem willing to accept even this as historical and observable fact, I can see little point in continuing this “discussion”.

  110. Martin Lack says:

    Please pay attention Bill. I do not cite opinion polls to validate my opinions. I base my decisions on most-plausible explanations for observable facts; and I pay attention to history (including that of an industry receiving 10 times the subsidy renewable energy gets and still manages to complain).

  111. Martin Lack says:

    Congratulations, Richard, yours is a completely unassailable position: You accuse me of being a “troll” and attempt to take the moral high ground. However, it seems to me that you are not only refusing to have a rational discussion; you are actively trying to prevent others from doing so as well. You have not just refused to join-in and taken the ball out of play; you have stolen my ball and attempted to walk off with it.

  112. Friends:

    I enjoy rational discussion but deplore trolls who hijack threads as a method to evade discussion of the subjects of the threads. I remind that this thread is about the rebuttal by David Middleton of the nonsensical assertions concerning fracking by Giles Parkinson.

    So, I repeat that I will not feed the troll whether or not he makes content-free personal attacks on me, and I again advise all others to ignore his posts, too.

    Richard

  113. Bill Tuttle says:

    Martin Lack says:
    August 4, 2012 at 7:37 am
    Please pay attention Bill. I do not cite opinion polls to validate my opinions.

    Do you even bother to read what you’ve written? You repeatedly cite the “consensus,” which is nothing more than an opinion poll.

    I base my decisions on most-plausible explanations for observable facts

    Which has nothing whatsoever to do with answering the questions about your inability to justify your assertions by actually citing facts.

    (including that of an industry receiving 10 times the subsidy renewable energy gets and still manages to complain).

    That’s one of the many unsupported assumptions you’ve stated as a fact. The fossil fuel industry receives tax credits for investments and equipment depreciation (which are not subsidies) and which, under the US tax code, any business entity may claim, while renewables receive direct subsidies. Since you’ve consistently demonstrated a problem with English comprehension on this and several other threads, I’ll spell it out for you —

    1. The US government *allows* fossil fuel entities to keep some of the money they’ve already earned.

    2. The US government directly *gives* taxpayer dollars to entities involved with renewables.

  114. Bill Tuttle says:

    Martin Lack says:
    August 4, 2012 at 7:46 am
    Congratulations, Richard…you are not only refusing to have a rational discussion; you are actively trying to prevent others from doing so as well.

    Still another unsupported assertion, Martin — you’ve already self-assigned as the individual impeding rational discussion on this thread.

  115. Martin Lack says:

    Leaving aside the pathetic attempts of others to indulge in pedantic obfuscation, circular arguments, and tactical avoidance, I will simply state the central points I have tried to make, which are very relevant to the topic of this thread.

    Fracking is a highly inefficient way of obtaining non-renewable fossil fuels. We already have the technology to substitute their use with renewables in power generation. Therefore, irrespective of whether fracking is (or is not) intrinsically dangerous, it is foolish to pursue it because… We have very good reason to believe that pumping fossilised carbon into the atmopshere is the primary cause of the radiative energy imbalance that – having been masked by a variety of factors including the heat capacity of the oceans and the cooling effect of other forms or atmospheric pollution – is now finally beginning to make its presence felt.

    You may of course choose to do as suggested; and ignore my comments. However, that does not make what I say any less likely to reflect the reality of the situation that – thanks to decades in which the fossil fuel industry has sought to abdicate its responsibility for what was predicted and is now happening – we are now all in.

    If, as suggested by David Middleton’s profile, you consider me and the arguments I am making to be no more than “environmental alarmism”, that is your choice. However, that does not make it any less fallacious to claim that the prevailing consensus regarding palaeoclimatology and atmospheric physics is little more than an unreliable opinion poll.

  116. David Middleton says:

    The oil “subsidies” total about $4.4 billion industry-wide.  They consist of tax deductions that are the resource extraction equivalent of depreciation.

    In 2011, ExxonMobil, the largest US oil company invested $413 billion to earn $73 billion in pre-tax profits.  They paid $31 billion in Federal, State, local and foreign income taxes, leaving them with a $42 billion net profit (9%).  ExxonMobil paid $8 in total income taxes for every $1 of “subsidies” to the entire industry.

    Between Solyndra and Solar Trust of America, the current occupant of the White House guaranteed more than $2.6 billion in taxpayer-backed loans to companies that never earned a profit and went bankrupt trying to manufacture a product in an industry that would be insolvent without massive corporate welfare.

    The tax “subsidies” to the oil & gas industry are of the most benefit to small independent companies operating in the US.  Major oil companies are not eligible for the most “expensive” deduction: the percentage depletion allowance.  These “subsidies” lead to more production of domestic oil and natural gas.  In 2007, the sum total of Federal energy subsidies was $16.6 billion.  That included direct expenditures, tax breaks, R&D expenditures and electricity programs like the TVA.  About $2.1 billion of the 2007 subsidies went toward natural gas and petroleum liquids, $3.4 billion went for coal and $5 billion went toward renewables and conservation.

    In 2007, ExxonMobil paid $29.9 billion in total income taxes, including $4.5 billion in US Federal income tax.  ExxonMobil’s 2007 Federal US income taxes were twice as much as the entire industry’s “subsidies.”

    In 2007, subsidies to the oil and gas industry amounted to ~3 cents per million BTU of energy produced.  Solar and ethanol/biofuels received $2.82 and $5.72 per million BTU…

    Subsidies/BTU

    A barrel of oil yields ~5.6 million BTU.  Oil subsidies amount to ~17 cents per barrel… Less than 1% of the cost of a barrel of oil.  Currently closer to 0.1%.

    In 2007, solar and wind subsidies amounted to $24.34 and $23.37 per MWh…

    Subsidies/MWh

    The average US electricity rate is ~$0.12 per kWh ($120 per MWh).  Solar and wind subsidies amounted to 20-21% of the cost of a MWh of electricity.

    The levelized cost of solar PV is ~$211/MWh over a 30-yr plant lifetime.  That’s more than twice the cost of coal ($95/MWh) and more than three times the cost of natural gas ($66/MWh).

    $211/MWh is $0.21/kWh.  A utility company would have to charge 21.1 cents per kWh just to break even.  The average retail rate in the USA is 11-12 cents per kWh.

    Subsidizing a source of electricity that costs $66 per MWh to the tune of $0.25 per MWh gets you a little more $66/MWh electricity.

    Subsidizing a source of electricity that costs $211per MWh to the tune of $24.34 per MWh gets you some $211/MWh electricity added into the mix.

    Why in the Heck would a sane person choose to pay more for electricity?  Much less subsidize the more expensive source two orders of magnitude more than the cheap source?

  117. Smokey says:

    To add to what Dave Middleton wrote, this chart shows coming electric rates. These are contractually agreed rates, not projections. The steep rise is directly due to government interference in the markets. In the coming years your electric rates will skyrocket by at least 500%.

    These electric rates will decimate the economy. Everything in the economy is tied to the cost of electricity. And the entire blame must be laid at the feet of the enviro-lobby and their puppet, the currrent Administration.

  118. Bill Tuttle says:

    Martin Lack says:
    August 4, 2012 at 10:15 am
    Leaving aside the pathetic attempts of others to indulge in pedantic obfuscation, circular arguments, and tactical avoidance…

    Translation: “I got nuthin’, so I’ll feign regal aloofness.”

    I will simply state the central points I have tried to make, which are very relevant to the topic of this thread.

    That’s the crux of the matter. You keep making statements that you can’t support with facts.

  119. David Middleton says:

    @Martin Lack,

    Marty, do you pay bills? If so, do you pay those bills in units of money, currency or other form of capital? Or do you pay your bills in units of energy?

    In arguendo, let’s assume that solar PV is more energy-efficient source of electric power than shale gas (I think the Lysenkoist concept is “EROEI”)… So what? The gas-fired electricity costs less than $0.07/kWh to generate. Solar PV costs more than $0.20/kWh to generate.

    I pay my utility bills in $$$, not BTU.

    In arguendo, let’s assume that biofuel from amoeba flatulence is more energy-efficient than shale oil fracked from the Bakken… So what?

    The amoeba flatulence costs $27/gal and can’t be produced in sufficient quantity to be waiting for my Jeep Wrangler at the nearby Exxon station when I need it. Whereas, the plain-old petroleum-derived gasoline was ready and waiting for my Jeep just a couple of hours ago at about $3.40/gal.

  120. Bill Tuttle says:

    Back on topic: “3. Researchers at UCLA have created a solar-power-generating window. If all those glass box skyscrapers in southern California could be put to work generating electricity, it would probably power the whole state.”

    From the link:

    “Another breakthrough is the transparent conductor made of a mixture of silver nanowire and titanium dioxide nanoparticles, which was able to replace the opaque metal electrode used in the past. This composite electrode also allows the solar cells to be fabricated economically by solution processing. With this combination, 4% power-conversion efficiency for solution-processed and visibly transparent polymer solar cells has been achieved.”

    Four. Percent. Conversion. Efficiency.

    Ha! hold my Brain; be still my beating Heart!

  121. David Middleton says:

    @Bill Tuttle,

    The average insolation in the SW USA is about 240 W/m2… I have a corner office with ~18 m2 of window area.

    240 W/m2 * 18 m2 = 4,320 W

    4% efficiency –> 173 W

    A typical PC workstation needs about 175 W. I need two for my work: A Windows machine for email and PC app’s and a Linux machine for Landmark. Each has two monitors. My IT requirements draw more than twice as much power as the “miracle windows” can deliver.

    Oh… My office also has lights, a phone and a stereo.

    I’m gonna guess that the “miracle window” wouldn’t pay for itself in 100 years… if it worked.

  122. This truly has been an enlightening thread of comments. I am glad I found it.

  123. Martin Lack says:

    Thanks for all of that information, David. All entirely factual and beyond reproach I am sure. However, with respect, I think you are dodging the issue: I don’t care about ‘magic windows'; technology alone will not solve our energy crisis. Therefore, I care about sustainable energy policies – and perpetual reliance upon non-renewable fossil fuels is, by definition, unsustainable.

    Ultimately, the solution to our energy crisis may well lie in as many people and/or businesses as possible generating their own electricity and/or ambient temperature control. However, the fossil fuel industry appears to have decided to pick a fight with the Laws of Physics – and insist that it can disrupt the Carbon Cycle with impunity – rather than re-invent itself as the energy business of the future; but that does not make it any less foolish and short-sighted. Anthropogenic climate disruption is the ultimate ‘Tragedy of the Commons’ outcome (about which Garrett Hardin warned in 1968). As such, our problem is that the Earth has five times more fossil fuel than it would be safe to burn; and we do not seem to have the self-control to choose not to burn it.

    Therefore, to dismiss (as I suspect many if not all on this site will do) stuff like James Hansen’s piece in the Washington Post yesterday (‘Climate change is here — and worse than we thought’) as “environmental alarmism” is itself wishful thinking. I don’t need to present any evidence to justify this assertion because the evidence is all around you; you just seem determined to ignore it.

  124. Allan MacRae says:

    David Fogg says: August 2, 2012 at 11:30 am
    @Allan MacRae: Athabasca is a mess, and a big one at that. The indigenous people down stream have problems with fish and sickness. Nothing I’ve heard as ridiculous as two jawed fish. Red spots, illnesses, population declines. Sure, it was never tar-free, but it’s gotten worse by most accounts. Regardless, you could remove Athabasca from m(gov’t/energy) to give me any point, and my point is still valid. Our government GIVES away our resources to the Energy industry, claiming very little in the way of revenue for it… and then doesn’t even do its job of regulation and oversight. As a result, there is NOTHING trustworthy or inherently safe about energy development. I’m not against gas development… or possibly even fracking. But currently I can’t trust anyone involved to give real honest answers. Look at all the BS they gave us when the Macondo blew out. It’s the same colluded garbage we get from gov’t/climate science.
    __________

    David, you are speaking in an area of my expertise. I was directly involved as a manager in the Canadian oilsands from 1984 to 1992. That is why I started studying “global warming” (CAGW) science in about 1985. It was my responsibility to understand what we were doing in the oilsands, and it became an interesting hobby.

    Like any other cantankerous old fart, I think I could have done a better job in the oilsands than the kids that took over. :-)

    Nevertheless, I must be objective and fair in my assessment.

    First, on fiscal terms (royalties and taxes). The Athabasca oilsands are an economically marginal resource – among the highest-cost sources of oil in the world. IF we want to develop them (and we should – they are THE economic backbone of the Canadian economy), we need fiscal terms that make them sufficiently economic to attract investment.

    The new fiscal terms adopted by the Klein government in 1996-97 were , in my opinion, well-suited to the oilsands. They allowed the investor to get his capital back quickly, to enhance the otherwise-marginal rate of return, and then the government took a larger share. The total income split was about 50:50 between government and industry.

    The Stelmach government revised these terms in ~2008 to remove these investment incentives, and this will ultimately prove to be a mistake, in my opinion. When costs and oil prices finally re-align, new oilsands projects will probably be rendered uneconomic by the Stelmach fiscal terms.

    By way of credentials, I personally initiated the move to the Klein tax terms in 1985, and the move to the new royalty terms in 1988. It took about a decade for experts to establish these new terms, and less than a year for neophytes to destroy them.

    As far as “giving the resource away” to industry, the fact is that the revenues from the Athabasca oilsands carry the entire Canadian economy. The reason Canada is the strongest economy in the G8 is entirely due to the oilsands – Canada’s manufacturing sector is no better than that of the USA.

    Regarding the people who live downstream from the oilsands, there has been so much falsehood written about this – one doctor from Nova Scotia established himself in Fort Chip and was found to be fabricating scary stories about the health of the native peoples there – he was formally censored by the Alberta Medical Association. Excerpt below – sorry I’ve lost the full link.

    Sure, there are lots of liars in industry – look at Enron and all the financial scams on Wall Street. However, senior executives caught lying are swiftly dealt with industry – they are fired. Boards of Directors do not like to be lied to, and are deeply embarrassed by these events. Most Directors of large companies are independently wealthy and have good reputations – they do not want to be associated with lies.

    The CAGW scam is a much more serous deception. The truth is what we wrote in 2002: “The alleged global warming crisis does not exist.” More evidence since then? There has been NO net global warming since we wrote this article.

    Nevertheless, certain climate scientists continue to lie about the global warming crisis, and most politicians continue to repeat these lies. Industry leaders are dragged along, most of them lacking the courage to speak out against this nonsense and be pilloried by radical warmists for doing so.

    Like investing, one has to be cautious about who you believe. The remarkable change now is that, with the internet and a good basic education, one can develop one’s own informed decisions. Good luck!
    __________

    Excerpt:
    http://www.smalldeadanimals.com/archives/012649.html

    After two years of repeated requests from authorities, he finally agreed to turn over his files. They showed no evidence to support his shocking claims. The investigator discovered, instead, that Dr. O’Connor’s public statements about the health of Fort Chipewyan’s residents contained ““mistruths, inaccuracies and unconfirmed information.”

    He had reported five cases of a rare bile duct cancer called cholangiocarcinoma in the community of 1,200. There were two. The doctor had told reporters of a man who had died of colon cancer at the young age of 33. It was fiction. ““No patient died at age 33 from colon cancer as reported by Dr. O’Connor,” says the report.

    “These weren’t misdiagnoses; they were diagnoses that never occurred,”” says Hakique Virani, one of the three Health Canada physicians who lodged the original complaint with the college. ““Our concern was, this is a guy who is saying there are a huge number — five in a community that small is a huge number — of rare cancers and there were outward associations being drawn between environmental concerns and cancers.”

    “Basically you’re telling a group of people that you’re likely to get these rare cancers and there’s nothing you can do about it because of the place you live, the water that you drink and the food that you eat. If it’s true, you’re darnstraight to advocate. If not, you’re really abusing the trust of an entire community.”

  125. David Middleton says:

    @Marty,

    The only thing that’s “unsustainable” is generating $0.21/kWh electricity at a time in which we have hundreds of years’ worth of easily available $0.07/kWh electricity.  Intentionally making work more expensive is idiotic.

    dU = δQ – δW

    According to the first law of thermodynamics, any net increase in the internal energy dU of a thermodynamic system must be fully accounted for, in terms of heat δQ entering the system and the work δW done by the system.

    http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Work_…ics)#section_3

    When you increase the cost of energy (dU) without increasing the value of work, you destroy wealth.  Apart from Enviromarxist utopias in which Trofim Lysenko does the accounting, value is measured in capital, money, dinero, currency, etc.  Value is not measured in “tons of carbon not emitted” or “energy not converted.”  We can afford marginal costs related to protecting the environment; but environental protection can’t be the capital basis of energy economics… That’s the fast lane to green bankruptcy.

    Man didn’t progress from the Stone Age because gov’t bureaucrats and academics decided it was time to move on to the Chalcolithic.  He progressed because he found ways to generate more wealth per unit of work using bronze & copper rather than stone. When we advance from fossil fuels, it will be because we can generate more wealth per unit of energy with another source of energy.

  126. Martin Lack says:

    Your Latin and Greek does not impress me, Davey-boy [and neither does your condescending over-familiarity :-) ].

    Renewable energy will only ever become cheaper (as it does when the scale of production of any commodity increases). Fossil fuels will become progressively harder to find and recover (EROEI etc) and, as demand increases, they will therefore become progressively more expensive.

    However, unless we want to return humanity to the Stone Age, we need to decide to kick our dirty fossil fuel habit sooner rather than later. This is because the longer we stay addicted to it, the more costly (in both financial and environmental terms) kicking it will become; and the faster we will have to do it in order to avoid the same amount of adverse consequences.

    Saying “it ain’t necessarily so” does not change the probability that it is. (Search online for “Monty Python Argument Sketch”).

  127. Allan MacRae says:

    Martin Lack:

    I agree with Dave and disagree with you.

    I further submit that one’s predictive record is the best single indicator of one’s credibility in most fields of endeavour.

    And I’ll bet that my (our) predictive record is much better than that of the IPCC, and also better than anyone else you tend to favour – name one.

    Our 2002 predictions are summarized above at
    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2012/07/31/in-other-news-ten-reasons-why-fracking-is-not-doomed/#comment-1049194

    On energy we said:

    8. The ultimate agenda of pro-Kyoto advocates is to eliminate fossil fuels, but this would result in a catastrophic shortfall in global energy supply – the wasteful, inefficient energy solutions proposed by Kyoto advocates simply cannot replace fossil fuels.

    Predictions-in-waiting:

    I also predicted global cooling by 2020-2030 in an article written in 2002.

    Finally, in 2008 I wrote that temperature drives atmospheric CO2, not the reverse, three years before Murry Salby’s famous 2011 Sydney Institute video.

    Regards, Allan

  128. woodNfish says:

    Considering who this article is targeted to, it is appropriate to paraphrase a fellow traveller:

    “If they didn’t like being lied to, they wouldn’t be alarmists.”

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